Tag Archives: spiritual station

THE DISTRACTION OF DISTANCE, THE ILLUSION OF NEARNESS

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

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

I am hindered
By my knowing
I am near.

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

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

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

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

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

He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

WHAT EMPTY CUP? …pretences of emptiness & the pathfinders

IMG_20160924_211029What Empty Cup?
Indeed, my son. You must come
To us with an empty cup.

For what enlightenment can we pour
Into a cup if already full?

So first, let us crack away
At your pretences
Of emptiness.
…….

mountain-climber-silhouette2We are cutting through the multi-layered cake that is our ego, divining its many secrets doors, pathways and disguises by which our ego captures our mind, our conscience and impersonate even our hearts. Who is to say for sure when we are free of our ego, trapped as we are in our material body and very real needs, wants and desires?

On this spiritual path, you must have a pathfinder. A ranger who will lead you through the forest of your own self-deception, protect you from witches and warlocks, give you spiritual sustenance to carry you through the hardest, driest drought. You cannot do this alone, my love. So ask God Almighty for a pathfinder, a Master of the Path (a Shaykh of the Tariqa) who can take a stubborn foolish pupil and turn his weakness into strength, his lies into truths and transform you into the best you that God Almighty and His Messenger (sws) had always intended for you.

And if along the way you find this sinner stumbling in the brush, having lost the path, call to me and help me back on right track. Lord knows His servant often errs!rain-girl

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

BE SILENT, BE NOTHING … listen and obey

IMG_20160829_125219_resizedBe Silent
A mureed (disciple) approached his Shaykh (master) with a problem, ”O’ Shaykh! I have difficulty being humble. Can you help me?
The Shaykh said, “Yes. Remain silent.”
Okay.” Answered the mureed. After a few awkward moments he then said, “And…?

And what?” The Shaykh was surprised, seeing the mureed was still looking at him attentively.

I am still waiting for your advice, o’ Shaykh!

The Shaykh clarified, “That IS my advice. Remain silent. Easiest thing to do.
…………

Silence. The Shaykh may have been a little disingenuous. More often than not keeping quiet is not the easiest thing to do. Not when our ego is baying to bark, to cajole, to argue, to whine, to gossip, to generally stake our presence in the stage of egos that is this world. Our ego demands for us to be heard and recognised. But the spiritual path in almost all religion is to stay silent, to listen and to obey. In other words, to be nothing.

Be Nothing
Be silent, listen and obey
And be akin to nothing
In this crowded world
Where every human ego
Is crying for attention!

Be silent, listen and obey
And see how the Lord of Everything
Attends to the one
Seeking to be
Nothing.
…………

This was the silent prayers of Mary, the Mother of Jesus (a.s.) and that of Sayyidina Abu Bakar as-Siddiq (r.a.), the devoted companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). It must mean something then, desiring to be nothing.

The Golden Silence Sometimes though remaining silent does not mean our ego is not expressing itself, because the human ego can also work in the opposite way – for instance, when we refuse to greet someone whom we dislike. In that way, breaking the silence with a kindly greeting of salam (peace) IS the way to overcome our ego. Renewing friendship and bonds of kinship… all these are wonderful exercises in overcoming our ego!

81915029_5fbaab5a64So you see, the Shaykh is not simply advising us to be mute and silent like the grave. It is rather to permit our ego no means to express itself, either by our words and action, or through our silence and inaction. This is the golden silence which we may find through listening and obeying God, His Messenger (s.a.w.s.) and those that has been charged with authority over us.

Think about it, sunshine. Let this dwell in the savanna of your consciousness and we will see what sort of Moon now rises over the horizon of your secret contemplation.

wa min Allah at taufiq

hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

TURNING TO GOD… (while stuck in a train between two stations)

226330_10150169952279023_4175171_nTURN TO GOD
It is the hardest thing
To see someone talk to his mum
To kiss and hug her,
To show respect and obedience
Knowing that i cannot.
Thus, I turn to God
Thus, I turn to God
I turn to God…
……

Abang ChikStuck in a train between stations. When will you realise God is real, o’ Notrumi? Perhaps, now? Now that you are torn between the souls of your dearly departed kin and friends and the life you still live? Every day, my horizon stretches across this world and the hereafter, between my living father, brother and son, to the souls of my dearly departed mother and my brother. Who is comfortable sitting here in this cosmic train? Stuck between two stations – between happiness and sadness, between sweet solace and a profound yearning? Who will keep me company in this lonely train carriage that is my conscience?

Remembrance of God as Your companion. It has to be God I guess. Separate as He is from all of His creation yet closer to us than our jugular vein (Quran 50:16) …Hidden but more apparent than the Sun, some mystics say. Easily His Presence and Vision transcends life and death, heaven and earth, between the living and the residents of the cemetery.

IMG-20130915-WA0006(1)-3Allah (swt) is there, sunshine, at your side, through your hours of tearful remembrance, through the lonely nights when you sit in your room, unmasked of the disguise you wear for people during the day. You need only say His name -

Allah… Allah… Allah… I turn to You. Hear the sorrowful words of Your servant… Allah… Allah… Allah… You made me, so You must know me best of all. Nothing is hidden from Your sight, thus you can see the bleeding wound in my heart for the compassion of my mother, for the empathy of my brother – so help me heal, my Love, help me understand, my Lord.”

We prostrate our akal (mind), our heart and our memories before you o’ Malikul Quddus (o’ Most High King Most Pure) in the name of Your Mercy to all the Worlds, Sayyidina Muhammad Miftahur Rahman (Key to Mercy) Miftahul Jannah (Key to the Garden) Abu Arwah (the Father of Souls) (saws). We come to You, o’ God. Seeking Your attention and intimacies through the one You and Your angels love and praise best in the heavenly presence.

20151229011502_resizedwa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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

I LOVE MY FEET … wherever they go, I follow!

Slide2In His Absolute Wisdom, Allah Almighty has created our eyes, ears and hands to multitask, to be able to discern and grasp many, many things at any single time. Thus, they require our attention to keep them focused on a single task.

But our feet, perhaps that most servant-like of our limbs, it can only carry out one task at any given time. It is impossible for our feet to carry us off into two different directions. Certainly, I have not heard of a traveller whose right foot took him to Paradise, while his left foot dragged him to Hell.

And what of our mind? Oh dear. We all know the sort of thoughts that can enter our head whatever we may be doing. We may be in prayers, our foreheads on the sajda (act of prostrating / prayer mat), muttering glorification of God the All-High, but then, totally uninvited, a question butts into our communion… “I say, buddy. What are we having for supper tonight?”

… *sigh*

So you see, we must all value the refreshing single mindedness of our feet. In fact…

…we truly love our feet. After all, wherever they go, we follow.

He he he.

Let’s get moving, sunshine. May Allah (swt) bless our feet to take us to Him! May Allah (swt) bless our feet to follow in the inspired footsteps of the Mercy to All the Worlds, the Most Honoured One in the Divine Presence, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws)!

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

TO EACH UPON HIS OWN LANE, AT HIS OWN SPEED …ON THE HIGHWAY TO GOD

IMG_20160525_155746_resizedSpeed
We are crawling,
Many are walking,
Some are running,
For a few,
They fly!

Of these travellers,
Of whom are you?
………..

To each, his/her own path – Travelling at the speed approximated for them by their Shaykhs (Spiritual masters). So really, I ought not to complain if someone is moving slowly, nor should I be bitter at someone passing me by. But by God, I am! Pray for me, sunshine.

I suspect that there are some who appear not to be moving at all, but in truth, have already reached their destination. Or perhaps they only appear to be still, when in fact, their inner state is blazing through the cosmic consciousness like a comet of faith. After all, how would I know and who am I to judge a book by its cover. And even if I do open the book, how do we know   that we have read the story till its very end – as the person on which the book is based is still very much alive!? In any event, we ourselves may be misguided because the dictionary by which we interpret the words in the book is not the same as used by the person we are assessing.

He he he. ‘Assessing‘. It’s a more politically correct word for ‘judging’. So don’t assess anyone, sunshine! Not even me. But let us never rest assessing / judging ourselves, every breath, every words that spill from our lips, every action and omission, every stumbling negligence.

It is upon this daily assessment and reassessment, do we refine our crude blundering way towards Allah swt. And as always, we ask Allah Almighty to inspire us the words, the actions and the manners to bring us closer to Him and as always, through the blessings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), our Master Guide, the Lamp of Mercy that shines upon all of God’s creation, upon every angel, man, woman and child, from the little ants that crawl under the earth to the seven heavens wherein the good will forever abide.

Don’t fret, sunshine. We are all moving towards the same destination, knowingly or unknowingly! So let us be pleased with the speed we are travelling and with the speed that others are moving. To each upon his own lane, at his own speed  …on the Highway to God. 1405_10153458985924023_7768209619511137782_n

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