Thursday, January 29, 2015

'Carrying a fridge up an icy mountain'...

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"I have only created Jinns and Men, that they may serve Me." (Zariyat 51:56)

Years ago when I was an undergraduate at a local university, one of our lecturers introduced to us 'creative thinking'. I remembered one topic he asked us to write was based on the saying 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain'. 

Now upon reaching 53 years of age next month (February) and after following perhaps thousands of talks and 'tazkirah' (lessons) mainly at masjids, offices and over radio and TV, 'Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah SWT) slowly but surely I had learned to 'feel, experience and witness' the truth in the wise man's saying.

'Alhamdulillah' (All praise is due to Allah SWT), this time in discussing the above subject, I am equipped with information, explaination and argument from the many 'tazkirah' of 'ustazs' (religious teachers) that I had followed over the years. 

'Insya-Allah' (Allah SWT willing) lessons by the 'ustazs' were based on the the Qur'an and the 'hadith' therefore hopefully this article would be a more matured and meaningful 'muzakarah' (discussion) under the subject 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain' compared to what I had written during my 'green and secular' university years. During those years, I wrote mainly based on my 'little knowledge and experience' and 'crude mind'.

Well, my dear brothers and sisters, let us have a quick look at the Qur'an in describing the state of human beings based on Surah Al-'Asr (The Declining Day). It says with the meaning: "By the declining day; Lo! Man is in a state of loss; Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance."

'Subhanallah', everyone is in the state of loss except those with the four traits mentioned in 'Surah Al-'Asr. All our deeds and actions were of no benefit; only lately I realized that everything we do must in line with Allah's orders and to be able to do that we must follow what the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. had showed and set to us (hadiths). 

Alas, as a 'layman' with many handicaps (for example as I have no knowledge of Arabic); it is not proper for me to refer directly to the Qur'an and hadiths for an interpretation, but to have audience with learned people such as 'ustazs' who would give explaination from the Qur'an and hadiths. Alhamdulillah, this time around my arguments is based on lessons by the many 'ustazs' and 'ustazahs' (female religious teachers) I had followed.

Before we continue, let us look at the general meaning of the phrase 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain'. It simply means that many of us in our daily lives do improper or in a harsh language 'stupid things' - what's the point in burdening ourselves with doing things or chasing things we actually do not need. Do we need a fridge on top of an icy mountain?

Perhaps some readers might laugh off at some of the 'improper' things that I would write, but again it is up to you dear readers to think and decide about it. For the practising Muslims, they pray at least five times daily; one phrase they read during prayers is 'Inna solati, wanusuki, wamahyaya, wamamati, Lillahirabbil ‘alamin (My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds).

Well, what's the purpose we are sent into this world? In 'ayah' 56 Surah of Surah l-dhāriyāt (The Wind that Scatter) Allah SWT says: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."

Our journey in this world is to please Allah SWT before 'we met' Him in the Hereafter; therefore should we burdened ourselves carrying 'unnecessary items' just like a person carrying a refrigerator on his back up an icy mountain!

Let us look at some of 'the burden' we carry in life in our way 'to meet' Allah SWT. One negative trait that is part of many of us is greedy; we are greedy for almost everything, from power, position, properties, monies and so on.  

During his Isra' and Mi'raj journey accompanied by Angel Jibril, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. saw a man who had gathered a stack of wood which he could not carry, yet he was adding more wood to it. He asked: "What is this, O Jibril?" He replied: "This is a man from your community who gets people's trusts when he cannot fulfill them, yet he insists on carrying them."

There are many negative traits in us but in this article let us discuss about greedy. We are greedy of things which actually we do not need in this world what's more in the Hereafter. Let me illustrate by giving a very simple example.

In upbringing our family we need a house to shelter us from shine and rain but many people are not satisfied with a house, they try to have two, three, four, five and so on. Then there are others who do not own one or two cars for their family but they have three, four, five and so. The same could be said with other worldly pleasures.

There is a hadith on greed; Anas bin Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys for nothing fills his mouth except dust. Allah will forgive whoever repents to Him.” (Sahih Bukhari 6075, Sahih Muslim 1048)

In their jest to have all those worldly possession they are willing to do all sort of things including 'haram' (forbidden) ways. Some would forget the fact why Allah SWT sent them into this world. In fulfilling their busy schedules they have no time for Allah SWT such as performing their 'solat' (saying their prayers) and even for their own families. Some would work and work and 'nauzubillah' (Allah forbids) perhaps would only realize their folly when their were inside their graves!

Actually the basic needs of human are only food, clothing and shelter but almost all of us prefer more. Perhaps a house or a car for a family is enough but we love to have more. Many of us do not realize that 'these worldly possession' are actually a burden in our journey 'to meet' Allah SWT in the Hereafter.

Take an example, if we bring lots of luggage at the airport we would be checked thoroughly by the customs officers and that would take time even if 'they were clean' compared with a person with nothing to declare, he would 'breeze off' easily. Yes, owning a lot of properties 'would slow' our journey in the Hereafter what's more if they are possessed by 'haram' means.

We came 'with nothing' into this world (the state at which we were born) and would be back (die) carrying nothing. During our funeral, three things would follow us - our worldly possession including positions and ranks, our relatives and our good deeds - the first two would 'go back', only the last one would be of benefit to us when we are alone inside our graves. So, do we need to carry a refrigerator up an icy mountain?

Monday, January 26, 2015

'If you feel no shame, then do as you wish'...

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

"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)

SATURDAY 12th Rabiulawal 1436H (3th January 2015) was the anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam - s.a.w.) birthday. Malaysian Muslims were busy celebrating the big day in rememberence of the Prophet s.a.w., but what a shock we had about a week later - a video of several 'tudung' clad Muslims girls who groped and were being kissed by members of a K-POP group became viral in the internet.

At first I was shocked and disgusted. Later on, a sad feeling gripped deep inside my heart; 'Subhanallah' (All praise only to Allah SWT) what actually had befall to the 'ummah' (Muslims); a few of the new generation (generation Y?)  of Muslims seemed had plunged themselves deep into the ravine of destruction; loosing their 'malu' trait (modesty) or in Arabic 'haya'.

Modesty is part of 'iman' (belief). On the authority of Abu Masud, Uqba ibn Amr al-Ansari al-Badri (Radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: “Among the words people obtained from the first prophecy are: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.” (This hadith was related by al-Bukhari)

Well, are 'some of our Muslim girls' fast loosing their 'malu'?  Or on a bigger scale, Muslims of our 'kampung' and 'taman' (village and housing estate), our state, country or even the world?

To 'refresh' ourselves on what really took place at the event, I rewrite this 'confession' from the internet.  Among others the writer wrote: "I was there, I saw what happened. I know what happened. I remembered clearly what happened. I recorded what happened.

"The guy asked million times if it's okay to re-act the scene. The girl answered with no doubt. The girl groped him first. The girl went 20 km/h to 140 km/h in groping him. Then it happened. He kissed her shawl, she pulled him closer to her body. The Chinese MC was shocked and told her to stop, she went to be so close and held the guy tight.

"What can he do when the girl gave in. If a Muslim herself forgets what's 'halal' (permissible) and 'haram' (forbidden, unlawful or sinful) why would a non-Muslim be to be blame? Well, any guy would do the same, I suppose..."

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, all Muslims actions are governed by the principles of ‘halal’and 'haram’.  

Since we are still in spirit of celebrating Prophet Muhammad's s.a.w. birthday, let's us tackle this issue by browsing back at the life of the greatest man in the history as being acknowledged by scholars including Western writers. 

Michael H Hart in his book ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’ ranked the Prophet first, while Lamartine/Histoire de la Turquie/Paris 1854 asked; “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?”

Hard’s The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, has sold more than 500,000 copies and been translated into 15 languages. What mainly surprised readers in this book was the first person on Hart's list (Hart, 1992). Hart decided to choose Muhammad over Jesus or Moses. Hart attributes this to the fact that Muhammad was "supremely successful" in both the religious and secular realms.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was clearly a man who we should follow if we want to be successful in this world and in the Hereafter. In the Qur'an, Allah says: "Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)

As Muslim we should not only remember Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. on his birthday but keep thinking about him at all times. In doing so, ‘insya-Allah’ (God willing) all our actions would be in line with his teachings. Then our lives would be guarded; our actions would be based on the five sections of ‘hukum shara’ (law of fiqh or religious law), that are ‘waajib’ (obligatory), ‘sunnah’ (optional), ‘harus’ or ‘mubah’ (probable), ‘makruh’ (improper) and ‘haram’.

It is ‘wajib’ to perform our five daily obligatory prayers (subuh, zuhur, asar, maghrib and isyak) so perform our best while doing it; it is ‘haram’ to shake hands with those of the opposite sex who are not our ‘muhram’ (those who are closely related to us such as our father, mother and siblings), then just leave it. And taking this in consideration, then of course it is 'HARAM' for  'tudung' clad Muslim girls (or even by those who are not donning the 'tudung') to  embrace or being kissed by male members of the K-POP group!

The question is why 'our girls' had guts to do 'those haram things'? Perhaps their knowledge on Islam was poor, their 'iman' (faith) loose, they easily gave up to their 'nafs' (desire) because there were 'maksiat' (forbidden activities) in the open everywhere and they failed to see good examples portrayed by leaders and even their parents!

Mother and father, please note that many of us do not or fail to 'dakwah' our children. The father thinks that he should be a good Muslim but forget about his wife and children. He should ‘dakwah’ not only himself but his dependents for Allah SWT says: "Believers! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are angels stern (and) severe as wardens, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (Qur’an 66:6)

As parents, we are the 'first teacher' for our children. The question is how is our children's 'iman' (believe); clearly from 'the K-POP' incident, the 'iman' of some of our young generation is questionable. 'Malu' (modesty) is part of 'iman' and if a few of our girls portrayed that they were 'tidak tahu malu' (had no modesty), then we have to check it ourselves fast.

As parents are we too  'tidak tahu malu'? The same question should be forwarded to our leaders - are they too 'tidak tahu malu' when they do all sorts of 'haram' things in the open such as the wife of a top leader embracing a male badminton top player and and a Bollywood star. Yes, if you feel no shame, then do as you wish.

Shaking hands involving the opposite sex is rampant in the ruling party functions. If we were to observe closely the moment when a leader arrived at a function, he would be greeted with handshakes by men and women.

The leader seemed not to have a sense of guilty when shaking and pressing his hand to the hands of other people’s wives (bini orang) or daughters (anak dara orang). It is sinful but the people of that party just ignore it. Women too, were seen pressing or pushing their way to shake hands with the top leaders.

Based on ‘this sinful’ phenomenon, I am afraid we are not thinking about Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. at all times, we are only good at remembering him when celebrating his birthday. Imagine what the Prophet would say, if he were to witness our deeds of not following his teachings and yet during Maulidur Rasul processions some of us are shouting our lungs in praising him.

Yes, we were not following the Prophets s.a.w. way of life and this time around we were 'heavily penalized' in the form of our young 'tudung' clad girls' embracing members of a K-POP group. Perhaps 'this sin' too 'had connection' with the devastating great flood that hit our country recently!

At the same time please be beware, perhaps next time 'our girls' would be embracing Hollywood and Bollywood stars; an excellent example had already been portrayed by the wife of one of our leaders. All these 'sins' were 'sungguh memalukan' (put a great shame to us as Muslims).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Sayang Sarawak sungainya sempit'...(5)

DENGAN nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah Lagi Maha Penyayang; selawat dan salam ke atas junjungan besar Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.


"Sesungguhnya solat itu adalah fardu yang ditentukan waktunya atas orang-orang beriman." (Maksud Ayat 103 Surah An-Nisa')


KEMASUKAN Islam 'secara rasmi' di Sarawak pada abad ke-15 berkait rapat dengan perkembangan Islam di Brunei Darussalam. Namun terdapat catatan menyatakan ada penduduk Sarawak sudah Islam lebih awal.

Pada zaman kegemilangan Kesultanan Brunei, Sarawak adalah sebahagian tanah jajahannya. Namun ada peristiwa bersejarah pada pertengahan abad ke-19 (1841) menyebabkan sebahagian Sarawak (Kuching dan kawasan sekitarnya) telah diserahkan kepada James Brooke (Rajah Putih). Beliau dan keturunannya telah meluaskan kekuasaan dari Kuala Samarahan (1846) sehinggalah ke Limbang pada 1890.

Selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, keluarga Brooke telah menyerahkan Sarawak kepada kerajaan Inggeris yang telah mencorakkan pemerintahan di negeri itu yang sebahagian besarnya kekal ke hari ini, namun bumi Kenyalang ini telah melahirkan ramai 'wira rakyat' seperti Rosli Dhoby.

Islam tidak mengalami perkembangan di bawah pemerintahan British sekalipun telah ditubuhkan Majlis Islam dan Adat Istiadat Melayu Sarawak pada 1954, dan hari ini selepas 50 tahun merdeka dalam Malaysia, umat Islam di pulau Borneo mengharapkan usaha dakwah dapat dipertingkatkan terutama di kawasan ceruk rantau di pedalaman.

Berceloteh dengan seorang rakan yang baru pulang berdakwah dengan kawan-kawannya selama 40 hari di sebuah kawasan pedalaman di sana, mengharu dan menginsafkan bahawa lebih banyak usaha perlu dilakukan untuk 'memahatkan' Islam di bumi bertuah itu. 

Mungkin satu kampung sudah diislamkan, tetapi penduduk terus dengan amalan lama dan ada kemungkinan besar untuk kembali kepada kepercayaan sebelumnya jika tidak 'dipahatkan' ilmu dan amalan Islam.

Katanya, 'takazah' (keperluan agama) adalah amat mendesak. Penduduk yang telah diislamkan (saudara kita) hauskan ilmu dan bimbingan manakala yang belum Islam menunjukkan minat sangat mendalam untuk mengetahui tentang Islam.

"Namun kedua-dua hal ini gagal ditangani umat Islam secara baik. Memang betul, ramai yang sudah diislamkan, tetapi kurang sekali usaha 'follow up' (susulan). Penduduk sudah diislamkan, tetapi terbiar tanpa bimbingan (usaha dakwah) supaya mereka terus istiqamah dalam Islam seterusnya mengamalkan perintah dan larangan agama.

"Saya saksikan sendiri bagaimana seorang ustaz dari kota datang untuk mengetuai solat Jumaat termasuk membaca khutbah di sebuah masjid tetapi selepas itu dia tergesa-gesa pulang sedangkan penduduk mahukan ustaz mengajar dan membimbing mereka.

"Selama seminggu penduduk terbiar dari segi agamanya, minggu depan seorang ustaz lagi akan datang untuk mengetuai solat Jumaat, selepas itu dia pun berangkat pergi, jadi siapa yang hendak mengajar agama kepada penduduk-penduduk di kawasan pedalaman itu?" tanyanya.

Pendakwah itu bimbang 'saudara kita' akan kembali kepada kepercayaan asal kerana banyak faktor memungkinkannya. "Misalnya dalam sesebuah keluarga ada seorang dua yang memeluk Islam, yang lain masih mengekalkan cara hidup lama; lambat laun dikhuatiri 'saudara kita' akan kembali kepada kepercayaan dan cara hidup lama kerana mereka tidak ada bimbingan dalam beragama," katanya.

Beliau mendakwa sepanjang berdakwah ada ditemui seorang bapa mengahwinikan anak gadisnya yang sudah Islam dengan pemuda bukan Islam. Si bapa tidak tahu itu satu kesalahan, lebih malang lagi tiada ustaz 'hadir' untuk membetulkan keadaan itu.

Mengenai dakwah kepada penduduk bukan Islam, si pendakwah berkata kebanyakan penduduk di rantau ini 'lembut-lembut belaka' - mereka 'banyak tersenyum' dan diam saja 'ketika didakwah'. 

"Ramai tertarik kepada Islam, kami pernah menghadiri majlis kenduri berkhatan bagi 'saudara baru'...begitu terharu kami melihatkan selain kanak-kanak ada pemuda berusia 18 'siap sedia untuk dikhatankan' demikian juga orang 'veteran'," katanya.

Berdasarkan kunjungan dakwahnya yang menarik minat penduduk tempatan, beliau mengharapkan lebih ramai kumpulan dakwah dapat ke Sarawak dan Sabah. 

Namun beliau mengingatkan bahawa 'kawasan dakwah' adalah begitu luas jadi masa diperlukan lama; tidak mungkin untuk melakukan kerja dakwah dalam tempoh sehari dua kerana perjalanan ke sana saja untuk memakan tempoh berhari-hari. 

"Umat Islam mesti melakukan korban untuk menegakkan Islam; kepayahan tidak sewajarnya dijadikan alasan untuk tidak berdakwah," katanya yang berazam untuk kembali berdakwah kepada penduduk di pulau Borneo.

"Kawasan sasaran dakwah adalah jauh-jauh belaka; banyak kesukaran perlu ditempoh tetapi inilah pengorbanan kita untuk Islam," katanya yang sudah biasa meninggalkan anak isteri dan kampung halaman bagi tempoh yang lama.