Tag Archives: prayers

OH, DID YOU SAY SOMETHING, GOD? SORRY. I WAS BUSY RECITING PRAYERS AT YOU.

TALK TO ME
Talk to Me,
Don’t talk at Me,
Many people do that,
Talking at Me,
But I want you
To talk to Me
And to actually care
About what I think…

To consider My views,
To listen to My replies,
And heed My assurances
And My admonitions.

You will find Me
To be the best listener
And your most trusted confidant.

So talk to Me.
………

You know this story, because you have experienced it before. Someone collars you into a private conversation. Oh, he wants to have a dialogue, you think. An exchange of ideas and experiences. What fun!

Slide3But you are sorely mistaken. The other party (be it a relative, friend, colleague or even an absolute stranger) is not actually interested in a dialogue. No, instead he begins a monologue, chattering at you about some topic or other, perhaps sharing stories of his miserable love life, or his amazing skill playing the bassoon. So you kindly respond, telling him that his body odour is a major issue, or perhaps that you don’t know a bassoon from a baboon. But his eyes glaze over, his attention apparently focused on something other than what you are saying. If you are lucky he will then leave you alone, but no, luck is not on your side today. Instead he insists on continuing his monologue, talking at you while totally disinterested with whatever reply you may have to his dissertation on romance, bassoons and other wind instruments.

This is what I am guilty of, sunshine, when I am seeking God’s attention. Many a days and nights, I have been talking at God, not to God. Chattering the verses of the Holy Quran, prayers and salawats like a spiritual gatling gun. In between the hail of hales, I thought I heard something -

“Whaa..? Did You say something, God? Oh sorry, I was too busy reciting prayers at you.”

See what our God has to deal with? Impertinent souls like your Notrumi here.

20151229233705_resizedThankfully, I am assured that God responds to our imperfect piety the way He does with every other of our imperfections – with infinite mercy and patience. With sublime gentleness and tolerance as only the Creator has for His creation. So no problem, right, amigo?

But a 70-year old friend of mine advised me; “Talk to God. It is very important, before or after or during prayers. At home, in bed, outside working or playing. Whatever you are doing at any time. You have to open a dialogue with God and keep the channels open.“ I listen to his wise words because the first time he ever really spoke to God was when he was lost adrift at sea, off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. A sudden storm at sea capsized the boat he was on and left him all alone in the big blue, far, far away from shore. He assured me that he spoke to God then. Perhaps for the first time ever in his life.

Slide1So you see, sunshine, we are just like my good buddy there. Perhaps we are not presently half-drowning in the waves of the South China Sea, but spiritually we are beset by challenges just as my friend was. Exiled deep into this world of danger and distractions. Apparently so far away from the safety of the Divine Presence, and exposed to wolves and foolish preachers. But like most of our worldly perception, we are being deceived. For God IS near. As God Himself says in His Holy Quran:-

We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.
(Surah Qaf, 50:16 of the Holy Quran, Marmaduke Pickthall)

old_sailing_ship_in_ocean_at_night_biggerSo have faith in Him, my love. Speak to Him. Listen to His answers. Open a dialogue with God. This communication will be the ship that will bear your spirit safely to the sweetest homecoming you will ever experience – back to Allah Almighty, our Most beloved cherisher and sustainer. Just remember to make sure that the captain of your vessel is the Master Mariner of Mankind, the Father of Souls and Mercy to all Worlds – our own beloved Sayyidina Muhammad Mifathur Rahman (saws).

So set sail with the Prophet (saws), my friend. I will scrub the deck for you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

RAMADAN WROTE ME A LETTER

Slide1Relationships. We have all had our difficult relationships. That odious bully at the playground. The teacher who seems to take delight in humiliating us. That colleague who just has a face that you want to give a tight slap for no good reason at all. We are built differently and it is thus not surprising that relationships can go south pretty quickly. But sometimes, amazingly, we can turn from mutual dislike into abiding affection. It can happen. It DOES happen. It happened to me recently.

A 70 stick zombie. You see, I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. I love it because even in my severe state of sin, I am aware of a lightness in the air, and a gentle calm at night. But for a 70 sticks of cigarette regular, fasting does put a cramp in my style – as in I become a complete zombie. A hypersensitive ill-tempered ogre from sunrise to sunset.

An intervention. Anyways, by the grace of Allah (swt), He intervened last year and took away my addiction, and I have been ‘clean’ for more than 18 months. So I found even last year’s Ramadan to be a breeze. I was a little light headed perhaps, but more-or-less fully operational and fit for human consumption.

229752_1879889790685_5877716_nRamadan Projects. This year however, Ramadan was welcomed with a little extra. For one, I started my project to turn my late brother’s room into a cosy little prayer nook. This, together with a commitment to perform some of the supererogatory devotions meant that we have been quite busy, especially at night. You know… getting to know Ramadan… to explore what it offers and just how far we may endeavour towards attaining the gifts and blessings contained within. Always, moving slowly but surely along the path treaded by our betters and above all, by the Master of the Prophets, the Beloved of God and Arch-Intercessor, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

Oh, please don’t get me wrong, sunshine. I didn’t exerted myself that much. I did a little, but I did it regularly and without fail. I read somewhere that God appreciates this approach, which conveniently suits a sinner as unambitious as me.

He he he.

Well, anyways, I guess you can read this as my reply to Ramadan Karim. And insha Allah (Godwilling) I hope to meet this blessed month next year to and share our experiences once again. Until next time then, may God Almighty bless you always, sunshine, as how He knows best for you.

Camera 360wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

A CUP OF BARAQA …the Creator, the Created and the Ego

IMG_20160622_181313_resizedThe Calling
I am calling them,
But few heed Me,
All they hear is
“My servant, my servant”,
And in pride,
they turn away.

Had they heeded Me,
Would have they not found in Me
Their greatest hopes?
And even more would
I have bestowed.

Would I have not
Taken them closer to Me?

In the intimacy
Of their companionship
With their children
Is an analogy
For all to wonder,
But they enquire not
And remain blind,

They say, “I am me”,
Not knowing their true nature.
Lo, that the truth would have set them free,
But they do not understand.
…………..
(Extracts from the DamSunSunAna, circa 2007.)

Divine Goodies. In this holy month of Ramadan that God Almighty has created for His servants, what wonderful openings are given to even the most miserly of sinners to seek forgiveness and blessings and often enough, simply to give thanks to Allah (swt) for all the divine goodies He has given us, the quality and quantity of which we shall never truly appreciate.

Bat-Blind. That is why the good ones always have the dzikrullah (remembrance of God) emanating from their lips and reverberating in their hearts. It is because they realise that they shall forever (and ever and ever) be indebted to their Creator, quite bat-blind to the baraqa (divine blessings) that nourishes them from pre-eternity to this very moment now. And constantly they are pleading, “O’ Lord, forgive us, for we are blind and deaf to all the blessings You have given us, save for the few miserly (that word again!) number of blessings that we are able to realise and acknowledge by Your inspiration.”

ffsfsThe Cup. So that is a good place to start, sunshine. We must ask Allah (swt) to inspire us to see the wondrous baraqa that is already overflowing out of the cup of baraqa that is our life. At the door of gratitude we approach our Lord Most Generous, following the noble steps of our betters, guided by the lantern of faith and mercy to all the worlds, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

The Calling & the Ego. Only once we have answered HIs call may we finally begin to learn who we truly are. Be warned though that our ego will not be happy with such humble attitude and it will react. Thus we ask Allah (swt) to give us the fortitude to reject the self-deceiving exhortations of our rampant ego claiming it knows best. Truly only Allah the Creator encompasses real awareness that is within His creation, from the brightest star in the night sky to the smallest worm burrowing in the earth. We need only accept Allah  Almighty and then ask Him – through that ever-so-nicely-and-politely-manner as is taught to us by the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

Don’t you agree, sunshine?

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 PROMISED SACRED INTIMACY… and the discarding of me

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1Discarding Me in the Promised Sacred Intimacy
When I am reciting,
I am not listening,
Nor am I actually talking…

So to whom am I supposed to be talking?
And whom am I supposed to be listening to?
O’ Love, it must be You, it must be You…
O’ Love, inspire me to
Your frequency
To discard the deception of me…
Of my enterprising in anything,
In Your Promised
Sacred Intimacy.
……….

IMG_20131111_205650Beggar Sinner. We are asking for the best from the Giver of Gifts, the Bestower of Honour that is our Lord Allah (swt). Not because we are the best or any good really, but because we want to be counted in the nation of the Best of Creation, being none other than the Prophet Muhammad (saws). For ourselves, masya Allah, we know we amount for nothing, but we are informed by our Prophet (saws) that God’s Mercy is greater than our sins and (ironically) we imagine that His gifts for those who struggle towards Him is so magnificent to be beyond the little horizons of our imagination.

Impertinent beggar, impudent sinner… honestly that is me. And I am holding my begging bowl that is my two open hands asking for the gift of intimacy with the Heavenly presence. Shameful but ever hopeful, I turn to our Lord again and again, as He reveals with every little unveiling of the heart, His Sublime Love and Grace which enamours our very being – leaving us again and again gasping with sorrowful regret and tearful gratitude…

Oh No!
Again and again,
I come to Thee as Me,
The shame of it all!
The shame of it all!
………

Though we are patently undeserving in merit, we ask Allah (swt), by His divine love for the Habibullah (Beloved of God) Sayyidina Muhammad Miftahur Rahman (saws), to forgive us of all our sins, to accept our poor expression of thankfulness and to welcome us to the Promised Sacred Intimacy between the Lord and His Servant.

10544-497-497wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

O’ LOVE, AWAKE! … knocking on God’s door of forgiveness, hope and gratitude

20150804123718_resizedO’ Love, Awake!
She is kind,
If only she knew how kind You are,

She is forgiving,
If only she knew what You are willing to forgive,

She is generous,
If only she knew what You are planning to give,

She is patient,
If only She knew that You are waiting for her still,

She is beautiful,
If only she can see Your ocean of beauty,

She is lovely,
If only she will step into the loveliness of Your sea,

She is engaging,
If she only knew You, my Lord,
She will not want to miss a thing,

Not a single moment would she forsake
In her journey towards You,

So speak to her Your Words, my Lord…
“o’ Love, Awake!”
………….

ffsfsMay Allah (swt) bestow upon us such favours as He had bestowed upon His faithful servants before us, though by our own merit we know we are not worthy. Thus we are speaking to God in the name of His Beloved Muhammad, Sayyidina Habibullah (saws). We acknowledge our meagre charity and our next-to-nothing piety, but we are here at the Lord’s Door of Forgiveness and Hope, seeking His forgiveness, saying unto Him that we have hope in His Kindness and His Love.

Then we find ourselves at His Door of Gratitude, because we are giving thanks for all that He has granted us and will grant us. For the Most Grateful is one of His ninety-nine known attributes, Allah the Most Appreciative, the One who best rewards His servants …AllahuShakur, AllahuShakur, AllahuShakur…

What irony, that even in seeking expressions of our gratitude to Him, we seek His help. Such is our beggarly conditions, and such is the intimacy He is offering to the Nation of His Beloved… the nation of the glorious guide that is His Nabi Muhammad (saws).

Take my words to your heart,
For the mind is a sterile soil,
A naked soul to be dressed
From head to toe
In the Light of Love.

So be well pleased and grateful, sunshine. 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

LIKE A REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR, HOW CAN WE EXIST WITHOUT HIM?

fat 2Angels. I fear I think too well of my prayers and devotion, “Oh, how meritorious is my deed. How blessed and honoured is my prayers! Why isn’t anyone noticing my glowing piety? Oh, yes… no one is around. But no matter, I bet the angels are giving me a standing ovation even as I am typing this.”

Thus you see, sunshine, I can entertain such strange thoughts even when I am alone in my room. My ego bringing in even God Almighty’s own angels as reluctant (and imagined) witnesses to my saintliness. Our mind often play such tricks like this on us.

Good God. So, in truth, all credit is due to God, Allah (swt). Because the original cause of all virtuous actions, all come from a single source – hinted in the English language by the very ancient and original meaning of the word ‘good’, which is of course ‘God’.

Slide1So don’t you fret if you think you have not garnered enough ‘merits’, gold medals or such rewards as the Lord Creator might deign to grant you. For the lesser you think of yourself, the poorer you realise your state, the more beloved you become in His Eyes, our Lord Sultan…

My Sultan,
Let me diminish
In Your Majesty,
Treat me as how
You treat your servants
Who have been
Proven worthy!
………

Not a single atom of goodly action that we do arises out of our own accord. We are simply answering His Call, for it is God’s Love that forever and always precedes our facsimile of love. Like a reflection in the mirror, we simply cannot exist without Him.

May Allah Almighty cherish and sustain us, and raise us to be dusts beneath the sandals of our Prophet Muhammad, His Beloved One and His Own Declared Mercy to the World (saws). And perhaps most importantly to us, the very reason there is a mirror in the first place. Yes, indeed. But that, sunshine, is another tale for another day.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Needs, gratitude and the bleating sheep.

Slide1This, that and the other (and the other’s kitchen sink too). Perhaps like me, you are also in the habit of asking Allah Almighty for His blessings and generosity – pleading, moaning, nagging and griping for His attention, His love and His forgiveness.

sheepBut one morning a thought came and perched on my woolly shoulder , and then it said, “Before you ask for more, for goodness sake, ask for the sense and sight to see what He has given you already. Perhaps then you can  inject a little sincere gratitude in your constant sheep-like bleating.”

It is a good advice for man or sheep. Don’t you agree, sunshine? And if you do, where else would we seek the best guide (and really the best whatever!) if not in the person most cherished by God Almighty… The shepherd of our flock, the Chosen One, the Beloved of Allah and His Mercy to all the Worlds, our dearest Nabi Muhammad (saws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way