Tag Archives: Sufism

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

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

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

ASTAGHFIRULLAH, THE FRUIT FROM HEAVEN

Beautiful-forest-natures-seasons-17593939-1024-768Astaghfirullah is a common expression oft repeated daily by Muslims, often in the hundreds and not uncommonly in their thousands. If you were to google (and come on, who doesn’t?) its meaning, you may find these common translations: “I seek forgiveness from Allah“, or “I seek (the) forgiveness of Allah“, or “God, forgive me…” But our betters have unearthed from their toil more meaning of the phrase. Like a fruit of heaven that gives a different aroma and taste every time you consume it, the meaning of astaghfirullah is subtle and nuanced and many, many layers deep.  These are just some manifestations -

Astaghfirullah, the Fruit from Heaven
Astaghfirullah is the change of cloth after your attire is stained
And torn, not befitting who you truly are.
Astaghfirullah is the compass in your hand, the iron conceived in a star.
Astaghfirullah is the congregation who abide by you
No matter how lowly you secretly are.
Astaghfirullah is the God-given familiarity with sin that you have earned.
Astaghfirullah is the camel that finds you
Alone and lost, friendless and thirsty.
Astaghfirullah is each step that the camel takes, bearing you to safety.
Astaghfirullah is the task God sets you to,
From selfish piety to Godly charity.
Astaghfirullah is the cleansing Fountain of Kawthar
That purifies your action and omission.
Astaghfirullah is to learn of good and evil,
And to taste the difference.
Astaghfirullah is to see kindness in illness,
And goodness in every moment.
Astaghfirullah is to bear the burden of living,
The pain of separation.
Astaghfirullah is to learn what needs to be learned.
Astaghfirullah is to forget what needs to be forgotten.
Astaghfirullah is to be pleased with Him
And to love Him unconditionally.
Astaghfirullah is to believe in His promises and His vows.
Astaghfirullah is to adore He Who is always present,
But Who is apparently absent.

Astaghfirullah is to have a little cry,
A quiet lonely sigh.
Till He breaks the silence
And asks;

“Oh my servant, why…?”
………….

26062011446 2And finally, my love, what is astaghfirullah, but our turning to God Almighty and seeking His forgiveness for our utter inability to recount the many, infinite aspects of astaghfirullah in all its wondrous glory, beauty and mercy?

We are weak and helpless, sunshine. And thus we seek His inspiration and guidance, through our blessed Prophet Muhammad (saws) to give us the means to learn and be thankful for the countless manifestations of His Love, of which astagfirullah is but one.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

TO GOD ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS …but man is often forgetful

Sheep_with_their_shepherd,_mat01285The Lord of the Creatures We Eat
Thou think My love is only for thee?
For thy kin, thy friends and thy property?
What of the sky, the river and the valleys?
What of the birds, the earth and the trees?

When thou slaughter an animal
That I have made permissible for thee
That thou might eat and live,

How does thou think I feel?
Of all sadness am I free?
………..

The Zawiya. Last week I was at a familiar old zawiya (sufi tariqa establishment) in my neighbourhood. I am blessed that way, you see. I do not have to journey far to reach a zawiya, even walking would take me a mere 10 minutes tops. But I seldom go because alas, I am also lazy that way. May Allah Almighty cure me of this slovenly attitude. Pray for me, sunshine.

IMG_20160703_060212_resized_1The Five Sheep. Anyways, after the morning prayers and assorted supererogatory devotions, the visiting shaykh (master) of the tariqa proceeded to slaughter five sheep made ready by our resident farmer and shepherd. Throughout the ceremony, the shaykh recited the dzikrullah (words of remembrance of God) and I was aware of a poignant moment – That within this next few minutes, the worldly life of a living, breathing creature would, Godwilling, be terminated. To cease to breath the air that we humans too share, to cease to look upon the world that we humans also dwell in, to end its life for the sole purpose of feeding mankind. The solemnness of this ceremony gripped me and I am afraid that I let a tear or two break free from my cold hard eyes.

Divine Mourning. For in the midst of this emotional ride, a thought crossed the wilderness of my conscience – ” O’ Taufiq. If you feel this way, how do you think God Almighty feels, loving not only humans, but all of His creation with a love you can only imagine in its shallowest human manifestation. Do you think Allah (swt) does not mourn the demise of these anonymous sheep? Surely, mankind reckons and judges things by what he knows personally, but do you think the Creator All-Knowing (al-Alim) does not know these sheep that are about to be slaughtered for your sake? “

Oak_Tree_ComboMortal Error. It is our folly we are rarely aware of the value in Allah (swt)’s gift – That He permits his most favoured creation that is Man to slaughter and consume another of His creation. This gift, like all of Allah Almighty’s blessings is not one to the taken lightly. Alas, I do not think there is much room for ceremony in the factory-like abattoir that now serves our consumption-driven society. This lack of respect for God’s creation and our fellow being is not without its karmic backlash. Ergo, the prosperous diseases that now afflict us like high cholesterol, diabetes, gout and the like.

If we learn to respect animals and the environment as Allah’s own property, will this world not be a better place, and us healthier physically and spiritually? In the name of God and by the guiding lamp that is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), we can surely make good strides  by abiding to the holy Quran and the divinely inspired sunnah (traditions) of the Habibullah (Beloved of God s.a.w.s.) who wastes not and is hypersensitive to the smallest and meanest of God’s creation.

Shall we strive this way, sunshine? Is this month of Ramadan not  the best month to forge our intention?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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

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

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

INTERNET ETIQUETTE – Internal Eternal Infernal

Slide2The wise are asking for divine support always… to walk down the street, to work in the fields or at our desks, to play or pray, even simply to breath. We are asking for holy guidance, for every step that we take in this world, be it physical or through the incredible invention known as the internet.

Like any tool, it can be a great help, but to any fool, who knows where the Internet will take him and what harm he may do to himself or another person. I am speaking as someone with such unfortunate experiences.

May Allah preserve our internal, by increasing our connection to the eternal, and confounding the scheming conspiracy of the infernal, in all our undertakings and enterprises. We are asking in the name and maqam (spiritual station) of God’s Sayyidina Muhammad (saw), His Guide of Guides, His Seal of the Prophets, His Mercy to all the Worlds, and yes… even in the cyber world you may find His rahmat (Divine Mercy).

Through the Prophet (saws) and our Masters, may Allah Almighty inspire us to live in honesty and certainty, that we may traverse this life and the internet safely.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way