Friday, December 31, 2010

Disfigured Soul

It's Friday already. My one week break is almost over.
I've been looking forward for the break, I had so many things planned.
I had planned to work in the garden. The rainy season has made the weeds grow faster.
I also planned to clear up some long abandon clutter in my closet.

Somehow the plan did not materialize.
I've been consulting my teacher in my attempt of figuring out some long unresolved issues.
As usual my teacher maintained the same advice that she had always given me. "Be watchful of your heart, any wrong intention, your heart and your soul suffer the consequence, you need to cleanse your heart".
I know that. I do.

And I've been reading.
One of the books that I read is a memoir. The story of a convict who had to spend a year in prison for bank fraud. Nothing quite unusual, except that the prison shared buildings with a leprosaruim, a hospital that serve as the home for leprosy patients.

Leprosy, a disease considered the most shameful to man, to the extent that patients had to be quarantined for life. Leprosy patients usually would suffer disfigured hands, foot, nose, even blindness, depending on how severe their disease is. Na'uzubillahi midzalik..
Reading the book made me realized that we are always afraid of a physical disease because not only that it is painful, it also bring about some undesired change in our physical look. A disease make us look pale, weak, and in the worst case, disfigured limbs. It is all the opposite of anything attractive. We are so afraid of losing our physical beauty.

We tried to avoid any disease by leading a healthy life style. We keep our body, our homes clean. We shun away from any infectious environment.

But we forgot about our deeds. Because, unlike any disease, our deeds, good or bad, will not have any visible effect on our look. Our physical beauty remain intact even after committing an ugly sinful act.
We always forget about our soul. Our soul suffers with every sin we committed, our soul disfigured.

Upon finishing the book, I felt so ashamed.
The weeds in my garden are not as bad as the weeds in my heart. The clutter in my closet is not as damaging as my cluttered mind. The anger, hatred and pride that continue lurking in my heart and mind had definitely disfigured my soul. My poor soul is suffering.
I don't have any disfigured limbs, Alhamdulillah... but only He knows how disfigured my soul is. And it will be exposed on the day of judgement.
I desperately need forgiveness from Him, Al Ghaffar.
And I need to forgive.

Laailaaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zoolimiin.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

At The Market

Recently at a shopping complex.

"Look at all these Christmas decoration...there must be many Christians in these area..."

"No..lah...not because of that, last time during Hari Raya they had Raya decoration here.."

"Yup, that's right..Deepavali decoration, Chinese New Year.."

"Shopping complex has no religion..."

" are right"

"Their religion is money"

The place that Allah likes most is the masjid, and the place that Allah dislikes most is the market.
(Hadith by Muslim)

A reminder to myself to recite a lot of zikr upon entering such places.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

To HIM We Return

I've noticed that his blog had not been updated for quite sometime. Knowing his condition, I thought may be he is just too weak or too sick to write. Or, may be he is busy, because even at his condition he is still actively involved in dakwah activities.

Last night, while blog walking I stumbled upon the news.
Mas Afzal is no longer with us. He has returned to HIM, The Most Merciful.
I never knew him personally, but his writings are so dear to me.
I felt like I've lost a brother.
After my previous posting, I was thinking that I want to write something funny or cheerful in my next post. But was not meant to be.

My deepest condolence to his family and loved ones.
May he rest in peace among the faithful believers.
Al Faatihah.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Sonata

It's December.
The northen hemisphere is now in the midst of winter.
Reading the news about snow storm, blizzard and white Christmas, remind me of my last winter in Canada.
It was my final semester as an undergraduate.

Canadian winter is long and cold. And my last winter there was especially 'long and cold', not because the temperature was colder than usual, but rather it was my heart that was cold.
I had never wanted to go that far away from my family.
I would be happy enough if I could get a place in any of the universities here in my own country.

But, Allah had a better plan for me. I still remember how my father told me that I should accept the offer to go half way around the globe to Canada, to continue my studies, and I accepted the offer because of him. I remembered telling myself, "Canada has snow...."
That's my only motivation. Nothing else.

Alhamdulillah...Praise be to Allah. I had a wonderful time in Canada. I love the four seasons very much. I enjoy studying with my friends whom I had considered as my family. With the technology of those days, my communication with families back home was just letters and phone calls, which were very limited. Letters took days to reach the destination and phone calls were expensive. My friends were my family.

My final semester was enjoyable since I only had one course left. Besides attending class, we took time playing in the snow, and took many photos. I was also getting ready to leave the country for good. My flight home had been set and I looked forward to return to my family.

Then it was time for the final exam. It was a small classroom. They were all my classmates, less than twenty of us, all very cheerful. It's our last paper.
But the cheerful mood soon ended and my confidence crushed while answering the questions. I was trying my best to control my nervousness.
When it was over, the whole class were talking in frustration. I was not alone after all, everyone was caught by surprised at how tough the questions were. Even the smart Chinese boy whom we always made reference to for our assignments was complaining.

I walked out of the class with three other good friends of mine. My heart sank at the thought of failing the course. I've done my best, I've scored 92% for my course work (I still remember that). Suddenly the images of my father and my mother came to my mind. What if...what if I failed...I would be leaving without a degree in my disappointed they would be??
Slowly, tears began to roll from my eyes as the four of us walked out of the building. And as we began walking on the thick snow, it felt very cold and my heart was even colder and I started crying.

My friends were trying their best to console me, but I was inconsolable. The floodgate had broken and I cried and cried all the way until we reached our apartment. It was the saddest and coldest twenty minutes walk that I've ever had in my life.

The days that followed were very hard for me and the cold weather made it worse. Each time I saw the snow falling outside my window, and looking at the surrounding all covered in white, a feeling of deep sadness crept into my heart. And I would silently cry again. The beautiful snow that I love and enjoy was wearing my heart. And as the month of January ended the temperature turned even colder. February was the coldest month.

However, I am thankful to Allah, He had blessed me with very good friends. They had been my source of comfort. Together, we made special prayer for me and for my success in the exam, we read the Quran and had discussion. They even helped me made the call to the Malaysian Student Department to delay my flight until my result is out and my graduation is therefore confirmed. They reminded me that I've done my best. We had studied together in a group, spend some sleepless nights doing the assignments. It's time to leave everything to Allah. 

Alhamdulillah...Praise be to Allah...
Of all the lessons that I've learned in my five years in Canada, that was the one I remembered most.
I've learned that our life is a test. All we have to do is to try our best. It's not about achievement or failure, it's all about the struggle and being patient. Whatever the outcomes, if we had tried our best, our heart will be at peace. Whatever the outcomes, it is for the best. We had our plan, but Allah is the best planner.

As my life continued on, days, months, years after that day, I understand that Allah was preparing me for bigger, harder tests ahead.
I have to be strong. True success is not measured by material or social status. But true success is when we are contented and at peace with what we have and what we don't have.
I've learned to be thankful with what I have, in the hope that Allah will be pleased with the little that I've done.

One of my teachers said, "Paradise is not for people who 'succeded' in their effort, but for those who have patience and had tried their best"
Yes, how true that is. The Quran says that one of the greetings to the people of paradise upon entering the blissfull abode would be:

"Salaamun alaikum..bima sobartum"
Peace be upon you, for your patience.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Heart - 2

We've never been to IJN before.
This is our first time.
I've always marvel at the fact that we have a special institution for our hearts, which obviously means that it is the most important organ in our body.
We could be lying motionless, unable to respond to any kind of stimulus, but as long as our heart still beating, we are still alive.
Death can only confirmed at the moment when our heart stopped.

We went to visit the twins. The doctors had planned to have the surgery for both of them at the same time. But then, after realizing how so much alike they both looked, the doctors changed their minds. It's just too risky to have a confusion during such a major surgery.

This is Amjad Bahzi(left). He went in first, on Wednesday. The doctors had briefed the parents that normally, such patient would have to stay in the ICU for three days before being transferred to the normal ward.
However, in less than six hours after surgery, while in the ICU, his progress was so tremendous that all the wires and tubes were taken off completely. He was then transferred to the normal ward the very next day.

Amjad Ghazi(left) went in on Thursday. It was another successful surgery, and Alhamdulillah... after 24 hours he was out from the ICU. When we visited him today, I thought he was the one who had the surgery first because he looked more cheerful than his brother.
I have to admit, I still can't tell who is who simply by looking at their face.

They had been progressing well, Alhamdulillah.
It was me who felt worried looking at them walking about.
"How does it feel when you walk?" I asked Ghazi.
"It hurts..." He responded slowly but still looking very calm.

Their innocent faces showed the strong faith that they have in their hearts. The mother told me that they had been reciting selawat non-stop before the surgery. They just love the Prophet SAW so much. Seconds before they were put to sleep for the surgery, they were guided by their parents to say a special prayer. After reciting the syahadah they were taught to sincerely accept and surrender to Allah's will.

To my dear Bahzi and Ghazi,
May Allah accept your sincere prayers
May Allah make your hearts stronger
Never forget that Allah is always near
Never forget that Prophet Muhammad SAW loves us very much and that he heard your selawat...

To all the twins
Dear Azri, Bahzi, Fitri and Ghazi
May Allah's blessings and mercy be with you always
May Allah guide you in every step that you take
May Allah fill your hearts with Islam, Imaan and Ihsan

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Heart

I had not been able to find anything worthy to write until my husband told me about it this morning. " We'll be having a special prayer for the twins at our masjid tonight..."

They are just eight years old, but they are the darlings of our masjid. You see them all the time at the masjid, so those who frequent the masjid would surely recognize them.
They are not twins actually, but quadruplets. The sons of my dearest friend.
A few months back, two of them had been found to have hole in their hearts.
They will be admitted to the National Heart Institute this monday to undergo heart surgery on wednesday.
The mother told me that the two boys had been quite excited about the surgery, preparing their bags and asking a lot of questions.
"May be they thought that it's like going for a holiday...!" I said to her.
"Yes...I am worried that they have a misconception about the whole thing..." she replied, and then continued. "But I've already made it clear to them, that this is a surgery, the doctor will cut open your chest...and you know what they said?"
I was amazed to hear about their reply.
They said to the mother, " We are a bit scared... but Ummi, didn't our Prophet (SAW) had his chest open too when he was a child? We are following his sunnah then..."
They might have hole in their hearts, the physical heart that is. But their hearts, the spiritual hearts, obviously are in perfect condition.

How does a mother feel when not one, but two of her dear sons had to go through a major surgery at such a tender age, both at the same time?
She had gone through so much in her life with her thirteen children, but she had always been strong. Her faith had been tested many times, and yet she had been able to stand tall, all through out the journey, and I believe her faith had become stronger.

My dear friend, my sister... I might not be able to be there with you. But my prayers will. InsyaAllah, everyone in the masjid had prayed today, we made the du'a especially for them. We all love them, we would miss them, and we would love to see them again at the masjid.

My dear sister, I know you are strong, but when life gets too difficult for you to stand... kneel down on your knees, place your forehead on the ground in front of Allah, The Most Merciful.
He is always there, very close to you.
And when your heart becomes weary, let your tears wash away the burden, in your long sujud...
May the mercy and blessings of Allah be with you and your family.