Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but trustworthiness?

Lie

‘Umar al-Tilmisani:

“I have never feared anyone besides the Al-Mighty God. Nothing has impeded me to affirm the truth in which I believe, despite inflicting discomfort to others and nuisance to me. I declare my belief, peacefully, firmly and respectfully, to avoid uneasiness to my audience. I try to circumvent sounding derogatory which will irritate my adversary. With that, I can be in tranquility. If with this method I fail to recruit acquaintance, staying quite can hinder me from the nefariousness of the masses.”   

Trustworthiness is a primary asset in the life of a Muslim. Since the establishment of the first human being, Adam was the first caliph on earth, that marks the series of entrustment of humans. Muslims are entrusted to carry on the baton as the ambassador carrying God’s decree on earth.

Two primary duties are to consecrate oneself to God and to develop the world. Messengers were delegated as guidance for mankind to remember and implement their responsibility.

The concept of trustworthiness includes every Muslim involved in politics, either as a leader, as an administrator, as an officer or an activist, to feel what they are doing is a responsibility and to carry it out through the concept of Tauhid.

They consciously act upon the understanding of Tauhid that Allah will deem them responsible for what they have done. They also are aware that the position they are entrusted upon are chosen by their people thus being accountable before their people. They, should knowingly fathom the reason for their position, as a leader or as people to protect the public interest.

ʿUmar and The Angered Woman

During the time of ʿUmar ibn Al-Khattāb, he once went to Madinah to carry out his duty as the caliph and on the way back home, he met with a poor woman living taking refuge under a tent outside the skirts of Madinah with her starving children.

The woman, without knowing the identity of the man she was talking too -ʿUmar ibn Al-Khattāb himself-,   complained to him about the caliph abandoning his people.   ʿUmar replied “How would ʿUmar be in the know of your state when you beyond his reach?” The woman, relentlessly replied back “If he is incapable of knowing his people, why did he accept the responsibility as a leader”.

After that incident, ʿUmar went back to Madinah and decreed Baitul Mal to take care of the welfare of the woman and her children.

Trustworthiness and Responsibility

The incident evidently shows that leadership is a responsibility on the shoulders of the leaders and not an “exclusivity” or “specialty” for him. Fuqahā’ have come out with a method of “tassarufat al-rā’iyy manūtun ‘alā maslahah al-ra’iyyah” (The leader’s decision rests on the public interest of his subordinates). In other concepts is known as “Al-Tasarruf ‘alā al-Ra’iyyah Manūtun bi al-Maslahah” (Decisions made by the leader for the people is based on their public interest).

On political issues and governmental administrations, these are closely related with trustworthiness. Either responsibility of the people to their leader or from Allah to the chosen leaders. Trustworthiness is the topical theme in governmental administrations. Starting from this point on, this concept of trustworthiness is to be implemented in the best way of execution.

The need to implement a successful managerial execution by doing it effectively and efficiently (itqan), requires a systematic and clear-cut work policy. Choosing the right human capital for the work and position is also part of process. Positioning a wrong individual at an unsuited position may deem the administration a failure and incomplete.

Ibn Taimiyah in his book al-Siyāsah al-Syar’iyyah has emphasized the need to position the right human capital in charge of a certain post.   

#Abah’sDiary: Ramadan and Breastfeeding

Saif Irfan 2

Picture by Afiq Nashiron

#Abah’sDiary: Ramadan and Breastfeeding

“Terima kasih Abang, kerana membantu Jihad menyusukan anak!”

Every Muslim, would long to feel the thrill of performing Ibadah during Ramadan.

The waking up for Sahur, the long hours of Quranic recitation and understanding its meanings word by word through lessons from Tafseer, the exhausting but blissful Qiam during Tarawih, the spiritual fear of God as we stand in Qiamullail alone, the friendship and free food as we celebrate Iftar at the Masjid, the giving of food to break the fast and the race for God’s forgiveness are all the adrenaline rush in Ramadan.

The whole month trains people to do good, to be generous, to be kind, to be forgiving, to understand and endure the suffering of others. To maximize the incitement and excitement of Ramadan, many have gone offline from social media.

But for breastfeeding mothers, their story might be a little different.

My Confession

I have a confession to make, in the pursuit of Ramadan in Ibadah, I am underperforming. Usually, in during Ramadan every year, I will allocate the month to rememorize the verses of the Quran I’ve memorized while learning new lessons from Tafseer.

But this year, since I have been blessed with a child, I can’t manage to do that as good as before. You see, I wish to feel the blood rushing in my veins as I perform Ibadah brilliantly but that doesn’t seem to be reachable.

My child comes first. I’ll tell you why.

I work from 9am to 4pm every day. I travel to work from home, via motorbike, as far as 130kms per day to and fro. Once I get back from work, I’m exhausted but still force myself to aid my wife in preparing the meals for Iftar while juggling between being in the kitchen and changing my son’s diapers or attending to his needs.

At night after Isya prayer, if I still have some strength left, I’ll go to the Masjid for Tarawih or do it with my wife or sleep it over.

That is my confession. I’m just tired, not that I’m lazy but I’m seriously drained out.

That is my story, what about my wife? 

My wife works from 8.30am to 4.30pm every day. Her workplace isn’t as far as mine but she has to face another form of challenge, that is breastfeeding, working, taking care of the child, helping around the house.

The WHO and UNICEF recommends exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months and continued breastfeeding with complimentary foods for up to 2 years.[i]

Well, I don’t really know how to explain the benefits of breastfeeding, that is out of my league. But medical doctors recommend it so I leave that to them.

My son is 4 months old nearing 5 months, and we have decided to follow what WHO and UNICEF have underlined.

My wife works on a daily basis to help her husband, financially of course. And she has to go through the trouble of making stocks of milk while working using the breast pump we bought. At home, she nurses our son while helping me around the house, preparing food since I’m not a good cook.

I can’t imagine how exhausted she is.

At night after Isya’, sometimes I don’t have the heart to leave her alone taking care of the attention seeking baby.

I don’t know about other babies, but my boy drinks nearly 20oz per day and has a lot of stamina and don’t like to sleep. That adds up the exhaustion. So, I opt to be the Imam of Tarawih to my wife at home. At least she gets the chance to pray the congregational Tarawih.

Good thing scholars, one of them is Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, have come to an Ijtihad that for breastfeeding mothers, it is not compulsory to fast.[ii] But you have to redeem by fasting the numbers of days you missed or pay Fidyah.

Kudos to Mothers Out There

I want to express my thanks to my wife for her struggles during this Ramadan.

I completely know that she is like us Muslims, she wants to join Tadarrus, she wants to be a part of the Iftar at the Masjid with family and friends, she wants to perform Tarawih at the Masjid while listening to the wonderful voice of the Imam, she wants to join I’tikaf, Qiamullail, she wants to memorize verses of the Quran, she wants her Ramadan to be better than her previous Ramadan.

She can’t do all that as good as when she was single.

Because she has to put our son in front of her. Since bearing our son, she has never slept well. Her beauty sleep is often bothered by the cry of our son who wants to play in the middle of the night but still wake up to prepare Sahur for us to dine.

For all wives and mothers out there, do not give up on breastfeeding, do not give up on child bearing as the responsibility of taking care of your child in of itself, is a meaningful Ibadah during Ramadan.

What can husbands do? Support your wives and make life easy for them.

It takes a man to wash the dishes, to iron her clothes, to do the washing, to dry the clothes, to change diapers, to sweep the floor, to clean the toilet, to attend to the crying baby in the middle of the night and keep yourself from being mad at the clueless baby, and to do all that.

It takes a man to be a househousband.

Maybe that is the real definition of a gentleman?

[i] http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/

[ii] http://www.qaradawi.net/new/Articles-1725 (Taken from Dr. MAZA’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DrMAZA/posts/10154305411057990)

#Abah’sDiary: Finding A Baby Sitter

Saif Irfan

#Abah’sDiary: Finding a baby sitter

One of the challenges of bearing a child is finding a baby sitter. Living at times of financial distress, both husband and wife are forced to work to earn for the family. So when the both husband and wife work, who’s there to take care of the baby?

How hard can it be right?

Housewives don’t feel the feeling of insecurity of finding a baby sitter because they are there to baby sit their own child. So they don’t need to save money to buy a convenient (of course expensive) Breast Pump, they don’t need to store stocks of mother’s milk in the freezer, they don’t need to worry about having to sleep less to actually pump the milk throughout the night.

They are always there to nurse their babies.

When the wife is busy with preparing the stocks for the baby, don’t think the husband can walk freely, he has to help the wife. He has to cook, wash the dishes, clean the clothes, mop the floor, he even has to iron her working clothes on a daily basis!

Well, this might not be the case for non-breast-feeding mothers. From what I can see, breast-feeding is a lot more exhausting and stressful compared to bottle feeding. Even fathers can ‘nurse’ their child if it is down to mixing milk powder with warm water, shaking the bottle and feed the hungry baby. Babies are easily full with bottles. Nursing requires strength from both the child and the mother.

The wife can’t be on holiday forever. She has to work, even though leaving her child at the arms of a stranger is not easy. If her husband is earning surplus, the wife can opt to not work and be a housewife, or maybe pursue her studies to a higher level. But she is not married to a millionaire – like in Malay dramas – she has no choice but to work.

What kind of baby sitter do you seek?

Not sure about you, but I would find a baby sitter of convenience. All factors are taken into consideration: Distance, fee, cleanliness, seniority, quality and style.

1) Distance. Near your house. You don’t want to exhaust yourself in the morning going through the morning rush to go to the baby sitter’s place then you have to go to work. Plus, more distance, more time and money spent. Less distance, less headache.

2) Fee. Fee must be according to the market price of that area. You need to do some homework of how much is the market price of your area should you send your baby to a kindergarten. Price varies according to age, place, hours and over-hours.Must be mutually agreed.

3) Cleanliness. If you have found a potential baby sitter, plan a meeting at their place or house. Bring your mother or mother in law and seek her opinion on the cleanliness, is it conducive for the baby? Is it safe for the baby?

4) Seniority. I believe taking care of a new born is really challenging. Seniority of the baby sitter should be taken into account. How senior is the baby sitter? How many children does she have?Babies don’t care of who they are with, they cry at random times and may be during your bad day time.

5) Patience is really a virtue. So, usually with age comes patience. Baby sitters who are quite aged, maybe in their 40s and above have ample experience on how to take care of a baby compared to young mothers. They know what to do and what not to do (bring to see a pediatrician or general doctor).

6) Quality. Quality here refers to how many babies beside ours does she baby sit? If it is only your baby, then it is a dream come true.

Fear of Parents

Rampant on Facebook, cases of scary baby sitters caught on CCTV with their cruel way of treating new born. Babies are being treated like balls, babies are forced to drink milk just to shut them up from crying annoyingly, and you tell me.

Maybe the cases are very rare but the minority has inflicted trauma to the majority. Now everyone fears sending their babies to any child care institutions. It may not happen to us but it can happen to anyone.

I know a close friend where his new born, the 3 months old first grandson of the big family died due to being choked of milk at a TASKA. How scary and sad is that?

If I were in his shoes, I would be in woes, devastated and angry and God knows what I’ll do.

Baby Sit Not Handing-Over

Alhamdulillah after almost 2 months of finding a baby sitter, we have found one. It was an unrelenting process but we managed to prosper.

Still, seeking help from a baby sitter doesn’t mean we are handing over the baton of educating our child. We will not see our children only during the office hours. We still are in charge of our child’s education and we cannot hand that over to anyone.

DISCLAIMER

Inshallah my next book will be #Abah’sDiary where I write my story of fatherhood.

I am a new father. I am a new husband. My experience of fatherhood is very finite compared to other fathers out there.

My purpose is not to gloat or show off but to to share, with other young fathers, with other young husbands the struggle we face as we carve away the pathway of being the family man.

In the hope that we will both gain something in return, in my case, I want my child to grow up reading my diary of taking care of him, to let him know his father more through my writing.

As for your case, how you would gain from my writing, that is totally up to you.

#Abah’s Diary: Our Anniversary Gift

Ameen Misran Papa

 

Me while holding my son, Saif Irfan

#Abah’s Diary: Our Anniversary Gift

“That you for a happy one year” she said, while her eyes are brimming with tears. I nodded, as a sign of gratefully accepting her gratitude giving me a chance to make her happy upon our small accomplishment.

One thing I learned from marriage is that, you do not need to marry a perfect person, as you are also flawed. What you need is the effort to be perfect, to be better than you are, to put those you care for before you. That is what marriage is all about.

Looking into her eyes, a year’s memory began to rewind to the day where it all began.

I looked at my watch, it was already 2pm but my beautiful bride was not around. It was supposed to be the time for “kehadiran pengantin”.

I went to the house of my in-laws, a 5 minute walk from the “tapak kenduri”. I guessed she might still be in the bridal room preparing.

My guess was right, my sister in law was there in the living room, she said I have to wait a bit as the bride is not ready yet. Not long after that, there was my bride, so beautiful that day, I felt like I was struck by lightning.

As we walked to make an entrance, that was the first time our eyes met, I can feel her cold hands as my arms wrapped hers.

“Kasut ni tak selesalah” her face changed, troubled by the inconvenienced caused by her shoes. The first time I heard her grumble and the first chance for me to show-off my macho-skills of soothing her “It’s okay, everything will be okay”.

A Year Ago

1st of February 2015 we found love.

Prior to that, my wife and I didn’t know each other that well. Our media of contacting were only through long emails and Whatsapps, never once we spoke over the phone.

Since that day, I learned so much about women.

It has helped understood why women have a strong attachment to anything made up of pink. I have learned to accept that it is not a sign of weakness for husbands to allow his bed-sheets and pillow-sheets to be in pink color.

All the fights we’ve been through resulted from my insensitivity that even though my wife is my best friend, she is still a woman and I cannot tease her like I tease my male friends.

Even the slightest of utterances can shatter her heart and it takes time for her to recover. After learning how sensitive women can be, I cannot imagine my mother’s feelings each time I made her sad.

A year is not the proof of love or proof of loyalty yet. Growing old together, having kids, having grandkids, having white hair, having weak hands and feet, and still holding hands after decades of marriage, these are proofs of loyalty.

We have a long way to go. A one year marriage is not a walk in a park but it’s a start right?

An Anniversary Gift

Looking back in time, it has been a year. A year that seems so short.

And in a year, I am bestowed a son two days after our anniversary, 3rd of February 2016. The month of February is an important month for me I guess.

In the 20 days of being a father, I have experienced, having to go through what all fathers in the world went through that is lack of sleep. You are awaken by wild cries every one to two hours in a day.

Of course you hardly get any sleep and rest even though you have to go to work the next morning. This is parental sacrifice right?

Your responsibilities are quadrupled on top of your already abundant duties. You are pushed to a corner where the only way to survive this new life is by managing your life well. When you have to arrange everything in order so that it doesn’t affect your performance.

Having a child is not an excuse to under perform in your work, in your life carrier, in your duties but it is supposed to make you better, stronger and more matured.

Only now you really understand the meaning of “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. And having a child is already handful, what happens if you have multiple small humans – children – running around the house?

What I have changed?

I am basically the same person, yes I haven’t gained weight, maybe not yet. It was practically the same as before I got married.

I noticed that the obvious change after having a son is my reading materials. Previously I prefer reading critical and philosophical stuff like questioning my existence, questioning my society, questioning my faith.

Books like “Intelektual Masyarakat Membangun” or “The Closing of The Muslim Minds” or others are my normal reading preference.

There is one particular line in Outlandish’s song “Eyes Never Dry” where Waqas rapped this “Any fool can make a baby only a man can raise one” which reflects the myriad numbers of parents in the world. They aspire to make babies for the sake of having babies.

What is lost in their ideological stance is that they don’t aspire to breed and nurture babies to become powerful individuals. And I do not want to fall in the category of parents who never takes heed of their children’s education from birth.

I want to be the father who will teach my son the ABC.

I want to teach my son how to beautifully recite the Quran.

I want my child to have encyclopaedic knowledge while having a physically fit body.

I want to bring my child on camping trips and hike hills and mountains together.

And all of this requires great preparation on my part, on my wife’s part.

Now, my reading materials have changed to subjects related to maximizing your child’s potentials, how smart is your child and I have spent almost a thousand on the books for me to understand the psyche of a child.

The books I am currently immersing are books by Glenn Doman. My mom applied the Glenn Doman Method to my siblings over 25 years ago. Now I shall return the favour to my child. I have spent nearly a thousand ringgit to buy all these books:

  • “How Smart is Your Baby?” Develop and Nurture your Newborn’s Full Potential
  • How To Teach Your Baby To Read
  • How to Teach Your Baby Math
  • How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence
  • Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby!
  • How to Teach Your Baby To Swim

But buying books is one thing, the other thing which is far more difficult is reading and understanding the methods taught in the book and applying them whilst busy changing his diapers! That’s the real challenge!

If you notice that I’m using the #PapaNotes, since I’m addressing myself as “Papa” to my son and I plan to write numerous articles starting with this one using the hashtag. Maybe, just maybe I can write a book using that hashtag!

I want to end with my poem I wrote about marriage:

What is marriage?

A symbol of love.

A blessing from above.

A union of two hearts becoming one.

A commitment and continuous process of being committed.

A life full of exhaustion and tiredness but also a life full of happiness and fulfilment.

A love story that is not always happy, but abundant with fights and heart breaking moments of ups and downs.

A process of cornering you to your breaking point and make you forget who your love ones is and who your enemy is.

A legacy.

A struggle to cope with economic recession bearing and earning responsibilities beyond your own needs and requirements.

A stage of life where you have less sleep and less and less time for yourself as you have to put those you love before your very own being.

A sacrifice.

What is marriage?

All of the above.

Do you want or need a PhD?

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“Happiness is seeing the person you love, happy”
~My wife & I~

Do you want or need a PhD?

Since I posted my Professional Editing Service recently, I have had the luxury to editor translate abstract articles from mostly postgraduate students.

As a mediocre bachelor’s degree holder, I am compelled to edit superior level academic manuscripts than my own; every second of editing is every second of inferiority.

Despite being intimidated by the academic inferiority, I began questioning why a person should further his or her studies?

Some students finish their Master’s degree the same length as a PhD candidate as long as 5 years. Some others, upon entering the second semester of PhD while doing a successful side business, decide to quit once and for all because “PhD isn’t paying enough.”

In a rare case, this person has been undergoing PhD for 8 years, and then made up his mind to walk out from claiming the “Doctor of Philosophy” title simply because “I don’t think I need it.”

These are several examples picked up from real life stories. Again, the question has to be asked, what is the reason for someone to further his/her studies to a higher/highest level? Is it a need or is it a desire?

A need or a desire?

Yesterday (1st November 2015) I accompanied my wife to attend her Master’s convocation day at UKM and witnessed hundreds of graduates being conferred their respective graduation scrolls. Some received outstanding awards while others only went on stage.

“What prompted them to further their studies?” I wonder.

If they wish to earn high salaries through post-graduate studies, the reality of thejob market today, employers are reluctant to employ post-graduates as they have less hands-on experience and on top of that, employers have to pay higher salaries compared to bachelor degree employees. Thus, in a non-academic world, entry level employees have better luck in employment.

The key to earning high monthly salaries is to be patient in climbing the corporate ladder and not post-graduate studies. One can have only a diploma but earn more than any bachelor’s degree graduates because of skills and experience.

If they wish to be famous, going through a head-cracking process of strict methodologies of series of qualitative/quantitative researches are not an enjoined way to be famous. Better be good at singing, enter comedy reality shows, go into acting, do ‘gedik’ instagram reviews, become hijabi models and other perky stuffs merit as a faster way to be famous.

So what is the really reason why many graduates out there, take the risk of study loans of thousands of dollars with the knowledge of they will work their whole life to pay back the study loan? What is the real reason?

Is it because of “I’m doing this for my parents. It has always their hope to see their child being awarded a distinguished certificate they never had during their time.”

The Doctor of Influence vs Intellectual Affluence

Dr Maszlee Malik in his latest book “Pemburu Kesepian di Bumi Geordy” wrote a sub-article discussing “Buat Apa Nak Belajar PhD?”. He shared a piece of advice by Dr. Muhsen Saleh, Director of Zaytouna Institute at Lubnan which says:

“A voice of a person with ‘Dr’ preceding his name shall be heard due to the ‘Dr’ status.”

However, Dr. Maszlee Malik respects but disagrees with the idea. He cites a renowned novel written by celebrated novelist Paulo Coelho; ‘The Alchemist’. The novel depicts a shepherd by the name of Santiago in his journey to pursue treasure in Egypt after having a recurring dream of finding it there.

What is interesting is not the story of the young boy, but his journey abundant with philosophical messages enlightening the readers to prompt new out-of-the-norm thinking dimensions.

One vital message of the novel is the price of experience in achieving a set goal. In the end Santiago succeeded in finding his dreamt treasure but that is of nil value. The experience of finding the treasure is more meaningful than the treasure itself.

For Dr Maszlee Malik, the lengthy journey of climbing the PhD mountain is what’s valuable than the ‘Dr’ title itself. The methodology of undergoing PhD is the gist of intellectual affluence. The mind is grinned to think in a critical, creative and innovative manner is what is important.

Not because of the “Dr.” title people shall listen to his views and respects him but what are the views that enlightens the minds, spirits and intellectual of the society should come from the “Dr.” Are the minds of PhD holders, are their scholarships worthy of the title “Dr.”?

For incumbent MA and PhD holders out there, this piece of advice is monumental!

What is it to you?

Well I don’t know about you but to me, my heart has always been with the academic world of reading books, of trying to decipher something new in life through reading, of critical discussions with fellow academics.

But the reality that I am going through isn’t on my side (yes I’m talking about marriage) to enable me further my studies to a higher level. Maybe I have to write another article “Marriage or PhD?” discussing thoroughly on making the best out of the two worlds.

For me, I agree with what Dr. Maszlee has to say. Post-graduate studies, Master’s degree and PhD are just a ticket for us to be greater in our thoughts, in our opinions.

There are many academics out there, but are they intellectuals? Are their ‘great’ researches being made available for the public? Are these fellow academics living with the public to nurture the intellect?

Or are they living comfortably at home, looking proud at their PhD convocation portrait they portray at their living room for display? And leave the public in dismay?

At the end of the day, it comes down to us. So ask yourself, “Do you need or want a PhD?”

Professional Editing Service

The Meaning of Sacrifice for Young Husbands

House Husband

“With beard comes responsibility”
Picture courtesy of link

The Meaning of Sacrifice for Young Husbands

A young husband may not be the most perfect husband in the world, but he tries to be perfect.

Every morning, this young husband, still in his early years taking on the mantel of ‘husbandship’, works from 9am to 5pm five days a week, to earn a monthly salary to maintain a small family of him and his pregnant wife.

Living in the big city where congestion is rampant, he rides a motorcycle every day to slip past in between cars and to reduce his costs for fuel despite a verbal ban by his mother to not ride a two-wheel vehicle prone to road calamity.

The money he earns is not for the luxury of him but for the family. The wife works too, but the money she gets is for her spending and her spending alone.

That monthly wage of RM3000 is barely enough. Some months when unexpected incidences occur, if his monthly wage can’t pay, he has no choice but to seek financial aid from his wife. When he receives the payment of the following month, he will pay back the money his wife has lent.

This young husband may not be the most charming husband in the world, but he tries to be charming to his woman.

He tries his best to fulfill his wife’s wishes and needs. If his wife’s shoes are worn out, he buys her a new pair. If his wife requires a new set of clothes, he buys her new ones. If his wife has peculiar food cravings, he will ride his motorcycle regardless of weather-condition, to buy the food for her.

When his wife is sick at irregular hours before dawn, he sends her to any reachable 24-hour clinics to get medical attention. His wife gets a medical certificate of a one day off, but he still has to ride his bike to work despite the lethargy.

Sometimes his wife wishes to go travel at a dream place she has been wanting since she was a child, the husband tightens his belt to save his monthly money and plans a possible road trip for vacation.

He tries to continuously impress his wife. He remembers his wife’s important life events and frequently seeks presents of her liking usually almost anything made up of the pink or pinkish red color: pink spoons, pinkish red wireless mouse, pink pens, pink knives and anything pink you can find on the market.

He never complains his wife’s cooking. He never demands his wife to cook. If the wife is too tired to cook, the husband will ride his motorcycle and buy food from the nearest restaurant.

Sometimes the husband feels like impressing his wife despite being a lousy cook, he cooks a simple meal for to dine.

The husband washes the clothes and put them for drying, sweeps the floor, takes care of the dishes because his pregnant wife can’t do all that. Even if his wife is not pregnant, he will do the same as that was taught by his mother.

He understands that women sometimes have unusual mood swings which he cannot fathom. Hence, he has never yelled or be angered at his wife despite the mood swings.

When his wife complains about a certain issue, he listens to them tentatively and reacts accordingly without any reactionary response. Reacting negatively will only result in misfortune.

He treats his wife as his equal, she is his BFF neither superior nor inferior, and she is his place he shares his problems with, his dream with, his life with.

His father wrote to him this:

When the school attire is worn out, Papa asks Mama to buy new ones for the children and for mama, even though Papa wears his same old pair, Papa says okay.

When Papa witnesses his children’s marriage, no one cares how Papa feels crying to let go of his children, Papa says okay.

When the children hug Mama, showing affection to Papa not to Mama, Papa keeps quiet, Papa says okay.

When Papa’s children scores good grades, Papa cries happy tears alone in his room, without others knowing, Papa says okay.

When Papa’s children calls to home saying they miss Mama, but doesn’t call Papa, Papa is sad but it’s okay as long as Mama is happy, Papa says okay.”

Now he understands a bit the subliminal meaning why his father wrote to him like that.

He is there to be the caretaker of his wife.

His wife is the caretaker of the children.

“As long as Mama is happy, then it’s okay.14163814_935760266536106_1448132747_o

Rakan-rakan yang dimuliakan, ayuh bersama kami di #YouthACE2016, sebuah program anjuran Langit Ilahi yang bertujuan untuk memberikan manfaat dan kebaikan kepada generasi belia hari ini. Sedikit usaha untuk merawat suasana dan memberikan harapan kepada masa depan negara ini.

Youth Awards, Convention & Exhibition( Youth ACE) 2016 akan berlangsung pada 29hb Oktober 2016, di Main Audi, UIA Gombak.

Detail program seperti tentatif, yuran, pendaftaran, ada di link berikut:

http://bit.do/youthace2016

Ayuh bersama kami membina generasi belia mapan!

The Concept of The “Chosen Race”

Think outside the box

Think outside the box

Picture courtesy of link 

The Concept of The “Chosen Race”

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” (Surah Ali Imran: 3:110)

The West has long had an ideological perspective about their superiority and supremacy over any other race in the world. The series of imperialism since Alexander The Great stemmed from this strand of thought. For example, an ideology known as “Civitas” embraced by the ancient Greeks. According to this belief, only the Greeks has civilized lifestyle. Populaces other than that of the Greeks are Barbarians who cease to know nothing of a refined and quality “Civitas”.

No wonder the likes of Aristotle and his teacher Plato are in the belief that some humans are simply born to be “slaves”. They are the forefathers of the social class idea. Karl Popper, a modern philosopher has criticized the social class concept in his 1945 political philosophy work “The Open Society and Its Enemies”.

Like to civitas, subsequent to the European Enlightenment Period until now, eurocentrism (borrowed by Edward Said) advocates a similar theme. The belief says that it is the job of the civilized West to “develop” other races.

These concepts are organic elements in human life as every race and religion has their own respective ideological framework to elevate themselves superior and loftiest among human kind. On the basis of their self-proclaimed narcissistic superiority they are responsible “nurture” to others.

Hence, the series of wars and colonialism are stemmed from such an idea. The principles of Nazi and Fascism are the extreme and rotten extension of the “best human” idea. To make matters worse, Darwinism emerged to justify the paradigm through his infamous concept “survival of the fittest” scientifically vindicating proponents of “the chosen race” and “best human”.

According to the understanding of the etymology “Super Power”, which brings to “hegemony” and conquer. Whoever proclaims themselves as “Super Power” shall look down on others as “less powered”. As they picture themselves as super power, they shall feel more significant and accountable to enslave and control the less powered.

This is the sick value which has transformed the West making them feel they have the right to enslave the Barbarians; those other than them. This is the reason why the West give freedom and respect inalienable individual rights of those within their nation state boundaries but are free to infringe the rights of those outside their borders. In fact, they feel that it is a legitimacy for them to impinge on others if their nation state and Western civilization is challenged. What is currently happening in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious living examples.

Based on this thread of thought the West self-proclaims their rights to enforce others to follow their desires and their self- importance on the land of others.

Any threat to their importance on the soil of others shall legitimise the use of force and war on terror even though is prohibited to be done the same within their borders. This is all due to the ideology of super power.

The West shall exercise any means necessary to defend their importance and values. Any slightest effort to defy “values” will legitimise a counter assault from the West. An obvious representation is the denial of the victory of HAMAS in Palestine even though through democratic means promoted by the West to the world.

As if they are saying “Democracy is only applicable if it is in service of the importance of the West without any means to discredit the embraced Western values; if the importance and values are challenged thus democracy forbidden!”

If idea, paradigm and concept of chosen race are discussed in the perspective of geography, the same happened to religions.

–          Hindu religion places the class of Brahma as the chosen race.

–          Zoroaster places secrecy to the Persian race.

–          The Jews places the Jews as “the race chosen by God.”

–          Christianity places the teachings of Christianity as the extension of Jesus’s tongue in spreading the message of “salvation” to humanity.

The same happens to Islam, but the difference is that in Islam they are no “chosen race”, no “best race” and no word of superiority to legitimise slavery or imperialism. What is in Islam are only the concept of “Syuhada” to the moderate ummah (ummatan wasata) and the concept of “amar makruf nahi mungkar” for the best of ummah (khayra Ummah).

The question is now, how different is the idea of the “chosen race” in the religious frameworks of various religions and ideologies?

Note: Translated and edited from Dr Maszlee Malik’s “Risalah Pemuda Muslim” sub-article entitled “Konsep Bangsa Terpilih”.

 

What’s the meaning of Independence to you my friend?

Merdeka

Merdeka“Achieving Independence Day is just like a general toppling a tyrant. What story comes after the general has resumed power to be a benevolent leader or not is another narrative.”

Our Independence Day and Malaysia day are on August 31st and 16th September respectively every year. Two days of reminder to rekindle the Merdeka spirit in us.

We Malaysians may have liberated ourselves from the colonial shackles but the same incident of triumphing independence has shaped various versions of meanings to different generations across time.

Every generation takes in the meaning of Merdeka differently, some through exchanging fatal blows, some prorogate hard working lifestyle, some having a work-fun life balance but the question is what is Merdeka to you?

Meaning of Merdeka for various generations

Greatest Generation (1901 – 1945) and Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

For the Malaysian Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers, who have seen firsthand how was Malaysia pre-independence, experienced independence and were there witnessing the development of Malaysia.

These two generations, who single handedly captured police stations, killing a British officer with his pants down the river bank, who engaged in war and risked their lives to oust the outsiders, their meaning of independence was through the rough way.

Gen-X (1961 – 1980),

For the Malaysian Gen-X the Gen-X kids grew up when Malaysia’s economy was beginning to industrialize with labor driven, low-end manufacturing at a time when poverty rate was high, in 1970 was at 49%. The New Economic Policy aided the rakyat to improve in time, from having the poverty rate of 49% in 1970 to 17.1% in 1990.

The meaning of independence to Gen-X is no longer war and battles to be fought daily but might be the drive to achieve a better lifestyle.

Gen-Y (1981 – 1995),

For my generation, Malaysian Gen-Y the meaning of Merdeka has changed tremendously. We only learned about Merdeka through text books and Merdeka stories and urban legends from elders. We were brought up in the world when Malaysia was undergoing tremendous development. Malaysia’s economy became one of the champions in South East Asia in 1990s there the Gen-Y never experienced hardship, we were brought up in peace time.

We are the “Naruto & Dragon Ball Generation” I would call. Others would call a generation with “Maid syndrome” as many of us were brought up by maids when our Baby Boomer or Gen-X parents were busy working.

The oldest of the Gen-Y would be aged 34 meaning that, upon graduation, they have an experience of 10 years maximum working in any industry struggling to maintain a family of at least 3-4 Generation Alpha children. Gen-Y is fortunate to have their Gen-X pensioned parents to take care of their children no longer having the “maid syndrome.”

Our meaning of independence is in question as social media has made available contest of ideologies of various clans of thought. Thus the question gets even more complicated from the simple “meaning of Merdeka” to become why should you love your country, what kind of thought should be followed to be patriotic, and how should we show our patriotism?

We are growing up when house prices are ridiculous, inflation is rampant, social media are frustrating, traffic congestion are most distressing and we do not read.

Some of us do not even care about searching the meaning of Merdeka as our generation is a generation of “loans”: “student loan”, “car loan”, “housing loan” and even “personal loan” prior to marriage. We live to take loans and work to pay the loans back. Everyday our mentality is trained on how to earn more and more money to pay back the loans we took.

Gen-Z (1995 – 2009)

For the Malaysian Gen-Z, according to a survey by INTI International University and Colleges, they have branded them as “hyper-connected” generation of spending 8 hours a day on internet. These folks have high dreams maybe from witnessing their parents or from reading in internet as the survey says, from the 500 Zers interviewed, 75% regards as successful person as somebody earning high salary.

The meaning of Merdeka to them? Despite being a “Bieber Generation” maybe they have seen on social media the entire ideological struggle of Gen-Y but they have yet to begin critically analyzing it as they are still in school.

Generation Alpha (2010 – now)

For the newest addition to the family, the generation alpha are the children of Gen Yers yet to show any credible traits but one things for sure is that, they are the “iPad Generation”!

Merdeka to them is yet to be seen, as maybe, they only get to go to Merdeka celebration on their parents’ shoulders or just through the screen.

The Meaning of Independence to Me

I have seen that the rakyat are depressed with the Malaysian partisan politics and choose to be impartial not putting their thrust in any political parties.

I have seen the recent yellow versus red rally; one saw inclusiveness of many colors and the other saw a rally of racism with racial ridden remarks spurred throughout the rally. In fact, I have joined several rallies myself.

I want my country to embrace one race of many colors living peacefully. I don’t want the rakyat to be bothered by racial tensions, if a tension occurs coming from a certain race, it doesn’t represent that particular race entirely. The same goes to religion, extremists exist in any religion.

In the ending of Matlutfhi’s newest video “Short Story: Berdialog Dengan Orang Gua”, he wraps up my Merdeka meaning excellently and I quote:

“Eh Seng. If our plane crashes, which part of me will die first? The Malay part? The Muslim part? Or the Malaysian part?”

“All parts die. I also die.”

“Doesn’t that make us human beings first then?”

My Merdeka meaning is no longer the strife to achieve independence but maintaining, sustaining the independence that we have achieved. Just because “Malay” is in “Malaysia”, our Malaysia does not belong to one race only but it belongs to all.

Achieving Independence Day is just like a general toppling a tyrant. What story comes after the general has resumed power to be a benevolent leader or not is another narrative.

We need not one country, but a shared kind of love, shared thoughts and feelings and shared bond.

And no need for us to taint our Malaysia Day with a rally of racism.

How Much ‘Ramadan’ is left in you?

Fuel Tank Empty

Fuel Tank EmptyHow Much ‘Ramadan’ is left in you?
Tank empty?
Picture from here

“So what is the proof his/her Ramadan is fruitful after Ramadan?”

“Ramadan changes the lifestyle of somebody. But if he/she is the same in Ramadan or not, then, most probably the Ramadan isn’t impactful.”

In Ramadan we could wake up as early as 4am to perform Qiamuallail, prepare food for Sahur for ourselves or for our family and the chances to be late for Subuh prayer is very low. And that goes on for 30 days straight.

But now, even if we don’t have to prepare food for Sahur, are we still qiamullail-ing? And are we still performing Subuh prayer on the dot or when the sun is already up?

In Ramadan we take care of our diet. Our weight is pretty much controlled. We feel more energetic even since we consume less food.

But now, how is our diet? How is our body weight? Are we still carefully observing our food consumption?

In Ramadan, miraculously we could perform long hours of numerous prayer rounds of Terawikh, 8 rakaats, 21 rakaats, plus 3 Witr at the masjid.

But now, let’s say we convert the numbers of rakaats to performing Solat Sunat Rawatib of Qabliyah and Ba’diyah, are we performing them on a daily basis again?

And have we like performed prayer at the masjid or is it like resuming the prior-to-Ramadan custom of once a week on Friday only?

In Ramadan, we can endure the long restraining One Day One Juz (ODOJ) daily activity. Don’t know how we managed but many of us did so.

But now, when was the last time we recited the Quran again?

In Ramadan, we managed to supress our anger. Everytime we got angry, we would be patient and say “Inni Soim” (I am fasting).

But now, each time in traffic a car cuts in without giving signal, what do we say as a reaction? “What the fish!” is it?

In Ramadan our deep pockets are always empty as “The hand that gives is better than the hand that receives”. Donation in Ramadan is ‘rampant’. Everyone is extra generous in Ramadan. Everyone is ‘greedy’ for good.

But now, after Ramadan? I’m not so sure myself.

How come in Ramadan we are active and proactive in propagating good, but fall on short in other months?

If we are a true Muslim and Mu’min, we need to be the best examples to those around us, converting our faith into our lifestyle to benefit the people and the world.

Ramadan is not only one station of our life history, but the fruits of Ramadan are to be nurtured every day.

Don’t let Ramadan be another ‘Ramadan’. Make it meaningful.

The Obligation of Intellectual Roshanfekr in Democratic Space

intellectual_owl_by_snowc-d3bjnfj

intellectual_owl_by_snowc-d3bjnfjRoshanfekr is defined by Ali Syariati as “Enlightened Intellectual”
Picture taken from source

“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)

A Flawed Democracy

Among the arguments of the anti-democracy group is that democracy grants rights for unwise leaders to make amends shunning the intellectuals. According to them, intellectuals are small in number; the society is populated by those who are ignorant and politically illiterate.

In a democratic space determining who holds power and position, it is natural for the less politically educated people to be dominant provided that the myriad numbers of people in society are less learned men.

This is a prevailing reality as the “One person, one vote” system determines the direction of the majority voice in the election. Thus for the anti-democracy, this system is flawed.

If we were to analyze the argument, the rebuttal for those advocating the idea is “The scenario brought forth does not resonate with the true democratic system.”

Democracy is not only and only the process of determining a majority voice, and not confined by exercising the rights of voting once in five years. What is more to the democratic framework is the process of decision making (either through election or referendum) that must be clean, transparent and credible. On top of that, the decision making committee must be of those with undeniable integrity and trusted by the rakyat.

However, what is more crucial is the decision made by the rakyat must be based on a process of well-substantiated line of reasoning, impartial, free-will, free from stupidity and deception from any parties. In addition, democracy in politics does not seize with the end of the general election, following the electoral results, which government chosen, which ministers selected are to be monitored by rakyat.

Without the bigger picture in aforementioned in democracy, such democratic system is far from merited as democracy but serves as a mere “pseudo-democracy.”

Hence, in the implementation of democracy, the process of decision making by the rakyat must be preceded by elements of informational freedom, media freedom, mechanism for rakyat to monitor the decisions made and access for them to rectify if there happen to be mistakes in the made decisions.

The concept of accountability of the selected operatives before the rakyat is an important element of democracy. This is crucial to avoid injustice done under the name of tyranny of majority of those given the mandate to govern by the rakyat. In addition, the mechanism of decision making shall be counted as democracy only when transparency is in the decision making process, implementation process and concluded verdict.

All the above-mentioned mechanisms are not worth the title democracy without an unbiased freedom of speech to voice opinions and arguments among all the parties involved in the decision making process either in political governance or in citizenship.

The Role of Intellectuals

In order to achieve the implementation of such democracy, democracy has to be backed by a democratic education system. A democratic education system is a system enlightening its people to recognize and appreciate rights and responsibilities as a good citizen. At this juncture, intellects should play their role in educating the society in realizing their rights and responsibilities as an independent citizen.

From this point on, in a sound democracy, intellectuals are to be given the platform to educate and shape the ideology of the rakyat. Their intellects are not to be stocked in some institutional elitist groups and the rakyat on the streets are left without guidance.

Their scholarships are not limited as assets of wealth and forget their responsibility and accountability to shape the rakyat’s way of thinking to be rational and intellectual. As once said by Antonio Gramsci, a thinker from Italy, intellectuals should be “organic intellectuals” loyal to the truth and unfazed by the influence of the government, regime, colonizers and even corporatists.

The stand of the respected and the intellectuals should side with the truth backed by universal values.

In the democratic system, the revered and intellectuals should play a proactive role in educating the masses not to revel in their status as scholars and bemused in trancelike intellectual sophistication. Their time should be vested in educating and correcting the way of thinking of the rakyat in decision making. Their failure to play their role only will benefit the ignorant to take advantage of the masses and create a flawed, bebal and bigoted way of thinking as their basis of decision making.

In the reality of media full of discrimination and hegemony by a regime restricting impartial voice for all involved parties in the decision making process, intellectuals have to be the savior. The process of stupidization of the rakyat through the mainstream media and public space has to be counteracted by the intellectuals. They have to stand up and be in offense mode rejecting the insult to the rakyat’s mindset and actions.

Intellectuals vs Academics

Time is of the essence. Intellectuals have to make their hyperactive moves in bringing forth the ideology of justice and humanity in alternative online and offline media. Either at the individual level or collective level, either in print or online media, intellectuals ought to step foot in educating, urging and appealing to the masses to get out from the thinking capacity of captive minds of morons and idiots. Nurturing the young as the future “kings” in the available political spaces.

If intellectuals seize from advocating what is needed, the morons and idiots shall be dominant and triumphant in their efforts of the rakyat’s bebalization.

Criticism from the public may arise saying that intellectuals cannot be biased and have to be neutral. The words of Iranian thinker Ali Syari’ati are sufficient in enlightening the role of intellectual roshanfekr as different as a normal academia:

A roshanfekrs are not to be the same as academics. An academic search for information, a roshanfekr searches for truth. Academics substantiate facts to state what it is but roshanfekr evaluates the facts and state how it should be. Academics speak in a universal language whereas roshanfekr – like messengers – speaks in the language of his people. Academics are neutral in their line of work, roshanfekrs are to embroil themselves in ideology.

As a conclusion, if the intellectuals and revered play their role as a roshanfekr, the issue of idiots dominating popular thinking outweighing the intellectuals in decision making will seize to exist. The question is, are the public spaces and mainstream media giving freedom for the revered roshanfekr to voice out their opinions to shape the rakyat’s way of thinking?

If no, then it is on the shoulders of the revered, the intellectuals and roshanfekrs to stand up utilizing the possible spaces to persuade the rakyat to stand up for change for a more democratic environment. To wait and see others do the job will end up fruitless and futile. It is time for the young roshanfekrs to stand and ignite change.

Translated and edited from Dr. Maszlee Malik’s “Risalah Pemuda Muslim” article entitled “Peranan Intelek Rausyan Fikir Dalam Ruang Demokrasi”.