Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jan-NEW-ary 2017 | Cross the sea

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah for a colorful and fruitful January. 

How was your Jan-NEW-ary? Did you try something new? How are you doing on your New Year's Resolutions?

I am grateful that I have posted a lil something each day of January. It's just a small gesture to celebrate each day of my life and be thankful for this gift of life.


Anyway, the above photo was taken by yours truly today. It may be considered as one of Penang's best-kept secrets. I love it cos it's unpretentious. It reminds me of my childhood. I would chill at a hut that sits right on the beach, so that when it's high-tide all we had to do was jump off the hut and swim to our heart's content! Praise be to Allah for good ol' happy days.

Wish y'all a fabulous February. And here's my favorite quote of the day, it's by Rabindranath Tagore.


Best wishes,
-E-















Monday, January 30, 2017

Grab three chances

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah...we must thank Allah for these three opportunities as related in a Hadith Qudsi which we all are familiar with. We must also thank the Almighty for giving us the tawfik to do something about it and not let the opportunities pass us by. A sick person, a hungry person and a thirsty person all offer us the opportunity to become closer to Allah.


This is a late posting because I have been busy visiting the sick. It's a humbling experience to see one patient not having anyone visit him. No one! It's a humbling experience to see several old Chinese men and women being hospitalized during the Chinese New Year festivities. 

May Allah grant us all good health so we are able to function well and help those who need a helping hand. We may not be able to make 10,000 zikir Allah...Allah a day - something which might bring us close to Him, therefore, we should try to be useful when a sick person needs our assistance. We should try to be generous and thoughtful towards those who are hungry and thirsty. 

Let's seize the opportunities.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Malcolm X (Malik Shabazz) the Mukhlis | On sincerity

Bismillah.

Better late than never. I am about one to two years late at discovering the greatness of Malcolm X through the talks made by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Reverend Curtis Flemming, Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah in the two videos below.

My takeaways and reflections from watching the inspiring talks by those illustrious personalities:
That Allah is indeed Great and Generous in His rewards towards the tawabbin (the repenters). I thought it's impressive how Malcolm's sincerity about embracing his colorful "past" [early life] and his sincerity about his lack of skills in writing, made many people learn about sincerity from him. You must have heard from the learned about sincerity being a secret of Allah, that no one will ever know if anyone is sincere because it is a fine and subjective matter. But through people like Malcolm we could feel it - sincerity as a result of a man's naked acceptance of Allah's decree wholeheartedly.

Just reading about Malcolm belittling the slavemaster name imposed on him by one white man named Little, you could feel how brutally sincere he was about speaking his mind with regards to his own past and dignity. That he would rather name his surname simply as X. That decision to have an X as his last name is really a landmark gesture of his in honoring his real and true past which might have been greater than Little's self-imposed white supremacy. 

According to Shaykh Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah, Malcolm X, in fact, hailed from a respectable African lineage known as the Fulani. [If I heard him correctly, Malcolm traced his roots to a prominent Islamic scholar Usman Dan Fodio]. Dr Umar quoted a saying by the Mandinka (a great West African tribe of kings and noblemen) that "The world is old, but the future springs from the past."  How apt that saying in reference to Malcolm who sprung from a good past literally, lineage-wise. And we saw how Malcolm had sprung forth from his "criminal past" while still being in prison. While still in prison he experienced true freedom for the first time. He was referring to the awakenings he received through the knowledge acquired from voracious reading, among others.

I think one of the best gifts that Allah could honor a person is by making him/her a reason for someone to understand the truth and accept Islam through him/her. It's impossible to reckon how many people found Islam beautiful just by reading Malcolm X's autobiography, but it soothes the heart to see and know that one beautiful soul like Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah considered Malcolm as the person who was instrumental in him becoming a Muslim.

Allah guides whom He wills. Allah honors whom He wills.












Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gong Xi Fa Cai from Penang

Bismillah.

Gong Xi Fa Cai means wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year.

Penang is usually a happening place during Chinese New Year (CNY) because there are plenty of Chinese who live on this island and there are many local Chinese tourists and Singaporean Chinese who would flock to this island. But this year, somehow, it's not as crowded as the previous years.

I was at a popular hotel at the touristy Batu Ferringhi area and the hotel staffs noticed the same thing. They usually have up to 300 guests for the Chinese New Year's Eve dinner but only about 100 came this year.

Below are some photos of the CNY atmosphere in Penang.

Easy drive on CNY morning.
Macalister Road, Penang

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!
Meaning congratulations/wishing you joy,
from Park Royal Hotel, Penang
  
The biggest Rooster I spotted was the one on Macalister Road, Penang.
It's the year of the rooster, that's why.

Rooster at G Hotel on Gurney Drive, Penang

Xin Nian Kuah Le - Happy New Year!
May we become more prosperous in this lunar new year.


Golden Gong Xi
from Penang with love
[Yes, every CNY, I dressed up for the occasion.
Gold color is the theme this year.]

Glory be to Allah who has created many nations and tribes so that we may know one another.



Friday, January 27, 2017

The hand that rocks the cradle

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
The feeling you get when your mother says "thank you" to you for having surprised her with something that touched her heart.

It's true the saying by Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924):
"Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities.
Seize common occasions
and make them great."

What common occasion did you seize today to gladden someone's heart?
I organized the pantry.
[It's still work-in-progress, though. LOL]

We have to praise the Almighty Allah for good ideas that visit us each day. Got this idea last night, to honor my mom and tonight the design got manifested, fairly quickly much to my surprise.

A custom-designed blinds with this logo:

This made my mother smile! It's going to be a backdrop for our most favorite nook of da houze.




May Allah grant us more and more for the utmost gratitude we express. Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni'amahu wa yukafi umazidah.

Go ahead, do something sweet to make your mother happy today. Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Every day is mother's day.

Wish y'all Malaysians, a safe and happy Chinese New Year weekend.

Jumaah Mubarak!



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blogging from Penang | Floral memories

Bismillah.


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
Praise be to Allah for keeping me safe throughout the 3+ hours drive to Penang. I am delighted to be blogging from my hometown as always. Super duper excited that I have got a new spot to blog at home. 

Can't wait to grow Kesidang (Bread) Flowers and Jasmine on the walls of my backyard in honor of my late Grandma who was so very fond of the flowers. Yes, gardening [and cooking] at my new wet-kitchen, is my Chinese New Year project. What's yours?

Anyway, here's a Malay pantun (poem) crafted by yours truly:

Hijau mekar dedaun cekur  
Kuntuman kesidang menjalar para
Kami anak Kampung Gelugor
bahagia mengenang kisah keluarga

Che Amah nama nenda tersayang
cantik berseri bersanggul melur
Tempat jatuh lagi dikenang
ini kan pula tempat berhibur



My apologies to our foreign visitors, I don't know how to translate the poem to English. It's just me reminiscing my childhood seeing how obsessed my grandma was with Jasmine and Bread Flowers. She would almost always wear these flowers in her hair bun. I remembered spending the school holidays with her. She would teach me Quran recital every day after Asar. Each time we parted she would gift me a handful of Jasmine. I didn't quite appreciate it then, but Grandmas know better because I learned only recently that Jasmine represents appreciation and good luck. And did you know that Damascus is also known as the City of Jasmine? Planting Jasmine at home would be a tribute to the sacred city of Damascus, home of the great Sufi, Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi.

May Allah bless the souls of our families who have passed on to the other realm. May Allah forgive them and place them among those who are near to Him. Ameen.

p/s
May Allah heal our families and friends who are unwell. May Allah bless us with good health so we could worship Him as He ought to be worshiped. Ameen.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Waiter | Writer | Rooster

Bismillah.

I was playing waiter a couple of hours ago. 

The father of Self Publishing, the late Dan Poynter said: "If you wait for inspiration to write, you are not a writer, you are a waiter."

Heh...heh...

If you make a waiter/waitress wait on you too long, you are not going to have anything eaten, soon. Similarly, if you wait too long for ideas to pop up, then you are not going to have anything written.  

To be frank, my mind is already in my hometown, excited about the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays. I have bought some lovely gifts for my Chinese reno-contractors. They have done a good job thus deserve a small gift. In case you didn't know it's the year of the rooster.

Gosh, as a Muslim we can't let the rooster beat us at Fajar. LOL. Let's see how many days will go to the rooster this year. May Allah grant us good health so that we are always fit enough to wake up early in the morning every single day.





Until the morning comes, I wish you a pleasant evening.
May tomorrow be better than today, in all aspects of life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Living wisdom | Beautiful Names

Bismillah.

Yesterday we reflected upon "The Pale Blue Dot", about how insignificant we are in the vast creation of the universe crafted by the Almighty Allah. We are merely 0.12 pixel in size when viewed 4 billion miles away. 

I think there's one thing useful that we could use as we occupy the tiny dot named Earth, it's called wisdom. However, unfortunately, wisdom is a rare commodity that takes time, to manifest. It takes a lifetime. Through the school of hard knocks, we amass it gradually. It's something money can't buy.

Fortunately for us, we get to learn the 99 Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah, the Asmaul Husna. It helps us understand better His workings on the Earth. There's a Name of His for every occurrence. All-encompassing is His Essence that we should keep our faith strong that all good is in His Hands while we maneuver through life with fear and hope. We are small in terms of size and capacity to live smartly and perfectly. But then again we are not born to live smartly and perfectly. We are born to know Him. He has created us so that we could know Him and witness Him.

Ash hadu an la ilaha illAllah.
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.    






Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah
for this beautiful custom-made Asmaul Husna artwork.
A reminder for this faqir, that she should supplicate to Him using His Beautiful Names
and to keep learning and recognizing His Attributes
where ever and when ever.
"Knowledge comes from learning.
Wisdom comes from living."
- Anthony Douglas Williams


I first became acquainted with Asmaul Husna when I was 25. I studied it religiously as it gave me comfort as I was going through deep grief after losing my father. To me, the Asmaul Husna is like a special password with which one could have direct access to the Lord. To knock on the door of the Sultan, one must call Him with the appropriate Names. The best part is that it's not a secret. It's open for all. He is always waiting for us to call upon His Name. To be honest, I don't like people calling me too many times. Luckily, our Lord is One upon whom we could call countless times and He won't mind.



Credit: Steve Keating Tweet

Monday, January 23, 2017

It can't rain forever | Loan Him a beautiful loan

Bismillah.

Of course, my Quran teacher knew it. LOL. That it can't rain forever!

It was raining cats and dogs at 5 pm and my first thought was 'How can he ride a bike in this bad weather' so I took a pic of KL from my office window and sent it to him. Of course, I care about his safety. A couple of weeks ago, a friend alerted to me the sad news about a Quran teacher who died while cycling. It was a hit and run case.

Then my ustaz replied calmly: "I'll see how it goes nearing Maghrib". Sure enough, the rain stopped because it can't rain forever! But most of us often forget this simple fact that it can't rain forever. They say: "Be strong now because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it can't rain forever."

Certainly, we should not make a decision on the assumption that the rain will never stopped, because it will stop bi-iznillah.



My committed ustaz turned up on time and so I had my tajweed lesson. We did Surah Al Maidah and when I was reciting verse no. 12, the ignorant me stopped my recitation midway at the word qard which was wrong! The term qard hassan (a beautiful loan) must be read together. 

The meaning of the verse I was reciting:
"And Allah said: I am with you if you perform prayer and pay alms and believe in My Messengers, honor and assist them, and lend to Allah a beautiful loan. Verily I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow."

I thought it's a good mistake to learn from, not just from tajweed point of view. That Allah wants us to loan Him a beautiful loan, not just a loan but a beautiful loan. It must be qard hassan - beautiful loan.

So I learned, there are at least six places in the Quran where the term beautiful loan gets mentioned - in Surah Baqarah, Surah Maidah, Surah Al Hadid - twice, Surah Al Taghabun and Surah Muzammil.

So I learned, in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, a beautiful loan is defined as this:
"Whatever you spend, then Allah will replace it, and on Him will be the reward of whatever you give away in charity. Allah considered giving charity as if it is a loan to Him."

So now, "Who will loan to Allah a beautiful loan so He may multiply it for him many times?" - Surah al Hadid, verse 11.

***
May Allah make our hands as the hands that give and not just receive all the time. May Allah grant us the capacity to do charitable deeds for His sake and make it easy for us to loan Him a beautiful loan. May Allah make us grateful for the blessings of giving/gifting, because giving is in fact receiving.
Ameen.


To give is to receive!

Reference on "beautiful loan":

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We are nothing | A mote of dust

Bismillah.

If you have not seen this photo before, go ahead and try to locate where we are - we as in the Earth. A tiny dot is who we are. That's us from 4 billion miles away. At such a tremendous distance, we are only 0.12 pixel in size. The photo appeared in Carl Sagan's book "Pale Blue Dot". The photo was captured by a spacecraft (Voyager 1) in 1990.

Carl Sagan's caption to the photo is just a plain hard truth, methinks. He described our home, the Earth as "a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." - Carl Edward Sagan (1934 - 1996)

Pic credit: Nasa/JPL
http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html
Clue: It's the tiny dot on the right-most/cream sunbeam

It warrants a deep reflection on who we really are, in the grand scheme of things created by Allah. What good is our big ego in relation to the vastness and richness of His creation? What good is our selfishness? What good is our pride?

Glory be to the Essence of Allah. Glory be to the Master Planner and Director. 

May Allah make us obedient servants while we are still here on this "mote of dust". May Allah make us useful for the good of mankind while we are still suspended in midair on this "mote of dust".

Let every word we utter be truthful and beautiful so that its branches would grow high beyond the "mote of dust" and reach up to the Heavens.

May Allah grant pardon to our families and friends who used to occupy this good ol' Earth. May Allah accept their good deeds. May Allah grant pardon to us who are still wandering about this planet. May Allah make us wander meaningfully in the way that is pleasing to Him. May Allah help us leave a good mark to the "Pale Blue Dot".

Allah Al Kabir is He.
Allah Al Wasi' He is, indeed!



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Borrowed gifts

Bismillah.

A couple of days ago I met a super gifted senior citizen who is a maestro in his field. In the beginning of his involvement in his craft, he had learned from a legendary multi-talented Malaysian artist, the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee. This person, despite his colorful achievements, spoke with great humility. And needless to say, I was deeply humbled that he agreed to guide and teach me as much as he could! Allah Kareem! He emphasized these facts that we all know, but to hear him utter from the bottom of his soul, left me even more humbled. He said: "I am nothing. We are nothing. Everything good that we have in our hands, comes from Allah. Had he not helped us, had he not facilitated every single thing for us, we could do nothing. I will teach you. Knowledge must be shared."

MashaAllah tabarakallah!

Certainly, all the good stuffs that we have in our brain, in our hands, all that is with us, all are borrowed gifts. Someone I know pretty well, has had to remove his right leg today. A friend, a colleague who's a hard working single mother of four teenage kids, passed away today. I hope this friend of mine will enter her grave and find it as a heavenly abode. Amin.



.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday | Changing perspective

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah it's a pleasant Friday for me, having met some interesting personalities and I was "this close" at taking a selfie with the Prime Minister LOL. Hope you have had a wonderful day too.

It's past Friday actually and here I am writing from my lovely hometown - Penang, again Alhamdulillah. It felt good to take a different route home than the usual predictable one. Changing routes could give you a refreshing perspective towards a lot of things that's going on in your mind and heart. It makes you more flexible. It gives you more empathy because you have become more open minded to the myriad of life's possibilities. 





Thursday, January 19, 2017

I don't care | You don't have to care

Bismillah.

But I care about posting a lil something every day even though, to be honest, I have had a long day today and I am exhausted. Then I saw a Tweet by Steve Keating which made me say YES!
So I created these two posters out of his tweet.




Heh...heh...

I'm more concerned about getting enough sleep and waking up early for my programs tomorrow Friday InShaAllah.

So good night : )



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Being brave for one's faith

Bismillah.

La hawla wala quwwata illah billah.
There is no power no strength except by Allah.

Yes, we all say this, but his conviction may not be as strong as hers, mine may not be as solid as yours.  

Imagine the conviction that the brave men of the past, had. I am reading about the history of Islam of a certain nation where Islam is a minority, how the Muslims were made to fight and were promised lands to build mosques, should they win the battles. And they won! They won a few plots of land, so that several mosques got built on account of their bravery. MashaAllah! Imagine what must have gone through their minds when they were on battlefields. Indeed, fortune favors the brave.

Today, we need not fight for another person's cause in order to strike a good deal for our faith. Today, all we have to do is part with some of our money so we could help build a mosque. The ballgame is different now.

It's good to reflect and ask oneself, how I can be braver in regards to my faith? Are we brave enough to have a high degree of tawakkul that things will all be fine when it looks impossible and miserable. Are we brave enough to love unconditionally without expecting anything in return? Are we brave enough to trust wholeheartedly? How do we conquer our fears in all these areas - in having tawakkul, in loving and in trusting? It is of course, easier said than done. 

Just think about those Muslim soldiers (drafted by non-Muslims) who were promised lands for mosques in exchange for a victory. Because of their bravery and victories, they set the foundation for Islam to grow in terms of numbers and strengths, decades after decades. I am referring to Muslims in South Africa in the 1800s. God bless them all!

May Allah make us brave for the right reason and fight our fears for a good cause, as they did.


Photo credit: BriceFR

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Say something | Say something good

Bismillah.

I'd almost missed saying something on Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017. Oh...that's a nice date: 17.1.17.
[Writing this on Wed 2.57 a.m. actually. It's a backdated posting shhh! LOL]

I was awakened and remembered I've not said something good for Tuesday. It's not that difficult to say something good. The Prophet pbuh said: "Saying something good is charity." To smile to another person's face is also charity. Charity is easy. 

When I woke up a lil while ago, I saw a message from my ustaz reminding me of our Quran lesson, that is charity too. Reminding people of something good.




We will never know which of our seemingly good actions would be accepted by the Almighty Allah. We'll just have to try, to keep doing something good every day. Saying something good is one of them.

p/s
It's an often quoted saying of the Prophet pbuh and there are plenty of freely and readily available posters for this quote, out there. But I crafted the above poster myself so I could earn a bit of extra points LOL. And I thank Allah for letting me find a cute photo to go with it. Cute in my eyes. Must thank Allah for enabling our limbs to do something good. May Allah forgive us for all the wrongs that our limbs have done. Amin Ya Rabb.

Photo credit: Adam Jones

Monday, January 16, 2017

On choosing

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah for this new lesson I learned today - a du'a tweeted by Mufti Abdul Rahman. Some of you well-learned readers might already be familiar with this short yet powerful du'a. Mufti Abdul Rahman described it as a mini-istikhara prayer.



What is "more difficult' in our eyes may not necessarily be more difficult and bad in reality. Anything that appears to be "less difficult" may not necessarily be a better option. We are often clouded by our lower-self (nafs) when making a decision. We are often ignorantly biased towards a faster or easier option. We cannot possibly make an informed decision as good as the Lord, so let Him.

Is it possible that we choose a thing but not select it? It is quite possible that we choose one of two selections but we don't actually select it, as in carry out what we have chosen. It's quite possible, methinks.

May Allah keep us guided on the Straight Path.
Amin Ya Rabb.

Hope you have had a pleasant Monday. Hope you have made at least one person feels loved today ; )
Because there is only one happiness in life, that is to love and be loved.

Alhamdulillah May Allah shower His brilliant mercy and gifts onto each and everyone who loves us. May Allah give a long life to each and every single person whom we love because it's a wonderful blessing to have someone to love. May Allah forgive those whom we loved, who had passed on to the realm of barzakh. May Allah choose an everlasting peaceful and beautiful abode for them.
Amin Ya Rabb.



   

Sunday, January 15, 2017

To love and be loved

Bismillah.

Love is in the air.

I have just got back from a wedding. That's why. Don't speculate. LOL.

It's true, isn't it? There is only one happiness in this life - to love and be loved.




Today and tomorrow, be the reason someone feels loved.
And repeat.
It's not that difficult.
 : )


Post-wedding pose at 11 pm
and then I realised I got to post something for today. LOL.
So there! Sorry...
Luv,
E
Good nite!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Make me a flightless bird, I am fine." - Mr Sphenisciformes | Accept your role

Bismillah.

It's 11 pm and I am super tired. As far as creativity is concerned...check the photo below borrowed from Brain Pickings - 11 pm's creativity doesn't look promising.


Anyway, how many of us took for granted about Penguin being the only bird that can't fly but can swim. Penguins are just adorable and people accept them for who they are. We don't really care that they "fail" to fly, do we? We don't mock a Penguin for being a bird and yet not able to fly. 

Imagine, how would you react if God were to tell you at the outset of your creation that He is going to make you a bird but you will be the only bird who can't fly? You might have jumped - No way, I am going to look like a fool! But Mr Penguin whose scientific name is Mr Sphenisciformes, accepted his role anyway.
  
What about us? What is our tolerance level? How much energy do we waste thinking about what people might say about us, about who we are when we are in fact who we are? How many of us spend time wondering what people might say if we do this or that or we don't do this or that? How many of us dare to be different and accept Allah's decree without a sigh?

I think if we're patient enough and acceptable about the Creator's decree, He would reward us. He makes penguins so cute that people ignore their so called "flaw". Likewise, I think we are going to look cool when we are comfortable in our skin and accept Allah's decree gladly.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Takhalli | Discard

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum
I am pleased to be able to wish you good morning on this lovely Friday. Alhamdulillah for being alive and healthy, for feeling calm and contented.

Feeling really good this morning after deleting some 15,000 emails under the "Social" and "Promotions" Tab! I'm not sure what to do with the 20,000 emails under the "Primary" Tab, yet, but that's ok for now. Discarding 15,000 emails just now made me feel good. LOL. It's like the feeling we usually have after doing the laundry and spring-cleaning the house.

It reminds me of the term takhalli, which I learned/heard from a couple of ustaz. I'm sure you are familiar with the term too. It comes in three actually: takhalli - tahalli - tajalli.

If you're not familiar, then please go read up or ask the experts on the meanings of these tasawwuf jargons.

Just remember takhalli every time you feel good about cleaning up your space, be it physical or virtual. Takhalli is about discarding the bad, the unnecessary and then empty the trash bin. It's about withdrawing and/or refraining from the negatives. It's not as easy as it sounds. It's a life-long process. 

On this blessed Friday, let's pray Allah would help us cleanse ourselves regularly, daily and not keep so much trash for too long. That He would forgive us completely. Amin Ya Rabb.  





Wish y'all a wonderful weekend.

p/s
Am excited about going to Penang, again : )
Again, next week and the week after and the week after....InShaAllah.
Alhamdulillah Allah Kareem.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Because he/she worked for it, you have to work for it too

Bismillah.

I am pretty sure when you were small, your father/guardian never told you how he dreamed of success. You just saw the fruits of his hard work. You got to enjoy the success he reaped from the work he put in. You still get to enjoy his success for as long as you live because he gave you education. That's a "living" success if you will. 

There is no fixed definition of success that could fit each person perfectly because our paths are different. Yet, there's only one definition for work - it means just that, work.

I was 17 when my late father bought me an Estee Lauder lipstick. For decades I took Estee Lauder for granted, as just another successful brand, until I saw this one saying by the woman who built the brand, who started building the brand in 1946.

    
I thought that's kinda masculine and raw a statement, coming from such a feminine beauty legend. It's like knocking some sense in your head, that you can't just put on a nice lipstick and sit and expect to be successful. You have got to work hard. That you shouldn't even be dreaming about success. That work is the only currency. That work is the only commodity.

I bet those people who're instrumental in your life, they were too busy working that you had no chance of hearing them talk about their dreams. They worked hard so you could taste their success. It's only fair that you work for it too because he/she had worked hard for it, for the love of you.

May Allah bless our parents/guardians for their hard work just so that we're adequately fed with tangible and intangible nourishments.

Amin Ya Rabb.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Oldest and youngest you | Du'a Ammar bin Yasir

Bismillah.

It's mid-week already. It's easy to get sucked into the daily chores and treat today as just another day. Then, I saw this quote below. That "today" must be made as the best day there is, it's not just another day,





The full version says:

"Today is the oldest you have ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again. So live life to the fullest today and have no regrets."

Hmm... I thought we should naturally have regrets, for certain deeds, as a way of muhasabah.

Anyway, it's good to reflect on a daily basis of the fact that today is the oldest we have ever been and the youngest we'll ever be again. It's kinda sad to think about it, isn't it? But, seize the day we must, and make it our personal best.

And this beautiful dua' which Ammar bin Yasir heard from Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam is one du'a which could help us live life to the fullest for as long as He knows life is good for us. It's one du'a I intend to memorize, next. 

"O Allah, I ask You through Your knowledge of the unseen and Your power over the creation,
give me life as long as You know life is good for me,
give me death as long as You know death is good for me
O Allah, I ask You for fear of You, in open and in secret
O Allah, bless me with true speech whether I am happy or angry
O Allah, I ask You for Your blessings that never finishes
O Allah, I ask You for joy/coolness of the eyes that never ceases
O Allah, I ask You for contentment with destiny 
and for ease of life after death
O Allah, I ask You for the joy/sweetness of looking at Your face
and an eagerness to meet You
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from hardship that harms
and tribulations that misguide
O Allah, adorn us with the raiment of faith
O Allah, make us of those guided and guiding."

[Amin Ya Rabb]

Reference:
  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Make time for Quran

Bismillah.

Quoted from: Islamic Online Univ Twitter

I just needed to have this important reminder here.

Last night was my 12th private Quran lesson, Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. I think the best thing I did in 2016 was to start this private Quran lesson.

No doubt, the ustaz gets paid for it, but the fact is that his effort is priceless. Imagine how Allah moved his heart to accept the offer and moved his limbs to travel quite a distance to come to my place twice a week. Imagine the pahala (rewards) he gets for each mile he traveled. I reckon he gets more rewards from the session than me, the student, am pretty sure of that. Each week he has to adjust his schedule to accommodate his students just because everybody cannot seem to stick to the agreed-upon days. So at the start of the week, he would diligently follow up with all his students, fixing the lesson slots for everybody. MashaAllah.

Sometimes, this super-lazy-me wished I could have class every day just so that I would read the Quran every single day. But of course, that's not feasible. There's just so much that he (our guide/people) could do to help me (us). We have to do a lot more on our own.

I know my ustaz must be very sincere in teaching, yes I know, because last night when I was awakened in the middle of the night, my tongue instantly and voluntarily pronounced tha, za zo and dho! Because he told me the night before that I had the tendency to mispronounce those letters, that the makhraj need to be perfect, not just good but perfect! So what happened was, my tongue magically, consciously or unconsciously practised the pronunciation of those letters repeatedly the moment I was awakened in the middle of the night! LOL. On a serious note, I think only a truly sincere teacher could impart knowledge onto a person's soul. Sincere teaching hits deeper.   

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to read the Quran on a daily basis. May Allah make it easy for us to prioritise our daily activities in the way that's pleasing to Him. Amin Ya Rabb.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Hold on to that crown

Bismillah.

Good evening to you loyal readers who keep coming back hoping to see me show up LOL.

Yes, I've decided to show up every day InshaAllah even if I have to write a posting from a phone. Even if all I could say is Alhamdulillah!

Anyway, here's a reminder to us all. It's a saying by the venerable Imam Shafie:
"Health is a crown that the healthy wear on their heads, only the sick people can see the crown."

Yes and yet how many of us take, the blessings of good health, for granted?

Oftentimes as we get caught in the daily grind perhaps chasing after something that we don't really need, or that we have enough already, we take for granted of the invisible crown above our head. Let's be grateful for the crown of health. Let's be more grateful of it today than yesterday and repeat tomorrow.

If I recalled correctly it's said that the two blessings that most people tend to ignore until it's a little too late are the blessings of good health and having free time.

Until tomorrow,
Good night from KL.

-E-




p/s
I humbly ask for your du'a for my uncle who is ill. I'm humbled that each time I parted with him, he would say "thank you" even though I have not done much favor for him. And in fact, the reverse is true.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The 32nd Majlis Ratib Jalalia held in Penang | Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Feeling really fortunate to have sat in majlis zikir and mawlid led by Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib. The event was officially known as 'The 32nd Grand Majlis of Ratib Jalalia'. It was held at the historic Masjid Lebuh Acheh in Penang on 7th January 2017.

Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib is a Sufi Master, an Islamic Scholar from South India who is also known as an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and an author. He has been listed among 'The 500 Most Influential Muslim' for 5 years in a row, beginning from 2013. He received his PhD from the Columbia Pacific University, USA.

Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib comes from an outstanding family background of renowned Islamic scholars and is said to be a descendant of Sayyidina Abu Bakar (r.a). MashaAllah tabarakallah! I have not known or met anyone who descends from the much-beloved companion of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam. We all know, albeit just having a speck of knowedge of the wonderful good deeds that Sayyidina Abu Bakar r.a. had done for the Prophet pbuh and Islam. We all know about Sayyidina Abu Bakar as a doting sahabi, and here we have his family among us. Subhanallah! 

For more info on Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib, please visit
http://thaikashuaib.org/biography/
http://thaikashuaib.org/lineage-forefathers/

When I was at the majlis, I did not forget to say a prayer for some of you readers/friends of this blog who are close to me. You know who you are!

May Allah grant Shaykh Dr Thaika good health and a long life so we could benefit from his presence and guidance. Amin Ya Rabb.


Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib at Masjid Lebuh Acheh, Penang
7 Jan 2017



p/s
Later today, I intend to visit Shaykh Abdullah Bukhari (Penang's top scholar) InShaAllah. The shaykh will be a guest of honor at an event tonight where Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib will give a talk in Tamil. I am going to request Shaykh Abdullah Bukhari to convey my salam to Shaykh Dr Thaika. YaHuuu, wish me luck : )

p/s
Mission accomplished, Alhamdulillah!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Make change happen

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah the Most Caring Lord Allah subhanahu wa taala, kept me safe during my journey. I have been driving long distance quite often, of late and realized something during one of the journeys. That driving alone, quietly for three hours plus, should qualify as suluk (solitude), provided one spends the quiet time doing non-stop zikrullah or salawat or tafakur (contemplation). It was a wonderful feeling Alhamdulillah

I suppose you could have the same experience if you took a bus, provided you don't give in to Whatsapping. May Allah make us take advantage and benefit from free time.

I saw this inspiring quote, thought I re-create it and place it here so I would remember, not that I want to preach.



Like many of you out there, I intend to change for the better this year - change for the better as a person and change certain things/circumstances for the better. It can be tough. It might be easier if we have got people near us who are supportive, cooperative who would cheer on us as we strive to change. Sometimes the road to change can be lonely. When it gets lonely, it's good to re-affirm our niyat (intention) for wanting the change and remind ourselves that Allah is aware of the niyat. That in fact, He has counted the niyat as a good deed bi-iznillah.

Pray Allah grant us the tawfiq to make change happen, that we would focus, focus, focus - that is follow on course until success.

Wish y'all a pleasant and productive weekend. I have got a majlis zikir to attend tonight InShaAllah. It's also a majlis haul commemorating the passing of Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al Jilani. May Allah bless the soul of my late father, it was he who first told me who Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al-Jilani was. I was 15 years old. 

Ah...let's tawassul with a sacred soul such as Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al Jilani, so that Allah takes pity on us and helps us as we struggle to change for the better and make change happen in a way that "better" is ensured.

Amin Ya Rabb.

7.1.17
7th Jan 2017
Page 7 of Twenty Seventeen





Friday, January 6, 2017

Different path | Allah Al Ghani

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum
Wish y'all a blessed Friday. It's the first Friday in 2017. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Today, I saw a quotable quote so fitting with my recent experience regarding an old friend who mocked me for not hopping jobs.



I think it takes wisdom and maturity to accept the multiplicities of life. Allah the Almighty works in wondrous ways. He wants us to walk on different paths because He is Rich Al Ghani and wants to enrich each one of us differently. He reserves different kinds of gifts for each one of us. His Richness is boundless.

We have lots of things to thank Him for. We should not forget to thank Him for giving us an open-mindedness at seeing His grand plans. We should not forget to thank Him for making us patient and contented in accepting His decree. We should not forget to thank Allah for making us conscious of His signs everywhere. We should thank Allah for making us conscious of the presence of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam and thus recite plenty of salawat for him (pbuh).

May Allah Al Mughni continue to enrich us with useful knowledge, good health, tranquility, and much prosperity. Amin Ya Rabb!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Islamic Text Institute | Cape Town's Heavenly Gardens

Bismillah.

It was wonderful to hear from one honorable acquaintance of mine, Shaykh Allie Khalfe of South Africa, so I took the opportunity to congratulate him on the opening of the Islamic Text Institute's new premises at Surrey Estate in Cape Town. The Institute held an open day on 13th December 2016 with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks as the guest of honor who officiated the lovely place. 

Among the guests who attended the Islamic Text Institute's Open Day on 13 Dec 2016:
Qari Shaykh Bienyamin Toefy, Brother Yaseen Kippie
and Umar Kemp (age 90) a regular tholabul ilmi at the Institute

The Islamic Text Institute's beautiful new premises.
Contributions are welcomed:
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: 5309 Type: MARKETLINK
Account: ISLAMICTEXT
Number: 07-620-713-7
The Islamic Text Institute has just begun offering Arabic & Tafsir classes for 2017 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Shaykh Allie Khalfe who leads the Islamic Text Institute, conducts this class at their new premises on Jupiter Road in Cape Town.

Shaykh Allie Khalfe with Umar Kemp at the Institute's opening ceremony.
May Allah give us a long healthy life as He the Almighty has blessed brother Umar Kemp.
At 90, he remains an istiqamah knowledge seeker.  

As a friend in faith, I wish Shaykh Allie Khalfe and his jemaah/students at the Islamic Text Institute all the very best for 2017 and beyond. Cape Tonian Muslims are indeed fortunate to be living in a highly spiritual and beautiful environment. On 14th December 2016, a Mawlid was held at the main Al Zawiyah center at Walmer Estate, Cape Town. 

Also in December 2016, a special zikir circle for ladies was held in the presence of its patron Shaykh Seraj Hendricks and Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks, the grandchildren of  Shaykh Muhamamd Salih Hendricks who first initiated the zikir circle for women in Cape Town about 90 years ago. 

I do not know of a must-visit popular city in the world which has a disciplined, committed and wonderfully close-knit Muslim community, other than Cape Town. May Allah preserve His blessings on them all.
   
Mawlid at the Al Zawiyah - In unison, in white, each one of them, MashaAllah
(Azzawia/the Al Zawiyah is a waqaf  belonging to the Hendricks family at Walmer Estate, founded in 1920
by Shaykh Muhammad Salih Hendricks)
[Pic credit: FB of the Islamic Text Institute]
For more info on Azzawia please visit
http://www.zawiyah.org.za/

Zikir Circle for Women - all white too!
[Pic credit: Shafiq Morton]
For more info on the history of this special zikir tradition for women, visit:
http://surfingbehindthewall.blogspot.my/2017/01/the-ad-dairat-us-salihiyyah-dhikr.html
 

For further info on Cape Town's new generation of the scholars, namely Shaykh Allie Khalfe and the organization he leads - the Islamic Text Institute - do follow his wordpress at below link:
https://islamictext.wordpress.com/

Once again, we say mabruk to the scholars of Cape Town and their jemaah. 
Please do remember us in your du'a.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Show up | What to chase

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah, I woke up healthy and thankful for another chance at this life. Hope you woke up healthy too.

I decided to try to show up here every day, InshaAllah. I realized there must be something positive to write every day, it need not be academic or "religious". There should be some positive words to send out. There must be something positive buried in a day even if sometimes it's clouded by negativities or if it gets deafening with noises. On some days we have to look harder for the good and the positive that take place on that day. But I think on most days, it's there, the good and the positive is clearly visible, thus we should acknowledge it.

I came across below sayings/Tweet by Vala Ashfar. It's a good reminder for us to rethink and recheck what is it that we chase after. Yes, of course, it would be better to chase education, happiness, joyful work and ways to help - ways to help ourselves and others.

Today is the 4th of January, let's be mindful of what we write on this page 4 of our 365-page book called Twenty Seventeen.

Ahh...I have Quran lesson today, YaHuuu!
Several years back, I made a conscious decision to say YaHuu when I'm happy, instead of Yippie etc. because that's a zikir - Ya Hu

Did you know that our (Malaysia's) king decided to make his subjects say Allahu Akbar instead of Daulat Tuanku (a proclamation affirming the sacred power of the King). Because according to His Majesty, Sultan Muhammad V, saying Allahu Akbar would give the person/proclaimer more benefit than for him/her to say Daulat Tuanku.
   
Allahu Akbar!  
May Allah grant the King a long, meaningful and prosperous life, and may we benefit from his wisdom and piety. Ameen.





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Unsubscribe

Bismillah.

It's only the second day of the new year, already I received unpleasant remarks from people I don't quite understand. Each time this person communicates with me, she would ask if I intended to retire at my present employment, she just kept asking the same question as if I must be insane to be working with the same organization for so long. Oh well, if I am happy, contented and excited about my profession, why change just because most other people (the so called high achievers in her circle) would hop job every three years. Oh well, I don't care about other people. I am me.

It so happened, yesterday, I saw this positive tweet, I made a poster of it and kept in my pix library for this blog. I guess, it's time to share, in case there is another person out there who has to face the same kind of negative character. 



Let's move on uber spirited and peppy. Don't think twice about blocking negative people. Simply unsubscribe them. Let's guard our mind and heart space well. Life is too precious to let other people impose their standards on us. And we don't have to subscribe to other people's definition of success. We can think and choose for ourselves, surely.
And having said, true believers would believe in this:
"My life may not be going the way I planned it, but it is going exactly the way Allah planned it."


p/s
Yes, I blocked that person immediately! 2017 must be filled with only positive input, no two ways about it.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Great first day | Praise be to Al Hadi

Bismillah.

They say, "Today, (1st Jan) is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one."

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
I had a wonderful experience on the first day of the new year.

Accompanied my nephew to one popular barber on Acheh Street, Penang. Son & Dad Barbershop is managed by a bunch of talented young Muslim man. They are well known for their vintage decor, uniform (lab/doctor's coat) and of course, their craft. The place is on the George Town heritage/tourist trail, it was extra crowded as it was the first day of the new year. 

I then met Brother Abdul Ghafur who manned a dakwah booth right in front of the iconic Acheh Street Mosque. He was with his team from the Islamic Dakwah Foundation (IDF) based in Kampung Kolam Penang where they hold free Quran classes three times a week. The IDF is 8 years old and has 40 active members. Its dakwah activities and materials are funded by members, volunteers, local donors and Saudi Arabia government. 

Abdul Ghafur ever ready to introduce Islam to the hundreds
(sometimes thousands) of tourists who scale George Town on foot. He and team operate the booth twice a month on top of public holidays.
The pale yellow structure in the background is the minaret of  Acheh Street Mosque built in 1808.
According to Abdul Ghafoor, the "I love Jesus" bunting behind him has been attracting many foreign tourists. Each person who inquired will be given free English Quran by Yusuf Ali. 

English and Mandarin Quran available for would-be reverts and curious non-Muslims, many of whom would be invited to enter the Acheh Street Mosque. There's a good variety of booklets and pamphlets for Muslims too.
Abdul Ghafur's colleagues engaging with tourists who
visited the Acheh Street Mosque

And...the best part of my new year's day outing was when the ever generous Almighty let me have the honor of teaching wudhu and prepare two fresh reverts for Solat Asar! Yes, two 20-something ladies from Guangdong China had just professed the syahadah when I arrived at the mosque. Another member of the Islamic Dakwah Foundation saw me and requested me to assist the two ladies: Siti Aishiah and Siti Maryam (their new names). MashaAllah tabarakallah!

Siti Maryam (left) 23 years old and Siti Aishiah (right), 22
holding a Quran in Mandarin,
a gift from the Islamic Dakwah Foundation
- such a special gift on the first day of the new year,
such a blessed bold move they made!

Siti Aishiah and Siti Maryam's performed their first solat,
about 15 minutes after professing syahadah!
They were on the George Town tourist trail, stopped by the IDF booth, visited the mosque and received hidayah!
They will be flying back to China tomorrow.
May Allah grant them tawfiq and useful knowledge, may they blossom as pious Muslimah.


Alhamdulillah for the opportunity and experience. Alhamdulillah for a wonderful first page of my 365-page book called Twenty Seventeen.


Praise be to Allah Al Hadi.