Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Friday, March 27, 2009

to Him we will all return

most of all I wish her well
although it seems impossible
but what am I suppose to do
I can't just sit here and see this thru'

as I look at her on the bed, so frail
I can't help thinking how much I've failed
there's so much more I wish i'd done
to show her my love and appreciation

I hope she is not hurting so much
I hope she's comforted by my touch
I want to lie down there with her
and together I hope, we'll be braver

I think about the life we live
and all the love I've been showered with
I've seen and know how good she is
Her soul is safe, that's how it feels

As I sit here silent, by her bedside
My soul's detached from the world outside
Somehow what's out there feels surreal
They forget the fate with which we're sealed.

Oh God, Oh God, please make her well
Please take away this difficult spell
But if You've decreed it's time for her
Then take her lightly, don't make her suffer

I will continue to pray for her
what's best for now, and the Hereafter
Verily to God, we all belong
and to Him we will all return.

~madame blossom~


this was how I think and felt
as I lay with my late grandma, on her deathbed.
May her soul be in Allah's rahmah. Ameen.

and i dedicate this to my dear sis fiza. though I think and hope, the situation is not exactly the same. For I pray that she will be with you for a longer time. In fact, I even imagine her, still being with you, when you're having ur first baby later. :) Ameen, ameen, ya rabbal a'lamin.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

becoming Muslim, through a good seminary education

I've always been amazed at our new brothers and sisters in Islam, especially the westerners.

Yes, especially the western converts perhaps for these reasons:

1) It's easier to find the stories related to their conversions, compared to people of other ethnicity.
2) They're able to express themselves, and about their conversions, in a clear and moving way.
3) Most of them are well-educated, well-informed individuals, both in the worldly education, in their own former religion, and in Islam.
4) The reasons behind their conversion, so far that I've read, have always been, because of what they see in exemplary Muslims, followed by what they find in the Quran, or directly from what they learn or found in the Quran.
5) They seem to be more sincere, more devout and better Muslims, than a LOT of born-Muslims, and I become inspired by what they experience and see in Islam.

The above does not take into account those who convert just to marry a Muslim and/or Malay woman, but don't know much about the religion they are converting to.

Most of all, I am impressed by conversions of high priests, preachers, pastors, ministers from the Christian religion. I'd like to understand WHY and WHAT made them choose Islam instead.

Quite a long time ago, before I knew or had access to stories of such conversions, I have wondered before.. how a high priest/preacher/pastor/minister/nuns etc.. who have learned about what early Christianity is about - can accept what is happening to the faith and acts of Christians in the modern world. Most bewildering, would be the fact that they LOVE Jesus Christ (A.S) - and yet, not follow his teachings - but they obey the teachings of people who have not even met him before. Don't they question the differences and who the authorities are?

A Christian friend have told me before, and she is a normal worshipper - that ACTUALLY, Christians are not allowed to drink alcohol too, or eat the flesh of swine. The Bible also says, not to worship idols - they are not allowed to have statues etc.. THEN.. why are there statues of Jesus Christ (Isa A.S.) and/or Mary (Maryam A.S.) in ALL some churches? What happened to all these things that Christians are forbidden to do, why are they ignored? I just remember her smiling, unable to answer these questions that are probably in the back of her mind too. Another one answered that it's permitted later on.. later on as in few hundred years after Christ - who permitted them? What powers do they have to change God's laws?

Those are some of the questions that sometimes play in my mind, when I think of our fellow 'People of the Book'

Most of my questions and wondering were answered that time, when I learnt of Dr Jerald, an ex minister in a Methodist Church, with a Master and PhD in Theology studies (studies of Christianity), who converted to Islam. I missed his talk on 'Finding the Light' - about his conversion to Islam. But luckily, that story is in his book, so I read that - and it is interesting by itself. The story is also here on this website. (My eyes welled at the part when he explained his position, about his beliefs to the American Muslim lady, wife of the restaurant owner.)

What I attended was a talk on 'Early Christianity'.

In his talk, he touched on the differences in opinion between the Early Christians and the Contemporary Christians, on the 4 issues, of which I remember 3 - Divinity of Jesus and Trinity, if Jesus was crucified, atonement of the blood (I'm not sure what the last one is about). Notice that it's NOT differences with the Muslims but with Early Christianity.

I can't go into details, because I can't quote back all the Biblical versions and sources, and the different early Christian sects he mentioned in his lectures - I lost track of them - there are so many. But some people at the talk, including some non Muslims, were busy taking down notes or recording the lecture.

Basically what he was trying to explain and show, was what he learnt and found during his seminary education. And basically, what he found was that, Contemporary Christians beliefs and methods, does not agree with what the Early Christians believes, in all the 4 issues he brought up.

And he tried very much, to sound as neutral as possible about what he has studied, without being biased to what the Quran has to say, although he did quote verses from the Quran which agrees with the Early Christians beliefs.

What is also interesting to me, is the person he is, how he chooses what to answer or what not to answer and how he answers them. Two questions asked by the audience that I remember most is :

1) What do you have to say about the phrase in the Bible that says, Jesus said, 'I and the Father are one' (John 10:30)
Dr Jerald paused, with a little exasperated look, then he asked nicely. 'One.. one in what? One in body? One in mission? One in vision? one in.. what?' He stopped at that.

2) How did you become a Muslim?
He said, :When people ask me that, I always ask them if they want the long answer or the short one? But since we've run out of time, I'll give you the short one... 'How did I become a Muslim?' - by having a good seminary education'


Monday, March 23, 2009

life in HereAfter

My day, has been quite hazy.. i think it's my head. thinking of too many things at the same time.

I guess I'm feeling quite melancholic. What with my thought about getting Hadi to go for a checkup to see if there is any reason to worry about his frequent headaches, and Fiza's mum.. and about my mum's friend who passed away quite suddenly, just a few days after meeting my mum and telling her that she doesn't have any major illnesses and that she's healthy. I wonder if she said that to comfort herself, because she had a hunch of what's coming. You know how people sometimes say that, people somehow know their time is coming up?

Basically I'm just thinking about life and death in general.. about what I'm doing, and about how long more I will see those familiar routes, those roads that I always take, those trees and skies that I've always admired, those faces and friends that I adore always. But it's not all sad, you know.. As I look at the skies, I remembered in the Quran, there is a mention of how we will see the beauty of the different hues in Heaven. When I look at the morning sky.. those different colours and hues.. I wonder how much more wonderful and indescribably beautiful it will be. Then yesterday I half-watched the movie 'Matrix Revolution' which was on Channel 5 (switching on and off to Liverpool/Aston Villa game)... at the end of the movie, they showed this beautiful I'm-sure-camera-enhanced colourful sky .. That made me remember what I read in the Quran again.

"But for those who, of their Sustainer's presence, stand in fear, two gardens (of paradise are readied);
which then, of your Sustainers powers can you disavow?
(Two gardens) of many wondrous hues.
Which then, of your Sustainers powers can you disavow?"

Al Quran, Ar-Rahman 55:46-49
(Translation by Muhammad Asad)

MasyaAllah.. i think everything in this world, and everything that we do is surreal.

And Reality.. is going to be much much much more unimaginably beautiful for those who believe in One God, and who live their lives righteously. And I pray that you and I and our beloved families will continue to be God-Conscious and righteous people, who will earn the goodness of both this world and the HereAfter and that we will die in Iman, and in Allah's grace, when our time comes. Ameen, ameen, ameen.

life updates

If I could give you a few updates at once, I'd say :

I'm thankful that Nadhrah is well, and I hope Hadi is too. Ameen.

I love my new transparent page markers. It's so colourful and useful!

I'm having chocolate coated hazelnuts now.. yes, so early in the morning.

I miss my sisters who I was suppose to meet last Sat, but God had other plans.

I'm thankful to have a 'kaki' whose husband is as 'lenient' as mine, and we can go out for a drink almost whenever we need to (and we can).

I need to talk to her, and tell her how I feel and advise her about her problems.

I will continue to signal, before changing lanes even if it means that some infantile will pick up speed to block the way, and go 'nenenenene.. I WIN!!!' in their head. SOMEONE has to set an example on how to be matured and courteous.

For now, I'll choose the last one. I have to spread the courtesy message. Although yup, I didn't sound as courteous as I shud be in that message itself. But that's how I really feel.

Yes, I owe some people the entry on the talk. I've drafted it halfway.. and then a lot of things came up - like having to spend 1 and 3/4 days at the hospital.

Fiza just called to inform me about her mum. I pray that Fiza's mother will be most comfortable, and Allah knows what's best for her, and that Fiza will be strong. Ameen. oh life.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sat morning at KKH

This time, it's not as bad as last year. Last year, I think her O2 level was in the 70s. This time it's 92. Normal is 99 to 100.

After the puffs n oxygen gas n medicine, her oxygen level, on her own was still 92, sometimes 91. And so Nadhrah is admitted again to KKH.

This would be the first time since we moved.

Good for her, she managed to enjoy her zoo trip yesterday morning.

Anyway, I'm quite hopeful that she will recover and we'll be discharged. If not today, tomorrow. InsyaAllah. I.o

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

what happened

I have..

attended two lectures, both very enriching.
and two concerts, both very entertaining.
the two lectures were by inspirational speakers
and the two concerts were by talented singers.

I didnt even mean for this to look like a poem.

But anyway, let's start with the concert first, cause I'd like to end this post with thoughts about the lectures, so that I, and you all (yes, I first, then you all, cause I don't think there's much of 'you all' that I'd like to flatter myself with), can hopefully ponder about it for a while after this.
sorry guys, it was late, i was too tired and couldn't think properly. insyaAllah, will post about the talks asap!

So right. The first concert I went to, was M Nasir's. Went to KL to watch him, with hubby Aida and Hilmy. Fun trip, I like. I think he, M Nasir that is, is an eccentric person. Smart too and good with the audience. I'm not a BIG fan of his, but I DO enjoy his concerts (I've been to THREE so far, thanks to hubby). I think he is the only performer who has received the honour of my attending to their concerts that many time. And I haven't even been to an Anuar Zain's or Siti Nurhaliza's before. Not that I'm a fan of them also lah. In fact, I think he is the only Malay performer's concert I have ever been to. Not counting the time when I was given a free ticket to watch a ROCK! concert, back when I was 21. hmm.

Anyhow, that night, he sang my all time favourite song, Suatu Masa - he sang it almost perfectly. :) Love it.. and songs from his phoenix album, which I think is the best album by him in this decade.

The next concert I went to, was Jason Mraz's!!! When he came down for Singfest, friends who know that I LOVE his songs, asked if I want to go. Of course not!. Me? at Singfest? with all those sweaty kids, STANDING in the HOT sun the whole day only to watch him sing for.. what? 45 mins? No.. I told them, if he has his OWN concert, ask me again. And maybe he heard me.. :D He came to do his own concert. And so, immediately, my friends asked - and this time, I went. And as expected, his vocals were 99.98 perfect. Although I think I would have enjoyed his concert much much much more, if it was just him with an acoustic guitar and that (is it TACO ?) guy. but hey.. it was still good! He sang You and I both, I'm yours, Mr curiosity, the geek in the pink..hmm. but he didn't sing Life is Wonderful - I love that song. After that, my sisters and I.. we went out for coffee and chat.. till late at night. :p I enjoyed myself there too. luv u girls!

I think I should talk about the two lectures on another post. I need to gather my thoughts.

nothing, really.

Let me warn you first, this entry is going to be quite mindless. Just to get the brain juice flowing. I just love the feel of my fingers typing something. Sometimes I'd just type back verses from the Quran or passages from an article.

However for the past few days or weeks even, I have been wanting to write, but never really getting to it. It's not that I don't have time, sometimes I do, but I just end up doing something else. something mundane, like going through FB updates. Quite pathetic I know.

I've also been putting off things like uploading loads of photos that I've taken. And also charging my camera battery. Now both my cameras have run out of battery life and I have not charged them yet. Only NOW, I'm charging the lumix battery.

Sometimes I feel like I should write something that would be positive for others or even me, when I read it back. Something useful and not something aimless like this.

Still I'm quite careful not to reveal all that I feel or what I really really think about. After all, I want to be an ethical person, I am Muslim. So..I watch my mouth.. i mean my fingers.

Right.. I think the juices have started to flow, so I'm going to update, for the benefit of myself in future, insyaAllah, where I've been going and what I have been seeing for the last 2-3 weeks. (let's see if I'll finish the next post).

And I feel good, to have typed this much. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Muhammad, the messenger of God

He walked over to the mat where his son-in-law lay, his face covered with a cloak. Their friendship went back so many years - to long before he was a prophet, even before his marriage to Khadijah, back to when they were both bright young prospects in Makkan society. He bent down and kissed the face of his beloved, "Sweet you were in life, and sweet you are in death." He lifted his head gently beween his hands while his tears fell onto the Prophet's face. "O my friend, my chosen one, dearer to me than my father and my mother, the death that God has decreed for you, you have now tasted. After this no death shall ever come to you." With great care, he lowered the Prophet's head onto his pillow, bent again to kiss his face, drew the cover over him, and left the room.

Abu Bakr, who was short, slight of frame and best known for his tender heart and clemency, did not appear to be a natural leader. In fact, his own daughter had once disqualified him from leading the prayer because of his emotional nature. However, the Prophet had seen deeper into him. Reentering the courtyard, Abu Bakr went to the front of the crowd. He called for the people's attention, but Umar, who was still haranguing them, would not allow himself to be interrupted.

The crowd shifted its attention, for the people wanted to hear what Abu Bakr had to say. "For those who worshipped Muhammad..." he began loudly. Umar now turned toward him, and both he and the crowd fell silent. "..know that Muhammad is dead." He continued firmly, "But for those who worship God, know that God lives and never dies!" His voice rose in intensity as he recited,

"Muhammad is but a messenger. Messengers passed away before him; if he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heels? And whoever turns back on his heels will do no harm to God, and God will reward those who are grateful."

(Al Quran, Ali Imran 3:144)

Umar, stunned by the realization that the Prophet was really dead, fell to his knees, releasing a bereavement that he had refused to accept.

In the future, he would recount how, when Abu Bakr recited those divine words, it had seemed that they were hearing them for the first time.

*Excerpt from Struggling to Surrender, by Jeffrey Lang.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

it's nothing

You know.. there are much BIGGER problems in life, and in the world, and in ourselves, than the issue of what another person did or did not do to us. No doubt, sometimes, your feelings are a bit affected. But, if we quickly try to remember, that our life is a test, that the final destination is God, and that our problems are nothing, compared to the bigger issues facing other people around the world, then insyaAllah, you can erase the negative feelings and thoughts.

Have a sweet day :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

answer to our problems

"The truth is that all Islamists, violent or not, lack answers to the problems of the modern world. They do not have a world view that can satisfy the aspirations of modern men and women. We (USA) do. That's the most powerful weapon of all. "
Extracted from "Learning to Live with Radical Islam" by Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, March 9, 2009 edition.

The part about lacking answers to the problems of the modern world, is sadly true. But not because Islam does not have the answers, but Muslims, do not want to find see the answers. The answers are clear. Muslims, especially the ustazs and the imams and the Muslim leaders, need to look at themselves and the community they are leading. Are they moving with time? Which by the way, is exactly the topic of discussion, in the talk by Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina (from University of Virginia). The issues of Muslim Ethics in the Modern World.

It is scary to think that the US thinks, they have the answers for Muslims on how to live in the modern world. I don't know in what specific area they think they have answers.. but generally, that is a scary view. Because I'm sure, they need to find THEIR OWN ANSWERS too. Most of their people, known to us, are either greedy, selfish, living in their own world, drunkard, perverts or some or all of the above. Are these the people whom we want to get our answers from??

No doubt, there are good things coming out from the US, I will not deny that. Things like their determination in pursuing what they believe in, their advancements in technology and scientific studies, their interests in writing and reading books, their keen ability to analyse things - that they can even produce a whole book about eating burgers. (Someone suggested that I write a book about the slow service and long queue at Popeye's). These, or most of these are good things we can follow and probably get answers.

However, in the area of running a country, reducing crime rates, providing education, promoting intellectuals, finding happiness.. we can find the answers in our own religion. We can find the examples of a good leader in many of our Islamic history, we can reduce crime rates and ameliorate social issues by following the Syaria law, compassionately and intelligently, education is one of the important tenets in Islam that is an order. Another area of expertise that I have not even heard of, existing in any other religion - is the study of authenticity.

Islam is very much capable of solving issues of the modern world, it's only the Muslims, who are not very capable yet and have to look deeper into themselves and learn to tackle them.

This entry, is my thought, and my prayer - that Islam can succeed, just with Muslims being good Muslims. Ameen. ALL the time, it's not Islam that fails us, it's the Muslims that have failed Islam and in turn failed ourselves.

But what can I say, I guess the problem lies all around.. not only in the Muslim world. Like Abu Hayan al-Tauhidi (d. after 1009 CE), a medieval humanist said, "Man has become a problem for man."

And I say, "Man's ONLY problem IS man."

May we be guided to become better Muslims, and be able to make this world a better place, no matter how little. Ameen.