Monday, 27 June 2011

BOL - Speak...

Dear Friends,
Even as Pakistan is inching closer to the brink its writers and artists manage to produce artistic meaning of the highest  calibre and depth. One such son of the soil is SHOAIB MANSOOR the director of the much lauded KHUDA KAYE LIYE – For the sake of God, which examined Muslim extremism. He has just released another socio-political sensation – BOL – Speak:

This time he is tackling the plight of Muslim women...

Yes, indeed the pen is mightier than the sword...

Yaa Haq...


Ps - This is movie is very dear to me as I am the proud father of a baby daughter...

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Faltering 'Arab Spring'...

Dear Friends

The spectacular ‘Arab Spring’ caught most of the world by surprise.  The depressed global Muslim street was shocked into action and there was a genuine hope that the aged and corrupt Muslim aristocracies would disappear. Obama et al after initial reservations weighed in behind the Muslim protestors as they could clearly see the writing on the wall and there were remarkable gains in Tunisia and Egypt.

Things have become a bloody and complex mess in Libya, Syria and Yemen but this is not the time to withdraw Western support. Otherwise it will feed the conspiracy peddlers that the West were merely protecting oil interests and suppressing genuine Muslim democracy as was the case in Bahrain where the uprising was violently crushed with the help of Saudi Arabia & UAE.

Granted the economic environment is in free fall but can the west really afford not to finish the job properly in AfPak and Libya? I am sure that the Turkish government is being consulted if not there will be more ‘blow back’ and personally I fear it will be nuclear...Unfortunately the Quran in the hands of zealots is like a mad monkey with a cut throat razor...

In hope and prayer...


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shades of Allah u Akbar...

Dear Friends

Allah u Akbar / God is Great has come to signify many things...Here is my humble experience:

The Suicide Bomber detonates Allah u Akbar
The Mullah worships Allah u Akbar
The Protestor hurls Allah u Akbar
The Petitioner begs Allah u Akbar
The devotee sings Allah u Akbar
But only the Sufi disappears in Allah u Akbar

For naught will remain save the Face of Allah (28:88)







Baba Muhammed Yahya Khan...

Dear Friends

My beloved yet tortured Pakistan is suffering from mass unemployment, rampant inflation, a violent insurgency, systemic corruption, political incompetence, religious extremism, brain drain on an epic scale...No wonder it has been dubbed a failed state. My personal assessment is that it is a PhD thesis gone mad.

However, amidst the chaos a Muslim superhero has emerged...BABA MUHAMMED YAHYA KHAN...This living Sufi legend has taken Lahore and the world by storm and his simple yet powerful message of love is giving solace and hope to millions.

He has written 10 books in Urdu which are being translated into English and now his work is been dramatised.


This is Sufism with attitude....


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Shooting from the heart...

Dear Friends
A timely and awesome reminder especially when the 'chips are down'…

When your is bow is broken
And your last arrow spent
Then shoot
Shoot with your whole heart…



Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A.A. Spirituality...

Dear Friends
Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most spiritual and effective organisations on the planet. For decades it has quietly gone about transforming the lives of millions of peoples across the globe.

I once had the honour of attending an A.A meeting where I was supporting a friend who was a recovering alcoholic.  I was struck by the sense of community and crucially welcome afforded to even non-Alcoholics and the way new members were made the 'stars'. The latter were encouraged to discuss their trials and tribulations and were given much love.

I vividly remember talking to the facilitator who had been clean for 20 years and was celebrating his ' A.A birthday' that day. He talked passionately about his Christian faith and a Jesus (pbuh) who was a strong fisher man who enjoyed being in the company of those who were on the margins of society. Truly inspiring…

In contradistinction to the above I find most religious even Sufi settings to be stuffy and full of politicking. The Shakyh is centre stage and is surrounded by his inner circle. There is no Prophetic aroma merely a didactic flow of gibberish that is poorly clothed in Quran and Sunnah. Not until Muslim Scholars become vessels for the divine origin there will be discord and acrimony….

I have seen my Lord with the eye of my heart, and I said: "Who are You?" He said:"You." (Diwan al-Hallaj, M. 10)


Monday, 20 June 2011

Keep Climbing...

Dear Friends

I am a great lover of Rumi and the following You Tube link is an exquisite taste of heaven.

However I am deeply concerned that Rumi’s message is being manipulated to arrest people’s socio-economic development. I am horrified to learn that some young people are giving up promising careers to clean toilets and perform other menial tasks in the Mevlevi Tekke of Konya.

This is the dark side of Sufism and has little to do with purification of the heart. It is simple manipulation and power politics.  Granted Mevlana Rumi advised ‘little eating, little sleeping and little talking’ but this is actually an esoteric practice for the soul and will only permanently impair mind and body.

Bottom line is that malnourished, uneducated and sleepless Sufi’s are grainy shadows of their past contemporaries and will be of little if any service to humanity. Now I can sympathise with Kemal Ataturk who historically banned Sufism as it had become over ripe and useless.

Even if you complete the Sufi Path it is continues after death...The manazil / stations are never ending as God is never ending. HOWEVER our time on this planet is LIMITED and we only have one chance to do something great and meaningful in this life. And that is usually touching humanity rather than navel gazing...

Keep climbing the mountain even when you reach the top...(A wise Zen Saying)



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Excessive religion...

Dear Friends
It occurred to me the other day that if excess consumption of food causes so many health problems such as diabetes and ultimately an untimely death. Surely excess of anything is bad for human beings especially money, power or fame. Perhaps excess of religion is emotionally detrimental?

The Quran talks a lot about the need for meezan / balance and moderation. Muslims are supposed to be standard bearers for the 'middle-path'…On paper this is deeply inspiring but what is the reality? This question can only be answered individually by all the 1.6 billion Muslims on this troubled planet.

Personally I feel we Muslims lack balance in practically every department of life….and it appears to be getting worse on a daily basis. We could and should learn from Buddhists and Quakers who are masters of cultivating the heart and leading truly inspiring lives. Consequently I reminded of the stunning Quranic admonition:

''Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)

I am to learn…


Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Dear Friends
The renound Pakistani scholar Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has produced a comprehensive and definitive 600 page fatwa / legal edict against suicide bombings and terrorism.

It can be downloaded free of charge at the personal website of another prodigious scholar namely Dr. Joel Hayward, there is a link at the bottom of his homepage:



Ps: Dr. Hayward also writes exceptional poetry which can be read at:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Mosaic lore...

Dear Friends

Moses (pbuh) is one of my favourite Prophets; full of majesty and vision. Not forgetting an iron will.

He is one of the most mentioned Prophets in the Quran and personally his life remains a deep source of inspiration.  From being cast into the river Nile by his mother to separating a sea whilst being pursued by the Pharaohs army he always managed to come good and deliver his people...

Here is an excellent online resource regarding the Muslim understanding of Moses :



Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Busting weights...

Dear Friends

I joined the gym the other day and initially felt awkward working out in public especially as there were so many muscles being flashed.

I was waiting to use a machine when it dawned on me that ‘busting weights’ is analogous to the challenges we face in day to day life. As long as one remains focused and patient any challenge is surmountable and as they say ‘if it does not kill you it will make you stronger!’. And I am reminded of our former Dean who reminded us to ‘love our problems’.

So friends keep ‘busting those weights’...

Good night...


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

'Religious Paedophiles'...

Dear Friends

I knew the Taliban were evil but they have proven that they are also ‘religious paedophiles’. Please check the link which shows how young children are being groomed to become suicide bombers...

Personally this is deeply distressing for me as it is my job to help young people actualise their potential. These monsters are hell bent on destroying OUR FUTURE...




'Enlightened Turkish Islam'...

Dear Friends

Please check out the below for a cracking example of  what I call 'enlightened Turkish Islam'...



British Muslim extremism....

Dear Friends
The bottom line is that my community suffers from many socio-economic malaises and extremism is one of them. Personally I feel that the root cause of this phenomenon is identity crisis coupled with unemployment. And successive generations of community leaders, across the length and breadth of the UK, have miserably failed to help in the process of integration and have merely enjoyed the patronage of government. 

The only reason why I am not a gun toting ‘nutter’ or potential suicide bomber, high on a diet of Islamist thinking is due to extensive travel and exposure especially in the Muslim world and a cosmopolitan education. Sufism has helped and continues to widen my horizons and personal experience of God. Thus I have had epiphanies in weird and wonderful places such as in People’s Park in Berkeley; California USA, and very recently on the Great Wall of China. The ‘other’ remains important in my religious practice and without my fellow Quaker, Vedantic, and Zen friends I would have a poorer existential experience.

Therefore it does not surprise me that the Con-Dem government is coming out ‘all guns blazing’ and demanding that British Universities should do more to prevent the radicalisation process. Some young Muslims are definitely vulnerable as they do not appreciate the dynamism and context of the Quran, and ground reality when attempting to understand the current state of the Muslim World. Although it is important to acknowledge the borderless internet is a hotbed for radicals and their message of violent hatred is a far greater threat than any angry Muslim handing out leaflets on a British university campus or highstreet.

Thus is it my responsibility to keep Muslim students on the radar? Yes because we do not want another 7 / 7. No because I teach literally hundreds of students and it is impossible to ‘police thought’. Instead organisations such as The Quilliam Foundation should and are probably working closely with the government to counter the cancer of Muslim extremism. Personally I think the government should be completely transparent about its foreign policy, Vis-à-vis the Muslim World, and undertake some sort of road show across University campuses.

Unfortunately most British Muslims have not lived and worked in Turkey which is a shining example of a secular Muslim miracle. Increasingly she is playing a vital role on the global stage especially in the G20 and NATO and should leverage its growing power to convince failed Muslims states such as Pakistan and Syria to change which are terrorist havens.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Rumi on children...


What will
our children do in the morning?
Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play,
the way wings

Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gathered
the strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance
the wonderful charms of
the earth

so that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own?

I know all about the ways of the heart - how it wants to be alive.

Love so needs to love
that it will endure almost anything, even abuse,
just to flicker for a moment.  But the sky's mouth is kind,
its song will never hurt you, for I
sing those words.

What will our children do in the morning
if they do not see us

~ Rumi ~

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

Children - our future and more...

Dear Friends
Nowadays the sexualisation of British children is a seriously hot topic. As a father I am taking a keen interest and watching how the entertainment and  fashion industry will respond towards demands for self-regulation. This is in response to the public outcry regarding steamy pop videos and lingerie for kids...

Personally I feel all the proposals are too little too late due to the internet which can never be fully policed. The only solution is moral guidance from parents. For example when I was growing up even if a kissing scene was on my parents would immediately change the channel and they showed little physical love for each other in public. Sex education was done tactfully and we could discuss practically anything with my mother. Yes my father was a little distant regarding emotional subjects but he was and remains an excellent role model.

Perhaps my personal experience of moral education sounds draconian but none of us 6 siblings, including 1 sister, have turned out to be teenage really ‘child’ parents and we brothers know the importance above all value of women.

This debate also suggests that 'absolute' personal freedom, perhaps even creative freedom, is detrimental to society at large as our values and beliefs do rub off onto each other.

What you sow is what you reap...Our children are the harvest of our dreams and deserve nothing less than the best...Amen...


Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Dear Friends

Khidmet or Service is considered an integral part of many Sufi Orders and usually takes the form of feeding the poor and completing menial tasks such as cleaning. It is viewed as a method of de-constructing if not annihilating the ego and gaining closer proximity with God. 

However I feel that true khidmet begins with ones immediate family, since; they are a source of sibling rivalry and tension. Also if we cannot ‘surrender’ to our parents’ wishes how can we ‘surrender to God’? (There is a Quranic proviso that Muslim parent’s wishes have to be within the norms and values of Islam)

Another important factor is intention thus if the service is mediated via the ego then it will be a source of bad karma.

I appreciate that the foregoing is alien to the western mind however as a Hindu sage once remarked freedom is in discipline and  from my personal experience surrender is the key to creativity and true individuality.

Bottoms Up!