Friday, December 26, 2008


Peace begins with a smile

- Mother Teresa

To Be Misunderstood

"Is it so bad to be misunderstood?
Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton,and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

True Strength

Intelligent people know others.
Enlightened people know themselves.
You can conquer others with power,
But it takes true strength to conquer yourself.

- Lao Tzu

Wood for His Fire

If you don’t have the Beloved why aren’t you looking for Him?
If you have the Beloved why aren’t you rejoicing?
If the Friend is truly your friend. Why not stay with Him?
If the rebec does not wail,Why not teach it how to sing?
If someone bars you from the truth, Why not fight him and his brother as well?
You sit quietly and say to yourself, “Something strange is going on.”The only thing strange is that your best friend is a stranger.

You are the Sun of the world -Why is your heart so black?Why do you fall back on your drab and stagnant ways?Don’t stay melted like gold in a furnace -Become a piece of jewelry!

The treasure of Unity is found by those who look within.Why not join your spirit to the onewho sits inside your heart?

Did Majnun ever love two Laylas? Why seek more than one face and one cheek?

There is such a glorious moonhiding in the shadows of your being.Why not make it rise with the power of a midnight prayer? You have danced in the tavern for ages, Love’s wine never slips from your hand,Yet with each new sipyour soul is ravished like never before.

The wine I drink is the fire of love and God Himself pours it into my mouth!
What use is your life If your bones are not used as wood for His fire?
I’ll leave you with that.I could go on,I could fill pages with these elegant verses
But this is a tale for the heart and soul, not the lips.
Rumi– Version by Jonathan StarFrom “Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved”Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thou and I

“Happy the moment when we are seated in the Palace, thou and I,
With two forms and with two figures but with one soul, thou and I
The colours of the grove and the voice of the birds will bestow immortality at the time when we come into the garden, thou and I.
The stars of heaven will come to gaze upon us; We shall show them the Moon itself, thou and I. Thou and I, individuals no more, shall be mingled in ecstasy, Joyful and secure from foolish babble, thou and I.
All the bright-plumed birds of heaven with devour their hearts with envy. In the place where we shall laugh in such a fashion, thou and I.
This is the greatest wonder, that thou and I, sitting here in the same nook, are at this moment both in Iraq and Khorasan, thou and I.”

(Jalaluddin Rumi)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Love and Forgive

If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.

- Mother Teresa

The Secret of Life

The principal teaching is that the heart of man is the shrine of God, to recognize God in one's own heart, to feel His existence, presence, virtue, goodness, all manner of beauty.

It must be remembered that the whole life around us is a life of falsehood.

The more you see and experience the more you see how very false it is, how much disillusionment there is.

The only way of getting over it is to light the lamp in the darkness of night, and all will be cleared. The secret of life is this: to produce beauty in ourselves.

When beauty is produced in the heart, then all that breaks the heart vanishes and the whole universe becomes one single vision of the sublimity of God.

-Religious Gatheka 13, Message of Christ, Hazrat Inayat Khan

Give Me Your Hand

God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me. Flare up like flame and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don't let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Looking for Your Own Face

Your face is neither infinite nor ephemeral.

You can never see your own face,only a reflection, not the face itself.
So you sigh in front of mirrorsand cloud the surface.
It's better to keep your breath cold.Hold it, like a diver does in the ocean.

One slight movement, the mirror-image goes.
Don't be dead or asleep or awake.Don't be anything.
What you most want,what you travel around wishing to find,lose yourself as lovers lose themselves,and you'll be that.

- Attar

Mystic Silence

From each, Love demands a mystic silence.

What do all seek so earnestly? Tis Love. Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts, In Love no longer "Thou" and "I" exist, For self has passed away in the Beloved.

Now will I draw aside the veil from Love, And in the temple of mine inmost soul Behold the Friend, Incomparable Love.

He who would know the secret of both worlds Will find that the secret of them both is Love.

- Attar

In the Dead of Night

In the dead of night, a Sufi began to weep,

he said this world is like a closed coffin, in which we are shut and in which, through our ignorance, we spend our lives in folly and desolation.

When Death comes to open the lid of the coffin, each one who has wings will fly off to eternity, but those without will remain locked in the coffin. So, my friends, before the lid of this coffin is taken off,

Do all you can to become a bird of the Way to God;

Do all you can to develop your wings and your feathers."


Why Was Adam

'Why was Adam driven from the garden?'

The pupil asked his master. 'His heart was hardened with images, a hundred bonds that clutter the earth chained Adam to the cycle of death following birth.

He was blind to this equation, living for something other than God and so out of paradise he was driven with his mortal body's cover his soul was shriven.

Noblest of God's creatures, Adam fell with blame, Like a moth shrivelled by the candle's flame, into history which taught mankind shame. Since Adam had not given up his heart to God's attachment, there was no part for Adam in paradise where the only friend is God; His will is not for Adam to imagine and bend.

- Attar

Always Beautiful

Know the true nature of your Beloved.

In His loving eyes your every thought,Word and movement is always-Always Beautiful."
- Attar

A Learning Soul

Soul receives from soul that knowledge, therefore not by book nor from tongue.

If knowledge of mysteries come after emptiness of mind, that is illumination of heart.
- Jalaluddin Rumi -
English Translation by Coleman Barks

The Progress of Man

First he appeared in the realm inanimate

Thence came into the world of plants and lived the plant-life many a year, nor called to mind what he had been;
then took the onward wayTo animal existence, and once moreRemembers naught of what life vegetive,
Save when he feels himself moved with desire towards it in the season of sweet flowers,
As babes that seek the breast and know not why.
Again the wise Creator whom thou knowestUplifted him from animality to Man's estate;
and so from realm to realm advancing, he became intelligent,cunning and keen of wit, as he is now.
No memory of his past abides with him, and from his present soul he shall be changes.
Though he is fallen asleep, God will not leave himIn this forgetfulness.
Awakened, he will laugh to think what troublous dreams he had. And wonder how his happy state of being he could forget, and not perceive that all those pains and sorrows were the effect of sleep and guile and vain illusion.
So this world seems lasting, though 'tis but the sleepers' dream; Who, when the appointed Day shall dawn, escapes from dark imaginings that haunted him, and turns with laughter on his phantom griefs when he beholds his everlasting home.
- Jalaluddin Rumi -
English Translation by R.A. Nicholson

The True Sufi

What makes the Sufi? Purity of heart

Not the patched mantle and the lust perverse of those vile earth-bound men who steal his name.

He in all dregs discerns the essence pure:In hardship ease, in tribulation joy.
The phantom sentries, who with batons drawn Guard Beauty's place-gate and curtained bower

Give way before him, unafraid he passes

And showing the King's arrow, enters in.

- Jalaluddin Rumi -

translated by R.A Nicholson

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Value of Knowledge (3)

As to [the evidence of the value of knowledge in] the sayings of the Companions (al-athar), `Ali ibn-abi-Talibsaid to Kumayl, “O thou perfect of knowledge ! Knowledge is better than riches; for knowledge guardeth thee whereas thou guardest riches. Knowledge governs while riches are governed. Riches diminish with spending but knowledge increases therewith.”

And again, “The learned is superior to the fasting, praying and self-mortifying man. Should the learned die, a gap would be created in Islam [by his death] and no one would fill this gap save one of his successors.”

`Ali said:
“Learning is the glory of mankind,
The wise are beacons on the road to truth;
Man is worth his knowledge, nothing more –
The fool will be his inveterate foe,
Knowledge is man’s hope of life immortal,
Man may die but wisdom liveth ever.”

Abu-al-Aswad said, “Nothing is more precious than knowledge; while kings rule over men, they are ruled by the learned.”

Ibn-`Abbas said, “Solomon the son of David was asked to choose between knowledge, wealth or power, but he chose knowledge and was thereby blessed with wealth and power as well.”

Ibn-al—Mubarak was asked, “Who constitute humanity?” To which he replied, “The learned”. It was then said, “And who are the kings?” He answered, “The ascetics”. And who,” he was asked, “constitute the lowest class among men?” “Those,” said he, “who, in the name of religion, grow fat in the world.” Thus only the learned did [ibn-al--Mubarak] regard as belonging to mankind, because it is knowledge which distinguishes man from the other animals.

Furthermore, man is a human being, not because of his physical prowess for physically the camel is his superior; not because of his size for the elephant is larger; not because of his courage for the lion is more courageous; not because of his appetite for the ox has the greater; not because of coitus for the least of the birds is more virile than he, but rather by virtue of his noble aims and ideals. [As a matter of fact] he was only created to know.

One of the wise men said, “Would that I might know what thing was attained by him whom knowledge has escaped, and what thing has escaped him who has attained knowledge.”
The Prophet said, “Whoever has been given the Qur’an and thinks that anyone has been given something better, he has degraded what Allah has exalted.”

Fath al-Mawsili said inquiring, “Would not the sick die, if he is given no food or drink or medicine?” They said, “Yes”. To which he said, “Similarly the heart will perish if it is cut off from wisdom and knowledge for three days.” He did indeed speak the truth, for the nourishment of the heart, on which its life depends, is knowledge and wisdom, just as the nourishment of the body is food.

Whoever lacks knowledge has an ailing heart and his death is certain; yet he is not aware of his doom because the love of this world and his concern therewith have dulled his sense, just as a shock from fright may momentarily do away with the pain of a wound although the wound be real. Thus when death frees him from the burdens of this world he will realize his doom and’ will, though to no avail, greatly regret it. This is like the feeling of a person who has attained safety after having been through danger, and like that of a man who has just recovered from his drunkenness.

We seek refuge in Allah from the day when all things will be brought to light. Men are asleep but at death they Will awake. Al-Hasan said, “The ink of the learned Will be likened to the blood of the martyrs, and the former will prove superior.”

Ibn-Mas`ud said, “Seek ye knowledge while it be found; it will be veiled when its narrators pass away. Verily, by Him in whose hand is my life, several men who died martyrs in the cause of Allah would rather that, at resurrection, Allah would raise them up as learned men for what they see of the veneration accorded the learned.” No one is born learned, but knowledge is only the result of learning.

Ibn-’Abbas said, “I would rather spend a part of the night in learned discussion than in continual prayer.” The same was related of abu-Hurayrah and Ahmad ibn-Hanbal.

AI-Hasan said that in the words of Allah, “Give us good (hasanah) in this world and good in the next,” (2:197) the good in this world meant knowledge and worship while that of the next signified paradise.

A wise man was once asked, “What things shall we possess?” He replied, “Those things which you will not lose in the event of shipwreck,” meaning thereby knowledge, while by shipwreck, it is said, he meant the decomposition of the body through death.

A certain wise man said, “Whoever takes wisdom for his bridle will be acclaimed by men as their leader, and whoever is known for his wisdom will be looked upon with respect.”

Al-Shaf’I Said “One of the noble things about knowledge is that he who is given a portion of it, no matter how small, rejoices while he who is deprived of it grieves.”‘

Umar said, “O men! Seek ye knowledge. For verily Allah has a mantle of love which He casts upon him who seeks knowledge even of a single section. Should he then commit an offence, Allah will remonstrate with him thrice in order not to rob him of his mantle, even though that offence may persist with him until he dies.”

Al-Ahnaf said, “The learned men came very near being Allahs; and all power which is not supported by knowledge is doomed.

Salim ibn-abi-al-Ja’d said, “ My master bought me for three hundred dirhams and later set me free. Thereupon I said, ‘What shall I take up for livelihood? Finally I took up learning and no sooner had a year passed than the prince of Ma kkah called upon me but I would not receive him.”

al-Zubayr ibn-abi-Bakr said, “My father had written me while in al-’Iraq saying. ‘Go after knowledge; should you become poor it will be your wealth, and should you become rich it will be your embellishment’.” (This has been related among the exhortations of Luqman to his son). He also said, “Sit in the company of the learned and keep close to them; for verily Allah quickens the hearts with the light of wisdom as he refreshes the earth with the rain of heaven.”

A certain wise man said, “When the learned dies the fish of the sea as well as the fowl of the air will mourn him; while his face shall disappear his memory will not be forgotten.”
AI-Zuhrisaid, “Knowledge is glorious and is not treasured except by the glorious.”

From: Al Ghazali’s – Ihya Ulumuddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences) – translated by Nabih Amin Faris

The Value of Knowledge (2)

As to [the evidence of the value of knowledge in] tradition (al-akhbar) the Apostle of Allah said, “Whom Allah doth love, He giveth knowledge of religion and guideth him into the straight path;”
and again, “The learned men are the heirs of the prophets.” It is also well-known that there is no rank above that of prophethood, no honour higher than its inheritance.

The Prophet also said, “What is in the heavens and in the earth intercedes for the learned men.” And what rank is higher than that of him for whom the angels of the heavens and earth labour interceding with Allah on his behalf, while he is preoccupied with himself. Muhammad Salallahu ‘alaihi wassalam [s.a.w] (peace be upon him) also said, “Wisdom adds honour to the noble and exalts the slave until he attains the level of kings.”

The Prophet pointed this out relating to the benefits of wisdom in this world, since it is well-known that the hereafter is superior and more lasting. Muhammad said again, “Two qualities the hypocrite lacks - good intentions and religious insight.” Do not doubt tradition, then, because of the hypocrisy of some contemporary jurisprudents; theirs is not the jurisprudence which the Prophet had in mind. (The definition of jurisprudence will come later). For a jurisprudent to know that the hereafter is better than this world is, after all, the lowest type of knowledge he can possess. Should it prove to be true and prevail, it would clear him of hypocrisy and deceit.

The Prophet said, “The best of men is the learned believer who, if he is needed, he will be useful; and if dispensed with, he will be self-sufficient. “

And again he said, “Belief is like unto a nude who should be clothed with piety, ornamented with modesty and should have knowledge for progeny.”

And again, “The nearest people to prophethood are the people of knowledge and the warriors of jihad”: the former have led men to what the prophets have proclaimed, and the latter have wielded their swords on its behalf.

He also said, “The passing away of a whole tribe is more tolerable than the death of one learned man.”

And again, “Men are like ores of gold and silver, the choicest among them during the Jahiliyah days are also the best during the days of Islam, provided they see the light.”
He also said, “On the day of resurrection the ink of the learned men will be likened to the blood of the martyrs.”

And again, “Whoever preserves of the law forty Traditions in order to transmit them unto my people, I shall, on the day of resurrection, be an intercessor and a witness on his behalf.”
Muhammad s.a.w. also said, “Any one of my people who will preserve forty hadiths will on the day of resurrection face Allah as a learned jurisprudent.”

And again, “Whoever will become versed in the religion of Allah, Allah will relieve him of his worries and will reward him whence he does not reckon”

The Prophet also said, “Allah said unto Abraham, `O Abraham! Verily I am knowing and I love every knowing person’.”

And again, “The learned man is the trustee of Allah on earth.”
The Prophet said, “There are two groups among my people who when they become righteous the populace becomes righteous, and when they become corrupt the populace becomes corrupt: these are the rulers and the jurisprudents.”

Again he said, “Should the day come wherein I increase not in knowledge wherewith to draw nearer to Allah, let the dawn of that day be accursed.”

Concerning the superiority of knowledge to worship and martyrdom, the Prophet said, “The superior rank the learned man holds in relation to the worshipper is like the superior rank I hold in relation to the best of men.” See how he placed knowledge on an equal footing with prophethood and belittled the value of practice without knowledge, despite the fact that the worshipper may not be ignorant of the worship which he observes.

Moreover, without this knowledge there would have been no worship. The Prophet also said, “The superior rank the learned man holds over the worshipper is similar to the superiority of the moon when it is full over the other stars.”

And again, “They will, on the day of resurrection, intercede [before Allah]: the prophets, then the learned, then the martyrs.” Great then is the state of knowledge which ranks next to prophethood and stands over martyrdom, the merits of the latter notwithstanding.

The Prophet also said, “Allah was not worshipped with anyone better than the learned in religion. Verily a single jurisprudent is more formidable to Satan than a thousand worshippers.” For everything has [its] foundation. and the foundations of this religion is jurisprudence.

And again, “The best part of your faith is [also] the easiest, and the best form of worship is jurisprudence.” The Prophet also said, “The learned believer holds a rank seventy degrees higher than that of the ordinary believer.”

And again. “Verily you have come upon a time whose jurisprudents are many and Qur’an readers as well as preachers are few, whose beggars are rare and givers numerous, wherein deeds are better than knowledge. But there will come a time when jurisprudents are few and preachers many, whose givers are few and beggars numerous, wherein knowledge is better than works.”

The Prophet also said, “Between the learned and the worshipper are a hundred degrees, each two of which are separated by the extent of a racing horse’s run in seventy years.”

The Prophet was also asked, “O Apostle of Allah! What works are best?” To which he replied. “Your knowledge of Allah.” He was then asked. “Which knowledge do you mean?” He answered, “Your Knowledge of Allah.” Again he was asked, “We enquire about works and you reply concerning knowledge.” Muhammad then said, “With your knowledge of Allah, a few works will suffice, but without such knowledge, no works, however numerous, avail.”

The Prophet also said, “On the day of resurrection Allah will [first] raise the worshippers and then the learned to whom He will say, ‘O ye company of the learned, I did not imbue you with My knowledge but for My knowledge of you. Moreover, I did not imbue you with My Knowledge in order to torment you. Go ye, therefore, for verily I have forgiven you’”

From: Al Ghazali’s – Ihya Ulumuddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences) – translated by Nabih Amin Faris

The Value of Knowledge (1)

The excellence of knowledge. The evidence for the excellence of knowledge in the Qur’an [is manifest] in the words of Allah:
“Allah bears witness that there is no Allah but He, and the angels, and men endued with knowledge, established in righteousness.” [3]:16. See, then, how Allah has mentioned Himself first, the angels second, and men endowed with knowledge third. In this you really have honour, excellence, distinction and rank.

And again Allah said: “Allah will raise in rank those of you who believe as well as those who are given knowledge.” [58]: 12

According to ibn-`Abbas, the learned men rank seven hundred grades above the believers; between each two of which is a distance five hundred years long. Said Allah. “Say, `shall those who know be deemed equal with those who do not?” [39] :12

Allah also said, “None fear Allah but the wise among His servants;” [35]: 25
and again, “Say, `Allah is witness enough betwixt me and you, and whoever hath the knowledge of The Book!’ ” [13]: 43.

This I mention to you in order to show that it was possible only through the power of knowledge. Allah also said, “But they to whom knowledge hath been given said, `Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better [for him who believes and does right],” [28] :80 showing thereby that the great importance of the hereafter is appreciated through knowledge.

And again Allah said, “These parables do we set forth for men: and none understands them save those who know.” [29]: 42.

Allah also said, “But if they were to refer it to the Apostle and to those in authority amongst them, those of them who would elicit the information would know it” [4]: 85

He thus made the knowledge of His will dependent upon their efforts to find it out, and placed them next to the prophets in the [ability] to make it known. It has been said that in the following words of Allah, “O Sons of Adam! We have sent down to you raiments wherewith to cover your nakedness, and splendid garments; but the raiment of piety-this is best,” [7] :25 the raiments represent knowledge, the splendid garments, truth, and the raiment of piety, modesty.

Allah also said, “And We have brought them a book: with knowledge have We explained it;” [7]: 50 and again, “But it is clear sign in the hearts of those whom the knowledge hath reached;” [29]:48 and, “With knowledge will We tell them;” [7]: 6

and again, “[He] hath created man, [and] hath taught him articulate speech.” (55:2-3) This, however, He said reproachfully.

From: Al Ghazali’s – Ihya Ulumuddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences) – translated by Nabih Amin Faris

Monday, November 24, 2008

Learning from the Bees

And your Lord inspired (awhaa) the bees, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways (subula) of your Lord made easy (for you).” There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this indeed a sign for people who think (tafakur). (QS An Nahl [16]: 68-69)

Bees is a symbol for a faithful human being. A person who dedicate all of his life in God’s way. Therefore, there are some similarities between the life of a bee and life of a faithful person.

Selecting their food
Bees only consume nectars, it’s a symbol of a divine knowledge. It’s place is within the center of the flowers. They don’t fly around in anything that takes place in the ground like the flies do. They are really choosey when it comes to what their gonna put inside their body.

A faithful person is really cautious with what they consume. Not only they hold on to the rule of Halal and Haram (rules that restrict what to eat and not to eat in the Holy Qur’an), but they also be very attentive to the details like the portion – they don’t eat too much - and composition that suit their body. Because each person has a different response to foods.

Other than that, the nectar also symbol for divine knowledge. It is the secret that lies in every aspect of human studies. It is in medicine, philosophy, psychology, economy, culture, arts etc. Each of those discipline has its own ‘nectar’ – a divine knowledge that leads to the single “Source” – The All-Known Creator.

Therefore, another characteristic of a faithful person (mu’min) is that they are a deep learners. They always thrist for knowledge, seeking the truth and very desirous when in comes to unveil the divinity.

Yields goodness
Like bees that secreting honey from their bellies - that gives benefit for human life. A life of a faithful person is also brings goodness that permeates through his surroundings. Every words, expressions, or actions is meant to be a good conduct. He brings joy, happiness and comfort in other people’s life. Even sometimes it sacrifices himselves.

Communal creature
Bees live in harmony within its community. They don’t life separately, instead they build its nest together in harmony. Each bee carries a specific duty. There are nectar seekers, nest builders, and queen. They don’t acquainted with coup d’etat, because every bee understand their own position, its mission of life. So there won’t be any story where worker bee dissatisfied and trying to be a queen.

It’s not about how high your position is, it’s about whether you are already in your position or not. Like a bee, God has endowed each man with a specific talent in order to perform his sacred mission in life. The trail towards this mission of life lies all the way from the time that we were born. There is no single action of our life unless it is written within Book of Fate (Luah Mahfuzh). If only each person embrace it and life accordingly within it, then they will find their way back to the Source. Where all mysteries finally answered. And again, like a bees, it is easier when you do it all within a community instead of being a single fighter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

True Friend

Of a thousand whom ye know, one be your friend
- Prophet Solomon

Then said Matthew, ‘Then shall we not be able to love anyone.’

Jesus answered, ‘Verily I say unto you, that is not lawful for you to hate anything save only sin, insomuch that ye cannot even hate Satan as creature of God, but rather than as enemy of God. Know ye wherefore? I will tell you. Because he is a creature of God and all that God hath created is good and perfect. Accordingly, whoso hateth the creature hateth also the creator.

But the friend is a singular thing, that is easily found, but is easily lost. For the friend will not suffer contradiction against him whom he supremely loveth.

Beware, be ye cautious, and choose not for friend one who loveth not him whom ye love. Know ye what friend meaneth? Friend meaneth naught but physician of the soul. And so, just as one rarely findeth a good physician who knoweth the sickness and understandeth to apply the medicines thereto, so also are friends rare who know the faults and understand how to guide unto good.

But herein is an evil, that there are many who have friends that feign under earthly pretext, and what is worse, there are friends who invite and aid their friend to err, whose end shall be like unto their villainy. Beware that ye receive not such men for friends, for that in truth they are enemies and slayers of the soul.

Let thy friend be such that, even as he willeth to correct thee, so he may receive correction, and even as he willeth that thou shouldest leave all things for love of God, even so again it may content him that thou forsake him for the service of God.

But tell me, if a man know not how to love God how shall he know how to love himself, and how shall he know how to love others, not knowing how to love himself? Assuredly this is impossible.

Therefore when thou choose thee one for friend, see that thou consider first, not his fine lineage, not his fine family, not his fine house, not his fine clothing, not his fine person, not his fine words, for thou shalt be easily deceived. But look how he feareth God, how he despiseth earthly things, how he loveth good works, and above all things shall fear God, and shall despise the vanities of the world; if he shall be always occupied in good works, and shall hate his own body as a cruel enemy.

Nor yet shalt thou love such a friend in such wise that thy love stay in him, for so shalt thou be an idolater. But love him as a gift that God hath given thee, for so shall God adorn him with greater favour. Verily I say unto you, that he who hath found a true friend hath found one of the delights of paradise: nay, such is the key of paradise.’

- The Gospel of Barnabas, Chapter 85-86.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lord of Vineyards and The Three Husbandmen

There was a man who had three vineyards, which he let out to three husbandmen. Because the first knew not how to cultivate the vineyard and the vineyard brought forth only leaves. The second taught the third how the vines ought to be cultivated; and he most excellently hearkened to his words; and he cultivate his, as he told him, insomuch that the vineyard of the third bore much. But the second left his vineyard uncultivated, spending his time solely in talking.
When the time was come for paying the rent to the lord of the vineyard, the first said: "Lord, I know not how thy vineyard ought to be cultivated, therefore I have not received any fruit this year." The Lord answered, "Oh fool! Dost thou dwell alone in the world, that thou hast not asked counsel of my second vinedresser, who knoweth well how to cultivate the land? Certain it is that thou shalt pay me."
And having said this he condemned him to work in prison until he should pay his lord, who moved with pity at his simplicity liberated him, saying : "Begone, for I will not that thou work longer at my vineyard, it is enough for thee that I give thee thy debt."
The second came, to whom the lord said, "Welcome, my vinedresser! Where are the fruits that thou owest me? Assuredly, since thou knowest well how to prune the vines, the vineyard that I let out to thee must needs have borne much fruits."
The second answered, "Oh lord, thy vineyard is backward because I have not pruned the wood now worked up the soil but the vineyard hath not borne fruit, so I cannot pay thee."
Whereupon the lord called the third and with wonder said, "Thou saidst to me that this man, to whom I let out the second vineyard, taught thee perfectly to cultivate the vineyard which I let out to thee. How then can it be that the vineyard I let out to him should not have home fruit, seeing it is all one soil?"
The third answered, "Lord, the vines are not cultivated by talking only, but he needs must sweat a shirt every day who willeth to make it bring forth its fruit. And how shall thy vineyard of thy vinedresser bear fruit. Oh lord, that if he had put into practice his own words, while I who cannot talk so much have given thee the rent for two years, he would have given thee the rent of the vineyard for five years."
The lord was wroth, and said with scorn to the vinedresser, "And so thou hast wrought a great work in not cutting away the wood and levelling the vineyard, wherefore there is owing to thee a great reward!" And having called his servants he had him beaten without any mercy. ANd then he put him into prison under the keeping of a cruel servant who beat him every day, and never was willing to set him free for prayers of his friends.
- from The Gospel of Barnabas Ch. 76

In Search For a Real Life

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basrî often used to say, “O youth! Seek the hereafter, for we often see people pursuing the hereafter and finding it as well as the dunyâ (worldly wellbeing), but we have never seen anyone pursue the dunyâ and gain the hereafter as well as the dunyâ.”
Al-Bayhaqî, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabîr, article 12.

I often have this 'imaginary game', where i imagined what's gonna happened to me in the next 5, 10 or even 30 years from now. It began when i was at Senior High School -somewhat 14 years ago. I imagined that i would go to Medical School - get a good grade - working in hospital - have a family - raise my children - having grandchildren..and live happily ever after. A very classic Happy Ending story.

Funny thing is, the more i imagined about my own way of life, the more i get bored of it. Up to the point where i became an expert of imagining my life that i can finish imagining the entire life in just less than 5 seconds! Because it's all so wrapped up in just 4 time-phase in our life :
1. Childhood
2. Adolescence
3. Adult
4. Old

All and sundry, unconsciously take it all up together as the one reality in life. Many would define success as having a dreamed job, wonderful family, beautiful house, and so on. Very rare anyone define successful life in a more abstract -yet more important like : Having a good faith, patience and thankful heart.

I think that's one of the reason why people would tend to get panic whenever he lost his job then having a deteriorating faith. Because all this worldy thing seem real for most of us, its something we can see and touch rather than something we call by 'faith'. That's also why religion seemed to have a little portion in our life, because most people see religion merely as a getaway when we need comfort and it is way distance from our every day life. In fact in some cases, religion demands a quite contradictive way; whilst we are trying piling up every penny for our retirement plan, religion comes with minimum 2,5% of zakat (Moslem obligatory tithe which is contributed to the poor) ; when we like to keep the best thing for ourself, religion taught us that the best gift is indeed to give something that we like most; all and all - religion seem to pulled us off from this world we are living now. It shows us how not to get drowned with all the comfort in life. It's how to balance our life. How we can still enjoy our life without being attached within it.

Honestly, one of the thing i like most about religion that it transcend every imaginary things i've ever thought of. It gives me hope of a life more than this worldly life - the one that i can figure it out in less than 5 second. It promising a life more exciting than this life. What could be more interesting than that?

So, i choose to take my chance, living this path of God with all the consequences. Hoping that at the end of the road, i might found something much better and eternal than what i have now. Cause i am in a search for a real life...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Man is Born to Work

Verily, I say unto you, that our God hath condemned man to work, so that, as said Job, the friend and prophet of God: "As the bird is born to fly and the fish to swim, even so is man born to work."

So also David our father, a prophet of God, saith "Eating the labours of our hands we shall be blessed, and it shall be well with us."

Wherefore let everyone work, according to his quality...

- The Gospel of Barnabas Ch. 114 -

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On Bended Knee

Can somebody tell me how to get things back the way they use to be

Oh God give me a reason

I’m down on bended knee

- Boyz II Men -

My late father is a very talkative person, he even can spend whole day long to chat with a stranger. When I come home at weekend he usually asked me to sit by his side and listen to his story of what has happened the entire week. And it almost happened every week. Occasionally I don’t listen attentively to his – what I think as a – mundane story, and sometimes I’m avoiding that 'story telling moment' with so many excuses.

Until one day, my father had haemorrhagic stroke that made him unable to speak until his end of time. At that moment I realize that I missed to hear his story and his laugh or even just hear him saying my name, and it never happened…

Sometimes we realize how meaningful things are when it’s gone. Whilst we never certain of getting a second chance in life to fix ignorant thing that we’ve aver done.

So, Let’s don’t wait till the water runs dry

We might watch our whole lives pass us by

Let’s don’t wait till the water runs dry

Otherwise, we’ll end up making the biggest mistake of our lives


To my beloved father,
I miss you...

Impossible is Nothing

"When you strike out along your path, you will find a door with a phrase written upon it," says the master. "Come back to me, and tell me what
the phrase says."

The disciple gives himself to the search, body and soul, and one day comes upon the door, and then returns to his master. "What was written there was 'THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE,' he says." "Was that written on a wall or on a door?" the master asks. "On a door," the disciple answers. "Well, then, put your hand on the doorknob and open it."

The disciple obeyed. Since the phrase was painted with the door, it gave way just as the door itself did. With the door completely open, he could no longer see the phrase -- and he went on.

- Paulo Coelho -


Ten years ago my cousin had a verdict from her doctor that she’d no longer had a chance of having a baby due to her illness, the doctor said, “there is slight possibility that you will be able to get pregnant.” And now she lives happily with her two children.

When my late father got hospitalized in ICU because of stroke, I had to raised a large amount of money overnight, it was an unbearable numbers at that moment, even though I’ve tried very hard to collect here and there. It was then at the very last minute the day after when I got a phone call from a very best friend of mine saying that “The money is already in your account..”. It turned out that he managed to mobilized some friends to make donation for my father.

There are many things in life that seem difficult or impossible for us to get through, yet at the same time God always shows His Might and settling things done before we even know it and sometimes with a very unpredictable way. It is us that bound ourself in a despair and act negatively each time we encountered with problems, and often forget that God is Greater than any difficulties we’ve ever deal before us. Therefore we unconsciously belittling God with our pessimism.

The tricky part is, sometimes a person have to be in a situation where he can no longer expecting help from anything or anybody, because only then he can see clearly how God works with His own ‘hands’ in the most elegant way.

I learned a lot from my father’s illness, it’s a beautiful experience, when God taught me that IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.

And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it [or "beside him"] and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac ; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you."

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it." And he was afraid, and said, "This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

- Book of Genesis (28:11-19) -


When we read history like this we feel as if we are flowing in the stream of past time. Amazed by its miracle that somehow deep down inside we assume that wonderous thing like that happened only at the ancient time.

It's true we don't see anyone split the ocean like Moses did. Nor a person build a huge ship on the peak of the hill like Noah did. But is it true that God stops creating wonders?

A friend of mine answer this question firmly, "Of course no! We see a late stage of cancer patient get cure miraculously, a man saved from a hurricane, and so on..and so on..." Well, in that case, let me ask straightly, what kind of God's wonder exactly do you experience in your life? Then, this friend of mine kind of taking a pause before hitting any reasonable answer of what so called by 'wonder'.

Here's the good news, wondrous thing happens every single second of our life! It is lies in everyday life. In the midst of our daily activities. It is in our life, having a wonderful family, a job of our life, our friendly neighbour...and so can add it easily. But, here's the catch! It also lies in our loneliness, misfortune, divorce, bad relationship, car wrecked, uncomfortable working environment, boring life, annoyed neighbour ...and again you can also add it up easily.

Both happiness and sorrow present inseparably in our lives as a "ladder" to go up high above. It's a Jacob's ladder in our time. There is absolutely nothing's wrong with our life, because He has created it with such an amazing precision and wisdom. Only we have to set our point of view to get in line with God's plan.

Therefore, embrace your life, be grateful for a joyful things God has bestowed on us, and live all your pain and discomfort situation patiently. Only with Shabar (patience) and Shukur (gratefullness) should we be able to get through this life with peace.

You Are What You Read

If you are a man of learning, read something classic, a history of the human struggle and don't settle for mediocre verse.



'You are what you read'
It is true indeed.

As a child absorbing things from his surrounding so does a person unconsciously being someone that he reads or sees.
Reading is an active process, one that involving mind and soul, the basic entities of human being.
We read something that is attracted to us, otherwise we simply gonna skip the pages.
The attractiveness itselves is a glimpse of reflection of our state at that moment.

We can simply put it this way,
A guy who spends time reading a Playboy Magazines could have a problem in his sexual phase of life. Thats why he tries to find that out by exploring that Buggs Bunny Mags.
A woman who spends a few dollar purchasing some Hot Celebrity Gossip Magazines, not to mention the time she spent in front of Entertainment News - just to find out whether Demi Moore survives a marriage with Ashton Kutcher or an update news from Brangelina, well ladies..don't get me wrong, but you have serious issue with dealing with your very own life.
Mingling yourself in a somebody else's life by hunting their latest story is just one of the symptoms of how dissatisfying your life is.

But then again, it's a very nature way how most people dealing with his/her own life.
I'm not in a position to judge here. Only try to see it from a different point of view.
We can't pretend to be somebody else. When we still love to read gossip news instead of biography, history or religion books. Dont push yourself too hard swallowing things that your stomach can't handle, otherwise you'll ended up throwing it all out.

In the end, let us stay in one page that there are far more important things to read than all those mediocre readings. Cause life is too short to spend on watching somebody else's life.
Let's just be more attentive to our own life...

God's Will Be Done

The master says:
"If a decision needs to be made, it is better to make it and deal with the consequences.
You cannot know beforehand what those consequences will be.
The arts of divination were developed in order to counsel people, never to predict the future.
They provide good advice, but poor prophecy."

In one of the prayers that Jesus taught us, it says, 'God's will be done.' When His will causes a problem, it also presents a solution.
If the arts of divination were able to predict the future, every soothsayer would be wealthy, married and content."


Everyday we're always facing a situation where we ought to make a decision.
It is from the very beginning when we open our eyes in the morning, we decide whether we are going to get out of that bed or to crawl back to our comforting bed. We decide whether we take sunny side up for breakfast or just a cup of black coffee - perfect to keep our head up after a lousy sleep. Up to the point where we have to choose whether to stay in the company or play our guts - doing our own business. Or hey! even you choose whether to marry Ed or Joe (don't complain, that's the name that pops out in my head right now;).

The point is, when you make your own decision, then you are the one who have to take the consequences. It all come in one package.
So, when you decide to quit your job and try a new business who happens to go south, DON'T WHIMPERING.
When you choose to marry Ed and he turns out to be a pain in the ***, DON'T REGRET your decision.

Whatever had happened in our life is precious in God's point of view. Whether it is a dark history, terrible past experience, anything we feel sorry for it to happened in our life. SWALLOW IT, and STOP WHINING about it. Because all of that has formed us the way we are now. Remembering what Jesus said, 'God's will be done'. This life of ours is God's creation, so embrace it instead of cast it away.

Only then, we can start to look forward to our present and future life.
Only then, we can live fully our life...