Love is Being Together and Being Apart

Today my “Don’t Be Sad” class has come to an end. Ustaz started off the first weeks of class with “Live”, and then “Laugh” and then coming to the end of the sessions, the topic was about “Love”. Which explains why there has been a transformation of sorts over at this blog! But so far, I am loving this makeover.

And last Saturday, I went to the Muslimah Discourse and Afternoon Tea organized by Halal Universe, a networking event discussing about women and smart investing. My main purpose of being there was to cover the event, but I also wanted to learn and gain knowledge of investing the halal way. Alhamdulillah, my article came out in the papers today and I will share more soon InsyaAllah.

Anyway, I came to the session with some blank name cards so that I can fill in manually and give to others. I do it manually instead of printing because I just prefer it this way for now since I don’t have an official business. So I also included this blog as my website details and as I was writing the website address on a couple of those name cards I realized it was becoming a tad too long. The current address sounds better to me and yey, I am liking it so far too.

My next Travel Tuesday series will be my Krabi-Phuket trip in 2010. I love these photos of two birds we came across when we were cycling at Phuket, Nai Yang area exploring the village…

krabi birds 1

krabi birds 2

krabi birds 3

Truly fits the current love theme of this blog doesn’t it? The pictures itself tells a story that only both the birdies know of…

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!

5 Things You Will Never Know

“Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”Luqman, 34

There are five things we will never know that only God knows. Allah has mentioned this in Surah Luqman, verse 34.

1. When Judgement Day will come.

2. When the rain will fall.

3. What is in the womb of a pregnant woman.

4. What you will earn tomorrow.

5. Where you will die.

Bear in mind that technology, no matter how updated it is, will never be 100% accurate. If it is designed by human beings, it will be prone to error. Our jobs and businesses, no matter how efficient and effective they are, do not guarantee you will still have them tomorrow. True security lies with God. All knowledge and sustenance comes from Him. May Allah protect us from our own arrogance and may He grant us sustenance always, InsyaAllah. 🙂

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.

The Wedding Dais and Decor

The time has finally come where I can now book the space for my reception, which is going to be held at the void deck of my flat InsyaAllah. It is also just a less than 5-minutes walk from the mosque where my solemnization is going to take place.

Now I shall proceed to share with you the decor company who will be in-charge of making the bare space transform into something gorgeous. I love the company’s, Kasai Sayang, simplicity and elegance, as well as their workmanship. Can’t believe I’m meeting them again after almost a year (the last time I met them in person was around my engagement date, to book them) for a site visit and discuss more of the deco details.

Don’t they all look just simply gorgeous! I love almost all the looks that they have executed. Mine will be a purple, lavender and grey/silver affair, InsyaAllah. I’m getting excited just looking at my pinterest-style moodboards. 😀

A back story on my booking the space: There was actually a minor change in the town council’s policies for booking which made me panic a little. When I called the town council 6 months ago, I was told that you can only book the void deck 3 months before the event and this has been the rule since forever. However when I called recently, I was told that now the advanced 3-months period has been lifted and booking was now on a first-come-first-serve basis! So I was like, no… I hope no one in my block is having the reception on the same day(s) as me. *panic mode*

But all is well, Alhamdulillah. The next day I went to the town council and made the booking. While the lady behind the counter checked their calendar, I was praying silently “Please God, please let it be available for me…” And Alhamdulillah, she informed me that it’s still available! Overwhelming relief swept over me, MashaAllah. I proceeded to fill up the booking form and paid the booking fees. Thank you Allah for making this fall into place perfectly.

My Kinabalu Story: Chapter 5 – Set and Sail

This is the last installment to the “My Kinabalu Story” series. I will be blogging about my Krabi trip in 2009 next! 🙂

padas_keretapi lama hijau

We woke up at 3am to get ready to get to Padas river, which was a 3-hour bus ride and 20 min-train ride away. The train only operates thrice a day; 8.30am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm and we wanted to catch the morning train, so we pried ourselves from the bed in the wee hours of the morning despite our aching bodies from the previous day’s climb.

padas_kaunter tiket padas_inside keretapi padas_keretapi lama

We are here! The area near Padas river is a peaceful village with schools and village houses surrounded by amazing scenic views of the mountains and a whole lot of greenery.

padas_stesen pangi padas_welcome

padas kampung house

Local boys assisting to pump and transport the rafts to the start point of the river.

padas_angkatpadas_push

Andddd we’re off! Woohoo!

padas river rafting padas river rafting team 2 padas river rafting submerged

Tunggang terbalik semua (we were all messed up flipped upside down and all…) but, good thing none of us fell out of the raft and our raft did not capsize. That would have been pretty terrifying and a whole lot of trouble…

masjid ar-rahman

After all the awesome kecohrable rafting, we then headed off to Masjid Ar-Rahman to wash up, pray and head back on our 3-hour bus ride to KK central – which took longer due to the evening traffic. Dinner and buying souvenirs followed after that, as it was our final night at KK.

Parasailing and Snorkeling

parasailing two balloons

On the last day we went to Manukan Island for some water activities! Snorkeling and my first time parasailing. We gathered at Jesselton Point to board the boat after having our breakfast. Our flight was in the afternoon so this was the last activity we managed to squeeze before heading home.

jesselten point entrance jesselton boats manukan island

Parasailing was a whole lot of fun! Basically the rope is tied to the boat and we have to wear a harness that will secure us to the “balloon”, and then the boat driver will drive the boat and off we go! You can choose to ride it solo or in pairs. Once above, you can see a birds’ eye view from above with amazing scenic views of the picturesque mountains surrounding the islands. While we were “flying”, dja and me were like aaah-ing, ooh-ing, happily squealing “bestnye! cantiknye SubhanAllah!” before enjoying moments of peace and just quietly enjoying the beautiful view. It was an amazing experience Alhamdulillah. Would love to do this with my husband one day insyaAllah, mesti romantic. Hehe.

parasailing from boat ropeparasailing boatparasailing_mus ez2parasailing_mus ezdja n me at snorkel

Anyhoo after this it was home sweet home as we had a plane to catch back to Singapore. Boo hoo. Dearest Sabah, I’ve fallen in love with you. If we are destined to meet again, insyaAllah we will meet in future! 🙂

mardmood: This post is part of the series “My Kinabalu Story” based on my expedition to Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia on 26th September to 1st October 2012. For more chapters go to ‘Kinabalu Khronicles’ in the Categories section or click on the links below!

Muharram – the First Month in the Islamic Calendar

have a blessed new year

via Alchemy of Hippieness

According to the Islamic calendar, as we reach Maghrib, or dusk time today it will be 1 Muharram 1435H.

While the Gregorian calendar follows the solar year, the Islamic calendar follows the lunar year.

A lunar year is based on the moon which is the motion of the moon around the earth. Islamic calendar is based on the lunar year, and was introduced by the 2nd caliph, Sayidina Umar r.a. There are 354 days in the lunar year.

A solar year is based on the seasons. The Gregorian calendar is based on the solar year. There are 365 days in the solar year.

Watch this slide to learn more about Time and the Quran.

Have a blessed new year to all my Muslim brothers and sisters! May this coming year bring you closer to your Creator and His Beloved, InsyaAllah. 🙂

Foot Reflexology and Wudhu’ (Ablution)

Yesterday, I went for foot reflexology. My left knee somehow will hurt during running and I don’t know why. I stretch, but perhaps I don’t stretch enough. But it is strange that my right knee is fine while only my left knee hurts. No worries though, it only hurts while running long-distance. My legs are fine for daily walking, Alhamdulillah.

It’s been a while since I went for any foot reflexology. I went to my uncle’s shop, Bodicaire and had my feet massaged by his friendly, motherly and firm assistant, Suraya. I told her my the problem with my left knee and she really worked on my knee. Some parts were okay while some left me with “Ouch, that was painful…” But after 30 minutes, my legs and feet feel so much better – more “lighter” and relaxed.

footreflexology

Suraya shared with me that the veins on your feet links to the rest of your body organs, so foot reflexology actually helps to regulate our body’s system. Interesting aye? Hence, it would be good to go for foot reflexology at least once a month.

How to Read a Foot Reflexology Chart

Besides foot reflexology, Bodicaire also provides neck & shoulder massage, upper back massage and also body massage. My aunt who was there as well joked that I needed to have my feet massaged since I would be getting married soon and thus, will need to toughen up my feet and body. Lol thanks, aunt. But in hindsight, I think I might just do it… Wedding planning can be quite a workout itself!

Anyway, it got me thinking how when we take ablution before prayer, one of the compulsory body parts that we have to wash is the feet. Maybe this is why, because by washing the feet we are also washing our whole body. Wow, MashaAllah if that’s true that’s amazing.

Medical Benefit of Wudhu’ (Ablution)

A Special Space for the Solemnisation

As mentioned last Thursday on finally booking my solemnization venue, here is the mosque where my solemnization, or nikah is going to take place InsyaAllah.

20131018_153200

It’s the Alkaff Kampung Melayu Mosque! I want my nikah to be held in a mosque because not only is it Allah’s abode, there will be more angels praying for our wedding and marriage InsyaAllah. I love it when angels pray for us, MashaAllah. The awesome thing is that this mosque is just beside my house so it will be a stone’s throw away from the reception area which is at my block.

Months prior to my booking, I asked my aunt who teaches at the mosque to collect the booking form for me. Recently, I went to the mosque office and sent in the form for booking of the solemnization area. The sister then showed me the space where the nikah is usually held, at an area in the Muslim guys’ prayer area.

20131018_152451

Masjid Alkaff doesn’t charge for usage of space in the prayer area, which typically takes around one hour for solemnizations. Only if you book the multipurpose hall will they charge accordingly (though I’m not sure how much). Afterwards, I sent these pics to my fiance and he was like, “I’m nervous just looking at that…” well my dearest husband-to-be, better start practicing your lafaz akad nikah (acceptance of marriage contract) from now on! 😉

Alhamdulillah that I’ve managed to book the space for our solemnization. I hope that the nikah will be as smooth as possible InsyaAllah. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward for our first solat (prayer) together like newlyweds Diana Amir (one of my favourite Malaysian celebrities, presenter-actress) and her husband, Habib who recently got married last week, on 25 October 2013.

diana-amir-kahwin-31

Not forgetting the first salam as husband and wife! I love her shawl style, very long and flowy and most importantly loose and covers the chest area. The color is lovely, too. As well as the intricate beading. And the dais, is just so gorgeous. Like being in an enchanted garden… Love everything in this photo!

diana-amir-kahwin-32

And now, come November, just slightly less than 3 months to the ijab qabul (offer and acceptance of marriage contract). InsyaAllah.

gambar-nikah-diana-amir-11

May Allah ease our affairs in planning for a blessed wedding, and may He put sustenance, happiness and blessings in all our lives. Ameen.

Source for Diana Amir’s wedding photos

My Kinabalu Story: Chapter 4 – How to Overcome Altitude Sickness

Last week, I shared about my experience climbing up and descending Mount Kinabalu. Today I thought of sharing some tips on overcoming altitude mountain sickness (AMS), which can occur from an elevation of 2,400 m onwards. This post is also in time for this week’s “Weekly Writing Challenge: Dear Abby“. If I were to title this post with a question, it would be “How Can I Overcome Altitude Mountain Sickness?”

AMS can affect anybody, regardless of whether the climber is an expert or beginner. My buddy was not able to continue to the summit due to AMS, hence this would hopefully benefit you climbers out there who are planning for an upcoming expedition.

view of south peak

As Mt. Kinabalu is of 4,095 metres in elevation, you are prone to experience shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and talking at the same time somewhere above 2,400 metres. AMS can be minor or major depending on the individual. In certain cases, it can even be fatal.

Here are some tips taken from my own experience:

1. Water, water, water. Always hydrate yourself!

As the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with increasing altitude, the air density (the number of molecules of both oxygen and nitrogen per given volume) drops. Which means the available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases with altitude. So we need to replenish the lack of oxygen by drinking lots of water.

2. Packing the right nutrition is extremely important. (See below paragraph for detailed explanation).

3. Recognize your body’s needs and take frequent breaks

Because of the climate change, you will find yourself out of breath more regularly, especially if you are climbing and talking at the same time. Take frequent breaks so that you will be able to pace out better, and use this time to drink up. Furthermore, take this opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and the scenery around you. The view does get better when you are higher up the mountain.

4. Listen to the rangers and the limits of your body.

[A side story regarding AMS which the ranger had shared with Khadijah; there was a case when a female climber who was climbing with her husband, felt some tightness around her chest and felt nauseous as she was climbing up. She ignored these symptoms and continued on despite experiencing the symptoms more and more. It was a fatal mistake because eventually she collapsed and passed away that very moment. To God we came from and to Him we shall return. The ranger had to carry her body down to base camp…]

nutrition_berries

Nutrition is very important and I believe it helped me a lot despite my inadequate training.

Here are some good foods I ate throughout the climb:

1. Goat’s Milk (Malay: Susu Kambing)

I drank this every night before going to bed, before and throughout (during the overnight rest at Laban Rata). It helps restore your bones and also provide the required calcium you need in your body.

2. Cranberries, Raisins, Figs (Malay: Buah Tin)

These are excellent supplements and energy boosters for during the climb. They provide natural sugars and have the right tinge of sweet and sourness to keep the AMS nausea at bay. [Fun fact: The figs hardened as we got higher due to the pressure and coldness. Interesting, aye?]

“By the fig and the olive…” – At-Tiin, 1

There’s many reasons why it was mentioned in the Quran. It has so many benefits!

3. 100 Plus

This goes without saying. Besides plain water, I had a 500 ml bottle with me which I drank *very sparingly* throughout…

I also kept some Snicker bars but it did not help much as it contributed to my nausea the higher I progressed. Natural sugars are the best.

Hopefully these tips can be beneficial to anyone planning for any upcoming expeditions. Best of luck in reaching that summit!

This post is part of the series “My Kinabalu Story” based on my expedition to Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia on 26th September to 1st October 2012. For more chapters go to ‘Kinabalu Khronicles’ in the Categories section.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dear Abby