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Monday, March 28, 2011

on the unobscene but similarly horrifying F word

every community has its horror stories.

the hospital community is replete with stories of long-gone patients strolling down hallways at night, sounds of children crying, surgeries gone wrong.

the political community has its own stories of how people with 'misguided' political orientations were rounded up and thrown into detention.

the ruling party community has stories of how after trials, threats and one video, their opponents emerged smelling of roses.

Likewise, the da'wah community has its own horror story. Remember, we are all callers, many just don't realise it yet.

I call it the F word.

Futur -.-

Futur- i don't know the exact meaning, but to me it means something like going astray after you have followed the Light. sounds very philosophical, even Star Wars-ish, but that's what it feels like. and futur can exist on many levels. for example, say you were very spirited and energetic one day, and the next day you feel 'ah whatever. i want to sleep.' that is futurish.

But the worst case is leaving da'wah, and there have been cases of this throughout the ages. You expect something to have a high fallout rate when it is something very much against the mainstream.

Here, things are very much ideal, with a good environment and a 3-year paid vacation. hoho *no, no, that was a joke, it's not a vacation Bank Negara*

Back in malaysia, with all sorts of threads pulling us away, the challenge is far greater.

Once my family went out for dinner, and we met this family, who my mum and dad knew. Previously, they were 'brader' and 'sister'. but now, *shudder*

so lots of things could go wrong actually. Too tied up in work, being locked up in a basement, suddenly feeling 'ah whatever. i want to sleep' for the rest of our lives. 

But why focus on the bad things when you have the good stuff? during the early stages of the Islamic call, Islam didn't have anything to promise its adherents. No free lunch at 1 o'clock everyday. No promises of power, no free 30 pounds if they came to hear what the Prophet had to say. Instead they were subjected to persecution ('you're an extremist!'), slander, torture and to the worst extent murder. Well actually murder is not all that bad. If you stayed true in your faith you were martyred, so maybe torture was the worst. wait, no, if you were tortured and you were patient Allah will give rewards in abundance, so maybe there is no such thing as a bad thing for a believer.

No promises.

Except that of al-Jannah (heaven).

"Verily, Allâh has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise.." (At Taubah:111)

Awesome.

So there's absolutely no reason to give up and back away when extremely hard challenges come. Even if we're alone, this Call has to continue, although i don't know what i'll do if im alone.

what does pressure and heat do to carbon? turn it into diamonds. 



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

on turning 20

today i turn 20. technically i was born at 2000 GMT (greenwich meridian time), so by that time it was already 4 am in malaysia, 24th march. But never mind those little stuff, 'di mana bumi dipijak di situ langit dijunjung' (wherever we step on this earth, that is where we uphold the sky). maybe that old saying has a divine meaning. Wherever we are, London, malaysia, singapore, JB and some say Batam, that is where we must glorify our God. i love how our malay ancestors are so clever in giving hidden meanings in their phrases :-)

so, 20 years ago. i was born in the month of ramadhan. my dad called an ambulance to take my mum to the hospital, and it took some 12 hours before i was born (stubborn from day 1? @.@) that was the first time they rode in an ambulance, and my dad broke his fast with a can of Coke. (Wow, must be nerve-wrecking waiting for your son to come out, not being able to get out and get some chicken or fish and chips. i guess he was too worried to think about eating)

and then my dad named me Ikmal (perfecting/perfect), because he thought that with my arrival  his family was complete :')

trivia: i never got to celebrate with my family since i was 12, because 23rd March is never a school holiday.

the previous 2 paragraphs came from my mum and dad's birthday email wish, now that it's a trend to write long wishes on blogs/emails/messages..there are other things they said which i think is better to cherish in private..thank you very much Mama and Baba..tangkap leleh woo baca email tu :-)

When i think about it, its funny how we may have lived 20 years or so, only to obtain significance and meaning in the past 1 year. God has his wise ways.

And thank you, my ikhwah (brothers), for the midnight celebration. Its not about the cake, its the company :-)

Lots of people wish 'may Allah bless you' or 'may your iman increase' etc. The Prophet SAW once said

"Whosoever Allah wishes for him goodness, He gives him understanding in the Deen"

So maybe your prayers are being answered, my facebook friends.

so turning 20. one year older, lots more responsibilities, lots more work to do before we can obtain the keys to the East and the West, and the keys to Heaven.

Sultan Mehmed al-Fatih captured Constantinopel when he was in his 20s.

Usamah bin Zayd was also around this age when the Prophet SAW sent him as the leader of a military expedition.

i hope i can achieve that quality with the gift of youth.

that's what turning 20 means to me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

on little stick men

this is my first try at producing a video.

video

on lethargy

After a week of birthdays, it's finally back to boring old me :) (btw, yesterday i called my mum and the whole family was eating outside, without me T_T)



I don't like it when there's not much to do. When there's not much to do, the bed seems like the best place for  reading, studying..and....eventually...*Yawnnnnnn*...slee..p..i..n...g...*zzzzzzz* 

No wonder some of the more enlightened of people used to curse their beds.

"Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allâh's Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them." (As Sajdah:16)

How do you forsake fluffy duvets and pillows?? Whyyyyyyyy??????? WHYYYYYYYY?????????

Ok, that was a bit overboard. 

Lethargy ----> being unproductive ------> futur???? 
(note: futur = it's a bit complex to define, but basically means something like 'not doing da'wah anymore')

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo............................................................. TT_TT









Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On birthday week

Its been birthday week for the past week :D

Today its happy 13th birthday for mohamad ilham bin ahmad nordin! :)))

Out of all my siblings, there are two who were internationals (born outside malaysia, internationals just sounds cool B-)). Yours truly, and ilham,who was born in ghana (pronounced geaaa-na)

I also remember the day he was born. I was 7 years old, ihsan was 4 years old. Remember, up until that time it was only the both of us (refer previous post). On the morning of 15th march 1998, we woke up and our cousin (we went to ghana with mak ngah, pak ngah jamal and their two children) told us that mama had gone to hospital.

oh, why were we in ghana? My dad was working for TV3(yes, THE TV3, only back then there was no sureheboh, less nonsense, and the CEO didn't appear in every photograph). Soon we were brought to Trust Hospital, that's like a big hospital in Accra. I remember being excited that we had a new member of the family *i seem to get easily excited at everything, don't i* :))

From then on, ilham became our adik beksh.

Transformation flow:
Adik baby--->adik bebe--->adik beksh

I remember we used to sing a lot to him when he was a baby, songs like

Baba: baby.....je gudboy je baby!
Me and ihsan: je gudboy je baby!

Hahahahaha..sounds silly when you write the song. Maybe you will meet me one day and ask me to sing it, then you will know how to sing to children (my dad has a whole album of self-made songs). Heehee.

Of all my siblings, ilham was the easiest to manage and bring up. When he was a baby, he just sat quietly and smiled at people. When he got older, he stayed with that mild temperament, getting along well with people, being quietly inquisitive *i, on the other hand, screamed a lot when I was a little boy. Alhamdulillah now I'm more tenang 'calm'*

He likes to read, and is very careful with money *my mum loves that trait ;)* we wanted him to go into mrsm, because its better than SBP *winkwink* he wanted to go to a more 'religious' school. Incidentally, now there's a tahfiz program for certain mrsm, which means we got all that we wished for.

Maybe that is a preparation for what the future holds. Expecting big things, ilham. Big things.

Happy birthday!! :D
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On another birthday

2 birthdays in 3 days!! Wow!!

Today is another special occasion on this blog,

The birthday of my brother, mohamad ihsan bin ahmad nordin.

felt like yesterday I was in my pampers, in my dad's car, going to see my newlyborn brother (that was 17 years ago) at Pantai Medical Centre in Bangsar.

And from then on I became along. And for 4 more years it was only the two of us, me and adik. (That's what I call him, my dad occasionally calls him adik botak because he was lacking in hair when he was small)

And he used to be very robust when he was a kid. Once his fingernail came off because it was stuck in a folding chair. Another time he fell down and had his eyebrow stitched. Another time we played remote control cars and he fell down and the antenna got lodged in his eye. Another time we played wrestling and his arm broke. I was often there but he seemed to be the one getting all the injuries.

Which maybe a reason why he's headboy now, because he's much tougher than me. Waaa, dah besar dah (you're all grown up). I doubt you'll reading this blog, but if you ever do, things are gonna get tougher after secondary school but just bear with it because I know you can :)

Happy birthday ihsan/adik :D


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

on my dad, my hero

We have a very special occasion today on this blog.

It's the birthday of my dearest dad, Mr. Ahmad Nordin bin Mohammad :DDD



Once i was in class and we were asked to translate our names, and mine was 'The Praised and Perfecting son of The Praised Light of Religion', so my dad's name should be

'The Praised Light of Religion son of The Praised One'

Waowwww.

My dad was born on the 8th March 19** (this is an area of contention for most people), and i'd like to keep the year a secret because a lot of people confuse my dad for my brother and he likes it like that. Either he looks young or i look old, preferably the former. -.-

I remember when i was in MRSM Kuala Klawang, every time i went home for the weekend he'd always drive me back to school, eventhough the roads were like ular kena palu (snakes knocked by something). He was so used to the road that he knew how many bends there were (almost 100, if im not mistaken).

And i remember him saying why he loved his job, and one of the reasons was that it wasn't so demanding, and in the evenings he could come back home and have dinner with the whole family, and during weekends he has time off and could take us for a day out :')

And i remember him emphasizing that we receive religious education, sending us to sekolah agama (religious school), and keeping an immaculate watch whether we have prayed, or are we still in front of tv watching Doraemon.

People say that parents are the best murabbi (educator), and in my case i feel that is 100% true :) Our dads are our heroes, because no matter how crooked things get, great dads always drive you down the road :)

From left: baba, me, ihsan. This was not a ninja conference, it was piggy flu
This is the longest birthday card to my dad ever, so

Happy **th birthday Baba!! hehe
- from Along

Monday, March 7, 2011

on your colour is white, my colour is yellow, but we are all made of earth

Wanted to check malaysian news just now and went to The Star, but then accidentally typed in 'thetsar.com'. Is it an omen alluding to malaysian politics? Dunno.

Anyways, found this brilliant article in The Economist and thought that we could draw parallels between multiracial Bradford and multiracial Malaysia.

http://www.economist.com/node/18289262

The story basically goes like this. Bradford is home to Britain's fourth-largest Muslim population, and possibly has the highest concentration of Muslims. In 2001 it was the scene of riots pitting mostly Pakistani youth against the police, provoked by young white men. But last year the community successfully pacified a rally by the English Defence League (EDL), which is sort of a ketuanan Inggeris (English supremacy) group.

Surely here there are lessons to be learnt on how best to manage racial tensions. If only we read more impartial reporting and less harian metro. If there is such a thing as impartial opinion, since we have our in-built biases. God, the Just, will decide between us who has the better judgment and who has taken the Straight Path.

Anyways, one of the most striking passages in this article is as follows:

"If Bradford has lessons for other towns that wrestle with segregation, it is that improving public services which better everyone’s lot is likely to reduce tensions faster than trying to force cultural change"

I've put forward this case many times. Once i attended a talk by a malaysian political party, and at the end of it they gave us feedback forms (and 30 pounds, just for attending). so i wrote my name on the feedback form, and told them that you should improve the conditions of all citizens in malaysia, and not favoritise others, since justice and fairness is closer to Islam.

They probably have a file with my name on it now *sweating* probably not, since we easily give in to conspiracy theories.

"Allâh does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allâh loves those who are just" (60:8)


But how can a people believe in the principles of God, if they do not believe and fear in God.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

on why we need a new mentality that is mentally healthy

Now I can feel why they want a revolution so badly.

Went to the Moroccan Embassy in Paddington to do a visa for a trip there. First of all, to obtain a visa, even for a short trip, amongst other things you need

- letter from the host to say that you're welcome in Morocco
- a letter from the Malaysian embassy in Morocco
- bank statements from the past 3 months (whaaaaattttt???)

It's like requesting a visa for studying 3 years in the UK. But even more harrowing. Why?

Taken from http://www.moroccanembassylondon.org.uk/en/viisa.html:

Processing your application: 

Your application will be processed only if you provide all the items listed by the above guidelines. The processing time is no less than three business days.
 Monday to Friday: from 09 am to 11 am.
Collection: at 1 00 pm
THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO

DIAMOND HOUSE 97/99 PRAED STREET, PADDINGTON
LONDON
W2 1NT
tel   : 02077240624    //   02077240624        
fax  : 02077067407

Email:Cg.london@maec.gov.ma.
www.moroccanconsulate.org.uk


For Non Residents in the UK:

Residents of countries other than the UK must contact the nearest Moroccan Consulate or Embassy of country of residence. If you need assistance, you are kindly requested to contact the Visa Department.


Note:

Visa Issuance will be carried out at the sole discretion of the Consulate General.

Thanks for your interest in visiting our country. We wish you a pleasant and enjoyable trip.

Please pay close attention to the underlined sentences thank you.


Okay so it said that applications can be made from 9-11, Monday-Friday. So we came at 10.

Receptionist: visa?
we: yes yes.
R: okay take this *handing out two manila cards with numbers 9 & 10 written on them* quick we close at 10.
W: ???????? But i thought you close at 11.
R: No no we close at 10 *hushing us away*

And then we took the application forms and filled them in there and then. After a while the man at the visa counter said

MAVC (man at visa counter): you should have completed the forms before you came here! you can't expect me to stand waiting for you..fill it in and come back on Monday. we're closed on Friday.
W:  ???????? how long will it take to finish?
MAVC: Within a week.
W: *haggling and persuading, not yet reached the point of arguing*
MAVC: *acquiescing*

And i thought malaysian bureaucracy was lamentable. But this is even more bewildering. i was so shocked by the attitude of the officers that midi did all the haggling. the place had an air of 'this is my embassy i can do anything i want so zip-it'.

a friend of mine once applied for visa to be completed by 3 days, and they said no, not in 3 days. The next day another friend of mine came and asked for 2 days. After much haggling, they said that was fine. Aiyoooo, macam pasar lah (like the market).

Thanks for your interest in visiting our country. Yes, i can see that you're really interested.

"i look at the West, and i see Islam without Muslims. i look at the East, and i see Muslims without Islam."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

on oh Nabi, peace be upon you

Suddenly this song came out of my mouth:

I just love this nasyeed..i remember singing it loudly in the car while waiting to pick up my brothers from school.. :)

Try and read the Sealed Nectar, a biography of the Prophet and then read Fiqh Sirah by Ramadan al-Buti to understand the significance behind everything that happened in his illustrious life as the Light to mankind.

And then you'll love him all the more, and then you'll appreciate this nasyeed :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

on please wake me up at 10 on mondays, 9 on tuesdays, 10 on wednesdays, and don't let me sleep on fridays. thursday is public holiday.

I love Tuesdays. Because the 2 hours between Finance class and Economics lecture are very serene, almost fluffy-like.

"By the dhuha (after sun-rise) (1) And by the night when it is still (2)" (Ad Dhuha:1-2)

"Demi waktu Duha. Dan malam apabila ia sunyi sepi"


Since that surah was sent down to calm the Prophet, God begins with two times when it is most peaceful and most conducive to meditation/calm thinking/purposeful reflection/(blogging?).
 
That is, assuming we're actually awake during Dhuha. And this has been a major problem for me recently. After sunrise, i resume with my 'tidur sekejap' (bit of sleep) wishfully thinking that 1 hour of sleep would be enough, i could get up and go to LSE which takes 30 minutes door-to-door. On some days, i do get up and go to LSE, only to sleep in class, which defeats the purpose of class. Unless the purpose is to defeat the warning emails from your academic adviser. You see, LSE has a peculiar performance measure for students' attendance. Miss one class, and its ok. Miss two classes, and you receive a warning letter. So what happens often on attendance lists is this:
 
P-A-P-A-P-A-P-A-P-A
P-Present
A-Absent
 
papa,papa. Suddenly i remember pappa roti and roti boy, so hungry lah.
 
Still not enough tarbiyyah i guess. The Companions used to sleep little at night and yet when it was time for Dawn Prayers they would have fresh and alert faces. 'Umar r.a used to say that he if he sleep during the day, he forgets his people, and if sleeps at night he forsakes God, so how could he sleep? I think that if 'Umar was still alive he'd smash the snooze button to oblivion.
 
Or do i sleep because my interest in my subjects have become slack? Possibly.
 
Enjoy your fluffy morning :-)

on let's hope that when our time comes for big action, our hearts don't become small.

There's an interesting point to be made from the recent uprisings in the Arab World. I envy them (is it because i'm slightly anti-establishment? maybe, just maybe) People who live in wars and oppression have living hearts, so the saying goes. Unlike Malaysians who tend to be shy-shy lor. The first time i joined a protest was on behalf of the Palestinian Society, to protest against the Israeli Foreign Minister giving a speech at the LSE.

What was interesting was that most of the pro-Palestinian supporters were White, in the traditional usage of the word. I am considered Yellow, to be politically incorrect. And trust me, i was so unused to the whole tradition of protest that it felt awkward to be shouting out slogans (Free! Free! PALESTINE! became free, free, palestine~) And on the other side of the road were 3 guys holding the Israeli flag, shouting at the top of their lungs. They sure had a lot of guts. This is not anti-Semitism, just an appreciation of courage.

What was my point again? I just love to beat around the bush don't I.


About the uprisings. If you look carefully at the situation, you'll realise that it is a regionwide trend.


Dark green-promised reforms
light green- some protests
yellow- sustained protests
orange- menacing protests
red- regime toppled


And so it goes that something beginning with the self-immolation of Bouazizi could topple decades-old regimes like dominoes.


These major historical shifts have major impacts on the times we live in. Like post-World War 2 for example. The financial and military strength of the colonial powers were emaciated, supranational authority in decline, and some people decided to take this opportunity to push for independence from their colonial masters, and soon whole nations were involved in the revolution. Conditions were, at the time, ripe for uprisings of the nationalistic sort. And so does God proceeds with his servants.

Just like the end of physical colonialism, the liberation of Soviet satellites and the popular democracy movements in the Middle East, once the tipping point is reached, change comes in waves and nothing the old guard does could prevent the sea of destruction. No cause-and-effect now. Even a million-strong Interior Ministry vanished when faced with the wrath of ordinary, stepped-upon Egyptians. God warns us of his unstoppable might, with the story of prophet Moses confronting the disbelief and injustice of the Pharaoh.

"So Allâh seized him with punishment on Earth and the Hereafter. (25) Verily, in this is a lesson for whosoever fears Allâh.(26) Are you more difficult to create, or is the heaven that He constructed? (27)" (An nazi'aat: 25-27)

So conditions were ripe for those things in those times. Creating a United Ethnic National Organisation does not necessarily lead to independence. Be a good servant and be grateful will we. 

As we learnt in LSE100, great events usually have multiple causes, what an Australian philosopher called INUS, a set of 'insufficient, non-redundant, unnecessary but sufficient' causes. Which in English means that take one domino out, and the tumbling will not be complete. 

So do not think that we are high-and-powerful and that if you eat a lot of rice, you will be full. That is up to God to decide. In the end, it seems, we have only two choices to make.

"And He inspired him his Wrong (Path) and his Righteous (Path)"
(As Syams: 8)

Follow the righteous path, and He leads us down the path of success and gives us the tools for it. If only my people knew, said a righteous person in surah Yaseen. Who cares if you're White or Yellow, in the end it's your belief and deeds that will be counted, and if you have Iman you're my brother it don't matter if you're Black or White.