Friday, August 31, 2012

Thank God for Malaysia | My country turns 55


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. It is He who chose on which land we shall live and die. I say shukran lillah for having been born in Malaysia. Yes I am patriotic but you should know that my mother is 100 times more patriotic. We are both very grateful for this country, yes, and I wish to record my personal gratitude here. This country and its people have given me so much that it's a sin if I do anything unpatriotic. Being patriotic, to me, means being grateful.

The first time I tasted the generosity of its government was when I was 9 years old. I was given free breakfast in school for a couple of years. At 11, I enjoyed a free pair of spectacles. Though I couldn't understand then why some people were concerned about my eyesight. I also remembered the unending free dental treatment. Hated it but it was for my own good, no doubt. I cannot imagine being born in a less fortunate country, my teeth and smile wouldn't be as pretty. I also enjoyed a good education. Was in the bottom three at 7, but was top ten when I was 12. As a village girl I never dreamed of being able to speak a foreign language, but Island Girls' School changed that. Not nearly as good as my peers, still I am forever thankful.

Then they sent me to the best secondary school in town. At 15, because I did well in my exams I earned 2 scholarships that made me a few hundreds richer each month.  And another scholarship when I was 17. And hey they let me fly to the U.S. when I was 19 and sponsored my studies abroad. Would I be given such privilege if I was born in another country? Don't think so!  Then they paid for my airfare to attend a job interview even before graduating and secured me a job. How generous! Then I started working with a government-linked company where I've earned plenty, plenty of bonuses. Alhamdulillah

Just when I needed it, a policy was in place to let me use some of my pension fund to further my education. Oh the glass has never been half empty for me. I know some friends who have migrated and admitted to being unpatriotic. They couldn't appreciate the significance of nationalism. But like it or not they can't run away from being identified as a Malaysian. Do they not want to be counted as a Malaysian when in Makkah for example, where people think highly of this country, for our good manners and for being a Malaysian?

I started voting when I was 21 and never missed it. I don't care if other people want to talk about politics, this and that. All I know is that I am very grateful for the good things I've been given, and for the good life I've been living here in this land of sunshine. So I will always vote with thanks. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. My pledge for this country as it turns 55, I shall give more good than I have taken InshaAllah. 

And you dear visitors, if you have even a tiny speck of appreciation for this blog, I don't ask for much, suffice that you remember, this is a Malaysian blog. Thank you.

May Allah protect this country and its people from people with evil intentions and from calamities. May Allah preserve the peace and prosperity that we have been enjoying so far. May Allah continue to nourish this country with barakah. May Allah make this country a blessed land where we may continue to practise Islam fully and freely. May Allah give us more good here in this dunya and in the hereafter. Ameen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The tomb of Sidi Ahmed Zarruq desecrated!


The holy tomb of Sidi Ahmed Zarruq
at his zawiyah in Misrata, Libya

By Allah, we are appalled at the heinous crime committed against awliyaAllah. Allah's words are true. Whoever declares war against His wali, be ready to face His wrath!

The most coward of all cowards are those who fight against a dead man. The most foolish of the ignorants are those who fear the impact a dead person might have on the living that they would attempt to destroy his remains.

The awliyaAllah are indeed alive with or without a tomb, for their tombs as said Mawlana Jalaludin Rumi, are in the hearts of people. Roses may wilt and fade but who can ever disavow its fragrance? 

As a lover of awliyaAllah, the least we could do is ensure their teachings are preserved and practiced for the longest time.

We pray Allah Al-Muntaqim, Allah Al-Qahar will manifest His wrath onto the criminals. Ameen.

26th August 2012: The maqam trespassed
and the remains of the shaykh had been removed.

News as of 8th Sept 2012 as relayed to us by a sister in London: The Sunni brothers of Libya have found the blessed body of Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq unharmed and intact. It is now being kept at a secret location. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wall of faith


What would the wall of my faith look like when I am being taken by the Supreme Creator? What would yours look like?

Ramadhan has just left us. It's quite likely and hopefully our faith is pretty well cemented and sturdy. But I am somewhat disturbed as I think about my wall of faith because one of my aunt has just passed away rather unexpectedly. But then again all deaths are unexpected, we cannot fathom at what stage of construction our wall of faith would be when we go. How tall might it be? How strong?

Another reason why I am thinking about my wall of faith is because it's very disheartening when we try to build something solid, there is always someone who keeps swinging the hammer against our wall. And it's absurd because they do that quite consciously as they put in continuous effort to strengthen their own walls. How selfish and so not responsible. We are supposed to be reinforcing one another's wall. But people have the tendency to be self centered, they want to keep their cake but eat other people's cakes.

I may be a little discouraged about this but I am grateful because today I discovered an Arab who did not know any habib or shaykh. We are talking about an Arab living in an Arab country mashaAllah. So let's count our blessings.

By the way, my aunt married my uncle when she was in her mid-40s. My uncle was in his early 50s. They got married at the age when most people had written-off their chance for marriage. But God in His Mercy gifted them with a son when people thought it was impossible for her to have a baby at such a late age. Yesterday she died on her son's lap, at home, while they were having their regular bonding session, just the two of them.

She was perhaps just laying another brick on her wall of faith, building it in the fashion that the Lord had wanted it for her. That she should build it just high enough until her son was about 15 years of age. That was one of the main purposes of her wall and Allah knows best. Each of our handiwork is unique and exclusive as He wants it to be. As our Creator and the creator of our actions, Allah wants us to construct a purpose-built structure in the short time that He lends us. 

Verily, we are all nothing but a builder of faith. At the end of the day we'll have to report to the Supreme Architect, Allah Azza wa Jala. And hopefully we'll not be among those who'd be questioned for trying to break someone else's wall.

Inna lillah wa inna ilai hira ji'un
Al Fatihah

Monday, August 20, 2012

1st Shawal 1433 Hijri in Kuala Lumpur

Masjid Khalid Al Walid
Kuala Lumpur
1st Shawal 1433 Hijri

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Praise be to Allah for allowing us to embrace this day of victory yet again. We know not how long we shall live and in what circumstances we shall live and die. On Eid morning, after the congregational prayers at Masjid Khalid Al Walid, the jemaah performed solatul janazah for a woman. Inna lillah wa inna ilai hira ji'un.

Imagine how her family must have been feeling. Our heart and prayers are with those who are not in a position to rejoice. And also for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria and the Rohingya of Myanmar, especially. They are on our mind as we repeatedly sing this verse of the Eid takbir:

La ilaha illallahu wahdah 
sadaqa waqdah
wa nasora abdah
wa a'az zajundahu wahazamal ahza bawahdah
La ilaha illAllahu Allah Hu Akbar
Allahu Akbar walillahil hamd

"There is no God but Allah, the One. His words are true, Who help His servants. And honor the Muslim armies by defeating the Ahzab force. There is no God but Allah Who is the Greatest. All praises and thanks are for Him."

Indeed, we pray for Allah the Almighty Al Qahar, Al Muntaqim to manifest His immense power and defeat our enemies...defeat our enemies, O Allah, confuse them, weaken them, invalidate them, O Allah overthrow them as You had defeated the Ahzab! And grant victory to our oppressed friends so that they could truly celebrate Eidul Fitr as peacefully and as joyous as You have decreed for some of us. And for that we say Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. 

Looking smart for Eid is a sunnah
Ketupat - rice cakes wrapped in Palas leaves
- a must have for the Malays during Eid

A replica of a traditional Malay house well decorated for Eid

Allahu Akbar wa lillahil hamd
Kullu am wa antum bi khair!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eid Mubarak 1433 Hijri / 2012


We heard the much adored Ustaz Don Daniyal spoke about 'Syawal as a Victory' on TV Al Hijrah last night. MashaAllah tabarakallah, it's such a great show. In a nutshell, here are the list of sunnah acts that we could do on Eid.

1. As soon as Ramadhan ends, it is sunnah to glorify Allah:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillah hil Hamd
Allahu Akbar kabira walhamdulillahi kasira 
wa subhanallahi bukratan wa asila
la ilahaillahu wala naqbudu illa iyyahu mukhlisin nalahuddin
walau karihal kafirun
la ilahaillahu wahdah, sadaqa waqdah,
wa nasora abdah
wa a'az zajundahu wa hazamal ahza bawahdah
la ilahaillahu wallahu akbar
Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd

We may only recite this right until the moment the imam perform takbiratul ihram for the Eid prayer, unlike Eid Al-Adha where we can do it for a couple of days.

2. On the morning of Eid, we are encouraged to take a bath with niyyat for Eid. 

3. We are recommended to put on our best clothes, not necessarily new, but clean.

4. It is sunnah to eat something sweet before leaving for masjid e.g. 3/5/7 dates or if you run out of dates, said the humorous Ustaz Don, just have cookies.

5. One is also recommended to walk to the masjid.

6. On meeting one's friends, wish one another with the greetings as practiced by the sahabah: Taqabballahu minna wa minkum.

Ustaz Don said it is acceptable to give out small token of cash (known as duit raya in Malay) as a sign of one's rejoice. We rejoice on our victory for having completed Ramadhan because it is an act of worship that will be rewarded by the Lord Himself. It's wonderful how we could discipline ourselves in fasting from Subuh when no one is watching or checking on us yet we simply start fasting at the appointed time. And when we are happy, we naturally have the tendency to give away to make others happy too.

However, we are also urged to continue performing the ibadah that we have become accustomed to in Ramadhan and one of the easiest and most recommended practice is zikir. Ustaz Don said we should do salawat and recite lailaha illallah. We learned from hadith that Allah promises a heavenly reward for those who recite la ilaha illallah so for that reason we should not worry too much about anything else but to have faith in His promise.

6. As we all know, it's sunnah to fast 6 days in Shawal. We need not start on the second day of Shawal. It doesn't have to be done consecutively. We could do it on any days when we are not visiting people during the day. And as for women, it's permissible to perform concurrently to replace those days that we have missed. But if you so wish to separate the wajib and sunnah, that is also fine said Ustaz Don.

Taqabballahu minna wa minkum. Taqabbal ya Kareem. May Allah accept it from us and from you. 
Eid Mubarak to all our respected Muslim visitors.

Kepada semua pembaca, rakan taulan dan saudara-mara, di kesempatan ini, saya memohon maaf atas apa jua salah dan khilaf. 
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. 
Maaf zahir dan batin.

Dengan ingatan tulus ikhlas,
1 Shawal 1433 Hijrah

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The fruit of Ramadhan


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

The ustaz at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid tonight talked about nafs mutmainnah as one of the fruits of Ramadhan. It is the outcome of having taqwa, as a result of the intensive training undertaken in Ramadhan. He said we should by now ask ourselves, are we at nafs amarah, do we belong with the people who commits transgressions willfully and yet feel not guilty about it? Are we at nafs lawammah, one who struggles in being obedient and realizes his wrong doings afterwards? Are we at nafs mulhimmah, a soul that is inclined to do much good? Or can we say we have attained nafs mutmainnah? One upon whom Allah is pleased and one who is well pleased with the Lord - the only soul who will be invited to Jannah. Indeed, we should be aiming for nafs mutmainnah.

We are now at the stage of Ramadhan when we should sprint to the finishing line. It is also akin to playing in the "injury time" or extra time where we should feel more pressured and encouraged to give our best. To complete the number of days to fast, to fulfill the requirements of fasting before the time comes for us to glorify Allah. Eid, the day we are all counting down to and so eager to meet is the day or time time meant for glorification of Allah. It's the time to magnify our Creator, the time to say the phrases of takbir. Allahu Akbar, Allah Hu Akbar wa lillah hil hamd.

May Allah forgive me and my shortcomings this Ramadhan so far. May Allah forgive us. May we sprint to the end of Ramadhan in the way that is pleasing to the Lord. Ameen.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maghfirah all around in Ramadhan


Alhamdulilah wa shukrulillah.
The ustaz who gave Ramadhan tausiyah at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid tonight talked about this blessed month as a month of maghfirah - "Ramadhan syahrul maghfirah".

Quoting a hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w. the ustaz said very simply: "You fast, you get His forgiveness, you pray taraweeh, you get His forgiveness, then at night you pray some more qiyamulail, you get His forgiveness, and when you make istighfar, you get His forgiveness. Anyone who fast and observe the Ramadhan hoping for His forgiveness may be hopeful but unlucky are those who does nothing and waste this opportunity."

So in short, it's maghfirah all around in Ramadhan and maghfirah abound in Ramadhan.

Ramadhan kareem!

p/s Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, this is the 1000-th posting on Lisan al-Din. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept our little deeds and grant us His forgiveness and mercy. Ilahi anta maqsudi wa redhoka matlubi.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On sadaqah and shahwat


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

The guest speaker at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid last night spoke on the acts of sadaqah. Sadaqah is especially encouraged in this blessed month of Ramadhan. The ustaz quoted a hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w who gave examples of sadaqah for all of us who each has our own capacity in giving, or the lack of it. In short, the hadith said we should contribute money or wealth. If we are short of cash or anything material to give away, we could contribute with our strengths or talents. If our physical is incapacitated, if we are old and weak and have nothing to offer physically, we could contribute 'verbally' by enjoining people to do good e.g. encourage the young to go to mosques etc. If we are too shy to open our mouth to do that, we could at least refrain ourselves from doing what is prohibited, and that is also a sadaqah.

This morning, during Subuh lecture at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid, another guest speaker talked about shahwat. Shahwat (desires) is the plural for shahwatul [that's a new word for me]. It's not a bad thing, said the ustaz. One just need to manage it properly, in fact, it's wrong to think that one should abandon it completely. We need shahwat in our everyday lives. But it does not only pertain to sexual desires as many people think. The term may be better understood as 'a desire to do something'. You can only get up and make yourself clean the house if you have shahwat for it, that is if you desire to do it in the first place. The common type of desires are: women, children, cattle and horses (or in the modern context - cars), and gold/silver. Although these are permitted and acknowledged by the religion, we are reminded that these are merely decorations for dunya, and we should look farther to that which is everlasting in akhira.

Wallahu a'lam.
Let's give more of our possessions and/or give more of ourselves. And desire more of a good thing for the hereafter. Ramadhan Kareem!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bismillah, donate to save Syria!


"SKT Welfare is leading the relief work for the Syrian people under my guidance. I encourage you all to support their work and donate the best of what you have." - Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Surely we all love the inheritors of the Prophet s.a.w. We all love Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi. This is the time to express our love for him and the noble cause which he leads. Though many of us have not set foot in Syria, its sacred scents have reached us through the lights of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Al-Arabi to name but one supreme venerable scholar. 

Do without your extra Eid outfit to sponsor an orphan in Syria. Do without the extravagant Eid meal you are planning to have to sponsor a teacher, a doctor or a family of victims instead. Do without what you could do without. Do less of the things you tend to go overboard with during Eid. Donate. Do help save Syria. Bismillah!

Sponsor an orphan at £32
Sponsor a victim family at £141
Sponsor a teacher in the refugee camp at £64
Sponsor a food basket at £96
Sponsor a doctor at £1,603
Sponsor a field hospital at £22,450
Sponsor a medical kit at £865

Choose one if you could only choose one of the above. Bismillah!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Be grateful for your parents | A touching Eid story


A story about Fizi and Ahmad, two orphans who celebrate Eid in their own special way. 

Fizi, a visually impaired boy, decides to accompany Ahmad, his buddy (who has a speech impairment) to go back to the latter's hometown in Segamat. When all other orphans in their hostel have left for the Eid holiday, they make a last minute decision because Ahmad has been missing his mother terribly. And their adventure begins. But as expected, bus tickets are sold-out. Ahmad then comes up with an idea to take the train. They hired a cab to the train station but there's only one ticket left. They later overheard a conversation about a truck driver heading for Segamat, so they sneak onto the grocery truck. When the driver discover these two young passengers, he takes pity and drop them at their destination - a mosque.

They arrive in time for Eid, take a shower and get dressed in the mosque. Ahmad then guides Fizi to his mother's grave, saying: "My mother is your mother too!"

Credit: BERNAS - a key player in the Malaysian rice industry, the sponsor of this Eid advertisement

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Laylatul Qadar | Mark your calendar


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

The Ustaz who gave tausiyah at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid tonight talked about the virtues of Laylatul Qadar and the dos and don'ts. And most importantly, the reliable tip given by Imam Al-Ghazali on the tentative dates for Laylatul Qadar. He said, for those who had started fasting on Friday, Laylatul Qadar would most likely fall on 27th of Ramadhan. For those who began fasting on Saturday (as in the case of Malaysia) the blessed night might fall on 23rd of Ramadhan, which is 2 nights away because tonight is the eve of 21st Ramadhan.

However, we are supposed to be istiqamah on all 10 nights. And we are encouraged to make as many salawat as possible so that by the blessings of Rasulullah s.a.w we would be granted the precious gift of Laylatul Qadar. We are also encouraged to eat half of our usual portion so that we will not be too heavy and sleepy. The men are strongly urged to sleep away from their wives, for obvious reasons. But if you are stubborn you can sleep with your 'Layla' until the morning comes, said the ustaz, not me [heh heh...]

O Allah, we ask for Your great bounties, not on account of our worship because our ibadah is tainted and tarnished all over, but we ask on account of Your Generosity. 

Allahumma salli wa salim wa baarik alaih.

p/s But I thought that Layla joke was kinda sexist. People should know that there are many Laylas out there who are more like Rabia. Sorry, devout worshiping is not just for men only.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ramadhan "3rd game"


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah we are about to wrap up the second phase of Ramadhan. The imam at Masjid Khalid Al Walid, in his tausiyah tonight, likened the last 10 days of Ramadhan as the "3rd game". He congratulated the jemaah for having made it in the "2nd game" - that we're able to go through the second 10-days of fasting and perform teraweeh at the masjid. I think he purposely chose the word "game" as a buzz word in keeping with the London Olympics. 

Let's think of its positive similarities. To compete well in the Olympics one needs consistent strenuous training and countless competitions. An athlete would have to give up lots of pleasurable things and idle time in favor of a strict and highly disciplined sporting life. There is a lot of sweat, pain and tears before a sportsman could taste the sweetness of victory.

Ramadhan is also known as 'Madrasah Ramadhan' where believers experience tarbiyah (lessons) in performing the obligations of the holy month. The training of Ramadhan is as strenuous as one makes it to be.  We have to be patient in giving up plenty of things and our routine in the month is much more disciplined than all the other months. We get up for sahur/suhur/sehri in Ramadhan, a small window of time when we sleep passed in the other months. We compete with ourselves. We also compete among ourselves in trying to do more. Consistent worship coupled with a pure intention would allow us to taste the sweetness of iman, bi-iznillah May Allah grant us the tawfiq enabling us to win a Ramadhan medal. The medal awaits us in the last 10 days of Ramadhan.  

Shaykh Ninowy, in his lecture at Jamie Masjid in Canada last month said, we should strive in Ramadhan and evaluate ourselves if our name makes it to the list of names whom Allah grant protection from the hell. The shaykh said, on every night of the last ten days there will be a list of names published for that special exemption. On which night will your name make it on the list? Or if you are counted at all? 

We have just observed the occasion of Nuzul Qur'an, and I quote a few salient points Shaykh Ninowy said in regard to Kitabullah. He said, the shari'ah does not expect us to memorize the book, although it is commendable. There is no verse in the Quran saying "why don't you memorize the Qur'an?" What is more important is tadabbur (contemplate) on it. It is not only for tabarruk or to decorate the shelf in our homes, but to decorate our hearts and for practice.

The imam at Masjid Khalid Al Walid repeatedly said his tausiyah was first and foremost directed to himself. And I say the same.

Allahu a'lam.
Ramadhan Kareem!