Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hop on | Grateful for 2016

Bismillah.





Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah
What more can I say, 2016 has been awesome. But it's almost time to jump to a happy new year.

Change is good. Taking a step forward is good. Embracing the unknown with high hopes and a strong faith is good.

Yesterday, I had my 10th Quran lesson, and like a kid I was excited to move on to Surah Ali Imran. I had also studied the 8th salawat. My ustaz and I was amazed at how beautiful and deep and all-encompassing the meanings were. One salawat was about asking Allah to make salam for the Prophet as much as Allah's knowledge, another salawat was about asking Allah to make salawat as many as things that will be created and that were created. And there's one which made me reflect a bit more. 

In 2016 alone, imagine how many people were forgetful of the Prophet? Must be plenty. And how many people remembered him? Perhaps not as many as those who forgot him. So let's end 2016 with this salawat practised and recommended by the late Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus. The person from whom I heard the lesson of the salawat had also passed away. May we benefit from them. They were both warak and areef.

Here goes:

Allahumma salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
kullama zakaraz zakirun
wa salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
wa ala ali Sayyidina Muhammad
kullama ghafala an zikrihil ghafilun

Bless Ya Allah, our master Muhammad
whenever those who remember him do so
and bless our master Muhammad
and the family of our master Muhammad
whenever those who neglect to remember him do so.

Let's hope we belong with those who remember him salallah alaihiwasalam continually.
That we are among the "zakaraz zakirun".



Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 - A good get | In His hand is all good

Bismillah.

Good morning folks.
Assalamualaikum
Hope you have had a good night sleep and woke up in time for Subuh prayers.
Yes, being able to sleep peacefully is a gift. Being able to turn up for prayers is even a bigger gift. 

Can't resist rambling a lil something just because today is the 29th of December 2016. Two more days before the new year arrives.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the big and small gets in 2016. Yes, big or small does not matter. Get as a noun means getting/obtaining something or someone.

So, we are talking about blessings or gifts from the Almighty of course. Anything from the Almighty is always a good get, even if we dislike it. Of course, you all know that one verse in Surah Baqara about disliking something that could be good for us cos Allah knows better and we know not. So all is good cos "in His hand is all good." (Quran 3:26).

And, remember, happiness is always a choice.
: )



As ever,
-E-

Counting happiness and countdown to more happiness.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Blessings in and out of the box | One of many gems of Cape Town

Bismillah.


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
I recalled a couple of years back I had the privilege of meeting Shaykh Ninowy in KL on Boxing day. It was boxxxxxing great!

Well, this year, I am not meeting Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, not yet but soon InShaAllah Bi-iznillah. For now, it sufficed that my salam had reached him.

It's amazing how much aura or rather nur that all the enlightened illuminated souls emit. A simple gesture of sending/receiving salam from them could make you super elated!

May Allah ease and fulfill all the plans I have identified for my Cape Town trip and a few other travel plans for 2017. Ameen.

Meantime, I wish all of you happy holidays and don't forget to recite the salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz so that Allah will help all Muslims, that we will be supported by Allah with a mighty support.
"Wa yan surakallahu nasran aziza."
Because, while many of us enjoy peaceful and joyful times during this time of the year, there are many people out there who are displaced, unsafe and hungry.

p/s
Will travel for knowledge, shuyukh and to see His signs on the horizons but never for rock concerts or anything like that. May Allah forgive us, replace our misdeeds with worthy ones and guide us on the Straight Path. Ameen.

p/s
Thanks B for being the messenger 😉

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be uber spirited and peppy for the new year

Bismillah.

I crafted this greeting card for the management and colleagues at my workplace who celebrate Christmas and posted it on my department's FB page. My department is known as USP (it's a telecommunications jargon). Yes, we have got a dedicated Facebook for our organization, it's called "Workplace". It's refreshing and liberating to be able to connect with more people at work, in new, exciting and creative ways.



Yes, for the new year, let's be uber spirited and peppy. Let's embrace it with courage, energy, enthusiasm, and determination.

Having said that, we should not expect perfect and total blessings all the time and all at once.

I saw this so relevant Keep Calm Tweets: "If God rushed and gave you every blessing all at once, it wouldn't be perfect. Good things take time. Be patient, keep your faith."

Joyous greetings from Penang.

***
I talked to a stranger at the Gurney Plaza Mall in Penang yesterday. Yes, I did. He offered me and niece a seat when he saw us standing holding a big cup of loaded yogurt. We chatted.

Imagine the kind of life he lives. Life is naturally diverse. He is 84, healthy, cycles to the mall every day and spends hours at the mall because it's too hot at home which is not too far away from the mall. He lives with his sister's family. He has been yearning to work but people won't hire him because of his age, despite the fact that he is strong and healthy. He thought there must be something useful he could do even though he had no proper education. He became a fisherman when he was 17 and retired when he was in his 60s. He does not know how to use a cell phone. He does not know how to use the ATM machine either. His niece gives him a small monthly allowance so at the end of every month he gets a good trusted friend to help him withdraw cash from the ATM. He was never married, "I wanted to be married but it was too expensive back then." He is originally from Kedah. He is Ah Chee, one Chinese Malaysian who speaks fluent Malay. I found him uber spirited and peppy for his age. But then again age is just a number and after all a highly spirited soul would always rise above life's circumstances, be it plain or flavorful.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

He gifted me this life | He gifted me love

Bismillah.

Hah...hah...how lovely. Love, we all know is a verb. And tonight I learned, gift, is a verb too.

Read this cheerful article by Merriam Webster. I guess they chose to enlighten us on the history of the word "gift" because it is the season for gifting especially for those who celebrate Christmas.


But the truth is, every day is "the season of gifting" because every day is a gift from the Almighty. This life is indeed a gift. He gifted us this life. He the Almighty gifted us, love. Then, which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?



I have a confession to make.
I gifted myself three rings! Just because. Because I worked so darn hard this month!
Of course, you all know gifting is actually a sunnah, and sunnah is not seasonal, it's throughout the year. I wonder if that includes gifting oneself? LOL. 

p/s
How can we not feel loved when Allah gifted us love through all kinds of His manifestations. Subhan is Allah. Allah Al Wadud.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Grateful while we still can

Bismillah.


Kuala Lumpur @ Maghrib 21 Dec 2016
- from my balcony
captured on Samsung Note 5 as always : )
click on pic to enjoy the view

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I couldn't help but compare my beautiful golden KL skyline with some other cities in the Muslim world which had fallen, one after another. We must be grateful and we must protect our country.

I am reminded of one duá taught by Ibn Athaillah as-Sakandari about being grateful while we still can, while we still enjoy the blessings. 

The duá appeared in one old posting published in 2009. It's time to revisit and refresh. And remember by heart.

Allah humma arifna nikmataka
bidawa miha
wala tu arif ha lana
bi zawa liha

O Allah, make us recognize Your bounties
while we still have them,
do not make us recognize Your bounties
only after You have withdrawn them.



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Prayers for Aleppo | 'Tis NOT the season to be jolly

Bismillah.




It's not freezing cold here where I live. I am not hungry. I am not one of them, some 30,000 brothers and sisters in Aleppo who are waiting for the bus so they could evacuate. There might not be enough buses. Even if they're lucky to get on one, the bus might not even depart. Even if the bus departed, they would not know at which point in time, some crazy folks would attack them. Is there a car? Is walking an option? How do they flee now?

Thank God I am not, you are not, one of the tens of thousands of Syrians who are presently stranded in Aleppo. I am a spoiled narcissistic moron who just came back from KLCC, a stone's throw away from my comfy crib. I am a selfish idiot who had just eaten my favorite Inari salad and some hot pastas for lunch. My brothers and sisters in Aleppo are very hungry. They don't care about their homes or their belongings anymore. But I am one self-obsessed fool thinking about my home reno project and thinking what else I could buy during this festive season. I have been thinking about Oroton gold casing for my phones. Shame on me.

I am having toasts with some delicious Australian Moondarra Cranberry & Macadamia cheese and Apricot & Almond cheese...as I type this, whereas tens of thousands Aleppo evacuees and God knows how many thousands of children are cold and hungry at this moment. I am such a self-absorbed dolt. I wasn't aware of the Aleppo crisis until just now.

How long will these children have to wait
until any morsel of food reach them?
One bus can take 50 people. There are 30 or 40 thousands evacuees.
How many more days until they get to a safe zone,
forget chic cozy homes! 
  
Yes I am feeling like one vain self-centered person.
What can a vain self-centered person do?
I am no pious Muslim woman.

At this moment, I am just thankful that Allah has made it easy for me to memorize this salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz. It's the only thing that came to mind, when I read about the sorrows of Aleppo.

We can't do much really, but we can make salawat and tawasul with Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam that through him, by him salallah alaihi wasalam, Allah would support us and ALL Muslims through the secrets of: That Allah may support you with a mighty support!  





I pledge to recite this salawat and keep in mind, keep in the heart, our brothers, sisters and children of Aleppo who are hoping and waiting to flee for safety and those who could be fleeing for safety this moment.

I urge you, dear readers, please learn, memorize and recite this salawat so that Allah will support all Muslims with a mighty support. None is in the best position to support them during these extremely difficult moments, save Allah, through His Beloved Messenger Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

Come on, drop those selfie sticks. 'Tis is NOT the season to be jolly. 


اللَّهُمَّ يا نعْمَ المَوْلى ويا نعْمَ النَّصِير 

صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ عَدَدَ عِلْمِكَ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ 

مَنْ جَعَلْتَهُ لَنا حِرْزاً حَرِيزاً،

 و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ وانْصُرْنا بِهِ والمُسْلِمينَ

 بِأَسْرَارِ — ويَنْصُرَكَ اللهُ نَصْراً عَزِيزاً


O Allah, O Best of Protectors and Best of Supporters, 
bestow prayers and peace to the amount of Your knowledge 
upon our Master Muhammad, 
the one You made for us an impregnable fortress 
and upon his family and companions, 
and by him support us and all Muslims 
through the secrets of 
'That Allah may support you with a mighty support.'


Allahumma ya ni'mal mawla wa ya ni'mal nasir 
salli wa salim 'adada 'ilmika 
'ala sayyidina Muhammad 
man ja'altahu lana hirzan harizan 
wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi 
wansurna bihi wal muslimina 
bi asrari: wa yansurakallahu nasran 'aziza

#prayforSyria
#prayforAleppo
#tisnottheseasontobejolly


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Greetings from KL | This is my crib

Bismillah

I am more of a writer than a vlogger but I thought of recording a short clip from my crib just for Miss Labeeb. Much positive vibes and love for you and your mom in Spain.

Her mother phoned me up a while ago commenting on the previous blog posting and congratulating Malaysians on our new pious King. She told me Labeeb was feeling a little overwhelmed regarding her studies. Oh well, we all do feel overwhelmed every now and then, don't we?

Hope this candid recording would remind Labeeb of her childhood spent in KL, Malaysia. And would put a smile on her face. I think she is going to be a great psychologist. At 22, she is focused, disciplined and independent. She already have plans to do a Master's degree. When I was 22, I lacked focus and discipline and was living a carefree life upon completing my Bachelor's degree. Labeeb on the other hand, is serious about doing well and furthering her studies to the next level.

Bravo girl!




Excuse me for the abrupt ending. LOL. Ya... so this is my crib. Willing to show my personal space just for the sake of Labeeb : ) cos I appreciate my genuine readers. Might video something from my Penang house next time when the reno work is done InshaAllah.

Life is full of ups and downs, we just have to take it all in our stride.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Malaysia's new King is humble and pious | Being oneself

Bismillah.

I am very proud indeed to be a Malaysian. No let me rephrase that. I have never been this proud to be a Malaysian, to have a King like Sultan Muhammad V who took oath as the 15th King of this beautiful country, a couple of days ago.

This Friday is his first Friday as the King and just look what he wore for Friday prayers! I have seen photos and read reports about his routine of walking to the mosque near his palace in Kelantan wearing a simple thobe (jubah). Prior to taking oath as Malaysia's 15th King, Sultan Muhammad V reigned as the Sultan of Kelantan (a state in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia). As a Sultan of a state, that's unheard of - Sultan wearing thobe in public. As the King of Malaysia, I didn't expect His Majesty to keep to his "favourite" humble thobe. VIPs attending Friday prayers at Malaysiá National Mosque or any other mosques would customarily wear expensive looking Baju Melayu with sampin songket - a traditional outfit for Malay gentlemen. The intricate designs of their sampin songket is a feast to the eyes.     

But just look at our new King. MashaAllah!

Malaysia's New King - Sultan Muhammad V attended Friday prayers
at the National Mosque garbed in simple white thobe.
The gentleman on most right is wearing a traditional outfit
for Malay gentlemen (Baju Melayu with sampin songket)
According to the Mufti of Kelantan (as reported in a local newspaper), His Majesty would always bring along his al-Quran teacher whenever he travels abroad, just so that he does not forget to hold prayers in congregation. The King is an expert in slaughtering cattle for Qurban/sacrifice, thus would do it himself and distribute the meat himself too. He would study any new Islamic law that is to be formulated and is very concerned on proper enforcement of the Shariah laws in Kelantan. The King would annually perform umrah on the last ten days of Ramadan and spend Eid in the Holy cities. At his palace in his home-state, the Sultan of Kelantan who has now become the 15th King for Malaysia would hold majlis taalim once a week and make sure his palace staffs do not miss the weekly session.

Sounds like a perfect King to me!

The photo of him wearing a simple white thobe for Friday prayers, tells us one important thing, the King wants to be himself, not his glamorous self or whatever, but his pious learned self. Let others lose themselves in the tide of modernity and secularism, His Majesty seems to prefer to stick to the fundamentals of his faith.

By the grace of Allah, with such a notable King, Malaysia should prosper marvelously. Ameen.
And let's pray so that our single King will find his Queen soon : )


p/s

I can imagine Sultan Muhammad V performing Qiyamulail every night while the majority of his subjects snore the night away. LOL. 

Long live the King.
He is 47
one year my senior : )


Further reading:
http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/5-things-know-about-malaysias-new-king
http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/sultan-muhammad-v-reveres-islam-respects-religious-intellectuals

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Healing and Mercy-loaded Book

Bismillah.

How are you guys feeling? I am feeling happy and good. Alhamdulillah. Hope you are, too.

I saw this on Twitter just now:
"The secret of happiness is to count your blessings, while others are adding up their troubles."
Yes, feeling blessed indeed after my sixth Quran lesson. May Allah grant us the tawfiq to read with perfect tajweed and understand its meanings as we read each line. Ameen.

Was feeling terrible yesterday due to bad hormones, so I played Surah Baqarah on repeat as I slept and that helped a lot. Listening to the Quran is an effortless yet effective healing method. Was listening to a specific qari recite the Surah Baqarah because that's an assignment from my Ustaz. I think it's a good trick/tip to have the verses being input to your subconscious mind as you sleep because the brain will have become familiar with them and somehow facilitate the tongue the next time you read. You all know this trick already, I'm sure. 

I think my ustaz is doing a great job at coaching me. May Allah keep him safe, healthy and grant him a blessed and prosperous life. He has the best job in the world. Yes, the best profession in Islam is to teach the Quran. Who knows, someday I might follow in his footsteps, Ameen. Nothing is impossible. LOL. [Nervous laugh there.]


So people, let's get the setlist right. For the Quran learners, we begin with Juz Amma and then Al-Baqarah, Al Imran and so on and so forth. This setlist will make our hearts soft and warm and keep our minds alive and bright, bi-iznillah. Avoid playing some rock songs unless you want to have your heart hardened and have cold feet at meeting the death angel. Na'uzubillah.

May Allah continue to guide us and make us live in an environment that nurtures the mind, heart, and soul.

p/s
I think I am getting this blessing because some "self-righteous" women called me a slut/a devil before. Gosh, we will never know where our blessings are coming from. Allah is indeed generous and works in wondrous ways! Remember that tweet I quoted above: "The secret of happiness is to count your blessings, while others are adding up their troubles."

Let us be grateful and be positive always. Because "People will hate you, rate you, shake you and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you." 
[From Inspirational Quotes on Twitter] 

YaHuuuu!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday 12th Rabiul Awal 1438 Hijri | 12.12.2016

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah

It's a very special day : )
How often do we get 12th Rabiul Awal on a Monday? Not too often.

No promise, but I'll try to find time to share notes from last night's Mawlid event at Masjid Al Bukhary in KL and also the notes from this morning's Mawlid event in my neighborhood - Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru. Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin bin Hamid was the guest scholar at both events.

It's always great to have a public holiday on a Monday. It's public holiday in Malaysia as we mark 12th Rabiul Awal. I wonder how many other countries have a public holiday to mark the birth of the Prophet (pbuh)?

I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear at seeing Habib Ali wearing a matching outfit with mine. This was the second time I attended a majlis at Masjid Kampung Baru and my outfit matched Habib Ali's!  

Before I revisit my notes from the tausiyah, I wish to mention one thing which Shaykh Ali Jabir said from today's event that striked me. Shaykh Ali Jabir was one of two other guest speakers alongside Habib Ali Zainal Abidin at Masjid Kampung Baru. 

It's about  Saidina Abbas who was well known for the poetry he crafted and recited in praise of Prophet Muhammad salallah alihi wasalam. Upon hearing him (Abbas), the Prophet made a duá so that Allah would protect Saidina Abbas' mouth. Allah granted his (pbuh) duá. Saidina Abbas lived a long life until he was 80 and he did not lose a single tooth!

Shaykh Ali Jabir concluded his tausiyah saying: "Certainly, the qasidah that we sang, the praises we made for the Prophet just now, were not futile acts." 

May Allah give us tawfik so that our tongues are light, thus able to make plenty of salawat and praises for the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam.

Until then, have a blissful day folks!

Mawlid at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, KL
12 Rabiul Awal 1438 Hijri

p/s
May Allah make us among those who are sensitive of the auspicious times in our deen. The 12th of Rabiul Awal takes place only once a year. Work and other nonsense can wait!



Friday, December 9, 2016

Salawat Fatih 10,000 times | Honoring Rabiúl Awal

Bismillah.

I have just finished my Quran and Salawat lesson tonight. For the salawat lesson, the Ustaz elucidates key Arabic terms contained in 10 salawat which I have personally selected. And for tonight, we started studying Salawat Fatih. Fatih means opener.

And guess what is the salawat "assignment" given by Habib Umar for this year's Rabiul Awal? It's Salawat Fatih 10,000 times!




So, let's embrace the challenge!

May Allah Al Fatah opens up the easiest path for us to make plenty of salawat in this blessed month of Rabiul Awal.

Sallu alan Nabi!
Jumaah Mubarak.

***
Allahumma salli wa salim wa barik ala Sayyidina Muhammad
O Allah, bestow Your prayers and peace upon our master Muhammad

Al Fatihi lima ughliq
the one who opens that which is closed

wal khatimi lima sabaq
the seal of those that came before

nasiril haqqi bil haqq
the defender of truth with truth

wal haadi ila siratal mustaqim
the guide to the straight path

wa ala alihi wa sohbihi
and upon his family and companions

haqqa qadrihi wa miqdarihil azim
befitting his immense position and grandeur


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Let there be spaces | Let it be a moving sea

Bismillah.




Thank God it's Thursday. It's the 8th of December already.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the blessings that have come our way to this very day of our lives.

It's been a long time since we last savored the words of wisdom of Kahlil Gibran. I found this one as re-created in the above poster. I thought it's a fitting reminder of the needs to be free even in togetherness. There should be spaces in our togetherness, says Kahlil. 

I think it takes strength to be detached and free. It takes strength to stand comfortably on our own and be confident about being independent, even in togetherness. Because that shows that you are not afraid to let go of love because you know it will always be there like the moving seas between two shores.

You know there's this popular song that goes like this:
I am going to love you, like I am going to lose you.

But why not love without being afraid of losing, because how can love be lost if its made of something eternal, with purity and sincerity of hearts.   

May you have a wonderful day and a pleasant weekend.

Purity
[The wall in my Bandung hotel room.
I kinda miss the place.]



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hameediyah Restaurant - Penang's Jewel In the Crown

 Bismillah.

Gosh...some of our ardent readers expect me to post a lil something from Penang but it's 11 pm and I'm catching 40 winks as I sit and compile my photos of the one and only Hameediyah Restaurant in Penang. It's legendary the resto. It was established even before my parents came into this world. It has been around since 1907. They have been at Campbell Street in Penang for as long as I can remember. The food there is not quite the same as it used to be when I was a kid. Many people would agree with me. 

But just recently they have opened a new branch in Butterworth near my sister's place. And my oh my...they have made a great comeback indeed! I am a Penangite and like most Penangites, I have got Indian blood and we are so used to eating great food here on this lovely island. If people like me suggest you should go to the Hameediyah's new outlet at Butterworth then you gotta run there LOL.

Hameediyah is the oldest Nasi Kandar in Penang. Those other Nasi Kandars sold outside of Penang that are not Penang-related, they are just a wanna-be, they are pseudos LOL. [What is a Nasi Kandar? Scroll to the bottom]

***
Good morning folks,
Okay so here are some photos of the newly opened Hameediyah Restaurant at Butterworth, Penang.

Established in 1907
Hameediyah is run by the Rawtheer clan

A big image of their legendary branch on Campbell Street
adorns the new outlet
They have got their own poultry farm I am told.
My favourite dishes include Chicken Onions, Dhall, Prawns, Grated Coconut Paste and Beef Kurma.



109 years of original recipe

The Rawtheer clan who contributed to Penang's remarkable culinary reputation.
The praiseworthy Hameediyah Restaurant is now into its 7th generation. 

So we learn from establishments like Hameediyah that having a relentless dedication, perseverance and passion can take you really far on the path of success. But it's not just about oneself or one's clan, it's about adding value and bringing happiness to other people's lives as well.

Penangites are really blessed that we have grown up and we grow old on good food and good vibes. Alhamdulillah we praise Al Hamid, for giving us a happy, spicy inspiring life : )


p/s
During my first trip to the new Hameediyah outlet, I met another Hameediyah fan, a pious friendly lady who taught me a duá, out of the blue.
God bless her heart, she is a widow who cares for her 90 year old mother and a younger brother who's a PWD (person with disability). She and her brother visit the new Hameediyah once a week. It's their entertainment, it's their escapade.

p/s
The other good reason for Malaysians/tourists from abroad to visit Penang is of course the newly officiated Design Village premium brands outlet which is located just before you get on the second Penang Bridge. Design Village is a lot bigger, better and cozier than the Johor Premium Outlets. Hoping the rest of the shops at Design Village will open a.s.a.p.
But wait no more folks, go north, visit Penang, it's a wondrous place for you and me 😁💜

__________


Nasi Kandar got its name from men going around carrying on their shoulder, a pot of white rice and all the spicy accompaniments on two baskets, as shown in picture below. In modern days, Nasi Kandar is sold at stationary instead "mobile stalls". 





Causes of joy

Bismillah.

Good morning from Penang - Pearl of the Orient.
It's always a joy to write from my crib in Penang.

Was going through my old photo albums and found these precious photos of my first housewarming gathering circa 2001. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Our special guests were the girls from Penang's Orphanage Home on Scotland Road. I pledge to have another gathering with them soon InshaAllah.

Just looking at these photos make me happy and because this is my space, I will post anything I like. LOL. Thank God for the blogosphere so we could have our memories immortalized here and need not worry about losing any old photos.

They came in one bus. Looked pretty cramped to me.


I remembered them occupying every corner of the house.
And everyone prayed in my bedroom which doubled as a temporary musolla
and we had ice-creams afterwards. 
Such a sweet memory.
Cheerful countenance.
Innocent unassuming characters,
not conscious of their own beauty and that to me is real beauty.

Majority of them must be in their mid twenties or early 30s now. Let's pray these orphans are doing well in their respective careers and roles in society. Ameen.

Can't wait to show these photos to the new batch of girls, so that they know everything shall pass - periods of loneliness, feelings of hopelessness on account of being dependent or whatever it is that makes them worry about their future, will eventually get replaced with more positive and happier outcomes, bi iznillah. Indeed, with every hardship comes ease.

Pray Allah grants us a discerning and grateful heart so we could continue to spread some joy year in, year out. Ameen.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Whatever makes you happy | TGIF - Thank God It's [Great] Food

Bismillah.

Hello from KL. How can I not greet you this weekend - you my loyal genuine readers from all over the world. May you remain healthy and happy always.

What makes you happy this weekend?
These make me happy:
  • A new mug that says: "Whatever makes you happy, just do that!"
  • A good Architecture/Interior Design magazine. [Because I have got two ongoing projects - building another small bungalow bi-iznillah and renovating the back patio of my existing home so that we could have kenduri/party for 40 people in total without having to rent a temporary canopy outside of the house. I am all for entertaining guests. I said guests, not gate crashers, LOL!]
  • And of course, sweet sweet cream puff makes me and anyone happy.

Whatever makes you happy

Although, I wished we have got Murtabak San Francisco in KL, like those in Bandung, Indonesia. It's strange how we all name our foods after a place that has got nothing to do with the food at all. For example, in Malaysia, we have got a noodle soup called Mee Bandung. No way you can find that in Bandung. 

Murtabak in Malaysia is eternally savory. Murtabak in Bandung can be utterly sweet like the pic below. But of course Bandung is a city of culinary adventure, so anything goes, I mean not just anything, only super delicious anything. Yes!

Murtabak San Francisco - but only in Bandung.
San Francisco (SF) used to be my playground, I can't recall seeing this there, then. 
Anyhow, I'm confident Clam Chowder still is the go-to comfort food in SF and not Murtabak San Francisco. LOL.

Oh yes, this posting is looking like another rambling. The bottom line is, we praise God for giving us great foods. Alhamdulillah.

Below are more photos of some of the great food I tried during my trip to Bandung. Hope it would inspire you to travel and taste God's generosities in all seven continents and God knows how many islands.

Malaysia is famous for Banana Fritters too.
But the Banana Fritters at Kampung Daun, Bandung (pic above)
was simply out of this world!
Cakes at Kartika Sari Bandung
can make you go berserk


And this is one unforgettable BBQ Oxtail dish
at Paris Van Java mall in Bandung

OK enough of food.
Wish you a happy weekend. It's the last weekend of November, soon we shall embrace the ever so exciting December. Let's exit the year with gratitude.

Alhamdulillah hi hamdan yuwafi 
ni amahu wa yukafi u mazidah


p/s
Gotta record one more sweet memories from Bandung.
Received a text about an Indonesian newspaper wanting to interview me, but ended up having CNN Indonesia doing it. Felt like a celebrity for 3 minutes LOL. 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Year end walk through | Walk of gratitude

Bismillah.

Found this inspiring piece of writing in my Inbox yesterday. It's about 8 strategies super-successful people are using now, to accomplish more next year. It's compiled and written by Michael Hyatt. Some of them may already be familiar to us, still I considered them refreshing and motivating. 

The eight strategies are listed below and I have summarized the key points for my own reference. May it be useful for you too. 

1. Reflect on the past year
We should block some time, the last week of December or just one day before year end, to review the year's calendar, go through our accomplishments or wins in the various areas of life e.g. work, family and decide what things we want to make happen next year so that we can live the most purposeful life we can in 2017.

2. Stay positive
We should leave the old year where it fell. Don't focus on the regrets or the negatives, build on our strengths instead. 

3. Express gratitude
Prepare a "gratitude flood" that is recall or write down every good thing or try identify 50 good things we can remember in 2016. Then ask ourselves what it is that we want to be most thankful for, one year from now. Perhaps, it's better health/weight/waist line or one new skill acquired? John Gordon takes a daily "walk of gratitude", while walking, practice gratitude and pray.

[I find having this blog useful so I could go through my postings beginning from January and see places I traveled to, photos I took, what made me tick, what bothered me etc. Similarly, going through our Instagram photos could help with this "gratitude flood" process.]     

4. Eliminate the excess
Try eliminate the bottom 30% of our activities, projects or commitments that did not give a good pay-off, those under performing tasks which we either hated or loved. By removing these from our calendar we will have freed up more time for activities which could bring in better yield. 

5. Set compelling goals
Set a clear vision for what we want to accomplish in 2017 and why we want to accomplish it. The why is crucial. Think about things that we can work on in 2017 that would make us smile. Then move on from the strategic to the tactical and organize our work accordingly so we can have that smile.

6. Break it down
Once we have decided on our goals for 2017, we should chunk them down to three or four manageable ones which we may want to achieve on quarterly basis. Lisa TerKeurst identified 3 goals namely: giving, family and personal development. She said: "This is a great year to become an expert on something. By pre-deciding what that something is, I can become a strategic student and an eventual expert." 

A great year is a result of a good month, a good week and a good day. "Best years come from best efforts performed daily." - Chris Brogan

[I want to be a fluent/better reciter of the Quran who understands the tajweed rules very well. And I want to learn the Arabic terminologies of 10 salawat which I have identified/memorized. To this end, I am grateful to have found a good Quran teacher who comes to my place twice a week. May Allah increase us in beneficial knowledge. Ameen]

7. Schedule the year
Map out the entire year by blocking out our calendar for the most important things we want to achieve in 2017. When we see the big picture in advance, we will be able to work with more purpose throughout the year.

8. Unplug for a time
Schedule your vacations/time-off to focus on God, family and fun and all other good things except work. A good time to do this is during the last week of the year so that we may embrace the new year feeling refreshed, revived and renewed.
  
Click on the link below to read the full article written by Michael Hyatt.   
Achieve What Matters Most in 2017

***

And folks, don't forget to wear a "gratitude face" : )
May the Light shine on us all, everyday of the year, this year, next year, and the next, next, next...
Ameen.


I post whatever photos of me I like.
My blog is my free country.
I am not apologetic about looking prettier in pics or in person or whatever.
No need to ask me what filter I used.
I wear a face of gratitude.
Shuh...skip this space, if it brings out the worse in you.
They say, kill your darlings, if you have to.
Peace! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Greetings from Paris Van Java

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah
Just a quick greeting, hoping your Monday is ok. My Monday is A-ok cos I have been busy holidaying and seeking knowledge in beautiful Indonesia. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Of course, most of you know Bandung whose nickname is Paris Van Java is a city well known for its factory outlets, great food, volcanoes and cool weather. It's the capital of West Java province, Indonesia. Bandung is about 150 km southeast of Jakarta. It's been two decades since I last visited Indonesia! It was for a conference in Purwakarta, which is midway between Jakarta and Bandung. 

OK, I don't intend to bore you with another typical Bandung-trip story. Don't have plenty of spare time to write a lengthy posting. Just wanted to share some photos of mine taken at two special places in Bandung and in Cimahi (outskirt of Bandung).

Masjid Raya Bandung (below pic) is Bandung's central mosque. The mosque is indeed inviting and visitor-friendly not just for adults but also school children. Thanks to the huge compound in front of the mosque's entrance where kids could play joyfully and adults bask in Bandung's lovely climate. 


What you see is just one third of the field.
This mosque is arguably the one and only mosque in Asia that has got the biggest playground. 
I have had all kinds of pleasant moments in this chilly city, but one chance meeting (or rather a fated encounter) at Masjid Raya Bandung shall remain the best highlight of my trip. I think that's the beauty of brotherhood in Islam. It's wonderful to have an old pious-looking woman, not only greet you but unexpectedly hug you, kiss you and make a lengthy duá for you, voluntarily. She's old and looked a little frail, yet energetic enough to travel from Cimahi to Masjid Raya Bandung, to pray and attend a class, twice a week. She's a senior tholabul ilmi (seeker of knowledge). She exuded a brilliant aura, almost angelical in her speech and demeanor. MashaAllah tabarakallah. Pray we will meet again someday. Ameen. When that happens, let's call it a miracle because I doubt I got her address correctly, due to her heavy Indonesian accent. We shall see.

Another unique discovery was a minimalist yet extraordinary mosque near Cimahi: Masjid Al-Irshad Satya at Kota Baru Parahyangan. 

We are all used to seeing/visiting elaborate mosques in all corners of the world. But I must say Masjid Al-Irshad is in a different league as far as mosque architecture is concerned. Imagine the imam leading prayers facing a fish pond that overlooks to the farthest horizon beyond a specially crafted Allah-globe, reminding a worshiper of the aim of his/her worship. 

The unconventional open air mihrab at Masjid Al-Irshad Satya,
Kota Baru Parahyangan, Indonesia.
I vote Masjid Al-Irshad as the most Zen-like mosque
in the whole wide world!
The perimeter walls of the simple square mosque are specially constructed depicting the kalimah La ilaha illallah. And the ceiling lights that you see in below photo are actually 99 Names of Allah. Each light has got a carving of each of the 99 Asmaul Husna. I wish I had taken a better shot of the lights. Anyhow, it's evident that this mosque is one of a kind.

Notice how the building is "wrapped" with La ila ha illAllah.
99 Asmaul Husna ceiling lights adorn Masjid Al-Irshad, Indonesia.
Notice that glorious flood of natural lights
coming through the "open-air mihrab".
It takes a graceful soul to design such an elegant mosque.
Kudos to the architect and all the craftsmen involved in its construction. 
OK folks until the next posting, wish you all a stress-free and productive Monday. I cherish spending Monday far...far... away from my office. LOL.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni'amahu 
wa yukafi u mazidah.

p/s
Next stops: Surabaya and Jakarta InshaAllah

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Live for the moments | Spend it on yourself

Bismillah.

Oftentimes we wish the dust would settle sooner, especially when things are looking pretty confusing. Even if it seems like the Trump-et has been blown and all orderliness is at stake, we have to keep calm. Yes, keep calm, vote better next time. LOL! 



But, are we strong enough to laugh at the confusion? Perhaps to laugh at a thing needs no good reason, nor justifications. Laugh it off, they say.

It's the weekend, one more sober November weekend, Alhamdulillah. Let's live for the moments. Spend the moment on yourself. Spend it with love, doing things you love.

When my Quran teacher noticed a sketch of Shaykh Ninowy in my living room, he asked: "Are you a murid of the Shaykh?"
LOL. I wished! But I am just a follower, an admirer.

Here's a quote of the Shaykh whose wisdom consistently awakens a sleepy soul like mine.
"Time is precious. Spend it on yourself, improving and elevating it to get into Paradise, rather than wasting time proving others will go to Hell."
- Shaykh Muhammad An-Ninowy

So c'mon, let's go kaizen, continuously improve ourselves with the tawfiq from Allah, bi iznillah.    

I'll be doing Surah An Naziát in my next Quran lesson InshaAllah.
I did some homework, one lesson therein is about the inevitable day.

"On the day when the first trump resounds. And the second follows it. On that day hearts beat painfully. While eyes are downcast..."    
(Quran 79:6-9)

Yauma tarjufur ra jifah
On the day when the first trump resounds

Yes on that day, we'd be dead worried if we could make it to Paradise, we can't be bothered if this fulan or that fulan will go to Hell.

***
Wish you a productive and pleasant weekend.
Love forever,
E

#All Things Fall Into Place
#Ku Harap Kita Kan Selamanya Cinta
#Surihati___
#Eternal Love
: D

p/s
I think the U.S. has just seen a yauma tarjufur ra jifah kinda day.
May Allah protect us and improve our affairs no matter where we are, all of us especially our friends in the US.


Friday, November 11, 2016

One-on-one on The One | Has He not?

Bismillah.

Praise be to Allah. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah my Quran teacher turned up for our first lesson despite the bad weather. I'm still feeling excited - like a small girl being gifted with a chocolate sundae. LOL. 

It was decades since I last sat before a Quran teacher. Folks, it's never too late to get an expert to check on your recitations. 

I'm super excited about my one-on-one Quran lesson tonight. My teacher is a lot younger than me. He is unique because he is a science graduate from abroad and yet is skillful enough to be a certified Quran teacher. OK go ahead google him but please don't stalk him!

I can't wait for our next class. But it's 00:02 it's time to sleep.
Verse number 9 of Surah An Naba (the chosen surah for my first lesson) - it says:
Wa ja al na nau makum suba ta
"And made your sleep for rest"

In this chapter entitled The Tidings, Allah asks us among others:
"Have We not made....your sleep for rest?"

Please correct me if I am wrong, I reckoned Allah asks us (at the outset of The Tidings) about 10 things which He has created.

1. Have we not made the earth a cradle?
2. And the mountains pegs?
3. And created you in pairs?
4. And made your sleep for rest?
5. And made the night a cloak?
6. And made the day for livelihood?
7. And built above you seven mighty ones?
8. And set a radiant lamp?
9. And sent down from the rain clouds cascading water? That with it, We may bring forth grains and plants.
10. And gardens of intertwining foliage?

Gosh, has He not?
Allah Al Bari'
Allah Al Khaliq

***
Good nite all.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Definiteness of purpose | Fly there

Bismillah.

Gotta have this line here. 
It's a timely reminder especially for me (and perchance you too). It's a wonderful feeling to fly towards one's purpose with a solid intention and strong determination.  It's a wonderful feeling and we say thanks to the Almighty, for making things work well, it's like the universe is plotting to assist you. Subhanallah!


"Trust in Allah Taála. He won't just open closed doors, but create doors that didn't exist, and open them for you."
- Shaykh Ninowy

***

Can't wait to fly again soon InshaAllah, to seek knowledge and spend some quality time with my loved ones. Allah is indeed Generous, I was planning for a similar trip early next year, but He brings it forward and He has added an unexpected bonus too.

2016 started good and it's looking like a great wrap-up bi iznillah. I pray Allah would be kind and generous on you too my dear readers, you know who you are. Let us all do loads and loads of salawat and let Allah handle our affairs in the best of manners. I am more convinced now that it's a ticket to ultimate felicity.

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
solatan tuwas si u biha alainal arzak

p/s
To all my No. 1, 2, 3...supporters - I love you for the sake of Allah.
 : )


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Habib Umar bin Hafiz on the importance of salawat

Bismillah.

A friend forwarded me an audio recording of Habib Umar's tausiyah at Masjid Sultan, Singapore on 2nd November 2016. Alhamdulillah. This is my attempt to transliterate Habib Umar's words as translated by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin bin Hamid and Habib Jindan bin Novel - just the intro part though.

***
Praise be to Allah who will gather mankind on the Day of Resurrection - a day which will most definitely come to pass, an inevitable day. Allah is the Best Judge. For those who dispute on His judgments, let them know that the judgment which is in Allah's hand will decide on the things which they argue about. He is the best of judges and none can intervene with His ultimate judgment.

Whomever Allah has destined safety and blissfulness, the person will experience safety and blissfulness for eternity. Whomever Allah has destined wretchedness and disaster, will be in such a state forever. When the time comes for Allah to make His judgments, all other prior judgments that used to prevail will become obsolete and nullified. Pray so that Allah will guide us and grant us His redha (mercy) and that Allah will decide to let us enter the Heavens. We must strive and pray for Allah to choose a good outcome for us, among those who stand firm on the covenant of la ilaha illaallah Muhammad Rasulallah. May we die in such a state.

Those who wish to realize the haqiqah (reality) of the kalimah which Allah has awarded to us, must make an effort to recite plenty of salawat. There's a hadith about Allah rewarding us with 10 salawat in  exchange of one salawat we make. And another hadith by Imam Tirmidhi about those who will be the closest to the Prophet, yaqni those who make the most number of salawat for him salallah alaihi wasalam. This is a belief held by ahlul sunnah wal jamaah. Their shiár (trademark) is by making lots and lots of salawat be it in group or individually, in public or in private. 

There's a hadith about Sayyidina Kaab asking the Prophet about the quantity of salawat he should make. When Sayydina Kaab told Rasulallah he would allocate one third of his time for salawat, the Prophet replied: "Good but if you could do more, then that would be better for you". Sayyidina Kaab responded saying he would spend half of his time to make salawat. The Prophet replied: "It's up to you but if you were to do more then that would be better." If that's the case, Sayyidina Kaab said "two third" and Prophet replied with the same answer until Sayyidna Kaab said he would utilize all of his time to make salawat.

Those who dedicate their time to offer loads of salawat for the Prophet will be forgiven by Allah and Allah will manage all his/her concerns. If Allah protects/preserves a person from his/her problems, now what else is there that could bother him/her? If all his/her wrongdoings have been forgiven by Allah, then there's nothing left to be accounted for in the hereafter. O Allah, protect us from our troubles, and forgive us. We ask You O Allah that You make salawat on our behalf for the Prophet, with the most grand of salawat, deliver it from us, for Rasulallah, his companions, his followers and those who love him. To his forefathers who were among the prophets, their families and their companions; and to all who are close to You among the solehin; and place us among them O Allah with the blessings of the salawat.

[Ameen]

Habib Umar bin Hafiz during his visit to Baálwie Mosque in Singapore
[Pic credit: A friend who got this from a WA group. ]
I've got no clue as to whom the pic credit should really go to
but we are grateful for this sharing, aren't we?
To see such beautiful serene countenance of genuine descendants 
of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam
who consistently display good akhlak and utter words of wisdom
that gladden our hearts. 
True descendants of Rasulallah they are, not just in name. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gladden a heart | Let the Angels reply

Bismillah.

Of course we are all glad by the presence of a scholar like Habib Umar bin Hafiz. No wait, there's no one quite like him. He is who he is. Very special. The aura from his presence gladdens one's heart. The pearls from his speech gladden one's soul.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz gave a tausiyah at Masjid Sultan on 2nd November 2016. Some of you might have attended the event or read about it from Muslimbuzz.sg
If you haven't read, then please go ahead and click on the link.

I wonder what remarks Habib Jindan made that caused Habib Umar to crack such a sweet smile. We gotta say thanks to the photographer for sharing this beautiful moment. Just looking at this photo gladdens my heart!

  
I read the notes from Habib Umar's tausiyah at Masjid Sultan that if we gladden a Muslim's heart, Allah will create an angel to ask for his forgiveness until the Day of Judgment. The angel will accompany this person in the grave and all the way until he gets to the Heavens.

How cool!
[Now will someone say something sweet to me or get me a nice gift to gladden my heart? LOL]

I also learned from Habib Umar's tausiyah about the Angels doing this one important thing for us on our behalf when someone insults us. Indeed it's great to have the Angels do it on our behalf.

"Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam sat and watched the patience of Sayyidina Abu Bakar as someone insulted him over and over. Sayyidina  Abu Bakar kept silent until a certain point when he responded. As soon as he did, Rasulallah stood up and left. Seeing this, Sayyidina Abu Bakar ran after him and said: Ya Rasulallah are you disappointed? Didn't you see how he kept insulting me whereas I replied only once? Rasulallah said: When you kept silent, I saw the angels come near and replied to his insults on your behalf. But when you responded, the angels left and syaitan came instead. And I do not sit where syaitan is present."

This is something we must try hard to remember because it's not easy to refrain ourselves when we are angered. Best to let the angels be our "spokesperson" because surely they are more eloquent and brilliant in their replies.


  

Click on this link to read a transcript of Habib Umar's tausiyah at Masjid Sultan on 2nd November 2016.

Until then.
Peace!

p/s
Go on, gladden someone's heart today : )