I Have Confidence in Me

Inspired by Daily Prompt: I Have Confidence in Me

I’m back! My exams are over and I hope I did well.

So let me start off my comeback post with this topic from Daily Prompt.

Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at.

I am good at Malay Language. But, I would still like to be better at it because it’s been long since I wrote an article in Malay.

I used to intern at the Malay newspaper after I graduated from polytechnic. After the internship ended, I continued writing with them on a freelance basis. But it has been some time since I did it, until very recently.

Just last Saturday I went to an event to cover and write about it in Malay Language and although on the whole, I was fine but there were some instances where I found myself stuck at some words. It is not easy to write a business article in Malay. But it’s thrilling and satisfying once I have completed it.

I love to read Malay novels because there is just something about the Malay Language that is beautiful.

Another language I would like to be better at is Arabic Language.

The Quran is in Arabic and Alhamdulillah I can read it fluently, but I cannot converse in Arabic fluently.

My Arabic is broken – in the sense that I can join some words and make a broken sentence that is somehow understandable, which was what I did during my umrah trip in 2009.

There was a time when the shopkeeper gave me the wrong change and I had to try and converse in a way that she would understand – and to my happiness it worked! She gave me back my intended change.

And then there was the time in one of the grand mosques where an Arabic women was sitting beside me and I wanted to try and make new friends using the little Arabic I know. And Alhamdulillah, it worked too!

So yeah, I really do want to get better at conversing in Arabic. They say practice makes perfect right?

P.S.: Makeful Monday is now Motivation Monday!

Jonah.

Jonah. (Yunus in Arabic).

The Prophet who got stuck in the whale for a long period of time until finally, he got out of it by saying the tasbeeh.

Subhanallah. Walhamdulillah. Walailahaillallah. Wallahuakbar.

He recited it repeatedly, praying to God countless times, to have mercy on him and to forgive him for giving up easily.

He was supposed to spread Islam to his community but he had given up due to their responses. He got upset. And he was not willing to continue. Until he was thrown out of the boat he was in and landed in the whale’s stomach. The wet, disgusting, smelly, fishy, slimy, stomach of a whale.

That’s who I’d like to meet. One of the days we shall, sit under a tree in Jannah and have a little chat about his experience InsyaAllah.

It’s about “How I Survived Being inside the Whale’s Stomach.”

And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. – Yunus, 107

It reminds me that when we’re stuck, feeling like there is no other way out, recite the tasbeeh. And repeat.

Glory be to God. Thank You Allah. There is no God but Allah. Allah is the Most Great.

And if Allah permits, I’d like to meet the perfect man, Muhammad. And courageous Moses, cool Jesus, handsome Yusuf, and the rest of the Prophets too.

InsyaAllah, Ameen.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: It Builds Character.

Prompstagram

So I have a confession to make.

Image

I can’t get enough of Instagram.

Let me tell you some reasons why I am sort of addicted to IG (short for Instagram):

  • IG has a more ‘cosy’ platform compared to Facebook. Of course, both have different uses but when it comes to photo-sharing, IG is better thumbs up. And what I like is that the photos are not greatly magnified like in FB.
  • You get to edit and filter photos so that your pictures come out looking pretty – and your blemishes are easily concealed. There are apps solely for this purpose and the ones I mostly use are PhotoGrid, Fotorus and Perfect365.
  • Hashtags. I don’t use Twitter so I only use hashtags on IG. I love using hashtags to check out places especially other countries and cities. Right now I’m always checking out #newzealand #lakewanaka #mountcook and the hashtags go on.
  • Also through hashtags can you find common interests and people. Several months ago I started inculcating fruit smoothies and green smoothies into my diet to clear up my skin. So one day I was looking for simple green smoothies to make and literally typed #simplegreensmoothies in the tags search bar. And wallah, there really is an IG page called Simple Green Smoothies run by 2 ladies Jadah and Jen. They even have a website for it and constantly update it with awesome education on fruits & veggies and all things good for your nutrition.
  • Following celebrities on IG. There’s nothing like daily visual updates of my favourite celebrities to feed the fan in me.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Can’t Get Enough

Why I Wear What I Wear

ootds

My hijab signifies me as a Muslim woman, as well as covering other parts of my body leaving the hands, feet and face uncovered. Besides that, Islam does not have any auspicious colour that we should avoid wearing.

So for me, I love a mixture of bright colours, prints and textures. My style is pretty practical, I go for comfort but at the same time colourful. I’m not fussy, jeans, skirt and maxi dresses go well with me anytime. Except that I’m a bit more formal at work and don’t wear jeans to work unless it’s dress-down Friday. Also at work (and many times after) I am usually in my glasses; unless I am in the mood for contact lenses. I think these stylish nerd glasses add character, no? And they reflect the writer in me…

On days I have to dress-up extra to go to festive events (top right, top left and second from top left), I usually wear the traditional Malay dress, consisting of a top and skirt (except for the blue and pink dress which is actually a kaftan and an inner).

I sometimes colour block my shawls to my outfits, like the bottom right and second from bottom right outfit. Otherwise, I just match them according to complementary colours in my outfits. My style reflects the way I am; confident and colourful (which I like to think so!).

In future years, I see my style similarly colourful but hopefully more chic and sophisticated. We’ll see how my dress sense will evolve over the next couple of years!

Inspired by Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)Man

One Last Salam

The night my dad passed away, I was using the computer in my brother’s room.

I heard the usual turn of keys at the door lock, and my dad entering the house. It was 11pm and he’d just came back from work. Usually I would go out and salam his hand (kind of like a handshake, but an informal one, something you do out of respect and something I’ve always done with my parents) but that night, for some reason I did not. I continued using the computer. I can’t even remember if I acknowledged him or not.

A couple of minutes (or maybe more) later, in a panicked voice, my mum called me and both of my siblings.

I went into my parents’ room to find my father in his last few moments of life.

He’d had a sudden heart attack and the impact was immediate. He was 47 and does not have a history of heart illness. But he was, a smoker. And several years ago, my granddad too had passed on due to the same cause of sudden heart attack at 63 years old. When something is meant to happen, nothing can stop it from happening.

It has been seven years since his passing. I miss him everyday.

If time were to have stood still, I would rewind it to the moments before God took him back. I would get my butt out of my computer chair, out of my brother’s room and salam his hand. Or maybe give him a hug. Who knew it would have been the last one I would ever have?

For now.

I’ve grieved enough Alhamdulillah and I can honestly say I don’t regret or feel guilty about it. Regret and guilt is something no one should ever have to live with. I don’t wish for things to be different, but I do think about it sometimes. Those everyday moments we tend to take for granted.

Till then, I look forward to the day I meet him in Paradise where I’ll run up to my father excitedly, salam his hand and embrace him with a big, long hug. I am thankful for this life is not permanent and a better life awaits us. Perhaps in Paradise, insyaAllah. If God wills. Janji Allah itu pasti.

“Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to  create the like thereof?” – Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “be”, and it is! So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things:  and to Him will ye be all brought back.” Surah Yaseen, 81 – 83

Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Standstill

Practice Does Make It Perfect

I did something brave recently.

I asked for feedback on my writing on the Weekly Writing Challenge this week.

Asking for feedback is something I don’t normally do. Half of it is due to me being confident enough of my writings, half of me is not prepared to hear any negativity about it.

I am always border lining on confidence and doubt when it comes to my writing. After having the reading aloud exercise during the writing workshop I attended, I started getting more brave to hear feedback – to be honest I have no problem with the good, it’s the not-so-good ones that I have a problem digesting. I’d like to believe I’m getting there, though.

All this while, my writing strength is actually stronger in Malay language compared to English language. With that I interned in a Malay newspaper where I had to write news articles everyday. Alhamdulillah, I have always been good in writing in my native language even if I don’t speak it as proper as it should be. But as a writer I’d like to always learn and develop my language skills and writing style.

I really admire Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, whose careers as professional storytellers allowed them to touch the hearts and reach out to so many through their “30 Days 30 Mosques” project in Ramadhan few years ago (the website, 30mosques.com, is no longer available). The way they wrote the stories about the different Muslims all over the state made me feel touched, made me think, made me laugh. My favourite story was “Nor’s Letters”, an inspiring and touching real-life love story of David and Nor. I also love Yasmin Mogahed, her writings are amazing and truly connects to the heart. The first article I read was “Why Do People Have to Leave Each Other?” and it continues to be my one of my favourite articles ever. And then of course, J. K. Rowling; Harry Potter practically accompanied my secondary school life. When I grow up I want to be like them; write and share inspiring stories.

Back to the feedback, since it was my first time participating in the challenge it was an accomplishment to actually even finish it given the weekly deadline. Afterwards I asked my sister and close colleague to read it (I know, even though I only asked two people, that is something coming from me) and…be a critic. Some of the points they shared were:

  • Story is very narrative and descriptive
  • The flow and content is good
  • The part on the prayer could be more powerful if it was a dialogue
  • Needs to be less descriptive and more engaging, more touching
  • Lacks emotional aspect

Fuhh. That was really something huh? I must thank them for being honest with me. I guess if I were to have a talent, for now, it would be the ability to bounce off feedback immediately (instead of like going round in circles and come back in a week or so…)

Now I need to go acknowledge my bravery, take it all in and go write some more.

P.S: Any feedback gladly welcomed at mardmood@gmail.com 🙂

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Practice Makes Perfect?

All Roads Lead to Home

Daily Prompt: Bookworms

BPP80-lgwild

…and Rome, too.

I’ve started planning my trip to New Zealand and these two books have been in my head these days.

The Road to Mecca is about the journey of Hungarian journalist Leopold Weiss, or Muhammad Asad, to Mecca, on how he discovered and then embraced Islam.

Wild documents Cheryl Strayed’s journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in US after the passing of her mother, in dealing with grief and coming to her own.

I’ve enjoyed reading both books for many different reasons. These two stories, as well as their writing styles, couldn’t be any more different. However, a distinct similarity between these two amazing journeys, in my opinion, is not about the place itself.

But about finding a centre. Finding Him.

Everyone’s journey is different, but in the end all roads lead to the same place – the Creator.

A Tribute to Criticism

Daily Prompt: Thank You

The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).

Criticism. I have always had a love-hate relationship with criticism (leaning more towards the hate).

When it comes to compliments, you can see me smiling the whole day thinking of it. Likewise when it comes to being criticized, my whole day goes by with that criticism in mind.

Lately however, it seems that the All-Knowing has been trying to tell me to suck it up, accept it, be OK with it and rise above the criticism.

I know these criticisms only serve to make you better, but why does it have to be so painful?

Because the best lessons come from the most painful experiences.

And sometimes only through painful experiences do we get closer to Him.

Allah has mentioned this in surah An-Nahl, verse 53: “And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah. But only when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.”

However, something interesting happened through these criticisms. Something magical started to unveil. It made me think of my strengths, and that I should go ahead with the fitrah that Allah has guided me through. At least, when you are criticized for following your fitrah, you are standing for something.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill.

Like my ustadh in my Tuesdays “Don’t Be Sad” class (based on the book of a similar title) says, “We can view criticisms positively as a way to improve ourselves. In our distractions, Allah sends others as reminders.”

And last but not least, Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily – by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”

So to Criticism, I don’t necessarily like you, but I thank you.

Exciting Next Destination!

Daily Prompt: The Excitement Never Ends

Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited. 

lake_wanaka

Source: 100% Pure New Zealand

Planning my upcoming trip to New Zealand next year, if He wills!

I have always LOVED mountains and places with absolutely stunning sceneries. Whenever I think of the beautiful sceneries in NZ, I’m just in awe! Imagining myself in Queenstown, Laka Wanaka, Lake Wakatipu, Milford Sound and the list goes on… You know those scenes in Lord of The Rings? Can’t wait to be there!

I feel giddy thinking of the possible activities we can do such as kayaking at Lake Wanaka, skydiving, white water rafting, just cycling and walking around the place exploring the beauty that is Allah’s lands. Beaauuutifuuul!

Getting excited now! *jumps around*

The Blessing of a Name

Daily Prompt: Name that… You!

Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you? What about your children’s names?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

My full name is Siti Mardhiah and it is in Arabic language. “Siti” means “miss” and “Mardhiah” means “the one who pleases God”. In Malay it would mean “yang diredhai”. Kind of hard to translate it into English actually, but this is as close as it comes to the word “redha”. So if I were to lay it down literally in full, it would mean “The miss who pleases God”. Not bad for a name, I think.

I don’t know why my parents chose this name and I have never really asked them. I’m thankful they did because I can’t imagine having any other name. I think it suits me as I feel it is not a very common name but it is not a very uncommon name either. Somewhere in the middle just like me. Plus, the meaning is beautiful. I hope to be one of the people who pleases God and God is pleased with too, insyaAllah!