Friday, 30 July 2010

Importance of Prayer


The month of Ramadhan is just around the corner, and it is an important month for the Muslims and the month for worshipping Allah. Muslims fast goes beyond refraining of food and drink. The eyes, ears, tongue and heart must also be refrained from sinful things. The minimum requirement of Ramadan is to avoid from all that is forbidden and to fulfill all that is fardh or wajib.
" (It is) He Who created Death and Life, that He may test which of you is best in deed". surah al-mulk verse 2

Even though fasting is important, praying is even more important as it is prescribed for us Muslims to do it 5 times a day. It is normal to see that a Muslim claims to be a Muslim but doesn't even practise the prayer. I know this because I was one of them. It is just a 'laziness disease' to do prayer sometimes. But now, come to think about it, why do I call myself a Muslim if I'm not even doing the most basic thing that the religion advises me to do? What differentiates me as a Muslim from any other religion? our looks? dressing? our conduct?

Most of us all over the world now have kind of the same look, same dressing, same speech and same conduct. The conduct of disobeying God(Allah) and His Messenger. We have been negligent to Allah and ourselves.
" O you people! Worship and obey your Lord". surah al-baqarah verse 21
"I have only created jinns and human beings, that they may worship and obey Me". surah ad-dhariyat verse 56
"And remember your Lord in your heart with humility and fear, and without raising your voice; remember Him in the morning and evening , and do not become of those who are negligent." Surah al-A'raf verse 206

Lately, it is easy for a person to say such beautiful words, but not acting up on them. The values of Islam is slowly going to perish. Most of us do not hold on to our words or promises anymore. I have recently seen a lot of this recently in my social network that goes something like "May Allah place you amongst the pious" (Semoga dihimpunkannya dengan org2 yg salleh) but the prayer(worshipping Allah) that our body is entitled or needed to is not being done. There is not much point just saying du'a(supplication) without the proper conduct. In Surah At-tawbah verse 77 & 80 says :-

"(77)So He caused hypocrisy to take root in their hearts and to remain therein until the Day they meet Him because they broke their promise with Allah and because they lied.(80)(O Prophet), it is all the same whether you ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah shall not forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger; and Allah does not bestow His Guidance on such evil-doing folk." Surah at-tawbah verse 77 & 80

"There are some who say:"We believe in Allah and in the Last Day," While in fact they do not believe. (9) They are trying to deceive Allah and those who believe, but they do not realise that in truth they are only deceiving themselves. (10) There is a disease in their hearts and Allah has intensified this disease. A painful chastisement awaits for their lying." surah al-baqarah verse 8-10

Even the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) could not ask for forgiveness to such people, who are we to ask Allah to forgive them? Do we have the right to tell/ask Allah to place a person amongst the pious? Allah is fair, so He knows what to do. The important thing for us to do is do prayer for ourselves first. This verse emphasises that we should do justice to ourselves first.
" He who follows the Right Way shall do so to his own advantage; and he who strays shall incur his own loss. No one shall bear another's burden. And never do We punish any people until We send a Messenger." surah al-Israa' verse 15

"Those who hold fast to the Book and establish Prayer- We shall not allow the reward such righteous people to go to waste." Surah al-A'raf verse 170
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Between a man and polytheism (shirk) and unbelief (kufr) is the non-performance of the prayer." [Sahih Muslim]
A person who calls him/herself a Muslim but do not pray is almost equivalent to a polytheism(a person who believes in many gods/goddess) and an unbeliever. Such person is between these two. The verse and the hadith indicates the importance performance of the prayer as the line of demarcation between a believer and an unbeliever.

"Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were Mujrimun (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals, etc.)." surah at-tawbah verse66
Have we been conducting like a non-believer after we have testify There is no other god other than Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger and Islam as our way of life?
"As for those who have rejected(these truths), it is all the same whether or not you warn them, for they will not believe. (7) Allah has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and a covering has fallen over their eyes. They deserve severe chatisement." surah al-baqarah verse 6-7
Are we one of these people who do not believe?

" (O Muhammad), if they do not believe in this Message, you will perhaps torment yourself to death with grief, sorrowing over them. (7) Surely We have made all that is on the earth an embellishment for it in order to test people as to who of them is better in conduct." Surah al-kahf verse 6-7
I can only advise myself, brothers and sisters out there, but doing or practising it has to be self intiative. I will keep on trying to advise as long as I am in the right path insha'Allah. If I have done anything wrong, do advise me. Let us make prayer correctly and constantly, insha'Allah so that we could go to the next step which is fasting. Lets appreciate the month of Ramadhan.

"O believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God." Surah al-baqarah verse 183

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The recent controversial jerseys


It has been a while since I wanted to write on the issue of wearing football jerseys and any logos that have cross on them. This hot issue has also been discussed by Ustaz Zaharuddin fairly recently. I am not going into details of the things mentioned by him, but I would like to talk about football itself. I am a big fan of football and I am really interested in expressing my opinion on this.

Recently the issue of wearing jerseys that have "cross" on them is being questioned especially after Spain lifted the World Cup. Liverpool had Carlsberg as their sponsor for a really long time and now they have opted for Standard Chartered as their sponsor instead. The article that was written in Malaysian papers said that it is not right for a Muslim to wear jerseys that have "red devil, cross and liquors" as their logo and sponsors. So recently I have seen people proudly saying that the jersey they are wearing have none of those. One of those is the Liverpool jerseys. It is a bit obvious that we muslims do not really appreciate or understand the importance of Islamic Banking. I was also one of those muslim who didn't realised the importance of Islamic Banking but I was made aware of it since I took the Masters in Islamic Banking. How I would appreciate to see the Liverpool jersey with Standard Chartered Saadiq instead.

It is a pity that muslims are not really aware of the importance of Islamic Banking. Those who are aware of Islamic Banking are annoyed at the certain Islamic Banking practices that mirrors the conventional banking. In my opinion muslims do need more exposure in Islamic banking in order for Islamic banking to work and to not be a photostat copy of the conventional banking which are using the term "Islamic". As mentioned by Ustaz Zaharuddin, a person who consumes riba/usury/interest is like one who is waging a war against Allah and His Messengers and the sins are like commiting fornication 36 times. The sin of commiting 1 fornication is bad enough, consuming riba is 36 times worst. I have also written in my previous entry about the unfairness in taking or consuming riba here.

Those who wear jerseys that have insurance as their sponsor are not any different with those who wears conventional banking. Conventional banking is bad because it deals with riba. Insurance is worse because it is deals with riba, gharar(uncertainty) and game of chance(sort of gambling). Let us take car insurance for example, a person pays for insurance because he would like to be covered IF he gets an accident. I emphasise IF because, the person knows that he/she is bound to have an accident but not sure when. The insurance company looks through the persons records (accident prone and any traffic violation) to calculate the cost of insuring the person. If the company finds that it is a big liability to insure the person, the company would definitely NOT insure them. Therefore, the company who insures a person knows that the person have a low chance of having an accident. The company is setting its price on it. When the company sets a price on it, it implies that the company is betting with that person that he/she is not(/less chances) going to have an accident. But the person knows that he/she is bound to have and accident and therefore both are going against odds and therefore they are involved in "gambling"...Allah knows best. This thing is a bit tricky for me to express but I hope I have made it simple to understand. I hope to explain more about insurance probably in the future, Insha'Allah.

Getting back to the issue of the jerseys and football, it is also important to mention somethings that is always involved in football which is betting. We muslims should not support such activities. We should not believe in the justice of earning with luck. The game of chance (gambling) only make one party wins. It is either the bookey or the gambler, both cannot win at the same time. Muslim should not believe in this kind of justice, we believe in helping each other and should crave for a win win situation.

Why does a person buy a jersey? to show support of that particular team? to give financial support to the team? I am not trying to annoy the Liverpool and Manchester supporters, but the reason I would like to mention about them is because there are a lot of news on them. Thier debts are now hundreds of millions and their debt will continue to grow because of their involvement in riba/interests. In the past, even Chelsea were having debts up to £300 million if I am not mistaken before Roman bought the club. By giving them your money to buy jerseys it may help them to recover bits of their debts, but when they need financial support, they will go for the conventional method which is suppoting riba/interests.

In Malaysia usually during an EPL match, it is normal to hear people cursing at each other or even cursing the TV because of the opposition. What is the real intention of that? Why the need to be too emotional? In my opinion it is not a big deal to be a fan, but do not go up to the extreme. Love the game, not necessarily the team. It is good to see people are getting more aware about all these jersey/logo stuff but in my opinion, there are more important priority should be taken care of. There are no other priority that should be taken care which is worshipping Allah. It does not get us anywhere if we neglect the most important thing we as a muslim should do. If not Allah who deserves the worshipping, who else deserves more? Torres? Rooney? Gianfranco Zola? Na'uzubillahiminzalik.

Have a think.

Allah definitely knows best.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tribute to our loved ones and Arwah Azizi Seh


It has been about 2 weeks + since my childhood friend, arwah Azizi Seh passed away. I have known him since primary school and we have been through some crucial things in our lives together. I wasn't exactly close to him, but there was a period when we were 10 years old where we would hang out together. As we grew up, we hang out more with our friends as a whole (or as a unit some might say). We have done some good and bad stuff together. Eventhough we have done things that I'm not proud of, I wouldn't be the person I am today if we had not do those things. It has been since early 2008 that I have left my friends and family to migrate to the UK. I may have lost contact with some of my friends but I'm pretty sure that his personality was getting better and better. I hope our lives are not just wasted for nothing. I know for sure that he played a role in my life, and I hope it'll not go to waste for me and my other friends.

Death is a mysterious thing. Even though it happens everyday, and have become such a normality we are always saddened when somebody so close is being taken away. We know that death is inevitable, it will happen no matter what that is for sure. The only mystery for us is when will it happen? So, why are we shocked by death? We should always be prepared, because we know that our life in this world would definitely be taken away. Why do we feel sad when somebody has passed away? Is it because of the impact of them in our lives? Or is it because we could not communicate with them and take back any nasty words thrown across each other.

In my opinion, we should always appreciate the contribution of those who have passed away. They have gone to a place where we can not communicate with them or as some people might say they have gone to a place where there is no "reception". The method of death should not be an issue because death is inevitable. Some might get cancer, and some might be healthy and just die with no explanation, so the method of death doesn't necessarily show the character of the person. Cherish the lives that have passed away, and cherish the lives that you have with you today. If you cherish the right way, insha'Allah you would not be swayed.

I have some advise for myself, my friends and probably some the brothers and sisters out there, even though we have commited some sinful and innappropriate activities its not to late to repent! Let us do it honestly, and truthfully and repent because it is never too late and let us not get back to the wrong path but only the right path. I have a verse from the holy Quran about those who repents.

Allah's acceptance of repentance is only for those who commit evil out of ignorance and then soon repent. It is towards such persons that Allah turns graciously. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.(18) But of no avail is the repentance of those who do evil until death approaches any of them and then he say: "Now I repent." Nor is the repentance of those who die in the state of unbelief of any avail to them. For them We have kept in readiness a painful chastisement. Surah al-nisa verse 17-18

To me, we have commited evil out of ignorance and our next step is just to repent. We have sort of "accomplished" the first step and all we need to do is the most important step, to repent. But don't let it be to late till we are on the verge of death to repent and I pray and hope we all die in the state of a believer. For those who have not commit any evil, don't let this be an excuse to commit evil as certainly you have received the message and advise to do good and avoid evil. And if you decide to commit evil now as an excuse, you might regret it as your life might be taken during committing evil. So let us stay away from evil and do good as Allah is All-Knowing.

I hope in the future, we will keep on advising each other to stay away from evil and not just to wait on another death to remind each other. I have always thought to myself about this phrase "free-time" and I am always against using the phrase. How does a person call it a "free-time" when the person does not even know how much time he has left? To me, there is no such thing as "free-time" but we are living on "bought-time/borrowed-time" which is a gift from Allah for us to decide on what to do. Al-fatihah to my dearest friend .. let us cherish the past, the present and insha'Allah the future. I end with a few verses from the Quran about death.

"And Abraham enjoined the same upon his children, and so did Jacob:" My children! Behold, Allah has chosen this religion for you. Remain till death in submission(to Allah)" surah al-baqarah verse 133

"Believers, do not be like those who disbelieved and said to their brethen (who met some suffering) in the course of journey or fighting:"Had they remained with us, they would not have died nor been slain." Allah makes such thoughts the cause of deep regrets in their hearts. For in truth it is Allah alone who grants life and deals death. Allah sees all that you do." surah al-imran verse 157

"Everyone is bound to taste death and you shall receive your full reward on the day of resurrection. Then, whoever is spared the fire and is admitted to Paradise has indeed been succesful. The life of this world is merely an illusionary enjoyment." surah al-imran verse 184

"Why, then, when the soul leaps up the throat, the while helplessly watching that he is on the verge of death, at that moment when We are closer to him than you, although you do not see (Us), if you are not subject to anyone's authority, why are you then not able to bring them back to life if you are thruthful." surah al-waqi'ah verse 83-87

al-nawawi forty tradition hadith 40
From ibn Umar with both whom (he and his father) may Allah be please - who said "The Messenger of Allah, may benediction and salutation of Allah be upon him, held me by the shoulder and said: "Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller". And Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with both, used to say: "When evening comes on you do not keep on waiting for morning, and when morning comes do not keep on waiting for evening. And take from you health (make best use of or prepare) for you sickness and from your life for your death."