Tag Archives: Sufism

THE GIFT OF YOU…

Camera 360THE GIFT OF YOU
Often God offers man a quicker way,
A shorter path, a gift.
We find four responses…

First, The deniers will say, “This cannot be!
The path must be hard, long
And no reward save those earned
In its strict and measured way!
God is simply not that magnanimous!”

Secondly, some among you
Will be thankful to the Lord,
Counting their blessings
And rightfully so.

Thirdly and for a few,
This is their converse,
“For the satisfied, bless them, o God!
But we are your stray dogs,
Mendicants huddling
And hiding in the alleyways
And dead ends of creation,
And we fear, this blessing is not enough,
If you grant us more, Your generosity will not
Exhaust your treasury by a single iota!”
Thus they ask and plead from God.

And now we find ourselves with the fourth and final group,
And to these strange fellows even an inexhaustible sea of blessings
Will not be adequate to sate their thirst,

For they are asking, “o Love, we seek Thee;
The One, The First!
Not out of piety but in realising
That however much good we do,
And whatever the blessings that You may bestow,
There is no gift better to desire,
Than the gift of You.”

So now, Saliqa,
Of these four groups,
Whom do you belong to?
………………

Camera 360Explanatory Note: The first group of deniers and naysayers, who are accustomed to their own interpretation of religious edicts, fumes at the idea of God giving undeserved respite to a sinner. These are whom I call God’s own killjoys. The second group are blessed, being grateful and thankful and waiting upon more of the Lord’s generpsity with patience and propriety. The third group are the good sinners, woefully in touch with the confessions of their sins, both hidden and apparent, and desiring always more of Allah’s (swt) generosity, and they are also blessed. But the fourth, they are something else. They are not actually interested with anything other than the Creator Himself. No blessings, no merit, no rewards, no ease, no relief, nothing created and separate from Allah our Lord do they consider the ultimate goal and gift. And while they will readily accept such rewards from their God with thankfulness, yet they turn to Him, and yet their hearts and their tongue speak a prayer impudent but sincere -

My Lord, thank You.
But among this treasure than
You have bestowed upon me,
Where is the Gift that I truly seek?
The Gift of You?
………..

But then consider this in the calm pool of your spirit – There is no gift truly worth desiring but God, and the Messenger bearing this Gift  is His beloved Nabi Muhammad (saws).

So maybe they are not so impudent after all nor over-reaching their station. They are really only reflecting upon the Muslim’s attestation of faith, bearing witness that -

There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Messenger.

So back to the million dollar question, o’ Saliqa (seeker) – of the four group, whom do you belong to?

 wa 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

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

ALLAH & THE CONSTANCY OF HIS LOVE

NASA-SpiralGalaxyM101-20140505

THE CONSTANT LOVE. Yesterday evening my city was visited by a thunder storm, which reminded me of God’s power and brilliance. But truth be told, such thunderous display is but one example of His might, and one aurally and visually arresting. But what of His power which sustains and cherishes all of creation quiet like, without much fanfare – such as the power that animates electrons and atoms, the logic of mathematics, the very essence of light and the hidden attraction of gravity. All of which God Almighty does in an expression of the constancy of His love for His creation. Not for a moment does Allah (swt) linger or delay in His succour to us, thus why are we not just as attentive in our worship of our Lord and charity to our fellow creatures?

pebbles_in_a_stream_2_by_vbmonkey26-d8vkitp

THE PROPHET. Surely, this is why we are called upon to follow in the sunnah (traditions) of our Prophet Muhammad (saws), in whose perfected adab (manners) we can witness a human being in a constant state of effacement to His Lord, while continuing to serve His Lord through service to His Lord’s creation. May we be reminded of our Nabi Muhammad’s loving constancy, so we may strive in our own constancy towards our beloved Lord!

SquirrelTreeTHE ALL ENCOMPASSING LOVE. God’s love for His creation is not just constant but also all encompassing. And no, not just for us silly humanity and djinn, but for everything – seen and unseen, temporal or spiritual, large or small, sentient or otherwise. Every atom, every electron, every squirrel in the tree, every bee in the hive, every pebble and stone, every sun and star, every galaxies in the night sky and beyond – all this and more are created and sustained with His divine love. And such is His Majesty than He can give His love to all without reducing one iota from His endless oceans of love!

THE GOLDEN CHAIN. This is love as is taught to the saliqas (seekers) by the Awliyas (saints) of Allah through out the ages. In a direct heart transmission of divine knowledge and adab, the  mureeds (students) of the tariqas (the Sufi Paths) are connected through their sheikhs (masters), to the mashaykhs (grandmasters) and ultimately to the Seal of the Prophets and the Master of the Saints, Nabi Muhammad Sayydina Miftahur Rahman (saws). Each interlocking chain in a golden chain that connects all of humanity from the lowest beggarly sinner to the Majestic Love, Mercy and Beauty that is our Lord Allah (swt).

25 July, 2011 2So hold me,sunshine. And don’t let go of me.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

SELECTIVE READING & THINKING… and why wisdom is not something trapped in books.

IMG_20160128_070805_resized_1The Importance of Books
We are surrounded by books,
But we should not be bound to them,
For they are not intended to be walls or fences,
But a door, a gateway to wisdom,
A path to God.
……..

IMG_20160128_070729_resized_1Reading but Not Actually – I was reading up a Sufi book of devotional practices when I noticed something new. Interspaced between texts which were familiar to me are some sentences and words apparently new. But of course, it cannot be so. After all, the pages are dog-eared and it is the same old copy that I have been reading intermittently. I am sure no elf sneaked into my shelves in the middle of the night to mischievously alter the pages.

It may not be elves but I think I have a clue. I was merely using the natural approach towards the practice of any new thing. I essentially wanted to know the basics – Ergo , what I needed to recite, how many times and in what sequence. In doing so I guess I kinda skimmed over the substantive explanations. Silly billy me.

Selective Reading – And of course, what we understand a book to mean will also depend on our own preconception and misconception of whatever topic the book may be about. Often we read books not to actually seek new knowledge, but merely to affirm or validate things we already believe in. Whether we like it or not, we either consciously or subconsciously drift to authors and publications that we anticipate agreement with. So already we are rigging our ‘quest’ to only ‘discover’ knowledge which naturally fits with our own pre-conceived notions of truths and moral rights and wrongs.

IMG_20160128_071021_resized_1Thus, perhaps we have a lot to be thankful for – That wisdom and beneficial knowledge does not come from our choice of books. Because were it so, our ‘wisdom’ would be skewered in the direction of our own bias and secret prejudices. And as history has shown, this is a trend that we should avoid at all cost.

Alhamdulillah (Praise unto God) we are at this orderly juncture. Because I was a little nervous about the apparent contradiction between the Sufic view that wisdom does not originate from books, while at the same time espousing love and devotion to books. Sometimes we just need to delve a little deeper, I guess… To swim a little further and to contemplate little more longer. To find the unity of purpose and divine beauty hidden in the apparent contradictions that spice our life and thoughts. Our eternal gratitude to God Almighty and His Habibullah (saws) for seeding our path with these little questions, that we may learn to find the right answers.

Do you not agree, sunshine?

 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

THE FIFTEEEN LETTERS of Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani

IMG_20150827_122517_resized_1A couple of months back, I found this little book at a bookshop. I must admit that this little gem was unfamiliar to me. As the title succinctly says, this book contains a collection of fifteen letters written by the great shaykh to…, you know I am not sure to who originally! But as this story winds to an end, we may find a surprising answer.

It appears the letters were originally written in Persian by the great shaykh. Thus far, four manuscripts have been found, one in Berlin, another in King Saud University, the third in Oxford University and the fourth in Michigan University. The translator and commentator of the book is Louay Fatoohi, who gained access to 3 of the manuscripts, save for the Berlin copy. May Allah (swt) be pleased with his efforts.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a history with the great shaykh’s books, a part of which I have shared in a 2011 article entitled The Servant & the Master in my earlier blog, the Sinners’ Almanac, which you can jump to by clicking here.

The letters are written in a unique way, mixing short sentences of the great shaykh with Quranic scripture. The words of the great shaykh himself are cast in mystical language. There is really no other way for me to describe to you, so perhaps an extract from the Third Letter (of which I am fond of) will educate us a little. The words in italics are the Quranic verses: -

At times you will be drowned in the seas of independence of:

Allah is rich enough to be independent of all creatures, (29:6)

-at other times you will be bewildered in the entanglements of sandstorms of the majesty of:

Do they feel secure from Allah’s devising? (7:99)

-and at other times, influenced by longing, you will chant like a nightingale in the orchard when the breeze of gentleness of:

And do not despair of Allah’s mercy (12:87)

-blows

………………………………………………………..

Slide1Perhaps you may gain a little from this. Certainly, it makes you question your own contemplation. The juxtaposition of the words of the great shaykh with the Holy Quran leaves me breathless at times, wondering just where he is leading me.

Well, today, on this holy day of Friday, I am pleased that it has led me here at least. To share this oh-so brief snippet of the Fifteen Letters with you – with the sincere hope that a copy of the book may find its way into your hands, and into your heart.

For I, I am not worthy, and I understand that this book is meant for more discerning hearts. Perhaps like the one beating in yours?

Of course, I am right, sunshine. Ask for the book. Godwilling, you will receive it. For I really do believe now that the Fifteen Letters are meant for you, though written many centuries before your birth. And I am actually not much surprised. For this is how Love plans His way. Subtly and over eons.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way