Dear All, Ummi pick up this article from Saiful Islam blog...to me, the write up was so touching and sincere from her heart....lets read it.
To improve oneself is no easy task for an individual to do, especially when it requires time and effort to do so. It’s too easy to slip into a routine whereby the days pass us too quickly as we’re swallowed up by the hurried pace of life in Kuala Lumpur. However, I always felt unsatisfied with my state of life and always wished that something in my life would change so that I could attain happiness. All this time, I suppose I was waiting to have an epiphany of sorts to spur myself on. And in the most unexpected of ways, I did.
On the 16th to 19th of December, I had the pleasure of attending HIJRI Camp in Sepang, Selangor. Held by STC and lead by Ustaz Hasrizal, the four-day camp certainly had a great impact on me. Truthfully, at first I didn’t want to go because my birthday was on the 17th of December, and at the time I much preferred to celebrate it with my friends and family in the comfort of my own home rather than slug in out in the ‘wilderness’ at camp with strangers who I didn’t even know.
After much persuasion, especially by my eldest sister, I agreed to attend the camp, urging myself to be optimistic. The thought of celebrating my sixteenth birthday away from home for the first time in my life was a little melancholy. Being the youngest, I was used to being lavished with attention and gifts by my parents and elder siblings, and so I was reluctant to let that particular blessing go. However, thoughts of university life that awaited me in the near future reminded me that I had to be strong and independent to overcome the coming trials and tribulations of life. And so, I began my sixteenth year of life at camp, surrounded by other fellow muslimah that I’m proud to now call my friends.
Recapping the entire camp experiences might be deemed too long a read, so I’ll just write about certain experiences that I wish to share with others. All in all, I’m very grateful I’m able to share four days of my life with my newfound friends; hopefully we’ll be able to meet again in the future. Who knows, perhaps next year at HIJRI Camp again, but as facilitators? That’s certainly something to think about.
PENGHULUWATI AND THE TOUCH OF AL-MARHUM MAS AFZAL MASARUDIN
I’m not a particularly social person, so it was quite a surprise to be elected Penghuluwati. Being a prefect in Sri Aman does teach us leadership skills after all and I was glad to be given the opportunity to lead. InsyaAllah my experience will make me a stronger, more capable person in the future. The first morning of my sixteenth year was met with some sad news. Ustaz Hasrizal sadly but calmly informed us that one of his past students had passed away. Almarhum Mas Afzal returned to Allah after battling cancer for several years. He played for us a video of Mas Afzal and at that moment, I felt my heart break as I gazed upon my fellow brother in Islam’s strength and determination to make the best of life.
The tagline of the video was ‘Cancer is a word, not a sentence.’ MasyaAllah, that left such an impression upon me. While most of us whine and panic about the most trivial of things—upcoming examinations that we neglected to prepare for, boyfriend problems, etcetera—here is a person who has spent each day of his life striving to earn Allah’s love, not knowing whether he would live to see the next sunrise nor sunset. Ya Allah, how ignorant have I been…
Returning home after the camp, I immediately checked upon his blog. Tears wouldn’t stop forming in my eyes as I read his entries; I’m not embarrassed to say that I cried my heart out. I never knew almarhum Mas Afzal personally, but after reading his writing, I was very touched by his inner strength and acceptance. His strength was truly beautiful. Even during his last moments on Allah’s earth, he was as strong as could be. His acceptance of his illness and his love for Allah motivates me to be a better Muslimah… Although unfortunately I’ll never have the chance to thank him for making me realize the importance of life, I wish to offer my prayers and alfatihah for my brother in Islam. May Allah accept Mas Afzal as one of the righteous and place him in Jannah in the hereafter.
Hijri camp was honestly unlike any other camp that I had attended–its relaxed, encouraging atmosphere was one thing, its creative programmes was another. The main focus of the camp was ‘HIJRAH’, whereby each of the four programmes centered on a different aspect of hijrah–Self-confidence, Emotions, Love and Affection. The programme that I could relate to the most was Love and Affection. I was struck by how true Ustaz Hasrizal’s words were–all parents love their children, but each child preferred and looked for a certain way of love: touches of affection, spoken assurance, spending time together, receiving gifts or receiving acts of service. After taking the test that he gave, I realized that I secretly clamoured for my parents’ assurance more than anything: underneath the facade I wore, I was always insecure of myself and uncertain of my abilities. At the end of the camp, Ustaz Hasrizal explained to the parents the importance of showing their children the right way of love in order to connect and be appreciated by their children.
I’m glad to say that my parents have now understood my needs and have made an effort in strengthen our relationship. I might not agree with everything my parents wish for me, but I know that they wish nothing less but the best for me. After the camp, my parents and I sat down and talked about how we could improve our relationship and aired some issues that were still unresolved between us. At the end of the conversation, my mother hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. I was touched so deeply by her words. And… I was proud of myself for making my mother proud.
My experiences at camp really opened my eyes to what I was missing in life. My life was hectic, filled with school activities and issues that I thought were of vital importance. Rarely did I feel satisfied nor happy nor pleased with myself. Praying to Allah became more of an obligation as a Muslim rather than a profound connection between myself and my Creator, He who gives me life, takes it away and everything else in between. This particular realization hit me after I heard the story of Rabiatul Adawiyah. Told by one of my facilitators, KakAsna, Rabiatul Adawiyah is a noble woman of Islam who has since been an inspiration to me. Her doa’ to God Almighty read: “Ya Allah, should I pray to you in order to receive your Jannah, then send me to the deepest depth of hell.” At that moment, time stopped for me. Tears welled up in my eyes, as did most of us after hearing that noble tale. It astounded me… How strong her love for Allah was, how truly beautiful and pure her devotion towards our creator.
It struck a chord deep in me and at that very second I was so deeply ashamed. Ashamed of myself for praying to Allah just to fulfill my obligation as a Muslim. Ashamed of myself for praying somewhat half-heartedly at times, mind on other matters. Ashamed of myself for not realizing the sweetness of pure iman. Ashamed of myself for ultimately praying my way to reside in His Jannah, when in reality I had done little to deserve such a precious reward. The realization truly opened my eyes towards all my past ignorance… So foolish was I to deny myself such a beautiful connection with my Creator; when Allah had clearly stated that our reason for living is nothing but to worship him.
Returning from HIJRI Camp, I did a lot of thinking. All throughout my life, I’ve not liked myself as a person. I felt as though I had accomplished nothing of importance in my life, and mediocrity was one trait that I would not accept of myself. However, I’ve come to realize something that I wish to define myself as a person. I may not be the cleverest girl around nor the prettiest. However, if I could say that I did my best to be the best Muslimah I could be, then I finally can look in the mirror and like the person that I see reflected in the glass.
InsyaAllah, may my experiences at HIJRI Camp make me a better Muslimah and a better servant of Allah…