Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Allah is never far away

We all need the reminder that Allah is always there waiting for us to tell Him our problems and ask for His help. But ever so often we turn first, or in some cases solely, to His creations who like us are weak and flawed in so many ways. It is undeniable that the best way of making decisions is to first perform the Istikharah prayer and then to do musyawarah, ie, to consult others for advise. However, these 'others' who we consult really need to be carefully selected for various reasons which i don't feel like specifying.

Be careful who you open up to. Only few are really there to help you. Others are merely curious or in some cases intending to add salt to your wounds. 

Allah is never far away.
He's the only One who can guide our every step and show us the way.
The next time you recite 'Ih Dhinas Sirro Ttol Mustakeem' (Guide us to the straight path- apologies for spelling errors in the Arabic transcription) in your prayer, take time to immerse yourself in its meaning and in asking for His guidance. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Walk Away

When there are more reasons to leave than to stay.
and the few to stay are barely worth anything.
and when your efforts are expected rather than appreicated,
it really is time to walk away.
If they can't appreciate your presence, make them notice and feel your ABSENCE. 

AND...I know I'm worth more than that. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

1st list of randoms thoughts in 2013

1. it's 2013 and 41 days have passed

2. i really badly want a cat

3. bunnies are very cute when they chase each other

4. designing materials for teaching is seriously NOT an easy task

5. a new line of ISoc execs have been elected

6. it snows when i least expect it to snow

7. i missed mufti menk's talk cos i completely forgot to register for it

8. i'm shocked to know that my blog has 4766 pageviews-  i hardly write anything!

9. silence has a voice

10. i officially acknowledge the fact that i REALLY can't work in my room. i seem to have mentally registered this place as a rest space instead of working space

11. assignments are starting to come one by one

12. i have less than 5 months left in Warwick

13. fb is starting to become so boring and not to mention depressing

14. forgiving is hard

15. forgetting is even harder and almost impossible

16. having a good memory and remembering too many things can drive you nuts

17. i feel like i need to give my brains a rest and stop thinking for at least 24 hours

18. turqoise is a nice colour

19. i was right after all

20. need to put in some effort to blog more

21. ...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oh Money, don't leave me!

I just realised that I've lost so much money in the last 2 years. It's not that i'm spendthrift, it's just the money goes off just like that.

It started from the very first time i reached UK. When I converted my travellers cheque into cash, i found out a few hours later that i could have gotten about 200 pounds more than what i got. 1st lost..I accepted it that maybe the money just wasn't meant to be mine.

Then in the same year, I lost another 175 pounds to Bluewood agency because I terminated my house contract with them. We tried to get our money back but we just couldn't. Anyway, we accepted it that it was just our loss and that in the long run, we actually gain in many more different ways.

Later on I realised that I was spending a lot of my Lebara top-ups because as an exec, I had to make many calls and send lots of texts. So I got a new number. My first contract was with 02, which was too slow in activating the line so much so i chose to end it. This caused me to lose i think 40-50 pounds because i was too busy to terminate it earlier and the payment was actually still ongoing. in fact, i might have even lost more than that. the worst part was that i didn't even use the line =(. Then i signed up for a vodafone contract. For God knows what reasons, i opted for the one with 600 call minutes. after some time i realised i use more texts than calls, so i changed my plan to something much cheaper (and logical!). BUT..my trip to Turkey was actually during a quite busy time for ISoc, so i had to make many calls back to the uk and that was BEYOND COSTLY!!!!! For the first time in my life, my bill came up to about 100pounds!!! and the phone company actually called me up due to the high bills and threathened to cut the line if I didn't pay at least 2/3 of it! I didn't expect the bill to be sooooo high so i was both shocked and disappointed. But then again, we learn from our mistakes right.

My financial crisis didn't end there. This time, it was my flight back home that took up more money then necessary. This is partly caused by my extremely busy uni life and because I myself wasn't sure of my plans for the summer. Because i bought my ticket really late, and because i was too dumb to grab one during the promotional offer, i ended up spending so much more than my other friends, and the flight journey as a whole, was by far my worse travel so far.

And then, sometime during this last summer, i found out that some cashback company was decudting 10 pounds from my account on a monthly basis. I completely forgot that i had actually signed up for it and by the time i realised that i was once again unnecessarily losing money, I had already lost 40pounds. And then when i did come back to UK, i became beyond busy that i just didn't have time to deal with it, so i lost another 20 pounds before i could actualy terminate it. that's 60 pounds lost for nothing!

And just about an hour ago, i lost another 25 pounds becuase i had to cancel my flight due to my own carelessness. I overlooked some important details and just had to cancel that flight in order to book a new flight ticket. And even this time, I'm actually spending easily 50-70 pounds more on the tickets because of my delay in purchasing them earlier. Still, on the bright side, it's Qatar airways, instead of vietnam airlines or KLM which were just not really fun to fly with.

Above all of this, I'm certain i've lost money here and there in various different ways. This alone already come to more than RM 2250.00 which is A LOT of money in Malaysia and even in the UK. while some could perhaps be avoided, when i think back, i realised that it was mostly unavoidable and even when i did realise things, I was always too busy to see to them. I'm just wondering if i'm under some kind of curse or have I lost the barakah in my rezeki? Maybe the money is really meant to go. I'll start to save more now..and I'll do my best to be more careful with my finance.

Money, money please dont just leave me like this...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am-was a 2nd year university undergraduate

I'm slightly confused about my current academic status. I have completed my second year, I'll be entering my third year, but I haven't started my third year. So i'm stuck somewhere in between but the good news is...I did not fail my exams so Warwick University is not going to kick me out. yeay..

In one sentence- a lot happened last year. Some details? Here we go..

My life changed in many ways, the most noticeable one is the fact that I faced the biggest loss in my life-the passing on of my dearest father. This is the first time I've ever been so far away from home. So, coming home to find my father in such a state was a shock..no it was more than a shock..But I'm grateful that I still managed to spend some time with him, and even more than that I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to look after him when he was sick, even though it was such a short period. When I went back to Warwick, the frequent question asked by lecturers and friends who were unaware of my loss was 'So, how was your summer?' or 'Did you have a good summer?' Not wanting to talk about my loss and receive all that sympathetic looks and statements I only gave positive responses.

While not a day passed without me thinking of my father, I carried on with life in the best possible way...

To begin with, I returned to Warwick to be faced with a lot of work. Mind you, when I say a lot, it really was a lot. From the loads of readings i hardly found time to do, to the busy-ness of running a society, and to the normal routines of being a human- i was well-occupied.

Last year Warwick kicked us out of our accomodations so all of us had to rent houses/apartments to live in. In my 1st year I had to learn to lead a fully independent life where for the first time in my life I had to cook my own meals and do my own marketing. This time around, my lessons on being a human adult went one level higher-I had to take part in organising a whole household. Thank God I wasn't alone in doing this and I must say I lived with more experienced housemates.

I like this thing about sharing responsibilities. Back when I had to cook for myself while staying on campus at Warwick Uni, my meals were very much unorganised. A lot of times i couldn't find the time to cook. The kitchen was either fully occupied or i was just busy. Sometimes i only started cooking when i was already hungry. So i had to first stuff some snacks or buns or usually kinder buenos to temporarily fill my stomach while i cooked. those days involed quite a bit of starving and lack of motivation to cook. So my eating habits were not very organised. But this year, there's always one person on turn to cook for the day, so there'll always be food to eat. There were days when i had to wake up really early and cook around fajr time.I didn't mind that at all. It was good practise. Besides, i'm on duty for only 1-2 days in a week. So what's there to complaint about?
In our house in Earlsdon, all duties were shared. I never had to do anything just by myself. I believe the time will come when i have to cook everyday and do house chores by myself every day. I fear that time. I fear that I wont be able to manage. BUt at least, i've had a bit of practise.

So that's the good thing. The bad thing is that our house was soooooooo cold! Our central heating was way too costly, so we had to depend on the portable blowers which was not enough to keep my big room (the master bedroom) warm enough. So during winter, it was pretty much like living in a fridge. We tried our best to spend more time on campus, in the library or in the prayer hall to avoid working in our cold house.

Just a side note..when we want to eat ice-cream in UK, we actually need to take it out at least half an hour earlier (during winter) so that it'll be less frozen and more edible.

Another side note...when we defrost and clean our freezer, the ice we clean out fills the whole sink and is enough to make a few bowls of ice-kacang. Non-Malaysians, a picture of this famous Malaysian desert is below..

A third side note...eating snow is fun =), it's really quite tasty..

Now to my lessons as a second year Linguistics student..

The subject Description of English in Use (DEU) was all Latin to me. It was about how our brains organise and produce words and sentences. It's like learning maths in alphabets and words. Too complicated for my brains to process. However, the other subjects were enjoyable and very much relevant to my future as a teacher. We learnt a lot about suitable materials to use in our lessons and on the methods and approaches we can use in teaching. We also learned to make lesson plans and even had the opportunity to conduct a few sessions of micro-teachings. I received quite a few critics from my micro-teachings but I agree with everything my lecturers told me and I'm happier to make the mistakes now than to screw my students future.

Above....way up there...i mentioned how i could not find time to do all the assigned readings. Well, that's true. In the 2 semesters (about 6-7 months) of lectures and seminars, i could not do the readings. But I miraculously managed to cramp them at the final 1-2 months before exams..Gosh! No wonder i was so stressed during revisions for exams! And during exams as well!! Anyway, despite my premonitions about dying or fainting during that period, i neither passed out nor did i pass on..hehe.. I survived..

Ok..this post is getting a bit too long. Well, what can anyone expect? I'm writing about a whole year here!

Now to the tours..Just some short notes here..I went to:
1. Turkey (8-9 days i think..)
2. Warwick Castle

3. Cadbury World

(yeah the place where they make Cadbury chocolates. And for a chocolate lover like me, the trip was an awesome experience. Though, i've dropped my childhood dreams of marrying the owner of the Cadbury company for the sake of having a lifetime of stocks of chocolates)

4. FOSIS Quran camp in Cambridge

5. Boating in Stratford (where Amma enjoyed the company of the swans)

I can't remember where else I went. But i was so busy i hardly had much time to go around enjoying myself..Neway, if i have the time and the mood, i'll write other posts about this places..Turkey and Cadbury World particularly deserve a whole post each!

Now to one of the best achievements..ok maybe not so much an achievement cos i couldn't make the most of this..I MANAGED TO FULFIL MY MOTHER'S LONG TIME DREAM TO GO TO ENGLAND!!! My mother was with me for 2 and a half months in UK. It was so nice to have her around for so many different reasons =).

Next..despite my initial plans of not running for elections again, I have once again been elected to be the vice president of warwick isoc (Islamic society).

And somewhere in between my busy days at Warwick, i had the delightful opportunity to meet the Crown Prince of Perak, which is the state of my hometown, in Oxford University. His speech was really good and it was such an honor to meet him. And yes, i was delighted to hear my girlfriends exclaim 'He's so handsome!'.

So that's a bit about how my second year at Warwick was like. A really busy and fully packed year. I sometimes leave home early in the morning and only return late at night, something that, to be completely honest, is exactly what university students do. But it's been a blessed year, Alhamdulillah and I look forward to my 3rd and final year at Warwick.

footnote: i have this feeling that i might write more about my 2nd year in other posts...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Days of Mercy: Part 3: Jokes

We're now in the 4th day of Ramadhan, meaning, we're still in the period of the days of mercy.

This month should also be used in being merciful towards others. Being merciful towards others is not only about giving sadaqa'/sedekah and other forms of material charity to those in need. We sometimes forget that being merciful towards others is also about how we treat them. It is very common these days that our interactions with our family and friends often includes jokes and laughter. It is a common misconception among non-believers that Islam frowns upon having fun. This is not at all true. Jokes and having fun in Islam is permissible as long as we abide the etiquettes for both.

In this post, I'll elaborate on the etiquettes of making jokes with reference to the verses of the Quran and to the hadeeths of our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

1. The jokes should not be making fun of Islam

In joking, we really need to take extra caution not to make fun of the verses of the Quran, the hadeeths of our prophet, or the fundamental teachings of Islam.

Allah says:

وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ ۚ قُلْ أَبِاللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ

لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنْ نَعْفُ عَنْ طَائِفَةٍ مِنْكُمْ نُعَذِّبْ طَائِفَةً بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ

“If you ask them, they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah, and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? ’Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” (Surah al-Tawbah 9:65-66)

Most Muslims will be cautious enough to not make fun of Quranic verses or hadeeths. However, there are times when we get carried away with our jokes till we make fun of other aspects of Islam such as the dresscodes of our fellow brothers and sisters.Here it must be noted that the beard of our Muslim brothers and the hijaab, niqaab and jilbab worn by Muslim sisters should not be made fun of. I'm aware of Muslims calling other Muslims 'kolot'/ old-fashioned because of their hijaab and abayas. What these Muslims are insulting here is not the fashion trend, rather, they are actually insulting Islam itself.

2. The jokes should not be on something that is Haraam in Islam.

Islam has made haraam some food and drinks, manners of conduct in life and various other things listed in the Quraan and Hadeeth. While we may be careful in avoiding all of these, we sometimes forget that joking about them is not actually permissible in Islam. Thus, we shouldn't say things like 'She must be 'high'' or 'I feel so drunk' even if we only intend them as a joke.

3. Being truthful

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him." (Narrated by Abu Dawood).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, warning against this kind of behaviour which some jokers are accustomed to: "A man may say something to make his companions laugh, and he will fall into Hell as far as the Pleiades because of it." (Narrated by Ahmad).

Both the hadeeths above highlight the severity of telling lies even if it is intended to be a joke. Speaking only the truth and avoiding lies is one of the things highlighted in Islam. Thus, we should make full effort to express only the truths. Besides, telling a lie about another person can turn into a fitna and spreading fitna is a heavy sin.

4. Don't make fun of others

This is something that we often forget. A lot of times, in joking, we make fun of others or call them names. As Muslims, we need to ensure that the jokes we make do not in any way hurt another person's feelings.

Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِنْ قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَنْ يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِنْ نِسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَنْ يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“O you who believe! Let not a group ridicule another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it to insult one’s brother after having Faith” (Surah Hujuraat 49:11)

This is a forbidence from Allah himself. So, the next time we make a joke, lets think before we speak so that our words do not result in the picture below

5. Never scare another person

Rasulullah (SAW) said: ‘It is not permissible for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.’” (Abu Dawud).

This means that it is not permissible to stand in a dark corner and suddenly go 'Boo!' to frighten our friend. This also applies to some of the reality tv shows these days which make a joke of scaring people in various ways such as pretending to rob or kidnap someone.

6. Joking should not involve backbiting

This means that we shouldn't make a joke about a person while he/she is not there as this could count as backbiting and backbiting is a major sin.

The above points are not exhaustive and there re still points which i haven't mentioned and elaborated. For further reference please refer to these 2 useful sites

Joking with family and friends is a good theraphy to take away our stress and to lighten our hearts. If we do this in accordance with Islamic teachings, insyaAllah we will not be committing any sin unknowingly. In taking care to not make fun of Islam, we are expressing our respect and obedince to our religion. And when we take caution to not hurt others while joking, we can strengthen or at least maintain the ukhuwah and relationship between us. Is it worth it to hurt another person just to give ourselves a laugh? Imagine if we are the ones being laughed at. How will we feel?

Also, we need to take note of thie last point (last only in my post..actually there are more points)

7. Do not joke or laugh excessively

Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.” (Sahih al-Jaami)

Imaam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "The kind of joking which is forbidden is that which is excessive and persistent, for it leads to too much laughter and hardening of the heart, it distracts from remembrance of Allaah, and it often leads to hurt feelings, generates hatred and causes people to lose respect and dignity. But whoever is safe from such dangers, then that which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do is permissible for him."

A dead heart will find it hard to focus on ibadaah and in the remembrance of Allah. A dead heart will also face difficulties in accepting new knowledge. Thus, it is often said that the jokes we make should be like the salt we put in our food which is very little in quantity.

If we feel that our hearts are hard or even dead, bring it back to life by controlling the jokes we make and engagge in besides increazing our Dhikr and remembrance to Allah SWT. Let's use this blessed month to continuously improve various aspects of our lives. And let's try to be consistent in our efforts. Ramadhan can be made as the starting point for such changes. May Allah continuously guide us and accept our deeds.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Days of Mercy: Part 2-They need our Dua

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in a Hadeeth Qudsi: "Allah, the Exalted, says 'Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who visit each other for My Sake. Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who love one another for My Sake. Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who approach one another in humility for My Sake. And, indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones that rush to help one another for My Sake." (Musnad Imam Ahmad)

For those of us who are carrying out our fasts in a peaceful and safe environment, we really need to be grateful to Allah as that is indeed a great ni'mah. Alhamdulillah, we're free to practise our religion and to perform our salah without having our lives endangered. Also, we're able to do all this in a condusive environment.


There are Muslims out there who are not so lucky.

InsyaAllah there are many of us who are praying and making dua to get Allah's mercy. Why not take some time to also make dua for others?

Our brothers and sisters in Syria definitely need our duas. So does our Palestinian brothers and sisters. And there are Muslims in various parts in the world who are victims of natural disasters, droughts, poverty, famine and many other unfortunate situations. There are Muslims in the world such as our sisters in France who are discriminated for wearing the hijaab and they're not the only ones facing such discriminations.  And above all these, there are Muslims around the world who are so close to losing their deen (maybe some who have already lost it).  All of them are in great need of our Dua. All of them are in dire need of Allah's mercy.

At this precise moment, they may be people who are so sick that they are not able to make dua for themselves. And surely, those who have already passed on are no longer able to make dua for themselves either. Yet, both the sick and especially the deceased are in much need of Allah's mercy.

We don't lose anything by praying and making dua that Allah's mercy be with all those who have been mentioned above, and anybody else that may have been missed out. Today we are able to make dua, we are able to pray for the well being of ourselves and that of others. The day will come when we ourselves will be in need of duas from others. So while we can, lets pray that in this blessed month, Allah's mercy will not only be with us but that He showers His mercy on ALL our brothers and sisters in Islam, no matter where they are and for both who are alive and those who have passed on.