Monday, October 20, 2008

Khair .. Khair .. Khair

As I took the cab down from NTU to Masjid Sultan, I noticed that it began to drizzle slightly on the PIE as the cab drove closer to the destination - I immediately thought: Rahmat from the heavens accompanies Allahyarham's Ruh.

I did not know Allahyarham Ust Embek Ali personally aside an encounter or two though then not having the courage to speak up to the community icon merely smiling sheepishly and meekly as I remember. For many of us or those of my generation, Ust Embek is a name from the history books but to many of our own seniors, Ust Embek was one of those that had helped to shape (in many way and form) our Muslim community today - and even shaped them to whom they are today.

His biggest contribution, amongst many others, was the founding of Perdaus which of course led to the founding of Saff Perdaus in 1993, which is close to my heart. Perdaus has changed plenty from its very inception but still till this day organizes madrasahs and plenty of enrichment programs that reach out into the fabrics of our community - and Saff still continues to reach out to the youth in the effort to mold leaders of tomorrow.

In one article that I then read about Saff and Perdaus in my exploration for something "higher" than 3 days and 40 days (leave you to figure that out), terms like islah, tarbiyah and "penkaderan" (I'll leave you to figure out what it means too) were used as congruent vocabulary akin to Saff (and Perdaus). I was surprised that such ideas were available though then introvertly in the local Singapore environment. Some might disagree to this, but I for one find this extremely relevant in today's youth climate especially in line with the call for change and tajdid (reform).

Of course, we have met our stumbling blocks along the years and yet encounter, only with the grace of God, little successes that we could show for - but the motive and ideals still remain close to many of us (perhaps this is the time yeah?).

In considering all the individuals that were shaped and touched by Saff Perdaus, Madrasah Perdaus, Tarbiyah programs, Diploma classes and many others - Allahyarham Ust Embek Ali would have a fair show of credit to all these and I wonder how magnificently he would stand in front of The Almighty (swt) then.

In articulating the deed of his old time friend, Mufti Sohibus Samahah (whom prayed over the jenazah) held back tears when telling the jemaah (which had filled half of Masjid Sultan) that his friend was one who had so much love for Islam and that he was a good man.

I return back to the office from Masjid Sultan, asking myself recurringly: what then would be of me when I return to You? What would I bring?

A sister recollected this of Allahyarham in an email a few hours ago:

"Same thoughts and feelings I had when I was deep in thoughts after getting an sms about his departure this morning.

I was recollecting how he looked like, how he was, my conversations with him. For one, I am very surprised when he remembers me although I know I was like very insignificant then. He remembers some of us as from the perdaus madrasah and very active in Saff (of course this was like 8-10 years ago). And he has always been very supportive and encouraging for Saff; never fails to ask about Saff. He always said it makes him feel young and energise being with us the young ones.

Allahyarham is someone who believes truly in the potential of youth. Apart from that, I was just noting on Allahyarham's peninggalan; his contribution to the community.... which one of it is Perdaus. With his belief in Perdaus and the young ones, he roped in the young blood in Perdaus to uplift it into the next phase and how it grew from being just a persatuan specialising on ajaran sesat to an organisation offereing developmental program from young to old. He was someone who is vey open with ideas. With his vision and hope and of course the sacrifices made by past leaders, drivers, movers, workers, activist of Perdaus, it is a huge responsibility/amanah on the current to continue the work/perjuangan.

Having said all this, the biggest question that is stuck in my head... what would I leave behind for the ummah when I leaves the world........"

Indeed, that very question still run through my mind at this moment in time.

May the community find many more of "Embek Ali" to guide the community in the time to come.

Khair .. Khair .. Khair ..

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