MY UMRAH – MADINAH


The first stop for my umrah was Madinah, the city Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had migrated to due to extreme torture and hatred towards Muslims in Makkah.

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King Abdul Aziz International Airport (Hajj Terminal)

The journey took approximately 5 hours by bus from Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport, a special airport which is used specially for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. All praise to God, immigration clearance didn’t take long compared to a friend of mine who had to wait 5.5 hours to clear. We took about 1.5 hours.

The scene at the airport itself gave us an indication of how packed this umrah was going to be. Our flight from Singapore which had a stopover in Dubai, mostly consisted of pilgrims from Indonesia.

As we arrived in Madinah, I continue to have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was appreciative and excited at the opportunity to be here, to be able to be in the presence of God’s Prophet to mankind, Muhammad (PBUH) and on the other, I worried about unpleasant experiences.

But all that changed the moment I laid my eyes on Masjid Nabawi, one of the most majestic and one of the three highly revered mosque in the world (Masjidil Haram in Makkah and Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem are the other two).

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Masjid Nabawi

I did not let slip the opportunity to perform my isyak prayers there when my roommate asked if I wanted to join him and his brother there before the group had a proper tour. Walking to the masjid, I was beaming with excitement and immediately, I fell in love with the mosque the moment I stepped into its compound.

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The intricate architecture was breathtaking, the marble floor was cool to walk on and I looked forward to pray at Masjid Nabawi at every prayer because the entire atmosphere was unlike any other I’ve been to. There were areas within the mosque where one could sit to read and be corrected on your Quranic readings by a tahfiz al-quran (expert at Quranic recitations) but the highlight of the mosque is the resting place of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his two closest companions who later became the Caliphs after his passing, Sayidina Abu Bakr and Sayidina Umar as well as a small area within the mosque referred to as Raudah.

It is an obligation for every Muslim to greet Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his two companions when you are in Masjid Nabawi, and so that’s what we did after our prayers. Immediately, you realise that your faith is being tested as large groups of people would start moving in the same direction.

Some at slower speeds and some at faster speeds, either hustling their way through the crowd or following the flow of the crowd. If you’ve ever been to a sell-out concert, that’s how it’s like, except that instead of hearing people hurling vulgarities at people who push and shove, you hear people reciting verses from the Quran or ‘Sabr!’ (Patience).

And this scene is how it’s like on a daily basis. Besides paying your respects to the Prophet and his two companions, everyone also wants to pray in the Raudah area. The many columns in this area represented many different things that have happened during the period of God’s final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stay in Madinah and is also one of the reasons why his companions wanted to pray at those areas.

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Masjid Nabawi open area

Besides that, it has also been mentioned that Raudah will be one of the gardens in paradise and prayers or supplications made in Raudah will be granted. Therefore, it is no wonder why everyone wants to have the opportunity to pray and supplicate there. And all praise to God, I was given 3 opportunities to pray and supplicate in Raudah. I hope my prayers and supplications are accepted as much as I hope everyone else’s is.

Aside from Masjid Nabawi being the centre of attraction in Madinah, there is also another special mosque, one which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had built himself when he first came to Madinah, Masjid Quba. This Masjid is a little further from Masjid Nabawi and is also the first mosque you’ll see when you enter Madinah.

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Masjid Quba

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Masjid Quba main prayer hall

Life is Madinah was slow paced and I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t feel the need to rush to pray as I always had more than enough time to find a comfortable spot in the masjid, to read the Quran or to just perform the ‘iktikaf’ by either resting or reflecting on my life or to pray. In fact, I actually realised that I didn’t even visit the malls or restaurants in the area until I was asked along because otherwise, I would have just sat in the masjid.

So, when people tell me they love Madinah, I understand why now because I love Madinah too. I love it because of the slow pace and also because it is where I get to be close to the Prophet. I truly hope that perhaps, you’d have the opportunity to one day be ‘invited’ and be able to visit and pray in Masjid Nabawi.

If God Gave Grades….


I was in the showers when this just came to me…

If you’re a Muslim, imagine this…

If your life on earth is an examination and God had to give grades for it to determine where you’d go in the afterlife, this is probably how it’d be graded

Semestral Examinations – Daily Prayers

Term Tests/Exams – Muslim Lifestyle

CCA Grading – Sunnahs

To be admitted to Heaven, your Daily Prayers are first evaluated:

  • 100% score – 5 Times a Day Prayers Completed (Superb Quality Heaven)
  • 80% score – 4 Times a Day Prayers Completed (Good Quality Heaven)
  • 60% score – 3 Times a Day Prayers Completed (Average Quality Heaven)
  • 40% score – 2 Times a Day Prayers Completed (Not Bad Quality Heaven)
  • 20% score – 1 Time a Day Prayers Completed (Still Heaven Anyway)
  • 0% score – 0 Times a Day Prayers Completed (Thinking of Heaven? Go to Hell la you!)

I’d imagine God would still be kind to allow you to try to go to Heaven if you managed to clock even at least one prayer a day, he’d put you in the lowest rank of Heaven for effort at the very least. But if you don’t bother to even clock one prayer and want to get into Heaven, I figured he’d tell you, “Go to Hell la you! No shame is it?”

Okay, perhaps based on Semestral Examinations alone aren’t sufficient to judge alone, so God also evaluates you based on your Term Tests/Exams which is something more periodic, like in school..

  • Consumption of Halal Food & Beverages
  • Ensures that Aurat is closed to non-muhrims
  • Reads the Quran regularly
  • Performs the remaining 3 pillars of Islam since the first is recitation of Syahadah and next is Prayers.
  • Basically, you avoid what’s Haram as stated in the Quran.

So, based on your Semestral Examination grades which perhaps constitutes 60%, God then looks at your 40% of the grades which is your Term Tests/Exams and puts that into consideration. Probably he has a checkbox table list as well for every single Haram/Halal/Makhruh and gets his angels to record on it every time you Think and Do something.

We all know that you don’t get No Ticks for Bad Thoughts but you get Good Ticks for Good Thoughts!

Last but not least, just like your GCE ‘O’ Level exams, because Heaven is so competitive to enter, especially when you want to try to vie for a space in the Heaven where the Prophets and his friends are at, the best way to distinguish the ones’ who really deserve to go there would be to look at how much of the Prophet’s Sunnah (Practices) does one perform!

The more you perform Prophet’s Sunnahs, the better your chances to get that A1 grade to help you gain better chance for admission to Heaven of the Prophets.

So, looking at your Semestral, Term and CCA grades, where do you think you will end up in Heaven?

Looking Back On 2012


Looking back on 2012….

It was definitely better than 2011! An improvement in a few areas whilst I cut loose on what weighed me down.

By Definition Pte Ltd

By Definition

If you don’t already know, I run this company with two other friends of mine. This was a year better than 2011 in more ways than one. (If you haven’t gone to our FB, go and ‘Like’ it!)

For a start, we had more business rolling in. That’s always good for business. I mean, why would you run a business if it didn’t make money right?

We also moved into an office cum warehouse to share a space with our trusted alliance company to ensure that we can have better collaboration and maximization of resources.

Not just that, we also had our first business trip to establish working relationship with partners overseas and also began sourcing out for materials and artefacts to help us deliver our programmes better!

Lastly, we’ve been receiving great *feedback from our Clients about our Products and Services, and most importantly, the people who help to make it happen – OUR FRIENDS, OUR TRAINERS!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

*Between Feb 2011 – Aug 2012:

Primary School Programmes Statistics
(Based on criteria of ‘Tidak Setuju’ (Don’t Agree), ‘Tidak Pasti’ (Not Sure) and ‘Setuju’ (Agree))
 
‘Suka Dengan Program’ (Like The Programme)
73.2% Setuju
 
‘Belajar Ilmu Baru’ (Learnt New Skill/Knowledge)
78.8% Setuju
 
‘Tertarik Dengan Kandungan’ (Attracted To Content)
62.4% Setuju
 
Secondary School Programme Statistics
(Based on criteria of ‘Tidak Memuaskan’ (Not Satisfying), ‘Kurang Memuaskan’ (Less Satisfying), ‘Sederhana’ (Satisfied), ‘Cukup Memuaskan’ (Quite Satisfied), ‘Sungguh Memuaskan’ (Very Satisfied))
 
Programme Objectives:
86.9% feedbacked ‘Cukup Memuaskan’ and ‘Sungguh Memuaskan’  
Participants Expectations:
77.5% feedbacked ‘Cukup Memuaskan’ and ‘Sungguh Memuaskan’
Interesting/Unique Programmes:
89.2% feedbacked ‘Cukup Memuaskan’ and ‘Sungguh Memuaskan’
  • Community Work/Volunteering – YEC

Seems like some of my friends aren’t aware that I have been volunteering with People’s Association. Well, can’t blame them since I don’t talk about it cause I don’t really know who’s interested to know about what I do and I also don’t like to end up talking about myself. It’s enough that I have to bore people about what I do for a living (business), don’t think I want to bore people more with what I do without getting paid for it.

So, I’ll make this one as short as possible.

My Youth Executive Committee (YEC) organised the first ever run at the Gardens By The Bay at Marina Bay. Called the ‘Singapore Garden Run’, it was also a GRC event whereby we synergised with a few other YECs within our GRC to carry out this event. My YEC was in-charge of the run and the concert.

Singapore Garden Run

Singapore Garden Run

We know there were feedbacks about how it was conducted but nonetheless, for an event that big to have been organised by a group of youths made up of working professionals and students, I think we can afford to give ourselves a pat on our back for that. Nevertheless, we will work to address the issues raised and hope to be able to deliver a better run in the future!

  • Community Work/ Volunteering – SSEAYP

Yes, another type of volunteering.

I was really happy to have been able to contribute for this one not just in Singapore but again, in Indonesia!

Ship for South East Asia Youth Programme

Ship for South East Asia Youth Programme

Emcee for the Home Stay Matching Ceremony held at Orchid Country Club! I was initially asked to help take photos but I had to say no to that cause I really have no skill and I don’t want to screw photos up. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it too. I’m not quite the camwhore. I’m more of the motormouth and yes, I definitely enjoyed myself emceeing the event. To those who were there, I hope you enjoyed it as well.

Liaison Officer (LO) for Country Program Indonesia (CPI). My second year as LO in Indonesia for the CPI and I cannot be happier to have been able to contribute especially since my SSEAYP batchmate is also now the President of SSEAYP International Indonesia.

Not only did I get to contribute as LO, I was also the Emcee for the Welcoming Dinner hosted by the Governor of Daerah Kabupaten Indonesia Jakarta (Jakarta Province). It would have been awesome if I would have been able to meet and take a photo with the new Jakarta Governor, Joko Widodo, but alas, he didn’t attend.

Nonetheless, what made it more sweet was that some members of the Ministry of Youth and Sports who were in attendance later commented that they enjoyed my emceeing and loved my voice and would love to have me emcee their events in the future! Woohoo!

  • LOVE

I think this deserves a section of its own.

Yes, I am in love.

I don’t think I have ever loved God this much in my life. I’ve been reading the Quran more often albeit translation, to have a better understanding of God’s revelations to Muslims beloved Prophet, Prophet Muhammad.

If you’re wondering about love in the other segment.

Well, to answer that, it’s really connected to God. As my name suggests, Abdillah – Servant of God. I really need to serve him more diligently in 2013.

My dad has already told me to get married in 2013. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m not financially nor emotionally nor spiritually prepared for it. Anyway, my dad is very specific about who he wants me to marry – an Indonesian from his hometown. I think that will take time.

  • MEDIA APPEARANCES/ INVITES

I don’t think the year can be complete without media appearances/invites.

I happened to appear on the news when BERITAonSURIA decided to cover my company’s programme during Bulan Bahasa (Language Month).

I was also interviewed in a discussion with then, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law, Sim Ann on TODAY on the topic, ‘Of Dreams, Realities and Opportunities’.

That aside, I’m still covering stories/events and giving reviews on my blog. Currently, I’m writing the reviews for MediaCorp Suria’s latest reality TV competition, RATU. So, if you have an event related to Arts and Education, feel free to drop me an email! If I have time, I will definitely cover the event and provide my most unbiased comments on it.

And lastly, my friends and relatives can officially call me, “Poster Boy”. The next time you visit or walk past a Community Centre, look closely. You might spot a familiar face.