Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrap up the past | Unwrap the present


We observe the arrival of the new Islamic Hijri year, no doubt. And some of us shy away from celebrating the other new year. I think that's perfectly alright because we are all unanimously against any ghaflah and evil acts associated with the new year celebration. Alhamdulillah, Allah has granted us the consciousness of what's right and what's wrong.

Alhamdulillah, He has saved me from being one of those who celebrates the new year in a jahiliyah manner. Because I used to walk that path, I have become tolerant and understanding towards those who party to the max on new year's eve. May Allah guide them as He has guided me. Mistakes are good if we learn from them. And I quote these comforting words of Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rafa’i ash-Shaduli of the Sufi University.

He said: "Mistakes are part of the master plan and bring us closer because we realize we need God.' For that reason he does not regret mistakes because "Allah, (God) says, ‘Oh My People! If you did not make mistakes, how could you know me? I am the Forgiver. I want to hear your voice calling me for Forgiveness, Mercy and Guidance. The mistake is a gate to righteousness. Through the gate of the mistake, most of my beloveds come to reach me.”

As we welcome 2012, let's wrap up the past and put it aside. Just wrap up all the heartaches and failures of 2011, although I don't agree with the word failure because it's not a finite thing, it's just another experience, another action of Allah.

As we welcome 2012, let's unwrap the gifts of the present, in each moment. For in every moment He reveals Himself to us in His infinite manifestations, with infinite beauty and mercy. So let's just smile for verily He is with us.

La ilaha illAllah Muhammad Rasulullah
fi kulli lamhatin
wa nafasin
'adadama wasi'ahu ilmullah.
May we live the reality of witnessing Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w in every vision, with every breath, far and wide as is His knowledge.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How will history remember you?


Three things experienced over the weekend had brought about this post:
"The Emperor's Club" movie; 
a visit to Maqam Habib Noh - the grand saint of the region;
and a hearty lunch at the Islamic Restaurant near Arab Street, Singapore. 

What do they have in common? History.

One line from the movie made me think to the core of my heart. Kevin Kline who played Professor Hundert, an excellent history teacher, asked his students: "Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance. What will your contribution be? How will history remember you?”

You know I am not a movie person. I hardly watch any movies but I was glad I saw this one by chance and as always I am not ashamed to admit that it made me shed tears. The following day, I went to Singapore and I kept hearing the words of Prof. Hundert - What will your contribution be? How will history remember you?

Habib Noh bin Muhammad Al Habshi (1788 - 1866) was a man who made an extraordinary mark in history. In a few months' time people from all over the region will be gathering for his 150th Haul (death anniversary) InshaAllah. During the haul held last April, I learned about Habib Noh walking on water from a small island where the British had attempted to quarantine him together with those deemed to be suffering from infectious diseases. Habib Noh was neither a politician nor a conqueror. He was only a man who had extraordinary belief in his religion. He was a man known to have had a deep sympathy and love towards children and the less fortunate. That's how he is remembered to this day.

In front of the chamber where the maqam is housed

Fifty nine years after the demise of this much-talked-about saint, another exciting history got recorded in Singapore. In 1921, the Islamic Restaurant established itself as the place to go for absolutely delicious briyani. When someone  (a non-Muslim) introduced me to the restaurant, I thought he was just referring to a 'halal' restaurant. I never expected a restauranteur would boldly use such an exclusive sounding name. It turned out to be not just a halal place but one with an impressive history.

Many heads of state and Sultans from Malaysia have frequented the Islamic Restaurant. Perhaps the founder M. Abdul Rahman didn't start the business with a purpose to make his mark on history. He was probably just focused on using his talents and contributing to society in his own unique way but somehow he too made history.

Now, what about us? What will our contribution be? How will history remember us?

Savouring history at the Islamic Restaurant
- A travelogue of a nobody -

Friday, December 23, 2011

Where is your destination?


Where is your destination this holiday season?

I am excited about both my journey and destination. Because in my journey to my destination I have got my favorite nieces and nephews, sister and of course my beloved mother. Oh...let me digress a little and mention my niece because she has been complaining about not getting featured in this blog. So, below is my interview with her.

Name: N. Atikah Binti A. Aziz
Age: I'm 22 btw -_-"
Profession: Kindergarten Principal - a qualified one, if you ask.
Country of residence: Malaysia, but I wish to stay somewhere cold but come to think of it, I can't stand too much coldness or I may just break into pieces, I'm kinda fragile.
Ethnic background: Malay but my aunt [that's me] said that we have got Arabic, Indian, and Indonesian blood. I don't know where she got that idea.
Describe yourself in one line: I'm busy, busy, busy!
A fun fact about yourself: I don't squash bugs, I'd advise them to run away fast before I decide to call for help.
Hobbies: Talking to HRs [family members], and I just developed a skill to communicate with them using brain waves.
Share some of your greatest achievements: Came back via the railway successfully babeyhhh! [she once traveled alone by train with some scary passengers].
What inspired you: Rasulullah s.a.w, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and ever since I've been to Singapore, I haven't forgotten Habib Noh. And of course HRs - for their oh-so-bright smiles; MakTok [her granny/my mother] - she has great humor especially when it comes to money and Aunty Jaja [that's me] - a fan of Shinzui soap [a Japanese body soap/one of my 'beauty' secrets].
Brief advice to Muslims on achieving great things: When you fall down, pick something while getting back up.
Brief advice to yourself on achieving great things: You know your strength, work with it and everything will be just fine.

She is cool, isn't she? Anyway, our destination this weekend will be Johor & Singapore, and the highlight has got to be Maqam Habib Noh, InshaAllah. But before we make that journey, here's one more time, a lesson from Maulana Syed Mohammad Zauqi Shah (1877-1951).

What is the destination?
There is just one destination for man and that is Allah. The rest, like minor miracles and knowledge through kashf [unveiling] are but child's play. One should be trying to obtain His pleasure all the time, do everything only for Him and keep His remembrance always in the heart. This is the stage of submission (taslim) and resignation (ridha) to His Will. This is the highest stage. Even if He places one in Hell, that too should be welcomed. After all, Hell and Paradise too are relative. The real thing is Zat (Divine Essence). Let all relativities get lost in Zat.

Quoted from: Tarbiatul Ushaq/The Training of Divine Lovers
Publisher credit: AS Noorden

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Zikrullah at all times | Dast dhakar dil bayar


Tarbiatul Ushaq - 'The Training of Divine Lovers' is a collection of discourses by a Pakistani Chistiya Sufi, Maulana Syed Mohammad Zauqi Shah (1877 - 1951).

It's one of the lovely items that ended up in my shopping bag this week which contained mostly M & S biscuits, tea, chocolates, and candies : ) Alhamdulillah. Yes, it's very easy to lose ourselves when we are at the malls but we could still be in zikrullah no matter where we are. That's what Maulana Syed Mohammad Zauqi Shah said in the book:
How to establish zikrullah at all times
The salik should attune himself to Allah all the time. While he should busy himself with affairs of the world that must not make him neglectful of the zikr of Allah. If a person suffers from a toothache, he continues to feel it even while he is busy with his everyday duties. Similarly, if a dear one dies, he keeps depressed with the thoughts of his dear one all the time while he, again, is busy with his duties. In the same way, the salik must always be mindful of Allah, whatever else he may be busy in:
Dast dhakar
Dil bayar
Which means:
"Your hand in your work and 
Your heart with the Beloved"
Publisher credit: A.SNoorden

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Season's Greetings


Regardless of your religion, I think you will agree with this saying:
Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air,
drink the drink,
taste the fruit,
and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Someone tweeted that and I liked it. If you are an Islamist, you might have the tendency to Islamicize things and you might say oh yes there's an Islamic teaching in that saying - "resign yourself to the influences of each" because, resign yourself means submitting to the qada and qadar of the season. Islam is about submitting to the Divine's decree. It's true, is it not?

And I will admit that I really like this season. It's got a joyous aura because it's year end and many will go on a holiday with their loved ones since it's school holiday and those who have been busy working throughout the year will take a long leave from work.

I like this season because it's colorful and I love the color red and that's why I like Poinsettia which happens to be a plant associated with the Christmas celebration. I will also admit that I enjoy eating Mince Pies which is also linked to Christmas. So what, it's just a fruit pie/tart, and it's yummy! Just be sure to buy those that comes with a V label (for vegetarian). So I am ok about Dr. Tahir al-Qudri saying it's ok to celebrate Christmas to a certain extent. But of course some may not agree with him.

I don't intend to debate about that. I just want to express my happiness about this season. It's a happy season for many and let's be tolerant and respect our Christian friends and those who celebrate Xmas, Ho Ho Ho! Let's appreciate our similarities and acknowledge our differences. Let's not forget, we love Prophet Isa alaihisalam too. 

Oh, I also like this season because this is the only time you get to see so many things in red and green combo and it's such a beautiful color combination. I also like Christmas trees because they are simply pretty. And I do sing along to Mariah Carey's - "All I want this Christmas is you!"

You may think I am "liberal" in that sense. I think what I am trying to say here is that we must be mature enough to know when to be liberal, conservative or even orthodox.

To all our Christian friends, Merry Christmas! All I want this Christmas is for you and your family to be happy and to be merry!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Know Islam | Love Islam


What do controversies regarding Islamophobia mean to you? What does interfaith intolerance mean to you? I believe we don't have so much of this problem in Malaysia Alhamdulillah but that does not mean we should not be sensitive to what our fellow Muslims in America are facing.

It's ironic but heartwarming that a non-Muslim friend from America has brought our attention to an issue faced by our Muslim brothers and sisters in [supposedly] "melting-pot" USA. She is making us speak-up on this matter. She works with 'My Fellow American' project which focuses on addressing and minimizing unfriendly gestures towards Islam in America.

Please read her message below:

Hello again,
I thought that you and the readers of Lisan al-Din would be interested to know that last week Lowe’s Home Improvement pulled its ads from the TLC show All-American Muslim in response to an organization claiming the show "falsely humanized Muslims in America.” The Lowe’s controversy has exposed more Islamophobia in America. This issue falls directly in line with what the My Fellow American project is trying to prevent and overcome in America.
As a supporter of the project, would you please visit to share what this controversy means to you? I encourage you to ask your readers to do the same to help spread the message of tolerance to fight back against intolerance and fear-mongering. We've just posted a host of new content from various entertainers and faith leaders on this topic.
When you post or tweet about this important issue, please send me the link so I can share it with my team. Thank you for your continued support!

Well, I am yet to watch the 'All-American Muslim' TV show but I think I can still try to answer Ms. Elizabeth's question on what such a controversy means to me. I think Lowe's, just like many people out there, could learn from a Malay saying: Tak kenal maka tak cinta. What it means is that one cannot possibly love something or someone if one does not know it/him/her well enough. It's a simple maxim, it's full of common sense yet it's hard to do if one is not willing to open one's heart to get to know something or someone truthfully.

Whatever it is, Lowe's must be credited for wanting to advertise/support the pro-Islam TV show, initially, albeit for a short while. They must be thinking: 
Life is about supporting 
One another regardless of creed, color and faith
With kind thoughts for humanity if not heart-felt compassion and knowing that 
Each community deserves the right to coexist in harmony in
Support of the divine plan no matter how different our approach is towards the One Divinity.

They later pulled out probably because they suddenly realized that:
Life is not about standing up for tolerance and humanity but
One that is driven by personal profit at all costs hence one must align oneself
With likeminded, narrow minded people
Even if their views are considered as distorted by the majority, but 
Such an attitude will not make much improvement for the greater good of this shared home.

Let's remind ourselves to keep our level of intolerance on low. Let's make an effort to get to know something for eventually, we'll come to love it. Or at least respect it. Let's not support any kind of lowe-ly attitude.

Watch this unique video published by 'My Fellow American' featuring Rabbi Jack Bemporad and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi on Lowe's and Islamophobia.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

They who died for the love of the Truth


Today is the 17th of December, so we remember once again the demise of a great Persian Sufi mystic, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi who died on this day 738 years ago, in the year 1273. Great people are often remembered for their good deeds and inspiring words, both of which moved people to act in the way of truth, simply because their very being is for the love of the Truth.

For the same reason, we remember the demise of a prominent Al-Azhar scholar, Shaykh Emad Effat who yesterday died as a martyr, at riotous Tahrir Square in Cairo. His remarkable final roles were as a cleric at a religious authority on Islamic fatwa -  Dar al-Ifta, and fighter of haq together with Egypt's brave young men.

An AFP Pic of the Shaykh's last passage from Al-Azhar Mosque

Al Fatihah
Shaykh Emad Effat died on a Friday, a blessed day;
died amidst a sacred fight for the truth.
We Are In His Hands In Anger And In Peace
If we come to (a state of) ignorance,
that is His prison.
And if we come to (a state of) knowledge,
that is His (lofty) balcony.
If we come to (a state of) sleep,
we are His drowsy-drunken ones.
And if we come to (a state of) wakeful alertness,
we are in His Hands.

If we come to (a state of) weeping,
we are His cloud full of glistening (raindrops).
And if we come to (a state of) laughing,
we are His lightning at that moment.
If we come to (a state of) anger and battle,
it is the reflection of His Wrath.
And if we come to (a state of) peace and pardon,
it is the reflection of His Love.

The above are couplets attributed to Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, translated from the Persian by our brother Dr. Ibrahim Gamard of Darul Masnavi, the co-translator of 'The Quatrains of Rumi'.

Purchase 'The Quatrains of Rumi' here:
Pic Credit: Rumi Tomb by Jens Helmstedt

Friday, December 16, 2011

Praying for increased knowledge


Rabbi zidni 'ilma
"O Allah increase me in knowledge."

The type of knowledge according to
Prophet Muhammad's standard.
That which beautifies our character.
Allahumma salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

Jumaah Mubarrak to all!

Poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
Purchase this art here:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The psychology of prayers


We are approaching the end of the solar year. Let's take stock of the prayers we should have performed in a given year. If I may ask, what were you thinking as you performed the 1,825 obligatory salat in a year, that is if you are a man? And probably around 1,741 salat, if you are a woman.

What was I thinking? Well...I am now thinking about how I have prayed, how many times I have prayed, how many times I was late in my prayer, how many times I have missed my prayer. I, I, I it's all about me. That's where I went wrong. That, I discovered just last night, upon watching a video of Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy giving tausiyah at a masjid in Singapore last weekend.

He was talking about ihsan - that you worship Allah as if you see Him. The shaykh stressed the importance of realizing the object of one's prayer which is Him; Him; Him and not you. He said, "it's about seeing Him, not seeing you, not seeing your ibadah, your qiyam, etc. but seeing Him. If you see you, how can you see Him?"


About 20 hours ago, I noticed Sidi Farraz Rabbani tweeting on the same point. He said:
'In prayer, some focus on praying;
others, on praying to God;
others, on God.
"Establish prayer in My Remembrance." [Qur'an]'

Yes indeed, Allah says in the Qur'an: "Establish prayer to remember Me." Yet so many of us are remembering 'me', in our prayer.

Later, Farraz Rabbani tweeted again to emphasize the point. He said, "The highest sincerity is to forget yourself in beholding Him."

Allahu Akbar. Hence, I am reminded of this weighty phrase I learned from somewhere:
La ilaha ilAllah qabla kulli ahada
La ilaha ilAllah baqda kulli ahada
La ilaha ilAllah hu yabqa Rabbana
wayafna kullu ahada

There is no God but Allah before and after everything, while Allah is baqa (everlasting) and everything else is perished.

And Shaykh Ninowy ended his tausiyah on ihsan by quoting the Qur'anic phrase:
kullu man alaiha faan
"All that is on earth will perish."

So let's think about it. Let's make our 1,825 +/- prayers next year be how it should be InshAllah. May Allah forgive us for not worshipping Him as He should be worshipped.
Listen to Shaykh Ninowy's tausiyah by clicking on the link below, 
courtesy of Masjid Ba'lawi Singapore

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Habib Ali Al-Jifri on knowledge according to the standards of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w


Allahu Akbar, just yesterday I heard with my own ears Shaykh Habib Yusuf Bakhour Al-Hassani saying: "I do not judge people. Only Allah can judge. I only judge myself." He said that to me when I told him I was afraid he was going to point out my wrongdoings. I thought he would be judging me on some inappropriate things he might have noticed about this blog or if I had wrongly quoted him. Astaghfirullah. Pardon me Shaykh!

And today I heard Habib Ali Al-Jifri conveying the same message - that we should not be judgemental towards others.  Habib Ali asked, what would our reaction be if after leaving the masjid we saw some youth misbehaving in public? How would we perceive them while we, having just left a religious gathering and feeling good about ourself that our level of piety has increased a notch? Would we dismiss them saying Astaghfirullah, this is shaytan? Saying astaghfirullah in such instances is not seeking refuge from wrongdoing, said Habib Ali.

Would we look at them with compassion and make du'a so that Allah grants them hidayah? Would we care to smile and say Assalamualaikum? Think about the effects of our behavior on them. 

Over time people progress in their level of understanding and practice of the religion. We may over time adopt a certain Islamic image. But in truth, the measurement of deen and piety is never about the image, rather our character and how we interact with others. Worse still if the more we practise the religion the more rude, angry and intolerant we become towards our family, community and those who are 'less religious'. This is due to a lack of sincerity in seeking knowledge and in practising the religion. We would not behave in such a manner if we truly understand our interaction with Allah and if we truly recognize Allah bounties. 

So be cognizant of the difference between the standards of Iblees knowledge and that of Prophet Muhammad's knowledge (s.a.w). The former makes one proud and judgemental while the latter beautify one's character. Habib Ali advised those seeking piety to look at themselves and find the truthfulness in their hearts, and to remember that "Wherever fine and pure character is present, religion is present. Wherever fine and pure character is present, pure knowledge is present." But "Let us not take this that we should judge other people. Let us judge ourselves!"

Subhanallah! Such amazing gems from Habib Ali Al-Jifri. We are grateful for this lesson and we are humbled that this is our first time quoting the venerated Habib Ali Al-Jifri. May Allah preserve him and may we continue to benefit from all the habaib we admire and love.

The above is not a verbatim transcript. Watch the full lecture here:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Allah judges all | You judge yourself


Astaghfirullah, it's my fault. When I heard about a venerable shaykh wanting to speak to me, I was petrified. Oh, did I do something wrong? I am always worried that I might have misrepresented or misquoted the honorable people whom I often mention and quote here; always fearful if I lacked adab in my speech. But you see the fact that I thought I would be judged only proved that I'm the one who is guilty of judging people of being judgemental. Astaghfirullah. At the same time I was hopeful that it would be for a good thing. It's amazing how a shaykh can evoke the feelings of khauf and raja' (fear & hope) in us. But the moment I heard his gentle voice uttering such kind words, my fears dissolved, like rain washing off polluted air.

Alhamdulillah, today is like Eid for us because the honorable Shaykh Habib Yusuf Bakhour al-Hassani has personally conveyed his words of support and du'a. Indeed, this space is our space, we are here together so Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah.

May Allah preserve Shaykh Habib Yusuf Bakhour al-Hassani. May Allah grant him the best of what He may have reserved for His elite servant. Ameen.

May Allah keep our hearts bonded with the solehin and 'ariffin. May Allah keep nurturing the love we have for the Ahlul Bayt. May Allah open the hearts of those who are yet to recognize the true worth of the noble descendants of Rasulullah s.a.w.

We hereby quote a hadith from 'Al-Arba'in - On the Duty of Loving the Noble Family of the Prophet Muhammad' by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Jaffar al-Kattani:
At-Tabarani also reported in al-Aswat on the authority of al-Hasan ibn 'Ali as a marfu' that [the Prophet s.a.w said]:
"You must have love for us the Ahl al-Bayt. Indeed someone who meets Allah [on the Day of Judgement] with love for us will enter the Garden by our intercession. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, a slave's actions will not benefit him unless he has real knowledge of our worth."

"I don't judge people. Only Allah can judge. I only judge myself!"
- Shaykh Habib Yusuf Bakhour al-Hassani

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Upholding the skies above the land one stands


MashaAllah! Never had I imagined Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy wearing a traditional Malay dress! The honorable shaykh was in this region (in Singapore) this weekend (10 - 11 December 2011) for 'The Sacred Path of Love' event.

Unfortunately, I wasn't there. But subhanallah, I could smell the bakhur upon seeing a picture of the shuyukh paying respect at Habib Noh's maqam - speaking of the miracle of Habib Noh!

There is a Malay saying: 'Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit di junjung'. It roughly means we should uphold the skies above the land on which we stand. I think that reflects the gesture of Shaykh Ninowy wearing a Baju Melayu (Malay outfit for men) and looking very charming!

The theme for this year's event was 'Gateway to Gratitude'. And we quote from the organizer's Facebook, Shaykh Ninowy's saying:
"Don't think if you are healthy, you are not tested but when you are sick you are tested."

I think in essence what he was saying is that we must recognize Allah's presence in all circumstances. Just like what Habib Umar is quoted as saying on his Facebook today:
"To the extent that you love God, you hope for His closeness, pleasure, reward and nearness. You also fear being distant from Him, His rejection, chastisement, punishment and wrath to the degree you love God."
And both this "hope and awe relate to true love".

Shaykh Ninowy at Maqam Habib Noh
Singapore, Dec 2011
Photo credit:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin on degree of taqwa


Know that, and we quote Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al Hamid who was speaking to Ba'alawi KL jemaah last weekend:
"The lowest degree of taqwa is when you drop all things forbidden and do all that is obligatory (wajib)."

He said the highest degree of taqwa is limitless. It's something one may strive even beyond one's last breath because Allah the Almighty is Al 'Azim (Great) and Al 'Ali (Exalted). The people of tazkiyah understood that a good deed performed by the abrar (the righteous) may well be a sin for the muqarrabin (those who are near to Allah) - hassanatul abrar, sayyiatul muqarrabin.

To illustrate this point, Habib Ali narrated the story of Ahmad bin Muhammad's meeting with Shaykh Ahmad Syaibani.

Ahmad asked the shaykh what his opinion was about someone who forgot the number of rakaat he was praying. The shaykh then asked Ahmad: "Would you like an answer according to your mazhab or my mazhab? The answer for your mazhab is that the man should go with the least number of rakaat he has performed. But according to my mazhab he should be caned, for how could one who faces Allah be forgetful of Him?"

Ahmad bin Muhammad asked again. "What is the zakat for 40 sheep?" Shaykh Ahmad Syaibani asked him back: "Would you like an answer according to your mazhab or my mazhab? The answer for your mazhab is 1 sheep. But according to my mazhab, all our possessions belong to Allah, hence all must be given back to Allah."

So there! We know where we stand with regard to this taqwa yardstick. Astaghfirullah hal 'azeem! May Allah grant us tawfiq and bring us near Him though we are not able to worship Him as He ought to be worshipped. May He bring us near Him, not based on something that comes from us, but out of His vast mercy and bounty. Ameen.
Photo credit: Darul Murtadza.blogspot.
Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin is the murshid for Darul Murtadza which is based at
Al-Hidayah Musolla @ AU3 Keramat KL.
Check out his live streaming on Fridays at: 

Content credit:

Friday, December 9, 2011

When my heart hums | As the curtain falls


How I wish you could hear the hummings in my heart tonight. I wish I could sing out loud beautifully, for you. Thankfully, certain things need not be articulated yet we could convey a message, like the words people say in between the lines. Certain things need not be spoken yet we could relate good feelings to the recipient, like a smile. Mother Theresa said "everytime you smile at someone, it's an action of love, a gift, a beautiful thing."

My heart hums the songs of life we have sung this year. So many months have passed. Tears fell. And those burst of laughters. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. Praise be to Allah in all circumstances, He is Time after all.

And my heart hums...
O Lord,
I know of my sins
seek You while in pain
stray in times of joy
I am not saying I know You
a sinner seeking redemption
begging Your glance of mercy
lest I hum melodies of agony

O Lord,
forgive my fingers
for composing lines unbecoming of me
let the curtain falls
so I may put the pen down
and come to You, done!

O Lord,
when my heart hums
only You could hear
let them judge
let them whisper
into Your arms I surrender


The guitar is not mine.
I am not a musician.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Loving 8 or loving 1?


We all roughly know that we should be loving Prophet Muhammad s.a.w above our family etc. What's the etc.? It's good to be specific. We've got to be specific in this case so that we can internalize the true meaning of loving the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. InshAllah Bi-iznillah.

That, we learned from Habib Ali Zainal Abidin last week. That we are NOT supposed to be loving 8 things more than we love the one Rasul of Allah s.a.w. That's his right over us. And what about our rights on him? Well, he had fulfilled those rights. He did his part. He spread the words of Allah. He was (and still is)  the conduit of our Lord's hidayah for us. We love him but we also love these 8 objects of love.
  1. Parents
  2. Wife/spouse
  3. Children
  4. Siblings
  5. Relatives
  6. Job/business
  7. Home
  8. Property/wealth
So, what are we to do about it?
We can be loving all 8, but the shaykh said our faith will not be considered complete.
Hmm...we sure have a long way to go!

Allahumma salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
wa 'ala ali Sayyidina Muhammad
Poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
To purchase his art:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tawakal vs. tawakkal


AlHamdulillah, last Sunday we learned from Habib Ali Zainal Abidin (may Allah preserve him) that we should mind our spelling, that tawakal is not the same as tawakkal. Ahah! You thought they meant the same thing? No, they don't.

He said:
Tawakal is depending completely on Allah without investing in any means e.g. one who lets his camel loose upon entering a masjid. Whereas, tawakkal is to tie up one's camel and then enter the masjid. By the same token tawakkal means to abandon one's dependence on the means (e.g. tying up the camel) as well as to depend on the Musabbib (Allah). [That the camel will be safe not because one has secured it but because Allah will protect it]. Therefore, Habib Ali said, do not depend on the cause.

There is a verse in the Qur'an where Allah asked Saydatina Maryam a.s.(who was on the verge of giving birth) to shake a date palm tree. Obviously, a heavily pregnant woman will not have enough strength to shake a tree. But Saydatina Maryam's attitude was that she would resort to a "cause" (shake the tree) while not depending on it (not depending on her effort). Logically speaking, no amount of shaking could make the dates fall of the tree, but she did it anyway. Habib Ali Zainal Abidin said, "that's the kind of attitude we should have". In other words, put in the effort but do not depend on the effort; depend on Allah instead.

Habib Ali Zainal Abidin

That's what we learned last Sunday. Interestingly enough, Habib Ali Al Jifri had on Saturday tweet about the same issue, he said: "Taking the means is worship. Depending on means is a sin!"

So people, lock your car, keep your purse safe, and go seize the day!
Habib Ali's majlis ta'alim was hosted by KL Ba'alawi

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reflections on 'Ashura Day


It's the time of the year when we talk about 'Ashura day. Most people already know the virtues of the day and most people would be fasting on this day InshAllah. May Allah continue to give us the tawfik to observe all the days deemed auspicious by sunnah.

Personally, I wish our scholars would elaborate more on the reason behind 'Ashura celebration, particularly on the victory granted to Prophet Musa a.s. and his people. Their illustrious victory over Fir'aun should offer plenty of lessons for us as we encounter the modern day "Fir'auns" quite frequently. Dealing with the Fir'auns of our times can be suffocating. They tend to complicate things and make our chest tight. Their ability to articulate their viewpoints eloquently (although in error), make us feel inhibited. And we are often tongue-tied and lost for words when trying to counter these smart Fir'auns. But as believers we do not intend to argue unnecessarily or win an argument for the sake of winning an argument. We just want people to understand our stand. So Prophet Musa said: “O God open my chest, make my task easy for me and untie the knot in my tongue so that they may understand me.”

Well if they still don't understand us and when it's beyond us, we'll have to leave it to the powers that be. In any case, I think we have to be braver in our beliefs, that we have got a divine power behind us, one that is always going to back us up even when we think that no help is coming our way, and suddenly we look behind us, lo and behold, He drowns the enemies!

On a lighter note, on this 'Ashura occasion, I wish to be living in Tarim, Yemen where the spirits of 'Ashura could be felt in a deeper sense. I learned from Habib Umar's notes on 'Ashura that people would "gather in Masjid Ba`Alawi on the eve of `Ashura to read the merits of the day and to make du`a. The day itself is a day of Eid. Children wear their best clothes, amusements are provided for them and gifts are given to them."

It would be nice if we could show the children a clip on Prophet Musa's triumph. Imagine a scene where tonnes of water sinking the enemies; picture the Red Sea at the peak of its might and  the good feeling that believers always win!

Reference: Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya's blog
Poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
To purchase his art:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tashu'a Day - 9th Muharram


We learned this last year that 9th Muharram is known as Tashu'a Day, the day before the big day - A'shura Day (10th Muharram) - which was a day of celebration historically, in conjunction with Prophet Musa's victory over Fir'aun.

Let's remind ourselves of the virtues of these auspicious days from excerpts in Al-Futtuhat Al-Haqqaniyah by Shaykh Adnan Kabbani as translated by Bro. Abdul Shakur.
  • The Prophet said, "Whoever fasts the 'Ashura (10th Muharram), Allah will write for him 1000 wishes and 1000 years of age, and will grant him the reward of 1000 martyrs and will write for him the reward of Ismail a.s., and writes for him 70 palaces in paradise, and makes his flesh forbidden from the hellfire."
  • In another Hadith the Prophet s.a.w. said, "Whoever fasts the 'Ashura, he will be granted the reward of 1000 angels. And whoever recites Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad 1000 times on the day of 'Ashura, Allah will glance at him with the Eyes of Mercy, and will write him from amongst the Siddiqqin [The Truthful]."
  • In another Hadith the Prophet s.a.w. said, "Distinguish yourselves from the Jews by fasting either the day before 'Ashura or the day after it as well."
  • Whoever prays 4 sunnah rak'at on the day of 'Ashura, where after the Fatihah in each rak'ah recites Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad 11 times  Allah will forgive his sins of fifty years, and will build for him a pulpit from light. And whoever takes the sunnah shower on 'Ashura he will not suffer sickness in that year except the illness of death, and whoever wears the Kuhl on his eyes on 'Ashura he will not suffer sickness on that year.
  • Du'a of 'Ashura: Recite:
    • Hasbun Allahu wa ni'mal wakil ni'mal Maula wa ni'man Nasir [70x]
    • Hasbun Allahu mil-al Mizan wa muntahal 'ilma, wa mablaghal rida, wa zinatul 'arsh, la malja-a wa la manja min Allahi illa ilaihi. Subhan Allahi 'adada-sh- shaf`i wal 'arshi, wa 'adada kalimati Rabbinat taamma! ti kulliha. As-alukas Salamata bi Rahmatika Ya Arham Ar-Rahimin, wa la hawla wala quwwata illa billahil 'Aliyyil 'Azhim. Wa huwa hasbii wa ni'mal wakil, ni'mal Mawla wa ni'man Nasir. Wa Sallallahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi ajma'in. [7x]
Wallahu a'lam.

Content Credit: Shamsul
Poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
To purchase his art:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prophetic healing potion | The essence of salawat


One who joined the rank of the heedless, who got distracted by the outside noise, whose heart became rustic and restless now needs a qulub hayya' balm,   a healing potion that could make her/him have a living heart again - qulub hayya' [a term borrowed from Shaykh Hamza Yusof]

One who is sick who frantically looks around for cure will soon realize that the cure resides under this one unique green dome, underneath which resides an eternal source for healing. Remembering the soul underneath it, is all it takes. He is the gatekeeper to the Essence, hence believers and his followers seek all there is to seek for, through mawlid and salawat for him, Rasulullah s.a.w.

The potion as the sick one will also realize, comes in different degrees of concentration like Eau de Parfum or Eau de Cologne, if you will. One uniquely fragrant essence came into my sphere and I will let it permeate here for the sake of asking you for a return favor, if I may, that you please make a special du'a for this faqir who is in need of healing.

Ironically but Al Hamdu lillah wa shukru lillah,  this Salawat Zaatiyah was the potion hidden behind the pains, heartache and humiliation that He had decreed for me recently. But it was all worth it! Here it is bismillah.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى الذَّاتِ الْمُحَمَّدِيَّةِ 
 اللَّطِيفَةِ الأَحَدِيَّةِ شَمْسِ سَمَاءِ الأَسْرَارِ وَمَظْهَرِ الأَنْوَارِ 
 وَمَرْكَزِ مَدَارِ الْجَلاَلِ وَقُطْبِ فَلَكِ الْجَمَال
اللَّهُمَّ بِسِرِّهِ لَدَيْكَ 
 وَبِسَيْرِهِ إِلَيْكَ أمِّنْ خَوْفِي 
 وَأقِلْ عَثْرَتِي 
 وَأذْهِبْ حُزْنِي 
 وَحِرْصِي وَكُنْ لِي وَخُذْنِي إِلَيْكَ مِنِّي 
 وَارْزُقْنِيَ الفَنَاءَ عَنِّي 
 وَلاَ تَجْعَلْنِي مَفْتُوناً بِنَفْسِي 
 مَحْجُوباً بِحِسِّي 
 وَاكْشِفْ لِي عَنْ كُلِّ سِرٍّ مَكْتُومٍ
 يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ

Allahumma salli 'alaz zaatil Muhammadiya
al latifatil ahadiyya shamsi sama'il asrar wa mazharil anwar
wa markazi madaril jalal wa qutbi falakil jamal
Allahumma bisirrihi ladayka
wa sairrihi 'ilayka aamin khaufi
wa aqil athrati
wa azhib huzni
wa hirsi wakun li wa khuzni ilayka minni
warzuqnil fanaa a'anni
wala taj'alni maftunan bi nafsi
mahjuban bi hissi
wak shifli kulli sirrin maktumin
Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum

O Allah, send blessings upon the Muhammadian essence
which is both subtle and unique,
sun of the sky of secrets,
the made visible of the luminescences,
the majestic centre around which all revolves,
the beautiful axis of the firmament.
O Allah, by His secret with You,
and by His journey to You,
quieten my fears,
decrease my faults,
remove my afflictions
and miserliness.
Exist for me and take me to You from me.
Grant me annihilation from myself.
Do not make me lead astray by my nafs,
nor make me veiled by my senses,
reveal to all of the hidden secrets.
O Alive! O Self-Existing!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What do we complain? | What the Prophet complained?


If I dare complain to the Lord, I complain that He didn't let us live during the times of the Prophet s.a.w. Imagine if he were to live among us, we would have a definite source of reference, a trustworthy and approachable counsellor who could clear any doubts we might have. He would be all that and so much more. We could just make a short trip to meet him in person knowing that he will never let us down, no protocol whatsoever. We will never ever feel helpless.

Yes we may still visit the Prophet s.a.w now. We may greet him. We may even get other people to convey our salam to him. A close friend of mine just did that for me today. Alhamdulillah. May Allah bless her for it means the world to me.

Now what do we complain to the Lord? What did he complain to the Lord? Did you know?

You will cry like I did if you heard the things the Prophet (s.a.w) complained to the Lord, as narrated by Habib Umar in this lachrymose clip.

Allah...I needed those tears to end the drought in my heart. It's amazing the effect the Prophet s.a.w could have on us. Sallu 'alan Nabi!

He, peace be upon him, had his feet injured. People threw stones at him making his feet bleed badly that he had to stop three times, and finally upon reaching a tree, he stopped to complain to the Lord. But he didn't complain to the Lord about the bad treatment he received from the Taif or Makkah people, or about the stoning, no! He (s.a.w) said:
"I complain to You my lack of weakness
and my lack of means
and my weakness in front of people.
You are the Lord of the Oppressed,
who will You leave me to?"

And when he was offered a chance for redemption, he could have accepted it, he could get those people crushed by the mountains, but no! Instead he said: "I wish that God will bring forth from their loins those who will take on this affair."

Habib Umar said, those people were not his friends for him to make such a good prayer. They showed enmity towards him, yet he prayed for them like he would for his children and friends.

Imagine the Prophet (s.a.w) praying for us every night the way he did for Saydatina Aishah (r.a.):
"Forgive Aishah the daughter of Abu Bakar,
for what she has done privately
and for what she has done publicly,
what she has brought forward
and what she has delayed."

Allahumma salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
wa 'ala ali Muhammad

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلَى آلَ مُحَمَّدٍ،