Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lessons on romance and responsibility


The most profound lessons I learned during my recent trip abroad were about romance and responsibility. It was a sweet discovery at the Hall of Inspiration, Doi Tung, north of Thailand. Absolutely beautiful place! Absolutely beautiful love story!

It was all about one ordinary woman with an extraordinary heart who later won the heart of Prince Mahidol of Songkhla. Subsequently, she became known as Princess Srinagarindra and later Princess Mother. She was also lovingly known as Mae Fah Luang or Royal Mother from the Sky, especially by the northern Thai hill tribes whom she would visit on a helicopter and drop medical supplies, food and toys.

She was born a commoner named Sangwan. Orphaned at the age of 9, she received her education in the US where she studied nursing and met her prince. She loved reading so much that her neighborhood bookstore let her borrow books for free; and most importantly she was an  inspiration to many around her. She was instrumental in changing the lives of people in the northern region of Thailand who had been dependent on opium production. She said: "No one wants to be a bad person, but not everyone has the opportunity to be good."

When her husband discovered his true love, he had to write to his mother justifying his heart's contents. It was worthwhile not just for him as a man but for the kingdom of Thailand. After the early demise of Prince Mahidol, their two sons became kings - King Ananda Mahidol and the present King Rama IX.  

Sangwan/Princess Srinagarindra/Princess Mother/Mae Fah Luang
1900 - 1995
Prince Mahidol wrote a letter to his mother saying: "Sangwan is all alone in the world. When we marry she will use my surname. I did not choose a wife according to her surname or whether she was born into this or that family. We can't choose our births, but I looked for a good wife. For better or worse, I am responsible for my own decision."

Visit Doi Tung and you will be inspired by this great love story told at the Hall of Inspiration. You will also get to visit the Princess' Royal Villa where Mae Fah Luang once lived amidst her gorgeous flower garden.

Love makes one does wondrous things for all the good reasons, leaving beautiful traces for all to see and cherish, as in the story of Princess Srinagarindra.

Didn't Ibn Arabi say: "I follow the religion of Love; wherever Love's camels turn, there Love is my religion and faith."

# Read more about the late Princess Mother/Princess Srinagarindra/Mae Fah Luang at Mae Fah Luang.org

Monday, November 29, 2010

Comfort seekers


Salam...salam... I have been busy exploring the multiplicity of life and inwardly thinking about the unity of beings. Each soul seek for different things and do so differently yet we are united in our neediness for generous gifts from the Provider. 

I was in Chiang Rai, and then Bangkok and now in Pattaya, Alhamdulillah He has carried me this far this time around.

Pattaya means comfortable, I read somewhere. As I wander amongst the 'comfort seekers' and take what I need while avoiding the madness, I thought of you. We are everywhere across the globe yet we can convene at this quiet place where I get to be myself and speak my heart. While I travel in the company of a good friend, some new friends and family, I realized the best place to be is where you can be yourself and the people around you actually let you be yourself.

Dear visitors/readers/friends,
Thanks for listening!
Thanks for being you!
Thanks for letting me be me.
I wish you a comfortable life no matter where you are.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

City break


O people, I am taking my annual leave, a couple of days break in Bangkok. Thanks to Allah for wonderful companions and generous friends.

See you next week InshaAllah.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A woman's vision


Mae Fah Luang University, the venue where I am attending a training organized by the International Telecommunication Union, is a young and thriving university in Chiang Rai. It is poised to transform the present agriculture centric city into a hi-tech city. It was established in 1998 to commemorate the gracious contributions of the King of Thailand's mother - Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, who is lovingly known to the hill tribes in northern Thailand as Mae Fah Luang (Royal Mother from the Sky). 

The uni and I share the same birth date,
25th September although I am not as young as it is
Coming to this part of the world has broadened my vision. One of the many things I learned is that we should try to see the universe from a bigger perspective and that our perspective should include that which is 'seen' by our friends who are not blessed with a good vision. In other words, we should try to see things from the eyes of a blind person and all person with disabilities. They want us to include them in embracing all that the world has to offer. They too want to experience life to the fullest. If we enjoy reading, they too want to be able to enjoy reading freely. But how? It's the duty of the sighted person or 'person without disabilities'  to explore new technologies and come up with creative solutions so that this world stays bright and colorful for all - all inclusive and none is left behind. And DAISY is one technology enabler that allows a blind person to navigate a book, go to a chapter, bookmark, browse etc. So a blind person can actually read not just from Braille books but also digitally. And the possibility is endless, if we care.

Best wishes from:
Mae Fah Luang Uni
Chiang Rai
- A musafir's travelogue, Day 5

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give up on giving up


Alhamdulillah for the joy of inspirations.

Senator Monthien Buntan flew to Chiang Rai only to speak to us (a bunch of clueless sighted people) for under an hour. He had to hurriedly return to Bangkok for a parliamentary session. But it was worth every minute! 

When I asked what took him to come so far and be the man he is today, he said: "I have given up on giving up!"

He spoke with a very charming American-English accent. Senator Monthien grew up in a farm in North of Thailand. He had struggled greatly competing with the other more privileged kids to win a scholarship to study abroad. "I grew up in a less accessible world, a world that is made for people with certain characteristics. I am from the minority so I needed to go beyond reality. I am now someone who struggle to make this world more accessible (for the visually impaired/person with disabilities). I have got a righteous ambition, that is to turn knowledge into ethically correct power. Power that can make changes to the world."

O son, we have heard our gurus talk about ain basirah, one who sees with the eyes of the heart. That one may not be physically blind and yet one is not able to see with the eyes of the heart. Monthien is the opposite of that. He is fully sighted at heart.

May Allah make us see things as they truly are. [A du'a of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w]

A musafir's travelogue
Chiang Rai
Day 4

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Check your response


A boat speeds away on Mae Kok River
It was a wonderful morning, to have breakfast on the bank of Mae Kok, the main river which cuts across Chiang Rai. It may not seem as romantic as cruising Yarra River or the Bosphorus Strait. But each creation (experience) is equally beautiful. It's the way we react to our surroundings that make the difference. Events cannot be changed. How we respond to the unfolding events essentially determines the outcome, whether we feel enriched by His gifts or hope for something 'better' to occur, despite knowing that the 'better' is really up to us. And the truth is, the thing that we are embracing at each moment, now, is the best or He would not have made it happen.

My favorite bite at breakfast was a line from Jim Rohn: "You want to set a goal that in the process of achieving it you become someone worth becoming."

A musafir's travelogue
Chiang Rai
Day 3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Float your hopes


The night sky in Chiang Rai was extraordinarily bright tonight. It's the Kum Loy (lantern floats) festival, an annual event in November when the moon is full. It's also the time for Loy Krathong (floating flower) festival.

Lights and skies are universal symbols of hope and heavens for many cultures. My friends and I learned to be tolerant and appreciative when our host invited us to release a couple of lanterns into the sky. For Kum Loy, the Thais would traditionally make a prayer or wish before letting the lantern fly towards the 'heaven'. And in Loy Krathong, they pray for all their sins to get washed away just as the flower basket floats and drifts in the river.

In any case, for all things physical, we try to see the realities (haqiqa) of every deed. May Allah protect us from shirik jalli (apparent polytheism) and syirik khafi (hidden polytheism). La ilaha illAllah. There is no god but Allah.

Letting a lantern of hopes floats to the skies
A musafir's travelogue
Chiang Rai
Day 2

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rosy greetings


Salam from the northernmost province of Thailand. Sawadee Kap!

Alhamdulillah, It is He who creates us differently and the different languages so we may engage one another. But the language spoken by flowers is universal no doubt, regardless how people choose to listen to them.

Thai Airways, as some of you may know, gives away orchid corsage to each of its passenger. But from my observation almost all of the male passengers left them on the plane. Most women took them but very few actually felt proud enough to pin it on their chest. Still the airlines spends so much money and give away orchid corsages, letting the flowers speak anyway. But how people react to their unspoken words are really not the business of the flowers. They know better than Jack Canfield who wrote 'What others think about you is none of your business.' I picked that up from one of his best sellers 'How to get from where you are to where you want to be'.

At this moment I know where I want to be. I want to connect with you, so I didn't mind paying a premium for this internet connection. Moreover, I wasn't expecting to be greeted by this lovely white rose which was a pleasant surprise, something I wanted to share with you, albeit virtually.

Warm regards from:
Dusit Island Resort
Chiang Rai
A musafir's travelogue - Day 1

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seek knowledge even as far as China


That is a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. That we should be willing to travel a great distance in search of knowledge and go to a place which not many would consider going. In the past, during his time it was China.

But no I am not going to China (not yet) but to a small province in Thailand - InshaAllah. It has got something to do with my daytime job, to learn how we could share the advance of technologies with our friends living in the rural areas and those who are visually impaired. It's just for a week.

If Allah wills, I might be able to write something from 'my' little island resort-home there. InshaAllah. I humbly seek your du'a so I'd be safe throughout the journey and that my mother will keep well during my absence. Ameen.

Beautiful Thailand

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to die to yourself


We often hear our gurus say 'die to your self'. So, how do we do that? Today, 14 Zulhijjah, 886 years ago, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al Jilani gave his answer:
Die to adherence to your lower self, your passions, your natural impulses and your habits.
Die to adherence to people and their material means (asbab), despair of them and give up idolizing them.
Die to the quest for anything apart from the Lord of Truth. Let all your deeds be for the sake of the countenance of Allah, not to seek His blessings. Be happy to accept His management (tadbir), His decree (qada) and His workings (af'al). If you do this, you will die to yourself and be brought to life in Him. Die to yourself and to creatures and the veils between you and Your Lord will be removed.

Quoted from: 'The Sublime Revelation'
Al Fatihah to the translator: Allahyarham Muhtar Holland
Credit: Al Baz Publishing

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Set Him before your eyes." - Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani


Yesterday 12 Zulhijjah, 886 years ago, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said two things that I wish to hammer in my head and engrave in my heart. InshaAllah.

1. "Set Him before your eyes so that you seem to see Him, for even if you do not see Him, He surely does see you. He who practices remembrance of Allah with his heart is the true practitioner of remembrance (zakir), while anyone who does not remember Him with his heart is no zakir."

set Him before your eyes,
set Him before your eyes,
set Him before your eyes.

2. "None shall be saved from the Fire of Allah, except:
those who are truly devout (muttaqun),
the monotheists (muwahidun)
who are sincere (mukhlisun)
and repentant (taa'ibun).

So, join the
muttaqun, muwahidun, mukhlisun, taa'ibun,
muttaqun, muwahidun, mukhlisun, taa'ibun,
muttaqun, muwahidun, mukhlisun, taa'ibun.

Quoted from: 'The Sublime Revelation'
Al-Fatihah to the translator: Allahyarham Muhtar Holland
Publisher credit: Al Baz

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What have we sacrificed?

Allah is the greatest
Glory be to Allah in the morning and evening
There is no God but Allah
None do we worship save Him
We are sincere in our worship though the kuffar hate it
There is no god but Allah, the One
Who fullfils His promises
Who helps His servants
Who honored His armies by defeating the Ahzab (kuffar) all by Himself
There is no god but Allah
Allah is the greatest
All praises are for Him alone


The imam at Masjid as-Syakirin KLCC in his Eidul Adha khutbah asked the jemaah: 'What have we sacrificed?' He said: Prophet Muhammad s.a.w sacrificed plenty when he made the hijrah from Makkah to Madinah. Prophet Ibrahim a.s had left his wife Hajar and son Ismail in Makkah. What sacrifices have we made? Have we sacrificed our intelligence, energy, time and property for the sake of Islam?

He said, there are numerous lessons to be learned from Eidul Adha which is synonymous with the act of sacrificing and hajj. We learn that hajj demands Muslims to be loving towards one another, to show respect and to be cooperative. We are a close-knit society as narrated in a hadith s.a.w that should one part of the body is afflicted with illness, the rest of the body feels the pain too. We learn from history how the Muhajirin and Ansar were so kind and helpful. Taqwa bound them together. But our societies today are bickering. Even if we don't quarrel, we do not live as harmoniously as we should be. We don't even know who our neighbors are. 

We should put our differences aside. The hajj teaches equality. None is superior than the other. We all wear the same white robe no matter how rich we are. We are equals in the eyes of Allah. The only thing that differentiates us is taqwa. Prophet Muhammad taught us about the virtues of being impartial and not have any favoritism even towards one's own family. He said that he would not hesitate to cut his daughter's hand (Saidatina Fatimah) if she was caught stealing. In his last sermon during hajj, he reminded the ummah that we come from the same root and that we worship the same God. Therefore, we should follow the Qur'an and sunnah.

To summarize, remember three things.
1. Hajj symbolizes the ummah's unity.
2. The ummah must be willing to make personal sacrifices.
3. Hajj is a journey of tarbiyah (lesson) in accordance to sirah Rasul (history).

Why do you think people are willing to spend lots of money to go for hajj and perform sacrifices? Because people have iman and taqwa. They sacrificed so much because of their iman and taqwa. Just make sure you make the right sacrifices and for the right reasons.

Know that sacrifice is a source of strength for the ummah. The Palestinians have sacrificed a great deal in defending their faith and dignity. What about us? Have we or are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of Islam, Allah and Rasul?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eidul Adha 1431H | Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha 2010


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah
From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you respected visitors to Lisan Al-Din, a blissful and joyous Eidul Adha with your loved ones. May we reflect on the wisdom of hajj and may it increase our taqarrub (nearness) to Allah s.w.t. May Allah gather us at Arafat someday InshaAllah!

Saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha kepada semua pembaca Lisan Al-Din yang dihormati. Sama-samalah kita menghayati ibadah haji dan korban ini agar ia menambahkan taqarrub kita kepada Allah s.w.t. Semoga sahabat-sahabat kita yang sedang mengerjakan ibadah haji dimuliakan Allah dan mendapat kurnia haji mabrur bi-iznillah.

Eid Mubarrak!
Kullu 'am wa antum bil khair.
Minal a'idin wal faizin.

Yours faithfully,
E. Ismail
10 Zulhijjah 1431 Hijri

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

See You at Arafat


O Allah
It may be three long years
before I could get there
if You so wish
this sinner might show up
with bowed head and raining tears

O Plain of Arafat
Count me in the assembly
Hear the prayers I cry out loud
Lord make my heart qalbun salim
may it prostrate to You alone Ya Rahim
so I belong with the mukmin

O Allah
erase my mazmumah
enrich with mahmudah
grant me hajj mabrurah
Honor me with the realities of Arafah
group me with the arifbillah

O Allah
Slaughter the animal in me
Hit my nafs with Your pebble
Shave off my pride
Beautify me for the Eid festival

O Allah
May You boast to the angels
that I humble my neck
as one sacrifice soul
true servitude since the cradle

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hajj - The greatest jihad for women


It was related that Aisha, the mother of the believers said:
'O Messenger of God! We see Jihad as the greatest deed.'
The Prophet s.a.w said:
'The greatest Jihad for women is to perform the Pilgrimage
and have it accepted by God Almighty.'
- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3 November: A bus carries Muslim pilgrims on their way to the hajj across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah
Photograph: Eyad Baba/AP

My prayers are for my dearest girlfriends who are at this moment, gearing up for the much awaited moments in Arafah. May Allah ease their journey and welcome them to His Divine Nearness. For the sake of His beloved Prophet, may Allah accept the hajj offered by all the pious women because women are the dearest of people to Rasulullah s.a.w, bi-iznillah.

May the rest of us ladies who are not yet blessed to be there in the holy lands, may Allah facilitate our preparations for the greatest jihad. May He invite us soon. We pray with the barakah of ummul mukminin Saidatina Aishah r.a. and Saidatina Khatijah al-Kubra r.a., Allah will be merciful on us and fulfill our wish.

Ameen Allahumma ameen.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For the rest of my life


For the rest of my life
through days and nights
I thank Allah
for opening my eyes
now and forever
I'll be there for you
I ask Allah to bless all we do

You are my friend
and my strength
I pray we are together in Jannah
For the rest of my life
I'll be with you
I'll stand by your side
honest and true
Till the end of my time
I'll be loving you

A dedication to all Lisan al-Din readers
whom I love for the sake of Allah.

Calligrapher: syedmaaz
(Adapted and re-arranged from: Maher Zain's 'For the rest of my life')

Saturday, November 13, 2010

لا حَوْلَ وَ لا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّهِ


What else can I say?
لا حَوْلَ وَ لا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّهِ
La hawla wala quwwata illa billah
There is neither might nor power except with Allah.

Only with His might, a gifted Chinese man, Haji Noor Deen could pen such holy kalima. Only with His might could his craft travel all the way from UK to Malaysia. Only with His might do hearts become fond of one another. 
Jazakillah Sister R for the precious gift!
How precious?
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said the kalima is:
"a treasure from the treasures of Paradise."
(Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

Isn't it amazing that we are not even there in Paradise yet but Allah the Almighty has already given us a treasure from Paradise? Subhanallah! And with that treasure we could achieve so much, not with our own might but with His. Glory be to Allah!

With His might, He manifests His beauty through His chosen servant like Haji Noor Deen, whose craft is subhanallah beautiful!

With His might, we know Him. Ariftu Rabbi bi Rabbi (I know my Lord by my Lord) so He grants gnosis (ma'rifah) to one like the venerable gnostic Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi who said: "It was not I who wrote what I wrote."
La hawla wala quwwata illa billah.

Haji Noor Deen

Friday, November 12, 2010

You are my goal and my glory


Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
"O Allah,
In my poverty towards You,
make me rich beyond need of any thing sought,
and accompany me with Your richness
beyond need of any thing desired.

You are my goal and my glory;
to You the returning and the ultimate end.
You comfort and mend the broken.
and You shatter the tyrants;
You take the fearful under Your wing;
and You put fear into the oppressors.
Yours is the Most Sublime Glory.
Glory be to You,
there is no god but You;
You are my reckoner and the best Trustee."

Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Al-Arabi
- Excerpts from Friday Eve Prayer in 'The Seven Days of the Heart'
Translator: Pablo Benieto and Stephen Hirtenstein
Credit: Anqa Publishing
Calligrapher: syedmaaz.blogspot.com


Wednesday, November 10, 2010



O son, when I was little I thought we had a physical God up in the sky. When people talked about being a 'friend' to God, I thought it was too far-fetched. Know that His Kingdom is not in a far away place but the consciousness within your heart. This is what I learned from our guides and Abu Uthman Said Bin Ismail al-Hiri said the same thing. He too talked about consciousness of His presence and how we should keep company with the Prophet, awliya and others.

He said:
"Seek the company of Allah with good adab (manners). Be conscious of His Greatness and be aware of Him watching you (muraqabah). Seek the company of Rasulullah s.a.w by following sunnah and adhering to shari'at. Seek the company of awliya with respect and by doing khidmat (service) for them. Mingle with your family with good akhlak (behaviors) and by giving them glad tidings. Mingle with the ignorants by offering them prayers and love."

Translated and adapted from:
Ibnu Qayim Madarij al-Salikin Vol 2: p 353
Credit: Yayasan Sofa article in Utusan Malaysia Nov 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the passing of Muhtar Holland - the chosen translator

We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Muhtar Holland on 5 November 2010. Many of us who have read his works would agree that he was indeed a chosen translator. His name Muhtar is derived from the Arabic Mukhtar meaning "chosen".  

This was the man who at the tender age of four considered himself as 'a stranger to myself'. He embraced Islam in 1969, when he was 34 and adopted the name Muhtar as chosen by his guide. 

Alhamdulillah, so far I have had the privilege to savour only one of his many highly commendable translation works namely Al-Fath Ar-Rabbani by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani. As you may be aware this blog cites this particular kitab heavily. It is evident that Almarhum Muhtar Holland had produced his work with utmost sincerity because that which comes from the heart will find its place in the heart. MashaAllah tabarakallah! We have all benefited from his marvelous translations not just because of his sharp skills but also because of his du'a:
"O Lord, open our minds, open our hearts and open our innermost beings! O Lord, open the gates of Your mercy to all sincere readers of The Sublime Revelation! Amin."

Allah Hu Allah...may the Lord lets us continue to benefit from the teachings of the awliya' whose precious words have become accessible through the hands of Almarhum Muhtar Holland. Surely Allah knows best the rewards that one who devotes his life for His deen deserves. Al Fatihah.

Muhtar Holland
(1935 - 2010)

Credit: Al Baz Publishing
Further reading:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who or what is your god?


Looking forward to 1st Zulhijjah (it's today for Malaysians), I wondered what Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani might have said on the blessed ten days of Zulhijjah. So I browsed 'The Sublime Revelation' (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani). There was no discourse recorded on the 1st of Zulhijjah but there was one address made on the last day of Zul Qa'dah and really what Ghawth al-Azam had said on that day alone is more than enough for us to ponder in the next ten days of Zulhijjah, Subhanallah.

One of the things Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said was this:
"You are lying even in your ritual prayer (salat) because you say Allahu Akbar [Allah is supremely great] but you are lying, because in your heart you have a god (ilah) other than Him. Whatever you rely on is your god. Everything you fear, or look to in hope, is your god. Your heart is not in harmony with your tongue. Your deeds do not match your words. Say Allahu Akbar a thousand times with your heart and once with your tongue. Do you not feel ashamed of saying La ilaha illaAllah when you have a thousand objects of worship (ma'bud) besides Him? Repent to Allah for everything you are involved in."

Hmm...let's ask ourselves, 'who or what is my god?' and try to answer honestly. May it truly be Allah! No wonder He makes us renew our shahadah at least 9 times in our daily salat. La ilaha illaAllah. There is no god, but Allah.

Credit: Muhtar Holland 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

See the signs!


O people, the earth seems to be shouting louder than ever. Volcanoes screaming, lands trembling, waters rising. What are we up to? Spend yet another day at the mall perhaps. Looking forward to a holiday trip maybe. We are one bunch of heedless inhabitants of the earth, you and I, save the ulama and the arifeen.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim has been speaking on Sufilive for months, reminding and advising. Some of us listened but many didn't. On 23 October 2010 he said something that should make us pause, hear and take heed because he may not be speaking again if God wills not. Really he need not tire himself warning people who are unmindful and unappreciative. He could just spend time in solitude and multiply his zikr but no, he keeps telling us what really matters.

He said: "If we could understand even a little, we should fall down in prostration (sajda) and not lift our heads because the Lord of Heavens is addressing us, yet we are running away. Pity those who are not making sajda and saying 'O my Lord'. There are millions of people on whom Allah sends His salam and honors yet they are turning away from Him. O mankind, don't be proud because pride is His majesty's divine attribute. Subhanallah!  Allah is asking us to keep our real position. We are a weak servant of Allah.

I may be speaking again if Allah grants permission, as He likes. When new inspirations come, I may speak InshaAllah. When new orders come, they may make many others of His servants to speak. It is not necessary that I am the only one speaking. He may be giving His orders, salutes and honors to mankind. May Allah forgive me. It is a short time from today up to the end of the world. They may bring someone else to speak. It is not a condition that this one may speak or that one speaks, no. He may leave this closed and open another. We are only small and weak servants but I am happy there is an awakening, because heavenly words must touch their conscience. And I think the real news is, the Last Day is approaching firmly. Allah is eternal while everything else must pass away.

This dunya’s appointed life is approaching the Judgment Day. There are some signs that ulamas know. Allah Almighty says:
فَهَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلاَّ السَّاعَةَ أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمْ بَغْتَة ً فَقَدْ جَاءَ أَشْرَاطُهَا فَأَنَّى لَهُمْ إِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ ذِكْرَاهُمْ
fahal yanzhuroona illa as-saa`ata an taatiyahum baghtatan faqad jaa ashraaţuhaa fa annaa lahum idhaa jaathum dhikraahum
"Do they then await (anything) other than the Hour, that it should come upon them suddenly? But some of its Signs have already come, and when it (actually) is on them, how can they benefit then by their reminder?" (Surah Muhammad 47:18)

Fifteen centuries ago Allah Almighty was saying that the signs of the Last Day has begun. Fifteen centuries ago! Therefore, people must dedicate some time for their eternal life. May Allah forgive us. When it is necessary, the Lord of Heavens will send His servants to address you and wake you up! O People! They are asking you to take a little bit of care for your Lord’s servanthood. This world may be a paradise if people follow their Lord’s commands. Otherwise, there will be troubles and problems, balaa (affliction) will affect them. Allah may be sending signals every now and then so that people will think about it.

Please pray for me too. I am weak and He knows. The Lord of Heavens knows everything. I am asking forgiveness from my Lord Almighty Allah and the intercession of His holiest one, Sayyidina Muhammad (s.a.w)! I am asking support from awliyaaullah, from holy people. I am weak now. As they are saying, Allah Almighty may send to His servants hundreds of thousands of warners. Shaykh Hisham Effendi told me people would be surprised if I stopped talking. No. Whoever asks, he shall find.  O People! If you look and listen, you could find plenty of things. Take for yourself a little bit from dunya, and try to give much more time for the Lord of Creation. The mercy of the Lord of Creation is countless!
Credit: Sufilive.com/Haqqani Fellowship

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Words sung in love


"As sweet tokens of remembrance
that's left resounding 
in heaven's circling vault,
Nothing so complete in delight,
so great in joy
have I seen remain
than the song
made of words
sung in love."
- Hafiz in Diwani Hafiz

O friends,
may you cherish
this language of faith
made of words
I sing with love...
Though our eyes meet not
our hearts beat the same rhythm
we cry the same tears of remorse
in our own private chambers
raising hands towards the same sky
beneath one watching moon
in the silence of dark nights
you and I
in His Essence, unite.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On sinning, repenting and yaqin


O son, someone asked about combating the mind's tendency to reminisce the "pleasures of sins". None of us is unaffected by this sickness. We are all weak and we are always sinning. Even one who thinks he is not sinning falls into error. I shall speak from my own experience, not because I am holier than you,  InshaAllah.

We all know that iman fluctuates and that sometimes we fall into ma'siat unintentionally, sometimes knowingly but helplessly. La hawla wala quwata illah billah. It happens. If I were to draw a graph of the state of my obedience, it would look like a uniform cycle of ups and downs. Do not despair when you are on the low. It hurts I know because a struggle is always painful. I was suffering from a spiritual drought weeks before I attended the series of majlis ilm starting from the event with Muhaddith Shaykh Sayyid Salman al-Hussain right to the majalis with Habib Umar bin Hafiz last month.

I recalled Shaykh Sayyid Salman saying, 'if you fall into ma'siat, quickly seek repentance and you should feel ashamed that He could see all that you were doing.' I know we all know this and we have heard it so many times before. But to me, at that point of time, his words came as a much needed comfort to my bruised spirits. The effect was special because it came from someone as pious (waraq) and aleem like him. Attending majlis 'ilm or majlis zikr is one way to purify oneself. We are weak so we need barakah from habaib and mashaikh. We need their du'a. Their du'a is maqbul compared to ours because there could be traces of haram in us, our food, our clothes maybe, we know not.

At another majlis, I recalled one habib from Indonesia talking about yaqin. He narrated a story of a sahabi asking Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. about the state of one who has plenty of sins but who has yaqin. The Prophet said (something to this effect): that  the sons of Adam are always sinning but one who has yaqin towards Allah will seek to repent and he has confidence that Allah will forgive him, so he is in a better state than one who does not have as many sins yet lack yaqin.

O friend, try to build yaqin that He will help you in your struggle and that He will forgive you.

I recalled the episode of my major repentance when I was 26. It was exactly as described in one hadith qudsi. I fell into a grave error every two or three days and then I would pray, weep and repent my heart out but only to fall into error again the next day. It went on for months. I felt hopeless and helpless until I discovered this hadith qudsi:
"A servant [of Allah's] committed a sin and said: 'O Allah, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.' Then he sinned again and said: 'O Lord, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them'. Then he sinned again and said: 'O Lord, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.'

I wept like mad upon reading this hadith. This hadith served as my turning point.  It had given me the chance I needed. It also gave me yaqin that I have a God who knows and is willing to forgive. Subhanallah! In hindsight, I realized that it was a gift. As though He purposely broke my heart to pieces so I would turn to Him. I swear by the saying that one who is heart broken is one who is nearest to Allah. I will also testify that one who repents is a beloved of Allah. I shall also testify that He fulfills His promise that He would replace all the bad deeds of one who repents with equal amount of good deeds, and more.

To the friend who asked me the question which inspired this posting, I pray Allah will enrich you with taat (obedience) and not ma'siat (disobedience/transgressions/wrongdoing). May Allah grant all of us with the sweetness of repentance and yaqin (certainty) that He is ever forgiving.

Wallahu 'alam.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The blessing of youth


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, I am indeed pleased to have received a message from a youth; humbled to know that someone her age is keen on religion and that she finds Lisan al-Din useful. Alhamdulillah

Knowing her name puts a smile on my face. That's because I mention na'imah everytime I take my wudu' (ablution). Alhamdulillah, it has become a habit to make du'a each time I wash my face so that He makes it na'imah, nadhirah and musfirah on the Day of Resurrection Ameen.

 وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاعِمَةٌ
(Surah Al-Ghasyiyah 88:8)
"Other faces on that day will be radiant with bliss (na'imah)."
- Tafsir Sahl al-Tustari.

Tafsir Jalalayn defined na'imah as 'delicate/fair'. Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Marmaduke Pickthall translated it as 'calm'. Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani defined it as 'full of glamor'.

When a lady as young as Naeema wrote to me, I couldn't help but feel sad thinking about my lost youth, the time I had wasted when I was her age. So I feel a strong urge to advise, although some people would argue that I am not qualified to counsel others. But I am 40 and I sincerely wish to tell someone who is in her 20s to not repeat my mistake. In the name of Allah, I wish all the young people would value their age and not waste their youth. Please...please...spend your time wisely. Busy yourself with acquiring knowledge and most important of all, choose your friends carefully! Enjoin with the righteous. Avoid bad company. Take care of yourself, your body, your beauty. Pray Allah garb you with good behaviors and bless you with a countenance that is na'imah, nadhirah and musfirah, especially in the hereafter.

"Some faces on that day, that is, on the Day of Resurrection,
will be radiant, fair and resplendent (nadhirah)." (Quran 75:22)

"On that day some faces will be shining radiant (musfirah)." (Quran 80:38)

Bi-iznillah. InshaAllah.

Credit: www.altafsir.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The dearest of people


It was related that Anas said: "The Prophet sallallah alaihi wasalam saw the women and children coming. The Prophet stood up and said three times: By God! You are the dearest of people to me."
- From Sahih Al-Bukhari

Subhanallah. I want to ask all the men out there how well are you treating the women and children?

How many of you have solicited a woman only to take advantage of her trusting nature? How many of you have sweet talked her just to please your ego and comfort your lusts? How many of you have ridiculed her capabilities at the workplace? How many of you expect her to keep her job and have meals ready on the table when you come home, and then expect her to look good in bed? How many of you spend so little on her yet expect so much from her? How many of you depend entirely on your woman to take care of your children? How many of you let the maid educate your growing children because you need your woman  to work and support the family? How many of you go to majlis 'ilm but leave her behind? How many of you divorced her out of ignorance and anger? How many times have you made her cry?

How well are you treating the people who are dearest to him - he who considers women and children as  the dearest of people.

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's special about Abu Nasr Bisyr


Abu Nasr Bisyr (d. 227 Hijri)
saw the Prophet sallahualaihiwasalam in his dream.
Rasulullah asked:
"O Bisyr,
Do you know why Allah has considered you the most special among your friends?"
"No I don't," said Bisyr.
Rasulullah s.a.w said:
"It's because
you follow my sunnah,
you serve the solehin,
you counsel your fellow brothers,
and you love my companions & my family.
All these have made you ahlul abrar (the righteous)."

- From Al Arifbillah Bisyr ibn al-Harith al-Hafi
by Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmud
Quoted from an article by Yayasan Sofa/Utusan Malaysia 2 Nov 2010

Sollu 'alan Nabi

Monday, November 1, 2010

Miracles of Tok Kenali - a Malay saint of the 19th century


Tok Kenali or Muhammad Yusof bin Ahmad (1870 - 1933 CE) was born in Kelantan, a state in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia. Orphaned at the tender age of 5, Tok Kenali grew up under the care of his pious grandfather Tok Salleh, from whom he studied the Qur'an. He learned the Arabic language and the basics of Islamic teachings at Masjid Al-Muhammadi and several religious institutions in Kelantan from 1879 to 1887 before furthering his studies and performing hajj in Makkah.

Tok Kenali was 18 years old when he sailed to Makkah. In an interview with his youngest son and grandchildren aired on a Malaysian tv station last Friday, Tok Kenali was said to have embarked on the journey with only RM22.00 in his pocket. With that amount of money, he had spent 22 years studying at Masjidil Haram. He came back to Malaysia in 1909 and established his own madrasah before assuming the post of headmaster at Masjid al-Muhammadi in 1912. He died on 19 November 1933 at the age of 65.

Stories of his karamah first became known when he was sailing to Makkah. The voyage got delayed in the Indian Ocean for a long time because the ship's mast had broken. Tok Kenali helped restore the ship and made it reach Makkah after being at sea for six months. While in Makkah, Tok Kenali appeared as a student with a strange personality. He lived a simple meager life while focusing his efforts on acquiring knowledge. He did not have any spare clothes and seldom ate any meals. He was seen attending one halaqah (classes) after another without bringing any kitab. Other sources said that he would buy one kitab in a year and sell it afterward or sometimes borrow kitab from his guru. He was often caught sleeping during lectures.

One day, during a halaqah of Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fathani, Tok Kenali who had fallen asleep was called by the guru. Al-Fathani woke him up to ask three difficult questions which none of the other students could answer. His guru had purposely prepared the questions to test Tok Kenali if he was truly gifted with 'ilm laduni. He surprised many as he was able to answer the questions well. Needless to say, he impressed his guru and from that incident onwards Tok Kenali became close with Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fathani and began to serve him for many years.

Tok Kenali's mureed especially those who dedicated their time as his khadam (those who served him) were renowned gurus too. According to a member of his family, Tok Kenali's karamah became the talk of the town when someone who had gone for pilgrimage saw him put out a fire in Mina. It was narrated that Tok Kenali was in the midst of teaching in Malaysia when that event occurred. He excused himself from class and miraculously 'left' for Mina. Upon his return, his students noticed that Tok Kenali had ashes on his turban.

One Malay historian by the name of Wan Shaghir Abdullah traced Tok Kenali's roots to a  clan from Caiyya (Cahaya) in south Thailand. He would be given a royal treatment every time he visited Caiyya. The locals idolized him and often asked for his prayersThe Caiyya people believed that any du'a he made would be granted maqbul.

Tok Kenali was not only known for his karamah, he was also remembered as editor and writer for several publications. He founded a Malay magazine called Pengasuh which continued to be published until today (2006). His writing flair was evident even as a student. A lithograph on the virtues of Imam Bushiri's Burdah (Risalatud Durril Mantsur) which he composed was published in Makkah circa 1892. His books on sharaf and nahu (Arabic grammar) were published while he was back teaching in Kelantan. 

Tok Kenali was married to Cik Ruqayyah Mahmud. Their four children, Ahmad, Muhd Shaalih, Mahmud and Abdullah Zawawi too became respectable Islamic scholars in their own right.

1. Article by Wan Mohd Shaghir Abdullah
2. TV1 program 'Lambaian Kaabah: Kelana Anak Melayu' 28 October 2010 
3. Biodata Tok Kenali originally published on www.tok-kenali.net