Monday, 28 April 2014


“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope

Everyone of us expect certain things in life. Some expect good jobs and salaries, some expect gorgeous spouses and some expect to live happily ever after.

For the lucky few, they would probably get what they expected but for some, it's just sheer disappointment.

Similarly with people. We tend to expect that people would behave in certain way or manner and when our expectations are not met, we get extremely disappointed.

Let me give you an example, when we do something good for someone or if we helped a person in need, we would expect that this person to be grateful and thanked us but when she or he doesn't, we get visibly upset. Similarly when we do something for families or friends, we expect that they would reciprocate in kind but more often than not, they don't and that leaves us feeling utterly devastated and in murderous mood!

Well, I'm no different. I too had expectations on how people should behave and often I get hurt when my good intentions or acts went unappreciated. The problem lies in 'expectations'

Once upon a time ago, I was babbling on to the Wise Owl about my hurt and disappointments and how some people can be so ungrateful.  The Wise Owl looked at me calmly and said, "Sister, I think you need to re-check your intentions". I looked at him in confusion. "Errm.. What do you mean? My intentions were to do good, so where did I go wrong?". I asked whilst squinting my eyes. I was getting a little bit defensive.

The Wise Owl smiled and replied, "Yes, your intentions were to do good, which is noble but sis, you were doing it to please others. That's why you got disappointed when they didn't react in kind. Try this. Try doing everything for the sake of God Al Mighty and to please Him ALONE. You will find that when you do that, you will get the satisfaction regardless of how the recipient of your deeds reacts. Whether they thanked you or not, becomes irrelevant because your expectations are not from them but for the rewards from Allah SWT. Don't expect anything from human because they will disappoint you. Just be content that you are doing it for God's sake".

It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs 'Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say:

"Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for."

Related by Bukhari & Muslim

Errrrr...Ouch! Talk about slap on the face! As much as I hate to admit it, what the Wise Owl said is completely true. If I had set my intentions correctly, I wouldn't be complaining in the first place.

So moral of the story is, never to have expectations from fellow human beings. More often than not, they will not meet your expectations and that can jeopardise the relationship between friends and even families. Some people are just difficult to please so don't even bother. Do everything for the sake of God Al Mighty and be assured that He won't disappoint you or let you down.

Rasūlullah SAW said, “Allah said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. If he comes to Me walking, I go to him hastily.

Sahīh al-Bukhāri [121:9 #7405]

Friday, 25 April 2014

To Forgive but not to Forget?

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”
― Will Smith
What do you do when someone insults you? What would do if your friend hurt your feelings? What would you do if a member of your family breaks your heart into tiny pieces?
Instinctively, you would want to fight back. Tit for tat. If someone verbally abused you, naturally, you would want to retort back. Give them an equal lashing in return. But, the question is, is it worth it? If it's a close friend or worse, a family member, then whatever you might say in the spur of the moment, may tarnish the relationship forever. More often than not, you would probably end up feeling even worse than before.
´A man said, 'O Messenger of Allah, tell me of a good deed that will grant me entrance to Paradise.' The Prophet (s) said, 'Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, establish regular prayer, pay zakat and uphold the ties of kinship.'
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The thing is, we are all only human. I too, am only human. I bleed when I fall and I also experience hurt. To forgive a single act of wrong is easy but to forgive a continuous intentional acts of wrong requires tremendous effort and faith. It is especially difficult when the wrongdoer never apologised. I always felt that I should not forgive the wrongdoer if the person never bothered to say 'sorry'. I was determined to wait for this person on Judgement day and state my case before Allah SWT. Pretty vindictive huh?
Anyway, the Wise Owl told me once upon a time ago, "Sister, forgive and let go. Forget about what this person did to you. It does not matter if this person never apologised or keep on hurting you. Let Allah SWT deals with this person. You need to keep your heart free of any negativity. Throw away the hurt and grudge. Your patience will definitely be rewarded. Those kind of people do not deserved a place in your heart. Save your heart for Allah SWT and your loved ones."
“Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 24:22)
What the Wise Owl said is absolutely true. We shouldn't waste our time thinking of 'why' or 'what' this person did this or that. Chances are, these people are just miserable in nature and they will only be happy when they make others miserable.
When someone insults or hurt you, try walking away, forgive and forget. It can done really, just need a little practise. The temptation to kill would be overwhelming but please resist! Don't let these people be the reason for your folly. Trust me, these people are not worth you going to jail or Hell.
´The person who breaks the ties of kinship will never enter Paradise.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Let us be the better person and have mercy in our hearts. Now, I do try as much as possible to walk away, forgive and forget, though there were days when my temper got the better of me. I realised that I don't want to complain against anyone on on Judgement day as I would be busy worrying about my own fate. Let the wrongdoer face God Almighty on his or her own.
I want to be happy and  one of the ways to stay happy is not to let anyone else spoil it. Agree?
“Those who show no mercy to others will have no mercy shown to them by Allah.” [Muslim]

Maturing with Age...

“Getting older makes you no wiser,but number of lessons that learned.” ― Toba Beta,

Another year has passed and I grow a year older. I am fast approaching my unknown expiry date. How much time do I have? God knows! None of us know our departure date. If we did, we would be on our best behaviour from the very beginning.

Looking back, I realized that my life have not turned out the way I originally planned it but it is exactly as how God wants it to be.

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters) concerning his life - how he spent it; about his youth - how he took care of it; about his wealth - how he earned it; and where he spent it; and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired." [Tirmidhi]

I'm not sure that when my time comes, I will pass the interrogation with flying colors but I thought to myself, that I must at least try to prepare. One thing for sure, God Al Mighty has been very merciful towards me and have bestowed upon me an abundance of blessings which I don't deserve but nevertheless, very grateful for.

This year, on my birthday, there were no candles or cake or even presents. Was I upset?, because I can see that God has given me the greatest gift of and to be loved.

My day started with messages left by friends and families, wishing me a prosperous life and duas that God grants me barakah and blessings. That made my heart swelled to the maximum. It is always nice to know that you're being thought of. Then, my other half took a break from his busy schedule and spent the day with me at the book fair and even bought me books! You know my love affair with books!

When the kids came home from school, I was showered with kisses and homemade cards. Though my 5 years couldn't quite spell 'mummy' correctly, the fact that he tried warmed my heart. Finally, before the curtains closed down for night, I got a call from my beloved parents wishing me the best in this world and Hereafter.

Now tell me, if a person had all that for his or her birthday, would that person want material things instead? Hhhmmm...maybe some would. I know I did many years ago but after several knocks on the head, I finally came to my senses! Thank God!

Sometimes we forget that the simple things in life are actually the best gifts and priceless treasures. We tend to take these things for granted until it is taken away from us. We may not have everything that we want but God always gives us everything that we need.

Sometimes also, it is because we failed to appreciate what we have, that we feel that we don't have enough. Expectations could also be the culprit because it is when we don't get what we expect then we feel that we have nothing at all.

The thing is, we may never get what we expect but know for sure that we will, InShaAllahtaala get everything that we need. Stop expecting because what we expect may not be good for us but instead, look around and appreciate what we already have. Don't wait until it's too late.

If we want our lives to be meaningful, then start paying attention to God's plan and go with it. Put your trust in Him and you can have the best life anyone can ever ask for.....

Allah Says in a Hadith Qudsi:

When My servant reaches the age of 40, I relieve him of 3 calamities: madness, elephantiasis and leprosy. When he reaches the age of 50, I subject him to an easy reckoning. When he reaches the age of 60, I endear to him his return (to Me). When he is 70, I make him dear to the Angels. When he is 80, I write his good deeds and cast away his evil deeds. When he is 90, the Angels say: he is Allah's prisoner on earth; his earlier and later sins are forgiven and his intercession is accepted. When he reaches the age of senility, Allah records for him (his good deeds) equal (in value) to what he did when he was in sound health. If he does anything bad, it is not written. (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Power of Perseverance....

“Through suffering, comes wisdom. Through surrender, comes strength. Through resilience, comes hope. Keep going.”
― Rita Said
Giving up is one of the easiest thing to. It doesn't take courage or effort to do it. Some might think that by giving up, it would chase away all the troubles but more often than not, it invites unwanted and unforeseen dangers.
When I first got on the path of rediscovery of the religion that I was born into, one of things that the Wise Owl always reminded me to do is, was to share the knowledge that I had acquired. He kept telling what those knowledge were not mine to keep,  for myself. It is my duty to share it with others. For a very long time, I hesitated to do so. Why? Because I felt I was not qualified to speak about Islam and I do not want to invite personal criticisms.
Then, the Wise Owl told that all I needed to do was share the knowledge as how I have learnt it. He said, it's like sharing your lecture notes. I get it!
The Prophet also said: "Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 107
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 148
Believe it or not, the above hadith scared me enough to spur me to start sharing my 'notes'. On Judgment day, when my time comes and I am asked as to how I utilized the knowledge that was given to me by God Al Mighty, I fervently hope that I am able to answer, " I shared it with others to the best of my ability".
Unfortunately, not everyone is open to the concept of 'sharing'. Some might even be allergic to it in that they react violently to it. The Wise Owl used to warn me, to expect trials and obstacles especially if one is trying to perform good deeds for the sake of Allah SWT. I know that to be true because I have experienced it myself on numerous occasions. In the past, every time I stumbled upon an obstacle, I would somehow managed to get through but I had a lot of help from the people who cares about me and for that, I am very grateful.
Once, a Muslim stranger commented that I look like a christian nun. Me? The person who is garbed from head to toe, in black abaya and hijab, resembles a nun? Seriously? I mean,  don't get me wrong. I have nothing against nuns. I respect other people's choice of religion. What alarmed me was the fact that, how easy it was for a Muslim to call another Muslim, a an unbeliever. Do you know the severity and gravity of such conduct?
Whoever attributes kufr [unbelief] to a believer, he is like his murderer.'' (Tirmizi, ch. Iman (Faith); see Arabic-Urdu edition cited earlier, vol. ii, p. 213. See also Bukhari, Book of Ethics; Book 78, ch. 44)
The Holy Prophet said: If a Muslim calls another kafir, then if he is a kafir let it be so; otherwise, he [the caller] is himself a kafir.'' (Abu Dawud, Book of Sunna).
So, how did I react? Well, I would be lying if I said I wasn't affected by the comment.  I was livid! Seething with anger and ready to fight. Then, I remembered what the Wise Old Man had told me once before, " Sister, we are not placed on earth to be popular amongst the human but to strive to be amongst the favourites in God's eyes". Then, almost immediately, my anger evaporated. The comment became like a mosquito bite. It hurt for tiny bit then it vanished.
This stranger who did not know anything about me probably spoke out of ignorance because as far as I know, nuns do not wear abayas or, all black. Whatever the intention of this stranger, for uttering such statement, let this person answer to God.
The point I'm trying to make is, Don't Give Up when you are faced with hostility. Some people are just born nasty and some, good. If anyone attacks you personally or try to diminish your good efforts, then walk away from the person without a backward glance. Trust me, these kinds of people are just not worth your breath to engage in a debate or worth your time remembering. Just walk away and continue with your task.
I have to admit that my journey has not been easy and there were days when giving up seemed like a good idea. But, I knew that if I gave up, I would only be running away from the problem. Plus, what would I tell God later?.....

Thursday, 10 April 2014

We are family.....

We almost always only greet strangers when we need something from them (time, directions, etc.).”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

The last couple of weeks have been like a whirlwind for me. I was busy trying to get my conference paper done and also make arrangements for my kids whilst my husband and I are away. Suffice to say that prior to my trip, everything were blurry events for me and I was on auto-pilot mode.

That mode continued until I reached Philadelphia. We were hungry after a 27 hours journey and we decided to venture out to find some food to feed our rumbling tummies. When I first stepped out from our hotel I was greeted by  stranger who gave me the Salam. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. In Malaysia, somehow I don't get greeted by my fellow Muslim brothers or sisters while walking on the streets and I am equally guilty of not greeting them either.

The act of giving 'salam' has unfortunately become a forgotten ritual eventhough it is sunnah. One of the best acts in Islam is actually to greet another with salam.

"Feeding the hungry, and saying salaam to those you know and those you don't know." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Perhaps where I come from, where the inhabitants are pre-dominantly Muslim, we have taken the virtue of giving salam for granted.

"When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other)." (Abu Dawud)

Throughout my entire stay, every time a fellow Muslim brothers or sister sees me, they greeted me with salam and I replied to them in kind, with a smile, and every time that happened, my heart felt a little bit lighter. Who would think that such a simple act can bring such tremendous joy?

I do believe that it is time for me to personally revive this forgotten sunnah. So let me start now.....Assalamualaikum wbt my sisters and brothers....