Monday, October 22, 2012

CATATAN HAJI 1433 (1)


Selepas 37 hari berada di Tanah Suci, mungkin catatan ini tampil bagai terlambat. Keberangkatanku buat kali pertama berstatus petugas haji ke Haramain sudah tentu mencatat sejarah tersendiri. Selepas diberi amanah selama 12 tahun sebagai pembimbing haji di tanah air, mungkin juga kesempatan seumpama ini kelihatan terlambat kerana mereka yang sekontemporari dan yang lebih junior terlebih dahulu menikmati perjalanan haji mereka hasil dari jerih payah mereka menyumbang bakti kepada jemaah. Hujung-hujungnya kita kena terima segalanya adalah rezeki dan ketetapan Allah jua. Allah jua Maha Mengetahui masa bila Dia akan pilih yang terbaik untuk kita menikmatinya.

Bila direnung sedalamnya, penantian 12 tahun yang baru kurasakan boleh dikatakan amat berbaloi dan digandakan Allah nikmat-Nya. Mungkin tidak mampu diungkapkan dengan perkataan dan segala ta'bir lisan pun akan kehabisan kosakata memperihalkannya. Pada catatan kecil ini, sebanyak mana pun yang mampu dihuraikan, bukan sahaja terlalu kecil, mungkin juga boleh mengurangkan kehebatan sebenar yang dialami. Hanya dengan dorongan untuk 'bini'mati Rabbika fahaddith', aku cuba untuk mengungkapkannya sebagai tanda kesyukuran dan satu usaha mendorong mereka sempat membacanya untuk mengikuti jejak langkahku jika ada yang layak diteladani.

Pada benak hatiku, boleh dikatakan baru kinilah benar-benar dirasakan buah kesabaran itu adalah kemanisan yang tiada terkata. Apa tidaknya ? Begitu banyak perkara berlaku tepat benar seperti yang diharapkan meskipun belum sempat dipohon dengan kesungguhan ke hadrat Ilahi. Nak dikata diri ini banyak amal soleh sehingga layak mendapat nikmat begini, rasanya  masih jauh dari dikatakan cukup. Namun Allah Maha Pemurah. Belum pun terungkap sudah pun tertunai apa-apa yang dihajat.

Sejak awal pengelompokan para PIHTAS ( Pembimbing Ibadah Haji Tanah Suci), termaktub nama MADINAH pada kumpulan kami itu benar-benar mendatangkan rasa seronok. Sedarlah aku bahwa tugasan yang bakal dipikul ada bimbingan ibadah di Madinah. Bertemu dengan ahli kumpulan berpengalaman dan belum berpengalaman, namun terasa harmonis bersama, menambah keghairahan untuk berpadu tenaga di Madinah demi mencapai misi kemabruran haji untuk para jemaah. Kumpulan kami yang diterajui oleh Ustaz Abu Bakar Mohd Noor ( Melaka ) di penghujung kursus berjaya menonjolkan diri sebagai kumpulan terbaik. Kredit kepada semua ahli kumpulan ; Ustaz Mohd Faisal ( Melaka ), Ustaz Suhaimi ( Negeri Sembilan ), Ustaz Ramli ( Perlis), Ustazah Yaminah yang kami panggil sebagai Bunda ( Pahang ), Ustazah Rusmaizan ( Kelantan ), Ustazah Faridah ( Perak ) dan Ustazah Kunah ( Sabah ). Pada gilirannya, Ustazah Kunah tidak jadi bersama kami di Madinah dan diganti dengan Ustazah Salmah.

Bila akhirnya hari yang dinantikan tiba, satu lagi kejutan yang menggembirakan diriku adalah kesempatan mengerjakan umrah ke Makkah sebelum diberangkatkan ke Madinah. Tepat benar dengan harapan yang belum pun terungkap. Allah Maha Mengetahui apa yang diingini insannya yang kerdil ini. Sempatlah jua kami ke Makkah selepas melalui penerbangan 8 jam dan dan tertahan di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Jeddah selama 4.5 jam. Kami tiba di Masjidil Haram pada pukul 3 pagi, 16 Sept 2012. Kami selesai saie dan bercukur tepat-tepat sebelum subuh. Oleh kerana kami akan berangkat ke Madinah, kami langsung menunaikan tawaf wada' setelah solat subuh.

Jarak berjalan kaki ke ibu pejabat rupanya cukup jauh juga sekitar 1000m. Pagi tadi kami tak sempat ke sana kerana kami minta drebar turunkan kami di Masjidil Haram.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

How To Pray Five Times A Day With A Busy Work Schedule




Before I genuinely began to cultivate and nurture my relationship with God, I regarded the five daily prayers that Islam enjoins on believers as laborious. It seemed impractical to expect that I would be able to stop what I was doing during my busy work schedule to take time out and pray.

Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending upwards of 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn't working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and exercise. I was punctual with everything in my life, except that I was late five times a day.
In my mind, it was not viable to expect that I could wake up before the crack of dawn to pray the early-morning prayer, fajr, otherwise I would be too tired to work effectively later that morning. It also seemed inefficient to interrupt my work meetings to pray duhr, the mid-day prayer, and asr, the afternoon prayer.
Making the sunset prayer maghrib was often a challenge because the window to pray is typically quite short and coincides with the time between finishing work, having dinner and returning home. So, in effect, the only prayer that was feasible for me to pray on time was isha, the evening prayer. For most of my life, thus, I would at best pray all five prayers in the evening, or skip prayers here and there to accommodate my immediate commitments.
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Women pray at Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, Mandy Merzaban photo
Without realising it, my inconsistency and approach to praying trivialised the principle behind performing prayers throughout the day. I believed in God and loved Him, but on my own terms, not on the terms very clearly set out in the Quran and Prophetic teachings. Yet praying the five daily prayers, at their prescribed times, is the backbone of being a Muslim; we cannot stand upright in our faith without them. It is one of the essential practices that God has called on those who endeavour to live in Islam, a state of existence whereby a human strives to live in submission to God.
When I came to truly understand the importance of prayer, the realisation was both overwhelming and quick. It dawned on me that if I was not fulfilling this precondition, then I really could not claim to be Muslim. Even if I desired to have a solid connection with the Almighty I was not taking the necessary steps to do so. I promptly reoriented my life and it has now been a year and a half that I have not intentionally missed a prayer time, whether I am in the office, mall, grocery store, out with friends or travelling.
Looking back, I see how wrong I was about the impracticality of Islamic prayers, which are succinct and straightforward notwithstanding their resonance. When I moved from trying to fit prayers into my life to fitting my life around my prayer schedule, I instantly removed a great deal of clutter from my daily routine. Since regular prayer promotes emotional consistency and tranquillity, I began to eliminate excess negativity and cut down on unnecessary chitchat, helping me be more focused, productive and patient.
Over a short period of time, what amazed me was how easy and fluid the prayers became. Performing the early-morning prayer actually gave me a burst of energy during the day and, gradually, the prayers that I had initially perceived as cumbersome became an essential facet of my routine. With God's help, I would find ways to make a prayer regardless of the hurdles. While in Canada for the summer, I would often catch duhr prayer in a department store fitting room, with the help of a handy Islamic prayer compass application on my Iphone.
"'Verily the soul becomes accustomed to what you accustom it to.' That is to say: what you at first burden the soul with becomes nature to it in the end."

This is a line drawn from a magnificent book I am in the process of reading by great Islamic thinker Al-Ghazali, entitled "Invocations and Supplications: Book IX of the Revival of Religious Sciences." Al-Ghazali describes a series of formulas, drawn from the Qur'an and Hadith, which we can repeat to help us attain greater proximity to the divine and purify our hearts.
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Women gather for prayer outside the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Mandy Merzaban photo
At each turn in my quest to enrich my faith, I have found that what at first appears difficult becomes easy when performed with sincerity. Soon after I reoriented my life to revolve around prayer, the five prayers felt insufficient in expressing my devotion. I examined Hadith, or the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and discovered there were optional prayers I could add to my routine. Since then, I have not let a day pass without praying them.
To supplement my prayers, I have integrated various zikr, or remembrance and mentioning of God, into my days. Zikr, including repeating such phrases as "la illa ha il Allah" (There is no God but God), habitually draws our attention back to God.
Among the many rich invocations mentioned in Ghazali's book is this one which I have started to incorporate. As we leave our houses each day, if we say "In the name of God" (Bismillah), God will guide us; when we add "I trust in God" (Tawakalt al Allah), God will protect us; and if we conclude with "There is no might or power save with God" (La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah), God will guard us.

I suppose to an outsider, these acts of devotion can appear a bit obsessive, and I have had a couple of people say this to me. Yet it is an obsession with the greatest possible consequences that can improve rather than disintegrate one's disposition. The more time I devote to God, the greater the peace of mind I find filling my life and the more focused I become on what is important -- such as treating my family and friends honourably, working hard in my job, giving charity with compassion and generosity, and maintaining integrity.
Remembering God throughout the day, through prayer and invocation, truly does polish the heart as Hadith teaches; you erase obstructions that would impede faith in its purest form.
"Truly when a man loves a thing, he repeatedly mentions it, and when he repeatedly mentions a thing, even if that may be burdensome, he loves it," writes Ghazali.
 
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Friday, November 25, 2011



FRIDAY KHUTBAH 25/11/2011
On this blessed day, let us increase our takwa to Allah s.w.t. Let us strive to always perform all of His commandments and leave behind all of His prohibitions. May our taqwa bring us closer to Allah s.w.t. so that we can achieve happiness that we hope for in ourselves and those whom we love.

We are nearing the end of the month of Zulhijjah. In fact, today is the last Friday prayer we will perform in the year 1432 Hijrah. Soon, we will embark on a new Hijriyyah year, with the hope that in this upcoming year, we will be able to increase our deeds of worship and beneficial achievements in everything that we do.

In conjunction with this new Hijriyyah year, allow me to refresh our understanding on the true concept of hijrah in Islam. May our correct understanding guide us to the path of excellence and success, in this world and the next.

It is not by mere coincidence that the syura council (consultative council) headed by Sayyidina Umar Bin Al-Khattab as the second caliph of Islam, during the 16th year of hijrah, declared the hijrah of the Prophet s.a.w. to be the decisive point for the start of the Islamic calendar. In fact, this choice was made out of full consciousness on the importance of the hijrah in developing the growing Muslim community throughout history.

Linguistically, the hijrah refers to the journey for a new abode from one place to another. Historically, it refers to the specific sunnah of the Prophets and Messengers. Every single Prophet and Messenger have performed the hijrah from one place to another. This is to enable them to serve Allah, as well as to realize the duty of performing their dakwah efforts in the best manner possible.

One of the Prophets and Messengers who performed the hijrah is Prophet Ibrahim a.s. The story of his hijrah is recorded in surah Al-Ankabut verse 26:

 But (Prophet) Lut had faith in Him: He said: ‘I will leave home for the sake of my Lord: for He is Exalted in Might, and Wise.’  ”

Scholars recorded that Prophet Ibrahim a.s. migrated with his family from Iraq to Harran (Syria), and then continued on until he reached Palestine. He then stayed there until the end of his days and was even buried there.

When we reflect upon the word hijrah from the perspective of the various Prophetic traditions, we will discover that the term does not just relate to a transition from one place to another.

However, the term hijrah also connotes the ability for someone to transform himself from his current condition to a better one; or from a state of ignorance to a state of enlightenment, from a lifestyle far detached from Allah s.w.t. to one that pleases Him. This is our Islamic tradition; a tradition that is consistent with the teachings of the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w.

This was accurately explained by Rasulullah s.a.w. as to the meaning of hijrah. He s.a.w. said:

 “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the other Muslims are safe, and the muhajir (the one who performs the hijrah) is the one who abandons what Allah s.w.t. has forbidden.” Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim.

In another hadith, it was narrated that one day a companion by the name of Fudaik who has just embraced Islam, approached the Prophet s.a.w. and asked:

“Ya Rasulullah, many people from my country alleged that if one does not perform the hijrah by leaving his abode, his faith is not perfect.” The Prophet then replied:

 “O Fudaik! Establish prayers, pay zakat, avoid sins and stay wherever you wish with your people.” Hadith narrated by Imam Ibnu Hibban.

It is clear therefore, that the hijrah is not merely a physical act. But the principle of hijrah can be fulfilled by performing the commandments of Allah s.w.t. and avoiding every single act that will cause His displeasure.

The event of hijrah has instilled within us the spirit of change. With the provision of this admirable spirit, let us strengthen our resolution so that we can improve our lives, to be closer to Allah s.w.t. and to the teachings of Rasulullah s.a.w. We can do so by performing acts that will enhance our iman such as extending the acts of compassion or ihsan to other mankind through kindness and charity.

If previously we have not been consistent in performing our prayers or any other obligatory deeds, now is the time that we should perform our personal hijrah. This is because none of us exactly knows the time of his death, and when the ordained time has arrived, there will be no more opportunity for us to repent or to perform our obligations.

Similarly, my dear brothers, if previously we have been living a carefree lifestyle without concern of any religious boundaries, this is now the time for us to make a better change in our lives than the life we have lived yesterday.

If all these while we have adopted a relaxed attitude in ensuring that the source of sustenance is halal for our family, now is the time for us to reflect on the sources of our sustenance.

We need to ensure that the food and drinks that we provide for our family are from sources which are halal. It is possible that the challenges and tests that we faced in life could be caused by a mere morsel of food from a source that is not blessed by Allah s.w.t.

At the same time, let us plant a resolution in conjunction with this approaching new year, to perform hijrah of our mentality and the quality of our efforts. It does not matter if we are students or employees. All of us have a role in ensuring that we put in our best efforts to hijrah so that we can be a better student or a better employee from last year.

The choice is up to us. It is only we ourselves who can impact a positive change in our lives. It is only we who can perform this hijrah in improving our own selves. Remember Allah’s promise to those who strive to hijrah in the path of Allah and to transform oneself into a better person, with enhanced faith and taqwa, as well as achieving the comfort of life and forgiveness from Allah s.w.t. Allah says in surah An-Nisaa’ verse 100:  

Meaning: “He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth many a refuge, wide and spacious: Should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and His Messenger, His reward becomes due and sure with Allah: And Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

May Allah grant us His blessings and guidance to us all to perform our personal hijrah that pleases Him. May Allah s.w.t. make this year one that is filled with happiness and peace for us and for those whom we love.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011


HUMANITIES UNIT  (under MANAGEMENT AND HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT) akan mengadakanSimposium Mengenai Gerakan Islah Sebelum Kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu dan Isu-Isu Semasa: Peranan Madrasah dan Sekolah Agama.

Kepada sesiapa yang berminat untuk menyertai symposium ini. Sila daftar kepada skretariat kami selewat-lewatnya 25 November 2011.





 MANAGEMENT AND HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT
UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI PETRONAS
(Humanities Unit)



Simposium Mengenai Gerakan Islah Sebelum Kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu: Peranan Madrasah dan Sekolah Agama.

Para Pembentang:

Prof Dr Ahmad Murad Merican,UTP
Prof. Madya Dr. Haji Ishak Bin Saat, MuziuM PendidikaN Nasiona, UPSI
Prof Madya Dr. Kamaruzaman Yusoff. UKM
Fadhli Ghani,  Fellow, Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Zaid Kamaruddin Presiden JIM dan Setiausaha Agung IKRAM
Muhammad Pisol Bin Mat Isa, UTP


 Tarikh : 8 Disember 2011 (Khamis)
Masa : 8:00 pagi – 4:30 Petang
Tempat : UNDERCROFT, CHANCELLOR COMPLEX, UTP

Pendaftaran : Pendaftaran adalah PERCUMA (termasuk makan dan minum) dan tempat adalah TERHAD. Sila membuat pengesahan kehadiran anda sebelum 25 November 2011  menerusi email, fax (05-3656280) dan Telipon 05-3687763 (Lily) 05-3687741 (Norma)