Saturday, March 28, 2015

City Perspective | Fresh perspective

Bismillah.



Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,
Hi folks,

I missed coming here. Got no other excuse for my absence, other than being buzzzy. But it's good to keep busy, aye? It's good to be going around and seeing things from a different perspective. I am so used to seeing KLCC twin towers and the KL Tower from my apartment. It was refreshing to see KL Tower from the Twin Towers, for a change. 

Today, I had the opportunity to sit in a class and learn from a media specialist. It was refreshing as he offered a fresh perspective to the subject. Yes, fresh is the theme. Fresh is the way to go. All things stale belong to yesterday.

Soon, I will inshaAllah become a student of another media sifu. Being a student is so much fun. Being a mature student is even more fun as I poke fun at myself, at how slow I am. LOL.

I humbly apologize for this somewhat meaningless rambling. I am supposed to be talking about an upcoming event in Singapore where tireless and kind hearted people are putting together a majlis taalim to raise funds for a mosque which is in need of new furniture. More about that later. 

People everywhere are busy doing good deeds. The class I attended today was held at an academy cum private school for some 150 orphans. The orphans are fully sponsored by a famous photography maestro who has risen to mega success from having had only RM90 in his pocket. Imagine that.

Everyone appreciates inspiring stories. 
In fact, we all thrive on inspirations, don't we?

Happy weekend folks!














p/s

I learned this du'a from a saleswoman at an Islamic art gallery yesterday. It's good for preempting bad visitors, she said. Thought I should mention it and keep it here while it's still fresh on my mind. Yes, fresh is the theme.


Surah Nuh: 28
"My Lord, grant pardon to me, and to my parents
and to everyone who enters my home as a believer
and to all the believing men and women
and do not increase the wrongdoers but in ruin."


p/s If only I had discovered this du'a earlier, I could have avoided that rude gatecrasher last year.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tausiyah by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al-Hamid on forgiving and forgetting

Bismillah.

At Masjid Al-Bukhary in Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2015, Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al-Hamid spoke about the objectives of reciting Asmaul Husna and the attribute of Al-Afuw

The Habib quoted a du'a on seeking forgiveness of Allah and asking Allah to make us a forgiving person as taught by the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam to Saidatina Aishah - du'a to be recited on the Night of Qadar (Laylatul Qadar). The attribute of Afuw must be of supreme importance because the Prophet has asked us to recite it on the most special night, on Laylatul Qadar.

Habib Ali related the story of Ibrahim bin Adham as one alim and areef who showed much patience and was surprisingly forgiving when he was beaten up thrice. Ibrahim forgave the man who hit and hurt him each time he got beaten. Ibrahim said he should be thanking the man instead. Because of him and his unruly behavior, Ibrahim was able to reap plenty of blessings from Allah, whereas Ibrahim was only able to offer the man his pardon.   

The habib says, it is important to note that Allah says: Khudil afwa meaning "take the attribute of forgiveness". He doesn't say 'become one who is forgiving', which means afuw/forgiveness is something that is outside and not within us, meaning we have to take it, we have to grab it, it may be near or far, so we have to train ourselves and make an effort to take it and become forgiving.  

The tausiyah is in Malay, therefore I ask for patience from our English speaking viewers/readers, to please wait while I find the time and effort to craft a proper summary/posting about the tausiyah and/or prepare the English subtitles. 

Do come back to check for updates on this posting.
InshaAllah.




Credit: Al Falah TV


Monday, March 23, 2015

Tausiyah by Shaykh Dr Muhammad Bin Yahya Al-Ninowy at Mawlid Ar-Rasul in KL - 28 February 2015

Bismillah.

Araftul hawa mud araf tul hawa...
"I knew true love when I knew the love I have for you..."

We all love Shaykh Dr Muhammad Al-Ninowy, don't we?
: )

The shaykh was at the grand Mawlid Ar-Rasul & Haul Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jailani, organized by the Al Wariseen Trust on 28 Feb 2015. The Al Wariseen Trust is headed by the honorable Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jailani of Iraq, who resides in Malaysia.

In this video, Shaykh Al-Ninowy speaks about Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam being sent by Allah as an unconditional compassion to the worlds. He came to liberate people from the worship of the creations to the worship of Allah Rabbul Alamin

The shaykh says: Laila ha illallah Muhammad Rasulallah means you exclude everything else and include only Allah in your worship. And you exclude everyone else and include only Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam in following and emulation, so that no one competes with Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. That no one competes with Allah in Godhood/lordship, so He is the only One that you submit to. 

Hijrah means 'migrating to'. The first hijrah is that you migrate from worshiping and submitting to anything, and you submit only to Allah. The second hijrah is that you migrate from emulating x, y and z and prioritizing what you want and emulate only the best of creations. So that your hawa or innermost instinct, leaning or sweetness of feelings is consistent with what the Prophet came with.

That we should be saying this to Allah and the Prophet: "I want you the way you want me to want you." That Prophet Muhammad is the soul, the light and the life of the world. The world cannot live without a soul. The world cannot live in darkness without light. The world cannot live without life for it would be lifeless. 
   
And this is Shaykh Ninowy's closing remarks:
If you are attached to Rasulallah, you are close to Allah. That is the mathematical relationship. The reason Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Al-Jailani became Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Al-Jailani is because he was attached to Rasulallah. That is why his zikir is everywhere. Because his zikir is everywhere, the zikir of Rasulallah is everywhere and the zikir of Allah is everywhere.

That's kullu rabbaniyin. That's the Rabbaniya. If you are attached to the people who are attached to the person that you are supposed to be attached, you will be close to Allah as well and your zikir will also be grand.



Credit: Al Falah TV








p/s 
Some of you might have noticed this video at Al Falah TV Youtube channel before. We have just taken down the first version to replace it with this improved version (in terms of audio and visual). Alhamdulillah, credit goes to one clever and patient team member at Al Falah TV.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Interview with Shaykh Razak Al-Masri | Assimilating with love

Bismillah


We had the opportunity of catching up with Shaykh Razak Al-Masri when he was in Penang for Mawlid Akbar organized by the Kapitan Keling Mosque Committee and Majlis Ta'alim Ahbabbunnabi in January 2015. 

It was a pleasant meeting but unfortunately the audio recording of the interview didn't turn out good because we were not well prepared for the ad-hoc appointment. Still, I encourage you to take a listen to what Shaykh Razak has to say. I am not sure if we'll ever get to prepare the English subtitles, therefore, for the benefit of our English speaking viewers, below is a summary of the interview.  

***
Shaykh Razak began with making a remark in Arabic, before speaking in the Malay language. He said his command of the Malay language was not very good but he would try anyway. He introduced himself as a person who hails from a country which is loved by Allah. Allah mentions Mesir/Egypt five times in the Quran. It's a place well known for the prophets and awliya. It is a place where great personalities such as Shaykh Abul Hassan as-Shadhili, Saidatina Zainab and Nafisah are associated with. The Nile river is in Egypt and so is the famed Al-Azhar University. The shaykh loves his country, certainly. So we asked him, what made him decide to migrate to Malaysia then.

Shaykh Razak said, everyone must make a hijrah. We would all eventually hijrah (migrate) to the barzakh. People move from one place to another. Our migration to the abode of barzakh is mandatory. His hijrah to Malaysia 19 years ago was due to several reasons. His guru encouraged him to do so. Malaysia was chosen because it's a country that seemed to be "close" to the sahabah. He arrived in Malaysia in 1996 and had the impression that Muslims here were emulating the companions of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. He first went to Kelantan [a state in northeast Peninsular Malaysia] and then Negeri Sembilan [closer to KL] where he worked as teacher under the state's religious authority.

Shaykh Razak prayed so that Malaysia will remain peaceful and prosperous. Not just blessed with food and having a good place to live in but also prosperous from the spiritual aspects, and that people would continue to love one another.

There are many countries/nations who are rich but their people are deprived of peace because mahabbah (affection) is absent from their hearts. They have lost the sunnah of the Prophet which requires us to keep good relations among ourselves and tolerate with each other. Mahabbah is like a mirror, he said. If we smile at the mirror, it will smile back at us. If we love Malaysians or any Muslims anywhere else, we would not be having negative thoughts, thinking that [as an immigrant] we are hated. Mahabbah will eliminate all hatreds. His guru in Egypt says, if a person has a speck of mahhabah in the heart, for Allah, the Prophet and the Muslims, that mahabbah could raise him up from the lowest rung to the highest position. We must love our fellow brothers and sisters in faith, and love the non-Muslims too so that one day they might be granted hidayah. He said, he loved Muslims in Malaysia because we have a culture and lifestyle that mirrors the sahabah and he was referring to the majority of the people he met. This is our homeland which we must protect and preserve.

***
When asked about his school Maahad Tahfiz Darul Masri, he said he felt it's timely that he put aside some time from his profession and do something for akhirah. He could have waited for people to offer a land or a building but that might not happen so he would have wasted plenty of time waiting. He therefore decided to buy a small house as waqaf for a tahfiz school. The students are mostly from Malaysia and a handful are from Cambodia and Pattani/Thailand. The teachers are from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The focus is to produce hafizul Quran who are not mere memorizers but one who understands the tafsir and the secrets of Quran, for that reason, Asrari Quran is one of the subjects which the students must master. Quoting a hadith of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam, Shaykh Razak said the Quran may be interpreted 700,000 times and yet there will still be secrets to discover. Chemistry, numbers are all from the Quran. People think that iron is a metal buried in the earth but the Quran in Surah Al-Hadid revealed a long time ago that it falls from the sky - "And we sent down iron which is Mighty War" - "Wa anzalna al hadida...." It would have been easier if we had studied the Quran.

There is a large number of hafiz in Malaysia. In Egypt, majority of the people especially Al-Azhar graduates have memorized the Quran but they are not called Al Hafiz. A hafiz in Egypt is one who not only memorizes the Quran but also hadith, at least 100,000 hadith. They are passionate about memorizing hadith. Let's ask ourselves how many hadith have we memorized? How many hadith do we know? The more hadith we know, the more information we will have about the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. That is the thermometer [or yardstick] with which we could gauge our relationship with the Prophet and that reflects our maqam in the eyes of Allah and Rasul.

Maahaf Tahfiz Darul Masri now have three branches, two near KL, in Gombak and Ulu Langat and one in Sabah (East Malaysia). Shaykh Usamah Al-Azhari is one of the Egyptian ulama who encourages Shaykh Razak in his maahad activities. Shaykh Usamah visited the school before and gave ijazah for the maahad tahfizijazah on imamah (turban) and hadith. The Mufti of Egypt had also visited Maahad Tahfiz Darul Masri and everyone praised Shaykh Razak's initiatives as it could serve as a bridge between ajam (non Arabs) and Arabs. Shaykh Razak hopes Maahad Tahfiz Darul Masri will produce professionals who would use the Quran as their main source of reference.

***
Shaykh Razak who has learned the Malay language from Malay version of the Quran tafsir and translation, found that some of the words used in the Malay translation were not accurate. As his mastery of the Malay language improves, he realizes this is so. It's not entirely wrong he said, but it could be better. If better words have been chosen in the Malay translation of the Quran, it would reveal the sweetness or zauk of the sacred texts. That is why, he thinks it's important to have an Arab who understands the Malay language. One example is the word nasr in Surah An-Nasr - "Izaja anasrullah hi wal fath...." Nasr in the ayat has been translated as pertolongan or help. Even the English translation by Yusuf Ali translates it as help. But nasr according to Shaykh Razak actually means victory.

Shakyh Razak had been granted permission from the late Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi Al Maliki and his son Sayyid Ahmad Al Maliki to translate several Arabic books including Kitab At Targhib Wal Tarhib into Malay, which is now 90% completeThe kitab contains a summary of ahadith which enjoins us to do good and forbid the wrongs.

***
We then asked Shayk Razak to tell us about Majlis Taalim Darul Masri which is held on Thursday evenings. He said the objective of the majlis taalim is to instill love of Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam and the awliya. As narrated in the hadith, Allah would return the ruh of Prophet to reply to those who send him salutations. When the ruh of Prophet and the awliya is present at a place where their names are mentioned, the place would be blessed and filled with light. There will be peace and tranquility. Even if we can't see it with the physical eyes, due to hijab on account of our sins, we can at least see/feel it in the heart. But if a person cannot even feel it in the heart, then he/she should make more istighfar.

Shaykh Razak advised us to understand sunnah from a bigger perspective. It is good to have a cat as a pet but as its owner, we must be careful not to violate the rights of our neighbors. We cannot be keeping cats in a room if there are people who might be affected by it. We cannot be following just one sunnah and forget the other sunnah which are equally important. If we truly love Rasulallah and wish to follow his sunnah, we must be forgiving, we should not reveal people's faults. The Prophet says: "If you love me, be good to your relatives." In order to be close to the Prophet in akhirah all we have to do is make salawat to him and keep a good relationship with people. Shaykh Razak quoted two hadith on this matter.

Sunnah of the Prophet is not limited to following his dressing, eating or drinking habits and his outward lifestyle, sunnah also encompasses emulating his heart. We should also get up in the middle of the night and pray for our neighbors, for example. If we do this then we have a better chance of reliving the times of sahabah.

Shaykh Razak said we should be happy if people mention our father's name. And as a Muslim we should be happy if people mention the Prophet's name because we all share the same kalimah tawhid - la ilaha illallah Muhammad Rasulallah. We should rejoice at seeing people organize so many mawlid events. As a person who has love and connection with Allah and the Prophet, we must be happy as if they are mentioning our father's name and glorifying him. Even if the way the majlis is organized has some small flaws and faults, we should still be happy because we should be glorifying the Prophet who is the one and only person who would help us in akhirah. Husbands and wives are not going to bother about each other, mothers will not care about their children because each and everyone would be in trouble, sweating, hungry and naked. And there we will have Rasulallah as our one and only savior. Therefore, if we have but a small atom of love for the Prophet, we should not be upset about people organizing mawlid to honor the Prophet. We should not harbour hatred towards them and label them as kufursyirik or bidaah. Instead, we should be proud that people remember and mention the Prophet because he is like our father.

***
Shaykh Razak Al-Masri has been guest speakers at Mawlid events in Penang for many years now, so we asked him what he thinks of the Muslims of Penang.

He regards Penangites as people who are close with the sunnah of the Prophet. He has visited many places in Penang e.g. Ayer Hitam, Batu Uban, Masjid Shaykh Yusof, Kapitan Keling, among others. Penang was among the earliest state to embrace Islam. Some of  the mosques are more than 200 years old. Islam came to Penang a long time ago. Penang is home to many ulama and mashaikh. 

Shaykh Razak then related a story of Sayyid Muhammad Al-Habshi who was well liked by Penang Governor in the old days because he would feed and look after the criminals. He would pray for their well being. So Penang Governor gave Sayyid Muhammad Al-Habshi a piece of land and insisted that he remains in the island to help reduce crime rate and preserve peace among the community. On the contrary, said Shaykh Razak, there are some Muslims nowadays who make a bad du'a for other Muslims.

If we have mahabbah (love) for Rasulallah, our home will be prosperous. The Shaykh commended the Penangites for having a liking for mawlid. He applauds the state's Mufti, Sahhibus Samahah Datuk Dr Wan Salim who gives full support on mawlid events. The more mawlid we do, the closer the society will become. We will be united on the basis of love and obedience to the Prophet. If we keep a distant from the Prophet, the community too will become aloof from one another. That is why we are sometimes faced with bala' (calamities). We must hold on to the true teachings of the Prophet, we must love the Prophet, love ahlul bayt, love mawlid, make more salawat and improve our relationships so that our house, our state, our country will be more peaceful, safe and prosperous, and calamities are kept at bay. InshaAllah.      




Credit: Al Falah TV








Saturday, March 21, 2015

It is no joke | The Book of Safar by Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir As-Sufi

Bismillah.

It is no joke that Allah, Subhan is He, says just that in the Holy Qur'an.

He says:
وَمَا هوَ بِٱلْهَزْلِ
Wama huwa bil hazl

Meaning:
"It is no joke."

That translation is given by at least three authorities i.e. the Algerian State Edition Imam Warsh, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani and Muhammad Tahir Al Qudri. [Ref: AlTafsir.com]

This ignorant faqir was surprised to discover that ayat from Surah At Tariq (86:14) in an immensely profound book by the much revered Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir As-Sufi.

The Book of Safar, published by Madinah Press, contains six discourses of Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi on the subject of safar or journey which, according to the shaykh, also relates to unveiling. The discourses were given between July to October 2008 at the Jumu'a Mosque of Cape Town.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, the book, in my opinion is utterly spiritual, so beautiful and lively that it has brought me to tears on a couple of occasions. It has deepened the longing to one day sit at the shaykh's feet, InshaAllah. Ameen.

In the first discourse, Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi narrated selected ayat pertaining to safar or journey:

  • the journey (nuzul) of the Quran on the Night of Power in the well known Surah al-Qadr
  • physical journey as undertaken by the Quraish in Surah al-Quraish regarding their caravans of the summer and winter and from which they were able to observe the compassion of Allah who preserve them from hunger and fear during their journeys.
  • the circular journeying of the Heavens as in verses 11 to 14 of Surah at-Tariq:

  • "By Heaven with its cyclical systems 
    and the earth with its splitting seeds, 
    it is truly a Decisive Word. 
    It is no joke."


  • the journeying of creations as related in Surah at-Takwir (1-21) i.e. the stars falling in succession, the mountains set in motion, the wild beasts herded together, the oceans surge into each other, the selves arranged into classes, the Garden brought up close, and so forth. 

  • Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi says, all these reveal that every thing in creation is moving, in action (safar). The reality of Allah's creations being in a mobile state so to speak, is also reflected in human nature. The shaykh quotes several verses where we learn about Prophet Adam being expelled from the Garden and his journey to the Earth; Prophet Nuh's journey on board his vessel; about Prophet Ibrahim and Lut being sent on a journey to a blessed land; about Prophet Yusuf's journeys through his family conflict; the journey of Prophet Musa adrift in the river; the journey of Prophet Yunus in the depth of the ocean; and last but not the least is the journeying to the Lord and meeting Him azza wa jalla, the supreme privilege accorded to the last Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

    Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi concludes his discourse saying:
    "So the point of this is that this is how existence is. It is itself a journey [safar] - but everything is on a journey, even the actual atoms. Everything is moving, everything is alive - everything!"

    He is also of the view that for the Sufis, safar (going on a journey) is obligatory. "You were born to have knowledge of Allah subhanahu wata'ala and for this you must make the journey. You have to travel. Travel in the land. You have to see."    

    ***
    In the second discourse in The Book of Safar, the shaykh talks about two measurements of time i.e. Allah's time which is immeasurable really and the time of the universe that we know. The shaykh makes reference to  a verse in Surah al-Araf about the incident of Prophet Musa asking to see the Lord and Allah's manifesting Himself to the mountain and crushed it flat. That's when Allah says: "When Musa came to Our appointed time." So Allah's time, says the shaykh is verily His secret, it is the time that He has chosen. A true slave should be cognizant of this and strive to be in tune and in sync with Allah's time. We should not rush ahead of Allah's decree. The shaykh quotes a verse from Surah Taha [20:81] where Allah asks Prophet Musa: "Why have you hurried on ahead of your people, Musa?" And in another verse in Surah Taha [80:114], Allah reminds Prophet Muhammad salallah alihi wasalam: "Do not rush ahead with the Quran before its revelation to you is complete..."

    Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi says, the lesson here is that we should "connect the natural time to the time of destiny."

    ***
    According to the shaykh, Safar alludes to unveiling. Usfiru means unveiling. Safar as in the journey is an unveiling of the Majesty and the Power of Allah. He ends the second discourse with an eye-opening and thought provoking conclusion - that a man should observe the hal (state) he is in, the in-time he is living in, thus he should not rush forward or pull back. If a man is not conscious of the state he is experiencing in a given moment that would tantamount to being ignorant of his waqt (time). "If man ignores his waqt, he ignores his nafs (self). He ignores himself. If man ignores his nafs then man ignores his Rabb. While it is not a hadith, the great Sufis say it and the great Alim ar-Razi, who was almost a rationalist, quoted it often - the famous saying: "He who knows his self, knows his Lord."

    ***
    Allahu a'lam.       

    Let us all pray so that Allah will grant Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi good health and greater bounties zahir and batin and may we benefit from his knowledge and wisdom and that of all the other shuyukh too.

    I am humbled and grateful that his book, The Book of Safar literally journeyed from the Jumu'a Mosque of Cape Town where the shaykh gave those discourses in 2008 and ended up in my hands yesterday - a blissful Friday. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.    
           


    Saturday, March 14, 2015

    Building a dream

    Bismillah.



    After the rain, at my kampung (hometown/village) in Penang, I found a cat curling up on my car. The car was right on the piece of land where my late grandfather had cleared up to build our family home more than 100 years ago. 

    The cat and I are dreaming one same dream. That is to build a house on the plot. And we are having a lofty aspiration for once, we are planning to have a lift in da houze! I am feeling nervous as I write this because we are kampung folks, we're supposed to be backward people, nah...maybe not. We want to be braver, lift up any mental barriers and keep pushing boundaries - all for the sake of our loved ones. 

    I feel there's a need to document this story. I remembered my first experience building a house. I was a naive inexperienced 26-year old lady. I was practically alone on the project. But it was a tall order from my dying father - to build a house. Building a house and buying a house are two different things, that I learned the hard way. A few days before he fell terminally ill, he went to the land office, limping in pain, to grant me full ownership of the property. 

    I had no clue how to go about building a house. I looked up the Yellow Pages for the phone number of the best architect firm at that time, and the rest is history - a personal achievement after much sweat and tears. 

    ***

    A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a similar situation. I braved myself and phoned a commercial construction firm looking for an architect. Deep down I feared a rejection. I knew no one there. They build mega projects for the country, including all the iconic mosques in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, they don't do peanut sized projects. But I so much wanted to work with somebody from the company, it's a reputable organization, they must have great people working there. I drive by their new headquarters almost everyday. After 30 years of being in the industry, they finally moved to a grand office building in my neighborhood. 

    But to my surprise, Allah Kareem indeed, one person agreed to help on the first phone call. MashaAllah it's like getting a strike, all ten pins down on the first attempt! YaHu!

    ***
    I wish to impress upon my nieces and nephews who are reading this that you must consider these three success principles [by Jack Canfield] when building a dream.
    • Experience your fear and take action anyway.
    • Ask, ask, ask.
    • Believe it's possible.
    And trust the Lord.



    The view from the sofa at the lobby
    of that firm I so admire.
    Impressive.

    "If you don't build your dream,
    someone will hire you to help build theirs."
    - Tony A Gaskins Jr.

    Happy weekend folks.


    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Intangibly eternal | Heart-disk

    Bismillah.

    They say life begins at forty. Which generally means, for most people, life should get better from forty onwards. I tend to agree. Although technically speaking we all know that life begins at zero, at birth that is. And the best part about life, regardless of a person's age, is as the adage goes: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

    Alhamdulillah, am truly feeling humbled and utterly grateful for the wonderful bounties from Allah that have come my way today and more soon bi-iznillah



    And...let some people bark if they so wish. Let them bother me as they had tried last night, to hack my email and quite possibly, this blog too. Let it be. Let's leave it to the Lord. As far as I am concerned, the intangibles are more valuable. Not my words or writing or whatever - not the tangibles. What we have between us, roam in the intangible realm - the love, the thoughts and the warmth. All these are stored in our hearts. The heart-disk is intangibly eternal, unlike the hard disk which is breakable. 

    But don't worry folks, remember this, should something bad happen to this space or to me, do look out for a mirror or a duplicate of this Lisan al-Din with a similar name i.e. Lisan ad-Din or Lisan al-Deen, posted by a trustee, InshaAllah. Blogs aside, our spirits are intertwined anyway, so it does not matter really.

    Let's continue to celebrate life, regardless of age or circumstances. And glorify Al-Hayy.

    Have a fabulous Friday y'all.

    Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
    Habib Al-Rahman 
    'adadama yakun wama qad kan*

    "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."

    * Salawat as taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    Poem of the Mantle | Memorable recital

    Bismillah

    Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. The best gift a host could ever hope for from his/her guests are words of remembrance, words of encouragement and prayers.

    By far, the best gift I have ever received from my guests is an impromptu recital of the Qasidah Burdah. It goes to show how attached their hearts are to the qasidah and how attached their hearts are to the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam that upon noticing the Burdah frames in my foyer, they thought of reciting it. They know it by heart. How many of you can sing the Burdah by heart? I only know the chorus. Shame on me.

    Bismillah, take a listen, folks.




    May Allah bless my honorable guests for the memorable recital of the Poem of the Mantle: Muhsin Sierra, Bashir Castineira, Ibrahim Hernandez and Haji Malik A. Ruiz (not seen in the video).

    "There are those who give with joy
    and that joy is their reward."
    - Khalil Gibran

    Video credit: Al Falah TV
    p/s Thank you MSA for arranging the meeting.

    Monday, March 9, 2015

    High aspiration | Himmah | Zeal

    Bismillah.

    It's going to be a glorious day. It's worth doing a positive mental framing, first thing in the morning. Aye? Especially on Mondays.

    I am feeling inspired having visited a young chap, a family friend, who has just opened a restaurant. He did all the preps himself, mashaAllah - interior decor, setting up the kitchen, hiring staffs, planning the menu, sourcing for food supplies etc. He is a graphic design graduate, by the way. Running a restaurant is no easy feat. I am speaking from a speck of experience I have had, witnessing how my family operated a cafe of a small hotel in KL, once upon a time. 

    The young man has a bright future, in my opinion, mainly because he has a high himmah and he is a good son who treats his mother well. A mother's blessings is everything. And doing business, engaging oneself in a trade is sunnah. Therefore, success is not too far away. Hayya a'lal falah. Rush to success!

    During a short interview with Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks in KL earlier this year, the shaykh advised us to always have the highest aspiration possible, in everything we do, no matter how small the deeds. Himmah means having aspiration or zeal. We are told not to just have himmah, we must have high himmah - uluw al himmah - lofty aspirations.

    I think no matter how low the position we are in, no matter how low we might be feeling, no matter how low people may wish to regard us, the most important bullet we could have is himmah. It's a personal choice. It's a personal asset. It's a personal striving.

    I remembered when I first began to revert to the deen, one of the guides counseled me saying: "have himmah". I was grateful that the ustaz had used the Arabic word himmah instead of some Malay words so that had made a stronger impression on me.

    The journey may be long and bumpy. The road may be slippery and winding, it's himmah that will make us walk or run to the next lamp post, the next mile stone. Who cares about onlookers booing? Runners rarely look to the side, they aim forward, they look ahead. They are driven by their own himmah.



    p/s Congrats A! 

    Sunday, March 8, 2015

    Farewell MH 370 | Good Night Malaysians

    Bismillah.

    It's been a year since we last heard from MH370. It was on the 8th of March 2014. Their last words were: "Good Night Malaysians". We were told, amid uncertainties, they might have ended in the depths of the Indian Ocean, "buried" deep, equivalent to eight times the height of our pride and joy - the KLCC twin towers. But...it's almost certain that the sorrows of their loved ones are eight million times deeper.

    All things froze
    The heart keeps crying
    Thinking
    You are no longer around 

    You went without any last words 

    leaving me alone
    counting the days
    am left with no more strengths  
    overcome by loneliness 

    O dear sweetheart

    tell me
    that this is all 
    nothing but a dream

    I dread to think O dear

    that I have lost you
    though it be a moment
    missing you
    it hurts so deep

    I  pray O dear one 

    we will meet
    at the door 
    of the Heavens



    Note: 
    The above is a rough of translation of a beautiful Malay song. The original lyrics were written by Iman Imran.  

    Duhai kekasih hati
    katakanlah padaku
    bahawa semua ini
    hanya igauan mimpi

    Aku tak sanggup kasih
    kehilangan dirimu
    walau sedetik
    rindu mencengkam
    terasa pedih

    Doaku kasih
    kita bersua
    di pintu Syurga

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ahc3tR6YcE

    Saturday, March 7, 2015

    Learning curve | Sweating it out

    Bismillah.

    I am writing from this little space in my crib - the so called Lisan al-Din Studio which has lately morphed into a war room for Al Falah TV.


    Unlike the photo, it's pretty messy right now.

    It's 2.22 am. I have been thinking about rambling a little something just so that a bunch of you could see something on this page when you wake up in the morning. And you will know that you have my company albeit virtually and despite the physical distance between us.

    One particular person I have in mind is a friend who lives in Girona, Espana. Yes, the "Spanish fever" is not quite over yet. Hope you have enjoyed watching the videos of our new Spanish friends, as much as I do. To be honest, I know next to nothing about video editing or production. Credit goes to my teammate SDS who is a self-taught video editor in a way. She took a super-express-crash-course on Lynda.com and then dived into video editing. Her learning curve and my learning curve are pretty sexy I must say. LOL. 

    I think at the end of it all, the sense of achievement, though small, feels sweeter knowing that although some people regard this blog as "stupid", it has some cool stuffs to share bi-iznillah ; )

    Alhamdulillah, we pray so that Allah will grant us more beneficial knowledge. And that He will keep giving us the tawfiq to sweat it out and push ourselves farther.

    Your average girl,
    -E-


    Going Golconda
    p/s

    "Going Golconda." is my new motto. Golconda is a new word I discovered and learned today. It means a rich mine or a source of great wealth. Hear it from me - one who once didn't know what mangrove was. LOL. Have a fabulous weekend y'all.


    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Interview with Ibrahim Hernandez, Vice President of The Seville Mosque Foundation

    Bismillah

    Ibrahim Hernandez was in KL in Feb 2015 for a fundraising on Seville's first purpose-built mosque since the great Andalusian era 500 years ago.

    Ibrahim is Vice President of the Seville Mosque Foundation who is tasked to assist in building a new mosque and cultural center in the heart of Seville - home to 25,000 Muslims and growing.

    The idea for having a proper purpose built mosque in Seville first surfaced in 2004 but only in 2014 have the Muslim community of South Spain begun to gear up their efforts. A suitable plot of land has been identified not far from Seville's original main mosque which had been converted to a church. A bell now adorns the minaret of the mosque.

    The Seville Mosque Foundation is determined to make the new mosque a fully functional community and cultural center that is open and friendly to non-Muslims. If all goes well, the mosque is due for completion in 2017.

    Ibrahim was a model based in South Africa for nine years before deciding to move to Spain as an effort to do something more rewarding in this dunya and akhirah. He said, dakwah is not an option, but is an obligation of each and every individual Muslim. 

    Watch the interview with Ibrahim courtesy of 










    For more info on the Seville Mosque project, please visit:
    www.mezquitadesevilla.com


    p/s Thank you MSA for arranging the meeting.

    Thursday, March 5, 2015

    Visit Al Andalus | Interview with Muhsin Sierra, Director of Visit Al Andalus

    Bismillah

    Should we visit Spain? Yes! Yes! Yes!

    You will know why, when you listen to this warm message from Brother Muhsin Sierra, Director of Visit Al Andalus.

    Alhamdulillah, I had the privilege of interviewing him last week when he and his three travel companions visited my humble residence.

    This is how Visit Al Andalus describe themselves: "We are a Destination Management Company focused on providing Muslim travelers from around the world with a holistic experience of South Spain, centering our itineraries and experiences on the fascinating legacy of Islamic Spain - the great civilization of Al Andalus, its history, art and culture."

    www.visitalandalus.es
    Datanglah ke Sepanyol
    That's Malay for 'Come to Spain'

    I will say nothing more. Enjoy the video : )       




    p/s Very glad that me and SDS (a very talented and clever young lady) have managed to publish a couple of videos before our Spanish guests depart KL.

    Thanks to the team at 




    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Interview with Bashir Castineira, Director of The Granada Mosque Foundation

    Bismillah

    Alhamdulillah we are indeed happy to share another video of our special guests who are currently here in KL for a fundraising on Seville Mosque. Bashir Castineira is a 30-year old Spanish native. His parents converted to Islam in the '80s. He received formal and religious education in France, UAE, Morocco and Granada itself. He is a hafiz and was the qari who represented Spain at the International Tilawah Competition held in KL last year. In the video you will get to listen to his recital and listen to him speak passionately about his new profession as Director of the Granada Mosque Foundation. 

    Here is the link to a related posting about Bashir.

    Below is the interview with Bashir Castineira, courtesy of











    For more info on Mosque of Granada visit:
    www.mezquitadegranada.com


    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Interview with Malik A. Ruiz, President of the Granada Mosque Foundation | Seville Mosque Fundraising

    Bismillah

    We had the privilege of listening to Haji Malik Abderrahman Ruiz speak about his experience as the leader of the Granada Muslim community and the Granada Mosque Foundation of Spain. His active involvement with the community began in 1975. By far, the biggest and most significant initiative and achievement for Muslims of South Spain in this modern era, is none other than the Granada Mosque which took 20 over years to complete. The Granada Mosque project began in 1981. After having gone through many hiccups during the initial years, the mosque finally saw the light of day in July 2003 after having received support from Libya, Morocco, Malaysia and the UAE. HRH Shaykh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah of the UAE has been the biggest benefactor since 2001 until the present time.

    During the interview, Haji Malik spoke about the important role the Granada Mosque has on the Muslims of South Spain and also non-Muslims who come to the mosque seeking consultations on a myriad of issues. The mosque is not only a place for worship and a center for continuous learning for the growing Muslim population, it has also become an increasingly important cultural center for the Granada community. Located on a vantage point overlooking the iconic Alhambra, the Granada Mosque and its public garden are a popular tourist destination. Due to its open-door policy, many non-Muslim visitors have been able to understand Islam better. Many of whom decided to convert to Islam. The mosque is witness to many reverts accepting Islam on a weekly basis, especially on Fridays.

    The Granada Mosque is one of only five mosques in the entire Spain.


    Great Mosque of Granada
    Mezquita Mayor de Granada

    Haji Malik and his entourage are presently in KL to raise funds for a mosque cum cultural center in Seville. He said, it's especially important for Seville to have a mosque because it is a major capital city of South Spain. A province like Seville ought to have a mosque simply because it used to be home to many mosques. Imagine 500 years ago, Al Andalus (Muslim Spain/Islamic Iberia including Portugal) used to have some 500 masajid. When Seville gets one, hopefully in 2016 or perhaps 2015, it will be the 6th mosque for Spain, In sha Allah.

    Do watch the interview with Haji Malik A. Ruiz below, courtesy of Al Falah TV.





    Pic credit: www.mezquitadegranada.com
    Video credit:

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Souvenir from Paris for the faithful readers, I promise

    Bismillah.

    Nothing clever this one. Just feeling elated having met some wonderful friends at an equally wonderful event yesterday. It's amazing the feeling, knowing you and the beautiful people you know very well are so attached at the soul, so much so that we were able to meet unplanned despite the huge crowd. It goes to show our souls were in the same rank in the realm of Spirits. You know who you are, ladies. I love you! 

    Appreciate one self-confessed faithful reader who showed so much appreciation for this blog, for me and for the little things I do. You have my respect, because you are all very committed to the deen and are definitely more pious and learned than this faqir. I have to scrape the barrel to find something good and beautiful from within me to share while I can.

    That's a cheeky proposal, heh heh...to promise the faithful readers with something from Paris...ooh la la...but who knows? In sha Allah.

    Because je t'aime de deux amours - my love for you is twofold : )


    Sunday in Paris?
    Soon : P

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    New Islamic school in Granada | "By the fig and the olive..."

    Bismillah.



    Imagine. It's going to be beautiful, bi-iznillah.

    If you have children of school-going age in 2017, you should have them enrolled in the new school that is being planned in Granada.

    We had the privilege of hearing about the school project from Al Hafiz Bashir Castineira, the newly appointed Director of Fundacion Mezquita de Granada - the Foundation of Granada Mosque, tasked to bring the school project to successful completion.

    Brother Bashir is now in KL with three other colleagues for a fundraising on the first mosque for Seville since the fall of the great Al Andalus civilization in Spain. The focus of their trip is on the Seville mosque but having heard him speak about the school project in Granada, I can't help but relish dreaming the beautiful dream - a school for the young ones, amid olive trees, engulfed by the breeze from a nearby lake in the outskirts of beautiful Granada. 

    The school, according to Bashir, will be for 400 girls and 400 boys sitting for both primary and secondary education. Some will come in daily, some will get to experience it as a boarding school. It will adopt both Spanish and British curriculum and will thus have Spanish and English as its medium. Majority of the students will be Spanish from Granada and the neighboring towns but a good number of international students is expected.  It will be a fee-paying school but not everyone in Granada or anywhere else could afford the fee, therefore a waqaf program and scholarships will be arranged.

    The plot of land where the school will be built has been identified. It is about 20 minutes drive from Granada city center. Flanked by a lake, the land is now home to some 3000 olive trees. The trees will have to make way for the school building obviously but there should be enough left for olive oil production that could bring income to the school's waqaf scheme.

    The girls and boys will study separately. "There will be a high wall separating them" - Bashir mentioned jokingly. The school will have all Muslim teachers and a strong emphasis will be given on akhlak (Islamic behaviors) so from this perspective it will be an Islamic school. The school project would cost around 60 Million Euros. For the purpose of securing funding from various parties, the project is divided into eight phases. It is a big project under the purview of Fundacion Educativa al Andalus of which Haji Malik A. Ruiz is President.  

    Ending the interview with Al-Falah online TV, Bashir said the Foundation welcomes sponsorship from anyone and everyone. He also invites the audience to visit Granada to appreciate not only its glorious past but also the exciting future that the beautiful city and its people anticipate.

    ***

    This is Bashir's second visit to Malaysia. He was here in June 2014 representing Spain in the International Musabaqah (Quran recital) competition. We had the honor of listening to him recite several verses from Surah Al-Imran. Bashir who had, three weeks ago, completed memorization of the Quran explained the meanings of the verses he recited. He said, we should reflect on the signs of Allah in His creation. In whatever situations we are in, we must reflect upon the signs of Allah, when we are walking, sleeping, eating, doing business, travelling, when we are in the countryside or in the city, we must look at the signs of Allah. The verse which he recited, ends with a good du'a:
    "Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise." [Translation by Royal Al Bayt Institute]

    ***
    Let's pray so that Allah - Who swears by the fig and the olive - would reward those who believe and do righteous deeds, with a reward, uninterrupted, as stated in Surah At-Tin. Those who work in support of the deen for the good of the deen, for the sake of Allah and His beloved Messenger. Ameen.


    Al Hafiz Bashir Castineira reciting verses of Surah Al-Imran

    Do visit www.mezquitadegranada.com for more information or if you wish to support the school project and/or the Granada Mosque's maintenance.