Friday, December 28, 2012

Speak Plainly, and Tell Me - The Prince Part 25

Where is the Prince?
Plainly, sir... for I am no wise seeker,
Tell me, is he alive and if so, where is he?
And if he has passed away, then tell me where is he?

Plainly, sir... for I am no learned teacher,
Tell me, has he taught you anything and if so, what did he teach you?

Plainly, sir... for I am no dervish,
Tell me, did he show you the path of love, and if so, 
Where did it lead you to?

Plainly, sir, and quickly too... for I am not young anymore,
Where is the Prince, the Sultan of Hearts?
For I am tired of the Kings and Queens,
The Aces, the Jacks and the Jokers,
Weary of the cards dealt
To misguide us sinners...

Give me the truth,
Let me share a little of the warmth
In the bonfire of love that I see
You stoke for the Prince
Within you...

Tell me about the Prince
and bring me to him,
and leave me not
to my ego's whim.

If almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Shah (Ku Ash) was still alive (as we understand life and death to be) today, his family, friends and groupies would be celebrating his 54th birthday. Alas, he has released his material body and what is left for us wandering beggars is his memories.

But the memories of kindly, excellent spirits as the one that is possessed by Shaykh Raja is not the sort of passive memories. I think it is very much alive. As alive as his mureeds (students) choose to make his exemplary conduct a way of their lives, and as alive as is affected by determinants other than the mere choices of mortals.

I am not plain speaking. So thank God (s.w.t.) and the Prophet (s.a.w.s) for the likes of Shaykh Raja Ashman Sultanul Qulub whose simplicity of life and love hides an unknown depth of knowledge and experiences. While remaining sincere, shy and humble.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE PAST IS THE CONDITION OF THE FUTURE - so how will we chart our destiny if we do not know how we got here?

"We are not famous as soldiers or warriors. Only as journeymen on a journey.
It is not the dagger that we brandish, only our faith, our ordinary
way of life, the shovel and our sweat that made
this land of the Malays blossom.
Why a contract is thick. Without breaking a sweat, 2012 is flying speedily into the past with only three days left for us to complete whatever fate has planned for us this year. Today, I have a few contracts to review, some opinions to draft and some letters to send. I guess I will also be starting on a due diligence on a bank loan. It doesn't sound very interesting, but it is actually. For behind every contract, every loan and court case are human beings and their passions and ambitions. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) said that whatever agreement you may have, write them down. For we sometimes forget our promises, and the nuanced considerations and 'what ifs' that make up a human transaction. All that 'what ifs' and human nuances... those are the bits that make a legal contract thick. 

A family project. I met my friend Mr. Ikhlas, yesterday morning. And later we were joined by another friend, Abu Hussin. At the end of our extended conversation, Mr. Ikhlas agreed that we should head over to the Historical Society to find out whatever I can about my family's past and ancestors. A couple of my uncles started the project, but alas, they passed away before they could complete it. I think it is time the project is continued.

After all, how will we ever chart our future if we do not know how we got here in the first place?

Have a lovely Friday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

IN THE PALM OF THE HAND THAT WIELDS THE PEN - God's own work-in-progress

My Lord Found Me
I found my Lord in Christian hymns
And songs emanating from the Hindu temples,
I found my Lord dancing in an English farm
And sense Him stalking me like a tiger in the jungle.

I found my Lord swimming in my cup of tea
And in the wine cellars of the king,
I found my Lord in the sky where the birds fly
And I found Him when I look within.

I found my Lord in my greatest despair,
I found my Lord in my wedding carriage,
I found my Lord waiting for me, following me
And preceding me, any time, any where.

I found my Lord in His greatest servants,
And in the footsteps of the enemy,
I found my Lord in my friends and family
And overhead, with the squirrels in the trees.

I found my Lord in the glaciers of the North
And in the sand dunes of the East,
I found my Lord among the Eskimos
And in the circle of the joyous Sufis.

I found my Lord in the deepest trenches
And in the ink well of my pen,
I found my Lord in the open spaces
And in the palm of my hand.

I found my Lord in my secret wishes
And in the honey of the bees,
But the greatest truth I have ever learned
Is that it was truly my Lord who found me!

It is already Wednesday, with only a few days of 2012 left. Almost everyday this year I have been writing and I have been hinting. Suggesting that I have found God. But the truth is much simpler. God has found me in the wilderness of my folly and sins, and helped me through it all.

Through the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), the Companions and the Saints, we are what you would call God's own Work-in-Progress. When we find our own negligent, naughty and stubborn self a handful even for ourselves to manage with our meager store of wisdom and piety... we need only sigh, and rest our tired spirit and body in the palm of the Hand that wields the Pen.

I think that is a good idea. Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mamaks Greasing the Engine of Love - Penang Trip Part 1

Bob and Inas. And unseen, somewhere in the back is the sinner,
also making an entrance after sneaking out for a nicotine break.
Traditionally, this happy pair would be called a handsome couple.
GREASING THE ENGINE OF LOVE. Last weekend finds me in Georgetown, in the northern island state of Pulau Pinang (Penang). It is serious business that draws me from my hermit-like existence in Kuala Lumpur. It is about the important issues of marriage and food, and in this respect, Penang offers an attractive union of both propositions... It is my policy to encourage all friends and acquaintances to find Penang girls to wed because I am always looking for excuses to visit this pearl of the Orient, for its food, food and more food. 

Marriage, like life itself, is full of bittersweet trials and tribulation. So I believe it is a sound idea to have good food grease the engine of love and marriage. Don't you agree?

 They have been serving Nasi Kandar for years. Selling from 10pm to 10am, they
are a popular late-night spot for Penangites to get their curry hit. There are
an assortment of dishes that would constitute a proper Nasi Kandar, but I think that
the standard option by which all good Nasi Kandar is judged  is white rice, beef cooked
in some dark gravy, a couple of ladyfingers, and one boiled egg. Of course you can
also have it with curry prawns, crabs, fried fish etc.
This is the magnificent Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng Mamak. It is noodle fried with
beansprouts, soyabean curd, chilli paste and absolutely permeates with the taste
and smell of dried scuttle fish. This is my second plate because I finished the
first before remembering to take a picture. In hindsight one plate is enough.
Half way through the second already left me slightly queasy... This is what
thespians call suffering for your art. 
This is a plate of nothingness. But before it became nothing upon being demolished
by this writer, the plate was filled with fried soyabean curd (taukua goreng) and a  pastry of
flour, shallots, beansprouts and small prawns also fried in boiling oil (cucok). I would have
readily had a second plate, but the first took almost 40 minutes to get to our table, so I
was not prepared to invest more of my life time here. I guess the crowning glory of this
simple stall food is the fried soyabean curd, with its gentle crisp skin and soyabean
in the inside literally melting in your mouth. It was heavenly. But you can only do
this with fresh ingredients... which is what makes the food in Penang special.
This does not look like an office. But it is.
It belongs to this man. He also does fried noodles, and I guess he
has been doing this all his life. He must be at least 80 years old.
Ahh... time for a break, with his daily Tamil newspaper. And this is also
what makes Penang special. The Indian Muslim diaspora called the Mamaks
who are the cooks and entrepreneurs of all the dishes mentioned here. 
It was a wonderful trip. alhamdulillah. May the Mamaks continue to grease the engine of love (and life) here in Penang with their unique recipes of greasy oily dishes. Cause you know, if it is too healthy it won't be delicious at all!

For my friends celebrating Christmas, may this day be blessed for you, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tears and the Reverberations of the Heart - grace and gratitude

35. Brightest Star
Even the brightest star must diminish
When the morning sun appears
As do all sad songs finish
When eyes run out of tears.

I am prone to tears nowadays. I do not understand why. The tears can come from suddenly remembering a beloved soul who has departed this worldly existence. But most of my tears are not tears of sadness or separation. Often they well up from the simplest gesture of kindness from another human being, and from an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this life that I have been given, and the love and mercy of God that is offered unto me now and in the hereafter.

It is a reverberation in the heart like church bells ringing and it happens in the most unlikely of places and circumstances. Maybe that's why I like to wear sunglasses even when it's raining.

God bless you and have a wonderful Friday, sunshine. May you reverberate with gratitude. For it is the sound of happiness cloaked in tears...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HANG TUAH, THE MALAYS AND ISLAM - in the foxhole of faith with you...

Sebelum ilmu cukup di dada,
Sebelum adab cukup di hati,
Sebelum airmata cukup mengalir di mata,
Sebelum senyuman cukup terukir di bibir,
Sebelum murshid selesai bercerita,
Sebelum sunnah di jiwa bertumbuh subur,
Sebelum kita di kapan dan tersemadi di dalam kubur,
Selagi kita masih bernyawa...
Tahulah, wahai sahabatku yang disayangi,
Kebenaran hanya ada pada Allah dan Rasulnya.
Dan bukan milik seseorang insan abdi. 

Before knowledge has filled up our chest,
Before good manners has filled up our heart,
Before we have shed enough tears from our eyes,
Before we have carved enough smiles on our lips,
Before the Master has finished his tale,
Before the traditions of the Prophet is growing healthy in our spirit,
Before we are wrapped in a shroud of white and lowered into our grave,
Know this, my beloved companion,
That truth is only with God and His Prophet
And not the property of any one servant.

We are always learning. From the first moment we open our eyes and to the last second we breathe our last. Thus, it is always best and the highest station of good manners (Adab) to be circumspect and discrete in how we live our life with people. So why be abrasive? Why be argumentative? The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) himself said that a definition of his follower, is a person from who no one need worry of any harm, either from that person's hand or his mouth.

My name is Taufiq, and I am a Malay and a Muslim. But Allah(s.w.t.) has sent the Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w.s.) to all Mankind, and the Devil has declared war on all Mankind. So we are in it together, sunshine, in this foxhole of what little faith we have. And alhamdulillah, I am happy with your company, whether you are black, white, yellow or brown, whether you are a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian or a Hindu.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way
In Certainty is Mercy

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The heart is shaped by Cristina Colombo.
You may visit her Facebook page by clicking on the Heart.

The Astronaut 
I came upon her here,
Hundreds upon thousands of miles away from home,
Whirling and drifting like a Jasmine flower fallen from heaven,

Airless, lifeless and soul freezing cold,
I came upon her as a stranger, 
Whatever shall I say to Ground Control,
And who in Houston would believe me?

...That on the Moon
I found a whirling Sufi?

Do you find this strange, sunshine? It is not as strange as this world we live in. For if we are destined to meet, we would meet in the limitless horizon of the heart, further than the furthest galaxy of this Universe. Yet nearer to us than our own jugular veins. At a place sanctified by the presence of God Almighty, the All-knowing!...

We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him,
and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.
(Quran 50:16, Marmaduke Pickthall)

Verily, with Allah, anything is possible.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The History of Happiness - lifting the veil and seeing happiness that is already there...

If you bring the mark of happiness, the veil of happiness is lifted wherever you may be.
Whether you are at work, at play or visiting the Garden of Stone in the final
resting place of the dead.

The History of Happiness
I write the History of Happiness,
I write it from the Life of my Prophet,
I write it from the Life of His Family,
I write it from the Life of His Companions,
I write it from the Life of His Saints,
I write it before the beginning of time
And I write that same old refrain...

Oh God, Oh Prophet! Oh God, Oh Prophet! Oh God, Oh Prophet!

I write it from the Life of my father and mother,
I write if from the Life of all my ancestors,
I write it from the life of my siblings,
And the life of my children that the future will bring,

And sometimes, I write the History of Happiness
From the life that is mine, all the good and the bad,
All the highs and the lows that is all my own,
Through this life that I win and fall 
Like a rolling stone.

"Do not look for happiness..." says Rumi, "Look instead to lift the veil between you and happiness." And I think he is right. For his Lord who is my Lord and your Lord God is the source of all happiness... the fountain from which flows all good feelings, in the contentment of a morning cup of milky chai, in the warm embrace of an old friend, in the smile of a mother.

And sometimes, indeed happiness is hidden, tucked away like an overcast sky. In such moments we do our dzikr (remembrance of God) and our salawat (salutations and praise for the Prophet) and what happens is that either rain starts to fall like mercy on Earth, or the clouds drift away and the Sun is revealed in its power and life-giving glory. Either way, we lose nothing, we gain everything.

So do not be to disturbed, sunshine, if life appears dull and sorrowful. Happiness is always there for you, guaranteed by God Himself. We need only bring a little patience and faith to the table.

Bon apetit!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Magic in Words - of saints and wizards and Islam

The Magic in Words
There is enough magic for me
In a cup of tea, in a teaspoon of wild honey,
In a bunch of blueberries
Picked early this morning.

There is no need for miracles for me
When asleep my soul is taken from me
Only to be returned with the rise of the Sun
And the choir of birds singing in the trees.

My Lord's sustenance of me is already miraculous,
And His compassion more enchanting than 
All the spells of a witches' coven.

And if I look like a wizard,
Nay, I am not one, I am just me,
And my magic is only in my deeds
And in my words.

The true nature of a saint of the highest order is not magic tricks and divine sleights of hand. It is in his ministration to the human heart - through good deeds, and with cautionary and compassionate words for his students. And for himself, he asks not from God special dispensation from the ordinary human trials of poverty or sickness. For he has to face such things himself, and be an example of submission and surrender (Islam) to God for all humanity to observe and hopefully, to follow.

The weekend is over, and suddenly Monday morning is upon me. I am gathering my thoughts and my words for the work week ahead. No doubt you are also going to be doing the same. Have a lovely day, sunshine. May God bless you always.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE HOBBIT, A MOVIE REVIEW - of dragons and gold, of God, the Sufis and the human ego

The Hobbit. Last Thursday evening, I grabbed hold of Mikhail to head for the first-day screening of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. Mikhail enjoyed himself, despite two toilet intermissions during the 3-hours plus film by Peter Jackson. But for his father (a.k.a. me), as a Tolkien geek, it was just as close to cinema nirvana as I could hope to achieve, reveling in Peter Jackson's expansive and sensitive adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's first ever book of the Lord of the Ring world. The Hobbit was written for his son, Christopher, you see. And from this humble literary effort by an Oxford Don (for Tolkien was indeed a Professor of English in Oxford - after he left my alma mater, University of Leeds), the LoTR franchise came forth and conquered the global box office with tales of Wizards and Balrogs, Rangers and the Riders of Rohan, the Hobbit Halflings, Elves, the Dwarfs, the Orcs and of course, Sauron, the Dark Lord sitting on his dark throne in Mordor... where the shadow lies.

The Book(s). Being written for a young readership, The Hobbit story is light and easy to read, and does not come near to exploring Middle Earth's history, characters and concepts later developed in Tolkien's trilogy of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. There is one more important book in his later works, and that is The Silmarillion, an even more ambitious effort which encompasses the creation of Middle Earth universe which resonates with the idea of Eru (being God), and the fallen divine favourite, Morgoth (as the Devil) who is revealed to be Sauron's master. This close resemblance to Judeo-Christian (and might I add, Muslim) lore is not unexpected, as Tolkien was a believer and a practicing Catholic. 

The Movie. Being also the shortest book of all four volumes of the Lord of the Ring world, it took us by surprise that Peter the Kiwi has managed to extend the film adaptation into a nine-butt-aching hours of three movies, the first now being The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. What this means is that Peter Jackson has a greater cinematic canvas to bring to life the story of the dwarf kingdom of Erebor and their golden horde, the priceless Arkenstone, Smaug the Dragon, his attack and capture of the Lonely Mountain and the expulsion of the dwarfs as ragged exiles, a humiliated and overthrown race. On top of this enthralling story, the director has also managed to better capture the emotion and characters of the book, the two key personalities being Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the defeated dwarf tribe of Ererbor, and of course the reluctant 'burglar' himself - Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit.

Helping the Dwarfs to return home. For myself, one of the best moments in the movie was when having escaped the Goblins, Thorin (who has always held great doubt as to the suitability of Mr. Baggins to survive the dangers and tribulation of the wild quest) confronted Bilbo and asked him why did he continue to stick with the ragtag band of dwarfs, on a foolish mission to regain their home and expel the dragon squatter currently occupying their fortress mountain of Erebor. After all, Bilbo has a cozy life and a beautiful little home for himself already in the Shire and has no need to assist the dwarfs in this foolhardy quest. To which Bilbo replied that it IS because he enjoys a home for himself that he is moved by empathy to help the Dwarfs return to their own home, far away in the Desolation of Smaug, in the place called the Lonely Mountain. For the little hobbit, having faced so many dangers and difficulties with the dwarfs, now truly understands the lonely pangs of a traveler in the wild, dreaming and yearning to return home. A sentiment that is shared by all of us, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, as we too, make our bitter sweet journey through this life, to one day return to the Divine Presence... insyaAllah...

The Hobbit & The Sufi
Each of us, Men, Elf or Hobbit,
Has a Smaug to conquer,
A Dragon to call our own
And to tame,
That is our Ego.

And each of us, of high or common birth,
Has a horde of gold to regain,
A gold without the 'L',
That is our One God by any
Other name.

In a journey to a homecoming
Blessed in the Divine Presence,
To return and to rest,
and end our tearful wandering. 

In every kernel of human thought, in every tinkering of the tireless human imagination, there is a spark of truth. In every book ever written, there is a secret door to God. And I think I found one in the Hobbit.    

I hope you have enjoyed this little review. It was unexpected!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE VEIL OF A VEIL - The Devil, Atheism and the Infinite Desirableness of God

The Veil of Everything
Do not let your fidelity
Be a veil to True Fidelity,
Do not let your affection
Be a veil to True Affection,
Do not let your knowledge
Be a veil to True Knowledge,
Do not let your manners
Be a veil to True Manners,
Do no Let your religion
Be a veil to God's dominion

... and do not let your disbelief
Be a veil to True rebellion.

Anything and everything of this world can be a veil. Indeed, looking at it one way, everything of this world IS a veil. A physical curtain drawn between the Creator and the created, between God and Man, between True Reality and the perception of reality.

The Devil and Atheism. The trend and fad (for that is what I think it is) of Atheism is a veil of a veil and cannot be counted as bearing the dishonour and infamy of True Rebellion, that is the remit of the Devil himself. For Atheists do not even believe in God, thus in a manner of speaking, cannot rebel against Him. The Devil is a monotheist and believes in God, but he chooses to rebel against the Word of God. Thus compared to him, Atheism is in fact the result of ignorance and not rebellion. A veil of a veil. 

I think even the Devil himself would be surprised as he was when the Pharaoh of Moses's time declared himself as god... The Devil said, "Rebel, yes! By all means, but I never told you to claim YOURSELF as god!" Of course, we can never trust what the Accursed one says, but there is a kernel of truth in the Devil's admonition of the Pharaoh.

Prophets and Saints. The perception of goodness and wickedness, even these things may become a veil and misguide us. And that is why, however high a Saint or even a Prophet may rise, he will inevitably admit himself as the weak servant, still in need, nay, even more in need of the Love, Mercy, Affection and Kindness of his Lord God. 

More and More and More is my Lord
O' Lord! O' True Giver of Help!
The more You help me
The more I feel helpless!
The more You love me
The more I feel loveless!
The more You attend to me
The more I desire Your attention!
I am the absence of You,
But the more You give Yourself unto me
The greater the hunger becomes
And the more Desirable
You become to me!
O' True Giver of Help....
Help me!

I trust you understand, sunshine. I am trying to understand also... may God bless you and forgive me.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, December 14, 2012

THE SURGEON WHO IS PAID IN CHICKEN - and the Pen-Man, the Magic Songkok, Imam Mahdi and Jesus, Prince of Peace

The Pen-Man and the Surgeon who is paid in chicken. I was with Mikhail and told him that I saw the Pen-Man. The Pen-Man is an old Indian gentleman who pounds the pavement around my office area selling pens. A batch of five for RM10, which is about USD3. A couple of weeks ago while Mika and myself were having lunch, we saw him at a table near us. He looked tired, resting his feet while having a glass of iced-water. So, we bought a set of pen from him, and with a little prompting, Mika gave him RM10. "To have lunch." My son was sad you see, for everyone else were having lunch, but Pen-Man had to save his pennies, and was only quenching his thirst. He smiled and thanked Mika. So this time around, Mika asked me, "Was he just drinking iced-water again?" I replied that he wasn't drinking or eating anything. He was just resting at a table nearby. "Oh, that is so sad, Papa..." Mika commented and then resolved, "Papa, do you know what? I am going to work and be the best surgeon. Then I want to be paid in chicken. So I can feed poor people..."

Chicken Genocide. Recently Mikhail recounted to me an evil prayer. "Is there such a thing?" I asked, to which he replied, chuckling at my naivete, "Of course, Papa. I used to pray before that God would explode all the chicken in the world. Into a fryer. And make fried chicken." Then he paused, "Oh yes, but two chicken, one boy chicken and one girl chicken will be saved. So they can repopulate the earth."
Mika wearing the Songkok.
The Magic Songkok, Imam Mahdi and Jesus. My son also shared with me a bad dream he had. "Oh yes, Papa. I was so relieved  to wake up! It was weird, crazy dream." This was what Mikhail dreamt - "I dream that it was the end of the world, and a dinasour was chasing me. I threw pictures at the dinasour (no doubt, pictures of chickens) to distract it. I ran and ran and ran when suddenly out of a songkok (a black traditional Malay headgear) out popped Imam Mahdi and Jesus. But I didn't know it was them! They were giant, bearded and looked like hobos! I tried to hit them but I couldn't."

Imam Mahdi? Jesus? Dressed like hobos and popping out of a songkok?

Have a lovely Friday, sunshine. Listen to children. You would be surprised what comes out of their mouths!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

PS: Imam Mahdi is a descendant of the House of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) prophesied to come before the end of time, about the same time as the Second Coming of Jesus. They are going to pair up in a Divine Tag Team and help sort things out... insyaAllah as how God plans it to be.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Candle, The Utter Loveliness and the All-encompassing Kindness - you, God, life and love

3. Burn Slow
Burn slow, o’ lighted candle
And fear not the dark that lie outside.
Burn slow, o’ lighted lantern
And see the shadow flee your burning bright.

The sword upon the anvil,
The hammer upon the sword,
The whirling moth that spins and sings
Oh God, oh God, oh God!

23. Annihilation Is…
The unusual pursuit of extinguishing your flame
Through realizing that no candle exists
Separate from the Sun.
And that all numbers are in truth nothing
But aggregates of One.

Candles. The burning of the candle is an oft used parable and metaphor in the spiritual path, and I do not think that it is the sole remit of the Sufis. In other faiths, the burning of the candle, the flame flickering in the darkness and the life and truth-giving light that emanates from it is an observation infinite in its symbolism. 

Little Joys. As a sinner, I often lose my flame and my light. And there on my face you can see my sadness as I stumble in the darkness of my own making, a black shroud drawn over the day by my own mistakes of my anger, pride and insecurities. But happily, it takes only a little spark to light up my day - a smile from my  father, a short chat with my auntie, waking up early to greet the morning sun, a cup of teh-o halia (tea sans milk with sugar and infused with garlic), a teaspoon of wild honey from the jungles of country, getting a good parking space near my office, or just discussing work with my clients in the morning. It is nothing perhaps to some, but these little joys mean everything to me.

For through this little pools of work and pleasure, family and friends, I see Him and His Prophet's handiwork. Allah (s.w.t.) and His Beloved Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) who knowing fully well my faults and mistakes (both past, present and future), nevertheless will not allow me to stray too long in the gloom of my fatal follies.

I cry sometimes. For I am constantly reminded how undeserving I am, a lowly and weak servant that I am. So thank you, sunshine. For you too are a constant source of wonderment to me of His utter Loveliness and His all-encompassing Kindness. You have come here to read my stumbling prose, and you also mean everything to me.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Serendipity Growing in the Soul Jungle - children, parents, life and love

Cancelled. I was suppose to go to Pulau Besar (Big Island) today, off the coast of Melaka, the southern state bordering Negeri Sembilan and Johor. But this had to be cancelled, and I was rather sad about it. I have been wanting to visit the mystical isle for some time now, the last trip being perhaps two years ago.

Papa...? So I made by reluctant way to the office, but just before I arrived I unexpectedly received a call from Mikhail, my 8-year old son, "Papa, are you taking me out today?" And that kinda changed the day for me, so now I have a lunch date with him. It is good to know that whatever the mess I may be in anytime, however disheveled my schedule and my routines may have become, and no matter how gloomy the sky appears to be above me, our children can always be that bright spark, that golden light of a beautiful flower growing out of the undergrowth of our soul jungle.

Life may trample me underfoot through my own error, but Mikhail was no error. He is my own serendipity. And that is one of the best gift God (s.w.t.) and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has ever given me.

Are children not wonderful?

Have a lovely day, sunshine. And no matter if your journey is delayed or postponed. It is probably for the best in the end.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Without Adab (Good Manners), You Do Not Attain the Divine Presence but Vertigo.

Thank you. I would like to remain attached to the high-wire, if you don't mind.
There is no detachment only Adab (Good Manners)
Not doing anything
Is doing something,
Making an observation
Is participation,
And however you would
Like to think that you do not judge,
To a certain degree, we all judge.

But what you do with your judgment
Is entirely your own choice...
To speak, to write or to keep silent,
And in this context,
Silence often speaks volume of who you are
And who you ought to be.

Writing. And if the prose is true, then by God... how far am I from that perfection of silence! Babbling away in this almanac, on my FaceBook and Instagrams... yakedee yaking away in my writing. Hopeless.

Observations. I think it is true. For we all judge. And however we would like to take the 'Sufi' path of detachment, we still fall into error, judging everything and everyone that comes our way. Judge, judge, judge... Yet there is some truth in that we sometimes merely observe and not pass judgment. But the moment you speak, the moment you share your observation, how can it not be a judgment of sorts? And oh boy... have I been sharing my observations here in the blog. 

My son is ever concerned about my financial well-being. He is not stupid.
A Hermit? My 8-year old son Mika says that I ought to be a judge. "So you can make more money!", he assures me. But the truth is I am already a judge. Judging my way through life and collecting a jealousy here, an envy there, a bitterness here and a dollop of despair there. I have had quite enough of it already for several lifetimes already. Thanks, but no thanks. Perhaps it would be easier to run off and be a hermit on top of a mountain.

Waitaminute. Did I leave the front door unlocked?
High-wire Act. But we cannot withdraw ourselves from the world. For the way towards God in the Divine Presence (according to the Masters) is to outwardly be with people, but inwardly being constant with God... Hmm. Easier said that done that. It is a high-wire balancing act across the cosmos of our physical and spiritual existence. And the higher your knowledge, the higher your high-wire act! Oh dear. Where is my sense of balance!

Divine Vertigo. So I am resting from pursuing knowledge for awhile. And I am asking for better balance and better manners. The best of Adab as taught in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Too high a knowledge and I would undoubtedly attain not Divine Presence, but vertigo. Madad ya Saideena Muhammad.

No more war. I think if we only remember these simple rules, there would be less bitterness, less violence, less wars. For  people would be more careful of what spills out their lips and through the ink of their pen, and insyaAllah (Godwilling), there would be no more bullets in the guns, no more missiles in the silos and no more bombs by the roadside.

God bless you, sunshine. Have a lovely day...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way