To the Northwest, where I belong.

Episode 00.

Makkah & Madinah — two names that are not foreign to Muslims. The blessed lands that many long to visit. They have always been in my prayers ever since I had learned more about Islam. But one day, a heart was broken, a soul was lost, but a door was suddenly opened. It was as though Allah was telling me that this has been your hindrance to getting your dua’ from being accepted. “Now that you’ve let it go, I am giving you the wish you’ve been meaning to get,” as though Allah was saying that to me. Thinking good of Allah never disappoints the believing slave. Everything that has been decreed is and will always be good for the believer.

Right until then, I had a few countries in mind to travel; Indonesia, Australia, Japan. It was like an obligation for every men who served the nation to take that break from the mundane lifestyle we’ve built over the course of two years. We simply needed the break.

But one day the thought passed by — why not Makkah and Madinah?

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So I decided to enquire.

A month before I was released, my teacher had sent me a message, “UMRAH TRIP 2017.” It was a long and detailed message, but by the end of it, I had pushed it aside, away from my mind, away from my heart. Not now perhaps. the inner voice said. But, we don’t know of the future. Circumstances change us, it redirects our attention and motivation. It makes us react and respond accordingly to the events happening around us.

My heart was left broken.  It had always been for a long while. But one day came the penultimate moment. The ties we’ve made were cut, and it was deep. It shattered my hopes, and ambitions to live a good life. It affected me badly. For days I was left in daze, but slowly it made me realise how futile it had been all these years.

A friend once said,

“as with the seasons, people change too.”

That was profound, I thought. Because I was made to believe that people in your life would still be the same person even though you’ve not met him/her for the longest time possible. I became deluded by this belief.  Sometimes, the waiting is the one that gives us the pain, but in waiting there is wisdom Allah has put behind it. You may wait for a person for the longest time but you end up not being with him or her. That wait has caused you so much pain, so much weight for you to carry forward in life, but remember, with this pain, you turn yourself to Allah and complain of your ignorance, your incompetence to worship Him properly. I’m not saying you should follow this path of waiting, but learn from me — never wait, never hope from human beings. The second type of waiting, is the one you should do, and that is to patiently wait for Allah’s help. You do so by worshipping Him alone without any partners being associated to Him, follow His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and at the same time learn how to find the right one for you. What’s the underlying factor behind all this? Knowledge. Seek knowledge of the religion, understand what Allah loves and what Allah hates. Understand the purpose of your existence. We are made to know Him. That’s our primary reason for existence. What loses us is the fact that we have been made to learn about love the wrong way. You may say love is something that is subjective, but hey, for once, shouldn’t we look at love and life from God’s perspective? How does He define love? How do we love? What is love? The fundamental questions we need to ask ourselves time and time again.

Anyway, as with bad experiences in life, we learn from it. So what did I do with my broken heart?

I decided to complain it to Allah, and I did so by going for the ‘Umrah trip. I was extremely fortunate that when I enquired about it, there was only a seat left in the group. That day I learnt how fortunate I am to know that this was a blessing in disguise after all. The whisper in my heart that told me about the ‘Umrah trip again made all the difference, and like what Robert Frost says in his famous lines of poetry, The Road Not Taken,

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I decided to take the road less travelled, and that has made all the difference.

 

Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal…

 

To be continued, If Allah Wills…

 

 

Homecoming

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About time I write about my time in Makkah and Madinah. Plus Taif and other beautiful places. I will write about my journey to the blessed lands. It’s homecoming.

By the bay

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Despite it being a small country, I love Singapore and the scenery it has to offer. But, I won’t let it disenchant me to the point where I will only see Singapore as the only country that has all the splendour and beauty of the Earth. I still have a lot of countries that I’d like to explore. Indonesia is beautiful. There are many things that surprised me, like the cold temperatures, the waterfalls, and best of all, the mountains. Yeah, I love Indonesia.

Kinda sad that it’s scaled down. I lost a memory of it due to my phone going into dysfunction. That’s why I’m back with Iphone. (heh Apple fanboy perhaps?)

This was one of the mountains. We were at Mount Ijen to experience the blue light volcano. I couldn’t really see the blue light because as we were getting to the bottom of the volcano the smokes and ashes were coming up and even with the help and assistance of the gas mask I was struggling for breath. But nevertheless, it was breathtaking, considering I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the Milky Way with my naked eyes. Alhamdulillah.

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Madakaripura Falls, just a few kilometres away from Mount Bromo. I was dumbstruck (is there such a word?) when I saw the beauty of nature. I remember I kept telling myself and perhaps Irfan that I’d never even think that such places exist in Asia! I am missing travelling.

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Makes you wonder, Subhan’Allah, if this is paradise on Earth, then what about the eternal abode of Paradise? Jannahtul Firdaus. May Allah grant us all Jannahtul Firdaus!

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The secret shore. This was an isolated beach. We had to ride our way through the jungle, and then walk down conscientiously to the beach….only to enjoy a…meh kind of beach you can get in Singapore. But, eventually we rested there and took naps. A lot of the photos were in my old phone….I should have written more about my travel experiences.

I’m regretting it more and more now.

 

I write today to remove the boredom that is killing me every day. But as I write this away, I find satisfaction, a contentment writing about my experiences. It really does distract me away from life’s trivialities. Alhamdulillah. No one might be reading this, except those Allah has Willed to visit my site and read them, but I’m going to keep writing no matter what now. You need to write just as you need to breathe, I remember telling myself that. More reading needs to be done though. I’m thinking of diving into Paul Theroux’s world. I love his titles and I can’t wait to hopefully get my hands on them. Hopefully, hopefully.

To more adventures ahead, Insya’Allah!

Bismillah.

Heart break.

My heart’s in pain, and it’s been like this for the past few days, or even weeks. It’s not the aching one experiences when one is heartbroken; that, is a different story in and of itself. But I haven’t been able to breathe properly, and I’ve been releasing deep, heavy breaths. My right nostril is always clogged up, and my heavy breathings always annoys my family members, those who sit and stood by me long enough to take notice of this phenomenon.

I have bought my attire for exercise. I decided to grab another ball from Decathlon to keep my feet in shape. I am craving to play football, yearning to run again. I have brought my running shoes with me from my home. All that’s left is the empty slot in the day to have a good workout to keep my heart in shape. It’s made me wonder, what if, I die in my sleep, once my heart decides to take a break? Allah protect me from a bad death, but my friend’s colleague passed away in his sleep. A few weeks before his passing, he was running all around the futsal pitch, playing ball with us. To my observation, he was extremely fit; people spoke well of him, especially of his fitness. He would make running his routine. And to hear that sudden news was shocking. It could happen to me too. I don’t know if I’m prepared to meet Allah yet. I have a lot that needs rectification.

If He grants us another day, I hope He moves our heart to live a life of Alhamdulillah not just for the next day, but for the rest of our life until we meet Him. Aameen.

Make it a point

I’m making it a point, that no matter what, I will at least write something here, if not everyday, then every other day. It’s important that I keep this exercise. I need to refine my mind, my thoughts, mend it in the right direction every second. Thoughts must develop and I cannot waste any more time. My heart is aching, and I can feel it. It’s reminding me of my youth, how I felt the heartburn when running. I remember touching my chest, my right palm on top of the left part of the chest, and slowly jogging, just to ensure I wouldn’t drop dead anytime. It’s a precious reminder, and tonight I am reminded.

Allah forgive us all for wasting a precious life.

The people who look down on you.

They are usually those who can’t seem to achieve their dreams, so they decide to bring you down instead so as to make themselves feel good. These kind of people deserve nothing of your attention. They are simply called haters.

But of course, there are many more traits in the kinds of people who always seem to find an opportunity to bring you down. I’ve had my fair share, and from my experiences they have a common trait. Usually they’d use sarcasm, to make you feel worthless, incapable of achieving your dreams. Not only in words, but sometimes, subtly, in the facial expressions they portray. But usually the ones who give these smirks are those who doubt you can do it. The best revenge is simply to keep quiet and do your work, that work of a success you’ve been desiring.

I went for a job interview a few months back. It was near to my place, but far from the city.. It’s located in the industrial areas of Singapore – The West area. I have to admit, the moment I stepped out from the bus, I knew this job wasn’t for me. I was quite disturbed actually, knowing that one has to work in such places, well for me at least. I like things colourful, or at least a place that brings a good vibe around you. I’ve always hated industrial parks. I don’t feel I belong there anyway. But, because I needed a job, I decided to just, try you know?

The interview was a disaster. I couldn’t explain to them about myself, and I struggled throughout my interview. But one moment stick with me until now, and that was the moment they asked me what I wanted to become.

“A writer,” I said, giving it as a second answer. I forgot my other answer.

I could feel it. I could read from her face. She’s doubting my ability to become one.

But I could be assuming. But that day I brought back with me that scene, the scene of doubt that’s been playing my mind until today. It’s been months ever since the interview, and the fact that I’m writing about this tells a lot about how it has impacted me.

I know it’s a hard thing to become a writer, but that aside, there is a lesson in this. For far too many times, perhaps in our daily conversations with people, there will always be people who will doubt your abilities. But the truth is, they are not us; we are not them. They are not with us for the rest of our lives, they won’t be with you every minute of your life. The mistake that we make is that we’ve made their words into a belief, a belief that dictates us that we cannot be what we really want to be. And in this lies a great fallacy that we must abandon and destroy completely. You should never let anybody tell you that you cannot do the things you want to do. This is your life – you have the power to control it. You are responsible for the way you live and the way you decide things. No doubt when we were younger our parents would choose for us what’s best and what’s not. That is fine, but what if we help our child instead to learn to choose for themselves? Wouldn’t that be better? Giving them a sense of control for their own lives?

If you ever experience such people in your life, always remember, that the best revenge is simply working hard in silence for the dreams you want to live. There are many moments in my life which have stick with me throughout time. And unfortunately, these words of pessimism are the ones that are shaping me out without me realising it. There are many beliefs that I must destroy, and I always find it helpful when I take the time out to dismantle all my beliefs and question them, going into the details, finding the solution, and deleting the stupid beliefs away slowly, but most surely permanently from my life.

Before I end this, I recall a scene in The Pursuit of Happyness.

  And this…

 Emancipate yourself from mental slavery – Bob Marley

Seeing life through eeman.

Sometimes we fall and we fail. But as for your faith, it is fragile. Take care and be aware of the emotions that are eating you up minute by minute, day by day. If it’s sadness you’re feeling, ask yourself why you are feeling sad. Sometimes we fail to realize that we are overdoing our sorrows, and it will eat you up. You’ll waste your days away and I don’t want that to happen to you. If it’s anger, then understand your anger, the cause and effect of it. Understanding our emotions helps a lot in making you a better person. Understanding yourself is key to navigating life’s challenges.

Before you solve the world’s problems, solve your eeman. We see life better, and I promise you this, when life is seen through Allah’s perspective; what does He want from me? Why must we follow the Messenger (Peace be upon him) ? How do we follow him (peace be upon him?

How did he deal with emotions? What was his reliance like upon Allah? Peace be upon him

As I write this, I am trying to decipher the ethics of life, the belief system that each one of us hold on to. The more I learn about Allah the more I understand of life’s hardships, how it really shapes one into becoming a better human being.

There are going to be moments where you’ll inevitably be hurt,  But that is measured. How do you want you life to turn out? Pondering on our existence and the power of choice we have,  I am left dumbfounded sometimes by the fact that we have so much power in our hands…not only to change the world, but to change ourselves.

Today, and I’ve learnt that time and health is our most precious commodity. I’ll never forget the people who look down on me, whether it be through their body language, the smirks, and the words that penetrated deep inside my heart, only to leave me dying, spiritually, mentally, emotionally….

but that calls for another post someday. I know what to write next.

 

The burden that we cannot bear.

As with all things in life, the initial phase is always difficult. New school, new environment, new people, new knowledge; at first you feel out of place because the territory you’ve barged in is unknown to you. A barren land awaits you ahead.  We get all pumped up moving forward, but we always forget that life needs to be lived steadily. We need the balance, or else, well, we’ll be imbalanced. We tire ourselves, burning all the energy we have only at this initial phase of the journey we’re embarking in. I know for a fact, that the moment I’m feeling the burnout, I’m not living life as it should be. I’m not doing the balanced act that each and every one of us is supposed to do. I’m pushing myself too hard perhaps, that I forgot to take breaks in between the actions throughout the day.

Rest. Rest for a while. Recharge. I am happy that I am able to raise my hands and plead to Him of life’s troubles, how incapable I am of living a life of righteousness, in obedience to Him alone. But we all try. We all try our best to obey His commands and stay far away from His prohibitions. The peace and tranquility settled in when I walked to the Masjid tonight for the Isya’ prayer. I am reminded how grateful I should be that He has chosen me to be one of the attendees to perform the prayer together with other believers. It definitely lifted my burden that I was facing.

I have been out of shape physically for the longest time ever, and it’s damaging me. It’s not nice to be unhealthy. Knowing the person I am, I treasure sports, health and fitness, but an overdose of life’s distractions has hit me rock bottom. I’m learning to stand up and walk again, into the path of wellness. Sometimes we throw away life’s treasures, like health and free time, only to rue these losses at a later age in life.

Life’s peeling away. I’m slowly peeling away from a loss that’s occured for ages. It’s time I gain some profit again, and I begin so by writing away my thoughts. I need to declutter them, and then let these thoughts be back in order again.

There is a verse in the Qur’an that we’ve come across many times.

{Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…} Surah Al-Baqarah : 286

 

Sometimes it makes me think, “Alright, I know Allah won’t burden me with what I’m not capable of…”

But then again, what’s my capacity?

Because of this, it’s made me push myself beyond the imaginary lines I have created around me, that is, the comfort zone. How much will we push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to grow forward? And perhaps, upwards?

As I’m closing this post, again, I am thankful that I am given a chance to reflect and write down my thoughts. I am, or we all need to constantly rectify our affairs, maybe just take a moment to sit down and dump all our thoughts on paper, be it digital or analog. Declutter. Please declutter. It will give you more clarity into the lenses you are using to see the world.

 

 

The end.

Nothing gets me more than the emotional rollercoaster I am experiencing. I know the reason why this is happening, and I have no one to blame except myself. We have the greatest power, and that is the power of choice. We have the ability to choose how we feel, how we decide, how, how, and more how. But the challenge is how well we can handle the ride our emotions are experiencing. It takes practise and patience. If you are sad, there must be a reason why you are sad. Find out why and you’ll be on an endless walk into the woods, finding every bit of solution there is available in order to cure or at least alleviate the sadness. If you’re angry, understand what made you angry. Often times, the reason why we’re angry is because 1) people use harsh words on us and they amplify their voice to make a point that we, well, are somehow stupid and wrong in their eyes. Nobody ever got smarter by condescendingly calling another person stupid, and all its friends, words that are associated with it. Like worthless, incompetent, idiot, failure. I will say this again and again — words matter. Words matter like how choosing our soulmate matters to us. This I must reiterate time and time again so that each and every one who reads this knows and understands that how you use it has an impact to the person receiving.

Tomorrow’s a big day for my close friend, someone who’s gone through the journey of finding one’s purpose in life and finding God for the past few years. I’m in euphoria, knowing that he will finally be tying the knot, a sacred vow that will remain until death reaches them. I don’t favour writing about love, because I have never had one. A blessing in disguise, but I won’t deny that I have fallen in love before. To be in love with another, what does it mean? Why does it bother me so much? For far too long I have made myself believe that I have understood the true concept of love. Love. I have acquired a false perception of it. And I’m slowly dismantling every single belief that I have about love, and hopefully, get to learn it the right way again.

But how do you know there’s a right way to love somebody?

I will go back to the two authentic sources. The Qur’an and the Sunnah. It’s high time I end a delusion that’s kept me from moving forward. It’s time I end all this. It’s time I unlearn all my beliefs about love and learn them again. I will seek every corner of this Earth I can, go to the learned men, the elders, the wise, the sage, but most importantly, I will have to go back to myself and keep asking the vital question: Have I really understood what love means?

Even if it takes a lifetime to learn and understand the true meaning of love,  I will try my best in this journey to embrace the moments and appreciate them. One day I would want to tell my children, if ever I’m granted a family, that your dad sought out the true meaning of love, and he found it by loving the One who created Him. And in the journey, he found your mother too, doing the same, and they got together.

For now, I must enjoy the time being alone. Beng alone is not bad. I still have a long way to go in fixing my belief system, how I see life, and how I handle it. I still have ambitions I would want to achieve, moments I would like to cherish and accomplish. I still have my personality to develop, characters to build, emotions to master, languages to learn, memories to etch in my heart.

He is able to do all things.

Goodbye to a past that has kept me old and pale, in thoughts and in health.

Eid is right for me to write a post tonight

Eid Mubarak to everyone. may Allah accept it from me and you. I regret now, the fact that I had intended to write a 30 days reminder here, but I changed my mind and wrote the first three remiders of Ramadan and left the last 3 days empty. I am learning that writing down thoughts is important for one’s reflection on life, the need to understand our purpose, our existence. It’s nearing the 3rd day of Syawal now. Syawal is okay.

There are things that bother me, and while everybody’s asleep, except for my younger sissy who’s still awake at this timing socializing online, I can’t help but to let out my frustrations here, how words hurt a soul and it can spoil your mood for the rest of your life. God forbid for the rest of my life, but it lingers on to become a lesson, and I’ve been trying to solve this quandary.

We have to acknowledge the fact that we are not our parents. While we may grow up emulating their traits, behaviors, I personally believe we have the power to choose how we’d want to behave. If you have elders who are harsh to you especially through words, take it as a lesson in practise, a practise in patience. Understand why they use words that are inappropriate to you, understand why it hurts you, understand their backstory, and how it ends them up becoming enraged even on the little things that are trivial in nature. Words matter.

People have used words on me that degrade me, they put down on me, and as a result scarred my self confidence. It hurts. People have taken advantage of me in the past, but too much of stepping on the head has made me realized why am I so powerless when it comes to things like this? But I begin to try and rationalize their actions upon me and I took the great initiative to learn these behaviors. It’s unhealthy. There are a lot of things that hurt us. Being emotionally hurt is worse than being physically hurt. Because physical hurt happens once in a while, but emotional hurt? Almost everytime if you don’t know how to take care of your mind, your soul, your heart.

But there is wisdom in the hurt. Because of this, I gained a strong interest in the field of psychology. And hopefully one day I get to become one, owning an office to my own and have my clients express their life’s struggles to me. I love to listen more than I speak. I try my best to observe silence at all times. I like to learn from their stories so that I may reflect on my own life.

Perhaps this is just a normal rambling. I haven’t written in ages. I’m seeing patterns wherever I go. I’m observing the world around me, but at the same time I’m observing my thoughts too. I cannot let every thought shape the way I see the world. We have to learn how to filter our thoughts just as we filter the things we see online and everywhere in life.

What has my story been like. I don’t know. I am writing, I am writing…