Thursday, July 21, 2016

I'm Back!

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

After 2 years leaving the blogging world, Im finally back. Its been a while, and one of the biggest reason I didnt write was because the blog didnt look great -- which of course affects the mood. So finally after such a long time, I just sat down and put some effort into it.

So this is my official announcement. For loyal readers who are reading this, thank you so much for sticking with me. You guys are the best! *perasan mode on* For new comers, welcome welcome. I hope you get if not a lot, even a bit of something to take back home.

The blog looks a little more girly girl. Haha. Yeah, well.. I have no excuse. Must be the age.

Hope everyone is fasting their 6 days of Syawal. Till my next post.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Because Allah Loves Us

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Ramadhan is finally here! This year I feel different with the coming of Ramadhan. It may be an age factor. Haha. I wasn’t able to appreciate Ramadhan so much in my younger years, but as you grow up, and your ilm has increased, you know a lot more of the teachings of Islam, you’ll begin to see the specialty and uniqueness, as well as the opportunity Allah has given us through the Holy month of Ramadhan.

With the coming of this missed month, I would like to share some points and knowledge I have gained through my years of learning. Today, I’d like to share about Lailatul Qadr

Allah SWT said:
We have indeed revealed it (Quran) in the Night of Power (1) And what can make you know what is the Night of Power? (2) The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months (3) The angels and the Spirit (Jibril) descends therein by the permission of their Lord for every matter (4) Peace it is until the rise of dawn (5)
[Surah Al Alaq: 1-5]

If you look at the discussions between humans, the questions about Lailatul Qadr is always WHEN. When is it? “It’s on the odd days of the end of Ramadhan.” “No, its on one of the even days” “I think its on the 27th of Ramadhan” “No its not.”

Well, these types of discussion are endless and a waste of time because no one knows when Lailatul Qadr is. Allah made it that way, so you do not have to question and guess. The most important thing you should do it use the 10 last days of Ramadhan to the fullest. If you utilise each day, insyaAllah you will not miss it.

Allah SWT says:

“We have indeed revealed it (Quran) in the Night of Power (1)”

Lailatul Qadr a night of barakah. Is it blessed because Quran came down? Or because it was always blessed so the Quran came down? I heard a talk by Sheikh Nouman Ali Khan and he said that Lailatul Qadr was always a blessed night, therefore Al Quran came down. It became more noble and dignified by the Quran.

But the question you might be asking is, “wasn’t Al Quran brought down bit by bit thru wahyu to Rasulullah s.a.w?” Yes it was. Al Quran was brought down over 23 years during the life of Rasulullah. An opinion by Ibnu Abbas is that Allah sent the Quran down from Luh Mahfuz down thru the 7 heavens. And from there, it was brought down by Jibril to Rasulullah bit by bit based on a question, an issue, an incident, a problem that was faced by Rasulullah s.a.w and the Muslimin.

Allah SWT says:

“And what can make you know what is the Night of Power? (2)”

What is Lailatul Qadr? Qadr is translated as the night of “Power”. It is also a night of appreciation.

Have you ever heard the story of the sahabah quarrelling about when Lailatul Qadr is? Well, they did quarrel and because of these quarrels, Allah made Rasulullah forget the exact day of Lailatul Qadr. Again, when is not important. It’s the “what”. So Allah asks us in surah Al Qadr, “Do you realise how amazing Lailatul Qadr is?” Ofkos we don’t know, so Allah tells us.

The one who really appreciates Allah, they will find the appreciation of Allah on this night. Those who don’t appreciate Allah, will sleep thru it. So in which category are we? Are we among those who really appreciate Allah and are among those who are grateful? Or we say we are but we don’t make an effort at all? Tepuk dada tanya Iman.

Rasulullah s.a.w was with Saidina Ali r.a one day. They were in the masjid and there was a Bedwin sleeping. It was nearing the time of Solah, so Rasulullah s.a.w asked Ali to go wake him up. Ali went to do as told, but he was surprised because Rasulullah would never pass doing a good deed.

So Ali asked the Messenger about it. Rasulullah said, “If I tried to wake him up and he brushed me aside, it would be great sin. It was an act of mercy”.

The same thing can be related to the knowledge of Lailatul Qadr. There is a hikmah of not knowing. It’s good that we don’t know because if we know when it is every year, and we still do not appreciate it, can you just imagine what kind of trouble and how big a sin we would be in? Therefore, Allah not telling us when Lailatul Qadr is, is an act of mercy.

Allah Taala says:

 "The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months (3)"

The deeds and ibadah you do on this night will be equivalent to more than the deeds you do in 1000 months. Ya Allah, how awesome is that? If you think logically, the lifespan of people nowadays is what..? 70? 80? If we use Rasulullah's lifespan of 63 years. 1000 months is more than double of that!

Allah is giving us the opportunity to increase our pahala on this special night that you can't even do in one lifetime. Can you imagine 10 yeards of getting Lailatul Qadr? It will be a millenium of pahala! MashaAllah! So why are we wasting this opportunity?

Based on the opinion of the ulama', an interpretation of "khair" in ayat 3 is on good deeds and ibadah, but also be seen as Barakah with the things you do on that day. If that night and that day is a day of Barakah, we should take the opportunity to do a lot of things we have been putting aside.

I heard this from a talk I listened to a while back. If we have a certain friend that we had a quarrel with, a friend that we havent talked to in a while. Or maybe a family member that we are not in good terms with, or someone we did wrong to and need to apologise to, then we should do it on this night. Take a chance, insyaAllah with the Barakah Allah is bestowing on the earth, only good will come out of it.

I found this very inspiring. I will try and do this. Yes, ofkos I have people whom I have deliberately stopped talking to. May Allah forgive my many weaknesses. I will try and rekindle the relationship insyaAllah. (Please pray that I am sincere and I get to do this)

The next ayat Allah says:

“The angels and the Spirit (Jibril) descends therein by the permission of their Lord for every matter (4)”

In the Quran, Allah mentioned angels all the time. But in this ayat, Allah mentions the angles AND Jibril. During this nobel and special night, not only to the malaikat (angels) come down, but also Jibril! Jibril, the one who brought down Al Quran, the one who brought down wahyu to Rasulullah s.a.w is also descending. So it is a big deal.

In the ayat, Allah says, Jibril and the angels will descend with the permission of their Lord/Master. From the tafsir given by Sheikh Nouman Ali Khan, he said that the angels are all eager and desperate to come meet the believers! They cannot wait to meet and greet the believers.

The eagerness is the same as the eagerness to meet a celebrity. Just imagine one celebrity/artist/singer/football player/professor/ulama or anyone you really respect and hold in high regard, you admire and you really want to meet. Just imagine that you have the chance to meet them. How would you feel?

Who? Tom Hiddleston? Christiano Ronaldo? Dr Morsi? Ismail Haniyeh? Angelina Jolie? Who? You really really like them, you really really admire them, you really really want to meet them, get an autograph, take pictures with them.

Ha, that is exactly how the angels feel towards the Mu’minin. They admire the Mu’minin so much that they ask Allah’s permission to go and see them. Can you imagine that? They hold the Mu’minin on such high regard, but are we as Muslims worthy of such respect? We have to ask ourselves this. Tepuk dada tanya Iman. Are we worthy? Have we done enough to be seen as celebrities? Are our amal ibadah enough? Have we been a good servant to Allah Taala? The angels have no sins and are pure. What about us? It was like a huge slap on the face when I heard this. Ya Allah.

The last ayat of the Surah, Allah says:

"Peace it is until the rise of dawn (5)"

There are a lot of opinions from the Ulama', and none of them are wrong. Compared to us, we do not have the knowledge to interpret the Quran, therefore we will have to base our understanding on the Ulama' (the knowledgeable). Among the opinions of the Ulama' as mentioned by Sheikh Nouman:

1. Peace in this ayat means absolutely no evil whatsoever. Each decision is peace. On other nights, there might be punishments, violence, but this night is entirely peaceful.

2. During this night no human can embark in an evil task (Mujahid r.a)

3. It is the night of peace because the angels are constantly saying salam to the people of the Masjid. They pass every single Mu'min and say "peace be upon you"

4. The battalion  of angels descend at once and go into every Masjid, every single Mu'min, say salam and leave a doa behind. Just imagine their long descent, their long journey to earth just to give salam. It is such an honour to the believers on this night. (Ibnu Kathir)

Out of the four opinions, all bring the same message - that Lailatul Qadr is a very very very special night that is peaceful and has a lot of benefits for those who care enough to find out and use it. On this special night, the angels will be all around us, giving salam and leaving their doa. The Malaikat are racing, grabbing every opportunity to meet the Muslimin and say a prayer.

So what are we doing? Layak ke kite dalam doa para Malaikat?

May Allah preserve our Iman and increase it day by day. But my dear friends, it is us who have to seek knowledge on how to increase our Iman. Allah leads you to it, but it is us who have to make the choice. Changing is a choice.

In my research, I have learned that the learning process is proven with the change in action and attitude. Therefore, if there is no change, then the learning process has not happened. Which means what? That you have not learned.

Being ignorant is also a choice. With the availability of knowledge so easily today, there is no longer an excuse, especially to those who have internet. To increase our Iman, we must increase our Amal. To increase our Amal, we must have a strong foundation of Aqidah. Because doing amal ibadah without Aqidah is what syaitan strives for. That is why the feeling of ibadah being a 'burden' arises. So please go and seek knowledge. The RIGHT knowledge from the RIGHT people. Being ignorant is no longer an excuse.

Let's all strive to become better Muslims with this Ramadhan. Start now. Ramadhan is a month of forgiveness and barakah. Use it.

May everyone gain Lailatul Qadr this Ramadhan. Ameen Ya Rabb.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Something Called Usrah

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

What is Usrah? Read on to find out :)

Allah Taala said in Surah Al Alaq:
“…Sujud and come close to Allah.”
(Al Alaq: 19)

We want to be close to Allah, to feel His love. But how?

One of the methods to keep close to Allah is thru Usrah. It is constant, it helps you to be istiqamah. Usrah from one point of view is a way to maintain your level of Iman, and in the same time increase it. And by having constant reminders, new knowledge from the Al-Quran and Hadith, insyaAllah He will keep us on the Siratul Mustaqim.

So Usrah is great for you. If you only knew.

My question to you is, when was the last time you actually sat and concentrated in learning about your religion? Some might answer high school, some of those more fortunate would say, I had a subject in uni.

But again, how is 5 years learning "pendidikan Islam" in high school enough? We were barely adults then. We were small, young and naive. No ounce of maturity at all. We didn’t know better. Do you really remember what you learnt?

Usually after every Usrah, you'll get this refreshing feeling, like a new beginning, a new start with your Iman tank full of enthusiasm. That's what I feel after my Usrah session. It's very hard to explain the feeling you get with Usrah. I love the Usrah group I am in now. Going to Usrah for as long as I can remember, changing Naqibah, changing groups, getting new group members, having member being changed to other groups -- its been a great journey.

You'll get a lot of different feelings -- from being reluctant to attend, being too lazy, too tired, and giving excuses. But later, it changes to waiting patiently each week to meet up, feeling like the discussions during Usrah being too short, feeling that the discussion you have during Usrah so interesting that you don't want to stop, having the feeling of love and ukhuwwah with your group mates that you pray really hard you will be reunited in Jannah, having the feeling of wanting to help them however you can, and share all the ilmu you have with everyone in the group so that we'd all be able to spread it to others too. I have been thru every feeling you can think of, either it be negative or positive.

I should admit that there was a time where I disliked my usrah group (I’ve changed groups a couple of times now), and I really didn't like to attend. I found myself finding every excuse under the sun for not going -- Im not feeling well, I have a family matter, I have an office matter, my friends are here, etc etc.

But later you will realise that attending Usrah is like a lifeline. It’s like a time and place you refill your fuel (Iman) with reminders and Islam for your journey. So, no matter how much you might dislike the methods of your Naqibah, or you dislike a few members of your Usrah group, you still go because you know it's a necessity for you. For your own Iman, for your own Akhirat.

During my undergrad studies, there was a time I stopped going altogether. During that time, you'd think you're strong enough, you'd think you have enough ilmu on Islam, you'd think your basics in Islam is enough, and you'd think that listening to online lectures is enough to refuel your Iman. But my dear friends, its not enough. You need maintenance.

As the days past without attending Usrah and having people remind you about Allah Taala, you will start diverting from the right concepts. Your hijab/tudung start to become shorter, you start changing your principles bcoz it suits your needs at the time, you start thinking about unimportant stuff like fashion, you start reading really weird books, fashion magazines, attend events that you would have never thought of before. You start to loosen you boundaries, your amal is decreasing, and your ibadah start to become insincere.

Without your friends to guide you, without reminders from the Quran, Hadith and Sirah, without support from friends, without having a support group to help you better yourself, and a group of friends who practice biah solehah, you will in the end divert and crash on the side of the road.

I felt that once. You will feel different and feel like you are so far from Allah Taala. But that feeling is your fault because Allah has never moved, He is still close by. But it's you who chose to step away.

But alhamdulillah, Allah brought me back into this Biah Solehah. The ukhuwwah, the ilmu, the reminders, the amal and ibadah we do together, the meeting with the intention of remembering Allah Taala. It becomes a majlis ilmu that insyaAllah is surrounded by the angels who are praying for us.

However, you need a lot of things in order to obtain knowledge. Going to Usrah isn't an easy thing to do. The ease and enjoyment comes over time. Here are two important things you will need to understand:

1. Sacrifice
You need to make a bunch of sacrifices. You will have to choose either you want to watch your favourite TV series, play with your kids, indulge in your hobbies, finish doing work from the office, do overtime because you want extra money, OR putting all those aside for one specific night for just a few hours to concentrate on refreshing your Iman.

These sacrifices are not easy. I speak from experience. But once you realise its importance, it will no longer become a sacrifice. It will be something you look forward to every single week.

2. Sincerity
You will need to be sincere in your quest to increase your Iman thru gaining knowledge. Usrah is not a class, but a “family” that sits down together and talk. We talk about issues, we talk and share about interpretations of Allah’s Holy Book, and we talk about the Sunnah and akhlak of Rasulullah S.A.W. We talk about how to increase our ibadah, we talk about our family, our husbands, our children and how to make our household into a house with strong foundations of Islam. Summarizing it all, we talk, discuss and take action on how to obtain Allah’s Redha and be reunited in Jannah together. We strive to become Soleh Wa Musleh. Become good and invite others to be good too.

Sincerity is important because being sincere makes the heart free of prejudice. Be sincere in wanting to change to become someone better and Allah will be there to help you every step of the way. Allah’s help will come in the form of the people around you. The company you keep will help you strive to become a better Muslim, together. Be sincere in helping others, and be sincere and willing to be helped.

Through years of going to Usrah, and now having a few groups of usrah under my care, I learnt a few things. We must always be husnuzon (think positive) towards our Naqibah (naqibah is the leader of the group). And as a naqibah, I also must be husnuzon towards those under my care.

I have also learnt that as a person who attends usrah (I have an usrah I go to every week under my own naqibah, and I have a few groups where I am the naqibah), I must always renew my niat whenever I attend my usrah. And as a naqibah, I must always renew my niat too.

Another thing to remember is Allah’s ayat in surah Ar Rad: 11

Allah SWT said:
"For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before and behind him: They guard him by command of Allah. Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah willeth a people`s punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect."
(Ar Rad: 11)

Allah will not change you if you yourself do not have the effort to change. It is a matter of choice. Whatever you do on this world is your own making, your own decision. Going to usrah? Not going to usrah? Again, it is your choice. If you really want to go, you are sincere, and you have put in an effort, then Allah will insyaAllah ease your passage. But if deep down in your heart, you don't really want to go, then Allah will give you a reason not to go.

For those who really want the chance to feel what usrah is, feel the nikmah of ukhuwwah and be constant in their effort to become a better Muslim, then please inform me. Tell me and I can help you however I can. I have friends who attend usrah all around Malaysia. If you are Malaysians studying overseas, InsyaAllah I can help you too. Where there is a will, Allah will always find a way.

May Allah ease everyone reading this post. And may Allah reward you the opportunity to celebrate this coming Ramadhan.

Wallahu a'lam Bissawab