BJ Habibie

Bapak BJ Habibie has truly been an eternal inspiration for us. He’s the model for how a Muslim in the post modern world should be. His mind-set has always been as a problem solver, professional, and leader by heart. He has inspired us that we’re able. We’re capable. He will always be remembered as a good Muslim who continuously work hard for his people. His great legacy will always be continued, and insyaallah, with upcoming rewards from Allah swt in the hereafter. Now it’s our turn. It’s our time. Let us also be a problem solver, optimist, hard worker, contributor, and inspiring human being as he has always been. Barokallahu’alaik Pak Habibie.

Our life mission

Status

When Rasulullah SAW was sent by Allah SWT more than 1400 years ago, the people around him was in jahiliyah state; they worshiped idols, wealth, status, etc. Nowadays, the world is definitely in a much modern state, yet the state of the time is still the same as 1400 years ago. People still worship idols, wealth, status, etc. What a progress that Islam had made since the revelation of Qur’an until the set back which then brought the world back to the jahiliyah state.

Realizing this, we should be aware that our life mission is definitely to continue this message (risalah). We may live in a different set of time with Rasulullah SAW; but our life mission is unchanged; we live to spread the tauhid, that is there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is his messenger. Thus, we may be a doctor, an economist, an accountant, merchant, farmer, etc., but still, our main role is da’i, i.e. those who call for tauhid. Let’s not be deceived by Syaithan with worldly orientation which will separate us away from Allah swt and our life mission.

The Secret Recipe: Al-Qur’an

Alhamdulillahirabbil’alamin, all thanks to Allah who has instilled guidance in our heart. In this moment I would like to assert one ni’mah (blessing) that Allah has given to our life. What is it? It is the Al Qur’anul Kariim. Here are some description of Qur’an by Allah. I really hope, after reading this description we would be more eager to interact with, memorize, understand, and practice Al-Qur’an.

  • Al-Qur’an is the book in which there’s no doubt in it; it is the guidance for those who fear Allah. Allah said, “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.” (QS 2:2).
  • Al-Qur’an is the book which assert the previous books; as the guidance as well as delivering good news to the believers. Allah said, “by permission of Allah , confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers.” (QS 2:97).
  • Al-Qur’an is the law by which we decide our affairs. Allah said, “Indeed,  We  have  revealed  to  you,  [O  Muhammad],  the  Book  in  truth  so  you  may  judge between  the  people  by  that  which Allah has  shown  you.  And  do  not  be  for  the  deceitful an  advocate.” (QS 4:105).
  • Al-Qur’an is a clear light which shows the right path. Allah said, “O  mankind,  there  has  come  to  you  a  conclusive  proof  from  your  Lord,  and  We  have sent  down  to  you  a  clear  light.” (QS 4:174).
  • Al-Qur’an is the lesson; healing for what inside our heart; guidance and rahmat for the believers. Allah said, “O  mankind,  there  has  to  come  to  you  instruction  from  your  Lord  and  healing  for  what is  in  the  breasts  and  guidance  and  mercy  for  the  believers.” (QS 10:57).

These are several description from Allah swt on Al-Qur’an. As long as we try to be closer to Allah with Qur’an and sincerely look for guidance, insyaallah, insyaallah Allah will give us the guidance.

Morning thought

Alhamdulillah, segala puji bagi Allah swt yang senantiasa memberi petunjuk dan cahaya; cahaya bagi hati dan pikiran sehingga kita bisa memaknai sesuatu melebihi apa yang tampak oleh mata. Below are some thought atau lebih tepatnya lintasan pikiran which arise.

  • On the essence of our presence in this earth. Kita, manusia, adalah wakil Allah di muka bumi. In this sense, kita berkewajiban mengelola dan memakmurkan bumi. In another dimension, sebagai wakil-Nya, kita harus senantiasa tunduk, patuh, dan berserah diri kepada-Nya; karena memang, kita hanyalah wakil, yang sejatinya tidak memiliki apa-apa. Sangat celakalah orang yang lupa diri, yaitu orang yang berbuat kerusakan di muka bumi, seperti tidak menegakkan keadilan, corrupt, merusak lingkungan, dll; serta celaka jugalah orang yang menyombongkan diri atau ingkar pada Allah. Mereka boleh jadi a ‘good’ person, namun sikap tidak mempercayai Allah dan mengingkarinya merupakan penyimpangan atas peran seorang wakil. Mati kita menjadi seorang wakil (khalifah) sejati: orang yang memakmurkan bumi, namun juga taat pada Allah.
  • On social life. Jadilah orang yang mudah diterima; mudah beradaptasi; dan lovable. Ini adalah syarat bagi seorang da’i; but remember, selalu-lah berpegang pada petunjuk Allah dan sunnah Rasulullah karena dengannya kita akan tahu the red line. Hilangkanlah pre-judice. Jadilah the light of hidayah; just think, how Rasulullah saw would react and behave on something that we;re dealing with.
  • On worldly affairs. Jangan terjebak oleh rutinitas dunia yang semu. Jika kita mengejar dunia maka ia akan lari hingga kita akan terus-menerus mengejarnya. Kejarlah akhirat, kita akan mendapatkannya beserta dunia. Jadikanlah orientasi dan kalkulasi hidup kita berdasarkan pertimbangan akhirat. Dunia hanyalah sarana untuk menuju Allah. Jika apa yang kita lakukan saat ini tidak berguna untuk akhirat kita, maka tinggalkanlah ia atau perbaikilah ia.

Wallahu’alam.

Politics and education

High cost politics has caused high cost economy; this is understandable. But the fact high cost politics also lowered the input for growth, namely educated-skilled labor, is something that is often missing in discussion.

The Educating the World episode of Al-Jazeera below showed how a corrupt government and business community has prevented access to education in Afghanistan and other countries. The lack of political will is also reflected in less than one percent education spending over GDP in these countries. It is true that security and cultural reason plays significant role in Afghan poor education level; but in many other countries, existence of security goes hand in hand with minimum focus on education. Most leaders know that education is important, but probably they don’t care.

I haven’t study politics thus don’t really know which political system which works. Is it the social democratic system in Nordic countries? I also still don’t know how a governmental system or political system should be in Islam; especially pertaining to this 21st century where we have seven billion people of which close to two billion are Muslim, thus very different from population that we had in Madinah back then. Or is it not a question on political system, as semi-autocratic country like Singapore and democratic country like the US can both be developed?

Or is it the question about improving the aqidah of the people, due to the fact that people with a good aqidah would stay away from corrupt behavior and other noble traits, thus we’ll have good people and good leaders? But isn’t it that will not happen as the devil will continuously disorient people from the straight path? Probably I shouldn’t be this pessimistic; but clearly, a role model on a modern-Islamic country is needed.

Need to learn more on this issue.

As we grow up

As we grow up, our mind gets matured. The way we see things; the way we understand things. In Islam, I think Allah hinted that it (maturity) is usually when we reached 40 years old (see QS Al-Ahqaf: 15). Indeed, Prophet Muhammad SAW received the first revelation when he was 40 years old. Nonetheless, I think to understand the religion, and partly the life, it shouldn’t take that long. From the first and two generation afterwards in Islamic history, we know many Islamic heroes were also those who were in early 20s, some are even younger. In Islam, as long as someone’s heart, mind, and tongue get matured, then he’s in.

I believe this maturity should be or be reflected in the way we understand and practice Islam as the way of life. Let’s take Sholat as an example. When we were child, maybe we just memorized the supplication and other prayer’s reading without understanding its meaning and insights; but, as we grow up, we should understand and able to internalize all of these supplications. One example is in Al-Fatihah. It is definitely, absolutely not a coincidence that the surah or chapter in Qur’an that we read repeatedly-in every raka’ah of our sholah is Al-Fatihah. This is the essence of the religion and the summary of the Qur’an.

At the beginning of Al-Fatihah, we openly and immediately admit that we’re extremely grateful to Allah, the Lord or the world (Alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alamin). Why? because He’s entirely merciful and especially merciful (Arrahmanirrahim); and then Allah reminds us, that this life is only the life in this world; rather, there will be the real life, in which we’ll be given rewards and punishment from what we did in this life. Allah said, He is indeed the sovereign of the day of recompense (Maa likiyaumiddin). As the logical consequence, we submit and worship Allah as well as asking for help to Him alone (Iyyakana’budu wa iyyaka nasta’in).

Then, here we go, Allah taught us, if there’s only one request or supplication to Allah, then what should it be? Allah taught us to ask for guidance to the straight path (Ihdinasshiratal mustaqim) because indeed, day by day, we’re confronted with so many things: options, temptation, etc.; thus we definitely need guidance from Allah. Allah then proceed to teach us on how to make du’a or supplication, that is to be specific. Then we have this attachment to the du’a: “..The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.”

The fact, that here we clearly specify in our du’a that we want the path of those who got ni’mah or favor from Allah, should make us think, who are these people? Who are these people who got the ni’mah. Right away, we come into realization that they’re the Prophet and all of the sholihin, of which the path that they chose was the path of da’wah. This should make us realize that Allah wants us to do da’wah, the path of those who got ni’mah from Allah.

Then Sholat is on and on. All movements and supplication in sholat are just amazing. We should really try to internalize it, so that we can be a better person from one sholat to another; from one time to another time until we’re back to Allah.

Let me close this post by stressing our supplication in tasyahud akhir. Do we realize that we, as a Muslim, at least, declare syahadah nine times in a day? Syahadah, as know, is an extremely powerful short-concise sentence; that is a declaration that Allah is the only God, the only priority, intention, and goal in our life; and that Prophet Muhammad is His messenger thus should be referred in any aspect of His life where applicable. Again, by declaring this at least nine times in a day, 365 days in a year, we should be reminded that this life is only for Allah and that whatever He asked us to do should be the priority of our life. Wallahu’alam; May Allah always guides and gives us hidayah.

Indahnya hidup di bawah naungan Islam

Tidak terasa, insyaallah, sembilan hari lagi studi saya di Tokyo akan selesai, which means saya akan segera kembali ke Indonesia. Jika ada satu hal yang akan sangat saya rindukan nanti di Indonesia, maka itu adalah Mesjid Tokyo Jami’ beserta para jama’ahnya.

Walau kami jarang bercakap bersama, namun ada satu rasa yang berbeda, mungkin itulah getaran ukhuwah islamiyah. Saya sangat kagum pada para Jama’ah ini, meskipun hidup di lingkungan non-muslim, biarpun gelap, bersalju, panas, menempuh jarak yang jauh, mereka tetap datang. Tujuannya hanya satu, untuk menepati janji sebagai seorang Muslim, sholat berjama’ah di awal waktu.

Di bulan Ramadhan yang luar biasa ini, rasa ukhuwah itu semakin kuat. Berbuka bersama, tarawih bersama, mengaji bersama, dan ibadah-ibadah lainnya. Sedih sekali saat teringat akan berpisah; semoga Allah menerima ibadah kita, mengampuni dosa kita, dan memperkenankan kita berkumpul di surga nanti.

Tokyo Jami'

Tokyo Jami’

 

Inside the masjid

Inside the masjid

Taubat

Beberapa hari terakhir, tema siksa kubur; siksa akhirat, dan taubat sangat lekat di pikiran saya. Berawal dari membaca hadits berikut.

Dari Ibnu Abbas Radhiyallahu ‘anhuma, ia berkata: Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam melewati dua buah kuburan. Lalu Beliau bersabda,”Sungguh keduanya sedang disiksa. Mereka disiksa bukan karena perkara besar (dalam pandangan keduanya). Salah satu dari dua orang ini, (semasa hidupnya) tidak menjaga diri dari air kencing. Sedangkan yang satunya lagi, dia keliling menebar namiimah (adu domba).” (HR: Bukhari, dalam Fathul Baari: 1/317).

Saya sangat kaget saat membaca hadits tersebut. Jika tidak bersuci setelah buang air menyebabkan seseorang mendapat azab kubur, lalu bagaimana dengan dosa-dosa lainnya yang lebih besar?

Perasaan takut ini berlanjut saat membaca terjemahan QS Al-Haqqah. Saya merasa hopeless, sad, dan afraid. Sempat muncul pikiran, is it really the life that Allah wants Muslim to have? That is life which full with sadness and fear? I wish the answer is no. But then when I came upon the following hadits, my fear grew even more.

Surga dan neraka ditampakkan kepadaku, maka aku tidak melihat kebaikan dan keburukan seperti hari ini. Seandainya kamu mengetahui apa yang aku ketahui,
kamu benar-benar akan sedikit tertawa dan banyak menangis
”.

Anas bin Mâlik radhiyallâhu’anhu –perawi hadits ini- mengatakan, “Tidaklah ada satu hari pun yang lebih berat bagi para Sahabat selain hari itu. Mereka menutupi kepala mereka sambil menangis sesenggukan”. (HR. Muslim, no. 2359)

Saya merasa sangat sedih dan semakin takut. Kemudian saya bertemu dengan ayat berikut: 

Katakanlah: “Hai hamba-hamba-Ku yang malampaui batas terhadap diri mereka sendiri, janganlah kamu berputus asa dari rahmat Allah. Sesungguhnya Allah mengampuni dosa-dosa semuanya. Sesungguhnya Dialah Yang Maha Pengampun lagi Maha Penyayang. Dan kembalilah kamu kepada Tuhanmu, dan berserah dirilah kepada-Nya sebelum datang azab kepadamu kemudian kamu tidak dapat ditolong (lagi). Dan ikutilah sebaik-baik apa yang telah diturunkan kepadamu dari Tuhanmu sebelum datang azab kepadamu dengan tiba-tiba, sedang kamu tidak menyadarinya. (QS Az Zumar: 53-55).

Setelah membaca ayat ini saya merasa sedikit lebih tenang. Saya merasa, kita tidak boleh berputus asa dari rahmat Allah; rasa takut pada azab Allah, harus diimbangi dengan rasa harap akan rahmat-Nya. Pada ayat ini juga terdapat perintah untuk bertaubat, berserah diri pada Allah, dan mengikuti Al-Qur’an serta sunnah.

Taubat mensyaratkan tiga hal*: (1) Menyesal, (2) Berhenti dari dosa, dan (3) Bertekad untuk tidak mengulanginya. Taubat juga harus diiringi dengan memperbanyak amal ibadah, karena Allah mengatakan kebaikan itu menghapuskan kejahatan (QS Hud: 114). Semoga Allah mengampuni dosa-dosa kita dan memuliakan kita di hari akhir nanti.

*Dari artikel ‘Syarat Agar Taubat Diterima — Muslim.Or.Id

Start from ourselves

Indonesia should be a strong and self-sufficient country. That is one message which we can take from the recent conflict and sunk-ship of Myanmar Rohingya’s Muslim as well as financial difficulty experienced by Egypt due to its massive amount of gasoline subsidy; a financial difficulty which could ‘trap’ Egypt in IMF program.

Obviously, as Muslim, we really want to help them; and yes, some Islamic organizations from Indonesia have been able to channel humanitarian aid to Rohingya Muslim as well as financial aid from Qatar to Egypt. Nonetheless, clear enough the amount is not enough and we should make it a systematic way, rather than arbitrary help. In doing so, obviously, we need Islamic countries to be strong and self-sufficient.

I think it is quite clear already what make many recently-developed countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Korea, or even China became an economic powerhouse one. The excellent policy making (or public policy) in Singapore which practice Meritocracy, Professionalism, and Honesty (MPH); the strength of entrepreneurship and quality of institution (bureaucracy) in Japan, the quality of education in Korea and in many other countries, are very very clear and known by Indonesian leaders.

Maybe many of them are just ‘too dumb’ that they prioritize themselves over public service; or maybe they are ‘deceived too far’ by Syaithan which make them indifferent between evil and good deeds; or maybe the citizen should be blamed as well because they’re willing to be the victim of systemic crime by their leader.

However, there is apparently no need to emphasize who to blame. Let’s just focus to build this country together, in any capacity and talent that we have. A start from individual level means something when practiced by many. Furthermore, I also hope the movement, such as the emergence of da’wah kampus in many Indonesian universities-where young educated Indonesian dare to think beyond themselves and willing to be part of the solution-can be one of the systemic solutions to the problem.

Still, we can’t wait too long. We need to act now, to improve now. If our education system still deficient, how can we expect a quality generation in the next 20 years? If we’re so comfortable with importing many manufactured products (which account for 60% of Indonesia’s import), when would we be able to be self-sufficient and technologically-advanced? I really hope the upcoming election can bring the good-capable people into the policy making stage.

Let’s continue to work hard so that we’ll be able to build this country; so that the strong Indonesia, would be able to help many in-need Muslim countries. Let’s start this move towards excellence from ourselves. May Allah always guides and strengthen us. May Allah rewards our deeds with His forgiveness and jannah later. Insyaallah, bi-idznillah, everything is possible.

Alhamdulillah,, (2)

I think the feeling to be a Muslim is just indescribable. The feeling of worshiping Allah; the happiness under the guidance of Qur’an; the organized-life rhythm,  and many others, are just indescribable. In regards to ni’mat of having Qur’an. I totally agree with and can feel the nuance of what Syaikh Sayyid Qithud said in the introduction to his Tafsir fi Dzilalil Qur’an:

“Segala puji bagi Allah yang telah memberiku karunia dengan hidup di bawah naungan Al-Qur’an dalam suatu rentang waktu, yang kurasakan ni’matnya yang belum pernah kurasakan sebelumnya dalam hidupku. Kurasakan ni’mat ini dalam hidupku yang menjadikan usiaku bermakna, diberkahi, dan suci bersih.

Kutempuh hidup dengan kudengar Allah yang maha suci berbicara kepadaku dengan Al-Qur’an ini, padahal aku sejumput hamba yang kecil. Adakah penghormatan bagi manusia seperti penghormatan yang tinggi dan mulia seperti ini? Adakah pemaknaan dan peningkatan harkat usia seperti yang diberikan oleh Al-Qur’an ini? Kedudukan manakah yang lebih mulia yang diberikan oleh Pencipta Yang Maha Mulia kepada manusia?”

Betapa aku merasa sangat bahagia menjadi seorang Muslim. Allah, wafatkan lah aku dan keluarga ku dalam keadaan husnul khatimah. Allah, tempatkanlah kami di surga firdaus Mu,,

Alhamdulillah,, (1)

Bismillah,,

Aku sangat bersyukur berada pada jalan ini. Allah, terima kasih atas ni’mat-Mu yang begitu banyak. Aku sangat bersyukur berada pada jalan ini; bersama orang-orang yang punya semangat unutk berislam dengan baik dan menyiarkan nilai-nilai islam.

Aku sangat bersykur berada pada jalan ini. Bersama para ikhawah, pemuda-pemudi, yang tulus dan ikhlas di jalan da’wah. Allah, kami hanya mengharap keridhoan-Mu. Allah, kami berharap bisa melalui ujian di dunia ini bersama-sama para kekasih-Mu. Allah, kuatkan dan   ampunilah dosa-dosa kami.

Tokyo, selepas acara Golden Week KMII Jepang 2013

Man jadda wajada

I really appreciate an Arab’s quote: man jadda wajada; those who persevere will excel.

Undoubtedly, a lot of things to be improved in our country. Education, health, social challenges, and many others. The good news is we know what it takes to solve it: education. In addition, as noted earlier, one key in education process is perseverance. In Indonesian language, we call it bersungguh-sungguh or bekerja keras or willing to step take up for the challenges. Believing with this saying keep me optimistic in learning many things (read: difficult things) that I haven’t understand yet. I keep reminding myself, insyaallah, after a lot of works, I’ll understand and master it.

I remember my days in senior high school. I was very happy spending my time at the school’s library. Even though not many people really visiting the library, I was very happy to learn many things, discover many things, and aspiring for big things in the small library. Had it not because of such positive attitude, I think I won’t have big passion to strive and learn since my university period. Limitation in financial condition I believe won’t be big burden (even though to some extent it still is, as in Laskar Pelangi movie), as long as we have a strong will to learn, insyaallah, we’ll get there.

In developing a country, I think social scientist, such as economist, political scientist, and others are supporting tools. They are the one who will make sure a supportive environment or good social order so that innovation can flourish. Clear example is how the collapse of Rupiah (economics field) triggered great panic and profound negative impact to our country; but still, I think the main driving actors are natural scientist. I don’t know whether I understand it wrongly, but based on my observation, in Japan for example, the development is driven by advancement in science and technology. Again, in Japan’s case, many of Japan’s legendary companies such as Sony, Toyota, Hitachi, Panasonic and others, start from the scratch. With curiosity, spirit to help others and entrepreneurship, they were able to build such great companies. Thus the bottom line is continue to aspire bigger and higher; plus never give-up spirit, insyallah will achieve higher and bigger. I promise myself to be a great economist, the one who is able to manage this country’s economic policy process. I know I can’t do it alone, but I am determined that I’ve got to be one of the team. So set your target. May Allah always bless and guide us.

It’s just never enough to thank Allah

Alhamdulillah, all praises and thanks to Allah, the lord of the world; the one who has created us and this entire life. How I really feel that thanking Allah will just never enough; too many ni’mat that Allah has given to us. May we always be someone who always remember the ni’mat from Allah and are able to maximize it. May we also be someone who feel very dependent on Allah; yet at the same time understand that we have to work hard in all aspects in this life. May Allah always guide us in this life, to be someone who has big ‘amal (ahsanu ‘amala).

Best wishes for your activities!

Materialism

I think one of the central questions to be answered in addressing our problems nowadays is: are we worshiping money or worshiping God? Muslim is and should worshiping God. Indeed, materialism is the fundamental problem of our time. This was the case of people before us, such as Fir’aun, ‘Ad, Tsamud, etc., as explained in the Qur’an, unfortunately, it is still our problem right now. We are still repeating the same mistake. Why is this so? Is it just too tempting that we can’t control ourselves? Or should we just blame syaithan for their continuous effort in misleading us? Or maybe both? we (human) and syaithan worth the blame.

Allah said in Qur’an Surah Al-Imran ayah (verse) 14, Which means “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.”

So those are several materialistic things which are beautified in our eye as a test from Allah. Allah mentioned that what besides Allah are much much more better than this temporary-unsatisfactory things. Regarding syaithan’s role, Allah had also mentioned this in the Qur’an, when there was conversation between Allah and Syaithan. Qur’an surat Al-Hijr ayah 32-42 of which the translation is the following:

32: [ Allah ] said, O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?”

33: He said, “Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud.”

34: [ Allah ] said, “Then get out of it, for indeed, you are expelled.

35: And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense.”

36: He said,”My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.”

37: [ Allah ] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved

38: Until the Day of the time well-known.”

39: [Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all

40: Except, among them, Your chosen servants.”

41: [ Allah ] said, “This is a path [of return] to Me [that is] straight.

42: Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators.

I think from ayah (verses) above, we can clearly see that the one which can survive syaithan’s misguidance is the one that is chosen by Allah to be sincere (mukhlashin). It seems that then we are passive; because it is the chosen one. Nonetheless, the way I understand it is we have to work or move towards the guidance itself. In worldly life, when we want to get a pay rise or promotion from our boss, I believe we should show him that we’re worth of the bounty. Similar thing also applies here, I think. May we are among the mukhlashin and may Allah forgives all of our mistakes.

Another flash thought

Life is on and on. Different people get motivated by different reasons. Some are very driven by power-to be respected by people; some are driven by money; and some by love to others.

Apart from glamorous life, there are some people who live in a deprived condition. what an ironic life isn’t it? Some are just extravagantly live and spend their wealth, whilst some are trapped in poverty. And then the greed exacerbate the situation. The wealthiest are just never feel satisfied. Exactly as Allah said in the Qur’an, this worldly life is only mata’. In one of his lectures, Ustadz Nouman Ali  explain mata’ as something that we use, but we’ll never be satisfied with it.

I don’t care whether it sounds cliche or not. I really think that Islam is the only way of life. I’ve seen and interacted with people who are very smart, yet, live with no guidance and are only motivated by power and respect from others. I just thought, what a difficult life would that be, being dependent on people’s perception. But I guess that is the very thing that is exploited by many corporations, human’s tendency to conform with others. In economics, I think we called as bandwagon effect, increase in total demand due to conformity.

No body can do the reform alone. Either he/she will be tired by him/her self and then give up or he/she is ‘contaminated’ with the challenge. Being part of reformist movement, I think is a good start. Yet, just joining a group won’t solve the problem by itself. One also needs to continuously improve personal capacity. Closeness to Allah and knowledge I think is the two important personal homework.

Speaking about closeness to Allah, I think it can be achieved by improving our relationship with Qur’an. I firmly believe, the more we interact with Qur’an, which means we spend more time together with Qur’an, is the closer we will be with Allah. On knowledge, I believe there is nothing more important than reading and thinking. These are two things which are repeated often by Allah. The first ayat (verse) revealed was the instruction to read and in many occasion in Qur’an, Allah always say “Afala ta’qilun or Afala tatafakkarun” which means don’t they think? or don’t they use their ‘aqal?

In short, in personal basis, whatever our position or role is, reading Qur’an and reading book + thinking are the very stepping stone for success, insyaallah.

Can’t live without Allah

Betapa Allah merupakan Dzat yang terbaik yang kumiliki. Dzat yang dengan-Nya aku selalu tenang. Dzat yang kepada-Nya aku berharap bisa kembali dan bertemu nanti.

Allah telah memberi begitu banyak kesempatan-dan dengan ‘sabar’nya, Ia tetap memberikan hidayah dan petunjuk pada ku. Allah, saksikanlah, aku akan selalu berusaha untuk menjadi hamba terbaik, hamba yang engkau puji di kalangan malaikat-malaikat Mu.

Allah, bantulah kami agar kami selalu memiliki iman yang kuat, senantiasa ingat, bersyukur, dan beribadah dengan baik dan ikhlas kepada Mu.

Allah, berikanlah selalu hidayah dan kekuatan pada keluargaku dan sahabat-sahabat ku. Engkaulah pencipta langit dan bumi, serta Engkaulah pemimpin kami. Berkahilah hidup kami, wahai Allah.

Status

Has our democracy resulted a leader who has the vision for development? A leader who does not live extravagantly before its people become prosperous. Why unperformed leader can be elected for the second term? Are we lack of capable people or are our too dumb so that they elected a bad one? There must be something wrong with our democracy, or maybe, there’s something wrong with democracy itself.

Be the best

When I was sitting on the plane from Jeddah to Singapore, an Indonesian mother who sat beside me said a simple yet deep: “I always told my children that they have to be someone knowledgeable. A knowledgeable person are respected by other people”.

When I watched Al-Jazeera investigation on what killed yasser arafat, I just reflected why Muslims are very messy nowadays. In that documentary it seems clear that Yasser Arafat was poisoned. Besides, it was so strange how can Palestinian authority didn’t ask for autopsy. Moreover, we can see that President Bush priority/message at that time was to get new leader for Palestine. I can’t imagine how can a foreigner suggested a  country to elect new leader because their current leader is sick. Why should they get involved in other countries’ affair?

The bottom line is what Prophet Muhammad said hundred years ago: there will be a time when Muslim will be like a piece of meat snatched by dogs. The sahabah/companions asked why is that so? Is that because of the few number of Muslim? The Prophet replied, no, your number is huge at that time but it like foam on the ocean. It is because you love dunya/world and afraid of death.

It seems to be a very long way to go when we can see Muslim around the world are united, have one single voice. What we’re seeing now are just Messy Syiria, poverty in many Muslim countries, occupied Palestine, etc. There are many reasons to be pessimistic, but I believe we shouldn’t be so.

Linking to my first paragraph, I think the most possible thing that we can do individually now is to build or develop our own country. I am definitely believe when Muslim countries are prosperous individually, they will be more respected. Just like a knowledgeable people who are more respected in their community. One single example is Singapore. Singapore is just a small-tiny country, yet it can have a voice in international forum. Why? Partly is because it is a success story, people are respecting it.

As the conclusion, keep doing da’wah and acquire more knowledge so that we can be a prosperous good-muslim country is the solution that I can think of at the moment.

A bit Random

What is a special thing about picture below?

In the first sight, maybe there’s nothing special with this, but not for me. For me, this picture always reminds me how Indonesians really appreciate their leaders. It also always motivates me to make Indonesians always happy, just like the smile of that mother. Hope you also feel it. Let’s work together. As our president said, “Bersama kita bisa: together, we can”.

The trust

I hope this post can be a medium for discussion.

I would like to talk about trust between government and the citizens. I do really think that why we-Indonesia- recently witnessed such a big outcry when the government expressed their intention to reduce the huge fuel subsidy that we currently have, is because of lack of trust between the govt and the citizen. The reasons of reducing the fuel subsidy is way so clear. The world fuel price is rocketing, most of the subsidy is enjoyed by the rich, it is a very bad decision to spend a lot of money just for a consumptive activity, instead of investment, and many other reasons. But then why many of the citizens are still rejecting this proposal?

The suspicion, the fear that the government is not efficient, a lot corruption scandal,  a bad public service, and so on so forth, has eroded the public trust. Thus it is somehow understandable why the citizens are very reluctant to give more money to the government in form of less subsidy, more taxes, etc.

When the government can shows that they are trustworthy: they are using the money effective and efficiently, they are trying really hard to provide a good public service, they don’t live extravagantly, they’re approachable to the citizens, etc., then the citizen will support the government. I still clearly remember the story that to buy the first Indonesian airplane after the independence, women in Aceh collected their jewelries, all they have and gave it to the government so that the govt can buy a plane. That’s how trustful the relationship back then.

Then the question now, how do we think that the trust can built between the government and citizen, given the current context in Indonesia? Is it reasonable to expect that SBY’s cabinet will change suddenly after this, that their administration become cleaner; or it’s only possible in the next 20 or 30 years when we’ll have a better generation running the country; or is it just impossible to see that trust established in our society?

Somehow I’m a bit jealous to Singapore which its government seems to be very trustful to the society. When I saw the video of the current PM give a speech to the society, I can see how the PM really shows that they’re working hard for the citizens, and I can also see the trust from the citizen, despite some emerging opposition.

Finally, I do really hope that mahasiswa can be smarter. How can they’re opposing govt plan which obviously can help the poor. Even though the govt can’t be really trusted, we’ll never have a trust when we keep suspicious on each other. Let the govt increase the fuel price, then demand more budget transparency. It’s better to spend more energy to scrutinize the government, than protesting subsidy cut. Besides, have we ever pray for our leader? Their job is quite tough, it’s also our responsibility to pray for them.

What do you think?

Educate, educate, and educate!

The importance of education is felt in many areas of life. No wonder why Islam put education as a crucial aspect of religion.

Even though it seems a bit far to correlate education level with bureaucracy quality in a country, I firmly believe that it has a high correlation. Whenever we want our leader to make a change or reform towards bureaucracy which can deliver good services, we know that they will only do it if there is enough incentive to do it. One effective incentive in a ‘normal’ democracy is that the consequences of not be reelected. Public won’t reelect a leader or party who can’t deliver any good to them.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for a country like Indonesia, where democracy is practiced, but the education level of its society is relatively low. Only around 10% of Indonesia’s population get bachelor degree or higher. It is way so easy for any political parties to bribe many uneducated Indonesia, where on the other hand, the voice of the uneducated is treated the same with the voice of university professor.

In turn, the bad political party or a leader who is supposed to be punished by not being  reelected, get reelected (again). If we can’t cut this vicious cycle, then the hope a better Indonesia is quite absurd.

Thus, the effort is really is should be focused on improving nation’s education level. Only with a higher education level, the clean and ‘deliver’ bureaucracy that we want will be achieved.

Lastly, just want to say the caveat, if we are lucky enough, when we ‘suddenly’ have a leader who is clean and visionary, then we might not wait until education level become so high that we’ll get a run bureaucracy. Hopefully, somehow this happen.