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."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Close Encounter of the Tabligh Jamaat: Part 6 - The Hidayah

In this day and age when materialistic prosperity is the principal aspiration, and which unfortunately surpasses Deen in terms of chief priority, live revolves entirely around carnal and sensual pleasures. Thus, the purpose of life itself has been forgotten and the gift of life wasted.

Imagine, believing that you are a Muslim and suddenly realising just the opposite. Though my parents had given me a noble Muslim name, I never lived a life of a Muslim. I never ate my food like a Muslim should. I never slept like a Muslim should. I never went to the bathroom like a Muslim should. I never dressed like a Muslim should. I did not even look like a Muslim. I never talked like a Muslim should. I never even thought and felt like a Muslim should.

I did not live a life of a Muslim. I did not have a mindset of a Muslim. I did not have a heartfelt of a Muslim. And if Allah Ta'ala take my soul away before the blessed 3 days, I do not know whether I'd die as a Muslim. I will continue to beg to Allah Ta'ala for His guidance to do righteous deeds and beg Him to grant us proper understanding. May Allah Ta'ala bestow upon us correct understanding and the light of reason.

The first thing that happened to me when I arrived home was the jolt and quiver that I felt whenever I heard the Adhaan. It never happened before that I rushed to Masaajid at the call of the Adhaan. I remember one brother said at a discourse during the 3 days, "How does a farmer get the chickens to return to his backyard chicken coop? Let the chickens roam, peck, sleep and eat in the chicken tractor within the chicken coop for three days. At the end of three days, even if the chickens are outside roaming, they will return back to their coop. Subhanallah! If Allah could do that to chickens, indeed it is not difficult for Allah to cause the hearts of His servants to be attached to Masaajid after spending 3 solid days in the Masjid." It was then that I felt the amazement and admiration to his simple yet deep simile.

By the same token, I then had impression that all the while my usual sitting position at home was improper since my feet were pointing towards the Qiblah. Similarly, I abruptly changed my sleeping position as it too cause my feet to be pointing towards the direction of the Qiblah. I would not start eating my meals without first washing both my hands and cover my head. When I entered the bathroom to ease myself, I would cover my head and sometimes I would stepped back outside whenever I forgot to enter it first with my left foot. I began to direct my attention to the daily Sunnah of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, whatever that I learned and practice during the 3-days period, with the hope that I would eventually changed my erroneous routines to the blessed Sunnah routines.

For a couple of weeks, my quest for practising the daily Sunnah continued. I regard it as something basic for me to do with just a little effort. After all, who would be so foolish not to grab the opportunity of obtaining the promise of a hundred rewards of martyrdom by Allah by just reviving a Sunnah? It turned out that what I regarded as something basic and easily done has actually had a tremendous effect on other people. One night, to my puzzlement, my wife suddenly shed tears, and I was dumbfounded as she wept, "I want my husband back."

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Close Encounter of the Tablighi Jamaat: Part 5 - The First 3 Days

The hijrah (migration) of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum highlights how they left their dearly loved homelands, an act that is extremely difficult for a person. They also left with the intention of never returning until their deaths. The hijrah was more beloved to them than the world and all its pleasures and that they gave preference to the Deen above mundane pleasures and were not concerned when these pleasures were lost. The Sahabah travelled from place to place to protect the Deen from evil, as if they were specially created for the Aakhirah and were its sons. It therefore appeared as if this world was created for them.

In February 1997, I finally had the sense and courage to take a leave on Friday to join my brother in a 3 days jamaat when I took a flight from Kuala Lumpur to join the jamaat in Johor Bharu. It was an experience beyond descriptions. Suffice to say that on the third day, I burst into tears with unexplainable emotions. I, for instance, could attempt to explain to you the taste of durian (a local exotic fruit) but you will not be able to appreciate it until you yourself tasted it. Verily, at the end of the 3 days, Islam had entered into me. I recalled a conversation that my brother had with my mother years ago when she asked him how he felt after his first 'going out for dakwah' for 3 days. My brother said, "I just became a Muslim." Indeed, I too just became a Muslim after my first 3 days in dakwah and tabligh effort.

Everything immediately changed for me right after the 3 days in the path of Allah. On the return flight, I saw a couple of monks with large beads in their hands. I thought, "O Allah! They are in the baathil belief, but yet they make effort to please whatever that they worship." I felt deed sympathy to the monks and at the same time I could not remember the last time that I made wird or zikr of Allah before the 3 days that I spent in absolute deeni environment. How I had wasted much of my time and age. The one disturbing question that always buried deep into my heart which, for ages, remained unanswered, "Did Allah create me only to live my daily routines of life like the non-believers - wake up, eat, work, eat, sleep?" 

Alhamdulillah, all praise belongs only to Allah, within that blessed 3 days short time frame, Allah Ta'ala had given me a crystal clear answer for it. We are engrossed in businesses, occupations, farming and so many other engagements. It is only in these pursuits that all our time is spent. We have begun to serve the things that ought to be our servants. It is therefore necessary that we make the object the purpose of our lives which Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam was sent for and which was placed on the shoulders of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. We should make this concern as our concern. Our mindset should be that we have been sent to this world for the responsibility of dakwah and tabligh and although we may engage in business, the business is the servant while Deen is to be served and is the true objective.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Close Encounter of the Tabligh Jamaat: Part 4 - Wealth & Wife

Right about the time when I first received my 'tablighis' guests at home, I had been offered a new job in another public listed company. Higher position, better pay and a posh comfortable office room with a great lake view. The job was another phase of trial that I had to endure.

Whenever tasykeel was being made that required me to take a few days off from office work, the first thing that came to my mind was how on earth could I take a leave when it was just a few days I had started on the new job. Those tablighis brothers ought to be more sensitive of my awkward situation. How could I possibly justify my leave after only a few days on board the new company? The excuses dragged from days to weeks, and from weeks to months. Even when months passed by, I still thought the excuse not to take leave was justifiable. The truth is I had put the importance to go out in the path of Allah for only three days as priority number 100. But as time passed by I began to feel more and more guilty about it. There were many times when the weekends were coincided with public holidays on either Monday or Friday, but I was still not serious enough to use the long weekend for the purpose of dakwah and self-rectification, even without having to apply for leave. Other things seemed more important that giving time for dakwah and tabligh effort. When you put ten cent coins right in front your eyes, you would not be able to see the millions of money in front of you.

When I were able to somehow painstakingly subdued the ordeals mentioned, I had yet to face another trial. This time the tribulation came from the person closest to me - my wife. My first initial contact with tablighi jamaat had invited averse and dissenting treatment from my wife. I could understand the rejecting attitude of my wife since the foremost thing that she saw from all those visits was to lure her husband away from her, away from home and away from family. But I could not understand the rather irritating controlling attitude that overcame her which I had never seen coming from her before. I know now that Shaytaan could have made special efforts to get our life companion to call in question, take issue, disapprove, defy and protest against the central and paramount effort that Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam had left to be continuously carried out by his Ummah after him. Let other people do it, but leave my husband alone! He is all mine, and mine alone. The most obedient wives could turned rebellious and unmanageable against her husband when it concern dakwah and tabligh. Mark my word in bold. You will never truthfully and faithfully know your wife until you experience this. The brief turmoil relationship of Adam alayhis salam and Hawa radiyalaahu anha came to mind.

"Say: If it be that your fathers' your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline; or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you that Allah or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause; - then wait until Allah brings about His Decision; and Allah guides not the rebellious." (At-taubah 9:24)

Man's heart clings to his own kith and kin-parents, children, brothers and sisters, husbands or wives, or other relatives, wealth and prosperity, commerce or means of profit and gain, or noble buildings, for dignity or comfort. If these are a hindrance in Allah's cause, we have to choose which we love most. We must love Allah even if it involves the sacrifice of all else. If we love our worldly ties and comforts, profits and pleasures, more than we love Allah, and therefore fail to respond to Allah's cause, it is not Allah's cause which will suffer. Allah's purpose will be accomplished, with or without us. But our failure to respond to His will must leave us bereft of grace and guidance, "for Allah guides not the rebellious."

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Close Encounter of the Tabligh Jamaat: Part 3 - Afraid of Change

Throughout the 6-months period of constant tasykeel being put on me urging me to spend my time for three days in the path of Allah on dakwah and tabligh mission, I had to withstand several phases of trials.

Initially I was unenthusiastic and averse to the idea of changing my appearance and lifestyles. More often than not I was fighting with my inner self. I was pleased and delighted with the way that I looked, the fashion that I wore, the manner of my characters, the system that I followed, the scheme that I planned, plot that I designed, and the measure of my lifestyle. I then asked myself, why should I bother to change them and be incline towards the appearance and lifestyle of these 'tablighis'? I thought everything seemed perfect and in order with the way they were.

All those hysterical thoughts were constantly in my turbulent mind when the fact is that not even once I was told by anyone to change the way that I looked, the fashion that I wore, the manner of my characters, the system that I followed, the scheme that I planned, plot that I designed, and the measure of my lifestyle. The truth is that I had known nothing about Sunnah of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, let alone loving the Sunnah. The reality is I let myself to indulge in those crappy thoughts, formulating reasons not to give my time to go out in the path of Allah.

The love for music and movies had been one of the contributory cause of a dilemma within myself not to immediately embrace the effort of dakwah and tabligh. I loved movies and musics. Yes, it was then a big deal to me. I thought what would I do with all those precious collection of hundreds of CDs and movies? No - I was not willing to part with the grungy songs of Nirvana, the trashy sound of Metallica and the rocking voice of Bon Jovi. But the silly thought really came as lame reasons for me not to join the noble and divine effort to strengthen my own imaan against shaytaan and my own evil desires. To some extent I still watch movies and listen to music. But I am now also aware of their evil nature. The pious and learned men say that music is the gate of munafeeq (hypocrisy). What more to say about films and movies that combine a cocktail of evils to sight, hearing and corrupting the mind. What we see, hear, say and think will definitely affect our heart - just like contaminated streams polluting a lake, so does music and movies affect a Muslim's heart. May Allah grant us all strength to totally be free from those evils.

Looking back at my younger self, I understand better the story of a skin tanner who had been all the time involved with the tanning of animal skins and had become used to the bad smell of the skins. He had been used to living in a bad smelling environment and bad smells had become second nature to him. In the meantime, the fragrant scents of perfume shops had made him sick. Really, those who become perplexed and agitated at the sweet-smell of Allah's and His Rasul sallalaahu alayhi wassalam's obedience and those who are not inclined to a life of following the Sunnah, should be considered as having the same sickness as the tanner. In our dirty way of life and the dirty environment of sinful living, we spent a whole lifetime, so that our hearts and brains become familiar with those things and are inclined towards them.

The treatment of getting us to change that life is to slowly, step by step, to get us out of that environment of sin and to make us wander around the fragrant gardens. We should be brought to the gatherings of the pious and saintly ones and into their company. After frequenting these places for several days, we will realise, "In what dirty environment were we?" Then thinking about the life of the past, perhaps we would cry and sigh and will be very grateful for the company of the righteous ones. Gradually our noses will become used to the fragrant scents (i.e. in the love and service of Allah).