Trust

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you! It has been a long long while since I last wrote. I have been on a journey, not just external but also internal as many life events took their toll. But this joy that we are all born with, the light within, never abated…only I could not see it sometimes, blinded by tears. Aren’t we all at some point in our lives and is not the benefit of the tear to wash the dirt from the soul? to clean the eye so it can see again, what is important and essential.

Here is a poem I wanted to share, I found it writen some time ago, during Ramadan I believe.

Taught to trust
through hours
when my feet swell
and my body sways
gently to the rhythm of the recitation
rising and falling
as my breaths
joined to the rhythm of the universe
this reverberation
Ramadan night resonation
With the soul
for a moment, split second divine
worry leaves and the heart is re-born
The soul’s polish
reaches that first sparkle
when polishing cloth leaves its surface
and before dust can settle
split second glimpse
of the Divine
Light upon Light
so heavy, yet so ethereally weightless
so substantial, everywhere yet nowhere
It explodes, this light
in a quiet spreading
beyond physics…beyond the created
It is just there. And polished mirror soul
I reflected it. Till it was everywhere.
And I was nothing, in a sea of light

There I found trust, implicit absolute immaculate trust
My Lord will look after me.

***

‘sabran jameelan’

It has been too long since I last wrote. I have been traveling, resting, absorbing, healing, wondering….Alhamdulillah! Being quiet as I try to come to grasp with life’s changes. Allah knows best and in this I have peace, and again, this too by the grace of the Almighty. Here is a poem written some time ago that a beautiful encounter with a kindred spirit this evening has prompted me to find and now to post. May you enjoy it! Love and peace to all.

Note: ‘sabran jameelan’ is an arabic phrase appearing in the Quran many times. ‘sabr’ means patience and ‘jameel’ is beautiful. As with many arabic words, the meaning is deeper than this especially when put together in the form of ‘sabran jameelan’. Though meaning a beautiful peace it is in an action form, meaning it is not a passive thing to achieve this or have this beautiful peace, but rather an active state requiring toil but completely at peace in beauty and a quiet state. It was the reply of the prophet Jacob when he was told by his other sons that they had lost his beloved son Joseph while out playing. The prophet Jacob knew the brothers were not telling the truth about the wolf having devoured Joseph story but did not say that. This story given in the 12th chapter of the Quran (chapter called ‘yusuf’, the arabic of ‘joseph’) is detailed, beautiful, profoud and the narrative differs in many ways so that Quranic form of it is unique. Anyways that long note was not meant to be so long, but I hope it helped. The phrase is found in other places in the Quran as well.

Sabran Jameelan

I find it hard to write in the old way, holding my pen
Dripped ink staining my cuticles
Pausing to think and write again and write again and think
While dipping my tip in to the ink pot to rejuvenate it.
It dried up while I was thinking.

But oh I need to, need to connect.
Can I in this modernity find the me that was
In my past, a simpler world, a truer me
Is that me yet.

Now music must play so I can hear myself think
And the soft patter of keys pressed is oddly comforting
The world is hard. Sabran jameelan. Sabran jameelan
In my old pen, I would write it in Arabic
And the formation of the curves of that majestic script soothing
Bringing closer the immensity
Of sabran jameelan.

Write in your soul, write everyday and no matter
What medium.
No matter what medium.

Sabran jameelan. It will end soon.

Post Ramadan

Mourning the passing the month of mercy,
Sad, my sun has set
taking with it that divine light
that illumined each heart
Made us good
Despite ourselves.

The light exists yet you know
It is there, somewhere
deep inside, speaks God’s voice
Gentle guidance to persevere
Ah, be quiet
and you will hear.

Food and drink deafen the senses
Weapon of lurking devil
Control, control, as you feast
taste the bounty of a benevolent Lord
But don’t forget
the messenger who only ate a morsel to keep his back straight

Ramadan rhymes -2

Now adjusted to the fast
Yet tired, the body
has lost weight and is lite

Uncluttered body
Now able to see, what it is
to behold God, even a glimpse
caught through long nights of prayer

Ramadan nights
Are passing, over half are gone
But the soul is refreshed

Re-acquainted soul
With it’s pristine first state
filling with new energy
knowing again the meaning of life

Heart growing lite
Heart glowing light

Ramadan days are raining on this scorched earth.
***

The Quran soothes
It’s primordial rhythm resonates
With the atoms in my brain
As I sing and sing again
Sura after sura
caresses the tongue
calms the heartbeat
delights the ears

Hours spent reciting
Wash away all the doubting
In the grace of God Almighty
The one, the all powerful, the only
Why worry when
All you need is trust
that God will not
let you fall

No other Effector
Come, return to your Benefactor
To the One waiting Lord
The Overseeing Nourishing Lord
And His beloved
Messenger, our beloved too.
sent to teach,
An example,
A Mercy, to the worlds.

May my brothers and sisters be
Increasing in that certainty
which Ramadan is here to deliver
Rejoice, for now and forever
No need for sorrow
With faith, bright is every tomorrow
And today
Is a blessed gift

Precious these hours
Preparatory hours
To that time
When we return
To whence we came.
That glorious place of Peace

***

Ramadan rhymes

Simple rhymes to share this beautiful time of dawn…Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah

***

Subhahanallahi wabihamdihi
Words that fill the scales
Said my beloved prophet
Who I long to meet…inshAllah soon
It will be. On that great day
When my scale I fervently pray
Will be filled with
Subhahanallahi wabihamdihi

***

The stomach moans and groans
My senses are numbed with the pain
I count the hours until
My throat can feel the cool rain
Of water..truly
The barren earth is brought to life,
The sun sets and the call rings out
Come to prayer, come to salvation, come to success, come to joy
Come, come!
And so a day’s fast necessary to know what it means to be saved
And to know…
Give, give, to those who are waiting for your aid
A wandering soul finds rest
Taught by a merciful Lord
How to forget the self
For this brief twelfth of a year, to be sanctified.

***

The moon so soft, the faintest crescent
shyly peeps before descending
Oh so gently greets
This bounteous month
Heralding
A peaceful time of prayer and service
It is Ramadan, days resplendent
With God’s glorious kindness
and angels walking among us
Greet your neighbour and share
The time will pass quickly, beware
May it bring you opportunity to polish your heart
Clean your soul and refresh your spirit
May you once more, be whole

****

Peace to all my brothers and sisters this blessed month.

Our only true enemy… ‘The whisperer’

MashaAllahu ta’ala the past few weeks have brought fresh illumination as in our study circle we’ve been learning about the real enemy. The one and only enemy. As told by God to us in His book, we have only one enemy very clearly;

O you who believe! enter into submission one and all and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan; surely he is your open enemy.
Quran 2:208

While I don’t want to paraphrase all I’ve been learning about the shayateen (devils) in the past weeks in to a few words on one post, I think there certainly is a simple take-home message. That really there is evil, but that evil is only the devil and all he can do is whisper. He tempts, deceives, confuses and moves man to great sin thereby. But in the end, he is not to be feared but only treated with contempt. And our Lord we seek refuge in from his devious whispers. But more importantly that all this cause of hatred/anger/jealousy really is not people but the one real enemy. How many wars are being fought, where brother kills brother, each pandering some truth as a truth above another’s truth. The US Army over the VietCon (Vietnam war), Iraq over Iran (Iran-Iraq conflict), the Gulf war…the list is endless… and now the situation in Libya. Fast deteriorating in to an all out civil war, one wonders what happened to the truth in this conflict.

As someone so wisely said (I forget who, was it Bernard Shaw?) ‘truth is the first casualty in war’.

So hate the sin, but not the sinner. If we hate the oppression wrought by an oppressor, we do not hate the oppressor himself, but only wish for him the same salvation we yearn for ourselves. The vital hadith again;

‘None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself’
– look at how strong this hadith is, recorded by al-Bukhari (13), Muslim (45), Ahmad (3/176), at-Tirmidhi (5215), Ibn Majah (66), an-Nasa’i (8/115), and Ibn Hibban (234)

Wanting that same salvation, that same peace for everyone is essential to training our hearts to that state of purity demanded by the fact that only those with a sound/serene/peaceful heart will be saved on that day

وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ
يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected
The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children
But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.”

Quran (26:87-89)

So hate the sin but not the sinner. This was beautifully expanded on by Sh. Hamza in his article expounding on Divine Love as understood by the Muslim tradition. An article very much worth reading and passed on. It can be found here

Without going on too much about it, here is in verse form some of that which mashaAllah I’ve learned about all this. I hope it is of benefit inshaAllah. Called ‘the whisperer’

The whisperer

Whispers have brought down empires
From Shakespearan tragedies to real life
Desdemona and Othello to
every day in some every day home
some husband walks out on his wife

A neighbour has whispered
On the streets a rumour spread
Brothers do not speak with brothers
for years. Nor their sisters
fathers, mothers
They are afraid to allow
the possibility that the human errs
Afraid to forgive lest it reduce ‘honour’
or display weakness?

Fools proclaimed in self righteous glory
Sit on your high seat till you taste that same sloth
of the sinner when sin you commit unknowingly
or in a moment of weakness, that you do not forgive in another

The devils can only whisper
And we have no other enemy
No other. Remember Abu Sufyan? Not an enemy but in the end
the Muslim brother. And that great sword of the deen
Khaled, once the attempted excutioner of the prophet

A mercy to the worlds

O Patient man. Teach us your patience
Your people are in disarray
They kill each other inventing enemies
Spurring on deeds of fresh bloodshed
While screaming ‘Allahu akber’

Only a heart serene will be saved on that day
Didn’t you read your book? Held aloft while you screech.
Ah, what are you screeching for?

Perhaps a little silence will lift that veil of ignorance
The constant cacophony of mad passion
Drowned out the whisperer so close to your ear
who has never ceased whispering…
stop the gun so you can hear

A vile enemy that is whispering
Just a whisperer. Just a doomed whisperer

Then love your brother
Your messenger honour. Worry eradicate
All the burdens of the earth fall away from heavy shoulders
You can now fight, knowing what you are fighting for
Just one enemy. Remember.

O my Lord, I seek refuge in Thee
And Thou art sufficient for me.

Copyright – Joymanifest’s blog. 2011

***

Inspiration I sought..an old poem

Peace to all. I wanted to share this very old poem, written over a decade ago when fresh out of high school I spent a vacation with my Uncle, a physician in a rural hospital. I was there to observe/help/vacation and basically figure out if I wanted to go in to Med School or not. Here was one outcome of that time… while the feeling of guilt and helplessness at not being able to do more for Japan exists, perhaps reading this will help inshaAllah. Allah help us all. Help us to know how to help each other and to put that knowledge in to practice.

Inspiration I sought

Inspiration I sought
in a hospital ward
They called me in
to watch the stitching
held away the flapping skin
to show me the skull
I marveled
And a tear squeezed from the patient eye
Did it hurt you when they lifted for me to see?

You got beaten by your husband
so here’s a wound
For me to practice on
just a routine job
We get many a day
they say laughingly
Villagers and toddy are quite inseparable!

I wanted to be of service
that’s all that led me here
And my ego fulfilled
being a doctor?

Would you have preferred
a policeman’s batten or a lawyer’s brief
rendered free.
Though many a gift somehow you’ll bake
and bring me,
once the wounds are old
And maybe more woulds to sew.

I see it now.
Your hand is empty
May I hold it?

***

Copyright- 2011 JoyManifest’s Blog. FR Zahir.

Signs of the last day

Peace be with you all, Assalamu alaikum,

The news continues to be bad. Not just bad in one sphere, but in many ways and at the same time it seems. The conflicts and political disturbances seem to be growing and the number/scale of natural disaster increasing. I don’t want to seem to be ‘scandal mongering’ or trying to make this post sensational in anyway, but I do wonder what you feel about how all this works in terms of the signs of the last day?

I grew up in a country in conflict (but relatively sheltered from the worst of it masha’Allah) and am not a stranger to hardship, both physical and emotional. Now masha’Allah living in this protected western country sometimes I wonder if I am becoming immune to the suffering of others. Whether the ‘unfamiliarity’ of the suffering keeps me away from a real empathy. Sometimes I wonder if I am really living here. For in the east, it seemed life was more real and consequently death was more real. Suffering and joy was real and empathy was real. And knowing how fragile life really is, our awareness of our place in the universe more real… and somehow, in some strange way, instead of depression by all this, what was the outcome was peace in the heart. Like we didn’t have to wonder, only to live. Only to live. I miss those days and hope I am not too accustomed to the ‘luxury’ of life in the west (e.g., hot water showers, affordable food and a variety of it). On another note, perhaps the east is now full of these luxuries too :), and like here, the people are being rocked in to a false somnambulant state.

I feel that the need to distribute the wealth of the world evenly is becoming urgent and extreme. Having experienced first hand the incredible rift between ‘haves’ (typified by the West) and the ‘have-nots’ (typified by the East) and now with this knowledge so widely spread (that is more people becoming aware of this, or one hopes that is what is happening) that more is not done is a sign of the depravity of the times? Allah protect us. I do however also feel that the good are getting ‘gooder’ and the bad, left to their devices often becoming ‘worse’. The former is a source of strength, hope and joy and should not be underestimated in any way.

It really does seem that things don’t make sense anymore and can’t be made sense of in any comprehensive manner. And that, more than anything else, is why I wonder if the signs of the last day are coming one after the other with increasing frequency. I would love to know anyone’s thoughts on this.

For your reference here is a site that has the signs of the last days with references at least for many of them. Not all the ahadith quoted are sahih, and they don’t confirm if they are hasan. But most seem to be from the ‘sihah sittha’ (the six most rigourous/well regarded books of hadith).

To end, a few lines below, hoping it makes some sense :), but only really wanting to say that prayer is refuge at these times.

Peace through the night in prayer,
My heart feels yet I am unable to utter,
Struck dumb by terror
A glimpse of the immensity of Thy power
Of what could be of us all.
Yet the prayer, unjolted
continues, somehow in my heart, it continues
and soon swells to words on the lips
O Lord, only because of the hope
that knowing You are ar-Rahman brings.
Peace through the night in prayer.

Allah (God) protect and forgive and teach us all.

Copyright 2011. JoyManifest’s blog. F R Zahir

Our Beloved

There were many things I wanted to write of today. How glorious the sun was in this stunningly beautiful city I am very blessed to call home and then how peaceful to walk to my car with a dear colleague as it set, a long day’s work behind me. Was it hard to spend a Sunday at work? Yes (no false pretense here)! But then a satisfied peace to finish a project and a gladness knowing the blessing of having the time to spend in such mashaAllah. But I doubt the day would have been as peaceful and purposeful except for listening to a beautiful youtube video from a dear sister I ‘follow’. She was posting a give-away from her business to honour the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as this is the month of his birthday. The give-away was two CDs, one of which is the poem of Imam Busari, the ‘Burdah’. Famous in the Muslim world it celebrates the prophet in beautiful poetry and repeats many times the refrain translated

‘O my Lord send peace and blessings upon your beloved
The best and perfect of creation that you’ve created’

She mentioned a particular rendition of it, that by the Fez singers in Morocco and mashaAllah it was that beautiful feeling of sharing something precious, rather of being reminded of something precious by a dear one, when she spoke of the peace she felt in her heart listening to it. I then realized I had it all along with me and instead of the barrage of other music I listen to while I work (big lover of music here mashaAllah:) ), let me soothe my heart listening to this great work and drawing close to our beloved Muhammed today.
MashaAllah the entire day was good after that and what could have been a disastrous time after a very hard night before turned in to one of beauty.

As our beloved master taught us ‘God is beautiful, and He loves beauty’. That perhaps why, great music, like great art, beautiful surroundings, draw one closer to God.

Much more to say on that note, but before I go on too long, I wanted to share this poem, written a long time ago, close to or during one Ramadan. But perhaps apt to share now as it was inspired by listening to the Burdah of Imam Busari (raheemahullah). Also last night the moon was full and beautiful and I remembered the prayer of the prophet of God that he would say whenever beholding the moon, ‘O Moon, as thou dost worship Allah, so do I’. What immense love our prophet must have exhibited for Allah, and how immensely Allah did and does love Him back. This then perhaps the reason for the Quranic command upon the believer to send salutations upon the prophet. And so I thank my dear sister, so sharing her thoughts, Alhamdulillah the barakah has spread very far!

Here is the poem, it is written as one feels, a child by the Messenger, a wise and beautiful loving Guide. May we all be blessed to meet Him one day in peace. Allah Kareem!

O My Lord send peace and blessings on your Beloved

Maula ya salli wasallim Muhammed

‘O my Lord send peace and blessings upon your beloved
The best and perfect of creation that you’ve created’

Ramadan approaches and I remember my prophet,
More than ever, he walks with me
In front of me and I trot to keep up with his stride
So fast and steady, going to meet his enemy
Walking upon your work. O My Lord, send blessings on your beloved.

Ramadan is nigh and I remember my prophet
His hand is on my head, and all my pain has disappeared
I close my eyes and a great peace enters my heart
As his hand strokes my hair, I raise my eyes to his kind face
And everything is alright. O My Lord, send peace on your beloved.

Ramadan is here and I remember my prophet
He jokes and gently laughs, in breaks in the long night prayer
His feet swell as the hours pass and his beard becomes soaked with tears
I follow him in the prayer and stand with him. My soul in salaam
A great joy in worshiping Thee. O My Lord, elevate your beloved.

Elevate your beloved, my beloved Rasullullah. How I miss him.

Copyright 2011. JoyManifest’s Blog. F R Zahir.

And one rendering of the Burdah, a very short part of it, below. For your listening pleasure! 🙂

One to one

Here is a very recent poem, speaking of an old truth; The beauty of unity and the march of time. Something I easily forget amidst busy days and the usual frustrations. What a gift it is to be ordered to pray five times a day, forced to be peaceful mashaAllah :). God forgive my forgetfulness

One to one
I sit before you
My Maker
Created to Creator
this bond
Oh, when I acknowledge it
I am the eagle that has soared beyond the heavens
I am the water circumambulating the earth
I am every particle of dust in a comet’s tail
I am home.
This moment I glimpse eternity
acknowledging, one to one
My Creator to Thee
I am hurtling through time.

***

Copyright February 2011. JoyManifest’s Blog. F R Zahir