Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mantapkan hubungan suami isteri di Tanah Suci...

DENGAN nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah Lagi Maha Penyayang; selawat dan salam ke atas junjungan besar Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. 
Renungan
"Kalau sekiranya perempuan ahli syurga (termasuk bidadari) datang kepada penduduk bumi, nescaya akan disinarinya dunia antara langit dan bumi dan terpenuhinya dengan bau harum semerbak. Sesungguhnya tutup kepalanya lebih baik daripada dunia dan isinya." (HR. Bukhari) 

SYUKUR alhamdulillah, musim haji 1437 sudah tamat; jemaah haji mula berbondong-bondong kembali ke tanah air masing-masing. Tanggal 2 Oktober nanti kita akan menyambut tahun baharu Hijrah 1438 maka bermulalah kalendar baharu amalan kita diawali bulan mulia Muharam.

Seorang tuan guru dalam tazkirahnya yang saya hadiri baru-baru ini mengingatkan jemaah akan kepentingan meningkatkan amalan pada 30 hari setahun iaitu pada 10 hari pertama bulan Muharam, 10 hari terakhir Ramadan dan 10 hari terawal Zulhijah.

Berceloteh mengenai bab haji, teringat saya kolum kendalian saya dulu 'Kisah Dari Tanah Suci' yang bersiaran di Harakah lebih 10 tahun (2002-2014). Rupa-rupa masih ada insan yang menghantar coretan mereka kepada saya. 

Pada kolum kali ini izinkan saya menyiarkan celoteh seorang haji muda yang usahlah saya sebutkan namanya mengenai 'bilik berkat' (kamar khas yang boleh disewa pasangan suami isteri) di Makkah ketika musim haji. 

Bagi sesetengah orang bilik berkat adalah 'hal kecil (remeh)', tetapi kita perlulah berlapang dada kerana 'manusia tidak sama' - ada yang menganggap perkara itu sebagai 'perkara pokok' yang dapat menyumbang kepada kebahagiaan suami isteri yang akhirnya membawa seseorang bakal haji dan hajah fokus kepada ibadah.

Ketahuilah wujud perbezaan lelaki-perempuan dari segi perasaan, emosi, fikiran, tanggapan, dan sebagainya. Apabila mengetahui perbezaan itu, diharapkan suami isteri bermuhasabah diri seterusnya sedia 'melakukan pengorbanan'. Yalah, bukankah haji itu pengorbanan, pasangan suami isteri perlu melakukan pengorbanan menjaga hati (perasaan) dan naluri pasangan masing-masing demi keutuhan hubungan suci mereka. Mentelaahan godaan 'untuk tidak berkesefahaman' adalah tersangat tinggi di Tanah Suci', ya iblis dan syaitan kuat mengacau..

Menurut sesetengah ustaz, ada suami isteri veteran 'terlajak' ketika ihram, yalah kenapa tidak 'menyalurkannya' dengan jalan betul pada masa yang betul...bukankah bilik berkat boleh diperolehi dengan sedikit bayaran; agar hubungan suami isteri tidak keroh dan pada masa yang sama jemaah dapat menunaikan rukun, wajib dan sunat umrah dan haji dengan sempurna dengan gembira bagi memperolehi haji mabrur yang balasannya tiada lain melainkan syurga!

Berikut adalah celoteh jemaah haji muda itu: "Saya terpanggil untuk memberi sedikit komentar mengenai bilik berkat di Tanah Suci bagi jemaah haji Malaysia. Mengerjakan haji pada ketika usia muda dan bertenaga memang ada banyak kelebihan. Bakal haji dan hajah muda boleh berulang alik dari bilik hotel ke masjid sehingga lima kali sehari jika mahu.

"Saya sangat bersimpati dengan bakal haji dan hajah veteran; yang memang tidak dapat sepenuhnya untuk ke masjid lima kali sehari khususnya pada waktu kemuncak musim haji. Ini kerana kesesakan dan jauh.

"Sebelum saya ke Tanah Suci ada rakan-rakan yang juga sebaya (40-an) dan telah mengerjakan haji, mengusik dan mengingatkan saya jangan malu 'menempa' bilik berkat di Makkah ketika 'naik' haji. Dia menambah di Tanah Suci tahap 'libido' kita agak tinggi dan kalau tidak diuruskan dengan baik kita mungkin kurang fokus dan dikhuatiri akan melilau dalam beribadah.

"Saya hanya tersenyum mendengar nasihat sahabat-sahabat tersebut... sehinggalah saya sendiri mengalaminya. Betul kita tidak boleh menolak naluri kita sebagai manusia. Jika kita tidak berada di dalam ihram dan tidak terikat dengan pantang larangnya - kenapa tidak...khususnya selepas menyelesaikan umrah bagi jemaah yang mengerjakan haji tamattuk dan menunggu masa untuk menunaikan haji.
"Pada saya bukan aktiviti dalam bilik berkat itu yang menjadi fokus. Tetapi urusan ibadah di Tanah Suci akan jadi lebih 'tenteram' dan kita menjadi 'fokus' setelah perasaan dan naluri kita sebagai suami isteri ditundukkan mengikut fitrahnya.
"Ada jemaah yang mempunyai kemampuan menyewa bilik di hotel lain bagi tujuan 'berdua' suami isteri, itu terpulanglah kepada mereka. Apa yang pasti ada jemaah haji muda (malah veteran) perlu menerima hakikat - ada 'masanya' kita perlu untuk menggunakan bilik tersebut dan menunaikan 'tanggungjawab'. Percayalah selepas itu seseorang jemaah itu akan kelihatan sangat ceria dan santai dan bolehlah dia fokus kepada ibadah. Sebaliknya ada jemaah terutama lelaki sentiasa 'marah-marah' dan kelihatan amat tertekan.

Tak perlulah kita menyeksa diri dengan menjauhi isteri selama 43- 53 hari semata- mata kerana berada di Tanah Suci...Asal sahaja kita tidak berada di dalam pantang larang ihram,,,'go ahead'.
"Saya pernah bertemu dan berbual dengan seorang jemaah muda yang merungut dan memarahi staf Tabung Haji yang padanya sengaja berdolak dalik mengenai bilik berkat apabila dia memohonnya.

"Jelas kelihatan 'tension' di muka jemaah tersebut. Kebetulan kami ditakdirkan memilih sudut dan saf yang sama setiap kali ke masjid. Puas jugalah saya mendengar keluhan beliau. Saya akhirnya faham apabila melihat beliau dan isterinya yang sangat muda ketika usai solat dan pulang dari masjid.

'Moral of the story'...jangan malu-malu memohon dan guna bilik berkat...insya-Allah ia membantu kita fokus, tenteram, ceria dan gembira untuk beribadah. Semoga sentiasa dalam rahmat Allah."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Prepare for our long, long journey...

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

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

ITS hard for me to digest what was told by an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) in a ‘tazkirah’ (lesson) at a ‘masjid’ near my house recently when he said that people (human beings) would spend about 500,000 years in ‘Padang Mahsyar’ (Hashr). One day in ‘Padang Mahsyar’ equals 50,000 years on earth.

Alhamdulillah (All praise belongs to God) a few days later, I came across this item in a newspaper that helped in my understanding about life. Among others, the report with a heading 'Oldest fossil dated by Aussies at about 3.7 billion-years-old' noted:

Life on Earth is even older than first thought, said Australian­ ­scientists as they unveiled fossils dating back 3.7 billion years, providing a potential new spur to study whether Mars once had life.
The fossilised structures — called stromatolites — preserved in ancient rocks along the edge of Greenland’s ice cap were 220 million years older than the previous record holders.
They prove that life emerged just a few hundred million years after the Earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago, said lead researcher Allen Nutman of the University of Wollongong.
“This discovery represents a new benchmark for the oldest preserved evidence of life on Earth,” said Martin Julian Van Kranendonk, a geology professor at the University of NSW and one of the co-authors of the study published in the journal Nature.
“The structures and geochemistry from the newly exposed outcrops in Greenland display all of the features used in younger rocks to argue for a biological origin. It points to a rapid emergence of life on Earth.”
The 1cm to 4cm high Isua stromatolites — exposed after the melting of a snow patch in the Isua Greenstone Belt — matched other biological evidence on the evolution of the genetic code that placed the origins of life in a similar period, Professor Nutman said.
“This indicates the Earth was no longer some sort of hell 3.7 billion years ago,” he said. “It was a place where life could flourish.”
This news caught my attention; I made a paper cutting of it and put it inside my wallet, and one morning after a ‘kuliah subuh’ (early morning lesson) by an ‘ustaz’, I showed the piece to him and asked whether there’s ‘somebody’ on Earth before the existence of Prophet Adam peace be upon him (a.s.)
The ‘ustaz’ said, some scholars believed that Prophet Adam a.s. was sent to Earth some 10,000 years ago, Ibrahim (Abraham) a.s. some 4,000 years ago, Musa (Moses) a.s. some 3,500 years ago, Isa (Jesus) a.s. some 2,000 years ago while the seal of Prophets, Muhammad s.a.w. some 1,500 years ago. The question is; who ‘flourished’ Earth before the coming of Prophet Adam a.s.?
He said, according to scholars, there is nothing in the Qur’an or ‘sunnah’ (prophetic teachings) to indicate that there were any people living on Earth before Adam a.s. Rather the reports that speak of this are the opinions of ‘mufassireen’ (Qur'an commentators) among the ‘sahabah’ (companions) and ‘tabi‘een’ (successors).

Some said that the Earth was inhabited by the jinn, whom Allah SWT created from fire. At-Tabari narrated in his Tafseer from Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. that he said: “The first ones to dwell on earth were the jinn, and they caused mischief therein, shedding blood and killing one another.” Others said that there was no one on earth, jinn or otherwise, before Adam a.s.

Many scholars of tafseer say that the jinn were created before Adam a.s. and before them on Earth there were the hinn and the binn, then Allah caused the jinn to prevail over them, so they killed them and expelled them from the Earth and inhabited it after them.

After reading that scientists had evidence that there was life on Earth some 3.7 billion years ago, it was easy for me to understand when some ‘ustazs’ said that human beings would spend thousands and thousands of years during the 12 stages of life in the Hereafter such as in ‘barzakh’ (grave), ‘qiyama’ (judgment day), ‘mahsyar’ (al-hashr or gathering), ‘al-mizan’ (the scales of deeds) and ‘as-sirat al-mustaqeem’ (the straight path).
Remember that our life of perhaps 60 to 70 years on Earth was nothing compared to life on Earth which was proved to exist some 3.7 billion years ago what’s more in the Hereafter where we would lead a never-ending life! Our life in this world is temporary and we are just like a traveler. In his 'hadith'; Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said: "My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it." (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim) Thus, as 'a learned person' please prepare for our long, long (forever and ever) journey in the Hereafter. Remember we only have 'a one ticket' - there's no 'return ticket'!
‘As-sirat al-mustaqeem’ is like a bridge which runs hell underneath. The width of this bridge is like a strand of hair is cut seven and it is sharper than the sword. For believers it will be widened and facilitated crossing.  Fudhail bin Iyadh said mesh is time-consuming travel 15,000 years – 5,000 years upward, 5,000 years moving horizontally and 5,000 year of decline. 
If some scholars said Prophet Adam a.s. existed some 10,000 years ago, then he a.s. the people of his era were in ‘barzakh’ for that period of time. They are still in their graves, waiting for the ‘qiyama’. Some people would felt it long in their graves, others felt it was short; Allah SWT can do anything to time for He is The Creator of time; He is The Controller of time and space. It is His wish to do anything including time. In Ayahs 80-81 Surah Yasin, Allah SWT says: “Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator. But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! And it is.

The 'ustaz' said that in this world we needed to be on His straight path and perform good deeds as much as possible. It was because, in the Hereafter, we needed a lot of 'pahala' (rewards for good deeds) to 'finance' ourselves during our 'long long journey' before we would rewarded with Paradise or thrown into Hell (
nauzubillah - God forbid). 

Please remember, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: s
adaqah jariyah (ceaseless charity); knowledge which is beneficial; or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (the deceased).” (Sahih Muslim)

The 'ustaz' told parents to work hard in raising virtuous sons and daughters who would be one of our greatest assets after our death. To have these beneficial off-springs the father must be in His straight path as Allah SWT says in the Qur'an: "
O! You who believe, save yourself and your families from Hell-fire, whose fuel are humans and stones (idols) over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (At-Tahrim 66:6)
He reminded Muslims not to waste their time; there is a hadith which states: "Grasp five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before you fall sick, your wealth before going into poverty, your free time before you get busy and lastly your life before your death (Tirmidhi); when we would embark for our long, long journey. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Refining our good deeds including when sacrificing animals

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

Reflection

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.
***

IT is fruit season again. Local fruits such as rambutans and durians are in abundance. On September 2nd  upon entering the masjid in my kampung for Friday prayers, I saw two basket-full of rambutans being placed at its entrance.

Alhamdulillah (All praise belongs to God), a good resident had 'sadaqah' (donated) the fruits - obviously the person would like to share with fellow kampung folks the good things Allah SWT had blessed upon him/her. 

After prayers, upon leaving the masjid, I was shocked to see 'kulit' (skin of) rambutans' strewn all over the place - astaghfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah) when an ugly thought raced inside my mind - who ate the rambutans - human beings or 'monyet' (monkeys)?

Well dear readers; to 'sadaqah' fruits such as the rambutans was a good deed; but why not refine our doings...may I suggest to rambutans' donors at masjids in future to place several rubbish bins near their baskets of fruits with big sign boards with bold words like 'PLEASE DO NOT LITTER'. If people keep on messing the place, then they are truthly 'monyet'...err I mean in characters, again I seek forgiveness from Allah SWT.

After all, 'dirty people' are 'dirty people'; an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) once said perhaps only the law could teach them lessons. This is why enforcement of the law is very important. Some people are only afraid of being fined; if that is the case then why not we follow some strict societies like the Singaporeans who went to great length such as fining those who do not flush after using toilets?

To our enforcement authorities and men, please wake up...I seen people throwing rambutan's skin out of their cars on the roads. Luckily, they did not throw out durian's skin! Then there are drivers who stopped or slowed their cars only to put their used cup or bottled drinks on the roads. Many smokers are fond of throwing out their cigarette buts (still alight) out of their cars, posing danger to other road-users. They might caused fire if the cigarette buts fell on dried grass and 'lalangs'.

Our dirty habits of littering was obvious during the celebration of 'Merdeka' recently. It was rubbish wave after the event. After the cleaning job of DBKL and Alam Flora workers, tonnes of rubbish we seen deposited on the roadside. It was reported that the cleaning work involved 70 workers, took two days to finish and cost a whooping RM100,000! Celebrating 'Merdeka' was a good deed but of course littering was not!

Since this week we would be celebrating 'Eid Adha' let us have a thought about refining our deeds when sacrificing animals. The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said in a 'hadith' with the meaning: "Allah has decreed kindness or proficiency in all things. So when you kill, kill well, and when you slaughter, slaughter well. Let one of you sharpened his blade and spare suffering to the animals he slaughters." (Saheeh Muslim)

If we had to kill, for example kill insects such as cockroaches inside our kitchen, kill it well. When killing a lizard, perhaps we could do it with one blow - please do not torture the animal for example giving a life lizard to our cats for they would play if it. Cats are fond of playing...they do not kill their prey immediately.

During my 54 years existence in the world, I had witnessed several events of sacrificing (slaughtering) the animals...but sorry to say that I had never had the knife in my hands to slaughter any animal. But I must admit that some people do it in fine ways...for example before slaughtering the animals they dig  holes so that blood would flow inside it so that blood would not splash and spur the place. Please do not harm the feelings of the animals such as sharpening our knives in front of them.
 
Muslims celebrate 'Eid Adha' on the 10, 11,12 and 13th of Dhul-hijjah commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim a.s. (peace be upon him) to sacrifice his beloved son, Prophet Ismail a.s. as an act of obedience to Allah SWT. Muslims who can afford are encouraged to sacrifice their best domesticated animals such as cow, sheep and goat as symbol of Prophet Ibrahim’s a.s willingness to sacrifice his only son to his second wife, Hajar (Hagar).

In Malaysia, during the festive of  'Eid Adha', thousands of animals were slaughtered by individuals and various groups which organized the events such as masjids' committee members. The meat of the sacrificed animals were then distributed to the poor and needy nevertheless the rich too were given the meat as presents. 

Regarding this aspect in a 'tazkirah' (Islamic lesson), I heard an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) saying sacrificing animals to God (Allah SWT) but distributing the meat to the needy display and prove the beauty of Islam.

"We sacrifice the animals just to please Allah SWT, but Allah does not need the meat. We give away the meat for the benefit of fellow human beings. It is such a beauty; compare it with some 'praying rituals' carry out by men of other beliefs where the items 'sacrificed' such as food and fruits such as oranges and apples are left to rot under trees or are being washed away in waters of rivers and seas," said the ustaz.

Regarding the act of sacrificing animals, Allah SWT says: "Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good." (Surah Al-Hajj 22: 37)

'Subhanallah' (Glory be to God), Allah SWT The Mighty Rich does not need the meat; is is meant to feed the poor. 'Alhamdulillah' nowadays Muslims of Malaysia have made themselves available almost everywhere at poor countries of the world to sacrifice animals there. 

Troops of Malaysian Malaysian volunteers and workers are having their arms busy in countries such as Cambodia, Philippines (southern part of the country), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand (southern part of it) and far away lands such as Sudan during the days of sacrificing the animals that is on the day of Eid Adha (10th Dhul-hijjah) and the days of Tashreek - 11, 12 and 13th of Dhul-hijjah.

Of course regarding the sacrificing of animals during Eid, the Holy Land is a place where hundred thousands of cows, camels and sheep are slaughtered; and during a hajj season a few years back, Saudi Arabia’s prestigious sacrificial meat utilization program sent the meat of one million heads of sheep and 10,000 cows and camels to the poor and needy in many poor countries, as well as Syrian refugees.

It was reported that its inception in 1983, the project has utilized and distributed meat of more than 16 million livestock, amongst the poor in Saudi Arabia and 27 other countries. Subhanallah, the sacrificing of animals by Muslims during Eid Adha truly benefited people through out the globe; it clearly points up to the 'beauty of Islam'.

While Muslims worldwide are celebrating Eid Adha, some four million very, very lucky men and women have been chosen by Allah SWT to be His guests performing hajj in the Holy Land. 

Pilgrims are recommended to recite this verse: "Labbayk, Allahumma, Labbayk, Labbayk, La Shareeka laka, Labbayk Innal-hamda wan n’mata laka wal-mulk, La shareekala" – (Here I am at Your service, O Lord here I am, No partner do You have, Here I am, Truly the praise and the favour is Yours and the dominion. No partner do You have).

For Muslims who are not performing hajj in their homelands, they are encouraged to perform recommended deeds during the first nine days of Dhul-hijjah such as fasting especially on ‘Wukuf’ day (on the 9th Dhul-Hijjah) and giving charity. Then during Eid Adha (10th Dhul-Hijjah) when Muslims perform ‘solat’ (Eid prayers) and the days of Tashreek (11, 12, and 13th Dhul-Hijjah) they are recommended to do the slaughter or ‘korban’ (sacrifice) animals (such as sheep and cow).

Scholars said one of the special characteristics that Allah has blessed the Muslim ummah; are the times of the year, during which, acts of obedience and worship are extremely advantageous. These times of the years are in fact gifts from the Allah that He has given to Muslim ummah. Allah announces mercy, blessings and presenting gift of great rewards during these seasons.

 Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allah. said, "There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on Lailatul Qadr'. 

Another virtue of the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah is that the Day of Arafah (9th day of Dhul-Hijjah). The Day of Arafah is a great day during which Allah frees many of His worshippers from the fire of Hell. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: "There is no day during which Allah frees more worshippers from the fire of Hell than during the day of Arafah."

'Korban' or sacrificing of animal has great great rewards in the eyes of Allah SWT. Sayidatina Aisha' reports that the Prophet s.a.w. said,"The son of Adam does not perform any actions on the day of sacrifice which is more pleasing to Allah than the shedding of blood. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair, and hooves. The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground." (Tirmizi).