Tag Archives: divine presence

Tahajjud, The Twilight Conference of Lovers

20170204_071656In The Conference of Lovers
If we keep calm,
if we keep quite still,
We can feel an ocean
Lapping the shore of our spirit,
In the moonlit hours while others sleep,
We are awake, listening and weeping,
Allah, Allah, Allah the surf whispers
Allah, Allah, Allah the ripple speaks
Allah, Allah, Allah the ocean mutters
Like nightingales serenading our heart
The ripple, the surf and the tide sings
Ya Ahad, ya Samad, Salli ala Muhammad,
Ya Ahad, ya Samad, Salli ala Muhammad,

Intently We listen until we realise,
That the words are manifest
Not from some place of the North
Or the South or the East or the West
But resonating from within our own heart
Ringing like the muezzin cry for prayer
Assuring the uncertain
Consoling the heartbroken
Giving strength to both kings and courtiers,
To the peasants, the farmers and traders alike,
Giving solace to the poorest wretch in the gutter,

Declaring that God and His Prophet is here,
Closer to us than our jugular,
Thus in the darkest part of the night
The Lord of the Nightingales hosts His guests
In the Twilight Conference of Lovers we gather
To worship, to adore in His Light upon Light.
…………

Is there anything more to be said for now, my love? May Allah love us and awaken us from our weary slumber to His calling tonight and every night hereafter. We hold unto the Prophet Muhammad the Light, the Lamp and the Lantern (pbuh), to shine His light upon light into our darkening skies.

Madad ya Sayyidina Nur (the Light)
Madad ya Sayyidina Siraj (the Lamp)
Madad ya Sayyidina Misbah (the Lantern)
(Peace be Upon Him)

And if someone asks thee – o’ Saliqa, o’ seeker! Where do you find nourishment? Tell them that every night you attend to His audience, prostrated as a lovelorn servant, in the Conference of Lovers, in the Tahajjud nightly prayers.

20160809_071418wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

MUSE, MAKER, THE END OF ALL SURMISE

Camera 360My Only Homecoming
I am captivated by Your signs
Bur wonder… how long shall I
Be traveling? To wander this world,
To explore the connections
And signs of You
But to never find You?

I am not claiming that I deserve You
But then You made me and I am Yours,
So is there in truth
Any other homecoming
For me but to You?
………

A few nights ago, I was bemused to hear two simultaneous Azans (call to prayers). One came from my phone with its prayer times app, while the other came ‘live’ from my neighbourhood mosque.

5451_109180257843_543202843_2382546_7545878_nI don’t know why but I was deeply affected by the beauty of the two Azans. They just felt overwhelming, coursing through the air like some cosmic signal being beamed from a divine radio station heaven somewhere beautiful. But then, quite by surprise, a poignant thought came to me…

The End of Surmise
Beautiful songs… But when will I meet the Muse?
Beautiful signs… But when shall I see the Maker?
Beauty, beauty, beauty everywhere
But when will I ever
Meet the End of all my surmise?
………

It was a moment both sweet and sad. I really don’t know how else to explain.

Do you, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

“Is Mika here?” He would ask

30082011706 2-2

Questions
“Is Mika here?
Can I borrow some money?”
The familiar head would suddenly appear,
And I would reply, gruffly,
Yay or Nay, to the speaker,
Abang Chik, my brother.

Now as I sit in my room,
Sifting through his notebooks
And scribblings that I have saved,
My eyes sometimes drift to the door,
Half expecting him
To poke his head in,
And ask, for the thousandth time…
“Is Mika here? Are you done with the book?
Have you seen my car keys?
Do you have the time?”
…….

Not a day passes, that I am not thankful for this life, this world, and for you, sunshine. And not a day passes that I am not thankful that this world shall not last but one day end, and that we, you and I, shall take leave of this reality and return to the possessors of our memories, our dearly departed kin and friends. And to meet, Godwilling, in a congregation blessed to be in the Divine Presence.

My brother is not here. The odour of his presence, made astoundingly apparent by his Indonesian clove cigarettes is absent. But his writings and drawings, his artistic, musical and literary tastes, his quiet devotion to Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani (qs), are present in my life and animate my thoughts. And he is doing it all over again – bothering me, popping his head into my loneliness, asking for the millionth time… “Is Mikhail here? So what do you think of the movie? Doesn’t the minister drive you crazy?”

Abang Chikwa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE DISTRACTION OF DISTANCE, THE ILLUSION OF NEARNESS

The Distraction of Distance
I am tryingSlide1
Dear God,
I am.

I am closer
I know.
But I am hindered,
Dear God,
I am.

I am hindered
By my knowing
I am near.

I am distracted, I am,
By the distraction
Of distance.
I am deceived, I am,
By the illusion
Of nearness
……

Don’t be deceived. Be cautious, pet. Space and time, that place where distance matters is a construct for our material ego-world. Do not be attached to such measure of closeness. For Allah, there is only one measure worthwhile for all humanity to understand and strive towards – to Him, to God through goodness…

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (Holy Quran, 49:13 -Marmaduke Pickthall)

All other yardsticks, such as pious knowledge or material prosperity, are double-edged swords that bites both ways if the beneficiary of such blessings is not careful. For you see, if the devil is the dog at the door of the Lord, testing the worth of any one who presumes to approach the Divine Presence, the louder is his bark the closer that you get.  Guard dog4

Thus, prudence is the name of the game, sunshine. As my lovely law lecturer, Sheila Tilley used to interject to the bemused delight of her class – softly, softly, catchy monkey.

He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE DEVIL AND OUR EGO, HIS MOST LOYAL ACOLYTE

19022012588Why
Why oh why?
Why did I die?
Why oh why?
Why did I lie?
Thinking I will never be found out?
…….

sedih 2Every time we lie, we die a little. Of this I am certain, and many times more than I care to count I have found myself at my own funeral, looking into my own grave.

Like tango, it takes two to lie. So long as we are weak and a slave to our own ego, our life shall always be divided – between our heart and our ego. And all too often it is our ego that we will believe, while our heart’s admonishments and advice we stubbornly ignore.

Yes, the devil, our enemy tirelessly lays siege upon our peace and happiness, but whispers are his only armoury. It his good fortune that in our ego his evil whispers have found a most loyal acolyte.

Man & His Lies
The devil was asked
Why it was so easy to deceive Man,
To which he replied,
“I have not found,
In all my travel and adventure,
A creature more adept at self-deception
A student more diligent in the science of self-destruction
Than the children of Adam and Eve”
……..

In a world full of mad preachers and merciless sermons, there is always this risk, a very present and real danger, that our very best efforts of piety or charity are diverted and corrupted by our own ego, hubris and self-deception. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… someone said.

So remember BismillahiRahmaniRahim, sunshine. Declare your purpose in everything that you say or do in the Name of God the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. Leave no words or deeds without this accompaniment – a gift of Allah to Rasulullah (sws) and his nation that is priceless beyond measure.

Say it, my friend, believe it, then cross the road without fear.

largewa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE TWO ARROWS – The Servant & The Lord

IMG_20170120_101006_resizedTHE TWO ARROWS
Two arrows fly from the servant,
But only one can fit the spot,
Which arrow will represent the rebellion?
Which arrow will represent the Lord?
……….

IMG_20170112_124539_resizedAL-QAHHAR. It does not matter, you know. However stubborn our ego, however beguiling the whispers of the enemy, however well we plan our rebellion against His dictate, we simply cannot win against Allah Almighty. Just like the two arrows vying for the bullseye, only one can win the honour, and the other must, naturally, perish, annihilated utterly in the uncompromising unveiling of God in His Attribute and Divine Name of al Qahhar, the Conqueror, the Ever-Dominant.

But human nature is prone to such foolishness, and often we embark on this most futile of quests – to disobey His law, to ignore the admonishments and warnings from His prophets and saints. To what end but to guarantee our own hardship, suffering, frustration and sorrow.

May we avert our gaze from pursuing such mindless course of self-destruction. Rather, may we be guided and reassured by the Lamp of God, Nabi Muhammad Sayyidina Siraj (sws) to be mindful of His Eternal Kingdom, and approach the Divine Presence like the flight of an arrow, flying from the bow of patience and servanthood.IMG_20170311_110843_resized

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

LOVE DIVINE, BE MINE (Part 3 of 4)

old_sailing_ship_in_ocean_at_night_biggerTell Me, o’ Allah
Thus every shadow in the night,
Every wake of the ships that sail
Across my moonlit sea
Is disclosing Your Truth to me
However far is the captain’s course,
So please assure me, o’ Allah,
That this journey must be
And this crossing is Yours eternally…
………

Not a leaf in a forest, not a dew drop in a mist, not a ray of light from a star that is shining which does not speak to the seeker of the Sought. The seeker being you and me, and the Sought being the only One worthy of our undying attention and love – Allah Almighty, Lord Creator of the Worlds.

Camera 360Any other interpretation of the purpose of our birth is a disastrous detour to distraction and possibly even the destruction of our temporal happiness. Alas, we learn this often only in our greying years, as we look upon the young,  tolerating the same mistakes we did when we were young, despite our stumbling counsel and advice.

Such is life, youth and the coming of old age – Each phase acting its way through to the end like a well scripted play. Perhaps the important thing is knowing there is in fact an end, and that end is a homecoming to  Allah All-Loving, the Friend of Friends, the Guardian Beyond Approach, the Essence of Whom is Incomparable Greatness, and Whose Beloved is the very beacon of all His Creation – our boundless Prophet Muhammad (sws).

Wonderfully operatic and grand, yes? And yet intimately… masyaAllah… more gentle and tender than the kindest human mother with her baby.

Does this not please you, sunshine? Believe! (Go to Part 1 or Part 2)

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

LOVE DIVINE, BE MINE (Part 2 of 4)

artflow_201510232121_resizedThe Secret Flame
Thus every lingering word, every breathless pause,
Every letter, every passion we try to tame,
Is born to perish, spellbound and spelling out His Name,
Love, Love oh Love Divine!
Love, Love oh Love’s Secret Flame!
…………

largeThe beginning and ending is important. By its nature the beginning is normally a small moment, a brief chapter in a life that may extend to many, many years. The end is also normally quite short. Of course actual dying can be long and gruesome, but the end of one’s life is physically almost instantaneous.

But if we look at them from the spiritual aspect, our birth and death takes on a great deal more meaning than the time spent in the physical realm. In fact, when you think about it, your entire life tend to be lived trying to understand the meaning and purpose of your birth and where you will go when you breathe your last. A great deal of human endeavour, drama and emotion are spent by human beings in this singular pursuit, propelled by some metaphysical purpose found in the traditional religions and its scriptures. It is there in our common history.

Atheism and the End of Love. But now things are different. Now, many people say there is no meaning to be understood about our beginning and ending. Our parents dutifully had sex, and by sheer improbable weight of luck, we were conceived and born. We then live, pay taxes and after a season we die. The End. Roll the Credits.

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1What a sad day for Mankind, when we are now bereft of spiritual reasons behind our birth and our death. Suddenly, everything that meant so much, now really… means nothing. Of course, we are talking about love. According to the naysayers, Love is just a biological and chemical instinct to procreate and ensure the continuity of the human race. It is nothing different from our natural drive to eat and to survive the day. Love is just some fancy creation of poets and love-sick teenagers, a romantic gloss over the overriding primal drive of lust – We being no different from the animals, the amoeba and virus. Sounds depressing to me but Atheists insist that their belief liberates humanity from the traditional constraints and patriarchal oppression often connected with religion. I think there is some truth there, given the unfairness and horrors often visited by the powers-that-be under the pretext of religion. But at what cost do we acquire this ‘liberty’?

For the moment you take love out of the equation, the instance you separate metaphysical meanings, causes and consequences from your physical world, what do you have left? A spartan, dour and crude motivation of survival for no reason but to survive. No other purpose, no hidden truths, no secret flame, no more hidden beauty. No more love. And that, to my mind, is the saddest thing ever. Don’t you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

DIVINE SURPRISES DIVINE LAUGHTER

Slide7 Divine Laughter
I try not to worry about my state,
Planning for this, that or the other,
For when God sees what I plan ahead
The heavens ring with His Laughter.
………..

Yup. But then, we must also plan. And do our best to achieve what we plan. But side by side with such commitment and passion is our humble acceptance – that however good we strategise and implement our project, it is His Plan that is ultimately fulfilled. Which may be the same, or slightly different or totally the opposite of what we had planned and worked for.

This balancing of apparent contradictions is but one of the many aspects in our life where we gingerly tread the bridge of the Siratul Mustaqim (the Straight Path) whose width is akin to the width of a  human hair split 7 times thinner.

Slide8Crumbs, that is nail-biting tension on the high wire act.

But let’s not worry too much.  After all, I bet you are just like me in that…

Divine Surprises
I love surprises
And God loves to give me surprises
And He will give me surprises
Whether I like it or not.

So yeah, I love surprises.
………

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

YOUR NEW EYES… IT IS CALLED THE HEART

26062011446-2New Vision
My eyes is growing weaker
So much better to see with my heart
The folly and beauty that is you,
The comedy and tragedy that is you,
The cold winter in your words,
The warm summer in your embrace,
The rising cry in your surprise,
The tide rising in your eyes.
……….

Growing old has its plus points. For one thing, by sheer usage, fair wear and tear, the physical faculties that the Lord has endowed you will have run their warranty period. You don’t hear so good, you don’t walk so well and often your eyes will often ask you, “Hey! What thaaat?!

beautifulhorizon1Without your physical crutches, you shall have to rely more on your spiritual senses as they, Godwilling, develop and sharpen. Thus may you see with your heart a quintillion times better than how your eyes had once perceived the world and people. But more importantly, your heart shall look inwards, towards your soul that is despairing for the answers, asking, “Who am I? Who are you?

You will cry more, my love, but your smile and laughter will be richer. For you know that your caravan of love is nearing the last valley, crossing the very last river, towards the Horizon of Divine Presence of Allah Almighty and His Beloved Muhammad Sayyidina Mu’ammil (sws), the Hoped For encounter of all Saliqas (seekers).

“And surely what comes after is better for you than that which has gone before.”
(Holy Quran 93:4, transliteration Shakir)

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way