Tag Archives: humanity

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

YOU BELIEVE IN GOD BUT DO YOU BELIEVE GOD? … the hard question I must answer

1405_10153458985924023_7768209619511137782_nThe Two Beliefs
Many people believe God exists,
Sadly fewer believe God.
……………

Camera 360The Shaykh’s Nagging. This is no fanciful wordplay. For the first form of faith is perhaps the most easily accessible. You, me, Aunt Bee and the cat next door, we all believe in the existence of God. But to believe Him, to obey and carry out His edicts? Not so easy. It is no wonder that the shaykhs (masters) of the sufi tariqat (spiritual paths) of Islam often nag their hard-of-hearing followers and lovers, “Listen and obey! Listen and obey!” In response of which we all bow our collective heads in guilt, fiddling of fingers and then we carry on disobeying.

Why They Nag. I know the temptation, falling for it time and again, to believe in the existence of God and rejoicing in His magnificent assurances of Divine Love and Mercy, but to treat lightly His advice, warning and admonitions – seeing His strict edicts as gentle remonstrations for us to reject or accept as we wish. And really that is natural as Allah (swt) did say that there is no compulsion in religion. But if we do choose other paths than that instructed by our Lord, we must be prepared to face the karmic consequences. Especially now in this era, as the Prophet Muhammad (saws) did mention that the lot of his nation will be judged and penalty imposed in our lifetime. Cash on Delivery, sunshine… (dear God, forgive us!)

Our Self-Deception. The fallacy of our stand is revealed when we are struck by some worldly calamity and then cry in anguish “Oh God, You are most powerful and Your will be done, so why did You allow this to happen to me?” So now we say God is all-powerful and omnipotent. But when we were happy and content with this world, God was not so powerful enough that we obeyed Him. Oh no, in fact we went against His divine advice, inevitably drawing the karmic consequences to us.

My stupid plans. We cannot say with have not been warned. I cannot say I have not been warned. So help me, my love. I am done with my plans and my hubris for which I have been paid with loss and pain. I am lost in the wilderness of my folly, and only Allah (swt) may guide me home through the Prophet Muhammad (saws), God’s greatest blessings and gift to all of Creation.

In truth, I am utterly alone with my sins, sunshine. So please… walk with me these little baby steps home, I am in need of your love and your faith…

baby-steps1wa 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

THE QUIET ONE WITH SECRETS TO HIDE

srinagar-mosque-prayer-527134-swYou, ya Allah, You!
Who is the faithless one,
Hiding among the faithful?
Me ya Allah, me!
Who is the sinful one,
Standing with the pious,
Me ya Allah, me!
Who is guarding the veil
Between your faithlessness and society?
Between your sins and the congregation?
You ya Allah, You!
Were it not for You
Would I not be chased out
Of all good company?

Lo where would I then be?
………..

Slide6My wandering feet sometimes lead me to the most unlikely of places, even into the lines of the faithful behind the Imam in prayers. In my fevered thoughts I sometimes wonder, “If only they knew my antecedents and continuing sins, would they even allow me to stray into the house of God?”

But as I look into the faces of the jemaah (congregation) in my mosque, I see mostly a serene calm. It is  an elderly group, with a median age of probably 60. Many are pensioners and former civil servants. After prayers they would read the holy Quran, on their own, or attend a small circle of tafsir Quran, led by a gentle man called Ustaz Ghazali who had lived for many years in Saudi Arabia. There is a gentle brotherly atmosphere that I find most enchanting. So, however undeserving, you will often find me among their midst, a shy quiet one with secrets to hide.

But perhaps even if they knew they would, in their kindness, let me stay. Perhaps they would see in me, at a relatively young age of 45, a fellow traveler, a Saliqa (seeker) at the Door of Mercy, seeking the forgiveness, the kindness and the love of Allah ar-Rahman (Most Compassionate) ar Rahim (Most Merciful).

So what else is there to do, my love? I sigh my gratitude to Allah (swt) and His Beloved Muhammad (saws), I close my eyes and the uncreated words of God spill from my lips.

I am happy. Undeservedly happy.

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

TALKING TO GOD – and why meaning matters…

sedih 2We Be Talkin’ to Him
Many people pray to God,
But few regularly speak to Him,
Unless trouble comes a callin’
And times be appalin’,
Breaking the holy monotony
Of our praise and hymn,

Then… oh boy,
Then, we are not just praying’…
To Him we be talkin’!
………

donkiMotivations. Let’s face it. While we like to think that we are attracted to love, to purity and beauty, and we live our life with a sublime motivation impelling us to good, but truth be told, a little stick goes some way to also encourage our obedience to the straight path. Sticks and carrots, it works on donkeys, mules and asses, and sure as God made apples, it will also work on us.

Recitations. It might sound nuts, but I must confess that I am constantly reminding myself of what I am reciting, and its meaning and what I desire from it and where I wish it to take me – this is true regardless whether the recitation is silent or verbal, done in formal prayers or otherwise, or whether it is the verse from the holy Quran, a dzikr (remembrance of God’s names and attributes) or a salawat (greetings and praise upon the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s.) that I am reciting. Because a lot of what we do in our prayers to the Divine can (and often does) become ritualised and monotonous, a holy monotony as I impudently put it in the poem above.

20151229233705_resizedHoly Monotony? But coming to God cannot be monotonous. It surely cannot be derivative or dull, or just another same-old-same-old like yesterday, like the last prayer time today, like the last dzikr or salawat we recited just two minutes ago. But in all frankness, I often catch myself kinda reciting some holy verse, dzikr or salawat while thinking about the McDonald’s fried chicken I want to order for lunch later. Because as you know, fried dead poultry is more important than the Creator of the Universe or His Beloved Habibullah (saws). Alas, that is the physical condition of humanity while we exist in this material ego-world.

Forgetfulness, it’s all planned. All this doesn’t and cannot makes sense. But then… oh ho! We remember (ironically) that we are created by God to forget. Especially the important stuffs. Stuffs like God Almighty, stuffs like the moral dos and don’ts. Stuffs like doing charity and worshipful attendance to the meaning of our prayers to Him. Why? Because God wants us to have the opportunity to be forgetful (and ergo, sinful), and to come to Him, tearful and beggarly, seeking forgiveness, so that He will be known as the Most Forgiving.

god 2The Choice. So here we are, sunshine. Basking in the realisation that good or bad, remembering or forgetting, we cannot deviate from the path that Allah (swt) as set us upon. But there is at least one matter that we do have power over. And that is the power to choose. The power to surrender. The power to affirm our intentions and seek our Lord’s forgiveness again and again and again, as we forget and we sin, again and again and again.

Meanings Matter. The meaning of this world, the meaning of the words we recite, the meaning of our actions are subtle and are deep in substance as only Allah Almighty knows! But whatever we mean, it all matters – because what we mean will make our actions, make this world, and ultimately make us who we are. Thus may Allah (swt), through the infinite mercy of His Habibullah  (saws), grant us deeper and better understanding of His Meaning, and His words and His actions, that we may dive deeper and deeper into the Endless Ocean of His Mercy and Knowledge.

But you know, please don’t take my word for it. After all, who is Notrumi but a blighted old sinner. Guidance may be found with a friendly Shaykh in a neighbourhood near you. You need only to ask, sunshine. He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

ALLAH & THE CONSTANCY OF HIS LOVE

NASA-SpiralGalaxyM101-20140505

THE CONSTANT LOVE. Yesterday evening my city was visited by a thunder storm, which reminded me of God’s power and brilliance. But truth be told, such thunderous display is but one example of His might, and one aurally and visually arresting. But what of His power which sustains and cherishes all of creation quiet like, without much fanfare – such as the power that animates electrons and atoms, the logic of mathematics, the very essence of light and the hidden attraction of gravity. All of which God Almighty does in an expression of the constancy of His love for His creation. Not for a moment does Allah (swt) linger or delay in His succour to us, thus why are we not just as attentive in our worship of our Lord and charity to our fellow creatures?

pebbles_in_a_stream_2_by_vbmonkey26-d8vkitp

THE PROPHET. Surely, this is why we are called upon to follow in the sunnah (traditions) of our Prophet Muhammad (saws), in whose perfected adab (manners) we can witness a human being in a constant state of effacement to His Lord, while continuing to serve His Lord through service to His Lord’s creation. May we be reminded of our Nabi Muhammad’s loving constancy, so we may strive in our own constancy towards our beloved Lord!

SquirrelTreeTHE ALL ENCOMPASSING LOVE. God’s love for His creation is not just constant but also all encompassing. And no, not just for us silly humanity and djinn, but for everything – seen and unseen, temporal or spiritual, large or small, sentient or otherwise. Every atom, every electron, every squirrel in the tree, every bee in the hive, every pebble and stone, every sun and star, every galaxies in the night sky and beyond – all this and more are created and sustained with His divine love. And such is His Majesty than He can give His love to all without reducing one iota from His endless oceans of love!

THE GOLDEN CHAIN. This is love as is taught to the saliqas (seekers) by the Awliyas (saints) of Allah through out the ages. In a direct heart transmission of divine knowledge and adab, the  mureeds (students) of the tariqas (the Sufi Paths) are connected through their sheikhs (masters), to the mashaykhs (grandmasters) and ultimately to the Seal of the Prophets and the Master of the Saints, Nabi Muhammad Sayydina Miftahur Rahman (saws). Each interlocking chain in a golden chain that connects all of humanity from the lowest beggarly sinner to the Majestic Love, Mercy and Beauty that is our Lord Allah (swt).

25 July, 2011 2So hold me,sunshine. And don’t let go of me.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD

IMG_20160220_192000The Mountain
There is a mountain
Sitting on a vast plain,
You can approach it
Through many passes,
Walking in gullies, valleys
Or scrambling over hidden rocky ravines…

Along your approach
You will see the mountain again and again
In its many wondrous views,
Cloaked in a golden sunset
Or wreathed in a crown of clouds,
Standing in a winter blizzard,
Veiled in a midnight storm,
Sending avalanches down its base,
Or blooming a field of wild flowers
With mountain streams of summer,
Flowing down like a maiden’s tresses,
Beautiful beyond measure…

Glorious, beautiful, enchanting and majestic,
There sits the mountain on a vast plain,
Just that one mountain and no other,
Calling on you with its
Innumerable vistas and stories…

And you go, because you have no other choice,
Turning the mountain climb into
A homecoming to a home that
In truth…

You never really left.
…….

mountain20climbing20man20wallpaper__yvt2The Motivation. When asked about their motivation to conquer mountains and risk severe injury or even death, many climbers will repeat that same old weather beaten cliche – Because it’s there.

The Mountain of God. There are many mountains out there in the world. If you are tempted, you can climb Everest, K2, the Ben Nevis or even my country’s Kinabalu. But however many physical mountains there are, the truth is there is actually only one true mountain, only one real and absolute mountain – The Mountain of God.

The Calling. For you see, the divine calling to ascend the divine mountain is coming from Him. And He is asking you to approach your spiritual goal with an empty heart, that God may pour His love and wisdom into you – To find and experience for yourself His Signs and His Reality – to wander and explore every corner of His revelations, and to see the countless variety of His Beauty, Love and Mercy, each view special just for you! Each understanding weighed with the Divine purpose of His creation – for you to approach and worship your Lord with gratitude and love.

mountain-climber-silhouette2Join Us. In this quest, in this climb, there is no guide better than the one chosen by Allah (swt) for you specifically for this task, and that guide is the Seal of the Messengers of God, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

You need not take this path alone. Indeed, it is highly recommended that you climb with a partner. The climb will be hard and a sustained effort is needed.

So will you continue in this climb with me, sunshine? Please…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

WIELDING THE SWORD OF DIVINE PRESENCE & DIVINE ABSENCE

IMG_20160209_153626Absence & Presence
Love,
How painful is your absence
When your absence is felt!
Love,
How joyful is your presence
When your presence is felt!

I know that what I am asking
Is only for a feeling,

But I would take that feeling
Than all the treasures of the world!
……………

Sick Notrumi. Poor us, poor humanity, poor old Notrumi. I have been unwell for almost 2 weeks, having caught a flu bug that has been plaguing my neighbourhood. But I found this sickness to be a respite of sorts. A break, a lull from the ordinary hustle and bustle that my ego and nafs (base desires) would have normally dragged me through. So I am thankful for this illness.

artflow_201602091201Slow is Good. For the slower speed of my thoughts and actions has allowed me to think a little longer, and sip a little more deeply from the fountain of my conscience… To weigh my many errors and mistakes, to reconsider my path, to relook my priorities and arrange for spiritual supplies that I will need in this journey we all share that we call life.

Feelings. And it is during this present malady that I realise my error – my strange neglect to actually feel when the most important person in my life is present or absent, meaning of course, God Almighty. Of course, at another level, absence or presence is a wholly mortal concept, but it is through such conditions do we sense our nearness or distance from God – from the Love, the Truth, the Mercy and Beauty that can only be Allah (swt) and His Beloved Apostle Muhammad (saws).

A two-edged sword. In a way, asking for a heightened sense of Divine Presence also means asking for a higher sense of Divine Absence. After all, isn’t everything known by its opposite? So now, is Notrumi really ready to wield a sword with two very sharp sides? The edges of which would cut through his petty piety like hot knife through butter? I know I will be burnt, I expect to be scalded. But alas, this fool is drawn to the perfume. To the closeness and intimacy. To the secret congress and loving caresses promised. Oh, Notrumi the Moth, how your wings will be singed by the flame!

But truth be told I am not that sword wielding moth… For I would not be writing this if I have experienced it. No, had I felt it already I would have kept the exquisite pleasure a secret, even from my prying mortal self, lest my ‘spiritual’ ego takes credit (as it is wont to do)! Certainly I will not be sharing my private affairs in a public blog. I do have some scruples, you know!

He he he.

wa 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