Monday, January 26, 2015

No such thing as a solo performance


Feeling super good today Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah because on a personal level, a couple of cool things have been accomplished. Must proclaim one's gratitude over and over again.

Habib Hassan bin Muhammad al-Attas in his book 'Travel Notes of an Abid' said we must be grateful even for seemingly small things like being able to perform Subuh prayers. He said, one must say 'Alhamdulillah I am able to pray Subuh today' just so that Allah will give more tawfiq (strength) the next day.
Anyway, have you managed to memorize the new salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz? I have! YaHu! So how many 'extended version' salawat do you know? Heh heh...I am super happy with the few that I have learned. May we learn more. Thanks to Muwasala for making the shaykh's teachings accessible to non-Arabic readers.

There's a good article on Lifehack I read a few months back. The writer says we should realize and acknowledge that nothing we have achieved of value has been a solo performance. Someone must have helped us along the way. Someone must have given a good pep talk, said something inspiring to instill confidence in us, give us wings to soar or even an opportunity to fail. Someone must have taught us something. Someone must have made a prayer.  

Therefore, when we are in a position to help others in any way, even it be for a brief period of time, we should reach out to offer whatever little help we can. Every smile, every heartfelt thought, every little good things we do will come back to us, multiplied in strength. Yes, life is good. Allah Karim!

Likewise this space. It has never been a solo performance. Because many aspects of life have been taken care of by the wonderful people around me, I could have some spare time to write. When Allah facilitates something for us, that simply means He wants us to do it. Remember that talk/posting on four levels of ikhlas by Shaykh Al-Ninowy? We do, then forget about what we have done, then see it as His actions and not ours, and then see not His actions but see Him instead.  

I guess the best thing about being a not-so-smart blogger like me [one who merely regurgitates what she hears/reads] is that I often forget what I have posted yesterday LOL. 

And, this is another daily affirmation of mine:
'All things seen and unseen are working for my good.'
Why not?
Because there is no such thing as a solo performance ; )

Wish y'all a fabulous week.

The Lifehack article I was referring to:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A night's reflection | Spanish dreams


It's 10.40 pm Sunday. All of a sudden, I realized I missed my own blog. So many things have been keeping me away from this space - plans, ongoing, outstanding and future projects - all these occupying the mind and time. All good things take time, we all know that. 

I had been watching a documentary on the Great Mosque of Granada in the southern part of Spain. MashaAllah. It took them 20 over years to build it. Imagine the hasanah they have had through those years. One thing for sure God wanted to give them a 20-years worth of reward which is of course not the same as 2 years. But the real sad truth is that the Spanish Muslims have had to wait for 500 years before the azan fills the air again. The Great Mosque of Granada was opened in 2003, that is 500 years after Islam's 'good old days' in Andalusia. Allah works in wondrous ways.

It's both interesting and sorrowful in a way that the Great Mosque of Granada has a public garden overlooking the grand Alhambra. It must feel bitter sweet for a Muslim to be standing there, looking out at Alhambra and think of the past glories. Lisan al-Din al-Khatib was a poet, writer, historian, philosopher, physician and politician from Al-Andalus. He was born near Granada. Some of his poems decorate the walls of Alhambra.  

Speaking of Spain, personally, I am reminded of a Muslim family, a friend living in Barcelona. Let's pray our Muslim brothers and sisters in Spain, be they in the south or north, pray they would be able to practise their faith freely and positively "engrave" their skills and talents, onto their community, as did Lisan al-Din al-Khatib. 

Let a night's reflection carries you to a brighter day tomorrow

Friday, January 23, 2015

Travel notes of an 'Abid | Great stuffs


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I do not have a reason not to rejoice today. It's Friday. Feeling good as I have bagged another great book. Alhamdulillah. From my experience, the best part about having negative people haunting you is that, you keep receiving great stuffs, somehow : )

When I was in Penang a couple of weeks ago someone was kind enough to want to arrange interviews with notable solehin including Habib Hassan bin Muhammad bin Salim Al-Attas [Influential scholar and imam of Masjid Ba'Alwi Singapore].

Because time did not permit, we were able to interview only one of them - Shaykh Razak Al-Masri. Shaykh Razak, an Egyptian who has called Malaysia his home since 1996, gave some very good points amid hilarious gesture. He was such a warm and funny person. Look out for the video to be produced by Al-Falah TV, inshaAllah.

Anyway, Allah is ever so fair. Though we missed out on the interview with Habib Hassan, a book written by him about his father Habib Muhammad, arrived at our door. We were planning to ask him about his father, so now with the book (pic below), we can appreciate better his family history, including short biographies of his venerable guru, the who's who in Yemen and also this region. 

The first part of the book lists out some recommended awrad. Some are simple and commonly known but still it's all "heavyweight" prayers because it's practised by the habaib. Since it's Friday, I thought it's worthwhile to post one here for easy reference.

To achieve tranquility of hearts, the book says, we are to recite this at anytime and any number of times we wish.

(Al Mulk: 14)

Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtle, the Aware.
[Translation by Marmaduke Pickthall]

Should He not know - that He created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well acquainted (with them).
[Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali]

Jummah Mubarak!

Travel Notes of an 'Abid
- Biography of Habib Muhammad bin Salem al-'Attas
and the Hadhramis Diaspora
[For sale at Masjid Ba'Alwi Singapore]

I think blogging is equivalent to travel notes because it chronicles one's experience in "travelling" his/her life path. And whenever God-wannabes come by, we say: go get a life. 

Alhamdulillah for more bounties! I think this daily affirmation works very well:
"A lot of money is coming to me today and I deserve it."
: D

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ku Mohon | I plead


Pleading for His mercy. 
This is what this song is all about.
To our foreign readers, my apologies,
I do not have the quwwah to translate the lyrics for you.
Not this time.
Pray you will always be enveloped by His mercy and love.
Thank you for your company,
you my kind and thoughtful friends.
You know who you are.
This is for you.
This space is for us. 
We are one in faith and hope.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Unimaginable sources of gifts | Proclaim the Lord's bounty


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. It's always a joy to proclaim the Lord's bounty with the hope He will send in more cool stuffs. Yet again the Lord proves how true His words: "...The Lord of Truth will grant you from sources you never imagined." 

Was utterly thrilled and gobsmacked to have received a good sum of money from unimaginable sources. Subhanallah. Allah Karim. Allah Karim.

I think that's why they say: Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. 

Then this faqir finally got hold of  the latest and tiniest Sony voice recorder. It's kinda silly that I never bothered to record the shuyukh's talks using a voice recorder. All this while, it's like - what I catch is what I catch -  or in Arabic, if I heard Shaykh Abdul Aziz correctly, they say: ma adratu adratu. What you have caught is what you have caught.

And the best purchase last week was this uber cool college hoodie. YaHuuuu!

Praise be to Allah for the opportunity to study at Stirling.
The shirt says: Never underestimate the power of a woman
who graduated from Stirling ; ) 

Tangible things aside, the truly valuable gift is often the intangible. At a majlis on 12th Rabi'ul Awal in KL, Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks said: "It is Allah who brings ulfa between people's hearts." So, if you've got it, you've got it. Affection is a gift from Him the Creator. Enjoy and be grateful while you have it. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy on stations of ikhlas


Subhanallah, this counsel by the honorable Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy, in my humble opinion is the only talk about sincerity that we need to hear and understand. Shaykh Al-Ninowy gave this tausiyah on 9th Jan 2015 in Georgia at a majlis ta'lim organized by Madina Institute USA. I found this precious recording on a friend's FB, she is a mureed of Shaykh Al-Ninowy.
Challenges abound as we struggle to do as many good deeds as possible, hoping to replace any bad or not-so-good good-deeds that we committed. The struggle is within because a deed springs forth from an intention/niyyat, and that is an inside job. It has a beginning, a middle part, and an end. I remembered one Ustaz once said, "Sometimes we are ikhlas in the beginning but not at the end. We have to make sure it's ikhlas all the way." Shaykh Al-Ninowy calls it 'calibration of ikhlas' -  keeping one's ikhlas calibrated. 

As we struggle with the inside job, we are sometimes thrown with all kinds of accusations from holier-than-thou people who think our inside job is under their purview. They are God-wannabes.   

Anyway, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Al-Ninowy, in this 25-minute tausiyah, gave a deep yet succinct summary of what ikhlas is and how it should be. Below is my attempt at transcribing what the shaykh articulated, with minor editing.  


Ikhlas means sincerity, in general. Allah says in the Quran, 'To Allah belongs a deen that is khalis.' Khalis means pure. Pure from everything. Maqam of ikhlas is one of the maqamat/stations that is very important.

Ulama of suluk are in agreement that the fuel on the trip/journey to Allah is ikhlas. If you think it's about how many good deeds you do, it won't work. Hadith calls that shirik khafi. There are two kinds of shirik. One takes you out of the fold of Islam. On the other hand, shirik khafi or the concealed shirik does not take you out of the fold of Islam but it renders everything you do invalid or unacceptable. 

From suluk point of view, ikhlas is purifying the deed from any impurities. We move away from sincerity per se to purifying it from impurities. For example: what is the key/fiqh to solah? It's taharah. That you do your wuduk etc. There is taharah in iman, which is having no impurities in iman being ikhlas lillahi ta'ala. There is also taharah in ehsan and it's all about attaining purity from any impurities. Some of the impurities in ikhlas, for example, is showing off or doing something for other people.

The first level of ikhlas is blindness from seeing the deed or the acts of worship, after having done it. That is perfecting them and then putting them behind your back. 

What's the point of doing amal/deeds? Without amal we are not going to go anywhere because Allah asks us to do good deeds. We must perfect our deeds. The way to Allah is sunnah Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam. The Prophet says: "Who does not follow my sunnah, is not from me." The point is that you perfect your amal and then at one level you belittle it. In the real level, you don't see it at all. 

What does it mean by you don't see it? Does that mean you don't brag about it even though it is the best deed you've ever done? Don't believe that you are worthy of reward for the best deed you did. Don't have a belief in you that you are worthy of a reward for it.

For example, Allah sends you an opportunity to build a masjid and you have $100,000 so you give away $90,000 and keep only $10,000. If you did that for Allah, ikhlas entails that you don't think and believe that you deserve a reward for what you did. Why? The one who deserves a reward (ajar) is the Ajir - a higher person. A slave works without rewards. It's enough that his Master feeds him and provide him safety. 

If you believe you deserve a reward from Allah, then you are in trouble, from ikhlas point of view - from a fine ikhlas point of view. Don't view yourself as a higher person to do this, that Allah owes you something back in return. 

So, do your amal, perfect it and then know that you don't deserve a reward because it is not you who did it anyway. It is Allah who facilitated it for you to do it and you actually need to be thanking Him for opening the opportunity to you in the first place; driving it to your door in the second place; then giving you something in the third place; and making you give what He gave you, in the fourth place.

Again, the first level of ikhlas is not seeing the deed. Ikhlas is that you perfect the deed, you need to perfect it, you cannot do a sloppy job. Then take it out of the equation because you are Abdullah. You are a slave to Allah.

But then, no matter how much you perfect your deed, it's not acceptable, it's not good enough. In a hadith, the Prophet says: "None of your deeds will take you to Jannah". Not Sayyidina Abu Bakar nor Sayyidina Umar. Sahabah asks: "How about you Rasul?" The Prophet says: "Not even my deeds except that Allah grants mercy." So, no one can thank him enough. Even the best of creations, the one closest to Allah tries to do, yet he views himself as falling short in praising Allah. 

You should not see where the deeds come from e.g. "I give $90,000. What do you want me to do?" Don't see where the deed is coming from. You should see where the deed is going to. Don't see yourself doing something good: "I gave 90% of what I had." But see who are you presenting the deed to? If you are giving to Allah then look at those who are competing in giving deeds to Allah. That's where you measure.

For the pious slaves of Allah, they view Allah giving them good things that happen to them, as Allah facilitating it to run on their hands, out of the generosity of Allah. Allah wills it for us to be in the right place at the right time. 

Maqam of ikhlas means you need to absolve yourselves from expecting a reward for the good deeds in dunya or in the akhirah, both. Why? If you still see the deed, take out all these expectations of rewards. Do good deeds to please Allah. If it's pleasing Allah then your relationship is based on Allah and not the rewards He gives you. So that you will not be upset if He doesn't give you in dunya and if He doesn't give you in akhirah you will not be upset either, thinking 'Oh, I wasted my money'.

Next, you need to calibrate your ikhlas. What's the point? Fast for what? Illa liyak budun. It's actually illa liyakrifun. That is to know Allah. We must realize ibadah has an objective and the objective is to know Allah. If you know Him, you have taqwa, if you don't know Him, no matter what you say, you don't have taqwa

You must check: did the amal I did, make me know Allah better? Am I closer to Allah? Was it a robotic or mechanical thing I did and had no bearing on my relationship with Allah? Then ikhlas is questionable. If your niyyat is with Allah from the beginning, then your niyyat is for Allah at the end. 

The act of worship is not the objective itself. The objective of amal is to get closer to Allah. Then check your ikhlas. For example, you come to the masjid with what niyyat? If you make it purely for Allah: I come for the pleasure of Allah and remain in this niyyat until you leave the masjid, then you will be closer to Allah. But once you step out of the niyyah e.g. come for acquiring information, to attend majlis solehin, to see good people, which is good, but then correct your intention solely for Allah. Purify your ikhlas and keep it calibrated. Niyyah must be there and remain intact so that your coming to majlis ilm such as this becomes a wasilah/tool for you to be closer to Allah. 

After perfecting the deed, you should be embarrassed by it. Why? Because one sees the good things from the generosity of Allah. You must be emancipated by it. Leave yourself out of recognition. When Allah enables you to do a good thing, say Alhamdulillah. That is the meaning of la hawla wala quwwata illah billah. The real meaning is: there is no power to stay away from sins and there is no power to do obedience except with the power of Allah. The slave who is with Allah, when they do something, it's with Allah, for Allah, by Allah, to Allah.

The last level of ikhlas is freedom. First, you do the work, then you don't see the work, then you see the facilitation. Then the last level of ikhlas is you don't see anything but Allah. The last level of ikhlas, they say is khalas. It means emancipation. Do a deed but don't see the deed, see a path, not seeing you did it but Allah facilitates it, so you see the facilitation until you don't see anything. Nothing is important for you to see. What is important to see? Fawalli wajhaka shatral masjidil haram. Put your face towards that direction - Masjidil Haram. They call that emancipation. So you and your heart are with Allah Al-Qadir Al-Haqq, not with the manifestation of Allah's qudrah. You do not be dazzled and amazed by the manifestation of Allah's qudrah rather than Him Al-Qadir Himself. Similarly, you do not busy with the promise of reward, you are not more attached to His Jannah than you are attached to Him. You are close to Him. Jannah is good but it is His creation. It is Him you want to know and be close to. Then if He gives you Jannah or whatever He gives you, you are pleased.

Allahu a'lam.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tausiyah by Habib Hassan bin Muhammad bin Salim Al-Attas at Masjid Kapitan Keling, Penang - 19 Rabiul Awal 1436 H


Habib Hassan bin Muhammad bin Salim Al-Attas, the imam of Masjid Ba’Alwi of Singapore was the keynote speaker at the recent Mawlid Akbar held in Penang’s Masjid Kapitan Keling.

He spoke in a gentle fatherly manner. He began his tausiyah by asking the audience a fundamental question: ‘Why are we present here this evening?’

He said: We are here looking for mercy from Allah through the blessings of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. With each step we took, we made a good intention to attend a Mawlid. And with each step we pray Allah would remove our sins and count us in with the solehin. [Ameen]

When was the Prophet salallah alihi wasalam born? It’s 12 Rabi’ul Awal. That is an accepted fact. The day is a public holiday in countries such as Malaysia, Brunei and Egypt where people would march on the streets expressing their joy on the birth of Prophet Muhammad.

Why are we all feeling delighted about his birth? Because the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam brings mercy to mankind – rahmatan lil alamin. But many are not aware that the Prophet also passed away on Monday, 12 Rabi'ul Awal. Monday is a special day. The first verse of the Quran – Surah Al-Alaq was revealed on Monday. Israk Mikraj took place on a Monday. The Prophet was born and passed away on the same day but we rarely mention the day he passed, we only talk about mawlid. Who was the person who first celebrated mawlid? It was Rasulallah himself. He would fast on Mondays because he was born on a Monday. Did the sahabah and tabi'in celebrate mawlid? Yes. Many of them would fast on Mondays and Thursdays because it's sunnah.

As for the solehin, like Saidina Hussin we observe the day of his passing on the last Thursday of Rabi'ul Akhir. People in Egypt, at Al-Azhar University honor the day Saidina Hussin died. And likewise Imam Al Haddad, we commemorate his death by celebrating his hawl. Prophet Muhammad asked us to mention the good deeds of solehin of the past. In the Quran, Allah orders him to mention stories of the former anbiya. We should not forget the contributions of the Prophet's family, the guru/shuyukh, awliya and the pious. We must remember them and pray for them, hence celebrate their hawl.

Why do we celebrate the Prophet's mawlid? Because his birth brings mercy to the universe. At the point of his birth, statues fell. Waraqah ibn Naufal tried to give life to the statues but failed. The fire lit by the Majusi got retarded and they failed to re-ignite it. Prior to the Prophet's birth, there had been drought in Makkah. With the arrival of the Prophet, rain came and trees began to grow. Allah wanted to show that his birth was indeed rahmatan lil alamin. In the year of his birth in the year of the Elephant, Abrahah attacked the Kaabah. That was indeed a significant event. But he too failed.

Concluding his tausiyah, Habib Hassan said, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad is vast, yet all point to good characters. The five tenets of Islam i.e syahadah, prayers, fasting, alms-giving and hajj, all relate to the importance of good characters (akhlak). There is nothing else that is heavier on the Scale other than good characters. Thus Muslims should strive towards that so that we will return to Allah with husnul khuluq.          

Allahu a'lam.

The event was organized by Majlis Ta'alim Ahbabunnabi and Masjid Kapitan Keling's Committee.

Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town
19 Rabiul Awal 2016 H

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tausiyah by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al Hamid at Mawlid Akbar in Penang - 19th Rabiul Awal 1436 Hijri


Habib Hassan bin Muhammad Al Attas of Singapore
and Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al Hamid
of Darul Murtadza Malaysia arrive at Masjid Kapitan Keling
in Penang for Mawlid Akbar
alongside other notable guests
including Mufti of Penang Sahibus Samahah Datuk Dr Wan Salim, Shaykh Razak Al Masri,
Ustaz Azhar Hashim, Shaykh Hafiz Al Jenderami
and Kiai Abdul Jalil of Indonesia 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah that we were able to attend the Mawlid Akbar held on 19th Rabi'ul awal 1436 Hijri at Masjid Kapitan Keling in George Town, Penang.

Habib Ali Zainal Abidin delivered quite a fiery message directing towards people who misunderstood the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad salallahalaihi wasalam.

He began his tausiyah by praising Allah for making it easy for us to be guests at the best of places, the best site on earth - mosques or House of Allah. Mosques have right over us. We have a duty to make it a lively place (imarah) so that Allah would in turn enliven our hearts, our grave, our house, our scale, our heaven. You will live in the hereafter in the same way you do your amal in this life. Those who enliven the House of Allah, they are the faithfuls (people with iman). We are present here in this masjid to give it vigor and to remember the person who taught us to do so.

As related by the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam, there are people who will be resurrected on minbar (pulpit) made of gems. Their face would be bright. Even the prophets would feel envious towards them for the great gift bestowed upon them. On hearing this, a Badwi asked the Prophet, "Show me their attributes" so he replied, "They come from different countries and they sit to remember me. They are awliya Allah. They are close to Allah. Neither do they fear nor grieve."

We come from various countries/places, we are of a different family/tribe, we sit together to make zikir and to remember Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. May Allah resurrect us in the Hereafter on minbar made of gems. [Ameen].

That would be a great gift from Allah. Yet the greatest gift from Allah to mankind is in fact Prophet Muhammad himself. We should be grateful for this great gift. We know from a hadith that if we were to be grateful for Allah's bounties, He would give us more. We are present at this majlis to express our thankfulness for the gift of Prophet Muhammad. The Quran says we should remember the blessings of Allah especially the blessings of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam. The Quran also say we should hold on to the rope of Allah. The rope of Allah is the Quran, Islam and Prophet Muhammad. We are told to stay united and remember His blessings.

People were disunited, then they became friends. The Ansar and Muhajirin reconciled and became friendly to each other. They became united because of Prophet Muhammad who brought them closer. And they were raised on account of their sincere beliefs. Stories of the sahabah and their noble characters were also mentioned in Taurat and Injil.

We have become elevated and honorable because of Prophet Muhammad. Our obligatory prayers got reduced because of Prophet Muhammad. We are not like the ummah of other Prophets who live very long, our lives are shorter than theirs yet we get to receive bigger rewards. There are many privileges Allah gives to us, all because of Prophet Muhammad. We must do our best to emulate the good behaviors as set by the Prophet and his companions so that it is not mere rhetoric and claims.

Be cognizant of the two kinds of behaviors (sifat) namely mu'amalah (dealings) with people and mu'amalah with Allah. As for the former, we are to be strict with the disbelievers and be kind towards the faithful believers. Mu'amalah with Allah involves making sajada and rukuk. Give priority to the former, that is mu'amalah with people over that with Allah because that is mentioned first. Interaction/dealings with people is verily dealings with Allah. Religion teaches us how to deal with people. Allah asks us to be strict with the disbelievers. Did Allah ask us to kill them? Allah does not prohibit us from dealing with people who neither bother us nor chase us away. Allah does not prohibit us from engaging in mu'amalah with the kuffar. We are not supposed to make them our enemies, be hostile towards them or commit a crime against them. The Prophet himself showed us an example of how to deal with disbelievers when his sword got stolen and was used to threaten him. The thief asked: 'Who would protect you now?' The Prophet did not waver. He replied: "Allah!". He replied with utter confidence and shocked the man so much that the sword fell to the ground. When Rasulallah reclaimed his sword, he did not kill the man even though he was in a position to do so. But some people chose to interpret the verse of the Quran according to their own narrow perspective and ideology. So we know as shown by the Prophet, how to be strict with the disbelievers.

Secondly, in regard to mu'amalah with the believers, we are told to be gentle and kind even if we have differences and misunderstandings. The cordial relationship among Muslims get spoiled when people curse and ridicule others for their backgrounds and beliefs. We should not look down on other people because it's possible that they are better than us. We are supposed to show compassion towards one another. As stated in the hadith of mercy (Hadith Ar-Rahmah) if we are compassionate towards people, Allah will be merciful on us. [The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Have mercy to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens will have mercy upon you.]

Once, Abu Dar tried to pick a fight with Bilal, saying: "O son of a black man'. On hearing this, the Prophet turned at him with an angry face and reprimanded Abu Dar: "Drop those foul-smelling words!" That is an action of the Jahiliyah. Making such a remark 'son of a black man' incurred the anger of Prophet Muhammad. Compare that with accusations made to pious people, calling them fasiq, syirik and misguided?

Thirdly, with regard to mu'amalah with Allah, we are ordered to make sujud and rukuk - that we abide by our duties in public and in private.

Concluding his tausiyah, Habib Ali prayed so that Allah would grant the audience with a firm understanding of the religion, that Allah would elevate our status, that Allah would increase our understanding of secret knowledge, that we will continue to attend majlis and put to practice what we learn and practise sunnah.        

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

p/s Next posting is on Habib Hassan's tausiyah. InshaAllah.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Darul Murtadza on SoundCloud | Reason to be merry


Congrats and thanks to the tireless and innovative team behind Majlis Ta'alim Darul Murtadza led by the honorable Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid, we now can have easier access to lessons. I am hoping with this new year gift from them, I would be able to share more postings on tausiyah given by Habib Ali and the guest scholars. InshaAllah.

Call me what you want, but it pays to broadcast what you intend to do because as you all know, you will get 10 times more reward if you actually carry out your good intention. Allah Karim!

Because Darul Murtadza is now on SoundCloud and because it's so easy to create a reason to shop, I have bought a Sony headphone. YaHu! A reason to be merry!

Also, do download their mobile apps and check out the new look of their website. Kudos to the team at Majlis Ta'lim Darul Murtadza.

It's Friday. The first Friday of the new year. Another reason to be merry.

Jummah Mubarak!

Allahumma ya ni'mal mawla wa ya ni'mal nasir
salli wa salim 'adada 'ilmika
'ala sayyidina Muhammad
man ja'altahu lana hirzan harizan
wa'ala alihi wa sahbihi
wansurna bihi wal muslimina
bi asrari wa yansurakallahu nasran 'aziza

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mawlid Akbar in Penang on 19th Rabi'ul Awal 1436 Hijri / 10 January 2015


MashaAllah tabarakallah, we commend Majlis Ta'alim Ahbabunnaby for being the organizer of the fifth Mawlid Akbar in Penang scheduled on 10 January 2015 at the historic Masjid Kapitan Keling. 

Program details:
5.00 pm   Opening and Qur'an recital
5.15 pm   Tahlil for Allahyarham Ulama' of Penang and Muslimin and Muslimat
5.30 pm   Tausiyah by Ustaz Azhar Hashim
6.15 pm   Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Razak Al-Misri
7.00 pm   Arrival of Habaib and Ulama
                  Solat Maghrib
                  Mawlid Diba'i by Al Habib Hassan bin Muhammad bin Salim Al-Attas
                  Qasidah by Al-Jenderami Group
                  Tausiyah by Shaykh Hafidz Al-Jenderami
                  Tausiyah by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin bin Abu Bakar Al-Hamid
                  Tausiyah by Habib Hassan bin Muhammad bin Salim Al-Attas
10.00 pm   End/Dinner

According to Bro. Mohd. Ashraff Khan, the key person in the organizing team, the annual mawlid celebration was first held at Masjid Ayer Itam in 2007 and subsequently at Masjid Kapitan Keling as advised by the shuyukh considering the uniqueness of the aura and barakah of Masjid Kapitan. The organizer was initially known as Majlis Ta'lim Raudhatul Jannah and last year changed their name to Majlis Ta'alim Ahbabunnaby, foucusing on majlis ta'alim in Penang, Kedah and Perak.

May Allah honor us and grant us the tawfik to be present at such a blessed event. May Allah facilitate the organizer and everyone involved in the majlis and make it a successful event. Ameen.

Majlis Ta'alim Ahbabunnabi operates from Penang
and focuses on spiritual activities in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz


So we know Habib Umar would teach a new salawat every year, come Rabi'ul Awal. This year, the habib has given a lengthy one. It's kinda tough for someone like me to memorize but I am going to challenge myself and memorize it to the best of my ability bi-iznillah. Habib Umar says we should try to recite it 3000 times in this blessed month. 

On with the first challenge of the year!

O Allah, O Best of Protectors and Best of Supporters, 
bestow prayers and peace to the amount of Your knowledge 
upon our Master Muhammad, 
the one You made for us an impregnable fortress 
and upon his Family and Companions, 
and by him support us and all Muslims 
through the secrets of 
'That Allah may support you with mighty support.'

Allahumma ya ni'mal mawla wa ya ni'mal nasir 
salli wa salim 'adada 'ilmika 
'ala sayyidina Muhammad 
man ja'altahu lana hirzan harizan 
wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi 
wansurna bihi wal muslimina 
bi asrari: wa yansurakallahu nasran 'aziza

اللَّهُمَّ يا نعْمَ المَوْلى ويا نعْمَ النَّصِير 

صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ عَدَدَ عِلْمِكَ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ 

مَنْ جَعَلْتَهُ لَنا حِرْزاً حَرِيزاً،

 و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ وانْصُرْنا بِهِ والمُسْلِمينَ

 بِأَسْرَارِ — ويَنْصُرَكَ اللهُ نَصْراً عَزِيزاً

Credit: Muwasala FB

p/s Smiling, thinking the benefit I might yield if you practice this too : D Allah Karim!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jottings from Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks' tafseer of Al-Fil & Al-Quraysh


La hawla wala quwwata illah billahOh dear Lord, I disavow having any abilities to write notes from majlis ta'lim let alone a session on tafseer of the Qur'an. But there I was at a tafseer class organized by the Madina Institute of Malaysia and the Muslim Society of the International Medical University in KL. Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks came all the way from the UK for the event which coincided with 12th Rabi'ul Awal. Allahumma salli ala Sayidina Muhammad adadama yakun wama qadkan

Before stopping by in KL, Shaykh Abdul Aziz was in Singapore for the Sacred Path of Love event organized by the Sout Ilaahi group.  

It's unfortunate that I wasn't able to properly sit in all the four mini-sessions during which Shaykh Abdul Aziz expounded the meanings of two surah fitting for the occasion, namely Surah Al-Fil and Surah Al-Quraysh. Below is my feeble attempt to put together not notes but random jottings. Nevertheless, first, let's just read the translations and brief intro of the surah as given in the class handouts.

Surah Al-Fil
Have you not considered [O Muhammad] how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks. Striking them with stones of hard clay. And He made them like eaten straw.

This year of the Elephant marks the holy year our beloved Prophet Rasulallah salallah alaihi wasalam was born. Yemen was then under the rule of the Abyssinians and Abraha was the Abyssian governor. Intoxicated with power and fired with religious fanaticism, he led a big expedition against Mecca, intending to destroy the Ka'aba. He had elephants in his train. But his sacrilegious intentions were defeated by a miracle. Abdul Mutalib told Abrahah that the Lord of the Holy House will protect the Holy Ka'aba. A shower of stones, thrown by flocks of birds, destroyed the invading army almost to a man.


Surah Al-Quraysh
For the accustomed security of the Quraysh. Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer. Let them worship the Lord of this House. Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.

This Meccan Surah may well be considered as a pendant to the last. If the Quraysh were fond of Mecca and proud of it, if they profited by its central position and its guaranteed security, from their caravans of trade and commerce, let them be grateful, adore the One True God and accept His Message.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz as many of you would know, has a special ability to impart lessons in a casual entertaining way. Morals of stories/parables from both surah were delivered amid anecdotes and significant side stories.

Random jottings:
  • Surah Al-Fil begins with Alam tarakai which according to the shaykh, is a question but not really a question. It is harfu istifham. It is like asking with a loaded intonation and meaning e.g. Did you not see the rain/flood? You did see it didn't you?
  • Tarak in Alam tarakai comes from the word takrir meaning to establish or to reinforce a principle.
  • Some tafsir mentions three elephants, some one. The elephant was named Mahmud. Unais was his trainer.
  • Tadlil means wrong path.
  • Ibrik means bowl.
  • Ibn Abbas was good in tafsir because the Prophet made du'a for him so that he would be good at it. The Prophet favored him. Ibn Abbas would bring him ibrik for making wudhu. He would accompany the Prophet almost everywhere. When people ask him about a verse of the Quran he would talk with certainty and say this means that. Saidina Abu Bakar on the other hand was good in poetry and genealogy. He was able to memorize plenty of poetry. Unlike Ibn Abbas, he would often quote other people and not say something from himself.
  • Ababil is a a regiment of bird. There is no singular to it.
  • Sijjil means hard clay or names that have been written.
  • Al-Fil and Al-Quraysh are two related surah. Ubay bin Kaab would read these two verses continuously without reciting bismillah in between them.
  • Li ila fi Quraysh - ilaf - yalaf - alafa means to be familiar with. 
  • Ulfa - It is Allah who brings ulfa between people's hearts. It is the peaceful feeling you have in your heart when you are in the company of a person. You feel comfortable being around certain people.
  • Taddabur means to reflect upon. Tafsir comes from the word fasara meaning to explain/go into details.
  • Shaykh Abdul Aziz's favorite seerah is the one written by Martin Lings who studied from CS Lewis - a literary giant of his time.
  • Two lessons from the surah is that Allah has protected the Prophet even before he was born and that people knew about the coming of the Prophet.
  • The level of your tawfik is the level of your connection to Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.
  • The coming of Prophet Muhammad was in fact the momentous event.            
Allahu a'lam.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed Fredericks on The Momentous Event and Three Timeless New Year Resolutions


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to attend a majlis ta'lim organized by the Madina Institute of Malaysia and the Muslim Society at the International Medical University of Kuala Lumpur. The majlis fittingly called The Momentous Event was held on a special date, 12th Rabiul Awal 1436 Hijri. Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks gave a tafsir of Surah Al-Fil and Al-Quraish. Concluding his talk, Shaykh Abdul Aziz mentioned a few points which recapped the lessons from the surah. He said the momentous event was not about the episode of Al-Fil. The birth of the Prophet was in fact THE momentous event and that Allah protected the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam even before he was born so people knew about the coming of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam. More importantly we have to ask ourselves - what is our relationship with Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam because the level of our tawfik is the level of our connection to Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam     

Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredericks
Kuala Lumpur, 3rd Jan 2015

Courtesy of the organizers, we were allowed to have a short interview with Shaykh Abdul Aziz after the talk. Below is his reply to one of our questions on three timeless new year resolutions a Muslim should make.

Firstly, one must understand what time is. Being in the UK, we have the solar new year, the lunar new year, the Chinese new year and the Persians new year. These are connected with one another. In the tafsir of surah [Al Quraish] we learned about summer and winter and the importance of time. If you resolve to understand time then you will always be resolved. You will always have a positive resolution.

Secondly, you should not look back because if you keep looking back, it can hold you back. You need to have a higher aspiration to aim to go forward in your life. Whatever happened in the past, you can't really change but what you can change is the future.

Thirdly, be kind to people. Have a good relationship with people around you. Try to improve your relationship constantly. You can always be nicer and be better. When you do that you will be happier as well.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Grand Mawlid on New Year's Eve - only in KL | Embracing 2015 with prayers and salawat


Subhanallah! I am proud to be a Muslim living in Malaysia. Where other cities in the world can you see a grand Mawlidur Rasul organized at its most historic and popular venue, on a new year's eve, instead of a heedless new year party and entertainment? And it's broadcast Live on TV Al Hijrah. Mabruk to the organizer and the authorities for this remarkable concerted effort.

Some people questioned if it's correct to label Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country or otherwise. I say who cares if we are moderate or not moderate or whatever. What is more important is that we love Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam and we sing it out loud! We are indeed proud to show it in a grand way. An Nabi sallu alai!

Grand Mawlid in KL on the eve of  the new year - 2015
@ Dataran Merdeka

Habib Syech Abdul Qadir As-Segaf led the qasidah performance in his uniquely entertaining style. The Kuala Lumpur Mufti, Sahibus Samahah Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri gave a tausiyah reminding Malaysians of the lessons we should heed as we reflect on the severe tests which the country had undergone in 2014. He quoted Al-Abbas saying: 'No calamity (musibah) shall befall except that a sin has been committed. And no calamity shall be lifted unless a repentance is offered.' He urged the audience to make a change because Allah will not change our fate until and unless we first make the changes ourselves. We must change, from being lazy to becoming productive, from being average to become outstanding, from not being used to enliven the nights with ibadah, we should change and make it a habit. The Mufti then quoted Saidina Ali who says: 'There is none whom we love more than Rasulallah. We love him more than we love our children, our parents and our properties.' There are three ways to love the Prophet. First is through makrifah that is to know him salallah alaihi wasalam. Second, is to follow his sunnah and thirdly, to make salawat for him. The Mufti related his recent experience in Egypt where he noticed signage everywhere asking "Have you made salawat today?" He says, that shows how important salawat is in our daily lives. Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al-Jailani has listed dozens of fadhilat of making salawat.

The Mufti then appealed so that people would stay united as one strong body. He narrated a story about the Romans witnessing a peculiar behavior of the Muslim armies who were seen whispering to one another. Then each one approached a well and jumped into it. One after another they jumped into the well until one of them raised a cup he found in the well. The Romans thought if Muslims could be so united in search of a small belonging of theirs, they would surely be united on more important things like religion, life and their dignity. The Mufti also related an Arab parable he heard from his guru Shaykh Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan Al-Buti. There is a garden in which there are all kinds of trees, some old, some young, and there are all kinds of sizes, big and small. They all live merrily in harmony. But one day, they got shocked and disturbed to notice a shining metal piece which looked like a blade. They quickly consulted the oldest and wisest tree among them, lamenting "Oh, we will soon be destroyed" crying thinking of the ugly fate that might come about. The oldest wisest tree then said: 'Do not cry, don't worry, do not be afraid, and you must believe and have confidence that the blade can never cause us harm. Unless one of us surrender himself and offer himself to be its handle.' The moral of the story, says the Mufti is that we are fine and we will be fine, unless we become our own enemy. Remember, the believers (mukmin) are brothers/sisters to another mukmin.                      


The grand gathering ended with a heartfelt prayer recited by our dearest Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al- Hamid who has just arrived in KL from performing umrah.

Kuala Lumpur made salawat and prayed for a better decree from the Almighty, a better year than the fateful 2014 which Malaysians would never want to relive, ever.

May Allah give us only great stuffs in 2015, in Malaysia and beyond. Ameen.

Kuala Lumpur - 1 Jan 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year | New Friends


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Feeling excited about having these new kids on the block, they are my new honorable neighbors in Gelugor, Penang. The tahfiz boys moved here just two months ago. 

It's wonderful to have them recite Surah Al-Kahf in my home last Friday. May the barakah from this first Friday in Rabi'ul Awal remain fresh until the next Friday and all the Fridays in the new year. Ameen

This is their home. Madrasah Tahfiz Darul Ukasha.
Bright stars of the neighborhood, they are.
My new friends. Look forward to having more gatherings with them.
With their presence, 2015 will be a great fulfilling year, bi-iznillah

The tahfiz students comprise of Malaysian, Cambodian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian and Singaporean. They are supervised by three hafiz who are graduates of Darul Ulum Hashimiah based in Colombo. The principal, Ustaz Salim, had spent 16 years studying in Sri Lanka. Chairman of the madrasah is a Malaysian philanthropist who offered two properties of his for tahfiz school. The other one is located about 3 km away from this neighborhood. May Allah make us follow in the footsteps of the good-doers - people who help Allah's religion. May we become nahnu ansarullah

Two Cambodian boys.
So we learned, they always prefer white rice over biryani.
In the background between them is Hassan from Sri Lanka.
This was at another majlis hosted at my grandma's.
We all respect anyone and everyone who seeks knowledge [tholabul ilmi] don't we? Especially young children who commit a portion of their growing up years, to studying and memorizing the Quran. They are so lovable! May Allah make them blossom into knowledgeable and skillful men who will contribute plenty to the ummah and make us benefit from them. Ameen.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015


Allah says: 'I am as my servant expects me to be.'
This new year, let's expect only great stuffs from Him, Allah Karim.

A beautiful year it will be, bi-iznillah.

p/s Our thoughts and prayers are with the flood victims in various states in Malaysia and those who are in dire circumstances no matter where they are.
Du'a credit: Dr.P