Daily Sunnah Checklist and Introducing Learn Love Live

Assalamualaikum friends ❤

Just thought of sharing this daily checklist I ‘created’, or rather re-did (click ‘continue reading’ to view!). The contents are totally copied from the sheet my friend has on her wall (*shoutout to Dee*) but I wanted to give it some aesthetic pleasure (ha ha) because I’m all about that these days. I feel like I need this checklist because for some time I’ve been trying to carry out some of the sunnahs on the list but often forget. It’ll be a good reminder for me and may you (whoever ends up using it) find it useful too, insyaAllah! Oh! If you want to make any requests (i.e. add to the list, edit parts of it), do inform me! I’m more than willing to make the amendments for you 😁.

And while I’m at it, I also want to share a poster I created for Learn Love Live (I’ll share it at the end of the post) which is a small-scale organisation I volunteer for. It’s for an upcoming fair to showcase existing organisations students can volunteer for as part of the school’s graduation requirement.

It’s interesting because the organisation is founded by SUSS students, in partnership with Pertapis. The SUSS programme (as of AY 2017/07) consists of this thing called the Compulsory Non Credit Programme Graduation Requirements, under which includes ‘Service-Learning (SL) Project and all students are required to commit to a particular SL project for a period of 2 years. Learn Love Live was created for that purpose, several years ago, before I was a student in the school.

Although I initially joined the organisation because of the graduation requirement (granted, I was also on the lookout for volunteering opportunities), I’ll have you know that it was one of the best things that has happened to me, Alhamdulillah. We mentor, particular tutor, primary and secondary school students every Saturday and occasionally have programmes and events lined up for them such as during the holidays. The students who come for our sessions make up Pertapis’ beneficiaries.

Now, although the weekly attendance is not a problem for me because I truly enjoy being with the kids, it is considered a drawback because many students view SL as merely a grad requirement and, so, would prefer a SL project that requires infrequent engagement (i.e. once a month). Adding to that , SUSS recently remodeled the full-time programme which made this whole thing more difficult for us. ‘SL project’ is now one of the several options offered by the school for students to fulfill a graduation requirement that is now called ‘Community Engagement (CE)’ (previously Service-Learning Project). That’s not what’s bad about it. Unfortunately, SUSS has also scrapped the compulsory 2-year commitment. Currently, there is no minimum commitment period and the CE project can be as short as, say, a month!! Truthfully, I find it unfair. Although it’s true that I enjoy LLL sessions, I can vouch that a good proportion of the student population will not want to join a SL project which requires 1-year commitment* AND weekly attendance when there are other, dare I say, more attractive options laid for them (i.e. shorter commitment; infrequent attendance). The issue here is maintaining the manpower once seniors have completed their 2-year commitment.

*We’ve decided to reduce the commitment period to 1 year for the AY2018/07 batch.

But, listen, there’s a good reason why LLL requires our weekly attendance and 1-2 years commitment. I acknowledge that it could be a culture thing (read: tuition culture in Singapore), but let’s disregard that for now. I think you and I can agree that tuition will not be as effective if it’s not carried out weekly. For one, weekly tuition allows us to better monitor the progress of students. Secondly, if tuition is what the kids need, then weekly sessions is as good as it gets for an effort like LLL so that we can recap and revise what was covered in school during the week so kids don’t fall behind. And! 1-2 years because our goal for LLL is sustained engagement which we feel is vital in order to make any impact on the community. We want passionate individuals to join us because only then would you provide meaningful service for the kids and properly benefit from LLL. Best thing is you’re doing it for yourselves as much as you’re doing it for them, if not more (we’re careful not to consider ourselves as their ‘heroes’ or ‘saviour’ – the kids (and experience) will teach you too, in ways school never can).

And, so, the reason why I’m sharing this with you is because I want you to be a volunteer for LLL. Especially after all the changes the school made to wreck us!! Hah. Jk but seriously. You don’t have to be a SUSS student to join us 🙂 I acknowledge that weekly attendance might be too much to ask for non-SUSS students, so good news for you! You don’t have to come weekly if you have other commitments. Although I’m not going to lie that we do prefer if you do – we try to get mentors to stick with the same mentee each week for better rapport-building and more efficient monitoring of progress. All for the children’s benefit! You’ll love them. If there’s one thing I noticed from tutoring kids from varying backgrounds, kids who have less tend to appreciate the little gestures more than kids who are born into more privileged families. Not that any of it is their fault – it’s just a result of circumstance. Do consider it – if you have spare time and would like to use it to contribute back to the community! Check out the poster below for additional details 😁.

 

Poster ver 2.pngLots of love,

Amelia

Continue reading “Daily Sunnah Checklist and Introducing Learn Love Live”

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Mothers

Assalamualaikum friends!!

I hope Syawal has been wonderful for all of you. I don’t go out as much as I used to when I was much younger, but I’m thankful nonetheless. I revel in meeting my relatives who I rarely meet the rest of the year. It’s not as if I can talk at great length with them because I’m often so quiet with the youths/adults (less so with children :P) but still, it’s lovely to see their faces and hear their conversation and laughter.

I went to my aunt’s open house yesterday and had such an incredible time, Alhamdulillah. I reminded myself to take pictures with my cousin and her baby because I haven’t done so (for memory sake) and we did! Her baby’s sooooo precious, masyaAllah. So, so brilliant.

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I posted two of the above pictures on my Instagram story and my cousin commented on how unattractive her eyes look. Although it was a simple remark that was expressed jokingly, I wanted her to know that she looks beautiful just the way she is, eye bags and all.

How can she not?

She is Allah’s creation. With Allah’s grace, a fetus bloomed inside of her. She endured a beautiful yet painful experience called pregnancy. She persevered through the physical bodily changes, the growing pains and ache, the nausea, the fatigue. She birthed a baby boy who grew from a cute little bean to the size of a little human. She tirelessly nurses him, cares for him, and now works and takes care of him (I don’t forget her husband who I’m certain has been wonderfully helpful but she’s the focus today).

How can she not be beautiful?

I’m tearing as I write this. Mothers are so, so beautiful. If there is just one group of people in this world I can honour, it has to be mothers.

Pregnancy is such a wondrous, magical phenomenon. Although I know some mothers do not rejoice at the brutality of pregnancy, I’d like to believe that no mother will disagree that pregnancy is beautiful, even through the tough times.

I’m speaking as though I have been through it. I have not hahah. But I can already imagine how beautiful it must be.

So this is to all the mothers in the world (and a reminder to my future self, insyaAllah hehe). You are beautiful. So beautiful. Despite the stretch marks, the eye bags, the possibly dull skin, the heavier weight. You are beautiful from the tip of your toes to the depths of your soul. So don’t be hard on yourself. I love you. ❤

Love, Amelia

Without you, I won’t be here.

In light of my most recent post, here’s a video I think you should watch by SevenOne Films.

“Ayah, Where are you?” (Mencari Ayah)

It’s about a son who is looking for his father who has been missing for many years. He last saw and heard from his father when he was around 11 or 12 years old.

1

I don’t know the full story because the video is short and lacks detail. Also, there’s always more to every story we hear. However, from the video, it seems that his father has not been present for more than half his life. Yet, he continually talks about how much he loves his father. Something he said especially struck me.

“I love you and I miss you. Without you, I won’t be here.”

Just that fact alone is enough reason for him to continue loving and honouring his father. MasyaAllah. May Allah swt bless him, amiin.

Love, Amelia

Parents in Islam

Assalamualaikum friends!
It’s been more than a month since my last post. I’ve missed writing so much! I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was going to have exams, hence the lack of posts. My exam ended a week ago and I’m only on my first post – yikes! I had so much I wanted to talk about but exam season had been so draining I needed a time off to hibernate.
First things first, I want to talk about exams. The last time I had exams, I skipped a paper because I felt I didn’t have enough time to study for all five papers. This time, Alhamdulillah, I didn’t skip any paper – and I had six papers! Six! That wasn’t fun at all but I’m grateful anyway. My friend, Diyanah, shared with me what an honourable person once said: “Dunya is not for resting”. Despite his age and deteriorating health, he never stops working, masyaAllah. Reminding myself of this statement comforts me and pushes me to keep going each time I feel exhausted from assignments or studying for exams. Thankfully, I was able to manage my time much better this time, Alhamdulillah! It feels good knowing you did your best in preparing; so even if you leave the exam hall not being able to answer half the questions, you know you did the best you could and all you can do is tawwakul. But I have to admit, there was one paper which shattered my heart, not because it was hard. I could answer (Alhamdulillah) almost all of the questions (whether they’re correct or wrong is another story) but there was this one question I could not answer no matter how hard I racked my brain. When the paper ended and Huda told me how she did it, I felt like slapping myself! Duh! I knew that. I really do! But it just did not occur to me during the paper. The solution was so simple that it frustrated me to no end because I lost a definite 20 marks just because I couldn’t answer the first part of that question and hence, the following parts (which I knew how to do) because they depended on the first part. I had to escape into the toilet because my tears were about to make an appearance. Once I was away from the public eye, I bawled my eyes out for a good 30 minutes. I was so angry at myself. It took me a whole day to get over it. But I trust Allah’s plans. He does what He wills. I pray that I will be content with the outcome, whether it meets or falls below my expectations. This reminds me of the talk by Ustazah Shameem last year which I shared here.
Q: How do we place our trust in Allah SWT in school (or anywhere else, for that matter)?
A: Allah SWT sees our efforts, so we do what we can to the best of our abilities and tawakkul. If you work hard & tawakkul, insyaAllah Allah will plant a sense of contentment in our heart whatever the outcome because you know it is what Allah has preordained for you for Allah controls the outcome.
Now on to more spiritually enriching things. A couple of days ago, I listened to a syarahan before azan Maghrib (signifying the time to break/open the fast) that stuck with me. The ustaz talked about parents and our obligations to them. Unfortunately, I turned on the radio too late so I missed the first part. I would’ve liked to listen to the whole syarahan. The first thing I heard when I turned on the radio was (in Malay) “keredhaan Allah terletak kepada keredhaan ibubapa“, which indirectly translates to “to please our parents is to please Allah”. Allah SWT has made it so that His pleasure and approval depend on the pleasure and approval of parents, and the displeasure of the parents leads to His displeasure. The ustaz continued (roughly quoted and translated), “without our parents, we will not be here, and that is enough reason for us to honour our parents, to obey them, to be good to them”.
He brought up parents who do not properly fulfill their obligations as parents (i.e. abandon/ neglect their children) and said that, as children, we are continuously obligated to honour them and treat them kindly,  regardless of their treatment to us, and instead, let Allah be the judge of their actions, for He is fair and just. There is no concept of retaliating our parents (or anyone else, for that matter) in Islam. Ustazah Huraidah said something similar during one of her Wednesday classes.
Although I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the children who are not taken care of properly, having to grapple with negative emotions as a result of their parents’ unfavourable treatment towards them and still being obligated to be kind to their parents. I pray that they will be granted the strength to continue being kind to their parents. May Allah elevate their status in the Hereafter.
I’ll end today’s post with a verse from the Quran:
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Al-Isra, 17:23 – 17:24)
May Allah bless our parents and reward them for loving and caring for us, and may He forgive them and grant them Jannah. May He grant us the patience to deal patiently with them in their old age as they dealt patiently with us when we were small. Amiin.
Lots of love,
Amelia

 

 

 

 

Love In Islam (Snippet)

Assalamualaikum friends!

I went for a talk about love yesterday at Masjid En-Naeem with Ustazah Huraidah who’s also the ustazah I study with every Wednesday at Al-Istighfar. It was extremely insightful, masyaAllah. I love her! I really do – so much that I embarrassed myself yesterday because of how excited I was. Storytime – When the hosts were introducing themselves and mentioned that Ustazah’s waiting outside (when she’s already inside), I unthinkingly blurted out “She’s here!” as I pointed at Ustazah like an over-excited child. Thankfully, people found that amusing LOL. If you must know, I don’t behave like a 21-year old. You should see how child-like I get during Wednesday class. My mother says I’m mischievous wahahah.

Anyhoo, I have SO much to share (always!) – I’m not even talking about the talk yesterday. I’ve overdue notes to share from the talk by Ustazah Liyana and Ustaz Tamliikhaa several weeks ago and from my Wednesday classes, AND! I have some other topics I want to talk about too – off the top of my head there is feminism and islam, and whether they’re mutually exclusive; being close friends with non-Muslims (particularly one who is a homosexual); and how to speak our mind without being rude to our parents. Now, I’m not going to share tips or advice because I’m not knowledgeable. I’ll simply be sharing my thoughts and I want your opinions on the topics too, because I really am curious to find out more. Unfortunately, time is not on my side at the moment – I’m swamped with assignments and upcoming exams. On the brightside, however, holiday’s approaching! And Ramadhan falls during my holidays, Alhamdulillah! So excited!!

Anyway , yes, I actually wanted to share a snippet of the talk yesterday. I couldn’t decide which is the best takeaway because the whole talk was valuable. But I just felt like sharing this particular one because I’ve been thinking a lot about love and relationships lately.  I often had thoughts about wanting to be in a relationship (Agh that’s (a bit) embarrassing but I mean, I’m human!!!) but at the same time, I’m not exactly sure what’s right and wrong; what’s the halal way of doing it, etc. And although I thought of it, I’m not even sure if I’m ready.  Firstly, I’m still studying. Secondly, if -and only if – it ‘worked out’ between me and the guy, how certain am I that he sees an end goal in this? I mean, I don’t want to start anything if marriage is not in the picture, you know?

Ustazah shared 4 steps to being in love. Briefly, the first step is admiring their character; second – being mindful of the person and ensuring your character matches; third – making a decision to love (this is interesting); and last – making the love halal through marriage. I don’t have time to go into detail now, sorry! But I will end off with something Ustazah said which I found applicable:

If you’re not ready to get married, don’t decide to love. Being emotionally ready goes hand in hand with being practically ready. If you find that you do not have enough savings, or you’re still studying, then move away from situation. Because the longer the gap between getting to know each other and marriage, the more likely we are to commit acts that are haram and the more likely it is for us to get hurt (in situations where the ‘relationship’ doesn’t work out).

That’s all for now. May all of you have a blessed day, insyaAllah!

Love, Amelia

Allah is Ar-Rahim

Yesterday’s class was beautiful. I loved it so much. But there is so much to share so I’ll need some time to compile my notes. InsyaAllah soon. There’s just something I wanted to let out today.
I mentioned about a hurtful incident three posts back. I tried very hard to accept the incident as my fate. I’ve been telling myself to trust Allah.
I can accept it if we weren’t meant to be. I accept that that’s what Allah has ordained for me. 
And I trust what happened is what’s best for me.
But at the same time, I couldn’t accept how it happened.
Why did it have to happen that way? Why did he have to do that? I cannot comprehend it. I cannot comprehend how someone who was so nice to me, who provided me comfort when I needed it suddenly stopped replying me. 
But what ustazah said yesterday made me feel realise something.
Allah is not for us to understand. Allah is for us to feel. Allah is Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim. Allah is merciful. Allah is love. Allah is the most compassionate. It is enough for us to feel Allah’s love for us, every minute, every second. When you understand that Allah can only be felt and not understood, you will learn how to redha during times of hardship. You will learn to truly believe that what Allah has ordained for us is the best for us.
When I heard that, I just couldn’t stop tearing.
How do we accept an incident that is so painful as something that’s good for us? My mum just passed away. She met with an accident because of an irresponsible driver who drove while under the influence of alcohol.  How is this good for me? How do I understand or accept that Allah’s decision is the best for me?
You can’t understand it. You simply cannot. Whether you see reason in it or not, or whether you see partial reason in it, it does not matter. Allah will always exist as Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim. Allah’s decision will always be out of love for us. Everything that happens is the best for us because of Allah’s love for us. And that’s all we need to know.
But because of Allah’s love for us, He will, eventually, show us the reason. Whether it’s in a month or in two years or in ten years. Because He made us logical beings.
And I cried again after that.
What Ustazah made me realise was that I didn’t fully trust Allah. I only partially trusted Him. I tried to justify my uncertainty. “I trust Allah. I can accept Allah’s decision for me. But what I don’t understand is the guy. Why did he have to do that? Why?” But the fact that I was still questioning suggests I didn’t have full faith in Him. When I should have. How could I have doubted Him? Astaghfirullah.
Allah loves me. Allah loves us. He gives us all trials and tribulations because that’s what dunya is for. He gives us trials and tribulations as blessings: to remind us, to protect us, to motivate us, to expiate our sins. And He only keeps giving. While I keep asking but don’t do enough for Him. Ya Allah, I am so undeserving of your love.
):

 

The tougher the tribulation, the closer is Allah’s help, the closer we are to mi’raj. Therefore, we should be patient with a beautiful patience.

– Ustazah Nur Huraidah Jumat

Salam friends!
Here’s a snippet of what I took away from one of the Fiqh classes I attended several weeks back. Ustazah shared briefly about Isra’ and Mi’raj at the end of class and said she would continue the next lesson but she hasn’t had the chance to do so because we haven’t had class for two weeks. I have more to share but I want to wait for the next class so I can share them at one go.  Until then, enjoy the beautiful quote above! May you find it useful, insyaAllah.
Love, Amelia

 

Recent good reads

Assalamualaikum friends 🙂
This post is going to be a short one. Recently, something horrible happened to me (my definition of horrible, at least). Throughout the whole week and more since it happened, I tried very, very hard to be patient and to remain kind and not make assumptions. I told myself to have good thoughts. I don’t and will never wish for something bad to happen to that person. In fact, I still wish good for him. But at the same time, I can’t help feeling angry because I’m still very hurt by what had happened. I had two mini breakdowns yesterday.
Everyone’s pain threshold is different. It may not seem like much to other people who have possibly been through worse, but it’s quite painful for me. I don’t wish to provide a detailed context here but if you scroll through my Twitter, you might be able to get an idea of what happened. I think it could also be because it’s accumulated from the previous hurt I experienced which I haven’t properly recovered from.
Anyway, I Googled for some reads that could be of help and I found these relatable/ uplifting/ inspirational. This is mostly for me to remember because I am unable to reblog or like the posts.
Love, Amelia

Money

Assalamualaikum friends!
I’m on a roll aren’t I? – one post one after another. But really, I only write when I have the inspiration. I cannot, for the life of me, vomit something out when I’m not inspired. Which is why when I am, I quickly jot my thoughts down because I know there will be periods where I don’t blog for months.
Anywho, today, I want to talk about money. I mean, money makes the world go round, right? You need money to live – quite literally and logically. You need it for sustenance, transport, for school, the list goes on. It is, without a doubt, important. At the same time, because money is so, extremely loved by humans, it becomes the root of most evil (as the saying goes), when greed overrides moral principles. If you think about it, though, the root of evil arises from human greed, which is, by nature, a characteristic unique to human.
Now, what inspired me to talk about money was a thought I had following a recent encounter. Several days ago, an online tuition agency I registered with sent out a text message regarding an assignment.
P2 EMM, Tampines East MRT, $20/hr, 2×1.5hr session weekly.
What appealed to me most was the location (literally a 10 min bus ride from home), as well as the level and subjects. So I immediately indicated my interest. The agency got back to me and within two days, I managed to seal the deal, Alhamdulillah. As I was thinking about the amount of money I will be getting each month, a thought struck me. I’m an undergrad. According to a website I found on the standard tuition rate in Singapore, I’m entitled to a rate of $25 – $30 per hour when I tutor a lower primary student. That’s at least $5 less than what I would be getting per hour. $5 may not seem like much, but if you do the calculation, $5 makes a lot of difference. I started to get slightly apprehensive. I thought about all the things I have to save up for – overseas school programme, dermatology treatments, so on and so forth. Those require a lot of money. For a brief moment, I wish I hadn’t made the agreement because I had received another text message on the same day from a different agency for an assignment that pays $30/hr, although the subjects and level were different. The reason I didn’t reply to that one was because I would have to teach Science. It’s primary 5 but if I had the option to pick between EMM and EMS, I’d go for the former. Which I did. Before I realised the difference in rates.
But I quickly brushed those thoughts away and told myself:
#1
Allah is the one who gives us rezeki (sustenance). That assignment is my rezeki. Allah has preordained it for me. Nothing happens coincidentally. And because of that, no matter how much money you’re getting or you’re going to get, be thankful. Work hard, do your job well because it is your responsibility, and be content, so that Allah will grant ease in our hearts and make what we have sufficient. However, I am aware that there are instances where one might be gravely underpaid for the amount of work he/she puts in. If you’re able to do something about that, then do it.
#2
Don’t worry about the many things you have to save up for. Yes, it’s understandable. But depending on your circumstances and as long as the work that you do is halal, insyaAllah everything will fall into place. If you’re still (reasonably) bothered by it, and if your circumstances permit, then find another part-time job that can help. However, it is important to avoid from being overwrought thinking about money – how your money is insufficient, how much more money you need, etc – because it will become toxic to your heart and soul.
#3
Another thing I’ve learnt with regard to money is – no matter how little money you’re getting, never, ever be stingy with your parents. You’ll find that when you start being generous to your parents, your rezeki, even if not exactly ‘much’, never seems to run out. It will always, always be there, insyaAllah. This applies to giving sedekah too. An ustaz once told me: giving when you have a lot is easy, but to give when you don’t have much is the true test of faith.
And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion. (Surah Talaq, 65:3)
Love, Amelia