Tag Archives: contradictions

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

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

SELECTIVE READING & THINKING… and why wisdom is not something trapped in books.

IMG_20160128_070805_resized_1The Importance of Books
We are surrounded by books,
But we should not be bound to them,
For they are not intended to be walls or fences,
But a door, a gateway to wisdom,
A path to God.
……..

IMG_20160128_070729_resized_1Reading but Not Actually – I was reading up a Sufi book of devotional practices when I noticed something new. Interspaced between texts which were familiar to me are some sentences and words apparently new. But of course, it cannot be so. After all, the pages are dog-eared and it is the same old copy that I have been reading intermittently. I am sure no elf sneaked into my shelves in the middle of the night to mischievously alter the pages.

It may not be elves but I think I have a clue. I was merely using the natural approach towards the practice of any new thing. I essentially wanted to know the basics – Ergo , what I needed to recite, how many times and in what sequence. In doing so I guess I kinda skimmed over the substantive explanations. Silly billy me.

Selective Reading – And of course, what we understand a book to mean will also depend on our own preconception and misconception of whatever topic the book may be about. Often we read books not to actually seek new knowledge, but merely to affirm or validate things we already believe in. Whether we like it or not, we either consciously or subconsciously drift to authors and publications that we anticipate agreement with. So already we are rigging our ‘quest’ to only ‘discover’ knowledge which naturally fits with our own pre-conceived notions of truths and moral rights and wrongs.

IMG_20160128_071021_resized_1Thus, perhaps we have a lot to be thankful for – That wisdom and beneficial knowledge does not come from our choice of books. Because were it so, our ‘wisdom’ would be skewered in the direction of our own bias and secret prejudices. And as history has shown, this is a trend that we should avoid at all cost.

Alhamdulillah (Praise unto God) we are at this orderly juncture. Because I was a little nervous about the apparent contradiction between the Sufic view that wisdom does not originate from books, while at the same time espousing love and devotion to books. Sometimes we just need to delve a little deeper, I guess… To swim a little further and to contemplate little more longer. To find the unity of purpose and divine beauty hidden in the apparent contradictions that spice our life and thoughts. Our eternal gratitude to God Almighty and His Habibullah (saws) for seeding our path with these little questions, that we may learn to find the right answers.

Do you not agree, sunshine?

 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

YOUR SOUL, MY SOUL, OUR SOUL… a conversation about contradiction

artflow_201601171333A Conversation
Wherever I have been,
Whatever I have seen,
However wafer thin
My excuses seem,
To you, I am a soul still,

I am unchanged, unspoilt,
And though sprung
From this very soil,
My home is elsewhere,
And my homecoming certain,

If you doubt and require proof,
Speak to your own soul,
Then you will realise
That I speak only the truth.
………..

Chip. I hold grudges. It is a weighty baggage for me, holding me down. Because the truth is, when we have a chip on our shoulder, it isn’t a chip-size chip. It is heavier than a mountain and large enough to block out the entire universe of blessings that God is giving us all.

Your Soul. Because as I understand it to be, each one of us is created as a soul, a divine light unsullied and eternal, and however we may be aggrieved by another human being, we have to remember that we are still dealing with another soul. But this, we can only recall if we ourselves are in sympathy with our own soul.

befriend yourself 2My Soul. So you see, the poem above began as a the soul of a person I am holding a grudge against talking to me. But as I was finishing the last word, I realised that no, it was not about another soul at all. It was really about my very own soul, and my daily struggle to act, think and feel in complete tandem with it, the truly real part of me that actually exists in the transcendental sense – a soul eternally connected with the Divine, that continuously entreats me to patience, kindness, friendship and love. A voice that I sometimes listen to it but all too often ignore, deceived as I am by my hubris and the  distractions of this world.

Our Soul. Even as we face the constant conflict that life throws at us as human beings interested only in pursuing our own selfish agendas, at another plane of reality, at the station of Divine Truth and its manifestation, our souls are interacting with one another in beautiful harmony. Each unique soul playing off another in a perfect orchestra of divine music.

Contradictions. May we all be guided to lessen the contradictions of our existence, to be at peace with ourselves and with each other, united in loving worship of Allah s.w.t. under the banner of Allah’s manifest mercy to the worlds, our beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws). To cease the endless arguments of our intemperate egos and to finally enable our souls to commune through God and with God. Do you not agree, sunshine?non

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

AM I WORSHIPING YOU, MY LORD? – A Question Unveiled

A Question
Am I worshipping you, my Lord?
Or am I worshipping my knowledge of You?
………….

IMG_20151209_184117I have no answer to this vexing question. My only prayer to Allah Almighty is that He accepts my plea for help, to rid myself of my pretenses – this false persona of knowledge and piety that my ego lays claim to. Even this mask of a sinner that I appear to wear so proudly. Of such things I wish to let go. When all I desire is to be…

Unveiled
No believer, no sinner, no anything,
Unhinged from the structure and
Scriptures of my making.

Unveiled by my Lord
Who is whispering promises
To this blushing servant,
Notrumi the wayward and world-weary,
Notrumi, virginal only to the Truth,
Red with embarrassment,

Listening to God’s declarations of love everlasting!

…………

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

TWO QUESTIONS… AND WHY MARX’S OBSERVATIONS CAN BE CORRECT.

artflow_201510221840Divine Insult?
You say I have insulted God,
I say you feel insulted that
My idea of God does not conform with yours.

So it is not about God at all,
But really all about you.
……………

As we ask others to act, we too must act in the same manner. But I am afraid, far too often, we are blinded by our hubris, thinking and acting as if we own God…

Divine Ruse?
Have we turned our religion into a veil;
A mask of hubris?
Have we turned our religion into an excuse;
A one-size-fit-all pretext?
Have we turned our religion into a drug;
An exit from reality?
………….

For you see Karl Marx was right, and that certainly, religion can be an opiate for the masses. And it takes but a little inclination to our ego and base desires to turn that ‘can‘ into an embarrassingly apparent ‘is‘, perhaps a fitting epithet ‘I-told-you-so!’ that can be carved on his tombstone. But like almost everything in Creation, it is for us to choose how we exercise our religion, how to be part of a civilised society, and perhaps make a small step, a little change for the better, one soul at a time.

And I don’t know about you, but I wish to begin with my own wicked self. Upon the path set by our Nabi Muhammad (saws) – A human example of servanthood created by Divine Compassion, that we erring humanity might learn and follow, however stumbling and however long our journey may be, towards the Divine Presence.

So pray for me, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

DRAMA! – the ego, me, my smoking and odontophobia… Oh, and something about repeatedly falling off a high horse.

800px-r-staines-malvolio-shakespeare-twelfth-nightDramatic!
My soul is a poem
Staged as a drama,
Where I play the roles of the damsel,
The hero and villain…
……

I can do with less drama in my life. The less the better. But my ego will not let me. He insists on me being the hero when things become heroic, and the misunderstood villain when things become mischievous! Oh woe!

I am quitting smoking (last nicotine laced smoke to grace my lungs was in end January 2015), and I have become a most-loyal customer of our friendly neighbourhood dentist (overcoming my yellow-bellied fear of the dentist chair), seeing him 4 times over the past 3 months. So my ego (and me) would like to take credit for that. That and the woebegone ‘damsel’ that is my conscience, forever at the mercy of her capricious bipolar host.

A high horse. But when I ponder over the circumstances of my two ‘conversions’, much like Paul on the road to Damascus, with all humility, I think I just fell off my high horse. I just ended my procrastination and endless (and I mean ENDLESS) rationalising over my smoking habit and my odontophobia (fear of dentists) and simply just did it (like Nike said I should) – I stumbled off the horse, quit the cancer stick and made that dental appointment.

But the how, when and why I found the courage to do either? Truly, only God knows.

Oh, and one more thing. About that high horse I was on. It must have been a very, very, very  high horse indeed. Because, gosh, I am still falling…. or… am just I hitting the ground and  inevitably climbing back up on my high horse – only to fall again? And again. And again. Oh no.

Pray for me, sunshine. This ride ain’t over yet!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

HATE HAS NO PLACE IN ISLAM
LOVE WILL SHOW THE WAY

Love, religion, compulsion and acceptance… but Hu is actually speaking?

IMGReligion of Love
There is no compulsion in love…
Even though your mind may be taught,
Your conscience may be pricked
And your experiences persuasive,
But it will count for nothing
If your heart is not accepting.

And much like love,
There is no compulsion in religion.
…………….

“There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.”   (the Holy Quran 2:256, Pickthall)

LOVE MUST BE OF THE WILLING. I cannot force love, can I? I can create conditions which nurture the possibility of love, yes. But not the certainty of love. Certainty in love comes when I am in Love, when I am with Love and I feel loved by Love. And the secret formula for that is with God.

20150804123718_resizedACCEPTANCE IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. You cannot force religion too. This is religion understood at a higher plane. Not merely a system of rules, of rights and wrongs. By accepting the tenets of the religion, I will engender an inclination towards the religion, but really that is all. At this point I am merely inclining to the way of the al Quran and the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet (saws)). Because acceptance is actually a blessing and an affirmation to me from God, not by my own self-blessing in proclaiming to the witnessing Angels, “Yea! Verily I declare You are God, o’ Lord!” That would be like me imagining myself falling into the sea and declaring, “Oh yes! The sea is wet!” I am just making a supposition there, an intellectual exercise. The acceptance of Islam may begin with reasoning, but it is Allah’s acceptance that is the key. And there is no human vanity nor reason that can encompass His Will. That is why, happily, God gives the assurance to us that He has forbidden upon Himself to be unjust or oppressive.

“O My servants! I have forbidden oppression for Myself, and I have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except those whom I have guided, so seek guidance from Me and I shall guide you…”
(Sayings of the Prophet, with the authority of Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari)

Which is good for us, I guess.,, considering how undeserving we actually are, often unjust and oppressive towards others, and certainly towards ourselves. So have we done enough? Have we fought against injustice, have we helped the oppressed and the persecuted? You know the answer… it is blowing in the wind.

Camera 360I am a Muslim, I hear myself say sometimes. But it is merely an echo across a vast chasm of my errors and wickedness. I need Allah (swt) to confirm it, and I need my beloved Prophet(saws) to say it. Who am I to say what I am? Only Allah knows best and only He may guide us to the Master of Guides – our Nabi Muhammad Habibullah (saws). So pray for me, sunshine…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

MY SECRET, ONLY YOU

IMG_20150731_101647_resizedMy Secret, Only You
My best deeds are secret… My best words are never spoken,
My best poems will never be written,
My best love, He is always hidden…

He is with me, where no one else can be,
He always listens, He never turns away from me,
Before I call upon Him, He is already calling upon me,

My Lord, You blind me,
You make me deaf and mute,
Until nothing else matters
But You,

Not even me,

Until I see nothing… Only you.
………….

How far can we fall down the rabbit hole, contemplating Him? He draws us near, leaving divine crumbs on the forest floor. But He warns, ‘Of My Essence, do not try to contemplate!’

Which is fine to me. For He has chosen to portray Himself through the mirror of love, of mercy, and of compassion. He has gilded what can be known of Him by us mere mortals, in a dress of beauty and desirability. God has made Himself desirable to us, however foolish and sinful we can be. Love calling upon the beloved servant.

And we move to Him through the guided guide, Nabi Muhammad (saws) Beloved Servant of God, none more in a state of humility and servanthood to Allah (swt), none more beloved and honoured by Allah Almighty and His Angels.

My rambling poetry has no meaning without the sign of love upon all creation, being none other than our Prophet Muhammad (saws). And even when the prose appears wholly enraptured to God’s Love alone, truth be told, God will look to us most favourably only when we present ourselves as a weakly sheep to His shepherd, a needful servant to His Beloved Servant, as one of the Nation of Muhammad, as people of moderation and the middle way – as taught to us by the Seal of the Prophets, Nabi Muhammad (saws).

Love? By God, may Nabi Muhammad (saws) the Beloved Servant show us its Hidden Realities. And let us not fall for facsimiles! I think this is a worthwhile quest to undertake. Don’t you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Brave Enough to Surrender

Be Brave and Surrender
If you want servanthood, master yourself,
If you want knowledge, admit your ignorance,
If you want to be good, know that you are often wrong,
If you want something, anything, everything, seek nothing,
If you want a Homecoming, be a traveler,

If you want True Love, promise your heart to no other,

And if you want to win…?

Be brave, my soul, and surrender.
………….

Meaning. Everything is known by its opposites, as the wise-cracking mystics often say. And indeed, the nobility of man, bravery in the face of danger, patience in the storm of troubles, compassion despite provocations, wit in the most trying of occasions… to gain all this and more, we are told to surrender. To submit… which is of course, the lasting meaning of Islam. And to what end? For our own happiness, surely and certainly.

Divine Presence. God would not have planned it any other way, I reckon. Loving you, loving us as He does… beyond our wildest, maddest hopes and dreams of His Love. For He desires our company. Us negligible shaft of a soul. How crazy are we to prefer any other engagement? Not knowing… not imagining the divine pleasure of the Lord’s companionship. It is for such weighty affairs do the mystics ceaselessly polish their soul and purify their manners – devotion and remembrance in worshipful intimacy. Through all the contradictions and contrarian nature that often animate our human experience… through the sweet and sour, the days and nights, the rights and wrongs, through all our hopes and fears. Each visceral moment, inexplicably resonating with the message – Remember Me, Remember Me, Remember Me…Camera 360

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way