Monday, October 27, 2014

Honoured and preferred Children of Adam | Q17:70


In the stillness of the sea we could sense tranquility, peace and stability. The beautiful hues of the water and skies have a cooling effect on the soul. The warmth of the sun bathe the skin lovingly. 

We travel across the sea and land to see and appreciate beautiful creations of the Lord. At every turn there is beauty and bounties. How can we not feel honored and preferred? Oftentimes, as we get sucked in the spiral of our daily chores, we feel down, forgetting that He has honored us and has carried us here and there every single day.

We should pause and be thankful of verse 17:70 of the Quran: "We have honoured the Children of Adam and carried them on land and sea, and provided them with good things and preferred them greatly over many of those We created."

Indeed, He has provided us with good things. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

At the foot of 260 million year old limestone hills.
Beautiful Malaysia

Sunday, October 26, 2014

One of fiver | In sickness and in health


We are supposed to remember the fiver - the 5 good things before the 5 not-so-good things come to be. One of the 5 is: to take advantage of good health before sickness comes.
I visited someone who is overcome by a severe illness. It's a privilege to be able to visit ill people because we get to benefit from their wisdom, words of advice and most importantly their du'a. This person has been suffering from rectal cancer for the past 18 months.

He is a close buddy of my late father. He is my mom's second cousin. He is 68. I remembered vividly the day he drove me and my family to my college registration. That's 26 years ago.

Surely the rewards for the good deeds he used to do, are still being counted, for surely had he not fell sick, he would have continued frequenting the mosques. He said: "After retirement, I had busied myself with congregational prayers at the mosque. I could finish reading the entire Quran in one week and I would repeat and repeat. Now, here I am, not as mobile as before. This could be a kifarah but I am grateful that God has given this sickness at this age when my children are all grown-up."

Due to his illness, his diet is restricted. "I wish to have nasi kandar but I can't" he joked and went on to mention the list of food that's on his limited menu. I felt guilty listening to him because I just had three nasi kandar in the last two days. And I don't really fancy papaya but papayas are one of the very few items that he could eat. Praise be to Allah for creating all kinds of fruits for His servants.        

He refused an option for a colostomy, which is an opening in the stomach where feces are eliminated into a bag, because he had seen how two of his friends suffered from it and eventually died. "I am not afraid of death but I don't want to trouble my wife. I don't want her to be cleaning the bag. The smell is awful. Worse than that one smelly river in Penang. I'd rather suffer myself." - he spoke as a matter-of-fact.

"What would you advise me?" I asked. He replied, "Take care of your body and be sure to take supplements especially habbatus sauda (fennel flower)."

"Would you please say a prayer for me?"
He replied, "For many years I have always prayed for my relatives both near and distant. I pray that Allah will make them among the shakirin, always grateful and among the knowledgeable who practise their 'ilm. I have always been shy to ask Allah for myself. It's always about my relatives and then the muslimin and muslimat. I don't know each and everyone of my relatives but Allah knows who my relatives are."


Hadith as reported by Abu Hurairah:
The Messenger of Allah salallah alaihi wasalam said: Verily Allah the Exalted and Glorious will say on the Day of Resurrection: "O son of Adam, I was ill but you did not visit Me." He would say: "O my Lord, how could I visit you and You are the Rabb of the worlds? Thereupon He would say: "Did you know that such and such a slave of Mine was ill but you did not visit him? Did you not realize that if you had visited him, you would have found Me with him?"


I realized, when visiting the sick, it's not we who do the sick person a favor, but it is for us to benefit from the favors, from beneficial lessons and from their du'a.  He the Rabb of the worlds is with them and they are close to Him.

May Allah make us make full use of our health before we fall sick, may Allah make us make full use of our age before we are overcome by old age.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You are not alone | Life is good with Him


Another year has gone
I'm not alone
How could this be?
'Cos God is here with me

No need to say goodbye

Someone tell me why
Even if you have to go
my world will still roll

Everyday I sit and tell myself

Love never slip away
Something whispers
in my ear and says
That I am not alone
God is here with me
Nothing is far away
So long as I pray

That's adapted from MJ's song You Are Not Alone.

It's going to be a great year bi-iznillah because we are not alone and He will destine only what's best for each of His servant. With Him around, life is good.

Destined to have a good time in Penang - a UNESCO World Heritage City : )
Alhamdulillah Allah Kareem

Friday, October 24, 2014

Welcoming the new hijri year 1436H


Alhamdulillah that we were able to attend a majlis to observe the eve of the new hijri year. At the Penang State mosque today, the guest speaker elucidated some key points in relation to the new year prayer. He said we should be grateful to be among Allah's guest at His mosque on this auspicious occasion. Indeed, if Allah had not guided our feet, we would have wandered idly elsewhere. He said to do more than just utter the word hijrah on the tongue, we should realize the meaning of hijrah.

In the prayer that is recited right after maghrib of the new year, we acknowledge the coming of a new year and we seek Allah's protection from shayatin and its accomplice and the vice resulting from our own nafs. That we would busy ourselves with deeds that could bring us close to the Creator.

Quoting a kitab, the ustaz said we should observe these recommended acts in our day to day living, that we should repent, check ourselves (muhasabah) and mujahadah - that is to undertake jihad, not just any jihad but one that is permissible. Jihad would only become obligatory upon a nation/community if it is under direct attack by the enemies so that people can no longer practice Islam or their faith (aqidah) gets challenged. To murder our fellow Muslim brothers/sisters is not considered a jihad.

In relation to hijrah, the ustaz urged the audience to engage in jihad in the education field. That each Muslim should strive to master a specific field of studies. That there should be one child in a family who obtains a PhD. That children should strive to get straight As on paper and also A in performing ibadah. That professionals should be busy at work during the day and at night busy themselves at mosques on matters pertaining to the religion and community.

We should also perform jihad in correcting any misconceptions concerning the religion. The other form of jihad that we should get ourselves involved more actively is in spending our wealth to support the Muslim communities. The ustaz quoted al-Qardhawi who is of the view that Muslims in this modern days can only afford to do 4 out of the 5 pillars required. Many fail to contribute zakat. We have to have property/wealth for us to be in a position to give away any zakat. Which is so true. How can one give away zakat on gold if one did not have enough/a surplus of gold? And the same goes for zakat on business. For a person to qualify or be eligible to give zakat on business earnings, the person must first have a successful business. But we are lacking in this department.

The ustaz ended his tausiyah by reminding the audience to strive harder in observing the commandments; to fight against one's own foul desire and to occupy ourselves with activities that could take us closer to Allah.


Wishing you a good year ahead, one which is better than that which has just passed. Another year has gone.

[It's my fault that I did not catch the ustaz's name. Hopefully, key messages have been correctly captured.]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Simple essence of humility


Sometimes even a plain sentence from unexpected books could inspire us more than anything. Somewhere out there lies a string of magical words that could untie a mental knot or lift up a somber mood. 

Everyday, we await for inspiring moments, because inspirations are food for the soul. And more often than not having a cup of tea is like a catalyst for embracing inspiring moments. Many of us would agree with Susan Chodakiewitz that "tea has a magical way of unlocking the imagination." Susan is author of a children adventure book Master Davey and The Magic Tea House - a book published in partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Bought the book at the Coffee Bean, believe it or not.

The book is about Master Davey who owns the Magic Tea House. A boy named Hopper Smith is the only customer who believes in him and the magical wonders of tea. The boy is to be entrusted as a keeper of a precious tea. One day while searching for the lost seeds of the Blue Tiger Tea tree, he was asked to choose from three mountains which conceals the ancient tea tree. One of them is made of gold, the other silver and the third one is plain brown. He then remembered what Master Davey had told him: "Tea leaves appear humble. But their magic lies in their essence."
So he chose the plain brown mountain and he was right!

It makes me think. Tea leaves are indeed humble. They all look the same. There's no need for them to try to differentiate themselves outwardly. Yet their worth comes out very strong from their essence. They are ok about compromising/losing their identity and letting their essence shines through. It's never about physical look, it's about what's inside, it's about what's within, it's all about one's essence.

It's always good to be humble, unassuming and let the essence speaks for itself.

Someone went to South Africa and all I got was Rooibos Chai tea. Or should I rephrase that in a more positive tone, cos I asked for it. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beauty is in the details


I completely dislike the saying "The d_v_l is in the details" because it's apparent that beauty, in fact, is in the details. Not some ugly beings.

Today is Deepavali day and as Malaysians, we are lucky that we get to see beautiful kolam everywhere. Kolam refers to the painting on the floor in which vibrant colors of rice is used to draw pretty patterns and intricate motifs. It takes a huge amount of patience and big talent to create one. The doer must have an eye for detail and as in everything else, beauty is in the details. 

I met a young talent a few days back. She, to me, is a master of details as she strives for perfection in every stroke of her art. So I learned from her that details such as a shadow and wrinkle must be at the right place with the right shading. And mind you, she draws using a mouse, not a pen/brush. I think only beautiful people would fuss about beautiful work.   

Similarly, we are to remember people's names in detail, with the correct spelling. If for example Mrs Puteh is spelled with an e, it would be impolite to spell it with an i. We must take the trouble to remember details out of respect for a person because a person's name is sacred almost. That's why people say, a person's name is the sweetest sound to him/her. So we better not mess up the spelling of people's names especially our nearest and dearest. And that include our superiors. I learned that in an embarrassing way, once early in my career when I got the spelling of my bosses' names wrong. LOL. But that's not as bad as to wrongly spell your bf'/gf/spouse's name. If you still remember the spelling of a person's name despite the years that have gone by, that shows how much you appreciate him/her.

Beauty is in the details, indeed. And we all know that Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. 

Love, too, is in the details : )

Wishing our Hindu friends a Happy Deepavali or Happy Diwali.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Know what love is


A love song, some of you might be familiar with:
I gotta take a little time
a little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I'm older
Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder...

I want to know what love is
I want you to show me...


Some terms we should get to know:
"As long as a person worships, he is called a "devotee"; as long as he knows God, he is called a "wise man"; as long as he perceives God, he is called a "gnostic"; as long as he turns away from all that is not God, he is called "ascetic"; as long as he lives righteously, he is called a "sincere one"; as long as he treads the path of friendship, he is called an "eager one"; and when he throws away all created beings in order to accept Him, he is called a "friend" and as long as he makes a gift of himself while witnessing Him, he is called a "lover" and when he becomes such that both his annihilation and his permanence perish in His existence once and for all, he is called a "passionate lover".

From Letter #48 of Sharafuddin Maneri's The Hundred Letters

I guess, you know you have love if you could see it. Because seeing is believing. But you won't know what love is until and unless you give it away. As said Shaykh al-Ninowy in his talks in KL on unconditional compassion, it's about giving and not just taking.

Through the clouds I see love shine : )

Maybe that's why in one of Rumi's seven advice, he says:
"In compassion and grace, be like the sun."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Writing letters | Separation & detachment


May he/she who has been waiting, be appeased. May he/she who has been looking, find.  

Letter writing among Sufis in the old days were common. Sharafuddin Maneri, an Indian Sufi saint of the 13th century was one of them. He is well known for The Hundred Letters.

Nowadays, people rarely write intelligent letters to one another. Perhaps, one century from now, future citizens of the world would look back at us and say "they busy themselves with not-so-clever writing like blogging and tweeting."

Anyway, in Letter #61 of The Hundred Letters by Maneri, I found two short but loaded lessons.

Shaykh Sharafuddin Maneri says:
Separation means you should come freely out of everything you find today.
Detachment means you should not be enslaved by what is to come, as it's said:
"Today, the day before yesterday, yesterday, tomorrow,
all four will be one in the life to come!"


Can't help but wonder, what will the ONE look like in the life to come?

Dear self,

It's time to pause and reflect. What have you found today, which you need to leave it at that. That which you need to separate yourself from. Are you still attached to that which took place day before yesterday, yesterday and today? Do you think you would be able to detach yourself from what is going to happen tomorrow? Separate and detach. Come out of everything you find today. And do not be enslaved by what is to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks on purposive thinking


Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks in an article published on defined tafakkur as purposive thinking. The other word for purposive is purposeful. That is thinking with a purpose.

The shaykh translates the word tafakkur as: "purposive thinking" not simply "thinking" or "contemplation." He quoted Imam al-Haddad in his book Key to the Garden, in which the imam defines tafakkur as "the focus and movement of the heart and mind through the meaning of things in order to reach the underlying intention, and by this, the pearls of truth are reached."

Or in Shaykh Ahmad's simpler words: "Tafakkur is the art, if you like, of churning a matter around in one's mind. The intention of driving this process must be to discover the truth behind a saying or clarify the real nature of a principle or belief."

The underlying intention ultimately, if I may add, is to know and understand the Lord's attributes and actions. And perchance discover the pearl of truth, that is the Reality, the haqiqah.

I summarize the virtues of tafakkur which Shaykh Ahmad quoted from Imam Al-Haddad's Book of Assistance:
  • That it can reform the deen and the world.
  • A person who masters the ability to tafakkur 'has gained a portion of every possible good.'
  • Tafakkur for an hour is better than a year's worship.
  • That Saidina Ali says, there is no worship like tafakkur
  • Tafakkur is the lamp of the heart, if there is no tafakkur then there is no light.  

It is a skill we have to acquire. So, let's forget for a while about acquiring the taste of this and that. Tafakkur or purposeful thinking is a skill worth acquiring. 

There are four types of tafakkur for different levels of people: the ordinary people, the worshipers, the ascetics and the gnostics.

Shaykh Ahmad ends his article by quoting Imam al-Haddad:
"Knowledge comes from tafakkur, and from knowledge adoration, and from adoration love."

Therefore, love is actually a fruit of tafakkur.

Read his full article here:

Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks

We have been told that Shaykh Ahmad who is based in Cape Town
has just regained his health after quite a long spell of illness.
May Allah grant him sihah wal afiah 
and bless him with a long and prosperous life.

Pic credit: Allie Khalfe FB

Monday, October 13, 2014

What did you do today? | Serving a term

Bismillah. forgetful are we? I tried to recall the things I did today but struggled when it came to the fourth item. 

1. Changed the bedsheets.
2. Wrote a posting.
3. Whatsapping

Astaghfirullah....yet "He knows whatever you do by day!"
Surely His reckoning is in far greater detail. Subhanallah.

Came across this eye-opening ayah in The Jewels of the Quran - Al Ghazali's Theory [Kitab Jawahir Al-Quran]. So I learned for the first time that there are 763 verses considered as jewels of the Qur'an and this verse succinctly and strikingly describes how the Almighty controls our simple day-to-day living is one of the jewels.

He it is Who takes your souls into custody by night
and knows whatever you do by day;
then He raises you up during the day
that a term that has been appointed 
may be completed;
then to Him is your return;
then He will inform you of that which you used to do.
- Qur'an 6:60 

"He knows whatever you do by day."

What did you do today?

Surely you are better than me, you may recall perhaps a dozen good things you did today. 
Whatever it is, we are all serving a term.
Pray Allah grants us a good end to the term.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seeing the best in others


It is one important thing I need to work harder at, I must! That is: seeing only the best in people. Sometimes it's difficult when it comes to people who are close to you. People whom you would get super sensitive about simply because they are special to you. I know that sounds paradoxical. But that's the problem. 

To be able to do that, we, I, need to have a lot more compassion. We need to have more rahmah. That's what Shaykh al-Ninowy tried to hammer onto the audience's heart and mind during his talk in KL last month. And amongst the audience, I was the most critical patient.

Should re-read it over and over.

And when I saw this beautiful picture on Sidi Allie's FB, I almost cried because I could feel Sidi Uthman's genuine love and compassion, just from the picture, mashaAllah! Some people are really blessed!

"Some people are blessed with seeing only the best in others. The Prophet Muhammad pbuh is the perfect human being which means that the flaws, faults, and blemishes of all were as clear and apparent to him as daylight, yet he surpassed all at covering these faults. Uthman (the gentleman) embracing me in the photo is one such human being who sees the best in people. He is currently on Hajj and I pray that he returns safely so that we may benefit from his noble attributes many years to come."
- Shaykh Allie Khalfe

Gotta sit down and learn more about compassion and seeing only the best in others. 

As I sit to do that, how can I not be thankful for the person 
who went through the trouble of getting me this exact chair. 
This and a dozen more things. 
Because every little thing is a big deal, 
we should never take for granted of the wonderful people in our lives. 
May Allah bless them abundantly. 
May we be forgiven 
for not showing them enough appreciation.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Between North and South | 200th milestone


Can't help but play on repeat in my mind the words of one respectable Capetonian: "You are always special and dear to us!" That's the sweetest sentence of the year for me. LOL. Thank God for people who always have something kind to say. And we know they mean it. South Africa is a great place with lovely people. May Allah send more and more good people into our lives. Ameen.

It's been a wonderful Saturday, hence, another weekend rambling. Hey, it's the 200th posting of the year, peeps. You should let me ramble free.

Am still reading about that special country in North Africa - Morocco. But now the feeling is kinda dented eversince I learned about the passing of one mu'aleem, principal of a tahfiz school in Penang. He's a Morrocan who had been serving the tahfiz school for 16 years mashaAllah. I met him some years back and during a recent trip to Penang I had planned to meet him to benefit from him and to inquire more about Fez in particular. Alas....I was told the shaykh had passed away about two months ago. Inna lillah wa inna ilai hi raji'un. Will visit his maqam in my next trip up north, inshaAllah.

Now, between North and South, figuratively speaking, where do we stand?

We often hear about the need to strike a balance and opt for the middle way. But oftentimes, as we traverse the path, we slip to the extreme bottom or sometimes get a little too high on the top-end, only to realize that it's dizzying and we cannot hold on too long, thus we shift to the middle. 

During down-time we hit rock bottom and feel great d-e-s-p-a-i-r. It's during these low periods that we need a helping hand, a friend to push us forward. We need soothing words of encouragement to restore the zest for life here and after. Need to get out of low-lands and move to middle ground.

Rather than wait for help to come and make us stronger, maybe we should go out and do a small thing to make somebody happy. To quote one shaykh, I think it was Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks who said, "We are weak. We become strong when we do good to people." To be strong, we need to do good to people.  

If I should be lucky, bi-iznillah the shaykh might accept my invitation to a private function in KL ; )
Let's pray it's ON. Let's pray. InshaAllah.

Lastly, this one is for those of you sweet talker out there. I remembered in one of his talks in KL, Shaykh al-Ninowy said: most people equate nasihah with advice but what it really means is transparency and by that it means we should say with our tongue exactly what we have in our heart. We cannot be just sweet on the tongue when the heart is sour and not say what we really mean deep down. So, do not sweet talk unless you mean it truthfully. 
Allahu a'lam.

I thank my Lord for this 200th posting. I would be grateful even if one person benefits from just two sentences of the 200 posts. Or two persons - one sentence each : )

These young men made my day.
Was feeling low until I met them.

If Blogger dot com could grant me a wish as a reward for being quite consistent, I wish they would create a tool with which we could block specific visitors who come here for the wrong reasons and with ill-intentions. Perhaps a face-recognition tool that can detect negative people because blocking IP address alone is not going to work. LOL.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nahar Day-2 in Penang


"Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)."
- Al Kawthar 108:2

I learned two new Arabic words from listening to the Eidul Adha khutbah yesterday - udhiyah and nahar. The khatib gave an excellent speech, moving away from the typical scripted talk. He truly spoke from the heart. He said while we engage in the acts of udhiyah offering sacrifice, we must be careful not to sacrifice ourselves in the wrong way. How? By going back to our old wrong ways.

We should move forward and face towards Allah having performed udhiyah which brings with it plenty of blessings. It is sunnat mua'akkad. Some says it is wajib as a gesture of gratitude for Allah's blessings. May Allah guide us to deeds that are worthy of His mercy. Ameen. Apart from udhiyah activities on the days of Tashrik on 11, 12 and 13 Zulhijjah, Eidul Adha is pretty quiet. Alhamdulillah for more reading time and lovely breakfast in wonderful Penang. 

Reading about Morocco.
Hoping to do Morocco.
Last night, Shaykh al-Ninowy continued speaking on the true meanings of ihram. It's a special program on hajj on Malaysian TV Al-Hijrah. He began by asking, how's your heart with Allah? Have you said salawat to the Prophet today? What is the two pieces of ihram for? According to the shaykh, it's about covering our external and internal sins. The former refers to the sins we commit with our limbs, our eyes, hands, feet etc. The latter refers to the sins we commit with our heart and mind. We need to do tawbah for our heart and mind too. Don't render your heart as a garbage can. There are impurities in our hearts and minds. It's too heavy  a burden to carry. We must go to Allah light and clean. Allah loves those who go to Him with a spiritual heart and body.

Ihram also teaches us about unity, that we are one people, no matter who we are, rich or poor, powerful or powerless. All of us are from Adam and Adam is from clay. Before putting on the ihram, we are to take ghusul (bath) to cleanse ourselves from impurities. We take off our old clothes and put on the ihram. When you do that, imagine taking off your old clothing of old sins and put on the clothes of taqwa, Allah says, the clothing of taqwa is the best clothing there is. 

Then you do the tawaf, then you kiss the Black Stone. Some people have a problem doing that, thinking it's just a stone. But Shaykh al-Ninowy said, you kiss it because of the love you have for the people who had kissed it before you, that is Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam, and the sahabah, so that is what unity of love is about. The shaykh then quoted the story of Majnun kissing the walls/ruins where Layla used to live. To Majnun, it's not the love of the bricks that have overtaken his heart, it's the love of those who used to live within those walls. Similarly, in the old days when writing letters were common, we would kiss the letters received from our loved ones and put it near us. It's about the sender, the people whom we love.

Kissing or waving at the Hajar Aswad is as if we make or renew our pledge to Allah. Though the hadith on this is weak, it symbolizes our intention to promise to Allah, it's like saying: I pledge to you O Allah, to love you with all my heart. In conclusion, Shaykh al-Ninowy reminds us to take our heart with us when we go perform hajj.


As in each and every notes posted here, it's a reminder to myself and that I always try my best to share no matter where I go. May Allah grant us the strength to purify ourselves and become a better servant. Ameen.

A small sharing at breakfast in Penang.
See ya soon : )

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eidul Adha 1435 Hijri/2014 | Day of Nahar


Wish you a blessed Eid, dear readers. Alhamdulillah for His generous bounties that we are able to observe Eidul Adha in peaceful and happy circumstances unlike some of our friends in faith.

It has been raining almost everyday over here in this part of the world. Alhamdulillah, yet another reason to rejoice.

I remembered when I was small, how much I enjoyed lying on the wooden floor watching rain drops falling from attap roof. It was also my duty to place small basins underneath the leaking spots. As a kid it was so much fun going round the house looking for leakage in the roofs.

It's cold as it has been raining for days and my thoughts are with the cows/goats/sheeps that will be slaughtered and sacrificed - those involved in the acts of udhiyah. They are subservient makhluk of Allah. How submissive are we? How grateful are we? May Allah enable us to offer our sacrifices in a manner which could win His pleasure.

Well, here I am enjoying a nice supper - a traditional meal - ketupat which is steamed glutinous rice wrapped in special leaves. That triangle stuff in the pic below. 

Eid Mubarrak people!
Taqaballahu minna wa minkum
taqabbal ya karim
Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha.
That's how we say it in Malay.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"Hajj is a journey of love" - Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, seeing Shaykh Al-Ninowy on Malaysian TV brought much delight to the heart.

Our beloved Shaykh began his tausiyah saying "I love you all for the sake of Allah" because as narrated in a hadith among the seven groups of people who will be granted a shade from Allah are two people who love each other for the sake of Allah.

Before going on to the main topic of his tausiyah which is about hajj as a journey of love, the shaykh asked: "How is your heart with Allah? is it better than last year, same time? Or is it the same? Are you closer to Allah now than last week, last month? If it's the same, you have a chance now to love Allah with all your heart. He is close to you, but are you close to Him?

Basing his talk on the connection between hajj and love, the Shaykh advised the audience to "take your heart with you when you go for hajj." He kept reiterating the point: "Go to hajj with your heart."

He further said: "Hajj is like a rehlah of mahabbah. Hajj is about tauhid and love. It's about tauhidun mahabbah or love of tauhid or even tauhid of love. And that love is the love of Allah."

Many people love Allah, love the Prophet and love doing ziarah, which is, of course, good according to Shaykh al-Ninowy who stressed the virtues of making salawat to Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam who would return our salam with our name and soul.

One who intends to perform hajj should purify the heart with Allah, and ask Him earnestly: "O Allah I really want to go do hajj." If we purify our niyyat, Allah will take us. "If He doesn't take you, He will still reward you," said the shaykh. 

We must keep praying so that Allah will make it easy for us to do hajj. Some people think the media has given plenty of publicity and awareness on hajj and the haramain that their yearning and longing has diminished somewhat. But Shaykh al-Ninowy is of the view that those who rely on the media to feed their longing is like those who only love and have a relationship based on only correspondence and that doesn't work.   

When going for hajj, the shaykh reminds us to "hug the kaabah, visit the Baqi and Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam with our soul and heart."

We must pray wholeheartedly so that we get to step on the sands on which the Prophet once stepped on, and that our mouth gets to taste the healing and barakah of zamzam which is the water of love or water of life. Life and love are the same things. Those who do not have love, do not have life. Prophet Ismail alaihi salam drank that water, so we pray: O Allah, permit the mouth to drink that water. O Allah, allow our hearts to be infused with the love of Your House, and the jamal of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam

When we touch the Kaabah we are essentially connecting with all the Prophets, Ismail, Ibrahim, Muhammad right to Adam. When we go back to the House, it's like going back to love.

Shaykh al-Ninowy said people go for hajj for all kinds of reasons, to get shifa' from their illness, to solve a problem, to deal with some kind of difficulties be it economic, political or social. You can go asking for all these but tauhid demands that you go only for Him, only for Allah. You cannot be going for Allah and other things. Having said that, we should still make a petition to Allah for our needs. 

So, go to Allah. Say: I'm going for Allah, to Allah. Say: Ya Allah here I come, I come only for You. Remember the story of Musa who says: I'm running back to you O Allah, so that You are pleased. Therefore, go for hajj to please Allah and to become closer to Him. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ihram | My heart comes before my body


This year wukuf at Arafah falls on a Friday. Our friends are there, and hopefully they have not forgotten to say a prayer for us here.

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy in a program on Malaysian TV Al-Hijrah said: Ihram is such a simple gesture, it's just two towels, it's like Allah telling us 'You are all ibadrurRahman'. Being in ihram, God is telling us it's not about your money for the ihram does not have pockets, not big, not small, it's nothing to do with your position, name or fame and it's not about what you look like.

It gives us a glimpse of what things will look like after we depart from the dunya. Wearing the ihram without pockets is like Allah telling us He doesn't need our money. All He needs is that we give Him our heart and soul. So we say I come O Allah, I'm answering Your call O Allah, my heart comes before my body, my soul comes before my limbs..." 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tiling up one's life


Because I am feeling upbeat and motivated having met my IT teacher for afternoon tea, I have actually reproduced the pattern of the tiles at Al-Qarawiyyin mosque using Power Point below. LOL.

No the meeting had nothing to do with Power Point or tiling work for house renovation whatsoever. You know that's why (I think it's from a hadith, correct me if I am wrong) it's said that all the angels, ants and fish in the sea all make du'a for anyone who teaches someone a good thing. Teachers are selfless and generous, they would give free coaching and motivation just so that you would do well in whatever you intend to do. God bless each and everyone in our lives who has taught us something useful. 

Life is like putting one tile after another. It's like a random tile-work, you may have some idea on what pattern you want to achieve but in reality you tend to deviate somehow and just place one tile at a time using whatever that comes to hand. By right, depending on how strong your faith is, no matter what stocks you have got, you would want to use certain colors and avoid others. All this whilst knowing that in the end, whatever that is decreed - the divine intended pattern will appear as it should be. All you could do is stand up to see the eventual outcome. And learn to appreciate it.

 I hope this makes sense.

Another point to note, don't go chasing waterfalls.
Allahu a'lam.

Deliciously fruitful meeting with my teacher.