Saturday, 26 February 2011

The other 6-year-old boy

Dear Adam,

Today you are 6. It is time for Mama to tell you about a boy. This boy was very different from you. You have everything a 6 year-old could dream of. Mama and Papa, all four grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, good school, friends, unlimited toys, books. You never went to sleep hungry. You never woke up scared.

This boy, he lived 1400 years ago. When he was 6, your age now, his mom died. He became an orphan. His dad already died when he was still in his mummy's tummy. He was really poor. He did not have everything that you have now. He had to live with his other family members. Surely it was not the same as having your own parents.

He became a shepherd. He did not get to go to school. Nobody even taught him to read or write. There is a reason to this. Mama will tell later. But why Mama wants to tell you about this boy?

He was a very special boy. He was born with nothing. But he had something that no one else ever had as much, or would ever have as much, and that is Allah's love. You remember Allah? Mama already told you that Allah is the One who creates us, Whom we will go to when we leave this world, Whose Love and Mercy we should strive for every second of our lives.

Why you must know about this poor orphan boy? Because you must love him more than you love Mama, Papa, Ammar, Abid or yourself. And we all must love Allah like he loved Allah. It is easier said than done. He himself said (when he was older) that living in this world while striving to love Allah at the end of time (most probably our time now) would be like holding a burning coal. It is easier to let go than to endure. But to let go must never be your option. You must remember this.

Adam, his name was Muhammad. Whenever we say his name, we will say sallallahualaihiwassalam (peace be upon him). He is our Holy Prophet. Your two brothers have his name, but you don't. Because you have the name of another great Prophet whose story is more complicated. Mama will tell you when you are older, InsyaAllah.

When he was about your age now, he had to take care of sheeps. When he was a bit older, he learned to trade and became a businessman. Mama always wonder what he was like during this period of his life, the life before prophethood, because not much is said about it. What his thoughts were when he was tending the sheep, what he thought of his travels. Did he ever cried when he watched other kids with their mothers? Did he play games with other teenagers? How good was his sales skills? We know that he was an honest man. We know that he had some signs of his prophethood. But we know very little of this part of his life.

Do you wonder what he looked like? Well there are some description of the adult him. It was said that he was of a medium stature, he was neither very tall nor very short. He was handsome, of medium built and his hair was neither very curly nor very straight (but was slightly wavy). He had a wheat-coloured complexion. When he walked, he leaned forward slightly*.  And he walked with a fast pace. Mama also read once that he always smile, and his smile would bring peace to one's heart, and when he shake his hand with another person, he would never be the one to let go first. 

Why Allah loves him so much, Adam? Well, to start with, he never told a lie. His only priority is to please Allah and spread Allah's message. He once said that even if his favourite daughter Fatimah steals, he would cut her hand. Do Mama has the heart to cut your hand if you steal? Allah forbids we would ever be faced with that situation. Mama also knows that before he sleeps he would say Allah's name. Then he would wake up in the middle of the night to pray to Him. Some of his companions sometimes followed his night prayer. They said that when they followed the Prophet's (saw) night prayers, they would have to lean themselves onto pillars to support themselves because it was soo long. He would read AlBaqarah, Ali Imran and AnNisa' just in one rakaat. That was how long it was. Not just that, for every sentence that praise Allah, he would say tasbih. For every sentence on blessings, he would ask for priority from Allah. For every sentence on Hellfire, he would ask for Allah's forgiveness.**It was truly the prayer of one whose purpose of living was solely to worship Allah.

Can we ever meet him? In Heaven yes. But to reach him we must follow his footsteps. And the path would never be easy. The path to Heaven is full of hardship. It is the road less traveled. It is not the way of the majority. 

Adam, you are 6 today. Remember this 6 year-old orphan boy. There are a lot more to tell. Not just about him, but also his wives, his loyal companions, his journeys. Mama will tell you more and more about him until he becomes your best friend. Then hopefully you will love him enough to be among his companions at our final destination.

Happy birthday Adam. May you have a blessed life, here and after.


*Reported by Anas Bin Malik (ra)
** Reported by Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra).

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


A goal so far.. yet so close

This is a poem by a young Muslim poet from America, Ammar Al-Shukry. Here is an interview of him by my favourite Virtual Mosque.

When asked how does he encourage others to experiment with and develop their creative talents, he answered:

My advice would be to highlight what makes you special and not what makes you ordinary. I’d always be disappointed when I’d hear a Muslim artist talking along the same lines as the non Muslims, about the same superficial things. It’s the syndrome that everyone is talking about how they want to be different but really acting the same. What makes us special is Islam. When we highlight, it we shine because all we’re doing is reflecting off of its light


Another kinetic typograpic video on the story of Prophet Isa (as)- Al Hayat Al Dunya, narrated by Sheikh Yusuf Estes. A very disturbing one, made me ponder for days...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Egypt Revolution

I can't believe in my lifetime I would witness a great historical event, and I had the urge to record it in this blog. 18 days of mass protests, to bring down an arrogant tyrant. We have been following the Egypt Revolution closely, because we just returned from there, and also because our parents are still there. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to experience Egypt before the revolution, and perhaps in the future I will have the chance to go there again and appreciate the difference.

A lot can be learned from the revolution. It was powered by the youth and the professionals. It was somewhat well organized and peaceful (the protesters were peaceful). They marched together, have volunteers stood guard the entrances of Tahrir Square to prevent protesters from bringing weapons, doctors and nurses stations to care for the wounded, perform solat on the streets, respecting other religions etc. They fully utilized the mosques and the churches to organize movements, despite telephone and internet breakdown.

Photo by Mohamed Abed, Getty Images
In retrospect, the blocking of Facebook, Twitter and later internet has probably served as a catalyst to the revolution despite the regime's opposite intention. People could not just sit and follow from FB or Twitter in the comfort of their own living rooms, they were forced to join in the streets because they could not do otherwise. How magnificent was Allah's plan. He is indeed the Best Planner.

One thing for sure, they stand firm and stand united (am putting this in present tense as it is a du'a). They persevered. I remembered thinking how long they would last. I don't know if it were Malaysian youths how long we would last.

I also remember the feeling of disbelief  after watching Mubarak's last speech. He was addressing the nation as if the people were with him. He was talking as if he was actually pressured from outside, not from his own countrymen. What a deluded tyrant.

love this pic- Source
The revolution is a symbol of unity. It was not led by Ikhwanul Muslimin or other party. I cannot help but put this photo of 2 million Egyptians praying behind one Imam. Simply moving.

Final Friday

Here is a video by a muslimah named Asmaa Mahfouz on January 18 that helped spark the revolution. She was calling people to come to Tahrir Square with her on January 25. It was really inspiring seeing her pledge. She said to the camera, man of Egypt, if you have some dignity and manhood, come with me and protect me. Allah won't change us unless we change ourselves first (Quran, 13:11), that's His promise. It went viral after that.

A personal account here by a young Egyptian dentist who marched with his gynecologist father. How the revolution grew the man in him and demolished his wall of fear.

And here is the faces and profiles of those perished. Doctors, lawyers, university graduates..they were not peasants. They were the country's assets. May Allah bless them for standing for the oppressed.

For you who do not care, take a step back and reflect. It is not too late to read, digest and learn from the revolution. Don't carry the nonchalant attitude as if this does not matter at all. This is a lesson in hope. In human dignity. Do not despair in whatever conditions you are in. Fight your own 'inner Mubarak'. (notice how the meaning of mubarak here has changed to something really opposite to the actual meaning). Fight for our own spiritually oppressed soul. Get up for prayers (on time!). Learn the Quran. Steadfast in guarding our heart and tongue. Teach our children. I read that the word iblis is rooted from the word 'ba-la-sa' which carries the meaning of despair. The Iblis caused you to despair because he is in despair himself. Have hope in Allah's Mercy.

May Allah bless Egypt with a Musa to replace the Pharaoh. And may Allah free Masjidil Aqsa and Baitul Muqaddis. May one day we can travel there safely and pray there, and remember that's the place where our Prophet (saw) was brought to the heavens on the night of Mikraj.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Jejak Nabi Musa (as)- Part 2

Selepas seminggu di Kaherah, kami berpeluang melawat Semenanjung Sinai. Saya kata berpeluang kerana ia tiada dalam perancangan (perancangan belanjawan). Semua ayah Papaboyz tanggung :D. Kalau tidak memang tiada rezeki kami. Semasa merancang aktiviti ke Mesir saya ada mengira-ngira cukupkah kalau melencong ke Tanah Suci? Tapi rupa-rupanya rezeki kami bukan ke Tanah Suci tetapi Lembah Suci. Di manakah Lembah Suci itu?

Tak apa, kita cerita hal siangnya dulu. Dari Kaherah kami melintasi Terusan Suez dan melintas padang pasir untuk ke Taba'.

Gambar diambil dari sini.

Di Taba' kami berdiri di persisiran Teluk Aqabah melihat sempadan Israel dan Jordan. Singgah sekejap sahaja. Tapi sempat juga mendapat 3 pesanan teks dalam telefon bimbit dari syarikat telekomunikasi- 'Welcome to Israel, Welcome to Jordan, Welcome to Saudi Arabia'. Meriah.

Indahnya Teluk Aqabah..

Apa signifikannya Teluk Aqabah?

Kemungkinan Teluk Aqabah adalah tempat Nabi Musa (as) membelah laut untuk menyelamatkan kaumnya dari Firaun. Tiada bukti sahih di mana lokasi sebenar kejadian hebat itu, walaupun ada teori mengatakan di sekitar Nuweiba (lihat peta) kerana penemuan artifak ribuan tahun di dasarnya (wallahualam). Teluk Aqabah juga kemungkinan tempatnya Nabi Musa (as) bertemu Nabi Khidir (as), nabi yang lebih banyak ilmu darinya.

Yang penting, bukan lokasinya, tapi iktibar kejadiannya. Kita selalu mengaitkan kejadian membelah laut itu dengan mukjizat hebat Nabi Musa (as). Tapi ketika berhadapan dengan lautan luas (kemungkinan mati) dengan tentera Firaun di belakang (juga kemungkinan mati), apakah perasaan kaum Nabi Musa (as)? Apakah pula perasaan Nabi Musa (as)? Ia dua perkara yang bertentangan.

Bani Israel         : Sesungguhnya kita akan dapat ditawan!
Nabi Musa (as) : Sekali-kali tidak! Sesungguhnya Tuhanku besertaku, kelak Dia akan memberi petunjuk kepadaku.

(Dialog dari Al-Quran, 26:61-62)

Di kala bertemu jalan buntu, dikelilingi pula aura negatif dari kaumnya, Nabi Musa (as) masih teguh tawakalnya.

Mengenai pertemuan dengan Nabi Khidir (as) pula, sangat banyak hikmahnya. Baca banyak kali pun, setiap kali tentu akan terjumpa hikmah yang baru. Tetapi ia kisah yang menunjukkan macammana tinggi kita belajar pun, berapa banyak ilmu yang kita ada pun, ada orang lain yang lebih pandai dari kita, dan kita tak akan bersabar dengan sesuatu yang tidak kita ketahui.

Saat mereka didalam perahu yang ditumpangi, datanglah seekor burung lalu hinggap di hujung perahu itu. Burung itu meneguk air dengan paruhnya, lalu Nabi Khidir berkata, “Ilmuku dan ilmumu jika berbanding dengan ilmu Allah, adalah seperti air yang diteguk burung itu dari lautan yang luas ini." (Sahih Bukhari)

Dan, ilmuku dan ilmu-mu, tidak setitik pun dari ilmu kedua-dua manusia hebat itu.

p/s- Lembah Suci dalam Part 3 ok..

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bebelan hari ini

Saya baca di website Ustaz Zaharuddin (UZAR) yang dia baru bertemu dengan Sheikh Yusuf Qardawi. Kemudian dengan semangat berkobar-kobar UZAR menulis artikel yang menarik dan penting ini. 

Kalau kita nak ilmuwan Islam kita dipandang tinggi, yang jadi ustaz/ustazah itu mesti dari golongan cream of the cream. Bukan sisa-sisa pelajar yang tak dapat masuk sekolah asrama penuh atau MRSM. Bukan budak malas yang tak suka pergi kelas.

Sebenarnya kan, semasa saya pergi ke Mesir, saya terperanjat adanya kempen pergi ke kuliah yang dirasmikan oleh ayah mertua saya. Saya nampak posternya. Sepanjang saya di sekolah dan di universiti tak pernah saya jumpa kempen macam ini. Semua orang tahu siapa tak pergi kelas rugi. Ini berat untuk saya tulis, tapi nampaknya pelajar agama kita di Mesir suka ponteng kelas (nak guna ayat apa yg lebih sesuai?). Saya tak pasti apa sebabnya. Tapi kalau baca artikel UZAR itu, nampaknya sistem pembelajaran di Mesir tidak tersusun. Mungkin perlu inisiatif kuat dari pelajar sendiri. Siapa nak pergi, pergi. Siapa taknak tiada paksaan. Mungkin professor2 mereka tak berapa pandai bersyarah. Tak tahulah. Tapi ada juga yang rajin. Setiap pagi lepas subuh ayah mertua saya hantar sekumpulan pelajar perempuan belajar talaqqi.

Mengenai pelajar terbaik Malaysia masuk jurusan agama ini, sebenarnya saya pun bersalah jugak. Masa Nik Nur Madihah kata dia nak melanjutkan pelajaran ke Jordan, hati saya bercakap sendiri, ya Allah ruginya, kenapa tak pergi UK atau US? Masa sekolah dulu pun, masa kelas agama Islam tak bagi perhatian sangat seperti masa kelas biologi atau fizik. Ini mindset saya. Patutlah Rasulullah (saw) cakap ilmu ini akan hilang walaupun kita ajarkan Al-Quran pada setiap generasi. Sebab yang memegangnya bukanlah orang yang paling cerdik dan bukan orang paling dahaga ilmu.

Satu perkara yang berkaitan. Melalui beberapa insiden, saya juga baru tersedar yang memang majoriti orang tak suka baca buku. Saya geram. Selama ini saya suka menganggap yang persepsi ini sebenarnya salah, tetapi saya semakin merasakan yang ia betul. Sekiranya anda tak suka baca buku, cuba tanamkan ini dalam diri anak-anak anda. Ia sukar. Tapi ia berbaloi. Sila mulakannya semasa dia masih bayi. Jangan tunggu dia bercakap baru nak sorong buku. Biar buku koyak, boleh ganti lain.

eh..sorry yer, membebel pulak hari ni.

Tapi hari ini saya nak bersetuju dengan UZAR.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Jejak Nabi Musa (as)

Sesiapa yang melawat Mesir tentunya mahu menyaksikan sendiri jejak-jejak Nabi Musa (as). Nabi Yusuf (as) juga di Mesir, malah menjadi pembesar lagi, tetapi tiada pula kesan peninggalannya. Apabila sudah kembali ke Manchester baru saya terfikir, kenapa tiada siapa yang menunjukkan kami tinggalan Nabi Yusuf (as) yang sangat hensem itu. Semasa di sana tidak terdetik pun untuk bertanya.

Mengimbas kembali perjalanan hidup Nabi Musa (as) secara ringkas- dilahirkan dalam bangsa bani Israel yang tertindas, dihanyutkan di Sungai Nil ketika masih bayi, dibesarkan di istana Firaun oleh isterinya yang ahli syurga, Permaisuri Asiah, kemudian melarikan diri ke Madyan setelah tidak sengaja membunuh seorang pengikut Firaun, tinggal 8 tahun di Madyan bersama seorang yang alim (dikatakan Nabi Shuib Alaihissalam) yang menjadi bapa mertuanya, kembali ke Mesir bersama isterinya, diberikan kerasulan di Lembah Tuwa, Sinai, berdakwah kepada Firaun bersama abangnya Nabi Harun (as), Mesir ditimpa bala Allah, melarikan diri bersama bani Israel dan membelah Laut Merah, bermunajat di Gunung Tursina dan menerima Kitab Taurat, kembali kepada kaumnya tetapi diuji hebat dengan kekufuran mereka, akhirnya wafat di Baitul Muqaddis (sebelum wafat sempat pula membutakan mata Malaikat Izrail).

Khabar terbaru Nabi Musa (as) yang kita ketahui ialah ketika Nabi Muhammad (saw) dibawa ke langit pada malam Isra' Mi'raj dan bertemu dengan Nabi Musa (as) di langit keenam. Kita terhutang budi dengan Nabi Musa (as) kerana kalau Nabi Musa (as) tidak menasihati Nabi Muhammad (saw) tentang jumlah solat fardhu dalam sehari, entah berapa banyak dosa kita tak mampu solat 50 kali sehari (lebih kerap dari setiap setengah jam, termasuk waktu tidur!). Dalam 2 jam tengok filem kena berhenti 4 kali untuk solat, kalau tengok perlawanan bola, 3 kali...Hmmm... .kesimpulannya Allah sebenarnya nak kita sentiasa dalam keadaan seperti bersolat, sentiasa ingatkan Dia. Kalau kita kena sembahyang 50 kali sehari, bermakna pakaian kita mesti sentiasa bersih dan cover habis supaya takdelah buang masa bukak pakai telekung bagai. Solat pun tentu kita akan lakukan dimana-mana contoh tepi meja ofis sebab satu hal pulak nak ke surau setiap setengah jam. Begitulah expectation Allah pada kita sebenarnya.

Begitulah besarnya jasa Nabi Musa (as) kepada kita umat Nabi Muhammad (saw).

Kalau saya baca kisah nabi, mesti saya tertanya-tanya macam mana agaknya nabi tersebut in person. Ini tabiat sejak kecil, itu sebab saya bila baca buku lambat habis sebab lebih banyak berangan. Nabi Musa (as) melalui yang saya baca, seorang yang berani dan tegas, kuat fizikal. Cerita-cerita baginda lebih banyak berkisar tentang sifat-sifat baginda yang ini. [Berbanding dengan Nabi Muhammad (saw) yang suka senyum, amanah, semua orang dilayan seperti sahabat terbaik, penyayang kepada anak yatim dan orang miskin etc.].

Contohnya, baginda berani mempertahan pemuda kaumnya hinggakan terbunuh pengikut Firaun. Kemudian berani berhujah dengan Firaun walaupun baginda mengalami masalah pertuturan (kerana termakan bara api ketika masih bayi-hal ini diejek oleh Firaun seperti dalam ayat Quran 43:52). Kemudian berani meminta untuk melihat Allah di Gunung Tursina. Kemudian apabila marah dengan kejadian lembu Samiri, baginda hinggakan menarik janggut dan rambut abangnya Nabi Harun (as) -20:94. Apabila Malaikat Izrail datang kepada baginda ditamparnya pula Malaikat Izrail hingga buta sebelah matanya. Kemudian berani pula memberi nasihat tanpa diminta kepada Nabi Muhammad (saw) semasa Isra' Mi'raj dengan cadangan yang berisiko tinggi juga. Memang jika hendak menentang firaun zaman moden ini seperti Hosni Mubarak, kenalah berbekalkan keberanian seperti Nabi Musa (as) juga.

Ehh..panjang pulak saya melalut yer..berbalik kepada jejak baginda yang ditinggalkan di Mesir.

Hari itu saya dah tunjuk gambar Sungai Nil. Memang besar yang amat sangat. Tak boleh bayang perasaan ibu kepada Nabi Musa (as) yang terpaksa menghanyutkan bayi kecilnya di situ. Tapi Allah Maha Kaya, ibu Nabi Musa (as) akhirnya ditugaskan untuk menyusukan bayi angkat permaisuri Firaun itu, bayinya sendiri.

Kali ini saya nak tunjuk gambar piramid pula. Piramid ni besar gilerr bak kata orang muda, satu unit batu yang digunakan untuk membinanya pun setinggi bahu saya.

Perhatikan skala manusia berbanding piramid

Kami sekeluarga yang di tengah-tengah tu (Papaboyz baju kuning)

Bila difikirkan, ini baru kubur-kubur si Firaun dan keluarga mereka. Bagaimana pula dengan istananya, balairong serinya, pejabat menteri-menteri dan pegawai-pegawai kerajaannya? Tentunya lebih besar dari apa-apa bangunan yang kita ada sekarang.

Selain itu, binaan piramid ini tepat ukurannya hingga beza setiap sisi tapak piramid itu sekadar beberapa milimeter sahaja, dengan  setiap sisi tapaknya menunjuk ke arah utara, selatan, timur dan barat.

Abid dan Sphinx

Pak Arab peniaga di kompleks Giza (suka gambar ni)
Suka gambar ni jugak, pandai laki I amik kan..

Nanti sambung ok...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Today last year...

.... I received a phone call from an emergency physician in Leeds General Infirmary. He told me my younger brother was in grave danger, both his kidneys failed, his blood pressure shot up and his blood potassium nearly made his heart stopped. The rest was history.

Today I'm happy to tell all of you that his recent PET scan 5 months after his last chemotherapy has not detected any sign of tumor. :D. All praises to Allah Almighty.

Ayim cycling

Outing with dearest niece, Ainaa Arissa
Allah can take any of His blessings in a flash. When it happens, it will knock you to the ground and you will be down on your knees, sobbing and begging. But it is what your soul really needs. A reminder that we are all His mere servants.

The recent developments in Egypt, I hope, will not force our 11 thousand students to stop their studies there. Suddenly their future is uncertain. Suddenly Allah takes away this luxury.

Narrated Ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time for doing good.” [The Book of Ar-Riqaq: Sahih Bukhari].

Since this is the time when mandarin oranges are in abundance, please make maximum use of it to boost your immunity :D . When you are holding the orange in your hands, say Alhamdulillah for this little pleasure of having a choice to kill your cancer cells now before they manifest themselves.