Kuih Koci

One of my favourite Malay Kuihs... Today my boss ordered like 5 packs of this kuih from a kakak that sells them at the office for a friend of hers. Each box must contain around 20 pieces. He shared one box with us, staff but as I was fasting today I couldn't enjoy them when they're at their nicest - when they're still hot! Nevertheless, they're still good anyhow with the kuih being soft and not to rubbery and the filling not too sweet. Just nice. I took home 5 pieces konon for buka puasa but as I had my Abs class and Kickboxing today I just had iftar with plain water and enjoyed the kocis in the car on the way home. I've noticed that commuting by car nowadays allows me to do many things while in the car. Things that I wouldn't have been able to do if I rode my bike. Things like texting, learning via self learn audio tape, eating, wearing my sox... and many more...


Anyways, this is how the kuih koci looks like for those not aquainted with the dish:



Yummy! Fresh koci is stuff that dreams are made of!! =P
 
I did a quick google search and found the recipe for it. I doubt I'd ever try making it but maybe some of you my kind readers might... if you do dun forget to let me try some! hehehehe... Anyways, a little bit more packing for Kinabalu for me now. Good night.

Ingredients
Filling:
  • 50g roasted peanuts, grind coarsely
  • 100g grated white coconut
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 300g glutinous rice flour, sifted
(A):
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
Preparation of banana leaves:
Cut into 20 pieces of 10cm diameter rounds. Scald in hot water, wipe dry and brush lightly with oil.

Method
Put peanuts and the rest of the filling ingredients in a kuali and stir-fry lightly over a low fire for about 10 minutes. Dish out and cool.

Put glutinous rice flour into a mixing bowl. Add in (A) and knead well to form a soft dough. Divide the dough equally into 20 portions. Form each into round balls and flatten each piece with your palm. Add about 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre. Gather up the edges to seal the filling inside. Fold a piece of banana leaf into a cone. Put in the filled dough and wrap and tuck in the ends neatly.

Arrange kuih on a steamer and steam over rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes.

Pre-flight check....

The amount of stuff i had to move to get to the bag is just crazy...
 
Last night I thought I'd start looking for the stuff i may need for the Kinabalu hike. First things, first. I need to look for some of my winter clothing. Not for much, only for gloves, beanie hat and what ever I think may help. As I obviously don't use my winter clothings much, I had packed everything away. So, to get at my stuff I had to dig thru all the junk. Yes, I had vacuum packed my winder clothing stuff!

 some of the stuff I have earmarked to bring... some might not make the final screening aka.. colour coordination.. hahaha

As for the Jacket to bring up, I decided to go with my D-Dry riding jacket. As it is waterproof, I can just bring my rain bottom as opposed to the whole suit. plus the jacket has a thermal liner I can zip in if it gets too cold. but to bring it up and to shed some weight, I had to remove some of the armour. Cool. I've decided to just bring my cycling gloves with an outdoors glove just for insulation. Really hope it doesn't rain.... Anyways, hopefully i can pack more today. Target is to travel light!

30 Seconds

Today was another one of those fitness tests we periodically have at my Martial Arts centre. The previous one was in April and I have blogged about it here, so I won't bother repeating the background of the test, you can read up on it by following the link. I've also done another type of tests which is a harder 60 second test and that can be found here. Basically the aim of the test is to push your heart rate to the max and the aim is to get within 80-90% of your body's max heart rate. This time I managed to reach 84.8% of my max heart rate as compared to 70% last time. I guess I was working harder this time but lets see if my number support my heart rate results.


Tonight's results

April's results 

So, how did I fare compared to the old me? Well, 

Star jumps:               -5 (I did 5 less this time)
Knee raises:             +1
Squats:                     +3
Sit ups:                     - 2
Leg raises:               +3
Hyper extentions:    +12 (woo hoo!)
Push ups:                 Same
Tricepts:                  +4
Burpee:                    Same
 So, all in all I did better generally but managed to push my heart to a higher level. my BMI is the same, though last time I got my height wrong, I'm 172cm not 175cm... hehehe... So, after 3 plus months, I've not really got much stronger, cardio vascular wise! gotta do more cardio after this!! Anyways, at least I know for my Kinabalu climb this weekend I'm not that unfit for it... =) Good night everyone.

Test Drive

These past few days, weeks even alot of people around me have been talking about buying cars or have just bought cars. Cars are a topic I really have passion for so I'd thought I'd share with you my deliberation procedure for buying cars. This is specific to the Malaysian market due to how our tax structure is and how it inflates car prices in Malaysia. When I consider cars I take into account the whole ownership experience that means, maintenance, monthly damage to my bank account, quality and resale value have to be taken into account. Basically my "evaluation" procedure can be generalised below:


1) Specs
2) Price & financing package
3) Warranty and Maintenance Package 
4) Test Drive
5) Resale Value
6) Other "emotional" considerations

Lets get into more detail shall we?

1) Specs.

Right, to me this is the most important bit. Before considering what is on the market, please do an internet search first on what is the type of specs that are available on the market for your price range. Here's what i look for:

1) Drivetrain technology (engine & transmission) 
2) Safety features
3) Comfort features and overall quality

1) Drivetrain technology


What I look for in drivetrain technology is to achieve max power while still achieving good fuel economy. An engine has to return good MPG figures regardless of technology employed. Some car manufacturers trumpet on certain buzzword technology like i-VTEC, VVTI, VANOS, CPS etc, to be honest, most car companies have similar technologies and please don't be fooled by those buzzwords, just look at the claimed MPG figures, if they provide you with a torque curve on their spec sheet, look for a flat torque curve, that's what we want. In this day and age, alot of car manufacturers are down sizing their engines and add on turbo or superchargers. This trend is more apparent in European car manufacturers as many are offering these types of engine. The best bang for buck in this respect is the Peugeot 308 Turbo with a 1.6 litre turbo engine identical to the one in the  Mini Cooper S but at about half the price! Transmission wise, to me, a five speed automatic transmission has to be standard in cars of this day and age. That fact alone dismisses many cars that I would consider. A 5 speed auto just adds to the efficiency of the car and helps save petrol. Alot more Euro manufacturers are offering Dual Clutch Transmissions (DCT). The cheapest being available in the new Ford Fiesta with a 6 speed DCT. CVTs like the one in my Jazz have more of less gone out of favour but will offer good fuel economy still. Niceties like paddle shift or button shift are novel features but trust me, you won't be using it much when you use it in day to day driving so please don't make that a deciding factor.


2) Safety features

Okay noawadays it is shameful not to have at least ABS and at least 2 airbags. Obviously the more the better. I also look at the Euro NCAP rating basically never going for a car with lower than 4 star rating. Don't listen to "Other people" when they say this make of car is safer than the other. Unless they have some data to back their claims, assume they talking crap and just smile at them. trust in hard facts. 



Other active safety features that may come in handy are things like traction control, anti whiplash seats, lights that adjust to change in car ride height/corners etc... Reverse sensors, Isofix baby chair compatibility, blind spot assist and many more. How much these features are important to you is up to you. For me, these active safety features is a nice to have. If it's available in your price range then by all means, go for it. Safety first ma...

3) Comfort features



Well, comfort is obviously important. For this a test drive is the only best way to test for comfort but before hand you can check out reviews on the net and look at the spec sheet on what comfort features they have. top of the list is the air con. Does it have climate control. Is it Auto climate control? even better still, has it got dual climate control so that the passenger seat can have their own temperature different from yours. Rear aircon vents is a bonus. other features like cruise control will be nice on long highway journeys and oh! don't forget an arm rest! Man, my car didn't come with a centre armrest and once I installed the armrest it made a whole lot of difference, esp when travelling long distances. So, please do not overlook this small feature. Seat type is important. If you look like the seat is flat and non-Type of suspension also affects comfort and handling with rear torsion beam suspension being the most common (not so good) and wishbone or multilink rear suspension is better. Quality wise, look for soft touch plastics in the interior. Avoid those nasty brittle hard plastics as in time and through exposure to our Malaysian sunlight they will end up brittle and may break or crack. Also, look for a good paint job and even gaps where the body panels meet and where the interior panels meet.

2) Price & financing package

Ok, I know some of you are against any type of debt or financial packages as you might say it is riba'. But I believe that hire purchase (HP) is ok since you are actually hiring the car until you pay a certain value, then it is yours. With a 9 year HP it is basically renting the car cos not any people own cars for 9 years so unless you want to keep on hiring or intend to keep the car for a long time, I suggest avoiding 9 year HP. But if you must, make sure you put down a big down payment okay. Rates are now higher than before but the foreign car makers seem to offer a better rate than the local firms. Be sure you take this into account when considering the actual price of the car as what is important to us is the monthly cash flow... If you can afford it, pay cash, if not take a short HP term. If you can afford it lah. Problem is, cars in Malaysia are so expensive! Rates also may vary though the banks are only allowed to lend at the rates stipulated by Bank Negara but certain manufacturers offer better rates by subsidising the loan. basically they pay the bank the difference between the bank HP rate and what you are paying. This can make a big difference esp if you are eyeing a freign brand. The HP rate might make the monthly repayments closer to local cars than you think...

3) Warranty and Maintenance Package 
Okay, the standard seems to be 3 years or 100,000km kot... i'm not sure. Some like VW offer 5 year unlimited mileage warranty. Look out for free maintenance packages. Mazda does a free maintenance package for the first 60,000km, inclusive of labour and parts. This means you pay NOTHING for maintaining it for the first 60,000km. Pretty good. My car has 2 years or 40,000km free maintenance. It was bliss... just send in the car and they sort out everything for you for no charge at all! =). Some offer free maintenance only on labour so you still hafta pay for the parts. If this is the case you will hafta check out the parts prices cos prices at dealerships are expensive. For example, front brake pads at the Honda SC cost RM450 whilst if i get the exact thing from a spare parts shop it would cost me RM250. So, there a big difference in prices for dealership prices and spare parts shop prices. Buyers beware. Of course, some will want the freedom to send their car to any work shop of they want to modify their cars. These will void your warranty so for these types of people, warranty is not important.

4) Test Drive

This is actually the most important buying step. Never buy a car you have not driven. Make sure you test drive the car first. Test drive as many cars as you can to get a feel of the car and how living with it will be. Remember, this is probably the second largest investment you'll be making apart from your house so be sure u test drive it first. What to look out for during a test drive? Well... lotsa things. See how the car looks in real life. See if the car drives like how you expect it to. check if the acceleration is acceptable to you. Do a U-turn and see if the turning circle is tight enough. Cruise at highway speeds and see if the engine is refined enough. check if there are any rattles in the dashboard when going over bumpy roads. Is the suspension pliant enough for you? Does the car's body roll badly in corners? These are among the questions you should ask yourself and look out for during a test drive.

5) Resale Value

Generally percentage wise, Japanese cars retain their value the best. Continental cars will depreciate more, other than Mercs or Beemers that is. Mercs offer the best depreciation proof out of all continental brands. The italian and french cars seem to suffer the most though but this makes them a good 2nd hand buy. There's no way to actually know the depreciation qualities of a car exactly but one can open your friendly issue of motortrader or surf www.mudah.my to check out how car prices depreciate over time. You can even open your daily issue of The Star Classifieds...

6) Other "emotional" considerations

Other "Emotional" considerations are things like how the car looks.How the interior looks and how unique the car is. I for one am not a fan of the Honda Civic solely because there are just too many of them on the road. The Ford Focus, however good it is to drive just looks abit bland.... When I spend a large some of money on a car I would like to feel a little special owning one. Things like customer service at the service centre really do add to the overall ownership experience and this also helps with the resale value. It's may sound snobbish but the badge the car holds sometimes does make a difference....

So there you have it. My non-exhaustive checklist for buying cars in Malaysia. I'll add other things as I remember them. So if you ask for recommendations, I would say that the best value for money car in the Malaysian market is the Kia Forte, it's a C segment car at B segment price and has alot of features for it's price range and the best value for money supermini is the Ford Fiesta, best handling chassis with features found in cars a class above. Local cars? Well, lets just say I won't be buying one just yet....hehehe =)...


Jauhi Bid’ah Nisfu Sya’ban

 I was just asked by a friend about niat puasa Nisfu Sya'ban... Hmmm... looks like this topic needs more clarification. I think this clarifies things a bit more... Happy reading. Good night!...


Assalamualikum WBT. Bulan sya’ban dah nak sampai pertengahannya.
Apa ada dengan pertengahan sya’ban? Apa ada dengan nisfu sya’ban?
“Allah melihat kepada hamba-hambaNya pada malam nisfu Syaaban, maka Dia ampuni semua hamba-hambaNya kecuali musyrik (orang yang syirik) dan yang bermusuh (orang benci membenci) (Riwayat Ibn Hibban, al-Bazzar dan lain-lain). Al-Albani mensahihkan hadith ini dalam Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah. (jilid 3, .m.s. 135, cetakan: Maktabah al-Ma`arf, Riyadh)
Akan tetapi hadith di atas tidak mengajar apa-apa amalan khusus di malam atau siang Nisfu Sya’ban! Dari mana asalnya? Siapa pula nabi yang mendapat wahyu yang mengajar kita tentang ibadah-ibadah yang tak di ajar oleh Nabi Muhammad SAW penutup segala rasul ini.
Ulas Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi:
“Tidak pernah diriwayatkan daripada Nabi s.a.w. dan para sahabat bahawa mereka berhimpun di masjid pada untuk menghidupkan malam nisfu Syaaban, membaca do`a tertentu dan solat tertentu seperti yang kita lihat pada sebahagian negeri orang Islam. Bahkan di sebahagian negeri, orang ramai berhimpun pada malam tersebut selepas maghrib di masjid. Mereka membaca surah Yasin dan solat dua raka`at dengan niat panjang umur, dua rakaat yang lain pula dengan niat tidak bergantung kepada manusia, kemudian mereka membaca do`a yang tidak pernah dipetik dari golongan salaf (para sahabah, tabi`in dan tabi’ tabi`in). Ianya satu do`a yang panjang, yang menyanggahi nusus (al-Quran dan Sunnah) juga bercanggahan dan bertentang maknanya…perhimpunan (malam nisfu Syaaban) seperti yang kita lihat dan dengar yang berlaku di sebahagian negeri orang Islam adalah bid`ah dan diada-adakan. Sepatutnya kita melakukan ibadat sekadar yang dinyatakan dalam nas. Segala kebaikan itu ialah mengikut salaf, segala keburukan itu ialah bid`ah golongan selepas mereka, dan setiap yang diadakan-adakan itu bid`ah, dan setiap yang bid`ah itu sesat dan setiap yang sesat itu dalam neraka.”
(Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, jilid 1, m.s. 382-383, cetakan: Dar Uli al-Nuha, Beirut).
Sudahlah mennyebarkan bid’ah, kita lalai, lupa sehingga menjadi tali barut penipu dan pendusta dengan menipu masyarakat menggunakan nama Rasul. Ibadah yang tak pernah di ajar Nabi SAW dikatakan di ajar oleh Rasulullah SAW.
“Sesungguhnya berdusta ke atasku (menggunakan namaku) bukanlah seperti berdusta ke atas orang lain (menggunakan nama orang lain). Sesiapa yang berdusta ke atasku dengan sengaja, maka siaplah tempat duduknya dalam neraka” (Riwayat al-Bukhari, Muslim, dan selain mereka)
Ustaz Asri Zainul Abidin menyebutkan:
Berbohong menggunakan nama Nabi s.a.w. adalah satu jenayah yang dianggap sangat barat di dalam Islam. Perbohongan atau berdusta menggunakan Nabi s.a.w. ialah menyandar sesuatu perkataan, atau perbuatan, atau pengakuan kepada Nabi s.a.w secara dusta, yang mana baginda tidak ada kaitan dengannya. Ini seperti menyebut Nabi s.a.w. bersabda sesuatu yang baginda tidak pernah bersabda, atau berbuat, atau mengakui sesuatu yang baginda tidak pernah melakukannya. Maka sesuatu yang dikaitkan dengan Nabi s.a.w. samada perkataan, atau perbuatan atau pengakuan, maka ianya disebut sebagai al-hadith. Namun menyandar sesuatu kepada Nabi s.a.w. secara dusta, bukanlah hadith pada hakikatnya, Cuma ianya disebut hadith berdasar apa yang didakwa oleh perekanya dan ditambah perkataan al-Maudu’, atau al-Mukhtalaq iaitu palsu, atau rekaan. Maka hadith palsu ialah:
“Hadith yang disandarkan kepada Nabi s.a.w secara dusta, ianya tidak ada hubungan dengan Nabi s.a.w.” (lihat: Nur al-Din Itr, Manhaj al-Nadq fi `Ulum al-Hadith, m.s.301, cetakan: Dar al-Fikr al-Mu`asarah, Beirut)
Apakah modal-modal atau hadiith-hadith palsu yang dijadikan hujah untuk menipu masyarakat ini dan secara tak langsung mengkhianati agama wahyu yang telah sempurna ini?

a) Hadis tentang kelebihan menghidupkan malam Nisfu Sya’ban
Tidak terdapat hadis sahih yang menyebut bahawa Nabi saw menghidupkan malam Nisfu Sya’ban ini dengan amalan-amalan yang khusus seperti sembahyang sunat yang khas atau doa-doa tertentu. Malah semua hadis tersebut adalah lemah dan palsu. Di antaranya ialah:

- Hadis yang diriwayatkan daripada Ali ra: ((Apabila tiba malam Nisfu Sya’ban, maka bangunlah kamu (menghidupkannya dengan ibadah) pada waktu malam dan berpuasalah kamu pada siangnya, kerana sesungguhnya Allah swt akan turun ke langit dunia pada hari ini bermula dari terbenamnya matahari dan berfirman: “Adakah sesiapa yang memohon ampun daripada-Ku akan Ku ampunkannya. Adakah sesiapa yang memohon rezeki daripada-Ku, akan Ku kurniakan rezeki kepadanya. Adakah sesiapa yang sakit yang meminta penyembuhan, akan Ku sembuhkannya. Adakah sesiapa yang yang meminta daripada-Ku akan Ku berikan kepadanya, dan adakah begini, adakah begitu dan berlakulah hal ini sehingga terbitnya fajar))..
Hadis ini adalah maudhu’, diriwayatkan oleh Ibn Majah dan al-Baihaqi di dalam Syu’ab al-Iman. Rujuk Dhaifah al-Jami’ dan Silsilah al-Dhaifah oleh al-Albani, Dhaif Ibn Majah.
- Diriwayatkan daripada Ibn Umar ra bahawa Rasulullah saw bersabda: ((Barang siapa membaca seribu kali surah al-Ikhlas dalam seratus rakaat solat pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban ia tidak keluar dari dunia (mati) sehinggalah Allah mengutuskan dalam tidurnya seratus malaikat; tiga puluh daripada mereka mengkhabarkan syurga baginya, tiga puluh lagi menyelamatkannya dari neraka, tiga puluh yang lain mengawalnya daripada melakukan kesalahan dan sepuluh lagi akan mencegah orang yang memusuhinya)).
Hadis ini menurut Ibn al-Jauzi adalah Maudhu’. (Rujuk Ibn al-Jauzi, al-Maudhu’at, Dar al-Fikr, cet. 1983, 2/128). Imam al-Daruqutni pula meriwayatkan hadis ini daripada Muhamad bin Abdun bin Amir al-Samarqandi dan dia mengatakan bahawa Muhamad adalah seorang pendusta dan pembuat hadis. Pendapat ini juga sama seperti yang disebut oleh Imam al-Zahabi bahawa Muhamad bin Abdun terkenal sebagai pembuat hadis.
- Diriwayatkan daripada Ja’far bin Muhammad daripada ayahnya berkata: ((Sesiapa yang membaca pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban seribu kali surah al-ikhlas dalam sepuluh rakaat, maka ia tidak akan mati sehingga Allah mengutuskan kepadanya seratus malaikat, tiga puluh menyampaikan khabar gembira syurga kepadanya, tiga puluh menyelamatkannya dari neraka, tiga puluh akan mengawalnya dari berbuat salah dan sepuluh akan menulis mengenai musuh-musuhnya)).
Ibn al-Jauzi turut menghukum hadis ini dengan maudhu’.
Kebanyakan hadis-hadis yang menyebut tentang amalan-amalan yang khusus seperti solat, doa dan sebagainya adalah tidak sahih. Justeru, tidak ada amalan–amalan atau ibadah khusus yang disunatkan untuk dilakukan pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban seperti solat tertentu yang dinamakan solat al-Alfiyah atau membaca sesuatu surah (seperti surah Yaasin) supaya dipanjangkan umur, dimurahkan rezeki, ditetapkan iman atau sebagainya. Jika amalan ini thabit, pasti Rasulullah saw akan mengajarkannya kepada para sahabat dan generasi selepas itu akan menyampaikannya kepada kita.
Al-Hafiz al-Iraqi berkata: ((Hadis tentang solat pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban adalah maudhu’, direka cipta dan disandarkan kepada Rasulullah saw. Hal ini juga disebut oleh al-Imam al-Nawawi di dalam kitabnya al-Majmu’: “Solat yang dikenali sebagai solat al-Raghaib iaitu solat sebanyak dua belas rakaat antara Maghrib dan I’syak pada malam Jumaat pertama bulan rejab dan solat sunat pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban sebanyak seratus rakaat adalah dua jenis sembahyang yang bid‘ah (ditokok tambah dalam agama)). (Rujuk: Abd al-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baaz, al-Tahzir min al-Bida’, cetakan ke-3, Uni.Islam Madinah, hal. 14).
Syiekh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baaz berkata: ((Dan di antara perkara-perkara ibadah yang direka cipta oleh manusia ialah merayakan malam Nisfu Sya’ban dan berpuasa sunat khusus pada siangnya, dan tidaklah ada sebarang dalil yang mengharuskan perkara ini. Riwayat yang menyatakan tentang kelebihan amalan ini adalah dhaif dan tidak boleh berhujah dengannya. Ada pun riwayat yang menyebut tentang kelebihan solat yang khas, semuanya adalah maudhu’ seperti mana yang telah dijelaskan oleh kebanyakan ahli ilmu)).
(Abd al-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baaz, al-Tahzir min al-Bida’, hal. 11).
Ulamak kontemporari masa kini, Syiekh Dr. Yusof al-Qaradhawi juga menyatakan di dalam fatwanya:
((Tentang malam Nisfu Sya’ban, tidak terdapat hadis-hadis yang sampai ke martabat sahih yang menyebut tentangnya, kecuali ia berada di martabat hasan di sisi sebahagian ulama, dan terdapat juga sebahagian ulama yang menolaknya dan mengatakan bahawa tidak terdapat sebarang hadis sahih tentang malam Nisfu Sya’ban, sekiranya kita berpegang bahawa hadis tersebut berada di martabat hasan, maka apa yang disebut di dalam hadis tersebut ialah Nabi saw hanya berdoa dan beristighfar pada malam ini, tidak disebut sebarang doa yang khusus sempena malam ini, dan doa yang dibaca oleh sebahagian manusia di sesetengah negara, dicetak dan diedarkannya adalah doa yang tidak ada asal sumbernya (daripada hadis sahih) dan ia adalah salah)).

Beliau menambah lagi:
((Terdapat juga di sesetengah negara yang mereka berkumpul selepas solat Maghrib di masjid-masjid dan membaca surah Yaasin, kemudian solat dua rakaat dengan niat supaya dipanjangkan umur, dan dua rakaat lagi supaya tidak bergantung dengan manusia, kemudian membaca doa yang tidak pernah dilakukan oleh seorang pun dari kalangan salaf, dan ia adalah doa yang bercanggah dengan nas-nas yang sahih, juga bersalahan dari segi maknanya)). (Al-Qaradhawi, Fatawa al-Muasarah (Kuwait: Dar al-Qalam, cet.5, 1990), 2/379-383)
Para ulama muktabar lain seperti Syiekh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah, Imam al-Suyuti, Abu Bakr al-Turtusyi, al-Maqdisi, Ibn Rejab dan lain-lain lagi juga menafikan akan wujudnya amalan ibadah yang khas pada malam Nisfu Syaaban ini. Namun, ini bukanlah bererti malam ini tidak mempunyai kelebihannya, bahkan terdapat hadis-hadis yang thabit yang menyebut akan fadhilat dan kelebihannya, tetapi tidak dinyatakan tentang amalan ibadah khas yang perlu dilakukan. Maka sebarang ibadah yang dilakukan pada malam tersebut tidak boleh disandarkan dengan mana-mana hadis atau pun menganggapnya mempunyai kelebihan yang khas dan tidak juga dilakukan secara berjemaah. Hal ini telah disebut al-Imam al- Suyuti:
((Dan pada malam Nisfu Sya’ban itu padanya kelebihan, dan menghidupkannya dengan ibadah adalah digalakkan, tetapi hendaklah dilakukan secara bersendirian bukan dalam bentuk berjemaah)). (Rujuk: al-Suyuti, al-amru bi al-ittiba’ wa al-nahyu an al-ibtida’ (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-Ilmiyah, cet. 1, 1998), hal 61)
b) Hadis tentang kelebihan puasa yang khas pada hari Nisfu Sya’ban.
Berhubung dengan amalan puasa yang khas pada Nisfu Sya’ban, tidak terdapat hadis sahih yang menjelaskan perkara ini, malah ia adalah hadis yang lemah. Tetapi jika seseorang itu berpuasa berdasarkan amalan Nabi saw yang memperbanyakkan puasanya pada bulan ini dan termasuk di dalamnya hari Nisfu Sya’ban, maka ini adalah suatu amalan yang baik dan digalakkan. Begitu juga jika seseorang itu mengamalkan puasa sunat Hari Putih dan termasuk di dalamnya hari yang ke -15 pada bulan ini atau puasa sunat yang dilakukan pada hari Isnin dan Khamis. Jika puasa ini dilakukan pada Nisfu Sya’ban sahaja dengan menganggap ia adalah sunnah, maka inilah yang dilarang. Menurut Dr Yusof al-Qaradhawi:
((Di dalam kaedah syara’, tidak dibolehkan untuk menentukan sesuatu hari khusus untuk berpuasa atau sesuatu malam yang tertentu untuk dihidupkan dengan ibadah tanpa bersandarkan kepada nas syara’ kerana sesungguhnya urusan ibadah ini bukanlah urusan yang sesiapa pun berhak menentukannya, tetapi ia adalah hak Allah semata-mata)).
(Rujuk Al-Qaradhawi, Fatawa al-Muasarah, 2/343)
Untuk apa kita sibuk-sibuk beramal dengan yang tidak sunnah sedangkan berapa banyak sunnah yang kita abaikan. Bahkan berapa ramai daripada kita meremehkan sunnah-sunnah ada, walaupun sudah mengetahui tentang nya. Lihatlah apa jadi dengan sunnah solat menghadap ke sutrah. Bid’ah nisfu sya’ban lebih popular dengan sunnah yang makin dilupakan ini, bahkan dipandang pelik orang yang sibuk-sibuk mencari dinding atau objek untuk dijadikan sutrah. Berapa ramai daripada kita yang mengamalkan bersiwak waktu nak solat, waktu nak baca al-Quran? Berapa ramai daripada kita bila mendengar azan akan berselawat? Berapa ramai daripada kita yang mengamalkan doa-doa dan zikir-zikir yang Nabi SAW ajar? Lihatlah, bid’ah semakin membiak dan sunnah semakin pupus.
Wassalam.

Baca lagi:
http://yapis.blogspot.com/2005/09/nisfu-syaban-hentikan-penyebaran-hadis.html

Nisfu Sha'ban

I'm so lazy to write anything today so I'm just gonna link a short Q&A article on Nisfu Sha'ban, which happens to be tonight. It is the 15th of month of Sha'ban and many things have been said about this month. This article below gives a little more insight to this day of Sha'ban... Wallahu'alam...
 
Dear scholars, I really need your advice! Here in Bangladesh, people always celebrate the 15th night of the month of Sha`ban, which they call “the Night of Shabe-e-Barat”. What do you think of such a practice? Please enlighten me on this issue.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, We really appreciate the confidence you place in us and the great interest you show in understanding the teachings of Islam.

In the hadith reported by Imam At-Tabarani, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “Truly, there are nafahat (blessed seasons or days) in which your Lord vouchsafes plentiful mercy. So, make sure that you make the best use of such seasons!” A true believer should purify himself from the fleshly inclinations and the earthly desires and make his aspirations so high and beseech Allah for mercy in such blessed seasons which witness the abundant mercy of Allah. One point here to be stressed is that a true Muslim should consider his whole life a long-term season of obedience so as to show gratitude to the everlasting blessing of Allah.

Responding to the question, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council ofNorth America , states::

The month of Sha`ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The fifteenth night of this month is known as laylatul-bara’ah (the Night of Innocence) or laylat un-nisfe min Sha`ban (the Middle Night of Sha`ban) in the Arab world. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., it is known as shab-e-barat. Some people believe that in surat Ad-Dukhan (44:3-4) there is a reference to this night as Allah says, (We sent it (the Qur’an) down during a blessed night. We are truly Warners. In that night is made distinct every affair of wisdom.) But the night referred to here cannot be a Sha`ban night because it is said here clearly that the Qur’an was revealed in this night. We know from the surat Al-Qadr (97) that the Qur’an was revealed in the Night of Qadr and we also know from the Qur’an (Al-Baqarah 2:185) that the Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan. So it is obvious that the night of the revelation of the Qur’an was in Ramadan, not Sha`ban, and that it was laylat ul-qadr (the Night of Power) not shab-e-barat.

Some people also say that in the 2nd year of Hijrah, the direction of the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to the Ka`bah in Makkah on the 15th day of Sha`ban. This report is also not confirmed by authentic hadiths. According to most of the exegetes, the Qur’an has not mentioned anything about the Sha`ban night.

There are some hadiths that speak about the Middle of Sha`ban and its night. However, the scholars of hadith say that most of the hadiths concerning this night are not authentic. They are weak (da`if) according to the criteria of the narrators and scholars of Hadith. Imam Al-Mundhiri (died in 656 A.H.) in his famous book At-Targhib wat-Tarhib (vol. 2, pp. 116-120) reported fourteen hadiths on the subject of this night. The following points can be summarized from those hadiths:

1. The month of Sha`ban is a great month.
2. In this month Allah takes the account of His creation.
3. Because this month occurs between two other important months, viz. Rajab and Ramadan, many people do not pay enough attention to it.
4. The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved to fast during this month. He used to fast most of the month of Sha`ban.
5. After sunset on the night of Middle of Sha`ban, Allah in His great mercy and kindness turns towards His creation and asks, "Is there anyone who would seek My forgiveness and I forgive him (or her)? Is there anyone who is in need to ask Me and I provide for his (or her) needs. Is there anyone who is in pain and seeks My help and I help him (or her)? Is there…? Is there…?” until the time of Dawn."
6. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is said to have recommended prayers during this night and fasting during the following day.
7. It reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit the Muslim cemetery on this evening and he used to pray for the deceased Muslims.

These are the things that we learn from some hadiths about the significance of this night. However, there are many practices and customs common in some Muslim countries, such as making a sweet dish, setting off fireworks, etc. These things have no meaning and no reference in hadiths. There are also some superstitious beliefs about this night. For example, some people believe that the spirits of the deceased visit their relatives during this night. Some believe that there is a special tree in Heaven upon whose leaves are the names of all human beings, and whatever leaves drop during this night, those people are destined to die in this year. Some think that the decisions about the life and death of people are made during this night. All these beliefs and superstitions do not belong to the authentic teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

We must try to follow the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It is our duty as Muslims to take advantage of all good occasions to revive our faith, to purify our souls, and to increase our love and devotion to Allah (glory be to Him), but we must follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We must not do anything in our celebrations that is against his teachings.

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...EAskTheScholar

Sleep matters...


This is just an article I found on the net on getting a good night's sleep. I'm gonna try out some of the recommendations in this article.


Tips for Getting Better Sleep

HOW TO SLEEP WELL EVERY NIGHT

Tips for a Good Night's Sleep


Do you have trouble falling asleep or do you toss and turn in the middle of the night? Do you wake up too early or find yourself feeling unrefreshed in the morning? If so, you're not alone: millions of people struggle with falling and staying asleep. But by learning how to avoid common pitfalls that get in the way of sleep and adopting a few sleep-inducing techniques, you can start to enjoy restful, quality sleep. Developing a bedtime routine, creating a better sleep environment, managing stress and anxiety, following a sleep schedule, and taking better care of your body all set the stage for getting quality rest every night.

How much sleep do I need?

Read Understanding Sleep for more information on sleep needs and cycles.
Do you have a realistic idea of how much sleep you need? A general guideline for adults is 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Older adults need a similar amount, but the sleep may be lighter and may include a brief nap during the day. If you are consistently waking up groggy and exhausted, that's a signal that you may need to up your sleep intake. If you've been sleep deprived, it may take a few days of heavier sleeping before you can get a sense of your average sleep needs.

What happens when you don't get enough sleep

With a packed schedule, trying to squeeze as many hours of possible into the day is sorely tempting. However, when you continuously don't get the amount of sleep you need, you begin to pay for it in many ways:
  • Impaired mood, memory, and concentration. When you don't get enough sleep, you're less productive, not more. Lack of sleep affects your ability to concentrate and remember things. What's more, it makes you irritable and cranky. As a result, you're social and decision-making skills suffer>
  • Dampened immune system. Without adequate sleep, the immune system becomes weak, making you more vulnerable to colds, flu, and other infections and diseases. And if you get sick, it takes you longer to recover.
  • Increased risk of accidents. Did you know that driving while seriously sleep deprived is similar to driving while drunk? The lack of motor coordination associated with sleep deprivation also makes you more susceptible to falls and injury.

Getting better sleep tip 1: Create a better sleep environment

If you think you're getting enough sleep, but you have trouble waking up in the morning, struggle with daytime sleepiness, or feel tired and cranky despite clocking plenty of hours in bed, you may not be getting enough of the deep restorative sleep your body needs. In order to deepen your sleep and minimize disruptions during the night, you may need to make some changes to your sleep environment.

Your bed

  • Is your bed large enough? You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably, including with a bedmate present.
  • Your mattress, pillows, and bedding. Waking up with a cramp in your back or a sore neck? Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers or egg crate toppers, and pillows that provide more support.

Your room

  • Better Sleep Tip 1: Create a better sleep environmentKeep the noise level down. Too much noise—loud outside conversations, televisions blaring, music, traffic—can make it difficult to sleep well. If outside noise can't be blocked, try masking it with a fan, white noise, or recordings of soothing sounds. Earplugs may also help.
  • Keep your room dark during sleep hours. When it's time to sleep, make sure that your environment is dark. Even dim lights—especially those from TV or computer screens—can confuse the body clock. Heavy shades can help block light from windows, or you can try an eye mask to cover your eyes.
  • Room temperature and ventilation. If you can, experiment with the room temperature. Most people sleep best in a slightly cooler room with adequate ventilation. Check your windows and doors to make sure that drafts are not interfering with sleep.
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping. If you associate your bed with events like work or errands, it will only make it harder to wind down at night. Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

Getting better sleep tip 2: Develop a relaxing bedtime routine

Even with the stresses of daily life, if you make an effort to relax and wind down before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply. A consistent, relaxing routine before bed sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down, making it easier to fall asleep. Make the time before sleep a time of peace and quiet, and find your unique routine that relaxes you.

To prepare for sleep, try

  • Reading a light, entertaining book or magazine
  • Listening to soft music
  • Making simple preparations for the next day
  • A light bedtime snack, a cup of hot tea, or a glass of warm milk
  • Hobbies such as knitting or jigsaw puzzles
  • Listening to books on tape


Television

Many people use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day. You may even have a television in your bedroom. However, television actually stimulates the mind, rather than relaxing it:
  • Late night news or prime time shows frequently have disturbing, violent material. Even non-violent programming can have commercials which are jarring and louder than the actual program.
  • Light and noise. The continuous flickering light coming from the TV (or a computer screen) can interfere with the body's clock, which is sensitive to any light. Television is also noisy, which can disturb sleep if the set is accidentally left on.
You may be so used to falling asleep with the TV that you have trouble without it. Although the first few days might be difficult, the payoff is better sleep in the long run. If you miss the noise, try turning on soft music or a fan. If your favorite show is on late at night, record it for viewing earlier in the day.

Getting better sleep tip 3: Get stress and anxiety under control

Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. When you wake up or can't get to sleep, take note of what seems to be the recurring theme. That will help you figure out what you need to do to get your stress and anger under control during the day:
  • If you can't stop yourself from worrying, especially about things outside your control, take steps to learn how to manage your thoughts. For example, you can reframe why worrying is harmful rather than helpful and practice replacing worrying with more productive thoughts. Read: How to Stop Worrying: Self-Help for Anxiety Relief
  • If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake, you need help with stress management. By learning how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you'll be able to sleep better at night. Read: Stress Management: How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress
  • If you wake up frustrated and angry with loved ones or colleagues—rehashing arguments over and over—you may need help managing your anger. Even if you later scoff at yourself for these thoughts, don't be too quick to dismiss them. It may mean you have feelings of anger under the surface that needs to be addressed. Read: Anger Management: Tips and Techniques for Getting Anger Under Control

Relaxation techniques for better sleep

Relaxation is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those struggling with sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Some simple relaxation techniques include:
  • Deep breathing. Close your eyes—and try taking deep, slow breaths—making each breath even deeper than the last.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting at your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
  • Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.

Getting better sleep tip 4: Learn how to get back to sleep

Better Sleep Tip 3: Learn how to get back to sleepIt's normal to wake briefly during the night. In fact, a good sleeper won't even remember it. But if you're waking up during the night and having trouble falling back asleep, the following tips may help.

Getting back to sleep

  • Stay relaxed: The key to getting back to bed is continuing to cue your body for sleep. Some relaxation techniques, such as visualization and meditation, can be done without even getting out of bed. The time-honored technique of "counting sheep" works by engaging the brain in a repetitive, non-stimulating activity, helping you wind down.
  • Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity: If you've been awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet activity. Keep the lights dim so as not to cue your body clock that it's time to wake up. A light snack or herbal tea might help relax you, but be careful not to eat so much that your body begins to expect a meal at that time of the day.
  • Don't stress about it: Hard as it may be, try not to stress over an inability to fall asleep again, because that very stress and anxiety encourages your body to stay awake. Remind yourself that although it's not a replacement for sleep, rest and relaxation still can help rejuvenate your body. Concentrate on relaxation, not sleep.

Sleep medications can get in the way of better sleep

If only sleeplessness could be completely cured by a simple pill! There are certainly plenty of over-the-counter sleep aids and prescription sleeping pills. However, they aren't meant for long-term use. Sleep medications can cause side effects and even rebound insomnia, where your sleep ends up worse than before. If you must take a sleep aid, work carefully with your healthcare professional. And remember that good sleeping habits have more of an impact than medication.
Read Sleeping Pills, Sleep Aids and Medications: What You Need to Know

Getting better sleep tip 5: Optimize your sleep schedule

Make sure you are not going to bed too early

What do you do after a long, hard day, when you're barely able to stay awake during dinner? Do you crawl into bed as soon as you can or fall asleep on the couch, only to wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep? Your body goes through cycles of alertness and drowsiness later in the day as your bedtime nears. So even if you are sleepy early in the evening, do something mildly stimulating to prevent yourself from falling asleep at that time, like doing dishes or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you push though that window, you'll catch your second wind soon and be able to stay awake until your normal bedtime—and sleep through the night.

Set a regular bedtime

Time of day serves as a powerful cue to your body clock that it is time to sleep and awaken. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and it will be easier and easier to fall asleep. Make your bedtime when you are normally feel tired, so that you don't toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late or sleep in. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.

Limit napping

Napping can interfere with sleepPerhaps the English had the right idea in having teatime in the late afternoon when you naturally get sleepy. Some people, especially older adults, can take a short afternoon nap and still sleep well at night. However, if you are having trouble sleeping at night, try to eliminate napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and sleep no longer than about thirty minutes.

Getting better sleep tip 6: Improve your diet

Taking care of your body can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. You'll sleep more deeply if you watch what you eat before bed and exercise regularly.

Eating right for sleep

A rich, hearty dinner, topped off with a big slice of chocolate cake might seem like the perfect way to end the day, but it's wise to avoid eating a large meal within two hours of bed. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods as bedtime snacks.

Light snacks for bedtime

Light snacks for bedtimeA light snack before bed can help promote sleep. When you pair tryptophan-containing foods with carbohydrates, it helps calms the brain and allows you to sleep better. For even better sleep, try adding extra calcium to your dinner or nighttime snack. Experiment with your food habits to determine your optimum evening meals and snacks.
Sample bedtime snacks to help you sleep:
  • Glass of warm milk and half a turkey or peanut butter sandwich
  • Whole-grain, low-sugar cereal or granola with low-fat milk or yogurt
  • A banana and a cup of hot chamomile tea

Substances and eating habits that can interfere with sleep

  • Too much food, especially fatty, rich food. These take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Spicy or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
  • Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
  • Alcohol. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, so stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.
  • Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.
  • Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

Getting better sleep tip 7: Get regular exercise

Aside from many other wonderful mental and physical health benefits, regular exercise can also make it easier to fall asleep and sleep better. You don't have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits—as little as twenty to thirty minutes of activity helps. And you don't need to do all thirty minutes in one session. You can break it up into five minutes here, ten minutes there, and still get the benefits. A brisk walk, a bicycle ride or a run is time well spent.
However, be sure to schedule your exercise in the morning or early afternoon. Exercising too late in the day actually stimulates the body, raising its temperature. That's the opposite of what you want near bedtime, because a cooler body temperature is associated with sleep. Don't feel glued to the couch in the evening, though. Exercise such as relaxation yoga or simple stretching shouldn't hurt.
Hate to exercise? Check out Making Exercise Fun

Related articles

Insomnia Causes, Cures and TreatmentsInsomnia Causes, Cures and Treatments
What to Do When You Can't Sleep
Understanding SleepUnderstanding Sleep
Deep Sleep, REM Sleep, Cycles, Stages, and Needs


More Helpguide Articles:

References and Resources– Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

Healthy Sleep Tips – A variety of sleep tips including bedtime snacks, exercise, room temperature, noise, and light control. (National Sleep Foundation)
Sleep Hygiene: Helpful Hints to Help You Sleep – More tips for getting better sleep. (University of Maryland Medical Center)

Sleep environment

Sleeping Easier with Back Pain – Tips for a more comfortable mattress and pillows, (WebMD)

Foods that help you sleep

Tryptophan – In-depth information about the effects of tryptophan and a nutrient rating system chart with tryptophan amounts in various food types. (The George Mateljan Foundation)

Exercise and sleep

Television and sleep

Children's Media Use and Sleep Problems – While this issue brief discusses research primarily towards children, it outlines many of the key concerns with television and sleep. (Kaiser Foundation)
Joanna Saisan, MSW, Robert Segal, M.A., and Suzanne Barston contributed to this article. Last reviewed: January 2010
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Karate Kid

Yes... don't you just love that scene...."Wax on... wax off...." that famous Mr Miyagi scene from the original Karate Kid. Well, this post is not about Karate Kid but about car detailing. Wax on, wax off scene can be applied in your mind where applicable ;) Ok, so this is my 4 step car detailing guide. Follow this guide for a mirror finish shine everytime....

Crap from the car removed. Old wedding invitations, receipts etc...

Prepare the detailing products 

Step 1: Wash the car

When I wash, I most of the time just leave it to air dry. Use a car wash detergent, some have wax in them and will deposite the wax while it dries. Buff to shine using a lint free cloth. This is the bare malas type of car care...

Step 2: Vacuum the carpets


Yes, vacuum the carpets while you wait for the car to dry... I leave the out in the sun and then beat the carpets against the front gate before vacuuming. other nooks and crannies are vacuumed too.

Step 3: Wipe dashboard and interior panels



Just use a damp cloth or rag to wipe the plastic bits of the car.

Step 4: Plastic parts polish:


Dashboard and other plastic parts were polished/waxed using the blue plastic wax in the 2nd photo above. Other than making the plastic parts look like new, the wax also protects the plastic parts from fading as polymers generally degrade under UV light.

Step 5: Apply wax/polish

The left side has been polished, the right has not. can u see the difference?

This time i polished as I have not polished the car for a while. Polishing reveals a nicer colour and removes scratches. Wax deposits erm... wax on the paint surface and protects the paint whilst giving the paint a nice shine. The more expensive you wax, the better the shine and the longer it lasts... theoretically... Make sure you apply the wax/polish in a circular motion and remove in a circular motion too...

for deep cuts like the one below, I use a special cut remover:


The stuff is called T-Cut, from CarPlan, but other brands also have similar products..


after: Tadaa.... almost completely gone.


I applied touch-up paint on cuts that are too deep to recover but that's not a step... it's a special step so I won't include it here.

Step 6: Window cleaner

Apply window cleaner and clean windows thoroughly.

The whole procedure took 3 hours of my Saturday afternoon, was great exercise and the result worth every single drop of sweat. Paint job is gleaming! Really pleased...=)

Polished paint job!