Sunday, March 11, 2018

A genuine happiness

Last night, we had a dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in Gadong. It was a quiet night. There were not many customers at the restaurant, thus giving us the chance to have a proper and good meal time. We were both talking about our work and how our day went when we started reminiscing about our past. It was a good reminiscing time as we shared stories of our primary school friends and our friends in the university where we both studied. We talked about how everybody has changed and how people grew up from being our primary school friends and now becoming parents. Then, we reminisced how Ulfah Jannah started and how everyone gathered at the first time. It was at that moment when I told him that I am so grateful having them in my life and how they have changed my way of life. Then he shared, "We actually prayed for you. We all prayed that may Allah eased the way for you to become a Muslim. Our prayers were answered. Alhamdulillah..." I looked at him in the eyes, feeling unsure whether I heard the right words. But, I knew what I heard was right because I could see the sincerity in his eyes when he said it. At the same time, I held back my tears.  I only managed to let out, "Alhamdulillah..." while looking at him, smiling. Then, I told him how I got the hidayah and how I experienced the strong feelings of wanting to become a Muslim. I shared with him how I decided to tell my parents about me wanting to convert to Islam. While telling him my stories, deep down in my heart, my love for my beloved Ulfah Jannah group is getting stronger and I keep praying to Allah to let us all meet again in the hereafter, back as a group of friends in His Jannah. I realized, it's been long since the last time I feel a genuine happiness in my heart. This time, the feeling is quite different. This happiness is the happiness I know Allah has granted to me immediately that night. It felt so special that I could feel Allah is so near :') Alhamdulillah... I looked at him in the eyes again, and I saw all my Ulfah Jannah friends. I smiled, and he smiled, too. And we both know Allah has been there to guide us since the first time we saw each other. May Allah bring us the Ulfah Jannahs together again in His Jannah. Amin...

Buat Ulfah Jannah:

Ya Allah, 
Panjangkanlah umur mereka,
Kurniakanlah kesihatan yang baik pada mereka,
Terangi hati mereka dengan Nur pancaran iman,
Tetapkanlah hati mereka, perluaskanlah rezeki mereka,
Dekatkanlah mereka kepada kebaikan, jauhkanlah hati mereka dari kejahatan,
Tunaikanlah hajat mereka, baik hajat dalam agama, dunia dan akhirat,
Kau temukanlah kami lagi di syurga-Mu...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Allah is the best helper of all

It was quite a hot afternoon ad it was a Friday. My family and I just left our house to go next door, to our new neighbor's house to attend a doa selamat function. I was informed earlier by my dad that the function was for our neighbour's son who recently was discharged from the hospital after almost three months being admitted. 

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by one of their relatives who ushered us to our seats. It was only our third month after moving into this neighbourhood, so we did not see many familiar faces. The attendees were mostly my neighbour's family members and his son's friends. A few minutes after berdikir was done by a group of elderly men inside the house, we saw a young and good looking man stepped out of the house with a walking frame, slowly and carefully making his way out towards the guests. The young man, of age approximately mid 20's, at first looked down, and then as we watched him walking down the verandah, he looked up and scanned all the guests briefly. It was at that instant I felt heavy in my heart. I held my tears back. I couldn't imagine how fragile he was during his moments at the hospital. His mother informed us that he was at the ICU for two months plus and it started from him only being ill and feverish. I was feeling so deeply touched just by looking at his face, sending that calm feeling throughout me. And all I could say in my heart was,"Alhamdulillah, ya Allah, You gave him another chance in his life." As he made his way towards us, guests quickly stood up and approached him to give him blessings, doa and menabur bunga rampai. I saw a few mothers and aunts had tears in their eyes. It was really a miracle for him to be able to walk again after spending days and months in bed. He stood near the verandah next to his family members, holding his walking frame, giving chances for the guests to greet him and menabur bunga rampai. As he stood there, I watched his face, studying his emotions. I could see the determination and strength in his eyes, and he tried his best to smile and talk to those who approached him, though he looked quite weak. Quietly, I felt so proud of him. He managed to come back strong and fought hard against his illness which almost took away his life (at that moment, I was not sure what exactly he was diagnosed as). It was really a real miracle happened in front of our eyes and it was a real survivor life story. 'This young man must have a strong heart to have gone through this trial in his life,' I thought. And I secretly admired his determination. After the menabur bunga rampai  session was done, he slowly turned around and made his way back into the house to give way for the guests to eat.

Another moment that made me feel so deeply touched by this young man's gesture was when he actually sat and had his foods at the verandah, while facing all the guests during the eating time. I was not sure whether it was his wish or was it his parents' wish (which I doubted) for him to sit at the verandah but to me, it was really a touching act to do. He could actually had his foods inside the house for his own comfort but then, he chose to eat outside, together with the rest of the guests. 'Maybe he wanted to have his time with the guests,' I thought. And I instantly concluded, 'He must be a really good man with a good heart' :')  

After the event, we went back straightaway. That afternoon, I had a deep thought about my life and what I have gone through and I related it with the young man's life. Though we have totally different life struggles, but there is one common goal: To never give up on Allah's help and to live life fully. My neighbour's doa selamat event opened up my eyes and heart wider to accept my current life situation. There are still other people who suffer more than me. And lately,  I realized, I have not been grateful with my life. I have been quite unhappy with myself and I got agitated and irritated easily. I tried to find out the cause and it rooted back to my current job. I think I am still adjusting myself with the new work environment though it's already six months since I started. And I keep reminding myself, "Allah will never burden me more than I can bear". From there on, I decided I must change myself from the inside. I really hope I will get back on track after this, in sya Allah, for Allah is the best helper of all.

Source: Google

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A good man.

"Thank you Yani for coming. How are you?!" That was the first question asked by my former lecturer-turned-colleague, Dr. Kushan, as soon as he saw me. Just him mentioning my name made my heart filled with joy. I could feel my presence was acknowledged by this kind man. "I am good, Dr. Kushan," I replied while smiling at him. I could see how excited his eyes were, sparkling with the same joy and excitement whenever I saw him back at the university. Dr. Kushan used to teach me plant physiology during my degree years and we became work colleagues when I worked at the same university after I graduated. He invited me and Rosie to join the rest of his colleagues at the same table at Anjung Saujana restaurant. Suddenly, the cold air that me and Rosie felt as we entered the door of the Brunei International Airport became warm. And there we were, sitting with the rest of the expat lecturers, at the same table. It was an enjoyable night. Everyone was having a good time, laughing over some academicians' jokes. I find it really interesting to have a laugh over the topic of Brunei's traffic lights and how the 3 colored traffic lights are related to drivers' behavior and decision making. It was amusing to look at different perspectives of chemists, biologists and a mathematician as they argued about it. And as I sipped my hot chocolate, I listened to them exchanging ideas and sharing their personal experiences. As best as I could, I embraced the beautiful moment. It was a special night as we were sending off Dr. Kushan back to his good country. 

I held back my tears as I watched Dr. Kushan exchanged hugs with his colleagues minutes before he entered the departure gate. Though they came from different countries but they spoke the same language. Academicians and scientists who left their own countries to serve other people in another country. When it was my turn, I shook hands with Dr. Kushan and wished him good bye and take care. And at that moment, I knew, it would be my last time to see this good man :') (Tears running down my eyes at this time). We all waved him the final good bye just after he passed by the security post. And with heavy hearts, me and Rosie together with another colleague left the airport. I was told, he did not want to be paid for his February salary to make things less complicated before he left for good. It shows how sincere and passionate he was as an academician at the university; he was there not for the money, but for his passion as a scientist. Hearing that, I felt so touched. And speechless at the same time. At that moment too, my brain was recalling old memories at the university; how he had contributed so much to the university and how conscientious he was as an administrator back then. I feel so blessed to have the chance to meet this good man and be part of his life. I really am so glad to have known him, as my lecturer and as my work colleague. I wish Dr. Kushan, and his family the greatest happiness and joyful life.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's January again. Welcome 2018.

Assalamualaikum~ :) Happy New Year 2018! I started writing this post 3 minutes before midnight of 1st January. Can you believe it? It's already 2018! How time flies... 

Looking back, my 2017 was a year full of ups and downs. Firstly, it was the year when my beloved grandfather passed away and since then, everything changed. Things happened to our family and it was more to us being torn apart than getting close to each other. Allah knows how I feel about this, until now. Whenever I think about it, I have tears running down my cheeks. The sudden loss of both of my grandparents within less than a year (2016, then 2017) has led me to suffering from mild depression. However, with the help of my fiancé and of course, continuously seeking help spiritually from Allah, I managed to come back up and reclaim back my normal self. Alhamdulillah... Though at times, I would cry when I miss both of my grandparents...

Secondly, 2017 was the year when I got a new job at a new place. It is still within the education sector but this new job offers me a permanent place. My family and my beloved fiancé were the happiest to know when I got offered. I was happy too. However, at the same time, I was sad because I was leaving my current job at that time. I had a good working environment, good bosses, good colleagues and yes, good pay as well. But then again, I knew it was the right decision for me to leave. I left everything to Allah and tawakkal. Alhamdulillah... It's been 4 months since I started working at the new place and things are going well. Allah is the best of planners.

Thirdly, and the last highlight of 2017, was that I bought a new house for my family. We just moved in last November and has already started settling down. I got to keep the master bedroom, which I have yet to create a suitable theme. This was also a major life-changing decision I have ever made apart from changing my job. This, too, was after I prayed and prayed hard, asking from Allah before deciding. And yes, Alhamdulillah, Allah the Most Generous has granted His rezeki to me and my family. Of course, I am happy to see my parents happy :') That's the best that I can do as a daughter; before I go to the next major, life changing step of my life. 

So, that was pretty much of how my 2017 went. Allah has taken away the love of my life and at the same time, Allah has replaced my loss with something new. May the year 2018 will bring goodness and blessings from Allah SWT, and may I get closer and closer to His Deen. Amin...

Bandar Seri Begawan, where I spent my life since 1992 until last year, before moving out to a new place at the suburbs area.

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Ramadhan

Assalamualaikum and hi! :) Yay, it's Aidilfitri again. Happy Eid ul-Fitri to all Muslims out there and may this year's Eid will bring us more blessings from Allah SWT, and may we meet Ramadhan again next year. Ameen...

This year is my 3rd year fasting in Ramadhan as a Muslim convert. Alhamdulillah, I feel even more contented with my Ramadhan this year than last year's. I managed to perform taraweeh prayers at one of my favourite mosques, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the capital. Last year I only went once to the mosque (and that was a kampung mosque in Tutong) because of my lack of confidence in performing the taraweeh prayers at the mosque. This year, however, I managed to overcome my lack of confidence by giving myself the chance to just go and join the crowd. I fought against my self doubts and with my only intentions to please Allah and sought the barakah in the holy month, I managed to perform taraweeh almost every night at the mosque. I even managed to perform taraweeh in the final ten nights of Ramadhan, with the hope to really find the real meaning behind the holy month of Ramadhan. 

Alhamdulillah, I believe I have found the true meaning behind Ramadhan. It is not only about fasting and controlling myself from doing the things that are forbidden, it is all about giving myself to Allah SWT. It is all about discipline, focus and meeting the goals to become a better Muslimah. It is all about taking care of my heart and mind, and to ensure myself to not fall victim to the lures of Dunya. It is not easy, I should say. But the fight really worth it. And additionally, this year's Ramadhan has taught me to love the Quran even more than before. Now I am making Quran as my best friend and my goal is to read Quran everyday, anytime anywhere. And I want Quran to be part of my life always, as all Muslims should do... :') Quran has always been my penghibur di kala duka, and it has always been my source of knowledge and guidance. It has shed light on me whenever I feel in doubts, and whenever I feel so empty and depressed. I admit it, before I embraced Islam, I always had self doubts, lack of confidence and feeling depressed more often. I felt that my life was meaningless, clueless and there were no true goals. Now that I have Islam in my heart, Alhamdulillah, I have been living in peace... I can feel the true meaning of happiness... :')

I wish I could write more but there are so many beautiful things that I myself cannot put them in words to describe how much in love I am with Ramadhan, and with Islam as a whole. I know Islam is the right path for me since the beginning I was first exposed to Islam. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah for choosing me. I really really feel so blessed with this life and with this path I have chosen. Alhamdulillah...

"...indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves..." Ar-Ra'd, ayat 11.

The ceremonial barge of the SOAS Mosque, Brunei, taken after the taraweeh prayers.