Friday, January 28, 2011

Busy but Beautiful Day

Busy Busy with Work

Alhamdulillah! Managed to get a perfect parking spot! Right in front of the shop where I wanted to buy my baking ingredients. Have to bake 6 chocolate cakes for Sunday. I do not really feel like doing them but I am grateful for rezeki from Allah. Do what we can and leave the rest to Allah.

Its usually very difficult to get parking in the city. Good to memorise some duaas that sooth the nerves and make us patient while driving round and round, trying to park. Strangely enough, I seem go find an empty parking space rather quickly when I remember to say my duaas.

Managed to get everything under one roof, Alhamdulillah! Drove home, deposited the many bags of goods into the house and prepared my dad's lunch by 11 am. I kept the food in several vacuum jugs to keep everything hot.

"Don't forget to eat your lunch" I reminded him before I left.

Min Fes Moroccan Spa, Gym and Cafe

On the way back from my errands I decided to stop over at my friend's shop in Mutiara Damansara. Pleasantly surprised to find her there and she mentioned that she was just trying to call me on the phone. Saw my poster of Harun Yahya Foundation and IIS 'Signs of the Creator 2' conference in Face Book. She wanted to go too .

Couscous and Harira Soup

I felt hungry suddenly and ordered a large tagine of couscous with beef and pumpkin. Tasty though I prefer lamb even more. Harira Soup was refreshing, invigorating and really hot - I like that.

Its not cheap to eat Moroccan food but its worth it - at least I know I am eating real fresh food thats not only a visual pleasure but definitely delicious! And lots of olive oil instead of cheap reused oil that is toxic.

The Moroccan tea was hot and sweet, but the hint of mint was subtle and satisfying.

Why are people willing to pay so much for fast food?

People are conditioned to pay so much more for fast food and yet do not complain. However they sometimes feel the pinch to pay for some real food though the prices are quite similar. Is fast food better? What's the attraction of eating boring mass produced food? Its not even balanced diet, usually lacking in fruits and vegetables. I do not like to eat from cardboard and foam boxes and plates. Sometimes even the food taste like cardboard!

At 4.30pm my son sent a message telling me not to bother about my dad's dinner! Dad had slept through his lunch and woke up at 4.30pm. By the time he went to the wash room, he had lunch at 5.oo p.m. Poor Dad!

Sweet Surprise

I reached home to find a large tall beautiful hamper waiting for me. Alhamdulillah! I have not even finished eating and sharing all the goodies from my Eid hamper of super health foods. Anyway, who's complaining.

Ferrero Roche and other goodies .... yum. Masha Allah, so very thoughtful and I do really appreciate that. I can't name names or heads will roll.... hee hee. Allah knows best.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Birds are Back!

Cycle of Life

Today I saw many new birds enjoying themselves at the stream. Two young white birds, probably egrets, flew casually close to the water surface. From just tiny eggs, these birds have hatched. I saw them when they were just frail tiny white bobbles at the stream. Now their wings have spread and the sky is their limit!

Further down the stream 3 larger birds that looked like pelicans stood quietly in the water. Hunters waiting for their meal. A kingfisher sat on a branch of the frangipanni tree and above it all were 2 large birds brown and greyish in colour, soaring and circling in the air.

Such a wonderful sight! To be so close to Allah's creations. We too were nothing until Allah gave us life. My heart felt at peace and humbled by this pure and graceful performance.

Uneasy Sleep Last Night

It soothed my perturbed heart to see such grace. It was great contrast to what I saw last night. I was at a grand and lavish function last night. The place was filled with 'beautiful' people. Many young women were walking around half naked, wearing what they considered fashionable and glamourous . It was indeed a 'beautiful' and yet sad and sorry sight.

Do Muslims respect and value their own religion?

It was sad because nearly all these people were Muslims! None of us are perfect but its amazing to find so many people at the same time, coming together disobeying Allah so publicly and with such indifference.They were obviously having such a great time, oblivious to reality. Duniyaa!!!
(O the world and its glitters)

Dark Days of Ignorance

Is it arrogance, ignorance or just carelessness of youth? I am uncomfortable with certain events as they remind me of my former days of ignorance, where nafs came first and there was no knowledge or iman in my life.

Parenting and Amanah

Lately I had been hearing some parents claim they let their children make their own big decisions concerning religious requirements. Dressing modestly and abstaining from smoking, drugs and harmful substances are no small issues. Yet major issues have been trivialised and small and insanely stupid issues like the use of chopsticks had been exaggerated.

Does this mean they do not mind too much if their children were to disobey Allah SWT, follow their nafs and be unjust to themselves all the the same time?

We fuss and fret over our children. We worry when they catch even just a simple cold. We worry when they started primary education. We worry that they did not know how to cross the road by themselves.... so much energy devoted towards their well being.

Why then are we so unconcerned about the level of their faith (iman) and their understanding of their deen? Why are we sometimes unconcerned about our children's relationship with the Creator?

What is our Compassion and our Amanah?

Do we really care where our children and their children will end up in the Hereafter? Are we only concerned about our own spiritual journey and then let the children fend for themselves? Where is our compassion and our amanah?

When we are no longer around, our children may not have the foundation to make wise decisions concerning their deen. Do we want our children to stumble and fall repeatedly and perhaps lose their direction? Is this what we want for our children and future generations?

How Do We Answer to Allah?

On Judgement Day they may complain to Allah that their parents did not guide or protect them. They did not know their deen. How do we answer to Allah?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making Dawah according to our own ability and circumstances

Everyone makes Dawah according to his ability and circumstances

A friend is actively promoting Islam to many people around him. He knows that he cannot change everything overnight and that the mission would take time. Just like us, he does it in a way that he is comfortable with, within his ability and circumstances. He works hard at it though it may not be obvious to people who watch and criticise his flaws.

Does he have to tell you what he did right?

Out of the many imperfections and mistakes there rose some great results. Many doors were open for future daawah as a result of such effort. Sometimes daawah must be done subtly - it depends on the situation and the target group.

Good Things do not come Easy

Over a period of time, things come together and results become more visible. Progress is good but wisely not highlighted to avoid unnecessary attention to indirect daawah effort. Sometimes its best to do it quietly and slowly but surely.

Tests and Trials

When we want to do something to please Allah SWT, He will put us through tests and trials. Have great hope that such efforts are accepted and help from Allah SWT will come.

Are We Perfect?

Are we perfect? Do we know it all? What have we achieved? Do we sincerely think we have done better than others? Are we sure we had been doing it right from day one? How many mistakes did we make? Just because nobody criticised us and no one knew our mistakes doesn't mean we are alright and we are better.

Are we just good at complaining
Or do we offer to help?

Does he need to tell you his reasons? Does he have to list out his difficulties and his achievements? Did anyone of us bother to ask him how he was coping? What kind of challenges he had to face and overcome? What are his constraints and difficulties? Did any one of the loud critics offer to help him?

Obstacles and Challenges

He knows mistakes were committed and human relations were the main obstacles. How do you help people to understand? By guiding and letting them learn from mistakes and experiences or by forcing them to obey and rejecting them when they fail? How do we help people understand and respect Islam? Do we need to use our wisdom and be patient or throw in the towel when things get too rough? So many questions and so few answers...

How do we Guide the Lost Sheep?
Gently or Be Harsh and Judgemental?

How do we guide our children? Teach them step by step and give them a chance to improve or smack them and send them to bed without supper? How do you guide grown ups who cannot understand and does not know anything about Islam? Give them another chance or strike everyone off the list?

Many of us were lost once, and we found the way back because of kindness of people and the Mercy of Allah SWT.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Knowing the Difference

Filter What You Hear and Read

When we listen to a speech or read an article or book we need to filter out the facts from the opinions. The speaker may be well loved and respected but no one is perfect. Even the speaker may not claim to be 100 percent correct in the way he or she behaves or thinks.

Dalil/Evidence from authentic hadiths and Al Quran

Unless the speaker supports his or her actions with authentic dalil (evidence and proof), we have to be careful not to become too influenced. Sometimes these words are just personal opinions. If we found it convenient to adopt and practise certain attitudes , then we have done great injustice to ourselves. And if others followed us then we may also have to answer for their actions since we misled them through our own ignorance and carelessness.

I hear and I obey vs I feel and I do what I feel like

Quite often people tell us it is alright to do what you like so long you' feel' you have a good relationship with Allah. In other words are we saying its alright to ignore Allah's shariah because we feel we have a good relationship with Allah already? Are we supposed to treat some verses in the Quran and the hadiths as something to pick and choose?

Can Iman and Amal be Separated?

What we have inside - our iman has to be manifested on the outside by action (amal). It cannot be separate or we are actually 2 personalities. Obeying Allah and loving Him 'inside' and disobeying Him 'outside'. Does that make sense? Can iman and amal be separated?

Do not Practise Islam Blindly

Allah does not want us to practise Islam blindly and He will not accept such action. We have to ask and we have to search, verify and understand. Then we try to put the knowledge into practice. Its not always easy to do and sometimes we take a long time before reaching the next stage.

Allah Understands Us
Correct our Intention

Allah understands our individual struggle and weaknesses. If we correct our niyyah (intention) and make effort according to our ability, Alhamdulillah it is already good progress.

Working Towards Improving Ourselves
Sharing with Others

We are learning everyday and insha Allah we are also working towards improving ourselves. Help our children, our family and our friends by sharing what we have learnt. Surely you want them to earn Allah's pleasure and get His rewards too, don't you?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Preview and Chinese Inspired long dresses

Chinese Inspired Long Dresses
Stylised for Easy Wearing

Alhamdulillah! My overworked (but well paid) tailor finally managed to hand over 6 new dresses last month. I managed to embellish only 2 of them. Actually they look rather nice without too much decoration.

My collection is meant to be enjoyed all the time, not just for some rare special occasion. Most people do not want to spend a lot just to wear an outfit twice a year. The cost may be a little high but the styles are carefully chosen and hopefully I prefer to produce clothes that are modest, comfortable and suitable for all occasions.

All we need to do is to mix and match the dress with a selection of scarves, accessories to create a new personalised style. We should be able to stretch our wardrobe creatively.

Book Preview

I will try to take some photos and post them. My book preview is scheduled for 12 Feb 2011. Its a private preview for a small selected group of friends and their friends. Actually this concept was mooted and planned by 2 good friends of mine. May Allah SWT bless and reward them for trying to introduce my book "The Beauty of Covering Up" .

Dawah and Motivation

With their encouragement and advice, I hope to do more private previews at homes of friends who would like to help others learn more about covering up. It is also a daawah project though we try to be subtle about it. The purpose of the book is to share and motivate others to cover up beautifully for the sake of Allah SWT.

I will bring some of my dresses for sale and also Q and A concerning Islam, hijab and reverts. Everywhere I go people want to know about reverts and Muslima attire.

Many are concerned but they do not realise they can help. Most of the funds I raised to help the sick and needy are actually given by fellow reverts.

Well deserved praise for Post Office Staff

Renewing Road Tax is Easy

Finally found my car insurance policy! Had been looking for it the past few days. Had to renew my road tax and the dates do not tally! Carried all the documents to the post office to renew only to find that I did not have to bring any documents except for the pink car registration card as the clerk merely checked my status online.

Sincerity in Earning Halal Income

Some government servants are not very pleasant to deal with but so far I find all the staff at all the national post offices to be very efficient and well mannered. Could that be due to differences in training and support? Happy staff will result in happy customers. Insha Allah sincerity in earning halal income is blessed with barakah and rewarded by Allah SWT.

Raving About Fish and Chips

Last night Latifah was still raving about the fish and chips she had at this fish shop in 1 Utama. She was saying it was so crispy etc etc. Since I was near that shop. I decided to give it a try. Service was good but the fish was not really sufficient for one hungry person at lunchtime. The fried potato chips and mayo helped a little but...It was fairly reasonable, at around RM11 so no complaints.

I ordered a pesto fettucini take away. When I reached home, I ate almost half of it. That was good but very rich so I decided to have 2 Mandarin oranges for dinner instead of rice and meat.

Stretching a Meal when I'm too Tired

I added some cauliflower and carrots to the pasta, reheated it with a little water for my son who decided to come home for dinner. Fried 2 pieces of chicken burger from Dara Bif, frozen lean quality burgers that is insha Allah more wholesome than the stall burgers. Son ate everything up - he sure can eat! And still skinny!

He stayed the whole day until 9pm at the university as he wanted to attend extra class after maghrib. I was happy that he was interested to improve himself.

Fish Chowder is too Fishy?

Would go again to Fish & Co. though I was careful not to order their fish chowder. I think I can make my own and save money to eat elsewhere. :) Fish chowder is sometimes just too fishy - does that make sense?

Eating Out is Popular

Eating at the Stalls
After our Saturday night class at Darul Fitrah (DF) in Bandar Sri Damansara we had a late dinner at the stalls nearby.

Tasty Food at Reasonable Prices

Despite the casual and humble environment, this particular stall served hot and tasty food at reasonable prices. The fried chicken was fresh and tender and though not very large, it only costed RM2.50 per piece! The tomyam (Thai hot spicy veg and meat) soup was nice and hot, without being a torture. We also ordered udang tepung (prawn fritters), sambal petai udang (spicy prawns) and fried kai lan.

I felt the sambal prawns were just too small (really small!) but my son pointed out that that's exactly what the prawns look like in the picture! Okaaay!!! No comments! At least no false advertising.

We are so blessed in Malaysia, to be able to eat lots of popular international food at fairly reasonably prices.

Eating Out with the Girls

Encouraged by a successful meal, we decided to meet again for dinner the next night. Rasta is a popular open air eating place that operates from evening to around 1 or 2am. We went after maghrib prayers and were pleasantly pleased to discover a small prayer area there. There were also some shops selling books, clothing etc.

Food was alright but in fairly small quantities and not great. Good ambience and decent crowd, not the rowdy sort. Its a decent Muslim outlet so we do not have to put up with any drunks.
I am just sharing, not criticising but with the same amount of money, we can choose to dine elsewhere.

Keropok Lekor

We do recommend the keropok lekor though, tender and freshly fried, hot from the wok.
Keropok lekor is a combination of fish meat, some sago flour (generally), seasonings and rolled up like sausages. They may be shaped like thick sausages and slice, fried and served with a mild sweet chili sauce. Uncooked keropok may be frozen too.

Teh Tarik - good or bad?

They do serve tasty teh tarik (sweet Indian tea made with evaporated milk and condensed milk) and pulled (tarik) or stretched between 2 mugs to produce froth, like cappucino. It cools the tea a bit and makes it smooth and delicious. Anyway, all the Mamak (Indian Muslim shops) also serve good teh tarik, at a cheaper price too.

Teh tarik is generally believed to be made from poor quality tea leaves, infused with 'delicious' tea colour . It is sometimes said to be a mixture of leftover tea dust - just like some 'house coffee' of famous coffee outlets, made up of leftovers and served to us as though its something special. It certainly is exclusive enough!

Tahu Bakar

The tahu bakar (roasted tofu stuffed with cucumber and beansprouts) was nice and crispy, with a sweet brown Chinese sauce. Good for those with a sweet tooth.

Prices at Rasta are not cheap but still affordable.

A very delightful way to destress

As Salam, its been quite a while...I did not realise my last entry was 30 Dec. Jan is a very busy month for many people ... new plans, activities, friends, projects, commitments....

I love my blog, though its only at its infancy. Please let this new blogger get more acquainted with the hows and whys before it gets better. so much to do and so little time to learn and try out....

Enjoying some good food with good company
is really relaxing and fun

While everyone gets busy with life, somehow almost all of us make time for some seriously good food, trying new places for new eating experiences. We have to eat to live, don't we? Anyway, this can be considered good clean fun, so long we do not overstuff our faces and not be wasteful and extravagant.

We work hard, insha Allah do not have that many vices. You know, Muslims do not smoke, drink, gamble or indulge in spending to show off, do not compete with each other in dressing and fashion. Actually we also save a lot of money as we do not burn our hard earned money and do not spend our time trying to impress others.

Precious Time and Money

Of course some still do all of that but there will come a day when they too will realise that they had wasted their precious time and money over matters that have no real benefit for their iman, health and wallets! I mean many of us have gone through that stage and learnt some lessons along the way. Not criticising others, merely thinking out loud.

So hanging out and having a relaxing meal with friends can actually by very great for destressing and silatul rahim.