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.