Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Half and half | Renewed vision


Hi people. They say we should try to make four good habits each year and if we do that every year we'll achieve quite a lot over the years. What new habits are you trying to pick up? I am trying to say hi to people instead of hello. Hi sounds like the Arabic hayy meaning alive. Hello sounds negative as in hell and low. Oh, I wanna wish you something a whole lot better than that and wholeheartedly, not half-hearted. If you love someone, always love wholeheartedly. Never give only half of you. 

But sometimes in life, we'll have to make do with only half. 

"Half and half" - for those who are familiar, those who have been to the States, you will know that "half and half" refers to a popular dairy product that accompanies coffee. It is made of 1 part cream and 1 part milk. In other countries "half and half" may be equal parts of any two substances, usually alcoholic.

Today is my third day after having undergone LASIK (laser eye surgery) and I am still reflecting on this important milestone. To recap, for blended vision (people who can't see far and near clearly) one of the eyes will be corrected for shortsighted, that is to make you see far. The other eye will be corrected so that you can see near i.e. read.

Both eyes need to make some compromises and agree to give and take. If both eyes are stubborn and refuse to change/adjust/be corrected then none will benefit. So my right eye has to play its new role of seeing far only while the left eye has a compromised role of seeing near only. But together they function in harmony to see both far and near. Though obvious, my doctor reminded me not to ever see with one eye. It will take some time to get used to this new way of looking at things but before long I will see things with a renewed vision InshaAllah.
I think the same applies to relationships or life in general. There must be a compromised position. Everyone must know their strengths and weaknesses; agree to play a role in their area of strength and work in tandem, harmoniously. It's a teamwork and we are such a big team, aren't we? 

It may sound philosophical. Sound like a theorized cliche even. But I guess when you are impacted physically, you would understand better. You will just have to work it out or let things work out as it should be. That is if you can't do it yourself, you must be willing to let someone do it for you.

I love this tweet by my girlfriend:
"Life is already complicated without arguing if the glass is half full or half empty. Just drink it. Celebrate life. Get refills if you can."


Monday, August 26, 2013

My beautiful LASIK (eye surgery) carried out by Prof. Dr. Muhaya Mohamad


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. About four hours ago I had the privilege of undergoing a laser eye surgery called LASIK (which stands for Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis) or in layman's term, it basically means having the shape of your cornea reshaped/corrected using a laser so you won't have to wear specs and/or contact lenses.

I have only two intentions for writing this: to express gratitude and wonderment for Allah's blessings and to encourage people to correct their vision by way of LASIK.

A little bit of history
I was 11 when I got attracted to spectacles. I thought I looked intelligent having a pair of glasses on my face so I would borrow my classmate's glasses. Her name is Miss Hong Yi Wei.

At that time only two pupils in our class were wearing glasses. And I reckoned only about ten students in the entire school were shortsighted/nearsighted. As you might have guessed this habit of mine eventually affected my vision. I remembered the following year my late father and I (smiling) went to an optician somewhere on Rope Walk in Penang. And yes, I looked clever with my glasses, so said some people :) heh heh.

Since that first pair of glasses, I have had probably four or five pairs of spectacles before I began wearing a contact lens. As many of you may be aware, glasses can be quite expensive. It can go from RM500 to RM3,000. It's very tempting to spend "a little bit more" on glasses as I did for my latest two pairs. They are both good Japanese brands i.e. Masunaga and 9999 (pronounce "four nines"). Unfortunately just two weeks after getting them, I realized I had difficulties reading. I had become longsighted/farsighted all of a sudden. That's normal for someone my age. But don't you think it's weird? Theoretically, if people are both shortsighted and longsighted then they should be able to see the whole big picture both at macro and micro levels. That's a good thing and is expected when you reach a certain age/maturity.

But nay. That means I have to take off my glasses to read until I get another pair of reading glasses or make a new pair that is dual-focused. Or get a special contact lens made. I cannot simply swing by the optician and grab the disposable contacts. Wearing sunglasses on a hot day is not an option anymore. What's worse I could not perform my work at an optimal level. 

LASIK is the way to go
And then signs were everywhere that LASIK was the way to go. I interviewed a colleague who had done it and she said she regretted procrastinating it because of some unfounded fears. She's absolutely right, there's nothing to fear. It's a simple, safe and quick procedure that lasted between 10 to 15 minutes only. It can be a very beautiful experience if carried out by someone as special as Prof. Dr. Muhaya who is a well known and much-adored eye specialist, author and motivator in Malaysia.

So last Friday from 10 am to 3 pm I was at the Prince Court Medical Center for a thorough check-up before I was given the OK to proceed with surgery. One will have to go through quite a few types of equipment to test for corneal thickness, air pressure, pupil dilation, etc. 

At the end of the tests, you'll meet Prof. Muhaya who will give you the verdict - go or no go. It was very brief but meeting this special woman got me very excited. So the next day, I headed for the bookstore to get her a book and get one of her books - her biography. My mother spent the entire weekend reading it as it's simply inspiring!

"Premium Bladeless LASIK
Optimizing Your Sight"
That sporty looking shades
is a cool post-surgery gift from
the Prince Court Eye & LASIK Centre
At the outset of the surgery, her staff who were all very calm and polite, made me feel relaxed.

The surgery room looked sophisticated and the atmosphere was jovial with nashid music playing in the background.

One of the nurses reminded me not to ever mention two words which Prof would disapprove i.e. "fear" and "worry". But trust me, you won't have time to feel any negative energies because when she appears, she exudes plenty of peaceful and loving aura.

Even before I could greet her, she quickly said: "you must be excited and eager". I realized that those words and "shukur to Allah" are her most oft-repeated phrases when communicating with her patients.

She began the surgery by reciting Al-Fatihah and making niyyat that with my right eye I will see the Kaabah (a cure for shortsighted) and the left eye is for reading the Quran until the end of my life (a cure for longsighted). That's what's meant by blended vision. One eye is corrected to see far and the other eye is to see near. So both eyes together will rectify my condition of being shortsighted and longsighted. 

The procedure went on very swiftly and pain-free. It was very professional yet quite casual as you could hear her chat with her staff and she would make small talk with you. She asked me what's the secret to my youthful look, to which I have no answer. She said people often ask her the same question and she would say "don't backbite."

Before I knew it, the procedure was over and she immediately asked me to look at my mother who had been watching the entire episode through a glass door. And then she asked me to look at the clock and checked my eyesight. MashaAllah I could tell the time and passed the reading test perfectly. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah!

At the end of the beautiful session, we took a photo together and she autographed her book.

May Allah continue to manifest His healing attribute through the gentle hands of Prof. Dr. Muhaya Mohamad.


p/s For blended vision the surgery costs RM7990 + RM10 for registration. But in the long run, it's worth a Quintillion times. What's priceless is the meaningful du'a Prof. Muhaya makes for you while she performs the operations. She is simply a heaven-sent.

Good to read:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Insha Allah | Under His watchful eyes


Some things are absolutely worth re-reading, re-visiting or listening repeatedly, like this song by Maher Zain.

Let it be here especially for my own consumption. It came as a timely reminder from one of our respectable readers. It will be my theme song as I prepare myself for a minor surgery Insha Allah. Minor but major in many aspects.

May Allah erase the sins the eyes have committed knowingly or otherwise. May we only see all that is permissible. May we see His beauties in attributes and actions. May He open the eyes of our hearts so we see His most noble Countenance. May we taste the sweetness of recognizing and witnessing His Face. May the eyes cry out of contemplation on Him. May it be moistened with tears of remorse at times of transgression. May it be watery with tears of happiness for His blessings. May it be in these states of zikir continually Insha Allah.

Let these be our niyyat and may Allah count our niyyat as acceptable for we know how easily marred our actions can turn out to be.
In Allah we place our trust. Insha Allah.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

We can learn to love again


"Right from the start
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim..."

That I borrow from Pink & Nate Ruess' song - 'Just give me a reason.' That is exactly what Yasmin Mogahed says we should not do! Heh..heh.. That is let anyone steal our heart.

Put three things together, this weekend: Yasmin's book 'Reclaim Your Heart'; Hamza Yusuf's 'Purification of the Heart' and that song - a veil is lifted. And yes, we can learn to love again and love the right way, as expounded by Yasmin.

Although it is one fundamental point we have been hearing repeatedly from shuyukh from east to west, still we fail and fall sometimes by letting dunya and our false attachments to it occupy the heart, instead of the rightful owner of the heart - the One Lord.

But it's OK. Remember, if you have loved the wrong way, you can learn to love again :)
And if we only need just one reason, it is for Him, by Him and because of Him.

"This means you will love what He loves and not what He does not love. And when you do love, you will give to the creation - not for what you can get in return from them. You will love and you will give, but you will be sufficed from Him. And the one who is sufficed by God, is the richest and most generous of all lovers. Your love will be by Him, for Him and because of Him. That is the liberation of the self from servitude to any created thing. And that is freedom. That is happiness. That is love."
- Yasmin Mogahed

Have a pleasant weekend people.

Ahh... the song:

"Just give me a reason
Just a little bit's enough
Just a second, we are not broken, just bent
And we can learn to love again"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sumber cinta dan perdamaian


Sekali-sekala sanubari nan paling dalam ingin juga bersuara dengan bahasa jiwanya. 

Pada hari penghulu segala hari ini, selayaknya diri bersyukur dengan nikmat daripadaNya yang tiada putus-putus Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Allah beri nikmat "rumahku bagai shurgaku" dengan kesederhanaan yang ada. Allah beri bayu dingin malam nan damai.

Alunan tiga suara mendayu-dayu, berdendang 'Beribu Sesalan' -  "Sia-sia ku mencintai mu, setia padamu, percaya kamu, sebak dadaku, retak hatiku, luka jiwaku di hiris pilu..."
Itu kata-kata hati yang dikhianati. 

Tidak lama dulu kita mendengar pesanan seorang mu'alem yang disegani - Habib Umar bin Hafiz. Katanya: "Jadilah sumber perdamaian dan keselamatan terhadap orang di sekeliling kita. Biar orang merasa selamat daripada lidah kita, tangan kita dan mata kita. Dan jangan khianati orang dengan mata kita, pendengaran kita ataupun lidah kita."

Hari ini saya berkesempatan bertemu seorang tokoh wanita yang ramai di antara kita kagumi dan hormati - Prof. Dr. Muhaya Mohamad. Walaupun sekejap, jelas sekali beliau adalah sumber cinta dan perdamaian. Aura dan tutur katanya sarat kasih-sayang nan tulus. Terngiang-ngiang di telinga, biarpun pendek dan lazim perkataan yang keluar dari bibir manisnya: "Syukur pada Allah." 

Ya, shukur kepada Allah atas segala-galanya - yang baik mahupun yang kurang elok pada firasat kita.

Pepatah mengatakan: "Jangan biarkan pujian mencemari minda. Jangan biarkan cacian mencemari hati." Pun begitu saya gembira mendengar pujian ikhlas Prof. Muhaya. Kata orang, tidak mengapa jika manusia di jalanan mencaci kita kerana itu tiada nilainya. Kata-kata yang baik daripada manusia berbudi, itulah yang kita sanjung tinggi dan hargai.

Segala yang baik datang daripada Allah. Kita bershukur dengan yang sedikit, mudah-mudahan bertambah lagi. Saya terfikir, arwah bapa saya hanyalah orang biasa, bukan orang ternama, tetapi shukur kerana yang diwarisi ialah sifat bersangka baik biarpun terhadap orang yang berniat mengkhianati.

Semoga Allah terus merahmati manusia yang menjadi sumber cinta dan perdamaian kepada orang lain. Muhaya memang sebuah nama yang istimewa. Dengan tajalli sifat Al-Muhyi maka hiduplah mata-mata zahir yang kelam dan celiklah mata hati yang hitam.

Allahu a'lam.


Pulau Pandan jauh ke tengah
Gunung Daik bercabang tiga
Walau dusta membawa mehnah
Budi yang baik dikenang juga

[mehnah = berasal daripada perkataan Arab yang bermaksud ujian berat/bala]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wan Yahya bin Wan Mohd Taib (1870 - 1935) - His hajj story


I am yet to properly read the "One Thousand Roads to Mecca" - edited and introduced by Michael Wolfe. I would love to read Shafiq Morton's "Notebook from Makkah and Madinah". I am yet to watch the documentary of Martin Ling's pilgrimage. I dream of writing about my own hajj experience someday InshaAllah but no way would it be as interesting as this hajj stories of Haji Wan Yahya bin Wan Mohd Taib (1870 - 1935).

I learned about his fascinating hajj experience from a write-up given out during the recent "Penang and the Hajj" conference. It's written by Mohd Isa Othman of USM and Mohd Kasri Saidon of UUM. For the benefit of our foreign readers/visitors, USM and UUM are two top universities in the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia.

Haji Wan Yahya was working with the Kedah state government when he performed the hajj in 1914. Kedah is a state in the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia, neighboring Penang to its southwest. Haji Wan Yahya was not just an ordinary staff, he was considered among the state's elite officers because of his credentials having served as a Police Inspector, a District Officer, Chief Magistrate, and the Judge of Kedah's Court of Appeal, among others. He is remembered for being the first to initiate the construction of a 7km waterways for padi irrigation, known to this day as "Sungai Korok Wan Yahya", and a road connecting Jitra and Kodiang in Kedah circa 1902. His father was remembered as a Kedah hero who fought and died defending the state against Siam [now Thailand] in 1838.

Haji Wan Yahya wrote about his hajj stories in the Malay language but opted for an Arabic title - Tarikh al-Siyahah Ila Makatul Mukaramah (Notes on Travels to Makkah). As a government officer, Haji Wan Yahya had to apply for hajj leave. The Crown Prince who was heading the State Council granted him a leave of 8 months and also advanced his salaries for six months, on top of a loan of 500 riyal. Haji Wan Yahya also enjoyed other state's privileges. He boarded Darulaman (a Kedah state's sea vessel) from Alor Setar to Penang where he was to officially depart for hajj. In Penang, he, his wife and their adopted child stayed for 12 days at the Kedah State's House in Kelawei, while waiting for Nova - the ship that would take them to Port Said in Egypt before continuing on their journey to Cairo via train and back to Port Said on a Russian vessel and afterward, a train ride to Syria, Jerusalem and lastly Madinah. A stark contrast to their first-class cabin on Nova, the last leg of their journey from Madinah to Makkah was on a camel for 11 nights. An experience which was way too uncomfortable compared to the elephant-rides he was accustomed to in Kedah.

Nova according to Haji Wan Taib’s narration was a 6000 ton vessel belonging to the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company. His first class return ticket, purchased through the P & O Company cost him around $340 [not sure if it was riyal or pound]. The ship left Penang Port at 7 a.m. on 19 November 1914. After three days, they stopped by Colombo before making another stopover in Aden. Unlike the many stories about hajj voyage heard from my mother, Haji Wan's experience was unique in that it sounded more like a cruise ship where passengers were expected to wear evening dress for dinner. Adults and children would eat separately. Passengers would be fined 500 pounds if they had brought matches with them. By comparison, most other pilgrims on board other ships had to bring their own stove, gasoline, pots and pans as they had to cook their own meals.

One lady who attended the Penang and the Hajj conference, related her experience being a 9 year old pilgrim. She, her siblings and parents, all ten of them chartered an entire train coach from Perak to Penang before traveling on one of the popular hajj ships - Serombong Biru (the Blue Funnel). They brought 10 gunny sacks of rice, and food supplies such as anchovies, pickled chilly, soy sauce and dried fish. Their hajj arrangements were handled by a Shaykh Haji named Shaykh Arshad who lived in Kelawei, Penang. Upon arrival in Mekah another Shaykh Haji by the name of Shaykh Abdul Manan took care of them. As a 9 year old girl, she remembered seeing thousands of people at the Penang Port. She remembered vividly when the Blue Funnel made a stop in Aden, the locals would swim around their ship begging for money and passengers would throw coins into the sea for the beggars to catch. And of course she remembered suffering from sea sick. I think that is why my great grandmother would prepare loads of tamarinds as snacks for the would-be hujjaj in our village.
To be continued Insha Allah.      

Monday, August 19, 2013

Takeaways from Penang


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Thought I share some takeaways from my trip to Penang. I will repeat for the umpteenth time, I am very proud of my hometown Penang which is on the UNESCO World's Heritage List of Cities.

But it's not about food takeaways or to-go although it is worth mentioning the most popular food from Penang is none other than nasi kandar (white rice loaded with mixed curries chicken & beef & fish. Yes, and, not or). I was at the 'Penang and the Hajj Conference' and one of the presenters talked about the role of traders and merchants including nasi kandar sellers, in charting the early Penang economies, which were mostly driven by the Tamil Muslim communities. The second most famous dish recorded in the annals related to Penang as a key hajj hub/port for pilgrims in this region during the 19th century until 1974, was mee mamak. LOL! It is fried noodles but not just any fried noodles, it refers to those prepared by mamak or Tamil Muslims. In those days they were known as the Chulias. The third most popular dish attributed to the mamak was popiah (spring roll). This surprised me a bit although I shouldn't be. I remembered one of my schoolmate's father was a popular popiah vendor in the 70s. They are Chulias or keling but unfortunately the latter term has become somewhat derogatory lately. Hoping to share more about this conference next time InshaAllah.  

Anyway, one important takeaway or lesson I got from Penang was a result of visiting two maqam (mausoleum) of prominent Sufis (tariqa guru). The great thing about genuine Sufi gurus is that they often impart simple but meaningful lesson, even after their demise. 

So I learned about being forgiving and hereby forgive all who have wronged me whether directly or indirectly. There have been all kinds of people who got in touch through this space and some have done the unthinkable and "unforgivable" just to get closer. People's behaviors are often unfathomable.

And yes, magnanimous has always been a big word to me. But it's true, we should be too magnanimous to resent all the things people have said and done to us. It's always easier said than done. But personally, it felt easier after spending some time at the mausoleums to reflect and regroup.

Whatever it is, Allah is Malikul Mulk. He is the orchestrating Lord of Power. We are all going back to Him so let Him be the Judge. Here is a photo taken at the entrance of Shaykh Omar Basheer's maqam today and it says just that! 

Allahu a'lam.

Dr. N - I did pray for you at the maqam as requested and also for everyone who has been good to me in one way or another.
Sis N and Sidi A of Cape Town - your du'a and words of encouragement are much appreciated.
Dr. P - You are simply angelical!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Penang Yayyy!


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
It's Friday. Jum'ah mubarrak people. [All of you except those whose tongue is moist with lies!]

Alhamdulillah indeed that Allah makes our tongue moist with zikrullah. Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah) is more than just holding a tasbih/misbahah and doing our regular wirid with the hand. Zikrullah also means remembering Allah and not forgetting that He is watching and listening always. 

Some people think Allah is deaf, so they fool us with lies after lies and throw a hundred bricks in our face like it's nothing. But it matters not, because we are alright by the will of Allah. That is a statement of faith. Our conscience is clear. Indeed to have a tongue that does not lie is a better gift from Allah than a holiday in some exotic island, chilling at villas with private pool costing USD 2000++ per night. A straight tongue is worth a lot more than that. Alhamdulillah! 

Anyway people, I am very happy to be writing from my hometown Penang : )

I am so looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday, for a conference called 'Penang and the Hajj'. I have heard from my mother many a time about the nostalgic experience of sending family and friends for hajj on a cruise ship. This was decades ago. Penang, due to its above par port facilities and well-managed hajj services, was a regional hub for would-be hajj. According to my mother, one of our orang kampung [villagers] named Pak Din died en route Makkah. He was "buried" in the Red sea, sadly.

The ship would be home for the hujjaj for at least a month. Except for those who could afford a cabin, the rest would just camp quite freely and simply marked their imaginary open air room using their luggage - a big bulk of which comprised of food supplies to and fro. My late great grandma used to prepare kilos of tamarinds as snacks for friends and relatives. This was her annual hobby as the hajj season approached.  

Well wishers who sent off the would-be hujjaj at the Penang Port would almost always cry the moment the ship began to unberth at the sound of azan. I imagine these moments must have instilled a deep spiritual longing for the well wishers - to want to perform hajj too, no matter how far-fetched an idea it might have seemed for many who could not afford it. 
I hope to share more great stuff from the conference, tomorrow or Sunday, InshaAllah.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Adjust the sail and sail on


Boy, has it been windy. Stormy, rather. But, that's life. Anyhow, let's "carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment." says - Dr. Martin Luther King.

"Faith is moving forward even when things don't make sense, trusting in hindsight everything will soon become clear." - Unknown  

Known or unknown, some wise words worth learning and adopting:

1. "Wise leaders listen to others. They even change direction based on new information." - Steve Gutzler

I think this applies to all and not just leaders. That we should be willing to listen to others and be flexible enough to adjust the sail and sail on, that is alter our positions and correct our bearing based on new information, good advice and opinions. But we can only do this if our heart is not dead. Remember we have been cautioned about the days when all hearts would be dead save those who enliven the eves of Eid.

2. "Nothing is ever wrong. We learn from every step we take. Whatever you did today was the way it was meant to be. Be proud of you." - Women of History

Hmm...we walk and we fall and we get up and learn "Oh I should not walk that way next time."

3. "Be true in friendships and with family. It is a sign of true faith and good character." - Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Oh yes! You know this space has been around for about four years now and I have come to know dozens of people who wrote in with some degree of lies, giving misleading information about themselves, their status, tricked this and that - God knows why. We all appreciate people who are truthful, don't we? Maybe I belong with those who are too trusting but I think if people lie, that's their problem. When a person lies, we can imagine a fowl smell comes out of their mouth. Whereas if one speaks true and good words, it will bear fruits to the heavens. May Allah guide us all and forgive our mistakes. 

Being true in friendships and with family means showing love and kindness for these two are universal qualities regardless of one's religion. Maybe it is a religion by itself - religion of love and kindness. Dalai Lama says: "My earnest request is that you practice love and kindness whether you believe in a religion or not."

4. "Try if you want to feel truly blessed, count 5 things in your life that money can't buy. Say Alhamdulillah"

Here's my list of five:
- my mother's love
- true friends
- good health
- unclouded mind
- beliefs and dreams of a better day tomorrow, God willing.

What's yours?

Still in the spirit of Eid:


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eid Mubarrak 1434 Hijri | Salam Aidil Fitri 2013


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

During the Eid khutbah this morning, the khatib said, we should be having mixed feelings - happy to have attained success for having completed our obligations in Ramadhan but at the same time, sad to part with the boundless gifts of Ramadhan. That's the feeling the sahabah had. Thus, we should feel the same way too. He also said: "Eid according to a hadith of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam is not just a day to wear new clothes, get a new car, have a set of new furniture and curtain, and everything new. Eid, according to the hadith, is to have increased in taqwa."

And still, we would all be feeling differently this day anyway, you and I, he and she. I can't help but think of the mother who lost her two little boys when her house was ablaze a few days ago. But at least she is well to do. Some of us like this one lady I saw on the street of KL last week, she looked lost. She had one baby on her back and three toddlers tailing her, all looking so unkempt. And there I was watching, feeling guilty, humbled and grateful all at the same time. But in any case, we are all in His loving mercy and care - that woman who lost her boys in fire; that wandering woman with four kids; you; me - we all have our own stories - episodes as directed by Allah. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal.

Anyway, Eid remains a day we all observe with gratitude, humility and a little cheer. This morning I had the pleasure of entertaining an Iranian couple I met at the mosque. They have been doing their post doctorate studies in Malaysia for 4 years and never once invited to a Malaysian home for Eid. I remembered when my mother and I were in the UK, we too had hoped some British Muslims would invite us to their home for Eid.

No matter where you are, on this Eid day, I wish you have joyous times with your loved ones. And a special warm greeting goes out to you friendly and loyal followers of this blog. I am here for you and I am not letting some unfriendly visitors spoil our space. I ask for your continued du'a and support. May Allah keep us in His loving mercy and protection always. May Allah accept our good deeds and forgive our shortcomings.

Eid Mubarrak!
In the Malay language, we say Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, Maaf zahir & batin.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lively heart | Profitable life


It's the 29th of Ramadhan. Alhamdulillah. We have just performed the last teraweh in KL and thus technically wrapped up this auspicious month. Those of you living in other continents might still have the last few hours of Ramadhan to cherish.

The imam at my local mosque reminded the jemaah about the importance of being watchful of the moments on the eve of Eid. That is if you do not want your heart dead - to state it quite frankly. How do you know if your heart is dead, asked the imam. That is when you become unaware of what is good and you cannot heed advice anymore. One of the rare opportunities for preventive measures will come tonight at Maghrib when we Muslims in Malaysia and several other countries celebrate the 1st of Shawal.  

So let's not forget to recite takbir and tahmid as much as possible and make our heart lively therewith. I also echo the du'a made by the imam - may Allah make our life profitable in this world and the hereafter. Profitable is a direct translation of beruntung in Malay as he said it. You might say fortunate but fortunate means lucky whereas profitable indicates evident gains from a transaction. But why not profitable if we traded life with Him. That we agree to let Him be as we surrender to His workings (af'al). And we say the phrase of letting go and letting God - la hawla wala quwwata illah billahil 'aliyil Azeem.

So people, let's observe as much as possible the eve of Shawal. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ramadhan - we draw thou curtain reluctantly


The mood during teraweh at my local mosque tonight was distinctly somber. The imam made a heartfelt du'a so that Allah grant us continued strength to see it through - Ramadhan - as we begin to draw its curtain reluctantly.

It's not time to bid farewell yet. But surely it is timely to reflect if we have fared well this month. As I am typing this my mother is reading the Qur'an. She fared better than I, I honestly think, as she has been on a Quranic marathon for the past few months making one khatam after another as gifts for our nearest and dearest. May Allah bless her for having beautiful kalamullah comes out her mouth. I think if we can't afford to have beautiful words come out our mouth then at least refrain from making mischief with our words.

Some of us may feel like they are lacking and slacking in their ibadah. Pray may Allah reward in other ways - perhaps for being patient when faced with malicious allegations. Perhaps for gladly parting with your cash for a good cause. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Alhamdulillah we have a Creator who is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim. He who gathers all the great blessings in this sacred month in which we all hope to obtain His mercy, forgiveness and salvation.    

Once again I ask for your du'a - you friendly readers whom I respect. And I pray the same, that Allah protects us from harm and people with evil intentions. That Allah accepts whatever little ibadah we have performed this Ramadhan.

p/s Yesterday I met staffs of a masjid who were upset because some Muslims have been complaining about the sound of azan and Quran recital, that it's too loud and has been affecting them "badly". And these "Muslims" keep going back to the masjid to lodge their complaints. Can you believe that? I empathize with the masjid people. We just can't avoid having "Muslims" bothering another Muslim for the most nonsensical reason, can we?