Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Farewell My Dear Friend




God’s decree surpasses all human’s planning. Thus, many times your life takes a sudden turning without forewarning. Death is one of His many decrees that nobody can predict.


What do you do when death summons someone you love? Your life suddenly changes. You turn to your left. You turn to your right. Everyone and everything do not interest you. Your body feels so light, almost like you are floating. You do not feel the ground beneath your feet. You feel a little confused. Your mind does not want to think. It stops at that one thought – has that person really gone and never coming back? Your brain does not want to process this piece of information. You get stuck in that hollow space and time stands still. Even walking in a crowded place, you just do not feel a thing. Total shock engulfs you. Then, a voice in your heart speaks, “That person did not leave, but only returned to the Creator.” Your Imaan wakes you up. You remember. Every living being belongs to Allah…body and soul. Innalillahi wainna ilaihi roji’un…indeed to Allah we belong and to Him we return.


La hawla wala quwwata illa billahi…there is neither power nor ability save by Allah. You start to feel the surrounding. Your brain has finally registered the loss. You have finally accepted the death. Learn to live with it. Redha. A string of events you last shared with that person floods your mind. Tears have arrived and perhaps they will stay with you for some time. You cry, cry and cry. You are not alone. Allah is with you. Cry and let the person go. Let him or her go with absolute sincerity – ikhlas. Allah will never leave you alone for He loves you more than you know.


Tears become your companion. Islam says three days only to grieve but do tears know when to stop? No matter how hard you hold them in, they will fill your eyes… blocking your sight. Relenting, you close your eyes to let all the tears stream down. They flow from both corners of your eyes warming your cheeks. At no prescribed time, no prescribed place, the smallest thing can trigger your mind to that person. Your brain automatically retrieves pieces of your shared moments with him or her. Again, you cry. Remember! You are not alone. Allah is with you for always. Turn to Him.
Being a Muslim, part of our faith is to believe that a Believer is never let to live his or her life without tests from Allah. Redha and sabr are the pills to take at times like this. You need loads of them to persevere. Keep yourself close to Allah and ask for strength from Him to proceed with your life. No matter how hard it is for you, your life must go on.
How do you cope with living without someone whom Allah has sent into your life to act as a pillar of hope, giving you moral support in things you do? Someone who has been there for you all this while? Someone who said to you, “I’m so blessed to have you as my friend”? To others, the world is short of one person now. But, that person is more than a part that completes the whole. Allah knows what’s in your heart. He knows your pain. He knows the loss you feel. Allah brings two hearts together to show his Greatness. He is the One that makes that person touch your life. Allah loaned this person to you and He has taken that person back. He owns you and that person. Thank Allah. Say ‘alhamdulillah’ for the blessing of knowing that person, even for a short time.
Be strong. Do not drown yourself in sadness. Fight to live! Take the Quran. Read, read and read. Keep it close to you. Remember you still have to complete this long journey. Please Allah and have faith in Him. Obey Him. Do not displease Him. Seek His help to live with Imaan and be steadfast until He calls you to return to Him. Always say this du’a: 
Allahummakhtim lana bi husnil khotimah! 

One who yearns to meet Allah, Allah yearns to meet him or her. Keep the moments you have shared with that person, the good and the bad. The moments that made you laugh with him, angry at him, cry because of him, smile at his silly acts, worry for his well-being or scared for his life. Remember not to live in those moments now. They are your past with him. The past that Allah has bestowed upon you. Those past moments are for kept. May Allah reunite you with your loved ones in Jannah. Aameen, ya Rabb al ‘alamin.


To my dear sahabah (r.a), thank you for that final moment, visiting me with Allah’s permission. Alhamdulillah! Allah made me understand it later that you actually came. I will forever remember that precious moment. I will never see you again in this life. Insha Allah, Allah will allow us to meet again in the next life just like He did when He placed us in a true friendship for more than a year. Rest in peace my dear sahabah. 


“O’ Allah, forgive my sahabah. Make him among the guided ones, raise his rank among those who are rightly guided, and be the Caretaker of his grieving loved ones. O’ Sustainer of the universe, forgive us and him and make his grave spacious for him and grant him light in it.”
Aameen!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Journey of a Gift - Chapter 1


Chapter One

The peaceful azure blue sky set a magnificent backdrop to the vast open sea embracing the scenic Batu Buruk beach. The beginning of sunset in the west flickering beautiful reddish flames and the graceful strokes of evening breeze completed the magnificent canvas. Far away, a lonely ship was sailing. Birds flying home harbored the few people resting on it. Soothing music of nature, orchestrated by the rhythmic sea waves, was entertaining the people on the shore. They scattered all around the famous and most visited beach in Kuala Terengganu. Some were indulging the gentle caress of the sea water while the majority was occupying themselves with some activities on the white sandy beach. Voices of people talking, shouting, laughing and even crying blended well with the waves. 

Visitors around the park, located right across the road facing the beach, seemed in no hurry to leave the recreational area. Children’s talks and laughs encompassed the playground. Small chats among adults and adorable fights between pairs of little kids were music to the ears. Even toddlers in strollers seemed excited by the sounds in the park, thus stealing looks at their older siblings around the playground. It was another weekend that captured harmonious vibes.

Not far from the cycling path in the park, among the crowd of visitors, a thirty-year-old man was examining the back wheel of his bicycle. 

“Not again!” Sighing, Harith rubbed his forehead. Pushing the bicycle to the ground, he wondered how to fix it. Suddenly he remembered Adam, his nephew. Suhana, his younger sister who lived and worked in Kedah, had left her son at their grandparents’ home to accompany her husband on a three-day business trip to Bali.  He quickly scanned the playground and smiled when he spotted the boy happily climbing the ladder of a slide. Harith’s attention returned to the bicycle. 

He had the bicycle modified for her so she could cycle in the park. He had taken off the white rattan basket attached on the front wheel. It had stayed on his study desk for the past two years. “Why are you being like this, bicycle? Is it because you’re not really mine?” He was mumbling the words when he felt someone was staring at him. Turning to his left he met a beautiful little girl. She looked almost like a doll – a bit messy brunette curly shoulder length hair, very fair skin with chubby cheeks and round dark brown eyes. Her pink jumpsuit, yellow t-shirt and white sneakers completed her doll-like appearance. She could be about Adam’s age he thought. The little girl smiled at him.

“You have a flat wheel, uncle?”

“Yup, sweetie and I can’t fix it.”

“I can help you.” She ran to a car, parked under a shady tree. Harith saw the little girl talking to a man. Probably her father, he thought. She pointed to Harith. He smiled and waved at them. Carrying a bicycle pump, the man and the little girl walked towards Harith.

“As salaam alaikum. I’m Iskandar, this chubby little girl’s Daddy.”

 “Wa alaikum salaam. I’m Harith Faisal.”

“I’m Jasmine, Daddy.”

A little surprised to hear the name, Harith smiled at Jasmine.

“Of course, you are, my Princess Jasmine!” Iskandar touched her small nose and turned to Harith.

“Hi, there, Jasmine. Thank you for your help, sweetie.”

“Jasmine said you’ve got problem with the wheel. Hope this helps.” He handed Harith the pump.

“Thanks.”

Jasmine ran to the slide and made small talk with Adam. Harith began working on the wheel.

“Do you come here a lot, Mr. Iskandar?”

“Quite often. Jasmine loves it here. Her mother used to like this place too…” He paused remembering something. “…today is her seventh birthday and she wanted to come here. Please join us later. Her Grandma packed us with enough food to feed five people…even the birthday cake!”

“Alhamdulillah! Thanks for the food and drinks. Adam really enjoyed the cake and the fried noodles with the fish crackers. Also thanks for the pump.” The men looked at Adam and Jasmine who were finishing their drinks. “I guess we’d better get going.”

“Really nice meeting the two of you here, Mr. Harith.”

“Same here, Mr. Iskandar. InshaAllah, we’ll meet again.”

“InshaAllah.”

Harith and Adam cycled to the car park. Harith’s cell phone rang.

“Yes, Grandma. Yes, we’ll be home in ten minutes, inshaAllah.” He sensed from his grandmother’s urgent voice that something was up with his grandfather.

~
The double storey house – a fusion of modern and traditional architectural designs – was quiet when Harith reached the front door. The living room was empty. His grandparents must be at the nearby masjid for Maghrib prayer. Adam ran to his room. A maid in her fifties appeared from the dining room and confirmed his grandparents’ whereabouts. Harith hurried to join the early evening congregational prayer.

It was around nine when Harith returned home. He heard Adam talking with his great grandmother. He walked to the direction of the voice. His nephew was narrating the meeting at the park. Seeing Harith, Hajjah Maryam signaled her grandson to go to the study. “I’ll join you in a minute, dear.”

An old man in his seventies was sitting at a big study desk, reading a tafseer. After giving salaam, Harith took a seat at the sofa opposite the desk. Haji Mustapha came to join his grandson. Harith thought it was a little strange for his grandfather to sit across from him at the sofa set. The door opened and his grandmother entered with ginger tea for the three of them.

Sitting beside her husband, Hajjah Maryam looked at her grandson. A mix of sad and happy expressions appeared on her face. Harith felt a little awkward, almost disturbed, as he sensed a little tension in the air, yet keeping himself composed to what was about to take place. The three of them rarely gathered in that room. It was usually him meeting his grandfather to discuss matters about work at the office or their batik factory.

“Right after you left for the beach, your Pak Tua called …and told us everything. Obviously she calculated the time before leaving. Today was the day and we were told the truth.”

 “She? The truth?”

“Jasmine...”

Harith’s jaw dropped.

“…and what really happened on that wedding day.”

Hajjah Maryam nodded reaffirming her husband’s words.

Harith recalled the last meeting with Jasmine in KB almost two years ago. She did not tell him the reason for leaving before the wedding and he did not force her to. For a moment, Harith was speechless. Meeting little Jasmine earlier reminded him of his Jasmine as well as his long lost mother. All the way driving home, he recalled the time spent with Jasmine at the park.

Looking straight into Harith’s eyes, his grandfather continued. “I want you to be honest with me, Harith. I know for many years I wasn’t the kind of grandfather you wanted to have. I had my reasons and some you’ve already known. Some are wise to be kept secret for the betterment of our family. But, when Jasmine came into our family, you and I…we opened a new chapter of our relationship. That, I will forever be grateful to her.”

Harith took in every word uttered by Haji Mustapha. Nothing new to his ears. The past two years, his relationship with his grandfather had indeed improved. What was the truth? The true reason why she had left? Jasmine’s name suddenly cropped up. No one had mentioned the name for the past one year and a half. He believed the family wanted to spare him the agony of what went down almost two years ago. Or perhaps, they had decided to forget the name.

“Before I tell you the truth your Pak Tua told me…why she left, I want to hear all about you and Jasmine.” The old man’s voice became less commanding than usual.

Moments earlier, he had guessed from his grandmother’s face that his grandfather had another tip regarding him searching for his mother yet again. For years he had been secretly searching for her ever since he began working in the family’s batik business. That was about seven years ago. He always saved one third amount of his monthly salary to use purposely for that. He was a little distracted during Jasmine’s stay, but never stopped entirely.

As for Jasmine, she vanished into thin air about two years ago. Just like his mother did. He had tried contacting her at her home, but gave it a rest when his effort was fruitless. Of the two women, he decided to pursue looking for his mother. He missed Jasmine still but kept telling himself that his life would only be complete after he had found his mother.

“Dear, what we’ve learned today has changed what we believed was true…that she never left only to save herself. Perhaps you have guessed that.”

Hajjah Maryam’s voice brought Harith back from his musing. Jasmine left but clearly she had made a deal with Pak Tua. “So, what did Pak Tua say? No, no…exactly what did Jasmine say?”

“Before we go into that, tell us everything…do not leave a single thing out, dear…about you and Jasmine…from your first meeting with her and all that happened between the two of you until the day she left…on that wedding day two years ago.” Hajjah Maryam’s voice was gentle yet encouraging.

“You two had some kind of a partnership and both were…I would say still trustful to one another or the partnership itself. What I don’t understand is how come you don’t even know where she is now?” his grandfather added.

First the meeting with that little Jasmine in the park and now this! The thought ran through his head. There was still a half month before the two-year time completed. Only then he had promised himself to seek for Jasmine again. He still could not figure out why she needed the two years.

Harith hesitated for a little while but realized no harms in telling his grandparents everything. They had known much about him and Jasmine. Losing Jasmine did change the family in some positive ways – a blessing in disguise. Even his relationship with his grandfather had become as normal as it should have been since. But, it never justified losing her in his life.

“Harith…” called his grandmother after his long pause.

“We met in a flight…”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Journey of a Gift

Here's my second entry for this year. 'Journey of a Gift' is my latest novel manuscript. InshaAllah, I will be posting some chapters here. I'm hoping to get some comments from readers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friendship is a Gift

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;
blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Looking back to 2010, alhamdulillah, I met some new friends through "The Gift". They read the novel and wrote to me. A few of them have kept in touch on regular basis. Thus, a friendship was born. I thank Allah for this blessing...

In 2010, I lost the presence of two dear friends in my life. Norida was my childhood best friend. We were seven when we met for the first time. We were inseparable during our primary school days. We kept in touch during our teenage years. Careers never really separated us. Allah Ta'ala always had His ways to bring us together from time to time. Then that one night last year, I was awakened from sleep - the news that took me hours to digest. She was no more in my life...I met Dalilah when I was eighteen. She was my roommate at the college - a bubbly and cheerful person. I will always remember her as someone who loved to make others smile and laugh. Her struggle with cancer during the last few years of her life was amazing, subhanAllah. May Allah accept them and may they rest among His beloved servants.



Losing these two friends made me think of my favorite character in "The Gift" - Ani - Saleha's bestfriend. Allah Ta'ala gives us countless blessings and friendship is indeed one of them. The sahabahs of Rasulullah...they were jewels in his life. They were among the great people for us to ponder and model after. Friends make our journey in life more meaningful. Thank you Allah for all the friends You have granted me with!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gift Series

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;
blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Latest update - Timeless Gift WILL NOT be published by Telaga Biru Sdn Bhd (TBSB).

Click on the picture below to read excerpts from The Gift or leave your comments about the novel.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Book Depository

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;
blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Gosh! Have I been MIA for such a long while or what? It's been almost a year :) Sometimes life commitments are as unpredictable as our final meeting with Allah s.w.t. We just do our best striving to stay within the boundaries of Islamic teachings so that we would earn His pleasure.

I've been asked again and again how to buy 'The Gift' online since it is NOT available in any bookstores in Malaysia. Well, you can purchase a copy from The Book Depository (FREE DELIVERY WORLDWIDE). Click HERE.

I'm still working on the third manuscript. It's a tough one for me to interweave Islamic romance and suspense with dashes of comedy. As a writer, I'm really learning a lot! I hope to post some excerpts from 'Journey of Love' soon, inshaAllah...


video

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Third Novel

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;
blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Time really zooms! Another Hijri year has already begun...soon 2009 will make an exit! Scurrying to complete this and that at Fajr Library, how I wish I had a helper :-)

My fingers are itchy to dance on the keyboards typing away another chapter of "Journey of Love" (working title) and new installments for the short stories, including the one I've started on this blog. Another week and a half to go before the finale of 'Holiday English' and the training of SYAZ kindy teachers. Then, inshaAllah, I will resume my writing!

Back to the third novel, I'm trying something new in "Journey of Love". Islamic romance is no doubt the essence of it, but I have added elements of mystery and comedy into the storytelling. Let's see how it comes off...but as a writer, I'm pretty excited with this 'experiment'!

Happy holidays to all!
Wherever you are...may Allah Ta'ala keep you all safe!