we declare Your Perfection above and beyond all: we have no knowledge whatsoever except what You have taught us. No doubt it is You, and You alone that is all Knowledgeable and all Wise. (al-Baqarah, 32)

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Feeling nostalgic and read some the earliest posts in my now in a coma old blog, which confirmed 2 things :

1. In some ways, I am a VERY different person now than I was some 7,8 years ago. In others, I guess I'm still the same ol me. 

2. I was a far more competent writer back then. 

In conclusion (In conclusion? Seriously, is this the best I could think of? See folks, this is what years of teaching in a secondary school does to you [but i digress]), I'm really glad to have the blog as a tool to reflect on how I have progressed, changed and matured as a person. 

And maybe I should go back to writing. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Road to Divine Speech Seminar

Wow, it sure has been a long time since I've updated anything on this blog here that I feel like I've lost my blogging touch completely. Anyways, here goes nothing. 

Those who know me know how much I have been influenced by ustadh Nouman Ali Khan (refer to this post as to why) so when it was announced that he would be holding his signature Divine Speech seminar here in Malaysia, I was set to go.

I have a few students (seriously love them to death) who are a part of my tadabbur halaqah ; the contents of which are mostly from ustadh Nouman's lectures as well - so if I was to attend the Divine Speech seminar, why not try taking some of them along, I thought.

Of course, the execution of said plan was easier said - or thought - than done. For this very purpose, I had gone to lengths that, for the 5 years of my service, I had never ever gone to. I had to discuss repeatedly with the administration,  made paperworks, find a good yet somehow still affordable accomodation (thanks to my beloved wife for this!), arranged for transport and the list goes on, but when all is said and done, I feel that it was well worth it.

Originally, 10 students wanted to and were supposed to be going with me one just told me today that she had other obligations. Shikata ga nai wa ne... (note to self: need to polish up my rusty Nihongo!)

Now all that's left is to wait for the event itself. 20th of June can't come any sooner. Hopefully everything will turn out as planned. Allahumma yassir wa laa tu'assir :)

Will try to write more on the event itself then. InshaAllah.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Allah SWT's advice to Musa AS

Surah TaHa is a powerful surah that is literally filled with gems of wisdom. It is the surah that changed the heart of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab from being a vicious hater of the Muslims into one of world's best. But perhaps the one aya that strucks me the most is aya 44, where Allah SWT says:

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَيِّنًا لَعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

And speak to him gently so that he may take reminder or become *'khashiya'

These are Allah's words towards Musa AS when He ordered him to go to firaun (the pharaoh). It's truly incredible. Musa, the prophet, is told to give reminder to firaun, a man who had ordered the execution of all of Bani Israel's male children every other year, a man who wants Musa AS dead, a man who has the audacity to claim himself a god, a man who could easily be called the worst man who had ever lived the earth.

And still Allah SWT reminds Musa AS to speak to him gently.

SubhanAllah this got me thinking, if a man as bad as firaun deserves to be spoken gently to, how much more deserving do our children, our students, our friends or even our leaders do? This is a very simple yet powerful advice from Allah SWT. Let's try to incorporate it into our speech whenever we are giving advice or dakwah to others. And if we happen to talk to someone we really abhore, remember: that person can't be much worse than firaun.


*'Khashiya' is usually translated as fear. However, according to br. Nouman Ali Khan, that is a very shallow translation as there are 12 different words in the Quran that are translated as fear. The words 'khauf' and 'taqwa' for example, a also both translated as fear. 'Khashiya' does mean fear, but it's a very specific type of fear. It is a fear of something magnanimous, that simply being in it's presence makes us humbled.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Clearing Misconceptions About Adam AS

Why are we stuck on earth?

Depending on one's religious belief (or one's lack of it thereof), you'll get different answers. I can't really say for every other religious belief, but I do believe that for most of the people of the Abrahamic faiths (Muslims, Christians and Jews), their answer would be because the first man created by God Almighty defied His command by eating from a forbidden tree and was thus banished to the Earth and his wife Eve (we Muslims call her Hawa) along with him.

If I didn't know better, that would've probably been my answer as well. However, a study of the Quran reveals  that that's not entirely true.

You see, according to the Quran, Allah SWT has already decided before Adam AS ('alaihissalam - peace be upon him) was created, that he was to be placed on earth.

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَة
And (remember) when your Lord  said to the angels, "Verily, I will create a *khalifah on earth" (Al-Baqarah, 2:30)

This might raise a particular question: if God really intended for Adam AS to be placed on earth, why was he put in Paradise in the first place? That is a very valid question; one that the Allah SWT did not forget to address in His Book:

وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنْهَا رَغَدًا
 حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Jannah (Garden / Paradise); and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) you will; but approach not this tree, or you run into harm and transgression." (Al-Baqarah, 2:35)

The Arabic Language has a few words that means 'to live 'or 'to dwell', the most common of which is 'khuld'. For instance when in the following ayah, which describes the people who will live forever in Paradise, the word 'khaalidiin' which is a derivative of the word 'khuld' is used:

جَزَاؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ
فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ
Their reward is with Allah: Gardens of Eternity beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; Allah well pleased with them and they with Him: all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher. (Al-Bayyinah, 98: 8)

However, the word used in the aforementioned ayah isn't 'khuld' but 'uskun' ."Uskun' comes from the root word 'sukun' which means something that was in motion but stops temporarily and will afterwards continue to move (those of you who remember your tajweed should be familiar with this word). By using this word in the ayah, Allah SWT is telling Adam AS - and by extension, us- that his place in Paradise was only temporary and that he will have to move to his actual abode, earth, sooner or later. You can think of it as a transit before the final destination. Had it been a permanent stay, the word that would be the most appropriate to use is 'ukhlud' and not 'uskun' which, as mentioned above, implies the meaning of it being temporary.

Adam AS himself understood this and was aware that they won't be staying in Paradise forever, and Iblis - the Devil - used this knowledge to tempt Adam AS and Hawa into eating from the forbidden tree
وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَا
مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ
he (satan) said, "Your Lord forbade you this tree lest you should become angels or such beings as live for ever." (Al-A'raf, 7:20)

Another common misunderstanding about this story is that Adam AS and Hawa was banished to earth because of their sin of disobeying the Lord and eating from the tree. This, however, isn't the real reason because Allah SWT clearly says in the narrative in surah Al-Baqarah that He had accepted their repentance.

فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration and his Lord turned toward him (accepting his repentance); for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (al-Baqarah, 2: 37)

If they were forgiven, it wouldn't make much sense for them to be banished to earth as a punishment wouldn't it?

This further enforces the notion that neither Adam AS nor his spouse are to be blamed for the human race to be put on earth. This is clearly a misconception that needs to be set straight especially among the Muslims. We must realize that our place on earth is a matter that has always been decided. It is only after we have proven ourselves worthy of Paradise in this world that we will be allowed to live there in the hereafter.

Wallahua'lam - Allah knows best.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*Khalifah is an Arabic word literally meaning "one who replaces someone else who left or died" (taken from http://islamic-world.net/khalifah/definition.htm)

**image taken from http://socialtimes.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Others as You Love Yourself

Out of the many ahadeeth (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w) that I memorised way back when I was in high school, one of them sticks clearly in my mind for some reason or another. The hadeeth goes:

None of you will truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”. (Al-Bukhari)

It's a fairly straightforward and easily understood hadeeth, but it was only recently after hearing a story of one particular great individual that I understood it in a new light.

The story is of of Imam an-Nawawi r.a. He was one of the greatest zahid of his time, which meant he doesn't own much worldly materials. One night as he was praying, a thief broke into his house. Seeing as there wasn't much (if any) to be taken, the thief decided to take the only he could found of value - an-Nawawi's shoes. After finishing his solah, an-Nawawi who realised a thief had entered his house started running outside chasing after the thief shouting.

What exactly did he shouted? If any normal person would be in his shoes, I think it would be something along the lines of "Stop! Thief" though honestly, that is probably putting it mildly.

An-Nawawi said nothing like that at all. Instead, he was shouting to the thief to accept his shoes as a gift! Why? Because he was a man who truly had taqwa. As much as he fears to be punished by Allah and be entered to the hellfire for committing sins, he also fears other to fall into sin. SubhanAllah, just look at the level of iman this man had! Now this is how a person truly loves his brother. This is how we should be loving our brothers.

I pray that we can inculcate even just a fraction of this attitude shown by Imam an-Nawawi into our lives

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