Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Hijrah: The Microscopic View Of A Man's Journey & The Life-Size View Of His Destination

A couple of months back, I was asked to give a view on one of my companions' statement. The statement is regarding the challenges and mockery faced by an individual whenever he/she is determined to make a change. The term I'm using for this particular description is 'Hijrah', which despite it's pure Arabic interpretation, is also interpreted in religious terms as,

"The journey of transforming from bad to good".

Hijrah is mentioned in one of the compendium of the 40 Hadiths which goes:

"Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated."

However, I am not going to discuss about the contents within this particular hadith. What I’m trying to bring forward is the mentality of today’s people upon those who are intending to make a change, generally from bad to good.

For years, I have been presented with roughly the same type of question,

“Why is it that people mock me when I want to make a change?”

My answer would be,

“Because they have not seen the changes occur.”

“But, I am making changes.”

“I know you are, but do they know? No sir, their focus is on the change.”

That is the fact today; people judge others by means of what they produce, not on their effort to produce. Such a fact takes place anywhere; in organisations, in politics, and even on an individual.

Hijrah itself requires a journey that has to be endured. When you want to go from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar, you have to endure the journey along the North-South Expressway. Everything in this life requires some sort of journey. Why, even the flicking of a switch has its own microscopic journey. How’s that?

From the view of a normal person, a switch has only two conditions; ON and OFF. However, in the knowledge of Power Electronics, switches have another condition, known as the TRANSIENT condition. This condition is where the journey from OFF to ON occurs and vice versa. This is only visible on a microscopic scale.

Viewing from a general distance, the ON-OFF transition is viewable from a scope, and is shown to be in the form of a square wave, where the change between the two conditions happens abruptly. But if the scope is zoomed in, as microscopic as possible, it will be shown that there are waves between the two conditions. These waves represent the ‘journey’ from one condition to the other.

In relation to the issue brought up, many would assume that when someone wants to make a change, the change would take place abruptly. And when no change occurs, the assumption would be that the person is a hypocrite, because the change was not seen.

What many failed to consider, were the steps/efforts taken to make the change. What many did was to judge from a distance, and not to the extent of a microscopic level.

Weren’t we all taught that Allah judges a man not by what he can produce, but by the effort he has made to produce? Why so? Because it is by His will, and His only that man can produce.

If Allah does not judge a man by what he produces, then who are we to judge a man by what he produces???

We know of a man who is on a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar. By Allah’s will, he did not arrive because his car broke down somewhere in Changkat Jering.

Do we call him a hypocrite for not arriving in Padang Besar?



Because we know that he has already executed his intention by noticing that he is headed for Padang Besar. So, what difference does it make compared to those who say they want to make a change, but their ‘journey’ is not visible to the naked eye?

So, never judge a man by what he produces. No one has the power to produce. It is only by the will of Allah that man can produce. Man can only work to produce, and pray that Allah will see fit for him to produce.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Perginya Seorang Mujahidah

Dua hari yang lalu, sedang aku membaca status Facebook orang, aku terpaku pada satu status. Status itu menyatakan bahawa seorang sahabat aku yang aku kenal sewaktu belajar di Permatang Pauh berada di hospital di dalam keadaan kritikal, yang mana beliau hanya mempunyai 30% peluang untuk selamat. Beliau mengidap denggi berdarah.

Mula - mula ingatkan lain orang. Tapi bila terfikir balik, berapa banyak sangat orang dengan nama itu. Maka, aku bertanyakan sahabat - sahabat di Malaysia mengenai hal ini. Sah orangnya.

Hari ini, beliau telah menghembuskan nafas yang terakhir dan pergi menghadap Penciptanya. Aku hanya mampu duduk terdiam. Nak pergi ziarah, aku beribu batu jauhnya berjuang di negara orang. Beberapa jam selepas berita kematiannya, datang pula lagi satu berita mengatakan bahawa opah saudara aku juga telah kembali ke rahmatullah.

Hari ini, aku berada di dalam keadaan cukup tak tenang, resah.

Sahabat aku itu bernama Anis Amirah Ahmad Lutfi. Aku mengenalinya sewaktu tahun terakhir pengajian di Permatang Pauh. Secara umumnya, kami mengenali beliau sebagai seorang yang kecoh - kecoh.

Aku juga mengenali beliau sebagai seorang pencinta sastera. Tak kurang juga penulisannya yang aku biasa baca.

Kali terakhir aku jumpa beliau, sewaktu kenduri kecil - kecilan di rumah seorang sahabat berhampiran dengan kampus. Sewaktu itu, aku kembali ke Permatang Pauh untuk berjumpa dengan sahabat - sahabat aku buat kali terakhir, sebelum aku berangkat ke Melbourne untuk melanjutkn pengajian.

Siapa sangka, dalam aku kembali untuk berjumpa mereka, salah seorang daripada mereka aku takkan jumpa lagi buat selama - lamanya. Almarhumah berusia 22 tahun pada tahun ini. Melihatkan usianya sahaja boleh tahu dia peringkat adik. Selama ini aku sangka, adik - adik aku yang akan melihat aku pergi dulu.

Tapi Allah lebih mengetahui.

Selalu aku sebut, kehidupan mahasiswa di Pulau Pinang merupakan kenangan yang paling manis, yang takkan dapat dilupakan, baik alamiyyah mahupun ukhuwwah. Malam aku meninggalkan Pulau Pinang selepas tamat peperiksaan akhir merupakan malam yang sedih buat aku. Sepanjang pemanduan menghala ke selatan, aku mengenangkan kembali peristiwa - peristiwa yang berlaku sepanjang tahun.

Aku meninggalkan kampus Shah Alam tanpa sebarang kenangan manis. Kini di Melbourne, secara logiknya kehidupan di negara orang lebih manis kenangannya. Hakikatnya, aku masih tak lekang daripada mengingati Pulau Pinang serta sahabat - sahabat di sana. Melbourne masih tidak ada kenangan yang setanding, melainkan hanya kenangan alamiyyah.

Bila mereka dalam gembira, aku tumpang gembira. Bila mereka dalam duka, aku turut merasainya. Dan peristiwa kematian ini sememangnya menguji ketabahan diri. Sebak rasa bila mengetahui sahabat - sahabat lain menanti di luar wad hingga ke subuh.

Bahkan, di kalangan mereka juga menempuh perjalanan merentas negara di kala malam untuk berada bersama - sama dengan sahabat mereka yang sedang tenat.

Kami yang berada di luar negara hanya mampu menanti berita perkembangan melalui e-mel dan sms. Sepanjang penantian berita, ada yang berdiri tak tenang duduk tak puas, badan terketar - ketar, makan tak lalu, masak tak terdaya, merisaukan sahabat yang akhirnya telah pergi. Hanya doa dan kata - kata semangat yang mampu kami lakukan.

Semoga pemergian almarhumah pemergian husnul-khatimah, semoga ditempatkan di kalangan orang - orang beriman.

Selamat tinggal adik dan sahabatku, buat selama - lamanya.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Cry Freedom - A Tale of Struggle For Equality

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a film on Fox Classics channel. It was titled Cry Freedom. The first time I watched this film was about ten years ago back in Malaysia. The film describes the days of South Africa during the Apartheid period.

It focuses on two real-life characters; Donald Woods, a South African journalist cum anti-Apartheid activist who befriended Steve Biko, a black activist.

In general, the film depicts a scenario of segregation among the whites and the blacks by all means of medium (i.e. public amenities, essential rights), and oppression of the security police towards the black community.

Throughout the time frame of this film, Steve Biko has been placed under house arrest; not being able to communicate with more than one person at any given time, ad restricted to travel within a certain boundary.

He was arrested as he was travelling to Cape Town to address a black youth's gathering. Eventually, he died in prison. The government described his death as caused by hunger strike. In reality, his death was a result of beatings while in prison.

Woods, during a visit to the mortuary secretly managed to capture snapshots of Biko's body with the help of a fellow journalist. Having obtained these, he decided to expose it internationally, but was arrested at the airport and was placed under house arrest.

However, Woods and his family managed to escape South Africa and seek asylum in Britain through a series of hitch-hiking, rendezvous to Maseru in Lesotho and then flying to Botswana.

This film really captures the heart of its viewers, judging by what one has to face in his struggle for justice, equality, freedom. Along the way, he risks losing his possession, his ease of life, and to a certain extent, losing his life.

In everything we do in this life, the journey to obtaining it is not always plain sailing throughout the way. There will always be resistances. There is nothing in this world that we achieve without toil and sweat...with the exception of cheating.

Struggling to achieve our goal and purpose is difficult at times. But once we get what we struggled for, victory is at its sweetest. Furthermore, we will appreciate our victory judging by what we had to go through previously.

But always remember, it is Allah and only Allah who decides whether we will achieve victory or otherwise. We as His servants can only struggle and pray for guidance. There is no such thing as success through strategic planning. It is only by His will that we shall ever see victory.

Man could spend endless hours of strategic planning, recruiting geniuses, investing millions. But if Allah does not grant victory, then man will not achieve it. But that doesn't mean Allah will never grant victory. He will, in due time, when the situation is right. We can only struggle and ask Him for success.

It takes one who has such an experience to understand this fact.

The song below, Nkosi Sikeleli Africa was illegal during the Apartheid period, and was sung during political meetings and gatherings. the song used to be a symbol of hope and unity. Today, it is part of the South African national anthem.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Ukhuwwah: Setulen Manakah Ianya Pada Diri Kita?

Setelah hampir setahun mental seolah - olah tersumbat, kini ianya bebas untuk merenung hakikat alamiyah...

Ukhuwwah; satu perkataan yang tak terasing dari kamus kehidupan kita. Sebut sahaja ukhuwwah, kita tahu ianya ada kena mengena dengan ikatan silaturahim sesama manusia.

Tahun 2005 - 2006 seingat saya dahulu merupakan tahun yang pekatnya dengan artikel - artikel dan ungkapan - ungkapan mengenai ukhuwwah. Siapa tak lupa pada ungkapan Ukhuwwah fillah abadan abada, ukhuwwah fillah membawa ke jannah. Siapa juga tak lupa pada artikel Cinta Anta Anti karangan Maszlee Malik.

Tahun 2005 - 2006, saya masih seorang mahasiswa di UiTM ketika itu. Dan pada usia muda ketika itu serta serba jahil dalam bab - bab ini, saya tak nafikan saya antara yang menyahut seruan - seruan ini dalam keadaan tak tahu ke mana halanya.

Saya tak mahu fokus pada definisi ukhuwwah, kerana semua sedia maklum akannya. Tapi, saya mahu fokus pada mentaliti terhadap hakikat ukhuwwah itu. Seringkali kita diingatkan oleh rakan - rakan, sahabat - sahabat kita untuk menguatkan, melahirkan, mengeratkan ukhuwwah sesama kita.

Hakikatnya benda itu tak menjadi pada ramai orang. Mengapa?

Antara sebabnya, ukhuwwah itu dijadikan satu bentuk material; satu kewajipan yang tercetak di atas rang undang - undang, perlembagaan. Ukhuwwah itu menjadi objektif utama wujudnya sesebuah aktiviti/program, sedangkan ukhuwwah itu letaknya di kalangan objektif sampingan.

Ukhuwwah itu satu bentuk fitrah yang wujud dalam diri setiap orang. Dan untuk menghasilkan ukhuwwah yang sebenar - benar ukhuwwah mestilah dengan kehendak diri, bukannya secara paksa rela atau birokrasi. Ukhuwwah yang lahir secara paksa rela ibarat enjin sejuk yang dibawa merentas lebuhraya; ketat dan tesengguk - sengguk.

Antara sebab lain ialah faktor kasta. Kerana perbezaan sejarah, latarbelakang, 'maqam', maka kita menjauhkan diri kita dari orang lain, dan hanya bergaul dengan mereka yang 'setaraf' dengan kita.

Apa yang istimewa sangat pasal diri kita hatta kita menyisihkan diri dari orang lain? Tidakkah manusia itu semuanya sama di hadapan Allah?

Ukhuwwah itu benda semulajadi, dan hanya boleh dijana secara semulajadi. Ukhuwwah yang wujud dalam diri kita, hanya kita sahaja yang boleh jana menjadi setulen - tulen ukhuwwah, bukannya melalui kertas kerja, bukannya melalui arahan berwajib, bukannya program - program mahabbah, perpaduan, ikatan kasih dsb.. Sepatutnya program - program seperti itu tempat kita membawa produk ukhuwwah yang dijana, bukannya tempat baru nak jana ukhuwwah.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

In Response To Current Events....

وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَبِٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ (٨) يُخَـٰدِعُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَمَا يَخۡدَعُونَ إِلَّآ أَنفُسَهُمۡ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُونَ (٩) فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ۬ فَزَادَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مَرَضً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمُۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡذِبُونَ (١٠) وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمۡ لَا تُفۡسِدُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ مُصۡلِحُونَ (١١) أَلَآ إِنَّهُمۡ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدُونَ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَشۡعُرُونَ (١٢) وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمۡ ءَامِنُواْ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ ٱلنَّاسُ قَالُوٓاْ أَنُؤۡمِنُ كَمَآ ءَامَنَ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ‌ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّهُمۡ هُمُ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَعۡلَمُونَ

[AL-BAQARAH, 2:7-13]

Of the people there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day" but they do not (really) believe. Fain would they deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves, and realize (it) not! In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease and grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves). When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth", they say: "Why, we only want to make peace!" Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize not. When it is said to them: "Believe as the others believe" they say: "Shall we believe as the fools believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, buy they do not know.

Dan di antara manusia ada yang berkata: Kami telah beriman kepada Allah dan kepada hari akhirat; padahal mereka sebenarnya tidak beriman. Mereka hendak memperdayakan Allah dan orang-orang yang beriman, padahal mereka hanya memperdaya dirinya sendiri, sedang mereka tidak menyedarinya. Dalam hati mereka (golongan yang munafik itu) terdapat penyakit (syak dan hasad dengki), maka Allah tambahkan lagi penyakit itu kepada mereka dan mereka pula akan beroleh azab seksa yang tidak terperi sakitnya, dengan sebab mereka berdusta (dan mendustakan kebenaran). Dan apabila dikatakan kepada mereka: Janganlah kamu membuat bencana dan kerosakan di muka bumi, mereka menjawab: Sesungguhnya kami orang-orang yang hanya membuat kebaikan. Ketahuilah! Bahawa sesungguhnya mereka itulah orang-orang yang sebenar-benarnya membuat bencana dan kerosakan, tetapi mereka tidak menyedarinya. Dan apabila dikatakan kepada mereka: Berimanlah kamu sebagaimana orang-orang itu telah beriman. Mereka menjawab: Patutkah kami ini beriman sebagaimana berimannya orang-orang bodoh itu? Ketahuilah! Sesungguhnya merekalah orang-orang yang bodoh, tetapi mereka tidak mengetahui (hakikat yang sebenarnya).

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Ye Olde Times

I have been living alone for the last month as my housemates have returned to Malaysia. Furthermore, with Rashid leaving his car in my care, I've been spending certain days driving around Melbourne...usually on official matters rather than leisure.

Eversince I moved to the City, my expenditures were somewhat erratic. Luckily my tenancy was not a year-long tenancy, so I still have the option of moving back to the inner suburbs where the cost of living is low.

With the advantage of a car in possession, I decided to do my groceries in various locations, usually being either Brunswick or Footscray. But most of the time I'd go to Footscray as I could get Asian stuffs there. Besides, everything was within reach; fruits and vegetables at Footscray Market, Halal butcheries at either Droop Street or Nicholson Street, and the Turkish restaurant where I would buy their fresh arm-length Turkish bread.

For items available in supermarkets, I'd just pop over to Highpoint Shopping Centre where the Safeway supermarket is located.

Hey, Footscray and neighbouring Maribyrnong was my hometown, and still is, seeing that my campus is situated within it.

This morning, I decided to do my weekly shopping. On my way to Highpoint Shopping Centre, I drove along Droop Street via the tram terminus. Without realising, I was driving down memory lane.

While driving at 30km/h (because a tram was in front of me, stopping frequently), I passed by a couple of landmarks. The first was the Footscray Motor Inn, where I stayed overnight upon arrival in Melbourne. While along Gordon Street, I noticed the landmarks I used to observe and knew by heart during the time when I commuted via bus or tram from campus to the Student Village, which was close to the shopping centre.

Thus I suddenly recalled my early days in Melbourne...which was 6 months back. It was those days when I was still trying to get used to the suburb's environment, learning to use the public transport, and finding out the destination of each bus that enters Footscray town.

Furthermore, I had no contact within the area during those trying times, being all alone in that Student Village, with my family being thousands of miles away. Wherever I go, I go alone. But in a way, it was fun and relaxing, as I was not bounded by any curfew restrictions, or following people to wherever it is that I do not intend to go to.

Now, look at me; a 'never die' chap who knows his way around Melbourne and its suburbs without having to carry a Greater Melbourne Street Directory around with him. Wherever I go, I know which train, tram, bus to take, which lane to drive on and how to avoid rush-hour congestions.

Time has truly gone by...