Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrapping up 2013 | Hitting 200

Bismillah.

Good evening ladies and gentleman.
Guten Abend meine Damen und Herren.

That's German folks. Suddenly remembered the wonderful evening when I was emcee at a dinner and learned to say a few lines in German for the sake of our shareholders then. Yes, we all reminisce happy moments don't we? Alhamdulillah. Shaykh Mendes said: "Every experience, bitter or sweet, every circumstances is a means to know Allah." 

Apart from feeling wonderful tonight, I'm also feeling giddy that even KLCC Twin Towers in the picture below look lopsided heh...heh. But of course it's just a perspective issue like the Zen koan where two monks argue about a flag flipping. One of them asked: "Is the flag waving?" or as asked by the other monk: "Is the wind blowing?"

Lopsided or giddy, a woman gotta do what a woman gotta do which is make the last step to hit her target of making at least 200 postings for year 2013. Alhamdulillah this is the 200th posting y'all. But of course you will have to pardon me for 20% of the postings or more, those which are merepek-nonsense. Merepek is a Malay word meaning nonsense. A buddy of mine coined the term merepek-nonsense, it's like double nonsensical. Merepek is pronounced like mer as in mercy - re as in ray - pek as in bake but with a "p". That's for the benefit of our foreign readers. That's a useful word when anyone tries to fool you when you're in Malaysia. By the way, next year, 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year.

It's 30th December. Everyone, everywhere, is emotionally and psychologically wrapping up the year. It's been a very colorful year for me. That's a polite way of saying "this year is full of drama!" LOL. But of course all in all, it's a happy year, it's a happy old year now that we are all waiting to welcome a happy new year :)

   

Oh yes, Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah we have been given life for one whole year, almost.

p/s 
1. But some things are really/physically lopsided. It ain't a perspective issue.
2. Did you know that one tower of the KLCC Twin Towers was built by a Japanese company and the other tower by a Korean. And they both ended up being equal in height. Two nations in sync there for the good of a third nation - Malaysia. Reminds us of lines from the song 'We are the world': "We all are a part of God's great big family, and the truth you know, love is all we need."
:)


Friday, December 27, 2013

Question: "What is desire?"

Bismillah.

How do you answer if a 13 year old boy asked you that question: "What is desire?"

I couldn't help but laugh when my nephew texted me not once but twice, asking "What is desire?" It was during a lecture by Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks at the Sacred Path of Love event in Singapore last weekend. The shaykh was giving a talk on "The 7 Deadly Sins: Breaking the desires to attain true happiness." As expected, one word the shaykh repeated perhaps more than a dozen times was 'desire'. 

Desire might be a big heavy loaded or even slightly dirty word for adults because as compared to a boy who has not yet experienced baligh (come of age), adults would have a lot bigger and many more desires. Yes, bigger and many more - purposely emphasizing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of that word :)

But perhaps my nephew was just asking the Malay equivalent of the word desire because I suspect he thinks in Malay. Anyhow, I thought it's a good thing that he first heard the word from Shaykh Abdul Aziz whom my nephew thought was hilarious and thus appealing to a young person like him. 

In my reply to him via text I said, desire is like him wanting a skateboard. I knew he's pushing his mother to get him one. Oh interestingly enough, I noticed a couple of ATM machines in Singapore had this option: "Do you desire some cash?" or something to that effect with the word DESIRE almost shouting at me. LOL. I forgot which bank though. If I recalled correctly one ATM machine in Barcelona had the same option too. LOL.

To state the obvious, we all share a common desire for cash and other objects of desire...heh heh :)

I will share the notes from Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks in another posting later, InshaAllah. Have mercy people, it's 3.48 a.m. now.

My nephew Kamil Arif holding that cute Sacred Path of Love tote bag.
Pray he will grow up and live up to his name
- one who has perfect gnosis.

It's worth noting the quote printed on the back of the Sacred Path of Love tote bag, which in my opinion is the most thought provoking question on desire:
"There are those among you 
who desire the world 
and there are those among you 
who desire the world to come. 
But where is he who desires God?"
- As Shibli 



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxxxing grrreattt | A day to remember

Bismillah.

'Tis the day to be jolly. Today is 26 Dec 2013. It's known as Boxing Day, whatever that means, I don't really care but it's boxxxing grrreattt for me. It's a day to remember because, thanks to a friend, we were able to have a private audience with the much respected and adored Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya an-Ninowy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It's his first visit to Malaysia and I, this needy soul, have been waiting since 2009 to meet the Shaykh!

Allahu Akbar, what's the lesson here? The lesson is that I see another proof of Allah who is ever listening to the faintest whisper in our heart. A proof that love is all it takes. That no love escapes His hearing. That all you need to have is love. That no love shall ever be wasted, ever. And He will fulfill your yearning to meet the beloved. Subhanallah.

Alfu alfu Alhamdulillah. Someone is shaykh-struck but she is not going to be apologetic about it. Excited, in fact. There's just something magical about Shaykh Ninowy. You look at him, you can't help but think of his fore-fathers, his lineage through the Prophet's daughter - Saydatina Fatimah az-Zahra.

What's magical was his face of love and the path of love which he propagates. During the brief but very meaningful meeting, this faqir only managed to bring up two points:

  • That one important takeaway for me from the recent Sacred Path of Love event in Singapore was that he said we should: "Inhale love and exhale gratitude." The shaykh remarked: 'Yes, that's very important.'
  • That my 13 year old nephew who also attended the Sacred Path of Love event asked me what's Sufism. So I asked Shaykh Ninowy, how do we explain Sufism to a young person. And this was his answer: "It's a spiritual relationship you establish with Allah, not just in tangible things but also in spiritual love and attitude. Observing and knowing Allah in your heart and you keep it all day long."
Our dear Shaykh Ninowy will be departing Kuala Lumpur tonight. We pray Allah will keep him and his entourage safe throughout their journey. Pray Allah grants the shaykh a long and healthy life and may we benefit and practise whatever good counsel we have received from him. Ameen.

O friends, let's inhale love and exhale gratitude :)

*******

Heartfelt thanks to the friend who was the cause of that special meeting. I am reminded of what Shaykh Muhammad Mendes said at the Sacred Path of Love 2013 event, that his guru had said to him: "Always ask the meaning of your meeting. You never meet anyone by accident!"

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Pic credit: Sout Ilaahi, the organizer of the Sacred Path of Love.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Be merry forever and a day

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah.

My apologies if I have turned you down, you who have been checking this blog and found nothing the past few days. That's because I've been travelling and there are just so many good things on the table to chew, swallow and digest Alhamdulillah, especially the notes from the recent Sacred Path of Love (SPOL) event on 21st and 22nd Dec 2013, in Singapore. Notes handed out by SPOL organizer, Sout Ilaahi - the two white docs at the bottom right.  


And my own notes from the 2-day SPOL - 2 bags full, just kidding. Day 1 was held at Masjid Sultan Auditorium - that masjid you see in the background was built in 1826. Day 2 was held at Madrasah Al-Junied. I learned from the school's notice board, it was established in 1927. Great stuffs here in Singapore! 

Sacred Path of Love tote bag - we say in Malay - cantik (nice).
Masjid Sultan is situated on Muscat Street.
There's something magical about this area known as Arab street,
you just wanna keep coming back.
Some pics for you -  my way of saying sorry for not sharing anything last week. O people, don't worry, be merry. Let's aim to be merry forever and a day :)

After a hard day's work, be merry, my SPOL friends
(you know who you are) -
come have dinner at my smallish crib. InshaAllah.
Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks said:
"The SPOL volunteers are the most sincere volunteers I've ever met."
MashaAllah.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes @ Sacred Path of Love 2013 Singapore


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, at the Sacred Path of Love 2013 event held in Singapore on 21st and 22nd of December, I listened for the first time tausiyah given by Shaykh Mendes.

He said: This event has been decreed in the knowledge of Allah. We being here at the same time is a decree of Allah. My teacher says to me: 'Always ask what is the meaning of your meeting. You never meet anyone by accident.'

Shaykh Mendes then went on to sing! Yes he sang a poem he said he wrote for his children; his mother and grandmother who have not yet embraced Islam; it's a poem he wrote to build bridges between Muslims. The melody was based on a well known Arabic qasidah - La ilaha illAllah Muhammad Rasulullah alaihi wa 'alih salAllah.

Some excerpts of the meaningful lyrics:
"For sick heart, it is the cure; for those who seek to be pure; it's the truth that shall endure, Lailaha illAllah."
"It will bring you inner peace; it will cure you from disease; it will fill your life with ease Lailaha illAllah."
  
Shaykh Mendes said, as mentioned in the last part of the poem, he wished and urged people to learn about some great Muslims like Imam Makandal who was a former slave who led the independence of Haiti; Imam Bukman, Tucson and Ella Collins who mentored Malcolm X (Haji Malik Shabazz).

Shaykh Mendes then began his proper tausiyah titled 'Restoring adab in freedom of speech. Safeguarding of tongues and hearts.' Quoting a hadith where the Prophet said "I leave you with a manhaj..." the shaykh said it is a road that is wide and radiant, we can't miss it. It is the path of Islam left by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). No one deviates it except one who is destroyed. 

There are three major paths. Ulama tazkiyah or scholars of the heart said, the number of paths equals the number of breaths of creatures. Each has its own path, talent, purpose and gift. Imam Hussin said in summary those who worship Allah out of fear, their worships are worships of the slave. Those who worship Allah out of expectation for reward, their worship is like of the merchant. Those who worship Allah out of love and because He deserves to be worshiped, those are people who are free. They are liberated.

Imam Ghazali talked about fear (khauf) and hope (raja'). The fear of a Muslim is not the same as the fear of a muhsin (or a wali). The latter fear of not being near to Allah, of losing closeness to Allah. Prayer of a business man/woman is about counting the hasanah, about Jannah, thinking how many good deeds I'm getting. They are trapped by reward. Imam Hussin said there's something higher than that.

This event is called Sacred Path of Love. The Prophet loves Allah more than anything. His worship of Allah was motivated by love and gratitude. We know the hadith/story about Aishah asking the Prophet why he would pray a great deal and the Prophet answered: 'Should I not be thankful?'

Allah says in the Quran: "Say, if you love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins." We always come out short. That is what it means to be human and yet Allah forgives our sins. He is loving. Ibn Arabi says in Tarjuman Ashwaq: 'My deen is the deen of love.' Rabiatul Adawiyah was an imam of love. Rumi embodied the path of love. But Rumi's teachings have suffered from bad translations. It is our responsibility to take back Rumi. People in America read more about Rumi than they do Shakespeare.

We learn from the Prophet that we should love Allah for His blessings for us and to love the Prophet because of our love for Allah; and to love the Prophet's family on account of our love for him. This is Islam. This is freedom.

Know that if you leave dunya, people will love you. The purpose of zuhud is to get you to love. What happens when Allah loves us? "Whoever harms the people loved by Allah, Allah will declare war on that person." You cannot simply run over people. 

The Prophet [pbuh] treated his companions in a very special manner so much so that each one of them thought he's the most special. We are all one. Allah creates us with one nafs.

Allah says: When I love him, I am the hearing through which he hears. I am the vision through which he sees. I am the hand through which he grasps. And the feet through which he walks. If he asks, I give. When he seeks refuge in Me, I protect him.

This is what the path of love is all about. You ask, Allah gives. This is the path of Islam. Love comes with a price or mahar. The price of love according to Rumi is to lose yourself from attachment of yourself, of your ego i.e. self centeredness. Gain closeness to Allah through obligations of worship, through nawafil. It is about service/khidmah to humanity. This is the path of love.

Adab is a means of expressing love. It comes from the word maqdaba meaning banquet or walimah. The idea is when you attend a banquet there is adab so that everyone gets to have a fair experience. Islam is adab with Allah and with creatures of Allah. But there is a hierarchy. First is the Prophet (pbuh), then the angels, the jinn, human being, animals, plants, rocks - all unseen and the unseen.

I learned from Shaykh Ninowy that we should have adab before making a request as in the Surah Fatihah, we say iyakanaqbudu wa iya kanasta'in (Unto You we worship, unto You we ask for help). 

Ibadah means makrifah. Every experience, bitter or sweet, every circumstances is a means to know Allah. Adab is the means to purify oneself, to build a relationship before asking Allah of the things we seek in this life and the next. 

In the Quran Allah says: "Did we not give people two eyes, tongue, limbs, heart..."   The heart is the seat of our essence and reality. The heart is not just an organ. There is both physical and metaphysical aspects to it known as lubb or fuad

Poets say, the tongue is the translator of the heart expressing what is hidden in the heart. Freedom of speech is valued with limits. The more you protect the tongue from hurting others, the more the heart will come to life. If you want to change your heart, change your tongue. The tongue prevents us from seeing the secrets of the unseen. Guard the heart from five things: arrogance, conceit, envy, anger and showing off. Speak truthfully, then Allah will rectify your affair and forgive your sins. 

Sacred Path of Love is a means to gain His love.
__________________________

Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
Pic credit: Sout Ilaahi of Singapore the organizer of Sacred Path of Love

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shaykh Ninowy @ Sacred Path of Love 2013


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

The first time I learned about our beloved Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya an-Ninowy was through the Net sometime in 2009 and ever since I have harbored love for him and ever since I have developed a deep yearning to be in his majlis, to sit before him. Only this month, this year 2013 has Allah granted that wish. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to attend the Sacred Path of Love (SPOL) event organized by the Sout Ilaahi group in Singapore on 21st and 22nd December 2013. That's when I listened to Shaykh Ninowy in person for the first time after four years of waiting. To drink when you are really thirsty is different than when you are not so thirsty, you get what I mean?

At the Sacred Path of Love (SPOL) 2013, the shaykh said "the whole deen is about love." In response to a question: "How do we attain true love?" the shaykh also said: "The love of Allah is different from the love of creations. Attain true love by loving Allah, loving His Messenger, loving good deeds and loving good people. It's reflective in the du'a of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam: 'O Allah give me the rizq (provision) of loving you, loving those who love you and loving a deed which is beloved to You...' If you want to love Allah, get to know Him by doing random act of kindness for Allah's sake, solely to please Allah.

At the outset of his first lecture at SPOL 2013, Shaykh Ninowy said:
Islam is not just information, but realization. That information should become realization. It's a process of transformation. Gathering information does not necessarily bring you change. Your 'ilm (knowledge) should take you to makrifah. Reading more books could increase one's iman but not necessarily. It is not 'ilm, if it does not increase your iman. We must have iman that's not shakeable like a mountain. Having more degrees doesn't mean a thing if there is no iman. Allahu lailaha illAllah huwal hayyul qayyum. It is not easy to know Him, but easy! We should have realization or makrifah of this phrase for it determines what we are. 

Don't they recite the Quran? Don't they live (i.e. tadabbur) or contemplate the Quran? But, the tongue sings a different melody than the limbs unfortunately. We must do some soul searching said Shaykh Ninowy. We must take a moment to reflect. If we just rest and found not what we are looking for then there's no point. There's a story about a Persian man who sent his son away looking for the truth. When he saw a group of man praying, he was impressed but his father told him 'your deen is better than their deen.' The young man then traveled to Sham (Syria) to find Allah. He asked around, 'who is the most knowledgeable of you? I wish to do khidmah (service) and learn from you.' Then he went to Northern Iraq to learn and serve Musa until the man died. He went to the land of Roman afterwards and served the man until the guide was on his deathbed. So the young man asked: 'What do I do teacher?' The teacher replied: 'You now live in an era where someone great will emerge. He accepts no charity except gifts.'

The young man was Salman who eventually ended up being sold as a slave to a Jew. However, a relative of the Jew, from Bani Quraizah of Madinah offered to buy Salman somehow. One day when Salman was on top of a tree he heard a cousin of his master said: 'There's a man in Quba claiming to be a prophet.' Salman fell off the tree on hearing this. He soon went to Quba looking for the Prophet and was convinced that this was the man his guru was talking about. This extraordinary man did not accept Salman's offers of charity but gave it away to his companions instead. This was the Prophet indeed!

Shaykh Ninowy said, this was Salman's great struggle from Persia to Sham to the land of the Romans and to the desert in the captives of a Jew. There is a verse in the Quran: 'Those who struggle in the way of Allah, we will show them the way.' Prophet Ibrahim alaihisalam, as did Salman, went through a similar experience in searching for Allah. Prophet Ibrahim kept looking and did not settle with a god that changes. Allah does not change. Ibrahim bin Adham too struggled in finding Allah. He left his family on a quest to look for Allah. But, the shaykh said. there are many people in the masjid, reading the Quran, yet they haven't found Allah, the Lord of the Quran. Many people pray but do not know who is it they are praying to. Ibrahim bin Adham made a munajat: 'O Allah, I found my family whom I left for the sake of You. I made my child orphan so that I can be with you. If you cut me into hardship every piece of me will cry yearning to be with you.'

Shaykh Ninowy reminded the audience at the Sacred Path of Love event to make sure our knowledge is not a hijab (veil). That we should look for Him, so that we love Him. That we should not just talk about Him but talk to Him. That we should not just learn about Him but to find Him or we'll waste our life. The honorable shaykh also said: If you find Him you'll find the love of your life. And you will have found the perfect love!

*******

Allahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
Pic credit: The Sout Ilaahi group of Singapore, the organizer of the 4th Sacred Path of Love.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time after time | Timeless lesson from Rumi

Bismillah.

How many times have we let TIME cuts us like a knife does? Wounded we all must be. 

As it is, I am already 2 days behind time. This is written on 17 Dec 2013 but will be backdated to 15 Dec. We have got about 2 weeks before we fold 2013 for good. How has it been for you? A year that we will soon look back and say: the year that was. 

It's very easy to get drowned in the daily drama and get caught in confusion like one popular song in the '80s by Cyndi Lauper - "Caught up in circles of confusion, is nothing new; flashback, warm nights, almost left behind, suitcases of memories, time after time..."
Don't you agree?

If we were to pack the suitcases of memories for 2013, how will it look like? One piece labeled: sad. Another - happy; and the next one let's call it madness LOL and the list goes on and chances are we will exceed the baggage limit.   

Am reminded of a posting made in July 2009. Oh, the year that was. That was 4 years ago. Alhamdulillah for the time since. It's a posting about Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi who passed away today 17 December, in year 1273. That's 740 years ago and what he said is still true and relevant mashaAllah:

"If you're lugging a heavy bag, don't fail to look inside it, to see whether what is inside is bitter or sweet. If it's really worth bringing along, bring it; otherwise, empty your sack and redeem yourself from fruitless effort and disgrace. Only put into your sack that which is worth bringing to a righteous sovereign." [Mathnawi IV, 1574 -1577]

Let's ponder.
And be grateful for the blessings of TIME. That we are present here and now.

We have looked back to the year that will soon pass - 2013. We looked back to 4 years ago to 2009. We cannot be sure if we will be given another 4 years, whether we will have the privilege to look back 4 years to where we are now at the present moment. Allahu Akbar. He is TIME.

May Allah pardon our shortcomings, for being ghaflah [heedless] and not using our time wisely.

-E-
17 Dec 2013

A year from now, we'll wish we'd started doing something good today

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Do not think less of me for being a girl

Bismillah.

It's year end. 'Tis the season to be jolly.

Something I read, made me laugh and thought I share with you. Picked it up from www.brainpickings.org
where I read a cute piece of writing about Tyfanny, a South African girl who wrote to Albert Einstein. Yes Einstein the professor with funny looking blue sandals on the cover of a book called "Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children". And yes, apparently he did reply to letters from his young fans. How nice of him.

On 19 September 1946, Tyfanny writes: "I forgot to tell you, in my last letter, that I was a girl. I mean I am a girl. I have always regretted this a great deal but by now I have become more or less resigned to the fact. Anyway, I hate dresses and dances and all the kind of rot girls usually like. I much prefer horses and riding. Long ago, before I wanted to become a scientist, I wanted to be a jockey and ride horses in races. But that was ages ago, now I hope you will not think any the less of me for being a girl."

And this was Einstein's reply, about a month later: "I do not mind that you are a girl, but the main thing is that you yourself do not mind. There is no reason for it."

LOL. I just loved this exchange. Also love the fact that Einstein being him, had given his clever reasons for all other questions posed by children via letters to him. Because naturally for a scientist, there is a reason, a logical explanation for everything but for certain things there is just no reason for it :)

Being a girl is cool, I must say. And for many girls, the way to their heart, diamonds aside, is to buy them great books. If you go by the teachings of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi, a man should not think less of a woman because: "A man may most perfectly contemplate God in woman, since, in her he contemplates at once his own servanthood and dominion and in union with her may experience, in microscomic mode, that fusion of polar experience which is the Reality."

I am getting someone to ask Shaykh Muhammad Mendes answer some questions on this matter. Let's see if we can get a reply from him ;)


Friday, December 13, 2013

Life is like a box of chocolates [or curry puff]

Bismillah.

LOL. Excuse me. I might be chocolates overdosed. Can't help it. 

I saw something funny on a menu of a 5-star restaurant in KL. I think I want to ask the hotel's General Manager later why they let a slippage occur on their menu. You know curry puffs? It's like danish pastry with a savory filling i.e. potatoes/beef/chicken? That's the internationally accepted name of such a delicacy. In the Malay language we spell/call it Karipap [pronounce curry-pulp; curry with a 'k' sound; pulp without emphasizing the 'l' in pulp.] Follow me? Our version of karipap does not taste as exquisite as the kind of curry puffs you might get at some posh cafes. Fine. But I cannot understand why a 5-star hotel actually direct translates curry puff to kari pap with a white space in between. It should be karipap, just one word. I am making a big fuss over this, yes I know. LOL.

But life is like karipap, you never know what you're gonna get inside. It can be potatoes with beef or chicken or sardine or plain potatoes. You really will never know unless the seller puts a proper label on the counter or she/he somehow knows it by heart and inform you verbally. LOL. "Life is like a karipap" - I think, is a better expression than "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

I picked that up from watching Forrest Gump the movie. I am not a movie person. I have a small brain. I don't remember 98% of the movies I watched. But I remembered that expression from the movie. I remembered crying buckets watching that movie.

Less expensive chocolates would have a clear label on the packaging, so you know what you'll get. More expensive chocolates tend to have a beautiful box with minimal info on the outside but as you open the flap you'll see descriptions of what's inside each of the chocolates. You won't know the contents only for a small window of time. So "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get" is just OK as an expression but not that accurate.

Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, that expression had appeared in a book by a Japanese author circa '87/'89, earlier than the film Forrest Gump. I quote from Wiki what the author wrote which is worth quoting so we can all ponder while enjoying karipap or chocolates LOL.

"Just remember, life is like a box of chocolates."..."You know, they've got these chocolate assortments and you like some but you don't like others? And you eat all the ones you don't like as much. I always think about that when something painful comes up. 'Now just polish these off, and everything will be OK.' Life is like a box of chocolates." - wrote Haruki Murakami

How true!


p/s 
Just another laid-back posting before the next one about a talented writer from South Africa who is working on a translation/commentary of 'Fayd al-Litaf 'ala Jawhara al-Tawhid' by Imam Ebrahim Laqqani. Sidi Allie Khalfe the translator, calls his forthcoming work 'The Outpouring of Subtleties upon the Precious Pearl of Divine Oneness.'
Click here to read:

If this work may be represented by a brand of chocolates. It's got to be Godiva!
:)


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Divine warranty | None can repel His bounty

Bismillah.

Am just loving it - verse 10:107 of the Quran. It may sound like a phrase which you would say "Yeah of course!" but it's certainly loaded with a divinely warranty.

The meaning of the verse as offered by Royal Al-Bayt Institute on Altafsir.com: 
"And if God afflicts you with some hurt, there is none who can remove it save Him; and if He desires good for you, there is none who can repel His bounty. He strikes with it whomever He will of His servants. He is the Forgiving, the Merciful."

YES! None can repel His bounty. How many times have you experienced it? How many times have we seen it? Plenty. How people try to block this and that from someone but if it's meant to be yours, it will come flying into your lap anyhow, anyway. Glory be to Allah.

But the sad fact is that some people just don't give up at making a feeble attempt to control other people's life and circumstances. Being a control freak is so uncool y'all. These days one can't even control what the kids browse on the internet. Anyone wants to try control grown ups? Good luck.

Back to the verse. It is Allah who strikes His servants with it - either something hurtful or something good. Allah is the striker, not Mrs. Jones, not Mr. Jones. So do not entertain anyone who tries to block a good thing from you. Say no to "wet blankets". If you feel like writing something, going somewhere or doing something and you know it's a good thing to do, then just go for it. Am stating this obvious fact as a reminder to our young readers who tend to be easily influenced/pressured by their peers.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the wonderful bounties He has been sending us. And when He strikes with something a lil hurtful, we seek cover in Him.

Have a sweet December y'all.
And I won't ever jokingly ask for someone to send me chocolates
because some "nutty" readers will do just that!
Anyways, Allah bless your kind heart.
May Allah have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

United hearts | The joy of being remembered



Bismillah.

Some readers of this blog, their hearts are so pure and full of love, they may be regarded as wali junior :)

At Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, during the recent majlis with Habib Umar bin Hafiz, as expected the masjid was jam-packed with people. Yet some souls were destined to meet. It was as though I was guided to change seats, not once but three times just so that I could sit next to one reader whom I love and respect. By chance? No, it's fated. Guided rather because our hearts are united. Subhanallah. Apparently a prayer had been said so we could meet. And we didn't have each other's phone number mind you. Then came another reader/friend whom I appreciate, joining us from nowhere, mashaAllah.

Sometimes in life we only need to experience simple miracles like this to make us more grateful and to seal our beliefs that Allah is caring and watching, that He hears even the faintest of the heart's whispering and He answers. Subhan is Allah.

We may be living hundreds or thousands of miles apart but without a doubt our common love for all things good unite us. While waiting for the majlis to begin, another pure heart sent a wonderful news and lovely photos from a dergah in South Africa. Subhanallah.

I have been going through quite a rough time lately BUT, warm messages and gestures from people who are blessed with the lights of love in their hearts, have touched and healed me in a very special way. It's sheer joy and blessings to be remembered. Let me repeat that. It's sheer joy and blessings to be remembered.

And it makes me eternally grateful when someone visits beautiful and sacred maqams like the Prophet's maqam, Jalaludin Rumi's, Habib Noh's and Shaykh Sulaiman Mohammed's - and tell me they have me in their thoughts. MashaAllah tabarakallah. May Allah bless their hearts with even more pristine lights of love and iman. Ameen.

O lovely friends [you know who you are] I love you too - for the sake of Allah. And surely you are remembered and cherished!


MAQAM OF SHAYKH SULAIMAN MOHAMMED
A WALI WHO CAME TO SOUTH AFRICA AS A SLAVE TO WORK



Al- Fatihah to Shaykh Sulaiman Mohammed
May we get to visit you someday bi-iznillah.

Pic credit: Sister N

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lessons from Habib Umar bin Hafiz at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal on 6th Dec 2013

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to be present at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal in KL last Friday. It was a very special occasion as it's the first time Habib Umar bin Hafiz visited Masjid Muadz hence graced the weekly majlis ta'lim organized by his mureed Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid of Darul Murtadza.

The notes below are not verbatim, sketchy at best. 

The esteemed habib said:
Praise be to Allah that we have been honored to be present at such a majlis. That He has permitted us to benefit from the bounties which are well kept in a treasure box, the contents of which shall never diminish. Praise be to Allah for allowing us to do some good amal in our fleeting age, to be doing something that will last for eternity. A business which will last eternally is that of akhirah. There is a vast difference between a worldly business and business of the hereafter. All that was said earlier [in reference to the tausiyah given by other shukuyh/habaib at the majlis] was a result of a close connection with Allah. We have a connection with Allah on account of the blessings of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. He is the one who has brought us out of darkness. He brought with him the light of Islam and the light of wisdom. And Allah has purified us from the dirt of polytheism; from being oppressive towards one another; and from committing grave sins. We call upon Allah to send His salutations to the greatest of all blessing which is Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam, his noble families, those who love him and are close to him.

You are present at this majlis. Do you know who is it that gathers you here? Who gave you the tawfiq to be here? Is it because of your legs? Or your other limbs? Is it because you have a car? Or what else? Those are merely asbab [causes]. None of you can be present here if not for the tawfiq granted by Allah for you to be present here. Be grateful to Allah for the tawfiq. There are many people who live in heedlessness. What do you reckon the deed you did which earned you this tawfiq from Allah? Allah grants you tawfiq as a proof of His love towards you. If Allah loathes a person, He sends him/her to places/acts/people that which He hates. But Allah has chosen to send you to His House [this masjid]. When a person goes to someone's house, do you think the host will not honor his/her guests? Do you think by coming to the House of Allah, He will not honor you? Verily He honors you by enabling you to make zikir. That's a blessing. Whoever mentions and remembers Him, He would reciprocate in a better manner. He gives us the tawfiq to recite salawat. Indeed the best person whom we should love is none other than Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. He Himself rewards those who make salutations on His prophet. 

Take notice of the rewards Allah chooses for those whom He loves. Accept His bounties. Whoever thinks the reward he/she receives from makhluk is great, the person ought to know that the reward from Allah is even greater. When Allah grants profit to the business of akhirah, the heart would feel peaceful, the soul would be in a tranquil state, the mind and the batin would be cleansed, and be blessed with a high stature. Try to understand these realities from Allah. It is different from the understanding of the ordinary folks. Heed the lessons from the story of Aishah radhiallahu anha giving away all parts of a lamb leaving behind its forelegs for the Prophet. In reality, what has been gained is actually those that were given away. 

Those who are present at this majlis has reaped a great profit. Those who are absent would regret. Even if he owns a country, if he's not present at such a blissful event he would regret it. The pride and joy of ruling a country would be lost and is incomparable to being present at such majlis even if it be for a moment. We learn from the Quran that on the day of Resurrection, we would be willing to sacrifice our wives and children in exchange for safety. We learn from the Prophet about the phrase which he loves more than anything i.e. subhanallah walhamdulillah wa lailahaillallah allahu akbar. We recited that just now. 

And there is this story about Prophet Sulaiman radhiallahu anhu who is blessed with wonderful capabilities. Once, a man felt amazed at seeing him fly in the air. He uttered: "Subhanallah, indeed Sulaiman has been conferred with great powers." When Prophet Sulaiman heard that, he actually stopped and went to see the man to acknowledge him for the tasbih he recited.

Know that being here in this majlis is worth much more than the world and its contents. Make your heart and mind present to listen to the words of Allah. People listen to all kinds of things. But few make it a point to listen to that which is beneficial to them. Open your heart and listen to Allah, listen to His words, He is the Lord of all and everything, listen and may you attain Al-Husna. It's not possible for anyone whom Allah has raised up to fall and be dishonored. Find the ways and means to listen to good words so that you would earn a good stature in the eyes of Allah. Anything that comes from Allah is haq, truthful and good. Only ahlul albab would be cognizant of this fact. Those who may be blind in this dunya, but are able to see the lights of iman, they are in truth not blind. Those who are blind in akhirah are those who do not believe in Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. The eyes of their hearts are blind here in this dunya and they will remain blind in akhirah.  

Habib Umar ended his tausiyah with a lengthy and meaningful du'a so that those present would take home plenty of benefits and so that Allah would increase His tawfiq unto all. Habib Umar also granted the ijazah to recite la ilaha illallah al malikul haqqul mubin 100 times daily.



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

Monday, December 9, 2013

No exemption from turmoil | Shaykh Ahmed Deedat's Biography

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah we were able to witness the launching of Ahmed Deedat's Biography in KL on the 3rd of December 2013. 

Just holding the book in my palms, I could sense the richness of its contents and the fierceness of the man's resolve in spreading Islam.

Eager to share these profound words found on page 17 of Ahmed Deedat - The Man and His Mission:
"In the Quran, there's an ayah [verse] where Allah says that the believer should ask for no exemption from turmoil. The Prophets went through it. If you want to do Allah's work, there is no exemption. And He says He will give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere and who say when they are afflicted with calamity verily 'we belong to Allah and to Him we return'. So this is His, and He gives it and He takes it. I am reconciled with that."


  
I am yet to read the book. Yet to read the chapter called 'The Indelible Thumbprint'. The quotation above appears on the front page of the said chapter. Yet, one can guess he said those strong words of encouragement to himself, in reference to his illness. And of course, a da'ie like him would speak not except to remind his listeners the words and lessons from the Quran.

We can only imagine how he must have felt when he was bedridden for almost a decade long. But surely Allah rewards him during those "quiet" years just as much as He must have rewarded Deedat for the 30/40 years when his speech was simply unstoppable. 

The event was organized by Islamic Propagation Society International of Penang Malaysia (IPSI) - an organization spearheaded by Brother Kamarudin Abdullah, a revert, who felt both challenged and inspired when he met Ahmed Deedat in Penang 22 years ago. The master da'ie gave him a book called 'What the Bible Says About Muhammad' and said: "If you read this book and you don't share it with your family, friends and neighbors, you are useless!"

That challenge eventually resulted in the establishment of IPSI - almost like a "mirror site" of the master's own Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI) based in South Africa.

Al-Fatihah to one soldier of Islam whose deeds were so widespread and whose name remains engraved in the hearts and minds of so many people worldwide - Shaykh Ahmed Hoosen Deedat (1918 - 2005).


p/s 
Hope you would also buy the biography and read and share and not be useless!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Revelation




Bismillah.

And say: "Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood is surely bound to vanish." 
Quran: Al-Isra 17:81
____________________________________________________

Today is revelation day. Some people say, not knowing is bliss. Yes, true for certain things, methinks. But certain things are better known for certain.

It's a good feeling knowing that you are in a position to reveal the truth about things - to publicly reveal lots of things, about the wrongs people have done implicating you. But you just choose not to :)

After all, innalillah wa inna ilai hira ji'un.

p/s 
Choose to be happy :) 
"You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down" says Charles Chaplin.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Number crunching | The value of zero and one

Bismillah.


This post is written on 1.12.13. That's 1st of December 2013. Thought it'd be interesting to record the date and say something about numbers. 

Number crunching as defined by Merriam Webster is the act of performing mathematical operations to find a value. Value in this context is a number. But generally when we say the word value, well at least to me, I tend to think about values as in traits or qualities of a person. What is the value of a person? A person who has no values is like a persona non grata in the eyes of the citizen of the world. 

When I noticed the nice looking date 1.12.13, I remembered one tausiyah given by Shaykh Nazim which I happened to watch on Sufilive in 2009. He said: "One divided by infinity equals zero. Everything in front of 1 is nothing. That is tawheed. You must understand the unity of the Lord. So be nothing."

Indeed, zero comes before 1. What Shaykh Nazim meant, as I understood it, we must be nothing (zero) as we stand before the One [before Allah]. Subhanallah. So that's the meaning of zero. We are zero. We are nothing.

If you've been reading this blog religiously, you might remember a lesson by Habib Salim Ba'abad in January this year about the number 1 as a representation of one's akhlak. He quoted Imam al Khawarizmi the maths genius who said in response to a question on the value of man: 'If a man has akhlak then he has a number/value which is 1. If the man is blessed with some property then he can add a zero after 1, so his value is 10. And a zero is further added if he is blessed with good looks, good family background etc. increasing his value to 100, 1000 and so on. But all those additional zeroes would mean nothing if he doesn't have akhlak (i.e. figure 1) in the first place.' How clever! And how true!

Akhlak is a big word. But to my small brain, it's simple things like talking straight, not telling lies, not scheming to harm people, not putting people in a difficult situation, not humiliating people etcetera. But some people still insist: 'Oh, the tongue may have lied but the heart meant well.' 

Oh well, let's repeat for the umpteenth time what the shuyukh have said about the correlation between the heart and the tongue. To put it simply, the heart is like a reservoir, if the tank is rusty then the water (i.e. the words that pour forth) will also be rusty.

Astaghfirullah. Astaghfirullah. Astaghfirullah.
Let's do some soul crunching.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Don't forget! Habib Umar bin Hafidz @ Masjid Muadz bin Jabal KL on 6 Dec 2013

Bismillah.


Don't forget our date.
InshaAllah.
Pray we'll make it there.

Meantime, here's a selawat I learned from one of the habib's mureed as published on his FB. 

Allahumma salli ala Sayidina Muhammad
Habibir Rahman
'ada dama yakun
wama qod kan


Refer: 
http://lisanaldin.blogspot.com/2012/01/practices-for-rabiul-awal-by-habib-umar.html


Thursday, December 5, 2013

In the moment

Bismillah.

Fifth of December is the birthday of a good ol' friend I treasure. This person had given me a good number of books on Sufism which enlightened me in more ways than one. This person wrote on a book which was bought for my 30-something birthday: "Time and space is of no consequences to the one living in the moment."

How true. 

Still, some people like to ask, "Why did you do that?" And people who are very interested in other people's past would say: "Oh, he/she did this, did that." They are natural historians -- self-appointed historians they are. They keep records concerning other people.

I think to truly live in the moment, one must die or completely detach oneself from the moment that has just passed. It's not that easy sometimes but that's what it is. It's all about catching the beauty of the present moment so that anything and everything that has just passed is just passe. [for the benefit of my niece/nephew, pronounce the word passe like pass-say]

I know the pronunciation may sound kinda stylish but it means just the opposite. It means outdated or obsolete.

We learned a bit about Lady Gaga's song the other day heh...heh. Below is a haphazard quote from 'One moment in time' by the late Whitney Houston. Something to remind me and you.

"Each day I live
I want to be
a day to give
the best of me"

"You're a winner
for a lifetime
if you seize that one moment in time
make it shine"

And folks, remember to ____


: )

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On trust and forgiveness

Bismillah.

At a training I attended recently, I learned a simple fact which my CEO emphasized. In our bid to become a trusted organization we cannot be telling people "hey, we are a trusted company, you can trust us." It is for people to judge whether we are trustworthy or not. Let it come from their mouth, not ours. Our job is just to do things which could bring about that trust we want people to have in us.

Yes, surely trust is precious and priceless. It is not easy to win people's trust. We must be dependable and reliable, almost all the time. To be a trusted brand means making people feel safe and secured when using our products or when dealing with us. That people are not being shortchanged or deceived in any manner. That's true everywhere else, not just in the corporate world because at the end of the day it's not just about business-to-consumers (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), it all boils down to people-to-people. Of course it's not going to work with negative or bad people, save people with good values such as honesty. That's pretty basic but it's fundamentally important.

I remember my first key chain. It was made of plastic, red in color. You know as school students we just loved key chains, postcards and all the small, cheap, cute stuffs affordable to us. I had "honesty is the best policy" engraved on my first key chain and that phrase has stuck with me. May Allah grant us hidayah and tawfiq to be honest always.

Someone unfairly made a summation of me as a person saying: "To me, you have nothing except a house. That's the one and only asset you have." Oh well, I know some people take pride in owning lots of properties, but to me, I don't even own the house. Moreover, I'd like to think my asset is my heart. There are plenty of things in there to cherish, like having a clear conscience and not having ill intentions towards people. Alhamdulillah.  

Now coming back to trust. Trust is like forgiveness in a way because it is for people to feel it or offer it to you. You cannot be so arrogant in forcing people to say, for example: 'Shasha, say "I forgive you, regardless." LOL. Hello, you must be humble enough to know and admit your mistakes and ask for people's forgiveness, but not the other way around.

I am writing this especially for the young ones in my family who follow this blog. I am liking the young audience because they are innocent, truthful and straight. May Allah keep them pure and may Allah guide us "senior citizens" :)

  

p/s 
Cik H and En. K, cantik kan Haiku Deck ni? : D


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Born this way | Turning the tables

Bismillah.

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Bullied. Turned the tables as she morphed into a sensation on her own merits and sweat. 

I have heard of her song 'Born this way' by chance and occasionally caught glimpses of her eccentric sense of style but never in my wildest dream imagined I would be inspired reading about her. She is Lady Gaga. But honestly, I thought the interview by Abirami Durai which appeared in November 2013 issue of Faces magazine, was simply fresh and brilliant.

You may not agree with each and every line of her 'Born this way' song or anything about her at all. Prejudice aside. I could sense how real she was from the interview.
  
Young Stefani was mocked a whole lot. People made fun of her appearance. Silly boys threw her into a trash can. She suffered and carried with her, emotional scars. In an interview with Google she admitted feeling like a loser - a feeling that stuck with her. She said, "Bullying stays with you your whole life. I was never the winner..."

As she struggled to carve her own niche - the word niche is really an understatement as far as her craft is concerned - she has to face the naysayers. She said in an interview with the Guardian and I am quoting from Faces: "It gives them a sense of pleasure when they believe they have destroyed me or taken me down..." But she knows herself and the amount of work she does -- "In fact people have no idea what it really took for me to get here. So it doesn't bother me, it's just an interesting observation of where we are as a society." How true! It is an interesting observation about the society.

Lines from her hit song:
"Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way"

The moral is universal. No matter what faith and inclination we have, none benefits from being bullied. None benefits from envy. We have to stay true to ourselves and fight on until the enemies themselves admit: "Well, my my, how the tables have turned." - as said one of Lady Gaga's bully.

Yes Stefani, I agree, "Believe capital H I M".


p/s
I chanced upon Faces the magazine while having dinner with my loved ones. Interesting how much we can learn from the intelligent "accidents" that occur as we go about our daily lives.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Lisan al-Din the story

Bismillah.



Once upon a time, a naive girl saw a name and fell in love with it. It's Lisan al-Din. It's a name of a publication. She later learned it's also a name of a famous writer and poet whose poems got inscribed at Alhambra. The sweet sounding name moved her. It inspired her to unearth scattered alphabets and string them into meaningful sentences. At least to her. So she followed her heart and began to write to an empty hall. On some days people came by. On other days they just passed by. She's happy either way. It's a simple life in the blogosphere. But there were times she realized the Net could be a tricky place. Not everyone is sane. People could get trapped like fish in a fishnet. But she has faith and worry not because it's only about writing her language of faith. It's a free country so there's no coercion. People may leave at the first word they find distasteful. No need to fret. Just don't bother her. Leave her alone in her world of words. It's nothing more than a story and a dream. A name inspired her. That's the gist of the story. And anything can inspire anyone.


Someone tweeted that we should be thankful for the remaining 33 days left in the year to:





There are certainly more than five choices on what to do before the year ends. Thirty three more days to go. You make your choice but let's respect other people's choice. I might choose to close this blog at the end of the year. Nothing lasts forever. Whatever will be, will be, the future is not ours to see que sera sera.

:)

28.11.2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Rain

Bismillah.

Despite the knocks here and there in November, I just loved it. And kinda missed it - "November rain". This piece is written on 26th Nov but will appear on 1st Dec. Heh..heh..like you care.

But hey, it's important to me as I push for postings, move forward to December and kiss the November rain goodbye :)



In case you're wondering how on earth I managed to create all these posters, they're created on iPad using a cool app called Haiku Deck. Check it out, and set your story free. They now have Web App Beta which means people will soon be able to use it on the computer. [Suddenly I feel so clever, LOL.]

Pray December will be a better month. Pray we'll be a better person in December. Pray I'll be a better Muslim in December, InshaAllah. Better me, not bitter me.

Happy Sunday y'all :)