Saturday, August 31, 2013

MY MASTER AND MY BOOK - adab (good manners) and knowledge, a human and a computer...


My Master and My Book
I was walking with my master when suddenly, my book of Sufi stories fell from my grasp. My spirit groaned but I kept on walking beside him. For my master cautioned me before we began our journey, "If you wish to follow me, you must stick by me whatever happens." I cannot deny a little pang of loss, as I looked back to see my poor book, still lying there by the lonely path. And as the skies loomed grey with rain clouds, I had no doubt it will soon get soaked and ruined. I gazed wonderingly at my master, thinking perhaps that he may have noticed my discomfort. But no such luck. He appeared quite distant and thoughtful, as if busy in some unseen conversation.

We arrived at our first rest stop, beside a little wooden bridge. My master bid me to sit next to him on a broken tree trunk. He then asked, "Hey. Where is your book?" To which I answered, "I dropped it, master, some miles back."  

"Then why did you not stop to pick it up?" He interjected.

"What can I learn from the book, that I cannot learn better from you? Anyways, you said I had to stick by you. So here I am, with you."

The master smiled and ruffled my hair gently. "Yes, and here's your book. Do be careful with it from now on, okay?"
...................................


This story was sprung from last night's supper with my friend, Moses. I did not know how it would conclude, but with the last dying rays of the Sun hiding behind the overcast sky, I think it is a good end and a milestone for the mureed (spiritual aspirant) in the story. And for myself.

An ancient friend (but schooled in this modern age) is restless to lay the final words for this moral tale...

The Book Collector
Adab(good manners) comes before knowledge,
For the first signs of ignorance
Is the lack of Adab!

Be a practitioner of Adab,
Don't be a mere collector of information.

Otherwise, what is the difference 
Between a human being
and a computer?
............................


Have a lovely day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

TOUGH LOVE, KIDS! - the whimsical jottings of a sinner (with pictures!)


I have been rather busy of late. But I did manage to sketch a commissioned work (see above) for a little wisp of a girl. I posted the pic later on his dad's Facebook, erroneously referring to her as a nine year old. "Hey! I am already ten going to eleven!" she complained to her dad, who simply replied, "See, that is what happens when you don't eat your vegetables." This is what you call tough love.


I was out last Saturday with my nine year old son to watch 'Planes' at a cineplex nearby. While in the carpark I noticed the signage and said to Mikhail, "Hey, Mika. I really like the Honda, can you pose next to it?" To which he sportingly agreed. Despite Mikhail's whining protestations I proceeded to post the picture in my Facebook and Instagram, captioning "Heartbreaker.. Ladies Man...". Yes, I am merciless, but I am also teaching him to be more observant of his surrounding, and to be less gullible to his Papa's trickery. This is also tough love.


I was watching a show on saltanat.org during office hours when my partner entered my office, deposited himself on the chair in front of me, and slowly and ever so gently drifted to sleep. His department is uber-busy and since the birth of his second son, his house is also uber-busy with the demands of a healthy bouncing baby boy. So he catches naps whenever he can. Poor guy. He he he.

Nothing esoteric, nothing transcendental to share with you today, sunshine. Just winding down the day in my bedroom, listening to the twilight chirping of birds and the devotional singing of my Sikh neighbours next door. The singing is from a temple troupe especially imported from India, I am told.

Have a lovely day, and may Allah (s.w.t.) bless you and the His Muhammad al-Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) guide you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE ATHEISTS ARE RIGHT - the Impossible God


Love, the Impossible
I am a plain man,
It is love that made me a minstrel, a prince of thieves,
A poet, a father, a husbandman, a cook in his pantry,
I was all this, you see, until one day I found to my dismay
That love has sold me into slavery,

So I asked Love, “Why have You done this to me,
When all I ever wanted was to please You?

Love answered me,“There is no ‘I’ in love, so what use have I for you?
There is no want but My want, so who are you pleasing but
Your own desire to please Me?”

“You are impossible!” I replied

“I am that... I am the Impossible. Now you know."

So I asked hopefully, “And now that I know will You set me free?”

Love said, “Would Love have enslaved you?
It is your own vanity that has trapped you,
You are free to go!”

But now I am confused, and I ventured, “No, I don’t think I want to leave You.”

To which Love answered, “I know. So stay…”

Thus I tasted mortality. And as my friends and family crouched over a body now bereft of life,
Some were sad, but others gazed upon me with a knowing look in their eyes... thinking,
"Thus, ends his strife"
....................................

The Atheists are right, you know. God is an impossibility. Indeed, I would go further, for His impossibility is beyond our bare understanding of what is possible or impossible.

That doesn't mean of course that God does not exist. It only means that He is unlike anything or anyone that our mind can encompass. 

Which is fine by us. But not the Atheists, who needs certainty and validations according to their lights. We are fine with a little cup of love, mixed with a dash of mystery and a sprinkling of grace.


Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MERDEKA POEM 2013 - Malaysia's 56th Birthday - A Country is an Idea - Zombie States - Our merdeka from our own ego


Merdeka! (with postscript)
If I appear to you ill-used, forgive me.
People have used me, used my name
And said "I am doing this thing
In her name and 
For her sake!"

I don't know what they are talking about!

If I appear to you confused, forgive me.
For people who live with me say one thing
And yet do another,
They talk of compassion, but only for themselves
And those like them,
They talk of progress, but they abuse me
And take me for granted,
They talk of God, but they show no mercy whatsoever,
Confusing information with knowledge,
Confusing knowledge with wisdom,
 Confusing tolerance for weakness...

If I appear to you lost, forgive me.
For how would you feel if people try
To disconnect you from your past?
From your own history,
From the testaments and pledges
That were made on your birthday?

Therefore, if I appear ill-used, use me well,
If I appear confused, end your own confusion,
If I appear lost, learn your own history,

And if ever anyone was unkind to you,
What can I say? I am very, very sorry.

For they do not represent me
No matter what you have been told.

I am Malaysia, 
And this month I shall be 56 years old.
.....................................

The Postscript
And even you would be hard-pressed
To look young and desirable at my age...

So have no fear,
Do not be depressed,
Quell your hate and your rage.

For the bumps and knocks that you feel
Are the bumps and knocks I also feel,
It is the opening of our new chapter,
The turning of a new page.

So Happy Birthday to you
And Happy Birthday to me!
..........................

My birthday. The picture is not colour, but the day was colourful!

Happy Birthday, you are 56! Come, 31st August, we are all 56 years old. We, meaning the 29 million people who live in Malaysia and call themselves Malaysians. Please excuse my poetic license as most people will point out that Malaysia was in fact born on 16th September 1963 when the states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya to create Malaysia. But ultimately, the genesis of Malaysia and Hari Malaysia (Malaysia Day, which we also celebrate) can be traced to the Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31st August, 1957. So there.

I am an idea. Yours. 
We are (or should consider ourselves at least) 56 years old because we are born into a country that old. So our life has been moulded in the socia-economic, political and spiritual structure of the state, no matter how independent or free-spirited we may think we are. 

A Country is an Idea. As I reflect at the age of 56, like most people, death doesn't seem like such a distant event anymore. And for my country, I began to wonder about its mortality too. How many years more does Malaysia have left? One? Ten? Twenty? One Hundred? Unlike us humans, where death is inevitable and can be statistically determined, the life of a country can be extended for the foreseeable future, so long as human civilization exists. For a country is in fact a metaphysical entity, an idea. 

The Zombie States. And it can exist so long as people believe and work towards realizing that idea. For some countries, which are categorized by the media pundits as 'failed states' (Afghanistan, North Korea and Iraq spring to mind), they exist in a strange limbo between reality and ideal, where they are still members of the United Nation and retain some semblance of normal stately functions, but are in fact lifeless and soulless... The Walking Dead of Nations. Sad but true. 

I see many countries here. And I see a few more on life-support...

Our Educational & Ethical Deficit. No, I don't think my country has qualified to join the infamous troupe of zombie countries, yet. I think Malaysia still has some life in it, some soul and some ideals. But we gotta arrest our decline in our educational system. That is uber-important. And we also need to redress the professional and ethical deficit of all sectors of public and private life. Yes, the rot is not in the civil service alone, in some sense it is perpetuated and actively encouraged by the private sectors too. In this scenario, everyone who has taken or directly or indirectly benefited from a bribe, whether it is in the tens of millions of Ringgit Malaysia (our currency) or even for a mere RM10.00 is complicit in corruption. But as the saying goes, the fish rots from the head, so all the bosses and leaders must account for their actions and consider the country, the ideals that they are teaching their children and just what sort of future we are leaving for them.

This country , Papa... Did you make it better? Or did you make it worse?

Independence from Our Own Ego. My religion is Islam, my race is Malay, my nationality is Malaysian and ultimately, my species is human. So let us reach out towards one another in the spirit of Merdeka (independence)... to counter the hateful ideology of the ego, manifested in hubris, ugly nationalism, colonialism, corporate slavery and bigotry. For in my book, there is no merdeka more important than the independence from our own ego. And submission to the Love of God the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy.

This is what my Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) teaches me, sunshine. Otherwise, merdeka and independence just becomes a throw-away word with little meaning or life to it. 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, August 19, 2013

NO FAITH WITHOUT WONDER


The Created and the Uncreated
The perfume cannot comprehend the perfumer,
The arrow cannot comprehend the archer, 
The created cannot comprehend the uncreated,

Yet the scent of the perfume excites the maiden, you can smell it!
And the arrow is flying on its trajectory towards the deer, you can see it!
Thus all of God's creatures sense their own created beings,

But what lies beyond our physical senses...?

Oh Wonder! You are a wondrous thing!
........................

Physical Senses. If you stop wondering, you stop living. Oh, you can live physically, since all of our senses are geared towards the purpose of continuing our own life and existence - Hungry? Eat. Thirsty? Drink. Horny? Procreate. 

Inner Senses. But the problem with physical senses is that  they act at a very basic animal instinct. And unless we are prepared to live as animals, we must address the substrata of our conscious existence, that is our emotions and thoughts that is beyond our base desires. And once we explore our inner consciousness, we are in a different world altogether, a world of flux often pulled by opposing forces of love and hate, generosity and greed, attachment and detachment, companionship and loneliness, humility and hubris. 

Such things we 'sense' within ourselves according to our mind and our heart. And it is in this horizon of intangible feelings, that we find the need for assurance, hope, redemption, knowledge and contentment. This is the hidden form of this world, and the door of exploration that God has laid in the well of our conscience. 


The Outer World and the Inner World. For however wondrous is a storm at sea. However mysterious and beguiling is a night sky full of stars, however maddening is the beauty of a human child, it is our inner understanding, our inner self that is reacting to all these physical expressions of this world and giving meaning to them.

And so religious faith is all about that really. It is our natural inclination towards the inner uncreated reality that is God, helping us towards finding the true meaning of our deeds, our emotions and ultimately, this world and our purpose in life. This is the basic tenets of all religion whatever faith you may be dressed in.

The Inner Uncreated Reality is More Real Than Our Physical Created Reality,
Giving understanding and meaning to it all.

And though meanings find their expression through our actions (and omissions), it is essentially our inner reflections through which we may find our happiness  and success in this life and in the next, towards that One uncreated Being, the incomparable Absoluteness, that is God the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, the Lord of Mercy and the Giver of Mercy...

All about You
When I contemplate life, 
When I listen to you,
When I consider myself,
When I read the books of the wise,
When I look at the world,
The birds flying in the sky,
When I listen to the world,
The dogs barking in the night,
When I dip my feet in a cool forest stream,
When I see a candle light 
And the near wandering moth,
In truth,
It is God that 
I wonder of.  
....................................


So you see. If you have stopped wondering, where is your faith? For faith is not about the certainty by which you judge yourself or other people. It is faith in the certainty that God Almighty does not discriminate between one person to another save by our good deeds, good thoughts and helpfulness to others. 

God. The True Wonder of all, beyond wonder, beyond all!

Don't you agree, sunshine? Even if I do tend to ramble on? I wonder...

He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, August 17, 2013

THE EGO & THE ENVIRONMENT - Islam and our accountability for Earth and all its inhabitants


Borrowed Blessings
We are living on borrowed blessings,
Upon the thousands of years past
When somewhere far in time,
An ancestor of ours said,
"No... let's not do that.
Let us do the right thing"
When a forefather with tears in his eyes,
Raised his hands to the darkening skies,
And said, "Oh Lord... Please keep safe
My children and my children's children,
For what I could have done for them I have,
And now I leave them in Your hands."
.......................

The Ego & The Environment. Oh my beloved friends, I am a little worried. For I fear the day when we shall account for all our deeds done to our environment, all our actions and omissions. For all the times we could have acted to do the right thing but did not. My lazy ego often tells me... 'Naaw... you don't need to think too much about the environment and sustainable development and consumption... that is the problem for the politicians, the experts, the university professors, the... (ad infinitum)." According to our lazy ego, it is everyone else's problem but ours.

But Marshall Mcluhan, a Canadian philosopher in a statement referencing the Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1967), clarifies most succinctly, 

"There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."

Crew and Viceregents. So there is indeed no escaping our responsibility for this beautiful Earth, which is not ours, but in truth, God's grant to humanity. But the Angels of God, in their wisdom and foresight raised the query of our fitness to crew the Spaceship Earth, or in the words of the Holy Quran, to be the Khalifah (viceregents of God) upon this Earth...
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." 
They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein 
and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" 
He said: "I know what ye know not."
(Quran 2:30, Yusuf Ali)

We are full of mischief, the Angels alleged. And as history unveils itself through time, indeed, we brought a lot of mischief and oppression to the Earth. But closely parallel to the evil, is the goodness inherent in Man, made manifest and clear by the Prophets and Saints of God, authorised by God to advise, admonish and encourage Man towards good and to reject all evil and all falsehood. 

So we are the Khalifahs (viceregents) on Earth. So what is new? But today is different from any other day in the past, you see. For our economy, our industries and apparent insatiable appetite for consumption has led to a point when Man can actually physically and permanently do harm to the Earth.


Back to the Basics. The way forward for us as a community, is the same way as revealed by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) in verse 2:30 above, that is to find the answer from and through God Almighty. After all, did He not say unto the Angels, 

"I know what ye know not."

We are asking continuing support and guidance from the Flag of Guidance, Sayyidina Alamul Huda Muhammad (s.a.w.s), lest we be branded by our children as the generation that took a paradise from Allah the Most Compassionate, and passed on to them a dying planet.

May Allah the Ever Generous save us from our most selfish and wicked desires!

Pray for humanity, sunshine. And pray for Spaceship Earth.


wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE CENTRE OF THE CENTRE -

How wide the centre white line appear to be when you get smaller!
Here is the manifestation of an ego under control.
(someone else's ego, that is. Not mine!)

Where is the Centre of the Centre?
You and I,
We are walking the Path,
And the best and the safest line
Is straight down the middle,

But the middle way,
The centre of the Path
Is a strange place indeed.

Because the smaller we get,
The more we can adjust our line
To a better middle,
A more centre err... centre.

And since there is no end as to how small we can be,
Then there is in truth no end as to how centre we can be
As we walk along the Path,

So be not like those who have judge themselves as 
Being perfectly centred!
For they are likely to judge and condemn those
Who are not along their line of
Walking, thinking, praying and living.
...........................

The Secrets of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) After all, sunshine, true perfection (that is beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals) is the remit of Allah (s.w.t.) alone, and if there is created perfection to be reflected upon, then I reckon the owner of such perfection is the Beloved of Allah (s.w.t.), our Prophet Muhammad Habibullah (s.a.w.s.). And even such prophetic perfection we are only just beginning to understand. For such is the completeness and continuity of His blessings and powers granted unto his blessed person by the Almighty God that they increase with each measure, as if there is any man or angel created who is capable of measuring the gifts of Allah (s.w.t.) to His Chosen One... 

Ya Rabbi, the secrets of Your Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) is 
Yours to keep secret and disclose as You will!

Standing on the Edge of the Precipice. Let us leave the crazy loony murdering fanatics to the madness of their dogma, whether they call themselves Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Atheists. For they have taken a bit of knowledge, but have lost control of their ego, growing bigger and bigger until the Path appears so small, tight and narrow that they are standing upon the edge of the Path...

71. One Path, But Wide II (Or Angels In Hardhats)
You say the Path is straight and lo, so narrow!

But perhaps it is simply because you are standing on its edge?
 ..........................

And this is why, I guess, that the Saints and Shaykhs have time and time again admonished the mureeds (students), "Try to be nothing!". 

He he he. Easier said than done, of course. But what is life without a challenge? What is life without a journey? If anything, God the All-Loving doesn't want His creation to get bored with easy quests and easy-peasy tests...

55. Love Test
I am He who heals all wounds
I am He who cherishes the afflicted
I am He whom you claim to love
What is love if it is not tested?

I am writing this as a sinner, still wandering about the X and Y axis, looking for the centre of the graph, the Sublime Zero where naught occurs but by the Will of Allah the One. But I am thankful that at least I know our centre... our own beloved Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). The way is there along the path of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah (traditions) of the Habibullah (s.a.w.s.). Can you see it in the horizons of your soul?

May you be safe in your journey, sunshine. Please leave some clues and signs in your wake and I will follow your breadcrumbs out of the witch's forest. 

The same old story for me. All over the X and Y planes...
Help! 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DRESSED FOR THE MERCY OCEANS - the ego, pious fools and sinners


Dressed for the Mercy Oceans
It is best to dress less 
For a swim in the Mercy Oceans.

So leave your pantaloons of presumptions,
Take off your turban of knowledge,
Unbuckle your belt of pretensions,
Drop your robes of speculations
On the Mercy Oceans' sandy beach,
And leave your veneer of piety
Along with the rest 
Of the disguises
That you have
Gained
Through
All your years of study,

Then follow me,
Unmasked as you truly are,
A journeyman, a sinner.

After all, think about it...

What use for anyone is the Mercy Oceans
If not for Mercy's dispensation?

And who is the guest of the Forgiver
If not for us, the sinners
Seeking to be forgiven?
.........................

Naked before Mercy. Shed what you think you know. Dispense with the dress of knowledge and enter the Ocean of Knowledge untouched as a newborn. In the realm of Mercy, there is nothing you can hide, for why would you want to hide what you need cleansing and redemption of? And really, who are we trying to kid? ... as if God doesn't know already all our misdeeds and miscalculations, all our secret pacts with our ego as we excuse and justify our selfish wants.

It is not easy, this thing we are talking about. In a way, it would be easier for us to peel away our skin then to peel away the layers of hubris that make up what we are. Were it as simple as undressing, you would see a lot more people in society, walking in public, dressed as required by Adab (good manners) but bare naked of their egos... 

Good Intentions. The truth is that the human ego was created by God to be very durable, and this world was created perfectly for the ego. In our little triumphs, our ego extols our own successes, while in failures, our ego blames fate or some convenient others. And greater is the tribulations for those who seek to do good, rather than be a channel for good - It is a fine but important distinction, and graphically described in the famous phrase - "The road to hell is paved with good intentions", and "May God save us from pious fools." Such is our end, when our ego, disguised as righteousness, hijacks our life and what little good that we hope to achieve. May Allah (s.w.t.) save us from our own self-deception!

Submission to the True Good that is the True God. The road to the Mercy Oceans is one paved with submission. For we have set aside the cloak of our own presumption of knowing anything at all. It is not good intentions that drive us to seek the Mercy Oceans. It is actually necessity, our thirst for comfort and assurance, our hunger for understanding and forgiveness that compels us towards its divine waters. And good intentions? Just like our egos, we must forsake our petty good intentions, and give goodness its due to the True Origin and Dispenser of Goodness, Allah (s.w.t.) and His own anointed Mercy to all the Worlds, Muhammad Habibullah (s.a.w.s.).  

And We have not sent you, (o' Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds(Quran 21:107)

The delicate questions of our ego, good intentions and submission are all difficult propositions to deal with even for the most saintly ones among us. But God knows us in our best and in our worst. And I think God is only asking that we try. And beyond our faulty and inconsistent efforts for God and His Goodness, ...is His Mercy.

Which brings us back to the Mercy Oceans.

Care for a swim, sunshine?


wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, August 12, 2013

SHAYKHS SIGHTED AT MERCY OCEANS! - swimming at the risk of your ego...


The world, our world, is built on perception. So I reckon it is good that we perceive the world through the best lens available. And the best is the lens of the heart, for when you see with your heart, in which is enthroned the virtues of love, compassion, understanding, empathy and wisdom, you will see not a world of chaos. Instead, you will realise a world that is ringed by oceans upon oceans of the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate One, which you may call the Mercy Oceans. Indeed, that is the title of a book which goes highly recommended for the aspirants of the heart.

Who is the Master of the Mercy Oceans? Why, it is none other than the Most Beloved of Allah (s.w.t.) Himself, being our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). And who are the dwellers of the Mercy Oceans? It is the Prophets of God, the blessed family of Muhammad Habibullah (s.a.w.s.), his Companions (r.a.) and the Saints, being the souls of the blessed Friends of God, who are conveniently referred to as the Shaykhs or Mursheeds

Wow... The Mercy Oceans sounds really crowded! But the truth is the number of Shaykhs in residence, although more than commonly known, is actually rather small in comparison to the vast billions of humanity that have been born (and will be born). And yet, if you would but dip a tentative toe into its waters, I have no doubt that there is a true Shaykh swimming in the vicinity. It is not coincidental at all, in fact, it is a miracle of sorts... A fated meeting between the mureed (student) and the Mursheed / Shaykh (Master) long planned in the Divine Scheme of things.

Where is everybody, little Nemo?

There is nothing to fear in the Mercy Oceans, no sharks, barracudas or anything like that. But  as I said, there are Shaykhs loitering about, but they will only pose danger to your ego, not you. 

So why wait any longer, sunshine? The beach at the Mercy Oceans is open 24/7, 365 days of the year. And sinners are especially welcomed. And no prior swimming ability required.

Trust me. He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hate Need Not Be Their Fate - the encounter between the World of Hate and the World of Love

A verse of Rumi
Sings from the book,
Reminding me, once again,
That Love was here
Before me,

A smiley drawn
On a sandy shore,
Tells me, once again,
That Love was
Here before,

The peddlers of hate
Often tell us that
Their hate was here
Before they were born,

But beneath the rainy sky,
And across the fields of corn,
Walking through a lavender field,
I cannot but wonder why...

Why do they live their life for hate,
When theirs were a home
That Love built?
And for whatever stories
That they might hear...
Hate need not be
Their fate.
...............................

Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad
History and Present Hate. Pundits, the dogs of war and the hyenas of the mainstream like to portray the conflicts in the world today as a generational inheritance. An age-old dispute and blood feud passed down from father to son. Whether they are spouting generalizations about the so-called East-West conflict, the so-called Clash of Civilizations between Islam and Judeo-Christianity, the Sunni and the Shia, or the Sinhalese and  the Tamils, at the end of the day, for an age-old hatred to find expression, someone in the present, not in the past, must take up arms to inflict harm on his neighbour. So we should stop blaming the past for the past, as if we are dogs collared and destined to perpetuate the hate, bigotry and hubris of our forefathers. 

Mahatma  Gandhi
Another Planet. What do you feel when you watch the television news or read the media coverage? For myself, I find that the hatemongers and patronizing opinions of the so-called impartial pundits to be a broadcast or a news article from some strange and hideous world that is not mine, and nor do I think, it is yours. 

For hating and hate-filled people live in a separate planet entirely on their own, whether they call themselves Buddhist, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Agnostics or Atheists. Oh, they may be walking on the same Earth as we do... but their Earth, their world is very, very different. The brewers of hate and the warlocks of war tread in a world contrary to the world of Mahatma Gandhi and his friend and counsel, Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad... and of course, our dear old bleeding heart, Rumi the Fluent.

A Footnote in History. To them, let it be their way, for us, ours. For in the inevitable encounter between the World of Hate and the World of Love, hate becomes nothing but a footnote in the unveiling of Divine Power, of which, we sinners and believers, may play some small part in. 

May you have a lovely day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, August 10, 2013

From the Transient Artifice to the Prose of God: True Love - of life, death, grandparents and the divine nexus of Allah (s.w.t.) and His Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)


Jasad & Pertemuan
Jasad bersemadi didalam bumi, 
Namun jasa baktimu kekal di hati, 
Pemergianmu bagaikan baru sehari, 
Seorang ibu, seorang isteri, 
Kita menanti pertemuan 
Yang diberkati Ilahi...

Your body is resting in the earth,
But your charity and deeds live on in the heart,
Your passing seems only like yesterday,
A mother, a wife,
We await a meeting
Blessed by God.
.......................................

A Grandma He Never Met. Over the Eid festivities, myself and Mikhail visited the graves of our kin. And the nearest cemetery is one near my house, where resides the final resting place (in this mortal plane) of my mother, Arbayah binti Haji Hashim. Mika, who always enjoys our visit to the garden of stones, told me that we must visit his grandmother's grave more often. He is right, of course. The funny thing is my mum passed away in May 2002, almost 2 years before he was born, so he has never in fact actually met his grandmother. But Mika is fortunate that my father is still alive, and so is his grandmother on his mother's side. So in a way he kinda has the full grandparent team, something which I myself missed. 

The Home that Arbayah and Khalid Built. But just as how my mum and dad related to me stories of my grandparents whom I never met, so I too often regal my son with tales and escapades of my mother. I keep telling him how generous she was, with so many friends, both in the family and outside (For you should not take for granted that your kin is necessarily your friend... for like all friendships, it takes effort, love and much caring). I would tell Mika of his grandmother's quiet travels into the hinterlands, donating and doing charitable works, whether as part of some women's organization or really just on her own and only with a couple of close friends. I also shared with Mika how my mother made my house a home, with rich abundance and a refuge for anyone who would care to come by for an understanding heart and a ready ear to listen. And boy, did we have a lot of visitors, almost every day of the year...

Mika and His Tok. One night last year, I was sitting with Mikhail outside my father's room, when my father passed by and entered his room. Mika suddenly whispered to me, "Papa, I think Tok Wan (he calls my dad that) must be sad. He must miss Tok (my mum) a lot." I replied, "But why are you talking so softly?" And he answered, "Because I am sure Tok Wan would feel more sad if he heard us talking about Tok and him."

On the second day of Eid, while we were arranging red roses (dammit, those roses are really full of thorns) for his grandmother's grave, Mika said, "You know, Papa... I hope to meet Tok in heaven." I glanced up from my bleeding fingers as he continued, somewhat more circumspectly... "Well, I hope I get to heaven!"

Connection with the Hereafter. This connection with someone who predeceased you before you were even born is not merely the habit of a deranged man (a.k.a. yours truly), it is, I guess, a seminal pillar of faith in Islam (including Judaism and Christianity), since the passing of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) as the Seal and Last of the Prophets. And just as a poor old Papa is trying to keep the sweet memory of his mother alive for his own son, so does the living Saints, both hidden and open, continue to maintain the golden connection between us doddering sinners and believers, with the prophetic presence of Muhammad Habibullah (s.a.w.s.), his blessed family, the Companions and the Saints.


122. Not Dead
Oh, my Mighty King!
I have not left my flock unattended,
I have not left any fences unmended,
I have left stars that any, if lost, may follow home.

But a cold wind is blowing,
Carrying my memories far away,
Blackness is creeping in,
And though they know how to pray,
They have left my way.

Save for my heirs and heralds,
The fulcrum of this Age,
Still toiling in their mortal cage,
Long-bearded, the white, the black and the grey,

In their hearts, evil holds no sway,
In their hearts, Your Name resonates,
In their hearts, I still live,
Not dead.         
......................

Connection from the Transient Artifice to the Eternal Real. And based on authoritative sources, I am told that this connection is more powerful than the fastest internet connection known to Man, and more real than you, me and the entire world combined. For in the eyes of Allah (s.w.t.), nothing comes first before His Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), and nothing comes through without the Prophet's (s.a.w.s.) intercessions. This quintillion terrabyte connection is working around the clock, over the clock, up and under the clock, 24/7 365 days a year. All for the Prophet's love and mercy for not just the Muslims, but for all humanity, all creatures, all sentient and non-sentient inhabitants of the worlds. Phew!

The Divine Nexus. In this context, the story of my mother and my immediate family appears to be such a small and insignificant thing. But I know this is not true. Not for me, not for you and your family. For the love exemplified and promised to us comes from the spark of divine nexus between God Almighty and the Prophet (s.a.w.s.). And truth be told, beyond this is more than even my most love-sick conjecture of Divine Love can spell out for you... 

A glittering remnants of a super nova in outer space as caught by the
Hubble space telescope. God's Love is even more beautiful,
more audacious, and more real.

So have a happy one, sunshine. And I leave you with this afterthought - I am defeated in trying to describe the Love Divine and the Divinely Loved. I cannot win in this battle. But I am happy to be continually defeated by every dot, comma, word and phrase that I write by God's own Prose... For love, True Love... which is the Prose of God cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, August 9, 2013

Making the Prose of Rumi more Beautiful and the Discourses of Geylani more Meaningful - honest toil and the virtues of household chores

Prose does not put food on the table, the kitchen stocked
nor the pathways and bathrooms clean...
For that we need the honest toil of workers and domesticity
of the home-makers. Blessed be the Prose of God in action!
(Prologue: This write-up is inspired by the exhaustion of the sinner after only two days' prep and household chores for yesterday's Eid open house. I plonked dead on my bed at 10pm, waking up 12 hours later...)

Kids... Mikhail and Imran.
You want them not to make the mistakes
you have made, and the easiest way is for you
to nag them. But the best way is by example.
You know it, I know it and
they know it too! (dammit)
Secrets. So what? There are secrets, and there are secrets of secrets. On the spiritual path, you will be pleased to know that many veils of such secrets are lifted,... and hey! Kudos to you because you now know! But so what?

For what is the point of knowledge if it is not manifested in your every day life? And as a registered sinner, I am the first to admit that this is not easy. But there are some very basic things which is important and we must at least try to do.

Self Improvement. The path (tarikat) does not enjoin the seekers to give up on the world, for there is much to do and improve, if we would only realise this. And of course it all begins with our own selves, first and last. For the journey to improving our habits and life style does not end until we exhale our last. So for acolytes of the mystic ways to espouse great transcendental knowledge about God and humanity, about the ordering and corruption of society... they must ask first what they are doing (or trying to do) to remedy their own faults - Their own personal health and eating habits. Their own exercise and concern for the household and their neighbours. After all, if nothing is attempted, nothing is gained. 

With Knowledge comes Responsibility. But for those blessed with secret knowledge, the responsibility is heavier. For as Imam Shafi'e said - Knowledge without practice is arrogance. In other words, you are principled in words and thoughts, but unprincipled in actions. This is not a good place to be in. In fact, it would be better to know less or nothing at all.

Honest Living. If you toil every day for an honest living, you gain money and wealth. With that prosperity, you can share it with your family and friends, your neighbours and needful charities, and there are a great number of people needing help out there. If you do not work, what are you contributing to the world? Whether you are trading, working for people, there is always room to work. 

Mikhail is a grandson of a great and efficient home-maker.
Though he never got the opportunity to meet my mum,
I hope to instill a little of my mum's domesticity in him.
(And in my own lazy self, come to think of it.)
The Prose of Rumi, the Discourses of Geylani. Even if you have no job whatsoever, you can at least be helpful about the house. For me, fixing the toilet, changing the light bulbs, sweeping the garden and throwing away the rubbish properly, are all a necessary and distinguished part of life. For it makes life for ourselves and everyone around us better. Menial though these chores may be, but the truth is they make the prose of Rumi and the discourses of Geylani even more beautiful, poignant and moving. Otherwise, are we not merely pandering to our spiritual ego?

Household Chores. Such things must be taught when young. And we must take the effort and be patient with our children. Otherwise, they will grow up dismissive of domestic chores, giving little credit to the little wives, mothers and sisters without whom a house can turn into a dung heap really, really fast.

So God bless all house-makers, and may we always be reminded to help them in their virtuous work!

Oh, and thank you to all who came yesterday. Most of all, I did the open house in loving memory of my late mother, Arbayah binti Haji Hashim, who made us a loving and generous home. May Allah (s.w.t.) bless her in the company of His friends.

My late-mum, the efficient home-maker. She only rested when she died.
But I wonder if she is now just as efficient in the Hereafter as she was here,
...watering the roses and weeding the Eternal Garden of the eternal weeds. He he he
al fatiha

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way