Sunday, May 31, 2009

At The Raudhah

Raudhah is the place to be in the Prophet’s mosque. It was the place where the Prophet used to worship and make prayers during his life with the Companions in Madinah. The place where wishes are granted and prayers answered. The problem is the place is small and cannot accommodate the visitors all at once. So there we shove and push ourselves into the crowd and impatiently wait for an empty space. InsyaALlah if you have the intention to be there, you will be there and there will be a place for you in that little garden. Allah will make it easy for you. He has made easy Alhamdulillah for me to make solat and offer prayers; an opportunity that was difficult to come by before. I have come here with ,my family to visit the Prophet, his family and his Companions, and so far it had been great and we loved it heavenly. In the Raudhah people act and pray in their own free style, asking ALlah for whatever worldly difficulties that they have been facing. I saw in many of them peace and satisfaction after the prayers; as if the burden has lifted from their shoulders. Hoping ALlah heard them well and will answer their prayers. The answer to their prayers would come around eventually as it was to me. The only thing is that you need to confident in your prayers. I mean really confident that the answers to their call will come to them. In fact this is the power of every muslim in handling and tackling their problems. However some of us don’t really bother to use it and have faith in it.

The ambience in and around the Raudhah has brought into reality the history of the Prophet and his companions that we heard over and over again during the kuliah. The life of the Prophet and his Companions seems to be simple yet full of heavenly nur and tranquility of the heavenly garden. As I ponder beyond the modern accessories of the floor, walls and ceiling, I wish to be among the Companions ; listening to the Prophet about the news from the heavens. How I would be intrigued or maybe shocked with the news but later on religiously embrace them in my life. To be among the Companions whom Allah has granted “redha” and heaven for their perseverance to uphold Islam and the prophet. How I wish to meet my Prophet during every prayer that I attended. I long for my beloved prophet and wish to be one day united with him.

After Asr Prayers

The sun was still burning my face; pinching every inch of the exposed skin. I pace through the crowd to the open door of the mosque as if I was invited to a big party. Like someone is waiting for me inside the mosque; indeed it was. The prophet was there and so were the Companions like Abu Bakr and Umar. The crowd was huge but I did not care as I was used to it ; feeling very welcome indeed. After the Asr prayer met a friend of mine from Dungun and his family. As I was speaking to him my eyes spied a small place there in the mosqye where the crowd gathered for doa and solat. I heard about this place—an elevated platform where the Companions used to gather with the prophet. They were called as-Suffah such as Abu Hurairah (rd) and the like. I approached the place and checked it out just to make sure. I finally found the place I’ve been looking for. Awesome. I immediately got a space and offered a prayer. I brought myself to the time of the Companions who used to gather to listen to the Prophet after the ‘Asr prayer; exactly the time I was there.

Friday, May 29, 2009

On The Way To Jeddah via doha

Departed KLIA with an Airbus330 to Doha at about 3.35 am. The aircraft was very comfortable with personal TV screens and big comfortable seat. By about an hour into the flight a snack was served – chicken curry pie; still hot and steamy. Tried to spent time reading some materials that I brought along but my eyes were quickly tired in the low light. I was tired and still hungry even after that delicious snack so sleeping was really not an option. This trip is a bit different from the others; that I hated so much because of the endless discomfort and big-ass hassle, due to the fact that I wanted it to be right, comfortable and meaningful to me as well as others. That would mean to control myself to be calm all the time, avoid anxiety and enjoy every bit of the way. Furthermore so that this is an umrah trip that you are supposed to cleanse your thought, clear your mind and focus on the devotion to Allah. So far I am good alhamdulillah. Doing prayers on the flight was very tricky but my kids and I managed to do that quite alright. A bit strange when people looking at you---is he doing the solah?---were muslim themselves. I was not fanatic or whatever, I just wanted to do my solat, it’s my routine. The very basic of human right. And the people who supposedly understand our life were the ones making the world so small and constricted. No freedom if you can’t do what you want to do.. But these days I just did not care anymore what people say --- I am too old to wait for the answers of the many what-if questions that I frequently so many years ago. What if people say this, what if people say that and so on. So tired of that.

The trip to Doha took about 7 hours. We left at 3.35 am and arrived at 5.50 am. So that should be about a little bit over two hours. Well that’s the beauty of time zones. When we cross the time zone backwards we are like letting the time flies past us without actually doing anything. If we were to stay in Doha we have saved that time tremendously. That’s a bit of interesting stuff in time traveling; it extends the secret of life itself. What about if you travel so fast backwards or forwards, would you enter into different time/life altogether. How about traveling in parallel time space but in different dimensions. Is there exist a world parallel to us ? what about alam barzakh?....aaaah so many questions!

We arrived in Doha early morning and the sun was already bright and the sky was sunny . The temperature was sizzling 89F already and there are people living here in the middle of seemingly nowhere, unbelievable. The airport buses greeted us at the end of the staircase. These Doha buses were very stylish, big, quiet and strangely fast. We had a few of these in Subang airport not so long ago. Wonder what happen to those buses? I did not mind riding in one of these to work. So comfortable. How come they are not using them as commercial buses? In the US those are the buses that we rode during our college days to go everywhere. I guess they must be expensive because for me that is the style of modern living; LRT is another one. Buzzing around town in an lRT is supposed to be fast and comfortable but I guess it isn't anymore is it? People should be the center of civilization not the technology. AAhhh....That’s a good topic for an article, isn’t it?

The security check in Doha was so chaotic. I was held up for a pen hidden inside my business card pad. It came on the screen and a security alert was called for. They finally settled that my pen was not a bullet and will not harm anyone in the airport---what a piece of crap! So they let me go for my 7-hour transit. It’s okay they gave me breakfast and lunch. So no complain. Doha airport is a nice little airport; it seems big but useful space for passengers is only a two-storey building no bigger than an airport in Pengkalan Chepa. The rest is a huge field with borders as far as your eyes can ever see. A unique feature about Doha airport is that it has a “Quiet Room” for everyone. Yes it is labeled like that. This room is where people go and catch up with their sleep before the next flight. There is also a mosque; large and very comfortable. So no excuse for missing your prayers guys.

We left the terminal in a bus at around 1 pm under a soaring heat. It was so damn hot that I just could not believe people do live here. The flight to Jeddah took about 1hr 30mins. It was a nice journey in a Boeing aircraft. Traveling nowadays seems to be a lot comfortable than before. The landing was a bit bumpy but it was not that bad. We arrived there before ‘Asr. The immigration was smooth and swift, nothing exaggerating as we had in Doha. They did have a health screening but very subtle and fast. Our bags were there already and we were out about 40 mins later. The weather in Jeddah was not that hot; quite nice actually. Before long we were approached by a Bangla cleaner selling a prepaid. Ironically we were told about this and recommended by the a Ustaz to get one—75 riyals. Not a bad business because he got advertisement going on thousand of miles away. So we got a couple of those for our communication need. It is always strange to see Saudi authority handles passports. They bundled up all of them together and took them away without any explanation, leaving us speechless and wondering; why do they take away our passports? Anyway that’s the procedure and everyone just as stunned as me to see our precious traveling document being taken away like a stack of useless theme park pass books.

Before dark we embarked on another 8-hour long journey by bus to Madinah---the place where it all began.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Umrah Trip 2009

Off to Madinah and Mecca for Umrah 29 May - 9 June 2009. Please doa for my family's safe journey and successful umrah.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When God talked to me ...

The first thing that comes to your mind must be … this fella is cracking down already, he’s going nuts. But let me ask you this then… do you believe in God ? well if you do, God must be able to talk to you as well. If you feel such an action is too extreme then don’t worry, nothing bad will happen to you or any member of your family. None of that nonsense. If you believe me then..good…you know what I’m talking about.

God did not talk to me directly but through someone; however, the message is direct. The moment I received the message I know right there and then that it is for me. I know because no one knows that particular information. No one whomsoever on the face of this planet and beyond except , of course, God himself. It IS from Him to me. Have you ever come across this situation? When out of no where; things happened to you. Maybe your wishes have been granted, or your prayers have been answered. You feel protected whenever you were most vulnerable. You passed your test when you already have prepared for the failure. Someone IS listening , don’t you think so? Please say yes because if not I must be going a little bit over the edge. The whole day today I tried to comprehend what was happening and I have come to a conclusion that my life is now has entered into a new dimension. Nothing spectacular; it is just changing.

Let say you make a phone call, you dial a number and press the call button. When you hear the ringing at the other end you know that the number is correct and the phone is working. You wait. At this stage you are in waiting mode, right, anxiously waiting and thinking of what to say and what not to say. Your emotions are mixed without knowing which one to fire. Happy. Sad. Glorious. Angry. They are all there within you waiting to be picked to accompany your next move. Once the caller picks up the phone and greet you; you have immediately entered into a new dimension. You say something and with that the right emotion will be triggered. Maybe happy for talking to your friend on the other side. So I was talking that kind of changing.

I have been trying to make contact with God for so many times in my prayers. The line has been ringing so I know the number was right; now He has finally answered my call and put my life “on line”. Thank you.

So what was the message ? Let it remain a secret, locked inside me just like a small candle with a little light….bright enough for me to go my way. I am just happy to be with God. Don’t you think it is time to make your call as well?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today's Khutbah : Hati Ibu

The oration from today's pulpit was so touching. It was about our attitude towards mothers. We all have our mother; some might be still well and healthy and some might already lose her. So the subject was very close to our hearts. The part that I remember the most, in between my sleepy moments, was that ....

" kita berlumba2 mencium tangan orang 2 yang kita kagumi dan hormati tapi adakah kita juga mencium tangan ibu? " ( we go all the way to kiss the hand of those that we admire and respect but have we kissed our mother's ?)

so very true isn't it? a slap on the forehead, I'd say! I could hear some people around me sobbing quietly and the other guy wiping the tears away. I guess people don't sleep off the khutbah anymore; they actually listened to the contents. but if the content is about the good promises that the so-and-so politicians have made and how we the people should be thankful....then we better off dozing away to the never-never land.

And today there was a makan-makan....some leftovers from the previous program. Never mind that...just be thankful. Thank you God!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Tribute To My Dear Love !(Beloved Mother of My Children)

My Dear Love!

as the time dawn upon us
we waded thru gracefully
facing the pains and melancholy of life
we clinched on each other
grasping the joy that promised

is life full of lies and empty promises ?!
I don’t want to believe so ...
for my life with you ...
is like rainbows over the meadows
full with bright and beautiful colors
that will never go away ....
or brittle out into the oblivion

life is never too short
my love to you will go far beyond
You've been so dear and loving to me
You've sacrificed yourself for me
You haven’t got time for yourself just to let me work
You have worked hard just to help me
Thank you my love !

You’re sad because you feel I was unhappy
You’re worried because you feel I was terrified
You’re frightened because you feel I was afraid
You cheered me up when I was down
Today I just want to let you know
that I love you so very much
forever.....and ever

Happy Mother’s Day, my dear

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A tribute to my mother !

Mothers do come from heavens. They brought down the heavenly warmth and scents under their feet----syurga di bawah telapak kaki ibu. The tastes of heaven have been a primary source to calm down our restless souls, fears, panic,loneliness and melancholic. Being with mother would cease the world as a threat but a safe place to be. Nothing would matter as long as mother is here. My mother is no different for she has been the source of our living. No matter how well off we are or highly educated with all sort of academic qualifications, talking to mother is always resourceful; she could explain things from her own perspectives that we sometime miss altogether. Some mothers like mine, are not well educated in terms of modern schooling and all but they have the innate ability to raise us all just as well. My mother lives a hard life as our family is unfortunately poor. Alhamdulillah we have accepted our misfortune and have lived through it for so many years but we even more so respect mother for going through it very painfully. My father was a coolie at the railway station ;so not much would come from that just enough to fill up the dinner mat ( we sat around a mat for meals). My mother at some point was a full time house wife and could not help out with the finances. During those times I remember that tears were always flowing down her cheek to soothe the sadness. As a child I have never really understood why we were so poor that made our life so difficult. We were happy though to have each other and enjoyed getting on each other’s nerves, so being poor did not really bother me that much. I guess every kid has that kind of gut that keep them survived. We have our mothers, so not to worry.

At one point mother went on to make dresses at the market. She really liked being out of the house for a change. In her absence, we just managed ourselves for lunches and schools. She likes sewing and making dresses but ,truthfully speaking, she is not really good at it. That’s because her orders would always come back for repairs. I was always with her when those people came to demand this and that. She would serve them tea when they came to the house just to listen the harsh words that they threw onto her for ruining the order. I listened from the corner of the house and blaming mother for keep accepting the orders although she knew she has no ability or skills to fulfill them. I was so proud as father was always behind her and supporting her all the time. If I were to have my way I would kick that bitch and the no good husband out of my house and to stop them from talking to my parent like that.

One thing about mother is that she knows how to make friends. She would go all the way to entertain her friends and from her many conversations she really enjoyed their company as well. She likes to dress up in bright colorful dress the kind of tone and colors for young gals. I guess she is always young at heart. When father was ill of diabetes.,mother was always with him night and day. It was hard for mother but even harder when father lost his mind due to illness. Remember “The madness of King Henry the Eighth” ? that was the sickness that dawned upon father. At one point we had to tie him up so he would not cause any injury to himself. So sad and I still could not talk about the last days of my father. But mother was always with him and cared for him. When father died at home during Ramadhan of 2000, mother was there to ease the pain of death.

After the death of father, the tasks of caring and nursing were still there for mother. She would wake up at night for our grand mother. And this would be going on for another few years until grand mother died. My mother is still ok today but not as healthy as she used to be. Her daunting life has taken toll on her health; she is tired and breathless. She is tired for caring and nursing people but never complain because she knows that is her life. Nowadays we are trying our very best to care for her; the twelve of us. Her hearing has started to go off, her vision also begins to fade away and she could not travel far any more. We pray for Allah to give her strength and good health. We would like her to remain with us , to love and cherish, for so many years to come. Happy Mother’s Day , Mak!


Mom brought me to life some time ago
To let me see the world
With my own heart and soul.
She knew only not to let me hungry
With little food under the saji
That dad bought yesterday

Mom never had life of her own
Scrimping all day long to let us live
Tears would be ritual
To ease the pain that came with us
Life was brutal for Mom
But she neither complained nor gave up
Because she knew tomorrow will bring sunshine
For another hope … another promise
She kept swinging the milk-stained buai
Sang lullaby to help us sleep
So she could go on with her never-ending chores

Mom gave me courage
Filled me up with perseverance
Let me walk my own steps
Gave me light for the darkness
Helped me stood up during a fall
She gave me a rope …
…tie it up , son! when you’re at the end of it
never to let it go

She is my Mak …
..and will always be the greatest mak in the whole wide world !

Forgive me, Mak ….. and the rest of us
If words are harsh , actions are stupid or manners are absent
We are still learning the first steps
Still need your hand
To hold on
So not to be swept away
By the world that has gone mad

Mom, do you still remember the salawat?
That you always sang
To calm us down from the fiery darkness
It has not left my ears
As if the words and the rhythms
Were in me…forever

Mak is still with me today
For me to thank and have a good hug
Just want to say that .. I love you mak!
Truly from the bottom of my heart

happy mother’s day, Mak!

early may 2006
(revised) May 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Tribute To My Other Mother (Che Yoh)

Che Yoh (CY) was single.She used to be married once but that did not last very long ( but of course longer than Roslin Hashim with that ugly betty).She was our auntie and we loved her, of course, through out her life. I remember to visit CY every now and then when she was living near the river in Pasir Mas (the town side). For that we called her “Mak Sungai”. Her characters were hard and determined; a very independent lady. She never listened to Grand Ma and for that she was outcasted and lived at the riverbank; when most of the family lived in Kampong Dangar, further inland. We had fun visiting CY, as I remember it, because she would treat us well. She had no child of her own. I could see that she was surrounded by loving people there; our distant relatives who lived near that river bank.

Later, Grand Ma insisted CY to come and live with us in Kampong Dangar. There was a plot of land and a small hut for her to live in. She agreed and moved in. That place happened to be next to our house; so we are neighbors now. From then on life had never been the same again. Our life that is because CY was always on her own and lived her own life; no matter what people said. CY was a dress maker , so were her sisters including my mother. She had a place in the market where people would go and order a dress or mend their clothes. It was not a good job but enough to make a living. Later on my mother joined her at the market to make dresses and sewed sarong for a few cents. I liked to join them every now and then when school was boring and nothing else was there to learn. As I was so fond of CY, my mom and dad asked me to accompany CY at her house. So I would stay or slept over at her house, which was a few step from my house, many days in a week. Until one day CY decided to “adopt” me and asked me to stay with her and be her son. I did not really understand the arrangement but remember staying with her for a few years during my early child hood.

Living with CY was not easy but quite comfortable as I was the only child in the house. Back at my own house we had about 8/9 of us during that time ( altogether I have 12 siblings). So life was luxurious for me. CY was one tough lady and you would have your days numbered if you do not do things her way. And she was always right. But she was a good “mother” to me, caring and loving, although she has her own way of showing them. Once I had a homework that I could not do----the peribahasa (language stuff) and I was really worried at that. It was getting late at night and I was sobbing in the bedroom for not getting it done. As she could not do it as well, she would go over to my house and asked my brother to help me. I finished the long list of the peribahasa that night and was amazed how CY would do anything for me. But as CY was a very difficult lady; she could not keep a good relationship with everybody; my mom, dad and grand ma. They seemed to hate each other’s guts most of the time. Later I remember the fightings, the shoutings and the tongue-lashing had become so severe that the relationships between them were not good at all. Most of the time they fought over me; until one day Dad decided to take me back. So I was back at the house. CY was devastated. When I asked Dad why; he would tell me that CY had spoilt me too much and Dad wanted to make sure that I would pass the Std Five Exam and go to a good secondary school like my brothers and sister. I guess that was a good decision as I was admitted into a boarding school a year later. Although Mom, Dad and CY could not face each other; I had maintained a motherly relationship with her all the time. Even after getting a job and married she had always been my CY. Every month I would fill her bank account (the tabung haji account) with a portion of my salary until the day she died. I did not have a chance to say goodbye to CY ,as I was in the UK at that time; but she will always be in my dreams and prayers. We were together but somehow life deemed us otherwise. Circumstances that I never knew to comprehend and will continue to wonder what would happen if things had been different. For her good heart, she will always get my prayers. May Allah put her soul in peace and bless her in the Hereafter.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Maryam

May 2nd, 1999. Maryam was born in the midst of my PhD crisis in Colchester, Essex. It was nothing good coming out of my research and things had gone from bad to worst. I guess she was the blessing in disguise; an answer to my prayers in Mecca for Allah to help me ease this mind and soul that was going haywire. The emotional confrontation was huge and sometimes unbearable because I was at the end of my study period but as yet to see the end of it. I felt so guilty for making everyone especially my family feeling bad and disappointed. I could no longer stay in the UK but at the same time could not face my family and friends back home because my thesis was undone. I just did not know whether it will be finished at all. But God works in mysterious ways as Maryam was the answer and sign that things were going to be alright;and indeed they did. AlhamduliLlah.

I think it was in mid morning that this little one had started turning and tossing. But Umi did not expect anything and we went on to enjoy the beautiful Sunday morning at a Carboot sale. By noon the contractions have become too frequent and Umi said it’s time to go, our baby was coming. We went to the Colchester General Hospital around 1 pm after the Zuhr prayer, leaving the others at a friend’s house in the neighborhood. Soon Umi went into labor and Maryam was born without any problem around 6pm. I was there to greet my little girl into this world. She came to save her daddy from going mad. I was thrilled and nothing mattered anymore. I wrapped my thesis up (undone with half-baked no good results) and persuaded my supervisor to let me go into the viva and defend this thesis. He reluctantly signed the submission paper and I went into an overdrive to prepare for the viva. Umi did not spend anytime in the ward; the doctor let her to go home as soon as the procedures had finished. I still feel bad about this because I should have insisted for Umi to stay at least one night in the ward for a good rest. But Umi was strong and I was ultra happy that we agreed for Umi to get rest at home. Everything turned out to be fine , alhamduliLlah.

Three months later as Maryam was ready to travel we had decided to go home. I had submitted my thesis and the viva was planned to be at the end of the year. I had to come back for it. The journey home was hectic but quite fun actually. We stopped by Mecca for Umrah before continuing our journey to KL. We brought Maryam to the Kaabah and even kissed the hajarul aswad. Umi lifted Maryam to kiss the stone as she was so small and sleeping soundly in the middle of the chaotic other hujjaj. Interesting isn’t it, as if I went to Mecca to show my dear Lord that I’ve got the answer to my prayers----You have sent this down to me, thank you my lord. It was sun eclipse when we were there in Masjidil Haraam. We celebrated Una's birthday there but she could not help it and pee in Masjidil Haraam. I just could not forget that incident.

Maryam is ten today. She continues to bless and harmonise us all everytime we go into a crisis. At school she is a muslehah (prefect) ; at home she guards us from the world that has gone mad. We love you very much. Happy Birthday Maryam.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Labour Day 2009

I don’t know why we need one big-ass day for workers to celebrate a day off---don’t we have weekends? And that’s a two-day off, even better and we have it at every week. I guess it is an old custom from the industrial era that workers were first to be recognized as the driving force for the country’s well-being.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

I supposed it is not a bad idea after all; as working is part of our life and working together (in peace and harmony) is the hardest thing to endure. You hate your boss, office mate or colleague just for the stupid face that you have to see every single day, isn’t that hard enough for average working person like you and me. And then there is office politic that keep your morning coffee at the mamak restaurant hot and tasty. I happened to come across the following saying at my mate’s office.

Coming together is a start, planning together is a beginning, working together is a progress.

Why can’t we work together? ( if you say that you CAN work with your colleague then you better look again…..aren’t you pretending?) Let me tell you why I can’t work together with my colleague ( or seems to always have difficulties in keeping the relationship professionally positive)

1. I am a slow mover, not that I’m a lembab-ass but I work at my own pace. And it seems to lag behind ever ytime. Although I can catch up eventually, I just don’t give a damn who has gone before me or behind me and that attitude has always left me on my own.

2. I have my own ideas that I want to work on. Usually people would see them so far off or “superficial”. For me most ideas that I put forward are “workable” but they need to be worked a bit harder than other simple ideas. So people will have to give up a lot of time, or endless effort or even some amount of money to see the success; no matter what I want to see the success but people would kill them off because they afraid of the commitment. I would end up in a conflict; and as I am not good in handling conflicts , I would leave them altogether.

3. I am a peace-loving person that will make everything to stay away from confrontations. I would rather be alone, if you know what I mean.

4. I hate strategic planning; a must if you work with people.

…..but one way or another you can’t escape from working with people. That’s why my Labor Day is the day for me to celebrate how I have survived the daunting task of working with people.