Sunrise on the mountain

MashaAllah (by God’s grace) here I am seated on the balcony of our little guest house and sipping green tea a little after six in the morning of a beautiful day. We are in ‘little England’, a hill-station located in the tea growing heart of my beautiful Island home, Sri Lanka. I arrived here a few days ago and have had much to do. But just yesterday we were able to put all that aside and take one our ‘good old fashioned’ road trips, Sri Lankan style.
Being in the mountains again was the ‘coolness of my eyes’ as the arabs say, a beautiful phrase denoting the peace entering one’s heart when re-witnessing one’s beloved. It is a beautiful phrase and indeed the way God chooses to describe how one’s spouse and children should be in the Quran! May God grant all of us spouses and children who are just this and may we also be just this to the nes who love us.
Last night we did the climb from Pusselawa to Nuwara-Eliya (the real name of this place we affectionately term ‘little England’) in the evening. It was a mad two hours of twisty-windy roads and some haphazard Sri Lankan driving. But oh so beautiful to see the sunset over the mountains, and the landscape of tea plantations, flowers, little village houses and peaceful villagers walking on the street, bathed in a soft golden-mauve light particular to my country I believe. I have not found a word to describe it yet.
Then before that we visited the Pinnewala Elephant orphanage, a first for me and mashaAllah suhch an educational time. Being close to those majestic creatures, their peace and wisdom apparent in their every step. Oh Subhahanallah! what a precious world we live in. There was a blind bull tusker there, and I got to touch a bullet lodged under his tough hide..more bullet marks were visible on the surface of the skin. It was a sad thing, the poachers had blinded him, I guess the only bullet that did it’s work was the one aimed at the eyes. Ah, what a sorry species Homo sapiens sapiens is! How short sighted and blinded by the non-essential. And how much we have, as a race, to answer for! God forgive us all.
As I speak, the mists are coming down the mountain and pass me by in cold fast waves…I am enveloped in cloud. Subhahanallah!
InshaAllah (God willing) today to continue our road trip and see more of the development in the Island that has taken place after the war ended, often spoken of. So hoping to visit many more regions, probably leaving the ‘upcountry’ and going down again to the ‘low country’.
Well, my companions on this journey of life, I hope you enjoyed this post. I will try to attach pictures. God is great and life is beautiful, so much to learn and see…may we wander well and learn quickly. Peace to all, Assalaamu alaikum!

Early morning, MashaAllah in good health

Life is a strange thing, we plan and work and strive and strain, and life just happens. Muslims will say this is simple to explain; ‘you are working and God is working above you’. Or as my Mum always says, ‘Man proposes, God disposes’.

Glory be to God then, and there is no God but He. The giver of life, the Sustainer, Nourisher, Cherisher, Able to do all things, Clement, Everlasting, The First and the Last, the Eternal, the One. With whom there is no partner and from whom we came and to whom we will return.

Glory for the morning!

How beautiful it is to sit in meditation after the pre-dawn prayer, to sit after those prostrations and quiet recitations, to sit reading the Quran and contemplating the vastness of this universe. How humbling to recognize my own insignificance in this vastness of the time-space continuum. There is a well known hadith (a tradition related from the prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Quran together with the hadith literature make up the core body of the Muslim spiritual ethos. However unlike the Quran, the hadith is not preserved in it’s original form and there is much debate/difference among the various volumes of hadith. There is actually a hadith science, which deals with establishing the authencity of the thousands of sayings/narrations of the blessed prophet, that have been related. It is important Muslims know this, and know how to distinguish a ‘sound and good hadith’ from a ‘weak’ one. Sadly as many Muslims nowadays do not know the rudiments of this system, they can be and are easily lead astray by those parriahs profiteering from religion, I do not need to give examples of who they are, I think we all know them well enough. But sorry about the long tangent, it’s an important point though. I found this useful website describing the hadith science a bit, but I must admit I just came across it and have not checked it out), a hadith related by Tirmidhi, that says ‘the world does not equal a mosquito’s wing in the sight of God’. What this means is that all of creation as we know it is infinitely less compared to all of creation as it is or all of the Creator. I love this hadith, for whenever things become too much to bear, thinking of it, it is easy to brush away one’s worries and laugh…putting one’s trust in Allah. Similarly whenever one gets puffed up with pride and a sense of arrogant achievement, one is quietened and humbled, back to being as we Muslims say, ‘but a grateful slave’

 

There is much more I wanted to share. Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise to Allah), I am about to take another journey. One with not only much to see, but much to do and in terms of long term and short term goals. So I am humbled to be going and grateful for all the many blessings God almighty has heaped upon me. But please keep me in your du’a and pray for my safe and satisfactory journey.

 

BTW I wanted to share, that when writing of the many blessings to be grateful for, I was reminded about the tradition Muslims believe about Nuh (peace be upon him). This is the prophet Noah (the arabic for Noah is Nuh, and we ask Allah to bless all the prophets when mentioning their blessed names). It is said Nuh (peace be upon him) lived close to a thousand years and during all that time, whenever he exited the washroom he would thank God for the blessing of being able to relieve himself. It is a blessing we seldom are cognizant of. How terrible to live without being able to do so! I guess we all know how awful it is to be constipated (!) and how jesting aside, it can be a real source of pain and trouble for the very young and very elderly. We have all seen patients with kidney failure needing to carry their urine in a bag…Allah help them and us all to help each other more. For this is a humbling experience. On that note, I recently heard Sh. Hamza (a well known and erudite modern scholar) mention a story about Firoun (the Pharoah who ruled in the time of Moses), I do not know how true the story is though. Apparently as Firoun believed himself to be a god, he disliked it that he needed to use the washroom. So he asked his physicians to cure him of this need. They prescribed a certain diet to him…I think it was to eat nothing but bananas…well, he did this and after so many days, well he had a big problem! 😉  Yeah, so this is a good reminder too about our own lacunae, and humbling. So I like the prayer the prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) used to make when exiting the washroom. It is one to be memorized and made by us all, a humbling and wise reminder

غُفْرَانَكَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِللَّهِ الَّذِيْ أَذْهَبَ عَنِّيْ الأَذّىَ وَ عَافَانِيْ

O Allah. I seek your forgiveness. All praises are due to Allah who has taken away from me the discomfort and granted me comfort.

(this prayer is from a hadith narrated in ‘Bukhari’)

 

This has been a rather colloquial ramble, so thank you for indulging me. May God bless and protect you and grant you light upon light.

 

 

 

Many thoughts of gratitude

Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you,

 

Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise to God), I’ve had a lovely few day. First due to an amazing camping trip to a small island off the coast of Vancouver. I was touched and deeply humbled by the concern of my non-Muslim camping buddies that I keep my prayer on time…and I must say, there is no feeling as beautiful as standing under the trees on the grass close to the ocean in the state of ‘salat’ (the Muslim ritual worship, it is a physical ritual with meditative quranic recitation and repetitive praise of God made by the tongue or in the heart). Alhamdulillah! a deep peace and glimpse of utter serenity. Especially to wake up with the first light at about 4 am (impossible to sleep with sunlight streaming through a tent!) and be fully woken taking the ‘wudhu’ (ritual purification with water, the best translation of the word in to English is ‘lumination’, from the greek ‘lumos’, meaning to make light) with freezing cold crystal clear water and then to stand on a rock by the ocean and enter the salah. Mashaallah (by God’s grace) the weather was amazing, and the sunrise a beautiful pink and red. I wish I had taken pictures, but I did not want to wake my sleeping camping buddies…and perhaps it is that some images are better preserved in the heart. Having said that, I thank you my dear reader, for listening as I type out this verbal imagery, for indeed it stamps the memory on my heart and for that I am grateful.

 

There is much more I want to write and share, but enough of words from me for now. Let me leave you with a ‘du’a’ (this is more like what the English word ‘prayer’ means, it is supplication made to God) that was found some days ago recorded on the back page of an old notebook I had used when learning sacred knowledge. I do not know where it is from, but it is beautiful, wise, and universal. So I hope you benefit from it.

 

I will inshaAllah post some of the camping trips photos below for your pleasure 🙂

 

Du’a

O Lord, please help me to say the truth in front of those who have authority. And please help me not to say that which is false in order to gain advantage. And please help me to see the other side of reality. And please protect me from bearing false witness due to difference of opinion. O Lord if you give me money, do not take my money. If you give me health please don’t take my sanity. If you give me success don’t take my humility. If you give me humility don’t take my dignity. O Lord, please teach me to love others as I love myself. And teach me to question myself as I question others. And please teach me how to forgive. Because the ability to forgive is the greatest of qualities. And because revenge is a major sign of weakness and regression. Please O Lord, protect me from arrogance upon my success. And protect me from despair upon my failure. O Lord, please remind me that failure preceeds success. O Lord if you do not give me success, please leave me determination to overcome failure. O Lord if you do not give me health, leave me my faith. O Lord, if I hurt others please give me the ability to apologize and if others hurt me, give me the ability to forgive. O Lord, if I forget Thee, don’t forget me as You are the Forgiving (al-Ghafur), the Clement (al-Halim), the Great (al-Kabir), Dominant and Able to do all things (al-Qadir).

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– Deer everywhere on the island…I was very happy with that!

 

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– Campsite 🙂

 

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– a precious moment as Otter arrive shortly after the dawn prayer (‘fajr), it was quite and still and I was thrilled by the sighting

 

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-pretty island farmhouse. Idyllic and the best part is it is a functioning farm. The family that owns it, gifted much land to make a park for Canada!

 

 

Image– golden sunset on my way home. MashaAllahu ta’ala!!