Monday, September 26, 2011

I hate pulling all-nighters because of assignments. First of all, computer labs are freezing once it's past midnight. Secondly, I always end up alone and freezing. Thirdly, I can't sleep during the day so when I stay up all night I usually have to wait until it's night time before I can sleep so that means I'll be awake for 24 hours.

But this video totally made my night and suddenly all-nighters don't seem so bad after all.

Style Sunday: A Student in Spring

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I know it's been a while since I last did a Style Sunday post. 
I thought I'd show you what I would usually wear to campus because let's be real, I am a student. 
Not just any varsity student -a post-grad.
I don't get glammed up all the time. Or much, to be honest. I just don't have the time for it.
Just to let you know, my laptop died on me today (hence the mucked up watermark I have on my photo). Perfect timing!
Anyway, at uni I like to keep things simple and of course, modest.

It's also Spring time in my part of the woods. 
Cherry blossoms are out but don't let the pretty flowers deceive you. It occasionally snows and hails during Spring over here.
That's what I get for living way down south. Forget Australia, New Zealand is the real down under! 

As a special treat I also thought I'd show you guys my favourite part of campus at this time of the year.
This is a lane behind the Music department which is next to Leith stream. 
It's looking pretty dreamy and romantic right now. Loves it!

Faith Friday: The Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, September 23, 2011

Would I be wrong if I said that in one way or another we are all in pursuit of happiness?

But... what is happiness? How do we define it? 

Because sometimes I feel like we're always waiting for one more thing to happen before we allow ourselves to be happy. We say these things all the time. I would be happier if I was skinnier. I would be happier if I had more money. Just one more thing in my life and I would feel so complete.  

So you see, sometimes we just don't allow ourselves to be happy. 

But what about the times when we're faced with a problem? How can we possibly allow ourselves to be happy when we feel we don't have a reason to feel that way? 

Then what we should do is to seek the feeling of ridha رضاء . In the Arabic language, it means to be contented or pleased with something. That's why after we say the name of a pious and revered Muslim such as a companion Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) we usually say "radhiAllahu anha/hu" or "May Allah be pleased with him/her". In the Malay language, when someone says he or she feels redha it means they have accepted the situation as it is because it is what Allah subhana wa taala has ordained. In other words, it is to acknowledge that not only does He know best but He also knows everything.

If only they had been content with what Allah and His Apostle gave them, and had said, "Sufficient unto us is Allah! Allah and His Apostle will soon give us of His bounty: to Allah do we turn our hopes!" (that would have been the right course). {Surah At-Tawbah: 59}

However, it isn't easy to feel ridha. Not because it's a concept that doesn't work but because we as human beings are insatiable... until we choose to feel ridha and be grateful towards Allah for what He has given us thus far. Go back to the most fundamental thing you have. Life. God gave you life. Why did God give you life? So you can obtain Paradise, inshaAllah. It's like having to sit an exam before we can pass and do amazingly well in a class. You have to sit the exam to get the A+. Allah didn't give you this life to see you fail but He is giving you a chance to do well in this life and then obtain an eternal life of satisfaction.

"(To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction![the nafs ul mutmainnah is the soul that is pleased with Allah's promise]
"Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!" {Surah Fajr: 27-28}

Therefore, if we can't define happiness because it's too subjective perhaps we should try and understand what it means to feel ridha.

When one feels ridha one is at complete ease due to the realisation that Allah's Plan will result in something good for him or her despite feeling that things could be better if things were to happen differently. However, what is planned by us can't possibly be as good as what the Creator of the Universe has lined up for us. We  may think that option we chose is the best for ourselves but what we know is limited to what has been made visible to us. We can't choose to see more or know more unless Allah allows it to happen. Evidently, our finite knowledge can never compete with Allah's Infinite Knowledge.

Feeling ridha also means we have placed our trust in Allah azza wa jal  to be our Protector and Guide. It is not easy to depend on something we can't literally see with our eyes but tell me, do you not feel God's presence in your life despite not being able to see Him now?

"I am as my Servant thinks of Me."

Ibn Hajar (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “meaning, I am able to do whatever he expects I will do.” [Fath al-Bari]  (Read the full commentary of this hadeeth qudsi at

These are God's own words. SubhanAllah. And whose words can be more truer than God's? Therefore we should believe that He does want what's best for us and trust that He has prepared good things for us.  Yes, we will be tested and feel pain, unhappiness and frustration in this life and we may not always see the rewards of our good deeds in this life but surely true happiness and contentment will be waiting for us in the Hereafter where everything lasts eternally, inshaAllah. All we have to do is have faith in Him and true faith is always accompanied by action or acts of worship - performing prayers, saying dhikr, giving charity or any good that is done for the purpose of pleasing Allah.

When you feel happiness is too far away take comfort in knowing that the feeling of ridha is closer than you think. At times of sadness and hopelessness try reading and reflecting upon Allah's  Names and Attributes. You will see that Allah swt is the All Merciful (Ar-Rahman), Creator of Order (Al-Bari'),  Most Loving (Al-Wadud), Most Just (Al-Adil) and Most Generous (Al-Karim), just to name a few. So don't worry. We are in good Hands.

Simply said, to feel ridha is to feel peace and it is a kind of tranquility that can only be achieved by remembering Allah, being grateful towards Him and having faith in Him.

"Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." 
For those who believe and work righteousness, is (every) blessedness, and a beautiful place of (final) return." {Surah Ar-R'ad: 28-29}

Faith Friday: When in Japan...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Keepin' it real in his kimono: My late Abah is the second last man from the right in the bottom row

My late Abah loved travelling and he was very much a people person too. He made friends very easily anywhere he went. He once went on a work trip to Japan where it is customary for people to greet one another by bowing. It is an act of humbling oneself and respecting the other person; the lower the bow, the more respect you have for the person. After exchanging bows with a new Japanese colleague my father made a remark.

"You know, where I come from we bow lower than this. Our foreheads touch the ground." 

His Japanese friend was amazed.

9/11: A Lesson to Muslims

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I remember the day of September 11 ten years ago. I was sitting in my room watching Armageddon on television. My attention was directed towards something else for a moment and when I turned my head around to continue watching the movie I remember seeing two planes crashing into a building. I flinched. I didn't know it was the World Trade Center.  Is this part of a movie scene or what? I soon realised that it was actually a news bulletin when a Malaysian news reader appeared on the screen right after the horrendous clip I had just seen. At that point in time I had no idea what that tragedy meant for the rest of the world. 

The next day I went to school and everybody was talking about it. Our English teacher even made us discuss the terrorist attacks during class. A student said some nasty things about Muslims and I couldn't believe my ears. Really? This guy in my class has a problem with Muslims? I was surprised. I mean, he was born and raised in a Muslim country all his life. Surely he would know that what happened the day before was out of the ordinary. But he didn't. And I'm pretty sure what he said was a repeat of whatever he had heard in his home. 

The truth of the matter is, prior to September 11, Islam was not related to violence and terrorism. I don't think the West really thought anything in particular of Muslims. But all of a sudden, Muslims were dangerous people and anyone who matched a certain profile were terror suspects. Ten years later, this hasn't really changed. In some countries, Islamophobia is continuing while in others people are starting to realise that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

As a Muslim I know and believe Islam cannot be attributed to September 11. I know someone has to be accountable for it, and as brothers and sisters in humanity we should mourn the loss of innocent lives, but let it be attributed to those who committed the crime, and not the rest of us who are trying to be good, practicing Muslims. Call me biased but I know my faith better than a non-Muslim would and people have to respect that.

“Indeed God calls for justice, a high standard of virtuous interaction, and preserving the rights of kinship. He forbids ugly immorality, sin and aggression. He reminds you so that perhaps you will be mindful.” (Quran 16: 90) 
The acts of 9/11 were completely in contrast to this authoritative definitive verse of the Qur’an, so we will not accept the horror of 9/11 as being related to Islam. The burden now rests on the shoulders of every Muslim to understand their faith correctly and how to properly relate it to our neighbors. In doing this, we can promote the truth of Islam and dispel the lies and anti-Islam rhetoric. (Yahya Ederer, 10th Anniversary of 9/11)

So how can I explain the existence of Islamist terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda? I may be oversimplifying it but I think they are a result of the combination of a political agenda and a misguided interpretation of Islam. 


That's how problems begin in this world, doesn't it? When people lack the right knowledge to help them decide the difference between right and wrong that's how trouble starts brewing. That's how violence begins and spirals into hate, fear and injustice. As a Muslim, I don't support violence, hate and injustice, and I will not justify the acts of Muslims who carry out actions that are in any way related to these things. However, I will say that as a global community we do have a problem and the only way to address it is by starting a wave of guidance to lead Muslims to the right path.

The path of peace, activism and brotherhood. 

Somewhere along the way I think we have become complacent, apathetic and distracted. We stopped remembering about our responsibilities towards our Muslim and non-Muslim families, friends and neighbours and instead we neglected what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has preached about being a global community, an ummah.

None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself. {Sahih Bukhari and Muslim}

But as Yahya Ederer wrote in 10th Anniversary of 9/11, if we can say anything positive has emerged from the terror attacks it is that Muslims and Islamic centres have woken up from their complacency and are slowly rising to mould a better future for Muslims and non-Muslims by increasing tolerance and understanding between one another. Let 9/11 be a lesson to all of us. Like it or not, as Muslims we have a positive part to play in this world because that is the purpose to our creation. We have been given a trust to guide people away from the bad and enjoin them to take part in what is good and beneficial for all.

"It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."  
{Surah al-An'am, verse 165}

Some Muslims may take this trust or amanah too lightly but it's important to know that for those who are making an effort to set things right in this world, God is well aware of their good works.

"On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it."
{Surah al-Zalzalah, verses 6-9}

In Pictures: Eid & Shawwal 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eid ul-Fitr Day at our mosque

Eid Day is always a festive time for Muslim students in Dunedin and this year's Eid was no different despite how busy we all are as some of us complete our final year at varsity. 

I've had this dress for over a year but didn't wear it out to anywhere. I thought it would be a shame to buy new clothes just for the sake of buying new clothes, know what I mean? *wow, did I really just say that? My Mum would be so proud of me!*

Without going into details, someone was unexpectedly hospitalised during Shawwal for almost a week. These bouquets really brightened up the hospital room. 

Alhamdulillah, they were discharged on my birthday so we had a quick birthday lunch at the city's newest cafe, Angus Cafe. 

Peach and Passionfruit Baked Cheesecake

Now that was meant to be a quick post to say I'm still alive!
I hope everyone had a happy Eid and is having a good month of Shawwal. I know mine has been.... hm, eventful.
I'm not really in the mood to do anything else but study so I've decided to become a hermit for the next few weeks. But don't fret. I know I can't stay away from the blogging world for too long.

Sayonara for now.