Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap of faith | Everyday is a leap day


Almost everyday we are faced with a situation where we have to take a leap of faith whether we realize it or not. That is because, as we decide on something we realize He is the One who determines the outcome. As a proof of servitude we can only try our best and grab the opportunity as if it was rare like a leap day, like today the 29th of February which comes along every four years. By right we should treat each and everyday like a leap day.

Let's treat each day as if it's an extra day like a leap day, and face it wth realization that it's not just about "me" and what "I" could take from others, be it their time, trust, dignity or whatever. It's about giving. No, it's not just about giving. It's about giving something good. Let's heed the advice given by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: "Become a source of peace and happiness to the people around you."

And Steve Jobs was certainly right in saying: "Going to bed at night saying we have done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."

Above painting by Mueen Saheed is on display and for sale at Sheraton Langkawi.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Switching moments


That's the first ray of light today, Monday morning in Langkawi. I am still here far away from the hustle and bustle of KL, cherishing the switching of moments from His manifestation of pressing times (Al-Qabdhu) to that of leisure and ease (Al-Basthu). A learned man once said to me, that's all there is to life, we are moving from one Qabdhu moment to Basthu moment and the cycle repeats. "So Ezza when you are in a Basthu moment, lookout for the next Qabdhu moment. When you are in a Qabdhu moment, just hang on and look forward to the next Basthu moment," he said.

And I remembered reading one tweet a couple of weeks ago: "If you don't like how the day unfolds, try going without one!"

Praise be to Allah, for the blessings of BEING and for the blessings in each moment.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shared space


I just wanted to say salam from Langkawi which comprises of 99 beautiful islands in the sun. About 5 years ago it became the 52nd member of the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks.

And so I learned at Sheraton Langkawi, one must be prepared and willing to share one's space with some cheeky monkeys. On the first day, when one of them had stolen my food, I felt they were intruding my private space. On the second day I realized the reverse was true, hence a comb of bananas for them.

We often take it for granted don't we? That this whole universe is a shared space.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blessings of the sun


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the blessings of the sun. That's sunrise at Sheraton Langkawi this morning!

I'm never going to pretend to be pious but I am grateful for God's inspiration and tawfiq that everytime I am caught in the sunlight I'm reminded of a verse in Surah Yaasin - was shamsu tajri limus taqarrin laha, zalikal taqdirul azizil 'alim - "And the sun is quickly proceeding towards its destination. That is the designing of the Almighty and the All-Knowing."

Alhamdulillah for the opportunity to chill. By the way, if you liked my tote bag and matching hat, come shop in Malaysia, I got them for about 6 pounds or Ringgit Malaysia 30.

Of course I am proud to be a Malaysian, it's a beautiful country. Amazing how Allah had decided in which country we're born and in which land we shall die, and everything that happens in between. Subhanallah.

Oh, I watched a show on TV last night, about a remarkable Malaysian singing-lawyer who passed away in February twenty years ago. He left us with this beautiful song. I wonder if people would still remember us after 20 years of our passing? What will we have left for people to remember us by? Think about it and ponder over these meaningful lyrics:

"There's a gift I'd like to give you
That can't be bought or sold
A ray of sunshine across the waters
That comes straight from the soul

Let us join our hands together
To bind the colours of our skin
A rainbow under God's great heaven
A sign that love will always win

One thousand million smiles
I bring to you across the miles
In my land of sunshine
Or in your land of snow
Makes no difference where you are
If you let your feeling show..."

One thousand million smiles,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

God's work


"I do God's work in peace and harmony." - that's one daily affirmation crafted by Dr. Wayne Dyer which impressed me a great deal. It reminds me of one phrase in the Qur'an nahnu ansorullah - those who are Allah's helpers. Not that He is dependent on our help. But it's an honor to be doing something while knowing He would be pleased with us if we intend it for His sake. Ilahi anta maqsudi wa redhoka matlubi. It's all for His sake.

The kind of peace that one could feel upon realizing it's all His actions in our busy-ness and rest, in messy times and in tranquility - "That feeling of peace and surrender, keep us sane and cool" said a friend in faith from India, a friend who stopped over in KL for two nights just to attend majlis zikr at a zawiya. He is one deeply spiritual soul I respect and cherish. 

So after 8 hectic weeks of doing "God's work in peace and harmony" I hope to God-willing, see a more relaxed manifestation of His divine drama as He takes and He gives.

Hoping to go back to writing on this space, this weekend, from beautiful Langkawi island. InshaAllah.

Can't wait to hear the waves speak. Well, everything speaks the language of His glorification.
Subhan Allah.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Be the source of security for everyone - Habib Umar bin Hafiz


Ameen to the venerable Habib's du'a - "May God make our footsteps firm upon the fooststeps of the Messenger of Islam."

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the presence of the inheritors of the Prophet among us, amidst this unstable world we live in where our iman and safety get threatened every now and then. Being weaklings that we are, we are susceptible to many external harmful effects. I for one have not been feeling safe lately. But alhamdulillah watching Habib Umar's video published by the Prophetic Way was like being given some cool mineral water and the fears and restlessness simply got flushed away.

When the goings get fuzzy it's best to go back to the basics as succintly and eloquently explained by Habib Umar (may Allah make us listen and obey him).

Are we the source of security and safety to other people? Or do we cause harm to other people? He said we should be spreading peace not just through greetings of Salam. "Peace necessitates that people are safe from your tongue, your hand and your eye. Do not be treacherous to people with your eyes, nor with your hearing, nor with your tongue. Nor with a hand that you extend towards their wealth and their honor." He said, if we could do all these then we will have realised FAITH.

It makes me wonder, how could people who appear to be learned, to be following sunnah with their beard and what not, at the same time be a source of harm to other people? How can a believer be oblivious to his religion by acting in the way that is harmful to other people? Perhaps we have all forgotten or become ignorant of the meaning of faith?

The realities of faith according to Habib Umar are that "people don't fear that you will wrongfully take from them, that you will harm or transgress them. The Muslim as the Prophet s.a.w said: is the one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe. He is the source of security for everyone."

I think if you cannot do good to other people then at least just leave them alone. If you don't, you might just lose your faith and be a Muslim only by name.

May Allah grant us continued tawfiq. May Allah make us benefit from the wisdom of the habaib.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The voice of words


"Writing is not an exercise in excision, it's a journey into sound." - E.B. White

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani tweeted that and it got me into writing again though my mind and body have been weak on account of some germs, said a doctor. But we trust God better - wa iza mariztu fahuwa yashfin. 

I've also been in a semi-hiatus as I grappled with Martin Lings' biography of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Pardon me, English is my second language and Martin Lings had confessed to having written the said book using  the top (the 4th) level of the English language. Still I pray and I pray that some people might benefit from my attempts to summarize its chapters. InshaAllah.

Yes I agree with E.B. White who was a prolific American writer. Words become sound when read, needless to say. I also agree mostly because I learned in my Master's course in Publishing and I quote my professor who said: a book has a "voice". Read on and you will surely find it. It's true, sometimes we picked up a book and we developed a liking. Sometimes it's not so much about the content or the subject but the "voice" behind it.

If you happened to be a nerd like I was, and read 'The History of Reading', you could appreciate how spiritual the whole mechanism of reading is. It's like each and every alphabets in the black rows between the white lines has a life and it comes to get you before you do them, if I may paraphrase it for you simply.

And we all know why the "voice" behind the Holy Qur'an seems majestically beautiful and over-powering at the same time. We could identify with that "Voice" surely. 

Lastly, before signing off, this weak "voice" seeks for your prayer and continued love. You - you know who you are. And you who have a somewhat negative intention towards me, please leave me alone.

Thank you.

p/s Tomorrow, Sunday 12 Feb @ Maghrib, for those of you who live in KL, there will be a grand Mawlidur Rasul celebration at Ba'alawi KL in Kemensah. InshaAllah.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The hunter in pursuit of an elephant


Pardon me, but this is my space and I wish to get a message across to some people who underestimate other people's values and undermine other people's self-worth. My message is in the form of an African proverb:
"The hunter in pursuit of an elephant
does not stop to throw stones at birds."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maulidur Rasul | 12 Rabi'ul Awal 1433H


اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ حَبِيبِ الرَّحْمَنْ
عَدَدَ ما يَكوُن و ما قَدْ كَانْ

Allahumma salli `ala sayyidina Muhammad
Habib al-Rahman
`adada ma yakun
wa ma qad kan

“O Allah, bestow Your prayers upon our Master Muhammad,
the Beloved of the Most Compassionate
to the number of things that will be and that were.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 9)


25. The Hour

The Koran sprinkles words of angels
as the disbelievers contended
why the messenger was a man
if God be God an angel would warrant

The Koran speaks aplenty
on the horrors of the Hour
the end of time
so near at hand

It warns so many
that the good would strive to excel
and the bad might just rebel
"Verily We have given them in this Koran
ample reason
to take heed
yet it doth but increase them in aversion"

26. Three Questions

The Qurayshis were increasingly restless
of their problems posed by the prophet
sent delegates to Yathrib
consult the Jewish rabbis they did

"Ask him three questions"
the delegates were told
if Muhammad was a true prophet
i. about the young men who left their folks
ii. about the traveller who reached the farthest east and west
iii. about the Spirit
if he but knew?

So the envoys returned to Mecca
asked him they did as told
The prophet said:
"Tomorrow I will tell you"

Fifteen nights had passed
Prophet got distressed
waiting for clues to the answers
No revelations had come to pass

Gabriel eventually appeared
though the Prophet was first reproached
"And say not of anything:
verily I shall do that tomorrow,
except thous sayest:
if God will." - InshaAllah

The story of the youths, so he understood
the sleepers of the Ephesus of the 3rd century
escaped to the cave
in favor of their worship of the One God
while their people muddled in idolatry

And a Revelation answered the second question
That of the traveller named DhulQarnayn
who traversed to the East and the West
and a place and a feat another
onto whom God granted power
protect the people from Gog & Magog
until it is time for the appointed Hour

The Spirit is above any man's mind
so the Revelation answered the third question
for it functions on the Lord's command
little knowledge but are given

Many more followers converted
at the answers they were amazed
and the wrath of the disbelieers increased
onto the new converts vented their anger

Umayyah tortured his slave
Bilal would be taken out under the hot sun
onto whose chest a large rock he placed
lest Muhammad he should renounce

Bilal determined of his faith
"One, One, One" he did repeat
Then Waraqah came by to testify
"It is indeed One, O Bilal"
Umayyah finally set him free
on the offer of Abu Bakar the wealthy

Abu Jahl was the other great tormentor
that of the rich and the poor
Yasir, Sumayyah and Ammar their son
became victims of his evil clansmen

The prophet realized the believers' sufferings
urged them to migrate to Abyssinia
where the king is fair and they could find relief
the first emigration in Islam, a new beginning

27. Abyssinia

Eighty of them not including the children
travelled in small groups in much secrecy
In Abyssinia they were well received
Quraysh leaders felt deceived
plotted a bribe for Negus and his army

But King Negus defended the refugees
with whom he summoned a meeting
together with his learned bishops
who were impressed with them all

Among them were Uthman & Ruqayyah
so were Ja'far and his wife Asma
Ja'far acted as their spokeperson
the one whom the Prophet favored
"Thou art like me in looks and in character"

Mus'ab of ad-Dar flanked the emigrants' chief
a remarkable young man so gifted
And Shammas was another handsome youth
the Prophet's cousins were with them too

To the emigrants the king questioned
Ja'far answered with great eloquence
recited the Chapter of Mary
made Negus and bishops weep publicly

The two Quraysh envoys were chased away
But Amr refused to give up easily
the next day he met the king again
"O King, they utter an enormous lie
about Jesus the son of Mary"

The King demanded for clarification
So Ja'far had to answer as per God's own words
that Jesus is a slave of God and His Messenger
Negus eventually agreed along wih his bishops

To Mecca, Amr and his companion returned
their gifts of bribery rejected
while Negus had to explain to his people
feared their king had left his religion
while Ja'far and the exiled community
were granted relief and safety

[To be continued InshaAllah]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 8)


22. Leaders of Quraysh

The followers of the Prophet were on the increase
but secretly he longed to win over the stronger ones
the likes of Abd ar-Rahman, Hamzah and Arqam
he had hoped for the support of Walid
Chief of Makhzum
to whom he recited some verses of the Koran

But a blind man stood on his way
so the Prophet was upset and turned away
until a verse was revealed
warning him not to ever be dismayed
"He frowned and turned away
because the blind man came to him..
As to him who sufficeth unto himself
with him thou art engrossed
yet is it no concern of thine it purified
he be not
But as for him who cometh unto thee in eager earnestness
and in fear of God
from him thou art drawn away."

Walid was not convinced
Utbah was not as opposed
Abu Jahl was clearly objecting
to whom the Prophet had sworn
"And as for thee Abu Jahl
a calamity shall come upon thee
little shalt thou laugh
and much shalt thow weep"

Leaders of Quraysh were not accepting
some could tolerate the messenger
but mostly rejected his divine message
though the Koran language they did find appealing

Unto them it issued a warning
"This lower life is but a diversion and a game
and verily the abode of the Hereafter
that, that is Life
did they but know"

23. Wonderment and Hope

The words of the Koran
appeared to have both
that which gives hope
and that which warns
news of Paradise it repeats

True believers believe in meeting Him
while the disbelievers stop short at the lower life
caught in the dreamlike illusions
failing to recognize His signs

The leaders of Quraysh
had always been asking for signs of certainty
that of the Angel's descent
and Muhammad's prophecy

One night the Prophet split the moon
much to the believers joy
the hesitants and disbelievers amazed
a miracle they discounted as magic

Thus the Koran demanded them to behold
the wonderment of the things already created
that of camels, firmament,
mountains and the earth

And the Koran taught about the al-Fatihah
the basic prayer of Islam
and al-Ikhlas, the Chapter of Sincerity
a concentrated doctrine of Islam
"Say He, God is One
God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all.
He begetteth not, nor is begotten
and none is like Him"

24. Family Divisions

The elder sons of Abu Talib didn't support the Prophet
unlike Jaffar and Ali, Talib and Aqil weren't a convert
Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil the wife were both hostile
Ruqayyah however didn't marry their son
Uthman Ibn 'Affan was to be her husband
wealthy and handsome was Umm Jamil's cousin

Prophet's aunt Arwa then embraced Islam
in the footstep of his son Tulayb
courageous she was to rebuke Abu Lahab
her brother who harboured so much hatred

Khadijah's cousin Nawfal was another violent enemy
His son Aswad accepted Islam on the contrary
Abul-'As, Khadijah's son in law rejected Islam too
so did Hakim, Khadijah's nephew

The Prophet was saddened
that AbdAllah and Abu Sufyan opposed the religion
Meanwhile Abu Bakar had converted many of his family
save Abd al-Ka'bah his eldest son

Abu Salamah & Hind became a Muslim couple
making Bani Makhzum further dismayed
Maymunah and her three sisters accepted Islam
followed by many more couples
Sahlah & Abu Udayfah
Umm Kalthum & Abu Sabrah

Umayyah ibn Khalaf was a great enemy
his brother Ubayy and the entire family
in the Prophet's face he poked fun
"Claimest though, Muhammad,
that God can bring this to life?"
to Ubayy a revelation came down

"He forgot his own createdness and said:
'Who will give life to bones when they are rotten?'
Say: He who gave them being the first time
will give them life again."

[To be continued InshaAllah]