Faith Friday: Humility: The Path to Being Truly Human

Friday, November 27, 2015

A man peacefully performing his prayer, an act of humility, at the Topkapi Palace mussolah overlooking the Marmara Sea, Istanbul.

Those who learned to be truly human found everything in being humble.
While those who looked proudly from above were pushed down the stairs.
A heart that must always feel superior will one day lose its way.
What should be within, leaks out.

The old man with the white beard never sees the state he’s in.
He needn’t waste money on making the Hajj,
if he’s broken someone’s heart.
The heart is the seat of God, where God is aware.
You won’t find happiness in either world, if you break a heart.

The deaf man doesn’t hear, 
the blind man mistakes the day for night.
Yet the universe is filled with light.
We’ve seen how those who came later move on.

Whatever you think of yourself, think the same of others.
This is the meaning of the Four Books, if they have one.

May Yunus not stray from the path,
nor get on his high horse.
May the grave and the Judgement be no concern,
if what he loves is the face of God.

 Yunus Emre (1238–1320), Turkish poet
(click here to read an alternative translation)

Birth. Life. Death. The signs point towards the reality that we are all on a journey. However, some of us are more aware of it than others. Our journey doesn't end with death but with our destination in the everlasting Hereafter. In this journey, if we do not ask for 'directions' (seek guidance) we will surely lose our way or wander aimlessly, which leads us to feel a void or emptiness within us. The desire to fill this emptiness may lead to destructive behaviour. This explains why the world is in the state it is in right now. But the path to peace is real and it begins with humility. 

What is humility? In 'The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation', Kabir Helminski describes humility as,

On Paris, Jihad and Western Privilege

Sunday, November 15, 2015

'Peace for Paris' by Jean Jullien

Dear Paris:

The crime that was committed against you yesterday was another senseless and heinous act caused by ignorance, greed and the love of power. My heart goes out to the victims and their families who are mourning the loss of innocent loved ones. I have seen what terror has done to Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, Nigeria and Lebanon, and I wouldn't wish the same for anyone else in this world regardless of their nationality or faith. Anyone could have been in that crowd - French, Muslims, Americans, Malaysians, atheists, Catholics, Buddhists, agnostics. It doesn't matter. A life is still a life.

At the same time, I fear for my brown-skinned, Arab and/or Muslim brothers and sisters in the West who will bear the brunt of bigotry, discrimination and Islamophobia. However, with campaigns like #IWillRideWithYou in the aftermath of the Sydney attack this year (which was unrelated to ISIS but made by the perpetrator to seem that way due to mental illness) and tweets like the one below, I believe there are informed and rational people out there who will take a stand against bigots, racists and Islamophobes.

Towards An Illuminated Heart

Sunday, November 08, 2015

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde

When you're going through a rough patch it's easy to only focus on all the things that are going wrong instead of all the things that are going right. Sometimes all it takes is a surprise from a friend (like the flowers I received last week), a line in the book you're reading or knowing the smile on your mother's face is because of you to make you realise how blessed you are regardless. Perception is everything and the heart that is filled with Love will always find Light and allow it to shine through and provide clarity. Work on purifying and illuminating the heart. Or even better, realise that the work has already begun through these blessings and trials. Now your task is to respond with Love.

A heart filled with Love is like a phoenix that no cage can imprison. ― Rumi

Love God. Love knowledge and truth. Love ehsan (excellence). Love humility. Love His creations. Desire contentment. Stop wasting time. Fulfill your responsibilities. Spread salaam (peace). Walk away from fights and unnecessary battles.

People are walking contradictions. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. This world is a place of trials. Look out for each other. Leave the judgement to Him. Only then shall you find the echoes of love around you and be free from the anxieties caused by dunya.

A reminder to myself, first and foremost:
In generosity and helping others, be like a river
In compassion and grace, be like the sun
In concealing others' faults, be like the night
In anger and fury, be as if you have died
In modesty and humility, be like the soil
In tolerance and acceptance, be like the sea
In presenting yourself to others, either appear as you are or be as you appear.
―  Rumi


Sunday, November 01, 2015

There is only one word for me to describe my mother: Qalbi (my heart). But her love is a reminder of something bigger. I remember being sad about something and I didn't tell anyone how I felt. One day, a Muslim scholar came to over to the house as a guest and it was as if he looked into my heart because he said:

"Do you believe your mother loves you? God loves you more that. He is al-Latif."

Al-Latif via
"The One who is most subtle and gracious.
The One whose nature is gentle, affectionate, courteous and refined.
The One who is kind, gracious, and understanding, with regard for the subtle details of individual circumstances.
The One whose actions are so fine and subtle that they may be imperceptible, beyond our comprehension.
The One whose delicate perception reveals the subtleties of all things.

From the root l-t-f which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to be thin, delicate, refined, elegant, graceful to be gentle, gracious, courteous, kindly to be subtle, to know the obscurities of all affairs to treat with regard for circumstances to be most soothing and refined in manner to treat with kindness, goodness, gentleness, benevolence, affection."