Farewell

Last night, I witnessed a mother crying over her son’s demise on her birthday. Today while bidding goodbye, we requested for her to continue her du’a, to forgive his sins, and to be “redha” on his demise.

My grandma…we were worried about her as she was hospitalised a week plus before her birthday. Alhamdulillah she was discharged earlier, so we had an early 86th birthday celebration on 28 Oct at her place.

I looked at grandma for the longest time and wondered if this would be her last celebration or will we blessed to have her till her 90s just like my paternal grandma.

While I was booking a cab, dad called my phone and requested to pass the phone to my uncle. I told him to call mum’s phone instead as I was in the midst of cab booking. He wanted to ask my uncle to join him at his workplace Cairnhill Condominium, moreover uncle has retired. He agreed.

Monday, 30 Oct

He came by my place by bus at 4+pm and then took the bike with dad to the condo. He also shared with mum he’s been having chest pain ever since he changed to another brand of cigarettes.

It was raining when I came back from work. Mum worried that both dad and uncle are stuck in the rain. They eventually came home at 8+ if I recall correctly. He went up to our place. Dad asked him to come in and have a hot drink but he insisted on going home. I heard his voice from where I was seated, having dinner.
Mum asked dad why he didn’t drop my uncle at the bus stop. He explained that there are things to carry.

Tuesday, 31 Oct

I reached home at 6.30pm. Najul told me that dad just called mum, crying, cos my uncle fainted at the condo and uncle was taking short breaths. Ambulance had sent him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I was almost confident it’s just a scare, a minor heart attack.

I pitied dad cos he must have felt miserable and helpless. Uncle told dad that he was a bit giddy. Dad told him to just sit down and rest. Dad called one of the Indonesian helpers in the condo to get a warm drink for my uncle. He did drink at the same time saying he’s in pain. He “dozed” off but dad managed to revive him. When dad noticed something was not right, he immediately reached out to my brothers who called the ambulance on my dad’s behalf.

While waiting for the ambulance, dad called mum. He was shakened. Almost sure it was bad….judging from his breathing. Police arrived too…questioning my dad and others.

Another uncle suggested we pray for him while waiting for updates. Mum and I were ready to dash out anytime. But at 7.15pm, we got that unwelcomed call…cardiac arrest. He left us. Just like that. My brother had to repeat a few times to my mother. Uncontrollable tears.

Because it happened outside with no medical records, the jenazah had to be placed in the mortuary. We had less than 2hrs before they bring it to SGH for a post mortem. Police came. Investigation Officer came to question my father. An unavoidable procedure for this situation.

To see my usually smiley grandma crying in her wheelchair, on her birthday, over her son’s demise was really heartbreaking. To see her kissing her son…touching hus face in tears. It’s painful to see.

Many came to the mortuary. Everyone cried. Everyone misses his jokes, never-ending teasing and the only tall figure among his siblings.

Wednesday, 1 Nov

Alhamdulillah all went well and this morning we were informed no autopsy was required. Everything was as planned. Arrived at his place 11.30am. We prayed zohor and solat jenazah at the beautiful Masjid Yusof Ishak. It rained after the solat but stopped when we were at Pusara Aman.

I can’t recall the last time I cried this much.

I regretted not talking to my uncle that Saturday. I regretted not passing the phone to my uncle so I could see his face. I regretted not noticing he was too quiet on Saturday. I regretted not walking to the door to see his face for the last time on Monday.

I regretted that I initially didn’t ask him to join for the Batam trip. And when I was ok with him joining, we couldn’t get the same time ferry tickets so he didn’t want to join us. For all that I am sorry.
I’m still trying to come to terms with it. He began his new life as a husband at my home…held his wedding here 20+ years ago.

Who would have known that his last meal would be at my home. That was the last conversation he had with his only elder sister, my mum at my home. That my dad was probably the last closest family he saw before his final breath. That you would miss your long awaited vacation to Boyan with the big family in March.

If you could just take a minute, please if you could be kind enough say a prayer for my beloved maternal uncle, Allahyarham Sapiee Bin Nik and also for our family (especially my grandma). May Allah bless his soul and place him amongst His beloved ❤ “Every soul shall have a taste of death…” (Ali Imran:185)

Your (grand)nieces and nephews miss you.

 

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Matters of the Heart

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Day 2 in the beautiful month of Ramadan. I pray that everyone is in good health and had a great start to this amazing month of ibadah insyaAllah.

Honestly, the last couple of weeks were challenging. The heart was sort of…in turmoil, caused by no one else but myself.

You know one (or many) of those moments when you are angry, ok another time, impatient, oversensitive, ok again and suddenly depressed and disappointed? Needless to say, I hated myself those few days (although I must admit, I do blame it on PMS sometimes. Hahaha)

BUT, I’m truly grateful it all happened. That episode made me understand why Islam emphasises on choosing your companions wisely.

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WORKSHEETS

“The people around you are your worksheets. You just need to do some corrections.” Uh huh….that was exactly what my friend, D, said, to describe the people around me. Must be her teaching background. Hahaha!

D went on, “Remember what you said to me just last Friday? You said, ‘I wish I am as patient and forgiving as you are.’ There you go!”

In less than 24hrs after I made that “wish”, Allah presented me with a worksheet to test how patient and forgiving I am. Of course, I was terribly disappointed with my performance. What do I expect? To learn something without a test?

“For all you know, YOU are the answer to their prayers. To be more independent like you, perhaps?” I see it now, D. Recently, an ustazah shared that you might be praying for yourself to be more giving so Allah make you meet more people who are in need of your assistance.

“Keep doing the corrections. You’ll get the hang of it.” InsyaAllah.

I revealed that I’ve been saying the zikir “Ya Jalil” and “Ya Lateef” religiously, intending them for particular people in my life. I realise I actually need these 2 beautiful names for my own heart, probably even more than those people I intended it for.

LESSON #1: PRAY FOR YOURSELF WHEN YOU PRAY FOR OTHERS 

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THE 3 Ts

Meeting this other dear friend of mine, S, will always involve emotional conversations about life, loved ones and death. And most of the time, having her to see me crying in public.

1st T: Tests 
Her (S) sharing always reminded me that no one is spared of tests. Even things which we see as positive such as wealth is a test in itself too. Even for the most jovial, ever smiley person.

“Babe, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are not perfect. You regretting and realising it now, shows that you are learning something out of it. The knowledge you gained doesn’t go to waste. You just forget.” 

We must believe that these tests are tailored for us so we can sail through them with His divine help and support from friends and family. If we can’t get that support from others, the Ya Wakil, is sufficient for us.

2nd T: Tawakkal
For all the effort we’ve put in, heart and soul, we will be given the credits we deserve. Never give up on asking and keep on praying. You’ve done all you could, so now leave it all in His hands. Have faith in Him.

3rd T: Time
S might have passed a similar test, in a much shorter time frame than I have. But like she said, her tests after that are even more challenging. To be able to handle her tests with much patience and positivity, is truly admirable.

Everything happens in His time, not ours. You would achieve the triumph, sooner or later, but never, never. Amin insyaAllah!

LESSON #2: HAVE FAITH & UTMOST TRUST IN HIM

Allah places all sorts of people in our lives. Some hang around for a while, usually leaving a mark or a learning trail longer than their stay. Some stick around longer to remind you of what you can be and to guide you spiritually and emotionally.

Alhamdulillah for the tests, the triumphs, the wonderful people in my life, who struggle as much or even more than I do. For always consoling me and telling me it’s ok to struggle, that I am doing fine, and reminding me of Allah and His many blessings.

LESSON #3: SAY ALHAMDULILLAH

I pray that you and I are always surrounded by beautiful companions who will catch you when you fall, to console you with words of encouragement when you think you’ve failed terribly and lest you forget, will bring you back to Him.

InsyaAllah my score at the next worksheet will be better. I’ll struggle but I’ll try. Ramadan Kareem everyone. Take care of your hearts and souls.

Ummu

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I recognised the black dress with fuchsia floral prints. She wore it at the last outing with her beloved daughter and family just 2 to 3 days ago. The woman in charge, cut her dress. Tears rolled down my cheeks. A reminder of how lavish your adornment is, it is worthless when you leave this world.

I looked across. There she was with much love and pain. My sister-in-law lovingly stroking her mum’s hair. Reminiscing times with her I am sure. I looked up trying hard not to let my tears fall yet again.

I turned to my left. There they were, my 2 teenage nieces. I am a proud aunt. Anggun occasionally wiping her tears like me. Trying her very best to put up a strong front. Probably thinking of the nights they slept together. Who would have guessed she left just a few days after she slept over.

Cinta, the younger one but calmer one. Though she did say before we entered “Aunty Nani, I want. But I don’t know what to do.” “Just follow what the makcik says. She will tell us what to do. Just be gentle like how you would be gentle with yourself while showering?  Don’t worry. It’s my first time too.”

May you both be in His guidance always.

She was hospitalised on Friday night, if not mistaken. Mum and I had decided to visit her on Saturday after zohor. We were ready. Immediately after the call to prayer was heard, my brother called to inform us of her passing. Mum was heartbroken. Not being able to see her for the last time.

This was the least I could do. The usually weak me. I had to.

When it came to Anggun’s turn to cleanse her grandma,  she took 2 minutes and whispered to her cousin next to me that she can’t do it. She felt faint. I could see the heart brokenness on her face. Her cousin helped her to sit down whilst we continued.

Seeing Cik Kamesah being covered for the last time, I couldn’t help but tear. We will each go through this. One that I am grateful for is, the ritual and burial was done within 4 hours. Alhamdulillah.

My sister in law is a woman full of patience and shows much love and endearment towards her mother. I have a lot of respect for her and a lot to learn from. Allah will rejoin you with your beloved parents when the time comes. He will ease your affairs for you do not need live with regrets for taking such good care of your mother.

You have lost a baraqah which is a mother’s blessing and du’a but she has your du’a. I am sure for all the du’a she had for you will last you a lifetime. Ameen inshaAllah. Keep the late Cik (Aunt) Kamesah and those whom she left behind in your du’a.

Al Fatihah.

Journey to Him

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Tears welled up. I didn’t expect that to happen. At all. A familiar name I’ve called out so often in times of joy, sadness, fear and disappointment.

ALLAH.

I tried to recall the last time I felt that way.. I’ve probably cried for something I didn’t get or cos of guilt. But crying solely just mentioning His name and praising Him? Sadly, I can’t remember. What happened that Thursday night, I will remember for life.

When I was told to close my eyes and to softly say Ya Allah a hundred times, feeling it with my heart, I thought “Well, I’ve always said it with my heart.” Gosh, the arrogance.

It took probably more than 10 times of His name till heart to started beating fast. Just as I wondered of what I did not do right in that zikr, my heart suddenly swelled with emotions and my mind flooded with flashbacks and faces of people I love.

I felt like an opened book, disclosing too many inner emotions that just kept flowing, refusing to stop.

YA ALLAH.

After the 100th mention, we were told to open our eyes. Feeling embarrassed, I quickly grabbed a tissue to wipe my tears. I was comforted that I wasn’t alone. The whole class was quiet. Even our teacher was trying to find her voice to continue the lesson.

Ustazah Suaidah. I’ve heard about this young religious teacher from my friends who are mothers. She could relate to their experience as working mothers they said. And she writes beautifully, I heard.

The workshop “Women and Journey to Allah” would be interesting as usually religious lectures and workshops are pretty general and not gender-specific.

In the first lesson, she said it’s difficult to find classes where they talked only about Allah. So true! It’s usually about Fardhu Ain, Tajweed, etc. Not that those lessons aren’t important but it’s as important for us to know our Creator too. How to love someone when you don’t know that person well, right?

I was excited when she told us she will focus on Asma ul Husna.  My weakness is in remembering His names 😦 As though she could read my mind, she shared that applying His names in different situations would make it easier for us to remember. Of course, it is best for us to zikir all His names anytime and all the time.

For a start, we were told to choose 5 of Allah’s names and say them 10 times after Subuh prayers and before we go to sleep. I chose these (including Ya Allah)

– Ya Afuw (The Forgiver – we want Allah to forgive us for our sins and delete them all)
– Ya Bari’ (The Best Planner – to start off your day)
– Ya Jalil (The Holiness – to purify our hearts)
– Ya Wakil  (The Trustee – to seek His help)

Last week, she also shared (based on her teacher’s recommendations) to recite specific surah after the following prayer times (to include zikir as well):

– Subuh: Surah Yasin (For ease)
– Zohor: Surah Nuh (To ask for cure, to renew our syahadah and to remind us of patience and perseverance of Prophet Noah)
– Asar: Surah An Naba’ (To ask for love and remind us about Qiyamah)
– Maghrib: Surah Al Waqiah (For rizq)
– Isyak: Surah Al Mulk (To ask for forgiveness and protection from punishment in grave)
– Dhuha & Tahajjud: to recite Ya Allah x 100 and Asma ul Husna

May He guide us always on the straight path and ends our time here beautifully. Please keep me in your du’a 🙂

HE decides

Since last year, Nurul and I had planned for Uzbekistan 2016. Months back, we had submitted our passports for visa processing which would usually take a week or two. We were prepared for a last minute approval based on my friend’s experience.

No news till 2 days before our departure on 11 May so our agent suggested postponing to another week.

Midnight 17 May, we were told that they have not received the telex from Uzbek. Time for plan B – Bosnia.  18 May we were told that the land package is S$1800 and flight is $1900. Overpriced for a 7 full day trip.

7 days was too short for Morocco or Spain. Third option Frankfurt-Strasbourg-Amsterdam. Nurul had been to Frankfurt a few times so I didn’t mind. Nurul had been wanting to visit Strasbourg and me, Amsterdam. Craziest thing ever – Nurul booked the hotels, train and flight tickets on 18 May at night for the next day departure!

For a planner freak like me, I definitely freaked out…big time! The irony I’m a last minute packer but an advanced planner. This time it was the other way round.

So here we are in the train at Frankfurt on our second day, heading to Wiesbaden.

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Wondering, Wandering

“The act of trying to find the way home is what convinces us we are lost. We’re not lost, we’re not alone, and we’ve never even left home.” ~ Rumi

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I find myself spending more time at home. A good thing, I hope. But it does get a little too lonely at times.

I’ve pondered a lot about major life events and the little things, that didn’t really matter back then.  Every single word that passing strangers/visitors in my life, uttered to me. Even those who came for a while and left without a word.

How I’ve failed to achieve societal’s supposedly ideal age-correlated events.

I used to scribble on my notepad, my diary and even my textbook back in school, “Everything happens for a reason.” I wonder why I chose that phrase, and not others. Guess it’s HIS way of telling me to be prepared,to be ever-ready. That I am a woman made of steel, ready to face life’s battles. I’m sure there are others of “my kind” and those who are facing tougher challenges.

Rasulullah s.a.w said “Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” (Muslim)

Sister Yasmin Mogahed shared this on her facebook page last week:

“Everyone you meet has a part to play in your story. And while some may take a chapter, others a paragraph, and most will be no more than scribbled notes in the margins, someday, you’ll meet someone who will become so integral to your life, you’ll put their name in the title.”-Beau Taplin

Life’s a journey.

Allah musta’an. Allah ma’ana.

الله المستعان ,الَلهَ مَعَنَا


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Look after yourself

This life itself is an odyssey,  a journey. Travelling through this temporary abode as we count our years.

A sister whom I adore and admire, one of the greatest friends I have, shared this:

An advice from the great scholar Imam Ibn al-Qayyim:

A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, and a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf. So look after yourself, protect yourself, nurture yourself and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth. Know for certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination. Your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility. Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscience. If your conscience is at peace then you will ascend high and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.

Do not carry the worries of this life because this is for Allah. And do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah. And do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah.

Carry one thing: How to Please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfils you and enriches you.

Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep. Just say, “Oh Allah compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter.”

Sadness departs with a Sajdah. Happiness comes with a sincere Du’a. Allah Does Not forget the good you do. nor Does He Forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from. Nor Will He Forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh.

Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good, not because for other’s sake but because Allah loves those who do good.

It calms me yet I felt a squeeze in my heart. Of guilt, perhaps. Overwhelmed that I teared.  I sure have a lot to learn. And I hope when it’s time, I will be in the best of what’s expected of me, in need of His mercy.

Every soul you meet is for a purpose. I’ve read somewhere even if you probably might not be with them till the end of your lives, every single person is your soulmate. Looking back at friends or even strangers I’ve met years ago, taught me a lesson or two. Beautifully arranged.

“On our path through this life, we are blessed with meeting special people who help cure the loneliness. Our hearts recognize them almost instantly. This is because our souls were together before this life…and will perhaps be together after this life has passed.” – Yasmin Mogahed