Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fragrant 'bakhour' in the air | Mawlid at Ba'alawi KL on 3rd March 2013


I think I know why some people are envious about people adoring the habaib. Yes, let them be, because we really do adore the habaib and we just can't help it, sorry. And we all have our own favorites, don't we?

Of all the habaib (plural for habib), one of them is most special to me, primarily because he was the first habib I got to know, the first habib I had encountered, the first habib whose voice I heard and the only habib I had spoken to. 

Early this morning, news came that he'll be in town and will be attending a majlis at Ba'alawi KL this Sunday and the heart immediately bloomed like pretty Sakura. Oh, if he who envies knew, he would be more envious. Need I justify my adoration and admiration? No. Because my heart is mine.

He is the honorable Shaykh Yusuf Muhyiddin Bakhour al-Hassani.

He will grace a Mawlidur Rasul event together with Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid, Shaykh Afeefuddin al-Jailani, Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki and Shaykh Abdul Aziz as-Shafie.

MashaAllah such beautiful string of pearls!
A heavenly gathering not to be missed in sha Allah.

Date: 3 March 2013 (Sunday)
Time: 6 pm

Ba'alawi KL
No. 9 Jalan UP2A
Taman Prima Ukay
Saujana Melawati
Kemensah, KL

An event by:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tiada yang berlebihan di hatiku


Dunia ini luas
namun tidak dapat menampung DiaNya
hati ini zahirnya
sebesar jantung manusia cuma
namun boleh saja dihuni Dia
sebesar dan sehebat hakikat keesaanNya

Jika yang Maha Besar pun mampu ditampung
maka tidak benar takrifan berlebihan
bagi sebuah hati yang mempercayai
sementelah kasih sifatnya melimpah ruah
tanpa batasan, tiada sekatan
pabila kasih memuncak adanya
begitu jua rasa takzim, hormat, seraya memuliakan

Dari kemuncak wujud DiaNya
pastilah menurut kekasihNya - baginda
berikutan pula cucunda sekelian - habaibnya
semuanya pembawa risalah agama
dan panji Nabi termulia

Seribu tahun lebih sudah berlalu
tiada seraut wajah untuk mata menatap
tiada bunyi suara untuk telinga mendengar
tiada tangan mulia untuk disambut salam
Baginda berzaman-zaman berselisihan

Kita ini umat akhir zaman
gelaran bukan calang-calang cabaran
ke mana lagi mahu dicari
bekas-bekas ajaran, pancaran sunnah Nabi
kalau tidak pada zuriatnya sendiri?

Intai padi antara masak
esok jangan layu-layuan
Intai Nabi tiada nampak
yang tinggal hanya pewaris seruan

Kalau benar ada cinta di hati
pada Ya Rabbi, juga Nabi
Jika benar ada kasih di hati
pada habaib dan pencinta Ilahi
Biarlah sedemikian
tidak mungkin ianya berlebihan

yang batin tiada kan bersempadan
seluas-luas alam, dalam lagi lautan kalbu
di situ duduknya Tuhan
justeru, apa jua kata seteru
ketahuilah: tiada yang berlebihan di hatiku!

- Nukilan seorang daripada berjuta yang menyayangi habaib atas dasar menyayangi Nabi Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Time flies | Full moon amidst blue skies


Subhanallah that's full moon for ربيع الآخر (Rabiu'l Akhir) 1434H or Rabi'ul Thani. It's the fourth month in the Islamic calendar. It literally means the second month of spring.

Time flies. It sure does. I remember taking a photo of the full moon in Rabi'ul Awal in Penang. Feels like it was only a fortnight ago. But here it is again, another full moon captured somewhere in the sky.

"Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have built and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it."
- Qur'an, Surah Qaf : 6

Sunday, February 24, 2013

unhealthYPTA | work work work


Airports are one of my favorite places on earth. There's a liberating air about it. It symbolizes power and freedom to simply leave a piece of land behind to go stand on another tract, with God's Will and someone has to pay for it of course. Money aside, flying too, is liberating, it is. 

But today I learned, being an unhealthY Person Travelling Alone is no fun at all. Notice the acronym YPTA - Young Person Travelling Alone? I think an unhealthy person travelling alone deserves the same kind of privilege a YPTA gets. The worst part is when your cough and bad sore throat hinder you from chatting with that interesting looking person who crosses your path. Interestingly enough this person who sat next to me on the plane, queued behind me at the immigration; was behind me at the taxi queue; arrived at the same hotel just after me and queued to check-in right behind me - this strange Mr. Follower, to whom I didn't say a word because I could hardly speak.  

But [another but] I shouldn't complain because the outstanding organization I work for, rewards us well. Alhamdulillah. You may remember an earlier posting about free iPhone 5. Yes. Soon we'll be getting a brand new laptop, each one of us. There are thousands of us. And we are showered with monetary rewards too because it's our 25th anniversary and also because we have done well Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah 100x. So if you were to be a part of such an organization, even if you need to travel when you are woozy, you must press on. 

But this uhealthYPTA gets cranky when the hotel makes her count if there're enough towels in the bathroom! Gosh, like we don't have enough work to do.

Wish you all a productive week ahead - work, work, work.

I remembered Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi during a lecture in KL a couple of years back, said: 
"Your rizq is in the heavens but you must not wait for it. You must go out to seek it and seeking your rizq is not a burden, it's a joy."

: )

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Majlis ilm with Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki at Ba'alawi KL on 24 Feb 2013


All are welcome to be in majlis ta'alim with
Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki

Sunday, 24 Feb 2013

Ba'alawi KL
No. 9, Jalan UP2A
Taman Prima Ukay
Saujana Melawati
(access road behind National Zoo)

Subject: Kitab al-Hikam

In sha Allah.

An event by:

If I were in KL, I would attend. May Allah count my niyyat and include me as an attendee. May Allah grant Shaykh Fahmi with good health and afiatAmeen.

Shaykh Fahmi once said, if you're going to attend a majlis zikr/majlis i'lm, do take time to make as many niyyat as possible. If you make one niyyat you'll just score one point. So make many niyyat. For example:

  • I am attending to acquire knowledge.
  • I will then share my knowledge with others.
  • I am attending with intention to practise what I will hear.
  • I am attending so that I could make zikr.
  • I am attending so that I could pray in jemaah.
  • I am attending so that I get to sit with the pious/good people.
  • I am attending so as to avoid being at a worse place.
  • I am attending so as to avoid being engaged in laghah activities.
  • I am attending because it's a majlis loved by Rasulullah [pbuh].
  • I am attending so that I could foster silatur rahmi with my Muslim brothers/sisters.
  • I am attending in order to win the pleasure of Allah and Rasulullah [pbuh].

May Allah grant us beneficial knowledge, give us the tawfiq to put it to practice and count all our intentions and actions. Ameen.

Bakkah beckons | Mecca's beacons


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah it's always wonderful to hear from people who have just came back from umrah. Heard two versions yesterday. One related his experience from a general public perspective and the other was a young shaykh who had been blessed with several ijazah when he was in the holy cities recently. 

Bakkah beckons, indeed. Bakkah is an ancient name for Mecca/Makkah. Alhamdulillah, coincidentally yesterday, by the blessing of the ever generous Lord, my mother's hajj ticket has been secured in sha Allah. Theoretically speaking we both should be able to make it for hajj this year in sha Allah but God knows better, we shall see if 232 days from today we'll get to stand on the sacred grounds of Arafah bi-iznillah - with the permission of Allah.

A respectable acquaintance of mine, Shaykh Muhammad Allie Khalfe of Cape Town was kind to share his wonderful experience of meeting some of Mecca's spiritual beacons and being granted several ijazah. One of them being ijazah for Iqdul Farid which is a kitab of ijazah which the honorable Almarhum Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki used to grant. MashaAllah tabarakallah when  the guests of Allah  come to Makkah, they usually get to take back special gifts. Allah is the best of reciprocator.

May Allah bless us for having respect and love towards the learned, the pious, the Gnostic of His servants. May Allah let us have the love of those who love Him. Ameen.

S. Muhammad Allie Khalfe with
Sayyid Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki


Friday, February 22, 2013

The power of 'BismillahiRahmaniRahim'

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani
 Credit: Sufilive

If we were to live during the times of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam and if we're feeling distraught, we could at any time look for cure from Habibullah, from his words of wisdom and advice.

If we were around in the times of Ibn Athaillah as-Sakandari and if we were despondent, we could knock on his door and ask for a hikmah or two.

If you still have a father, and you are feeling dispirited, you could rest your head on his lap or lean on his shoulder and let him console you.

If there's a Sufi, a wise old man whom you could regard as your own grandfather, if there's such a man in your neighborhood, someone like Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, you would surely run to him for strength when your heart feels a little weak. Tonight, praise be to Allah, we could still benefit from his words though he is far away in Cyprus. Just like any other Sufi, whenever you seek something they'll just know what exactly you are seeking and their words simply hit you like hitting the nail on the head. 

In his sohbet recorded on 30 Jan 2013, dear Mawlana, despite looking somewhat frail, his words were weighty and sharp. He said we should be grateful that Allah found us worthy of BismilahiRahmaniRahim and that He let it descend on the Prophet and his ummah.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim urged us to recite BismillahiRahmaniRahim 7, 40, 70 or 100 times a day. It is the cure for all our troubles. It satisfies man internally and externally. It's powerful that it can throw the east to the west and vice versa. It's sufficient that we teach people just BismillahiRahmaniRahim and it should suffice that we learn only BismillahiRahmaniRahim. Those who remember God's pure name in BismillahiRahmaniRahim will be purified. With the name of Allah every work is completed. Take from its nur, its power and your every work becomes easy.

[MashaAllah, that's exactly what I needed to hear - "with the name of Allah every work is completed." Talk about unfinished business!]
At one point in the video, Shaykh Nazim said "I am weak, O Lord, I only want Your pleasure." I think that is true regardless of a person's age. But imagine if we did not work hard on acquiring knowledge and polishing our akhlak from now, do you think we could be someone useful in old age like Shaykh Nazim? God willing we will all turn 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90...but what kind of an old chap will we be? 

May Allah increase us in knowledge
and let us bring benefit to people
right until our last day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Everyone is a dai'e


I am obligated to share this. 

On my arrival at Al Jenderami last Saturday, one shaykh was speaking about the obligations of dakwah. He was about to conclude his speech when I arrived. I didn't catch his name. It might be Habib Abdul Rahman of Tarim. Allahu a'lam.

He said: We ought to do dakwah work, as best we can. Use whatever Allah has given us this moment for dakwah purposes. Allah will not burden us with anything more than we can handle. Those who invite people to do good [a dai'e] are not just those who speak at events like this. In fact, dakwah is carried out by a bigger group of people. It involves the ummat. Anyone and everyone is a dai'e illallah. A businessman who adopts Islamic values and practices in his business is also a da'ie. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said we must convey a message of the deen, even one ayah. Each one of us is responsible for it, according to our own position/role/capacity. And do convey the messages - anhi - from Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam. Convey not from yourself. Convey the message for the sake of Allah. If people are more concerned about doing dakwah and inviting people for their own sake i.e. invite to themselves or their own group, who then would invite/do dakwah for the sake of Allah - illallah? Dakwah is for Allah. We are created for Allah. We are not created to be rich, this and that. If you are not able to give a talk about the religion, if all you can afford to do is cry, then cry in the middle of the night!

Allahu a'lam.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Misbahah | Sunnah business


I think any medium/tool that could anchor our heart and thoughts to Allah the Almighty, is good. I also think we have to be practical about our faith. Although the "Bid'ah Audit Committee" might not like the above picture. 

Misbahah is the correct Arabic term as opposed to tasbeeh, so I learned from a woman who is married to an Arab. Tasbeeh is arguably the most common name for the zikir beads. If you are an average, somewhat conservative Muslim like me, you would prefer the traditional wooden tasbeeh over the tally counter. I thought the latter lacks spirit and is just a mechanical calculator. In fact, I used to harbor a quiet protest towards zikir tally counters, until today when I visited the dentist.

Let's admit it, we all have our own strategies when visiting the dentist. We have our own secret formula on how to manage our nervousness, anxiety, and that misplaced loathing/hating the innocent dentists. Some of my own tried and tested strategies are as follows:
  • Imagine the dentist is a very good looking guy [with due respect to the many experienced lady dentists who have treated me before]. 
  • Scaling is painful no doubt, but think of it as getting rid of the bad words/little white lies which you might have uttered. Imagine harsh words can be as painful to people.
  • Think dental treatment as a sunnah business. It's important because it is the basic foundation for one key sunnah - smile.
  • Recite Ya Latif as much as possible, but it's easy to lose focus when pain kicks in, so that's when that tally counter matters. Trust me, it works. 
So that's a little tip for you. 

And if you happen to be a dentist, please avoid mentioning bombastic dental jargon like calculus to your ultra nervous patients. Yes it's a big word to us. Common terminologies like plaque, cavities and tartar are horrifying enough. Most people hated learning calculus in college and we don't need to know about dental calculus! And you may want to pray so that your patient keeps her/his mouth clean with zikir and kind words. Thanks doctor : D Allah bless all the noble professions out there. 

A tasbeeh and a smile - never leave home without them : )

p/s By the way, both tasbeeh and tally counter in the picture above, are gifts from Almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman's events. Alhamdulillah. May Allah place his soul with the muqarabin. Ameen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fear and hope in sickness and in health


Fear and hope are like two wings. We can't fly with just one wing can we? Fear is khauf and hope is raja'. So we picked up a couple of Arabic terms along the way.

We learn from experience and nothing can substitute experience. And we learn from tasting. Knowing theories alone can only take us so far. 

I got knocked out quite badly on Sunday and Monday due to sickness and seriously thought I'd never regain my mental strength to write again. He made me realize the obvious - that thinking and writing involve a complex working of the brain which I have taken for granted. That it is He who makes the brain work, recollecting data and putting facts together Subhanallah

It's always a humbling experience to be feeling helpless, to be forced into a helpless situation. But not hopeless, no. We may be fearful to the max but as a believer we must always be hopeful that after the pain comes cure, even if one is faced with a cure-less sickness i.e. death, there is still hope beyond it. Ah...that Kelly Clarkson song - what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Oh well, if it kills you, it makes you go eternal.  

Still, my experience the past few days, has made me humble, that each new post I paste on this virtual sounding board could be the last and I will never know which one will be the last! Until then, we'll have to stand up for life and garner more fears and hopes along the way. Only then can we live to be a little wiser and die a little wiser too.

Praise be to Allah for giving us another day, for giving us another healthy day.

And this quote makes me ponder...

"How vain it is to sit down to write, when you have not stood up to live."
- Henry David Thoreau
in case you can't read the doctor's handwriting : )

Monday, February 18, 2013

Habib Abdur Rahman Masyhoor of Tarim at Al Jenderami


Habib Abdur Rahman Masyhoor of Tarim was one of the guest of honors at Al Jenderami's Mawlid Al Kubro event on 16 Feb 2013. He spoke very enthusiastically and emotionally at times. He said, as interpreted by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid:

Praise be to Allah that we're given the blessing of Islam and iman and we pray Allah will preserve these blessings in our lives, in the barzakh and on the Day of Resurrection. We have gathered here to listen to tausiyah, qasidah, performing prayers together, offering salawat, all these are a blessing from Allah. As related in a hadith, those who perform the Isha jemaah prayers are in the care and protection of Allah and the reward for them is as though they have performed solat for half of the night.

We have listened to the words of advice from Shaykh Afeefudin Al-Jailani earlier. May Allah grant him strength, give him a long life and make many more people to be like him. Tonight we are blessed to have with us a number of ulama from so many countries, from Makkah, Indonesia, Singapore, UK, Canada, India, and myself from Tarim. I have come here on Shaykh Hafiz's invitation to express my joy for the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. Earlier on we heard a poetry recital by Habib Umar bin Shihab, one which reflects our love for the Prophet and of how fortunate we are to have the Prophet. May Allah accept all our deeds.

We have heard about the Prophet's noble characters as something we should all strive to have. Verily Allah's holiness and beauty may be seen in the Prophet. He is the cure to the sickness that's afflicting the young. His role is to make perfect our akhlak. He is one whose akhlak has won the praise of Allah. The Prophet has been sent by Allah to us and for us. We must realize this fact. Where is the Prophet's position in us? There is a verse in the Quran about the coming of the Prophet, one who is very concerned if a calamity should befall us. He is ra'ufun rahim. He is very loving towards us. In the Quran, Allah describes him as a minnah, as a special gift to us. He taught us the Quran and hikmah. And taught us to purify ourselves. He has been sent to us. If I could be more direct, the Prophet is inside us. The term in relation to this is fi which means having presence in a certain time and condition. Know that he salallah alaihi wasalam is manifested in us through our speech and actions. We knew not how to pray until he taught us. He is with us in our prayers, knowledge, fasting, zakat, haj etc. The Prophet salallah alaihiwasalam is in every place and time through his knowledge.

Now, let's ask ourselves, where is the Prophet exactly? Is he in our heart? Or is he distant from us? Consider the fact that Allah has sent him to us and he is at every place and zaman. He, the Prophet who has abundant love and mercy.

There is a verse in the Qur'an where Allah asked the Prophet to be gentle towards us. If his words were harsh and strong, we might run away from him. Allah asked him to be forgiving towards us. I heard the tafsir of this particular verse from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on the true meaning of fa'fu anhum. There is nothing to forgive if one had not done something wrong. There is no need to ask for Allah's forgiveness if there had not been any transgressions. The Prophet was asked to forgive his ummat and to ask for Allah's pardon on their behalf. They should be included/welcomed and not abandoned for their wrongdoings.  That is the akhlak of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam. We must do the same, we must forgive people and pray that Allah would forgive them.

Saidina Umar [r.a.] prior to converting to Islam, had a tough persona. He became a soft spoken and gentle person after Islam. He once admitted his love for the Prophet, that he loved the Prophet more than he loved his parents and children except that he loved himself still. To which the Prophet said, "Your iman is not yet complete if that's so." Saidina Umar then professed his love for the Prophet wholeheartedly beyond his love for himself.

Thauban is another sahabi who professed his deep affection and attachment towards the Prophet. When he lamented to the Prophet about the possibility of him not being able to see/be with the Prophet in heaven, the Prophet fell silent until Allah revealed a Qur'anic verse - that anyone who is obedient towards Allah and Rasul will be gathered with those whom he loves. A revelation came down just for the sake of Thauban.

Another moving story of the sahabah's attachment for the Prophet was about Bilah bin Rabah. Many of the sahabah had difficulties living in Madinah after the Prophet's demise. They missed Rasulullah greatly because they have had plenty of unforgettable memories with him in Madinah. As a result, many of the sahabah decided to leave the city. Bilal migrated to Sham and lived there for about 2 years until the Prophet appeared in his dream: "Why are you distancing yourself from me, O Bilal?"

Bilal immediately took off to Madinah the next day. On seeing Bilal reappearing in Madinah, Saidina Abu Bakar asked him to perform the azan. Bilal declined. Saidina Umar made the same request, but Bilal declined for he didn't have the heart to do it. However, when Hassan and Hussin persuaded him, Bilal simply could not refuse. So Bilal finally made a call to prayer and surprised the residents of Madinah like never before. On hearing Bilal's voice, people got shocked and wondered - would it be possible that the Prophet is alive?! After two years of not hearing Bilal? Madinah became all tearful as everyone listened to Bilal attentively. Alas, Bilal could not contain his emotion when he came to Ash hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasulullah. He fell unconscious.

Such intense love the sahabah had for the Prophet. And Habib Abdur Rahman called upon us to emulate them.
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mawlidul Rasul Al-Kubro 1434H at Al Jenderami

Maghrib at Mawlid Al Kubro
inside the Al Jenderami courtyard


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to be among the thousands who have attended the 2013 grand Mawlid at Al-Jenderami, in Dengkil, Malaysia, yesterday evening.

It's been quite some time since I last visited this heavenly little village. It was wonderful to catch up with its residents and to see how the beautiful complex has expanded and was able to host an even bigger crowd. Alhamdulillah the welcome archway says it all: Haza min fadhli Rabbi.

Al Jenderami is indeed a bounty from the Lord
When we arrived just before zuhur, there were about 10 buses which ferried people from all over the country including Singapore. By the time the majlis ended, as we walked back to our homestay accommodation, the parking area was jam-packed with rows and rows of buses. MashaAllah!

Al Jenderami complex viewed from the West side
Here are some amateurish photos for you while I recuperate before sharing some notes from the tausiyah. I have gotten a little unwell after the majlis. But was fortunate to meet a kiai (religious/learned man) from Indonesia who made some healing water. He had such amazing aura that when I sat next to him I felt so much happiness for no reason, subhanallah!  

The young ones - the lucky bunch who get to grow up at Al Jenderami.
They are well trained in many aspects of a true Islamic community living.
Their peers have been assigned for other tasks like selling satay, smoothies and manning the Co-op store.
These boys were getting ready for the Mawlid marching.

The Al Jenderami community is very well organized in terms of
human resource and volunteer work.
This crew was listening to a briefing by their chief who seemed like a strict disciplinarian.
Waiting to escort the ulama for the Mawlid procession.

To be continued with some notes of the tausiyah by Habib Abdur Rahman from Tarim In sha Allah. He is a student of the venerable Habib Umar bin Hafiz. The shaykh said [as interpreted by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin] we should make it a habit to recite this du'a 10 times a day as a proof of our concern towards Muslims who are living in tumultuous conditions.

Aslahallah hu umural muslimin
Sarafallahu sharral mu'zin

"May Allah improve the affairs of the Muslimin
and protect them from the evils of troublemakers."

To be continued in a separate posting in sha Allah.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Have you gotten "an egg"?


I had gotten "an egg" before. That's when I was 16. I got "an egg" for my first Add. Maths quiz! I got a zero, can you believe that? And in school whenever we get a zero: we say "I got an egg". 

Last night, at the weekly class led by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid, I heard about the rewards for early birds at Jum'ah prayers. It's taken from a hadith by Bukhari and Muslim, that for those who arrive first for the Friday congregational prayers they will be given a camel, next to arrive will get a cow, third to arrive will get a chicken and then those who arrive in the fourth moment/the 4th place, will get an egg. Heh heh...

Sure we all like eggs anyway, so not too bad, I hear you say. And we all have our own preference for eggs - sunny side up, over-easy, half-boiled, hard-boiled [pardon me, it's breakfast time, I am hungry and rambling this Saturday morning].

Anyway, I am sure the guys are very familiar with this hadith. But I wonder how many of you gentlemen out there only got an egg on Fridays? Some of you might have collected dozens of eggs by now eh? No, maybe your car-trunk is already full of eggs?

Heh heh....excuse me for this positive-teasing. Next Friday, aim for a camel and be kind enough to say a prayer for this blogger ; ) Thanks in advance.

Until then, have a pleasant weekend y'all!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Shall I tell you what is far better than that?


You know the thing the psychologist call self-talk? It's the inner voice within us talking to ourselves all the time. This intra-personal communication includes both conscious and unconscious thoughts which are unspoken words. Well if you utter them, then people will see you talking to yourself which may not be a good thing. Self-talk is an internal silent personal conversation.

I deduced something from sitting in Habib Ali's class tonight, that a good phrase to memorize and include in our self-talk's vocabulary is "shall I tell you what is far better than that?" A'unab bi ukum biqairin min zaalikum.

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid expounded on verses 15 to 17 of Surah Al-Imran. Verse 15 begins with a question: "Shall I tell you what's far better than that - A'unab bi ukum biqairin min zaalikum. It is in reference to the preceding verse no. 14 about people being attracted to the much desired and enjoyable things i.e. women, children, gold & silver, branded horses, cattle and orchards/farms. Sure these are good stuff and the Qur'an acknowledges them and Allah being our Creator knows us better, He knows our heart's tendencies. And then in verse 15, He explains the things that are actually better than those six items. But not for everyone. There are better things in store for those who fear Allah. The things which are far better than that, are:
  • Gardens, not one garden but many gardens. Habib Ali said it's not like the gardens we have here where we need to care for the plants, water them, fertilize them, etc. The heavenly gardens are self-sustaining and ever presentable.
  • Beneath these gardens, rivers flow [if anyone can imagine]. 
  • This is the description of the abode where we shall live forever with purified wives. Wives over here grow old and beauty fades with age. But the wives in that eternal abode are eternally youthful.
  • We shall enjoy this kind of life with Allah's approval. We will attain His redha.
  • And Allah is watching us. He watches our ibadah. Allahu baasirun bil ibaad
In verse 16, Allah defines the type of people who fear Allah who would be rewarded with the things which are far better than that. They are:
  • People who repent saying: 
    • 'O Lord, surely we have believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the torment of the fire.'
  • People who are patient. According to Habib Ali, there are 3 types of patience:
    • being patient in doing good deeds.
    • being patient in leaving/avoiding bad deeds.
    • being patient in handling calamities.
  • People who are truthful.
  • People who are devout.
  • People who spend in Allah's way.
  • People who seek forgiveness during pre-dawn/before subuh.
With regard to handling calamities (musibah), Habib Ali mentioned the definition of musibah as practiced by Saidina Umar al-Khatab. Saidina Umar would evaluate a calamity from four angles. If it does not have any one of the four criteria, then the calamity is actually a blessing.
  • if there is another calamity which is more severe than what he is facing, then that calamity is a blessing.
  • if the calamity does not involve his iman/aqidah, then it is also a blessing.
  • if the calamity allows him to be patient, then it is not a calamity but a blessing instead. An example given by Habib Ali was the reward given to a mother who loses her child. She may regard it as musibah but Allah in a conversation with the angel would ask: "Have you taken my servant's sweetheart away?" "Yes," said the angel. Then says Allah: "Replace her with a heavenly station." 
  • if the calamity does not prevent him from getting Allah's bounties, then it is not a musibah.

My takeaway from Habib Ali's lesson tonight: when the heart seems to be too inclined towards any of the much desired things like women, children, gold and branded cars, let's pause and engage in self-talk:
Shall I tell you what is far better than that?
A'unab bi ukum biqairin min zaalikum?

Allahu a'lam.

Pic credit: Darul Murtadza

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I love you (fill in the blank)


I love you like a love song, baby.
No? Yes? Heh heh...

Got this idea when I chanced upon some unconventional greeting cards designed for those who celebrate this day, the fourteenth of February. Not that I was shopping for such things. Then, thought of putting together a sort of "counter-greeting" to this occasion which have misled many when we were oh so young and carefree. Hope my Lord will take into account this small reminder I wish to send out to the young ones out there. May the Lord have mercy and pardon us for our grave ignorance in the past.

(Click/tap to enlarge my amateurish postcard)

By the way, if you liked that black fan of mine, you may want to go visit Melaka. I bought four fans - black, red, and two greens. Heh heh...that's just an attempt to change the subject.

But seriously, may God make us love one another for His sake, so we say - I love you for the sake of Allah.

But more importantly, may we love Allah more than our love for ourselves, our families and a cold drink on a hot day like this.

Allahumma inni as'aluka hubbaka
wa hubba man yuhibbuka
wal 'amal lazi yubal lighuni hubbaka
Allahumm aj'al hubbaka 
ahabba ilaiya min nafsi wa ahli
wa minal ma'il baridi

"O Allah, I ask You for Your love
the love of those who love You
and deeds which will cause me to attain Your love
O Allah, make Your love dearer to me
than myself, my family
and the cold water."
Du'a reference:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mawlid Events by the Al-Jenderami Foundation 14 - 16 Feb 2013


Thursday 14 Feb 2013:
For lovers of the Prophet [pbuh], you sure will have a good time with "your date" at this concert @ Al-Jenderami.

Al-Jenderami will also be hosting other events on Friday, 15 Feb and Saturday, 16 Feb 2013. A grand mawlid will take place just before Maghrib on Saturday, 16 Feb in sha Allah.

And mark your calendar for another grand mawlid taking place on Saturday, 16 March 2013, hosted by the Al Wariseen Trust. See you there In sha Allah.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life is a beach (sometimes)

Melaka, Malaysia
12 Feb 2013

"O Allah, let us recognize Your bounties while it is still with us,
and not after we have lost it."
Allahumma 'arifna nikmataka bidawa miha
wala tu'arif ha lana bi zawa liha

Somehow, this du'a from Al-Hikam came to mind as I was sitting on the beach. It's Tuesday morning. It's a rare opportunity to be by the sea on a Tuesday, to have breakfast on the beach - local doughnuts with a twist - coated with brown sugar. That's food for the body Alhamdulillah.

Food for the soul: a du'a by a 66 year old hajjah selling nasi lemak (coconut flavored rice). She said: "You look like someone who'll get to do hajj soon!" Masha Allah, she said that when I chatted with her and asked her to make du'a for me. For her, life is not always "a beach". She woke up at 2 a.m. to prepare nasi lemak

And life is not a beach for Mr. Abu either (bottom pic). I interviewed him while he's waiting to see what Allah has in store for him today. He has been a fisherman since he was 10, masha Allah!  

Abu the fisherman
was a lil disappointed about today's catch

Life is not always "a beach". When it does feel like a beach, we should be grateful and recognize His bounties while the blessings are still there before our eyes. And wait NOT until Allah has taken it away. 

The only place I've found doughnuts coated with brown sugar
is in Melaka, Malaysia 

Alhamdulillah wa shukru lillah for a great day.

This entry has been edited. Excuse me for the rough version posted earlier as I was trying to blog on the run via iPhone and realized later that it didn't appear reader-friendly at all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Let's be pearly


Firstly, a disclaimer, this is another nostalgic posting, another holiday rambling so pardon me.

It's Sunday, Alhamdulillah to be given a chance, still, to wake up to a peaceful and quiet beautiful day. And what else, I woke up to Kuala Lumpur little city and my mind inadvertently sang this old number by the Alleycats:
Kuala Lumpur...senyuman mu di pagi ini, 
sungguh bererti kerna cinta bersemi lagi...

It roughly means this: "Kuala Lumpur, your smile this morning seems so meaningful because I have fallen in love again..."

The Alleycats is an awesome band from Penang - Pearl of the Orient [my hometown ehem...ehem in case you still are not aware]. What's awesome about them is that they are not Malays, they cannot speak the language properly yet they have got some of the greatest Malay evergreen songs than anyone. [Lesson learned: something which may seem like a barrier, can actually make you fly. Don't fret it, just sing.]

Another pearl from Penang that makes a mark on the society is Jimmy Choo, an international celebrity shoe designer based in London. There might be readers here who may not know that the late Princess Diana was among his top clientele. I saw a local TV program about Jimmy Choo last night and he seemed like a very religious, very humble, very unassuming person despite his fame and fortune. Yes, very. Despite his inability to speak the English language well, he has conquered the European shoe market and granted the OBE by the Queen. OMG, if I were in his shoes [not sure if I can afford to buy his shoes and the shoes he designs] if I had to have an audience with the Queen, I'd be insanely nervous and conscious about my spoken English. [So one takeaway for me: always bank on your strengths and never let your weakness hold you back.]

One more pearl from Penang I'd like to mention is the World's Number 1 in women's squash - Nicole David. She has won the British open four times and the World Open championship seven times! Amazing eh? She is 29 and speaks good English, by the way. [Point to note: once you find your niche, go, run for it, sweat, persevere, sweat some more and hit it while you are young.] matter where we are from, let's all strive to be a pearl and contribute a little something towards  our family and society. 

Happy Sunday y'all. And especially to our Chinese friends from Taiwan [one of the top visiting countries to this site] here's wishing you Happy Chinese New Year - Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year


YaHu! I love living in Malaysia. Because we are multiracial we get multiple...multiple...public holidays.

For the benefit of our visitors from abroad, let me mention some facts which are obvious to the locals. This weekend is a long weekend for us because the Chinese New Year falls on Sunday (tomorrow) so Monday and Tuesday are public holidays. Yay!

It's the time of the year when my Vitamin C intake is the highest of all months. Perhaps I speak for many. Because, to state the obvious again, oranges are in abundant supply everywhere.

Occasionally, a non-Chinese unmarried lady like me get lucky. This year I've received angpau (red packet) containing some know what.

So where shall we go this Spring Festival holiday? But before I spring to my feet and hit the road, I need to clean up the mess in my room. Maybe it's a good idea for you to do some spring cleaning too. Just like in any tradition/beliefs, we must first clear up the old and the bad to make way for the new and the good. 

I learned from one ustaz about takhali and tahali. Takhali is emptying oneself of negative traits. Tahali means filling/adorning oneself with positive traits. You may recall one earlier posting on this subject:

Yes, good to refresh our lessons just as it is good to refresh ourselves with those cartons of oranges.

Enjoy the holidays y'all!

"Life isn't like a book. Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly.
Life is a mess most of the time.
And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess."
-  Charles Caleb Colton
English sportsman and writer 1780 - 1832

If you have not tried fried long beans with salted egg, then you should head to Haji Sharin Low - Chinese Muslim Restaurant in KL. That's my fave dish there.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

De-monopolizing righteousness


A friend in faith from South Africa shared an article about a small but significant event that took place in the land of Arabia recently - 2600 brave young people mostly in their 20s signed a statement on their stand with regard to their perspective of religion.

The article quoted a portion of their bold and frank statement as follows:
"No one can claim monopoly of truth or righteousness in the name of Islamic law (Shariah)," 
"We are young citizens who seek to create that follows the example of the prophet, peace be upon him, under pluralism of thought...[and] we reject this patriarchal guardianship which forbids us from practicing our God-given right to think and explore for ourselves, as we can listen and judge."

Hah..hah... I like! Kudos to these young Arab men [and women I presume].

In many parts of the world there tend to be monopoly groups of Islamic righteousness - people who think their interpretation and views of Islam as the most correct. That they are the holier ones, bound for heaven and their religiosity is the ultimate benchmark of Islam. These people who think they know more and know better tend to be judgmental especially about other people's degree of Muslim-ness. They even dare label other Muslims as kafir. But coming from people who ridicule primary school teachers, we are not surprised.  Perhaps they're so smart, they went straight to high school. But in truth, as we learned from the wiser shuyukh, those who know more, judge less. Those who know less, judge more. 

It is unfortunate when leaders of these monopolies of righteousness go unchecked and unchallenged. They may get so carried away in their self-proclaimed authority that some even want to authorize/liberalize the usage of "Allah" in other holy books, for reasons only God knows. But perhaps for the wrong reason because after a while, they suddenly remembered the meaning of Surah Al-Ikhlas and retracted their statement. [I thought that's very funny.]

It's not too bad for someone who is deemed to be not righteous outwardly to make silly statement about religion. But when someone, who looks pious outwardly and who carries the title of a guru, makes statement about aqidah, people take notice especially if its legitimacy is doubtful. And that's just unfortunate for the religion. Religion is never corrupt but it's people who corrupt it every now and then. 

Anyway, I second the statement made by the 2600 young Arabs as mentioned above:
"No one can claim monopoly of truth and righteousness in the name of Islamic law (shariah)."

Pray that Allah guides and gives victory to all sincere seekers.  
Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

p/s Thank you Sister N for your email.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Loving oneself


Some people think loving oneself is an undesirable trait. They say "most people are in love, in love with themselves". And they mean it in a negative way. I disagree, and will admit that I love myself. Because without me, I will never know my Creator, as simple as that. He has created me so that He is known.

"I" am a receptacle of His manifestations. He breathed His spirit into me. He created me with His own two hands. He the Most Beautiful, fashioned me as He wished. It is He who creates my actions. Therefore "I" am special. Why then should we be apologetic about loving ourselves?

Without "me" I will never know the existence of the Prophet (pbuh). It's paradoxical but it's the beauty of my existence that enables the recognition of the beautiful beings exterior to me. I must first love me before I can begin to love my Creator and His Beloved until it becomes apparent that loving me means loving my Creator. And the fact that "I" [we] are counted as the ummah of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam is something we rejoice in. So I think we need to broaden our perspective a little bit. We must stop thinking of the "I" as the limited-I. Consider what Sayyidina Umar [r.a] said: "I see not something without seeing God before it."

Once we are able to recognize the Creator through the "I", and then we learn to disregard the ananiyah -- the I-ness. That much we understood from shuyukh who are ahlul tasawuf over the years. And one of them whom I regard as the most open and vocal in speaking about the subject is the honorable Shaykh Yusuf Bakhour al-Hassani, may Allah elevate him further. May Allah increase us in knowledge and gnosis. Ameen.

Allahu a'lam.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to warm a cold heart


Hmm...tonight is one of the nights when inspirations run dry, the heart is feeling somewhat cold and the spirit is lacking zest. It's one of the moments when you just wish you could take a flight first thing tomorrow morning, fly to a city abroad and have some nice hot soup. And walk and walk about. 

Did you know that the late Steve Jobs had a habit of walking? -- purposeful walking to do some serious thinking and make decisions. My first memory of some serious walking was when I was 11. On weekends I had to walk alone for a good 30 minutes (about 2 km) to get to a bus station. Average waiting time for bus no. 12 to arrive was 40 minutes. The bus would take me to my tuition center in Jelutong. I remember being scared of stray dogs. If only I knew about the existence of Maqam Shaykh Omar Basheer along the route, I wouldn't have been so anxious. [It's unbelievable how today this blog has become a kind of reunion sasana - virtual meeting space for his clan, mashaAllah.] Anyway, I remember buses those days had a 'No Spitting' sign, I wondered why. Walking to the bus station became a weekend routine when I was 15, 16 and 17. 

Ahah...the heart is feeling a lil warmer now. I think I know the trick. To warm a cold heart, you need only reminisce. There was a bus station near my tuition center. When I was 16 or 17, I noticed someone who would often sit there, instead of facing the road/bus, he would face my tuition center. This was my secret admirer, my first suitor heh heh. But poor boy, my heart was cold. I had no interest whatsoever. Moreover, my father had said no cos I need to finish school and go to college obviously. He was already working as financial controller at a hotel where my family used to frequent. No, he's not old. Good looking in fact! Anyhow, I had a cold heart, no smile, nothing. If I ever had a chance to say sorry, I would treat him to a bowl of soup. Then we could talk about missed opportunities and what could have been - that I could have been the chicken soup for his soul heh heh. No, make that a clam chowder hah hah. 

Dear readers, thanks for "listening" and for tolerating this kind of posting which has got nothing to do with the language of faith, well maybe language of the heart - yes. 

Tomorrow, this weekend, why don't you go out and warm someone's heart with a cup of coffee if he/she doesn't fancy soup and let's be the chicken soup for some lost/lonely souls. Life is short buddy, go make someone happy : )

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 11)

Dr. Martin Lings (Shaykh Abu Bakar Sirajuddin)
Author of 'Muhammad - His life based on the earliest sources'
(1909 - 2005)


31. The Year of Sadness

In the year 619, the Prophet lost his wife
Siti Khadijah died at 65
she left the Prophet who was 50
leaving 25 years of sweet memory
of a wife, friend, mother and counselor

Four daughters, Ali and Zayd all grieved
Comforted the ladies the Prophet did
Their mother was one upon whom God sent His greetings
Gabriel the angel brought glad tidings
an abode in Paradise awaiting

Soon another tragic loss looming
Ill Abu Talib visited by Qurayshi leaders
Persuade a dying man they attempted
that Abu Talib would tell the Prophet
"...he should let us be, and we will let him be."
To leave them alone and their religion free

"So be it." replied the Prophet
Towards his dear uncle he tried to convince
Say: 'There is no god but God.
And you must renounce what you worship apart from Him.'

Abu Talib refused out of fear for the Qurayshis
But professed he did on his final breath
Abbas witnessed with his eyes and ears
Told the Prophet about his uncle's last words
But the Prophet remarked: "I heard him not."

Things got worse in Mecca
for all who had no official protection
Abu Bakar suffered severe aversion
disliked for being one who inspired many conversions
including Aswad son of Nawfal

Angry Nawfal plotted an attack
Abu Bakar and Talhah were tied and abandoned
none bothered to help
Umayyah, Bilal's former master, became his foe too
leave Mecca became his only option

En route the Red sea he met Ibn ad-Dhugunnah
Chief of a tribe, ally of the Quraysh
Offered protection to Abu Bakar
one he considered "an ornament to your clan,
a help in misfortune, a doer of right,
ever fulfilling the needs of others."

Ibn ad-Dhugunnah took Abu Bakar back to Mecca
proclaimed his protection for the son of Abu Quhafah
The Qurayshis agreed on condition
that Abu Bakar should pray alone in confinement

Abu Lahab succeeded Abu Talib as chief of Bani Hashim
He afforded the Prophet with little protection
People chucked offal in his cooking pot
While praying in his courtyard
bloody uterus of a sheep landed on the Prophet

On the way back from Kaabah
he had dirt thrown on his face and head
His daughters cried as they helped him wash
"Weep not little daughter, God will protect your father" the Prophet said

Seek help from Thaqif, the Prophet then resort
how grave the situation in Mecca
Thaqif was guardian of al-Lat the goddess
what prospect could the people of Taif offer?
on arrival the Prophet met up with their three leaders
the sons of Amr ibn Umayyah responded with much sneer

The Prophet left them and escaped to a private orchard
Tied his camel to a palm tree, sat and prayed:
"O God, unto You I complain of my weakness,
of my helplessness, and of my lowliness before men.
O Most Merciful of the Merciful,
You are Lord of the weak. You are my Lord.
Into whose hands will You entrust me?
Unto some far off stranger who will ill-treat me?
Or unto a foe from whom You have empowered against me?"

The Prophet was not alone
Owners of the orchard were around to witness
Utbah and Shaybah took pity of him
made Addas, a Christian slave deliver grapes

The Prophet impressed Addas with his religion
kissed his hand, head and feet the maid did
when he told him he was a prophet,
a brother of Prophet Jonah the son of Matta
seeing Addas' strange actions
Utbah and Shaybah were quick to blame

The Prophet left Ta'if in the end
Stopped at Nakhlah on the way to Mecca
Stood in prayer in the middle of the night
Seven jinn of Nasibin heard him recite the Qur'an

The Prophet knew his role for both men and jinn
Fascinated by the words of the Quran
the jinn returned to their community as believers
became followers of the God's summoner

On his way back to Mecca, reluctant
the Prophet thought of seeking the help of Akhnas ibn Shariq
but to no avail and nor did Suhayl agreed to offer protection
on account of tribal concerns

The Prophet did not proceed to Mecca
hide in Mount Hira' a choice he opted
from there he sent out another request for aid
this time was to Mut'im the chief of Nawfal
one of five responsible to get the ban annulled

Mut'im was willing to grant assurance
The morning after, he, sons and nephews
escorted the Prophet to the Ka'bah
Abu Jahal and the Makhzumite could only concede
said to Mut'im: "Whom you protect, to him we give protection."

32. The Light of Thy Countenance

The widow of Abu Talib, Fatimah entered Islam
as did her daughter Umm Hani
Once this family prayed the night prayer behind the Prophet
and offered him to sleepover at their place
he obliged but only briefly

The Prophet then headed for the Ka'bah
Fell asleep in Hijir Ismail
Awakened when Gabriel came
showed him out of the mosque
a white beast was waiting

Buraq the winged mighty beast
together with Gabriel by the Prophet's side
flew them into Jerusalem
where Abraham, Jesus, Moses and other apostles
all prayed behind him at the Temple

Two goblets were presented to the Prophet
He chose to drink the milk
to which Gabriel commended
and forbid the wine

Gabriel and the Prophet mounted the Buraq
from the rock at the center of the Temple
in flight they were once again
across the skies into the heavenly realms

Passed the seven heaven
he saw all the Prophets who prayed behind him before
but in a celestial form they had transformed
Yusuf appeared strikingly beautiful
so was Harun of all the other brethren

"The Lote Tree of the Uttermost End"
that was the ultimate destination
beyond which is transcendental mystery
not known to any except He

At the Lote Tree, a divine commandment given
Fifty prayers a day was the requirement
But on his descent, Musa rationalized with the Prophet
about such a weighty commitment

Back to the Lord the Prophet returned
several times to get the terms lessen
until 5 daily prayers was all that remained
the Prophet admitted of being ashamed

Back to Jerusalem the Prophet and Gabriel descended
Then to Mecca where they first started
it was still night when the Prophet reappeared at Umm Hani's
just in time for dawn prayer, he told her of his wonderful journey

Umm Hani reminded him not to divulge
for fear that it might invite insult
but the Prophet insisted he would 'By God'
His enemies rejoiced for they now had a point to chide

Some people went to consult Abu Bakar
on the incident they thought a cheat
a caravan from Mecca would take a month to get to Syria
How could Muhammad achieve such a feat?

But Abu Bakar kept saying: "If so he says, then it is true."
believed in the Prophet, not a speck of doubt he had
As-Siddiq - a noble title he was later conferred
he was "the great witness of truth"

Some of those who doubted began to believe
when he described the caravan he had overtaken
on the timing and details of which all so accurate
only to the close companions did he share the mikraj portion
his miraculous ascent to the seven Heavens.

33. After the Year of Sadness

In the year after the Year of Sadness
during Pilgrimage, on the Feast of the Sacrifices
the Prophet would visit groups of tents in Mina
propagating his messages, reciting Quranic verses

At Aqabah, from the Khazraj tribe he met six men
who accepted his preaching and embraced Islam
anticipated the coming of the Prophet
the Jews had already forewarned

The Prophet would visit Abu Bakar regularly
Much to the delight of his younger daughter Aishah
whom he saw in his dream wrapped in a silky piece
one he would eventually marry

In the meantime Abu Bakar built a small mosque
in the vicinity of his house with walls all around
attracting passers-by still
with prayers and reverence for the Quran

this brought fear to the Quraysh especially Umayyah
that Abu Bakar might invite more converts
But as-Siddiq insisted to keep his mosque
hence broke his protection pact with Ibn ad-Dhugunnah


Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
Part 12 - To be continued bi-iznillah