Monday, August 31, 2015

Be-You-tiful Malaysia - Happy 58!

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
May the Lord bless our forefathers! We would not be where we are today, we would not have achieved what we now have in our hands, had it not been for their sacrifices and dedication.

I am indeed grateful and blessed to be a Malaysian. It means a great deal to be born in this beautiful land, to live here and enjoy all the perks of being a Malaysian. It's wonderful to be travelling the world and come back with a sweeter feeling for the country each time.

I remembered when I was studying abroad and missing home terribly. It's fresh on my mind how sweet it felt when the flight Captain said 'welcome home' and I instantaneously, candidly and wholeheartedly clapped my hands a tad too loud. LOL.

Seriously, we must be grateful and proud that when we say balik kampung we truly have a kampung and that we are not squatting in our own hometown because we have got real grounded roots. That the sense of belonging is real and not just skin deep.

My dear uncle helped fix this flag pole in front of my kampung house in Penang. We had a small Merdeka party tonight and my mother talked somewhat fiercely about her recollections of Malaysia's independence. Indeed we must be grateful for our parents, our grandparents, our ancestors for they had all done their parts in passing the baton of freedom and hope. We must not drop the baton. We should carry it and walk, or run, or crawl if need be, because we are one heart and one soul as far as the future is concerned.



May Allah bless this country and bless us Malaysians with peace and prosperity. Ameen.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blue hues - Rosy hues

Bismillah.

I have got about 60 postings to go. Aiming at 200 and thinking if one could only write 60 letters, if one was given only 60 chances to write, what would it be?

I would for the first of the 60, express my gladness for a good start of a lovely day upon seeing that pretty blue hues this morning.

I am guessing KL Tower is dressing up for the upcoming Merdeka celebration [Malaysia'a 58th Year of Independence] cos usually the lights are instantly off at midnight.

KL Tower wearing blue

I think, as the French song La Vie En Rose goes, one should see life through rose-colored glasses even if that which is before the eyes could cause one to feel blue. We must see things in a positive light for as long as we are here, able to breathe and witness life in all its spectrum of colors.

Wish ya a good day folks!
Let's do something meaningful today.
Allah Kareem.
Allah Wadud.

p/s

The country is 58 years old this year.
How do you want to live life at 58?
Lets opt for:
Peace of mind.
Solid iman.
Tranquil heart.
Superb health.
Great abundance.
Much LOVE!

: D


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aim well

Bismillah.

Ernest Hemingway says: 'My aim is to put on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.'

Yes! And the best way to write is to unload as much positive words as one possibly could. Oh by the way I saw something on Blogger Stats that surprised me. Someone actually searched for 'Haul Ezza Ismail' LOL. Folks, may I take that as a compliment, pliz?!

Oh well, of course that person was hoping to read something I wrote on majlis haul. So....I am ashamed that I have not been writing about talks given at haul events in the past few years particularly that of Haul Imam al-Haddad.

Anyhow, this faqir is indeed grateful that she's able to attend the recent Haul Imam Al-Haddad last Saturday. Did jot down some notes and two key takeaways: Imam Al Haddad is still being honored to this day because he had truly spent his life honoring the deen. And that one would not find in his writings anything else save a message of peace.

Alhamdulillah....grateful that this space has been a sphere of positive messages. Am no angel but glad that this has not been created using a fake profile, that I am neither impersonating nor tricking anyone.

Alhamdulillah this space is driven by a good intention. Pray for Allah's continued tawfiqAmeen.

Gandhi says: 'Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.'

Blogging with a clear conscience,
-E-      




p/s
Could not resist that selfie to mark my journey to a special gathering ; )


Friday, August 21, 2015

My dear, I don't give a damn [except to plant good seeds]

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum, 
Jummah Mubarak folks.

Am feeling upbeat and grateful for many things. It's Friday after all and it's good to be back at my soho to have lunch with my mother and blog this.
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.   

Let's keep planting good seeds.
That small poster frame is my best-buy inspiring item from Vietnam
because it reminds me of the need to keep planting good seeds
and leave the outcome to Allah
because 'In His hand is all good.'

The previous posting on ibadurrahman [Tausiyah by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin] could possibly be the one and only lesson a Muslim traveler needs as provision for this journey in this dunya. 

I am also of the opinion that to pray and strive to become ibadurRahman; to pray for husnul khatimah and to return to Allah with qalbun salim are the only three things that this faqir needs to pray for from now until the time comes for hajj and beyond, bi-iznillah. By the way, another two close buddies of mine are going for hajj this year Alhamdulillah. May Allah grant them good health, facilitate their ibadah and accept it from them. Ameen.     

Before I pen off, here are five positive quotes which I discovered yesterday. Thought you might like it even though it's not from Islamic sources. It's about how to care less about what others think [especially the negative nation].
  1. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde
  2. You are not what others think you are. You are what God knows you are. - Shannon L. Alder.
  3. Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. - Lao Tzu
  4. Your self worth is determined by you. You don't have to depend on someone telling you who you are. - Beyonce
  5. My dear, I don't give a damn. - Margaret Mitchel
LOL I really like the fifth one! 

***
Quotes are from Lifehack.org

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Walk like IbadurRahman with 'haunan' | Tausiyah by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al Hamid on Allah's Beautiful Name Ar-Rahman



Bismillah.

Walk like ibadurRahman. Walk with haunan. That is to walk calmly, not rushing but with tawadduk or humility. Or drive for that matter. Drive with haunan. One should not walk or drive one's Ferrari or BMW with arrogance - says Habib Ali.

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin in his monthly tausiyah on Asmaul Husna at Masjid Al Bukhary in Kuala Lumpur, tells us how to 'wear' the attribute of Ar-Rahman. It's an attribute of His which He has reserved for the mukminin because the mushrikin disapproved it.

The muhsrikin refused to accept Bismillahirahmanirrahim. They refused to acknowledge the Name Ar-Rahman being mentioned right next to Allah. This took place when the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam wrote a letter to the mushrikin in regard to a peace treaty. They could not accept it, they asked Bismikallahumma. Because the mushrikin rejected it, Allah made it special and assigned it the believers hence the ayah: wa ibadurRahman in Surah Furqan 63-65.



The ayah did not begin with ibadullah, ibadul ghaffur or ibadul afuw. Secondly, says Habib Ali, Allah would not simply assign His Name/Attribute lest He wants to adorn His servants with that attribute of His. He wants His servant to be compassionate. In the oft-quoted hadith of mercy, it says, 'Allah loves those who are loving and those who are loving will be loved by the one who is most loving.' So, love is rewarded with love.

Allah wants us to be ibadurRahman. An ibadurRahman must have the qualities of Ar Rahman just like when a person is known as an architect, doctor or accountant, they are expected to be good in their respective fields. IbadurRahman is a name chosen by Allah. He wants to adorn us with His attribute Ar-Rahman.  

In the ayah, Allah describes an ibadurRahman as one who walks (yamshu) with haunan that is to walk with ease and not hurriedly. It does not mean to walk at a slow pace. It is not just about a person's stride, it is what is in the person's heart and soul and how he/she interacts with people.

Many people walk but are they ibadurRahman? Some people walk boastfully like Qarun. There is a difference between the two. IbadurRahman walks humbly.

There is a story about a sahabi named Abu Dujanah. When the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam threw a challenge to the sahabah if any one of them would carry a flag and deliver its rights, Abu Dujanah offered himself. He put on a red headband, grabbed the flag and walked proudly. On seeing Abu Dujanah's actions, the Prophet remarked: 'Allah hates to see a person walking like that except in battle.'   

Habib Ali says, Allah would hate anyone who walks or drives in that manner. But during a war conflict, one is not supposed to show tawadduk or humbleness. People who are walking or driving, should check on themselves if they walk with haunan or if they walk like Qarun. We should not walk thinking we are the best and everyone else is less worthy. Our step cannot pierce through the earth. We are not as tall as the mountains. Our foot hurts when we step on a sharp object. Now what is there to be proud of? When we leave home we should not be thinking we are better than everyone else. 

Habib Ali relates a story about Imam Abdullah bin Abu Bakar Al-Idrus who asked his son to go out looking for anyone who is less worthy than him. The boy decided to go a market because that's Shayatin's favorite place. It was time for prayer the moment he entered the market so he went on to perform his prayer. When he returned to the market, he saw one vendor was still there. Surely the man did not make solat so he considered taking the man to his father. But then he had second thoughts. The man might have actually prayed or it's possible that he would pray later, after all he is much older. So the boy looked everywhere for someone who could be worse than him. He finally came across a dog and thought 'This is najis mughalazah, I am surely better than this creature.' The boy however changed his mind because the dog would in the hereafter become dust whereas he will have to pass through the sirat and might or might not make it to the heavens. It might be better to end up as dust, he thought. The boy then decided to go home and confess to his father that he could not find a single person who's worse than him. His father, Imam Abdullah bin Abu Bakar al-Idrus was pleased with his son and subsequently concluded that the boy was ready to leave home as a da'ie.    

Habib Ali says, tawaduk is about putting people at their rightful place without claiming anything for oneself. We are ok if people do not treat us right as what we expect or if people don't kiss our hand or let us sit at a certain place or honor us. We should not be whispering in the heart 'oh they don't know my rights'. Tawaduk is about being unassuming and not expecting people to treat us well.

In the ayah wa ibadurrahman allazi na yamshu we are supposed to be tawaduk, be calm when we go out dealing with people because there are all kinds of people out there, all kinds of attitudes. IbadurRahman is someone who will not poke back when he is poked at. If people jump the queue or overtake him on the road, he would just react peacefully and not dirty his tongue by arguing. 

To recap, there are two attributes of an ibadurRahman: firstly, he walks with humility and secondly he does not react negatively when he is provoked. The third attribute is that he likes to spend the night praying, making sajda and munajat to Allah. He is not afraid when the night falls, in fact he looks forward to it.

The fourth and final character of an ibadurrahman is one who does not feel secured about makarallah that is the decree of Allah, thus he seeks protection from hell and is not even proud of his qiyamulail or his tawaduk. One who feels contented with his amal is in a state of ghaflah (careless). An ibadurahman does not feel confident about the decree of Allah, not that he has negative opinion (su'ul zan) towards Allah, but he refuses to constantly be too hopeful. He is in between the state of fear and hope about his final destiny. 

Habib Ali then relates a story about a pious Israelite man Ba'am bin Bal'aura who had su'ul khatimah. He was in the beginning an ulama well known for his piety. However, towards the end of his life he fell into transgressions. Our final destiny is not determined by our early life or how we spend our mid-life, it's about how or who we are in the last chapter of our life. 

p/s
So folks, let's not 'Walk like an Egyptian'.
Walk like IbadurRahman.
It's not easy but we have to try our best.
May Allah help us through and grant us husnul khatimah.
Ameen.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Touch and go ~ Path of love

Bismillah.

Ahh gotta touch base here and go. Go to another base.

I have been super busy over the weekend, creating a new web from scratch. Yes, it's fun learning new things and be creative. As paradoxical as it may sound, cracking one's head on some creative challenge is a good way to relax. 

And I came out from my lil studio to this cheerful looking KL Tower. She is 'lady in red' tonight. Perhaps she is in love ; )




Thank God, though I have not been able to physically attend majlis ta'alim lately, we have someone to record a few good ones for us. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Here are two videos featuring lectures by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus and Shaykh AbdulKarim Yahya.

I'll be frank with you as I have always been. I found it hard to understand Shaykh Yahya Rhodus' talk because my level of comprehension is poor. Funny the shaykh said "You don't have to understand my lectures." I would be delighted if someone could summarize and explain it to me.

In the second video, Shaykh AbdulKarim Yahya recalls fondly what his guru said to him, a one liner which he thought was the single most important lesson he got from Damascus.  His guru said:
"AbdulKarim, the path is entirely love."










Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Smallish bounties - Hefty contentment

Bismillah.

How could we ever measure or enumerate the bounties from our Lord? Nay.

Alhamdulillah another 'sea of my sins' has been wiped away, thanks to another group of guests. So what did I learn from them? That what you have in your hands only become meaningful when you extend it to your friends/guests - genuine polite people of course, and not impersonators or gate crashers.

Ah...I did not realize how beautiful and special the Asmaul Husna artwork on my wall until I saw the look on my guests' faces when they stood admiring and studying it, mashaAllah how true the sayings: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

When truthful people express their excitement, you could feel their truthful vibes. Their presence are not smallish bounties. They leave behind tranquility at my home, and their unseen gift to the host is in the form of hefty contentment.

Speaking of truthfulness, yesterday I learned the root word for one the Prophet's 805 names as listed in Kitab Barakat Makkiyah. Apparently, the name Al-Musoddaq appears twice in the kitab but it's not an unintentional slippage. The root word for that name is sadaq or siddiq meaning truthful. This I learned from a knowledgeable and pious friend of mine. The Prophet's name Al Musoddaq (s.a.w) shares the same root word as Sadaqallah al-Azim - Allah the Almighty has said the truth.

What more than truth can there be as far as His beloved is concerned? Perhaps the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam is twice a Prophet, twice Al Amin hence twice his name Al Musoddaq gets mentioned in the kitab per chance alluding to two different scenarios where Al Amin is as truthful as truthful can be. 

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad habibur Rahman adadama yaqun wama qodkan.
O Allah, bestow Your prayers upon our Master Muhammad, the beloved of the Most Compassionate, to the number of things that will be and that were.





Friday, August 7, 2015

After the guests have left -- After the rain

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. 
Grateful that there's something to ramble about.

Happy that my guests have left, don't get me wrong, not that I did not enjoy their visit. The feeling after entertaining one's guests is simply awesome, you feel light and upbeat afterwards. I think it's true that your guests' presence could wipe away a sea of your sins. That is why you just feel good after the guests have left, you feel liberated and hopeful. You feel accomplished.

I am even happier now that I can sit down and blog with six slices of cake all to myself LOL plus three Ritter Sport choc bars to boot. YaHuuu! [More reasons to defer my appointments with Marie France LOL]

Am happy to announce to our Malay readers that two new videos have just been published on Al Falah TV Youtube channel
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbT6ZDPeCj4
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vULxzLzUvoM

It is a must watch if you wish to understand what tariqa really means. Shaykh Rohimuddin Al-Bantany, a mureed of the much revered Shaykh Yusuf Bakhour Hassani wrote a book on 'Methods of Sufism' and in this series of talk, he will review the said book. To start with, he clarifies common misconceptions that people have about tariqa and tasawwuf hence rebut wrong perceptions that some people have towards people who follow a tariqa. He also explains why tasawwuf is actually an inherent essence of the deen, that it is not external to shariat. 




Cakes, flowers, great view, good internet connection,
Earl Grey tea and the good feeling after the guests have left
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

*******

After the rain...comes the sun...
Check out this wonderful new song by one talented Malaysian.
A meaningful message indeed for all Malaysians.

'We may all fall down
but we all get up
hold your head up Malaysia
after the rain, comes the sun...'





Keep your head up!

As ever,
-E-




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August gifts -- Hamka's Tafsir of the Quran

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. That I did not have to wait too long for these gems to arrive. It might take a lifetime - to read cover to cover all nine volumes. Bi-iznillah. La hawla wala quwwata illah billah.

For the benefit of our foreign readers, Tafsir Al-Azhar is a tafsir of the Quran written by Professor Dr Hamka (1908 - 1981), a well known Indonesian scholar, philosopher, historian, politician, prolific author and social activist. Hamka or his full name Haji Abdul Malik Karim Abdullah began working on it in 1958 when he started a lecture series on the Quran at Masjid Al-Azhar in Indonesia. This daily morning lectures went on for six years until he was imprisoned in 1964. That's when Hamka officially began compiling his lectures on tafsir Quran into a proper publication. This took place during the entire two-year jail term and continued thereafter.

I felt compelled to buy the Tafsir upon recommendation by Dr Danial Zainal Abidin, a Malaysian medical doctor and dai'e who propagates tadabbur of the Quran instead of mere recital. Tafsir Al-Azhar or Tafsir Hamka is the only tafsir of the Quran written in the Malay language. As said Dr Danial, each Malay household should have a set of this masterpiece by Hamka.

Hmm...better late than never.

Alhamdulillah.

Hamka in the Preface of his Tafsir wrote fondly about his wife.
'She is an unknown hero. Whether she realizes it or not,
she is the motivating factor in my progress.
We are married for 40 years now and she is still her simple self.
Now as we grow older, it is she who guides me more.
I adorn her legs neither with gold nor silver
as a sign of my gratitude for Allah's protection over our union.
But this Tafsir is worth more than gold and silver
for it is the fruit of my sweat as I struggled in its compilation.
and it is a result of my tears when I wrote it in utter loneliness as I missed her.'        

p/s

My dear mother had an opportunity to attend Hamka's talk in Penang. She said: 'Just once but I remembered how deep and profound the way Hamka wrote and expounded the underlying meanings of Bismillah. How the stroke of 'ba' and each of the letter in Bismillah represents our being, and how it relates to the reality (haqiqah) of Bismillah in our own existence.'

Let us all recite Al-Fatihah for Allahyarham Haji Abdul Malik Karim Abdullah (Hamka) and his forefathers who were all respectable scholars - Almarhum Dr Shaykh Abdul Karim Abdullah (his father), Shaykh Muhammad Amrullah (grandfather), Shaykh Abdullah Shalih (great grandfather) and Tuanku Pariaman Shaykh Abdullah Arif (great great grandfather).

***

Good reads:
[Malay articles]
http://abusyahmin.blogspot.com/2012/07/tafsir-al-azhar-karya-agung-hamka.html
https://irfanirsyad.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/mengenai-tafsir-al-azhar/   

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Combine - both - unite - focus - YOU

Bismillah.

O Allah...Ya Jami', combine for me all the good and felicity of both abodes, and unite my affairs and allow me to focus completely upon You.



Was so lack of focus that it took me a good 10 ten minutes to locate Al Jami' on this Asmaul Husna artwork. Probably because am super hungry and my Tuna Subway hasn't arrived because someone is probably stuck on the highway.

So, when hungry, blog nonsense.
When hungry, look under the table. LOL.



When hungry, look for some inspiration.



Yes, be in love with your life every single minute of it : )
That's one way to look 10 years younger. And eat fresh as soon as the sub arrives on the table [at long last].



On a serious note, let's memorize the last line of the salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz.

O Allah...Ya Jami',
COMBINE for me all the good and felicity of BOTH abodes,
and UNITE my affairs
and allow me to FOCUS completely upon YOU.

Ameen.

Good nite folks.
Alhamdulillah for another bountiful day.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

August -- Book Pre-launch

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

We are all concerned about trying our best in doing more and doing better, aren't we? And hope for august outcomes.

That's a better focus to have than to focus on justifying our actions, as said the wise Uwaiz Al-Qarni (copying this from a friend's FB):

'The wisest advice you can take on in your life is not to be so concerned with what is said about you. Indeed, you know who you are and Allah knows best your circumstances and intention. So don't lessen your worth by always justifying your actions, for indeed failure in life lies in one thing: Trying to please everyone.'

But who cares to please the -ve lot? I don't. I know, neither do you. 

Because +ve progress is the way to go, yesterday my small team and I played our small part for the pre-launch of a Malay translation of Dr Jasser Auda's Arabic book about women and mosque. Hence, the book in Malay is called Wanita dan Masjid. It's a collaboration with a young couple from Akademi Intelektual Muda. Hope to be able to get it published soon bi-iznillah.

Some pics to mark this small milestone for Exa Publishing and Al Falah TV. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for this big opportunity for small people like us. Pray Allah will facilitate us in implementing our intentions and grant us success. Ameen.


Pre-launch book event at the Auditorium of Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Book Cover
- designed by a friend of mine, a young woman
based in Terengganu, hence the image chosen for the cover
is a mosque in Terengganu
known as 'the white mosque' 


p/s Thank you S for making venue arrangement : )