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.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kuala Selangor Nature Park - Looking at what's available including the wildlife

Continued from the article Kuala Selangor Nature Park - Sizing up the paths...

As we went along the straight path, a sort of funny looking animal came into view. This picture was actually taken with the zoom going on 5x as I was worried that it would be scared if I came any nearer.

Nevertheless, I tried to walk slowly towards it telling my wife to keep very quite. This picture is also taken using 5 x zoom. Now I could see that the animal is beaver. If I remember correctly this is the first time I ever saw one out of captivity.
As I walked nearer, the animal began to notice. I stood still pretending to be a log or something before making the move to get nearer again. The animal went on with its business loitering around the area perhaps looking for something. I took the opportunity to move closer hoping to catch a good picture of the animal without having to use zoom. It didn't work. The beaver got scared and ran away.

Then I noticed the hill of Bukit Melawati to the left of the path.

I zoomed in to get a closer picture...

I looked back to the right. This is where the beaver scooted off...

Next in front is this observation tower...

Then there's this gazebo facing the lake.

As we walked on, the mangrove swamp to our right looks inviting.

We arrived at this point where we could see the main buildings on top of Bukit Melawati properly aligned. This made me realised, I've seen the point where I was standing to take this picture from the hill, particularly beside the moon observation building at the centre of this picture. Look at the article Bukit Melawati by 'train'...

Oh, there were also a number of cranes standing around the lake including on top of trees as could be seen in this picture. Sorry, this is as close I could get with the 5x zoom...

Then we went further along the path...

Next we saw this concrete elevated walk which could lead to the sea. To be continued...

Isra' and mikhraj, the night journey of Prophet Muhammad SAW

Just a picture I came across after making a Google Image Search using the keywords "Stairway to Heaven".

This is another article translated from http://www.shiar-islam.com/.


By Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas
Rearranged by: Al-Azharii Al-Siddiq Hj. Kamuri, BTN, JPM

English translation by Radzi Sapiee

“Most glorified is Allah who moved his servant (Prophet Muhammad saw ) in one night from Masjidil Haram to Masjidil Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed in order to show our signs. Verily He is Most Hearing and Most Observing” (verse 1, surah al-Isra’)

Allah swt. has moved (isra’) Prophet Muhammad saw from Masjidil Haram in Mecca far away to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Palestine in a very short time. At the time it is common for people to walk from place to place or ride horses, camels and such. Normally it would take 40 days to get from Mecca to Palestine. But with the power of Allah swt. the long journey was shortened to just under an hour.

For the people then, it is impossible to cover such distance in such a short time and thus their minds could not accept it. Used to riding horses, donkeys and camels, for them there is no way this could be done. Thus unbelievers such as Abu Jahal and his followers used the incident to accuse the prophet as being a liar. However the notion of travelling from Mecca and Palestine in just an hour is not impossible today with the advances of such vehicles like fast trains, jets and airplane.

The people during the time of the prophet could not imagine such a possibilty. Only the faithfuls don’t question the validity of Prophet Muhammad saw.’s experience despite their lack of understanding. For they accept it as an example of Allah swt’s power considering it as miracles like that bestowed on earlier prophets and messengers. For example Prophet Jesus a.s. was born without a father. No, he has no father not because he was born out of wedlock as is the common case today especially in Western countries. In fact his mother was never sexually touched by a man and this is an impossibiltiy in medical science.

Prophet Jesus a.s. was able to talk when he was still a baby. When he was an adult, he could heal the sick. In fact he is known for bringing the dead back to life! Although there is no way we could explain this scientifically, believers are thought to have faith in the matter accepting its occurence without the need for any explanation.

Such is the case with Prophet Moses a.s. who was given a special wooden staff by Allah swt. The staff could transfrom into a large serpent who then swallows all the snakes conjured by the magicians of the Pharaoh. Prophet Moses a.s. also opened up the Red Sea to let his followers ran through to escape the pursuit of the Pharaoh’s army. There are more examples of the powers Allah swt given to the prophets and messengers and these are called mukjizat. If similar things happen to other pious servants of His then it is called karamah, the plain Arabic word for miracles.

In the night journey which became known as the Isra’ and Mikhraj. Prophet Muhammad saw. was shown examples and parables which is beneficial to mankind The night journey actually comprised of two parts. In the Isra’, Allah moved the prophet from Mecca to Palestine. This is followed by the Mikhraj where the prophet was taken to ascend the seven heavens and beyond to meet God!

The prophet was shown an old man who never stops to add burden on his back although he is not capable of carrying it. This is actually a parable of the man who wants to do all sorts of jobs despite the fact that he could not even do one to perfection. By right, he should have just taken one job at a time and complete it to satisfaction, not become greedy or simply want to show off to become popular.

Rasulullah saw. was also shown a man who likes to eat smelly contaminated food although there is clean and good food besides him. This is a parable for the man who likes to fornicate leaving his wife unattended. In fact he likes to pick up prostitutes and eventually would suffer from diseases like AIDS, syphlis and other venereal diseases until the family institution is destroyed.

The biggest fruit from the event of Isra’ and Mikhraj is receiving Allah swt.’s command to conduct the obligatory five-times a day Solat or prayer. Other obligatory rituals of worship such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan, paying the zakat (yearly tithe or alms), doing the pilgrimage to Mecca or the hajj and such are commanded through Allah swt’s revelations on earth. On the other hand, Solat is directly commanded by Allah swt from a station high above the seven heavens.

This shows the special status of Solat. Thus there is no reason for us to leave it behind. If we are sick and thus unable to stand up then we could do it by sitting down. If we could not sit, we are still given the relaxation of doing it while lying down. If even this we can’t do, then we are allowed to do the Solat through body signals.

Now, we must do the Wudhuk or abolution, a ritual of washing certain body parts first before we could do the Solat. If there is no water, or we have a sickness where we can’t touch water or unable to reach it, we could resort to the alternative ritual of Tayammum, using bits of dust from any clean surface to be wiped against certain body parts as a replacement for Wudhuk. In short Solat must be conducted regardless of our condition, regardless of where we are at any given moment. It is a serious obligation that could not be dispensed with unless we don’t have a sound mind, lost consciousness or have fainted, gone mad or such.

It should be added that we must clean ourselves from all forms of filth before doing the Wudhuk (or Tayammum in its place). Then we should clean the place where we put our heads in prostration and once that is done we could start the Solat, giving full concentration physically, mentally and spiritually only to Allah swt. God willing, with regular Solats, we can educate ourselves to become clean and disciplined. We will also get good health body and mind making us useful human beings.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kuala Selangor Nature Park - Sizing up the paths...

Yesterday, me and wife visited the Kuala Selangor Nature Park through its entrance behind the hill Bukit Melawati.

Previously, we have only visited a building containing some aquariums besides the entrance once and having now arrived here unplanned, why not have a walk inside the nature park?

There are these interesting trees in the courtyard. One look like a giant mosquito sucking blood from the other. Another look at it and I thought it could well be monsters doing ballet albeit in a funny way...

OK. The signboard implies we are now entering the main part of the park.

But first we have to walk quite a distance...

Walk we did while enjoying the sights which include banyan trees like this one on the right.

Then we saw a bridge ahead...

This is followed by a junction. Time to choose, left or right...

We could have gone straight too to an observation tower but the area is a dead end. We decided to turn right and walked on...

Along the way we saw this steel building which looks like an uncompleted aviary.

Then the path started bending anti-clockwise...

Looks like we still have a long way to go...

Some 300 metres metre or so a body of water came into view...

It turns out to be a quite long lake...

Look closely and you could see a few cranes around, I mean the birds, not machines...

Then we arrived at another junction.

The right looks out of question.

So we turned left and went on. To be continued...

The victory of Aidil Fitri

Here is the next article translated from http://www.shiar-islam.com/ . While it is still almost four month before the next Aidil Fitri is celebrated, I was merely following the order of the original Malay articles available in the website. Thus let me present this article of which the original Malay version was uploaded on 29th Ramadhan 1428 (11th October 2007)


Oleh Al-Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas

English translation by Radzi Sapiee

Aidil Fitri is a day of victory for the Muslims as it is a sign they have succeeded in fasting for a whole month in the month of Ramadhan. For a month we are trained physically and spiritually to be pious and devoted, to follow all of Allah’s commands while distancing ourselves from what is forbidden. For God judge us according to our piety and that would the measure of our success in the hereafter.

For a whole month during daytime we have to stand hunger and thirst, while those who are married have to also restrain themselves from their sexual needs. Every Muslim must also stop themselves from saying, hearing and looking at things which could incur Allah’s wrath. Instead they are encouraged to offer superegoratory prayers, recite the zikir or remembrance of God, read and study the Quran and try to implement what is taught in their lives. Ramadhan is also a good time to feed the poor and help other Muslims to fight in the way Allah, following the examples of the prophets and the messengers just like what is done by missionaries and full-time preachers. For their effort to show people and light the way to the true path, the path that Allah is pleased with, which resulted in the Muslims being able stay true to religion, able to do the obligatory fast according to the rules prescribed.

We celebrate Aidil Fitri starting nightfall on the first day of the month of Syawwal with recitals of the takbir (Allahu akbar), formula of tauhid (la ilaha illa Allah) and tahmid (alhamdu lil allah) with loud clear voices to exclaim the greatness of Allah s.w.t., His unique oneness and praise Him for all the blessing He has given us. Allah said in the “Quran: “…….and you should extol the greatness of Allah for the guidance bestowed upon you, so you’ll be gratefull.” (Q.S. Al-Baqarah : 185)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Lailaha illallahu, Allahu Akbar,Allahu Akbar, wa lillahilhamd. Allah who is most great, there is none that deserves worship but Allah, and to Allah is directed all praises.

Al-Imam Al-Syafiee reminded us, the night of Aidil Fitri is among the nights when our wishes in prayers is easily granted. Thus let us pray to Allah in full concentration and ask Him to accept our fast despite our weaknesses and whatever is lacking. Ask Him so that the fast and anything good we do becomes our provision in the hereafter.

Let us celebrate this day of victory by offering congratulations and praying for the well-being of each other. Do not forget to ask forgiveness for whatever mistakes we could have comitted against other Muslims. It is easier for people to forgive on this holy day. Verily humankind is weak and tends to be oblivious of their mistakes. So take the opportunity to ask for forgiveness, also to forgive and forget.

Our silaturrahim or ties of brotherhood is strenghten by visiting our families and kith and kins, our neighbours, friends and other Muslims. This will result in them returning our visits and so on. Thus let us all do this with much happiness and love. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar walillahil hamd.

May the obligatory fast we do over the month of Ramadhan brings us rewards such as good health pyhsically, mentally and spiritually. For the fast when properly done could shape our characters and turn us into excellent human beings, pious and devoted to Allah s.w.t., patient, disciplined, thoughtful and gratefull while cleansing us from impurities and sins. May it also increase our intelligence as we face the trials and tribulations of this temporal world in preparation for the hereafter.

May we belong to the victorious people who have properly fast over the month of Ramadhan. To those who have succeeded, we like to offer our congratulations for the victory they have gained due to the blessing of following the commandments of Allah and His messenger for the whole month of Ramadhan al-mubarak.

Lastly to all Muslims men and women wherever you are, let me say: ”Happy Aidil Fitri celebration. And may you forgive me physically and spiritually too”.