1. Orange and Life (or the Contratemps of a life with the Master)
I saw my Master eating oranges,
And the fruit appeared juicy and sweet
As it passed through his lips.
He passed me one,
But when I bit through the pulp
Oh, Lord, how sour was it!
I saw my Master live his life,
And his life appeared happy and sweet
With each passing moment.
God too gave me a life,
But when I lived my life,
Oh Lord, how sour was my portion!
This prose is recorded from a tale recounted by a friend, a Sufi. Oh what a rascal he was when he was studying overseas. His idea of jihad (of course he was kidding, but I thought I better clear all doubt. After all, we don't know who may drop by in this almanac... Some may not be as cool as you, sunshine) was going out with a beautiful girl of Bani Israel, a rich London Jewess princess. Although not rich, he was a bon vivant, the life of any party, and he mixed with the super rich students who customed only the most expensive and exclusive nightclubs in the West End. That my friend could drink like a camel became useful as he and his clique partied into the early hours of the morning. To top of this degenerate (but undoubtedly very interesting!) life, is his talent as a ladies' man. Oh how they simpered and adored this scrawny little fella from Malaysia.
This was of course many (many) decades ago. It was his fate that amongst his friends was a quiet unassuming son of a Sultan, studying law. One day, the prince fell under a spell of a Sufi Grandshaykh, and with great vigour and enthusiasm, dragged my friend into the tiny but growing circle of young Naqshbandis in the Malaysian diaspora in London, and later in Malaysia.
He has since passed away and so has the Prince. I miss our little chats. Because my friend was an excellent storyteller, and still I can recall how I chuckled and laughed at my friend's honest and often XXX rated tales from his disreputable past. In between these salacious but hilarious intermission, he would regularly throw nuggets of Sufi tales and experiences he had being in the close proximity of the Shaykhs and the Grandshaykhs. Always interesting, always entertaining and never dull. How wonderful was he... *sigh*
Sufis never preach to me. They only share, and always with a glint in their eye and a refreshing self-deprecation humour. No false humility here. They are simply lovely... How proud their Grandshaykh must be, and how lucky I am to know some of them. Even if only but a while.
May God bless them... and of course, may God bless you, sunshine.
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way