Friday, March 25, 2016

Berkat Madinah - Malaysia's Popular Sunnah Food Store


It was a wonderful experience being at Berkat Madinah in KL. My mother has been campaigning about this store to me for months on end but I didn't get a chance to go until last weekend. I was there for the first time and got to interview the owner's son - Dr Hamdi Ibrahim Abozeed and his brother Ali Ibrahim Abozeed. Lucky me. Alhamdulillah.

I think I speak for many when I say going to Berkat Madinah feels like going to a grocer in Madinah or Makkah. The ambience lifts one's mood instantly as the eyes feast on the wide selection of dates, bright pink pomegranates, pretty pastries, the freshest of meats and rows of yogurt.

I was surprised to learn that Berkat Madinah is owned by a doctor (a dentist) and that the owner's son who is also a medical doctor runs the store. Dr Ibrahim Abozeed the owner, first came to Malaysia in 2006. Four years later, his entire family migrated to KL and opened Berkat Madinah in the same year. Six years on, Berkat Madinah wins the hearts of both locals and Muslim ex-pats. Two more branches were launched last year.     

Alhamdulillah, the Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition team was able to put together this video pretty quickly.  I invite you to click play and virtually step into Berkat Madinah and be proud of our brothers.

Check out Berkat Madinah's FB page:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Shaykh Masood Yusuf on the sunnah of eating well | Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC)



Hi folks,

In this promo montage for Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC), Shaykh Masood Yusuf begins by quoting a verse in the Quran where Allah says, Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam gives us the best of examples. Which means, "anything that the Prophet did, he did it to show us the best way of doing everything. This includes the way he ate and what he ate. Thus eating is a part of the religion." 

Click on the video below for Shaykh Masood's message in relation to the sunnah of eating well.  

You think SFCVC is a good initiative? Make salawat!

You think SFCVC is a good initiative? Then go promote it to your friends and neighbors. You'll never know, they might have video skills. Let them have the opportunity to use their skills to express their adoration for the Prophet (pbuh). 

If your friends and neighbors who have got video skills happen to be a non-Muslim, better still. This is an opportunity for him/her to get acquainted with our Prophet and religion. We will be conducting a FREE class, so that contestants will be more informed of the characters of Prophet Muhammad and sunnah foods in particular.

Who may enter?
  • Malaysian citizens above 18, both Muslims and non-Muslims.
  • Non-Malaysian citizens above 18 who are currently registered at any colleges/Universities in Malaysia.

On behalf of the SFCVC team, I pray for Allah to forgive us and overlook any shortcomings in carrying out this program, and pray He accepts our intentions as pure and keep it that way. Ameen.

Sallu alan Nabi.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tranquil Thursday


Good morning folks.
Good morning Aunty Shabeena & family : )
Sorry to have missed your phone call.


This morning is one of the 23,000+/- mornings of our lives.
Grateful to be alive.
Grateful to be healthy and able to prepare yummy chicken tortilla breakfast for me and mom.
We have to enumerate our blessings guys, so that He would grant more.

"O Allah, any blessing that has come to me or any of Your creation is from You alone, without partner, so Yours is the praise, Yours is the thanks."
[From: Imam Nawawi's Maqasid/Manual of Islam, chapter on tasawuf]

Below is breakfast for the soul, this tranquil Thursday morning, being excerpts from Ibn Arabi's Thursday morning prayer. You may want to refer to an old posting for the long extended version.

"O God, I ask You to grant me the mystery of Your Order 
and the grandeur of Your Decree,
of the all-embracing grasp of Your knowledge
of the special prerogatives of Your Will
of the efficacy of Your Power
of the permeation of Your Hearing and Sight
of the self-subsistent presence of Your Life
and of the necessary character of Your Essence and Qualities."

"O God transport me from the descending steps of my created being and nature
to the ascending light of Your Truth and essential Reality.
You are my Friend and Master,
in You I die and from You I take life.
It is You alone whom we adore
and it is You alone we ask for aid."


One morning in KL
 11th March 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Imam Nawawi's 'Al Maqasid' / Manual of Islam | Life's manual


Subhanallah wabihamdih Subhanallah Al Azim.

I am deeply humbled that this is yet another book which I needed, was looking for it, and then suddenly I got it as a gift. Alhamdulillah. 

Was looking for it because Shaykh Masood Yusuf chose to review a chapter of this book in his Series of Lesson on Imam Nawawi's Maqasid, exclusively for Al Falah TV YouTube channel. This book (as seen in pic above) is an English translation of the same, by a hidden gem of Jordan, Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

You might have watched the first lesson given by Shaykh Masood about a month ago. Here's the link, in case you haven't seen it.

Catch Shaykh Masood's Lesson on Imam Nawawi's Kitab Al Maqasid
on Al Falah TV YouTube channel

In this series, Shaykh Masood chose to expound on the chapter of tasawuf or tazkiyatun nafs or purification of the soul. Imam Nawawi's Maqasid is very concise. The chapter on tasawuf (sufism) is only 8 pages long and does not come with an elaborate explanation. Therefore, you would need to listen to a guru/shaykh to help you understand. 

For your kind information, Al Falah TV team has recorded the second and third lesson of the tasawuf chapter by Shaykh Masood Yusuf, but we have put them on a queue because we have been busy preparing for the upcoming Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC).


In my opinion, this book could have been selected as a school textbook for Muslim pupils to learn Islam in a structured manner. Needless to say, it is, of course appealing to believers or non-believers beyond school-going age because it is indeed a manual of Islam. 


No one actually handed us a clear manual as we were growing up. Yes, we all learned how to read the Quran from an early age, but the rest we have had to grapple with whatever the ustazah/ustaz taught us in primary/secondary school, unless you were enrolled in a proper Islamic school. So if you were to have the same education background as I did, you would rejoice at seeing a simple straightforward-looking book entitled 'Manual of Islam' in English. It's amazing that the English version of Imam Nawawi's Maqasid was first put together by a convert about 22 years ago. This book might function as a 'safety net' for anyone wishing to swim in the sea of Islam. 

I guess, without a proper manual, without having a 'safety net' most of us had to dive and swim anyway assuming all would be just fine. That's life. Just like driving your first car for the first time without even referring to its manual. Just like having to go on a plane and trusting the pilot even though we do not personally know the person, even though we do not know him/her well enough. But of course, the system is such that, we all have to trust the pilot anyway and that he/she ought to be trustworthy and dependable. And that we trust our ability in driving without having to first check the car's manual.

But then again this one poster I saw on Instagram made me ponder. It's in Malay, so let me translate it for you.

"We can be calm when boarding a plane despite the fact that we do not even know who the pilot is. But why are we often restless embracing life when we are cognizant of the fact that it is Allah who orchestrates everything?"


May Allah forgive me for I am a struggling Muslim.
Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sun breaking the clouds


Pic credit:

Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking the clouds.
- Dale Carnegie

Allah blesses this man especially for the variety of salawat/durood he has taught us, which I have learned via and memorized. Alhamdulillah.

Rabbi zidni ilma war zuqni fahma


"Whenever one of the pious scholars went on a journey he would tell his companions to take with them a large number of books. They said: There will not be time to read all these books."

"He replied: Let us be sincere with Allah and then we will be rewarded for the intention to read these books even if we do not read all of them."

From: Habib Umar's commentary on Miftah al-Sarair (Key of the Inner Secrets) authored by his ancestor Shaykh Abu Bakar bin Salim. 

May we make similar intentions for the new books on the shelf which we are yet to read.
: )

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Light hearted greetings


Hi folks,

Yeah...yeah...yeah...I have been busy, not that I have forgotten about you ; )

I wish this was a posting on notes from tausiyah by Habib Umar bin Hafiz who is currently in Malaysia. 

Oh well, let's wait for the videos of his tausiyah to be uploaded by the organizers and I'll try to translate it for you insha Allah.

Oftentimes, we wish we were at two other venues for two other programs but we just have to be where we are at. So let it be.

Still, secretly like many people out there, I pray for a personal driver and a personal assistant so I could be at more places. LOL.

For now, let's make do with a light-hearted posting while enjoying some chips [or crisps].

Hah..hah... you guessed it right. It's Lays Honey & Butter. It was in my picnic basket, can't blame me. And Chinese dates. Spell it right ok, dates and not date. No, I was not with a Chinese date! LOL.

Chinese dates. A-OK!

But no need to bring along a chicken to Chicken Island.

Chicken Island - Krabi - Thailand

Just like you, I go here and there, but deep in my heart I often miss good ol' home cooked meals - ala Penang because Penang homemade fish curry is hard to beat! And sambal belacan Kuinin [Quinine hot sauce]. Why? Because a quinine fruit fell on my backyard. The tree belongs to my dear neighbor - neighbors with benefits LOL.

My plate. Typical lunch when at home in Penang.
Everything you see in this posting was cooked by my sister.
She treated us to this good lunch as soon as she came back from Umrah.
I guess she couldn't wait to come home and cook. LOL.
Quinine hot sauce 
Penang homemade fish curry.
My home : )
Mushroom and French beans
Sweet & Sour fish

So there, a glimpse of Malaysian style cooking, something our foreign readers might enjoy.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi 
niámahu wa yukafi u mazidah.

We are grateful and pray He grants more!

Wish yáll a fanta-fabu-licious weekend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

eKLipse | Eclipse in KL | Thai-ness


KL at about 8.08 a.m. during partial solar eclipse on 9 March 2016 

We take for granted that the sun will rise in the east as always. But on some days the sun shines a bit abnormally when the moon covers it either partially or completely.

For someone who lives in my own deserted world, I almost missed this rare phenomena.

That's life. C'est la vie. Everything out there happens as decreed by the Lord, regardless. If it's destined to happen, it will happen anyway, whether you are aware or unaware of it. Whether you like it or you don't like it. Whether you are prepared or unprepared.

But as mere mortals we would usually want to have some control of what is to come. 

If I knew things would all be well at sea when I wanted to go island hopping in Krabi, I would take it easy and would have been more relaxed. But nay, I had to ask so many questions to the boat agent who was an innocent-looking young Thai Muslim lady. The funny part was when she had to convince me that the boatman is a Muslim and that "Muslims are kind hearted people."  LOL. Yeah how else could I be convinced that the boatman would ferry us [all ladies] safely to the intended islands? It was a rushed transaction, booking a trip at the last minute and paying in full upfront.

To my surprise the following day, our ride arrived at the hotel as promised and our boatman was there waiting for us at the jetty. He took us to the correct islands according to schedule. We returned to the jetty on time and another gentleman was already there waiting to ferry us back to the hotel. Twenty minutes later another ride came by to take us to the Airport! Fuh! All in all, I salute everyone involved in the tourism business in Krabi. Yet another good experience in Thailand proving Thai-ness is hard to beat, that the Thais hospitality is always dependable and pleasurable. I am speaking as someone who has been to different parts of Thailand, at least ten times. But my recent trip to Krabi was extra special because it is probably the only tourist spot in Thailand that is dominated by Muslims. 

Mat the boatman in Krabi.
My gregarious mother managed to engage with him
despite the language barrier.
Mat is married with one kid.
I should have worn my snapback and posed with Mat. LOL. 

Until the next trip.
 Tokyo Insha Allah.
: )

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day | 8th March 2016


This morning I thought it was just another NEW day until someone (a male colleague) sent me a poster and warm wishes in conjunction with International Women's Day which is internationally observed on the 8th of March.

I wonder how many millions more women out there almost missed this important day.

So ladies/girls, you may want to visit 
and choose a pledge.

I pledged to help women and girls achieve their ambitions.

As stated in the website:
As an individual, "a woman can commit advocating for themselves and when appropriate, becoming effective role models and sponsors of women to help them achieve their goals."

I am glad as a career-focused woman, I have got two great female colleagues at the office for my 9 to 5 job. And as the founder of Exa Publishing, I am humbled and proud at the same time that our team is an all-ladies team. And the fact that majority of the videos published on Al Falah TV YouTube channel were recorded, directed and edited by ladies end to end. Alhamdulillah indeed for the tawfiq from Allah subhanahu wa taala.

And more importantly, I am glad I am not one of those women who become a hindrance for the males to independently work hard for the religion and support the sunnah of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam.

Of course as a woman, we laud our fathers, our forefathers, our uncles and our supportive male colleagues and friends for their positive roles and contributions they have made in our lives.

This world would be a better place if we all work in harmony males and females, and if women were to be given equal chance and recognition as the males. Yes guys, we could do better and we need to do better in terms of gender parity!

As a Muslim woman, I want to be able to raise my hand before the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam and say "I was weak at times but I did try contribute something for the good of the deen."

Lastly, all I want to say is that we may be a woman, but as far as the religion is concerned, we function like a rijal. We give our best efforts, we are committed and we persevere.

: )


Since there is an influx of French visitors to this blog, double that of Malaysia's traffic, I say:
Bonjour ma cherie : )

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Postcards from Krabi


It's good to keep busy and do our own things as we please.
: )

I've been busy travelling, working and having fun at the same time. Was in Krabi last weekend - a small seaside town in the southwest of Thailand, about 90 minutes flight from KL.

Like most people, the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Krabi is - sunny holiday on the beach and island hopping. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about an annual grand Mawlid event organized at the Central Mosque of Krabi Province from 25th to 29th Feb 2016.

About 40% of Krabi's population is Muslim, therefore halal food is almost everywhere. In fact, a good number of 4 or 5-star resorts and more than a dozen budget hotels are owned and managed by Krabi Muslims.

A photo of the owners of Phu Pi Maan Resort Krabi
with Malaysia's former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir
I was unaware that the hotel I booked belongs to a Muslim until I arrived and was greeted by one Muslim receptionist donning a head scarf. According to the oh-so-demure sounding lady (typical of Thais), the Chula (leader) representing the Muslim community of Thailand had just checked out from the resort.

Chula Aziz who is also known as the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand is the Grand Mufti who leads the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. It is an official government position appointed by the King of Thailand. Chula Aziz was in Krabi for two days in conjunction with the Mawlid event at the Central Mosque of Krabi Province.

My car and home-away-from-home
at Phu Pi Maan Resort Krabi.
Driving along Aonang beach road.
Reminds me of Gurney Drive in Penang. 
The newly renovated Aonang Mosque
is a stone's throw away from Phu Pi Maan Resort
My heart bloomed with delight to see these school boys
having some fun after school.
No shorts. Only sarong. 
You know you have come to a Muslim dominated province
when you see a big sign of Assalamualaikum
at one of Krabi's largest supermarket - Big C.
A touch of Thai-ness at Tesco Lotus.
Five minutes away from Phu Pi Maan Resort.
The Central Mosque of Krabi Province
buzzing with Mawlid activities.
Islamic Bank of Thailand opens a booth
at the Mawlid event at Krabi Central Mosque.
In conjunction with the upcoming
Sunnah Food Campaign Video Competition (SFCVC)
organized by Exa Publishing and Al Falah TV YouTube channel,
yours truly made a cooking demo video
at Phu Pi Maan Villa.
Stay tune for a simple no-bake pumpkin pie recipe!

And we also shot a brief video with Minsyam Sdn Bhd 
at Krabi Front Bay Resort
- another big halal hotel owned by a Muslim.
Minsyam is a Malaysian company well known
for sunnah food products
especially olive oil and premium khal (dates vinegar).

After all the work is done
one should never leave Krabi without going island hopping.
People say Í left my heart in San Francisco.
I say I left my hat in Krabi.
And should any Indians chase you away
by saying "podah" to you, tell them: 
Yes I'm going to podah at Poda Island.
An ideal place to "podah" LOL
The joy of sharing Poda island with only half a dozen people.
That's my longtail boat in the background.

When going island hopping in Krabi
 be sure to walk on two beaches that connect three islands!

Rabbana ma khalaqta haza batila
subhanaka faqina aza bannar

"O Lord, You have not created this in vain.
Glory be to You.
Protect us from the torments of the Fire."

Fabulous February has left us. So let's march on joyfully : )