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."

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.


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Notification



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.

Wassalam.
HAJI



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.



Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Levels of Jihad



A lecture delivered by Abu Uwais Abdullah Ahmad Ali

 Allah says in surah al-Ankabut

“And those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths and verily Allah is with those who are the righteous.”

And Abu Dardaa says as reported by Ibnu Abdul Bar rahmatullahu alayhi in Jamiul Bayan that “He who does not see that seeking knowledge in the morning and the evening is from jihad, his intelligence and his opinion is deficient. Seeking knowledge and act upon knowledge is from jihad, is from striving.”

Ibnu Qayyim rahmatullahu alayhi says, “Since jihad fights the enemy of Allah and those outside is a brand of the servant making jihad against himself for the sake of Allah as Rasulullah says, “The Mujahid is the one who strives against himself and the obedience of Allah.” Another hadith says, “The Mujahid is the one who make jihad against his desire. And the Muhajir (the one who migrate/the true migrator) is the one who leaves that what Allah has forbidden. Fighting against the self or striving against the self is preceded before you meet the enemy on the battlefield or fighting the enemy in the battlefield. He who doesn’t strive against his self first to do that which he had been ordered and to leave that which had been forbidden, fight against himself against his desire against what he wants for the sake of Allah is not possible for him to fight or make jihad against the enemy outside.”

How can he do that which he can’t control that which is between his two shoulders? When he can’t control his desire? When he can’t leave that what Allah had forbidden? And do that which Allah had ordered? If he can’t deal with himself, when his self and desires is over him, guiding him…if he can’t fight that how can he fight the enemy outside? So this desires and fighting against oneself, and struggling against oneself, leaving that which one loves for the pleasure of Allah, doing that which Allah had ordered, this is the first and the basis before you fight the enemy outside and it is the fundamental principle of it.

And along with this is the jihad against shaytan who comes at us with doubt (syubahat) and desires (syahawat). We can’t fight shaytan and we can’t fight the kuffar unless and until we fight our desire, unless that we strive against our desire. When we will be able to do this then we’ll be able to fight the enemy which Allah says, “take him (shaytan) as a clear enemy”. It is stated that we should know to take him as enemy, to know that we should do our most in fighting against him for he does his most in fighting against us. He does not rest, he does not relax, he does his most in fighting against us and leading us astray. So we must make jihad in this area. And many times when this issue was talked about, when they talk about jihad, this issue is far away from the mind of many of those who talk about jihad. The true mujahid is the one who goes against his nafs, does jihad against his desires and therefore he is able to do that then he can face the shaytan and deal with him, then he can face the kuffar and the munaffikin.

Ibnu Qayyim rahmatullahu alayhi mentions that jihad is of 4 levels: (1) Jihad of the nafs, Jihad against yourself, striving against yourself, striving against one’s desires, making sure that you are in obedience to Allah, preventing yourself from committing actions which are disobedience to Allah, controlling yourself from falling to that which is disobedience to Allah. Ibnu Barr rahmatullahu alayhi often said in many of his speeches and lectures that you are in jihad from the moment that shaytan has oppose you which is the beginning of your life until the moment to the grave. We are in the struggle and everyday we are struggling to mount this attack against our own self. And every one of us is a witness regarding himself. Verily everyone of us is upon himself. We all know ourselves even if we give excuses. So this is the first and foremost issue that we must understand. Fighting against oneself is upon four levels. The first level is to strive with yourself so that you learn the guidance and the deen of truth. There is no success for the soul nor happiness in this life and the next except with knowing the deen of haq. The one who misses this will be sad in this life and the hereafter, will be unfortunate in this life and the hereafter.

So first of all, starting to come to the circle of knowledge, trying to find or seek the knowledge, sitting in the circles of knowledge, we have to strive against ourselves to do that. Secondly, striving against the self to act upon the knowledge once we learnt it. Because just having the knowledge without action even if it doesn’t hurt us it won’t benefit. So the amal has to be striven for. The knowledge that we have we have to apply it. Thirdly, is to do battle against one self and make jihad against the core to it. Many of us know the haq or have the ilm and many of us act upon it but very few of us give dakwah. Very few of us call to the knowledge that we have. And I don’t know what the basis for it, either laziness or either shyness or either absence of certainty but this is not how the salafusolleh were. We should be upon their way so we must make jihad against ourself to make it, after having the ilm and after acting upon it to give dakwah to it.

Teaching to those who don’t know otherwise we’ll from those who hide the knowledge, who hide what Allah revealed. We’ll be committing the sin of the one who hide the knowledge and the knowledge does not benefit him not does it save him from the punishment of Allah. Fourthly, be patience upon what comes when you give the dakwah. The harms of the creature and all of those matters to able to pay the harm of the creature upon one’s back, to be able to pay all of that for the pleasure of Allah. And if this sounds like the echo of something you heard before then you may recall the aayah in Surah Asr, for these are the four means of success.

“By the time. Verily! Man is in loss. Except those who believe in Iman (Faith) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'aruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause).” 

There is no doubt that there must be iman, and there must be amal soleh, and there must be dakwah, and there must be sabr of all what harm that may happen to you when you begin to give the dakwah, when you begin to call to the Book of Allah, and when you begin to call to tauhid. If you complete these four levels, could be from those robbani those people, scholars who feel Allah or individuals connected to Allah because the self has agreed that the one, the aalim or the scholar who has the right to be called robbani is the one who knows the haq, acts upon it and teaches to others and these individuals are called the aaziman or great and be heaven.

So he went on to explain (2) the jihad of shayatiin, and (3) the jihad of the kuffar, and (4) the jihad of the munaffiqin. But let it be known that first and foremost we must struggle against ourselves. The true mujahid is the one who makes jihad against his nafs. The best jihad is to go against the desire. And brothers, this is the jihad that we can do from the ending of this salaah, after saying “assalamu’alaykum warohmatullahi”, that jihad starts. Doing that which is against our nafs, struggling against our desire, controlling our tongue, making sure that it says only that which pleases Allah. Jihad, struggling against our desire, struggling against saying that which is haraam  or to back bite or to slander or to lie. Struggling against our hands, our limbs, preventing them to do that which Allah has forbidden. Forbiding our feet to walk towards that which Allah has forbidden. Stopping our eyes from looking towards that which Allah has forbidden. Stopping our ears from hearing that which Allah has forbidden.

“And those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths and verily Allah is with those who are the righteous.”

Ibnu Qayyim rahmatullahu alayhi says, “Those who act upon that which they knew Allah will guide them upon that which they did not know.” It is not right for the one who gets the knowledge unless and until he acts upon it. The knowledge will not benefit him, rather, unless and until he acts upon it. “And those who strive”, Ibnu Kathir rahmatullahu alahyi says it means Rasullullah and the sahabah and those who follow them illa yaumuddin. And Sama’ani rahmatullahu alayhi says about this aayah “and those who strive”. “You call a mujahid a striving. To striving is to be patience upon obedience and staying away from sins.” And this is the type of sabr that individuals need or that is required to be patience and obedience, to continue getting up everyday and doing that which Allah has ordered to do. Sabr to make five time daily salaah. Sabr on those issue that Allah has ordered. Sabr not to commit sins. The sins are all around us, the environment is polluted and corrupted. How close are the sins to us. To prevent one from reaching out to it or prevent one from falling into it, this requires sabr, patience. And sabr is not something easy.

And patience of the difficulties. That Allah will test us that which is good and which is bad in respect to us, that which is bitter and that which is sweet, that which we like and which we dislike. And we have to have sabr upon that. So these are the issues of success. I go back to the statement of Abu Sulayman Ad-Darami rahmatullahu alayhi to make sure that I translate it correctly. Ibnu Qayyim (Abu Ahmad) rahmatullahu alayhi said, “Those who act upon that which they knew, Allah will guide them upon that which they did not know.” And Abu Al-Hawari said “I told Abu Sulayman (who was known as ad-Darami) the statement, he liked it and he said, ‘It does not befit one who has inspired to do something good that he believes to be good until he hear the narration regarding it. When he hears that narration he acts upon it and he praises Allah that it agreed to with that which is in his heart.”

And fear Allah and Allah will teach you. If you fear Allah, Allah will give you a criteria, Allah will give you that which will distinguish between haq and baathil, between truth and that which is false. There are many narrations here but if we come away with this issue that the first jihad upon us is to correct ourselves, is to discipline ourselves, is to stay away from that which Allah has forbidden, to make ourselves obey Allah, to make ourselves stay away from that which Allah has forbidden. Then we are in fact the mujahid, for the mijahid is the one who makes jihad against his desire or against his nafs. All that it takes to do this, it does not take much, but to have sincerity in our hearts, there must be ikhlas and there must be dependence upon Allah. May Allah guides us to be those who are in fact describe by this aayah:

“And those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths and verily Allah is with those who are the righteous.”