Monday, July 30, 2012

Phase 2 of Ramadhan


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, the first ten days of mercy this Ramadhan 1433 Hijri have just left us and we are entering its second phase i.e. the second ten days, the merits of which as we learned from a hadith of the Prophet s.a.w is, forgiveness (maghfirah).

How incomparable and vast is the forgiveness of Allah. SubhanAllah, we sin and sin again yet His door of forgiveness is ever open. The second ten days of Ramadhan resemble a gateway of forgiveness. Surely, we depend on our Creator who pardons, who is the Most Merciful. 

Why should we depend on creations? Why should we put our heart on creations? Because if you inadvertently say something that is displeasing to their ears and ego, they withdraw their 'friendship' from you. People who are only interested in taking from you something that conforms to the objective they have of you.  People who act as god, checking on you and waiting to reprimand your misstep but woe unto them who are themselves being judged by the only One who is worthy of judging.

But Subhan is Allah, Subhan is Allah who guides us, who is merciful to us and who pardons our wrongs. SubhanAllah. SubhanAllah. SubhanAllah.

We turn to 'The Sublime Revelation' again, and quote a du'a made by the honorable Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani (qaddasallahu sirruh) on the 10th of Ramadhan 545H:

O Allah, 
Grant pardon, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, and renewed grace.
Do not expose us to disgrace.
Do not chastise us for ours sins.
O Allah, O Generous One (Kareem),
You have said: 
'And He it is who accepts repentance from His servants,
and pardons evil deeds.' (Quran 42:25)
Relent toward us and pardon us! 

Translator credit: Allahyarham Muhtar Holland. Al-Fatihah
Publisher credit: Al Baz Publishing

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ramadhan motivations


What's your Ramadhan motivation? What motivates you to leave your bed on a working day in Ramadhan when your brain, or should I say hawa (passions), keep telling you: 'I need more sleep'?

Thank God for genuine people. I asked a friend, how's Ramadhan so far? He replied very frankly: "It's been tiring so far, the days are long and it's hard when operating."

That's my motivation when I hesitated leaving my bed on the first working day of Ramadhan. That it's not as difficult here in Malaysia, we don't have summer, so no long days, it's not scorching hot and I don't have to spend hours doing surgery on people. And imagine if we were to be in Syria? (May Allah protect the believers there and lighten their burdens. Ameen)

He's also right in saying, after several days, things should become easier as we get into the Ramadhan routine.  Didn't the Prophet s.a.w say, the first 10 days is rahmah (mercy)?

Rahmah we need when standing up to go through teraweeh. Rahmah we could get from imagining Rasulullah s.a.w in front of us, as taught by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi recently.

The imam at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid tonight said we should reap this Ramadhan limited-time offer just like we rush to a limited-time Mega-Sale once or twice a year. And keep in mind the big bonanza on offer on the last days of this 'sale' - Laylatul Qadar.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq in optimizing this holy month.
Kullu 'am wa antum aqrabu illAllah
wa qulu bukum aqrabu
ila mahabbatihi wa muqarrabatihi.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ramadhan Events at Ba'alawi KL


We are delighted to announce two upcoming majlis at Ba'alawi KL as follows:

29 July 2012 (Sunday)
6.00 pm until Isha'/Traweh
Iftar & lecture on Kitab Al-Hikam
Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam Al-Maliki

4 August 2012 (Saturday)
5.00 pm until Isha'/Traweh
Haul Ummul Mukminin Sayyidah Khadijah Al-Kubra
As-Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad bin Alawi Al-Maliki
in the presence of:
Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jilani
KH Abdul Raouf  Maimun from Surabaya
Shaykh Ridhuan Al-Aswani


Visit for details.

Friday, July 27, 2012

27 July 1866: The day Habib Noh Al-Habshi passed away


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We might have missed the 150th haul event for Habib Noh earlier this year. But today, we're pleasantly surprised to have learned that Habib Noh had actually passed away on the 27th of July 1866 (14 Rabi'ul Awal 1283H). 

And by the grace of Allah, we happened to be there for ziarah, iftar and teraweh, Alhamdulillah indeed! [Note: The 150th haul was based on hijri calendar]

My niece pointing out the one little thing we have in common
with Habib Noh

Iftar meals for ladies were served adjacent
to the maqam area, so close, so blessed Alhamdulillah.
Yes three glasses for me and I ate to the last morsel,
Shukran lillah!
Strange but interesting when one unknown lady
there greeted me: "You must be a Naqshbandi."
Let's pray so that Allah engrave (naqsh) in our heart
love for anbiya, awliya, mashaikh, habaib and solehin.
Ameen by the barakah of Habib Noh.

Maqam Habib Noh bin Muhammad Al-Habshi is located on Palmer Road, in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore. Masjid Haji Muhammad Salleh within the maqam's compound is due for upgrading to cater to the increasing  number of visitors. May Allah make it easy for us to donate generously.
For more info, visit:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One Thursday in Ramadhan, in Singapore!



Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah! We have been wanting to experience Ramadhan in this little country for quite some time and here we are.

We knew it's so Singapore when we saw their bubur lambuk (pic above, which is a savoury porridge traditionally served during Ramadhan and given out for free by local mosques), it's delightfully different from the one we have at home - its color, smell... oh yet to taste it, can't wait!

The atmosphere around Masjid Sultan was "buzzing", we just knew it, this was exactly why we wanted to be here in Ramadhan. As we manouvered the Muslims crowd busy buying food for iftar, there were a couple of tours for non-Muslims, young and old. I overheard one tour leader, a teacher of a class of primary school students; he said: "Look up at the sun now. What time is it now? This is the time when Muslims...." and the pupils' faces glowed in wonderment. One lesson for us there, we should have, and maintain the innocence of a child for us to embrace something fully and without prejudice. Only then would life be merry, peaceful and beautiful.

It's really an exciting place to visit. And the food bazaar...oh should stay here for a week to be able to try them all! I wish we could do that.

Looking forward to iftar and teraweeh later InshaAllah.

Complimentary iftar meal at Masjid Sultan - a tradition since the 1800s

Ramadhan awareness campaign for non-Muslims
at Masjid Sultan in Singapore
A living example of 'Qurrata Ain'
A young Qur'an reciter at Masjid Sultan 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obedient arms of Abdullah


Alhamdulillah, God made my eyes fell on one young attractive man at Masjid Khalid Al-Walid on the first night of Ramadhan. Let's call him Abdullah. 

He had the most jovial face, smiling away, this energetic youth. Then I noticed...he had only one-fourth of an arm, on both sides. Allahu Akbar! I thought how could he manage that joyful demeanor? As he approached the saf, he cheerfully patted the back of the man next to him. Some other men just walked into the prayer hall like a stranger ignoring the people around them, and they have nice long arms to stretch out.

Then I watched how Abdullah did his takbiratul ihram. Allahu Akbar! How he placed his little arms on his chest. O people, we could do that with hands and palms touching. How beautiful is that?

Then Abdullah bowed down. Obviously he couldn't touch his knees like we do in rukuk. Then, unlike us, he didn't have any support as he knelt on the floor to prostrate. Allahu Akbar! Can you picture that?

Then he sat. Unlike us, he didn't have anything to put on his thighs! Then, he stood up effortlessly, whereas many of us struggle to stand up for the following rakaah. Subhanallah! What is this...that I saw in Abdullah?

Imagine how Abdullah raise his little arms when making du'a? Subhanallah. Oh dear...I cannot begin to truly imagine how much Abdullah might desire to hold a tasbih?

As people were leaving the masjid, somehow my eyes again fell on Abdullah's happy countenance, mashaAllah. Pardon me for being melodramatic but I have so far seen many limbless people looking downbeat or as beggars on the streets. But Abdullah was one amazing guy! He dressed very well and appeared more excited about doing teraweh than most other men who looked a little exhausted from fasting.

Hold on to that picture of Abdullah having only one-fourth of an arm, on both sides. And ponder this opening line of Chapter 6 on fasting, in Ihya Ulumuddin by Imam Al-Ghazali:
"Fast is one-fourth of faith as the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasalam) said: Fast is half of patience and patience is half of faith."

Fasting is one-fourth of faith. If we had only one-fourth of an arm, would we be fasting and praying as joyfully as Abdullah? Or might our patience and faith be severely chipped? 

Allahumma a'inni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni 'ibadatik.

p/s Let's cheer for the participants at the upcoming London Paralympic Games! Yes we can clap. Abdullah can't : (

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Qul Ya 'Azeem | And those who love it


This video was recorded at Almarhum Shaykh Raja's residence in March 2009 exactly two years before he left for the realm of barzakh. Who would have thought that he's never going to be with us this Ramadhan? Inna lillah wa inna ilai hiraji'un

Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman and the guest of honor Shaykh Adnan Kabbani were seated on the sofa, on the right side. Shukran lillah, I was among the audience seated nearby. Thought I post this to heal many hearts out there. Some of the visitors here had admitted being overwhelmed by Almarhum, that he made them cry for no reason. This video might soothe you a little bit. You could catch glimpses of the man who moved your heart though you never knew and never met him. Strange but Allah knows best. Qul Ya 'Azeem, as mentioned in a book specially published to commemorate the 100th day of his passing, was one of his favorite qasida. Take a listen. 

Qul ya 'Azeem antal 'Azeem
qad hammanaa hammun 'Azeem
wa kullu hammin hammana
ya huunu bismika ya Azeem
Say O tremendous! You are the Tremendous One
We have been afflicted with a grave concern
And every concern we are worried about
becomes easy with the mention of Your Name, O Great One

Antal qadeem qadeemun fil azal
antal lateef lateefun lam tazal
'Anna azil maa qad nazaal
min faadhil khatbis-shadeed
You are the ancient one, ancient one
You are the subtle with subtleness everlasting
Remove from us what has befallen us
of grave and difficult afflictions

Qul ya 'Azeem antal 'Azeem
qad hammanaa hammun 'Azeem
wa kullu hammin hammana
ya huunu bismika ya Azeem 

Hayyun qadeem qadeemun waajidu
baaqi ghanee ghaniyyun maajidu
'Adlun ilaahi ilahun waahidu
barrun ra'uf ra'ufun bil 'abid
Living Ancient, Ancient and Generous
Immortal Rich, Rich and Glorious
Just God, one God
God is Tender, tender with the servant


Wa lin nabiyyi salli ya salaam
minna salaatun maa salaam
yawmal jazaa nahnaa salaam
mimmaa nakhaa fu ya majeed
And upon the Prophet of Peace
From us send greetings and blessings
Grant us safety on Judgment Day
From all things which we fear, O Glorious One


Wal 'aali was sahbil usood
saadu bihi beedan wa sood
laa siyyamaa maahil hashood
sayfu' ilaah ibnul waleed
And the lions from the Family and Companions
Became masters through him, regardless of being white or black
Especially the one who wipes out great armies
the Sword of Allah (Khalid) son of al-Waleed

Allahumma salli wa sallim wa baarik 'alayhi wa 'alaa alaih


Video credit: Superdervish

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ramadhan: Unity in multiplicity


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I felt the first taste of the sweetness of Ramadhan on the eve of this sacred month in Kuala Lumpur. First Ramadhan falls on Saturday here in Malaysia, unlike some other countries where the holy month has begun one day earlier on Friday. Multiplicity is a blessing while knowing we are united in a single faith and practice. 

Masjid Khalid Al-Walid near where I live looked resplendent on the eve of Ramadhan 1433 Hijri. It has been refurbished and smells brand new as it welcomes its second Ramadhan. Its grand chandelier swiveled graciously above the ever eager worshipers. The imam explained the agenda for the month. That we would be doing 8-rakaah of Teraweh plus 3 Witir instead of 20-rakaah of Teraweh. Immediately before witir, there will be a short tausiyah. There will be Tadarus Al-Quran after Teraweh and on the last 10 days of Ramadhan will be Qiyamulail, InshaAllah. On weekdays, from Asar onward, the masjid will be giving out packets of porridge for iftar and of course there will be Iftar Jam'ee everyday at Maghrib.

Alhamdulillah, we will not be able to enjoy all these if there was no peace and stability in our country or community. And inwardly I felt good reminiscing the time when the honorable Habib Umar bin Hafiz graced the masjid several months back.

My mum and I walked home after Teraweh cheerfully. It felt almost like in Makkah because together in the elevator with us was a Bangladeshi woman, still wearing her prayer gown, and her little boys who looked like they have enjoyed going to masjid and to be living in Malaysia. When the lift stopped on the musolla floor, muslimin from Middle Eastern countries appeared looking pleased. Oh...such a happy Ramadhan atmosphere!

The moment I stepped inside my study, a sweet Ramadhan greeting came from someone in South Africa. What a beautiful feeling. As sahur approaches, I realized how lucky we are nowadays. We can tune in to so many Islamic TV channels round the clock or view live streaming of lessons by shuyukh from far away places. Thank God for the barakah cloud called the internet. By the way, 1000+ people visited this space on the eve of Ramadhan searching contents on the blessed month. MashaAllah this auspicious month could really make people upbeat about their faith and their lives as a Muslim, no matter where they are. [Luckily, I changed my mind about making this blog private].

But deep down I feel empathy for our brothers and sisters in the US and UK where they have to fast for a longer period this summer. May Allah grant them tawfiq, good health and strengthen their iman. Surely, not an iota of extra effort will escape the record of Allah.

Anyway, I am hoping to capture more Ramadhan scenes in KL InshaAllah because there are readers who are keen on knowing about the place and culture of this side of the world.

It's a great feeling to know that we may be 10,000 miles apart, living in different circumstances, yet we are united in embracing and reaping the bounties of Ramadhan.
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Ramadhan Kareem!

Masjid Khalid Al-Walid

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bismillah | Take the good and leave the bad


We learned the 'hadith of mercy' from the venerable Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi that we should be merciful to people so that the Lord will have mercy on us. 

Some people have requested that we keep this space open in Ramadhan this year and drop our plan to make it private. It was deeply touching to read the sincere appeals coming from some very humble hearts mashaAllah. May Allah forgive me for it was not intended out of pride. I was a little hurt that's all.

"I" and "we" are being used interchangeably here that's because "I" is not advisable for adab sake. And "we" is often more suitable because the sharing here come not from just one person. This is a shared conduit. But sometimes what is being said does not represent or reflect the holy names which appear on this page. Surely the bad ones come from this weak servant alone. May Allah the All-Merciful grant His mercy.

Out of gratitude to the Lord for this opportunity and for the sake of the visitors as recorded below (though insignificant by comparison) let's just stay open, bismillah. Please just take the good and leave the bad, in the name of Allah.

We quote a saying of Dhun Nun al-Misri:
"Sincere devotion (ikhlas) does not become complete 
unless it is tested by truthfulness (sidq), 
and practiced with patience (sabr).
Nor does truthfulness (sidq) becomes complete
unless it is pursued with sincere devotion (ikhlas)
and practiced with constant perseverance (mudawama)."

Thank you for visiting!
Ramadhan Kareem!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ramadhan Kareem 1433 Hijri


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

This could be your 28th Ramadhan as an individual upon whom siyam (fasting) is obligatory since puberty, or 18th or maybe your 3rd as a new convert. As we reflect on our past siyam we should feel horrified because we learned from Shaykh Hamza recently that anyone who is pleased with himself has no knowledge. May Allah forgive our past shortcomings and grant us the tawfiq to improve our siyam and improve ourselves with time.

Alhamdulillah this is the 4th Ramadhan for this Lisan al-Din blog since we started this space in 2009. What more can we say other than the phrase of submission la hawla wala quwwata illah billah aliyil azeem.

Let's heed some of the Ramadhan advice given by Ghawth Al Azam in Al Fath al-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation):
- sleep in relation to creature
- be wakeful toward the Creator
- seclude the heart from all things except Allah
- curtail the lower self and
- practise what we hear for the sake of Allah.

Remember also the two key words we mentioned before: isolate and run. That is isolate from the non-essentials and run to Allah.

Ramadhan Mubarrak to all muslimin and muslimat! Our heart and prayers go out to the muslimin and muslimat in Syria especially. May Allah ease their hardships. May Allah protect them from further oppresions and tyranny. Given the challenges they have to face, our siyam no matter how well we think we have done, it's incomparable to the siyam of the muslims of Syria and all other countries where peace or prosperity is almost non-existent.

Here's wishing all of you Lisan al-Din visitors:
Kullu 'am wa antum aqrabu illAllah 
wa qulu bukum aqrabu
ila mahabbatihi wa muqarrabatihi

That's a special Ramadhan greeting we learned from Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy. May we become closer to Allah, Ramadhan this year, each and every year. Ameen.

Yours sincerely,

p/s For our Muslim friends in West Coast USA, we have been asked to share the good news that a remarkable halal brand Saffron Road is now sold at select Costco stores in your area. Visit http;// for more info. Enjoy with gratitude!

Friday, July 20, 2012

So smoking uncool


Most of us are grateful for the good things we do. We should also be grateful for the things we don't do, like not being involved in some unhealthy habits which are so smoking uncool.

Let's pray that the young ones among us, male and female are not negatively influenced too easily. You know we have all gone through the age when we were so full of energy and we just needed to channel it out. It was a tough age to be in because there were so many external influences. I can understand perfectly why two young gorgeous ladies in abaya couldn't resist sitting in public smoking shisha. Their image has stayed in my brain since last weekend, somehow. Maybe because their faces were absolutely stunning though I wished the smoke had not disrupted the view. Anyway, I learned these facts when accompanying mum to clinic.

1 cigarette costs about 35 cents and this is the math (as per Malaysian stats):
2.9 cent is its real cost [dirt cheap eh?]
5.74 cent goes to the manufacturer
23.21 cent goes for tax (this high number I reckon is the initiative to discourage smoking)
0.7 cent goes to the wholesaler
0.7 cent goes to the tobacco farmer

And the striking poster published by the Ministry of Health Malaysia also said, but you are not only paying for the cigarettes with your dollars and cents, you are also paying with:
  • Your lungs: you have got 20 times higher chance of getting lungs cancer and 10 times more risk for a chronic lungs disease.
  • Your blood veins: 10 times higher probability for your veins to get clogged.
  • Your heart: you are 4 times more likely to get a heart attack.
  • Your brain: your chance of getting a stroke doubles.
  • Your life: you have a 50% higher risk of dying.
  • Your wife and children: as passive smokers, you are sharing those ugly risks as stated above with them. [You are not that loving are you?]
This coming Ramadhan, for all of us non-smokers, let's kill our own unique bad habits. All and any kind of bad habits are so smoking uncool. May Allah give us the tawfiq to purify ourselves zahir and bathin. Ameen.

[This reminder is first and foremost meant for Miss Ezza]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who am I? Who are we?


I guess you may wish to continue being here on this space, in my company because I am a jahil who is not pleased with myself. 

Why? Because we have learned just recently that Ibn Atha'illah said: it's better to sit in the company of a jahil who is not content with himself than sit with a scholar who is pleased with himself.

I am nothing. I may even be a hypocrite because I am weak at practising everything that I've written here. There's not a day when I don't feel bad because I cannot practise everything I've learned and shared here. I struggle. I am a struggling Muslim who is trying to do more good deeds to neutralize or top my bad deeds. I am not strong enough to do plenty of nawafil prayers etc. But I think God has given me some strengths in other areas. And all I know is that I have been strongly inspired to do this blog, for the time being. Alhamdulillah. Still we cannot be sure if anything we do is accepted by Allah. I remember the advice my first guide gave to me. He said, don't think too much, just do because we will never know which of our amal will be accepted by Allah. As a servant, we should just start doing something and let Him finish it. Let Him determine the outcome. Our role is to just do and let go.

Needless to say, I am not a sufi. I just like the idea of purifying myself in the way that the Sufis do it. I am inclined towards tariqa because in tariqa the business is about polishing oneself. It's never about checking on others. I have never been so conscious of the Prophet s.a.w until I got involved with tariqa. I was never attached to a tasbih until I joined tariqa. I was never accustomed to doing hundreds or thousands of zikir until I joined tariqa. Still having said that, I quote the advice of one of my guides, "do not be too obsessed with the tariq (path) that you lose sight on the goal/destination i.e. haqiqah and makrifah. And whatever it is shari'a is our garment."

I related this story before but I'll mention it again. One honorable shaykh had phoned me once. I was shivering feverishly when told he wanted to speak with me. Who am I? When I was on the phone with him I admitted being scared if he's going to scold me for having done/said something wrong. Then he said this which I engraved in my mind. He said "I don't judge people. It's Allah who judge." Subhanallah, this was a shaykh who's so high up there! Then I realized Allah is fair and all-knowing because this was the shaykh for whom I had stood under the hot sun for hours to paint the gate and fence of my house because someone said he would arrange for this shaykh to come visit. I went all out, I mean all out, to prepare for his visit but it didn't materialize somehow. But look, Allah repays in His own way. One short conversation with the shaykh was all I needed. Shukran lillah!

When I announced a plan to make this space private, some people wrote in to express their support for this insignificant work. Thank you! You are very kind and compassionate. Anyway, I will reiterate that I am like a typist here. I am merely a secretary who writes whatever the superior says. I am just a reporter so please don't be so hard on me. If you are not happy with anything you see here, talk to the Boss!

And please...please excuse my crazy nonsense, my hadhayan heh...heh. Oh by the way, we can only do a "heh heh", not a "hah hah" and surely not LOL, because Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said the Prophet s.a.w didn't do that. A smiley, yes : )

Thanks again for your tolerance and understanding.

As ever,

p/s No picture of yours truly. Maybe next time : )

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sirath vs. Tariq


I've been listening to a talk by Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy on 'Sirathal Mustaqim' over and over again. As always, there's something fresh and profound that came out from this gnostic soul many of us admire, love and respect.

Oh, when will I get to sit in his majlis? But I have one reason to be happy. That a friend had conveyed my salam to him while they were on umrah together. (Thank you Sister N). Alhamdulillah, one salam and I'm happy. As happy as knowing that I'd sat before Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi Al-Maliki (rahimullahu ta'ala) just once, and that's enough to be deeply grateful.

Shaykh Al-Ninowy said sirath is not the same as path. It is more than path because tariq means path too. Many people tend to interpret sirathal mustaqim as 'straight path'. Sirath linguistically means to be swallowed or covered up or colored/dyed entirely by something. When you are colored by something completely, you'll naturally lose your own color. There can't be two colors. There can't be two things. There can't be two ways. Just one way.

As-sirath is not the same as at-tariq because at-tariq alludes to many paths. It is as though Allah is saying this is 'My sirath, so follow My sirath, just one sirath.' Whereas tariq is plural, there are many paths and these might take you away from the sirath.

So, what color to put on if there is going to be just one color, the shaykh asked. The color to take on is rabbani, not insani and never shaytani. We must be absorbed in the sirath which is mustaqim, that is straight and which will take us to Allah. It does not incline to the east nor west, neither right nor left, so you won't swing here and there but go straight ahead. It is "well-paved, short and is not curvy."

And we are given examples in the following sentences in Surah Fatiha on what to follow, that is the sirath of those whom Allah has favored i.e. the anbiya, the solehin NOT those who dholal or deviate from the sirath. Shaykh Al-Ninowy further said we need to be guided constantly to the sirath, that's why we are required to repeat the surah so many times in our daily prayers.

Concluding his short but weighty tausiyah, Shaykh Al-Ninowy said the Qur'an is not just for tabarruq. We must live the Qur'an and love it! And he prayed so that Allah would grant guidance to us all. [Ameen]

Watch the full recording of his lecture here:
Credit: Masjid Jamia Al-Madina, Middlesborough UK &

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on doing what's beneficial


Eight important points I heard Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said in one of his lectures 14 years ago.
  • Everything you do for this deen is an honor for you. You should feel honored by Allah to be of service to Muslims. Not the other way around. That you can do something to honor or grace the deen
  • Be grateful that Allah has made us Muslims and ummah of Muhammad because we are great people, we are people who take iqra seriously and because of that other nations could benefit from the ummah of Rasulullah s.a.w.
  • Do not be content with yourself. Be horrified with yourself because one who is content with himself has no knowledge. Ibn Atha'illah said, "The company of a jahil who is not pleased with himself is better than the company of a scholar who is pleased with himself."
  • Make a niyyah to do what Sidi Ahmad Zarruq had recommended: "To establish the means whereby the deen continues on in the next generation, in knowledge, and action," Therefore be ansar of Allah.
  • Be pleased with whatever state which Allah puts you in. A wali, said Shaykh Hamza, if he is the sun, he'll not wish to be in the shade. If he's in a shade, he will not wish to be in the sun. If he is in nikmah (state of blessings) he will not wish to be in ibtilah (be deprived). If he's in ibtilah, he'll not wish for nikmah.
  • Be adamiyun, be a human, be people of adab. Take care of your soul, perfect it, give it good qualities, of learning, of compassion and seriousness. It's with the ruh that you are a human being, not your body.
  • Perform the night prayers as it might well be the only beneficial thing you could do, as confessed by Imam Al-Junaid because everything else might just be dust scattered in the winds. But still, you must acquire knowledge, before you speak or act.
  • Have high himmah. This is ummah of himmah 'aliyah (people of the highest aspiration). "If they are going to hang you, ask them to hang you from the highest tree!"


Watch the full recording of his tausiyah here:

Monday, July 16, 2012

On ruh and the senses


I will always remember this one 'trick question' from my dear Ustaz Shamsul Mohd Noor (my first guide): "How did you come here?" he would often ask the class. Most people naively answered, "By car." No that's not the right answer. "The correct answer is you came here with ruh."

How true. Even if we had a car, without ruh we wouldn't be able to go anywhere. A similar question was posed by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi in his lecture on 'Purification of the Heart'. He asked, "Who is seeing in you? Is it the flesh and blood? Or the nerves and veins? Or the soul or the combination?"

Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi said when we die, our flesh and body would still be intact but we can't see or hear. All of our faculties will be gone. They will have left the body together with the soul (ruh). If our seeing faculty had been combined with the body, there would then be some remnants of sight in the dead body. Obviously, this is not the case. It is your ruh which sees, hears, etc. And the ruh, according to the shaykh would continue to acquire knowledge even after death. The pleasure of seeking knowledge which one has had in dunya would continue, whereas other bodily pleasures shall become obsolete. And Allah knows best.

Anyhow, there's no denying the importance of acquiring knowledge. Why did you think the first command of Allah as conveyed by Jibril to Rasulullah s.a.w was "Iqra'!" (Read)?

May Allah give us a high himmah to acquire knowledge. May Allah increase our knowledge and understanding. May Allah make us practice our knowledge and make us share any beneficial knowledge sincerely. And may Allah show us things as they really are. Ameen.

The holy maqam of one distinguished companion of Rasulullah s.a.w
Salman Al Farisi
Who can fathom what this blessed ruh is occupied with now?
Al Farisi the Imam, the Flag of Flags,
the Inheritor of Islam, the Wise Judge, the Knowledgeable Scholar

Photo credit:
Sidi Shamsul N.A.
@ Mount of Olives, June 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Isolate and run this Ramadhan


We had a post in June last year on 'Your crazy nonsense - hadhayan'. It's quoted from 'Al Fath ar-Rabbani'. So we learned hadhayan means crazy nonsense as translated by Allahyarham Muhtar Holland. The honorable Ghawth al-Azam advised us to isolate from lots of things including our crazy nonsense. Let's quote the whole para again:

"You must go into isolation from the self (nafs),
then into isolation from creatures,
then into isolation from this world,
then into isolation from the hereafter,
then into isolation from everything apart from the Master (al-Mawla).
If you wish to be secluded together with the Master,
you must become isolated from your existence (wujud),
your planning (tadbir)
and your crazy nonsense (hadhayan)!"

Isolate is the key word.

Run is another key word we learned from Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi. In his tausiyah on 'Purification of the Heart' he talked about fafirru illallah. It's a statement made my Prophet Nuh a.s. to his people, meaning run to Allah or escape to Allah. But the shaykh said to be careful not to equate it with running away because running away indicates some objects behind us. It is about 'running to' or going towards the one goal, Allah, and not looking back. Someone who runs away from something would have the tendency to turn back every now and then as he runs just to see how far he has run. But if we run to something, we'd be focused on the destination and not have anything behind us to distract us. So run to Allah, for He is the goal.

May, by the blessings of the anbiya and awliya we mention herein, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani (rahimullahu ta'ala), Prophet Nuh (alaihisalam) and Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi; and also Prophet Khidir (alaihisalam), may we be granted additional strengths to do these two acts in this coming Ramadhan: isolate and run.

Al-Khidir's prayer spot near Qubbatul Khidr
at Dome of The Rock, Temple Mount, Jerusalem

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gengki & Kaizen | Seekers and Guides


I used to frequent 'Gengki Sushi' restaurant in KL (praise be to God for great Japanese food!), but never bothered what gengki meant until I passed by the Japanese embassy in KL not too long ago. There was a banner hanged outside the embassy's wall. The message written on it had left me with a lump in my throat.

Surely you remember the 11th March 2011 tsunami that hit Japan. We saw how the world united in grief and offered as much help as possible. On the banner was a sweet sentimental message from the people of Japan thanking Malaysians for the contributions we made in response to the tragedy. But what caused a lump in my throat was that it also said the Japanese would rise again 'with gengki'. That is with energy, with enthusiasm!

Oh we know how good the Japanese are at rebuilding lives. Remember  Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945? And did you know that when 16 orphans living in a madrasah near KL died in a landslide, the Japanese showed 'kizuna' (bond of friendship) by funding a disaster prevention project worth 360 million Yen? Talk about the beauty of humanity.

And kaizen means continuous improvement. It's something many of us would have learned at our workplace. The two words together gengki & kaizen have become my professional mantra lately. But as a seeker of the knowledge of Allah, we must have gengki and kaizen too. It is in my opinion, equivalent to having himmah (aspiration). It's a promising and comforting word for a beginner like me especially, because it's quite an easy requisite to have. I still remember the words of advice from almost all the guides I've met: "Keep your himmah high."

This spirit of striving for the better with enthusiasm is not only common among the seekers but also the guides. I learned this from a lecture by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi on the different levels of guides or shaykh. A question was posed in a sufi gathering, "Who is the wali?" Someone answered 'he is the one who guides you to Allah, someone who shows you the way'. But the imam of the Shadhili tariqa remarked, 'But to show the way from far away is easy.'

Shaykh Al Yaqoubi further explained that the awliya are judged or measured by the number of people they could guide to Allah, the number of people they could take with them on the path to Allah. A wali is someone who could not only tell you right from wrong, to just tell you the direction, turn right and go straight when he himself has not traveled the path. A wali according to Imam Abul Hassan Ash-Shadhili is one who has walked the path, one who could take you by the hand and walk with you and hand you to your Lord! Subhanallah!

May Allah, by the blessings of Rasulullah s.a.w and the barakah of the Sufi shuyukh from whom we have learned directly or indirectly, let us have the privilege of having our hand guided and presented to the Lord subhanahu wa ta'ala. Ameen.

Disclaimer: It is important not to think that the journey to Allah involves a physical or spatial dimension because He is at no place. The journey as clarified by Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi is metaphorical.

Wish you a great weekend with your loved ones. I think I'll have salmon sashimi today. Oh no! Some 'holier than thou' people might reprimand me for talking about wusul and food in the same breath. Sorry!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi on Purification of the Heart


Subhanallah walhamdulillah wa la ilaha illallah wallahu akbar. A true Sufi master is one who does not only preach about purification, but is one who purifies as he speaks. As he speaks! MashaAllah. I have witnessed that in Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi. I have experienced that, Alhamdulillah. Listening to him could make all black clouds which have been hovering a murky mind dissipate just like that. Like having his palm wipe off the dust on the heart with a single stroke. May Allah preserve him and make us benefit from him even more. Ameen.

I have summarized Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi's tausiyah into five main points. His counsel could bring about a realignment to a crooked mental rail track. It is also an effective reboot button to a lost soul anytime, bi-iznillah.

1. First and foremost, to imagine that you see Rasulullah s.a.w. That is to make a conscious effort in feeling his presence. This is similar to the principle of ehsan. If you can't see him, try to imagine that he sees you. For one to be able to imagine his presence, one must know his attributes and his characters. "If you can't picture him then at least visualize his maqam or the letters of his name mim ha mim dal" said Shaykh Al Yaqoubi. Surely, he said, Rasulullah s.a.w can hear us too. Once he was walking with sahabah and he asked them, "Did you hear what I hear?". "No," they said. The Prophet s.a.w then said, "I hear the cracking of the heavens." So, he can hear and also see us because his hearing and sight are nothing like ours. Many people wrongly think that he is like us. No, said Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi, "he is only the same as us in that he is a human being, we are the same as him only in one aspect, bashar. Rasulullah s.a.w is the center of our life. Without a connection with Rasulullah s.a.w, we cannot enjoy our ibadah and relationship with Allah. He is the channel up and down. Any favors bestowed from Allah comes through him. The key point is Al-Bisharah, the good news coming always at the words and the hands of Rasulullah s.a.w."

2. To have the ultimate goal of seeking knowledge of Allah and to be close to Him. And knowing that by having this goal, one shall continue acquiring more knowledge even after death and thus have one's soul be continuously fed. Whereas if one's goals are merely for bodily pleasures i.e. food, woman, money, etc. then know that after one's death, one will not be able to feed on those pleasures anymore.  

3. To seek for and to stick by a shaykh, a Sufi shaykh, who is an heir of Rasulullah s.a.w, one who can not only show you the way but more importantly, one who has traveled the path and can take your hand, walk with you through the way and present you: "Here you are with the Lord!" The heir of Rasulullah s.a.w is not one who merely carries a torch (light) showing you the way but is himself light, like the sun, so you could see better. Sufi masters are ulama of the akhira and not of dunya as affirmed by Imam Al-Ghazali. The Sufi masters not only have the knowledge, but they also practice their knowledge, they have undergone strict training on matters such as yaqin, ikhlas, mahabbah, ridha, shukur, fana and so on and they have died to their whims. And they have also been trained to guide others. For example, an ordinary guide would advise a young man to lower his gaze. "You can tell this to him a hundred times but he won't be able to do it because you are just telling him and treating the symptoms. A Sufi shaykh, on the other hand, will prescribe him something to treat the root cause of the disease, not the symptoms, e.g. read Yaasin once a day or read a page of the Qur'an once a day. By following such a prescription the young man would be able to lower his gaze without him realizing his own effort" because Shaykh Al Yaqoubi said "Light expels darkness. When Qur'an comes into the heart, darkness goes away."

4. To realize that this life is ending, whereas the next life is endless. Therefore, we should not be lured by this world. Instead, make our worries be the hereafter.

5. Last but never the least, to have in our hearts none but Allah, to empty the heart of everything other than Allah and achieve the reality of tawhid - la ilaha ilallah.

Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors in my summary above.
Listen to the full recording of Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi's tausiyah here:

Jumaah Mubarrak!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enough said | Lisan al-Din will be made private from 1st Ramadhan until further notice


Excessive talking is energy draining. Misunderstanding is energy draining. Having to explain oneself unnecessarily is energy draining. Socializing, albeit virtually, is energy draining.

Having lost a little too much energy, makes me want to drop everything and turn to a handful of loving people who could soothe the heart, people who understand me even in silence. And to return to my private space. To retire and to regroup before resurfacing again, maybe, God willing.

I am beginning to realize more clearly now, the price one has to pay for speaking up in public and for having an opinion on something. And for sharing a bit about one's life and oneself.

Enough said.
Thank you all.
Ramadhan Mubarrak!
This space might be made public again in Shawal, perhaps, I am not sure, InshaAllah.

p/s If you wish to continue reading Lisan al-Din blog when it is in "private mode", kindly leave a comment providing a short intro and your email address. You will then be invited so that you may have access to the blog when you log in using the email which you provide. Comments containing your email address will not be published so as to protect your privacy InshaAllah. I know this is cumbersome to the regular visitors and it would affect about 400 readers on a daily basis. But let's hope this temporary "private mode" would be beneficial somehow. My apologies for this inconvenience. Please forgive my shortcomings. May Allah bless you abundantly for your patience and understanding. Thank you.

This beautiful picture above is a page from a special publication dedicated to Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman, in conjunction with the 100th-day tahlil on 7th July 2012. The book is called 'Zikir Am Nusantara', authored by Shaykh Dato' Dr. Muhammad Afifi Al-Akiti, a Malaysian based in Oxford. Copyright: RNS Publications 2012. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tun Perabu - the mighty lady saint of Temong | Tok Temong


Tun Perabu was her real name. She became known as Tok Temong after her death. She lived in the early 16th century in Temong, a small district in Perak (a state in Malaysia) where she once ruled. Her maqam which we had visited for the first time last Saturday, is situated on a riverbank, not far from Kuala Kangsar. 

Her elder brother, Tun Saban, arrived in Perak prior to the installation of an official sultanate. Together with one man by the name of Nahkoda Kassim, Tun Saban had an audience with Sultan Mahmud Shah of Kampar (Sumatera/Indonesia) asking the Sultan to nominate a ruler for Perak.

Prince Mudzaffar, Sultan Mahmud's son then became the first Sultan for Perak in 1528. It was reported that Tun Perabu presented the new sultan with a special talisman known as 'Mustika Embun' (a petrified dew). It then became a significant article used during an installation ceremony of a new sultan in Perak to this day. Sultan Mudzaffar Shah offered Tun Perabu a gift in return, but she declined. Instead, she asked that she be allowed to rule Temong on the left side of the Perak river bank, while the Sultan kept to his area on the right side of the river bank.

Each new sultan of Perak would customarily conduct visitation to her maqam. But it is worth noting that the maqam does not contain her body as it had "disappeared" during her funeral. The people then buried only her cane at the site which is also known as 'Kramat Tok Temong'.

According to one senior Naqshbandi mureed, Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman is said to have had a special spiritual connection with Tun Perabu. His followers are encouraged to pay a visit to her maqam. Last Saturday, prior to attending the majlis tahlil for Almarhum Shaykh Raja, Shaykh Adnan Kabbani led the jemaah to a special prayer at Tok Temong's maqam.

Wallahu a'lam.

p/s May Allah strengthen our hearts on matters of the unseen involving His saints. May Allah make us benefit from any special gifts which He might have bestowed upon Tun Perabu. Al Fatihah.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Be yourself in your own space


I think some people missed the point. Anyone can set up a blog on anything and post anything they wish as long as they don't implicate other people. You know if for any reason you dislike something you find on the internet, you can leave, anytime. 

Some people disapproved of my posting of my own photos on my own blog. Hello! I will not remove all my photos as recommended by some 'holier than thou' people, thank you. Nor do I care about the impact of having or not having my pictures in here. 

I am not going to pretend to be a traditional or conservative shariah-compliant Muslim, let alone portray an extreme image because I am not. If you see me dressed or behaving casually, so what? There is no need for justification. You should mind your own abaya (or niqab). If you wish for a very strict shariah-compliant blog according to your definition, then create one for yourself.

I'd like to be myself, here, in my own space. So excuse me.

p/s I'm considering to make this blog private for invited readers only. Thank you all: my beloved nieces, mum, girlfriends, and boyfriends, for standing by me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman | 100 days since his demise


Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah. We're indeed grateful and delighted to have been present at a Majlis Tahlil for Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman who passed away on 30th March 2012.

The event, held on 7th July 2012, was hosted by his highly esteemed family. To mark the 100th day of his demise, Almarhum's father, the Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan had commissioned Shaykh Dato' Dr. Afifi Al-Akiti to publish a remarkable regal book on the methodology of Surah Yaasin & Tahlil readings, including a collection of Almarhum's beloved qasidah. The publication is, without a doubt, a piece of beautiful, timeless art. It has been specially designed to reflect Almarhum's favorite colors, spiritual interests and personality.

It is sad to think that he had to leave so that he could leave his followers and admirers with all these wonderful gifts. It was both a beautiful and mournful event as we gathered at the Iskandariah Palace for tahlil and mawlid and were treated to an official palatial dinner when we otherwise would have nothing to do with the palace.

And his maqam was a bed of roses, mashaAllah! It's not the roses that made it beautiful but the one occupying the ground, the one who could make one's heart overcome with unexplainable love just being there and looking at it. It is no wonder that he has been described as Sultan al-Qulub!

Al-Fatihah for the one and only Shaykh Raja - born a prince, died a 'Sultan of Hearts'.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Windows on life


Oh...the scene He exhibits on the windows of our lives. SubhanAllah.

Can you spot the moon? That's Sha'aban moon still about full since it is 15th or 16th Sha'aban 1433 Hijri (depending on your calendar).

It's a view taken during Ishraq this Friday morning, from my living room window in Kuala Lumpur. The tallest structure near the middle is KLCC, the twin towers which appear to lose its other half because I live parallel to them. One of the buildings to the extreme right is where I earn my living, Alhamdulillah. Because I work there I can live here where I live, for the time being. Must emphasize 'for the time being' because life takes us from one 'window' to another. 

About 7 years ago, I used to while away my time looking out a window on Allanvale Road in Scotland. The view from that window was a complete contrast to the above picture. Allan Water (a river) flowed from left to right. It was cold most of the time. Birds adorned the view throughout the beautiful seasons, amidst the changing colors.

It gives me a peaceful feeling, gazing at the solitary white moon floating above the pretty, blue, morning skies, Alhamdulillah. I think we can learn something from the moon here. 

The view from the windows of our lives changes ever so quickly, situations come and go, characters come and go because that's the nature of created beings (i.e muhaddas). But we have to strive to be constant in our faith in Him who has created us from nothing and now here we are. Almost like the moon appearing to be waxing and waning like now you see, now you don't. But the fact is that it's always there in His Divine Knowledge, always there. And so are we. We have always been there in His Divine Knowledge although we only appear to experience our existence just about now.

And Allah knows best. Jumaah Mubarrak!

p/s Tomorrow 7th July, there will be:
- Istighasah Al-Kubra at Masjid Sultan Salahuddin @ Shah Alam from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- Tahlil 100-days for Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman ibni Sultan Azlan Shah @ Kuala Kangsar, from Maghrib onwards.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nisfu Sha'aban 1433 Hijri


That's Sha'aban moon at its peak during Subuh in Kuala Lumpur.

SubhanAllah, praise be to Allah for letting us arrive at this auspicious time of the year again.

Let's do as much as we can to reap its hidden favors. You may visit our earlier postings in regard to Laylatul Bara'ah and its special practices i.e. Salat al-Khair (100 rakaat with 10 Al-Ikhlas in each rakaat).

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to do what is pleasing to His eyes.

The Naqshbandi 'Aliyah Tariqa is having a special congregational prayer at Zawiyah Bukit Damansara KL tonight InshaAllah.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Striving for sincerity | A personal plea


Dhun Nun al-Misri said:
"There are three signs of sincerity:
one sees praise and blame from men as being equal;
one loses the awareness of doing good works while doing them,
and one forgets the claim to reward in the afterlife for good works."

Dear respected readers, I ask for a small favor, that is for your understanding that I cannot afford to please and entertain everyone who approaches me via this blog.

I ask for your empathy. I have recently had to declare my age just so that young men would refrain from writing in unnecessarily. I am not here looking for a spouse. I am here to do some good works to replace my bad deeds bi-iznillah.

In all instances, I try to be polite and accommodating, InshaAllah. But if all you expect is all things sweet then I am sorry. I am only human. I try to speak my mind and heart most of the time InshaAllah. More importantly, as Muslims let's offer one another good counsel even if it is bitter to the ear.

I am sure you would agree with me that true friendships are those that withstand the test of time and unpleasant circumstances. May Allah bless all the people who offer us sincere friendship, those who see praise and blame as equal, simply because we care for each other. 

Thank you.

(needing some space and understanding)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Sufism offers healing to the 21st century Muslim" - Shaykh Nuh Keller


7 June 2012, Lakemba Mosque, Sydney - Shaykh Nuh Keller spoke about what Sufism could offer to this century and discussed the 'missing point'. He started off by defining 'applied intelligence' which means someone who occupies himself with works that last forever, doing immortal good deeds. "Whoever takes on himself that which he doesn't need to be doing, he squanders his chance for something that he really needs to be doing instead of it. This is prioritizing, doing what is more important rather than that which is less important. This I learned from my teacher Shaykh Hamzah and also other teachers."

Then he quoted a hadith on the meaning of ehsan which is to worship Allah as if you see Him and if you don't see Him, He sees you. But it's very difficult to achieve this nowadays he said because we get distracted by a number of things. Praying at a mosque we could hear at least three phones ringing and people talking about things they could talk about elsewhere. So then how do we do this [ehsan]?

"This is the business of Sufism. It does work because of inayah (divine help) from Allah [though] it doesn't work on Allah because nothing works on Allah. Allah works!"

Further, Shaykh Nuh expounded on one aphorism in Hikam by Ibn Athaillah about the value of Allah's mercy. "This is the secret of inayah Allah. He chooses for His mercy whomever He wills and the mercy of Allah is very very close to those who excel in doing good. He said, mind the attributes of the words rahmah and qarib. Rahmah has a feminine ending and qarib has a masculine ending. Why? Because what it means is that the mercy of Allah is really really close to those who excel in goodness.

Coming back to the question on what Sufism has to offer in the 21st century, he said, it is shifa' (healing). Good health is made up of four things: food/water, air to breathe, exercise and rest. But these are not fully appreciated in the 21st century. Apart from this, we need "a point" from Allah and only He could supply it. Otherwise, we'll be pointless and all diseases would manifest. 

People should be wary of the shubahat and should get the haram and makruh out of our lives. Only then can we expect to get His tawfiq. "Verily every king has a preserve and the preserve of Allah are the things He has forbidden." 

Shaykh Nuh then quoted a hadith on the heart as a morsel of flesh in our body, that if it's sound the whole body is sound. However, many bodies are unsound today because we neglect the Qur'an which is "health and restorative to mankind. Yet people get stressed out because they do not have a connection with Allah in the heart." 

That is the missing point - that we don't have a heart connection with Allah. Shaykh Nuh asked: "Who is the least stressed than anybody? It is Allah because everything is happening exactly as He wants at every moment." 

Lastly, Shaykh Nuh mentioned another hadith on the importance of zikr: "I shall be towards him as he thinks I should be towards him in this world and in the next world and I am with him when he makes remembrance of Me."

He said, "know that a person's zikr is lacking when he doesn't find Allah with him or he doesn't find himself with Allah. Sufism can offer in this 21st century what it has always offered before and that is why it is still here - a heart that has nothing besides Allah. Once this point is clear, the rest follows."

Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions. Please listen to Shaykh Nuh's lecture to verify. Click here for full recording at May Allah make us benefit from Shaykh Nuh's counsel. Ameen.