The Open Heart of Lao Tzu

April 18, 2010

A sound man’s heart is not shut within itself
But is open to other people’s hearts:
I find good people good,
And I find bad people good
If l am good enough;
I trust men of their word,
And I trust liars
If I am true enough;
I feel the heartbeats of others
Above my own
If I am enough of a father,
Enough of a son.

- Lao Tzu


30 Daily Ramadan Prayers – 2009/1430

August 9, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

RAMADAN KAREEM! – Alhamdulillah! Ramadan has begun, so below are the 30 Daily Ramadan Prayers (duas) reposted once again. Inshallah, God-willing, they will make the fast easier, enlighten the mind, and ennoble the heart in this blessed month.  To read them in Arabic, click here.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 1

ALLAH, on this day make my fasts the fasts of those who fast (sincerely), and my standing up in prayer of those who stand up in prayer (obediently), awaken me in it from the sleep of the heedless, and forgive me my sins , O God of the worlds, and forgive me, O one who forgives the sinners.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 2

ALLAH, on this day, take me closer towards Your pleasure, keep me away from Your anger and punishment, grant me the opportunity to recite Your verses (of the Qur’an), by Your mercy, O the most Merciful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 3

ALLAH, on this day, grant me wisdom and awareness, keep me away from foolishness and pretension, grant me a share in every blessing You send down, by Your generosity, O the most Generous.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 4

ALLAH, on this day, strengthen me in carrying out Your commands, let me taste the sweetness of Your remembrance, grant me, through Your graciousness, that I give thanks to You. Protect me, with Your protection and cover, O the most discerning of those who see.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 5

ALLAH, on this day, place me among those who seek forgiveness. Place me among Your righteous and obedient servants, and place me among Your close friends, by Your kindness, O the most Merciful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 6

ALLAH, on this day, do not let me abase myself by incurring Your disobedience, and do not strike me with the whip of Your punishment, keep me away from the causes of Your anger, by and Your power, O the ultimate wish of those who desire.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 7

ALLAH, on this day, help me with its fasts and prayers, and keep me away from mistakes and sins of the day, grant me that I remember You continuously through the day, by Your assistance, O the Guide of those who stray.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 8

ALLAH, on this day, let me have mercy on the orphans, and feed [the hungry], and spread peace, and keep company with the noble-minded, O the shelter of the hopeful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 9

ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share from Your mercy which is wide, guide me towards Your shining proofs, lead me to Your all encompassing pleasure, by Your love, O the hope of the desirous.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 10

ALLAH, on this day, make me, among those who rely on You, from those who You consider successful, and place me among those who are near to you, by Your favor, O goal of the seekers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 11

ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire, by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help

Ramadan Dua: DAY 12

ALLAH, on this day, beautify me with covering and chastity, cover me with the clothes of contentment and chastity, let me adhere to justice and fairness, and keep me safe from all that I fear, by Your protection, O the protector of the frightened.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 13

ALLAH, on this day, purify me from un-cleanliness and dirt, make me patient over events that are decreed, grant me the ability to be pious, and keep company with the good, by Your help, O the beloved of the destitute.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 14

ALLAH, on this day, do not condemn me for slips, make me decrease mistakes and errors, do not make me a target for afflictions and troubles, by Your honor, O the honor of the Muslims.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 15

O Allah, on this day, grant me the obedience of the humble, expand my chest through the repentance of the humble, by Your security, O the shelter of the fearful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 16

ALLAH, on this day, grant me compatibility with the good, keep me away from patching up with the evil, lead me in it, by Your mercy, to the permanent abode, by Your Godship, O the God of the worlds.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 17

ALLAH, on this day, guide me towards righteous actions, fulfill my needs and hopes, O One who does not need explanations nor questions, O One who knows what is in the chests of the (people of the) world. Bless Muhammad and his family, the Pure.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 18

ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire [of Hell], by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 19

ALLAH, on this day, multiply for me its blessings, and ease my path towards its bounties, do not deprive me of the acceptance of its good deeds, O the Guide towards the clear truth.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 20

ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of the heavens, and lock the doors of Hell from me, help me to recite the Qur’an, O the One who sends down tranquility into the hearts of believers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 21

ALLAH, on this day, show me the way to win Your pleasure, do not let Shaytan have a means over me, make Paradise an abode and a resting place for me, O the One who fulfills the requests of the needy.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 22

ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of Your Grace, send down on me its blessings, help me towards the causes of Your mercy, and give me a place in the comforts of Paradise, O the one who answers the call of the distressed.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 23

ALLAH, on this day, wash away my sins, purify me from all flaws, examine my heart with (for) the piety of the hearts, O One who overlooks the shortcomings of the sinners.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 24

ALLAH, on this day, I ask You for what pleases You, and I seek refuge in You from what displeases You, I ask You to grant me the opportunity to obey You and not disobey You, O One who is generous with those who ask

Ramadan Dua: DAY 25

ALLAH, on this day, make me among those who love Your friends, and hate Your enemies, following the way of Your last Prophet, O the Guardian of the hearts of the Prophets.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 26

ALLAH, on this day, make my efforts worthy of appreciation, and my sins forgiven, my deeds accepted, my flaws concealed, O the best of those who hear.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 27

ALLAH, on this day, bestow on me the blessings of Laylatul Qadr, change my affairs from (being) difficult to (being) easy, accept my apologies, and decrease for me [my] sins and burdens, O the Compassionate with His righteous servants.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 28

ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share in its nawafil (recommended prayers), honor me by attending to my problems, make closer the means to approach You, from all the means, O One who is not preoccupied by the requests of the beseechers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 29

O ALLAH, on this day, cover me with Your mercy, grant me in it success and protection, purify my heart from the darkness of false accusations, O the Merciful to His believing servants.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 30

O ALLAH, on this day, make my fasts worthy of appreciation and acceptance, according to what pleases You, and pleases the Messenger, the branches being strengthened by the roots, for the sake of our leader, Muhammad, and his purified family. Praise be to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds.

Ya Haqq!


Cleaning Your Room

May 30, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that one day a few years ago, a new darvish was sitting in one of the Nimatullahi Sufi khaniqahs when the Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, walked through the room, saying in passing to one of the older dervishes, “Go clean your room. I’ll look at it later.”

The older darvish then moved to a quiet corner to meditate and repeat his zekr, while the new darvish went out to work in the garden. Much later, the new darvish came back into the room and found the older man still sitting in the corner. He went up to him with a worried expression and said, “What are you doing? Aren’t you going to clean your room?”

The older darvish looked up at him and smiled. “The Master meant my heart.”

Ya Haqq!


Love what God Loves

April 15, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Love what God loves. Love God with all your hearts and weary not of the Word of God and its mention. Harden not your hearts from it. Worship God and associate naught with Him; fear Him as he ought to be feared; carry out loyally towards God what you say with your mouths. Love one another in the Spirit of God.

- a portion of one of the first orations of the blessed Prophet (pbuh) delivered in Medina.

Ya Haqq!


The Initiation of Nasir-i Khusraw

March 13, 2009

That sage set his hand upon my heart
(a hundred blessings be on that hand and breast!)
and said, “I offer you the remedy
of proof and demonstration; but if you
accept, I shall place a seal upon your lips
which must never be broken.” I gave my consent and he
affixed the seal. Drop by drop and day
by day he fed me the healing potion, till
my ailment disappeared, my tongue became
imbued with elegant speech; my face, which had
been pale as saffron now grew rosy with joy;
I who had been a stone was now a ruby;
I had been dust-now I was ambergris.
He put my hand into the Prophet’s hand,
I spoke the Oath beneath the exalted Tree
so heavy with fruit, so sweet with cooling shade.

Have you ever heard of a sea which flows from fire?
Have you ever seen a fox become a lion?
The sun can transmute a pebble, which even the hand
of Nature can never change, into a gem.
I am that precious stone, my Sun is he
by whose rays this tenebrous world is filled with light.
In jealousy I cannot speak his name
in this poem, but can only say that for him
Plato himself would become a slave. He
Is the teacher, healer of souls, favored of God,
image of wisdom, fountain of knowledge and Truth.
Blessed the ship with him for its anchor, blessed
the city whose sacred gate he ever guards!

O Countenance of Knowledge, Virtue’s Form,
Heart of Wisdom, Goal of Humankind,
O Pride of Pride; I stood before thee, pale
and skeletal, clad in a woolen cloak,
and kissed thine hand as if it were the grave
of the Prophet or the Black Stone of the Kaaba,
Six years I served thee; and now, wherever I am
so long as I live I’ll use my pen and ink,
my inkwell and my paper…in praise of thee!

- from the Diwan of Nasir-i Khusraw, greatest of the Isma’ili Shia Persian poets, on his initiation. It is a striking example of the depth of the Master-disciple relationship expressed in beautiful poetic form.

Ya Haqq!


Psalm 19 – A Song of David

March 5, 2009

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Ya Haqq!

Note:  This is my favorite Psalm for its simple beauty and universal truths.


Healing through Compassion

February 4, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

My wife grew up on a farm, and has an unerring affinity with nature in its most organic forms, with plants and animals and humans. Last summer, for instance, when she noticed that the bittersweet vines were extending its tendrils and choking off the rose bushes, she devoted many hours to cutting them away. The next day she looked at the roses for a moment and smiled, “They’re happier now,” she said.

She had seen the roses become happier. Even knowing this about her, it took me a long time to realize that the woman I live with is a healer. I had known her only as a mother and recently a grandmother, whose fierce love for her children caused them always to seek out her presence and her comfort and her counsel. I have seen that same love for her granddaughter; her endless patience in playing a game or reading to her, giving her leeway to set her own course, but always with a keen and watchful eye. They delight in each other beyond the need for words.

This true core of love, which is the deep well of her being, is the essence of healing, I think. At a wedding recently, while helping the bride to get dressed, she healed both the bride of badly bruised ribs and the bride’s sister of chronic neck pain, by laying her hand precisely on the injured spots for many minutes. They could not stop talking about it afterwards. When I asked her how she did it, she paused, as if trying to find the right words. Finally, she said, “The pain called to my compassion.”

“The pain called to my compassion.”

This is the deep well of love which marks a natural healer. Jesus healed the sick through this all-embracing love; the pain of the world calling to his compassion.

Many Sufi Masters of the past, who had completed the path of Love, were said to possess healing powers. And in the presence of my own Master, I have often felt a powerful spiritual energy and uplifting of the heart, an immense wellbeing of life. Perhaps healing itself is a spiritual uplifting on a physical level; the energy of the compassion of love healing physical pain.

It is no accident that passion is the root of compassion, whose original meaning was to suffer together. This com-passion, this deep, empathic, encompassing love is both the goal and the result of walking the Sufi path; at each step another drop is poured into the heart, and as love enters, one begins to see God in all of His creation. Perhaps healing is simply God’s Love expressed in the form of this compassionate energy, moved from one human being to another.

Compassion is love moved forward.

And healing is the divine spiritual energy of that love responding to emotional or physical pain. Healing through compassion is an ancient concept, though I had no frame of reference for it until I met my wife. There really is no mystery to it. I would not even call it a miracle, except insofar as all human life and its capacity to love is miraculous; a Divine gift unlike any other, and from which all mercy flows.

Ya Haqq!


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