Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sheikh Qadir Jilani

Anything you call upon, is a god.
Anything you depend on, is your god.
Anything you fear, is your god.
Anyone you implore, is your god.

Look at yourself.

Your heart does not agree with your tongue

And your actions are in conflict with your words.

Say: "Allah u Akbar"

One thousand times in your heart

Before you say it even once with your tongue.

Are you not ashamed of yourself

To say "There is no god other than Allah,"

When in truth you worship one thousand deities besides Him.

Repent to Him from all your lies.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Witch of Portobello

I strongly recommend all of you to go out and buy Paolo Coelho's latest book - The Witch of Portobello.

I have always loved Coelho's books. My favourite is the Alchemist - but of course! The others I loved are:
By the River Piedra I sat down and wept
The Pilgrimage
The Fifth Mountain
Eleven Minutes
I did not like Valkyries and Veronika Wants to Die and I felt that The Devil and Miss Prym was a little flat at the end - that there was much more he could do with that story. I felt that he held back the important revelations in that book - thinking that the world is not ready for it. But I know it was missing.

To tell you the truth, I haven't read a novel for many years. When I was a kid I read a lot, devouring books like a demon. Once I pick up a book, I wouldn't put it down until I finished it - going to school bleary eyed the next morning as I had only finished reading a particular book at 6 am. I would be very rude and read at the dinner table despite being scolded by my mum. By the time I was in University, I was too scared to read novels fearing that I might not be able to put them down and then I would miss my lectures and tutorials as well as deadlines for my assignments. When I came back to Malaysia, I brought back crates and crates of books, some signed by the authors eg John Mortimer (love him!) and some first editions, some gems I found at Camden Market where I used to browse on Sundays, buying antiques, eating a paper bag full of hot mini doughnuts and drinking freshly brewed steaming hot coffee. Yes, I used to do this all by myself ....

There was a point of time when I lived at Notinghill Gate, just at the top of Portobello Road. That was fun! Strolling down Portobello Road on weekends, going to the all day cinema down the road. You just have to pay for one ticket and you can watch several movies, come out, have a bite to eat and go in again whenever you feel like it ... This is where I would watch my arty farty movies, my favourite Pedro Almadovar movies etc. All these things I would do on my own - such as going to the opera, ballet & scouring antique markets. My brother, cousins and friends were ino interested in such activities. They went to Sting , Phil Collins and Genesis concerts. None of them could understand me - thinking that I'm such a bizarre moody person, sitting by myself at home listening to Le Nozze di Figaro or Don Giovanni, refusing to answer the phone or doorbell.... things haven't changed much since then. They still think I'm beyond eccentric.

Now my workmates think that too. Years ago my big boss had a word with me about my anti social behaviour - saying that I'm cliquish and selective with my friends. To tell you the truth, he is right. I can't stand having lots of people around me. I instantly feel my energy draining out. Most people are pretty toxic. And with all my meditation, cleansing and detoxing during weekends, the last thing I need is for these corporate vampires to suck my energy out. I take great heed of Al Jilani's words - stay away from ignorant people, stay away from people whose energy is lower than yours. My Sufi guide told me that our energy is like water. If your energy is high and you spend time with someone of lower energy, your energy will flow downwards to the other person so that your energies will balance. That's why you always feel tired when you spend time with people who have low energy levels and they feel rejuvenated when they are with you. Stay away from toxic people. They are energy spongers. What they should do is increase their energy levels on their own through meditation.

Anyway, back to Paolo Coelho's latest book. Here are some excerpts of some of my favourite passages in this book:
"A curse on all those who never listened to the words of Christ and who have transferred his message into a stone building ..... Today the Church has changed those [Christ's] words to read "Come unto me all ye who follow our rules, and let the heavy laden go hang."

"My way of approaching Allah - has been through calligraphy, and the search for the perfect meaning of each word. A single letter requires us to distill in it all the energy it contains, as if we were carving out its meaning. When sacred texts are written, they contain the soul of the men who served as an instrument to spread them throughout the world. And that doesn't apply only to sacred texts, but to every mark we place on paper. Because the hand that draws each line reflects the soul of the person making that line."

" Elegance isn't a superficial thing, it's the way mankind has found to honour life and work. That's why, when you feel uncomfortable in that position, you musn't think that it's false or artificial: it's real and true precisely because it's difficult. That position means that both the paper and the brush feel proud of the effort you are making. The paper ceases to be a flat, colorless surface and takes on the depth of the things placed on it. Elegance is the correct posture if the writing is to be perfect."

**(Tome this is the same with life: when all superfluous things have been discarded, we discover simplicity and concentration).

"In order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them."
Paolo Coelho also quoted one of my favourite poets Kahlil Gibran from his masterpiece The Prophet:

"Is there anything you would withhold? Some day, all that you have shall be given. The trees give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish....

And what greater merit shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

In the book, one of the characters is an historian who said "the center of a person is the navel" and expounded on how important the navel is. Then he said "My daughter said that I was behaving oddly thinking only of myself - that I was in short, navel gazing!" Heeheeh, my fellow naval officers Daef and Art should take note of this!

"I spoke only of love. He says the earth needs rituals, well, I can guarantee that if there's love enough among you, you'll have an abundant harvest, because love is the feeling that transforms everything. But what do I see? Friendship. Passion died out a long time ago, because you've all got used to one another. That's why the earth gives what it gave last year, neither more nor less. And that's why, in the darkness of your souls, you silently complain that nothing in your lives changes. Why? Because you've always tried to control the force that transforms everything so that your lives can carry on without being faced by any major challenges."

"I am ... universal wisdom. I came into the world accompanied only by Love. I am the beginning of everything ... For me, love fills everything. It cannot be desired because it is an end in itself. It cannot betray because it has nothing to do with possession. It cannot be held prisoner because it is a river and will overflow its banks. Anyone who tries to imprison love will cut off the spring that feeds it, and the trapped water will grow stagnant and rank."

"Religions will revert to being a refuge for the weak, who are always in search of guidance."

On Sin:

"We all have a duty to love and to allow love to manifest itself in the way it thinks best. We cannot and must not be frightened when the powers of darkness want to make themselves heard, those same powers that introduced the word sin merely to control our hearts and minds .... What is sin? It is a sin to prevent Love from showing itself."

So ... what are you waiting for? Go get this book! However, even here, I felt Coelho held back and could have done much more with this book. He is just skimming the surface but I feel he did it on purpose to cater to a wider range of people. I understand why he does it. He throws in deep messages which most people would find unpalatable and couches it in an entertaining story so that these people would continue reading it ... and hopefully these messages sink in or provoke them to think and not just accept life as they were taught to by their parents, priests etc. I try to do that with Chapati Moments and some of you have picked it up whilst others are just entertained by this dysfuntional family I write about.... :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thank You to My Beloved
by the Anomaly
18 May 2007 night time

I finally passed the test
I finally learnt my lesson
I finally know
How to love myself.
To learn how to love yourself
You must first
Know who you are
You must know your value
and your worth
You must never let another person
determine your worth
and tell you who you are.
So I thank you,
my Master, my Guide,
my Beloved
for leading me to this path
to this knowledge
to this awareness.
To love yourself is to never allow anyone
to have control over your destiny
To never accept second best
To never be second best
Your soul belongs to Allah
Our Creator
Our Ultimate Love
Your life belongs to Allah
Never surrender your love and your life
to anyone else.
Know yourself and you will know Allah
Love yourself and you will love Allah
Love Allah and you will love yourself
It matters not which comes first
By the time you come to this realisation
You are nothing but a mirror
Allah's Beauty
Allah's Light
So learn to love yourself.
Do not accept a tarnished gift
For you are worthy of something better
Do not accept love in half measures
For you are worth
Much, much, much more than that
Do not accept insincere friendships
for they are worth nothing and you are priceless.
It is better to be alone
than to be with those
who do not know how to value you.
It is better to stay away from those
who do not know how to appreciate your worth.
They are not worth a single tear in your eye.
Finally I learnt and practised all this.
I have passed the test.
Thank you thank you thank you
My Love
for leading me here.
My chains are broken
I am finally released.
I finally know:
how to live
how to love
My burdens are gone
I am ready to live
I am ready to love another
How can you love another
when you do not know how to love yourself?
How can you value others
when you do not value yourself?
And today I have proven it
I love myself
I value myself
Thank you my Love.

The poetry above was inspired after going through a tough period for the past 2 weeks. I had come to realise that 2 people whom I am very fond of, whom I trust, whom I regarded as my friends have betrayed my trust and are not sincere to me. I struggled with myself - do I ignore it, accept them as they are and accept the half measures they mete out insincerely?

Then I realised - there is a difference between accepting people as they are and the treatment they show you. Accepting them as they are means not judging them and letting them be who they are and allowing them to find their own way. Eventually, we hope they will get there. But we don't have to suffer in their ignorance and accept their treatment.

So I stepped out of this circle of their ignorance and contempt.

What a release that was. To not be stuck in this vicious circle. I thought I would be upset and distraught over this. But all I felt was a sense of emptiness. I was worried. I thought I must be numb. But its night time now and I still don't feel anything. Just a sense of relief that I don't have to think about this anymore. I don't have to get upset over their behaviour anymore.

Then I realised - I finally liearnt my lesson which God was trying to teach me since 2000. I learnt to love myself.

So thank you God for this revelation, for this gift. It took me seven years of pain to learn. Seven years of joy. Seven verses in the Fatihah - The Heart of the Koran.


I Have Come Into This World to See This

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of the arc of their anger
because we have finally realised there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
I have come into this world to see this:
all creatures hold hands as we pass through
this miraculous existence we share on the way
to an even greater being of soul,
a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.
I have come into this world to hear this:
every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine's womb and began spinning from
His wish,
every song by wing, fin and hoof,
every song by hill and and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,
every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,
every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching -
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.
I have come into the world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind
men so true their lives are His covenant -
the promise of
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of
because we have finally realised
there is just one flesh
we can wound.

More from Hafiz .....

I have learned so much

from God

that I can no longer call myself

a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me

that I can no longer call myself

a man, a woman, an angel, or even a pure soul,

Love has befriended Hafiz,

It has turned to ash and freed me

Of every concept and image

my mind has ever known.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chapati Moments: Auntie Roopah

This is not a picture of Auntie Roopah. Its just a picture I posted to entice you to read further.

I have posted a freshly cooked Chapati in Navel Gazing:-

Bon appetite! Any indigestion caused - please direct complaints to the chef.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Thoroughbred
by the Anomaly

Only a King knows how to appreciate a thoroughbred
Only a King knows how to treasure it
Holding it high above all else
Only a King can appreciate
the thoroughbred's

A King knows

not to compare a thoroughbred

with a farm animal

A King has no need for a farm animal

What would a King do with a stable full of farm animals?

Likewise, do not give a peasant a thoroughbred

He has neither the capacity nor the depth to appreciate true beauty

For a peasant knows only how to appreciate a farm animal

He cannot place a yoke on a thoroughbred to till his land

The thoroughbred can die under these hardened conditions

Be very careful with the thoroughbred

Place it in the wrong hands and it will wither and die

The peasant only deserves a farm animal

For that is the only thing he knows how to value.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Heart
by the Anomaly

I have denied what I feel about you
Counting your flaws
Ignoring your virtues
To protect my heart
Whilst declaring loudly
that I always follow my heart
that I know what my heart wants
And it is not you,
I say to myself
Because you are not worthy of my heart
Nor even my thoughts.

I have even managed to convince myself

that I still love another

who is more worthy

But the truth is,

I realise now that

I have been denying my heart.

The truth is

when I stand next to you

my heart feels waves of pain

I am startled by that

But my heart does not lie

Only fear makes us deny what the heart feels

I tell my heart repeatedly

that you are not worthy

that there is another

more worthy

Another who would protect me

from your ignorant ways

Another who would not hurt me

like you do with your clumsy manner

Another who would treasure me

more than you are capable of

Who would protect me from


For my Beloved has revealed

that He will only bless my union

with the one

who loves me more

and not the one

whom I love more.

In that way, my Beloved

would have fulfilled His covenant to me

and I to Him

Understand, that I am only allowed

to be with those who are worthy

Understand, that I am not allowed

to throw pearls before a swine

So dear heart,

take heed of my plea

Be strong

Withstand the waves of pain

For the one you pine for

is not worthy of your love

He will hurt you

He will toss you about

with carelessness

if not cruelty

And this is forbidden

For you have made a covenant

to the Beloved.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sufi Wisdom: Shaykh Abd Qadir Al Jilani

"The Prophet said "Gabriel once came to me and said: "The Lord of Truth has instructed me to tell you:'Pardon those who do you wrong. Maintain a connection with those who would cut you off. Give to those who deprive you. Reflect on the blessings of Allah, on His handiwork and His ways of managing His creation.

If you suffer unjust treatment, do not act unjustly. If you are praised, do not feel too pleased about it. If you are criticised, do not feel too depressed. If you are accused of telling lies, do not get angry. If you are betrayed, do not betray another."

Shaykh Qadir Al Jilani on the Sufis: "In your case, you belong to the group consisting of those who love Allah both through involuntary compulsion and through a process of free choice.

If only you would leave the company of the unbelievers and the hypocrites today, and stay away from them tomorrow. If only you would get up and walk away from meetings held by those who idolise their fellow creatures and material means, and who quarrel with the Lord of Truth. Do not meddle with the treasuries of worldly kings, and do not pry into their secrets.

If a person does not acknowledge his own worth, the decrees of destiny will teach him to acknoledge his own worth. To recognise your own worth is better than refusing to acknowledge you own worth, because an ignorant person is someone who knows neither his own worth nor the worth of other people."

"You must dedicate your hearts entirely to Him. You must turn to Him in humble entreaty, and beg Him to supply you with everything you need. You must apply to Him for all your urgent requirements. You have no other place to turn. You have no other door by which to enter. All other doors have been locked shut. You must spend time alone with Him in lonely places. You must talk to Him and speak to Him directly with the tongues of your faith.

As soon as the other members of your family have all gone to sleep, and the sounds and voices of your fellow creatures have fallen silent, you should cleanse yourself by performing the ritual ablution, then lower your forehead to the ground. While you are in humble posture, you should repent, beg pardon, confess your sins, implore your Lord to grant His gracious favour, and ask Him to supply your needs. You should also complain to Him about any problems that are causing a feeling of tightness in your breast. He is your Lord, not any other, and He is your god, not any other.

You must not run away on account of the arrows of His afflictions. He has treated all your predecessors in the same way, exposing them to pain and suffering, making them experience difficulty and hardship as well as ease and comfort, so that they might acknowledge Him and be grateful to Him, so that they might learn to be patient with Him and entrust themselves to His care.

Punishments are for common folk, while acts of atonement are for the truly devout believers, and spiritual degrees are for the righteous of true conviction, the triumphant champions of truth.

The Prophet has told us: "Of all people, we Prophets are the ones most sorely afflicted. Then those who resemble us most closely, and so on down the scale."

When the true believer is afflicted, he bears his affliction with patience. He keeps it well hidden from his fellow creatures and does not complain to them. This is why the Prophet has told us: "the believer wears his cheerfulness on his face, while his sadness stays inside his heart."

That is to say, he greets other people with a cheerful expression, so that they will not notice what is in his heart.

True believers hide the treasures of their inner beings. They act in accordance with the natural disposition of their hearts. Sadness is the natural disposition of our lower selves. Sadness is a cloud that showers the heart with drops of wisdom and secret knowledge. Why will you not be patient in bearing sadness and broken-heartedness, when Allah has said in one of His utterances: "I am with those whose hearts are broken on My account."

Whenever their hearts are broken because of remoteness [from Him], along comes the mender of nearness to mend them. Whenever they are alienated from their fellow creatures, along comes intimate friendship with Allah to put them at their ease. Whenever they become estranged from their fellow creatures, they discover intimate friendship in the nearness of Allah. Whenever their sadness lasts for a long time in this world, their happiness is of long duration in the hereafter.

The Prophet would often experience prolonged bouts of sadness, and he was always given to contemplation. He would seem to be listening carefully, as if to an invisible speaker who was talking to him, or to someone calling out to him from the unseen. His executors, his representatives, his deputies and his heirs are likewise notable for the long duration of their sadness and the constancy of their contemplation. How could they fail to follow the example he set by his actions, when they are standing in his stead, feeding people with his food and quenching their thirst with his drink, using his horses for transport, and wielding his swords and his spears in battle?

The people of the Lord have inherited the situation of the Prophets and their position in the scheme of things, though not their personal names and titles, nor the special attributes and peculiar virtues with which they never fall short. It may therefore happen that one of them begins to play his role at a very early age, while in the case of another, his true role does not become apparent until the latter part of his life. Transformations are brought about through the presence of such an individual, for he is the friend of Allah in the knowledge of Allah.

The Tomb of Shaykh Qadir Al Jilani

(which was hit by US bombings in Iraq)

Of the ignorant people, the Shaykh said:

"You do not recognise the true condition of the people of the Lord, and you do not acknowledge the truth of what they have to say. Your involvement with worldly creatures is an obstacle that prevents you from getting to know them. Your love of prestige in this world, and the ambitious pursuit of political leadership, these are obstacles that prevent you from getting to know them. If you had been genuinely interested in trying to find them, you would have recognised them by now, and you would have derived complete satisfaction from what they had to tell you. You do not spend any time in the company of people who put their knowledge into practice. You are not like those who drink what they have to offer, here in my presence, so you do not experience the effect of that kind of wine."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Prophesy of Simeon

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed-- and a sword will pierce even your own soul--to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Luke 2:34 - 35
- dedicated to the Mother of the Great Master
- by the Anomaly

O Maryam
the Beautiful
the Cherished
the Blessed
Mother of True Love
Mother of Unconditional Love

You are the only woman

Allah has bestowed His great Light

To you, Allah has dedicated an entire chapter of the Holy Koran

You are the only woman

Who knows Love as it truly is

The only one who has felt love

At its deepest, most wonderful,

Most painful depths

Allah has reserved for you

A most special place in His Heart

Glory to Maryam,

The Most Beloved

The One who gave

Her soul

Her life

Her love

Her Son

To Allah

As Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to Allah

Who knows what pain

Maryam went through

To show her faith

Her love

For the Beloved

Who knows what hardship

Maryam endured

To show her love

Who knows her strength amidst

The rejection, the insults, the ridicule

thrown at her

hurled against her

Who knows how alone

She felt then

With only her faith to hold on to.

As alone as I feel now

Alone with the Alone

Only the great Sheikh Ibn Arabi will understand

what I am talking about

For he too, the Seal of the Saints,

Serves the Great Master.


The day you choose to share

Your love with us again

Is the beginning of the end

And life will reach a full circle

Dawn and sunset will become One

Daylight and nightfall will become One

Light and Darkness will become One

And we will all

Return to the One who loves us

For you

are the Mother

of Dawn and Sunset.

Dark Night of My Soul
- by the Anomaly

O dark night of my soul
In this silence
I face the darkest night
I see the face of
He whom all fear most
I submit to Him
I can resist no more
I can go no further

Seven years of light
Seven years of darkness
Seven years of pleasure
Seven years of pain
I can go forth no more

Seven years of being cherished
Seven years of being ignored, discarded like a worthless scrap of paper
Burn this scrap of paper
Burn me
I can go forth no more

I bow down and kiss your feet
I submit to you
Take my soul
For this body is weary, beaten, tormented
full of lacerations

Take my soul