Friday, February 12, 2016

Reaching the 'moon' without 'a rocket'?

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

"Do not spy one another,
nor let any of you backbite others..." (Hujurat 49: 12)

IT was almost ten years since Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian in space. After all those years, are we closer to have a space station or requirements to build a rocket? 

Not long after 'the flying Sheikh' shot into space, in politics, the three main opponent parties - PAS, DAP and PKR formed a pack - Pakatan Rakyat - to administer several states after they achieved astounding results in the 2008 general elections.

Sheikh Muszaphar was in space without the country having a spacecraft (rocket). At 36, the medical doctor was the first Malaysian and Muslim male in space when he, Russia's Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Yuri Mallenchenko and flight engineer and Soyuz commander Peggy Whitson, blast off with a Russian rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) on 10th October 2007. 

At that time some sides belittled Sheikh Muszaphar saying he was just a spacecraft participant or a space tourist or liken him to a spacecraft passenger, but his journey is a big leap for Malaysia and Malaysians.

It was said the Malaysian government spent some RM95 million to send the first Malaysian into space. That project was part of a deal for the purchasing of Russia's 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets, amounting to billions of ringgit. 

Recent development noted that the government would have to spend RM240 million to send another Malaysian astronaut to ISS for a 10-day trip. Sheikh Muszaphar who won the trip over Major Faiz Khalid, said Malaysian needs to set a clear objective if it intends to send another person into space.

So 'the flying Sheikh' was able to make great achievement eventhough our beloved country up to this day are no closer to build a rocket. If Sheikh Muszaphar could made it without the country having a rocket, I tried to think out of the box, I posed a 'tricky' question to some PAS people that could PAS 'reach the moon' (take over) Putrajaya without using or riding 'a rocket'.

Some of my friends inquired me, asking how could PAS reach the moon (come into power) without 'using a rocket'. PAS must use a rocket, only then there will be possibilities that they will reach the moon, they said.

They asked how could PAS be in power (at the Federal level) without the support of 'the rocket'? PAS could wrest power in the Malay belt states such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis but what about the other states? PAS doesn't have a rocket, so it almost impossible for it to reach the moon, they claimed.

PAS has no rocket, but it is aiming 'to reach the moon'. Malaysians too have no rocket but somehow, one of them had been in space! So it implies that, without a rocket too, PAS could, 'insya-Allah' (God willing) reach the moon. That is only a suggestion, others might have different views. 

During the anti-TPP gathering in Padang Merbok on Saturday afternoon January 23,  I asked a 'middle level' PAS leader how they could be in power in Putrajaya without the 'aid' of the rocket party. Members of the rocket party whats more its leaders was nowhere to be seen during the protest.

Eventhough I felt it was a 'tricky question', he answered in convincingly. Let's emulate Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in politics. He read from the Qur'an with the meaning,Say: "O Allah! Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power. - Ali Imran, 3:26

So let's 'istiqamah' (consistent) in our struggle until 'isya-Allah' (God Willing) we will see fruits of our labour. He stressed that human beings are weak and unknowledgeable so they had to depend on Allah SWT who at His mercy sent prophets and His books as their guidance. He said the job of human beings was to follow and obey Allah SWT instructions contained in the Qur’an and examples shown by the Prophet s.a.w.

He said we must follow Prophet Muhammad’s step in all aspects of life, including politic. When Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ‘hijrah’ (migrated) to Madinah, the first step he took was building Masjid Quba’ where all activities including politics were discussed there. So there’s no separation between religion and politics, contradict to claims by certain leaders who were in favor of nationalism.”

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. as the greatest man in the world including in politics;  the world from Adam onwards had produced monarchs of great pomp and show, generals of extensive conquests, philosophers and thinkers of great repute and poets of world-fame, but can anyone point out how far any of those were instrumental in raising the social status of down-trodden humanity and to what extent they catered to the spiritual elevation of the human mind by removing the rust within their unclean heart.

He said PAS struggle is to uphold the Prophet’s teaching including in politics. Everyone is answerable to their deeds; even in voting, one is subjected to be rewarded and punished. To be in power on not is not in the hands of human beings, it is Allah The Mighty who decides it. 

We could only work hard to achieve it but during the process we must make sure that they are in line of the teaching of Islam. We must remember that all Muslims actions are governed by the principles of ‘halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (forbidden, unlawful or sinful). It is ‘halal’ to do campaign in elections but it is ‘haram’ to buy votes. So, whats the point of reaching 'the moon' (Putrajaya) if it done in the 'haram' way?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My 'half-day' friend...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

RECENTLY I went to an old friend's wedding reception in Shah Alam. But don't get me wrong; it was his eldest son's wedding, not his. Since he was my former school mate, I tried hard to make it eventhough the venue of the wedding was quite far from my home in Melaka.

To go to wedding by the family's car would cost at least RM100 for the fuel and toll and with the +++ (plus, plus) items such as buying drinks and food, another RM100 would be needed. And for the 'ang pau' (gift) another RM100 or at least RM50 must be put aside. Since it was in the middle of the month with my budget running short; I opted to go alone by bus instead.

Since the wedding reception was on Sunday, I began my journey on Saturday evening. I caught the 7:30 pm express bus to Shah Alam from Melaka Sentral. The ticket was RM16.50; the journey was 'alhamdulillah' smooth. I reached the bus station in Seksyen 13 Shah Alam at about 9:30 pm. The station was a small one; the bus stopped at a roadside; then I was left alone in the dark...what to do next, I did a 'quick thinking'...why not just walk along the road, 'insya-Allah', there would be always 'light at the end of the tunnel', I tried to coax myself.

After walking for about 15 minutes; I spotted a minaret of a 'masjid'...'alhamdulillah', I headed straight to the ground of the masjid, hopeful that the 'atmosphere' there was 'a friendly one' for a weary and tired traveler like me! At first I checked the toilets...well toilets were 'a must'...suddenly 'from nowhere' a person in uniform whom later I identified as a guard of the 'masjid' was next to me.

I asked him whether it was okay for me to spend the night at the 'masjid' but he did not respond. I asked him again, he only smiled; that signaled the green light...thus 'my activity' in the 'masjid' began. I cleaned myself and after doing the 'solat tahiyatul masjid' (a recommended prayer when one enters a masjid), I tried to sleep but I could not do so until the wee hours of the night.

When I was on my back, a realized a young man in a white 'jubah' (robe) was restlessly walking up and down the section which I was lying. His hands were busy on his electronic device - perhaps an I-Pad. He then settled at a spot several feet from me and perform his 'solat' (prayers). Perhaps he was doing his 'solat tahajud' (a recommended late night prayer)...I heard him recited some 'surah' (verses) from the Qur'an beautifully...

At about 3.00 am, I went to the toilet, took ablution and perform the night prayers. That 'guy' was still at his spot...I heard him recited a very long 'du'a'. After prayers, once again I laid down on my back but the stranger was still in the same position...

Only after the 'subuh' (fajr) prayers and 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lessons) I got to know the young man. He claimed to be a 'tahfiz' student in Kelantan who was having a break and to make full use of the time, he worked as a restaurant worker in Shah Alam. When he was not on duty especially at night he spent his time at the 'masjid'.

We then went to a nearby restaurant for breakfast and before I could pulled my money to make payment, he had settled the bill. After explaining to him that I wanted to go my friend's wedding reception in Seksyen 10 Shah Alam, he offered to take me there; of course 'by bus' because he too did not have any vehicle.

On our way to the wedding, we got to know more about each other (I prefer not to write his name here) and I must admit that I liked him for his courtesy and helpfulness. At the reception I introduced him to the host as my nephew; we ate and met some of my old friends. After lunch; we went our separate ways, I walked to the nearest bus stand for the journey to Kuala Lumpur while he fetched a bus to his workplace. Before that we bade goodbye to each other, I wish him the best...when we shook hands I pushed some money into his. Well, that was the last time I saw this 'nice guy' or heard anything from him eventhough I had given him my contact number while he had mine!

This is 'my story' and when an 'ustaz' who was 'lecturing' his class (congregators at a masjid near my house) regarding qualities to look for in a friend from Imam Ghazali's 'Bidayatul Hidayah' (The Beginning of Guidance) opened questions from the floor, I quickly asked him whether it is wrong for us 'to take advantage' from a short term friend (in my case befriending someone for only half a day to take me to my destination).

The 'ustaz' answered that it was not proper to do so; we should not try 'to take advantage' from a friendship. We must sincere in all our doings; we befriended and ever ready to help anybody including strangers just because Allah SWT orders us to do so. It was only to please Him and nothing else.

He said both parties must truly love to extend support and assistance to each other and must love good for one another. The Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “None of you will attain (perfect) faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

There is also a 'hadith' that mentioned among the seven categories of people that would be under the shade of Allah SWT in the Hereafter are two men who love each other for Allah's sake, meeting for that and parting upon that'...why not maximized the friendship even if it was a brief one to attain this reward.

Regarding qualities to look for in a friend, the 'ustaz' who read from 'Bidayatul Hidayah' said they are intelligence, good character, righteousness, absence of greed and truthfulness. These qualities are very important because The Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: “A man is considered by God to be of the religion of his intimate friend (khalil) so let each of you consider whom he has taken for an intimate friend.”

Regarding intelligence, Sayyidina Ali r.a. said:
Do not be in the company of an ignorant friend;
Beware of him and let him beware of you.
How often an ignorant man has brought estruction
To a forbearing man who has befriended him.
A man is likened with another man
When that man walks with him.
Like the similarity of one shoe to another
When it is set opposite to it.
A thing has patterns and resemblances from other things.
A soul reflects another which it encounters. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

'To be fair give your boy, girl a songkok each...'

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

DURING an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) 'tazkirah' (lessons) on 'nafkah' (livelihood allocation) at a 'masjid' near my house recently, he asked his audience what did they understood about fairness.

He then recalled a P Ramlee movie in which there was a scene where two thieves divided their shares on their loot - 'satu untuk engkau', satu untuk aku' (one for you, one for me) which made his audience burst into laughter.

"If you believe that the concept 'one for you, one for me' is fair, then think about this -  you as a father when you go home after this 'tazkirah', stop at a store and buy a songkok each for your Ahmad and Aminah. Both get a songkok, that's fair isn't it?

"That's not fair. It is 'bangang' (foolish)," said the 'ustaz'. "For Ahmad it is great for him to have a songkok, but for Aminah, a 'tudung' (head covering) might please her.

"So what's the meaning of 'fairness'? It is to place something at a right (suitable) place and time," said the 'ustaz'. "If you agreed that buying a songkok each for Ahmad and Aminah was not a fair action but to be fair is to give him a songkok and her a 'tudung', let's us continue our discussion...

Regarding 'nafkah', the ustaz said a man has a very heavy responsibility towards his wife and family, his parents, his siblings and those under his care. Muslim man has been given the position of 'qawwaam' (protector and maintainer) over women.

It is because of the characteristics which Islam instills in him, the qualification it has given him and the conditions and limits it has imposed on him. Allah SWT says in the Qur'an with the meaning: "Men are 'qawwaam' of women, because of Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means..." (Qur'an 4:34)

Thus, regarding women's right of inheritance, Allah SWT, stated in the Glorious Qur'an, with the meaning: "Allah commands you as regards to your children's (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females." (Qur'an 4:11)

Why two parts to the males an one part to the females? This is NOT FAIR shouted many women liberation movement. They wanted the concept of 'one for you, one for me'. For them that is fair, said the 'ustaz'.

Yes, to those who misunderstand Islam claim that Islam does injustice to women in terms of inheritance. They are in the opinion that it is unfair to grant the male a double to that of the female even though they are children of the same parents. Allah SWT, offered a full and detailed method of women's inheritance in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

Allah has determined all the shares of all the relatives in respect to their relationship to the deceased. As He the Most Wise said: "There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether the property is small or large, an obligatory share." (Qur'an 4:7)

The 'ustaz' explained that the responsibilities of men and women are different. A husband 'wajib' (must) provide 'nafkhah' to his wife and family members. If he failed to do so he would be 'berdosa' (being sinful) and would be punished not only in the Hereafter but also in the world such as loosing 'barakah' (blessing) in his life and he would be called by the 'Pejabat Agama' (Religion Department).

The husband must (wajib) provide for the necessities of his wife and family such as a place to shelter (house), clothing, food and needs for example living in this modern world, education for his children, medical expenses, transportation and so on, said the 'ustaz'.

"But a wife is not required to give 'nafkah'. If she owned some monies and properties or has an income, those are her's and her husband has no right to 'touch' them. What is required from her is to be obedience to her husband and she is 'in charge' of everything inside her husband's house," he said.

The 'ustaz' said in our society nowadays many husbands failed to provide for the 'nafkah' - some took it lightly, they thought it was right to share the responsibilities with the wives especially those who had jobs. 

"If a husband failed to provide for the 'nafkah', a wife could even 'steal' from her husband," warned the 'ustaz' who cited the case of Hindun, the wife of Abu Suffian. Such as the case of Hindun during the time of the Prophet s.a.w. complained to the Prophet that her husband refused to give adequate maintenance to her and her child. The Prophet instructed to take of her husband’s property "what is sufficient for yourself and your child according to custom."

According to the 'ustaz', other than 'nafkah' for well-being of a family, a husband must also provide for a special 'nafkah' for his wife - for her to buy her personal necessities items such as toiletries and makeup, Many 'modern' husbands failed to do so, especially if their wives had their own incomes.

"The correct way for a husband to excuse himself from providing the personal 'nafkah' to his 'rich wife' is by asking her to 'halal' (forgive or to consider as settled)," said the 'ustaz'. "If she agrees than it is okay, but if she insists, the husband must pay the 'nafkah' to her."

Other than providing for his wife and family, a man is also entrusted to look after the welfare of his parents and siblings. A husband (man) responsibilities are too heavy, thus, demanding a 'fair', 'just' or 'equal' share of inheritance for both male and female Muslims, who do not have equal financial obligations and responsibilities, is an unfair and unjust demand. 

It is only fair and just to give preference to a male heir, in light of his financial responsibilities, over the female heir from the inheritance of the father, mother or others. Considering all this, the fact that a female is still entitled by the Islamic law to a half share of the portion of inheritance received by the male, and sometimes an equal share, is indeed fair, just, and generous.

Islam views men and women to be equal in their humanity. The Holy Qur'an did not address men alone, when treating general issues in life; but meant both for men and women to hold due responsibilities in this regard. Thus, the Qur'an values the roles of male and female believers alike, for Allah says: “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.”(Qur'an 33:36)

Men are men and women are women. Hence, both men and women, go along side by side practicing their duties before Allah, in accordance with His Messenger’s teachings, so that one’s life would be a portray of one’s sound actions… All that includes men and women; thus, male and female believers ought to abide by Allah’s holy decisive speech.

Yes men are men and women are women and to those who choose to equal men and women in every aspects of life; think why in sporting events even at the Olympics men and women are separated based on the sexes. Why not have men and women compete among themselves say in the 100 meter dash because they are equals...and that is 'fair' according to some of us!