Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September wrap-up


As we wrap up the month of September, as a proud Malaysian, I wish to share this meaningful song Warisan (Legacy), commemorating Malaysia Day on September 16th and the country's 57th year of independence. Alhamdulillah.

It's always good to recollect our humble beginnings and count our blessings though Allah has cautioned us that we won't be able to count them.
"...And if you would count the blessings of Allah, 
you would not be able to count them."

We all know this verse very well. Perhaps now we should memorize where it is cited in the Quran. It's 14:34. By the way, do you still remember the other beautiful verse 3:26?
Yes, "Indeed in His Hand is all good." - Quran 3:26

Throughout our lives, surely there are many people who have done us good, both directly and indirectly, in a big or small way, regardless. It's impossible to enumerate and list their contributions. But our Lord is ever watching and nothing escapes His sight and knowledge. It is He who enriches us and enables us to do much good to ourselves and other people because in His Hand is all good.

Should I attempt to wrap all the gifts that He has given in this sweet September alone, it would fill up a football field and more. So Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah and we say thanks to all the conduits through whom Allah has channeled His bounties to us.

Many happy returns - October, November, December and beyond.

Enjoy this meaningful song!

Demi cinta ini.
For the sake of this love.

: )

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chasing target | Reflecting the bygones


Nothing but a midnite rambling, pardon me.
Nothing but a number of days, that's what we are.

Let's say our thanks whenever He invites us to a moment of nearness. Alhamdulillah. May He make us more taqarrub and humble each day.

I have just noticed something, that there is just 8 postings to go before reaching the 200 target set for the year. YaHu! For the record, I did reach the magic number last year, but some postings had been taken down. There's no need to mention why but generally speaking there is no need for us to give space to pretenders/liars. If you are 50 something and born a certain race with black eyes, why do you have to lie to people saying you are 30 something Caucasian with grey eyes. LOL. I guess Allah loves us so He sends weird characters to test us.

Yes, there's 8 postings to go before we hit the minimum target of 200 postings. So then I can put my feet up and seclude myself. No can't do.

Watched a video about Fatima al-Fihri yesterday, 
the speaker said, Fatima al-Fihri was an educated, pious and rich young woman. She didn't choose to put her feet up or go on a yacht, partying [LOL]. She was not like most girls these days who only care about looking good and feeling good. She had a vision. In her mind, she was busy thinking about her community and giving them what they didn't have at that time, using the wealth she inherited from her late father. Her action/decision, according to the speaker, was like an engine that spurred not only Muslim communities in the region but also non-Muslims in Europe. Because of her, Muhammad al-Idris could study at Al-Qarawiyyin and because of a remarkable graduate like Muhammad al-Idris who produced world maps, nations/countries like Spain and Portugal were able to venture out to other parts of the world using his maps during the Age of Discovery.

The inventor of zero/decimal numeral system using Arabic numerals was also a graduate of Al-Qarawiyyin. Great stuffs there, all thanks to a visionary and very generous young woman. What about us? Do we waste time, ours and that of other people with our nonsensical behavior? To quote a reader who sent me some words of encouragement: "Let's flush the negative."

The person who sent me this postcard as a new year greeting in Jan this year is about to leave for hajj. I love her for the sake of Allah. When some people heard the news that she was going for hajj, they said: "What? You're kidding me?" - just because this person is who she is outwardly. But I believe, Allah kids not His chosen servant. He looks at a person's heart, He guides and makes successful whomever He chooses.

Pray this friend of mine will be blessed with hajj mabrur. Am happy thinking there will be someone who would say a prayer for me at Arafah this year, InshaAllah.

May Allah make us a place of tajalli (a receptacle) of His great bounties. Ameen.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Choosy choosing friends


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, am grateful for the wonderful friends in my life who teach me in the ways which they themselves are unaware of. That's the beauty of having humble and beautiful hearted people around us.

Am very pleased to hear that some readers are benefiting from Dr Jasser Auda's book too. Alhamdulillah, "In His hand is all good." [Quran 3:26]

When some people write in, my heart grins big like down to the diaphragm LOL. Seriously, some people are so unassuming that they are not aware of how their state, just being themselves can elevate the people they interact with. May Allah bless you. You know who you are!

Ibn Ata'illah says:
"Do not befriend someone who does not elevate you with his state, or guide you to God with his speech. It could be that you are doing evil, yet you think you are doing good because you are comparing yourself to your friend who is worse than you."

So being choosy is good in this context.

I am blessed to know one respectable visitor to this humble space. I didn't know she is actually a Professor Dr. __ until recently, because she always and only refers to herself as Sister P. MashaAllah tabarakallah. 

Now compare this with those who elevate themselves by telling people they live in a certain posh neighborhood, when in truth they live somewhere else. The neighborhood is wealthy alright but their abode is probably the worst of the pack. We are not people who judge people from their homes but it goes to show that those who try to elevate themselves will be brought down, whereas those who are humble, Allah will lift them up.

So that's why we have been told to be choosy and choose those whose "state" elevate us. By state, Dr Jasser Auda in his book A Journey to God, defines as "a Sufi expression for the spiritual influence that people have on one's spirituality."

May Allah keep us in good company, always. Ameen.

I spotted these two gentlemen chatting away
at Kowloon Mosque in Hong Kong.
I walked past them but quickly turned back to snap their photo because
the aura of their friendship was something worth capturing.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sunrise in the beginning | Sunrise in the end


When I read this aphorism by Ibn Ata'illah, I immediately thought of Fatima al-Fihri.

Ibn Ata says:
"A sign of success in the end comes from relating a matter to God in the beginning. If there is no sunrise in the beginning, there is no sunrise in the end."

Fatima al-Fihri, was the first and the only woman ever who founded both a mosque and a university - the University of Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco which came into existence a very long time ago in the 9th century. It's therefore, the world's oldest university. Later in the 14th century, the university housed, what was to be the world's oldest library where one could find Muwatta of Imam Malik on gazzele parchment.  

It's big time sunrise in the end for the efforts Fatima undertook. Why? Because there was glorious sunrise in the beginning when she embarked on her project.

Her father Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Fihri was a wealthy businessman from whom she and her sister Mariam had inherited plenty. Following the death of her husband, brother and father, Fatima, a well educated woman herself, decided to use her inheritance as waqaf, not simply any small waqaf project but an everlasting amal jariah for the sake of her father and her community - a mosque that subsequently evolved into a leading university.

She might not have had the technical know-how, yet she decided to be involved in the construction process. She chose to be a hands-on benefactor. As an educated and pious woman it was clear for her that a mosque should be built on the foundations of taqwa so she took that literally. It was reported that Fatima observed fasting throughout the construction of the mosque which took two years to complete.

Fatima was a woman of great distinction who left a remarkable legacy. The mosque and the University of Qarawiyyin is still running and is alma mater for great scholars such as Muhammad al-Fasi, Ibn Khaldun and Ibn al-Arabi.

Fatima al-Fihri, was without a doubt, a selfless woman with great vision. It was sunrise in the beginning and because of her, millions of people have seen sunny days through the years, and we are talking about 1000 over years.   


"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
It's not warm when she's away..."

To do Fez via Paris would be awesome, InshaAllah.

Friday, September 26, 2014

On work and rewards


It's beautiful. Allah is the Master Craft behind all beautiful objects such as this. Though beauty is unique in the eyes of the beholder.

Excuse this rambling. As I turn 44, I think all I need is just another three handbags. Yeah right! LOL.

Yes anyone can have it. I could have it soon, by God's Will, but a friend has made me realize that if I delivered something meaningful for the world, then carrying this piece would be so much sweeter as a reward. We need buddies around us to knock some sense in our head.

Better work hard now because technically speaking we won't have the same physical and mental energy 10 or 20 years from now. This life is about hard work and leaving behind something great.

May Allah bless our age with good lasting deeds. May Allah give us plenty in our hands yet keep Him always in the heart. May we rejoice in His bounties before we go underground. 

And let's consider this:
"The journey to God in this life is much shorter than the journey to Him in the afterlife."
- Dr Jasser Auda

So let's take advantage of this present life. Take benefit of 5 before 5.

Jumaah mubarrak!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nothing but a number of days


A part of me is gone.
A part of me is gone.

O Allah, may I live a long...life full...of blessings. Ameen.

- Eza @ Ms. Quintillion

"But I cannot and will not 
let a part of me be gone 
without giving something, 
even if it be one good sentence."
- CEO Exa Publishing

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spy | Unauthorized agent


"And do not spy..." - Quran 49:12

Shaykh Ibn Atha'illah as-Sakandari says:
'A person who learns of people's secrets and does not have heavenly mercy on them, brings upon himself a great danger and disaster.'

And Dr. Jasser Auda says:
[This is the 5th posting in which I am quoting from his book, pardon me.]
Firstly: 'One should not feel that he is authorized by God to act as a judge or have any illusion that he is on a great mission to establish justice based on the secrets he came to know.' So people, refrain from becoming an unauthorized agent.

Secondly, one must have heavenly mercy. 'A person who does not have mercy on people after learning about their faults, risks falling into tyranny, arrogance, conceit, envy and suspicion. All these traits are dangerous and destructive and are punishable both in this world and the world to come.'

'The original situation is: do not spy...Otherwise, he will be journeying backward not forward to God.'

A Journey to God - Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ata'illah by Dr Jasser Auda/Awakening Publications.

Ahah! Someone hired a spy and threatened to reveal my private pix! Allah knows best! In God, I trust. In God I seek refuge and from Him I ask for forgiveness. 
Unauthorized agents are themselves subject to Allah's reckoning. Yet they have the nerve to say: 'I know everything. You think I didn't know this and that...'  They rely on their spy/bomoh who could be giving inaccurate info, still they feel good thinking they "know everything" LOL

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Watch hands | Watch the Hand


The next time you watch your watch hands showing 3:26 p.m. or a.m. remember the verse in the Quran 3:26 -  "In His Hand is all good."

Let's be mindful of the Hand that gives us good.
Let's be more grateful for the Hand that gives us much good.

A very good affirmation to repeat in the heart, before we go to sleep.
In His Hand is all good.
In His Hand is all good.
In His Hand is all good.

Allahumma a'inni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatik.

p/s Was inspired to do this posting after reading chapter 19 of 'A Journey to God' by Dr Jasser Auda. The book quotes many verses of the Quran which are new to me and got me excited. Plus the language used in the translation is fresh and appealing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hereafter mindset | Make the world come after you


Oh my God! I am one of those who wake up in the morning and think of getting into the shower and what to wear today. That's my first thought. Astaghfirullah.

Again, from Dr. Jasser Auda's book I learned something new. It's also a very important trick if you want the world to come to you. How about that?

But it takes serious diligent training or re-framing of one's mindset - mine as I am guilty as can be.

Quoting from the book 'A Journey to God', in the Twentieth Step, the author quotes a hadith where the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said: "...Whoever gets up and is mostly concerned about the Hereafter, God will cause him to feel focused and content, and will give him a feeling of being independent, and worldly gains will definitely come to him."

Dr. Jasser Auda further explains: "When you open your eyes in the morning, ask yourself: What is the first thing that comes to my mind? What is my goal? Is it the Hereafter? Is it about God? If this is the case, God will grant you contentment and cause this worldly life to come to you despite your indifference to it."

In the first part of the hadith quoted above, the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said: "Whoever wakes up and this world is his main concern, God will make him shattered and scattered and he will feel a sense of panic and loss, and he will get nothing except that which was already decreed for him."  

O people, go get the book by Awakening Publications. It costs only RM69. I got it from where else - Kinokuniya KLCC. Am sure you'll find it mind-awakening. Am writing this with niyyat so that people will benefit from at least this one positive posting showing people to goodness. Because I am weak, I need easy bonus reward such as this bi iznillah.

It could be that the residents of that pretty house with a blue roof
wake up with a more correct mindset
than those living in that tall condo

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Great weather | Weathered good


YaHu..... looks like it's going to rain very soon : D

KL - 20 Sept 2014
11 a.m.

Remember that words of reminder from Ustaz Don? That you better rejoice when it rains, better be in sync with Surah Rum: 48 - about people who rejoice when it rains.

Alhamdulillah, we are among those who love great weather - both rain or shine. Just that when it gets too hot, there's a high probability of getting a bad headache. But the weather is not to be blamed. Should blame the head LOL.

Now who is not seasoned by exposure to the weather of life? Being weathered by life is good. That means you are alive and kicking. That means you get wiser by the day.

That can only mean you are "weathered" good like a beautiful piece of leather. So rejoice, come rain or shine.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life's little surprises | Duty of the time


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. I thank Allah for this space and how people's reactions to postings could be a pleasant surprise. Thank God for life's little surprises.

The rule of thumb is always the same, write from the heart. As an amateur writer I realize there's something more meaningful about writing than speaking. When I was at a corporate dinner last night, I realized even more that when speaking, only about 10% of me would surface. But when writing, I feel like I am able to dive deeper and uncover so much more to express, drawing from a bigger reservoir of the self within. It's something to be cherished. In other words, speaking, to me, is like shallow breathing, while writing is wholesome deep breathing.

Yes that book by Dr. Jasser Auda is indeed special, so it's no surprise people responded to the previous posting pretty fast. I wish I could fly out to Dubai and then Doha to have coffee and chat with Dr Jasser. Now that's wishful thinking as we all have to observe the "duty of the time" or wajib al-waqt, so I learned from his book. 

In the chapter on Second Step on this Al-Hikam aphorism where Ibn Atha'illah said: 'A human will, however strong it is, can never pierce through the veils of destiny' Dr. Jasser stated this obvious fact: "Throughout one's life, there are different stages that carry with them different duties and responsibilities."

Certainly, there is a period of time where we are subjected to a particular role in a given episode of life. As much as we want to, we cannot jump the gun but submit ourselves to the "duty of the time".

He further said: "This is an important step on the path to God: always pay attention to the duty of your time, as much as you understand it. Believe in God's wisdom in everything. He gives or takes away, and surrender to the laws of the universe and the veils of destiny." 

So the past five years have been 'blogging duty' for me. Who knows what Allah has in store in the next five years for you and me? As much as we are curious about the future, we cannot as Ibn Atha'illah said it, we cannot "pierce through the veils of destiny."

When the time comes for us to move away from one 'duty of the time' to another, let's pray Allah makes it easy for us and that we would be contented with His choice. That we won't be stubborn in wanting to cling and be too attached with the old, that we are reluctant to embrace the new.

Have a pleasant weekend dear readers.

Biography of Dr. Jasser Auda as extracted from the quoted book:
Jasser Auda currently teaches Islamic Studies at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies in Doha. He memorized the Quran and received traditional studies in Islamic sciences in Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. He was a founding director of the Maqasid Research Center in London. He wrote two PhD theses on the Philosophy of Islamic Law at the University of Wales, UK and on Systems Analysis at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Dr Jasser Auda has published a number of books in Arabic and English. He is also a visiting lecturer to universities in Egypt, Canada, Qatar and India.

Credit: Awakening Publications.

Pic credit: http://ds-lands.com/photo/cities/doha/04/

Friday, September 19, 2014

On neediness and freedom


It's Friday night. Put down my dinner clutch and picked up this wonderful book which I have been reading hungrily. I remembered about 12 years ago, how reading Al-Hikam had a significant impact on my understanding of Islam. It made me feel accepted, not by people, but by the Lord.

Hence, it's a delight to have re-discovered the lights of Al-Hikam through the reflections of Dr. Jasser Auda who expounded the meaning of Ibn Athaillah's wisdom in a crystal clear way.

He has chosen 28 aphorisms from Al-Hikam and sequenced them in the form of a journey to God. Like the things you need to carry with you so that you will have what is needed, every step of the way. 

In the 'Fourteenth Step', Dr. Jasser Auda picked this aphorism:
"The tree of humiliation stems from a seed of neediness. Nothing deceives as much as illusion. You are free from what you give up, and you are a slave to what you need."

"The Shaykh explains, that the direct reason for being humiliated by people is the neediness in one's heart towards the people."

We often get lost in illusion thinking we are in need of people for the benefits which we think they could bring us or that we need to cling to them because they could evict harm from us. When we are disillusioned by these misconceptions on our neediness, we become slave to people.

Dr. Jasser Auda wrote:
"Neediness is the source of humiliation and illusion is the source of neediness. Freedom from all this is the solution and is another step in God's way."

And they are talking about neediness in the heart. We will have attained true freedom when we free ourselves from being slave to other than God. When we don't have in our hearts a sense of neediness towards others, we won't be humiliated, and only then can we become truly dependent on God alone. That is real freedom. Real freedom is about being slave to Allah and no one else.

To quote another succinct point from the brilliant book:
"You have no illusion, no neediness, no humiliation, and you have your freedom."

That's indeed a salient point to consider when we get tangled every now and again in a sticky or choking situation. It's good to pause and ask ourselves: What's my illusion? Why am I feeling needy towards a person? Am I humiliating myself by being dependent on him/her? I have to free myself from all these and become a true slave to God alone.

Allahu a'lam.
May Allah let us understand and experience true freedom. Ameen.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"The only book you need for the fullest knowledge of tassawuf" - Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib al-Amghari al-Idrissi al-Hasani


The Basic Research by Shaykh Ahmad ibn 'Ajiba, according to the much venerated Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, was one of three great books he received from his blessed shaykh - Sayyidi Muhammad ibn al-Habib al-Amghari al-Idrissi al-Hassani. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, tonight I found this precious book which I regard as an imaginary bridge on which to cross slowly before bi-iznillah meeting the honorable Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, in Cape Town, one glorious day, InshaAllah. We implore upon Allah Al Mujib to grant this wish. Ameen.

The Basic Research is a commentary by Shaykh Ahmad ibn 'Ajiba on the poem of Ibn al-Banna of Saragossa. The book is published by  Madinah Press.

Shy and reluctant to quote from the book, but for these few lines, I hope I will be forgiven.

Shaykh Ibn 'Ajiba on commenting the lines written by Ibn al-Banna where the latter said 'I begin matters with the name of Allah because He is their purpose and He is the beginning."

Ibn 'Ajiba thus wrote [and we humbly quote hoping that it would increase our certainty]:
"There is no doubt that the one who seeks help from Allah is helped in all matters. He who does not seek His help in all his affairs is disappointed. May Allah increase the one who said, If Allah does not help you in what you seek, there is no way a created being can help you. If He does not guide you in every way, you will stray, even if Arcturus is your guiding star."


Note: Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern hemisphere.

A worthy book to carry around      

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Malaysia Day | Northbound


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Happy indeed to be a Malaysian. We can drive some 400 km up north and get away from the hustle bustle of KL to laidback Perlis, the northern-most state in Peninsula Malaysia before one enters Thailand.

For the benefit of our foreign readers, today the 16th of September is 'Malaysia Day', so it is holi-holi-day for us here.

The best part about travelling is that one gets to meet interesting and inspiring people. I met Su, a 20 year old Chinese girl, who reverted to Islam during last Ramadhan. She is the eldest of two. Since she was 7 she became close friend with a Malay girl in school. Today more than a decade later she lives with her friend's grandma from whom she could learn more about Islam. Su had been wanting to embrace Islam for a long time but she kept procrastinating until another close friend of hers, a Muslim, passed away. Two nights after the girl died, Su had a bad dream. She saw how terrible the punishments in the grave could be. In the dream, she stood in fear witnessing some terrifying actions of one large figure who turned at her saying, 'Do not delay any more!' Su understood it very clearly and immediately accepted Islam with the help of her buddies. Three months have passed and this is what I saw on her whatsapp profile: "New life makes me happy." Let's pray Su will get through college life successfully and blossom into a good Muslim lady.

The other best part about travelling in and around Malaysia is that you get to discover marvellous street food everywhere. 

Sweet corn in Perlis
Kuala Perlis by the sea - the place to have cheap fresh seafood
Thank God it was chilly.
 Perlis is otherwise a very very hot place!
'Malaysia Day' relay along the highway.
Thank God for a peaceful and prosperous country!

Happy holidays [whatever that's left].

- Blogging on the run @ Paragon Penang.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Can't force love - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was here in KL but I missed it. Big time disappointed.

Below is borrowed from Majlis Ta'lim Darul Murtadza website. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf spoke in English. The key points he made are being shared on the website in Malay and I hereby translate one of them into English - that's not a very good thing to do but here goes: 

"The fuqaha said it is obligatory to love Allah but when love becomes an obligation (wajib) then that's not love. Allah will love those who love Him. And a lover would yearn to see the beloved. The roads to Allah are many, that is through charity (sadaqah), knowledge (ilm), remembrance (zikir), night prayers (tahajjud), through helping and loving others, through humility, etc. Allah will raise those who are humble but those who are arrogant will be brought low."

So it's clear, you can't force love.
There are indeed many ways to reach Allah,
therefore, think not "my way is the only right way."
Being humble is the way to go.
Arrogance is a no-no.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Qad Kafani 'Ilmu Rabbi | My Lord's Knowledge Suffices Me


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, for beautiful moments. We should consider ourself lucky if tears fell like rain on realizing our incapacity, of our dire needs for Him. It's a gift to be given such intimate feelings with the Lord.

Having attended the Majlis Haul of Imam Al-Haddad in KL last weekend and having heard a very beautiful rendition of this poem at the majlis, I thought this clip ought to be here as a much needed reminder.

My Lord's knowledge is enough for me 
from asking or choosing
for my supplication and my begging 
attest to my neediness
By this secret I supplicate 
in times of ease and in times of difficulty...

Being grateful for moment of nearness.
Hoping He would grant more.
Believing His promises are all so true.
The ever merciful God, our protector,
the most reliable Giver.

O my Lord, my King
You know the state I am in
And what has overwhelmed my heart
with distress and preoccupations
Acknowledge me with a kindness from You
O Lord of Lords
O countenance of generosity
save me, before my patience is exhausted...

Indeed, my Lord's knowledge suffices me.

For full wordings:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Time after time


Jumaah Mubarrak dear friends.

I am grateful for this day. Allah gives plenty.

That's an antique looking clock at Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Center in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. 

Time after time, Allah gives more and more.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Wish y'all great times ahead.

Tea time ; )
Thanks H!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy at Majlis Haul Imam Al-Haddad in Malaysia - September 2014


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we were able to attend the annual majlis commemorating the passing of one of the greatest solehin: Al-Imam Al-Habib Abdullah bin Alawi Al-Haddad (1634-1720).

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy was one of the many distinguished guests at the 2014 Majlis Haul held at Shah Alam State Mosque in Malaysia.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy re-emphasized some of the points he made at an earlier majlis in KL especially on the importance of showing unconditional compassion. Below is a summary of the key points the shaykh delivered in his tausiyah at the Majlis Haul on September 6th, 2014.

  • The much loved Shaykh began, as always, quoting a verse of the Quran where Allah enjoins us to be with the sadiqin (the truthful). It is important that we be cognizant of the different effects we could get by associating with one who is perfumed as opposed to a blacksmith. Imam Al-Haddad belonged to "people of ilm" and not "people of information". We tend to think 'ilm is about amassing information. 'Ilm that does not lead to transformation, and transformation that does not lead to realization or makrifah, is not 'ilm
  • People invented mass weapon, the hydrogen bomb etc. - that is not beneficial 'ilm. Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam came with a weapon of construction. He demanded you to positively contribute to the earth, to make a change, not status quo, at least to keep it good. We learned from history, from the time of Qabil, there were nations killing nations. Then Prophet Muhammad came with a message of construction and not destruction. Muslims constitute the largest number of war victims yet Muslims are considered as the cause of violence. Islam believe in tolerance.
  • Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam was the most articulate. He was jawami'ul kalam. Some people intellectualize their speeches. But Prophet Muhammad was one who speak like the rain. It falls on people who know and people who don't know. The Prophet says, "I am but a gift of mercy." The giver of the gift is Allah. The recipient of the gift is Prophet Muhammad. When Allah gives, He gives the best gift there is.
  • Allah wants us to be with the solehin and Prophet Muhammad is sayyidul solehin (the foremost leader of the righteous). He will lead the sirat. 
  • Allah has created male and female, and so many tribes and nations, to do what? To hate each other? To employ violence against each other? No. It's to build bridges and to do good even to those who don't do you good. We must show unconditional love. We must show mercy to other cultures. We cannot be telling people 'your culture is entirely bad.'. We should tell people 'keep the good things you are doing'. We must respect other people's culture. We are only muzakkir, that is our job is to remind them. We cannot force people to accept Islam. If they don't, we must offer them unconditional compassion. The belief has to come from the heart. Islam was spread with love, not sword. Islam was spread with the power of logic, not the logic of power. Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam used the power of logic which is risalah/message of tolerance. Firaun, Qarun, Haman, Abu Jahal, Abu Lahab all used the logic of power. Rahmah means to afford unconditional compassion even when you disagree with the person.
  • Trace the footsteps of Imam Al-Haddad and other awliya. They are people who give everything they had for the sake of Allah. They embody Islam with love, with inclusiveness and with unconditional compassion. Life is about giving, not just taking. Learn to give back, not just take. Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam and awliya came to give everything, not to take.
  • If you kill a bird, the bird will complain to Allah about you. Islam came to give people life, not to take life away from them.
  • Nasihah means transparency. Most people equates it to advice. What nasihah means is that what you have in your heart, you say it on your tongue.
  • Ahmad Shawki, a poet in Egypt has a collection of poetry known as Diwan al-Shawkiyah. There is a story in the diwan about a black crow named Nujur. The community of black crows built their own kingdom. They had a king and built a palace for the king. The king of the crow like all wise kings, had many assistants who come and go but he kept one confidante, usually the doorman. His name was Nudur. Nudur said to the King: "O King, you are a descendant of the solehin, of pious kings and you always taught us to appreciate nasihah." Shaykh Ninowy said when giving nasihah we should first start with the good news, then give the advice. Nudur further said to the King: "I saw ants going around the palace and went to the root of the tree where our palace is. Your majesty, send your army to take them out before we all die." On hearing this, the Sultan of the crow laughed, saying: "Look how strong my wing and my beak is. You asked me to consider the insignificant ants?" But these ants were eating the root of the tree. One day a big storm came and uprooted the tree. "O Nudur, do something!" said the Sultan. Nudur replied: "Your majesty, don't ask Nudur. I don't deal with the insignificant ants."
  • The moral of the story said Shaykh Ninowy is that the awliya, what they are trying to tell you is advice, yet you think it is insignificant. What they are trying to advise you are keys for your salvation and success. The sadiqin, they have truthfulness, they have transparency. If you refuse to listen, "the ants" will eat up your ikhlas and iman without you knowing it.
  • Imam Shafie, Imam Abu Haniffa and all the great scholars all give words of nasihah, so open the ears of your heart. Listen. Look for the spiritual ants in your life that are robbing you from your time and iman.
  • If you don't take heed, you will only have a body without ruh. We need ruh. Iblis refused to make sujud to Adam because he thought he was better than Adam who was made from clay. But Allah never asked Iblis: 'what were you created from?' Allah upon completing the creation of Adam breathed into him ruh. That ruh is what made you superior. You are a human being because of the ruh. Iblis never got the ruh. Man is not just clay. That is why Allah asked Iblis to make sujud to Adam. So live with your soul and not your body!                       

Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions in my notes.
The majlis was hosted by HAK/Amanah Hawi Al-Khairat.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scarcity | Seeing beauty


I will try my best not to be "scarce" because a respectable friend/reader remarked: 'please don't be scarce.' That's interesting because nobody had said that before - scarce. I never want to belong with the 'scarce resources' category. It's just that being a blogger is not that easy sometimes. Because when you put yourself out in the open, you'll get all kinds of things coming your way. You get all kinds of visitors, naturally. More often than not, your time gets eaten up in the wrong way. The month of August as some of you might have noticed, had been quite challenging that I had to use this space to defend myself. Some people bring out the good in us, some just do the opposite. Good people bring out the good in other people. Generally, the readers here are good and bring out the good in me, so thank you!

Also as advised by our shuyukh, we blow away the husks and just take the kernel. I hope the regular readers/visitors - those who do not consider this blog stupid - would exercise the same, that is blow away any husks that may be found here and take only the 'edible' bits. 

In his recent talk in KL, Shaykh Ninowy advised us to 'look for the ants, the spiritual ants, that are robbing our time and iman.' I imagined my head being engulfed by thousands of black ants, when he said that.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity as we embrace the month of sweet September, to say thank you to those of you who wrote in with love and words of encouragement. You are beautiful yourselves! And to quote Shaykh Ninowy again: "Whose self is void of beauty, cannot recognize beauty anywhere. It takes beauty to recognize beauty."

Let not beauty be scarce in our eyes. May we belong with those who see beauty everywhere. 

When someone at an event said: "It's with a heavy heart that we end this session", Shaykh Ninowy quickly interjected: "with a loving heart". 

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah

- E -

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Be sure to rejoice when it rains


Just a short but very important advice from Ustaz Don Daniyal at the Majlis Haul of Imam Al-Haddad in KL last Saturday.

He asked, how many of us quietly complain when it rains? Sometimes, we grumble when it rains: "Oh no, have to cancel my plan." "Oh dear, have to cancel our outing." 

Beware, said Ustaz Don, because if we grumble, we are not in synch with what Allah says in the Quran. We are supposed to rejoice!

"It is Allah who sends the Winds, and they stir the clouds and spread them in the sky however He wills, and He makes them fragments so you see the rain emerge from within them. And when He causes it to fall upon whom He wills of His servants, immediately they rejoice."
 - Surah Ar Rum:48

Translation credit: Altafsir.com/Ibrahim Walk

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday | Times


Hmm...this is dated Monday, but it's written on a Sunday afternoon, so it's just another Sunday rambling. Can't help but reminisce the wonderful time spent last weekend in Hong Kong.

Pardon me, I have got quite lengthy notes from Shaykh Ninowy's talks on my desk which I am yet to post. But for now let's just chill and ramble for a while. OK, folks?

Time is of the essence people say. Time is He. He who gives all things good and not so good, in our perspective that is, because all things are by default good, because nothing escapes His grand brilliant plan.

Speaking of time, one of the must buy items in HK has got to be watches y'all. I am not a watch person really but HK has converted me in a way.

Till then, wish y'all a fanta-bulous time!

Thank God for His gifts.
 Thank God for happy times.

Pray Allah grant me tawfiq to digest Shaykh Ninowy's lessons and share with you soon. InshaAllah.

At the Majlis Haul for Imam Al-Haddad at Shah Alam state mosque on Saturday evening, Shaykh Ninowy ended his profound tausiyah saying:
"Look for the spiritual ants in your life 
that are robbing you 
from your time 
and iman."


Pray, next trip will be towards South Africa. And then Spain. Ameen
: D

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy speaking on unconditional compassion in KL


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Ya Huuuuuu... it was my third experience being in his majlis, our much loved Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy, yesterday at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Kuala Lumpur.

The official title of his talk was 'Tolerance Amongst Muslims: The Muhammadan Legacy', but he said, in Islam, it goes beyond tolerance, it has got to do with unconditional compassion.

At the outset of his tausiyah, the shaykh said: "I am family amongst family and with family, we don't need to say recognition." Shaykh Al-Ninowy was referring to the kind of formality that might be expected from such an event and his preference for a casual session.  

The shaykh confessed that his long trip was taking a toll on him, that he wasn't feeling well on arrival in KL but after fajar today he thought to himself: 'O Muhammad, this is a window for you to heal yourself.' Speaking about solehin is a cause for mercy to descend and with mercy comes shifa' (healing). Because he wasn't feeling too well, he had prepared some notes for his talk for fear that he might go off track but then he said "the best of speech is that which comes from the heart" so he did.

And because the best kalam is kalamullah, said the shaykh, he quoted a verse from the Quran where Allah says: 'Do not tell the people who give you salam, you are not a believer.'  

The shaykh said [and my notes are not complete/verbatim]
"Don't call those who say salam to you: 'you are not a believer'. Freedom stops when it infringes on someone's space. Don't judge people's hearts. Don't do neurosurgery on the heart.  The heart beats on automaticity (on its own). Let the heartbeat with love compassion and tolerance. Don't get into people's hearts and judge. Who knows a person's heart, other than Allah. Did you open his/her heart? "

"Don't occupy ourselves with that which is not productive for ourselves. Instead, we need to reform ourselves. But sometimes people feel better by putting down other people. We are always thinking about what they say or intend. We should be judging by husnul zan, that is thinking good of others. There is a ghazal that says: 'Whose self is void of beauty, cannot recognize beauty anywhere.' 'It takes beauty to recognize beauty.'

We are talking about Haddadul Qulub or the Haddad of hearts. The heart is called qalb or yaqlib which means 'flips'. We are supposed to be in solat but oftentimes our heart flips. When we give zakat, our heart flips thinking 'oh someone might notice this good deed I am doing'. There is a du'a asking Allah: 'Ya muaqqalibal qulub, O Allah who flips the heart, don't make my heart flips...'

"Worry about your own heart, not the state of other people's heart. Because when you do that, your heart flips from the Creator to creation. Mentioning the creation is a source of disease. Mentioning the Creator is a source of healing."

"Don't interpret people's intention. You may interpret their words but not their intentions. You may watch their mouth but not their heart."
"People want to see tolerance and compassion in actions but not words. People did not come to Malaysia bringing Islam with pamphlets or books. They came with kalimah tayyibah. People are looking for compassion. People want unconditional compassion which is beyond tolerance. Kitab is for later, it's for research."

"What is meant by ehsan? If you are good to those who are good to you then what good are you? Ahsan is about af'al (action). You are supposed to be better than good to those who are good to you. Don't argue with ahlul kitab except with ahsan. Call on to your Lord with hikmah, that is with ahsan/hasanah/ehsan - with unconditional compassion. Not just mercy or tolerance. You must always give/afford unconditional compassion. If people slander you, don't slander them back. Unconditional compassion does not depend on how others act on you."

Shaykh Al-Ninowy related a story of a Sultan of Morocco who had one and only daughter. The Sultan was dying so he went to Madinah looking for the right man for his daughter. He asked around in search of a good gentleman who could be a husband to his daughter and inherit his throne. He was eventually directed to the Prophet's neighborhood, to a man who had three sons. The first son was questioned: If someone does wrong to you, what would you do? He answered: 'I won't do him wrong but I would do justice to him.' Like an eye for an eye, said Shaykh Ninowy. Then the second son was asked the same question: If someone does you wrong, what would you do? The second son said: 'Father, I will forgive him.'

Then came the third son who replied: 'I will do them good.' 'But why', asked the father. "Because my nature overcomes their nature. My essence overcomes their essence. I behave based on my essence and nature, not based on theirs. And my essence and nature are that I do good."

Shaykh al-Ninowy then commented on unity and conformity. He said unity does not necessarily mean conformity. Five plus five equals 10 and so does 8+2 and 7+3. The way you see things is not always the only way to see things. We see different aspects. Holding up a bottle, the shaykh demonstrated how people in the audience view it differently from where the shaykh was looking.

In reference to multi-faith issues, the shaykh quoted the Quran where Allah says, if your Lord will, everyone is going to be mukmin. So are you going to force people to be mukmin? Our job is just to convey the message. All we have to do is be good with each other and know the difference between hasanah and sayi'at. And do something better, not the same or good, but something better.

In Surah Taha, there is a verse that begins with Ar Rahmanu a'lal arshyis tawa...meaning 'Ar Rahman who is established on the throne.'  Allah didn't say Al Jabbar or Al Muntaqim or any other Name. That essentially means the arash is subjugated by the rahmah of Allah. Also in the Quran, Allah says 'My rahmah overcomes everything.' Know that the beginning of creation is rahmah. So we are not talking about tolerance, it's beyond tolerance.

Allah created 100 rahmah and He sent only 1 rahmah to the universe. According to a hadith related by Abu Hurairah: 'If the kafir knows what Allah has of Rahmah, they will not be hopeless of Jannah.'

We say bismilaahirahmanirahim. Some people differentiate the meaning of Ar Rahman and Ar Rahim but it's actually the same thing. You have to have rahmah in you and onto others. The anbiya were given rahmah to build people. They were not given weapons to destroy people. So, your mission is rahmah, not just tolerance.     

Allah defines Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam as raufun rahim. We should look at how Allah describes the Prophet. Therefore, we must be kind and unconditionally merciful. We can't erect a wall of hatred. But where are we? The sahabah asked the Prophet to make du'a against the mushrikin. But the Prophet refused to say 'I was not sent to doom people and curse them.' It's like the Prophet saying: I was sent as unconditional compassion to them. Even if they don't believe in me. They may be hateful but I don't become hateful.

The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam himself is rahmah. The Prophet says: "I am but a gift of rahmah." When Allah gives a gift, it's got to be the best of gifts.

Shaykh al-Ninowy further advised us not to be fooled by people who teach without rahmah. If there is no rahmah, there is no ilm. A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge! That is the pre-requisite. No loving heart - no knowledge. There is a difference between knowledge and amassing information, not knowledge, hence it's not makrifah.         

Remember the story of Nabi Musa and Nabi Khidir? Allah tells Musa to search for Khidir. Musa was not just a prophet, but also a Rasul and not just a Rasul but Ulul Azmi. How does Allah describe Khidir? In the Quran, Allah describes the knowledge of Khidir as being based on rahmah. That rahmah is the pre-requisite of ilm.

Again, in Surah Ar Rahman which begins with Ar Rahman 'alamal Qur'an. What it means is that you cannot know the Quran without rahmah. Those who spill hatred amongst Muslims do not even understand the meaning of Bismillahirahmanirahim, let alone Ar Rahman 'alamal Quran.     
The first hadith is a hadith or mercy asking us to be merciful to the people on earth if we want to gain the mercy of those in the heavenly realm. So you cannot learn or even love without rahmah. If you want to get married, you will need two things. You need love and rahmah. Rahmah is the pre-requisite of love. You cannot love if you are intolerant.

Allah describes the anbiya as ibaduRahman, the slaves of Ar Rahman. When they walk, even their walk is the walk of rahmah.

Tolerance and compassion are both attributes of Jamal or beauty. If you want to be beautiful, be tolerant and have compassion. And of course, the perfect jamal is Mustafa. In him resides both jamal (beauty) and jalal (majesty) which then bring about kamal (perfection).

In the Quran, Allah says: It is from the rahmah of your Lord, they see your beauty more than your jalal. If you were rough/tough (jalal), they would have moved from around you. That means they would not be able to take it from you.

Shaykh Ninowy further said the jamal of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam was in his jalal. He likened the Prophet with the center of a flower and the sahabah around him are like petals surrounding a flower. Even the stones and the mountains could not bear the jamal of the Prophet, that they all had to speak to him salallah alaihi wasalam.

The shaykh concluded his tausiyah with more advice. He said, we are all weak/dha'if, we get strengths from being good to each other. That's why we must treat people the way we'd like to be treated. The bond of la ilaha ilallah is a sacred bond.

Stop judging people's hearts. How is your heart with Allah? We can't wait for others to mature. You will not be asked about them. You will be asked about your maturity.

One of my father/grandfather's advice was: 'Son, you need to do good to those who are worthy and those who are not worthy of receiving good.'          
Are we good with Allah? We display public disobedient yet He keeps giving us nikmah. In the Quran, there is a verse that mentions al jaza'ul ihsan... 

Allah is telling us: You need to do ehsan to people because I am doing ehsan to you.

Allahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors in my notes.

The event was organized by HAK & CASIS/UTM. It was held in conjunction with the Haul of Imam Al-Haddad.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Greetings from KL for my Capetonian friends


When the Lord wants to give,
He puts it on a table;
I search far and wide for it
Here I found in Cape Town,
a table spread of bounties;

Thoughts of this Mother City
keep dancing on my mind
and love is permanently fixed
as its majestic mountain

Cape Town so blessed
with mazars guarding it pristine
How special it must be in the eyes of God
for it is here in Durbanville
He plants His Rose Garden;
the Fairest Cape
that's what you all are

For one thirsty of secret knowledge
look for a place where two oceans meet
look no farther than Cape Point
and you shall consume all things Divine

O Lord, take me there
to this wonderful place You have created;
Oh my sweet Cape,
my sweet Cape, be mine!

A dedication to all my Capetonian friends especially Shaykh Seraj Hendricks. I dream of the day when I get to sit at your feet dear Shaykh and let your presence and words heal and transform me for the better. Ameen.

Heartiest congratulations to Sister N for your newborn baby boy! 31st August - a day to remember. Abu Turaaab is my youngest Capetonian friend : )

Cape Town is No. 1 on the New York Time's '52 places to go in 2014'.
Pic credit: http://www.capetown.travel/

Friday, September 5, 2014

Love the elderlies | Be like musk


Reproduced herewith the message regarding respect for elderlies taken from above poster as seen at Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Center, Hong Kong:

"Muslims, by faith are expected to respect and care for the elderly. It is quite common to find children, parents, grandparents and sometimes great grandparents all living together in one large home. In Islam serving one's parents is a duty second only to worshipping God. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when through no fault of their own, the old become difficult to handle."

"God says in the Quran: 'Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not even say uff to them or scold them but speak to them in terms of honor and kindness. Lower to them the wing of humility and say: 'My Lord, have mercy on them for they did care for me when I was young." (Quran 17:23-4)

Loving elderly couple on board Hong Kong Star Ferry
May we grow old with dignity and increased wisdom. And be like musk.

"A wise man once asked: who do you value most among people? He replied: The one whose manners are most noble, whose company is most beneficial, whose intention is most pure, whose parting is most difficult to bear and who is like musk, the older it becomes the more valuable it is."
- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Jumaah Mubarak.

Credit: SHY quote via AidaShaiza FB

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Best-est Sunday picnic in Hong Kong


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, I thought my Lord was extra generous towards me today [Sunday] because...
before that pardon me, this is not a foody's blog but I felt like I had the best meal of the year. And it's mostly salads. That's unbelievable.

Yes, I thought the Lord was extra generous today, because:

1. Started the day with a wonderful ferry ride.
2. Discovered the best salad bar in this whole wide world - the Japanese RF1 salads, y'all. It's their first outlet in Hong Kong at the IFC mall. It's super marvellous, I just don't know how to describe it.
3. Had the best-est picnic ever with mom on the rooftop of the mall, overlooking Victoria harbor. Subhanallah, this is how my best-est meal of the year looks like:

I thought best-meal awards ought to comprise of lambs
and a heap of unhealthy stuffs. LOL.
RF1 salad bar at Citysuper supermarket @ IFC mall
Picnic on IFC rooftop
One can never get enough of the HK Star ferry ride.
This world will not be the same if Allah had not created the seas.
There's no soul that's not lifted just looking at it.
Rabbana ma kholakta haza batila....
The Lord has not created this in vain...