The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Atheist Boss (Part 1)

All praise is for Allah Ta'ala. We praise Him and seek help from Him. We believe in Him and have complete trust in Him. There can be none to misguide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has guided and there can be none to guide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has caused to go astray.

"Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, 'We believe', and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false." (Qur'an 29: 2-3)

I had been working in a large organisation in a position enviously admired and cherished by many people. I had my own room as a work-station  which was on level 9 of a building with great comforting view facing a golf course with man-made lake. I also had a great opportunity of career advancement ahead of me.

In October 1999, I began to seriously think about spending my time for 40 days in the path of Allah for the advancement of my dakwah and tabligh effort. However, on numerous occasions I shoved off the thought, telling myself that it was not possible for the organization I work for to entertain such request for leave, even if it was for unpaid leave. For quite some time, it was the tug-of-warlike feeling within me - part of me urged me to promptly apply for leave and another part told me not to, putting negative thought on the amount of pay that I might have to forego and the scary thought of losing my job and subsequently losing the comfort of life. It was just like fighting within my inner self in an amateur boxing fight when sometime you are at the blue corner and sometime you are at the red corner, taking and throwing punches.

My boss was a Malaysian Indian self-proclaimed atheist. I've never met anyone before who was boastful about following no religion and godless. Before I started the job, my former boss did warn me of him since they knew each other from the legal practice field. I had been warned about his outburst at his previous legal firm between him and other partners of the firm. He then moved into corporate world. But I was too naived to understand the message that my former boss tried to relay to me.

When I joined the corporation, quite frequently I had been asked to join him for lunches. I was introduced to many senior managers within the organisation, most of them Muslim Malays. I do not want to remember most of them. They shamelessly could not care less where they eat and what they eat and drink. They behaved like they were the elite of the society. I suppose they expect me to blend well into their circles but soon enough I learnt to give excuses whenever he asked me out for lunch.

Anyway, as I said after more than two years working in the corporation and constantly spending my time for 3 days every month in jamaat, I had a strong urge of going out in the path of Allah for 40 days for my rectification of faith. One day I finally resolved to submit my application for unpaid leave for 40 days. I gave the reason of indepth learning of Deen to be a better person.

As soon as he received the application, my boss then called me in his office. He asked me for an explaination behind my application for unpaid leave and I explained to him the importance for me to learn Deen and eventually to become a better person and better employee. He told me he would consult certain people first. It was good enough for me. I would just have to wait for his decision.

I waited. And I waited. And I waited. One month passed by. And two months passed by.

On the third month I decided to re-submit my application for unpaid leave for 40 days, telling myself that it was his discretionary right whether to approve or to reject my application but equally it was my right to submit the application for leave.

Soon I found myself facing off with him. He began to intimidatingly question my purpose of taking leave. "I've asked the HR and some Muslim staff here and they said that what you intend to do (taking leave for 40 days in the path of Allah) is not required from a Muslim and is not part of Islamic teaching", he said. "There are many practises that are required for a Muslim to be steadfast in practising them but many Muslims neglected them. If many Muslims neglected them it does mean they are not part of the practise of Islam," I answered. "Such as what?" he asked. I said, "Such as the five times daily prayer which should be performed in congregation in the masjid or surau where the call for prayer is being made. Many Muslims are neglecting it but it will remain part of Islamic teaching." He spun his chair around and took a book on his rear shelf and slammed the book down on his desk. "Tell me! Where it says in here that a Muslim must pray five times a day in congregation!?" he retorted. I glanced at the thick hard-cover English book with the title "Muhammad" on his desk. Someone must have given him the book or he might have gotten the book from somewhere and put it on display on the shelf behind him for some reason. Strangely, up to that point of time, I had never noticed the book in his room all those while.

I went to my room and returned immediately with a copy of English translated Fadha'il Aamal kitaab. I flipped over pages on the chapter of the importance of solah in congregation for him to read. "Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed, "All the while I thought that H (the Managing Director) is a pious Muslim and yet he prays alone in his room!"

Little did I realise that very soon my time in office would turn hard against me into intimidation and fault findings by certain officials breathing on my neck.

Sunday, 6 March 2016


Assalamu'alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakatuh

It's been a long time since my last writing. I wish I could say that I'm busy with the noble effort of Rasulullaah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radiyaalu anhum...but sadly I'm not. May Allah forgive my shortcomings and make me steadfast and engross myself in the noble effort.

I should start writing on this blog again. In the meantime, you may find my earlier writings gradually imported on facebook under the personal blog category with the same title. Oh! I've changed the title from 'Lamentation of a Traveller' to 'Karguzari of a Traveller' to reflect its true intention.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Workplace

All praise is for Allah Ta'ala. We praise Him and seek help from Him. We believe in Him and have complete trust in Him. There can be none to misguide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has guided and there can be none to guide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has caused to go astray.

I was a manager in a public listed company. I worked in the department that was considered the most powerful and glamorous within the organisation - the corporate legal. By the time I joined the organisation, I already had close encounter of the tablighi jamaat.

In early 1997, a few months after I joined the organization, I first went out with a jamaat of 3 days.  Subsequently, for more than two years, as a part of the maqami effort, I had been using all my paid annual leaves from office for dakwah and tabligh effort, utilising one and a half days every month to make up for the required three days period (in those days most organisations had been operating half day on Saturdays instead of 5-day week). Thus, every month I would take a Saturday and a Monday off to join my local jamaat for khuruuj fiisabilillaah, confining myself only in three days jamaat in addition to daily local dakwah and tabligh effort. I recall those period of time when I was really focused, concerned and steadfast in the effort of dakwah and tabligh, albeit much limitation and shortcoming on my part, not acquiring in-depth knowledge about the effort. Nowadays, I might have acquired much more knowledge about the effort in the course of time but I have lost much focus, concern and steadfastness in this great and noble effort. I seek forgiveness from Allah Ta'ala and I request your du'aa for me.

Despite the top management and the staff of the organisation were predominantly Muslims, Deeni environment was severely lacking at my workplace. There were fitnas on daily basis. Business dealings were boldly conducted against the Islamic teachings. In the environment where there is no boundaries between men and women, even the most religious-looking amongst them would shamelessly made physical contact with non-mahram by shaking hands. As if the general view was to unnecessarily accept the need to compromise and maybe even do things which may go against the moral codes and the teaching of Islam. I believe there is not much changes in the general view, if not worse than before. These dilemmas arise and encountered daily by most Muslims when one is going for a job, when asked to do something that conflicts with Deen, to please others, or even to show others that we are not 'extremists'. "Allah knows what is in my heart" is probably the lame excuse given by many when in fact it really is due to and a sign of weak imaan. I too had experienced this but, alhamdulillaah, as I constantly spent my time in the effort of dakwah and tabligh and became aware of the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallalaahu Alayhi Wasallam, my conscience gradually changed. Some people foolishly said I started to become a tablighi.

Sometimes we avoid doing certain acts that are commanded by Allah Ta'ala upon us out of embarrassment when in reality it means embarrassment of our Deen, the very Deen that has given us honour, dignity and the legacy of past civilisations and prophets. I remember back then once the company organized a team building session for managers conducted by a team of training consultants.They were about 30 participants. We were asked to reach a decision in a short time on certain given issues.  The task was to reach the decision in a given short time with the involvement of all participants without leaving out a single person. I was appointed the leader (or the CEO as it was referred to). I gladly take the challenge and applied the basic principles of mesywarah or consultation in accordance to the Sunnah of Rasulullaah Sallalaahu Alayhi Wasallam that I had acquired during numerous 3 days trip on dakwah and tabligh effort. It is really a basic knowledge amongst the tablighi brothers.

I divided the fellow participants into 5 small groups and appointed a leader from each group. I told all the appointed leaders to consult for opinion with everyone from their respective groups. I managed to briefed them the Sunnah ethics of consultation. It was really fun. I even told female participants to pretend that they were behind the veil amid the grudge expression on their faces. From their consultation, each leader should form a collective opinion on the issues given. I was not involved at all at this stage,sitting in a corner alone. I then make consultation with all the appointed leaders and each one of them relayed to me their respective group's collective opinion. Thereupon, I formulated and concluded the decision. The head consultant was so impressed by the whole exercise which was concluded way within the given short time. To our pleasant surprise, he admittedly declared that no group of participants had managed to conclude the exercise on time before. Truly, the Sunnah is the best and flawless way in all aspects of life. 

Once I was going down in an elevator to the surau below in the building at my workplace for Dhuhr solah. There was a non-Muslim Chinese woman in the elevator with me. I was wearing a koffia (the white skull-cap) on my head and a pair of sandals on my feet. I let out my shirt that was tucked in my pants before to cover the part of my satar that I felt was exposed due to the tightness of my pants and my pants were rolled up above the ankles. She asked me, "Is it Friday today?" I replied, "No, today is Thursday." She then said, "Oh! I thought you are going for Friday prayer." I said, "No, we pray five times daily." I supposed she came to that assertion because she had not seen Muslims going for the prescribed daily prayers in large number as for Friday prayer.

We are presently passing through a phase of time where the overall spiriyual urge and religious zeal of the general masses is perhaps at it's lowest ebb. A basic solution lies in the returning to the Shariah and reviving the Sunnah. However, such a revival does not lie in mere lip service and empty slogans but in a genuine attempt to practically incorporate Islam within ourselves. The result would be an absolute irrefutable certainty that our effort would gain us tremendous rewards both in this world and in  the aakhirah.