Thursday, September 25, 2014

The modern day "Chimney Sweepers"

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I was having my lunch at a restaurant that I regularly go. Then, I was approached by a boy, asking for donation for his Tahfiz school. 

Sad, this is a common scene now in Malaysia. Especially at big cities like Kuala Lumpur. They are like the modern day "Chimney-Sweepers" (Referring to William Blake's poem). These kids, as young as 6 years old, and teenagers with their innocent look, asking sympathy and begging for sadaqah or donation in public places, sacrificing their energy, time and even their "face", perceiving that they are doing an honourable action, helping their schools.

I am obviously against this scene, and I know I am not alone. There are too many questions and issues surrounding it. Why are the schools asking the students to seek for donation in public places? If anything happens to these students, such as accidents, injuries, kidnapping (Nauzubillah), who will be responsible? Will the schools be responsible? Do the schools have some kind of insurance for the students? I doubt it. 

And whenever we ask the kids, why are you asking for donation, why don't your teachers do this, they would say, their teachers are also doing this. But I have never been approached by "teachers" from these Tahfiz schools while I'm eating at food stalls or restaurants, claiming they want to seek donation for their schools. And these kids have fixed answers to all the questions that we ask them. Probably they have been well trained by the teachers. 

The boy approaching one stranger to another stranger

Watching these kids going from one table to another, from one shop to another, from one stranger to another, just breaks my heart. While other fortunate kids out there are at their schools, learning something new, spending their time going for tuition classes, or attending music lessons, language or IT courses, but these kids have to approach strangers, repeating the same donation seeking script, and burn their precious youth time. 

And today, from the boy who approached me, I have discovered something else about them that breaks my heart. I asked the boy, how old is he. He said he is 15 years old. In Malaysia, at this age, students are supposed to sit for an important national exam called Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR). And there is another very important national exam that a secondary school student must take in their final year of schooling, in order to further their studies at the tertiary level, which is called Sijil Penilaian Malaysia (SPM)

So I asked him, "So you're sitting for PMR this year, why are you doing this?". He replied "In my school there is no PMR, there is no SPM". I was shocked. I looked at him, and asked again "No PMR? No SPM? Then what do you learn?" With his humble tone and innocent face, "We still learn, Maths, Malay and English languages, and other subjects. We have normal exams. But we don't have PMR and SPM". I was so surprised, and asked him, do his parents know that his school has no PMR and SPM? He said yes. I then took a deep breath. 

I looked straight at his innocent face, and advise him "I am a teacher, and I want you to know that PMR and SPM are important examinations. If you want to go to universities or colleges, you need SPM results. If you do not sit for SPM, it's going to be difficult. Please think about this. And please tell this to your parents. Okay..?" He nodded innocently. Then I took out some money, gave it to him, told him, that the money is for him, to buy food, or books, not for the school. And that is my amanah to him. He took the money, said thank you and went off.

I watched him as he went away. He does not have PMR qualification and if he continues his education at the same school, he will not have SPM qualification either. And he seems to be a nice, obedient, respectful and innocent boy. How can he further his tertiary education? How can he enroll in colleges or universities? What will happen to his future? God, this truly breaks my heart.

I want to do something about this. Let's do something about this. I would like to suggest and call the people who are concern about the future of these kids and teenagers to communicate to them the importance of attending a proper education, with proper examinations such as PMR and SPM. Whenever they approach us to ask for donation, just have a chat with them, and ask them whether they have to sit for PMR and SPM exams. If their answer is "No", then we just tell them a simple sentence "Please tell your parents that PMR and SPM are important for your future. And for a brighter future, better life ahead, you need to sit for these exams. Please remember this advice".

Let it be, every time they approach anyone, everyone will tell them the same advice. Let these words resound in their heads, minds and their subconscious. I am sure one day, this advice will go into their heads, and they will think about it. And who knows, maybe they will also find the way to do something about it. Though I know they are also helpless. Their parents or guardians are those who have the say and the control. But who knows, by God's will, maybe through our small effort of advising them, something will happen to change their fate and save them.

Yes, they are like the modern day "Chimney Sweepers". And sadly, we, the public of modern times, are still helpless in helping and saving them.

Wallahu 'alam.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

In defense of women: Devotion and Loyalty

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

On the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, 10 A.H. (623AD) in the Uranah valley of Mount 'Arafat in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the best example of man, gave his final sermon (khutbah). It is a sermon that contains so much meaningful jewels and reminders for not only the Muslims of his time, but also for all generations of Muslims and humankind, those in our past, in our present and in the future. One part of the meaningful reminders is:
"O People it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well never to be unchaste." (Source: IIUM Article Collection. Link) 
Significant is women in Islam and in the Prophet's tradition that one part of the sermon touched on women, on reminding that women have rights too, they are Allah's trust upon men, they are to be treated well and with kindness, "for they are your partners and committed helpers". The word "committed" is equivalent to "devoted" and "loyal". This line tells it straight forwardly that women are devoted and loyal.

Women are devoted and loyal creation of Allah swt

MashaAllah, the words of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), inspired by Allah (s.w.t), are completely true. Women are indeed committed, devoted and loyal creations of Allah. I have experienced it myself and I have witnessed things with my own eyes, that indeed women are beautifully crafted with the essence of devotion and loyalty, especially the devotion and loyalty towards those who are dear as well as beloved to them. They are born with this wonderful essence and it is transcended in their actions and characters.
If a woman is asked to be a homemaker, taking care of everyone she loves in the family and looking after everything at home, she would devotedly and lovingly be one, though she actually has the level of education that would make the world give her more acknowledgment.

If a woman is asked to be her man's assistant, in going through the current financially challenging era, to aid him in terms of financial needs, to go out and work, she would devotedly give her best effort in it, though she has to put aside her inner natural feminine instincts to be attached to her home.
If her man tells her that he would be back from work quite late, she would loyally wait for the husband, devotedly would welcome him with her graceful smile, though inside, she herself feels weary of a long day completing tasks at home, and at her work place.
If her man tells her that he would call her back after he has finished some tasks or work, she would loyally wait for his call, patiently consoling her heart, trying her best to understand his circumstances, though it usually takes hours and more hours, and even days for him to realize that he needs to call her back. And some men, will even forget.
These and there are many more illustrations on how devoted and loyal women can be. They are gifted with the inner strength and ability to do so. And subhanallah, this essence of devotion could further be enhanced and magnified. How is this achieved? It is through words or acts of appreciation from her loved ones, those whom she is loyal and devoted to, especially from her beloved man.  A sincere 'thank you', small gestures of kindness, simple greetings and even just a loving smile and glances. These are the only things that a woman hoped for sometimes, for her to further enhance her essence of devotion and loyalty, especially to her man.

When her devotion is being taken for granted

However, unfortunately, at times, she is denied of these words of appreciation. She keeps being devoted and loyal, but she does not receive any appreciation or even encouragement. Her loved ones, has taken her for granted.
No words of appreciation to her actions in making sure everyone lives comfortably at home, cause to them, that's part of her responsibility and routine. 
No appreciation is expressed to her sacrifices to contribute financial assistance to her man, cause to him, "Well, she voluntarily opted for it. And it is a common scene for women to work these days". 
No expression of 'thank you' or 'I love you more cause you're willing to wait for me' or a sweet gentle kiss on her cheek, when she waited for her man to come back home, because to him, "She has been doing that for years, do I have to say thank you every single time she waits?"
No expression of "I am sorry" or "I'll make it up to you", or acts of holding her hands to seek for her apology, for the many times when she loyally waited and expected for her man to call her back because he did say that he would call back but he forgot to do so, for the many times when she felt a bit down and hurt when she didn't even get his reply, and for the many times when she had to console her own heart. Sadly, all of this is because, according to his inadequate rationale, it's just a small matter, none of them matters to him and they are not important to be entertained. 
Such illustrations and many more denial of appreciation that are happening to a woman are not without effect to her. Gradually, the essence of loyalty and devotion in her would fade and wear away. Just like the outpourings of rain that flow wastefully into the drain, this essence would soon be wasted away. Slowly, this deprivation of appreciation which leads to the absence of devotion would lessen her pure woman entity. Her succumb to such diminution would make her become less emotional. To protect herself, she shield behind the dry, impassive and apathetic spheres of rationality. And if she is being continuously taken for granted, time after time, again and again, she might fall into the extreme and tell herself "That's it. I do not want to care anymore". And this is a totally unpleasant and imbalance scene.

In a nutshell

In essence, I would like to express and state a defence that all a woman needs is just some kind words or acts of appreciation for the devoted and loyal nature that are intrinsically crafted in her by Allah swt. She does not expect for material things like gold or diamonds. (Though subhanallah, if presenting her with such types of gifts are her man's way of showing appreciation to her, and he can afford them, then by all means he may). The most meaningful to her is the kind words and kind gestures of her man, so that she knows her effort and acts of devotion and loyalty are not wasted, so that she could further enhance her devotion, loyalty and commitment to him. And with all this, the love in her heart towards him will become strengthen and she could play her role as a true woman to her fullest capability and potential.

In defense of women.

Dear men,
Love the woman of your life with all your heart and you will be loved unconditionally by her in return. Try to soften your heart and ego for her. She would understand it that at least you are trying. Trust me, it is way more rewarding to treat her with gentleness rather than harshness. The rewards shall also benefit you in the end. Do not neglect her until she falls into the emotionless hole and declares that she does not care anymore. Such reaction would have an ugly impact on you and your shared life with her. Believe me, when a woman affirms it in her heart that she does not want to care anymore, she really means it, she does not and will not ever care about you anymore.

Dear men,
It's not hard to say 'thank you' to your beloved woman. It's not difficult to return her glance and smile. It's not that hard to look at her, hold her hands and say 'I'm sorry, I'll make it up to you'. It does not cost you a lot of energy to return her call or reply her messages. It won't hurt you if you sincerely buy her simple gifts. Fulfill your promises to her for this act would make her be filled with pride and gratefulness for having you as her man. Make her feel that she is valuable to you. And finally, do not ever take her for granted. As long as you love her, show kindness and treat her well, she'll be in her utmost devotion to you. Believe me, for you, men, have no idea of the immense vastness and depth of devotion that a loyal and loving woman dares to undertake for you, the man of her life.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tell them "Allah loves you so much!".

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

"There is contentment in the belief that God and only Him alone knows all of our hardship.." - F.S

Hardship. Difficulties. Trials - No one has ever escaped them. They are part of life. Just like the sky and the soil which exist hand-in-hand in completing the creation of the Earth, life and trial also exist hand-in-hand in completing the creation of this world. This combination is fitrahsunnatullah and natural. In fact, in Islam, hardship, difficulties and trials in life carry meaningful significant. 

Yet, men perspective's towards trials are often, especially at the beginning of its happening, unfavourable, or should I say uninspiring. I would not want to touch upon the ways how a person who is tested with trials usually react. In this writing, I would like to bring our attention to the way a person usually responds to another person who is facing some trials.

Often and many of us, when we hear the news that our friend is experiencing an unfortunate event in his/her life, we would response by expressing "I am so sorry to hear that". I am a Malaysian, and in Malaysia, in Malay, the response would usually sound like this "Kesiannya.... Sabar ya...", which means "I sympathise with you...Be patience...". In our heart, we would feel sympathy. And even deeper in our heart, somehow, we would feel grateful that we are not in that person's situation. 

Actually, there is nothing ultimately wrong with these expressions and reactions. It is indeed normal for us to feel sympathy. To express our sadness as to tell our friend, we feel their grief or burden too. When we realize the trial of our friend is really challenging and difficult, it's also normal to have that feeling of gratefulness deep in our heart, that we are not the one who had to face it. In fact, according to Ustazah Noor Hafizah Musa, a well-known ustazah in Malaysia, it is good for us to make dua, may Allah will not test us with and protect us from such difficult trial, like the one we're witnessing, like the one our friend is facing. 

However, I would like to suggest for us to have a more balanced view and emotional stand in responding towards those who are being afflicted by difficulties. A more soothing, favorable, inspiring and positive response towards our friends who are experiencing trials and tests.

First of all, we have to understand and keep in mind that in Islam, trials that befall men, have great wisdom. The one wisdom that I would like to highlight is trials signify God's love towards His servants. Trials are Allah's way of communicating "I love you and care about you" to His servants.

In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said:
"Whoever Allah wants good for him, he puts them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that which is bad from it is removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever. Put them to tests, trials and difficulties."- (Recorded in Bukhari and Muslim)
In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w reminded:
"The greater reward is with the greater trial or the greater the trial or difficulty of test or hardship is then the greater the reward. And when Allah loves a person He will tests them. So he who will be pleased (with the test) and then He will be pleased. He who is displeased (with the test), then He will be displeased" - (Narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majaah)

Allahu akbar. The greater the trials, the greater the rewards from Allah. And when Allah loves a person, He will test him/her.

Personally, the moment I understand this concept, this beautiful wisdom, I came to a different view and emotional stand towards my friends who are being afflicted with trials. I look at them with the feeling, "Subhanallah, Allah loves him/her!". This may sound a bit strange, but at some point, out of sudden, I'd feel envious, that Allah, Rabbul 'Alameen, is communicating to them through the trials that He loves them and He wants good for them.

Hence, once we understand and be reminded of such concept and wisdom, our perception towards those who are tested with hardship would be different, would be more positive. Therefore, we should change our way of responding to them. I would like to suggest, instead of saying apologetic statements and sympathetic expressions, we should tell them "Allah tests those He loves and this test shows how much He loves you, man!" or simply, "Allah loves you, dear... This definitely means that He loves you!".

Other than that, I have also come across some dua that we could recite when we meet our friends who are facing trials. They were put up by Ustaz Syed Kadir Aljoofre, from Malaysia, in his Facebook status.

These supplications or expressions are to be said when we want to express condolence to someone who is facing lost or death of family members:
أَعْظَمَ الله أَجْرَكَ وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَكَ وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِكَ

(In Malay: Moga Allah besarkan pahalamu, membaiki takziahmu, dan mengampunkan mayat keluargamu itu.In English: May Allah magnify your reward, make better your solace and forgive your deceased [family member])* This is not a hadith, it's a saying by some scholars - Source: Link*
إن لله ما أخذ، وله ما أعطى، وكل شئ عنده بأجل مسمى، فلتصبر، ولتحتسب 
(In Malay: Sesungguhnya bagi Allah apa yang Dia ambil dan bagi-Nyalah apa yang Dia beri, dan setiap sesuatu di sisi-Nya dengan tempoh yang tertentu, maka bersabar dan berihtisab [menghitung diri, muhasabah dan tidak melampau]. 
In English: Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives, is for Him, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so be patient and hope for Allaah’s reward) 
*This is based on a hadith. Source: Link 1 & Link 2*

In his Facebook status, Ustaz Syed Kadir also expressed his concern on the negative expressions that we usually express to those of our family or friends who are facing difficulties and lost. He said, Islam is a beautiful religion that we are taught to look at trials from a more positive light. We should look at trials as way for us to strengthen our aqidah, belief and trust in Allah s.w.t.

So from today onwards, let's respond towards those who are facing life trials in a more favourable way. Let's be the medium to remind them that Allah, who is Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem loves them so much. May we be the medium to help others to remember the greatness of Allah. Hopefully, insyaAllah one day, when we are facing trials, in the midst of our sadness and confusion, our friends would help to remind us too, that Allah loves us so much. May His love for us will be never-ending. Ameen.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What we give, we receive

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I am fascinated by the concept of Law of Attraction (LOA). And I know, there are thousands of people out there who are also fascinated by this concept. One of the reasons for Law of Attraction to be well-known and widely accepted is due to its main principle, that is, if we give positivity, then we will in return receive positivity, yet if we give negativity, we will be repaid with negativity. In simple terms, what we give, we get back, whether it's good or bad. This principle is such an interesting, workable, easy and appealing principle to be practised in life. Everyone can practise it.

Being a Muslim, one cannot help but wonder, does this principle exist in Islam? The principle, described in books on Law of Attraction, sounds so fancy and to some unrealistic, so does it have a root in the teachings of Islam? If it does, in which part of the Quran or Ahadith that talks about this?

In truth, yes, Islam has long professed the principle of "do good, and you'll receive good" in its teaching. The proof is encrypted in Surah Al-Israa' 17: 7:

إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا
(If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves.)
[Jika kamu berbuat kebaikan, (maka faedah) kebaikan yang kamu lakukan adalah untuk diri kamu; dan jika kamu berbuat kejahatan, maka (kesannya yang buruk) berbalik kepada diri kamu juga]

In fact, in Islam, when one does good, he will not only receive good, he will also receive Allah's love pleasure and blessings. Subhanallah, beautiful indeed is Islam.

There are a lot of principles of Law of Attraction that are actually rooted in the teachings of Islam, in the Quran and Ahadith. They may not be presented in the way authors of Law of Attraction present it in their books, but the principles are there, uniquely scattered for us to discover and understand. In future post, I will reflect more on the connection of the principles of Law of Attraction with the teachings and practices of Islam, insyaAllah.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life without judgment : A concept rooted in Islam

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I like to follow successful, positive and inspiring people on Twitter and Facebook. Their perspectives, ideas, reflections and responses are greatly inspiring, unique and insightful. Most of all, their optimism inspires and moves me. One of those that I have just started following is the founder of Buffer app, Joel Gascoigne. You can follow him here: @joelgascoigne

Recently Joel Gascoigne tweeted "Accepting what comes to us without judgement", linked to his writing on He expresses that he is fascinated by a quote he discovered in the book "Autobiography of a Yogi", which he told was one of Steve Job's favourite books. The quote is:

“The one who pursues a goal of evenmindedness is neither jubilant with gain nor depressed by loss. He knows that man arrives penniless in this world, and departs without a single rupee".

And Joel reflects : "I’m fascinated by this idea that we should be unaffected by perceived positive or negative, and should instead accept what comes to us". He then continues to quote few more quotations from few more books, all are expressing the same idea, about accepting whatever that comes to us and make the best out of it. At the end of the entry, he concludes by saying: "I think non-judgement of people and situations is a key way to increase happiness, and so it’s something I’m trying to work on".

After reading the whole entry, it got me reflect on one very significant thing. While Joel is fascinated by the idea that "we should be unaffected by perceived positive or negative, and should instead accept what comes to us", here I am fascinated by the connection between this particular life concept to the saying or "hadith" of the beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa salam, which was mentioned 1400 years ago.

In a hadith related by Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said,

“Strange indeed are the affairs of the believer, for all their affairs are for their good–and that is for none but a (true) believer. If pleasing things happen, they’re thankful, and that is good for them; and if distressful things happen, they remain patient, and that too is good for them.”

This hadith is describing the attribute which a true Muslim should practise in his daily life; the attribute of accepting what ever that comes to him with an open heart and a positive mind, relating everything back to the will and permission of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and trusting that everything happens for a good reason, with a good wisdom.  In Islam, it is called "redha",  the state of "contentment with what Allah (swt) has given us" (Ar-Razzaq: The Provider, by Jinan Bastaki in SuhaibWebb). More on contentment can be read here: Link. More insights on the hadith can be discovered here: "Everything is Good for the Believer..." by Syaikh Faraz Rabbani of Seekers Guidance.

MashaAllah, Subhanallah, to me, the resemblance of this hadith to the concept mentioned by Joel, is enlightening. From this discovery, I could reflect on several significant views:

Firstly, it is enlightening to know that such concept of accepting and feeling pleased with whatever that comes or happens to our life is a concept that has been taught in Islam to Muslims, since the time of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), and in fact ever since the times of the previous prophets of Allah. As a Muslim, one would naturally recognize that most of the positive concepts of life management, such as this particular one that I am discussing, are all rooted in the teachings of Islam. Such realization should make Muslims feel grateful. Such knowledge should be part of their daily life practices so that their life will be more positive. Yet, some Muslims are still clouded with negativity, still struggling hard to be optimistic and contented with their life. And I admit, this is the area of life that I'm still learning to improve. May Allah be gentle on me and assist me in this mission. May Allah help all Muslims in attaining a happy, contented life. Ameen.

Secondly, yes, to the Muslims, such concept of accepting whatever that comes to us, is learned through the Quran and Ahadith. While for the inspiring and successful people, such as Joel Gascoigne and Steve Jobs, who are not Muslims, they could still get access to such treasure of wisdom through other sources like motivational, inspirational or managerial books. Subhanallah, Allah is indeed Rahman and Raheem, He has made knowledge, easily accessible and spread to all, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. And MashaAllah, these people have such an admirable character that they constantly have the effort to keep on reading and exploring knowledge in order to become better individuals and maintain a more manageable life. No doubt, the more one explores, the more wisdom one will find.

Significantly, I wonder, will their exploration lead them to the realization, that all of these knowledge and wisdom that they have read, are actually reflections of the true Original Sources, reflections of the true teachings Islam, the pure teachings of Al-Quran and Ahadith? Will their discovery paves the way for them to understand the most actual Wisdom of all, that the true teachings of Islam are the practical positive ways of life? Joel Gascoigne, in his entry, reflects on the significant of a quote that he has read from an author. So then, will he appreciate the significance of the saying of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) above, once he discovers that it resembles the same concept?

I hope Allah will provide these highly inspirational people with the gifts of guidance and the Truth. I hope they will continue to inspire others. And I pray that Allah will provide Muslims with the ability to exemplify and lead to the Truth. Ameen.

Wallahu 'alam.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Reflections on The Kite Runner

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

"When we were children, Hassan and I used to climb the poplar trees in the driveway of my father’s house and annoy our neighbors by reflecting sunlight into their homes with a shard of mirror. We would sit across from each other on a pair of high branches, our naked feet dangling, our trouser pockets filled with dried mulberries and walnuts. We took turns with the mirror as we ate mulberries, pelted each other with them, giggling, laughing."

(The Kite Runner, p.3)

I have an idealistic mind. I love peace and the state of innocence. Therefore, my choices of reading are usually light with a hopeful ending.

But The Kite Runner, is different. Deliberately choosing to read The Kite Runner is like the act of deliberately "torturing my inner-self". Thanks to my sense of strong curiosity, so now I have understood the profound effect of The Kite Runner. Right after I have finished reading it, I closed its cover, hold it in my arm and it left me hollow for few minutes. It made me think and reflect on several things;

The forgotten, neglected beauty

"We sat against the low cemetery wall under the shade thrown by the pomegranate tree. In another month or two, crops of scorched yellow weeds would blanket the hillside, but that year the spring showers had lasted longer than usual, nudging their way into early summer, and the grass was still green, peppered with tangles of wildflowers. Below us, Wazir Akbar Khan’s white walled, flat-topped houses gleamed in the sunshine, the laundry hanging on clotheslines in their yards stirred by the breeze to dance like butterflies. We had picked a dozen pomegranates from the tree. I unfolded the story I’d brought along, turned to the first page, then put it down. I stood up and picked up an overripe pomegranate that had fallen to the ground".

(The Kite Runner, p. 85)

Reading The Kite Runner, which portrays the innocence, freedom and purity of Afghanistan, specifically Kabul, around fifty years back, is fascinating to me. I am fascinated at the way the landscapes of Afghanistan are told in the story; untouched. I am fascinated by the idea that children could run around freely exploring the wonders of nature, they climbed trees and picked fruits; pomegranate, peaches, mulberries. In schools, they learnt the arts of Khayyam, Hãfez, and Rumi, which were taught in their common language, Persian, one of the most exquisite languages of the world. And in winter, when the school was closed, they played kites.

Yet, when I stopped reading for a while, and let my mind wondered to the reality of Afghanistan now, I became speechless. Unfortunately, as time changes and as Afghanistan writes its history filled with change of power, wars, fights, the search of stability, global recognition as well as trust and a better future, some of its entities of innocence, freedom and purity are either neglected, unappreciated, forgotten, manipulated or banned. Kite fighting, for example, was once banned by the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan until late 2001. The true nature, beauty and uniqueness of Aghanistan are hidden, not widely known. They are either gone or overshadowed by the idea and images portrayed by the Western media especially, that it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world (Olson, 2010: Forbes)

Afghanistan is not the only country which true beauty and uniqueness are hidden or disappeared. Countries such as Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and few others have their own special uniqueness and beauty; their cultures, histories, traditions, heritages and scenic nature. However, some of them are either being overshadowed by the news highlights of the fightings happening in these countries or they have disappeared, destroyed in the hands of irresponsible people fighting for their selfish cause. Look at what is happening in Syria now. Buildings and cities were tarnished, civilians and their sheikhs were killed. Gone were the heritage, beauty and tranquility that it used to have. Gone. And this, is painfully heart-breaking.

Love, sincerity and loyalty

"...I have been dreaming a lot lately, Amir agha. Some of them are nightmares, like hanged corpses rotting in soccer fields with bloodred grass. I wake up from those short of breath and sweaty. Mostly, though, I dream of good things, and praise Allah for that. I dream that Rahim Khan sahib will be well. I dream that my son will grow up to be a good person, a free person, and an important person. I dream that lawla flowers will bloom in the streets of Kabul again and rubab music will play in the samovar houses and kites will fly in the skies. And I dream that someday you will return to Kabul to revisit the land of our childhood. If you do, you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you. 

May Allah be with you always. 

(The Kite Runner, p. 201)

And it's heart-breaking also when dreams are shattered and unable to be fulfilled, like what Hassan, one of the main characters in the Kite Runner, has to face.

Reading The Kite Runner and knowing about Hassan, one of the main characters in the Kite Runner, is really touching. The portrayal of his loyalty towards Amir, how he values their friendship despite Amir's betrayal, his appreciation towards Amir's father, his obedience towards his father, his Hazara origin, his difficulties, his love towards the wife and son, his well treatment towards his mother who used to abandon him, his dreams and how they shattered, and his ending fate, are intensely heart-breaking to me. The more I read about Hasan, the more I felt my heart was torn apart. I can't help but to feel attach to him through the ties of sympathy, compassion and mercy.

Nevertheless, the way Hassan carries himself, through his speeches, actions and his final letter to Amir do not show that he wants the readers' sympathy or my compassion. Symbolically, he wants us to know and understand that he still chooses goodness and sincerity, in the midst of the malice, meanness and lies. Despite having to bear his own difficulties, he still hopes, wishes and wants the best for the people he loves and cares. And most importantly, he does all that unconditionally. Though being put down really really low by some people in his life, he actually possesses gems that other people do not own; He has a very pure heart and soul. In the story, he may be seen like a victim, yet symbolically, it is he who is the hero. His existence has actually and subtly taught us the forgotten values that we often neglected nowadays; to always be appreciative, to love unconditionally, to uphold sincerity and loyalty.

In our world full of egoism and individualism, I wonder, can we still find such loyal and trustworthy companion like that? Yes, I believe we still can, but rare. So once you've found them, never take them for granted, never let them go.


"Then, just like that, the green kite was spinning and wheeling out of control. 
Behind us, people cheered. Whistles and applause broke out. I was panting. The last time I had felt a rush like this was that day in the winter of 1975, just after I had cut the last kite, when I spotted Baba on our rooftop, clapping, beaming. 
I looked down at Sohrab. One corner of his mouth had curled up just so. 
A smile.
Hardly there. 
But there. 
Behind us, kids were scampering, and a melee of screaming kite runners was chasing the loose kite drifting high above the trees. I blinked and the smile was gone. But it had been there. I had seen it. 
“Do you want me to run that kite for you?” 
His Adam’s apple rose and fell as he swallowed. The wind lifted his hair. I thought I saw him nod.
“For you, a thousand times over,” I heard myself say. 
Then I turned and ran. 
It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. 
But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting. 
I ran. A grown man running with a swarm of screaming children. But I didn’t care. I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips. 
I ran."

(The Kite Runner, p. 339; The Ending)

Unlike Hassan, his son Sohrab, is bitterly affected by everything that's happening to him; his father and mother were shot to death, and his innocence as a child was taken away from him. While Amir, tries his best to look after Sohrab, in the hope that this could cure his wound and guilt towards the late Hasan.

Khaled Hosseini's ending of The Kite Runner is indeed brilliantly and beautifully inspiring. He ends it with Amir receiving the best gift that he would expect from Sohrab; a smile. He ends it by giving Amir a light of hope, despite all the guilt and difficulties. He ends it by telling us the readers, that despite anything, there is some hope. No matter how hard circumstances are and were, hope for something better is always there.

Always believe, that hope is always there.

Hope is there.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Law of Attraction and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

In his book, 'Law of Attraction; the science of attracting more of what you want and less of what you don't', the author Michael J. Losier mentions that "There is a physiological foundation for positive thinking and its effect in creating the Law of Attraction" (pg. 9). He asserts that "the Law of Attraction isn't a fancy term or new-age magic.  It is a law of nature that every atom of your being is in constant response to, whether you know it or not" (pg. 9). 

According to him, the vibration that every atom undergoes in every being; especially in human, causes the law to occur. He proceeds that "In the 'vibrational' world, there are only two kinds of vibration, positive (+) and negative (-)" and for human being, this vibration corresponds to your feelings or emotions which makes "Every mood or feeling [that you express] causes you to emit, send-out or offer a vibration, whether positive or negative". 

Hence, if we are expressing good feelings, the vibration that we are sending out or emitting will be positive. However, if we are experiencing bad feelings, we will be sending out negative vibration. Then here comes the key element of this whole thing; whatever type of vibration (i.e feeling) that we are expressing, they will come back and be attracted to us, matching the forms that we have expressed; positive or negative. In simple words, what we give or feel, we get back. That's why, we need to always be mindful of the feelings that we express.  

Actually, the main intention of this post is not to summarize "The Law of Attraction". But hey, if I have done it and made your understanding on the law easier, then that's good. The point that I would like to write about is my reflection while reading and trying to understand this process of Law of Attraction. I have discovered that  there is logical and scientific explanation to this law and I do believe in it. And being a critical thinker, I reflected the manifestation of this law further, further into the lives of great people in history, further back to our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. 

Looking from the perspective of Law of Attraction, with the manifestation of positive and negative vibration, energy and feelings, I picture our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w must have been someone who always have strong positive vibration in him. His frequency of positivity or positive emotions must have been very very high. The positivity or the good feelings that he had sent out, he had expressed and he had emitted must have been very powerful that all this positive powerful energy return to him with great strength and in variety of forms; He was being loved by everyone during his time, he is being loved until now, he was and is always being respected, he had been surrounded by great companions of his time, he had been chosen as the Messenger i.e Rasul Allah, he is being admired and prayed upon by everyone, he had achieved all his dreams especially his dream of spreading Islam to various nations, he had achieved his mission to fulfill God's commands upon him, he had been praised by Allah many times and above all, he is a man whom is dearly loved by Allah, the one and only God, the Almighty. Subhanallah. MashaAllah... 

It is told to us that Prophet Muhammad, whenever he smiled, the whole room will be filled with joy and light. When people looked at him, people will automatically fell in love with him. When people met him, the meeting would make them feel ease and tranquil. His presence was always celebrated. He had a naturally nice smell that the nice smell would stick to anybody whom he touched. He had no shadow cause he himself is the light. He was a very soft spoken person. He was a trusted person and always stay amanah that made a great woman like Khadijah fell in love with him. He was a truthful leader who lead with just. He was a great friend, he never spoke of bad things, bad words or bad speeches to anyone even to those who opposed him. He was always patience. And above all, he always obeyed Allah and had high taqwa and tawakal upon Him. MashaAllah..With such great character, attributes and powerful positive things surrounding him, I wonder, the vibration of emotions in him must have been magnificently and beautifully formed. 

We may not achieve the standard of positive frequency that our beloved Prophet Muhammad had set, cause we are after all laymen. Yet his positivity could inspire us that if we do good and feel good, good things will come back to us. When will we receive back all the good things that we have given out is unknown. It could be now, it could be later, it could be in this world or it could be in the hereafter. 

Wallahu 'alam.

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