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Monday, February 14, 2011

"The one where the path determines the end.."

As Egypt culminates the end of a dark age into the inauguration of a new era, the world bore witness an example, testimonial to how dynamic man's faith to leadership can be. Egyptians young and old, feeble and able - united, gathered and fought for freedom; on what transcended a benediction that came at a price.

But I am not here to indulge into the intricacies of the new Egypt, nor am I convinced their fates have been resolute. Providence does not adjust by thought but is adapted by actions. There is a lot of wisdom carried by their circumstance; and one that I personally feel for is the importance of trial over tribulation. Mubarak's recent fall from administration epitomizes the reality - that even most Gargantuan of tasks, was born within the smallest of convictions.

As uninspired, arbitrary beings we frequently underestimate how the small actions can pass onto such grand outcomes; this maybe a consequence of our self apathetic and nonchalant selves. By default we would usually think only about the outcome of something, thus disregarding all the efforts, grit and work put into achieving them. Therefore we often become motivated to perform endeavors which are only reigned 'realistic' and 'fits a purpose' of an action. In our subconscious selves we apply a certain 'indiscernible filter' towards our selfless decrees onto anything - if the action proposes an undesirable preemptive reaction - we don't condone an exertion of attention at all.

How often do you see someone put out a rising flame with only a bucketful of water? Or rebuild someone's house situated on a high-disaster zone area? Or even help a paralyzed patient to walk again? These are efforts usually deem as 'unrealistic' and would otherwise make no difference. In reality, this is what we usually deem 'like asking for ducks to bark and dogs to quack' - it simply doesn't make sense.

As a matter of fact, have we realized that the acts of heroes don't usually hog a media frenzy too often, but when they do their actions are so unique it commands great respect and inspiration no matter how small or big it is.

I feel a very personal affliction to this, because I am often guilty of such denials.

There are those who persevere doing something perceived by the masses as a waste of time, effort and money. These are people who would continue performing even the most minuscule of actions, because they believe their actions would harbor fruition one fine day - and these are those who should command a great deal of respect from society.

A few years ago a very wise man advised me that even the smallest actions contribute of something in Allah's grandest of schemes. Being both fallible and ignorant; I commented on how futile a gesture of a fraction of Muslims to boycott Jewish products was, to make a significant difference towards their economical dominance. My notion was passed at the height of Palestine's plea for action towards the Zionists. Simply put, my feeble mind was not about to appreciate sacrificing my allegiance for certain consumerist brands in aid of a cause I felt would not be 'realistic' to pursue. Adding salt to wound, I dispute that this man's choice of embargo as futile and would just promote global dominance to another conglomerate.

"Never underestimate the smallest things you can contribute. Sometimes what's ridicule to you, is something meaningful for others. At least in your own conscience, this is your contribution to the good fight. Have you heard the story of our prophet Ibrahim?"

"No, but do enlighten me," I said.

"When prophet Ibrahim was engulfed within the flames of which his people made onto him, there was a peculiar reaction from the surrounding wildlife. More peculiar, the actions of a particular bird, which traveled back and forth carrying water within its beak in attempt to put off the rising fire. It did this persistently, with haste and without grumble.

The other animals, puzzled by this trivial endeavor questioned the bird.

"Why are you taking the hassle of commencing such an insignificant act, whilst you know it wouldn't make a difference? This fire could consume the whole forest in a matter of seconds. Nothing you do would suffice to even ease it, let alone the little water you could muster within your beak.."

The bird answered, "Though I know my actions may not do much to him (Ibrahim a.s) but at least this is my effort to help, my best method of assisting the prophet of Allah. Although I fear the fire; what I fear the most is not being able to answer Him when asked of what I've done for His religion, for Islam. It is at the will of Allah then, that He asks not whether I've succeeded in putting off this fire - but whether I had done something to help."

It doesn't necessarily has to be something tangible in order for it to make a difference. What matters most is the effort behind it. I boycott certain things not because I don't know it probably wouldn't make a difference, but I boycott them because I know that's the least I can do. In Islam, it isn't the outcome that is most celebrated - but it is our actions and reasons (niat). God is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful, and it is He alone who knows what's best."

I had never felt so wrong and naive in my life than on that day, at that note, within that moment.

Sometimes when you think of it, great things great people achieve often came unknowingly - almost a serendipitous realization from a persistent effort. Most good things are discovered by accident; but it was the effort that made it tangible. I know this now.

That day I learned one of the greatest wisdom schooled by the greatest of men I've known. That day a great man told me to focus not entirely on the results, but cherish the paths leading to it. That is why I will always remember what this great man had told me, what he had inspired me to do for the rest of my life. That is why I hold this man very dearly in my life.

Because that great man was none other than my dear brother, Allahyarham Dr. Mas Afzal Masarudin.

May you be remembered, my brother, not only for the wonderful person you were - but for all the wisdom you've shared and imparted with us. I miss you, even more with each passing moment; but in retrospect hope that we'll be reunited one fine day in Jannah insyaAllah.




Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Jep,

I agree with you totally. Remember, we used to boycott certain premises for fear Afzal will not approve or because Afzal was around. But, in reality, Afzal never forbid us from frequenting those premises. He let's us decide for ourselves. He never forced us. He just explained his stand. N liek u said, we thought how much is it going to help the cause because we are just one customer.

Thank you for making me realise this. I agree, its the contribution that counts. Whether in the end it is really going to help is beyond us.

Afzal is so wise because he seeks knowledge. He reads a lot of books, attend a lot of knowledge sessions, formal n informal, visits the mosques at every opportunity n mixed with people who imparts valuable n benefitial information. Let's all emulate him.

P/S: I miss him very much too. I will remember those last 16 days n nights in Hospital Ampang for the rest of my life. I'm glad I stayed the nights....mama.

PakTam said...

As for us, we are thankful to Allah for the opportunity of having had his company while in Putrajaya before he left for Sheffield. And the excitement of meeting him again in UK (the young man - no longer the college boy when he was with us in Putrajaya) and witnessing how he affected others, even the elders, in so many good ways. Many fond memories indeed. Al-Fatihah.