Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Perfect Diamond

A tribute to the Prophet Muhammad SAW in celebrating the month of the blessed birth.

Life is full of hardships, crisis and problems. But whether a hardship or crisis will become a problem depends on how a person perceive it.

When a crisis is perceives positively, the hardships that a person has to endure becomes a challenge, not a problem. A positive mindset helps a person see clearly that whatever comes is just another episode in the journey of life. It is a package of tests in this temporary world.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW himself, a perfect human being, did not lead a crisis-free life. This great human, who is one of the most esteemed prophets, tread the path of life through seemingly insurmountable adversities.

Prophet Muhammad SAW, perceived life as an absolute worship and submission to Allah, a continuous dedication of seeking Allah's pleasure. His heart is forever in remembrance of Allah and it is reflected in his entire life as a faithful devoted servant.

In one of the most heart wrenching events in his life, during the time after the loss of his venerable protector, his uncle, and while still grief stricken by the death of his cherished wife, he went to Tha'if to spread the message of Islam. But he was met with one of the hardest treatment from the people there. Not only that the message he conveyed fell on deaf ears, the children of Tha'if were sent to ridicule and throw stones at him. Wounded and bleeding profusely, he sought refuge at an orchard. On that day the angels came ready to send calamity to the city upon his request.
But, this is no ordinary man, this messenger of Allah responded,“I rather hope that Allah will raise from among their descendants people who will worship Allah the One, and will not ascribe partners to Him (in worship).”
The Noble Prophet SAW, turn to Allah and said in a long prayer:

To You, my Lord,
I complain of my weakness,
lack of support and the humiliation I am made to receive.
Most Compassionate and Merciful!
You are the Lord of the weak,
and you are my Lord.
To whom do You leave me?
To a distant person who receives me with hostility?
Or to an enemy You have given power over me?
As long as you are not displeased with me,
I do not care what I face.
I would, however,
be much happier with Your mercy.
I seek refuge in the light of Your face by which all darkness is
dispelled and both this life and the life to come are put in
their right course against incurring your wrath or being the
subject of your anger.
To You I submit,
until I earn Your pleasure.
Everything is powerless without your support.

A messenger of Allah, revered by all creatures, the moon split at his command, chose to live a life full of forgiveness, enduring all forms of hardships with patience.

The many arduous trials and tribulations faced by Prophet Muhammad SAW, has turned him into a glittering diamond, shining the entire world, the mercy for mankind.
Diamond took millions of years to form, slowly crystallizing from carbon deposits. A process that can only take place under inconceivable extreme condition of high temperature and high pressure that occurs at approximately 150 kilometers below the continental crust.
While diamond is considered as a symbol of power, prestige and passion because of it's indestructible nature, Prophet Muhammad SAW is the supreme example of a human with indestructible heart. A pure heart that contains only Allah, and Allah alone.

Our life will always be surrounded by hardships, challenges and crisis, but they will never be a problem when our hearts are devoid of anything but the love and submission to Allah.

Allahumma solli 'ala Muhammad. Wa 'ala aali Muhammad.

"We have only sent you as a mercy to the worlds" (Anbiya' 21:107)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank You

I did not realize how much my physical and emotional condition were reflected in my writing until recently. Writing had in some significant ways become a therapy, but because of my writing, I have been receiving queries and well wishes regarding my health through this blog, email and phone messages. When I look back and reread my entries, yes, I must admit, I did mention many times that I was not well because I actually fell sick repeatedly for the past four months or so. I certainly hope that I did not appear to be whining or complaining.

The issue of my health deals with some unexpected territory. I discovered a wider dimension of senses that I never thought possible. I have developed a kind of sensitivity to certain conditions or situations that has never affected me before and whenever I am exposed to these conditions I can sense an 'attack' and soon enough I will be sick physically and to a certain degree emotionally as well.
It may seems peculiar but I don't consider it as a privilege. I am not sure whether my explanation here help clear things up or it left more puzzles than before.
Anyway, I am writing this entry to express my appreciation and gratitude for all the care and concern shown.

To my die hard fans out there ( hehe..feels like a 'perasan' celebrity),
Thank you for your concern and your prayers.
Believe me, it has helped a lot.
Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah, I am on the way to full recovery insyaAllah. My health has improved tremendously and I feel like I am finally back to my normal self, which I haven't felt for quite sometime.
"And when I am ill, it is He who cures me"( As-Syu'araa':80)
And, only He deserve my deepest gratitude for always being there as I remembered calling to Him repeatedly, "You(alone) we worship, and You(alone) we ask for help( for each and everything)"

I hope I will never forget that:

Allah did not promise that the way would be easy. But He did promise that He would be with you in every single step of your life as long as you want Him to.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Think Again..

Your life is ruined?

Think again. Think hard..very hard.

Can you feel your heart beat?
Can you see the clouds?
Can you hear the birds singing?
Can you breathe?

You can?
Then, your life is not ruined.
You are going through a phase in your life
A phase in this temporary world

But remember, He is near.
He is nearer to you than the vein in your neck.

Have faith in Him.

An example of a person with a very strong faith.

The photo on the left is taken from one of my favourite blogs
He was a final year medical student when he had to go through a treatment. He went to the hospital with books in his hand because it was time to revise for his final exam.

What was the treatment?

What was it for?

He is now known as Dr Mas Afzal. A true inspiration.
May Allah give him strength and guide him always. Amiin..

A Message

Every once in a while, usually at the end of a semester, we the lecturers would receive thank you messages from students. Whether it was just a simple thank you, or sometimes it's a long prayer or even an emotional message, it's always a pleasure reading them. It felt really nice knowing that our efforts are being acknowledged and appreciated. Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah.

But I remembered once when one of the lecturers received a text message from a student, and it was really shocking.
The message: " Madam, thank you for ruining my life"

It was heartbreaking but puzzling at the same time.
What happen? What have we done to ruin his/her life?

I honestly feel that we are not capable of ruining a student's life, not to mention having the intention of doing it. I am not being defensive, but, seriously, it takes a lot to ruin someone's life.
I believe that the person wrote the message in anger and bitterness, and was desperately trying to find means to alleviate the suffering inside his/her heart.

May I humbly present an opinion?

When we are unhappy, we must try our best to separate facts from drama.
If the fact is we lost our money, our life is not ruined.
If the fact is we failed a course, our life is not ruined. No, it's not.
So... Do not change the fact from losing our money or failing a course to the drama that our life is ruined...

Facing fact as it is, will help us in finding options and hopefully solving the problem or improving the situation.
We failed a course. What should we do then? Should we repeat it in the next semester, or should we change to a different program, or may be we should seek advise from someone in the authority to help us decide.
It's alright to feel sad or even to cry the whole day, but do not say your life is ruined. It's amazing how those words can quickly creep into the mind and corrupt our thoughts. Negative thoughts leads to exaggeration and sometimes the situation could be blown out of proportion and you'll turn miserable. Yes, cry as much as you want. Then, dry your eyes and look at the situation fairly. You'll find the way, if you are willing to accept the situation bravely and positively. InsyaAllah.

To the person who wrote the message:

We are truly sorry that you feel that way. We are sorry that things do not turn out the way you had hoped for. However, we sensed that you are carrying a deep anger in yourself. Please find a room of forgiveness in your heart for it will free you from that grip of rage. We pray for your success in your life here and the hereafter. May Allah guide you always. Amiin...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Taugeh ( Bean Sprout )

We were nineteen or may be twenty years old. The topic of discussion was something about how to be a good wife. The presenter was an ustazah, old enough to be our mother and had gone through years of experience as a married woman.

She talked about the responsibility of a wife in Islam, obeying the husband, taking care of the children, managing the house and all the usual things. All of us were listening intently, as she quoted the Qur'anic verses and the hadiths related to the topic.

Towards the end of the presentation, she concluded with something of the following:

"The duty as a wife varies, we must focus on the important ones....bla..bla...so do not just sit around in the house lazily, some people like to spend hours sitting in the kitchen cleaning taugeh one by one while the house is in a total mess...bla..bla...you will be question by Allah on your actions...etc..etc.."

And the presentation ended. As usual, it's time for question and answer session. Everyone was quiet for a few minutes, trying to think of a question when suddenly someone voiced out a question.

"Umm...Ustazah, we don't have to clean taugeh one by one, do we? "

There was a moment of total silence in the room and then at once we burst out laughing. I remembered laughing until my tummy hurts.
The ustazah was still laughing when she answered the question. I can't recall her answer but it was definitely hilarious.

Those were the days...

Note to the Malay readers:
The talk was in Malay. It was actually "menyiang taugeh", so, cleaning the bean sprout one by one means picking off the root of the sprout one by one.
A practice that some people choose to do and some do not. The root is nutritious, by the way.... :)

Flap Your Wings...

From the bestselling author, Eckhart Tolle:

First story:

I observe that when two ducks get into a fight, which never last long, they will separate and float off in opposite directions. Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happen.

Second story:

Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once pick her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn't restrain himself any longer.

"Why did you carry that girl across the road?" He asked. "We monks are not supposed to do things like that."
"I put the girl down hours ago," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

Let's not debate on the issue whether a monk should carry a young girl or not.

It's about our inability to let go of the past. What had happened in the past will become our memories. It makes us who we are and we should be thankful that we haven't lost our memory.
But when those memories are being played again and again like an old movie, burdening us, taking over our life, that we continue feeling sorry for ourselves, keep asking why? why.. then they have turned problematic. You are being caged emotionally and psychologically.
We should take lesson from the past, ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings, forgive others for hurting us, seek guidance from Him The Knower of All, Al-Aliim, and move on.

I've learned that as human we must understand that:
1. We are created only to serve and worship our Creator
2. We are here to fulfill our promise that we made in the realm of soul
3. We are here to be the 'khalifah' on earth
4. We have to face the tests, trials, challenges, we are here to be tested
5. We will be held accountable on the day of judgement for all our actions.

So, when we are being tested, be brave, stand up and face it like a warrior. Warriors do get hurt, fall down bleeding, but never surrender and giving up is not an option.

In the end, Eckhart Tolle say:

We can learn to break the habit of accumulating and perpetuating old emotion by flapping our wings, metaphorically speaking, and refrain from mentally dwelling on the past, regardless of whether something happened yesterday or thirty years ago.

Let go of the past, let go of the feeling, let go of the people...
Flap your wings and float away gracefully like a beautiful swan.
Shall we?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Growing up

Looking at a tiny new plant growing is refreshing.
From the fragile stem, new branches will grow. New leaves will appear.
The young plant might grow into a huge tree, strong and sturdy, offering cool shades beneath it.

Human goes through similar process.

Who's that girl? Obviously refusing to smile.
Umm...C'est moi...
It's me, yours truly at the age of four(I think).
I know, I laughed too.
What a serious looking four year old I was. My mother always say that it was really difficult to get me to smile.
I was chubby. I remembered being called 'fat girl' or 'bocah lemu' in my native Javanese language. Yes, I can speak Javanese, very fluently in fact.

That chubby innocent girl has grown up, or should I say grown old.

Like a small plant that has grown into a huge tree, she has endured many.
The ups and downs of life, the laughter and tears, joy and grief, has made her into who she is now. She will always remain indebted to her parents, families and friends for their strong support and sincere prayers all throughout the many tests and trials in her life.

And yes, she has learned to smile.

All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Siapakah Pemilik Hatimu?

Dialah Tuhan semesta alam
Pemilik segala keagungan

Pemilik segala kemuliaan

Yang Maha Pengasih

Yang Maha Penyayang

Yang Maha Memelihara

Yang telah menciptakan aku, maka Dialah yang menunjuki aku
Dan Tuhanku, Yang Dia memberi makan dan minum kepadaku

Dan apabila aku sakit, Dialah Yang menyembuhkan aku

Dan Yang akan mematikan aku, kemudian menghidupkan aku
Dan Yang amat kuinginkan
akan mengampuni kesalahanku pada hari kiamat
(Asy Syu'araa':78-82)

MencintaiMu tak mengenal waktu
Tak mengenal puitis

Hanya tulusnya hati
MencintaiMu tak mengenal ragu

Keyakinan hatiku hanya untuk diriMu


Friday, February 5, 2010

Ketulusan Hati

Letakkan lah dunia di tangan
Hanya Allah di dalam hati

Inilah Cinta Abadi

It's Time...

Is it another virus attack?

Yes, but this is stronger than before.

The same one like before?

Yes, but also a mixture of something else that caught on me because I was already weak.

How do you know?

It's the same feeling and I've been experiencing these for the past few months. But I am really afraid this time. It's just too strong.

What did your doctor say?

I was strongly advised to avoid the source that caused the virus attack, besides taking the medications and vitamins to strengthen me.

Have you been following the advise?

Not fully. I thought I can handle it.

And now?

It's time for me to follow the advise, fully, I really want to get well. If I don't, I am afraid that I will lose this battle. I must admit, my doctor had sincerely gave the advise for my own benefit. And I must put my full trust to Allah. I've been praying hard and I can see clearly the answer now.

What are you going to do now?

It's time for me to take full break and avoid the source that caused the virus. I am getting weaker from the repeated attacks. I have no other choice since I am not capable of handling it. I have to focus on my recovery.

Yes, I agree with you. May Allah protect you always and reward you for your patience.

Amiin. Thank you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fourteen Blessed Weeks

The semester has ended. I look forward for the long break. The new academic year will only start in June 2010.

The past fourteen weeks had been challenging. My health condition forced me to take one week rest as early as the first week of the semester and in the weeks that follows my health remained quite unstable.

This semester was a real test for my patience. Patience in dealing with my health and my work.
I love my job, this is where I can meet the fresh minds of the young generation. But these young fresh minds come in multitude of shapes and dimensions.

As I ponder on what had happened in the past fourteen weeks, my heart has to surrender to the fact that Allah is the best planner of all.
As I begin to slowly comprehend all the wisdom behind the challenges that I had to face, I feel so blessed to have known these special people, my students.
Yes, they might have learned something from me, as I am the teacher, but Allah knows, Allah chose them to teach me a lot more.

To all my students in the three groups..
Please accept my sincere apology for I am just a mere human with shortcomings abound.
May Allah guide us all in this long difficult journey.

Do not take the wrong turn, do not chose the dangerous and tempting shortcut.
It's not worth the effort.
As you stepped out of that brown door of the classroom, your heart and mind will begin to play tricks on you. Be careful with every single steps that you take, for that feet of yours will one day become your witness on the Day of Judgement.
What you learn, what you heard, what you understood in class can simply disappear if your heart is not humble and sincere. Always remember, Allah will only send challenges that we can sustain, but the biggest and hardest challenges will come from within yourself. The toughest fight is from your own inner self.

Let us continue to seek the divine help from Him, The Most Merciful, The Light, The Guide, The Opener.
Let us pray that He will open up our hearts to 'see', for He commands us to believe in the unseen things.

Let us all be thankful, it was indeed a blessed fourteen weeks.