Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Salam Eid ul Fitr


Today is Saturday, 27 Ramadhan/27 Sept 2008. 4 more days to complete the fasting month of Ramadhan and 4 more days to celebrate 'Idulfitri. Yet, the feeling all around is already in a celebration mood, don't you think? My house, for example, has already gotten empty. 3 of my housemates already off to their hometown on Thursday. I will go back tomorrow (Sunday) and so will the other two.

So far, i've restrained myself from saying anything -any word- about Raya. That's the rule i strictly put upon myself. I said to myself, it's Ramadhan that matters the most. Not Raya. Finding LailatulQadar is the target, not Raya! After all, there must be reasons Allah made Ramadhan, 30 days of 'wajib puasa', followed by only 1 day of 'haram puasa' to celebrate (30 : 1 in value and importance?) Well, that's what i reasoned with myself.

However, i also realized one thing. If we have tried our best -real effort- in this holy month, then we have every reason to celebrate Raya with all the happiness we can muster. Because, we truly deserved it.

So, to all the readers, in the spirit of upcoming 1 Syawal, i wish you Happy 'Idulfitri. May you find joy alongside your families and your loved ones. Take care of yourselves and don't forget to pray so we can still meet the next Ramadhan.

May Allah bless us and accepts all of our ibadah...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Eventful Day.


Have you ever had a day, you really want to rip your own hand off of you, being chased by a police patrol car, and being told 'Sir, it's time to break fast' by a Chinese guy?
Well, i had all that yesterday.

In what could arguably be one of the most eventful day for me in this Ramadhan, i experienced all the above situation with lots.. lots of emotions - from anger, frustration, horror, shock, regret to awe, humbleness and grateful.

Let's go to 'bad' emotions first.

1) I twisted my right wrist - the starting of everything!
I would say, this was the worst thing that happened to me yesterday. My tennis hand was twisted! What could be worse? That was the first thing that flashed through my mind - and with horror too - as i suddenly felt the sharp pain when i lifted my rather heavy bag yesterday.

Despite my vow to not get angry in this fasting month, i felt very very angry with myself! Why did i always have to rush to do things - in this case, lifting my bag. If only i was a little bit more careful, and patient, it won't happen, I chastised myself.

And as the anger - and panic - enveloped me, i made things even worse by twisting my wrist really hard in every direction possible, hoping the pain will subside, but to no avail. And as i learned soon after that, that reckless action of mine just made my wrist hurt even more by the hour!

2) Soon after that, i was in my car, in a hurry to go to One Utama. I was asked to book a table at Shogun, a Japanese Buffet Restaurant, where i planned to break fast with my friends, Aiman and Amir.

No need to say, i still didn't do the booking. While i could't find where i put the phone number of the restaurant, and my watch showed it was already near 6 o'clock, i sped my car heading toward OU.

Come this one intersection at Damansara Perdana, i made an illegal U-Turn, only to see there was a police car there. I felt a bit panic then, but i said, what the heck, almost everyone did that!

I realized the patrol car was following behind, and i saw the light started to flash together with the siren sound. But still, i didn't slow down. I still think that patrol car was after someone else!

At last, when i realized the police started to edge my car to the side of the road, only then i knew, it was me who they were after!

No wonder the policeman was really angry after that! With a glare and a really harsh tone, he asked for my I.C and license and went away for almost 30 minutes! He didn't even tell me what was my mistake and why he needed to give me tickets!

The 30 minutes was supposed to be the time where i felt humiliated - all the other cars were slowing down to see who was the bad guy! - and upset, and frustrated. But I didn't!

As i sat silently in my car, waiting for the ticket, i felt oddly in peace with myself. I stared at my painfully-throbbing hand, as my mind adjusted to what had just happened to me.

Hmm, i said, these - my twisted wrist and the police incident - are obviously a test for me! A Ramadhan tests! To see how i would react and cope with it. I would say i failed for the first one, but i learned to get over it for the second one.

When the policemen came back to me, he almost threw the ticket together with my IC and driving license, but i offered him a smile and a thanks. He didn't return any of them, but it was understandable. I made the mistake, i paid the price.

3) Lucky, during my brief 'arrest', Aiman arrived at OU, and i asked him to do the booking instead. He came from Shah Alam but he was earlier than me, the 'local guy'! hehe. If Amir also managed to be earlier than me, i was dead. He's from Perak!

It was the first time i've been to Shogun and the food; wow! I glanced around and i can see we were not the only Malay there. Quite many, actually.

As we settled down with food almost covered the table, Aiman and I talked. (Amir didn't arrive yet) We talked about old friends, and many others. Then, suddenly one Chinese waiter came to our table and said something like, "Sir, it's already time to break fast!"

Instinctively i looked at my watch. "Haah lah! It's time!". Then Aiman and I laughed! It was so bizarre! And as Aiman said, "It wasn't everyday a Chinese guy come and tell you to break fast! You should write this in your blog."

Later, Amir arrived and we shared the story with him. Oh, and along with so many other stories. As a result, we were among the last group to leave the restaurant.

Although I felt a twinge of guilt for the missing tarawih in the mosque, i was lying if i said i didn't enjoy myself. I'll make it up later, i said, to my conscience.

As for my day, I would say, "All's well when end's well"
I certainly learned my lesson.
I certainly need to find a good masseur to do something about my wrist before the holiday finished! Or i have to tell my tennis-buddy Sham, about the 'grieving' news.

Pray for me, will ya? (desperate...)

P/S: My friend told me i need to buy a camera so that i can put pictures in here. A picture worth a thousand words. He's right. But until then, please bear just with my messy writings, ok?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Malaysian teenager's Quran recitation wins hearts


Dubai: The young Malaysian participant who was eventually declared the winner of the recitation event at the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) event had the jam-packed audience in a thrall.

The contest began at midnight on Thursday after the conclusion of programmes associated with the event. The prizes will be announced on Saturday at 9.30pm in the presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Cultural and Scientific Association.

There were seven participants in all who vied for the top three prizes. A Turkish contestant and a Kuwaiti participant were adjudged second and third respectively in the recitation event.

Showcasing talent

Thirteen-year-old Mohammad Bin Ahmad Zahid's performance moved some members of the audience to tears.

His recitation of verses from Surat Ar-Rahman (The Beneficent, The Mercy Giving) of the Quran during the stage of the competition when each participant was given seven minutes to showcase his talent went down especially well with those assembled.

The other contestants in the fray were from Yemen, Mauritania, Libya, and Somalia.

Speaking to Gulf News, other participants at the event recalled how they had pursued their Quran studies. Senoussi Daoud from Chad said he had memorised the Quran along with his three siblings in a Khalwa, a traditional mosque school in Africa.

The 20-year-old is a high school student at a public school that imparts the Saudi curriculum.

"Memorising the Quran is part of one's cultural upbringing in Chad. Most people in my hometown memorise the Quran," said Daoud.


He told Gulf News the Khalwa also served as key centres of education for those wanting to learn the Arabic language.

"Everyone in the Khalwa shares equally what is available. The values and the experiences of the Khalwa help to forge a solidarity among its members which lasts for a lifetime," said Senoussi.

Ahmedou Salem Taleb, a 21-year-old participant from Mauritania, said students used a lawlah, a small wooden tablet, to take notes while memorising the Quran back in his home country and generally across North Africa.

Students would then repeat what they memorised around 300 times-using the Misbah (counting beads), he said.

**I got this article from Gulfnews and i felt compelled to put it here.

I know adik Muhammad (above picture) because he's a constant figure at Masjid Taqwa, TTDI. Although i didn't know him personally, i can tell he is the pride of TTDI residents. I had a conversation with his father once and he told me adik Muhammad is a Hafiz since he was 8 years old! And his other siblings also wanted to follow suit.

Amazing huh! When i asked how he did what he did, he said he planned everything about the education of the children wih his wife since they were really little. They sacrificed a lot in the early stages, instilled interest of Islam and Al-Quran in their children's heart while at the same time worked hard to balance their childhood life.

It really sounds like a lot of work, but for all i can see now, it was all worth it!
In my heart, I hope i can do the same with my children when the time come...

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Krisis Kewangan??

By Mullah

Assalamualaikum dan Alhamdulillah, penulis dapat menulis lagi dalam blog ini setelah sekian

lama menyepi dan memencilkan diri daripada dunia penulisan. Alhamdulillah jua kerana penulis

dapat menulis tentang krisis kewangan yang melanda ketika ini

Menurut laporan akhbar, 10 bank di Amerika Syarikat telah 'gulung tikar' kerana krisis sub -

prima sektor perumahan dan baru-baru ini, AIG (American International Group) telah kerugian

USD 18.5 billion (RM 68 billion) dan mungkin akan diselamatkan oleh Federal Reserve. Hhmmm

Di Malaysia, saham kita telah mengalamai kejatuhan yang teruk sejak 2 tahun lepas dan

menurut laman web The Star, saham kita telah melonjak naik ke paras 1025.7 apabila ditutup

pada 19 September 2008 yang lepas. Jadi, apakah penyelesaiannya???

Di sini, penulis ingin berkongsi ilmu daripada sebuah buku yang sedang dibaca oleh penulis iaitu

'Make Money, Not Excuses' yang dikarang oleh Jean Chatzky, seorang penasihat kewangan

terkenal Amerika Syarikat dan pernah muncul dalam rancangan Oprah. Pesanannya ialah :-

1. Maksimakan Pendapatan kita

2. Minimumkan lagi Perbelanjaan

3. Laburkan Simpanan kita (minimum 10% setiap bulan) dan

4. Lindungi Simpanan kita

Okaylah, sampai di sini sahaja penulis berkongsi idea dan ilmu. Jumpa lagi

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What i really missed during Ramadhan?


I don't remember where i got the question.

What i really missed during Ramadhan?

I said that was easy. I can think of one immediately. In fact, i didn't really have to think at all. I really missed this one thing, it's always there in my mind.

But the questioner didn't satisfied. That, i remember, because i was asked to list 10:
Okay, i said. Here is the list:

1) Tennis
2) Tennis
3) Tennis
4) Tennis
5) Tennis
6) Tennis
7) Tennis
8) Tennis
9) Tennis
10) McFlurry

There. That's my list of what i really missed during this fasting month.

In fact, whenever my friends told me about 'Raya Sales', here and there, i surprised them by asking: hei, do you happen to know if there's Sales for Nike' or Adidas' Tennis Shoe?
Well, I just couldn't help it, really.

And there's also this one 'secret' i never told anybody.
Everytime, i got back from Tarawih or Subuh Prayer from the mosque, i'll almost certain to wander away from the main road and follow this one route back to my house.
Along the way, exactly at one particular quite spot, i'll slow down my ride a little bit and stare longingly to one simple structure by the side of the road.

A tennis court. Where i played almost daily before the start of Ramadhan.

Huhu, How i really missed playing Tennis!

Only long after that, did i realize, somehow, i also missed McFlurry...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008



One quick announcement:

Tonight (17 Sept/17 Ramadhan), an imam from Masjidil Haram, Syeikh Abdur Rahman will come to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta to lead the Solat Tarawih.
So, for those who are free tonight and lives nearby, let's go to Masjid Wilayah.

It may be awhile for us to go visit the Masjidil Haram itself, so this opportunity may served as an intro to the visit later huh...

InsyaAllah, i'll see you there...

Aidan Z

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Half left...


I remember when i was little, i always dreaded Ramadhan. For some reason, i just couldn't stand not eating and drinking for more than 12 hours everyday, moreover for a month. I still remember pleaded to my mom to break the fast, giving her all sorts of excuses that crossed my mind, hoping she would bend to my childish whining.
Well, it was useless anyway because Mom only needed to raise her voice once and i will scramble to save my butt from her effective 'rotan'.
Hmm, thanks Mom!

Alhamdulillah, that wasn't the case for me anymore, (otherwise there's something very very wrong with me, right?)
In fact, i love Ramadhan now.
Not just because of the good(s) and barakah(s) in it, also because of the way this holy month makes me feel of myself and life in general:

1) This is the month i can maintain my weight.. and health too.
Well, that's the most natural thing to do, don't you think? We're fasting.. we cannot eat...
3 Ramadhan ago, i started my 'diet' program. and from there on, i successfully reduce my weight from 76kg, (one time it went as high as 78kg) to 62 kg within 5 month... and Alhamdulillah, i've maintained the ideal weight until now.
To my good friend, M; and H too: come on, you can do it!!!
Oh, to A, and another M, you too can do it, mate...

2) I can control my temper.
Well, a lot of people, even my close friends didn't know that i have some temperamental problem! I may appeared mild-mannered and happy go lucky to most eyes, and Allah knows I am. But very few knew that i also have this problem i am still learning to control. 'Short-fused'... that's what my brother said of my temper. He knew better, as he was sometimes been at the receiving-end of it. (Sorry, abang!)
Maybe you can ask my tennis racquet, especially the broken one, which i smashed to the floor after i missed several easy shots not long ago.
But no need to panic my friends, Ramadhan is here. The special month is here. And if there's something i really want so badly after the fasting month was over, is that my temper still very much in check, if not reduced. I pray hard to Allah so that He, who Himself is the Most Merciful and Graceful towards His servants, will grant me the patience that has eluded me so far.. Amin.

3) I feel so peaceful with myself and with the world.
Just like everybody else, i have high expectations on myself and world itself. Sometimes it worked the way i wanted and more often than not, it wasn't. It was either i put so much pressure on myself or i didn't put enough pressure. Maybe both.
But come Ramadhan, all the worries seemed to evaporate into oblivion. It didn't matter. As if somebody just soothed all my worries, saying things like, 'it's okay, you know can always start anew', and more importantly, 'no fuss Z, Allah is with you. Everything happened, happens for a reason. There's always 'hikmah' behind each of it...'
And i will smile, to no one in particular. A knowing smile, comes from within, feeling peaceful and happy the way i can't describe, even to myself. Alhamdulillah.

4) Be a Grateful servants.
All the above and other things, made me think, i've spent so much time worrying and complaining about things i didn't get. But what about things i do have? Did i spend a lot of time thinking about how lucky i am to have what i have? Did i ever complain when i got what i wanted? And, have i gone too far into becoming an ungrateful 'jerk' to Allah The Almighty?!
So i closed my eyes, breathing hard while asking for forgiveness from the Most Merciful for all my ignorances. Forgive me, Ya Allah. I'm nothing without You, and Your Blessing. Open my eyes to what clouded my eyes from seeing your Gift to me and let me become one of your grateful servants...

Therefore, i urge and implore all of you, my fellow friends, brothers and sisters. Let's find our inner self during this holy-month. Ask ourselves, are we really living the Ramadhan the way Rasulullah taught us to? Are we really embracing Ramadhan the way Allah wants us to?!!

Ramadhan was already half-way. Take this opportunity!
Who knows maybe this is the last Ramadhan... for any of us...

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Confessions of an Old Boy by Kam Raslan


I started reading this book soon after i finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn't practice that very often, i mean, about reading one book right after another. Because i'm the type of guy to savour the feelings/essence of every book i read (sometimes for days - the longest was Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Huhu, really..) and i have to tell you 'Eat Pray Love' also had almost the same effect to me.

But still, i decided to read this book right after Ms Gilbert's book anyway.

The reason? I made a 'mistake' of reading the first chapter of this book, 'A letter to a newspaper' -the most hillarious first chapter i've ever read- and i was instantly hooked. After several minutes, i already finished one fifth of the book and i knew i've to finish reading the book straight away!

Maybe i have to explain here the reason i didn't practice reading one book exactly after another, other the 'savoring' part i mentioned above.
The reasons are many but very simple. Different genre, style of writings, depth of the story telling, memorable characters, just to name a few.
Simply said, i won't read Harry Potter books soon after i read Jack Welch's book. Or even after a John Grisham's book. And neither do the other way around. It just feels... wrong. Each author has their own strength and style and obviously different genre. And i felt -personally- as if i will do them unjustice if i didn't take time to -again- savour their work.

And in this case, i definitely worried because i never heard of Kam Raslan before. And after reading such an impressive book in Eat Pray Love, i was really sure that 'Confessions of an Old Boy' won't stand a chance.

I was wrong!

The story of Dato' Hamid' life and his adventures in this book was told in such a way, you want to believe and not to believe it at the same time. At times, it felt so real, so convincing, we believe Dato' Hamid was real. He was somewhere out there, just finished sharing the story with us. At times, it felt outlandish and bizarre, hard to believe, but still want to believe it anyway!

If there's one word to describe the book, I would say: Intriguing

For me, Kam Raslan is an excellent author. I love the way he told his story (which can be very complex in an inexperienced hand, like me, heheh) in such a relax and simple manner. As a reader, sometimes i love to feel the pressure of the story plot, and sometimes i don't. This book falls onto latter category -it could be really overwhelming to younger readers, in my opinion- and Kam Raslan delivered it perfectly. His writings was sly and cunningly appealing, cynical and brilliantly hillarious. I laughed so hard sometimes, and i thought i smiled all the way to the end of the book.

Dato' Hamid's character, hands down, is one of the most exciting character i've ever read. And i think, Kam's words at the back of the book, summed it best.

"You'll never meet anyone quite like Dato' Hamid, but you'll know him."

Okay, now to the 'not-so-nice' part. And surprisingly it all came down to one particular subject only. As you can see below..

Firstly, the name of the character, Hamid. I dont have problem with the name Hamid. In fact it's a very good name. No, not just that. It is a very very very good name, it also happened to be one of Allah's name, in Asmaul Husna. Kam is right when he named the character Dato' Abdul Hamid. But as you learned when you read the book, the name Hamid wasnt really suitable to the 'bad boy' character of Dato' Hamid in the book, which will make my point no 2 below.
I believe, this minor flaw -not quite minor for some people i afraid- is accidental, but still it would be nice to be extra sensitive about things like this.

Secondly, the 'bad boy' character of Dato' Abdul Hamid. In the book, Dato' Hamid is an 'Old Boy', meaning he lived in an era of not-so-islamic way of life. Women and liquor, are part of the lifestyle, especially from an elite family like Dato' Hamid. And Kam did very well to describe all that in the book. In fact, too well, too casually told, it didn't even feel wrong to any of it! Which made it all the more wrong then, if you got what i mean..

I understand, this is an English-languaged novel -which for some mysterious reason, Malay/Muslim guy/gal didn't even know/interested to read- but for me, again, Kam needs to be sensitive to such issues. I can understand the needs to put all that in the book, but maybe it won't have to be apparent/detailed, you know..

That being said, i strongly recommend the book to everyone. It is a Malaysian book, everyone can read it and will enjoy it immersely. Except for that particular subject above, 'Confession of an Old Boy' is an excellent read, one of few local book i really love, and enjoy immersely.
And i wil eagerly await for the next book from Kam Raslan.

To all my government servant friends, this book is for you.
To all my non-government servant friends, this book is also for you, hehe.

Why I made such 'toast', you have to figure out by reading the book...

If there needs to give star, i'll give 7 out of 10.

P/S Thanks to Mullah for lending me this book. Maybe i should get one for myself, huh.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

ISA, 16 September, agriculture study tour


As i write this entry, 3 have been detained under ISA -which allows indefinite detention without trial- so far: Blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng, and Setapak MP, Teresa Kok.
The arrest followed the warning by Pak Lah earlier this week that ISA might be used against those who may caused racial crisis in this country.
One question: then why didn't Dato Ahmad Ismail of UMNO Bukit Bendera be arrested as well for his racially sensitive remarks during Permatang Pauh election?

Last night, Pakatan Rakyat which compises of PKR, DAP and PAS issued a statement that the transformation of new government -in other word, the toppling of BN government- might be delayed from the 16th September.
"The process of transformation to a new government... is proceeding smoothly and we believe that Barisan Nasional will be replaced in a very short period," the statement said.

Although i'm sure many have a mixed feelings about this - some said this is Anwar's personal agenda or revenge, others questioned about Malay MP's majority in the new government will decline greatly as those who will defect from BN to Pakatan Rakyat are most likely non-Malay (non-Muslim), while others more worried about whether this is better for Islamic constitution or will be exactly the same as in UMNO-led BN government - I would say, still, the new government would be better. Hmm of course, it's still open for debate.

Also, in the news is about the agriculture study tour by 51 BN MP's to Taiwan (Some reported 41, or 49 - who cares!). The tour ended prematurely... yesterday (Friday). Huh? I wonder if it has something to do with the plan of 4 PKR MP's to tail them there! The earlier statement said the tour will finish on 17 Sept (hmm, another suspicion), and now suddenly it finished 4,5 days earlier. And about the MP's, the news said, it's up to them if they wanna go back to Malaysia immediately or not, as they will pay for their own expense...

Oh, did i mention, Pak Lah vs Najib drama is heating up...?

Take a deep breath, sit back, enjoy...

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maghfirah... Let's go get it!


Tanpa disedari, kita sudah masuk ke fasa kedua bulan Ramadhan Al-Mubarak, yakni fasa 'Maghfirah'.
Saya teringat kata-kata seorang rakan yang merupakan seorang ustaz, fasa ini adalah fasa berlari-lari anak, sebelum fasa memecut dalam sepuluh malam yang terakhir, mengejar Lailatul Qadar.
Lalu saya menge'check' diri saya, dan ingin mengajak sahabat-sahabat menge'check' diri masing-masing juga. Bagaimana dengan tarawih, tadarus, solat sunat, sedekah dan amalan-amalan lain. Adakah bertambah, atau kekal di takuk lama, atau -na'uzubillah- berkurangan?
Dan lebih penting, adakah Ramadhan kali ini -setakat ini- lebih baik daripada tahun-tahun lepas...

Berbalik kepada fasa Maghfirah-

Janganlah kita lupa bahawa Allah dengan sifat Ghaffar-Nya, sangat suka untuk mengampunkan serta menutup kesalahan hamba-hambaNya.

Di dalam Al-Quran, Allah mengulangi perkataan al-hukmu (hukuman/punishment) sebanyak 117 kali, namun rupa-rupanya Allah mengulangi perkataan-perkataan yang berasal dari ghafara (pengampunan/penutupan dosa) sebanyak 234 kali. Lebih dua kali ganda!

Adakah ia kebetulan? Maha Suci Allah yang Maha Bijaksana. Adakah Allah mahu menunjukkan bahawa setiap satu kesalahan/dosa yang kita lakukan, terdapat dua peluang untuk mendapatkan pengampunan? MasyaAllah.

Sesungguhnya antara makna Asma' Allah, Al-Ghaffar, adalah Yang menutupi dosa-dosa hamba-hambaNya. Menutupi bukanlah bermaksud menghapuskan. lalu saya tertanya, bukankah lebih baik kita memohon Allah menghapuskan terus dosa-dosa kita. Bukan sekadar tutup-tutup sahaja.

Namun ternyata Allah itu Maha Sempurna. Penutupan dosa itu rupa-rupanya adalah antara Nikmat terbesar Allah untuk hambaNya di syurga kelak. Bagaimana?!

Kita sedia maklum, tidaklah kita mampu untuk masuk ke dalam syurga Allah semata-mata dengan amalan kebaikan kita. Bahkan tanpa rahmat dan keizinan Allah, bau syurga pun tidak akan singgah kepada kita. Lalu, di syurga nanti, Allah akan tunjukkan kepada kita dosa-dosa kita yang telah lalu dan telah ditutupi oleh Allah dengan sifat GhaffarNya, sekaligus menunjukkan kepada kita betapa besarnya nikmat yang sedang kita kecapi di syurga ketika itu! SubhanAllah.

Lalu, sahabat-sahabat sekalian, marilah kita mengambil kesempatan ini untuk memohon keampunan dari Allah SWT. Serulah Allah dengan nama-namaNya yang mulia dan mohonlah keampunan di atas dosa-dosa kita dan ahli keluarga kita.

Sesungguhnya, Allah lebih suka memasukkan hamba-hambaNya ke dalam SyurgaNya dengan taubat mereka, daripada memasukkan mereka ke dalam nerakaNya dengan sebab dosa-dosa mereka...

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

US Open 2008


The final grand slam of the year finished earlier this morning (Malaysia time) with Roger Federer -2nd seed- retained his crown for 5 consecutive years! The win means Federer now has 13 grand slams, just one short of all time record, 14, by Pete Sampras

He defeated Andy Murray of Britain -the 6th seeded player who upset Nadal in the semifinal- 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. The paycheck for the champion is USD 1.5 million

In the women's side, Serena Williams defeated Serbian Jelena Jankovic to lift her 9th grand slam in her career.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Masjid Wilayah


Yesterday, me and my good friends Mullah and Iidil went to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta. The idea was to catch this very famous imam from Mesir, Syeikh Jibril, leading the Tarawih Prayer last night, only to find out it was actually on the day before.

However our disappointments didn't last as we found out that Tarawih Prayer in this beautiful mosque will be led by this one imam from Syria, for the whole Ramadhan. Syeikh Mu'tasim, if i'm not mistaken the name of the imam.
For my part, this is the first time i become a ma'mum to an Arab syeikh. So, i have no expectation, or rather i don't know what I’m supposed to expect.

Enter Isya' Prayer, we prayed as usual. The imam was local imam with a nice voice and a very soothing recitation. i thought to myself, the imam was really good and i felt comfortable already.

Then, i's time to Tarawih and the syeikh from Syria stepped in as the congregation followed suit. "AllahuAkbar", the takbir. We followed; try to focus hard on the task at hand.

Then he started reading...

The moment he opened his mouth, i just felt so overwhelmed... with awe and respect. The voice... that was the best voice -"live" in prayer- I’ve ever heard in my life; and the flow, the accent, the 'burdah'... they was just as perfect.
When he launched into Surah after Al-Fatihah, the distinctions was even more pronounced. He recited with full forced and eloquent without slightest hesitance -unlike us and even our imams, obviously, he has the advantage of Arabic as his mother tongue language, which was more apparent by the minutes! Sometimes, his voice soared, reaching the high notes without slightest hitch. Sometimes, so low, just like baritone, vibrating and engaging.

I have to admit, the first two raka'at of the tarawih, i cannot focus at all. It was like, i was in shock and it took me some time to recover.
But then, put aside the awe and the excitement, i started to creep my way, deep into the prayer, feeling very very focus and comfortable. No need to say, the task made easier as the Syeikh was reciting in a very clear voice and from familiar verses of Surah.

There was one downside though. He read only 2-3 ayat per raka'at, too short to my liking. Even though, maybe it was also an advantage since you will feel as if that is not enough and will stay longer to finish until 20 raka'ats.

So, for those who likes to search for a new place to break Fast and Tarawih, i strongly suggest you to come to Masjid Wilayah, Jalan Duta. The food was quite ok, but more importantly you will get new experience in this precious Ramadhan Al-Mubarak. You can even bring your families along too..
I, personally will definitely come again and maybe i'll see you there..

Meanwhile, 'the hunting for Jibril' (Syeikh Jibril from Mesir), as my friends called our mission this weekend, will continue...

*Few of my friends asked the other day about imam with good voice and melodic style of recitations. Isn't content more important than style of readings? What if people go to Tarawih simply because 'bacaan imam tu best'?
I said obviously, as human, we're attracted to beautiful and nice things. Even in ibadah! Some would say superficial, which i agreed, but i also believe, on the other hand if that can help and encourage people to perform their ibadah, why not?
Sometimes we need some kind of 'boost' to do good in our life, especially ibadah. And that exterior/luaran thingy might be just what we need.
Just be careful with the 'niat' after we take that first step, so that it will be valued as ibadah to Allah the Almighty.

May this Ramadhan will bring 'Berkat' and 'Rahmat' to us and to our families. Amin.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pokok Melor and me...


Couples of month ago, my housemate brought back two tiny 'pokok melor', in a tiny black bags-or sacks... whatever - and put them at the front porch of my house. I knew they were pokok melor because i asked him, although now i realize, i didn't asked him why he brought back the plants to our house at the time..

A month later, the plants died. Emm.. almost died.

Truth is, i totally forgot about the plants' existence! Until today, i still don't know what took me so long to realize about the poor dying plants. They were there, just waiting for someone with heart(?), to pour them some water to survive. But nobody seems to even spare them a glance, moreover to attend to their needs. Not even their owner!

And that was the time when i decided to be a hero, to play life-saver for the plants, hehe. First of course, i gave them water. Well, that was the most logical thing to do, and i did that. For a few days, i waited, rather impatiently, for something, any changes to happen. Nothing.
The once-gloriously-green leaves still as brown as ever, and the dry stems still as charred as ever.

Then I remember something. I used to help my mom attend to her flowers back at home and -inhaled deeply- i have to make sure it wasn't all for nothing! That's when the idea struck me squarely in my head.

In order for a new life to grow, the old life has to give way..

So, i cut all the dead twigs with scissors - i saw my mom did that before - leaving the plants bare naked with nothing except for their stump gray stem. Then i cleared the space surrounded the plants so they got clear shot at the sunlight. All while pouring water every single day, of course.

Syukur, within a week after that, my 'patience' was rewarded. Small and greenish buds started to appear, and soon, i watched delightfully when young leaves began to replace the buds and grew bigger and healthier everyday.

A little more than a month after the near-death-experience for the plants, they stood proudly, limb towards the sunlight and ready to reveal their first blossom! And blossom they did!
I still remember, every time i poured water over the plants, i will crouch beside them and smell their beautiful scent, with -i'm sure- a wide smile on my face.
In my heart, i savour the scent as my little triumph against the odds and i didn't lie when i said i was really proud of myself!

But all that changed exactly a month ago...

I went back to my hometown for 3 days and i totally forgot to ask any of my housemates to look after the plants- my bad. As if that was not enough, when i got back, i was so busy, plus distracted about something, it was over a week -almost two actually- for me to realize that my favorite 'surrogate' plants were dying, AGAIN!

I took the 'failed deeds' really hard and i fully blamed myself for it.

With regrets, i started everything all over again: poured water, cut dry twigs, cleared space etc...
I was really angry with myself. How could i be so reckless and thoughtless, i asked myself repeatedly, feeling somehow guilty to the plants... and to the Creator!

As i typed this entry, young leaves just sprouted out from the stems, again, and this time i am determine NOT to make the same mistake again. The excitement than once energized me has gone, only redemption left for me now. Somehow, i felt like i have to redeem myself. To the plants, to myself and to Allah, the Creator.

For Aidilfitri, it sure looks like the plants will accompany me back to my hometown...!

***Oh, about the real owner of the plants, i asked him once -sarcastically- about the plants he brought back but did nothing to tend them. You know what his answer?

"Laa, i didn't know you took care of the plants. i saw them ok je, i thought they grow bigger by themselves...!"

I thought i was going to punch his face that day...

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