Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Benefits of Prayers

The benefits of fulfilling one's prayers is countless. These points are just a few of what every book says about the prayers that a Muslim does helps in his spiritual development:

1. It enriches the soul and fulfills its yearning to connect with its Lord. This gives the soul peace and contentment.

2. It purifies the heart from the effects of indolence and sin by providing a continuous opportunity for communication with Allah and for repentance. The Messenger (peace be upon him) indicated this when he said to his Companions: “Consider if one of you had a river by his door in which he bathed five times a day. Would any filth remain on him?” They responded in the negative. He said: “Likewise, Allah wipes away sins with the five daily prayers.” This stresses the meaning of Allah’s words: Verily prayer forbids licentiousness and wrongdoing. And the remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing.

3. It emphasizes the proximity between religion and daily life. Life, from an Islamic standpoint, is to be directed to Allah. Life is an opportunity for worship and the remembrance of Allah. Praying repeatedly throughout the day, interrupting the daily activities, brings about the realization of this concept. The believer, through prayer, acquires a spiritual awareness that he takes with him throughout all of life’s endeavors.

4. It teaches a Muslim punctuality. Prayer shows how important time actually is. Allah says: Prayer is enjoined upon the believers at prescribed times.

5. It teaches the Muslim the virtues of constancy and perseverance. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The best of deeds with Allah are the ones performed most regularly, even if it is small.”

6. It cultivates brotherhood, equality, and humility between the Muslims.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thoughts and Supplications

O Allah! How can I ever live this life without You!

O Allah! I cannot imagine living this life without having You by my side!

What would my life be, if You are not with me in times of ease or difficulties?

If I was not given the knowledge and guidance, I could have die and left this world not knowing that You exist. With this knowledge, You brought meaning and purpose to my life, and thus guided me towards Your light.

I am so very thankful and grateful to You, O Allah for all the gifts and favours that you have bestowed upon me all my life. And the greatest favour that you have bestowed upon me, to be a Muslim in this life. Now that I'm a Muslim, I dread the thought that i would not be able to return to you as a Muslim in the Hereafter.

So please Allah! I know I may not have been an exemplary Muslim, but i'm trying my best.

O Allah! Please guide me on the straight Path! The Path whom You bestow favours upon before us, not the path that incur Your wrath nor the path that went astray. Amin.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Fashioner

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Surah al Huja'at 49:13

Last year, in preparation of my wedding gifts, I wrote this verse amongst many others, which I had selected on a few hundreds of coloured papers that were to be inserted into photo frames. And i've also wrote at least 30 pieces of that same verse translated into Chinese; for my Chinese-educated guests.

My purpose for that was not because i had alot of time; but rather, i got my husband to agree to my intention of doing some da'wah activities with our non-muslim guests. Probably he would have more muslim guests than me, henceforth, this activities was directed more to my side. I had my primary school classmates, my ex colleagues from the airport as well as my colleagues from my present workplace.

It had to be a verse that would be easily understood and clearly manifested in this world, evolved around everyone, and not something that could cause misunderstandings about Islam. Insya allah.We researched through some parts of the Quran and this was also one of the verses we selected:

And among His Signs is the sleep that ye take by night and by day, and the quest that ye (make for livelihood) out of His Bounty: verily in that are signs for those who hearken. Surah al-room 30:16

By the mercy and grace of Allah swt, we hope that these verses would trigger them to be interested to know more about Islam. But none came back to us asking about the religion of peace. Never mind. It is indeed Allah alone, who guides mankind away from the crooked path.

And so, 1 year has passed... I am trying my hands at motherhood. =) So far, alhamdulilah.

O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).

Allahu Akbar! God is the Greatest!

In Allah, i put my trust in Him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Books Galore!!!

Alhamdulillah. Many praises be to Allah!

Finally the Kinokuniya Members' Privilege is here! And it's 20% STOREWIDE!!!

I can get the books i've been longing to get and I could get some books on stuff like pregnancies and babies. Haha... It's a 'bookie week'.

And Muslimedia.com is also having one week 20% discount storewide from 17October to 25 October.

Masya allah!!!

And I'm a member of both bookstores. (hehe)

Alhamdulillah. All Praises and Thanks be to Allah!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of Hoofbeats and Zebra

I'm currently reading this book titled 'When you hear hoofbeats, think of a Zebra.' by Shems Friedlander.
Title sounds abit strange right? But it's an interesting read about Sufism. It contains several short stories on Sufism.

Would like to share the introduction with you. If you like it, you can get it from
wardahbooks . It's back in print. :)

When we hear hoofbeats, do we think of a zebra? Probably not. Because we usually do everything the way we've always done it. I'm interested in how we perceive reality and how we gain the knowledge to accomplish this. Islam and Sufism ask us to gain knowledge. To have knowledge of Allah it is necessary to have knowledge of ourselves. If we truly know ourselves, then we will know Allah. If Allah allows us to know Him, we might know ourselves.

This body we live in is a kingdom and a grave. It is a kingdom where our heart resides. It is the grave of our soul. Our heart has the spiritual faculty of knowing Allah. Through this body we experience the world, we travel through this world like a traveler in the desert, and no one remains here. When it is their time, all the prophets and beings endowed with divine grace and knowledge, regardless of their achievement and station, will go. He who created them will also take them, whether they are willing to go or not. This power that brought us here will remove us from here. This power of Allah not only created us, but created everyone and everything we love; whether it be a man, woman or flower, it is His creation.

To understand Sufism, we have to understand that Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and all in between, also created us. If we can fathom and accept that Allah created each of us, then we know that He has created everyone who is on this planet. We are not just something that happened; each of us is a miracle. If we understood this, we would not take ourselves for granted....

Not only are we obliged to seek knowledge, we must also understand how to behave in life. We will never understand this unless we observe ourselves in daily life. Observe ourselves, and not try immediately to change, but to say,"Ah, this lazy one again, how easily he got angry." We must first try to recognize all the faults within us, in order to change them into qualitites, in order to become our own shepherd...

A man was wounded in battle, but he didn't let his friends draw the arrow out of him. First he wanted to know who the archer was, what he looked like, and where he was standing when he shot the arrow. He wanted to know the type of bow and the length of the arrow. As he discussed all these things, he died.

This is how we are in life. We must pull out the arrow of useless thoughts, throw it away, and discard the toys of our mind before it is too late.

We make our prayers and roll our beads. If we do it mechanically, we don't change, and then we argue that there is something missing in the Path. How do we change ourselves? When we say Bismillah, in the name of Allah, before we eat and then just gobble down the food, never thinking of Allah, we come to the end of the meal feeling stuffed and only know that we have eaten a lot of food. If we say Bismillah knowing that we are putting the Nur, LIght of Allah, into the food, and if we eat this food with the idea that the food will nourish us so that we may be strong to pray to Allah and thank Him, then we are eating correctly. If we dress not out of vanity and not for fashion, then we are dressing correctly.

What is this life, that passes so quickly and in a moment is gone? An old dervish in Madinah once said to me that life is a gift that consists of 3 days and 2 are gone. No matter how much money you have, regardless of how much influence you have in this world, you cannot bring those days back. We have one day left, and in that remaining day are we going to seek the pleasures of the world that we know are so temporary? Can we not put the love of Allah in our hearts before that heart becomes dust? For dust it will become. And for those who could never have enough of big houses and acres of land, one day they will have to be satisfied with six feet of earth....
(end of introduction)

That's a little preview of the book. I like it because it's presented in stories form.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Observing your 5 daily prayers with sincerity and love

This is a timely video. It's taken from http://www.sufilive.com

I need those reminders.

Our Prophet s.a.w and his companions all prayed to Allah with great sincerity, concentration and humility. There was a story about Saiyidinna Ali. He had a toothache and he was so scared of pain. So he told the other companions to extract his tooth in his prayers. And they really did. So when he finished his prayers, he was shocked to find so many blood on his clothes. His tooth has been extracted. What kind of level is this? Very very high level i would say.

How i wish I could at least possess half of what Saiyidinna Ali has.

And all these while, i've felt that my prayers were not perfect. Whenever I enter it, my mind brings me to many places. Sometimes, I might even 'travel regionally' and if I get really lucky, I might fly across the Pacific Ocean.

Actually it's a sad thing.

And it's depressing to read from books that if your prayers aren't good, and Allah swt doesn't accept, those prayers will be wrapped up like a heap of clothes and THROWN back to you!

That's scary isn't it?

I need to buck up. Time is running out. and we know the Judgement Day is near for its signs are all around us.

And Shaykh Hisham also talks about the condition of the heart.

May the video benefit us all.

May Allah swt purifies our heart from within. amin.

O Allah! I beg of you to change the state of my heart if it's tainted or damaged. amin.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My recent spate of experiences with non Muslims has made me to conclude that:

Islam is indeed a misunderstood religion.

The other day, my colleague saw me playing with her soft toy. So she told me to go home and pro-create so that I do not have to resort to playing with soft toy but a real baby instead. But I told her, it’s up to God when He decides to give me a child. So she continued telling me to go home and pray to Him at night. I told him I can’t pray because I was having ‘mother nature’ but I could still pray to God (in terms of supplications).

She asked me why did our religion forbid us (the women) to pray. So I explained to her in details: God gave relief to women by not laying any difficulties upon us during our menses; imagine the discomfort some may feel during that time. And I also told her that God didn’t stop the women from supplicating to God at all times whenever they remember God.

But she continued to say that the religion is being unfair to women; ‘Why women can’t do this, can’t do that, why only men can marry 4 women etc etc? (so it was veering further and further away) I quickly add on, explaining to her about the equality of men and women in the eyes of God.

4:124] If any do deeds of righteousness - be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Paradise, and not the least injustice will be done to them.

She reiterated her statement by adding this; ‘this thing has been in the religion since a long long time. And your Muhammad, he can’t read and write, why did he set this kind of rules?’ I told her that revelation came from God, and it’s through Angel Jibrail that revelation was given to our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. And because the Quran contained words of God, we do not disobey God’s commandments by praying during our menses.
“Aiya, aiya, anyway, it’s just my own perspectives lah.’

I also didn’t want to continue if not it might seemed that I am arguing with her because she kept insisting that ‘it’s just my own perspectives’.

Probably, I’m just guessing here. She’s born in Malaysia and she has probably seen a lot of things happening back in her country, resulting in a very negative perspective about Islam and Muslims. I could sense it in her tone. By the way, she’s a Catholic.

Insya allah, I’m hoping that I will have more opportunities to explain to her everything she wrongly perceives of Islam.

May Allah swt guide and assist me in my mission. Amin.

Whenever I’m in the taxis, I try to speak Mandarin to the drivers. I realized, most of them, misunderstood Islam as a religion for the Malays. One of the drivers, which I met recently, started exclaiming that how can I, as a Malay, do not know how to speak the language and claim myself to be a Muslim. That’s a common misconception. And I really hope to broadcast this aloud.

I explained myself as being a Chinese Muslim and I am a Chinese even though I embrace Islam. The driver couldn’t believe me and I almost resort to taking my IC out for him to verify my identity. My husband was shocked and he dissuaded me from doing so.

Anyway, I continued my conversation with him because he asked the golden question: “Why did you convert?” My husband was smiling and shaking his head vigorously. He told me frankly that he has never met such a person and was truly surprised that such people exist.

Omigosh! Am I supposed to laugh or cry or remain expressionless?

Monday, October 06, 2008

My 2nd 'Marriage' ... Finally it's over!!

Last week had been a crazy and hectic week for me.

It was Eidul Fitri on the 1st of October. I couldn't take leave because of my work committments.

I was busy with work because there was an Big annual event coming up for my department. And I had to take care of logistics, catering and all nitty gritty stuff surrounding the entire event.

I was busy with the preparation of my '2nd wedding'. ( getting another husband?? No la, of course not). Actually, it's a traditional tea ceremony and is quite common amongst the Chinese. The purpose of this tea ceremony, I suppose, is for the relatives to get to know the bride/groom and vice versa. And the newly wed couple has to go through a series of 'serving tea' to the in-laws, parents and relatives(directly related, not simply any Jane,Mary or Kate). Sort of like an acknowledgement that he/she has entered the family. Apparently, when I decided to hold my wedding reception last year, my parents forbade me to hold that tea ceremony in that month because of her superstitious. Silly right? Anyhow, I went ahead because I really don't believe that. So because of this superstitious month, not much of our relatives were invited except for an auntie who was the closest to my family. They had seen me with the tudung before, so I think they were okay with it. Preparation of my tea ceremony was crazy too! Everything had to be done within a short span of time. Just 2 days before the actual day, my mum was mad at me over trivial matters. Patient, patient...

And by the Will of Allah, every important thing clashed together around the same period. First,was Hari Raya, then came my department's event, and then followed by my tea ceremony.
My boss couldn't approve my leave for my Hari Raya celebration, even though I told her I had an important day to manage. So I was left with 2nd of October to do some visiting and try and finish up all the important stuff for the tea ceremony. Both me and my husband were so tensed and uptight about this, sometimes, we couldn't get each other's understanding about things. Never mind.

The event went smoothly. Alhamdulillah.

After work, I met my husband for prayers and dinner before he sent me back to my mother's place. Well, traditionally speaking, although i've been married(solemnized) for a year and already staying at my own place, my mother wanted me to go back to her home, so that my husband could come over and 'fetch' the bride over OFFICIALLY. well... well... Just to please her, I agreed to all her requests...

So after picking me up, we had to go back to our own home. Where I had my tea ceremony with my in-laws. This session was much easier to cope and stress free. :) (i thought usually inlaws give much pressure but i didn't feel any pressure at all).

We had to 'report' back to HQ during a certain period of time, given by my mum, checked by my auntie, certified by the 'almanac book'. So after the tea ceremony at my place, we left about 11am. Instead of going straight home, we went to pick my bro's gf at Bukit Timah. Haha. Somehow, we still manage to make it back.

When we arrived, I realized that most of my relatives have reached. Shortly after, we began the tea ceremony. My mum positioned the chairs infront of a 'buddha poster'. My auntie prepared the tea cups and the tray and told us to kneel infront of my parents. But another relative of ours said no need. I was glad but at least i made sure i bow lower and i offer the tea with due respect. I guess kneeling is not so necessary nowadays right?

Thank God, I really do not have a lot of relatives on my parents' side. but by the time, we finished everyone, I could feel the tiredness and sleepyness creep in. In the midst of everything, my husband and I took a short nap in the room. Both of us were knocked out!

Finally, we got the 'clearance' to go back home. It was almost asar. Oh God, we were so tired... we slept in the car, on our way home.

ALHAMDULILLAH! Am I not glad this thing is really really finally over!!!

I prayed additional raka'ats of shukran prayers to Allah swt to thank Him.

During the reception, I've heard conversations about the traditions of the Malays; the religion of the Malays etc ... and saw pairs of eyes staring at me... I tried my best to explain the basics to them, but I wonder if they truly digest and reflect what I said. Insya allah hopefully.

I will update some of my encounters soon. Insya allah...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Eid Mubarak

Here's wishing all the Muslim readers out there:

Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri!!!! Eid Mubarak!!!

May Allah swt continue to show us His Mercy and bring on the light of Syawal upon us. May Allah swt makes it easy for us to continue our ibadah with sincere devotion, and win more battles against our nafs and hawa. Amin.