Wednesday, February 26, 2014

FORMLESS, FORMED, FORMLESS - a little reflection on traditional sunnah archery

The Form of Archery and Life 
(or Formless, Formed, Formless)
Formless, the intention is sparked
Like a light within a light,

The intention is formed 
As you pick the arrow
And set it upon the bowstring,
You raise the bow
Drawing the bowstring,
Then you aim and release the arrow,
Thus completing your intention,

Your intention returns to its formless state, 
The arrow is flying, whirling through the air
Landing at a place pre-destined an eternity ago,
Landing at a place only God will know where...

An old friend said to me, "You know, it is pointless to be disappointed when the arrow misses the target. And it is as pointless to rejoice when the arrows hits the bulls eye."


"Why be torn between two polar extremes of emotions, when you can have a constant state of calm happiness?" He continued. "After all, the form of archery, the physical aspects of the sport, and the formless state being your intention to follow the sunnah archery of our beloved Prophet (saws) is already a blessing in itself!"


"Yes... really. And if you do not believe me, then ask the regiment of angel archers that is shooting arrows with you because you are honouring the traditions of the Habibullah (saws)..."

I am obsessed by an obsession. I don't know how long it will last, but I am so happy to see my brother, my son and all my nephews similarly captivated. 

So do be careful, sunshine. Don't pick up that bow and arrow if you do not want to spend hours and hours shooting arrows, fixing arrows, repairing and installing targets. And to be thrown into a circle of friends who are kind, generous, hilarious and exceedingly good-looking. May Allah bless their big hearts!

He he he.

Have a lovely day, sunshine. 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, February 24, 2014

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY, POONE! ...The World of the Heart, Sibling Love and the Eternal Debt

When alive, Poone used to confide in his nephews that he shan't live to reach 50.
But to me, he has.

Happy Birthday, Poone! Today is my late brother Abang Chik's (Saiful Bahri, or Poone to his friends) birthday. I was reminded of this yesterday evening when my only living brother, Abang Ein (Mohamed Zahurein) mentioned it to me. Poone is 50 years old today. 

I guess the normal wording would be is Poone would be 50 years old today, if only he is still alive. For you see, my brother passed away one rainy evening on 14th September 2013. But I cannot bring myself to write the normal way about Poone. Because to me, he is still living. If not alive in this physical world, he is very much alive in my heart. And in God's beautiful way, the world of the heart trumps the physical world all the time. No contest, really.

Don't you agree, sunshine?

Formed, Formless in the Dictionary of Love
He was formless,
Then he was born and given form,
Then God wanted him back and
He became formless again...

But lo, I can feel him in my heart
And upon my lips and in my eyes,
Formed or formless he is my brother,
And there is no past tense
In the Dictionary of Love

Poone & Ein. My two brothers never really got on when Poone was alive. They had some similar tastes in music, but I think I would do neither of them any disservice if I said that both brothers had different passion and essence lighting their own separate destinies. Yesterday, Adam our nephew said, "You know... I wish my dad and Pak Poone was closer before..." I thought for awhile before replying, "But Adam, you and your dad washed his naked body before we prayed jenazah (funeral prayers) for Pak Poone. How much more intimate do you want your father to be with Pak Poone?" I think my nephew saw the logic of my reply. 

My brother, Abang Ein stepped up when Poone died and performed his brotherly duties. Which made me very happy. Because I am learning now that we often get frustrated, angry, annoyed and irritated by our close kin because they are our close kin. Had we not loved them so, we would not have cared and been so disturbed! He he he.

Don't you agree, sunshine?

A Sibling Love
May God bless our brothers and sisters,
No matter how we may feel about them,
For it is through love that we feel the sorrow today,
And it is through love that we will find happiness tomorrow!

I cannot tell you how much debt I owe to my brother Poone. He influenced and taught me so many things.

A Debt to a Brother
When I was stupid,
He brought me  good books,
When I was deaf,
He taught me beautiful music,
When I was impatient and angry
He showed me patience and mercy,

And when I was lost and needed guidance,
He took me to a Murshid,
To whom I swore the Bay'ah.

I shall be indebted to him
In so many ways
Till the day that I die,
On which day I hope to see him,
To say "I am sorry, I love you..."
And to rest my weary head on his shoulders and cry.

Sigh. Story of my life. And perhaps it is a story of your life too? Dearly departed(s) leaving us with a debt that we will never be able to repay. 

It is a good thing, it is a beautiful thing, but it also brings tears to your eyes sometimes. 

Don't you agree, sunshine?

Saiful Bahri bin Abdul Khalid aka Poone
al fatiha

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, February 15, 2014


The Worlds
The Straight Path is a path
In both this world and the world hereafter,
And it is also the bridge
From this world to the world hereafter.

I am told that the siratulmustaqim (the straight path) is so thin, you cannot even see it with your naked eye. But you can sense it with your conscience. So I try not to ignore my conscience, lest I become blind(er). Pray for me, sunshine!

The Worlds
This world is known as the natural world,
And the world of the Prophets and Angels
May be known as the supernatural world,
And the world of the Devils and the Djinns
May be known as the subnatural world...

Lo, the regret for those
Who think that the world of the Devils and the Djinns
Is equal to or greater than this natural world!
Lo, greater the shame and loss for those
Who think that the world of the Devils and the Djinns
Is even comparable to the world of the Prophets and the Angels! 

There is but one God. And His vision over His countless worlds and creatures is perfect and manifest. May we always be reminded of this, wherever providence may bring us temporarily, on our way towards the only place worth chasing... the Divine Presence of Allah (swt) and His Most Beloved, Muhammad Habibullah (saws). Pray for me, sunshine!

The Utterly Incomparable
... And nothing created is comparable to Him,
The incomparable One, absolute in His Uniqueness,
Utterly Alone in His Praiseworthiness,
Inexplicably Different in His Difference to His Creation,
Unimaginably Breathtaking in His Beauty,
Completely Absolute beyond any created understanding
Of completeness and absoluteness...

Thus my prose collapses into ruinous words,
Turning songs and poems
Into sighs and moans for the Unknowable 
Who desires to be known!

Someone said to me, "Lo! How long have you been lost? Desiring something other than His desire? Desiring something other than Him?" Yes, that is me alright. So you, see. It is only natural that I ask for your prayers, sunshine.

Have a lovely Sabbath.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Inner Archery - where the arrow lands is already written by God Almighty even before we drew the bowstring and released the arrow

Inner Archery
I found myself at the archery field
Sending arrows on their way,
I found myself standing on the grass
Still wet with morning dew,
As the slumbering Earth
Awakes with power
For a new day,
Oh my friend, I wondered...
Where oh where are you!?

I found myself in the shaft,
In a quiver of arrows,
In their uncertain flight
To Hu knows where,
For once my part is done
And I have set the arrow free,
Wherever it lands 
Is where my Lord
Wants it to be,

I found myself in the company of a mad man,
Who insists that we were there that day,
Remaining steadfast on the Hill of Uhud,
And thus, I found myself and I found God,
Faithful to the last, standing amongst the good.

The Mystery of the Missing Toilet. After archery yesterday morning, I rushed into my house, leaving the bow and arrows in the car, distracted as I was by an urgent need to relieve my bladder. So much so that I did not even take off my sunglasses. I sped past my father still having breakfast at the dining area and entered the bathroom, not even pausing to turn on the bathroom lights. "Damn, it is dark!", I remember thinking to myself, "So dark that I could not even see the toilet!" And with that I deposited myself on a non-existent toilet and painfully onto the hard tiled floor. My coccyx (the tail end of the spine) is still sore, and thus you find me in my bedroom this morning and not shooting arrows. Still resting after the unfortunate accident.

It appears that my dad is having the toilet replaced, and the contractor has removed the toilet earlier yesterday morning. Of course, I don't blame anyone. No one could have imagined anyone so dumb so as to not notice a missing toilet. He he he.

But at least I am finally going to finish this posting (although sitting slightly awkwardly), thus you will know that I am still very much alive after days and days of no new postings in the almanac. There is always a silver lining in any grey cloud, yes?

Meant to be. I wish I did not fall in the bathroom yesterday. But it was meant to happen. Just like where the arrow lands is already written by Allah (swt) before we even drew the bowstring and released the arrow. And I hope I am accepting both fates with a light heart and loving acceptance of His plan. I am saying this because it is always a struggle when you have to sit with a sore buttocks and type this out. *Ouch!*

He he he.

Have a lovely day, sunshine. May Allah (swt) bless you and may the Prophet Muhammad (saws) support you in all your endeavours in life and love.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

WHAT IS HAPPINESS? it merely pleasure and enjoyment? I think our spirit is created to be infinitely more subtle and refined...

The Key to Happiness
I lay in wait, hunting for happiness,
But happiness eludes me like an elusive thingy,
Then I look to God and the Prophet
And desired that the Almighty and the Beloved
Be happy with me,

And lo! I finally found 
My happiness
In me.

What is Happiness? How do you know where and how to find happiness? But most importantly, would you recognise true happiness if it bites your nose? Is self enjoyment and gratification the final definition of happiness?

Is it merely Gratification and Pleasure? Because if that is true, then food, money, companionship, sex, power, drink and adrenaline rushes are all that it takes to make us happy. But it doesn't, does it? It touches at a visceral and material level, admittedly. But such things do not last. Money is ultimately spent (or hoarded away), food is ultimately eaten and deposited in the toilet the next morning, companionship can be boring at times, you can't have sex all the time, power corrupts, happy drunkenness turns easily into a morning hangover and you can only bungee jump once in a while. At the end of the day, such pleasure and gratification are very transient, plus they take a whole lot of effort and the outcome often unreliable.

I am too tired to look for this so-called happiness. So I have decided to kick off my slippers, give my restless spirit a break and stop looking for happiness. For I just find all this happiness-seeking enterprises to be too much like work. 

Oh, what shall I do now?!

Spade work ahead. Happily, yesterday a solution came to me on the whisper of a wind - a friend said to me, "Look for God and the Prophet to be happy with you... Then you will have all angles covered."

Yeah. That is better, I think. All angles covered. I like that, for I am sure our spirit is created to be infinitely more subtle and refined...

Well, not even my best-est of friends would describe me as subtle and refined. So I know now that I have a lot of spade work ahead of me.  

Be patient with me, sunshine.  

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE SILENCE OF THE SPIRIT... the quivering bow, the trembling draw and the flying arrow.

At a Lost for Words. My archery-mad friend, Enda says that my prose will be inspired by traditional archery, particularly the Sunnah archery of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). But to be honest with you, I am at a lost for words.

For how can you write when you are in the midst of consummating a love? You do not hold your lover in your arms, and then tell her in between kisses and moans, "Wait... wait a second, let me just jot down my feelings and observation.", to then continue passionately making love to her. 

Life, and love simply does not work that way.

The Intermissions. No, life and love is enjoyed and endured in between the draw of the arrow and the release with praise and salutations to God Almighty and His Prophet Muhammad (saws). It is the intermission between sets, drinking my coffee and looking around the empty field near my house, as the first ray of the sun touches upon the seven arrows borrowed from Enda and the bow called Aslan resting beside me.

Sweet, complete happiness.

Distractions. Oh, yes. And this I may share with you. To miss the target is a distraction, and to hit the target too is a distraction. The sigh of disappointment or the squeal of triumph, both are distractions to whatever I am  endeavouring this early Monday morning.

Simply because they spoil the silence of the spirit, in which I hope to hear Allah (swt) and His Beloved Habibullah (saws) resonate in the quivering bow, the trembling draw and the flying arrow.

Have a wonderful Monday, sunshine...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way