Tag Archives: memories

HER STORM, MY RIVER & OUR DREAM

20151230012012_resized_1The Sentinel
You cast a storm from your honest eyes
But you could not alter the course of my river
I cast a spell with my beautiful lies
But your storm has ebbed
And a drought has dried the river.
So now friends ask, why am I still here,
A lonely sentinel in this lonely ruin?
But I cannot forget you, I fear,
Nor our dream of
what might
have been.
…..

20151229003217_resized_1HARD & SOFT. I am trying to learn to remember. I am not very good at it, but I am hoping that AllahuHafez (God the Preserver) will give me a legs up in this general direction. And I think He has. But the collateral effect is we learn to remember EVERYTHING. Which perhaps has its hard and soft sides – We learn to realise the beautiful promises and hopes that once illuminated our daily life by the presence of just one person, a chance for a future, for a family. And with the departure of such person, we learn to carry the painful realisation that we had, in all probability caused the dream to end oh so suddenly, waking up blinking like a fool in the bright dawn of truth.

And I am still suffering the hangover, sunshine.

GOOD & BAD. I said the effect of remembrance (dzikr) is both hard and soft, when the words I used originally were ‘up and down sides’. I changed them because no remembrance is ultimately bad. However painful the milestones we face when we glanced over our shoulders and look back into the past, our gaze must necessarily return far, to the soft yielding embrace of our dearly departed mother or father, or some other beloved kin or friend we have lost to time and tide. And if we look farther still, farther than the even our birth, our parents’ birth or even beyond the first life ever raised its eyes and look into a new world, we return ultimately, in the finality of our contemplation to the dawn of creation before any sun ever existed, to the NurMuhammad, the Light of Muhammad (sws) and to our God Almighty, Most Compassionate Most Merciful. And you must agree with me that that is not a bad thing.

May God bless you, sunshine, always and forever.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE PEN OF GALLANTRY

artflow_201602091201Punctuality & The Pen of Gallantry
Am I too late?
To taste tea in the morning,
To find roses peeping in,
To hear the tiny toes
Of who knows who
Coming down the gravel walk?

Am I too late?
To put fairness before self,
To close my eyes to the whisperer
But gather instead, with the other moths
In a falling orbit
Around the Sun?

Am I too late?
To put manners before passion,
To place goodness before gratification,
To swell the sea of hopeful pearls
Enchanted by the Moon of Mercy?

Am I too late?
To write my book?
To finish my drawings?
To begin and end the story
Of the elephant, the cat
And dear old Mr. Ali?

Heaven knows, as I do not.
The answers to my punctuality
Rests at the Throne of God
In the Antechamber of Mercy
Before Whom prostrates
The Pen of Gallantry
……..

Abang ChikIRONY. we are not good at saying goodbye, are we, sunshine? Not to our office and friends, not to anyone that we love and care for. Take me for instance, today my late brother’s friend remarked on my recent picture on Facebook that from a distance, I kinda look like him (like my late brother, not his friend). This pleases me no end, to be quite honest as I like to be reminded of him. The irony is that when he was still clowning about in the physical realm, Abang Chik used to annoy me to no end with his eccentric but undeniably insightful view of the world.

IMG_20170310_072726THE END. If you follow my rather quiet and uneventful life, you may know that last week, me and my partner handed over the keys of our 13 years old office back to the landlady. It was a deeply melancholic moment for us, having sifted through thousands and thousands of documents of our past decade’s work, smiling, pondering and sometimes laughing at all the memories we made in the office.

THE BEGINNING. Which brings me to the beginning. And to what I shall do now that my legal practice will take a back seat in my daily life. Truth be told, I am still weighing the possibilities but at 47 years old, I am not in a hurry to make a hasty decision. I am looking a the clouds in the sky, I am feeling the tremor of the air that surrounds me, I am listening to the birds singing outside my window, and I am turning my eyes inwards, to the remembrance of God Almighty and His Beloved Muhammad Sayyidina Habibullah (sws), hoping for a hint, a sign.

Pray for me, sunsine. And may Allah bless you always.

donkeywa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE ADAB (COURTESY) OF LOVE – flash of the blinding obvious

artflow_201612111025_resized88. Passion 2
Sobriety and Patience
Is better than Passion,
They become wine to those
Who have passed the state of intoxication.
……..

Thus was recorded in the collection of prose known as The DamSunSunAna some 13 years ago. Last night, poor old dumb me was visited by the same subject, with a sharper lesson -

The Adab of Love
Some use love as a pretext
An excuse for discourtesy,

But is not love the best reason
For good manners and civility?
The reining in of passion
In deference to courtesy?
……..

13 long years, sunshine. And hardly any personal improvement. Although realising the flash of the  blinding obvious is, I guess, some type of progress.

Have a wonderful day, sunshine. I shall spend what is left of mine contemplating the blinding obvious, the Adab of Love and my trail of tears…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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

THE SECRET HISTORY OF FOOLS …about love and getting blamed

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1My Secret History
I have a library of my secret history
Known only to God and me,
But know you not
That in the library
Are countless volumes
known only to God alone?
……….

IMG_20160128_070805_resized_1Secret Even to Us. My love, we all have secrets. Some are virtues and kindness, done in quiet disguise, while many are our sins, curses and dalliance in vice. But good or bad, we would actually know most of our deeds, our acts and omissions. What we are interested in is however those errors that we have committed unaware. And it is these sins that are hidden in the secret volumes of our secret history known only to Allah (swt) while we stumble along in blissful ignorance.

Why Are We Blamed For What We Do Not Know? Such is the blessings which grace every moment of our wakefulness and sleep, in this world and in the Hereafter, that we are forever indebted to our Lord and to His Messenger Muhammad (sws). And we cannot begin to enumerate the quality nor the quantity of His divine generosity. It is because of this blessed indebtedness that we turn to Him, seeking His forgiveness not only of His blessings that we are aware of but we intentionally or unintentionally forget, but also of His blessings that we shall forever be ignorant of.

The Answer is Love. But why should we be judged for what we are unaware? That does appear somewhat unfair, yes? But did someone long ago not say “All is fair in love and war“? And eons ago we did declare our love, my friend. Like the fools that we were we declared our intention to worship and to adore Allah Almighty when there was no one and nothing else in creation that dared take that burden of choice.

Perhaps we are indeed fools. But better the fool of God than the wise of our own egos.

26062011446-2Don’t you agree, my love?

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

2 CONVERSATIONS… feeling good, feeling God.

25122011310Conversation 1. Last week Mikhail shared an observation with me. “You know, papa, my friend isn’t very close to his father.” I asked for further information. “Well, not just with his father. He is also not that close with his mother and brother and sister too. I noticed.

“Really?” I said. “Yes, Papa. His father builds a wall between them. And my friend helps him build that wall.”

How poignant, I thought, for a twelve-year old.

Then out of curiosity, I asked Mikhail, “Gee, that’s too bad, Mika. But compared to your friend and his dad, how would you rate our relationship?” In reply my son simply smiled and gave me an unqualified thumbs up.

mikapapa 2 2Conversation 2. “You know, Papa…” Began my son one morning. “You actually look like a tourist. You don’t look like a lawyer.” I asked Mikhail why he thought so. “With your hat, walking stick and that pouch you look just like a tourist!”

I am not sure if this is a good thing. After all, I always wear a sling pouch. Where else would you carry your cellphone, wallet, book, rosary, pills, car keys, house keys, office keys, etc? And my constant hat-wearing is perhaps a little Victorian (and not to mention being a sunnah – tradition of the Prophet Muhammad) but that is simply who I am. Perhaps Mikhail noticed my disquiet and hesitation, because suddenly my son said, “It’s like every day you are excited to go out!”

C360_2013-08-17-23-04-52 Feeling Good. I don’t know why, but I am very gratified by the two observations of my boy. Firstly, I think we always like to think we have a close connection with our child, be it a daughter or a son. It is nice to know our child thinks so too!

But perhaps most importantly, Mikhail is indeed right. On most days I am excited when I step out of the door of my house. To the extent I am able to, I feel the world is my own private oyster, and we can partake whatever good we desire from it …As long as it is goodness we are looking for. Because I believe God does give us what we desire. So if we go about a misery-gut, looking at the world and its creatures in all that negativity that mankind so easily generates, well, can you blame Allah Almighty if that is what we find? …Sadness and sorrow, every where. World-weariness and hate around every corner. Who wants this?

12022012556Feeling God. No, I am happy to be happy and to look for happiness. But it is no good putting a bag over our head and expect people to all be like saints and angels. Because people like you and me, we are weak. We can be sincere of course, but we can also be sincerely wrong and foolish. It is hard for humanity to carry alone the weight of expectations of an unconditional love. But at the end of the day, that is what we still desire – Unconditional love, a love that does not finish however much that love is given and shared, a love that exists pre eternity and post eternity. A love undiminished over time, no matter our sins, no matter our mistakes. A love that sustains our existence for every second we live, regardless if we are even aware of such a love. A love that assures but also tests us to raise us closer and closer to His love. To make us the best that we are meant to be, particularly unique to our own individual fitra (essence). It is this love, truest and all-encompassing, that we all manifestly need.

Such a love is only with God, Allah (swt), and His Habibullah, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws) is the master, guide and God’s own manifestation of His Divine love. Thus we are advised by our shaykh (master) to step over the threshold of our home and our breath to search for this True Love, and that is ultimately God – as reflected by one of His ninety-nine names, being al Wadud, the Most Loving, the Most Affectionate, the Source and Originator of all love and loving kindness. And we are encouraged to seek Him through His Habibullah (Beloved of Allah (swt)). Our acceptance of this quest, this mission, this purpose alone is a victory in itself. So how can one not step out into the world feeling excited, feeling good, feeling God?

19022012588He he he. It is funny, sunshine. You know, I never plan where our conversations will end. It started with a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart talking to my son. And now it has led me here, to you. I am thankful to God for such mercies…

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

LOVE, COME TO ME… PRETTY PLEASE?

IMG_20160124_080305_resizedLove, Come To Me
Love, I cannot come to You,
So please, come to me

Love, I cannot embrace You,
So please, embrace me

Love, I cannot possess You,
So please, possess me

Love, do not keep me waiting too long,
I am weary of feeling lonely,
Tired of wandering
Into places I do not belong,
I am through with this
World’s cold embrace,
Done with it’s promises
And it’s many faces,

Love, will You not come?

Please?
……………

I am advised, “Notrumi, you poor fool, there you go again, straining every fibre of your being against this world, against your nafs (base desires) and your ego. Who do you think you are, to set your mettle against such foes?

21_july_2011-2

Sinner Sloucher, The Sneering Sufi (that’s me, folks!)

My advisor is right, of course. Who am I? Sinner sloucher, the sneering sufi. I am done with trying. I am through with attempting the impossible. Though I have prayed and beseeched God before, now I am quite exhausted and am turning to His Help unconditionally.

So God, if You happen to be reading this… please, help me. I can do nothing without You. I cannot even remember You properly without You reminding me. I cannot praise You sensibly without You teaching me sense. So please, God. as I cannot come to you, You have to come to me. I am asking this not as myself, but through the dignity, nobility and humility of Your own Beloved, Nabi Muhammad Habibullah (saws).

Please? Pretty please?

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

MY BEAUTIFUL ROSES… from the field of my errors

IMG_20151010_170918I Am Told
I am told;
He is not my brother
Because he is not of the same religion,

But I say; our religion may differ
But we share the same homecoming,

I am warned;
She is not my sister
Because she looks different,

But I say: our features may differ
But inside, she too has a heart beating,

I am told;
They are our enemy,

But I say; to you maybe,
But not to me…
…………….

MEMORIES. This old sinner once wrote that if we have perfect memory, we will never err or sin. But as sentient beings, we are composed of all sorts of memories, good and bad. And we were told and taught many things as we grow up, some of which are mixed with a dash bigotry, like some hateful mocktail.

MV5BMTcyMjI1ODg4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDYzODYyMQ@@._V1_UX148_CR0,0,148,200_AL_So I guess, living a good life is not only about remembering things to practice, but also remembering things only as a life lesson. You know what I mean, one of those o-my-God-what-a-dumb-dumb-I-was past experiences.

A MANURE OF ERRORS. Originally I thought that we ought to forget such mistakes, like our smoking, drinking or drug-taking, or perhaps our brief affair with Wahhabism (under whatever guise it was masked in). But you know, we cannot erase the past. And to misuse a scene from the ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ political comedy (one of the greatest, in my opinion), might I conclude that…

Our past may be full of shit.
But sometime beautiful roses grow
From the most odious smelling
Manure of our errors,

…IF we learn from them.
……………..

And boy, I don’t know about you, but if I could convert my past mistakes into roses, I reckon I would have acres upon acres… stretching into the rose-scented horizon as far as the eye can see.

wallpaper-2997540wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way