Friday, November 30, 2012

Congratulations Palestine | A statehood so well deserved

AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

Congratulations to our sisters and brothers in Palestine! We rejoice with you in this long overdue and much contested victory which you clearly deserved.

As reported at Avaaz.org four hours ago, The United Nations "voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as the world's 194th state".

We rejoice in this victory together with the 138 countries who voted in favor of Palestine. We rejoice in people's choice for peace, fairness and respect for people's dignity. 

"The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly:
Enough of aggression, settlements and occupation."
- President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian National Authority
29 Nov 2012











We were indeed delighted to be one of nearly 1.8 million people who signed a petition in support of the state of Palestine. And million others who have planted the seed of hope for freedom, peace and prosperity for the Palestinians.

With every hardship comes ease.

Mabruk Palestine!
Jumaah Mubarrak!
_________________________________________
Pic credit: Jason DeCrow/AP Images for Avaaz

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Take action for Palestinian independence now!


Bismillah.

This is possibly the lightest "weapon" we would ever need to carry in defending our Palestinian sisters and brothers.

Click on the link below and send in your valuable petition right now. Have husnul zan, that there is not a slightest effort and faintest niyyah that escape His sight and hearing. But surely our niyyah, hope and wishes in seeing a free and prosperous Palestine is far from faint. We are bold, for our God is kabir...Allahu Akbar and He is with us.

Go on, do your bit, bismillah!
http://www.avaaz.org/en/palestine_worlds_next_nation_f/?bpssIdb&v=19581****

Credit: Avaaz.org and Sister Naeemah 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Taqwa: God-fearing | Pious| Righteous | Best in conduct



Bismillah.

So yesterday we learned a new term from Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya An-Ninowy. He said we must strive to be a Taqi in the eyes of Allah. We deduced that it was in relation to having taqwa. And we browsed several versions of the translation for the word taqwa. The most commonly used meaning is God-fearing. 

Al-Tafsir.com offered several translations by some highly credible translators and we noticed a few versions i.e. most pious, most righteous, best in conduct, most god-fearing, most deeply conscious of Him, and most devout.

"Surely the noblest of you in Allah's sight is the one who is most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware." - from Al Hujurat:13

Obviously Allah is the best evaluator and there is no way we could play judge and say oh he/she has taqwa, he/she doesn't or he/she is a better Muslim, he/she is not. 

Still as a human being, the basic yardstick is by looking at a person's conduct. He/she behaves well and kindly towards other people, he/she doesn't.

In this regard, we reflect on how people had reacted to the recent incident that befell our relatives. Picture this. The local authority decided to partially demolish our home. No advance notice was given, although the authority kept harping there was and there were many witnesses on that fateful day. Anyway, it was interesting to see how people behaved and responded to the incident. 

Apparently a group of outwardly "pious" people who branded themselves as a party of "Islamic" people knew about the incident in advance but kept mum. Maybe because they thought it was an official order that must be carried out, fine. Then there was this rather "less Islamic" people (by the standard of a "pious Islamic" group) got news and immediately investigated and garnered whatever support they could to comfort and defend the victims. They were the first to come forward to check on their less fortunate neighbors, whereas the so called "Islamic" people continued to keep quiet and pretended nothing has happened. Whereas, several concerned people from a Buddhist association were also quick to turn up to offer whatever assistance needed. In fact they were the first organized group of people who made such an offer!

Allahu Akbar! I personally think those people who claim to be more "Islamic" than others, should re-read the Qur'an and ponder what religion is all about. Let us all check on ourselves, how "Muslim" we are, how good our conduct is rather than over emphasize on our Islamic image and talk rhetorically on religion. By the way, we have to put subjective terminology such as pious and Islamic in inverted commas because obviously the degree of a person's Muslim-ness and piety is very subjective.

Allahu 'alam. May Allah show us falsehood as falsehood and give us the strength to put it aside. May Allah enjoin us with those who have taqwaAmeen.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Year Resolution - Be a Taqi in His Eyes



Bismillah.

"Seek a good position with Allah, not with people, seek that you are called a Taqi (pious) by Allah, not by people. Try to get mentioned in heavens more than on earth. When you mention Allah Ta'ala, you will be mentioned by Him in a way He knows, and the inhabitants of heavens will mention you. This is a great honor. Bring tranquility to your soul by offering prayers always. Illuminate your heart with increasing the salat and salam on the Beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa salam. Keep your tongue always moisten with dhikr and your thoughts occupied with the remembrance of Allah."
- Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya An-Ninowy Al-Husayni.

Subhanallah, if you are looking for or considering some great stuff to be listed as your new year's resolution, look no further than what the venerable Shaykh Ninowy said. I reckon six resolutions below [which have been adapted from the shaykh's words], are all we need for the new year and each and every new year bi-iznillah.

1. Be a Taqi in His eyes.
2. Strive to be popular in heavens more than on earth by mentioning Him much.
3. Offer prayers to keep your soul tranquil.
4. Make more salawat for Rasulullah s.a.w.
5. Let the tongue busies itself with dhikir.
6. Diligently occupy your thoughts with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.

Credit: Sister Umm Noor Sidek
Pic credit: Iqrasense.com

Friday, November 23, 2012

9 & 10 Muharram 1434 Hijri | Tashu'a & Ashura Day


Bismillah.

Muharram mubarrak to all! This is our fourth time on Lisan al-Din where we observe the Tashu'a and Ashura day on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. Alhamdulillah.

Praise be to God for guiding us to this awareness. "Praise be to God, Who guided us to this; for we surely never have been guided if God had not guided us." (Surah Al-Araf: 43)

It's amazing how Allah could bring us out from darkness to a sphere of light and understanding. But not once do we attribute our understanding and awareness to our own intelligence. He guides whom He wills.  It is He who inspires in the heart, acts of good. 

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to fast and do the necessary.

Previous postings to remind us on the special practices for these two auspicious days InshaAllah:



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Religion is common sense

Bismillah.

Allahu Akbar! The lesson we learned from Ustaz Feisal on sahabah yesterday, came as a rightly timed reminder. We must choose our friends carefully and we must nurture friendship in the right manner to gain the pleasures of Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w.

There are indeed all sorts of people. There are people who may appear to be a learned "shaykh" but their actions prove otherwise. It's very clear that the Prophet s.a.w had stressed time and time again on the importance of akhlak. It's the fruit of any religious practices. Religion is not about doing thousands and thousands of salawat and doing some outrageous amount of awrad to earn a certain maqam or to have certain wali-like capabilities.

Acts of good deeds may end up being futile if one's intention is not right. It should always be ilahi anta maqsudi wa redhaka matlubi. So we say no thanks to anyone with poor adab and akhlak who tries to lure us with special wirid to make us a wali. It doesn't matter if he/she knows a great deal. We learned from our guides that "we are distant from Allah not because of our lack of knowledge, but because of our lack of adab."

What for, if people are hurt by your words, actions or presence? This we quote from BahareMadinah.com: "If people are hurt by your words, actions or presence, you cannot claim that you are faithful." That is very basic. It means religion is common sense really. And surely we know that the worst of people are those from whom people flee, for fear of their wicked tongue. Indeed we must choose our friends carefully and not be fooled by people who make all kinds of claims.

Dalai Lama says: "The best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other." But some people, despite claiming to be this and that, have the tendency to approach people for selfish reasons, to fulfill their needs, their lowly desires, let alone genuine love for the sake of Allah and Rasulallah. 

To them, we say:


We may not be as knowledgeable but we are wise enough to know that religion is common sense. And love too is common sense.

Allahu a'lam. May Allah protect us from fitnah.
Qul a'u zubirabbin nas 
Maalikin nas 
Ilaahin nas
"We seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
the King of mankind
the God of mankind..."

____________________________________
Pic credit: Stevenson

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ustaz Feisal on categories of 'sahabah'


Bismillah.

Speaking at Masjid Sultan in Singapore on the 4th of Muharram 1434 Hijri, Ustaz Feisal said "Muharram is all about reflecting on the episode of the Prophet's hijrah. And the one person who played a key role during the hijrah namely Sayyidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq."

He was none other than the first Islamic caliph. His name prior to accepting Islam was Abdul Kaabah (servant of Kaabah). He was one of the earliest people to have embraced Islam and took on a new Islamic name - Abdullah ibni Abu Qahafah. But as we know, he became more well known as Abu Bakar because he used to be shepherd of she-camels hence abu bikr -- father of camels.

And certainly he earned the honorable title As-Siddiq because he was always acknowledging Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, his prophecy and the magnificent event of Isra' wal mi'raj among others.

The hijrah event served as a clear evidence of who Sayyidina Abu Bakar really was. Consider verse 40 of Surah At Taubah recited by Imam Abdul Hakim earlier, where Allah had referred to Sayyidina Abu Bakar as "the second of two". He was regarded as the Prophet's companion. Allah recognized his role as the Prophet's companion.

"If you do not help him, [know that] God has already helped him, when the disbelievers drove him forth - the second of two; when the two were in the cave - when he said to his companion, 'Do not despair; verily God is with us'. Then God send down His Spirit of Peace upon him and supported him with legions you did not see; and He made the word of those who disbelieved the nethermost, and the Word of God was the uppermost. And God is Mighty, Wise." [Translation by Royal Al Bayt Institute].

Ustaz Feisal said, "There are many categories of sahabah. There are many kinds of sahabah as mentioned in the Quran i.e. ashabul yamin, ashabul maimanah. Likewise we want to be ashabul salawat [one who is committed to making salawat].

There are three types of sahabah. One who is of a higher stature than us. One from whom we ask for du'a and who makes du'a for us. And one who walks with us, having the same interest as we do.

Sayyidina Abu Bakar befriended Rasulallah s.a.w who was clearly of a higher stature than him in age, knowledge and spiritual position. When they were hiding in the cave, when Sayyidina Abu Bakar felt terrified by the event, he asked for the prophet's counsel and  prayer. Rasulallah s.a.w comforted him saying la tahzan, worry not. One who is on the higher position (i.e. the Prophet) makes du'a for his junior friend. And the junior serves (perform khidmat) and shows adab towards his senior. A true sahabi is one with whom you meet, walk together and shows affection towards each other. A true friend is one with whom you sweat together [experience hardship together] and not one with whom you simply click "Like" as what people do nowadays on Facebook without even meeting him/her, let alone experience good times and bad times together.

Sahabah is much more than that. It takes a lot more than the kind of friendship we foster so easily and superficially on the internet.
_______________________________
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
May Allah grant us the blessings of true friendships. Ameen.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ustaz Ali bin Haji Muhammad on 'Hijrah'


Bismillah.

"Praise be to Allah for having gathered us at this sacred venue. Where might have we been, had He not gathered us all here at this holy place." Ustaz Ali began his tausiyah at Masjid Sultan Singapore with words of praises for Allah, for the blessings, as we embrace the month of Muharram in the new year 1434 hijriyah

It is well known that Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had spent 63 years of his life, dedicating it in its entirety to the deen.  There were plenty of lessons to learn from the Prophet's struggles and that of his noble companions. It was, needless to say, a struggle which had been blessed and aided by Allah s.w.t. Even prior to him becoming a prophet, Muhammad was one very fine gentleman. He was insan Rabbani, one who benefited from His guidance all the way through. What could be better than having direct guidance from Allah?

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had been suffering from all kinds of pressures and objections during the 13 years spent in Makkah, until he was ordered to migrate to Madinah. Again, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the Prophet's hijrah.

Prophet Ibrahim a.s. said in Surah Al Ankabut verse 26: Inni muhajirun illa Rabbi, innahu huwal 'azizul hakim. "Indeed, I am migrating toward my Lord. Indeed He is the Mighty, the Wise."

Ustaz Ali said, the sole objective of one's hijrah should be for Allah's sake, alone. Our intention must be a correct one. Where is the hijrah directed to? For whose sake? And for what reasons? Our intention will primarily determine the outcome of the hijrah. Is our hijrah really meant for the sake of the Prophet and the deen which he propagates? Or is it driven by worldly desires, selfish motivations or to gain people's recognition? We will eventually reap the fruit of our hijrah based on our true intentions. 

Why did you think the Prophet was made to suffer from all sorts of tribulations? If Allah had willed, He could have made the Prophet the wealthiest of all people. Allah did not destine for him ease of livelihood because that would not have been a struggle.

Ustaz Ali then asked the audience the real meaning of success. Does it equate to the world's material wealth? Success to a Muslim means attaining the heavens. It is not measured by one's properties or social status etc. Success is reaped in the heavenly realm when Allah s.w.t greets us with greeting of peace - Salamun qaulan min Rabbin Rahim. What more could anyone wish for? 

One who is said to make a hijrah is he/she who drops all munkar. To that end, some people think we should migrate to a better place. But can we actually become a better person just by migrating to a better place? Is there a place which is completely free of shayatin, of trials and tribulations? Not even in holy cities like Makkah and Madinah. Some places may be sacred but people are not.

Those who are qualified as mujahid are those who fight against his/her own nafs (lower self). They who struggle in cleansing their heart, emotions and soul. They are the ones upon whom Allah would inspire to do good. Allah defines success as belonging to those who migrate in the true sense of the word. The mujahid strive with their wealth and selves to gain Allah's bounty.

According to Ustaz Ali, there are several types of hijrah:
  • hijrah maqani or migration of space - this is the most common type of hijrah but given the advancement of internet technology, we are able to be at many places virtually;
  • hijrah aqli or migration of the mind/principles - we are either not feeding the intellect enough or we are not using the intellect optimally. There used to be many excellent Muslim thinkers and inventors but these days we are thinking more about politics, money, position and other trivial matters instead of thinking about making the deen more successful.
  • hijrah ruuhi or migration of the spirit towards Allah.
In migrating towards Allah, we are supposed to train ourselves. We listen to nashid and qasidah to soften the heart and make it inclined towards good deeds. We spend time sitting in masjid and things like that. But make no mistake, our life is not all about doing such things. We must earn a living. And to do that, we must also know how to interact with other people.

Many people are knowledgeable but their hearts may not necessarily be clean. People tend to suffer from excessive pride (ujub/takabbur) and envy. Making zikir is one way to keep the heart clean. It is evident that we need to make hijrah ruhiyah

Concluding his tausiyah, Ustaz Ali said we must do four things:
  • Check our intention. Always have the right intention and keep purifying one's intention.
  • Be dutiful because being dutiful towards the deen is not a choice but is obligatory.
  • Must have yaqin. Must have certainty that Allah will offer His help instead of having confidence or relying on people's help. 
  • Must nurture one's love for Rasulallah s.a.w. To love Rasulallah means to honor the orders of Allah. So find ways that could cultivate our adoration towards the Prophet. If we don't love him enough, we won't follow him. If we don't love him, we might end up doing something because of a sense of duty, instead of doing things out of love. 
_________________________
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Reply the Lord's call" - Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi bin Hassan


Bismillah.

Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi bin Hassan led the majlis held at Masjid Sultan in Singapore yesterday, the 4th of Muharram 1434 Hijri.

At the outset of the majlis, Ustaz Hasbi spoke about the importance of having Rasulullah s.a.w as a role model for anyone who intends to fight or undertake jihad for the deen. "There is no better role model than the Prophet s.a.w. Allah praises the Prophet in the Qur'an not for his looks, his wealth, or race but for his akhlaq (noble character). The Prophet himself said he was a messenger sent to perfect a person's akhlaq. The objective of this majlis is for us to instill in ourselves the exemplary character and manners of Rasulullah s.a.w."

"May we belong with those who will be praised by Allah. It's not wrong to have such an intention, to have Allah praising us. Compliments from the mortals might flatter us, make us proud, have ujub or takabbur. But praises from Allah are a good thing. RadhiAllahu anhum wa radhu anhu. We want to be those who are pleased with Allah and Allah is pleased with them."

In reference to the opening recital made by Imam Abdul Hakim on Surah At Taubah verses 38 - 41, Ustaz Hasbi said we must reply to the Lord's call. Allah says ya aiyuhallazi na aamanu..."O You who believe." 

Are we just going to be quiet when it is Allah who calls upon us? When our parents call our name, we say 'yes mummy', 'yes daddy'. When our boss calls our name, we say 'yes boss'. When our captain calls, we say 'yes sir' and we would reply very loudly. What do we say when Allah says 'O you who believe'?  We should say labbaikallah humma labbaik

Ustaz Hasbi said if we can't say the phrase in full, we should at least say labbaikallah humma labbaik each and every time we hear people recite ya aiyuhallazi na aamanu. It is adab to answer Him. Only then would the heart maintains contact with Allah. We should keep replying to the Lord's call and feel it deeply until we shed tears because it's an honor to be addressed by Allah, for the Lord honors us and raises our ranks thereby.

In verse 38 of Surah At Tawbah, Allah asks us "O you who believe, what is wrong with you that, when it is said to you, 'Go forth in the way of God', you sink down heavily to the ground. Are you so content with the life of this world, rather than with the Hereafter? Yet the enjoyment of the life of this world, is in the hereafter, but little." [Translation by the Royal Al Bayt Institute.]  

So He is asking, why are you not going forth in the way of God? If we don't do that, He will punish us though we know not how exactly He will punish us. Allahu a'lam.

Ustaz Hasbi said, therefore, we must spend our time and energy to attend majlis Rasulullah, majlis salawat. Jihad is not just about going to war. It is also about striving to one's best ability in defending/promoting Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. If we do not hasten to do it, to help the Prophet, Allah Himself will help His Rasul. He will bring forth other makhluk (creations) to help His messenger as He had done when the Prophet and Sayyidina Abu Bakar were hiding in the cave. Allah made a spider help His messenger. And as in the story of ashabul kahfi, Allah let a dog guard them. So we ought to have firm resolve to help the Prophet s.a.w. and the deen

Before leading the congregation in reciting asmaul husna and solatul hajat (petitionary prayer), Ustaz Hasbi prayed so that we belong with those who would make an effort to defend Allah and Rasulullah; that Allah make our heart sincere, that we are sincere in all our affairs. 
_____________________

Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Hijrah, Jihad and Sahabah | Masjid Sultan Singapore - 4th Muharram 1434 Hijriyah

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we're very grateful to be among the audience at Masjid Sultan in Singapore today, 4th of Muharram 1434 Hijri.

The event was organized to commemorate the arrival of the new hijri year and to reflect on the struggles (jihad) undertaken by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w especially the episodes surrounding his migration (hijrah) to Madinah with one special sahabi (companion), the one whom Allah Himself has honored by making reference to him in the Qur'an - none other than Sayyidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq.

The beautiful majlis at the ever resplendent Sultan Mosque began with the recitation of Quranic verses 38 to 41 of Surah At Taubah by imam of the masjid, Ustaz Abdul Hakim of the Philippines, followed by tausiyah by Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi bin Hassan, Ustaz Ali bin Haji Muhammad and Ustaz Feisal. The majlis was made merrier with performances by several qasidah and mawlid groups including Maadihul Mustafa and the Singapore Haqqani Ensemble.

Highlights of the event, which started at 8 a.m. and ended at Dhuhur, was the congregational Solatul Hajat and the ijazah for Surah An-Nasr by Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi bin Hassan.

In the meantime, here are some amateurish photos taken at the majlis. Will be sharing notes from the tausiyah later InshaAllah. We've just arrived in KL, Alhamdulillah.

Masjid Sultan, Singapore
Fabulous Islamic events are being held here throughout the year
Event on 4th Muharram 1434 Hijri
Some of the guest speakers/presenters
Amer Areef taking wudhu at Masjid Sultan
(my nephew's first trip to Singapore)
Charming little boys known as the 'Muhibbur Rasul'
began singing qasidah at 8 a.m.


The Singapore Haqqani Ensemble
Collecting infa' for the deen
***
 "We must strive with our wealth and selves to earn Allah's favor."
"Those who are successful are those who migrate (hijrah

in the true sense of the word.
They are the mujahid. They who fight against their own nafs."
- Ustaz Ali bin Haji Muhammad


[To be continued InshaAllah]


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Al Mawlid | Light of the Universe



Bismillah.

Subhanallah. You know that sweet Turkish delight known as Rahat al-Hulqum (comfort to the throat), this is like Rahat al-Uznan -- comfort to the ears. Al Mawlid in my humble opinion, is like a gift to those who seek comfort in the remembrance of Rasulullah s.a.w.

If you have been reading Lisan al-Din this week, I think you may, by now, conclude that I am a big fan of Al Mawlid. They have been around for about a year but I've only discovered them like 3 days ago [heh heh better late than never]. Thanks to my mother who forced me to leave my lappy and catch them on TV Al Hijrah. MashaAllah.

I am posting this especially for our dear readers from USA. We've got more visits from America than Malaysia. Your presence is much appreciated. Barakallahu feekum!

Pray that Allah give Al Mawlid continued tawfiq and keep their intentions pure in gaining the pleasures of Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. It's amazing how Allah promised to replace all bad deeds of one who repents, with good deeds. May Allah include us among the penitents.

SallAllah Ala Muhammad.

*******

Al Mawlid:
Ustaz Kyrel al-Gayauwi
Amer Munawer Yusoff (formerly known as Amer Ruffedge)
Azan Addin Abdul Wahab (formerly known as Azan Ruffedge)
Zafri Nazarudin (formerly known as Zaf VE)
Abdullah Ahmad (formerly known as Lah VE)
Saiful Amir Abdul Wahab (formerly known as Pot Innuendo)
Abdul Mutalib Nahar (formerly known as Adeeb Fabulous Cats)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Give people a chance

Bismillah.

Where have I been? I am so last year. I didn't know about so many Malaysian celebrities re-embracing Islam, until several days ago. They all had some amazing stories to tell, mashaAllah. And I could relate to all of them.

From my own experience, if I could sum up two piece of advice to the "better Muslims" out there, it would be this:- 
1. Please don't be too quick to judge people based on their outward appearance. 
2. Please always have husnul zan towards anyone who appear less religious than you.

You must have heard about the story of Abdullah Taqi Takazawa, a Japanese ex-Yakuza tattooist who embraced Islam in 2006, performed pilgrimage in 2008 and now serves as imam at a mosque near Tokyo, and he is Tokyo's only native imam, subhanallah! Imagine if the dai'e had steered clear from him just because he looked fierce and had a body full of tattoos? Praise be to Allah, the brave and sincere dai'e [a Caucasian] approached Takazawa, gave him a pamphlet on Islam and taught him syahadah. And the rest is history.

Believe me, it means a lot to the "ordinary people" or people who might probably regard themselves as "bad", when a good, pious looking Muslim approach them in a non-judgmental manner. The gesture in itself is a dakwah.

The photo below means a lot to me, I mean a lot. I remembered the moment I stepped into Melbourne airport, I noticed a heavily bearded man, standing some 300 meters away, who almost instantly looked at me. I was with a girlfriend then. Before long, this man walked up to me and began chatting. I felt very nervous and out of place because he seemed to be a well mannered and learned elderly man. He turned out to be someone senior at a Bangladeshi government agency. It so happened we were on the same flight and he was seated in the row before mine. Without thinking twice, I left my girlfriend, changed my seat to sit next to him. We talked and talked all the way to KL, mostly about work and religion. I was so touched by the whole meeting that I gave him an Asma'ul Husna booklet I bought in-flight. It was funny, me giving him Asma'ul Husna?! But this man was so humble, he even asked me to write a prayer for him in the booklet. MashaAllah.

We said our goodbyes at KL airport and there he asked to take a photo together.

Brother Mohammad Nawsher Ali and me - 2001



Brother, if you happen to read this, know that you had inspired me more than you could ever imagine. May Allah grant you a long and fulfilling life. May you have another excellent new year. Thank you for all your prayers for me. Thank you for having given me a chance.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another year has gone | 1434 Hijri - Bismillah

Bismillah.

We embrace the new Hijri year with Bismillah. We learned from our guides that to say Bismillah is to attach ourselves to the Eternal. 

We have to attach ourselves to the Eternal lest we end up being stuck with the ego and remain grounded in the lower sphere of deceitful self.

The self tends to do things to please the creations more than the Creator. Some people read our musings, evaluate and then tell us 'you deliver'. But we are not keen on delivering anything. Neither do we pretend to be a mystic. We are weak and naive. One who simply write about things that move the heart. A heart which is not sophisticated. It is full of emotions, fluctuating from time to time. A heart which is in between His two fingers, so we laugh, we cry and write from the heart whatever its condition is. 

The past year, as in any year, was full of ups and downs, full of basthu and qabdhu moments.  Alhamdulillah

We now open a new chapter with bismillah and admitting la hawla wala quwwata illah billah.

Pray so that Allah keep our faith straight and strong, that we'll get closer to Him and His beloved Prophet s.a.w.

May it be a good year for us all - 1434 Hijri.
Ameen.


p/s Humbly asking for your du'a as I'm travelling this Awal Muharram holiday. May Allah provide generously, protect our safety and grant some useful knowledge. Ameen.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The deal we closed (Purchase Requisition No. 9111)


Bismillah.

As we close the year 1433 Hijri, let's remind ourselves of the deal that we have closed with the best Trader, the One who has bought our lives and possessions. The only One purchaser who would most definitely honor the trade arrangements. Allah sealed the deal in the Qur'an verse 9:111 (Surah At-Taubah).

"Surely Allah has bought their lives and their wealth from the believers, in exchange of (a promise) that Paradise shall be theirs. They fight in the way of Allah, and kill and are killed, on which there is a true promise (as made) in the Torah and the Injil and the Qur'an. And who can be more faithful to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in the deal you have made, and that is the great achievement."
- Translation by Mufti Taqi Uthmani (Credit Al-Tafsir.com)

So then, it's a done deal. It's just a matter of executing the trade. Sell our lives and wealth to the One buyer and redeem the payment later. Year in, year out, it's the same old business. But it's not supposed to sound dull or be dull. We have been asked to rejoice in the deal we closed. It's an achievement.

But Sayyidina Abu Bakar (radhiallahu anhu) was reported to have cried every time this verse was recited. He was thinking, we're a tarnished item. A defective good should not be traded, yet Allah promised a purchase. Subhanallah, Sayyidina Abu Bakar, it's no wonder he was As-Siddiq.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to live as we have been intended to, year in, year out, and make it truly an achievement. Either way, good or bad, it is still an achievement bi-iznillah.
Ameen.

Farewell to 1433 Hijri.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Al Mawlid | "Ingin Bersamamu" | Wishing to be with Rasulallah s.a.w

Bismillah

La hawla wala quwwata illah billahil aliyil azeem
What else can we say during trying times?
Who do we seek out, deep in our heart?
Madad Ya Sayyidi. Madad Ya Rasulallah.

I found solace in this lovely soothing song by Al Mawlid called Ingin Bersamamu. 

It's about yearning to see Rasulallah in a dream;
wishing to meet his honorable self;
knowing how very special he is;
that love exists because of him;
and praying so that Allah would increase our love and yearning for him;
to one day drink from his palm, so our thirst would be eternally quenched;
to gaze admiringly at his beautiful noble face;
wishing to be with him Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam; 
to be in his presence, that is our highest aspiration.





Monday, November 12, 2012

Al Mawlid | Soothes my soul



Bismillah.

Subhanallah. This piece of beauty has to be here for a thousand years. InshaAllah. 

Allah bless these young men and heighten our love for Rasulallah s.a.w through them. Ameen.

Al Mawlid is a relatively new Malaysian group, comprised of seven refreshed souls. They were, let us say, a different kind of band before. They used to call themselves V.E. or Voices of Euphonious. Well, their euphoniousness is still apparent.

A couple of members from former pop groups Innuendo and Ruffedge, have also cut all rough edges and morphed into Al Mawlid. Alhamdulillah indeed. "Verily Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves." - Qur'an.

The song you are hearing has been adapted from a super hit song Belaian Jiwa. Love of the mortal is now redirected to love for Rasulallah s.a.w.

Below is a rough translation. You know they say lots of love can get lost in translation. Anyhow, below is what Al Mawlid is singing from the deepest of their hearts. Their voice and the beautiful message therein soothes the soul.

***
No beauty supersedes, as far as my mind recalls
Never would it be gone
Wait I will, for as long as I live in this world
You know how much I love you
No angelical beauty could stand in
Only fate will tell
Ya Rasulallah
Ya Habibullah
Soothes my soul
***

Al Mawlid members:
Ustaz Kyrel al-Gayauwi
Amer Munawer Yusoff (formerly known as Amer Ruffedge)
Azan Addin Abdul Wahab (formerly known as Azan Ruffedge)
Zafri Nazarudin (formerly known as Zaf VE)
Abdullah Ahmad (formerly known as Lah VE)
Saiful Amir Abdul Wahab (formerly known as Pot Innuendo)
Abdul Mutalib Nahar (formerly known as Adeeb Fabulous Cats)


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life as is | Life goes on

Bismillah.

Life is such that He gives to each one of us as He wishes, as He wills. We do not have to go far to appreciate that. In a family of five, one or two members may appear to be more fortunate than the rest; one or two members may appear to be different than the others, as far as the physical eyes can see, as far as the outsiders might notice -- notice but at a glance. We know not what happens in someone's family or life for that matter because it's as dynamic as it can be. To each his own, they say. But to Allah we shall all return at the end of the day.

But then again, can someone who does 100 salawat be of the same rank as someone who does 1000 salawat?  It can't be because His work is such that, He said, He would give 10 good for 1. Who are we to want to claim more or argue if His apportionment is as such?

In any case, Allah is all knowing, Allah is fair even if it might not seem so to some people who are often quick to say "Oh the world is not fair."

The recent incident that befell my relatives is fair for all because there's a lesson for everyone and anyone who cares to look deeper. Something good always come out of His works. We have husnul zan towards our Creator and His actions. May Allah replace all losses with something a whole lot better. Ameen.

On a personal note, on behalf of my mother, we wish to say thank you to our representatives, family friends and families in Penang who are looking out for the affected family members. Each one of us can only do so much. Still nothing escapes His sight.

Life goes on. And we pray Allah will give them hidayah, tawfik, sihah wal afiah, 'ilm, fahm, rizq and so much more. One thing for sure, they are in a unique position where their prayers would have a better chance of being maqbul. Our thoughts are with them. Our prayers are for them.


Aunt & Cousin
(and uncles)
p/s

I was taken aback when the media described my cousin as 'Person with Disabilities'. The term never crossed my mind. Not once have I thought or regarded her in that light. To our family she is innocently pure. She may not have been capacitated to absorb information or knowledge as much as we do. But given her incapacities, Allah capacitated her tongue to be free of ghibbah (backbiting), lies, suspicion, slander, vain talk and the like. MashaAllah

May Allah forgive us all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The home of Wan Tahir | A true Gelugor hero


The home of Wan Tahir & Che Amah
(my maternal grandparents)
Helen Brown Road
Sungai Gelugor, Penang
circa 1930 - 1980
(click to enlarge floor plan)
Bismillah

Times like this, I really missed my late grandfather Wan Tahir. He was an excellent handyman. He was a fisherman prior to joining the Central Electricity Board. His two other major skills were carpentry and chiropractic.

He built the family home (above diagram) using mostly recycled timber. That's where I had spent my early childhood from 1970 to 1980s. My mother was born in that one and a half storey house. And so was I.

Wan Tahir helped a handful of young men in our village secured a job with the Central Electricity Board. He was also instrumental in keeping our neighbors safe during the Japanese occupation in Malaysia in 1941 (at that time we were known as Malaya). "There were many young ladies in our kampung (village) and very few men then", said my mother. "So Wan Tahir dug out a couple of underground hiding place for women and children."

After Wan Tahir had retired from the Central Electricity Board, he became a full time fisherman and chiropractitioner. I remembered being scolded by him every other day for being loud whenever he took his afternoon nap. I remembered watching him fix his boat on the beach and while I got carried away with my thoughts, his quick action saved me from being bitten by a sea snake. I remembered watching him sell fish. I remembered seeing him treat his patients for fractured arms. 

The home was a minimalist yet so full of activities. I remembered the little space where my grandma Maktok worked on her spice using a large flat mortar and pestle (batu giling); where she kept her pots, pans and piles of sarong (kain batik). I remembered where exactly the chicken coop and the jackfruit tree were. And how I would joyfully play in the rain and ride my grandpa's oversize bicycle.

A few years after Wan Tahir passed away, in the late 70s, we had to demolish his lovely home and built a new and smaller house about 50 meters away. This was to conform to the local council's plan for a more organized village settlement. My uncle took up that responsibility. Since none of us was as talented as Wan Tahir, my uncle had to engage a contractor for it. So a new home was built without the passionate touch of a multi-skilled man named Tahir bin Arif. 

I am just missing my grandpa and the beautiful kampung home he had built with his own two hands. More so now when the family home commissioned by my uncle has been partially crushed by the local council, for reasons which I'd rather not discuss here.

All we want to say to Penangites: consider carefully who you intend to vote for in the upcoming election. Outsiders and unworthy "leaders" who don't deserve to be among us, should be ousted for good. We need true heroes and not plastic politicians.

p/s I just remembered something, my Wan Tahir and Maktok were the only two people who called me Hada and not Ezza or Jaja like everyone else did.
Al Fatihah to Tahir bin Arif & Che Amah.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dua Ribu Dua Belas



Bismillah.

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Apakah dosa mengatasi pahala?
Sedang masa yang pergi tiada berganti
Khilaf yang terlepas melulu
Jahil buat pandangan jadi kelam, kelabu

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Apakah sebanyak itu istighfarku?
Cukupkah syukurku?
Memadaikah selawatku?

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Kalaupun sebanyak itu luka hatiku
Apalah dibanding dengan Rahmah-Mu?
Tiada terhitung nikmat kurniaNya

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Biarpun tersungkur dua ribu dua belas kali
Engkau pimpin tangan ini
Untuk bangun, berdiri, berjalan dan berlari
Oh Ilaahi

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Moga doaku melebihi
Tanda kehambaan diri
Insan yang wujudnya kerana dicipta
Papa kecuali kala diberi

Dua Ribu Dua Belas
Harapanku berganda berjuta kali
Kiranya Kau pandang dengan pandangan kasihMu
Kau titip redhaMu selama hidupku
Dan menerima kepulanganku dengan keampunanMu

************
E.Ismail
11/2012


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Inspiring moment in the least expected places

Hajjah Mastura 
Bismillah.

And I thought I could find inspiration in a meeting with the who's who in the corporate world. I thought wrong. The C-levels (the chiefs) at big corporations are not necessarily the most inspiring people we get to meet in the entire week or month.

Today I met Hajjah Mastura, the smart, more-than-just-a-cleaner lady. She's probably in her 50s. Omigod, she's a hajjah and I dream and dream about going for hajj.

I chanced upon Hajjah Mastura sitting  at the ablution area in my office restroom, reading one of her nine novels. She is a regular at the National Library which is a block away from our office. She uses three IDs so she could borrow nine books altogether and would read them in 21 or 15 days, then return them and borrow some more. That's her routine or rather lifestyle.

She was reading 'Biru Ungu Cinta' ['Blue Purple Love'] heh heh...how romantic. I said to Hajjah Mastura, our 'Chief Janitor Officer': "Your children must be avid readers too." She replied quite flatly, "No." And it sounded more like: "Hello, I am more cultured than them." But she quickly added proudly, "My eldest is getting her degree."

I don't think the Chiefs out there read as much. Not even the Chief Learning Officers, I bet. Not me. And shame on me.

Inspiring moments are truly precious. "Oh wow" moments are rare especially in office buildings. So what has this Chief Janitor Officer taught me? We must have both a profession and a vocation. They might not always be in sync, but pursue them we must. 

MashaAllah tabarakallah - Hajjah Mastura!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fastabiqul khairat | Be competitive and unstoppable

Bismillah.

Fastabiqul khairat was one Quranic buzzword mentioned by the Malaysian Prime Minister in the recent 2013 budget announcement. But of course there are critics who would deny or even condemn any good things some people try to do. Still for those who are intent on racing to do as much good deeds as possible, they would just forge ahead and let others race in talking negative, if they so wish.

At the end of the day we will all return to Allah who will be the ultimate judge. "To Allah is the return for all of you. Then Allah shall tell you about that in which you disputed." Those are the words of Allah immediately following His order on fastabiqul khairat in Surah Al-Ma'idah, verse 48.   

Let's see a few translations of the Quranic verse on fastabiqul khairat.

"Vie, then, with one another in doing good works."
- Muhammad Asad

"So strive as in a race in all virtues."
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali

"Strive, then, to excel each other in good deeds."
- Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani

Race, excel and good works are the key words.

We recently heard Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin speaking about the healthy competition between Saidina Umar and Saidina Abu Bakar (radiallahu an huma). The former tried, on many occasions to outdo the latter. Such positive race could bring much benefit to the deen. Habib Ali was speaking at the monthly Mawlid celebration at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal. Saidina Umar was asked why he had recited his night prayers in a loud voice. He said he did it on purpose to encourage his families and neighbors to wake up for qiyamulail and to chase the shaytan away. Saidina Abu Bakar on the other hand performed his night prayers in a soft voice. When he was asked the reason for it, the first caliph said, "There's no need to speak loudly to Allah whose Essence is All-Hearing." Their replies reflected the maqam they each occupied, explained Habib Ali.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w acknowledged Saidina Abu Bakar as having a distinctive edge over Saidina Umar. We all know that from the famous narration where Saidina Umar made an effort to turn up earlier than Saidina Abu Bakar, eager to inform the Prophet about his contribution for the deen. But Abu Bakar As-Siddiq outperformed Umar again, and everytime. 

Let's be competitive and unstoppable like Abu Bakar.
Let's make fastabiqul khairat our philosophy.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Worldwide Salawat upon Muhammad | Lessons learned


Worldwide Salawat
As at Maghrib in Malaysia - Monday 5th Nov 2012

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. I am delighted to be part of the global initiative on '1 Billion Salawat Day' (also known as 'Worldwide Salawat upon Muhammad Day') which began from Maghrib of the 4th of November 2012 (Sunday) until Maghrib of the 5th of November 2012 (Monday).

The goal was to get the Muslims to make 1 billion salawat. As at 7 a.m. Saturday, 3rd of November, about 64 million of salawat had been pledged. And today Monday, the stats have doubled. Ya Huu!

I have learned a lot from this noble, historical and highly commendable initiative. Thanks to the organizers and official supporters: Zaytuna College, New Islamic Directions, Al-Ghazzali Centre, United for Change, Celebrate Mercy, Deen Intensive Foundation and Seekers Guidance.

What have I learned? What can we learn?

1. I could do a lot more salawat than I initially thought.
2. It's good to set a daily target e.g. recite 3,000 salawat.
3. That I could really focus my effort on doing salawat if I wanted to.
4. It's better to make a simple/short salawat and be consistent than do a longer version but not consistent/regular.
5. It's a good idea to make a note of the number of salawat recited from time to time e.g. 500 done at 11 a.m. Monday - 1000 done at 5 p.m. Monday.
6. That Monday starts from Maghrib of Sunday so don't have to wait until Monday itself to start doing salawat. Likewise, can start reciting salawat on Thursday evening rather than wait until Friday morning.
7. When we set a goal to do a certain number of salawat say on Monday or Friday, we would appreciate the small window of opportunity, especially when the slot is almost ending as Maghrib comes.
8. My country (Malaysia) is pretty serious about making salawat. We were at number 8 on Monday morning and later in the afternoon overtook Egypt, to occupy the 7th place, out of the top 25 countries. [Kinda cool].
9. Wonder if people/governments were told that the World Bank would redeem 1 gold dinar for 1 salawat recited by a country, people would drop everything and rush to make salawat. And Governments would use whatever machinery they have to broadcast and campaign about the golden offer. If we but knew, 1 salawat is worth more than 1 gold dinar, only that it's intangible.
10. USA and UK are not officially a Muslim country but they are ranked 1st and 2nd when it comes to salawat! MashaAllah! Congrats guys! Err...wonder why Saudi Arabia is ranked 13th? And cheers to Germany for occupying #25. I never knew there're so many Muslims there conscious of the Prophet s.a.w. But USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Germany still have plenty of time to improve their salawat ranking further because it's not Maghrib yet over there.
11. If somebody captured a photo of planet Earth from Maghrib 4th Nov 2012 to Maghrib 5th Nov 2012, I'm pretty sure we look brighter and more luminous than we have ever been. But we would look prettier if  we did 1 billion salawat or more.

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

I pledge to make a daily report card of my salawat, InshaAllah.
On Samsung Galaxy Note II would be nice.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Living until the 11th hour | The meaning of servanthood

Bismillah.

It's November. It's the 11th month of the year. We've got about a month to go before we say adieu to 2012.  In about two weeks time, we'll be celebrating Awal Muharram InshaAllah - 1434 Hijri it will be.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we are still alive. That He has let us live for the most part of the year. You know we could have died in June or October or anytime, had He wished. But of course we do not care, we never really cared about death do we? Unless we are diagnosed with a fatal disease and told roughly when the 11th hour might be.

We are either living our dreams or trying to. We are wide awake to life and all its offerings. But let's not forget something. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said 'People are asleep, when they die, they are awake.'

The question then is how do we not sleep in this borrowed life. Or to phrase it differently, how do we stay awake to reality, to the things that really matter. Then there is this somewhat paradoxical statement from the Prophet - 'die before you die'. It may sound paradoxical but perhaps he (pbuh) wanted us to "die" now so that we would truly wake up now and not later, better now than later. 

Die in this context, in Sufi terms is fana or annihilation. It's a big word no doubt and I don't want to pretend as if I understood it better than you do. I am just thinking aloud and trying to make sense of the true meaning of life and death, the true purpose of our pneuma.

Fana, as defined by Shaykh Dr. Thaika Shuaib is "interpreted not as annihilation of the self against the worldly pleasures alone, but as dissolution of ego (nafs) and getting submerged in the love of Allah and existing to love and serve His creations."

So until the 11th hour arrives, let's not spend the minutes bloating the ego, let's fill the hours and days with actions which He loves - serving His creations. The Prophet s.a.w said, "The best of people are those that bring the most benefit to mankind."

Shaykh Dr. Thaika Shuaib will be one of many respectable speakers at 'The Sacred Path of Love' annual event in Singapore on 1st and 2nd December 2012. The theme for this year's event is: The meaning of servanthood.

For details: enquiries at soutilaahi dot com 
http://www.facebook.com/sacredpathsg

Saturday, November 3, 2012

4th Nov 2012 is 1 Billion Salawat Day | Love Rasul, pledge your salawat!


www.1billionsalawat.com
Bismillah.

We just pledged to send prayers on our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w on the worldwide '1 Billion Salawat Day' on 4th November 2012. Let's pledge to make salawat and be counted!

This is a good chance for the "silent majority" who does not prefer to take to the street and show their love for Rasulullah without adab, by acting in the ways that might not be pleasing to the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam.

Pledge made as at 7 a.m. Saturday 3rd Nov 2012
We can do better than this.




Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad