Mothers.

Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.

On 27th November, my mom, turned a year older. Whereas on 28th November, it was my parents-in-law’s anniversary. I have always wanted to blog on this topic but I guess this is a perfect time for me to write about both Mama (my biological mother) and Mak (mother-in-law).

Both my mothers have very different personalities and yet they share a common weapon in bringing up their children.

Let me first share about Mama. Truth to be told, my family was once living in luxury. I was too young to taste it tho. However, Allah’s will, and in a blink of an eye, all those luxuries just vanished into thin air. Although my family wasn’t living in poverty, but we were living just below average. We were also living in fear because my dad trusted his childhood friend too much that he agreed to be a guarantor from illegal debtors for him. When his friend ran away, our family became the target. No, I don’t blame my dad at all. He has a kind heart and he can’t see people who are in need of money.

All my siblings were quite young. I was the youngest. Because our house was the target now, my parents decided to seek shelter from our relatives for their children’s safety. I was separated from some of my siblings because there were four of us and it wouldn’t be convenient for my relatives to accommodate their own family and mine.

It went on for at least three years until Mama couldn’t take it anymore. Which mom is able to live separately with her children?  She gathered all strength and courage, and tries to make things right again. She brought my eldest brother to our house that was filled with splashes of paints on the front door, with the keyholes being filled with dried super glue. I can’t imagine how Mama faced all those embarrassments, walking up the staircase with spray stains “O$P$” together with our house unit on the side walls. I can’t imagine how she had to face our neighbours while she struggled with the house door and trying to repaint it. I can’t imagine how she lived in that house for days and weeks without electricity and water just so that she can call the house filled with cobwebs home again. MasyaAllah…

Mama has been working for the longest time. Just because of a few wrong financial decisions made more than a decade ago, she is still working in a fast-food restaurant when she is 55 years old now. On last Friday (I reached home at 12 midnight), I came all the way from Kuala Lumpur so that I can spend the whole day with her but much to my disappointment, during Fajr, my mom took a last minute cupping booking after her morning shift which means she will only be free after Isya’ prayer. I was utterly sad but I came to my senses. She’s not getting younger and she doesn’t want to die with the burden of having to be accountable for the debts during Judgment Day.

Mama is a very soft-hearted person. She easily cries. My siblings will always make fun of her whenever her eyes start to well up whenever we watch sad movies. At 16, I joined an event and we had to give a speech to our own mother in front of a crowd. My mum cried at everyone’s speech except mine. She said I have no feelings. I couldn’t really comprehend the technique of crying at that period because I thought I was strong. However, after I became wiser, I had to give another speech at another event when I was 22. This time round, I couldn’t even continue with my speech because I realised how much sacrifices my mum has made for her children. One of the reasons I cried was because I was going to leave her for four years because I just get accepted into my current school in Kuala Lumpur. But little did I expect that I am going to lead a new life few months after that.

There’s so much about selfless Mama I wish I could share here.

Mak on the other hand has always been a housewife. Mak is a very friendly person and she is lovable my many.  She is a mother of five and masyaAllah all her children are successful. All her children are not only knowledgeable about the worldly life, they are also extremely knowledgeable about the Deen. I would call them ‘world-changers’.

Mak and Bapak (my father-in-law) did not come from a wealthy family. They start from scratch and make their way up. They did not live an easy life initially but because of their dedication for their children’s future, they are able to reap what they painstakingly sow. Not that they expecting anything in return from their children, but because of they take into great consideration of the family institution that Allah SWT has bestowed them with ease now.

Just to note, I am not comparing my family with my in-laws family. Every family has their own challenges and it’s just so that Allah SWT wants my family to go through a particular hardship whereas my in-laws with other set of hardship. Ultimately, all those hardships are Allah’s way of calling us to Him.

Back to Mak. Honestly, I would say I am a terrible daughter-in-law. I do  not cook at home, I go back home as and when (due to school), and Mak has every right to be mad at me for leaving her son alone in Jordan. But Mak has never once talk to me into quitting school because she knows the importance of education. Mak is every woman’s ideal mother-in-law. She has never interfered into any of her children’s marriage life for no legit reason.

Just like Mama,  Mak is such a selfless person. Both of them taught me the art of giving. Mama, even though we have not much for ourselves, she must always give even it is just a dollar or two. Whenever we go for religious talks, she will always give me $2 to be put into the donation box. Mak on the other hand, she taught me to give more if you have more. I remembered when we were in Jordan and a Syrian lady knocked on our door. She was asking for some donation and on top of the monetary donation, Mak packed for her all the food stuff like cakes and cookies, etc, and we are left with just a bit. She said we can buy again next time. She always says this “if we help people, Allah will help us”. MasyaAllah.

Now, I mentioned earlier that both of them share a common weapon to struggle through life and that’s – TAHAJJUD.

Honestly, Mama has never really taught me about tahajjud. When I was younger, I always saw Mama on the praying mat whenever I needed to go to the toilet. It’s either she was in her sujood, or she was crying while raising her hands asking from her Lord. She was totally oblivious of her surroundings. Even up till now, when Mama ends her night shift at past 10pm and she has morning shift which requires her to clock in at 7am, she will never fail to perform tahajjud. Mama is a rather quiet person. When we were going through hard times, she never complains. She bottles up all  problems to herself yet at the same time her heart is always full. Her tawakul for her Lord is amazing and I have so much to learn from her.

My sister-in-law told us before that as far as possible, Mak never leaves her tahajjud. It’s amazing at how Mak was able to bring up five children all on her own while Bapak went out to work. Imagine all the struggles she had to face every single day. Imagine the sleepless nights she had to go through. She won’t be strong on her own. She has Allah with her. As I’ve not seen Mak during her struggles, my description does not even 1% truly display the struggles she had went through.

When mothers wake up for tahajjud, the first group of people they mention in their du’a are their children. As long as they are still breathing, even how tired they are, their mouth and heart will never stop making du’a for their children. Even when you are married and have your own children, their du’a for you will never stop. SubhanAllah. Love of a mother can never be replaced.

My sister-in-law shared with me once if I remember correctly “if you (mothers) do not wake up for tahajjud and make du’a for your children, your children will lose out because there are others out there who are making making du’a in their tahajjud for their children.”. MasyaAllah. Indeed. I can’t imagine what will happen to us if my Mothers did not perform tahajjud.

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I hope one day when I’ve become a mother myself, I will be able to be as strong as them and place my highest tawakul in Allah SWT. Ameen.

Allahu’alam.

 

 

Being A Wife And A Student.

Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.

Ever since I resumed my studies almost two months ago, I’ve been getting this question “You’re married, and you still want to study?” or “You’re married, and you can still study?”

Yes, I am 24. I am still in my first year as an undergraduate and insyaAllah graduating when I am 27. I am a Singaporean studying in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. I have to leave my husband four days in a week. I will have to go back every.single.week back and forth Singapore – KL (journey from home to school by land – 6 to 7 hours). When I’m in Malaysia, I’m a student. When I’m in Singapore, I’m a wife. So I play multiple roles in a week. Contrary if I were to remain being a student at a local university, I would have celebrated my graduation day with my batch mates this year.

So, back to the question – “You’re married, and you can still study?”

My answer is simple, I can study way better now than I was a student previously before marriage.

My intention in writing this post is because I’ve seen the increasing trend of couples marrying at a fairly young age; who are still undergraduate students. After having a personal discussion with one of my psychology Professors on this matter, do I advocate marrying while studying? Yes and no. Consider these factors:

What’s your intention for marriage?

This is the crux of the matter. The intention of marriage. Regularly we hear “if you want to avoid maksiat (vices), get married quickly”. If you want to marry with your current so called “other half” because you want to stop doing maksiat, then drop the thoughts of marriage. Marriage is such a sacred matter. It goes beyond making all the haram to halaal because if your reason is that, once you already get what you want, then is that the end for your marriage?

Marrying should only be for Allah. You want to marry because marriage can bring you closer to Allah. Marriage can elevate your Imaan. Marriage can turn you into an even better person/’abid(slave) and khalifah(leader) of Allah.

ISTIKHARAH. Let your spouse be “handpicked” and chosen by Allah SWT.

Are you prepared to go through anything? Like really, ANYTHING?

You know you marry for Allah if you can go through anything and everything that hits you. You know you are strong with only Allah alone if let’s say you come into an argument with your spouse. You know you will take responsible actions because you do it for Allah. Every action you take because you want to get Allah’s mercy.

FINANCE

I’m not going to lie. If your parents or in-laws do not want to help you finance your studies, things are going to be hard on you. The husband will have to work and finance the family. My Prof told me she had students who were married on their first year and divorced on the their last year just because both parents do not want to support them financially and their marriage got weaker because of that. On the other hand, she also had students whose parents finance every single cent for them and they need not have to worry about money, and Alhamdulillah their marriage still going on well.

So before marriage, especially if you’re the guy, you need to sit down with the other party’s family and discuss how are they going to help you out (maybe loan without interest?) with financial issues. If your tawakkal in Allah is super strong, you believe Allah will provide you with rizq after marriage, maybe you would want to take the plunge. If you and your spouse agree that both of you can survive on just rice, egg and soya sauce during hard times, then Alhamdulillah.

Oh yes, how bout if you’re blessed with children?

No distraction from the opposite gender.

I mentioned in the first factor, you should not marry because you want to avoid maksiat. However, the beauty of marriage is just masyaAllah. Once you marry for Allah, insyaAllah your marriage will be filled with tranquillity, affection and compassion. So being a student, one of our greatest distractions is the opposite gender.

During the first class of one of the subjects, I sat at the last row of the “female section”.  When I entered, the classroom was still quite empty. I didn’t realise there were going to be quite a number of guys because when I entered the other classes, the guys were almost non-existent. Lol. The guys in this class, they are particularly cheeky for I don’t know what reason. So when they make jokes, I see the girls smiling sheepishly and trying to glance the kind I’m-looking-but-I’m-not at the guys. I was thinking to myself, if I wasn’t married, I will for sure try to peek at the guys too. SubhanAllah. How much Allah has protect me.

Being a married student has it’s perks and at the same time, it can be challenging. You can ask me how’s marriage and my first answer would always be “BEST!”. But that’s because Alhamdulillah I believe it was because of the istikharah I did and Allah has chosen for me to be married to a responsible man. At the same time, I know myself. I know that I will be able to adapt with whatever situation that comes and I know I will be strong because Allah is with me. I also realised that the words “seeking knowledge” have a totally new meaning for me. If before it would mean getting a degree, now it means doing it for Allah. I’m not saying that I am pious, those who know me will know that I am made of flaws, but I am always trying, insyaAllah.

Now that my husband is away to resume his studies and we will be separated for 4 months, that’s another challenge for us. I ask for all of you who are reading this to make du’a for us, insyaAllah.

Do I have any regrets taking a re-route in life 2 years plus ago? No. Never, insyaAllah. From a future Programmer (programming and I can never be bestfriends, that’s why I dump it. Lol.) to a future Islamic Psychologist, insyaAllah? 🙂

Thanks, Kak Siti, for this lovely picture. <3

Thanks, Kak Siti, for this lovely picture. ❤

WAllahualam.

Slow At Reading The Qur’an? REJOICE!

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…
Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.
image

It’s the month of the most awaited by most Believers. Many may not even know why Ramadhan is so special yet they’re still able to feel the beauty in this blessed month. That itself, shows how beautiful Ramadhan is. People are chasing for rewards, they’re more conscious of Allah SWT, they perform good deeds and leave the evil.

I’ll not dwell too much into what can and should be done during Ramadhan but I’ll just go straight into the core of Ramadhan – Qur’an. The Qur’an was revealed in this particular month of Ramadhan. It’s the month of the Qur’an even before fasting was being revealed to our Prophet SAW. Angel Jibril (a.s) used to meet Rasulullah SAW every Ramadhan to read the Qur’an to him and listened to him reciting. On the year of Rasulullah SAW passing, he had to recite the Qur’an twice which was a hint that it’s his last year on earth.

That’s the Sunnah in Ramadhan. To read and listen to the Qur’an. Take this opportunity to perform as much Sunnah as possible because rewards for good deeds are multiplied. This is the month when the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed. Whispers of syaitan are gone because they are being locked up. It’s all about you. It’s you who’s controlling yourself now.

Reciting the Qur’an is one of the easiest ways to gain rewards. Rasulullah SAW says:

“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” [at-Tirmidhi]

Let me tell you a story about me and my experience with Qur’an. I was granted permission by my ustazah to read the Qur’an at the age of 10. During my weekly Madrasah, I’ll always escape from reciting the Qur’an. I didn’t even manage to complete Surah Al-Baqarah. Even after the end of my weekly Madrasah, I kept giving excuses until the age of 22. I finally realised that I wasn’t able to identify Arabic words that swiftly. It took me soooo long just to read one verse of the Qur’an. I gave up and told myself I need to start back from Iqra’. So I attended Iqra’ classes with uncles and aunties as my classmates. If it took me so long to identify letters, it took them even much longer to decipher the letters in front of them. But their determination is just MasyaAllah.

So yes. It’s been two years now and I’m still not that swift and smooth in my recitation. I fumbled a lot. Like really a lot. And I’m just monotonous. I think I have some kind of tone deaf. Huhu.

Really. It’s not too late. And it’s never too late. It’s only too late when the Angel of Death visits you. But you’ll never know when he will come. So start now my dear brothers and sisters.

Whenever you feel like giving up on reading because you’re so frustrated with yourself not being able to read the Qur’an fluently, remind yourself of this beautiful hadith:

“The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honorable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best possible way, will have a double reward. ” [al-Bukhari]

However, do not use the hadith above as an excuse for you not to improve your recitation. You need to improve reading it. Go for Qur’an reading classes, find someone who can point out your mistakes, get someone who’s as motivated as you to complete the Qur’an together. Once you manage to grasp the fundamentals of reciting the Qur’an, teach it to others.

“The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [al-Bukhari]

Qur’an is the Book of Guidance. Reciting is one thing, understanding is another. There’s no use of reciting the Qur’an if you do not understand what message Allah SWT tries to send. It’s like reading a Spanish book but not understanding the content. Living in an Arab country for almost 2 years now just proves how people can be so ignorant yet they memorise the Qur’an from cover to cover.

Let us pray that we do not fall into this category that Allah SWT mentioned in the Qur’an:

“Do they not then reflect on the Qur’an? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.” (Muhammad: 24)

Our Prophet Muhammad SAW loved listening to his companions reciting the Qur’an despite him being the greatest reciter of the Qur’an. His eyes would shed tears contemplating on Allah SWT’s words. What about us? May we not be among those whose hearts are locked.

A friend of mine once shared with me this trick. Whenever you feel down and need someome to talk to, randomly open up any page of the translated version of the Qur’an and read any verse that your heart brings you to. You’ll realise as if Allah SWT is talking directly to you. Internalize the meaning and ponder on them.

Another trick my friend shared with me was to change the second and third person personal pronoun to first person. For example:

“When you sought aid from your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another.” (al-Anfal: 9)

Read it as:

“When I sought aid from my Lord, so He answered me: I (Allah) will assist me with a thousand of the angels following one another.”

That way, there’ll be a greater impact on you and you’ll feel like Allah is directly addressing you when reading the Qur’an. Allah has lots of things that He wants to tell us. His Book has everything that we need to feed our soul. The Qur’an contains both cure and mercy, and also admonition and lessons.

“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers.” (al-Isra’: 82)

“But remind by the Qur’an whoever fears My threat” (Qaf: 17)

Make the Qur’an your best friend cz it shows that you’re actually having Allah SWT as your best friend. Get a pocket sized Qur’an and it’s meaning. Bring it with you everywhere. Since it’s Ramadhan now, try to complete the whole Qur’an within this month. You’ll realise there’ll not be a time whereby you’re bored. You’ll always be occupied with your ‘best friend’.

May we be amongst those who will always be guided. May we die with the Qur’an in our hands and importantly in our heart. May the Qur’an come as an intercessor for us on the Day of Resurrection.

WAllahualam.

+ Sources for this post regarding Qur’an are extracted from the book “Tafsir of The Last Qur’anic Juz’ and Tafsir of Surah Al-Fatihah, Ayatul-Kursi Summarised from Tafsir Ibn Kathir and The Most Needed Topics for Muslims” revision and introduction by Dr. Salih bin Fawzan al-Fawzan, a member of the Committee of Senior Scholars and a member of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa, KSA. Free copies of this book were distributed at Mecca.

Marriage Is Not The End Of Life

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…
Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.

Being surrounded by undergraduate students, many of them told me of their intention to marry. However there were a lot of BUTS. Those undergraduates were mainly in their early twenties which made me I realise that I was married at quite a young age of 22. Being an undergraduate myself who’s been married for 17 months now, I had to reassure them that marriage isn’t the end of life and at the same time it’s not really the start of life too. I would say, it’s the start of a whole new adventure (literally). (Read: How I Met My Husband)

InsyaAllah I’ll try to debunk some myths and worries that people have about marrying at a young age (especially as an undergraduate) or marriage in general.

1. “But… I’ve no savings for the wedding and for the future.”

 Financial issues have got to be the top worry. Trust me, if you keep running after money, money will keep running away from you. And in this increasingly demanding pressure for a grand wedding, you’ll never be able to gather that much money in a short time.

This goes especially to undergraduates or students as a whole. If you’ve already someone in mind, do not drag the relationship. For the wedding, perform what is wajib and leave what’s wasteful. A grand wedding won’t determine a long-lasting marriage. It will only determine a long-lasting loan! (Read: Islamic Couple?)

If both you and your future spouse are still studying and you can’t afford to pay for the school fees, get a healthy “loan” from the parents. Meaning, discuss with your future in laws if they can still provide for their daughter’s studies until you get a job and able to pay them back. If you’re really sincere, InsyaAllah they’ll be able to feel your sincerity.

Plus, don’t worry. Allah SWT help you, insyaAllah. Isn’t He’s the One who provides rizq (sustenance)?

2. “But… I’ll have to stop studying!”

Especially for those who are still studying, this is a huge myth. However, this is greatly depending on who you’re married to. If you’re married to someone who very much placed great importance on gaining knowledge, then InsyaAllah you’ll be able to keep studying till the end of time.

What’s important here is to know the objective of the marriage before marrying. Objective is important because it directs where you want the marriage to head to. And if during the ta’aruf (getting to know) session you realise that your objective and the objective of the person who you intend to marry are not align, then maybe the person just isn’t for you.

Just a word of caution. There might be a period of time whereby you’ll have to be separated from your husband to pursue your studies especially if you’re pursuing it overseas. Maybe 4 months, 6 months, a year or more? This is the sacrifices that you’ve to go through. But trust me, you’ll have a halal motivation to go through this tough period together! And if you’re doing it only for Allah SWT, then InsyaAllah it will be easy for both of you.

3. “But… I’ll have to stay at home and serve my husband only.”

Partly, this isn’t true. Of cz your main priority is your husband but after you’ve served your husband, take care of the house, you can serve the society too. While your husband is out to work, with the permission of your husband, go out and contribute back to the society or gain some Islamic knowledge. Even if you’ve your own children, bring them together with you! You’ll be a role model to them, InsyaAllah – a supermum who doesn’t only care about what’s happening at home, but also cares for the society.

Oh, and a good husband will help you with the house chores whenever he can and he treats you well. Didn’t our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW say that the best among you is the best towards his wife?

4. “But… I’ve yet to repay my parent’s kindness.”

This is the greatest myth of all time. Many a time people say this because their definition of repaying parent’s kindness is through monetary term. No one says that you’ve to stop serving your parents when you’re married! Serving our parents is an ongoing process till their last breath. Or even after they’ve passed away, we can still perform ‘amal jari’ah (continuous deeds) for them.

From my own experience, I can confidently say that the wellbeing of my parents gets even better with the presence of my husband. He doesn’t only treat them way better than I do, he also provides for them way more than I expect. I guess indirectly, I’m repaying my parents more than I thought I could (although we can never really repay their kindness fully).

5. “But… I’m afraid of choosing the wrong guy.”

You don’t choose.Your parents don’t choose. No one will choose for you. You ask Allah SWT to choose. Humans make error, but God won’t. He creates you, He knows what’s best for you. Even though you think the person is the one for you, fact is, you wouldn’t know. Always always make istikharah and leave the decision to Allah SWT. Allah knows what’s best for you.

After constant istikharah and putting faith in Allah SWT, rest assured that Allah SWT will show you the way. Allah SWT will make it easy for you if the person really meant for you. However it will be made difficult for you if the person isn’t for you. Have trust in Him, and accept sincerely whatever the out gonna be. Even if you did not get the person, know that Allah SWT has placed you in the best position.

6. “But… I’m afraid of responsibility.”

Never-form-a-habit-ofLike it or not, even now that you’re single, you’re actually shouldering a certain amount of responsibility. We are just going to get older by the day, so why do we keep running away from responsibility? Responsibility makes us more mature and wise. You’ll realise that two person of the same age, but one married and the other not, they act differently being the former acting in a wiser way. Yes, marriage will make you wiser. It’s up to individuals how they carry themselves through their marriage. It’s either you take it as a positive adventure, or otherwise. It’s all up to you and your attitude. (Read: Am I Ready For Marriage?)

If you’re afraid of marrying someone who’s irresponsible, look up point number 5 again and again. And if you’ve any doubts, again, point number 5. Whatever we do, we have to aim to seek Allah SWT’s pleasure. Ask Allah SWT to be gifted with someone whose goal is to reunite with you in Jannah because he/she wants to meet Allah SWT together with you.

I hope whoever is reading this will be blessed with someone who’s able to complete half of your Deen and that you’ll be able to taste the sweetness of marriage soon, InsyaAllah. 🙂

1149025_628686887161766_1271042974_nWAllahualam.

8 Secrets To Kick Start Your Hijrah Journey

Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalamualaikum Wr. Wbt.

This post is based on my Facebook post on 6th October 2013. The period I went through a process of purification of my heart. I was 22 and not married yet (Read: How I Met My Husband). I would say that my change was a drastic one and ever since then I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some people on my change.

Many asked me, “How do I manage to do all these?”. Well, it started with only an intention. A strong intention to be a better Muslimah. That’s all it takes, but of cz the hardships that I gonna face were/are huge. And the more drastic the change is, the greater the impact gonna be. And no doubt, more tears shed.

So here are my secrets, ermmm, they are not really secrets actually.

1. Never Miss Any Prayer

It’s very crucial not to miss any prayer. Even when you’re outside, and there’s no surau nearby, go to any staircase which people rarely use. Ladies, bring a mini telekung with you. Prayers will disconnect you from this worldly life. Eg, when you’re sooo into shopping, prayers will bring you grounded again. Prayers will also turn you into a more patient person. Do not rush it. Cz you’re seeking Allah SWT’s mercy and you’re asking for a place in His home. Be polite.

And do you know, every time you read an ayat of Al-fatiha, Allah SWT will reply you? So if you just blabber everything out without pausing on every ayat, how is He supposed to reply you? Even a person will give you a good slap if you talk that way. You’re talking to your Creator here. (Read: Careless In Prayers? Careless In Everything Else!)

The easiest yet toughest way to change, is waking up in the middle of the night to pray tahajjud. That’s when Allah SWT goes down to the lowest of heaven to listen to those who’s asking from him.

2. Think Twice Thrice Frice(??)

Whatever you wanna do, think of the consequences in the Hereafter. Yes, it’s too far ahead to think of it, but it will save you from many errors and bad decision makings. When you wanna do something, ask yourself “will Rasulullah SAW be proud of me? Will Allah SWT be pleased with me?” Remember, whatever actions done in this world, will be presented in Judgment Day. You would want to have a good resume right?

3. Feel The Guilt & Act Upon It

Only we know the mistakes that we’ve done to ourselves. It’s easy to distinguish good from bad. But nowadays, it takes wisdom and lots of courage to do good and leave the bad.

To me, Hidayah comes in various forms. But for sure, you know you’re getting Hidayah when you’re able to sense guilt in whatever you’re doing. For eg, not wearing the hijab. Many say they’re waiting for Hidayah to come. Yes, they do feel the guilt of not wearing the hijab but they didn’t realise it’s actually Hidayah knocking on their doors. But if your stubborn door doesn’t want to open, how is Hidayah supposed to enter? We can give 101 excuses, but in the end, Allah SWT still knows what’s inside the deepest part in our heart.

4. Be Courageous

This is the most difficult stage. But once you go through it, you know you’re a survivor. This is where the change will begin. I’ve got friends coming to me saying about people around them are belittling their intentions to be better. Or they’re afraid of what others gonna talk about them. If this fear is really pulling you down, then you will never change.

Pray for a stronger heart. Have faith that Allah SWT knows what’s best for His slaves. He wouldn’t command us to do things that aren’t beneficial for us. We must understand that the hardships Allah SWT is putting us into is for perfection. Never have that inch of doubt in Him.

5. It’s Okay To Be Alone

Really, it’s okay to be alone. People will leave you. People will mock at you. People will disagree with you. But you know you’re not really alone. Allah SWT is nearer to us than the nerves behind our neck. And it’s perfectly alright to cry. I’ve cried buckets. And no one sees it. It’s a painful journey. But we should know, the more hardships you overcome, the higher Allah SWT will elevate your status. That’s Allah SWT’s promise.

It’s a bonus if you’ve someone whom you can share your journey with. But if your partner isn’t halal yet, quickly get it halal certified. xD
If your partner isn’t ready to go through the journey with you the halal way, then that’s another courageous decision you need to make. (Read: Islamic Couple?)

6. Always Hungry For Knowledge 

Never stop gaining knowledge. Even if you’ve to travel far, by all means. Every step you make to gain knowledge, or to worship Allah SWT, you’ll be rewarded. Again, even if you’re alone to seek knowledge, do so. Pray to be granted more knowledge.

“Rabbi zidnee ‘ilma”
Oh Lord, increase me in knowledge.

My first baby steps to knowing Islam more was to go for talks/syarahan. Instead of burning your weekends with movies, go for talks. Movies will drown you further into this dunia. Really. (Read: Muslim Coming From Secular Education? Join IIUM!)

7. Read the Quran, Zikir and Selawat

Stop listening to haram music. It will change your life totally. Trust me. In the morning on your way to work or school, listen to your favourite surah. When you listen to it everyday, you’ll be able to memorise at least quarter/half/all the surah. You’ll instantly find your heart at peace and your day will be more blessed. No kidding.

Zikir/selawat when you’re cooking, ironing clothes, etc. If you find yourself singing or humming to a song, quickly istighfar and start with zikir/selawat. To get to the habit of zikir/selawat subconsciously will take quite sometimes. So keep “scolding” yourself when you realised you’re singing. Look up on zikr/selawat that were practised by our Prophet Muhammad SAW. Your heart will not only be at peace, you’ll also be rewarded for practising a Sunnah. MasyaAllah!

8. Be Wise. Be Sincere.

The road to change is a bumpy one. It’s not easy and of cz, life is never easy. This life is a test. But why do we want to give up a permanent life in the Hereafter just because we’re too attached to this life? Just because Hellfire is sugar coated with wonderful desires and temptations, we fall into it. 60 years in this world versus forever in the Hereafter, which one will you choose? Actions speak louder than words. When you’ve sincerity in your heart, it will automatically show outwardly in your actions.

In this world that is filled with lies, we should keep praying sincerely to Allah SWT to be presented with nothing but the truth. (Read: Do You Need To Be A Sufi Or Salafi To Enter Jannah?)

Let’s struggle in the path of Allah SWT. The reward is waiting for us in the Hereafter.

What happens in the past, Allah SWT will forgive you if you’re sincere with your taubah. Which means, you’ve to do Solat Taubat. The past doesn’t matter, what matters most is the condition you’re in when you die.

Wallahualam.

PS: Do share in the comment box below if you’ve your own secrets which you feel may be beneficial to our brothers and sisters!

Letter To 14-year Old Me

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…

Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.

If you’ve a chance to send a letter to yourself, when and what would it be? For me, I chose when I was 14 because that’s when I started to be fully responsible for my deeds – baligh (I know I know. I’m a late bloomer). 14 – when friends are most important, hormones are raging, people’s judgments are your “mirror”, dunya over Deen (religion), etc.


Dear 14-year old Shikin,

Life is short, so live it right because there’s a permanent life after death. Death doesn’t come at old age only. Angel of death can visit you anytime. So be wary of your intentions and actions because you’ve fully accountable for your own deeds now.

Mama and Abah have given you the proper education and religion to prepare you for this life and the hereafter. Mama and Abah may put you into a secular school but it’s because they had no choice. They tried. Allah SWT knows they have given their best, it’s up to you to do the rest. It’s up to you to seek knowledge about your own religion. You’re not too young, it’s your responsibility now.

Friends and peer pressure are what you should be concerned the most now. At this age, you’re easily swayed. Your Imaan (faith) goes up and down as fast as the waves in the sea changes its form. When you see your friends are better off than you, you would want to be as good as them. When they have branded school bags, you’d be influenced to own one too. When they have pretty straight hair, you’d go to the extent of waking up earlier for school just to straighten it when in fact that’s not your natural.

Having boyfriend at your age is a reassurance of your value. If you don’t have one, you’re not as valuable as the other female friends of yours. Know that you’re able to choose anyone, not because you’re a gem, but because the guys too, they want to feel valued. You can be a Queen Bee, but if all the guys have a taste of you, what will you be left to save your dignity? How are you going to face your future husband?

Trends shouldn’t be a reflection of who you should be. When you look into the mirror, are you, you or are you a victim of trend? Know that trend is one of the most dangerous aspects of everyone’s life because it can turn you into someone materialistic without you realising. When you come to a point where you have no money left to buy those in-trend stuff and you had to work for it, you’ll realise that you’ve become an addict. Are you a slave of trend or are you a slave of Allah SWT?

Mama and Abah. Do not neglect them. At your age, it’s easy to overlook their feelings. Just by saying “tsk” can hurt them so badly. I know friends are important, but family can never be compared to them. You should know your priority. Who brought you up? Who wakes up in the middle of the night and pray for you? Who gives you pocket money?

Religion may not be the most important part of your life at this age. But like I’ve said earlier on, Angel of death will visit you anytime. When it comes, it’s too late. Your book of deeds is as clean as a white cloth now. How are you going to compose your book of deeds? On Judgment Day, you’ll be accountable for your own book and your friends will be accountable for theirs. If anything goes wrong, you can’t point your fingers on them because you chose to be with them.

It’s a challenging stage of life for you. But know that Allah SWT is always there for you when all of your friends go against you. Allah SWT is always there for you when you feel down. You don’t need a boyfriend to cheer you up cz he can only cheer you up when he’s there with you. When he’s not, you’ll be crying yourself to sleep. Be happy genuinely because you know Allah SWT will always protect you.

I understand it’s difficult to resist your teenage desires. But I assure you that you won’t regret it when you grow up or when you enter heaven, InsyaAllah. Busy yourself with what Allah SWT wants from you. Choose your friends wisely. Choose those who can bring you closer to Allah SWT. Make Rasulullah SAW your only “boyfriend”. He will teach you everything that you need to live in this life and please keep yearning to meet him in heaven. When you see all your friends succumbing their lives to trends, feel liberated because you’re free from this evil system of life. Be nice to your elderly because they’re getting older. Be a gem in the society. It’s rare to see people of your age contributing back to the society where in actual fact, society needs strong, enthusiastic and committed people like you.

Don’t worry, Shikin. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way. It’s okay to feel left out by other teenagers because wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it and right is right, even if no one is doing it. Be a righteous person and be a servant of Allah SWT. In the end, you’re only concern of what Allah SWT thinks of you because He’s the One who will reward you in the Hereafter.

WAllahualam.

Love,

24-year old Shikin


Do You Need To Be A Sufi or Salafi To Enter Jannah?

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…
Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.

I’ll try to be as objective as possible but I’m sorry if there’s any emotion involved.

Just 2 years ago, I hijrah-ed for Allah SWT. As I was being brought up in a secular education, I began to realise how ugly this dunya is. When I began to get involved in the Muslim community, I realised that it is even much uglier here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone, just a few who spoil the whole image of Islam.

When I first took the leap of faith of letting go my desires, I didn’t know much about these labels that people put on others. But I start to see it only after I got to know my husband, who’s heavily involved in the Muslim community since he’s an Ustaz. One of the first questions he asked me before we were married, “People call me a Wahabi. Are you still okay with it?”. I didn’t know the intensity of this labelling, and of cz I said yes. Don’t get me wrong, even if I knew how intense it was to be getting married to a “Wahabi”, I’ll still say yes. And now I know how ugly these labels are, I began to realise that it is extremely sad that my husband had to post me that question.

WE NEED TO STOP THIS AT ONCE.

I’ve always wanted to write about this but after attending Prof. Dr. Khazer al-Majali class on Da’wah and the Spreading of Islam, it motivated me to go ahead with this post. Although I hope every Muslim in this world would read this post so that we could unite as one Ummah, I know it’s impossible. So to you who are reading this, if you’re in any of this group or you’re the type of person who likes to put a label on someone else, I hope it would change you. And those who are satisfied with the title ‘Muslim’, let’s keep it that way and let’s do all we can to unite this Ummah, InsyaAllah.

First, let’s not dwell too much into Wahabism because neither me nor my husband has ever quote any of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab’s sayings. Wahabi is a label that people put on others because their practices or ideas go against the mainstream. For example, weak and fabricated ahadith are widespread, and many thought that those ahadith are actually authentic because those ahadith have been practised even by our forefathers. So when people like my husband who specializes in Hadith say that the hadith is actually a weak or fabricated one and it cannot be related to our dear Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu’alaihiwassallam, people will start labeling him as khawarij and hence a Wahabi.

This is sad and extremely dangerous! This shows that our community is a community that cannot accept advices and changes. Just because our forefathers did it, doesn’t mean it’s true! Isn’t the Quran sufficient in proving to us that what our forefathers did may not be the truth? And why instead of working with a Master in Hadith to authenticate our practises, we’re going against them? And more often than not, the topic on hadith is the main reason for disparity in Ummah.

“Whoever tells a lie against me (Muhammad) then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” [Bukhari]

No, this is not a post to defend my husband and his type alike. This is about being fair towards others. Why is it we can accept that professions like being a doctor, engineer, designer, etc, have their own specialization? But why is when it comes to religion, everyone has a say in it? If you’ve a toothache, you won’t be going to an engineer to fix it! Just because you’re a Muslim, doesn’t mean you have the right to say something that you have very limited knowledge on. And sometimes, what you try to defend with your own ijtihad (independent reasoning), it takes years for a scholar to come to a conclusion to!

Know that syaitan doesn’t want you to be a disbeliever, but he wants you to do things against Allah SWT commandments. And syaitan is happy when he sees Ummah Muhammad SAW fighting amongst each other!

More often than not, we claim that we are turning to Allah SWT, but in actuality we are turning to our own agenda. What will we get if we win in a certain discourse? Pride? Arrogance?

“No one who has an atom’s-weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” [Muslim]

Although at times I wouldn’t rule out the fact that we do start with a pure intention to acknowledge the shortcoming of our brothers and sisters. But when things became heated, we became aggressive by shoving down their throat with what we believe as true which will then lead to arguments and hence hatred amongst each other. This has lots of repercussions and one of it that I’ve witnessed for myself is that people start creating troll accounts on facebook to bring the other party down. That’s not how Muslims should treat one another!

There was once on facebook, someone tried to advice nicely by saying “bro,….” to a group of people for doing something that has huge khilaf (difference in opinion), a popular Shaykh in Singapore commented back to him and said “I’m not your bro.”. Astarghfirullahal’adzeem. Me, as an outsider witnessing this, has totally lost respect for this Shaykh the moment he said that because it just shows that he can’t accept advices from others who are not within his group.

There are really lots of challenges within our Muslim community. People will always find fault in your practices! It’s either you’re not Sufi/Salafi enough to call yourself a Sufi/Salafi. Or you’re an extreme Sufi/Salafi. Even within the same group they are lots of disagreement!

So what can we do to reconcile Muslims? And do you really need to be a Sufi or a Salafi or even a Wahabi to enter Jannah?

First and foremost, lets look into this ayah:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].” (al ‘imran:102)

Allah SWT says that “do not die except as Muslims”. He did not say die except as Sufis or Salafis or Ikhwans, etc.

But having said that, do not be alone in your journey of being a servant of Allah SWT. Be brothers and sisters. We have to work together. When someone is missing, we should feel their absence.

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]

It’s fine if you’re happy being seen as a Sufi, Salafi or any other groups. But we shouldn’t compete with the other groups! We must go together in parallel. For example, generally Salafi does not believe in elections, but in other areas, we should reconcile.

What is of utmost importance is that, we should not convince others that our group is the best. Instead, we should convince ourselves that your group completes the other group, and vice versa.

A real life example that Dr. Khazer gave was Ala’ Maududi, who is a great Islamic scholar, who is also an Ikhwani. Although he is an Ikhwani, he acknowledges that Tabligh completes them because Ikhwan does not go to homes to perform da’wah.

Another example that is apparent amongst the Sufi and Salafi is that generally in Sufism, they are very focused on creating a community that is peaceful, well-mannered, unity, etc. Whereas generally in Salafism, they are very knowledgeable, able to give evidences that are accurate, etc.

Why can’t we work together and meet mid-way? As long as the other group’s practices do not go against ‘Aqeedah (Islamic creed), then why should we fight? If it’s Fiqh (legal jurisprudence) that we’re fighting over, then we should know that Islam is flexible and it allows some differences in opinion as long as it does not go against the main tenets that are agreed upon in the acceptance of independent reasoning (Ijtihad) or a collaborative effort (Ijtihad Jama’ie).

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What is paramount is knowledge and action. But having knowledge itself isn’t sufficient. Understanding what we learn is important. I just got to know this concept from my brother-in-law, and my husband explains it to me: Sunnah is spirit and form. Spirit is the spirit of the Sunnah itself and form is the action. It must go together. If you focus on the spirit and less on the form (the way it was done by Rasulullah SAW), that’s when a lot of bid’ah (innovation in ‘ibadah) happens. Conversely, if you focus on the form and less on the spirit, then the sweetness of performing the Sunnah has gone. For example, just yesterday I prayed beside a lady whom I believe she knows the Prophetic way of praying. She opens her leg wide and she stepped on my smallest toe so there’s no gap between us. Her intention might be right, but she made me feel uncomfortable throughout the whole time we were praying. Right after prayer, she didn’t say her salam to me and just walked off to the other side of the prayer hall. This is an example of putting importance on form but none on spirit. And this is also an example of having knowledge and action, but lacks completely on the understanding of the knowledge.

Just a bit of a disclaimer. I’m not an Ustazah and this is just my point of view from a layman who saw all these ugly factors in the Muslim community. I just wish for unity in our community. It’s okay to have differences, but it’s not okay to have disputes and disagreements because the latter can (and already is) bring great detrimental effects. That’s what the enemies of Islam want to see. They want to see us weak. They know if we come together as one united Ummah, we will come out so strong, that we are invincible. Because history has shown how strong Islam can be and Islam almost conquer the whole world.

While seeking knowledge, we should keep in mind that although we, humans, are the best creations yet we are made of weaknesses and defects. Hence, we make mistakes. Even our mum, dad, teachers and Syaikhs make mistakes. No one can escape from that. That is why it is important for us to respect them but at the same time, we shouldn’t glorify them till we regard them as people who are sinless. We need to be just in our judgments and that can only happen through our sincerity to know the truth.

No doubt putting aside our differences isn’t easy. It’s difficult. But at times. we just have to let go of our ego and set our priority right. If the person whom we want to advice, can’t accept our advice now, then do it again when the time is right. In the end, it’s Allah SWT who will allow the person to understand. We do our best and let Allah SWT do the rest. Tawakal; put your faith in Allah SWT.

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Most of the time we see disputes or disagreements happen on Facebook. So here are some tips to avoid them:
1. Recheck your intention. Are you sincere in giving advice or do you have your own agenda?
2. If it’s a sensitive topic, have you gotten your resources from a trusted source? Do you have deep understanding of the topic?
3. Evaluate your post again before submitting. Check that the words you use are not hurtful.
4. Are you able to accept other’s comments if it turns out that the commenter’s argument is stronger and more accurate than yours?
5. Do not reply any comment promptly. Take your time to think, get all the right data and put it nicely together. Avoid personal attack and digressing away from the topic. If the commenter diverts, bring back him/her to the topic.
6. Before pressing the submit button, say Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem and leave everything to Allah SWT.

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Once we can come together as one, brave and strong (in knowledge and understanding), I’m sure we can handle the superficial Muslims (hypocrites etc), orientalists, the enemies of Islam. etc., InsyaAllah. I can’t wait for that day to happen.

Let me end this post with one of my favourite ahadith:

“None of you will truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Wallahu’Alam.

I’ve got a request if you may. If you find this post beneficial, the next time you see Muslims having a disagreement on social media, advice them in the kindest of words and share this post along too. Jazakumullahu khairan jaza’.