Disconnecting…

During my Umrah trip earlier this year, I disconnected myself from the world – pretty much, the entire time. I wanted to focus myself and my mind totally on the most precious journey of my life visiting the holy lands and performing obligations. Now that Ramadan is coming, I am thinking of doing the same too.

You know, I have this sort of serious addiction to the phone, or social medias, in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What’s App. These four icons are just enough to shove away my time without I realized it. Sometimes, or most times actually, I just wanted to check something on the phone but that something usually turns to many things. Just so many things coming my way and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Though I can excuse myself that there are many beneficial things I gain from the social medias as well, I can’t deny that time has been wasted so much. Scrolling and scrolling, that is a syndrome already.

Knowing myself well, I was determined to log out from everything and uninstall the apps at all for the whole 12-day trip – except What’s App, with the restriction to only respond to family groups just for quick updates. Time was extra precious I couldn’t afford to miss a thing, just because my eyes were on the phone and stole all my focus. So we weren’t best-friend for a while and one funny thing I found out was that, all the while prior to this trip, I always complained that my phone has grown too old that the battery could only last for less than an hour! When I was in Mecca & Medina, the battery lasted up to 2-3 days before I needed to recharge it. Haha I laughed at myself, amused and shamed at the same time.

And there I had the most splendid time ever. The view, the sound, the serenity were just so indescribable. I think I blinked less than usual. Not only mesmerized by the natural surroundings, I also paid good attention to the talks by the Mutawwif every time we gathered for briefing and on the bus going for ziarah. My mom said that I was lucky to have this Ustaz conducting our Umrah because he is so good. He didn’t only lead us but also instilled the elements of soul fulfilling, which is not what she experienced with other Mutawwif in her previous Umrahs. Ustaz Bakri, may Allah bless him and his families.

Divorcing myself with the phone for some time did not harm. I don’t regret not having a single picture with the two most beautiful mosques, I captured the views in my memory. I did snap more pictures at the hotels and ziarah places. Since I came home, there’s no single day goes by without me re-imagining myself around Masjidil Haram and Nabawi. Sometimes I am at the rooftop, sometimes right in front of Multazam. And I believe I will return some day, InsyaAllah.

Well, my Umrah as a whole wasn’t perfect, there were times I got tired and so sleepy I couldn’t sit straight. When I remember those times, I wish I could repeat my Umrah and patch the flaws I made. That’s what I can hope for but better off, I should look at what I have now – which is the incoming Ramadan the holiest month of all, if Allah wills me.

I plan to disconnect myself as I did and devote myself to more ibadah and related. Its a bit longer then the umrah duration but its still no harm, self, won’t harm. With the list of things ready for me to-do during the month, I think I’ve overbooked myself. Haha.. Being ambitious as always not considering the glitches I might surely have at some points of time. But the intention is there! Hehe..And truly I wanna better myself, even if it after all will only result just an inch of betterment from my current state.

I will always keep in mind these words by Nouman Ali Khan from one of his videos I watched. He explained the Quranic concept on improving ourselves and this is how he put it.. “Allah tells us to pray, all the way to closer – and I’m using ‘all the way’ on purpose. To Allah, you’re getting closer – not the closest, not to the end. You’re making it closer to guidance is the eventual goal. And for human being dies pursuing betterment – not perfection, just betterment – they’ll have, later, a successful life.”

Closer, better. Happy fasting everyone. May, in this month, we find the new contentment of life while striving towards betterment. Disconnecting…⁠⁠⁠⁠

Till the next post,
SALZY

Teachers of Life

I thought I don’t wanna make this blog a date-oriented one. Like when it’s anniversary, I reminisce anniversaries. Birthdays, I make wishes. Special celebrations I talk about it too oh too cliche but somehow that’s how it seems. Haha.. Maybe because when I check my planner and it marks these important dates, it gives me ideas to write. Nonetheless it’s just my first year of re-blogging, let’s just say that it’s my style. Lol.

So it’s Teacher’s Day here. I wanna make a tribute to my special teachers…who, don’t have that official teacher-title and didn’t go through certified degree to educate but somehow, become the ones who gave me the most lessons…in life.

My Dad. Back in the time when I was a little girl, my dad was a busy man. With the professional career he held and a business he ran all by his own and my mom, he used to not have much time with us. Whenever he’s home, we all must eat together and that’s the time we would have conversations and he would do the talking. He talked a lot and repetitively the same things. One of the things he always emphasized was something that I thought I did not pay so much attention to, but actually had been absorbed in my mind and my whole body and finally shaped me as I am today. That is – The Importance of Planning. Really. You can ask all my siblings and if they couldn’t recall, that tells you they literally slept on the dinner table.

And that’s what I am now. I basically plan everything. If not in detailed in my planner, on any rough papers. I don’t jump onto the road not knowing where to go. I plan earlier. If I don’t have a single pen, my mind would be chaotically ordering things. When an urgency occurs, I’d get panic in an instant for things that didn’t go as I planned. I take this as both my strength and my weakness but all in all, this is me. Thank you Abah for shaping a unique criteria in me to live my life. I appreciate it.

My Mom.  If I were to write a biography of her life, it’s gonna be a thick series. My mom has gone through a lot in life, even until these days. She is one strong woman that if all her trials were to be accumulated to embody herself, she would stand like a real iron lady with a sword. The sword is her faith in Allah that everything happens for a good reason if not now, someday.

My mother grew up without a mother. Her mom passed on when she was only 10 years old. That maybe the reason why my mom is a bit less affectionate with us, the children. I couldn’t recall my mom calling us “sayang” or something like that and even if we said “I love you” to her, she would reply with – “Okay”. Still, this doesn’t make her less of a mother. Her devotion to the family is priceless and that is true love. This tells me that the way we were brought up will influence the way we parent our kids too. We may copy exactly the same style if we think that’s just the way it is, or take a total opposite if we wished things were different. In the end, we will realize that there’s no perfect way to raise a child and being a mother is all about giving our best to the family, no matter what happens.

My Mom is so generous she gives endlessly. Her giving personality is mainly what I grew up watching. But somehow, I don’t think the attitude liberally flows in my blood as I’m always worried of insufficiency – typical insecurity. But of course I wanna be like her too. So one day I asked her, “Ma, whenever you give, I mean donate, what is actually in your mind? What makes you always wanna give? Aren’t you afraid that your money would go zero before you could refill your purse? Or, is it that, you keep telling yourself – ‘the more you give, the more you will get’? Is that your motivation?” And my long tiring question was only answered with – “I don’t know. I just give”. That’s all. It kept me quiet for a moment to digest that short reply because it’s so deep. Deeply teaching me – sincerity. Without being mentioned, without explanation. Thank you Mama for the hidden wake up call. I will better myself.

Last but not least, My Husband. The one that came into my life much later than other teachers but gradually becomes the one who taught me very much lessons too. Among the first things he taught me in the early days after the wedding was, cooking. Haha.. Yes, I was one spoiled girl who grew up with most things being prepared by the maid so cooking requirement was definitely a big deal for me to get married. Thank God for someone who didn’t only accept my imperfection but also turn it into an improvement.

My Husband. He possesses creative skills and thinking which I hope will be inherited to the boys too. He is my reference for any matters I doubt, especially on religious issues, I can rely on him – at least as a first opinion. In marriage, we are two very different persons making arguments our recurrent dealings. I take every clash as a lesson though most times, it took some time for me to see the silver linings. Directly and indirectly, all that come from or through him are special messages to me. The point is to think.

My Dad, my Mom and my Husband, are godsends as the Teachers of My Life. The very personal ones. WhatsApp Image 2017-05-18 at 6.13.38 PM1

Till the next post,
SALZY

Kids Away Time

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m just here at home with my younger boy. Hubby’s outstation and my elder one is away from home. This boy, he’s also outstation – at granny’s hometown a.k.a his most favourite place! We sent him off for two weeks so we’re just parenting one child at the moment. Less hectic.

Both of my kids are so attached to the kampung, my husband’s side. They got their grandma there, aunties, uncles, cousins and friendly neighbours. Those people who always pamper them with what they want and oh, not to forget the chickens, ducks, goats, cats, rabbits and all the pets you name it. How can it not be fun there?

The very first time I left my son there with my mother-in-law was when we’re welcoming our second born. I was off for my confinement and he was only 1 and a half years old. I missssed him so much I cried most of the time. This mother-child separation is never a good idea I promised not to ever separate with my kids anymore, even for a short time. It’s not only about missing him but of course I was also worried about him, right mamas? His health, his safety. Sure everyone would take a good care of him but the fact that he’s miles away and should anything happen, we’re hopeless!

But then, you know… I come to understand that this is like a family culture. It’s different from mine. My parents won’t request us to leave our kids to them but with my in-laws, vice versa. I was first confused whether or not we should do that because our kids are still toddlers. Like is it right to hand your kids over while you’re home, child-less? My husband is on the other side. He’s okay with the idea of leaving the kids for a while as he knew how his mother really wanna spend time with her grandkids. So I was alone. It’s not nice to say ‘No’ so there you go kids. Have some fun leaving your mom crying at the corner of the bed.

What? No!

The kids are partying with the animals feeling like the king of the jungle while Mom is crying at the corner. of. the. bed? “Come on, Mom. Have some fun too!” – I told myself.

Yeah, after a few rounds of having this child-less period, I learn to control my emotions better. The most important is to appreciate the time that I have for myself and with my husband alone. Rather than worrying the unnecessary things, I remind myself that I have sooo many personal things to do. Things that I can’t do if the kids are also ‘interested’ to join. Like, blogging? Hehe.. This is the time I can write longer posts without pauses. Reading? I do read all the time even when they’re jumping on my body but this is the time I can read in my quiet zone which is so peaceful. Shopping! Without having to rush home because the kids are waiting. I can go for a movie with my husband, try out new restaurants and even pray without being climbed!

Plus, I think, what kind of grudge is that when you don’t allow your kids to be with their granny? Especially the in-law’s side. Some might do that and they sure have their own reasons. But to me, when I flashback-ed the time when I was a kid, I also had these chances to stay at my grandma’s home (father’s side) for a certain period. What if, my mom didn’t allow me to just because it’s not what she favors? Adult issues, won’t it be weird to a kid?

And so I tried to view this kids away time in a more healthy way, not just for us parents. There, they can explore different things from what I cater for them at home in the city. The environment gives them more exposure to the nature. They’re boys! Go play more with natural dirt than just Lego. Both are good anyway. The animals.. oh, sorry. They can’t have this with Mom because I’m so chicken when it comes to approaching animals. Big-family bonding and also the flexibility to mingle with people other than just us the parents.

At home, I apply some rules in hope to discipline them and when they break it, I gotta teach them a lesson. When the time is not right, I become a monster. So sometimes yes, I admit that it’s not all the time fun with me at home. Grannies don’t parent the kids. We, parent the kids. Once in a while when they get to escape to a different atmosphere for quite some time, I guess it’s good for both sides too. After all, it’s only 2 or 3 weeks and then with the will of Allah we will be reunited, blissfully.

At the moment, only my elder son is away so I’m having an exclusive time with my baby boy. Yeah, 2 and a half years old and still baby! He clings to me and I cling to him, oh boy. Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

Till the next post,
SALZY

Ink of the Oceans

This morning we recited Surah Luqman and did some tadabbur. My husband picked a verse (31:27) and when we went through the meaning, I was like; “Eh, why do I feel like we’ve come across this verse before?”. Hubby said yes he purposely picked that verse and asked me to recall which verse in which surah previously. Oh too bad I couldn’t recall :/ . It’s actually the other almost similar verse in the Friday-ritual surah; Al-Kahfi (18:109). Let’s take a look.

Alkahfi Luqman1

Spot the similarities? Both verses are telling us about the wisdom of Allah. The point is important yet the metaphor is beautiful. In Al-Kahfi it says, the ocean as the ink will never be enough to write the words of Allah while in Luqman adds, even with another 7 oceans, it will still never be enough to write the words of Allah. Indeed, His ‘ilm (knowledge) is boundless.

Imagine a single pen that we use for writing every single day. How long does it take for the ink to finish? Months? How about having the oceans as the ink? Masha Allah! We can never reason how much, how broad His knowledge is.

Two things hit me this morning when I pondered on these aayah. First is to never think like we know everything when we think we knew-it! Stay grounded. Second, when we are clueless about something, don’t wreck our head out to explosion. Ask Allah. He knows best, He knows everything.

These two dalil we have to hold to keep in mind about the Al-Hakim. With the same symbol, the oceans, it’s mentioned twice to emphasize. Or maybe more? Wallahu’alam, these are just what we found and a lot more we don’t know. May Allah guide us all.

Till the next post,
SALZY

31, But Thens…

Ambition was one of the most common questions being asked when we were a kid. We’d be like “When I grow up, I wanna be this…I wanna be that”… answering people. When we’re alone, we daydreamed beyond everyone’s expectation on us. It seemed like a very long way to go but we just couldn’t wait. Couldn’t wait to grow up and be what we wanted to be. Be on our own.

Today I turned 31. I am already at the when-I-grow-up age that I looked forward to when I was a little girl. I am an adult now and in fact, I’ve been an adult for years already.

But then… I am not the lady I pictured myself as, when I was young. I used to be very ambitious, you know? I wanted to be a career woman with corporate dress up and look intelligent.*Laugh*.

But then, here I am. A wage earner of a multi-national corporation who works 9 to 5 daily, an average executive who doesn’t seem like climbing the corporate ladder any higher. I have no professional certification to high-price my CV and I dress simple. Well, that’s not too bad. I’m happy with my job and daily routine now. Work-life balance.

But then, is this what they call a ‘comfort zone’? Am I already in a comfort zone at this age when my career has not even reached a decade yet? Always a parent’s wish to see their children grow up, get a good job and be successful. Is this a success already? Apparently not what I ambition-ed.

But then, what do I do to stand prouder of myself? Nowadays, doing business is more highly regarded in the community. You’re perceived as more independent and strong by running a business especially if you could brand yourself or your product.

But then, doing business was never in my frame. In fact, I tried, once, but it didn’t work out and I just didn’t enjoy it. And then I tried stock trading. It doesn’t have to plead people to buy, I just had to gain as much knowledge on the economic ins and outs.

But then, it’s still so heavy to me. It’s like going back to college with an obsolete brain but it’s okay it can be polished. With my duty at work and as a mother, I juggled. I couldn’t spare time on the day to study the stuff so I stayed up midnight. I joined one-time classes on the weekends and left the kids with my husband or the babysitter with extra charges. I called it a sacrifice.

But then, I realized my attention to my family went condensed. Even when I’m with the kids, my mind was busy picturing the charts and whatnot. I also had disagreement with my ex-stock-dealer husband who differed my trading practice and a lot more issues. This clash of priorities was so demanding. I was thinking, why do I have to trouble myself with all these problems when I don’t have to? I have a fine job and a steady family who needs much of my attention now so I should just focus on them. And so gave up trading.

But then, the kids will grow up and things will slow down. That time, I will look back and might be regret that I did not push myself a bit harder. I will grow old, retire and live depending on my pension money which maybe has lessened due to early withdrawals. What a force. I’m not gonna live the life I can call a success. So what do I do with my LIFE??

But then,  I realized all of my thoughts are all about life. Life in the dunya. The life that is certainly not permanent. I remember during my Umrah trip earlier this year, our first tawaf was led by the Mutawwif. After finishing the seven rounds circling the Kaabah, we performed prayers individually and gathered facing the Multazam (the part of the Kaabah that is between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaabah) for the Mutawwif to lead the du’a, we followed with ‘Ameen’. The du’a was so long. In my silence, I was surprised that the whole content of the prayers were all on repentance. Asking nothing but forgiveness. Nothing health, nothing wealth, nothing happiness, nothing worldly. I was stunned but in the end cried too.

Seriously…my life had been all about the world like it’s never gonna end. I always looked back thinking if-only’s when life is all what Allah has willed it. I’d been thinking of the life when-I-grow-old when growing old is not even certain. I’d been looking forward to my future age when the ultimate future is Jannah that we hope for. This is why I have so much but-then’s in my life. This gotta stop.

There’s a quote that says, “When you wake up with no other intention but to worship Allah, you have found the purpose of life”. Have I? For the next 32nd year onward, InsyaAllah. I’ll do my best. May Allah forgive me and all us for the excessive worldly thoughts over the life after death.

But then? Happy Birthday to me 🙂 Alhamdulillah.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Worst Horrible Companion

“Shaitan only wants you to suffer. Imagine taking a best friend or a closest companion as an advisor who’s constantly whispering and these only go to destroying. When you turn away from the remembrance of Allah, this is what happens. This shaitan becomes your horrible intimate companion.

And what happens when I turn away and I’m not remembering Allah through out my day? I left myself open to the enemy and this enemy comes in and now this enemy becomes my advisor.

What is so dangerous about this is that you cannot see him. And so when he whispered, guess what? You think is your idea. You think it’s your idea.”

Yasmin Mogahed @ Silver Linings Talk, Malaysia
15th April 2017

I Like Me Best

“Nowadays, I often speak to a group of young mothers. They ask me, “Well, how were you be able to raise your son the way you did?”

To begin with, I never liked him more than I liked me. I don’t mean love – I loved him more than anything. But I always liked me best. If you don’t like yourself, it makes it very hard to like and love your child.

So when I was raising Rashid, there’s no way that he could have three pair of shoes if I only had two. And I’m the one working? That’s not reasonable, mothers.

How in the world do these young mothers go buy their child a designer something that costs a hundred dollars and you don’t have a savings account? You don’t have a house. You live in an apartment.”

From the book “One Day It’ll All Make Sense”
by Common with Adam Bradley
The quote above was from his Mother