Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Islam: the Way of Perfection

Someone told me to give a comment on an article in a newspaper entitled: 'When nasheed lost its identity.'
To answer this question, I may need to explain from the very beginning for better understanding. As we all know, Allah as the creator of human being is the All Knowing and is acquainted with all things. He knows every needs and desires hidden in our hearts. And He said: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor towards you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
Allah knows the desire of human to have fun and festival, so He gave us not one but two Eids(Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha). He knows man cannot live without a woman and He made adultery prohibited, so He replaced it with marriage. He made alcohol and pork forbidden and replaced them with many other food and drink in the world. The main point is there's always an alternative for Haram with a Halal thing. Islam is a perfect religion, not for one society, or country for one particular time, but it is the perfect religion for all mankind till the end of time. So He knows that some people can't live without any entertainment at all and made some people a good entertainer.
Now we come to nasheed, Nasheed (Arabic: singular نشيد , plural أناشيد)is an Islamic-oriented song, an Islamic vocal music that is either sung a cappella or accompanied by percussion instruments. In general, true Islamic nasheed does not contain lamellaphone instruments, string instruments, or wind and brass instruments, although digital remastering—either to mimic percussion instruments or create overtones—is permitted. This musical style is used because many Muslim scholars interpret Islam as prohibiting the use of musical instruments except for some basic percussion. Many people admire the purity and simplicity of the music. Nasheeds are popular throughout the Islamic World. The material and lyrics of Nasheed usually make reference to Islamic beliefs, history, and religion, as well as current events.
A new generation of "Nasheed" artists use a wide variety of musical instruments in their art. This has caused controversy amongst the Muslim community because of the vast range of scholarly opinions that exist on Music in Islam. These range from absolutely no music and singing, to that of any musical instruments allowed so long as the subject matter is of an Islamic ethos. There is also a crossover of mainstream music of groups, and solo artists, appealing to a significant Muslim crowd and also leading to performance of such artists at Islamic orientated festivals, conferences, concerts and shows. Other artists and organizations promote a 100% instrument free stance with nasheeds, differing from the current trends of the increasing usage of instruments in nasheeds.
Why do I have to tell you all this? Because we need to really understand what is the definition of nasheed. It's not a musical genre rather a concept to apply in music. And then we have to look into what secular means.
Secularism is the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs.
In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and freedom from the government imposition of religion upon the people, within a state that is neutral on matters of belief, and gives no state privileges or subsidies to religions. In another sense, it refers to a belief that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact unbiased by religious influence. In its most prominent form, secularism is critical of religious orthodoxy and asserts that religion impedes human progress because of its focus on superstition and dogma versus reason and scientific method.
The term "secularism" was first used by the British writer George Holyoake in 1846. The only reason they need to separate their religion from the worldly affair is because their religion is imperfect! But to us the Muslim, we shouldn't be disconnecting the religion in our daily affairs because our religion tells us every single thing in detail.(with of course a lot of interpretation from the scholars, but it is still prefect as it is).

So if we learned the definition of nasheed, we now understand that theoretically every Muslim who sings must be a nasheed if he/she don't want to belong in the secular group. That is what Allah told and allow us to do. By these definitions, we can already figure out what's the newspapers are making us to believe. I think the Muslim have to study on how to be a Muslim in depth before we can even talk about Islam. As for my personal comment about the matter is, whether or not the nasheedians set their hearts to get blessing from Allah, making a statement that nasheed products should be this way or that way is nonsense. We didn't even need the award in the first place, but getting it is a bonus. Allah equipped human with creativity and we have to use it to tell people the truth, don't ever give up because our enemies never give up telling us lies and trying to make us falling in love with the world. Anything we do, will be open to criticism especially the religious people, but we know that people who wants to comment will never stop giving their comments no matter what we do to try to satisfy them. Don't waste our time compromising peoples' request, we must focus only to satisfy Allah and He is the One who gives 'Hidayah' to whom He wants. After we have done our job as His servant, leave the rest on His side.
Another important point to highlight is that, don't ever think that by doing good, you are better that anyone else, because it's Allah who put the effort in you to do good deeds to guide you through the right path. Never claim anything which we don't possess. Never judge a person whether he/she is going to hell or heaven, these are secrets that only Allah knows. Just be grateful that you still have the Hidayah to embrace Islam wholeheartedly and try to do our job to protect our 'iman' until we meet Him.

I've used most of this post to answer the question that I didn't actually tell you about the songs embedded. The first video is a song from our retro album entitled Raihan. But after Raihan named their group after this song, Brothers who put the same track in their first album had to change its name to 'Mahligai kebahgiaan'. I still remember the time we record this song with our late Zairi from Raihan in OVA's studio, Sungai Penchala. I was in form 2 (13 years old) at that time. However, this is a newly recorded version as a half way project to produce the retro albums which for a certain reason cannot be released to the market.
The second song is the original version in one of the retro albums entitled Kembali. This song was re-recorded by Firdaus in 1999 for their first album and the title changed to 'Keampunan'.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Charity Show @ London

We would like to use the opportunity having Akbar here in the UK to put up a charity show for our brothers and sisters in Palestine. I am going to join him in MSD London on Thursday, the 26th of March 2009, from 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm. We hope you all will be participating in the event and donate as much as you can. Don't be hesitated to give away our money for the sake of Allah, just think of it as an investment for yourself in the hereafter, InsyaAllah. We will be surprised of what we think a small insignificant effort would give us in return.
Here is a clip made by my friend, to promote Inteam's latest album; Allahu Robbi featuring 5 of their original members reunited.

Also performing is a nasheed group from London who called themselves Soutussalam which means the voice of peace. This group is one of the contestants in NEXT Sheffield every year and had made quite an impression every time by composing their own song and stuff. They actually proved that we can still contribute to our Deen and study simultaneously without clashing both of them. In fact, many 'nasheedians' I knew came from this line; the student and academician. I heard they had performed several times in many occasions throughout the UK which made them more popular than me I suppose. I am going to meet them on the 26th and maybe we can make a collaboration in an album, who knows? I want to produce an album consists of all the nasheed groups in the UK who can come up with their own song. Anyone interested please contact me...

Monday, 16 March 2009

NEXT Sheffield

I would like to thank the organizer for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a great event. Hope to see you guys again next time, InsyaAllah...
Here are 2 clips that were shown during the event, it was posted by a committee in youtube, I hope she don't mind me embedding the same video in my blog.
I will give my comments on the performances that day in another post soon.

Monday, 9 March 2009

the most precious thing in our life

There's one thing in our body which can make us a bad person or a good one depending on it's condition, that thing is our heart. That's why everything we do is depending on what we have set our hearts on, whether for a bad intention or vice versa. When most of the people are busy with their life, less people are taking care of their hearts. Not by eating good food for its health but nourishing it with knowledge and care for it is the only thing that can save us after we die. When I talk about the after-life subject, which people tend to neglect so much whether it is on purpose or not, we can see that people are avoiding this subject to feel good about their life. This feeling is a dangerous one which had been warned by our prophet (peace be upon him) that there will be one time that the Muslims will be huge in numbers but most of them are infected with a devastating disease. And that is 'the love for the world and afraid of death.' Why did the prophet said that devoting ourselves to the world is an illness?
Before the Quran was even written into what we have today, the companion used to memorize them word by word. Later on the Quran was written properly after the Muslim had lost most of the companion committed to memorize the Quran in a war. Those days, the Muslims were like a 'walking Quran' who talks and acts accordingly to its verse and being closely supervised by the prophet himself. Now is the time to re-invent that moment for us to be the new Quranic Generation. We are the one who wants to be in heaven, don't we? Why wait for someone else to make a different?

Every Muslim with even a tiny bit of faith in their hearts will surely enter the heaven. How can we check if we have that tiny bit? There's no one in this world who can guarantee us a place in paradise, but all we can do is to constantly be reminiscent to each other about the main purpose of being a Muslim. And for that, I would like to thank all of my friends who keeps on jogging my memory to be a better Muslim every single day. How dare we misused the gifts that Allah had blessed for us and returning it to Him not as the way we got it. Anyway, let's find a way to increase our iman day by day and to cover back our duties that we had abandoned all these times to finally grasp the true sweetness until we die for the sake of Allah. One can never be adequate for such a great task, therefore I am enrolling you to join forces with us to ensure ourselves a greater future. May Allah helps the one who helps His religion.

Friday, 6 March 2009

it's a you AND me world

We've been thought since the beginning of time that this world is a cruel thing which any opportunity arose either got by you or me, one of us have to sacrifice. One of us have to be a victim in any situation. That is our paradigm brought down by generations. But we never thought about that the other way round, one doesn't have to be a victim and always complaining about something, rather we can make something to change the way of anything to the way that is satisfactory to all. We never thought that by making someone else successful, we will be successful as well. The world might just work in a you AND me environment rather than you OR me. By being responsible for what you do and said, you can create a new realm of possibilities around you and not always be a victim of the system you're in.
What would you do if somebody's telling you that there's one thing you can do and would receive a reward which has not seen by any eyes, not heard by any ears nor thought by any human thinking, beyond the imaginable depiction.

What if someone's telling you that the prophet is coming to see you? What is it like to be in our prophet's time? Would we be a follower or not? Just a thought to make we realize how different we are compared to the companions' life in the glorious time of our prophet.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

there is no secret ingredient

"One can say that life is 'empty and meaningless' simply because we are a 'meaning making machine' from the day we born until the day we die. There's not one time we do something that is not either our 'rackets' or our 'strong suits'. And the truth is that you're not even listening to what I'm writing but you're responding to your filter created by you in your head-the already always listening."

There's a lot of difference if you see the world not as you've being seeing it all these while. For example, if you want to be happy, don't wait to get the happiness comes from someone else like your husband or wife, parents or families. You are the one who have the key to your own happiness by sharing your happiness to them. You need to make yourself happy and bring the energy within your social community to make them happy, then your happiness will be fulfill and content. Don't go and marry someone to find your happiness from your spouses, but bring your happiness to them. What you give you get it back...it really does!
All your thoughts of the right and wrong things are not actually yours, it's just your interpretation of life. If we can let it all go, what do we have? nothing! and what is the opposite of nothing? Everything! We can create our own possibilities by just believing in ourselves. Does a university's degree guaranteed us a job? No,they don't! It's you getting the job. If the whole world tries to stop you from getting your bit which Allah has reserved for you in this world, they would have failed. And if the whole world tries to help you to get something that Allah didn't meant to be yours, they would also failed.
People always been afraid of these 3 things; wealth, health and marriage. Undoubtedly, these are the 3 most discussed area in our whole life. But as a Muslim we are blessed with the knowledge that there's nothing we can do to change them. (Maybe someone have just disagreed with me by now). Think about it this way, at the end of the day, we are all going to be judge on how we live our life in hereafter right? Do we pray to be born as royals? or even having a beautiful face? No we don't! There are just gift and at the same time a test from Allah, if you still don't get what I'm trying to say. What we have, who are we going to marry and when we are going to die had been pre-destined for us before we are born. All we have to do is to make sure we use all we've got for the sake of Allah.
Sometimes, I just wonder how the prophet did to implant faith into the companion until they actually wanted to die for the sake of Allah. How did they think about this life that they can just ignore the beauties and pleasure, and moreover they don't really go for the rewards they would get in the heaven, but only for the gratification of Allah. How did they retained the high motivation throughout their lives. I really longed to see that kind of environment once before I die.

The quoted sign sentences above are jargon used by a training I got recently. It was not an absolute breakthrough though as I already knew most of the concepts but I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience the 3 days course in Bristol. I will be going to the 10 days seminar of the same training starting next week and I hope I can get something out of it. Someone can be our teacher even if he or she thought us only one simple thing, what if that someone had thought us so many things? How in the world are we going to repay that someone? Only God can reward the sacrifice made by our teachers by limitless profits in the hereafter because their will to spread knowledge are going to benefit them as long as the knowledge still beneficial in this world. And my deepest respect to the teacher of all the teachers in the whole universe, our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW (peace be upon him). The most perfect creation ever lived in this world to be copied by all.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

there are no accident

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that's why it's called the present. We always worry so much about our past and our future which makes our present not so effectively being what we should be doing. In Solat, we are trained to be focus (khusyu') and be present when we're doing it and while we're doing it. It makes a lot of difference in our life if we can practice what we do in the Solat outside the Solat, what we read in the Quran out in our daily routine. I'm telling this to myself that if we go for the worldly affairs, it won't go anywhere, there's no end to it, but if we go for Islam, the world will surely come to you, and there will be relaxation and satisfaction in what you do. Everything that had happened to us is meant to happen in a way that we find our Creator and submit ourselves to Him and only Him.
I am responsible to do whatever I've said and if anyone seeing me doing against my sayings, please remind me for I am an ordinary human being, and being a human means we always forgetting and need to be reminded.

I am very worried and sad about the world nowadays. We are not supposed to be angry with the ignorant people, rather pity for them not getting 'hidayah' from Allah but I am very confused with the so called Muslim who didn't practice the teachings of their own religion to its fullest. Are they not thinking clearly or too full of themselves that they decided not to follow Allah's commands? Is this the world that I want to raise my son into? It doesn't take too much intelligent to comprehend Islam, it's the easier way of life for all humanity, not exclusively to any particular tribe or race or country...I am not a 'sheikh'(scholar) giving 'fatwa' or whatsoever, but I am just doing my part to make the world a better place to live. How much longer do we have to tolerate all this shenanigans to go on? Let's put ourselves together to fight this madness...so who's with me?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

I missed you so much Ummi...

Words couldn't really describe how much tears had dropped, how much sorrow felt and lonely we are without our parents. We are so much in debt with them, that we can't afford loosing them before we can pay back as much as we could. But we come to realize that they are also human being created by God, borrowed by God to us temporarily to be our ultimate test. Parents can both be a blessing to gain reward and the door to a greater sin to be punished later on. It would be nice to still have a father and mother to turn up to, who don't get envy even a bit with your success, who really want us to be better than themselves, the one we can talk openly without any secrets, or share our feelings, bitter and sweet. Oh Allah, the owner of all the blessings, I pray for You to let my mother be happy on the other side, peacefully rest with Your Mercy. And when I come to join her, please let my son remember me in his prayers everyday. Please don't leave me alone in the darkness with no help.

My wife and I shared a quite similar story about our mothers. Our grandmothers passed away followed by our mothers after a few years. Hope they all are doing well and we still missed them and surely will follow their footsteps sooner or later. For those who still have parents, please don't wait until it's too late to be nice with them. Apologize immediately if we have any mistake that hurt their feelings, it's your mother, and your mother, and then still your mother comes first before your father. Your mother is your key to enter the heaven, you'll get more chance of a place in paradise if your parents are pleased with you...think about it...it's not worth it to fight our parents over something so vague and intangible than to loose our chance to be in an eternal life in heaven. Life is short as if the period between the Athan and Iqamah, that's why Athan are supposed to be whispered in the ears of a new born baby and we are being prayed after we die. It's that short...and within that short period of time we are suppose to think how actually are we going to survive in the hereafter, that's it!
I still can't believe that my mother had passed away, sometimes it feels like she is still here, but we must grow up and live with it, so help me God!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Music is just a tool!

Surprisingly I'm not a music lover...I don't actually listen to music...I never bought a music CD in my life...I have a few which I got it for free:) I can't call myself having a deep passion in music...but I'm not saying I don't like music...All I wanted to say is that we should all aware it by now that music is just a tool...not a means to find peace in our heart. It can bring (the idea of)hatred and it can also bring (the idea of) love. Many people didn't believe me when I said I don't always listen to music because I have been a recording artist with many albums all these years. Yes, you read it right, I don't really listen to music to find peace. I do it just to study and manipulate it into my experiments. I use them as a reference to train my vocal and that's it. It's not a necessity in life where we have to listen to music every day, or even every hour like some people.
I'm not a multi-talented musician who can play all the instruments but I am gifted not being a tone deaf. Is that something I pray to get? No...it's a gift and at the same time a test from Allah for me, whether I want to use it as a bad thing or otherwise. People are born with different gifts to be the means of getting to know our Creator. It is not a thing to be proud or ashamed of, it's a test of loyalty and allegiance to Allah. Sadly artist nowadays are being idolized by many, without realizing the danger lies behind the culture and lifestyle being brought together within the community from early age and are being consistently absorb and accepted as a normal behavior by the youngsters. Oh Lord, I seek refuge from being into the same ship as the others who let themselves be idolized and made a huge contribution towards the misleading information from God's true path.

Many had already knew about how Mirwana and Brothers are connected. Mirwana was originally a nasyid group from SMKA Maahad Hamidiah, Kajang...formed by Yasin when he was 15. The name was the idea of Yasin Sulaiman himself, named after his little brother Marwan. Brothers is Mirwana's senior in school days. They were the one to be feared or force to respect if you don't want to get bullied. After leaving school, Yasin formed another group called the 'Brothers'. Let's just look at this similar scenario happening to Brothers and Mirwana. Brothers consists of 4 people; Yasin, Salleh, Syah and Faiz. (Salleh was not from Maahad).Yasin left the group and make a solo album and won the AJL in 2001. He had been so successful since then leaving Brothers with Salleh, Syah and Faiz. They took Akbar as Yasin's substitute to proceed with the group. Later on, Syah were focusing on Mirwana and left the group. They took Halim as Syah's substitute. Now that Halim continued his studies in Australia and Akbar went solo, Brotherz now left with Salleh and Faiz. Then they decided to reunite back in an album called 'Kembali bersatu'...
Mirwana consists of 5 people; Izzat, Hafiz, Akmal, Along, Faizal. (Faizal was not from Maahad). Faizal left the group and join OIAM and won many awards. He had been so successful since then leaving Mirwana with Izzat, Hafiz, Akmal and Along. Later on, Akmal starts focusing on Varian. Izzat went to the UK and Mirwana had to take Naim and Ikram as a replacement.
Is this all just a coincidence? will they be joining back together in the future? who knows...