Monday, January 30, 2012

Small Wins!!

Remember the kids? Yes, they have graduated. In fact, out of the two parts of Design Project (we have DP1 and DP2) to be completed, the triumphed in DP2. In order to promote healthy competition, the faculty announced a winning group at the end of presentation day. This is not based on the presentation itself, but also content of the whole project throughout. The kids won DP2 last year. I was in the middle of TA and could not make it to their presentation.

This year, I took on another group of kids and start consulting for them in this sem's DP1. I met them twice, helped them a bit with the project and I was scheduled to attend their presentation last Saturday, but due to some reason, I could not make it. This morning I saw in my inbox an email from one of the kids, they won DP1 last Saturday!!!

The small things that makes me happy :D I will still continue with them till they completed DP2.
I am one happy alumni today, I hope these kids will graduate and continue to become a better engineer than I am!! ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh...

Have you ever wondered how the peace offerings was started? I never did. I thought its a normal thing, but boy was I wrong :P

Having an iPad at first was a no big deal to me, as I was not a gadget freak to begin with. However, it all changes after adding on few apps. I added in a Hadeeth apps, and try to make a point to read one a day. Remember how amazed I am on the sheikh's eloquence in narrating the stories of the Sahabah? I aspire to be one as well :D

This is a story about Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and how the salam was started.

In the Waddan valley which connects Makkah with the outside world, lived the tribe of Ghifar. The  Ghifar existed on the meagre offerings of the trade caravans of the Quraysh which plied between  Syria and Makkah. It is likely that they also lived by raiding these caravans when they were not  given enough to satisfy their needs. Jundub ibn Junadah, nicknamed Abu Dharr, was a member of  this tribe. 

He was known for his courage, his calmness and his far sightedness and also for the repugnance  he felt against the idols which his people worshipped. He rejected the silly religious beliefs and the  religious corruption in which the Arabs were engaged. 

While he was in the Waddan desert, news reached Abu Dharr that a new Prophet had appeared  in Makkah. He really hoped that his appearance would help to change the hearts and minds of  people and lead them away from the darkness of superstition. Without wasting much time, he  called his brother, Anis, and said to him: 

"Go to Makkah and get whatever news you can of this man who claims that he is a Prophet and  that revelation comes to him from the heavens. Listen to some of his sayings and come back and  recite them to me." 

Anis went to Makkah and met the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him. He listened to  what he had to say and returned to the Waddan desert. Abu Dharr met him and anxiously asked  for news of the Prophet. 

"I have seen a man," reported Anis, 'who calls people to noble qualities and there is no mere poetry in what he says." 

"What do people say about him?" asked Abu Dharr. 

"They say he is a magician, a soothsayer and a poet." 

"My curiosity is not satisfied. I am not finished with this matter. Will you look after my family while I  go out and examine this prophet's mission myself?" 

"Yes. But beware of the Makkans." 

On his arrival at Makkah, Abu Dharr immediately felt very apprehensive and he decided to exercise  great caution. The Quraysh were noticeably angry over the denunciation of their gods. Abu Dharr  heard of the terrible violence they were meting out to the followers of the Prophet but this was  what he expected. He therefore refrained from asking anyone about Muhammad not knowing  whether that person might be a follower or an enemy. 

At nightfall, he lay down in the Sacred Mosque. Ali ibn Abi Talib passed by him and, realizing that  he was a stranger, asked him to come to his house. Abu Dharr spent the night with him and in the  morning took his water pouch and his bag containing provisions and returned to the Mosque. He  had asked no questions and no questions were asked of him. 

Abu Dharr spent the following day without getting to know the Prophet. At evening he went to the  Mosque to sleep and Ali again passed by him and said: 

"Isn't it time that a man knows his house?" 

Abu Dharr accompanied him and stayed at his house a second night. Again no one asked the other  about anything. 

On the third night, however, Ali asked him, "Aren't you going to tell me why you came to Makkah?" 

"Only if you will give me an undertaking that you will guide me to what I seek." Ali agreed and Abu  Dharr said: "I came to Makkah from a distant place seeking a meeting with the new Prophet and  to listen to some of what he has to say." 

Ali's face lit up with happiness as he said, "By God, he is really the Messenger of God," and he  went on telling Abu Dharr more about the Prophet and his teaching. Finally, he said: 

"When we get up in the morning, follow me wherever I go. If I see anything which I am afraid of  for your sake, I would stop as if to pass water. If I continue, follow me until you enter where I  enter." 

Abu Dharr did not sleep a wink the rest of that night because of his intense longing to see the  Prophet and listen to the words of revelation. In the morning, he followed closely in Ali's footsteps  until they were in the presence of the Prophet. 

As-salaamu Alayka Yaa Rasulullah, (Peace be on you, O Messenger of God)," greeted Abu Dharr. 

Wa Alayka salaamullahi wa rahmatuhu wa barakaatuhu (And on you be the peace of God, His  mercy and His blessings)," replied the Prophet. 

Abu Dharr was thus the first person to greet the Prophet with the greeting of Islam. After that, the  greeting spread and came into general use. 

The Prophet, peace be on him, welcomed Abu Dharr and invited him to Islam. He recited some of  the Quran for him. Before long, Abu Dharr pronounced the Shahadah thus entering the new  religion (without even leaving his place). He was among the first persons to accept Islam. 

Let us leave Abu Dharr to continue his own story... 

After that I stayed with the Prophet in Makkah and he taught me Islam and taught me to read the  Quran. Then he said to me, 'Don't tell anyone in Makkah about your acceptance of Islam. I fear  that they will kill you." 

"By Him in whose hands is my soul, I shall not leave Makkah until I go to the Sacred Mosque and  proclaim the call of Truth in the midst of the Quraysh," vowed Abu Dharr. 

The Prophet remained silent. I went to the Mosque. The Quraysh were sitting and talking. I went  in their midst and called out at the top of my voice, "O people of Quraysh, I testify that there is no  God but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." 

My words had an immediate effect on them. They jumped up and said, 'Get this one who has left  his religion." They pounced on me and began to beat me mercilessly. They clearly meant to kill me.  But Abbas ibn Abdulmuttalib, the uncle of the Prophet, recognized me. He bent over and protected  me from them. He told them: 

"Woe to you! Would you kill a man from the Ghifar tribe and your caravans must pass through  their territory?" They then released me. 

I went back to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and when he saw my condition, he said, "Didn't  I tell you not to announce your acceptance of Islam?" "O Messenger of God," I said, "It was a  need I felt in my soul and I fulfilled it." "Go to your people," he commanded, "and tell them what  you have seen and heard. Invite them to God. Maybe God will bring them good through you and  reward you through them. And when you hear that I have come out in the open, then come to  me." 

I left and went back to my people. My brother came up to me and asked, "What have you done?" I  told him that I had become a Muslim and that I believed in the truth of Muhammad's teachings. 

"I am not averse to your religion. In fact, I am also now a Muslim and a believer," he said. 

We both went to our mother then and invited her to Islam . 

"I do not have any dislike from your religion. I accept Islam also," she said. 

From that day this family of believers went out tirelessly inviting the Ghifar to God and did not  flinch from their purpose. Eventually a large number became Muslims and the congregational  Prayer was instituted among them. 

Abu Dharr remained in his desert abode until after the Prophet had gone to Madinah and the  battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq had been fought. At Madinah at last, he asked the Prophet to  be in his personal service. The Prophet agreed and was pleased with his companionship and  service. He sometimes showed preference to Abu Dharr above others and whenever he met him  he would pat him and smile and show his happiness. 

After the death of the Prophet, Abu Dharr could not bear to stay in Madinah because of grief and  the knowledge that there was to be no more of his guiding company. So he left for the Syrian  desert and stayed there during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar. 

During the caliphate of Uthman, he stayed in Damascus and saw the Muslims concern for the world  and their consuming desire for luxury. He was saddened and repelled by this. So Uthman asked  him to come to Madinah. At Madinah he was also critical of the people's pursuit of worldly goods  and pleasures and they were critical in turn of his reviling them. Uthman therefore ordered that he  should go to Rubdhah, a small village near Madinah. There he stayed far away from people,  renouncing their preoccupation with worldly goods and holding on to the legacy of the Prophet  and his companions in seeking the everlasting abode of the Hereafter in preference to this  transitory world. 

Once a man visited him and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He  asked Abu Dharr: "Where are your possessions?" "We have a house yonder (meaning the  Hereafter)," said Abu Dharr, "to which we send the best of our possessions." The man understood  what he meant and said: "But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode."  "The owner of this abode will not leave us in it," replied Abu Dharr. 

Abu Dharr persisted in his simple and frugal life to the end. Once the amir of Syria sent three  hundred diners to Abu Dharr to meet his needs. He returned the money saying, "Does not the amir  of Syria find a servant more deserving of it than I?" 

In the year 32 AH. the self-denying Abu Dharr passed away. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had  said of him: "The earth does not carry nor the heavens cover a man more true and faithful than  Abu Dharr."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Epic Journey part 6

Assalamualaikum wbt, 

Next part is finally here, slowly but surely, insyaAllah ;)

We are still at the ayat 4-5 Surah Yusuf, let’s recap the meaning:
[Of these stories mention] when Yusuf said to his father, "O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me."
He said, "O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy.

Further tafseer and learning that can be derived from these two ayats:
12. The relationship and interaction between parents and offspring
In various ayat, Allah SWT describes to us specifically how the prophets addressed their children:
Ya’qub and his son
The beginning of ayat 5 describes to us the manner in which Ya’qub AS addressed his young son Yusuf AS (O' my son)
Ibrahim and his son
In the following ayat (37:102) Allah beautifully describes to us how Ibrahim spoke to his son Ismail.
“And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, "O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast."

Luqman and his son
Ayat 13 and 16—17 in Surah Luqman (Q.31) demonstrate the manner in which Luqman advised his son:
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, "O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah . Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice."
[And Luqman said], "O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be within a rock or [anywhere] in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted. O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.
Ya’qub and Ibrahim to their sons
The advice Ya’qub and Ibrahim gave their sons from their deathbed is related to us in Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:132 and Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Ya’qub, [saying], "O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims."
The sun and the moon
What do the sun and the moon in the dream of Yusuf AS represent?
Most of the ulama of the opinion in Yusuf's dream the eleven stars represent his brothers, who were eleven, and the sun and the moon, represent his father and mother.
This explanation was collected from Ibn Abbas, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Sufyan Ath-Thawri and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam.
13. Disclosing of the information
This ayat demonstrate the permissibility of not disclosing information about certain matters
Is warning our Muslim brother about the activities of another Muslim brother against him gheebah (backbiting)?
Imam An-Nawawi states there are 6 circumstances to enable talking about another brother behind his back

Types of Permissible Gheebah, taken from this webpage 

Gheebah is permissible for a sound religious purpose that cannot be achieved except by using it. These permissible types of Gheebah are as follows:

1. Complaint because of an injustice, such as complaining to a ruler, judge or others in authority. A person may say in this case: "I was treated unjustly by so-and-so in such and such matter."

2. Seeking help to change a Munkar (wrong deed) and to correct the wrongdoers. A person may say: "A person does such and such, so stop him." His intention should be to check the Munkar. If this is not the case, then the statement is Haraam.

3. Seeking a Fatwa. A person may state to the Imam, Mufti or Shaikh, "My father, brother or so-and-so has treated me unfairly. Is that act permissible? And how do I get out of this situation? How do I obtain my rights?" This way of seeking a Fatwa is permissible. However, it is safer and more preferable to say whatever would be said about a non-specific person as doing such and such, as anonymously as possible.

4. Warning Muslims against evil and advising them. This could include criticism of untrustworthy narrators or witnesses. This is permissible by Ijmaa', rather it is mandatory and the benefit is very clear. Such as consulting in the matters of marriage or a business partnership. In this case, the person consulted should not hide anything about the concerned person. He should mention the faulty qualities only with the intention of benefiting the consultant.

5. Mentioning the person who indulges in Haraam or Bid'ah openly. This would include mentioning those who openly drink Khamr or those in positions of authority doing wrong. It is permissible to mention the sin of such a person. However, it is prohibited to mention the person with a different sin unless there is a reason that makes it permissible to do so for that sin.

6. Identifying a person. If a person is known by a descriptive nickname, such as Al-A'mash (squint-eyed), Al-A'raj (one who walks with a limp), or Al-Asamm (deaf), then it is permissible to use these names for identification purposes. But it is not permitted to use these names if the intention is to insult the person. If it is possible to identify such person by using another descriptive name, then it is better and preferable.

14. Excuses
After warning Yusuf AS about his brothers, Ya’qub made it clear that even if something adverse happens to him, it is the consequence of Shaytan’s plots, which illustrate the importance of making excuses for our Muslim brothers and sisters as much as possible. (Orang Melayu cakap, bersangka baik, unless we know exactly why they did what they did)
15. Jealousy
We observe from this ayat that jealousy between siblings and other relatives in an unfortunate reality and do exist.
16. Prostration
Prostration should only be made to Allah SWT. However, Yusuf saw in his dream that the eleven stars, the sun, and the moon were prostrating themselves to him. How can this be explained?

Allah narrates the reply Yaqub gave his son Yusuf when he narrated to him the vision that he saw, which indicated that his brothers would be under his authority. They would be subjugated to Yusuf's authority to such an extent that they would prostrate before him in respect, honor and appreciation. Yaqub feared that if Yusuf narrated his vision to any of his brothers, they would envy him and conspire evil plots against him. This is why Yaqub said to Yusuf, (Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they should arrange a plot against you).

Are we governed by the laws of previous nations as legislated through previous prophets?
The previous law only applies if the law is in the Quran and shariah has not abrogated the law.

17. Ya’qub only spend less than 7 years with Yusuf, yet he built a great foundation that Yusuf brought with him many years after that. We will see later in this story, when Yusuf has no one to turn to and yet he still remain steadfast to his faith.

18. The ayat highlights the requirement of assessing situations with clear perceptions and insights.

From 5 ayat, we have extracted 17 learning altogether, more to come, insyaAllah!! :D

Monday, January 9, 2012

A friend posted this on my FB page :D 

Am loving every bit of it. It has me written all over it. Not a single line goes without me nodding to it  :P


You entered: (my full name)
There are 9 letters in your name.
Those 9 letters total to 47
There are 5 vowels and 4 consonants in your name.

Your number is: 11

The characteristics of #11 are: High spiritual plane, intuitive, illumination, idealist, a dreamer.

The expression or destiny for #11:
Your Expression number is 11. The number 11 is the first of the master numbers. It is associated with idealistic concepts and rather spiritual issues. Accordingly, it is a number with potentials that are somewhat more difficult to live up to. You have the capacity to be inspirational, and the ability to lead merely by your own example. An inborn inner strength and awareness can make you an excellent teacher, social worker, philosopher, or advisor. No matter what area of work you pursue, you are very aware and sensitive to the highest sense of your environment. Your intuition is very strong; in fact, many psychic people and those involved in occult studies have the number 11 expression. You possess a good mind with keen analytical ability. Because of this you can probably succeed in most lines of work, however, you will do better and be happier outside of the business world. Oddly enough, even here you generally succeed, owing to your often original and unusual approach. Nonetheless, you are more content working with your ideals, rather than dollars and cents.

The positive aspect of the number 11 expression is an always idealistic attitude. Your thinking is long term, and you are able to grasp the far-reaching effects of actions and plans. You are disappointed by the shortsighted views of many of your contemporaries. You are deeply concerned and supportive of art, music, or of beauty in any form.

The negative attitudes associated with the number 11 expression include a continuous sense of nervous tension; you may be too sensitive and temperamental. You tend to dream a lot and may be more of a dreamer than a doer. Fantasy and reality sometimes become intermingled and you are sometimes very impractical. You tend to want to spread the illumination of your knowledge to others irrespective of their desire or need.

Your Soul Urge number is: 5

A Soul Urge number of 5 means: 
The 5 soul urge or motivation would like to follow a life of freedom, excitement, adventure and unexpected happening. The idea of travel and freedom to roam intrigues you. You are very much the adventurer at heart. Not particularly concerned about your future or about getting ahead, you can seem superficial and unmotivated.

In a positive sense, the energies of the number 5 make you very adaptable and versatile. You have a natural resourcefulness and enthusiasm that may mark you as a progressive with a good mind and active imagination. You seem to have a natural inclination to be a pace-setter. You are attracted to the unusual and the fast paced.

You may be overly restless and impatient at times. You may dislike the routine work that you are engaged in, and tend to jump from activity to activity, without ever finishing anything. You may have difficulty with responsibility. You don't want to be tied down to a relationship, and it may be hard to commit to one person.

Your Inner Dream number is: 6

An Inner Dream number of 6 means: 
You dream of guiding and fostering the perfect family in the perfect home. You crave the devotion from offspring and a loving spouse. You picture yourself in the center of a successful domestic unit.

~yes, that's me ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

iLove iFree iStuffs!!!!

Just received this new toy from the company. The blogging apps is too small for my liking, but am enjoying the spell checker and Instagram though. The resolution of the apps are for iPhone users, thus for iPad there is a magnifying function which is at the bottom right corner, which I accidentally pressed it quite a few time. Bit annoying considering that the magnified version became all pecah-pecah. For more wordy post, I'll stick to blogging via laptop. This would be more of spur of the moment ones ;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Twins of Faith Day 2 Part 1

25th December 2011

I joined a Sister’s only workshop as a start for today’s activity.
The speaker, Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj with the topic Women in the Eyes of God. She started off with few verses from the Holy Quran that basically place women in Islamic perspective. Outside world perceive Islam as a religion that oppresses women, however it is clearly explained in the Al-Quran, both gender men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah, what differentiate us is our level of taqwa.

An-Nahl, ayat 97
Sahih International
Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.

Islam has never treated women as second grade creation; in fact, Islam is the only religion that strongly upholds women’s right. A whole chapter is dedicated to women in Al-Quran (Surah An-Nisa). Such details were drawn on how to treat women, up to the point of allocating the inheritance.

Dr Harlina draws her session more towards how women are in the current global society. She based her talk from a Millennium Development Goals Report. The Millennium Development Goals were derived from the United Nations Millennium Declaration, adopted by 189 nations in 2000. Most of the goals and targets were set to be achieved by the year 2015 on the basis of the global situation during the 1990s. Three out of eight goals are directly related to women. The goals are:
1. Goal 3 Promote gender equality & empower women
2. Goal 4 Reduce child mortality
3. Goal 5 Improve maternal health

UN conducts the research to see where the countries stand based on certain KPIs. Though the report only outlines the scores according to continents, the working team had access to the detail breakdown of each countries score. Sadly majority of the Sub Saharan African countries that score the lowest ranking in all the indexes are mainly populated by Muslim people.

Why is this happening? This is because Cultural Islam took over instead of living the life the way it is outlined in the Al-Quran and sunnah. As an ummah, this is a serious issue. Muslim women are not being treated fairly across the world even by their own fellow Muslim brothers, we are lucky we did not see that as big issue in Malaysia, but still there are people in the our Muslim community that fails to live up to Al-Quran’s guide when it comes to treating women.

Some interesting facts that was shared, so ladies, off to the Norwegian Woods I presume? ;)
I once had a girl~~~ thanks CS, now I cant stop humming the song :D
After that workshop, I returned back to the main auditorium and just in time for next lecture by the cute and cuddly Sheikh :) . The topic is Our Youth, the Foundations of an Exemplary Community. Majority of the participants are no doubt still can be categorized as youth. There are quite a few universities that sent few buses of students to join the conference. I say the organizer did a great job in catering the conference to all walks of life.

Main take away from Sheikh Navaid talks, there are 7 categories in a wheel to help us (the youth :P ) realize our true potential. Those are:
1. Deen – spend time and effort in investing in the hereafter. People who aim the akhirat will try their best to be on their best behaviour. It was mentioned good tongue leads to good heart, hence a person that properly guard his/her deen, will definitely has a good personality to begin with
2. Education – invest in your own education. His advice was to learn this 3 basic skills and you are good to achieve anything in your life:
a. Learn how to manage people
b. Learn how to manage time 
c. Learn how to lead people
One highly recommended book to be read by the Sheikh is Dale Carnegie’s – How to Win Friends and Influence People
3. Career – do what you enjoy and what you most passionate about, not what others expect you to do
4. Social life – you are the average of 5 people you surround yourself with, so what type of person are there in your social circle?
5. Health – take good care of your health
6. Finance – money should be in our hands but let not money get to our hearts. Earn as much as possible, spend in way of Allah, do not just pamper ourselves (note to self!!)
7. Family – keep good relationship with your parents, siblings, family etc.

We will reach our full potential once all of these elements are well balanced in our wheel of life, insyaAllah…
That’s it for now. I will continue with the rest of day 2 programme in the next post. Daa…

Monday, January 2, 2012

Twins of Faith Day 1 Part 2

After Maghrib, the lecture series was continued with the session by Sheikh Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips with the topic Cultural Islam or Islamic Culture. He opens up his talk by highlighting headlines from all over the world that give bad impression on Islam.
One case in Egypt a 35 years old woman was beheaded and her body parts was cut and thrown at a cemetery by her own brother and her son. It was mentioned that the son found out that his mother was pregnant after secretly being married for the second time. According to a culture in Southern Egypt (once where Shiite was big part of the community) once a woman becomes a widow, she is not allowed to be remarried. She is supposed to remain single for the rest of her life. Therefore, her action to re-marry has gone against the tradition and allows her brother to take matters in his own hands. This has got nothing to do with Islam, but since the family is Muslim, so that’s how people perceived Islam.

I guess it’s a common issue even here in Malaysia. We, Malays especially have too many cultures that contradict the shariah. Islam does not deny the diverse culture among different races; it is permissible as long as it does not go against Islamic rulings. Sheikh also touched on certain culture that was based by the Shiite and still continues till today, one of which is Maulidur Rasul celebration. Come to think of it, Rasulullah SAW has never celebrated his own birthday, nor does his companions once he died. It all started when a group of Shiite started all these extreme practices.

How did all of these started? It all can be summarized to 4 main factors, due to:
1. Pre-Islamic practise that continues till today
2. Adopted practise from other religion/community
3. Religious innovation
4. Religious fanaticism

Surah al- Maidah ayat 104

Sahih International
And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," they say, "Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers." Even though their fathers knew nothing, nor were they guided?

There is also an issue of Mazhab Fanaticism, we all know the 4 main scholars and how different continents follows different school of thought.
Nowadays it may not be such a big issue, but did you know that before the year 1925, there used to be 4 different prayers held at one prayer time in front of Kaabah. One imam for each mazhab conducts the jamaah prayer separately. They took turns after each other finishes. It was mentioned there used to be maqam for all the imams in Masjidil Haram. They were not buried there, but the followers of each imam built the maqam as a symbol to show which teaching that they follows. The wahabis took a firm action and torn down all the 4 maqam and insist there should be only one single jammah going on in Masjidil Haram at one prayer time. I was shocked to hear the story, as I never thought people will go to the extreme to demonstrate which side they follow, but in actual fact we have to bow down to the one and only, Allah SWT.
It is not wrong to follow all these imams, as they also follow Al-Quran and Hadeeth, but we have to be a responsible Muslim, try our best to find out what is the exact ruling, and if it is too confusing to decipher with our limited amount of knowledge, then yes, we should follow the wise, and InsyaAllah we will not be strayed from the right path.

Islam and Islamic culture could not be inherited, we may inherit the cultural Islam such as our Islamic name, but the faith can never be inherited. Islam by definition is submission to the will of Allah, and in order for us to completely submit, no one can force, it must come from the heart.

The last session on that night was by someone closer to home, Sheikh Hussein Yee and his topic was One Faith, One Family.
He made one bold statement, saying that the Muslim nowadays believe in more than one God apart from Allah. We may not agree, but his reason is clear when he mentioned the way we discussed matter with the not yet Muslim indicates that we also believe that their God exist. We acknowledge their way of life (religion) but the aqeedah, the belief that their god exist is totally wrong. We must emphasize there can only be one God, Allah SWT and whether or not they accept that, its another matter. Take note, even Shaytan believes in Allah.

Sahih International
For you is your religion, and for me is my religion." Al-Kafirun, ayat 6
Sheikh asked us to show courtesy to call them ‘not yet Muslim’ instead of non-Muslim. This is due to the fact that they don’t even know what Islam is all about, who is Allah. Everybody was born a Muslim, only the parents that they were born to taught them the religion that they know now. So its our responsibilities to try calling the others and bring them back to Islam. We are all children of Adam, we are ONE family. He left us with this one simple message I Shall Love All Mankind – ISLAM

By now, the clock was showing ~9pm. We still have one more agenda, entertainment. This time its from a brother from Britain (pronunciation brit-en) ;) Brother Muslim Belal. He gave a brief intro on how he reverted to Islam at the age of 19. He actually put all that out in a poem and the best part is, at then end of it, even his mother reverted back to Islam,Subhanallah… I could not find the video, this one I believe was about Palestine.
After Muslim Belal, comes Abdullah Rolle, but I did not stay on, enough for me to call it a day…pheww…that was long :D

Twins of Faith Day 1 Part 1

I don’t know where to begin in this sharing. Basically the twins of faith refer to both the Pillar of Islam and Pillar of Iman, which in short Iman and Amal. The theme for the conference is Best of Nations – Building an Exemplary Community. You can read all about it in the webpage. 
As I mentioned, the activity was jam packed from 10am till 10pm. Throughout the talks, the main motto echoed was ilmu without amal is as good as amal without ilmu,  both are in vain. Amal meant here is action on the ilmu, be it via sharing, teaching and basically giving back to the rest so that we can be the Best of Nation, Muslims as a whole. I’ll be going through in gist what the speakers mentioned and hopefully we will get the message they are sending.

Day 1: 24th December 2011
The session started with recitation of Al-Quran by a local ustaz, I am so sorry for not taking notes on the ustaz’s name. He recited parts of Surah Al Imran, ayat 102-110. Up next was Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim. He addresses the conference’s theme, which very much described in the ayat recited by the Qari. 

Al Imran 102-110
Translation of Sahih International

102: O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. 
103: And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.
104:And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.
105: And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.
106: On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black, [to them it will be said], "Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject."
107: But as for those whose faces will turn white, [they will be] within the mercy of Allah . They will abide therein eternally.
108: These are the verses of Allah . We recite them to you, [O Muhammad], in truth; and Allah wants no injustice to the worlds.
109: To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And to Allah will [all] matters be returned.
110: You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.

From this ayat, it is clearly stated that we Muslims has to stick together, work in making the world a  better place, help our brothers and sisters from going astray from the guided path. We, every single one of us are ALL responsible of that. Else, we’ll risk seeing the ummah collapsed.

Sheikh Yahya also mentioned that perfection is only attainable through constant pursuit, meaning we could not give up in the quest to create a better ummah. We will face different people and it’s important that we do not judge others by a moment of their life, take it easy on others, but the key message is, never stop in working to make a better ummah.

Next inline was Sheikh Alaa Elsayed, man…. this Sheikh is super-duper funny :) . He has his talk made into very informal and entertaining session. He has loads of sound effect to compliment his points, well, I am a bit biased. I just came back from a 2 days course with him, but I’ll discuss about that later. His topic was Building Blocks
I was seated quite in the middle of the auditorium
We know our end goal, a united ummah that helps each other to make the world a better place, but how do we do that? First off we need to have the knowledge, and we need to start taking action. And that is why the first word revealed was ‘Iqra’ which means read, gain as much knowledge as possible and start putting those knowledge into action. Building an ummah should start from the very first step, you got it right, your family, your babies in particular. 

What is the child’s first right? Even before he/she was born? You have to give them a righteous mother or father. You owe your children that. 
And now you can start talking about building an ummah, he mentioned briefly on guides to choose a righteous spouse, for both men and women. We have always been flooded with the hadeeth that guides the men on criteria to look for in a potential wife, but how do we choose the right men? He shared that as well. As I mentioned, he discussed this in detail during the course, which I’ll share later, ok? Main take away from his talk:

Raise your child to be a nation maker, not a nation breaker. One of the tips that he shared was, if you can’t help, don’t hurt. This is pertaining on how to talk to a child. When he/she did something wrong, be careful on how you handle the situation, be mindful of the language that you used. Make sure that if you could not offer solutions or ways to improve, do not turn the fault on them and start calling names. This in the long run may contribute to negative development of the child. I think most parents know this, but when tested during actual scene, some may tend to get carried away.

After the Sheikh, we had a light entertainment from Brother Boona Mohamed, a poet hailed from Canada. He was reciting his poems and the content was heavy. My ability to decipher words was heavily challenged listening to his recitation, he’s good. Throughout the 2 days he was featured quite a few times and some of the poems that he recited was Heroes. Thanks to some of the participant, they have uploaded some of the conference's recording and posted in you tube. 

So that was it the session before lunch on the first day. Pretty tight eh? After lunch, Sheikh Navaid Aziz made his appearance with his topic, I’m Muslim & I’m proud
The Sheikh is cute and cuddly like a bear. He has loads of stories, be it the stores from prophets to the stories of sahabah. I was in awe most of the time seeing how eloquent they were with all these stories. I bet they must have memorized the whole Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and only Allah SWT knows how many more kitab. I am seriously jealous. He shared a story of Umar Ibn al-Khattab on the how proud a Muslim should be. The story goes: 
Umar (r.a.) and his deputy and went to Jerusalem with his slave. They were having one camel on which each of them rode by turn. When Umar (r.a.) was entering Jerusalem it happened to be the slave’s turn to ride on the camel. Though the slave offered his turn to the "Khalifah" but Umar refused and remarked: "The honour of Islam (i.e., being Muslim) is enough for all of us." He entered Jerusalem holding the rope of the camel on which was riding his slave. His clothes were dirty and there were several patches on them. — Encyclopedia of Islam
The moral of the story: We Muslims should be proud by all the Islamic teachings, in this case being fair, and do not prioritize on how the others will look upon us. 
In order for us to be proud as Muslim, the importance of knowledge yet again is stressed, that is the essence of our izzah (honour, strength). 

The main theme of Islam is all ibadah are for Allah, love for one another and have mercy, compassion and forgiveness to others. We need to live by this element to show how good a Muslim is. He also shared few other stories that basically teaches us no matter how great we are being tested, never turn our back against Islam, be proud that we are a Muslim. He left us with a quote from the famous poet, Rumi, 
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself' (Rumi)
After the session, I moved on to one of the available workshop, this one runs by Dr Zaharuddin Abd Rahman, discussing on the Islamic approach of Family Finance
He started out the session with the daleel from Al-Quran on Islamic finances rules. Based on his slide pack, both feet of the son of Adam will not proceed to the next stage in the life after death except after he has been asked 5 questions, two of which are: 
  1. Where do you get your wealth and 
  2. How do you spend it?
I have been surfing high and low to find the hadeeth or related ayat to this statement but to no avail. The closest that I got was the hadeeth narrated by Imam Ahmad about the questions in the grave, the period between death and resurrection, which asked on the 3 questions:
  1. Who is your Lord? 
  2. What is your religion?
  3. Who was that person who was sent to you? 
If any other person out there that can verify the additional 2 questions and what part of the afterlife it was asked, please share it with me. 

It is important to note, a strong reminder issued by one of the amir ul-mu'minin with regards to dealing with Islamic rulings in financial matters:
Khalifah ‘Umar bin al-Khattab RA said to the traders in the Madinah al Munawwarah market:“O traders! Do not trade in our market for those who not posseses knowledge (of Islamic commercial laws); because he may consume riba’ willingly or unwillingly (because of the lacks of knowledge). ”
His session has opened my eyes to know more on my own financial business, how much of my current transaction involves riba’ and what can I do to stop this. 
This is not the end of day-1. Still there are 2 lectures from day 1 to be covered. Bear with me, am working on to complete this before this week ends, insyaAllah. And by the way Happy New Year 2012!!