Thursday, April 28, 2011

on the link between a unity government and water

Hamas and Fatah to form unity government. Alhamdulillah. Although there are going to be serious sticking points to be negotiated, its a good start.

Surely the Israeli state must be in a heightened sense of claustrophobia. A loan wolf in the middle of ever more hostile states.

This reminds me of a revelation in the quran, revealed to describe the expulsion of Bani Nadir from their forts.

"He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture (i.e. the Jews of the tribe of Banî An-Nadîr) from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out. And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allâh! But Allâh's (Torment) reached them from a place whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes (to see)." (Al Hasyr:2)

You did not think that they would get out. I think it is a common (mis?)perception amongst muslims that every bad thing on earth, from poverty to the wars in iraq and afghanistan to never-on-time komuters, are caused by a conspiracy of jews. that last predicament is added just for flavour.

The palestinians live in a state of alert every second of every day, big events are up-and-coming, and malaysians are still stuck in things like

"Datuk, nenek dicekup khalwat"

(grandpa, grandma caught together)

that was a headline from? harian metro? okay, that was too easy, so no points.

i read somewhere that the character of a people are influenced somewhat by geography, so what about muslims of malay descent? (i talk about the malay people not because of racial sentiments, but because of shared culture and sentiments, and this facilitates da'wah)

we live in an archipelago with water all-around.

we have lots of rivers and lakes.

we eat rice, which requires a lot of water to grow and a lot of water to cook.

we drink a lot of water because of the tropical heat. (100 plus on a sunny day, ho liao!)

So maybe the malays are 'masuk air' ('water entered (his brain, his head, etc)', a term meaning not thinking straight, or crazy, or other equivalents)

How to flush all the water out?? surely this needs some serious thinking on behalf of us revivalists. Revivalists, sounds fancy, chewah!

that's what happens lots of times. we make up fancy names that produce little. like using the term 'blue omnidirectional vehicular device'. why not call it a car and get on with driving. -.- 

lots of fancy imagining, lack of serious thinking, even less of actual work.

before i myself 'masuk air', im logging off. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

on why moving is almost always better than standing still

This blog is designed to make you move.

Move your eyes from the top of the page to the bottom of the page.

Move your fingers as you scroll down.

Move your body in front of the computer checking if the author has the mood and wit to write.

Move your head and shoulders downwards in frustration as you realize he doesn't. tee hee.

But most importantly,

this blog is designed to move your heart and soul. Not move your mind, no, that's the work of textbooks from outer space. Move your heart and soul when you hear,

"O you who is enveloped! Arise and warn!" (Al Muddathir:1-2)

Bolded and italicized and underlined. it can't get any more emphasized than that. On a side note, quranic translations always put the word Muhammad in brackets. Like "o you (muhammad) who is enveloped!" But the original text does not have the Prophet's name. Which means that, although the revelation was first sent down on Rasulullah SAW, it is intended for each and every one of us.

"not for me lah, im not in my duvet right now, so not enveloped meh. must be for that guy who's still sleeping, this ayat is to ask him to wake up"

*slap on the forehead*

Now i've annoyed myself.

Laughing? If you go out and meet society, there are people who think like this, who miss out the big picture. But im sure you. dear reader, are not like that *wink2*

You who is enveloped. Enveloped in the duvet of ignorance and in the habits of ignorance, unable to get out, suffocating, a slow and painful death with a slow and painful torture in the afterlife.

"This is too much, calling me ignorant. I am studying in university* lah!"

*based on a glance at the statistics of viewers, i conclude that most of you are students

I, too, am in university, and i openly admit that years of being in the system, and my subsequent dumping of the suffocating duvet, have allowed me to recognize it for what it is. Yes, we are smart, 10A1 and all that, but we have been duped all this while.

Arise and warn. Which means that every individual needs to rise and warn. Which means that da'wah is not only for people learned in the religious sciences coming to mosques giving tazkirah. We want rewards too, and the sahabah had a variety of professions. Uthman was a wealthy businessman. Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas made arrows. With due respect, people learned in the religious sciences have a huge advantage in that they are more acquainted with the quran and hadeeth. So use that advantage also to arise and warn.

Warn people that there is an afterlife, what you do now is going to be repayed later and somebody's gotta get a hurt real baaaad.

"why go through all the trouble? they're gonna get punished anyways, even if we don't remind. Nanti kubur sendiri-sendiri (we'll be in our graves alone)"

Yes, that's true. But if the guy's grave is next to you you're gonna have a hard time resting with all that screaming.

That was tongue-in-cheek, but you get the idea.

Final question: how do you maintain that spirit of da'wah? frankly all my friends will boo me if i start warning them and i don't know where to start.

Simple. go to a happy place (read: happy circles, happy conferences, happy friends, ....)

Why are you still here? This blog was designed to make you move.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

on the culture of de-culturing

In the collective memory of the Malay people, although the meaning of what constitutes a malay is fluid according to when the next election is, the word 'amuk' (as in 'run amok', i think amok came from the malay word) conjures images of a man wielding a machete and slicing through people faster than a chef at sushi king. Is it a trait of the malay people to be easily ticked such that their word for going berserk is assimilated in english?   

like 'melatah', which i think is an endemic culture of malays, since i've never heard the British say "oh your mother!" and i can't find the english equivalent of melatah. 

why am i suddenly speaking about amuk? because modern amuk has manifested itself in many ways, i.e. we seem to have forgotten to settle scores nicely, less of

"can you sit here for a while? we need to have a talk"

and more of

"sit there in the witness stand, my lawyer will talk to you"

degradation of society, and if this is your first visit to this has been a recurrent theme in this blog , besides using the word 'on' before every topic and using the same color scheme (light blue) ever since its inception.

anyways, a glance at the newspapers for the last 7 days will reveal some interesting stuff:

KUALA LUMPUR: ...Minister Datuk Seri ** **** ***** will testify in his defamation suit against a blogger over an article about him posted in a blog.

A RESTAURANT owner in Lukut, Port Dickson, was attacked by four men who were unhappy with the fish curry served to them.

attacked because of unhappiness with fish curry??? @.@ its a good thing my ikhwah are nice, even if what i cook isn't that good, they'll still finish it up :-)

during his life, the Prophet used to feed a blind and old woman. The woman, not knowing that it was Rasulullah SAW, mocked the Prophet and threw insults at him, all while the hand of Rasulullah was putting food in her mouth. Did Rasulullah slap the woman and say

"you should be grateful, if i didn't come here you'd starve"?

no. he, peace be upon him, stayed patient and dutiful. his rewards were not words of appreciation, but Allah's mercy and forgiveness.

Then after his death and Abu Bakr became caliph, Abu Bakr went to feed the woman as well. The woman realised that it was a different hand and told him he wasn't the same person who used to feed her. Abu Bakr then, tears in his eyes, said that it was the same Muhammad that she insulted all this while.

The woman became muslim. Allahuakbar.

So, judging by the news, it is an uphill task for da'iyaat (callers), to invigorate this partly broken society with the teachings of islam. It is even more uphill if you read Harian Metro. 

On the other hand, all is not bleak. there are some good news:

KUALA LUMPUR:...Datuk Seri ***** *** ***** has pledged to uphold the Government's promise not to censor the Internet.

License to kill.

Kill the ignorance. as in ignorance in the hearts and minds, not kill ignorant people, please please do not create the following news:

A BLOG owner in London was attacked by some men who were unhappy with the blog posting served to them.

And no defamation suits please. Exams are coming soon.

Monday, April 25, 2011

on why oil and water can't mix, you're either oil or you're water, no such thing as woil

This is something i realised from documentaries of the recent awakening.

The strongmen, in their addresses to the nation, always begin with 'bismillahirrahmanirrahim'

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Especially-Merciful.

No mercy over there.

No mercy also.

In the name of God. No fear of God either. 

Once a man passed by 'Umar ra. He was sleeping under the shade of a tree. No guards, no armor, only him and the tree.

That is a picture of a man who ruled with justice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

on what is inside you, you abhor if people found out

If you take the first letter of any word and put it between 'the' and 'word', the letter becomes automatically notorious, although the word itself may be harmless.

The D word.


The F word.


The F U word.

Fluffy Unicorn.

But the J word is notorious in both shortform and actual meaning.


when jahiliyyah rears its ugly head
"ssokay, we're not jahiliyyah. we're an islamic country, and we're islamic people what. that isoc brother said so"


jahiliyyah is everything not islam, and how many of it is present in today's world. You don't have to look at the dying or dead babies in rubbish bins, or the millions of mat pet by the roadside in Chow Kit to see it.

Rasulullah SAW said,

"Righteousness is goodness of character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about".

"From the goodness of someone's Islam, he leaves what does not benefit him."

How many ugly red worms are wavering, itching in ourselves, and how much time do we spend doing unbeneficial things. 

"but akademi fantasia is beneficial! i get to relax and chillax".

Relax all you want, see if it benefits you soon. hee. Okay, that sounded evil. Its okay, you can continue with your life. Okay, that sounded sarcastic. How do i make this sound okay? T_T

For da'iyaat (remember, all of us are da'ie, the difference is whether we're aware of it or not), the J word is of added danger. A friend of mine told me that having jahiliyyah within us is like carrying a heavy bag while running or swimming. Even if you're a commando with a black belt in Karate, that sort of load will, eventually, weigh us down. 

"errr, adik, this sort of thing is not good for a muslim to do. what? i do it also? err..forget about me, you want to go to Heaven right.."

So the best thing to do is: ditch it. Kill the worm.

"hey, cakap senanglah! orang susah2 struggle nak buang jahiliyyah, dia boleh suruh kill camtu jer"
"hey, it's easy for you to talk! i am struggling to throw away jahiliyyah, what do you know."

I feel you, mr. struggling-with-jahiliyyah. It is hard, what more with 20 years or so living with a habit. Even Abu Zar, a renowned companion, once said to Bilal "son of a black woman."

When Bilal complained to Rasulullah, he said to Abu Zar, "you still have rusts of jahiliyyah within you."

erk T_T i think i have done worse than call my friends names. True to a believer, Abu Zar was overcome with guilt and asked Bilal to step on his head. And true to a believer, Bilal didn't have the heart for such a thing.

So that's what this whole episode on the J word is about. I think it was Imam Ghazali who said that the biggest sin is not realising what you're doing is a sin. So when we recognise a worm for a worm, we'll try our best to rid ourselves of it. 

And if we stumble, we rise again. Stumble, rise again. Until we're purified from the habit.

That's what the T word is for.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

on messages that come from everything and everyplace.

'From random people' is the last place you'd imagine support to come from. 

googled 'random people' and found this picture. exactly what i imagined when i said random people.
Yet everything can come from everyplace, because God has control over all things. You can say that lots of times,

'God has control over all things. God has control over all things. God has control over all things.'

But feeling it is a different thing altogether. 

Okay, back to 'the thing'. lol, saying it like that made it sound inappropriately like a giant blob from outer space, when the feeling is like riding on a fluffy unicorn.

A little bird sent me a message on facebook:

"...straight 2 de point i'm actually kind of having bad time over the past 2 years...but today i take a look at ur wall.. suddenly i felt like some of my burden are gone.. all ur posts really gives me motivation n new hope.. feeling of start anew… thank you

ps:if i ever wrongly send this message 2 u, please ignore as i don't really remember abg ikmal's face.. maybe u just happen 2 have the same name with him... but still, thank u"

Maybe the person wanted to send this to another ikmal and mistakenly sent it to me. If so, thank you for your mistake. hee hee. 

Along this 'path of thorns', nothing is easy. I've heard stories of the crossing of the bridge (siraat) on the day of judgment. Narrations say it is as thin as a strand of hair sliced into 7 (longitudinally), sharper than swords, with clawing hands on the sides trying to pull us down into the depths of Hell that awaits those who fall off the bridge.

Yesterday that description finally struck a chord.

Those that Allah promised Heaven, on Earth their lives were a torturous crossing. The line they thread on was so thin and so sharp, with enemies clawing on all sides, and even the slightest lapse could mean Hell, that to thabat (stay firm) was a great test. 

So on the Day of Judgment their crossing is going to be easy. The narrations say that the fastest will cross as fast as lightning.

A man asked the Prophet, "Say to me in Islam a saying that i would not ask anyone aside from you" And the Prophet SAW replied,

"say, i believe in Allah, and then stay firm (istiqamah)"

And when the Prophet went to Ta'if to spread the message of Islam, he was booed and jeered and pelted with stones until blood flowed. Exhausted and dejected, he took shade. This was the lowest point in his life, aside from the battle of Uhud. Suddenly a young christian slave by the name of Addas came to him and the Prophet asked him where he was from. 


Rasulullah told him that was the homeland of Prophet Yunus as, and Addas, awestruck with knowledge that only a Prophet could know, kissed Rasulullah's feet and embraced Islam.

If anything else, that was random. Or we could give it another term, since randomness is against our faith. God, al-Latif (the subtle), sends His help with any random stranger He wants.

So keep moving forward, my fellow callers. We are butterflies,and our small, insignificant wing flaps could cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.

"Teruslah bergerak, hingga kelelahan itu lelah mengikutimu.
Teruslah berlari, hingga kebosanan itu bosan mengejarmu.
Teruslah berjalan, hingga keletihan itu letih bersamamu.
Teruslah bertahan, hingga kefuturan itu futur menyertaimu.
Tetaplah berjaga, hingga kelesuan itu lesu menemanimu."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

on my home for imaginary headbangs

Lots of things can make us want to bang our head on the wall.

Of course, nobody actually does it, they'll have concussions and go to hospital and get warded a few weeks and eventually the hospital bill will drive them up another wall and the vicious cycle continues.
Humans and our imaginary bangs on imaginary walls. The field of imagination is larger than the field of talking, talking is bigger than action, action is bigger than jihad (doing something to the fullest exertion) and jihad is bigger than jihad that is actually productive.

How many people imagine and daydream, but how few actually act, and even fewer are productive.

Back to my imaginary bang on my imaginary wall. Today my external hard drive has gone 'cuckoo!' When its plugged into the computer and idle, nothing happens. But when I started doing stuff on it (I.e transferring files) it self-ejected. And after a few seconds it reconnected. Self-eject again. Connect again *headbang*

The hard drive that played peek-a-boo. sounds like the title of a children's storybook.

The walls may be imaginary, but the test of patience is real. Or is it a test of other things? Because this whole
life is a test for the believer.

"(He is) the One who created death and life to test you, which of you is the best in deeds.." (Al Mulk:2)

Patience,patience. Fuh fuh

But there are lots of pictures on the drive..

But there are lots of books on it..

But there are lots of stuff on it for your happy circle..

Get a grip ikmal.

This reminds me of another story: the little red laptop who played peek-a-boo. Some time ago my laptop kept shutting down. Then I awakened, and realised there are certain, how would you say, 'unsavoury' items on my laptop. I did some spring cleaning, and hey presto! The laptop ceased to 'merajuk'.

'Bro, you've said some crazy things, but this is too much. If a laptop's broke, send it to low yat lah. How could being good repair your laptop??!! Pigidah'

I said the truth and nothing but the truth, mr.alter ego. God has control over all things, organic and electronic.

Let's purify ourselves :-)

"O you who is shrouded! Arise, so warn. And your Lord, so magnify. And your garments, so purify." (Al muddassir:1-4)

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Friday, April 15, 2011

on how to train your inner dragon (to keep on the right path)

Lots of things are going on in these a'changing times.

Someone is no longer linked to the murder of a central Asian woman. An 'invincible' dictator and his sons suddenly find themselves not that invincible anymore. islam is making its way into the hearts and minds of people in unexpected places, like the Caucusus in addition to expected places, like Egypt (malaysia? i don't really know if we've woken up yet -.-). Capitalism is losing its popularity (i'm not making biased statements, although i acknowledge my bias. The last statements come from the Economist)

If you're reading this blog a few decades into the future, this is an inside view of the times that i'm living in. it is the year 2011, and i still have one more year at LSE, provided i get to plow through these books.

if islam has made its way into the hearts and minds of people, it hasn't materialised en masse. Yet. But i'm happy to see people get their ray of light. that moment of awareness, when it dawns on you the question of 'what am i going to do with my life?' and you decide that reverting back to faith and the correct way of life is the only way out.

i don't know how to describe that awareness, cause you have to feel it to know it.

Seeing my brothers getting the same feeling, i remembered when i was in their shoes.

Lost, because i didn't know what to do next.

Scared, because i had so many mistakes and unsettled jahiliyyah. "alah, nak tegur-tegur orang, tengok diri sendiri la wei!" ("alah, you want to preach to people, see yourself first wei!")

Scared, because the feeling might go away.

Heavy, because of the milkshakes.

Heavy, because of the responsibility that comes with realisation.

To be honest, one of my ulterior motives in joining circles at first was because there was delicious food, and i was too lazy to cook. Yes, i thought it was refreshing to learn quran and stories of the sahabah and all, but it was just like 'yay, at least im doing something good tonight' and then back to square one.

But God has his ways.

I was in Paris, and after the trip i was supposed to go 'somewhere' (ooo..mysterious kan). But you know, the devil whispers a lot.

When suddenly, this message (message from Above??) came in:

"salaam. dengar kata xnak pergi ____ ? me pun dulu macam tu gak, biasalah dah berseronok2 siapa nak pergi program keagamaan..."

"salaam. i heard you didn't want to go to____? i was like that also, that's normal, when you're having fun who wants to go for religious programs.."

me: *ripped to shreds*

only hearts of composite steel could resist a message like that. So after much 'urghhs' and 'groannns' i eventually went.

And got a metaphorical slap-in-the face.

After that its all history (i don't think that part of my life was archived in this blog).

Its weird how different people come to terms. One of the sahabah accepted Islam after he lost a wrestling match to the Prophet SAW. Some get affected when their friends are affected. Some suddenly awaken in their solitude in the library.

Programs, friends, our naqib, groups of people with similar understanding. These are just vehicles, tools that God sent for helping us. The real thing is that God wants good for you.

So the next big question is: how do we maintain that awakening? Our internal battles are more gut-wrenching than stepping on a landmine in the heat of the Vietnam War.

Maybe we could pick a leaf out of the story of the Ashabul Kahfi (Companions of the Cave). They were youth who shared the same beliefs and wanted to protect themselves from the oppression and darkness rampant all around them.

"And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of Faith in Allâh and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation of their kith and kin and dwellings, etc.) when they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any ilâh (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief. These our people have taken for worship âliha (gods) other than Him (Allâh). Why do they not bring for them a clear authority? And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allâh. (The young men said to one another): "And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allâh, then seek refuge in the Cave, your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair (i.e. will give you what you will need of provision, dwelling, etc.)." (Al Kahf:14-16)

And Allah showed them the way. Lots of things are still waiting to happen, in these 'a changing times :-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

on the Mezquita

Barus, Singkel, Ranir, Pasai, Cordoba.

that was an inside joke amongst my companions (chewah, companions! sounds so different when you tweak words around. like tarbiyyah is just the same as education, but people get allergic to these things you see). If you want to understand it, maybe you can search for the phrase inside this video:

In the 10th century Cordoba was probably what London or Paris is now: the height of civilisation. Yes, back when Britain had ogres, trolls, dragons and uruk-hai, Cordoba had geographers, surgeons, street lamps, public baths, philosophers, sewage systems, paved roads,...(ok, you get the idea).

Okay, let's begin our tour. First stop: The Grand Mosque of Cordoba, which, in the Spanish Reconquista was captured and turned into a church. But people still call it the Mezquita, the mosque. It is so astoundingly beautiful that the Spanish king said to the bishop: "if i had known it was like that, i would not have allowed you to destroy it." Names and dates i vaguely remember. The lessons i keep in my heart *wink2* 

For a mosque that is more that is more than a millennium old, it is very well-preserved. 

from outside the mosque

The first sight as you walk into the mosque is a magnificent garden, resplendent with orange trees. (if only i could pick them and have a refreshing glass of fresh oren on a sunny Andalusian day.. T_T) The garden reminded me of descriptions of Paradise in the Quran, probably what the architect ordered. 

"And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach." (76:14)

"Their reward with their Lord is 'Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allâh Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord."(98:8)

"In them (both) will be two springs flowing" (55:50)

"In Gardens (Paradise) they will ask one another," (74:40)
Amin. :-)

And inside it was even more beautiful, with columns and columns stretching into what seems like infinity. The infinity of the universe. The infinity of life in the hereafter. And the infinity of God's power. (do this simple maths: how many years do we have on earth? lets say 70. how many years do we have in heaven/hell? infinite. proportion of life on earth to life in the hereafter = 70/infinity = 0)

a little bit of history. Originally al-Andalus was a part of the Umayyad Caliphate, but when the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads, Abdul Rahman I (ad Dakhil: 'the Immigrant') fled to Cordoba and established the Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba, and started building this mosque.

the characteristic red-and-white arches represent rows upon rows of palm trees, probably a reminder to the exiled Umayyad ruler of his homeland

this is a reconstructed model inside the museo vivo de al andalus, but it looks more beautiful  and untainted
There was even one section, where it reserved for teaching Qur'an to children. Now? In malaysia if you go to the mosque that's considered pious.

the mihrab (wall facing the Ka'bah were the imam stands)

the ceiling behind the mihrab, illuminated by natural light

a sad painting in the Mosque: the transferring of the keys of Cordoba to the Spanish. notice how the muslims were portrayed as bowing, humiliated, defeated, while the king stands upright and proud. there is a lesson in everything for everybody.
I like the architecture of the mosque. Everything seems to have a purpose (is there a purpose for putting many many domes on Masjid Kristal?????).

But more than the architecture, i like what someone said:

"If it's still a mosque today, would there be people to fill it up?"

Yes, our society today has lost its conscience. we are comatose, not yet dead but not living either. That's why we need people like YOU, who would awake the living dead.
what society looks like..

...and what it really is.
Oh, and if you plan on visiting Cordoba anytime soon, do visit the Museo Vivo de al-Andalus, on the other side of the bridge.

the bridge and the mosque right after it

the museum

Its worth your 3 euros, and it tells a lot about muslim Cordoban society, how knowledge flourished, how for muslim scientists science was very much a way to get closer to God. Ok, enough said, just go. 

"a universe where the centre is everywhere, and the circumference nowhere".

Friday, April 8, 2011

On @twitter

On twitter now.


I didn't get the point of endless updates previously, but maybe I see some merit now. Maybe.

For now, I'll be a little bird who chirps incessantly into your ear.

Tweet, tweet. Muahahahaha.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

on the jewel of the west

"And many a township have We destroyed while it was given to wrong-doing, so that it lies in ruins (up to this day), and (many) a deserted well and lofty castles! Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind." (Al Hajj:45-46)

"Berapa banyak negeri yang yang telah Kami binasakan, karena mereka aniaya, lalu rubuh atap rumahnya, dan berapa banyak telaga telah ditinggalkan dan istana tinggi yang telah kosong. Tidakkah mereka berjalan di atas permukaan bumi, supaya mereka mempunyai akal (untuk) memikirkan, atau telinga untuk mendenga. Sesungguhnya mereka bukan buta mata, tetapi buta hati yang dalam dada." (Al Hajj: 45-46) 

And thus, the above ayaat explains the purpose of travel. Not sun, sea and sand, but hearts, eyes and ears. 

On another note, that reminded me of a quote by ibn taymiyyah,

"What can my enemies possibly do to me? My paradise is in my heart; wherever I go it goes with me, inseparable from me. For me, prison is a place of (religious) retreat; execution is my opportunity for martyrdom; and exile from my town is but a chance to travel."

What can you do to a man who has an outlook like that? one who has paradise in his heart, for whom God is always present, always watching.

And i just looooooooooooove this quote from a Muslim geographer from al Andalus;

"...a universe where the centre is everywhere, and the circumference nowhere"

And there are certainly lots of lessons to be learnt from Andalus, especially in this time and age when there is a huge black hole when it comes to islamic history, even among muslims. Back when the world wasn't governed by Uncle Sam, science was very much in line with religion and economic growth wasn't the topmost priority.

I WANT YOU! learn about our history and act on it.
If the US of those days was Baghdad and the middle East, Andalus was probably its Australia. The Jewel of the West, back when Britain was probably a collection of mud huts and dragons and ogres. But the difference between that civilisation and the current one is in its values, and as we shall see in Andalus God was present in every aspect of their cultured life. 

And the most important point is, as with every other thing in Islam, everything serves to get people closer to God.

If it is a civilisation, it is a civilisation to get people closer to God.

If you are a man, you are a man to bring other people close to God.

That is the point of islamic values. if you are muslim in the masjid, but outside the masjid you swindle billions of public money, then i'll wallop you. eh cannot cannot. must advise you nicely first. and after lots of patience and good advice, if you're still hard-headed, i'll wallop you. hohoho

how could i do justice to such a rich era with a few paragraphs? i think i'll never can. But these are just my feelings and reflections on visiting Andalus. The buildings are of second importance, the real lessons lie with the people who opened Andalus and saved it from the Dark Ages plaguing the rest of Europe.

What sort of people could open up countries with lightning speed? what was their faith like? how was that faith translated into action? surely they did not just sit in masjids and in front of TVs every day.

These are the burning questions for people with hearts, eyes and ears.