Saturday, March 30, 2013


The Adab of the Nightingale and the Mureed
One night I saw a nightingale and a mureed take flight,

The nightingale flew with a pair of dull-feathered wing,

But the mureed flew with the wings of knowledge and love,

But the flying itself? The flapping of the wings 
And catching the draft and the wind?

That was the adab of the nightingale and the mureed!

And though neither disclosed this secret to me
In song or sermon,
Their flying adab was eloquent in its confession.

This I witnessed that night, 
In the flight of the nightingale and the mureed
To Hu knows where across His Mercy Ocean...

al Fatiha...
One year ago today, almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Shah (q.s.) passed on from the cage of this physical world. This afternoon I myself passed my Sabbath at Istana Iskandariah in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak for Shaykh Raja's tahlil (prayers for the deceased) and mawlud (remembrance and praise for God (s.w.t.) and His Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s.). Having never been there before, it was an eye-opener for me.

Across a blue sea of turbans, I watched as the mureeds (students) sang praise of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in loving dedication and memory for their beloved Shaykh Raja. For these fine fellows (and gals) the anniversary of their Shaykh's passing is not just a time of remembrance, but also celebration. And they did it wonderfully under the presence of Shaykh Bahauddin Adil, who flew in from Cyprus to grace this occasion for his spiritual brother...

This was how I have been spending my Sabbath. How was yours, sunshine? I pray it was good too!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, March 29, 2013

LET LOVE WRITE YOUR LIFE - sadness, God and surrender

Only One
I save my most bitter regrets for my Lord,
For only He has an infinite mercy ocean for me,

I save my saddest tears for my Lord,
For only He knows me best and
Only He can attend to my sadness most consummately,

I save my greatest hope and dreams for my Lord,
For to make them all come through for me,
He need only to say 'Be!' and it is done,

But lo, His cherished hope for me is greater
Than I shall ever know, so He does as He wishes,
This is my Lord, God, the Truth, the One!

We learn many things in happiness. But we also learn a great deal through sadness. And the trail of tears that has dotted my life's path has taken me to strange beautiful places. Into the eye of the whirling dervishes. Into the congregation of the lovers of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Into the smiling gaze of a saint. Into the embrace of a Friend of God.

I light my own fire of regrets. But Allah (s.w.t.) sends the rain. Sometimes like gentle summer drizzle, a golden shower. Sometimes like the thundering clap of the monsoon storm, flooding my world. 

Funny. I wanted to write something else, but these words appear. It reminds me of an old poem recorded almost 10 years ago...

94. Nib
I am the nib of the pen,
The ink in the well,
The paper You hold in Your Hand,
But what You will write, my Love,
I cannot foretell.

Have a lovely weekend, sunshine. Let Love Write Your Life.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No Better Love Than This, No Better Life Than This

No Better
I give one percent and You give ninety-nine percent,
I take one step and You make one leap,
I think of You and You are already on the way to me,
I think of writing to You and Your postman is already 
Waiting at my door, ready for the delivery...

You are ever ahead of me, encouraging me to You...
You are ever behind me, covering my back,
This love You have for me...
Is there any other place to be
That is better than this?

Nothing much to say today, sunshine. What is to be written here is already written.

May you find peace with your Lord. There is no better love or life than this.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Rose, The Dervish and the Sea - be a servant and master this world

Master this World
In the Rose of Love,
Between its many-coloured petals,
A dervish whirls,

In the Sea of Mercy,
Beneath the Sky of Knowledge,
There hides a pearl.

Look for it!
Be a good servant
And master this world.

This world is the world of the ego. And (so I am told) the more you chase it, the less you will gain out of it. And if you run away from the world, it will come chasing after you, offering you its wealth and rich prizes! And this contradictory nature continues in your function of a servant - for the best of masters is the very best of servants of God, His Beloved Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and of all humanity and created things.

We serve the Masters (Shaykhs and Murshids of the Sufi path)? Well, in a manner of speaking. But in truth what can we offer such illuminated souls? They are already happy, happy with God, happy with the Prophet, happy with the Saints of the before, the now and the future. Nay, while we may affect some servanthood towards the Masters, the truth is it is the Masters who serve and support us... for the love and abiding affection to their Most Beloved Master, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).

Young men and women. In the spring of their lives often speak of love.
But if you wish to learn of real love... there is no better way
than here. MasyaAllah...

Bless you, sunshine. May you have a beautiful day in servanthood to Truth, Love and Mercy.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, March 25, 2013


The Eye of the Self

The Messenger of Evil
If you question your leaders of their conduct,
How will you yourself fare to be in their shoes?

Will you be the Firaun or will you be worse than the Firaun?
At least the Firaun was a generous leader, are you as generous
With the pennies that you have? Or are you deluding yourself
That when you get rich you will get kinder?

If you complain about your neighbour’s noise,
How many times have you yourself disturbed their peace?

If you question someone’s sincerity,
Why should you not question your own sincerity?

If you look down upon someone’s fall into disrepute,
How far will you yourself fall into disrepute?

If you sneer at a woman’s dress or impropriety,
Why do you not avert your eyes instead?

If you possess an envy for so-called jihad-crusade wars,
Why are you not thankful for the peace in your own land?

If you question the love a Mureed (student) has for his Murshid (master),
Is it because you possess none for anyone else but yourself?

If you think you can yourself perfectly interpret the Holy Quran,
Why did God even bother sending a Messenger when 
He could have simply sent the Holy Quran?

If you think that democracy is the way forward for Muslims,
Why do you think the Messenger stressed so much on adab (good manners) 
Above personal hak (rights)?

If you think Islam is the best religion,
Why do you feel oppressed?

Who is oppressing you but yourself?

Who is humiliating you but yourself?

The nation will receive unto it the leaders it deserves,

The nation will receive unto it the religion it deserves,

You preach insularity and introvertness,

But when the Messenger (s.a.w.s.) looked within himself

He saw God, and outside he saw the vast ocean of humanity.

What do you see when you look within yourself?

Your ego? Dressed in a religious cloth?

You speak of defending the faith.

You say speak in the Name of God,

But the truth is you do not

Even understand the

Nature of Words,

And how Words

Can be sorcery

And how Words

Can be


You throw your day away contemplating over the Devil’s deception,

Until you yourself become part of his deception,

You wring your heart and beat on your chest,

In righteous anger at the Devil, at the unbelievers,

At the Jews, at the Christians, at the Hindus,

But I see you there alone, standing in front of the mirror,

And the only person I see you harassing and haranguing

Is you and no one but you...

There is no evil but evil,
 And you have become the messenger of evil, o’ Man.

O’ Humanity, O’ Muslims, O' Sincerity, wake up! Wake up!

The Dajjal (Antichrist) is only One-eyed because, in truth, it cares for no one but itself...
The Spring of Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa has become the Spring of the Self, in an Age of the Self. Insufferably selfish, we-have-all-the-answers, down-with-the-old-and-up-with-the-new political movement with a million-headed hydra of individual fears, desires and hubris. 

There are no real leaders because such leaders that they have follows the selfish self-centred whims and fancies of 'the people'. But they are not following the people, because the desires of the people are not the people themselves. But none understands this because the people sees their egos and themselves as one. 

And that is the greatest tragedy in the Century of Self (which is coincidentally the title of this amazing BBC documentary. Just like the prose, the documentary is too long, 235 minutes. But worth every second, I think.).

May we all have a conscious day today, aware of ourselves and cautious of our ego, always.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Everything is a Blessing. Even Forgetfulness - and an observation of a dog by a dog

I call him Katmir, after the loyal dog of the Seven Sleepers as
mentioned in the Holy Quran.
A Dog. Am I better than this dog? He's a couple of years old, born from a stray bitch that is also a familiar face around my office. Unlike some human-friendly dogs, he was not a family pet and then abandoned. But he has adopted the denizens of the Chinese kopitiam (coffeehouse) under my office, and they have adopted him. He stays close to the shop entrance, waiting for scraps and since the proprietor serves a myriad of dishes, he gets a pretty varied diet. A gentle tail-wagging creature, he often sits at the entrance of my office but would get out of the way anytime I come through. He is a good dog, he is. And I think he is a better dog than me.

Forgetfulness. A screeching hectoring voice came over the p.a. system of the mosque last Friday. It was one of those pre-Friday prayers tazkirah (mini-sermon, I guess...). I don't like screeching hectoring anything at the mosque so I grumble quietly under my breath, 'Bisingnye!' (Why so loud!). But as the ustaz (religious teacher) continued, I found his form and repartee quite engaging and funny. I found most interesting was his saying that we should not feel too bad if we forget. For as in everything that God has given to humanity, even this apparent weakness of forgetfulness is a divine gift. And as someone who beats his own head up a lot for forgetting (forgetting my car keys, forgetting my wallet, forgetting my reason... when I am in love), I was interested to hear what further things he had to say about my forgetfulness...

"God gave Mankind forgetfulness so He can have an excuse to forgive you, my friends!" the ustaz said. "After all, we forget to pray sometimes, we forget to fast and all sorts of promises that we made to God... in fact we do it all the time! If we were like Angels, made perfect in remembrance, we would be unpardonable. But we are not made thus, we are made to forget all manner of things... our tax returns, our wife's birthday and even our anniversary. So God who made us is best aware of our weakness and is most forgiving to us. But our wives? He he he... wives are not so forgiving. 

So it is okay if you forget somethings sometimes. But of course, you should not forget everything! And definitely not your wife's  birthday!"

Have a lovely Sunday, sunshine. I woke up this morning with a bright clear head. I hope you did too.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Barely keeping upright...
Going... (Ooh... I am so tired...)
Leaning back now... (Much better! This is more comfortable!)
And now... horizontal  (alhamdulillah...)
And finally... Bliss. (God is good to me)
Mikhail has been rather keen to visit the mosque for prayers of late. Heche says that he would be pleased to go wherever I go. So note to self: Go to good places and avoid not so good places.

In the song, 'We are the Champions' by Queen there is part that goes "...We are the champions... No time for losers... 'cause we are the champions of the world." Just before sleep time one night, Mika shared with me his disagreement with the song and that we cannot have any time for losers. And I agreed, after all if there are winners and champions, there are bound to be losers. And at some point in our lives we have lost and are losers ourselves. Thank God for God and His Prophet who always has time for us losers, then...

The pictures here was taken one early morning prayers at the mosque. Mikhail was resolute to 'see how things are in the mosque for dawn prayers...' So despite it being a school day, he got up at 5.30am (after some prompting) and zombie-like headed to the washroom to perform the pre-prayer ablutions (wuduq). When we arrived at the prayer hall, he first observed that there are not that many people there compared to maghrib (sunset) prayers. This is not surprising since the maghrib congregation is augmented by people who work around Bukit Damansara, who sometimes pray here before heading back home. But I guess Mikhail was most surprised by having to wait 20 minutes before the jemaah (congregational) prayers was actually started. This is partly because the Imam of the Mosque is waiting for more people to arrive. But by 6.25am the prayers began, much to the relief of Mika and myself, because I have to rush him back home for him to shower and dress for school. I normally drop him off at his school at about 7.00am, you see. 

I am not much of a dad. But I am trying to learn. And when my knowledge and my own habits fall far short of a good father (as it often does), I take some solace that even before he was born, I recognised this reality and asked for the succour of God and guide of His Most Beloved Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), the Companions and the Saints. Thus I recorded more than 9 years ago...

189. Ward Of The State Of Friends
Knowing himself unworthy,
The father,
In anxiety,
Declares the child
Ward of the State of Friends,
A pupil of Angels,
Before the child ever
Breathed his first.

And so far? Alhamdulillah... God has been good to me. And to Mikhail.

Have a beautiful Sabbath, sunshine. 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DEATH AND THE DIVINE INTERCESSIONS - karma, trees and this wonderous kaleidoscope of creation...

Death and Divine Intercession
Death is not a veil,
Life is,
And to pass away is
To lift the veil for that
Long-awaited union with
God the All-Beautiful and
Most Desirable above all,
Winning through with the intercessions 
Of Muhammad Habibullah,
The most cherished hope glittering
In the crown of hopes bestowed by God
To humanity, God's Own anointed
Mercy to all the worlds...

There is no better way. No more fitting manner by which we can live this life - with the unbelievable varieties of plants, animals and living beings, all forms of tests, trials and tribulations, an infinite scope of happiness, joy and unadulterated rapture, with all of the vast expanse of humanity, friends, families, peers and lovers... There is no better way to journey through this kaleidoscope of creation, than by preparing oneself for the lifting of the veil that Man calls death.

Hidden in a prophetic quote (that I have used before) is the explanation to this preparatory and transient nature of this world, for God's Beloved, Muhammad (s.a.w.s) once shared that...

"There are no trees in heaven. You must plant them yourselves..."

So may God bless all gardeners, farmers and greenthumbs.

My late mother loved gardening. On the 10th anniversary of her
lifting of the veil last year, we arranged this ornamental water-pail
with bright yellow roses to decorate her maqam.
al fatiha

Have a perfectly nice day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

THE MORAL HAZARD OF DOING GOOD - turning honey into hemlock

I Am One of Them
Dear God,
Make desirable unto me,
What is desirable unto You,
Make undesirable unto me,
What is undesirable unto You,

Yet give unto me the space in my heart,
To accept and love those who still
Omit to do what is desirable
And do what is undesirable,

For verily, You have not turned away
From any of them who turns to You
Seeking love, forgiveness and acceptance...

And verily, I know this to be the truth,
For I myself am one of them.

Moral Hazard. Doing bad obviously is a moral hazard. But doing good also has its own moral hazard. It is of course our ego and its terrible offspring called self-righteousness and hubris. So when you go supping upon the cup of faith in the cathedral of love, beware that your tongue do not change the honey into hemlock - your ego prompting you into thinking, 'Yea... how good am I. How bad are those others!'

The Selfless Sunnah. After all, if God says... there is no god but Me, and Muhammad is My Messenger, He is talking about the annihilation of our 'self' and abasement of our ego... Through the daily, constant, minute by minute, microsecond by microsecond application of the selfless Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).

The Desirable Medicine. This is the medicine to cure us of our egocentric worldly addictions. But unlike other medicines, this medicine is desirable and increases in desirability the more we take it. 

That is what I call Godly Awesome.

He he he.

Have a lovely Tuesday, sunshine. I have been away for awhile, but I am back now. Alhamdulillah...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Remember, you are only a man - The Triumphalism of Man vs The Triumphalism of the Conscience

The Roman Triumph 
When a Roman general achieves 
Great success in the field of battle
He is awarded a Triumph,
A public parade of his soldiers and himself
Through the streets of Rome,
With their prisoners, slaves and booties of war.

A slave boy would stand behind him on the chariot
Holding aloft above his head the laurel wreath,
And whispering into his ears these words of caution,
"Remember, you are only a man..."

See. Even those ancient Romans understood well the dangers of over-weening pride and hubris. It would have paid Mankind well if we remember and follow the advice of the slave. Because when we take stock of the recent century of human 'progress' there has been many times when a little humility and humanity would have gone a long way in avoiding the pitfalls and cons of our less than perfect achievements. After all...

Triumphalism of Man
The Triumphalism of Architecture
Herald in the era of concrete monstrosity,
The Triumphalism of Brotherly Fraternity
Herald in the era of tyranny by the many,
The Triumphalism of Medicine
Herald in the era of over-drugged citizenry,
The Triumphalism of Psychology
Herald in the era of newer types of insanity,
The Triumphalism of Physics
Herald in the era of the Atom Bomb,
The Triumphalism of Modern Technology
Herald in the era of remote murders and killings,
The Triumphalism of Agro and Bio sciences
Herald in the era of global pharma-food companies,
The Triumphalism of Capitalism
Herald in the era of ostentatious consumerism,
The Triumphalism of Political Clerics
Herald in the era of the 'Islamic' republics,
The Triumphalism of Finance and the Economics
Herald in the era of thieves, blackmailers and sociopaths
Dressed in well-tailored suits and good intentions.
And lastly, the Triumphalism of the Information Age
Herald in the era of ignorance, anarchy and hate, 

I am not against progress, but like all things in this world, anything can be exaggerated and abused, until its end product becomes a corruption of the original intent.

We all have a slave, just like the mighty Roman commanders, standing behind us, ever whispering into our soul... 'Remember, you are only a man...' It is called our conscience. 

And it is the best among us, who turns around to the slave, and says... 'No, you stand in front. Where you lead, I shall follow.'

Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, March 11, 2013

Great Days Now, Great Days Ahead - Mika and his sampin

"... I knew I should have tied his sampin tighter..."

My nine-year old son, Mika, insists on wearing the full traditional Malay attire for prayers at the mosque. It is called the Baju Melayu (literally the Malay shirt) and consists of unicoloured pants and round-collared long-sleeved shirt. Around the waist would be tied a sampin (a traditional sash with with intricately woven designs) and topped off with the songkok (a black-coloured velvet headgear). 

Last time we went for maghrib prayers (evening / sunset), his sampin came loose before prayers even started. So I confidently called Mika, "Come here..." and tied it back around his waist. "Wow, Papa... you tied the sampin so fast! Bibik takes so long to do it!", he said to which I smiled contentedly, "Ah, it comes with experience, Mika..."

Soon the khatib called the congregation for prayers. Half-way through the first rakaat (first cycle of the three-cycle maghrib prayers) the sampin came gently undone and fell around Mika's ankles. 

He he he. So much for experience.

But he carried on praying unperturbed and later we had a great laugh about it. Chuckling and simpering impolitely in the mosque like two buddies.

These must be some of the greatest days of my life, I think.

May your days and nights be as wonderful, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DIVINE BEVERAGE - drinking the tea of certainty (or can't a man have his tea in peace?)

I ordered tea for breakfast this morning at my neighbourhood coffee-house. The proprietor (Iqbal) soon returned with a nice hot mug of the beverage. But before I could lay my hand on it, an ancient friend (let's call him George) came to sit with me. Then he looked wonderingly at my tea. "This is no ordinary tea, o'Taufiq...!" Ejaculated my unbidden guest. "...This milk tea is infused with the essence of garlic, And will you look at it! Its perfect colour of light brown, its smooth yet full bodied flavour! Oh, can't you see o' man, how you take for granted God's daily grace to you and how in each divinely blended moment (or tea) he showers you with His earthly favours!? Oh look! Look! Angels are dancing on its bubbly froth!"

Oh brother. My friend must be going mad. But before I can reveal my diagnosis of his psychological condition, he got up and left just as quickly as he appeared.

But this unworldly moments continued later when I wanted to pay. I called Iqbal for the tab, to which he gave me a brilliant smile, then seemingly plucking a sum out of thin air, he replied, "Only one Ringgit forty cents!" But as I had an inconvenient change of coins  he took only one Ringgit thirty cents and gently pried open my hand and replaced the rest of the coins into my palm. And as he was doing this he was softly singing to himself... there is no god but God... and Muhammad is the Messenger of God... there is no god but God... and Muhammad is the Messenger of God...

Oh brother. Iqbal must be going mad too. What IS in the air this Sunday morning?

He he he.

Have a sweet Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When You Fall in Love, You Lose Your Freedom - towards true servanthood of Love

No Freedom (a song by Dido)
"No love without freedom,
No love without freedom,
No love without freedom,
No freedom without love..."

Talented is Dido. When I heard this song, the chorus struck a chord in the piano of my soul. I thought of what she sang... " love without freedom..." She always had a way with lyrics, this Dido. Below is her music video.

But When You Fall in Love, You Lose Your Freedom - I think this to be true. And if at any point in our relationship, we appear to have a semblance of choice, a veneer of options? Why, the unpalatable truth is that we have not properly fallen in love. 

Divine Love. And that is why in the School of Love that is this world, and in relation to the object of devotion and affection that is our Lord God, I am still in kindergarten. Trying with some difficulty to grasp and to hold unto that which the mystics of Islam and the world call Divine Love. Because I still think I have choices, you see... Therein lies my weakness. 

But I am not too worried, sunshine. Because I also believe that our path, our journey in this life is through that weakness...

Onwards, through the realisation of our utter helplessness, towards true servanthood of Love.

ya Allah, ya Rasulullah... how blessed are we, sunshine.

Have a truly beautiful Sabbath.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Morning - ...and God did not take your life last night

107. My Dear Creation
If you wish to serve Me
Then serve my servants
For I am not needful of your services
But they are.

And If you wish to love Me
Then love my servants
For I am not needful of your love
But they are.

Do this both
And you shall find in Me
A fair recompense
Beyond your happiest hopes.


Hi sunshine! It is Friday morning already! Let us try to be good to each other, while God is good to us always. There is time now to pick up the phone and call that old auntie of yours. There is time now to reply to your friend's SMS and ask for her forgiveness. There is time now to repay the debt you owe your school friend. There is still time to email your brother about the help he asked of you last week. 

For you see, while you slept soundly in bed, the whole of the Universe bore witness that God did not take your life last night. No, He must have felt that there is still good for you to do upon this Earth, and in His generous and all-knowing wisdom, He has permitted your soul to return to your body from its nightly travels. 

So here we are, you and I. Brothers and sisters united in the love of God, fellow travelers in the the journey through the Consciousness of God. What shall we do today? 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Dear God,

I didn't mean the words I said yesterday,
I didn't mean the screams I screamed yesterday,
Nor the sighs that I sighed,
Or the moans that I moaned,.

Dear God,

I didn't mean any of those foolish things,
And wished unsaid the words that I said,
And the deeds that I did,
It is just sometimes...
They come flying out of my lips
And speeding through my mind
Those words and thoughts
All of You to be unkind.

Dear God,

If I am to learn through hardship,
Then through hardship I must,
But there is one thing
Of You that I must ask...

Forgiveness if in learning I am slow,
If in sorrow I often wallow,
If I despair for tomorrow...

Forgive me of my weaknesses,
When (inevitably) I go to pieces,

Pick me up and bind me back,
Bond me always to Your pleasure
Love me, embrace me
And leave me never!

I don't know about you, but I often have unworthy thoughts of our One Lord God. Over this week I suffered from food poisoning and a day later my eyes got infected and light-sensitive until I was running from shadows to shadows hiding from the blinding sun. Where is the wisdom in such ailments? To lose control of my bodily functions and fearing the sun like a demented vampire? Oh, brother.

Now, less than 24 hours later here I am. Cured (apparently) and contented. And this is the wisdom - gratitude and personal hygiene. After 43 years this is where I am, at the very basics of spiritual understanding. There is no better education than experience, I guess. But I will not be too self-satisfied in this almanac, I don't want God to send another illness anytime soon. 

After all, I am only a sinner. And a learner sinner at that.

Have a beautiful and healthy day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way