striving to worship God as though we see Him

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)

This is a friday sermon (jumuah khutbah) delivered by one of our foremost scholars today. Sh. Mokhtar has an interesting background, having a PhD in engineering and physics in addition to his religious scholarly training. It is a beautiful sermon, relevant to everyone of us and so I am posting it here. For those who do not know, on Fridays (Muslims have no sabbat per se, but Friday is considered a small ‘eid’ = festival day. Friday is called ‘jumuah’ in arabic as it comes from the root ‘jama’ah’ meaning ‘gathering’ as it is the day we gather for the communal noon prayer) the noon prayer takes the form of a sermon and a shortened communal prayer. The noon prayer which usually consists of 4 ‘units’ or cycles of worship, is shortened to 2 cycles and the other 2 are replaced by the ‘khutbah’ or sermon, which can be delivered by anyone qualified. This means for instance in the hospital where I work, we take turns delivering the sermon as there is no ‘ordained priesthood’ in Islam. It is better of course to have a trained imam deliver it! Because of this replacing of the 2 raka’at with the sermon, the sermon is divided in to 2 segments and the speaker, the ‘khateeb’ takes a break in between.

If you cannot listen to the whole, please listen to a few minutes about the 25 min mark. MashaAllah (by God’s grace) very profound.

Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praise to God) now that I am learning arabic I can understand the gist of the supplication or ‘du’a’ made at the end. This is what most non-Muslims will call  a ‘prayer’ when the Imam leads the congregation in asking God for His blessings. It is also customary to begin the sermon with a short ‘du’a’ or words from the prophet (peace be upon him) always in Arabic. Unfortunately my Arabic is not good enough to translate it, but if any of you can email me a translation or post it below, I’d be very grateful.

Jazakum Allah khairan (God grant good upon you all)

 

Al-Kareem – The Most Generous

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)

Here’s sharing a painting just finished by God’s grace. Inspired of course by the glorious fall colours. I wanted to put on it ‘Al Kareem’, but I am not sure if it should be on the canvas itself…still contemplating, any thoughts dear readers? 🙂

Al Kareem is one of the ‘names’ of God. It is the superlative form of the word ‘generous’. Meaning the one titled like this ‘The Generous’, is the MOST generous, and there is none as generous as He. Muslims will often say the phrase ‘Allah Kareem’ meaning ‘Allah is the most generous’ out of remembrance of Him, out of wonder, out of praise, out of thanks and simply to express joy.

Looking on and walking in wonder through a forest path in the fall, I cannot but exclaim ‘Allah Kareem’! It strikes me that even in death the Creator is the most generous. Leaves are dying and they could just have rotted and fallen, but look, look what the Creator does. Simply to feast our eyes there is a riot of colour. Truly, God is the most generous and glory be to Him, Subhahnallah!

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– Alhamdulillah, completed work

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– the arabic reads ‘Al Kareem’

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Painting and name hung on the wall.

And whatever good and beautiful in me is from Allah and Allah alone, and whatever in me that is of wrong and ugly is from my own self.

***

Joymanifest

Of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal and Knowledge

YasSarNalQuR'aN

I love this great companion of the glorious Messenger, Prophet Muhammad sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam. His life and teachings, dedication and contribution has been tremendously marvellous. He is truly an inspiration for all times to come.

Prophet Muhammad sal-lal-laahu-alaih-wa-sallam said about Mu`aadh ibn Jabal:

“Verily, when the people of knowledge will be present before their Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, Mu`aadh will be one step ahead of them.”

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Al-Tariq – the night visitor

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you!

This was written a few days ago and I think inspired by the wonder that is looking at the stars. It is always beguiling to me, amazing, stupendous, incredible…that the light that touches my retina from each star left that star millions of light years ago. I often wonder how those self same stars I am casting my sight upon are at the moment I am looking at them. One chapter or sura of the Quran is called al-Taariq’. ‘taariq’ is translated as ‘the night visitor’. There are various interpretations on what that really means, but one I really love is that it is the light from the stars. More commonly it is considered to mean ‘the evening star’ or ‘venus’. However, it is a beautiful word (a popular name for Boys too in the Muslim world) and has several layers of meaning. What is it about the light of stars that draws us closer to home? Coming from the extraterrestrial, it seems to pierce through our bodies and journey deep to where our soul lies inside, to remind us…perhaps of where we are heading to…

 

Al- Tariq

 

My home calls me
In whispered breath that escapes
When a blade of grass is bent
By some unknowing child’s caressing hand
Eager to pick a dandelion flower
And blow those petals away
On the arms of a waiting wind

My home calls me
In tears that lace my lower eyelid
Not strong enough to flow and wet
A cheek bathed in soft moonlight
As I stare at distant planets
Visible as drops of piercing light
Retina welcomes this transcendent visitor

My home calls me
In that knowing gleam in the eye
Of the lone stork that came to sit
On the very tip of the weeping willow
By the shores of a small hidden pond
In a park by the ocean where
I went to walk to soothe my aching heart

My home calls me
And O my Lord, you are my only witness
How gloriously rich to have
My home’s master
be my constant Guide and closest Confidant
It eases this parting and I am joyful
Knowing I would not be here except You willed it so

Ah, but my home calls me
And its call cannot be drowned out but
By the mirthful chatter of tedious yet necessary
fleeting pleasure. So happy then are days
Balanced between summer joys and winter suns
Happy to live and living not forget
That happier home to which I am every day
Drawing closer.

 

***

Copyright Joymanifest 2013

 

Love in Islam

For all those who think or say that there is no understanding of love in Islam’s concept of the Godhead, please do listen to this. It is only 15 mins and is excerpted from one of our foremost scholars today. We have a deep deep and wide understanding of love in our tradition. Unfortunately many of us, even among the Muslims, are divorced from this reality in the modern world. One of the greatest tragedies to befall the Muslim nation is our loss of our knowledge sources which happened to a large extent during the colonial period. So the past 200 years or so has seen the Muslim nation loose much of its base. I think it is almost akin to the other great tragedy that befell the Muslim nation which is when the Mongol hoards sacked Baghdad (Genghis Khan’s grandson lead that campaign). Thankfully knowledge is coming back into Muslims from what has been preserved now, as it did in our history some decades after the sacking of Baghdad. Ironically the descendants of the invaders themselves became Muslim and contributed much to the Muslim world. But let me not go off on a tangent. For now, by God’s grace, nNew scholars are emerging, teaching and spreading knowledge and books are being unearthed and translated. God will preserve His teaching. And this is true for all true traditions that lead to the worship of the Source. May we all be reunited with the One we love. And God’s peace and blessings be upon His messenger Muhammed

Peace be with you all, Assalamu alaikum

Celebrating the change of the seasons with music that is divine

Fall is my favourite season. The depth and range of shades on a single maple tree….Subhahanallah! (praise and glory to the Pure and High), it is beyond description. Beyond the ability of this meagre slave to extol with words, beyond the capture of any camera lens. Surely, this time if at no other, some inner chord vibrates to the call of the Creator, surely at this time if at no other, some inner voice speaks and finds resonance. You are a special creation of a magnificent Creator. The human soul is not to be belittled, denigrated to a heartless scientific experiment, not to be relegated to the happy outcome of a series of accidents. No, you are greater than this, created to do great things, understand great truths, come into great states of knowing, of understanding, of transcending, of being. Don’t let time slip by you, don’t let distraction upon distraction take away precious moments of reflection and thought, precious moments of connections and communication.

I think all great musicians have known in some deep way some knowledge of the divine, how else can they create these great timeless works, unless through inspiration. And what is inspiration except from the Creator. The source of all is The One, and there is no other. Subhahanallah!

So I am sharing one of my all time favourite pieces below. Listening to this, it takes you higher to that heavenly realm. Vivaldi’s four seasons, apt too now that the leaves are changing. May God’s light, blessing and love be with you. May you come to know Him, as He is to be known. And having said that, none of us can really ever know God, at least not in our present limited state of creation. This is the orthodox Muslim view. We have been taught

‘Laisa kamithlihi shai’

‘there is nothing like unto Him’

Quran 42:11

So whatever comes to your mind about God, He is other than that. Beyond the constrains of time and space, beyond change. How can you then grasp this fully. So study the creation to know the Creator. Study the creation and love the bounty and beauty of Allah, and Allah will love you back. When Allah loves you, your life will transform. We Muslims have lost our spiritual core, now it is just some diluted corrupted tribal nonsense we are pandering in the Muslim world. Forgive my outspokenness, but I am heartily sick of all these brutal barbaric wars and people committing humanly unthinkable acts in the name of Islam, so cruel even the ancient barbarian hoards would be cringe at committing them, and yet people do this and take on the exalted pure name of ‘Allah’ while doing so. I fear for them, for I would be shivering in my boots to do even a petty crime in the name of Allah. For Allah is swift in punishment (this too is Quranic), and yet they openly flout the teachings of Islam. Allah’s swiftness is not our swiftness, but it is swift and certain.

We Muslims who know and love and study and practice our religion the way it is meant to be have a lot on our shoulders. To our non-Muslim friends, I say, help us out. We are speaking out, living and being the best citizens we can be. Very grateful to live in countries of social justice and civics and ethics, so dear to the Muslim heart and mind. We will continue to fight against all those who claim to be Muslim and violate the sacred tradition of Islam and malign the pure and noble name of our beloved Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Please do also read about Islam, about our dear prophet, the chosen one. Read from authentic sources. May God help us all and may we truly become who we are created to be.

God’s peace and blessing be upon you all. Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you!)