The world is already void of love and care. Love and care is missing. Life goes on without love and care. People no longer want to talk and think about it, and let it go without any effort to uphold it. When in fact love and care is actually like oxygen in life. Without oxygen, what will happen to us?
In his struggle, Abuya thoroughly practices love and care. An era of love and care was launched by Abuya for several years as a very important agenda to be realized in his congregation. So his struggle became well-known with the theme ‘Da’wah and Love and Care’.
Abuya himself is a very loving and caring person. Whoever sits will definitely experience an unforgettable sensation of his love and care. It is this personal character of his that has affectionately drawn many people to him. He is an expert in conquering human hearts by various ways dispensing love and care, according to the different needs of people.
A system of life full of love and care has consequently been created on God’s earth, developed by Abuya’s congregation. Abuya is its mastermind. Abuya discovered its foundation and methods. As for those who want to strive for the system, Abuya teaches how to implement it. So Abuya establishes and becomes the principal figure of an Islamic struggle moulded with love and care, the very first of its kind this century.
After the 11 September 2001 disaster at the World Trade Centre, New York, the West became belligerent towards Islam. The hurled such insults as ‘Islam is a violent religion’ and ‘Islam degraded women’. So in 2003, Abuya sent a group of nasyeed singers, made up of female youth, called Mawaddah (meaning love and care) to participate in a festival for Muslims in Europe held in Le Bourget, France. For the first time France brought forth female nasyeed singers on stage. These emissaries from Malaysia promoted the theme ‘Love God Love Fellow Humans’.
As a result, Mawaddah is accepted by and has expanded its wings to the whole of Europe, especially in England and Germany besides France. At borders separating the countries, Mawaddah is treated with love and care. The West is really shocked by Abuya’s da’wah approach. They admit that, its teachings properly implemented, Islam is a religion which promotes love and care and really appreciates women.
This has dumbfounded the many Muslims of Middle Eastern origins who now reside in Europe. They are grateful to Malaysia for introducing bringing a new trend in the Islamic struggle. All this while, they never thought of diversifying their approaches of da’wah. They use only religious lectures during gatherings without involving women in the struggle. Whereas for Abuya, da’wah could be performed by nasyeeds sung by modest and charming women. This method has sparked off the interest of many people, encouraging them to buy Islamic nasyeed albums, promoting the religion of love and care.
In Thailand, around 2000-2006, the environment in the south was very shameful and frightening. Bangkok was in a deadlock as the USA had regarded Thailand as harbouring a violent form of Islam. This situation was very dangerous. To cleanse Thailand’s tarnished reputation, the Phuket government invited Mawaddah to a national programme entitled ‘Islam with Love and Care’. The representative of the American ambassador in Bangkok was invited.
After the programme, Mawaddah and Rufaqa’ Thailand were congratulated by the American ambassador in Bangkok. Since then, the involvement of Abuya’s strongmen in Thailand in programmes to solve the ‘southern Thailand’ problem was very much sought.
In Australia, Abuya succeeded in convincing Prime Minister John Howard that the Islam he brought was devoid of violence. In actual fact, Islam is a religion of love and care, says Abuya. As a result, the world was surprised John Howard’s change in 2003, when he mentioned the existence of an ‘Islam with Love and Care’, after watching a live ‘Islam with Love and Care’ performance by Mawaddah in Australia.
These are a few examples, among thousands of others, demonstrating how amazing and miraculous Abuya and his Islamic struggle are. An ordinary person is not able to accomplish such feats. In fact among present leaders, whether national leaders or leaders who struggle for Islam, try to find one who can achieve what Abuya has done. This matter is related to Abuya’s educational background, which has shaped Abuya into a lofty and amazing personality.
The difficulties and hardships of life experienced since his younger days, beginning with his mother’s death when he was 4 years old, moulded Abuya into a devoted worshipper, a lion-hearted personality and a brilliant individual. As a young boy, his life was like an orphan’s. His father, although still alive, seldom met him and did not live together with him. From his childhood, Abuya was taken care of by:
His uncle, Lebai Ibrahim and his wife, Wak Imai in Pilin (for 5 years)
His step-grandfather, Mohd Jirim and his step-grandmother in Segambut (for 2 years)
His step-mother (for 4 years) in Kuala Klang
After his marriage, at the age of 20, Abuya lodged in the houses of two foster fathers, both in Sungai Nibong, Tanjung Karang, Selangor, between two to five years.
While in Segambut, every Thursday night, Abuya would sleep at his auntie Halimah’s house at Kebun Sirih. Halimah was his father’s sister.
Throughout his childhood and adolescent years, Abuya lived with people of whom he had previously no knowledge. The hands which looked after Abuya kept changing in his early life. Throughout his early life, his heart longed for the love and care of his own mother and father, as experienced by others. Abuya says, Allah destined that all those who cared for him loved him. Abuya really felt their love and care. How just has Allah been towards his life.
But Allah also destined that his heart felt shy to ask to be loved. He intensely felt that his guardians were not his real parents. So he was very shy to accept their love and care. In other words, he did not pamper himself, asking for this and that like other kids asking from their parents and those who cared after them. There was a big gap forbidding Abuya from pampering himself with other people who had cared after him. Such feeling is shyness.
When Abuya saw his sister pampering herself and happily exchanging tender affection with Wak Imai, Abuya desired a similar situation. But his heart whispered that she was not his real mother, so Abuya became shy!
His heart desired a lot of things, but unable to overcome his shyness, he just kept them to himself. This made his caretakers even more sympathetic to him. He asked nothing from them. He felt discouraged and reluctant to ask for anything. This is Abuya, as he himself narrated.
The truth is that in general orphans feel much the same way. Their hearts long to be loved. They feel how priceless love and care is in one’s life. How lonely is one’s life in the world without love and care. Life becomes empty, with nothing to care for. To him, death is preferable.
The good side is, for Godly people, the void is filled entirely with God. One lives with God, asks from God and indulges himself only in God. Most God-appointed leaders, whether from among the prophets, the Messengers, The Companions (the Rightly Guided Caliphs), reformers (mujaddids) and the great saints, went through difficult lives, often also as orphans. It is through such a way that Allah infused their hearts with the feeling of a servant and of having God. Allah vacates their hearts of any worldly feelings, and then fills them with the love and fear of God.
Abuya narrates how the processes he went through in his life since young, which prepared him for the role of leader in a congregation that upholds God and love and care. There are several stages. The events are considered the determining factors which moulded him into a really miraculous personality:
The role of Lebai Ibrahim in Abuya’s life was as his teacher on Islam, tariqah and Imam al-Mahdi. Lebai Ibrahim did not talk much. He did not teach Abuya directly, furthermore Abuya was still a kid then. But Abuya said he was able to gain knowledge from Lebai Ibrahim by listening to Lebai Ibrahim speaking during gatherings at the prayer house. Sometimes until midnight, and extending even to dawn, Abuya listened to the conversations of Lebai Ibrahim and the prayer house congregation. But because he was shy, realized he was still a child who was all alone, Abuya pretended to sleep, covering himself with a sarong. Abuya actually listened to everything. Abuya was so interested in everything he heard that he was prepared not to sleep at night.
Lebai Ibrahim seemingly understood his nephew’s character, moreover, he knew that Abuya would be the future Prince of Bani Tamim, the right-hand man of Imam al-Mahdi. So wherever he went, Lebai Ibrahim would bring Abuya along. He gave love and care that Abuya truly felt, only that Abuya himself did not seek it. He was never angry with Abuya. The most he did was to tease Abuya in the hope that Abuya realized his mistakes.
Lebai Ibrahim really took care of Abuya. If he went anywhere, he would bring Abuya along, even if only to tend his rice fields to protect them from boars. He brought Abuya to sleep in the rice fields. If there was a marriage feast with the ronggeng dance held in the village, Lebai Ibrahim would disappear without bringing Abuya. Abuya, not knowing Lebai Ibrahim’s whereabouts, would sneak alone to the feast and would only watch it from a great distance and in the dark. Now Abuya understands the real situation. Lebai Ibrahim did not want Abuya to be involved in that function; so he disappeared to deny Abuya any chance of attending the function. This is the love and care he gave – much-disciplined in accordance with the laws of Allah.
Abuya’s father gave Abuya away to his in-laws right after Abuya shifted school from Pilin to
Segambut. Both were Abuya’s step-grandfather and step-grandmother. Their house was large. They lived there with five children and two grand-daughters, all of them female. In addition, one son and a son-in-law, Ustaz Amin, who taught Abuya in a religious school, lived together in the house. Tok Mohd Jirim was the village headman of Segambut (called Tok Empat). He was intelligent, liked to talk about high matters but led a poor life.
I asked Abuya, how did he feel when he was moved to stay with such a family? Abuya said, initially he was very sad and felt like going back to Pilin. Abuya endured life there for two years.
But yet again Allah destined that Tok Jirim loved Abuya. Indeed Allah is the Most Just. If Abuya felt he was not loved there and became an irritation instead, Abuya would have been spiritually hurt.
Tok Mohd Jirim would bring Abuya wherever he went. They were friends but with no mutual interaction, as Tok Mohd Jirim alone would do the talking. Imagine a Tok Empat befriending a 13-year old juvenile. At night, Abuya relates, his step-grandfather would persuade Abuya to listen to his anecdotes, sometimes until 2 am. All the others in the house had slept, but both of them, accompanied by a kerosene lamp, would be involved in a programme in which the grandfather talked about high matters while the grandson just listened, without asking or responding. Such attentiveness made the grandfather never bored; he chatted incessantly about various social issues. Because of his shyness and very quiet character, Abuya was willing to listen without uttering a word.
The full two years in Segambut was like a course for Abuya. By daytime, he attended the
government school and the religious school in standards 6 and 7 respectively; at night he would enroll in Tok Mohd Jirim’s ‘community course’. Tok Mohd Jirim also gave him assignments to find firewood, pucuk paku and pucuk ubi. Every day, Abuya says, due to poverty, he would only eat rice with pucuk ubi curry and shrimp paste, or anchovy dishes. An activity of Abuya was to find all kinds of shoots to make curry. Abuya was indeed intelligent, hardworking, shy and quiet.
Why was the Tok Empat very interested in Abuya? I think Abuya’s father had already told his in-laws about Abuya. This is because they became very close friends, unlike a normal relationship between in-laws. Abuya was treated in a very special manner. After Abuya had listened to his stories, the Tok Empat would go to sleep. Only then would Abuya follow suit. Extraordinary.
His shyness prevented Abuya from communicating with the female relatives in the house. In daytime they would cycle together to school but they would neither talk to one another, nor eat together. Abuya would eat together with his grandfather only. Peculiar! Such was a bitter but meaningful life to an emergent Islamic figure of his time.
For two years in Segambut, on every Thursday night Abuya would spend the night at the house of his auntie house, his father’s elder sister. That was his father’s order. There, Abuya read the Quran and recited the tahlil, as requested. His auntie and her family would listen.
When asked if Abuya was happy in his auntie’s house together with his cousin Sahnan, as before, Abuya said he never spoke to him. Abuya is really quiet, although deep in his heart, there was a lot he wanted to ask his auntie about the life story of his father, who was the youngest of three siblings. But his shyness forbade him.
If his father had a history of appearing to be dead three times during his childhood days, a sister of his father was stolen when she was a baby, while in the cradle. The baby was lost. When was she discovered? Later in Singapore, when she already had children and grandchildren. As such, there are many members of Abuya’s extended family in Singapore. But in matters of religion, Abuya’s father was the most outstanding. His sisters practiced the religion traditionally like typical Malays. Their relationships with Abuya were not that close.
When Abuya was defamed in the newspapers with all sorts of bad stories, all his family members including the Segambut society could not accept the slanders as they really understood Abuya’s character. People recognized Abuya’s father’s charisma. After becoming a pensioner, he stayed in Segambut. When the local community wanted to appoint him as the Tok Empat, he refused. People would not believe that such a respectable and loved family would be as wicked as portrayed.
Usually a stepmother does not have a good relationship with her stepchildren. This is what we usually understand. But Abuya was lucky to have got a stepmother who loved him very much. Her fondness of Abuya more than matched her affection for her own children. Abuya’s son, Syeikh Fakhrurrazi, tells that when he was an adolescent, he and his siblings neither knew that Nenek Bedah was their step-grandmother nor knew that Haji Jirim was their step-great-grandfather. The relationships were cordial, full of love, care and warmth, unlike what normally transpires in step-families. Only after he grew up did he understand that Nenek Bedah was his step-grandmother. This is another miracle in the life of Abuya and his family. Love and care were a reality felt in their lives.
When Abuya is transferred to teach in Sungai Nibong, his father sent him to one of his friends whose home address was given by Pak Mat Kelang (Syeikh Mohd Abdullah ibnu Khairillah as Suhaimi). That man is the village imam, Kiyai Jalal, who practiced the Aurad Muhammadiah and had met Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi in person. Abuya was very happy to be introduced with such a special person. Because of the close relationship, Abuya stayed in his house and treated him as his foster father. His house was situated in the coconut estates of Sungai Nibong.
Abuya also got to know another foster father who as the village tok siak (mosque caretaker) and tariqah practitioner though not Aurad Muhammadiah. Abuya became very close to this Pak Karim. The relationship resembled that of a father and son, such that Abuya would follow him to the rice fields and help him in his tasks. Abuya supported Pak Karim’s food and beverages and stayed for quite some time in his house, situated in the middle of the rice fields. This meant that throughout his stay in Sungai Nibong, Abuya had no house of his own and only lodged in the residences of the two people with whom he had just become acquainted. Abuya traveled to and fro from the rice fields to the coconut plantation with his wife and children - a sad life history. He was forced to seek love and care, but his heart was still lonely because everything was not genuine. The true love and care had been taken away with the death of her mother.
Just imagine, if Abuya had not met with these loving people, his life would have been destroyed. To him, love and care was priceless, like oxygen in our lives.
With such a sequence of events, we can see how God created His man to be a leader who would earnestly fight to promote God and love and care to fellow humans. Since his youth, he was taught to imbibe and keep as much information as he can, whether in the aspect of the worldly or the Hereafter. He did not say out any information at first, but he processed it to form his stance, whether for his mind or his spirit. Whether he agreed to them or not remained his secret. His mind shut his mouth from disclosing all the information.
When the right time came, Abuya says, only then did he practice to talk and lecture publicly in order to pass on his ambitions in the struggle that were simmering inside him.
But throughout his reticence, he acquired God to fill in the void that he felt. Try to read Abuya’s poems around the year 2000, and you will see that all of them are about his love affair with God. And because of his thirst for love and care, he became the most sensitive person to the suffering of others. Like his own self who yearned for love, he got to feel how others also hoped for love and care. As a result, Abuya emerged as a figure who struggled for God and for love and care. He is the father of love and care.
Author: Why did you set up the Darul Arqam ‘Green Robe’ Congregation?
Abuya: Because of Allah and His Messenger. It is obligatory for us to be in a congregation. A congregation is a rahmah (bounty) from God. To be divided is destruction, says the Messenger of Allah.
Author: But your congregation was said to have deviated from the true path. It had gone astray from mainstream society. It was inappropriate with a multi-racial country.
Abuya: Whatever congregation, so long as it is new, has to face all these speculations. But if it has expanded and gained recognition, all such accusations become meaningless in themselves.
Author: Is there hope to further expand the congregation?
Abuya: A person who gives up hope with Allah has committed a grave sin.
Author: Can society accept? The effort by certain quarters to thwart whatever Abuya has done appears to be very serious.
Abuya: Experience has frequently told us that the popularity of the truth will rise on top of the opposition encountered against it.
Author: Why is it as such?
Abuya: Because the truth is spiritual whereas opposition to it is mental. Spirit and mind are like water and sugar. When they clash, sugar dissolves in water. Water becomes better in taste. If it were smart, sugar will not disturb water.
Author: What exactly is your ambition?
Abuya: My life and death is solely for Allah, God of the universe.
Author: Does that not seem to be political?
Abuya: Allah brings us to the world to Islamize it.
Author: But people cannot accept an Islamic state in the form preferred by Abuya.
Abuya: In a world that is no longer safe, people long for security, love, care, justice, attention and help. This is the Islamic state that I have in mind. Are people afraid of safety?
Author: But Abuya promotes polygamy. This frightens women.
Abuya: Women fear not only polygamy, but they are also frightened of the police, sickness and examinations. But if given the right and accurate explanation, all forms of fear can vanish. Would Allah and His Messenger prescribe and do something which is useless or abusive? The fact is that by polygamy, Allah means to give a thousand and one attractions. For something that looks attractive, there are a thousand and one disadvantages. Behind a thousand and one hurtful creations, there are a thousand and one goodness hidden. Knowledgeable people who know will never reject anything that comes from God. Everything has a good meaning if we understand.
Author: Abuya offers a poor life but Abuya is rich.
Abuya: I am rich after making myself poor, and whoever is willing to trade with God will obtain huge benefits later on.
Author: Why is Abuya very ill? How are you going to become a good leader?
Abuya: If I am not ill, there will be people who worry if I will ‘do it’ again. So Allah is the Most Just. He has made me ill, but my congregation still expands. I believe that my illness will heal by the power of Allah.
Author: Even in Abuya’s congregation a lot of problems exist.
Abuya: A good tree knows the suitable seasons to drop its leaves, to reproduce leaves, to begin to bear fruits, to discard its old branches, to add small branches, etc. The veracity of a congregation is determined by its ability to put affairs in order according to the correct method, the suitable time, the good steps and the appropriate people to solve particular problems.
Author: Abuya’s congregation has been befallen with too many tribulations. But it has also received a lot of bounties from Allah?
Abuya: Throughout the history of the true struggle, as striven for by Allah and His Messengers and then together with the reformers (mujaddid), it is full of tests and bounties. They alternate, never do bounties come alone and never do tests come alone. Both occur within a space of time so that fighters of truth are always balanced between their patience and gratefulness. There is a ‘check and balance’ in God’s congregation.
Author: What is the clear evidence that Abuya’s congregation is the true congregation sent forth by Allah and His Messenger?
Abuya: In the early phase of every century, Allah and His Messenger commanded the Muslim ummah to search for a reformer. There is a hadith which proclaims: “At the head of every 100 Hijrah years, Allah brings forth a renewer of religion (mujaddid).” Another hadith states, “(The true congregation) is able to manifest the truth and can never be harmed by those who oppose it.”
Let us look at three characteristics of the reformer as mentioned by Allah and His Messenger.
He arrives in the early phase of each century.
He is able to bring out the Islamic way of life in reality.
It cannot be damaged by those who oppose it. Its struggle can be continued in spite of the many obstacles.
At first I searched for the leader whose attributes fit those specified by Allah and His Messenger. But I could not find any. So I thought of trying to become that leader. Based on what has happened and is happening to me and my congregation, I believe that this is the congregation concerned.
Author: But have not the Aurad Muhammadiah and Imam al-Mahdi been officially ruled as deviant?
Abuya: In the present Muslim world, there are two schools of thought which exchange accusations of deviation and deviationism between them. Both claim to be speaking for the truth. The one and evident truth is from Allah and His Messenger. In facing the multitude of problems in this depraved and chronically sick world, Allah will surely guide the genuine truth-seekers on the true path (sirat al-mustaqim) safely, without being hindered by forthcoming obstacles.
Author: Abuya has included dubious elements in this struggle - matters of the unseen world such as those to do with the Angel of Death, the water of the beard, tawassul (prayer by intercession) and khadam (servant from among the genies).
a. The Angel of Death
In actual fact, Allah asks us to pray to Him in whatever problem we face, even if only to ask for longevity of age or the deferment of death. If someone prays so that Izra’il postpones taking the life of someone and Allah permits such a request, it is the same as Allah allowing a sick person to call for a doctor to treat him. The power to heal is not in the hands of the doctor. Allah has the absolute power to heal, to give life or to take life. But Allah widens His religion by allowing His servants to deal with His ‘administrative officers’ in the government of Allah, such as the angels, the prophets, the invisible souls, plus the physical creations. All these are meant as matters of religion and for Allah.
b. The water of the beard
In the science of treatment and healing, especially in dealing with the spiritual problems, psychological troubles, mental illness and other non-physical ailments, the physicians and spiritual doctors will utilize Quranic verses and hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Prayer water which has been added with good elements from a mursyid (spiritual mentor) whose prayers are asked for, is also a source of blessing from Allah and His Messenger. Not only is his prayers accepted, but his beard is also accepted by Allah as a source of prayer and blessing.
The history of Sayidina Khalid ibnu Walid bringing the beard of the Messenger of Allah to every battlefield is evidence that not only can the Messenger of Allah pray for one, but his beard can also make Allah grant one’s wish. It not uncommon for the body parts of a mursyid, as inheritor of the attributes of Messengers of Allah, to be treated in the same manner as the body of the Messenger of Allah. If you are skeptical about all these, try performing istikharah (decision-making prayer), to seek an answer from Allah and His Messenger.
Let us not quarrel over this issue, but rather we try to turn this crisis to our advantage to develop Islam. Whoever that believes that tawassul is allowed by Allah and The Messenger, please do it until the practice of Islam becomes evident in the middle of Muslim society. Who is not convinced that tawassul is permitted, please struggle for Islam until Muslims become strong and authoritative in both spiritual and material development. May Allah give guidance to all of us.
This knowledge is treated as nonsense by some Muslim groups, but with the will of Allah and His Messenger, there were genies that had embraced the faith of and struggled alongside the Messenger of Allah. Allah the Almighty is able to create all these. Genies who swear obedience to the Islamic leader can be specific instructions to help in the cause of the struggle. Do remember, enemies of Islam are willing to use blackckagic accompanied with armies of genies to destroy Islam, so with the justice of Allah, Muslims can do likewise legally, as the religion permits.
Author: What is Abuya’s secret in re-establishing a congregation which had undergone destruction? From where does Abuya get a lot of money to reinvigorate it?
Abuya: Only Allah and His Messenger know how to bring life back to His religion. This means that Allah and His Messenger lead and teach strategies against the enemies so that His religion is in control of events. Money comes from Allah too. Do not think that Allah has no money. In fact Allah is the Richest. Why do we not use this to our advantage?
Author: Is Abuya confident of victory?
Abuya: If really promised by Allah and His Messenger, a congregation’s leader is appointed by Allah and His Messenger. He is the mujaddid, and victory is destined for him. Allah promises for him and his congregation not only Paradise in the Hereafter, but also power in this world, by the will of Allah.