Monday, February 28, 2011

Offer no excuses


La hawla wala quwwata illah billah. I have been very busy. I have been slacking in my posting. I have been suffering from a spiritual drought. Those are my excuses for not writing on time as I have intended. Then, today while thinking about more excuses, I came across this page in Al Wasiyya by Shaykh Abdul Al-Mahmud Al-Hayfan.

Do not take to excuses
Beware, my sons, of things that cause you to excuse yourselves from doing things you have to do because seeking excuses is part of the human sense of dignity and esteem. The Truth (Allah) blamed those who sought excuses, so on your road to the Truth do not ever be in a situation of blame for excusing yourselves from doing things that bring good to you and drive evil away from you. Do away with excuses as much as you can, as being free from excuses is more dignified and higher in esteem than excuses, even if you were true in advancing them.
Credit: Garnet Publishing

So my friends, together we struggle, together we learn and take heed InshaAllah.

And this is what I learned from Jack Canfield earlier this morning: Don't block success by refusing to take action on a project, just lean into it and don't sabotage yourself thinking you don't deserve to be successful.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The himma of the man in the mirror


We found these comforting words in 'The Meaning of Man' by Sidi Ali al-Jamal of Fez, a book which we have not explored for a very long time.

"Know that whenever you prepare for something, the thing prepares for you, be it outward or inward. You do not seek anything but that it seeks you. You do not reject anything, but that it rejects you. You do not turn to anything, but that it turns to you. You do not love anything, but that it loves you. You do not hate anything but that it hates you. The result is that existence is like the mirror. Whatever you confront it with, it confronts you with it. Wherever you drive yourself, you find it. He said, may He be exalted:
He will give you, all you ask Him.
He said, may Allah grant him peace:
"Allah provides for the slave according to his himma."

So, if you want something from Him, ask, ask, ask, and make space to receive; be a receptacle and be ready for it. Bi-iznillah.

May Allah grant us a high himma so He would give us plenty.

Credit: Diwan Press 

Friday, February 25, 2011



La hawla wala quwwata illah billah. We try to act upon each and every good inspiration that come to us InshaAllah. We learned they are called khatir rabbani and khatir maliki - the lordly whisperings and the angelic whisperings.

Today, upon arriving in my hometown, 'my' island in the sun, Penang, as the sunny cheery mood sets in, some good khatir shouts at me, hey give a small gift to the farthest visitor to this space.

So...I wanna give a little something to someone from...Argentina! InshaAllah. Yes, Argentina! I must say it's very inspiring to have friends in faith from as far as Argentina visiting us. Alhamdulillah.

Estimado senor, Euskir/Federico, please drop me a line and give me your address. Muchas gracias

p/s Thanks for crying with me when I cried my heart for our brothers in Palestine. Time and distance cannot and should not break the bond of friends in faith.

A grand gorgeous mosque in Buenos Aires
Pic credit: Beatrice Murch

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are you shakir, shakur or hamid?


We just learned this morning, and again it's from Ghawth al-Azam that there is a difference between being simply thankful and very thankful. He said: "The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for what is available [mawjud], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for what is unavailable [mafqud]."

So we learned that, though obvious, there is a difference in saying shukran lillah and alhamdulillah. We are supposed to say our thanks (shukran lillah) for what is available and what is not available. We know who we are, whether we are simply thankful or very thankful. But how do we express our thankfulness?

He said:
"The true nature of thankfulness [haqiqat ash-shukr] is the acknowledgment of the benefaction of the Benefactor [ni'mat al-Mun'im], with an attitude of humility, an overt recognition of the blessing, and a reverential confession of one's inability to give adequate thanks. Thankfulness can be subdivided into several categories, namely:

1. Thankfulness expressed by the tongue [shukr al-lisan]. This constitutes the acknowledgment of the benefaction [ni'ma] with an attitude of humble acceptance [istikana].

2. Thankfulness expressed by the body and the limbs [shukr bi'l-badan wa 'l-arkan]. This is the characteristic indication of loyalty and readiness to serve [al-wafa' wa 'l-khidma].

3. Thankfulness expressed by the inner feeling [shukr bi'l-qalb]. This requires a careful balance between the visible display of appreciation and the constant preservation of a sense of reverence."

"Beyond this stage, thankfulness passes from the realm of the visible to the realm of the invisible [ghaiba], where the focus of attention is the Benefactor [Mun'im], rather than the benefaction [ni'ma]."

But in most cases, the Benefactor is only acknowledged when one sees the benefaction! Then there is another phrase which we all take for granted in saying - alhamdulillah.

Repeating alhamdulillah does not necessarily make us one who is truly grateful. Why? Because Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said: "The person who gives praise [hamid] is someone who regards withholding as a gift, and views harm as a benefit, and in whose sight the two qualities eventually become equal."

If we are truly such a person - hamid - we would be praising Him for both the good and the bad just as we are thankful for what we have got and what we haven't. I can honestly say that I am only a shakir (simply thankful), not yet a shakur (very thankful) while I doubt I am a hamid in the true sense of the word.

May Allah forgive us that we are not thanking Him as He ought to be thanked. May Allah forgive us that we are not praising Him as He ought to be praised. May Allah forgive us that we are not worshipping Him as He ought to be worshipped.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mawlid at Al-Jenderami 2011


This is without a doubt my most favorite moment of the countless wonderful moments often experienced at the annual grand Mawlid celebration organized by Al-Jenderami Foundation. I think I speak for many but unfortunately, I was absent this year. Alhamdulillah, at least we are able to post it here for the first time.


Credit: Yayasan AlJenderami Facebook

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

May the fire be cool


O son, this is one prayer which might give hope to anyone who is undergoing a misfortune, who is grief stricken or who is feeling terrified.

We (the heedless) pray and they - the righteous, the exalted in rank, the pure - pray and when they do, we desperately say amin with them.

This is a prayer of the honorable Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani. He said:
"O young man, If you are dutifully devoted to your Lord (Almighty and glorious is He), remembering Him, affirming His Oneness [if you are a muwahhid] and looking to Him for guidance before you suffer misfortune, then when misfortune does befall you. He will say to it:
'O fire, be cool and safe for Abraham.' (Quran21:69)

O Allah treat us like this, even if we do not deserve it! Treat us with Your generous kindness. Do not demand of us all that we owe. Do not put us out of Your sight and do not set Yourself against us. Amin."

Amin...we say to such meaningful du'a made by Ghawth al-Azam, whose barakah we rely upon InshaAllah.

FROM: The Sublime Revelation
Credit: Al Baz and Muhtar Holland 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Perak Gold Dinar & Silver Dirham


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we are delighted that our good friend, one we respect and admire for his tireless effort in reviving sunnah money will be launching the above event on 28 Feb 2011 in Ipoh, Perak, in the presence of the state's dignitaries.

Prof. Dr Ahmed Kameel is a well known dinarist from Malaysia. His reputation in propagating his beliefs on 'Real Money' have gone beyond the borders. We pray for the successful launching of Perak Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham. May Allah bless the event with much barakah.

May Allah open the hearts of Muslims to embrace gold dinar and silver dirham for the sake of Rasulullah s.a.w. May Allah give us the knowledge and realization on the real state of the economy and grant us tawfik and inayah to get involved in trade that complies with maqasid shari'ah (the objectives of shar'iah). May Allah grant us plenty of wealth in the form of gold dinar and silver dirham. May Allah then make it easy for us to part with our wealth for the sake of Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w.

Victory is with Allah.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adab takes us to Him


O son, our guides have impressed upon us that our goal is not Paradise but Allah. But how? There is one clue from the great master Abu Ali ad-Daqqaq (may God grant him mercy) who said:
"The servant reaches Paradise
by obeying God.
He reaches God
by observing correct behavior in obeying Him."

Our Ustaz often reminded us and we need to be reminded on this especially now that 'One is distant from Allah not because he lacks knowledge but because he lacks adab.'

And we quote Al-Qushayri again in 'Principles of Sufism' that the beloved master Ibn Atha'illah said:
"Correct behavior (adab) means that you are occupied with commendable things."
Someone asked, 'What do you mean by this?"
He replied:
"This means that you observe correct behavior with God both inwardly and outwardly. If you conduct yourself in this way, you will have correct behavior even if your speech is not that of an Arab."
Then he recited:
"When she spoke,
she displayed full eloquence.
When she was silent,
again she was eloquent."

May Allah grant us eloquence, both in speech and silence.

Regret that I cannot share anything from two important mawlid majlis that had taken  place this weekend as I had missed them. May Allah have mercy on me and invite me again soon InshaAllah. Until then I might just remain silent. But then again, It is He who moves the tongue of this weak heart and these tired fingers. La hawla wala quwwata illah billah...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good thoughts


O my Lord,
Protect me within the pavilion of Your Protection
and the hidden secret of Your veil
from the arrival of those thoughts
which do not befit
the glories of Your Majesty.
- Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi in his Friday morning prayer.

We pray to always have good thoughts befitting His majesty. InshaAllah. We seek refuge in Allah from people who try to disrupt the equilibrium of our positive thoughts, beliefs and faith towards the people of Allah. We love all the shuyukh, by whose barakah, Allah sends down rahmah and sakinah to all who attend majlis zikr/majlis 'ilm where Allah is mentioned, where we praise the one He loves most - Rasulullah s.a.w. And certainly His rahmah makes the heart tranquil; it makes us feel good.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

They who deserve respect


Dear visitors,

Let it be known that I will not respond to any negative comments or queries on:
- ahlul ibadah (the pious)
- ahlul tasawwuf (the Sufis)
- insan Rabbani (people of the Lord)
- ahlul zikr (people who are steadfast in their zikir)
- mashaikh (the shaykhs)
- ahlul tariqah (people who belong with any of the tariqah)
- ahlul barzakh (those who have passed away)
- arifbillah (the gnostics)
- ustazs/guru (the learned)
- mukhlisin (the sincere ones)
- those with good akhlak
- those who have taught us even if it's just one little thing
- and anyone else who deserve respect.

The path that we are on is about looking at ourselves, looking inward not outward. It's about being persistent in correcting ourselves, period.

We are grateful for all the knowledge that we have received and learned from each and everyone we have met and they are from various backgrounds. We belong with people who look at both 'unity in multiplicity' and 'multiplicity in unity'.

To anyone who likes to question this and that about other people, I ask: what say you if I say:
La ilahaillahu qabla kulli ahada
La ilahaillahu baqda kulli ahada
La ilahaillahu yabqa Rabbana
wayafna kullu ahada

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prophet's sunnah


O son, how many of the Prophet's sunnah do you practise? How many of his sunnah can you spot while you are out and about? Who do you know whose character reminds you of the Prophet?

We all know the Prophet s.a.w loved cats and there are millions of people who love cats. I do too but my feline love affair pale in comparison with Nel's. Nel is a dear friend. We have known each other since we were 18. When I visited her last weekend she introduced me to her sweetheart - Tuah. Tuah means lucky in the Malay language. She found him suffering from a badly injured paw, dying almost. She picked him up from the street, rushed to the vet hospital and paid US$700 for his surgery! Tuah is now a happy three-legged kitten, enjoying himself like nothing happened, like he's normal. MashaAllah!

Just two days ago Habib Ali Zainal Abidin talked about a pious lady, an ahlul ibadah who mistreated her cat. According to the Prophet, ibadah of such a person is meaningless. Now you compare that lady with Nel!

MashaAllah tabarakallah. May Allah surround us with people of good akhlaq. May Allah beautify us with good akhlaq.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mawlidur Rasul Mubarak


Ya Nabi Salam Alaika
Ya Rasul Salam Alaika
Ya Habib Salam Alaika
Solawatullah Alaika

Monday, February 14, 2011

Allahumma Salli Ala Sayyidina Muhammad


O Lord, make salawat on Prophet Muhammad
the chosen one
descendant of Mudhar,
and all the anbiya and Rasul

Make salawat O Lord for Rasul our guide
and on his helpers
and companions
who helped spread Islam

They went for jihad
by his side they stood
for the sake of Your deen
Followed him in hijrah
stayed true and loyal
They who defended him

Taught the religion
both fard and sunnah
a group known for their piety
holding tight to their Lord
victorious they became by Allah

The purest, greatest and holiest of praise
making the universe fragrant
with scented breeze
blowing all over

FROM: Parts of Qasidah al-Mudhoriah

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Emulate the manners of Rasulullah


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, with His will, we were able to attend the mawlid held at Masjid Sultan Salahuddin tonight where Habib Ali Zainal Abidin gave tausiyah on the importance of having good akhlak (behaviors/manners).

He said:
Alhamdulillah we have come to this majlis with an intention to show our love towards the most honorable person. One whom Allah loves so much that His love for Prophet Muhammad s.a.w has overflown to us, that Allah has made us display our love towards  Rasulullah s.a.w by coming to this majlis.

In a hadith qudsi Allah commanded Jibril to love one He loves and Jibril then would call ahlul sama (the inhabitants of the heavens) ordering them to love the person Allah loves. So Allah may grant a form of qabul on anyone. People coming to this majlis from near and far, all with the same intention of honoring the one Allah loves, is a significant manifestation of Allah's qabul.  

The birth of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was welcomed by his families, sahabah and all. People simply loved him. On seeing Prophet Muhammad leaving for a battle, a woman said to him: 'Ya Rasul, I make a pledge to play the drums if you return to Madinah safely.' The Prophet said: 'Go ahead, fulfill your intention.' Playing drums is mubah but if it is done for the sake of Rasulullah it becomes permissible.

Prophet Muhammad was sent for one prime mission. He was a messenger whose main mission was to propagate good akhlak. Many people are deceived by people's outer appearance. The way people dress and their position in society may project the image of ahlul ibadah but they may not necessarily have the akhlak of ahlul ibadah. The reality of shariat obligatory worship we perform e.g. fasting, zakat is ultimately good akhlak. The factor that carries the heaviest weightage in the hereafter is good akhlak. Prophet Muhammad was sent to perfect our akhlak.

The history of Al-Islam has shown many examples where one who has excellent character is given high regard in society. There is a story about Hatim At-Tha'ie, a Jew philanthropy whose daughter was imprisoned by the Muslims army. She begged for mercy on account of her father's good character. Her father Hatim had treated his guests well and loved helping others. One day Hatim's family had nothing to eat so his wife had to pretend that she was cooking something in the kitchen hoping that their children would fall asleep. Suddenly a neighbor turned up asking for some food. Hatim felt obliged to help. He then decided to give up his only possession - a horse. Hatim slaughtered the horse and cooked a feast. He invited the entire village to share while he himself did not eat the food.

Prophet Muhammad duly acknowledged Hatim's exceptional behaviors: 'Those noble values are in fact Islamic values, I will pray for mercy for your father (Hatim) but unfortunately, he lacks akidah.'

Akhlak and ibadah are closely interrelated. Akhlak is the reality of one's servitude. Prophet Muhammad during the first ten years of his dakwah had focused solely on akhlak. Rulings on solat and zakat etc. came later. We ought to reflect on the importance and significance of akhlak in order to appreciate the beauty of the religion.

There was an incident when a Jew by the name of Zaid ibn Sa'yad came to collect debts from Prophet Muhammad. Zaid reproved the Prophet for not being on time in making repayments. Upon hearing that, Sayyidina Umar scolded the Jew for speaking harshly towards Rasulullah. Prophet Muhammad rebuked Umar instead. He said Zaid was only reminding him to hasten in paying off his debts. The Prophet then instructed Umar to repay Zaid with an additional of 20 sak of dates because Umar had inappropriately frightened Zaid while trying to defend him.

Zaid later confessed to Umar that he was a learned Jew who knew a lot about the noble characters of Rasulullah. He was already convinced about Prophet Muhammad's excellent moral values and wanted to test his patience and composure. Zaid eventually embraced Islam because of Muhammad's al-hilmu (having self control in times of anger or when wronged.)

Prophet Muhammad need not hold a public rally. He attracted people to Islam by showing jamal Islam (the beauty of Islam) through his good manners. Allah even praised the Prophet's courteousness as azim (great).

Beware of people who may outwardly appear as soleh (pious)  yet do not have good akhlak as exemplified by Rasulullah. There is a pious woman known to be ahlul ibadah but she had a cat which she never bother to feed. The Prophet said the value of ibadah for such a person is indeed meaningless. Compare her with Baghiah the prostitute who went through much trouble to fetch some water for a thirsty dog. Baghiah's kind gesture toward the dog won her makfirah (mercy) from Allah.

Your ibadah must be complemented with good behavior. When you offer someone something, beware of riak (pride) for it could make your amal null and void. Akhlak is a form of servitude towards Allah. Rasulullah never turned down anyone who seeked help from him. That's how tawadduk he was.

O people, reflect upon the excellent characters of Rasulullah s.a.w and worship Allah by way of good akhlak. Prophet Muhammad said good akhlak is one of two easiest ways for anyone to enter the heavens. Two easiest ways for anyone to end up in hell are through misuse of one's tongue and private part.

One who will be closest to Rasulullah is he who has good akhlak. One whom Rasulullah loves most is he who has good akhlak and one who is the best among us is he who has the best akhlak. And the best of gifts from Allah to a man is good akhlak.

May Allah give us the ability to benefit from this lesson. May we belong with those who love Rasulullah. May Allah grant those who attend this majlis with rahmah, sakinah and mawaddah. May we belong with those who always make zikir to Allah and remember Rasulullah with much remembrance.

Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any mistakes in my note taking.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Limitless glory


Follow not the Christians
as they glorify Jesus
for Muhammad is not God
no he is not

but praise him your own way
as your heart desire
Honor him as you wish
Commend the splendor
befitting his stature

his glory is limitless
no tongue can utter his uniqueness
though you craft the most beautiful of kalimah

His prophetic signs
may well match his real station
and you might see decayed bone
come to live
just by saying his name

He did not burden us
with illogical shariat
all he hope for is our faith
So we neither doubt nor fret

Still we can't fathom his haqiqah
not one who is near or far
none could understand it ever
like the sun appearing small from afar
but its lights may blind
the sights of the seer

how could one who sleeps a lot
and lost in fantasies
how could one who is satisfied
seeing him in a dream
how could they
comprehend his reality

All they say is, Oh!
He is the exemplar beyond compare!
The miracles of other anbiya
to his Nur they owe

He is the prime sun
while other prophets are stars
shining only when the sun is absent and far

honorable is he
adorned with praiseworthy character
beautiful is his manners
handsome figure drew many admirers
smiling lips always on offer

gentle as a flower
noble as the full moon
generous as the ocean
endless with aspirations

as if he is the only one esteemed with dignity
as though he is guarded by an army
and helpers surrounding him constantly

whenever he speaks
sweet smile never leaves
like lovely pearls
in between the shells - his lips

no perfume is sweeter than the soil
enveloping his holy body
in the maqam he rests in grace
lucky is one who gets to kiss it
and rub it on the face

Loosely translated from parts of Chapter 3 of Qasidah Burdah

Friday, February 11, 2011

Follow Sunnah | Say Bismillah


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to be present at the Majlis Mawlid hosted by Darul Murtadza tonight. Habib Ali Zainal Abidin led the event which started off with heartfelt and melodious salawat.

Habib Ali welcomed the guest of honor Habib Mahdi Abu Bakar Al-Hamid from Yemen who now heads Madrasah At-Tazkiyah, the Malaysian chapter of the esteemed Darul Mustafa.

Habib Ali said:
Praise be to Allah, Alhamdulillah, that we are gathered here at this majlis with people who love Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. It is obligatory to love Allah and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w as it is a mark of one's faith. We all come here seeking inayah (guidance), rahmah (mercy) and barakah (blessings). Gathered with us are notable people from countries as far as Yemen and Indonesia. The Prophet s.a.w said in a hadith that there is a group of people who will be resurrected while their faces shine so brightly. They would be standing on special pedestals (mimbar) made of gems and precious stones. They will be honored with such privilege that even anbiya would be envious of them.

When the Prophet mentioned this hadith, someone asked him, who are these people? In his reply, the Prophet said: They are my ummah who come from various countries and get together at a place for the love of Allah. They are awliya Allah. The awliya are those who neither feel afraid nor sad ever. They convene because they love one another for the sake of Allah. 

Tonight we are honored to have Habib Mahdi Abu Bakar from Yemen who will be giving a tausiyah (lecture). May we reap many benefits from each other. We are friends on the basis of taqwa, friends who advise one another.

[Habib Mahdi then spoke in Arabic and translated by Habib Ali as below.]

Alhamdulillah, we are gathered here to make zikir and salawat for Rasulullah. We meet to say His Name. It is a gift, an honor, a blessing from Allah. Those who make zikir, those who reminisce the attributes of the Prophet, those who are here at a majlis such as this, are granted rahmah (blessings), sakinah (tranquility) and mala'ikah (angels) descend upon them. Allah will mention the names of the attendees to His angels. In a hadith, the Prophet said: Allah will pardon the sins of those who attend majlis zikr.

O people, we ponder on the characters of Rasullulah and make salawat, therefore we should make an effort to study, understand and practice his sunnah. Allah did not send His Messenger except to guide the ummah; to bring them out from hell and enter the heavens; to rescue them from darkness to light and happiness.

Allah said in the Qur'an in Surah Al Asr: "By Time! Verily man is in a state of loss, except those who believe, and perform righteous deeds and invite one another to the truth, and with patience."

Allah swears by time that man is indeed at loss save those who have faith, who are righteous, who advise one another. Allah sent the Prophet so that people will not suffer misfortune. He was the last Messenger. The most honorable prophet was sent as the last of anbiya. Therefore, we must be grateful for this blessing from Allah that He made us ummah of Rasulullah - the best of all Prophets.

Nabi Musa was keen to belong with his ummah when he saw in Luh Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) how special Prophet Muhammad was. Nabi Isa too was eager. He said if he were to live in the times of Muhammad, he would surely follow him.

O people who are given the diadem/crown of being ummat Muhammad. Are you aware of this big honor Allah has granted you? Are we holding on to this honor strongly? Are we practicing his sunnah? The reality of our life is to look for sunnah and to practice it. Anything other than sunnah will disappear. Everything else will vanish except those who are associated with Nabi.

The Prophet taught sunnah to the sahabah. He taught them specifically and in great detail even on small matters like manners in the restroom. The kaffir will be attracted to Islam if Muslims truly follow sunnah and show a good example. The kaffir may be granted hidayah through the person who practices sunnah.

Prophet Muhammad taught us a simple phrase - Bismillah. Have we really thought about the meaning of Bismillah. Prophet Muhammad taught us to say Bismillah when we enter and leave our homes and the masjid.  He taught us to recite:
Bismillahi tawakkaltu alAllah wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah
when we leave our house.

Have you thought about the real meaning of Bismillah oh you who are granted the honor to be ummah of Rasulullah? When you recite that du'a the angels will say: 'Your needs will be met. You will be safe from shayatin. You will be guided.' So recite that du'a because it is sunnah. We also say Bismillah when we lie down to sleep and upon getting up.

Consider this: if you were to speak in the name of the President, speaking on his behalf, reading the text of his speech, the contents would become significant wouldn't it? So imagine if we were to speak in Allah's Name. Imagine if you enter your house, leave your home, sleep, do all that by carrying His Name with you, imagine the greatness of His Name. We ought to understand the reality (haqiqah) of His Name.

Khalid Al-Walid was approached by a group of kaffir who told him that they would embrace Islam on one condition that is if Khalid would agree to drink a poisonous concoction. Khalid with the degree of certainty he had, took up the challenge. With confidence he recited:
Bismillahillazi la yadurru ma as mihi syai un fil ardhi wala fis sama'i wahuwas sami'ul aleem
Khalid Al-Walid drank the poison but survived because he understood the meaning of Bismillah.

O people, we say Bismillah and recite the Qur'an but we don't study its meanings. In this time that we live in, we must adorn ourselves with sunnah Rasulullah s.a.w.

Wallahu'alam. May I be forgiven for any mistakes in my note taking.
The majlis was graciously hosted by Darul Murtadza

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The leader of two worlds


I who don't conform to his sunnah
He who enlivened the darkest of nights with ibadah
his feet cried in pain
on becoming swollen

Tied his tummy when he was hungry
The smooth skin of his abdomen roughened
by pebbles
made it tighten

Mountains offered to be gold
but he refused
yet again and again

The hard-knocks of life made him strong in zuhud
His dire needs did not sway his stand
not one foot

How could the world lure him
it would never have come into existence
if not for he
and he alone

He is the leader of two alam
this world and the hereafter
he is the leader of man and jinn together
both Arabs and the Ajam

He who promotes goodness
forbids evil deeds
His speech was the best of speeches
whether he said yes
or even when he said no

He is much loved
whose shafaat is much hoped for
to remove all our hearts' woes

He calls on the ummah in the way of Allah
whoever follows his guidance
holds on to a sturdy rope
neither torn nor broken

He surpassed all other prophets
in both looks and character
None could exceed him
in knowledge and generosity

They all learned from him
be it a spoonful of the sea
or a drink from his vast ocean of knowledge
flowing as heavy rain

They were given a limited portion
like a dot or a line
of just one
word of wisdom

He is a prophet
perfect is his heart and soul
The one chosen by Allah
as habibullah

None could beat his beauty
His alluring jewels
shared by no other
most definitely

Loosely translated from parts of Chapter 3 of Qasidah Burdah
Note: Ajam = non-Arabs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Missing him much


Is your thought of a dear neighbor from Zi Salam,
causing those tears of blood?
Or is it the harsh winds from Khazimah -
and all those places in Madinah?
Or could it be the blinding light
striking in the middle of the night
from Mount Idham?

Why are you still crying
when you have consoled yourself:
Oh please don't cry!
Why is your heart still restless
when you have said to yourself:
Oh please calm down!

Do you think one who is drunk with love
could hide his feelings
behind all the crying and unsettled soul?
Your deep affection is making you weep
on the lover's roof you sit

Your mind wanders
as you become sleepless
thinking about the fragrant Al Baan tree
and Mount Al Alam
at Madinah the blessed city

How can you hide your love
when it is well witnessed by a fair judge
- those endless tears and weak physique
from missing him much

And your missing him is obvious
crying makes your cheeks pink
like the reddish Anam branches
your uneasiness is making you thin

In the stillness of the night
my thoughts fly to my beloved
so I sleep not

That's what love does
when it conquers the heart
Making all pleasures to become bitter

Oh you who blame me for my love
One who is drunk with love potion
should be forgiven

If you only knew
the pains of a lover
you will not belittle her!

- Loosely translated and adapted from Chapter 1 of Qasidah Burdah

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rabi'ul Awal Celebrations in KL


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,
We are pleased to invite you to Mawlid gatherings in Kuala Lumpur in this blessed month of Rabi'ul Awal.

By the grace of Allah, in recent years, majlis 'ilm and majlis zikr have mushroomed in KL. This lovely city is continually visited by prominent habaib and ulama from around the world. In conjunction with Maulidur Rasul, several major events have been scheduled as below:

Friday, 11th February 2011
9 pm
Surau Al-Hidayah @ Keramat AU3
Guest of Honor: Habib Ali Zainal Abidin

Sunday, 13th February 2011
Asar onwards
Masjid Shah Alam @ Shah Alam
Guest of Honor: Tuan Guru Hafiz & Habib Ali Zainal Abidin

Saturday, 19th February 2011
Maghrib onwards
Al-Jenderami @ Dengkil
Guest of Honor: Ulama/Habaib from Makkah, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand
(Festival will begin on 16th Feb)

Sunday, 20th February 2011
Maghrib onwards
Ba'alawi @ Kemensah
Guest of Honor: Shaykh Afeefudin Al-Jilani

Sunday, 27 February 2011
Maghrib onwards
Ba'alawi @ Kemensah
Guest of Honor: Habib Ali, Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam Al-Maliki & Baba Aziz

May Allah carry us to these heavenly gardens.
May Allah make us benefit from the majalis.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The best of invitations


Shukran lillah for my mother. She has several good habits I wish to follow. She always make an extra effort to visit those who are about to leave for hajj and give a small token of sadaqah to them.

Several years ago, she and her friend Mami went to the airport to send off a neighbor who was leaving for Makkah. Hand in hand they walked towards the departure terminal. That was when Mami confided in her, "Maznah, I really wish to go for hajj, but I don't have the means to go." 

Mami was a woman who lived a hard life. As a single mother she raised her children with much difficulties. She hardly wore new clothes and  avoided attending kenduri (wedding celebrations) because she didn't have much to offer to the hosts. Despite the hardships she had been suffering after her husband's demise, Mami was one who laughed a lot. She was always jovial.

"Of course you can, if you have the niyyat to go for hajj, if Allah wills it, you'll get there," said my mother. "But you know me Maznah. I don't have any income."
"But He can provide in unexpected ways," my mother tried to console Mami.

About a year later, when we were back in Penang, we heard people talking about the good news - Mami was going for hajj! How did the miracle come about?  Mami's son-in-law had booked his mother for hajj that year but she became ill so Mami got the ticket!

p/s O son, there can be miracles when you believe. I pray to Allah Al Kareem so that whoever wishes to perform hajj this year will get an invitation. Bi-iznillah

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ibn Arabi, Rumi, Attar & Shakespeare


When my Beloved appears
With what eye do I see Him?
With His eye, not with mine,
For none sees Him except Himself.
(Ibn Arabi)

I lost my world, my fame, my mind
The Sun appeared, and all the shadows ran
I ran after them, but vanished as I ran
Light ran after me and hunted me down

How long then will you seek for beauty here?
Seek the unseen, and beauty will appear.
When the last veil is lifted
Neither men nor all their glory will be seen again
The universe will fade - this mighty show
In all its majesty and pomp will go
And those who loved appearances will prove
Each other's enemies and forfeit love
While those who loved the absent, unseen Friend
Will enter that pure love which knows no end

'A lover', said the hoopoe, now their guide
'Is one in whom all thoughts of self have died;'
Those who renounce the self deserve that name;
Righteous or sinful, they are all the same!
Your heart is thwarted by the self's control;
Destroy its hold on you and reach your goal.
Give up this hindrance, give up mortal sight
For only then can you approach the light.
If you are told: "Renounce our Faith", obey!
The self and Faith must both be tossed away;
Blasphemers call such action blasphemy -
Tell them that love exceeds mere piety.
Love has no time for blasphemy or faith,
Nor lovers for the self, that feeble wraith.

Ibn Arabi, Rumi and Attar, as we know are Sufis who write mostly about their Lord, referring to Him as the Beloved, the Sun, the Light and the Friend. They dwell on the Godly Being from their perspectives as a seeker who should give himself up if he truly wish to witness or arrive at the object of the seeking - God.

Ibn Arabi admits that he is not in a position to see his Beloved with his own eyes. While discounting his own existence, he affirms his belief that only Allah has the capacity to witness Himself. This explains the Prophetic hadith Ariftu Rabbi bi Rabbi meaning 'I know my Lord by my Lord'. Ibn Arabi is saying that he cannot know or see his Lord with his own capacity, neither knowledge nor eyesight. 

Rumi too speak of self-annihilation. He dismisses his world, fame and mind. He likens himself to a shadow which cannot possibly exist when the Sun engulfs his entire being. That is because an object will only have shadow when it is distant from the source of light.

Attar speaks about seeking the unseen and the absent. He questions those who seek and love that which is apparent. He warns them of the pitfall. Behind the veils of the apparent is a more meaningful love and true beauty which is unseen and absent. One who regards himself as a lover must renounce himself and refrain from controlling his affairs in order to reach his goal - the Beloved (God). Attar even disregard the role of faith because love is above and beyond it. The kind of love which he refers to is also above piety and self-love.

Ibn Arabi, Rumi and Attar, either with simile or metaphor, all allude to God. The one common prevailing theme as expected from a Sufi is self-denial and affirmation of God, reflecting the ultimate maxim for all Muslims, be they Sufis or not - the shahadahLa ilaha illAllah.

Shakespeare in Sonnet 130, speaks about the lack of beauty in his mortal beloved. He does not compare his love with a distinct Supreme Being i.e. God. Instead, he loosely compares her with the winning characteristics of the sun, coral, snow, roses and music. There are no higher ideals behind the simile and metaphor of such comparisons. It is also absent of thought provoking philosophy beneath the somewhat negative assessment of the woman. It is a straight forward description of his preference for a better kind of beauty and love. In his comparison, he, the man still exists while lamenting about what is lacking in the other party, his mistress who is supposed to be more beautiful, desirable and love-able.

By contrast, Ibn Arabi, Rumi and Attar all talk about a relationship of a non-existent lover with the one and the only present Beloved -- a 'no-I' but 'only Thou' relationship.
Wallahu a'lam.

William Shakespeare - Sonnet 130
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more red than her lips red
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head 
I have seen roses damask'd red and white
but no such roses see I in her cheeks
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a more pleasing sound
I grant I never saw a goddess go
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare
As she belied with false compare.

Dedicated to my niece - hope I have answered your questions. InshaAllah.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heart of the matter


O son, I wish to remind myself and you that we are in the business, meaning we busy ourselves with polishing the heart. It's not a business of sharpening the brain because the brain has a tendency to look at things with logic alone, hence the brain likes to argue and weigh things according to its make-believed intelligence. He is the Supreme Intelligent - Al Aleem, Al Hakim. We know nothing, we are not claiming we know something significant.

I sincerely hope that this space does not come across to anyone as though I know something 'better' than they do. As you are aware, I merely copy what I read and hear, and write what is reflected in the mirror of my heart.

We learned about the piece of flesh namely the heart, that if it is good then the rest of the body will be good (including the brain/intellect). We learned about the heart being the dwelling place of Allah so we try to empty it of everything else save Allah (and love for Rasulullah s.a.w). So we are in the business of emptying the heart. This is of course nothing new to many of us. In fact, some of the readers/visitors may find it amateurish of us to be repeating this point. Really this space is not for those seeking "intellectual" stuff because we have got nothing to offer in that aspect.

All we try to do is purify our intention, we try to make it sincere, we are not even claiming that we are sincere. Our guides constantly remind us to make our intentions sincere. We just hope that the chambers of our heart are vacant for His manifestations as we let Him be whatever He wishes to be through us. So that our wish is in fact His wish, that we only wish for whatever He wishes.

We also hope that whatever that is written from the heart finds its place in the heart bi-iznillah. It is He who creates us and our actions. Only He is capable of teaching and He guides whomever He wills.

We rely on the barakah of the habaib and shuyukh whom we've been privileged to meet. We are only a bunch of ignorant seekers who is needy of their barakah and guidance. We remain poor so that He may continue to enrich us with knowledge and wisdom through His warisatul anbiya, the heirs of the prophets, the blessed ulama. InshaAllah.

Until we are invited to the next majlis 'ilm, we shall read whatever comes to our hand. InshaAllah.
Rabbi zidni 'ilma.
Rabbi habli hukman wa al hiqni bis solehin.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Prophet's prayer for Ibn Abbas


O son, today we learned this du'a from watching telly - a simple but important du'a. It's a well-known du'a to many people but I wish to record it here for you. And I thank Allah shukran lillah for He has made it easy to memorize so many meaningful du'a ever since I re-embraced Islam. Alhamdulillah indeed.

According to the Ustaz in the tv program, it's a du'a Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had recited for Ibn Abbas so he could master the Qur'an with much ease and excellence.

If you were to recite it for yourself say it this way:
Allahumma faqihna fiddin
wa ‘allimna ta'aweel

If you wish to recite it for someone else say:
Allahumma faqihhu fiddin wa ‘allimhu ta'aweel

Apparently, there is an extended version of this du'a but we present it exactly as we've heard it InshaAllah.
Rabbi zidni 'ilma.

Correct me if I am wrong, replace faqihna with:
Faqihhu - for one's son
Faqihha - for one's daughter

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Multiplicity in Unity

Gong Xi Fa Cai | Happy Chinese Lunar New Year

Praise be to Allah who plants the seed of tolerance in our hearts, that we could co-exist with the non-Muslims harmoniously InshaAllah. If Allah had willed, He could have made us one people, but we are different and we appreciate the multiplicity in unity, that we are all His creations.

It's a holiday in Malaysia as the country observes the chinese lunar new year. It warms my heart that a simple greeting to a long lost chinese friend could mean so much to her. She said my wishes make her year! O son, see how generous people can be in expressing their appreciations.

These lovely peony pictures were taken at a mall in KL today, it's a symbol of love in the chinese tradition. Pray Allah plants the seed of love in our hearts - love towards all mankind.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ask for the best of bounties


O son, yesterday we learned about the need to have husnul zan towards the Lord, that the better man is one who thinks better of His Lord. If for any reasons you think He is not that generous, than that's what He is and certainly that's not the case, Subhanallah, and He is annoyed by one who does not have certitude in Him and His magnificence. We should therefore, have confidence in Him and His abilities to grant anything, anything at all, so ask for the best of bounties as did Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi in his wednesday morning prayer.

O My Lord,
Grant me complete gnosis and universal wisdom, so that there remains nothing knowable [in the universe] without me coming to know the subtle threads of its intricacies, which are spread throughout existence. By this may I drive away the darkness of created things which prevent the perception of the realities of [Your] Signs, and by this may I dispose freely over the hearts and spirits, kindling true love and friendship, right conduct and guidance. 

O Forgiving One! O Veiling One! O Preserver! O Protector! O Defender! O Benefactor! O Truly Affectionate One! O Graciously Indulgent One! O Most Subtle and Benevolent! O Most Mighty and Invincible! O Flawless, Boundless Peace!

Forgive me, veil me and preserve me. Protect me and defend me. Bestow upon me beneficence, affection and indulgene. Be benevolent to me, make me invincible, and grant me peace and security.

Take me not to task for the baseness of my actions, and do not requite me for the evil of my works. Correct me without delay through Your complete Benevolence, and purify me with the Purity of Your universal Compassion. Do not let me stand in need of any other than You! Protect me and absolve me. make my whole affair righteous and proper [to You].

There is no God but You! Glory be to You, indeed I have been of the oppressors. You are the Most Merciful of the mercifiers!

May the blessing of God be upon our master Muhammad, and upon his family and companions, salutations to them all. Peace be upon the messengers. And praise be to God, Lord of the universes.

Excerpts from: The Daily Prayers/Al Awrad al-yawmiyya
Purchase 'The Seven Days of the Heart' by Anqa Publishing
Translator credit: Pablo Beneito & Stephen Hirtenstein