In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
LAST Saturday (3rd April), I attended my son’s school Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) general meeting. There I met an old friend who was my former office colleague. Since he is still working with the same company, I asked him many questions regarding my old friends.
Some of them have move up the corporate ladder into high ranking positions, some have resigned and others have passed away. Nul who is the same age as me is now the company group managing editor. I recounted the hard times we faced together during our early stint in the company including going to a Mardi cocoa research centre in hinterland Ulu Dong, Raub in 1986.
Zi, Ha, Fi and Sol had left the company after being offered the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS). My friend said they were given a few hundred thousand of ringgits as compensation.
Mi died at 43 years of age after he had a heart attack and Zal died before he was 40. Others that have passed away were Mad, Sin and Siah. All were in late thirties or early forties.
How time flew fast, it is just like yesterday I said my goodbyes to my old office mates. But the truth, I had left the office some 12 years ago. It was in 1998, the same year Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from his position as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President.
Some of my old colleagues had visited me at my new workplace, and a few had made telephone calls including asking for advice. One call I could not forget was from a sub editor of the sports section of a tabloid newspaper.
Over the phone, he pleaded me to advise him: “Brother LANH, my job is to edit sports stories and make layout for several pages. The problem is that sometimes on certain pages there are advertisements of four digits and sports Toto (gambling) results. Even though I am not directly involved, I am concerned about the money I bring home to feed my wife and children. Are my salary ‘haram’ (forbidden)? Please advise me.”
I told him to see an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) for the answer. “As a friend, I advise you to hold on to your job, but at the same time look for alternatives. If you feel very uncomfortable doing that job, try your luck at other publications. Perhaps a company that publishes good reading materials especially with Islamic slant might go well with you!”
I felt happy because the friend had found ‘hidayah’ (true path). It was only the beginning of a long journey in searching for the truth. The road in seeking His ‘reda’ (approval) was a bumpy one with many pitfalls, one could easily burn out or stumble, unable to return to the starting point, what more to finish with His blessing.
Reminiscing my days at the publication (my old office), I could not help but have pity to some of my friends. Imaging a sub editor nearing the retirement age having to do the layout for entertainment pages; he had to use his imagination and creativity including cropping pictures of singers and actress who purposely showed off their sexy bodies.
Then there were veteran photographers that fits the Malay proverb ‘kubur kata mari, dunia kata pergi’ (literally means the is grave welcoming you, the world says go), chasing young girls, asking them to be models to be portrayed in their newspapers.
During breaks and ‘coffee time’, when I had opportunity to join them, I jokingly told them to turn over a new leaf and teased them about the proverb ‘kubur kata mari, dunia kata pergi’, but they only laughed about it, making a deaf ear on suggestion such as looking for other opportunities.
Life is too short; several of my former office mates passed away at young age, so have we not learnt something from it? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said life is like that of a man on horseback who stops under the shade of a tree for a while and then leaves it.
To my old friend who I met at the PTA meeting, I advice him concentrate highlighting news on the poor as they needed attention the most. Their sufferings should be felt by others; journalist ought to be sensitive to their needs.
Other than material support, those unlucky folks too had to be guided to the truth path because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was concerned not only life in this world but also life in the Hereafter.
About brotherhood, the book ‘Pearls of The Prophet’ (pbuh) notes that all Muslims are as one body. If a man complains of pain in his head, his whole body feels the pain, and if his eye pains his whole body feels the pain.
All Muslims are like the component parts of a foundation, each strengthening the other, in such a way that they support each other.
Muslims are brothers in religion and they must not oppress one another, nor abandon assisting each other, nor hold one another in contempt. The seat of righteousness is the heart; therefore that heart which is righteous does not hold a Muslim in contempt; and all the things of one Muslim are unlawful to another; his blood, property and reputation.
The creation is as God’s family; for its sustenance is from Him; therefore the most beloved to God is the person who does good to God’s family.
No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
When two Muslims meet, they shake hands, praise Allah and seek forgiveness of Him, both are forgiven.
Assist your brother Muslim, whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed. “But how shall we do it when he is an oppressor?” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Assisting an oppressor is by for forbidding and restraining him from oppression.”
When three persons are together, two of them must not whisper to each other without letting the third hear, because it would hurt him.
Verily, each of you is a mirror to his brother; then if he sees a vice in his brother he must advise him to get rid of it.
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Let none of you point at his brother with an implement for he knows not when Satan might make him lose his hold on it thereby injuring his brother.”
Anas ibn Malik relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Do not entertain mutual enmity, envy and anger, and live like brothers, being equally the bondmen of Allah, and it is not lawful for a Muslim that he should avoid his brother Muslim for more than three days.”
Muslims are brothers, but I don’t understand why some of our leaders are swinging swords to one another. Recently I came across a huge banner, the words declaring that Anwar Ibrahim is a ‘mungkar’ (sin) person. The people who were supposed to talk about the sins of Anwar during the ‘ceramah’ to be held, were Fairus Khairuddin, former Deputy Chief Minister of Penang; Ibrahim Ali, President of Perkasa (a Malay non governmental body); Anuar Shaari, Anwar’s former Personnel Secretary and Zaid Md Arid, former Deputy Chief of Angkatan Muda KeADILan (KeADILan Youth).
It is trigger happy to say about the sins of others and condemning them, but what about our own sins? So friends, have a look at the mirror, before swinging your sword to kill your own friends or former friends!