Monday, December 31, 2012

Let's begin with a "BA" | Bismillah

Bismillah.

One small but important habit I learned from my association with one senior lady in the tariqa who in turn picked it up from the honorable Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. [May Allah grant him a long life and may we continue to benefit from his regular visits to Malaysia and his sohbet.]

That is to always begin writing our notes with the Arabic letter "ba" for Bismillah. The shaykh is known to even write "ba" prior to signing his name.

We have mentioned this before that when we say Bismillah, we attach ourselves to the Eternal. It's a heavyweight fact if we care to contemplate on it.

May Allah increase us in knowledge and gnosis.
Ameen.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 - Let's be outstanding


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah, I found this awesome gift in my postbox today (Wednesday/Boxing Day) - a gift from a generous soul in America - Becky of 'Weaving Influence'.

I thought, initially, to wait until I have finished reading it and compose a proper review of it, before mentioning it here. But then I thought I'd better suggest to people to get it and read it so we could start the new year with a better frame of mind as to what an outstanding organization is. No, we don't need to be one of the Chiefs (the C-levels) or anywhere near it, to be concerned about outstanding organizations.

As an individual, we, whether we want to admit it or not, we are concerned about our performance - at work, at home or even at play [Ahah!]. As a Muslim individual we are taught to be concerned about our performance as a believer - if we are better today than we were yesterday, if we are doing more in all two aspects of our relationships: with our Creator and with His creations i.e. people - Hablum minallah hablum minannas.

I have only read the first chapter (as of now) which the author, Karen Martin calls 'Cracks in the Foundation'. In the opening chapter, she talks about chaos (defined as random unpredictable variation) which is often self-inflicted and could destroy excellence. That we need four basic foundations i.e. clarity, focus, discipline and engagement. Together they would function as a good platform for three key behaviors which are needed to create an outstanding organization, namely problem solving, continuous improvement and resilience.

Well, those terms/concepts are nothing sophisticated, you might think. But management theories need not be sophisticated all the time. It should be practical and workable. And obviously a book should not be judged by its first chapter alone. The first chapter is just a teaser. Having said that, I will say that I was trained at uni [where I studied Publishing] to judge a book by its cover/outer appearance, first, even before we go to the first chapter.
  
I thought the cover jacket was inviting. The word 'outstanding' appears to be shouting at you and its message is appealing, it's like saying "hey, you think you know what outstanding is, think again, read this book." So in that sense the book is successful in enticing potential buyers/readers.

And then I flipped the book to feel its weight and sniffed it. [Yes we were taught to sniff books!] Just smell and acknowledge it, that's all. Not that a bestseller has a particular winning smell. The book smelled like milky-vanilla to me. OK fine, whatever as long as it smells good. You will not appreciate this sniff test until you find one which is foul-smelling. Then you would want to check in which country the book is printed etc. 

I also liked the color the book designer had chosen for the hard-cover - pastel baby blue - something different and unexpected. It evokes a sense of innocence like baby-ish which is significant because problems could be solved more easily if we have an innocent and curious attitude like a child. 

Now, let me sign off and continue reading the book. The new year is just around the corner. Let's make an intention to make efforts to be an outstanding person. Remember the call to prayer (azan) hayya 'alal falah meaning 'rush to success'. To be outstanding is to be successful, or the other way round. It works both ways, methinks.

Lastly, I'd like to remind myself that as a Muslim, anything we do (e.g. to be outstanding) we do it to win His redha so that Allah would be pleased with us - Ilahi anta maqsudi wa redhaka matlubi.

Yours faithfully,
Eza
[Exa - Miss Quintillion - 10 to the power of 18 : )]

p/s 
The next time you go to a bookstore, pick up a book, hold it, flip it and sniff. Don't be shy...heh heh

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chill and be blessed


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We've been through lots together since 2009 until this year 2012 which is coming to an end. I cherished the ups and downs, the tears and laughter, the wisdom and even foolishness. 

We have plenty in common.

In sharing the passion and thirst for knowledge and good counsel. In being ourselves. [Thank you for letting me be my vulnerable self.] In responding to one another in a good way. [When my laptop got flooded! And you cautioning me when some people tried to fool me.] In sharing our loss [Almarhum Shaykh Raja and all other shuyukh we all adore.] In loving the habaib and shuyukh and being excited about their presence. In understanding and accepting each other the way we are.

Oh, pardon me, I am being melodramatic. I am but a 40-something woman remember? Heh...heh...
And its year-end ok.

Thanks for putting up with this big sister of yours whose mood fluctuates according to the moon cycle. And for being patient with my hadhayan  (crazy nonsense). Someday when I am gone, you'll miss me, I hope.

This last weekend of 2012, I wish you and your loved ones loads of happy times and may you remain blessed always and forever.

And just chill. Let your hair down. Put your feet up and just chill.

Sunset on Princess Beach

Notice the ships?
"The  great difference between voyages,
rests not with the ships,
but with the people you meet on them."
- Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919)

Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf at Masjid Mu'adz bin Jabal - 28 Dec 2012



Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were indeed delighted to see Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf again yesterday. He graced the weekly majlis ta'lim at Masjid Mu'adz bin Jabal organized by Darul Murtadza of Kuala Lumpur. Another special guest present last night was Habib Ali's father - Habib Abu Bakar bin Salim Al-Hamid, mashaAllah. To say that Habib Abu Bakar is proud of his son for the works that Habib Ali has been doing for the deen - would be a gross understatement.

Habib Kazim spoke in his usual animated and eloquent style. He reiterated some basic practices we heard him mentioned at Masjid Baitul Aman before, about doing simple and basic practices which could bring forth tremendous benefits.

Beginning his tausiyah he said (as interpreted by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin bin Abu Bakar al-Hamid): Praise be to Allah for His guidance (hidayah) that we are granted lights (nur) from Allah that we are among the followers of Prophet Muhammad [s.a.w]. It is evident that this majlis is one which Allah favors and that a deed which He favors is one in which you are consistent (istiqamah) even if it be little. And you are doing just that. You come to this majlis every week consistently, so know that your actions are pleasing to Allah. It is never a waste because what you learn or hear ultimately becomes a guide (hidayah) for you to be closer to Allah.

Allah invites us to trade with Him - a trade which guarantees an everlasting reward. Allah makes such an offer with mercy (rahim) and love. He [subhanahu wa ta'ala] said: "O you who believe, would you like me to show you a trade that could save you from severe torments?" We are invited to share a 'trade' with Allah by way of having faith (iman) in Allah and Rasulallah [s.a.w] and to trade with our properties and selves. It is an offer made with much mercy (rahmat). 

Similarly, we could see how Allah is merciful when issuing a commandment for the believers. One example is on the requirement to fast (siyyam). Instead of just giving out tall orders, Allah explains that siyyam has not been instructed to us alone, and that it is only for a month and even if one is not able to perform it, one is given some concessions. Allah wants to make things easy for us. 

The same goes with zakat. Allah did not immediately say: 'you must give zakat'. He first explained the states of the recipients i.e. the faqir and all the eight asnaf (the rightful candidates for zakat). And then Allah said, "it's obligatory upon you".

There was an incident as mentioned in the Qur'an where the Prophet did make a mistake but Allah in His mercy did not in the first instant pointed out his mistake, instead He first mentioned His pardon towards Rasulallah [s.a.w]. This was in relation to an issue on war captives.

We could also see Allah's merciful approach in issuing the commandment on hajj. He, in His boundless mercy, first mentioned the times/months for hajj before saying about it being obligatory and even then, it is only for those who could afford it.

Shayatin as we know are always trying to deceive us into doubting Allah's mercy. For example: we sometimes argue why men are given twice more than women on matters of inheritance. In actual fact, there are instances where a woman might end up receiving more. Shayatin are also keen on making us waver in our aqidah. Some people succumb to their evil whispering and say: 'why should I do any righteous works when Allah already know what my fate is?' The reply to that, said Habib Kazim is that, if He knows not about you then He is not God! An analogy to that is how teachers could tell who among his students would do well and who would fail. It's not that the teacher purposely fail any of his students. But some students actually fail because of their lack of efforts and a teacher knows his students well enough to predict their results.

Allah asks us not, unless it is something beneficial for us.

The habib then asked the audience: 'How do we worship Allah out of gratitude rather than fear?' How do we perform ibadah out of longing, gratitude and love as did Prophet Muhammad [s.a.w] and Prophet Daud? They (the anbiya) glorified and had immense love for Allah. An analogy for this is that of a king's attendant. There are three kinds of attendants. One would serve the king for fear of his punishment. The other group would make an effort to serve the king well hoping for some special favors in return. The third kind of attendant, offers a good service sincerely and not seeking any rewards from it. 

Those whose faith are weak tend to worship out of fear for Allah's punishment. The second group of people, perform righteous deeds with an objective of attaining the heavens. The third category of believers are those who truly glorify Allah, who truly love Allah and who are truly grateful (shukur). These are the ibadah of the anbiya (the prophets), awliya (the saints) and solehin (the pious). Thus, Habib Kazim encouraged the audience to worship Allah in such a manner.

Habib Kazim then talked about simple practices which could enable us to enjoin those who are specially chosen by Allah. He asked if anyone knew about a practice which takes only 2 seconds but the rewards of which is equivalent to a billion and a half. 

The answer to that is by reciting: Astaghfirullah lil mukminin wal mukminat for 27 times. In reference to a hadith, whoever does that, will receive a reward as much as the number of mukminin and mukminat. At present time, the number of Muslims is about a billion and a half. Whoever practices that religiously once or twice a day will eventually see some good results. He/she will begin to see that his/her amal is accepted by Allah. How will you know if your amal is accepted by Allah? It is when you don't have any traces of pride in you [as a result of doing a particular amal]. 

Habib Kazim went on to ask another interesting question - How to earn the rewards of 100 hajj, freeing 100 slaves and attain jihad rewards equivalent to offering 100 horses - all in 1 minute?

Again, as narrated in a hadith, Habib Kazim said one could do that by:
  • Reciting subhanallah 100x  (equals to 100 hajj rewards)
  • Reciting la ilahaillAllah 100x (equals to freeing 100 slaves)
  • Reciting alhamdulillah 100x (equals to contributing 100 horses for jihad)

All these would only take us 1 minute. It's something we could do while walking to our car for example. There are 60 minutes in an hour and 1440 minutes in a day. We should thus spend a few minutes doing those simple practices. The sahabah were known to make full use of their time and age in doing as much ibadah as they possibly could. 

Habib Kazim also talked about the merit of using siwak. He said we could easily multiply the value of our prayers (solat) 70 times in a few minutes simply by using siwak. If you don't have one, you could use a rough cloth instead. This is another example of the advantages of doing a simple thing but the reward of which is enormous. If you can't wake up two hours early before subuh, then don't ignore the simple but valuable practices as mentioned.

The same thing applies to making salawat. One salawat equals 10 salawat from Allah. Even if we could worship for a million years, that would still not match the value of Allah making salawat to us. In one minute, a person may on average recites 100 salawat or if your tongue is somewhat heavy, you may attempt to do 50 salawat

Habib Kazim ended his tausiyah by reminding the audience on the importance of showing/expressing one's gratitude (shukur). We must on each day be grateful to be a Muslim, that we are given hidayah, that we embark on a path that brings us closer to Allah. We pray so that each and every Muslim will become those who are specially chosen by Allah. We pray so that Allah fills the heart of each and every Muslim with love for Rasulallah [s.a.w]. A heart that is filled with love will make shaytan flee. There will be no animosity. And love will not occupy one's heart if one does not have love for Rasulallah [s.a.w]. And there is no love without the greetings of peace (salam) as it is sunnah.

So I say unto you Assalamualaikum!

Habib Kazim Ja'far Muhammad al-Saqqaf












_______________________________________________
The above is a rough transcript of Habib Ali's interpretation of Habib Kazim's tausiyah. May I be forgiven for any omissions and errors. Allahu a'lam
Pic credits: http://www.darulmurtadza.com/ and Amer Areef

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shaykh Raja Ashman: Dirgahayu di alam syurgawi

Bismillah.

Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah
28 Disember 1958 - 30 Mac 2012
AL FATIHAH

28 Disember 2012
Hari istimewa 
Insan yang amat istimewa
di-rai jua walau jasad tiada di sisi
sekadar 54 tahun menyeri persada
belum puas rasa dek hati

Andai dendangan buatmu
mampu meyelusup ke alam seni
moga giranglah dirimu di sana
betapa kami bergendang dalam rindu
Luka di sukma dipendam rasa

Doa kami di hari nan istimewa ini:
Agar engkau abadi
Dirgahayu di alam syurgawi!


YM Raja Muda Perak berserta rombongan kerabat Diraja
hadir di Zawiyah Bukit Damansara
27 Disember 2012


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Learning names | Largest to smallest

Bismillah.

It would be cool and wise to know the metrics.

I was chatting with a colleague [I met for the first time] about Femto and Nano. I asked him about the difference between the two. It's always fun to hear engineers speak. They are simply brilliant. He read out to me from the largest to the smallest so I'd have a better perspective of things.

Allah taught Adam all the names. I thought we should know the names of unit of creation for the entire spectrum of His creations, so we have a little clue on how large and small things are. 

At one point he said:
'We are looking into these but the next big thing is Exa.'
'Oh! That's my name!' I replied : D

[That was the coolest way I've introduced myself ever! Alhamdulillah. Thank my mother for the name.]

Yotta - 10 to the power of 24
Zetta -10 to the power of 21
Exa - 10 to the power of 18 - That's a quintillion!
Peta - 10 to the power of 15
Tera - 10 to the power of 12
Giga - 10 to the power of 9
Mega - 10 to the power of 6 - This is a million.
Kilo - 10 to the power of  3
Hecto - 10 to the power of 2 
Deca - 10 to the power of 1
_______________________

Deci - 10 to the power of negative 1
Centi - 10 to the power of negative 2
Mili - 10 to the power of negative 3
Micro - 10 to the power of negative 6
Nano - 10 to the power of negative 9
Pico - 10 to the power of negative 12
Femto - 10 to the power of negative 15
Atto - 10 to the power of negative 18
Zepto - 10 to the power of negative 21
Yocto - 10 to the power of negative 24

Rabbi zidni 'ilma war zuqni fahma


Faith














Bismillah.

"Faith is taking the first step 
even when you can't see the whole staircase."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

We can't see how the whole new year 2013 looks like. But we are faithful that with God's help, we will face each day bravely. We are faithful that He is with us every step of the way. Thus, nothing could go gravely wrong. Even if it does, that won't take our faith away.

Four more days until we take the first step.
I'd spend one day to say I am sorry : (
One day to say thank you!
One day to say a prayer...
And then we face the new year together.

**********************************************
Best wishes to all Lisan al-Din visitors!
**********************************************


Tweet credit: Vala Afshar
Pic credit:  http://www.webmd.com/parenting

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Husavik to Husavik: Iceland circumnavigated | Dan & Riaan pushed boundaries

Bismillah.

Yay! There was a big probability that I'd miss the final episode of 'Around Iceland on Inspiration' but I didn't. Alhamdulillah

Stage 12 of 12 sealed an inspiring documentary engraved in my mind and many other viewers am sure.



Last night, on Travel Channel, I watched determined Dan and vigorous Riaan arriving in Husavik after having kayak-ed some 2000 km around Iceland [an island which measures up to 5000 km in perimeter]. 

Husavik was where they began their adventure about 6 months ago (in March 2011). This unusual pair, blessed with very unusually striking determination, had evidently pushed whatever personal and external boundaries that lay ahead of them right from their first paddle on a twin kayak called Inspiration. They arrived back in Husavik on 3rd September 2011. Dan was welcomed by proud and tearful mother Alana Skinstad and brother - top South African sportsman - Bob Skinstad.

Dan's mother Alana Skinstad
speaking emotionally about her confidence in her son's ability
on arrival day in Husavik.
Behind a man's success there is a woman - a mother.

At the outset of their last leg, the seas had been rough but Riaan decided: 'it was now or never'. Riaan had chosen Dan as his kayak partner around scenic and unpredictable Iceland because he thought Dan would benefit the most from pushing the boundaries.

During their final push to Husavik, Dan recalled his mate's father telling him when he was 11: "Never forget that you are a special boy!" Dan thought his achievement on Inspiration was like a payback for the people who had faith in him. Dan suffers from a mild cerebral palsy. He walks with a limp. In an interview with Cape Argus in November 2011, Dan said: "I had insecurities and used to think people thought differently of me because I walk with a limp, but after being out there with minus-degree weather, those things seem insignificant."

I think post Iceland circumnavigation, Dan must be feeling he could stand as tall as his accomplished brother, at last. And Riaan Manser too.

We all have our own insecurities. We all have our own unique personal boundaries that need to be pushed. It's not often that we find people who would give us a chance to help push our boundaries as Riaan had offered to Dan. But life is such that there are kind hearted people who have faith in us more than we do. Having and showing our faith in others is the best present we could ever give to someone. It's a default present a mother has for her children and she gives it not just once a year but throughout the year.

'Tis the season of joy and goodwill, let's cherish this special present that we have received from all the wonderful people in our lives. God bless them all.

Arrived. Achieved!
Husavik to Husavik

p/s 
Merry Christmas to Dan & Riaan, families and crew. 
And everyone in South Africa and Iceland.
And my special Tweet mentors - Vala Afshar, Steve Gutzler and Steve Keating to name but three.


Reference:

Other Lisan al-Din post on 'Around Iceland on Inspiration':

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kampung Hulu Mosque: A kind gesture of the Dutch


Bismillah.

We should thank the Dutch really. Unlike the earliest conqueror of Melaka, the Portuguese, the Dutch had actually encouraged religious pluralism and ordered the kapitan of the time to commission a mosque to replace Melaka's first mosque which the Portuguese had destroyed circa 1511.

Kapitans were considered as community leaders as they were usually socially active, influential and financially capable. The Kapitan Keling mosque in George Town Penang was also built (in 1801) by a kapitan, an Indian Muslim named Caudeer Mohudeen.

The construction of Masjid Kampung Hulu near the famed Jonker Street in Melaka was led by a kapitan by the name of Dato' Shamsuddin bin Arom in 1728 and it was later refurbished by Wazir al-Shaykh Omar bin Hussain al-Attas.

Masjid Kampung Hulu is Malaysia's oldest mosque.

Unlike many other mosques in Malaysia which mostly employed Arabic architectural styles, Masjid Kampung Hulu cherished the traces of Javanese and Chinese influences on the local communities. The only exception was that, brick and stone walls had been constructed instead of the typical wooden walls found in Javanese mosques.

Adorning the holy ground of this heavily visited masjid is a maqam of a wali - Sayyid Abdullah al-Haddad.

It is well known among the locals that this masjid is one of the few sacred places where one's petition will be granted. 

Allahu a'lam.


Masjid Kampung Hulu - built in 1728
Malaysia's oldest mosque
http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/malaysia/melaka/hulu

A sneak view inside the male/main prayer hall.
Ablution area.
Water is said to have miraculous properties.
Allahu a'lam

References:
http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=7484
http://www.mbmb.gov.my/masjid
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMA220_Masjid_Kampung_Hulu_Melaka_Malaysia
http://www.tourismpenang.net.my/index.php/Heritage-Buildings/kapitan-keling-mosque.html

Sunday, December 23, 2012

One Sunday morning on Princess Beach | Wish everyone a good catch!

Bismillah

Alhamdulillah for simple pleasures in life.

I have been out for a morning walk on Princess Beach [Pantai Puteri] in Melaka, about two and a half hours drive south of KL. Was out to catch the morning breeze and some inspirations and indeed it was abound.

Saw some fishermen ready to head out to work. May they return with a good catch.

Met a young boy and his buddies trying to catch a fishing-rod skill rather than fish.

Saw the prettiest beach bench ever, in bright pink! And exchanged some pleasantries with a gentleman who seemed happy with his catch - some small crabs and fish. [See pic below] 

It was really nice to chat with strangers or friendly Muslim brothers I should say. Oh, there was also one non-Muslim family, equally cheerful and gregarious. We shared a good laugh cos their cute little boy refused to put on any trunks and insisted on going for a truly "free" beach stroll! "Habislah kakak dah tengok", said the father. [That means I just saw something which I shouldn't have. Heh heh]

It also made my day to see people speeding away on boats and frantically waving at me as though we've been friends forever.

We are staying at a yet to be named homestay/chalet near Princess Beach, whose owner understood customer service better than some big organizations out there. It's an "uncle & nephew" new business venture.

And the roti canai at the beach-side food court, beats KL's roti canai hands down. [That's a flat bread - a popular Malaysian style paratha]

Princess Beach (Pantai Puteri) in Melaka
23rd Dec 2012

Hopeful fishermen ready to hit their "workplace"

Catching a new skill

A man happy with his catch of the day

A band of carefree boys insisted that I took their photo.
They sure enjoyed their morning swim.

Who says fishermen are not dynamic?

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for a great Sunday morning. Glad that we opted for this kind of break instead of the typical Sunday buffet breakfast at top hotels.

The most pleasurable things in life have always been the simplest.

To all who are out to catch some food, skills, inspirations, good times etc. here's wishing everyone a good catch!

p/s
One generous couple treating us to homemade lunch Melaka-style later. And then will head to the oldest mosque in Malaysia built in 1728. Insha Allah.

O people, come visit Malaysia!
  

A writer's resolutions


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah we have finally come to the 200-th posting for 2012. It's no big deal, just a number to comfort myself.

Saw a relevant tweet by Grammarly:


Hope I am not as pathetic looking as the cartoon heh...heh...

Communication is key no doubt. We communicate to share, to preserve something which should not be forgotten and it all goes to show that we care. Still I believe, should Allah want us to do something, He would facilitate it for us. We are merely His instrument.

Moving forward to the new year 2013, I just hope to do this:


Insha Allah
Bi-iznillah

This entry is actually written on Friday 21st Dec 2012 a day which some quarters thought could be the end of the world. But they were wrong!

Until the day comes, let's just keep calm and carry on. 

Have a good weekend everyone.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

"The Prophetic Light" - Shaykh Muhammad Allie Khalfe













Bismillah

The Prophetic Light, the Summit of Creation
The Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] His Sublime Character and Mercy Towards All Creation

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah who made manifest the light of his beloved in the month of Rabi'ul Awaal. Salutations upon the chosen one, the master of the children of Adam, his noble companions and those who follow in their footsteps.

Allah attests to his noble station when He Almighty says, 'Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet: O you who believe, call for [Divine] blessings on him and salute him with a [becoming] salutation'. - Al Ahzab 56

Scholars unanimously agree that this verse contains a command [amr] to praise and salute the best of mankind, Muhammad pbuh. The one of intellect, after examining this beautiful verse [briefly] realizes that no matter how much one praises the Prophet [pbuh], one can never attain the praise of His Creator and the blessed angels.

The very name "Muhammad" means "the one who is praised, often praised" and the name of the Prophet [pbuh] is also known as "Ahmad" meaning "the one deserving of praise".

Bukhari and Muslim narrate that Anas [Allah be pleased with him] said, "I served the Messenger of Allah for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me [Uff], nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: 'Why did you do that'. And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: 'Why didn't you this'. He had the best of character and I never touched any silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah. And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah."

Allah Almighty says, "And we have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.' - Al Anbiya 21:107. Allah Almighty describes his kindness and mercy to all creation. "Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively concerned for you, to the believers full of compassion." - Al Taubah 9:128

In a rigorously authentic narration, recorded by Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet pbuh said, "Only those who show mercy will receive mercy from the Most Merciful. Be Merciful to those on this earthly abode [al-Dunya] and Allah will then be Merciful to you."

The great mystic and poet, Moulana Jalal al-din Rumi alluded to the infinite Mercy of Allah Almighty when he said:
We were nothing
There was neither our being
Nor our claim to be
It was Thy Mercy that heard our unsaid.

The Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] the summit of creation, the array of character perfected, the Adiamic heir was so infused with Mercy and Compassion that when he saw the companions staring at the Ka'ba with reverence and awe, he said, "know that the human being is more sacred than the Ka'ba."

As bearers of a divine message and as representatives of the greatest human being that ever lived, we find ourselves being more sacred and sanctified than our very Qibla [the Ka'ba]. It is worth mentioning that the Angels prostrated to Adam (on him be peace) making the human being the Qibla of the Angels.

His mercy, compassion and exalted standard of character were displayed at the battle of Uhud. The Prophet's incisor was broken, his lower lip was ruptured and he had a bleeding wound on his forehead. He was constantly drying up the blood to keep it from falling upon the ground, saying, "If any of this blood falls on the ground, Divine Punishment would descend upon them [the Quraysh]. "The situation weighed on the Companions, and they implored, "Why do you not pray against them?" He replied, "I have not been sent to damn people. I have been sent as a caller and a mercy. O Allah! Forgive my people for they know not what they do." [1]

Not long after the incident at Uhud did Allah reveal the verse, "And you [O Muhammad] are on the most exalted standard of character." - Al Qalam 68:4

Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak commented, "We need a little adab more urgently than we need a large amount of knowledge."

It was narrated that a man asked the Prophet pbuh for charity. The Prophet gave it and then asked the man, "Have I dealt with you rightfully?" The man answered, "no and you have not dealt with me in a beautiful manner either. "Those around the messenger grew angry and rose up. Then he [the Prophet] waved them to stop. He pbuh went home and sent him something. He then asked him once more, "Are you content?" the man answered, "Yes, I am. May Allah reward you with kindness in your family and kin." The Prophet then said, "You said what you said and it left something in my companions' heart. So, what if you repeat what you have just said now before them, to take away what is in their hearts towards you?" The man agreed. In the evening or the day after, the Prophet told his companions, "This man showed his dissatisfaction so I increased what I gave him to let him be satisfied." He turned to the man and asked him "is that right"? The man answered: "Yes, may God reward you with kindness in family and kin." 

The Prophet pbuh then commented "the example of me and this [man] is like that of a man whose camel went astray. People following the camel only increased its unwillingness. The man called to them, "Leave me and my camel alone: I am more gentle and knowledgeable about it." He then turned to the camel, offering it some vegetation from the earth. He then called it back until it came forth, knelt down, put the saddle on it and rode it away. Had I left you with what the man said you would have killed him and he would go to Hellfire." [Imam Ahmad].

His mercy with family and children
Muslim narrates that 'Amr Ibn Sa'id reported that Anas [Allah be pleased with him] said, 'I have never met one more merciful with children than Muhammad pbuh.' He also said, 'Ibrahim [the Prophet's son] was being breastfed by a wet nurse in a village on the outskirts of Medina. He would rush to enter the house with smoke billowing out of it [the wet nurse's husband was a black smith]. The Prophet pbuh would take his son, kiss him, and then return him. When Ibrahim died, the Prophet pbuh said, 'Ibrahim is my son. He died while still suckling. Verily, he will have two wet nurses to breastfeed him in Paradise.' He meant that his wet nurses would complete his son's two year weaning period, as he died aged 16 or 17 months.' [Al-Nawawi].

He pbuh also wept when his grand daughter Umayyah, daughter of Zainab died. At this occasion, Sa'ad bin 'Ubadah said, 'O messenger of Allah! Are you weeping? Did you not forbid Zainab weeping?' The Prophet replied, 'This [weeping] is the mercy that Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants. And surely Allah bestows mercy upon those who are merciful among His servants.'

Bukhari and Muslim narrate on the authority of Anas [Allah be pleased with him] that Prophet [pbuh] said, 'I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. I then hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child's mother gets.'

Al-Aswad mentioned that he asked A'isha [may Allah be pleased with her] what the Prophet pbuh did at home. She answered, 'He was humble in the common service of his family. But, when time for prayer came, he used to go and pray. He was not like tyrannical men. Most of the time, he used to serve himself.' It is mentioned in Imam Ahmad's Musnad and others that A'isha said, 'The Prophet pbuh used to sew his clothes, mend his sandals, and do what other men did in their homes.'

A'isha said, "never was the Prophet left to make a choice between two matters but he would prefer the easier among them." Ibn Mas'ud told us that Prophet Muhammad pbuh preferred, 'positive preaching over pessimism and boredom.'

This was so because he considered each and every person he was to talk to, a potential for embracing Islam. He was gentle and open-minded and he knew that each individual's capacity to listen and understand varied.

His mercy with children, orphans, widows and the poor
By God's wisdom, the Prophet pbuh, in order to console the hearts of all orphans that would come after him, as he, the best of all mankind and the most beloved to God, was an orphan. He would care for orphans and he used to ask his companions to protect them and to treat them well. He also showed the merits that come from that.

Bukhari narrated that Prophet pbuh said: "I and the custodian of an orphan are like this [together] in Paradise", and he joined his forefinger and middle finger. Ibn Majah also narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that Prophet pbuh said: "The best Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is well treated and the worst Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is badly treated."

The above Prophetic hadith show clearly that if someone takes good care of an orphan, he is sure to enter paradise by his good care. 

The Prophet pbuh said: "The poor shall enter paradise five hundred years before the rich." "Poverty is my pride." said the best of creation and it was his compassion for the poor and his own lived solidarity with their distress, that astounded the hard-hearted Arabs and brought their rebellious hearts to God. From the Prophetic mercy we learn that Poverty is a sermon in itself. [2]

It is in the two authenticated books that A'ishah said: "A nomad once told the Prophet, 'you kiss the children and we never do!' The Prophet said, "Has Allah withdrawn mercy out of your hearts?" Abu Huraira narrated that Prophet pbuh said: 'He who looks after a widow and a needy person is like a fighter for the cause of Allah.'

His mercy with animals
He pbuh would praise having mercy on animals. He used to forbid his companions from hurting them, tiring them, overburdening them with heavy loads for long periods, torturing them, or pushing them beyond their limits, for that is a form of suffering.

Once the Prophet pbuh passed by a camel that was so emaciated its back was one with its abdomen. Upon that, the Prophet said, "Fear Allah with regard to livestock. Ride them in a fitting way and eat them when they are in good condition." [2]

He pbuh said, "If someone kills a sparrow for fun, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgment. "O Lord! That person killed me in vain! He did not kill me for any useful purpose." [3]

The Prophet pbuh said, "While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, 'This [dog] is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he [went down the well], filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his [good] deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving [the] animals?" He replied, "Yes, there is a reward for serving any living creature." [4]

He pbuh once entered the garden of man from the Ansar and there was a camel. When the Prophet saw the camel it froze and its eyes started watering. The Prophet of Allah pbuh approached it, rubbed its ears and it calmed down. Then the Prophet said, 'Who is the owner of this camel?' A young man from Ansar told him, 'O messenger of Allah, it belongs to me.' Then he told him "Do you not fear Allah with regard to this beast which Allah has let you own? It complained to me that you starve it and tire it by overworking it and using it beyond its capacity." [5]

He pbuh used to forbid burdening an animal by keeping it standing or sitting on it for a long time unnecessarily. He saw some people sitting on animals so he commented, "keep them safe and sound when riding them and when leaving them, don't use them as chairs for your side talks in the streets and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider and might remember and mention God more than its rider does." [6]

He pbuh warned against any human being causing a bird to feel panic about its little offspring. Someone took two chicks of a bird [hamra] which came in panic searching for its chicks. The Prophet then asked, "Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?" Then he asked them to return the chicks. The prophet once passed by a burned out anthill. When the Prophet saw it he asked, "Who has burned it?" When he was informed of who had done it, he said, "Only the Lord of Fire has the right to punish with fire." [7]

It was also reported that the Prophet prohibited the killing of a bird for the sake of pleasure and not for a specific beneficial need, the Prophet pbuh said, "Anyone who would kill a bird, this bird would come on Doomsday and say, "God, this person killed for pleasure and not for benefit." [8]

It was also reported that the Prophet pbuh called for mercy and perfection in slaughter. He saw a person preparing a lamb, laying it down while he was still sharpening his knife. The Prophet pbuh then commented, "Do you want to kill it twice? Sharpen your knife before you lay it down." [9]

He pbuh said, "Allah gives through gentleness what He does not give through hardness." The Prophet pbuh transformed his hard-hearted people in only twenty three years. He took them from many to One, from Vendetta to the Sacred Law, from despair over death to certainty to eternal life. In this was "sent only as a mercy to the worlds." [10]

It was Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, the prince of hadith, commentator on Sahih Bukhari, Sufi and leading Shaf'i jurist who wrote in his diwan:

"By the gate of your generosity stands a sinner,
who is mad with love.
O best of mankind in radiance of face and countenance!
Through you he seeks a means (tawasalla)
hoping for Allah's forgiveness of slips; 
from fear of Him, his eyelid is wet with pouring tears. 
Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone [hajar], 
how often tears have flowed, sweet, pure and fresh!

Praise of you does not do you justice,
but perhaps, in eternity,
its verses will be transformed into mansions.
My praise of you shall continue for as long as I live,
For I see nothing that could ever deflect me from your praise."

*****
References:
1. Abdullah Siraj ad-Din, Muhammad Rasulullah
2. 11th Contentions - Abdul Hakim Murad
3. Abu Dawud
4. Al-Nasa'i
5. Bukhari
6. Hakim in al-Mustadarak
7. Al-Nasa'i
8. Abu Dawud
9. Al-Nasa'i
10. Bukhari and Muslim
11. 11th Contentions - Abdul Hakim Murad

Credit: 
Shaykh Muhammad Allie Khalfe for granting us the permission to post his article here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's a small world after all



Bismillah.

Wallahi, I've never felt so shy, embarrassed, awkward, all jumbled up like today (Tuesday). It's strange but it's true. Bloggers really should expect some people recognizing them from their online presence. But I have actually set up an invisible bubble pretending that certain people would never come to know about my blogosphere activities. There are people whom I wished had not known and who will never know about this blog. But that's just a foolish wishful thinking. It's a small world. It's a wide open world for God's sake. I should have known.

Believe me, it's very awkward and embarrassing when you're in a meeting, talking about work, submarine cables, SOPs, this and that and then suddenly at the end of the discussion, this pious looking gentleman asked: "You have a blog, right?"

Arghh! Have always dreaded thinking there's someone I don't know in a meeting who has probably known my intimate thoughts and beliefs through this blog. Arghh!

But, there's not a leaf that falls from a tree without Allah's permission. We should all have husnul zan towards Him and His divine scheme. When we meet someone, be it on the street or in blogosphere, it's never by chance, it's all due to His grand plan.

-E-

p/s 
Salam ukhwah buat M. Semoga kita menjadi sahabat yang saling ingat-mengingati dalam mencari redha Allah, dalam memupuk kasih kepada Habibullah. Terima kasih kerana menghargai penulisan saya yang tidak seberapa ini.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Never fully dressed | Smile | Himma & 'Azima

Bismillah.

"You are never fully dressed without a smile" that is.
That's another tweet from Women of History for you.

It's the simplest sunnah there is. Having a niqaab on, should not stop a woman from wearing a smile. Some niqaabis often gave other women a cold look as though the rest of us were half naked. 

Let's change that. Let's portray a more friendly and 'open' body language, no matter how fully covered-up we are outwardly.

Let's not just smile with our lips but also with our eyes. My little niece, and children in general, are good at it!

'Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer : )


And another two key sunnah we learned via Twitter, which we should practise in our professional lives and also spiritual vocations are:
  • increasing one's resolve (raf' al-himma)
  • fulfilling one's commitment (nufudh al-'azima)
That's from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

p/s
I'd say I definitely like Twitter more than FB.
And Blog is a favorite virtual spiritual sasana.
Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Words symbolism



Bismillah.

Will the non-Malay readers excuse me. I just needed to quote these lyrics from a Malay song which is difficult to translate, too poetic it is. When words are used not to convey their obvious literal meanings but used more as a symbolism, it makes your brainwaves work harder to dig deeper for the real meanings. It could really penetrate your deepest imagination and emotions but still in the end, you are left speechless.

Masihkah kita termanggu di bawah pepohon itu
Ketika hujan melunturi danau yang terusang
Tidak pernah dibilang hari
Hanyalah debar yang terasa...rasa

Setiap hari dibuai mimpi yang terindah
Dengan menghitung senja merah di hujung sinar
Mencipta kebeningan rahsia
Pada sehimpun kenangan
Menyimpul satu makna di ruang yang lurus ini

It's amazing how Allah has created so many different languages and embedded a default language in our hearts, each one of us. Hence naturally people would want their soulmates to share the same native language or there would be plenty of emotions lost and chemistry diluted. The default language of the heart is a language of love, though universal in nature, it is unique to the person.

Glory be to Allah who knows us zahir and batin better than we know ourselves.

"He who created all things in the best way and He began the creation of man from clay."
- Qur'an As Sajadah 32:7


_____________________________________________________________________
Picture above was taken from my window at Bridge of Allan, Stirling, Scotland circa 2005

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'Fez City of Saints' - KL Premiere on 5th & 6th January 2013



Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We have something great to look forward to, come January 2013.
In sha Allah. 

The KL Premiere of 'Fez City of Saints' - a film on Habib Umar's da'wah tour, will be shown for the first time in Malaysia, on:

Saturday - 5 Jan 2013
Auditorium @ Islamic Arts Museum, KL
(Opposite the National Mosque/Masjid Negara)
2.30 pm
Ticket: RM75

Sunday - 6 Jan 2013
Main Auditorium @ International Islamic University Malaysia
8.30 pm
Ticket: RM25

COMMENTARIES BY:
Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al Hamid of Darul Murtadza KL
Sidi Fuad Nahdi of Radical Middle Way UK

*******
For inquiries and ticket bookings:
Nordin 019 380 6616
Amran 019 272 2946
Rasmuna 012 274 0644
ISSI Office 03 6274 1551


See you there!
In sha Allah


Monday, December 17, 2012

739 years of love affair | Remembering Rumi




Bismillah.

We cannot afford to let 17th December passes us by without saying a word about Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi who died on this day 739 years ago.

This year, let's remember Rumi by quoting what Shaykh Kabir Helminski had to say about what zikir is and what love is from the teachings of Rumi.

Kabir Helminski was in 2009 named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World. He authored/translated quite a number of works by Rumi. One of them was 'Jewels of Remembrance' which I had been reading and re-visiting since 2001 but only yesterday had I seen how Kabir Helminski looked like mashaAllah. This is what he said in a video published on 'One Through Love' - a website dedicated to "lovers".

"Zikir is the foremost practice in Sufism and indeed in Islam. Zikir means remembrance. It is the awareness of the divine presence through the heart. The heart is the organ of perception by which we sense the divine, by which we sense the sacred and through which we feel gratitude and a sense of wonder."

"The state of zikir is contrasted with the state of heedlessness. We are absorbed in our own egos, when we are totally absorbed into life in the sense of striving to make a living and attain our various desires or we are caught up in the conflicts of life and be sad with the anxieties of life. This is heedlessness from the Sufi point of view."

Listen to Kabir Helminski speak on 'Zikir as a Way of Life' at:
http://www.onethroughlove.org/circle-of-lovers/

"This is a gathering of Lovers.
In this gathering there is no high, no low,
no smart, no ignorant, no special assembly,
no grand discourse, no proper schooling required.
There is no master, no disciple.
This gathering is more like a drunken party,
full of tricksters, fools, mad men and mad women.
This is a gathering of Lovers."
- Jalaluddin Rumi
(died 17 Dec 1273 CE)



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Angels lost at the hands of disconnected souls, again!


Bismillah.

"Write what should not be forgotten." - Isabel Allende

What should not be forgotten is how innocent lives have been lost at the hands of many disconnected souls, over and over again. Last Friday, Newtown, Connecticut appeared to be the most recent victim. And we all mourned along. 

Many little angels, like Ana Marquez Greene were abruptly and inhumanly robbed from their beloved families. I cannot imagine if Ana's father, Jimmy Greene, a prominent Canadian Jazz musician, could ever play a happy tune again.


Ana Marquez Greene
and 25 others shot dead while at school in Connecticut USA
14.12.2012

As adults, and some of us "brilliant politicians" and "law-makers", we should have learned from many similar episodes which have befallen one community after another. Unless we want to see history repeat itself, perhaps until it is the President's/King's/Queen's babies who become the next victim, only then we would do something constructively?

On one hand, and occasionally, we try to connect our souls with the virtues of keeping a good faith and good morals. On the other hand, we promote and even celebrate the opposite. We keep going back to the theaters for movies which mostly strive on crimes and gun-scenes. We take for granted about some disconnected souls who could be inspired and motivated by our negative creativity. Then we allow them easy access to deadly tools. So, we once again, let our children and innocent lives pay for our lack of wisdom and action. 

Ana must be looking down from heaven and asking: 'Daddy, who gave him the gun?' 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the bereaved families and friends connected to the Sandy Hook School tragedy.

p/s
The gunman's mother was an avid gun collector and had taught him target shooting. She died at his hand, from her own weapon.
Moral: Teach/show children only the good.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Momentum | Memento


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah for one small unexpected gift - the 2013 Gregorian and 1434-1435 Hijri calendars from Saudi Aramco World magazine.

It's an excellent publication which you may wish to subscribe. The word excellent is an understatement actually. And it's free. And mashaAllah you could even request for a complimentary DVD for the mag's archive from 1950 to 2010 just as they appear in the printed magazine. Being the hungry word consumer that I am -  that just made my jaw drop! 

And [Gosh so many ands. That's a no-no.] if anyone of you (just one person) who is a serious reader, who wants a GIFT subscription of the magazine, be the first to drop me an email with your full name, address and zip code. So that will be a little year-end memento for you In sha Allah.

Yay...we all like year-ends don't we? But for a blogger with a target, it can be quite challenging to keep the momentum. Yesterday was a good example. Anyways, let's persevere and sprint to the finishing line shall we.

So what were your favorite moments this year? Plenty, I hear you say. If I could choose just one, it would be the moment when I got my promotion letter on my mother's birthday! Alhamdulillah. And when I was told: "hire whomever you like." It's a nice feeling. Alhamdulillah. So with more new team members coming in, I hope and pray it will be a more productive, enjoyable and rewarding year - 2013  In sha Allah.

Hmm...this looks like another year-end rambling from me. Sorry. But hey, it's the weekend.

Let's chill.

p/s
I think the joy of being told "Hire whomever you like" is equivalent to hearing your parents tell you: "Marry whomever you like." Unless you are stuck in a culture or circumstances where you are not given that sweet freedom.