Sunday, December 21, 2014

Season to be happy | 2014 wrapped | Happy Holidays

Bismillah.




It's year end. Ya Hu!
I think I have blogged enough for 2014.
This is the 240th posting for the year, 
so gimme a break y'all.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for tolerating my merepek nonsense ramblings.

It's time to chill until the new year turns up.
'Tis time to let one's hair down.
It's time I say tata for now.
Happy holidays!

Everybody sing:
Make my wish come true
All I want for the New Year is YOU
: D

See you in 2015, God willing.
Love, love and much love.

-E-

OOO & XXX


Saturday, December 20, 2014

History of Mosques & Mausoleum in Penang | Masjid Kapitan Keling & Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I am very excited and happy to have received this wonderful gift from a perpetual musafir. It's about mosques and mausoleum in Penang from 1730s to 2012. Indeed, the book is a must-have/must-read for Penangites. The publication was part of an initiative called Penang Story. It is a collaboration between Think City, Penang Heritage Trust and Universiti Sains Malaysia - one of Malaysia's top universities based in Penang.


History of Mosques and Mausoleum in Penang
1730s - 2012

The book which was funded by Think City, is based on a research carried out in 1974 by a group of students at the Malayan Teachers College in Gelugor, Penang. The six-member research team, led by Mr. W. Williams, named their work 'Historical Survey of the Mosques and Kramats on Penang Island'.

Out of the 75 mosques and 24 kramats/maqam/mausoleum listed in the book, in my opinion, 3 mosques and 2 maqams are a must-visit if you only have two days to spend in Penang Island. One of them is Masjid Batu Uban in Gelugor which we talked about several postings back. Click here for related links.

The other two mosques -  Masjid Kapitan Keling and Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh - are two very beautiful and prominent mosques in the smack of George Town. Both are on the tourist/heritage trail. While you marvel at their outward beauty, you should know that there are two great personalities behind them. Cauder Mohudeen or Kapitan Keling and Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid were two remarkable community leaders who left a splendid legacy through the simple and mighty noble act of waqaf.

Cauder Mohudeen (1759 - 1834) was an active trader from Pondicherry, South India who already had business dealings with Nagore [a town along the Bay of Bengal in south east India], Kedah [a state in north Peninsula Malaysia] and Sumatera/Indonesia even before he joined Captain Francis Light's entourage to Penang in 1786. Cauder Mohudeen first served Captain Light [founder of the British colony in Penang], as crew leader. Within the first few years in Penang, after having reaped business opportunities on account of his good relationship with Captain Light, Cauder Mohudeen became the richest and most influential Chulia  [a name used by the British in reference to Muslims from South India]. In 1801, Cauder Mohudeen got elected as Kapitan [chief] of the Chulias and became known as Kapitan Keling. As the first and charismatic leader of the Chulias, Kapitan Keling submitted an application to the British government for a plot of land for the purpose of building a mosque. On 2nd November 1801, Sir George Leith, the British first Lieutenant-Governor of Prince of Wales' Island [Penang Island] granted 18 acres of land solely for building a mosque and as compound for a Muslim cemetery. In 1802, with funding assistance from the East India Company and contributions from Muslim traders in George Town, a mosque was built and named Masjid Kapitan Keling.

Sixty five years later as George Town grew in population and trading activities, and more so after London began overseeing the management of the Straits Settlements [i.e. Penang, Malacca and Singapore] the 18 acre land meant for the mosque and Muslim cemetery had to be given up to make way for a market and a police station. In 1903, there were only 8 acres left. In 1905, the mosque's affairs were put under the purview of the Mohamedan and Hindu Endowments Ordinance. The ordinance was set up to supervise waqaf properties in the Straits Settlements. Cauder Mohudeen or Kapitan Keling, as a wealthy trader, owned some 50,000 square feet of waqaf land. He, his three wives and their seven children were all buried on this piece of waqaf property. He also had 18 houses built in situ.          

Masjid Kapitan Keling
underwent a major refurbishment in 1916
(funded by the Mohamedan and Hindu Endowments Board)
and several times more between 1928-1935, 2002 and 2011.
The mosque served as Penang's State Mosque until 1980. 

***
Masjid Melayu Lebuh Aceh [a.k.a. Acheen Street Mosque] is the other prominent mosque in George Town which you must visit. It is about 5-minute walk from Masjid Kapitan Keling. It was built in 1808, just six years after the completion of Masjid Kapitan Keling. Its founder Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid as a reputable and influential leader of the Malay community felt there was a need to have a mosque for the Malays [Melayu] because the Friday sermons at Masjid Kapitan were delivered in Tamil.

Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid (d 1840) was a member of the Aceh [Indonesia] royal family who owned a flourishing spice trading business. In 1791, he signed a pact with Captain Francis Light claiming independent authority over his followers and rights to free trade including tin business. On top of the enterprises in Penang, Tunku Sayyid Hussain was also agent for Palmer & Co based in Calcutta, India. He owned at least three trading vessels and George Town's first high-rise building i.e a four-storey building where his office was located. The building also functioned as godown for spices. The godown, known as Rumah Tinggi [Tall House] was valued at $6,000 Spanish dollar and with that Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid qualified as the third richest man in George Town, after Captain Francis Light and his friend James Scott.

Tunku Sayyid Hussain was so rich that he afforded a loan amounting to $50,000 Spanish dollar to East India Company who got into financial difficulties in 1815. In 1820 Tunku Sayyid Hussain offered some 66,000 square feet of waqaf land for religious purposes. Rental collections from about 14 properties were channeled to the mosque's trust fund meant for charitable causes, such as education. A house dedicated for Malay children was built on the waqaf land.

Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh/Acheen Street Mosque
[The small structure on the far right is where
Maqam of Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid is housed]

After his demise in 1840, Lebuh Aceh/Acheen Street continued to prosper and evolved as a center for hajj pre-departure activities. This took place in the mid-19th century when Penang Port became the region's one and only point of disembarkation for hajj. Masjid Melayu Lebuh Aceh became a pivotal center for religious studies for would-be pilgrims and others. It was where high calibre spiritual leaders like Shaykh Omar Basheer al-Khalidi came to the fore. Shaykh Omar was then serving as imam of the mosque from whom the British had sought for help in resolving community conflicts and riots in Penang.      

Shaykh Omar Basheer (1811 - 1881) descended from an Arab family from Hadramaut. He was born in 1811 in an area within the vicinity of Masjid Kapitan Keling. He was well educated and received plenty of training in Mecca from several outstanding scholars. His maqam is located in Kampung Melayu, Ayer Itam [northwest of George Town] near his family home which also served as a center for Naqshbandi Tariqa activities. His maqam is a must-visit destination.

Shaykh Omar's grandfather, Hamid bin Bahman was a reputable Sufi leader in Hadramaut. He first brought/introduced the Naqshbandi Tariqa in Penang in 1806 and set up a 'House of Seclusion' known as Madrasatul Suluk Kampung Melayu. In 1840, Shaykh Omar was gifted with a house in Kampung Melayu which originally belonged to Captain Francis Light's Secretary.

***
Link to an old posting on Shaykh Omar Basheer:
http://lisanaldin.blogspot.com/2009/11/sheikh-omar-basheer-al-khalidi.html
  
Maqam Shaykh Omar Basheer in Kampung Melayu, Ayer Itam, Penang
[pic taken in 2009]

To recap, if you only have two days to spend in Penang, the three mosques and two maqams you should visit are:
  • Masjid Batu Uban in Gelugor
  • Masjid Kapitan Keling in George Town
  • Masjid Melayu Lebuh Aceh in George Town
  • Maqam Tunku Sayyid Hussain Al-Aidid at Masjid Melayu Lebuh Aceh
  • Maqam Shaykh Omar Basheer in Kampung Melayu, Ayer Itam
The great personalities behind these mosques should in fact be our role models. They were all high achievers who contributed significantly to society.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Real present vs. uncertain future

Bismillah.

This is the most thought provoking phrase of the week for me. It's by Alan Watts (1915 - 1973) a British philosopher and writer.

"If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are 'crying for the moon.' We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty...."

"But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements - inferences, guesses, deductions - it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes and assurances."

***

Reflecting on this, makes us realize how true it is, that people have the tendency to cry for the moon, that people seek future assurance. Because of restless seeking for a secured future we forget and fail to appreciate the present, let alone enjoy it. It is a waste of energy to be restless about the future. I think that's why there is such a thing as tawakkal and yaqin. And husnul zan towards Allah and His grand plans. With Him around, life should be good.

Let's enjoy the present because the future cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard and enjoyed. Therefore, fret not. And don't bother about other people's future either. Mind your own present and chill. 


And this has got to be the most valuable advice and reminder this week. It's by our dearest Habib Umar bin Hafiz, as published on Muwasala FB, recorded from an event in Cape Town in Dec 2014.

"The believer is honored by being connected to the name of Allah in all his states. Even when he sleeps. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam taught him to say: 'In your name my Lord, I place my side and in your name I raise it."

Habib Umar asked: "What is our state with regards to bismillah? Did you wear some clothing without saying bismillah and without being aware of the meaning? Is there something in your stomach which entered without you saying bismillah first? Did you enter the masjid in a state of awareness of bismillah? If we have said bismillah then how much have we reflected upon it and understood its meanings?"

***
From the above, we may deduce:
In each state, that is in each present, if we were to connect ourselves to the Name of Allah by saying bismillah, our present would be in an honorable state. The present moment would be meaningful as we are carried from one 'present' to the next 'present' with mindfulness, because we are going from bismillah to another bismillah continually. And thus making each moment a good present all the way. In other words, if we mind the present in the right way, it is as if the future takes care of itself - bismillah.
   
Allahu a'lam.

References:
A present from my employer, for each one of us ; D


Friday, December 12, 2014

Ya Muhyi | Ya Mumit

Bismillah.

Inna lillah wa inna ilai hira ji'un.

One woman whose life, from the perspective of ignorant mortals, might not have been as rosy as most people, but who knows what the Master Judge thinks and evaluates? People who have plenty of the worldly possessions will have plenty to be judged, whereas people who have less, will not have so much to declare and be worried about. My aunt, Maryam, had passed away on Wednesday. She was in her early 70s. She was one woman who lived a simple life. It's amazing how the merciful Lord made her look like she was in her 30s at point of death. She is my mother's younger sister.    

***
Tonight, we had a small majlis to recite Yasin and tahlil for her, for everyone in my family who have passed and all the ar-ruh of muslimin and muslimat in the realm of barzakh. The imam who recited talqin (the farewell prayers) for her, led the Yasin recital and the majlis - subdued yet beautiful.


I remembered seeing a miracle when she was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit two weeks ago. She looked like she was half dead. Her heart rate was very low. Her tongue was lifeless. When I tried to open her eyes, it felt like the eyelid was glued to the eyeball and I had to peel it open. And the eyeballs looked like lifeless stones. There wasn't any signs of life at all. So we geared up on reciting the Quran and zikrullah in her ears. When my mother was left alone by her side, on the third recital of the Yasin, her eyes miraculously flung open. My mother got very shocked at the abrupt change of condition so she rushed out of the ward to call me in. Subhanallah, we saw Al-Muhyi at work, literally.

***
It's humbling to see how Allah, Majestic is He, who decides when a person dies. Just when we thought a person could be dying, He proved us wrong. After that miraculous incident, my aunt seemed to have gotten better that she was discharged from the hospital. Subhan is Allah, who then decided to take her to the realm barzakh on the appointed day and time, when we thought she was positively recovering from her illness. Glory be to Al Mumit who causes His servants/creations to die, thus showing us how powerful His prerogative is and to Him we shall all return. 

***
I humbly ask that you recite Al-Fatihah for my aunt, and all our relatives and friends, mine and yours, all who have gone before us.




Thank you.

    

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bagged a prize | Habib Umar's book | His Will

Bismillah.

You might have noticed there had been several postings related to al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz lately. Someone noticed it and appreciated it, hence presented me with a book by Habib Umar - The Clarification of Noble Character

How cool is that? Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. For having shown a bit of dedication on posting notes from Habib Umar's majalis during his recent South East Asia tour, I have bagged a precious book, by His decree. Ya Hu!


Below are two quotes from Lesson 7 on magnanimity:

"People must realize the underlying truth that the universe runs according to a will other than theirs, by a decree other than theirs and by a plan other than theirs. Instead it runs according to the decree of Allah. If they understand this, believe it and actualise it, it becomes firmly planted within them that whenever something happens, it is from the decree of Allah and nothing will be, except what He wills. It has been related in an authenticated hadith: 'What Allah wills come to pass, and what He does not will, does not come to pass.' 

***
Reading this para alone makes you feel liberated. No need to be so stressed out. No need to be a control freak. No need to be a hoarder. No need to hire a spy, etcetera.

***

"A knower of Allah was once asked, How did you come to know your Lord? He replied: 'Through the failure of my plans. I prepare for something, focus my energy and attention upon it and then it is not decreed and does not happen. Meanwhile there are other things that never cross my mind and without me realizing they occur and become reality. Through this I understand that there is planning other than our planning and power other than our power."

***

YaHu.....am happy with His plans. I'm pretty sure, you are too : )

"Man is a slave, not a Lord."

________________
Publisher credit: Dar al Turath al-Islami
Thank you MJB - kol sana wenta tayeb.

 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sacred Path of Love - Effect of The Age | 27 & 28 Dec 2014 @ Singapore

Bismillah.




Alhamdulillah, the Singapore based Sout Ilaahi Group will be hosting the 5th 'Sacred Path of Love' retreat on 27 & 28 Dec 2014 InshaAllah.

The subject of focus this year is: Effect of the Age.
Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks from UK and Imam Abdoulaye Ndaw from USA will be covering exciting topics as listed below:

Day 1 @ Singapore Management University
  • Contentment in failure: Understanding the wisdom of life
  • Ocean of Mercy: In the footsteps of the Beloved (Salallah alaihi wasalam)
  • The age of loneliness: Embracing the reality of life
  • Crisis of knowledge: Between knowing and living
Day 2 @ Masjid Jamiyah Ar-Rabitah
  • The beauty in struggle: Finding peace within
  • Cultivating mindfulness: The art of living

***

Very exciting topics indeed! So go on, buy the ticket and take the spiritual ride. The choice of venue for Day 1 seems fitting because we all need to learn how to manage failures, loneliness and the crisis of knowledge - things they never taught us in uni. In managing these critical issues, we should look at the good examples as set by the greatest of men - Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. We have all heard from the shuyukh and habaib the importance of keeping the tie/bond i.e. rabitah with the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam

It is also fitting that on the second day, you will be gathered at the House of Allah - Masjid Ar-Rabitah where the honorable speakers would coach you on how to find peace within yourself and cultivate mindfulness. 
  

and Masjid Ar-Rabitah
27 & 28 Dec 2014
For more info:
https://www.facebook.com/sacredpathsg

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Both asked and not asked | Initiator of Creation

Pic credit: https://www.facebook.com/IBellissimi99NomiDiAllah
Bismillah.

Via Muwasala FB, I learned about Habib Umar's prayer based on the Name of Allah - Al-Mubdi' which means the Initiator of Creation. He initiated all this that we have around us. He's the Founder. It all originated from Him. He started all this.

By the way, the du'a that you see beneath the title of this blog, calling upon His Name Al-Hamid, is also from Habib Umar bin Hafiz. May Allah let us continue to benefit from his counsel.

It's interesting that in this du'a in relation to the Name Al-Mubdi', Habib Umar composed it as such:
O Allah, O Initiator of Creation, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muhammad, the Prophet with whose light You initiated creation and upon his Family and Companions, and by him give us what we have asked for and what we have not asked for from Your immense generosity, out of Your bounty and kindness.

Surely we have been asking Him for lots of things, there are also things that we wish for in our hearts but somehow we don't articulate it on the tongue. Plus, there are things that we never knew we should be asking for it. Imagine if we were to be given only the things that we asked?! Glory be to Allah, who gives great stuffs we never asked for. If we care to pause, observe and reflect, there are plenty of pleasant surprises He gives us on a daily basis. Also the unpleasant things which got averted by His Kindness. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I don't know about you, but for the first time in my life I learned to ask to be given what I have asked for and what I have not asked for, from the One God who started it all - Al Mubdi' .

I also think that the best thing about making a petition for both 'what we have asked for and what we have not asked for', is that it puts us in a firm position to just ask for both and that leaves no room for maybes.

Before we ask from people, we think 'should I ask or should I not ask.' because our asking might turn them off. But with Allah, we are encouraged to ask and ask and ask, and now we should also ask for the things 'we have not asked for'.

Allah has no maybes either. He does not think "Maybe I give, maybe I don't." He gives all the time, even when He does not seem to be giving.

Subhanallah.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Footprints | Imprints

Bismillah.

It's a beautiful Friday. Alhamdulillah.

We all have a footprint to leave here. 
You get to decide and imprint 
your own beautiful design 
on this world.

That's Dawn Hafner's concluding points in his article:
'5 Quotes From Bill Gates That Will Teach You Valuable Life Lessons'
1. Focus  
2. Feed your mind  
3. Discipline - "Don't let yourself lulled into inaction" - Bill Gates
4. Be yourself 
5. Give back  

Footprints on a spiritual island
off the coast of Melaka, Malaysia.
Because the great saintly people of the past
have left their significant imprints here
hundreds of years ago,
people still flock to this island
in search of inspirations.
***
What's so great about our footprints?
What good shall we leave behind? 

Yes, we get to decide and imprint our own beautiful design on this world. It's about consciously carrying out actions that are worthwhile, just because it's simply worthwhile. Not because we want or need people to validate us, never. 

Alhamdulillah for awakening moments and a meaningful life, so far.

Let's all be grateful and ask Him for more because His gifts are limitless.  

Subhan is Allah. Subhanallah.

Juma'ah Mubarrak.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

The greatest find | The thing that's right - Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Bismillah.

Pic credit: Mustafa Davis
http://buff.ly/VJ1VIc

Habib Umar bin Hafiz, his every word feels like a shooting star. So many hearts fell in love.

O Allah, make us love the solehin,
make us love those whom You love.
O Allah, praise be to You
for making it easy for us to love.

***
Habib Umar's trip to Malaysia as part of his 2014 Da'wah Tour to the South East Asia had ended a few days ago. But sweet beautiful thoughts of him remain fresh and fragrant. Until next time, ya sayyidi, inshaAllah.

And this heart cries for missing out on the upcoming International Spiritual Retreat in Cape Town organized by the Mahabbah Foundation. By Allah, I will be there next year, bi-iznillah.

Love all around

For more info, email: admin@mahabbah.co.za


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In love with life | Sisters' Act

Bismillah.




This is a shout-out to my girlfriendssssss : D
You are my angel simply because you are angelicals. You know who you are.

That red velvet cupcake is for you sweety. And the message too.
Be in love with your life, every single minute of it.
Because you are worth it and because it's worth it, because had He not let us live here, we would not have known Him, our Creator, the Almighty Lord. You all know that.

You would understand me completely if I say truthfully I was supposed to tidy up my room [LOL] but then I thought I ought to write a posting, not just another posting but a special shout-out to you ladies, my sisters.

Know that you mean a lot to me. I know you love me and I love you too, certainly. What more can be said? A heart knows what it loves and whom she loves. Love needs no explanation. It is what it is.

May our love for each other for the sake of Allah, be a reason for us to receive His endless mercy in this abode and the next, for eternity. Ameen.

Thank you for being you, cause you're amazing just the way you are!

Yours,
-E-


p/s
My mom insisted on having this photo here because she thought I looked good in that abaya by Madeena. Yes, we endorse apparels by Madeena @ Mizz Nina the once-upon-a-time pop star who went for hajj and came back as a sparkling brand new Muslimah. I salute her and all of you remarkable talented ladies out there!

p/s That Oroton clutch is also designed by a woman. Amazzzzzing! Feeling golden : )

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Friday khutbah by Habib Umar bin Hafiz at Masjid As-Syakirin - KL 28 Nov 2014

Bismillah.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz was the guest khatib at Masjid As-Syakirin last Friday, 28 Nov 2014. The mosque is located within the gardens of Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC), Malaysia. 

The respectable habib delivered the Friday sermons in Arabic. At the conclusion of the Friday prayers, Habib Ali Zainal Abidin interpreted his guru's khutbah into Malay. A friend of mine made an audio record of the session. Below is my sketchy notes of the recording.



Habib Umar began his khutbah with syahadah and salutations to the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. He said: "I call upon you to observe taqwa in private and in public; in your speech and actions; when you are at home and when you are travelling. Be sure to have taqwa wherever you are. Verily, this is a sign of your iman which could save you from dunya and take you to the heavens. Allah has created various levels of both the heavens and hell. Which level we are entitled to depends on how we spend our age. The time/age allotted to each one of us, will neither increase nor decrease. Our age will determine our position in dunya and akhirah. Allah says in the Qur'an about the time of death which He has firmly appointed, it will neither be delayed nor brought forward. Whoever wishes for dunya may seek it and whoever wishes for rewards in the hereafter shall be granted, more so for those who are grateful."

"We must occupy our time with performing the obligatory and refrain ourselves from the forbidden. This applies to acts which are permissible or mubah. If you were to make a good intention when you do a mubah action, you would be rewarded, but if you don't make a good intention out of it, you get nothing. For example eating. You would surely be rewarded if you eat while appreciating the blessings of Allah, that is to eat with taqwa, reflecting on the simple joy of eating. A person who says bismillah before eating is not the same as one who does not say bismillah. Allah loves those who eat and praise Him and then praise Him again after eating. It's that easy to get His love. Those who eat without saying bismillah and without feeling grateful for the food, they are like animals. The believers will take advantage of mubah deeds and reap more rewards from Allah. Those who have iman and have a big ambition and aim towards Allah, they are not comparable to the animals. A good example may be drawn from Prophet Ibrahim who says: "He [Allah] who gives me food and gives me drink."
          
"On average, a man/woman lives up to the age of 60 or 70. Very few people live beyond that. Majority of the jemaah present in this congregation is below 60 years old. Take advantage of your age because death awaits each one of us. Many of those who have reached old age are regretful, wishing they could go back to the time when they are capable of doing more ibadah. Allah hides the time of our death. We know not on which land we shall die. It is strange how people prepare themselves for a good future in dunya while knowing that it does not last, yet they don't prepare for their future in akhirah which is everlasting. Now which is more profitable, your future in this dunya or your future in akhirah? At the time of death, those who focus on dunya would wish so that their lives could be spared. But who can make one's ruh return to the body? None, except Allah."

"There will be three groups of people in akhirah: the muqarabin who would occupy a lofty place; the ashabul yamin (people of the right hand) who will be saved and thirdly, the infidels who are  destined for hell. This is haqqul yaqin. This will take place for certain. Allah says so. It's not a word of a politician or some organization. Therefore, take advantage of your age. Don't be deceived by your lower nafs/desires and fantasies. The believers would be wary of their fate in akhirah. The believers will be given hidayah. No one knows when or where he will die. Be sure to understand this reality." 

[In the second part of the khutbah, Habib Umar said:]

"Be conscious of your breathing and use it to gain a bountiful reward. Spend it to make the earth prosperous and to live a good life. Whoever does a good deed, will be given a good life. The unbelievers, the fasiq and those who transgressed, even if they live a life devoid of sickness or problems, they are in reality living a deprived life. They are lacking in spiritual provisions. They are in fact hungry and thirsty for they are deprived of spiritual food. They break ties, they mistreat their parents, they harm others, hence they will be punished. Be prepared and be afraid of Allah's judgment. Those who are steadfast in their servitude towards Allah, they will be given His guidance, blessings and mercy. They truly have taqwa. Therefore, spend your life wisely in worship of Allah. Allah has created this earth for His righteous servants. Even the good among us will be remorseful at death, what more those who err? Observe taqwa in your every move, your clothing, your food, your sleep, by making a good intention, so that your work, clothing, eating and sleep, all would garner a good reward from Allah."



Pic credit: Majlis Ta'lim Darul Murtadza FB
Audio credit: MSA

Monday, December 1, 2014

6 minutes a day | GTD

Bismillah.

This very interesting article on China's old mosques contributes to my 6-minutes a day reading. 

Did you know 1.8% or 23 million of China's 1.3 billion citizens are Muslims?
There are about 100 mosques in China that were built before 1700,
out of a total of about 30,000 mosques in Central and Northern China.
Check out: Saudi Aramco World magazine - Nov/Dec 2014 issue 

Reading for six minutes is the minimum daily target, if you want to reduce stress. A study conducted by the Uni of Essex showed a reduction of 68% in stress level if you were to read for at least 6 minutes a day. I hope reading one posting on this bog which I reckon would take you only half a minute could help you achieve that minimum requirement, hence reduce your stress level just a wee bit.    

Alhamdulillah, thank God for simple little joy and healing we could get from reading.

It's Decemberrrrrr folks! Alhamdulillah, we have come to the last month of the Gregorian calendar. Alhamdulillah for each and every little inspirations that have come our way in 2014 - like being regular in drinking 1 litre of green tea in a day. I am a GTD, I have become a Green Tea Drinker, yes! There are plenty of health benefits of drinking green tea. Its best attribute according to the experts is catechin. And it can make you smarter. That's the best part, is it not? 

[Note: This message is especially aimed at my nieces/nephews. Shafiqah,  I know you keep scoring full marks in Maths, so imagine the wonders of becoming a GTD?]

Apparently, GTD also stands for Getting Things Done - which is an all year round good habit to have.

Until then, enjoy December : )


This blogger endorses this 1-litre flask by Thermos.
A happy GTD, she has become.


On a serious note: Habib Umar bin Hafiz in the inroduction of his tausiyah at Masjid Sultan in Singapore on 11 Nov 2014 said:
"No morsel of food
and no sip of water
enter anyone's mouth
except that it is by Allah's will."

So let us thank God for every bite and for every sip. 
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.



Friday, November 28, 2014

"Love the believers" - Habib Umar bin Hafiz at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, 28 Nov 2014



Bismillah.

"Your names had already been written, that you would be gathering here, even before Allah created the world!"

Subhanallah! Habib Umar bin Hafiz said that at the outset of his tausiyah at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Praise be to Allah that Habib Umar is visiting Malaysia yet again, from Friday 28 Nov until Sunday, 30 Nov - a blessed weekend indeed.

"Why does Allah convene us here? What is He giving us? Allah is the Most Rich. We are in need of Him. He, the Most Rich, the Most Generous, would not have called, unless He wished to give."

"May Allah grant the biggest gift. Focus your aim towards Him. That is a sign of a believer. Allah promised to give and He is not one who would break a promise." 

"Allah says in the Quran, the believers are those who love one another and help one another. We must love the believers. We must also love those who are lacking in faith so that they too would become believers and be safe from torments of the Hellfire. Failing to help them, indicates our own inadequacy of iman. "

"We must understand why we have to love the believers. They have a special position and advantage in the eyes of Allah. We must know and love the awliya, mursalin and those who are close to Allah, or else we belong with the munafiqin." 

Habib Umar bin Hafiz then quoted a hadith of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam on the need to love the old, the young and respect the learned. 

"The root of dishonor is when people ridicule/disrespect others. There are people who disregard the ahlul bayt and the sahabah. One cannot be considered ahlul sunnah if he does not love both ahlul bayt and the sahabah. We follow the Prophet salallah alaihiwasalam. Do you think he does not like his own family or his companions? Those who are reluctant to praise the ahlul bayt and the sahabah, who do they then follow?"

"We plead to Allah so that He fills our heart with iman and make our faith strong. Pray, none shall leave this majlis unless he/she has love for the believers, in general and in specific - those who are special, the anbiya, mursalin, sahabah, siddiqin, shuhada and solehin. May Allah gather us with them. Our stand is that we love all of them."

"Imam Shafie says: I love the righteous (solehin) though I am not among them, so I hope for their shafaat." 

"Adorn yourselves with attributes that are pleasing to Allah. The believers love one another and enjoin good deeds which are pleasing to Allah, such as this majlis. The believers do not enjoin negative acts (munkar). What is munkar? That which is in your phone and on TV. And looking down on the believers, even if it is just one of them, even one of them."

"Allah looks at our hearts. O Allah, cleanse our hearts. Make us obedient towards Allah and Rasul. That we will not bow to anyone in the East, West, or any philosophers."

Habib Umar bin Hafiz ended his tausiyah with emotional pleas so that Allah would let us occupy a beautiful place in the Heavens, that Allah would honor us with great bounties and blessings and that Allah would grant His redha

"Know that, there is no better gift anyone could give someone, better than Allah's redha. What gift could be better than Allah's redha? None."

***
Allahu a'lam.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wirid prescribed by Habib Umar bin Hafiz in Dec 2013 | Advice on attaining firmness of faith

Bismillah.

It's been almost a year since Habib Umar's last visit to Masjid Muadz bin Jabal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You might have read my sketchy notes before. We all need a refresher, so here it is:

One most important point to note is that during the majlis last year, the venerable Habib Umar bin Hafiz did give an ijazah for us to recite: 
La ilaha illAllah Al Malikul Haqqul Mubin
100 times a day between Zohor and Asar:

100 times a day

Completely overlooked this until I read a posting on Darul Murtadza FB. The honorable Shaykh asked us to do this last year, but we are yet to practise it. He is coming again to KL tomorrow and surely InshaAllah he will give a new ijazah for a new wirid.

***
On Muwasala FB, we learned about the Shaykh's advice on attaining firmness of faith.

Question: How do we remain firm in our faith?
Answer as given by Habib Umar bin Hafiz:
We remain firm by asking Allah for firmness, keeping the company of the pious and spending time in remembrance of Allah and reflection. We should also repeat these supplications:

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
Rabbana la tuzigh qulu bana ba'daiz hadaytana wa hab lana min ladunka rahmatan innaka antal wahhab.
Our Lord, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us mercy, for truly You are the Bestower of bounties without measure.

يَا مُقَلِّبَ القُلُوبِ و الأَبْصَارِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي على دِينِكَ
Ya muqallibal qulub wal absar thabit qalbi 'ala dinik
O Turner of people's hearts and eyes, make my heart firm upon the religion.

يَالله بِهَا يَالله بِهَا يَالله بِحُسْنِ الْخَاتِمَة
Ya Allah biha Ya Allahu biha Ya Allahu bi husnil khatimah
O Allah, O Allah, O Allah, we ask You for a good ending.

***

In these challenging times we live in, we are grateful to have a spiritual leader like Habib Umar among us. May Allah preserve him, give him a long and healthy life so that we may benefit from his counsel. Ameen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Mention Allah" - Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse in Kuala Lumpur

Bismillah.

Shaykh Mahy Cisse
KL - 24 Nov 2014

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to attend a majlis graced by the honorable Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse at the residence of the Senegal's Ambassador to Malaysia. 

Shaykh Mahy is the grandson of Shaykh Ibrahim Niass (1900 - 1975) who was a major leader of the Tijani Tariqa in West Africa. The Tijani Tariqa was founded by Sidi Ahmad Tijani (1737 - 1815). Shaykh Mahy's elder brother Shaykh Ahmad Tijani Cisse (or Tidiane Cisse) is the current leader of the tariqa which is based in Senegal, West Africa.

Having sat in his majlis last night, Shaykh Mahy, in my opinion, appeared as a self-less soul, literally. It was almost visible that he was an 'annihilated being', if you will. It was as if he was present with the crowd, yet he's in a private seclusion at the same time.

He gave a short and profound tausiyah. The key message was that we must mention Allah as often as possible and that it should not be limited to a formal sit-down zikr session. Just mention Him anytime, anywhere because mentioning Him means we remember Him. And the best of remembrance (zikr) is to say la ilaha illAllah.

***
Shaykh Mahy is scheduled to be in Singapore from 25th Nov until 4th Dec. For more information on his majlis in Singapore, you may contact Brother Khalid Ajmain, the organizer of the Sacred Path of Love annual event who is also the Tijani Tariqa's muqaddam for Singapore, InShaAllah.

Sacred Path of Love
27 - 28 Dec 2014
Singapore

p/s It's unfortunate that the audio quality wasn't so good from where I was seated. If it was, I would have written a proper posting on Shaykh Mahy's tausiyah.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Equilibrium | Equilibria | Equipoise

Bismillah.

Thiiiiiiissss is another laid-back rambling.

This space has to has this because I'm only human and I never carry a 'holier than thou' persona ever. That's why we have got all kinds of stuffs here. Take it or leave it. But some people refuse to leave yet. A little bird tells me, we still have a couple of spy-readers [if you will]. That's alright, we love all and serve all. So to speak. LOL.  

Anyway, one of my all time favorite word is EQUILIBRIUM. It's the best word there is in the entire subject of economics. Believe me, I studied economics before. 

For the benefit of our young readers [my nephews/nieces] let's copy the definitions for equilibrium as provided by Dictionary.com.

Equilibrium whose plural is equilibriums or equilibria means:
  • a state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces.
  • equal balance between any powers, influences etc.
  • a stable condition in which forces cancel one another.
  • mental or emotional balance.
  • in chemistry, it refers to the condition existing when a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction proceed at equal rates.   

It is a state we should aim for - equilibrium - so that we are in a stable, balanced state, mentally and emotionally.

When you get striked and get off-balanced, you should try to strike it off by striking back, in a smart and positive manner, so that you could reclaim your equilibrium and get to go back to your default value, hence attain equipoise. And smile.

Therefore, to strike back, does not necessarily carry a negative connotation. It's all about striking a balance.

- E -
Thank God for equilibria.













p/s 

Of course Allah is All-Knowing. Allah knows better than the best spy anyone could hire. Allah in His wisdom sometimes hide certain things from us because He knows that we might faint from shock, should He tells/shows us every little thing. So we better learn to surrender, accept His decree and don't be so arrogant.

By the way, I think people say: Allah is All-Knowing, Allah is the Best Knower or Allah is the All-Knower. People don't say Allah is "Most Knower". My English is not that good, so correct me, if I am wrong.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Man is but a shadow | Travel gifts

Bismillah

Man is but a shadow and life a dream. Most of us will wake up at death, except the fortunate ones who "die" before they die so that life is no longer a dream but a reality.

***

One perpetual musafir went to Cape Town and all I got was some photos of the beautifully kept maqams in the Mother City. There are plenty of maqam or kramats in Cape Town. There's a related posting on this blog listing the names of the awliya. May Allah bless them all and may we benefit from their barakah for having a deep respect and admiration towards them.

http://lisanaldin.blogspot.com/2012/01/faithful-slaves-of-south-africa.html


"Man is but a shadow and life a dream"



Another much treasured gift from South Africa is a recipe book. The lovely author Aunty Zainab Lagardien has Javanese (Indonesian) roots, so she has got one special handed-down family recipe simply called "Javanese Chicken". As a Penangite I could't help but got super excited when I saw a recipe for "Penang Curry"! I intend to try out some Cape Malay recipes and showcase them to my Capetonian friends when I visit them. And perhaps teach them one Malaysian Malay recipe. Wishful thinking maybe, but let's say it's a niyyat. InshaAllah. Every little good thing grows from a niyyat.  

  

Anyway, I read somewhere that exchanging gifts is also a sunnah as it could further nurture relationship between people. The same goes to bringing home gifts from one's travels. We all practise this but let's do it consciously knowing that it is in fact a sunnah.

Until then, wish y'all a fabulous week.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.


p/s Mission accomplished : D

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Notes of Habib Umar's tausiyah in Jakarta, 17 Nov 2014

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Allah is ever so Generous and Kind.

I have just arrived from Penang, just in time for the Live Streaming of a grand mawlid event in Jakarta on 17 Nov 2014. The much revered Al Habib Umar bin Hafiz is the guest of honor.

Praise be to Allah for letting these ears listen to his words. This posting is especially for you readers who have husnul zan towards this faqir, people who bring out the good in me. Below are some sketchy notes for us to ponder and may we derive benefit from it bi iznillah.


Bismillah.

He is Allah the Most Compassionate and Merciful who has gathered us here in order that we know Him; to be given a great bounty, to receive His glance, to benefit from His Latif attributes. Allah has chosen us from the rest of the people and makes us among the preferred ones. Millions of the children of Adam at this present moment are either heedless of Allah or engaged in transgressions, influenced by the enemies of Allah, indulging themselves in negative activities, these are the people who have put themselves in an embarrassing position in the eyes of Allah. Yet, Allah protects and defends you. Allah protects you from the evil whispers of man, jin and shayatin. It is Allah who protects you and give you the tawfik to remember Him. That you belong with those who are grateful. That you follow people who are loved by Allah. That you follow the chosen ones. Therefore ask of Him for His great bounties, He who is Most Sublime and Generous. He who makes you among the followers of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. May Allah grant His pardon to us all. 

Allah has promised that He would mention your name to His other creations on account of your presence at such a majlis. He who would return 10 for each salawat that you make for His beloved Prophet. Unto You O Allah we are grateful. Perfect Your blessings for us. This gathering is a blessing of Habib Munzir Al Musawa. It reflects the devotion he had carried from Tarim. This is a result of a strong sanad of the ulama of Hadramawt and Yemen connecting to you. This is a blessing of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

To have faith and to love Rasulallah is in fact a great blessing of Allah for you. Praise be to Allah for sending us the Prophet who saves us from darkness and brings us to the light of Islam and wisdom and iman and Islam. Praise be to Allah for purifying our words, from dirt and polytheism. May we walk under the banner of Rasulallah. When we make du'a, the angels present at this majlis on this earth would say ameen. So will the angels in the heavens. If this is the case, what do you think of the du'a? O Allah who gathers the Rasul under the Prophet's banner, unite us under his banner. O Allah, honor us with significant makrifah of the makrifah granted to Your prophet. Anyone who is gifted with the love of Allah and Rasul, he needs no other love. He will then taste the sweetness of iman, a taste that far exceeds the pleasure one could derive from any tasty food, good clothes, having good cars or from marriage. All these pale in comparison with the sweetness of iman which one may benefit from attending such a majlis.

By the Quran and Prophet Muhammad, make those who are present here and those who could hear our voice, no matter where they are, to be among those who are fortunate. O Allah make us who are present here at this majlis and those who could hear us be among those who are fortunate. We, our children and the children that shall be born from the loins. This is truly a good fortune. We ask of Allah who is Most powerful, make us among the fa izin, the successful and fortunate. 

There is nothing that is worthy of love other than Allah. Not even ourselves. There is no one that is worthy to be loved other than Allah. O Allah, plant in our hearts love. Place firmly in our heart the love of Allah and Rasul and give us success in dunya and akhirah. Nothing is more precious than this gift. Who do you ask from? Who do you call upon? Who do you seek? It is of great honor if He it is that you wish for. Compare those who are now occupied with food, clothes or play, whereas at this moment your heart is with Allah. O Allah look at our hearts, purify it. None do we love except You, O Allah. 

Should Allah grant this favor, He would gather us together in akhirah. If your goal is truly for Allah and you truly love Him, the reward for you here is the Prophet's Al-Kawthar and in future you will be at Al-Kawthar whose water is sweeter than honey, whiter than milk and more fragrant than musk. One sip is enough to quench one's thirst forever. Each Rasul will offer a similar privilege for their followers. But imagine the privilege of drinking from the Prophet's hand? May Allah make me and you worthy of such an honor in akhirah. There will be people who come to the well only to be chased away by the angels because they had turned away from the Prophet's teachings. They will regret for they come so close to it yet they're turned down, all because of their past wrong doings. They were engrossed with dunya and procrastinate their prayers, they mistreated their parents because they were influenced by their friends, they were engaged in deeds that displeased Allah. We should have compassionate for these people. We should pity them. As a sign of gratitude to Allah, we must strive in helping them so that they too could get the blessings of Allah. Even if one person were to receive the hidayah of Allah through your hand, that would be better than the world and its contents.

Habib Umar then related stories of three men, two of whom were successful because they were truthful in their love for Allah, except one of them who was deceived by dunya. The first of the three men had joined the Prophet in a battle. Unlike all the others, he gave away the war booties which he was entitled to. The Prophet noticed this and went up to him to offer something for himself. The man however refused saying, "This is not why I follow you." The Prophet asked him in return, "So why do you follow me?" The man replied, "I follow you in battle so that the enemy's arrow would hit me here" pointing to a spot on his neck. "And then I would die and go to heaven." Upon seeing the man's determination, the Prophet told him that Allah would surely grant him his wish if he means it. This man in fact died in the following battle after being hit by an arrow at the exact same spot which he had shown to the Prophet.

The second man also died in battle. People thought how lucky he was to die a martyr. The Prophet however disagreed because he could see the man's clothes getting burnt. This was because the man had taken clothes from war booties without first getting the Prophet's permission.       

The third of the trio was the best of the three men because the Prophet himself took charge of his burial while Saidina Abu Bakar and Saidina Umar dug his grave. The Prophet then said a prayer: "O Allah, grant your redha to this man, verily I have redha for him."

By the grace of Rasulallah, we ask Allah to grant us His mercy just as the Prophet had redha for that man. O the Most Generous, we ask for Your redha. O Allah, we ask for Your forgiveness, we ask for tawba, for tawba nasuha from all our sins, from all wrong doings. Give us tawba from You so that we are able to make tawba to You, a  tawba which You would accept, one which is sincere, one that will not be nullified afterwards. Grant tawba to our families, our children, our friends, our neighbors. We offer our tawba to You O Allah. Look at us with the eyes of Mercy. Grant us Your great bounties and gifts and tawfik, grant us endless Rahmah. Love us. Make us want not love and affection except for Your love and affection.

Make your heart face Allah. Make your heart present with Allah. Surrender yourself to Allah. Hope from Allah. Ask for His rahmah and love. Ask from Him. Call upon Him. Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah. Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah.

Grant us the best of husnul khatimah Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah.

You are calling the best Name there is to mention. Your tongue becomes honorable for having mentioned Allah. How great is His bounties. Ask for His redha. Those who have passed away from amongst those who were once present at such a majlis, should they be feeling terrified in their graves, lift it from them O Allah. Make them happy in their graves O Allah. Increase Your nikmah for them O Allah.

Habib Munzir Al Musawa, give him the grandest of Your bounties O Allah. Gather us with him in akhirah, with Your beloveds, with our families, with our friends and people whom we love, our mureed.

O Allah, remove afflictions from the ummah. Change our conditions to a better one. Do not take away our honor. Gather us under Your arash. Gather us at the Al Kawthar. Gather us under the banner of Rasulallah. Gather us with the Prophet Muhammad's entourage. Make us enter the Heavens with the one who will be first to enter the Heaven.

Ameen Allahumma ameen.
____________________________
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Live Streaming via Nabawi TV
At the end of his tausiyah, Habib Umar bin Hafiz
announced and endorsed the launching of Nabawi TV
which is based in Indonesia.
Mabruk Nabawi TV!


  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dato' Jenaton | The great Gelugorians

Bismillah.

I am proud to say I'm from Gelugor, Penang. Proud of my roots yes, I'm a Gelugorian!

On my recent trip back here, I noticed the road signage from the Penang Bridge leading to my kampung (village) all had been changed from Gelugor to Glugor. Not sure why and I'm not sure now which is the correct spelling. The kampung got its name from a tree Asam Gelugor whose scientific name is Garcinia Atroviridis.

Garcinia would have been a cool name for my village, don't you think so? Anyhow, as a Gelugorian, it would be a shame if I did not mention something about Dato' Jenaton because it was he who established the earliest settlements here. According to reports, he was a prince from Minangkabau, Indonesia. He was also a chieftain at Batu Bara (North of Sumatera) who travelled [sailed] frequently between Batu Bara, Kedah and Penang. In those days, Penang was under the reign of the Kedah sultanate. For the benefit of our foreign readers, Kedah is a state on mainland of northern Peninsula Malaysia. The Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin Shah II, gifted him with 100 acres of land where Batu Uban and Gelugor is now situated. [We mentioned Batu Uban in the last few postings, it's to the south of Gelugor on the east coast of Penang island.] 

The then Sultan of Kedah favored Dato' Jenaton and presented him with the property because he helped the former strategize and win the Kedah's war against the Acehnese and the Bugis. This took place in 1749, about 15 years after Haji Muhammad Saleh @ Nahkoda Nan Intan arrived in Batu Uban, built a mosque there and hence established the first Muslim/Malay settlements in Penang in 1734.

Dato' Jenaton ibni Raja Labu [also spelled Jannatun] arrived in the Batu Uban/Gelugor area with 90-odd followers from Batu Bara. In short, he was a successful trader who was also good in devising war strategy and that had won him large tracts of land which he invested in coconut and sugarcane plantations in Gelugor. 

From this very smart and enterprising personality, we have got great Gelugorians like two brothers Aziz Ishak and Yusof Ishak who founded the country's premier publication the Utusan Melayu in 1939. Yusof Ishak was also the first president of Singapore!

Their other brother Rahim Ishak served as Singapore's state minister under Singapore's President Lee Kuan Yew. The other two notable descendants of Dato' Jenaton are former Supreme Court judge, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and the renowned diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail who was once Chairman of the UN Security Council and president of the United Nation General Assembly, in the late '90s.

We got to know about this fascinating story of Penang's first founders and settlers, thanks to Prof. Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican, a historian who is also a descendant of Dato' Jenaton.

There is a Malay saying Benih yang baik jatuh ke laut menjadi pulau which roughly means: a person who comes from a good background, will most certainly become a distinguished person no matter where they go. [bi iznillah]

This is a fitting description for Haji Muhammad Saleh @ Nahkoda Nan Intan, the multi-skilled Sufi who was first to arrive in Penang and built the first mosque in Batu Uban in 1734 and also Dato' Jenaton who expanded and made flourish the early settlements in Batu Uban and the Gelugor area, in 1749.

As a Gelugorian, I am indeed proud and thankful for these cool people of the past who left us with such a great legacy in Penang and beyond.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Entrance to Dato' Jenaton's maqam
in Minden Heights, Gelugor, Penang

Grave of Dato' Jenaton
Photo credit:
 http://theearlymalaydoctors.blogspot.com/2012/05/makam-datuk-jenaton-makam-datuk-setia.html 


Reference: