Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Not much I can tell about Bangkok except that the place is huge. I felt like a 'katak gemuk di bawah tempurung'. You know how some places they put sign 'take only pictures and leaves only footprints'. Well, I followed that to the 't' and left my new Lumix camera there as well. He he he. So much for a picture worth a thousand words.

With a few days there and one of it for diarrhea, I did not have much chance to absorb the place. Only visits to a few touristy places. So here are my takes:

1. Shopping
I would recommend to go to MBK first just to touch base with the prices that Bangkok has to offer. I think the place is much like our Sg. Wang. The famous Chatucak Weekend market is also a good place to visit; even if just for the experience of it. I definitely wouldn't want to go to the Night Bazaar if I had a chance to go there again. The place is much too expensive compare to MBK and the stuff are about the same.

2. Food
Amazing as it was, there was this road called Soi Nana off Sukhumvit that is catered to Arabs. You can see Arabs there in their traditional wear (for lack of better word) and smoking that what the name 'water pipe'. So, halal food is plenty here. And as we moved around the city, we showed the van driver a list of halal restaurants and he would take us there. Plus, we stayed at a hotel with kitchen area so cooking was not a problem.

3. Floating Market
I think this one is a total rip off. It was about 2 hours drive from Bangkok and once there, we had to pay about RM40 per person to be driven in 'sampan' around the klong and not far from the jetty there is this area where traders set up stall on the klong bank and try to sell you the same stuff that you can buy at much cheaper price at MBK or Chatucak. And this place is mostly for tourists and I felt like it was a pure trap.

Overall, I think it was a good trip and would not mind going there again. From the plane, we could feel how small KL really is and once in the city, how blessed we are in terms of traffic.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bangkok, hopefully

Hopefully, when you see this, I'm somewhere in a boat on Chao Phraya partaking of its fragrance or haggling with some vendors on a 48" Levi's knock off. Patpong, here we come (strictly educational of course!).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Last Day of Ramadan 2005 with Shaykh Adnan

It was the last tarawih for this 2005 Ramadan and deep down I know I have not been doing much. Shaykh Adnan Kabbani, a big figure among the earliest murids of Shaykh Nazim and Grandshaykh Abdullah Ad-Dagestani, had been in Malaysia for sometime now. And not once I went to his tarawih in Damansara.

Nietsche, I think a German philosopher, said many things, but one I remember most is his saying, “reason is a whore”.

I don’t know what he meant by it but I take it as to give reasons for something is basically useless (not that I think the whoring profession is useless, but that for later). And there are many reasons I could give for missing the golden time to be in the same company as Shaykh Adnan; and they will just remain as baseless excuses.

But last night, much thankful to our Lord Almighty, I joined the folks for tarawih with Shaykh Adnan in Penang (it’s the wife turn for Eid this year). After tarawih and short zikir, Shaykh Adnan gave a memorable ‘sohbet’. From my damaged recollections:

He said 500 years after the trumpet blown, all children of Adam will congregate on the Judgment day and will feel the burden of their sins and the incoming waves of Jahanam. Not able to stand the situation anymore, 124,000 prophets go to Sayyidina Adam to ask our Lord Almighty to open the court. To cut the story short, Sayyidina Adam a.s is afraid to do it and so are the other Prophets (Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, & Isa a.s) except for our beloved Messenger pbuh. It is one of the honors of our Prophet to ask our Lord to open the court.

Continuing what I’ve written earlier (about two weeks ago), I can’t seem to recall much. I think it’s more about what are we doing to prepare for that day.

Now I’m reminded about something that Gurdjieff wrote about two monks – one young and the other old. While the young monk could always give a fiery speech, it is what the old monk said always sink to people’s heart.

Though I can’t fully remember what Shaykh Adnan said, the thought and feeling of what he described is still inside and sometimes, it pushes us to the good side; for now at least.

It is precious indeed to be among their company; regardless whether the sweet scent comes from Central Asia, North Africa or Yemen.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Not a complaint

To get to Glenmarie from my house in Saujana Puchong, I usually take the Sunway LDP route rather than USJ. And now at LDP Sunway toll, they have the banner above. Emm, I thought it's a little weird to have the phrase 'minumlah air' and 'selamat menyambut Ramadhan al-Mubarak' in the same banner. But we all have our own things, let's leave it at that instead of complaining about things.

One time in life, mid 20's I supposed, I learned the word 'utopia' and being rash and foolish like any youth, I'm fixated about it. I like that word 'rash'. Dostoyevsky use it as ... where others flinch, rash and foolish youth will dare. Together with 'carpe diem', those were my favorites catch phrase at one time. Until I thought, well, this business of trying to find utopia is not that easy. The fact was, I have not tried or expand my resources on anything but just thinking about it was like hard labor to me. And so, I bought a first-generation Nintendo and choose to expand my energy and together with it, my waist line, in playing Mario Brothers.

Hence, it came to mind at the time that, why is that my religion which I was born into, instead of searching and paying for it, can't create this utopia on earth during my lifetime. It was not a good thought process to be in at the time. Especially since I was also reading a bit into other religions and in Christianity, you will find this huge concept about 'Love'. More so about unconditional love such as Jesus so loved the world that he redeemed it with his life.

Plus, we can't deny that our Islam is manifested by many kinds of groups. One group will emphasis a certain aspect much more than others. At the time, the kind of Islamic literature that I read does not have much of these 'love' and other soft concepts. And I felt, in a way, a wee bit down.

This is not about Christianity vs. Islam thing. If anything, our Christian brothers are very close to us; more so since we both believe that Sayyidina Isa a.s. will come back towards the end of time and through him, all the righteous will unite.

And now, reading some of Shaykh Nazim sohbets and other venerable wise guide, I'm happy to note that I'm much more reconciled now. Instead of the word love, we have other words like 'mercy'. And it is such a huge thing that even our beloved Rasul is called as 'mercy to the worlds'. And I'm such a jahil to talk more about this.

In Christianity there’s this thing Jesus as the logos made flesh. And I’ve find in life that, it is much beneficial to us if we could find somebody that actually manifest in everyday life the beauty of Islam.

Truth is, though there are many kind of jewels out there, some are really precious. And if we seek, so shall we find. Knock, and the door will be open. Happy Eid.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Somehow la, satu dua hari ni, saya dok mengidam dengar lagu lagu rock zaman 70's or 80's gitu. I find listening to these songs is like having a good jeruk manga, you know, those yang tak masam sangat, tak masin, and the manga is not tua, or too young, just crispy gitu.

So these songs are playing frequently on my laptop at work:
Queen : Bohemian Rhapsody
Pink Floyd : Learning to Fly
Skid Row : 18 and Life, Wasted Time
Warrant : Heaven
Santana : Black Magic Woman
Moody Blues : Dust in the Wind, Night in White Satin
Harry Chapin : Cats in the Cradle (if u never listen to this, go find it)

After this phase, I think it will be lagu raya, though I don't think I like those as much. Coz I feel that I don't deserve to raya since I don't take advantage of those blessings that came down during Ramadan so much.

Shaykh Hisham once said (roughly la kan), if we are involved in business, we will do more if the market is on the upward swing. It will be crazy for traders not to sell or invest more during good times. The same with Allah, the months of Rajab, Sha'ban, & Ramadan are like the best months to do business with Him.

Emmm, kena pi terawih la kot malam ni. Semalam dah miss.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Dress

I was listening to Syakh Hamza's 'Marriage & Responsibilities' the other day and was struck by his explanation on one Hadith about women who are dressed but naked.

He said that, and I'm writing this from memory so hopefully the gist of it is correct, the Tradition was not clear to some scholars of old and they interpreted it metaphysically as women who dressed in this world and naked in the next world.

It's not my intention to take a jab at our esteemed scholars or women but more about the miracle of our Prophet (saw) that his saying became clear after hundreds of years later. I mean up until our modern times, people can't imagine how a person can be naked while dressed.

Wow, and to think of it, Hijaz was like a backward place at the time. The centers of civilization were Persia or Byzantine but here comes a man from out of nowhere and telling people of things to come.

And we are grateful that even though we are thousands of miles from that blessed valley, we are counted as his ummah (hopefully).

Note 1:
I later found a reference to that Hadith in a book 'The signs before the day of Judgement' by Ibn Kathir, published by Dar Al Taqwa, London. The Hadith:

Abu Hurayrah said, "The Prophet (saw) said, 'There are two types among the people of Hell whom I have not yet seen. The first are people who have whips like the tails of oxen, with which the beat people, and the second are women who are naked in spite of being dressed; they will be led astray and will lead others astray, and their heads will look like camels' humps. These women will not enter Paradise; they will not even experience the faintest scent of it, even though the fragrance of Paradise can be perceived from such a great distance.' " (Muslim).

Note 2:
Sadly, I'm not that good yet. I still support Women’s Movement; especially from behind. And more so if the way they dress, one could guess the size of their well endowed upper parts. And my gosh, when I was still going to school, those parts are not developed until they have a few kids. But now ... emmm ... puasa puasa!

Hai Kersani Mengalirlah Dikau II ...

To update, I went to Kulim again last week and asked the guy who bought some RM100.00 stuff from Pak Kob if it works and he said, "tak banyak peluang la, asyik lampu merahhh je". Emmm, if only it's like tap water where you can turn it off at will :)

Anyway, to answer Nazrah's, it's nothing lika a spa. Because, with respect to people there, the place is near a place where Tunku met Chin Peng. And as far as Chin Peng is concerned, the area can't be like those Hindustani movies. It is deep inside the kampung where instead of fresh earth smell, it's more like cow manure. The urut itself is done on a used up foam mattress with regular plywoods as walls. But we don't complain.

As far as the urut goes, I think it needs to be done on regular basis to show some results. We went there once just for the experience of it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hai Kersani Mengalirlah Dikau ...

Around once a month or so, I would drive up to Kulim for work related trip. I usually would spend one or two nights over there. Call me coward if you want, but I never like spending my night in a hotel room alone. I never got a good sleep that way. And since I'm not the type who would call up suppliers to be entertained, my companion would be whatever is on the tv.

But last week was different. During lunch, a few of us got to talking about finding a good, old style 'tukang urut' for traditional massage. Our local friend said we have two options – normal body massage or special massage. We opted for the first. But, … our story takes a turn here.

Our first masseur was not available so we drove up to the 2nd masseur and were greeted by two angry ‘angsa’. Now, if you lived in a kampung before, you know how boisterous and terrifying an angsa could be. The four of us waited for about five minutes in the car not daring to get out of it.

Once out and after a short chit chat with our masseur Pak Kob, I was the first to go. I changed into an old ‘kain pelikat’ that double its original thickness due to oil residues from previous massages. Heck, Pak Kob could probably wash it every few years.

He started from around the knee area and right there I got a strange feeling since normally people will start from the feet. As he pushed his fingers deep into the vein, which is quite painful even though he’s close to 64 years of age, he hand would accidentally touch my ‘konek’. Aha, so this is the special part. I said to him, “dah malam ni kot, buat urut badan cukup la”. He replied, “eh tak pa ehhh, dah mai jauh2 tu”. I knew then that with two angry ‘angsa’ outside, I could not run away. Sounds of Hotel California keep playing in my head as Pak Kob made his moves.

I thought to myself, lucky I’m not gay. If not, I would have been excited by another man touching me ‘there’.

The session itself was quite short since there were 3 of us and we got to his around close to 10:00 p.m. already. As usual, afterwards Pak Kob tried to sell us a few of his traditional medicine. I did not buy anything but one of us spend around RM100.00 for the 3 kinds of ‘jamu’.

I’ll ask him next month if it works.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nama Manja

Masa sekolah dulu2 kat MRSM Beseri kita ada geng jugak la. Kira macam nak buat apa2 pun satu geng join jugak la. And dalam geng ni, masing2 ada nama sendiri la. Contohnya:

Kita panggil dia 'Guna' sebab dia hitam skit. So masa tu Punch Gunalan kot famous player or coach badminton, dah lupa dah, so dapat la nama dia 'Guna'.

Azreen (nama cam pompuan tapi laki)
Dia ni cam cina sikit. Masa tu Tan Koon Swan punya cerita pasal songlap duit ke apa tengah famous. So nama dia jadi 'Swan' tapi pronounce 'Swon' sebab kita banyak budak Klate, jadi nama dia pun di Klate kan. Kelakarnya budak2 pompuan pangil dia dengan manjanya jadi 'Suwaannn'.

Sebab dia ni maqam tinggi sangat, orang dok story pasal Wings & Search dia dok cite pasal 'metaphysics' ngan Aristotle, so panggil la dia Riza Proffessor.

Sebab itu perut ada besar sikit, kita kawan2 pangil 'bucit'. Kira singkatan pada buncit la tapi buncit tu tak best sound dia. So jadi la bucit.

Dan yang lain2 tu dah lupa lak.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Marhaban Acoustica

What a refresh it was, to a tired body & weak spirit, to hear people praising our Lord and His best of creations. When the physical is tired, and sound waves coming into the ears like a live jamming session, it was like those people in the Shell commercial.

Well, somebody was blessed with a child and a 'cukur rambut' was held last Thursday in Damansara and like any 'cukur rambut' thing, in villages or cities, 'Marhaban' & other qasidah was sung.

Perhaps some other time, I could put the sound files here. On the other hand, if anybody wants copy of Mawlid Di'bae cd, let me know.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I wrote tiny bit saying of Shaykh Ubdaydullah (q) in April and last weekend, while having breakfast in Penang, one saying of his struck me. The saying was (from

"Everyone enters through a different door; I entered this Spiritual Order through the door of service."

Another luminaries, Shah Naqshband (q) used to say,

"We love to serve, not to be served. When we serve, Allah is happy with us, and this brings more attraction to the Divine Presence and Allah opens that state more for us. However, to be served, brings pride and weakness to the heart and causes us to recede from the Divine Presence."

It is not an easy thing to be of service in the name of our Lord. Not easy if our heart is hard that is. Often times, when I see something that I can help, while driving for example, my mind can’t decide whether to help or not. And while that is going on, I would have passed the opportunity to help. I guess that shows the state of my heart or conscience. And the thing about our heart is that, it gives us sign. When we are terribly angry for example, we would act like an insane and would feel the heat inside us. May our dear Lord save us from that.

But last weekend, the opportunity for service was granted and I felt some softness inside. Hopefully we could have more of it, for He is the Most Generous & Most Merciful, and we all can be a bit like Shaykh Ubaydullah (q) above.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Nasruddin : Applied Non-duality

Whatever the title means, I got it from our beloved Mullah yahoo group. With tons of things to do, his story is like torrential rain on a Malaysian-style hazy day.

Nasrudin participated in a wrestling contest. Due to his agility and
speed, he succeeded in getting to the finals. In the final bout he was matched against a huge and powerful pro.

The guy got him caught and held in an impossibly contorted position,and the situation of Nasrudin seemed hopeless. Then, all of a sudden, to everybody's surprise, in an unbelievable bust of energy Nasrudin released himself from the hold, and vanquished his opponent.

He was declared a winner.

Later that evening a close friend asked him how he did it. "Well," said Nasrudin, "I gave up all hope... then I saw in front of me pair of hairy balls. Forgetting all about fair play, I bit in with all my strength.

You have no idea how much energy a man gets when he bites his own balls."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Richard Fenyman

Somehow, books that I read tend to be non-fiction. And a few of those stick to my mind even though the books may not be with me anymore. One example of such books are those by Richard Fenyman. To me, he's one of the great physicists of our century; at least to me since the way he presented science it seems like an easy subject.

In one of the books, which as always, I can't remember now which one, he talked about the education system in Brazil. How it teaches children to memorize things instead of understand and think about things. I feel that when I was growing up, our education system is also the same. Those students who can regurgite the formula back seem to be on the top percentile of the class. Just the other day, I was reading a book by Bill Moyers 'A world of Ideas' and one of the interviews he had was with this top Chinese scientist in the US and that scientist was also complaining about the same thing. The scientist felt that his graduate students from China is good at memorizing but not at coming up with boudary-breaking ideas; whereas his US students are otherwise.

I feel that reading Fenyman changed some of my thought processes and maybe characters too. Sadly, I don't know where I put his books, either in Puchong or in Kelantan. I shall find out. Meanwhile, if you want to know more, visit these sites:

Or just goggle it out.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Physical Man

There was this saying I read in a book which I can't remember now, it's either one of those by Idries Shah or Tadhkirat al-Auliya (get it free here ). The saying is about this gentleman becoming spiritually strong due to physical condition and later on, he found his source for spirituality from hunger and much later, being full or hungry does not affect his spirituality.

These last few weeks have been really low in my life. It seems that my physical affects my spritual much more than previously. I once asked a friend how does he keeps doing his daily practices everyday. Discipline he said; we must work for it.

I must baby steps back.

O Tuhan
Empunya semesta alam
We declare our sins to you, O Lord
Though we keep running away from you
Please keep us under your blessings
Keep us among those who are righteous
Among our Masters
You are truly the Sustainer of our worlds
Look at us with Grace
For the sake of your most beloved servant
The best of creations
Accept us O Lord

Monday, July 18, 2005

On Books

I think it was during Standard Three that my school threw away some books that I managed to get my hands on some. The best among those was a book on world history that got me reading into the lives of Madam Curie, Buddha, Thomas Edison, Sumerians, etc.

That was how my interest in reading started and it was fueled further by my friendship with Riza et al in MRSM Beseri. And I’ve blessed further with friendship with people like Abang Fendy and others in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Thank you Kerajaan Malaysia for that.

And since Nora asked what books to read, I guess I could tell my favorites and those I’ve in my collection. Though my list is not limited to certain genre, I’m more inclined towards those in religious, classical, non fiction books.

My introduction to Sufism started with books by Idries Shah and slowly progressed to others such as Martin Lings and a few others whom I can’t remember. As with anything in this world, there are so many facets to one issue that to limit reading to one author is almost a suicide. But of late, I’m very happy reading books by Shaykh Nazim or Shaykh Hisham. I believed that they both have presented Islam in a very beautiful way and so refreshing so much that we could be proud of being Muslims … if not Mukmin.

Of hand, these are my favorite books/authors:
1. Muhammad pbuh by Martin Lings
2. Shaykh Ahmad Al Alawi … by Martin Lings
3. Muslim Saints & Mystics … by AJ Arberry. I think his translation is much better than that by Pustaka Aman Press.
4. Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. Possibly among the best novel there is.
5. Legends of the Sufis by James Redhouse. At first I did not know what this book is all about. I Bought this book in Section 2, Shah Alam and asked the cashier for discount since the book looks like it has been on the shelf for far too long. I was ecstatic later on when I found out the book is about the life of our Master Jalalludin Rumi.
6. Khalil Gibran. I have The Prophet and Bed of Roses or sth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


There we were. Everybody and anybody will always say ... life then was simpler.
I still can't remember which book it was but I remember once reading that even in the times of Socrates, people already were saying things like 'oh the good old days' and 'something is wrong with youths today'.

Oh well, the good old days.

Friday, July 08, 2005

An Evening to Remember

Me and two friends since MRSM Beseri days attended a talk by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani on Friday 17th June 2005 and I will try to remember what he said. But the word 'talk' is a misnomer in this case since the usual term used is 'sohbet', a Turkish word that I think closely means 'association'. The term 'association' is much better since the surrounding and ambience of his 'talk' is most of the times informal and without any prepared agenda. The result however, is tremendously fruitful and sweet.

After Isha', dinner and all, the Shaykh started his sohbet in the usual manner and say his greetings to distinguished guests that night which was Tun Abdul Rahman (now ex-governor of Sarawak; I think the host is his daughter) and Brunei's commissioner to Malaysia. Shaykh Hisham said since we have Teacher of Teachers with us that night (alluding to Tun), then we should let him speak and we listen.

I’m writing today from my memory so hopefully the fact remain such. Tun started with a story how he met Shaykh Nazim. He had surgery once and was recuperating in London. While in a bookstore looking for Sahih Bukhari, which the store does not have at the time, he picked up a book ‘Mercy Oceans’ and was fascinated with the photo of Shaykh Nazim inside the book. He inquired if Shaykh Nazim was in London and how to meet him.

Fortune smiles and an evening was set for Shaykh Nazim to visit Tun. (Tun said his feeling then was such that since he’s the governor of Sarawak, he should not visit Shaykh Nazim but for Shaykh Nazim to come to him). However, Shaykh Nazim did not make the visit.

Tun continued that a few days later he went for Fajr at Peckham Mosque and it is custom that after prayer and all, everybody would line up to ‘salam’ with Shaykh. When Shaykh Nazim came to Tun, Shaykh stopped and apologized to Tun that he did not make it to his house because Shaykh had visitors from Turkey. Tun Abdul Rahman said that was the first time he met Shaykh and was surprised how the Shaykh knew him.

Tun continued with a few stories after that and the thing I remember most is when he said, we all can wear a turban as big as Shaykh Hisham’s, but we also must work on our heart.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Deeds & Thoughts

O Allah
If my deeds take me away from you
Let my thoughts bring me back

... from Travels of Ibn Jubayr

Monday, June 06, 2005

I had my plan but ...

The number '5412' did not win on 4D Posted by Hello

It was about 3 weeks ago that after a good Sunday rest at home I thought I wanted to go to office to finish some work that had piled up. It was good timing too since my wife and son was away at in-laws. But alas, my day did not turn out as planned. Truly, things that happen to us are but things for us to ponder. Lyrics from Sami Yusuf's Who is the Loved One comes to mind:
Any one who fails
To see all the signs
Of His existence
That He has spread around

Will be completely blind
Walking in the desert sands
Having no peace of mind
Who is the Loved One? Allah
Who is al-Majid? Allah
Who is al-Hamid?

That guy really has great voice and good songs; visit him at

If I'm not mistaken, Shaykh Nazim once said, if something happen to to us, say Alhamdulillah; and if it's good, say Syukurillah (sp?).

Oh, it was at a traffic light with an ambulance that came from opposite side and suddenly turn to left; leaving me little road for braking except to hit his side. I'm okay but the car is recuperating!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Many Luck in Life

Living Room Posted by Hello

Stair Case Posted by Hello

Upstairs Posted by Hello

Masha Allah, I must show gratitude and confess my thankfulness to our dear Lord much more than what I'm doing now. My dad passed away when I was 15 and I did not feel much about it since my parents have been divorced since I was 10. Though lacking a fatherly figure, my life has been blessed by many people that I think I can't thank our dear Lord enough for it.

One such man is Mohd Affandy Yusof whom I met while a student in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My friend Riza sparked my interest in books and this Abang Fendy nourished the flame for it. Just look at his collection of books. The photos were taken in mid April 05 while visiting him in Penang after about 10 years since we last met.

In Kalamazoo, I often went to his house for good meals. Thanks to people like him, I can keep my 'bucit' even though living far from mom's cooking. His stories of travels and associations with Alims in Malaysia always fascinated me.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Nagging Zen Saying

Some weeks back, there was this saying keeping playing in my head, but I can't recall the whole thing directly. Somehow I remember some words of it but the whole thing evades me. The thing is that it disturbs me like if you can imagine, you are seeing a fairy but somehow, you can't catch it because just at the right moment, she flies away. Would not it be nice if you can put a fairy in a bottle or aquarium and make it like a display thing. One that looks like Julia Roberts will be fine.

Oh the saying was this :

Chuang Tze, a Chinese philosopher, once dreamt that he was a butterfly. On waking, he said to himself, "Now, am I a man dreaming that I am a butterfly, or am I a butterfly that thinks, ‘I am Chuang?’"

May be it's not Zen at all, maybe it's Chinese ... or rojak. I could have a nice plate of mee rojak now. In my real state; not dreams.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bila Fateh merajuk Posted by Hello

We have only one child, Muhammad Fateh, now 6 years old. I can't remember why the sad face but probably because we are leaving Penang going back to Puchong. Even a day after we got to Penang (my wife is from Bayan Lepas), Fateh said he wanted to stay for 10 days since we pack so many of his clothes, he can stay longer than us. Kids eh! They are truly our reflections. Sometimes they are instruments of our Lord guidance to us. And when that happens, we are hopefully humbled by the experience.

Breakfast at Tun Sardon Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Visit to Jalan Masjid India

A view of Jalan Masjid India from a Minang's restaurant Posted by Hello

Every once in a while, my buddy & I would spend half of Saturday browsing for books etc. in Jalan Masjid India. The picture was from our visit about two weeks ago. The Pak Cik with a red table on the left side of the pic sells rings, stones etc. that normally goes with such vendor. He also sells a Kasturi. People who usually buys attar would know how Kasturi would smell like; not my favorite though, but it's alright. But not a normal occasion that you would find a Kasturi in its natural state. Seeing that I'm big and a bit asthmatic, he jumped to the advantages of Kasturi for asthma, and I asked him how much, he cooly replied RM150 a piece. Wow. You probably could buy the whole deer for that price. Oh, Kasturi I've been told is a sac found around the navel in certain musk deer. O well, give me my Ventolin lah.

But I digress. I wanted to write about this. Whenever I go there, sometimes I would feel a bit down coz I did not take my wife and son with me. I'm sure they would have enjoyed a spree around the area. But to actually make it happen, requires such precision planning that I doubt few men in Malaysia are capable of; unless they are graduates of West Point or such a place. You see, we men are easy. For such a trip to materialize, I would wake up when I normally do and if there's no family thing going on, I would call this buddy for breakfast. While eating, either one could spontaneouly say something like, 'eh, jom gi Jalan Masjid India, nak cari Qasidah Burdah la' or 'eh, jom pi Jusco, nak cari CD la' and we would drive there afterwards.

But before you say more, please visit this Robert Bly guy and see of what he would think.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Shaykh Ubaydullah Al-Ahrar

I recently read about him and there's one saying from him that really strucks my nerves since at the time, I was really down. Talking about Shaykh Alauddin al-Ghujdawani, Shaykh Ubaydullah said:

"He taught me a lesson that one must struggle to keep firm and constant in the dhikr, because whatever you acquire easily, without difficulty, will not stay with you. Whatever you earn by the sweat of your brow, however, will stay with you."

I guess in whatever we do, discipline and respect can't be far away if we were to succedd. And growing up as a laid-back, tv watching, Super Mario Brothers playing kind of kid, those are difficult traits for me to keep.

In Early 2003, I once asked somebody if there's an easy way to wake up and do the tahajjuds and he replied, discipline.

How to get discipline, pray tell, for the only kid, among close to 500 students that were 3rd batch MRSM Beseri, the only kid that got detention.

Surely I must learn to keep my adab.

Monday, April 11, 2005


You may have read these before but enjoy them once again. And much like highly regarded litterature or prose, you can't translate these without losing much of their value. So enjoy them in Malay:

Tahukah Anda perkataan May Day yang diulangsebut ketika berlaku kecemasan, baik di laut atau udara berasal daripada bahasa Perancis M'aidez yang bermaksud ''tolong saya''. Perkataan Mydin yang tertera pada Pasaraya Mydin pula bukan bermaksud ia dimiliki oleh pelawak terkenal Maideen.

Tahukah Anda kedua belah kaki kita tidak sama besar kerana sebelah adalah kaki kanan dan sebelah lagi adalah kaki kiri. Namanya saja sudah tidak sama jadi tentunya besarnya juga tidak sama.

Tahukah Anda magnet ialah sejenis logam yang juga digelar besi berani. Sebagaimana namanya, magnet ialah besi yang berani menarik butir-butir besi lain kearahnya. Bagaimanapun orang yang diupah untuk menarik kereta bukanlah magnet.

Tahukah Anda burung dapat pulang kesarangnya walaupun telah keluar kadangkala hingga beribu kilometer daripada sarangnya tanpa sesat atau silap walaupun tanpa bantuan kompas. Ini kerana setiap sarang burung mempunyai alamatnya yang tersendiri sebenarnya.

Tahukah Anda bunyi perkataan lempeng dan tempeleng adalah hampir sama walaupun ia berbeza dari segi rupa bentuknya. Tapi,walaubagaimanapun orang yang kena tempeleng masih boleh memakan lempeng apabila dia berasa lapar.

Tahukah Anda antara kereta kebal dan tok guru ilmu kebal, ahlak kereta kebal adalah lebih baik kerana kereta kebal walaupun ia kebal tapi tak pernah membanggakan diri dan riak akan kekebalannya.

Tahukah Anda walaupun hidup beribu tahun kalau tak sembahyang tiada gunanya.. Jadi, sembahyanglah sebelum anda disembahyangkan.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Four Man and Interpreter

My interest in reading dimly started in Darjah 3 coz at the time, my school’s library was throwing books out and I took this one book which I can’t remember the title now. But it was about world history and for the first time, I was introduced to names like Madame Curie, Thomas Edison, the Sumerians etc. But coming from a Kampung Pasir Tumboh in Kelantan, we were more interested in how to pay for school fees than extra tuition or books.

Fast forward to 1987, there I was in MRSM Beseri in Perlis and true to our gender, we had a good time. Sometimes proudly I say that among close to 500 students in our 3rd batch at the time, I was the only one who was suspended for 3 days from school. Or maybe I was the stupid one among the naughty boys; stupid enough to get caught. Among my buddies then was this guy Riza who talked about Aristotle, Metaphysics, Einstein etc like he knows what’s going on. I was like, man, this guy is a professor!

Among the books I had enjoy reading were those by Idries Shah. Here’s one story from his book ‘The way of the Sufi’, the story is attributed to our Master Jalaluddin Rumi:

Four people were given a piece of money.
The first was a Persian. He said: 'I will buy with this some angur.'
The second was an Arab. He said: 'No, because I want inab.'
The third was Turk. He said: 'I do not want inab, I want uzum.'
The fourth was a Greek. He said: 'I want stafil.'

Because they did not know what lay behind the names of things, these four started to fight.

They had information but no knowledge.

One man of wisdom present could have reconciled them all, saying: 'I can fulfil the needs of all of you, with one and the same piece of money. If you honestly give me your trust, your one coin will become as four; and four at odds will become as one united.'

Such a man would know that each in his own language wanted the same thing, grapes.

Apart from the surface of the story, I do not know if it means anything else. One thing comes to mind, why four people, why not 3 or 2. May be there’s more to it than a good story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Nasruddin - Punch Line

Kiranya aku rasa malas skit nak buat kerja hari ni. So, here's one nugget from Nasruddin's basket:

"And just WHEN do you plan on getting a job?" Nasrudin's wife moaned after getting tired of one of his more lengthy periods of unemployment. "I do not need a job woman, I am always in the service of the Most High!" retorted Nasrudin "Well then shouldn't you be getting some form of payment for your so-called services???" she replied sarcastically, "these bills are not going to pay themselves!" Thinking about it, Nasrudin went into his backyard and, kneeling before the open sky, began to pray: "Most Merciful Allah, I am constantly in your service, and as such, I deserve some sort of financial recompense... indeed with some sort of back-pay for all those years for which I did not receive a single dime! Could You please find it in Your infinite mercy to send me some form of payment so I can pay my bills AND get my wife off my back???"

Overhearing this conversation, Nasrudin's neighbor, a moneylender, decided to play a prank on him; accordingly he grabbed a bag of gold coins and threw it over the fence so that it landed right in front of Nasrudin. Amazed at this turn of events, Nasrudin rushed inside his house to show his wife, and they both immediately began to call on shopkeepers to pay their debts and order all manner of goods. Noticing the immediate deliveries to the house, Nasrudin's neighbor became worried about his money and came running to demand it back. "What in God's name are you talking about man?" Nasrudin demanded, "I prayed to God for the money and He provided!"

Since Nasrudin adamantly refused to accept the man's version of events, the neighbor insisted that the only solution was to take the case to court to be tried before a judge. "But I cannot go to court," replied Nasrudin, "surely I cannot appear before a judge looking like this! why I have nothing appropriate to wear!"

The neighbor quickly offered to lend Nasrudin his best robe and turban."But..." began Nasrudin, "how will I go? I cannot go there riding my donkey while wearing these fine clothes!"Again, the neighbor offered Nasrudin his best horse to ride. When they stood before the judge, the moneylender quickly explained his case in great detail, going to great lengths to clarify to the court that the money that Nasrudin was spending was all his and how the whole thing was simply a misunderstanding, meanwhile Nasrudin calmly sat there, completely silent.

"Do you have anything to say in your defence?" the judge finally asked Nasrudin "What can I say Your Honor, except that my neighbor is completely insane! the poor man seems to believe that EVERYTHING I own belongs to him, my clothes, my horse, let alone my gold."

"But... but... they ARE MINE!" roared the neighbor, unable to contain himself.
"Case dismissed!" ruled the judge.

Kalau asal benih yang baik, Jatuh ke laut menjadi pulau

Masa kecik kecik dulu, ada sekali ni cikgu sejarah kat sekolah kebangsaan saya (Sekolah Kebangsaan Long Ghafar, Kubang Keranji, Kota Bharu), instead of mengajar dia bercerita. Yang kita ingat best sangat cerita tu, sampai minggu lagi satu pun cerita dia tak abis. Cerita dia ada lebih kurang macam pantun kat bawah la:

Buat bangsal di Pulau Daik
Menahan taut sambil mengilau
Kalau asal benih yang baik
Jatuh ke laut menjadi pulau

Kita pun tak berapa ingat dah cite dia camne. Tapi standard cerita dulu dulu la kan, mustilah moralnya bagus. Tapi sayang, sekarang ni I rasa art of storytelling ni dah kurang dah. Konon-konon zaman modern ni apa lah guna sangat cerita ceriti macam tu kan. That was my exact thought sometime back. Never mind that, even science itself is quite limited. Look at Einstein's theory, when he first presented it, only a handful understood it. Though his theory covers much more than what Newton did, it still does not unify and encompasses all the other theories about particle mechanics.

Sadly, in my case, while extolling all that's good about the West and its byproducts, I lost the treasures that our people had. In the case of story telling however, it is not so much of a Eastern and Western phenomenon since for example, over in old Europe, we have the Grimm Brothers. And some stories about the birth of something, we can find similarities whether the story is being told in Polynesian cultures or Native American cultures. For this, my readings of Joseph Campbell has been very enlightening.

Kiranya mungkin, satu masa nanti aku kena baca balik cerita cerita lama untuk diajar pada Fateh. Sekarang ni dia baru 6 tahun dok asyik tengok katun je lah.

Cerita cerita yang ada pada orang kita, kadang2 mungkin datang dari culture lain. Pernah aku terbaca yang lagu Bangau oh Bangau tu, asal dia dari India. Dan cerita2 camni, dia punya kelebihan, kita boleh dapat pengajaran dia dari berberapa layers dan juga sudut; kira macam kueh lapis la, cerita dia sesuai untuk berbagai masa dan keadaan, especially cerita cerita Mullah Nasruddin.

Kot kot ada masa nanti aku taruk la satu dua cerita2 camni kat sini.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Turban - Our Crown

Shall write about this later but look at the lovely photo. Beautiful people with handsome dress. The way they wear their turban, if we look from above, looks like the arabic word 'meem'. Which stands for, among other things, the name of our hope for the last day, Sayyidina Muhammad, pbuh.

If there's no photo here, that means I have not been able to upload it yet.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Luvly and Great Week

Thought of this last night, and wow, what a luvly and great week indeed. And it's not even Friday yet.

Allow me.

Last Sunday, a friend Riza told me about a function of sort at Masjid Baitil Aman, Jalan Damai, off Jalan Ampang. It was a talk, an association more like it, with Shaykh al-Habib 'Umar bin Hafiz. He talked about many things, which, macam pegi Khutbah Jumaat, memang lepas tu pun aku dah lupa apa dia cakap. One main point was to know, or to work towards our true worth with our Creator and to realize that all the materials things will not last. One example he gave was Sayyidina Abu Bakar r.a was a trader by profession, he had about 9 stores (I can't recall whether in Makkah or Madinah) but the Shaykh asked, "Is Sayyidina Abu Bakar r.a the same with other traders?". Next was about Abu Hurairah r.a, which is well known for being a fakir. But is he the same with other fakirs? The association was great, and so was the briyani afterward!

And last night, I went to the Naqshbandi zikir in Damansara, which is quite rare indeed; the rare part is me going there, they have the zikir every Thursday night and Saturday afternoon for ladies. And what did I find there, apart from our beloved Shaykh, there was 'kambing golek'. Now, like our experience in life, the main points in our life can be manifested by a few defining moments, an epiphany of sort. As always, after zikir, they would sing a lovely Salawat on our hope for intercession on the last day, Sayyidina Rasul. Normally it is Salawat Badar accompanied with good Gendang and all. But last night there were two babies for 'bercukur' and the Salawat was more. And with more Salawats, the merry making was of course grows proportionately.

And after that of course 'kambing golek' la bang. Que nye mestilah panjang teramat. And since I was helping in the kitchen a bit, I missed la the 'kambing golek'. Lauk lain pun dapat sikit je. Just so you know, the dinner is arrange ala buffet outside the house and there's a main spread in the house for the Shaykh and whoevers are lucky. There's no protocol who eats there but visitors will always get priority. Lepas dapat my nasi, okay lah, makan la apa yang ada. So pegi la duduk kat main spread, jenguk2 lauk kat situ. And what the hey, I was passed a plate full of kambing. Man, that was my epiphany. Sunday dapat kambing, Thursday pun dapat kambing.

So there you go. The way to a man's heart is thru his stomach. Hancur jugak budak ni ek. Makan aje tau. Hopefully, it can be more like that lyrics by Debu, "minuman ini tidak melewati kerongkongku" or something like that.

God bless.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Fenyman & Freeman Dyson

Reading Nefertiti's blog yesterday reminded me of Richard Fenyman and Freeman Dyson.

While a student at Western Michigan, my indulgence are books and sleep. I like it there coz the books are so affordable compare to here. While I have varied interests, themes like science, philosophy and spirituality ranks above others.

Fenyman explains about science in a funny way and that's why he's a good reading. I do not know much about Dyson coz I have only one book of his, Disturbing the Universe, which is almost about his life and his writings on several issues. To me, the best part in that book is his description about the going on during US's atomic bomb development.

And the thing I remember most from that book is his quote of Yeats :
I would spread the clothes under your feet
But I am poor, and have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams

Maannn, kalu sapa sapa tengah cintan cintun, boleh bagi kat awek nih. While at it, I also suggest some by Elizabeth Browning.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Travels of Ibn Jubayr

Went to MPH sales in Kelana Jaya last Saturday and bought a few books. Two I should mentioned are Travels of Ibn Jubayr and if I can remember correctly, Islamic Medicine. It is per chance that I should buy the first one. My friend Riza, who arrives earlier at the sale, mentioned the book to me and only a few days earlier, I was thinking of another book : Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century by C. Snouck Hurgronje.

While I have not finished Ibn Jubayr, Hurgronje talks about Makkah and its people around 1894/95, especially those from Nusantara due to the Dutch and Indonesia conflict at the time. Which is really interesting since, for people like me who can't read Jawi and not Pondok oriented, we do not know much about the legacy of our wise elders. But Hurgronje talks about them and describes how some of them are comparable to other Alims in Masjidil Haram. Makes you blush with pride.

Back to Ibn Jubayr, his travels starts in 1183 from Granada to Mecca, Baghdad, Damsyik and back to Spain. Will write more later.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Kawan Saya

Saya ada sorang kawan. Nama dia Riza Samad. Baca la blog dia kat . Kawan kawan ni aku rasa macam Yin and Yang. We need them to sometimes show us the way in life, to share with us. Ingat lagi kata kata Jerry McGuire masa dalam lift tu, 'you complete me'. Even though dia cakap tu kat awek dia la kan. But then, bahasa Melayu kita ni ada kurang sikit. If Greeks can have 4 different words for love : Agape, Philia, Storge, & Eros, tapi kita tak ada that fine distinction between our kasih, sayang, cinta; semua maksud lebih kurang kot. Bahasa Arab aku tak tau la pulak.

But back to friendship, if Frodo has his friends, so is our Master Jalaludin Rumi with Shams of Tabriz, Cumi dan Ciki, and finally our hope for intecession on the final day, our guide and most beloved of our creator, Sayyidina Rasul with his companions esp. Sayyidina Abu Bakar.