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I wrote this short movie based on a true story. I witnessed how my own friend crumble into pieces when her own mother could no longer recognise her. A heartbreak that is truly indescribable.
Wishing all mothers Happy Mother’s Day – well in advance, because you truly deserve it! #MothersDay #Annahl #Hongleongislamicbank
As I lay down on my daybed in the living room, I see the Papaya Tree, belonging to lazy owners like my husband and I, bearing so many fruits, despite the fact that no one really bothers to fertilize it or water it on a daily basis.
It has since grown so tall and pretty, amidst my unkempt garden. The rain and sunshine takes cares of my papaya tree, Alhamdulillah for lazy people like us. When the fruit ripens, it falls to the ground, and feeds the squirrels and birds. We are happy that we have these occasional pets in our garden, feeding off that Papaya tree that is wholly taken care of by God the Almighty.
I had just finished reading the morning papers which I put down after a few giggles. An ex Senator is suing the Prime Minister and his 13 generals over the 1MDB case. I had to smirk because this ex Senator was my successor at the Ministry of Finance. It’s just so funny that the 1MDB case is being put to “snooze” and muted for the nth time, and it is business as usual for most Malaysians.
I then scroll down the FB page on my smartphone – and I see sad pictures of war torn Syria and cute babies in bloodbath. Do people actually kill cute babies? Oh yes, they do – pictures don’t lie. I read the headlines, but never the whole story – cos I already have an overload of sad stories in my own lifebank that I don’t need to deposit anymore into it.
I switch to Linkedin, and numerous messages sit in my inbox. Some are pleading for a job, some are asking for donations, some are promoting their services and products – and some are just thank you notes for accepting their request for connection.
I feel bad, that I cannot help everyone. I feel bad that I cannot feed those in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Middle East countries. I feel bad that I cannot offer a job to those who send me countless messages, pleading over and over again. How I wish I was one of the 1MDB beneficiaries (Nauzubillah).
I move to my Watsapp. My friends in the UK are sending me fund raising invites for the Middle Eastern countries, donation links to help feed hungry children and families, donation links for winter clothings, etc. etc. A lot of people are asking for help – but there is only so much help I can extend. If only I had some 1MDB monies.
I stop for a while and ponder. Where is this world heading to? I turn to google and type away “Signs of the End of the World”. http://www.imranhosein.org/articles/signs-of-the-last-day/76-ten-major-signs-of-the-last-day-has-one-just-occurred.html
These signs are scary. Most of them I have already witnessed and are currently happening as I type. Many a time, I stand alone defending things which are wrong – but are deemed right by certain “learned people”. I know and realise that I can never win a war of truth with the Learned, so I drop the polemic. I try to sleep to forget the frustration of living in a corrupt and filthy world.
Power abuse is rampant. The Deen is now being commercially used for self gain and self enrichment. It’s core purpose is being trivialised. No one really cares anymore about source of Halal Money. Even Zakat money that is meant for the Poor is being mishandled. What is worse is when the term Fisabilillah gets twisted and turned in so many creative ways – just so it can benefit friends and families. (and this is just some bullet points, amongst others – all listed in the links, not my words!)
It is kinda depressing. But nobody said this world is meant to be enjoyed. It is just a transition to the next. A temporary world to see how well you fare, how well you score, before he decides your final abode. The closer he wants you to be to him, the more tests he will hit you with! That much, I know.
Dear friends who are reading this,
Islam is such a wonderful religion, whose guidance is bundled up nicely in a book of knowledge. It was sent down to a man ( may Peace be upon him) who was illiterate – he couldn’t read nor write. The message here is to tell us all how easy the religion is, and that you don’t need to be a learned scholar to be a good Muslim. You don’t need a Ph.D, a Master’s, nor a string of qualifications.
In all Muslim families, the Quran is taught to toddlers, as early as 2 or 3 years old – it is that simple, I cannot emphasize more. If it was simple 1400 years ago, why did mankind choose to make it complicated and/or sophisticated?
Go back to the “Signs of the End of the World” – and the answers are all there.
I have since, stopped asking and choose to resign to the fact that this world is ending.
Although not a scholar in Islamic teachings or studies, I have sufficient knowledge and I hold on strong to the fact that Islam is simple and easy and that, is was always meant to be and stay that way.
But what are we subject to today? The overrating of the so called “Learned” that because of the centralisation and overbearing of power, have become intentionally or otherwise, abusive in carrying out their duties, resulting in a defenseless, weak, feeble Muslim community.
Are we reaching the end of the world? I think the answer can only be YES.
I recently met and spoke with a non-Muslim who reads and practices the Quran on a daily basis. After less than an hour of dialogue, I left the room feeling ashamed.
It is amazing how he understands the concept of Rezq and how important it is to rise early and look for means of sustenance – or one remains poor and should not be blaming the universe for his miserable fate.
He understands the concept of giving and helping the underprivileged, because he grew up not know what luxury is.
He is not a revert, and won’t be one, but he believes that the Holy Book is one that provides a Good Way of Life, and he tries as much to follow the teachings via his act and demeanour.
In short, he walks the walk and talks the talk.
His charitable acts knows no race, religion and boundaries.
I stand embarrassed next to him, while he effortlessly makes my CSR work look negligibly small when compared to his.
That brings me to the question, where art thou, exemplary Muslims?
- Why is good conduct a rare commodity?
- Why is a smile inexistent?
- Why is selfishness the order of the day?
I don’t get it.
When you preach, why must your tone of voice be condescending – it annoys me.
When you are fully covered, why do you judge the few strands of hair I let out occasionally cos I am hot? I despise the look you give me.
When you eat, why do you forget to keep your stomach one third empty for air? I am shocked that you don’t know when to stop!
I don’t get it.
I am far from being classified as a Good Muslim, and I know I have a long way to go – because I sometimes make mistakes which are habitual in nature, intentional or otherwise – but I do hold on strong to the wish of being exemplary, before I blow my last breath.
I know it is not hard. It doesn’t require further studies in the best Universities of Cairo or Yarmouk, nor speak fluent Arabic. All you need to do is be at your best behaviour at all times and display good conduct.
Because Islam is simple and teaches us that the best of us are those who treat each other well. It’s so simple, but yet difficult to attain.
If good conduct is the hallmark of Islam, then help me understand why good conduct is beginning to fizzle away and becoming a cherished memory of the good old Prophetic (may peace be upon all of them) times?
We were walking back to the office one afternoon after lunch, when a colleague of mine was lamenting and sharing about how lame the Forum was. She had just finished attending ( yet another ) one of those “Successful Women Leadership Talks”. By the sound of it, she obviously didn’t learn much and regretted the wasted time there.
Naturally after over 20 years of being in the workforce and motherhood, wouldn’t we by nature, already know the Grind and Politics of the Big Corporate World?
Needless to also say, that we have seen/observed/know what it takes to be “up there”. It was just a question of whether or not we were game for some “sacrifices” along the way. In terms of technical knowledge or capability, you really do not need to be another Einstein.
For some colour and flavour, my colleague has one kid in tow and I have three (with the eldest being 22).
Hence, why the talks by these “Successful Individuals” were often taken with a pinch of salt or two, and we would always smirk a little, after we finished listening to their set of wonderfully narrated success stories. Yeah, it sounds all well and good, I must say, especially with a microphone in hand.
So what’s the real story behind it?
Whilst it is encouraging to listen and see how the International Women’s Day is celebrated in a big way, hyped and publicised throughout the social media platforms, I feel obliged to balance the real meaning of success for women at large.
In retrospect, and as a young mother, who did it three times, with a gap of 3.5 years each, I must first thank God, for all the energy I had – for all the unrelenting support I had from my better half who did all the ferrying around, (home-Mom’s house-kindies- back to home), the maid who did the Mothering job whilst I was busy climbing the Corporate Ladder and my mother who did the Supervising/Monitoring Task!
By the time I got home each evening, I was usually flat out from work, traffic jam (never had a driver) and really had very little energy left to “play with the kids” or “attend to their homework”. And yeah, we also have to cook when we get home, don’t we?
I shall skip the phases when I had overseas assignments, and was never home for days and weeks ( that’s what happens when you work for MNCs).
I was also not part of the “Stay Home Mom Club when the Child is Sick”. God took care of my children and He still is.
Worklife had no balance when I was younger, for sure! And I have stopped dreaming of attaining that balance after all these years. What balance are we talking about, I really don’t know.
And so, we had maids after maids, during those days when maids were still affordable and aplenty. Of course, it all came with a cost and emotional strains – and anecdotes about maids, we all know, there are a gazillion of them.
The life of a normal executive, with a handful of kids, and travelling duties, and housework, is a little bit different from those who have risen through the ranks faster than the rest.
The decisions of a wife who wants to balance her marriage and duty as a mother, are often miles apart from those who are willing to accept late night outs, or after work social sessions. The more posh word that is used to describe it is, “networking” but in reality, it just clocking entertainment, mingling and laughing hours with “top corporates” who can place your career on a fast track, green lane, etc. etc.
So if it is that easy, why isn’t everybody doing it?
Because for most of us, the less ambitious ones, have a different set of priorities and are not willing to forego family time. And that is why, most of us, who share similar values, are contented with our smaller success, smaller office corners, and lower heat zone.
Does it mean that we are less successful or less intelligent or less aggressive in reaching the top or breaking that imaginary glass ceiling?
No, it really means that we are confident enough to know what we want, and doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be Top Executive to fully live a life that is more than our 9 to 5s.
To each her own – and do celebrate your success in your own way, however small it may be!
I know of two rich men, both with opposing characters. The one with the better character is much richer and more generous. You can ask him for any amount of money for an orphanage, anything for orphans, just anything – and it will be handed with a ribbon.
Meanwhile, the other tight fisted man, only knows how to ask for help (but never helps others) and will usually donate generously, if it is accompanied with some sort of great publicity. Sigh!
After many years of witnessing this contrast, I asked the Rich Generous Guy, why he continues to help, does it with passion, and never gets exhausted from helping people, even the Stingy Rich Guy who never helps anyone.
His answer to me was very simple : He said, ” I am doing this for my children”.
And so I went, ” Huh? What are you talking about?”
He quipped, ” I am what I am today because of my father. He used to help every single person in town, whether he knew them or not. He used to give away Sadaqah to every needy person, and never missed an invitation that was extended to him. He just gave and gave and gave wholeheartedly, till the end of his life.
I have since tried to emulate my father’s footsteps, so that my children will benefit the same from my own doing”.
I kept quiet and couldn’t agree more. His wealth, never decreased – it went the opposite direction instead.
Today, you help someone, and some day, someone else will look after your children, it dawned on me. Makes sense.
In short, if you want to increase your Rezq, escalate and hike the amount of your Sadaqah.
May 2017 be a year of bounties and glad tidings to all, especially for the “Upper Hands”.