Friday, July 31, 2020

Eidul Adha Mubarrak 2020

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we have come to embrace another Eid. I hope it comes with better circumstances for all of us. "Better" is both subjective and relative, of course. In any case, may Allah grant us the strength to see the positive sides in all His af'al

I came across one encouraging statement by one learned man. He says the best way to advise oneself is by advising others. Though I would like to emphasize that this space is not about advising others, it's just an ordinary sharing platform. Today I wish to advise myself to rejoice in His qudrah.  Indeed, He is over all things competent.

 
Quran 3:26




Eid Mubarrak!






Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Eid Mubarrak | Selamat Hari Raya 2020

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

I am about a week late, LOL, but it does not matter as long as I am present here and now with an ever joyful heart that is full of gratitude.

But I must admit I was a little surprised to see one of the weekly most visited postings: "How to heal a broken heart" LOL.

I hope, if you happen to be broken-hearted, don't despair, we belong to Allah, and he/she who might have caused you to be broken-hearted also belongs to Allah. If he/she has cheated on you, or hurt you, let it be cos he/she is not worthy of remembrance because you are enough to face the Lord. The Lord did not say, 'Come back to me in pairs' LOL. You are your own person. You do not need anyone's validation except the Prophet's salallah alaihi wasalam.

I pray, your heart and mind will be liberated and thereby attain real success. I pray Allah will facilitate your affairs and show you things as they really are. That you have the awareness and a firm resolve to truly understand that you should flee from Allah to Allah, from His wrath to His mercy, from darkness to Light, from Jalal to Jamal. That you recognize Him in both states, qabdhu, and basthu. That you contemplate His manifestations upon yourself and on the horizon too. And ultimately realize that it is all His and everything perishes save His Face.

When He capacitates us in such a manner, it will be easy to leave all matters that do not concern us. Our job is to focus on and follow our own course. Every day will be Eid if we could comprehend our raison d'etre and liberate our soul.

***
Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir & batin.

- E. Ismail



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ramadhan Kareem 1441 Hijri | Flee to the Almighty

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

I hope this posting finds you well, and that you and I shall be given good health and tawfiq by Allah from Day 1 of Ramadhan until the last day, to fast and perform all other ibadah in the best manner, and that Allah would accept it from us. Aamiin Allahumma Aamiin.

It is humbling, to say the least, that we cannot visit the House of Allah this Ramadhan as most countries are on lockdown. Below is a screenshot of my neighborhood mosque. How blessed are they! They are the chosen ones. But I am sure they are missing us too, the jemaah

This mosque customarily broadcasts majlis taalim via FB Live every single day after Maghrib and Subuh, sometimes during Duha too. The number of viewers rarely exceeds 20 (if I am not mistaken), yet the show goes on. Since March 18th, 2020, only three of them (imam/bilal) are allowed to carry out their duties at the mosque. HRH the Sultan of Selangor has decreed the closure of all mosques in Selangor until 31st May 2020.

This is a picture of them reciting a special du'a in conjunction with the arrival of Ramadhan. During Ramadhan, on a daily basis at 6.30 pm, they would broadcast Yaasin and Tahlil recitations prior to Iftar and Tadarrus Al Quran at 9.45 pm.


Eve of Ramadhan
23 April 2020

I thought this photo should be here to honor them and to document this unprecedented occasion that has befallen the entire world. 

As we perform our prayers, particularly, teraweh at home, it is worth reflecting on the lessons that the pandemic has presented to us. As for me, I want to regard it as an opportunity to truly be alone with the Alone, albeit inwardly, and to be in seclusion (khalwat) with the Almighty, as if He is reminding us to not fret because He is nearer to us than our jugular veins and that this entire world is a mosque. So let us set some big, hairy audacious goals - daily Ramadhan goals. Let's strive, fastabiqul khairat! 

Setting goals and recording our progress would be useful as it would remind and motivate us. Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced in Malaysia, I pledged to make 500 selawat a day (the one taught by Habib Umar asking Allah for mighty support). I am pleased to share with you especially the young ones, a photo of my selawat progress report. Since 19th March 2020, I have so far recited over 17,000 selawat. On some days, I do slightly more than 500, as I might get busy with my MBA assignments on other days. So I know how much I have slacked and how much I have to speed up. There were days when I felt overwhelmed or a little unmotivated, so this small notebook served as a beautiful picker-upper. I would run my fingers through the numbers as if it was braille for my blind heart, reminding me of what truly matters in life.

Sometimes I wished I could save RM500 a day and make similar records. LOL. A friend shared with me a beautiful custom-designed Ramadhan scorebook. It does not matter the form or format. This notebook of mine costs merely RM5, but to me, it is worth more than RM5,000 as it symbolizes my love and commitment to keeping my line-of-sight with the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. I hope to continue doing this post-MCO for as long as I live InShaAllah. I am sharing this because I wished someone had told me to do this when I was in my 20s or 30s. I wished selawat had become a natural thing to do then. But that's ok, what is important is that I can keep harping on this until it falls on the hearts of the young ones among us, bi-iznillah.




Today is also a humbling day as I reflect on Allah's generosities towards me, the way He has been facilitating my affairs and surprising me with boons. It would be a great shame if I cannot offer extra gratitude to Allah. I have a means, this laptop, to speak good about Him and about the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. It would be a shame if a good thought passes my mind about posting a positive sharing, but I don't act upon it. Indeed, we have to proclaim the bounty of the Lord, He is Al-Kareem, Al-Wali, Al-Wadud.

He is Al-Hadi Al-Aleem. We would not know a thing, had He not guide and teach us. 
Let's flee to the Almighty.

WaSalamualaikum warahmatullah,

- E. Ismail





Sunday, April 5, 2020

Give value to time | Isolate

Bismillah.

This is just another personal reflection.

Khalwat or isolation or social distancing has always been good for the soul. But social distancing in the context of a spiritual khalwat is not about keeping a distance of 1 or 2 meters between people. It is about occasionally distancing oneself from the crowd altogether, it is about going into a private retreat where one isolates him/herself at a quiet space, to mind one's own business, particularly one's transactions with the Creator.

It is a common practice for those who are on the spiritual path. They would actively cleanse their souls by committing to khalwat. How do they give value to time during khalwat? They commit to inward and outward servitude. I think even if we can't do a proper khalwat, it is wise to distance our hearts from the mortals and the irrelevance.  

All of a sudden millions of people are in khalwat though a majority might not realize it. I was reminded of the term khalwat upon watching a tausiyah by Habib Novel Al-Aydrus two weeks ago. He advised the audience to take advantage of the Movement Control Order (MCO) or the likes of it as practiced in your respective countries.

It is indeed a good opportunity to gear up on one's amal. I must admit as someone who is a recluse, unsociable, an introvert, I have always practiced social distancing LOL. I am loving it!

I hope a sizeable sample of the population who are on quarantine would stumble on this blog and find the postings useful, some of them, if not all. I hope the old yet timeless lessons from the shuyukh would give value to your time. 

The present circumstances made me question myself in terms of the value I had given to time in the old world - the world before the C-outbreak. It made me realize even more of the importance of journaling and documenting the lessons and experiences we had. If we did not make an attempt to record the paths trodden be it through photography or writing, it would be just like a blank paper without meaning. Though it might be possible to find some traces of our past smears in a hater's record. Why carry other people's baggage?

I pray so that Allah would give us the strength to ignore matters that are not of our concern. Except maybe the good of humanity in general and certainly not Mr. A's episode B or Miss B's episodes A, B, and C.

The episodes of our lives are indeed unique. How each one of us gives value to time is also unique, it is like a private conversation with the Lord, a private interaction with Him who records even that of our non-movement and silence. So let's use our time wisely.

May Allah keep us safe in His most perfect protection.
Aamiin.










'Business as Usual' during quarantine = studying, online meetings re office work & MBA assignments and caring for my dear mother. Plus, manually recording in a notebook, my 500 daily selawat and the zikir assigned by Habib Umar bin Hafiz for the month of Shaaban. I am pretty sure there are people who do 1000+ selawat or 3000 zikir a day. I wish more people would openly share their selawat/zikir routine. To me, it is like a good campaign. It is not self-advertising. It is advertising the Prophet (salallah alaihi wasalam) and reminding people to nourish their souls. Unfortunately, the ads on Dalgona coffee has gotten a lot more air-time. LOL.

Anyways, I love appearing in the blogosphere more than I do on other socmed platforms. I think it has got something to do with you, who have husnul zan towards me. Thank you!
Fi amanillah.

***

Habib Novel's tausiyah on khalwat 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B93-hJGclr4
[in the Indonesian language, though]


Monday, March 30, 2020

Zikir for Shaaban 1441 Hijri as recommended by Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

Let us all act upon this assignment. To state the obvious, Habib Umar is recommending it to us for our own good, in this world and the hereafter.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to act upon it. May Allah make our tongues light and inclined to lofty affirmations. May Allah enliven our hearts with the remembrance of His Essence.

Aamiin Allahumma aamiin.


Pic credit: Nabawi TV

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Kembali kepada yang bererti

Bismillah.

Dalam keheningan malam, dalam kecelaruan suasana, dalam kekalutan dunia, naluri kita acap kali membawa diri kembali kepada yang bererti. Yang bererti itu adalah sesuatu yang mendamaikan, sesuatu yang meyakinkan, suatu kebenaran yang tiada ragu padanya.

Saya terpanggil untuk kembali ke sini untuk beberapa ketika, menjenguk ruang yang sering menenangkan hati saya. Bukan kerana apa yang pernah tersurat di sini, tetapi kerana ianya ibarat ruang kosong yang menerima apa sahaja yang dicurahkan, tanpa prejudis. Ia bagai telinga yang selalu sudi mendengar apa jua tempo keluhan, apa saja melodi perasaan.

Seumpama kata-kata Rumi: "Di luar batasan tanggapan yang benar mahupun yang salah, terdapat satu ruang. Di situ kita bertemu."

Sebagai manusia biasa, lumrah bagi kita mengimbau masa lalu dan menilai perjalanan kehidupan. Di usia di mana saya berada, berdasarkan pengalaman, saya merasakan adalah menjadi kewajipan saya untuk mengingatkan seramai mungkin manusia, sesiapa jua, bahawa hanya satu perkara yang paling bermakna dalam kehidupan ini - hubungan hati anda terhadap seorang manusia bergelar Kekasih Allah. Seorang yang perwatakannya dan perkataannya benar sebenar-benarnya sehingga membawa kepada gelaran Al-Amin.

Dalam kealpaan diri, terhoyong-hayangnya kadar iman bertukar-tukar, betapa kucar-kacir sekalipun rutin seharian, dengan cabaran dari luaran, ditokok keterbatasan kekuatan dalaman, wahai jiwa, kau capailah satu penawar hakiki. Penawar hakiki yang menyembuhkan, tiada lain selain ingatan kepada Taha, Ahmadur Rasulullah, Muhamadur Rasulullah.          

Apakala ingat, sebutlah namanya, sampaikanlah salam dan ucapan untuknya baginda salallah alaihi wasalam. Ingatan terhadapnya dan hati yang terkait kepadanya dengan amalan selawat, itulah satu-satunya penyelamat jiwa. Itulah satu-satunya penyejuk hati. Itulah satu-satunya yang paling bererti.

Apa saja yang berada di tangan kita baik harta, nama, ataupun kuasa, tiada nilainya, tidak sebanding nilai hubungan rohani kita kepada seorang yang sangat bererti. Maka carilah, pupuklah, dan peliharalah hubungan itu. Sejauh manapun diri tersasar, selama mana pun waktu yang telah dipersia, kembalilah kita semua kepada yang bererti.

- E. Ismail

   
Pic credit: Shabbir Siraj
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shabbir/3094170876 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Seeking mighty support | Selawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Bismillah.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

I feel obliged to convey even a single verse and encourage a good deed even if it is small, even if it was already spoken about in 2015.

We have found ourselves in a big predicament, health-wise, and economically too. In the Malaysian context, it started to get worse in mid-March 2020. As you are all aware, I am referring to the Coronavirus pandemic that snowballed from China to the rest of the world. The heartbreaking status, worldwide, as of now, is as shown below:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/



Two Malaysians have died, and the latest count of confirmed cases is 790 for Malaysia. This number will skyrocket if Malaysians do not observe the restriction of movement as ordered by the authorities. According to the health experts, we have a small window of time to curb the spread of the virus; else, we'll see a spike in the graph just like what happened in Italy, among others. In the next few days, the number could increase to 2000 cases, and from then on it would quickly climb to 4000 cases if we do not make an effort to practice social distancing and restrict our movements. By then, the health-care support would be severely strained!

***

I think it is wise to recite this selawat taught by Habib Umar in 2015.

Allahumma ya nikmal mawla 
wa ya nikmal nasir
salli wa salim 'adada 'ilmika
'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
man ja'altahu lana 
hirzan harizan
wa 'ala alihi wasahbihi
wan surna bihi wal muslimina
bi asrari 
wa yan surakallahu nasran 'aziza

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 mighty support.'

***
We are Muslims; thus, we pray in our own unique way, and this is one of the afdhal ways - making selawat and tawassul through the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam.

There are many Muslim doctors, nurses, health-workers around the world who are working around the clock, as there are thousands of infected patients. There are thousands of people whose sustenance has been adversely affected directly or indirectly due to the Movement Control Order issued by the Malaysian Government from 18 to 31st March 2020.

We pray so that Allah will support them and support us with mighty support. Today is Day 1 of the Movement Control Order. During these 14 days, let's busy ourselves with making this selawat. This, I remind myself, first and foremost.

***
The original posting in 2015 where I mentioned this selawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz:

May we benefit from the lesson, and may we draw strength from the awliya and solehin.
Aamiin.

Wa iza mariztu fahuwa yashfin
And when I am ill, it is He who cures me.
Al Quran: As Shu'ara: 26:80

Pic credit: http://www.imagekind.com/


"Hanya takut kepada Allah. Jangan takut pada penyakit. Tetapi jangan sombong terhadap penyakit. Berwaspada itu wajib. Berubat itu sebahagian daripada iman."
- Habib Novel Alaydrus, Solo, Indonesia, 14 Mac 2020


"Tidak bersalaman itu adalah ikhtiar. Ikhtiar itu adalah sebahagian daripada tawakkal."
- Habib Syech AsSegaf, Solo, Indonesia, 18 Mac 2020