Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Prayer of Abu Bakr

Narrated Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra): "I asked the Messenger of Allah (saw) to teach me an invocation so that I may invoke Allah with it in my prayer. He (saw) told me to read [doa as indicated on the left] [Bukhari]

Allahumma innee zhalamtu nafsi zhulman katheera
Wala yaghfiruz zunooba illa anta faghfirlee
Maghfiratam min ‘indika war hamni innaka
Antal Ghafooror Raheem

Oh Allah! Indeed I have wronged myself greatly
And no one forgives sins except you, so forgive me
From your forgiveness and have mercy on me, indeed You
And only You are al-Ghafoor (the One who covers up sins in vast quantities), Ar-Raheem (the One who shows mercy in vast quantities)

Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq

Alhamdulillah! I did not expect my last entry to draw so many replies. I wish to thank all for your prayers and your well-wishes. And as mentioned in my response, it is indeed important for us to keep each other deep in our prayers always, insya-Allah.

As Allah's creations, making doa is our responsibility and by doing so, we acknowledge our absolute dependence on The Almighty. The fulfilment of those prayers is the job of The One Who Creates - and it is not the place of the created to question the Creator. Through Faith however, the Creator never disappoints His lovers. He alone decides to bestow in time, in manner and in degree.

For He said in the Qur'an: "We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall ye have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall ye have all that ye ask for! - A hospitable gift from one Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!" ... Fussilat 41:31-32

You may also noticed that I do not have the usual acompanying pictures since my last entry. My computer's operating system kinda crashed (with all my pictures along with it) and that further explains why of late I have been slow in my entries. But again, Allah knows best, Masya-Allah! When I bought this laptop, I mistakenly installed 2 operating systems without knowing and that has been the butt of jokes amongst my IT-savvy friends. But, Alhamdulillah for that foolish act, I am now still able to use this laptop with the alternative operating system.

I wish to share the beauty of the friendship of the Prophet's companions and shall kickstart with my beloved Sayyidina Abu Bakr (ra). While many do remember him as the first Caliph, I prefer to remember of this great man first and foremost as the passionate, dedicated and loyal best friend of the beloved Prophet (saw). For the Prophet said: "I have two heavenly vicegerents and two earthly vicegerents: Jibril and Mikail, and Abu Bakr and Umar."

Jundub (ra) narrates: “I heard the Prophet (saw) five days before his death saying: "I declare my innocence before Allah that I should have any intimate friend amongst you for Allah Most High has taken me as His friend just as He took Ibrahim as His friend. If I were to take any intimate friend from my nation, I would take Abu Bakr.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (saw) made no "official" appointment of a successor, but left plenty of signs that Abu Bakr was to succeed him as his Khalifa. A woman came to the Prophet (saw) and he ordered her to come back later. When she said: “What if I come back and I don't find you? (indicating his death).” He (saw) said: "If you don't find me, then go to Abu Bakr.” [Bukhari]

Abu Bakr (ra) was the quickest of the Companions to rush to do any good deed. Umar ibn Khattab said: “The Prophet (saw) ordered us to give sadaqah. It happened to coincide with some wealth I had just acquired and I said to myself: 'If I will ever surpass Abu Bakr, this is the day I will surpass him.' And so I came to the Prophet (saw) with half of my wealth and he (saw) said to me: "What have you left for your family?" I said: The same amount. Then, Abu Bakr came with all of his wealth. The Prophet (saw) said to him: "What have you left for your family?" He said: “I have left them Allah and His Messenger.” I said: I will never surpass you (Abu Bakr) in anything.” [Abu Dawood]

He (ra) was the first person to accept Islam amongst men. He was always present for the Prophet (saw) and was the quickest to come to his defense and to affirm and believe everything which came from the Prophet (saw). Narrated Urwa ibn Az-Zubair: 'I asked Amr ibn Al-Aas (ra): What was the most severe thing the mushrikeen ever did to Allah's Messenger? He answered: “Once, when the Prophet was praying in the court of the Ka'abah, Uqba ibn Abi Mu'eet came and put a piece of cloth around his neck and began choking him severely. Abu Bakr came along, grabbed his shoulders and pushed him away from the Prophet saying: “Do you kill a man just for saying my Lord is Allah?” [Bukhari]

He was named ‘As-Siddiq’ - 'the truth verifier’, because he hastened to believe the Prophet (saw). He was so named after the Prophet's journey to Jerusalem, when the Qura'ish refused to believe Prophet Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem within a night. Abu Bakr (ra) when he heard of it, he said: “I have always believed in his words about heavenly revelations; how can I disbelieve him in a secondary worldly matter?”

The Prophet (saw) said: "...Whoever is among the people of prayer will be called (to paradise) from the door of prayer. Whoever is among the people of jihad will be called from the door of jihad. Whoever is among the people of sadaqah will be called from the door of sadaqah. Whoever is among the people of fasting is called from the door of fasting and the door of Ar-Rayaan." Abu Bakr asked "...Is anyone called from all of those doors, O Messenger of Allah (saw)?" He said: “Yes, and I hope that you will be amongst them, Abu Bakr.” [Bukhari]

Once the Prophet (saw) asked the congregation right after the fajr prayers: “Who began this day fasting?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” The Prophet (saw) said: “Who participated in a funeral procession today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did”. The Prophet (saw) said: “Who fed a needy person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did”. He (saw) said: “Who visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did”. "Then", the Prophet said: “These things cannot all meet in a single person but that he will enter Paradise.” [Muslim]

Being the closest Companion to the Prophet, Abu Bakr was also the most knowledgeable in both belief and understanding of his teachings as shown in this hadith. He at once knew of the Prophet's impending demise which made him sad, but not understood by those around him. Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (ra): “Allah's Messenger sat on the pulpit and said: “Allah has given one of his slave, the choice of receiving the splendor and luxury of the worldly life (whatever he likes) or to accept the good (of the Hereafter) which is with Him (Allah). So he has chosen that good which is with Allah.” On that Abu Bakr (ra) wept and said: “May our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you". We became astonished at this. The people said: “Look at this old man! Allah's Messenger talks about the slave of Allah to whom He has given the option to choose either the splendor of this worldly life or good which is with Him, while he says, “May our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you.” But it was Allah's Messenger (saw) who had been given the option, and Abu Bakr (ra) knew it better than us.” [Bukhari]

Narrated Anas ibn Malik (ra): “The Prophet (saw) was on Mount Uhud with Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman when the mountain trembled with awe. He (saw) said: “Stay still, O Mount Uhud: for upon you are a Prophet, a siddique and two martyrs.” [Bukhari]

So, let us take the opportunity of this blessed month to be an "Abu Bakr" to ourselves, and to our friends. Look at the noble examples and the high esteem that the Prophet himself has placed upon this blessed man. We would similarly wish to attain the status that our beloved Prophet (saw) has put on his best friend. Amin.

The Prophet (saw) said: "Do not slander my Companions, for if one of you were to spend even an amount of gold equivalent to the size of Mount Uhud, you would not even come halfway up to their level.” [Bukhari]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Prayer That Was Answered

It has been one full week of utter disquiet anxiety - I did not have peaceful sleep the whole of the week - getting up intermittently out of sheer nervousness. SubhanAllah!

It started in March this year when the opportunity presented itself - a vista of opportunity to a whole new exciting prospect leading to a path which I am more inclined to lead. An application was thereafter made - but I must confess, bearing in mind how prestigious the programme is worldwide and the stiff competition from other applicants, I was not confident of clearing the preliminaries. All I could do was pray. An edgy and intense wait ensued...

And then sometime in July, I was asked to make submissions of my future plans with the programme. I did as requested and anxiously wait for the next step...

I received a phone call in late August for an interview in early September. That must have been a good sign as I have been selected as the few lucky shortlisted candidates.

Then "The Day" came. I was so nervous that I had so many facts and figures in my head preparing to provide answers to impress the distinguish panel, which constituted of 2 very prominent academics/politicians and 2 other high-ranking members - none of that memorised information were of use as I was not asked those questions. It is all a blur to me now of what transpired - but I knew that, in the context of a succulent steak, I was "grilled to perfection" to the extent that the secretary had to intervene informing the interview panel that my session had exceeded twice the time allocated. I remembered walking out of that room wobbly, and tired. And then, the tormenting and agonising wait, again...

To make the agony more unbearable, I received a few emails after the interview requesting me to submit some essays and take some international graduate tests "in the meantime". What does this "in the meantime" ever means? A following email further asked: "Have you received our letter yet? :)" - complete with the smiley face. My God! I was such a bundle of nerves, I could have flipped anytime anyone calls me. The waiting was truly killing me...

Finally, by the Grace and Mercy of the Almighty, after almost 2 weeks since that fateful interview, I was given the good news on Friday as being successfully chosen to be part of this prestigious programme whose members are luminaries in their own areas of expertise, yet are influential contributors to the world with the world as their network. I remembered I held the letter and stared at it for a moment, read some prayers and opened it. Masya-Allah! The joy that I felt was undescribable - it reminded me of how ecstatic I felt when I was accepted as a scholar with the SSO (Singapore Symphony Orchestra) back when I was in college, some many many moons ago. As William Shakespeare said in The Tempest: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep."

You would have reckoned by my convoluted reference of the programme that I still intend it to be under wraps until the time for commencement is nearer next year. But, to those very close friends whom I have kept in close confidence, I wish to convey a Huge Thank You for all the prayers, support and the confidence you have placed in me - for I thought this programme to be very special, and through it, you have made me special. At the conclusion of it, I pray that I will join the programme's fraternity in contributing to making positive and beneficial changes to the world.

I realised that one of the blessed manner which has assisted me calm my nerves was this month of Ramadhan. If not for the constant companions of regular doa, reciting the Qur'an and the night prayers (terawih) be it as an Imam or part of the congregation, my heart would not have been in such a blissful state of redha. The Mercy of the Almighty is indeed beyond our human conception.

I wish to end this entry with a beautiful story taken from the Mathnawi of Mevlana Jalalludin Rumi entitled: "The Prayer That Was Answered".

"A certain man one night was reciting 'Allah!' in his zikr till his lips were becoming sweet with the mention of His Name.

'Why now, chatterbox,' said the Devil, 'where is the answer "Here am I" to all this "Allah" of yours? Not one answer is coming from the Throne: how long will you grimly go on crying "Allah"?'

The man became broken-hearted, and laid down his head to sleep. He saw in a dream the mystic Khidr. Khidr was a mysterious guide who first appears in the Quran, Chapter 18:64 (he is not exactly named, but identified as the one cloaked in green by the commentators and as 'one of Our servants unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and We had taught him knowledge proceeding from Us') as accompanying Moses and doing strange things. The Sufis took him as the exempler of the Shaykh who requires absolute and unquestioning obedience of the disciple, all in a green garden.

'Look now,' Khidr called, 'why have you desisted from the mention of God? How is it you repent of having called upon Him?'

'No answering "Here am I" is coming to me,' the man replied, 'and I therefore fear that I may be refused from His door.'

Khidr answered, 'Your cry of "Allah" (God says) is itself My "Here am I"; your pleading and agony and fervour is My messenger. All your twistings and turnings to come to Me were My drawing you that set free your feet. Your fear and love are the lasso to catch My grace. Under each "Allah" of your whispers, there are many a "Here am I".'

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Ramadhan

"What have we got to show for in this blessed month of Ramadhan, despite fasting year after year?
What have we benefitted from our past Ramadhans?"

That marks the opening speech by a travelling Shaykh recently in Singapore and he went on to speak about the relationship of revelation (Qur'an) and the month of Ramadhan. Masya-Allah! It was such beautiful knowledge. It inspired me to delve deeper into myself searching for an answer. So, at the commencement of this blessed month, I resolved to produce something tangible by the end of Ramadhan.

Together with my best buddies at work - the famous "three musketeers" - we made a pact to memorise verses of the Qur'an by the last 10 nights of night vigil for this year. We decided to memorize the chapter of "Ya-Sin". In the meantime, we agreed to meet during lunchtime to pray congregational noon prayer together and check on each other's progress daily. Subhan-Allah! What beautiful companions I have indeed... Alhamdulillah, truly.

In the process of revising my memorization of "Ya-Sin", I have unfortunately realised that my memories of the other chapters have faded. May Allah forgive me. So, before they are completely erased from my mind, in addition to "Ya-Sin", I have started today to begin from "An-Naba'" downwards for revision before going back to "Al-Baqarah".

Whilst I am doing so, I wish to share with you the beautiful Chapter of "An-Naba'", the translation of which is in the clip below.

There are 2 reasons for this entry (and may Allah guide and protect me): I hope to inspire you to find your "tangibles" for your Ramadhan this year, and following this declaration, I am stamping my commitment to myself towards my resolution.

May Allah bless us all in this blessed month. Amin.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Friendship - Keep Holding On

Praises be to Allah, the Almighty - for giving us friends and companions. By nature, we are social creatures who are in need of them and much of our lives are spent interacting with our friends and companions.

Our beloved Prophet (saw) said: "The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Allah, the All-Wise also says: "Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except for the al-Muttaqoon (ie. those who have Taqwa)" [43:67]

In explaining the verse above, a story on the authority of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) is instructive: "Two who are friends for Allah's sake; one of them dies and is given good news that he will be granted al-Jannah, so he remembered his friend and he supplicated for him, saying: 'O Allah, my friend used to command me to obey You and to obey Your Prophet (saw) and used to command me to do good and to forbid me from doing evil. And he told me that I will meet You. O Allah, do not let him go astray after me, until you show him what you have just shown me, until You are satisfied with him, just like You are satisfied with me.' So he is told: 'Had you known what is (written) for your friend, would you have laughed a lot and cried a little.' Then his friend dies and their souls are gathered, and both are asked to express their opinions about each other. So each one of them says to his friend: 'You were the best brother, the best companion and the best friend.' While on the other spectrum, one of the two disbelieving friends dies, and he is given tidings of Hellfire, he remembered his friend and he said: 'O Allah, my friend used to order me to disobey You and disobey Your Prophet, and commanded me to do evil, and forbade me from doing good, and told me that I would not meet You. O Allah, do not guide him after me, until you show him what you have just shown me and until you are dissatisfied with him just like You are dissatisfied with me.' Then the other disbelieving friend dies, and their souls are gathered, and both are asked to give their opinions about each other. So each one says to his friend: 'You were the worst brother, the worst companion and the worst friend."

I am writing this entry because I know that after so many years, my dear friend has "returned", and he will be reading this Blog today. In fact to me, he never did leave - we both went about Life discovering more of ourselves. The tie that binds us over these years was our faith in each other and in our journey towards Him. The "Long and Winding Road" was not as long and winding as it seems - particularly with someone whom you treat as close as your brother.

I would like to dedicate this entry to that dear brother of mine. Thank you for remembering me in your prayers, everyday, without fail. I am eternally grateful and touched by it - it was probably the reason why I survived on some of my off-days. What I have given seemed miniscule compared to this noble and sincere deed of yours.

In the profound words of the great philosopher, Plato: "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Many months ago, while sipping tea and did some 'catching-up', we shared some of our favourite songs. Then, his favourite song was by Avril Lavigne, "Keep Holding On" whereas I offered "Always On Your Side" by Sheryl Crow (a duet with Sting). I think by now you know who you are ... a Big Thank You - and enjoy our songs :)

You are, to me, truly a blessing from Allah, the Most Merciful.

Keep Holding On - Avril Lavigne

Always On Your Side - Sheryl Crow (duet with Sting)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Wisdom of Rabia

How long will you keep pounding on an open door;
Begging for someone to open it?


One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said:
"I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God."


She prayed: "O Allah! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell,
and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.
But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”


Where a part of you goes
The rest of you will follow---given time.
You call yourself a teacher:
Therefore learn.

Being Sick, Hungry and Thirsty

Allah will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘O son of Adam, I was sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will say, ‘O my Lord, how could I visit You, when you are the Lord of the Worlds.’ Allah will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so and so was sick and you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you had visited him, you would have found Me there?’

Allah will say, ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.’ He shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I feed you when you are the Lord of the Worlds?’ And Allah will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so and so was looking for food and you did not feed him? Did you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found that to have been for Me?’

‘O son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give Me to drink.’ The man shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I give You water, when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah will say, ‘My servant so and so asked you for water and you did not give him to drink water. Did you not know that if you had given him to drink, you would have found that to have been for Me.’ [Muslim]

Take then in this blessed month of Ramadhan, the merciful opportunity to do right...

Of Hoofbeats and Zebra

Fasting is the only worship of Allah done in total secrecy. Only Allah knows … We pray openly in front of other people, it is seen. When we give charity, we give it out. But fasting is a secret between each person and Allah. And only Allah knows whether you do it or don’t do it. You can stay home and eat three meals a day and tell people you’re fasting. Nobody knows. Only Allah knows. And you know.

But fasting from food is just a small part of Ramadan. We have to fast from our anger. We have to fast from being greedy, being unkind, being unfriendly. We have to have a fast of speech. Only say things that we really mean. Only hear those things that are necessary for us to hear … No frivolity.

Think, think about how you will make your next Ramadan. And like anything that’s worth something, prepare for it.

Allah comes very close to the believers during Ramadan. He gives us the most wonderful opportunity to see who we are and how we are.

Wisdom of Fasting

Our dear friend has returned to us again. We are grateful to Him for enabling us to reach this year's Ramadhan. Our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, said that this is the month of the ummah - so, let us pray that we will be able to be as best an insan as we can to achieve that level of piety required of us, and thereafter, to maintain that level of piety we attained in this blessed month. May we all meet with Laylatul Qadar. Amin...

"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those who came before you, that ye may attain piety" ... al-Baqarah 2:183

Selected from an article:

From the wisdom of fasting is that: It is an act of worship done for Allah, in which the 'abd (servant) draws closer to His Lord by abandoning the things that he loves and desires, such as food, drink and sexual intercourse. So because of this, the truthfulness of his Faith and the completeness of his servitude to Allah become apparent, as well as his love for Allah and his longing for what Allah has prepared for him (of good). This is since the one who fasts does not abandon something that is beloved to him except for that which is greater to him than it (which is Allah). When the believer knows that Allah's contentment lies in the fasting - which is abandoning those desires that he naturally loves - he will give his Lord's contentment precedence over his desires. So he abandons his desires no matter how much he longs and yearns for them, because his delight and the tranquility of his soul lies in his abandoning all that for the sake of Allah.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it is a means of attaining Taqwa, as Allah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you gain piety." This is since a person who is fasting is commanded to do the obligatory duties and to avoid sinful acts. The Prophet (saw) said: "Whoever does not abandon false speech, acting upon that (false speech) and (acts of) ignorance (i.e. sins), then Allah has no need of him abandoning his food and drink." [Reported by Al-Bukhari] So when a person is fasting, every time he desires to do a sinful act, he will remember that he is fasting and thus withhold himself from that. This is why the Prophet (saw) ordered the person who is fasting, when cursed at and abused, to say: "I am fasting", cautioning him (the reviler) that a person fasting is commanded to refrain from cursing and reviling, and reminding himself that he is fasting and cannot react with cursing.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the heart opens to contemplation and remembrance (of Allah). This is since fulfilling one's desires leads to heedlessness and perhaps the heart becomes hardened and blinded from the truth. This is why the Prophet (saw) advised us to eat and drink little, where he said: "The Son of Aadam does not fill a vessel worse than his stomach." [Reported by Ahmad, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Maajah]

And in Saheeh Muslim, Handhala Al-Usaidee (ra), who was one of the scribes of Allah's Messenger, said to the Prophet (saw): "Handhala has become a hypocrite." So Allah's Messenger (saw) said: "Why is that?" He said: "O Messenger of Allah, when we are with you, you remind us of the Hellfire and Paradise, as if we see them with our own eyes. But when we depart from you, we meet our wives and our children and our homes and we forget much (of what we heard from you)." In the last part of the hadeeth, the Prophet (saw) said to him: "But O Handhala, there is a time for this and a time for that (three times)." Abu Sulaymaan Ad-Daraanee said: "Indeed, when the soul hungers and thirsts, the heart softens and becomes pure. And when it is fed, the heart becomes blinded."

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the person who has wealth is caused to realize the blessing of wealth that Allah has bestowed on him, such that Allah blessed him with food, drink and sexual intercourse. Many people are deprived of these things, so he should praise Allah for these blessings and thank Him for granting him them. And he should remember his brother who is poor and who probably goes through the day starved and hungry. So he should be generous to him and give him charity so that he can clothe his barrenness and satisfy his hunger.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it trains one to curb the soul, and it gives one strength to withhold his soul by its bridle, such that one can govern it and lead it towards that which is good for it and what will make it prosper. This is because the soul commands one to do evil, except for those souls that my Lord has mercy on. So when a person undoes and lets go of his (soul's) bridle, the soul lands him into many dangers. But when he controls it and curbs it, he is able to lead it to the highest of levels and the greatest of goals.

And from the wisdom of fasting is that the soul is broken down and restricted from having pride, to the point that it humbles itself to the truth and softens itself before the creation. This is because eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse - all of these things bring about insolence, arrogance, vanity and pride over people and over the truth. The soul preoccupies itself with trying to obtain these things because of its need for them. So when it obtains these things, the soul feels like it has conquered what it desired and so it falls into the happiness and proudness that is condemned. And this is a cause for its destruction. Only those whom Allah protects are saved from this.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the passageways of blood (in the body) become narrow due to hunger and thirst, so therefore the passageways of the Devil in the human body also become narrower. This is since the Devil flows through the son of Adam like the flowing of blood, as is authentically recorded in the two Saheeh collections. So by fasting, the whisperings of the Devil are subdued and the strength of one's desires and anger are subjugated. This is why the Prophet (saw) said: "O young men! Whoever amongst you can afford it, should get married, for it is the best means for lowering one's gaze and the best way of keeping (one's) private parts chaste. But whoever is not able to marry, then let him fast, for it has protection."

And from the wisdom behind fasting are the health benefits that come as a result of it, which are attained by in-taking little food, allowing the digestive system to rest for a specified time, which lets excess wastes and excrements that are harmful to the body be discharged.

So how great and profound is the wisdom of Allah, and how beneficial are His commandments to His creatures!

O Allah, give us comprehension of Your Religion and allow us to understand the inner secrets of Your commandments. Rectify for us the affairs of our Religion and our worldly life. And forgive us and our parents and all the Muslims, by Your mercy, O Most Merciful. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be on Muhammad (saw) and on his family and all his Companions.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Trust in God is the best livelihood.
Everyone needs to trust in God
and ask, "O God, bring this work of mine to success."

Prayer involves trust in God, and trust in God
is the only means of livelihood that is independent of all others.

In these two worlds I don't know of any means of livelihood
better than trust in our Sustainer.

I know nothing better than gratitude
which brings in its wake the daily bread and its increase."

... Mathnawi V: 2425-2426, Mevlana Rumi

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Aesop's Fables

The Flies and the Honey-Pot

A number of Flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper's room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."

Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Far From The Madding Crowd

Had dinner with good old friends yesterday and this great book, Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, was mentioned in passing. Many people must have read this book, so there is no need to reiterate the contents.

But for interesting trivia, the beautiful and contemplative title was taken from Thomas Gray's poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751):

"Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way."