Saturday, September 27, 2008

The night I prayed with the angels

For over forty years of my life, last night was very special indeed. It was the 27th Ramadhan and I had the opportunity to attend the qiam (night prayers) with my friends at the nearby surau(place of worship) at about 4am. For Muslim all over the word, the night of the 27th Ramadhan is very very special as we believe all angels would descend to the face of the earth and pray with us from dusk to dawn. As mystic as it might all possibly be, I was there and could feel the presence of these angels all through the night.
Allahumma Ya Rabbi

Forgive this one soul, for the thoughts and the speech and the hands might have gone astray from your path
Forgive my family if they ever crossed your lines in their daily chores as they lack of knowledge
Forgive all muslim for the faith they never really knew and the ignorant they pose in their actions.
Indeed all praise be to Allah, we praise Him , we seek His help and forgiveness.
We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions.
Allahumma Ya Rabbi
Our nation is in great distress and difficulties
Forgive us if this is the punishment for all of our deeds
Save this nation
Save this country
From the leaders that see greed as opportunities
Lies as the sacred sermon, smiles as the key to support, lust as the gift from heavens, corruption as the good deeds, suffering voices as the annoying grouses, poverty as the rightful cause of their actions, fame as his rightful trait and power as a God-given command to save the world.
Unite us all under the banner of humanity and prosperity
For we can no longer bare the burden of differences
Allahumma Ya Rabbi
Give us the strength and will
To fight the fahsya and the munkar
That have attacked our olds and youngs
Ruining their hopes and their futures
Please forgive us all
Make this land safe and sound again
For the flowers to bloom and the birds to sing again
So we can grow older gracefully
And be at peace….for eternity.
Amin Ya Rabbal Alaamin.
The prayers ended at 5.15am.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alumni Buka Puasa 2008

It was simply the best.(period)

Indeed it was. Majlis Berbuka Puasa Semesta 2008 was the best event this year any alumni could ever encounter. The “best” because we are the best ummah (khairun ummah) among the best of friends doing the best thing in the world (buka puasa is the best deed for Muslim in this month of fasting) in the best month of Ramadhan on the brink of the best ten days of Ramadhan when the best night of al-qadr might occur(it might be last might) at the best restaurant in the world with the best food ( nothing could be better than the kambing panggang). So what else anyone could possibly ask for.

I would like , on behalf of Semesta, to thank Mat Kamil and Mattblacqk for the initiatives and the whole Semesta family for the support. It shows we care about each other, about Semesta and this whole alumni thing; but sometime we have our own way of showing it ( I guess that is how we all do it). I am sad that not all of us had the opportunity to come and enjoy the company. Semesta should do more of this so that others could join in as well but again the constraints are there and we have no liberty to go beyond out limit.

It turned out very well I guess last night ,actually beyond my expectations. Many more new faces turned up and I am always delightful to meet these people and talk to them. I had sometime last night amid the chaos of getting the best kambing part to talk and know a few. A special gratitude should go to Prof Pakdin for his effort in bringing over Pak Widodo and wife. On behalf of Semesta, we gave him a little gift---mushaf al-quran from yayasan restu; beautiful stuff. Hope Bapak would use it in these last ten days of Ramadhan so we could get our share of bounty as well. But the best thing was that to meet him finally; because I missed the event at Pakdin‘s house last time. Pak Widodo was one of my favorite teachers although I could hardly understand what he was saying in the class. I remember his passion and spirit to teach us was immensely incomparable. Even last night he was very eager to show me all the old photos that he brought along and spoke proudly of his students. He missed a few names but that was some 30 odd years ago. The reminiscence of old memories has got me to realize that we are nothing without our teachers and friends that have colored the rainbows for us. Last night we bumped into each other with a plate of nasi at one hand and a glass of water at the other as we were long time ago in the dewan makan. The same atmosphere as if we travelled the time back to the great old days; only today the smiles and the gestures have more meaning and value.

I wish the time stood still and I could sit down and chat . A lot of stories to tell and tales to be laughed at. Maybe some stayed longer but sooner or later we have to depart; as always. The thing that life has taught us many many times; that our encounter is temporary—enjoy it while we can. I am sure there will be other time and opportunity to meet ( one of them is the coming Majlis Raya)---and it would be a whole new sets of faces I am sure. The lesson being not to miss any of them but to go to all of them.

Bravo to Batch 88 . Thanks for letting us "menumpang" your event. But as you can see nothing wrong with it...just got merrier and more fun. Paradigma "perkauman batch" ni must stop. it would not get us anywhere. Believe me.

Nayo was drooling leleh for that piece of kambing panggang. I myself could not resist it but with the pantang for meat I limited myself to a couple of slices. Last time in the US we could finish the whole roasted lamb in one sitting(including the head)---gara-gara pergi rumah pak arab.

Bbe nak dada ke paha ?! and Ura81 contemplating the future of Semesta.

MKA & son ushering the guests; and there even was a banner. (please get the name of Tengku Mahkota right---it is Tengku Muhammad nanti murka pulak tengku. Banner Majlis Raya pun sama tapi mungkin dah tak sempat nak bekki.)

The smiles say it all. make one wonders what is so special about skolah sains kelantan/faris petra. I guessed it was in that nasi kawah or rubbery chicken or boiled eggs or sekut tawar or.......

Our super seniors Prof Pakdin and Abe Shakry (also Abe Hashim Perkeso). Thanks a lot for coming, please come and join us again. Did not have enough time to chat; too busy looking for that sate ayam....asyik abis saja !

MKA was busy preparing the collection box.It's again myself underestimating the generosity of all alumni. I asked for a pre payment, maybe that had turned some people off. But I have to, I apologise. After the Futsal Tournament we came up short over 1K and Semesta had to dig deep into the wallet to top that of. It was excruciatingly painful as we were already dry out of cash. That's the reason why we had to put off all Ramadhan programs. Time and again all alumni have proved that we together can make a difference. Bravo to all.

Free at last ! Free at last! : our alumni Sheih Kickdefella freed from ISA.

We can say he had virtually joined us for Buko Posa as well through the TV.

Pak Jitno Widodo. Still as he were 30 over years ago.

PD and wife.

Koce and hmmmmm.......Huh?Huh?

This guy cracked jokes all over the place last night. He is really a funny man...different from his forum postings. In case some don't get it who he is ....hmmmm.. G..I'm not telling! histerika.gif

with Lokman81 whom finally agreed to apologise to Pak Widodo for what happened long time ago . What was it Mae that you had done?! He did not tell I just guessing.

Pok Jak...first time meeting him.

Ok one more before I went off...were you guys waiting for me to go? hmm I had a feeling.....maybe to finish off that kambing huh!. anyway superb night everyone! take care.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Dark Moments #1 : the school days

I was grateful to get into this school of mine until I realised that I was at the Gate of Hell ....

My school days ……. full of memorable moments
The dark ones especially, stone-carved for eternity
In the corner of my mind
It was the best school you could possibly go, they all said
The best in hell I supposed
It was like yesterday when I sat in the classroom
What’s this place? Who are these people?
Some faces looked nice and so friendly
The others blank and lost
But later they all had one thing in common
Bold and brutal
Form One was fun and exciting
The teacher came in and asked where have all the chalks gone
I went away and came back with a bunch
They made me a monitor for that effort
Not that I know how to be one
Just want to impress the girls … the pretty li’l girls
I tried to get one … the girls I mean
But never succeeded…they went for the macho ones
I dreamt on …until I realized that’s what I’m good at … dreaming
They called me names (never mind…no need to spell that out)
For the stupid face with no hair and the sweet li’l ass that I got

The following year was terrible … I mean hell !
The big boys knew about my sweet li’l ass
And started to chase me around when the lights went out
I’d end up at the place where I always hide…. the toilet
Sometime I woke up and still there …. in the toilet
I was weak and small and never put up a fight
So lonely and confused I could not imagine
how I got through all those years
full of misery

Once this boy asked me to swap beds
I sleep in your bed and you can sleep in my bed
Night after night after night
I just didn’t understand why but never dare to ask
This swapping thing went on for a week or so
And then one night he said
I sleep in your bed but you can’t sleep in mine
Now, where in hell am I suppose to sleep ?!
Looking back , now I realize what it was all about
He didn’t want to make up his bed in the morning !!!

the nightmare continues ….

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Grateful Moments (MGM)

As the celebration of my birthday continues (only me still celebrating) I ponder upon the moments in my forty-over years living through the thick and thin of life. We all have our moments that shape our destiny. I did not have a real aim in life when I was a child. I remember that I wanted to be an ADO ( assistant district officer)…you see an assistant, not even the DO itself . Another choice was a teacher. Only because my class teacher asked me to think so that he can put something down in the borang. But the fate put me through the hardship in life maybe to show me that believing in God and trust your own self would take care of everything around you. But the best part being through the rough edge of life is that you have all sort of moments to treasure ….grateful moments, dark moments, hilarious moments and so-so moments. The color of life that you have enjoyed; seeing and touching your very souls and only you can feel it. Isn’t it wonderful?

MGM#1 : got into smskel in 1977

Back then I was about 11 years old when this headmaster of my school dropped by and delivered the letter. I was playing with my brothers and sister. When Mak and Ayah went off to work; we were left to care on our own. It was the school holidays and during this time we just played around the house just to keep everyone within the compound and not to be too adventurous and wandered off into the kampung. All of us would get into trouble if there is anyone missing by the Maghrib time. When the headmaster who happened to be our next door neighbour ( but we never talked to him because he was so bekeng(fierce) at school) called us out, I sneaked in between my brothers and tried to be nosy. Never expected any letter for myself. But this time it is for me. We understood the letter because my sister was already at sri puteri at that time and my brothers were already at this school. Now it is my turn. We maybe poor but alhamdulillah. God is gracious. I remember to hold the letter and read it over and over again. Not knowing exactly what was the meaning of all that. I knew that like my sister I would be going off somewhere living in asrama with other students. There would be no more fighting with my brothers for so little food that we have on the dinner mat. No more tears from Mak for not being able to give what I wanted. Maybe I will be better off, so I thought. I remember Ayah was so excited for me but at the same time could not figure out where to get the money for all the stuff that I needed for the asrama: the clothes, cadar, uniform and all. Luckily he had a nephew who worked as an ADO and got help from him. I am so grateful for that moments because it changed my life forever.

MGM#2 : “graduated” from jemaah tabligh in 1979

I was always fascinated with “org2 alim” (religious people). Back then Islamic movements was a hit and Ustaz Ashaari (of Al-Arqam) was a celebrity. One time he came to our village and I was so impressed with him and his movement. I wanted to join the movement but my father said you could not afford to go to KL and live with those people. So I just held off that idea. I frequented the ceramah by these tabligh people at the mosque near our home.Not like Arqam; tabligh movement is low-profile. You follow their program and they would give you food and made new friends. Once a week they would take me to the city for a weekly gathering. Some big alim people would give ceramah and ask you to go out and travel giving dakwah. That was good. I came back and told this to my father and he told me not to get involved…nanti jadi gila. Besides, where do you find the money for the traveling? I did not know how to answer. I did not understand why we did not have much money like other people. Even with that constraint I was able to attend the tabligh program most of the time. In 1979, after the SRP examination we had a long break and a little sum of money from the scholarship, I pursued my intention to go with jemaah tabligh. There was a big gathering in Kuala Terengganu and I happened to pass by KT on the way back from KL. I told my teacher that I would stop in KT to visit a friend. He said OK and off I went to the gathering (could not remember the term for such gathering). I remember my senior at school was there to greet me (Dr Razali Mohd Zain) and he showed me around the camp that will be my home for the next 3-4 days. The term was –ijtimak, now I remember it!. I put down rm60 that I brought with me so that I could be put into a team. This team would go out and do dakwah for 40 days. Anybody who has gone out for 40 days will be considered meeting the basic requirements to be a pendakwah (preacher). I was going for that. We traveled by foot from one mosque to another for 40 days staying a day or two in one mosque. It depends on the people of that village. Some would be so hostile but many would be very receptive and welcome us with food and blankets.

I remember going around KT area during those 40 days we went deep into the villages that the people speak with the slang that I could not understand. The mosques were not well taken care of in those days compared to today. People in the village were busy with their farming that they did not have time to come for prayers. So the mosque or surau had become neglected and some completely neglected. So we actually revived the activities at the mosque. Mostly in those days they clashed due to political differences; very obvious and very sad indeed. Although today the same idea might still alive it has toned down a bit and we can see people are no longer abandoning the mosques. We all sort of people. At one place we were harshly told off because the ‘tok guru’ there said we were practicing deviant Islam….as most Tablighi will do, we just kept quiet and smiled all the time. That’s what we were taught…never to confront and always patient and leave everything to the Almighty. In another village we met a group of people practicing strange Islam. Didn’t really understand what they were doing but when we arrived there the group were down at the village to get supplies of food and rice. Every night our ameer will do the bayaan. I’ve never had a chance to deliver bayaan. It was the highlight of the day because many people would come to hear it. Our ameer was a good orator so I was very fascinated with his speech. At one village there was no electricity so the bayaan was delivered under one oil lamp… dark and hot and with the speech gaining pace you could imagine that the atmosphere was so tensed. We cried when the story of sahabah was related and the agony in the hereafter was addressed.

The real training is when you were assigned a task; maybe cook the meals, do the zikr or go out visiting people around the mosque (could not remember what that’s called). It really got me working and trying very hard to do them properly. We were at this one village called Kg Pulau Manis in the area of Kuala Terengganu. It was the fruit season and we had the chance to have all kind of fruits that have been brought to the mosque by the kind villagers; loads of them. When I talked about this during the reporting session (we had to give report on our experience during the 40-day outing) the ameer grinned and blushed…..that’s not it you are supposed to get a spiritual change not about a bunch of fruits. Then my ameer took over and finish up the report. I guess I was too young/na├»ve to say anything spiritual. I clearly remember that incident and feel a bit disappointed for not doing it right. I guess you should learn the lesson. And that was it about this whole outing---learning the lesson “real-time”. You made a mistake you face it right there and then. After the 40-day outing you are supposed to go out again for about two weeks; I was sent to Tumpat area ---a mainly Siamese community in Kelantan. I had my confidence already and was able to approach any bunch of teenagers hanging around on their motorbike whenever I met them during the afternoon visit.(gush??). With no hesitation I would talk about Islam and Iman and give come-and-follow-me-to-the-mosque-right-now kind of message. It was straight to the point and that’s really the beauty of Jemaah Tabligh---direct with proactive. You bring the message to the people and do not wait for the people to come to the mosque. Nowadays, this is the part lacking in any surau or mosque---there is no effort to get the message of Islam and Deen out of the surau and mosque and give it to the people at their doorsteps. No one is willing to do that even the AJK surau; all they know is to fight each for the post and get a few ringgit the allowance. No one except people of Jemaah Tabligh.

You would go through all sorts of training during that 40 days. Remembering surahs from the quran, learning how to deliver a speech in front of so many people, doing the ceramah, going for door-to-door preaching etc. Nothing fancy just some ordinary things that somehow have built my the end of that period I had become someone new; not only religiously but personality wise. I found confidence within me. Perseverance that helped me a lot later in life.A belief that I can do some impossible things. I enjoyed it very much. I “graduated” 40 days later renewed as a man with endless possibilities ready to take on the world. I am grateful for that moments in life. I am no longer following jemaah tabligh but would remind me of all those years when they knock on my door every now and then.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A wish you wish not to get wished

Happy Birthday !

Today I turned forty-something. A reminder that I am not keen to hear. But alhamdulillah Allah has given me a wonderful life with a wonderful family. I have nothing to complain really. I have been to places that I had never dreamt to be. The opportunity to prove myself in many many occasions. I failed a lot but grateful for the few successes in life. I have become a better person today and learnt a lot from my mistakes. I would like to stop pursuing things and start living and giving; but life seems so far ahead with all sort of interesting stuff to get into.

Looking back, life is really a miracle. I have grown into a man with his own destiny. I never had a dream... jangan beranganlah...ko tak kemana....those were the sayings that has become my belief. I was poor , hopeless with a dead-end future. but by the grace of God things had been looking up. The miracles really started early in my life ; poor is a blessing in diguise. I can tell you that today....after so many years.

life is like travelling in an airplane. You would start to descend at some point in the journey as the plane appoaches its destination. My descend has started already and soon enough I will reach my destination. Am I sad? scared? confused? not really. I am okay. It would be another point in life where you stop pursuing things.

In the beginning there were three of us ... Aqeelah joined us in 1991

Then ...Ariefah came during the flood in December 1993.

Nabiela made up our three little princesses in 1995...we took her to London for a four-year stay.

Maryam came a long as we were about to book our flight back to Malaysia in 1999.

Then the handsome chap (Ahmad) finally arrived into our family.

Happy Birthday to me!