Knowledge is Power

My staff was telling me a story about his trip to Madinah Al Munawwarah the other day, and one of his place of visit is a seemingly magical place called Magnet Hill.

This hill apparently can make cars go uphill when it is put on neutral, as if there is a ‘magnetic’ force pulling it up. The storyteller also mentioned that since it’s in Madinah, we should not question these things and accept it as a gift from Allah.

To illustrate, the hill works somewhat like in this video:

A gift from Allah? Sure it is.

Not question it?  Nay, sir. One does not pass up an opportunity for a knowledge investigation.

There are two things i want to touch here:

  1. Importance of knowledge as a source of empowerment and an armour from gullibility.
  2. How do i have this video?

Knowledge empowers.

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The virtue of knowledge is more beloved to me than the virtue of worship, and the best of your religion is mindfulness (al-wara’).”

Source: Al-Adab Al-Bayhaqi 818 Grade: Sahih (authentic)

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Mindfulness means to leave whatever you fear will harm you in the Hereafter.”

Candidly, my remark after the story-telling sesh was this: “I think there’s a scientific explanation”.

The odds are, there always is. I would like to allude to a greater, more damaging problem. There is a great fitnah circulating around Malaysia whereby products–any product at all with sky’s  being the limit–being slapped with an ‘islamic’ label being deemed virtuous and possess magical healing properties. It’s the same modus operandi all around; plain water that has been read 30 juz of the Quran, raisins from the the soil that was once walked by The Prophet SAW, or a variation of the same sort. The bastardized aspect of it is that the unscrupulous SELL these products, with upmarket prices into the market. Sadly, there are people who are fallible to this trick (it’s a bloody trick!) and buys them in hoards. Those who did not have knowledge , didn’t know any better or afraid to ask questions. The problem is two-pronged:

1) The unchecked assumption that anything islamic is blessed and good, despite it being blatant fakes.

2) Existing climate of fear to criticize these products, as it might cause God’s wrath.

Questioning, reflecting and thinking are first and foremost are not bidaa’h but virtuous Islamic virtues. We are permitted to think.

And i’ve got proof, from our corpus , no less:

…Ask the followers of the remembrance if ye know not!

–(An-Nahl 16:43)

If you do not know, ask the people who know. Another:

The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb – [those] from which men and livestock eat – until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought. (Yunus, 10:24)

People who think, Allah expound the revelations to them and make them understand. Understand the difference of what is clear haqq and baatil. Reading 30 juz of Quran is haqq. Drinking plenty of water is haqq. Selling water that has been read 30 juzz of Quran and conniving the ummah to drink them  while  claiming hocus-pocus benefits is baatil. Knowledge with the right intention equips one with the skill to differentiate between the two.

The hadith above i shared was a superior allegory to illustrate how being religious is virtuous but does not necessarily outstripped the knowledgeable. Islam never says: “no” to “whys”. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it may lead to answers that make one closer to Allah. And ain’t that the Ultimate Goal?

How do you have the video Farah? Have you been there?

Well, of course. *peace sign*

Not the one in Madinah, but a similar one at a place with scientifically incorrect name called Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The phenomena that you see is all an optical illusion. The car IS going downhill, only our eyes see it as if it was an uphill ascent due to natural sloping  Here’s pictorial proof of explanation:

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Geography disguises the true horizontal of the ground

Here’s more pictures to blow your mind:

dsc_5780-text

Water flowing upwards? What sorcery is this?? (relax, its just science)

Science-y bit

First, most gravity hills are in places where a straight horizon is obscured in every direction. There isn’t any horizon line to help people get their bearings. Usually the hill in question is a road cut into two uphill segments, but there are hills that are surrounded by downhill slopes. Generally, there are also trees and no buildings in the area. Buildings tend to stay perpendicular to the ground. Most of the time, trees do as well. When it comes to a choice between light and perpendicularity, though, the trees choose light every time. When they lean so that they’re perpendicular to a downhill slope, it looks straight.

When everything, the contrasted slope of the landscape, the angle of the trees, and the inability to check anything against a horizon line, comes together on a slightly downhill slope, it will look uphill to whatever hapless chump happens to be wandering along it. Whenever someone checks with a level, or a GPS system the fun is over.

And Allah knows best.

P/S: Picture and video credits to Irving, who won’t read this anyway but credit must be given where it’s due.

Words are not enough

[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?
Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. –(Al-Mulk,67:3-4)

I make no secret that nature has rippling effects on me. Indeed, the attempt to describe the vastness, the awe-inducing qualities, the plethora of majestical adjectives that one can subscribe when describing mountain ranges, the sea, the never ending stretches of forests is all but a huge folly. How could one have enough laymen words to transcribe nature?

The real dilemma is rooted on the fact that nature is more complex and goes beyond the sense of sight. Mere words often undermine or miss altogether the cacophony of feelings upon encounter with nature. A jumbled up sense of shock and alarm, the sudden need to choke, the humbling realization of frailty,
rising awareness of awe, acknowledgement of immense beauty, instant rush of calm–its a chaotic mixed bag.

Herein lies the problem, does it necessarily have to be a long and arduous description? Can someone make it succinct and on pointe?

I sort of gave up at some point after tries upon tries to encapsulate what exactly is ignited within when looking at the sky for instance. Eventually , i resort to silence and quiet praises of God.

Then the Quran came along. Well, the Quran is there all along ; it was just me who was too thick not to look at it first.

And boom there you have it: 67:3-4.

Nature is all consistency and no breaks

It is you who breaks, you look at it untill you are tired

And you look very long to fill something but its a fill with seemingly no end.

The most fascinating part of it all is that the aggregate of all of this hyperbolic beauty comes down to just a speck of dust in the grand scheme of the ever-expanding Universe.

All praise to the One who deserves All Praise

Thank you for the blessing of even a little comprehension of the vast testimony of Your Might.

Gut-check

And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. (Ali Imran 3:104)

The perpetual struggle of a Muslim is to become the embodiment of this blessed religion that is so steeped in beauty. Many have failed, and along the way distorts the beautiful and transformed it into something average at best, or horrible at worst. I would argue that sincerity is the key ingredient to internalize the beautiful. Sincerity is the social capital to call people to this beautiful way of life. Sincerity that is methodically translated into beautiful character is very very attractive and very useful for dawah purposes.

Now, why this verse about da’wah? Simply put, Allah commanded us to do it. The following questions that would follow are why do you do it? How do you do it?

I would only discuss the former, because it is an issue that is pertinent to me at this moment.

Whenever presented with an opportunity to call people to enjoin good and share my islam, along with other good deeds, my personal struggle is to constantly have the correct intention. It is a battle of nafs, and a dangerous one to lose, since doing good, lets face it–you do feel good about yourself.

To illustrate, there’s this oxymoronic hashtag going around in twitter called #humblebrag. Essentially its a hashtag used as a caption appropriately for picture of you in a position of doing some kind of charity work. Selfie with the orphans? #humblebrag. A day at the animal shelter? #humblebrag. Tabling for a fundraiser? #humblebrag.

It gained traction for NGO’s to highlight and market serious issues that the public needs to know. Commendable, however we sacrifice on the ikhlas (i would argue ihsaan as well ) since the heart is a vessel that looooves attention. When the heart is filled with attention and admiration, there is little space for Allah. ( Guiltily , the writer admits on being in this position plenty of times but she tries her best )

As a sidenote, Allah knows exactly how human hearts operate , so He even exclaimed this verse in the quran as a mercy towards our ego shortcomings:

If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you, and He will remove from you some of your misdeeds [thereby]. And Allah , with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted . (Al Baqarah 2:271)

If you are open about what you do and what you give, they are still good. Just not the best of what He expects of us.

Now, back to the da’wah bit. It is easy to think that when somehow a path has shown to you to share with someone else about Islam, then you have definitely thought that you are the chosen one. Let us move away from this narrative, however difficult and agitating to the heart it can be.

See, there’s three people here; you, the individual, and Allah. Among this three people, you are the least significant, just the proxy of this conversation between Allah and the individual who is trying to digest the message of Allah.

We need to have a gut-check on answering the first question above again; why do you do da’wah? Is it about you, disguised as dawah?  Or is it because of our sincere, prophetic concern for our brothers and sisters?   Was it to answer the call of becoming  “a nation inviting to [all that is] good”?

Once one can successfully remove the idea of being special as to have the ability to share the message of is islam, then we can call people into it with more empathy, humility before Allah and more love.

And we need all the love and empathy in this trying world.

P/S: Make dua for a certain friend who is trying his very best to attain hidayah, may God choose him to receive guidance, acknowledge his efforts, and make him steadfast on this path.

Wallahua’lam.

Not missing the point

“The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah, which they used to face?” Say, “To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.”- 2:142

This verse from Surah Al-Baqarah is a beautiful and eloquent answer of Allah when the jahiliyyah questioned The Prophet pbuh regarding the change in direction of prayers from the ancient and holy Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem ) to the relatively newbie Masjidil Haram in Makkah.

This ayah explains very straight up that it does not matter to Allah wether the direction is in Baitul Maqdis or Masjidil Haram. The crux of the ibadah of salah is turning towards Him, wherever He chose the direction to be. He is after all, The Lord of the East and the West. Pretty much Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

Drawing parallels to this perspective, within the acts of fiqh, it is advisable to adopt similar spirit as well. Scrutinizing every minute detail of fiqh is virtuous, as it reflects active pursuit of perfection in acts of worship. However, a line needs to be drawn when Muslims become combative or vicious among each other when determining which position of fiqh is correct. Take a step back and reflect, at the very most bottom line, what exactly is demanded by Allah?

Hope day 1 goes well with everyone InshaAllah.

Full time engineer, part time life coach.

Like Dany (yep, believe it i just pulled out a GoT reference) , most days my work environment consists of 85% male. Like Dany again, most of those day consists of a lot of executive decision-making. I cannot help being put into this circumstance. And thus, as an occupational hazard, i haven’t been properly taking care of my heart as a girl. Most unfortunately, i fall into that cliche’ category where strong girl meets no emotional capacity.

This is where most cliches got it wrong. One day, a friend got it right:

” I don’t think you don’t have issues Farah, it’s just you have this above average quality to hide them well “

I suspect its this inability to wear my heart on my sleeve is the reason some thought i am worthy to consult with.

It was a pattern i stumble in every couple of years. Farah the counsellor, serving you since 2009. Perhaps this was the reason , despite the ghastly quality , i still write a little bit.

Counselling, is an emotionally draining exercise, and there is no other person to place the blame squarely but upon my own two shoulders. Because i simply give it all. Especially if it involve individuals i care very deeply about. Love makes you do selfless things that is almost certain to break your heart, but selfless and stupid are interchangeable at times. No matter how much i thought i’m mature enough to withstand the consequences, my very,very girl-heart breaks anyway.

I wonder how scholars, imams and counselors in general do it without affecting their emotional stability, or drained by the hopelessness of it all, or get hurt by the very notion that you are used as an option, not a priority ( A clear error on my part on intentions but still the heart gets very upset ) .

They must get by with lots of duas. Nothing is without Allah’s help. All source of good comes from Him.

I need lots of duas and some lessons on how to set and reset intentions in order to get it unwavering and solid.  Alhamdulillah for the blessing of good judgement, clear-headedness and sensibility Ya Allah.

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided”(Qur’an 2:186)

Ramadan Kareem :)

Fresh sashimi topped bowl of Maguro (tuna), Toro ( belly tuna), Ebi (shrimp), Uni (fish roe) and salmon fish roe. Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan .  (Always follow up a serious argument with food, because it makes everything okay)

Fresh sashimi topped bowl of Maguro (tuna), Toro ( belly tuna), Ebi (shrimp), Uni (fish roe) and salmon fish roe. Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan .
(Always follow up a serious argument with food, because it makes everything okay)

Democracy goes both ways

Currently, there is so much havoc that is splitting the country over a set of laws that is of such small scope, even the quantity of it can be counted on just your hand. For the uninformed, the state of Kelantan is on a quest to uphold Hudud laws as laws that is recognized in Malaysia. Hudud covers seven and ONLY SEVEN moral acts:

  1. Theft
  2. Highway robbery
  3. Adultery
  4. Sexual slander
  5. Pre-marital sex
  6. Apostasy and waging war against Islam
  7. Drinking alcohol

The elitist, the mostly educated, the Sisters-In-Islam kind, the muslim liberals, the whole of non muslim society, and the mainstream professional with an almost equivocal voice does not support the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.

There are plenty of very wordy, populist, human rights advocating, heady with righteousness reasons out there that you can google (hint: all in facebook statuses).

I agree with these opinions. Kelantan is ill-equipped in so many ways i cannot even start. Infrastructure and the right economic conditions for starters. Yusuf Qaradawi had elucidated a set of preconditions to be met before any Hudud can be enforced. Can Kelantan claim to have satisfied the following pre-requisites for the implementation Hudud?:

  • Establish true Islam where society is pious and God-fearing
  • Ensure the economic needs of the people are met
  • Provide employment opportunities for all
  • Reduce the income gap and ensure there is no poverty

Historically, we have to recognize that Hudud has had a bad track record of implementation as well. In all of these botched cases, the whole point and spirit of Hudud; which is to portray Islam as a just society,protect it’s inhabitants,and gain overall support for Islam never did materialize.

In fact, the effect was the exact opposite.

Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Libya do not exactly boast stellar human rights records. This is not due to the fault of the law in itself , but stems from the flawed implementation that is so dishonest to the integrity and the real spirit of the law (another whole discussion altogether)

However, have we forgotten that Kelantanese are also Malaysians? And as a Malaysian, they have every other right as any other Malaysian to decide what they want in their lives and their society. Democracy goes both ways, and the mainstream opinion sometimes forget that those rights also belong to the people who does not share the same values as them. Malaysia after all, is of diverse demographics and mentality, and there should be no one size fits all solution.

How about this:

Kelantan can keep its purist Islamic governing if the people choose to do so.

In the same context as..

Sarawak can keep it’s secular government if the people choose to do so.

All combined within a larger federation and devolving powers mostly to the state. (which ain’t going to happen because Putrajaya loves Kelantan’s oil)

A contract can be procured that while each state can choose its character, each state shall not try to ‘convert’ each other, rather stay committed in keeping the union come what may

Perhaps we might want to take a step back and open a referendum for voting in Kelantan and ask whether the electorate supports the governing party’s aspirations. And if the result is an overwhelming yes, then who are we–the non-kelantanese–to question their rightly democratic wants?

After all, democracy goes both ways.

Have courage and be kind.

These are my thoughts about Cinderella for this was a free-er weekend than usual. Apart from the movie mantra, there’s nothing really substantial about the Cinderella story, and i do not mince my words. Its’s all dandy and fair that the protagonist is dripping with the milk of human kindness, but i was hoping that the new installment will give enough punchy motivation on why on earth Lady-Tremaine (the ever excellent Cate Blanchett) is a colossal vessel of pure, unadulterated evil. Humans are not assholes singularly, they become one. Either through poor upbringing, life’s injustice or in most cases, mommy daddy problems which entirely contribute to the deprivation of love. The only improvisation of this refurbished premise is the black man as the Royal Guard. I have always been a fan of Kenneth Branagh because of  his eye for detail,wonder and general Shakespearean-ness in all of his work. As for the movie itself, it is too faithful to a fault. Everything feels like a rehearsed set frame by frame and followed to the dot. Not a problem if timid is your thing.

Cinderella part 2 Cinderella

Watch Frozen instead.That is one Disney movie that can make a full grown adult cry.

Above the Clouds

“Have they not looked at the heaven above them – how We structured it and adorned it and [how] it has no rifts?
And the earth – We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind,
Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah ]. [50:6-8]

Summiting Mt . Kinabalu was one of my oldest childhood dreams. Mt Kinabalu–to those uninformed–is the tallest peak in South East Asia, a sprawling 4095 m above sea level. Think of all the mountains you can think and see around Asean countries, and this beauty towers above them all.

I have always delayed this venture. There was a lack of partner, a lack of fitness level or a lack of flight tickets–there is always a lacking in something. Then one glorious day, a Groupon voucher came along, and i just had to make the leap and have trust in Allah. No matter that the departure date is only one month away. At that point, i was convinced that if i didn’t do it now, i’ll never do it.

Sidenote: As i scrutinized past stuff that i’ve done, it has always been decided along this motto: Do first, think later.

Order of events

To those who wanted to do it, start in this order:

1. Survey flight tickets, and lock a tentative date

1. Book said dates and place from Sutera Harbour **, who runs the place.

2. If available, book and confirm flight tickets.

** Bear in mind that sutera harbour doesn’t advertise their walk-in/email booking policy (you would be hard pressed to find any information at all on their website) . This is duly because they would like you to stay at their fancier hotels other than just at the midpoint of the mountain (Laban Rata). Also, i reckon they made a deal with the tour packages to not be as so obvious that people can book a place to climb the mountain without going through a climbing package. However, just drop them an email, they will oblige to respond InshaAllah, because they responded to mine.

Season

The driest season , according to my tour guide is during January till March, with weather getting sporadically wetter from April till June. Avoid July till December as it will not only pour, but there will be waterfalls and flooding on the top of the mountain. You could still possibly have a go during the rainy season but i would advise against it. Why put yourself in a miserable position and also run the risk of not summiting. They won’t let you due to slippery conditions and limited visibility on top.

The only thing i would change on this trip is i would advise on staying nearby Kinabalu National Park (Kundasang area) the night before the climb in order to acclimatize yourself to new heights and prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Your body needs time to adapt and function with new higher pressure and lower percentage of oxygen. I did not do that, choosing to depart from Kota Kinabalu town and bussed for 3 hour in the morning towards Kinabalu National Park. However , i did take good precautions and took Altitude Sickness pills (acetazolamide) 24 hours before and during the climb to lessen symptoms of altitude sickness. Climbing  a mountain is really a puzzling cardiac exercise, as when you breath in you can feel that your lungs are never filled up.

Cost

This will be the breakdown of cost of going in as a single person, bearing in mind the cost comes down considerably as the numbers increase in a group but harder to get a place on the mountain.

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This is a bad photo that you can click on to enlarge, but i have separated the legs of the journey for easier view for costing purposes. Kindly match numbers in the hand written diagram to the list below.

1. KL Sentral-KLIA 2 using ERL (33 minutes): RM 35

2. KLIA 2- KK Airport (2 hours ++ ): Depends on your flight ticket

3. KK Airport- Hotel in KK using Airport Shuttle Bus (30 minutes): RM 5

4. KK Hotel-Kinabalu National Park (3 hours) using Ranau-KK Van : RM20

5. Kinabalu National Park-Laban Rata-Summit-Laban Rata-Kinabalu National Park (2 days 1 night )

  • Accommodation at Laban Rata + 5 time meals : RM250
  • Insurance : RM7
  • Permit: RM 30 (more cheaper with bigger group)
  • Transport to start of trail: RM34 return
  • Porter: RM80 (optional, with RM10 per kilogramme)
  • Guide: RM150 (cheaper with bigger group)
  • Cert: RM10 (optional)
  • Hiking poles : RM10 (optional)

Total 5. is RM 571 for a single person.

Some details:

2 Capture

6. Kinabalu National Park-Kota Kinabalu by Ranau-KK bus (3 hours) : RM 20

7. Kota Kinabalu hotel- Kota Kinabalu Airport  by taxi (30 min) :RM30

8. Kota Kinabalu-KLIA 2: depends

9. KLIA 2-KL Sentral by ERL (33 minutes): RM35

Costs does not include medicines, supplies, snacks and acommodation in Kota Kinabalu as those are too subjective.

Training

Nope . Zero training, and of course i paid the price. My fitness was there, but the leg muscles weren’t prepped for such strenuous activity and the result is me limping during the return down.  Function of my legs ceased for two straight days after descending. That’s two days of holding on to rails for dear life when walking plus weird looks . If you cannot find any mountain to climb in your area to train, get up and down the stairs  to train muscles to contract and expand.

Worth it? 

Hellz yeah Alhamdulillah All Praise and Blessings belongs to the Almighty.

Reflection

I was mostly surprised at how cold it was up there, (around -12 degrees) and how barren the summit was. Imagine naked granite rock sprawling across a 3 km space–both majestic and emanating a feeling of a sordid, dark kind of beauty. Being above the clouds–sipping tea above the clouds —is a magical feeling altogether SubhanAllah that i would recommend all to have to try experience at least once.

Pictures

Head to the facebook album here.

Cheers.

Flooding in Perak

It happened around 24th Dec till 26th Dec, when the water rose to a record level high since 1993. I would remember these dates, because a) it was Christmas and b) i had to cancel my annual leave.

We had our hands really full, with the team having not enough sleep watching the water levels every hour. It was quite a confusing time too, because it really took awhile to hit us the stark reality that we just experienced huge floods right here, right then. The scope of our work when flood hits among others are to:

1) Cut off supply: but not just haphazardly–we would  want to delay it as long as possible. Water is a good conductor, and the risk of 11,000 volts running  inside water with people in it is a tremendous hazard.

2) Give alternative supply- if possible,  to places that had once been connected to an installation that had submerged in water and hence was turned off but the place itself is not affected by rising water. We had to think of ways to connect these places to other electricity line sources. What was mandatory is to ensure that all relief centers, hospitals, and water treatment facilities are connected to electric supplies either by generator sets or ring supply.

3) Repair and restore: This took most work and present the worst challenges. Landslides come hand in hand with floods and hence, a lot of cables, electrical lines and poles fell apart like dominoes. If it was a backbone line, we had to repair them immediately, despite the conditions that was presented to us; be it road damages , muddy roads (A HUGE CHALLENGE TO MOVE VEHICLES) , and bad weather.

3) General relief help : Mostly in terms of transporting things, because we are well equipped with lorries and 4×4 so the team would lend a hand or two to help affected victims move their things to higher land and relief centres.

WHAT I LEARNT:

1) This is the time where the elected rep in your area should function. Rescuers need to have knowledge of the demographics of the area affected–how many towns, how many families, who are left out from being rescued. And you better hope your elected rep knows his shit stuff.

2) People wont listen to you until someone in a uniform give orders. Its an anxious time, especially when false information spreads wildly or no information at all travels out. Limbo, that was the feeling i would remember the most. Nobody really knows whats going to happen, or the extent of things happening.

Get the army and police to give evacuation orders, then perhaps you have much luck with stubborn heads. Stubbornness leads to a major problem in our area, whereby a lot of towns and villages are islanded. The roads going into a settlement was drowned in water, cutting off the community from anything. Nothing can come in and come out unless via boats or helicopters. For these cases, authorities had to ferry in supplies, food and medical personnel every 3 days by boats. We had no idea why people won’t evacuate when asked (that limbo feeling again i suppose), but since it was too late, we just make do what we can help.

3) Ask, what the relief centers need, don’t assume. This is a critical time,and mostly the issue are not the amenities or supplies are unavailable but they’re usually a) a huge mismatch in needs b) arrive late. In my area, there was approximately 40 ish relief centres, and each with differing needs and shortage of supply. A lot of people just go to one relief centre without asking anybody and dump their donations there. This is okay, but runs into risk of oversupply or mismatch. What could have been a smarter way is to find out who was in charge in distributing supplies on the ground to the relief centres (in our case, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat) and ask them what things are in shortage of supply and by how much and hopefully things will match.

4) Donating stuff is okay, but think about other options in terms of efficiency. In the spur of ‘volunteering’ moment, a lot of people took up to their own hands by buying stuff in their hometown, and drove all across the country which can take days to reach a certain area when the matter at hands are urgent. This act  is only favourable to areas that are devastatingly affected, where there are no business at all to buy supplies in-situ. For other cases, how about donating hard cash to a reputable NGO or personnel ALREADY on the ground, who can buy/deliver the supplies faster, and know their way around better?

5) Throw away party colours and ego. This is not the time to take sides, or score political mileage. People are suffering. It’s disgusting to take advantage of other people’s calamities. Cooperate with the government, o matter how  much you hate them at the moment. One have to admit at that point, they have the machinery , manpower, authority and reach while you have nothing. It is advantageous to work with them.

6) Don’t argue with nature. Don’t argue with each other. This is a natural disaster after all, sweeping us like a jolt from sleep after a bad dream. Everybody is confused and sleep deprived,the situation feels surreal,  a lot of people are given duties that are not in their job description.  Of course there will be kinks in the relief operation. Instead of criticizing, what have you done to help, did you know getting huge boxes into the back of a lorry is a major headache? Help carry that at least. Also remember that this is also Allah’s decree.  Make peace with it, and let us do our best. What counts is not the event that happened, but what  are our reactions to the event.

7) Have sabr.

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious ) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters.” [Quran, Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) 3:186]

It is the determining factor in all affairs.

And Allah knows best.

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Halal Hong Kong & Macau

This post has a specific intent that is to aid and help Muslim travelers going to Hong Kong to navigate the requirements of our beloved faith in the most painless and stumble-free manner. I would have picked a much more poetic title for this post like, “Fragrant Harbour” for example but i want this post to be Google-able.

Blogs around the Muslim world had helped me a lot to gain resources and information about where to pray and where to eat when traveling the largely non-muslim world .

So here i am,  returning the favour InshaAllah taala.

Where to pray in Hong Kong ? 

The nice thing about Hong Kong is that since its a small country, to get to one mosque to another is fast and easy and a great joy to do.

If you are in Kowloon(Mainland) Area: 

Kowloon Mosque And Islamic Centre

105 Nathan Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong

Getting there: MRT Tsim Tsa Tsui, exit A1 and head to the left and there you are, you simply cannot miss it.

If you are in Central (Island) Area:

Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre

40 Oi Kwan Rd
Hong Kong
Getting there: This is a bit hard to navigate but bear with me.
1. Get to MRT Wan Chai. Exit A3
2. Cross the road and turn left on Wan Chai Rd.  Make sure the Trams are on your left side. Walk ahead.
3. You will meet a fork midway , but just head straight . The trams will converge on the other road on the fork though so dont worry about losing it. Walk straight ahead until you reach New Bangkok Restaurant.
4. At this juncture, turn right into Tin Lok Lane. Walk until you find yourself at a 4 junction with traffic lights. You would like to cross the road and head towards The Charterhouse upwards the hilly road on across your right.
5. Walk up towards The Charterhouse (you will pass a pizza place).
6. This is the bit that gets a little confusing, go INSIDE The Charterhouse and walk past it’s parking alley.
7. You will see it there, InshaAllah.

Jamia Mosque

30 Shelley St
Hong Kong
This mosque is easy to miss because its not within your peripheral sight.
1. Get to the Central Mid Levels Elevators. This is a spiffy elevator that goes uphill and cuts through the hilly area and brings you to multiple ‘exits’ to a bunch of streets.
2. Go up, up, up and keep your eyes peeled on your LEFT. You will be on the elevators for quite awhile, around 5-10 minutes.  Get off  JUST BEFORE the Mosque St exit , when you see on your left a green gate with “Allah’ written on top of it.
It’s not a street exit from the elevators but a stairs exit.
When i was looking for it, i thought it will be on the  Mosque Street, but no its not, however logical it may be. If you already got off on Mosque Street, go back down the stairs a couple of steps and keep your eyes peeled on your right. It’s a beautiful, serene mosque with ivy and moss wall perched up a hill. This is the oldest mosque in Hong Kong.
When i was in HK, i had the opportunity to pray at 3 different mosques on 3 different days. It’s doable if you plan your excursions near the area on each day accordingly.
Where to pray in Macau?
Well, i prayed in the fitting rooms.
There is a mosque in Macau, but it is located a bit out of the way but still accessible by buses.
The Macau’s tourism page gave a pretty good direction to reach there: http://en.macautourism.gov.mo/sightseeing/sightseeing_detail.php?c=8&id=315#.VHXnMTGUft4

Where to eat in Hong Kong?

Rule of thumb is, whenever there is a mosque, there will be halal food nearby.

Kowloon Area:

The whole stretch of Nathan Road opposite the Kowloon Mosque is good for halal food hunting. If you want cheap and indian, head to the Chungking Mansion (turn right from Kowloon Mosque along Nathan Road), and head inside the building and muster the courage to walk past the sketchy crowd. I had some turkish stuff, but nothing memorable. My favourite chicken sandwich i had in Montreal opposite guy concordia had better, and cheaper turkish food.

Central Area:

Masjid Ammar canteen.

Open for lunch from 11:00-3.00 PM and dinner from 5:00 to 9:00 PM

YOU CANNOT MISS THE DIMSUM.  Its on weekend lunch only, but absolutely worth it. Come in fours, or just grab any sisters and ask whether they would like to share dimsum with you.

It is the best (halal) dim sum I’ve ever had.

Macau:

Xinjiang Food ( by the Ughyur Chinese community here) at Estabelecimente de comidas lou lan Islamico.

For starters, if you are in Macau, you will head to Senado Square.

Thats a good start, because that’s where the food is nearby.

Getting there:

1. Make sure to be at the beginning of Senado Square,  near the traffic lights , at the Av Almenida de Robeiro

2. Walk on the left side of the Av Almenida de Robeiro, ensuring that Senado Square is situated  on your right

3. Walk away from Senado Square along Av Almenida de Robeiro towards the port , heading towards R. de Cinco de Outubro.

4. Turn left on R. de Cinco de Outubro.

5. The restaurant will be immediately seen. Enjoy! Good luck pronouncing the name of the restaurant! Good luck ordering! Nobody speaks English! Alhamdulillah.

It is He who made the earth tame for you – so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision – and to Him is the resurrection. [67:15]

P/S If you would like to see some pics, head on here to this album