Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK)

Assalamualaikum wbt.
Occasionally, I remember my colorful childhood through my young brother who resembles me a lot
UniKL- Enrolment of the first younger sister

"On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; help us against those who stand against Faith."

Surah Al-Baqarah, (2:286)

This post is not about MCKK, but about me when I was in MCKK.

1. It is weird that when there are many things in my mind to write about, I finally picked this subject, which is rather a memoir of a young version to the old Ibnu Hanaffi. But I hope this is timely and at least triggers more motivation I need to continue with plethora of issues and ideas inhabiting my mind.

2. After the result of UPSR (Malaysia's Primary School Assessment Test) for Standard 6 came out in 2002, the family started to think about my next place of study. My eldest brother, Along, was already in his third year at MCKK by then. However, there were several reasons why MCKK was the first to be eliminated from the list- certainly nothing to do with any bad testimony about MCKK though.

3. As far as I can remember, they already decided to send me to any Islamic school (where Islamic teaching is the main stream) and possibly also a boarding school (Sekolah Berasrama Penuh, SBP). So, schools like Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah or KISAS (but KISAS only has Form 4 and Form 5 students), Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan (SMAP) Kajang and SMAP Labu were what I was expected to be going to the most. Mind you, there was an option in the application form whereby my parents already ticked on the one that reads Islamic stream, but as the saying goes, what happened to you, could not have missed you- God knows if it was a technical mistake, but the Ministry eventually sent us a letter informing that MCKK was my next home of education.

4. That was the first reason. The second reason was simpler, that my Along didn't want me to be there, for reasons until now I don't know what. I think he knew me well, and like my parents, wanted me to be in a school with better Islamic environment perhaps- though again, this does not suggest that MCKK is not a suitable place to groom people like me, because I was eventually a Malay Collegian myself.

5. It feels like writing a journal. I used to, but that was during a time when I was in love haha but now I guest I have a better way to keep my past stories. It was a thing of the past, and now I promise myself that the next time I were to be in love is when marriage is in plan, insya Allah- which could be in the next 4 years from now.

The Big School- Main attraction to MCKK (Now hostels to the senior students)
6. The first day was the registration day and it was March 8, 2003. It will be time-consuming for both you and me to be encyclopedic and too detailed here, so I will jump to relevant stories I have in my mind and narrate only what I think is the most important to remember.

7. Judging by what remains with me until now, I would therefore admit that it was my debating career that was the most significant page, if my life in MCKK was a book. I started as early as in my first year in Form 1 and was brought into the Malay Language Debating Team by the seniors. It was, for the record, the beginning of a whole new life that (with Allah's permission) paved the way to a better and smarter me.

I'll miss this team and the brotherhood it carries, no doubt about it
From left: Aslam, Me and Fendy
8. My first exposure to the real (school) debating world or battle of mind started as early as in the year 2004, when I was 14, and in Form 2. It was among the best experience of my life, not only for the chance to be trained as a debater, but also for the unique one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet wonderfully highly intelectual people with great eloquence and values like Allahyarham the late Adlan Benan Omar (Abg Ben) and Rafizi Ramli (Abg Raf) whom are great legendary debaters themselves. Praise be upon Allah for it is Him who creates mankind, the best of creation.

One of the schools we debated- I think this was SMS Kuching
9. Those who have just recently known me though, should know that I was in the Malay Language Debating Team, not in the English team. This is important because as a matter of fact, it was being in the debating family that inspired me to learn English better, though indirectly because again, I debated in Malay Language. So, it was not an easy process, and it was because of this challenge that I think I felt more motivated to improve on my language and communication skills especially in English, and Arabic Language- to a certain extent.

10. I can still remember how we journeyed through the battle every year (beginning 2004) and lost in final rounds for three consecutive years before we finally made it in the year 2007. Those tears were unforgettable and the most remembered. People can only see what we had achieved, but may never feel or experience the whole process we lived with together, through thin and thick. It was from this moment onwards that I happened to finally understand, a true achievement is not only worth a long wait, but also worth an infinite sacrifice from a true warrior. The best narration of all these stories were composed by our respectable couch, Abg Raf on his batch blog under the subject: So it is done

Appeared few times in the local newspaper after the victory
Note: Can't find the archive of my humble success story in Utusan online but thank God there's a copy in The Official MCKK website here.

11. To sum up, it was again, this experience and my encounter with extra-ordinary people that make me whom I was back then, and mostly whom I am now. I am indebted, and for that, I pray to Allah as a sign of gratitude so that He grants these people I know a good place in Paradise in the life in the Hereafter insya Allah.

12. It was the year 2007 that marked perhaps the most glorious year in my life thus far, and it is because of how later things turned upside down that I now shall explain a few more achievements I made as a Malay Collegian. I was blessed with trust and respect from teachers, either academically, or in leadership aspect and attitude. It was these gifts from Allah that made me the Headboy of the school and became the Hassanal Bolkiah Award recepient  in the same year. When the SPM result came out, I was by right the first in my batch to know about my result because I were told to come to Ipoh instead for the result release, as I was among the best students in the state of Perak for that particular year- and this took place in 2008. I could still remember the warmth of a motherly hug from my lovely mother, and the glowing proud face of my hardworking father after we received a call that brought to us the terrific news.

Standing: Third from right
13. It didn't stop there. I was also awarded The Full Colors Award by the Ministry of Education (at SBP level), for students who excelled high in academic and co-curricular activities, plus with some outstanding contributions to the SBPs as a whole, such as through international program. It was my parents whom felt tremendously appreciated and touched when I was conferred such an award during a big event in Kedah with the Sultan of the state, partly (or maybe mostly) because they, like me, are ordinary people from a small village in Kuala Terengganu- whom never thought of sharing tables with extra-ordinary people with great titles and positions.

But it was also because of that that we feel special and we thank Allah for His unparalleled bounties and love.

Yes mom, I hate flash too hehe- LOVE YOU BOTH! ;-)
Down Under

14. OK, this is the climax of the story. And yes, the above may appear much like a self-flattery, but it is there so that the story will be coherent before it leads to this part- down under.

15. The next thing I knew was that I will enrol to the International Education Center (INTEC) to do Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT). It was a double shock. First, because we never heard of the word AUSMAT (we mistakenly thought that it's worse than A-level) and secondly, my parents and I had always aimed for an A-level in UK for my medical degree. We however felt better after knowing what AUSMAT was all about and well, we thought Australia didn't sound bad at all, did it? A country down under huh?

16. Cutting it short, after a year and a half, I ended up with the most testing moment ever in my life, and it was exactly immediately after those glorious years in MCKK. The result wasn't good enough for me to do medicine in any universities in Australia and yes, that was about it. The question now arised. What happened, headboy?

17. Certainly you are not going to know what exactly happened because to be frank with you, I  am myself puzzled by this even until today. But it is unfair to say that without really looking on the bright side and reflect on some self-investigation isn't it? It is for this reason that I finally decided to write this post- that in life (which sometimes is represented by a wheel), we are sometimes on top, and at anytime, we can always be at the bottom. If I were to draw a graph of my own life, then it is this period that will give the steepest depression on the graph line and this is the reason why I will describe this phase of my life as 'the down under.'

18. There are certainly many other lessons I grabbed along the way, and despite being the hardest time in my life, that phase was also the best, the most valuable and the most unforgetabble chapter of life that has taught me to become a real man living in a real world. After careful thoughts and scrutiny, the furthest I can go was to attribute all that took place to my own contentment and preoccupancy with my successes and achievement in the past- which now I realized are only a history and will bring me nowhere unless I am aware on the challenges ahead of me and keep on striving for the best.
19. Nevertheless, that was never an absolute answer to what happened to me. I think it was somehow too complicated to explain even to myself, but what made me regret the most was when I knew I have not been up to my standard and failed myself in the most unwanted and avoidable way- which I swear never should happen again (unless if He wills it such). The best conclusion to rest on is that all these plots and paths in life are already there in store as a plan from Allah, who has the utmost power with regard to everything that He wants. And as a Muslim, I strongly believe, He does this, for good reasons, insya Allah and all praise be upon Allah alone, my One God and Only. (SShhhh..who knows if I were destined to be where I am now because maybe I'll find my life partner here? hehe) =p
20. Allah already made it clear that what is already decided can't be changed and He does not do injustice to His servants when He says in Surah Qaf, (50:29), "The Word changes not before Me, and I do not the least injustice to My Servants."

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21. Now I am in my second year in International Medical University (IMU) and struggle really hard to become a good doctor, because I know I should not just be an ordinary guy. It's unfair to me and my family, and it is a waste of all the talents and gifts that Allah has given to me. I know full well that I was not born genius, and all this while, it's hardwork and commitment that keep me alive- achieving dreams that I dream of. So I hope all of us could reflect upon what happened to me and never take anything in life for granted. He (Allah) can always take back (in a blink of an eye) what He has blessed us with, so please always pray a lot to Him and never feel comfortable with what we have done as a proof of effort to Him, the All-knowing, the All-seeing.

22. I am fully aware that my parents are most affected by what had happened, and for that, I hope I can become a good son whom can pray for Paradise to both of them, as no matter how much I try, I will never be able to return back all the sacrifice that they had done towards me.

23. Dear friends, all of us could always become friends today and enemies tomorrow. And friends come and go. However our parents and family, no matter wherever they are, whatever they feel towards us, they will always share the same blood and flesh with us, and for that, they are eternally our family, so please love them more than we love anyone else.

Love them all with the greatest love Allah blesses me with
May Allah bless us all.

Wallahuaklam and wassalamualaikum wbt. Take care and thank you for dropping by. ;-)

"O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded."

Surah At-Tahrim, (66:6)

Best regard from the author (haha this was upon insisted by Eddo Dido) =p
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Is God Evil?

Assalamualaikum wbt


“Or do you think that you shall enter the Garden (of Bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!”

Surah Al-Baqarah (2:214)

Whether or not we realize, we live in the world that comprises not only the non-Muslims who believe in other Gods, but some of these non-Muslims are the atheists who do not even believe in God. One of their strongest arguments is that, if God exists, why are there too much sufferings and calamities on earth?

A famous philosopher, David Hume once posed this question to the theists in his doubt of God’s existence: “If God is willing to prevent evil, but He is not able, then He is impotent. If God is able to prevent evil, but He is not willing, then He is malevolent. But if God is both able and willing, why is there evil?”

By presenting the fact of the existence of evil in this world, they argue the following. First, God is not omnipotent or powerful because He cannot prevent evil. Secondly, God is Himself evil because He allows evil to exist.

The funny thing about those arguments is that to be able to claim that God is impotent and Himself evil, these atheists must firstly agree to the existence of God! How do you attach a description to something without firstly agreeing to its existence? It is as if asking a question whether James gives birth to a baby boy or a baby girl, although the first question that should come is whether James can give birth?

Praise be to Allah, that in Islam, the teaching of Allah through His deen is so perfect that it provides all answers to these absurd questions from the unbelievers.

First, we Muslims do not only believe that Allah (God) is good and omnipotent. Instead, we believe that part of Allah’s names and attributes include the Just, the Severe in Punishment, the Wise, the Avenger and many others. It is these attributes that automatically remove all doubts and confusion about Allah. In the case of the Christians however, who believe that God is all good and omnipotent, they will have a problem to then explain why there are evil and suffering if God is all good and omnipotent.

As for the Muslims, the evil and suffering of the world can be explained as follows.

First, it is a manifestation of God’s punishment as a result of our sins or bad actions. Secondly, it is part of God’s wisdom that difficulties and suffering exist. Let me narrate a short story that in a way helps me understand how every difficulty God permits in this world comes with wisdom.

 There is a company that breeds beautiful butterflies for sales. One day, they plan to increase their production by reducing the time it would take for a butterfly to come out from its pupa. So they use some chemicals and apply them onto the pupa to make it softer. The technique really helps and the butterfly escapes faster from its pupa.

To their surprise however, all of the butterflies tested could not even expand their wings! The wings seem to wrap around the body and well, a butterfly is not beautiful without its colorful wings, is it?

What do they finally find out? Actually, the pupa is hard because it helps strengthens the muscles the butterfly uses to expand its wings. So, a hard pupa is necessary so that a true butterfly with wonderful wings can come into being!

Before I end this article, there are two more important things I need to touch on. First, good or evil is something absolutely subjective to mankind. We do not know, if the sufferings or difficulties we face in life are actually to keep us in check so that we always remember Him and do not be arrogant, so never take them negatively. Also, if we were to follow our definition of what is good and bad, or what is right and wrong, we will never be able to. This is simply because at different places, people perceive things differently. If we follow mankind, we will continue to live in a world where some people agree to homosexuality and some don’t and this will never end. It is only through Divine message that we can get a clear picture and guidelines, on which is permissible and which is prohibited instead.

Secondly, we always have to understand, contrary to the humanist and atheist, we believe that life is a test and therefore is temporary. It is life in the Hereafter that is eternal and we have to be clear about it. By accepting this, then we can set ourselves free from wrong interpretation of occurrences in this world. Difficulties in life can either be a test so that we can prove our faith in Allah, or it may be a means to cleanse us from sins insya Allah.

In Sahih Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad SAW beautifully told us that, “No calamity befalls a Muslim but Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it was the prick he receives from a thorn.”

Allah assures us, that in every difficulty, there is relief. And He says this twice in the same Chapter in the Quran, Surah Al-Inshirah (94:5-6) that for every difficulty, there is relief. So it is now our job to look at the world with a correct perspective and may Allah increase our faith further until the time He presents to us the Paradise insya Allah. Wallahua’lam and may Allah bless us all.

This article is written for As-Shifa' Magazine, IMU MSOC 2011

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Poco-Poco: A Knee-Jerk Reaction

Assalamualaikum wbt

Narrated by Muslim (145), from Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of Allah SAW said: "Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers."



1. If I were to aptly describe the banning of poco-poco dance as announced by the Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, I with due respect would consider it to be thought-provoking yet unpopular.  

2. It is thought-provoking because everyone seems to be interested in this subject. It is unpopular because  probably no one has ever thought of its prohibition before Harussani and the gang, and even until now  some people seem to disagree that it is haram (forbidden) in Islam.

3. The MAIN purpose of this post is not to either support or reject the proposal of poco-poco's prohibition (though I will present my personal opinion regarding poco-poco before I end this article) but I intend to see this issue from another perspective because I think, poco-poco itself is somehow a relatively small subject, that however is a manifestation of a bigger thing going on in our community.


4. Before going into the main point, let me firstly address these 3 statements with regard to poco-poco dance.

5. If minor is the word used to compare poco-poco in relative to many other profound  and complicated issues, I don't have any problem with it. But if the word minor suggests that the need to discuss poco-poco is negligible, I beg to disagree. Why? From research already made, Tan Sri Harussani argued against poco-poco on the basis that poco-poco originates from a ritual dance often practised in Jamaica and it contains elements of Christianity as well as spirit worship. Does that not ring the bell?

6. When it comes to subject of worship, it falls under the category of faith (Aqeedah) and oneness of Allah (Tawheed). In other words, committing an act of worship, in the sense of associating partner with Allah, is an act as shirk, and this is a huge sin in Islam.

7. Having said that, how could one say that poco-poco is a minor issue when it is against the very first fundamental belief in Islam that Allah is One and Only? This is indeed the first thing that features  in  the 5 pillars of Islam, and it is this subject (Aqeedah and Tawheed) that Rasulullah first brought when he started teaching about Islam.

8. Therefore, I don't see any valid reason why, when poco-poco exposes us to an act of shirk, it should only be regarded as a minor issue.

"Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed."

Surah An-Nisa', (4:48)


9. While it is true that an action shall be judged based on the intention of one who does it, in the case of poco-poco though, it should not be as simple as that. Firstly, intention is a subjective matter. You may speak on your behalf (that you have good intention), but how do you know that someone else always has good intention when they do something? It is because intention is something that cannot be measured, that we have to be careful with what people do physically.

10. Let's take one easy example. If today a Muslim goes to Batu Caves and then bow a few times in front of the statue (Murugan), before declaring that he is actually only exercising, so will we accept that claim? Of course not. Point being is that, something physical, if confirmed haram in Islam, then it is haram, regardless of what he may claim his intention is. Another way of seeing this is that, if we were to judge based on intention alone, all murderers in this world will always escape any punishment, so long as they claim that they have no intention of murder. And this is why, in an investigation, even to test the intention of the murderer, we will always judge based on what we can see and perceive physically.

11. Another principle in Islam is that the end does not justify the means (matlamat tidak menghalalkan cara). A good instance will be like the classical story of Robin Hood. He robs the rich to help the poor. However, no matter how good his intention is, he is committing crime. And Islam does not permit prohibited things, only because one has a noble aim in his doing. Both aim and action should be permissible instead.

12. So then again, in the case of poco-poco, while the intention may be good, which is to practise a healthy lifestyle, one has to firstly consider whether poco-poco has anything that goes against Islam. Poco-poco, if we go back to Harussani's argument, is not prohibited because it is a form of exercise, but because it originates from a tradition that performs the worship of spirit.

13. Again, I have not yet come to a conclusion whether poco-poco is forbidden, but the above is mere an attempt to reject the opinion that poco-poco is permissible so long as the intention is good. Without denying the significance of intention in our actions, I am strictly against total reliance upon intention alone, with regard to permissibility of poco-poco.


14. Sounds familiar? The phrase 'Ignorance is bliss' simply suggests that one will not feel hurt committing sins if he does not even know that it is a sin. So some people argue against knowledge such as in matters regarding morality (permissibility and prohibition). In other words, we shall let people free by not letting them know what is right and what is wrong.

This is however absolutely wrong.

15. Say if one day, a student sits on an examination which has 50 multiple choice questions. He then answers all the questions wrong. All wrong! Then, suppose he meets his lecturer and requests that he should get a full mark because he does not know all the questions, is that then acceptable? Of course not! What is wrong is wrong, no matter even if you do not know about it.

16. The difference is only that when someone do not know that he is committing sins, Allah with His great Mercy and Generosity shall forgive him, insya Allah.

"Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."

Surah An-Nisa', (4:17)

17. From above verse, Allah wants us not to live in ignorance, but for the past sins that we committed without knowledge, we shall repent and ask Allah for forgiveness. In a way, Allah stresses the severity of sins, even in ignorance, which is why He asks us to repent for it.

18. Before I reach the end of this article, let me comment on a few things which I believe is the real salt to the injury. I break them down under 2 points.


19. Morality is now in its degradation phase. What makes things worse is when people lost trust in the Islamic authority which is responsible to bring us back to the true morale through the teachings of Islam.

20. To those who might not know, knee-jerk reaction as I put in the title means that we tend to quickly judge, and make random response when a ruling by the authority is made, without realizing that none such a thing will be made public, before thorough investigations and research are made. It is this kind of knee-jerk reaction that I think is a manifestation of how some of us now tend to follow what we think is right, despite not having any proper knowledge in the subject discussed.

21. While no one would deny that people make mistakes, we should always pay people due respect. Things are more complicated in the case of poco-poco, because they are indeed some people in the authority that support poco-poco as a thing that is permissible in Islam. However, my explanation later will discuss further about this.


22. I don't feel comfortable when some people publicly proclaim against prohibition of poco-poco in Perak on a basis that it does not present a good image of Islam. I think that statement alone is a bad image to Islam, in the sense that it shows how even the authorities in Islam can't agree with each other.

23. A Malay saying beautifully describes this as "keluar dari mulut buaya, masuk mulut harimau" which basically means, to escape from a crocodile's mouth just to end up being the victim of a tiger- and this saying sarcastically points towards those who try to fix things only to know that he or she is only making things worse or make no difference at all to solve the problem.

24. I salute those in the authority whom have a clear mind and declare their willingness to study further about the subject. It seems to me however that those whom already reject the opinion of Tan Sri Harussani and the Islamic Authority in Perak, has made a mistake unless they themselves make a research and proper investigations to support their stand.

25. The crux of the matter is that, first, I hope we will be more careful when we make any remarks and comments, especially in public (which is easy now via medium like Facebook). Second, I hope authorities take Allah's blessings as number one criteria in making statements and not just to please the non-Muslims instead. I don't see any reasons why non-Muslims will think badly about the prohibition of poco-poco if we have good reasons for the prohibition, but even if they do, do we worship them or Allah?


26. As a conclucion, I want to request us simply this. Poco-poco is not of Islamic origin, so if one day we were to avoid it, we should avoid it. It baffles me very much that while there are many Islamic teachings that we do not follow, we work hard to defend something that does not even have any Islamic attachment. I mean, not that we can't, but what is the priority?

27. Another thing is that, when there are many other alternatives as a form of exercise, why is it again that we defend poco-poco as if we are dead without it? I think maybe we hardly take lessons from the past. When Prophet Muhammad SAW introduced Islam, the disbelievers lost everything from the prohibition of their worship of idols. Economically, they lost their businesses (selling idols made of rock). Socially, they had to abandon their long-standing ancestral tradition. Politically, they lost positions and had to give way to Prophet SAW to become their leader. In their case, maybe it makes more sense to reject the Prophet's SAW message, though all praise be to Allah that out of those difficulties, some people held tight to the true faith and embraced Islam.

28. What is so difficult that we face without poco-poco today compared to those who lived before us? If we continue to live like this, again, it is a manifestation of how weak we may be to face the great challenges against Islam.

29. Let me now quote one hadith as reported by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah and Darimi that says, "What is halal is clear. And what is haram is also clear. And in between those two is a dubious area (syubhah) in which many people do not know about. So whoever distanced himself from it, he has acquitted himself (from blame). And those who fall into it, he has fallen into a state of haram."


30. Owing to the above hadith, I'd rather agree with Harussani. At the very least, as it may be difficult to really determine the real origin of poco-poco, I would certainly take poco-poco as something that falls under the category of doubt or syubhah now, and because of that, as stated in the hadith, it is better then to distance myself from it where possible.

 31. So again, I am not giving an absolute answer to this, but personally, I'd like to invite all of us to be more careful in our actions and daily routine, and because of that, I will do my best to avoid poco-poco. Let me now end this post by quoting a very powerful Quranic message in verse 116 of Chapter 6, Surah Al-An'am whereby Allah says, "Were you to follow the common run (majority) of those on earth, they will lead you away from the Way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie."

And this verse quoted from the Quran, is in line with the first hadith right on top of this post, about being a stranger.

Wallahua'lam wassalamualaikum wbt.

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The Colours of Life

The Colours of Life
Picture taken on Syawal 1, 2009

THE BELOVED FAMILY-Hey, do the maths!

Dad: Mohd Hanaffi bin Hassin
Mom: Noorma bte Mamat


Mohd Ridzwan
Nurul Shuhada
Mohd Amirul Asyraf (blog owner)
Fatihah Sakinah
Nurul Ain Afifah
Ilyana Nazlin
Nur Amira Mawaddah
Mohd Aizat Aiman
Nur Anis
Mohd Amri Afiq