Category Archives: Muslim

PEACETALK: Understanding the typology of Filipino Muslim religious leaders

(Author’s note: The aim of this article is to give a birds eye view on the different types of Muslim religious leaders in the Philippines and to avoid confusion on their typology. ) Understanding Muslim religious leaders requires that one be familiar with the evolution of Muslim religious history in the Philippines and the cultural […]

RIWAYA: Bongao nursing students defend right to wear hijab at Lung Center

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 May) — Eleven nursing students from Mahardika Institute of Technology (MIT) of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi opted to assert proactively their right to wear hijab in the premises of the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City despite their dismay when informed by its Department Assistant Head Nurse, Glenda L. […]

PEACETALK: A Letter to Santa Claus

PIKIT, North Cotabato (MindaNews/ 10 December) — Santa Claus is very much alive, and to think this way out from a Muslim’s perspective, is doubly amazing, if not totally weird. I can’t speak for the Christians and those who likewise celebrate Christmas with Santa as the other prominent figure in addition to the Nativity. But […]

Fasting in Ramadhan

While I was browsing the web,  I found a tumblr blog that re-published my magazine article on Ramadhan. I had uploaded that article in one of my blogs. I tried looking for my blog that had that article but I couldn’t find it. It was from my blogsome.com blog. Blogsome had closed shop some time ago. I was surprised that I hadn’t uploaded that article to my other blogs.

It was actually a rehash of another article which I wrote for the now defunct newspaper, The Philippine Post,

in 2000. I’m doubly surprised that I hadn’t uploaded that newspaper article to my blogs either.

The tumblr blog is titled Self-Centered and appears to be owned by a young Moro studying at UST. It says:

“I was reading a couple of blogs ran by moro bloggers. And wow, they had a very polished english grammar, and the opinions stated in their blogs were very intelligent and educated. Here are some blogs worth looking at, especially if you’re a moro;
http://bangsamoro.wordpress.com
http://jamalashley.blogsome.com

I was looking at Jamal Ashley’s blog. And saw a blog about the holy month of Ramadan. I was amazed by how detailed the blog was and how it really defined the meaning of Ramadan. To be honest, I find it hard explaining to my non-Muslim friends what Ramadan is. Most non-Muslims only know that Ramadan is a month of abstaining from food and water, and that this month is a month of hunger and torture. But in a Muslim’s perspective it’s not. So here’s the blog about the holy month of Ramadan taken from the blog of Jamal Ashley;”

Both blogs are mine. The first is more of an aggregator while the other (blogsome) vanished a couple of years ago.

Since it’s Ramadhan again, I guess it is appropriate to upload this magazine article. It was published in Mr. & Ms. magazine about 10 years ago. I believe it is timeless.
                                                   **************************

In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, fasting is a special form of prayer. The Jews fast during the Day of Atonement. Fasting for them is a way to ask God’s forgiveness and blessings. On their way to Jerusalem from Babylon, the prophet Ezra ordered every Jew to fast: “Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before God to petition from Him a safe journey for ourselves, our children and all our possessions.” (Ezra 8: 21). Some Jews fast twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays.

The early Christian Church followed the Jewish practice but did it on Wednesdays and Fridays in honor of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion. Later, fasting was practiced during the Lenten Season. Saint Athanasius wrote: “Behold the efficacy of fasting! It cures sickness, dries the excessive humors of the body, drives out evil spirits, dispels wrongful thoughts, gives the spirit greater clarity, purifies the heart, sanctifies the body and at last leads the person to the throne of God.”

The Muslims also follow the Judeo-Christian tradition of fasting. Practically all Major Prophets fasted for forty days and nights. The Muslims are also commanded to fast but being ordinary mortals, they fast only for thirty days (from sunrise to sunset). The tenth month (Ramadhan) of the Islamic calendar is the month of Fasting. (This year, the first of Ramadhan falls on the 6th of June.)

During the month of Ramadhan (about thirty days), Muslims abstain from food, drinks, sex, gambling and all ungodly acts from dawn to dusk. Evenings are spent on eating, socializing and praying. The evening prayers are held after dinner. The faithful attempt to recite all the verses of the Qur’an within the month of Ramadhan.

OBJECTIVES OF FASTING

According to Traditions: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: ‘Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.’” (Hadith : Sahih Bukhari 1.36) This and other sayings from the Hadeeth (Traditions) emphasize that Muslims should fast and pray not because they are forced to, or would like to gain other people’s recognition or any other reason (such as a way to reduce weight) but because they truly desire God’s mercy and blessings.

Fasting has many objectives. One is that for a certain period of the year, all Muslims would feel the same hunger — be they rich or poor, young or old. For a rich man used to having a full breakfast and a 4 to 6-course lunch, fasting would be an ordeal. It is also a very trying time for smokers and womanizers.
But the main purpose of fasting is remembrance — of God. God says in the Qur’an: “Fadhkuruni adhkurukum” (Remember Me and I will remember you).

In Muslim-dominated societies like the Arab countries, Pakistan and Indonesia, Ramadhan brings all the citizens closer together. The Ramadhan good cheer is upon everyone. Even the office hours are changed. In Saudi Arabia, the working hours for some offices during Ramadhan are from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM with no lunch break.

And for the rich people, it is the time to share their wealth and give away their precious dollars or riyals.

TIME FOR GIVING ALMS

Once, when I was in Saudi Arabia, an Arab friend complained that after finishing the Ramadhan evening prayers, the fellow next to him handed him a suitcase full of money. The man requested him to give away the money as he was pressed for time and had to leave immediately. My friend was forced to stay in the mosque and give away the money to everyone who asked.

There was also a time during Ramadhan when my mother and her cousin went to the Masjid al-Haram, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. While waiting for the start of the evening prayers, a woman sat beside my aunt (she is not actually an aunt; i.e. sister of either of my parents, but it is usual in Moro society to call elder female relatives aunt or “babu”) and told her to vacate her place because the woman’s mistress, a princess, was going to sit there. Naturally, my mother and her cousin were incensed. My “aunt” told the woman that she would not budge because she was a princess, too. The woman was indignant but was forced to look for another place for her princess mistress.

After the prayers, the Arabian princess took out a big bag and started distributing money to the people around her. And the princess’s assistant came to my aunt — not to give her money but to ask for her prayer-carpet. She said it would be an honor to have a souvenir from a Mindanao princess.

THANKSGIVING

For Muslim minorities, Ramadhan reminds them of their distinct identity. This feeling binds them even closer. Children, even those who don’t fast, usually love to eat with the adults as there is always an air of Thanksgiving every “break-fast” time. As a child, I remember Ramadhan as the time of eating dates, a very sweet fruit of the date-palm (phoenix dactylifera).

In the Western concept of time-keeping, the day in the solar calendar begins a minute after midnight or 00:01 hrs. In the Islamic lunar calendar, the “day” begins at sundown. This is most evident during Ramadhan when the community “wakes up” after sunset, the time for breakfast; i.e., breaking the fast.

Before breaking the fast, Muslims usually say a simple prayer that goes: “Oh Allah, I kept the fasting for Thy sake, and I break it with the food Thou hast provided.”  Some families eat their dinner at sunset, while others prefer to take light meals first. Tables usually are filled with coffee, tea, bread, cheese, butter, pastries, fruits and the traditional Ramadhan fruit, the dates. It is customary for Muslims, especially the Arabs, to break the fast with dates and water. After the light meal comes the sunset prayer (Maghreb). Those who only had snacks earlier will then have their full dinner. After dinner, it will be time to go to the mosque for the long Ramadhan evening prayers.

In Muslim countries, the time to go for shopping is at about 10 pm, after the Ramadhan prayers. The cities and towns are usually teeming with people, all enjoying the good cheer after a day-long fast and evening prayers.

THE NIGHT OF POWER

According to the Qur’an, the Angel Gabriel first came to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadhan. This night is called the Night of Power (Layla-t-ul-Qadr). It is said that prayers offered during this night are equivalent to a thousand or more prayers. But nobody knows the exact date of this Night of Power. According to Islamic scholars, it is most probably during the last 10 days of Ramadhan.

After one month of fasting, the Muslims the world over celebrate the ‘Id al-Fitr, the Feast after the Fast or Thanksgiving Day after the fasting month of Ramadhan. This year, the ‘Id al-Fitr will be on July 6, give or take a day.

The ‘Id al-Fitr or “Hari Raya Puasa” as it is called in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Mindanao, is one of only two celebrations sanctioned by the Qur’an. (The other is the ‘Id-al-Ad-ha, or the Feast of the Hajj.) On this day, it is obligatory for all Muslims to go to the mosque for the Festival (’Id) prayers, preferably in one’s best clothes. It is also obligatory to give charity. It is customary for Muslims to open their houses to everyone, including strangers, for brunch, lunch, merienda cena or dinner. And the adults usually give the children money, which makes this occasion the favorite holiday of Muslim children.

NATIONAL HOLIDAY

Muslims the world over greet each other “Ramadhan Kareem” during the month and “’Id Mubarak” during the ‘Id celebrations. In Arab countries, the ‘Id is a 3- or 4-day holiday, while in other Muslim countries, ‘Id celebrations extend to two or more weeks. To improve ethnic relations in the country, (then) Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo proclaimed ‘Id al-Fitr a national holiday.

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Published in Mr. & Ms. magazine

Why Duterte still deserve the Muslims’ votes?

As Muslims we need to denounce Duterte’s unIslamic acts like cursing, kissing non Mahram women, and others. The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is our role model for a leader and he forbade us from such.However we are a minority and the majority are not emphat…

How Not To Celebrate New Year’s Day? (Muslim’s Perspective)

As usual, many people will gather to celebrate new year’s day. There will be text messages, greetings, parties, fireworks, exchanges of gifts and other innovations that are done during this day. Whatever those are, having even a small intention to celebrate this day or to accept it as a holiday even though it is an outcome of…

The post How Not To Celebrate New Year’s Day? (Muslim’s Perspective) appeared first on The Muslim Bricks.

Baguio!!!

It was February 22, 2015 when I finally crossed out one of my Bucket lists: Visit Baguio City!   The plan to go to Baguio was already planned 2 years ago with some Muslim brothers that I met in Manila. Who are we and what do we do?Well, we ar…

It was 67, not 44.

Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you!)A few days from now and the tragic incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao will reach it’s first month (which coincides with the EDSA revolution anniversary). A lot of things already happened. Things came out from a “s…

Upcoming projects

In sha Allah:December 27, 2014New Muslim Care Philippine’sFeed a Child. Touch a Life Program.for more info please click the image or visit the NMCP’s FB page.2015TOWARDS PEACE 2015.Visit the FB page for more info: Towards Peace 2015March 1, 2015 in Man…

Eidul Adha in Manila, Day 1

Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all)

Last October 4, the Muslims around the world celebrated the Eidul Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifices”. We Muslims celebrate this every tenth day of Dhul Hijja, the 12thand last month of the Hijriya/Islamic Calendar. This celebration is one of the only two authentic Eids (celebrations) in Islam with the other one Eidul Fitr celebrated by the end of the month of fasting, Ramadhan [1].

So why do we celebrate this blessed day? And what do we Muslims do during these days? Again, as I always say in my posts here, I am no scholar in Islamic teachings, so I will be referring you guys to the more authentic people to answer those questions. You can learn more by going to these sites: Eid Adha QnA. Simply put, Eidul Adha is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham, Peace be upon him) sacrifices and teachings. During this month wherein millions of Muslims visit the holy place of Makkah to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage, the 5thPillar of Islam), those who are not able to perform it are given the chance to enjoy this blessed month through Eidul Adha. In this event, Muslims will offer sacrifices (cows, sheep, camels, etc) and distribute and share the meats (qurban) to the poor communities. This celebration lasts for 3 more days after the actual day of Eidul Adha [Source]. Again to learn more, please visit the links mentioned above 🙂

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Now back to us. How did I spend my Eidul Adha? As usual, being hundreds of kilometers away from my family, I have to find ways to celebrate it with my other “family” in Manila: the Muslim communities. There were a lot of plans and invitations Alhamdulillah, but I could only put myself in a single place at a time hehe. Needless to say, it is always a great blessing to have a Muslim community in a non-Muslim country/city, it might not be as great as living in a Muslim place, but it is still something to be happy about. Alhamdulillah!

I went to the Eid prayer with a Muslim brother and fellow Medstudent. We prayed at Quirino grandstand (being the closest open-field prayer area to hold the eid prayer; it is Sunnah to pray in an open field during Eid [2], [3]).

Quirino Grandstand where we prayed.

  

Saw this carabao statue somewhere after the prayers. Nope unfortunately we cannot sacrifice this one, it’s pretty hard and not edible haha.

Yeah, compulsory selfie after Eid prayer 
After the prayer and sermons, we met with other Muslim friends from our alma mater, I was the only Tausug in their company, but I have lived in Marawi for 4 years and I have met them during those days, so it was not a big deal 🙂 We went to this Meranao family who hosted a simple yet delicious meal to us starving ones haha. I missed Meranao foods so it was great to be able to taste their spices once again. After that we parted ways, my friends went to visit their friends and students (some of them are professors already), and I went to visit my fellow Tausug brothers in Markaz Dar Attazkiyyah in Morayta.  

And lunch was satisfying 😛 Alhamdulillah
(sorry, no Qurban yet)
I arrived in Morayta a little late for their Eid Activity. I later learned that they have organized some parlor games for the brothers and sisters after Eid prayer. Too bad (or maybe it was actually a blessing) that I came late to watch it (or forced to participate in it) haha. Anyway, I went on greeting and hugging my fellow Muslim brothers whom I have not seen for some time. I have been busy (?) in the past months I was not able to attend to their activities 🙁 We then had lunch later on, jampacked with intellectual and inspirational discussions with our Amir/Leader (which I enjoyed very much). It was also then that I was told that I will be one of the Emcees (Master of Ceremonies) in an Islamic Symposium on Monday. Of course, I accepted. It’s been awhile since my last MC experience.

I went home after some time, had some rest and phoned my family in Sulu, and I ended the day by watching one Independent Film in Cinemalaya hosted by Salinlahi in UP Manila (which will be another discussion). 
 So that’s how I spent my first day of Eidul Adha 🙂 

Salam kasilasa!
-Anakiluh,MD

A meeting with IMAN

 J

Last Sunday evening I had another wonderful time meeting familiar faces in this rather new world I am now affiliated with: The world of Medicine. And what’s better? I was able to become a part of a growing ‘family’ of professionals with a two unifying ideologies: Medicine and Islam.

The Islamic Medical Association of the Philippines (IMAN Phil) is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 with the aim to create a massive network of Muslim Professionals and Specialists in the medical field, uniting them not just because they have a single faith (Islam) and profession (doctors), but with the single ideology of serving the ummah of this generation. You can check the website of IMAN here: imanphil.org

The dinner meeting I attended was nothing but a simple informal gathering, organized by IMAN to meet-and-greet the Muslim Medical students in the Manila area. Although only a few of us were able to attend (most of the invited were on duty), it was still a wonderful gathering. The members of the boards of IMAN present who organized this meeting were Dr. Naheeda Mustofa (Internal Medicine, Clinical Nutrition; St. Lukes) and Dr. Khasmin Ismael (Board and founder, Health for Mindanao). Both Muslimah doctors inspired us with their experiences in the medical field from being a Muslim medstudent to being doctors. Also present in the meeting was my dear uncle, Dr. Nelson Laja (Medical Oncology, UP PGH) who also shared great insights about how we can further improve our

Arabic Kitchen has this nice place where we can gather around, without chair or high tables. 🙂 Arabian style
 [photo from Dr. Mustofa]

The ever outnumbered male doctors (and soon to be)
 [photo from Dr. Mustofa]
We also talked about the Visions, Missions and goals of IMAN, the past activities they had, the challenges they experienced, and also the plans and activities the IMAN plans to have in the  future in sha Allah. IMAN emphasized the importance of involving the student body to better empower the future generation of doctors. They also assured the students that they can find help and support from IMAN if ever they need to. In fact, a number of IMAN’s future plans were directed in helping the medstudents like providing medical books they need during their academic career. We are hoping to strengthen the network of Muslim medical students not just in the capital region but in the whole Philippines as well in the future, in sha Allah.

We, the students and interns who attended the meeting were all enthusiastic and excited with the future activities IMAN have and in sha Allah hopefully we could participate actively in all of those planned activities. Looking forward to meeting new faces and members of this growing family I am happily affiliated with. Perhaps my dream of attending an authentic “Muslim Medical Students Summit” is not a farfetched dream after all 😀

May Allah make things easy for IMAN. Allahumma ameen.

You can check the IMAN website here: www.imanphil.org or visit the IMAN FB Page: #no link yet#

For more info you can contact IMAN Phil at 

 imanphil07@gmail.com


Salam Kasilasa!
-Anakiluh, MD

Inspiring Monday: Always Inflict Positivity in Life

An inspirational something for each of us who, once in a while, undergo some form of distress.

The world is cruel. Life is unfair. Everything seems wrong. This is what we always perceive in our everyday life. I am not saying that we are all bound to being pessimistic. A  few some are luckily gifted of being optimists their whole life. For the rest of us, it is the same story.


Whether it is about fortune, health or our relationship with people, others always take the blame. It is not as if they deserved the blame. It is due to our self-centeredness that we always put the blame on others rather than taking it. This is where the meanie in us emerges. You put the blame on everything else than yourself. Worst scenario is blaming God for the meaningless life you live.


This week, my good reads queue as if each wants to be read at the same time. A blogger friend sent me two novels by John Grisham: The Client and The Last Juror. Then an officemate also handed me his book, Success through a Positive Thinking, to read. Though I am a fan of crime fictions, I had to lay down the John Grisham and start with the latter. This book by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone is a striking slap on my face. The funny thing is that it is not hurting me. It is awakening me.


The book commences with a statement, “We are poor – not because of God.” It is similarly saying that you are sad – not because of God. You are in distress – not because of God.


It talks about incorporating positive thinking into how we live our lives and eventually succeed in whatever we do. It is a motivational book that would inspire everyone. I highly encourage everyone to read this book to get a doze of happy thoughts. Everyone undergoes stress once in a while, and when you’ve read something like this book, you would get ahead of stress, thereby, forbidding it to control our conscious and subconscious mind.


How mean are we to think that God has wanted us to live a sad and unfortunate life? 

How many times have we asked ourselves if being poor or being in deep sorrow was really our destiny? And how many times have we stood up and said to ourselves that God does not want anything less for us?


God has given us a mind to think, a body to work, and reasoning to ponder with. If we ever think that God sends us trials just so He can see us so down, we are indeed wronged. Those trials that we despise? Those are the means that will lead us to success. If we use our mind, body and reasoning, we can, of course with flying colors, achieve success.


Before blaming God or the universe for your difficulties in life, start by asking yourself first the reason why it had to come to this point. What steps have you taken to overcome those? Are you willing to take action? Or are you just going to be sober and blame it on others which will lead you nowhere?


Again, ask yourself. Keep on asking yourself. Keep on looking for answers. Keep on taking action. And good heavens, stop blaming God.


If you have come to an answer, it is time to put that reflection into its effect: action. What are the things that are needed to be done to be able to attain positive mental attitude? We can go on forever with this list. In the end, it is how you implement them that would matter. However, the main question is, would you be tough enough to change what you are now?



As the book said, “you are a mind with a body.” It all starts with your intention and your thinking. Tweak your thoughts. Your body will do what your mind tells it. 



As the hadith of Rasullallah goes: “Tie your camel, and trust in Allaah.” 


It means, you have to do your part first. Then, Allaah will take care of everything else. Your life is what you make it. The Almighty Allaah may put you in so many trials. But, it is with your perseverance, patience and character that you will win over them. 


Always remember, Allaah will never put you in a situation that you can’t handle. You just need to get up and work hard to win it. If you let negativity rule over your mind, you will not go anywhere. But, if you look at the brighter side of the situation and do whatever you can to overcome the situation, you will win. And you always will. 


Keep the faith. Keep doing your part. Success in this world and in the hereafter will be easy if you just keep going forward. 

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

#RamadhanPhotoChallenge

So, what exactly is this #RamadhanPhotoChallenge that Hijabified.net and lilpink.info is starting? 

If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Path, Vine or whatever social networking account, you are free to join. You just have to post a photo for each of the challenges listed on a daily basis. That means one item per day only! Remember that you need to post a description to the photo. Who knows how you can motivate another person by your post? And of course, remember to tag #RamadhanPhotoChallenge and mention @RamadhanPhotoChallenge (only for instagram users) for a chance to be featured in our instagram account.

For this challenge, you need to have a list of what you want to achieve this Ramadhan. This is to remind each of us that there is always a room for improvement, especially for our fluctuating iman.

Each of the items has meanings attached to it. Through your posts, you will unveil what is the meaning and purpose why I put them there. If you’ve been keeping close with your deen, you would know why I listed each of those above.

You see, the challenge is not posting the photo. It is keeping people, specifically yourself, motivated to keep their deen intact this Ramadhan. And you may do that through the photo and the description you add to it. ^___^

Since, there will most likely be 30 days in Ramadhan, I will give 30 daily challenges for everyone.

I can’t wait to be motivated by your posts. Let us share our Ramadhan drives and keep everyone hyped for the holy month.

PS: If there is only 29 days for Ramadhan, you can post two photos in one day. That means you can post #29 and #30 on the 29th.

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Tips for Ramadhan

The holy month of Ramadan is indeed approaching. Are you ready?

Whether this is your first Ramadan or the 20th, it doesn’t matter. We all need to be ready for this month. A colleague once said that Ramadan is the month of love, medication, meditation and prayer. It is indeed more than those aforementioned.

Ramadan is the month of cure for the wounded. It is a month of reformation for the lost. It is the month of happiness for the sad. It is the month of purification for the impure. As humans, we are made to err. And Ramadan is the answer for our errors.

We are given a month to ponder and shy away from all of our desires by The Almighty Allaah. We are given bountiful rewards waiting for us to grab during this holy month to keep our good deeds heavier than our wrongdoings. It is up to us if we want to chase all those rewards and forgiveness given by His Holiness.

So, are you ready to be ready for Ramadan? Read on.

#LIST’EM

In every event, a master plan is needed. And a Ramadan to-achieve or to-do list is a must. Get a piece of paper. List down all the things you want to accomplish this coming month. Here is what my list looks like.

TO-ACHIEVE LIST:
1. Complete sawm (unless forbidden). Make up for lost sawm afterwards.
2. Finish reading the qur’an + understand translation.
3. 0% music.
4. 5% zakat.
5. 30% savings.
6. #RamadhanPhotoChallenge ( I will post in another blogpost )
7. Kohl for eyes only. All else, 0% usage of cosmetics.

#IMPLEMENT

Now that you have a plan, the next move is to do what is in your list as early as possible. This is so that you would not be shocked on the first day of Ramadan. Say, you can start the sunnah fasting every Monday and Thursday. Or you may want to read the Quran starting now. Or you would prohibit yourself from listening to any kind of music right here and right now. If you can start now, do it. Then, it would be easier to implement everything during Ramadan and thereafter.

#DISCIPLINE

The next step is during Ramadan already. Discipline is the essence of this month. Be sure to have a strong stand and do not go otherwise your plan. Stick to what you wrote down. It would be hard, but the result would be sweeter. There is no room for voluntary errors.

#CONTINUE

When you reach Eid feeling accomplished, know that Ramadan hasn’t ended. You should keep your achieved list and keep achieving them on daily basis already. Ramadan is not just here for a month. It must be engraved in our hearts and minds. We do not just fast from evil during this month. We should for our entire lifetime.

Every day, we ask Allah to guide us to the straight path. Guidance has been sent to us long before, it is up to us to follow it. Ramadan is here to change us and keep us aligned with that straight path. It is here as a mercy not as a burden. If we reached this month, we are lucky individuals. Let us make the most of it.

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Why Islam?

Islam means full submission. Being a Muslim requires one to be fully submitted to the will of Allah. A Muslim is never a Muslim if he has not put in his heart that he will do anything for the sake of Allah. The essence of living this life for any Muslim is to worship Allaah, none but HIM alone.

A Muslim follows so many rules and regulations of Allah. It is a religion that is incorporated into how one shall live his life, a religion with complete ingredients and procedures that would ultimately lead to a palatable dish which is a meaningful life. In Islam, one is required to have all the good qualities altogether.

Who says it is easy to be a full-fledged Muslim? No, it isn’t and it will never be. Even those that already have gone far in the practice of this religion are fighting a battle in order to be fully submitted, a battle that only the one with stronger imaan shall win.

However, Islam may be a tough religion to follow, but it is worth it.
I cannot imagine life other than which Islam teaches us. It will be chaotic and wasted. It will be full of narcissism and self-centered people. It will be full of arrogance and ignorance.

Life with Islam is just the perfect ingredient to living life to the fullest. After all, Islam teaches us to go beyond what our eyes can fathom in seeking knowledge – both spiritual and physical. Islam teaches us to give love more than what we receive. Islam teaches us to be steadfast to whatever trials are handed down to us. More importantly, Islam teaches us to be the person that is worthy enough for HIS paradise.

In sha Allaah. Allaahumma ameen.

Posts are from Sagacity of Life

Life in Medschool: The Interviews

By Ahmad ibn Hajiri, UP College of Medicine Class 2017
Bismillah
It was February of 2012 when I came to Manila for the UPCM Applicants interview. I came all the way from Sulu just to attend the 2 sets of interviews in a day, and I can still remember then how anxious and nervous I was not knowing what to do… For me, the interviews in fact are among the hardest parts of the application to any medschool (well, aside from the NMAT). It’s the last bridge that will bring you to the doorsteps of your dream school or not. Alhamdulillah, upon receiving the white envelope containing my final acceptance as an official student of UPCM, it was indeed a one exhilarating kind of happiness! I still can’t believe that I passed and now here I am trying as much to learn and be a better doctor each day, in sha Allah.
Two years since then, some friends who are eyeing for the 140 slots in the college for the next roll of medstudents are asking me for advises and tips on how to nail the interviews. And so I made this “helpful” guide on passing the interviews in Medschool. The following guidelines are applicable (most of it, I hope) to all aspiring medstudents applying either for the Intarmed/direct or regular/lateral entrance or the Regionalization Program (RP) entrance; or even in any medschool they wanted to apply in.
The following were based on personal experiences of the author and some infos gathered after asking some random classmates about what they did during the interviews. They may or may not be applicable to your situation (so please don’t blame me if it didn’t work, hehe). And don’t hesitate to share this post, it might save some lives out there. Haha.

Rule #1: Smile

This is a general rule. Even how nervous you are upon entering the room, smile at your interviewer/s. Shake their hands and be courteous. At least a simple, “Good morning, sir” with a touch of your natural smile will make the start of your interview smoother. Don’t let them notice how terribly nervous you are that you could almost wet your underpants! Just Smile, there.

Rule # 2: Be confident but not arrogant

The best way to impress your interviewers is to let them know that you know the words you are saying; that you are confident that you can do this job. That you believe in your own capabilities. Speak fluently and confidently on your answers. Don’t hesitate, just go and say them (but of course with careful choices of words). But there’s always a limit to everything, so do not be too over-confident about yourself and your “achievements” in life that you become more arrogant without you noticing it. Just be cool yet humble. They want to know how much you believe in yourself, not on how much awards you had in your past life.

Rule # 3: Be honest in every way

Do not be surprised if they will ask you seemingly random, non-medical questions about you. A question as “Have you ever cheated at school?” and “Do you know any programs of the DOH?” might get you on a big dilemma. Should you tell them that you did cheat in school or impress them that you have never done such grievous crime? Should you try to impress them that you know what the DOH is doing just to be safe when in fact you really don’t?
The answer is simple: tell the truth! If you don’t know anything, say you don’t. If you did know something but just a little part of it, then say so. Don’t go beyond what you cannot defend. Surely, they will ask you to talk more about it, and the best way to avoid being trapped on your own lies is never to make one.  Be honest, it’s the best policy they say.

Rule # 4: Know yourself, in and out

A friend of mine said that the interview’s main purpose was to “gage how much the applicant knows about him or herself; It’s a game of Psychology, they want to know what you know about your own strengths and as well as your weaknesses.” And who knows more about yourself than (your right!) your good, old, buddy “self”? 
Know where you are really good at. Find out where you are still in need of improvements. Know your past mistakes and accept them as your own. Remember all the things that you learned in your life be it in your family or at school. How did you cope up with the stresses and problems that you met along the way? How did you deal with failures? And how do you see yourself in the future? These are just some questions they may ask about you. Again, be honest and tell them. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you once failed in class and tell them what you did that made you continue the fight. Tell what you learned after all those years that made you who you are today.  
Keep in mind that these people are not looking for persons with superhuman powers. They are looking for a strong-willed person who knows his/her strengths and weaknesses as well, someone who is willing to accept his/her own shortcomings but is willing to grow and be better. They want to know that you are capable of surviving the stressful, life-draining ordeals you are about to face in medschool.

Rule # 5: Know why you want to be a Doctor.

Of course, you can never, ever avoid the question of why are you there sitting in front of them, trying your best of ways to enter a life full of hardship, sleepless nights, uncertainties and stress? Why do you want to waste your life? Why go for more years of studying when you can already have a job and start your own family? Why not be a businessman and become a millionaire some day? Why be a doctor? Why?!?!?
I cannot assure you that a good, time-tested, copy-paste script of “because I want to save the humanity” answer is not the right one. It’s not even a wrong answer! All I can say is: look for the answer inside of your heart (naks). Just follow Rule #s 3 and 4: Be honest and know yourself and you will know why you are there in front of them. If you really have no answer than “to save a life”, then that’s great, tell them that! If you say you want to be “richer” (which does not happen all the time), then do so. If it was actually your parents who wanted you to become a doctor (which apparently many of us do), then tell them that, too. Just be honest. End of story.

Rule # 6: Pray. Pray. Pray.

Of course, there are things that are way beyond our control, and so we have to ask and seek help to the One who had control over all things. And so my last advice, and perhaps the most important one, is to Pray, pray, pray.
Pray before you enter the interviewing room. Say a prayer before you speak (for Muslims pls see the supplications below). Of course always start with “BISMILLAH!” And Pray after the interviews. Pray to Allah that He will give you what is best for you. That you can pass this interview if this will be good and be best for you, and if not then ask that He give you something better. A lot of things can be changed by a simple prayer 🙂
For Muslims, you can read the following supplications before you go for an interview (if you know a little Arabic I suggest you read the Arabic text):

“Bismillahir rahmaanir rahiym. Rabbiy Ishrahliy Sadriy, wa yassirliy amriy, wahlul ukdatam millisaaniy, yafqahuwna, qawliy.
Bismillahir rahmaanir rahiym. Rabbiy zidniy ilman, warzukniy fahman. Subhanaka laa ilma lana illa ma ‘allamtanaa, innaka antal aliymul hakiym.”

I hope this simple “guide” will you help you pass the interviews and reach your dream. Or at least be a little more confident in facing any interviews. It worked for me, and most of my classmates, so it might work for you, too. 🙂 God bless on your interviews!!!
Salam kasilasa!
-Ahmad a.k.a Anak Iluh

Pls visit my blog: Anak iluh, MD at www.anakiluh.blogspot.com; also you like my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anakiluh-Publications  you can PM me on my Page (anak iluh) if you have more questions J

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Can Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

Bismillah.
Before finally going back home (to Sulu) for our year-end break, I attended a short lecture in Cubao organized by the New Muslim Care, a network of Muslims and New Muslims (or Balik Islam which they are more commonly called) in Manila. The lecture was indeed timely as it’ theme is about the “Celebration of Christmas and what Muslim should and should not do” and was delivered by one great brother Ustadz Muhammad Yahya of Sudan.
The following will be my own sharing base on what I grasped and learned in the 2 hour lecture by brother Yahya and some sharing by other brothers and sisters who attended the session. Pls do notify me if in case there are some errors in my part that I may correct them immediately. Some of these you are about to read might be painful and unacceptable to our not-yet-Muslim friends and even Muslims as well, so I am already asking you to please be patient and read all throughout until the end. These are not my own words and I, nor our lecturer, did not made it up on our own. They were all taught in our religion with strong basis from the scriptures of the Holy Qur’an and following the hadith of our beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him).
What is Christmas?
We started by first defining what is Christmas so that we could understand this event that we are about to talk about. As Muslims living in a Christian environment almost all of us already know that Christmas is the “celebration of the birth of Jesus” (peace be upon him) every 25th of December each year. But what is the significance of this celebration to the Christians themselves? For them, this is what they believed to be the “day of the birth of God’s Son” or what they call “God Incarnate”. Thus this is not just a celebration or event from another Religion (Christianity) but is also a celebration that is based on a belief that is TOTALLY AGAINST the teachings of Islam.

 From the Islamic point of view, the concept of “God as Flesh” or the belief in “Son of God” is unacceptable and will be considered as one of the greatest blasphemy one can do in his life. For God (Allah) is Eternal and Absolute, He owns everything and never needed a son and none can be liken unto Him. And for Muslims, Jesus or Prophet Eisa (his Musim name) is no one but a mere Prophet of God, just like Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), humans who lived to guide their people and humanity to the straight path. So Muslims should really be careful about this and always be aware of what is the essence why Christians celebrate Christmas.


Can Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

The answer is a clear NO. No matter what circumstances you will be in, a Muslim should never, ever celebrate Christmas by heart. For it was never part of the teachings of Islam, it was never done by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and his companions and thus should be avoided at all cost. Even his own birthday (the Prophet Muhammad) was never celebrated during his time, what more of Prophet Eisa (Jesus). This is to avoid making such event part of the traditions and dangerously become part of our concept of doing “worship”.
Also, in Islam there are only two valid and authentic celebrations for Muslims, that is Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha. Nothing more, nothing less. Not even your own birthday!

Can Muslims attend Christmas Parties?

A question was raised during the session. That what if the company or school you are in is conducting a “Christmas Party” (which is so common nowadays) and everyone is attending. What if as member of that company/school, I would attend the “Party” but not with the intention of celebrating with them but rather showing them that Muslims can also socialize with other people, and I don’t want them to be angry (or magtampo) with me also.
This was what brother Yahya answered (more or less): “The best thing to do is avoid, as much as you can. But if you cannot, say something will happen that you are afraid of when you will not attend, then attend. But be sure and keep it firm in your heart that you are against such celebration and you will never be part of it.
We are in a non-Islamic environment and these are things that we cannot always avoid. We are the minorities, we are not the government, we are not in power to say this and not do that. But for whatever thing we do, whether we attend these parties or not, ask yourself what’s in here (pointing to his left chest). What’s in your heart is what Allah will look into. That is what’s most important. But if you can still avoid please avoid. Explain it to them, they should respect you and understand.”
(My own addition, if you explain to them that celebrating Christmas is not in Islam and is highly discouraged they have no choice but to accept it. They cannot force you to follow what they believe in. Even no matter what they say, like “It’s just a party, cmon!” or they will call you “anti-social”, “walang pakikisama”, or whatever, they have to respect your belief as how we should respect theirs. If they would feel “insulted” that you never attended their event, you have all the right to be insulted also for being pushed to attend that same event. Wallahu Alam,  Allah knows best)

What should you do when greeted with “Merry Christmas!”?

“Simple,” brother Yahya answered with a smile, “Say ‘Happy New year’, or ‘Happy holidays’ or you can just smile at them and be silent. Just never say ‘Merry Christmas, too’. Show them that you, as a Muslim is not part of this event and you are not celebrating it.”
Again this does not mean we are insulting them. We are only following what is taught to us in Islam.

What about Gifts? Can Muslims give or receive gifts during Christmas?


Dr. Yahya giving his lecture
Islam encourages Muslims to give gifts to their loved ones (Muslims or not), BUT NOT DURING CHRISTMAS. This is to avoid the connotation that the gift was given in celebration of Christmas. You can give gifts all throughout the year from January to November, but avoid giving gifts during these seasons. Or if you really have to give something, say a Sadaqa (a share of gift and support given to the poor) during these seasons, let it be known by informing them crystal clear that “this sadaqa is given to you because Muslims are supposed to help the poor, AND THIS IS NOT for Christmas.” Or say “I am giving you this gift as an appreciation of our friendship and not because of Christmas”. Other than that, it is a big, big no to give gifts during Christmas, even if your intention is to “join the fun” or “pakikisama” or whatever. If someone is expecting a gift from you for some reason, give it earlier or later. Tell them, “I can give you a gift but I have to delay it until January or February so and so.”
How about receiving gifts from non-Muslims even if you are not celebrating Christmas? This had happened in Muslim families that their non-Muslim friends and family were giving gifts to their children, etc. Are they allowed to accept the gifts or should they return them or stop those giving gifts during Christmas?
The question was answered by brother Yahya: “We are not allowed to impose our Religion to others. We can explain Islam’s teachings about these but we cannot impose on them to stop if they keep on doing it. So when they send you or your children gifts, as Christmas gifts, accept them and thank them, but again avoid giving the impression that you are celebrating Christmas. Don’t say ‘Merry Christmas’. Always check what’s in your heart. Say ‘Oh Allah, you know more what’s in my heart. I and my family are not celebrating these events’. In sha Allah you will be at ease. And most importantly, educate and guide your children. Tell them about Christmas is not the only time that you should give gifts. Give them gifts during non-Christmas days so that they will enjoy and see Christmas are just like any other day of the year.”

The Last Message

Through the short session, there were more questions about other aspects of living in a non Muslim environment like celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and some about Salah. I will no longer include them in this post. Now this is what I learned that day, Alhamdulillah:
Islam is already complete and Islam already gave us strict and explicit guidelines on everything that we can and cannot do through the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. There is no need to add new things just because it’s “fun” or whatever. Islam already gave us the answers to our questions especially on how to live in this dunya (wordly life) successfully with happiness and free of regret and that is to worship Allah alone and to follow Islam as a way of life.
Christmas is a celebration that is never allowed in Islam as it signifies that there is another God and He had a son (naudhubillah); this is clear and thus should always be clear to us Muslims living in this non-Islamic environment and be very careful on what we do. Being the minority population in this country, there is always the pressure of being pulled along by what the greater population is doing. And just because everyone is doing it does not give us the permission to do it also.
“Hey! Everyone is doing it, why can’t we do it to? It’s fun!” someone would argue to which we can simply tell them: “If everyone is jumping on a deep cliff or to a big fire, would you jump in too?”. We should not always follow what the “majority” tells us to do. They can tell us, but they cannot force us. And choosing between displeasing a hundred thousand people and displeasing Allah, you know which one to choose. It doesn’t if every single soul in this world will be angry with you as long as you know you are doing the right thing trying to please Allah the Great Creator. And remember that no matter how much you try to please all the people in this world, by following what they are happy to do, you will never succeed. They will eventually get displeased of you and betray you one day or the other. That is just the imperfect human nature. So choose Allah, choose Islam, and you will never regret. 
Another thing that was emphasized is the importance of intention, what’s in our heart. Maybe there would be a chance that we have no choice but to attend and be present on their events like this, but we should never participate or celebrate. We should keep our hearts and mind reminded that this is not part of Islam and you are supposed to avoid it, but you have no choice for some circumstances. Remember that is what’s in your heart that Allah will look into in the end.
And lastly, I cannot overemphasize the great importance of seeking knowledge.  It is a duty that every Muslim man or woman have. We should always strive hard to seek knowledge; study what’s happening around us, research about them and learn what is Islam’s view and guidance about them as according to Islam’s only two great guides: The holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. Attend lectures, ask our scholars who understand these better. Try to understand them properly and strive harder to act upon these teachings by heart. And lastly never forget the obligation of every Muslim to convey the beautiful message of Islam not just to your own Muslim brethrens but to all humanity as well.
I would end this post reminding everyone that is still Allah who knows best than anyone of us. So if there are again errors in this humble sharing I made, pls do notify me immediately that I may correct them. May Allah guide us all to the one straight path towards His pleasure. Ameen.
Salam kasilasa,

Anak iluh
(: The New Muslim Care Family 🙂
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Everyday’s a blessing… Praise Him

Bismillah.Have you ever thought that upon waking up in the early morning hours, you were already blessed? That just by opening your eyes you are indeed given another day full of blessings? And from the moment you stood up and went to prepare your break…

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Distinguishing Fiqh from Shari’ah

For most of the non-Arabic speaking people like me, Fiqh and Shari’ah are used interchangeably. Most often, I use these words synonymously when in fact they are two terms that mean differently. What I understood from childhood is that these two mean “Islamic Law.” However, as I studied in Islamic Online University, I learned that these two are of different meanings.

Fiqh literally means “the true understanding of what is intended.” And Shari’ah literally means “a waterhole where animals gather daily to drink, or the straight path.”

Technically, Fiqh is a science of deducing Islamic laws from evidences found in Qur’an and Sunnah. While Shari’ah is the total of Islamic laws revealed to the prophet that can be found in the Qur’an and Sunnah. In short, Fiqh is a deduced Shari’ah.

Fiqh may also be changed according to the circumstances to which it is applied, while Islamic laws in Shari’ah can never be changed as they are decreed by the Almighty Allaah. Fiqh applies to specific circumstances while the Shari’ah is mostly general in the sense that it is basic principles.

We must understand the Fiqh of Shari’ah for us to be able to live the Islamic way of life. This should be the unifying force that would bring Muslims altogether. In shaa Allaah, we will all learn further.

(source: The Evolution of Fiqh by Dr. Bilal Philips)
Posts are from Sagacity of Life