This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Never say I? So the Satan advised...

Suddenly I feel like lifting these passages from the Internet, written by the famous Sufi sage Fariduddin Attar who lived in the 12th century.

God Speaks to Moses

One day God spoke to Moses and said:

'Visit Satan, question him, use your head.

'So Moses descended to Hell's burning halls;

Satan saw him coming, a smile did he install

On his fiery face.

Moses proudly asked him

For advice, waiting for Satan's crafty whim;

Satan spoke through his coal-black teeth:

'Remember this rule which sense bequeaths

Never say "I" so that you become like me.

'So long as you live for yourself you'll be

A drum booming pride a cymbal of infidelity.

Vanity, resentment, envy and anger shall be cemented

Into your inner state; you shall be like a demented

Dog with lolling tongue, infected with indolence of sin.

You shall become your own tracked prisoner within.

Slander brings destruction

A picture of Tengkera mosque in Melaka at night taken about a month ago just for decoration.

OK. Here is another article I've just translated from the original version in http://www.shiar-islam.com/ . Guess I was wrong in thinking that all the articles there are less than two pages of A4 paper long. This one takes almost 4 pages. But I've promised myself to translate the articles in order as presented on the website, otherwise I could alway jump to the shorter articles as recommended by the original writer himself. So here it is...


by Al-Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas

English translation by Radzi Sapiee

To “slander” is to report something which is untrue for the purpose of tarnishing a person’s good name while giving the “slanderer”, the person who makes the slander means to satisfy or reach a certain ambition. Such action is forbidden by Allah S.W.T. and the person who slandered will be punished dearly in the hereafter.

Allah S.W.T. said in the Quran: “Surely those who slanders the believing men and women, and then they fail to repent, for them will be the suffering of jahannam (hell) and for them a torment very painful”. (Q.S. al-Buruj: 10)

Allah S.W.T. also said: “O you who believe, avoid being suspicious, for most suspicions are sinful. And don’t you spy on others and try to find faults or the shame of people, nor shall you backbite one another. Do you like eating the flesh of your dead brother? Of course you abhor this. Thus be pious to Allah, for Allah is the Redeemer and Most Merciful.” (Q.S. al-Hujurat: 12)

Regarding the waging of war against those who declare war on the Muslims, Allah said: “You may fight them until there is no more slander and religion is only for Allah. If they refrain (from fighting you again), then there should be no more hostility, except to those who transgress.” (Q.S. al-Baqarah: 193)

Slandering is even worse than killing (innocent human beings). Allah S.W.T. said: “To slander leads to a bigger sin than murder.” (Q.S. al-Baqarah: 217)

The cause and effect from a slander could lead to huge destruction. Not only the name of the person being slandered is tarnished, it could lead to the genocide of a whole race or the fall of a whole nation.

The history of Islam is a clear proof where the three main caliphs of Islam became victims of slander. Caliph Umar ibnu Khattab R.A., Caliph Khalifah Othman bin Affan R.A. and Caliph Ali bin Abi Thalib R.A. were all murdered because of slander. So was the case with a number of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. who were mercilessly killed by power-crazed humans.

Allah S.W.T. said in the Quran: “O you who believe, if a fasiq (wicked or those of questionable faith) person brings you any news, you shall first investigate (to know the truth), lest you commit injustice towards some people with something they don’t desire, out of your ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.” (Q.S. al-Hujurat: 6)

We can find many verses of the Quran talking about the subject and condeming slander. Please refer to the following verses in the holy book: 2:191, 2:193, 2:217, 3:7, 4:91, 5:41, 6:23, 7:155, 8:25, 8:28, 8:39, 8:73, 9:47, 9:49, 17:60, 21:35, 21: 111, 22:53, 24:63, 25:20, 29:10, 35:14, 37:63, 39:49, 54:27, 60:5, 64:15, 74:31.

Muslims must emulate the attitude adopted by the prophet and his companions in facing the enemies of Islam and dealing among themselves.

Allah S.W.T. said: “Muhammad Rasulallah (messenger of Allah) and those with him are harsh and stern against the disbelievers, but kind and compassionate amongst themselves.” (Q.S. al-Fath: 29).

Allah S.W.T. reminded the Muslims: “O believers! No man shall humiliate another man, for it could be that the one humiliated is better than the one who humiliates. No woman shall humiliate another woman, for it could be (also) that the one humiliated is better than the one who humiliates. Don’t any of you declare out in the open another person’s weakness. And don’t call out names (bad ones). The worse of names is being called a fasik (person of questionable belief) after having believed. Whoever fails to repent then he is a transgressor.” (Q.S. al-Hujurat: 11)

Allah S.W.T. also made this reminder: “Verily the Muslims are brothers, so keep the peace between your two (disputing) brothers and be pious to Allah so you will receive bounties.” (Q.S. al-Hujurat: 10)

Abi Ayyub related that Rasulallah S.A.W. said this: “O Abi Ayyub, do you want me to tell you of a charity which is most favoured by Allah and His messenger? Abi Ayyub answered, yes I do o Rasulallah. Thus Rasulallah S.A.W. said: “Make peace among men who are enemies and those who are angry at each other”” (H.R.al-Tabrani)

Allah S.W.T. reminded us: “Do not be like those who are divided and disputed, despite the clear proofs given to them. For they have incurred a terrible retribution.” (Q.S. Ali-‘Imran: 105)
He also said: “Verily those who divide themselves into factions separated from others, then you do not belong among them even a bit.” (Q.S. al-An’am: 159)

Allah S.W.T. further said: “Hold fast all of you to the rope of Allah, do not be divided. Remember Allah’s blessings upon you when (in the dark times) you used to be enemies and Allah reconciled your hearts. Thus by His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of the pit of hellfire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His revelations clear for you, so that you may be guided.” (Q.S. Ali-‘Imran: 103)

Guided by the revelations from high above, our master the prophet S.A.W. managed to unify all the Muslims from all sort of race and tribes. Blessed with this unification, the Muslims became the best of humankind in every field and became prime examples for all. So was the case with the companions. They followed the Quran and examples set by the prophet and managed to spread Islam all over the world.

If we care to study the history of the rise of Islam and its people under the leadership of the prophet and his companions, that we would know that Islam always call for mankind to unify as one. This is very clear in our prayers where we worship the one and only God, Allah S.W.T and prayed towards the same one direction, that is towards the Ka’bah in Mecca. We hold on to the same holy book al-Quranul Karim while following the Sunnah or examples of the prophet. Mankind is reminded that they all came from the same father, that is Prophet Adam A.S.. We are asked to get to know each other and forbidden from making fun of other faiths. There are more pointers given by Allah S.W.T. to unify mankind especially Muslims. All these are given so we could exist in peace and live together with lots of love.

If we want to solve whatever dispute that arises by following the guidance gave by the Quran and Sunnah of the prophet, God willing there will be peace and security for every men especially Muslims. We should avoid making slanders, backbite, stop making all sort of complains and refrain ourselves from the tendency of breaking up into small rival group and other bad inclinations. Instead we should try to get close to Allah S.W.T. by following all His commandments and leave all that is forbidden.

As normal human beings, for sure we have weaknesses and have made many mistakes. Thus it is better for us to improve ourselves while asking forgiveness for our mistakes and weaknesses. It is not too late to ask for guidance from Allah S.W.T. Leave behind the tendency to find out other people’s faults. Don’t be like what is said in this Malay proverb: “An ant across the sea you manage to see but an elephant right in front of your eyes and you are blind to it.”

There is no real perfection in this temporal world. Nevertheless we are encouraged to enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong. Callmankind to the way of Allah S.W.T. using wisdom and good examples. If we have to dispute anything, then do it in a much better way. Stop all kinds of slander. Work together in all matters of common interest and leave behind any action which could cause chaos, actions which could benefit others but bring ruin to us and our children. Don’t be like what is said in a Malay proverb: “You win all the cheers but lost your home and village.”

History has shown that when we fight among ourselves, others just wait to take advantage. Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. has managed to bring the Ummah, the community to embrace brotherhood and unity until the Muslims became examples of excellence. A small number of Muslims were able to defeat a huge number of enemies and the became the best of humankind. We believe and have faith the glorious days of Islam would soon again become a reality, as long as we are willing to return back to the guidance of al-Quran and Sunnah of the prophet.

Throw away the bad and take what is clear for the sake of our prosperity and the safety of our children. Allah S.W.T. reminded us: “By the time of Asr (the afternoon going to evening) veryly all mankind is at loss, except for those with (true) faith and lead a righteous life, always exhorting one another to uphold the truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast.” (Q.S. al-Asr 1-3)

May Allah gives us all knowledge and guidance. Amen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Respect for mothers

Peace be upon you all. Recently I was asked to voluntarily translate a number of religious articles in Malay into English for a website. The thing is I'm also in the midst of translating a Malay book comprising of 500 pages A4 paper worth of text (some 150,000 words) to English and promised to complete it by July. As it is, I've only done slightly more than 200 pages so far and I'm scheduled to head for an overseas trip mid June. So I actually have almost 300 pages to go in slightly less than three weeks!

The person asked me a few times. After thinking hard about it, I decided to start. I had a look at all the articles available in the website and I thought, hey... why not? Although there are a number of them, the articles are at most 2 pages of A4 paper long. In the name of Allah I can do this an article at a time in-between other works. And to make it worthwhile my time besides making it easy for the person to gain the translation in the event if I can't e-mail it to him, why not publish it here too?

Oh by the way, I still can't e-mail the first article I managed to translate today as there could be something wrong with the address given. Then I just can't contact him by phone. So let us start. Here's the first article...


By Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas

English translation by Radzi Sapiee

Allah (swt) says in the Quran:"We make it obligatory for humankind to be good towards both their parents, (especially since) the mother had bore him in weakness with the load getting heavier (from early pregnancy till birth and breastfeeding). And the weaning is in a period of two years, (so) be thankful to Me (Allah) and to both your parents, and to Me you shall indeed return."


A man asked Rasulallah (saw), who is most deserving of respect. The Prophet (saw) answered: Your mother! The man asked again, then who is next, the Prophet (saw) answered: Your mother! The man went on asking, then who is next? The Prophet (saw) answered your mother! Then who is next? The Prophet (saw) answered: Then your father!

(Hadis related by at-Tirmizi)

Such is the high status and honour of mothers in Islam.One cannot deny the huge responsibility shouldered by a mother for her family especially her children. Imagine all the troubles a mother has to go through when bearing a child, from month to month until the baby is born. Imagine her pain when giving birth, and when the baby is born she looks after him and at the same time she also has to take care of all her other children. Imagine, with lots of love she has to wake up everytime the child cries and comfort him regardless of the hour and her own problems. Lots of time is spent nursing, taking care of, educating and protecting a child from infancy until he grew up.

There is no way we can pay back for all the tiring moments she has to go through. There is no price for the love she has towards her children. Every night the mother is disturbed from her sleep by her sweet baby. Such is the sacrifies a mother makes.

A mother is willing to do anything and lost everything for her beloved children without expecting any return. She is willing to suffer and loose sleep to give milk, or to make sure her child does not fall ill or get bitten by mosquitoes. A mother always prayed for her children to be well, healthy and grew up to be useful human beings.What big sin is in store for the rebel child who refuses to listen to his mother, what huge offence made by those who does not want to return a mother’s favour especially when she is sick or very old. Such is the situation nowadays that we often heard the elders say: “A mother is willing to take care, nurse and raise ten children but there is no guarantee ten children is willing to take care of one mother”

Thus we should return the good favour of our mothers by at least showing her respect. Honour our mothers and take care of their well-being especially in their old days when they need us the most.