Friday, June 30, 2017

Greetings from A-class Penang | TGIF | Ten on tan


When I was in school, I used to feel inferior about my skin tone. I wish all the kids/teens who are a lil tanned would not feel 'small'. Brown is sassy 😉 Always act like you are a ten-on-ten kinda girl regardless of your color. 

And never be apologetic about being who you are and for "letting your hair down" once in a while.

About 200 years ago, my great great grandparents sailed to Penang from
Acheh Indonesia through these waters. May Allah bless their souls.

The sun rushes to the west as it is fitrah.
Likewise, we rush to our true nature/our roots no matter what.

I am pleased to wrap-up beautiful June.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Eid Story - 2017 (4) | Where else?


My Eid holiday continues....
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Not that far away, actually.

May Allah not only ease our affairs but make it delightful always.
If Allah has destined something good for us, no mortals can block His actions.
In Allah's hands is all good.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Eid Story - 2017 (3) | Free spirited


Eid is about having the sense of accomplishment on personal spiritual struggle afforded by the sacred month of Ramadan.

Eid is about rediscovering your fitrah (true nature).

Eid is about believing you can achieve something worthwhile provided you allow yourself to be rubbed off - old habits, rustic thinking etc.

Eid is about energizing the inner dynamics of your soul, so you come out reborn.

On a lighter note, Eid in my hometown Penang has been as awesome as it can be. Alhamdulillah, to be home, I mean to be really at home in one's own kampung, not at some homestay/chalet 😏.
Alhamdulillah - contentment filled to the brim. 

"Trying to tame a free spirit is like telling the wind to stop blowing"

May the winds of freedom and happiness blow our way every day.
May the spirit of Syawal rejuvenate our zest for life and all things great.

- E -

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Eid Story - 2017 (2) | Honorable neighbors


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for yet another opportunity to gather with my honorable neighbors - tahfiz school children, most of whom are from Cambodia. And there's a "rose" among them - an orphan who is a Malaysian. 

Eid is about making people happy.  

A band of huffaz in the making

The "rose" among them.
That smile is priceless!
Spread a lil cheer

Happy gathering

May Allah grant us maqbul. May Allah increase His bounties zahir and batin on us.
Ameen to our du'a.

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Eid Story - 2017 (1) | Children of the Heaven


I am writing this on the morning of 2nd Syawal. Of course, the first day of Eid was full of joy entertaining my special guests, but it was a lil chaotic cos there were at least 100 kids who came to the house! And many of them actually came twice : D
But kids are just kids, they are pure, frank and adorable.

It was tiring, cooking and cleaning in between the group of guests but of course, it was all a pleasure. Alhamdulillah.

This crowd x 8 more.
I lost count actually and was overwhelmed.
But it was all good. I don't mind looking as messy as my kitchen. LOL.
Their second visit - to count their Eid cash collection!
Some of them came back to eat some more
but more of them came back to check their "profit'
and to use WiFi
They said they would come again next year.
Of course! InShaAllah.
May Allah grant me a heart as pure and joyful as these lovely children.

This is just a quick "hello" as I need to prepare for another two big group of guests today.
Catch up soon.

When all entertaining is done...
A good hostess deserves a good break herself 🤣

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Eid Mubarak 1438 H | Happy Eid | Selamat Hari Raya


Happy Eid folks : D
Or as we say in Malaysia: Selamat Hari Raya!

It's 4 minutes into the 1st of Syawal 1438 H.

To be frank, I am exhausted and sleepy after non-stop pre-Eid prep and having entertained our first group of guests who came to recite the tahmid and takbir a couple of hours ago. This is my family's "Eve of Eid ritual" since the year 2000 if I recall correctly. The village children would follow a young imam walk around the village as they recite the tahmid continuously and make a stop at selected homes. This usually takes place after Isha. The children are dressed somewhat casually. Their Eid outfit is of course reserved for the following day - 1st of Syawal when they make rounds to a lot more houses in the neighborhood.   

A typical "Eve of Eid" scene at my house
Selamat Hari Raya
Eid Mubarrak
from Eza Ismail
@ Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia

Maaf Zahir & Batin.

Minal 'Aidin Wal Faizin.

May Allah enliven our hearts tonight, Ameen.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

29th Ramadan 1438 H | Pre-Eid prep


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah 

It's a busy busy day for most of us. Alhamdulillah for His bounties that we are in a position to look forward to Eid happily. We must not forget about our Muslim brothers and sisters in some parts of the world where survival or rebuilding lives is a priority. Many of them are not in a celebratory mood like us. So, let's count our blessings.

On a lighter note, I wanna say that Malaysians have got great talents as far as Eid (Raya) cookies are concerned. Just take a look at this photo below.

Malaysian Eid Cookies are simply the best!

If you are a tourist who happened to be in KL during Ramadan, do check out the cookies sold at Suria KLCC mall - look for KerepekLa brand. Don't let the name fool you. Kerepek in Malay means crackers, but they specialize in premium cookies. I have been their customers for many years so I can safely say, by far, they are one of the best. I have discovered another good brand this year, it's called Essie. Can't wait to delight my guests!

It's going to be a busy day, so gotta excuse myself now.

Wish y'all a smooth and pleasant pre-Eid prep day.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni amahu wa yukafi u mazidah.

Roses specially arranged by yours truly ; )

Friday, June 23, 2017

28th Ramadan 1438 H | Jumaah Mubarak


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
It's the last Friday of this holy month of Ramadan.

One takeaway from the Shaykh on this second last day of Ramadan.
"Don't recognize giving and withholding, harm and benefit, as being from any other than Allah."

Subhanallahi amma yushrikun.

Many of us Malaysians have just performed the last teraweh. May Allah forgive our shortcomings and weaknesses for our deeds can never be perfect. May Allah grant us a long life until the next teraweh in the next Ramadan. Ameen.

Many of you Malaysians must be heading home. Wish y'all a safe trip. I am fortunate this year to be back in my kampung quite early so I have been making myself useful helping around the house. May Allah make us one who is always ready to offer benefit to others, with our talents, energy, knowledge, time or money. Ameen,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ramadan Ramblings (again) | Port of happiness


We are all in a festive mood already here at the "Port of Happiness" - my kampung (village) in Gelugor, Penang.

The highlight is of course great food as in the photo below - a pot of happiness that is. LOL. Scrumptious biryani with tomato chutney. 

Pot of happiness - anytime, every time

Just can't resist another Ramadan ramblings.
I was out and about in Little India in George Town hunting for spice. When I was driving on Queen Street, I could not help but pull over to grab the biryani from Tajuddin Hussain Restaurant. That pot of happiness above is Tajuddin's.

If you are looking for good carpets, Vipin on Chulia Street is a top choice. According to my mother Vipin Carpets was already operating when she started working on Bishop Street. That's like four or five decades ago!

Carpetin' at Vipin
Pomade (hair cream) tubs hanging from trees
in front of the now uber-popular barber in Penang
Son & Dad's
I think I have become the "famous aunty" who accompanies her
nephews at the barber.
I must say the Son & Dad's are super talented cos they
make me wish I was a boy so I could have a haircut there.  

Ah, don't forget to check out Areca bookstore on Kapitan Kling Road.

Areca bookstore - so chic!

Oh, by the way, this year, my guests will receive a special postcard. It's a reproduction of the customized artwork on my wall which I had personally designed. 

Empowering Asmaul Husna
Ar Rahman, Ar Razak, Al Wahab, Al Mughni,
Al Kareem, Al Mujib, An Nafi, Al Basit

OK, folks, I wish you are all having awesome experiences too. May we remain grateful, and may Allah grant us more. Ameen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

26th Ramadan 1438 H | Allah Al Hafiz


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
Praise be to Allah to have arrived home safely.
Super happy to be in Penang early for the Eid holidays.

I sincerely wish all of you who will be traveling during the festive season, a safe and pleasant journey. May Allah Al Hafiz protect all of us always. Ameen.

Our hearts are of course drawn to our homes.

"Life is not in other places but at home, the place that we are sentimentally attached to forever."

Home Sw-Eid home

When in Penang, it's Nasi Kandar for sahur
at one of the most popular resto for spicy mixed-rice Indian style

Only in Penang, yet not all Penangites will know
about this 70s Malay savory buns.
It's called "Cucur Badak Pisang"
The more common Cucur Badak is made of sweet potatoes with spicy coconut filling
but this one is made with bananas.
Delighted is an understatement when
I saw this at the Ramadan Bazaar yesterday.
Not as pretty as cinnamon rolls,
but we are talking substance over style here.  

Allah Kareem!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

25th Ramadan 1438 H | Be contented with little


Be contented with the hereafter, for it's a better choice, says the Shaykh.
Be contented with little.
Be contented with lowliness.
Until Allah gives us much.
Until Allah raises us up.
Until He transforms our conditions.
He has power over all things.

May we belong with those who are patient in submitting to the Divine decree.

Monday, June 19, 2017

24th Ramadan 1438 H | Depend on the Empowering One


The Shaykh gives a strong message as recorded in the video.
We are indeed kernels, we are in the state of darkness (zulma) unless and until we receive illumination (kashaf) from Allah.

Our power (qudra) puts us in a state of darkness. Depending on the Empowering One puts us in a state of Light.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

23rd Ramadan 1438H | He is near


Allah is Al Qareeb. He is close. He is near.

Let's not forget this as we get hyped up and speculate when Laylatul Qadar will take place. Of course, for one who is sincere in his/her deeds, it's about giving one's best-effort every day and night. Allah knows we are weak, our faith and ibadah fluctuate. Hence, "If I should err, I would only err against myself. But if I am guided, it is what my Lord reveals to me. Indeed, He is hearing and near." (Quran 34:50)    

May Allah grant us the capacity to realize and feel how close He is, at all times. Ameen. Should we attain the station of constant nearness to our Lord, it would be like Laylatul Qadar every night, perhaps?

There's one most oft-quoted Sufi phrase: He who knows himself knows His Lord. Yes, but in the Quran we are told to say: "Allah knows me better than I do." And, what do we do with people who think they know us better? Ignore, cos they must be ignorant. Yes, believe it or not, there's one "holier-than-thou" person who actually told me I should change my name! 

No, not changing my name. May Allah grant me more izzah (power, might, honor and respect). May Allah honor me and you (who have sincere hearts) with the blessings of the Night of Power. Ameen.

I love my name : )
Can you see my name on the wall there? LOL

No, not changing my name. LOL.
Stop telling me what to do. Keep your opinion to yourself.
Mind your own business.
Your jealousy can't block my destiny.
O Allah, Al Qareeb, guard me against toxic people. Ameen.

Done packing more Eid goodies for balik kampung.
Am going to continue reading the Quran now, excuse me.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

22nd Ramadan 1438H | Sun without its ray


It was raining quite heavily pre-Isha last night, it's tempting to skip Teraweh at the mosque when the weather is bad. La hawla wala quwata illah billah.

This morning, I noticed, the sun rises without its ray! What could that mean? Laylatul Qadar?
Allahu a'lam!

Allahumma innaka 'afuwun
tuhibbul 'afwa
fa' fu'anni 

This poster puts a smile on my face.
: )

WaSalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Friday, June 16, 2017

21st Ramadan 1438H | Busy pleading with the Lord


It's the time to seclude and keep ourselves busy pleading with the Lord.

Wishing everyone success in using time in the most productive manner in this last 10 days of Ramadan.

Wama tawfiqi illa billah.

Must praise the Most Generous Lord today for sending some sweet cherries from Spain. Allah Kareem! Every day He manifests His generosities and every day we must be cognizant of them and say our thanks. Many people asked me how I had once upon a time survived without a job for four years, each time people asked, I said: Allah Kareem : )

My thoughts and prayers are with Aunty S and her family in the northeast of Spain - pious, honorable family they are. May Allah bless them with the best of His Most Unique Bounties this Ramadan. Ameen.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

20th Ramadan 1438 H | My Lord knows me better


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we have come to the last 100 meters of Ramadan, so to speak. It's unbelievable how fast time flies.

In this lesson, the Shaykh says we should not be distrustful of Allah's intentions towards us - our life, our properties, our families. We should say: "My Lord knows me better than I do." If we maintain this attitude, we will remain contented and experience the pleasure of compliance.

The last weekend before the upcoming Eid is just around the corner. May Allah continue to bless us with happiness and abundant of provision - material, spiritual and emotional.

Alhamdulillah, I am delighted the beautiful calligraphy artwork crafted by a Japanese Muslim, an Iranian lady, a Chinese Muslim and a Malaysian gentleman have found their place at my humble abode. Two of them are Asmaul Husna. But unfortunately, they appear too small in the photo below.

Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty. And we love reciting and pondering on His Beautiful Names.

Can't wait to welcome my honorable guests 
during the Eid festivities, 
inshaAllah, bi-iznillah. Lord knows me better : D

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

19th Ramadan 1438 H | Do not chastise us for our sins


Ah...we are all busy catching up on our Ramadan routine. I'm struggling to keep up with daily postings here, as a small gesture for appreciating the gift of "today" every day.

Let's just say ameen to this du'a made by the venerable Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani.

"O Allah, grant pardon, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance and renewed grace.
Do not expose us to disgrace.
Do not chastise us for our sins.
O Allah, O generous one,
You have said:
'And He it is who accepts repentance
from His servants and pardon evil deeds.'
O Allah, relent toward us and pardon us."


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

18th Ramadan 1438H | Lowliness and obscurity


Be content with lowliness and obscurity, said the shaykh.
But how many of us truly and willingly want or accept such attributes?
Many of us seek elevation, popularity, and acceptance by people when in truth none of those could help us in the grave. Our blog readers/Insta/Twitter followers would not be bothered when we are 6 feet underground.

We might have invested our time and effort on the wrong things?

Indeed, Ramadan makes us reflect on many aspects of life.
May Allah allow us to attain the best Ramadan education ever and let us come out of it wiser.

Monday, June 12, 2017

17th Ramadan 1438 H | O Allah, employ our limbs in Your obedient service


"O Allah, help us to be obedient to You
and do not desert us because of disobedience toward You
O Allah, keep us far removed from hypocrisy
in all our circumstances
O Allah, bring us near to You
do not send us far away from You
O Allah, install us in Your court
and in Your company
O Allah bless us with meeting You
in this world and the herefafter
delight us with nearness to You
and with the sight of You"

"Let us be among who are well pleased with You
to the exclusion of everything apart from You
O Allah, bless us with true fitness
in Your company"

"O Allah, employ our limbs and organs
in Your obedient service
and our hearts
in Your intimate knowledge
Employ us throughout our lives
by night and by day"

"Join us with our predecessors
among the righteous
provide us with sustenance
as You provided them with sustenance
and be for us as You were for them"

"O Allah, grant us the blessings
You have bestowed on Your people"

"O Allah, help us against ourselves
O Allah, grant us  the blessing
of compliance with Your destiny
under all circumstances"

"O Allah, let us eat of the food of Your nearness
let us quench our thirst with the drink
of Your intimate friendship"

"O Allah, cause a separation between us and our lower selves
O Allah, let us get to know You
so that we really know You"

"O Allah, treat us kindly in Your judgments
and Your decrees"

"O Allah, we seek refuge with you
from reliance on material means
and attachment to fantasy, desires and habits"

"With You
we seek refuge from evil under all circumstances"

"O Allah, make us extinct
to everything apart from You
cause us to exist in You
and give us in this world good
and good in the hereafter
and guard us against the torment of the fire"

"O Allah, may I benefit from what I have to say,
and let them benefit
from what I am saying
and they are hearing."
- Shaykh Abdul Kadir Al Jilani

I am humbled and grateful that Allah enables me to use my limbs and organs to do a little something to make my mother happy. My Jannah is under her feet. May Allah find me worthy of His Jannah. Ameen.

DIY home re-decor initiative for the coming Eid
for the sake of my dear mother,
and our honorable guests
: D
Those orchids are fresh by the way ; )
Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni amahu wa yukafi umazidah

Makcik/Pakcik yang ada penyakit hasad/dengki/cemburu terhadap saya, dinasihatkan buanglah penyakit tu jauh-jauh ya, apa kata buang ke Singapura ke? LOL.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

16th Ramadan 1438H | No why. No how.


It is a short verse which many of us overlook, methinks - verse 76-30 as highlighted in this lesson by the Shaykh.

"And you will not so wish, unless Allah so wills.
Indeed, Allah is All-knowing, All-wise."
[As translated by: Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani]

"And you cannot wish anything yourselves, except what Allah wills.
Indeed, Allah is All-knowing, All-wise."
[As translated by: Muhammad Tahir al-Qadri]

"But you will not, unless God wills.
surely God is ever All-knowing, All-wise."
[As translated by: Arthur J. Arberry]

We must be grateful for all the wonderful things which Allah has willed for us. Likewise, we should be patient for the seemingly not so wonderful things which Allah has willed for us. May Allah enable us to practise istislam in the truest form. May we not question why and how. May Allah grant us hidayah and tawfik to be a proper Muslim who submits to the faith and His decree.

Translation ref:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

15th Ramadan 1438 H | Full moon - bright stars


Let your cheerfulness show : )
How not to be cheerful in Penang when the "stars" have landed in my home : D

How not to be cheerful celebrating Ramadan in Penang when you get this kinda bonanza for free at the Penang State Mosque. If some organizations were to organize an event similar to this with some personalities leading the program, they might charge you a fee. LOL.
  • Complimentary porridge
  • Pre-iftar tazkirah and tahlil recitation
  • Solat Terawih 
  • Child-care service while parents perform teraweh
  • Complimentary supper post-teraweh
  • Tadarus al-Quran
  • Qiyamulail not just during the last week of Ramadan, but every single night
  • Special prayers on Nuzul Quran eve
  • Free sahur meals

Compliments of the Ismails

The Shaykh says: let your cheerfulness show : )

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ramadan in Penang | Ramadan Ramblings


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for another super sweet experience this Ramadan - to drive home to Penang with loads of Raya goodies packed in my car from fried shallots to Raya cookies to Eid attires and accessories, to floor lamps (YES!), new jug set, cookie canister, a coffee table (YES!), bags of groceries  - as if there are no good grocery stores in Penang! 

As usual, no, there's no room for any passengers. LOL. Yes, for Eid prep, I would transport anything and everything to my hometown - anything my mother requests and anything that would make her happy. Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi niamahu wayukafi umazidah.

Yes, home-sweet-home is the destination
@ Gelugor
As for iftar meals, apart from scrumptious home-cooked food, it's a must to check out the Ramadan Bazaar. The food bazaar always has something to surprise and impress. May Allah bless all the food vendors. Ameen.

Penang is famous for great food so you can expect
the Ramadan bazaar here to be extra special than any other states in Malaysia
; )

When a city girl balik kampung (visit her hometown) she has the tendency to bring home something flashy LOL. But not necessarily expensive.

My name is Eza : )

Iftar @ Gelugor

OK folks, may you have wonderful Ramadan experiences too.
How many chapters of the Quran have you read?
I'm doing pretty good, Alhamdulillah.

May Allah grant us tawfik and success.
And maqbul!

14th Ramadan 1438 H | Be wakeful with the Creator


In this advice from the Shaykh, we are encouraged to train the heart to be wakeful with the Creator and be asleep in relation to creatures, so much so that we remain intimate with the Lord even when we are in public, so that we may benefit from hikmah through our innermost being.

May Allah be kind towards us this Ramadan and grant us knowledge and skills of the heart so that we could attain a bit of what the Shaykh is saying if not all.

Wish y'all (Malaysians) a happy long weekend.
I am excited to be back on this lovely island in the sun - Penang - Pearl of the Orient, yet again.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
My heart sees my Lord who is Al Kareem.

Jumaah Mubarak.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

13th Ramadan 1438 H | O Lord, wish me well


"Allah would not have given you makrifah (knowledge of Allah).
unless He wished you well in this world and the hereafter."
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani

May Allah honor us with gnosis (makrifah).
The best safety net is knowing that Allah wishes us well for this world and the hereafter.
When Allah is for us and with us, nothing and no one can overcome us.

Ilahi anta maqsudi
wa redhaka matlubi
a'tini mahabbataka
wa makrifataka

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

12th Ramadan 1438 H | The Highroad towards Allah


No need to regret, if you have missed out the "opportunities" that await on the wrong door.Worry we must if we are unable to open the right door to Allah which takes us to the highroads of much felicity, on the route of clarity, unity, obedience, and truthfulness.

This is what I understood from the Shaykh's lesson as shown in below video.

It would be better to be seen by the mortals as being "left out" of the "mainstream", when in truth you are on the right bandwagon. In short, open the right door and get in the correct lane.

Something for us to ponder and consider.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

11th Ramadan 1438H | My heart sees my Lord


My heart sees my Lord who is generous towards me.
Allah Al Kareem.

My heart sees my Lord who is protective of me.
Allah Al Hafiz.

My heart sees my Lord who is a friend I can always count on.
Allah Al Wali.

Feeling blessed that He has made visible these Divine Attributes of Him.

Which of Allah's Divine Attributes are apparent to you today?

Looking up to My Lord Allah Azza Wa Jalla with gratitude.
Gratitude, certainty, and sincerity are some of the subtle qualities which only the Creator will know if it does exist in a person's heart.

Monday, June 5, 2017

10th Ramadan 1438H | Sit close to the Employer


So the first phase of Ramadan has passed : (

It's time to sit closer to the Employer, so that we are always ready to get up and toil.
Let's continue to focus on what our hands are capable of doing. We are going "Home" alone, and not a single person would bother to look out for us on the Day of Resurrection, except you know who. Let's "text" him salallah alaihi wasalam our salawat, that is better for us than to text nonsense to people, oh well at least leave people alone so they too could sit closer to the Employer and "message" His Messenger salallah alaihi wasalam.

It's easy to forget our priorities. But it's never too late to reset them.
May Allah grant us tawfiq.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

9th Ramadan 1438H | Don't be deluded


It's a simple yet deep reminder from the Shaykh:
Don't be deluded by your youth, your property and everything you have around you!

Let's busy ourself with the One who is not heedless of us.
Let's busy ourself making sure we have a "lawyer" to accompany us in the grave - the Quran.
Hoping my relationship and attachment with the Quran gets better each day, Ameen.
I wish for the same, for you too.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

8th Ramadan 1438 H | Covered


Cover the mind from negative thoughts.
Cover the heart from all unworthy contingent dwellers except Allah....let's try.

When travelling in Ramadan, you'd want to cover up a bit more somehow 😉

Wish y'all another wonderful iftar and marathon of ibadah.

Anything for habibi 😁