Monthly Archives: November 2015

TO SING WITH YOUR OWN WORDS, YOUR PRAISE

artflow_201511281947The Company That I Keep
Neither here nor there,
No sweetness anywhere
Shall ever to You my Lord, compare
No praise of You, worthy
Shall leave my wanting lips
But they shall come in prose, perfectly formed
Through the company that I keep.
……………….

I am who I am with - Who we are, what we are, our worth is connected to whom we are with – To the people we share our life with, our father and mother, our siblings, our children, kin and friends. To the teachers to whom we owe so much, and to the friends that make our life joyful, even to the coffee-shop waiter where we take our morning tea. Because we are ourselves individuals, but we are also a part of a bigger world, and we take the tone and flavour of the company we keep. Fortunately, often we have the choice to stay or leave…

The Ego - But one company that we cannot escape from, and is a continuing pain, is our ego. That insufferable part of our life which inhabits our daily actions, in all our good and bad – extolling our ‘high virtue’ in our piety, while also tempting us towards common sin and the hidden error of hubris. That is the tongue of our ego, distracting and destructive upon our path towards servanthood.

Thus, may God forgive us and help us silent our ego. That we may speak to Him as He wishes, so that we may love Him as He desires, so that we may praise Him in the manner that He loves best!

10544-497-497O’ Lord, how will we find You if You do not lead us to You? And how shall we be granted this favour if we are forgetful of Your best favour; Nabi Muhammad Habibulah (saws), Your Own Mercy to all the Worlds (and Nations). Thus…

Outside Your door we wait, beggars for Your divine grace,

To sing with Your Own words, Your praise!

Do you not agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

HE WHO HONOURS THE BEGGAR – the grace of asking and the trap of ‘knowing’

Camera 360The Prison & The Elixir
Knowing is the prison,
The poison of Love,

It is the state of asking,
Yearning and desiring
That is Love’s true elixir,

Or are you so deaf and blind
To your utter state of need
That knowing something
Gives you comfort?

Verily, such assurance
Is wildly deceptive!
……………..

Slide1It is not knowledge that we abhor. It is the state of ‘owning’ knowledge that we fear when we say “I know!” or “So I am informed!”. For goodness sake, what is it that we know? What is it that we are so well informed of? Is our knowledge complete? Is there none higher than us who may perhaps know better? Who knows best of all? Who understands us and this world with the minute knowledge and understanding that surpasses human conjecture? Who perhaps knows all this well enough simply because God created us and the rest of Creation for his sake? Praises and most high salutations upon him that we are speaking of!

Knowing stuff? Bah! We have come across many who ‘knows’ religion, wearing their knowledge like disguises, dresses and robes that they wear and take off according to their whim. A wardrobe of knowledge to fool the world and themselves. Allah (swt) save us from such hubris and deceit! Glory upon Allah (swt) for He protects his Habibullah (saws) from such error!

Upon your knees, my love. Abase your ego to the Knower. Prostrate yourself upon the altar of the Forgiver. Declare your need to the Nourisher and Sustainer. Ask for illumination from the Light. Seek love from the Lover. Seek peace from Peace. Seek all this from Allah as how the Rasulullah (saws) has shown you.

There is no shame in asking. For you are just asking questions to He who set the questions Himself. Really, He is simply replying to Himself. But you, for a moment in history, you have become an instrument of Divine Plan, an honoured servant of the Nation of Muhammad (saws).

Alhamdulillah, only Allah Almighty honours he who is begging and pleading!

beggingWith that in mind, how do we treat the beggar in the street? The orphan tugging at our sleeve, asking for change? We are that beggar that we ignore. We are the orphan that we spurn and turn aside from. Forgive us o’ Lord, when we wrong ourselves. Oh Lord High, how sublime is Your own Manners, how magnificent and munificent are Your own Courtesies! You are asking us to follow You, but how can we without You? Without Your Muhammad (saws) to lead us in every moment of our existence in this ego-centric world?

We ask Allah (swt) through the manifestation of Divine favours that is our beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws) to make us understand and submit to His plan, without the hubris of possession over such understanding. This is an important distinction to consider, 0′ my son, 0′ my daughter.

So go on, sunshine. Ask away. What? You are not a Muslim? You are a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu? An agnostic, an atheist? We will attend to such technical issues later, but for now He who asks to be asked is waiting for your questions, in the Garden of Love where the answers are poised in the cordial of His Mercy. For His Love for you is unparalleled and incomparable to any worldly love you may have tasted. So do not be shy in your asking…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE OCEAN & THE MASTER MARINER

old_sailing_ship_in_ocean_at_night_biggerThe Ocean & the Master Mariner
Some come to the Ocean undressed,
Some come to the Ocean arrayed in costumes,
Some come to the Ocean on a dingy,
While others come sailing on a mighty ship,

Some come to the Ocean crying,
Some come to the Ocean dying,
Some come to the Ocean busy talking,
While others come to the Ocean
Listening to the Ocean speaking,

Some come to the Ocean seeking Truth,
In search of Mercy, longing for Peace,
While some come to the Ocean seeking power
To dominate and rule over ‘the others’,

Some come to the Ocean laughing,
Some come to the Ocean in tears,
Some come to the Ocean as actors,
Reciting a script, but who was the writer?

Some come to the Ocean as Muslims,
Some come to the Ocean dressed as Christians,
Some come to the Ocean as Jews and Hindus,
While others come bedecked as agnostics,
But none are more intriguing then the atheists,
As they paddle and swim close to shore,
Warmly saying to anyone there;
“There is no Ocean here!
There is no Ocean anywhere!”

However you may come to the Ocean,
Dressed in your assumptions,
Robed in your knowledge,
Hidden in your veil,
Crowned in your ignorance
Or humbled by Wisdom,
Once you are in,
There is only the Ocean,
There is no more you, no more others,
Just as far as your soul may perceive,
An infinite expanse of water,
Beautiful and mysterious,
From the glittering sea for those who remember,
Into the frigid sunless depth of forgetfulness.
There is none but the Ocean here,
And Muhammad is His Master Mariner.
……………..

Slide1Cut the Bull. However we may come to God, He sees through us. Through all our lies, through all our pretense, we who are perhaps so drowned in worldly deception, that we find it hard to see between our own truths, half-lies and lies.

We are Man! For there is no place for falsehood of the ego in the Ocean of Mercy, the Ocean of Truth. Our ego will fight bitterly to stay out of the water. “Be safe, here, Taufiq! This is where we belong, on land, not in the ocean! The sea is for fishes! We are Man!”

But the ego does not speak for Man. The ego speaks for itself, and it knows that in the vastness of the Ocean, it will amount to nothing, it will account for nothing, not even a slight murmur in the water.

Man may have been borne on land, and our very body made of the very clay that forms the land. But our spirit? It is forever yearning for out true home, bent to the siren call of the Ocean, guided by the sunnah (traditions) of the Master Mariner himself, Nabi Muhammad (saws). So you see, the sea is waiting for you, sunshine. In this journey, may I follow you?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE DRAGON… Saiful Bahri (1964 – 2013) Part 1

SCAN_20151104_111716224The Dragon
It had come into my heart, that,
Somewhere, in this city,
There walks a dragon,

I had seen it’s eyes in
The glimmering lights of the city at night,
I had seen it’s scales in
The glass of the tall, faceless buildings.

It’s roar was heard in the infernal din
Of the city roads, that were ways to its lair,
I felt it’s scorching breath from
The numberless breaths of the city,
I found it’s track leading into the halls of Men,

Time after time, I found, men or women, mindless,
The light of madness in their eyes,
Who wander the streets,

I wondered on what had befallen them…

They had seen the Dragon, and it had burnt 
Their souls to ashes, by the flame of its gaze.

- Saiful Bahri bin Abdul Khalid (1964 – 2013)

……………

SCAN_20151104_111716224_001A Discovery - Two nights ago, while I was sitting at the landings, I thought I heard some noise in my late brother’s room. It has been left undisturbed for the past 2 years since his passing. I entered and found nothing amiss. But on a shelf I noticed a notebook. I perused the ragged old book and discovered it to be a scribbling-sketch book of Saiful Bahri (known to me as Abang Chik and to his friends as Poone), dating  back to 1992. Some of the writing appeared to be in my hand, so I almost took them to be my own . But upon closer examination, I am certain that these words and illustrations were all my brother’s – every single alphabet, every single stroke of the pen and pencil. Gosh. It was like receiving a letter 23 years late.

A Question Answered. Do you know that since my brother’s death I was constantly nagged by a question – why has he never published or blogged any of his drawings, prose or stories? He is a very talented and sincere artist and writer. Far more than I will ever be. What a shame, I kept musing to myself, that no one else will enjoy the product of his creative impulses.

But now that I have this notebook, I am presented with the opportunity to correct this unfortunate omission. And The Dragon will just be the beginning, insha Allah (Godwilling).

For all that Abang Chik has given and shared with me, from books to music, art, spirituality and mysticism, to the science of being calm and collected (which I constantly fail to imitate), I think I owe him at least this. Don’t you agree, sunshine?

1239623_10200377345066459_319749956_n

My brother in Jordan, 2012. Second from the right.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way