Category Archives: Religion

Sayings of a Prophet of God

muhammad hd

I would first like to greet my Muslim viewers by wishing upon them a Happy Eid!
Secondly, in keeping with the Islamic holiday spirit I’d like to share some of the words of wisdom and inspiration from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Charity
A man giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is better for him than giving one hundred when about to die.

To meet friends cheerfully and invite them to a feast are charitable acts.

To extend consideration towards neighbors and send them presents are charitable acts.

Education
To acquire knowledge is binding upon all Muslims, whether male or female.

The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.

He who travels in the search of knowledge, to him God shows the way of Paradise.

Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it, in the way of the Lord, performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores God, who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to God. Knowledge enables its possessor to distinguish what is forbidden from what is not; lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our companion in solitude, our companion, when bereft of friends; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is our ornament in the company of friends; it serves as an armor against our enemies. With knowledge the creatures of Allah rises to the heights of goodness and to noble position, associates with the sovereigns in this world and attains the perfection of happiness in the next.

Envy
Keep yourselves far from envy, because it eats up and takes away good actions, like the fire that eats up and burns wood.

Suppression of Anger
Whoever suppresses his anger, when he has in his power to show it, God will give him a great reward.

He is not strong and powerful, who throws people down, but he is strong who withholds himself from anger.
Behavior
Deal gently with a people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn not.

Much silence and a good disposition; there are no two works better than these.

The best of friends is he who is best in behavior and character.

One who does not practice modesty and does not refrain from shameless deeds is not a Muslim.

Pride
No one who keeps his mind focused entirely upon himself, can grow large, strong and beautiful in character.

Remembrance of God
Whoever loves to meet God, God loves to meet him.

The five stated prayers erase the sins which have been committed during the intervals between them if they have not been mortal sins.

Sympathy
God is not merciful to him who is not so to humankind. He who is not kind to God’s creation and to his own children, God will not be kind to him.

Whosoever visits a sick person, an angel calls from Heaven: “Be happy in the world and happy be your walking; and take your habitation in Paradise.”

Worldly Love and Materialism
The love of the world, is the root of all evils.

Wealth properly employed is a blessing; and a man may lawfully endeavor to increase it by honest means.

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Otherworldly Beings

otherworldly

The following is inspired by my fascination with the supernatural, as well as the occult.

Otherworldly Beings

Otherworldly Beings

Deep in the dark blue sea resides muses
Crossing the waters of Earth in search of mischief
Singing melodious chants with the intention of inflicting doom
Evil and vicious, they have no remorse for their wickedness

Far away on the southern isles of the Arctic
A demon stalks the land scaring away life forms other than its own
Greed encompasses the heart of this vile creature
Like its soul the land is cold and void of light

Echoes vibrate throughout the caves of the willowing islands of the Baltic
Tales of warriors lost in the midst of battle now wandering their vanquished homes
Kicked out of the halls of Valhalla, this world is a no man’s land for the undead
The icy seas of the North are the last frontier and the only dwelling for the servants of Odin

In the deserts of Egypt the sands of time have withered away the wonders of a once majestic kingdom
Ruled by men whose hubris misled them to a proclamation of divinity
Mysticism and magic governed the lives of a people disillusioned with the realities of a complex universe
Osiris and Ra may have existed, but their status as deities is a fact unworthy of consideration

Virgin maidens frolicking the green pastoral hills of Greece and Rome apotheosizes the glory of classical antiquity
Whereas the struggle of the so-called mighty gods of Olympus illustrated humanity’s need for unison,
Both in brotherhood and in recognition of an omnipresent Creator
A theory put forward by the greatest of thinkers from two of the most prominent civilizations in written history

Revered and sought out by, these immortal creatures haunt mankind

Not only by night, but every waking moment of the day, preying on our weaknesses

Relying on our false opinion of them as hunger monsters eagerly awaiting to eat our wretched souls

As their true intentions remain hidden in plain sight; they seek only to deceive and so paradise may not be the reward from the Creator of the Universe we receive

Written by Mensur Gjonbalaj

March 21, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

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Hey everyone,

So in the past couple days I’ve been preoccupied with other work, notably a story that I’m currently in the process of developing for a novel I began writing weeks ago. It is still in the experimental days. I keep adding and cutting certain elements of my story as I continue to mold it into a form that I have so vividly envisioned it to be. As a result of my obsessive novel-crazed writing habits I haven’t much time to sit down and write how I’ve been feeling about life through poetry.

However, yesterday morning I awoke from a dream that mind-boggling. To be honest, I can’t quite actualize in clear words how strange the dream was, because it was full of such unique symbolism, almost as if it were a movie. The dream has not left my imagination in the past two nights and is now starting to stray me from my novel-writing time. Not that the dream doesn’t resonate with my novel; in fact the dream helped me come up with better material. It’s just that the dream was so profound to me that I needed to write as much as I can about it while keeping it’s actual description secret.

That being said I’m going to dedicate the next three posts to the poems I wrote about each dream. I’m going to start off with the spirit-enlightening Stairway to Heaven which was actually one of the major themes in my unforgettable dream, though the poem doesn’t have much to do with what actually occurs in the dream. It may be obvious to some (which I hope because I’m a diehard Zeppelin fan) but the name of the poem was taken from one of my all-time favorite songs of the same title. IT’S A LED ZEPPELIN SONG! DUH!

That’s what separates this poem from the other two I wrote on the subject of the dream I had the other night. Unlike those poems, which focused more on the physical aspects of the dream, this one is more spiritually-inquisitive and was inspired by the rivetingly divine guitar play of Jimmy Page and the enchanting vocals of Robert Plant. I listened to the actual song before I went to bed and after I woke up, and I tend to listen to it daily within the past couple weeks. In my opinion, when you love music so dearly it could never get old or boring. Anyway, enjoy the poem and please feel free to give me your feedback on this post and any other post you come across from this blog.

 

Stairway to Heaven

What is this feeling I have?

Running down through my body

From head to toe, it causes me to shiver in belief

That the purpose of my existence is greater than

Any figment my imagination could perceive.

My thoughts are full of confusion and understanding,

Confused at the course of action I must take to reach the next level

Of magnificence in intellect,

And comprehension of the Sublime Being and arousal that germinates within me from that acknowledgement.

The death of my contemporary life is certain, but how am I to feel calm knowing death in its infinite form is false?

My soul cries to leave me at the thought of obtaining a majestic inheritance.

It knows all too well that the Creator of all good and evil is more than what He seems to be,

And is yet firm on His word.

To the East I see jewels of passion; eternal knowledge for an eternal life.

To the west I hear the birds sing as they fly to the voices of rhyme and reason.

These are the dreams that I dream in the darkest hours of night, and the earliest hours of morning.

The moonlight, shining the reflections of the sun’s powerful rays, shares with me wisdom

In equivalence to that of the bright yellow star that emits to us during the day the blue hew;

Affirming to me love’s truth and that beauty is not ephemeral, but enduring.

The soul of the universe vibrates within me. We are one in essence, as are all beings.

By a brook near the sea lies a tree from which originates the scent of happiness.

In that tree lies good and evil; the two are brothers, both being birthed from the same mother.

Love, the mother of all that is good misleads men with the test of faith, thereby springing out the birth of evil.

For a long while these brothers have clashed in the pursuit of their originator’s affection.

Good had won it from the start and will win it in the end, as was promised.

Evil will not lose either, nor will it win.

Instead, there will be a unity of the two brothers who define the very nature of human existence.

In separation they have been two ferocious enemies, each seeking out the other’s destruction.

Doing away with the foolishness of arrogance and envy, they will join in a union so supreme that eternal life will then reign in, revealing to the universe the everlasting bliss of paradise.

Such is the reality. The days of our former lives are all but a dream.

As I dream whilst living in my dream it is revealed to me, albeit complex and bleary, that there is something awaiting me.

I have no knowledge of what awaits me, and it troubles me to spend my days in perplexity as I try to search for its meaning,

Although the small bursts of transient vision bring to light an aspiration that I’m to attain.

Thus, reassuring me that life, with all of its hardships and illusions, is good.

Never failing me, except in moments of consistent normalcy, my pen graciously records all my apprehensions as I continue to ruminate about the conundrum of the current life.

Driving ever so fast down the highway to hell, passing each sign I come across that leads me back to the right path,

I’m beginning to pace myself, for the signs are still up waiting for me to take the offer

And buy myself a stairway to heaven that awaits me as it is reeled down from the white incandescent clouds in the sky.

 

Written by Mensur Gjonbalaj

March 14, 2013

Nihilistic Tendencies

Nihilistic Tendencies

A cold embrace hovers over me
Disseminating all the light that once was
It is as if it had never been there
Day by day, the darkness grows as it is nurtured by confusion and doubt
Night after night, melancholy is no longer a feeling, but a state –
One that has been welcomed with warmth
God is not the question. God is the problem.
Why lie about his existence when I know he’s real?
Others may feel comfort in ignorance. Not I.
Comfort – in a predestined existence that is full of endless beauty,
Yet plagued by the stark reality of eternal damnation,
The product of our very own fabrication and design.
I seek no comfort because there isn’t any comfort. Not in this world.
The very purpose of our existence is empty and plain;
Though I believe the evil behind it all was giving man thought.
How is one bestowed with such incredulous talents
With the notion that none of them may be used,
And if allowed, must be appropriated accordingly?
We would have been better off being like the angels in heaven above,
Or ignorantly roaming like animals.
Instead, we were forsaken with knowledge.
A curse disguised as a blessing for the wise.
I comprise everything that I am worth and have been given.
My life, my soul, my world, my salvation, and all that comes with these pleasantly unpleasant things.
I risk an eternal life in the burning flames of hell
So that God may answer me this:
Why? Why have you forsaken me?
I, a servant once so humble to his master, have fallen from grace and the wings of his mercy.
But as I fall deep into the unwavering depths of everlasting despair
I seek to have my question answered by the One who had created me.
Never had I asked to have been created, and had I been told of the realities
Never would I have agreed to any of this,
With all the temptations and wonders at our disposal
It’s too easy to lose it and spend the rest of your days in an ever antagonizing squalor
Full of anguish and self-hate, hate that had been with you since your birth.
We do not live in a mad world.
We live in a sad world. It’ll never stop being sad.
A life entwined in a web of unresolved problems will never be saved.
There is no hope for anyone nor anything.
The only happiness we’ll ever have is this moment.
This is the only moment, the only opportunity, the only goddamn and blasphemously unholy holy chance we have to shine bright
Like the sun, a star that is equally fragile in it’s damnéd existence.
Reign in the fire before the fire reigns in you. Cease the day.
Too many before us, before me, have asked the same old questions.
Misfortune is man’s inevitable fate,
but we are given a short shot at real living before reality kicks in.
Life’s a bitch, and then you die; fin.

Written by Mensur Gjonbalaj
February 27, 2013

Rumi: Desire and the Importance of Failing

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Desire and the Importance of Failing

A window opens.
A curtain pulls back.

The lamp of lovers connect,
not at their ceramic bases,
but in their lightedness.

No lover wants union with the Beloved
without the Beloved also wanting the lover.

Love makes the lover weak,
while the Beloved gets strong.

Lightning from here strikes there.
When you begin to love God, God
is loving you. A clapping sound
does not come from one hand.

A thirsty man calls out, ‘Delicious water,
where are you?’ while the water moans,
‘Where is the water drinker?’

The thirst in our souls is the attraction
put out by the Water itself.

We belong to It,
and It to us.

God’s wisdom made us lovers of one another.
In fact, all the particles of the world
are in love and looking for lovers.

Pieces of straw tremble
in the presence of amber.

We tremble like iron filings
welcoming the magnet.

Whatever that Presence gives us
we take in. Earth signs feed.
Water signs wash and freshen.
Air signs clear the atmosphere.
Fire signs jiggle the skillet,
so we cook without getting burnt.

And the Holy Spirit helps with everything,
like a young man trying to support a family.
We, like the man’s young wife, stay home,
taking care of the house, nursing the children.

Spirit and matter work together like this,
in a division of labor.

Sweethearts kiss and taste the delight
before they slip into bed and mate.

The desire of each lover is
that the work of the other be perfected.
By this man-and-woman cooperation,
the world gets preserved.
Generation occurs.

Roses and blue arghawan flowers flower.
Night and day meet in a mutual hug.

So different, but they do love each other,
the day and the night, like family.

And without their mutual alternation
we would have no energy.

Every part of the cosmos is draws toward its mate.
The ground keeps talking to the body,
saying, ‘Come back! It’s better for you
down here where you came from.’

The streamwater calls to the moisture in the body.
The fiery aether whispers to the body’s heat,
‘I am your origin. Come with me.’
Seventy-two diseases are caused
by the various elements pulling inside the body.
Disease comes, and the organs
fall out of harmony.

We’re like four different birds,
that each had one leg tied in
with the other birds.

A flopping bouguet of birds!
Death releases the binding, and they fly off,
but before that, their pulling is our pain.

Consider how the soul must be,
in the midst of these tensions,
feeling its own exalted pull.

My longing is more profound.
The birds want sweet green herbs
and the water running by.

I want the infinite! I want wisdom.
These birds want orchards and meadows
and vines with fruit on them.

I want a vast expansion.
They want profit and security
of having enough food.

Remember what the soul wants,
because in that, eternity
is wanting our souls!

Which is the meaning of the text,
They love That, and That loves them.

If I keep on explaining this,
the Mathnawi will run to eighty volumes!

The gist is: whatever anyone seeks,
that is seeking the seeker.

No matter if its animal,
or vegetable, or mineral.

Every bit of the universe
is filled with wanting,
and whatever any bit wants,
wants the wanter!

This subject must dissolve again.

Back to Sadri Jahan and the uneducated peasant
who loved him, so that gradually Sadri Jahan
loved the lowly man. But who really
attracted who, whoom, Huuuu?

Don’t be presumptuous and say one or the other.
Close your lips. The mystery of loving
is God’s sweetest secret.

Keep it. Bury it. Leave it here
where I leave it, drawn as I am
by the pull of the Puller
to something else.

You know how it is. Sometimes
we plan a trip to one place,
but something takes us to another.

When a horse is being broken, the trainer
pulls it in many different directions,
so the horse will come to know
what it is to be ridden.

The most beautiful and alert horse is one
completely attuned to the rider.

God fixes a passionate desire in you,
and then disappoints you.
God does that a hundred times!

God breaks the wings of one intention
and then gives you another,
cuts the rope of contriving,
so you’ll remember your dependence.

But sometimes your plans work out!
You feel fulfilled and in control.

That’s because, if you were always failing,
you might give up. But remember,
it is by failures that lovers
stay aware of how they are loved.

Failure is the key
to the kingdom within.

Your prayer should be, “Break the legs
of what I want to happen. Humiliate
my desire. Eat me like candy.
It’s spring and finally
I have no will.”

Taken from Rumi’s Mathnawi, III, 4391 – 4472

Rumi: Longing for the Birds of Solomon

rumi dervish

 

Hey everyone,

I’m going to be posting a selection of my favorite poetry from the renowned Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi. If you are a lover of poetry, then they is no way you haven’t heard the name before. However, for those of you who haven’t he was a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. His works have been translated into dozens of languages and still inspire many readers today. The following poem is called Longing for the Birds of Solomon.

Longing for the Birds of Solomon

Is this stuff poetry? It’s what birds sing in cages.
Where are the words spoken by the birds of Solomon?

How would you know their cries, if you heard them,
When you haven’t seen Solomon even for two seconds?

Solomon’s bird lifts his wings, one tip touches East, one West.
Those who hear the notes feel an intensity in their whole body.

The bird descends from the Holy One’s bedroom door to earth.
And from earth it flies among light back to the Great Seat.

Without Solomon every bird is a bat in love with darkness.
Listen, oh mischievous bat, try to become his friend. Do you want to stay
in your cave forever?

If you go even three feet towards Solomon’s mountain,
Others will use that as a yardstick to measure their lives.

Suppose your leg is gimpy, and you have to hop, what’s the difference?
Going toward Solomon, even by limping, the leg grows whole.

– Jalauddin Muhammad Rumi

 

Mensur Gjonbalaj

February 10, 2013

Bob Marley: Redemption Song

In celebration and remembrance of Bob Marley’s birthday I will spend the rest of the day posting his song lyrics. Aside from his beautiful melodic riffs, the lyrics to his songs are as good as poetry. His music is universal. It speaks to humanity as a whole, containing the message of peace, love, spirituality, and unity. Redemption Song is one of my favorite Bob Marley songs. Therefore, it will be the first song I will be posting tonight.

Enjoy!

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Redemption Song

Old pirates, yes, they rob i;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took i
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the ’and of the almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
’cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
’cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? ooh!
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book.

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
’cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! have no fear for atomic energy,
’cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book.
Won’t you help to sing
Dese songs of freedom? –
’cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs –
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

– Bob Marley