Tag Archives: appreciation

GOD, GOODNESS & FAMILIARITY…

rain-girlGod & Goodness
Our taste for God and goodness needs adjustments,
To develop our nose and divine discernments -

To distinguish between what is to be encouraged,
What is to be questioned and what is to be warned against,
What is to be admonished and what is to be avoided,
And lastly, what is to be confronted and challenged!
………..

A SEA OF MERCIFUL MEANINGS. Not that long ago, an epiphany hit me like a truck out of control. And that is whatever I may be doing and reciting in my sembahyang / solaT (prayers), I have the barest idea of their meanings –  All that recitations and the postures that make up our prayers. What I know of its meaning and significance is the merest wisp of an understanding… So now, I realise that when I contemplate my prayersIt is like skimming on the surface of a sea of merciful meanings unfathomable in its depth and secrets.

20150804123718_resizedNO TIME TO REST. And I was happy to be at that place – that place of unknowing, humbled by my utter lack of knowledge. But today I am jolted out of that complacency of a humility that is perhaps too convenient and lethargic. For an ancient friend advised me not to be contented being a fool, and to learn what can be learnt and what Allah al-Alim (God the All-knowing) has allotted since pre time for us to learn. By acquiring a taste for God and His goodness, we hone and develop a sharp sense of discernment which will in contradistinction develop our sense of what is the opposite of God and goodness – ergo our ego, its wickedness, hate and hubris, pride, greed, envy, selfishness and indolence. That way (says my friend), what bad you once tolerated of yourself, you will learn to avoid as you gain the taste for the perfume of God and goodness. As you grow in familiarity with Allah (swt) and with His most precious gift to all creation, Nabi Muhammad Sayyidina Hadiyatullah (the Gift of Allah) (sws) you ought to now become repulsed by the wicked odour of Satan our enemy, the overpowering smell of our own egotism and the ambivalent scent of this worldliness…

Familiarity
The ones familiar with the garden of love and its perfume
Will abhor and avoid the devil’s dumping yard
Of man’s egotism, greed and selfish love.
……….

Do you not agree, sunshine? Of course you do!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

…AND ASK ME FOR ME

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1Love is Good at Loving
For the longest time, I was content
To ask love for things to love,
And love satisfied my cravings,
Showering me with such things
To enamour and delight me.

For love is good at loving, you see.

Until one day, love asked me,
“Why are you happy with
Cheap baubles and trinkets
Of worldly things?
When I am here,
Dearer beyond imagining,
Closer to you than
Your own breathing.

You seek happiness in this world,
But worldly promises are held
In a cup most fragile,
You seek caring companionship
But your friendships are adrift
In a sea most wild.

Before you I am here in my perfection.
I am the eternal sea of mercy,
I am the balm of sincerity,
I am the measure of beauty,
To be praised there is none more worthy,
And I have made myself befitting
To be loved and adored beyond reckoning.

But again and again, you asked for things,
This, that and the other
But never me… never me.

Wake up, cast aside the veil,

Then ask love for love,

And ask me for me.”
………

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE GREATEST GIFT FROM GOD

20150804123718_resizedThe one & the one to be blame
In the kingdom of love,
A sin is a sin even if
You are not to be blamed.

For in the Kingdom of Love
Where the Lord is King,
Who else can be blamed
But he to whom
Belongs your
Name?
………..

Just Say Sorry. If you are familiar with romantic love and perhaps even married life, how often have you found yourself admitting to things which were not your fault? How many times have you, through gritted teeth, spoken those three magical words “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me“, while holding down your rebellious reason aching to correct your beloved’s misconception and holler, “But it is NOT my fault!

He he he. You know what I mean.

god 2But who is the one actually fond of blaming others? Now consider your entire life. Indeed, your very creation, and how you relate to God Almighty. For Allah (swt) has made it abundantly clear that He makes no mistakes, He is furthest from any concept of error, perfect in every action that He does or permits to happen, and perfect in every absence or omission that He prevails upon us. Yes, of course some bad things do occur through a third party machinations, say a burglar or a traitorous friend. But even then, it would not have happened had not Allah Almighty permitted the burglary or betrayal to happen. So do we blame God then, like how lawyers call Force Majeure as Acts of God, like flood, earthquakes and droughts?

Yes, we do. You know what I mean. We blame God a lot. Perhaps not spoken, but secretly whispered in our soul by our finger-pointing ego. And perhaps no one else can hear them, but do you think you can hide your feelings from our Creator?

So you see, all this judging and placing the blame is very much a part of our selves. Our rationale mind, subtly manipulated by our ego are always eager to place blame for everything bad that happens… so long as someone else is the one to be blamed, even God. And if you study the underlying causes in the rise of atheism especially in the West, the perception that God is somehow the cause of great evil upon us at a very personal level is one major factor in turning a man’s belief into disbelief. Sad but true.

mountain-climber-silhouette2THE GREATEST GIFT. How fortunate are we then, my love, that we have been blessed to stumble into saints who are tirelessly guiding mankind towards the true perception of Allah (swt) in All His Loving Attributes. And although we have done nothing to deserve Allah’s generosity He has sworn upon His own Name that He is the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, Most Generous and Most Loving for his creation – the most manifest evidence of His generosity and eternal concern for us being nothing and no one else but the prophethood of His Beloved, Nabi Muhammad Sayyidina Habibullah Harisun Alaykum (sws), divinely ordained to be our master and guardian, and to watch over us constantly, 24/7.

By the proof of such divine kindness, o’ Lord, how else shall we approach Thee but through the Door of Witnessing and the Door of Forgiveness?

There is so much to learn, you see, in the intimacies of mortal love, and its direct analogies to the Divine Presence and Divine Love. Through such lessons, may Allah (swt) permit us to endear ourselves to His Pleasure by being in the company of the One He Loves the Most, our beloved Prophet Muhammad Sayyidina Nabiyit Taubah, the Prophet of Repentance (sws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

My father, my son and the true constant of change

artflow_201610032223_resized_1CONFUSING TIMES A’COMING. My son Mikhail is going to be thirteen in January 2017, and I wait for that day with a certain amount of trepidation – worried about how he will change, as he certainly will, becoming a teenager with the hormonal angst and chemical overdrive making him sprout up by a couple of inches, body hair growing in the most inconvenient of places and his voice evolving into a deep growly bass. A daunting prospect for my son? Positively terrifying for his father.

MY DAD WOULD AGREE. There is no doubt that growing up can be a highly confusing period in one’s life. But I do think it is too easy for us to imagine that this period of physical, mental and spiritual confusion abates when we enter our twenties. No such luck, sunshine. I myself am comfortably in my forties, and I can assure you that change occurs to me every challenging day, sometimes smoothly, but mostly, changes comes with doubt, uncertainties and unexpected complexities, no matter how well rehearsed I may be to meet them. I bet if I asked my father of 82 summers, undoubtedly he would nod his agreement, having to pass through the crucible of two significant deaths, that of my mother and my elder brother…

DIVINE LOVE. You know what? I just realise that 70 years separate my son and my father. And I guess I am the bridge between them, but Lord forgive me that I do not think I am doing such a great job bridging the gap. May Allah (swt) bring us closer together, under the guidance of Nabi Muhammad Sayyidina Harisun Alaykum (sws), the Last Messenger of God and the One Who is (Constantly) Watchful Over Us. This is my only hope, truth be told. For I am informed by sound sources that Divine Love crosses infinities… so what is a paltry 70 summers?

mountains-landscapes-fields-california-meadows-blue-flowers-wildflowers-2400x1350-wallpaperWe are always endeavouring thus, in our piecemeal and stumbling ways to try and be worthy of the Love of Allah and His Habibullah (sws) and to connect to the Divine Presence. It is never enough, my love. So please keep us in your prayers.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

ASTAGHFIRULLAH, THE FRUIT FROM HEAVEN

Beautiful-forest-natures-seasons-17593939-1024-768Astaghfirullah is a common expression oft repeated daily by Muslims, often in the hundreds and not uncommonly in their thousands. If you were to google (and come on, who doesn’t?) its meaning, you may find these common translations: “I seek forgiveness from Allah“, or “I seek (the) forgiveness of Allah“, or “God, forgive me…” But our betters have unearthed from their toil more meaning of the phrase. Like a fruit of heaven that gives a different aroma and taste every time you consume it, the meaning of astaghfirullah is subtle and nuanced and many, many layers deep.  These are just some manifestations -

Astaghfirullah, the Fruit from Heaven
Astaghfirullah is the change of cloth after your attire is stained
And torn, not befitting who you truly are.
Astaghfirullah is the compass in your hand, the iron conceived in a star.
Astaghfirullah is the congregation who abide by you
No matter how lowly you secretly are.
Astaghfirullah is the God-given familiarity with sin that you have earned.
Astaghfirullah is the camel that finds you
Alone and lost, friendless and thirsty.
Astaghfirullah is each step that the camel takes, bearing you to safety.
Astaghfirullah is the task God sets you to,
From selfish piety to Godly charity.
Astaghfirullah is the cleansing Fountain of Kawthar
That purifies your action and omission.
Astaghfirullah is to learn of good and evil,
And to taste the difference.
Astaghfirullah is to see kindness in illness,
And goodness in every moment.
Astaghfirullah is to bear the burden of living,
The pain of separation.
Astaghfirullah is to learn what needs to be learned.
Astaghfirullah is to forget what needs to be forgotten.
Astaghfirullah is to be pleased with Him
And to love Him unconditionally.
Astaghfirullah is to believe in His promises and His vows.
Astaghfirullah is to adore He Who is always present,
But Who is apparently absent.

Astaghfirullah is to have a little cry,
A quiet lonely sigh.
Till He breaks the silence
And asks;

“Oh my servant, why…?”
………….

26062011446 2And finally, my love, what is astaghfirullah, but our turning to God Almighty and seeking His forgiveness for our utter inability to recount the many, infinite aspects of astaghfirullah in all its wondrous glory, beauty and mercy?

We are weak and helpless, sunshine. And thus we seek His inspiration and guidance, through our blessed Prophet Muhammad (saws) to give us the means to learn and be thankful for the countless manifestations of His Love, of which astagfirullah is but one.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

RAMADAN WROTE ME A LETTER

Slide1Relationships. We have all had our difficult relationships. That odious bully at the playground. The teacher who seems to take delight in humiliating us. That colleague who just has a face that you want to give a tight slap for no good reason at all. We are built differently and it is thus not surprising that relationships can go south pretty quickly. But sometimes, amazingly, we can turn from mutual dislike into abiding affection. It can happen. It DOES happen. It happened to me recently.

A 70 stick zombie. You see, I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. I love it because even in my severe state of sin, I am aware of a lightness in the air, and a gentle calm at night. But for a 70 sticks of cigarette regular, fasting does put a cramp in my style – as in I become a complete zombie. A hypersensitive ill-tempered ogre from sunrise to sunset.

An intervention. Anyways, by the grace of Allah (swt), He intervened last year and took away my addiction, and I have been ‘clean’ for more than 18 months. So I found even last year’s Ramadan to be a breeze. I was a little light headed perhaps, but more-or-less fully operational and fit for human consumption.

229752_1879889790685_5877716_nRamadan Projects. This year however, Ramadan was welcomed with a little extra. For one, I started my project to turn my late brother’s room into a cosy little prayer nook. This, together with a commitment to perform some of the supererogatory devotions meant that we have been quite busy, especially at night. You know… getting to know Ramadan… to explore what it offers and just how far we may endeavour towards attaining the gifts and blessings contained within. Always, moving slowly but surely along the path treaded by our betters and above all, by the Master of the Prophets, the Beloved of God and Arch-Intercessor, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

Oh, please don’t get me wrong, sunshine. I didn’t exerted myself that much. I did a little, but I did it regularly and without fail. I read somewhere that God appreciates this approach, which conveniently suits a sinner as unambitious as me.

He he he.

Well, anyways, I guess you can read this as my reply to Ramadan Karim. And insha Allah (Godwilling) I hope to meet this blessed month next year to and share our experiences once again. Until next time then, may God Almighty bless you always, sunshine, as how He knows best for you.

Camera 360wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

TO GOD ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS …but man is often forgetful

Sheep_with_their_shepherd,_mat01285The Lord of the Creatures We Eat
Thou think My love is only for thee?
For thy kin, thy friends and thy property?
What of the sky, the river and the valleys?
What of the birds, the earth and the trees?

When thou slaughter an animal
That I have made permissible for thee
That thou might eat and live,

How does thou think I feel?
Of all sadness am I free?
………..

The Zawiya. Last week I was at a familiar old zawiya (sufi tariqa establishment) in my neighbourhood. I am blessed that way, you see. I do not have to journey far to reach a zawiya, even walking would take me a mere 10 minutes tops. But I seldom go because alas, I am also lazy that way. May Allah Almighty cure me of this slovenly attitude. Pray for me, sunshine.

IMG_20160703_060212_resized_1The Five Sheep. Anyways, after the morning prayers and assorted supererogatory devotions, the visiting shaykh (master) of the tariqa proceeded to slaughter five sheep made ready by our resident farmer and shepherd. Throughout the ceremony, the shaykh recited the dzikrullah (words of remembrance of God) and I was aware of a poignant moment – That within this next few minutes, the worldly life of a living, breathing creature would, Godwilling, be terminated. To cease to breath the air that we humans too share, to cease to look upon the world that we humans also dwell in, to end its life for the sole purpose of feeding mankind. The solemnness of this ceremony gripped me and I am afraid that I let a tear or two break free from my cold hard eyes.

Divine Mourning. For in the midst of this emotional ride, a thought crossed the wilderness of my conscience – ” O’ Taufiq. If you feel this way, how do you think God Almighty feels, loving not only humans, but all of His creation with a love you can only imagine in its shallowest human manifestation. Do you think Allah (swt) does not mourn the demise of these anonymous sheep? Surely, mankind reckons and judges things by what he knows personally, but do you think the Creator All-Knowing (al-Alim) does not know these sheep that are about to be slaughtered for your sake? “

Oak_Tree_ComboMortal Error. It is our folly we are rarely aware of the value in Allah (swt)’s gift – That He permits his most favoured creation that is Man to slaughter and consume another of His creation. This gift, like all of Allah Almighty’s blessings is not one to the taken lightly. Alas, I do not think there is much room for ceremony in the factory-like abattoir that now serves our consumption-driven society. This lack of respect for God’s creation and our fellow being is not without its karmic backlash. Ergo, the prosperous diseases that now afflict us like high cholesterol, diabetes, gout and the like.

If we learn to respect animals and the environment as Allah’s own property, will this world not be a better place, and us healthier physically and spiritually? In the name of God and by the guiding lamp that is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), we can surely make good strides  by abiding to the holy Quran and the divinely inspired sunnah (traditions) of the Habibullah (Beloved of God s.a.w.s.) who wastes not and is hypersensitive to the smallest and meanest of God’s creation.

Shall we strive this way, sunshine? Is this month of Ramadan not  the best month to forge our intention?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

A KING MOST PURE, MOST COMPASSIONATE… and a Prophet Sublime in the Art of Thankfulness

non1. You Write The Story
You write the story,
So write an end for me,
Good or bad.

Just promise never to leave me
To the coldness
Of Your indifference.
…………

Good or Bad End? *Gulp* That is a little worrying, is it not, my friend? But since when is God ever a bad writer? He cannot write anything bad, after all, the root word of good is God. It simply would not be in His character. As the Muslims say, “Subhana Malikul Quddus…” Glory unto the King the Holiest, the Most Pure, the One who is pure, spotless, without blemish or fault, the One whose essence and attributes are of unimaginable purity and perfection (al-Quddus is one of God’s 99 Names, the Asma al Husna. Credit to an elaboration at http://wahiduddin.net/words/wazifa.htm)

begging

Despite the arguments of the neo-atheists, indifference to human sorrow is not a Godly attribute.

Thank God for God and His Prophet. ‘Man is not an island’ that old saying goes. But sometimes we feel that way, normally after some sad ending of sorts – a break-up, a death, a notice to vacate, being fired from your job. Nonetheless, however foul we feel, there is at least one person who will lend an ear, someone who will never ignore us in our dire straits, who never tires to listen to our moans and woe begotten groans at our life’s pitfalls. Such is the attribute of the Lord Almighty, coming from the all-encompasing assurances and guidance contained in the holy Quran and the Sunnah (prophetic traditions) that is the faith of Muhammad (saws). So Thank God for God then, sunshine, and thank God for the Prophet (saws) who awakens the most sleepy soul into a state of sublime gratitude.

Now isn’t this a nice little tale to bring to the campfire of your conscience?26062011446-2

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

PATIENCE PATIENTLY WAITING… meeting as-Sabūr in Ramadan

largePatience Patiently Waiting
A day is added to our life,
Will we live in truth,
Or persist in our lies?

A day is added to our days,
Will we still be in error,
Or will we change our ways?

A morning is added to our mornings,
Yet day after day after day
God is still patiently waiting…
While we sigh, pause
And delay.
…………

The Patient People. We are quite a shameless lot, are we not, sunshine? Oh, how we make such a drama of our trials and tribulations, the passing of our friends and kin, the accidents, the failed ambitions, the broken hearts and the end of dreams. We care only of our feelings, our sense of lost, our tests. We try to be patient in the face of worldly afflictions.

21_oktober_2010The Patient Prophet. But what is our middling patience compared to the patience of the prophets? As the best of creation, it is upon their backs that the most trying tests are borne and the weariest tasks are endured patiently. And among all prophets of God  undoubtedly it is His final messenger and the seal of the prophets, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws) that stands unreachable in his station of patience.

We are His creation, this Lord God, and the created cannot encompass the Creator. But God has commanded us to worship Him, to come to love and adore Him. But how can we love what we do not know? Thus Allah has bestowed upon us our mind, the ability to inquire and contemplate His immeasurable nature – like little sands on the shore of His Holy Names, we are pondering upon His endless ocean of Attributes, all wonderful, all infinitely glorious.

The Patient God. It is in patience, that most holy of virtues that our Nabi Muhammad (saws) is in worshipful prostration to the very essence of patience that is Allah Almighty, known by one of his 99 names, as as-Sabūr, the Most Patient, the Patiently-Enduring One.

There is really no need to bring the rest of the world into our little exposition, my love. We can examine our own weakness and impiety in comparison to God’s abiding and sustaining love for us, to know that we are constantly blessed by His immeasurable patience, whatever our sinful state.

Thank you for spending a little time here in this corner of my thoughts.  Pray for me, please…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Poon’s Room, The River & The Ocean

My Brother
Breathing in the room he once breathed in,
Walking upon the floor he once walked on,
This room, this space of certain memories,
The walls speak to me of my brother,
And the constancy of his love
For his family and his friends
Who misses him so,
And dare I say it…?
Of his love
For me.
………

229752_1879889790685_5877716_nThe Room. Ramadan Mubarak, sunshine. This year’s blessed month of fasting is a little different, as I have a small project to complete. I am turning my dear brother’s small bedroom (see above pic) that has been left unused for almost 3 years into a prayer / guest room. I have tentatively test-driven the room… first with a little dzikr and salawat (remembrance of God through the recitations of His Divine Names and greetings of peace and praise upon the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s.) and then, with a little prayer.

How did it feel? It felt good. So good that I cried.

River HeartThe River & The Ocean. It is funny to use the term for a room – to test-drive a room. But it was really that, for in that preciously short time, I left on a journey, leaving this world, leaving its cares and distractions, its poor illusion of happiness to seek solace with my Lord, with the memories past and the new memories to be made with my departed brother, Saiful Bahri (known to me as Abang Chik and to the rest of the world as Poon).

“After all, why ought death be a barrier in creating new memories between us and our dearly departed kin and friends?”, an ancient friend urgently assures me this morning, “After all, death is not a divide but a river communicating us transients of this world to the eternal Mercy Ocean of God, our true home”.

I shan’t tell you much more as there is nothing more to say. Only that this little labour of love will, insha Allah (God willing), keep me occupied until the Lord God brings me home and (again insha Allah) back to His Heavenly Presence with our Prophet Muhammad (saws), His blessed Family and Companions, my masters of the tariqat (the Path), my dear loving mother, my brother, my aunties, uncles, cousins and so many more of my other kin and friends who have all already left us for the Mercy Ocean.

What a day that would be!

Have a wonderful Ramadan, my love. Pray for me please and May Allah (swt) bless you always, and may Allah (swt) forgive me always.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way