Monday, June 30, 2014

Fasting with our whole self


Alhamdulillah, it's the first day of fasting. Last night during the first teraweeh at the Penang State mosque, I kept thinking and repeating this: "Must push this body through the rakaat [the 20+3 cycle of prayers]. Body must be trained."

Penang State mosque

But then during the first sahur, this text message came in from 'I am the believer'. 

"Fast holistically with your whole self 
for we are more hearts and souls 
than bodies."
- Shaykh Sajid Umar

Yes, indeed we should give more focus on the heart and soul. We must think more about elevating the heart and soul as we push the body through hunger, thirst and lethargy.

May Allah grant us more tawfik and help us achieve our niyyat of attaining His pleasures through stringent training of the body, heart and soul in this holy month of Ramadhan. Ameen Allah humma ameen.

As we fill our time during the day, let's reflect on our friends and families who may have a special need for our heartfelt  du'a as they may be going through a challenging time. Life is not a bed of roses. Life is full of challenges. But fortunately life is adorned with ornaments called love. We love one another. We are like bricks reinforcing one another. Let's think of the "bricks" near us who might need a special reinforcement right now. There will be a time when we ourselves need reinforcement and we would then have high hopes for attention and care from our nearest, our friends and families. We are in this life together. We are in it together.

Ramadan Kareem.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Up the staircase | Ramadhan training


Allah...Allah...Allah....I am exhausted. It's Saturday, it's the eve of Ramadhan, here I am in my hometown after hours and hours of driving since 6.30 a.m. - driving around to sort out unfinished business regarding my Penang home refurbishment. It's tiring and stressful but it's a sweet problem, no doubt, Alhamdulillah. Must think of the desired outcome, that is the niyyat - to please my family and our would-be guests, inshaAllah - hoping that if we're able to do this, it's counted as things that could garner Allah's mercy, bi-iznillah.

Speaking of refurbishing work, thank god the hotel that we've just checked in, has just been upgraded and we are among the first batch of customers to enjoy its new look, so chic. We might even be the room's first occupant, Alhamdulillah indeed.

I was about to sit down when a call came in from, oh my god, Spain, just in time when this weary soul needed some boost. Thanks Aunt S! You are much appreciated! Because of you, I looked for whatever little remaining energy to craft this posting.

I just love this artwork in the room. It's a picture of a staircase. It reminds me of our struggle, it's like Ramadhan being a staircase for us to climb up and get closer to Allah. We might get tired every now and then as we embrace this sacred month, but luckily, as in every staircase, there's a landing area where we could stop and take a breather before climbing further.

Aunt S asked for some practice for this Ramadhan. That request from her, truly humbled me for I am no ustazah. I am a student myself. I am a struggling Muslim. But because she asked for it, I had to look around and I found this zikir posted on our much loved Habib Ali Zainal Abidin's website. So let us all lean on it, reflect and recite it. It reminds us of the only one thing that matters - that is Allah's forgiveness. We may have stumbled and fell and bruised, but it's okay, Ramadhan is here so we can pull ourselves up and push ourselves a little harder, forward and upward, towards our Creator, Allah azza wa jala, in whose hand lies mercy and rahmah, His hands, not Mr A, not Mrs B, not Miss C. It all goes back to Allah the Most Magnificent God. Allahu Akbar!

Ash hadu an laila haillallah
O Allah, I ask for heaven and I seek refuge from hell.
O Allah, You are the Essence that forgives;
forgive us, O the most generous Essence.
Credit: Darul Murtadza


Ramadan Kareem 1435 Hijri


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
We have come to the auspicious month Ramadan! Praise be to Allah who has let us see Rajab, Shaaban and now Ramadan.

As weak mortals, let us pray for a good health, fortified strength and stronger faith in embracing this holy month. May Allah make it easy for us to fast and perform the teraweh prayers and all forms of ibadah. May Allah make our fasting pure from impurities as much as possible and hence acceptable.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

p/s I am looking forward to perform the first teraweh in my hometown Penang inshaAllah. Wish y'all a pleasant weekend. Keep me in your prayers pretty please as I shall remember you during my journey up north - you my much treasured friends and readers - you know who you are ;-)


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Merdeka | Love our country


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

The video depicts, in a small way, what warisan (legacy) means to me as a Malaysian.

You may recall a couple of postings ago, my CEO asked us to put together a short video on what legacy means in relation to the song Warisan (legacy) by the late Sudirman Hj. Arshad, in conjunction with the 57th year of Malaysia's independence. So this is it. With the help of my clever niece Hanis who assisted in video editing, after having had five or six intensive classes with our much respected IT teacher Cikgu Yusri who gave plenty of technical advice, this is it, a lil something to share with you.

This video has been submitted as part of a competition organized by my employer. More importantly it's meant for my niece and I to apply what we have just learned in the last month. May Allah increase us in useful knowledge and enable us to put it to practice.

Love our country.
Love our city.
Love our territory.
Love our leaders.
Love our talents.
Love our sportsmen.
Love our teachers.
Love our friends.
Love our parents.
Love Malaysia.

Di sini lahirnya sebuah cinta...
This is where love is born...

Friday, June 27, 2014

In the zone | Share something small every day


It's Friday night. Wished I was at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal for majlis ta'alim but we had some night shooting to do at KL's iconic Merdeka Square. It's part of our montage project.  

Love the experience. Love my city. Love Kuala Lumpur.

The Sultan Abdul Samad building, Kuala Lumpur

Try to be in the zone.
People say if you can get your mental and emotional faculties
to stay focused 'in the zone'
like the great sportsmen and talents,
you should be able to give a stellar performance, bi-iznillah.

Yes, just sharing something small every day. And sticking around, whether you like it or not. The above list of 10 items is from a book 'Show Your Work' by Austin Kleon. It's my best and latest find this week. This is one cool quote from the said book:
"The trick is not caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you 
and just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you." 
- Brian Michael Bendis

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Photo credit: 
Hanis Eizzati - my niece who is studying to become a civil engineer. She also has a deep interest in multimedia production. Bravo!

p/s  BAI: ECB on track and excited : D

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Name | Named | Name Giver


One reader whom I respect shared this article. Glad she did because it got me excited and it got me thinking. It's written by Mohamed Ghilan.

Are you one of those Sufis? No, I am not one of those Sufis. Nay. Not qualified. Too big a name.

Mohamed Ghilan wrote this clever and pretty clear summation of Sufism and a critical point about the famous stand made by Rabiatul Adawiyah: "Sufism is about taking the recitation of the Quran with the tongue and turning it into a recitation of the heart. It's about adhering to the Sharia not because of an ulterior motive of obtaining Paradise or avoiding Hell, but because God is deserving of it..."

"This type of worship and relationship with God is what Imam An-Nawawi in his commentary on his 40 Hadith collection, calls the Worship of the Free People as opposed to the Worship of the Slaves or the Worship of the Merchants."  

"Rabia al-Adawiya said in one of her famous supplications: O Lord, if I submitted hoping for Your Paradise, then deny me it, and if I submitted out of fear from Your Fire, then enter me into it, and if I submitted out of hope of seeing Your Blessed Countenance then don't deny me it."

As Mohamed Ghilan rightly said, many people are uneasy with this statement of Rabia because it is as though she is belittling Paradise and Hell. Mohamed Ghilan wrote: "However, what Rabia showed here was her complete submission to her Lord, seeking nothing in return but His acceptance. It's a realization of her answer to a simple yet profound question: if you knew that Paradise and Hell didn't exist and once you die you will not come back, would you still worship God?" 

Would you still worship God?! That's a loaded question indeed. What then is the basis of our worship? Subhan is Allah. I think sufis, sufism, paradise and hell are that which is named. Allah taught Adam names. There are countless names.

Oftentimes, it is difficult to go deeper and see beyond the names or the named (i.e. creations/effects). Many a time, names and the named become a veil of that which we desperately seek out and yearn for. We should realize that that which we desperately seek out and yearn for is none other than the Name Giver Himself - He who possesses the Most Beautiful Names - He Who is the Cause of everything - He Who is before the effects - He Who is Al-Awwal, Al-Akhir, Al-Zahir, Al-Batin.

Subhanallahi 'amma yushrikun. 
Subhanallah wa bihamdih.
Subhanallah al-Azeem.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tank-full of thankful


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Is there a reason not to work hard and strive harder and forge farther? Nay. Nay. Nay. 

Two spa treatments yesterday and today - SubhanAllah my Lord is ever so kind. Opportunities to share some hopefully useful postings - this I always cherish. A good salary increment from my employer - alfu alfu Alhamdulillah. And gifts after gifts - so I proclaim the bounty of my Lord.  

Indeed, the best-est love is the one offered by our Creator who wants the best for us, each and every time. He subhanahu wata'ala is our ultimate employer and the remuneration package from Him is ultimately unbeatable. All gifts are gifts from Him indeed. Remember what Habib Muhammad as-Saggaf said or rather asked. "Do you think that everything that is taking place around us is happening without Allah's will?"

Subhanallah, not a leaf falls without His knowledge and permission. May Allah forgive us for we are not capable of thanking Him enough, in the way that is fitting.

The best gift of the day, almost everyday, is my mother's cooking. May Allah grant her sihah wal 'afiah. Ameen.  

Some "holier-than-thou" people sent me messages praying for bad things to happen to me and my family. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. I think these people should be wary of 'boomerang effects'. And people should never be overconfident about their own "righteousness." 

I ask for continued prayers from my genuine loyal readers and friends. I am thankful and grateful for you and for everything.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Habib Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Aydrus on 'ehsan' and 'mujahadah'


Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid & Habib Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Aydrus
at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, Malaysia
23 May 2014

Habib Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Aydrus said, as interpreted by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid:

"Praise be to Allah who chooses and elevates those He selects on the basis of taqwa and He differentiates people based on their ehsan towards Him. The leader of taqwa and ehsan is none other than our Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam."

"You are present at a majlis where hearts shine with knowledge and the minds are guided by knowledge. When the heart and the mind are guided, we would be walking behind Prophet Muhammad the bearer of knowledge and its light."  

"Among the signs of a person who has benefited from the light of knowledge is that he/she is eager and enthusiastic about being a servant who strives to be close to Allah and thus he/she becomes nearer on account of the guidance received from the knowledge. The person would become more aware of the wonders of Allah's creations in this world stemming from the acquired knowledge." 

"One should not let knowledge remain in the books. It must be reflected in one's actions and minds. Only then the virtues and barakah of knowledge could manifest. If one truly internalizes whatever knowledge that has been acquired, one can expect to receive more knowledge in the form of ilm' zauk that is the ability to obtain the secrets of the knowledge. As said Imam Al-Suhrawardi, the knowledge that one may attain upon practising a particular knowledge is knowledge on tasting of the said knowledge, which is zauk. One who is accorded with ilm zauk is able to have a sense of the unseen."

"If we care to study and understand the conditions during the time of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam, we would be able to draw lessons therefrom which we may implement in the present time. For example, the Israk Mikraj. There are plenty of lessons which could be learned from that episode. And through it we are able to connect with the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. All the things that the Prophet had witnessed resembles the various conditions of people today. Those who care to learn, will strive (mujahadah) in putting the lessons into practice. One who does that, will be elevated as one who does good (ehsan) and thus becomes a muhsin."

"Allah promises in the Quran that He would grant guidance (hidayah) to anyone who strives (mujahadah). And Allah is with the person who does good and who strives. They will attain m'aiyah (presence with Allah). They belong with the muhsin."

"We may notice the outcome of a person's mujahadah, which results in ehsan. With the ehsan, the person will receive lights from Allah.  There is an ayat in the Quran where Allah says: He is with those who do good (ehsan). There are two meanings to this ayat. One is that Allah is with those who do good. The second meaning is that mujahadah will bring about lights of ehsan to that person." 

 "We learn from Surah Yusuf how Prophet Yusuf alaihi salam was consulted by two prisoners. He was asked to interpret their dreams because they had confidence in him. They said to Prophet Yusuf: 'we see that you are among those who do good (ehsan)' How could they tell? The effects of Prophet Yusuf's mujahadah, his patience and forbearance was visible on him. It's visible on his physical appearance. The two men noticed that about Prophet Yusuf  so they consulted him."    

"Whoever wants ehsan to manifest on his/her physical attribute, he/she must be prepared to strive, he/she must engage in mujahadah."

Allahu a'lam.

Reference: Tausiyah videos published by Darul Murtadza.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Habib Muhammad Abdullah As-Saggaf on good etiquettes with Allah and fellow man


Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid & Habib Muhammad Abdullah As-Saggaf
at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, Malaysia
23 May 2014

Habib Muhammad Abdullah As-Saggaf said, as interpreted by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid:

"May Allah grant us His bounties. May Allah grant us the sweetness of praising Him. May He raise us to a high stature. Our Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam is one whose attribute is Ahmad [good]. He will be honored with a station of distinction [Maqam Mahmud]. He will be holding the banner of distinction in the hereafter. May Allah gather us under the banner of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. We might be gathered with him in consideration of our gathering at this majlis. In order to be with him in the hereafter, we must do good deeds and do that which he likes more than that which we prefer, only then can we have a good chance of being with the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. Nothing could be better than being under his banner."

"At a majlis like this, Allah oversees your heart's contents. He is watching your heart and whatever is inside it will be evaluated and rewarded accordingly. So you must have an intention for it is your intention which He will give due consideration. A majlis like this gets the attention of the angels. They will swing by and be present too."
"There is a hadith about three persons who attended the Prophet's majlis. The first of the trio came and there was a space in the front so he sat in the front row. The second of them came but he was shy to go sit in front so he sat in the back rows instead. The third of them came but when he saw how crowded the majlis was and there was no space to sit, he, therefore, decided to leave. Know that not only Allah supervised the event but the Prophet did too."

"The Prophet asked his companions, 'do you want to hear more about the three men?' The Prophet then said: the first of the three men, he went towards Allah and Allah came towards him. Sitting in the first row is like coming to Allah and Allah approaching him. It is not about going to a majlis because of this fulan that fulan. It is about going to Allah. It is like the youth who were hiding in the cave as related in Surah al-Kahf. Allah protected them while they were in the cave. Likewise, the audience of a majlis such as this will be protected by Allah. Allah protects you."

"The Prophet wants us to understand so that we open up our minds. Those who come to this majlis must have yaqin (confidence) that they are indeed coming towards Allah. The Prophet wants us to understand this point. As for the second man, he was bashful, likewise, Allah was also shy towards him. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam wants us to understand the ways of interacting with Allah. Allah says, whoever does ehsan (good), He will reciprocate."

"I wish you would pay attention to what I'm saying. There's a secret about the way we interact with Allah, if you can understand the secret, you'd be a person with good adab towards Allah. Open your heart and mind, and try to understand the meaning of that which has just been said. Allah will act towards us in accordance to our interaction with people. If you wish Allah to be with you, then you must do good to people. If you wish Allah to pardon you, then you should be forgiving towards people. There are plenty of examples in the Quran and hadis on this. Whoever hides the wrongs of other people in this dunya, Allah will veil his shortcomings in both dunya and akhirah. In the hereafter, there will be people who are without clothes. There will be people who are fully clothed. Who are they who are not naked on that day? They are those who cover up the shame of other people."

"Even in small matters such as giving space for people to sit, Allah will reciprocate our small gestures and give us space in return. And certainly, His kind gestures towards us are far greater than any good deed that we could ever do to fellow man. Even if you offer a small space for people to sit at a majlis, Allah will give you a space a lot greater. Where? In your grave and in the hereafter when it gets very crowded, yet you will get some space. When you are crossing the sirat, Allah will make it wider for you and when you enter the heavens, Allah will make your heavenly mansion even bigger for you. If you know how sweet it is to be receiving His bounties, you won't feel a burden in making space for people to sit. What you will be getting from Allah is certainly more and better."

"When someone has hurt your feelings, you should be thinking how petty it is compared to the wrongs you have done towards Allah. So forgive people's mistakes. This is the state of he/she who is always with Allah. They do not wish for rewards from people. They only wish for Allah's rewards. Their confidence level would increase. They would be interacting with the existence of Allah. They would be looking at everything surrounding them as risalah, as a sign from Allah. Do you think that everything that is taking place around us is happening without Allah's will? Allah says in the Quran, it is He who creates us and our actions in accordance to His Will. So one should be sensitive about anything and everything around him/her. Do you really understand the risalah of Allah and what His signs are?"

"A majlis like this is for Allah to fulfill your wish. Allah is watching the hearts of the attendees of this majlis. He Himself opens the door of tawba and pardon. All He asks from us is that we earnestly ask from Him as much as possible. Nothing compares to His gifts. Don't you believe in the messages of the Prophet? Or do you have doubts in your heart? Would you want to leave the heavens after having been inside? When we visit a beautiful country or hotel, we are reluctant to leave the place. We heard the Prophet saying about majlis such as this being a heavenly garden. In the garden, we all know that all wishes will be granted. But what about our attitude towards Allah? That's why our teachers in the past who conducted majlis ta'alim such as this would urge their students to give full attention on what Allah has to offer in the majlis. We should heed the lessons of Israk Mikraj. On the Prophet's return from mikraj he was asked about Baitul Maqdis. However, he was not able to answer because he was focused solely on Allah. He was not paying attention to other external things during the Israk Mikraj. The Prophet could only answer the question after Allah showed Baitul Maqdis to him afterwards. When you are in solah and if you are aware of the person standing on your right and left, that essentially means you are not khusyuk. Our guru, if he found a murid being distracted and always looking to his right and left, would ask the murid to cover his head with a cloth. He/she who is focused will be given plenty of secrets of the hidden knowledge. But many of us tend to get distracted by the cameras, by the men serving drinks, we get distracted when someone opens the door or when we hear something around us, we are easily distracted because we are not focused and he/she who is easily distracted cannot learn much."

"There was an incident where a snake fell off the roof in a majlis ta'lim led by Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al-Jailani. The students got nervous but the shaykh remained calm even when the snake went inside his right arm and crept through his left arm."

"Imam Malik when he was teaching ahadith, got bitten by a scorpion not once but ten times, yet out of adab for the Prophet, he refused to stop the lessons. Because of his adab, Imam Malik became a distinguished teacher. And similarly Imam Shafie. Out of adab for Imam Malik, Imam Shafie would carefully turn the pages of his kitab quietly because he didn't want to distract Imam Malik. Because of his adab for his guru and fine etiquette towards Allah, he became a notable guru himself."

"We pray so that Allah will let us have more adab towards Him. And my advice to you is that even if you are unwell, make an effort to attend a majlis like this because there is plenty of healing in it. Habib Kadir bin Hamid As-Saggaf was ill. His father insisted that he attend a majlis ta'lim, so he did and recovered thereafter. I was feeling weak due to high fever before coming here. But now I am feeling very well that I am ready to wrestle anyone. This majlis has a significant barakah. A few weeks ago, we were reading Sahih Bukhari. We studied for 12 hours a day so that we could complete the kitab in one week. One of us couldn't attend the classes in full as he had to man a shop. He said on a normal day he would usually yield 200 riyal but just because he attended the Sahih Bukhari class, though partially, he was able to make 500 riyal. So he suggested we study all the other six kitab on hadith."

"Any one of you who has a hajat, may your presence here become a cause for Allah to grant it to you. May Allah forgive us. Verily Allah may look upon anyone He wishes. And he/she upon whom Allah cast His glance, will get his/her affairs made easy and well. And he/she will not be judged. Focus your heart on Allah. Ask and put your hope on Him. Think well of Him. If Allah were to look at your heart, you shall leave this majlis as a different person. Allah will never deny our pleas. He will give us more than that which we ask for. Put all your wish and needs in front of His door. May Allah accept us. May Allah look upon us. May Allah strengthen our hearts with hidayah and tawfik. May Allah erase all our mistakes and bad deeds. May Allah make us yearn more for the Prophet. May Allah enable our eyes to see the Prophet in a dream and for real - the face of one who had seen the Face of Allah on Israk Mikraj. O Allah, honor us by letting us see the face of our beloved Prophet, for there is no greater honor than that. Honor us with the joy of gazing at Your Countenance, O Allah. Make us among the solehin. Write our name among those who are close to You, O Allah. If we are not eligible, make us eligible. If you find us far, make us near. Should you find us veiled, lift the veil. And make us among those whom You love...."

Habib Muhammad Abdullah As-Saggaf ended his tausiyah with a lengthy and meaningful du'a. My limited qudrah to transcribe and translate some of his words of wisdom as interpreted by Habib Ali, ends here.

Allahu a'lam.

Credit: Darul Murtadza

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thank God for variety | Arab - India - Aceh - Penang


Thank God for variety. Glory be to Allah who has made us all look different; who has given us different languages and different food, so we may get excited about knowing one another. Opposites attract, people say. And variety is bliss.

I am grateful for the variety of attraction on my study table tonight. I missed my books and my study table. Travelling is good and the best part about travelling to me is to come home to a good book and to chill at my favourite nook in the house. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

  • There's a book on love letters written in the 1930s between Prince Edward who gave up being king so he could marry the love of his life - Wallis. How very sweet! True love wins the day, throne or no throne.
  • There's a book on Malay proverbs. Oh, how boring you say, but did you know for that kind of deep love between Edward and Wallis, there's a Malay proverb to describe it? Kasih sepantun tulisan pinggan meaning 'a never ending love'. Yes, let no obstacle be too big to give up on one's true love ; )
  • And a book about Islam in Hong Kong. Indeed, the author is right to have begun the book with this line: "When we think of Hong Kong, Islam is not something that springs to mind." Hong Kong to the minds of many people equals shopping, bright neon lights and skyscrapers. So, God bless all the da'ie of the olden and the present days for having spread Islam to the Far East. So that we have got a variety of Muslims - Arab Muslims, Indian Muslims, Chinese Muslims and so on.

And speaking of variety, my forefathers were from the lands of Arabia, India and Aceh before my grandparents ended up in Penang. So, it's only natural that I loveee.... eating nasi kandar LOL.

As promised to our foreign readers, here is a photo of nasi kandar. Nasi means rice. Kandar refers to the act of carrying goods on one's shoulder using a rattan basket. It is arguably the first method used by food hawkers in the old days.

My favorite Nasi Kandar @ Pokok Ceri
in the compound of Masjid Sheikh Eusoff in Penang

 Nowadays, all you have to do is queue up
and tell the mamak what combination of curries you fancy.
[Mamak refers to men of Indian origin.
They conquer the nasi kandar business for eternity. LOL]

Thank God for variety.

Come visit Penang, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. And as I mentioned several times before, 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year.

Malaysia - truly Asia : )

I think the Ministry of Tourism & Culture Malaysia should give me a medal or something or free nasi kandar eat all you canfor one whole year. LOL.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Blessing counter


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

You know that little gadget called 'hand tally' or digital tasbih counter. It used to come in quite big a size, made of steel. The new ones are smallish colorful plastic thingy. I think they should make a special one just for counting our blessings and perhaps have a lil menu next to it where we can select categories of blessings like great food, got another Tiffany, not in chronic pain, smooth day at work, and a long...long....list of items. Let's count our blessings and keep counting. Oh yes, 'feeling grateful' should be a category of blessings to count too because as we have all heard from the learned, we must be grateful that we are grateful because ingratitude is not a blessing, obviously.  

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah it's Friday, Jum'ah Mubarak to all. I am excited about going to Penang this weekend in sha Allah to check on the progress of my supposedly white kitchen cupboards. And will most definitely have nasi kandar [for the benefit of our foreign readers, this is basically white rice with tonnes of spicy fish and beef and chicken curry and whatever curries is available. I will share some pics next time.]

It's mid-Shaaban already. It's Nisfu Shaaban. Ramadhan is just around the corner. May Allah be so kind to let us see Ramadhan al-Mubarrak. Ameen.

On this blessed Friday, if you think you have in a small way been enjoying this space, please kindly say a prayer for this faqir.  

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

But don't mention or recount people's shortcomings 
on their behalf. Don't become that fella's "mistake counter".

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The difference between black and white is just that - one is black and the other is white


My oh my, this is another petty midnite rambling. But who cares, this is a free space, so let me ramble anyway. All my life I have always wanted a white kitchen so it pains me when it was misunderstood. The lesson is that we must have small but important points recorded in black and white so that no one mistakes 'white cupboards with black worktops' - with - 'black cupboards with white body', or whatever silly terms that can cause people to dispute. The fact remains: the difference between black and white is just that, one is black and the other is white.

We may argue about seemingly small things, but when it involves money, it is no petty issue. A purple color dollar note is not the same as the blue one. Though, we are grateful for both, all the same.

Anyway, on a lighter and happier note, I am looking forward to shooting an Eid video in my new kitchen (which is still now work in progress) and elsewhere in my Penang house, in sha Allah. In addition to writing, I am also keen on interior design, so one fine day when I have a shop on home decor, please do visit : )

O Allah, make us healthy and grant us the opportunity to see Shaaban through and then Ramadhan Kareem and then Eidul Fitr. Ameen, O Allah You are the Most Kind, the Most Kareem.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks on "The Sunnah: A Way of Being" - 22 June 2014 @ Masjid al-Quds, Cape Town


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

Please, may this announcement attract the attention of our readers from Cape Town. Please kindly mark your calendar O, friends.

Yes, it is of good adab to say please, when we ask a favor from people. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam is our best teacher when it comes to adab and his polite and beautiful ways are the ways we all have come to know as sunnah.

In this blessed month of Shaaban, it is fitting as it is always, to always send our salutations to our savior Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasallam. I stand as one who has the most needs for his shafaat. That is why, perhaps Allah is making this deprived faqir announce a good event like this, though remote by distance, never distant as a means of attaining whatever little barakah there can be for anything and everything that concerns our most revered Prophet salallah alaihi wasallam.

My utmost respect and salam for Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, should my kind wishes ever reach him. But surely our thoughts and affection are always with the learned and those whom Allah has capacitated to love Him more than we do. For it is only He who enables the remembrance of Him, let alone love, let alone mahabbatullah - love for Allah.

Allahu a'lam. May Allah increase our knowledge and understanding and pardon our shortcomings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Listening to the song of my soul


What's singing in your soul this moment?
when the heart whispers in the mother's tongue
Nothing is more beauteous than that, surely!
For melodies of the heart
and the rhythm of the soul
are in congruent since eternity.

And THAT it is, which each soul seeks:
of joy, tranquillity,
love, beauty;
these are mere names hiding the Reality
of the Essence,
of Its absolute existence;
Glory be His Face,
hidden amidst a myriad of appearances;
Glory be His Face,
united in unison.

O Lord, my Creator,
Verily, You have created me;
I who never existed
now appear to know You;
the I who seemed forgetful
becoming more aware
at witnessing You.

Oh how true,
all praise and gratitude
are solely for You,
only for You!
Note: A translation of a Malay poem which was posted a couple of days ago as requested by "No. 1 Fan". Awakened in the middle of the night to do this. Hope my English teacher is happy too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Learning from mistakes | Finding and speaking [writing] your own voice


We all received all kinds of cool stuffs in our Inbox. Thought I'd share this one that I got, share with you, fellow readers, bloggers, and blogger acquaintances who come and go. Oh, you might remember a blogger acquaintance of this blog once upon a time - Ahmad Civale, to name but one of the few fellow bloggers who used to leave comments on this space. Wherever they may be now, I wish them all a swell happy time : )

Anyway, am quoting Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer blog. Jeff wrote about "the biggest mistakes bloggers make." He said: "Writing isn't about picking the right topic, it's about finding the right voice." Yes, I understood this better now. The first time I heard/learned about a piece of writing having "a voice" was in 2005. Heard it from my professor. It might sound easy and natural to make your voice "heard" in writing, but nay, not that easy, so I learned.

Jeff also said, "The secret behind the world's most successful blogs, the best authors, and artists we revere and respect, is this: they have a worldview." Hmm...having a worldview is essential. Yes. What is your worldview? What's mine? Something to meditate on this weekend.

Anyhow, we must thank God for this space, a place to voice up and make our voices heard, though to me it does not really matter if people are listening/reading or not because whenever you get a sudden urge to write, you'll just have to express yourself.

Oh, it's Subuh, it's prayer time now. I should sign-off. Offering a prayer is about expressing our servanthood and submitting our weaknesses and deficiencies as a mortal, lock, stock and barrel, to the Lord of Power.

May Allah have mercy on us weaklings.

Your, still weak, a writer and servant of Allah.
- E


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mendengar lagu jiwa


Apakah yang berlagu di jiwamu tika ini?
apakala hati, sesekali berbisik bahasa ibunda;
Tiada yang lebih indah daripada ianya;
Kerna sudah sebati,
melodi antara kamar hati dan rongga jiwa;

Dan ITU jualah yang dicari setiap ruhani;
bahagia, ketenangan,
cinta, keindahan;
sekadar nama menyamar hakikat sebenar;
kewujudan zat
mutlak keberadaanNya;
maha suci wajahNya
bersembunyi dalam berbagai-bagai rupa;
maha suci wajahNya
menyatu dalam kesatuanNya;

Tuhanku, Kau yang menciptaku,
Oh wahai Pencipta,
diri yang dahulunya tiada
kini wujud mengenaliMu;
diri yang dahulunya alpa
semakin sedar memandangMu

segala puji dan shukur
hanyalah untuk Mu,
hanyalah untuk Mu!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Launching of Lisan al-Din Logo & Exa Publishing Studio


Very delighted indeed to share with you the logo for this space : ) Can't believe we finally have got an emblem after five years of blogging. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. It goes to show, as we all know, things happen at the appointed time.

The logo is designed by Brother Hamid Iqbal Khan of Pakistan. You may want to check out his beautiful work at:

Allahumma salli wassallim wa baarik alaih

Lisan al-Din

Bi-iznillah, this is the little studio of Lisan al-Din and Exa Publishing where the team intends and hopes to be spending lots of time, producing and publishing beneficial contents, In sha Allah.

All set and ready on this blessed Friday. 
Inspiring view of KL city, we are grateful for.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Dated: 6 June 2014/8 Shaaban 1435 Hijriah

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Things desired | None but He


Desiderata is Latin for 'things desired'. It's the title of a poem written by a famous American poet, writer and attorney Max Ehrmann in 1926.

Here's the last two stanza of the poem.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, 

whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

At least, three important lessons in there, if only we would heed, we would be just fine.
  • Be at peace with God.
  • Truly realize that it is a beautiful world even when things are not going our way.
  • That we should strive to be happy and be cheerful.
These are not only Islamic teachings but also universal. flowers. It's a universal language that spells happiness, hope, good wishes and __ and __ and __ [you fill in the blank].

The truth is that, that which we really seek is none but He. Subhan is Allah.

Thanks BDM & BMM  for the gifts and more gifts. Talk about things desired. Talk about Allah Kareem!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reading Hayy | In high spirits


Am re-reading Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufail. It's a literature written in the 12th century. Have you ever heard about it? No? Yes? I didn't know what mangrove was, but I knew Hayy ibn Yaqzan. And, it is a consolation for someone who has never read Robinson Crusoe! LOL. That's because, Robinson Crusoe pretty much mirrored Hayy Ibn Yaqzan. I didn't say that. The experts did. So yes, it's a big consolation for someone like me who has never read Robinson Crusoe.

Allah works in wondrous ways. He gives us something, He withholds something else from us. We know nothing except that which He teaches. We get nothing save that which He gives.

Even if a million people were to block His mercy and bounties from reaching you, they can't, if it's meant for you. Fa bi ayyi ala irabbikuma tukazziban? "So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?" I say, nay, nay, nay!

Blogger in high spirits as she marks the calendar, on the arrival of Miss Citrine :)
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Dated: 2nd June 2014 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Believe in yourself | Believe in your dreams


Indeed, very true, that saying by Eleanor Roosevelt.

This posting is dedicated to the young ones who have just enrolled themselves in universities/colleges throughout the country. This is the time when there's plenty of movement of young persons who are pursuing their education to a higher level. That's a jihad. Acquiring knowledge is a jihad.

When my family and I were at a uni last weekend, my mom was interviewed on what her hopes were for her granddaughter and the new students. Gosh, I missed that chance. If I was around I would have given a good 10 minutes speech. LOL. But of course my mom spoke well despite having had only six years of formal education. She has a strong aura. People chose to interview her. Recently when we were at a watch boutique, two salespersons nervously stood up when they saw her entering. Those guys didn't give two hoots about entertaining my niece and me. LOL.

Anyway, I just wanted to say to the young people out there, be strong, believe in yourself and most importantly, believe in your dreams. You will get to meet people who are discouraging, who will kill your enthusiasm. They will tell you: no you can't do this, you can't do that. Just don't listen to them. 

I am speaking from experience. When I wanted to leave my job to go take a master's degree, someone told me in my face that it's a foolish idea. By the way, that pic above is yours truly in a computer lab at Stirling Uni. The lab was exclusive for my class, 35 of us and we had access to the latest brand new iMac. How cool is that? Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

Success is sweeter when you have had encountered negative people who told you, you can't. Believe me. Maybe we should gather all the "no you can't do it" people in the world, put them in a can and seal it. Then they will think, oh it's a CAN!

You may notice that name card of mine. Another point you should consider is that, if people don't promote you or make you a CEO, you can always promote yourself. The world is free for anyone to try and do and succeed. The world is for people who believe in a brighter future. The world is meant for dreamers and doers. You are unique because no one can be you, better than you yourself. You are a star, that's why you are here. God has chosen us to be here.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lisan al-Din Blog Promo Montage


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, that Allah has enabled this faqir and Exa Publishing's Designer/my niece/my classmate - Hanis Eizzati - to compose this promo montage after 4 intensive lessons on Adobe Premiere and After Effects with our dearest computer teacher Cikgu Yusri Yasin. Thanks Cikgu! Hope you like the results of our first assignment.

We will in sha Allah publish more videos featuring interviews, travels and eventually documentaries bi-iznillah.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

E. Ismail
31 May 2014
Pahang Darul Makmur

Music credit: Cover version of Ela Mata by Alaa Wardi & Sultan Al-Jameel

Next project will be a video of my interview with Cambodia's Mufti several months ago, In sha Allah.
Hanis: You are a STAR!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Temerloh - where two rivers meet | Legacy of a learned man


Temerloh is a small town in central Pahang. It is about one and a half hours drive to the east of Kuala Lumpur. It is where two rivers meet i.e. the Pahang river [as seen in pic] and the Semantan river. 

Semantan is short for Seman Tahan - a man whose real name was Osman. He was very well known for his knowledge, prowess and martial arts skill, hence the nickname Tahan. People who came to know about his special abilities gradually moved to live near him in order to learn from him. Osman Tahan became so famous that the nearby river where he lived was named after him. Over the years, his nickname Seman Tahan evolved to Semantan. The place grew quite rapidly and became a popular transit town. This was in the late 19th century prior to the arrival of British to Malaya [now Malaysia].

Temerloh is known as 'Patin Fish Town'. Patin is arguably the best freshwater catfish in Malaysia and the world. Well, to me, it is 10 times more delicious than salmons or unagi (eels), due to its soft and juicy taste. This is how it looks like on the grill.

Sing the Happy song: "Clap your hand if you know what happiness is to you. Because I'm happy." Because of great food : )

Not far from the Patin hotspots in Temerloh is a row of fruit stalls.

In the vicinity, to my surprise, was a shop specializing in sewing machines. The last time I saw one was in the late '80s.

Sharpening a scissors, that's what he seemed to be engrossed in
 while listening to nashid.  

Pictures are meant to entice our foreign readers. Know that year 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year. 

I am proud to be a Malaysian : )
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

If you happen to like my camera bag - it is by Oroton, an Australian brand which has partnered with international charity 'Room to Read' to sponsor 4 children libraries in Vietnam. Choose a brand wisely y'all.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Catharsis | Demur | Lamb marinade



Oooh...that's a big word for someone like me, someone who didn't know what mangrove was. A graduate of a prominent uni in England is of the opinion that writing is a catharsis to this faqir. Hmm...I will have to meditate on what he really meant by that and contemplate on the word catharsis - do this while eating mango, that would be nice LOL.

Pardon me for another silly rambling. It's 9.20 pm and I am waiting for my computer teacher to arrive, so let's write. Write is a verb just like love :)

Anyway, Aunt Merriam offers a couple of definitions for the word-of-the-night and I like this one the most. Catharsis is: "a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension." Though I must say, I don't quite like to see the word purification and purgation side by side. If we were to delete that 'purge' bit and if anyone were to find some of the postings here as 'a purification that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension', I would be humbled and grateful. Regardless, writing, to many people is a channel by which they can relieve themselves of tension. It's a good way to de-stress.

We all want a stress free life. I've realized one thing. A sure fire way to a stress free life is to stay cool and not be overly argumentative. Instead, opt to disagree in a friendly way - demur at people's opinions and/or criticisms - just politely disagree. Should people request or suggest something you dislike, just politely decline. Of course to do it politely is the challenging bit, but hey, demur is a verb, just like love. So, just demur if you have to, and just love because you ought to. 

By the way, I have found the best recipe for lamb marinade. Just saying. But seriously, you can ask my English teacher, he will testify anytime :)

Cook for the people you love because love is a verb. So is demur.
Catharsis is a noun. So now we know. 

Good nite y'all.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's a verb | Love is...


Love this quote:
"Love is a verb. Without action, it is merely a word."

People say money can't buy love. Of course not. But the reality is that, if you have some money, it's good to splash your love on your loved ones, with your money.

And more importantly:
"Never ignore a person who loves you and cares for you."
- Women of History

Henceforth, we've got to do both:
  • make our love a verb. That is translate it into actions and,
  • verbalize our love. That is express it in words. Positive feelings that is. Not distrust or whatever, because positivity is a choice and so is trust. That's because life is short. We all know that.
Wow, I am feeling like a love doctor tonite.
Heh...heh...anyhow, we praise God for His bounties.
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that Allah showers us with so much love in various forms.
[read: handbags, jewelries, books...the stuffs that make you jump for joy!]  

: D

Let's sing the Happy song:
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Because I'm happy...
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.
Because I'm happy...

USB - getting same item in another color today, Ya Hu! We are working hard o'er here. Teacher coming for 4-hour session. POBMYT.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mangrove | Get in the groove


I just love telling my 'mangrove story'. When I was in my late 20s, I had my 'mangrove experience'.

A group of us from various companies of an industry was on an excursion. It was supposed to be a fun outing which interspersed a serious seminar or something. We were on a boat cruising an exotic beautiful seaside. I had perused the itinerary and understood that we were going to be taken on a boat to some beautiful cove - an inlet near the river mouth we were cruising, so I imagined. In actual fact the word mangrove was printed on the program but I took it for granted and was hoping to see some picturesque place.

Then the boat took us through some ugly looking swampy area, I got impatient, so my big mouth blurted as I read the itinerary out loud: "I thought they were supposed to show us: mangrove?" Then everyone on the boat laughed at me. It was evident that I didn't know or realize we were actually passing by some mangrove. And that mangrove is what it is. I didn't know what mangrove was. I mean I knew what it was because my kampung (village) has plenty of them. And then one smart fella (a Muslim woman in hijab) poked fun at me saying: 'Oh you don't know what mangrove is? That's mangrove', pointing her finger snobbishly. My automatic reaction was: "Oh I don't need to see this because we have plenty of them in my kampung." Then the proud Muslim lady just had to rub salt into the wound saying: 'Oh you have a language barrier!'

Wow! Then my heart sank. But I just kept quiet. In my heart, I muttered, 'I bet you don't know the word gnosis.'

Few years later I heard this lady left the industry for good. I, the person with a language barrier happened to further my studies in Scotland hoping to learn difficult words like mangrove.

I am telling this story for my niece and nephew, to impress upon them that English is an important language especially at workplace. If you don't know even a simple word like mangrove, people might just hit you and hit you bad. So please buck up, and get in the groove of learning at least a new English word a day.

Never stoop so low.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014



Gosh, what's with 'Paris Dreams'? Thought it was rather quixotic a posting. It has become top 5 now. Hmm...we will never know what kind of writing makes readers tick. Anyway, let me just mention this, so as to relate 'Paris Dreams' - albeit remotely - to this blog. Did you know, the Grand Mosque of Paris was founded in 1926 by Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi (1869 - 1934) and it was inaugurated in the presence of the then French President. How cool is that?

This appears to be another midnite rambling. Do you care? No. Do I care about your opinion? I don't.

Heh...heh...pardon me for being brusque. The mind is somewhat tired but excited having just finished a computer lesson on Adobe Premiere at 1.30 a.m. God bless my teacher! It's never too late to wish him Happy Teachers' Day, is it? In Malaysia, Teachers' Day is celebrated on 16 May. 

But every day is teachers' day methinks. Why? Because as said the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam: 'Allah and His angels and the people of the heavens and the earth, even the ants in the rocks and the fish, pray for blessings on those who teach people good.' And this, we can be certain, is a 24/7 activity. Subhanallah.

And yes, to teach people Adobe Premiere is teaching people good. Though I must say it's an exotic subject for someone with my background. Oh well, things are difficult before they become easy. It won't take long before something we are unfamiliar with, becomes familiar if we care to familiarize ourself with it. Heh...heh...remember me for my witty wordplay, will you? 

Lastly, here's a lil trivia for you. There are only four words that end with xotic: quixotic, exotic, unexotic and nonexotic. Toxic is not one of it : D

Good nite y'all. It's 2.37 a.m. I'd better get some sleep before this posting turns nonsensical. 
Astaghfirullah lima yaqlamuhullah.
Astaghfirullah kama yuhibbuhullah.
By the way, have you memorized this istighfar taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz? I have. Alhamdulillah.

To tell you the truth, this posting came about because my English teacher challenged me to use the words quixotic and brusque in one posting. God bless him. Yes, I have an English teacher. O my niece and nephew: don't be shy to learn one or two new words a day.