Friday, November 28, 2014

"Love the believers" - Habib Umar bin Hafiz at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal, 28 Nov 2014


"Your names had already been written, that you would be gathering here, even before Allah created the world!"

Subhanallah! Habib Umar bin Hafiz said that at the outset of his tausiyah at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Praise be to Allah that Habib Umar is visiting Malaysia yet again, from Friday 28 Nov until Sunday, 30 Nov - a blessed weekend indeed.

"Why does Allah convene us here? What is He giving us? Allah is the Richest. We are in need of Him. He, the Richest, the Most Generous, would not have called unless He wished to give."

"May Allah grant the biggest gift. Focus your aim towards Him. That is a sign of a believer. Allah promised to give and He is not one who would break a promise." 

"Allah says in the Quran, the believers are those who love one another and help one another. We must love the believers. We must also love those who are lacking in faith so that they too would become believers and be safe from torments of the Hellfire. Failing to help them, indicates our own inadequacy of iman. "

"We must understand why we have to love the believers. They have a special position and an advantage in the eyes of Allah. We must know and love the awliya, mursalin and those who are close to Allah, or else we belong with the munafiqin." 

Habib Umar bin Hafiz then quoted a hadith of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam on the need to love the old, the young and respect the learned. 

"The root of dishonor is when people ridicule/disrespect others. There are people who disregard the ahlul bayt and the sahabah. One cannot be considered ahlul sunnah if he does not love both ahlul bayt and the sahabah. We follow the Prophet salallah alaihiwasalam. Do you think he does not like his own family or his companions? Those who are reluctant to praise the ahlul bayt and the sahabah, who do they then follow?"

"We plead to Allah so that He fills our heart with iman and make our faith strong. Pray, none shall leave this majlis unless he/she has a love for the believers, in general, and in specific - those who are special, the anbiya, mursalin, sahabah, siddiqin, shuhada and solehin. May Allah gather us with them. Our stand is that we love all of them."

"Imam Shafie says: I love the righteous (solehin) though I am not among them, so I hope for their shafaat." 

"Adorn yourselves with attributes that are pleasing to Allah. The believers love one another and enjoin good deeds that are pleasing to Allah, such as this majlis. The believers do not enjoin negative acts (munkar). What is munkar? That which is in your phone and on TV. And looking down on the believers, even if it is just one of them, even one of them."

"Allah looks at our hearts. O Allah, cleanse our hearts. Make us obedient towards Allah and Rasul. That we will not bow to anyone in the East, West, or any philosophers."

Habib Umar bin Hafiz ended his tausiyah with emotional pleas so that Allah would let us occupy a beautiful place in the Heavens, that Allah would honor us with great bounties and blessings and that Allah would grant His redha

"Know that, there is no better gift anyone could give someone, better than Allah's redha. What gift could be better than Allah's redha? None."

Allahu a'lam.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wirid prescribed by Habib Umar bin Hafiz in Dec 2013 | Advice on attaining firmness of faith


It's been almost a year since Habib Umar's last visit to Masjid Muadz bin Jabal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You might have read my sketchy notes before. We all need a refresher, so here it is:

One most important point to note is that during the majlis last year, the venerable Habib Umar bin Hafiz did give an ijazah for us to recite: 
La ilaha illAllah Al Malikul Haqqul Mubin
100 times a day between Zohor and Asar:

100 times a day

I completely overlooked this until I read a posting on Darul Murtadza FB. The honorable Shaykh asked us to do this last year, but we are yet to practice it. He is coming again to KL tomorrow and surely InshaAllah he will give a new ijazah for a new wirid.

On Muwasala FB, we learned about the Shaykh's advice on attaining firmness of faith.

Question: How do we remain firm in our faith?
Answer as given by Habib Umar bin Hafiz:
We remain firm by asking Allah for firmness, keeping the company of the pious and spending time in remembrance of Allah and reflection. We should also repeat these supplications:

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
Rabbana la tuzigh qulu bana ba'daiz hadaytana wa hab lana min ladunka rahmatan innaka antal wahhab.
Our Lord, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us mercy, for truly You are the Bestower of bounties without measure.

يَا مُقَلِّبَ القُلُوبِ و الأَبْصَارِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي على دِينِكَ
Ya muqallibal qulub wal absar thabit qalbi 'ala dinik
O Turner of people's hearts and eyes, make my heart firm upon the religion.

يَالله بِهَا يَالله بِهَا يَالله بِحُسْنِ الْخَاتِمَة
Ya Allah biha Ya Allahu biha Ya Allahu bi husnil khatimah
O Allah, O Allah, O Allah, we ask You for a good ending.


In these challenging times, we live in, we are grateful to have a spiritual leader like Habib Umar among us. May Allah preserve him, give him a long and healthy life so that we may benefit from his counsel. Ameen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Mention Allah" - Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse in Kuala Lumpur


Shaykh Mahy Cisse
KL - 24 Nov 2014

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to attend a majlis graced by the honorable Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse at the residence of the Senegal's Ambassador to Malaysia. 

Shaykh Mahy is the grandson of Shaykh Ibrahim Niass (1900 - 1975) who was a major leader of the Tijani Tariqa in West Africa. The Tijani Tariqa was founded by Sidi Ahmad Tijani (1737 - 1815). Shaykh Mahy's elder brother Shaykh Ahmad Tijani Cisse (or Tidiane Cisse) is the current leader of the tariqa which is based in Senegal, West Africa.

Having sat in his majlis last night, Shaykh Mahy, in my opinion, appeared as a self-less soul, literally. It was almost visible that he was an 'annihilated being', if you will. It was as if he was present with the crowd, yet he's in a private seclusion at the same time.

He gave a short and profound tausiyah. The key message was that we must mention Allah as often as possible and that it should not be limited to a formal sit-down zikr session. Just mention Him anytime, anywhere because mentioning Him means we remember Him. And the best of remembrance (zikr) is to say la ilaha illAllah.

Shaykh Mahy is scheduled to be in Singapore from 25th Nov until 4th Dec. For more information on his majlis in Singapore, you may contact Brother Khalid Ajmain, the organizer of the Sacred Path of Love annual event who is also the Tijani Tariqa's muqaddam for Singapore, InShaAllah.

Sacred Path of Love
27 - 28 Dec 2014

p/s It's unfortunate that the audio quality wasn't so good from where I was seated. If it was, I would have written a proper posting on Shaykh Mahy's tausiyah.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Equilibrium | Equilibria | Equipoise


Thiiiiiiissss is another laid-back rambling.

This space has to has this because I'm only human and I never carry a 'holier than thou' persona ever. That's why we have got all kinds of stuffs here. Take it or leave it. But some people refuse to leave yet. A little bird tells me, we still have a couple of spy-readers [if you will]. That's alright, we love all and serve all. So to speak. LOL.  

Anyway, one of my all time favorite word is EQUILIBRIUM. It's the best word there is in the entire subject of economics. Believe me, I studied economics before. 

For the benefit of our young readers [my nephews/nieces] let's copy the definitions for equilibrium as provided by

Equilibrium whose plural is equilibriums or equilibria means:
  • a state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces.
  • equal balance between any powers, influences etc.
  • a stable condition in which forces cancel one another.
  • mental or emotional balance.
  • in chemistry, it refers to the condition existing when a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction proceed at equal rates.   

It is a state we should aim for - equilibrium - so that we are in a stable, balanced state, mentally and emotionally.

When you get striked and get off-balanced, you should try to strike it off by striking back, in a smart and positive manner, so that you could reclaim your equilibrium and get to go back to your default value, hence attain equipoise. And smile.

Therefore, to strike back, does not necessarily carry a negative connotation. It's all about striking a balance.

- E -
Thank God for equilibria.


Of course Allah is All-Knowing. Allah knows better than the best spy anyone could hire. Allah in His wisdom sometimes hide certain things from us because He knows that we might faint from shock, should He tells/shows us every little thing. So we better learn to surrender, accept His decree and don't be so arrogant.

By the way, I think people say: Allah is All-Knowing, Allah is the Best Knower or Allah is the All-Knower. People don't say Allah is "Most Knower". My English is not that good, so correct me, if I am wrong.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Man is but a shadow | Travel gifts


Man is but a shadow and life a dream. Most of us will wake up at death, except the fortunate ones who "die" before they die so that life is no longer a dream but a reality.


One perpetual musafir went to Cape Town and all I got was some photos of the beautifully kept maqams in the Mother City. There are plenty of maqam or kramats in Cape Town. There's a related posting on this blog listing the names of the awliya. May Allah bless them all and may we benefit from their barakah for having a deep respect and admiration towards them.

"Man is but a shadow and life a dream"

Another much treasured gift from South Africa is a recipe book. The lovely author Aunty Zainab Lagardien has Javanese (Indonesian) roots, so she has got one special handed-down family recipe simply called "Javanese Chicken". As a Penangite I could't help but got super excited when I saw a recipe for "Penang Curry"! I intend to try out some Cape Malay recipes and showcase them to my Capetonian friends when I visit them. And perhaps teach them one Malaysian Malay recipe. Wishful thinking maybe, but let's say it's a niyyat. InshaAllah. Every little good thing grows from a niyyat.  


Anyway, I read somewhere that exchanging gifts is also a sunnah as it could further nurture relationship between people. The same goes to bringing home gifts from one's travels. We all practise this but let's do it consciously knowing that it is in fact a sunnah.

Until then, wish y'all a fabulous week.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

p/s Mission accomplished : D

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Notes of Habib Umar's tausiyah in Jakarta, 17 Nov 2014


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Allah is ever so Generous and Kind.

I have just arrived from Penang, just in time for the Live Streaming of a grand mawlid event in Jakarta on 17 Nov 2014. The much-revered Al Habib Umar bin Hafiz is the guest of honor.

Praise be to Allah for letting these ears listen to his words. This posting is especially for you readers who have husnul zan towards this faqir, people who bring out the good in me. Below are some sketchy notes for us to ponder and may we derive benefit from it bi iznillah.


He is Allah the Most Compassionate and Merciful who has gathered us here in order that we know Him; to be given a great bounty, to receive His glance, to benefit from His Latif attributes. Allah has chosen us from the rest of the people and makes us among the preferred ones. Millions of the children of Adam at this present moment are either heedless of Allah or engaged in transgressions, influenced by the enemies of Allah, indulging themselves in negative activities, these are the people who have put themselves in an embarrassing position in the eyes of Allah. Yet, Allah protects and defends you. Allah protects you from the evil whispers of man, jin and shayatin. It is Allah who protects you and give you the tawfik to remember Him. That you belong with those who are grateful. That you follow people who are loved by Allah. That you follow the chosen ones. Therefore ask of Him for His great bounties, He who is Most Sublime and Generous. He who makes you among the followers of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. May Allah grant His pardon to us all. 

Allah has promised that He would mention your name to His other creations on account of your presence at such a majlis. He who would return 10 for each salawat that you make for His beloved Prophet. Unto You O Allah we are grateful. Perfect Your blessings for us. This gathering is a blessing of Habib Munzir Al Musawa. It reflects the devotion he had carried from Tarim. This is a result of a strong sanad of the ulama of Hadramawt and Yemen connecting to you. This is a blessing of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

To have faith and to love Rasulallah is in fact a great blessing of Allah for you. Praise be to Allah for sending us the Prophet who saves us from darkness and brings us to the light of Islam and wisdom and iman and Islam. Praise be to Allah for purifying our words, from dirt and polytheism. May we walk under the banner of Rasulallah. When we make du'a, the angels present at this majlis on this earth would say ameen. So will the angels in the heavens. If this is the case, what do you think of the du'a? O Allah who gathers the Rasul under the Prophet's banner, unite us under his banner. O Allah, honor us with significant makrifah of the makrifah granted to Your prophet. Anyone who is gifted with the love of Allah and Rasul, he needs no other love. He will then taste the sweetness of iman, a taste that far exceeds the pleasure one could derive from any tasty food, good clothes, having good cars or from marriage. All these pale in comparison with the sweetness of iman which one may benefit from attending such a majlis.

By the Quran and Prophet Muhammad, make those who are present here and those who could hear our voice, no matter where they are, to be among those who are fortunate. O Allah make us who are present here at this majlis and those who could hear us be among those who are fortunate. We, our children and the children that shall be born from the loins. This is truly a good fortune. We ask of Allah who is Most powerful, make us among the fa izin, the successful and fortunate. 

There is nothing that is worthy of love other than Allah. Not even ourselves. There is no one that is worthy to be loved other than Allah. O Allah, plant in our hearts love. Place firmly in our heart the love of Allah and Rasul and give us success in dunya and akhirah. Nothing is more precious than this gift. Who do you ask from? Who do you call upon? Who do you seek? It is of great honor if He it is that you wish for. Compare those who are now occupied with food, clothes or play, whereas at this moment your heart is with Allah. O Allah look at our hearts, purify it. None do we love except You, O Allah. 

Should Allah grant this favor, He would gather us together in akhirah. If your goal is truly for Allah and you truly love Him, the reward for you here is the Prophet's Al-Kawthar and in future you will be at Al-Kawthar whose water is sweeter than honey, whiter than milk and more fragrant than musk. One sip is enough to quench one's thirst forever. Each Rasul will offer a similar privilege for their followers. But imagine the privilege of drinking from the Prophet's hand? May Allah make me and you worthy of such an honor in akhirah. There will be people who come to the well only to be chased away by the angels because they had turned away from the Prophet's teachings. They will regret for they come so close to it yet they're turned down, all because of their past wrong doings. They were engrossed with dunya and procrastinate their prayers, they mistreated their parents because they were influenced by their friends, they were engaged in deeds that displeased Allah. We should have compassionate for these people. We should pity them. As a sign of gratitude to Allah, we must strive in helping them so that they too could get the blessings of Allah. Even if one person were to receive the hidayah of Allah through your hand, that would be better than the world and its contents.

Habib Umar then related stories of three men, two of whom were successful because they were truthful in their love for Allah, except one of them who was deceived by dunya. The first of the three men had joined the Prophet in a battle. Unlike all the others, he gave away the war booties which he was entitled to. The Prophet noticed this and went up to him to offer something for himself. The man however refused saying, "This is not why I follow you." The Prophet asked him in return, "So why do you follow me?" The man replied, "I follow you in battle so that the enemy's arrow would hit me here" pointing to a spot on his neck. "And then I would die and go to heaven." Upon seeing the man's determination, the Prophet told him that Allah would surely grant him his wish if he means it. This man in fact died in the following battle after being hit by an arrow at the exact same spot which he had shown to the Prophet.

The second man also died in battle. People thought how lucky he was to die a martyr. The Prophet however disagreed because he could see the man's clothes getting burnt. This was because the man had taken clothes from war booties without first getting the Prophet's permission.       

The third of the trio was the best of the three men because the Prophet himself took charge of his burial while Saidina Abu Bakar and Saidina Umar dug his grave. The Prophet then said a prayer: "O Allah, grant your redha to this man, verily I have redha for him."

By the grace of Rasulallah, we ask Allah to grant us His mercy just as the Prophet had redha for that man. O the Most Generous, we ask for Your redha. O Allah, we ask for Your forgiveness, we ask for tawba, for tawba nasuha from all our sins, from all wrong doings. Give us tawba from You so that we are able to make tawba to You, a  tawba which You would accept, one which is sincere, one that will not be nullified afterwards. Grant tawba to our families, our children, our friends, our neighbors. We offer our tawba to You O Allah. Look at us with the eyes of Mercy. Grant us Your great bounties and gifts and tawfik, grant us endless Rahmah. Love us. Make us want not love and affection except for Your love and affection.

Make your heart face Allah. Make your heart present with Allah. Surrender yourself to Allah. Hope from Allah. Ask for His rahmah and love. Ask from Him. Call upon Him. Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah. Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah.

Grant us the best of husnul khatimah Ya Allah Hu Ya Allah.

You are calling the best Name there is to mention. Your tongue becomes honorable for having mentioned Allah. How great is His bounties. Ask for His redha. Those who have passed away from amongst those who were once present at such a majlis, should they be feeling terrified in their graves, lift it from them O Allah. Make them happy in their graves O Allah. Increase Your nikmah for them O Allah.

Habib Munzir Al Musawa, give him the grandest of Your bounties O Allah. Gather us with him in akhirah, with Your beloveds, with our families, with our friends and people whom we love, our mureed.

O Allah, remove afflictions from the ummah. Change our conditions to a better one. Do not take away our honor. Gather us under Your arash. Gather us at the Al Kawthar. Gather us under the banner of Rasulallah. Gather us with the Prophet Muhammad's entourage. Make us enter the Heavens with the one who will be first to enter the Heaven.

Ameen Allahumma ameen.
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

Live Streaming via Nabawi TV
At the end of his tausiyah, Habib Umar bin Hafiz
announced and endorsed the launching of Nabawi TV
which is based in Indonesia.
Mabruk Nabawi TV!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dato' Jenaton | The great Gelugorians


I am proud to say I'm from Gelugor, Penang. Proud of my roots yes, I'm a Gelugorian!

On my recent trip back here, I noticed the road signage from the Penang Bridge leading to my kampung (village) all had been changed from Gelugor to Glugor. Not sure why and I'm not sure now which is the correct spelling. The kampung got its name from a tree Asam Gelugor whose scientific name is Garcinia Atroviridis.

Garcinia would have been a cool name for my village, don't you think so? Anyhow, as a Gelugorian, it would be a shame if I did not mention something about Dato' Jenaton because it was he who established the earliest settlements here. According to reports, he was a prince from Minangkabau, Indonesia. He was also a chieftain at Batu Bara (North of Sumatera) who travelled [sailed] frequently between Batu Bara, Kedah and Penang. In those days, Penang was under the reign of the Kedah sultanate. For the benefit of our foreign readers, Kedah is a state on mainland of northern Peninsula Malaysia. The Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin Shah II, gifted him with 100 acres of land where Batu Uban and Gelugor is now situated. [We mentioned Batu Uban in the last few postings, it's to the south of Gelugor on the east coast of Penang island.] 

The then Sultan of Kedah favored Dato' Jenaton and presented him with the property because he helped the former strategize and win the Kedah's war against the Acehnese and the Bugis. This took place in 1749, about 15 years after Haji Muhammad Saleh @ Nahkoda Nan Intan arrived in Batu Uban, built a mosque there and hence established the first Muslim/Malay settlements in Penang in 1734.

Dato' Jenaton ibni Raja Labu [also spelled Jannatun] arrived in the Batu Uban/Gelugor area with 90-odd followers from Batu Bara. In short, he was a successful trader who was also good in devising war strategy and that had won him large tracts of land which he invested in coconut and sugarcane plantations in Gelugor. 

From this very smart and enterprising personality, we have got great Gelugorians like two brothers Aziz Ishak and Yusof Ishak who founded the country's premier publication the Utusan Melayu in 1939. Yusof Ishak was also the first president of Singapore!

Their other brother Rahim Ishak served as Singapore's state minister under Singapore's President Lee Kuan Yew. The other two notable descendants of Dato' Jenaton are former Supreme Court judge, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and the renowned diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail who was once Chairman of the UN Security Council and president of the United Nation General Assembly, in the late '90s.

We got to know about this fascinating story of Penang's first founders and settlers, thanks to Prof. Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican, a historian who is also a descendant of Dato' Jenaton.

There is a Malay saying Benih yang baik jatuh ke laut menjadi pulau which roughly means: a person who comes from a good background, will most certainly become a distinguished person no matter where they go. [bi iznillah]

This is a fitting description for Haji Muhammad Saleh @ Nahkoda Nan Intan, the multi-skilled Sufi who was first to arrive in Penang and built the first mosque in Batu Uban in 1734 and also Dato' Jenaton who expanded and made flourish the early settlements in Batu Uban and the Gelugor area, in 1749.

As a Gelugorian, I am indeed proud and thankful for these cool people of the past who left us with such a great legacy in Penang and beyond.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Entrance to Dato' Jenaton's maqam
in Minden Heights, Gelugor, Penang

Grave of Dato' Jenaton
Photo credit: 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Love yourself today | Rest with that


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for loving people in our lives. And Allah is ever so Merciful, He drops us just the kind of note we need to hear, at just the right time.

Am extending this love to friendly readers of this space. You know who you are : )

Photo by Donnie Nunley

Positive affirmations are like daily supplements, if we missed taking it, it's alright but it would be better to have a regular dose.

You are doing great. 
So relax. 
And love yourself today.

No need to expect person X or person Y to pay attention/please you because there are people who are overly self-focused and drowned in their own anxieties, problems, you name it. If they are not good at looking beyond their own world, we can't blame them. Who says you have to wait for them? Who says you need their endorsement, anyway?

Can't resist laughing, for some reason.
Loving it!

p/s Mucho gracias Dr. P!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Haji Muhammad Saleh a.k.a. Nahkoda Nan Intan | Batu Uban Mosque in Penang


Alhamdulillah, we were able to visit Masjid Batu Uban where its founder and first imam Haji Muhammad Saleh or Nahkoda Nan Intan were buried. We were not too sure which was the exact maqam but inclined to believe it's one of the two located inside a demolished wall at the foot of a Banyan tree.

Two graves within a demolished wall
on the south side of Batu Uban mosque.
The one on the left side is marked as per below photo.
The one on the right is unmarked.

Shaykh Muhammad Saleh ibni Shaykh Ahmad Al-Makkawi
Jumaat, 5 Jamadil Awal 1332H
[The name seems right but not the date. Allahua'lam]

Masjid Batu Uban was opened in 1734 by Haji Muhammad Saleh,
a religious leader and Sufi master who became its first imam until his demise

Batu Uban is Malay for 'grey hair rock' after a sea boulder which had grass over it that looked like grey hair. Batu Uban mosque was originally situated next to a beach and right on the beach was an ancient well which is now motor-operated. Despite being very close to the sea and the fact that the well had to be covered during high tide, the water has always remained fresh. 

Ancient well upgraded.
Imagine this being on a beach, once upon a time. 

Main prayer hall at Masjid Batu Uban.
Haji Muhammad Saleh actually brought the 4 pillars (cengal wood)
from Sumatera/Indonesia on boats.
As mentioned in the previous posting, Haji Muhammad Saleh or Nahkoda Nan Intan was a royalty from Payakumbuh in Sumatera/Indonesia who traveled to Penang and built this mosque in 1734. He also established the first Muslim settlements on the island. Imagine him being busy as imam of the mosque, busy planting coconut, banana and sugarcane, busy ferrying mosque materials from Sumatera. Before coming to Penang, he was reported to have built a mosque in Tengkera, Melaka in 1728.

Haji Muhammad Saleh was a multi-skilled person. He was a religious leader and a Sufi who was skillful in seafaring, agriculture, and carpentry. He was clearly one of the cool people of the past from whom we should draw inspirations and encouragement in doing as many lasting good deeds as possible. Bi iznillah.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Health is wealth | So is history


Alhamdulillah. It's good to be writing from Penang. Though I'm missing my routine - the gym.  And the spectacular view from the treadmill. Am here visiting a relative who is ill. It's yet another reminder that health is wealth indeed.

Coincidentally, there was a similar message from my CEO yesterday about the importance of keeping our health in check. And guess what? He is giving each one of us a complimentary Pebble Smartwatch! How cool is that? Must record all these great stuffs, so that 10 years from now my journaling could benefit and/or entertain people who matters. InshaAllah.

Gym with a view

I am planning to visit the maqam of Haji Muhammad Saleh a.k.a Nahkoda Nan Intan who was a royalty from Payakumbuh in Sumatera/Indonesia who opened the first mosque in Batu Uban, Penang in 1734. It's surreal that I am writing from my room and that his maqam is about the same row as my house just 2 km away. I had visited the mosque several times before but without realizing he was the same Muhammad Saleh who built the mosque next to the famous Maqam Habib Noh in Singapore and the beautiful Tengkera mosque in Melaka.

According to a history book, his full name was Maharaja Nan Intan ibni Almarhum Tengku Patih Nan Sebatang. He came to Penang by boat with two other relatives. Nahkoda Bayan's boat arrived in Bayan where the Penang International Airport is. The other brother, Nahkoda Kecil arrived in Jelutong which is about 4 km north from where Nahkoda Nan Intan had arrived in Batu Uban. One of Malaysia' top university - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) - is located adjacent to Batu Uban on the east coast of Penang island where the first Muslim/Malay settlements and port had been established circa 1734, about 50 years earlier than the British Captain Francis Light's discovery of Penang.

I remembered reading the marvelous history book on Penang 'Dari Tanjung Penaga ke Georgetown' by Sohaimi Abdul Aziz. One Professor from USM lent it to me few years ago. Can't rely on sketchy memories so will go hunt the book soon. Perhaps I should heed his suggestion that I write something about Penang's history because he thought my writing would have "velvet touches".

Alhamdulillah for such kind words. I take it as a du'a. I ask for your du'a too, dear friends/readers. May Allah keep inspiring us with good ideas and give us the health and strength to work at it. Ameen.

Wish y'all a great weekend.

- from an island in the sun, Pearl of the Orient

A good article re Batu Uban (in Malay):

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Masjid Tengkera | Shaykh Abdul Latif - scholar, writer, philanthropist


A couple of postings ago, I briefly wrote about a trip to Pulau Besar, Melaka (two hours south of KL). After visiting the grand maqam of Sultan Ariffin Shaykh Ismail on the island, we left with one intention, that's to stop by at Masjid Tengkera on mainland. I thought my travel mates ought to see the mosque because it's chic, classic and pretty.  

It was my second time there and their first time, yet it was the 'first timers' who indirectly introduced me to one excellent personality - the late Shaykh Abdul Latif bin Haji Muhammad Nuruddin @ Haji Tamby (1872 - 1939) who was buried within the compound of the lovely mosque. The description of him on the notice board was very impressive. To me, he is a superb-man.

Shaykh Abdul Latif who was of Indian descent, was a renowned scholar, not just in his home state Melaka but also Penang, Singapore and Indonesia. Imagine being sent off to study in Mekah at the tender age of 8. The shaykh then spent some 20 years studying under prominent Malay scholars in Mekah, among whom was Shaykh Muhammad bin Ismail Daud al-Fathani.

Upon his return from Mekah, he became a well known scholar himself especially in Singapore where he first began teaching from a nook on Arab Street where his father owned a textile shop. He was also a prolific writer/publisher who had his own printing company - the Lathifiyah Press in Singapore and another one in Melaka. His enterprising capacity enabled him to be generous towards others. Shaykh Abdul Latif was also well liked for his oral skills and humor. 

It was his great grandfather Haji Muhammad Saleh who built the Tengkera Mosque in 1728. Six years later, in 1734, Haji Muhammad Saleh who was also known as Nahkoda Nan Intan became the first man to have discovered Penang ahead of Captain Francis Light and opened Penang's first mosque in Batu Uban. In 1896, as a good friend of Habib Noh the grand saint of Singapore, he built a mosque adjacent to Habib Noh's maqam. 

How cool is that? Learning history is indeed fun. Visiting maqam of such great people makes us realize how insignificant we are.

The maqam of Shaykh Abdul Latif and his father Haji Muhammad Nuruddin @ Haji Tamby are located at Masjid Tengkera in Melaka. The maqam of his great grandfather Haji Muhammad Saleh @ Nahkoda Nan Intan is situated at Masjid Batu Uban in Penang.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mellifluous journaling | Longer fuller life


Journaling is a new word I learned yesterday. Picked it up from a TV program 'The Doctors'. The docs were saying: journaling [i.e. writing journals/diary or blogging for that matter] is one of three things that could make one live longer. The other two are: sex and paying forward, said the doctors.

In Islam, two deeds that could lengthen our "borrowed time" are sadaqah and building/keeping good relationship (silatul rahim) with people.

Journaling is not too common a word as compared to blogging. Anyhow, we have to trust the doctors, it could make you live longer. Interestingly relevant is an article on Lifehack about '6 ways journaling will change your life.' Let me summarize it for you here. 

When you take the time to sit down and write, you would go deeper into your soul and uncover your real feelings about something. If you don't dig it out, it remains buried thus you won't know what is it that you might be truly feeling and your point of view of things, situations etc. Not just yours, but that of others too. When you put in writing your life story, your everyday, or your observations of the everyday, you would someday be able to look back and appreciate 'Oh it's a life worth living!' Journaling will make you become more acquainted with yourself. You will get to know more about yourself than you think you do, your dreams, goals etc. It's also cool to write so that you could one day pass it on to people that matters. Imagine if your grandpa had written a journal and passed it on to you. You would discover more about him and what made him tick. Journaling could also make you feel more serene because when you write-it-out, it is like talking-it-out those bottled-up emotions, digest them, put them into perspective, hence feel better afterwards.

So, write, in order to live healthier and longer. One other reason to write is to fulfill people's expectations. It's good to know that your simple writing could make a person's day. If you make other people happy, Allah will make you happy, that's one simple rule of life.

Mellifluous is a new word I learned just a while ago. I am told, a good piece of writing should flow like honey - sweet, smooth and fall gracefully on the ears. Should aim to write and write mellifluously.   

O people, let's live life to the fullest. Let's stay healthy, mentally, emotionally and physically. May we live a longer fuller life. Ameen.

 Thankful to the ever generous God
for a good fulfilling life.
"I see skies of blue
and clouds of white
the bright blessed day
the dark sacred night
  and I think to myself
what a wonderful world."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Perpetual musafir we all are


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for a wonderful day.

Thank God for another opportunity to travel, to put on my musafir shoes, not that we are occasional musafir, we are all in fact perpetual musafir.

Guess where I went?

Because this beautiful sunrise was too mesmerizing to miss,
this musafir paused for a couple of minutes, hence missed the ferry
There's a hikmah in every little thing.
So we learned there's a better ride that could take us to our destination

Guess where we were heading for?
Does that look familiar to anyone?
I visited this island several times before via ferry rides.
 And from the jetty, rode a van to this place.
This time around Allah Al-Kareem,
made us arrive in style, right on the "doorstep".
The boat ride and the sea was beautiful!  
This was the destination : D
Maqam Sultan Al-Ariffin Shaykh Ismail
Pulau Besar, Melaka, Malaysia

Sultan Al-Ariffin Shaykh Ismail was the 18th descendant of the Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. He was born in Baghdad in 1464 C.E. He was also a descendant of Sultan Awliya Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jailani. Upon visiting the Prophet's maqam in Madinah, he had a calling to spread Islam to Java islands (South East Asia). So he did. Shaykh Ismail arrived in Pulau Besar, Melaka in 1495 C.E. Melaka is two hours drive south of KL. The island Pulau Besar is about 20 minutes boat ride from the mainland. 

Shaykh Ismail traveled with 16 other people and among them was his teacher Shaykh Yusuf As-Siddiq whose maqam is next to his murid's. Shaykh Ismail's teachings and influence attracted many people to the island. A couple of his students became prominent saints in the region.  He passed away at the age of 58. Five hundred years have passed yet his maqam continues to receive throng of visitors everyday. Shaykh Ismal traveled for the sake of Allah and Rasulullah. For the sincere devotion he had for the deen, Allah continues to preserve his good name and reputation to this day. 

May we travel for the sake of Allah. Even when we are not physically traveling, we are in reality a perpetual musafir in this realm we live in. 

As we traverse the world, the best destination has got to be the mosque - the House of Allah. And visiting maqams of the chosen ones is a noble deed because it not only reminds us of our eventual fate - death - or rather migration to the eternal abode, it also encourages us to love those whom He must really love, else why would He honor them with a posthumous recognition.

Allahu a'lam

Monday, November 3, 2014

His Eyes of Mercy | 1000 Al-Ikhlas


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we are able to embrace this auspicious Day of 'Ashura yet again. 

One of the simpler things that we are encouraged to do on this day is to recite Surah Al-Ikhlas for 1000 times, with a hope that Allah aza wa jalla will honor us with a glance from Him with His Eyes of Mercy. 

I am neither in a position to expound this matter nor do I want to. But it sounds like a big deal for an ignorant and weak person like me. Something to reflect on.

When we pray we are supposed to either visualize Him or be aware that He is watching us. On top of this, today on this Day of 'Ashura, as we have heard/learned from the shuyukh, we could have that precious gift of His glance, if we were to recite Al-Ikhlas 1000 times.


Regretfully, I have, more than a thousand times, glanced at other than Him i.e. at my phone screen, unnecessarily checking on whatsapp, twitter and what not. Today, let's keep that to a minimum if not abandoning it completely. Let's "glance" at Al-Ikhlas 1000 times and make ourselves worthy of His merciful glance on us.  

If the King were to glance with the Eyes of Mercy, this faqir hopes with the divine glance comes with it forgiveness, guidance, support and success, now, in the ending and beyond. 

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tashu'a Day | TGIA


Today is the 9th of Muharram. It's Tashu'a Day, peeps!

I almost missed it. Thanks to one sister who reminded me of this auspicious time. I am aging and sometimes forget what day is today, let alone Islamic dates. I bumped into this friend of mine at the International Islamic Book Expo yesterday. Sister L is an active community member of the famous Al-Jenderami Foundation which is well known for organizing big Islamic events. It's been ages since I last attended their popular majalis. So when I bumped into her at the book expo, I took the opportunity to inquire on upcoming events. She said: "Yes, next one is on Monday, 10th of Muharram!"

Gosh, I almost forgot! So if Monday is 'Ashura Day, that makes today, Sunday, Tashu'a Day. Yaay!

Actually I must thank Sister L's little daughter who recognized me amongst the busy crowd at the book expo and took me to her mother. Otherwise, I would have missed out on these two sacred days of Tashu'a and 'Ashura. Sorry folks, for being long winded, but we must give credit where it's due. And we must be specific in acknowledging Allah's bounties. Alhamdulillah.

I was, a couple of days ago, wondering when was Halloween as I noticed some people gearing up on the occasion. But of course it does not matter.

Tomorrow, we Muslims should say TGIA - Thank God It's 'Ashura day!

Related postings on Tashu'a & 'Ashura:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Can touch this


Subhanallah, this is truly a best-buy item. I went to the International Islamic Book Expo today looking for a pocket-sized Qur'an and found this to be just the right size I wanted. Got the shock of my life at the till when the cashier mentioned the price. It costs only RM 16 [Malaysian Ringgit]. That's like a little under USD $5 or 3 Quid. OMG!

This RM 16 super precious item could save me for eternity. Not the RM 39.90 H&M tops which many would think are dirt cheap and definitely a must-buy. I've got plenty of them in my closet.

This RM 16 super precious book, I should touch more often. It's something we can touch so easily. May Allah give us the strength to touch it regularly.

Alhamdulillah for His generous bounties today. I have a feeling it's partly due to a du'a of a stranger I got to know when I was on umrah in 2007. It's been quite a while since I last contacted him and yet he still remembers me. MashaAllah

Do you know anyone who works on paddy fields? I do! This friend of mine is a retired Oil Palm Estate Manager who now grows his own paddy in Perlis. He said, as a matter of fact, "It's a tough physical job but my mind is a lot more peaceful now." It's a noble profession indeed I replied, for I am still an employee, struggling to become an independent employer.

It's true that if Allah wants us to do something, He will prepare us for it. And we must be willing to dirty our hands, in the right way.

It's wonderful to know one Professor and one paddy grower in Perlis. What a contrast. Perlis is the northern-most state in Peninsula Malaysia.