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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The 'best noodles' in the world?

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.


YEARS ago as a young father, I was fond of bringing my family especially my young boys 'to sample' food at various eateries. One day, while quietly eating his 'mi goreng kicap' (noodles fried deep in ketchup sauce) at a 'gerai' (stall), my five year old child cried out that his 'mi' was 'paling sedap' (the best) noodles in the world.

I was not surprise at his 'outburst' - the boy was too green, the Malay old folks would say 'baru nak hidup' (just beginning to live) or 'baru setahun jagung' (still a greenhorn). Perhaps he has not tasted the many types of noodles available at the many eateries around us such as stalls and restaurants with unique names such as 'Mi Kari' (Curry Noodles), 'Mi Goreng Mamak' (Fried Noodles Mamak Style) and 'Mi Sop Gear Box' (Noodles in hot soup with oxen ligaments).

These are a few names of 'mi', there are also 'mi siam (beehoon)', 'laksa' and the likes of it. Lately I had tried 'Mi Kolok' of the Sarawak fame and during our outing at eateries, 'I was sure' my wife would 90 percent ask for her 'mi kung-fu'. And as for me, my favourite is 'Mi Bandung'!

Well, as human beings we are the 'masters' in our chosen worldly matters including in the culinary world for example as 'mi expert'. We are free to cook whatever dish we wish but of course as Muslims, our cooking and food must in line with the requirements in Islam such as what is 'halal' (permissible) or 'haram' (forbidden).

Regarding this matter, a 'hadith' narrated by Anas noted that the Prophet (peace be upon him, s.a.w.) passed by some people who were busy with pollination and said: “If they would not do this, then it would still come out right.” 

The date crop that resulted was of a very poor quality. Then he passed by them and asked: “What is with your date palms?” 

They said: “You had told us such-and-such…” He said: “You know best the affairs of your worldly life.”

Well, we decide for our worldly affairs. Recently I received this 'warm' and 'promising' e-mail from a reader who after that had sent me a book regarding the nostalgia of living in Muar. One of the many things the writer noted about Muar was on food and he did mentioned about 'Mi Bandung' (my favourite) which is the signature of the town which is also known as Bandar Maharani.

The name 'Mi Bandung' make me curious to know why it is called so. I had been to Bandung, but 'sadly' the people there said 'there is no such thing as 'Mi Bandung'. Alhamdulillah (Praise be only to Allah SWT), in this book, I have the answer... 

'Salam' (Greetings to) LanH,

I have always enjoyed reading your articles in Harakah. Have you ever thought of publishing it so that more will be able to read it as not many people I know do not subscribe to Harakah. I recently published a book, 'Pages from my Past' written by Kamaruddin Abdullah. It is a compilation of articles about Muar in the 50s and 60s. If you are interested we could discuss this further. If you could let me have your address I will send you a copy of the book published by Kalsom Taib Publishing. - Kalsom Taib

Regarding 'Mi Bandung', Kamaruddin in his book 'Pages from my Past' among others wrote: "'Otak-otak' (fish paste) and 'Mi Bandung' need no introduction. Some may ask whether 'Mi Bandung' originated from Bandung. No, it is not. 'Mi Bandung' has its origin right in Muar Town. Why it is called 'Mi Bandung' then?

"Let me tell you the story, which was told to me by close older friend Mohammed Mahmood. Nobody in Muar Town of my time knew Mohammed Mahmood, but mention the name of Awang Kitang to them and they will immediately remember the most notorious and playful Muarian the town had ever produced. Yes, Mohammed Mahmood is Atan Kitang and this is his story:

"A year after our country gained its independence, our Prime Minister the late Tunku wanted to foster closer relationships with our neighbours Indonesia and Singapore. One of the activities proposed was the exchange of cultural shows among the three countries. I remember attending one of the shows at Rex Cinema. The Indonesian troupe consisted of the legendary Bing Selamat and Titiek Puspa. The Singaporean too presented their talented artists. Our late legendary Tan Sri P Ramlee was just beginning to shine and was not included.

"Across the road where the Grand Paradise stood was a small row of shophouses fronting Jalan Sisi........Among these traders, there was a man we called Pak Ma'il and his assistant Taib Tenuk. They both served the best Malay noodles that has no specific name. It was simply called 'mi kuah'. Muarians flock to this small restaurant to enjoy this specially-cook noodle dish day and night.

"In 1959.......................there was another cultural show performed by troupes of the three countries..............At the end of the show, the troupes sang their own country's song; the Malayan sang 'Rasa Sayang', the Singaporeans 'Geylang Si Paku Gelang' and the Indonesians 'Ole Ole Bandung'

"After the show, it was time to fill their stomachs and the only suitable place was Pak Mail's little restaurant.............When they reach Pak Ma'il's restaurant, they all ordered that special noodle with no name...........When it was served, they tucked in and the Indonesian like it so much.

"One of them asked Pak Ma'il the name of the dish and he replied that the dish had no specific name, just noodles mixed with the 'kuah' of pasted shrimps and bits and pieces of other ingredients, such as sliced meat, cuttlefish  and vegetables. He said to just call the dish 'mi kuah'.

"The Indonesian then suggested the name 'Mi Bandung' because they were singing 'Ole Ole Bandung' when their meal arrived. Everyone laughed and agreed that the lovely dish be named 'Mi Bandung'. So it was, and from then on the dish cooked by Pak Ma'il and his assistant Taib Tenuk became known as 'Mi Bandung Muar'.

"Later Pak Ma'il and his assistant taught some others to cook this dish and eventually many restaurants began to serve 'Mi Bandung'. So the next time you pass Muar Town, TRY IT and remember this story...

Recently my wife and I drove to Muar from Melaka which was a half an hour drive, 'to accept' the writer's 'challenge'. Someone told us that  one of the Muar's best 'Mi Bandung' is 'Mee Bandung Central' which is situated just in front of the gate of Sekolah Menengah Sains Muar in Tanjung Agas.

We failed to locate the outlet but as we were about to head the famous Muar Bridge, we came across two restaurants in a row of shophouses which has a large signboard which read 'Mee Bandung Muar' and 'Mee Udang Banjir - Mee Bandung'.

At first we try our luck at 'Mee Bandung Muar' but had to move on as this restaurant is 'full house' - not a chair spared for us to sit. At 'Mee Udang Banjir - Mee Bandung' we managed to squeeze ourselves at a small table  - my wife ordering 'Mee Udang Banjir' while I 'as usual my favourite 'Mee Bandung'.

My wife complained that her 'Mee Udang Banjir' was salty but for me, my 'Mee Bandung' was 'excellent'. But both of us agreed that the noodles in the dish was too little - taking several spoons bite from the plate, it was finished. Well, both dish costs RM6.50 each; it was quiet expensive but who needed to complain because nowadays raw items such as prawns and eggs are very, very expensive.

A kilogramme of a medium size prawn could go up to RM30.00 while a small crate of 30 eggs is more than RM12.00! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

'Sayang Sarawak sungainya sempit'...(Bahagian Keempat)

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


Daripada Aisyah r.a., berkata: "Saya mendengar Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda: 'Semua manusia dikumpulkan tanpa memakai alas kaki, telanjang dan belum dikhatan.' Aisyah bertanya; 'Apakah antara lelaki dan perempuan akan saling melihat antara satu dengan yang lain?' Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda: 'Urusan pada hari itu lebih dahsyat daripada mementingkan hal-hal seperti itu.'" (HR. Bukhari dan Muslim)


PAGI-PAGI lagi terminal feri Sibu sudah sesak dengan orang ramai. Ini kerana hari itu (Sabtu, 20 Disember 2014), ramai perantau seperti pelajar institusi pengajian tinggi (ITP) memanfaatkan cuti panjang hujung tahun termasuk Krismas untuk balik ke kampung masing-masing.

Krismas disambut meriah di Sarawak; Dataran Sibu sudah dihias indah, pagi itu seorang pegawai tinggi polis negeri merasmikan kempen keselamatan ketika orang ramai berpusu-pusu di jalan raya dan juga memenuhi feri yang kebanyakannya memudik Batang Rejang menuju destinasi seperti Song, Kapit dan Belaga.

Di tengah-tengah kesesakan orang ramai di terminal feri, saya menyelinap menyampaikan risalah dakwah bertajuk 'It all began with Read - A Jewish computer programmer accepts Islam'. Sekejap saja 20-30 risalah sudah habis, orang ramai menerimanya 'seadanya' tetapi seorang gadis Iban berusia 19 tahun yang memberitahu dia sedang menuntut di sebuah IPT di Kuching menunjukkan minat mendalam.

Rebecca yang dalam perjalanan ke Song untuk 'pulang berhari raya' di sebuah rumah panjang, tertarik untuk mengetahui hal ehwal berkaitan agama Islam. Dia yang mendakwa bertolak dengan bas ekspres dari Kuching jam 10.00 malam sebelumnya dan tiba di terminal feri Sibu jam 5.00 pagi semakin tertarik apabila saya menyatakan ada persamaan antara Islam dan Kristian; kedua-duanya agama langit (Samawi) namun Islam meletakkan Nabi Isa a.s. sebagai nabi dan rasul dan tidak sebagaimana yang dipercayai penganut Kristian.

Islam sebagai agama fitrah terus berkembang di Sarawak hatta di kalangan orang Iban yang majoriti besarnya beragama Kristian. Orang Iban adalah kaum terbesar di Sarawak, merangkumi 29 peratus daripada 2.5 juta penduduknya. Kunjungan saya ke Sarawak menemukan saya dengan seorang 'saudara kita' di kalangan orang Iban, Siti.........Abdullah, (nama penuhnya dirahsiakan demi keselamatan dirinya), yang berasal dari sebuah rumah panjang di Sri Aman.

Bercakap mengenai pengislamannya, Siti hampir menitiskan air mata. Cahaya Islam memasuki hatinya lapan tahun lalu selepas dia meragui kepercayaan dalam agama Kristian yang membawa perceraian dengan suaminya. Hanya dia dan seorang lelaki berusia 12 tahun memeluk Islam, sedangkan semua anggota keluarganya termasuk seorang anak lelaki berusia 17 tahun kekal dalam agama Kristian.

Sebagai seorang 'saudara kita', Siti meluahkan 'rasa hatinya yang lama terbuku' kerana dirinya begitu tertekan selepas memeluk Islam. Beliau mendakwa kesempatan untuk 'mendekatkan diri kepada Islam' tidak begitu terbuka di Sarawak.

"Jika di Semenanjung ada PERKIM, di sini kita ada 'Harakah Islamiah' (HIKMAH), namun ia kurang berkesan dalam usaha mendidik saudara kita," dakwa Siti. "Saya hauskan ilmu agama, tetapi saya tidak tahu mahu rujuk siapa atau pihak mana. Saya dibuang saudara-mara termasuk ibu bapa, jadi kepada siapa dan di mana saya boleh mengadu?"

"Saudara kita terabai dari segi kebajikannya dan lebih malang lagi orang Melayu tidak ramai yang berani menolong saudara kita; ya orang Melayu kurang sekali membantu apatah lagi berdakwah kepada kaum lain termasuk Iban," dakwanya.

Sepanjang berada di Sarawak, sedikit sebanyak dapat saya menyelami rasa hati seorang insan di kalangan saudara kita seperti Siti. Di kebanyakan tempat yang saya kunjungi hanya siaran TV1 dan TV2 saja yang boleh diikuti; kedua-dua rangkaian ini terlalu banyak propaganda dan hiburan yang membuatkan 'hati kita sesak kerana seakan-akan berada dalam tahun-tahun 1960-an dan 1970-an.' 

Ketika saya bermalam di Sri Aman, tertengok saya rancangan nyanyian yang menampilkan Ramlah Ram...Subhanallah, sudah terlalu jauh dibuainya dengan nostalgia...jadi saya berpendapat warga luar bandar termasuk di Sarawak sudah banyak didendangkan dengan kisah-kisah lama menyebabkan sesetengahnya 'tertidur dibuai mimpi'.

Menatap akhbar-akhbar berbahasa Melayu Sarawak apatah lagi yang berbahasa Inggeris hampir tiada ruangan agama. Apa yang banyak dipaparkan adalah ruangan hiburan dan majlis keraian rakyat seperti sambutan Krismas. Ada juga diperuntukkan muka surat laporan dalam bahasa Iban, persoalannya adakah ruang untuk berdakwah kepada kaum ini?

Menjalankan usaha dakwah di kawasan pedalaman Sarawak adalah satu cabaran besar, tidak ramai di kalangan orang Islam yang sanggup meredah hutan, menyeberangi sungai dan duduk berhari-hari malah berminggu-minggu bersama kumpulan sasaran termasuk di rumah panjang.

Seorang imam sebuah masjid besar di sebuah pekan besar di Sarawak menyimpulkan hal ini dalam ungkapan yang amat pedas: "Ya sebahagian pendakwah (pegawai agama) yang digajikan kerajaan yang datang dari Kuching hanya sanggup mengajar agama jika mereka disediakan bilik hotel yang hebat dan pengangkutan yang baik...jika tidak, mereka pun tidak sudi ke kawasan pedalaman ini!"

Ya, sebahagian besar masjid di Sarawak terutama di Kuching adalah besar-besar belaka, tetapi agak sepi. Di dinding Masjid Negeri ada tertulis ayat al-Quran (ayat 103, Surah 4, An-Nisa') yang membawa maksud: "Sesungguhnya solat itu adalah fardu yang ditentukan waktunya atas orang-orang beriman" tetapi ketika saya solat zuhur pada suatu hari, jemaah yang ada tak sampai sebaris (hanya kira-kira 20 orang) walaupun masjid itu saya anggarkan boleh memuatkan 20,000 jemaah!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A touching story of a long forgotten friend...

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)

ON December 24th 2014 'an old friend', Prof Dr Safiah Osman passed to me her latest book - Stories of Love and Compassion - which she said was just two days out from its printing house;  Success Printing and Packaging Sdn Bhd.

It was a compilation of 32 short stories of several writers with Dr Safiah as the 'anchorwoman'  wrote nine pieces. The other writers were Hajar Alias, Laila Hassan, Kamaruddin Abd Kadir, Firoza Burhan, Khairiah Ahmad, Kalsom Taib, Putri Zanina, Rohani Ramly, Zawiyah Baba, Rohana Zubir, Zuraidah Omar, Yasmin Gan Abdullah, Noorshin Ng Abdullah, Azleen Osman Rani, Sulaiman Osman and the late Kamariah Osman, Rafiah Bahar Rasip, Rodziah Ahmad Tajuddin and Nur Aini Mad Yaman.

The book was published by Muslim Aid  Asia Sdn Bhd of Muslim Aid Asia which was founded in 2004 to provide a platform and a focus for Malaysians to join hands with fellow Malaysian and the world community at large in tackling the persistent and recurring problems of local and global poverty and suffering as a result of natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, etc) and human disasters (endemic poverty, civil  strife, wars, etc).

In 2008, Muslim Aid Asia was officially registered as a foundation to serve these goals, and now is known as 'Yayasan Kemanusiaan Muslim Aid Malaysia' (YKMAM) or Muslim Aid Malaysia Humanitarian Foundation (Muslim Aid). Readers could get this book at it premise; 8-1-2, Menara Mutiara Bangsar, Jalan Liku 59100 Kuala Lumpur (telephone 03-22881996 and It is also available at leading bookstores.

Dr Safiah in the preface of the book noted that there is a story in all of us waiting to be told. "Every story is unique, conveying its particular message, meaning of purpose. A story may be inspiring, thought-provoking, spiritual enlightening or just plain nurturing and very often we want to share it with others...The all-important message in this book is that we need to love and fear Allah SWT and we need to turn to Him not only in times of adversity, sadness and grief but also in times of joy and happiness."

Reading the first story by Dr Safiah herself - A Magnificent Gift of Kindness - 'pierced deep inside my heart'; it was about Dr Safiah's warm relationship with a fellow pilgrimage in Makkah who had been diagnosed with advanced cancer.

Dr Safiah found out that this woman who was travelling alone to perform the hajj was actually 'fully sponsored' by a generous man who would like to remain anonymous. Regarding 'their relationship' after after hajj, Dr Safiah wrote: "My heart will always be pierced with regret because I visited her only once and that was when she had already been hospitalized...I was deeply saddened by the young woman's passing..."

Taking time to read on; I was 'stung' while reading ''Learning all about love and compassion' by Putri Zanina. It was a story about my friend, a long forgotten friend who was a colleague in Berita Harian. He was my successor as Foreign Editor when I resigned from the media house in 1998.

Among others Zanina wrote: "It was 6pm and already dark when we left Heathrow Airport for the New Straits Times apartment in the centre of London. It was 1995 and I was travelling with my four children, aged between five and fourteen, who were on their first long-haul trip overseas. After the twelve-hour overnight flight, we were all exhausted. Adding to the strain was hauling luggage for five people.

"As we sat in the taxi cruising into the city all I could think about was getting a good night's sleep. But as soon we arrived at my company's apartment near the Queensbay area, we realized how famished we were. I was unfamiliar with the area and our apartment was located in a quiet, secluded spot. No shops were within sight. I felt daze, made worse by jetlag, but I had four hungry kids to feed.

"As I was thinking of where to take the children for dinner, there was a knock on the door. Opening it, I saw a man smiling and then giving me his 'salam'. He introduced himself as Karim Sulaiman from the apartment upstairs. The name rang a bell. He was a Berita Harian journalist and the newspaper correspondent in London. He explained that he had heard our taxi arrive and had been told by his New Straits Times colleague that I was making a visit and he thought he would welcome us. "Would you like to have dinner at my apartment? My wife has just finished cooking,' he said. What a relief to receive his invitation. I gladly accepted it and no word could describe how grateful I felt.

"My children and I trooped upstairs. The forlorn feeling we had earlier dissipated as we entered Karim's home. Not only his lovely wife Siti Hawa Mohd Ariff warmly welcome us, but the shrieks and laughter of his two children also added to our joy. We felt immediately at home. Although we were strangers, Karim and his wife embraced us with the kind of sincerity that could only come from compassionate hearts. And the piping hot chicken rice and soup that Siti Hawa served us was the best I had even eaten!

"A simple meal, a simple gesture twenty years ago, but I still remember it until today. Although I have traveled to many places in the world over the years, the experience in Karim's house remains one of the best moments of being away from home. I have often wondered why it stayed in my memory. Perhaps it was because it showed that you can offer kindness even by simple means..."

Karim Sulaiman was one year my senior in Berita Harian. I began working at the daily in 1986 while Karim in 1985. I remembered the last time I talked to him was when he took the position of Foreign Editor and ha asked me for advises regarding work. That was our 'last contact'. It was more 15 years ago.

Ending her story on Karim, Putri Zanina wrote: "When love is spread regardless of creed and colour of skin, it is a powerful tool to spread goodwill. Karim's goodwill remained forever and I felt profound sadness when he passed away in February 2014. Aged only 53, he succumbed to a rare skin disease, 'scleromyxedema', which he had been suffering..."

My heart will always be pierced with regret because I had never visited Karim since I left Berita Harian in 1998. Perhaps I had 'merajuk' (take things too hard). It was my mistake. And for 'Allahyarham' (the late) Karim, well, dear readers, let us say our prayers (du'a) for him...'Al-Fatihah'. May Allah SWT be pleased with him. - ES

Monday, January 12, 2015

'Sayang Sarawak sungainya sempit'...(Bahagian Ketiga)

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')


SEBELUM meneruskan catatan mengenai kunjungan saya ke Sarawak baru-baru ini, terlebih dahulu saya ingin mengingatkan diri saya dan pembaca bahawa pengkisahan ini hanyalah berdasarkan apa yang saya lihat dan alami (pengalaman sendiri).

Tafsiran saya mungkin berbeza dengan pihak dan individu lain apatah lagi penduduk tempatan yang lebih arif perkembangan di tempat masing-masing. Apa yang kita lihat dan alami tidak selalunya benar, kadang-kadang ia menipu diri kita sendiri. Sebagai penulis, hal inilah yang saya takuti.

Berhubung perkara ini saya teringat kisah petani dan cerpelai yang telah saya baca di sekolah rendah puluhan tahun lalu. Ada seorang petani yang isterinya baru melahirkan seorang anak. Setiap hari si suami ke kebun sedangkan isteri menguruskan hal rumahtangga termasuk menjaga bayi. 

Suatu hari kedua-dua suami isteri terpaksa ke kebun dan membiarkan si anak dalam jagaan sang cerpelai. Sepeninggalan mereka seekor ular tedung yang besar telah masuk ke rumah mereka, menghampiri bayi di dalam buaian. Sang cerpelai telah membunuh ular. Mulut dan badannya berlumuran darah.

Ketika suami isteri itu bergegas balik, mereka ternampak sang cerpelai yang berlumuran darah 'menyambut' mereka. Menyangka cerpelai sudah membaham anak mereka, sang petani yang tanpa periksa, membunuhnya. Apabila naik ke rumah mereka mendapati bayi mereka masih nyenyak dalam buaian manakala di sisinya bangkai seekor ular besar. Menyesal tak sudahlah si petani kerana bertindak terburu nafsu...apa yang dilihatnya (cerpelai berlumuran darah) ditafsirkannya si cerpelai sudah membunuh anaknya adalah tidak benar!

'Sayang Sarawak sungainya sempit'...dari Kuching saya dan keluarga bertolak ke Sibu dengan kereta menempuh jalan raya Trans Borneo dalam jarak hampir 500 kilometer melalui bandar atau pinggirnya seperti Serian, Lachau, Sri Aman, Engkilili, Betong, Saratok, Sarikei dan Bintangor. Dari Sibu, jalan raya itu menghala ke Bintulu dan Miri yang jaraknya hampir 500 kilometer lagi.

Di beberapa bandar ini, kami singgah termasuk bermalam, alhamdulillah sempatlah saya berkunjung ke masjid-masjidnya. Pada satu malam Ahad (hari Sabtu) saya menunaikan solat maghrib di masjid utama sebuah bandar besar. Sebagai seorang musafir, saya berkira-kira untuk 'blah' selepas solat itu yang dijamakkan dengan solat isyak, tetapi 'satu pemandangan kurang menyenangkan' di masjid menyebabkan saya meluangkan masa 'untuk melihatnya sendiri dengan mata kepala ini'.

Selepas solat maghrib berjemaah yang dihadiri kira-kira 10 orang, di masjid itu diadakan tazkirah, tetapi 'sang ustaz' sahaja yang bersungguh-sungguh menyampaikan kuliah di mejanya tetapi tiada pun 'anak murid' berada di depannya. Saya lihat sekumpulan jemaah seramai empat lima orang kelihatan bersembang-sembang dekat dinding masjid, beberapa orang sedang menunaikan solat manakala beberapa orang lagi sedang membaca Quran dan 'mengira tasbih' berhampiran atau di belakang tiang.

Saya begitu pelik sekali, tidak pernah saya terjumpa 'satu majlis ilmu' di masjid yang tiada pendengarnya. Di Semenanjung ada saya berada dalam kuliah subuh 'yang tiang masjid lebih banyak daripada jemaahnya' tetapi sekurang-kurangnya ada juga beberapa orang di depan ustaz tetapi di masjid di Sarawak ini, kuliah antara maghrib dan isyak tidak dipedulikan langsung oleh jemaahnya!

Masjid ini besar, terletak di bandar utama pula. Ketika itu malam minggu pula, tentunya ramai penduduknya ada kelapangan waktu tetapi mengapa 'dibiarkan ustaz bertazkirah' tanpa seorang pun jemaah menunjukkan minat mengikutinya? Saya menjadi hairan, tetapi tidaklah saya berani 'membuat tafsiran' kerana takut tersalah bertindak seperti yang terjadi dalam kisah petani dan cerpelainya.

Malam itu saya duduk di depan sang ustaz. Sekali-sekala dia memandang saya. Saya fikir tentu dia perasan saya orang luar. Mungkin saya kehairanan 'menyaksikan kelas pengajian tanpa murid' dan dia pula hairan 'kenapa ada orang luar menunjukkan minat kepada tazkirahnya'.

Saya sempat bertanyakan ustaz itu mengapa 'perkembangan sebegitu' (kelas pengajian tanpa jemaah menunjukkan minat) berlaku di bumi Kenyalang, dia memberitahu: "Ramai orang tidak faham agama.  Mereka ikut-ikut saja. Mereka tak tahu kelebihan menuntut ilmu. Jika mereka tahu taklah mereka sibuk-sibuk untuk solat sunat, berzikir, membaca Quran apatah lagi bersembang-sembang ketika pengajian berlangsung.

"Malangnya mereka tak tahu dan tak nak ambil tahu. Saya sudah cakap kepada mereka, tetapi mereka tak peduli. Orang yang ke masjid pun demikian keadaannya apatah lagi orang yang tak ke masjid.

"Tentu kamu tahu ada ribuan orang Islam di bandar ini. Tetapi berapa ramai ke masjid. Adalah 10-15 orang. Yang lain tu, apa dibuat mereka?" 

Subhanallah, pertanyaannya itu membuatkan saya tersentak. Ya, orang Islam di Sarawak bukanlah golongan terbesar. Orang Melayu yang boleh dikatakan 100 peratus Islam hanya 23 peratus saja daripada 2.5 juta penduduk Sarawak. 

Dicampur dengan orang Melanau yang sebahagiannya adalah Islam dan segelintir daripada suku kaum lain, orang Islam tidak dominan di Sarawak. 

Jika mereka tidak kukuh dari segi agamanya (seperti keberatan meningkatkan ilmu agama) apa agaknya masa depan orang Islam di bumi Kenyalang? Ya, mungkinkah ada yang tersirat di sebalik ungkapan sayang Sarawak sungainya sempit...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

'Going' to the masjid for the very first and last time...

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.

NEXT February of the new year 2015 I would be 53; during my lifetime I had witnessed several Muslims who had never stepped on a masjid once - but one very sad thing when they die, their remains were brought to the masjid for the final prayer before they were quickly carried to the graveyard for burial.

At last, as a Muslim 'he' or 'she' finally made it to a masjid, perhaps it was 'his or her first and last' to the house of Allah SWT. The question is why many of us shy away from the masjid; it was a standard yardstick during the five times daily compulsory or obligatory prayers i.e.'subuh', 'zuhur', 'asar', 'maghrib' and 'isyak' only a row or two are fill with congregators.

'Subhanallah' (All praise is due to Allah) there are people 'who totally boycott' masjid during their lifetimes - they had never set their foot on the floors of any masjid but the irony of it when they die, their remains would be brought to the masjid and to be prayed to. But they themselves had never prayed to Allah SWT in the masjid.

And there are individuals who only performed their prayers in masjids on a weekly basis that is 'solat Jumaat' (Friday prayers) and there also bound to be persons who only come to the masjid twice a year to perform their 'solat sunat' Aidilfitri and Aidiladha (the recommended prayers of Eid Adha and Eid Fitri).

An 'ustaz' (religious teacher) during his 'tazkirah' (lesson) at a masjid near my house warned congregators who shy away from the house of Allah based on 'Surah 'Abasa (He Frowned) with the meaning: "Man is (self-) destroyed: how ungrateful (Ayah 17); From what thing doth He create him? (18); From a drop of seed. He createth him and proportioneth him (19); Then maketh the way easy for him (20); Then causeth him to die, and burieth him (21); Then, when He will, He bringeth him again to life (22); Nay, but (man) hath not done what He commanded him (23).

Allah The Merciful calls us to the masjid to perform our duties to Him but we just ignored it. Imagine five times daily, the 'mu'azzin' would faithfully do the 'azan'. 'Azan' is a call to the Believers to hasten to worship Allah SWT. The 'azan' is purely to glorify Allah SWT and acknowledge His prophet Muhammad (s.a.w. - peace be upon him) and the guidance to be successful in this world and the Hereafter.

The 15 lines recited in the azan are (with the meaning): 'Allah is Greatest' (4 times), 'I testify that there is no god to be worshiped except Allah' (twice), 'I testify that Muhammad is His final Messenger' (twice), 'Come to prayer' (twice), 'Come to success' (twice), 'Allah is Greatest' (twice) and 'There is no god to be worshiped except Allah' (once).

The 'mu'azzin' is only doing his duty, it is actually Allah SWT is calling us to his house to perform our duties to him. Remember the purpose of human being (us) being sent to this world is to oblige to His orders: "And I have not created the Jin and man but that they worship Me." (Qur'an 51:57)

But as usual many of us ignore the call of Allah SWT. We are totally engross in our work. Even if we hear the 'azan' with soothing and warm words 'Come to prayer and come to success',  we keep continue on our work as though we had hear nothing.

To some 'hardcore persons' the 'azan' means nothing to them; perhaps their ears 'are hardened' to it, some hear it but have made their minds to say their prayers later on; some hear it but have the cheek not to perform their duties to their Creator and only a few choose to stop their work to answer the call of Allah SWT.

'Masya-Allah' (by his grace and mercy) are we too proud to answer His call? Are 'our work' more important that His call? Allah SWT has showed us the way to be successful in this world and the Hereafter (Come to prayer and Come to success) but 'sadly' we choose our own way. 

No way you would be successful if you go against His guidance. No way you would be successful it your do not perform your 'solat' in mass in the masjid (for Muslim men) without any reason whats more if do not perform it at the comfort of your home and office.

But dear men who choose not to 'solat' at the masjid thinking they have a very good reason for it, 'please digest' these hadiths - It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I was thinking of ordering that wood be gathered, then I would have ordered that the call to prayer be given, then I would have told a man to lead the people in prayer, then I would have gone from behind and burned the houses of men who did not attend the (congregational) prayer down around them. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if any one of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two sheep’s feet with meat in them, he would have turned up for the isyak prayer.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 618; Muslim, 651)

Even a blind man who could hear 'mu'azzin' was not given concession: It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: A blind man (Ibn Umm Maktoom) came to the Prophet s.a.w. and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have no one to lead me to the mosque,” and he asked the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. to grant him a concession allowing him to pray in his house, and he allowed him that. But when he turned away he said, “Can you hear the call to prayer?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Then answer it.” According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood (552) and Ibn Maajah (792) he said: “I do not think there is any concession for you.” Al-Nawawi said concerning this hadith: its isnaad is saheeh or hasan.

Well, readers there are constant calls by Allah SWT to us to go the masjid but we choose to ignore Him. We do not want to go the masjid. Why is it so? What are we afraid off? Perhaps we are 'sombong' (proud and ignorant) to accept orders from Allah SWT. 'Nauzubillah' (God forbids)...Please note the warning of Allah SWT in Surah 'Abasa: "From what thing doth He create him? (18); From a drop of seed. He createth him and proportioneth him (19); Then maketh the way easy for him (20); Then causeth him to die, and burieth him." (21)

If during your lifetime you are 'sombong' to go the masjid, you just day SURELY 'you would be forced go to the masjid' - perhaps it would be your very first and last because your are already dead for after life it is death. Nobody could escape it. So before you 'are forced' to go the masjid, please allocate your precious time to be in touch with Allah SWT in His house that is masjid or better still in Masjidilharam!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Setiap yang bermula pasti berakhir...

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


"Bahawasanya tiada Tuhan yang patut disembah melainkan hanya Engkau, Maha Suci Engkau, sesungguhnya aku adalah termasuk orang-orang yang zalim." (Maksud ayat 87 Surah al-Anbiya)

Bersyukur ke hadrat Allah SWT kita dipanjangkan usia, maka dapatlah kita memuzakarahkan perkembangan semasa termasuklah banjir besar yang melanda tanah air.

Setiap yang bermula pasti berakhir; termasuklah tahun 2014 Masihi yang digantikan 2015. Itulah ketentuan Yang Maha Kuasa. Tiada apa dan sesiapa pun yang berupaya menongkat dunia selama-lamanya. Yang kekal abadi hanya Zat Allah SWT Yang Maha Berkuasa, yang lain semuanya akan binasa.

Banjir yang melanda negara kita juga akan berakhir. Semua manusia akan berakhir dengan kematian. Demikian juga pemimpin dan parti yang berkuasa - semuanya akan sirna apabila sampai masanya. Persoalannya apa yang hendak dibuat selepas kita menyedari hakikat bahawa semua yang bermula pasti berakhir. Pastikan sisa umur yang dipinjamkan Yang Maha Kuasa digunakan sepenuhnya untuk menggapai keredaan-Nya.

Bagi mangsa banjir mereka akan memikirkan bagaimana untuk mengembalikan semangat dan memulihkan harta benda yang musnah seperti membina rumah bagi meneruskan kehidupan dan bagi pemimpin yang masih berkuasa, bencana menyediakan ruang dan kesempatan untuk mereka memuhasbah diri - adakah cara hidup dan kepemimpinan kita selaras kehendak Allah dan Rasul atau kita sudah terpesong jauh, mengikut hati dan nafsu melakukan pelbagai kezaliman sama ada yang kita sedari atau tidak.

Bagi negara kita, bencana datang silih berganti - yang terakhir ketika banjir besar melanda, sebuah pesawat Air Asia Indonesia yang negara dan rakyat kita mempunyai kepentingan ke atasnya terhempas di Laut Jawa - mengorbankan semua orang dalamnya. Berfikir dan berfikirlah, adakah kita tidak mengambil iktibar daripada bencana demi bencana ini?

Menyedari semua daripada kita akan mati (semua yang bermula akan berakhir), ketika masih hidup ini tidak kiralah sama ada kita rakyat marhaen, pemimpin rumahtangga, pejabat, institusi pendidikan, kampung, daerah, negeri, negara, hatta dunia sekalipun persoalkanlah sama ada tindakan dan perbuatan kita selama ini selaras dengan kehendak agama atau tidak.

Semasa hidup inilah kita hendak mempersoalkan segala tindak tanduk kita, tidak guna kita mahu muhasabah diri apabila sudah masuk dalam kubur (mati). Hidup kita yang sementara itu hendaklah digunakan sepenuhnya untuk mendapatkan keredaan Yang Maha Kuasa.

Bagi mendapatkan keredaan-Nya, kita perlu berada di jalan-Nya yang lurus. Rujuklah al-Quran (Surah Al-Asr) yang menyatakan semua manusia berada dalam kerugian kecuali orang beriman, beramal salih, berpesan-pesan dengan kebenaran dan berpesan-pesan dengan kesabaran.

Orang beriman akan melakukan semua tugas termasuk melakukan ibadat khusus dan bertindak secara ikhlas dan mengikut cara Nabi s.a.w. Jika tiada dua ciri ini, semua pekerjaan kita adalah tertolak, tidak membawa sebarang erti. Dalam kita sibuk menyambut Maulidur Rasul, pastikan kita berada di jalan-Nya yang lurus.

Demikianlah dalam menangani sebarang permasalahan termasuklah bencana banjir dan nahas pesawat; bertindaklah berdasarkan kehendak Allah dan Rasul-Nya bukan melayani nafsu sendiri seperti gilakan publisiti atau mencari 'personal and political millage' (keuntungan peribadi dan politik).

Jadi sentiasalah beringat, setiap yang bermula (baharu) pasti akan berakhir, Yang kekal selama-lamanya adalah Zat-Nya Yang Maha Berkuasa! "Bahawasanya tiada Tuhan yang patut disembah melainkan hanya Engkau, Maha Suci Engkau, sesungguhnya aku adalah termasuk orang-orang yang zalim." (Maksud ayat 87 Surah al-Anbiya)