Tuesday, February 15, 2011

on living hearts, and this is not a post about valentine's day

This is based on a khutbah given by Syeikh Ahmed Saad at the North London Central Mosque last Friday.

(Syeikh Ahmed Saad has his own facebbok page.!/profile.php?id=673928593. We need more imams like this, who are in touch with the community)

On a side note, some of the requirements for being Imam in the Blue Mosque during the reign of the Ottomans was a proficiency in several languages (including Latin), knowledge of sciences in addition to knowledge of the religious sciences.

On another side note, I find khutbas in the UK generally more uplifting and they directly address things that are close to the community. The sermons actually have spirit, maybe because the imams have wholesome understanding and are not subject to governmental censure. oops. im not saying khutbas in our dear beloved country are the opposite, some are brilliant, but im just painting a picture of the general atmosphere.

Which brings me to another side note, that righteous men like Imam Nawawi and Ahmad ibn Hanbal have had to face severe consequences for getting on the wrong side of the ruling powers. Probably that's just the price we pay for being slaves of God instead of slaves of men. I talk much, but let's hope we stay firm when actual confrontations occur. 

Which brings me to the actual point of his khutbah. The current confrontation between the muslim nation, on one side

And the Fir'aun on the other.

I like how he began his khutbah. We are in the month of rabi'ul awwal, which witnessed two births. One, the birth of the Prophet SAW, and the other? the rebirth of the ummah.

Amazing how tiny things could spark wars, revolutions, major shifts in the world. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand sparked WW1. the self-immolation of Bouazizi sparked the Tunisian uprising, then Egypt, then several Arab countries and still counting.

His point was, that it is in these major tests that the true characters of people are revealed. Like how some may be supporters of the regime, but when the regime is crumbling they are quick to switch sides. And then he drew parallels between the regime and that of the Fir'aun. Almost same place, same actions..the only difference is in the names. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for us to understand this critical point. Some people may have muslim names (what could be nicer than Mubarak: The Blessed?) and muslim faces (malays are muslims? muslims are malays? *coughcough*) (ok what is a muslim face anyway?) but if their actions are like the Pharaoh and his associates, then

"goodness is (being) good in akhlaq"- Rasulullah SAW

"injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" - Martin Luther King Jr.

so it is, in my opinion, very good that our brethren have found the courage to speak up against injustice. Their hearts are alive. A wise man told me that people who are in conditions of oppression, wars and the like have living hearts, probably because they live in a state of constant alertness. We who are used to a life of luxury?

That's for me to ponder, and for you to find out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

on electronic screens that look like paper

Seriously, Amazon's Kindle has got to be the most awesome piece of gadgetry ever.

For bookworms like me, it's like winning the lottery. Sorry, that's haram. Ok, its like discovering that Obama has renounced the Church of Washington,embraced Islam, put George Bush on trial and announced that as of tomorrow we will be ruling according to Islamic Law. Although that might result in a backlash due the unpreparedness of the masses to embrace the faith.

Imagine not needing to carry lots and lots of books anymore, just a slab the size of a notebook.

But yes, a hammer is only as good as the carpenter using it. Thank you for bursting my bubble. With great power comes responsibility kan?? -.-

Serious contemplations aside, and before the chicken excrement becomes cold (hope it isn't hangat-hangat tahi ayam), let me reKindle my reading spirit.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On propa education not officially promoted by any current government

Tarbiyya, although you may suffer allergies from the word, has a simple, straightforward meaning.

It basically means education.

And there are brilliant examples from the lives of the Prophet SAW and his companions on how proper education based on the Quran changed them from a backward society into 'Khairu Ummah', the best nation.

For example, there was al-Barra' bin Malik. The narrations describe him as being very thin and black in skin colour. Probably you wouldn't look twice at a person like that if you met him on the streets of KL. But was that a hindrance? Absolutely not.

There was this one time during the reign of Abu Bakr, the muslims were at war against the apostates at al-Yamamah, and the apostates had locked themselves in a fort, afterwards known as the 'Garden of Death' (You can guess the ending, i just want to emphasize the awesomeness of the story).

So they couldn't get in you see. But al-Barra' wasn't going to let walls and volleys of arrows get in his way. This is more than Arnold-Schwarzenegger-style hardcore.

what a siege looks like
So he told the other Companions to lift him up on their shields and throw him over the walls, so that he could open the gates from the inside. This is serious.

After a while, the gates opened. And out came al-Barra', over 80 injuries on his body. And with the Grace of God he didn't die. Hardcore. It was advised not to let him lead armies because he was too brave. The muslims went on to win the battle and killed the false prophet, Musailamah al-Kazzab. And there are countless examples of awesomeness of the people educated by Rasulullah SAW. 

How did they achieve this? It's unthinkable of anyone these days to be catapulted into the enemy and face hundreds of them. It's unthinkable even for anyone to let themselves be catapulted for fun. And even people who go to tarbiyya circles are labelled as hardcore -.-

For me, the similitude of tarbiyya is like learning to write sentences. I've told you this story before. When i was in standard one the teacher used to give us 10 words every day and write sentences out of them. I cried because i wanted to write sentences like 'the red pencil has a laser capability and graphite shaft' when all i am capable of is 'i like my red pencil lalala'. But here's the thing.

You start off small, knowing little, you cry because you don't know and ask your mum for help. But you practise.

And practise.

And practise.

You devote lots of time to improve. You read Peter and Jane. Soon you read Harry Potter. Then you read ghastly books that have too many words. Before you know it you can write blogs and read in Arabic.

Keyword: Devotion and commitment. Tipulah (you're lying) if we just sit there browsing through facebook and expect our faith to become stronger. Unless you're going through facebook searching for all those good links (no, Justin Bieber is not an example of a good link).

And that's how Rasulullah trained the Companions. They were wholly committed to the cause.

Wanted another face but Che was the only one with a cool poster

I like this analogy.

How do you know Japan exists? *people who've been to Japan keep quiet*

Have you been there? No? Then how do you know?

When we were born, we don't even know the word Mama, let alone Japan.

As we get older, we see proof of Japan. Japanese slippers. Takeshi's castle. Doraemon. Yes, particularly Doraemon. 

And as we learn geography and culture and see real japanese people, our belief in Japan is unshakeable. *you tell me Doraemon doesn't exist and somebody's gonna get a hurt real bad*

Same goes for iman, faith. We need to be continuously educated about God and His Power and like the Companions, put in a undying commitment. So much so that their every thought and action goes towards achieving that goal. And maybe one day we, too, can be dropped into a hundred people.

Committed to the cause and feeling awesome about it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

on 180-degree turns, and im not talking about skateboarding

Before receiving the Revelation, our beloved Prophet SAW was a normal man. He had a family. He ran an international business (he traded in the Levant, otherwise known as Syam). He was a respected member of a respected tribe. In short, he enjoyed a good life.

But after he received the first Revelation from Allah, he trembled and shivered under the weight of the responsibility of that message. And his life was never the same again. A famous quote from Rasulullah SAW was:

"My time for resting has passed"

And everyone i know who has felt the weight of Revelation has reacted in the same way.

A lot of people, i believe, were surprised at my sudden turn in life. My mum used to get worried that i could be forgetting my priorities in life. You see, in malaysia there's a phobia of groups like JI, the Islamist group that claimed responsibility for the Bali bombings.

but that's understandable enough, i would be worried to if my son was going down the wrong path. i also regard bombings as counterproductive and the effects on the whole does more damage to the reputation of Islam. Better use nuclear weapons and wipe out whole countries. haha caught you there, just kidding. Its better to educate the masses and bring them back to realising who they are. Slaves of God, not slaves of men.

But the pity is, people also get allergies and rashes start forming on their arms whenever they hear words like 'da'wah' and 'tarbiyyah'. Some also get heart attacks from hearing the word 'Islam'. Ok i exaggerate but you get the idea.

Which is why, bringing you back to my point, people see it as strange why some would turn 180 degrees after being struck by words in the Quran. One of my friends had this whole Facebook Group created by others to discuss why he changed so drastically -.- others had people call them extremists (i second this), stupid and so on so forth.

Its okay people. Rasulullah was called a madman, a poet and a sorcerer.

do not be afraid of answering that call. the call of people who call to God, to enjoin good and forbid evil. yes, i admit, there are challenges, it is definitely not a basket of roses especially when everyone raises their eyebrows at you. but i like this quote from an LSE alumni:

"follow the logic of Allah, and he will create a new logic for you"

after seeing a lot of news about baby-dumping, free mixing and the generally pitiful state of young people in malaysia, my parents told me that they were glad i was going to circles. they even promoted some of my friends to my cousin, who is single. erk -.-

point is, don't worry. just follow the straight path, and everything else will be straightened out for you.

our resting time has passed.