Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Habib Ali Zainal Abidin on Tafsir Surah Yusuf (verses 42 - 53)


Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al Hamid expounded on the lessons behind these 11 verses of Surah Yusuf last Sunday.

"Then he said to the one whom he deemed would be saved of the two: ‘Mention me to your lord’. But Satan caused him to forget the mention before his master so that he stayed in prison for some years. And (one day) the king said (to his courtiers), “I have seen (in a dream) seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean ones and seven ears of grain which are green and (seven) others which are dry. O people, tell me about my dream if you can interpret dreams. They said, “(It seems to be) a mishmash of dreams, and we do not know the interpretation of dreams. And said the one who was released (from the prison) out of the two, and recalled (Yūsuf) after a long time, “I shall tell you its interpretation. Just send me (to Yūsuf). (Thus he came to the prison and said to Yūsuf “Yūsuf, O the truthful one, tell us about seven fat cows eaten by seven lean ones, and seven ears of grain which are green and (seven) others which are dry, so that I may go back to the people and they may know (the interpretation of the dream.). He said, “You will grow crops for seven years consecutively. So, what you have harvested, leave it in its ear, except a little which you eat. Then seven hard years shall come after that, which shall eat up what you have stored for them, except a little which you preserve (to sow). Then there shall come after that a year in which people will have rains and in which they will extract juices. And (when this person went back and told the king about the interpretation of the dream), the king said, “Bring him to me.” So, when the messenger came to Yūsuf, he said, “Go back to your lord and ask him, ‘What is the case of the women who cut their hands?’ Surely, my Lord knows well their guile. He (the king) said, “What was your case, O women, when you seduced Yūsuf?” They said, “God forbid, we know of no evil in him.” The governor’s wife said, “Now the truth has come to light. I did seduce him, and he is surely truthful. (Then Yūsuf said), “That was because he (the governor) may know that I did not betray him in his absence and that Allah does not lead the guile of betrayers to success. And I do not absolve my inner self of blame. Surely, man’s inner self often incites to evil, unless my Lord shows mercy. Certainly, my Lord is the Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” [Qur'an 12:42 - 12:53]

Habib Ali said:
Before we ponder over the verses we should take note that Allah grants each of His prophet with unique abilities befitting the challenges faced during their time. Nabi Musa had a magical talent. Nabi Muhammad s.a.w was granted mukjizat of the beautiful Qur'anic Arabic language. Nabi Yusuf was a capable dream interpreter.

Several talents were consulted to interpret the king's dream but none of them could figure it out. They thought his dream was unclear. They were puzzled thinking about how lean cows could feed upon fat cows. They could not make out its meaning because unlike Yusuf they had no access to wahyu.

When the king asked a courtier regarding his dream, he immediately thought of Yusuf because Yusuf was the one who had correctly interpreted his dream before, that he would eventually be released from imprisonment. The courtier was one of two persons accompanying Yusuf in prison. The other person, true to his dream as interpreted by Yusuf, had been murdered.

The king upon recommendation from his courtier, approached Yusuf, addressing him as siddiq. It was, in fact, Yusuf's first accolade. It is a title which is specially reserved for anbiya. Sadiq means one who is honest. Siddiq is a person who is very honest, one whose honesty is incomparable, in his promise, speech or actions.

Apart from the anbiya Sayyidina Abu Bakar, Sayyidina Ali and Sayyidatina Aishah were among ordinary people who were known as siddiq. Sayyidna Ali once said "Ana siddiqul akbar" - I am the greatest of all siddiq. Sayyidina Abu Bakar was a siddiq because he trusted Prophet Muhammad by heart and not mentally. One may believe in someone or something using his mental faculty. But one who believes in anything or anyone with his heart shows that his beliefs surpass his mind. When Abu Jahal related to him of the Prophet's Israk and Mikraj experience, Sayyidina Abu Bakar believed it instantly. He even asked Abu Jahal to share the story publicly. Abu Bakar didn't have a doubt that people might not believe Abu Jahal's account and that they would shy away from the deen. Habib Ali further said: Abu Bakar was not afraid because religion is not in need of man, but man is in need of religion.

We have the tendency to evaluate anything and everything using our brains. Know that the brain comes second. You should only use your brain to find the hikmah (lessons) of a thing even if it is beyond mental logic. You must first believe it in your heart. So again as-siddiq is one who believes with his heart and looks for hikmah using his brain to believe what his heart believes in.

Another lesson we should learn from the story of Yusuf is that we should only keep our hopes on Allah. While Yusuf was in prison with two other men (one of whom was the king's courtier) Yusuf said to the courtier: 'when you get a chance to get near the king, do mention me to him.' But Allah made the courtier forgot about Yusuf's request so he had to remain prisoned for three or five years after the courtier was freed. Yusuf had depended on the king to alter his fate instead of relying on Allah. That was a punishment for Yusuf.

We could learn the same lesson from the story of Nabi Musa. When Musa pleaded to Allah to cure his toothache, Allah guided him to a special tree for remedy and his pain was relieved. But when Musa did the same thing the second time around, the remedial concoction from the same tree could not remove his pain. So Musa lamented to Allah why it didn't work. Allah said: 'In the first incident, you had placed your trust in Me, but afterwards you trusted the tree instead!'

Habib Ali reminded us to always turn to Allah even if we think we know a solution to a problem. Whenever faced with a problem, do not ignore Allah for He is nearer to you than your jugular vein. Allah loves to hear your plea. Said one arrifin: 'Your whining at Allah is considered as though you are calling out one of His Names.'

If possible avoid telling anyone about your pain. If you must share with people, you should first make a plea to Allah. Nabi Yusuf was hoping that the king would free him. Nabi Yusuf did not ask from Allah, thus he was punished. Allah made him wait a few years before he was finally released from prison.

We learned from the surah that the king had summoned the women who had implicated Yusuf and they eventually confessed of their wrongdoings. Nabi Yusuf was concerned about his reputation. He wanted to be freed for his innocence and not merely based on the king's pardon. Nabi Yusuf didn't want to be seen as betraying the king who had been kind towards him. It is a big jarimah (offence) to be disloyal to the person we are close to, whom we love and respect.

In fact, protecting one's dignity/reputation is one of the five requirements of shariah.  The other four requisites of maqasid shari'ah are: religion (one cannot commit syirik); intellect (one cannot harm one's brain by taking alcohol or drugs); posessions (one cannot steal, bribe etc); an-nafas (one is not allowed to commit suicide).

The final lesson from these verses is that we should be wary of our lower nafs (inner soul). Nafs amarah is one whose nafs continually incite him to do evil. Zukaikha confessed of having seduced Yusuf. She admitted that she was being incited by her nafs. The nafs would always strive to seek gratification. We also learned how dangerous nafs is from the story of Khabil and Habil.  Our nafs can have a forceful effect on us - fataw wa ta'at - meaning it would force you to obey its desires. Many of us are defeated by our nafs. It is important that we fight (mujahadah) against it. The ariffin are known to fight their desires even if it is for something that is mubah (permissible), let alone makruh or haram. Whenever they have a strong desire to eat something they would simply refrain from eating it.

Know that there are six types of nafs. Nafs amarah bisu (one who enjoys commiting maksiat (the forbidden); nafs lawwamah (one who admonish his own mistakes); nafs mulhamah (one whom Allah gives tawfik or inspirations to do good); nafs mutmainnah (one who is at peace and enjoys doing good deeds); nafs radhiah (one who doesn't rely on his ibadah and is pleased with whatever that is destined for him); nafs mardhiah (one on whom Allah is pleased).

Concluding the lesson, Habib Ali made a long prayer so that Allah would grant us nafs mutmainnah, radhiah or mardhiah.
Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any unintentional error or omissions. The majlis was hosted by:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A gift from Habib Ali Zainal Abidin - a prayer of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w


Alhamdulillah, tonight we have learned a du'a from Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al Hamid. We cherish each and every opportunity of sitting in his majlis. We appreciate that tonight he has taught us a du'a practiced by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w - a du'a to cleanse our heart (nafs).

Habib Ali has relayed this du'a on concluding Solat Isha at the Majlis Ta'lim. He said: "Each time after reciting Surah As Shams one should stop and say this du'a:
Allahumma ati nafsi taqwaha wa zakkiha
Anta khairu man zakkaha
Anta waliyyuha wa maulaha

O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul.
You are the Best to purify it.
You are its Guardian and Protecting Friend.

Soon we will be sharing our entire notes from Habib Ali's lesson tonight on Tafsir Surah Yusuf, InshaAllah. The majlis was hosted by:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Having the right vision (Hajj Travelogue 1)


We wish to state the obvious. We have over the past decade learned that having someone to guide us on matters of spirituality has given us a good vision of the route ahead. Alhamdulillahil lazi hadana li haza wama kunna linah tadiya lau la an hada nallah. Alhamdulillah that we've learned this phrase by heart. We often say it meaningfully for we know how blurry things had been before. Praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We would not have been guided had Allah not guided us.

We have been encouraged to perform hajj as soon as we could. As a means to direct our subconscious faculty to work at achieving the goal, we had set up a countdown clock aimed towards the big day at Arafah, InshaAllah. What can one who has a hundred constraints do other than to first prepare herself mentally. La hawla wala quwatta illah billah.

Then we learned, hajj mabrur is not only a goal one should target post-hajj. Hajj mabrur should ideally be aspired to before, during and after hajj. Oh we are struggling and falling every now and then in this 'before' episode. We are taking baby steps no doubt. That much we could do.

Today, we have gone to correct our vision, literally. In an effort to ensure our hajj routine will not be marred by any foreseeable inconveniences, we have ordered a pair of 'hajj glasses'. Yes. that's what it is. We are excited and nervous at the same time because we know not whether the authority will let us have the ticket or if the powers that be will ultimately issue an invite. Oh, it's nerve wracking but we keep our hopes high and do our bit even though it's only Jamadil Akhir. But Rejab is just around the corner mind you.

Then later after getting our vision fixed,  as we were browsing the 'Religion' shelf at Kinokuniya, our eyes landed on a signal from our Lord - a book called 'One Thousand Roads to Mecca'. Subhanallah. This book has in a way sealed our plan of making our own hajj travelogue InshaAllah.

And this brief posting serves as our first note, bismillah.

May Allah equip us with the best of preparations for a trip which we would assume nothing except death and victory at meeting our Lord.
Labbaik Allah humma labbaik
Here I am at your service O Lord!

Wallahu a'lam.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unto You I prostrate | PadaMu ku bersujud


This is a lovely Indonesian song which I would like to share with those who aren't familiar with the language. I have been letting myself lose in its beautiful melody for several days now. It is sung by a good looking Indonesian lad, Afgan. The lyrics as translated into English are as below:

I look in the dark
I could see nothing, save your Name O Allah

Tomorrow or perhaps someday
Pardon my wrongdoings
Protect me from all fitna

Unto You I implore
You grant me happiness
Make me one who is forever repenting

Forgive me O Allah
one who often forgets You

The moment You bestow Your bounties
in silence, unto You, I prostrate...

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Conclude your deeds with a prayer" - Habib Abdul Rahman


Alhamdulillah, we have got one kind visitor who wished to share two key lessons learned from Habib Abdul Rahman last Saturday.

First and foremost, is to constantly recite istighfar. This I think, is commonly practiced by many, InshaAllah. May we continue to be steadfast.

Secondly - this one I truly appreciate because it is something many of us take for granted. While we seldom forget to say basmalah when we start doing anything, we rarely conclude our amal properly; 
Habib Abdul Rahman advised us to say the du'a recited by Prophet Ibrahim a.s. upon having constructed the Holy Kaabah.

Rabbana taqobbal minna
Innaka antas sami'ul aleem

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
Our Lord, accept this (service) from us,
for verily You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
(Al Baqarah:127)

The Tafsir al-Jalalyn interpreted Verse 127 of Al-Baqarah as follows:
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَٰهِيمُ ٱلْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَٰعِيلُ
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
"And, mention, when Abraham raised up the foundations, the supports or the walls, of the House, building it (min al-bayt, ‘of the House’, is semantically connected to yarfa‘u, ‘raises up’), and Ishmael with him (wa-Ismā‘īlu is a supplement to Ibrāhīmu), both of them saying:
‘Our Lord! Receive this, building, from us.
Truly You are the Hearing, of words,
the Knowing, of deeds.'

Reference: www.altafsir.com

May Allah accept our sharing.
May Allah accept our deeds.
May Allah forgive us all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who do you love?


Hibb tabi'i (the natural love) is that "which desires to possess and seeks the satisfaction of its own desires without concern for the satisfaction of the Beloved."
"And that, alas, is how most people understand love today."
- said Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi.

He further said in his magnum opus Futuhhat Makkiyah, we quote from the book Alone with the Alone:
"And if you love a being for his beauty, you love none other than God, for He is the beautiful being. Thus in all its aspects the object of love is God alone..."

So know who you really love!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feeding on goodly words


We have been feeling famished. We were hungry for good words to ring in our ears but we remained deprived. We write often and we speak a lot but surely we too want to be spoken to in the ways that are pleasing. How pleasing? Well...a goodly word; a string of goodly words are like music to our ears. They make us smile, make our hearts bloom in joy, oh so many of the good stuff.

We feed on good words like they are fruits, sweet...sweet... smelling and tasting. Subhanallah, His parable is so very true:

"See you not how Allah sets forth a parable?
A goodly word as a goodly tree,
whose root is firmly fixed,
and its branches (reach) to the sky.
Giving its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord,
and Allah sets forth parables for mankind
in order that they may remember."
(Surah Ibrahim (14): 24-25)

Oh, can somebody whisper some sweet words into my ear : D
Heh..heh I love you all. Thanks for letting me be myself!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reasons to rejoice


SubhanAllah! How merciful He is! We discovered two reasons that put a smile on our face today.

1. The thought of being with our loved ones for eternity bi-iznillah.
2. This aphorism of Ibn Atha'illah -
When He makes you utter a request,
it means He wants to give you something.
"Allah knows best what is good for his servant so that He makes him long and pray for that. Even the prayer for a good thing does not stem from the servant's intention but it springs from his Lord's persuasions."

Oh... please can we all say a prayer for Shaykh Muhammad Abu Huda al-Yaqoubi. Some 'authorities' have banned him from speaking his faith. But they should know that the shaykh's words can never be silenced because haqq shall overcome batil, spoken or otherwise. And we fret not, for we know the awliya Allah they neither worry nor grieve. So the believers have got yet another reason to rejoice. Allahu Akbar!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Clean up your blemishes" - Shaykh Afeefudin Al Jailani


Shaykh Afeefuddin Al Jailani began the majlis ta'lim tonight quoting Imam Al Ghazali: "None shall be prosperous except he who follows the prosperous people before him." You will have to accompany the solehin or read about them if you wish to be prosperous.

We must also try our best to find out about our virtues - the goodness of our soul, that is to learn how to be a good mukminin (believer) so that we will be blessed dunya and akhirah. We say in our prayers Ihdinas siratal mustaqim...but professing by the tongue alone is not enough. To have iman is to say it by lisan, believe in your heart and to work on it (amal).

We must also look for the negative parts of our soul, our blemishes (uyub/aib). For example, when buying a car, we don't only look at the good of it but we would usually search if there is anything wrong with it. Do not ever think that as you grow older, you have fewer shortcomings (aib). Look for your own aib with the intention to erase or rectify them. Close up any holes so that your house will be better protected. Once you have done that it would be easier to earn virtues later and become ahlul akhlak (people of good characters).

There is a saying - at takhliya qoblal  takhdiyah meaning to purify oneself prior to earning good deeds. For example, when you have just bought a house, you will have to make a thorough checking and repair whatever is necessary before moving in, and the first thing you do when buying a computer is to install an antivirus before you load whatever programs you wish.

It is important to purify so that the good and the bad will not get mixed up. A single rotten apple can affect the whole carton of apples if you don't first remove the bad one.

Clean up everything and don't underestimate the small aib. If you leave it, the consequence will be worse as it would be difficult to remove later. The Prophet s.a.w said, ignoring your sickness due to laziness or lack of concern will create a disease of the soul such as hasad or nifaq. If you don't purify yourself immediately your bad behaviors will become your character i.e munafik, hasid or liar.

You know yourself better than anyone. You may give all sorts of excuses but you will not be able to cheat Allah.

Our current biggest sickness is our inability to speak well of others. We should question ourselves before we are being questioned by Allah. So keep your book of sins 'white' and the book of goodness full.

The worshippers (abid/ahlul ibadah) are also afflicted with diseases such as riak and takabbur (pride). They think they are the only ones who would be able to cross the sirat. Do not be mistaken. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had cautioned us about the Khawarij. He said there will be a group of people who by looking at them will make you feel low about yourself. The Khawarij were hafiz and followed sunnah closely, yet the Prophet said they would leave Islam like an arrow leaving its bow and they will not come back ever again. Speaking to sahabah, the Prophet said, your deeds are nothing compared to the Khawarij and yet they 'are the dogs of jahannam!'

There is a verse in Surah Baqarah about people whose conversation would please you but the moment they turn away from you, they would be causing turmoil and destroying crops and lives. Allah is not pleased with turmoil. And they are also inclined to swear by Allah saying wallahi and so on. This is dangerous.  

Saidina Abdullah ibn Abbas advised us not to question people as though we are God. The prophets were sent to convey the message. It is Allah Al Hadi who guides whomever He wills. Still, there are people who guide people for his own group only. We don't do that. We guide all people for Islam.

Experience from my travels has shown me some of the major problems facing the ummah today. (We are not united.) Let me ask you this, if Prophet were to appear, in which mosque do you think he is going to pray? Mosques are supposed to be built based on taqwa.

There is a verse in Surah Kahf which is often recited on Fridays. The solehin would normally cry upon hearing the verse where Allah said: 'Shall we inform you about those whose efforts proved to be futile and they think they are doing good deeds?' Their work is nothing and it is a major aib especially for those who serve as a guide to people.

Shaykh Afeefudin also commented on people who are quick to label people as kufur and those who like to 'sentence' people as if they were destined for heaven or hell. He said, the heavens and hell all belong to Allah and only Allah alone has the authority to put people either in heaven or hell. No one can and no one should meddle on the issue of heaven and hell. We should also avoid calling people kufr because if we were wrong in our accusations we would then become kufur ourselves.

Those who want to be close to Allah should be very careful with their heart and tongue. Abu Yazid al-Bistami mentioned about those who love Allah so much that they ask Allah to protect them from Jannah if they are not granted the joy of seeing Him, saying: 'what is the meaning of Jannah without meeting You.'

One 'arrifin said the problem with us is that we sujud only with our body but not our hearts. If we were to prostrate with our heart even once, we would be forever doing sujud to Allah.

Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al Jailani in his munajat made a prayer: "O my Lord, enter the house of our heart without the slightest hesitation because there is nothing in it apart from the pain of separation from You." That means that we should always have Allah in our hearts.

Shaykh Afeefudin went on to quote  a few motivating stories including one about Nabi Daud writing a reminder note on his mihrab: 'O you who are praying to God, between whose hands are you standing; to whom are you supplicating and who is watching you at this time?'

Concluding his tausiyah, Shaykh Afeefudin reminded the audience of the importance of having a good akhlak. He said each Muslim is a dai'e not just through his words but also his character/behavior.

Sayyidina Hassan was one whose akhlak was par excellence. He had a neighbor who would throw rubbish through an opening in the wall of his house. One day the neighbor's wife came to visit Sayyidina Hassan's wife. That was when she came to know about the hole and how her family had been bothering Sayyidina Hassan's household with their rubbish. So she asked Sayyidina Hassan's wife how long it had been happening but to her surprise, his wife didn't make a fuss about it at all. Impressed by the tolerance and moral characters of Sayyidina Hassan's family, the neighbor came to visit again the next day to take shahadah.

Shaykh Afeefudin said if you do something with utmost sincerity, you would surely touch the heart of people. Another excellent example is the story of Malik bin Dinar who took the trouble to care for a drunkard who fell unconscious on the road. He then cleaned the man's mouth from traces of his drinks and carried him to safety by the roadside. Afterward, when the man woke up, people told him what Malik bin Dinar had done to him. The man then instantaneously repented.

Therefore, we must make sure that our ikhlas and akhlak are connected, that our behavior is sincere.
Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any unintentional errors or omissions.
The majlis was hosted by:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quench the thirst of my heart


Strumming my pain with His fingers...
Singing my life with His words...
We hum these lines from a song that some of you might be familiar with. As a mortal singing the pre-destined lyrics of life, our throat does get dry sometimes. So we struggle to draw faith from the reservoir of the heart. Alas, we all suffer from intermittent spiritual drought.

But we keep strumming while flipping our mental chords one after another looking for just the right melody, again and again.

Ya Allah, just as we are getting thirsty for Your nourishment, yet again You provide for us! Shukran lillah for these lines from Ghawth al Azam, a du'a for a thirsty heart.

Bismillahi 'ala qalbi
hatta yurwa
"In the Name of Allah" be upon my heart,
until its thirst is quenched.

Bismillahi 'ala qalbi
hatta yurwa

Bismillahi 'ala qalbi
hatta yurwa...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Be not like water gushing aimlessly into the ocean


Mawlana Shaykh Nazim in his recent sohbet called upon us to reflect on how small we are. Even our planet and the solar system in the galaxy that we are in are all plain small compared to the vastness of the Milky Way. There is not a scientist who could tell us the size of Allah’s creation in its entirety. The farthest point that they can witness is simply utter darkness while Allah is continually or rather continuously creating. Subhanallah! But Allah really need not create anything. He creates all for the honor of His Beloved, Habibullah, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w and He does so just so that we know who the Prophet is.

Our physical is nothing and we don’t even know our true identity. Allah lets the Prophet have the privilege of knowing the identity of each of His creations. That is how unique and extraordinary he is.

Mawlana said the world is small and it is like a fully loaded ship. Allah has created the world and He put us on it as His representatives. And we know above and beyond our position is Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

Although our physical existence is immaterial, Allah has granted us, through the prophet, divine knowledge that could bring us much honor and glory. We should take full advantage of this gift and use the knowledge to reach stations after stations where the rewards could only get better. Otherwise, we would be just like water gushing aimlessly into the oceans without giving any benefits to the vegetation or anything.

Instead, we should be like water running through tree trunks giving fruits of all kinds. Many people fall in the first category but those who are 'water' giving nourishment to a garden of trees, flowers or fruits, will be honored.

If you belong with the second category of water, you must then adhere to discipline. You must know your limits as prescribed by the shariah. Or else you will be like dirty water flowing to the oceans following shaytan rules and when you arrive at the ocean, you will not be able to make your way back and you would be lost.

Follow the heavenly ways that you have been shown since the time of Prophet Adam a.s right through Prophet Muhammad s.a.w so that you will be happy here and in the hereafter.

The above is my summary of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's sohbet dated 6 May 2011. For a full unedited transcript please visit sufilive.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Habib Muhammad Soleh Al Attas at KL Ba'alawi tonight 11 May 2011


On behalf of the generous host:

We are pleased to extend an invitation to a
majlis zikr/majlis 'ilm
by the honorable
Habib Muhammad Soleh Al Attas
from Yemen

Date: 11 May 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: Maghrib onwards

7.30     Maghrib prayers
7.45     Ratib Al Attas
8.00     Salawat & Ijazah Sanad Salawat
8.30     Isha' prayers
8.45     Mawlid Dibaie
9.15     Tausiyah by Habib Muhammad Soleh Al Attas

No 9, Jalan UP 2A
Prima Ukay
Saujana Melawati
53100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 4108 5888
Mobile: +6012 203 5887 (Brother Ben)

May Allah make it easy for us to attend a majlis that is loved by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w to honor one of his descendants. May Allah make us benefit from his knowledge and barakah.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A woman's rightful place


While we celebrate mothers as accomplished women, we cannot turn a blind eye towards some women who have fallen from their rightful positions. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim has recently spoken on the same issue and yesterday we were given a note of a late Turkish Sufi Master, Haci Ahmet Kayhan Dede who appealed to us to do something about it.

We may not be in a position to make any major changes. But we know if we can't oppose evil with our hands, we could at least oppose it using our tongue, through our speech or at the very least with our hearts, with a du'a that women be treated respectfully and preserved at their rightful place.

I remembered a story of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w who upon seeing a group of woman walking towards him, he stood up and said: "They are the best of people!"

Today, woman as the factory of Man, the mother of Man, and Man’s most valuable being, has arrived at a sad position of being an object of commerce: bought, sold, rented out and exploited. In fact, in a number of countries woman is the only object of its economic resources.

Today, in the midst of the so-called advancement of civilization, we witness an even more widespread marketing of women. Looking back at history, in the past when this was done in a ruder and more brutal fashion, it does not mean that the current situation does not warrant a criticism.

Still, these lines are not being written to you to achieve a feminist perspective.

We write with pains that come from deep within us, in order that you will call a halt to this enormous crime. When will the end be found in the renting out of woman, of marketing woman as a vehicle of business? When will this human crime be wiped out? When will humanity open its eyes to the truth? When will people start to say “the world has turned its back to the sun” instead of “the sun has risen or set”? When will the youth be taught that way?

First and foremost, woman is a holy being. The first woman, the blessed Eve, was the ‘other’ mankind and partner of human existence. Each one of the prophet was born into the world by a woman. Noah (PBOH) by Kaymush; Abraham (PBOH), by Usha; Ismail (PBOH) by Hacer; Isaac(PBOH) by Sara; Moses (PBOH) by Hanna; Jesus (PBOH) by Mary and the blessed Prophet Mohammed (PBOH) by Lady Amine. Worthy statesmen and men of science are also born of a woman. The factory of mankind ought to be holy and remain holy. Just like all other factories, this factory too could produce defective products - deformed humanity and the last of humanity.

Today, little by little in every country, woman have become for the advertising industry an element of attention-getting and display. Woman has been brought to serve this function through hire for money. Again, most countries bank on woman as a main attraction in drawing tourists and hence, secure their economic well-being. By virtue of this, woman are unable to free themselves from being a vehicle of commerce, rented out, bought and sold, each day losing more of her respect and honor.

What a shame that there could be such a crime and disgrace to humanity?

It should be noted that in the past, great disasters and violence had occurred when woman were treated with contempt, abandoned and cast out beyond the fringes of society.

It’s up to you to take some actions to heal the society’s wound. Through your leadership on this matter, you may influence the achievements of woman and restore their honorable position in society. For your current interest, we thank you in the name of humanity.

- Haci Ahmet Kayhan Dede

Monday, May 9, 2011

Special practices on Yassin - lessons from Haci Ahmet Kayhan Dede


Alhamdulillah, we have been given the permission to share these lessons. InshaAllah, Allah will make it easy for us to practise because we've learned it from one whom Haci Ahmet Kayhan Dede had personally trained. And as you might guess his training was very strict, otherwise his mureed would not belong with the solehin - one who would not eat or drink without having an ablution, one who would pray 2 rakaat each time he bought anything just so that Allah would make him use the things in the way that would please Him. That much we could share. May Allah bless our shuyukh and the solehin and may Allah make us benefit from them.

وَٱلْقُرْآنِ ٱلْحَكِيمِ
إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلْمُرْسَلِينَ
عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
33 times after each solat
for Allah to make it easy for us to cross the sirat

 تَنزِيلَ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
 138 times after each solat for 40 days
 for Allah to grant 'ilm ladunni (a knowledge direct from Him)

لِتُنذِرَ قَوْماً مَّآ أُنذِرَ آبَآؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَافِلُونَ
99 times in a day
for Allah to help us control our nafs

 لَقَدْ حَقَّ ٱلْقَوْلُ عَلَىٰ أَكْثَرِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُؤمِنُونَ
21 times a day
for Allah to grant forgiveness and hide our sins

 إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِيۤ أَعْناقِهِمْ أَغْلاَلاً فَهِىَ إِلَى ٱلأَذْقَانِ فَهُم مُّقْمَحُونَ
99 times a day
for Allah to srengthen our faith

وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدّاً ومِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدّاً فَأغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُبْصِرُونَ
99 times before solat fajar
for Allah to protect us from bad people/to be hidden from evil people

وَسَوَآءُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤمِنُونَ
99 times a day
for Allah to help us eliminate nafs amarah
and for Allah to grant ilm ladunni/Nur Muhammad

إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ مَنِ ٱتَّبَعَ ٱلذِّكْرَ وَخشِيَ ٱلرَّحْمـٰنَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِمَغْفِرَةٍ وَأَجْرٍ كَرِيمٍ
5 times a day for 55 days
for Allah to grant clues on our future

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُواْ وَآثَارَهُمْ وَكُلَّ شيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِيۤ إِمَامٍ مُّبِينٍ
99 times before Solat Tahajjud
for Allah to bless us with hidden knowledge/knowledge of the unseen/ghayb

Wallahu 'alam.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Motherly touch


My mother
at the Malay Heritage Center Singapore, April 2011

"Jagalah warisan kita kekal abadi buat selamanya.
Dari Mazenah 1939 - Penang"

'Preserve our heritage for the longest time',
signed Mazenah - 1939 (her birth year)
Penang (her hometown)
My mother is my rock! When we are among strangers, she is not so chatty, she speaks only when necessary but she speaks her mind a lot when in private. She is in control of the TV remote and she flips the channels continually in search of news. She is obsessed with the world's news.

Singapore is special to her as she had spent several years there as a young wife and mother. So it's understandable that she decided to pen something on that white board at the Malay Heritage Center. She cares about things that some people might not expect from one who received little education. She only had just about six years of formal education but her aura is bigger than that. Some people thought she was a school headmistress. There were many times when she visited my siblings' schools, students would just stop chatting when she walked past them and greet her 'Good morning teacher!'

Needless to say, I owe her a lot! If I could pick one thing she does which I appreciate the most is that she always give me the freedom to go learn anything from anyone. It does not bother her that I would come home late after my religious classes. She said, 'We have to learn from as many guides as we could.'

She spared me from cooking. (Luckily I inherit her natural cooking instincts!) She would let me focus on whatever I am inclined to do like reading and writing. Because I am single and I am the only one who sticks by her since her husband passed away in 1995, we end up doing plenty of things together. While other woman gets to hold their man's hand while walking at the mall, you will see me holding on to her waist often when we are out and about. By far one of our best outings was the six months spent in Scotland circa 2005. Alhamdulillah, we have travelled to quite a few countries together.

My first lines of du'a after each solat is so that Allah will help me be a better daughter to her, so that I could give her a better life and that I could make her happier.

May Allah let her live for the longest time with the best of health and happiness. And I wish the same for all mothers out there.

I also wish to take this opportunity to record my admiration towards a close friend who has devoted more than ten years of his life to single handedly care for his two little children. While other men would rush to find a new mother for his children, he chose to be a full time 'mother' to them - cooking, washing, driving, teaching, you name it. Really, my heart goes out to children like his. I wonder with sadness how they would feel when the whole world brag about their mothers.

So let us all be thankful for all the motherly love that we've got. Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah.
p/s Picture this. That friend of mine told me what his children just did. They waited until 12.01 am and barged in his room to wish him Happy Mother's Day!  How sweet!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A carpet full of gifts


Salam, salam, salam to all. We are in need of greetings of peace from you too.

Some people have the impression that we lead an enviable life but the truth is that we are just like everyone else, we appear to stand on a 'carpet full of gifts' not because we are special or privileged but because we are needy.

"The hour of need is a carpet full of gifts" is the title of one aphorism by the venerable Ibn Atha'illah As-Sakandari we read by chance just a while ago. At this particular moment, we are in need of silence, peace of mind, direction, good decision, good solutions...we need plenty of things. We need Divine help.

So this morning as we were feeling taxed by life's demands, we decided to drop everything and escape to this purple carpet where we could InshaAllah speak our heart. And we began to count our blessings. We are in the company of our beloved mother. We got to bite into delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast. We opened our mailbox and received very generous words of encouragement from a visitor named Lela. MashaAllah Lela, thank you! But  we are as ordinary as everybody else who needs love and support from Allah, from habaib, from awliyaAllah, from our family and friends. Our 'carpet' is not any greener. We all are trying to mend our relationship with Allah on a daily basis InshaAllah.

The aphorism said: "The hours of need provide a good opportunity for the initiate to mend his relationship with Allah. Though it may appear the most difficult situation in life, it is actually the most fertile period in life in terms of spiritual growth." Hence 'the hour of need is a carpet full of gifts.'

Ibn Atha'illah also said: "Only those who think that they are in need of Allah deserve His gifts. Those who pretend to be self-sufficient and think they can do without Allah do so at the risk of losing Allah's blessings. Alms are meant for the poor and not for the rich. Therefore those who want to get alms of Allah, should meet the criteria for poverty and deprivation..."

May Allah make us stand strong on our carpet, no matter what 'gifts' He chooses to put on them.

Jumaah Mubarrak!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let certainty be our sustenance


We thought of sharing one lesson we have learned tonight. It's from Al Sulami's Jawami Adab al-Sufiyya (A Collection of Sufi Rules of Conduct) published by The Islamic Texts Society:

A Sufi said, 'Knowledge is what makes you act and certainty is what sustains you.'

We found this lesson to be meaningful at this moment as we began to have a dilemma about our daily occupations. It has made us realize a simple fact that, when we go out to work (as a cab driver for example), we don't actually go out to seek sustenance. As a matter of fact, we have been surviving on our certainties in our Lord and the fact is that we go out to serve people based on the knowledge that Allah has bestowed upon us. If we don't act upon our knowledge we would be doing a disservice to our Lord. And we would belong with those who are ungrateful for the knowledge He has granted us.

We used a cab driver as an example because we admire the degree of tawakal they seem to have driving around not knowing where they would be picking up their sustenance for the day. And each time we were in a cab we couldn't help but think of one of our guides - Ustaz Hud with whom we had revised our Qur'an readings and learned a bit on Fikh. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. He was a cab driver during the day and Qur'an teacher by night. He once said: "You know Ezza, being a taxi driver is a hard job. I do come across rude passengers. And I realized when I was reading a longer salawat as recited in the prayers I had gotten some really wonderful passengers than when I was reciting a shorter version of salawat." 

Ustaz Hud would never ever drive his cab in the evening no matter how financially desperate he was. "My evenings are for teaching the Qur'an because it is the best of all professions," he said.

That Sufi was so right. "Knowledge is what makes you act and certainty is what sustains you."