Sunday, March 31, 2013

Knowledge is great | What do you stand for?

Bismillah. might recall a posting on 'What do I stand for?' posted last weekend. It turned out to be quite popular. I've been singing along to 'Some Nights' by Fun the whole week, repeating its chorus like a thousand times - 'What do I stand for. What do I stand for...' and then yesterday (Saturday) I saw the above postcard hah...hah...what a coincident. Hmm...maybe not. Maybe it's a serious divine query from the Lord - "Hey woman, what do you stand for?!"

That postcard is a promo item by the University of Stirling, Scotland. I stood for about 6 hours promoting my alma mater. It was fun. Actually I was promoting DREAMS, among youth especially. You have got to stir up your dreams, you know.

The first, and the last time I attended 'Education in UK' exhibition, I was 17. I was clueless. Being a teenager during late 80s was different. We, well I, was not as advanced as the school kids nowadays. But the exhibition left a good impression on me. I fell for UK. So I was absolutely gutted when I got sent to the US instead. But listen to me, girls and boys, we must keep our dreams alive and pursue them relentlessly. If God stirred a particular interest in your heart, then go for it. God may inspire some people to study religion at Al-Azhar. Others He sent elsewhere. There's a reason (hikmah) for anything and everything. There's a hikmah why my late father had to turn down a scholarship at Al-Azhar.  

So 18 years later, I finally got to experience UK education. And it's sweeter because it was self-funded. Alhamdulillah. Although I keep grumbling about the much higher exchange rate then.

Yes, knowledge is great. Beneficial knowledge is greater.
The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam used to say after the dawn prayer: "O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, acceptable action and good provision." [Hadith al-Tirmidhi]

Because I studied in Stirling, I am obliged to happily promote the university. But then again I'd like to encourage you to STIR up your dreams and be a person of STERLING character no matter where and what you choose to study.  

Education UK Exhibition at KL Convention Center
30 - 31 March 2013
Best wishes,
Uni of Stirling

Sunday 31st March 2013 @ Maghrib
Learn Al-Hikam from Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki at Ba'alawi KL

Saturday, March 30, 2013

One year ago | Remembering Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah


Somehow, yesterday, upon waking up, thoughts of him flooded my heart. Then I realized, in a sombre mood, 30th March was approaching.

March 30th, 2012 was the day he migrated to the realm of barzakh, all of a sudden.

I recalled vividly one night after majlis zikir, I told him: "Shaykh, I got a job! After three years of waiting." He said: "What?! Three years? Alhamdulillah!" He was about to leave the majlis and was waiting for his driver. Then he turned, his back towards the crowd, facing the road, paused for a good two or three minutes, lifted both hands high towards the sky and quietly said a prayer - a prayer of thanks I believed.

It was a very touching moment. A moment I will always cherish.

I am writing this on Wednesday 27th March, but it will appear to be posted on 30th March  - THE DAY.

The day has not arrived, but sadness has already begun to engulf. Outwardly I was comparatively distant from you compared to your countless mureed and followers. But I like to think that none but I had longed for a meeting with you as long as I did. Had you in my heart for 20 years before I finally got to meet you in person. It's proof that God listens to the faintest whisper of our hearts and fulfills all hopes in His own time. We were connected, and we will always be - heart to heart.

Of the many things about you, many have remembered associating the color purple with you. If I had a guitar with me right now, I would strum this sadness with my fingers and sing:

Purple rain, purple rain
The prince who reigned 
in the hearts of many people
purple reign, purple reign
in our hearts you shall remain...

Al Fatihah
HRH Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibn Sultan Azlan Shah
1958 - 30th March 2012


Friday, March 29, 2013

Salam from KL | Anas ibn Nazar


Greetings from Kuala Lumpur. Assalamualaykum.

That's the waning full moon of Jamadil Awal seen this Friday morning. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the lovely weather.

I know I owe people an update on the tausiyah by Habib Husin Alwi Agiel al-Maliki. Pray Allah grant tawfik for me to continue later insha Allah.

In the meantime, here's a story of a sahabi I heard from Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid during the grand Mawlid gathering at Dataran Merdeka KL on 23rd March 2013.

Dataran Merdeka KL

Given the young-ish audience that evening, Habib Ali directed his tausiyah at the youth and talked about the young sahabah of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam.

He said it's important for the youth especially, to be honest and truthful. If we are truthful, Allah will accept our good deeds. Anas ibn Nazar was one such honest young man who was true to his words. He was the uncle of Anas ibn Malik. He once said a prayer: "O Allah, if You let me go to battle with Rasulullah, You will see how good I'll be." Anas had missed out on the Battle of Badar. So he was determined to join the Prophet in the Battle of Uhud. And he did. And he did well.

When the situation was getting chaotic on battle field, people began to retreat. Another sahabi by the name of Saad saw Anas, who unlike many others, was marching forward instead. When asked, Anas said: "I smell the sweet fragrant of heaven from Mount Uhud." Anas went forward, fought and died in the battle. His body was not immediately identifiable because he was badly injured. He had 80 stabs on him. His sister however managed to recognize Anas from his fingers. The Prophet was dumbfounded to see Anas in such a condition, until a revelation came. It was one of the verses in Surah al-Ahzab: "Among the believers are men who are true to the covenant they made with God. Some of them have fulfilled their vow, and some are still awaiting; and they have not changed in the least." (Quran 33:23)

Habib Ali said: Allah would reciprocate a truthful person. If we are truthful and honest with Allah in our words and deeds towards people and His creations in general (makhluk), Allah will recompense.

That much I can afford to write and share this blessed Friday morning. May it benefit us both. Alhamdulillah, in our lives we are faced with lots of challenges on various platforms and in various forms. I am just relieved and grateful that Allah allows me to escape and seek solace here through writing and sharing.

May we belong with those whom Allah describes in that verse of Surah al-Ahzab - some of the believers have fulfilled their vow, some are still awaiting and they have not changed in the least.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Habib Husin Alwi Agiel al-Maliki on the privileges of ummat Muhammad


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Habib Husin Alwi Agiel al-Maliki of Surabaya, Indonesia has begun a series of lecture on a kitab written by Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki on the privileges of being the ummat of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam

Habib Husin Alwi is a mureed of the esteemed scholar of Makkah, Almarhum Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki. MashaAllah you could see a speck of the caliber of his shaykh from his teaching. It was my first time to sit in his majlis. His tausiyah was very well paced, the tone of his voice very reassuring, and the contents were thorough and insightful. And plenty of never-heard-before and startling facts, especially for a novice like me. Habib Husin started off by explaining the benefits of attending a majlis 'ilm which many people must have heard many times before, but the way he deliberated on the matter was impressive on the heart.

I will share the full lesson later Insha Allah [Cos it's getting late]. Meantime, here is what he said when asked about the virtues of a person who transmit knowledge.

Habib Husin said, the rewards for those who transmit knowledge are simply amazing. Suffice it to understand the value of knowledge from just one verse of the Qur'an:

Shahidallahu annahu 
laa ilaaha illa huwa
wal malaaikatu
wal 'ulul 'ilmi
qaaiman bil qist
laa ilaaha illah huwal Azizul Hakeem

"Allah Himself bears witness that
none is to be worshipped but He
and so do the angels
and the men of knowledge
maintaining His creation with justice
none is to be worshipped but He, the Mighty, the Wise."
- Quran 3:18

Habib Husin said, Allah witnesses with His own Essence that He is to be worshipped. Who else bear witness? The angels. Who else? Men. Not just any men. Not he who is rich or he who has a certain position. But he who has knowledge - 'ulul 'ilmi. Allah is witness that a knowledgable person has attained tawhid laa ilaaha illaa huwa. The others, the wealthy, leaders etc., their proclamation of kalimah tawhid is not known or not certain. 

This describes the value of those who posses knowledge. The value of those who have knowledge and transmit it to others is even greater.

To be continued Insha Allah

A majlis by:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What do I stand for? | Spring to your feet


This upbeat song by Fun caught my attention: "O Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for. What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know anymore..."

Yes, on some nights, we think we know what we stand for but on some nights we just don't. On some nights we stand up for Him, on most nights we don't.

In my bid to change my routine a bit, I listened to a radio channel from San Jose. That song was being aired on that far away land. Yeah...good ol' San Jose where I spent two years of my life, mostly carefree like wild Freesia. If only the Zaytuna College had been around in the Bay Area those years, you might see a shaykha out of me. heh heh... 

But seriously the younger generations are a lot luckier now. There's plenty of da'wah around. You guys get to grow up with people like Habib Ali al-Hamid, to name but one. When I was at a spoiled age, majlis ta'lim was as rare as pink diamonds. Now in KL we have got a majlis every other day. By the way, today Sunday - Habib Husin Alwi Agiel of Surabaya will be at Ba'alawi KL. Go on spring to your feet and find your way there. Hmm...where were all this habaib hiding before, I keep wondering. In any case, we are grateful for the ray of light that shines our way lately. Alhamdulillahil lazi hadana li haza...

The DJs on K-Bay were talking about the first day of Spring which didn't look like Spring at all. Not yet. No doubt our surrounding affects our mood a great deal. A friend happens to be hiking in the beautiful Scottish highlands, and he too complained about the cold weather. But hey, things will only look better, that's why it's called Spring. Something pleasant is springing forth, that, I pray for you and me. Something that would put a spring in our step and make us go places. Ameen.

Read an interesting quote on Twitter: "A walk through your front door is travel. The only thing you need for a trip is curiosity." Yes, when we go to a place with curiosity, we will discover more. We unlearn and we learn new things. We'll become more grateful hopefully. We'll be more aware of where we stand in the big scheme of things. And perhaps find some truthful answers to the burning questions: What do I stand for? What will I stand for? O Lord, whatever it is, stand by me!


p/s Pic taken 21 years ago. I was 21. Alhamdulillah.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Gathering of Love for the Prophet at Dataran Merdeka KL - 23 March 2013


It will be a historic event Insha Allah. Tonight, March 23rd, 2013 from 7 pm to 11.30 pm at Dataran Merdeka KL, one of the most prominent landmarks of Kuala Lumpur.

It is heart warming to have a majlis honoring the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam at such a historical venue.

For those who are not able to attend, watch the event LIVE on TV Al Hijrah at 8.25 pm.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Passing of Shaykh Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Buti


Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Buti
1929 - 21st March 2013
Al Fatihah

The honorable Shaykh, as many of us have learned from the news, was killed while lecturing in Masjid Al-Iman, Damascus, Syria. Innalillah wa inna ilaihi raji'un.

During his visit to Malaysia in November 2010, Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti gave a talk on the much debated subject of Daulah Islamiyah (Islamic state). He said we should make reference to the first generation of Muslims during the time of Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam and his companions. If we were to ask the sahabah if they were thinking about having a plan to establish Daulah Islamiyah, the answer would have been in the negative. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam and his companions had gone through much challenges in Makkah for 13 years. All they were occupied with was simply two things - to have faith in Rasulullah and the Quran kalamullah. They were engaged in jihad with themselves, fighting against their less desirable traits. When the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam migrated from Makkah to Madinah, he did not migrate with a specific purpose of forming Daulah Islamiyah. His mission was for makrifatullah. It was for the solidifying of the understanding of being a servant of Allah, of truly understanding the hukm (commands) of Allah. True, Madinah turned out to be a Daulah Islamiyah, but we should note that it was in fact a gift from Allah to the Prophet and his companions for the hardships that they had to go through prior to their migration. Allah is fair in His reckoning. As stated in the Quran, Allah promises the believers He would make them khalifah. Allah rewarded the companions with khilafah (government) which is both a responsibility (wazifah) and a gift (hadiah). If we were to ask the pioneer caliphates, Saidina Abu Bakar, Saidina Umar, Saidina Usman and Saidina Ali - if they had been hoping to become a caliph, they would have denied and rejected such a notion. What about us who are considering, contemplating on this idea of Daulah Islamiyah, let's ask ourselves, are we not heedless of the deen? Are we not careless about the affairs of our societies? How can we form an Islamic caliphate when we ourselves are groping for answers, like searching for a lost thing, looking here and there? So let us look at the first generation. They were primarily concerned about hakikat ubudiyah (the realities of servitude)."

"I would like to remind myself, my children, my family and my friends, of two things: amal ma'ruf nahi munkar (to enjoin the good and forbid evil); and to remind people about Allah and to evoke the feeling of qashyah/qashyatillah (fear of Allah) among people."

"We talk about the possibilities of setting up a Daulah Islamiyah, but consider the state of the ummah these days. There are so many mahzab (sects), we are divided in our thoughts, we are fighting one another, we are dispersed in so many directions to the North, South, East and West. How do we solve this? We are looking for a covering like a lid but the container for us to close is not even there. What is more important is for us to fully embrace ubudiyah and ibadah. Although we must understand there is a difference between the two. Is it the same if we were to tie a fruit and hang it in the tree? Ibadah albeit an obligation is not the same as ubudiyah. Ubudiyah would bear the fruits of qashyatillah (fear of Allah) and mahabatullah (love of Allah). Verily, the command fafirru ilallah (return to Allah) is true. Yes we may have performed solat, siyaam and hajj. But we still end up eating and doing the haram. We perform ibadah but do not seem to have a connection with Allah. Once again I reiterate the importance of tahkik ibadah and ubudiyyah, this is the reality, this was what the sahabah had practised at the very start."

"I promise you, but it is actually Allah who makes the promise and that Allah never break a promise. Do we really need to have Daulah Islamiyah? In truth, we must actualize Daulah Islamiyah in ourselves, in our families and as a united ummah. Can we do that? No we cannot because there are plenty of problems. The real purpose is actually to seek the pleasures [redha] of Allah. If we can do this, a daulah may come to be spontaneously without a conscious effort made on our part. This was the approach taken by the Prophet. But we are burdened with wanting to have a manhaj, a system, a markaz, a constitution. It is easy, but what is more critical is the essence of Daulah Islamiyah itself."

"Islam is not a religion that divides. It is one which connects. But the problem is whenever we say anything about Islam, it is the Muslims who would challenge it. Think about God's commandments. Let's ask ourselves, have we truly and fully fulfill Allah's commands? One example is on the issue of women's rights. The reality is that many societies and nations are still male-centric. If we must, we should then build a Daulah Islamiyah on the right foundation. Else, it will just be a false slogan. It will deviate from its true reality."

"As a da'ie I am always thinking how to address an audience. How to give da'wah to people, how to make people aware and give mau'izzah [admonition] because there are all sorts of people with all kinds of problems in a crowd. There are many people who are lost out there. I'll be asked. We are responsible. But there are people among us [dai'e] who call out to people [da'wah] out of their lower nafs. They call people to Islam with an intention to divide them for the sake of assabiyah [for selfish reasons/ for the sake of their own group with exclusive interest]. How then can we form a Daulah Islamiyah?"

"As a Muslim, being here, I am obliged to spread da'wah, to enjoin people to good and forbid evil especially to those who have transgressed. It is my responsibility. Some people out there think they are not able to do it [da'wah] that they don't have the qudrah [strength] and they are apologetic about it. That is not right. God has asked us to call on people with hikmah. You are saying you cannot do da'wah but on the other hand you can do lots of other things. The Prophet said, when you see someone who is stingy, who follows his nafs and who takes pride in his own views, you must hold on to yourself and those near you and leave the others - khassah nafsi - what is meant by that is that we must take care and be responsible for ourselves and fulfill our duties towards our families. Can you do that? I see many people who can talk on grand subjects such as Daulah Islamiyah and yet their children/families are not under control and stray from the teachings of Islam. They are responsible for it. The Prophet said we must be responsible for our families. We are actually responsible to establish Daulah Islamiyah in our own house. If everyone could do this, collectively it would be like a creek flowing into rivers forming big streams."

"This is my final message on Daulah Islamiyah and the challenges surrounding it. If we think we are weak in handling the current issues, not knowing how to deal with the present situation with so many people deviating, then consider overcoming the challenges in our own homes. My answer [to this topic] is: the door is open. The door to return to Allah is open. The door to ask for His mercy is open. We should not just busy ourselves with fiery public talks. Each of us has a private time. We can devote a special time at night to appeal to Allah with regard to the state of ummah. We should be making more zikir when we are faced with overwhelming challenges. There is a hadith on this reminding us to make zikrullah when we have people challenging us. If we could do this, things will become easy. What is more important is to ask for tawfik from Allah in fulfilling the obligatory; in makrifatullah; and actualize the state of ubudiyah. For any problems we have, we should present it to Allah. I have confidence it is not difficult, it will end because the door to return to Allah is open."

"There is one prominent ulama by the name of Sayyid Ahmad ar-Rifai'e, in his kitab Burhan al Mu'ayyad, said: 'There are so many doors of Allah where people flock to. But I found a door called tazzalul which is humbling oneself to Allah. This door is empty, and I chose this door.' And with that he became successful in life. So let us appeal to Allah. Have confidence He will grant. I pray so that we belong with those who listen to good advice and follow Allah's command."

An acquaintance of mine, Sidi Allie Khalfe remembered hearing Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti's remarks when he was asked about all the students kissing his hand. The shaykh said: "I am filled with dirt inside me which they do not see. They see my outside and see me as beautiful. Only Allah sees my sins." And he cried.
We would be blessed, if we were destined to die in a masjid, in the house of Allah, and die while seeking knowledge. Immensely blessed was Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti who must have spent most of his life in servitude and in teaching the religion for the sake of Allah and Rasulullah. And died a martyr.  

The above paragraphs were quoted from this video of the shaykh's lecture in Malaysia: 

Watch the shaykh's lecture on Al-Hikam here:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Putih Sesuci Fitrah Mu


Bersih warna hatimu
muncul tiba-tiba bagai suria
niat ikhlas dikabul Tuhan jua
senyuman meleret membahagiakan yang disapa

Diriku tidak seistimewa mana
untuk seseorang berniat bertemu
seribu rahsia tersimpan
beribu duka disembunyikan
di celahan jemari menaip kata-kata

Tahun kelima ke udara
bermacam wajah insan singgah bertandang
yang gelap matahatinya menabur cerca
kekadang pujian datang tiada sepadan
buat empunya diri kurang senang

hidupku hidupmu sama sahaja
ada kala panas terang benderang
ada masa mendung
guruh berdentum, petir bersabung

Cerita peristiwa biasa biasa saja
zahirnya tampak serupa
mutiara tersembunyi di dasar lautan
apa jua riak di permukaan
harus selam sedalam-dalam
demi mencari keindahan

dan betapa pun pahit ceritera
bagaimana hambar sekalipun rasa
wajar dikupas setiap kelopak kehidupan
lalu dicicip kemanisannya

Putih sesuci fitrah mu
hadir bawa sentuhan harapan
yang terluka disembuhkan
semangat yang hilang dikembalikan

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, Malaysia - 15th March 2013


Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani was one of the guests of honor at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal last Friday. He graced the weekly majlis hosted by Darul Murtadza. His speech in Arabic was interpreted into Malay by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid. Below is just a rough note of the tausiyah:

Praise be to Allah for His mercy, the One who continuously pours mercy day and night, to anyone wishing to reap His blessings and gifts. More so for us who are sitting here in one of His houses. Allah orders us to elevate and honor His house, by making zikir and tasbih, glorifying Him. Those who are seated in a masjid, are not made heedless due to their businesses. They are not careless about making solat and giving zakat. They are those who are fearful of the Day of Qiyamah (Judgement Day) when all hearts would be in the utmost fright towards Allah.

This place is called a house of Allah. It is a sacred place due to its connection to Allah. People who come to this place are considered to be visiting Allah. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said so, that a masjid is a house of Allah and it is only becoming for the One who is visited to welcome and honor His visitors. May Allah welcome us as His visitors and offer us a great feast. May Allah fulfill our wish, make us close to Him and reward us with a gift that would be beneficial in this world and in the hereafter. You are fortunate to be here in the house of Allah, to make sujud to Allah, to make du'a in this house of Allah. Allah commands the Prophet to say this about Him: "If anyone were to inquire: Say I am near and that I will answer the prayers of anyone who asks from Me".

Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam mentioned the benefits of being in a masjid. He acknowledged people who are inclined towards masjid; people who patiently wait to perform solat in a masjid and people who perform solat in a masjid. Allah uplifts the value of masjid and as such people who are in it too. They who honor the house of Allah, will have their properties, children and families blessed in this world and so much more in akhirah. They will be among the seven groups of people who will be granted Allah's protection. Their hearts are attached to masjid, they love spending time (iktikaf) in a masjid and enjoy its tranquility. The condition of a Muslim when inside a masjid is like fish in the ocean. On the contrary, a munafik would feel restless being in a masjid.

As narrated in a hadith, Allah is proud of those who gather for the sake of remembering Him. He would boast about it to His angels. Those who are present here are indeed fortunate. Your actions are being witnessed by the angels. You have come here to seek knowledge. Know that every single creation including the fish would ask forgiveness for knowledge seekers. Many of you are youngsters interested in learning. Allah is proud of youngsters. There are two good things about you. Firstly: you are in a masjid. Secondly: you are a young person who performs acts of obedience to Allah. That is a sign that Allah protects you. This is an important fact because you will be the future generation.

Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam had quite a number of sahabah who were in their youth. They learned hadith and went to jihad with him. Some of them were 30, 25, 20, 18 and even 13 years old. Some of the Prophet's young companions were Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Zubair, Abdullah bin Amr, Hassan, Hussain and Muadz bin Jabal. Among them was Saidina Ali who died when he was 30.

Muadz bin Jabal was still very young when he embraced Islam. He was described as a tall, fair and good looking man. He was always accompanying Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam. During the 10th Hijri year, he was asked by the Prophet to go to Yemen, to be the Prophet's representative, to be a mufti and teacher. Upon which, Muadz immediately obeyed and began his preparations. The Prophet's farewell message to him was this: "O Muadz, it might be that when you come back from Yemen, you will not see me again. When you return to Madinah and pass by my grave, do pay me a visit."

The Prophet's parting message to Muadz came true. Rasulullah had already passed away when Muadz came back from his mission in Yemen. Muadz was much loved by the Prophet. Rasulullah expressed his adoration towards Muadz in a well known hadith mahabbah. He said to the young man: "O Muadz, verily I love and adore you. Remember to recite this du'a each time after your prayer: Allahumma a'inni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatik

The hadith is known as hadith mahabbah because it begins with the phrase of love. Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani said, "I have heard this hadith from my teachers. As a token of my joy of being here at this place, I grant ijazah for the hadith to all present here. Indeed, I love you and adore you and I urge you not to forget this du'a upon doing your solat." 

Rasulullah's fondness towards Muadz bin Jabal was evident. On sending him off to Yemen, the Prophet said a du'a for Muadz: "O Allah, protect Muadz from the front, from the back, right and left." And he salallah alaihi wasalam had actually walked with Muadz for about a mile before they finally parted ways. That much love and affection, he salallah alaihi wasalam had for Muadz bin Jabal.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

People person vs Servant-reporter


One unexpected incident took place last Sunday at Masjid Tuanku Mizan that humbled me a great deal. Subhanallah there are so many sincere and bighearted people out there. I am still feeling shy from the incident actually. 

Some people are really people person. They can recognize and remember people's face just from photos and are able to recognize faces in the middle of a big crowd. MashaAllah. And I am the opposite of that, totally opposite. My good friend N would testify how hopeless I am when it comes to remembering faces and names and matching them together. Thought I write this with the intention to apologize to all for that weakness of mine and to commend people for their sincerity and friendliness.

The genuine joyful expressions on Sister P's face keep playing in my head. Subhanallah, I wish I had her honesty! As usual, feeling lost and wearing a blur look, I muttered: "Did we meet in Melaka?" Hah hah apparently she had dropped an email through this space and she's from Perlis. How's that?

And Sister R is another amazing person. She too is a brilliant face identifier. We met at Masjid Al-Falah and the best part was, she could still recognize me when I don a niqab for fun, once at Masjid Sultan Salahuddin. A bunch of friends just walked past me!

Sister L: we met at the screening of Fez City of Saints. Thanks for saying hi. A friend of hers remembered meeting me at Hol Habib Noh, but I forgot her. I am terribly sorry : (

And this other sister who called my name at Ba'alawi KL but I had no idea who she was. She was kind enough to want to share her Qasidah Burdah book. Thank you!

And there were several other sisters too. I am sorry I am not as good as you. I have got a poor pictorial memory.

May Allah bless all of you for being bighearted and for being a people person wanting to establish silaturahmi. I shall remain your servant-reporter for as long as I can, for as long as Allah permits insha Allah.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani at Masjid Tuanku Mizan - 16 March 2013


Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani was one of the guest speakers at Mawlidur Rasul & Haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani event held on March 16, 2013, at Masjid Tuanku Mizan, Malaysia. It was an annual grand event organized by the Al-Wariseen Trust Kuala Lumpur.

Habib Umar al-Jailani spoke in Arabic and his speech was interpreted by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid of Darul Murtadza KL.

Habib Umar began his tausiyah with praises to Allah and salutations to the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. He said we ought to praise Allah for the blessings of gratitude. Allah makes us praise Him and therefore we should thank HIm for making it a continual act for us.

We are a chosen ummat. One that is in the middle. Allah says so in the Qur'an. We are people from the middle upon whom the Prophet has been sent and who will be a witness of people from the past. Tonight we express our delight for the blessings of the chosen Prophet. We must always remember him salallah alaihi wasalam.

It is human nature to establish a relationship with others especially those who have been kind to us. At the mention of the Prophet's name, some could smell a sweet fragrant due to their close relationship with the Prophet. We are asked to remember him. We mention his name in our solat: "Assalamualaika ayyuhan nabiyu warahmatullah..."  We must try to feel his presence, that our salam reaches him and he answers.

Similarly, we must feel a connection to the solehin. Today, we celebrate the haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani. His role in dakwah had been instrumental. He was always concerned about the affairs of Muslims. It is amazing how his message of dakwah has carried on to this day. His name is remembered today. There wasn't any media infrastructure during his time nor did he have access to properties or facilities, yet his knowledge and his name are being mentioned everywhere. Allah chooses whomever He deems worthy of His love. He says in the Qur'an: "The believers will be given wudda (love).."  By virtue of His love, other people would love the person too. 

Al-Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani was said to have performed tawaf 40,000 times. His name is in so many hearts. He used to say, if he were to have a special position by Allah, he would gather everyone and save them. This attitude of his was from the exemplary character of the Prophet whose primary concern was to protect and save his ummat. The shaykh was also caring towards the fuqara (the poor).

There were two fundamental kalimat (statements) he made. Anyone who could understand them would experience miracles.
  • "Be with Allah, devoid any traces of makhluk."
  • "Be with makhluk without having the intention of taking benefits from them."
Whoever understood this would experience a better relationship with Allah. He/she would only depend on the Ever-Living. The person will be among those who have a perfect relationship with Allah. He/she would truly live the meaning of Inna solati wa nusuki wamahyaya wamamati. 

As for the second statement, it forbids one from taking the rights of other people. It promotes ithar instead of istighsar. That is to put others first and not be selfish. Allah says in the Qur'an, to be fair and to show ehsan.

Al-Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani occupied a high maqam in regard to Allah. He transcended time and space. A person who has a good relationship with Allah usually brings tremendous benefit to other people. One who is selfish or has a personal agenda will not have his amal last a long time. Prophet Ibrahim was another good example of one whose good deeds were solely for Allah's sake. He asked Allah for the best of praise among people and his prayers were granted. More importantly, he was sincere in his deeds and therefore his name is mentioned ever so regularly.

Habib Umar al-Jailani concluded his tausiyah by advising the audience to enliven the heart with zikir laailahailallah while standing, sitting and lying down. Proclamation of kalimat tawhid has a significant value to Allah and he prays so that we will all end our lives with laailahaillallah.

May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Post-Mawlid Story | Notes from Mawlidur Rasul & Haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani 2013 at Masjid Tuanku Mizan


Alhamdulillah, woke up this Sunday morning with one intention, to spend the day sharing my experience from yesterday's event - Mawlidur Rasul & Haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani at Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Was greeted by these lovebirds who were rather early for a Sunday date. But we know the saying: the early bird catches the worm. 

Love makes the world go round, we often hear people say. We can only imagine how much love Allah has for His Beloved to have his name inscribed next to His. We cannot fathom how devoted and attached the batin of the Beloved of Allah, Habibullah, Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam was to Allah. But we know how committed and loving the Beloved of Allah was and will be towards his ummah on the Day of Reckoning. We are grateful that we are his people, his ummah and not the ummah of any other. He, if we may speak in modern slang, is an uber-Prophet, he is most/very/extremely ideal for us. And we should seriously rejoice that he considered us ahbabun Nabi - lovers of the Prophet, people who live after his time, who did not see him, yet love and long for him. And for the ahbabun Nabi, there is nothing better than going around attending Mawlidur Rasul celebrating the absent Prophet, who is so present in our hearts and minds.

This is a post-Mawlid story.

Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin was the chosen venue. It is located in Putrajaya, a relatively new urban chic area about 40 minutes drive from KL. The event was hosted by the Al-Wariseen Trust under the tutelage of Shaykh Afeefuddin al-Jailani, the 19th direct descendant of Sultan Awliya Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani. It was only fitting that Shaykh Afeefuddin coupled the Mawlidur Rasul event with haul of Sultan Awliya. For those who are unfamiliar with the term haul, it is sometimes spelled hol, it is basically an event commemorating the passing of a prominent religious person. 

Yesterday's majlis was the 10th such event hosted by Shaykh Afeefuddin who has made Malaysia his home for about a decade now. And we can be proud that the 20th direct descendant of Al-Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani was born in this country. Shaykh Afeefudin mentioned a little bit about his son who is named Abdul Rahman al-Malaysi and that yesterday was his birthday.

Entrance to Masjid Tuanku Mizan
Knowledge seekers/Ahbabun Nabi gathering in the masjid's courtyard
A gift from the organizer 
The majlis began immediately after Asar prayers with Qur'an recital by a qari from Bangladesh - Shaykh Ahmad bin Yusuf al-Azhari and followed by qasidah by Shaykh Radwan Jumaa al-Azhari of Mesir.

Habib Muhammad Rizieq Syihab from Indonesia was the first to give a tausiyah followed by the Mufti of Australia, Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Salem.

Prof. Dr. Ibrahim said, as interpreted by Habib Ahmad bin Yunus al-Mahdar:
"Praise be to Allah and salutations be upon the Messenger of Allah and may our salawat be perpetual until the Day of Resurrection. We ask from Allah, there is no greater essence than the essence of Allah, that He makes our salawat ceaseless until the day of our meeting with the Prophet. That He makes our intention in coming here to this majlis sincere for the sake of Him. Should there be any other intentions other than for Allah's sake, forgive us and hide our shortcomings."

"I wish to stress the difference between two types of remembrance. One is remembering someone who is not known so we learn the person's biography or remembering someone who is relatively known but is forgotten. The other type of remembrance is an act of remembrance where we are overcome by its maknawi [understanding/lessons]. This mawlid gathering and haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani belongs to this type of remembrance where we are engrossed in the maknawi."

"We are remembering the haul of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani, one who was close to Allah. He was an honorable person in the eyes of Allah. May we too become honorable like him. This hol is coupled with a mawlid thus we benefit from two blessed relations. From the Prophet's blessings, we have iman and Islam. May, by his barakah, we will occupy a good position before Allah and receive His pardon." 

"By having this haul, we remember the akhlak, the teachings and advice of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani. We remember his vast contributions to the society. And celebrating mawlid makes our heart and iman alive. A dead heart will become alive again. A new refreshed spirit will sprout."

"They are close to Allah. Allah introduced them to us. Allah made them special. Remembering them would make us stay connected to Allah. The wisdom behind mawlid is celebrating the birth of a Rasul and thereby the birth of an ummat. The birth of Rasulullah gives birth to our iman. We are given the Qur'an as our guide and to which we must abide. We will be asked about our attitude towards the Qur'an."

"This majlis revives our spirit. It is a result of contributions from various parties, both ulama (scholars) and umara (leaders). It strengthens our niyyat to be istiqamah in our ibadah. And our niyyat to be istiqamah in organizing a majlis like this. May it free anyone who is shackled by lowly desires. May our iman heighten than it was before. This majlis serves to improve people's morals and lives, so that a person remains close to Allah and so that we migrate from a life that is below par to a better one."

The third guest speaker was Shaykh Sayyid Ibraheemul Khaleel al-Bukhari, founder and chairman of the Ma'din Academy, India. The shaykh spoke in Urdu. Unfortunately, we could not benefit from his poetic sounding and melodious speech  because there was no capable interpreter around. [I've just discovered his FB page and the online magazine published by the Ma'din Academy

Next to give tausiyah was Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks of Scotland. He spoke about dakwah being  the highest priority for people living in a non-Muslim country. The fundamental approach to take is to connect with non-Muslims on basic human level such as smiling to them, engaging in small talk in the right manner, not with a judging or condescending attitude and to have the consciousness of wanting to guide people to Jannah. That is from the akhlak of Rasulullah. According to Shaykh Abdul Aziz, sunnah is not how one dons a turban or how long his jubah is. The real sunnah is raufun rahim - it is about being compassionate in inviting people to the deen.

The audience then was entertained by qasidah recitals by Sofyan bin Mohd Yadi of Singapore, Shaykh Radwan Jumaa al-Azhari of Egypt and Shaykh Ahmad Tijani bin Omar of the USA.

Shaykh Dr. Rafe al-Ani, Iraq's Mufti gave the following tausiyah, interpreted by Ustaz Najmuddin al-Khirid. 

Habib Hassan bin Mohd Salim al-Attas of Singapore then led the audience to Mawlid ad-Diba'ie recital before Habib Umar bin Hamid al-Jailani of Makkah gave the final tausiyah for the evening. Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid of Darul Murtadza Malaysia acted as his interpreter. Notes from this lecture will be posted separately insha Allah.

The majlis ended with Shaykh Afeefudin al-Jailani giving closing remarks and meaningful du'a recitations.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts made by the organizer, Al-Wariseen Trust and the volunteers. We have been blessed with another significant and impressive mawlid event here in Malaysia.

Verily, the Prophet's love, makes the world go round.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mine and yours | #Stand4Syria


This is what my day looks like...
Layers of a cluttered mind

And this is what I wish for you:

Thanks to Miss B,
a reader from Cape Town 
who came by to say hi 
at the right moment 
when I needed a friend.  
Another proof that Allah knows 
and sends an angel just at the right time.

Let's be angels for Syrians.
Send your prayers, cash or whatever in hand.
If you are on Twitter
help make #Stand4Syria trend.

Syrian crisis going into its 2nd year
don't turn a deaf ear!

Excuse the amateurish artwork. 
First attempt to use art as a therapy 
by one who consistently scored 40/100 for art subject throughout high school. 
The above pieces were created using Smartboard on iPad Mini. 
Like you care. heh..heh.. 
Just an attempt to feel like a pro, like they say "Painted on Acrylic." 
Hah...hah the mind is cluttered, told ya. 
But later today I'll go to Masjid Tuanku Mizan as a servant-reporter. 
Will try to bring back something beneficial to share insha Allah.

- E. Ismail 
Saturday 16 March 2013 @ 9.51 am

Friday, March 15, 2013

Special date


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

It's Friday. Jum'ah Mubarrak

I sincerely hope your day is better than mine. Tomorrow is the day many of us living in KL and the neighboring towns and cities have been waiting for.

Praying for His tawfiq so that people who intend to attend, could make it Insha Allah.

Gosh... I have got just 2 minutes left before Friday is gone. This is the least I could do on this blessed day - remind people about this big event that's taking place tomorrow.

Hope to take back some gems from the majlis, bi-iznillah.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Something people care about


"The Make-Up Story" is about the obstacles a 14 year old faced in pursuing his interests and finding his niche. It's about John Crandall who tried and failed to get into a basketball team. It's about a father defending his eldest son and making sure the boy doesn't grow up unnoticed while his younger brother gets the limelight. It may sound petty to you, but a true story written from the heart of a loving father can make one shed a tear. 

John's father, Doug Crandall tried to rationalize - "High school basketball is not combat. High school basketball is not the ER." When John told him: "I want to be good at something people care about," Doug could already see the boy being good at stuff that people care about:  "courage, integrity, empathy..."

Malaysians have been mourning since 1st March 2013. For the first time in decades we have lost several members of our armed forces and police men in a major confrontation with some 200 terrorists in Sabah (North East of Borneo/neighboring the Philippines). 

As at 13th March 2013, ten brave men had fallen while in combat defending this blessed country.

Zulkifli Mamat, 29
Sabaruddin Daud, 46
Ibrahim Lebar, 52
Michael Padel, 36
Abdul Azis Sarikon, 48
Mohd Azrul Tukiran, 27
Baharin Hamit, 49
Salam Tugiran, 42
Ahmad Hurairah Ismail, 24
Ahmad Farhan Ruslan, 21

These men, we can imagine, when they were a boy, must have planted in their hearts the noble intention of wanting to be good at something people care about. Surely, we salute them for their courage and bravery. And certainly, we empathize with their loved ones. May Allah give strength and comfort to their families and friends. 

And we sincerely pray, by Allah's mercy, no more names will be added to this list. And we pray for the safety of their comrades who are still on battleground. May Allah fortify them with His aid and protection. May this bloody crisis comes to an end soon. May this country be free of overt and covert enemies. Ameen.

Al Fatihah

by NST Malaysia

Source: Bernama and Dougcrandall.wordpress

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recorder | Quoter | Like-er


In deafening silence we could hear some answers to deep-seated questions about life or anything which we have been trying to hide, ignore or sweep under the carpet. When we stay quiet for a little longer than we normally would, we could arrive at some precious conclusions/discoveries/truths.

And that is an attribute of a thinker which is a more positive label for an introvert - referring to "people who are in their heads too much". Got this from a cool article which introverts have been waiting all their life: Eight Things That Aren't True About Introverts

I have also realized that by right this blogger cannot claim to be a writer. This space has plenty of recording of what other good and learned people have said - that's a recorder. It has tonnes of quotations from other smart and sharp people - that's a quoter. 

Hopefully, some extrovert smart cookies won't initiate a debate with me on anything especially on religion. Because it's not worth it. On top of being a mere recorder and a quoter, I am not clever enough to tweet, let alone engage in a debate. I can't even write something brilliant and snappy under 140 characters. Go in there and just favorite other people's tweets - that's a like-er. Either that or do a retweet (RT) which is a no brainer.

To prove what has been said, I wish to copy and tweak a bit, a tweet by Steven Snyder and say this - "Everyone is at their own unique stage in the servanthood continuum and in their mastery of the art of self-purification." 

We are indeed at our own unique stage of whatever vocation we are in or care about, so have mercy and respect variety.

Steven Snyder's original tweet:
"Everyone is at their own unique stage in the leadership continuum and in their mastery of the art of struggle."
Snyder has just published his first book: Leadership and the Art of Struggle

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Opportunities | "Eye-specialist"


First and foremost, Al-Fatihah for the one and only pearl on the southern isle - Habib Noh al-Habshi. It's his 151st hol celebration today. Unfortunately, no I am not reporting anything from Singapore on that event. If I were there, I would. Maybe next year's hol insha Allah.

I also missed an opportunity to join the Al-Jenderami's wargamas (senior citizen) bus trip to the Mawlid at Ba'alawi Singapore last Thursday. No, am not yet a senior citizen, but I do mingle with quite a few of them Alhamdulillah. It would have been a great experience to travel with those lovely ladies. Maybe next time insha Allah

Another opportunity which keeps knocking [Missy: take it as a sign from the Divine] - an opportunity which I would not want to miss IF possible bi-iznillah, is to buy a piece of land at Al-Jenderami and build a small lovely bungalow, live there at some point in time or turn it into a homestay accommodation for blog readers coming from abroad. When I die, let it become a free guest house for the visiting shuyukh, insha Allah. Whenever there is a big event there like Mawlid Al-Kubra, Ijtima' Ulama or Hol Saidatina Khatijah, I could set up a stall and sell my specialties like lasagna or chicken pita sandwich. Yo brother, look out for my stall!

Kebab stall at Al-Jenderami
Mawlid Al-Kubra 2013
Kebab was very tasty. World class I say!

That would be a great retirement plan don't you think? I am purposely putting it on record here to challenge myself and so that Allah will count it as a good intention and give me 1 point. When the niyyat gets materialized He will give 10 points won't He? Ya Huu! Our Lord is ever so generous!

Hope your Saturday has been good. I am home alone and I've been cleaning the house like mad. Sorry this entry makes me seem like I am an eye-specialist (read I-specialist) I this, I that, which is not a good thing really. Sorry.

Wish you a pleasant weekend. If you are in KL, tomorrow, Sunday do pop in at Masjid Al-Bukhary for a majlis ta'alim. Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid will be giving tausiyah after Maghrib insha Allah.

We just can't get enough of him.
Rabbi zidni 'ilma war zuqni fahma
: )

Friday, March 8, 2013

Alone | That lone savior


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Praise be to Allah who creates us and our actions, who carries us from one circumstance to another, who makes us see and appreciate the light each day by way of knowing how darker it has been yesterday.

Tonight, the much respected Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid of Darul Murtadza said something which many of us might have heard before, but sometimes, in some distinctive moment we hear something that impresses our consciousness more than ever.

Of the many gems he shared, one of the thing he elucidated was about the day when we all truly become a loner, a stranger to each other. No matter how attached we are with our mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son... we would on that day flee from one another. However, there will be one person who would be thinking of us, who would be waiting to save us. He would be looking out for us at the sirat, at the mizan and at the al-kauthar well. There will be two wells, said Habib Ali, one before and one after the sirat. He would be, I imagine with the kind of affection and concern he has for us his ummah, I imagine he would be going back and forth at those places frantically, trying to save all of us at one place or the other. He will be that lone savior - Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam.

So whenever we feel like we are becoming too attached to someone or whenever that someone breaks our heart, hurt us with their words or actions or whenever you feel like you've been abandoned, think: we should not be too surprised or too disappointed because there will come a time when that someone will be a stranger to us anyway. On one day, on that day, they won't be showing that much of a concern or love towards us anyway. But that lone savior, the one who cares about us more than we can imagine, that one Prophet named with the best of names, he salallah alaihi wasalam will be there for us. Have certainty, he will be there for us! 

So would I not love him more? Would you not? Would you still love someone else more than you'd love him - that honorable creation - Rahmatan lil 'alamin? 

Sometimes we get carried away in our love and attachment with our object of love/people we think we love. Maybe we should just keep it minimal and cut all the nonsense when it's becoming out of proportion. Think of that one savior on that one day, when we will be all alone, when everyone else couldn't be bothered about us, save he.

Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mellow moment | Sons of the moment


Inwardly, been feeling a little mellow the past few days since attending a funeral of a good friend's loved one. Although, outwardly, like most people, I hide my internal state most of the time, except maybe when writing here.

And yes, when we visit a mayyit we tend to reflect more on life and our age. Speaking of which, I honestly cannot picture myself working until the age of 60 - the new extended retirement age. Will we still be professionally relevant? Will we be healthy and strong enough to work? The new grads might just push us aside. Oh, living until the age of 60? 50? 43? Allah knows best.

Maybe we should not even be thinking about tomorrow. We learned about living in the present moment and still strive to become 'sons of the moment' al-sufi ibn al-waqt. My mellowness disappeared in an instant when I saw a photo of these two sons of the moment or probably they are 'the owner of the moment' - sahib al-waqt. Subhanallah!

Shaykh Muhammad Abul Huda al-Yaqoubi & Habib Kadhim Ja'far Muhammad al-Saqqaf

I quote a para written by William Chittick who quoted Shaykh Muhyiddin ibn al-Arabi's definition on waqt:
"That through which and upon which you are in the time of the state (hal) meaning the situation at the moment, the actual situation of the thing at the time in question, which is this instant. In other words, the 'moment' is what comes to you from God and defines your situation at any given time. We could paraphrase this by saying that "the moment" is that which is present with you and which you are present at the instant that divides the past from the future."

I think I know now, we tend to feel mellow when we think too much about the future but the future is not ours. By being in the present moment we do not encroach into the future territory which belongs to God really. And when we think too much, we will worry too much too. Here's an advice by Mawlana Rumi, I discovered a moment ago:

"Oh soul, you worry too much. You have seen your own strength. You have seen your own beauty. You have seen your golden wings. Of anything less, why do you worry? You are in truth, the soul of the soul, of the soul."

Allahu a'lam.

Pic credit: faqiralamm
Rumi quote: Sout Ilaahi