Monday, June 30, 2014


Beware of the Shallows (or the Seven Pearls)
Do not stray to close to the shallows,
Keep to the deep waters
Where all goodness and God is hallowed,

Beware of straying to close to the water's edge
Where water snakes and alligators gather,
Keep to the deep waters of His Mercy
Where He keeps the seven pearls;
The seven secret names
For you and for me.

The devil cannot hurt us here. Not our overbearing nafs (lower desires) nor our ego is dominant here. Here in the Ocean of His Mercy, it is His Love that is the Sultan. Far from the shallows where the terrible tripartite hold sway, the water here is clean and pure. The deep sea of His Compassion is the treasure trove of the Prophets and the Saints, and they come here like fishermen, taking what is afforded to each one of them according to His Will... in the safety of His intimacy.

For you see, the devil, the nafs and our ego can only hurt us when we stray into the shallows, and become ourselves shallow. For how can the devil and all our enemies even curse us properly, when they don't even know our secret names? So don't be shallow and petty. Learn to be a servant and swim into His Embrace and be happy and free of these evils.

The Shallow Norms
Come! Come into the waters!
Come as you are,
No matter what they call you,
Believer, unbeliever, sinner
Or the foolish one!

Leave the shallows and the water's edge
For those still distracted 
By the norms of their
Religion and Age!

At the dawn of this second day of Ramadan, may Allah (swt) bless you, may Nabi Muhammad (saws) guide you, and may you love and live like a diver in His Mercy Ocean. And if you see me in the shallows (as inevitably I am), struggling like a dimwit with my pretensions of evil and piety, pull me away and take me with you to His Mercy Ocean!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 30th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UBAT (THE MEDICINE) - the remedy for bad manners, life and prayers...

Ubat biadab
Ikutlah adab si-Abdi

Ubat si-hidup 
Ada dengan pesakit atau si-mati.

Ubat si-peminta
Hanya pada Si-Pemberi,

The cure for bad manners
Is to follow the good manners of the Servant,

The cure for those living
Is with the dead or dying,

The remedy for the one asking
Is with The Only One giving,

Ubat biadab, ikutlah adab si-Abdi. The remedy for bad manners, which accounts for all the ills and sorrow of humanity is through good manners. For good manners should be the basis of our interaction with the world, from the people that loves us and the enemy that hates us, to the animals that we keep or is wild. Adab (good manners) in Islam encompasses the natural environment that nourishes us, how we organise our community, how we trade and live as neighbours. The very best adab rules even how we deal with inanimate things like rocks and sand, water and air - for there is nothing in this world that is not sustained by Allah (swt) and recites His Names and His praises. From the deep space of stars, galaxies and constellations, deep into the inner space between atoms, molecules and electrons - they all remember His Name and His Glory!

And there is no servant more steeped in servanthood to God and His Creation than Nabi Muhammad (saws), the first servant and prophet.

"I was a Prophet when Adam was between clay and water"

Ubat si-hidup ada dengan pesakit atau si-mati. My late mother (may Allah Almighty bless her soul) always took the time to visit the sick and the dying. Many years ago, our loyal gardener, Mr. Menon was injured in an accident and broke his leg. "When I woke up in the hospital, the first and only person I saw when I opened my eyes was your mother." So he recalled one morning as we chatted about my late mum. For my mother it was no-big-deal. It is a given thing, a natural order and manner that if whomever we know is injured, ill or dying, we must visit them. I wish I had such discipline and natural instinct. Because visitations to cemeteries, hospitals and the sick bed reminds us of our own transient state of health. For all the bad manners from which all ills and sorrows of humanity originates cannot happen until a man or a woman forgets their condition of being in utter need, love and mercy of God the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful.

And boy, do we need all the reminders we can get. So when your conscience is pricked, go and do not hesitate. Go to your friend at his sick bed or at the cemetery. Sickness or death is no impediment to the love and adab you may find there.

Ubat si-peminta hanya pada si-Pemberi. Whatever goodness we receive comes from the Giver, a.k.a. God Almighty. Oh, He may pick and choose the timing, the person, the condition and the form through which a goodness is given, but undoubtedly, for all believers, it is He who is the one and the only one giving. So we thank God all the time, for our parents and our siblings, for our kin and our friends, for the hospital treatment, for the house we are living in, for the car we are driving, and for the infinitesimal atoms and sub-atomic particles that (temporarily) cloth our spirit.

So, whatever and whenever we are asking for... only He can gives. Don't you agree, sunshine? 

So do not be shy with your asking. Ask God for God!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 26th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

THE SINNER AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS - Nabi Muhammad (saws) and Coldplay. It all makes perfect sense.

A Sky Full of Stars
...'Cause you're a sky full of stars,
I am going to give you my heart...

...'Cause you're a sky full of stars,
And 'Cause you light up the path...

I don't care, go on and tear me apart,
I don't care if you do,
'Cause in a sky, cause in a sky full of stars,
I think I saw you...

'Cause you're a sky, cause you're a sky full of stars,
I wanna die in your arms,
'Cause you get lighter the more it  gets dark,
I am gonna give you my heart,

You're a sky, you're a sky full of stars,
Such a heavenly view,
You are such a heavenly view.

So ran selected extracts of the Coldplay song, "A Sky Full of Stars".

And many eons before, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said,

My Companions are like stars (on a dark night)
Whichever of them you follow,
You will be guided.

Coincidence or Karma? He he he. Of course you know the truth, sunshine. There is no such thing as coincidences, which is merely a convenient word to describe an event whose thread of cause and effect we are not able to discern yet. It is a lazy man's escape.

But we are not lazy, you and I. Not when the meanings of meanings blaze a trail like a comet through our soul's sky. White, blue, orange or purple... the Truth guides us, cherishes us and raise our petty worldly burdens off our tired shoulders. So is it a pop song performed by a British band? Or is it a universal pledge of guidance spoken by the Habibullah (saws), re-animated for us?

Enjoy the vid, peeps.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Notrumi Embun, 25th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, June 22, 2014

LEARNING FROM HAPPY DOGS - don't be a postman-chasing, vet-biting malevolent cur. Be a servant and be happy!

Let us be like happy dogs!
Human beings are more like dogs
Than some are willing to accept,

Just like dogs, we are happiest
When we have a master to serve.

In one of James Herriot's dog stories, he recounts how, as a Yorkshire veterinarian he had to deal with a pair of small dogs owned by a couple. The problem is that the dogs are an absolute menace, out of control, bossy and always looking to give a nasty nip at the ankles or hands of unsuspecting postmen or veterinarians. 

While attending to them, the vet noticed how the husband and wife molly-coddled the two dogs in the most saccharine and sentimental manner. That is fine, but when the dogs misbehaved, they appear to take no notice and allowed the animals to think that they can misbehave and act as they please. So the dogs became the masters of the house. 

But just because the dogs ruled the home, it does not mean that they are happy, observed the good vet. In fact, these dogs were much more natural and happier when they first arrived in the household, but the 'tolerant' and 'openminded' nature of their owners turned them from nice, good dogs to malicious, postmen-chasing curs. 

We humans are like that, I think. We need some centre, some focus of service and duty to align our life to the best that we can be. And perhaps there is no more natural essence of a soul than to be a blessed servant of the Soul-maker, the Creator, a.k.a. God Almighty. That we might be of some service to mankind, to animals, and to all of Creation. But when we lose our  bearing, when we forget that we are meant to be servants and not bosses, we open humanity's door to oppression, tyranny, exploitation and violence. Just like those damn dogs. And just like the dogs, we are actually not even happy being so mean.

So my friend says, "Seek happiness, seek servanthood!" And I cannot agree more with him.

Woof Woof!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

- Notrumi Embun, 22nd June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, June 20, 2014

THE BOWYER... Mr.Moses and the hyperbolic sinner.

The Bowyer
The sinew in the bow
Is my sinew,
The skin on the bow
Is my skin,
The inner strength of the bow
Is my strength,
The draw of the bowstring
Is my effort,
The flight of the arrow
Is my prayers,
And wherever the arrow lands,
That is my destiny.

So if you wish to know the real me,
Find where my arrow lands,

And if you want to know the real you,
Find where your arrow lands...

I dropped by dear old Moses's home yesterday morning. What was meant to be a short hi-bye ended up to a 2 hours visitation. We are fixing the grip back to my original 35lb bow, you see. I have done the preps, tearing away the decorative covering (which I kinda considered a little naff) and carving the rubber grip to make it smaller and more suitable for us Asians with our tiny hands. 

Unfortunately, I did not do a good job and Moses had to repair my repair work, carving away the entire side of the grip, and curving the edges to make it more ergonomic. He then measured a paper pattern for the grip and proceeded to cut a lovely black leather (medium soft). And this was the easy part.

Next came the actual chore of glueing and pressing (very very hard indeed) the leather unto the grip and bow, being careful not to leave any spare leather to bubble up. To do this he had to carefully remove any surplus as he turned the leather around the awkward shapes of the bow and the grip. 

If it sounds like hard work, it is. But if you are obsessed with doing a good job, and a stickler of getting things right, then it is just another day in Moses's House of Fine Leather. He he he.

And I don't want to get overboard with my hyperbole (well, I do actually... its my thing, you see), but while I was there in his ever-cluttered home, I felt privileged to witness  Moses's worshipful work. Although it was not the regular form of Muslim prayers, the giddy atoms in the living room was spinning with joy. And this only happens in state of worshipful devotion. 

As always, my friend offered me food (which I had to decline) and we chatted about the profound and the profane as he worked, while in the background, dzikr (remembrance of God) songs and mawluds (songs in salutations and praise of Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.) waft through the air like angelic pearls gliding in love and glory. Later, Mrs. Moses returned from exercising the horse, Samurai, and our little jemaah (assembly) was thus complete.

God bless you, sunshine. And may Allah (swt) forgive me for my awkward hyperboles. 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Notrumi Embun, 20th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HOW CAN A THOUGHT OWN THE THINKER? ... the Furious Question and the Furious Answer!

The Furious Question
How can the thought own the Thinker?
How can the prose own the Poet?
How can the painting own the Painter?
How can the created own the Creator?
How can the sunlight own the Sun?
How can the many own the One?

People never say they own God. It is after all, heretical and (even worse), ill-mannered. But by their words and actions, and all those unnecessary comments and postings in the social media, they appear to have made up their mind that God is theirs alone, and those who think and abide to a religious code that is the same with theirs. Our hypocrisy is breath-taking.

But a thought can possess a thinker, actually - this occurs when you forget that you are owned by God, and not the other way around. Then easily, your thoughts of religious piety, spiritual authority and divine knowledge POSSESSES you, turning love into pretensions, turning faith into a dress that you can put on and take off according to your whim. And of course, it turns your knowledge into blind hubris. This is worse than any demonic possession. Because this 'evil' is subtle and cunning, hiding behind your best and noble intentions... Seek help, o' saints and sinners! Seek shelter in God Almighty o' mankind, whether you are clothed as a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, an Agnostic, a Trekkie, an Atheist or just another poor dumb schmuck like me!

But dumb or not, I was given the answer to The Furious Question...

The Furious Answer
I am a passing thought in the mind of the Thinker,
I am a prose written by the Poet,
I am the painting painted by the Painter,
I am created by the Creator,
I am a light from the Sun,
One of many, from the Only Real One!

I am the question asked by the Questioner,
Thus, I am the answer given by the Answerer!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

- Notrumi Embun, 18th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LOVE ON STEROIDS - the non-linear nature of time in the kingdom of love

Who is Remembering Who?
If I had you near me now,
I would press my head
To your bosom,
I would stop thinking,
Stop worrying,
I would simply take in
With each soulful breath,
Your scent, your warmth,
And those words of assurance
That long have I waited to hear,
"Do not worry, I will always be here,
Just recall me and I will be near,
In fact, I would be there even before
Your first murmurs of melancholy for me
Strikes your despairing soul,

You must realise...
You are remembering me 
Because I am first
To remember

Here, time is linear. When we are talking about our dearly departed who has passed on, we need to stop thinking in the normal way. For we are living in the material world that is linear - time moves on, we are born, we grow old then we die. 

Here, time ceases to be linear. But when we recall our beautiful mothers, our excellent fathers, our friends and kin who have all left us, we are trespassing into the spiritual world, though there is still breath in our bodies. And time is not linear at all here. It goes forward and backwards, it bounces about like a beach ball. It is like undisciplined electrons, whirling and turning according to our wilful purpose. 

You are dead. Don't you have anything better to do? So you see, I am thinking of my mother now, simply because she is thinking of me first. And I would say the same for my late brother, and all my many aunties and uncles, friends and cousins. So now you may be wondering about your late mum/dad/sis/bff - "You are all thinking of me, remembering me... surely there is something more beneficial for you to do in the Hereafter..."

Death is Love on Steroids. Well, the truth is simple and undeniable (well...  you can deny it if you want to be a spoilsport / a partypooper, he he he). The doorway of death does not extinguish love. Actually it augments love. It is love on steroids. And this world, this material world is literally pulsating with the hidden lines that love is drawing across our lives - making our days and nights better, richer and more meaningful.

Such things you may find in thinking of your God and your Prophet (saws). Whether you are contemplating alone or in the presence of your betters. For when it comes to love's power and the truth it represents... is there any comparison to Allah (swt) and His Love for Muhammad Habibullah (saws)?

So, if there is a soul you are longing to meet again, to hear from... he/she is there in the Divine Presence, waiting for you. And his/her longing for you precedes your longing for him/her. 

Love on Steroids. Like I said.

He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 17th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love all show the Way 

Friday, June 13, 2014

GOD'S DZIKR (REMEMBRANCE) OF YOU ... in a moment split into infinite moments

God's Dzikr (Remembrance)
I am such an irritant,
But God is listening,
I complain and complain and complain,
But God is listening,
I am such a sinner,
But God is forgiving,
I am lost to myself,
Lost to the crowd,
Lost to the world,
But God is listening,
He does, all the time.

Even when I am forgetting,
God... He is remembering...

Remembering me in a beautiful place,
Remembering me in the best of ways,

Oh how they measure their remembrances of Him!
When His remembrance of us is more constant,
More infinite, more subtle and more certain
Moment after moment after blessed moment!

If we forget Him, nothing happens to God. We cannot touch His Omnipotence and Greatness which is greater than the greatest analogy our feeble mind can bring.

If we forget to praise Him, God is not dishonoured. His Glory is outside this reality and is furnished and burnished by something beyond our mortal inkling. 

If we forget to be grateful, God does not stop giving. He is beyond our petty need for gratitude and praise. How else do the ingrates sometimes live in large houses and the grateful dervish is destined for the gutter?

But if God forgets us? If God grows weary of us... tired of our constant forwards and backwards. Fed-up with our hypocrisy, lies and corruption? 

If God neglects even for a nano-second of His remembrance of us... where would we be? Certainly we would presently stop existing. But what past would we have? Would we be erased even before we were created? No history of me. Not even to mourn over my unfortunate story?

How sad.

But for the sake of the Prophet Muhammad(saws)...

Thankfully, God is God. Unlike any other, He is Most Compassionate. 
Unlike any other, He is Most Merciful. 
Only that reason merits why this sinner continues to exist. 
Continues to trouble your heart with these words.

But perhaps, I hope what is written here will give you 
Some solace, and some comfort. 
An assurance that when God says 
He is Unique and Most Forgiving of His creation... 
He is merely sharing the Truth of Himself with you...

Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 13th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, June 12, 2014

THE HOUSE OF A FRIEND IN JANDA BAIK... and the Reality that you choose, and that has chosen you

"It is so green here, Papa."

After 2 weeks of no-holiday-holiday (according to Mikhail), we finally managed to break the grip of endless tuitions (for him) and work (for myself) to escape the city and make our way up to Janda Baik, that idyllic little village nesting in the hills outside Kuala Lumpur.

Nothing to do but lie in bed with the laptop. But to be honest we just spent a short time
in the room before heading out to explore the resort.
There is a small balcony fronting the lake which is actually pool-sized. But the fishes
make a happy company, coming under the balcony hoping to be fed whenever you
venture out. Can they see us from down there, or do they have another sense
that alerts them to the presence of an obliging human?
The flowers are in full bloom up here in Janda Baik.
This giant yellomindus blimeyidontknowthenamus
is at least 3 inches long from stem to petal.
We headed to a nearby house of a Friend. Another friend is caretaker but he was not
at home. Mikhail tried to make friends with the many(many) cats of the house. But
he observed, "These village cats are different. They are not so friendly.
We got lost looking for the family retreat of another friend, Sheik Feisal Bajrai. With
almost zero network in some parts of the village, it was difficult going. But next morning
we woke up early and found the house. The gate was shut, but Mika opened it and we happily
trespassed in. I walked around the back and found Feisal's mum and dad and a Singaporean
relative having early coffee. Uncle Bajrai invited us in, and they fed us fried rice.
This is what you call Hadramaut hospitality. He he he.
We brought our bow and arrows, so after breakfast we set for some serious play at archery.
For almost 2 hours, I reckoned, we shot arrows, together with Feisal's relations from
Temasek. Balqies, his daughter also joined in the fray. I am happy to say that the new
45 pounder bow excelled! Feisal showed me his 60 pounder whose strings I could
barely budge. What a beautiful morning in their 1.4 acre estate... lovely.
After the easy archery exercise, we bade our gratitude and farewell to the Bajrais
before heading back to the House of a Friend. And again, we missed our custodian
friend, Tutak. But we did not mind much. We sat around under the ancient house and
Mikhail made friends successfully this time with his cats. Nothing better than a little
bribe to seal a friendship, I always believe. He he he.
It seemed a sin not to stop by the streams that run through the village.
So on the way back we took a break by a nice bend of river and Mikhail played
in the shallows. Unfortunately the shorts he wore was not meant for such
aquatic fun and kept dropping down. He was mooning everyone there. And I
was constantly shouting to him without any effect, "Pull your pants up, Mika!!"

Well, that's my short record of our road trip, sunshine. My final observation is the many, many sightings of moths, butterflies and dragonflies through out the trip. They were everywhere, hovering and buzzing about, their wings flapping energetically in the breeze. With each flap of their wing, a dzikr (remembrance) of Allah's (swt) name can be heard, but even more, can be seen. You just need a little of that God-given imagination of yours to realise the manifestation of love that is welling up in your heart. And of course, if you have asked God for your firstborn to be a tasbih (rosary) to ever remind you of Him and His Beloved Muhammad (saws), it is no mere imagination. 

It is the Reality you choose, and the Reality that has chosen you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 12th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, June 7, 2014

WHEN IGNORANCE IS A MERCY... grappling with death in prose

Grappling with Death
I saw Death walked through the door.
Did the nurses not see him?
As he came close to my friend
I grabbed him and held him tight.

"Do not hinder me." Death said.
"Were I come to you tonight, would you fight me?
Would you struggle to remain imprisoned in this world?"

I shook my head.

"Thus why do you stand between me and my duty?

"I have plans for us, he and I." I answered.

"But if you trade places now, would you want him 
To obstruct me in my duty?
Knowing that I am but a gatekeeper?
Knowing that I am only a servant at the threshold of the Lord?
That I am the necessary path to your Lord and His Beloved?"


Death came close to a smile as he can, and said.
"So be it. Now, let go of me. For I am not attending to him tonight.
My engagement is with the gentleman in the next bed.

You really ought not to be so emotional, Notrumi."

When Ignorance is a Mercy. Who knows when Death will come? People sometimes think it is a sword of doom, ever hanging over our heads, waiting to slice off our tenuous grip to life. It can be a car accident. It can be death in the battlefield, or perhaps choking on a peanut. From the profound, to the profane to the mundane, death comes to us in all sorts of guises.

But God desires to be known as the God of Mercy, not Doom. Certainly not for us human beings, after He has taken such trouble (though it is of course, no trouble at all for Him...) to create us in our skins, flesh and bones. How would it be for you, were you to know your exact moment of death? Let me tell you that for me it would be an oppressive knowledge to carry. I suspect it will drive many of us mad with paranoia and fear.

So do not fret nor fear your ignorance of your impending date with Azrail (as). Death is mercy, and the fact that you do not know when your lease on life expires is also a mercy.

And of course, the truth is not even the pen of Notrumi can hold back for even one nano-second his own time of death, much less that of his friend, however exalted or dear.  

Yet, such treasonous thoughts entered his mind last night. May Allah (swt) forgive me for even contemplating them. Happiness is only with you, ya Rabbi! Intimacy is only through Your Muhammad Habibullah (saws), Your own Sea of Intimacy for the poor humanity!

Hu Hu Hu.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 6th June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SECRET DUTIES - the Adab of secrets

Secret Duties
If God gives you a secret, keep it,
Tempted though you may be
To share it with your company,

Then you will find in Him the best of intimate,
The source of more secrets and surprises
Beyond your wildest estimate!

We don't want to know your scandals. But how many times have we inadvertently learn something not so good about one another? And how many times were we tempted to share it with another? And may Allah forgive us, to post it, to tweet it out into cyberspace? 

My old friend says - Keep your mouth shut, Notrumi. Instead invite Allah (swt) into your secret parlour for discourse over the ancient weakness of men (that means, you). You will learn more about human nature, and more importantly, far more about yourself, then were you to share it with your closest advisor. 

It is laughable, is it not? That a blogger can still keep secrets? But I do try. And when I do I notice God Almighty stringing a path of events that shows us just how much He loves us, and just how important is our love-link to Him through His Beloved Muhammad (saws).

I cannot explain any further. After all... it's a secret!

He he he.

Secret Duties II
Allah is the Source of all Secrets,
And we are lost without Him
In the maze of our human confusion,
But it is no secret that
Nabi Muhammad is His Beloved,
And we, the Nation of the Beloved!

Oh, the Banner of Muhammad is made of Light!
Light upon Light!
Run, shadows... run!
The secrets I have is not for you!

 wa min Allah at-taufiq

- Notrumi Embun, 3rd June 2014.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, June 2, 2014


Unravelling That Evil Knot

You need a little knowledge
To know you own none of your own,

You need a little good manners
To know that good manners 
Is the natural order of things,

You need a little love in your heart
To find true love in the form
Of God Almighty and 
His Muhammad,

So while you are finding solace in these little things,
While walking, prostrating, 
Or upon your knees bended,
Do not act as if
Your search has
 All but ended,

For you are in the path of eternity,
That unfathomable and unending
Journey through God to you,
And through you to God,

Slowly unraveling the schemes
Of your ego, the enemy and 
 The evil knot.

When the prose was concluded, I recalled, "Saay... where did I read about 'the knot'?" Then of course, I remembered. 
Say:"I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of the daybreak,
"From the evil of what He has created;
"And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness;
"And from the evil of the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots,
And from the evil of the envier when he envies."
(Al Quran 113, Muhsin Khan translation)

Darkness of the night, witchcrafts, evil knots and enviers. Jeepers. Not exactly the sort of light-n-easy love lorn stuff that we record here. But darkness, the blackness of our world 'exists' only in the absence of light. So seek refuge with our God, Lord of the daybreak, and see your worries and pain, your most secret despairs run skulking from the sunrise of Allah (swt) upon the forest of our (often) needless confusion.

Insya Allah (Godwilling), there is no place where the shadow can hide!

....Light is coming! 
The banner of Muhammad Habibullah is made of light! 
Light upon Light!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

-Notrumi Embun, 2nd June 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way