Thursday, October 31, 2013

Usah juah dengan Tuhan


Teringat pesan orang-orang tua, juga pesan bapa, usah juah dengan Tuhan. Shukur Allah beri kita latar belakang sederhana kerana dengannya kita lebih kenal erti kehidupan. Kita celik mata, tidak kenal kesenangan apatah lagi kemewahan. Kita membesar dalam kesederhanaan, sekali-sekala dihimpit kepayahan. Dalam keadaan beginilah kita jadi lebih kenal akan Tuhan.

Kita tidak berdiri dengan kepandaian dan kebolehan sendiri. Kita meminta dan merayu kurnia daripada yang Maha Empunya kerana kita sedar sedari awal yang kita tidak punya apa-apa kelebihan. Bahasa kita merendah kerana kita tidak punya simpanan berjuta mahupun harta. Shukur kita tidak menongkat pada dahan bayangan. Malahan, kita tidak malu bertongkat paruh bila sayap patah di tengah jalan.

Kita terbiasa dengan onak kehidupan. Justeru tidak mudah lupa daratan. Jauh sekali mendabik dada, berkata angkuh, "Ini aku punya!" "Aku bukan keturunan biasa-biasa."

Semuanya hanyalah pinjaman bahkan ujian daripada Yang Maha Esa.

Bershukurlah jika kita termasuk kalangan yang lembut hatinya, yang mudah insaf kala ditimpa musibah. Dan bukannya menghitung-hitung rancangan tiada berpenghujung seolah hidup bertongkat langit. Semoga kita insaf dalam mengimbau khilaf. Apakah ada khianat dalam perilaku kita? Apakah ada niat terpesong di hati kita? Apakah perbuatan berselindung sebalik agenda? Apakah lidah petah menabur dusta? Apakah ada hati seseorang yang kita permainkan? Apakah ada harapan seseorang yang kita hancurkan? Apakah kita pernah membuat orang rasa terhina? 

Jangan mudah hendak diremuk hati manusia kerana di situ ada Dia. 

Kita tidak tahu apa munajat orang teraniaya dalam keheningan malam. Kita tidak tahu sebanyak mana curahan airmatanya. Sedangkan kita tidak kekok bersuka, walhal orang berduka.

Semoga Allah masukkan kita dalam golongan yang sedar diri, bukan diri yang besar, tapi diri yang kerdil dan akur menerima takdir Ilahi.

Allahu Akbar!

Pic credit: Hisham Salmin

Make people feel good about themselves. - Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed Fredericks


Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed Fredericks will be one of four key speakers at this year's 'Sacred Path of Love' event to be held in Singapore on 21st and 22nd December, InshaAllah. This event is the 4th much anticipated annual gathering organized by the Sout Ilaahi Group of Singapore.

In this short video recorded in 2005, Shaykh Abdul Aziz mentioned the manners and approach taken by some of the solehin when calling people to the deen. The shaykh mentioned Hatim al-Asam who had for 20 years pretended to be deaf so that a woman upon whom he wanted to tarbiyah (guide), felt good about herself. Shaykh Abdul Aziz said, one major lesson we should learn from Hatim is: make people feel good about themselves. 

From Hatim we should also learn that we do not need plenty of knowledge. Suffice that we benefit from the little that we know, specifically eight lessons as narrated in Imam Al-Ghazalli's 'Oh My Dear Son':
  • the best beloved is good works for it can accompany you inside the grave and console you, not the kind of beloved who can only accompany you to the graveyard and then leave.
  • combat desires of the soul and enjoy obedience to Allah instead.
  • give away worldly possessions.
  • seek dignity through righteousness, not through wealth and large clans.
  • it is Allah who divides people's livelihood, so no need to be envious of others.
  • enmity with Satan is the only enmity permissible, not enmity with people.
  • livelihood is guaranteed by Allah, so there's no need to chase and overwork, but to engage in worship.
  • have full trust in Allah as the best disposer of affairs and not rely on people/trade/properties.

To learn more about Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed Fredericks and the other notable speakers who will be presenting at the 2013 Sacred Path of Love event, click here:

Credit: Sout Ilaahi Group

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fifty - Fifty


200 - 50 = 150
150 + 50 = 200

For my own record, there's 50 more postings to go to meet the year's KPI. Pray Allah lets us live for another 50 days and more - if in His knowledge, living would be better for us. 

If we could have 50 items on our bucket list i.e. the things we want to do before our expiry date. That's quite a long list, 50. What about the good things I should be doing in the next 50 days? Or 50 positive things to ramble?

A girlfriend wrote this on her FB and I completely agree with her: "when someone writes about something good, that does not necessarily mean he/she is showing off to people that he/she is good. He/she is only trying to be/do good. This world is not like a competition either you lose or I win. It's just a transit before the next world where we will be judged. At the very least he/she is not writing about something negative. Let's use the social media platform to write something positive."

Some people commented: "You look aleem (pious) but actually you're a hypocrate." [sic]. 

Sir/Madam, by the way, the correct spelling is hypocrite.

What's the adab to answer that? Not that we need to answer/defend ourselves all the time. 

I pray if indeed what you say about me is true, may Allah forgive me. I am just trying to busy myself replacing my bad deeds with some better deeds. Obviously, I should work harder. It's like trying to do 20 positives to replace 80 negatives until hopefully all negatives will be cancelled out. I don't think the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule works in this regard. But then I learned from one of my earliest guides that we are not going to heaven based on the number of good deeds we do, as we know not of its quality. It's all entirely up to God's mercy. So between you and I, we both have a fifty-fifty chance. 

Let's seek refuge in Allah, that His wrath towards us does not surpass His mercy. And thank Him that He doesn't judge us by our aleem or not-aleem looks. We all know the hadith: "Verily Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions."

And surely, Allah is the rightful Judge of hearts and actions. Not mortals.

May Allah forgive us all.

 Pic credit: Su

Monday, October 28, 2013

O God, help me___


O God, help me ramble LOL. Because my target is to hit at least 200 postings a year and it's almost November, I am panicking, OMG. Writing on this space is strange. Oftentimes a piece seems insignificant to me but there are people who would somehow appreciate it mashaAllah. Bottom line is, it is God who moves our heart and make it incline towards or shy away from something. I think that's why they say, dance like nobody's watching. Likewise writing. But, I think I'm mastering the art of writing with the enemy watching LOL. Believe me, he/she is out there. On the other extreme, a loyal reader wants to publish this blog in a book format. They say in Malay "shok sendiri".  
Pardon me, it must be some hormonal imbalance somewhere and you just have loads of extra free time to while away. Besides, who can resist knocking, albeit carelessly, a new lappy. Alhamdulillah washukrulillah. People, I highly recommend Dell Inspiron 17. It's very heavy but it's meant for serious heavy duty work. It doesn't really matter if you hit your yearly blogging KPI with it or not. You'll just love it.
Oh this is getting more insane.
O God, help me__.
Think about it? What do we really need to ask God for? Let's get serious. [My mother asking "are you not working on Al-Din?" yeah what  a timely reminder.]
What I want to ask God is this:
O God, help me stay truthful to You and to myself.
O God, help me think well of You and be hopeful of what You are capable of doing with me and for me. It does not matter if a 100 people lie to me as long as I keep trusting You, that You surely will not disappoint me. Thank You, Allah.
Alhamdullillah we have a Lord unto whom we may prostrate and ask and ask and ask and He never tires. Unlike the mortals, at some point in time, they will get tired of our antics. We may love them like crazy but sooner or later, they will leave us. So for obvious reasons, we ought to depend on the eternal and the immortal.
O God, help me fill in the blanks.

p/s Don't have a relevant picture for this merepek (nonsensical) rambling except for this photo. I love this plant the fact that it comes from Batu Pahat, Malaysia. Because it reminds me of an abid and areef, the late Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus. May by his barakah, Allah knocks some sense in our head. Ameen.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can't have your cake and eat it too | The best of both worlds?


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah it's Sunday.

Alhamdulillah for trusted and loyal friends. Heard/read somewhere that rizq or provision does not only pertain to food. Good friends are good provisions too. We cannot consider someone a good friend if the friendship had not been tested. We cannot compare a friendship of 10 years to that of 5 months. Likewise marriage. But yesterday, though I shouldn't have been surprised, was surprised to hear that a marriage of 20 over years can end. And a marriage of 30 over years can rock like a hurricane. None can escape the challenges of this temporary world.
Thank Allah for trusted and loyal friends whom we can turn to when the "friend" we are supposed to be attached to for life somehow become a lil unfriendly. Lucky are those whose spouse end up being a life-long trusted and loyal friend. But the hard fact is that you will never know that until you cross the final bend.
I think if we can truly accept the fact that we can't have the cake and eat it too, then we will not be too disappointed. How can we have the best of both worlds when this world is meant as a testbed and the next world is the only place where we can hope for the best above all worlds.
At dawn today, it dawned upon me as I was browsing the meanings of Surah Waqiah that even at the moment of utmost frustration i.e. when losing someone dear to us at death, we may be sad but we cannot be frustrated. Do we dare think we deserve to be frustrated when Allah says He cannot be frustrated about taking His servant back? His planning must come to pass. It cannot not happen at the appointed time. 
May Allah grant us patience when He takes away our loved ones at death. May Allah grant us patience when He takes away the people/thing we think we love and own, under whatever circumstances. Innalillah wa inna ilai hiraji'un
That's strawberry short cake, in case you're wondering.
No, can't have it and eat it too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Good Morning from KL | Being grateful

KL - 25 Oct 2013 @ 6.33 am

Good morning from KL :)
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Shouldn't we be grateful? Alhamdulillah Allah gives us sufficient intelligence and good health so that we can be gainfully employed. And for those who are employed, it's pay-day for some of you. For those who are unemployed, I know how you feel, I'd experienced that. Pray Allah will open up a door or maybe doors! Sometimes He "withdraws" temporarily, in order to give you more. For those who are self-employed, you have more reasons to rejoice because doing business is sunnah. Don't ask me for supporting facts but I read about it when I was at a hospital waiting to do Lasik test.

Oh, those of you who may be reading from your hospital bed, I wish you a speedy recovery. May it be a cleansing process zahir and batin. Those of you who may be reading this blog with a not-so-healthy intention towards me, I forgive you :)

Life is like that, there are people who like you, there are people who dislike you. But so long as we are not in this world to be liked all the time, wanting to be popular, expecting praise from people, we really should not mind if some people dislike us. You might remember one recent posting about Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki saying in Malay "ghaibkan pandangan manusia terhadapmu" meaning: be oblivious of people's perceptions towards you. I think it takes a lot of practice. So everytime you face this "people challenge", be positive. It's just another opportunity for you to practice what Shaykh Fahmi was saying.

And surely you all know the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

Jummah Mubarak people!
I gotta run, go buy capati for my dearest mother :)
Thank you Allah for my mother!

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What drives you? | Empty seat


What drives you? Your loved ones, am sure. You may recall an old posting called 'Fasten your seat belt'.

This is what one person wrote in response to that posting.
"Yes everyone needs a seat belt in their life. But in this modern world you not only need seat belts, and to use the analogy of a car, I think you need to have brakes, rear view mirror and also a Global Positioning System (GPS). 
A GPS will guide you to where you want to go. GPS does not pass judgment on you, and does not question why you want to go there but it just shows you the best way to get you to where you want to go. And so in life too you need a person who is your GPS who will guide you where to go and where you want to be.
But then a brake is needed because if you are going too fast, the brake will slow you or make you stop. You need a person who is your brake too, who sometimes will slow you or even stop you if you are heading towards a collision course and avoid an accident.
The rear view mirror is essential for you to look back and know where you have been. A person who makes you see a rear view mirror will help you and guide you to see clearly your past. Again not to pass judgment or start lecturing you on what you have done, but it is more to remind you not to make the same mistakes and to learn from the past.
Who are these people who are your seat belts, GPS, rear view mirrors and brake? They could be four people, each playing their role. It could be your parents, your spouse, your siblings, your best friend, your shaykh or your teacher. Who knows it could even be your enemy or people you think are your enemy. Fortunate are those who have found their seat belts, GPS, rear view mirrors and brake. Even more fortunate are those who have found one person who can play the role of all four."

End of quote.

Hope everyone is fortunate. But sometimes the moon cycle can make you be in dire need of an accelerator because you feel like you have come to a halt without the presence of certain individuals. At the same time, you also need an auto-cruise because without the presence of that ever so encouraging passenger next to you, you just don't have the mood to drive, you want to be driven. And what is a drive without beautiful music comforting your lethargic mind, body and soul?

But still we should be grateful if we have someone to miss. Because that means there is love in your heart and love can drive you around. It can make you go places.

Alhamdulillah Allah gives us the capacity to love.
Alhamdulillah Allah makes us capable of being grateful for the love.
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

A two seater sofa is meant for two people, obviously.

Alhamdulillah. Thank you Allah for my mother, she is my accelerator pedal when I come to a halt, she has been pushing me to "go do Al-Din". She would say in Malay: "Pi buat Al-Din" that is go update your blog although she never reads a post LOL.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great company


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, life is good. Life is good not because we are worthy of it but because Allah loves us and is merciful towards us.

The weekend had been good. 

It was a pleasure to experience a bit of Iranian culture during a dinner hosted by a wonderful and I should add, good looking, Iranian couple. Oh, intelligent too, as they are both PhD students of subjects that I would not be able to grapple in a thousand years. I savored and learned for the first time about Iranian rice. The best part of Iranian rice is its crust. In Malay cooking, the rice crust is the least desirable part for most people. But you see we can learn something from the Iranians here. We can easily turnaround something less desirable to become the most-desired thing. We just have to be more creative and be willing to change our normal way of doing things. 

You should not try this recipe without consulting your Iranian friends, because I might have missed out some important bits. But this is what I picked up from the lovely hostess. Firstly, cook rice as you normally would but remove the water when it's about three-quarter cooked. Then in a different pot, pour some oil and place a naan bread or slices of potatoes at the base before pouring in the almost-cooked rice to steam it further. If you were to ask Mr. Google, the yummy crusty part is called tahdig. Let me double check with a real person, Mrs. M, tomorrow. It's now 2.41 a.m for Heaven's sake. By the way, there are three major tribes in Iran: Kurdish, Turkish and Lorish.

From left to right:
That yummy crust - beef stew - salad - rice
(the rice was garnished with berries not raisins)
Bottom left is Iranian pickles.
They too call it acar. It's hot and sour.
SUNDAY afternoon:
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We know that when guests come to the house they would take away a sea of our sins. We also learn from our guides the three steps of finding our way to the Truth. That is takhalli, tahalli and tajjali. Meaning to empty oneself from impurities, and then to fill up with good deeds before one can expect the unveiling/manifestation of the Light. Again, do not quote me. Refer to your guide(s). But that is a summation of those three bombastic words.

It was an honor to receive the first group of guests at my new humble home. They're from Singapore. It was an honor because they're a team of people who are driven by love. They're here to create awareness of their program that will take place on 21st and 22nd December InshaAllah. It's called the Sacred Path of Love (SPOL). It will be the 4th SPOL mashaAllah and the theme for this year is: In Pursuit of Happiness.

It was an honor to receive Brother Khalid Ajmain of the Sout Ilaahi, whom together with his talented wife have been organizing this remarkable event since 2010. I will be sharing more about SPOL 2013 soon InshaAllah. The Sacred Path of Love, in my humble opinion is a great blessing of Allah which He has chosen to tajalli (manifest) through Brother Khalid and his wife. We heard Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki saying repeatedly: pray so that Allah make us become a receptacle of His manifestation, that we become an instrument of good deeds. This is what it is. To be able to organize a significant event that could in turn become a medium of hidayah to people, on whom Allah intends to bestow His hidayah. I hope Allah will grant me the tawfiq to assist in promoting this event InshaAllah. Do look out for more postings about the Sacred Path of Love InshaAllah.  

It was also an honor to receive three volunteers for SPOL. You know the invisible word that comes before the word volunteer is selfless. According to Brother Khalid Ajmain, the Sacred Path of Love attracts more and more volunteers each year. When he first started SPOL, it was only him and his wife. Imagine that! And budget was just an imaginary term. This reminds me of an advice by a learned man who said: "when you intend to do something good, just make the niyyat and get on with it. Allah's help will come."

Going back to takhalli, tahalli and tajjali - I can relate that to welcoming guests at home. When they leave your house it is as though they empty your sins. Not just empty it but they also fill it up with barakah. With barakah, we hope Allah will be generous in manifesting more of His bounties.

May Allah in turn, bless my special guests, facilitate their work and fulfill their wishes. Ameen.

SUNDAY evening:
Lessons on Al-Hikam by Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki at Ba'alawi Kuala Lumpur. Two important takeaways:

  • The meaning of asking Allah for a good life in dunya and akhirah - Rabbana atina fidunya hasanah wa fil akhirati hasanah is actually asking the kind of dunya that is mazra'atul akhirah - a means that can bring us victory in the hereafter.
  • Make yourself a muhsin that is good doer and place yourself under circumstances that could qualify you for Allah's mercy. Kullan numidduha - all will be granted madad (help). Kullan means all - everyone included.      
Will try to share more, if God wills. It all depends on mashi'a Allah - Allah's Will.

Allahu a'lam.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Eidul Adha | 10, 11, 12 & 13 Zulhijjah 1434 Hijri


Eid Mubarrak! Wish I had the opportunity to wish you Eid Mubarrak on Tuesday 10th Zulhijjah. Nevertheless, Alhamdulillah we are still in these four auspicious days of Tashrik.

May Allah forgive us if we have not been observing these sacred days as it should be. Tomorrow is 13th Zulhijjah, we have until Maghrib to proclaim His greatness:

On these holy days of tashrik, pray Allah make our limbs subservient always to Him. May He pardon all our shortcomings. We proclaim our gratitude for all His bounties and pray that He keeps blessing us with abundant bounties. Let not our shortcomings be a hindrance for us to continue receiving His great bounties and the best of His bounties is good health. May Allah keep us all in the pink of health. Ameen

Pic credit: myhalim fotopages   

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1st Zulhijjah 1434 Hijri | Arafah calling


Was about to post a carefree rambling but withdrew. There is more than a dozen things that can distract us. It would be nice to escape to a sacred or quiet place, to save ourselves from distractions. Today is first Zulhijjah. It would have been wonderful if we were among the pilgrims, who must be waiting with much anticipation, the arrival of the big day - the day of Arafah. 

Arafah calling is incomparable to London calling. I've never experienced the vibes of an Olympic. Still I can imagine the excitement of Arafah calling. But of course the imagination of one who has not tasted something is not the same as the imagination of one who has experienced it. Yet, thinking about Arafah alone can give one goosebumps.

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid will be one of the fortunate souls who gets a pass to the Arafah arena this year. He is much loved and respected especially by those who have sat in his majlis ta'lim at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, Kuala Lumpur. Our thoughts are with him.

My thoughts are also with family friends who make it to hajj this year. I wonder what's playing in their minds now especially Sister M and Sister F. Both happen to be single. One of them is relatively younger and more well-off. The other one is in her 50s and is there, thanks to her retirement funds. Imagine each one of the millions of pilgrims having his/her own story. Allah knows each of their stories.

Allah knows His servants best. Whereas we mortals are concerned about people's backgrounds. We are curious about people's CVs. We are nosy about people's portfolios. But surely Allah will only look at their hearts on the day of Arafah, akin to the Day of Judgment - "The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail. But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart." (Quran - As Shuara 88-89)

May Allah invite us to the Arafah gathering next hajj season. Ameen.