Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What are words in today's world?

A thought today.

In this current world (I can't say I really know much about the state in the old world, but this much I know - the current world), there are more lies, exaggeration and ambiguous words intended to deceive, than there are true, honest and accurate words.

A friend was just lamenting on the number of days of maternity leave given to new mothers. The government and employers have always mentioned 4 months. This should mean that if a leave starts on 1st of March, then the person will come back to work on 1st of July.
No, they say - it's actually 112 days - 16 weeks. Why don't they just say 16 weeks to avoid all the unnecessary confusions, expectations, disappointments? They always want to sound like they are giving more, than they are actually giving.

And this is the norm. Be it in the school promoting the school's achievements, in a politician's promise, and especially in advertisements. Very rarely would you find a true, honest and accurate advertisement. What is most sad, is that, this is being taught in marketing courses as something normal to do.

Where do people of religion stand in this? People of religion, to mean those who believes in One God and the Last Day.
If we are really a person of taqwa (God-conscious - to define it loosely), then know that, not a word is uttered or a deed done, even if it be the size of an atom, that is not being recorded to be judged upon, on Judgement Day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Swedish Visiting Cake

I am in love.

I don't remember the last time I've ever felt this way about any cake. Maybe the red velvet, but still it's not as strong as this.

It's called the Swedish Visiting Cake. People (like Tina) say.. story goes that this cake is so simple to make that Swedish womenfolk prepare them for guests just as they see them coming down the street. Thus the name kot (oh.. my Malaysian influence masih ada yang melekat sikit2)

What happened was, I went to KL over the last weekend. It was such a fruitful trip, alhamdulillah. Or should I say, cakeful?
I got to visit my adinda Anis, whose wedding I missed. Now she has moved in to her new house and is delivering their first child soon! Semuga Allah permudahkan segala urusannya. Aamiin. I slept over at her beautiful new house.

The next day, Tina took over, as in I was passed over to Tina. She brought me to her beautiful home (I'm not exaggerating, they have beautiful houses). She taught me how to make this cake. :)

Ingredients are quite simple and you don't even need an electric mixer. And I just found out I love lemon zest, and I also just found out what exactly it is. It is actually grated lemon skin (the yellowish outer most skin layer, not the white part). Ready in 5-10 mins. Bakes in 25mins.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of preparing it. It looks almost like any other cake, but there is a pleasant surprise when you put it in your mouth. The lemony, crunchy chewy taste that I love.

Insyaa Allah nak try buat this weekend!
(Is this Erni talking?)

Photo Credit : Tina (check out her bakes on Instagram : ms_tinaz)

The source recipe here.

And here is my revised recipe, based on my own taste and convenience. I've used salted butter and make do without salt, vanilla and almond essence.
I've also reduced the sugar, cause I don't like the cake to be that sweet - we're sprinkling sugar on top anyway.

Ingredients (in order of appearance)

110 gms butter, melted and put aside.
150 gms sugar
1 big lemon, for lemon zest.
2 large eggs
128 gms all purpose flour
Sliced almonds

1. Bismillah.
2. Preheat oven at 180 deg C.
3. Butter a round tin container (about 20cm in diameter).
4. Grate the lemon skin to get the zest, into the sugar. Then with your fingers, mix them well until you get a lemony aroma.
5. Break 1 egg at a time and whisk to blend them well.
6. Put in the flour and using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour until well mixed.
7. Pour in the cooled melted butter and fold in until all mixed well.
8. Pour into the tin cake container and distribute well.
9. Sprinkle sliced almond all over the top.
10. Sprinkle a bit of sugar all over the top.
11. Put into the oven and bake for 20-25 mins - until the top appears golden brown.
12. Leave to cool for 10-15 mins and you're ready to dig in.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Secret Life of Trees

I feel like crying, reading 'The Secret Life of Trees'.

Oh how man underestimate the importance of trees, & it's amazing life. Subhanallah.

Truly in the life of trees you can find miracles, how Allah created them and taught them how to live, how it's existence is finally of benefits to man.

"Do ye not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made his bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen? Yet there are among men those who dispute about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance, and without a Book to enlighten them!"
~ Luqman 31:20

But we are such ungrateful creatures, and selfish and arrogant. We think we can live alone without the help of Allah and and what Allah has created for us.

"Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds,
In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient." ~ Al Alaq 96:6-7

It's no wonder that Allah SWT is always telling us to look at Nature, then to think and ponder about these creations. If we only pay more attention to Nature, then we will be able to appreciate and understand how Great Allah is - "Allahu Akbar", and how we, like all other creatures of Allah, should be subservient to our Creator and learn how to co-exist, in peace.

Trees do so many things for us, other than just bear fruits. They help control temperature, and level of carbon in the air, they regulate moist/water, make grounds firm with their roots, they teach man a bit about chemistry - trees are good chemists.

Have we ever even thought about how amazing it is that a tree can suck up water from the ground, and release it out into the air? Just one big tree, can transpire about 500 litres of water a day (pg 381). That is a lot of water for just a tree. Imagine a whole forest.

Then imagine if there are no forests - where will all that water go to?
(clue : flood, overflowing rivers/drains, landslides, rising water level?)

Still these people, continue to ignore the warnings, remain stupid, arrogant and selfish.

But you know what.. as sad as it is, as much as I wish we can reverse this, I frankly believe man will continue to destroy themselves (ourselves).

This does not mean that we should also join in their mindless destructions. We should still do our own individual part, because we will be answerable individually to Allah SWT.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If the Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him plant it.”

[Musnad Ahmad, Number 12491, Sahih]
From : Daily Hadith Online

In the end this world will end, and only those who believe in Allah and the the Last day, and they didn't create mischief on earth - will enter Heaven.

And of course there is Wisdom in that - thinking from my own tiny perspective, you wouldn't want these same people who destroyed earth, to be in Heaven also do we?

May Allah SWT safeguard us, our family and our fellow Believers from the man's atrocities in this world, and from Hellfire. Aamiin.

*All Quranic quotes are from Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

the arrogant atheist's argument

There are different types of atheists out there. Those who are not sure, and therefore don't believe. Then there are those who have seen proofs staring at them, but are too arrogant to accept - because it's just to big an idea for them to grasp.
Look at the example of the argument provided by the arrogant Richard Dawkins who insinuated that to believe in God is childish.

I've mentioned before, perhaps you can prove that something exists, because you've experienced it with your senses or experiments. But just because you cannot find or phantom the idea of God in your very narrow and limited mind, it does not mean that God does not exist. To claim that something doesn't exist just because you cannot find it, is very arrogant, because no one can ever know EVERYTHING there is to know, even if it's just within their own self - what more the universe.

The following is what I got from a Richard Dawkins, arrogantly demonstrating what I've said above. And I'd like put after that, what I'm reminded of, from the translations of the Qur'an, and my personal viewpoint.

The debate on youtube here.

At minute 31:25, the arrogant man said: Such a Grand God, the God of the Cosmos, the God of of the Physicist, the God the Hyper Mathematician, God, the Master Architect - that would be a God worth worshiping. Probably not worth praying to, for that sort of Cosmic God worthy of proper reverence and respect would have better things to do than bother Himself with the trivia of human prayers and human sins and human preoccupations. The sort of God I would not feel like worshiping would be one who, far from fixing his thoughts on his magnificent creation, was instead obsessed with sins. Sin, sin, sin, sin, sin. The obsession of the Christian God. Interested in nothing but the sin, including private acts which do nobody else any harm, of the members of one particular species of old world primate, on one small planet, orbiting one rather small star amidst a hundred billion stars, some are in the outer suburb of one ordinary galaxy among a hundred billion galaxies. Such delusion of grandeur to think that a God with a hundred billion galaxies on his mind would give a tetany damn who you sleep with, or indeed whether you believe in him.

Subhanallah.. you think that God is in need of your worship and prayers? That's what a lot of human fail to understand, even among the religious ones. We are the one in need of the prayers to God, as a source of constant remembrance (for man is ever so forgetful), and strength as a guard against sinful thoughts and deeds.

"And Moses added : If you should [ever] deny the truth, you and whoever else lives on earth - all of you, [know that] verily, God is indeed Self Sufficient, ever to be praised!" Surah Ibrahim 14:8 - translation of the Qur'an by Asad.

"Verily, I - I alone - am God; there is no deity save Me. Hence, worship Me alone, and be constant in prayer, so as to remember Me!" Surah Ta-Ha 20:14 - translation of the Qur'an by Asad.

"Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do." Surah Al-Ankabut 29:45 - translation of the Qur'an by Yusuf Ali.

And you think, just because God looks after the universe, that He would have no capacity to look at all of us individually? That He has no capacity to care for us individually? How infantile and backward your thoughts are.

"The creation of you all, and the resurrection of you all, is but like the creation of a single soul, for verily God is all-hearing, all-seeing." 31:28 Surah Luqman - translation of the Qur'an by Yusuf Ali

Why must God bother with you even if you don't harm anyone else?
God loves you. Ask your mother if she would let you harm yourself, even if what you do, doesn't harm anyone else.
Or if you have children, let your child do something to harm himself, if what he does, does not harm anyone else - would you?

"When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way."
2:186 Surah Al Baqarah - translation of the Qur'an by Yusuf Ali.

At minute 38:08, the arrogant man said : The explanation for the existence of things like eyes, is almost laughably simple but it had to wait for the 19th century before we got a clue as to how it came about. Before Darwin it would have taken a deep deep take, a great a philosophical mind to spot that the argument from design, the argument that says, 'because it screams 'design' at you', therefore there must have been a designer. That is a deeply fallacious argument and it doesn't explain anything. The designer himself or herself of itself, would have to have been himself, a highly complicated object a highly sophisticated object in order to achieve that level of design.

What does that mean? Just because I came across a wonderfully decorated cake, and I myself cannot do it, and I know of nobody who can, therefore the cake was created by chance? That is a scientific proof? Clear sign of arrogance.

"On the earth are signs for those of assured Faith, As also in your own selves: Will ye not then see?"
51:20-21 Az-Zariyat

"And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)!" 21:32
Surah Al-Anbiya

"And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the words of Allah be exhausted (in the writing): for Allah is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom." 31:27 Luqman

- translations of the Qur'an by Yusuf Ali.

*in the video, you can also see how RUDE the last atheist speaker, i don't remember his name, as he responded to a senior pastor with his hands, beckoning him to come as if for a fight. Such arrogance!!! SO RUDE!!!

Subhanallaah. God guides whom He wills, those who WANTS to be guided.