Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Birthday Present

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Good Day fellow bloggers and loyal readers. A lot have happened since I last wrote. I was officially appointed as a Research Officer at our centre (wohoo!), unfortunately that limits my free time on weekdays. Yeah, I have to punch in and out (boohoo).

I also just came back from a 3 day workshop and conference concerning TRIZ which is a direct relation to my PhD research. Fiuh, a lot of input!

And after the conference, I straight away went to Jakarta and Bandung for 5 days. So yeah, it’s been hectic. I have a loooong list of things to do  -- 19 things to be exact. Combining today and tomorrow, I have completed 8 tasks. I have to finish writing a paper by Monday, I have to study TRIZ because I have to teach it on Monday morning. Argh! Yeah, panicking.

One of the things on my list is writing a post for my blog. Even though it not the MOST important thing on the list, Im doing it anyway coz I can’t do the other things on the list just yet. STRESS!

So okey, it was my birthday yesterday :) Happy Birthday to me. Yeah, I’m feeling my age. Old.

It was also my nephew’s birthday, dearest Thauban. He’s 1 years old today :) Grow up to be Ummi’s knight in shining armor okey. Be a good boy and don’t go worry urself about wanting to copy whatever Layth is doing just yet. Don’t grow up too fast.

My birthday this year was not really a celebration. To me, it was more a reflection. Reflection on the double digits on my age chart and on what I have really been doing for the past years. With the life Allah has given me, what have I done in terms of my amal, my contribution to Islam and my responsibilities as a Muslim.

Thinking back, I feel that I haven’t been the best that I can be and I have so much more to do. My responsibilities are all on my shoulders, resting heavily, just waiting to be done. As the days past, the weight becomes heavier, and I know I will drown in them if I procrastinate.

You know Allah is rewarding you when He moves your heart or your body to do something that reminds you about Him. Yesterday, I rewarded myself with a few minutes of lecture by Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki in the car. His lectures are long, and I usually cannot find the time to listen to him unless I am driving alone to a far distance. These are the times where I can concentrate listening to his moving lectures on Death and the Afterlife.  That was my birthday present to myself.

I’ve learnt a lot listening to his lectures. And since it is in English, the messages go deep within, attaches right in the heart. If anyone of you is thinking of self-reformation, go and listen to him. His talks will open your eyes, heart and minds literally. You will look at the world in a different light. His talks can be downloaded online.

Islam is actually beautiful. Those who resist are either ignorant or have been influenced by syaitan to defy the fitrah of mankind. We come from Jannah and our goal is to return back to Jannah to live in for eternity. Allah has promised that those who look for Him will always find Him. It’s just us humans who are egoistic and refrain from looking for Him. We walk with pride on this earth He created as if we do not need Him, when in fact He is the reason we exist.

Yes, my birthday this year is different from all the other years. I see changes in myself that I am proud of. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any weaknesses that I need to overcome or improve. Whatever it is, please keep praying for me.

Pray that Allah allow me to complete my amal, to ease my journey on earth and most importantly in the hereafter. Pray that Allah ease my journey during Hisab, during Mizan and on the titian Sirat. Pray that we will all be reunited in Jannah with our family and friends.

Most importantly, pray that we are always reminded of Allah in every step of our lives and that we are constantly in Allah’s embrace. I always pray that Allah hug me tightly and never let me go. That’s my source of inspiration. It gives me strength and cleanses the heart.

Try it. It’ll make wonders towards feeling Allah’s love :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Further Studies? No Money!

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Feedback! Wohoo! I thrive for feedback. It’s sort of like proof that what you write matters and was important enough for others to start a conversation over, or ask questions. Thank you for the questions, I’ll answer them as best I can.

I should state that I am writing from UTM’s perspective, and these posts about further studies are not aimed as a way to promote my university. Hehe. It’s solely for the purpose of spreading out the information to those interested. I’m stressing out the fact that there might be other universities (local or overseas) that will be able to better equip you in our studies or are better suited with your lifestyle, etc2. However, I am writing about the opportunities available in my university. The choice is totally up to you.

One thing people tend to worry about when further studies become an option is funding. Yes, everyone needs money. And with a spouse and a couple of kids, we cannot just simply decide to quit our job and do fulltime study. It will affect the income of your family drastically, thus affect you personally. If you have a desire to further your studies for whatever reason (maybe to put you on a higher salary scale, or to change to a better job that needs higher qualifications, or just for the sake of wanting more knowledge), think it thru before doing any extreme decisions. Do you have funding, if not, where should I get it from?

If you have money of your own, go ahead and use it for studying. With your own money, there won’t be any hassle of debt and paying it back. And every cent of money spent for a good cause, every cent for the sake of Allah and ibadah, Allah will reward handsomely on the Day of Judgment. So what do you have to lose? Invest your money for benefit in the Hereafter.

If you don’t have money, there are a few options you can go for. First is MyBrain15, an initiative by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. As a huge push and encouragement towards higher education, this is one initiative by the government that you should take advantage of. And the best part is, they will support you till the end of your studies. But I should warn you that you will need to fill in the application and submit the required documents very carefully. A simple mistake will result in rejected application. And with the reputations of a high success rate for approval, the only reason one might be rejected is a few mistakes during the application and the documents. So be careful there ok. Just a tip *wink*

For more information of MyBrain15, click here.

Second is MARA. I am unclear of the terms and conditions for applying, so I suggest you go and browse the MARA website for more information. But they do give scholarships and loans for further studies.

Third is Research Grant. This one is only relevant for research-based masters. Most researchers (i.e. Professors, Doctors, Lecturers) that are active in research or are doing on-going research have their own grant money to spend for research. And they will have a certain amount of funding for appointing Research Officers or Research Assistants that will help in their research. These researchers are usually looking for masters students to fund. So look for lecturers that are in your area of study, look into what research they are doing and see if it relates to your interest. If it does, then contact them and ask personally about the opportunities for further studies. Researches nowadays are very friendly and they encourage those that have enthusiasm. In fact, they invite them. So there is nothing to lose. However, the grant is usually based on availability. So you have to ask carefully.

But just a reminder, research is a tough journey and you need to love what you are doing. Do not compromise on what you want to research on. It has to be your choice. If not, you will feel so stressed out that it is not even worth the trouble.

Ok what else.. let’s see..

UTM offers a few funding schemes that you can also go for, most of them for research-based masters. One of them is Zamalah. Zamalah is sort of like MyBrain15, but it is a University initiative for those who are not able to get other fundings. Application for Zamalah can be done, but the funding will only be per year basis. And the catch is, you will need to produce high impact journal papers in order to extend the funding. Which means that, by the end of the year, you will need to reapply with a backup of papers so that they will renew the funding for another year. But I must say, the monthly allowance is awesome. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, you will have to teach undergrad students for about 3 hours per week.

Another scheme UTM offers is the Teaching Assistant Scheme. The requirements are you need to be a post grad student and do not have any other form of funding. They will give you a few hours of classes to teach (based on your expertise) per week and pay you RM50 per hour. This scheme is opened for both local and international students.

Others means you can target in terms of funding is applying for an external research grant yourself (or with the help of your supervisor). Again, this is for research-based masters. If  your research is of a new area, or the outcome will be beneficial to a certain industry or company, you can always apply for research grants. Identify your research and look for available grants in the industry. Big companies like Shell, Intel, Motorola, etc. And organisations (either government or private or NGOs) have their own allocation for research. But the catch is, you will need to share the findings with them and whatever you come up with will have to benefit them.

Apart from that, if you have wealthy parents, you can always ‘apply’ for Pa&Ma Scholarship. Hehhe.

So there is no excuse of not having the resources. All you were lacking before this is knowledge. The opportunities out there are endless. All you have to do is ask yourself if you really want it or not. 

Ok, I hope this post will give you a broader view of what is actually in store for you out there. looks like I’ll be doing a series of posts like this. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or msg me personally on FB. InsyaAllah, if I find the time, I will answer them as best I can.

Next post will be about “Selecting Your Supervisors” :D 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Masters? MPhil? PhD? Which to Choose?

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

I was attending a meeting yesterday when Sakinah asked me a question about further studies. And since conversation during a meeting isn’t something you can really do (or should do for that matter, hehe),  I sensed some unanswered questions and a lingering curiosity from Sakinah’s side.

So as requested by Sakinah, Im writing a post concerning furthering studies. A few simple questions that may come up when you think about doing post graduate studies; Should I? Is it hard? What is expected of me? Should I do taught course or research? Should I go for MPhil/Fast track or just stick to Masters first?

Yes, well I’ve been thru a bunch of these similar questions. So let me give out a few pointers to those out there who have intentions of going thru this journey.

During my final year of degree, I was asked by the Vice President of my University (other universities call them TNC) about my 5 year plan. He specifically requested to come into our class to talk to us. And I guess he wanted to see where our minds were and where our visions were focused on since we were nearly at the end of the road.

When Prof. Abu asked me, I already had a goal in mind. I wanted to be a lecturer. Therefore, I will need my PhD. Prof. Abu doesn’t really know many names. But unfortunately for me, he knew mine (He kinda reminds me of my dad. So I’m partiality fond of him, and I always talk to him since I was a Student Council Representative. Which explains why he knows me. Hehhehe). Anywaaaay, I was among the first people he asked.

My answer was full of confidence. In five years, I see myself either already with or doing my PhD. Determination and confidence was oozing out of me. Hahaha. And yes, I was certain I would be able to do it.

Confidence. Certainty. Two of the things you need. The other important element of the overall sum is knowledge. You need to find out a few things about the what, where, why and how of things.

First of all, to those who want to go into post grad studies, I say “Go ahead and do it!” Islam encourages us to pursue knowledge till our last breath. And if you see it as a good opportunity to contribute to Islam, then by all means, here’s the application letter!

We are in need of many scholars especially for the development of Islam itself. Knowledge leads to influence, influence leads to listeners, and listeners lead to followers. In this era where qualifications are so important to the general population, more qualified Muslims are needed. The higher the qualification the more respect one gets and the more people believe what one says.

There are 2 different types of Masters Studies; Taught course and Research-based. Majority of people take the taught course. Very very few are adventurous enough to jump into research. When it comes to taught course masters, basically it is 2 years of going to minimum classes and by the end of the duration, there will also be a short research you will need to come out with and present. When one says research-based, then I assume everyone would understand that it’s 100% research.

If I am asked which one is easier, I’ll reply in saying “There is nothing ‘easy’ about Post Grad Studies”. Both approaches have its advantages and disadvantages. But both come with its list of challengers as well.

For those who would like to venture into a new field of study unrelated to their degrees, I advise going for taught course masters. Because for one, you will be entering a new major, something you only have minimal knowledge of and your foundation might be very rocky. And with the really basic familiarity to research and its processes, you need the extra classes. You need to learn more in order to produce more. If you feel like your base isn’t as concrete, again, go for taught courses.

The concept is the same as doing your Diploma. Most people skip this stage and go for Degree, but they end up getting a shock of their lives at how different the new way of requiring knowledge is. Some cannot cope. Those who go thru Diploma get a longer time to set up their basic skills and knowledge before going thru degree. But once they go thru it, they grasp concepts much faster because of their strong initial understanding.

From High School straight to Degree, well, people do survive it. Why? Because these people are able to adapt to their situation in a short period of time.

If you are confident enough to take Research-based Masters head on, and you have a high degree of discipline, I say “You Rock! Go for it!” Also, it matters that you were serious when you did your Final Year Project.

Most scholarships only support research-based masters because of the end results. When you do any type of research, in the end you will come up with new knowledge or new application of certain knowledge. Therefore, your contribution will be acknowledged.

Again, it is all based on you. How far you want to go and how far you are willing to sacrifice.
Now PhD. That is a different matter altogether. Haha.

Between Masters and PhD, there is this thing called MPhil (Master of Philosophy). MPhil is a phase where you do research and after a few months of it, you will be evaluated to see if it can be upgraded to PhD or downgraded to Masters. In UTM, it’s called Fast Track. So if your research is good enough and reaches the level of PhD, then you will have the opportunity to skip that phase and go for the short cut. A 3.5 and above CGPA is one of the requirements for MPhil applications.

If you already have a Masters Degree, then ofkos you can straight away go for your PhD. Those in this category don’t usually have problem adjusting. It’s the Fast track ones who encounter a loooooooong list of tough challenges.

During the first year of PhD, if people asked me “How’s your PhD going? I was thinking of going for it as well” I’d answer “Its ok. Eh, sure. You really should!” Now.. If people tell me they want to do PhD, I’ll stop them and ask “Are you sure you wanna do PhD?”

But we will talk about that in another post. Hehe.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tough Love in Learning

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Hello people.

Four weeks was a long time to finally find myself again. There are no simple solutions. Whoever thinks like that is actually still living in the clouds, an alternate reality. Some did give me religious alternatives such as strengthen my bond and relationship with Allah Taala. Even though that is the best and only way to get peace of mind, everyone must understand that sometimes, it's more complicated than that. A relationship with Allah is the most important relationship you can ever have. Trust Him and everything will be fine. But again, sometimes everything is so much more complex. Blind trust without effort is foolish because Allah doesn't reward results, He rewards effort. The problem I was having was I didn't know what to do in terms of the effort part.

Alhamdulillah for the past 2 days, a lot of things have changed. After writing out my fears and feelings, I realised that I was finally able to explain and put my feelings into words. Before this, it was all stuck in my head. And without any outlet, without putting them into words, they were only just feelings. Nothing more. But feelings are dangerous to have when it's negative. Because it will eat away at you. Believe me. I know.

The next step I did was see my supervisor. And I have to humbly say that my supervisor rocks. She is so cool and supportive that I spent the whole time just crying my eyeballs out, whilst all she had for me were words of encouragement. She explained to me a lot of things that I could relate to.

Humans were created in a unique way where everything has its purpose and its use. Allah also created us as those who thrive for proof. That was why there are existence of mu'jizat. Every single group of people that ever existed where given a Prophet that called them to worship Allah Taala, and each Prophet were given special mu'jizat as proof of a higher power. Which is why, till this day, we cannot simply just accept a saying or a statement without the proper proof or evidence.

I also needed that. When it came to my feeling of loss and stupidity, I needed someone to tell me something to counter that feeling. Which Alhamdulillah my super awesome supervisor did by explaining to me that what I'm going thru is a process of learning that everyone goes thru. She drew me a diagram of two theories that supported what she was saying and explained in which level I was in and how it is a norm for people to find it difficult.

It was such a relief to hear that. I heard myself sigh in relief, knowing that other people also have difficulties in the same phase of learning. Learning is always hard at some point in time, and she told me how jumping from degree to PhD might have been the reason why I felt so lost. Without the proper exposure to the research process before this, and suddenly being thrown into the PhD battle field with no preparations or weapons. With expectations being so high, that was the reason why I broke down and didn't know how to mend myself back. Alhamdulillah I was so relieved.

She also said that it's normal in this stage of learning to feeling stupid and feel like you don't know what the heck you are doing. And hearing her own experience and experiences of her other students whom have shed buckets full of tears, I didn't feel so alone anymore. I didn't feel like I was a useless case and that I was the only one who felt that way. Before this, I couldn't understand why my self confidence was shattered when I used to be so certain. I was brave and pushed thru when times were tough. But this time, I feel hopelessly stupid.

Today, I was able to come to class and face people. I went to lunch with a friend and shared some of my concerns, and Subahanallah how good that felt. Slowly but assuredly, I feel I'm becoming myself again.

However, please don't stop praying for me.

PhD is hard. Seriously hard. And it is a process of maturity in all sense. Maturity in knowledge, in self worth, in self-confidence, in the process of thinking and process of viewing the world. And most importantly, it's the maturity in maturity. Everyone doing PhD will go thru a series of weak phases and weak spots. And I finally understand that these weak phases are really really tough. I have only gone thru one, and I have a lot more along the journey. And with each weak phase we go thru, the more we grow as a person, the more deserving we are in getting the honour of the title Doctor of Philosophy. Philosophy. That's a tough word to actually understand.

I have been reminded countless times of how not just anyone can go thru PhD. Not everyone is willing to go all the way and not everyone can reach the maturity needed. I pray and pray and hope that I am one of the deserving. Allah put me on this path for a reason. I know I am here for something. So I need to be strong. My supervisor said to me "You can cry all you want. But at the end of the day, when all your tears are spent, you have to be strong and move on thru all the pain you feel. No matter how uncomfortable and painful you are at that moment, just shove thru it and fight on".

MashaAllah. What an eye opener. Thank you Allah.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Cry for Help

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Hello people.

It took me a while to actually be brave enough to start writing this post. I couldn't decide if it was a wise idea or a step that I will regret later in the future. But this has been going on for a while and I know I need help.

Vulnerability can be seen as many different things. Some see it as a weakness, some see it as a phase in life we go thru every now and then, others see it as a way to get back at you. I guess this was my fear.

I am in a very vulnerable place right now emotionally. I don't know how to express it verbally, so Im taking the chance to write whatever comes to mind to see where it leads and figure out what is wrong with me.

For the past 4 weeks, I have been keeping to myself a lot. I'll admit that it is a kind of hiding. I havent been out of the house very much. I don't want to. I can't seem to make myself do anything. I can't do work, I can't function properly, I can't study, I can't concentrate on studies, I can't seem to be able to even plan.

So I find myself doing other things like cooking. Because Im good at it.

Its like everything I try to touch, everything I try to do is doomed to fail and Im going to fall flat on my face miserably. I have fallen in this deep black hole and I don't know how to climb back up. My confidence is at a super low and I can't find anything that can motivate me back up. And the dark is starting to scare me.

I used to have a lot of things happening in my life. My dakwah work, my business, my studies. There was a time where I was able to juggle responsibilities without a hassle. I reached deadlines, I performed with flying colours and I loved what I was doing. But right now, all three things are crumbling down at my feet and I don't know why.

I've cried myself to sleep numerous times, I've had this feeling that I need to do better and make plans tons of time. But when I try to start, I stare at whatever I was trying to write for a few minutes and stop. Then I start to worry and find something to distract myself from worrying or thinking. I watch TV or I cook.

Friends close to me might have noticed my absence. I havent been talking much. I havent been updating my status much. The only things I write on FB are motivational words that I read every single day and that have direct translation of my emotional state. I closed my FB chat because I don't want to talk to anyone. I haven't seen people lately. I don't go to public gatherings or public programmes. I have been keeping very quiet.

Sometimes I ask myself, "Doesn't anyone notice? Doesn't anyone care?"

I am NOT this person. I am outgoing and I love to talk. Ask anyone that knows me. But why have I become like this? What's going on?

There are days where I can't get myself up from bed. Im not sick but I feel sick. And there are times when I can't find anything to distract me, so I sleep to forget whatever was upsetting me. I feel alone and sad and pathetic.

I feel like Im failing in everything in my life right now. I don't know what's going to happen to my business right now. I hate what money has made me become.

My studies used to be the one thing I was good at. The one thing that I was confident with. But now..? I have no idea anymore where it's going. Im going into my 5th semester and I still feel like I've done nothing. Like I don't really know what Im doing.

So when my one strong lifeline for motivation starts crumbling down, all the rest start deteriorating as well. Im scared and Im angry at myself.

I cry coz I get scolded for small things that leaves a deep impact in me. Its as if it's proof that Im as pathetic and useless as I think I am. Everything I do is wrong. My plans are wrong, my actions are wrong. And it makes me fall deeper and deeper into the ravine I've fallen in.

I feel like I've disappointed every one. My parents, my siblings, my friends, my supervisor. And that stings right to the very core of me. I fear of people thinking the worst in me, I fear I'll be left out, a failure, a cast off.

I'm hurting and I don't know why. I'm sad but I don't know why. I feel like everything is so overwhelming that I don't know what to do anymore, so I don't do it coz I know the outcome won't be good. Whenever I try to start, something holds me back.

Everyone has bad days. I've had my share of bad days, but I've always been able to pick myself up. But this time around, something is different and I'm scared.

I'm scared I've lost my chances in my studies. I'm scared I've given up a good opportunity. I was the one who wanted it for such a long time. So I don't understand why when I finally get the chance, with all the resources around me, with all the great contacts and with the grant I was awarded, I suddenly feel terrible and feel like I'm not going to be able to cope. I know Im stronger than this. I know I am.

My supervisor told me that I should talk about my problems. But Im not that kind of talker. I have good and reliable friends. I have a supportive and loving family. I have no doubts about all that. And I do talk. But Im not good at talking about my negative feelings. Im not good at talking face to face with people when it comes to my failures, my achievements, my fears. I don't want to talk about it. So Im writing.

If someone asked me if I'm ok, I'll honestly say Im not. Im not ok. I feel myself running away rather than face whatever problem that is bugging me. I find myself thinking of any form of distraction for me to concentrate on rather than sit down and face it head on. I find myself coming up with all kinds of excuses rather than actually doing it. I know this. I realise this. But why can't I do something about it?

Ya Allah, please help me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pride and Prejudice

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Good Evening everyone. I am here again, writing again, just before bed, again. I have to admit that it is very hard to concentrate on tripling your ibadah in the 10 last days of Ramadhan when you are allowed 'rest' time for a week. You find you still want to wake up for qiam, but frustrated because you can't do the most closest thing there is to be near Allah -- Solah. Reading the Al-Quran is one of the most powerful healing practices there is, and yet even that you cannot do. *Sigh* Somehow or rather, you have this feeling that you are so far away from Allah. Yet you know, there is always a hikmah behind whatever happens. So I am grateful nonetheless.

So as an alternative to be closer to Allah, I am writing about Him and writing about Islam. May Allah reward me for my efforts.

Being a student has certain advantages, especially when you can converse fluently in English. I've had my fair share of overseas experiences when I was a child -- which explains the writing. But when it comes to conversing with international people during adulthood, I haven't so much to brag about.

I can honestly say that I didn't have even a handful of international friends during high school. After graduating from the.. what word should I use.. ah yes.. After graduating from 5 years of the most stressful and.. let's just say I did NOT enjoy my high school days. After high school, I  made friends with a Pakistani origin guy from the US named Ashraf. He was in the US for studies. Good pen pal. But we lost touch when I finally entered university.

During Uni, hmmm we didn't have any international students at our campus. Most of them were Malays. Even though we were an English medium university, that meant that I only spoke with my awesome English lecturers, and ofkos during presentations. Other than that.. nada.

After graduating, I went to Australia for 3 months and it was awesome I tell you. English alllll the way. Even got the chance to converse with native speakers! :D It was proof my English was understandable.

Hey, if you're judging me right now, shame on you. Im not bragging. Im just starting the post from way back when so you'll understand later. And you can't blame me because my first official learning language was English.

And don't anyone DARE say that speaking in English is proof of how 'influenced' one is with western culture. Those who think that doesn't appreciate the beauty of multiple languages, and is questioning Allah's beautiful creation of language. Why on earth would one question and judge based on that. Tepuk dada tanya Iman.

Ok back to the story.

When finally given the chance to further my studies, I was exposed to all sorts of International students. No matter how we try to avoid it, we still define a person's intelligence with their English. If one is able to master English and speak, write fluently, then they MUST be of high intelligence. This situation is in Malaysia ofkos. But that isn't really true. Although I have to admit I kinda think a little like that when it comes to students. Why? Because for countries whose national language is not English, then these students must put in extra effort to  master a totally different language. Don't you agree?

As a post grad student, there is a NEED to be good in English. With all the international conferences, and thesis writing, and journal papers to read, and international experts to consult, you cannot run from it no matter how hard you try. This is also the time to build good reputation and network with fellow students (future experts). Which is why we should practice good conversing, always be in a positive attitude and most importantly be friendly by being generous with smiles.

I was invited to attend an iftar for a Muslim networking group named SDNLC (Science Development Network Leadership Centre) in UTM. It is a fairly new official Muslim group with the purpose of gathering future Muslim experts in Science, Engineering, etc so that we will work together in upholding and restoring the Ummah. That's one of the goals InsyaAllah. Would you believe that 16 members of SDNLC are hafiz? I was pleasantly surprised. And proud. These young huffaz were also learning to become engineers. MashaAllah!

Majority of the members were international students. There were students from Uganda, Nigeria, Yamen, Saudi Arabia, and so many more! During this Iftar, I made some new friends. One of them is Hidayah from Uganda (the only girl there).

Ayah always says that my PR is good. Alhamdulillah, I guess I have a nick at it. Ha ha. Well, not all the time. But when I feel like it, I'd do my best to be as friendly and as interesting as possible. hehhe. Oh come on, don't tell me you don't have days where all you wanna do is be alone. You wanna know my secret? Its sincerity. You have to be genuinely interested to know the answer to a question when you ask it. You have to be sincere in actually wanting to be friends with someone. Faking doesn't work one bit.

I have to admit that, majority of post grad students are friendly. I guess it comes with age. And alhamdulillah, conversation was not a problem. But what got me really concerned was what Hidayah told us.

It was surprising to hear her complain about how annoying Malaysian girls are at smiling. At first I didn't understand, but when she finally brought up the experiences she went thru during her stay here in Malaysia, I felt so ashamed of my race.

What kind of prejudice does one have of international students that they have the audacity to ignore a fellow sister in Islam? Ignoring her when she asks questions, avoiding her and not even smiling when you bump into each other in the corridor. Astaghfirullahalazim. And you call yourselves Muslims?

Islam is for everyone! No matter what race, no matter the colour of one's skin, no matter what language one speaks and no matter where in the world one comes from. Islam is for all. It is syumul and beautiful. And when one says Syahadah, then straight away they are part of this awesome and special family of brothers and sisters who have a stronger bond compared to relation of blood. Therefore, such attitude and treatment of a fellow sister is unacceptable!

All I can say and conclude is that people who have prejudice and preconception of others without trying to get to know them, well.. these people don't really understand the meaning of Ukhuwah. And I pity them with all of my heart.

So my fellow Malay girls.. If for instance, when a fellow Muslim asks you a question in a language you are not fluent in, all you have to do is smile and layan her as best you can. Just try to be empathetic. How would you feel if you went to a foreign country and conversing with the locals is super hard. How would you want people there to treat you? Be polite for God's sake. If you really don't understand, then just say so. Don't just ignore them and walk away. We as Muslim were taught to be polite and to treat fellow Muslims with respect.

Again, I feel so ashamed. With all the bad experience she had with most of the Malay girls, she was surprised how well she was able to get along with us during Iftar.

Girls, DO NOT be the cause of such things. Be the GOOD in the world. Act as MUSLIMS. Compared to the whole world, we are but a speck of dust. Maybe even smaller than that. Too much pride will bring you no where. Don't think for a second that you will go far with that kind of attitude. You are a nobody if you do not have good akhlak. Being Malay is nothing. It doesn't guarantee you do go to Jannah. Being a good Muslim does. So, throw away such pride of being a certain race.

May Allah forgive us all for all the disrespectful things we may have done during our lives. Because to gain the love and Rahmah of Allah, we must also take care of our relationship with fellow humans.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh. Im just angry and ashamed.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Real You

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Salam Ramadhan everyone. I have been procrastinating a lot of things for quite a while and suddenly you'd realise how time flies by just like that. This blog of mine has been ignored for some time now and I see the need to make it lively again. Ever heard the saying "Guests bring Barakah when they come to visit?". I see the same thing when it comes to blogs. Don't get me wrong, this is not a quest to see how many visitors I have, it is not a competition to see who has the top ranking. This is my vision and my effort in spreading Islam thru my writing, with hope that whatever is written and read will bring some benefit to those who are interested to learn.

Rasulullah s.a.w said:
"When Ramadhan comes, the gates of Jannah are opened and the gates of hell are closed, and the devils are put into chains" (Sahih Bukhari Wa Muslim)

It is the 21st night of Ramadhan today. So are we all ready for the 10 last days of Ramadhan?

I think Ramadhan can bring only two things in people; either it brings the best in people, or the worst. We've heard so many talks and tazkirah when it comes to Ramadhan, but we can never say that we've heard enough. Therefore, I see the need to do a post on Ramadhan as well.

It's pretty hard to describe how awesome and marvelous Ramadhan makes you feel. Without syaitan around, you finally get the chance to know your own self. The real you -- without any influence from our enemy. Ramadhan is a time where you do things based on what you want, how you want, with reasons only you can choose. With the freedom Allah has given us on this blessed month, what have we done with it?

Four weeks isn't really a very long time. Pretty short I tell you. I can't even believe we are already in our last 10 days of Ramadhan.

Sometimes, we forget how fortunate we are. We forget how much Allah really loves us. We forget that Ramadhan is Allah's special gift to his faithful servants. We forget that Ramadhan isn't a burden, it is a reward to those who take advantage of it's precious time.

Let us really reflect (me included), how have we spent our Ramadhan this year? Are there significant changes from last year? Have we been doing more good deeds, more ibadah this year compared to last year?

Let us not be those who do not get the chance to feel the beauty and specialty of Ramadhan. Let us be those who cry when praying, who cry when talking to Allah, who cry when asking forgiveness from Him. We will feel Allah's love for us if we really open our hearts and our minds to whatever surrounds us. Let His love envelope you.

I got the privilege and honor to join a qiamullail organised by IKRAM Johor and Aqsa Syarif last week, featuring one of the young Imams from Gaza. And MashaAllah, I have no words to describe how extraordinary the experience was. The first time Imam Taha started reciting during solah, I was transported back to Makkah. I could feel being in front of Kaabah and praying. The feeling that seeped into me was the exact feeling I had during the days I prayed at Masjidil Haram. MashaAllah.

The first 2 rakaat, Imam Taha read surah Qaf. He read it so beautifully. When I closed my eyes, I imagined myself back in front of the Kaabah, feeling so close to Allah Taala. Oh how I miss that feeling. How Imam Taha read that surah with such feeling, made my heart skip a few beats. I found myself crying just like I cried when the Imams in Masjidil Haram made me cry. It was as if my heart knew the meanings of the ayahs being read, even though my ears didn't understand them. Oh how beautiful the workings of Allah.

After two rakaats, we were read back the meanings of the ayahs in Malay. And I finally understood why it made me cry. What a wonderful and moving surah. Such an eye opener.

For the last rakaat for the next solah, Imam Taha read doa qunut nazilah, and Subahanallah.. Even though the doa took 25 minutes, I cried to every bit of it. Alhamdulillah I know a little bit of Arabic, I understood the doa, and my God, how it went into my heart and stayed there. I haven't cried that much in ages. And Im so grateful to Allah for such an opportunity. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah.

I miss feeling so close to Allah. Sometimes, there are days where I feel so far away and I know it's all my fault. It's Allah's love that never dies. He will always be there no matter how bad we feel, no matter how bad we have been. Allah will never abandon us. It is us that always forgets Him. Nauzubillahi min zalik.

Come on folks, there is still 10 days to go. Let's fight hard for Lailatul Qadr. We are the ones who will regret it if we don't try. So let us try. Allah will reward us for our efforts, insyaAllah.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Questioning Yourself

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Sometimes, when Im sitting all alone. Or Im driving by myself, my mind goes flying away on its own without my permission. Like right now. Im all alone in my room, on the bed, with the laptop in front of me. Having had crammed my way thru the past two weeks with research, I just can't go on with it right now. I just want to think about other things. I just want to do something that will make me happy again. But I always torture myself by doing the opposite.

Sometimes I wonder.. where is my life going? What is going to happen in the next 5 years? Am I really on the right track? Don't get me wrong, I have no doubts whatsoever with my religion. I don't doubt my responsibilities as a Muslimah. And I don't doubt the necessity to be an agent of dakwah.

My questions are concerning the 'other' part of my life. The dunya part.

I was once questioned about my decision to further my studies. My niat was questioned, and I did falter a bit. "Why on earth do you want to do your PhD? Why do you want to torture yourself for 4 more years just to get approval from men?" "Why do you want to prove yourself worthy when you know you can work, get money and still be happy" Why why why.

People questioned my motive, they questioned my sincerity, and they questioned what good it would do for whatever cause.

Acknowledging the importance of Islamic scholars and how important they are to the development of Islam, and putting that explanation aside, I'm going to give you my opinions on this matter.

I always thought that education was something people treasured no matter in what segment of time. I thought education and knowledge was something precious and those who were given opportunities to learn were those who are the chosen ones. Not many are given this opportunity, so those who got to do it were special in some way or another.

Reading about history, there were times where communities refrained females from education. They were not allowed to be too smart. Females who were knowledgeable were told to keep their mouths shut, and act dumb so that the males don't feel threatened by them. They were told to pet the man's ego by acting like they didn't understand the 'language' of men.

Females in the old English times were mainly treated like they were important for one thing. Marriage. And the community branded in their heads that intelligent women don't get good marriages because they will always be rejected by men who are threatened by them.

Now I ask you readers to come back to this time. Do you think the same thing is happening today in our 'modernised' world where the importance of higher-order-thinking skills are stressed upon? And the higher the qualification, the higher respect they are given?

I say yes.

I am talking from my own experience, so I'm very glad if there are others out there who do not agree with me.

When I first got the news that I was accepted to further my studies, I was beyond ecstatic. I was so excited to share my news with everyone. Being in an era that puts importance in education, I expected that people would be as excited as I was. Don't get me wrong, many were happy for me. But there were those who gave me reactions beyond what I expected.

"Laaa.. kenape sambung study lagi? Brape lama lagi tu? Tak nak kawen ke?"
(Translation: "Whaaaat? Why are u furthering your studies? How long is that going to take? Don't you want to get married?")

I was speechless.

And then there were times when people say to me how difficult it would be for me to find a life partner who is sekufu with me. "Adoi, lagi susah la awk nak cari laki" (Translation: "You're gonna have a harder time finding a mate")

I have also had the experience of being rejected by men who backed off when they knew I was doing my PhD. And the reaction from people were "Ha, tu laa. Sape suruh sambung blajar" (Translation: "Serves you right, who told you to go further your studies")

Why do I feel like PhD is an word that people are allergic with when the person doing PhD is a female who is single? It's as if it's not the right way to go and females who actually choose that path will be condemned and put aside. It's as if they will be given the cold shoulder and cast aside when men are looking for prospective life partners.

That is when you start questioning how worthy you are and start looking for all your faults as if all of it is your fault.

And you still say the view of the world on females and education have changed? Seriously?

After so many negative responses, you cannot expect a lady to not be a little offended and a little affected by what people say. Reluctantly, you start questioning your life and the path you decided to take. And you have this sudden urge to just leave everything and quit.

Today is one of those days. Today was a tough day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Guilty Pleasures

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Hey everyone :) How's everyone hanging? Hope everybody is fine and well. Yeah, yeah I havent been updating. No one knows better than me. Im sorry. Im way out of my schedule right now, but you know what, I need a break anyway. So here goes.

Previous posts have been pretty darn serious ey? So Im going to write something way waaaay different today.. tehee.. :P Oh come on, Muslimah are just the same as any other female. We have high ups and really low downs. We might have different ways in handling our problems, and accepting destiny, and ibadah, and aurat, and... oh ok ok.. There are some very marginal differences, but we are still similar in most areas.

So, what Im going to do today is.. I'm going to list down 10 guilty pleasures of mine.. Interested to know? Keep reading y'all.. Oh ye, they are NOT in order of preference ok. hehe. This is just a random and somewhat bizarre idea I had. Ah, I might need to warn you that this post is result from lots and lots of coffee. Ever seen the story The Robinson's? Remember the judge for the science fair? How hyper she was? Ahaaa.. which is why you see me writing in a way, so unlike me. Hehe.

Ok, so 10 of my guilty pleasures that you might not know about me.

1. Book reading while lying on the bed

Yup I know it's not good for the eyes. But.. I love it. Mak has been reminding me not to, for as long as I can remember, but I can't really kick the habit.

And most of the time, if Im not that tired, I just read until I find myself nodding off. That's the only time I would just put the book down, and switch off the lights.

2. Finding a piece of paper and practice my cursive writing

I've always had this thing for cursive writing. The interest in old English culture and reading them in books, seeing how they write the most beautiful cursive writing has always made me envious.

So what I do is just write down whatever I am listening to, or watching. If it's a song, I'll write down the lyrics, if I'm re-watching a movie, I write down the dialog. And well, I'm hoping my cursive writing has improved. Hehehe..

3. Shoes! Shoes! And Boots!

Hehhe.. If you ask my younger sisters, they would say.. Laaa.. kasut lagi. Yeah, I love shoes. And when I say shoes, I mean the ones that cover everywhere. Not sandles, not flip flops, etc. Shoes. I especially love black boots.

But having feet my size, shoe hunting isn't really something I look forward to. And the money I have to spend on a decent pair of shoes.. oh my.. So I rarely do it, but I LOVE doing it.

I still remember bringing the boots trend to my campus. Who doesn't love a good boot. It makes you look smart with whatever attire you are wearing!

4. Baskin Robbin's Mint Ice Cream

Ahh yes.. Absolutely delicious. I don't remember when I started liking mint ice cream, but oh so yummmmmmyy. Now I can't get enough of it.

I remember that mak was the only one who liked mint ice cream when we were small. We kept saying that Mak makan Colgate. Hehhe.. I guess, when u were little, the rainbowy colours are more attractive, and you tend to go for the sweet.

Now..? I do have a sweet tooth, but not as intense as before. Now, mild is so much better. So, anyone who wants to make my day, buy me some mint ice cream, preferably BR.. and preferably on Pink Day! 1/2 price!

5. Arnott's Shapes! 

 Those who LOVE pizza, but want something less full.. then you definitely have to try this. Those who know any Arnott products will agree with me, saying that Arnott's have the best flavours!

Shapes pizza is one of my favourite things of all time. I cannot get enough of it. Thank goodness it's hard to find in JB. Im sure in KL there are tons to go around. But in JB.. those who want to try.. go look around at Aeon Bukit Indah supermarket. In the biscuits section. Usually on the bottom shelf.

But again, they have limited stock. Don't be too disappointed if you don't find it. I have a hard time getting my hands on them too. But if there is no stock, maybe it's becoz I usually buy them all at once! hehhe..

6. Babies! hahahhha

I cannot resist babies. The cute, plump, adorable babies. I cannot resist just getting a hold on them from their moms. Well ofkos I don't just go and attack a stranger's baby. I usually go to those I know and always find a way to hold them and play with them.

I especially love the fact that they end up sleeping on me. Hehehhe.. Oh well, with cushions everywhere, it's irresistible I guess! hahha

I've been into small kids since I was also a kid. I tot maybe I'd grow out of it, but noooooo.. it's still there. Hehhe..

Thauban, siap la awk nanti time balik this weekend. Habis laaaa.. (that's my nephew by the way. The picture)

7. Belting out in the Car

Hehehhehhehe.. yes I do this. Im a confessed singing driver. Hehhehe.. Well, at least it's not in the shower.

I particularly like it when I'm on my own, just listening to favourite songs and just belting it out. Haha.

Never knew this about me? Oh well, now you do. You ask if I have a good voice? I seriously do not know. Hahha. But I won't be singing in front of anyone anytime soon. Hahahha..

8. Staying up to watch back-to-back series

When you have a bunch of good series in your hard disk, the back-to-back thingy cannot be helped. Hehe..

I don't do this all the time, but sometimes, when excitement overpowers the tiredness, then you will end up just finishing the series.

This also happens when I get a good book! Hahha.. It's a good thing it doesn't happen that often. If I have a good movie or a series, but no time, I just leave it for another time.

You don't want to start something when ur schedule is full to the max. haha

9. Grocery Shopping!

Believe it or not.. I actually like shopping for groceries. Hehehe.. Im such a weirdo aren't I. Hehhe..

I like making the list of things to buy, and finding them. I especially love the idea of thinking what to cook and buying the items for the dish! Hehe. I have no idea why.. but it calms me. MAYBE bcoz I actually like cooking. The rule of the thumb is, no rushing. If it's rushing, the joy just slips away and you become stressed out.

So to my neighbours and friends, if you see me at Jusco, that's bcoz I wanna be there, not becoz kene paksa. Hehhe..

10. A beautiful scenery

Looking at a beautiful scenery with my own eyes will lift my mood any day :)

I used to love sketching. Although Im not very good at scenery sketching, I still loved to try. So anywhere beautiful and peaceful is just perfect. Somewhere calm where all you hear is the wind, and there is green everywhere with different kinds of tones.

I particularly love a scenery with mountains and from a high land where you can see below. Just lovely. I don't need artificial landscapes (I do enjoy them mind you, but nature will do wonders for me).


So ok, those are among my top 10 guilty pleasures. Hehehe. You want to judge, condemn, look at me from a negative point of view, go ahead. I don't mind.

I am but a human with many faults :)

But who wants to live like a robot? Islam is beautiful and never narrow minded. We as Muslims are allowed to do anything, appreciate and love anything, as long as it doesn't breach syara'. So if you are actually getting this judging feeling towards me, istighfar please. Rethink your understanding of Islam.

Peace everyone :) Wassalam

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I miss You

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim,

I used to be a morning person, where I wake up early to do whatever I needed. The most productive time of day for me was during the mornings where a fresh start was the best. But since finishing my undergrad studies, all that changed. Now, I am more productive in the wee hours of the morning. Which is why, those who are also online the same time as me, can see the "green" beside my name, evidence that I am still online.

I guess its easier for me to think without all the distractions. And as I move higher up the ladder of age, and closer to the silence of the grave, thinking becomes a norm whether you like it or not.

It has been a couple of hours sitting in front of the computer pretending to be doing the work I am supposed to do. But since it hasn't really gotten anywhere, I decided to blog. What better use of my time, right? At least Im hoping blogging with let me of the hook from whatever is denying me sleep this night.

When you find the time to reflect on your life and what you have been thru, looking deep within your soul, if you are really honest with yourself, you know that whatever situation of Iman you are in, it is not enough.

Our Iman goes up and down as the minutes pass. And you have to stop lying to yourself in convincing yourself that what you are doing is enough in getting Allah's Rahmah that will lead to Jannatul Firdaus. You are not there yet no matter how good and awesome you think you are.

Wake up dear self! Wake up, because I love you and I want to see us together in Jannah with all our family and friends. Wake up. Please.

We must understand that Allah works in mysterious ways. He works in miracles. Having the ability to cry because of your sins is a blessing granted towards those He chooses. It doesn't come easily. Our heart, whether it be strong-willed or weak, dirty or just shining with Iman is all in Allah's hands. If He doesnt grant it, then it will never happen.

Having left Makkah for a while now, I feel sad that I can no longer remember every experience I had there. I have to really concentrate if I want to re-live whatever I felt there. I feel so ashamed because sometimes I forget the lessons I learnt being in the Holy Lands.

I can honestly say that I miss the feeling of being so close to Allah. I know that that statement is somewhat wrong, because He is always with us every step of our lives if we let Him be with us. But I guess I miss having the atmosphere of not worrying about anything else than the next prayer time in Masjidil Haram.

We hear stories about the hardships one faces in Makkah and Madinah, but personally for me, the hardship lies afterwards, when we come back home. During the time there, we are swept into a bubble of concentration towards our ibadah. Unconsciously, we forget about other things. Everything else seems so unimportant.

But reality hits you in the face when we finally reach home and all the concentration is distracted by matters of dunya. And for me, personally, the hardest thing is to be istiqamah in whatever ibadah we have been doing during the visit to the Holy Lands.

I can honestly say that I understand the concept of khusyuk in solat during my short stay in Makkah. Seeing the Kaabah right in front of you does that. Whatever you say in solat, every word you utter is said with meaning, you cry just saying them. You feel a thud in your heart when you listen to the Imams reading various verses from the Quran during fardhu prayer, and you cry with them when you understand the meanings behind the ayahs. Even when you don't understand, you get emotional anyway because of how they read the ayahs, listening to that catch of breath, that change of tone and the long pauses when they are trying to get control of their emotions. I miss that. So much.

Sometimes you feel so far from Allah eventhough He is right there beside you if you need Him. But we often forget about Him. I often forget about Him. Ya Allah please forgive me. Please.

Yes, our Iman goes up and down. And right now, I am trying to bring mine back up. Thank you Allah for constantly bringing me back to You. For blessing me and surrounding me with people who remind me of You. Thank you Allah for giving my heart the opportunity to make me feel such emotions that lead me back to You. Alhamdulillah. Thank you.

Read this post while listening to this instrumental music. It was my background music when I wrote it.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Live in Reality

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim,

It took me a long time deciding whether I should I write this post or not. But after a long deliberation, I decided I should. And that everyone has their right to their own opinion, therefore, it is not a crime. If freedom of speech is a crime, then we are living in a life where the word freedom isn't used where it should and the belief that we are 'free' is a big fat lie.

There have been so many reports of what happened yesterday. I've heard first hand experiences, second hand, seen pictures that were real, pictures that were fake, true account reports, and falsified ones, and ofkos the report the media wants us to believe.

It baffles me on how people are so quick to believe the media today. We've seen how other countries give falsified reports, we've seen how easy it is to manipulate words, to manipulate videos. We've seen how the west portrays Muslims as terrorists, how they don't really report on what REALLY happened, but show us what they want us to believe.

The reason why the majority of the world are not aware of what is really happening in places like Palestine, Egypt, Africa, Syria is because the news doesnt report it. Secret killings and brutal murders of our fellow Muslims are kept silent, it is kept under wraps because the big countries in power don't want us to know and react. They don't want Muslims to unite and take action.

The media in the west reports only on things that are important to them, that benefit them. Till today, the story on the inhumane killings in Syria is still non-existent. Their way of covering up is so well thought of.

To all those movie lovers, don't tell me that you have never watched conspiracy movies. You see how cover ups are done, you see how the innocent is portrayed as the guilty, you've seen how the innocent are punished for crimes they did not commit. You've seen how easy it is to control a situation where something peaceful is turned into chaos. You've seen this all in movies. How hard do you think it is in reality?

Those who rely 100% on what the media says is a fool. RESEARCH first. Get your facts right before condemning anyone.

It is today where we see how low we can really become when friends insult friends, where family condemn family and where brothers/sister of the SAME Aqidah have pride in violating each other with abusive words.

Today, we see who our friends are.
Today, we see how immature our nation really is
Today, we can separate the ignorant and the well-informed
Today, we really see who is concerned about the future of our country

You should be ashamed. Wake up and live in REALITY. Not what the media wants you to believe

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Why aren't you married yet?"

Bismilllahi Rahmani Rahim

AssalamualaikumWRT WBT

The time has finally come for me to update my blog. You know how your mind is always working, even in sleep? And yet you find it so difficult to translate what your mind thinks into words that people are able to understand.

In my head right now, there are so many things going on that Im having trouble dealing with every single thing. There are so many issues to cater and to acknowledge, but with the time I have in my hands (both hands), sometimes you feel you're drowning with the responsibilities people have put on your shoulders. And from my experience, meeting other people's expectations is really really hard. Especially when the expectations are so high.

This post is rather emotional and VERY controversial. So to the men, don't read if you don't want your egos being put down.

I really dont understand when people keep asking me, or hinting about me getting married. When? When? Any candidates? SubahanAllah, when my patience is running low, I get these impure and horrible thoughts on how to reply or react. Although we are told to be Sabar, there are times when you feel like you've had enough in dealing with people who are plain insensitive.

I don't get it, when married people keep pestering you about why you're not married yet. "Get married quickly", "It's you're turn next", "When will I be able to eat your nasi minyak?".

Why do people think that its so easy?

Guys reading this, I know you'll have this "Oh no, not about marriage again" thought. But lets face it, I write based on experience, and right now is the phase where people keep asking me about marriage. So Im writing on how I personally deal with it. Haha, so I guess you have to bare with me until this phase ends. Im so sorry. Hehe.

My question again, WHY do people think that getting married is SO easy? Its not. N.O.T, not. Finding a good and reliable guy these days is difficult. Why do I say this? Because it's true. And it's not because I am too choosy.

Last Wednesday, I was invited to give a 'motivational' talk to 40 students from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UNIKL) MITEC. The 40 students consisted of those who had pointers of 2.0 and below and were just one step towards getting kicked out if they fail again in their next exams.

When they invited me, I cracked my brain on what to talk about. They told me to just share my experience as a UNIKL graduate, and how I finally got the award for best student from my campus during graduation. So ok, I went with that.

The first thing that surprised me when I met with these students were the quantity of male students in this group. 85% of them were male.

What I want to write about is the attitude they gave me. Im sorry guys, but I have to write this based on my point of view. I am not being bias, I write based on what happened to me.

During the talk,  I gave them a piece of paper to write down 3 factors on why they got the results they got. When they were writing, I went around to see what they wrote. Then I asked a few of them to share what they came up with.

One COMMON factor the guys listed out was MALAS (traslation: Too Lazy). Would you believe that the girls didnt write lazy as their reason? And yet, every single boy wrote it down. When I asked them, what do you mean "too lazy"? They answered either "Im too lazy to wake up in the morning", "Im too lazy because I dont even understand what the lecturers are teaching", or "Im too lazy to go to class". Oh my God.

So I went to the girls and told them to think of their future. I told them that we as females have to have a solid education, that we need to have qualifications, and that we need to have plan B. Why? Because the guys today are hampeh (translation: unreliable, cannot be counted on).  And if for any sort of reason, we will have to feed ourselves, we have to support our children ourselves, then to get a steady job, we need our education.

They girls laughed, and the boys gave me a very vocal reaction. Ofkos their egos were being poked, ofkos they felt challenged by my statement. And yet that was exactly the reaction I was going for.

So I threw back the ball in their court. "Ahh, you deny that guys today are unreliable, and yet you were the ones who admitted that you are too lazy to do anything, that you are too lazy to care about your future, and that you are to lazy to try and work hard. How can you deny it when you just admitted to it a few minutes ago?".

SubahanAllah, that was a hard talk. I know it's difficult to expect instant change of attitude, and the talk I gave might just be another typical motivational talk to them. But I pray that at least they realise that as guys, they can't be complacent. They can't take things for granted.

I know my statement was harsh. I know saying that majority of guys today are all hampeh might be untrue. But lets face it, if we really really want to compare, let us look at the universities. During the conference I attended 2 weeks ago, I was surprised to find that other countries have problems in finding females in furthering their studies. According to the research done by one Prof David Radclif, 70% of the faculty and students in the higher education system are males and only 30% are females. THEIR research is on finding ways to promote education to females in their country. The research paper was longer, but I'll not go into it.

So let us look at Malaysia. Obviously we can see how the females are dominating the seats in universities. No matter the course. Maybe in engineering, the guys still hold on to the record. But slowly, the girls are catching up. If there used to only be 3-4 girls in an engineering course, now you can see almost 12-15 girls.

So where are the guys? People assume that in Malaysia, the females are topping off the males. That there are more females compared to males. But you're wrong. Based on the 2010 census report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, there are 14.56 million males and only 13.77 million females. So, you still think there are less males, therefore that's the reason why the girls are tipping the scales in education? Oh puhlease.

Where on earth are these so called men of Malaysia? I do not want to talk about the already married, already steady career men. These guys are fine, they contribute to the society and they are proven to be reliable (not all, but you get the picture). I am talking about the middle aged youngsters. The youth who are no where to be seen, who don't have jobs, no education. WHY are they not in universities, where are they? Why don't we see them in Masjids, why don't we see them teaching, why don't we see them doing good in the community?

I am so sad. I guess the two programmes I went to this week has brought on this frustration. The first was when I met the university kids. The second, was the teenagers from a school near my house. IKRAM Youth Johor was invited to give a slot to 80 form 3 kids who were among the best students in the school. They were the cream of the cream. They were the group of kids the school expected to get awesome results. And we were there to give them the biggest and most important tip of all to be successful: taking care of your relationship with Allah Taala.

It was great to see how well divided the group was when it came to boys and girls. 50-50. Looking at them, it gave you hope to seeing a better future for the community. Finally, people will no longer compare girls and boys when it came to being excellent in education.

But how wrong I was.

The girls were so great, they gave their full attention, they gave full cooperation, and they respect their elders. The boys? SubahanAllah. None of the above. They gave us attitude after attitude. With pinches of arrogance. They tested our boundaries and kept pushing our patience, button after button. They didn't want to do anything we gave them. Till the point I couldn't take it anymore. So I gave them an earful. A slap in their face. I told them the same story as I told the university kids. And again, I hope they actually get something out of the slap I gave them.

What I don't understand is why guys nowadays think that everything will be laid out to them on a golden platter. Its as if they don't see the need to work hard, that they don't see any reason to keep fighting and keep excelling. They THINK they know everything and they don't NEED to be educated.

Males have bigger responsibilities in EVERYTHING. They are our leaders. They are the ones who we are supposed to look up to. They are the ones who we are supposed to rely on. They are the ones who are supposed to protect us and fight for our rights.

But HOW on earth are we supposed to look up to guys who have no job, who has no education? HOW are we supposed to put our lives in their hands when they are irresponsible? When they just don't want to work hard? HOW are they supposed to support us? HOW are they supposed to fight for our maruah? HOW are we supposed to rely on people who are just plain lazy and have no desire to succeed in life? HOW are we supposed to respect guys who don't value education as something important? Who doesn't practice Islam the right way?

Where are you, the men who will be our leaders? Whom we will be able to rely on? Show yourselves!

I am not saying that all guys are like this. No, that's not right. Im just saying that the reliable kind are becoming extinct by the second. So I repeat my earlier statement; finding a good and reliable guy these days is difficult. And those who are reliable, feel threatened by the achievements a gal has, therefore they back off.,

And you still ask me why Im not married? That's why. It's not because I'm choosy. There's none to choose from.

Wallahu'alam. Please forgive this emotional outburst.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sectarian Violence in Syria, what is our responsibility?

Assalamualaikum WRT WBT

I just came back from a talk by Assoc Prof. Dr Hafizi Md Nor, the chairman of Asqa Syarif. A talk on the "Tears of Syria" which has encouraged me to write about it before going to bed. I don't think I'd be able to sleep before writing this down. And I think I would feel guilty for not taking some time, even a little while on talking about this issue whom many are ignorant and are unaware of.

My biggest confession tonight (or should I say morning), is that I was one of those ignorant people. Before going to the talk, I took for granted that I knew what was happening in Syria. I am ashamed to say that I tot what was happening over there was slightly the same as what happened in Libya or and what is happening in Gaza.

But tonight, Allah has opened my eyes, Allah has woken me from the complacent feeling, Allah has shook me senseless by the reality of the cruelty in Syria.

If for whatever reason, we seriously are not aware of the current issues concerning our fellow brothers and sisters in Syria, then let me be the one to highlight a few things on what I obtained thru the talk tonight. If there are a few facts I have gotten wrong, please correct me.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea how to start. What I found out tonight from the talk has brought me to the point of speechlessness. Its like, I cannot believe what is happening over there, I cannot comprehend on how human beings who no longer think or care about their own families, who torture and brutally kill their own family members because of pure hatred.

Sectarian violence. Violence caused by difference in sects, in religious beliefs and cultures. Astaghfirullahazim. May Allah forgive us for our ignorance.

Syria gained it independence from France in 1945 and was governed by their own people until the era of Hafez Al-Assad who was in power for 32 dictatorial years. After that, his son Basyar Al-Assad took over the regime and has been in power for the past 11 years.

Too much power makes men do terrible things. Holding power for too long makes them greedy till the point they will do practically anything to hold on to their power. When that happens, they will come to the point where they see themselves as gods and arrogantly walk the earth as if they can do whatever they want.

Hafez Al-Assad was a Syiah Nusairiyah (Syiah Alawiy). This 'religion' was formed 200 years after the wafat of our beloved Prophet, Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. Syiah Nusairiyah is a combination of different beliefs and practices which include Islam, Christianity, Pagan and Syiah. They are NOT among what we call our brothers and sisters. Today, they look at Basyar Al-Assad as their god and with pride proclaim that they worship Basyar Al-Assad before anyone. Even Allah Taala.

Ibnu Taimiyyah considers the Nusairiyah far worst and more kafir than the Nasrani and the Majusi. They are of a different kind. They despise Sunni Muslims (those who believe and follow the Sunnah) with pure hatred, they insult and verbally abuse Saidina Aishah r.a and the Ummahatul Mukminin r.a. and so many more unspeakable things. Im afraid to list them out.

Syria comprises of a few different ideologies and beliefs. 78% are Muslim Sunni (ahli sunnah wa jamaah), 10% Christian, 9% Nusayriah (Syiah Alawiy) and 3% Druze. I got this from Dr Hafizi.

The violence towards Sunni Muslims started during the days of Hafez Al-Assad. We were never exposed to what happened in 1982, where Hafez Al-Assad had his army 'hunt' down the Sunni Muslims in Syria like animals with weapons of mass destruction. The attack towards the people of Syria lasted for 27 days and killed nearly 46,000 people. Fourty six THOUSAND people. Age, gender, young or old, women or children -- there were no exceptions. All murdered brutally.

After years and years of facing violence after violence, violence that we were never aware of because it was secretly kept, purposely silenced by the regime, the time came when the people of Syria decided enough was enough. They were violated and oppressed to the point of insanity. With the revolution of Islamic countries, one after the other, whom have also been under regimes and dictators, the spirit of fighting back for their rights finally came to Syria.

The rising of the Syrian people was started by a group of 28 little kids. Having been born and raised in violence and oppression, even they felt something was wrong with their country. Even they felt the killings were wrong and something had to be done. So they wrote slogans on their school walls of how the Syrians wanted to bring down the regime. They wrote the same slogans voiced out and shouted in the countries who were and have succeeded in fighting for change -- Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria.

The Syrian army caught them and tortured them brutally. These were just kids! Do you know what they did to these innocent children? They were tortured by pulling out their finger nails and toe nails one by one. They were terribly abused, kicked -- think of whatever type of cruelty you can think of, that's what they did to them. Astaghfirullahalazim.

When the families came to demand them back, the regime gave them a condition for the remains and the rest of the abused children. For them to be returned, the families had to give them with their women to be raped and the results of the rape will be the children that they want so badly. That was the last straw -- that was when the rising and the fight for change started.

I just cannot find the words to describe all the other cruelties and violence currently happening in Syria. 30-50 people are killed without any sense of sympathy. Children and babies are beaten to death. Women are raped in front of their husbands, brothers, fathers and children. They are raped for everyone to see.

More information, please go to this link. Click here. The article is in Malay.

So having said that, what is our responsibility in helping our brothers and sisters in Syria? A huge and heavy responsibility rests on our shoulders, where we will be asked on the day of Judgement "What did you do to help your fellow Muslims?" Will we have an answer?

Are we just satisfied by being ignorant about it and see it as something unrelated to us? Are we going to just listen and read and do absolutely no action in helping out? Are we going to be like some so-called Islamic countries who are just sitting idly and zipping their mouths, turning a blind eye? Tepuk dada tanya Iman.

Ulama Amilin Al-Azhar says: Basyar Al-Assad must be killed. The hukum is WAJIB before he tortures and kills more Muslims

Dr Muhammad Badi' (Mursyidul Am Ikhwanul Muslimin) guarantees: Basyar Al-Assad will be punished by his countrymen for the cruelty he has put them thru.

Dr. Yusuf Al-Qardhawi promises that the people of Syria will get their victory and promises to have Jumaah prayer and give the khutbah in Damsyik one day.

95% of the Ulama around the world are voicing out their disagreement on the actions of Basyar Al-Assad's regime. They are doing their part in freeing the people of Syria. What are you doing?

Living in the world of cyber space, an era of Facebook, Twitter and Blogging, use the technology to our advantage. Spread the message across, be the agent of change, be the person who talks about Syria to others. Be the ones to wake the sleeping up. Open their eyes and help make a change.

Our Ummah is under attack from all sorts of bathil. It is in our hands to fight them off for the sake of our Aqidah. Allah is always on our side, we have the power of Doa, our most biggest and strongest weapon. So the only way we should go is forward, no looking back.

Spread the word. Wallahu'alam