November 16, 2011


“There was the brightest star that guided me through the night in those nights of enchantment. While the angels flew here and there in order to execute their graceful pantomimes, in order to relay the Divine Messages, the bright start stood there like a beacon that somehow I knew I would never lose my way.”

There was once a common man that got betrothed and married his long-time fiancé in a simple bridal ceremony. There was the wedding ring that he bought and he gave it to his bride.

They lived contentedly although the at times life was hard on them. There was even a time that he had so much difficulties making ends meet that he had to pawn his wedding ring. His wife lamented this fact but he merely explained that what was more important is that they have food on their dining table. His kinsmen knew about this and even berated him for it and he merely said, “It is merely a ring.”

He went about with his work in his humble farm and with his other duties that it came that even if his financial means had become stable, he never redeemed the ring again and of course, he never wore them back again in his hands.

Ands so while he was with his friends and kinsmen, they all asked him, “Why is it that you are a wedded man and you do not wear a ring on your finger?” and then again, he answered merely, “I do not need a wedding ring in order to be married.”

For indeed the man knew that to wear the wedding ring is to declare to the whole world that he is married and those pretty lads from here and from nearby villages may not as much bother him no more. And yet he realizes that he needed no wedding ring in order that he may not be bothered, for he could be faithful without the ring glistening in his fingers.

And so our faith to the Lord God is at times like the wearing of the wedding ring. Many of us wear the ring and yet our hearts are full of adultery, betrayal and lasciviousness. And yet there are those who never wore them and yet their faith to their marital bow remained unshakened like a giant cliff amidst the bursting waves.

Many of us profess to faith as we pray in the temples while many eyes are watching and yet in our hidden lives, we disparage faith like a woman scorned. It is merely prayers to the wind if in our hearts is not the glory of God but the glory of lust and wealth. To pray at times is merely to honor and glorify our selves.

Foolish it is for one to let their gold and diamonds shine in their hands and yet they are full of mischief and unfaithfulness. They are the ones who seek lusts like they are merely walking in the park and they disregard the words of God as easily.

Shall we become faithful merely in the eyes of men and not before the eyes of God? There is no escape from the inquiries of the Lord and His angels, and when the time comes when judgment shall be laid upon all men, we can never deny anything.

In the basking of high noon, we hear the words of the preachers essaying the truthfulness of the gospels, the exemplar kindness of Christ, and yet as we go to the streets we easily forget these lamentations and we merely watch while some lay naked in the streets and suffering the cold wind as darkness approaches each time. They are deaf to the whining of the hungered amongst us.

Greed is at most times a vice that bothers the purity of our soul and blinds our hearts from the suffering of our brothers and sisters who are caught in the storm of suffering and desperation. How we forget the widow who gave a penny and yet she had given almost everything she had. For oftentimes, we are the tax collector who is merely noisy with a pittance of his wealth clunking on a beggar’s tin can.

The widow is like the married man who wears no wedding ring for her faith may not be well known yet her faith is the greatest.

For what if we have not sinned and remained prayerful to the Lord, shall we be perfect and assure us the Kingdom of God? We are perfect if we are able to dispel the every day sins and yet we are far from the Gate of Heavens if we are greedy although we have not sinned actively. We have not gossiped but we are grievously imperfect still if we disregard the needy amongst us. We pray to God and have not murdered and yet we are still imperfect if we retain more than what is due us. We have not coveted and committed adultery and yet if we do not heed the call of those who are sick and dying, we are blind to faith. We may not have stolen anything in our life and yet when we are greedy, we remain farthest from the glory of the Lord.

We must love our neighbor the Lord God has once imbibed us and often we forget this. To love the neighbor is not merely to love those who are physically present within us and around us but it is to love every other one who lay naked in the street, to provide water to anyone who is athirst, to comfort the sick and dying. If we have not loved our neighbor, we remain farthest from the Gate even if we have followed all the rest of His commandments. How could faith alone save us when it is works that shall purify our souls?

We merely wear a wedding ring and not truthfully married if we do not take heed to the call of the Lord towards charity and the giving of alms. We must practice alms often so that our hearts may be purified. If possible, we must have works in a week. If in a week it is not possible, we must do it once in a month. If in a monthly basis we could not do this, then we must do it once in a year, in an amount relative to our wealth.

Nothing is far greater in faith than a man who has nothing and yet he gives almost everything in his hands.

If it comes to you to ask yourself that although you have followed every commandments of the Lord, what it is that you must do in order to be perfect? If you have been truthful to the all the commandments of the Lord, you must further be faithful by seeking to work for the Lord, to be a man of great charity and of alms, and then your faith may be perfect and the Gates of Heaven shall be well at hand.

We must wear our faith neither in our necks as a gold chain nor in our fingers as a wedding ring. We must take faith in our hearts and a good heart is one who hears the cries of those who are suffering.

Our love to the Lord God Almighty needs no signs or symbols. It needs our good hearts.

November 01, 2011

Strange Occurrences On One Strange Night

Strange Occurence On One Strange Night

Years after, the house of Hadja Saniya was graying and the paint on the walls subsided that there was an apparent darkness everywhere. When night comes, the darkness is more pronounced as silence complements the general dimness. The smell of old wood always lay heavy upon my nose that every smell of wood reminds me of the house. Dirt stuck to the decades old walls invites me always to stare at them and I reckoned then that the dark stains on them formed the shapes of men and other unlikely beings. The house was alive I thought then and it breathes into our lives every moment we happened to be there. In the night, these shadows become sharper that I thought I saw the shade of an old woman always while the lights are out and I lay there trying to find sleep, turning in my bed while cuddled inside heavy fabric, sweating profusely from fear of shadows.

I would sweat so heavily from warmth as I resisted the terrifying shadows of an old woman sitting just at the foot of my bed. There were times that the fear ate so much into me that I screamed and cried in the middle of the night. My father thought I was just missing my grandfather that at midnight, they would deliver me to my Uncle Mameng's house nearly ten kilometers away.
Of course, I would have to be back with my mother when school finally opened. The shadows finally came at lesser frequency and besides sleeping together with my brothers kept me somewhat reassured. If that old woman would strangle me, at least I would not be the only one to be strangled.
I could not tell if those shadows were really ghosts or spirits but I felt so sure that they breathe a life and they were unmistakably the shape of human beings.

My real sighting of a ghost came years later when I was just about ten or eleven years old. I could remember some particulars as I relate this to you now. It was near midnight, on one weekend, when most of the members of our household stayed wide awake to watch a television special; it was a late night movie if I am not mistaken.

Usually when the night comes, I had felt dutiful always to check the back door if they were safely locked and shut tightly. That night, before I sat to watch the show, I reconnoitered the kitchen and locked the door after reassuring that every chore in the kitchen has been done. As the show started, I felt a strong urge to relieve myself that I headed for the comfort room, situated just to the left of the kitchen. As I turned towards the direction of the kitchen, I saw a figure of a woman in white gown, with her hair down to her knees, walked pass the hall leading to the kitchen.

“Is someone still in the kitchen?" I asked.

"Everyone is here. Why?" my Aunt Coney responded.

"I just saw a woman in white walked by in the kitchen hall!" I exclaimed.

"Do not kid us like that." She warned.

"Really, I did saw a woman"

We all stared at each other and after a moment, we all scurried for the main bedroom. Everyone was blaming me for playing some wicked game on them and I kept on denying them.

"It must be your imagination." they all indicted me.

Half an hour later, we were back in front of the television while I was feeling so sick already from fear. I had no choice but to join them in the living room otherwise I would be alone in the room.

While the television was glaring, a sudden wind blew forcefully from the window and rain poured instantaneously as rumbling thunder shook the house. It was just another bad weather, as we disregarded the weather's tumult and stay stuck to the television show. Perhaps the wind was so whipping that small bits of stones were thrown at our direction, entering thru the window.

"Damn it. Someone is throwing stones at us," Coney said and we all peered into the window to investigate the malefactor and we find exactly nobody outside as more bits of stone came at us. The sound of thunder became extremely forceful that the lights went out. By this time, I could already feel the fear that had enveloped not only me, but also the rest of them; fear has a smell I realized that moment. In the middle of the living room, a small whirlwind was lifting the small stones towards the ceiling in a circular motion and while the stones circled above ground, the wind suddenly stopped and the bits of stone fell simultaneously to the ground. We all screamed and run to the bedroom.

It was strange that the day after, no matter how patently strange the experience we had the night before, everyone was merely jesting about it while Hadja Saniya simply dismissed it as the playful imagination of our minds, us who were still tender in the head. She was deep in slumber when the strange happenstance occurred. Even those who were present in that strange occurrence simply forgot about it, never mentioning it again. My Aunt Coney just did not talk about it. My brothers Nasrullah and Akmad and my sister Rimaisa just went to the yards and play the usual games, as if nothing happened. If I remember well, my cousin Nimfa and Mernisa was present then and similarly, they never took it so seriously despite the common terror we had felt that night. In contrast, that unusual night were etched forever in my mind.

The eldest who was there was Aunt Coney. I had expected her to convince the others that some spirits really played fun on us but she acted as if the strange night was merely a usual occurrence, and did go on with the ordinary chores, as if nothing happened, as if she was expecting such things to happen ordinarily. After that night in fact, she had slowly gained isolation from the rest of us, at least it was how I have observed her to be. She would walk along and would give me that iniquitous stare that I felt somehow uncomfortable that she had suddenly become so mindful of my presence that she would shout at me easily if for example I happened to touch the expensive jar in the living room.

I reckoned that she had blamed me for that strange occurrence in that one strange night.

(An excerpt from my unfinished novel “A Prophet’s Life”)