Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Religion

Battles Within Self

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We may have heard the Treaty of Hudaibiyah (Suluh Hudaibiyah[1]) as one of the milestones along the early of Islamic history, particularly the Prophet’s Seerah. This treaty has made an incredible impact on Islam and Muslims, even until today. About the background of this treaty, as well as how the narratives goes, please check the other article: True Purpose of Victory

The terms ‘Treaty” itself was introduced by some Mufasseerun and Muslim Scholars to highlight the treaty (suluh: الصلح) on the Hudaibiyah event. Many of the companions from the very first time, always remembered Hudaibiyah as War or Ghazwat (الغزوة).

عَنْ سَلَمَةَ بْنِ الأَكْوَعِ، قَالَ غَزَوْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم سَبْعَ غَزَوَاتٍ‏.‏ فَذَكَرَ خَيْبَرَ وَالْحُدَيْبِيَةَ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ وَيَوْمَ الْقَرَدِ‏.‏ قَالَ يَزِيدُ وَنَسِيتُ بَقِيَّتَهُمْ

Salama bin Al-Akwa` said, “I fought in seven Ghazwat along with the Prophet.” He then mentioned Khaibar, Al-Hudaibiya, the day (i.e. battle) of Hunain and the day of Al-Qurad. I forgot the names of the other Ghazwat. (Sahih Bukhari)

Even though there was no real battle with the enemy, companions of the Prophet always remembered that Hudaibiyah was one of the toughest battles they overcome. Psychological battle. Because they went on facing themselves. They were in chaos, couldn’t believe what they were seeing. As if they have lost the battle itself.

Prophet Muhammad s. had with him hundreds of companions. If their emotions were intense, can they be calmed down easily? They were in intense fear before in Ahzab[2] situation, and now they will go to Makkah. Alas, it is fear, anticipation and then rage becomes one when they were in Hudaibiyah. They heard about the murder of Uthman, the assassinations attempt, and now the treaty offered by Quraish, in which the treaty itself seems unfair.

When the treaty was offered by the Quraish, they feel like they are losing mind because of the contents. Yet, the insight for all the scenes in the Hudaibiyah including the treaty was told years later, and the significance impact of this treaty can be seen three years after, it is the Opening of Makkah (Fathu Makkah[3]).

The treaty creates domino effect within the Muslim community and the world surrounding and leads them to Fathu Makkah. But the Opening of Makkah is not the victory itself, although it signifies Muslim’s victory in their early history. There is a certain parameter that Allah has been set for victory.

One narration concludes this set of parameter.

قَالَ تَعُدُّونَ أَنْتُمُ الْفَتْحَ فَتْحَ مَكَّةَ، وَقَدْ كَانَ فَتْحُ مَكَّةَ فَتْحًا، وَنَحْنُ نَعُدُّ الْفَتْحَ بَيْعَةَ الرُّضْوَانِ يَوْمَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ‏.‏

Do you (people) consider the conquest of Mecca, the Victory (referred to in the Qur’an 48:1). Was the conquest of Mecca a victory? We really consider that the actual Victory was the Ar-Ridwan Pledge of allegiance which we gave on the day of Al-Hudaibiya (Sahih Bukhari)

The implication of the victory itself actually lies within the companions. The best victory of all is the companions. They were the best results of the Prophet’s teaching. Their discipline has overcome their own fiery rage in order to follow the Prophet’s command. Even when in Hudaibiyah, knowing the treaty that has been signed by the Prophet, they were in chaos. They were anticipating the dream of the day when they can go to Makkah peacefully, and yet they need to ward-off and signing an “unfair” treaty. When the Prophet told them to shave their head and sacrifices their animals which signify the end of their pilgrimage, they were in one period of silence. This is the first time they did not follow the commands as soon as possible. They act until the Prophet shaved his heads and sacrificed his animals. It is amazing that they at least did follow the Prophet after all the fiery moments in Hudaibiyah!

Upon all features happened in Hudaibiyah, the most notable is how the companions react at the end of the day. Their disciplined let them overcome their rage. The victory is not about overcome the city of Makkah. It is all about the companions. The companions itself is the sign of the victory.

notes:

  1. The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (Arabic: صلح الحديبية) was an important event that took place during the formation of Islam. It was a pivotal treaty between Muhammad, representing the state of Medina, and the Quraish tribe of Mecca in March 628 (corresponding to Dhu al-Qi’dah, 6 AH). [from Wikipedia]
  2. Ahzab (أحزاب) means alliance, parties, particularly this term refers to the Quraish and other tribes who Joint Forces in an alliance attacked the Prophet in Madina in the Battle known as ‘Battle of the Ditch’ (غزوة الخندق) and also ‘Battle of the Joint Forces’ (غزوة الأحْزاب).
  3. Fath Makkah often refers to the victory of the Muslims upon opening the city of Makkah. Fath (فتح) itself literally means to remove a lock so the door can be open. It can also mean a removal of sadness in Arabic phrase.
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Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Science

Knowledge is (not) Power

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded? (QS. 45:23)

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To the best of our knowledge, modern human has been living for roughly 100,000 years, only a tiny fraction of 4.5 Billion years that the earth has been around, and yet our impact, to a certain extent, is significant. We may conclude for a long period of time, the inhabitants of the earth are mostly unintelligent beings. Thus, some say that we, human are now separated from other species because of this so-called intelligence. In Abrahamic Faith, all of the religion agreed that Adam was given the knowledge of the names. Hence, he know to use terms as implies within names.

Most researchers today believe that all of the human accomplishment such as farming, foraging, creating societies, and so on, were the product of a revolution in Homo Sapiens’ cognitive abilities. What caused these new ways of thinking and communicating? Researchers argue that genetic mutations changed the inner wiring of the brain, and thus enabling them to come up with new ways of thinking and communicate it with a new type of language. This ability showcase what human are capable of.

As implies within the creation of Adam and what is his best feature, we can conclude that the knowledge and its potential lies within every human being, whether you are creationist or evolutionist. But, let’s not discuss that for now.

Human minds progressed and shape our civilization today, the so-called “Scientific Revolution” era. During this period of time humankind has obtained enormous powers by investing resources in scientific research. It is a revolution because the world obtained enormous medical, military, and economic powers.

But, most people in average having problems digesting modern science. College students having difficulties solving their calculus homework, or how to build their science project. Out of billions of people, how many really understand quantum physics, molecular biology, and macroeconomics? Science nevertheless enjoys immense prestige. Leaders of the world may not understand nuclear physics in detail, but they do know what nuclear bomb is and how catastrophic it may become.

In 1602, Francis Bacon published a scientific manifesto titled, The New Instrument. In that manifesto, he argued that ‘Knowledge is Power’. The real use of knowledge is not whether it is true or not, but whether it empowers us or not. Bacon connects science and technology, and this connection flourishes in the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Having all said that, science at the end of the day is unable to set its own priorities and incapable of determining what to do with its own discoveries. It is merely tools to be utilized.

Even one of the pioneer of the scientific method in our era, British philosopher, logician, and Nobel Prize Winner, Bertrand Russell said, “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” Love and knowledge. If having knowledge is considered as having power then it should be accompanied by principle or moral. It might mislead humankind and brought them to an end.

Human desire is at every cause of war and terror that our world has witnessed. Quran (Look up QS 45:23 in the beginning) called that desire or هوي (hawa) with an original literal meaning “to drop, fall, tumble, fall down, sink, etc.” Hence, any people who follow their desire (lust), as in this meaning, will fall or in this case (Quran) let the people blindly go astray with sealing in their ears and hearts. Even for the person with knowledge (علم).

Sometimes we are having difficulties in separating knowledge as in classical text (hard knowledge) and having “knowledge”. Having a lot of Hadith recitation might not be considered as knowledge if the person did not apply it. Having plenty of information about Islam doesn’t make a person wise.

Imam Malik enlighten us with his saying,

“Knowledge does not refer to plenty of information; rather, knowledge is a light that Allah puts into the heart of a true believer.”

Knowledge is depicted as light from Allah, while the light itself symbolizes hope, a guidance, that will guide us in our darkest moments. Interestingly, the word “knowledge” itself, علم (‘ilm/knowledge) is unique. If you flip the last two letters it will become عمل (‘amal/action), and if you flip the word, it will form لمع (lama’/shine, brilliance).

In Islam, this knowledge that you gain needs to be applied, so that you can gain understanding and be able to become a brilliant person with Allah’s help. The light penetrates the heart of the believer so that he aware of his existence and what needs to be done between him and his Master, and thus taking action in which makes the person shine. What is exactly the light that can penetrate the heart? That light, I can argue, is the Quran, sent down from Allah.

Human desire problem is so deep and complicated. Any knowledgeable and wise person might have fallen because of it. Let it be in politics, economics, or sciences. Everyone might succumb.

They must complete the equation that prescribed before. Let the Quran speak and act as a light. Knowledge is a light that illuminates civilization through the heart of believers. Having plentiful information about Islam is not the same as having knowledge. Having scholarly debates sometimes not considered gaining knowledge if they are following their ego and desire.

Let Allah guide us through His knowledge to act as humanity’s beacon of light.  

References

  1. Harari, Yuval Noah., Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harvill Secker, 1st edition, 2014
  2. Michio Kaku (videos: on the Evolution of Intelligent)
  3. Mohammed Ghilan excerpt in his videos
  4. Dictionary: ejtaal.net
  5. Quran: legacy.Quran.com
Posted in Philosophy

Spell of Illusion

Looking back at 2016 made me realize something. My colleague once told me about career and passion. Which one do you choose, pursuing your career through passion or following any career that might compensate you well?

These choices made me thinking through about life and my personal thought on its view.

Then, came this question: What defines “you”??

Do we know ourselves? Do we pay attention to details on ourselves?
Are we defined because of our jobs? Are we defined because of our roles or position?

The problem is that sometimes we cast on ourselves “spell of illusion”. We create an illusion on ourselves, that we are so sure our personal definition is already defined. Yet we are still in progress, or even worse, we do not know where we are headed to.

Sometimes we are instilling in fear when choosing something that decisive. These fears might switch you from active into passive, from doing your passion to doing for what it is, anything that compensates. These fears made you believe all of your illusion as a reality. We create our own reality in many ways. Thus, all of these reducing your “activation energy” to the point where you are held as a prisoner by your mind.

This is where we are going to be caged by our daily activity, our routine, our “spell of illusion”

How do you live your life wide open, yet at the same time hold onto your very own core principle?

It is a learned discipline. It can be taught. It can be self-practiced. Live like a lifelong learner. Always learning something new, something unique that it is so related to yourself as a whole.

My personal advice to get it through: “Hold yourself accountable for every moment, thought and detail. See beyond your own fears. Recognize your own assumption. Harness your strength. Silence your internal critic. Correct your misconception about success. Accept your strength and your weaknesses, both, simultaneously.”

Your fears. your critics. your heroes. your villain. All of it. They are just your excuses. Rationalization. Justification. Your surrender. They are fictions you perceived as reality. They are your “spell of illusion” that might hold you back.

I had precious moments in 2016. Deliberately challenging, exhausting, yet I am so passionate to pursue my goals. By Allah’s will, there are so many accomplishments.

I believe, personally, that we are defined by our vision. It is not a matter of career only. Look inside, do you have visions of your own self?

Every great man in ancient times mastering many subjects altogether. While we are, today, only focused on what we learn in college, or formal education to be precise. In the past, a few hundred years ago, there are medical doctors who wrote history, philosophers who wrote medical science, and so on, and so forth.

I realize that these men are pursuing not only for themselves, they pursuing of the impact that might happen. That pursuit is because of the vision they had. This is the reason. I believe.

So many things that can be remembered from 2016.

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My last moment as an Indonesia Student Association (PPI)-Taiwan President before elected as a chairman of Indonesia Diaspora Network in Taiwan.
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2015-2016 Asia-Oceania Indonesian Student Association Committee. Invited as a moderator in the symposium. 
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Elected as a new International Muslim Student Association’s President and delivered a talk in 2016 General Summit.
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Invited as a speaker for GGC Indonesia’s Theme night.

 

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Learning Arabic through Bayyinah Access program
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Family trip in Taiwan at last!
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Our team managed to win the first prize of the Business Plan competition. One of my dreams is to build a start-up company. Our apps: halal.tw 
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Indonesia-Taiwan public discussion, collaboration work between Indonesia Diaspora Network in Taiwan and Indonesia Economic and Trade Office
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Because of our winning, we made it to the local newspaper. For more info: News link
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On the day before my birthday, my paper got published

This is my memories. I believe that Allah has been given us moments to be remembered so we can learn from it. We can be anything we want if we had an intention, focus and real efforts. Whatever your imagination projected in your mind, be it jobs, careers, hobby, name all of it. You can be all of it. The question is do we live up our vision as we project what we want to be into our mind? Do we take real actions?

Free your “spell of illusion” and take action.

In conclusion, “It is what you do that defines you.” -Batman-

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For what 2016 has offered: be grateful.

الحمد لله على كل حال

Welcome, 2017!

 

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Honoring (him)

To most people, their parents and children are the most beloved people to them. If anyone was to try and harm any of them, it is expected that they would get upset and immediately jump to the defense of their honor. We get rushed into action.

For Muslims, the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is dearer than anyone else even ourselves. In fact, there are people nowadays that would trade everything just to see him visit them in their dreams. But then, how we honor him?

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He is the one who we believe was sent as a Mercy. He is the one who we are indebted to for the message of peace that he came with. Yet, somehow his speech, more notably the hadith has been misused by some people.

People read the Quran and read the hadith, but all too often they read it selectively, taking phrases out of context. People just use it for whatever point they want to make. They come to it with their own mind and look for the verses (ayah) or hadith to confirm what they want to hear.

The Quran was not a shopping list for the good of life. Muslims need to stand back for a panoramic view of the text. Furthermore, hadith, which contains many Prophets speech and action, should not be misused, i.e. taking the phrase out of the real context [1]. These two (Quran and hadith) linguistically are different as a whole.

The Prophet ﷺ speech were used in his specific time, including the language and culture. There is remarkable consistency in his style of speech if we observe closely. One of the research nowadays concludes that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used certain language which structurally different with the Quran. This research counts specific words that were used in hadith, how the structure is, etc, and later compare these findings with the Quran.

The end result from this research is the two book (Quran and hadith) are coming from two different sources!

Regarding the style of his speech, Prophet ﷺ often used hyperbole in hadith [2]. He used the words best and worst to describe something. “The best deeds are….. The worst from people is….” In each of hadith, the description may or may not the same! This is how Prophet ﷺ said. The possibility is that it depends on the objects, with whom the Prophet ﷺ talked to? Or these things is the most amongst you can do, at least.

Another point of the Prophet ﷺ language is when he making a point, he used the language of Zajr (Rebuking). The Prophet was once said to burn the house for someone who did not come to Masjid, the question is did he burn the house?

لَيَنْتَهِيَنَّ رِجَالٌ عَنْ تَرْكِ الْجَمَاعَةِ أَوْ لأُحَرِّقَنَّ بُيُوتَهُمْ

‘Let men desist from failing to attend the congregation, otherwise, I will burn their houses down.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah [3])

Sometimes also Prophet ﷺ says a thing like, “Whoever does this and that are not amongst us…” Does it mean that kind of activity will remove our Muslim identity? No, of course not.

Muslim scholars define that as Kufr al-Asghar action. It means that only the action itself represents the kufr activity. It is a different term from “Kufr” as in disbelievers. This approach should not be in a literal meaning.

Honoring our Messenger is not only about our action, it is also about our attitude. What is the Quran do to adjust the attitude of believers to the Prophet ﷺ?

The Quran gave him a rank nobody had not been enjoyed, he was honored so much, that there was a danger that people might end up worshipping him [4]. In order to counter that act the Quran needs to say:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” [QS. 18:110]

In our daily life, when you are close to someone, the more casual you will be. Imagine the life of Prophet ﷺ when he was appointed as The Messenger of Allah. All of the people, including the people who are close to him, is hold respect to him by saying this word: “قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ” not “قَالَ فلنٌ” or any casual saying when narrated his speech. All of these things are recorded as we learn our hadith tradition. This is our attitude in order to honor our messenger  ﷺ.

In conclusion, the nature of our Prophet’s legacy is fiercely contested by a vast majority of Muslim and non-Muslim, each of those sides was impacted greatly.

It is as the famous philosopher in the early 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal says: “You can deny God, but you cannot deny Muhammad.”

It depends on our attitude in honoring him. صل على محمد

Check out this song and its lyrics: محمد نور

Some of its lyrics:
يا ربي بالمصطفى بلغ مقاصدنا واغفر لنا ما مضى يا واسع الكرم
محمد نور محمد نور مديحو زاد فينا سرور
مشي فينا بدرب النور
محمد نور
محمد نور
يا رسول الله سلام عليك يا عظيم الجاه والكرم
References
  1. Power, Carla, If the Oceans Were Ink: an Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, Holt Paperbacks, 1st ed, 2015.
  2. From one of the lectures of Dr. Jonathan A.C. Brown, author of the book: Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy
  3. Sunan Ibn Majah Book 4, Hadith 61.
  4. From the history, many prophets and great men being worshiped as God.
Posted in Book Review, Culture, Philosophy

Trivium: Secret Art of Learning

Etymologically, the latin word of “Trivium” means “the place where the roads meet.” The elements within the Trivium represent a crossroads or intersection where the public meets [1]. We would call it a public square, where public meets to discuss or chit-chat the usual topics of the day: How was the weather? How was the harvest? And so on and so forth.

We used to say that people who excel at remembering common experience and knowledge are good at trivia. Trivia is at the center of everyday knowledge.

The term Trivium was comprised grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These three elements were essential to a classical education.

Grammar teaches the mechanics of language to the student. This is the step where the student “comes to terms”. It can be divided into two: technical and exegetical grammar. Learning sentence structure (subject, verb, and object) is technical while learning the meaning and its nuance is exegetical.

Logic is the mechanics of thought and of analysis: identifying fallacious arguments, removing contradictions, thereby producing factual knowledge. Logic directs and guides us after the truth. It leads us to conclusions based on our knowledge. We use all of our faculties of conceiving, judging, reasoning, and disposing of questions before us. Logic trains the mind to think clearly. Dialectics is the term used to describe critical thinking. We observe the world. As we see patterns, we begin to make predictions and convey it to our action plans.

Rhetoric is the application of language in order to instruct and persuade the reader or listener. Sometimes we thought that rhetoric is unimportant as a meaningless throw-away line. Rhetoric is important: it has substance. Rhetoric adds force and elegance to our thoughts. It is essential for the study of law and regulations. Ancient Romans used to learned to speak in public with fluency. Even pre-Islamic Arabs used to read poetry in public and challenge the other poets.

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The representation image of Trivium in the middle ages (from Wikipedia)

 

Grammar, rhetoric, and logic are the trivium, or first three, of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences [2]. Some would say The Trivium is the three arts of language pertaining to the mind. Logic is the art of thinking; grammar, the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance [3]. Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric can be described as Input, Process, and Output.

The whole of the Trivium, in fact, was intended to teach the student the proper use of the tools of learning. First, he learned how structure in language was put together, and how it worked. Secondly, he learned to use language; how to define his terms and make accurate statements; how to construct an argument and how to detect fallacies in it. Thirdly, he learned to express himself in language elegantly and persuasively. This whole teaching system arguably is now crumbled, because we are too much focusing on the “subjects” itself, hence obsessed with the results from science, technology or any subjects [4].

Learning these three elements in Trivium will shape us into a formidable force in the world. These are the most powerful tools that human beings have. Luther King knew them, Malcolm X knew them, both of them moved large numbers of people and nation.

Prophet s. is the most logical, grammatically correct and rhetorically effective human being that ever lived. He moved one-sixth of humanity because of that. This is why they are so important in our civilization.

Freemasons up until now are obsessed with the Seven Liberal Arts. Freemasons is a network of very powerful people around the world and they know this tools very well. They are learning seven liberal arts to shape themselves to become a better man in masonry [5].

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Winding Stairs, one of the common symbolism in Freemasonry. There are 12 steps, the first 5 are human senses, the second 7 representing the school of learning (Seven Liberal Arts)

Some civilizations though kept these knowledge hidden, some sort of secret arts. They do not want these arts known widely among mankind. Because these arts will free people and not let others think for them. They will be liberated. 

We can see through people lacking in this knowledge if we have mastered it. There is a lot of gaps to fill in the case of President debates in the United States nowadays compare with two or three decades ago. Mastering this knowledge means increased in literacy capacity [6].

In debates, a good argumentation should be delivered well. There are certain things that need to look at, the usage of rhetoric might be a missed hit if the content was not elaborated enough or the method of rhetoric is not well-delivered. The worst scenario is the usage of foul language when someone cornered. This is when debates getting ugly.

Foul language was what people that didn’t have words resorted to. When you lose the ability to speak out of frustration you begin to use foul language. Breakdown of language leads to violence. Wars occur because of breakdowns in communication. Later maybe developing an article explaining language and communication might be a good idea.

Simply put, mastering all three of these elements, you can move masses and nations. But if not properly used, wars will be triggered. Careful with your words.

إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْفِتَنَ فَإِنَّ اللِّسَانَ فِيهَا مِثْلُ وَقْعِ السَّيْفِ

“Beware of tribulations, for at that time the tongue will be like the blow of a sword.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium
  2. Trivium is one-third of the total seven, the rest are called Quadrivium: Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy)
  3. Joseph, Sister Miriam (2002). The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric. Paul Dry Books, Inc.

  4. Sayers, Dorothy L., (1947). The Lost Tools of Learning. an essay presented at Oxford University.
  5. http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artjan02/marcus/sevenliberalartsandsciences.htm
  6. Adler, Mortimer J and van Doren, Charles, How to Read a Book, 1972 ed. (see my article: https://imanadipurnama.com/2016/07/27/art-of-reading/
Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy

People Come and Go

“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.” -Nicholas Sparks, The Rescue-

Nothing last forever. People come. People go. Things always change. We are living in the era where the information is so abundantly massive, but only a few of us can transform that information into knowledge.

We are living where things changing in a fraction of seconds. Civilization greatly evolved in recent decades. Our surrounding may change, whether the people or just the environment.

Some people can make a difference in your life and open you up to new opportunities, and others can take you down the wrong paths. While some may disagree with you. They may leave because of that disagreement. It can be our friends, colleagues or even part of the families. It is part of the cycle of the universe itself.

The cycle goes. People come. People go.

One of the challenges for an institution living in this era is innovation and how to maintain it. Without innovation, an institution won’t survive, because people always change and the world evolved greatly in many ways!

People may leave because of disagreement on something. The problem is, “Do they understand what they are disagreeing?”

Human always hates what they don’t understand. Scientific method which rose nowadays tried to tackle the problem. An assumption, Hypothesis, Experimentation to form an evidence, Data Analysis, Conclusion, and the cycle goes on. Thesis and Anti-Thesis. All of these terms refer to a scientific language. What they are demanding is “evidence”. That process established a theory and thus gave birth to certain knowledge.

There are several terms in the Quran regarding evidence, but we will not discuss that. Instead, emphasizing on our behavior when we pursue knowledge. Before digging and learning in-depth about something, sometimes we feel gaining knowledge in a significance way. In truth, the longer we spent on cultivating our own knowledge, we know only a little, or in a worst case, we know nothing.

We should learn patience in pursuing knowledge or anything that will benefit us. We should learn how to refrain ourselves from passing judgement and arriving at a shallow conclusion. Something that young people notably has today. They tend to ask for evidence and the right answer immediately!

It is natural for people who couldn’t refrain themselves in this pursuit will be leaving!

As for my personal thought, the evidence in which Allah will be presenting is depended on our attitude when pursuing knowledge. Certainty (الْيَقِينُ) will appear when we strive the Truth in humbleness and sincere worship, not in arrogance way. Humans tend to rush to judgement and shallow analysis. One of the human traits.

وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ

And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty [QS. 15:99]

People come and go, and Allah knows best.

Posted in Culture, Philosophy

Death, Loneliness, and Agony

It was in summer last year. It was the day I was waiting for. Surely, my achievement, all these years particularly, was at its pinnacle. I was with my colleagues, discussing every issue which is, for us, had a significant impact on our country.

It was in Singapore, where I had a chance meeting up the other Indonesian Students who study abroad. We had fun. As the day turns into night I am still clueless.

Before it all happened, my father was gravely ill since the end of the year of 2014. He was in bed in for almost sixth months. Slowly he lost his memory, he even can’t communicate. “It was his lungs that affected his brain and his nerve.” The doctor said. The hospital already provides the best doctors in their respective field. But the disease is too much for him.

Just before my departure, he regained his health. Only a little, though. His heart was in good condition. Therefore he can go through another treatment for his internal organ. I was in doubt, whether I take my flight or not to go to Singapore. But later on, I decided to go after got permission from my mother.

It was the same night in Singapore. Past midnight. Around 1 AM. In that particular time when I was in my room, there was a message on my phone. Two messages precisely. My father just passed away that night. The day just ended like that. It shifting all the feelings that I had just before.

It was on 7th August. It was the month of independence in Indonesia, yet I feel empty. Shallow. The time moves slowly. Time dilation maybe, as relativity theory named it, and it made me feel alone. Then I went back to my country, visited his grave, and days after days passing by. I went back to Taiwan to continue my study.

Suddenly in the middle of the night on the month of October, I had a dream. It was so powerful that I can’t get rid of my head until now. It is still ringing clearly.

It was my father that appeared in my dream, wearing his usual dress. He walks in and stood in front of me. A few words he was trying to say, “I am sorry for everything.” He cried and put his hands on my shoulder and then hugged me softly. My legs then feeling numb, and I am kneeling down. Then his image faded, disappearing into the light. All the visual vanish, and I woke up from the dream.

death tunnel
Walk into the light (from huffingtonpost.com)

My mind recollecting the fragments from the past. It brings all memory together. Bitter, sweet and joyous one. I know my interactions with him has always been weird. Rather, it was fueled by feuds and conflicts. Agony.

Ah, memories. Sometimes it brings sadness and hate, even regret. Although, there is a good thing about memories. It showed us who we are in an honest way. It is true that our memories contain our past experience. Simply, memory is all that a person can remember. It is always been there. Always.

What is left from the dead was their memories we shared. All pieces of it.

Aging and die. The cycle goes on. The old Sherlock Holmes in the movie “Mr. Holmes” do realize what the word “alone” is really about when he encounter his very last case.

As I quote when Mr. Holmes talks to his suspect,

“The dead are not so very far away. They are just on the other side of the wall. It is us on this side who are alone.”

A tribute to my father. (October 13th, 1949 – August 7th, 2015)

Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raaji’un