Monthly Archives: April 2016

LIKE A REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR, HOW CAN WE EXIST WITHOUT HIM?

fat 2Angels. I fear I think too well of my prayers and devotion, “Oh, how meritorious is my deed. How blessed and honoured is my prayers! Why isn’t anyone noticing my glowing piety? Oh, yes… no one is around. But no matter, I bet the angels are giving me a standing ovation even as I am typing this.”

Thus you see, sunshine, I can entertain such strange thoughts even when I am alone in my room. My ego bringing in even God Almighty’s own angels as reluctant (and imagined) witnesses to my saintliness. Our mind often play such tricks like this on us.

Good God. So, in truth, all credit is due to God, Allah (swt). Because the original cause of all virtuous actions, all come from a single source – hinted in the English language by the very ancient and original meaning of the word ‘good’, which is of course ‘God’.

Slide1So don’t you fret if you think you have not garnered enough ‘merits’, gold medals or such rewards as the Lord Creator might deign to grant you. For the lesser you think of yourself, the poorer you realise your state, the more beloved you become in His Eyes, our Lord Sultan…

My Sultan,
Let me diminish
In Your Majesty,
Treat me as how
You treat your servants
Who have been
Proven worthy!
………

Not a single atom of goodly action that we do arises out of our own accord. We are simply answering His Call, for it is God’s Love that forever and always precedes our facsimile of love. Like a reflection in the mirror, we simply cannot exist without Him.

May Allah Almighty cherish and sustain us, and raise us to be dusts beneath the sandals of our Prophet Muhammad, His Beloved One and His Own Declared Mercy to the World (saws). And perhaps most importantly to us, the very reason there is a mirror in the first place. Yes, indeed. But that, sunshine, is another tale for another day.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Heavenly Courtesies and the Inheritors

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1Movement
I have not moved an inch since birth,
It is time and the world
That pass by me so quickly,
Giving the impression of movement
While in truth I have been quite stationary.
………….

The material world is a natural world for the ego. It is designed to nurture and build our egos to pharaoh-like proportions if we are not too careful. On the other hand, this is a  world where the spirit can prove its worth, the purpose for which Allah Almighty has sent so many messengers and prophets to bring good tidings and warning for mankind, the Seal of whom is of course our beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws).

So we know that the material world is not a natural world for the spirit. Because of this the spirit contemplates physical movement many times over before committing to it, knowing well that its companion ego will take some credit. So if you think your praying movements and postures are safe, think again!

The spirit realises that of ourselves, on our own, we are unable to praise God as how He ought to be praised, unable to understand the subtle nuance of heavenly courtesies that Love demands. Barely able to even keep the rudimentary purity of ablution. So those not totally disconnected from their spirit is always looking towards Allah (swt) to guide his adab (good manners) and his condition.

The saliqas (seekers of the Truth) do this by listening to the Inheritors of the Prophet (saws). And who are they, you may ask?

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.
…….

169_JPGSo seek a guide of good manners, sunshine, for surely if you ask, Allah the Most Generous shall not disappoint your thirst for heavenly courtesies, to be an adept in the Court of Divine Love, and perhaps draw an approving smile from the most beautiful of creation, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws). Galaxies of stars would be in a state of annihilation, enchanted by such a gesture.

So don’t be shy, o’ saliqa. Ask!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Needs, gratitude and the bleating sheep.

Slide1This, that and the other (and the other’s kitchen sink too). Perhaps like me, you are also in the habit of asking Allah Almighty for His blessings and generosity – pleading, moaning, nagging and griping for His attention, His love and His forgiveness.

sheepBut one morning a thought came and perched on my woolly shoulder , and then it said, “Before you ask for more, for goodness sake, ask for the sense and sight to see what He has given you already. Perhaps then you can  inject a little sincere gratitude in your constant sheep-like bleating.”

It is a good advice for man or sheep. Don’t you agree, sunshine? And if you do, where else would we seek the best guide (and really the best whatever!) if not in the person most cherished by God Almighty… The shepherd of our flock, the Chosen One, the Beloved of Allah and His Mercy to all the Worlds, our dearest Nabi Muhammad (saws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

ANNUAL PRAYER TAX – mine is USD62,050.00 this year based on the Means Test. What is yours?

srinagar-mosque-prayer-527134-swPrayer Tax
Perhaps if there is a levy
For each cycle of prayer you pray,
Then you will be much more attentive…

Counting each precious moment,
Each adoring recitation
In terms of money, money and more money.
…………

What do you say, sunshine? I think if I am required to pay a prayer tax or levy for each raka’at (cycle of prayers in Islam), I will be much more ‘in the moment’. After all, it is now really costing me to spend time seeking the attention and compassion of Allah Almighty. I think that way, you see, because I am drowning in dunya (worldly desires and distractions).

The Means Test. How much to charge? I think the prayer tax chargeable should be based on a means test, i.e. based on a person’s income level. Ergo, a homeless person may get away with just a nickle a raka’at (or maybe no levy at all), while a more prosperous person can expect to pay more. For me personally, I am putting a figure of USD10 (about RM35 in Malaysian Ringgit) as a large enough sum to motivate my concentration during prayers. Crooked bankers, politicians and preachers should anticipate their prayer tax at least in five figures per raka”at (because means test also takes into account just how mean you can be, obviously).

But perhaps you might think that USD10 per raka’at is not a lot. But when you consider that daily mandatory prayers consists of 17 raka’ats, one year would amount to at least 6,205 raka’ats bringing us to a cool USD62,050 annual prayer tax. And this does not include supererogatory prayers… crumbs.

Beautiful-forest-natures-seasons-17593939-1024-768But God is not like that. He charges no levy for your prayers. What is your cost for praying one raka’at or one hundred raka’ats? The answer is the same, practically nothing. Former Prime Ministers and Presidents, even minor reality show ‘celebrities’ charge an appearance fee to be with you. Ironic that our Lord God Creator, Allah (swt) asks nothing of you when you seek His Divine Presence. And yet, in the haqiqat (divine truth) of things as they truly are, only God knows the immeasurable worth of even a single raka’at of your prayers.

My dearest, may we be blessed to be constantly reminded by Allah (swt) of this simple truth, in the name of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

WHAT NOW? …ASKED GOD

ocean heart 2All I Want Is You

Health and wealth,
Spiritual station,
And good education,

Such needs make me turn to You,
Yet I am ashamed to ask such things,
When what I should desire
Should be plain to any fool,
And that is You…
You and no
Other.
……….

mikapapa 2 2“What Now?!” Your father might ask, in consequence of the millionth time you approach him for money / the car keys / a lift / a guitar. Then like a bolt out of the blue you unexpectedly say, “No, Papa. I don’t want anything. I just want to sit with you. Is that okay?” How pleased your father would be, as I would be if ever such a scenario played with my own son, Mikhail.

In my highly entertaining interludes with God that people normally call ‘praying’ I have thought of such a notion – Yes, indeed, my God, I do need a bit of money to fix my car. Yes, of course, I would really like to get well soon. And yes, I wouldn’t say no to a helpful intervention in my examination / election / court case. Take your pick for whatever you think you need.

So it is a revelation when we realise that while specific prayers are good (and necessary I guess), what we truly should desire, what we ought to most persistently pray for is actually for God Himself. And not to accept any substitute, nor artificial agent or instrument. To ask for the Divine – His presence, His company, His love and the Constancy of His Compassion.

And as Allah (swt) is the Source of all virtue, strength, beauty, forbearance, empathy, compassion, kindness in the infinite and incomparable shades of His Goodness, how would Allah’s answer be to us, if He replies in the affirmative?

For that, I direct you to our Beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws) in the apex of the Isra’ and mi’raj (the Prophet’s Night Journey), when he left the company of the Archangel Gabriel and passed through the final veil and into the presence of Allah Almighty.

With that last direction, I must bid you farewell, sunshine, and may God be with you always. NASA-SpiralGalaxyM101-20140505

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

3 FLINT RULES… how to identify peace breakers and lessons on avoiding being one

maxresdefaultMy Companion the Flint
My house is on fire,
My forest is ablaze,
My world is black coal,
A dark ember, a hole,
My love is in exile,
Leaving me with my lies,
Did the flint struck sparks of truth
Only to waste and burn
Great swaths
Of my home,
That now
I dwell
Sadly all
Alone?
…….

Fire from blmFlint Rule #1. A Flint is someone you ought to be careful of. But Flints tend to be quite sociable and exceedingly charming, disarming people with their appearance of candour and humour. Just be careful when you hear something negative about anyone from another perdon – and ask yourself why in God’s name did the bearer of bad news need to trouble you with such information about that person, even assuming it is true. Let me tell you a little story…

A couple of years ago, poor dumb Notrumi became a victim of a Flint. What is a Flint, you say? Flint, or flint stone has been used by mankind to make fire since year dot. In the context of this prose, Flint however refers to the human flint stones who instigate discord between people, between brothers, between kin, between husband and wife, between friends and colleagues. In my language Malay, the word is ‘batu api’, literally meaning fire stone. It is a good word I think because of the terrible damage it does to kinship and friendship. 

Because of the Flint, my caring friendship with my old friend ended in acrimony. Poor Notrumi was accused of terrible backbiting and placed before a sort of kangaroo court. I was so dismayed that my friend actually believed the Flint that I didn’t argue or fought back. Teary eyed and broken-heart I simply walked away.

But about three months later, my friend sought me back and said that the Flint did the same thing to him and his other friend. But the warm caring connection we once shared was damaged so much that I found it very hard to accept my friend back the way we used to be. I guess we are polite, but up to this day the wound has not completely healed.

4877_79071_web_8columnFlint Rule #2. When you have to speak about someone to another person, exercise caution and sound judgement. In fact, the least we speak about someone behind his/her back, no matter how well-intentioned, the better. After all, as the saying goes… The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This is important to realise because the easy truth is that any man or woman can be a Flint. They may be nice and generous at most times, but it doesn’t take bad intention for you to have Flint-like effect on people’s relationship. You may very well be sincere and simply transparent, sharing certain things about Mr.A with Mr.B. But we cannot be sure what is the underlying dynamics of their relationship, so an inadvertent remark that Mr.A joined you to the cinema may provoke silent ire of Mr. B. Why? Because Mr. A apparently had once rejected Mr. B’s invitation to a movie saying he never likes going to the cinema. Uh oh.

Slide6Flint Rule #3. This is perhaps the most important rule of all. It is actually an extension of Rule #2, and this is what it is – We in fact  harbour in ourselves a Flint. A Flint without compare in its subtlety and stratagem, a supreme expert in sowing discord in our most critical relationship of all. Of course you know what I am talking about – It is our relationship with God Almighty, our Most Beloved, Most Compassionate and Most Merciful Allah (swt).

Every emotion of dismay, every despairing sigh, every disappointment, every feeling of being let down, rejected, cheated or attacked… whether we directly attribute it to ‘fate’ (a.k.a God) or through the machination of an agent (normally human), at the conclusion of our contemplation it must necessarily end at the proverbial desk of Allah Almighty Himself, where all buck stops. After all, what can happen to us were it not permitted to occur by God? How could He?! This Flint hiding in the recesses of our soul  and making such observations is none other than our ego. Such is its nature, that our ego ever ready to lay blame on anyone and anything else rather than us for our perceived misfortunes. Even to the extent of blaming Allah (swt).

The Reality. But ego-centric perception is always deceiving. An illusion masking the true Reality of this world and this life – which is actually an intimate stage, a secret communion with our Dearest God. It is this realisation which Allah (swt) may bestow upon us that would ultimately render and tear apart the fragile veil of success and failure, this duo that humanity foolishly cling to to shape our daily sense of happiness and sadness.

So let us silence the Flint that is our ego, and turn away from its compelling ‘reason’ and persuasive ‘logic’. Let no fire spark, let no ember of enmity burn away the contentment that Allah (swt) and His Habibullah (saws) passionately desires for you – the abiding peace and love between you and our Lord and Prophet, and between us and our fellowman.

Don’t be like me, sunshine. Of disappointments, sadness and enmity, leave them be. And make peace… even with the peace breakers and friends that have been too quick to judgment. Surely, that is the only path open for me now. Pray for me, please.

woman-umbrella-rain-art1wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

GOD, LIFE & THE PURSUIT OF THE MOMENT

The Moment
Love dearest,
How perfect is the moment
When the perfection I behold is you,
How delightful is the moment
When the delight I relish in is you,
How beautiful is the moment
When the beauty that enslaves me is you,
And how companionable is the moment,
When the company sitting here with me is you.
………..

How not to write. In the course of love letter writing to God, I realise a singular thing. And that is I have really (really!) written nothing at all. No, I am not mad, sunshine. You may be reading my prose, but there is actually no prose at all in existence. For you and I, in truth, do not actually exist other than in God’s imagining. But I will continue to write still, because it is my passion. But in a sense, I will continue not to write. Do you understand? Slide1That is the truth about life and it is also the truth above love. Allah (swt) is waiting. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) is waiting. So do not let your endeavours in either hesitate. Say BismillahiRahmaniRahim (in the name of God Most Gracious Most Merciful) and jump in before it is too late!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

EVERY SUPPER IS THE LAST SUPPER… eatin’ from the Granary of God

last-supperAt His Supper Table
I am clearin’ my plate,
Lickin’ my fingers,
For each morsel of food,
Every grain of rice
Tastin’ yummy in my tummy
Is comin’ from My Lord’s own granary,
And though He Himself has no need for any eatin’,
It pleases me and may it pleases Him
That I treat each meal as one
He gave to me rather than
Himself be eatin’.
……….

He is Real. And the longer we hold on to the illusion of His absence, the further we are from Reality, the further we are from any true presence anywhere.. a fleeting cosmic dust adrift at the furthest edge of Creation.

God is God without conditions. He is free of all necessities and is not bound to any pre-existing requirements. He does not need to rest nor eat or even breath. He is utterly unlike us, His creatures who require our Creator not only for us to be brought into existence, but to continue existing whether in the our physical garb in this world or in our spiritual form in the Hereafter.

But back to eatin’… From my ancient friend’s parable about eating at God’s table, it does appear that we are given the blessing to eat with our Creator all the time. Whether it is sucking a breath mint, catching a quick kebab at a street corner or supping with Jesus son of Mary (as).

So you see, sunshine. Every supper you eat can be the last supper. You need only remember God… and remember that even in our state of remembrance, God’s own remembrance of us always precedes our remembrance of Him. Such is our beautiful Most Munificient Lord, AllahuRahman (God Most Compassionate) and AllahuRahim (God Most Merciful), as taught to us by the Seal of the Prophets, Nabi Muhammad (saws). So… what are you waiting for, my love?

Bon appetit!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

AN AFFECTIONATE LIGHT

189544_10150131906520665_605025664_6907033_1654742_nThe Affectionate Light
Nothing is certain
But the shore and the ocean,

Not the breath we anticipate,
Nor the promised date,
Not the best of plans
Ever devised by men,
Nor the sweetest promise
Beheld in a kiss,

Thus two things to me still remains true,

First, that the shore is married to the sea, eternally

And second… in my heart
It is still all of you.
Beside all of me.

And I think, my love,
That is how
I wish it
Forever to be.
…………..

Sometimes even Notrumi finds it hard to put into words, matters that are forever twitching the strings of his guitar-shaped heart.

Have a beautiful Friday, sunshine. For myself, I am waiting for an affectionate light, here deep in the forest of my Lord…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam - Love will show the Way

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