Monday, March 31, 2014

Aiming right

Bismillah.

Not bad at all!

So I learned, it's not just about shooting a bow and arrow, it's also about pulling out the arrows correctly. It's all about employing the right technique and just like everything else, it's easier said than done, LOL.

On a serious note, archery as we know is a sunnah game, it teaches you to silent all the noises that are playing in your brain and stay focused on one aim and shoot and get on with the next arrow and shoot some more.

And yes, it makes you think, we have to have an aim, and aim right.



p/s Hoping to share more pix of my holiday in beautiful Malaysia, especially for Aunty S of Spain :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A sea of reflection

Bismillah.

Hmm...here to get away. It's a much awaited getaway, a much needed island getaway. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah He is ever generous and forever giving. 



But coming here to this island, to be closer to the sea, gives us mixed feelings. While we are here to chill and have a good time, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the MH370 victims. It pains to think the sea we are facing is connected to that far away ocean - the southern Indian Ocean - the final resting place of the crew and passengers of the ill fated plane.

There are seven oceans by name, but in reality there is only one ocean and we are enveloped by it, no matter where we are, in the most remote place in the East, West, North and South, there is only one ocean that surrounds us - the ocean of humanity.

You may have come across a quote about the sea by John F. Kennedy. It certainly is heart breaking to relate the quote to the demise of his son JFK Jr. who returned to the sea in a tragic manner when the plane he piloted failed him and his lovely wife Carolyn and her sister. The doom flight plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 1999.

"...And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came."
JFK (in a speech made in 1962.)

Indeed, we are tied to the ocean. And most definitely, we are all going back to where we came from.
To Allah we shall return.

_________________________

Disclaimer:
This space is meant for friendly avid readers, NOT those who think I am a hypocrite and yet keep coming here to check on me like they are holier than others. Get a life, go for a swim.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

On making an intention | Small treat

Bismillah.

This is another merepek nonsense posting, sorry. But am happy...happy...therefore write happy :)

When Allah grants you cool bounties, you are grateful and would want to celebrate, don't you? I wish I could buy you roti canai [pronounce row-tea char-ny as in deny]. 

Let's see, on average 300 people visit this space everyday. So that's like 300 roti canai. Yes I can afford that inshaAllah. But because you are all virtual, I can't. [And I won't meet strangers] Yet for making that one intention, virtually, I have banked in 300 points ka-ching :)

It's great isn't it, to be rewarded just for making one good intention. Praise be to Allah.

2014 is Visit Malaysia Year, come try our roti canai.


"O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy."
- Quran 2:168


Friday, March 28, 2014

The year we were born

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for our existence (nikmat ijad) - that Allah created us.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we have lived for so many years, that we have been enjoying life to this very day, learning from it, that we have tasted all kinds of food, seen some parts of the world, made so many friends, cried so many tears, laugh...etc.

No, don't mean to sound melancholic.

Did you know which word entered the English language in the year you were born? Go check it out.
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/12/oed-birthday-words/

It may put a smile on your face as did mine :)



"Some days you just have to create your own sunshine."
- Women of History

And laugh.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thank God for good companions with good characters

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, thank God for good companions.

After our meeting, my mother had this to say about this friend of mine: "MashaAllah, she speaks in a gentle tone and so polite!" That's good character, indeed.

I pray Allah will have mercy and let me enter the Heavens so that I could be a neighbor to this one good companion and all other good companions with good characters I have met and will meet bi-iznillah; though He may not find me worthy to enter the Heavens.


I bank on the promise as narrated in a hadith of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam that when two people love each other for the sake of Allah, meeting for that reason and parting for that reason, they will be granted shade on the day when there is no shade but Allah's. I bank on this as I am lacking of many other good deeds.

And praise be to Allah, the meeting was so that I may enjoy these generous gifts from some big-hearted people. Subhanallah so proclaim the bounties of your Lord!

The book 'Islam - The Religion of Peace' being selected speeches of Cheikh Tidiane Ali Cisse is the "first-born" of a publisher based in Singapore - Light of Eminence. Mabruk! The publisher is associated with the reputable Sacred Path of Love annual event in Singapore. The CDs are produced by Sout Ilaahi Group and may be purchased via www.sacredpath.sg 

Below is an excerpt from a section in the said book entitled 'Good Companionship and Character in Islam':
The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said: 'I am the guarantor of a house in the heights of Paradise built for the one who beautifies his character.' And he salallah alaihi wasalam said: 'The  most beloved of you to me and the one who will sit closest to me on the Day of Judgment, is one with the best of character.' And he salallah alaihi wasalam said: 'There is nothing heavier than good character in the weighing of a believer on the Day of Judgment, for surely Allah hates the abominable and the obscene.'   

May Allah pardon us and beautify our characters. Ameen.

p/s 
Jazakallah WF. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Being more confident in the best disposer of affairs

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah, today I woke up feeling more certain that as long as we are truthful, we don't lie, don't plot against people, don't misled people, don't implicate people, don't mistreat people, don't put people in a difficult position, don't harm others, we can expect help from Allah who is all knowing and fair.

Should we dare do some of the bad things mentioned above, we must realize that while we can plan this and that and maneuver our plot by lying along the way, we should know that one day we will reach a dead-end and we could get entangled in our own plot. Or Allah might make us incapacitated to prevent us from doing further mischief. 

Allah knocks us the hard way or sometimes the not-so-hard way, to teach us and give us another second-chance before He takes us away. This fact we all know. And it's up to us whether we want to grab the chance. It's up to us how we choose to react to His divine lessons and interventions.

Allah is the best disposer of affairs.
To Him we shall all return.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reality junction

Bismillah.

In life, we wander here, we venture there, we stroll along that route, we walk on this path and we walk on that road -  here and there, this and that - all offering us different sceneries and giving us colorful experiences. At some point, we pause to smell the roses, at times we stop momentarily to take a breather. When we come to a junction, we will have to consider the options. Which way shall we take? 

Junctions often serve as a reality check where we take stock of what we have collected along the way and weigh the consequences of the next move. Choosing a route out of a fork, choosing the third exit or going 12 o'clock, all will present different branching of fate.

Today, an old friend is flying west, leaving for umrah, so I packed some of my "petitions" in his luggage. Am a prayer beggar. We all are, aren't we? 

If life is but one straight road, we may not be so needy for prayers. But life offers us numerous reality junctions where we need help on direction before we can step forward. 

"If you don't step forward, you will always remain in the same place." 
- Women of History.

Life is such that we must always step forward. As said Shaykh Ninowy, at the Sacred Path of Love conference, in response to some people who related their ugly marital experience, "if you are going to keep looking back, you are not going to get anywhere."

In the road called relationship if you happen to collect too many lies and tricks along the way, you would want to speed up to a junction, drop those "bad potatoes" and quickly decide on a new route and look ahead.

May Allah guide us to a good decision and land us on a not-too-winding a road, with some lovely vista to cherish. 

O Ya Hadi, Ya Wadud.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MH370 - Ended in the Southern Indian Ocean

Bismillah.

As announced.
It wandered and ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

Al Fatihah.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Which three words

Bismillah.

In three words 
I can sum up everything 
I've learned about life:
it goes on.
- Women of History

Three words I wish to offer to anyone and everyone I've wronged:
I am sorry.

Sometimes, the only three words we can afford to say about why things happened the way it did:
I don't know.

The other three words we all know:
I love you.



And I leave you with another quote by Women of History:
"Accept what is, let go what was and have faith in what could be."

May we be grateful for what is, may Allah forgive us for what was and may Allah rightly guide us to what could be.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On slacking | On doing

Bismillah.

Was looking at the archive for 2014. Thirteen postings in Jan. Twelve postings in Feb. Seven in March. What's telling? This faqir is slacking!

Then in the next instant, I saw this fitting quote by Thomas Jefferson:
"It's wonderful how much may be done,
if we are always doing."

Heh heh...how true?
As is with every posting, this is to remind myself, me, me, me....



And here's hoping, let one good word found here benefits you, even if it be just one word, 
bi-iznillah.




Friday, March 21, 2014

On choosing and fleeing

Bismillah.

In the middle of the night...felt compelled to share a lil something especially for Aunt S and Sis N who are in a different time zone, yet so in the heart-zone with this faqir. Thanks.

This is a saying by Imam Shadhilli I came across jut a lil while ago. [What's with this lil bit of this, lil bit of that?]

But the illuminated scholars of the past are known to say very little, yet the meaning is so vast as it is deep.

Here goes:

As thou flee, I say:
Fi amanillah.
[In Allah's protection]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Honor - Glory - Esteem - Strength

Bismillah.

Inferiority complex - I used to suffer from it, I think. In hindsight, it didn't matter as much now but it should not exist especially among teenagers because it could impede a growing soul from realizing its true potential.

By nature, everyone is given izzah which means honor/glory/esteem/strength, so I gathered the meaning of that Arabic word. Yes, everyone is given izzah and thus everyone has izzah in their own way. It is like inner beauty, everyone has it. This I saw radiating from a blind young man who went up on stage to receive the honors for having done well in a major exam in the Malaysian school system. Among all other recipients, somehow, his izzah stood out.

But sometimes people tend to overvalue physical beauty and put a high price tag on it. Just like the things sold on the shelf, some things are overpriced and we all know it.

Allah in His glory and fairness assigns more izzah to some people than others. He gives to whomever He chooses. 

Later today, someone I know whose name is derived from the Arabic root word izzah will be getting her exam results. But to me, her "results" are already out. Regardless of how many "A"s she will bag today, the real "A"s she has scored is in having an extraordinary determination to learn subjects that are beyond school subjects. It's about recognizing the value of 'ilm in a wide context, far from being shallow, like being excited about some trivial celeb stuffs and some time-wasting boy bands. It's about being more interested in and being actively involved in volunteer work, and engaging in worthwhile activities. That's real beauty. That's what is awesome.

People with such izzah should not suffer from inferiority complex and should not be made to suffer from the same because they don't deserve it. But then again whatever gifts Allah has bestowed upon a person, no one can take it away, not one bit. We will know when our society is matured, it's when we give things its real value, when real beauty is appreciated, when skin-deep beauty is not over glorified.
     

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hazy | Grey | Blue | Purple

Bismillah.


Before | Haze

When love is in the air, the skies seem blue. When haze is in the air, the "in" color is grey. When the heart is clear, one is unfazed. When the mind is cluttered, all the thoughts seem to dwell in grey areas. When the heart is feeling blue, you wish people would just steer clear.

That's the most recent before and after photo of KL for you - haze and no haze. No one likes it when it's hazy because it's unhealthy. And no one likes it when the situations surrounding the missing plane MH 370 remains hazy. A week has gone by and everyone's mind is still clouded as to what actually happened and is happening. We all want a closure. Better still, a happy ending.

Did you know the color chosen for 2014 is 'radiant orchid'? Pantone the "color authority" has chosen a purplish color for this year. Radiant orchid is purplish. It's like say... two shades brighter than the purple you see on this blog. 

Colors are a gift from God. It's what makes a thing radiant. And surely we all have our own favorite colors. But when grey colors the air, it can't be one of our favorite days.

Pray Allah manifest His Jamal attributes and color our lives with beautiful hues. Pray He grants us sabr in accepting the color of His choosing, be it black, grey, blue or purple or anything from His eternal palette of Divine Will.

Subhan is Allah. Subhanallah.


After | No haze
Pic credit: BP

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Building bridges | Twice lucky

Bismillah.

This is a nice picture of the second Penang Bridge taken by a friend of mine. At 24 km, it is the longest bridge in South East Asia. It is also known as the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, after our present king who actually become king twice! Born in 1927, His Majesty Sultan Abdul Halim was Malaysia's 5th king in the '70s and since 2011 he is the country's 14th king. Who says you can't get lucky twice? 

From the spot where the photo was taken, the newly officiated bridge looked almost like the first Penang Bridge which was opened to public in 1985. 

The construction site of the first Penang Bridge was my playground. My granny's house was just a stone's throw away. We saw almost every major bit of the construction progress of the 13 km bridge. I recalled the lovely balmy afternoons spent at the site where students from the nearby uni would sing, strum the guitar, recite poetry and village folks jogging and chatting away. I was still in my teens then. 

Almost 30 years later, we see another bridge linking the mainland of Peninsula Malaysia to a small town in southeast of Penang island. Alhamdulillah Penangites are lucky people - twice lucky.

Theoretically speaking, to close a gap, all we need is a bridge - a link through which both sides of the parties can commute, communicate and reciprocate. But in life, sometimes we need more than just one bridge to bridge a divide. Relationship between two countries, between two communities and between two people, is all about building bridges. If things can't seem to work this way, try that way. Having alternatives are always a plus. And being lucky twice is a boon.

2014 is Visit Malaysia Year. Come visit Penang. Its capital George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And did you know, Nicol Ann David, the world's no. 1 squash player is from Penang? She has won the British Open four times and the World Open seven times.

If we cannot yet be a world class achiever, try be someone with a world class heart :)


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Being vulnerable for the people that matter

Bismillah.

Inspiration is hard to come by. Especially when the noise level hits high decibels.

But for Tom Morkes, an Iraq war veteran, the staggering noise and chaos on battlefield led him to some inspiring lessons which other people can draw upon. In his article 'What war taught me about writing', he shared writing tips he brought back from war - quite an unlikely place.

Tom likened writing to being vulnerable like when you are 'outside the wire' i.e. outside your comfort zone where you are exposed to danger. He wrote: 'When you write and publish, whether it's a blog post once a day or a book once a decade, you expose yourself to naysayers and critics. When you're doing your best work, your most authentic work, it leaves you vulnerable.'

But in combat zone just like in writing, if he did not go 'outside the wire' and make himself vulnerable, people who needed his support, people that matter, would be deprived. Having to go out on battlefield on a daily basis, he and his team had to take risks and from the daily risk-taking lessons they learned, they increased their success rate in case something bad were to happen.

Likewise in writing, we have to take risks and push our self to the limit to create something useful regardless of the critics. Tom advised: "Don't worry about the naysayers, critics whatever. Write for the people that matter."

Read Toms' full article here:


Similarly, we can relate these lessons to the flight captain, co-pilot and crew of MH370 which has gone missing since March 8. And also all the flight captains, co-pilots and crew of each and every flight that takes off day in day out. They choose to make themselves vulnerable and go "outside the wire" or rather go up into thin air and take daily risks. If they didn't, many people would be deprived - families/friends cannot unite, businesses won't get done, no one can enjoy holidays abroad and so on. They do it for the people that matter - us - passengers. If they were too bothered by critics in case something goes wrong, they wouldn't do what they're meant to do and passionately at that. Certainly we must salute people who care to make themselves vulnerable for the people that matter.
     
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone on board flight MH370 and their families and friends.
___________________
pic credit: www.thestar.com.my

Monday, March 10, 2014

Soaring hopes for MH370

Bismillah.

When we are faced with a calamity, we say Innalillah wa inna ilai hiraji'un.

When we are in a dire circumstance as we are now - potentially losing precious lives on board flight MH370 since its disappearance on Saturday March 8 - we realize better how small and inadequate we are in relation to God's Knowledge and His Power.

But surely our hopes soar high, very high that a better outcome will surface from the search and rescue initiatives.  

My empathy is for Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Penangite aged 53,  who was leading the flight. I am one of a million others who must be guilty of taking for granted the heavy responsibility that a flight captain shoulders. How many times have we flown and have had a good time flying? But how many times have we actually felt thankful for the captains and their crew? Only when something goes terribly amiss do we mention these unsung heroes and sadly, sometimes, with skepticism.

Captain Zaharie just like his crew, she and he, just like his passengers, she and he, is someone's son, daughter, father, mother, wife, husband, sister or brother. They all have families. We all have families.

There may be several nationalities on board as there is faith but we are all Bani Adam, we are all children of Adam. We all share the same beliefs in everything good. We all have hopes for all things good. In times of crisis, this universal fact becomes more apparent. Oftentimes it is a universal truth that can and should undermine one's ego and selfishness.

In this difficult time we are in, we pray so that Allah will manifest His Mercy on our big family and guide us out of this darkness of not knowing the fate of the souls on board MH370. It is Allah Al-Qayyum the Eternal One, who has the power to make a thing afloat. It is He Al Jami who unites that which is apart. We pray with this Beautiful Names that He brings back the souls on board MH370 to their loved ones so they reunite. Should He decide to Him is their return, we pray so that they are forgiven and be welcomed with His most gentle pardon.


  
In times of calamity, we return all things to Him, we say Inna lillah wa inna ilai hi rajiun.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

59 | 55 | 99 - enumerate His blessings

Bismillah.

Allahu Akbar! Who am I not to be grateful for His blessings? It's our duty to mention and enumerate His blessings, is it not? 

Praise be to God, to have people around us to remind us and encourage us to do good. Was reminded of the date - simply today's date - nothing significant about the 5th of March except that there's only one posting on this space for March, which means I must march on.

Praise be to God, to be awakened in the middle of the night, to have been given the strength to move our limbs and tongue to say a prayer.

That a precious book is within our reach - the 'Mukhtar Al-Hadith' being translation of 59 hadith of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam by Fa'iz b. Amir, a student of one esteemed learned from whom we draw comfort to our dented spirit - Habib Umar b. Hafiz. 

Alhamdulillah that the Generous Allah Al-Kareem has opened the heart of a servant of His to present the 'Select of Prophetic Traditions' to this faqir as a gift. 

On this serene night, we derive healing from reading hadith no. 55 listed in the said book.
"The messenger of God salallah alaihi wasalam said: 
La hawla wala quwwata illah billah 
(no power nor strength save by God) 
is a remedy from incurring 99 ailments, 
the least of which is worry." 
- Ibn Abi Dunya

***
We are exposed to so many ailments in our daily lives, we aren't even sure of the number and we take for granted of the kinds of ailments that might hit us on a given day. But here we are told there are 99 ailments curable just by saying lahawla wala quwwata illah billah, the least of which is worry and worry is actually a big ailment to many people, including me, sometimes. When we are overcome with worry, big or small, we become nervous and restless. Everything we try to do does not seem right. We touch "this" only to be flooded with thoughts and concerns about "that", it can be nerve wrecking.

But here we learned a simple remedy. Simple and yet we often forget and overlook as we nervously search to the right and search to the left for things which we thought could cure us.

La hawla wala quwwata illah billah.

***

In the book of Habib Umar bin Hafiz named 'Mukhtar Al-Hadith' as translated by Fa'iz b. Amir, people like me who lack exposure to the traditions, can benefit tremendously by the blessings of Allah. In addition to the 59 hadith, at the end of the light yet weighty book, I read for the first time biographies of the select traditionists. Alhamdulillah, I read for the first time concise background of names like Bayhaqi, Bukhari, Daylami, Daraqutni, Abu Daud, Ibn Abi Dunya, Hakim, Ahmad b. Hanbal, Ibn Maja, Ibn Mardaway, Muslim, Nasa'i, Tabarani, Tirmidhi and Abu Ya'ala.

If not for this excellent publication in English, I would not have known that the narrator of the hadith no 55 which we quoted above, Ibn Abi Dunya was a freed slave of the Ummayad dynasty in Baghdad who was a teacher of the Caliph's children. MashaAllah how noble a profession. And that Ibn Abi Dunya could make people laugh and cry listening to him talk about hadith. And surely his role in narrating the words of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam is beyond noble a profession.

May we benefit from saying lahawla wala quwwata illah billah as a remedy. 

May we benefit from our adoration for people like Ibn Abi Dunya and Habib Umar b. Hafiz - people who love Allah and are loved by Allah for their love and service for His beloved Messenger salallah alaihi wasalam.

May Allah increase us in knowledge.
May Allah reward each and everyone who has done good to us.
Ameen.

Mukhtar Al Hadith (Select Prophetic Traditions)
by Habib Umar b. Hafiz
Translated by Fa'iz b. Amir
Published by: The Ribat Institute

May Allah be so kind to want to wake us up for Fajr.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March on

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we have marched past two months already. Today is the 1st of March, O people in case you are still not up yet this Saturday morning. It's not the 29th of Feb. 2014 is not a leap year in case you were hoping for one extra day in Feb for whatever reason.

Life in Jan and Feb may not have been as fun and pomp like a march-past or parade. No big baloons, no floats, no loud bands, no fancy dress but then life is never meant to be a parade, is it?

Some days are lovely, bright and sunny. Some days are just OK. On some days we all need a bit of push, a bit of encouragement, a bit of motivation, a spark to reignite our hopes, so that we can march on.

Regardless of the daily circumstances, let's try to observe the house rules even when we are outside. I got this poster from Singapore and thought we should add three things there.



House Rules:
Love each other
Hold your head high
Laugh a lot
Pick up after yourself
Try everything once
Say please and thank you
Never give up
Don't play ball in the house
Always tell the truth
Chew, swallow, speak
Trust in yourself
No whining
Be respectful
Keep your promises
Forgive even when it's hard
Do what you love
Break the rules once in a while

Wish y'all a fabulous weekend :)

Remember:
"A negative mind will never give you a positive life"
- Women of History