Saturday, October 30, 2010

Someone Alive

Dear Diary,

I couldn't have been more wrong. I thought that I could smile and nod my way through it. Pretend like it would all be okay.
I had a plan. I wanted to change who I was. Create a life of someone new: someone without the past, without the pain - someone alive.
But its not that easy. The bad things stay with you. They follow you. You can't escape them as much as you want to.
All you can do is be ready for the good. So when it comes, you're invited in because you need it... I need it.

... The Vampire Diaries

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Seventeen Benefits Of Tribulation

The 17 Benefits of Tribulation are:

01) You realize the power of Lordship over you.
02) You realize your object servanthood and your complete state of resignation and brokenness before the will and power of God.
03) Sincerity to God; one has no place of return in putting off or defending against the calamity except to Him. It makes you sincere because the muhsin is the one who call on God without any shirk. A moment of ikhlas in this world is enough to save a person.
04) He returns to God and suddenly is fervent in his desire of his Lord.
05) It leads to a humbled state before God and it leads to prayers (du’a) that you call on God.
06) You’re forbearing towards the One who has afflicted you.
07) You forgive the one who has wronged you.
08) To be patient during the tribulation.
09) To be happy about what’s happening because of those benefits.
10) To be grateful for it.
11) Purification that these calamities have towards peoples’ wrongs and sins.
12) Compassion that God enables you to show to people who are in tribulation and to help them.
13) Tribulation gives you the blessing of having true knowledge of the extent of well-being.
14) God has prepared rewards for the calamities that you’ve beared patiently or with contentment.
15) What is hidden inside the folds of these calamities are blessings.
16) Tribulations prevent you from arrogance.
17) Contentment. Tribulation afflicts the good and the evil (people), whoever doesn’t like it, it’s on Him, he’s lost the dunya and the akhira. Those who are pleased with it, it’s because he knows it, because paradise is better than anything in this world and if these tribulations are what it takes for him to get to paradise, then he’s content with it.

... The Seventeen Benefits Of Tribulations, Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Le Grand Voyage

What starts out as generational conflict in this movie, ends in understanding, solemnity and grace. The movie meanders through Europe with the father and the young son cramped in a car over 3000 miles. The cramping forces lifestyles, beliefs and life skills to collide. There's really no clear winner. It all adds up in the end as experience: experience of multiple layers of life. For those interested in understanding Islam, this movie offers a generous and gentle outlook, without being pushy about the agenda. It's a coming of age story for the young son, his dismissive and rebellious nature turning to openness for receiving more ways of life.

The route taken by the father and son goes from Provence, France through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan before reaching Saudi Arabia. The film was actually shot in some of these countries, namely France, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Most scenes that were set in the Middle East were shot in Morocco. However, some scenes involving the two principal actors were actually shot in Mecca. While the Saudi Arabian government had previously permitted documentary crews to shoot in Mecca, this was the first fiction feature permitted to shoot during the Hajj. The film's director, Ismaël Ferroukhi, said that while shooting in Mecca, "no one looked at the camera; people didn't even seem to see the crew -- they're in another world."

Reda: Why didn't you fly to Mecca? It's a lot simpler.
The Father: When the waters of the ocean rise to the heavens, they lose their bitterness to become pure again...
Reda: What?
The Father: The ocean waters evaporate as they rise to the clouds. And as they evaporate they become fresh. That's why it's better to go on your pilgrimage on foot than on horseback, better on horseback than by car, better by car than by boat, better by boat than by plane.
The Father: When I was a child, my father, God rest his soul, set out on a mule. He was a brave man. Everyday, I'd climb the hill so I could see the horizon. I wanted to be the first to see him come home. I've learnt a lot from this journey.
Reda: Me too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alicia de Larrocha

I am so pleased to have finally found a recording of Alicia de Larrocha performing the Adagio Assai of Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major. This is by far my favorite version of this wonderful score. Previously I have posted versions of the same by Martha Argerich (which remains my second favorite and who first introduced this haunting score to me years back when I was still in middle school). Leonard Bernstein is out of his league amongst these talented ladies.

Alicia de Larrocha y de la Calle (23 May 1923 – 25 September 2009) was a Spanish pianist from Catalonia. Reuters referred to her as "the greatest Spanish pianist in history" and Time called her "one of the world's most outstanding pianists". The Guardian called her "the leading Spanish pianist of her time". She won multiple Grammy Awards, a Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts and is credited with bringing greater popularity to the compositions of Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados. In 1995, she became the first Spanish artist to win the UNESCO Prize.

Born in Barcelona, she began studying piano with Frank Marshall at the age of three. Both her parents were pianists and she was also the niece of pianists. Beginning her career at the age of three, she publicly debuted at the age of five at the International Exposition in Barcelona. She performed her first concert at the age of six at the World's Fair in Seville in 1929, and had her orchestral debut at the age of 11. By 1943, she was selling out in Spain. She began touring internationally in 1947, and in 1954 toured North America with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1969, de Larrocha performed in Boston for the Peabody Mason Concert series.

Alicia de Larrocha died on 25 September 2009 in Quiron Hospital, Barcelona, aged 86. She had been in declining health since breaking her hip five years previously. Her husband, the pianist Juan Torra, with whom she had two children, died in 1982.

To complete the piano concerto, this is the 3rd movement entitled, Presto, played live by her accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Desert Rose

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand...

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunts us all
This desert flower, this rare perfume
Is the sweet intoxication of the Fall

... Sting

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brighter Than Sunshine

Tied up in ancient history,
I didnt believe in destiny,
I look up you're standing next to me,
What a feeling.

What a feeling in my soul,
Love burns brighter than sunshine,
Brighter than sunshine,
Let the rain fall, I don't care,
I'm yours and suddenly you're mine,
Suddenly you're mine
and it's brighter than sunshine.

... Aqualung

Introducing Me

I never trust a dog to watch my food
And I like to use the word "dude" as a noun or an adverb or an adjective
And I, I've never really been into cars
I like really cool guitars and superheros
And checks with lots of zeros on them
I love the sound of violins and making someone smile

I'm trying to do my best to impress
But it's easier to let you
Take a guess at the rest
But you wanna hear what lives in my brain,
My heart,
Well you asked for it.

For your perusing,
At times confusing,
Possibly amusing,
Introducing Me.

... Introducing Me

And although I am now back living in the tropics on the equator, I do miss being with my buddies on road trips across the country living the summer in the wild, wild, west.

And grab your guitar
Sit by the fire
Cause we all need a song
When we're tired
We'll sit here together and sing it out loud

This is our song that's all that matter cause
We all belong right here together
There's nothing better than singing along
This is our summer and this is our song

... This Is Our Song

Friday, October 22, 2010

The One Who Has All These Four Attributes In Him...

Once, there was an argument between Abu Bakr and Umar Farooq, and Abu Bakr's comments were somewhat impolite. It was very unusual of him and he realized it a little later. Repentant, he went to apologize to Umar Farooq, who refused to accept the apology. Disappointed, Abu Bakr then went to the Prophet (saw) and submitted the whole story to him. Addressing Abu Bakr, the Prophet (saw) said three times: “May Allah forgive you.” Realizing what had happened, Umar Farooq rushed to see Abu Bakr at his home, but he wasn’t there. Umar then went to see the Prophet (saw). Seeing Umar, the Prophet (saw)’s face mirrored his inner displeasure and his eyes turned red. Suspecting Prophet (saw)’s displeasure may jeopardize Umar, Abu Bakr sat down meekly on his knees and in all humility submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah, it is but me, who had done wrong.” Addressing Umar, Prophet (saw) said: “Verily Allah (swt) sent me as a Messenger towards you, and you told me that I am a liar, but Abu Bakr affirmed and said: “You said the truth.” And Abu Bakr supported me with his heart, soul and resources. Wouldn’t you forgive my companion even for that reason?” Prophet (saw) repeated this last sentence twice. No one ever hurt the feelings of Abu Bakr as-Siddique after this incident.

Once Prophet (saw) was in the company of his companions, he (saw) inquired: “Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said: “I am fasting today Ya Rasul Allah.”
The Prophet asked again: “Who from among you participated in the funeral today and followed the bier?” Abu Bakr replied: “I did that, Ya Rasul Allah.”
The Prophet (saw) asked the third time: “Who fed the hungry from among you today?” Abu Bakr submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah, I did.”
The Prophet (saw) lastly asked: “Who from among you visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr replied: “I did, Ya Rasul Allah.”
The Prophet (saw) said: “The one who has all these four attributes in him will surely enter Paradise.”

... Sahih Muslim

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm counting down the days
When you will come my way
I fall asleep to dream
And you're here again it seems
I'm looking for you everywhere that I go
In all of the things I do
Still I'll keep looking
'Till I find you
'Till I find you
I turn to every door
And It's you I'm hoping for
So endlessly
I'm looking for you everywhere that I go
In all of the things I do
Still I'll keep looking
'Till I find you
'Till I find you
'Till I find you
'Till I find you

... Duffy

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If Talking And Remaining Silent Are Of Equal Benefit

"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it, [so similarly, avoid backbiting]. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful." Qur'an, [49:12]

"And do not follow that of which you do not have knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - [you] will be asked about all of those." Qur'an, [17:36]

"He does not utter a [single] word, except that there is, with him, [an angel] ready and waiting [to record it]." Qur'an, [50:18]

Imam Nawawi says "It is obligatory for every sane adult to guard his tongue against talking, except when it contains a clear benefit. If talking and remaining silent are of equal benefit, it is sunnah to abstain, [emphasis added] for permissible talking might lead to something undesirable or forbidden, as in fact is very often the case, and nothing matches safety."

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah :
"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say [something] good, or he should keep silent." [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

... Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasideen, Ibn Qudamah

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shade With His Shade On The Day When There Is No Shade Except His

"On the Day of Resurrection, the sun would draw so close to the people that there would be left a distance of only one mile. The people will be submerged in perspiration according to their deeds, some up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to the waist and some would have the bridle of perspiration and, while saying this, the Messenger of Allah put his hand towards his mouth." (Sahih Muslim)

“There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the Day when there is no shade except His: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of His Lord; a man whose heart is attached to mosques; two men who love each other only for Allah’s sake, meeting and parting for that love; a man who resists the call of a woman of noble birth and beauty to commit fornication, but he refuses and says “I fear Allah”; a man who gives charity secretly so that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given; and a man whose eyes flood with tears whenever he remembers Allah in private.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Saturday, October 16, 2010


esok ataukah nanti
ampuni semua salahku
lindungi aku dari segala fitnah

Kau tempatku meminta
Kau beriku bahagia
jadikan aku selamanya
hamba-Mu yang selalu bertaqwa

ampuniku Ya Allah
yang sering melupakan-Mu
saat Kau limpahkan kurnia-Mu
dalam sunyi aku bersujud pada-Mu

Thursday, October 14, 2010


In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short. It has a good club house for the players and seats for the onlookers. The village team play there on Saturdays and Sundays. They belong to a league, competing with the neighbouring villages. On other evenings after work they practise while the light lasts. Yet now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there any more. He has issued an injunction to stop them. He has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket. This newcomer has built, or has had built for him, a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket. But now this adjoining field has been turned into a housing estate. The newcomer bought one of the houses on the edge of the cricket ground. No doubt the open space was a selling point. Now he complains that when a batsman hits a six the ball has been known to land in his garden or on or near his house. His wife has got so upset about it that they always go out at week-ends. They do not go into the garden when cricket is being played. They say that this is intolerable. So they asked the judge to stop the cricket being played. And the judge, much against his will, has felt that he must order the cricket to be stopped: with the consequence, I suppose, that the Lintz Cricket Club will disappear. The cricket ground will be turned to some other use. I expect for more houses or a factory. The young men will turn to other things instead of cricket. The whole village will be much the poorer. And all this because of a newcomer who has just bought a house there next to the cricket ground.

... Opening Judgment of Miller v Jackson [1977] QB 966, Lord Alfred Denning

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

They Bring Me To You

Moon pours through the ceiling tonight
Embraces us tight
Shows me we're right for each other
And as we lie here and let the world fade away
The sunrise tries to end it while we try to stay

The rest of my life can't compare to this night, whoa oh
And only the heartaches have given me sight, oh oh
They bring me to you, yeah yeah
They bring me to you, yeah yeah

... Joshua Radin


'Cause maybe in the future, you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back around
Maybe in the future you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back to me

... Ingrid Michaelson

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Boy And An Apple Tree

A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it every day. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples, and took a nap under the shadow. He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him. Time went by, the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree every day.

One day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad.

“Come and play with me”, the tree asked the boy.
“I am no longer a kid, I do not play around trees anymore” the boy replied. “I want toys. I need money to buy them.” “Sorry, but I do not have money, but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money.” The boy was so excited. He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. The boy never came back after he picked the apples. The tree was sad.

One day, the boy who now turned into a man returned and the tree was excited.

“Come and play with me” the tree said.
“I do not have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me?” “Sorry, but I do not have any house. But you can chop off my branches to build your house.” So the man cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the man never came back since then. The tree was again lonely and sad.

One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted.

“Come and play with me!” the tree said.
“I am getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?” said the man. “Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy.” So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for a long time.

Finally, the man returned after many years. “Sorry, my boy. But I do not have anything for you anymore. No more apples for you,” the tree said. “No problem, I do not have any teeth to bite” the man replied.

“No more trunk for you to climb on.” “I am too old for that now.” the man said.

“I really cannot give you anything, the only thing left is my dying roots,” the tree said with tears. “I do not need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years,” the man replied.

“Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest, come sit down with me and rest.” The man sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Shall Praise And Thank Thee

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, his Lord suggested turning the valley of Mecca into gold for him but he replied, "No, my Lord, but let me have enough to eat and be hungry on alternate days; then when I am hungry I shall make supplication to Thee and make mention of Thee, and when I have enough I shall praise and thank Thee."

... Narrated in Ahmad, Tirmidhi

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Psalm Of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

... William Butler Yeats

Opening Farewell

Suddenly it's so clear to me,
That I'd asked you to see what you may never see
Now my kind words find their way back to me:
There's a train everyday, leaving either way
There's a world you know, you gotta ways to go
I'll soon believe that it's just as well
This is my opening farewell

... Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt

I'll Be Seeing You

I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through

In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children's carousel
The chestnut tree
The wishing well

I'll be seeing you
Through every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way

I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you

... Michael Bublé


Forget the suffering
You caused others.
Forget the suffering
Others caused you.
The waters run and run,
Springs sparkle and are done,
You walk the earth you are forgetting.

Sometimes you hear a distant refrain.
What does it mean, you ask, who is singing?
A childlike sun grows warm.
A grandson and a great-grandson are born.
You are led by the hand once again.

The names of the rivers remain with you.
How endless those rivers seem!
Your fields lie fallow,
The city towers are not as they were.
You stand at the threshold mute.

... Czeslaw Milosz

Just Because

Just because you're near
The cold nights grow warmer
Heaven's not so far away
Whisper in my ear
Gentle is the darkness
Keep your secrets here

... Ray Charles

Part Of Speech

...and when "the future" is uttered, swarms of mice
rush out of the Russian language and gnaw a piece
of ripened memory which is twice
as hole-ridden as real cheese.
After all these years it hardly matters who
or what stands in the corner, hidden by heavy drapes,
and your mind resounds not with a seraphic "doh",
only their rustle. Life, that no one dares
to appraise, like that gift horse's mouth,
bares its teeth in a grin at each
encounter. What gets left of a man amounts
to a part. To his spoken part. To a part of speech.

... Joseph Brodsky

Between Going And Staying The Day Wavers

Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

... Octavio Paz

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

... Derek Walcott

Place In This World

... If there are millions
Down on their knees
Among the many
Can You still hear me

Hear me asking
Where do I belong?
Is there a vision
That I can call my own?

Show me, I'm
Looking for a reason
Roamin' through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

... Michael W. Smith