Tag Archives: saints

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

Heavenly Courtesies and the Inheritors

dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1Movement
I have not moved an inch since birth,
It is time and the world
That pass by me so quickly,
Giving the impression of movement
While in truth I have been quite stationary.
………….

The material world is a natural world for the ego. It is designed to nurture and build our egos to pharaoh-like proportions if we are not too careful. On the other hand, this is a  world where the spirit can prove its worth, the purpose for which Allah Almighty has sent so many messengers and prophets to bring good tidings and warning for mankind, the Seal of whom is of course our beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws).

So we know that the material world is not a natural world for the spirit. Because of this the spirit contemplates physical movement many times over before committing to it, knowing well that its companion ego will take some credit. So if you think your praying movements and postures are safe, think again!

The spirit realises that of ourselves, on our own, we are unable to praise God as how He ought to be praised, unable to understand the subtle nuance of heavenly courtesies that Love demands. Barely able to even keep the rudimentary purity of ablution. So those not totally disconnected from their spirit is always looking towards Allah (swt) to guide his adab (good manners) and his condition.

The saliqas (seekers of the Truth) do this by listening to the Inheritors of the Prophet (saws). And who are they, you may ask?

122. Not Dead
Oh, my Mighty King!
I have not left my flock unattended,
I have not left any fences unmended,
I have left stars that any, if lost, may follow home.

But a cold wind is blowing,
Carrying my memories far away,
Blackness is creeping in,
And though they know how to pray,
They have left my way.

Save for my heirs and heralds,
The fulcrum of this Age,
Still toiling in their mortal cage,
Long-bearded, the white, the black and the grey,

In their hearts, evil holds no sway,
In their hearts, Your Name resonates,
In their hearts, I still live,
Not dead.
…….

169_JPGSo seek a guide of good manners, sunshine, for surely if you ask, Allah the Most Generous shall not disappoint your thirst for heavenly courtesies, to be an adept in the Court of Divine Love, and perhaps draw an approving smile from the most beautiful of creation, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws). Galaxies of stars would be in a state of annihilation, enchanted by such a gesture.

So don’t be shy, o’ saliqa. Ask!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

ANNUAL PRAYER TAX – mine is USD62,050.00 this year based on the Means Test. What is yours?

srinagar-mosque-prayer-527134-swPrayer Tax
Perhaps if there is a levy
For each cycle of prayer you pray,
Then you will be much more attentive…

Counting each precious moment,
Each adoring recitation
In terms of money, money and more money.
…………

What do you say, sunshine? I think if I am required to pay a prayer tax or levy for each raka’at (cycle of prayers in Islam), I will be much more ‘in the moment’. After all, it is now really costing me to spend time seeking the attention and compassion of Allah Almighty. I think that way, you see, because I am drowning in dunya (worldly desires and distractions).

The Means Test. How much to charge? I think the prayer tax chargeable should be based on a means test, i.e. based on a person’s income level. Ergo, a homeless person may get away with just a nickle a raka’at (or maybe no levy at all), while a more prosperous person can expect to pay more. For me personally, I am putting a figure of USD10 (about RM35 in Malaysian Ringgit) as a large enough sum to motivate my concentration during prayers. Crooked bankers, politicians and preachers should anticipate their prayer tax at least in five figures per raka”at (because means test also takes into account just how mean you can be, obviously).

But perhaps you might think that USD10 per raka’at is not a lot. But when you consider that daily mandatory prayers consists of 17 raka’ats, one year would amount to at least 6,205 raka’ats bringing us to a cool USD62,050 annual prayer tax. And this does not include supererogatory prayers… crumbs.

Beautiful-forest-natures-seasons-17593939-1024-768But God is not like that. He charges no levy for your prayers. What is your cost for praying one raka’at or one hundred raka’ats? The answer is the same, practically nothing. Former Prime Ministers and Presidents, even minor reality show ‘celebrities’ charge an appearance fee to be with you. Ironic that our Lord God Creator, Allah (swt) asks nothing of you when you seek His Divine Presence. And yet, in the haqiqat (divine truth) of things as they truly are, only God knows the immeasurable worth of even a single raka’at of your prayers.

My dearest, may we be blessed to be constantly reminded by Allah (swt) of this simple truth, in the name of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

3 FLINT RULES… how to identify peace breakers and lessons on avoiding being one

maxresdefaultMy Companion the Flint
My house is on fire,
My forest is ablaze,
My world is black coal,
A dark ember, a hole,
My love is in exile,
Leaving me with my lies,
Did the flint struck sparks of truth
Only to waste and burn
Great swaths
Of my home,
That now
I dwell
Sadly all
Alone?
…….

Fire from blmFlint Rule #1. A Flint is someone you ought to be careful of. But Flints tend to be quite sociable and exceedingly charming, disarming people with their appearance of candour and humour. Just be careful when you hear something negative about anyone from another perdon – and ask yourself why in God’s name did the bearer of bad news need to trouble you with such information about that person, even assuming it is true. Let me tell you a little story…

A couple of years ago, poor dumb Notrumi became a victim of a Flint. What is a Flint, you say? Flint, or flint stone has been used by mankind to make fire since year dot. In the context of this prose, Flint however refers to the human flint stones who instigate discord between people, between brothers, between kin, between husband and wife, between friends and colleagues. In my language Malay, the word is ‘batu api’, literally meaning fire stone. It is a good word I think because of the terrible damage it does to kinship and friendship. 

Because of the Flint, my caring friendship with my old friend ended in acrimony. Poor Notrumi was accused of terrible backbiting and placed before a sort of kangaroo court. I was so dismayed that my friend actually believed the Flint that I didn’t argue or fought back. Teary eyed and broken-heart I simply walked away.

But about three months later, my friend sought me back and said that the Flint did the same thing to him and his other friend. But the warm caring connection we once shared was damaged so much that I found it very hard to accept my friend back the way we used to be. I guess we are polite, but up to this day the wound has not completely healed.

4877_79071_web_8columnFlint Rule #2. When you have to speak about someone to another person, exercise caution and sound judgement. In fact, the least we speak about someone behind his/her back, no matter how well-intentioned, the better. After all, as the saying goes… The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This is important to realise because the easy truth is that any man or woman can be a Flint. They may be nice and generous at most times, but it doesn’t take bad intention for you to have Flint-like effect on people’s relationship. You may very well be sincere and simply transparent, sharing certain things about Mr.A with Mr.B. But we cannot be sure what is the underlying dynamics of their relationship, so an inadvertent remark that Mr.A joined you to the cinema may provoke silent ire of Mr. B. Why? Because Mr. A apparently had once rejected Mr. B’s invitation to a movie saying he never likes going to the cinema. Uh oh.

Slide6Flint Rule #3. This is perhaps the most important rule of all. It is actually an extension of Rule #2, and this is what it is – We in fact  harbour in ourselves a Flint. A Flint without compare in its subtlety and stratagem, a supreme expert in sowing discord in our most critical relationship of all. Of course you know what I am talking about – It is our relationship with God Almighty, our Most Beloved, Most Compassionate and Most Merciful Allah (swt).

Every emotion of dismay, every despairing sigh, every disappointment, every feeling of being let down, rejected, cheated or attacked… whether we directly attribute it to ‘fate’ (a.k.a God) or through the machination of an agent (normally human), at the conclusion of our contemplation it must necessarily end at the proverbial desk of Allah Almighty Himself, where all buck stops. After all, what can happen to us were it not permitted to occur by God? How could He?! This Flint hiding in the recesses of our soul  and making such observations is none other than our ego. Such is its nature, that our ego ever ready to lay blame on anyone and anything else rather than us for our perceived misfortunes. Even to the extent of blaming Allah (swt).

The Reality. But ego-centric perception is always deceiving. An illusion masking the true Reality of this world and this life – which is actually an intimate stage, a secret communion with our Dearest God. It is this realisation which Allah (swt) may bestow upon us that would ultimately render and tear apart the fragile veil of success and failure, this duo that humanity foolishly cling to to shape our daily sense of happiness and sadness.

So let us silence the Flint that is our ego, and turn away from its compelling ‘reason’ and persuasive ‘logic’. Let no fire spark, let no ember of enmity burn away the contentment that Allah (swt) and His Habibullah (saws) passionately desires for you – the abiding peace and love between you and our Lord and Prophet, and between us and our fellowman.

Don’t be like me, sunshine. Of disappointments, sadness and enmity, leave them be. And make peace… even with the peace breakers and friends that have been too quick to judgment. Surely, that is the only path open for me now. Pray for me, please.

woman-umbrella-rain-art1wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE RIVER OF TEARS …a moment of love crystallised

yangtze-river-cruises-tours-06_leadingRiver of Tears
My greatest relief
Is a river that runs
From my bleeding heart
Through my canyon of hollow fears
Into His Mercy Ocean,

All my painful regrets,
All my broken-hearts
All my melancholy,
All my oh-miserable me!
All flow along this river
Into His Sea of Mercy.
…………

beautifulhorizon1The path of a salica (seeker), or so I am told, is a path of tears. But I am assured that tears are a necessary part of our physical life, thus why should we be nervous to cry a little for our spiritual life?

Tears shed in the spiritual path is not wasted like spilled milk.

Rather they will be counted as jewels in the garden of paradise, treasured because it was unearthed from a place most unsuited for spiritual gems, ergo, this world that we presently call home. Were it easy to find such tears, what value would it have… being just like a grain of sand in the beach? But your tears wrung from your separation and longing for Allah (swt) and His Habibullah (saws) are precious. Sublime and sincere, such a teardrop shed is…

A moment of love crystallised.

So cry, my love. And let the river of tears flow from your heart. For where it is going, by Allah, I wish to be there too!

81915029_5fbaab5a64You have take me with you, you know, because I believe I have not cried enough for my salvation. Be for me always and don’t leave me to the caprice of my ego, my nafs (base desires) or the accursed one. If you lead, I will surely follow, and if not worthy to be your friend, then I will shadow you as a companionable pet dog. Woof! Woof!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

SHOW ME HOW… when my vessel is full and fully formed

Slide1The Vessel 
My vessel is full,
How will I receive
Any more knowledge?

Thus I emptied
My vessel of all my
Preconceptions…
……

Ilm (Knowledge). And here we are, my love. At the beginning of the beginning. The threshold for all lovers and seekers of the true reality of Truth and Love. Here we are asked to set aside our preconceived notions of faith, of God and all other thoughts that have led us here to the door of a master. After all, why are we keeping the very things that we are running away from? May Allah (swt) show us the error of our rampant ego and guide us to distinguish our heart and akal (intellect) from the deceiving whispers of our ego, nafs (base desires) and the devil, cursed enemy of all humanity. May Allah Almighty accept our prayers as ikhlas (sincere) communion of our needs through our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) and through our Shaykh (qs). This is the beginning.

But my empty vessel
Already has a form,
How will any
knowledge I receive
Form me?
…….

River HeartAkhlak. But even an empty vessel has a form, an already shaped skin. Thus, water poured into a teacup takes the shape of a teacup, while water poured into a vase, will acquire the form of a vase. But what the lover seeks is not only to receive divine knowledge and love, but to be reshaped by such baraqa (blessings) that is coming to him by his association with a master. A deeply personal reformation towards the perfection of our akhlak (our disposition, nature, temper, manners and morals)

Then, I shed the form
And the shape of my vessel…

Thus I became a vessel without a form,
Ready to become, my Love
Whatever that You desire…
Dressed as a tempest,
A storm at sea,
A drop of water, a river
A rain-swept valley,
…….

We do not know what is best for us. Even when the best of knowledge is poured into our hearts, who amongst us can claim the intellect to choose which knowledge comes first, how such knowledge can be applied and where such spiritual practices will take us? My dear love, every step of the way towards Allah Almighty, we are in utter dependency upon our master, our Prophet Muhammad (saws) and ultimately upon the mover of all things, our Lord Creator Allah (swt) Himself. As a famous Sufi proverb says…

Only by the Sun can you see the Sun

2012-11-24_tr_GunesSo goodbye for now, sunshine. The ink is spent today. But rest not your conclusions at the doorstep of poor Notrumi, this wretched beggar among the alley dogs and strays of God (swt). Go find for yourself a master, an awliya (saint) of Allah, an anointed inheritor of the Habibullah (saws). There is always one near you. And when you are ready, he will be there for you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE SECRET ERROR & A LOVE INCOMPARABLE – all found in a knot

shoelaces-tied-togetherThe Knot of God
I found my hidden error
In the knot of my shoelace,

Thinking, assuming I can attend
To such menial tasks on my own accord,
While reserving only exalted matters
For the attention of our loving God.
………….

PRAYING FOR STUFFS. We should ask God for stuffs. He insists on it. So I wish to do my part in the divine plan and often beseech our Lord Creator for the good stuffs – You know, redemption, divine forgiveness, entrance into heaven, to be raised in His divine presence as part of the Nation of Muhammad. Indeed, my God inbox encompasses even worldly items, such as a better car, a wife, a daughter (comes after wife), a nice cottage-like house of wood and stone with a respectable piece of land surrounding it. Why, I even ask for good health and a fully-functioning brain. Wonderful and important stuffs, you see. All these I ask of God.

But one night, quite unexpectedly, my friend Munim recalled his Maulana (master) saying that, “Even in tying our shoelaces we must ask help from God!

TRIVIAL PURSUITS. Then it struck me! An epiphany. For all 46 years of my life, I have generally prayed to God to attend matters of critical importance such as elaborated in the first paragraph. Surely I thought, we should only bother God in respect of life-changing and fundamental issues such as health, work, studies, marriage, love, wealth and of course, eternal life. Surely, our everyday menial tasks like sitting and standing and walking, tying our shoelace, opening a drawer or taking out the garbage are not matters to be raised in communion with the Divine. SURELY, such matters can be attended by us on our own accord with our own will, ability and strength! No need at all to bother the transcendental Almighty God in such trivial pursuits.

MIND YOUR BELIEF? And therein lies my error, now so manifest in my eyes that have been blind for so long. Of course, I know already at an intellectual level that we NEED God’s divine sustenance for every breath that we inhale and exhale, for every thought and fancy that passes through what we hastily call our ‘intelligence’ and ‘reason’. But the mind alone cannot sustain such a belief. In the face of temptation and distraction of our base desires, our ego and the devil, only our heart offers real sanctuary. Ergo, the mystics’ timeworn obsession with purification of the heart.

Knot of Divine Love 2THE AFFECTIONATE & LOVING GOD. But alhamdulillah (all praise to God), once we realise the deception of our ‘independence’ and ‘self-reliance’, then the Light of Allah (swt), splendidly reflected through the NurMuhammad (Light of Muhammad) may manifest itself as the sweetest knowledge in the sea of divine sweetness – To know with heartfelt yakin (certainty) that such is the overwhelming and intimate love coming from Allah Almighty that He desires to be involved and remembered in EVERY SINGLE moment of our life. For in the sight of your Lord, there is nothing trivial about anything. Everything, from you and me, to the smallest and furthest sub-atomic particle whirling in the edge of the Universe is given its due of from His Ocean of Majestic Love.  Allah’s Love is not mortal. Indeed, it is not even Infinite or Eternal, such words being mere crude implements in the transmission of divine understanding. Ultimately, Love of Allah may only be known by knowing Allah, by His name of al Wadud (the Affectionate / Loving), and His expression of love that is both tongue-silencing and mind-breaking…

HIS APOSTLE. And the best, straightest and safest way towards knowing Allah (swt) is through Islam as manifested in the perfection of humanity – our own beloved Nabi Muhammad Sayyidina Miftahur Rahman (saws). This Prophet (saws) is perfected in his inner and outer aspect, rendering divine service to the world as a servant of God, while in a constant state of effacement in the Divine Presence of Allah (swt) – seeing only one reality, the singular Haqq (Truth) – that the Lord is indeed the Lord, and we are His servants in utter dependence to Him 24/7. And what the Prophet Muhammad (saws) is, we are taught to desire above all else.

The Knot of God II
I found my God
When I unraveled the knot
Of my independence.
………….

But please, find out for yourself the veracity of what is written here. After all, I am just a sinner with a gift (or curse) for colourful verbiage.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

HIDDEN SAINTS… please help me off this damn merry-go-round!

Slide1Night Sky
My heart is a night sky, my Love!
Bring your hidden jewels to me
To hang like lanterns
In my twilight.

Bring your hidden pearls to me, my Dearest!
To string them across the
Constellation of my heart!

………..

HIdden Saints. Not all saints are known. Indeed, I have been informed that most saints are hidden, their reputation unknown to the vast majority of people. But you know, what the One who hides, He can also reveal. So do not be shy to ask Allah (swt) to disclose the identities of HIs saints to you (whether alive or dead, to use a generic mortal term). If it is good for you that you know, then surely Allah will not withhold His awliya (saints) from you.

escapeRabita. The presence and the rabita (spiritual connection) of a saint is important in the life of any saliqa (seeker). How well someone may know a saint is besides the point. For who can ever know the true state of anyone else, what more a saint of God whose secrets are protected by the Creator Himself? But even a little knowledge, a little association is enough to spark a divine fire of love. And it is this love that will carry the saliqa in his / her journey. The connection with a saint will give relief especially when one is torn between sincere worship and egoistic pretensions dressed in a spiritual mask – a daily regular test for everyone. And it takes someone who has overcome his own ego to be able to guide and assist us in our constant struggle with our egos. God has created the ego to be subtle and adept, able to disguise itself so well that we are often deceived, even falling so far as to believe the whispers of the ego to be our sincere heart! We would be taking one step forward to servanthood only to take two steps back. So you see, without the aid of masters, we would be stuck in an endless spiritual merry-go-round with our ego being at the controls. Forever we will be stuck ‘here’ at the cruel mercy of our ego.

And I am sure, this we do not want… So let us plan our escape, sunshine!bwdivp

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way