About Me

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She writes simply to put her thoughts together.
Sometimes they're well-structured, sometimes they're in absolute mess.
But always, they're personal.

Ultimately, this is all for Him.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Rat race

Unlike every other day where I normally have my iftar and dinner at the university's prayer hall, today I decided to break my fast at home. After 10 evenings of being around so many people, I kind of miss my quiet time over meal. As an introvert, I get my energy from not being around people and I desperately need my energy to endure the remaining 20 days of Ramadan. Baru first third of Ramadan dah pancit. Adoi. Being a much more introvert than I am, one of my housemates decided to do the same.

So there we were, on the same table, yet eating different food, each absorbed in our own laptop, with headphones over our head, only with occasional attempts to chat with each other. She was watching a documentary about a woman being poured with acid (yes, I have that sort of housemates), while I was watching the Umar series. It's fine though. We're comfortable with each other that way.

Midway, I laughed hard enough for her to hear while I still have my eyes fixed on the screen. She had a quizzical look on her face. Knowing that the Umar series has a very serious storyline, she asked "Why are you laughing?" I paused the video and explained what I was watching.

It was the episode where the Prophet had come out of silence and openly invited people to Islam. At that time, the people of Quraish were mainly against him for various reasons. Rasulullah's prophethood was basically a game changer to everything the society of Mecca was used to. When the head of tribes of the Quraish gathered, they discussed of what they should do to handle this issue. In the movie, Umar said that these people all have the same aim, which is to eliminate Muhammad pbuh and his teachings, but they each have different reasons on why they want to do it. 
Amongst the Quraish, they're basically envious of the Bani Hashim tribe (which is the tribe the Prophet was from). 
Amongst Bani Hashim, they're actually envious of the Abdul Manaf family (the family of the Prophet). 
Amongst the family of Abdul Manaf, they're envious of the Abdul Mutalib branch (Abdul Mutalib was the Prophet's grandfather). 
And amongst Abdul Mutalib, they're envious of Muhammad himself!

Funny because this kind of behaviour is so childish yet it normally occur amongst the elderly. In the movie, it showed that Umar was a young man in between the elderly people of Quraish and his urge for them to fight for the same cause was simply brushed away. Boy, was he frustrated.

I then remarked that no matter how you think something is wrong, when you're in the system, it's hard to break away from such mentality and behaviour, especially when you have been in it for too long. To which my housemate replied, "that's why I never like the 'house' system at school. It's fine with having 'houses' to develop healthy competitions among students but the exact same mentality like so would also develop".

Schools in Malaysia, especially boarding schools, adopt something called the 'house' system where each student belongs to a particular house. There would be several houses to start off with. In normal schools, this system is usually limited to sport events i.e. students have interhouse competitions in sports, where winners would add points to their house and the house with the highest points win. In boarding schools, this system is taken further where every achievement and every mischief would each add and deduct points of the house. This would then be accumulated and by the end of the year, annual winners would be announced. Generally this is the case, but there are some normal schools who follows this style as well.

Such with this system is that whenever someone achieves something, the points of that person's house would be raised, and at the same time, his/her individual points would also be raised (in something called the merit-demerit system which applies the same idea). While the school celebrates the individual's achievement, in between the students, those of other houses would be silently envious of the house that that particular student is in and even in between the students of that house, they would be envious of that person of having to collect more points than them.

Back to the Umar series story. The Arabs have heard for so long that the prophet of the jewish tradition would come and silently they know that what Muhammad brought was true. They didn't go against him purely because of what he brought but because in essence, whilst everybody was racing to gain extra points here and there for themselves and/or their tribe, suddenly he came with something that would surely be of much higher points than everybody else. One of the common comments that came up as per the movie is "If Muhammad is really the Messenger of God, why would God choose him? Why wouldn't God choose someone of higher status? I'm better than Muhammad. Why wouldn't God choose me?" It's not that they reject the Messenger, they just don't want to lose to him.

And that's one of the messages of Islam: to liberate ourselves from such childish behaviour, to pull ourselves out of this rat race, and to provide ourselves with a much higher purpose. Those who accepted Islam in the early days were either people who were discriminated by such system or those who can think rightly for themselves and submit entirely to the truth. Those who didn't? They were usually too proud to accept the truth.

Have we not heard of the truth?
Then choose the path that you think is right, not what makes you more advantageous in the petty rat race with others.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Start

Day 7 of Ramadhan 2015. Almost a week in now.

The sisters in the prayer hall of my university initiated a tadarrus circle. Basically it's where we would almost literally sit in a circle, take turns to read one page of the Quran, until we finish one juzu' in one seating. This is to be done everyday, for the whole month of Ramadan. The plan is to complete the whole 30 juzu' of the Quran by the end of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah, the circle had been consistently on so far.

Being the nature of a university, though the circle is consistently on, the people who join the circle are not. Some people attended just on the first few days, some came for one day and not on the other days, some join the circle midway everyday, etc. Whereas I, having no commitment yet (as I have not started my summer work), alhamdulillah, managed to attend everyday ever since it started (excuse the lateness sometimes) and what I observed throughout this one week was beautiful.

As how the prayer hall is very inclusive, the circle is too. Anyone who wants to be in the circle are well accepted. Regardless of your background, so long as you're interested in reading the Quran or listening to its recitals, you're very much welcome. In the circle, we have those who are very fluent in reciting the Quran, those who are not so, those who really struggle to read aloud each word, and those who cannot read at all. Whoever you are, we'll help each other in getting our recitals right. This concept is so welcoming that people are not embarrassed that they're not good. Even if they are corrected for almost every verse, the environment is so welcoming that they're willing to come again.

Having being "cikgu mengaji" [Quranic recitation teacher - for kids] several times before, I can tell if someone's recitation is not smooth due to honest non-fluency or due to lack of practice. Regardless, it still never fail to get me whenever I see someone progressing from being such a poor reader to a rather smooth one. My heart feel so warm at the sight of such event. If there's anything I would ask from that point on is for that person to continue reciting the Quran to at least maintain his/her fluency. After all, we would want the Quran to be as close as we can have it to be.

Isn't it beautiful how Ramadan gets people to come back to the deen? Be it as small as wanting to read the Quran more.
Courtesy of my friend, for allowing
me to take a picture of her Quran

To me, one of the biggest joys of Ramadan is the fact that the shayatin are not around. Because what better time to start improving other than the time when your biggest enemy is away from you? It's like a reset button after a year of going pass the ups and downs of life. Sure, it's not going to be that easy. You can't compare the ONE month of the absence of silent whisperers with the remaining ELEVEN months that they groom the dark side of you. Allah is Merciful enough to allow us to get back on our footing whilst the enemy being locked up but we need to be quick and efficient as there's not much time to prepare ourselves to deal back with them for the next coming year.

Change is never easy. But with the right intention and loads of prayers, inshaAllah He'll guide you home. Start small, and progress from there.

If you've been missing dhuha, start maintaining it.
If all this while you only read mathurat once daily, start doing it twice.
If the last time you did qiamullail was last year, start doing it regularly.
If you never know the meaning of the Quran, start reading its translation.
If you hardly go to the masjid, start going.
If you like to shop so much, start giving.
If you've been talking a lot, start doing silent dhikr.
If you never read he Quran in arabic, start learning.
If you never prayed before, start praying.

There's always room for everyone.
Ramadan is not called the festival of ibadah for no reason ;)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Fighter Never Stops

Of wintery sleepless nights and sunburnt faces to bring home.

The 4 days 3 nights summer camp just ended. It was a really wonderful excursion. We had to switch off our phones so we had only nature and ourselves to interact with. I can say that this is the first camp after a long time that I was being myself entirely (I usually have a lot of things to hide. Like not wanting to talk as much or acting so cold that almost everyone would be afraid of coming near me). And that's good. Because tarbiyah can only enter if you let your guards down and make yourself fully exposed. Without that, you can never know what to improve. And that was my aim for attending this camp. To be tarbiyah-ed immensely and be given a boost so that I can know where to go after this point.

Side note:
The word "tarbiyah" is an arabic word which roughly translates to be "education; nurture; breeding; upbringing". I prefer to use this word instead of the english/malay translations mainly because I relate "tarbiyah" with "rabb" which means God (they essentially come from the same root word). So everytime life teaches me something, I take that to be God doing His part in teaching and nurturing me to be a better person, hence the usage of that word.

As stated in the previous post, we had to live below the line i.e. £1 per person per day. This amount is then shared amongst groupmates. Since it was technically three full days, we had £3 each to contribute to the group. My group consisted of 8 people initially so we had £24 to spend for the camp. After deliberate budgeting, some of us had to pull out from the camp and some others were placed in our group at the last minute as our number kept going down. We ended up spending less than £10 to feed the whole group of 6 people. Miraculously, the food was just enough for the whole camp. We had other groups contributing their food to us (as they had extras or their initial groupmate was transferred to us) but ours was finished the very morning of the last day. Of course, afterwards, I grew tired of eating sardines and eggs.

The second day was filled with the hiking of Ingleborough peak, Yorkshire Dale, which is 723m above sea level. The walk from our camp and back was expected to be 8 hours. I volunteered to be the navigator for our group simply because I love reading maps.hihi. Besides the lovely scenic view, I was tremendously blessed with groupmates who constantly and openly reflect and ponder upon our journey besides filling it with loads of spiritual inputs. Here are some of it.

  • Just a few minutes after our departure from the camp, one of us suggested that we memorise and recite our hafazan verse together while walking (one of the tasks for the camp is to memorise surah al-Anfaal verse 45-46) and we did it. Although this made us miss a junction which consequently made us to be the last group (evident when the sweeper came at us) but it made us quicker to finish the first checkpoint, which the task was to recite this ayat fully, without referring to the quran.
  • We passed by this incredible view of piles of stones. These stones were beautifully stacked and looked as though they were carved, it was almost impossible to think of this as just a natural occurrence. This area is covered with white stones so much that from above, it appeared as though the land was covered with snow.
    Walking through the Pile of Stones
    While walking through this area, we speculated how these stones were formed and one of the points was that there might be a civilisation at this area once upon a time. A civilisation so clever that they can build things out of rock. Perhaps this civilisation were wiped out and there's no evidence of their existence except this curious piles of stones. A civilisation with the like of the people of the prophet Saleh: Tsamud where in the quran, it was said that these people were able to carve mountains.
  • The walk wasn't that bad, as the trail that we chose was (presumably) the easiest one. Except for this one point at Little Ingleborough (a small peak before the ultimate peak) where the ascend was really steep.
    Part of the route we took. The purple circle is Little Ingleborough.
    You can see from the contour, how steep the trail is to reach that point.
    Most of our legs gave in at that time but we decided to walk slowly and paced ourselves, taking about 20 seconds break after every few minutes. Upon reaching the top, we looked out at the trail that we went and we couldn't believe that we just walked pass that. And the scenery was beautiful.
    The hike up Little Ingleborough
    That's exactly how mujahadah is. When there's a big hurdle laid in front of us, it's really daunting. Like when we first looked up the steepness of the trail from below. But there's nothing we can do but to go through it. It is tiring and would really challenge our physical and mental state but we still need to walk pass it, be it fast or slow. Just like the hike up that trail. By the time we know it, we've reached the top and presented with a scenic view which tells us that all that effort was worth it. That's why Paradise is sweet but not without the thorns surrounding it.
    The view from atop of Ingleborough peak
  • We were the last female group upon reaching the first checkpoint due to the missed junction stated earlier. But for some reason, we were the fastest paced group and by the second last checkpoint (which required us to change the map reader), we became the first group at the front, with the shooter facilitator being with us. As we were done with the hike, we approached the town near our camp. We were so complacent with the fact that we were about to reach the camp, and most probably the first to do so, we were deranged and missed a junction (again, but a different one). We ended up taking an hour detour. Upon turning back, we met another group and reached the camp with them. Enough said, we weren't the first. This hit me hard. It's clear that victory is Allah's and He can give it to anyone that He wishes. Now we know how it felt when the people in the battle of Uhud thought that they were already winning the battle that they became distracted with the spoils of war. This caused them to flee from their assigned posts and resulted in the Prophet pbuh became seriously injured.
We reached the camp after 7 hours and 59 minutes of walking (clocked by fellow facilitators), third (or maybe fourth) fastest of the female groups. But the hike wasn't about completing it quickly, neither was it about doing the tasks at the checkpoints well. We've learnt so much from our experience: encountering with cattles in the middle of the track, walked through the field of free-range sheeps, threaded the path of different types of soil and earth, and fulfilling our assigned roles throughout.
One of the best views we had upon reaching the top

Amongst many things we did and learned during the camp was a mafia game where throughout the remaining one and a half day, there were silent killers and healers amongst us. The activities went on as usual but every now and then someone would be killed and healed. Anyone who were killed by the killer need to remain silent of whom the killers and healers were. We would have proceedings every now and then where survivors were able to discuss and appoint several people to be convicted which later everyone can vote. The conviction lead to some killers and some innocent civilians to be convicted. Simply put, it was a horrible game.

By the end of the day, so many of us were killed that I became frantic, not wanting to come close to anyone that I don't trust. I didn't even trust my naqibah (who were in fact one of the killers and did try to kill me several times) and literally ran my heart out when I saw her. I can really imagine how my brothers and sisters in the war-inflicted countries felt. I didn't feel safe anywhere, especially since all of my groupmates were killed inside or near our tent. On the final day, I was pretty much the target as I was amongst the very few who still survived and was the head of the camp. Basically my voice needed to be shut. I remember being so scared to go to the toilet (as this was the usual spot for killings) and waking up in the morning, really cold, in need of the toilet, but the first thing on my mind was to check everywhere around me that there's no potential killers lurking. The game occupied our mind so much that it affected our mutabaah amal (we had several amals to be done in the camp, such as reading one juz of the quran in one day, do dhikr 1000 times daily, recite the ma'thurat twice daily, etc).

All in all, it was an intense training. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. What with british summer being rainy, sunny, and cold all in one day (we were in our sleeping bag while listening to a talk at 8 pm). I came out of the camp with stiff muscles, sunburnt face, increased love towards my fellow sisters in the camp, and a heart that required to be placed back on track. Jiwa koyak gila. As I switched on my phone on our way back home, I received tens of emails and messages that required immediate actions. My heart sank as the reality hits. 

The camp wasn't merely an excursion to escape reality. It was a training for me to be stronger to face it.

As the theme song quoted, "pejuang takkan berhenti".
A fighter never stops.

Sunday, 7 June 2015


Dah memang semuanya Allah dah tentukan kan.
Kalau dia nak jadi,
Biarpun seluruh alam menahan dia daripada terjadi,
Dia tetap akan jadi.
Kalau tertulis kata tak akan jadi,
Biarpun seluruh alam bekerja untuk menjadikan dia,
Tetap takkan terjadi jua.
Tak apalah.
Biarlah kalaupun kena repeat pun paper tu.
Sekurang-kurangnya kau tahu,
Kat akhirat nanti kau boleh kata,
"Aku dah buat yang terbaik".
Dan kau tahu kau takkan boleh didakwa lagi selepas itu.
Bukankah itu sudah cukup untuk melepaskan segala sesuatu yang menyesakkan dada?

Saturday, 6 June 2015


Today I received a news that this year's Summer Training Camp wishes to adopt Living Below the Line campaign i.e. live off £1 on food and drinks per day. The moment I read that, my heart sank, remembering how hard it hit me when I joined this campaign last year. Yes, it was a true learning experience, but I've always wished to never experience that again. So when I came to know that I would need to experience it again, my heart went "NOOOOOOO"
*I even blogged how it went. Here's the link (opens up in a new window) if you want to experience my roller coaster of emotions at that time.

Summer Training Camp UK is basically an annual Islamic summer camp for Malaysian students in the UK. Like every other term breaks, summer break has its own camp too. Just that with summer, instead of it being a program in a campsite (or some remote scout hostel), it's a proper camp where people hike, tent out, cook on their own in the wilderness and all sorts, alongside having a programmed intense physical activities (hence the term: training).

It's a 3-day camp so it wants us to live off £3 throughout the camp. What? T.T

God knows how I would survive. Last year the campaign was during exam season and I was almost pushed to tears numerous times (because I'm a tough girl and all so it is a big deal okay!). This time it's in a camp where you're expected to use a lot of energies to do physical work. Ha. Ha. Good luck on taking care of your mental state this time round, Sofina. I'm usually known to be one of those who would hoard chocolates to few-days programs. I guess that won't happen this time T.T

But isn't it always like that in life? Your bitter past coming back to haunt you?

I used to think of myself being closely related to Trisy, the character in Hlovate's Rooptop Rant. An anti-social with a skeleton in her closet (read: a haunting past she kept shut from others). Later on I've learnt that keeping that "skeleton" in my closet don't really bring any good (not that being an anti-social is much good either). The closet would be constantly opened and I get my scare again time after time. It was no use.

Over time, I trained myself to be stronger to face my fears. Well, to put it correctly, I was trained.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine the other day. That ever since we've decided to dedicate our lives to be the best servant of Allah that we possibly can, we basically have signed up for ourselves to be corrected and improved all the time until our time on Earth is due. Even the thought of "signing up" still gives me chills but that's what I did, a year ago. I promised to myself that there's nothing else that I want in this world besides being the best abid that Allah has promised to be able to see His face in Jannatul Firdaus. That marked my starting point and it was then a journey where He put me in to be groomed to be just that. Like, you know, when you join an apprenticeship, the company grooms you for a certain amount of time to prepare you to be just the person the company needs before you become their permanent employee. I like to think of it that way: I'm on an apprenticeship to be the permanent employee of Allah's Jannatul Firdaus "company".

So part of being groomed is to put forth a desirable characteristic set by the employer and eliminate all undesirable ones. See, eliminating undesirable traits is difficult if it's something that you love, and being able to have a desirable trait is also difficult if it's something you're anxious or feared of. So it's never an easy task.

Although I've said time and time that I don't really mind that much about money, I guess deep inside, I'm actually afraid of poverty. And Allah knows that. He always does. And He wants that to be fixed before my time is due. I mean, how else would you want to love the poor and needy (as how Rasulullah pbuh wanted us to be) if you cannot understand what they feel in the first place. Not just sympathising their physical state, no. But really understanding them, inside out. I made a lot of mistakes the first time round (like quarreling with my best mate whom I never argued with otherwise). He's just training me to be better at it this time around. Besides, I really don't have that much time left on this planet to further delay that process.

I am weak. I am afraid. But whatever Allah gives me, that would surely be the best for me.

After all,
Jannah is not cheap.
It's paid through sweat and blood.
Not simply with uttering "till jannah".

May this STC makes us closer to His redha ;)

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Exam rant

Dah pergi jauh, basic lupa.
Belajar tinggi-tinggi, foundation hilang.
Tahun kedua fizik, dah siap belajar bra-ket and all the ridiculous mathematical operations and whatnot, Taylor expansion tak reti-reti, construction of Feynmann diagram kelaut.

Ramadhan dah dekat, bila entah kali terakhir tadarrus.
Belajar aliran agama, rukun islam rukun iman pun tak tahu apa maksud, sekadar hafal.
Dah lebih umur 20, iman entah bila kali terakhir ditanya khabar.

Dan kau masih ingat kau boleh pergi jauh? heh.