Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hop on | Grateful for 2016


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah
What more can I say, 2016 has been awesome. But it's almost time to jump to a happy new year.

Change is good. Taking a step forward is good. Embracing the unknown with high hopes and a strong faith is good.

Yesterday, I had my 10th Quran lesson, and like a kid I was excited to move on to Surah Ali Imran. I had also studied the 8th salawat. My ustaz and I was amazed at how beautiful and deep and all-encompassing the meanings were. One salawat was about asking Allah to make salam for the Prophet as much as Allah's knowledge, another salawat was about asking Allah to make salawat as many as things that will be created and that were created. And there's one which made me reflect a bit more. 

In 2016 alone, imagine how many people were forgetful of the Prophet? Must be plenty. And how many people remembered him? Perhaps not as many as those who forgot him. So let's end 2016 with this salawat practised and recommended by the late Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus. The person from whom I heard the lesson of the salawat had also passed away. May we benefit from them. They were both warak and areef.

Here goes:

Allahumma salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad
kullama zakaraz zakirun
wa salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
wa ala ali Sayyidina Muhammad
kullama ghafala an zikrihil ghafilun

Bless Ya Allah, our master Muhammad
whenever those who remember him do so
and bless our master Muhammad
and the family of our master Muhammad
whenever those who neglect to remember him do so.

Let's hope we belong with those who remember him salallah alaihiwasalam continually.
That we are among the "zakaraz zakirun".

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 - A good get | In His hand is all good


Good morning folks.
Hope you have had a good night sleep and woke up in time for Subuh prayers.
Yes, being able to sleep peacefully is a gift. Being able to turn up for prayers is even a bigger gift. 

Can't resist rambling a lil something just because today is the 29th of December 2016. Two more days before the new year arrives.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the big and small gets in 2016. Yes, big or small does not matter. Get as a noun means getting/obtaining something or someone.

So, we are talking about blessings or gifts from the Almighty of course. Anything from the Almighty is always a good get, even if we dislike it. Of course, you all know that one verse in Surah Baqara about disliking something that could be good for us cos Allah knows better and we know not. So all is good cos "in His hand is all good." (Quran 3:26).

And, remember, happiness is always a choice.
: )

As ever,

Counting happiness and countdown to more happiness.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Blessings in and out of the box | One of many gems of Cape Town


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
I recalled a couple of years back I had the privilege of meeting Shaykh Ninowy in KL on Boxing day. It was boxxxxxing great!

Well, this year, I am not meeting Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, not yet but soon InShaAllah Bi-iznillah. For now, it sufficed that my salam had reached him.

It's amazing how much aura or rather nur that all the enlightened illuminated souls emit. A simple gesture of sending/receiving salam from them could make you super elated!

May Allah ease and fulfill all the plans I have identified for my Cape Town trip and a few other travel plans for 2017. Ameen.

Meantime, I wish all of you happy holidays and don't forget to recite the salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz so that Allah will help all Muslims, that we will be supported by Allah with a mighty support.
"Wa yan surakallahu nasran aziza."
Because, while many of us enjoy peaceful and joyful times during this time of the year, there are many people out there who are displaced, unsafe and hungry.

Will travel for knowledge, shuyukh and to see His signs on the horizons but never for rock concerts or anything like that. May Allah forgive us, replace our misdeeds with worthy ones and guide us on the Straight Path. Ameen.

Thanks B for being the messenger 😉

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be uber spirited and peppy for the new year


I crafted this greeting card for the management and colleagues at my workplace who celebrate Christmas and posted it on my department's FB page. My department is known as USP (it's a telecommunications jargon). Yes, we have got a dedicated Facebook for our organization, it's called "Workplace". It's refreshing and liberating to be able to connect with more people at work, in new, exciting and creative ways.

Yes, for the new year, let's be uber spirited and peppy. Let's embrace it with courage, energy, enthusiasm, and determination.

Having said that, we should not expect perfect and total blessings all the time and all at once.

I saw this so relevant Keep Calm Tweets: "If God rushed and gave you every blessing all at once, it wouldn't be perfect. Good things take time. Be patient, keep your faith."

Joyous greetings from Penang.

I talked to a stranger at the Gurney Plaza Mall in Penang yesterday. Yes, I did. He offered me and niece a seat when he saw us standing holding a big cup of loaded yogurt. We chatted.

Imagine the kind of life he lives. Life is naturally diverse. He is 84, healthy, cycles to the mall every day and spends hours at the mall because it's too hot at home which is not too far away from the mall. He lives with his sister's family. He has been yearning to work but people won't hire him because of his age, despite the fact that he is strong and healthy. He thought there must be something useful he could do even though he had no proper education. He became a fisherman when he was 17 and retired when he was in his 60s. He does not know how to use a cell phone. He does not know how to use the ATM machine either. His niece gives him a small monthly allowance so at the end of every month he gets a good trusted friend to help him withdraw cash from the ATM. He was never married, "I wanted to be married but it was too expensive back then." He is originally from Kedah. He is Ah Chee, one Chinese Malaysian who speaks fluent Malay. I found him uber spirited and peppy for his age. But then again age is just a number and after all a highly spirited soul would always rise above life's circumstances, be it plain or flavorful.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

He gifted me this life | He gifted me love

Bismillah. lovely. Love, we all know is a verb. And tonight I learned, gift, is a verb too.

Read this cheerful article by Merriam Webster. I guess they chose to enlighten us on the history of the word "gift" because it is the season for gifting especially for those who celebrate Christmas.

But the truth is, every day is "the season of gifting" because every day is a gift from the Almighty. This life is indeed a gift. He gifted us this life. He the Almighty gifted us, love. Then, which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?

I have a confession to make.
I gifted myself three rings! Just because. Because I worked so darn hard this month!
Of course, you all know gifting is actually a sunnah, and sunnah is not seasonal, it's throughout the year. I wonder if that includes gifting oneself? LOL. 

How can we not feel loved when Allah gifted us love through all kinds of His manifestations. Subhan is Allah. Allah Al Wadud.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Grateful while we still can


Kuala Lumpur @ Maghrib 21 Dec 2016
- from my balcony
captured on Samsung Note 5 as always : )
click on pic to enjoy the view

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

I couldn't help but compare my beautiful golden KL skyline with some other cities in the Muslim world which had fallen, one after another. We must be grateful and we must protect our country.

I am reminded of one duá taught by Ibn Athaillah as-Sakandari about being grateful while we still can, while we still enjoy the blessings. 

The duá appeared in one old posting published in 2009. It's time to revisit and refresh. And remember by heart.

Allah humma arifna nikmataka
bidawa miha
wala tu arif ha lana
bi zawa liha

O Allah, make us recognize Your bounties
while we still have them,
do not make us recognize Your bounties
only after You have withdrawn them.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Prayers for Aleppo | 'Tis NOT the season to be jolly


It's not freezing cold here where I live. I am not hungry. I am not one of them, some 30,000 brothers and sisters in Aleppo who are waiting for the bus so they could evacuate. There might not be enough buses. Even if they're lucky to get on one, the bus might not even depart. Even if the bus departed, they would not know at which point in time, some crazy folks would attack them. Is there a car? Is walking an option? How do they flee now?

Thank God I am not, you are not, one of the tens of thousands of Syrians who are presently stranded in Aleppo. I am a spoiled narcissistic moron who just came back from KLCC, a stone's throw away from my comfy crib. I am a selfish idiot who had just eaten my favorite Inari salad and some hot pastas for lunch. My brothers and sisters in Aleppo are very hungry. They don't care about their homes or their belongings anymore. But I am one self-obsessed fool thinking about my home reno project and thinking what else I could buy during this festive season. I have been thinking about Oroton gold casing for my phones. Shame on me.

I am having toasts with some delicious Australian Moondarra Cranberry & Macadamia cheese and Apricot & Almond I type this, whereas tens of thousands Aleppo evacuees and God knows how many thousands of children are cold and hungry at this moment. I am such a self-absorbed dolt. I wasn't aware of the Aleppo crisis until just now.

How long will these children have to wait
until any morsel of food reach them?
One bus can take 50 people. There are 30 or 40 thousands evacuees.
How many more days until they get to a safe zone,
forget chic cozy homes! 
Yes I am feeling like one vain self-centered person.
What can a vain self-centered person do?
I am no pious Muslim woman.

At this moment, I am just thankful that Allah has made it easy for me to memorize this salawat taught by Habib Umar bin Hafiz. It's the only thing that came to mind, when I read about the sorrows of Aleppo.

We can't do much really, but we can make salawat and tawasul with Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam that through him, by him salallah alaihi wasalam, Allah would support us and ALL Muslims through the secrets of: That Allah may support you with a mighty support!  

I pledge to recite this salawat and keep in mind, keep in the heart, our brothers, sisters and children of Aleppo who are hoping and waiting to flee for safety and those who could be fleeing for safety this moment.

I urge you, dear readers, please learn, memorize and recite this salawat so that Allah will support all Muslims with a mighty support. None is in the best position to support them during these extremely difficult moments, save Allah, through His Beloved Messenger Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam.

Come on, drop those selfie sticks. 'Tis is NOT the season to be jolly. 

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

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 a 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


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Greetings from KL | This is my crib


I am more of a writer than a vlogger but I thought of recording a short clip from my crib just for Miss Labeeb. Much positive vibes and love for you and your mom in Spain.

Her mother phoned me up a while ago commenting on the previous blog posting and congratulating Malaysians on our new pious King. She told me Labeeb was feeling a little overwhelmed regarding her studies. Oh well, we all do feel overwhelmed every now and then, don't we?

Hope this candid recording would remind Labeeb of her childhood spent in KL, Malaysia. And would put a smile on her face. I think she is going to be a great psychologist. At 22, she is focused, disciplined and independent. She already have plans to do a Master's degree. When I was 22, I lacked focus and discipline and was living a carefree life upon completing my Bachelor's degree. Labeeb on the other hand, is serious about doing well and furthering her studies to the next level.

Bravo girl!

Excuse me for the abrupt ending. LOL. Ya... so this is my crib. Willing to show my personal space just for the sake of Labeeb : ) cos I appreciate my genuine readers. Might video something from my Penang house next time when the reno work is done InshaAllah.

Life is full of ups and downs, we just have to take it all in our stride.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Malaysia's new King is humble and pious | Being oneself


I am very proud indeed to be a Malaysian. No let me rephrase that. I have never been this proud to be a Malaysian, to have a King like Sultan Muhammad V who took oath as the 15th King of this beautiful country, a couple of days ago.

This Friday is his first Friday as the King and just look what he wore for Friday prayers! I have seen photos and read reports about his routine of walking to the mosque near his palace in Kelantan wearing a simple thobe (jubah). Prior to taking oath as Malaysia's 15th King, Sultan Muhammad V reigned as the Sultan of Kelantan (a state in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia). As a Sultan of a state, that's unheard of - Sultan wearing thobe in public. As the King of Malaysia, I didn't expect His Majesty to keep to his "favourite" humble thobe. VIPs attending Friday prayers at Malaysiá National Mosque or any other mosques would customarily wear expensive looking Baju Melayu with sampin songket - a traditional outfit for Malay gentlemen. The intricate designs of their sampin songket is a feast to the eyes.     

But just look at our new King. MashaAllah!

Malaysia's New King - Sultan Muhammad V attended Friday prayers
at the National Mosque garbed in simple white thobe.
The gentleman on most right is wearing a traditional outfit
for Malay gentlemen (Baju Melayu with sampin songket)
According to the Mufti of Kelantan (as reported in a local newspaper), His Majesty would always bring along his al-Quran teacher whenever he travels abroad, just so that he does not forget to hold prayers in congregation. The King is an expert in slaughtering cattle for Qurban/sacrifice, thus would do it himself and distribute the meat himself too. He would study any new Islamic law that is to be formulated and is very concerned on proper enforcement of the Shariah laws in Kelantan. The King would annually perform umrah on the last ten days of Ramadan and spend Eid in the Holy cities. At his palace in his home-state, the Sultan of Kelantan who has now become the 15th King for Malaysia would hold majlis taalim once a week and make sure his palace staffs do not miss the weekly session.

Sounds like a perfect King to me!

The photo of him wearing a simple white thobe for Friday prayers, tells us one important thing, the King wants to be himself, not his glamorous self or whatever, but his pious learned self. Let others lose themselves in the tide of modernity and secularism, His Majesty seems to prefer to stick to the fundamentals of his faith.

By the grace of Allah, with such a notable King, Malaysia should prosper marvelously. Ameen.
And let's pray so that our single King will find his Queen soon : )


I can imagine Sultan Muhammad V performing Qiyamulail every night while the majority of his subjects snore the night away. LOL. 

Long live the King.
He is 47
one year my senior : )

Further reading:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Healing and Mercy-loaded Book


How are you guys feeling? I am feeling happy and good. Alhamdulillah. Hope you are, too.

I saw this on Twitter just now:
"The secret of happiness is to count your blessings, while others are adding up their troubles."
Yes, feeling blessed indeed after my sixth Quran lesson. May Allah grant us the tawfiq to read with perfect tajweed and understand its meanings as we read each line. Ameen.

Was feeling terrible yesterday due to bad hormones, so I played Surah Baqarah on repeat as I slept and that helped a lot. Listening to the Quran is an effortless yet effective healing method. Was listening to a specific qari recite the Surah Baqarah because that's an assignment from my Ustaz. I think it's a good trick/tip to have the verses being input to your subconscious mind as you sleep because the brain will have become familiar with them and somehow facilitate the tongue the next time you read. You all know this trick already, I'm sure. 

I think my ustaz is doing a great job at coaching me. May Allah keep him safe, healthy and grant him a blessed and prosperous life. He has the best job in the world. Yes, the best profession in Islam is to teach the Quran. Who knows, someday I might follow in his footsteps, Ameen. Nothing is impossible. LOL. [Nervous laugh there.]

So people, let's get the setlist right. For the Quran learners, we begin with Juz Amma and then Al-Baqarah, Al Imran and so on and so forth. This setlist will make our hearts soft and warm and keep our minds alive and bright, bi-iznillah. Avoid playing some rock songs unless you want to have your heart hardened and have cold feet at meeting the death angel. Na'uzubillah.

May Allah continue to guide us and make us live in an environment that nurtures the mind, heart, and soul.

I think I am getting this blessing because some "self-righteous" women called me a slut/a devil before. Gosh, we will never know where our blessings are coming from. Allah is indeed generous and works in wondrous ways! Remember that tweet I quoted above: "The secret of happiness is to count your blessings, while others are adding up their troubles."

Let us be grateful and be positive always. Because "People will hate you, rate you, shake you and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you." 
[From Inspirational Quotes on Twitter] 


Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday 12th Rabiul Awal 1438 Hijri | 12.12.2016


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah

It's a very special day : )
How often do we get 12th Rabiul Awal on a Monday? Not too often.

No promise, but I'll try to find time to share notes from last night's Mawlid event at Masjid Al Bukhary in KL and also the notes from this morning's Mawlid event in my neighborhood - Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru. Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin bin Hamid was the guest scholar at both events.

It's always great to have a public holiday on a Monday. It's public holiday in Malaysia as we mark 12th Rabiul Awal. I wonder how many other countries have a public holiday to mark the birth of the Prophet (pbuh)?

I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear at seeing Habib Ali wearing a matching outfit with mine. This was the second time I attended a majlis at Masjid Kampung Baru and my outfit matched Habib Ali's!  

Before I revisit my notes from the tausiyah, I wish to mention one thing which Shaykh Ali Jabir said from today's event that strikes me. Shaykh Ali Jabir was one of two other guest speakers alongside Habib Ali Zainal Abidin at Masjid Kampung Baru. 

It's about  Saidina Abbas who was well known for the poetry he crafted and recited in praise of Prophet Muhammad salallah alihi wasalam. Upon hearing him (Abbas), the Prophet made a duá so that Allah would protect Saidina Abbas' mouth. Allah granted his (pbuh) duá. Saidina Abbas lived a long life until he was 80 and he did not lose a single tooth!

Shaykh Ali Jabir concluded his tausiyah saying: "Certainly, the qasidah that we sang, the praises we made for the Prophet just now, were not futile acts." 

May Allah give us tawfik so that our tongues are light, thus able to make plenty of salawat and praises for the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam.

Until then, have a blissful day folks!

Mawlid at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, KL
12 Rabiul Awal 1438 Hijri

May Allah make us among those who are sensitive to the auspicious times in our deen. The 12th of Rabiul Awal takes place only once a year. Work and other nonsense can wait!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Salawat Fatih 10,000 times | Honoring Rabiúl Awal


I have just finished my Quran and Salawat lesson tonight. For the salawat lesson, the Ustaz elucidates key Arabic terms contained in 10 salawat which I have personally selected. And for tonight, we started studying Salawat Fatih. Fatih means opener.

And guess what is the salawat "assignment" given by Habib Umar for this year's Rabiul Awal? It's Salawat Fatih 10,000 times!

So, let's embrace the challenge!

May Allah Al Fatah opens up the easiest path for us to make plenty of salawat in this blessed month of Rabiul Awal.

Sallu alan Nabi!
Jumaah Mubarak.

Allahumma salli wa salim wa barik ala Sayyidina Muhammad
O Allah, bestow Your prayers and peace upon our master Muhammad

Al Fatihi lima ughliq
the one who opens that which is closed

wal khatimi lima sabaq
the seal of those that came before

nasiril haqqi bil haqq
the defender of truth with truth

wal haadi ila siratal mustaqim
the guide to the straight path

wa ala alihi wa sohbihi
and upon his family and companions

haqqa qadrihi wa miqdarihil azim
befitting his immense position and grandeur

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Let there be spaces | Let it be a moving sea


Thank God it's Thursday. It's the 8th of December already.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for all the blessings that have come our way to this very day of our lives.

It's been a long time since we last savored the words of wisdom of Kahlil Gibran. I found this one as re-created in the above poster. I thought it's a fitting reminder of the needs to be free even in togetherness. There should be spaces in our togetherness, says Kahlil. 

I think it takes strength to be detached and free. It takes strength to stand comfortably on our own and be confident about being independent, even in togetherness. Because that shows that you are not afraid to let go of love because you know it will always be there like the moving seas between two shores.

You know there's this popular song that goes like this:
I am going to love you, like I am going to lose you.

But why not love without being afraid of losing, because how can love be lost if its made of something eternal, with purity and sincerity of hearts.   

May you have a wonderful day and a pleasant weekend.

[The wall in my Bandung hotel room.
I kinda miss the place.]

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hameediyah Restaurant - Penang's Jewel In the Crown


Gosh...some of our ardent readers expect me to post a lil something from Penang but it's 11 pm and I'm catching 40 winks as I sit and compile my photos of the one and only Hameediyah Restaurant in Penang. It's legendary the resto. It was established even before my parents came into this world. It has been around since 1907. They have been at Campbell Street in Penang for as long as I can remember. The food there is not quite the same as it used to be when I was a kid. Many people would agree with me. 

But just recently they have opened a new branch in Butterworth near my sister's place. And my oh my...they have made a great comeback indeed! I am a Penangite and like most Penangites, I have got Indian blood and we are so used to eating great food here on this lovely island. If people like me suggest you should go to the Hameediyah's new outlet at Butterworth then you gotta run there LOL.

Hameediyah is the oldest Nasi Kandar in Penang. Those other Nasi Kandars sold outside of Penang that are not Penang-related, they are just a wanna-be, they are pseudos LOL. [What is a Nasi Kandar? Scroll to the bottom]

Good morning folks,
Okay so here are some photos of the newly opened Hameediyah Restaurant at Butterworth, Penang.

Established in 1907
Hameediyah is run by the Rawtheer clan

A big image of their legendary branch on Campbell Street
adorns the new outlet
They have got their own poultry farm I am told.
My favourite dishes include Chicken Onions, Dhall, Prawns, Grated Coconut Paste and Beef Kurma.

109 years of original recipe

The Rawtheer clan who contributed to Penang's remarkable culinary reputation.
The praiseworthy Hameediyah Restaurant is now into its 7th generation. 

So we learn from establishments like Hameediyah that having a relentless dedication, perseverance and passion can take you really far on the path of success. But it's not just about oneself or one's clan, it's about adding value and bringing happiness to other people's lives as well.

Penangites are really blessed that we have grown up and we grow old on good food and good vibes. Alhamdulillah we praise Al Hamid, for giving us a happy, spicy inspiring life : )

During my first trip to the new Hameediyah outlet, I met another Hameediyah fan, a pious friendly lady who taught me a duá, out of the blue.
God bless her heart, she is a widow who cares for her 90 year old mother and a younger brother who's a PWD (person with disability). She and her brother visit the new Hameediyah once a week. It's their entertainment, it's their escapade.

The other good reason for Malaysians/tourists from abroad to visit Penang is of course the newly officiated Design Village premium brands outlet which is located just before you get on the second Penang Bridge. Design Village is a lot bigger, better and cozier than the Johor Premium Outlets. Hoping the rest of the shops at Design Village will open a.s.a.p.
But wait no more folks, go north, visit Penang, it's a wondrous place for you and me 😁💜


Nasi Kandar got its name from men going around carrying on their shoulder, a pot of white rice and all the spicy accompaniments on two baskets, as shown in picture below. In modern days, Nasi Kandar is sold at stationary instead "mobile stalls". 

Causes of joy


Good morning from Penang - Pearl of the Orient.
It's always a joy to write from my crib in Penang.

Was going through my old photo albums and found these precious photos of my first housewarming gathering circa 2001. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Our special guests were the girls from Penang's Orphanage Home on Scotland Road. I pledge to have another gathering with them soon InshaAllah.

Just looking at these photos make me happy and because this is my space, I will post anything I like. LOL. Thank God for the blogosphere so we could have our memories immortalized here and need not worry about losing any old photos.

They came in one bus. Looked pretty cramped to me.

I remembered them occupying every corner of the house.
And everyone prayed in my bedroom which doubled as a temporary musolla
and we had ice-creams afterwards. 
Such a sweet memory.
Cheerful countenance.
Innocent unassuming characters,
not conscious of their own beauty and that to me is real beauty.

Majority of them must be in their mid twenties or early 30s now. Let's pray these orphans are doing well in their respective careers and roles in society. Ameen.

Can't wait to show these photos to the new batch of girls, so that they know everything shall pass - periods of loneliness, feelings of hopelessness on account of being dependent or whatever it is that makes them worry about their future, will eventually get replaced with more positive and happier outcomes, bi iznillah. Indeed, with every hardship comes ease.

Pray Allah grants us a discerning and grateful heart so we could continue to spread some joy year in, year out. Ameen.