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."

Friday, 14 February 2020

The IPB Journey: The Nizamuddin Markaz

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.

The Banglawali Masjid at Basti Nizamuddin, Delhi which is the markaz of dakwah and tabligh was something that I had imagined differently. The markaz is situated at the place generally known and named after Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, a famous waliyullah. Most of the people that I know would tell you the same thing and have the same feeling when first set foot the Nizamuddin Markaz. Here, the original effort of Rasulullaah Sallalaahu Alayhi Wasallam and the Sahabah Radiyalaahu Anhum had been revived about a hundred years ago.

"Maulana Ilyas rahmatullaah alayhi said that the purpose of this work is to revive what Rasulullaah SAW had brought to us. Maulana Yusuf rahmatullaah alayhi explained further that the aim of this work is to raise the status of Muslims to the level where Rasulullaah SAW had left for us. What is the level? One hundred percent of Muslims, men and women, are all dai'e. One hundred percent of Muslims pray, tilawah of the Qur'an, zikir and du'a. When we reach this level the masjids will be full of aamal for twenty four hours. Only then will hidayah from Allah will come to the people until the enemies of Islam will also receive hidayah from Allah Ta'ala. This level is still far from us but we have to keep on continue walking on the path. When we know where the destination is, it does not matter if we are moving slow or fast, we will definitely reach the destination." These are the excerpt of many bayaan in Nizamuddin Markaz that I managed to scribble in my note books. 

Sitting in the company of the pious and the scholars of dakwah like Maulana Saad, Maulana Zubair, Maulana Mustaqim, Maulana Sulaiman and others rahmatullah alayhim certainly could help us in attaining self-reformation. Alhamdulillah, this attribute is still prevalent at the Nizamuddin Markaz till today where one could tremendously benefit from sitting in the company of Hazratji Maulana Saad damat barakatuhu and the other elders of dakwah and tabligh effort and the mukhlisin from all over the world.

People from all over the world went to the Nizamuddin Markaz to learn first hand the original effort of dakwah that had been carried out by Rasulullaah SAW and the Sahabah r.anhum. The elders at the Nizamuddin Markaz wish that jamaat are being dispatched all over the world and jamaat are everywhere. They also wish that every masjid throughout the world is full of aamal for 24 hours like the Masjid Nabawi during the time of Rasulullaah SAW. When addressing some people during karguzari at Nizamuddin Markaz, Maulana Sulaiman r.alayhi said that we all should have fikr and concern that perfect Deen should come to our lives and the lives of all mankind. Maulana Sulaiman told us that even this fikr and concern is not enough. The true and perfect fikr and intention is that  perfect Deen should come to our lives and the lives of all mankind AND 100% men and women calling mankind towards the perfect Deen until the day of Qiyamah.

In Nizamuddin Markaz you would not hear words except the words of dakwah. The mahul or atmosphere of dakwah and the atmosphere of practical sunnah on the people from all over the world who gathered at the Markaz.

"Brothers! Why do we go out in the path of Allah? Mianji Mehrab said we go out in the path of Allah to bring out the wrong belief of greatness of the world from our heart. In order for us to have the right relationship with our Creator, we must get rid of the wrong belief in the creations. Rasulullaah SAW had spent thirteen years making effort to bring out the greatness of the world from the hearts of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. If a carcass of an animal fell into a well, we must first remove the carcass and clean the water. Water will not be clean if the carcass is still in the well, not thrown out. The world is like the carcass. And then we have to make the effort on Deen with constancy and move forward. Allah Ta'ala created this world for mankind, but Allah Ta'ala revealed how to use our lives living in this world. Thus, we go out in the path of Allah with the intention of (1) making effort on our imaan and aamal, and (2) learning the effort of Rasulullaah SAW. Save the Ummah by learning Deen and teaching Deen, learning Deen and inviting the people to make effort on Deen. Dai'e bano, dai'e banao.

Many people who are not well acquainted with the work of dakwah and tabligh confuse Nizamuddin Dakwah and Tabligh Markaz (Banglawali Masjid) with Nizamuddin dargah. The difference is like heaven and earth. Nizamuddin markaz is the proponent of sunnah, whereas Nizamuddin dargah is the proponent of shirk and bida'ah. Nizamuddin dargah is actually a kubr or tomb or shrine of the well-known waliyullah, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya that had been turned by the ignorant Muslims as a place of wrongful worshipping. No doubt Nizamuddin dargah is more well-known to the ordinary Indians, Muslims or non-Muslims, than Nizamuddin markaz. Once during my subsequent frequent visits to the Nizamuddin markaz, the auto rickshaw man dropped me at Nizamuddin dargah when I asked for a ride to Nizamuddin markaz. Since then I had to always make sure the rides that I took dropped me to the correct place. On my first visit to Nizamuddin markaz, once exploring the surrounding areas I came close to the Nizamuddin dargah. I could feel the change in the surrounding environment as I walked closer to the dargah, gloomed dark faces and unfriendly people appeared more before me as I walked closer through the small alleys. I felt weirdly uncomfortable that I had to turn around and walked away from the dargah. It was my own personal feeling.

The Nizamuddin markaz also hosts a madrasah called Kashiful Uloom. Thus the Nizamuddin markaz not only confine dakwah and tabligh as its main activity, it is also completed by three other main activities, namely ta'leem, ibadaat and khidmat. All the four main activities had been the core activities of the Masjid Nabawi during the time of Rasulullaah SAW and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. 

A world gathering for mesyuarat or consultation is held at the Nizamuddin Markaz every three months. As the effort of dakwah and tabligh had first been revived in Nizamuddin Markaz, those who are actively involved in the effort all around the world are invited to every meeting. The work of dakwah had begun at the Nizamuddin Markaz and more in Makkah al-Mukarammah. Now Hazratji Maulana Sa'ad Kandhlawi, the fourth amir of the effort, and other persons who who make the effort of dakwah and tabligh as their purpose of lives, always hold muzakarah to set forth the usool and tartib of the work at the Markaz. And the people who strive hard in the effort are invited to the meetings.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The IPB Journey: Bagerhat & Nawabganj

Note: This article is written based on my memories of the journey back in 2000 when Bangladesh and Pakistan still have the right environment of dakwah. Now in my opinion, it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah and tabligh in Bangladesh and Pakistan until righteousness returns to both.

Our first tasykeel in Bangladesh was a transit place called Nababgonj, a few hours bus ride within Dhakka city. We stayed at Nababgonj Boro Masjid from 13 to 15 February 2000. A blind brother, Mohammad Mohsein and a Qur'an teacher, Hafiz Jamaluddin gave nusrah to us at the masjid whilst we made arrangement to Bagerhat  district, 200 miles south-west of Dhaka. 

We took a large ferry to Bagerhat from a river port sailing through Burigangga River. The local brothers quickly found a space on the upper deck. They tied ropes around the area to make a boundry since that area was to be made a mussolla and and a place for us to rest. Alhamdulillaah, it really helped us a lot since the ferry were crowded and overflew with passengers. Adzan was called loudly and we performed solah in that area. Ta'leem also was performed by reading the kitaab Fadha'il Aamal whilst we went around making ghast requesting people on the ferry to join the aamal of ta'leem. The local brothers who were in our jamaat performed the responsibility admirely. They were mostly university students. The aamal on the ferry during the overnight journey all came out from their suggestions. Although they are young students, they have already a good experience in the work of dakwah and tabligh.

Nur Masjid is the Bagerhat markaz. We arrived there at 6.00pm on 16 February 2000 greeted  by Murrubi Abdul Sattar, the Bagerhat markaz elder. Though it is situated south of Dhaka, somehow the temperature in Bagerhat was colder than Dhaka, perhaps because it was a rural area. The next day a few local brothers who were sent by Kakrail Markaz to join our jamaat arrived; Mohammad Moslehudeen, Mohammad Akramul Hassan, Mohammad Ashraf Hussein, Mohammad Motiur Rahman, Mohammad Rafiqul Islam and Mohammad Rizaul. 

One of the first thing that I endured to do was to learn Bangla language. You will not be able to get to know the people better if you do not speak to them. Certainly I had met many Benggalis in Malaysia before since there are hundred of thousands of them working in Malaysia. But I had never known them. In fact the Benggalis are one of the the nicest people that I had ever met. After the journey my feeling towards them totally changed, growing into a brotherly affection. I would gladly stop and speak to a Bengalli brother whenever I met one anywhere. 
"Apni kaemon achen?" How are you?
"Bhalo achen." Fine.
"Apni khothai kas koren?" Where do you work?
These simple sentences would always draw smiles on their faces.
"Ami matro bangla shikti arombho korchi" I just learned the bangla language.
This sentence would draw bigger smile and laughter from them.

Then they start listening to you - 
"Manushe duniya ebonk akhirate shopolata ekmatro Deenir mothe. Duniya akhirate kamiyabi Allah Ta'ala hukum manar mothe ebonk Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam ir tarika cholar manthe."
The success of mankind in this world and the hereafter is only in Deen. By obeying all the commandments of Allah Ta'ala and following the way of life of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam.

And they are people who listen. Mashaa Allah! They really listen to your speech. It makes learning dakwah a lot easier. They give us encouragement for dakwah. 
In the masjid that we were making effort of dakwah and tabligh, after solah you would hear the local called out loudly, "Inshaa Allah, baki namaaz badh iman amoler ofor bayan hobe. Amorosh shabai boshe onek faida hobe." Inshaa Allah, there will be a talk about iman and aamal. It will benefit you if you give time for it. 

During bayan in the masjid, whenever they heard any virtues of aamal, they would loudly respond, "Subhanallah!" May Allah keep choosing us and them for the effort of dakwah, and keep us and them on the path of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum only for the sake of Allah Ta'ala. 

The rukh or routes in Bagerhat had been decided for us as follows: 

16-17 February 2000 Nur Masjid, Bagerhat markaz
18-19 February 2000 Railway Masjid, Bagerhat
20-21 February 2000 KB Masjid, Bagerhat
22-23 February 2000 Mogra Bazaar Masjid, Bagerhat
24-25 February 2000 Shat Ghombuj Masjid, Bagerhat
26-27 February 2000 Mitha Pukur Par Masjid, Bagerhat
28 February 2000 Hospital Masjid, Bagerhat
29 February-1 March 2000 Dipara Bazaar Masjid, Bagerhat
2-3 March 2000 Dipara Madrasah, Bagerhat
4 March 2000 Mukhait Masjid, Bagerhat

Shat Ghombuj Masjid or the Sixty Dome Masjid was built in 1440 by Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali. Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali was the sultan dai'e who had spread Islam in Southern Bangladesh. It is believed that he was of Tughlaq-Uzbek origin. I remember Mahmudur Rashid brought me visit the grave of Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali. Unfortunately the Mazar (mausoleum) of Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali are mostly being visited by the ignorant grave-worshippers and the Brelwis. 

Shat Gombuj Masjid is very big that it actually has 77 domes and 60 stone pillars. It's large size made it look like we only occupied a tiny part of the masjid. During daytime, a lot of people came just to visit the masjid as a historical site.

Most of the masaajids in Bangladesh has a small pond or pukur beside it. We used the pukur for wudhu', for bathing and for washing our clothes. 

We cook our own food but sometime the local prepared food for us from their homes. "Khanna thayar. Ashen bhai, boshen." The food is ready. Come brother, sit. With white rice, we eat alu, muruggi and kacha morich. And I certainly will not forget naga morich, the hottest chilli that I had ever tasted at the time. I realised then why they drew up cartoon characters that breathe fire and smoke when they ate chillies. I was so astonished of its hottest taste that I brought home a few with the hope of growing it locally. 

On 4 March 2000 our jamaat and another local jamaat were combined at Mukhait Masjid, Bagerhat. Al-Hafeez Abdul Baari, who I met earlier at Kakrail Markaz became aamir of the combined jamaat. He made us all read surah Yaa Sin as an asbab for Allah to form cash jamaat from Bagerhat. It was here I met a murubbi Samirudeen of  Village Rodropara, Thanasrinogor, Mounshiganj, Dhaka. He was about 97 years old and was on his way to go out in the path of Allah for 4 months. As if I can still see him smiling and hear his voice, "Allah Khub Boro" (Allah is the All Mighty). We called him Abu Ayyub as Sayyidina Abu Ayyub Ansari radiyal laahu anhu, a Sahabi who was in his 90s when he died in the path of Allah and had been buried in Istanbul. The Turks called him Eiyyup Sultan.

From Bagerhat, we went back to Kakrail Markaz. After a couple of days at Kakrail Markaz, we were then tasykil again to Nawabganj Thana Area not far from Khaka. Thus in Bangladesh, our chillah had been spent in a long tasykil  to Bagerhat and a short tasykil to Nawabganj. I could not remember much of our effort at Nawabganj except we were at a very large centre for the orphans called Yateemkhana Masjid. 

We practised what we learned from Hafeez Abdul Baari in preparing people to gout in the path of Allah. I remember we tasykil a postman to go out for 40 days. He gave us reason that he will not be able to get leave for he is the only postman in his area. So we went to his superior, the Post Master and tasykil the Post Master to go out for 40 days. He gave us all sort of excuses saying that he will not be able to leave his position as there is no one else that can relief him  of his post. So we told him about one of the postman under him who wish to go out for 40 days but leave was not granted to him. He immediately told us that he would grant the leave to the said man to go out in the path of Allah for 40 days. 
Subhanallah! Allah taught us so much in our first chillah in Bangladesh. Then we took a flight to Delhi, India to continue our journey for the second chillah. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The IPB Journey: Dhaka

Note: This article is written with the memories of the right environment of dakwah in the year 2000 when it was still best to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh, besides India. In my opinion, currently only through the Nizamuddin Markaz at Banglawali Masjid in Delhi, India that the work of dakwah remains ideal to be learnt but it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh until righteousness returns to both.

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

The five of us had made arrangement for the IPB journey by consultation between us. Of course, the final decision on all matters came from our amir having heard suggestions from us, sometimes arguments, pro and con. It had been decided that our journey would start to Bangladesh first by Biman Airlines, then from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Delhi, India by the same airlines and finally we would travel by train from Delhi to Lahore through Amritsar. The journey back home would be from Karachi, Pakistan to Kuala Lumpur by PIA. Three jamaat had travelled that time from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka, Bangladesh.

We arrived at Dhaka Airport about a week after the Bishwa Ijtema, an annual gathering of Muslims engaging in the effort of dakwah and tabligh. You may read a detailed report on one of the occasions of the Bishwa Ijtema here. At the arrival terminal we were ushered in groups together with some brothers from other countries passed the immigration counters like VIPs. It was quite a sight when bearded men in shalwar, gamis, jubbah and lungi walked hastily in the express lane passed by foreigners in suits, jackets and blazers in other lanes in long queues at the immigration check-points. Our passports were collected earlier by a brother in charged of istiqbal and given back to us later duly stamped. I was amazed by the special treatment given to us and all the people who came to the country for dakwah and tabligh effort.

We were taken to the nearby Airport Masjid or Istiqbal Masjid by bus. It was just five to ten minutes from the airport. Many smiling khidmat brothers rushed to carry our luggages into the masjid. We arrived there at 8.00pm on 10th of February, 2000. We were seated at a long dastarkhan and almost immediately food was placed on the dastarkhan which ranges from simple tea and bread to white rice, veggies and meat set out for a feast. 

After Isyak prayer, the masjid main hall were turned into a large resting place where a huge mosquito net was put up and sleeping mats and pillows were arranged inside neatly. We were then politely invited to rest and sleep. Certainly, my first impression of Bangladesh was, Subhanallaah! what a host! They do know how to treat their guests. And by the look of it they have been doing it for ages.

The next day we were brought to Kakrail Masjid in Dhaka. It was the markaz of dakwah and tabligh effort in Bangladesh. As the room that usually placed Malay-speaking jamaats (Malaysian, Indonesian, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand) was fulled at that time, the five of us were placed on the upper floor which was still under construction. By the time we already noted the prayer times: Fajr at 5.30am, iqamaat at 6.00am; Dzuhr at 1.00pm, iqamaat at 1.30pm; Asr at 4.30pm, iqamaat at 4.45pm; Maghreb at 6.00pm and Esha at 8.00pm. We were greeted by one of the elders of Bangladesh, Maulana Muzammil Haq.

There was a jamaat from South Africa among other jamaats from all over the world. I befriended Arshad, a tall herculean South African Cape-malay who looked like a Springbok's No. 8. He told me that he used to work as a night club bouncer. Hitting other people was part of his daily job. Alhamdulillaah, after Allah gave him hidayat through the effort of dakwah and tabligh he never raised a finger to harm others. Even when he was badly hit by a gang of men, he never retaliated in defence. Before he went back home, Arshad gave me his mosquito net which became very handy to me throughout my journey in Bangladesh.

On the first day at Kakrail markaaz, eagerly I got myself in the second or third saff (row) during asar prayer. During the second rakaat, when it was supposed to be the sitting of the first tahiyyat, I rose up standing. Instead of quickly sitting back, I broke the salaah and start again in tahiyyat. When the prayer finished with salam, I was the only one standing in the very front row making up another two rakaat. I felt like a Bedouin who know nothing about Islam and aadab when first came to Madinah during the time of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. It was so embarrassing moment for me.     

The next day we moved to the "Malay room". Malay-speaking jamaat from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei etc were stationed in this room. A murubbi by the name Abdul Razzaq Abdullah was in-charged of the room istiqbal whereas Dr Afzal Hussein and Dr Faruq acted as mutarjim (translator). Both of them had been living in Malaysia for a few years when they were post-graduate students at UKM. Thus for three days our time was occupied sitting in different halqah or circles of learning. Sometime we would hear tafseer of Surat ul-Asr, ""By the time, Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, And do righteous deeds, And (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy." (Quran 104:1-3)" The four conditions are just like the four wheels of a car. If one tyre is flat, the car would not be able to run properly." Sometime we heard the mutarjim translated a bayaan saying, "Ibadaat and dakwah are like a pair of wings of a bird. Both wings are needed in order for the bird to fly." "Brothers! Salam, Taam, Qalam, Qiyam - then tabligh will penetrate the hearts." Another time we sat in the circle of tajweed learning together with local Bangla brothers. As if I could still hear al-Hafeez Abdul Barri, a hifz and teacher of Qur'an recited the last ten surahs of the Qur'an in hoarse melodious voice.  

On the third day at Kakrail Markaz, our jamaat was tasykeel to Bagerhat, south of Bangladesh. Bayan hidayat was given by Maulana Khalid and musaffah by Maulana Ruhul Qis. The five of us were joined by local brothers Mohammad Shahabudeen, Mohammad Mahmudur Rasheed, Mohammad Hussein, Mohammad Dalim, Mohammad Anisudeen Ahmed and Mohammad Ramzan (pronounce Ramjan). 

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Remembering Arwah Ramli Bajhkata

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

Whenever I.P.B. is mentioned I always thought of my dear friend Arwah Haji Ramli bin Lebai Ahmad (may Allah enlightens his grave with nur).

Friendship is built up in many ways. Some friendship began since childhood. Some friendship began at school, college or university. Some friendship started at workplace. Some friendship began at the house of Allah or at place for the remembrance of Allah, solely for the love of Allah.

It has been more than 6 years since Arwah Haji Ramli bin Lebai Ahmad passed away. He was an engineer at ESSO when I first met him in 2000. We first met at Masjid Jame' Seri Petaling, the Kuala Lumpur markaz for dakwah and tabligh effort. Three other persons - al-Hafiz Hisham Mansur, al-Hafiz Najib Haji Muda and my sister's son, Muhammad Faizal; made up for a five-men jamaat including me and Haji Ramli. Faizal had been tasykeel cash when I went back to my hometown to meet my mother and all relatives before going for the 4 months IPB journey. They said that I should make syi'ar or proclaim loudly of my noble intention to go out in the path of Allah and in doing so, Allah opened the heart of my nephew Faizal to accompany me on the journey. He had gone for 40 days with his father before when he was a mere teenager.

Haji Ramli had been appointed as amir for our jamaat. He was about five years my senior at age. We stayed at the KL markaz for a few days whilst submitting our application for visa for all the three Indo-pak countries - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Meanwhile we had to sit in various important circles of knowledge at the KL markaz before making our journey. One such circle of knowledge is the muzakarah of masa'il where an aalim taught us all the relevant matters with regards to certain rulings of fiqh according to madzhab shafi'e, madzhad hanafi and the relevant differences of rulings between the two madzhab for clear guidance. These was important since we were going on our journey to the countries where hanafi madzhab is predominantly being practised by the people. I remember the advice well, "You are on your journey to learn dakwah, not to learn fiqh." Uh, I think I'm straying away from the topic. It needs a special muzakarah to understand.

Sayyidina Umar radiyalaahu anhu used to say that, "You don't really know a person until you live with him, travel with him or do business with him." 

The first chillah or the first 40 days in Bangladesh was very stressful for me and for Haji Ramli. Haji Ramli and I just did not see eye to eye. In fact, we did not see eye to eye for the whole duration of the first chillah in Bangladesh. I seemed to have a complete disagreement with my amir on almost all matters all the time. It was really worse on my part since in the end I still have to obey my amir. At the earlier part of our IPB journey, Allah had tested us against each other. 

I did not know the real reason of our disagreement. I thought it might be because I did not have a 40 days experienced prior to the IPB journey but then the lack of experience should made me more humble and obedient. Perhaps I was just a plain hard-headed man. However, one thing was clear to me. Haji Ramli was completely a changed man once our jamaat arrived at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, India. He became buoyant and jovial. I no longer see the gloomy and depressed man. At this point of time, I realised that for 40 days he had carried the heavy burden of being the amir of our jamaat in Bangladesh. It was too much of anxiety and strain to him. Once he realised that in India and Pakistan, the responsibility of amir would be given to the local experienced brother, the gloom turned to jubilant and joy for Haji Ramli. And from that moment, he became my close friend. 

I remember in 2009, we both were together again in a paidal jamaat or a walking jamaat destined for Sandakan in East Malaysia Sabah. During the formation of the jamaat, when he learned that he was given the responsibility of amir of the jamaat, he turned hysterical and distraught. I sensed that perhaps the bad memories of being my amir nine years ago had overcome him. Thus I felt the need to calm him down and gave in some words of encouragement. I promised him that I would devote myself in helping him ease his burden. In other words, I promised him not to be an idiot that would made his life difficult.

Haji Ramli was exclusively known to us, the IPB jamaat members as Ramli Bajhkata. Bajhkata is a village in Bunir within the tribal areas of Khyber Pukhtunkwa, Pakistan. During the tasykeel in Bajkata that all of us felt the real companionship of each other. I guess we called him Ramli Bajhkata out of the feel good factor. 

After completing the 4 months IPB journey, as far as I know every year he spent 4 months in the path of Allah alternately travelling on domestic routes and to foreign countries including Albania, Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia etc.

During my companionship with Almarhum Ramli Bajhkata, I witnessed he spent his nights prostrating in sajdah and standing before Allah in solaah. During the IPB journey, when the mornings arrived between adzhan and iqamaat he would engaged in dzikr, his body would gently move. He wept like a bitterly grieved person and I can still hear his cries echoing in my ears as an imam read surah as-Saff during fajar solaah. He was very careful not to get involve in dirty, false or evil vain talk. He was always in the state of concern for the Ummah, especially for his family and his sons, that they would become the da'ie of Allah. I believe he carried this concern in his grave when I was told by one of his sons that he and his brother decided to make the 4 months IPB journey when they dreamt of their father urging them to go out in the path of Allah for 4 months. May Allah make them persevere in the effort of dakwah as their father would dearly wish. 

May Allah accept all of our good deeds, sacrifices  and obedience to Allah in this world as our means of mercy by Allah in the aakhirah. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The IPB Journey

Note: This article is written with the memories of the right environment of dakwah in the year 2000 when it was still best to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh, besides India. In my opinion, currently only through the Nizamuddin Markaz at Banglawali Masjid in Delhi, India that the work of dakwah remains ideal to be learnt but it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh until righteousness returns to both.

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

I was happy that finally I have the opportunity to travel in jamaat of dakwah and tabligh for 40 days for the first time. The first person that I shared the news was my brother. "Why don't you go for 4 months instead of just 40 days?" he dropped the million dollar question hundred of miles away from his house in Johor Bahru. I paused for a few seconds, blinking my eyes staring through the wall. "But how could I go for 4 months when I have not done the 40 days journey yet?" I asked innocently. "Since when it is a pre-condition to go for 40 days first? When are you going to get this opportunity again? Just present your case to go out for 4 months during tafakud (a short interview process)." he sounded like giving me a clear instruction. From that moment I've changed my intention to go out in the path of Allah for one chillah (40 days) to three chillah (120 days). And when I said a journey of three chillah, for a first-timer like me it means a simultaneous journey of 40 days in India, 40 days in Pakistan and 40 days in Bangladesh.

You may be wondering why was the urgency for me to go on a 4 month trip to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Why the IPB journey was so important to me (and to most people that are called "tablighis")? 

Although Islam started in Makkah but Islam did not flourish in Makkah. Islam only flourished after hijrah to Madinah. Islam did not flourish in Makkah because the atmosphere and environment in Makkah was an environment that oppressed Muslims. For thirteen years in Makkah, the faith and imaan of the early Muslims had been constantly tested by Allah Ta'ala in enduring hardship and oppression surrounded by the enemies of Islam. Meanwhile, contrary to the environment in Makkah, the the sacrifices of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum, both the muhajireen and the ansaars from hijrah and nusrah in Madinah had created the outstanding environment for the upliftment of imaan and aamal. People all over hijaaz and beyond flocked to Madinah ul-Munawwarah to learn Deen directly from Rasulullaah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum.

After sometime, during the time of tabi' tabi'een, people started to flock Kufah, Baghdad and Mesir to study from the ulama' fuqaha such as Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafie and Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal rahmatullah alayhim. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to those places in learning fiqh and jurisprudence.

Then during the time of the muhaditheen like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Termizi rahmatullaah alayhim etc. people started to flock Bukhara, Khorasan, Termiz and those areas near present day Uzbekistan. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to learn and study the science of hadith from those righteous imams of hadith.

Then in the same year of the calamity upon the ummah of the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman caliphate, Allah Ta'ala started the revival of the ummah by the ijtima'iat work of dakwah through the effort of Maulana Ilyas Kandhlawi rahimahullaah at the Nizamuddin markaz in Delhi, India where presently, there is no other place to learn and practise the work of dakwah better than the guidance given by the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, India. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to learn ijtima'iat dakwah in the Indo-pak continent, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh where the work had flourished for nearly a hundred years now.

I remember once a jamaat of six brothers from Makkah came to our masjid. At the end of his bayaan, the amir of the jamaat urged or made tasykeel for people to go out for four months in the path of Allah to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Now he he did not tasykeel the people to go to Makkah because he knew that going to Makkah is to perform hajj or umrah, whereas he was urging the people to go on a journey to IPB dedicating their time to learn the work of dakwah. 

It follows that a person who had gone on a 4-months IPB journey at least once in his lifetime for the purpose of learning the effort of dakwah would then be able to go to any other countries in the world, urging all Muslims to engage in the effort of dakwah and rectification of our own imaan and aamal.

My IPB journey began in February 2000.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Atheist Boss (Part 2)

My application for unpaid leave were repeatedly ignored by my immediate boss who was an atheist. Instead I began to feel the heat of retaliation from him. Long before the general public were brainwashed and indoctrinated with the term "fundamentalist Muslims", I had been branded as such by him. Once in a while, he used to pass menacing remarks suggesting I look more fundamentalist each day. Perhaps he meant the white skull cap that I put on my head whenever I headed for dzuhur and asar solah. Perhaps he took special notice of every nanometer of the beard that was growing on my face. During those intimidating period, he even distressingly questioned me whether I had anything to do with his secretary suddenly wearing a hijab. I remember that he yelled out loud, "Oh! This is becoming contagious!"

Meanwhile, I did not give up hope in going out for one chilla (40 days khuruuj) in the path of Allah. Until this time, I had never experienced going out in jamaat for one chilla. For over two years I only had been in three days jamaat constantly with my neighbourhood brothers. The urge in expanding my learning of Deen in practical way for a longer period  was too much for me to ignore. I needed to strive to become a better Muslim. I needed to learn the way of life of Rasulullaah sallaalaahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. Oh! How I wish the sweet urge would stay forever with me every seconds of my lifetime.

It was with the urge and courage I decided to ask the approval of the very top management hierarchy directly, harboring hope that the Chief Executive Officer who was also the Managing Director was indeed a pious Muslim as stated by the atheist. True enough he granted me approval as long as another legal advisor within the corporate group would cover for my workload. The condition was easily fulfilled as my colleague at the corporate legal was more than glad to carry out the tasks.

When I relayed the good news to the atheist, he immediately turned hysterical and chased me out from his room, babbling remarks that I had tried to bypass his authority. The uproar had turned the section of the floor into turmoil and upheavel. Very soon a woman who headed the Human Resource Department stormed in my room and sprayed me with bullets of harsh words and slammed the door on her way out. Ironically, prior to the event she was quite close to me. She used to come to my room and have long conversation on numerous occasions though most of the time I just acted as a good listener to the chatter-box woman. Anyway, at  the end of the day I had been served a three weeks suspension notice for unknown reason. The thought came to my mind that the atheist boss might charge me with insubordination at the worst. Though shocked with all the sudden uproar, I was determined to face all challenges ahead.

At the time of the suspension period, the worst thoughts imaginable had crossed my mind. What if I got fired from work? What would happen to my little children? What if this and what if that...the kind of thoughts that were able to take your breath away. On the other hand, it was for the first time in my entire life that I had been able to spend almost the entire month of Ramadhan in ibadaat and worshiping Allah Most High. My grievances and distress were taken to the house of Allah with me. I was able to spend the days and nights in prayers, dzikir, du'a and seclusion as well as timely attending ghast and ta'leem. The men of wisdom had spoken the truth when they said that you could only get rid of the all the grievances and distress of this world by instilling the worries and concern of the aakhirah.

I had been slapped with ridiculous made-up charges as if I had not been performing my duties at all even when I had been given pay rise before based on high performance appraisals. No mentioned about insubordination though. I had been called to face a one-man panel of inquiry. It astonished me how a predominantly Muslims management could be lured into these bouhaha by the atheist over my application for leave. Though I was determined to defend my case, the man on the panel whom I knew and respect called me in person and informed me that the Chief Executive Officer wished to meet me. He advised me to find a solution with the CEO.

After a lenghty discussion with the CEO, we both concluded that it was to my detriment if I were to continue working under the atheist man. He offered me a one year pay for my resignation and dropped all the charges as if nothing happened. He even offered to write me a testimonial letter of recomendation for my benefit. Though I initially hoped he would stood up for me but it would be foolish not to expect him to prefer the atheist who was the integral part of the management. Thus, I acknowledged the offer of separation. 

Truly Allah Ta'ala is the Doer of everything. Allah Ta'ala decides however He wants. Alhamdulillaah, I had asked for a forty days unpaid leave but I was given a year salary. It follows that what was initially meant to be a forty days journey in the path of Allah turned out to be the most enlightening journey of 4 months in the path of Allah to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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 not 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.