Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What is in a name? ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim and err..... Papa.

Fathers get to experiment on their children. 
What is in a name? My name is Taufiq. It appears that I was named after an Indonesian singer-song writer. So I did not actually choose my name.

Call me Papa. But when Mikhail was about to be born, I chose how I would like him to call me. I chose 'Papa' because to me (at least) it is the gentlest way to call me as a father and one that would most illicit an affectionate and patient response. For I know myself - and being patient and keeping my temper is the hardest thing for me sometimes.

Now my son is at that stage in his life when it is all 'Papa this...' and 'Papa that...' to him. So one evening on the way home from dinner I wanted to test him again (I have done this earlier, see 'Mikhail & Papa-ism..'). I must take some secret delight in mentally torturing my son. So I told him that he must try not to say 'Papa' for the 3 minutes drive home. He agreed and the gauntlet was thrown.

Unlike the last time, on this occasion Mika succeeded! But he only won the bet because he absolutely refused to say anything, refusing to respond to my attempts to tease out some words out of him. He was literally squirming on the car seat, as if running out of breath. He appeared to me as an 8 year old boy that is about to explode. So I took the long route home, accidentally missing a turning. "Arrrgh! You missed our street!" screamed my son.

But at the end of the challenge, Mika won as we finally arrived home. As he jaunted in, clearly pleased with himself, he said, "I have created another name for you, 'Double Pa'!"

Divine Names. Like many things that I experience with my son, this reminds me of God. In Islam, God invited the believers to call on Him 24/7, and to do so by calling Him with His Beautiful Names, especially Names like ar-Rahman (Most Compassionate) and ar-Rahim (Most Merciful)... names that call unto God's infinite attributes for compassion, mercy, love, intimacy and affection. And unlike me, God doesn't illicit any enjoyment in seeing us squirm in life, purposely delaying the long-sought union in His Divine Presence. We will all return home to Him and His Beloved Muhammad (pbuh), at the exact time appointed by Him, not a second too soon nor a second too late.  

Thank God that I am just me. And that God is God.

I like this thought. I will bring this to sleep tonight. Take care, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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