Monday, February 25, 2008

The Singapore Quran

The mushaf Singapura is on display at Masjid Kampong Siglap, the Darul Quran Centre of Singapore.
A few years ago I went to Shah Alam, where there is a Centre for Quran Calligraphy, called Yayasan Restu. It was the most wonderful place in Malaysia I have ever been to. Apparently it began because one day the former PM of Malaysia, Dr M, was in another Muslim country and he discovered that except for a few very old fogies, nobody is left with the discipline of writing Qurans anymore, especially since printing has become more feasible. Also, he was perturbed that the Saudi mushaf had become ubiquitous in the Muslim world, and that it was becoming mistaken for THE mushaf Uthmani (which to my surprise and consternation, a great majority of Muslims I know believe to be true). So he came back to Malaysia and ordered that, as the Melayu boleh apa-apa saja, his countrymen will reclaim this almost-lost art of calligraphy and Quran manuscript.
So they embarked on the exercise of designing and writing the mushaf Malaysia. The thought and spirituality that went into the exercise was so inspiring - they really took it to heart that this is the Divine Word and had to be treated with utmost reverence and thought at every step.
They used only natural dyes from nature, like different types of wood and spices, to mix into ink, so as not to use artificial chemicals to write, as they believed that to write the word of God it is befitting to use products from nature, which we know, glorifies God.
The paper used was of the highest possible quality, and there were commissioned pieces which were made of paper guaranteed to last 700 years!
And the artistic design that went into the decoration of the side margins and symbols - all of them were based on existing artistic motifs found in ancient Malay woodwork or craftsmanship, or using stylised representations of local flowers. Beautiful.
Then came the actual khat - calligraphy - itself. They set out to use the Jawi style of writing, with large, circular strokes with a natural reed stick pen. There was a team of writers just writing away page after page, dipping their reed pen into natural ink.
The whole thing was beautiful. I could never look at the mushaf Madinah the same anymore. Somehow the barakah was with the Malaysian one. Not to mention the Malaysian one contains bright colours instead of sombre dark green and beige.
I bought several of the mushaf Malaysia, and my sons, who are undergoing the tahfiz programme, prefer it to the Madinah version, for some reason.
I myself prefer it because it is bright and good to the eye, and gives off the impression of nur.
When Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad came to Singapore the previous time, he talked excitedly about 2 things in Malaysia - ISTAC and this place.
I can understand why. Now it seems that we have commissioned them to design a mushaf Singapura. I think it is a great idea.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I stumbled upon Ambigrams, a blog by a Singaporean couple, which I find fascinating.

They take orders too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Masjid Darul Aman on Sunday Subuh

Last Sunday the Mudpie family tried out subuh at Masjid Darul Aman (the mosque you see next to Eunos MRT). It was a small number of people who truned up, and there was no kuliah subuh. After the prayers, we left for Mc Donald's.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Excerpt : Three Cups of Tea

It was the most humbling thing I had ever seen. Haji Ali had just handed over half the wealth of the village to that crook [as a bribe to allow the construction of a school for both boys and girls], but he was smiling like he'd just won the lottery.
Haji Ali paused before the building everyone in the village had worked so hard to raise. It held its ground firmly before Korphe K2, with snugly built stone walls, plastered and painted yellow, and thick wooden doors to beat back the weather. Never again would Korphe's children kneel over their lessons on frozen ground.
"Don't be sad," he told the shattered crowd. "Long after all those rams are dead and eaten this school will stand. Haji Mehdi [the corrupt politician who had extorted the bribe from them] has food today. Now our children have education forever."
After dark, by the light of the fire that smouldered in his balti [hut], Haji Ali beckoned Mortenson to sit beside him. He picked up his dog-eared, grease-spotted Koran and held it before the flames. "Do you see how beautiful this Koran is?" Haji Ali asked.
"I can't read it," he said. "I can't read anything. This is the greatest sadness in my life. I'll do anything so the children of my village never have to know this feeling. I'll pay any price so they have the education they deserve."
"Sitting there beside him," Mortensen says, "I realised that everything, all the difficulties I'd gone through, from the time I'd promised to build the school, through the long struggle to complete it, was nothing compared to the sacrifices he was prepared to make for his people. Here was an illiterate man, who'd hardly even left his little village in the Karakoram," Mortenson says. "Yet he was the wisest man I've ever met."

Education and learning. Muslims always proclaim that our Master the Prophet of God, may God bless him and give Him peace, stated that the pursuit of knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, male and female, from cradle to grave.
Yet, all the greatest centres of learning are not in Muslim lands. None of the universities in the Muslim world make it to the list of the top 100 in the world. Virtually none of the thousands of technological inventions patented each day today come from Muslim minds. A recent report by the UN showed that the Muslim world has the largest proportion of illiteracy compared to anywhere else, and it is growing. It also has the greatest extreme of wealth in the world.

It is said that we must seek knowledge even if it be in China. In China, the old man knowledge has turned to stone waiting for us.

The irony is that we are Muslims in an affluent country who are blessed with the opportunity and responsibility of learning which we do not pursue, whilst there are millions of Muslims yearning to learn, but do not have a glimmer of opportunity.

Suggested Blog : Darwisiy

I stumbled upon this blog by a Malaysian sister. It is soulful and visually attractive, obviously taking a lot of effort from her. She has a Malay blog, which is equally beautiful.
I pray God give her comfort and strength to continue her work, spreading His beauty to the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Late : The Importance of Reunion Dinners

I should have posted this earlier, sorry. This is meant for Chinese New Year, but it applies for all of us, I guess.
Family is the only personalised gift from God.
Treasure it. I am glad that we Singaporean Malays still put in what sometimes seems to be jihadian efforts to meet all our kith and kin for Hari Raya.
It is sad that many of the Chinese are starting to look at their reunion dinners as a bother and prefer to spend the time on vacation.
I pray we never have that happen to us.

Petronas Chinese New Year Ad.

World's 'oldest' person is a Muslim lady in Israel

This was on the BBC website today.

Excerpts :

According to Mrs Amash, she was born 120 years ago - a claim, if confirmed, that would make her the oldest person in the world.

Mrs Amash, of Bedouin descent, says that the secret to her longevity is a healthy diet - she eats lots of vegetables.

A devout Muslim, Mrs Amash has made five pilgrimages to Mecca, the last trip in 1990, relatives say.

For her part, Mrs Amash has one piece of cautionary advice for younger generations.

"They drink too much Arak (an Arabic alcoholic drink)," she says.

In Pakistan, Islam Needs Democracy

Here is an op-ed article in the New York Times today.

Excerpts -

This may come as a surprise to Americans, but the Wahhabist religion professed by the militants is more foreign to most Pakistanis than Karachi’s 21 KFCs. This is true even of the tribal North-West Frontier Province — after all, a 23-foot-tall Buddha that was severely damaged last fall by the Taliban there had stood serenely for a thousand years amid an orthodox Muslim population.

Last month I was in the village of Pakpattan observing the commemoration of the death of a Muslim Sufi saint from the Punjab — a feast of dance, poetry, music and prayer attended by more than a million people. Religious life in Pakistan has traditionally been synonymous with the gentle spirituality of Sufi mysticism, the traditional pluralistic core of Islam. Even in remote rural areas, spiritual life centers not on doctrinaire seminaries but Sufi shrines; recreation revolves around ostentatious wedding parties and Hollywood, Bollywood and the latter’s Urdu counterpart, Lollywood.

The big problem — as verified by a poll released last month by the United States Institute of Peace — is that while the Pakistani public condemns Talibanism, it is also opposed to the way the war on terrorism has been waged in Pakistan. People are horrified by the thousands of civilian and military casualties and the militants’ retaliatory attacks in major cities. Despite promises, very little money is going toward development, education and other public services in the frontier region’s hot zones. This has led to the belief that this war is for “Busharraf” rather than the Pakistani people.

Last Supper at Masjid al Abdul Razak

Masjid al Abdul Razak
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
Last night Mrs Mudpie and I went to Masjid al Abdul Razak for its closing talk.

The mosque is now closed for 9 months for renovation.

The ustaz spoke about why we should be grateful for the mosques that we have in Singapore, how in God's wisdom and grace, our forefathers bequeathed numerous plots of property to build mosques and madrasahs.
It is the wisdom of God because in today's context of land ownership in Singapore where the majority of Singaporeans do not own private property that is capable of being bequeathed, we inherit from our forefathers such property already.

He spoke about the spiritual significance of waqaf (bequests).
Our Master the Prophet, God bless Him and grant Him peace, had taught that when a son of Adam dies, all his actions cease, and he does not earn any more sin or merit until the day he is raised in Judgment, except for three things - perpetuated goodness (amal jariah), knowledge that is useful and the prayers by a good child.
The easiest is the first, and the most difficult is the last.

Ustaz spoke that we should not be influenced by those who gripe at having to contribute to the mosque building fund, they are instigated by shaitan, he says.
The reality is that we must not see charity as something that makes us poorer. We are promised that zakat, and therefore charity, will not make one poor. And even if we do part with money, we must think of it not as a total write off, but as an investment in the future (or as Mrs MudPie would call it, the "real" future) which is the Hereafter.

In this regard, ustaz spoke about how there is no monasticism in Islam, that our Master, God bless Him and grant Him peace, had said so. We should work and earn money and acquire property, but that is not the end objective. Money and worldly success is a means or instrument to success in the Hereafter. We should look to ways to make more money so that we are able to give more in charity or bequests for the benefit of others. Ustaz mentioned that our Master had said that poverty is the root cause of disbelief, and how we can see this is true in some countries where other religions entice Muslims away from faith succeed because their victims are so mired in poverty. I have myself seen cases where Muslims have declared that they could go to a church and get money whereas MUIS and mosques do not, so they will go to the church. May God forgive them, for they do not realise what they do. (My personal position when I encountered such persons was to feel sorry for the church that they will be going to, because that church will be straddled with such an unreasonable and mercenary person, who would not be a true believer of Jesus anyway, but of "Jesus dollars").

Ustaz said that the government has just announced a few schemes where we set aside some of our CPF money and it comes back to us when we are old and jobless, this is the same, except it comes to us in the Hereafter.
Ustaz also said that because of the nature of land ownership in Singapore, we are blessed to have an agency like MUIS to manage our bequests. He says not to listen to people who criticise, because we just need to look at other Muslim countries where there are many bequests made by good people which are neglected after their deaths.
He says this is very sad, because the intention of the bequestor to perform amal that continues after his/her death is neglected by the community.
Praise God, that in Singapore, because land is so scarce and precious, great care and effort is taken by MUIS to maximise every square inch of land that is bequeathed.

A more interesting note made by Ustaz is that although the vast majority of people in Singapore cannot own land that they are able to bequeath, the wisdom and grace of God (Glorious and Exalted is He) has given most Singaporean Muslims the opportunity to bequeath by way of the Mosque Building Fund contributions. Through this we all are able to perform amal jariah.

After the talk, I was surprised (pleasantly, of course) that there was briyani- and Alaudin's briyani at that. May God bless the people who paid for it.

By the way, the mosque still needs $700,000 to complete its renovation. Please pass the word around.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Saudi Valentine

Published: February 13, 2008

TOMORROW will be my second Valentine’s Day in the United States. As I’ve discovered, the celebration here bears little resemblance to the one I know from growing up in Saudi Arabia.

Yes, there are dates. But in Saudi Arabia, we eat them. As for the other kind of dating — the kind that will fill restaurants here tomorrow night — don’t count on it.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WardahBooks' Best Read 2007

Well, this is a good initiative.

Wardah gives its thumbs up for the best read of the year to Syed Hossein Nasr's "The Garden of Truth".

Personally, I am not a big fan of Syed Hossein Nasr, his writing style is not sufficiently contemporary to be man-in-the-street popular, and his position is, to me, based on his previous books, somewhat rarified, if not occasionally pompous.
However, I must confess I have not read this latest book, so maybe it will be a change.
Come to think of it, Sufism in English is invariably packaged in intellectual terms, and employs formal, university language.
This adds to an exclusivity, or snobbery, that is inconsistent with the whole idea of Sufism, in that it is a phenomenon of the heart more than the mind. But I digress.

I've just read Three Cups of Tea : One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time.
A highly inspirational book that makes you wish you could just take off and build schools for poor village children in remote places.
And also to renew faith that all is not lost up there in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bought it at Popular and read it all in one day the next day, on the train to work, during lunch, on the train back from work.

I'm too lazy to write a book review, so here is someone else's.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way.
As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved. -

Masjid al-Abrar

Masjid al-Abrar
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
Masjid al-Abrar is one of the oldest mosques in Singapore, built in 1820s.
Not known to most people, when this mosque was built, it was facing the sea. Years later, the shore in front of it was reclaimed, so the mosque "moved" inland. When it was first built, it was a landmark for ships coming into Singapore harbour as one of the few relatively large buildings.
The mosque was built by Tamil settlers, who called it kuchu pillay, or small temple. It was actually very much smaller than what it is now. If you visit this mosque today you will enter walk up a few steps through a large door, which was actually the gate. Inside this gate are a few more steps and then there is a chamber. If you look carefully, you will realise that this chamber, which would easily be mistaken for the prayer hall, was at one time a separate building by itself - it was actually the hut that was the original mosque.
The mosque is always overfilled on Fridays for jumaat, with worshippers on the sidewalk, and sometimes on the road space.
The khutbah is in Tamil (correction : Arabic), and is very very short. There is a kuliah before azan in Tamil, and then the khutbah Jumaat is just the short part that we always hear in arabic at the end of other khutbahs.
The mosque has a prayer hall for women on the upper level, accessible by the door on the right. Due to space constraints, there is not enough room for women during Jumaat prayers.
There is a very popular Malay restaurant opposite this mosque called Nusantara.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Videos of Habib Umar

Habib at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique -

Here is an intro to the Habib from his visit to London in 2006 -

Habib Umar at Masid al-Istighfar

Masjid al-Istighfar
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
On Friday night Habib Umar was at Masjid al-Istighfar after magrib prayers.
There was a joyful maulud celebration, after which Habib gave a talk.
The topic he was given was Ummah Cemerlang (Excellent Ummah), obviously a reference to our standard progressive Islam message that we have been getting every Friday.
Habib had a spiritual aspect to all this, as is his principle.
He said sometimes it is said that the ummah has to achieve success by mastering politics, economics, wealth and power.
Habib said this is not correct, because wealth and power belong only to Allah.
How we achieve success is by excellence in our akhlaq (ethics and manners), and all the others will be given by Allah.
He cited how the successful forefathers of ours did not have wealth or power, but had the best of akhlaq, and because they had that one thing, Allah opened up the world to them.
The best example is of course our Master Rasulullah, who did not have wealth or power, but all he had was perfection of character.
Habib described how our Master showed the best of behaviour not only to his family and to the believers, but to the unbelievers and to his enemies as well.
Once Abu Jahal had dug a pit trap to snare our beloved Master.
However, it was God's will that Abu Jahal would fall into the trap himself by accident.
It was also by God's will that by coincidence, our beloved Master the Prophet of God came by and saw Abu Jahal suffering in the trap, and rescued him from it, in spite of knowing that the trap had been intended for him.
Rescue your enemy? Can we fathom the depth of compassion of the Prophet?
We all know that we are commanded in the Qur'an to reciprocate evil with good, but how often have you heard that being taught to you nowadays?
Habib mentioned how the mu'min is someone (according to a famous hadith from our Master the Prophet of God) from whose hand everyone else is safe from harm. Least of all a believer will hurt his own friend or family, women or children (I think everyone in the audience immediately thought of the news in the papers of al Qaeda's child suicide bombers).
We live in depraved times. We wallow so deeply in the squalor of our depravity that we have lost all sense of goodness and kindness.
It takes someone from outside the usual noise and clamour of the media and politics to tell us what is important ... again.
Habib made me reallise how wrong the path has been that I have taken, for the path well-trodden leads not always to paradise, but to perdition.
Al-Istighfar. How appropriate is the name of the mosque.
God forgive us all.

Masjid Kasim

Masjid Kasim
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
The Mudpie family went to Masjid Kasim for subuh this morning.

There was no kuliah after the prayers, so we left whilst it was still dark and I could not get a good external picture.

Only 2 women joined the congregation, and there were 3 rows of men, of whom most were Bangladeshis who huddled into an usrah immediately afterwards.

And no, we did not have our breakfast at the coffee shops nearby.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Minarets - Arrows Pointing to Heaven

Masjid Sultan 2
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
I have been thinking about minarets lately for some reason. It struck me at Masjid al-Istighfar at Pasir Ris there is a very tall minaret, which is purely decorative and does not serve any function. Ask most Muslims and they would surmise that the reason we still have minarets in mosques today is in order to identify them as such. That is why many people took issue with the minaretless design of some new mosques.

"Minaret" comes from the Arabic word for lighthouse. In some of the oldest mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Damascus, minarets originally served as watchtowers illuminated by torches (hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light").

To me, minarets serve the purpose of creating the visual impression of verticality, which is inherent in religious spirituality. When one approaches a building such the the Sultan Mosque (pictured) and sees all the "arrows" pointing up to the heavens, one cannot help but remember the Heavenly. Also, the large, imposing domes inside mosques serve the purpose of creating a focus on the ceiling of something large, spacious and encompassing above the small, cramped individual on the floor.

I had been reflecting quite a bit on buildings and spirituality for some time. When I went to London and Paris and went to the buildings built during the Christian era, I cannot help but be impressed by the spirituality that went into the design of these buildings. For example, even during the height of the Industrial Revolution, spritually inspired architects built gigantic monumental buildings that were the technological marvels of their day, but often deliberately left a row of unpolished and rough foundation stones so as to remind Man that the Almighty is the greatest builder and they are not out to compete with Him.

In Paris, my wife was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Church of the Sacred Heart and the Mosquee du Paris. She asked why dont we get buildings like this back at home?

Maybe our architects and engineers, so used to designing for function, have forgotten that religious building have a spiritual function besides the ritual function. Masjid al-Nahdah is a typical example of this. The mosque, I am sad to say, does not inspire me spiritually. There is something about Masjid Sultan which does. As does Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique.

Habib Umar at Subuh

Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
Habib gave a talk after subuh prayers at Masjid Abdul Razak this morning.

He spoke about the 7 levels of the nafs.

I wonder if I will ever get beyond level 1? May Allah help me and give me light.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Habib Umar at Baalwie

Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
Here's a snap I took of Habib Umar last night at Masjid Baalwie.

Habib spoke about character (ahlaq). He spoke about one of Habib Hasan's forefathers back in the Yemen. Story is that once he was blessed with a son. His students heard the news and were going to visit him and congratulate him, being a great cleric that he was. On the way, they bumped into a farmer who asked where they were going, and they told him. The farmer asked them what the big deal was, they should instead congratulate him because his donkey had just given birth to a calf, and that was more important. The students were angered at the comparison between their beloved teacher and a donkey, but kept silent and went on to see the habib. When told of the incident, the habib immediately told his students that to the farmer, a new donkey is more important than his having a newborn son. He gathered his students together and hurried to the farmer's residence with gifts, and congratulated the farmer on his new donkey.

On another occasion, as he walked in the streets in his clean clothes, someone who was sweeping a roof threw ashes and soot off and it fell on him. His students were shocked and angered, but the habib's response was to thank God the ashes were already burnt out, or he could have got burnt.

I have been thinking for some time how to apply this sort of thinking in my life, but as if to prove my spiritual poverty, I just cannot do so. May Allah help and guide me to be able to always see the blessings in trials.

Greek Masterpieces

Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
After briyani at Masjid Abdul Razak for Jumaat, the Mudpie family went to the Singapore History Museum to see the visiting Greek Masterpieces exhibition from the Louvre. It was the first time my wife and kids had been to the newly refurbished museum,l and Mrs MudPie immediately said she was reminded of London.

The Greek Masterpiece Exhibition was great. Best of all, it was free entry for Chinese New Year.

I didnt post up most of the other pictures that I took, naked Greek statues being clothed the way they are, of course.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chinese New Year

I had to work half day yesterday afternoon because all the Chinese officers were on halfday for Chinese New Year eve. I always said that on Chinese New Year Eve, Singapore is run by minority race people. The good thing is I presume everyone else thought that we were closed, so nobody came.

However because I was at work for only half a day, I had one day's worth of files to clear, so that made leaving at closing time impossible. It was a bit rushed, as I kept looking at the clock hoping to leave as soon as possible to catch Habib Umar, who was going to be at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique at 7 pm.

I only managed to get to the masjid at a quarter past eight. Well, better late than never. Mrs Mudpie and the kids had gone on their own earlier with my father in law in Mrs Mudpie's car, so I couldnt see where they were in the already crowded mosque.

The mosque was expectedly full, and of course, there was the usual perfunctory traipse I had to negotiate through the crowd, and the intermittent wave of recognition every two steps. It is always nice to go to these tassawwuf functions because there are the same faces one sees, which makes it feel comfortable and welcoming, together with new ones, which makes one comforted that there is hope for the world after all.

I was up at 5 this morning, planning to go to Masjid Abdul Razak for the subuh kuliah, but Mrs Mudpie and the kids were to exhausted from returning home late last night, so we did not go. I guess it is better they rest so that tonight we can go to Masjid Baalwie instead.

Singapore was deathly quiet this morning, after last night's Chinese New Year eve dinners. There was an article in the paper this morning about how Masjid an-Nur organised a Chinese New Year eve dinner for some poor Chinese residents in their neighbourhood. Bless them, for I am sure they are going to get nothing but a whack from the wahabis.

A few days ago there was an article in the paper about how a school principal gathered flack for prohibiting the schoolkids from bringing non-halal food items to school because the canteen had gone 100% halal. I think that was a bad move. Now it will just make it more difficult for other places to go halal. What was the school thinking? As a minority, I feel strongly about being given the opportunity to exercise my choices and not be dictated by the choices of other religions, so is this not just the shoe on the other foot? Commonsense will tell you that a non-Muslim would want the right to exercise his choice of eating non-halal food, right? This is really a mentality of not putting oneself in the other's shoes before doing something that affects the other guy.

The same thinking, or lack of thinking would be a more accurate way of putting it, is what happened in the Malaysia temple demolition case that led to the riots recently. The authorities kept insisting that they did the right thing by demolishing a Hindu temple that was squatting one state land. They claim that they had given notice a long time before. They claim they promised to look into giving an alternative site for the temple. Anyone with commonsense will tell you that firstly, the demolition of the temple less than a week before Deepavali was clearly either an act of provocation, of arrogance, or utter insensitivity; and secondly, who would be comforted with a mere promise of an alternative site? Does not commonsense dictate that the new site be given them and a period of relocation be allowed, before any demolition is carried out?

The conclusion that one can draw is either that the Malaysian authorities were absolutely stupid, or that they were provocative. I believe it is probably the latter. It is not a coincidence that the elections are around the corner, and there is the opportunity to remove the old to make way for the new. Anyone can see that the whole exercise was initiated by BN (who controls the city council that demolished the temple) factions to oust Malaysia's Chief Indian, Samy Vellu. It is also not a coincidence that soon after there was the hidden camera scandal that led to the ousting of one of Malaysia's Chief Chinese. The only one left is now Malaysia's Chief Malay - and, well Dr M and Anuar Ibrahim have been doing that very well.

Islamic state? Where?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Masjid AlKaff Kampong Melayu

Masjid AlKaff Kampong Melayu
Originally uploaded by LilMudPie
This morning the MudPie family went for subuh at Masjid AlKaff Kampong Melayu at Kaki Bukit. It was good, alhamdulillah, there were 3 full rows in the men's section. The kuliah subuh was about (again) the quality of our 'ulama today, and also about how we should be economical with talking. Careless and unnecessary speech is bad for the spirit.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Masjid al-Istighfar

Masjid al-Istighfar
Originally uploaded by
Last Sunday the Mudpie family went for subuh (dawn) prayer at Masjid al-Istighfar, located at Pasir Ris.

The kuliah subuh was by an eloquent speaker, obviously traditional and Indonesian trained. He spoke about the status of 'ulama - how they are the heirs to the prophets. He mentioned that they are in maqam the same as the prophets of Bani Israil to us, that is, they are our guides and leaders second only to Syiddina Rasulullah.

He spoke about the challenges of life today. He said that although our religious leaders have taken the decision to permit Muslim girls to attend government schools without wearing hijab, it is a decision made at leadership level, and we, as followers, cannot read any more into it by saying it is all right to dispense with hijab altogether.

He made the point that this does not mean it is all right to dispense with hijab outside of school. This had been emphasised by our mufti. So, he said, whether or not one agrees with the decision made by our religious leadership, we have to accept, for they are our 'ulama, and they will bear the responsibility before Allah for it. However, our 'ulama are not responsible for what happens outside school if a Muslim schoolgirl does not wear hijab. Her parents are, and they cannot say that because the hijab had been dispensed with in school, it is dispensed with elsewhere as well. He cautioned parents to be wary of this sort of thinking, as the pressure on young people today to lead a certain lifestyle today is overwhelming. He says that the young people today, and not just for Muslims, are encouraged to lead lives of immodesty, sex, drinking and materialism, so we must not take things lightly.

He advised parents to be kind and close to their children. If we are not close to them, they will become close to their friends, and often we do not know what these friends are like. He pointed out there were no young people in the mosque there, only old people come to the mosque for subuh.

I am thinking of videotaping and uploading to this blog these sermons that I go to.