Sunday, May 26, 2013

Making Tawba... to become closer to Allah

Many of us search for His signs hoping He will guide us, yet we remain lost.  There may be moments when we witness His absolute infinite wealth of guidance (tawfiq) and blessings, still most of the time we persist in a world of emptiness and neediness. We search endlessly for His messages. But if God were to answer your call, would you know it?  Would you heed His guidance? Is it possible that you are repeatedly shown signs, and dismiss them as simple coincidences?

Understanding His will and receiving His call requires closeness (taqwa).  It requires a tearing of the veil between you and Him.  It requires a love and intimacy so powerful and so consuming, that only the vessel of one’s heart can carry this one love.
If we desire His guidance, it’s critical that we first learn how to fill our hearts with Him alone. This is a condition expressed in the Qur’an. “Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers,”(Qur’an 45:3). This verse refers to the mu’min (believer).

• Tranquility triggered by a strong sense of faith
• Being present, in the higher dimensions of a moment, without expectations
• Emptying one’s heart from everything except for the trust one instills in Allah (swt)
Allah (swt) tells us that paying heed to His signs is the benefit, indeed the essence, of being a mu’min.  Nothing is real outside of Him, and if we are able to fill our heart with this reality, if all circumstances and all conditions become a manifestation of His will in our eyes, than His guidance will come regardless of how heavy or complex our affairs may seem.  “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Qur’an 94:5)

Believing in the Oneness of God’s purpose and design is critical to the way we view the events that take place in our lives. This is especially true if we desire His guidance. Ibn Qayyim radiAllahu anhu (may God be pleased with him) in his book Madarij as-Salikeen discusses guidance as being a primary benefit in achieving a true internal state of tawheed (Oneness of God).  The states are articulated in four stages:

1. Tawba (Repentance): Ibn Qayyim suggests that in order to achieve the greatest and most insightful state, one must start with a constant (and never ending) state of tawba (repentance), and recognize the hearts thirst to seek the truth. It’s through the deep thirst for truth that light enters ones heart. And once light enters the heart, seeking the Source becomes deeply rooted cause within the individual.

2. Awakening Level (Fikra): This is the level of thinking and pondering.  In this early stage, the heart starts to stare in the direction it wants to go in and after recognizing, it desires a wakeful state. In this phase the heart starts to understand and distinguish truth from falsehood.  It starts to determine what is good and what is bad.

3. Bassera (A light in the heart):  Bassera becomes a form of revelation for the mu’min.  Bassera is very powerful, because it places ferasa (insight) in the heart and it makes the believer aware of the good and evil in life. It removes all forms of shock in dunya.  It helps one ease the need to set expectations. In this state, the believer is aware of what others can’t see or understand.

4. Azim (Determination):  The ultimate by-product and fruits of the previous stages lead to Azim.  To reach this state a mu’min must set a qada (goal).  The goal must be a path towards God.  Once you have ferasa (insight) the believer is able to set a goal that will lead them on the right path.  Once the goal is set, and one pursues it, his determination increases (Azim). This determination will create a sustaining bias towards action in the believer. He will constantly and without tiring struggle on the path to reach his goal: God.

Of all the states listed by Ibn Qayyim, the most important one is repentance.  Tawba isn’t a phrase we say at the end of each prayer, nor is it just a gesture. Tawba in its deepest sense represents humility and God-consciousness. It means, before doing something, we ask ourselves whether it will bring us closer to Him. It means, every time we incline towards a sin, our heart aches for forgiveness.  It means, loving Him with a sincerity that penetrates the deepest aspects of our wants, desires and hopes, because we can’t have the love of dunya and His love in the same vessel.

So start with tawba.  Let your life become completely consumed by it. It will bring you so much closer to Him, His signs, and His revelation.  Even if you don’t have the chance to reach the higher stages in this life, tawba will protect you, guide you, and reassure you in moments of weakness and in moments of need.

May Allah grant us all goodness & tawba to become a true MUKMIN.. Ameen

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson retires

I am writing in honour of the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson.

A truly remarkable manager & the most successful manager in English Football history. I do not think that anyone can beat his successful record (at least not in my lifetime)

He has won 13 English Premier League (93,94,96,97,99,00,01,03,07,08,09,11,13)
He has won 5 FA cups (90,94,96,99,04)
He has won 4 League Cups (92,06,09,10)
He has won 10 Charity Shields (90,93,94,96,97,03,07,08,10,11)
He has won 2 Champions League Cup (99,08)
He has won 1 Cup Winners Cup (91)
He has won 1 Super Cup (91)
He has won 1 Inter Continental Cup (99)
He has won 1 FIFA World Club (08)
38 trophies all together.

The most memorable English Premier League to me was 2003. They showed great character as they won the League at the expense of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal team who won in 2002 & 2004.To this date, I still think that was a sweet moment to win the EPL knowing that Arsenal were a very good team at the time.

The most memorable goal must be Ryan Gigg's goal against Arsenal in 1999 FA Cup semi-final.

The most I admire about Sir Alex is his dicipline. Nobody is bigger that the club. Also he immediately bounce back after a defeat. It is okay to lose, but get on with the next game & forget about the previous defeat is his mentality.

Below are some of disappointments that are stuck in my mind:-

1995, Blackburn pipped MU after MU just can afford a draw in their last game against West Ham (1 point)

1995 FA Cup Final. MU lost to Everton 0-1 scored by Paul Rideout

1998, Arsenal pipped MU to the title (1 point). On Mar 1998, Arsenal defeated MU at Old Trafford with the goal scored by Marc Overmars

2005 FA Cup Final. MU lost on penalty shoot-out, with MU controlling most of the game

2007 FA Cup Final. MU lost 0-1 to Drogba's goal AET

2010 & 2012 EPL, where MU lost by 1 point & goal difference respectively

Being MC in my cousin's wedding

I was asked to be the "Master of Ceremony" for my cousin's wedding (akad nikah) event last 13 April 2013.

It was an honour for me to be the MC, as the wedding was between my youngest cousin (Aisyah Faruk) and his partner Kieran Millar.

Kieran's family came all the way from London to this ceremony. They took the trouble to dress in tradisional Malay dresses just to blend into Malay tradition.

The whole ceremony was done in English. It went really well. Technology also played a part as there was this "face-time" that my daughter did, in order for my sister from Auckland, New Zealand who can follow the ceremony LIVE. WoW!!

At the end of the day, I could see my uncle (Faruk Othman) was all smiling, and I knew that whatever it is, he was satisfied with the ceremony

The next day (14 April), the wedding reception was done in Shangrila Hotel, KL in a very grand manner. Again, the ceremony went really well and I will cheerish this special moment forever in my memory.

Kieran Millar converts to Islam with the name Daud, and I make doa to Allah that he will become a good Muslim in the future....



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PAS 55 certification speech to the masses...

Below is a speech I wrote for XXX company.. 

I have introduced you to:
Vibrant Workforce & Productivity Revolution through four key thrusts: -
Building trust / relationship,
Building capacity,
Building performance,
Building Growth

I also have also talked about
"What is stopping you from Giving your best to XXX" & "You can make a difference"

With those close to heart, now I am driving the message:
"Our business is managing Asset - Be excellent in Asset Management & the company will Excel"
Our core business is to supply electricity to our customers safely, reliably & economically.

To follow the good practices in asset management, our assets will be in good working condition to enable us to supply electricity to our customers.

If we analyse closely, all assets, be it overhead lines, power lines, electric cables, transformers, fuse boxes, meters, substations & power stations,  they are all physical assets that enables us to run our business.

If, one element of this asset is damaged, then the supply to our customers will be affected. If it is well managed, the electricity supply will be uninterrupted.

We must also realize that these assets have a life span which follows the normal life cycle stages. From planning stage, to installation, to operation, to maintenance, to overhaul and refurbish and subsequently disposal. Each stage should be managed optimally so that they always remain in good condition.

Asset management also must balance between three key elements: performance, risk and cost. If we can manage it well, we not only ensure a continuous supply, but we can reduce the cost to the company without affecting the performance of our business.

With the latest technology, we can ascertain the condition of the assets before they become inoperable. In other word, we can take action before they are damaged.

In good asset management, there is an "international standard" that we thrive to get certification.
PAS-55 is an international certification standard guide-lines that lists down best practices in asset management.

I fully support this new initiative. Join me in ensuring that our company realize this journey of getting PAS 55 certification and prove that XXX has reached international standards in practicing good asset management to enable us in supplying safe, secure and reliable electricity at a reasonable cost.
"Our business is managing Asset - Be excellent in Asset Management. You can make the difference”