Eid Mubarak and...


wow, it seems like ages since any article was last written on this dusty blog. oh, yes, eid mubarak everyone, no matter who you are, where you are! the team beg for a sincere apology for our mistakes and wrongdoings.

well, it's eid! there are so many things to do during eid! apparently, there are other things that we shouldn't do as well, yet some of us put a blind eye and still do it. hopefully, this post will help to enlighten up some of these things for us not to be repeated in near future.

  1. don't touch what's not yours - well, this sound like things that we have, yes? but, not! i'm talking about shaking hands with those who are not our relatives or those whom we are allowed to touch. beware because it's our aurah, and dignity. so, our deeds are at stake, and Allah is watching. we are allowed to shake hands those who are way older than us. BEAR in MIND! i wrote, WAY older than us, like aunties, grannies, grandpas, etc.
  2. don't just sit at home watching TV- go around, visit people! live up the spirit of Eid! that's the purpose! to connect the relatives, to strengthen our bonds, to meet with long lost friends. you don't get this chance any other time you know.
  3. eid is not about collecting money - well, it's a tradition in Malaysia that we distribute 'eid's money' to kids this time of the year. but kids, that's not the main purpose, the purpose is to visit and strengthen our bonds! some may give you the money, but don't expect! because some may not be afforded to give you one.
  4. don't eat too much! - i know, i  know, eating in eid is like a must! not just eating, but EATING!!! i know that, yes i do, there are so many types of food, rendang, lemang, ketupat, serunding, nasi himpit, kuah lodeh, soto ayam, and so many more. but remember, so do illness :) too much is bad! in Islam, moderate is good, too much is bad. so, be moderate. you can have all those food, but eat only a small portion. gosh, you don't want to ruin the diet (if you did) you had in Ramadhan, do you?
  5. don't drive too fast! - well, i could be categorized among these people. but, this time of the season is also rich with accidents. i know, the word 'rich' is wrongly used in this context, but you get the idea. apparently, it's raining almost everyday in Eid, so please drive carefully, especially on highway. my father said to me 'your car may have a good brakes, but you will still slide when you hit the brakes in rain', so, don't drive too fast. keep this in mind, if you want to arrive fast, so does everyone else, so be safe!
well, these are the things so far... if you have anything else to add, please do so, and leave them in the comments. till then, salam and cheerio!

What's meant to be, will be

How often do you realize that everything that happens to you in a day are according to Allah’s plan?

At many times, we tend to neglect this fact. We tend to think that what happens in a day is how we plan it to be. And even if things do not go as planned, it is not a big deal simply because you don’t really mind what happens. For example, you plan to have toast with jam and butter for breakfast today. But when you go to the kitchen, you realize that you’ve run out of bread. Thus you end up making yourself some ‘cekodok pisang’ instead.

In this case, undeniably, Allah has planned that you will have the delicious ‘cekodok pisang’ for breakfast instead of the toast. But on our side, as a human being, we don’t always or directly relate this to Allah’s plan. I mean, you don’t go and say to yourself, “Oh, Allah wants me to eat ‘cekodok pisang’ this morning instead of toast. Alright Allah, ‘cekodok pisang’ it is”. Most of the time, when you find out that you’ve run out of bread, you’ll just go to your kitchen larder and see what else is available for you to eat that morning. In every day cases, when the stuffs that you need to make your plan work is not there, you’ll just go and find another alternative. No big deal, hey?

But there are also some events in our daily life that are more important and have bigger impact on us if it does not go as planned. It can be of any sort; the public transport breaks down so you arrive late to work, you spill some curry on your shirt or ‘ tudung’ during lunch hour so you spend the rest of the day in an untidy state, your laptop breaks down when you’re almost done with a 3000 words essay and you have not saved it yet, you have to miss a very important meeting because something bad happened to your family that you have to attend to, and many other things. (p/s: I’m sorry most of the examples are related to work..kind of have forgotten how student life is..hihi). But, you just name it.

And, when these important, planned things do not go as it should, what do we usually do? Most of the time, I believe, we tend to find something to blame. ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have let my brother use my car yesterday, now it’s not working well anymore’. ‘Oh, my roommate is such a careless person! How could she switch off my laptop’s plug at such a critical time! ‘. ‘Bummer, why does my son have to be sick at this hour! This meeting is so important for me to get the contract!’. And so on and so forth. And for most people also, there will always be some’ %!!*$#$%#’ words before the lines I’ve stated above –which is obviously not a good thing to practice, so please keep it to yourself.

Now, when these kinds of things happen, it is seldom that we relate it back to the fact that everything goes as Allah’s plan. Whereas, as a believing muslim, this is what should come first to our mind. Whatever happens to us in our daily lives is planned by Allah. So, while we have our own plans for the day, if it does not fit with what Allah has planned for us, then it won’t happen. And when Allah plans for other than what we want, there is always a reason behind it. At times, we can see the reason there and then, but at other times, we can only see the ‘hikmah’ of such event years after.

I remember watching one of the Phineas and Ferb series on Disney channel. If you’ve ever watched this cartoon, you’ll know that the whole theme of it is that, Phineas and Ferb will invent something so great, and their sister Candace will always try to spill on them to their mum. However, at every time, without fail, the invention will disappear somewhere before the mother gets to see it. Well, in one of this episode, Phineas and Ferb created a time machine of which they could move to the future and to the past. At one point, the machine went to the future. And when Candace in the future found out about this, she took that opportunity to go back to the past where her brothers built a massive roller coaster and investigated how the roller coaster vanished before her mother got to see it. She found the perfect time to spill on her brothers and took that chance. So she changed the past, her mother saw this invention and thought of how dangerous her kids imagination is. Since then, the education system changed and kids were no longer allowed to be creative anymore. Happily, this Candace from the future travelled back to where she belonged, but when she got there, everything was totally different. There was disaster everywhere and the bad Doofenschmirtz ruled the world. She was totally surprised. She found another Candace of that future and asked what happened. And so the history went back to when she managed to spill on her brothers and kids were prevented from being creative etc etc. So, she went back to the past to fix this and told the Candace of that time to give up spilling on her brothers. The reason being is that, by changing what was meant to happen could result in a different future altogether.

So you see, when things happen in the will of Allah, then it is meant to be and nothing could stop if from happening. Most of the time, as human being, when things divert from our plan, there will always be the ‘kalaulah’ phrase. Right? Ok, in English, it’s “if only”. “If only she did this, then I would have that”. “If only he gave this, then that would have happened” etc. But believe me people, there is no such thing as ‘if only’, or ‘kalaulah’. And even if the word does exist, then the only thing that could happen is something worst than what had already happened. Do you know what I mean?

Where I work, it is important that we go offshore as the number of hitches will affect our KPI’s. The more hitches, the better the KPI. So, I started seeing this trend of people being jealous of another because they have more hitches than them. People start saying bad thing about others because of this. Or, some people would be so worried about it that they try to take away opportunities of others. And this isn’t a good practice. What I will always tell my colleagues is that, if you were meant to go, then you will go. If you were not meant to go, than no matter whether you’ve booked your ticket, or packed your bags or made a deal with the bosses, you just won’t go. That’s it. End of story. Fullstop. And like it or not, you’ve got to admit that it’s true. Right? Yeah, I can see heads nodding.

I’ve experienced that myself. I was supposed to go on an on job seismic training in Sarawak during the raya season. All the ticket booking has been done. I was all set to go. But at the very last moment, we were told that there is not enough places on board (POB) for a female, as all the rooms are a 4-man room. So, unless I want to share bedroom with guys, than I can’t go. And so, the ticket was cancelled and I get to celebrate raya with my family. So this is one of my experiences where Allah's plan take over what I planned. I’m sure all of you have your own experiences right?

Try looking back at your past experience and see how many times Allah’s plan has taken its way above your plan. Also reflect back on how these changes has decorated your future. It’s ok to feel a bit depressed, or sad or angry. We are, after all, human beings. But let’s not make these emotions take over us. And try making it a habit from now on to always be thankful and patient when things do not go as plan. Install this belief that Allah knows best. That Allah has something else laid out for your future. Hold firmly to this belief. You’ll see how calmly you can take and adapt to changes in the future.

And if you have your own experience to share, by all means, please do.

The art of Giving Advice

I used to be (and still am) a counsellor to many people since I was in high school. Being a counsellor to some people is seen as offering some thoughts to the client or person to his or her problems. I don’t have a specialized degree in that subject for the matter, so I am more of an adviser. You see when people consult you for their problems; don’t just act as someone who gives opinions and solutions to that matter, because in the end they would come back to you for another consultation.

The reason I mentioned the above is not because I don’t want them to come back to me because as a Dai’e that’s exactly what you want them to do. However, giving them the solutions is not suitable as for me, you don’t help them to overcome the problems by themselves, instead you’re making them leeching on you. I always believe that as an adviser, or a dai’e, you’d be an enabler, the one who would enable them to independently work the problems out on their own.

Why? Because,

  1. Everyone is unique and different from one another; therefore one’s approach to solve a matter is different from another.
  2. No matter how much one can offer you assistance, at one point he or she has to stop, as the next step of that assistance is you start helping yourself.

So, how to work these out?

Try to learn more about your client or the person who consults you. As I have made the 1st point above, it’s crucial to note these. What I did was, I learned about their background, the type of family that they had, the kind of parents he had (totalitarian, permissive, etc), his resources to solutions, etc. Why noting all these? All these information are like the framework to the solution of the problems, they work in a way to provide you with the best solution to for that particular person. Sounds like a lot of work? I think once you have got used to it, it’d be a piece of cake.

An example just to show you how it works;

‘A’ is the 1st child of 5 siblings currently in form 5. His father is more of authoritative while his mom is rather totalitarian. ‘A’ has a very good relationship with his siblings even though his mom is strict in disciplining her children. Now, the problem might be that ‘A’ wanted to pursue his study in medicine and become a doctor, but his mother wanted him to become an engineer.

Have you seen the solution as yet? All the above information are the framework to solve ‘A’s problem.

This is one of the many examples of solutions you might come out with:

‘A’ is under a lot of pressure as he’s taking SPM that year, and the fact that he’s the eldest gives him a double pressure. However, we know that he’s a good son as it can be inferred from his relationship with his siblings. The information above also suggests that he has a good relationship with his parents too, despite the different approach his parents choose to practice. You won’t have a good relationship with your siblings if you don’t have a good relationship with your parents; that’s the logic. Now, the only obstacle for ‘A’ to pursue his dream would be his mother, despite him being obedient and good to his parents, his mom sticks to her argument that ‘A’ is to become an engineer, not a doctor. His resource to solution is obviously his father. He needs to explain his dream to his father and asks him to consult his wife to agree. And in this solution the probability that ‘A’s mother would agree as they could live together for many years (assuming from the number of children) despite their different approach in parenting (it depends though).

note: inference may depend on many things. depending solely on one aspect does not make your inference valid.

What might not work?

It might not work if the child was to face his mother solely without any support, as we know that his mother is a strict lady, the possibility for him to get her permission might be zero, and therefore it needs someone who is able to soften her.
At one point, no matter how much advices you have given someone, you should know it that you have to refrain yourself from assisting him or her anymore as the next step requires that person to act on his or her own. This is when you enable the person to work his or her way out of the problem, not to feed them that they may leech on you. The solution that you have helped them find will guide them on how to work things out.

Does this work for dai’e? I don’t know about you, but it always works for me, Alhamdulillah. The passion and devotion that dai’e have shown only to listen and give opinions would leave memorable marks to those who consulted them. But remember; don’t allow them to rely too much on you, as they won’t want to walk on their own again. Dai’e guide and assist, we lead them to find the way not bringing them to the way. And be patience, don’t expect to see the result in one night, Rome was not built in a night aye? Maybe you’d care to read my previous posts on listening to others.

Cheerio and Salam~

A Teacher's Heart

i'm not here for you to love
i'm not here for you to adore
what more, i never ask you to respect
for what i do is only to benefit you

sometimes you hate me for what i say
or you hate me for things i do
but students, my dear students
one day you shall understand

when i say
i try my best only for you best interest
if i punish you, ever
it's because i want you to be better

it's okay if you don't share your love
it's not my intention to get one
it's okay if you don't adore
for i have adored you more
it's okay if you don't pay your respect
for equal has to be paid

Muslims first!

If there are two shops next to each other, both offering the same services but are owned by different people, which shop would you choose? What would be the criteria that would influence your choice?

Where I live, there are two neighboring photocopy shop. One owned by some non-muslim chinese people. The next owned by some muslim malay people. And this is quite obvious because outside the chinese shop, there's the red tokong, while outside the malay shop, there's a banner with the word 'Bismillahirrahmanirrahim' written largely.

When I was a kid, my family members would always go to photocopy stuffs at the chinese shop. From inside the car, I always wonder why my family and other customers (mostly malay muslims) prefer the chinese shop over the malay shop. But the only logical thing I could think of at that age was, maybe the quality and services are better there.

Now that I've grown up, the time has come where I need their service to photocopy stuffs. As I drove myself to the shops, I found myself parking in front of the chinese shop.

But as i sat there in the drivers seat, the question came back to me; why am I choosing the chinese shop over the malay shop? The only answer I could give was that this was where my family have been going to all these years. And it is guaranteed that the service here is good.

But then, if I don't support the malay muslim economy, then who will? All these while, I've been calling people to islam, for the muslims to rise and conquer the whole world..yet, here I am, preferring a non-muslim shop over the muslim shop. And I was like...what?

Cognitive dissonance, hey?

And so, I thought.. nah, I should break the tradition. Let me be the first in my family to go to this malay shop. And so, I reversed my car and parked it in front of the malay shop and went in.
Alhamdulillah, I felt great.

Not because I chose a malay shop over a chinese shop. But because I chose a muslim shop over a non-muslim shop.

As for the service.. I'll be honest. The service offered by the malay shop is not as good as the chinese shop, and the malay shop is waaay messier. (Could be why people don't prefer coming here). But still, I manage to get my stuffs photocopied.

Lessons learnt:
1) As muslim customers, please do support the muslim economy.
2) To muslim entrepreneurs, buisnessmen/women, etc.. please try your best to provide the best service possible. Have a goal of conquering the economy! Make life easier for people like me who wants to support people like you.

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we write from our hearts so we may reach yours, as we endure the life full of challenges, and we choose the Quran and Sunnah as our guidance to live the life

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