Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let's bury 'janji Melayu'...

************************* 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. ************************* Normally on Sunday mornings I would spend about two hours teaching English and Mathematics to students at a 'tahfiz' (school for memorizing the Qur'an) at a nearby kampung. *********************** During the last lesson (on 21st July); the topic of discussion was on measurement; I referred to a book by Sheila Cato (Grolier) entitled 'A Question of Math - Measuring' as my reference to teach the class of about 30 students. ************************* Sheila summed up her book with five useful measuring words that are length, money, time, volume and weight. I asked my students on which subject they preferred me to teach them. The majority of students chose 'time'. ***************************** Regarding time, Sheila noted that time is measured in seconds, minutes and hours. "There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour," notes Sheila but surprisingly for nearly two hous I lectured the boys about the importance of time! ***************************** I began by telling the students that all races place importance on time - the Malays have a 'peribahasa' (proverb) for it - 'Masa itu emas' (time is gold) while the Arab is more concerned with his famous proverb; time is like a sword, if you don’t cut it then it will cut you. "So, have you understood how precious time is?" I asked the boys. ************************** I then told them about a 'hadith' in which the Prophet s.a.w. had advised us on time: “Grab five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death.” (Al-Hakeem) **************************** Allah SWT The Almighty had also warned us about time in Surah Al-Asr (The Time): 1. By Al-'Asr (the time). 2. Verily! Man is in loss, 3. Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf)which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar)which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). **************************** Allah 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.” ************************ Some ulemas (Islamic scholars) concluded than we have only three circumstances (times, periods) – yesterday, this moment, and tomorrow. To the thinking group of people, we have only the present because yesterday has gone and tomorrow nobody knows what would happen. So make full use of this moment. **************************** I asked the studuents, what could be said about the time of 24 hours a day given by Allah to each of us? Perhaps our 24 hours were full of playful and useless activities and being wasted away without us being guilty! ************************* Let us look at look at the things we do during those 24 hours given to each of us by Allah SWT. A large part of it (about 6-8 hours) we sleep, another eight hours we spend it working or going to school, and for the balance time, we are engage in routine activities such as eating, watching TV, playing games, going to the toilets and so on. *********************** Luckily the boys at the tahfiz school have no access to TV but in evenings they too have fun playing games such as football. ************************ From the 24 hours given by Allah SWT, some of us complain that they have no time to say his ‘solat’ (prayers). Imagine, from the 24 hours given, they have the guts to say that they have no time to say their five times daily ‘fardu’ (compulsory) prayers! Some dared to say they have no time to perform even a prayer! ************************** How come when a person says he has no time for prayers yet pious people during the same period of 24 hours especially during the month of Ramadan could perform all five times daily prayers in congregation in masjids and some could offer up tens or even hundreds of ‘rakaat’ of ‘sunat’ (recommendation) prayers including doing 'tarawih'. ************************** If a ‘busy’ person complains he has no time to even flip the pages of the Qur’an, then there are pious people who could complete reading (khatam) the whole Qur’an in a day while the 'ordinary' man could 'khatam' once in a month especially during the holy month of Ramadan. ************************* Allah created time; hence he can do whatever He wants to with it. Allah SWT out of His Mercy has awarded Muslims bounty rewards in the Hereafter if they perform their good deeds during special times such as Ramadan and places such as in Makkah and Madina. ************************ If ones perform his obligations and good deeds during ‘Lailatul Qadr’ (the Night of Destiny) during Ramadan, then he/she would be rewarded for his/her deeds for that night better than a thousand months (1 night = 83 years 4 months!). ********************** Then if one performs his obligations for example saying his prayers in the Haram Masjid, then he would be rewarded 100,000 times more than the rewards at ordinary masjids. At The Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah it is 1,000 times and at the Al-Aqsa Masjid it is 500 times! **************************** Some people benefit from the time and gift given to them by the Almighty, others don’t. Imagine you were determined to go for an ‘umrah’ (minor hajj) this coming Ramadan and ‘alhamdulillah’ you made it. If one day, you perform all your five times daily prayers in congregation (jemaah) coupled with hundreds of ‘rakaat’ of ‘sunat’ prayers in the Holy Masjid and it happened to be ‘Lailatul Qadr’, what a bountiful reward would be awaiting you in the Hereafter! ***************************** Those who came before us (the Salaf) understood the essence of what this meant to appreciate/value time; this is how they achieved their revival with the help of Allah. Their sayings and practices bear testimony to this… ************************ · Ibn Mas`ud: I never regretted anything except a day that passed by without having increased my deeds. ************************** · Al-Hasan Al-Basri: Every day the sun rises it calls upon us, O people! I am a new day; I am an observer of your actions. Take advantage of me for I will not return until the Day of Judgment. O son of Adam, you are nothing but a few breaths. Once one breath goes out, part of you goes with it. In the same way that part of you has gone, soon all of you will go. ************************** · Ibn ul-Qayyim: Every gulp of air that goes out in a cause other than the cause of Allah will turn to sorrow and regret on the Day of Judgment. ********************** · Al-Muhasiby: I wish that time could be acquired with money. If so, I would buy time from wasteful and ungrateful people so that I could spend it serving Allah. ************************ It is reported that Sa`d ibn Mu`adh accepted Islam when he was 30 years old and died when he was 37. Despite living only seven years as a Muslim, the throne of Allah was shaken over his death, and seventy thousand angels came down for his funeral. ********************** Lastly as future 'imams' (the persons leading prayers), 'bilals' (muezzin), 'dai's' (preacher) 'muftis', religious officer and people of important position in 'masjids' and their kampungs, I advised the tahfiz boys to bury the unfamous Malay attitude of not valuing time - 'janji Melayu' (literally meaning that the Malays are not punctual or exact in their promise regarding time). ************************** For example in settting time for a 'kenduri' (feast), some Malays would use the loose term - 'jemput selepas asar' (come to my house after late afternoon prayers) - which means the time could be anywhere between 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm. If the kenduri began at 5.30 pm, those who arrive early would be wasting their precious time! So be specific regarding time. ********************** Then during meetings and appointments, if the time scedulled to begin is at 11.00 am, the functions would start quite late, for example at 11.30 am or worse at 12.00 noon. ************************ As future leaders on religious matters, I told the boys to stick strictly to the time mentioned; if the function is scedulled to begin at 11.00 am, than kick off at 11.00 sharp; do not delay it until 11.30 or 12.00 noon. *************************** "Islam emphazises the importance of being punctual about time. Imagine what would happen if you as a 'bilal' take for granted the time to make the 'azan' (call for prayers)? If you are suppose to 'azan' at 7.30 pm for the 'maghrib' (dusk) prayer, but you do it late at 8.00 pm especially during Ramadan, I am afraid the people would be mad with you!"

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