Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's school holiday. D just finished his SPM yesterday but he's still in Johor. I guess he's trying to get things straighten out at school, then meet with friends before coming back to Kuantan. Y is waiting for her PMR results to come out, which I was told sometime after Christmas. Before the holiday started I was so worried if the kids were just going to stay home and watch the idiot box or just play with computer games. Alhamdulillah I managed to arrange a Quran camp for them. All in all, there are 11 of them attending the camp - 4 of my kids plus 7 others from around here. It started on 28 November and insya Allah will end on 29 December. So far, the kids are enjoying the program which starts at 8am and ends at 4pm with a 2-hour break from 12noon to 2pm. They said muallim Shafie is a great facilitator and he's definitely not a boring teacher :)

I am very happy with the program although it brings extra responsibilities for me. Normally I would go to the office around 8am and stay there until 5pm regardless of whether I have classes or otherwise. Ever since the program has started, I have to be back between 12 and 2 to take care of the kids when they come back for lunch. Four of them live quite far from here so I offered them to come eat and rest at my house. So, instead of feeding 4 kids, I have to feed 8! Most of the time I try to cook but once in a while (like today), I think I will just go to the nearby restaurant to get some food for them. Feeding them is not a problem because they are not fussy about food. Most are just too happy to eat rice and eggs. They are big enough to feed themselves if they are left alone but I just want to be there during that 2 hour break to ensure that they are not making too much mess :) I don't mind if papers, books or toys are thrown all over the place but I simply can not stand food remnants all over the floor. Ooops, it's almost time for them to be home, I better start moving...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love teaching but I dislike marking exams with a passion. Never in a million years that I thought I would end up teaching for a living. I still remember the second day I came back from the US after I graduated. I was in a deep sleep (from a jet-lag) when suddenly my late father came running upstairs and excitedly asked me if I wanted to replace a teacher who was on a maternity leave at the school near my house. I remember telling him that I did not want to teach ever! But more than 2 decades later, I found myself in a classroom talking to very eager youths who would probably believe 95% of what I say. So I learn to never say never. Like I said I love teaching. However, marking exam scripts is a totally different experience. Why can't we just give them bunches and bunches of multiple guess questions? That would be a breeze wouldn't it? Unfortunately, life is not like that. As you may have guessed, I am in the middle of marking midterm exam scripts and I need to take a break before I become stressed and give poor marks to some unfortunate kids. I must be very good to my students with the hope that God will inspire my children's teachers to be good to them, ameen. I think my mood to mark is back so I better continue so that I can finish all of them before attending a meeting at 5pm. See you folks soon. Take care...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Special Day

There is one special date which occurs every year since 2001 and today is one of them, 111111. I heard many couples plan to tie the knot today and some pregnant ladies have even made appointments to have Caesarian section! What a crazy world we live in. As a practicing Muslim I do not believe in any day or date to be special because each moment is special for as long as God allows me to breathe the air and live a healthy life. This morning was special because we had to get up at 4.30 to send Harris to his school. He needed to be there by 5.00 am in order to join a leadership camp trip to Kelantan. I guess by now he has already arrived at wherever that camp is supposed to be held. The schedule for the camp is quite packed and I really hope that he will learn something that will benefit him for a long time to come.Yesterday was special because I took Najla, Hannah, Yasmin, and Balqis to IIUM swimming pool. Yasmin learned how to swim when she was 4 years old and she could still float and perform some breast strokes. She told me that she has forgotten other styles. Hannah was excited because she managed to float after being taught by a few ladies who were there in the pool. Najla had a hard time learning but if we go often enough she might be able to do it soon. She has been bugging me to send her to a swimming class. I talked to the life guard and was told that her class will only start in March next year. I think Najla swallowed a lot of water from the pool because she had stomach upset at 2am. She woke up crying and said she needed to vomit. After several attempts, nothing happened. Luckily she felt better half an hour later. There are 2 things that she really would like to learn: swimming and riding a bicycle. Well she shouldn't feel so bad because I learned how to ride a bike at the age of 24 and only knew how to swim in my 40s :)

Danial came home for Eid Adha celebration last Friday (Nov. 4) and stayed until Wednesday. As usual we celebrated our Eid in my mom's village. It was a nice family-get-together time. All the other kids were at school on Wednesday and Steve was at work. Since I was on leave, I managed to bake 2 batches of my wonderful chocolate chip cookies. I was so engrossed baking that Danial almost missed his bus! Alhamdulillah we got to the bus station just in time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Eid Mubarak

Salam and hello to all my fellow readers. I know I have been neglecting this blog for over a month! How and when am I going to be consistent with my writing? Well, only time will tell. Since tomorrow is going to be another big spiritual celebration for Muslims (Eid al-Adha - please forgive me if I spell it wrong), I would like to take this opportunity to wish Eid Mubarak to all Muslims around the world. Every year around this time, it brings back memory when I was in Mecca performing hajj in 2006. I really miss the place and would really love to go there again. Unfortunately I have other commitments which requires lots of $$, such as kid's school, family visits, etc, etc, I have to put that wish on hold indefinitely:( Anyway, for those who are driving long distance to visit family members please be patient and drive defensively. Selamat Hari Raya Aidi Adha, maaf zahir bathin.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Road Safety

While driving to work yesterday, I turned on my favorite radio station, Radio IKIM. The topic of the day was about road safety/Malaysian drivers. Frankly, I am tired of this topic because it has been discussed by so many people in so many programs but the problem remains the same. The most popular question asked is "why are there so many accidents? Are they caused by the road condition or the poor driving habits?" I think any Malaysians regardless of age, race, background, and academic qualifications can answer this one in a second. Of course their poor driving habits. In my opinion, there are two major ugly Malaysian characters that contribute to road accidents: lack of patience and lack of tolerance. No matter how bad the road condition is, if the drivers are patient and tolerant, accidents can be prevented. Many drivers just ignore stop signs whenever they are at any junctions. Those who stop completely (trying to follow rules) are frowned upon as if they are committing the biggest sin! Many drivers also like to drive on the shoulder of the road, which makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass through at critical moments. Malaysians are proud of being friendly and hospitable, but the moment they sit behind the wheel, they transform into monsters!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Salam Raya

Assalamualaikum and hello to all. Today is the first day of work after a week of spending time with family, relatives, and friends. Not to mention spending time to eat! I always have mixed feeling during Raya (Eid) celebration because I love and hate it at the same time. I love having off days, being with family, visiting friends and relatives. However, I hate being around so much food and feeling obligated to sample at least a cookie (yeah right!) every time I am at someone's house. Nobody can eat just one cookie! Who am I kidding? I love the way my waist line felt in Ramadhan when we were fasting. All the hard work in a month can be destroyed in a few days, what a shame. Anyway, that week is over and now my family and I are back to fasting for another week. My body is thanking me for it. I can almost hear it, thank you, thank you :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wedding of the Century

Some people get married at such young age and others opt not to marry at all. But my dearest friend who happens to be my loyal housemate when I was a student at IU found her soul mate a bit later compared to many of my friends. But boy isn't she the luckiest of all because not only she got a husband but she got 8 instant children! Wow! On top of that her husband is going to open a spa for her to manage! Husband, children, business, 3-in-1, not a bad deal at all. So it was worth the waiting. I was shocked and very happy when she called and told me the news a few months before the wedding. Of course I would not have missed the ceremony for the world. My whole family (except for Danial) went to KB to attend the wedding. We stayed at a very nice and cozy inn called Barokah Inn. I got the place through a friend's recommendation. I think for RM 70 a night, the room was really worth it. After all, we only need it to sleep for a few hours. They provided 1 queen-sized and 1 single-sized beds. The worker told me that they have 9 rooms in total. It it located on Jalan Kebun Sultan and the telephone number is 013-988 7929 (in case if the inquiring minds want to know).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blog oh Blog

I was browsing through Prof Kamil's blog and as usual he wrote so many entries and he did it so consistently. I would love to be a prolific writer (at least in my blog) but somehow it doesn't happen! Reluctantly I browsed through my own blog and then I noticed something was wrong with the setting of the pages. I couldn't really see all the postings like I used to. I wonder how long it has been like that and I also wonder if other people were also seeing the format the way I saw it. I was so frustrated and decided to change the template. To say the truth, I don't really like this new one but it will do for now because I am not an expert when it comes to technology. I don't like this new template because it looks a bit cluttered. God knows how to get back the old one. Maybe it's time to pay my friend Lin a visit at KPTM. Hidayah used to be my Guru also but now she's in Iowa, little good that will do me. I lost my Hijriah calendar! I don't know how to get a new one. It says to click at the picture to get the new code but when I did, nothing happened! Errrgggh!


The kids with Yasmin's BD cake (I forgot to take it out of the pan)

Yasmin just celebrated her birthday last week. She is the first kid to celebrate her birthday during the fasting month. So we didn't perform our ritual which is going out to eat at KFC or Pizza Hut but instead we ordered 3 pizzas (1 large peperoni, 1 large Hawaiian chicken, and 1 regular veggie lover)for breakfasting. Sorry Danial, you missed that one. Yasmin wanted to have a cellphone as a present. Steve almost gave in but hey I have the veto power. So she got a few novels instead. Not a bad deal considering the extra costs - money wise as well as health wise - that will be incurred by cellphones. I got my first cellphone when I was 40 years old, as a birthday present from Steve. So I think Yasmin still has many more years to wait (maybe not until she's 40) to get that little gadget.Well, we can not have what we want all the time.

Harris was cutting his BD cake

They got to eat out at their favorite restaurant

Last month was Harris' birthday. I didn't get the opportunity to be there with the kids because I was busy playing tennis at the inter-varsity tournament in Malacca. We only managed to enter the quarterfinal round but we had a great time. We got RM200, two weeks unrecorded leave, and most importantly we had a chance to meet with friends from other universities around the country. Anyway, this entry is not about the tournament but it's about Harris' birthday. Sorry, I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was not home when the celebration was taken place. However, I left my camera with Steve so that he could take some photos for me to see when I got back. Of all the places that he could have taken the pictures, he took them in the middle of the mess! That's why I had to crop the first 2 pictures (if you guys noticed :)). I guess that shows how creative men are ;) Like I said earlier, I was not home ( for almost a week) therefore my house was in a shambles. At night they went to have their regular birthday dinner at one of the Pizza huts in town.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ramadhan Mubarak

Assalamualaikum and hello everyone,

When I was running around like a chicken without a head when the semester was on, I thought to myself that I would write more during the long break. Huh, what a joke. Before I realize it the long break is about to be over in a month. I guest we are not created to have so much "free time". That's why the busiest person has the "most" time because he is the best at managing his time. Anyway, I would like to wish all my Muslim readers Ramadhan mubarak and hope that this year's fasting is better than the previous years'. While fasting we are reminded not only to abstain from taking food and drinks, we are also required to abstain from seeing/watching, listening, and talking nonsense. Therefore I would like to present to you a great piece of reminder from our beloved prophet (peace be upon him), which is his last sermon. I found it at a wonderful site below :

Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon: A Final Admonition

Beloved Prophet Muhammad, may God send His praises upon him, was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia circa 570 C.E. He is an example for all of humanity. He was a remarkable man at all times. He excelled in all walks of life by being a prophet, ruler, philosopher, orator, soldier, husband, friend, father, uncle, nephew, and a grandfather. He was a man of love, patience, courage, wisdom, generosity, intelligence and magnitude who inspired millions of lives throughout the world.

God says in the Quran that he was sent as a mercy for the people of the world.

“We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples.” (Quran 21:107)

His Prophetic Mission began at the age of forty, circa 610 C.E., and continued until 632 C.E. From the path of ignorance, mankind was lead to the straight path and was blessed with the guidance of God.

Shortly before his death, Prophet Muhammad delivered a sermon during the Hajj, which came to be known as his “Final Sermon”. This final sermon was not only a reminder to his followers, but also an important admonition. The final sermon confirms the end of his Prophetic Mission.

Year 10 A.H. of the Islamic Calendar is considered to be one of the most significant years for three reasons. Firstly, this was the year when the Prophet delivered his Last Sermon during his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. Secondly, this was the year where number of deputations came to the Prophet to announce their Islam as well as their tribes. Thirdly, it was the golden period of Islam when multitudes of people embraced the faith by accepting the message of the Prophet.

Prophet Muhammad undertook his farewell pilgrimage in the year 10 A.H. His farewell pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the most significant historical events in the minds of Muslims, for it was the first and last pilgrimage made by Prophet Muhammad, as well as being the model for performing the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj.

Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon was delivered during the Hajj of the year 632 C.E., the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month of the lunar year, at Arafat, the most blessed day of the year. There were countless Muslims present with the Prophet during his last pilgrimage when he delivered his last Sermon.

The Final Sermon:

After praising, and thanking God, the Prophet, may God send His praises upon him said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. God has Judged that there shall be no interest, and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn Abd’al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived...

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat. Perform Hajj if you have the means.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

Thus the beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon, and upon it, near the summit of Arafat, the revelation came down:

“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3)

Even today the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad is passed to every Muslim in every corner of the word through all possible means of communication. Muslims are reminded about it in mosques and in lectures. Indeed the meanings found in this sermon are indeed astounding, touching upon some of the most important rights God has over humanity, and humanity has over each other. Though the Prophet’s soul has left this world, his words are still living in our hearts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Amal Jariah

Salam and hello everyone. I pass by this site everyday going to and coming from work because this is supposed to be the new surau (musolla) at my new housing area. We were all so excited when the first column was being erected (sometime late last year or early this year) and everyone was so enthusiastic and felt confident that it would be ready by Ramadhan which will start on the 1st of August. Unfortunately as I drove by this morning, this site still looked like it is in the pictures below. I don't think it will be ready by Ramadhan unless if some miracle happens. I was told that one generous donor was going to donate RM70,000! Yes! You heard that right! Unfortunately after he or she gave the first RM10,000 the money stopped coming in hence the abandoned project. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon all Muslims or non-Muslims who would like to make donation so that the musolla will have a second chance to be built. I am sure there are many who would like to contribute so that it will be part of our jariah for the next life. In case if you have doubt about the project, you can come and visit the site itself by calling the listed phone numbers of the people who are in charge of the collection of the fund. You can also send your representatives to check out the site. May God bless us all.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yaumul Ihtifal

This year, Yaumul Ihtifal (awards day) for both al Irsyad Secondary school and al Hidayah Secondary school were held at locations other than their own campuses. Irsyad had theirs at KIPSAS hall while Hidayah had theirs at UTM. We attended both ceremonies. Yasmin got a few awards which include being the 1st in the class, public speaking contest winner, and choral speaking group winner. Harris got a consolation prize for public speaking.

The winner of the coral speaking group contest performed during the ceremony
These are the presents Yasmin and Harris brought home :)
Yaumul Ihtifal for al Hidayah was held at UTM on Sunday, 10 April 2011 and we stayed at the Scholars Inn on UTM campus. It was a two-room apartment, with a kitchen, air-conditioning, and even an astro on a flat-screen TV! The kids loved it especially Danial because he wanted to watch Mann U played that night. I could have enjoyed myself more but unfortunately I had to finish marking all the final exam papers for my students. Danial got 2 awards, one for good academic standing and the other for getting a second place in inter-school debate.

After the ceremony ended we went to his friend's house. He lives near UTM because his father is a lecturer in the Architecture department at the University. It was a good visit. It was on the way to his friend's house that I found out Danial performed in Dikir Barat! I was really disappointed for not realizing it because when the group came out, I was in the toilet with Najla and Hannah. Danial's friend's parents gave us a wonderful lunch. We left their house around 3 pm and reached home at 10 pm.

Danial and his good friend Huzaifah

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Najla's craft

These are the pictures of "ice cream" Najla brought home recently. The ice cream looks so real that sometimes I am tempted to chomp on it!

A few weeks before she took home the "ice cream", she brought a "giraffe". The poor giraffe has no mouth so it can't eat. Najla must have forgotten to draw the mouth for it :)

Prof Kamil

Prof Kamil, an inspiration to many.

During the talk at IIUM on 6 May 2011

The first time I heard his name was when my friend lent me a book written by him titled "PhD Kecil Tapi Signifikan". I was not planning on doing my PhD (neither am I now) but for some small but significant reason, I started reading from lines to paragraphs to pages and before I knew it, I had finished the whole book! Then my friend suggested that I read his blog, which I did and still do until today. Then I heard him over the radio and occasionally watched him on TV. The style of his speech is very simple and down to earth. He always uses his own experiences as examples in his talks. Then I was told that he was coming to the mosque where I used to stay and of course I attended the session. Again, I attended his talk when he came for the second time. Since that night, I was determined to get to know him in person. Coincidentally, by that time I was already working at IIUM, so I told myself that I would invite him to my university. A few months after that I was contacted by Fatiyah who told me that Prof Kamil was coming to KPTM on three separate dates. I said to her, "You can count on me to be there", and I did on all three occasions because it was a good opportunity for me to approach him about coming to IIUM. Right after his session ended, I made sure that I stopped him on the way out of the mosque and I blurted the question, "Prof I am working at IIUM, would you come and give a talk if I invited you?" To my excitement he said, "Yes. Just write a short note to the Director of UiTM Johor (Segamat campus) to make things easier". I did, and the rest, as they say is history.

Some of the audience at IIUM session on 6 May 2011

Some of the KPTM students who were present at his April 19 Session
Having supper with Prof at KPTM Cafe on 29 March 2011 session
Four days ago I stopped by the entrance to IIUM to take the picture of the banner when Prof came to our university. Then, with the help of a very good officer from the IP department, I took the banner down and kept it with me. I will treasure the knowledge and experience he shared with us with the banner as a proof that he came to our campus!

Just after I finished writing this entry, I read his blog and there was the long awaited news of his early retirement from UiTM so that he can migrate to Taibah University in Medina. I wish you all the best in whatever you do Prof. Thank you so much for everything.