Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Ramadhan...What It Means To Me

Ramadhan is here again...I first started fasting when I was 7, completing a meagre 6 days initially. By the time I was 10, it had become part of my annual routine to complete the whole deal. I had no problem fasting even when I had to play full 80 minute rugby games. But the meaning of Ramadhan did not make much impact back then.....physically, fasting has never been that difficult for me.

......Yes, we've all heard the amazing benefits one can strife to gain during this holy month. It's a battle against Nafsu, it's time to quadruple our ibadah....tarawih, sedekah, taubat etc

......But really, when the tailors are all fully booked for baju raya order even before the month start (I am as guilty for trying to find a tailor for my baju raya a few days before Ramadhan, what am I thinking....I get that "are you crazy" look every time.) , it makes me wonder if I am doing this right.

......Then there's all this Ramadhan Bazaar craze that sweeps the country, and Muslims and non-Muslim alike swarm these bazaars to indulge in the food fiesta.....though at one point or another, some of the food goes to waste (Yup...been there, done that...I am just as guilty). I was told/I read that in some countries food business literally come to a halt during Ramadhan as most traders prefer to give sedekah (free food in our country means go eat at the mosque).

......The mosques are filled to the brim with "determined" Jamaah at the beginning of Ramadhan....but the number rapindly dwindles as the spirit of hari raya begins to creep in....hmmm. And some Imams who recite lengthy Quran verses during the Tarawih...I can still handle it at this age but I wonder if the old folks can remain khusyuk as they struggle to remain standing. (Yes, I can "kira dengan jari" the number of days I went for tarawih last year, though the number was a bit bigger if you count the tarawih I did alone at home).

......For what ever reason, I was inspired last Ramadhan to "try" these two adhoc resolutions; to stay away from coffee and to remain awake after sahur (I got up at about 5.15am for sahur). Surprisingly, I almost succeeded in my attempt to refrain from coffee (I had coffee once during Buka Puasa invitation) and as far as I could remember, I had managed to resist going back to sleep after sahur. The additional time I had in those early mornings were effectively used to clean up the house, to prepare susu for my daughter, to take out the trash and to do other chores...

......I also did this though it was not part of the resolution; I eat light meal for buka puasa, went for tarawih and had dinner later after tarawih. It felt better as I was normally not sleepy during the prayers, and I lost weight!!!!

......So this year, I guess I must do better...both spiritually and physically. I have no excuse really, with the syaitan being's the battle between me and my Nafsu, and subsequently it's my great opportunity for "self-reflection".

......So these are the important things for me this Ramadhan....and I guess I'll brave myself to review my own performance once the month is over....

1. I will refrain from coffee and I will not go back to sleep after sahur.

2. I will reduce the trips to ramadhan bazaar, and exercise moderation if I do go there (the once a year popiah and kuih talam will be my biggest challenge).

3. I will go to tarawih more often; the number of tarawih I go to must exceed all my jari tangan..:)

4. I will stick to my buka puasa routine; kurma, drink and light meal....go for maghrib, isya and tarawih...then only the proper meal. My sahur routine shall remain the same; oat meal drinks or other similar drinks.

5. I will attempt at making my ibadat more meaningful; more khusyuk in my prayers, reading the Quran and yassin for myself and for Abah, do more ibadat that is more "people-related", less talk and more work (yup, lots of papers to write, just have to choose the ones which carry more impact).

6. I will find time to hang those pictures on the wall of my new house....lots of them. I guess this is my form of exercise for this Ramadhan.

Ramadhan is here shortly......and I hope these resolutions will help me to "hayati" the meaning of it better than I did the previous years. Amin.....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Selamat Tinggal Abah

Abah passed away on 11 Aug 09, 20 Syaaban 1430 at about 3.15pm and I buried him the next day at about 11am.

To be honest, letting him go was not as difficult as I thought….I wondered why initially. Why did I not feel so sad?…Yes, I did shed my tears….the sharp pain of my loss really hit me twice; the first time was at about 2 am as I sat next to his motionless body reciting the Yassin and then I asked God in my doa to forgive him for all his sins and to reward him with a place in heaven for all his good deeds…The second was when I kissed his forehead, bidding him “Selamat tinggal Abah” before the last piece of kain kafan was wrapped around his face. I had waited for a while and wondered if the feeling was ever going to intensify further…..but Alhamdulillah it did not. I am sad that Abah is gone…..I can’t lie about that. But I think I can accept the fact that he is really gone…and it’s okay.

Abah had survived stroke at least 4 times. His second stroke was pretty severe. He only recovered his ability to walk and eat properly through acupuncture despite the slim hope given by the doctor at the government hospital. I took him through the 6 acupuncture sessions and watched his remarkable improvement with each session. He experienced a few more attacks later and came out of each one a bit more fragile than before. He was at home as his health deteriorated till the point that Mak decided to quit her job more than a month ago to take care of him.

A few years ago till the end of his life, Abah had this amazing ability to describe in details events and people from many years ago…I even took him to relocate a Guru Agama (religious teacher) whom he had not met for at least 20 years…and he could direct me to the place almost without any assistance.

I decided recently to document Abah’s early life experience when he and his family crossed the Strait of Malacca on a small boat from his Kampung Singgalang, Jambi, Sumatera in search for a better living in this country. Maybe this is another story to tell in my future blog entry.

I had the urge to visit Mak and Abah the weekend before his demise. Thought it was a good idea to visit before puasa. I heard him laugh as he and Mak recounted their recent visit to Kak Lina’s house in Kuantan. We especially enjoyed the part about his trip to the beach. Abah had the strong urge to get into the water but he fell almost immediately as his frail frame could not withstand the smallest of wave. Abah tried to convince us that the wave really was strong…but we all knew better. I think he really enjoyed his last outing…and I am really glad he took that long trip to Kuantan.

During my last weekend with him I felt that he needed a shave and Lin also pointed out that his fingernails were long. I am glad I decided to take the time to sit with him as I shaved his beard and moustache, and trimmed all his nails. He looked younger after I was done and I jokingly warned Mak that he could still attract the ladies. And later, when I first saw his lifeless body lying on the bed, I was convinced that the trip I made, the urge I had to shave his beard and moustache, and trim his nails were all the bits that were already “tersirat” leading to his departure from living.

And finally, upon hearing the news of Abah leaving us forever, I made a promise to myself that I would get myself involved as much as possible with all the preparations, and I managed to do just that; holding him as we move him to the bed, reading Yassin by his side, bathing him, wrapping him with the kafan, performing Solat Jenazah, accompanying him as he was taken to his final resting place, holding his coffin as we took him out of the kereta jenazah…and finally receiving him as he was being lowered into the grave and placing him into the "liang lahad". It felt good that I got to do all those for him….And the whole arrangements were easy….everything was in order with lots of help from everybody around…..and I truly believe that Allah made it easy for us all. And that’s great….and I am hopeful that Abah is going to be okay.

And now I think I understand why I do not feel that sad knowing that Abah is gone.....
……My feeling is that he is going to be okay.
……I had the pleasure of being close to him as we shared wonderful moments a few days before his death.
……I did my duty as his son to take care of him as we sent him to his final resting place.
……and I know that I can still reach him through my doa for him and by being a good son to carry on his legacy…..

Selamat Tinggal Abah”.

Semoga Allah mengampunkan dosa-dosa Abah, semoga Allah jauhkan Abah dari siksa kubur dan api neraka, dan semoga Allah kurniakan balasan syurga atas segala kebaikan Abah dan tempatkan Abah di sisinya bersama orang-orang yang beriman….Amin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Suhaimi Says What....Intro

Today is the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. I am putting a brave face at trying to share my thoughts with others in cyber space. Computing does not come easy for somebody at my age, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Despite being a late starter compared to the millions of bloggers out there, I still think it's never too late to try.

Why am I doing this? I guess just to challenge myself for a start. And with all the good intentions of pre-meditated evil plan to take over the world:)...just me and all the bubbles floating over my head. I hope some of the words I put down here will have positive impacts on others, or at least, have positive impact on my own strife to be a better human being.

So friends...if after having read my ramblings in this blog, you find it hurtful in any way, please forgive me as I am only human. One thing I can assure you, it's never deliberate. I have never proclaimed myself as a staunch or die-hard supporter of any political party so I guess I can take sanctuary to the idea that I'm on the fence politically. I hope if I ever encroach any topic that has the slightest shred of political content, you will see that I am not championing any of the party's cause, just my own.

So here it and the bubbles above my head for the world to see!!!!!!!