Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Though even in the midst of disease, flowers can still bloom,
it is easier to live in fear of the former
than to appreciate the beauty of the latter.
The logo of CancerFly are two butterflies - 
apt creatures to represent such a project:
an online portal set up to help cancer survivors find jobs; 
to help them find their wings again after a brush with cancer. 
It is an impressive, visionary initiative; one befitting a forward-thinking First World nation, 
one which makes me refreshingly proud to be Malaysian.

In the midst of all the negative press about the state of our country today, it is heartening to see that such efforts DO take place here in Bolehland..
that in the midst of disease, flowers can bloom.

(Pictures taken at a CancerFly bazaar, I was 'forced' into a picture by a group of cancer survivors from the National Cancer Society of Malaysia who were selling shirts beautifully hand-painted with flowers.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


"Hello..are you Malay or Chinese..?"

To be honest, it was a perfectly valid question to ask me: 
the mixed melayu-cina guy who, 
among Malays, looks the most Chinese; 
and among Chinese, looks the most Malay.

A valid question. But was it the most relevant?
Because the next question from the man was a request for me to help him jump-start his car.

Has it gotten this bad in Malaysia?

Yes sure (and Alhamdulillah), 
we are not physically at each other's throats, nor in open armed conflict with each other - 
is it not enough of a tragedy 
that sentiments of race 
have gotten in the way of our common humanity -
that we now have to know someone's race before asking for their help?

It didn't work, in the end. 
We failed to jump-start his car, and I had to leave him with his car still unable to start.

I pray there is more hope for the broken relations between the races of this country,
then there is for the broken car.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I met a shrub who caught my eye, 
from the dull leafy hedge 
standing out shy; 
on her sprigs a sprinkle 
of small buds, pink
and on them
not a single leaf.

Has she made a timing error,
thinking spring is near;
and is then but a
beautiful mistake?

I don't know..but to me she 
seems to be saying:

in the winter chill,
in you is strength 
to put out flowers still" 


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Muhammads Everywhere

Today at the masjid I overhead a very Muslim conversation:

Man 1: Assalamualaikum..I've forgot your name..
Man 2: it's Muhammad 
Man 1: ah..Muhammad
Man 2: and you..Hussain?
Man 1:'s Muhammad 

I chucked under my breath (the irony, I know..a Muhammad snickering at a conversation between two other Muhammads).

But then the scene brought me to contemplate the legacy of that man named Muhammad (peace be upon him) born over 1400 years ago in the middle of the Arabian desert. 

His legacy: that today in this masjid in a former factory in Manchester there are people from African, Arab, south Asian, south-east Asian, and European origins carrying out the teachings which were revealed to him over a millennium ago.


None of us will live forever in this world. 
Should it not be that that very mortality pushes us to leave something behind after we're gone?
For, after all, a legacy is a sort of immortality.  Innit?

Muhammad (peace be upon him) has long left this world - but Muhammads live on to this very day (and I am quite sure, will do so until the End of days).


In the 3rd verse of Surah Al-Asr, 
Allah describes the characteristics of those people saved from khusr (loss).
One of those characteristics is "...tawassau bilhaq..." - translated often as "...exhort each other to follow truth..."

But (as always), some things are lost in translation: 
The word "tawassau" doesn't merely mean to exhort. 
The Arabic word shares the root letters with the word "wassiyyah" - meaning a will (in Malay: wasiat), that document we leave when we die.

So it is not merely to "exhort" to the truth. It is to do so with the same sincerity and determination that one has when leaving a will knowing s/he is on the verge of death.
(As, actually, we all constantly are - on the verge of death.)

All that being said; you know what..I think tawassau bilhaq is an awesome way to leave a legacy 🤔

(I'm aware that this post is weeks after maulidur rasul. But hey, takkan nak sayang nabi time maulid je eh 😬)

[Picture: the muazzin of Masjid Al-Furqan sunbathing by the window of the mosque on a sunny winter afternoon]

Saturday, December 24, 2016

macam mana nak
tak buat lagi dosa,
kalau taubat tu tak
cukup lagi dose?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Living in 
a washing machine;
in a cycle circular
faster and faster
at the centre


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

the da'ie should be like the autumn tree,

who through her pain of falling leaves,
brightens the world in orange hues.
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