Monday, April 24, 2017

A Letter to My Deceased Cat

Hi Kunyet,

I hope you're doing fine over there. We just found out that you're no more with us this morning. No longer meowing excitedly to greet us coming home, or even waiting at the door for food. I'll miss your company when hanging the clothes, day or night, you'll be there. Doing your own job, licking your fur again and again, just to keep me accompany. Sometimes I'll put you inside for a while to wander around the house while I scrambled to hang everything on the clothesline , because you love to playfully bit my toes.

And today, we saw you for the last time as my lil' bro covered you with soil. Your body limp, lying still on a patch of grass just by the roadway. We suspected that you were killed when trying to run away from the male cats roaming around for a cat fight a and strucked by a passing vehicle. You didn't make it. It saddened me to know that you suffered alone and passed your last breath there. 

I'm sorry that I was not there that night. Had I been there, I would've broken the cat fight, or just make some noise so that they'll go away. I know those male cats are big, bigger than you, a less than 1 year old cat. You know, Kunyet, I'll do anything that I can to save you that night. But I can't, I was away.

I'm going to miss your soft purr, the motor-like growling that you created when we frisked your white fur. Your slim body, with long black tail and silvery eyes, actively running around with your sibling, Moks. I am going to miss those times.

No wonder people says that it breaks your heart to lose a cat. Because I'm missing you badly right now. So long my cat, there's no more predators there. Hopefully, we can see each others again.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Leap of Faith


Today I'm not going to talk about the leap of faith in Assassins Creed, which Cal (Michael Fassbender) attempted to save himself. 

Google defines leap of faith as 'an act of believing in or attempting something whose existence or outcome cannot be proved'. In other words, to make a big decision which may have a big impact on one's life, with no guarantee whether it'll end up a success or a failure. It can be choosing between furthering your study and become an academician or enter the industrial world, getting married or changing the stream of your study. Some decisions may have a bigger impact in our lives, compared to the others.

This has been one of the longest period which I've stayed at home since the last 5 years. With the flexibility and ample of time in hand, post-graduation has really got me thinking. Somehow the transition between university life to the next phase isn't as fast and smooth-sailing as I've imagined. It's not like today you go out of uni and the next day you figure out what to do. Nobody is certain of their own future, and nobody can guarantee mine. No one can tell you what to do next as the choice is solely yours. 

Buffer Time (Tempoh Bertenang)
This is the period that a person will take to figure out what to do next and get stabilized. Maybe it's the time needed to land a career placement, or make a good plan and execute it. I believe that each of us lives in a different timezone, so to say, what's good for me may not be good for you.  If you're getting a bit panicked by now, I'd say, please chill and take some time. As a human who have no idea what future has in store for us (not X-men of course), we will take some time to figure out what's next.  

The Reality Check
To be realistic, some of us are bound to a certain set of circumstances. It can be monetary/economical constraint, a family member to tend to, a logistical boundary, an additional commitment, student loan etc, many factors can influence our decisions. 

Well, welcome to reality!
We may have to let go a part of our dreams for something bigger or trade it to get a win-win. Or even go for option C which at first is never in the list. We may feel lost somewhere in the middle, I felt it too and I may feel it later. But keep in mind that our journey is still long, we may somehow make mistakes here and there, and we'll grow from it. 

My student life in UTP has been very jam-packed with classes, projects & discussions, meetings to attend and even my personal knowledge excursion / adventures. So moving on to the next step after uni hasn't been easy, sometimes I do feel lost, with less freedom and less access to things I loved. UTP has been a blessing for me, Alhamdulillah. To those adik-adik who are still studying, grab as much opportunity to learn, attend those 'ilm discourses, seminars etc even it has not connection to what you're learning. Once you're outside, nothing comes free. To a certain point, I'd have to resort to other options as a replacement of my weekly halaqah / usrah circle. So, do appreciate what you have now :) 

Undeniably, engineering is tough (belajar apa je tak susah),  my final year project has been a really big test, but we made it till this point with His grace. Along the 5-year journey, I've been asked with the 'what's your plan' question a number of times and the answers have been varying from 'I want to be a full-fledged chemical engineer' to ' I want to be an environmentalists' (in front of SRC interviewers) and 'I want to be a lecturer in Environmental Engineering'.

The truth is, I have been searching for my passion ever since. Politics may have been a part of my interests, but for now I'll put it aside for the sake of everybody..haha. After much thinking, I've decided to pursuit my next step of learning in Strategic Studies and then InsyaAllah continue with PhD in Social Change or Sociology.  This decision is made acknowledging that it won't be less challenging than engineering, but I hope I can do more here, a greener field. Perhaps my path will somehow change a lil' bit here and there as nothing is set in stone yet. But for now, this'll do insyaAllah.        

What's Next?
A few points to be shared here (and as a personal reminder for me too):
1) Don't compete with others. 
Well, competitiveness is a very important character to survive. But in determining what to do next in your life, I'd say that a man's meat can be another man's poison. A friend continuing Masters does not push you to do yours in due time, a friend getting married, too. The question of meaning have been long debate in the existence of mankind. We are living in our own timezone, so don't feel pressured to make a point to others. You can also Google for Quarter Life Crisis, it may be helpful. 

2) Be resourceful. 
Your education background and CGPA will not stop you from learning. It is the willpower that'll be crucial here. I admit that living in Perlis gave me less accessibility compared to living in Perak or KL. But if I'm really determined, I'll get what I want insyaAllah.

Have you ever watched 3 Idiots?    

There's a part in me who really wants to be like Rancho, to inspire people and do good.

3) Enhance your networking
Meeting new people and discussing fresh ideas can be helpful. Having friends from various background will also expose you to making more matured decisions. Back in UTP, I used to have weekly discussion with my mentor, Kak Arfah. Having a good partner to give feedbacks helped me to put my thoughts together and turn it into action.

4) Have a good intention
Some of us may not have the privilage to choose and be pushed to do things that he/she don't prefer to do (may be due to financial circumstances, responsibility for family) , then go on. I believe that Allah's will always be with us when we're determined to do good. One way or another, He'll reveal and give the best for us insyaAllah.

5) Have a growth mindset
This is undeniably challenging. But it is made easier with the help of Youtube and internet. A Muslim gets better and better everyday, in any sense. Perhaps we can make our own daily, weekly, monthly and yearly KPI. Some of us may want to lose weight, learn a new language, start writing, create a new routine or join a volunteer group. Then go on!
The purpose of having a growth mindset instead of a fixed one is to ensure that we don't live in complacency and get stagnant. 

Somehow, our days are numbered and each of us have our personal expiration date. One motivational speaker said that death is his biggest motivation and it should be ours too.

Lastly, to make the leap of faith, you will need the blessings of the Almighty. So do istisyarah (seek for info and details, planning etc) and istikharah. And after you've made the decision, make the move and pray for the best.

Then when thou hast taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).


Friday, March 31, 2017

What Shall We Do on Fridays?

So, we have reached another Jumu'ah in 2017, we are getting closer and closer towards Ramadhan, the time has been flying faster than ever. Hopefully we can make everyday meaningful by being a productive and impactful Muslim, insyaAllah.

I'd like to share the inputs that I've learned (almost a year ago, now flipping the note pages) during an Ibrah Seminar on Surah Al-Jumu'ah by Ust. Syaari Abdul Rahman. Alhamdulillah, the seminar was very insighful, I attended this program with my beloved juniors Sakinah, Syera & Chad. We took a day-trip as Bangi and UTP is only a 2.5 hrs drive.

About Surah Al-Jumu'ah
- This is the 62nd surah in the Quran, consisting of 11 verses. 
- It is positioned after Surah As-Saff and before Surah Al-Munafiqun.
- A Madaniyah surah (meaning that this surah was reveled after the event of Hijrah - where Rasululullah saw and the sahabahs migrated from Mecca to Madinah).

What is Ibrah?
Ibrah is the lesson learnt that we can gain and emulate practically in our daily lives. During the seminar, Ust. Syaari shared his technique in understanding the Quran (doing tadabbur), these are the steps :
T - tartilkan bacaan (learn the correct way of tilawah)
A - ambil tahu terjemahan dan fadhilat surah
D - dapatkan motif, tema, segmentasi surah
A - asbabub nuzul (sirah penurunan)
B - belek tafsir
B - baca lagi sekali (penghayatan)
U - usahakan hafalan (baca dalam solat)
R - rangsang orang lain (sampaikan)

There are many inputs that I have learned in the seminar (especially with regards to the tafsir of the surah), however, I'd prefer that you attend the sessions by Ust. Syaari / any other speakers who are credible to teach, to learn more on the subject matter :) Understanding the Quran is a very interesting subject to learn. I am not a religious school product, frankly saying I really learn about Islam when I was in UTP, yet I am very grateful of the path that Allah has chartered upon me, Alhamdulillah. So if by any chance you have an opportunity to learn about Islam, just grab it!

Action Points
So, some practical points that we shall emulate from this surah are :
1. Friday is the blessed day of the week, we should celebrate it just like Aidiladha / Aidilfitri
2. The day Adam is created by Allah in the Heavens and the day Adam & Eve were expelled from Heavens to the Earth.
4. A day where your prayers are very mustajab.
5. The day where The End of Day (qiyamah) will occur.
6. Make the most of this day, eventhough this is the last working day of the week, we shall strive so that our spiritual quest is highest on Friday.
7. Give sadaqah
8. Seek for 'ilm (knowledge)
9. Hear the khutbah. Actually, if the platform of khutbah is utilized well, it will give a very big impact to create a stronger Muslim society as this is our weekly gathering, where reminder (tazkirah) are being given so that we're aware of the current situation of Muslims around the world.
10. Read the Quran and try to understand it.
11. For us females who have  our on and off day of the month, worry not! There's still lots of things that we can do in order to have a productive Friday. Perhaps joining a charity work around your household?
12. Read Surah Al-Kahf 

Hopefully, we can all act upon our knowledge and give an impact towards our Deen, families and societies. Till then, Wallahu'alam.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Reflections from Akademi Dakwah Muslimah


Alhamdulillah, I'm back after 6 months!  Completing my final year studies and finishing all the projects on time did really acquire me to make some sacrifices, my blogging time is one of it. Nevertheless, I've successfully graduated from UTP since the last two months and here I am now, back in Perlis.

Frankly saying, I think this is the longest period of my stay at home since I started my degree studies 5-years ago. Most of my semester breaks were spent doing SRC works, couple of Minggu Aluan Siswa (MAS) weeks and study related matter. For now, It's kinda payback time. 😂

Alhamdulillah, last weekend I attended Akademi Dakwah Muslimah at Tasoh Lake Resort, organized by Jabatan Mufti Perlis. The 2-day seminar covered 6 topics which I found to be very attentive and practical as a Muslimah. Being a student not from Islamic Studies background did give me the chills at first, however after a couple of hours listening intently to the speakers, I've gotten a good kickstart Alhamdulillah. Guess what, I managed to stay awake and focused all throughout the program (selalunya ada waktu downtime). Indeed, having a good rest after my Final Year did reignite my thirst of knowledge.

So what did I learn here and what can we reflect upon?

The seminar featured three speakers, each presenting two slots that were essential to the whole program.

The first one is Dr. Roshimah Shamsudin (USM), she presented her papers on the Basics of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah and Importance of Hadith for Muslim Da'i. From here, I learned the forms of da'wah which can be done via speech, writing and action to call for people to do good and avoiding transgressions (amar makruf nahi munkar). The responsibility lies on all of us, not a selected few. As a woman, we have an equal role just like men to bring some sense back to the community, by making a constructive effort by teaching or any means that is possible. By doing so, then we can collectively move forward for a better Muslim society and a better humanity.

In seeking for reference, the hadith is our second source after the Quran. A da'i should have a sense of integrity in ensuring the credibility of sources used in talks, speeches and discourses. The advances of ulum-al-hadith (Studies of Hadith) have produced numerous students and scholars that are performing the arduous task of checking the credibility of hadith. It's a challenging job, but somebody has to do it right? 

As a public member, our job is to be critical in becoming a good audience. It is actually not wrong for us to politely ask on the references used by our speakers. At least, you'll get extra knowledge. I found this talk by Dr. Zahiruddin Zabidi on 'Cara Orang Awam Berinteraksi Dengan Nas Agama' to be very useful, click here . 

The second speaker is Dr. Sakinah Saptu (UKM), she presented her research on the Concept of Tasfiyah (Purification) in Da'wah and the Da'wah Methods of Ummahatul Mukminin. Al-Tasfiyah is a process of purifying Islam from unnecessary acts (it can be rituals, customs, rules etc) and to return it to the original form propagated by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. This method is highly essential for us Muslims in order to identify which acts actually belongs to our religion and which are not. In order to do so, surely we need to seek for knowledge and with matters regarding our religion and faith, our main references will be the Quran and the Hadith.  

With Dr. Sakinah Saptu.

On the methods of da'wah used by Ummahatul Mukminin (Wives of the Prophet), there are two main methods :
1) Manhaj 'Aqli (using thoughts) - how to make dialogues with other people and make them think in accepting what we are suggesting. No spoon feeding here! The people that we are corresponding shall understand the reason why he/she needs to do it. In the Quran, there are numerous verses encouraging us to observe and ponder upon His creations (for example, Surah Az-Zaariyat verse 20-21). 
On the other hand, this method also requires us to think first and have a good reasoning before conveying our messages.

2) Manhaj 'Atifi (using our heart, feeling and soul) - this method will need us to be gentle and to reduce confrontations. Make effort to understand  the situation of the mad'u first, then we can analyze and respond to them using the best way possible. Personally, I found this method to be very constructive as we will try to make the best approach to motivate the mad'u without making them feels like a lesser being.

Dr. Sakinah also shared with us on the uslub of da'wah which are:
1) dakwah bil-hikmah (using knowledge to convey the truth)
2) mauizhah hasanah (conveying good advices and glad tidings)
3) qudwah hasanah (showing good examples - in form of actions)
To know which method is the best, we need to be able to make a good judgement based on knowledge and experience. But nonetheless, it is actually easiest to start with ourselves (by showing a good example), especially in our homes.

Getting ready for day 2.

Lastly, the third speaker Dr. Hamidah Mat (OUM) shared her thoughts on Women's Jurisprudence (Fiqh Wanita) and Effective Presentation Technique. I personally love this slot the most as the way Fiqh Wanita was presented is such an eye opener. Pernah tak terfikir kenapa kita asyik membincangkan topik darah, haid, istihadhah bila mana topik ini dibangkitkan? There is actually a lot more to explore. In order to face the global changes, we need to be able to position our Muslim women by giving them exposure towards Islamic Jurisprudence and also to encourage them to embrace their roles and potential so that changes can be made altogether.

‘Aisyah radiallahu ‘anha berkata :

نِعْمَ النِّسَاءُ نِسَاءُ الأَنْصَارِ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَمْنَعُهُنَّ الْحَيَاءُ أَنْ يَتَفَقَّهْنَ فِي الدِّينِ

Sebaik-baik wanita adalah wanita Ansar. Sifat malu mereka tidak menghalang mereka daripada mempelajari agama. [Sahih Muslim]

Short notes from Dr. Hamidah's lecture.

As a da'i, having a good grasp on this matter will be really helpful as these involved with our daily activities. Being able to give a mature and practical respond is imperative as we need to ensure that our mad'u is not burdened which in turn will cause misunderstanding of religion. Islam is easy and we need to be able to promote and make people understand how easy our religion is. For sure, this will need us to make some effort in understanding the Fiqh of Priorities (Fiqh al-Awlawiyyat) and Maqasid as-Syariah (Purpose of Syariah). 

Ustazah Nor Faezah with Dr. Hamidah 

Being a woman, we need to see 'Fiqh Wanita' from a new dimension (as per suggested by Syeikh Yusuf Al-Qardhawi), which can be done by :
- promoting women to understand the syariah as a way of life.
- encouraging women to reflect on our roles and potentials.
- making balanced judgements using our minds and emotions.
- to contribute for Islam

As a conclusion, we need to understand that all of us bear the responsibility to convey the messages of Islam. It's going to take a lot of learning to built our credibility, but the first step starts now. Perhaps we have been thinking to say something to our family members, friends or neighbours. It doesn't necessarily be in a form of speech, it can be anything. In a way, da'wah is actually an art. What's importance is to have the realization inside us and to do it, gently.

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