‘I am nothing….without you’

This song from Sami Yusuf’s latest album, which if you can I urge you to buy, not only to benefit a great artist, but because also music like that which he makes purifies the heart. This song touches me deeply. Brings a tear to my eye, melts away all the pain…

I have always believed and felt that music is a great way to know God. Somehow it breaks down barriers and seems to penetrate the heart. What a metaphor! like sound can travel through walls, so can music travel through whatever stubborn walls we put up around our hearts that prevents us seeing our Maker. Prevents us knowing our home, knowing our Lord.

It is called ‘Dryer Land’ sung by two great maestros of music, they may be father and son, I am not sure. You can purchase the album here

This is the official youtube. The lyrics to the part in Farsi is especially transcendent.

God bless you and on you all be peace. Assalamu alaikum

 

As promised and some reflections

Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you,

I promised sometime ago to share some photos from Sydney, so I’ll attach them here. Since I went to Sydney mashaAllahu ta’la I’ve traveled through Colombo, Singapore, Tokyo and Minneapolis. Some of these places I only stayed in an airport and others I had time to visit a bit. But it is a great blessing to travel and see the differences in this massive earth. To be in airports and observe the great multitude of variation among peoples. To see the pious next to the ignorant next to the forgetful next to those obsessed with worry and care. It is a great blessing to stop in these places to pray and touch your forhead to the ground and hope that the earth will bear witness for you that you did so, on that day we must all face. It is a great blessing to know that it is Allah that is upholding this amazing world. To travel way above the earth, to be with the clouds, to race the rising sun as you traverse oceans and cross time-zones, to wonder at the might and completeness of Allah’s creation and plan. To recognize that I am just an insignificant jot, a mere instance in the passage of time. And yet, Allah loves me so much, He has given me intellect and sight and sound and travel and more than this, has given me my faith. That Allah has given me time and so much of reading and the wonder of knowing oneself and learnign of oneself. To think this is true for so many thousands of people, millions and billions of people, existing now and who have existed and who will exist inshaAllah. So Allah gives each of us a universer of care, and yet we are insignificant jots on this great plane of existence. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the One, beyond time and place, beyond gender, beyond our human comprehension, the First and the Last and the Everlasting. Praise be to God, my Lord, and thanks and thanks and thanks be to God and God alone. God, please send your grace and salutation upon Muhammed, your beloved and my beloved, the last of the Messengers and a mercy to mankind.

Sunset from Mosque window in Colombo
Pelican in Colombo suburb, and the tower with satellites were not there a few years ago
Sunrise in Colombo
Sunrise in Colombo on a foggy morning...those brief few moments you can look at the sun!
From Australian National Museum, look at the diversity of skeletons
Skeletons of Marsupials, again from Australian National Museum
Frangipani! what a beautiful name for such a beautiful flower...Thanks to God!
Lotus flower 🙂 Praise to God
Ibis roosting on tree tops, Chinese garden in Sydney
The moon gate from the Chinese garden in Sydney...highlighting water and trees, praise be to God who created our appreciation for beauty and art in architecture
Look at this beautiful old man, walking slowly at the back of a procession marching for International Women's Day in downtown Sydney, asking for equal rights for women. A noble sight indeed and one I found deeply humbling
A young student in an old building, reading on the stairs of 'the strand' ( I think) which was a Victorian era construction, built to honor Queen Victoria. How then Allah knew the day the building went up, that this student would be sitting there a century or more later, reading, and I would be passing by, traveling all the way from Canada, to take this picture, later to post it up on the www, and you my dear reader viewing it now. Subhahanallah! Glory be to God!
When leaving Vancouver...a place I spent many years of my life below me. How the view changes when we are far above, so I glorify my Lord, who is the subtle and near ('Latif', an attribute of Allah in the Muslim theology) and the Great and Overarching, Manifest ('Zahir' another attribute of God in the Muslim theology)

Beauty

Watching a beautiful and soothing dance piece, one of the 12 tranditional ‘ballet’s or ‘vannam’ in Sri Lankan classical dance here is a little piece of poetry…it is rather a ‘kaviya’ or a poem that is sung according to a slow melody, where often the last syllable is dragged/elongated. Actually I was just humming this to the tune in the video below and thought I’d share it.

O my Lord, I do glorify you
Whatever beauty I see in myself,
That is from you
Protect me from the harm
that I do to myself
and protects others from it too.

I find it amazing that in so many ancient cultures, nature is revered and celebrated, honored and protected. In Sri Lankan classical dance, the 12 vannams are each a celebration of some form of beauty in nature. For example, this dance celebrates the peacock. Others celebrate the elephant, the swan, the eagle etc. I particularly appreciate that there is no complex emotional story or saga like in Western ballet, but a simple veneration of natural beauty. Indeed it is such a humble approach. Watching these dancers I also got to thinking of the discipline and devotion they give their art. The lead dancer for example is a maestro, who has been training since a child. I got to thinking we are all the vicegerants of God, here on this earth to perfect our dance of devotion and master our weaknesses. So the five time ritual prayer, the rules with food, speech, how we should live every day, or simply, the way of life of our great guide and exemplar, the prophet (peace be upon him) taught us is about training and discipline. How beautiful it must be to see our ‘performance’, that of the true devotee of God therefore. What a beautiful person it is who walks the earth in this way. Perhaps this is why the prophets and great sages are so beloved and revered to this day. No wonder Allah azza wa’jal loves those who remember Him! Men and women who lived and walked this earth in that humility, borne out of discipline and training – they were beautiful to behold! Whether Jesus (peace be upon him) or the Gautama Buddha or Moses or Abraham or Mary or our own beloved Muhammed (peace be upon them all). Allah protect us and help us continue upon this way. It gladdens my heart to know we will have the best teacher in this path. And remember, Allah loves you more than you can ever love yourself for your Creator knows you better than you know yourself and is the one true nurturer.
So I am posting this video in the hopes you too will marvel at the discipline and beauty of these dancers and be soothed by the gentle music. I do not see anything but modesty in it and hope you will too. Sometimes we need to see with the heart.

Peace be with you all

ar-Rahman!

MashaAllah just completed this for a dear Auntie… who looked after me through many years of study. Not knowing much English, she’d say ‘eat eat’ as she served a hot plate of food for me when I got home from school/work. Never a requirement, just being generous. Now she is abroad and hopefully she will like this. May it will get to her safe inshaAllah!
How much there is to learn from those giving souls around us. Somehow this gets me to thinking about the immense generosity of our Creator…and indeed all good qualities we have are but a poor reflection of the divine. For example how much an act of pure generosity the creation of flowers is! I can never have my fill of contemplating the beauties of this world, flowers, birds…Subhahanallah the sheer range of colour, texture, shape, fragrance is mind-blowing. And this too by the limits set upon our senses by which we understand them. So God is ar-Rahman. The compassionate, also meaning loving, kind, eternally merciful, nurturing. Taken from the root word ‘r-h-m’ which means ‘womb’, symbolizing all the love, protection, nurturing, care and cherishing that sacred place we all sojourned in holds. Subhahanallah! Glory be to God!
This painting is a pretty poor capturing for all the above. In all truth it can hardly be called anything close to that. But mashaAllah it is done finally (months after doing the background, did the foreground tonight…I think the background was literally done about a year ago?!) and thought to post a picture up here. InshaAllah you will like it.

Allah Kareem! (God is the Generous or God is most generous)

Peace be to all

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