Monday, April 27, 2015

Forward momentum | BHAG


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
It's such a joy to feel grateful for His bounties. No wonder we are told to be grateful for the ability to be grateful. And to be grateful for the ability to pronounce and proclaim our gratitude. That's like a double dose of bounties.
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I still am busy and keeping busy with all kinds of activities, just like you. We are all super busy, aren't we, because there's always something to work on and there will always be something that's in 'work in progress' stage before we get on with the next task.

The above pic is a 'before' photo of my new [second] office. It's still WIP as you can see. Alhamdulillah, Allah Kareem, we all know that even if the whole wide world conspires to block His bounty from reaching us, there's nothing they can do if He wills it for us. Tangible and intangible bounties are an "inside job" of the Magnificent and Munificent Creator. Praise be to Him.

In the bestseller by J. Collins and J. Porras, Built to Last, Sony has been listed as one of 18 organizations which is visionary. A visionary organization is more than successful. Did you know that Sony's first product was a rice cooker which failed to work? When they first started in 1945 they did not have a great idea which they could bank on. Its founder Masaru Ibuka and seven of his first batch of hires sat down to brainstorm on what they should be doing and they even considered selling sweetened bean-paste soup! Then they grew and learned. And eventually left an indelible imprint on the world.     

In the said book, the authors argued about the myth of blue-chip companies 'playing it safe'. I think it applies to individuals too. We should be bold and not afraid of having BHAGs, that is Big Hairy Audacious Goals i.e. things that we think are beyond us - "a BHAG may be daunting and perhaps risky, but the adventure, excitement, and challenge of it grabs people in the gut, gets their juices flowing, and creates immense forward momentum."

Yes, that's what we all need, a forward momentum. Let the critics bark and judge. Let's just do and move forward.

Best wishes,
Feeling loved and blessed 10 to the power of 18.

Exa = 10 to the power of 18
Once again, Brother Amirul has been commissioned 
to do a super large poster.
This time it's for our new office.
Brother Amirul is a medic student who is talented in Kufi and graphics design.
He did a a 6x9 feet Asmaul Husna Kufi for my Penang house.
Always support young talents y'all. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Glorious days | Five key points | Upon some matter


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for another awesome day in April. Yes April keeps getting more awesome, praise be to the Generous Lord.

I am feeling good on this glorious Saturday, hence that photo of KL taken this morning - a fajar in April.

Feeling excited and highly motivated mostly because I have just completed a superb training given by a trainer of high caliber. His precious words: "With the passion and enthusiasm that you have, whatever you want to do in this world, you will succeed because you want it very badly. If you don't succeed the first time, learn from the mistakes and become better. That's the roadmap to success."

Five key points there: 
  • passion
  • enthusiasm
  • wanting it badly
  • learning from mistakes
  • become better


O folks, I appreciate your visits, despite the fact that some postings might not be as spiritually loaded as you were expecting. But this is my language of faith. It's simply about: simply living along His af'al.

Surah Ar Rahman 29:
"All those in the heavens and the earth beseech Him (for their needs). Every day He is in a state of action."
[Translated by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani]

"All that is in the heavens and the earth, implore Him. Every day He is upon some matter."
[Translated by Royal AlBayt Institute]

Allahu a'lam.

Wish y'all a fabulous weekend.
: ) 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Challenging oneself | Learning for the longest time



Boy, that camera looked very intimidating to me. But not until my new videography sifu threw me in "Lake Confusion" and said 'Eza, give me Shallow Depth of Field'. And that's after having heard that jargon for the first time, 10 minutes earlier.

I guess that's the best way to learn - learn new things the hard way. When you learn things the hard way, you will remember better.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, Allah is Kareem indeed to let us learn something new everyday.

We really ought to thank the Director for saying 'Lights, camera, action!' because that can only mean one thing, that He wants us to be around still, for His "Production" in this life before the next eternal stage unfolds.

And we are told to keep learning for the longest time right until the day we cross over to the next stage.  

Rabbi zidni 'ilma
war zuqni fahma

I am delighted and humbled that I have been offered to interview two prominent shuyukh soon, InshaAllah. One is a descendant of Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al-Jailani from Turkey and the other one is a descendant of Wali Songo/Sunan Gunung Jati. Kindly pray so that my team and I at Al Falah TV would be able to carry out the task well. Bi-iznillah.

It looks like the more envious/sour people call us "stupid", the more good opportunities come our way. Alhamdulillah let us  praise the Giver of Honor. For that Alhamdulillah, we say one more time, Alhamdulillah

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rajab Mubarrak | A cup of faith


May this small gesture of wishing you Rajab Mubarrak gets counted by the Lord as an effort to glorify the shi'ar of the religion.

May Allah bless us in this sacred month and let us live to see Ramadhan.

As we inch our way through the days and months, let's pray so that our cup of faith gets filled up with good stuffs. Let's keep pouring in it whatever we can. May the murky water eventually become diluted and will be entirely replaced with cleaner water by God's Will.

Some holier than thou people mocked me for pretending to be good by attending majalis of the habaib etc. I say I am helpless and lacking of qudrah to even lift my leg to go anywhere or do anything except that which He permits. So I rest my case. I think those who are at a mature age especially should know better that truly we have no power whatsoever to do any good deeds, save by His power and help. And that we have no power whatsoever to leave the bad, except by His power and help. So if you want to fault me for "being pretentious in doing good things", why don't you go complain to my Lord?! Tell Him not to lift my limbs for anything good.

The best disclaimer clause has got to be:
la hawla wala quwwata illah billah

May the Almighty let us be the receptacle and instrument of everything praiseworthy. Ameen.


On a lighter note, if you wish to drink from the cup of Lisan al-Din do look out for it soon InshaAllah.

That mug you see in the picture is a hand-made, by yours truly. 

That's what I was up to last weekend : D

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
And for that Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, I say one more time, Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Rajab Mubarrak!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Built to last | Staying power


Hi folks,

Am getting on the Surface because a blogger's gotta do what a blogger's gotta do. Thank God for Wadud, my new writing companion. By the way, I have got several private blogs which I update quite actively. It's good to have a couple of places to document things, me thinks. It's good to stay active and positively productive. May Allah grant us the strength to be consistent and to persevere because we should strive to do something that would last and stay around for the longest time, bi-iznillah

Am reading...nah let me re-phrase that, I am trying to find time to read these two books in between four jobs - day job, Lisan al-Din, Exa Publishing and Al Falah TV. It's pretty taxing but we have to say Alhamdulillah anyway, everyway, all the way. 

Please bear with me, if you are not seeing new postings here then you may expect some new sharing on Al Falah TV. And to our English speaking viewers, please don't give up. We are trying hard to get the English subtitles sorted out. 

Rejab is coming soon and we have got two videos to share about lessons and virtues of the sacred month. InshaAllah. So please stay on and stay tune.

Look out for recordings of this majlis. InshaAllah.

April keeps getting awesome, Alhamdulillah. And for that Alhamdulillah we say one more time, Alhamdulillah.

Dr N - mucho gracias for the lovely gifts from Sarawak and Down Under : D

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interview with Haji Musa of Madrasatul AnNur at Masjid Jamiul Anwar, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


With the help of Brother Mohd Nour whom we met by chance on our first day in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) we got to visit the largest Muslim (Malay) settlement in HCMC - the Village of Jami'ul Anwar, popularly known as Kampung Melayu (Malay Village).

The video below features my interview with Haji Musa, deputy principal of Madrasatul AnNur which is co-sited at Masjid Jamiul Anwar in Kampung Melayu, a 30-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh city center.                       

According to Haji Musa, the Malay Village has 330 families that is about 1400 residents and is home to Madrasatul AnNur. The madrasa plays an important role in educating Muslim children and youth in Vietnam especially HCMC. There are 6000 Muslims and 10 mosques including Masjid Jamiul Anwar in the city. A big majority of the Muslims in Vietnam is of the Malay Cham roots.

The madrasa is a boarding school for 120 students and eight teachers. The students' room and board and the faculty's remuneration are funded by public contributions. Despite the challenges faced in sustaining the school's administration, they are resolved in providing essential foundation for young Muslims. Upon graduating from Madrasatul AnNur, a good number of the students would further their studies in Malaysia, particularly in Kedah and Terengganu where students typically get sponsorships from Malaysians. After having spent five or six years in Malaysia, they would return to Vietnam and become teachers.  

There are 74,000 Muslims and a total of 64 mosques in Vietnam. Muslims in Vietnam are lacking in education and lacking of Islamic books. There are not many ulama. The last time the Muslim community in Vietnam had a mufti was 15 years ago. There is just no suitable candidate, said Haji Musa. But they are grateful that the Government of Vietnam does not prohibit the Muslims from building mosques, schools and practising Islam. The government is friendly towards all religions in the country but Muslims and everyone else must be financially independent. Seventy four thousand Muslims are able to live peacefully in a communist country of 90 million people.

Concluding the interview, Haji Musa asked for prayers from Malaysians so that Allah would grant hidayah and tawfik for all Muslims especially Vietnamese Muslims and pray so that Islam in Vietnam could grow stronger. Haji Musa said he was happy to receive guests from Al Falah TV as it would further foster the relationship between Muslims of the two countries.   

Haji Musa
Madrasatul AnNur/Masjid Jamia Al Anwar
Ho Chi Minh City

Madrasatul AnNur welcomes donations for Malay textbooks either romanized or in Jawi script. They are in need of quality Islamic textbooks for 60 students in primary school and 60 students in secondary school.

Textbooks used by students at Madrasatul AnNur

The interview was conducted in Malay. We hope our English speaking viewers would just hang in there. Give us some time to employ people to work on the English subtitles InshaAllah.

Mohd Nour
Our tour guide is a graduate of Madrasatul AnNur.
He now runs a tourist services company in HCMC

Bismillah. Anyone who wishes to offer any kind of assistance to the madrasah, may contact:
Ustaz Haji Mousa at 0902 742 290

Friday, April 10, 2015

On shukur and the richest inheritance


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I kept listening to the words of Habib Umar Al Jailani as recorded in a video on Al Falah TV and this particular thing he mentioned was absolutely profound.

Habib Umar quoted the sayings of the wise that for each expression of gratitude we utter, for each shukur we say or make or feel, by itself deserves a shukur. For it is He who grants the bounty of gratitude. That gratitude itself is something that we must be thankful and grateful for. It's like for every shukranlillah, for every shukrulillah for every Alhamdulillah that leaves our lips, we should be saying another shukranlillah, another shukrulillah and another Alhamdulillah. And subhanallah, that will be endless, that shukur in itself is eternally repeating and recurring.

This faqir is utterly humbled this morning for the simple joys of life which Allah keeps giving. The qudrah to drive to the zakat center this morning, that the drive was smooth and easy, the joy of being the first visitor, the joy of having a woman opened the door when she saw me approaching from afar, the smile on her face, that I had the honor to flip the 'Close' sign to 'Open' as if it's my store [heh heh]. The joy of hearing the du'a made by the amil (zakat collector), the depth of sincerity in his voice, the joy of being given a small gift for the transaction, a blue notebook [that matches my new gadget - Surface!] can we ever count the simple joys in life brought to us by the Lord day in day out. Subhanallah, the joy of seeing His qudrah and generosity manifesting through us. Indeed Al Kareem is He and no words can describe His richness and His loving gestures.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. For that Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we say one more time Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

For all the blessings in life, we surely have to thank our parents for having delivered us to this world.

In relation to that, I have learned something strikingly true from the wisdom of one author named Thich Nath Hanh, a Vietnamese zen master, the author of How to Love. Picked this gem from Brain Pickings by the way.

Let me quote one of many brilliant quotes from the said book. It is apt as we pause to think and be grateful for our father and mother and how far we have traversed this life, thanks to them.

Thich Nath Hanh says:
"If our parents didn't love and understand each other, how are we to know what love looks like?...The most precious inheritance that parents can give their children is their own happiness. Our parents may be able to leave us money, houses and land, but they may not be happy people. If we have happy parents, we have received the richest inheritance of all."

Today, as many times before, I am thankful for my happy parents for their love and for a good name loaded with rich meanings.

May we live up to the name as intended by our father and mother. Ameen.

Happy Friday folks : )
Exa @ Miss Quintillion


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wadud | Get on the Surface


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Thanks to all of you who appreciate this space and thus subconsciously send me love and prayers. Because of your love and prayers, the Generous Lord has sent me a new assistant, my new loving companion named Wadud. That's him, light, slim and super smart!

When your head is under water and you are not breathing fine, you should get on the surface. My long time lappy is not that heavy but it's not light enough. If you want to lighten your burden and smarten up, you should seriously consider getting the Surface Pro 3. Contrary to its name, it will let you dive deeper and its beauty is more than skin-deep, unlike the iPads.

Am not that tech savvy, I didn't know this wonderful thing exist until a few days ago. Thanks to my clever niece. We hereby endorse this intelligent and cool Microsoft baby.

Today is indeed a special day. Seven is the magic number. It's the 7th of April. It's a joy to part with some Ringgit for this little i7-powered tool, just so that this faqir would be motivated to write and create more bi-iznillah.

It pays to be grateful. He will give us more.
Allah Al Kareem is He.
Allah Al Wadud is He.

As grateful as ever,

Check this out, folks:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Postcard from Brisbane | Test of good deeds


It is a pretty postcard, isn't it? It's from a dear friend Dr. N who is attending a Spiritual Retreat in Brisbane.

Our dear Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid is one of the participating scholars. The above words of wisdom are his.

I rejoice in hearing this du'a from her - truly a seeker of knowledge and blessed musafir:
"May you gain the rewards as the attendees and purify you and increase your closeness to Him and His beloved salallah alaihi wasalam."

May we all be counted as a seeker of knowledge no matter where we are.

Let us all ponder on those words of Habib Ali.
We do good deeds, well at least we'd like to think that we are doing good deeds, or trying to do good deeds. But we know not if it'll ever be accepted. From those words, we are told to realize that good deeds are not just going to be there unchallenged. It will be tested. And it being tested may be a good sign. Our good deeds may well be accepted by Allah, should we pass the test.

Nothing comes easy. But with hardship there should be ease.

Pray our friend Dr N will be safe in Allah's protection throughout her travel. Pray she will reap abundant benefits from the Spiritual Retreat. This is the least I could do as a friend who could not undertake the journey with her. May we remain as friends who meet and part for the sake of the Lord.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

April Sunset in KL | Vietnam on my mind


Subhanallah. That is Maghrib in my city ; )  KL it is.
That's April sunset. It's taken by yours truly on the 2nd of April.

I think if I were abroad and missing home and if someone were to show this photo to me, I might just cry. There is a Malay saying: Di mana bumi di pijak, di situ langit di junjung.

It basically means, one has to support and love the place where one lives. I simply love this city. Kuala Lumpur to me, has an understated elegance. It is unpretentious.

Here's wishing you a fabulous weekend no matter where you are. Weekend is business mixed with pleasure for me as I will be working on the next video for Al Falah TV. It's a short interview with Imam Musa of Masjid Al-Anwar on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh. Yes another Imam Musa.

This beautiful Saturday morning, go grab your coffee folks. Below pic is Imam Musa's coffee, by the way, it looks like a shot of Espresso to me. How chic his taste?

Of course, Vietnam as many of you already know, is a coffee country. The coffee there is simply supreme. But I'd say Vietnam is a "Coffee, Spring Rolls and Noodle Soup Country".

I am famish thinking about the late breakfast we had on the day we interviewed Imam Musa of Masjid Al-Anwar. It was in Kampung Melayu (Malay Village), at the residence of Aishah, a successful and popular young business woman in HCMC. 
- big time clothing biz woman of HCMC.
Showed us some pretty telekung (prayer garment)
and hosted this sublime breakfast below. 
Iced Coffee and Noodle Soup (Pho)
at Kampung Melayu (Malay Village)
on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.
It's common to have overloaded ice cubes
for Iced Coffee drinks.
That's how they serve it there.
Imam Musa
- Imam and Principal of Masjid & Madrasah Al Anwar

Ah...Vietnam on my mind : )

Friday, April 3, 2015

Interview with the Imam and Committee at Masjid Jamia Al-Muslimin - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


Imam Musa (center), flanked by two key members
of the Dong Du Mosque committee
Hj. Mohd Amine (on his right)
and Hj Mohd Zain (on his left)

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

We were humbled and grateful that the Imam of Masjid Jamia Al-Muslimin (popularly known as the Dong Du Mosque) agreed to be interviewed on the first meeting with him. We were pleasantly surprised that he was able to converse in Malay.

And truly, it was touching to hear him speak very frankly about his father's conversion to Islam and his own experience as a new revert. Imam Musa Abdullah embraced Islam in his teens in 1997. He has been serving as Imam at the Dong Du Mosque for two years now. He took over from Haji Mohd Amine (the gentleman on his right) the President of the Mosque Committee who acted as temporary imam when Imam Yusuf passed away. Imam Yusuf had been leading prayers at the mosque for 20 years. He was a little over 90 years of age when he passed away several years ago.

Masjid Jamia Al-Muslimin (Dong Du Mosque)
is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City,
in the same row as the Sheraton Hotel
(that tall building on the left).
The popular Halal Saigon restaurant is situated
right across the mosque. 

According to Imam Musa, the Dong Du Mosque has never been in a better state. The mosque is now well managed unlike before. There are not many Muslims living in the city center, therefore only a handful of people can be seen praying jemaah at the mosque. Friday is an exception, where Muslims from Arab, Pakistan, Bangladesh and several other countries, both men and women would congregate at the mosque which is the largest mosque in Ho Chi Minh. The Mosque was established in 1935. It has been functioning as an 'Indian Muslim Mosque' until Imam Musa became its first imam of non-Indian descent. 

Gathering for Friday prayers
Friday prayers at Dong Du Mosque
The Imam and Committee at the Dong Du Mosque are currently raising funds to refurbish a three-storey madrasa building. The Noorul Imaan Madrasa needs a facelift and new fittings so that the committee will have a proper office on the ground floor. The first and second floors are reserved for classes. Imam Musa said it's important that the madrasa resume its activities to educate the youth. There are many children who shy away from the deen upon reaching puberty because they don't know how to pray and read the Quran.    

Madrasa Noorul Iman
Should Allah move your heart to partake in the Madrasa fundraising, please get in touch with the Mosque Committee as per details below:

The interview was held in Malay. We therefore apologize to our English speaking viewers. Anyhow, let us all pray so that the Dong Du Mosque will continue to flourish and make Islam prominent in South Vietnam. Pray so that teaching can resume at Madrasa Noorul Iman as quickly as possible for the sake of our children in Ho Chi Minh. Ameen.

Credit: Al Falah TV

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

First of April | April Full


I see skies of blue
What a wonderful world

The Lord fools you not. People may be busy talking about April Fool but my Lord sends a glad tiding about another bounty, first thing in the morning, on this first day of April. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Allah Kareem!

Let others engage in vain talk if they so wish. It goes to show that if you keep trying and keep trusting Him, He will send you bounties anytime, even on this so called 'April Fool' day. Life with Him is fulfilling. The Lord doesn't fool around. Subhan is He.

"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"

O folks, I wish you a wonderful April too, an April full of great stuffs.

May Allah increase us in knowledge and rizq, zahir and batinAmeen.