Weekly reflections

The words of the pious, whether they say them directly or indirectly to you, have a great impact on your heart. Today I will remember the days back in 2014, how, entering into the train cabin one day and thinking, “A life of seeking knowledge now or just lead the normal life like others.” I was in Imam An-Nawawi mode; I had told myself why not you just become studious for the next few years and become knowledgeable about the deen. Or in other words, know how to worship Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. And only Allah knows best how much I have sailed away from the lands of seeking knowledge studiously. I miss those days. I really do. Only Allah knows my intention back then. I should have listened to brother Zakariah, but as with being a youth, I was young and indecisive.  Not to say I’m not seeking knowledge now, but there is only a class I can attend now, and I’m extremely thankful for that  because ustadh Hafiizh is the best teacher I have had so far – Excellent manners (no exaggeration, people, young and old love him and a student of hadith). Ah, the people of hadith. I have special reservations for them. The first to pop up in my mind is Sheikh Al-Albani Rahimahullah, how his life has inspired me whenever I think of him. The legacy he’s left behind. Allah have mercy on him. Not forgetting the early scholars, they’re great too, but maybe I haven’t learned so much about their life yet for me to admire their spirit of seeking knowledge. Except for Imam Ash-Shafiee. Exceptional scholar. Every time I listen to Sheikh Moutasem Al Hameedy’s lecture on the life of Imam Ash-Shafiee, I’m just blown away.

But why do I mention all this?

Because in the pursuit of knowledge only do I find this extreme contentment that I cannot explain. That elation when I hear and listen to the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the speech of Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal – a privilege only Allah gives to whom He wishes to give.

 

Dear Allah, as I write this, allow me and those who read this to seek knowledge to remove the ignorance in our minds and hearts so that we can worship you correctly and sincerely. Do not leave us to ourselves even for a blinking of an eye, and do not let our hopes attach to your creation. Forgive us and make us your people, the people of Qur’an. Grant us steadfastness to learn about the Qur’an and Sunnah just as how You’ve made it clear to understand them and make us knowledgeable in your Deen Ya Rabb.

 

Aameen.

 

May Allah grant us the true understanding of love. Aameen.

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Cinta dan Hidup

Dalam memahami erti hidup, aku sedar bahawa apa yang aku harapkan tidak akan dapat kugenggaminya. Yang aku harapkan dalam bentuk cinta daripada manusia tidak akan dikembalikan kepadaku. Aku redha akan perkara ini. Tetapi aku sedar, bahawa meletakkan pengharapan kepada Sang Pencipta, Allah yang Maha Mulia memberikan ketenangan kepada jiwaku. Aku sedar, dan aku faham, bahawa apa yang tidak diberikanku di dunia, hanya aku harapkan akan diberikan di akhirat kelak. Allah Maha Menyantuni, dan dia sangat memahami hamba-hambaNya lebih dari kita memahami diri kita sendiri. Dan inilah yang selalu membuat aku yakin bahawa mencintai Allah yang telah menciptakan diriku ini lebih bermakna dan lebih bermanfaat daripada mencari cinta daripada manusia.

Cinta, kalau disalah tafsirkan, akan memberi erti hidup yang kurang bermakna, dan aku akui, bahwa kita tak terlepas daripada memberi tafsiran yang kurang mendalami jiwa. Pengalaman hidup memberi kita peluang untuk mengupas erti kata cinta ini, dengan bergaul dengan masyarakat, mendalami ilmu dengan mendekatkan diri kepada orang-orang alim dan soleh, mendekatkan diri kepada kedua orang tua, dan menyayangi anak-anak kecil, memberikan belas kasihan atas kemurnian mereka. Ramai juga orang mengembara ke luar negara, dari benua ke benua, dalam pengharapan satu hari kelak akan dijumpainya erti cinta yang sebenar.

Kesimpulannya, jika engkau yakin akan ganjaran yang akan diberikan Allah di akhirat kelak, aku pasti hati engkau akan tenang, kerana engkau tahu yang memberikan ganjaran itu bukan manusia, tetapi Sang Pencipta, Allah! Dialah yang telah menciptakanmu, Dialah yang telah memberimu rezeki untuk hidup, dan Dialah yang telah memberimu segumpal daging yang sangat mahal, yaitu jantung untuk terus bernafas dan jalankan hidup, beribadah hanya kepadaNya sahaja.

Ya Allah, berikanlah aku dan orang-orang yang membaca curahan hatiku ini ketenangan akal dan jiwa. Berikanlah mereka hidayah untuk terus mengupas erti hidup yang sebenar dengan mencariMu. Berikanlah apa yang mereka inginkan, jika tak di dunia, berikanlah yang terbaik bagi mereka di akhirat kelak, dan berikanlah mereka Syurga tanpa hisab. Aameen.

 

Sekian, curahan hati dalam bahasa melayu.

 

Weekly reflections

I was searching for a photo to capture my emotions now, but then as I scrolled down my google photos, I saw a lot of my thoughts, tidbit thoughts about life I had jotted down on my old phone. I’m learning to live life without the things I’ve attached to throughout my entire existence: football, for one.

What if watching football is not a part of my life?

What if I detach myself from my favourite football team, who had just lost 5-0 to Manchester blue? (it sounds cheesier saying blue rather than city lol)

What if I detach myself from people and things?

Will I be okay?

Will I die from this detachment?

Because too many times when we’ve attached ourselves to things and people, our emotions flare up, and down and, up…

It has come to my realisation then, that life happens when you attach yourself to the right things.

Attachment. A matter of the heart.

 

 

{Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.} [6:162]

 

Learn about who Allah is, and you’ll find peace in your heart. If you have been given the hidayah to learn about Allah, then that is the biggest blessing you can ever ask for in life.

All praise and thanks are for Allah alone, Lord of Worlds…

 

Episode 02: The 8-hour plane ride to Saudi Arabia

The plane ride was something else. Saudi Airlines was, by my definition, Mumtaz. I’ve never felt so privileged before, taking a plane even though my seat was under economy class, and placed at the back of the airplane. Before take off, they reminded us of the dua’ when travelling,

اللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، اللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، اللهُ أَكْبَرُ سُبْحَانَ الَّذِيْ سَخَّرَ لَناَ هَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقرِنِيْنَ وإِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّناَ لمُنْقَلِبُوْنَ ، اَلَّلهُمَّ إنَّا نَسْألُكَ فِيْ سَفَرِناَ هَذَا البِرَّ وَالتَّقْوَى ومِنَ العَمَلِ ماَ تَرْضَى اَلَّلهُمَّ هَوِّنْ عَلَيْناَ سَفَرَناَ هَذَا وَاطْوِ عَنَّا بُعْدَهُ. الَلَّهُمَّ أَنتَ الصَّاحِبُ فِيْ السَّفَرِ والخَلِيفَةُ في الأَهْلِ الّلهُمَّ إنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ وَعْثاءِ السَّفَرِ وكَآبَةِ المَنْظَرِ وسُوْءِ المُنْقَلَبِ في المَالِ والأَهْلِ .

Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, How perfect He is, The One Who has placed this (transport) at our service, and we ourselves would not have been capable of that, and to our Lord is our final destiny. O Allah, we ask You for birr and taqwaa in this journey of ours, and we ask You for deeds which please You. O Allah, facilitate our journey and let us cover its distance quickly. O Allah, You are The Companion on the journey and The Successor over the family, O Allah, I take refuge with You from the difficulties of travel, from having a change of hearts and being in a bad predicament, and I take refuge in You from an ill fated outcome with wealth and family.

 

and I thought that is a great way to remind us of who we should rely upon in everything we do, including travelling.  There is musolla in Saudi Airlines, something which I was told is the only airline that provides that. But I think Emirates or any of the middle east airlines do provide it too. I’m just assuming. The conundrum that every pilgrims faced then was, which way was the Qiblah?

Our ustadh told us that when you pray in the plane, just follow the plane’s direction of the destination the pilot’s heading to, which was to Makkah. Come prayer time I confirmed with him again just to ensure that I was doing it right, but even if there wasn’t any musolla, you can still pray sitting without the need to follow the Qiblah. There was a pilgrim who was not satisfied with the fact that we should just follow the direction where the plane was headed to, but my ustadh was calm in dealing with the man. He reasoned through his understanding and after a while the man calmed down and the exchange of knowledge continued while I went on and pray.

The meal times was surprisingly good; I will attest to the fact that the briyani they served on board is much better than any briyani I’ve tasted on land in Singapore! So next time if you want a good briyani, take a trip to the North West and you’ll be served with a good plate of briyani 🙂

Anyway, I love the fact how the small screen in front of us are filled with many educational videos to watch. There were a few apps of the Qur’an, and that is something I was excited about. Nothing soothes your heart more than the Words of your Maker, Allah  The Almighty. Of course, there was entertainment too, but I didn’t fancy the movies much, nor the dramas. Since I wasn’t on my ihram yet, that paranoia comes kicking in as to when I should wear it. For those doing ‘Umrah, we should be in our ihram and we should intend to do ‘Umrah before entering into the meeqat, or else there would be repercussions to it. Our entrance was through the Yalamlam meeqat, and the good thing is the pilot will always announce to get into your ihram and prepare to be in the state of Ihram.

I put mine 1 or 2 hours before, and after wearing it, the next concern came in: fearing it would become loose and I’d become bare naked in front of other pilgrims. I still think it’s the funniest thing that could happen, but I ask Allah to protect us from any humiliation. Usually during this time the pilgrims would start to rush to the toilet and change their clothes into just two white cloths, of which its thickness is like a bath robe, preparing to humble themselves before Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

The Talbiyah. We were told to recite the talbiyah as often as possible until we reach masjidil haram. To concentrate and do it every moment might be a rare occurence, because honestly, the mind sways easily. But to recite and embrace the meaning is of a humbling experience, because it reminds you of the fact that one, you are going to become an honoured guest to the most beloved place of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Two, it rectifies your intention, that you’re going to Makkah to perform the ‘Umrah, and that all the sightseeing and other activities are secondary. Three, you are reminding yourself of how weak you are as a human being, and that you are coming to Allah to get your sins erased.

8 hours of sitting and pondering upon the beauty outside. By the time we reached Riyadh, it was already close to 12 AM…

 

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To the person who searched for life, but…

It occurs to me that as I’m writing this, I’m writing from a matured perspective, I feel. Writing from a third person perspective is giving me more clarity on the outlook of life.

“To the person who searched for life, but found a man instead…”

I wrote those words in my yellow notebook. It was 2015. It was my routine of spilling my thoughts on paper, of needing to fill up my notebook with words. But it was more of an exercise of the mind, of seeking clarity in my thinking. I wrote them because I had conceived the notion that the person I had feelings for back in school had been seeking clarity in life. I must admit, I admired the way she looked at life, and I like people who enjoy deep conversations about life. Fast forward to 2017, looking at it again, maybe I’ve written it out of ignorance, oblivious to the fact that maybe she was already leading a good life. Maybe I wrote out of hastiness,  a desperate plea, hoping that one day we could meet up and I could finally tell her everything she needs to know. But, life has its own ways of revealing truths.

Perhaps I saw in her what she couldn’t see in herself, that she had the potential to grow to be a better person. Everybody has the ability to grow and become a better version of themselves. Perhaps at that time I wanted to be beside her, to guide her and show her the other side of life. But, having the reserved personality meant that I kept those feelings inside, perhaps hoping she’d realise someday through my cues and silences in the classes and in our small talks that she’d understand that I was…wanting to be with her. But I was a little too late. She had already found a man.

I can vividly remember the moments during those days, how stupid I felt inside for not saying the things I should have said. Always learn to say the things you want and need to say before it’s too late. My only wish now? That if I could get to meet her again, I would want to pass her the letter I had written for her on her birthday. But things have changed. Perhaps she is enjoying life right now, chasing her dreams and living life to the fullest.

I’m deriving a lot of lessons from this experience. You don’t always get what you want, and that could actually be good for you. It takes time to understand, and it takes time for things to fall into place. Everything is measured. Be patient with the decree Allah has for you. Carry on living life to the best of your ability. Learn how to cope with setbacks in life. Throughout the years I have found that the best investment one can make is to master your emotions. I hope she is doing well and fine.

Love. What is love?

To the person who searched for life, you are in my prayers, whenever and wherever I remember you.

I have episode 02 and 03 of my ‘Umrah trip to write.

Episode 01

I had one month to prepare for the trip. Everything had to be done in a rush. The vaccine jab, the visa, and other administrative matters, including the checking of the expiry date for the passport. I have to admit, it was one of the nerve wrecking moments in my life; all of this happening in a flash? Yes!

Believe it or not, lessons were only done twice, fortnightly on Saturday nights. That meant I had to sacrifice my time to travel to the East side, and also one of the Saturdays away from Universal Studios, because at that point of time all NSFs and Regulars were given a special discount to a whole day entry to Universal Studios. But I knew leaving this to attend the class was much more important and crucial. Usually, classes on Hajj and ‘Umrah are done in a stretch of months end. I can understand why, because the ones who will perform this ritual are mostly adults, those who are aging and have saved up a lifetime’s worth of money just to go for the once in a lifetime trip. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn how,  in two lessons, all cramped up in a span of 4/5 hours per class, could make you realise that ‘Umrah is actually simple. Of course, it was draining. We were all so focused on the class, and we were oblivious to the time. We started at around 8 pm….and by the time I looked up to see the time on the wall, it was close to 1 am.

We received two luggages, a pair of ihram clothing. And what is ihram clothing? You’ll know it when you wear it; it’s the most humbling experience in my life to only have two clothes that cover me up without wearing any undergarments or t-shirts. My only fear though, was the thought of having my lower ihram being stepped and pulled over whilst wearing it. That anxiety did wear me out a bit. So I became a little bit conscious when trying it, making sure that it was tight enough to be wrapped around my waist.

 

…and I still find it funny though, the thought of having it being stepped on and it is left opened. May Allah protect us from humiliation!

I wanted to tell no one about this trip, but I knew I had to say my last words to a few closed ones. The thought of leaving and not coming back home made me drop my ego for a moment, and all I wanted was to travel to my Lord with a clean heart. So I did what I had to do. I texted them and told them I was leaving.

Departure day

I didn’t know how to feel that day. A tinge of sadness, a tinge of hope, a tinge of happiness, of the fact that I was finally flying off to the holiest place on Earth. Years of dreaming of it, of listening to the imams reciting the Qur’an, of making persistent dua’, and I was finally flying off to Makkah and Madinah? Alhamdulillah. It was one of the biggest blessings in my life. To the point where my late aunt commented on saying, “You are so fortunate to be going there at such a young age.” She passed away last April. I miss her now. May Allah have mercy on her.

 

My parents were there to send me, as with a few close friends – Shafiq and Uthman. Shafiq was elated for me, and he knew what I was going through. I don’t know but, he has always been that friend that brings on the good vibe with his Jim Carrey impersonations, the endless laughters, and the lame jokes that we both create out of thin air. I miss him now. But, he’s also the friend who’d always chide on me for not taking the opportunities that were presented in front of me. Although it hurts my ego, I feel it’s only because he cares for me, and I love him for that. I’m thankful that this friendship has lasted for the longest time possible. Friends; we should find people who care enough about our well being, both in this world and the next.

The moment came. We said our goodbyes, and off we went into the departure hall. Surprisingly, there were a lot of pilgrims going on the same day as us. But Alhamdulillah, it was a joyous occasion to experience, seeing each and everyone who passed through the departure hall, all going for one purpose, and that is to worship Allah alone. The moment my passport was chopped, I instantly made a new friend. He was to be my friend throughout my whole trip.

8 hour trip. Once we were ushered into the plane and to our seats the relief began pouring down. Everybody was made to seat accordingly. Seat belts on, the standard procedure of the cabin crews instructing us about the do’s and don’ts in the plane, and a few minutes later, we were ready to take off…

At around 3 in the afternoon, the plane took off, leaving everything behind on ground, and me, although still with a heavy heart, took off too just like the plane, slowly flying up into the altitude of peace and serenity, for peace and serenity. Finally, I was on my way to becoming one of His guests in the most beloved places to Him, Masjidil Haram…img_0150