On knowledge sharing and dissemination

... when circulating a working paper for comments, never put on "citations only permitted with the permission of author"

or "no parts of this paper can be used without permission of author". Rather, say "when using parts of this paper please give proper citation and help yourself". Be delighted if someone wants to quote you ... (p.7)

Source: Glaser, B. G. (2006) The roots of grounded theory. The Grounded Theory Review, 5(2/3), 1-10.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Food Homeless Scholars Rulers

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Let me share

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson  in his Syarah (1) describes that our tradition has always been

Free education
Free treatment for the sick
Food for the poor and homeless

Shaykh Hamza describes the Prophet SAW gave food to the homeless daily. Whosoever gave food to him, in turn the Prophet SAW gave it to the homeless and the needy.

 On average the Prophet SAW gave food to about 70 homeless people per day. 

And among these homeless arose scholars and rulers. Examples. Abu Huraira (RA) was the scholar who recorded the Prophet SAW sayings.

Salman Al Farisi (RA) who became the Governor of Persia.


Thus Feeding the Poor and the Homeless. Daily. Is the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW.

Let's resolve
To give food  daily. At least to one person per day.




(1) Syarah Tafseer Surah Yaseen Part 3.



It is also worth pondering our modern tradition on:

Treatment for the sick

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Broken Vase

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It is amazing what we pick as we listen to a good syarah.
We pick pearls that are closest to us.

The ones that have touched our real life.

Let me explain.


Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says:

Most exchanges are utilitarian.

We use people and we honour things

If we look at people, observe how carefully they move around things in their house.

For instance: 

People would be careful not to knock the vase in their house. 
But they have no problems bumping other people.


A long time ago.

I was on transit at the Karachi International Airport.

Went to the Ladies' Room.

I washed my hands and stood in front of the counter mirror to fix something.

A woman came in. A flight crew member.

There were a few other sinks. And long mirror.

She came straight to where I was standing and bumped me off so that she can use the mirror to fix her things.

I was shocked. Then angry. Speechless. Then quietly I left.

I told Husband who was in the waiting area.



In trying to understand the behaviour of the woman I had these "MAYBE's" as my heuristic tools:

MAYBE she thought I was just a maid. 
We were on PIA flight. In transit I remembered in Dubai I met a few ladies from Indonesia who served in the middle eastern households. 
This woman was a flight crew member so MAYBE she had different perceptions of how people are elevated in this creation.
MAYBE according to her, a flight crew member is more elevated than a household service provider.

MAYBE she had a philosophy of racial differentiation. 
Some natives are created better than others. South Asians are better than South East Asians. Whites are better than coloured and blacks. In look. In status.

MAYBE she had a philosophy of class differentiation.
Some people are low class. 
Some are of high class.
The feelings that one is of the brahmin class is prevalent in any society regardless of their espoused belief.

I was in Jubah. And in Niqab. Probably a low class attire to some.

That was  my heuristics of MAYBEs.


I found myself again with similar experience. With a South Asian during a transaction.
This time it was not physical bumping off. But an attitudinal bumping.



I have learned to relax. I have learned how to take the bumps and humps. Slowly and steadily.
Just like when we drive over the humps on the road.
Smoothly. Without pain.


So when Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says:

We USE people and We HONOUR things. It strikes deep into my heart.
May Allah Ta'ala save us from this error. 
Ameen Ya Rabbal 'alameen.


Broken vases repaired with golden thread.

Compare with how people mend broken relationships.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Wayfarer, The Skin and The Fruit

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I have been trying to sort out my thoughts on 'Managing Change'. We have an abundance of discourses from change theorists of the western tradition (See for example Lewin, Mintzberg, Burnes, Kotter, Fullan, West-Burnham).

Essentially change theorists discuss change in the context of these two processes:

The evolutionary Continuous Improvement versus The revolutionary Transformational Change. One starts from the status quo or the 'as-is' while the other is a complete re-engineering process.


Suddenly it occurs to me. 
That I have not looked into the Islamic worldview on managing change. After a short search I was led to this scholar that has had a lot of impact on both the east and the west.

Shaykh Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. And his treatise on social change.

Excerpt from: Here


Prof Colin Turner penned his thought in context with his discussion on Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi' Risale-i Nur: A Revolution of Belief. 

"The created world is thus a book of names, an index, which seek to tell about its Owner"


For Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi:

"The West is not only a geopolitical entity, it is also a metaphor. Geographically, the West was the first place to witness a mass revolt against the Divine.

Modem Western civilization is the first of which we have knowledge that does not have some formal structure of religious belief at its heart.

 The West is thus a metaphor for the setting of the sun of religious belief; a metaphor for the eclipse of God. 
And since this eclipse is no longer confined to the geopolitical West, one may say that wherever the truths of belief have been discarded, there is the West.

Thus the West should be seen as a state of mind, a disease, an aberration. The root cause of this, as Bediuzzaman Said Nursi points out, is the disease of self-worship, of 'ENE' (Ana, the I or ego).

The kind of revolution envisaged by the Risale-i Nur is a revolution of the mind, of the heart, of the soul and the spirit. 

It is not an Islamic revolution but a revolution of belief. 

As such it works on two levels: it is designed to lead Muslims from belief by imitation to belief through investigation, and to lead unbelievers from worship of the self to worship of Allah."


The wayfarer is me.

That shiny beautiful skin is what I have learned of the metaphorical western worldview. 

But the fruit - the seeds- are what I need.

And how I peel the skin matters.

So is managing change.


A movie on the life of Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877-1960) shows the Ustad's struggle through the period when Turkey was moving into the western realm. When the country was transformed - clothed in the new garment of modernisation weaved by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (died 1938) and his immediate successors.



A short note on his life and legacy:

"Bediuzzaman Said Nursi was born in eastern part of Turkey in 1877.
He was a scholar of the highest standing having studied not only traditional religious sciences, but also modern science and technology.
Therefore he was titled Bediuzzaman; wonder of the Age in his youth as a result of his outstanding ability and learning.
Bediuzzaman died in 1960 at the age of 83 after struggle and self-sacrifice in the cause of Islam the big work and achievement done by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, could be seen through His book Risale-i Nur collection about 5000 pages in which different subjects are cited.
In the first reading, it may seem as an exegesis of the Glorious Qur‟an but at the second and third reading it may be different. Aspects of some other branches of knowledge such as theology, psychology, history, philosophy, cosmology, economics, physics, medicine, law and technology will all prove an integral part of Risale-i Nur. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, considers Al-Iman (Faith) as his main goal in his writings, but what is faith?
How it can be seen as a foundation for human progress? In attempt to answer these questions, the concept of faith and progress should be first defined."

Access the original Paper*


*Faith As The Foundation of Human Progress: Nursi’s Perspective (Dr. Vaffi Foday Sheriif)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Humaira and Falsafah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Humaira is cucu of Mak Lang. 
Her first cucu.
She is six years old. 
Humaira calls Mak Lang Ninik. 

Mak Lang is my sister. So Humaira is also my cucu.
But she calls me Makmbong ... hehe.


Humaira and I were having a conversation.
But every now and then when I asked her about something she would answer: Tak tau.

After a few 'Tak Tau'. I said slowly to Humaira: Humaira tak tau ke (while putting my left hand up). Atau Humaira tak mau cakap (and putting my right hand up). Itu dua falsafah yang berbeza.

Humaira: Apa falsafah yang berbeza tu?
Makmbong: Falsafah tu maksudnya .. dalammmm sangat. 
Humaira: Apa dalammmm tu.

Makmbong: Kalau Humaira kata tak tau (my left hand up). Mak .. na .. nya Humaira memang tak tau. Te .. ta .. pi kalau Humaira kata tak mau cakap. Maknanya mungkin Humaira tau. Te ..ta .. pi Humaira tak mau cakap. 

Humaira: ohhh.

Makmbong: Jadi apa jawabnya tadi tu. Humaira tak tau ke (my left hand up again). Atau tak mau cakap (my right hand up).

Humaira: Tak mau cakap (and putting her corresponding hand in front of me up).

Makmbong: Humaira dah pandai falsafah. Boleh beza yang dalam-dalam.
Humaira: Falsafah (angguk-angguk :) ).


This is Humaira next to me in the car.
Kakak was driving me home from a night at Mak Lang's place.

I asked Humaira for her permission before taking her photo.
She put up her hands. Covered her face. And said No.

Kakak while driving interjected: Boleh. She is shy.

I said slowly to Humaira. In Bahasa Melayu:
No. I will not take Humaira's photo without Humaira's permission. Right Humaira?
Humaira nodded.

I added: Humaira sudah buat keputusan tidak mahu gambarnya diambil. Jadi Makmbong kena hormati keputusan Humaira. Betul Humaira?
Humaira nodded.

A few moments later: Humaira boleh Makmbong ambil gambar Humaira?
Humaira nodded.

Makmbong then took a selfie of Humaira. 

The Learning Philosopher. 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Deficit Thinking

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I received this book last October 6, 2017. I ordered it from Amazon. Flipped through it and left it among the piles of books since then.

Dismantling Contemporary Deficit Thinking (Valencia, 2010)


These last few days I was not at the laptop. 
I had bleeding in half of the right eye.  Looked very serious but no pain Alhamdulillah. I have been to the doctor earlier. And yesterday to an eye-specialist for follow-up, because the healing was looking not too good. Alhamdulillah. Not too worry. It would take a couple of weeks to resolve, the good doctor said.


Husband said. Stop the computer for a while.

I did. 
But picked up the book instead and have been digging into it for awhile.


Deficit thinking.

Let me illustrate its meaning through some real life examples.

Example 1: An engineering graduate is told by the HR director that she is not suitable for the post because the Agency wants a male. Ladies would not be able to fulfil their field duties when they are married and pregnant.

Example 2: Orang Asli students fail in school because they are poor, lazy, parents are not involved, attitude problem. So most research say. 

Example 3: Girls should not be encouraged to memorise the Quran Kareem because when they get married and be busied by their children they will not have the time to review. And they would forget.

No no no. I did not make the above up. You can read about it here.

An excerpt from the article ...

“… and that’s why women shouldn’t memorize the Quran.” What did he just say? I had just finished memorizing the Quran myself that year, so I sat up in my seat. “My sister memorized the Quran,” he continued, “but she’s been so busy with her newborn baby that she never has time to review it, and now she’s forgotten it all. So it’s better for women not to memorize because they won’t be able to retain it while raising children.” (Tesneem Alkiek)


Deficit thinking is a social construction that is flavoured by three contemporary discourses.

1. the genetic pathology model - the belief that we are naturally disadvantaged by who we are genetically ... being a female one cannot be as good an engineer, a black is less intelligent than a white (a prevalent implicit as well as explicit belief in the USA ... see JP Rushton for example) 

2. the culture of poverty model - the belief that failure is due to being poor. Students failure are linked to family's poverty.

3. the 'at-risk' model - the belief that some are culturally to be more at-risk to fail than others ... a married woman will have no time to review her memorisation of the Quran Kareem ... or when students are lumped into at-risk category because of who they are are.


The key idea is that deficit thinking gives rise to 'blame the victim' culture. 

It's your fault that you can't get the job because you are female.
It's your fault that you failed because your family is poor and can't afford tuition, and your parents are too busy eking out a living to teach you at home.
It's your fault that you risk failing because you speak 'Greek' at home, and you can't follow the lessons taught in the Martian language in class. 


This is more common than we think.

Think about the many incidents when we had this sudden inclination to blame the victims (the individuals themselves, their families, their culture, their language, etc.) for what have happened. 

Did our thinking process sound like any of the examples above?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

16 September 2016

a year. and a bit more since.

and left are us
pebbles in the stream
rolling along
a destination not too long

we despair not
for we hear the news of fajar light
and its blessings

and here we are
bathe still
in the cool memory 
of life 
simply lived

Allahummaghfirlahu warhamhu wa 'afihi wa' fu 'anhu

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Would a monkey be less of a monkey

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Nice isn't it? Window seat with a view.

No it is not my room. I wish.

I do have a corner room in our house in Kampung Ulu. Alhamdulillah.

The room is flanked by two windows on both the sides that can be opened just like the above. No iron grill. One can just jump in and out of the windows if one so wish.

We were in Kampung on Sunday, staying overnight. At night I closed the window but left the curtain drawn opened so that I could see the soothing night light and the moonlight beyond.

Right across the road up the slope, I could see the grey shadows of rubber trees.


In the morning I opened the windows wide. Then we went to Kuala Pilah to shop for Mother.


Meanwhile at home.

Brother-in-Law was in the living area. Suddenly he heard a commotion in the corner room. He rushed in to see. And lo and behold.

A family of monkeys were having a fanfare in the room. Jumping up and down on the bed.
Those were one amazing intruders.

Alhamdulillah. Brother-in-Law was quick. No mishap. Nothing was borrowed by the monkeys.
It was hilarious. 
But I was thankful that nothing was missing.


Would a monkey be less of a monkey if he is inside a house?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...