Prophetic Parenting – A Book Review

This is a book written by Dr Nur Muhammad Abdul Hafizh Suwaid, originally in Arabic titled “Manhaj at-Tarbiyyah an-Nabawiyyah lith Thifl”. It was written in 1983, and translated into formal Indonesian in 2010 that is rather easy to understand, except for perhaps a few unfamiliar words and concepts which would have been more accurate in its original Arabic version.

As we face the question of the quality of our education system, we must first ask ourselves, what do we expect from sending our children to school?
What is the outcome measure?

In Islam, the aim of education would be to produce a wholesome Muslim who is God-conscious and could contribute with his own very beat towards his society as well as the nation around him, as Prophet Muhammad (SAW – Peace be upon him) said, “The best of all people are the ones who gives most benefit to his people.”

That benefit would encompass spreading their knowledge, service towards the people, saving lives, spreading smile and happiness, and yes, making scientific discoveries that could benefit mankind for years to come. Each person has his own inclinations and abilities. Recognising this fact is one of the Prophet’s (SAW) traditions, and is evident as seen throughout this book.

This book is a good guidance on raising such a person. It gives us a picture on how Prophet Muhammad (SAW) raised and lead not only his children but the children around him, which became the key to the rise of Islamic civilisation in the 7th century.

Parenting begins with finding the right partner, and of course, BEING the right partner. The journey of raising good children is full of challenges, hence it would lighten the burden if it could be walked through with a partner who shares one’s views and ambitions. It is also to avoid confusions with regards to a child’s beliefs and principles, as both parents would show the same correct teachings. This is one of the reasons Muslims are told to only marry another Muslim, regardless of the colour of their skin, so that they will have similar objectives in raising their children.

It is clear from the beginning until the end of this book that Rasulullah (SAW) acknowledges the fact that every child is born with his own potential. This book guides us on the way Prophet Muhammad (SAW) recognised and encouraged every talent. He did not expect every child to have the same inclinations.

This brings us to our education system that teaches the same thing to every single child, and measures success as the ability to excel in all these subjects. Obviously this is unfair, and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has shown the correct way more than 1400 years ago. Education should not be rigid. It should cater every single child in the nation.

Rasulullah (SAW) also gave room for the child to grow – mentally and spiritually – and encourages the child in what the child loves. He would attend to the child’s questions and teach the child what he knows.

This book also spoke about the eternal bond that exists between parents and their children. It emphasises that this bond is not to be broken, no matter what comes in between them, regardless of whatever mistakes that the parents or children made towards each other. There should be forgiveness and a good relationship is to be maintained.

If every son and daughter complies to the Islamic teaching of caring for their parents until the end of their lives, there would be less elderly people left alone on hospital beds. There would be less unhappiness amongst the older generation and their general health would improve. Therefore this book stressed on the importance of being good to one’s parents throughout one’s life – even after the parents have passed away.

The author went on talking about the three fundamental things to teach a child, as soon as the child could speak (in addition to knowing Allah SWT):
(1) To love the Prophet (SAW)
(2) To love the family
(3) To teach the Quran

What follows is the importance of developing a good character (akhlak). The great Islamic scholars of the past were taught by their mothers to have good manners first before learning other religious and worldly subjects. The children of that era were also sent to other scholars to learn from their manners first before learning about their religion.

We could see the outcome now from Japanese education system of which the young children were taught develop good manners, character and discipline before proceeding to other kinds of worldly knowledge.

Amongst the traits of good conduct that were mentioned in this book were respect, integrity, honesty (most importantly from parents towards children), refinement of one’s appearance, in asking permission, suppression of jealousy and even etiquettes related to food and dining.

In raising a complete person, there needs to be emotional growth and balance. Rasulullah (SAW) himself showed the people around him that love could be displayed with hugs, kisses and play. The importance of listening to our children’s stories, concerns and questions were emphasised to enable a balanced emotional growth.

The importance of physical activities in cognitive development was also discussed. It is sad that these days, a lot of school bans all sorts of extra-curricular activities against the kids sitting for major exams in an attempt to achieve greater academic excellence. However, this idea is not in line with the thoughts of our Islamic scholars.

Imam Ghazali said, “After school, a child must be allowed to play, as recovery means from the exhaustion of studying.this is because a child will never tire out of playing. Preventing a child from playing by forcing him to keep on studying would kill the soul and reduce his intelligence. The child’s life would feel constricted, until he intends to escape all that even by lies and deceit.”

Seeking knowledge is OBLIGATORY for every Muslim. Education should begin as early as possible in view of children’s ease of learning, as compared to adults.

Education is at its utmost importance to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), that the prisoners of war at that tine were asked to teach Muslim children to write and read as a pre-requisite to their release. Rasulullah (SAW) also encouraged people to learn multiple languages as it would ease business dealings and spread of the religion.

A man told his children, “Learn all sorts of knowledge, for men are enemies against what he does not know, and I don’t want you to be an enemy to any fields of knowledge.”

The author wrote a out the role of parents and teachers to discover a child’s potential. One of the greatest recognition of a child’s aptitude in Islamic history was when the young Imam Al Bukhari was learning the science of fiqh (Islamic law). Muhammad bin Hassan realised that the science of hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions) was more suitable for Al Bukhari’s abilities. So he adviced Al Bukhari to busy himself with the knowledge of hadith – he grew up to be the most renowned scholar of hadith that the Islamic world has ever seen.

There are many other stories with lessons on how parenting and education should be, to ensure that growth of each and every child would fulfil his own unique potential, so that he could serve the people around m to his best ability.

* * *

This book should be read by both parents and teachers alike. It is also suitable for leaders as it guides a person towards developing a balanced, successful character.

It is a good book for engagement or wedding present, in view of its encouragement for development of exemplary character amongst parents, so that it could be followed by their future children.

I would give this book 9/10, and would keep it for my own reference, even when I don’t have kids at the moment. There are few topics that are a little unclear, or rather, not well integrated by the author into the needs of this age. Having said that, most of the lessons are applicable until the end of time.


Yes, We Will

Feeling overwhelmingly emotional tonight.

I don’t know how many times I would put this photo up in my blog, but I guess at least until I finally pass this exam.

I know it symbolises something. A few things, in fact. One of those things is that we share one common goal.

* * *

“Adakala ku terasa ketabahan tak setegar
Tetapi apakah andainya berhenti di separuh jalan
Percayalah padaku, aku yakin kita mampu.”

* * *

We came from these places.
We have to go somewhere.
And we WILL.

* * *

“Aku sedar bukan mudah untuk mengecap mimpi indah
Pernah suatu ketika dulu ku punya harapan besar
Kini aku tak pasti
Dapatkah ku miliki?”

* * *

Thank you, my dear, for indirectly reminding me that I have a goal that I need to focus on.
Yes, I’d rather be emotional about this, than about other things that I could not control, things that has long gone from this life.
Rather than things that pulls me deeper and deeper into despair.

Despair. Such a strong word. But it is, a danger.

Without you knowing, of course.

But somehow. Somehow. You could always make me smile, no matter what I felt.

* * *

Can we make each other smile forever?
Please, God?

Yes, I get it. Exams first. Other things later.


Heroes of Palestine and Messages of Hope

Before I started studying medicine, I had in mind that when everything else falls in a country, doctors would be amongst the last ones standing. More than a decade down the line, I managed to see the proof, through the eyes of Dr Mads Gilbert, who has worked in a Palestinian hospital a few times during attacks by the Israeli governmental army.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Dr Gilbert, who is an anaesthesiologist, as well as a Professor in Emergency Medicine in a university hospital in Norway. This article is not a verbatim of his inspiring talk, it is rather what I gathered from listening to him. I hope this would deliver some of his message to those who read this article.

* * *

“Imagine, you are a doctor. You are staying at home with your four children, your parents, and your grandparents. Then you received a call from the hospital, asking you to come to work because your city has been bombed.

What would you do?”

* * *

Dr Gilbert spoke at first about Tromso, the city in Norway he came from. Then he spoke about Norway being one of the best places in this world to live in, with its safety, economical and political stability, good education system and a great healthcare. He worked in a hospital of which every specialty is available, the system is good, and they could get any medicine that they needed.

“But of course, with prosperity, we have a duty to share,” he said. “I had to think about the less fortunate.”

While helping out in Shifa Hospital in Palestine, he learnt a lot more about the people, their faith, and their strength.

“I am not the hero of this story,” he told us. “The real heroes are the Palestinian doctors, nurses and paramedics. They never left their patients, and never left their people.”

As a doctor myself, his words touched me deep inside.

“Yes, I will come to work,” was the attitude of these heroes.

They are such a dedicated group of people that all healthcare workers around the world could learn from, especially us from privileged backgrounds. Not only that, the hospital staff were probably the best in the world to manage mass disasters, and the world could learn from them too.

Photos of their hospital might have captured total chaos, but according to Dr Gilbert, there is a good triage system in place of which patients are categorised according to the urgency of treatment needed.

During the 51-day siege of Gaza in 2014, 8592 patients came through the doors of their emergency department. 1802 of them were admitted, and among them, 842 people (including children) needed emergency surgery.

How did they cope with the amount of casualties and the limited resources?

“The Palestinians are masters of improvisation,” said Dr Gilbert.

In a normal hospital, one operating theatre would have one operating table. However, at times of dire need, they would at times fit in two operating tables in one room, so that two surgeries could run at the same time. In fact, the hospital could have up to 15 surgeries running together at the same time.

“How much resources and energy are we willing to spend to save just ONE life, in our daily work?”

The cases were, most of the time, complex. One patient would need expertise from at least two to three specialties, for example, neurosurgery (brain surgery), orthopaedics, and ENT (ear, nose and throat). In first world countries, these kinds of surgery would need a lot of planning and mobilisation of various resources, but Palestinians would immediately jump to their feet and try to save these lives.

Electricity cuts happened very often, and the hospital could not always use their generator. So when it gets dark during surgeries, Dr Gilbert would use his torchlight for the surgeons to be able to see what they were doing. Sadly, he was the only one with a torchlight because as a white man, he was able to bring it in. The Arabs of Palestine were not allowed by the Israeli government to bring in torchlight. So the doctors would use the lights from their handphones to continue with their surgery.

“They do exactly what is needed, and they save lives.”

Even the hospital cleaner worked very hard in this setting. He showed a photo of the hospital cleaner with his mop, smiling to the camera, in a room filled with blood, linen strewn all over in the hurried attempts to perform life-saving surgeries. This cleaner would clean the operating theatre within FOUR minutes, so that the next surgery could be done as soon as possible!

The ambulance paramedics risked their lives to save their people. Despite international laws prohibiting the attack of ambulances and hospitals, the Zionist army had damaged 47 Palestinian ambulances in Gaza in 2014 alone. 17 of Gaza’s 32 hospitals were damaged, and six closed down as a result of their attacks in 2014. 104 medical staff were injured or killed during that 51-day period.

There were paramedics who rushed out to fetch patients from disaster sites, but came back as martyrs themselves, brought in by other paramedics, because one of the bombs hit his ambulance. There was a staff who was brought in without any visible injuries – it seemed that he was too exhausted to go on. But after a few hours of rest in the hospital, he got up and started working again.

Dr Gilbert showed us a photo of a doctor attending to a patient. He pointed to a thin black wire hanging on the doctor’s white coat. “You know what that is?” he asked. “That is an earphone, attached to the doctor’s mobile phone. And he’s not listening to music.”

While he paused, the image of Ron Weasley in the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came into my mind.

“This doctor, and the rest of the staff, were listening to radio reports on the areas attacked by Israel. They would want to know whether the area of their homes were being bombed.”

Let me elaborate. In that Harry Potter movie, Ron Weasley was traveling with Harry and Hermione to search for ways to destroy Lord Voldemort. It was war time for the magical community, and people got abducted and killed all the time. He was listening intently to the radio just to make sure that none of his parents or his six other siblings were killed in the war.

I did not know that this kind of thing happens in real world. Until yesterday.

* * *

It was Ramadhan when Israeli army decided to bomb Gaza. In total, there were 6000 airstrikes within 51 days, which means there were more than 100 attacks per day. There were sounds of war planes and drones and bombs all over.

The Muslim doctors continued to fast. So Dr Gilbert himself fasted together with the Muslims as a sign of respect and solidarity. He said, during surgery, when iftar (breaking fast, and yes, he said iftar) time comes, they could not stop their operation. Someone would come and open their masks to feed them some sustenance so that they could go on.

“What keeps me going?” he asked. It was the resilience of the Palestinians.

Gaza, for him, is about humans, humanity, dream of freedom, children and youth, the air and the sea. He is amazed by the strength of the people there.

“Because of their Islamic faith, they still smile, stand tall, and not surrender,” he told us.

* * *

“How can we contribute to their freedom?” he asked.

(1) Some doctors may be tempted to volunteer in Palestinian hospitals. Dr Gilbert’s advice was to only go if you were invited by the Palestinians.
He then elaborated. Many people only went there for a few days, take photos just to show off to the world “that we volunteered in Palestine”, and go back to their own countries.
Palestinians are very generous people. When someone comes over, they will need to arrange for transport, lodging and food. They will need to risk so much, and as it is, they have so little. Hence we should only go there if we think we could contribute. Otherwise, our presence would only be a burden to them.
“I mostly stayed in the hospital and fast together with them,” he said.

(2) Help spread the awareness to the people and the government. The occupation of Palestinian land is an oppression to a nation. It is a failure for humanity if we let this monstrosity continue.
Our leaders need to be alerted so that they could give pressure to the international community, so that justice would be served.
“Malaysia is a chair of OIC,” he reminded us. “There is so much that you could do if your leader could push the rest of the Islamic world to help.”
With that I felt sad. It seems like we’re stuck in this matter.

(3) Boycott, divestment and sanction movement was initiated in Palestine as a measure to bring pressure against Israel so that they would comply to international law and give Palestine its rights. Similar movement has succeeded in banishing apartheid from South Africa, it is hoped that this would bring an end to the Zionist oppressive regime.

This is the link to their website:
Boycott, Divestment and Sanction – for freedom, justice and equality

“Be a change maker yourself,” he adviced.

* * *

Messages of Hope

Dr Gilbert showed us a heart-wrenching video made by a journalist, Ashraf Masharawi. The video was showed during a charity dinner to enlighten the crowd about the plights of the Palestinians. There were visuals of the intact Gaza city, its people, its children; and then there were videos of the bombings.

The inter-war montage showed rubbles upon rubbles around the city of Gaza. Then there were short interviews – Palestinians spoke about their fallen houses, their burnt factories, and their plans for the future.

I could hear sobs from where I sat, and it seems that the video provoked tears among the men too.

It amazed me the most when a young boy said, “When the war has stopped, and supplies could come in, we will build Gaza again, and it will be more beautiful than ever.”

It is such a wonder that despite all the destruction, all the catastrophe, they could still see the light at the end of the tunnel. They still have hopes and dreams and have yet to give up on life.

Dr Gilbert did say, “They (the Israelis) will fall one day. There were no empires that have lasted forever. This occupation will definitely end one day.”

He closed his talk with these words:
“There is a good time coming, being it ever so far away.”


Dear Adik-adik, Good Luck and Happy Learning

I went to the KL International Airport earlier today to send off my cousin as she went for a holiday with her husband. There, I noticed dozens upon dozens of young girls and boys. After observing the way they dress, it clicked on me that these young people were scholarship students going overseas to study. They are of my little sister’s age.

I became overwhelmed by emotions, seeing all those faces full of anticipation, hope, pride, mixed with anxiety and sadness. Those faces of the students, and their families.

I was like them too, fifteen years ago. Only I was not on a scholarship.

* * *
Dear adik-adik,

I wish you the best for your journey. Your journey there, journey of searching for knowledge, searching for experience. You are in for an opportunity in a lifetime that many others were denied of.

Please remember that most of you are going there with people’s money. Not even your own parents’. Please remember that there are many others who worked harder than you for this, but did not have the same opportunity.

This is a priviledge, and you know, the more priviledges you have, the more responsibilites you’d bear.

You were sent there to learn.

No, not only to study engineering, medicine, architecture, law or all else that they sent you to college for. By all means, study and perhaps try to do well, but there are many other priceless lessons that you could only take from studying overseas.

Please mix around with as many people as possible. I know, it is a lot more comfortable to be close friends with your own ‘kind’, but get to know the others too.

You will see that the people there are more colourful than over here in this country. We have been fed with the idea that we have such a harmonious multiracial country, but you should see their colours. You should listen to the languages they speak. You will perhaps finally see all the shades of white, yellow and brown that exist in this world. You shall learn that in the end, we all yearn for the same love and deserve the same respect. We all respond the same way to a warm smile and a kind helping hand. We all have dreams and aspirations. We all struggle to achieve those dreams, all in our own way. A person’s dreams is as important as the other.

Explore their country, and the neighbouring ones. Learn to save and travel, because not many things teach you more than travelling (and reading). Look at their nature, and how they conserve it. Take home the good things, and learn lessons from their worse habits and systems.

You are there to diminish all the discriminatory thoughts that may have been planted by some people in this country. No, you are not special. You are not extra talented. You were perhaps just lucky to be born where you were to those parents. You have God to thank, and you owe it to yourself to become a humble person. You shall one day come back to our country and help demolish racism, to strive for equality.

Speak to others. Learn about their struggles. The Pakistani taxi driver, the Bangladeshi shopkeeper (who most likely have worked in our country before), your Norwegian classmates, the people whose ancestors come from their country. Read their papers. Learn how the locals react to immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants. What are their worries? What are their hopes? What are their misconceptions?

Please don’t just go there to shop. Don’t just go at the popular tourist spots and take nice photos to put up on your Instagram. Please don’t carry that mantra of “this is cheaper than back at my own country” and end up knowing only that after years being there.

More importantly, don’t come back and turn up your nose at everything in this country. And don’t stay there after you have graduated and criticise the country as if you have ever worked here. Don’t stay there just because you heard rumours about the working conditions here. You went there to learn independence, and some leadership. So come back and bring winds of change to the country.

In the end, this exercise of learning should help you get to know yourself. On top of getting to know and appreciating fellow human beings around you. It should help you to realize where you stand in this world – that is shoulder to shoulder with the rest of humanity. Not above, not below. It is only by facing the challenges of the world outside, that you could understand who you are inside; your strengths, your shortcomings.

Only after knowing those two, then you are on your way to be a successful human being, who would serve the people around you, as much as you could.

For the best person is the one who could benefit others the most.

So good luck, adik-adik.
And happy learning.


What Did the Arabs (Not) Do?

Recently Brother Nouman Ali Khan came over to this country. He told us, “When I take a ride in a taxi, I would ask the driver to switch on the radio. I wanted to hear what you guys listen to in the news and the music.”

O’oh. I started to cringe.

“You guys listen to the same filth as people do in the US!”

* * *
I became angry, sad and confused when I read the news about Syrian refugees recently.

At first I saw that Western media claimed the Gulf countries did not welcome any of the refugees, worse being Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Then there are some Muslims who were kind enough (some might say naiive) to back the Gulf countries up, saying that they do help set up refugee camps but not within Saudi Arabia itself. Furthermore it makes more sense to walk in a cool weather into Europe, than walk in the scorching heat of the desert into Saudi Arabia.

Then there is a third group of, sadly, Muslims, who said that there might as well not be Hajj season this year and next year, so that the camps in Mina could be used to house refugees, rather than pilgrims.


Now, I’m not in the position to comment whether or not any of those reports are true. Neither do I have the reliable sources to investigate the truth of the matter.

My issues are:
(1) Let’s face it. CNN, Fox News and whatever else Western media agents has been spreading lies upon lies about us, Muslims. We all know for a fact that they have a propaganda against us. They made ignorant (and some innocent) people believe that Islam equals to terror.
Now, the same Muslims BELIEVE the news they spread about Gulf countries NOT helping out on Syrian refugees, just because “it looks like it”?
Is there any logic behind believing a known liar?

(2) I believe there is some rational behind deciding which path to walk through – short journey, lined with trees, rivers, cool weather, OR long route, no trees, no rivers, just mirage, on a scorching hot desert.

(3) If you put the three-question rule into play, on whether or not to believe in a certain news, you may find one news is better than the other.
The three questions would be: (i) Is it true? (ii) Is it good? (iii) Is it beneficial?
If we look at the news from Western media…is it true? I don’t know. Is it good? No. Is it beneficial? I don’t think so.
Now the other news…is it true? I don’t know. Is it good? Yes. Is it beneficial? Maybe.
So there is more reason to believe in the latter news about the Gulf countries helping out, isn’t there?

(3) I know many Muslims are angry with the Saudi government, whether or not influenced by Western media, for their own reasons. But can we not lash it out to the pilgrims and the Hajj system altogether?
We all know that Hajj is an obligation for a Muslim to perform at least once in a lifetime. And it HAS to be done where Prophet Muhammad SAW did it all those years ago, which is in Mecca.
We can’t deny the rights of those Muslims who could afford it to go whenever they can, because God knows maybe next year they would not be alive anymore. And we all know stories of people who spent their lifetime saving for this long-awaited trip.
Most of them are not rich people.

It so happens that at this moment, that area is ruled by this current government which SOME Muslims believe are making money out of these trips. It so happens that the current governing people is claimed to be “ignorant and greedy” by many.

It does not change the fact that Hajj season has to go on no matter what. The blessed month of Dhulhijjah is going to come every year no matter what. I know there are many who agreed that “the welfare of a society preceeds the welfare of individuals.” But rather than denying pilgrims altogether, why not suggest building similar amount of tents outside Mina, to house the refugees? I am pretty sure the Arabs have more than enough money to do that.

(4) It is also unfair to judge all the Arabs by some photos or videos that we have seen. We have seen some pretty disgusting videos of what they do in their free time, but just look back at ourselves: don’t we all have disgusting videos from our countries too?
Refer back to the things that Brother Nouman said, right at the beginning of my rant here. About the people of this country listening to the same filth the US are listening to.
Imagine people thinking that ALL of us listen to the same thing. While we know there are Islamic radio channels, and some of us do listen to Islamic lectures on CDs or smartphones on their way to and from work.
We all know, while there are corrupt leaders and people in a country, there are honest leaders and people in that country too.
When evil seemed to overshadow all else, there are good people who try their best to fight this evil in their own little ways.
There are people who take it in their own hands to educate the masses, when the government failed to provide quality education (in terms of honesty, integrity and good character).

Just look at Brother Ahmad As-Shugairi. He has travelled the world, filming, to bring back to Saudi Arabia and show his people the good culture of the countries he visited. He worked hard to open the minds of the Arabs, to wake them up, for them to realize their true excellent potentials.

(5) Simply believing any news that came to us, and further condemning what seemed to be “the truth”, reflects the state of the ummah now.
We don’t trust our own brothers, and we don’t even make ourselves trustworthy.
We’d rather believe in compulsive liars, than open our hearts to give hope for our own brothers.
Perhaps we did not give others the reason to trust us anyway.

* * *
What shall we do now?

First we have to remember the ayat in the Quran:

It is as clear as the sunlight. There is no need for further explanation.

Since none of the news sources are entirely trustworthy, we shall not spread them further, nor shall we make a judgment out of those news.

How to help the refugees? Honestly, I have no idea. The most that a small person like myself could do is perhaps find a trustworthy charity organisation, and donate throught them. We could also send lots of prayers for their safety in this world, and the hereafter. We could also pray that the Muslim world will wake up from our slumber and start moving towards peace in this world, not only racing amongst each other to build the tallest building in the universe.

One major contribution that all of us could give is with education. Educate the people around us, young and old, about kindness, about living in peace and harmony, about respect, about appreciating and handling differences of opinions, about the dangers of greed, ignorance and even gluttony. Personally, I think, education is the only way to stop the wars from continuing, prevent wars from starting, pave the way for a harmonious life in this world.

As Muslims, we should stand shoulder to shoulder. Encourage everyone to pray jamaah in the masjid. Prophet Muhammad SAW told us to stand close to each other and keep the congregation in a straight line “so that you will stand united in thoughts and believes.”
If there is not even a congregational line to begin with, how can we stay united, then?

* * *
This is the theme song for the TV series Khawater season 9.
Khawater 9 theme song by Maher Zain.

* * *

* * *
Together, we’ll become stronger.
Disunited, we break.

Indeed Allah has chosen us, with sound minds, to govern this world.
To fulfil the needs of this world and help make it prosper.
Can’t you see, at this age, human beings often change their minds?
Indeed, we have not used our minds to ask for guidance, to ask, to hope and to think.
Our ignorance is worrying because we do not care about this world around us.
Hence the light of goodness is no longer seen.
And the thirst for knowledge, have gone to waste.
The news and knowledge from outsiders are those we honor more.

We shall contribute our thoughts.
We could only be freed from ignorance when we start to seek knowledge.
In life there should be goodness, knowledge will bring good to us, and in turn we could bring good to our people.

Allah has chosen us, who have sound minds, to lead and to think wisely.

The worry of being ignorant would enlighten us.
To do good and ask Him for guidance.

The Light and Human Potential

This is my humble attempts to put what I learnt two weekends ago about the most beautiful verse in the Quran. Please forgive me if I understood this verse wrongly, or if my words does not display the beauty and amazement we experienced on that day.To those who are strangers to the concept of the soul, I would encourage you to go on reading this article, or else leave it alone. If you want to understand further about the relationship of the soul and happiness, you could read The Alchemy of Happiness, by Al Ghazali, which I will hopefully write a review of one of these days. Or better still, read the Quran and discover the wonders within.

* * *

Imagine a niche in a wall, within which there’s a lamp. This lamp is made of the brightest, shiniest glass, and the oil inside is made of the purest olive oil. This oil is so pure that it would almost glow, and is ready to catch fire.
* * *

We were blessed to have been able to attend lectures on tafsir of Surah An-Nur for four weekends in August recently, by Brother Nouman Ali Khan. His explanation about sanctity of marriage changed my views about this sacred relationship altogether. He also spoke about how guarding the strength of family bonds would determine how the society stands.

During the final session, he spoke beautifully about the ayat of Nur (the verse of light, 24:35), of which tears of wonder and self discovery flowed steadily from our eyes. We further understood why we are here and what we should do with our time in this world.

This ayat gave a clear example of how the physical light is parallel to the unseen light within us.

The niche in this verse is likened to the rib cage of human, which protects the heart in his chest. The heart, while it is beating, keep us alive, keeps our soul and body together. When our hearts stop beating, the soul leaves the body and we’d be physically dead.

The soul comes from a place in the heaven. It is brought down to the earth by the angels, blown into our small clumps of cells after a few weeks of our conception. This soul is bright as light, and is delivered by a creation which is made of light.

So now the soul (or heart) of a human is like the lamp in the niche, made of pure glass, fuelled by pure oil, always wanting to catch fire so that it could light up the world around it. Having come from the heavens, it yearns for the perfection that it has felt over there, that perfection being God itself, who is Lowing, Caring, Merciful, Beautiful, Generous, Kind, Beneficent, Powerful, Rich, and all other perfect attributes of His. The soul will miss the words of God, which could only come from one source in this world – The Quran.

The Quran is called the light because it gives guidance for mankind to live their lives. It is the word of Allah that would illuminate the world like the sun brightens the day.

Light Upon Light
So when the bright soul meets the light of the Quran, it is likened to the fire that lits up the pure oil and shines up the world around them.
* * *

The human potential.

Now that we know that the soul comes from a place in the heavens, we should understand the heavenly potential of each human being. Every soul is like a lamp which needs to be lit up, and not only that, the glass needs to be polished so that the lamp could shine brightly.

There is potential in every human being to do good and light the lives of people around us.

There is hope in each and every one of us that we could all be good people.

There is hope that we could keep on lighting the oil and cleaning the glass so that we could keep on illuminating the world around us, shining bright like a star in a dark night.

No matter how far we’ve gone, how dusty we have let our glass to be, we know that it is made from the brightest of glass, and that the pure oil within is always ready to catch fire.

No matter how far we’ve gone, we could always clean this lamp up and put it on fire again.

Allah only wants us to come back to Him, no matter where we have been before.

And our souls missed the nearness to Him, knowing the divine place where it came from. So make it eternally happy by bringing it close to God.

We can all be good people.
* * *

Ar-Razi, when commenting on the verse of light, said that in the darkness of night, we could see the stars shining up the skies. The angels, on the other hand, could see the shining hearts of the believers, amongst the darkness of this world, the way we see the stars.

Make us feel like wanting to shine all the time, doesn’t it?
* * *

Brother Nouman said, many of us wished that we were born in the golden era of Islam, where people live in peace and harmony, where knowledge and science go hand-in-hand, because ultimately true science will make us closer to the Creator of Science Himself. Only He has the answers for our questions.

Many of us wished we were born in that golden era so that everybody is safe and faith will grow.

But, he said, we were born in such a dark age as it is now, because Allah SWT saw the potential in us to light up the dark.

We were born in the midst of lies, wars, corruption, hatred, racism, promiscuity, scandals and all else, because Allah saw in us the soul that could illuminate the gloom in this world.

Now it is time to look into ourselves, and strive to fulfil that potential.

May Allah shower us with guidance that would light up our paths through to Him.
* * *
The following link is a lecture by Brother Nouman Ali Khan, which is a shorter version of what we heard two weeks ago:

Light Upon Light – Lecture by Nouman Ali Khan



Coolness of the Eyes

I came back from work today and I passed by Masjid Wilayah. I was pulled to it but I did not go because I already performed my Asar prayers before leaving my workplace.

Instead, I made a promise to stop by in Masjid Bukit Jelutong for Maghrib prayers on my way to my uncle’s house. Despite being rather tired and feeling like spending one hour in bed, and prat Maghrib at home.

I did not regret a single second of this decision.

I reached the masjid late, the congregational prayer was over. I could have driven a lot faster to rush to the masjid, but I remember Prophet Muhammad SAW said not to rush when you’re going to the mosque.

So there I was, prayed Maghrib alone, then nawafil, then made some du’as, and then I left.

Before I left, I managed to take in the environment around me. A class is going on, taught by a teacher who comes every second Tuesday of the month, it seems. Many of the congregation stayed back, with books in their hands, to learn about the good manners of our beloved Propher Muhammad SAW.

The nice thing about it is, many of them is young. They must have come back from work, cleaned themselves at home, wear their nice clothes and immediately come to the mosque.

As I walked along the corridors of the mosque, I saw young ladies, some with small kids, seated comfortably in areas of their choice, listening to the ongoing talk which resonated throughout the halls via the speakers placed on the walls.

All there to learn about good manners.

“Isn’t this AWESOME?? Subhanallah!” I could hear Brother Nouman’s excited exclamations in my head.
* * *
Although I could not stay back because of other commitments, I’m glad that I paid that short visit to this house of Allah.

Although the people I saw were strangers to me, they have cooled my eyes and made me at peace with this world, pushing aside all the troubles of this world.

I was happy that they are young, and as I walked, more young people came in to pray, and to learn. They could, one day, pass down the kindness, good manners, integrity, discipline, love and mercy that Prophet Muhammad SAW has shown the world around him all those years ago.