Monday, December 11, 2017

Making Peace With My Surroundings


Allah introduces different characters in our lives for a myriad of possible reasons, which only He knows. But as humans with brains, we should be able to think about it and reason out why.
It could be:
  1. To test you - if the character is annoying and very trying, it could be a test of patience. And if the character is nice and pleasant, it could be a test of gratitude. As my Ustazah coins it - it's an exercise to your soul
  2. To give your life a bit of colour - living alone with no colourful characters around you bound to make you bored.
  3. To provide you a platform to practice your people skills. Do you maintain your poise and pleasant tone when talking to a nasty or annoying person?
Allah Al-Hakim and Ar-Rashiid has arranged for this one character to stay at my house for a week. Man is she a trying character!
She's my MIL's Bibik. She's clumsy, perpetually saying something inaudible - especially in response to my instructions, doesn't take feedbacks with a stride (always justifying), always averting her eyes when I explain things to her and basically stubborn (does what I don't allow her to do, and doesn't do what I ask her to do). To me she's just annoying. What a great clash to my character - direct, fastidious, efficient and aggressive.

However, I am a woman and a muslim. I know I'm supposed to be kindly to other creatures, especially another human being as old as my mum. She has her good qualities. She's kind-hearted. She takes care of my PILs. She's helpful. She doesn't mandrem my family (not that I know of).

Rasulullah never treated his subjects badly. He never raised his voice nor did he show resentment towards his employees (I dont want to use the word "servant"). He was, well, patient.
"Sabar, sabar. Sampai bila nak sabar??", said a Pakcik in an elevator in Movenpick Hotel, Madinah in 2007 during my Haj. He was basically pissed off when people told him to be patient with the snail-paced elevator.
"Sabar sampai mati", said Ustaz Muhammad Al Amin in Pesona Di Zahra slot on when asked by a caller on being patient with her unislamic husband (he's one of the respected figures in my life).

Easier said that done. How can u Sabar when you're not Sabar at that point of time?
Soften your heart. Soft hearts forgive easily.
So I have a hard heart? Maybe I do. Retrospectively, I can see how I have transformed over the years to become harsher in my actions and my words. I was nicer before. I used to have more positive outlook towards life. I don't love as easily as I did when I was younger anymore. I am aware of this and I can justify it. I blame it on my surroundings,the people around me and the events occurring in my life for the past years. I was molded by them...

Wrong! I LET myself be molded by them!
Something must be wrong somewhere in my system. 17 times daily at least, I would tell myself that to Allah only I seek help. But yet I don't really do so. I was hoping for things to change, but I haven't really asked Him.

From this day on, I want to try change that. I have Him, that's all I need. Life is temporary. I'm going to work hard to soften my heart and stop blaming my surroundings. It's like what Julian Barnes said in England, England - you cannot blame your parents anymore after you reached 25 years old. But I'll rephrase him - you cannot blame anybody else anymore when you've reached puberty.

How to soften your heart - Sheikh Ibrahim Al Khawwas
  1. Recite Quran and its meaning
  2. Tahajjud
  3. Surround yourself with soleh people
  4. Fast
  5. Long zikr at night
I dare me to practice this before deciding if I should still blame my surroundings.

Allah Al Musta'an

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Today is the 49th day of my maternity leave. Hannah is getting chubbier by day, and more responsive too J Alhamdulillah. And myself, I feel much better now. I remember the day of my operation. Right after the operation, till the next few hours, I felt horrible – nauseous, back pain and abdominal cramps (plural for emphasis!). The next day, when my milk flow started to pick up, along started the obligatory nipple cracks again. The piercing pain everytime I fed by baby, only Allah knows. I even dreaded the feeding times.  I tried giving myself some solace by remembering Alam Nashrah. Allah said “with hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease”. I knew that it was just temporary, so hang on there, Sep!

This was my third delivery, and my third Caesarian.  I used to think that vanity fades as you age. But surprisingly, that’s not my case. I’m finding that I become more beauty-conscious as the number adds. After Soraya was born, I didn’t care much about the “pouchier” belly. My husband didn’t seem to mind too, so that was fine with me. Even when my aunts commented that my thighs were huge, I didn’t seem to care much (well, a bit, yes. But not like it’s the end of the world kind of feeling). I couldn’t find a pair of jeans that could fit me. They never got past my thighs!

After Khadeeja was born, I became somewhat more concerned. I tried to be more disciplined with bengkung, although I didn’t wear it every day. I became more committed to my resolution to breastfeed as long as I could. I remember being very self-conscious during the first few days back in the office. I felt fat. Allah is definitely the best organizer of our lives. He heard by silent pleas, He sent help in the form of my husband’s new hobby – jogging. I tagged along. Khadeeja was 1 then. Coupled with determined breastfeeding + BM expressing, I was my fittest ever (albeit the stubborn pouch of a belly, unfortunately)! And it was post-Khadeeja that I also invested in corsets.

Post-Hannah. I am my most conscious ever. I’m super-concerned with my “pouchierer” belly. That is with me wearing bengkung 24/7 throughout my confinement! Maybe I was made this way, to have this belly. When PCMC bengkung didn’t seem to work fine, I bought the caesarian bengkung on the internet. When that did not work either, I couple my bengkung with the bodysuit corset I bought earlier. That does not work too. I’m dreading returning to office with this belly. What shall I do? Shall I go to office wearing the corset? How to do I go to the toilet to pee (or do number two?). Upon consultation, a friend suggested that I buy a corset similar to hers – with bigger pee hole she says, Ha Ha. I’m telling you, this thing is really occupying my mind!

When I sit back and reflect, this seems really funny actually. Why am I so concerned anyway? I always tell myself that I believe firmly with Allah’s pre-set rezeki for all of us. If Allah says I have a pouchy belly, I have a pouchy belly. Why should I fret so much? Allah also says that we must follow the concept of tawakkal, i.e. I can always try ways to get rid of this pouch. Corsets? Go on, try that if I can afford. Exercise? By all means, as long as it can anatomically be done post-caesarian. Good diet? Of course, I should be doing that anyway. If I still have a pouchy belly after all that, then I should remember that that’s given by Allah. I should be grateful, Alhamdulillah.

So this is my resolution, although I feel horribly self-conscious about my looks post-post-partum, I will try to be at peace with it (cos what I am is Allah-given), but at the same time, do my best of my ability, the best that my confined life will allow, to take the best care of myself (getting rid of my pouchy belly included…)!

…and I resolve to stick to my resolution, to the best of my ability… J

Friday, November 9, 2012

When i was younger, I was so naive. I used to think that the challenges I faced was extremely hard and trying. I used to think that decisions were very hard to make. I so wished there was a 'manual of life' that I could refer to to help me make decisions. i

For example, during the days of ignorance, whenever I had a fight with my second half, I would cry and ask myself why, why, why. I would lament and regret my choices and decisions. "Where is that manual of life?" I would scream inside.

Over the years, I have grown to realise that I dont have to act that way. There is such thing as a manual for life. It's the Quran and Rasulullah's sunnah. Why, I was so naive, and ignorant to say the least.

Many forget that we were created by Allah with fitrah. By design (fitrah), we have nafs (desires). And also by fitrah, we are never satisfied. We always want more than what we have/destined to have. And many do not realise that this weird concoction was formulated by Allah as a test to us. To see how grateful and how patient we are in dealing with things that go against our desires. It might seem unfair, some might question Allah's fairness to His creatures. Why, on the contrary! Allah is truly Al-Adl, ArRahman and ArRaheem. He sent down Al Quran and Rasulullah to guide and steer us back onto the straight path that will lead us back to Him.

I found the manual of life I longed for in my younger years. I can find everything in this manual of life.

But once in a while, challenges would show his nasty face and test my iman, Recent spite with the closest person in my life threw me off guard again. I was so saddened and dissapointed with certains things the person does or thinks. It was quite unpleasant, the confrontation. I am sure the person was dissapointed with my behaviours as I was with his. It left me feeling tired and alone, like no one to turn to and to console me.

But then, I remembered Rasulullah, and I remembered Quran. Patient when sad, grateful when happy. Respect people's differences. Respect your other half. Sadness is a way to cleanse our sins. Sadness or hardship is a kafarah etc etc. I feel better. I really do.

As if Allah intended to show me a lesson, an officemate shared with me her sad situation with her other half. She always appears to me to be happy with her other half. She told me she's jealous of my other half, because we appear to be so happy in her eyes! It struck to me that
1) nobody has a perfect life
2) people are never satisfied
3) we should be grateful with have Allah gives us. What seems good to us might be bad for us. And what seems bad might be good for us.

My conclusion is a reiteration of what Allah and His Rasulullah have been telling us in the manual of life - life is a series of tests to see how grateful we are in the face of happiness, and how patient we are in the face of sadness and hardship. Subhanallah.

Oh Allah, please provide me strength to keep on reminding myself again and again that this is just a small test from you to see how grateful I am to be given the gift of Iman. Allahuakbar.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grateful when happy, patient when sad.

In our lives, we experience so many things. Some are happy, some are sad. Some are enjoyable, some are painful. The pleasant ones always make us feel happy. The pleasant experiences are, to us, good.

Or are they?...

I'd like to share one of my favourite hadeeths, perhaps my most favourite hadeeth. I first read it in Makkah when I was performing my Haj in 2007. I was reading a biography of Abu Bakar As Siddiq RA when i came accross this hadeeth on a page:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999)

Rasulullah SAW said that everything that happens in the life of a Muslim is good, regardless it's a happy/pleasant one, or a sad/unpleasant one. What matters is not the happening itself, but rather how we react to it. A true believer is someone whose heart is pure and clean. Who appreciates that everything in his/her life is actually from Allah. Who strongly believes that Allah loves His servants very much. How can something from someone who loves us be bad?

When someone sees something through his/her pure heart, what he/she sees will not be prejudiced. When Allah gives us something, it's actually a test. It's always either a test of gratitude, or a test of patience. If we get something that we love and makes us happy, it's a test of gratitude. If we get something we dislike and makes us sad/unhappy, it's a test of patience. What matters is how we react to it. Do we react emotionally? Or does it make us think of Allah more?

Easier said than done :) True with all 'theories' in the world. But try to think of it... Let it sink. Does it make sense?

Personally, whenever I experience something that I dont like, naturally my reaction will be quite negative. But whenever I ponder on it, it does make me realise, that whatever happens to me on this life, is so insignificant compared to the life in the hereafter. What is the puny test of discomfort on this temporary world to the immortal life of akhirat? When i think that way, my problem would automatically seem irrelevant and... insignificant. So what if Allah gives me some sadness/unhappiness? It's just a test of my patience. If i pass the test. i.e. if i remember him and be patient, the reward in the hereafter is much bigger and better to anything we would every know in this mortal life of this world.

So brothers and sisters, just remember... If something good happens to you, just be thankful for that is good for you. If something bad happens to you, bear it with patience for that is good for you :)
Allah knows best...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Manisnya Iman - Persahabatan

Do you have a best friend? Or a close friend?
Pernah wonder tak, kenapa kita bersahabat dengan seseorang itu? Apakah motivasi bagi meneruskan persahabatan itu? Adakah kita bersahabat dengan seseorang itu, kerana rupanya? Adakah kerana hartanya? Adakah kerana sifat kelakarnya?Kalau kerana rupa, adakah itu bermakna kalau one day, kawan kita accident and rupanya jadi hodoh, kita tak nak kawan dengan dia? Kalau kerana harta, kalau one day dia jatuh miskin, tak nak kawan dah? Kalau kerana dia kelakar, adakah kalau one day dia mengalami trauma hidup sehingga menukar sifat kelakarnya menjadi pendiam dan 'boring', dah tak best dah kawan ngan dia?

Persahabatan yang bertunjangkan duniawi berkemungkinan tidak akan kekal indah. Tetapi, kalau persahabatan itu didasarkan kepada keimanan kepada Allah, ia akan menjadi kekal dan sangat manis. Masakan tidak, tujuan kedua-dua sahabat itu adalah satu, iaitu Allah. Jika menuju Allah, persahabatan tidak akan diisi dengan sesuatu yang sia-sia, tidak akan sakit-menyakiti, tidak akan tikam belakang, tidak akan melupakan sahabat kerana kepentingan sendiri. Kenapa begitu? Kerana kita akan selalu mengharap keredha'an Allah dalam persahabatan itu. Kerana ia berdasarkan keimanan kepada Allah. Maka persahabatan akan dibajai dengan perkara perkara berfaedah, akan selalu ingat-mengingati, selalu memberi kata-kata perangsang, dan persahabatan itu tidak akan dirosakkan dengan selfishness.

Saya sangat tertarik dengan kupasan santai Saudara Hilal Ashraf (one of my favourite novelists) dalam novelnya 'Sinergi', berkenaan persahabatan. Formula persahabatan yang berdasarkan keimanan adalah 1+1=3. Kerana tanda '+' itu adalah 'iman'. Maka dua sahabat yang dihubungkan dengan keimanan tidak menjadi hanya mereka berdua, tetapi akan hadir satu lagi nilai tambah, iaitu keimanan. Maka persahabatan menjadi berganda-ganda nilainya:)

Persahabatan dalam Islam ada peringkat-peringkatnya. Peringkat yang paling tinggi adalah mencintai sahabat lebih dari diri sendiri, dan yang paling rendah (selemah-lemah ukhuwah) adalah berlapang dada dan bersangka baik.

Ada satu kisah dalam perang Yarmouk, tentang ukhuwah atas keimanan. Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud menceritakan bahawa apabila Ikrimah Ibn Abu Jahal gugur, ada lelaki yang memberinya air, tapi belum sempat air diteguknya, kedengaran suara Suhail Ibn Amr meminta air. Ikrimah berkata 'Berikan air itu kepadanya, mungkin dia lebih memerlukan'. Kemudian, apabila pembawa air itu sampai kepada Suhail, kedengaran pula suara Haris Ibn Hisyam. Ketika itu, Suhail berkata 'Berikanlah air itu kepadanya, mungkin dia lebih memerlukan'. Kemudian pembawa air itu bergerak kepada Haris, tetapi dia mendapati yang Haris telah meninggal dunia. Kemudian dia kembali kepada Suhail, dan Suhail juga telah meninggal dunia. Dia kembali kepada Ikrimah, Ikrimah juga sudah tiada. Bolehkan kita membayangkan tahap keimanan mereka ini? Ada riwayat yang mengatakan, apabila manusia sedang nazak, kalau disuakan air 7 lautan pun, tetap tak akan hilang dahaganya. Tetapi, lihatlah Ikrimah dan Suhail, di saat nazak pun, masih melebihkan sahabat mereka. Subhanallah...

Itulah dia persahabatan atas keimanan. Apakah tahap persahabatan kita? Tepuk dada, tanyalah iman...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kemanisan iman dalam kehidupan

Assalamualaikum semua...

Soalan lazim - apakah iman? Iman adalah mempercayai kewujudan Allah dengan sepenuh hati. Disebutkan oleh Ibnu Majah, diriwayatkan oleh Saidina Ali RA, Rasulullah berkata "‘Iman adalah mempercayai dengan sepenuh hati, mengatakannya dengan lidah, dan melakukannya dengan perbuatan".

Kita selalu dengar orang berkata, kemanisan iman, kemanisan iman. Bagaimanakah rasa manisnya iman tu? Pernah tak kita rasa? Macam mana cara nak rasa manisnya iman? Orang-orang biasa macam kita ni, boleh tak capai tahap merasa 'Iman Manis' ni? Jawabannya, boleh! Allah tak cakap pun kita tak boleh kan. Yang Allah cakap,

(Surah Al-Baqarah: 137)

"Maka jika mereka beriman kepada apa yang kamu telah beriman kepadanya, sungguh mereka telah mendapat petunjuk; dan jika mereka berpaling, sesungguhnya mereka berada dalam permusuhan (dengan kamu)",

or in English (I find this translation easier to understand)

"If they believe the way you believe (Sahabah), they will be guided. And if they go astray, they will be in complete contradiction..."

Kita semua boleh merasai keimanan, kerana it's all up to us. Nak petunjuk, or nak berpaling?

So, bagaimana nak capai kemanisan iman? Kemanisan iman, boleh dicapai apabila segala apa yang kita buat, adalah kerana Allah Ta'ala, Lillaahita'ala. Not for any other worldly or selfish reason, but for Allah Ta'ala.

'Selangkah kita kepada Allah, seribu langkah Allah mendekati kita'. Lagi dekat kita dengan Allah, lagi manis rasanya kehidupan kita. So start your first step now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

7 Tingkat Neraka

Panasnya api kan? There was one time in the kitchen, i was trying to reach a spice bottle, over a steaming rice cooker. Being a clumsy person I am, my outstretched arm hovered directly over the steam. Ya Allah, peritnya kulit! Melecur, and sampai sekarang ada lagi parut warna dark brown on my arm. I hope my hubby does not find it ugly...

Itu baru steam dari periuk nasi, sikit pulak tu. Bayangkan api yang marak membakar di neraka Allah. Api yang dikatakan tersangat panas, ia berwarna hitam! Now, a black fire? We've never seen it, right? Setakat yang kita tahu, api yang paling panas tu, warna biru kan? Or at least, that's what my science teacher told me dulu. Tapi, since Allah yang cakap 'api hitam' di dalam Qur'an, kita wajiblah percaya.

Well, well, Qur'an never ceases to amaze me. Ada seorang pakar dari Barat (you have to excuse my weak memory, i can never remember people's names...) yang mengatakan, peringkat kepanasan api itu, menukarkan warnanya. Dari merah menjadi putih kebiru-biruan, dan kalau lebih panas lagi, ia menjadi hitam! Masya Allah.

Hari tu, saya terdengar usrah di radio Seorang ustaz ada menyebut yang Neraka ada 7 tingkat. Dan setiap tingkat telah dikhususkan siapa penghuninya.
  1. Hawiah (paling dasar) - untuk kaum Nabi Musa yang tidak beriman.
  2. Al-jaheem - untuk Musyrikin (orang musyrik)
  3. Sakkar - Orang yang tidak bersolat dan percaya pada agama selain Islam
  4. Ladzar - Orang-orang Majusi (penyembah api) dan yang seumpamanya
  5. Hutomah - Orang Yahudi
  6. Hazeez (kalau tak silap dengar) - untuk orang Nasara
  7. Tingkat paling atas - untuk kalangan orang Islam yang melakukan dosa-dosa besar dan tak sempat bertaubat apabila mati.

Mesti ada antara you guys readers yang hati kecilnya yang nakal berbisik "few... at least orang Islam yang melakukan dosa-dosa besar, neraka yang paling atas. Mesti paling tak panas". Para pembaca yang saya kasihi atas dasar keimanan sekelian, iya, ia paling tak panas. Tapi, neraka yang paling tak panas itu, adalah berkali kali kali kali kali ganda panasnya daripada api di dunia ini. Api Hitam, can you imagine? Ada tak api hitam di dunia ni? If steam from a rice cooker hurts can you imagine being burnt in a furnace of black fire? Astaghfirullah.

And as if that is not enough, do you know macam mana Allah akan mengoptimumkan kesengsaraan dalam neraka nanti? Penghuni neraka, Allah jadikan sangat besar. Dikatakan bahawa gigi penghuni neraka adalah sebesar Bukit Uhud (batu kecil from Bukit Uhud pun, lagi besar dari gigi saya). Kenapa besar? Sebab Allah nak make sure, ada banyak kawasan tubuh untuk merasa perit siksaan. Sampai macam tu sekali? Ya, sampai macam tu sekali!

Maka insaflah semua, termasuklah saya. Astaghfirullahaladzim....