Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pahlawan hati


Walau 15 tahun terkubur
hangat kasih kekal berbaur
dalam benak hati anak bongsu
kau tinggalkan kala usia seminggu

Demi pertiwi
Askar Melayu gagah
hutan belukar
berendam sungai

sembunyi, mengintip, menyerang
aksi wira bangsa
pahlawan hatiku
semekar bunga raya

Sarjan Ismail
angka keramat diri
hebat di pelbagai medan

Pahlawan hati
Aku tiupkan serunai rindu
ku seru semangatmu
hidup selamanya di kalbu
segar dalam titipan doa
saban hari
saban waktu
In loving memory of my late father Ismail who was an army sergeant for many years of his life. A dedication in conjunction with Hari Pahlawan - a day commemorating all heroes of Malaysia - 31st July.

Tausiyah by Habib Tohir bin Muhammad al-Haddar


O son, O son, O son...what a blessing! You know I was supposed to be gone from this town by this time but here I am. Oh there I was at that heavenly garden KL Ba'alawi. Tonight, Habib Tohir al-Haddar, in the house, ladies and gentlemen!

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the invite.

He is the son of the venerable Habib Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Haddar. He is the brother in law of Habib Umar and Habib Zain. Need I say more? But I must admit that that was the first time I have heard of his name and seen his holy face. MashaAllah tabarakallah.

Habib Tohir  began the tausiyah by praising Rasulullah s.a.w with the best compliments which Allah has honored him with. He said phrases of hamdalah, gratitute for Allah who has made perfect our goodness.

"Congratulations that you have been chosen to be present here tonight! Know that Allah honors one who loves Rasulullah for he is His most beloved servant. Allah multiplies for one who makes one salawat for the Prophet, ten times more. Between one who worships Him for 10 years and one who makes salawat for a year, the latter has an advantage because his salawat get multiplied as though he was doing salawat for 10 years. Therefore, a smart person would choose to do salawat. This is a great blessing indeed for Prophet Muhammad's followers. Sayyidina Ali said: 'If I were not afraid of the Qur'an, I will occupy myself with salawat all my life.'

Ka'ab asked the Prophet. 'Ya Rasulullah, what portion of my life should be spent on making salawat? Is it a quarter, one half or two third?' Rasulullah replied: 'Well and good but it would be better if you dedicated your entire life to making salawat'. Salawat would remove your sorrows and become a means for forgiveness from Allah s.w.t. We spend our day thinking about so many problems and making all sorts of transgressions. Be one who has a peaceful mind by doing salawat. No matter how little you do, it would be beneficial. Allah will send angels to listen to your salawat. It would make us become near to Allah. Allah answers your salawat by causing His mercy to descend upon anyone who remembers His beloved Prophet.

Your salawat will function as a door through which you come to the presence of Allah. He will grant you atho' khabir - a great gift. If you do not practise salawat, He will give you shagi. Poverty or hardships will befall you. Anyone who recites salawat will be guaranteed blessings by Allah. Anyone who does not recite willl get shagi - difficulties.

It was narrated that Jibril came to see the Prophet saying 'Anyone who does not make salawat upon hearing your name being mentioned, Allah will not grant mercy to him.' To which Rasulullah s.a.w said 'Amin!' For anyone wishing for pardon and maqbul in their du'a, there is no option but to make salawat.

Habib Tohir said: O you present, recite salawat and you will meet Rasulullah s.a.w. Due to the salawat that we make, Allah will never humiliate us. In fact, salawat is the marqabul amal a place where our worship (ibadah) gets presented to Allah s.w.t. Salawat is able to switch one's fate from su'ul khatimah (bad ending) to husnul khatimah (good ending). Each and every thing that exists, all makhluk (creations) likes/favors one who makes salawat.

There was a story about a man who wanted to pray but found no water around so he opted to perform tayammum. He then saw a woman passed by. He asked her if she had prayed. The woman said, 'Yes, although there is no water, somehow I managed to get some on account of my tawassul on the salawat that I have been making.'

With salawat, Allah will ease whatever complicated tasks and fulfill every petitions. The angels will be able to smell the fragrance of a majlis where people recite salawat. Our majlis tonight emits such beautiful fragrant. Indeed you are very lucky to be present here tonight. Congratulations! We are in the presence of alim ulama. The elderlies from the Prophet's family (habaib) are here too. May this moment becomes a moment which Allah likes most (redha) and becomes a reason for us to meet Rasulullah s.a.w. InshaAllah.

Let's say we live for up to 60 years. We typically spend one third of our life sleeping, one third spent during youth or adulthood and the balance spent on working, chatting etc. Imagine if we were to spend one third of our life making salawat, that act would be very significant to Allah. In this world we live in, there are angels who make salawat. Don't you want to join with them? Don't you want to receive khamil khabir - a great news from Allah?

We all know the value of salawat, that Allah multiplies its blesssings from 1 to 10 to 100 to 1000. If someone were to offer you 10 US dollar and 10 salawat, which one would you choose? If you truly and sincerely are a lover of Allah and Rasulullah you would surely choose the 10 salawat. Money is only useful in dunya but salawat will be good for you both in dunya and akhirah. If you chose 10 salawat, surely you will get robeh (profit) and sa'id (tranquility).

One sahabah asked the Prophet: 'Ya Rasulullah, who is the closest to you?' Nabi replied: 'The one who makes the most salawat.' O people, we are now in the month of Shaaban. In this blessed month this ayah was revealed: Innallaha wamala ika tahu yu salluna alan Nabi ya ayyuhal lazina amanu sallu alaihi wa sallimu taslima. "Surely Allah, along with His angels, showers blessings upon Prophet Muhammad. Oh Believers! Send blessings upon him and salute him with honor. (Order of Almighty) (Quran 33:56).  

Sahabah are in agreement that this ayah is a great mercy because there is no other kind of ibadah that is more significant than salawat since Allah himself does it!

O people, our time is limited (mahdudah). Allah gives us nafas (breath) and life. The means through which we could lengthen the time alloted is by way of making salawat. Salawat can make us live longer bi-iznillah

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa barik wa karim ala habibikal mahbuba Muhammad....
Habib Tohir bin Muhammad al-Haddar concluded his tausiyah with a lengthy salawat and du'a.

The majlis was kindly and graciously hosted by:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jumaah Mubarrak


O friends, I wish all of you a blissful Friday. Please remember me in your du'a. I will make as much du'a as possible myself as I will be travelling again and it is said that one of the times when one's du'a is maqbul is during travels. InshaAllah.

May Allah makes us aware that we are always in His embrace.
That although we have left Him many a time, He never left us.

Loving you for His sake,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Change 40 times a day


O son, today I want to share with you a glimpse of the madness in the corporate jungle where one gets to see plenty of hypocrisy.

I am grateful to Allah that with the barakah of my gurus I have been taught not to respect people for their position but for what they are; to respect people for the good values they have. So I don't bother to butter anyone out of fear or to win a favor, InshaAllah, I seek refuge in Allah from such behaviors.

No matter what our job is, our wages are from Allah and we do things liwajhillah - for the sake of His countenance. Throughout my career I have seen close to a dozen of my company's chiefs gone into history. It is unfortunate that people respect them for their position and now that they are out, who cares?

O son, be an ahlillah (people of the Lord), for an ahlillah, the older you are the more valuable you become. Wordly positions are irrelevant for ahlillah for they are honored by the possessor of Honors, Al-'Ali, Al-Muta'al.

While I was pissed off at one person with position for his hypocrisy, I searched for some balm to heal my heart, and I found it in Jila' al-Khatir - 'Purification of the Mind.'

The venerated Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said:
'One of the righteous persons is reported to have said: "The hypocrite remains in one and the same state for 40 years, while the truthful person changes 40 times every day." The hypocrite is involved with his lower self, passion, his natural inclination, his devil and his wordly interests. He never leaves their service. He never expresses an opinion that is different from theirs. He never says anything that contradicts what they say. His whole concern is with eating, drinking, dressing up, indulging in sexual intercourse and amassing properties.

The truthful person on the other hand does not remain in one state because he is involved with the Transformer of hearts, submerged in the sea of His power, with one wave raising up and another sending him down. As far as the actions of management and transformation of the True One are concerned, he is like a feather in the dessert, like a stalk, like the corpse in the hands of the washer of the dead and like the ball in front of the polo player's mallet. He has surrendered his outward and inward to Him and he is satisfied with His management. He is not concerned with his eating, his sleeping and his lustful desires but rather the whole of his concern is with the service of his Lord and His satisfaction with him.'

O son, may Allah protect us from hypocrisy. May Allah honor us with valuable knowledge of Him so that we reflect His honors and so that people respect us not for what we are but for what He has manifested of Himself in us. Subhanallah wa bihamdih. Subhanallah hil Azim.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Live with the end in mind


O son, I am inspired to share what I have learned from watching the television tonight. The topic is about  the value of children as an investment tool for parents - on what is the yardstick to measure their success and your success as parents. Or your success as a child yourself.

Your children are considered successful not when they become successful in their careers. They are considered successful when they do not become a cause for you to leave the heavens because they might blame you in front of Allah; that you have not educated them properly, that you have not fulfilled your duties; that you have failed to carry out the trust (amanah) for verily they are God's trust upon you.
You are considered successful when your children love you enough to remember to make du'a for you, especially when you are no longer around. You are considered successful if you and your spouse could be good examples for them so that they will grow to have that one invaluable trait - to make du'a for you. Meaning, you must show to your children that you are a good child who is thoughtful of your parents.
You are considered successful if you could make your household as the best university for your growing children; if you could make your home as a heaven for your family - baiti jannati.
You are considered successful when your children grow up knowing the true goals of life. The goal is not for them to be rich, marry and be merry.
The only two goals they need to have are:
  • to meet Rasulullah s.a.w and
  • to gaze at Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 
So, teach them how to live, with the end in mind.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nisfu Shaaban message


May Allah grant us hikmah and rahmah on this blessed night of 15 Shaaban. We pray Allah will not deny us  His mercy that is reserved on this auspicious evening for the sake of His wali Ghawth al-Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (qaddasallahu sirruh, may Allah sanctify his secrets).

Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani spoke on 18 Shaaban 545 Hijri urging people to 'concentrate on correcting yourself and give up idle gossip and the craziness of this world.'

He said, we should learn from people before us about this deceiving world and be done with it - khalass! We must cast off the clothings of dunya and the lower self (nafs), and travel to the door of the Lord. Turn away from the lower self, then we may see the Lord. Submit (sallim) to Him and we will be safe (salimta). Strive in His cause and we will be guided aright. Give thanks to Him and He will add more.

If you wish to enjoy the companionship of the people of the Lord now and in the hereafter, you must yield to Him and comply with His words, His workings (af'al) and His will (irada). But you have made it a habit to contradict and challenge Him night and day. He says to you "Do!" and you do not do, as if He were the servant ('abd) and you the one to be served (ma'bud). Subhanallah! How much He tolerates! Were it not for His tolerance (hilmi), you would experience the opposite of what you have now. 

Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani also said that we should refrain from asking from the Lord, as it is bad manners. It is only acceptable to ask when it becomes absolutely necessary (ruksha). Otherwise, just be quiet both outwardly and inwardly. All you need to do is carry out His commandment, observe His prohibition, comply with His decree and keep your outer and inner calmly speechless in His presence. Then you will experience what is good in this world and in the hereafter. Do not ask creatures for anything, for they are weak and poor, incapable of bringing harm or benefit to themselves or anyone else. Be patient with Allah. Do not try to make Him hurry things up or hold them back. Harbor no doubts about Him, for He is More Compassionate (ashfaq) toward you than you are to you.

Shaykh asked us to tame our lower self before we embark on the journey towards Allah. Do not harmonize with it. Instead, we should train it to behave well. It is blind, dumb, deaf, confused and ignorant of the Lord. We need to put in plenty of effort and preservere hour after hour, day after day and year after year not just one hour, one month or one year. Beat it with the whip of hunger, deprive it of its luxury and attack it aggressively. 

O you of little understanding, do not flee from the door of the Lord because of some trial with which He afflicts you, for He is more aware (a'raf) of your best interest than you are. He would not put you to the test except for some good reason and wisdom. When he tests you, therefore you must be steadfast, review your sins, do a lot of seeking forgiveness (istighfar) and repenting (tawba) and beg Him to grant you the patience and perseverance to see it through. You must stand before Him and cling to the helm of His mercy. 

If you wish for success (falah), you must make friends with a Shaykh who is learned in the rules (hukm) and knowledge (ilm) of Allah - a shaykh who can teach, educate and acquaint you with the path to Allah. The seeker (murid) cannot do without a leader and guide for he is in a desert where there are scorpions, snakes, perils, thirst and savage beasts.  The murid would need someone to warn him of these dangers and guide him to the oasis of water and fruit-bearing trees. O traveler of the path, you must not get separated from the caravan, the guide and your fellow travelers. Otherwise, you will lose your property and your breath of life (ruh). Be together with the guide until he leads you to the camp site (manzil).

This is not something that comes about in a vacuum and through wishful thinking but through something that becomes established within the breast and which is verified in action. The people of the Lord (ahlillah) are the odd ones out (nuzza al-'ashair), they are fewer than one in a million. They hear the word of Allah with their hearts and their inner contents (ma'ani) and they confirm the truth of what they hear through the actions of their physical bodies.

O ignorant ones, repent to Allah, return to the highway of the champions of truth (siddiqun) and follow them in all that they say and do. You must not follow the side roads with the hypocrites who are seeking this world, turning away from the hereafter, abandoning the highway (jadda) of the Lord, which was the road taken by our predecessors. They turn to right or left or backwards, seeking the lazy folk's path, but the way they take does not lead them through to the genuine highway, which is the path to the Lord of Truth.

Since you will inevitably have social relations with creatures, develop them with the pious and the abstinent, those who have real knowledge and put it into practice, those who seek the Lord and those who are sought by Him. Associate with people of this caliber, listen patiently to what they have to say and accept what they tell you to do or not to do, then you will soon experience good results, although the span of courage is an hour's patience.

Nothing can come about because of you, yet you must play your part. You must be well behaved in the presence of your teacher and let your silence be more frequent than your speaking out, for this will be conducive to your learning and your being close to his heart. Good behavior will bring you near, while bad manners will keep you at a distance. But how can your manners improve when you do not mix with people of refinement (udaba)? How can you learn when you are not satisfied with your teacher and do not have a good opinion of him?

FROM: The Sublime Revelation
Credit: Muhtar Holland

O son, this message from Ghawth al-Azam is very strong and pertinent. It deserves to be read over and over again. Therefore, I will not be posting anything for the next few days so that we could all re-read and internalize his message. So that we could all reflect on ourselves quietly and focus on our amal - reciting the Qur'an and making more salawat/durood perhaps. InshaAllah. I fear that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will rebuke me for not practising what I have been sharing here since they are all first and foremost directed to myself. Na'uzubillah. May Allah forgive us all, for the sake of His Beloved Mustafa sallallah alai hi wasalam.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reason to be happy


O son, I have been feeling rather gloomy this weekend until I read this hadith. I hope it will put a smile on your face too.

"Verily, there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should experience any injury or difficulty. He is anxious over you; for the believers, he is full of pity, kind, and merciful." [At-Tawbah: 128]

A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated:
“Once, when I saw the Prophet s.a.w in a good mood,
I said to him:
“O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah for me!”
So, he s.a.w said:
“O Allah! Forgive A’ishah her past and future sins,
what she has hidden,
as well as what she has made apparent.“
So, I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into my lap out of joy.

The Messenger of Allah s.a.w said to me:
“Does my supplication make you happy?“
I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?”
He then said:
“By Allah, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah
in every prayer.“


Reported in Sahih Mawarid adh-Dhaman (# 1875) and as-Silsilah as-Sahihah (# 2254)
Credit: Umm Noor Sidek

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Heart Talk


O son, our lack of waraq (piety) is reflected in the image we portray outwardly. I don't know about you but I don't subscribe to the saying "don't judge the book by its cover". What is outside is a reflection of what is inside. There are vocal people who claim to have a good heart though their words are harsh. But one guru said, 'Your heart is like a water reservoir. If the water there is clean, what comes out through the pipe should be clean too. If your heart was clean, what comes out of your mouth should be fragrant.'

If we slacked in so many departments - waraq (piety), ibadah (worship) and amal (good deeds) what do we have left? Honestly speaking, I have been feeling helpless in matters of religion. It is a continuous struggle no doubt and the fact remains that our iman fluctuates.

It dawned upon me that all we have is the heart. It is fortunate that Allah does not look at our outer garments but at our hearts. One shaykh said: 'Our heart has a high price.' We thought the value of money is worth much more than our hearts, we are wrong. The heart is in fact our invaluable capital - not the limbs, not the mouth. 

While we struggle to wake up in the middle of the night for qiyammulail; struggle to do our wirid; struggle to fast on Mondays and Thursdays; struggle to read the Qur'an; the easiest and sweetest thing to do is to keep Him in the heart. That is all that we could afford to do, that we ought to do.

 Dear friends, please remember me in your du'a. Thanks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What kind of woman are you?


It is ladies' night tonight at KL Ba'alawi. Ustazah Alina Al-Munawwar and Ustazah Fatimah from Semarang Indonesia gave tausiyah in between Maghrib and Isha'. Ustazah Alina had the privilege to study religion in Yemen for four years. One look at them you know they are very pious. Judging from their attire, demeanor and countenance, one would quickly conclude that they represent the true Muslim women - muslimah solehah. I must say that very few women belong with them. I don't.

One of the things she said which brought tears to my eyes was: "what sort of a child do you think you would have if you are the way you are? And your husband is the way he is?" 

She posed that question after talking about the great women behind great men such as Imam Shafie and Ummu Harithah. Great parents produce great children, because fruits will not fall too far from the tree. So she said: 'If you want your child to love Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. You must be the first to love Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. If you want your child to be close to Al-Qur'an you must first be close to Al-Qur'an yourself.

Women these days like to ask for equal rights with men. But that is irrelevant because we are already blessed with an esteemed status. Men would need women to get to heaven but a woman need no man. A group of women asked the Prophet if he was a messenger meant only for men. He said in his most famous quote: 'I am a mercy to all mankind.' 'Why then', the women retorted, 'do men get to go to Friday prayers?' The Prophet said: 'Allah gives you the ability to get pregnant, to feed your child and to be a teacher to them. Men cannot do all that. Know that each of your sweat equals jihad.'

Women are pillars of a country. If the women of a country are good, the country will prosper. And we all know that behind a great man, is a great woman. Prophet Muhammad is the greatest man of all time. Just look at the women behind him - Sayyidatina Khatijah, Sayyidatina Aishah, Sayyidatina Fatimah az-Zahra.

When Fatimah az-Zahra walks across the siratul mustaqim, Allah will command all men to lower their gaze. That is how honorable she is. Behind her will be stars. Who are they? They are muslimah solehah - all the pious Muslim women."

Hmm...that makes me think hard.
What kind of woman am I?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A boy and a prayer


O son, I wish you could follow in the footsteps of this one young man I know. He is well educated. He lives in an ultra modern environment. Yet, you would find many youth his age to be unlike him. He belongs with a tariqa. Tasbih is his companion. He loves dressing up like a pious Muslim. He is always excited about wearing taj, turban, Naqshbandi vest and trousers the sunnah way. He is polite in his speech and well mannered. He likes to visit maqam and he goes to majlis ilm regularly. 

I find it hard to believe that there is a respectable youth like him who seems to be unaffected by the attractions of the city where he lives. But most of all, I am touched that he remembers to make du'a for me whenever he visits Maqam Habib Nuh in Singapore. The prayers below is from him. He saw it on the notice board at the maqam and thought of sharing it. He is one sweet boy who soothes my heart. May he remains blessed the way he is.

Prayers when visiting maqam
سلام الله يا سادة
من الرحمن يغشاكم
عباد الله جئناكم
قصدناكم طلبناكم
يعينون يغيثون
بهمتكم و جدواكم
فاحبون واعطونا
عطاياكم هداياكم
فلا خيبتمو ظني
فحاشاكم و حاشاكم
سعدنا إذا آتيناكم
و فزنا حين زرناكم
فقوموا و اشفعوا فينا
الى الرحمن مولاكم
عسى نحظى عسى نعطى
مزايامن مزاياكم
عسى نظرة عسى رحمة
تغشانا و تغشاكم
سلام الله حياكم
و عين الله ترعاكم
و صلى الله مولانا
و سلم ما اتيناكم
على المختار شافعنا
و منقذنا و اياكم

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On pardoning


O son, I am humbled that a friend has pardoned me for what I did wrong. All it takes to get two estranged souls back together is one word - sorry.

This is what Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani has to say on pardoning:
Make strenuous efforts to give to the person who deprives you, maintain a connection with the person who cuts you off and pardon the person who wrongs you.

Make every effort that your body is with the servants while your heart is with the Lord of the servants. Do all that you can to speak the truth and never tell lies. Make strenuous efforts to act with sincerity and avoid hypocrisy.

Luqman the Wise used to say: 'O my son, do not put on a show to impress people, for you will not meet with Allah, as long as your heart is infidel!'

Extending the hand of friendship to Dr.Z.
May hearts unite for His sake alone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beauty of the heart


Ibu Amir is one beautiful octogenarian. She is 85. She was the pioneer beautician who brought the major Indonesian cosmetic brands to Malaysia in the late 1980s. She has been with the Naqshbandi Tariqa for 20 over years. MashaAllah Tabarakallah and she still comes to majlis zikr at our zawiya whenever she is in town.

This is the most-often repeated piece of advice from her:
"Beauty comes from the heart. Do not ever be jealous of other people. It does not matter if the other person has a big diamond ring. She has ten fingers and you have ten fingers too. It does not matter if the other person has a big car. Be grateful that you have a car too. Guard your heart from jealousy and you will always be beautiful."

May Allah bless her with sakinah and husnul khatimah.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Long for nothing


For several days I was running around looking for my missing tasbih. Was feeling totally despondent for my world lost its momentum. So I was longing for it until I found it, by chance or rather by His grace. Alhamdulillah. That's typical of us, we lose something, we want it back, otherwise, we want a new replacement. We wish for this and long for that.

But Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said:
O you who have wishes, make every effort to come to have no wishes! One of the people of Allah was once asked: "What do you long for?" He replied: "To long for nothing." Everything depends on feeling satisfaction with the divine decree, giving up the very act of wanting and casting down the heart in the hands of its Transformer.

O Allah, include us among the Muslims who have thrown themselves prostrate in the Hand of Your destiny and give us in this world good and in the hereafter good and protect us from the torment of the Fire!

Ameen Allahumma ameen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Have sobrun jamil" - Habib Ali Zainal Abidin


The sun is down, but I feel like I am walking on the sunshine. Why? I just got back from majlis ta'lim with my qurrata a'yun (one who is pleasing to the eyes) oh so jamil he is - Habib Ali Zainal Abidin. Jamil not just physically but more importantly akhlak (good manners), knowledge and good humor.

Habib Ali continued from the last tafsir lesson beginning from verse 8 of Surah Yusuf. Yusuf's elder siblings, ten of them who were from a different mother, were of a stronger lot (usbatun). Yusuf and another brother Bunyamin were young so Ya'kub preferred them. Yusuf's brothers thought that it was unbecoming of their father to display such unfair preference/favoritism.

إِذْ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلاَلٍ مُّبِينٍ
"Some of Yusuf’s brothers, said, to some of the others: ‘Surely Yusuf and his brother, his full brother Benjamin, are dearer to our father than we are, though we be a [hardy] band, a group. Lo! our father is in plain aberration, in manifest error, for preferring those two to us." (Tafsir al-Jalalayn)

So the big brothers plotted an evil plan thinking that it would be for a good reason.

ٱقْتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ ٱطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضاً يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُواْ مِن بَعْدِهِ قَوْماً صَالِحِينَ
"Kill Yusuf or cast him away into some land, that is, into some distant land, so that your father might be solely concerned with you, so that he might turn [his attention] to you and not be distracted by anyone else, and that thereafter, that is, after killing Yusuf or casting him away, you might be a righteous folk, by repenting."
(Tafsir al-Jalalayn)

Habib Ali said: It is not possible to do one act that is both evil and good at the same time. Yusuf's brothers knew their father Ya'kub was a prophet, yet they thought he was wrong and misguided. But Yusuf had no mother. He was young and needed attention. Ya'kub loved him and love is like Sultan, it cannot be controlled. So they devised an erroneous scheme wanting to do good by doing evil. They were influenced, they were tazzayin minas shaytan, they were deceived by shaytan who inspired them to do bad and repent afterwards. We cannot hear shaytan speak loudly and openly like, 'do this, do that'. Shaytan merely cast doubt in our nafs and the nafs direct our brain to follow its scheme. That's how it works. Yusuf's brothers were acting out of hasad. They wanted to harm Yusuf. In fact what they did was wrong for four reasons. They tried to break silatur ar-rahmi (relationship); they were disobedient towards their father Ya'kub - they lied to him. They had no mercy. They deliberately separated Ya'kub from his beloved son. Ya'kub was old, yet they were merciless towards him.

People who have hasad wish that the enemy would lose whatever blessings that he is envious about and wish that the blessings would come to him instead. Hasad could be on dunya matters or religious matters. The latter is worse. There are 'religious' people who do not like other ustaz/mu'aleem to be better than them; to be more eloquent or to have more followers. Hasad is haram. That is why we seek refuge from it as in the verse al-Falaq:
wa min shar riha sidin iza hasad
 وَمِن شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ
'from the evil of an envier when he envies'

We should not be envious towards other people because the zat/essence who grants a person more or better things is the same zat who grants us less (relatively). If we are envious, it shows that we are not satisfied with qada and qadar. It is as though we want to play God in apportioning rizq. Like you wish to take more than what is decreed.

How do we protect ourselves from hasad? There are three things we could do.
i. To have knowledge on remedies for the heart.
ii. tafakkur (contemplate) on the knowledge e.g. understand what constitutes a good act and what is not based on the knowledge that we have.
iii. Have patience towards people who have hasad against us.

We must not only have sabur, but our sabur must be of sobrun jamil (a high degree of patience). We should neither confide in Allah nor people about anything bad that befall us, be it sickness or calamities. Allah knows our conditions very well, so there is no need to lament. If we complain to people, it shows that our patience is not good enough, we have sabur all right, but not sobrun jamil.

What is the the greeting of people in heavens? They say salamun alaykum bima sobartum. Peace be upon you as a result of your patience. Notice, it's not because of prayers, donations, hajj etc Well yes those deeds are required of us but what counts more is patience. One act that is liked the most by Allah is patience for He has created the world as an arena to test us, to see who has more patience.

Therefore, prove that you have patience by not telling people about your sickness. Nowadays people have a habit of telling others their condition. When they are being asked, 'how are you', they would say, 'Oh I have high cholesterol', 'I am suffering from ghout' and so on. No, don't do that. Secondly, don't reveal to people any musibah that comes your way. Thirdly, don't boast to people about your ability to handle God's challenges for you. Don't say, 'I have gone through a very bad experience, but I was patient.' Don't do that either. Lastly, know that our worst enemy is not shaytan but our own nafs. Our nafs is the place for shaytan to orchestrate its ugly scheming.
Wallahu a'lam.
The above majlis was hosted by:
May Habib Ali forgives me for any mistakes in my note taking ;-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How to heal a broken heart


I am watching three gentlemen on telly right now, they are talking about broken hearted men. Heh heh...I am not kidding!

One of them is an ustaz (one tv ustaz I've always enjoyed listening to). The other guest is a nashid singer - an eligible bachelor. The host is a good looking lad. They are hilarious, yet very informative. What a way to start saturday.

The ustaz said:
You must understand and be redha with the four things that have been preordained when you were in your mother's belly - on the 120th day of pregnancy when Allah grants you ruh. On that day, Allah pre-determined your:
1. Provision/rizq
2. Death
3. Luck
4. Marriage

Therefore, said Ustaz Fauzi:
Do not be broken hearted when a girl turns you down. Don't despair. To cure your headache and heartache say:
Allahumma inni auzubika minal hammi wal hazan
'I seek refuge in Allah from feeling unsettled and from sorrow.' 

If you can't seem to forget the girl, put one hand on your heart or forehead and recite:
Yam hullah huma yasha'
يَمْحُواْ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ
'Allah effaces what He wills.'
(Qur'an Ar-Ra'd 13:39)

While reciting that phrase, make a gesture with your palm as though you are removing thoughts of her from your heart or mind.

What is most important is to see the hikmah (wisdom) behind the failed love affair and understand the meaning of verse 216 from Al-Baqarah that:
"It is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But God knows, and you know not."

So, to all broken hearted men out there, chill out! And have a great weekend!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Be intelligent and become king


"The intelligent person amongst you will therefore not seek happiness in this world, nor in children, family, wealth, foodstuffs, articles of clothing, vehicles or sexual opportunities. All of this is mere delusion. The believer (mu'min) finds happiness in the strength of his faith (iman) and certitude (yaqin) and in the arrival of his heart at the door of the nearness of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). Surely the true kings of this world and the hereafter must be those who really know ('arifun) Allah and who work for His sake."
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Al-Fath ar-Rabbani
translated into English by Muhtar Holland

Muhtar Holland was born in England in 1935. He embraced Islam in 1969. At the age of four, someone asked his name, to which he replied: "I'm a stranger to myself." 

You might have noticed that I have been quoting plenty of his translated work especially during last year's Ramadhan. I pray he would not consider it to be beyond fair dealing. I believe for the sake of Ghawth al-Azam, he wouldn't mind. Bi-iznillah.

Anyhow, we know now from the venerated Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, how to be intelligent and where to seek happiness. And that there is a chance for a nobody like us to be the true king of this world. In fact, that's what it takes to be a king, to be nobody even to ourself. Because one who knows Allah ('arifun) will realize that he is a nobody. Hence, he works solely for His Creator.

"I am a stranger to myself"
Heh heh...I liked that!

Jumaah Mubarrak to all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cute boys of Al-Jenderami


They are among the pull factors for me to visit Al-Jenderami
The boys are cute! Absolutely adorable!

During my last visit there, I caught these two boys helping each other with the serban (that's turban in Malay). And later, a group of them hanging out near a phone booth. Oh, you should hear them sing the qasidah. It makes my heart bloom with joy everytime. MashaAllah!

Looking forward to catch a glimpse of them again on 31st July 2010 when Al-Jenderami hosts an event honoring Saidatina Khatijah al-Kubra. InshaAllah.

O son, may you grow as they do, full of mahabbah and barakah. Ameen Allahumma ameen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



O son, please forgive me, I know not how to put it all in writing so please allow me to rattle. It felt like a rollercoaster ride, like swimming in the dark waters of Ibn Arabi's complexities and ending up under Rumi's languid waterfall of emotions. It's not making any sense to you I know. I am simply perplexed.

I met a stranger at a bookstore tonight. We were at the Sufi shelf, as you would have expected. He was contemplating to buy a book on Ibn Arabi's teachings - 'Alone with the Alone'. I told him I have got it and that it's too heavy for me. Somehow, he noticed my Naqshbandi pendant and we started talking about tariqa groups. He said he didn't like the fact that some followers idolized their guru too much. I agreed but we shouldn't put the blame on gurus. If we truly love them we should practise what they preach and not blindly and overly glorifiy them. We also agreed that it's difficult to discipline the followers because we all come from different backgrounds and are at different stages of our unique journeys. He asked me from my experience being involved with a few groups, which was the best or truest. He was expecting me to name one. I think my answers dissappointed him. The truth is, I learned different things from each one. There is no one right club. We are like water which follows the shape of the container, a chameleon maybe; no identity; formless perhaps. Because, as the title suggests, at the end of the day we are alone with the Alone. I told him that if there's one Sufi Book he should read, it is 'The One Alone' by Ibn Arabi but my opinion didn't matter. 'I' don't matter. It is all about He alone.

He didn't seem to belong with any groups because he has the tendency to find something that he dislikes about a particular group. Hence, the thirst for knowledge from books. I sincerely pray that Allah will open his heart and guide him to a genuine guide. There is a saying that if you truly are looking for a guru, Allah will send you one even if you are all alone on a hill.

I ended our conversation abruptly to meet a dear friend, a sweet friend of mine who had kindly thought of none but me when she visited Mawlana Rumi's tomb in Konya, Turkey. I am forever humbled and grateful that she had carried me with her to meet the one I adore. When we talked, I realized that she has been going through severe difficulties. Where have I been? Sadness and sympathies aside, she knew that it was a gift, a very big present from the Lord. He presented her with unsurmountable tests, then gave her sabr (patience), gave her the solutions and eventually gave her shakur (gratitude). Who knows what awaits her in heaven? Subhanallah, it's blessing all the way!  

She said, 'Ezza, what He says is true, He will open doors and provide from sources you never thought exist or possible." 
Waman yattaqillah yaj'allahu makhrajaa wayarzuqhu minhaustu laa yahtasib waman yat tawakkal allAllah wahuwa hasbuhu. Whoever fears Allah, He brings forth a way out for him, and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine. And whoever places his trust in Allah, He is sufficient for him. (Qur'an At-Talaq)

So, that's one special friend of mine who lived that Qur'anic verse. Oh, did I tell you why she thought of treating me to dinner tonight? She liked the Maybelline eyeliner I recommended (heh heh). It's smudge-proof alright cos we laughed and we cried!

Ah..."He is the One who makes (one) laugh and makes (him) weep."  - Qur'an An Najm 53:43
SubhanAllah! SubhanAllah!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Honor both the learned and learners


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to have been in the presence of Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki.  Shaykh Fahmi is absolutely admirable. It has been fifteen years since my father passed away and eversince I have not met anyone who is as special - one whose words I long to hear and whose advice I would gladly follow. Shaykh Fahmi is fatherly, witty and kindly. May Allah give him a long, healthy and prosperous life. Ameen.

He continued the monthly lesson on Kitab at-targhib wat-tarhib at KL Ba'alawi last sunday saying:

We must honor the 'aleem ulama, people with religious knowledge and the guests of Rasulullah s.a.w. - students at majlis ilm. We must continue to give munasohah (good advice). We must respect shi'ar Allah. 

What is shi'ar Allah? We can see plenty of that in Makkah. For example the Kaabah, Maqam Ibrahim, Safa, Marwa, all of those are masha'ir Haram. They are symbols that make us remember Allah. They are things that make us feel the presence of Allah. When we look at mosques, especially when we travel abroad, the sights of minarets soothe our hearts. They are symbols of the religion. That is why we are allowed to spend a lot of money on building these shi'ar of Allah. It is not considered wasteful to invest on grand and expensive mosques or minarets.

People who are learned on matters of Islam, the 'aleem ulama and students who devote their time and life learning the religion are also shi'ar of Islam. One of the signs of people who have mahabbah (love) towards Rasulullah or the deen is that they are delighted at seeing people wearing the jubah (traditional white dress worn by religious men).

The Turks were known for their triumphant army who carried with them minarets to war. It was meant to remind and motivate themselves the purpose of going to war and indeed they were victorious at conquering lands as far as middle of Europe.

The learned and those who learn to become knowledgeable in matters of religion deserve much respect. It is not easy to master the religion. The Prophet s.a.w in Surah As-Shu'ara verse 215, was asked to humble himself towards his companions and followers. Why? Because they are symbols of the deen. And not just that, even places where people study the religion e.g. madrasa must be respected. The same applies to kitab (religious books).

The Qur'an says: 'I (the Prophet) am a good and trustworthy advisor for you.' We must have that kind of attitude too. That is iradatul khair  lil khair - meaning to give al nasihah (advice) so that we not only want to become good ourself but we also want other people to be good.

Saidatina Aishah r.a. said 'We have been trained to treat a person according to his level.' We must put people according to their rightful maqam or manzilah. Why must we respect the learned? Because those whom Allah gives knowledge of the religion are those whom He wants good for them. In other words, if Allah wants good for you, He will give you good understanding of the religion.

Ad deeni an nasihah - religion is good counsel. What is religion? Religion means everything/anything that is good. Who do we give good counsel to? Apart from following advice of Allah, Rasulullah and kitabullah (the Qur'an), we must advise our leaders and the public. Rasulullah s.a.w and Imam Nawawi were known to have written letters of advice to people and kings during their time. When giving advice we must practise mujadalah (be diplomatic and polite). There was one ulama who counseled Harun ar-Rashid rather harshly, to which he said, 'I cannot possibly be worse than Fir'aun and you could not possibly be better than Musa.' Fir'aun was very mean and yet Musa had spoken to him politely.

We are not allowed to be takabbur (thinking we are better than the rest). Nor are we allowed to have ujub (feeling great about ourselves). We must be polite and patient when dealing with people who are against our advice.

The ulama/awliya/waliyullah carry a heavy responsibility that most people are not aware of. They have to bear much pain and burden on behalf of people. Some of them are ahlul nawbah. They absorb bala' (mishaps) from Allah so that other people will not get affected. They are the ones who are very close to Allah. They want people to become well, not harmed by severe calamities but most people do not understand this special role of  ahlul nawbah. The anbiya were known to have shed tears for their people. They were forgiving and compassionate even to those who treated them badly.

The Prophet s.a.w was ridiculed and injured by the people of Ta'if so much so that his cheeks were badly bleeding. He had to stop his blood from touching the ground because he knew the sort of punishment from Allah that would befall them if that happened. He prayed for the Ta'if people so that their offsprings would become faithful and good Muslims. The Prophet's du'a came true. Muhammad bin Qasim as-Saqafi was one of them whose father and grandfather had thrown stones to the Prophet's face. Muhammad bin Qasim became a pious and brave man. At the age of 17, he became the head of army that brought Islam to the Indian continents.

What about us? What are we doing for the future generations? The Muslims in the old days had traveled far and struggled a lot for the sake of Islam. If not for their sacrifice in spreading the deen, we might still be idol worshippers or atheists.

The Qur'an says, 'We give a good result (rewards of heaven) for those who refused glory of this world and who avoided making troubles on earth.' So think about what you can do for your people while you are here in this world.

Lukman al-Hakim said to his son, do not look away from people out of arrogance. Do not be proud when people greet you. Allah does not like one who walk on earth with pride in his heart. He, the Almighty despises those who are takabbur and proud of themselves. One who has a speck of takabbur in him will be chased out from the heaven. Allah is Al-Mutakabbir. He alone can be proud, for He alone deserves to have pride. At Resurrection, He would be proudly asking, Where is Fir'aun? Where are all the kings of the world? Who is the greatest?

The companions of the Prophet s.a.w once asked him what is meant by takabbur/kibru - whether one who likes to wear nice clothes, shoes or cars are considered to have kibru. He said: kibru is to deny the truth and to look down on others. We are encouraged to wear nice attires, drive good cars and spend on good things as a sign of gratitude for what Allah bestows on us. That is not takabbur. Takabbur is when you look down on other people who drive old cars etc.

Allah praises people of taqwa. One of the signs of one who has taqwa is that he refrains from getting angry and does not keep scores (not revengeful). When the Prophet s.a.w re-conquered Makkah, he asked the 2000 odd Mushrikin: "What do you think I would do to you?" Rasulullah s.a.w made three declarations. Those who stay home; those who took refuge at Abu Suffian's home and those who were in Masjidil Haram were safe. Everyone was forgiven and given protection except for 5 people. But even then they would be forgiven if they accepted Islam. One of them was Ikrimah who fled to Yemen. Upon hearing the Prophet's declaration, Ikrimah's wife, Ummu Haram went to see Rasulullah. She asked if Ikrimah would be forgiven if she took him back from Yemen to see the Prophet.

Rasulullah not only guaranteed pardon for Ikrimah, he had also given his burdah (scarf) for Ikrimah to put on, on his return to Makkah. Ikrimah embraced Islam and later became a notable mujahideen. What I am trying to say is, the Prophet was very forgiving but he also had anger in him and for the right reasons. We must be angry for anything that goes against the deen, if not we are as good as himar (mule).

There was one rich man who was to be punished for stealing. This man's family thought of a clever plan for him to get away from the hudud ruling against him. They persuaded Usamah bin Zaid bin Harithah to talk to the Prophet. Zaid bin Harithah was the Prophet's most loved god-son. So naturally, Zaid's son, Usamah too was very much adored by the Prophet. Usamah who was a teen then tried to persuade the Prophet about the hudud case. Rasulullah was so angry at Usamah that he ordered Bilal to call for azan at ten in the morning. Everyone was startled to hear azan being called at such odd hours. It must be something very urgent, they thought. In those days only those who are uzur (handicapped) or munafiq did not gather around Bilal and the Prophet. So people assembled. Rasulullah addressed the crowd, with anger from what Usamah was trying to make him do. He said: 'Did you not know that Allah had severely punished the ummah (people) before you because they refrained from punishing the rich but would punish the poor for the same act of stealing? By Allah, if my daughter Fatimah were to steal, I would cut her hand too, no doubt about that.'

But then again, in Islam those who are ignorant of the rulings are forgiven, unlike the present day civil law where ignorance of the law is not a defence. Islam teaches us to forgive our friends who have wronged us. Islam teaches us to encourage people to do good deeds (amal ma'ruf). And Islam teaches us to leave the ignorants alone.

Wallahu a'lam.
The above majlis ilm was hosted by:

Monday, July 12, 2010

In the shade of awliya


"I am in this world like a rider who halts in the shade of a tree for a short time and after taking some rest, resumes his journey leaving the tree behind." - Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

O son, may this picture soothes your heart as it did mine. MashaAllah! Habib Umar bin Hafiz, may we meet again InshaAllah.

May we continue to live under the shade of the habaib and the awliya til we reunite with the anbiya and the gem of all anbiya Rasulullah s.a.w. bi-iznillah.

Keep loving him, keep him in your thoughts O son, always. So that when death comes to you with Yaasin on your mind, you could wake up with he whom you love and you could say:
"The last thing on my mind before I closed my eyes was you O Taha so that the first being I see with my eyes when I am awakened is you, O Habibullah."

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

Pic credit: Omar Khayyam/Haqqani Fellowship

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Singing the Qasidah Burdah at Al-Jenderami


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the opportunity to visit Al-Jenderami again. Al-Jenderami is a close-knit Muslim community dedicated to the studying and propagating of traditional Islamic teachings. Our visit this time was in conjunction with Isra' Mi'raj.

Tuan Guru Haji Hafiz (pic) the leader of the jemaah at Al-Jenderami led the tausiyah which was interspersed with qasidah performance by Al-Jenderami's charming youth. Emphasis was given to Chapter 7 of the Qasidah Burdah on the Isra' Mi'raj episode. I have attempted to translate into English the Malay version of the Burdah written by Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki.

1. O Rasulullah, the best person a visitor could ever hope for; they who came on foot or those who rode on fast camels.

2. You are a significant sign of Allah's greatness for those who care to think; and you are the greatest blessing of Allah for those who seek benefits.

3. On a serene night you traveled from Masjidil Haram to Baitul Maqdis, like a full moon traversing speedily on a dark night.

4. You hastened to the highest station until you came so near to your Lord - an elevated position beyond anyone's reach which none ever dreamed of.

5. You were let to lead by all prophets and rasul, as you were a respected master of servants.

6. You penetrated 7 layers of the skies meeting the earlier prophets. While amongst them, you were the flag carrier of honor.

7. When there was none who could surpass you; and none surely could have reached your lofty rank.

8. At that juncture, you exceeded the positions of all other prophets; you were the one invited with high regard.

9. So that only you could know the secrets hidden from man's eyes and only you alone could witness the wisdoms that were veiled.

10. You earned all honors with no other contenders; And you excelled in the sacred position with no one above you.

11. Oh how esteem your status was, how honorable the gift Allah had conferred on you.

12. Glad tidings for all Muslims, that we have been granted a shari'at that will never be undermined.

13. When Allah named Rasulullah as the best of all rasul, it makes us, his ummat as the best of all ummah.

Sallu alan Nabi!