Thursday, September 25, 2014

English Speaking Workshop: Discover Your Confidence



A workshop aims to equip you with the tools to improve your English speaking.

Date: 18 October 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Venue: Auditorium, Second Floor, Perlis Public Library, 01000 Kangar, Perlis (

1. Fee per person is RM50 (includes lunch and snacks). Must pay before or by 17 October 2014 in order to confirm seat.
2. Only 30 spots are available (Update 13/10/2014: 20 extra spots added!)
3. Open to all 16 to 24-year-olds.
4. Must have basic mastery of spoken English (not totally zero English).
5. To register, please click here.
6. Registration closes 16 October 2014. Registration on the day of the workshop won't be accepted, unless you don't mind having no lunch provided for you.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Family: Ihsan (Excellence) with Difficult Parents

Assalamu alaikom,

Considering I've just began my letter with "Assalamu alaikom", thus I hope , by Allah's mercy, that peace prevails over all the negative emotions I may hold in my heart that should not be there.

Without further ado, I am really desperate for an advice to this familial issue, one which I couldn't approach anyone else to avoid problems/backbite/gossip and the spread of negativity. So, I'd really appreciate your help.

My mother is a good woman but she is very negative. She sometimes insults me when I try to advice her about her negativity. I would usually excuse her, since she has a lot to carry on her shoulders. I can only imagine the burden she is carrying as a mother.

One incident crushed my heart. One day, she asked me to behave in a certain way for a special occasion so that I don't shame her in front of her friends. When I refused to do so, once we got back home, she screamed at me together with one of my siblings. That particular sibling never made me feel like we are related. But I don't harbour any ill-feelings because that person is my family.

But I cried, and I cried like I never cried before. I hurt my gut from crying so much. But what hurts me more is my inability to think positively and my lack of wisdom on how to react. I simply felt helpless.

I didn't want to make this as long as this, so I apologize for your time. I only wish to know the right way of dealing with my family with "Ihsan" (excellence in character).

I try to love my mother and my brother because I believe that the more I try to love them and be patient, the more likely it will be for us to love each other. Even if it looks impossible, I still believe it because I believe in God's mercy and wisdom.

Thank you very much.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

May this email finds you in a good state of Iman and in a good state of health. Ameen.

I cannot say that I understand what it is like being in your shoes. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. I pray that Allah give you strength in these trying times. Ameen.

Having said that, I admire your effort to remain positive. In the midst of all that you are going through, you still try to think positive about your family, especially about your mother. That is not something that you should overlook. It is not easy to be positive in a negative situation, but you tried and at some level, you have succeeded.

However, there is only so much a person can take. Nobody should face difficulty alone. In fact, you are not alone. There are people out there who are willing to lend you a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. These people are worthy of being called your friends. You need them in your life.

Even the Prophet was not alone when he faced challenges, and he has faced many, many challenges in his lifetime. The people close to him made those challenges easier for him to face. On top of that, he had Allah by his side.

Trust me, you have Allah on your side as well.

Don't think for a second that Allah hasn't noticed that you are trying your best to be the best daughter to your parents and the best sister to your siblings. Allah knows all that you do and He is fully aware of the burden you are carrying.

Allah doesn't reward a person based on the results, but based on the sincere efforts a person makes. So keep on doing what you are doing. Keep on trying and never give up.

Never fight fire with fire. Never fight negativity with more negativity. Stay positive by being around positive people (the friends I mentioned earlier). They can be your much needed social support. Again, you are not alone in this endeavour. I am sure that there are people out there who can relate with you directly. If not, at the very least they can be there for you when you need them the most.

At the same time, try your best to maintain good relationship with Allah. Remember, He is the one who holds the key to all hearts. He is the one who is capable of changing hearts. So turn to Him for ultimate assistance. Turn to him in repentance and in prayer.

Allah listens and He never forget.

The key here is to do your best. Try to find a way to get into their hearts; a way to get the message across effectively. I can imagine that I will take a great deal patience and wisdom, but I believe you can do it.

Allah will never burden someone with something more than he or she can bear. The fact that Allah is testing you with this test is a testimony that He knows that you have what it takes to face this test, and to succeed in the end (Insha Allah).

Again, you don't have to face this alone. There is nothing wrong with seeking help and support from people when you need them. Even the Prophet sought help and support from his wives and companions when he needed them.

Lastly, hold on to the rope of Allah. Let Him be your source of strength. With all your best effort, don't forget to pray to Him and to ask Him for the change that you hope for in your family.

I hope that those few words mean something to you. I apologize if I have said something that I shouldn't have. My intention is never to belittle your problem, to trivialize your pain, or to offend you in any way.

I am here, as your brother in faith, to help you the best I could.

May Allah grant you strength and success. Ameen.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Relationship: Almost All Of My Friends Have Boyfriends, Except Me. Why?

Assalamualaikum Aiman.

I broke up with my first love after a year. After that, I never had a boyfriend. Sometimes I ask myself, "Am I too ugly to have a boyfriend?" Almost all of my friends have boyfriends and when we go out, they always tell me about their boyfriends. I feel jealous.

Why does Allah do this to me?



Thank you for your honest question.

The desire to love and to be loved is natural. I have it, you have it, and others have it too. However, in Islam, we are taught how to love and to be loved in a way that God intends it. In Islam, we are also taught that we all have the power to make our own choices.

Hence, in this case, we can choose whether to love and to be loved the way God intends it or not. In the end, we will all live and die with the consequences of our choices, for better or for worse.

I can imagine that you are feeling unappreciated knowing that you are boyfriend-less while most of your friends are with boyfriends. I am not trying to ridicule or undermine your feelings about this subject. I acknowledge the pain. What I suggest to you is to reconsider the situation from a different perspective.

Don't be sad that you don't have a boyfriend. Instead, be grateful.

The Quran said clearly, "And do not approach zina (premarital sex). Indeed, it is an ever immorality and is evil as a way." (Surah al-Isra: 32)

Zina is a destination and there are paths that lead to that destination. Not only does Islam teaches us not to commit zina, it also teaches us not to go near it. We shouldn't even be on the paths to zina, let alone arrive at the destination. In English they have a saying, "Prevention is better than cure." In this particular case, the saying fits perfectly. We are preventing ourselves from zina by avoiding the paths that lead to it.

When you are on the path, you will eventually arrive at the destination. It might take a short time or it might take a long time, but surely you will arrive at the destination if you keep walking on that path.

One of the paths that lead to zina is this boyfriend and girlfriend relationship.

If you look at it that way, you should be grateful that Allah saved you from being on that path. Instead of feeling jealous about your friends, you should feel a sense of compassion for them and you should wish that they get off that path as well. They should be more like you, not the other way around.

This isn't to say that the people who have boyfriends or girlfriends are bad people. We don't condemn a person because of one sin. The person might be doing a sin in public, but we have no idea about all the good deeds that he or she commits in private. So we leave the judging part to Allah. But for this one particular sin, we offer our help if the person wants it and we ask Allah to open his or her heart to change for the better.

I hope that helps. Forgive me if I have said something I shouldn't have.

Allah knows best.

May Allah grant you a righteous, lawfully-wedded spouse and may you both enter Jannah together. Ameen.

p/s: You are not too ugly to have a boyfriend. You are too precious to have one.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sharing Is (Not Necessarily) Caring

"Sharing is caring."

The first time I heard that line, I thought it was catchy and meaningful. There is truth in that statement. Indeed, we share many things because we care. We share about our thoughts, feelings, and concerns with others because we care. We care about ourselves, we care about them, and we care about us.

However, after some time, I started to raise an eyebrow whenever I read or hear that statement being voiced. After considering the contexts in which this statement is commonly used, specifically on the internet, I think we have to add a few clauses to the act of sharing in order to qualify it as being an act of caring.

Sharing is something we do so easily these days (especially with the convenience of the "Share" button), sometimes it is hard to make sure that we do it because we care, or because of something else.

If we indeed care, then before we share we should seriously consider at least these 3 things:

1. What is the intention behind the share?

If we indeed care, then we should share because of a deep and a sincere concern for the well-being of others. This is the basic definition of "naseeha" when the Prophet said, "The Deen (referring to Islam) is naseeha."

Ultimately, this is done to seek the pleasure of God.

If there is an intention other than that, then we have to revisit our "sharing is caring" ideology. Are we expressing our care for the world, or are we just looking for a couple of hundred "likes" for a quick ego-boost?

2. Before we share, do we verify the information?

The discipline of the wise is to consider everything, but to accept only the truth.

When an information arrives, no matter how interesting it may be, do we spend a few moments to ask whether or not it is true? If we indeed care, then we should make sure that whatever we share is the truth and nothing less than that.

Think of it this way: whatever we share on the internet, despite our best privacy settings, there is a possibility that what we share is available for the whole world to see. Wherever there is internet and wherever there is a person who is capable enough of maneuvering himself or herself in it, that person has the potential to receive the information you shared.

Not too long ago, someone shared a Facebook status of a person whom I have never met. Not only does the person was not in my friends list, she was also not in my mutual friends list - not even in the "people you may know" list. She is, technically, far beyond my circle of Facebook friendship.

But, her Facebook status somehow magically arrives in my newsfeed. Fortunately, she did not say something untrue or inappropriate. Nonetheless, that goes to show that when you talk about the internet, nothing is private.

There is a possibility, no matter how small, that whatever you share on the internet can be seen by anyone.

I make Youtube videos without the intention of going far. At best, perhaps my videos could reach everyone in Malaysia. To my surprise, I received emails from places like France, Venezuela, Holland, Egypt, etc. Some of them are Malaysians, but some of them aren't. Point is, my videos reached further than I could ever imagine. Even though physically I have never been to these places before, but my message reached them.

On one hand, I am grateful to know how far my videos have gone. On the other hand, it is scary to think that I, a normal boy with a camera and an internet connection, have the capability of reaching that far.

What if I accidentally spread something false? How far have that falsehood traveled because of me?

3. Is the thing that we want to share positive, or negative?

I believe that the world is not as bad as it seems. The media in our disposal, particularly the internet, has contributed to the ugly painting of the world that does not reflect the reality of the world. Part of that ugly painting is our individual contribution of spreading negativity on the internet.

Sad part is, negativity goes viral easily.

Whether it is someone doing something stupid, vulgar, or inhumane, we like to share things like that with the world. Ultimately, this can lead to a drop in our collective morale as one humanity.

I am not suggesting that we ignore the negativity that exists. It does exist and it needs to be addressed maturely and tactfully. Simply sharing the negativity does not help removing it. If anything, it adds to our paranoia and frustration about our own selves.

Focus on the solution, not the problem.

We all want to combat negativity, but sharing negativity is not the way to do it. We have to combat negativity with positivity. When we add more positivity to the world, negativity will slowly decline because positive and negative cannot coexist. One wipes out the other.

If we indeed care, then we should share positivity with the world. We should lift people up and not let people down. We should constantly find ways to brighten people's day and not to gloom it down. Our very existence, both in the virtual world and in the real world, should contribute to the collective positive energy.

Let the positive energy spread through our finger tips; through our blog posts, tweets, statuses, video blogs, and whatever means we can get our hands on these days.

If we care, then we will share what will ultimately make the world a better place.

That is what makes sharing a truly caring act.