Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ego and the Nature of Knowledge & Ignorance - the sinner is thinkin'... hmm...

Knowledge & Ignorance, Ego and Humility
Man is a creature made up of 
What he knows and 
What he doesn't know,
Man is a sum of 
All his knowledge and
All his ignorance,

But Man's ego can turn the most learned man
Into a tyrant and a despot, changing his pool of knowledge 
Into a hateful black miasma from where his most
Wicked thoughts, words and deeds arise from.

And Man's ego can turn the chasm of ignorance
Into a monstrous mountain blocking his path, 
A dark storm cloud shadowing his horizon,
Darkening his heart and his love,

So you see...
Ego will always spoil his life,
But humility? Humility will save Man
Whether he be foolish or wise.

The ego is not a simple creature. It is attuned to the very physical aspect of your existence, and though it is not spiritual in nature, the human ego is more adaptable than the chameleon to suit your changing spiritual make-up. The ego sits with the kings on their gilded thrones, manages the biggest corporations in the boards of directors, it runs on all fours with the beggars of the alleyways, it is in the words of the religious clerics, it sleeps with the most virtuous man and wakes up in the morning with the most despairing sinners of this world. 

Facing up to your vices and bad habits is liable to make you hate yourself.
And it can turn the most mentally balanced man into a schizophrenic.
But you cannot hate yourself, nor have two of you...
After all, you have only one heart.

Unlearning (your bad habits) is a journey of a lifetime. For myself, I have found that knowledge has brought great happiness to me. But some knowledge has also brought great despair, for I have, in my life, learned of things which I should have stayed away from, things which do not benefit my life one bit. And if learning is a journey of a lifetime (as many pundits say), then the unlearning of some knowledge is also a journey of a lifetime. You know... the bad habits and vices sinners like myself have picked up along our raggedy, stumbling path through life. The ego and our nafs (our base desires) work hand in hand to persuade us, "Come on, Taufiq! Everyone does it! You can handle it..."

Yeah. Right.

Far or near... Alive or dead... it matters not
when Love is your Sovereign Lord.
Friends with Benefits. Alone we would be crushed by our ego. That is why, if you are blessed to have kindly friends, patient and understanding parents and relatives, you cannot but be humbled by the humility displayed by such people. So even if you are a damn sinner like myself, you have guides that can help you deal with your ego (and nafs). And of course, if your life is blessed with a saint, a master who loves and attends to you however physically far or near you may be to him, then you really have a lot to be thankful to God for.

Have a good Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I SAT BY YOU, O' HEART - Muhammad, His Nation and the Love Undying

Heart by C. Colombo

I Sat By You...
I sat by you, o' Heart
I attended your classes and later
I took simply to sitting by you
And not asking anything at all,

I sat by you, o' Heart
While outside a tempest blew
And upon the horizon
I could see a storm brew,
But you said and assured me,
"Make us a cup of tea, my love,
And of the weather outside, do not worry."

I sat by you, o' Heart
While nations come and go,
As empires rise high and fall to folly,
While Kings rule and lose their thrones,
As Queens succumb to love and tragedy,

I sat by you, o' Heart
For you were there with me 
Right from the beginning,

I sat by you, o' Heart
To learn your many ways true and fair,
Till no one can be seen there
Sitting on the chair,

Not me, not my thoughts
No wisdom left of me,
No more tricks for me wrought.

I sat by you, o' Heart
Contemplating your sublime beauty
Till there was nothing left of me,

I sat by you, o' Heart
O' Prophet of Ahad,
I sat by you, o' Heart
O' Muhammad....

The connection between the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), to the Nation of Muhammad, this raggedy band of ragtags called the Muslims is a love undying, a beauty without compare, a continuous communication without respite, not since the time that Muhammad (pbuh) was born, until the day he passed on, and to this very moment here.

If you think you know the Prophet, o' Muslims, you do not! If you think your thread bare reflection upon his compassion, love, mercy and beauty is a fitting and crowning achievement of your life thus far, it is not enough!

O' man... o' woman so utterly besotted by love, why take a small meager cup of mortal affection when there is a Sea of Divine Affection to drink from... to swim in... to sail or drown in...?

I am a broken chastised sinner but you are sweet and affectionate, sunshine. The chair is there for you, and the Heart of Muhammad awaits your attention and sweet affectionate contemplation.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no Place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back from North Dakota - Mikhail, our avatars in the Star Wars Universe, and the eternal battle between plants and zombies

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a quiet and gloomy place at 3.30am. There are
rows and rows of parked airport taxis waiting for the passengers.
Hi guys. I never followed through about Mikhail's (my 8-year old heir and scion of the sinner's empire) arrival at 4.30am on Wednesday morning. Well, I was unable to sleep so I woke up about 2.30am which was quite fortunate because a quick check online showed that the flight was gonna arrive early by one hour! So me and my brother zoomed down to the airport in an early morning downpour. The airport is a good 45 minutes drive away. We drove pass the many container lorries plying their trade along the empty highway.

Mika and the Maricars arrived safely and we immediately took my son home, although we did first buy him some Chicken Tenders from Burger King. Poor kid had only 3 french buns over the course of the 24 hours flight and transit from Bismarck, ND. He was terribly hungry, but I could see that he was also very happy to be home.

Bonding over Plants vs Zombies... at 2am the night after

He couldn't sleep later that night due to jetlag, so we spent our time bonding over Plants vs Zombies. I am embarrassed to admit that I too am addicted to this ridiculous game. 

Over breakfast he shared his view of the Star Wars Universe. And it appears that he and I have our own avatars in George Lucas's sci-fi fantasy world... of varying degrees of goodness and beauty. He he he.

Jango Fett is the father of Boba Fett. They are mercenaries and bounty hunters.
I am just a lawyer, but I guess that approximates some people's idea of
a mercenary or bounty hunter. He he he.
Rotta is the baby son of Jabba. I think you can guess
which one is Mika and which one is me... 
Have a lovely Friday, sunshine. I am happy when things are in order as they should be. Like Mika being home with me. alhamdulillah...

The plants defending the lawn from invasion by the zombies.
It looks confusing. But this damn game is a lot of fun!

God bless.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God's Own Fool - courage is not something that can only be found in the battlefields

Take courage. Do not let fear cage your compassionate heart...

The Lord's Own Fool
"What have you given away?" The man asked his sister, 
looking at the retreating back of the beggar.
"I didn't have anything to give, so I borrowed some dinari 
that I might give to the poor man..."
"Are you a fool?" The brother hotly interrupted, 
To which she said firmly,
"I may be... but if I am, 
I am the Lord's own fool!"

A friend of mine called me early this morning. She had just taken a loan to settle her outstanding credit card bills. But as is often the case with parents and their magical instincts, it was on this very same morning that the father asked to borrow a substantial amount of money from her. 

And she lent it immediately, knowing all too well that it may never be repaid.

People often talk of the parent's sacrifices for their children that shall never be repaid. But not every child put to practice such noble sentiments. My friend cried a little thinking of her own financial woes, and how there appear to be no end to her worries. "I must be a damn fool!" she exclaimed.

Indeed she is foolish. But if you would believe me, she is God's own fool. For God loves those who do not allow fear to stand in their way of compassionate fealty. Courage is not something that can only be found in the battlefields... It can be found in the exemplary conduct of people all around us.

May God enrich this world with our generous friends, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

God, the Atheists and the Believers - In the House of al-Akhir Part II, a Princely Tale

In the House of al-Akhir II
My Love is a House,
Beautifully built with all
The perfection and passion
Of the Perfect Builder,
That is Me,

My Love is a Garden,
Seeded to perfection of bloom
With the most pleasant and pretty
Of flowers and nourishing fruits
That the Perfect Gardener
Can bequeath, That is Me,

My Love is a Song,
Spun on the lips of lovers,
Sighing in their entwined passion,
And the eternal patience of
A love unconditional born
Of the Perfect Lover,
That is Me,

My Love is the morning
That greets you when you wake up,
My Love is the evening
That beckons you to rest and succor,
My Love is the Sun of daytime
And the Moon of twilight,
Created by the Perfect Creator,
That is Me,

My Love is a Story
Written by the Best Writer,
That is Me,

My Love is a Forest of your dreams and wakefulness,
Whether you are guided, whether you are lost,
You are in My Love always,
So why despair at all?

My Love is a Story
Yet to be written,
But promised unto you
By the Best of He Whose Promises are Never Broken,
That is Me,

The smartest, kindest and best-mannered of the Atheists do not set their accusations and arguments against God but against the followers of God and their mistaken, ill-judged and hubris-centric edicts on mankind.

Atheist, non-believers, however you would label
them, my eye is still towards them. In fact
each day brings me greater news of a better
tomorrow to come. How can I ever turn away
when a Prince in the House of al-Akhir,
the late al-marhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah
ibni Sultan Azlan Shah had never once turned
away from me? al fatiha
But in the midst of the intellectual conflict, alas, it is God that gets the bad name. But for a non-entity that Atheists think God to be, it is a triumph nonetheless, for however they protest, God is in their mind, though misunderstood.

Many Atheists are smart in fact, and as a sinner myself, I would be the last man to claim understanding of His Awesomeness, our Lord God. In fact, given a change of heart, a change of circumstances, I have a sense that the most sincere and intelligent Atheists would be among the best of believers. For such is their fealty to their dogma.

But at the cosmic level, we understand that things happen as they are meant to happen. Even disbelief is fated in the great tapestry of fate of the Weaver of Fate, that is Him, God. But at the individual human level, it is my hope that people, both believers and Atheists alike shall find God in the Universal Language of Love. After all, it is His Universe still.

I am resting my spirit on this thought today, while the world spins and orbits around the great mark of His Greatness, the life-giving Sun.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The House of al-Akhir - the syariat, the tarikat and the fairest deal of them all

 The 2nd Obligation
Obedience to the Syariat
Is an obligation.
The Tarikat is the presumption
Of a second obligation,
That of love for God.
Love for the Prophet.
Love for the Saints.
Love for Man.
Love for the mightiest suns, and
The smallest grain of sand.

The Syariat (the Law) will bring you to the House of God, a Shaykh said. But it is the Tarikat (the Path) that will give you leave to enter the House of God and into the Divine Presence.

I am thinking about this... thus the Syariat is like a road map, with dead-ends, one-way streets, traffic lights, highways, bridges, overhead pedestrian crossings, junctions and roundabouts that channel the continuous traffic of human interaction with God and indeed, with ourselves.

It is the best way to avoid mishaps and accidents in our spiritual journey from Alpha to Omega, from Awal (the First) to Akhir (the Last). But arriving at the House of al-Akhir (House of God, Akhir being one of the known 99 names of God), there the road map ends. There you are in the Absolute End of human conjecture and presumptions. You furtively knock on His door, pleading like a homeless beggar, "Oh Lord... let me in..."

Were you knocking at any other door, what a waste and ruinous journey you have undertaken!

For at the House of al-Akhir there is the Door of Love, the Door of Compassion and the Door of Mercy - These divine attributes that can barely be imagined by our human mind, and is only recognizable in the expanse of Godly infinite quality and quantity through the prism of our heart. It is the Door beckoning all humanity, and calling unto the Nation of Muhammad to guide with exemplary conduct of Love, Compassion and Mercy! Woe unto us if we do any less - for the non-believers will have right to claim, "Oh Lord, these virtues You commanded Your Muslims to exemplify... this they did not do." Yup, you got that right, sunshine. Oh boy... are we in trouble.

Pray that I shall meet you somewhere along the Way, and together, as brothers and sisters united in the worship of the One God of all humanity, we will make our stumbling error-prone journey to God, in the name of Muhammad Habibullah (pbuh), the manifest map to the Divine Presence and mercy to all the world(s). Aye... mercy even unto the smallest invisible grain of sand. This is the standard we are called to live by. Tough? But you Muslims are granted the Best of Creation in the person of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So if it is tough... it is still the fairest deal of them all!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not everything is pretty, Not everything is ugly, during a Walk - Thank God!

How far you walk is entirely up to your ambition.
The Anatomy of a Walk
If you walk slowly you will find
Many things you would have missed
Had you been rushing...

The empty box of tissues and ragged plastic bags,
Newspaper with bad news (it's mostly bad news nowadays)
Blowing in the breeze,
Cigarette butts and bits of wood slowly dying.
Broken dreams and broken hearts,
The discarded flotsam and jetsam of human activity...
Alas, not everything is pretty.

But in my walk I have also found
Beautiful frangipani bloom
Falling at the feet of a gnarly old tree,
Arresting my thoughts in its delightful yellow hue,
And in my walk I could hear the tree speak,
"Oh man, long ago it was when I was a sapling,
And a long time has passed since anyone
Paid any attention to me except for the neighbourhood dogs..."

So a hand that was not mine touched gently
The grey old tired tree and said,
“Subhanim Allah Sultanim Allah
Nabim Muhammad alayhi salam.'"

Thankfully not everything is ugly!
And every hurt has its balm!

The Walk. I walk slowly because I prefer to do so. Truth be told, I rather not walk at all. But Heche warned me... "If you want to keep dogs, you must walk them! Pets are for a lifetime, not just for Christmas!"

My dogs... Catmir and Dogmir. Woof! Woof!

Wandering into a Story. I don't actually go looking for a nice story to tell, if it happens, it happens. But sometimes you simply wander into a tale. And it is not actually yours... someone dreamed of this, hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago... and we are just living in our ancestor's future dreams - Nothing is new under the sun, I was always believe.

Mika coming home. I am happy this evening. I got some work sorted already, and I have some more work planned for later tonight. It gives me pleasure to work, to feel needed and appreciated. But most of all, I am happy because my son, Mikhail is coming home after a 2 weeks break with his mum Gina and his step-dad Herman, his uncle Prat and auntie Lyzz and grandma Nenek in America. They are flying somewhere over the Pacific Ocean right this very moment... Arrival is anticipated at 4.30am tomorrow morning. My brother and even my 78-year old dad want to brave the wee early hours tomorrow to greet Mika at the airport. They miss him as much as I do, I guess. 

From Left: Aunt Lyzz, Bart Simpson, Uncle Prat, Mika, Mum Gina, Grandma Nenek, Stepdad Herman

Have a lovely rest of the day, sunshine. God bless.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Vanity cloaked in Piety - this transient world and its illusory power structures

1.      We await you, o’ enemy! II
O’ doubt,
O’ deceiver,
O’ enemy,

For every moment that you take,
We have our Master,
For every move that you make,
We have His answer.

People are confused, distracted and tricked by this world. In the economics talk given last week that I had the privilege to participate in, a student from the audience asked, "Is there a shadowy elite group controlling the world?" This was following from a very good exposition by my friend Moses on the global banking and monetary system. 

The truth of the matter, and the one which I hold close to my conscience is that we are continuing to be fooled by the structures of power and control in this world. That someone has to be 'in power'. That someone has to control the levers of power. That if the right people are not in power, the wrong people are. Power, power, power. I am bored by it.

For my Master Muhammad Habibullah (pbuh) and through his Companions and Saints have made it quite clear that power comes only from God. And that anyone else claiming otherwise is a trickster. 

So I could not sit still, until I could attend to the young man's question. And before the curtain fall I heard myself speaking with a voice undoubtedly trembling with emotion (I am such a sop) ... "Yes. There is an elite group in charge of the world. It is Nabi Muhammad, his Companions and Saints. You only have to look at things differently. From the right perspective, this is the true reality."

But the right perspective is actually to let go of our desperate effort to assimilate this world view of power structures and power brokers in the context of Islam. For when spoken by a Saint, when he says 'power' he means responsibility, servanthood, compassion and mercy in the Name of Truth. It is nothing like the bleating of sheep with their conspiracies and ancient legends. For however the sheep or wolves-in-sheep-clothing plan to usurp some worldly throne of money and hegemony, they are beneath the Divine Plan. Their knowledge is nothing like Divine Knowledge. And their love for power, is nothing to the Prophet Muhammad's love for his people, humanity and all of creation.

Some thoughts to accompany you today, sunshine... while the worthless ones are going mad with anger, and using the blessed name of Muhammad for their own gain, calling unto Muslims to 'defend' the name of the Prophet (pbuh)... They are only interested to climb up this world's power structure. They are lost and they are misguiding people. May God protect us from such vanity cloaked as piety... and beckon our hearts to the true and compassionate guidance of the Prophet...

'There is no harm nor reciprocating harm, in Islam'
Saying of the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him)

Take care of your heart, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Friendship with you, Mr. So-and-So and Ms. So-and-So - with God, masyaAllah... anything is possible!

Friendship In the Name of Muhammad
My friend,
Our friendship was a molten love
Set burning into a mould of love
That spelt ’In the Name of Muhammad…’

My friend,
Our friendship is borne upon a sea of tears,
Of sadness and happiness, as we set
Our sails to the wind,
Upon our ship called ‘In the Name of Muhammad…’

My friend,
Our regrets and bitter lessons
Were forged upon a high mountain pass,
And it is nothing but a bridge across
This yawning chasm of mortal reality,
And the bridge is called ‘In the Name of Muhammad…’

My friend,
This life, this precious love and friendship that we share
Is a band of gold long preserved in the smithy of God,
Worn upon a finger all too mortal and human,
But cast upon a spirit in loving servitude to Ahad,
And yes… once again

‘In the Name of Muhammad.’

It is my joyous and unearned blessing to find my friends in the Garden of Muhammad, the Prophet of God(pbuh). Smiling, loving, living, crying, tearful, angry, patient, succeeding, failing... but always inspired.

And dare I say it... some are here with me though they may not even be known as Muslims. For if the time comes, and by some sheer grace and intervention of Muhammad(pbuh) that I am brought to a Good Place of Good People, I must ask... "Where is Mr. So-and-So... and where is Ms. So-and-So... How can I be happy when they are not here with me?"

You know... I guess it is impertinent for a sinner such as I to conjecture such possibilities. After all... I am a sinner, what am I to do in a Good Place of Good People? 

But you, sunshine... You belong there. I know it and believe in my heart that you belong there. You are one of those Good People that the angels often whisper about... You are one of the saintly ones whom the Saints themselves like to gossip over a cup of tea. 

If you are reading this, then with certainty, it is you. My own immortal sunshine, my friend, my love...

God bless you...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

PS: Or alternatively, the Angel of the Good Place may reply to my earlier query thus, "Why... Mr So-and-So? Ms. So-and-So? Why... they were the ones who entreated with God Himself for your company! Let me take you to them! They will be delighted that God answered their prayers!" With God... masyaAllah... anything is possible.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

The Significant (B)Other - life, love, patience, man and woman

Wife: George! Take that ridiculous costume off!
Husband: Err... Not until you promise to be patient with me...
Wife: Just what did you do, George...?
Husband: Unconditional patience, love...
Wife: You married me. Not God. 

1.      Have patience, o’ friend
Have patience, o’ friend
For those whom you love with passion,

You say it is not easy anymore,
But passion without patience
Is a sure path to uncertainty
And human sadness.


I am afraid that patience
Is something you cannot
Ask for,

Patience you must learn,


If you are caught in a sudden turmoil
By the apparent failure of the one
Whom you love, remember
He or she is born, like you
To the family of Adam and Eve,
Who is weak, frail
And make mistakes.

Is there any other way
To look at your lover
But with a sense of empathy
And understanding?

That is God’s way.
But you are not God,
You say...


Yet He wishes for you
To follow His way
And be happy.

Is He not your God?
The Ever-Wishing For Your Happiness!

I guess you can call this prose a one-size-fit-all advice for couples of all different hue, creed and matrimonial status. It is not easy to live with someone. Sometimes we just need a little bit of space. And when you remember that we sometimes find our own selves barely bearable, I think most people should applaud themselves for having the patience to afford a space in their lives for another human being, to be their significant other. Especially when that other can be a selfish irritable crab. Like me.

He he he. So remember we are not just the significant other. We can also be the significant bother.

So I am happy to be surrounded by people who can still tolerate me, though I am a pain to live with sometimes. And of course, if you are in a one-on-one monogamous relationship, you must be doubly happy. That someone is hanging his/her hopes and aspirations for the future upon your shoulders, and asking you, implicit in a human congress, to be patient. Your other half is not expecting you to have God-like attributes. But at least, that you are on that way... and that you are inspired by God's attributes of Mercy, Compassion and Patience.

So be kind to the poor fellow. We men can be a bother sometimes, I know. But not all the time.

He he he.

Father and Mother now, this young couple. Bless their hearts...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breathing - life, grace, gratitude and God

 If not now, then when?
You ask for air every few seconds,
And lo, you take your breath.
When there are always a multitude of reasons,
Why your request may not be answered,
But it is! It is! And you breathe!

How we take for granted our wish
And how it is answered by God,
In each moment,
In each breath,
In each thought.

God is in all the details, you see
Not just the Grand Cosmic Events,
So if you do not realise this now,
Then when?


Hey, sunshine. I hope your day has been swell for you. For me it has been a little of hit and miss. But I am glad to be back, and find this little prose recorded some while back. Of all things that God has granted me, it is undoubtedly my breathing that I regularly forget to give thanks for. It is so 'automatic' you know, your heart and your lungs doing all the work, gathering oxygen to feed our body. Then one day the heart goes kaput or semi-kaput and we are immediately reminded of our mortality. Oopsie.

So while my heart is still in an A-Okay condition, I would like to register with God, the Originator of the human breath and the Divine Breath, my sincerest thanks.

And my appreciation to Sumathi, my former colleague who once shared many hours with yours truly, talking about God and Saints, and finding commonality in our different faiths. It is a good feeling, and I wonder why some Muslim leaders are so afraid of talking with non-Muslims. Surely it is not because they fear something? Someone posted something rather smart on my FaceBook recently, 'Fear often overcomes our natural instinct to compassion and tolerance.'

So do not fear anything but God, sunshine. And let God the Most Compassionate (ar-Rahman) and Most Merciful (ar-Rahim) find in you, and through you, His own Device for Divine compassion and mercy unto this world, for all mankind and creatures of differing colour and creed. Ameen.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way