Friday, January 31, 2014

Januari Datang dan Pergi

Bismillah.

Hari ini 31 Januari
Hari terakhir bulan pertama
Kini tinggal sebelas bulan lagi
Fakta teramat jelas
Betapa masa berlalu terlalu pantas
Sebuah kenyataan yang buat kita rimas

Bait-bait ini tiada puitis

Bak kehidupan yang tak selalunya seindah puisi
Kalendar masa - tanpanya manusia jadi buntu
Kata sahabatku dari penjara
Siang atau malam tiada sempadan
Akal jadi tumpul 
Waras seorang insan bertempiaran

Justeru, usah resah dengan masa

wahai diri yang bebas
syukurlah 
kerana kita ada celahan jendela buat meneka 
suria membawa siang
gelap mengiring malam
fikiran masih tajam
kenal apa itu Januari
berdaya membina harapan 
menyambut Feb-Ru-Ari

Syukurlah atas kebebasan

Syukur untuk setiap hari yang datang dan pergi

- Buat teman yang baru bebas dari penjara.


[Ya, saya ada sahabat yang melalui ujian getir ini!
Sungguh, Allah sahajalah yang mengetahui dan memilih apa bentuk ujian untuk setiap empunya diri.]

Inna lillah wa inna ilai hiraji'un

KepadaNya jua kita akan kembali.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Habib Mahdi Al Hamid | Mawlidur Rasul @ Masjid Al Bukhary Kuala Lumpur


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, the city is blessed to have had another mawlid celebration last weekend. It was right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at Masjid Al-Bukhary.

Habib Mahdi Al Hamid was one of two guest speakers at the event. Habib Mahdi leads the Malaysian branch of the renowned Darul Mustafa institution of Tarim, Yemen. He is a mureed of the highly acclaimed scholar Habib Umar bin Hafiz. The three year-old Malaysian branch has been named Madrasah At-Tazkiyah and is based in Subang Jaya, KL.

Habib Mahdi gave a tausiyah in Arabic and was translated into Malay by Ustaz Ashraf. My sketchy notes are as below:

Praise be to Allah that we can gather here to remember Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. Verily we would not have been able to do this amal had it not been for the tawfiq from Allah. No one can make a move unless Allah invites him/her. We are guests of Allah in this House of Allah. In each minute lies a blessing and bounty of Allah. Although we'll be praying Isha' a little later, do not worry for we are moving from one bounty of Allah to another. Praise be to Allah for these bounties. We have gathered solely for the sake of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam

A place becomes honorable due to its resident. A majlis gets bestowed with bounties for its contents. Who is it that we are remembering? He is the imam of all man. Prophet Muhammad who brings mercy to all mankind. Allah does not love anyone else as much as He loves the Prophet. Allah does not love an angel even, as much as He loves the Prophet. Allah orders us to honor the Prophet, to remember him salallah alaihi wasalam, so make plenty of salawat to him. Who is it we are following? We are following Allah who makes salutations for the Prophet! And we follow the angels who do the same. The Prophet does not actually require our salawat. It is we who are in need  of making salawat. As related in a hadith, unfortunate is he who hears his name and yet does not offer salutation to the Prophet. He is stingy who hears the Prophet's name yet fail to offer salawat.

Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam is our imam (leader) right until the Heavens. There is no way we can make our way to the Heavens if we did not follow the path of Prophet Muhammad. He salallah alaihi wasalam knocks on the Heaven's door and the angels would ask, 'who is it?' And he says: 'Muhammad'. The angels knew his name and they would only open the Heaven's door for him. We could make it to the Heavens because of him. We become an honorable ummah because of him. Though we will never ever know his true realities no matter how extensive we study his shamail, his seerah or everything about him. We can never comprehend his lofty stature.

Saidina Umar and Saidina Ali went to see Uways al-Qarni on the Prophet's instruction. The two men are sahabah and yet Uways told them they knew nothing about the Prophet except his shadow. They are sahabah mind you. Indeed the Prophet is great (azeem). Everything on earth, rocks, plants, everything recognize and acknowledge him. 

Habib Mahdi then related the famous incident about the moon splitting and when the Prophet ascended to the Heavens during mikraj, he received a grand welcome by the angels. We cannot compare our majlis with that of the angels who celebrated his arrival even more grandly. The angels greeted him saying 'marhaban' as we did just now. The angels were already saying marhaban much earlier. 

What are our duties towards the Prophet? Even if we were to conduct mawlid from the time we're born until we die, we can never fulfill our obligations for the Prophet. But of course by attending this mawlid it becomes a cause for Allah to mention our names, for us to heighten our love for the Prophet and be a cause for us to earn Allah's mercy.

Our first duty towards the Prophet is to really get to know him. We must know his life, his wives, children, companions, aunties and uncles. It's a shame if our children only knew the names of celebrities/sportsmen but do not know the names of his family members. We must follow his path in this dunya so that we can do the same in akhirah. The most unlucky people in akhirah are those who are distant from the Prophet in this dunya. Those who have wronged themselves would regret for failing to follow the Prophet that they would bite their hands in dismay. Therefore, we should be closer to him now by making abundant salawat so that we can have a good chance of being close to him in akhirah

Our second duty towards the Prophet is to respect him. When we mention his name in front of our children, we must do it in a respectful manner with takzim. Otherwise, our children might think he's just an ordinary man. There are people who devote themselves to challenging the Prophet. They are saying we should not even say Sayyidina before the Prophet's name. But don't they know that the Prophet is sayyid (leader) for all children of Adam? Maybe they are not children of Adam! Some people think he is just a man like us. But tell me, is he an ordinary man who can fill a well with water just by spitting into it? Is he an ordinary man who is able to see what is behind him without having to look back? Surely we cannot equate pebbles with precious gems. Prophet Muhammad is a great person and beyond ordinary.

Our third duty is to cultivate the realities of our love for the Prophet in our heart. Have we ever cried out of missing him? Enliven his sunnah in our homes by reading his seerah. We interact with non-Muslims but our akhlak is not good enough to make the non-Muslims interested in Islam. We need not call people to Islam. All we need to do is carry the lights of Muhammad in our hearts. Having iman for the Prophet is light. And that light (nur) is enough for us to counter any kufur or wrong doings which is of fire element. Nur will defeat fire.

Habib Mahdi ended his tausiyah with a lengthy and meaningful prayers, so that our hearts will be filled with nur and so that Allah purifies our body, spirit and soul.                
___________________
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary | A saint's tomb in the city | Masjid Al-Bukhary Kuala Lumpur

Bismillah.

I think it's KL's best-kept secret. We all know that a saint almost always wants to remain hidden. Yet Allah sometimes reveals something special about His chosen servants.

Quietly nestled on the beautiful compound of Masjid Al-Bukhary (only 1 km away from the busiest tourist spot in KL), is a maqam of a pious man known as Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary.  

Maqam of Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary at Masjid Al-Bukhary Kuala Lumpur
(Died in 1918)
Locals and tourists, be they Muslims or non-Muslims who pass by Jalan Hang Tuah in KL would surely be captivated by the simply stunning Masjid Al-Bukhary. The masjid was officiated in 2007 by the then King of Malaysia, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

This relatively new masjid stands tall and majestic, thanks to the country's well known tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary whose works of charity have left some beautiful impressions on Malaysian shore and abroad. MashaAllah.

But the masjid would not even be in existence if not for the other Al Bukhary - Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary who was working for the rather infamous Pudu Jail, located some 10-minutes walk away from the masjid. 

Someone who's close to one of the present Imams of the masjid, revealed a heart warming story related by the Imam.

Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary was more than just a prison staff. He volunteered to care for the dead bodies of prisoners who either had served a death-sentence or died a natural death while being imprisoned at the Pudu Jail. The plot of land on which Masjid Al-Bukhary was built had been used as a cemetery for Muslim prisoners. 

Right behind the graveyard was, and still is, a reputable school of KL - the Victoria Institution. The school's former headmaster, who's also a priest, noticed the presence of Syed Lal Shah at the cemetery and offered him a piece of land for the purpose of building a musolla. On top of taking care of the dead prisoners' remains, Syed Lal Shah who's a deeply religious man could be seen spending long hours praying and making zikr there. This had "won" him the generous offer from the priest who perhaps had wanted Syed Lal Shah to pray more comfortably.   

It was also reported that in 1860 the then Sultan of Selangor state, Almarhum Sultan Abdul Samad granted the land area for the same purpose i.e. a musolla and a cemetery and even entrusted Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary to head the musolla which later became known as Babbul Jannah (The Doors of the Heavens). Babbul Jannah served its purpose for 147 years.

Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary was an Indian-Muslim by race. Many believed this pious man was in fact a saint. One curious imam wanted to verify this fact so he consulted his guru who prescribed some practices. The guru said if the imam were to fast and perform special prayers with an intention to know Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary, he would by the Will of Allah, be able to see the saint in his dream. And he did meet the saint in his dream. Subhanallah!

Though a little sketchy, we now know the maqam (stature) of the owner of the sole maqam (grave) that occupies the grand Masjid Al-Bukhary. 

When the Al Bukhary Foundation (headed by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary) decided to rebuild Babbul Jannah circa 2004, the religious authorities were consulted on what to do with the remains at the adjoining cemetery. Approval (fatwa) was duly issued for the bones of the prisoners to be collected and buried in one space, and the body of Syed Lal Shah Al Bukhary - the former "master" of the cemetery and the musolla Babbul Jannah - be kept. And really we should say beautifully kept, as can be seen in the above photo. It is as though Allah wants to honor and repay Syed Lal Shah's devotion and vocation that he gets an abode within a beautiful 'House of Allah'. 
    
Al Fatihah to one and all ruhul quddus. Surely Allah rewards each and everyone who contributes to the deen

Allahu a'lam.
_________________________
Pic credit: H.Eizzati

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Been busy | Miss ya!

Bismillah.



Quoting from a casual interview with the blogger at home, today.

Q: What is your message to your reader?

A: LOL. I am sorry I have not been blogging. To be honest, we are saving some contents for new media. And thank you. I look up to the readers. They are more knowledgeable and pious than me.
____________________

Assalamualaikum,
It's 25th Jan 2014.
It's been eleven days and fifteen hours since we met here. Heh heh...like you care. Anyways, Alhamdulillah, just got back from a Mawlid where Habib Mahdi Al Hamid gave a tausiyah. 
Will share soon InshaAllah.

For the time being, pray the barakah from the majlis zikr will spread on to you.
Have a happy weekend y'all.

:)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Character

Bismillah.

Character is believing in oneself. That I learned when I met face to face with some beautiful souls. 

You know a soul is beautiful when you see contentment in the person's eyes. Regardless of their outward circumstances, they are at peace. They are at peace with themselves. They are at peace with their surroundings. And I believe they are at peace with their Lord too.     

When you see such a soul you'd understand better why it's said that richness is not defined by what you possess. But richness is when you are satisfied with what you have. And the smile and the look on your face and the twinkle in your eyes, say it all.

Came across a tweet quoting Roosevelt: "I care not what others think of what I do. But I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character."

When I chanced upon this lovely woman in the photo below, she seemed busy and confident going about her day. Without hearing a word from her, the message I got from her very being was: Just do. Just be.

Sometimes in life especially to us urbanites, the seemingly well off people, we fail to appreciate what we have in our hands. Yet we want more. Perhaps we should heed the unwritten/unspoken lesson from this woman of character - the dweller of that little hut - that regardless of circumstances, if indeed we could let go of our attachments to the things we think we own, regardless of their state - luxurious or otherwise, then we can just BE. And then we can just go about doing whatever it may be and be at peace.  




Monday, January 13, 2014

On the birthday of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam | Loving in peace

Bismillah.



Just a minute ago, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf posted on his FB wall on the occasion of the birth of Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam:
"It is from the religion to honor him salallah alaihi wasalam, and part of the remembrance of Allah is to pray upon our Prophet, peace be upon him. So let the lovers love in peace. May you use this time to read sirah and reflect on the blessings of his salallah alaihi wasalam birth."

Indeed, it's a blessing to be able to love him (pbuh) in peace. What does that mean to me - to love in peace? As a servant of Allah who errs every so often, sometimes we feel that we are not worthy in the eyes of the Prophet (pbuh). But when we start to think about his boundless compassion for the ummah we would feel relieved and comforted. His last disposition was not that he regarded any of us negatively. It was never an exclusive club which he presided over. He made it clear that his people, are all inclusive.

But think about some of the "exclusive" groupings that we have among us. We consciously or unconsciously create boundaries. When we do that, there will be people who will end up feeling or being left out.

But it does not matter if anyone rejected you or branded you, for whatever reason. As far as he salallah alaihi wasalam is concerned, he brands us as his ummah. And it is he (pbuh) who is in the position to help us, at the end of the day. Knowing this fact alone enables us to love him in peace.

Knowing that our salam to him, no matter what, and no matter what condition we are in at the moment we send him a salam, it will reach him and he knows and He with capital h, will respond and reward tenfold.

Knowing this fact alone comforts the heart. This is actually a guarantee that his lovers CAN love him in peace. Never mind the noise out there, because each one of us has a direct channel to him (pbuh) and it is like the most peaceful love lane there is - and on this lane, love is guaranteed - love that will be and that were.
   
Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
habib al-Rahman
'ada dama yakun wama qodkan

"O Allah bestow your prayers upon our master Muhammad
the beloved of the Most Compassionate
to the number of things that will be and that were."

- 12 Rabi'ul Awal 1435 Hijri

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hajja Ashaki Taha-Cisse @ The Sacred Path of Love 2013 in Singapore

Bismillah.

A girlfriend attached a couple of posters in her new year message to me. One of the posters says: "If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down."

Instantly, my mind recalled words of wisdom from the radiant and chic one-and-only lady speaker at the Sacred Path of Love event held in Singapore last December. The event was organized by the Sout Ilaahi group. 

This lady speaker Hajja Ashaki Taha-Cisse is an extraordinary woman. At the Sacred Path of Love event she spoke on things which weigh us down and how to overcome them. "Overcoming grief and sorrow through zikrullah" was the title of her talk on the first day. Needless to say, a woman of her caliber talked with authority. But on the second day of the two-day event only did I realize she's speaking from experience. She openly hinted the grief and sorrow she has been going through since her beloved husband left her for the next world. When Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes spoke about spiritual marriage, Hajja Ashaki who was sitting among the audience humbly asked Shaykh Mendes: "Now that we heard you speak about that (spiritual marriage), having lost such a partner, what do you do?" She was referring very lovingly to the special relationship, the much cherished spiritual marriage of 40 years with her late husband.

Indeed, this remarkable woman carried with her so much warmth and love. Her voice was gentle and soothing. In her brightly colored and beautiful Muslimah outfit, Hajja Ashaki at 72 was such a pretty woman. I learned from her biography (click on the link at the bottom of the page) that she undertook her second master's degree at the age of 69. MashaAllah tabarakallah!

Hajja Ashaki began her talk saying: "Life is full of trials and tests. They show up in our lives as disappointment and loss that can trigger feelings of overwhelming sadness and despair. In difficult times like these, when we have lost a loved one, when a marriage comes to a sad and sometimes hostile end, when we have lost a child through illness, accident or rebellion, the ache in our hearts causes it to constrict and pulsate with indescribable pain. We can become overcome with grief and sink into the abyss of depression. These are the times when we must turn to Allah the Most Merciful in remembrance and to Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam, the mercy to mankind, in praise. Allah advises us in the Holy Quran: Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find satisfaction."

She then quoted several more verses from the Quran about finding remedy in the remembrance of Allah and in being patient when the goings get tough. The word patience is mentioned 90 times in the Quran, she reminded the audience. She also quoted lessons from her guru Shaykh Ibrahim Niass who wrote and spoke about "the four times in one's life: the good times, the favored times, the bad times and the trial times". That "trial time is not devoid of favor. Actually the trial is a favor of Allah. It's a favored time. It's not a rejection of His servants."

By seeing the mercy of Allah in trials and tribulations will help us deal with the tragedies of life. Allah is the source of all, hence there is no need to discern whether the trial is a test or a punishment. 

Hajja Asahaki counselled the audience about forgiveness. And this, to this faqir was the most important lesson Hajja left us with before she left for New York. She said: Forgiveness is not so much for the other person. Forgiveness is really for you so that your heart will be clean, so that your heart is not consumed by anger or hatred. Forgiveness is for you. When you forgive others, it is for your own heart.




*******
Allahu 'alam.
May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
Pic credit: The Sacred Path of Love FB


Monday, January 6, 2014

Echos of the heart

Bismillah.

You know the progression of certainty from ilmu yaqin to ainul yaqin to haqqul yaqin to kamal yaqin.

Today, Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, as far as the heart is concerned, I went from ilmu yaqin to ainul yaqin, that is from knowing through reading to knowing something by seeing. For the first time in my life I saw the image of my own heart at work, beating for real. I saw the right atrium, the left atrium, the right ventricle, the left ventricle and the two valves opening and closing like an automatic gate, Subhanallah

And the most heart moving experience was to listen for the first time the sound of the blood pumping from within the heart. I wish I knew the right words to describe the sound. It sounded like out-of-this world kind of sound.

According to the cardiologist who attended to me, the sound varies. The echo of the blood pumping sounds differently if the heart was healthy, than if it had a hole or if it's entirely damaged. I can imagine the doctor must have heard all kinds of melodies.

Anyhow, the sound gives you a mixed feelings between real and surreal. It makes you want to cry because it feels like it's the closest thing you can come to the Source of life, the Giver of your soul. Then you begin to understand a little bit the ayah in the Quran verse 8:24 "And God comes between  a person and his heart."  

In the translated version of Imam Al-Ghazali's Mukhtassar Ihya Ulumuddin by Haji Marwan Khalaf, the physical heart is described as a pine cone shaped muscle on the left chest and it being the source of the soul. That's the first meaning.

The second meaning is of course the bathin aspect of the heart:  "A divine spiritual subtlety (latifah) which has a connection with that muscle. This subtlety is the seat of The Knowledge of God the Exalted, aware of what neither the imagination nor intuition are aware of, which is the Reality of Man."

This precious book is published by SPHOR based in Cyprus. The translator Haji Marwan is a mureed of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani. You may purchase this book from Wardah Bookshop in Singapore.

Back to the heart of the matter. Yes the echos of the heart sounded out-of-this-world. It sounded like "whoosh", like a rush of water but of course it sounded heavier than water because it's blood. You can almost feel the weight of the gushing fluid which has its own melody. And as though God provides you this instrumental melody of life and it's up to you to write the lyrics for each gush of the blood, for each moment of the pumping - the actions or mechanics of which gives you your existence. Indeed, on hearing the sound of the blood flows, you feel humbled and guilty at the same time because it is evident that the one liner lyrics which should accompany that heavenly melody is none other than: ALLAH. 

Reminds us of the ayah
"We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?" (Quran 41:53)

Sadaqallah al-Azim.
Allah says the truth.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Appoint a Personal Assistant every night | Lessons from Habib Jindan bin Novel

Bismillah.

Stubborn ears like mine need to hear certain things repeatedly before anything gets registered. You, learned readers, surely know better and are better than me in many respects. Of course you know the "common" bedtime zikir:
Subhanallah 33 times 
Alhamdulillah 33 times
Allahu Akbar 34 times

It's new year, and if this has not been a practice you do on automaticity (doing something without thinking) or if you're looking for a habit to pick up, let it be this simple bedtime zikir. Why? Because many already knew that this, if I may put it in the modern context, is like appointing your own Personal Assistant; not just hire and then fire him/her when he/she does not perform but it's like hiring one P.A. every night. 

Heard this from Habib Jindan bin Novel at Masjid As-Syakirin KLCC yesterday. Of course he didn't say it like I did. He was talking about lessons for women at a Muslimat-only session. The habib, clearly a man of adab, actually had a screen/room divider placed in front of him when addressing the all-ladies audience. He drew several beneficial lessons from Saidatina Fatimah Az-Zahra as a role model for women.    

Habib Jindan said, if Fatimah who asked the Prophet for a maid to help her with household chores was granted what she asked for, then we would not have learned this zikr. Fatimah accepted the Prophet's offer for something better than a maid. If she chose a maid, the person would eventually leave her or pass away anyway. But Fatimah learned something from the Prophet which was more lasting - the above mentioned zikir. By reciting it, Allah will grant us added strength just like having a Personal Assistant.

Habib Jindan also taught the audience a du'a which might be common to many of you. Common or not, is not the issue. It's about making it a habit. The du'a was specifically taught by the Prophet to her beloved daughter Fatimah az-Zahra radhiallah hu anha:

Ya Awwalal awalin
Ya Akhiral akhirin
Ya Zal Quwwatil Matin
Ya Rahimal masakin
Ya Arahmar Rahimin

At the outset of his tausiyah, in reference to the venue Masjid As-Syakirin, Habib Jindan said, many people are grateful but only very few people can master the art of shukur. That's like an open challenge for us to not just offer shukur but to be a master (ahli) of the act of gratitude. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, for the opportunity to attend Habib Jindan's majlis. He is from a place called Tangerang in Indonesia. May, by the barakah of habaib, we are able to pick up plenty of good habits this year.

Allahu 'alam.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Habib Jindan bin Novel at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal KL

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah was shukrulillah, we're grateful to have listened to his tausiyah at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal yesterday, in conjunction with 1st Rabi'ul Awal 1435 Hijri and hence the Mawlid Akbar organized by Darul Murtadza KL.  

The shaykh spoke about the greatness and uniqueness of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam who was an ordinary man but extraordinary at the same time. One whose akhlak was absolutely exemplary. Whoever sat with him would fall in love with him. 1435 years have passed since his hijrah. None of us met him. Nor our fathers. Yet we have gathered here this evening to honor him.

Habib Jindan related the incidents about trees honoring the Prophet and weeping out of love for him; and two companions honored with his prayers namely Anas bin Malik and Muadz bin Jabal. The Prophet prayed so that Anas's age and wealth be blessed. Indeed this was true. Anas became a wealthy man and was blessed with many children. During a drought, Anas upon seeing his orchard affected by the dry weather prayed for rain and rain did fall but only onto his orchard! 

The Prophet had a soft spot for Muadz bin Jabal too. Before Muadz left for Yemen, the Prophet accompanied the young man right to the borders of Madinah, taught him a prayer and prophesied that by the time he returned, the place which they were passing through would have become a garden. 

Habib Jindan said, we all have dry hearts. We are in need of rain of mercy. We need shafaat [intercessions] and blessings from Prophet Muhammad. We need rain of mercy in our hearts so that our hearts will be nourished with hikmah, taqwa, istiqamah, sabr, waraq, syuhud, tawadduk, mahabbah, ridha and yaqin. Pray Allah will fortify our hearts with those noble attributes. [Ameen]

Among the main characters of ahlul sunnah wal jamaah are that they love to conduct mawlid, they like Imam Al-Ghazali, they like Imam Al-Haddad, they like reciting wirid and ratib. The path of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam is not characterized by hatred or envy. He never branded anyone as kufur or syirik. Instead he made the kuffar embrace Islam and those who were mushrik were taught tawhid. He never ridiculed anyone. He never spoke any negative words.

Let's express our love for Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam through simple words and actions. Recite bismillah when eating/drinking; enter masjid with your right foot; walk and dress like him; be the first to say salam even to the young ones etc.

Leave this masjid with an intention to make the Prophet pleased with us. Do simple things like praying in congregations, begin with your right hand, honor your guests.

Habib Jindan bin Novel ended his tausiyah by praying so that we will be gathered with the one we all love -- Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

*******
This faqir apologizes for any errors and omissions.

       

Friday, January 3, 2014

Inhale love and exhale gratitude -- equally

Bismillah.

Many of the important lessons in life and lessons about life are simple and obvious, yet we just need to hear it from the experts, for them to knock on our heads.

We heard from Shaykh Ninowy about the importance of inhaling love and exhaling gratitude. We also heard the learned saying: we are not grateful enough, so that could be the reasons why our pleas are not being granted. 

Today I heard from the experts that I wasn't exhaling enough. Yes funny as it may sound, we must heed the words of qualified physicians because they speak based on reports of clinical evidence. A simple blowing test I took showed that this faqir was not exhaling as much as she inhaled. LOL. "Ideally if we inhale a 100, then we should exhale a 100" said the doctor. FYI, the passing mark for blowing test is 85%. Yes, this new year, why not go for a blowing test. LOL.

The doc also said, if you scored 83% [that's me], that's like having 17 parts of your lungs occupied by carbon dioxide. Imagine having 17 strangers occupying 17 slots in our rib cage all the time, simply because we're not letting them out. Hmm...must try harder.  

If we may relate that to what Shaykh Ninowy said about inhaling love and exhaling gratitude, it proves that I for one, am not grateful enough. The amount is lopsided. Not good. Not exhaling gratitude enough. Many a time, what is in the unseen realm gets manifested in the seen realm, sooner or later. 

Said Shaykh Ninowy at the Sacred Path of Love event 2013

Jumaah Mubarrak!

       

Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Lose yourself in the service of others" - Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed Fredericks at Sacred Path of Love 2013

Bismillah.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks was one of four key speakers at the Sacred Path of Love event that took place in Singapore in December 2013.

He delivered a tausiyah to a packed audience at the Masjid Sultan Auditorium. His speech was equally packed with wisdom and hilarious at the same time. The event was organized by the Sout Ilaahi Group of Singapore.

The title of the tausiyah itself was both motivating and comforting: "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

I thought it was an excellent title because oftentimes we feel like we need to find ourselves because we do not know what our raison d'etre is; we are not sure what our life purpose is. Oftentimes we feel like we have lost ourselves through ways and means which may not be positive. Oftentimes we feel really lost not having a meaningful activities to occupy ourselves with. So the shaykh said: "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

Paradoxical as that may sound, the main point which I gathered from his talk was that it's not about me, myself and I, but OTHERS. In serving others, we will find our sense of self, a sense of duty and in that sense of duty we will find a sense of worthiness. It's a very fulfilling experience. I am sure the Sacred Path of Love volunteers are in a better position to talk about this.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz began his tausiyah quoting some big names who are known for their big hearts - selfless characters like Mother Theresa who said: 'Love is service. The fruit of service is peace. And I serve and I saw that service is joy.' Khalil Gibran said: 'I slept and I dreamed that life is joy. I worked and I saw that life is all service."

The shaykh then enlightened the audience on the definitions of happiness. What is the meaning of happiness? It originates from the word saadah meaning felicity or happiness. Imam Ghazali defined happiness as being actively in control of oneself (nafs) and not the other way around, not the self/nafs controlling you. Compare saadah with shaqawah or damnation. 

In relation to service, the shaykh elaborated the root word for service in Arabic i.e. khadamah. It means to be at work and to be at work means to do something that weigh you down. There are four principles to service:

i. Rahmah lil khalq - mercy to creations/mankind. 
Why khalq? Because the greatest of creation is human kind. And the first hadith is known as hadith of mercy about the importance of compassion. The gist of which is that if you want Allah to be merciful to you, then be merciful to people. The shaykh also mentioned the word madad which means assistance. He said, if you want assistance, then you should grant assistance to others. Others being your brothers in humanity.

ii. Service has to has benefit. 
All of creations are dependents of Allah. We all need Him. And He chooses the means to give. When you sow the earth, He gives rain. As in a hadith, we know that he who benefits his dependents the most, is the best of men. The shaykh said we should not underestimate our work. He related his own experience with a woman who approached him at a car park. He had at that time just finished his talks/programs and was feeling exhausted. So when this lady approached him telling him that she writes poetry, the shaykh had nothing more to say than 'mashaAllah.' Later, he found out that that one word he managed to utter in response to the lady had actually changed her because according to her, that was the only one time anyone had ever praised her work.

iii. The path to joy is the path to service.
Shaykh Abdul Aziz quoted some important points we could all learn from Ghandi. And in offering our service we must check our intentions because as stated in a hadith, actions are by your intentions. 
   
iv. Love is the essence of service.
The shaykh mentioned the word futtuwah or chivalry in this context. As defined by Abdul Rahman al-Sulami, futtuwah means preferring others over yourself. Quoting the advice he got from Shaykh Ninowy, Shaykh Abdul Aziz in turn advised the audience to: "Outwardly we do the work but inwardly we are in the state of solitude in divine presence" and if you do service you will find yourself with Allah. 

Shaykh Abdul Aziz concluded his tausiyah by sharing the lessons we could learn from fish which is at one with the sea. Fish is created to serve mankind and even fish wants humankind to benefit. Similarly, if we are at one with ourselves, we will find happiness. If we are at one with everything around us we will be in a happier world. This is the way to pursue happiness.

******
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions. 
Pic credit: Sacred Path of Love FB

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 - Turn over a new leaf

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to breathe again and again. Alhamdulillah for the gift of time and thus the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in a moment, that is to reform and begin again. Reform, I think, means to turn back to the right form. That is tawba - the act of returning. Turn is the keyword.`

We get to choose the moment we wish to make that turn. But without the strength or tawfik granted by Allah, it can be difficult. But at least we can on our part make the intention to turn.

First January of each year, psychologically, to many people, is like a new blank, white page. We begin writing as in acting out our daily activities. As we write, I am reminding myself, to be quick and ready to rub off/delete any items that should not be there in the first place. And then begin again.  That is like renewing our wudhu. It's a simple act yet it can be difficult. Bless is a man who has a strong willpower to renew his wudhu throughout the day, throughout his life. I remember praying for that ability in front of the kaaba but still am struggling with it. Saw on telly this new year morning, a reputable motivator said, one reason Allah is not giving us is because we are not grateful and thankful enough for the things that He has given us. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, for this beautiful day.


1st January 2014
Happy New Year greetings from Kuala Lumpur


Wish we would all be more wise, more knowledgeable, more positive, more productive, more healthy, more wealthy - more of all the good stuffs! Ameen.

Thank you for keeping me company on this shared space which is going into its 6th year. Praise be to Allah. Pray we can all learn something useful on this platform this new year, bi iznillah.
Aiming for 250 beneficial sharing in 2014 InshaAllah :)

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.