Reflecting on the Names of Allah

Reflecting on the Names of Allah by Jinan Yousef

Reflecting on the Names of Allah (ROTNOA) by Jinan Yousef is the first book I finished in 2021. The book costs me RM75 and I was really disappointed because it does not come with a bookmark! Nevertheless, I believe this book is going to be in my top 5 favorite book in 2021 lol.

“And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.” [7:180]

This book taught me how to make du’as to God using His names which are relevant to our situations, think well of Him in every situations – good or bad, how God manifests His names in our daily life and how we can implement the names of Allah in our life. The author always ended each chapter with advice on how to live with the 99 names and I find it really helpful to understand, reflect His attributes and feel connected to Allah.

The book also shares numerous verses from the Quran and Hadis and numbers of supplications (du’as) for so many of our needs for example du’a when we are in distress, asking for guidance and forgiveness from Allah. It is the kind of book that we will keep reading and re-reading. Furthermore, it is also a good book to give as a gift.

Last but not least, it helps me to worry less about my future because God is al-‘Alim (The All-Knowing) and al-Hakim (The Most Wise). No problem or struggle is too difficult because He is al-Kabir (God is Greater). Always believe in His provision because He is al-Razzaq (The Provider), al-Wahhab (The Bestower of Gifts), al-Fattah (He who Opens all things) and al-Nasir (The Helper). Great knowledge. Alhamdulillah.

Excerpt from ROTNOA
Excerpt from ROTNOA. Allah is al-Hafiz (The Protector/Guardian) and Al-Mani’ (The Preventer of Harm)
Excerpt from ROTNOA. Allah is al-Shafi (The Healer for physical and spiritual disease)

Reminiscing Pre-pandemic Syerr

In 2014, I was 19 years old and I wrote: “Masih mencari yang satu cephalic” on my Facebook page and blog. I also wrote on my blog entry about looking and searching for my travel buddy (see: https://azsyerrah.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/socialite-but-at-the-same-time-anti-social/).

According to a 19 years old Syerr, we have 4 years to wander so hurry up and show yourself. Alhamdulillah, no one shows up and I am glad I did not wait. 25 almost 26 years old Syerr is grateful for that. I was having so much fun (plus super busy being undergrad student) to the point that I stopped writing on my blog for 2 years and when I finally updated something, I made sure my little achievement of traveling alone was on top of the list (see: https://azsyerrah.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/overdue/).

I did not write about my escaped every semester break to Penang, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Malacca (2016-2018) on my blog but I sure did share them on my Instagram posts with long ass caption lol (check ‘em out @/azsyerrah). One thing you should know is that my parents do not know I traveled alone to all those places because if they knew, hell no they would give me their permission. I am their only daughter after all. Also, that is the reason why I block my parents on Instagram. I do believe berkat ibu bapa itu penting but someone taught me, kalau tau tak dapat berkat, jangan bagitau. In my defense, I was not doing anything illegal or would bring shame to myself or my family. It was merely me learning how to become independent and enjoying my early 20s.

Since I was in my early 20s, I did not have that much money (even now, tbh) so I used my scholarship money to travel, backpackers style! I traveled by bus and I walked a lot. I even got a nosebleed every morning for a week from walking too much under the hot sun. I am not exaggerating. At that time, Grab did not exist yet. I also slept at motels and hostels but mostly hostels to save money. I stayed at an all-female hostel and usually the room would be empty because a co-ed room would be cheaper for the female foreigners since they did not have to cover their aurah. I guess they also did not mind sleeping in the same room with males. Basically, I was staying alone but paid for the price of 4/6-beds bedroom! The price range was around RM20 to RM40 per night. I also don’t mind sharing bathroom.

All of that doesn’t matter to me. Kita datang nak jalan jalan bukan untuk tidur and mandi tempat orang. Of course, some people would disagree tapi kalau ada duit lebih, ikutlah nak duk mana pun. To be honest, traveling alone is not that bad sebab boleh ikut kepala sendiriLapar, makan. Ngantok, tido lah. I preferred and enjoyed going on adventures on my own compared to travel in groups. Besides, I can only do a small group consisted of 2-3 people sebab banyak orang banyak perangai so maleh aqu. I am not going to write everything in detail here since I need to move on ASAP but I will be sharing a few photos below. I sure would love to relive the moments again except the time when I was verbally harassed by perverts. 

Georgetown, Penang
Ipoh, Perak
Malacca

I lost most of the pictures because I broke my first iPhone (see: https://azsyerrah.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/guess-what/) but thank god for Instagram. Furthermore, I used to be obsessed with Georgetown, Penang but it changed after I got a taste of Ipoh, Perak. Nice people, beautiful old town scenery and very calming.

On a different note, in early January I received an email from Google Maps Timeline (see photo). I enjoyed the time I spent in West Malaysia for five years. 19-24 years old Syerr had a bittersweet time, indeed. I crossed lots of numbers on my bucket list and I made teens Syerr very proud (especially going to 6 gigs in one semester!).

My current life is very mundane. I hope the pandemic ends soon. I don’t want my mid-20s Syerr to keep on being jealous of early-20s Syerr and for late-20s Syerr, I hope you are happy and doing what you love di sisi orang tersayang. Harapnya sudah berjumpa dengan kawan kahwin.

Stay safe everyone. Signing out. Fare thee well.

p.s I have been helping in taking care of my baby nephew since he was a week old. I think I am great at taking care of a baby – probably gifted ecewahh. I could not believe my family trusted me with this kind of responsibility. I don’t even trust myself with the responsibility of carrying parking tickets.

Du’as

A very random sharing but here are my two favourites, short and simple, du’as. One in English and one in Malay with translation.

”I am in need of whatever you bestowed upon me, Ya Allah.”

”Cukupkan aku untuk orang yang aku sayang dan cukupkan mereka untuk aku, Ya Allah.” (Translation: Make me enough for the people that I love and make them enough for me, Ya Allah).

Do share yours on the comment section. Thank you and fare there well.

Whatever You Say I Am, I’m Okay

“I do not reread books. I’m lazy like that, I suppose. Plus, I have a lots of books remaining on my yet-to-read shelf, so it discourages me from reading stuff I’ve already read. Thus, know that since I wanted to reread this one, it is a very, very good read.”

That excerpt from the book Whatever You Say I am, I’m Okay (WYSIAIO) by Anwar Hadi is so relatable because for the past few weeks, I have been rereading, searching and buying books I’ve already read (Catatan Matluthfi, Langit Vanilla, Harry Potter series and WYSIAIO).

Whatever You Say I Am, I’m Okay by Anwar Hadi

I borrowed WYSIAIO from my roommate during my undergraduate years. I have been loving the book ever since and I even remembered crying while reading it. I wanted to reread it again and add it to my collection but here’s come the dilemma. I wanted to buy it but I felt like it would be a waste of money since I already read it and instead of buying it, isn’t it better to spent the money on new books that I’ve not read? You feel me? But it such a good read! I still want to reread it and nothing could ever stop me! The solution? I purchased it from Carousell, a good platform to sell and buy preloved items such as books, clothes, shoes and bags.

I genuinely did not know why people would resell their books because I am that type of person that loves to collect books, the good and even the bad one. Hence, I just assumed that they hate the books, while this may be true for some, the previous owner of Langit Vanilla told me he resells his books after he has done reading them because he knows he is not going to reread them. The money received from selling his old books was then used to buy a new one. Brilliant! However, I could never. I love my collection so much but thanks to these kinds of people, I could buy books in much cheaper ways so yeay!

Back to the book. WYSIAIO is a light read and consisted of two parts, Whatever You Say I Am (non-fiction) and I’m Okay (fiction, consisted of 21 short stories). The fiction part was not as good as the former except for A friend Made, that story made me smile, and Salty Coffee (one of the characters were crying while drinking coffee. Get it? Salty Coffee. Genius).

“On our last day on Earth, what is going to shine through is not how many personal achievements we have attained but how many hearts we were able to touch.”

Page 43, Salty Coffe

Other fictions especially One Night in Ramadan didn’t really give me an impact and felt like most the stories didn’t have any messages or maybe I am just too stupid to understand so I won’t comment much about that.

Moving on. I just wanted to share some quotes that I love from the non-fiction part. I hope I could share all of them but might as well as put pictures of all the 23 non-fictions lol. I have so many favourites such as Interesting Ferry Moments, Ask Yourself, Birthday, Poetry Recital, You will be Missed and more! Full of good messages and life lessons. I do hope that I could write like him someday. It is a good book to give as gift.

“And when at times of dire despair, when all hope seems lost, when you think you’ve reached your limit, think that it’s all too much, ask yourself, “Who knows you better? Yourself? Or The One that created you? The One that knows the past to your past, knows the future to your future and has been responsible for making your existence even possible?” Know the answer to that, and you can still smile at the end of the day, ‘coz you know that you’re in good hands. The best hands. His Hands.”

Page 20, Ask Yourself

“But what does one do when one is down? What one can do– get up. Crawl, if one has to. One needs to. For themselves. For the love of God.”

Page 53, I Am Man?

“Isn’t the most deserved person to be celebrated during our birthday is the “heroine” herself? The one who struggled for 9 months and 10 days with the extra ‘luggage’ in her tummy. Yeah, her. The person who cheated death while delivering the baby. The one who suffered the bruises and cuts just to make sure that her labour of love see the light ‘at the end of the tunnel’…. So, if our next birthday comes by, …. Who is the most deserving person to receive a gift? Who should be given cake and treated to their favorite meal instead? Let’s think about it.”

Page 41, Birthday

Catatan Matluthfi by Matluthfi

I owned a copy of Catatan Matluthfi before but I donated it along with other books to the library after I finished with my study in USM (thanks to the expensive fees of Air Asia checked baggage). I regretted the decision quickly after, should have kept this one but everything was too late. I was already across the South China Sea.

While I was searching for WYSIAIO, one of the seller on Carousell was reselling both WYSIAIO and Catatan Mathluthfi. Hence, I purchased both of them and it only cost me RM25 including postage to Sabah/Sarawak. RM25 is usually a cost for one book. I hit jackpot! Here’s a short review; another light read, penulisan yang bersahaja, funny and inspiring.

Done. Yeap, finished and as you can see, I am really bad at writing reviews. Usually only managed to write a short one. Hence, I prefer to post it on my Insta Story instead of here. Basically, this is my attempt in trying to be more active on my blog. I am bound to go MIA again in the future but till then, let’s write and rant whatever.

p.s. Please pardon my limited vocabulary and bad grammar. I’m still learning and grammar-nazis are totally welcome here. Cheers.

Book Review: Nikina By Nadia Khan

Nikina

This review was first posted on my Instagram. It was written in mixed language, English and Malay, but mostly in Malay. A wrong platform to be honest because I never really did any book recommendation on my feed. However, I occasionally write short reviews and share books that I am currently reading on my Insta stories. Maybe If I am not lazy and not procrastinating, I could compile all of them here.

Written on April 9, 2019.

Another love story by Nadia Khan. Sama macam Kelabu and because of that kau baca sambil tak senang and tenang bontot since kene sentiasa ready untuk another crazy plot twist. Takut takut jantung kau berhenti dan otak kau berhenti pusing and pandang dinding lama macam orang hilang akal the same way macam kau baca Kelabu dulu sebab nak proses benda yang Nadia Khan tulis.
.

Sepanjang baca Nikina, kau akan buat macam macam assumptions dan jawapan semua ada dalam buku tapi kau takkan dapat unless kau habiskan baca and because of that juga aku habiskan buku ni in less than one day dan semua assumptions aku salah.
.

Dan jawapan yang aku dapat buat aku “oh..” but in a good way. Tak boleh fight Kelabu but Nadia Khan buat aku yang ada short attention span ni and akan letak tepi buku terus bila the book bore the hell of me untuk habiskan Nikina dengan jayanya tanpa memerlukan masa berbulan-bulan.
.

It’s been a while tau aku dapat buku yang buat aku baca non-stop. Contoh buku lain yang aku ingat ialah Kacau by Ariff Adly (wrote a review years ago in my blog. Blog dah bersawang dah pun).
.

Plus, Nikina ends the same way as Kelabu. Buat kau fikir sendiri tapi aku tak tau macam mana nak fikir. Aku malas fikir so aku fikir sekejap je.
.

Selingan: Hati sendiri libang libu (learn this word from the book), ada masa pula nak fikir pasal ending fictional characters kan lol
.

Talking about fictional characters, kadang-kadang aku boleh relate dengan Nik and sometimes aku boleh relate dengan Kina. Aku suka tulisan tulisan yang relateable (one of many reasons aku suka baca buku and puisi) sebab aku failed when it comes to translating my soul into words. Acah! Lack of communication skills, lack of vocabulary, low self-esteem and grammar hancur sebenarnya.
.

4/5 bintang from me.

p.s. sekarang patut tengah tulis thesis tapi aku manusia punya banyak alasan!

Thank you, Nadia Khan.

How to Get Away with Murder

Please do not take the title literally. This post had nothing to do with tips or instructions on how to get away with murder. I was actually talking about the popular series with the same title on Netflix.

How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM) is my all time favorite series on Netflix. I am really bad at giving reasons and persuading people but nothing can stop me from mentioning and recommending this series to everyone and anyone subscribing to Netflix. It is a legal drama, thriller and mystery. If you like that genres, do give this series a chance or even if they are not your cup of tea, trust me, you would love it. It has a total of six seasons and none of them ever disappoint me or making me bored.

Even the ending was flawless and perfect. It gave me a proper and satisfactory closure. All of the characters received what they deserved. I love the good, the bad and the tragedies happening in all seasons. Nothing cliches ever happened. Bonus, I cried!

Not to mention, about all the talented actors and actress on the series especially Tegan Price (played by Amirah Vann), Ms. Pratt (played by Aja Naomi King) and of course, our beloved Professor Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis). They successfully portrayed the personality of strong and powerful women. My favorite would be Ms. Pratt. She is stubborn, selfish, full of confidence, bad-tempered, very opinionated, independent, crazy and smart. She was able to argue passionately without crying (my emotional ass could never!). I would die for her confidence.

SPOILERS ALERT!

She was the one that honestly able to get away with murder but she ended up alone and no friends. I guess that what she got for being apologetically and genuinely her. Honestly, could not blame her because she survived alone on her own since childhood and she got to the place where she was now without the help of others.

HTGAWM

12.26 AM Thought

One thing I hate about myself the most- I am gullible. Easily trusting everyone. I foolishly believed that everyone was nice and meant no harm. Inexperienced.

At least once a week, another man was exposed for being a predator, rapist or an abuser on Twitter such as Q*yyum EnglishJ*r, H*ikal C*assic and F*tih Sefera*ic cases to name a few.

It really opens my eyes.

People take advantages of other people. They use their popularity/wealth/trust/power/position/familiarity to abuse/manipulate others.

It really opens my eyes.

p.s. ”One thing I love about myself.” Let’s write about that on my next post. In shaa Allah.

Flight and Fight

I remembered retweeting a post about Skechers x Sailor Moon when they first came out. The collection came out early this year if I am not mistaken and was so pretty but I knew it would cost an arm and leg.

Fast forward five months later, I finally got mine! Obviously, we bought it during the mid-year sale. A tweet went viral on Twitter two days ago about the sale at all Skechers stores (2nd pair @ RM1). Thank god, I am obsessed with Twitter. I immediately told my mom and showed her the collections. Surprisingly, she loved the shoes which were very rare because she usually hates my taste lol. We went to the store the next day and tadaaaa…

Chunky and classic!

The queue was really long. We had to take a number and they would call us when it was out time to get in. We were told to wait probably around an hour. After waiting for almost an hour, they still haven’t called us. We were afraid that the collection would be sold out before we were ever gotten the chance to enter the store so we went back and asked the promoter near the entrance if our sizes (5 and 6) were still available.

The promoter said there were only one size 6 left but already reserved for another customer. However, she didn’t pay for it yet so he could give it to me if I want and of course, I want it! We told the promoter to grab Sailor Mercury and Sailor Venus for us and mom immediately paid for them (thank you mom!). Mind you, we didn’t have to get in the store. We were just standing near the entrance, the promoter was very helpful, brought the shoes to us to try and yes, we basically cut the queue. Guilty as charged.

I didn’t really care which color I wanted to buy because all of them were equally pretty to me. People wrote that the design for Skechers shoes were mostly ugly for their expensive price, couldn’t deny but I personally adore the Sailor Moon collection. However, the brand is still famous because they are very comfortable to wear and I second that.

The price for one was RM 469. The total was RM 938 but because of the discount we only had to pay RM 470. Basically, RM 235 for one pair of shoes. Expensive, yes but normal (I guess?) because of the collaboration with Sailor Moon. It was also cheaper compared to my Converse Chuck 70 Hi Sunflower.

I love shoes. I really do. I don’t really care about handbags, the brand of hijabs I’m wearing but shoes, they are different. You know what they say, good shoes take you good places. One tip when buying shoes;- make sure they look good and suitable for flight and fight!

Some background stories about the shoes. Glad I bought Sailor Mercury, the most relatable character.

More on Skechers x Sailor Moon: http://www.skechers.com.my/sailormoon/

Cutting Ties and Burning Bridges

Ask yourself these questions;-

  • Does the happiness they made you felt or contributed to your life outweigh the sadness and suffering that they caused?
  • Do you prefer your life better without them?

In the short term, you might feel sad because you lose a friend/partner but in the long run, you will appreciate and happy with your decision for not letting that person taking such a big space in your life.

You will find someone better and you deserve better.

p.s. This post was supposed to be written together with the previous post but I just don’t know how to combine them smoothly lol zero post on 2019 then suddenly in 2020, published two posts in one day. What is this behavior, Syerr?

The Hidden Manipulation

An individual’s attempt to undermine or discredit the stability, and confidence of another individual by causing to doubt his/her senses, feelings, perceptions, and beliefs or commonly known as “gaslighting“. It is a psychological manipulation and emotional abuse.

Have you ever found someone that;-

  • made you wonder and questioned yourself,  “Am I being too sensitive?” “Am I overemotional?” “Am I crazy?” “Am I difficult to deal with?” constantly?
  • lead you to think twice before you brought up an innocent conversation or discussion topic?
  • you have to constantly make excuses or lies for their action and behavior to yourself or family?
  • tells lies, does not want to change but want you to change for them?
  • their actions do not match their words?
  • wear you down over time?
  • always made excuses like “I was just joking!” “It doesn’t mean anything” “Don’t get so worked up” “You are making things up” “That never happened” “There’s no pattern”?
  • made you explain to almost EVERYTHING such as the reason you were mad or sad and even had to explain that your feelings matter and valid but in the end, no use, they dismissed your feelings and you were the one end up apologizing?

If you answer “yes” to at least one of the telltale signs, well, congratulation, you found yourself a “gaslighter” because I know I did.

On a different note, here’s the graphic that gave me the idea to write this post. All credits go to their respective owners;

img_0785image-1image

References.

  1. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1176/ajp.2006.163.7.1147
  2. https://www.jstor.com/stable/26614542
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Effect-Survive-Manipulation-Control/dp/0767924460/
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

p.s. I should and could have read more, do extra research, provide more references, and write better about this particular topic but I don’t want to. I don’t want to remember and plus, I am actually procrastinating for something when I posted this.

I just want to get it out of my system, forget about it and move on. Fare thee well.