Politcs and HIMPUN….

•October 20, 2011 • 2 Comments

Politic is not my cup of tea. I prefer intellectual debates and discourses rather than rhetoric wars with hidden (sometimes not so hidden) agendas to march oneself to the throne of power. Usually, I only see the irresponsible, insensitive and sometimes downright dumb statements made by politicians as just some sort of publicity stints. However, when it comes to my religion, my belief, my principles, I simply cannot ignore the voice inside of my lazy head that I need to do something. Unfortunately (or rather not), the only thing that I can do, or at least know how to do, is to write about how I feel, and thus, this entry comes to existence.

Since I was a student in university, I was exposed with politics, first-hand. As an active student in clubs and societies, I organized a lot of programs with the purpose to, well, among others; spend my time in fun ways. On a more serious note, I got involved in activities to improve my friends and me as students and human beings by participating in value-adding co-curricular programs (well, I tried). Never in my tedious long years of campus life did I have agendas other than that.

In searching for the right platform, I accidentally stumbled upon a club with great ambitions and capabilities in carrying out gigantic projects (relative to other student societies). Better yet, most of the members and executive committees were my friends, so the deciding process was made easier. Without any prejudice, I joined, and I never looked back.

Honest to God, on the first day I was incepted into the club, I had no idea of the perceptions and prejudice the campus community had towards it. All I knew back then was that the club has quite an impressive number of members and equally impressive number of programs lined up for the whole year. The programs planned were common, neutral and nothing controversial. To my eyes, they were just ordinary programs planned and conducted by ordinary group of students, who happen to possess extraordinary capabilities in pulling resources and turn the plans into reality.

Things changed when I was promoted to the post of Vice President, as only then I saw the bigger picture of politics in campus. What seems to be a peaceful and successful club to me was pictured as a corrupt and ruthless agent of some political party with the vicious mission to poison the bright minds of students with evil ideologies that, at times, were even compared to Zionism. It was outrageous, appalling and quite frankly, disheartening. Worse, these perceptions were originated from a bunch of student activists which pride themselves to be the Islamic forces in campus.

Coming from a family of hard working Muslims and Da’ies myself, I share the passion and sentiment of spreading the beauty of Islam as the way of life. I also was enrolled in Islamic schools, right from my primary years to secondary, high school and university years. No matter how strayed my ways were back then, I still upheld the ambition of living in a true Islamic community. Therefore, this was one of my biggest endeavours as a high-ranking committee in the club. I was looking forward to work hand in hand with my former schoolmates whom I respected and regarded highly (as excellent Muslims and Da’ies), using my club as my platform. Most of the said friends also held high positions in other Islam-oriented clubs, so I had big hopes. I planned a lot of Islamic programs (something quite out of the ordinary to our club, as most of the time, we only carry out motivational and leadership programs without significant emphasise on religious approach) and tried to get us working together with other clubs.

To my surprise, we were snubbed. Not only that, we were accused of being hypocrites. They printed hundreds of flyers to defame us and belittle our programs whereas those programs are well in line with the university’s guidelines, and more importantly, very much Islamic in nature.

I remember one time; we organized a Yaasin recitation and Solat Hajat session for the final exam, held in the campus mosque. The program was held during Maghrib time, and at that time they were a lot of students hanging out in the mosque, as usual. We approached the students and invited them to join. That’s when I noticed a friend from another Islamic club with his colleagues at the back of the mosque. I approached and politely invited them to join our little program. He smiled, clearly pleased with the invitation, and asked who organized the event. When I told him the name of our club, his face changed, and he and his friends stormed out of the mosque. That actually caught me by surprise. Whatever we did to them that they hate us that much, so much so that not even sacred recitation of the Holy Quran and prayer can be an exception to work together for once? These people had the mentality of ‘if you are not with us, you are not worthy’. They treat Islam and Da’wah as their exclusive rights. That is why they cannot look past the political difference between us (which was non-existent by the way).This is the kind of politics that we had in campus not too long ago.

Now, I see the same pattern emerging in our current issues. Particularly in HIMPUN, when NGOs get together and decide to have a massive rally to show our disdain towards apostasy and to urge the authorities to take the issue seriously, the politics and politicians somehow managed to adulterate such a noble and important intention, and label them as politically or racially inclined program. In the time where solidarity among Muslims is waning, there are still people that have this irrational perceptions, fear and hatred towards others, and to think that these people belong to the Islamic party, is so disheartening. For once, can’t you just put aside politics and unite as Muslims to defend our belief? Or the march to Putrajaya has become your obsession that you cannot ‘hurt’ the racial and religious harmony in the society, even if it costs the ‘aqidah of Muslims in Malaysia?

I can understand the reason given by Tuan Guru Hadi Awang for political leaders staying away from the rally to ensure the program remains apolitical. However, those who criticise and accuse the organisers of siding with some political party are totally way out of line. If these people are the future leaders, thinkers and movers of the said political party, then Malaysia is in worse state than we all thought it was.

HIMPUN is a selfless effort organized by not one, not two but more than hundreds of NGOs and people that love Islam and are committed to safeguard the ‘aqidah. It might not be the best solution there is, but it certainly one of the ways, so I ask these people: WHY NOT?


Traffic Jam

•June 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I realized I still like to write, and think, thank God. So here I go.

Traffic in KL is bad. Every morning, I wake up with great reluctance, not by my job, but the notion that I have to drive for about an hour to the office is simply off-putting. For some people, they say traffic jam is therapeutic. I laughed the opinion off every time I’m stuck in the traffic jam, as I couldn’t understand what is so calming and soothing about being stuck in a confined space of your car with aching leg and boring scenes that are the taillights of other vehicles.

However, this morning, I finally understand what they meant, even if it’s not entirely accurate. One thing that I observe every morning when I’m stuck in the traffic jam is that I think a lot in the one hour period. Somehow, the boring routine of being stuck in the traffic jam gives me the perfect window of time to really put together my thoughts and get epiphanies. Most of the time, ideas of what to write in my blog came during these times. There’s something about being alone in a private-yet-public place that gives me the calmness and tranquility required to really reflect on what I’ve done, become, and will be in the future. I guess what the traffic jam lovers tried to say is that when you have nothing to do physically in a traffic jam, your mind will take over and launch into overdrive mode. Thus, it’s therapeutic. The exception is, you have to be alone, or otherwise you’ll end up listening to snores or babblings of your passengers, which could get really annoying in those trying stuck-in-a-traffic-jam time.

Life as I see it…

•March 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m not sure how I should start this blog entry, as I’m getting bored of writing about me not writing stuff for some time. So, here I go, without a decent opening statement.

Firstly, I have regrets that I want to share with the world. I regret not spending enough time and money for reading. I envy those who read a lot. It gives them a deep insight and out-of-the-box views into issues all around us. I’m aware of the issues, but in most cases, I hardly understand them well, at least not well enough to write about them. That’s why I have not been updating my blog, as I have too little to write about. And that is my other regret; not writing as much as I wanted to. I do not intend to waste your time reading entries that have no significance and substance. I want to write something that matters.

Some people say that blogs are not really meant to be too academic, too factual. It can be considered as a journal to pour in our thoughts, and submit them for comments and discussions among the readers. I think that’s quite true. But then again, if you write dumb stuff, what kind of discussions will you spur?

So I vow to read more, and write more.

I’ll start with sharing some incidents that made me think a lot recently. The first one is on the various forms of trials and punishments Allah can give us in this life. I always thought that the trials and punishments come in tandem with our actions/wrong doings. For example, I wrote about the trying time I had during my matriculation days. I got beaten down by my grades as a result of my deviated lifestyle. In this case, Allah tried me with the worldly temptations, and when I failed, He punished me with very bad grades. It sounds pretty simple, logical and straight. However, I learned recently that it is far more complex than action-and-consequence concept when it comes to our life.

Recently, my friend got fired for no apparent reason. The only explanation we got is he’s doing his job too well it’s not good for the company. Some says the real reason is that some people in the company felt threatened by his works, so they made up stories and excuses to oust him. The real reason; only God knows. In this case, there is no action that warranted the consequence. My friend asked me, and himself, again and again what he did to deserve this. Why is Allah punishing him? It made me think. This may be the long overdue punishment for the bad things he’d done somewhere in the past 26 years of his life so far. However, there’s another interesting theory that I stumbled upon amid this incident, that is, it’s actually a trial. Maybe Allah wants to try him, to see whether he can still be grateful to Him, get rid of the prejudice towards his boss and move on and keep on working hard even after all the injustice he suffered. Or it may as well be both.

What I want to say is, trial and punishment can come in a package. It may even be the same thing. The best part is, not only our sins are pardoned when we suffer the punishment, but we may also be rewarded when we overcome the trial/punishment with patience and perseverance. In the end, even in the harshest day of our life, we are blessed by Allah’s ingenuity in educating, reminding and punishing us.

The second incident is about unconditional love of a parent towards his/her child. It was my payday, so we went out to buy some groceries after I got back from work. We discussed earlier that we have to be extra thrifty this month, as we have extra things to buy and fix, which will cause a large chunk of our income. Therefore, on that day, we managed to spend only half from our usual shopping trip, which made us really happy. The feeling disappeared instantly when we noticed something wrong with our son Aufa. He was awfully quiet and weak, and he was wheezing. Both of me and my wife has asthma, so we are very familiar with the symptoms. Aufa also had blocked nose at that time, worsening his condition. Because of the budget constraint, we also agreed to go to government hospital instead of private ones, as the medical claims procedure in our company is tedious and time-consuming. However, seeing our son in such a weak condition, we decided to go to the nearest clinic. We went to a private clinic, and it cost us quite a fortune, as the case was quite severe.

When we went home, Aufa felt asleep and we thought he’s recovering well. We were dead wrong, as just past midnight, his condition got worse. He had another attack, this time much worse than before. We drove him to the hospital and spent hours there waiting for Aufa to get his treatments in the emergency ward. After another 2 doses of nebulizer, the breathing got better and he looked much happier and active as usual. Only Allah knows the joy we felt in our heart to see him up and going like that. We were so tired and sleepy, and we had to go to work the next day (in just a few hours), but it was totally worth it.

In any other day, spending hundreds in the matter of days are a big deal for us, but not when it comes to our son. We could spend our entire salary; entire savings even, if that’s what it takes to see him cheerful like that. When he was sick, I wished I have the ability to suck all the diseases and pains out of him, like in the movie Green Mile, and just let me handle them instead of my son. I just couldn’t stand watching him in pain, it really crushes my heart.

That’s how strong parents love is. It is unconditional and everlasting. I know this before, I just didn’t understand. Now I do understand, and my respect and love towards my parents are exponentially increased. I imagine they felt (and still feel) the same way I do with Aufa. You may think you know it well, but you can only understand this unconditional love when you have your own children. It’s beautiful, worth every blood, every tear, every sweat, every second and every day of your life.

That’s what happened recently. Nothing academic and factual, just incidents that got me thinking and appreciating my life more and more, day after day.

Baby Dumping Issue Part 2: Sex Education

•September 15, 2010 • 2 Comments

Let’s continue our discussion on baby dumping issue. As mentioned in my previous post, one of the better solutions for this problem is to educate the youngsters about sex, i.e. sex education. Now, this issue has been debated over and over again without any conclusion that might lead to a responsive and effective conclusion. Majority of the society agree to the fact that it is needed, yet most of them are sceptical and ultra-cautious when it comes to sex, as it is still widely considered as a taboo in our culture. The idea of educating the kids about sexual matters such as intercourses, contraception methods and male/female anatomy horrify most parents, thus it is never implemented.

I share the concerns of feeding the youth with all these information, as it may backfire. How so? The more they know about it, the more they want to dig deeper, and the more they dig, the possibility of them trying it out will get bigger. This is because in the sex education modelled by the westerners, they focus on contraception and STD prevention rather than refraining the teenagers from pre-marital sex. They oppose the idea of ‘demonizing’ or ‘criminalizing’ sex, as it is a natural process of a normal human to have the arousals, urges and eventually engage in sexual relationship. This type of education is blatantly wrong and misleading.

What type of sex education can we have then? In my opinion, we do not need to go into the physical aspect of sex when educating the youth but rather explore the morality and psychological aspect of sex. This is very much in line with what the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W taught us when it comes to controlling our sexual urges.

During the time of the Prophet S.A.W, he was visited by a companion with a problem. The companion is a very good worshipper, as in he goes to the mosque, prays 7 days a week, read the Quran etc. However, there is one thing that he couldn’t control, that is the urge to commit adultery. He consulted the matter to the Prophet S.A.W, and the solution given was fairly simple yet deeply effective. The Prophet S.A.W told the companion to think this; the women he’s about to commit adultery with might be someone’s daughter, sister or mother – put yourself in these relatives position. How do you feel if your sister, or daughter, or mother, or even your spouse commit what you are about to do with other men? Wouldn’t you be enraged, ashamed, embarrassed or feel cheated and betrayed? Sure you will, and that will prevent you from committing adulteries.

One of the most detrimental effects of adultery/pre-marital sex is psychological, as it will leave a deep scar in our minds and souls. First and foremost, self-loathing will almost definitely occur whereby you will hate and curse yourself for not being able to control your urges. This will happen even if you have sex with the ones you love e.g. girlfriend or fiancé as deep in your heart you know that it is wrong, and it will haunts you for the rest of your life. You will also think lowly of yourself that you will find it difficult to share your life with someone better (if you find one), simply because you are not worthy. This is why in Quran it says adulterers will get adulterers as their spouses, as the psychological scar left on the sinner will never go away.

Secondly, think about the perception you will develop on your partner. If he/she can do this with me, how sure am I that he/she won’t do the same with others? The all-important trust that spouses should have will be compromised, even if you get married afterwards. If you committed adultery/premarital sex before, you will find it impossible for your spouse to trust you, and if your spouse is the one committed the sin, you will never trust him/her wholeheartedly. At the end of the day, the marriage/relationship will collapses, further worsen your psychological well-being.

These are two of many more examples on how adultery/fornication can ruin lives psychologically, and this is what we should teach our youth. By explaining the psychological effects of fornication, we will be able to fend their curiosity and in the same time avoid spilling all the information that may backfire on us. In this way as well, we won’t demonize or criminalize sex, as our focus will be on premarital sex and adultery. The psychological effects will never occur on matrimonial sex.

You may call my views as naive and shallow, but this is what I think will work. This is not THE ONLY solution of course, but at least we have to admit that we don’t have this in the system, we should and it may help us curb the baby dumping problem in our country.

Baby dumping issue: inaccurate focus

•August 24, 2010 • 5 Comments

Recently we’ve been shocked by the baby-dumping issue where the cases reported increase day after day. The issue is so seriously debated by the government and public alike, and calls for nabbing the culprits and slapping them with heavier punishment can be heard loudly from multiple organizations. However, in my opinion, the reaction towards the issue is somewhat inaccurate, as we are distracted from the main, big issue of baby-dumping, which is the cause itself. I am not talking about the cause of baby-dumping only, but the cause of premarital pregnancy as well.

When your car overheat so frequently, your reaction shouldn’t always be, and limited to, pouring water into the radiator. For the first few times maybe, but if it occurs daily, than you ought to check the radiator, try to find the cause of the car’s roofing temperature. Maybe there are some leaks that you should fix. Even if it will cost you hundreds of ringgit, which is much expensive than the pouring-water solution, in the long run, it is a much better solution.

Same thing goes to the baby-dumping issue. First of all, I concur with the call for stiffer punishment, as the one we have today is not deterring people enough from committing the crime. However, we shouldn’t be so naïve to think that heavier punishment will effectively solve the problem, or at least reduce it significantly. History should have taught us how fears for punishments escape the criminal minds. We have death penalty, the heaviest punishment there is, for murderers, drug traffickers and kidnappers, but still the numbers of these crimes are increasing. We introduced whipping as a form of punishment, even demonstrated the painful whipping process in expos and public functions, and yet rape and robbery cases are not reduced as much as we hoped so. Thus, by just sentencing baby-dumpers to heavier punishment will definitely never work.

The other concern I have from this whole “punish the baby dumper harder” calls is that it will send the wrong message to the society, especially the youths. By hammering and condemning the crime of baby-dumping, the message may be misinterpreted to the idea that pre-marital sex is condoned, as long as you use protection (contraception), or if you accidentally got pregnant, it’s ok as long as you don’t dump the baby. We even came out with the idea of a ‘Baby Bank’ for these ‘accidental’ parents to give up their unwanted babies for adoption. One thing about youth/teen that we have to know, as was put so well by Dr Gregory House is that they are ‘stupid and clueless’ and they interpret messages to their likings only. So even if we come out with an explanation on how the stiffer punishment will trigger a so-called chain of reaction, i.e. you don’t want to get punished, thus you will not indulge in premarital sex kind of reaction, the restless minds of youth will never think that far. All they know is, don’t dump the baby. Period.

What should we do then? How do we curb baby-dumping issue? Afif thinks the effective way is to curb the premarital sex among youths. How to do that? By curbing and controlling the curiosity of these teens about sex. The way to go around this is to answer their curiosity in a controlled manner, i.e. sex education, and in the same time to block the elements that can trigger and further drive the curiosity into something more. Internet porn is the biggest problem, as it is free and easily accessible, what with the affordable net books and smart phones and poorly supervised cyber cafes and all.

I’ll write on the solutions later, insyaAllah, as there is so much I want to say on that.

Blogging from a phone!

•July 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

Hi everyone. I am now blogging from XPERIA phone. Although it is very convenient to blog anywhere, anytime, I have to say that it is extremely difficult to type on the tiny touch screen keyboard. It took 10 minutes for me to write this short post. Nonetheless, now I can post some short, spontaneous n utmost genuine n honest opinion of mine instantly. Most of the time before, I came across great things to write but forget about it before I even log in to the blog site. Just hope that this amazing tech can do us some good, shall we.


•June 1, 2010 • 2 Comments

Contemporary nasyeed, or Islamic-themed songs, are one of the best methods of da’wah for the young generations. I am, as mentioned in the previous posts, a huge fan of this music genre, and there is one thing I can share with you readers about listening to music.

As young people, of course we are hugely attracted to music. How else would you explain the phenomenal sales of iPod and mp3 players in the world? How else would you explain the sheer number of pirate websites dedicated for downloading songs? How else would you explain the use of music in almost every media, be it the internet, movies, television series, montages and even for Islamic programs and talks on TV, they use music in the opening, break and closing montage. Such the power of music, songs can ignite interest in issues, controversies and even sexual desire.

Sadly though, music is being abused by so many people. We have so many top songs in the world that contain not only useless and senseless lyrics, but sexually explicit, violent and obscene lyrics that may influence listeners, especially the youth. As pointed out by a friend of mine, Siti Maryam N in her Facebook, these songs are made as catchy as possible it attracts a huge number of fans including youth as young as 13 years old. You can sing along these songs easily, what with all the websites attributed to the music and publishing the lyrics for public viewing. They even have embedded add-ons in the music player software that pop up lyrics whenever a song is played!

I have to admit, I am also attracted to these lagho songs. I memorize tons of songs, not only nasyeeds but rock, pop, country, you name it. Heck I even went to karaoke with friends, singing these songs quite a while ago! I am not proud of it, and this is certainly not why I am writing this post. I want to share the feeling of listening to music, the different effects they have on our soul.

Whenever I listen to the lagho (non-beneficial, meaningless, senseless) songs, mostly when I am depressed or stressed out over something, I got really hyped and psyched. I sing along, sometimes move my head to the rhythm, enjoying the beats and trying to forget my problems. But when I listen to this kind of music the whole day, I will eventually come to a point where I get sick of it. I don’t have that feeling of peace, of serenity, clarity that I crave. It does lift my mood a bit in the beginning, but soon after that, I ended up in the same, if not worse mood that I had earlier.

However, when listening to songs and music that have meaningful messages, I feel soothed, peaceful and calm. It clears up my mind, cheers up my mood and gives me the uplift I need to face my problems. It doesn’t has to be Arabic, Quranic or Selawat songs, just songs with good Islamic messages and values are enough to have this effect on me.

It is clear to me then, that attraction to music is our nature as human. As pointed out by scholars, human nature is good, and we like good things, right things, polite and kind things, clean things, ethical things. It’s our nature, and our soul acts in accordance with our nature, and that is why good music and songs have the ability to lift our spirit, while bad, senseless and obscene music have a reverse effect.

Maher Zain

In light of this, I recommend my friends to listen to good music. Listen to nasyeeds, there’s nothing wrong or un’cool’ness about it. It’s good for you. My recommendations are Raihan, Maher Zain, Dawud Wharnsby Ali and Zain Bikha. Maher Zain sings nasyeeds in a very trendy, soulful and attractive music; it should appeal to the young listeners. Dawud Wharnsby Ali’s lyrics are just beautiful, and Zain Bikha’s songs have good messages for our kids. No need to introduce Raihan I think. Have a nice day!

Zain Bikha

Dawud Wharnsby Ali