Tag Archives: death

DON’T DIE, STAY AWHILE

Song at a Death Bed
Don’t die,
Stay awhile,
Let me tell you
In a clear rendition
Of a song,
Why you matter,

And when my song has ended,
Then, you may do as you wish,
But until then, stay awhile
And listen…
……

IMG_20160916_062850My dear sunshine, how many times in our life have we wished that God would afford us the time to distill the goodness of a person’s life at the death bed, and proclaim his or her goodness in clear unequivocal affirmation of a life well lived, a battle well fought and a journey well travelled?

But regrettably, such occasions are far and in between, life often coming to an end suddenly in the blink of an eye, before the hour, and thus the servant has return to his / her Lord.

So what shall we do then, my love? Not knowing when the Angel of Death may come to take our beloved kin or friend for that not-to-be delayed appointment?

Then we must sing that song, that liturgy of love right here and now – for our father and our mother, for our brother and sister, for our kin and beloved friends. While they are with us still let us not allow a moment go to waste. While life still animate us, let us show by deeds and words just what they mean to us.

Do you not agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

MUHAMMAD… Does His Light Not Shine Bright?

artflow_201609031916At The Best of Time. When we die, my love, as all things created must, we shall die God willing, at the best of time. Not a moment too soon, and not a moment too late. We shall not overstay our welcome here in this world, nor shall we leave without anything undone in this reality that needs to be done.

But however long that Allah (swt) desires us to live, will it suffice to learn all we need to learn?

Limitless, the Prophet
But if Fate would have
Me live for a century
Or for one thousand years,
Will any age suffice
To encompass the knowledge
About the Prophet
Muhammad?
………..

We found this thought preying upon me and my friend, Haji Mahmud earlier this morning. We are the poorest of companions, I fear, always turning to the beautiful red strings that knots the stories we are listening to, mostly about Allah (swt) and His Habibullah (sws). But who are we to speak of such things?

Muhammad & His Light
If I could give voice to what I feel, what songs can I sing?
If I could share everything that I feel, what stories will I tell?
If I could have my pen and paper, what books may I write?
When the darkness of my sins covers me,
Is his name not the light?
Does his light not shine bright?
………..

Good night, my love. Your humble chronicler here wishes to sleep. To see the bright lights that appear to shine from a horizon in the hereafter. It is not far and it is a homecoming dearly yearned for.IMG_20131111_205650

Wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

TURNING TO GOD… (while stuck in a train between two stations)

226330_10150169952279023_4175171_nTURN TO GOD
It is the hardest thing
To see someone talk to his mum
To kiss and hug her,
To show respect and obedience
Knowing that i cannot.
Thus, I turn to God
Thus, I turn to God
I turn to God…
……

Abang ChikStuck in a train between stations. When will you realise God is real, o’ Notrumi? Perhaps, now? Now that you are torn between the souls of your dearly departed kin and friends and the life you still live? Every day, my horizon stretches across this world and the hereafter, between my living father, brother and son, to the souls of my dearly departed mother and my brother. Who is comfortable sitting here in this cosmic train? Stuck between two stations – between happiness and sadness, between sweet solace and a profound yearning? Who will keep me company in this lonely train carriage that is my conscience?

Remembrance of God as Your companion. It has to be God I guess. Separate as He is from all of His creation yet closer to us than our jugular vein (Quran 50:16) …Hidden but more apparent than the Sun, some mystics say. Easily His Presence and Vision transcends life and death, heaven and earth, between the living and the residents of the cemetery.

IMG-20130915-WA0006(1)-3Allah (swt) is there, sunshine, at your side, through your hours of tearful remembrance, through the lonely nights when you sit in your room, unmasked of the disguise you wear for people during the day. You need only say His name -

Allah… Allah… Allah… I turn to You. Hear the sorrowful words of Your servant… Allah… Allah… Allah… You made me, so You must know me best of all. Nothing is hidden from Your sight, thus you can see the bleeding wound in my heart for the compassion of my mother, for the empathy of my brother – so help me heal, my Love, help me understand, my Lord.”

We prostrate our akal (mind), our heart and our memories before you o’ Malikul Quddus (o’ Most High King Most Pure) in the name of Your Mercy to all the Worlds, Sayyidina Muhammad Miftahur Rahman (Key to Mercy) Miftahul Jannah (Key to the Garden) Abu Arwah (the Father of Souls) (saws). We come to You, o’ God. Seeking Your attention and intimacies through the one You and Your angels love and praise best in the heavenly presence.

20151229011502_resizedwa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Death & Life in the Garden of Forgiveness, Love & Kinship Everlasting

IMG_20160712_105919Gladness in Death’s Embrace
In their life, our understanding never encompassed them,
In their death, our mourning will never encompass them,
Only He who created them knows them completely,
And after years of misunderstanding and confusion,
Is it any wonder that they greet death’s embrace so gladly?
Done with this world that once treated them so niggardly?
…………

IMG-20130915-WA0006(1)-3Ajal. My love, you think your mother is not so old? You reckon that your brother has not been sick a day in his life. You think your friend is the fittest person you know. But what do we really know of our Ajal (the predestined moment of death that comes to all children of Adam). You think they may outlive you, but for all you know they are not stars that will shine over you for too long. Perhaps it is destined for them to fly like comets through your night sky, brightening your life with their love, knowledge and compassion, but to vanish much too soon into a darkening horizon. They came, they shone their light on us, then they returned to God Almighty.

After this world’s topsy turvy morality and distractions, we must not begrudge their return to Allah (swt). But we do miss them so, don’t we? Missing the smile, the gentle assurance and easy charity that they exemplified every single day of their life.

Abg Shem2 Balqies picPost Ajal. Perhaps we should not be so melancholic. After all, what is left of our own life is barely a footnote in the tale of this Universe. Our masters tell us instead to focus on eternity – and pray to God Almighty to accommodate our kin and friends in the sanctuary of His Divine Presence, in the best company of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), his family,  companions and inheritors. And we also ask God that when the time of our own Ajal comes, that He will unite us once again with our beloveds there in the garden of forgiveness, love and kinship everlasting.

Hmm. Maybe happiness and/or sadness is just a question of waiting, my love. To be patient here in this world whilst waiting for Ajal, with perfect adab (divine decorum) towards the Ever-Living One and the facsimile of life that He sustains in this brief reality that we accept as our temporary abode. And I think we need not wait to be sickly to apprehend the coming of our Ajal. In fact, our waiting often begins the moment we realise the impermanence of this world, made cruelly apparent to us by the passing of someone so dear…

Slide2

What do you think, sunshine?

wa 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

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

MOTHER?

226330_10150169952279023_4175171_nMother?
How will I ever find you
In this immense congregation?
How will I recognise your feet
Amidst this multitude?
Then suddenly,
A hand, oh so familiar
Gently touches my cheek,
And with tears streaming
I asked,

“Mother?”
……………

mamaFOURTEEN. This month marks the 14th year since my mother left my family and me. And every year I think my yearning for her grows and grows, while contemplation of her takes me to new and unexpected places.

Recently, while communing with the Almighty in prayers, my thoughts drifted to my mother (as it often does). And I remember thinking, “Dear God, if for one blessed moment, you would allow my mother to appear before me, how will I look at her? I fear that the light and beauty of her love would blind me, her undeserving son!”

It is from this brief moment  in one fajr (dawn) prayers that the above prose wrote itself.

So please cherish your mother, sunshine. For only Allah (swt) knows the true spiritual station of mothers, and only Allah (swt) knows the jarring moment in time when you will be separated from her.

May Allah bless us with the strength and insight to understand the hidden meaning of our birth, life, death and this divinely-inspired love mothers appear to possess for their children. We are asking for this important lesson in the name of Allah’s Beloved Prophet, Muhammad Habibullah (saws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

I ASKED, LOVE ANSWERED…

sedih 2I Asked Love
Love, lead me to the very end, to You
Not to the path just to leave me standing there,
Not to the door but to leave the door unopened,
Not to the light but to leave me in its shadows.
…………

This prose came swimming through one day. But no sooner that this vessel anchored at the harbour of my consciousness that another ship, bigger and shinier came sailing over my horizon. It seems that the first poem has piqued an immediate response on behalf of Love. When it docked …

Love Answered
My beloved, do not waste the opportunity
After I have led you to my path
Only for you to stand there unmoving,
Thinking too long whether I am worthy of your love,

Do not waste your short time
After I have brought you to my door
Only for you to wait outside without even knocking,
Too engrossed by thoughts of what you will be leaving,

Do not think you have all eternity
After I have led you to the light,
Only for you to stand apart
To appreciate the light while
Remaining heedless in the dark!
…………

ocean heart 2Infinite Benevolence. And that just about sums up the general state of humanity. We cannot really blame God Almighty for anything, can we? He has given us everything – our bodies, our dazzling good looks, the natural world that we dominate, our intellect and senses to discern right from wrong (which alas we use mostly to discern frappe or latte). But ultimately, Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us our Prophets, the very best of His creation, from Adam (as) through to Abraham (as), right to Isa / Jesus (as) and … (drumroll please, maestro), the very best of the very best, Allah’s own al-Mustafa (the Chosen One) being our beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

Finite Time. And it is through His Prophets that God has laid down the syariat (the Law) and the tariqat (the Path) which is the best, safest and shortest way towards peace and eternal bliss in His Divine Presence. Yet we, the poor suckers that we are, we hesitate. Again and again we procrastinate and say “Oh… not today. Maybe tomorrow. Let’s see what’s on the next channel. There is still time. Loads of time.

IMG_20151202_210056But that is a lie. A cunning deception by our ego (who thinks we will live forever) and the world with all its temptations, ever eager to misguide us away from this simple truth – that nobody knows when they will die and time suddenly and inexorably terminates. When you add the accursed enemy, the Devil, as part of this terrible trio that has shadowed mankind since Adam’s days, no wonder mankind all too often sway and swing to his degenerate tendencies.

Clearly we need help, sunshine. I need help. So while breath still animates this sinner’s body, I hope and pray that Allah (swt), through the Prophet (saws) and our masters (qs) will hold me and guide me towards a better tomorrow, a better place and a better understanding of our long-sought maqam (spiritual station) as servants of Allah and of His Creation.

Tough Love. And when you see me still slacking, my friend, turning aside or making unnecessary detours, please grab old Notrumi and slap him about (gently) a bit, and point him back to the Right Path. For this act of tough love, I thank you in advance, my sweet.

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

Kuntum, Family, Separation and Love

Slide5Family. We are surrounded by our family. They may make trenchant remarks and unsympathetic observations about our lifestyle, diet and exercise regime. But we wouldn’t want to change one atom of who they are, be they our father or mother, our brother or sister, or even our aunts, uncles, cousins  or pets twice removed.

My brother. Our family are simply who they are. And they have accepted us as who we are. It is only good Adab (manners) that we likewise, accept them whatever their perceived foible. I learn this lesson at the crucible of death, with the untimely passing of my brother, Saiful Bahri a.k.a. Poone, also known to me as Abang Chik, almost 2 years ago.

Abang ChikSeptember 14th, 2013. He died in my arms that night, and instinctively I knew as he breathed his last, that a big part of me has suddenly left this physical world to return to our Lord All-Loving. Good for my brother, but by God how I miss him still. For though we are different physically and even emotionally, I am still a part of him as he is a part of me. He is my first master, you see, before I even knew what the word meant for a salica (seeker).

That is what happens when our kin or friend leaves us, sunshine. We know that we love them. But how much we love them? …Only God knows. And it is often only separation that makes us realise the depth of our love, and in consequence, our sorrowful loss.

Of course, I am happy for my brother certainly, and that everything happens as God wills and plans it to happen. But I cannot deny that I miss him still.

You understand me, don’t you, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way