Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Raya (Eid) with friends for life

Bismillah.


Thank God for wonderful high school buddies and their lovely families. On my right is, Lingeswari from whom I learned plenty about Add Maths so that I went from 0/100 to 40/100 LOL. Also learned quite a bit of English. I remembered being so eager to visit her on Deepavali, walked to her house so early in the morning only to find out she's still not back from the temple. It was quite embarrassing. She is now blessed with three pretty daughters and a boy. Seated on the left is her mother whose idly and muruku (Indian delicacies) are simply world-class. Linges' mom studied Nursing in Brighton, UK in the '60s.     

On my left is Edda - good friends since we were 16. I remembered how we would chill after school to enjoy A&W Root Beer float at least 4 times a week. I am pretty sure she scored high marks for having cared for her ill parents until their last days. 

Next to Edda is Ozai - buddies from the same school. She and I would hound Linges on Maths - what else. Ozai is blessed with two good looking sons. MashaAllah.

We must thank our school friends for their tolerance, patience, support and understanding throughout the growing years because we were all naive, ignorant, intolerable and lacked of manners, weren't we?

Happy Eid from Penang, Malaysia!

Ezza & Edda
Friends for life

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eid Mubarak | Syawal 1435 Hijri | Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 2014

Bismillah.

Taqabbalah minna wa minkum!
May Allah accept our deeds and yours!

Eid Mubarak! 
Selamat Hari Raya! That's how we say it in Malay.

Happy...happy...happy... many of us are indeed happy Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. But let's not forget those who are in a less desirable circumstances in Gaza and elsewhere throughout the world, those who may be either homeless or those who have a large family to feed yet are lacking in material means to enjoy Eid in a decent manner, unlike many of us who are relatively more fortunate. Also those who have recently lost their family members and friends particularly those who have been greatly affected by the MH370 and MH17 tragedies. May Allah grant them patience to see it through, may Allah reward them for their patience and faith in Him and the deen despite the severe trials they are facing.

Personally, I am very grateful and delighted to be celebrating Eid in my hometown Penang. My family had missed this opportunity for three years in a row, hence alfu alfu Alhamdulillah, more so because the home has been given a fresh new look since it was built in year 1999. For the three Raya (Eid) that we had missed, I missed the kampung (village) children the most! Am happy to share with you photos of some of these joy and barakah bringers. It was a pleasure chatting with them about their ambitions and laughing with them as children being children are candid and brutally honest. 

Three boys I remembered dearly because when they came during the day, they asked if they could visit again in the evening. So they came again for dinner and they said they would be coming for lunch tomorrow, LOL. Pray these three boys Bilal (7), Muhammad Ramadan (9) and Muhammad Aiman (10) and the rest of my little precious guests will grow up to be men and women who are useful for the ummah, Ameen Allah humma ameen.


As you can see we have got a bunch of police personnel and doctors. I think the kampung folks will be safe and healthy inshaAllah. We have also got one person in the air-conditioning business (crucial in this hot weather), one pilot (bravo for still wanting to be a pilot), one car engineer, one teacher and one world class footballer! Perhaps, this is all we need LOL.

Selamat Hari Raya!
Eid Mubarak!
From Penang with love : )


Kamil Arif & Amer Areef
and their favourite Aunty : D

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ushering Syawal 2014

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. It's wonderful, as always, to be in Penang. The last three days since I got here have been plain mad and chaotic coordinating things with so many names - Wan, Mandy, Ah Cheah, Ah Keong, Ah Poh, Ah Chuan, Ah San, Lau, Hani, Jauhari, Jeff, Ismail, Mono, Bai - yes I think I have got all of them - God bless them for going an extra mile to make things happen.

It's Sunday 3 a.m. and I am beyond exhausted. Of course sad too that Ramadan is gonna leave us soon. The atmosphere during Isha and Teraweh at Penang State Mosque was a little sombre too.

But for now,  badly need to put up my feet and contemplate why people say no pain, no gain.

From top/left: Ar Rahman, Ar Razak,
Al Mughni, Al Karim, Al Wahab, Al Mujib,
Al Basith, An Nafi 

Masjid Negeri/Penang state mosque
Last teraweh before Ramadan's curtains are drawn


May Allah pardon us for all our wrong doings. Ameen. 
Ramadan Kareem!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trying it for tonight - again | Masjid Khalid Al-Walid

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, it's the eve of the 25th of Ramadan. We are all counting down the last ten great days of Ramadan. Hope mounts as tinge of sadness creeps in because soon Ramadan will be gone.

My favorite mosque Masjid Khalid Al-Walid was looking more resplendent than ever. The dark street leading to the masjid was lined with decorative Eid lights, though not as grand as Bukit Bintang during festive season, it was still a sight that soothed the heart. The lightings inside the mosque were grander tonight.

Datuk Noh Gadut, a prominent dai'e was delivering a tausiyah when I arrived. He was addressing the crowd which included some military VVIPs. He said the armed forces should beef up on spiritual and physical strengths so that "when your people attack the enemies just once or twice, that would suffice to cripple them." He also talked about the importance of being loyal to one's leader especially during combat and drew example from Khalid Al-Walid who on one occasion did not question when asked to back off as part of a war strategy. He also advised the military members not to be too concerned about positions and ranking as "we are all united in one singular niyyat - lillahi ta'ala. So that, people should, when heading for work recite inna solati wa nusuki wa mahyaya wa mamati lillahi ta'ala - going to work is like solah, it is ibadah, everything you do when you leave for work is ibadah..."       



Masjid Khalid Al-Walid is located at an area known as Mindef which is short for Ministry of Defence. This area was my late father's playground when he was a member of the military forces. I remembered as a child coming to Mindef occasionally to spend the school holidays with his superior's family who lived on the Mindef hill. That was in the '70s. The senior officials' quarters (bungalows) had been removed to make way for high density staff residential blocks. I remembered feeling overjoyed and impressed by the huge house then, and that was the first time I wished I would someday live in a nice big house too.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that Allah lets us experience and learn and dream. So when He grants, we are most certainly grateful. Allah Kareem. Ramadan Kareem.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Rumi's take on Laylatul Qadar | Try it for tonight

Bismillah.

MashaAllah tabarakallah. Where have I been? Thanks to a dear friend, I see for the first time Rumi's timeless advice on Laylatul Qadar. Let's try it for tonight. InshaAllah.

***
If you stay awake
for an entire night
watch out for a treasure
trying to arrive

You can keep warm
by the secret sun of the night
keeping your eyes open
for the softness of dawn

Try it for tonight
challenge your sleepy eyes
do not lay your head down
wait for heavenly alms
night is the bringer of gifts

Moses went on for a ten-year journey
during a single night
invited by a tree
to watch the fire and light

Muhammad too made his passage
during that holy night
when he heard the glorious voice
when he ascended to the sky

Day is to make a living
Night is only for love
commoners sleep fast
lovers whisper to God all night
all night long

A voice calls upon you
to wake up
in the precious hours
if you miss your chance now
when your body is left behind
your soul will lament
death is a life of no return

- Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi


***
Credit: BKP


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hadith of Mercy | Allah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
It strikes me that we may have learned or heard plenty of lessons and hadith over the years but often times we gather more and more but forget those we already have in hand.

Thought I put this here so that it'll be easier for me to memorize. And remember always to be compassionate and make it the first item on the behavior checklist - be merciful. Also a sign of gratitude for having obtained ijazah from at least three shaykh, the first one being Shaykh Muhammad Yaqoubi. May Allah bless him and all the shuyukh with more nur and heavenly bounties. Ameen.

As related by At-Tirmidhi, Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam said:
Ar Rahimuna 
yarhamu humurRahman
ir hamu man fil ardhi
yarhamkum man fis samaa'i

"The ones who are merciful, 
the Most Merciful will have mercy on them.
Have mercy to those on the earth,
He who is in the Heaven will have mercy on you." 

***

May Allah count this small act of blogging as me being merciful to the readers by way of sharing little bits of knowledge. May Allah forgive us, make us among the merciful and accept our deeds. Ameen Allahumma ameen.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Done deal | Allah Al-Afuw

Bismillah.

Sometimes a lil setback or a letdown can be good for us. Allah teaches in wondrous ways. There is still hope for as long as the heart is not hardened, as long as the heart is soft enough to listen and respond to good whisperings and heed words of guidance, be it angelical or khatir Rabbani.

Of course all things good are from Allah. Whatever seemingly good things we do are not from ourselves, it's all from Allah. It's all due to tawfiq from Allah. We can do nothing without His tawfiq. Especially in these trying times we live in, we may find ourselves obedient during the early part of the day but towards the evening we might not be anymore. Everyday is a struggle.

Thought I share this quote received via sms.
"When Allah Almighty forgives us, the ground we sinned upon is made to forget, and the angel that recorded that sin is made to forget." - Shaykh Sajid Omar

It carries an important lesson. That we should not be telling people about our sins for indeed God might have forgiven us. It's a done deal for Him the Almighty, the angels, the grounds and all other witnesses, so what need is there for us to recount and tell people "I used to do this, I used to do that..." And worse still the person with whom we share our not so good deeds are likely to remember it for the longest time and might mention it to someone else or use it against us. Why? Because people like gossips, people like juicy stuffs. People rejoice in knowing "that fella is worse than me."

This feverish writer chanced upon this hadith narrated by Ibn Majah and it puts a smile on her face.
"Mention of fever was made in the presence of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam and a man cursed it. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said: Do not curse it for it erases sins as fire removes filth from iron."

So let's not be too bothered if we are down with a little flu. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is Most Generous, there's mercy beneath every circumstances - big or small. Even sadness. An even bigger mercy is hidden in these last ten days of Ramadan.

Allahumma innaka 'affuwun 
tuhibbul 'afwa
fa' fu 'anni

"O Allah, Verily You are Most Forgiving
and love to forgive,
so forgive me."

Ramadan Kareem!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Membelah awan harapan | MH 17 dalam kenangan

Bismillah.

Apa cara lagi melangkah benua
kalau tidak terbang membelah awan?
Masa kan kaki mampu melangkah lautan?
Maka berlepaslah kami dari lapangan

Kami bermusafir demi agama

Kami berjalan demi cinta
Kami kembara membawa nama negara
Kami terbang dengan aman sentosa

Wajah-wajah yang dikasihi menggamit sanubari

Terbayang tangan-tangan menanti menyambut salam
Hati yang merindu menunggu setia
Tawa riang saudara dan kenalan berdendang di telinga

Kami terbang menuju semua ini

Keyakinan jitu pada nahkoda
anak bangsa kami hebat mengemudi
Justeru kami boleh bersandar menanti

Menghitung-hitung waktu yang berlalu pergi

Muka jam ditatap berulang kali
Tingkap diintai sesekali
Mekarnya hati menuju bumi pertiwi

Namun apakan daya Oh Tuhan

Sayap patah di tengah jalan
Hendak bertongkat paruh
Paruh rapuh berderai

Apakah salah kami wahai dunia?

Hingga kami dilenyapkan sekelip mata
Bertaburan jasad tidak berdosa
Kami hanya mahu terbang menuju matahari
Kami hanya mahu pulang menjelang pagi

Tapi kau carik harapan kami

Kau hancurkan anganan kami
Apakah buta mata semua?
Apakah sudah tuli dan hitam naluri?
Hingga sanggup kuburkan kami
di celahan bunga-bunga?
Ah...tiada lagi indah kuntuman itu!

Biar jasad terbujur kaku

Sumpah cinta kami tetap setia
Semerah-merah bunga raya
lambang jiwa nan santun berhemah
Itulah kami Malaysia




Thursday, July 17, 2014

MH 17 | Inna lillah wa inna ilai hira ji'un

Bismillah.


Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.

Our national airline, our national pride, our people, suffered yet again along with our guests - people who chose to fly with us, people who chose Malaysian Hospitality despite any dented hope there may have been since the MH370 tragedy several months ago.

To those who who have wronged us, what can we say?
"But Allah loves not those who do wrong." - the zalimin
(Al Imran:57)

"For Allah loves not the treacherous." - the kha inin 
(Al Anfal:58)

"And Allah loves not those who do mischief." - the mufsidin
(Al Maidah :64)

We pray the departed souls have returned to the Spirit in peace. We pray Allah would grant abundant of patience to the families and friends of the victims. Ameen.

Al Fatihah

Quran reference:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oft-returning

Bismillah.

As mortals, as one who came from the source which we came from - the Spirit, we have a natural tendency to keep returning to our Origins. We would turn back every now and then - after having walked 10 miles - after getting lost for days or months - we would want to just turn back or rather turn towards our Source. We should be in the state of oft-returning to our Lord if we cannot maintain being in the state of constant presence with Him. 



Allahyarham Martin Lings or Shaykh Abu Bakar Sirajjudin (1909 - 2005) completed his last book 'A Return To The Spirit' in the year he returned to the Spirit, in 2005. HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles wrote the Foreword: "I used to look forward so much to what became an annual visit from Martin Lings when I had a chance to explore with him some of his inner discoveries, whether in the world of Shakespeare or of Sufism. One of the Martin Lings' greatest legacies - apart from his insights into the true significance of many of the Shakespeare's plays and his remarkable biography of the Prophet Muhammad - must surely be his timely reminder to us that Sufism, of which he was a distinguished proponent, has always been at the heart of Islam, constantly reiterating the unshakable and scared truths of love, compassion and forgiveness which seem to lie at the very sources of the light that lightens our darkness and which, if it illuminates our hearts, can engender that peace we all seek. It is an illuminated peace which I pray is now enfolding the departed spirit of Martin Lings..."

MashaAllah! Such lucid yet loaded words of the Prince. It's brilliant.

Sadly, it's hard for me to accept that Martin Lings was in fact in KL on what would be his last birthday - his 96th birthday. He was here in KL on 24th January 2005. But I remembered seeing a beautiful portrait of him exhibited at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. I remembered standing, mesmerized at seeing his face, I touched the portrait with tears in my eyes, thinking how brilliant this man was, who wrote the biography of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam, the way he did, how brilliant this man was whose eloquence, my limited vocabulary can never describe.

Al Fatihah to this remarkable writer and Sufi, Martin Lings and all the great women of Sufism who have left us and left us with jewels of their wisdom.

****

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. 
Am thankful for a dear companion who presented me with these two precious books. May Allah repay his generosity abundantly. May Allah increase us in knowledge and make us conscious of the presence of the Spirit and remain near. May Allah forgive us for all that we might know; know not and might never come to know. Ameen.


  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Great place | Great peeps

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, good to be back in KL. It's a joy to be travelling back and forth two cool places - Penang and KL. My skin is still tingling from the hot island sun. Here are some pictures of that beautiful island in the sun - Pearl of the Orient.

To me blogging is all about impromptu sharing. Bloggers don't draft a post like one week in advance and edit a couple of times before clicking 'publish'. It's all about candid under-five-minutes writing.

Anyway peeps, here are my amateurish pix for you.
  
I used to catch this sunrise over the Penang Bridge
from all floors of my Penang home.
But not since they reclaimed the sea in front of the house.
According to Jeff Khor the photographer,
this almost perfect round sun and good lighting for the bridge
would show up only for two weeks in March.
That's Jeff Khor at his studio on Kinta Lane in Penang.
A very humble unassuming talent.
Am proud to hang three of his photos.
His team will do a stretcher for my 6 x 9 feet Kufi poster.
Great people produce great stuffs.
Another one by Jeff Khor.
Breadman on Beach Street, George Town - 2008
This is taken by Eza using Samsung Note, nothing fancy heh heh...
But it's all about the subject.
Free-spirited woman out and about on Penang Road.
Great place. Great peeps.
    
Very impressed with these middle aged artisan
fixing a window frame for my bedroom.
See that building in the background?
That's the culprit that blocks my view of sunrise over Penang Bridge.
I'm determined to buy another seafront property bi-iznillah.
My late grandfather was a fisherman,
so having a seafront home is my birth right.
God, help!

My mother's school - the oldest Malay school in Malaysia
was opened in 1826.
After 188 years, the school now has a completely brand new look. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for a great hometown - the first town in Malaysia to achieve city status, as conferred by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.

: D


Monday, July 14, 2014

On the high | On the same

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Here we are at Pearl of the Orient, in high spirits, and the tide too is on the high today. That could only mean one thing, we are in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. 



On the chapter "On the same" in this precious secret book that's in my hand, Shaykh Sharfuddin says:

"In short, when the disciple realises that Greatness of God, feels the pangs of his seeking, knows that "who gains Him gains all, who loses Him loses all.", and finds that he can dispense with all save Him, he then overcomes his old habits and unfolds the vision, "I am from God and for God."

"Life and death, acceptance and rejection, praise and blame are thenceforth equal in his eyes. Heaven and earth find no place in his heart. He bows to none for food, clothes or money. His goal being the Divine Sanctuary, he longs for naught save God."

***
Let's strive to be on that balance - be on the same, regardless, whatever.

Ramadan Kareem!
  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Penang Penang Penang

Bismillah.

Heh heh...it's obvious I am very proud of my hometown.


This newly launched book 'Penang's History, My Story' is a must read for all who love Penang. If you only like or half-like Penang, read it and you'll fall in love. Tell me which city in this whole wide world has a street named Love Lane? Yeah, we are loving people.

This blogger is off to Penang, again, this weekend. Alhamdulillah.

Ramadan Kareem!

p/s
You might not believe this, but one kind soul walked for 8 km in the hot sun in Ramadan, to pass me this book and another great Sufi book. That is sweet love : ) partly due to lack of communication and making assumptions. He was sweating so badly that the envelope in which the books were kept, actually disintegrated! 

To that great "walker" - May Allah beautify your heart with plenty of nur and fortify it with abundant remembrance, for each of the step you took. Ameen

  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Forever seeker

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, my best-est buddy found a gem - an old book that's loaded with precious teachings of tasawwuf. We are very excited indeed. Let the title be a secret for now because we are thinking of re-publishing it bi-iznillah. May Allah help us and let us achieve that. Ameen.

Here are some excerpts for you, for what good is a blogger if she can't share some useful lessons. Not because she is so clever, but because she is loving and caring ;)

***
"Nothing is more binding upon you than to seek God. If you come home, seek Him. If you go to market, seek Him. If the Angel of Death come to you, take care not to neglect the Seeking. Tell him, "Do thou thy work, I do mine."

"If you be taken down to hell, you shall not neglect the seeking. Say to the Angel of Hell, "Strike my useless personality with the whip of chastisement. I on my part tread the Path of Seeking" so that the work may go on. If you are taken up to Heaven, do not look to the houris and palaces, but speed on the Way of Seeking. "Though they offer me both the worlds, I will not have them without Thy Presence."

"The first stage on the Path of Seeking is humility. The Great Ones say: "Humility is the messenger from God to man." Sown in the heart, it impels to God. Practised for some time, it turns into courage."

"Masters unanimously hold that, Love cannot put up, save with the courage of the disciple. Practised for some time, courage turns into seeking. This seeking is led by the formula 'There is no God but Allah'. The drum of seeking, proclaims at the gate of the Divine Sanctuary: He who seeks God, obtains Him."

***
In this seeking, each of us pilgrim has our own stage, according to our aspiration. We are supposed to keep our aspirations high and should not slack just because we are approaching 'retirement age'. We are told to seek knowledge right until the grave. So there is no age limit to becoming a student and a seeker, only time limit. But the book is saying we should keep seeking even in heaven or hell. Seeking would, perhaps, cease, when that which is seeked, is found. May Allah honor our face with the rewards of witnessing His countenance. Subhan is Allah.

May Allah keep our aspirations high for the longest time. Ameen.


Ramadan Kareem!

     

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dunia ini rumah kaca

Bismillah.

Dunia ini rumah kaca
Maka jangan gopoh
Tak usahlah melatah
Membaling batu ke orang lain
Kita juga yang terkena akibatnya

Dunia ini rumah kaca
Janganlah ghairah berkata nesta
Esok lusa mungkin terpalit kerabat sendiri
Gara-gara menonong sombong
Mencerca sesedap rasa

Dunia ini rumah kaca
Ayuh merenung kesilapan sendiri
Sebelum menunding jari
Kita semua dilihat dan dinilai Ilahi

Dunia ini rumah kaca
Janganlah memandai mengatur tadbir
Sepandai-pandai kita
Pandai lagi Sultannya Takdir!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Role model | Driving ambitions

Bismillah.

Subhanallah, tonight, to my surprise, I discovered a person who has been doing the kind of work I dream of doing as successfully as he does. Wow!

When Max Samis, media rep for Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) wrote to inform of a new exciting docudrama on Noor Inayat Khan being an unsung heroine of the World War II, I noticed a familiar name - Michael Wolfe - who is Executive Producer of the film.

The name rings a bell, though regretfully a little late, because this was actually the same person who produced 'Muhammad Legacy of a Prophet' and 'Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World' which had been mentioned on this blog before.

Then, it strikes me, this familiar name Michael Wolfe is the author of two books I have in my collection but never got the chance to read them properly. Am talking about The Hadj - An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca and One Thousand Roads to Mecca.

So just now I feverishly raid my bookshelves looking for it. Must read them a.s.a.p because there is an urgency to know more about this person who has already achieved all the things I'm dreaming about:

1. Perform Hajj and write about it as did Michael Wolfe. 
[I think it's appropriate that we address him as Haji Michael Wolfe.]

2. Become a publisher. 
[Haji Michael Wolfe is publisher for 15 years already.]

3. Write good poetry and publish them. 
[Haji Michael Wolfe has done it.]

4. Produce documentaries. 
[Haji Michael Wolfe who is co-founder of UPF, together with partner Alex Kronemer are maestro of documentaries.]

Tonight, I have become star-struck all of a sudden. It's surreal to suddenly bump into [albeit remotely] a role model. Yes, I must and I will read The Hadj to get to know this achiever better so that I will know what to ask him when it's time to interview him, InshaAllah.

UPF's newest film 'Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story' will premier on September 9 on American PBS channel. Below is the press release.  

Click on image to enlarge and read.


May Allah plant in our hearts noble ambitions and make us work solely for attaining His redha for the benefit of the ummah. Ameen.

Ramadan Kareem!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don't be like Zul Quwaisirah

Bismillah.

MashaAllah, on hearing a tausiyah by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin al-Hamid, I immediately remembered an incident when a woman boasted to me about her being regular in tahhajud prayers and therefore she's able to know things that are otherwise hidden. That Allah "showed" her things as a sign of Him favoring her, for the tahajjud that she's been performing. MashaAllah, she was bragging because in her opinion, I was the crooked one. [May Allah forgive and guide me.]

At sahur today, I listened to Habib Ali's tausiyah and learned that this woman may have some similarities with a man named Zul Quwaisirah. Don't be like Zul Quwaisirah. 

Zul Quwaisirah lived during the Prophet's times. He caught the attention of the sahabah as one who was very pious (waraq) who was always performing solah, in fact his beard was always wet from his constant wudhu. His being istiqamah in solah and ibadah was clearly visible physically. It was apparent on his outward appearance so that people including sahabah would talk about Zul Quwaisirah's piety. 

One day when the sahabah were sitting with the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam in a masjid, the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam asked sahabah to show him the man, the ahli ibadah they kept praising. When Zul Quwaisirah appeared, the sahabah quickly pointed: "That's him." 

On seeing Zul Quwaisirah, the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said: "I see signs of syaitan on his face." 

Habib Ali said, this was a person who was much praised for his ibadah yet the ruh of ibadah did not manifest in him.

When Zul Quwaisirah came up to the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam, he was asked: "Did you, as you walked into the masjid just now, did you say in your heart that you are better than everyone present in this masjid?" 

Zul Quwaisirah admitted: "Yes!" And the Prophet remarked: "I see signs of syaitan on your face." 

Habib Ali said, this is like Iblis who was proud of his ibadah and refused to prostrate to Adam thinking that he's better than Adam. This is ujub, the feeling that one is holier than others. Zul Quwaisirah then stood up and left the Prophet's majlis without showing any signs of remorse and went to a corner in the masjid to pray. Again Zul Quwaisirah was acting like Iblis who did not care when Allah reprimanded him for his reluctance to obey Allah and prostate to Adam.

The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam then said to the sahabah: "Who among you dare go chop off his head?!" Of course the Prophet knew no one would dare. It was just to show how grave the matter was.

One man eventually took up the challenge and went looking for Zul Quwaisirah. But he found him praying, therefore he was not able to kill Zul Quwaisirah. He went back to the Prophet saying: "I couldn't do it. The man was in solah." 

Then Saidina Umar Ibn Khattab stood up and approached Zul Quwaisirah but he too found Zul Quwaisirah in solah - in rukuk. He went back to the Prophet saying: "The man was in rukuk." In Islam it's haram to kill a person who is in prayers, said Habib Ali.

The Prophet then asked Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib to go get the man, but it was too late as Zul Quwaisirah had already left. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said to Saidina Ali: "Had you chopped off his head, there wouldn't be fitnah among my followers in akhiru zaman."

Habib Ali said, one of the fitnah in akhiru zaman is that people perform ibadah outwardly, yet the ruh of ibadah is missing.    

The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said in a hadith: During akhiru zaman there will be people who would recite the Qur'an so fluent as if it's just been revealed - kamaa unzil - like it's still hot. But the Qur'an that is recited does not pass their throat. It's only in the mouth. It never enters the heart. These are the people who would end up leaving the religion like an arrow leaving the bow!

***
Allahu a'lam. 

May Allah forgive us. May Allah guide us and protect us. May Allah shield us from ujub and fitnah. Ameen Allahumma ameen.


Credit: Darul Murtadza.com
            

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Concretization of meaning

Bismillah.

"Words are embodiment of states 
and concretization of meaning." 
- Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi

A friend shared this amazing line with me today. 

The great thing about the great shuyukh is that they can state the obvious, yet in doing so, they make it sound so profound as they can take the meaning of their phrases to another level and stir up contemplation to unmask an even deeper meaning to it. That's why they are the shuyukh. Subhanallah.

To my simple and shallow mind, what it says is that our words are representative of our states. If we are happy, we speak of happy, positive things. If we are in a sorrowful state, our words would come out to reflect our sadness. Likewise, if we are overwhelmed by negative thoughts, we will talk about only the negatives. That's very natural. Our words are embodiment of our states.

And what we utter, what we say will make the meanings of what we say become concrete - that is concretization of meaning. That's like saying whatever word we mention is like a du'a that we hope it will materialize and become reality. Although Shaykh Ibn Arabi is saying it is more than just du'a or hoping. In fact, what we say will become concrete and will become reality. It's like the phrase: 'You are what you think.' But the shaykh is saying, your words will most definitely become reality. MashaAllah.

I believe those who have attained a lofty state on account of purification and attaining enlightenment, their words are like kun fayakun. Say be and it is. But of course they are the select of the select. They are creme de la creme. They are the chosen ones. They, I imagine, would not exploit their capabilities in the wrong way, regardless of them knowing their own capabilities or not. The difference between us and them is in the degree of yaqin (certainty). They are on the higher rung of certainty, perhaps haqqul yaqin.  Whereas we still hover on the lower rungs of certainty i.e. ilm yaqin and ainul yaqin.  

As a commoner we should heed the shaykh's advice. To enable ourselves to say only the good, we should strive in putting ourselves in a good positive state. And we must be careful with what we utter for what we utter might become reality, because according to the shaykh, it's a definite self-affirmation. Therefore, only utter good positive things if we want good positive things to manifest. Or to rephrase that: utter good things and good things will come to be.

Allahu a'lam.

Ramadan Kareem. May Allah continue to be more generous on us this Ramadan for that which is both zahir and batin. Ameen.


Credit: MBS

Monday, July 7, 2014

Run up to Eid festivities in Kuala Lumpur

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we are healthy and able to enjoy Allah's generous bounties. This posting is done with Aunty S of Spain in mind, to bring back her memories having lived some years in Kuala Lumpur. Also for Dr. N who could be missing out on Eid preps in KL.

Malaysia is indeed a colorful and bountiful country. To our foreign readers, remember 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year, so come on over : )


Eid decor at KLCC

Eid cookies sold at KLCC.
I personally loovvee... Eid cookies made/sold in Johor Bharu
(the southern-most city in Peninsula Malaysia).
Have to give it a miss this year.
Eid fiesta at Mid Valley Mall, KL
My Eid dress by Variante.
The label's designer is one humble Indian gentleman
who chose to name his work
after his father Mr. Varian.
Variante carries plenty of decent Muslimah dresses.
Bangsar Shopping Center decorated Turkish style
May you have a great bonding time
with your family as you shop for Eid!

In the meantime, let's reflect on this Ramadan advertisement by a local bank CIMB Islamic, which quotes a verse of the Qur'an.

"I am Ever-Forgiving to anyone who repents,
has faith, acts rightly, and then continues in guidance."
Surah TaHa 20:82

"Open your hearts and be guided by the right values.
Choose to forgive and also seek forgiveness.
Allow the ties that bind to strengthen and grow ever closer."

 "Mulia" is a Malay word for noble.
May Allah beautify us with noble characters.
Ameen

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Economics | Ergonomics | EGOnomics

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. It's the first weekend of Ramadan. Like most women, I intend to go grab an abaya for Eid. We must look nice for Eid. In fact, Muslims should spend in order to look presentable. In Islam, the economics theory works quite differently, the more you spend with a good intention for the sake of Allah, the more you could yield. One's niyyat is a key variable factor. 

Ergonomics is the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. It is about human factors and their interactions. I wonder if anyone has done a study on the ergonomics of Ramadan. Anyway, Miss Wiki says there are three types of ergonomics: physical, cognitive and organizational. The first has something to do with perception, reasoning and memory.

In Ramadan, our perception becomes more acute especially when we are at the Bazaar Ramadan where there is just too many dishes to choose from. Below are pictures taken at a famous Bazaar Ramadan in Raja Alang Road, Kuala Lumpur. It's a must-go place, in fact it's a yearly ritual for a former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad to visit this bazaar.


When we are presented with so much food, our reasoning would fail us inadvertently : ) But it's ok, our Lord has asked us to not only eat that which is halal but also tayyiba - that which is good. Our Creators knows us better, we love good food.

Singapore murtabak  
Our drinks are as colorful as our scarves
Spring rolls

Now who cares about ergonomics theory. But on a serious note, Ramadan is a good time to tame the ego. It teaches us the flaws of EGOnomics. When we were at Masjid Khalid al-Walid yesterday, the imam reminded the jemaah to leave our job-positions, honorific titles, wealth, fame etc. outside the mosque and enter the masjid as a servant of Allah.

It reminds me of the episode at the sacred valley Tuwa where Moses was asked to leave his sandals:  "I am your Lord. Remove your sandals." [Surah Taha]. We are supposed to be barefoot in front of our Master, so forget about other accessories.

Forget about entering the masjid with our 3-storey bungalows, our big cars, the pride of having a good looking, VIP/rich spouse, the pride we have for our children, our Louis Vuitton handbags, even if we need to carry one into the masjid, our ego that is attached to the bag's price tag should not be bagged with us when facing the Lord as a servant. A servant is plain. A servant is often garbed in a simple uniform. A servant is humble towards his/her master. A servant does not say much but just get on with his duties.

May Allah make us live the rest of our lives as a true and obedient servant. A servant who serves with utmost sincerity and hope for no rewards except that which the Lord may decree, at His appointed time, as He wish. Ameen.

Glory be to Allah. 
Allahu Akbar.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Died to the past

Bismillah.

This is another post-teraweeh rambling. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for a wonderful iftar, for such a wonderful evening with our loved ones. Tonight I say to them, though figuratively speaking, I love you for a thousand years and a day : )

As much as we love the present, we must die to our past when the present comes to pass. I was re-reading Ibn Tufayl's classic and it's amazing how scholars in the 12th century could articulate the essence of sufism so daringly raw and yet subtle without even naming it as such. And his writing could attract the attention of non-Muslims that it got translated from Arabic into Latin, English and German and became a best seller particularly in the Western Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Ibn Tufayl described very artistically the significance of detachment from all things sensory. Detachment is the way to go if one wants to attain true freedom.

On one hand, I will say that I have died to my past. Past is so passe. Though it's funny that sometimes other people are more interested in our past than we are ourselves. Our past belongs to God really. It has entered His Book so let Him judge.

On the other hand, and on a lighter note I cannot seem to die to my past when I experienced that "mangrove episode" when I was openly ridiculed for not knowing the word mangrove. And as if 'rubbing salt in my wound', a friend cut out this newspaper article on the Top 10 must-see views and showed me why I must go to Gambia. Must see their mangroves! LOL. Allah bless our friends for their sense of humor. I read somewhere that "whoever surpass you in humor, surpass you in sufism". MashaAllah.



Good nite folks. Let's call it a day.

"I have died every day waiting for you,
Darling, don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for a thousand more."

- E


Friday, July 4, 2014

Written for you

Bismillah.

You asked me to write;
This lonely scribe;
If there was love to shout;

How should we write?
of the things already written,
in the Tablet of our Lord;
Who holds us by the forelock,
made our hearts unite;
souls merged in unison;

You asked me to write;
This solitary scribe;
If there were lovely words to compose;

How should we write?
of the things already known,
In the night skies written;
In the moon's reflection;
that our love blossoms
against odds,
we count not;

Besides, what do we care,
for a Majnun like thee?
What sin is there,
for a Layla like me?
How can love ever be found guilty?
when it dwells above the law;
a divine gift it is
from the One sole giver

O the throb of my heart,
Our love is meant to stay afloat
never shall it be submerged,
forever and ever celebrated;
Written for you
in this blessed Ramadan;
Joyous,
as is the glorious sun.

- E




p/s 
BKP: With this, thou may document all poems of Lisan al-Din into a book as wished. Thou have my permission bismillah.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Small sharing | Small practice

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. To quote a buddy of mine: "Ramadan nights are not for sleeping".

It is 3.47 a.m. and I'm snacking on sweet cherries, grapes and crisps courtesy of one sister in my office who might speed her way on the sirat because she simply loves giving food to people like every other day. I call her Ummul Ma'idah. May Allah bless all our friends who show us good examples. Ameen.

Thought I share with you this simple and important tips I heard from Ustaz Kazim Elias who is arguably the most popular and adored ustaz in Malaysia right now. So popular that even the King and the Queen love him. He said: "Being a [popular] preacher is not glamorous at all. There are people who dislike me and call me all kinds of names. So it was sweet to have one woman came up to me offering kind words of encouragement so that I would continue doing what I'm doing." Ustaz Kazim of course knows better of the challenges one would face, doing what he's doing. And he urged the audience to practise what he does after each solat. That is to recite verse 56 of Surah Hud.


"I place my trust in Allah, who is my Lord and your Lord. 
There is no creature but He holds it by the forelock.
Surely, my Lord is on a straight path."

Today, I learned this and that a roe is a deer. LOL. And it's Eurasian, wow! And doe is a female deer like the nursery rhymes sang by the other kids when I was little. Excuse me, I never went to kindergarten because my family could not afford it.

Praise be to Allah, who teaches us new things every day. Rabbi zidni 'ilma war zuqni fahma.

The occupant of this study room did not know at least two easy words:
mangrove and roe.
 Heh..heh...
She is hoping someone would take her to the zoo, after Eid :)