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"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."

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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu

Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.

Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].

When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].

Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.

The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
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"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
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[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
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From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
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On the authority of Abu Hurayrah r.a., who said that Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said: Allah SWT said:

Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)
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“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”

Friday, April 18, 2008

SILAT PULUT

The Star Metro - Thursday March 13, 2008
Silat Pulut blends graceful dance form and art of self defence
BY GRACE CHEN

ONE may liken ‘silat pulut’, (a series of self defence moves stylised into a ceremonial dance for celebratory occasions performed to the strains of traditional instruments) as our very own version of capoeira – the Afro-Brazilian combination of martial art, game and dance.

For silat exponent Baharudin Ghani, 48, a Kelantanese who migrated here in 2000 to open a laundry business, the whole affair is one big exercise to remind the new generation of their roots.


Baharudin pours lime water on a student's head to symbolise spiritual cleansing after a sparring.

Recently, a silat pulut graduation ceremony held at the Seri Samudra flats along Jalan Samudra Timur 1 in Batu Caves, revealed how the art of self defence can also present itself as a graceful dance form.

The father of four, who is also the leader of a dikir barat troupe, also sees this as an opportunity to engage his community in some sort of activity. According to Baharudin, one must realise that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.


Blowing his horn: Shafic Aminuddin playing the serunai to inspire the exponents.

“The core lesson taught here is how to control one’s emotions. Another important aspect that we want to impart is for the young to uphold values such as courage, discipline, fairness and to maintain harmony. If you notice, before every silat performance, the exponent will shake hands with the audience to seek their blessings,” he explained.

Baharudin added that after each bout, the exponents will hug each other as a sign that the confrontation in the arena has been forgotten and they will not hold grudges against each other.


Offerings: Bunga telur, yellow glutinous rice and roasted meats to give thanks for safety and goodwill within the arena.

In explaining how ‘silat pulut’ got its name, Baharudin surmises that it may be due to custom that requires the offering of yellow glutinous rice as gifts to the ‘pesilat’ (silat exponents) during the graduation ceremony.

Another influencing factor may have its links to the exponent feeding newlyweds or VIPs with sticky rice upon completing his steps.


Facial expression: An exponent needs to convey moods as Abdullah Abdul Kadir, a practitioner of the art for 18 years, demonstrates.


But far from being a showy attraction at public events, Baharudin reveals the ‘silat pulut’ is in actual fact a sport that requires skill and agility. Though the soft movements may appear harmless and satirical, it hides an intricate game of steps and techniques that could be devastating when applied in combat.

Dwelling back into history, Baharudin reveals that the martial arts was developed as an avenue for practitioners in colonial times to fool others into believing that it was merely a harmless folk game.


Seeking blessings: The silat exponents must get the blessings of the audience before a sparring round.

At a time when the colonial masters were receiving opposition from Malay freedom fighters, silat teachers were cautious in letting these defence skills out in the open for fear that they may be used against them in times of battle. Thus, in order to preserve tradition, teachers disguised the steps as a dance form so that the art may live on.

Today, rather than teaching his students on how to engage in combat, ‘silat pulut’ has become an effective form of exercise to nurture body and soul. As for adult practitioners, not only have they found a way to de-stress but an opportunity to be the star of their own performance at weddings and VIP receptions.