Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadhan Kareem - Ramadhan 1432 Hijri


MashaAllah, here it comes again, Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah!

We were delighted when our new neighbor wished us qabul for this Ramadhan. He is one we dearly respect because he is a Makkah resident.

We have been getting plenty of good wishes for this holy month. In Malay they say 'Selamat Berpuasa' which literally means a safe fasting. Surely we want to be safe from all the mistakes that we tend to make during fasting. The younger ones will wish 'happy fasting', yes we are happy about the merits of Ramadhan but we cannot be too happy about fasting because we know not if the quality will be just average or that which belongs to the khawas (elite) - meaning our eyes, ears, tongue, heart and all other organs will observe fasting too.

We just loved it when our neighbor Shaykh Hassan said qabul. That's all that matters, qabul, bi-iznillah.

Ramadhan Mubarak to all. May Allah grant qabul to all our ibadah, our du'a. May Allah grant us the gift of Laylatul Qadar and that we will eventually and ultimately deserve a true victory InshaAllah.

Wassalamu 'alaykum warahmatullah.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Farewell Sha'ban 1432 Hijri


We say farewell to Sha'ban as we stand before the door of holy Ramadhan InshaAllah. As we anticipate Allah's grandest mercy which He reserves in the shahrun mubarakun, let's learn a lesson from the honorable Ghawth al-Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, a lesson he had given towards the end of Sha'ban 545H.

It's a good reminder for us not to confuse His destiny and the role that we are supposed to play as His servant in this dunya, while we can still stand upright before the day comes when all we could do is lie flat.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said as quoted in The Sublime Revelation translated by Allahyarham Muhtar Holland:
"This world is all about wisdom (hikma) and work ('amal). The hereafter is all about power (qudra). The former is based on [divine] Wisdom, while the latter is based on [divine] Power, so do not give up work in the domain of wisdom, and do not underestimate His Power in the domain of power. You must work in the domain of wisdom in accordance with His Wisdom, and not depend on His Power. Do not make destiny (qadar) an excuse for your lower self (nafs), for it will try to use it as a pretext and give up work. Laying the blame on destiny is the pretext of the lazy. Destiny can only count as an excuse outside the sphere of the [divine] commandments and prohibitions."
May Allah protect us from illusion and laziness.
May Allah grant us plenty of wisdom.
May Allah grant us the strength to do plenty of work, before we step into the hereafter - a realm where we will all be overwhelmed by His Power, for verily He is our Creator, our Lord subhanahu wa ta'ala.

Farewell Sha'ban.
Marhaban Ya Ramadhan!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam on Preparations for Ramadhan


Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam Al-Maliki is like the perfect father figure. Anyone who sits before him would feel the warmth of his fatherly voice. Everything about him is fatherly. He speaks in a very relaxed manner, always in a friendly soft tone with intermittent small laughter. He reminds me of this saying by Katanni in Suhrawardi: Adab al-muridin: "Sufism is all good humor, whoever excels you in humor, excels you in Sufism." Shaykh Fahmi just knows how to make people laugh, and beneath the laughter, you just want to listen to him, agree with him and follow.

At a majlis taalim hosted by KL Ba'alawi last Sunday, he said many people misunderstood the meaning of the Rajab du'a.

What it means is that we ask for barakah in our efforts to earn a living in the months of Rajab and Shaaban so that by the time we reach Ramadhan we'll have enough provision and need not worry about work but focus on ibadah instead. Unfortunately, many people do the reverse. Ramadhan becomes a time for them to double their efforts in the hope to yield more.  Prophet Muhammad s.a.w as we know would seclude himself (iktikaf) during the last ten days of Ramadhan.

There is a hadith, though dhaif (weak) in its narration, says, whoever feels happy about the coming of Ramadhan, Allah will protect him from hellfire. Ramadhan is indeed shahrun mubarakun. How can it not be when we are given 70 times more blessings for doing the obligatory (wajib) and for each sunnat worship we are given the reward of a wajib. One who truly knows the special merits of Ramadhan would want it to last for a year. Imagine if your salary is $2,000 and come Ramadhan you could be earning $140,000 for the same amount of work that you do.  

Fasting is a special blessing for ummat Muhammad s.a.w. The other prophets also had fasting prescribed to them and their followers but none of them enjoy the privilege of Ramadhan like us. The month is known as holy Ramadhan. We don't say holy Rajab or holy Shaaban and likewise, we only say holy Makkah and holy Madinah because there are no other holy months and places.

You will know if someone's hajj is accepted when they appear to change for the better afterward. Similarly, we can tell if our fasting is accepted by Allah if our behaviors and characters improved post-Ramadhan. In Ramadhan, during the prescribed hours we are not allowed to drink even halal drinks. So would you then dare to drink the haram? In Ramadhan, during the prescribed hours, husbands and wives are not allowed to have sexual intercourse (jima') even though it's a halal thing to do for them. So would a man dare sleep with a non-mahram? May our taqwa increase manifold - la'al lakum tat taqun.

A hadith as narrated via Salman al-Farisi tells us about the tradition during Prophet's time when Rasulullah would gather the sahabah on the last day of Shaaban and make an address: "O people, you are now on the eve of Ramadhan, a month which is holy and full of barakah." What is the evidence of its barakah? That we are given 70 additional blessings. The month is further blessed with Laylatul Qadar offering a reward of 1000 months of worship. It is a month in which we perform both the wajib (fasting) and the sunat (terawih prayers).

Do not be like some people who treat Ramadhan the same as the other months, only that they have their morning breakfast and dinner earlier. Instead of fasting, they feed on their desires for food. Know that there are three levels of fasting. The first level is for the public who merely refrain from eating, drinking, and jima' during day time. The second level is for the khawas (elite) who in addition to not eating, drinking and jima', they carefully watch their seven limbs i.e. eyes, ears, mouth, so on; and the third level is for the khawasul khawas (elite of the elite) as practised by Aishah r.a and the anbiya. When Saidatina Aishah r.a. was once gifted with 100,000 dinar, she spent the entire day distributing it to people, refusing to keep any for her iftar. She chose to eat whatever was available at home. Unlike us, if we had access to plenty of money, we will have many plans for ourselves.

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam also reminded the audience not to skip the rawatib prayers because it is even more important than terawih. So be mindful of the qabliyah and ba'diyah prayers. qabliyah subuh for example has got tremendous virtue. Imam Al Ghazali in his various kitab such as the Ihya' Ulumuddin and Siyarus Salikin says, there is no point in reading copious kitab if one is not able to perform qabliyah subuh because it is worth more than dunya and its contents. Therefore, do not take rawatib prayers lightly during Ramadhan.

Shaykh Fahmi gave a clue on Laylatul Qadar based on a formula which he has personally tested and experienced. For this year, it will most likely fall on the eve of 29th Ramadhan (eve of Monday) since the first day of Ramadhan is a Monday. Take note that Laylatul Qadar for mahzab hambali is fixed on 27 Ramadhan.

In the holy month of Ramadhan we are encouraged to host iftar dinner even if it only means serving one date, a glass of water or a bowl of milk. Allah will grant pardon and protection from hellfire to anyone who serves iftar meals. Other than that we are also encouraged to do four other practices: to say ash hadu an la ilaha illAllah; to seek forgiveness (astaghfirullah); to ask for heaven (nas alukal jannata); and to seek protection from hellfire (wa na uzubika minan nar). That is why it is good to do tahlil about half an hour before iftar and recite those prayers.

Another du'a that is worth practising is one which Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had taught Aishah r.a.:
Allahumma innaka afuwun karim
tuhibbul afwa faq fu 'anna
And of course one of the most primary deeds of Ramadhan is to recite Al-Qur'anul Karim.
Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors in my notetaking.
I wish all of us Ramadhan Mubarrak!

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the outside looking in


On the outside looking in
that's what we are
as far as that dunya we see from afar

We are the self appointed scribe
for those we adore
the mu'aleem, mashaikh and habaib
all who speak jewels and pearls

We are the naive lot
who listen with our heart
so ask not what we heard
for we remember not

ask us what we feel
for we're a sensitive soul
weep in silence
speak little out loud
for we know not
save what the heart shouts

We'd like to think that
we are in fact
inside looking out

writing from her new desk
Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salawat | Durood recommended by Prof. Dr. Shaykh Jamal Farouq Ad-Daqqaq


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, Shaykh Jamal Farouq Ad Daqqaq at a majlis last Friday gifted the audience at KL Ba'alawi with a highly recommended salawat:

Allahumma salli abadan
afdhala salawatika
'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
'abdika wa Rasulika wa Nabiyika
wa 'ala aalihi wasallam
kasiran wazid hu tashriifan
wa takrii man
wa an zal hu munzallal
muqarraba 'indaka
yaumal qiyamah

O Allah, O our Lord
convey greetings of eternal peace,
the foremost of greeting
to our Master,
Your servant, Your Rasul
and Your Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
and his family;
protect him with abundant safety,
increase for him accolade and honor
and award him nearness to You
in the Hereafter.

Credit: Sister Hazlina of KL Ba'alawi
Pic credit: Shabbir Siraj

I hope you would appreciate this salawat and put into practice InshaAllah, because we had to wait for four days before we could finally post it here. (This is a backdated entry obviously). None of us ladies managed to copy it when Shaykh Jamal recited it in class, so we had to ask the gracious host to catch him at the airport before he left for Egypt and then we had to wait some more for another mu'aleem to verify the spelling. So here it is. Sallu 'alan Nabi!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Positive move


What have I learned today and yesterday while carrying 60 kg of luggage, load and unload it for like 20 times (or maybe more)? That when we die,  we will not even take a single piece of luggage with us. So why do we need so much stuff? Astaghfirullahal azeem. I made an intention that the least I could do to redeem myself is to entertain more guests at this temporary dwelling place InshaAllah and I will make it look and feel more like a zawiyah InshaAllah. I have been thinking about calligraphy posters for weeks and suddenly when I switched on the tv for the first time at my new apartment, guess what I saw? A lady who makes and sells calligraphic poster! Subhanallah! Such a sweet gesture from my Lord and InshaAllah on Monday this painting will make its way to my humble crib.

By the way, people, I am sorry this blog entry is kinda personal and trivial. My mind is too exhausted to craft anything valuable. I am actually writing this on sunday. I was hoping to go to Al-Jenderami today for Haul of Sayyidatina Khatijah al-Kubra but my lethargic body failed me.  Luckily, Alhamdulillah KL Ba'alawi was also hosting a majlis taalim tonight so I got to learn something useful there as preparations for Ramadhan. InshaAllah.

This is life. Either we move or we stay put. May each and every single move we make be for the sake of Allah. May each and every non-movement be for the sake of Allah too. (That in Malay as I've heard it from one of the guides is: Jadikanlah setiap gerak dan diam untuk Allah.)

Another lesson I learned and wished to impart to the young people is that do not be stingy with your qudrah (energy/capability). Everything has a zakat (alms) so I learned the zakat for your body is that you tire yourself and exert your physical strength to help others, to do something useful for them. I sure pray Allah would accept my bodily zakat and prime intention to provide a comfortable shelter for my mother.

And I am reminded of this du'a made by Prophet Ibrahim: Inni muhajirun ila rabbi innahu huwal azizul hakim. "Indeed I am migrating toward my Lord. Indeed He is the Mighty, the Wise."(Al-Ankabut 29:26)

For reasonably priced and/or customize paintings visit lukisankaligrafimurah.blogspot

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Let salawat be your guide" - Shaykh Jamal Faroq Ad Daqqaq


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the opportunity to sit before the honorable Al Azhar scholar for the second time tonight. Prof. Dr. Shaykh Jamal Faroq Ad Daqqaq spoke to the jemaah at KL Ba'alawi on the virtues of salawat and the supreme ranking of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

One important lesson learned that we wish to highlight (for now) is the 'capability' (if you will) of salawat to sort of replace a murabbi (guru/guide). Shaykh Jamal said Allah will not decline any salawat offered by anyone. We can make du'a but we can't be certain if Allah will accept it, but salawat is an exception.

There was an author by the name of Muttaki al Hindi who named his kitab rather uniquely. It's called Hidayatul Rabbi fi fakdi Murabbi. It basically means getting guidance from Allah without the presence of a murabbi. Whenever one has got no one to guide, salawat will and can serve as his/her guide. That is how significant a salawat is. It can function as a murabbi - a guide who teaches and coaches a mureed towards the right path.

Quoting one of the major hadith on the tenfold rewards given to a person who makes a salawat, Shaykh Jamal said salawat is indeed a great blessing from Allah. If we make ten, He will grant us a hundred blessings in return and so on and so forth. Which one would you choose if you were given a choice between having all the deeds of man or one salam from Allah? A clever person will definitely choose a salam from Allah.
To be continued, InshaAllah.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Know why you are the best of all ummah" - Shaykh Jamal Faroq Ad Daqqaq


Kuala Lumpur: Masjid Usamah bin Zaid welcomed a special guest tonight - one distinguished scholar from Al Azhar University, Prof. Dr. Shaykh Jamal Faroq Jibril Ad Daqqaq. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Shaykh Jamal began his tausiyah by praising Allah for His bounties upon us for His bounties are the most perfect of all. He said we have been gathered by Allah in the most honorable state. The topic this evening is on the privileges of being ummah of Rasulullah and the importance of protecting the rights of Muslims.

Shaykh Jamal quoted two hadith which described the relationship among Muslims, that we are like a building which is being reinforced by various parts, and that we are like a body which gets affected if any of our bodily parts gets injured. For this reason, Allah has made it a duty upon us to care about the affairs of Muslims. 

O you whom Allah bless!
Know that the ultimate honor granted to the ummah of Rasulullah is the fact that the Quran bears witness 'you are the best of all ummah, those who enjoin good and forbid evil'. Take note of three advantages mentioned in the hadith: firstly, you enjoin good, secondly, you forbid evil and thirdly, all of that after having been given faith (iman).

There are two distinctive characteristics of ummah Rasulullah s.a.w. If anyone asked you, why is ummah Muhammad regarded as the best of all ummah, the answer is because firstly, we preserve a genuine tauhid and secondly, we protect the sanctity of our ibadah. Meaning, we keep to the original and do not innovate unlike the ummah of the other prophets who altered their ibadah against what Allah has prescribed to them. Allah says in Surah Maryam, "O Maryam, prostrate unto Allah." However, when a revelation was given to Bani Israel they changed things. Whereas, we know in shariat Islam when we make sajda we will have all our 7 limbs prostrate, namely the forehead, two hands, knees, and feet. We are taught specific rules on how to make sajda and we follow.

Why are we honorable? Because Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had taught us the correct aqidah. O people, the most important element in aqidah is having a perfect tawhidullah. There are various levels of tawhid. We learned from the Quran in Surah Al Ikhlas about Allah's omnipresence and omnipotence. Allah has given us one kitab and one prophet. Can you imagine what it would be like if we had two gods? They would have given conflicting orders. That is why Allah in His utmost wisdom asked us to proclaim His oneness. On the other hand, sunnah is meant to provide further clarifications pertaining to the Quran. The previous ummah had their kitab changed. But Allah has honored us by giving us one unadulterated kitab and sunnah.

There was an incident when Rasulullah (s.a.w) saw a man reading the Torah. He said to the man, did you know that if Nabi Musa was around he would have disregarded the Torah and follow the Quran instead? Each of the ummah is given a kitab and Allah has specially selected the Quran for us and made all other kitab null and void, so as not to confuse us.

Another unique factor (khususiyah) of this ummah is that Allah gives us Islam as a religion which suits the intellect of man. Why is that so? Because Allah has not discounted our shahwat (desires). He promotes marriage. The intellect (aqal) is for us to differentiate between the good and the bad. While religion is prescribed to us to enjoin good and forbid evil, so they complement each other. Evidently, the religion that is most suiting to the intellect is Islam.

The other aspect that makes Islam unique is its emphasis on knowledge. There is a story about a learned man who studied the prophet's sirah. When he found verses in the Quran referring to the creation of oceans and the universe, he instantly believed that Quran could not possibly be something which Muhammad could ever compose. One cannot separate knowledge from the Quran. In the first revelation Allah taught Muhammad that knowledge must be acquired through reading. Allah teaches us the importance of writing. There are many instances in the Quran where Allah teaches us the value of knowledge. Muslims in the past were great achievers in many areas such as geography and architecture because they had based their inventions from the Quran. In fact, Allah teaches us many branches of knowledge in the Quran.

If we wish to make extraordinary advancement in wordly matters we must be equally advanced in matters of the aqidah. Otherwise, we might lose our religion. Allah has given us Islam, a religion which befits our intellectual capacity. Therefore, if we wish to make our nation successful, we should not reject this religion.

In a nutshell, Allah has honored this ummah; Allah has specifically mentioned in the Quran that we are the best of all ummah; we are a knowledgable ummah; we are the ummah who strive in His Path; Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is the most foremost prophet; Prophet Muhammad has bear witness that whoever follows this religion will not go astray; the chaos that is currently taking place in several countries has got nothing to do with the Islamic teachings but is reflective of the state of the hearts of certain Muslims; those factions who have a tendency to brand people as kafir is a typical occurrence, it happens in each ummah; there shouldn't be any divisions (mahzab) among Muslims. We have got one Allah, one religion. We fast in the same month, we perform congregational prayers behind one imam, we are not divided, we have one God and one prophet. The Quran asks us to hold on to the rope of Allah. The Quran asks us to love one another. By all means, reject anyone who tries to break our bonds.

Note: One paragraph has been purposely ommitted due to inter-faith sensitivity.
Wallahu a'lam. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I am a struggling Muslim, so what?


Allahu Allah, I don't know where to start. Maybe I should first say thank you to this one servant of Allah, I must thank her for making me cry out of humility and gratitude because her message made me reminisce my turbulent journey as a struggling Muslim. Please know that it's just as hard for born-Muslims. I am not a qualified ustazah to be guiding reverts. But I will share a little bit of my experience in order to hopefully illustrate a few obvious points: that things are difficult before they become easy; that we have got to start somewhere and that we should just keep doing whatever we can.

Fine, I was born a Muslim but I remembered feeling hopeless when I realized I didn't know how to pray. I was 10 then. Thereafter I learned, but soon after I forgot until I felt the same feeling of hopelessness again when I was 18 and again at 27. Astaghfirullah. It was very difficult for me to do solat then. But I remembered at that time Allah had made it easy for me to learn and recite Ayatul Qursi regularly and memorize a couple of du'a. Alhamdulillah.

I think it doesn't really matter if one has the opportunity to sit through a proper or formal religious course or not. Yes, it helps but it's ok if you missed the chance. Know that at the end of the day it is Allah who whispers into the heart, ilham and knowledge of things we never knew before. He is the ultimate Teacher. Just be grateful and flow with His flow. Let's say you only know Al-Ikhlas for now, it's ok, be thankful and just recite it as much as you can, perhaps 200 times a day. Believe me, many born-Muslims probably know Al Ikhlas and a host of other surah but how many of them actually recite Al Ikhlas 200 times a day?  

Almost everyone (Muslims) knows about Auzubilahi-minashaitanirajim but how many of the 'better' Muslims have got the certainty hence able to submit completely to Allah for protection from shaytan, just by saying that holy phrase? I only realized this salient point two nights ago from watching TV. (By the way, Malaysia is currently hosting an international musabaqah (Quran recital) competition and it's being telecast live in many Muslim countries.)

Anyway, I chanced upon one qari who was reciting this verse quoted below and it hit me hard. I mean, of course, I know auzubilahiminashaytanirajim since young but only two days ago (at this age) did I come across the exact verse of the Qur'an which mentioned it and only now do I truly realize how powerful that simple phrase is and particularly the underlined verse as follows:

"And when you recite the Qur’ān, seek refuge in God from Satan the outcast. Indeed he has no power over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. His [Satan’s] power is only over those who choose him as [their] patron," (Surah An Nahl 98 -100)

My dear friend, what I am trying to say here is: it's ok if you don't know much, just pray Rabbi zidni ilma, war zuqni fahma - 'O Lord increase me in knowledge and grant me understanding'. And bank on whatever little knowledge and understanding which He has granted you so far. If you know Al Ikhlas, recite it. If you know auzubillahiminashaytanirajim, say it. Just do whatever you can for now.

So what, if you are a struggling Muslim? I was born a Muslim, yet I am a struggling Muslim still, so what? I am not afraid to talk about my ignorance openly, I am not ashamed to say I don't know. But you know what? I am very grateful for whatever little thing I know because I know who my Teacher is and I know He loves me. And the best part is that no one knows how deep my gratitude is, no one but me. And you, only you knew what He had whispered into your heart that made you embrace Islam 3 years ago. It must have been a sweet whisper but I know not because it was you who heard it, it was you who tasted it.

I am not holier than you or anybody else to be making a good du'a but I love the habaib and the shuyukh, so I pray that for the love I have for them, Allah will have mercy on you and me. We are both the same, we are struggling Muslims. So I pray with their barakah may Allah grant us hidayah and tawfik. May He grant to all struggling Muslims hidayah and tawfik so that we'll all become better Muslims than we were yesterday.

Ameen Ya Allah, Ya Hadi, Ya Zul Jalal li wal Ikram.

Ya Zul Jalal li wal Ikram
The Lord of Majesty & Bounty
Poster credit: H.Yoozbashi/

Monday, July 18, 2011

Walk with humility


It was a Sunday morning when we ventured to our favorite bakery. As we were driving happily, a man on the sidewalk caught our eyes and instantaneously our heart sank. He was limping and he appeared to be in a hurry, so you imagine how difficult it must have been for him. We immediately realized how lucky we were to be able to enjoy walking in our favorite long skirts. How much we enjoy each stride, the way the skirt flows while we walk, it's fun, but not everyone is able to enjoy such simple fun things in life.

Let's reflect on these lessons from the Qur'an:

وَٱقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ
"And be moderate in your stride..." (Part of Surah Lukman/31: 9)
And the Tafsir Jalalayn explained further how we should walk - "And be modest in your bearing, being moderate in it, neither dragging slowly nor rushing, but peaceful and dignified..."

"And the servants of (God) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility..."
(Qur'an 25:63)

Astaghfirullahal azeem, may Allah forgive us for any speck of pride that we might have in our stride. May we be thankful that we are able to put both feet firmly on the ground.

Quranic translations/tafsir:
Pic credit:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shaykh Jamal Farouq ad-Daqaq in Malaysia (18 - 23 July 2011)


We are pleased to announce the arrival of
Prof. Dr. Shaykh Jamal Farouq ad-Daqaq
to Pahang and KL, Malaysia from 18 - 23 July 2011
18 July 2011 (Monday)
Maghrib: Masjid Sayyidina Ali at Bukit Sekilau, Pahang

19 July 2011 (Tuesday)
10 am:  Maahad Tahfiz Ker. Negeri at Tg. Lumpur, Pahang
Maghrib: Masjid Felda Jengka 16, Pahang

20 July 2011 (Wednesday)
10 am: Meeting with UITM Jengka lecturers, Pahang
Maghrib: Masjid Omar Abdul Aziz, Pahang

21 July 2011 (Thursday)
Maghrib: Masjid Usamah bin Zaid at Wangsa Maju KL

22 July 2011 (Friday)
Maghrib: Ba'alawi KL at Kemensah Heights, KL

23 July 2011 (Saturday)
10 am: Depart to Egypt

Pic credit: Ibn Ismail

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sufficient provision on the eve of Nisfu Shaaban


Alhamdulillah, yesterday a visitor brought to our attention  a gem which should be in every home - an English translation by Muhtar Holland of Al Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq by the venerable Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani. Its title in English is 'Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth'. InshaAllah we'll get hold of this precious collection soon.

The visitor had kindly highlighted to us a paragraph in the said book on the special prayer called Salat al-Khair for practice on the eve of Nisfu Shaaban. Some of you might notice it in the 'comments' section but we feel it's significant and thus warrants a posting.

These are the words of Ghawth al-Azam as translated by Allahyarham Muhtar Holland:

"As for the ritual prayer traditional for the night of mid-Sha'ban, it consists of one hundred cycles, including one hundred repetitions of Qul Huwallaahu Ahad (that is to say, ten recitations in each cycle [rakaat]). This prayer is called "Salat al-Khair" (the Prayers of Benefit), and its blessings are many and varied. Our righteous predecessors used to gather to perform it in congregation. It contains much merit and rich reward.

It is reported of al-Hassan [al-Basri] (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) that he once said: "Thirty of the companions of Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) related to me that Allah will look seventy times upon one who performs this prayer on this night, and with each glance He will fulfill seventy of that person's needs, the least of them being forgiveness."

It is also commendable to perform this prayer on the fourteen nights on which vigil is recommended, as we mentioned in the chapter concerning the merits of Rajab, so that the worshipper may thereby obtain this grace, this merit and reward."

So, last night we made an attempt to perform the 'Prayers of Benefit' while feeling guilty on the quality of our hudur (presence). At one point we thought, fine even if we lacked hudur we should just go on and let our limbs struggle and feel the pain of 'hardwork' so they know they are supposed to work as a servant. Verily we are a servant of Allah and what can a servant present to the Sultan other than a poor gift that is not worth much at all - a present which is chipped, dusty, smelly and ugly! Astaghfirullah.

Allahu Allah we don't even dare to dream about our Lord fulfilling 70 needs of ours. Suffice that He looks down on us and notice we're simply trying to be a servant and that we know we have a Lord to whom we ought to bow and from whom we ask for forgiveness. That He will forgive us because we're not worshipping Him as He ought to be worshipped.

La ilaha illa Anta, Subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zolimin.
You may wish to purchase the book from the publisher directly so click here:
Al Baz Publishing

Friday, July 15, 2011

A lover in solitude


Are you that lover in solitude?
Or are you one of those
who claims to love Him,
but reluctant to leave your satin sheets
on most nights?

Astaghfirullahal azeem.
Allahumma a inni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatik.

Poster credit: Agnieszka Ziemisewska of Poland/Todayposters

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Laylatul Bara'ah - Nisfu Shaaban


We've been reminded on these special practices on Nisfu Shaaban which came from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, so we shall remind you too. It may be a common practice but we all need to be reminded every year because we are forgetful.

Let's do these InshaAllah:
- Fast on 13, 14 and 15 Shaaban.
- Between Maghrib and Isha on 15 Shaaban, recite Surah Yaasin 3 times for rizq (provision), protection against bala (troubles) and for a long life with good faith/deeds.

Let's TRY to do these too InshaAllah:
- Pray 100 rakaat (pause after every 2 rakaat)
First rakaat: Recite Al Fatihah once & Al Ikhlas twice
Second rakaat: Recite Al Fatihah once & Al Ikhlas once
- Once done, continue reciting Al Ikhlas up to 1000 times

May Allah give us the strength and patience in making full use of the auspicious evening.

Poster credit: Rashid Rahnama

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sole direction


Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah for lifting our ignorance little by little. Nisfu Shaaban is just around the corner and it reminds us how ignorant we were 14 years ago when we were in Makkah yet we didn't have a clue about it. Can you believe that?

Allah guides whom He wills. We are humbled and grateful as we reflect on our journey towards the Creator. May our souls keep moving forward in that sole direction.

Alhamdulillahil lazi hadana li haza wama kunna linah tadiya lau la an hada nallah. Praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We would not have been guided had Allah not guided us.

We wish to spend a few quiet days this 13, 14 and 15 Shaaban 1432 Hijri.

Poster credit: Ali Javaher

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Worthy Warith


When we make du'a we are supposed to have a good degree of certainty that He will grant our petition. Certainty has got to be more precious than gold because imagine Allah giving us whatever it is that we plead to Him. Isn't it amazing that this certainty while making du'a is intangible and invisible yet it weighs a lot more than any amount of wealth that we may possess.

Rabbi la tazarni fardan wa anta khairul warithin. This is one of our du'a. 'O Lord don't leave me alone, and You are the best of heirs.'

Today as we sat through a funeral and observed the event, we realised the importance of having a knowledgeable and pious son. This son, the warith of the deceased looked relatively young and the look on his face showed that he was a little nervous as he began to  realise the heavy role and responsibilities ahead of him. He is the only man left in the family now and he has two younger sisters and a mother to care for. He sat next to the imam while the imam perfomed the final recitals (talqin mayyit).  

It dawned upon us that anyone who is gifted with a son should put in tremendous efforts to make sure he is worth a thousand sons - for moments like this.

We pray our son will remember to keep the tongue of his heart occupied with Al -Ikhlas for us, while handling our final day. We pray that Allah will grant our son the knowledge, gnosis, piety and strength equivalent to a thousand men. That is our prayer, not just for a warith but for a worthy warith - one who is qawiyul ameen, who has erfan mubeen.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank God for the 70,000 angels


What we love about being a believer is that we know we have a God who pardons and He has angels who are ever so kind on those who strive to be a good Muslim. Thank Allah for making us believe in angels and thank the angels for this particular favor which weak servants like us should really take advantage. Actually, we've slackened on this practice until we heard a whisper.

The good thing about having a blog is that while we remind ourselves every now and then, we can also remind others InshaAllah. More importantly, we want to put on record some of our practices which our future generations can and will copy InshaAllah

It's the last three verses of Surah Hashir to memorize and to recite in the morning and evening. It is said that 70,000 angels will seek forgivenes on behalf of the reciter. Oh some skeptics might question the authenticity of this amazing thing but we don't really care because we believe in the unseen. Moreover, we simply love the meaning of the verses as it indicates the grandness of His Majesty. Subhanallahi amma yushrikun.

He is God, than Whom there is no other god, Knower of the unseen and the visible. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. He is God, than Whom there is no other god, the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Securer, the Guardian, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Exalted. Glorified be God above what partners they ascribe! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

Wallahu a'lam.
Poster credit: Mohammad Samadi/
Quranic verses and translations from

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What is eternal is within


Dunya is not too bad if one quietly sneaks in and just pick up what's good. Our regular adventure of that nature includes trips to Kinokuniya KLCC. God bless the Japanese for we simply love their skills in book retailing and food too.

There, we discovered a brilliant piece by Seyyed Hossein Nasr called 'The Garden of Truth'. Sadly, this according to the author, is his last book. He began by throwing at us questions which are too familiar to all, questions like 'who are we' and 'what are we doing here.'

He said in reference to the issue of understanding who we are - the I, is beyond male or female. There is another aspect of our existence, one at a higher level. He said, consider then why we sometimes say 'I must control my temper' as though the 'I' is at a more commanding level than the temperamental 'me'. After debating the ego-challenging questions, he then discussed the features of the 'garden' (if you will), such as truth, love & beauty and goodness & human action. 

Obviously, as a Muslim he stressed the fact that Sufi tradition stems from the Qur'an and hadith - "It has preserved over many centuries going back to the Prophet, a regular chain of transmission of initiatic power (walayah/wilayah) and the grace (al-barakah) necessary for the spiritual journey. And above all, it can enable men and women to reach a state of sanctity."

The 'state of sanctity', I gather, is the 'Garden of Truth' where the true self could emerge after having won the battle of  forgetfulness, whose enemy is distractions of dunya, among others. The 'Garden of Truth' as we understand it, is surely internal. That which is eternal is within. Allah is eternal and the eternal, as stated in a hadith qudsi, is neither contained in the heavens nor the earth but the heart of His believer. 

I imagine, a heart that contains Allah has got to be the most beautiful garden there could ever be.

Wallahu a'lam.
'The Garden of Truth' is published by HarperOne.
Read proper reviews of this book here and here.
Top poster is by Amir Hessam Ranjbari.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Temporary life


There's no majlis ta'lim to attend this week, so we get to spend some time to reflect on life.

Alhamdulillah, He has made us travelled so far. He has made us experienced lots of things in life so diversed and varied in His giving and witholding that we have become somewhat indifferent between having and not having. After all it's all His and everything is on loan.

Our house in Penang used to face a beautiful seafront. We recalled the days when we would just lie on the floor in the family area and looked out through the huge window to see fishermen floating about in their small boats. Each floor of the house enjoyed such beautiful sceneries until the 'authorities' decided to reclaim the sea. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal.

Our temporary home in Scotland faced the charming Allan Water. It's a dreamy river that was calming to a homesick heart (except in winter). Overall, we had a fantastic time living in Bridge of Allan, a quaint little area in Stirling.

Soon, we shall move again, InshaAllah. As a city dweller who cannot avoid being part of the race for survival, we've got no choice but to live on the fringe of KL. No we are not complaining because in the past few years KL has been a place where we have learned and grown so much as a muslim. Alhamdulillah.

We learned from our guides to take only what we need from the world and keep it in our hands and not let it enter our hearts InshaAllah. We look forward to writing from our desk which looks out to the city skyline. We hope it would be a constant reminder that we should stay out of it as much as possible and only enter when necessary, and certainly not to make mischief. We hope that we are always reminded of the fleeting nature of dunya for we know not where we'll be moving to after this temporary station.

We fantasized about moving to exotic places such as Tangier and have a 180 degree view of the Mediterranean sea, like some privileged writers and artists who sojourned in Morocco. Plus the land is blessed with many shuyukh. Oh well, it would be very lovely, but still temporary.

Inna lillah wa inna ilai hirajiun.  

Dunya from a window at our new abode
Top poster is from Iran Independent Designers Society 

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's all about taste


We have oftentimes heard many shuyukh spoke about taste. One of the often-repeated phrases is man lan yazuk la yadri - 'he who tastes not, knows not'. We have not heard any scholars spoke so clearly on this somewhat vague aspect of spirituality until we heard Shaykh Mokhtar's lecture posted on Al Madina Institute MashaAllah he's such a brilliant guide!

Shaykh Mokhtar Al Maghraoui spoke on attaining nearness to Allah by reorienting our minds and hearts towards Allah on the basis of tawhid - tawhidullahi azza wajala. He said, unfortunately, many of us who enter Islam, proclaim the shahadah and recognize the message of Muhammad, do so intellectually or even academically. This is tawhidul ilmi.

We learn about the affirmation of the oneness of Allah (tawhid) through His asma (names) and sifat (attributes). We learn about the oneness of Allah in His Lordship - tawhid rububiyati; in His Godship or His uluhiyah and our ubudiyah (servanthood). All these are tawhidul ilmi which is good but only basic. We need to go deeper.

We need to make our understanding of tawhid sink from the head/intellect into our hearts (qullub) so that we not only know about tawhid but more importantly experience it, thus achieve what Shaykh Mokhtar termed as 'experiential tawhid'. This is the tawhid that could change a person because his tawhid now becomes cultivated from the mind into the heart, emotions and spiritual realities.

He said: "It is like the difference between I see something, I know it, I describe it, versus I touch it, I hold it. I see a sweet drink from far and I know how to describe it and talk about it, versus I go and hold the jar and drink from the jar. The drinking of the sweet drink is relative to know about the drink is the experiential station of my knowledge. My tawhid needs to become experiential. That is the tawhid that changes the person."

Shaykh Mokhtar then talked about getting near or taqarrub to Allah and attaining His hubb (love) through obligatory worships and then the extras/supererogatory worships (nawafil) until the person becomes the mahbub of Allah or the beloved of Allah. But take note that love has many levels of meaning in the Arabic language. A mother's 'love' is described as rahmah (mercy) in Islam as mentioned in a hadith by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w and it is not the same as hubb love.

He also said that we should understand that "there is a difference between 'being loved' and 'loving'. You could 'love' but without 'being loved'. Does God have hubb for me? His rahmah is always there but do I have hubb from Allah?"

One who has hubb from Allah will experience a spiritual transformation that Allah will become the person's eyesight, hearing, hand and foot as stated in a hadith. He will begin to know and understand things the way they really are, and not the way he thinks they are. It can then be said Allah is in the person's qalb and he will have experiential tawhid or tawhidul wijdani. He will begin to feel it.

"Every khair virtue in the life of a mukmin comes from this experiential tawhid. Every vice in a human being is due to the degree of absence of experiential tawhid. I could have intellectual tawhid but I am unkind, rude, restless, unforbearing, unjust, uncaring, ostentatious (riak), deluded because tawhid al wijdan is not in my heart."

Therefore, Shaykh Mokhtar said we should strive for experiential tawhid - "That I taste the sweet drink and not just know or read about it. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said wajada halawatil iman, 'find in you the sweetness of iman.' So, go find it and taste it with the tastebud of your heart..."

Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui
Al Madina Institute

May Allah grant you the time to listen to the full recordings of Shaykh Mokhtar's lecture at
Poster credit: Mohammad Imanirad
p/s Kak Anisah, semoga perjalanan kita mencari 'rasa' dipermudahkan Allah.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little trophies in my heart


You said
I made you have a skip in your step,
I'll say,
I've got little trophies in my heart
that's each one of you

You said
you're lonely and I kept you company
The truth is I'm lonely too
And I seek you here
on this small space we share

You thought
I was the one who could offer a prayer
The fact is that I'm the one desperate for your du'a
So we meet somewhere in the middle
like the right and left palm
we clap in mid-air
consoling each other while in despair

When you told me I made you smile
it puts a song in my heart
Alhamdulillah for a pal as sweet as you
Now let me whisper in your ear
little trophies of my heart
Pic credit: Ali Javaher/2009 Asmaul Husna poster winner

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beautiful Names


Subhanallah. Alhamdulillah. Allahu Akbar! I chanced upon a web gallery of Asmaul Husna posters here oh they took my breath away. Allah Jameel, what more can we say?

His Names are Beautiful. The names of His creations are also beautiful. I just feel like writing the names of the artists through whose hands He has crafted such magnificent arts.

Ahmad Azizpour. Alireza Bakshi. Ali Seylan. Amene Ebrahimi. Amin Akhbari. Amir Hessam Ranjbari. Amir Khojasteh. Anoshirvan Mani. Arghavan Samadian. Arifur Rahman. Arman Khalatbari. Babak Safari. Bahram Hamidi. Banafsheh Amini. Behnam Abdollahvand. Behnam Tarokh. Behnoosh Pourjamshid. Bita Afkhami Goli. Davood Khalili. Ebrahim Arabaygi. Ehssan Hossini. Ehssan Moradi. 

Aren't they beautiful? I am drowned in all this beauty, His Beauty. Subhanallah.

Everyone of us should be proud of the names given to us by our parents. Names are important. It's the best gift a parent could give to a child. Our Names embody His spirit as manifested through a receptacle that defines our individuality, that defines the love and hopes that parents may have upon their own little 'creation', if you like.

Imagine the day when Allah had instructed Prophet Adam a.s. to teach the angels all the names there were in heaven. Imagine if you were given a different name than what you are known for now? Those artists whose lovely names we've listed, they are meant to be known, they are meant to create what they had beautifully crafted for us to savour. Each one of us is here for a purpose and we do what is meant for us to do at each appointed time.

We are His beautiful creations, no doubt.

Your blogger,
Ezatulhada Ismail

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The pleasures of an independent mind


Of course I remembered the 4th of July - a nation living 10,000 miles away celebrated its Independence Day yesterday. Makes me think of the pleasures of an independent mind. A mind that freely evolves from a narrow thought to one which is brighter, more inspiring, and more liberating. To state the obvious, a static mind is not an independent mind.

I realized how stagnant my mind had been at times when I saw this quote by Mike Doodle: "Think of every single thing that we 'have to' do to get through a day, as something that we 'get to' do...before our turn is over. Everything is a gift."

I thought that sounded like an Islamic value, very universal. It makes us more thankful. It makes us want to embrace life more positively. It liberates the shackles of our minds. So we start counting our blessings though Allah says in the Quran, there is no way we could do that.

Alhamdulillah, I get to write. I get to share. I get to meet some wonderful people, physically and virtually. Oh by the way, a friend from Africa sent me a poem by Imam Shafie:
"Allow time to do as it pleases
and let your soul be happy,
and rest with qadha and its outcome.
Do not panic when events take a bad or difficult turn.
For events of this life do not last forever..."

Certainly, this too shall pass. And isn't it amazing that detaching ourselves from all things tangible or intangible could make our mind so independent, so free to embrace the times of our life and hopefully without too many complaints, else we belong with those whom Allah refers to in a hadith qudsi: "Sons of Adam inveigh against [the vicissitudes of] Time, and I am Time, in My hand is the night and the day."

Alhamdulillah, I get to speak my faith.
Alhamdulillah, I get to speak my mind.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani on loving Ahlul Bayt (Part 4)


Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani
4 July 2011
Kuala Lumpur

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, on the fourth and final evening of his lecture series, upon completing the kitab on ahadith concerning ahlul bayt, Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani gave ijazah to the attendees.

We are beyond grateful because we now have more ijazah of pertinent knowledge which we could pass down to the younger generations bi-iznillah. Out of the 40 over hadith we had studied with Shaykh Al Kattani, there was one which would be enough as the basis for our children's education. That they need only do two things - firstly is to keep their connection with the higher heavens through the Qur'an and secondly to love and support the ahlul bayt. By knowing and loving ahlul bayt alone, the doors of faith, mercy, forgiveness, and shafaat will swing open to them.

Alhamdulillah, we are grateful that Allah has given us the gift of iman, of knowledge and of knowing ahlul bayt. We were ignorant and heedless before and then Allah showed us the way to Rasulullah s.a.w and ahlul bayt. We hereby register our gratitude so that He will grant us more.

To be continued. InshaAllah.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani on loving Ahlul Bayt (Part 3)

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani
3 July 2011
Kuala Lumpur


Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani continued his lectures for the third night in a row at KL Ba'alawi. Several more hadith were discussed with an intention to finish up all 40 hadith so that he could give ijazah to the attendees Inshaallah. The kitab was originally compiled by his guide Shaykh Muhammad bin Jaafar al Kattani on hadith concerning love for ahlul bayt.

In reference to the 16th hadith listed in the kitab, Shaykh Muhammad said this particular hadith gave high regard towards the ahlul bayt because Prophet Muhammad s.a.w made a swear by his own life - wallazi nafsi biyadihi.  He would only do such a thing for major issues and he had said that while knowing the consequences of one who lies in his swear. The person might become dumb and in akhirah his face might turn black.

Take note of the phrase la yukminu ahadukum used in this hadith. In other hadith such as the one which talks about adab with the neighbors, a different phrase is being used e.g. your iman is not complete if you cause trouble to your neighbors. But in this particular hadith, la yukminu ahadukum means 'you do not have iman at all' unless you love the ahlul bayt because of your love for the Prophet.

Shaykh Muhammad said we must have mahabbah (love) towards Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. According to Al Bukhari there are three levels of mahabbah that are takzim (the kind of love a son would have towards his father); ro'fah (the sympathy/empathy a father would have towards his son) and istihsan (the feeling of togetherness).

We must have all three. Whenever we listen to the Prophet's sirah (history) about his struggles and the challenges he had faced, we should feel sorry for him. We should also feel istihsan, in that we are together [present] with Rasulullah s.a.w.

The hadith says yuhibbukum lihubbi, so why do we have to love ahlul bayt? Because they are related to Prophet Muhammad and as a sign of our love for Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Shaykh Muhammad raised his concerns on some people who wrongly accused the Prophet's parents as being in hell. He said they should know that his parents belong with ahlul fatrah. There was no prophet in between Nabi Isa and Nabi Muhammad therefore they had not received any taklif (order) with regards to Islam.

We should also take note that Prophet Muhammad was sent to the entire universe and not just a small community. There is a difference between kaum and ummah. In fact, there are several other terms used in the Quran which proved that Prophet Muhammad was sent to a wider audience, for example, kazzabat (referring to the people of Prophet Lut, Nuh, and Samud) as compared to kazzaba (in reference to Prophet Muhammad). Similarly, fikum is used to refer to the small communities of the other prophets, whereas ilaikum is used for Prophet Muhammad.

In another hadith  we learned how Prophet Muhammad responded to a certain group of people who would purposely stop talking upon seeing someone from his family. He repeated his warning that none shall taste iman unless he learns to love ahlul bayt because of their kinship with him.

Shaykh Muhammad stressed the adab shown by Prophet Muhammad who did not mention Abu Sufian's name, he didn't question why Abu Sufian had done that but he spoke in general terms. Allah forbids us from talking about someone's aib (fault).

In a hadith from Al-Tirmizi and Al-Hakim in their Sahih, from Ibn Abbas: 'Love Allah who provides you food and all other blessings; love me for the sake of your love for Allah; and love my family for the sake of your love for me.'

Shaykh Muhammad said it's logical that we love the One who created us, who constantly gives us His blessings, who beautifies our creation, who gives us hearing, eyesight and so on. We have been chosen to be ummah of Muhammad and not ummah of any other prophets. We should be thankful that Allah has not created us like animals and that He has given us iman. Shaykh quoted Abul Hassan Al Fasi who said: [something to this effect] - 'O Lord, I was naught and You created me, I was ignorant and You taught me, I was proud and You changed me. O Lord, all my flaws You turned them into perfection until all my defects were gone, while Your perfections subsist.'

In another hadith by Al Thabarani in his kitab Al-Kabir and Al Baihaqi in kitab Al-Sya'b, the Prophet said whoever loves himself more than he loves him (the Prophet), has no iman. Sayyidina Umar once confessed that he loved Rasulullah more than he loved his wife and children but he loved himself more than he loved the Prophet. Rasulullah s.a.w told Sayyidina Umar that for that reason his iman was not complete. Sayyidina Umar then quickly replied saying he loved Rasulullah more than he loved himself.

Shaykh Muhammad said, from this incident we learned that mahabbah (love) may be increased almost instantly. Your weaknesses in matters of worship may be redeemed but not your weaknesses in mahabbah. Those who will stand firm on the sirat are those who love ahlul bayt the most.
Wallahu a'lam.
My notes were not in verbatim. May I be forgiven for any errors or omissions.
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