Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alhamdulillah for a Good Year!

Anything that happens, its by the will of Allah. We say "Alhamdulillah" when something good happens to us and also " Alhamdulillah" and still be thankful even when we face difficulty and hardship in our journey through life.

Book Finally Ready

Alhamdulillah! My book "The Beauty of Covering Up" was finally completed, published and enjoyed people, friends and strangers. Sometimes the people you would least expect would want to purchase a copy. Some want a copy for themselves and they are not even covered! Insha Allah they will read with an open heart and make dua to Allah for strength and wisdom to change their lives. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain! SubhanAllah! Allah is ever so Merciful and Forgiving.

So Much Help from Everyone

Masya Allah! I touched by the many offers by so many kind brothers and sisters to help me introduce my book, in so many different ways. I am very motivated and very thankful to see such positive response.

Sister Zarina, whom I met only briefly at the International Fashion Festival, who after reading my book, loved it and offered to help me sell my books without taking a single cent from the sales! Jazakillahu khairan dear sister.

Friends like sisters Shahizah,Katijah, Noraini, Tati, Latifah and Suraya too had helped without taking a single cent from me. Only for the sake of Allah. Only Allah can reward them accordingly.

Busy with Clothes

I got sidetracked by having to do a collection of Chinese inspired clothes. It takes a lot of time to source and select the fabric, to send all the fabrics for sewing, for collection, to embellish etc. However, I truly appreciate the sisters who encouraged me and a very kind and insistent sister even banked in some cash(seed money) directly into my atm to give me that push. I never even expected that at all! Its so costly to make even one garment - quality fabrics, tailoring, time, transport etc. May Allah reward all their kind intentions.

Back to Books and Promotion to create Awareness

Insya Allah I plan to have a small and personal launch with the help of my friends in February. We cannot say no when people want to help - I see it as one of the ways that Allah is helping us , through other fellow Muslims. What more can I say? Alhamdulillah all the way!!!!

Case 1 : Response to the Book

So many fears about other people's reactions and opinions. So little concern about what Allah thinks about us, or what the malaikah is writing right now, about our behaviour.

A friend just told me that she shared the book with her friend who had some doubts about covering. People have the usual worries - will I still look good? Will my husband think I look old fashioned? Will he think other women are more attractive? Will people think I have gone "dawah type" and turn away from me? Will I lose job opportunities because I am covered? Do I look older? What shall I wear?

Anyway, to make the story short, this friend of mine persuaded her to read the book and by the time she finished it, she informed my friend that she wanted to put on the hijab. SubhanAllah! If the contents that came from my heart could reach hers, I am confident that insha Allah the same could happen to other readers. May Allah make it easy for them.

Ikhlas - Sincerity

It is important for someone to read the book with an open mind, with complete sincerity. To be humble and remember who she is at all times, she is Muslimah! One who loves Allah and has made a pledge to submit to His will and to follow the guidance of our beloved Prophet saw.

Amal Jariah and Hijab - constant purification and shield

We can take nothing with us except our amal jariah (continuous good deeds) and the continuous deeds of our pious children . We hope to return to Him purified, not just by ritual cleansing of the dead but through the purification in our daily lives, by way of wudhu, solat, dzikir and constant hijab.

The Year is Over!!!

Both the Islamic calendar and the secular calendar have passed! 2010 had brought many changes to my life. Some painful and sad, like the illness of my parents, their endurance of pain and suffering which I could not do much to alleviate.

My mother's passing still holds many painful memories which serve as a lesson for myself. How to live my life as fully as my mom did, how much love and patience she had for all of us, her family, her friends and the needy, some of whom she had never even met in her life!

Hanifah Chong led a very rich life, with many tears of joy and sorrow. I wish I can, insha Allah learn to be loving and forgiving as she had been, carrying on with her life the best she could. All the wrong that others had done to her could not be forgotten and kept on hurting but she forgave as often as she could. During her last days she said she forgave everyone and everything. It was a tremendous thing to do when sometimes the human memory could not let us forget the hurt and injustice we had suffered long ago. In Islam we are encouraged to forgive and let go as that is the key to our own salvation.

As children we did not give her our fullest attention as we had to divide our time to fulfill personal needs and to fulfill the needs of the ummah, although in a small way.We enjoyed her company and depended on her advice, daily without fail. Dear friends, never forget your mothers and always remind her of how important she is in your lives. Allah rewards those who honour their mothers most, after Allah and His Messenger saw.

Allah SWT had blessed us with a good year, no tsunami or massive earthquakes or terrible fires, as experienced by people in other parts of the world. Though there were floods and other disasters, they were minor compared to the suffering of others elsewhere.

Every experience is an enrichment and a lesson in itself. I pray to Allah to guide us and help us benefit from these lessons and increase our iman and will to be better servants of Allah.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Be Flexible

That also applies to cooking! In fact thats the best time to improvise and be creative. Have fun!!! Cooking should not be a chore though we sometimes feel it is, when we are busy and tired. Fresh food tastes best but sometimes we have to schedule our cooking to save time and energy.

I prefer to cook on marketing day, when everything is fresh and at its best. Takes less time than having to thaw and cook half frozen meat etc.

Braised Chicken Mushroom

Earlier on I cooked some chicken with celery, onions, shitake mushrooms and premium oyster sauce. While heating it up for my Dad's lunch, I decided to add some Chinese herbs to make it more nutritious.

Turn it into a Nutritious Soup

Just add more water or chicken/vegetable stock (not stock cubes). Throw in a small handful of wolfberries (kei chi - small oval shaped red berries). To make it sweeter, I added some Chinese red dates and simmered the soup. Its nice when the berries and dates are softened and the sweetness is delicate.

Wolfberries are good for the eyes whereas red dates are energy giving and tasty.

As I had to go out, I packed everything including the hot rice into separate vacumn jugs and placed them all in a large tray. That way Dad can have a delicious hot meal anytime he wants.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Excellence in Doing Good to the Friends of Parents and Other Relatives

Chpt. 42, Riyad-us-Saliheen
No. 341 Narrated "Abdullah bin 'Umar ra : Allah's messenger saw said, "The finest act of goodness is that a person should treat kindly the loved ones of his father." (Muslim)

Commentary : After the death of one's parents, one should maintain contact with their friends and threat them nicely. Besides being a great virtue it is warranted by the needs for showing compassion to relatives. To forget friends of one's parents and break contact with them has been greatly condemned by theh Shari'iah.

No.343 Narrated Abu Usaid Malik bin Rabi'ah As-sa'idi ra : We were sitting with Allah's Messenger saw when a man of Banu Salamah came to him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there any obedience to parents left that I can show to them after their demise?"
He saw replied, "Yes, to pray for them, to supplicate for their forgiveness, to fulfil their promises after their death, to maintain the ties of kinship which cannot be maintained except through them, and to honour their friends." (Abu Dawud)

Commentary : We learn from this Hadith that one should consider the life of one's parents a blessing because their life provides one with an opportunity to serve them wholeheartedly, which is ordained by Allah. If one wants to be nice to them after their death, one should adopt the methods mentioned in this Hadith. It needs to be noted that here it does not mention the ceremonies like recitation of the Noble Qur'an on the third, seventh and fortieth day after the death of a person, in vogue (popular) in our society.

All these methods of conveying the reward of virtuous deeds or rites are wrong for the reason that they are neither helpful for the dead nor the living. What really benefits the dead as well as living, is prayer and begging forgiveness from Allah.

In this Hadith, these have been regarded as acts of beneficence for the deceased parents. It clearly means that the children will be rewarded for the virtuous acts they do for their parents and the status of the deceased parents will also be elevated in the next world. The acceptance of the prayer in favour of the deceased parents is also confirmed from that Hadith also which tells that death brings to an end all the activities, except the following :

Firstly, an ongoing Sadaqah (Sadaqah Jariyah); like the digging of a well, the building of a masjid, etc.
Secondly, knowledge which benefits mankind.

Thirdly, prayers of virtuous offspring.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Enjoy Your Life

Enjoy Your Life

I decided to go back to my original blog name 'Enjoy Your Life'. It is really relevant to the topics I write about and though the contents of 'The Beauty of Covering' is close to my heart, it is but only a small part of the whole.

'The Beauty of Covering Up'

The title 'The Beauty of Covering Up' is indeed beautiful and readers have come back to tell me how close they feel to the title and how affected some of them are. It is really heartening to hear this. I have also received lots of positive feedback concerning the layout, presentation and design and the wonderful colours which strike an emotional chord within me, everytime I see it.

Thank You for Kind Suppport

Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement and support, my dear brothers and sisters. The first brother who bought my book (as a gesture of support) was Dato' Mustapha Ma, the President of MACMA, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association.

I feel Honoured

I feel honoured that sisters who are famous and respected academicians also bought my book, in support for the important topic of covering and behaving modestly, not only meant for a Muslim woman. This is a message for women of other religions who seek the truth and desire to return to their own religious roots, emulating honorable women of the past.

Mariam, mother of Nabi Isa

Can anyone ever imagine the respected and beloved mother of Nabi Isa (virgin Mary) uncovered and exposed for all to see? Never! Never! Never! For she was a chaste woman guided and protected by God, Allah SWT. Do you know that Mariam (her real name) is one of the most honoured women in Islam? And her son, Nabi Isa, a beloved prophet of Allah SWT?

Muslims Loves all our Prophets

Every Muslim knows that but ,sad to say, people who claim to be of his faith do not know that Muslims too share and love our early prophets, Abraham, Moses, David, Jacob, Joseph....until the seal of the prophets, Muhammad saw. We love all of them and we do not worship any man as he is creation. We worship only the mighty Creator, Allah SWT.

Mariam our Role Model

If we claim we love Mary, and we know that God Almighty had blessed and honoured Mary, why do people not take her as a role model? I remember a time when women used to cover their heads with beautiful hats or shawls when they attended church. As years went by, the hats shrank, the shawls and scarves seem to have disappeared. Now almost anything goes. what happened to these values? Who planned the erosion of values? What is the intention of such groups of people? Who do they serve? Obviously not Allah SWT.

New Look for Blog

Colour for the Year 2011 is PINK!!!!

Interestingly, I just heard over the radio a few days a ago that it was decided by some international research body that the colour for the year 2011 is PINK!

It seemed to be related to the optimism, anticipation, renewal of energy for the coming year etc; if I remember correctly. Its hard to concentrate on the radio when one is trying to manouver in a traffic jam.

Well, it so happened that right now my favourite colour is pink and my book is pink, my free carrier bag for the book and book mark are all pink! Nice touch!

Beige my Blog

But I decided to beige my blog. Though the book "The Beauty of Covering Up' is more for ladies, my blog is not. Perhaps all pink is a bit overwhelming for some brothers. Do look up my FaceBook under Noorshin Ng.

I just write and share my thoughts and concerns with anyone who cares to visit. I do not like to be political here - politics can make people emotional and insane.

Some people spend a lot to make their blogs look professional . They use this as a tool to slander others. When we read something we need to ask what is the intention of the writer? Is there a hidden agenda?

Do Not Believe Everything You Read or Hear

We can surely sense the sincerity or rather, lack of sincerity and arrogance of some writers who criticise others and even use false information to confuse innocent readers.

We really need to ask for dalil (evidence from authentic sources) if someone writes something damaging about our brothers and sisters. Just because it is printed and published does not mean its the truth.

Some people have no fear of Allah SWT and do not mind if the malaikah (angels) record their misdeeds.

May Allah SWT guide and protect us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pot Luck Gathering to Share Healthy Recipes

It would be rather nice if some of us could meet up to share our favourite healthy and wholesome recipes over a cup of hot tea or coffee! It can be anytime, brunch, breakfast or dinner - up the the convenience of our host.

Perhaps at the home a sister or during the weekends at Persatuan Darul Fitrah Malaysia, at Bandar Sri Damansara.

Ladies Only

It can be all ladies event initially so we can get to know each other. Its just an idea so we have not come up with any particular set requirements.

General Requirements :

1. Halal Food - bring a dish
2. and the recipe.
3. If you wish to do a demonstration pls bring your own ingredients. We have a cooking stove, fridge and oven.
4. Bring a health tip
5. Share favourite hadiths (with reference please)
6. Share favourite verses from the Quran ( ref pls)
7. Tell us what you would like to learn or share at our center

We are also trying to set up a Photography Club - all are welcome. Will try to find a teacher to give us some pointers and recommend some suitable cameras for those of us who wish to take proper pictures for our blogs etc.

Sisters please give your comments to make this little project a success. Whatever we share, learn and apply will go a long way and will benefit our family and friends insha Allah.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quick Chicken Stir Fry

I usually like to reserve some meat from the chicken t o make a quick stir fry dish. This can break the monotony of just having only soup though its already quite a meal in itself. Can be eaten with fluffy hot rice or even cut smaller and used in fried rice or a sandwich.


Take the balance one quarter of the chicken (only meat). Cut into medium chunks.
Fry some garlic and onions in palm oil or olive oil till aromatic and add in some julienned red, green and yellow capsicum. Keep frying till its a bit browned and fragrant.At this stage you can add one or two sprigs of curry leaves.

Add perhaps a tablespoon or two of curry powder and a sprinkling of fennel powder. Fry a bit and add chicken meat. Stir fry till chicken is tender and season with little salt and pepper.
Add extra spices and chili powder if you desire.

Recipes that may be Suitable for the Elderly and Patients
My recipes are suitable for my elderly dad who is a heart patient. I try to reduce the oil and fat but he occasionally gets to enjoy some tasty fried chicken, lontong and prawn sambal etc without upsetting his diet too much.

Idea for a new project

Perhaps I will write a small booklet on the kinds of food I served him and so far the heart specialist is very happy with his condition, considering his age and other chronic illnesses which are under control . Alhamdulillah! The fact that he could survive his heart attack this long is truly a miracle from Allah SWT.

The best part is his appetite is still very good and metabolism rate is very high. He actually eats more than I do and would ask for more rice if he particularly enjoyed his meal. He is still rather skinny and fragile. Allah SWT is truly Kind and Merciful.


Add sliced fresh mushrooms and red and green chillies.
Good to add chunks of ripe tomato.

Easy Nutri Chicken Soup - Chinese Style

I do not consider myself a good cook. Sometimes the meal is really fantastic and sometimes even I do not feel like taking a second helping. Some people eat just to nourish themselves and then they get on with their life and their work. Some of us look for that little bit extra in our daily meals. I usually cook what I personally enjoy.

Same Ingredients, Different Results

We use the same ingredients and spend almost the same amount of time in the preparation. Why not take a little bit of time to plan the meal mentally and make it a tasty and happy occasion at mealtimes instead of throwing everything together desperately at the last minute? Of course this does not apply to some of our mothers who excel in the kitchen every time!

Even I cooked some pretty tasteless or unappetising dishes once a while. Usually this happened when I was too busy, lacked ingredients and did not have any idea what to do when I had to step into the kitchen to prepare a meal. When I'm not in the mood to cook, I go into autopilot.

We do not need to plan a lot - just make sure we have some meat (optional), flavoursome bulbs like onions and garlic, maybe some herbs and some coloured leafy or root vegetables to create a colourful meal. That's for the nutrients that come from the various colours and flavours, created by Allah SWT for our good health and enjoyment.

Cooking with Love makes the Difference!

Just make something that's simple and acceptable to the family. Doesn't even have to be a complete meal, like rice or bread, soup, salad, meat etc. I make a quick sandwich with whatever bread available and use up all the leftovers from the fridge as filling.

Fillings that's quick and tasty, usually leftovers from the fridge :

Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Eggplant and Veggies
Sausages and leftover pasta sauce
Stir fried veggies with a slice of ripe tomato
Leftover mixed veggie salad and lemon juice
Boiled egg and tomato slices
Leftover shredded chicken and tomato
Meatball and tomato
Flaked fried fish with mayo and lettuce
Chicken curry gravy and potatoes
Baked Beans and fried egg
Omelette with cheese or mushroom
Garlic toast
Cucumber slices with cream cheese
Ikan bilis sambal from leftover nasi lemak
egg and potatoes mashed in mayo
Toast served with dhal curry
French Toast - sweet or savoury
Tuna with mayo
sliced cold meat
satay with spicy peanut sauce
beef or chicken stew
Leftover soup with toast

I made some chicken soup yesterday. The same recipe can be used for lotus root, old cucumber, winter melon and carrot and potatoes etc. We may add some dried octopus when we cook old cucumber soup. We may add some dried red beans when we cook the lotus root soup.

Nutri Chinese Veggie Soup

(Just like ABC Potato Soup. I use a lot onions in that soup)

Take 3/4 parts of an antibiotic free or range free/organic chicken and remove some skin and fats. The fats provide the flavour but I prefer to remove some of the skin, if not all of it.

Place chicken pieces in a large heavy pot and fill it with water, just covering the chicken. Add a small knob ginger if you like but I didn't have any . Add a large handful of Chinese red dates. I sometimes use extra dates leftover from Ramadhan. Even if they are dry and cold, just add them in and they will become melt in the mouth after 2 hours of simmering. Check water level.

After about an hour, add the large chunks of melon and diced carrot. Add pepper and simmer away till chicken is really tender.

There - so easy and stress free!

Special Melon Soup cooked in Melon

Hollow out a large wintermelon (do not remove too much from the center or the whole melon will turn to mush if you overcook. Dice chicken meat, carrots and Chinese shitake mushroom (just 3 pieces ) . Season and add some water so the food will cook and a tasty soup is created. Replace the top piece that was cut off. Secure it with toothpicks or small satay sticks.

Place the whole melon in a large double boiler or thick ovenproof casserole and insert whole container and melon into a large wok filled with water. Place it on the trivet and add water. Cover it and steam till melon is tender but not too soft. Check water level occasionally or it may dry up! It may disintegrate if it is overcooked!

Remove the casserole from wok and place it on dining table. Open the cover of melon carefully and scoop out the flesh, diced veggies and meat.

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

My mother used to cook this soup sometimes for our Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. Of course she would also plan and prepare for 3 days, to produce a fabulous dinner, consisting of as much as 12 dishes, if she had her way!

I used to tell her to reduce it to just 5 but she always said it was a special occasion and the hard work was only just once a year. She wanted to make the event memorable and make everyone feel loved and pampered by her labour of love. The food would not be wasted as we would enjoy eating it again the next day and if friends dropped by the next day, we would be happy to let them taste some special home cooking!

We would also occasionally invite some brothers and sisters who recently embraced Islam. They sometimes could not eat the food served by their own families. They would still sit with them and eat perhaps nasi beriyani or some halal fast food while the rest of the family had their ten course gourmet dinner.

Pleasing our Family

We too make a point to be home for the reunion dinner to foster silatul rahim and to show that Islam does not prevent Muslims from honouring and pleasing their parents and family. The only time they refuse to oblige or disobey is when they are asked to do something that is against the teachings of Islam.

Patience in Obeying Allah SWT

If we are patient in obeying Allah SWT, insya Allah we will gain His pleasure and we cannot imagine the great rewards He plan for us in this worldly life (dunia) and in the Hereafter (akhirah).

I am sure every mother would do the same for her children, on very special occasions. These days, we only celebrate the 2 Eids and of course cook some nice dishes for iftar (breaking of fast) in Ramadhan to share with others.

Every Chinese home will be filled with friends and relatives who return once a year to celebrate and enjoy each others' company and renew kinship. Traditionally they return from all parts of the world, as far as Europe, Hong Kong and USA.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simple Life

Everyone has a different idea about what 'simple life' is all about. Some may think of a simpleton but these days the simple life is very sought after! Too much work pressure, chasing after worldly gains, trying to please everyone except oneself, fear of giving up our wealth and perks.... Too much of everything may make our blood pressure go up and we end up depending on all sorts of drugs and medication to cope with the kind of lifestyle we are accustomed to.

Just what is Simple Life?

Simple life means exactly that .. slowing down, know our priorities, get rid of all unnecessary details from our daily routine. Do not accept every trivial request or invitation unless you are certain you can fulfil the ones you have committed yourself to.

Not necessary ot say Yes to Everyone and Everything!

If its some ibadah, make sure you can fulfil it or else do not accept so eagerly. We will only end up disappointing someone or create some problems for others because we are unable to keep our word.

Its difficult to say no and we sometimes actually want to be involved in some new project or idea. We may feel we are selfish if we do not agree to participate. Maybe we can compromise by finding a 'partner' to help us work it out.

Find a 'Partner'

If we cannot attend a meeting etc we have to find a representative - not just anyone but someone who actually can do the job and wants to do it. He or she may also be like you, busy and cannot commit long term but if and when possible, he or she will be there to serve.

Do not Waste Each Other's Time

People who call for meetings should not waste too much time going round the bush and please spare all the flowery speeches and praises. Most people do not turn up to hear about themselves.

Necessary to be Decisive and Firm

The facilitator or chairperson has to be decisive and firm. He or she has to be confident enough to control the meeting and talk time. Some people go into too much details when they talk and in the end the lose the attention of the listeners.


Find a partner soon and brief him or her (unless its confidential) on progress of the project regularly. When necessary, your partner will be able to fit into the project smoothly insha Allah. If there is a less experienced person who is keen to learn, be a mentor and guide him or her. Encourage and inspire her to achieve greater heights, through knowledge and service.

Most of us started this way - we know that support and acknowledgement of our efforts go a long way. It serves as a guide and builds confidence. In time to come, we too will share our knowledge and skills with others who will carry on this amal jariah (continuous good deeds accepted by Allah SWT).