Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Activists reject Egypt's Gaza offer

Members of an international group gathered in Cairo to protest against the siege of Gaza have rejected an Egyptian offer to allow 100 of them entry into the Palestinian territory.

Organisers of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), which is comprised of 1,300 people from 42 different countries, declined the offer on Wednesday, saying "we refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza".

Egyptian authorities had initially said the group would not be allowed to cross the border, citing security reasons and a "sensitive situation".

The activists were hoping to march into Gaza on the anniversary of Israel's 22-day offensive on the territory as a sign of solidarity with its people, carrying with them aid and supplies.

Egypt's Rafah border crossing point is the only entrance point into the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel.

However, both it and the Israeli-controlled border points have largely remained sealed since 2007, when Palestinian faction Hamas took full control of the territory after brutal infighting with rivals Fatah.

Cairo concession

March organisers had called the Egyptian government's concession a "partial victory" but said the offer was not sufficient.

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and a participant in the march, posted to his blog, saying that "it's not enough and the pressure and protests should be kept up".

"This is not about getting some or even all into Gaza, its building global support and pressure to end the siege of Gaza"

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada

"However, getting 100 or 1,300 into Gaza does not end the siege by itself. This is not about getting some or even all into Gaza, its building global support and pressure to end the siege of Gaza," he said.

Roqayah Chamseddine, a US student attending the march, told Al Jazeera: "Our mission is not to be divided and sending only 100 of over 1,300 would be doing just that.

"For anyone to claim that Egypt was doing us a favour by offering to allow 100 GFM members to go is asinine and baseless.

"Those borders must be opened and as long as Egypt continues to seemingly aid Israel in subjugating the people of Palestine we will also continue to resist an protest."

Gaza Freedom March members have held multiple small protests in Cairo, as well as on Tuesday joining Egyptian activists to demonstrate against a one-day visit by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister.

Earlier on Tuesday, around 40 US citizens marching to their embassy in the Egyptian capital were met along the way by riot police, who corralled them into groups of 10 before allowing them access, participants said.

On Sunday and Monday, about 80 people held a sit-in oustide the French embassy to try to rally international support for the movement.

Others, such as US citizen Hedy Epstein, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, have gone on hunger strike to protest against Egypt's refusal to allow the march to proceed.

Viva Palestina

A separate aid convoy, which had been trying to reach Gaza by way of Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, has meanwhile agreed to travel via Syria instead.

The Viva Palestina convoy, carrying 210 lorries full of humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, crossed into Syria on Tuesday after spending five days in Jordan, negotiating with the Egyptian consul there.

It is now expected to set sail from the Syrian port of Latakia to the Egyptian port of El Arish on the Mediterranean, and then cross through Rafah into Gaza from there.

A statement from the Egypt's ministry of information said that George Galloway, the British member of parliament leading the convoy, had been told by November 10 that the group had to travel through El Arish, even though it is not the most direct route.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"No God but God"

Allah is the name of the only true God, the one whom the believers worship with full sincerity and devotion, giving their hearts and their worship to no other.

Allah tells us: "Say: Truly, my worship, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This I am commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him)." [
Sûrah al-An`âm: 162-163]

The statement by which a person enters into Islam is "There is no God but Allah." By making this declaration, we profess Allah's lordship over all Creation as well as His exclusive right to be worshipped. We then turn all of our strengths – those of the mind, the heart, and the body – to glorifying and praising Him.

Our bodies, and the atoms that make them up, already glorify their Creator, whether we acknowledge it or not. However, we are given the choice when it comes to our minds, our hearts, and our deeds. We can willingly turn to Allah and embrace the message that he sent to us with His messenger, or we can remain heedless.

We as human beings are blessed with a natural inclination to recognize our Creator and to worship Him. We instinctively feel the need to do so. Therefore, when we worship our Lord, we are in harmony with our own natures and with the rest of Creation.

As for someone who worships something other than the Creator, that person is taken by the tides of worldly existence and his soul is torn by it. In ancient times, polytheism was generally expressed through the worship of stones and trees. The hearts and passions of the people would turn to these inert material things with their problems and hopes. This can still be seen openly today in some remote places. Indeed, it is amazing to find an educated person, a professor of microbiology or astronomy, or someone of great intellectual probity in other aspects of life, bowing his or her head to some stone statue of human manufacture, where written at its base we read: "made in 1910"!

This is just one extreme expression of devotion that people can be subject to if they neglect the worship of Allah. There are many other ways people can succumb to the world if their hearts are not devoted to the Creator. Some people fall victim to their personal desires and self-aggrandizement. Some give themselves over to material wealth, enslaving themselves to the almighty dollar. Some people give themselves over to their occupations or to attaining social status. Others revere those who wield political power.

There are many forms of devotion by which people lose themselves and stray from the guidance of Allah. All of these lead to anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction with life. Allah says: "Allah puts forth a parable: a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and another man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge. " [
Sûrah al-Zumar: 29]

Today, we even find something called "Satan worship", with adherents primarily in Europe, America, and other western countries. They have their own symbols, rites and rituals to unite them, and they build their religious beliefs and practices upon selfishness and carnal desire to the exclusion of everything else. These ideas have even penetrated into the Muslim world, capturing the imaginations of some adolescents who get together and toy with the Satanic rites and symbols.

Allah tells us: "Did I not enjoin on you, O you Children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan; for he is to you an avowed enemy? And that you should worship Me? That is the right path." [
Sûrah YâSîn: 60-61]

The heart can find no peace, no true pleasure or contentment, unless its Creator alone is its object of devotion, its focus of desire, and its most beloved. Every living thing besides Allah – whether human or animal, angel or jinn – is dependent upon Allah. It needs to attain what benefits it and avoid what harms it. Therefore, it needs to understand benefit and harm. It needs to know what it needs and desires. Then it needs to know what it must rely on to attain what it needs.

Truly, Allah alone is the one who should be supplicated and longed for. It is His pleasure we should seek. He is the one who we should seek to attain what we aspire to. To turn in worship to anything else or pin our hopes upon created things will only lead us to disappointment and harm.

Only Allah can truly avail us. Everything in Creation is His. He can bring us to what benefits us in His creation. Everything that we dislike or fear in the world is also nothing other than His creation, and only through Him do we have the means to avoid what harms us.

Allah's Messenger knew his Lord better than anyone else. He used to beseech Allah in supplication saying: "O Allah! I seek refuge with Your pleasure from Your wrath, with Your pardon from Your punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot encompass your praise. You are as You have praised Yourself." [
Sahîh Muslim (751)]

He also said in supplication to his Lord before going to sleep: "O Allah, I have submitted myself to You and have entrusted to You my affairs, and I have taken refuge in You, in both hope and fear of You. There is no refuge or sanctuary from You except with You. O Allah! I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and Your Prophet whom You have sent."

He then said: "If you die in on this night of yours, then you will be on the natural faith. Make these words the last thing that you utter." [
Sahîh al-Bukhârî (247) and Sahîh Muslim (2710)]

Allah is our refuge and our sanctuary. Everything in existence exists only by His will. Everything we might hope for or fear is also His creation. So we must seek refuge with Him in everything. He is worthy of all our praise, and He is above all praise.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tanda-tanda kecil kiamat

Antara TANDA-TANDA KIAMAT KECIL berdasarkan hadis
1. Penaklukan Baitulmuqaddis.
Dari Auf b. Malik r.a., katanya, “Rasulullah s. a. w. telah bersabda:”Aku menghitung enam perkara menjelang hari kiamat.”Baginda menyebutkan salah satu di antaranya, iaitu penaklukan Baitulmuqaddis.”-Sahih Bukhari

2. Zina bermaharajalela.
“Dan tinggallah manusia-manusia yang buruk, yang seenaknya melakukan persetubuhan seperti himar (keldai). Maka pada zaman mereka inilah kiamat akan datang.” – Sahih Muslim
3. Bermaharajalela alat muzik.
“Pada akhir zaman akan terjadi tanah runtuh, rusuhan dan perubahan muka.” Ada yang bertanya kepada Rasulullah; “Wahai Rasulullah bila hal ini terjadi?” Baginda menjawab;”Apabila telah bermaharajalela bunyi-bunyian (muzik) dan penyanyi-penyanyi wanita” – Ibnu Majah

4. Menghias masjid dan membanggakannya.
“Di antara tanda-tanda telah dekatnya kiamat ialah manusia bermegah-megahan dalam mendirikan masjid” – Riwayat Nasai
5. Munculnya kekejian, memutuskan silaturrahim dan hubungan dengan tetangga tidak baik.
“Tidak akan datang kiamat sehingga banyak perbuatan dan perkataan keji, memutuskan hubungan silaturahim dan sikap yang buruk dalam tetangga.” – Riwayat Ahmad dan Hakim
6. Ramai orang soleh meninggal dunia.
“Tidak akan datang hari kiamat sehingga Allah mengambil orang-orang yang baik dan ahli agama di muka bumi, maka tiada yang tinggal padanya kecuali orang-orang yang hina dan buruk yang tidak mengetahui yang makruf dan tidak mengingkari kemungkaran -Riwayat Ahmad
7. Orang hina mendapat kedudukan terhormat.
“Di antara tanda-tanda semakin dekatnya kiamat ialah dunia akan dikuasai oleh Luka’ bin Luka’ (orang yang bodoh dan hina). Maka orang yang paling baik ketika itu ialah orang yang beriman yang diapit oleh dua orang mulia” -Riwayat Thabrani
8. Mengucapkan salam kepada orang yang dikenalnya sahaja.
“Sesungguhnya di antara tanda-tanda telah dekatnya hari kiamat ialah manusia tidak mahu mengucapkan salam kepada orang lain kecuali yang dikenalinya saja.” -Riwayat Ahmad
9. Banyak wanita yang berpakaian tetapi hakikatnya telanjang.
Diriwayatkan dari Abu Hurairah r.a.
“Di antara tanda-tanda telah dekatnya hari kiamat ialah akan muncul pakaian-pakaian wanita dan apabila mereka memakainya keadaannya seperti telanjang.”
10. Bulan sabit kelihatan besar.
“Di antara tanda-tanda telah dekatnya hari kiamat ialah menggelembung (membesarnya) bulan sabit.”
- Riwayat Thabrani

11. Banyak dusta dan tidak tepat dalam menyampaikan berita.
“Pada akhir zaman akan muncul pembohong-pembohong besar yang datang kepadamu dengan membawa berita-berita yang belum pernah kamu dengar dan belum pernah didengar oleh bapa-bapa kamu sebelumnya, kerana itu jauhkanlah dirimu dari mereka agar mereka tidak menyesatkanmu dan memfitnahmu”- Sahih Muslim
12. Banyak saksi palsu dan menyimpan kesaksian yang benar.
“Sesungguhnya sebelum datangnya hari kiamat akan banyak kesaksian palsu dan disembunyikan kesaksian yang benar”- Riwayat Ahmad

13. Negara Arab menjadi padang rumput dan sungai.
“Tidak akan datang hari kiamat sehingga negeri Arab kembali menjadi padang rumput dan sungai-sungai.”
- Sahih Muslim
Wahai saudara-saudaraku, marilah berfikir sejenak… yang mana sudah ada petanda pada hari ini? Ya Rabbi, ampunilah mereka yang beriman denganMu, moga hambamu ini bukan dikalangan manusia yang dimurkai.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Huru hara Hari Kiamat


An-Naml [89] Sesiapa yang datang membawa amal kebajikan (yang telah dikerjakannya) maka ia akan beroleh balasan yang lebih baik daripadanya dan mereka akan beroleh aman sentosa daripada kejadian-kejadian yang mengerikan pada hari kiamat itu.

Dalam ayat yang lain:

Al-An’ am [160]Sesiapa yang membawa amal kebaikan (pada hari kiamat), maka baginya (balasan) sepuluh kali ganda (dari kebaikan) yang sama dengannya….

Kita sebagai hamba Allah dihantar ke dunia dan diberi pelbagai kemudahan asas iaitu pancaindera untuk diuji. Tempoh ujian berbeza diantara seorang hamba dengan hamba yang lain. Tempoh jangka hayat nyawa kita berbeza, tidak seperti tong gas yang sama jumlah kandungannnya.

Dalam ayat di atas disebut sesiapa yang datang di Hari Kiamat dengan membawa kebaikan, dia akan aman dan selamat dari huru-hara disana.

Al-Hajj [2] Pada hari kamu melihat (peristiwa-peristiwa yang mengerikan) itu, tiap-tiap ibu penyusu akan melupakan anak yang disusukannya dan tiap-tiap perempuan yang mengandung akan gugurkan anak yang dikandungnya dan engkau akan melihat manusia mabuk, padahal mereka sebenarnya tidak mabuk, tetapi azab Allah amatlah berat, mengerikan.

Di hari itu juga kalau ada kanak-kanak yang lahir, mereka akan terus menjadi tua.

Al-Muzammil [17] (Sekiranya kamu tidak ditimpa azab di dunia), maka bagaimana kamu dapat menjaga dan menyelamatkan diri kamu kalau kamu kufur ingkar (dari azab) hari yang huru-haranya menyebabkan kanak-kanak menjadi tua beruban?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

History repeats itself?

On the eve of the US troop announcement and Islamabad's chattering classes are abuzz with speculation.

It's not about the level of troops to be deployed in Afghanistan but about the exit strategy.

In an official statement sent out by the US embassy in Islamabad there is one telling line: "This is not an open-ended commitment."

That has Islamabad buzzing. America's Exit Strategy. At one dinner party I was at on Monday night and attended by a prominent Pakistani politician, a former Western diplomat and a high profile journalist, one theme kept coming up: Afghanistan and America.

The Politician kept saying that the US must do a better job in listening to Pakistan's concerns. The high profile journalist countered by saying "Why? They never have listened to us before, why would they start now?" The former Western diplomat was also blunt. "Don't worry, they don't listen to anyone else either!"

As the conversation flip-flopped between old memories and the current political climate, I was reminded of that old quote from a Rudyard Kipling poem "Young British Soldier".

The poem, written in late 1800s, when Britain tried to tame the wilds of Afghanistan laments the ordinary soldier's lot: One line is particularly poignant:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."

Clearly Britain had a tough time in Afghanistan. Nearly one hundred years later the Mighty Soviet empire faced even greater challenges there. Once it pulled out of the country after 10 years occupying it the Soviet empire crumbled.

It's now America's turn.

"Go to your Gawd like a soldier" Is how the poem ends. It could well be a warning from history to Barack Obama. Kipling was slyly commenting on the madness of a military solution to the Afghan Issue. If Kipling was alive today, he may well offer the same advice to the US President.

Obama inherited the Afghan war but it could come to define his presidency.

The best way to stabilise the country is to strike a deal and pull out. Across dinner parties in Islamabad that is what conclusion keeps coming up. In the next 24 hours we will know Barack Obama's strategy.

But will the lesson's of history be applied? Perhaps not. America insists that this is a different war with different scenarios. For Pakistani's, well, they have been here before with the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. It was American that armed and funded the Afghan Mujahedeen.

When the Russians left America abandoned the country, leaving Pakistan to pick up the pieces. Pakistan armed and funded the Taliban. They brought peace to the country but at brutal cost. In the coming years we saw the rise of Osama Bin Laden, the attacks of September the 11th 2001, America's war with the Taliban and then eventually Pakistan at war within it's own borders and wave of suicide bombing's across the country. Now America talks of an exit strategy.

History, Some Pakistani's fear, is repeating itself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meningkatkan Penggunaan Nanoteknologi

Oleh : Prof Dr. Saifollah Abdullah dan Dr. Mohamad Rusop

[ Pensyarah dan penyelidik Nanoteknologi di UiTM Shah Alam ]

ISU inovasi, penyelidikan dan pengkomersialan telah menjadi hangat pada suatu ketika dahulu. Ia timbul apabila pihak- pihak tertentu mempertikaikan tahap penyelidikan dan inovasi di Malaysia. Kerajaan juga menyedari bahawa banyak hasil penyelidikan dari pusat pengajian tinggi dan agensi penyelidikan tidak dapat dikomersialkan.

Hanya beberapa hasil penyelidikan yang telah dipatenkan digunakan oleh pihak industri bagi dikembangkan ke tahap industri manakala yang lain masih lagi didalam rak-rak simpanan tanpa permintaan dari pihak industri.

Sebenarnya isu ini dapat dilihat dan amat berkait berkait rapat dengan konsep Technology-push (tolakan-teknologi) dan Demand-pull (tarikan-permintaan).

Konsep tolakan-teknologi dalam keadaan ini merujuk kepada hasil-hasil penyelidikan yang belum atau telah dipatenkan dari pihak penyelidik dan cuba dikomersialkan melalui kerjasama pihak industri. Manakala tarikan-permintaan merujuk kepada permintaan pihak industri berdasarkan keperluan semasa dan akan datang dan meminta pihak penyelidik untuk membuat penyelidikan atas permintaan produk-produk tertentu.

Konsep ini mungkin dapat difahami secara am melalui dua dialog yang mudah yang menggambarkan maksud tolakan- teknologi dan tarikan-permintaan. “Bolehkah tuan komersialkan hasil penyelidikan dan inovasi nanoteknologi saya?” Dialog ini menggambarkan tolakan-teknologi manakala. “Boleh tak profesor. hasilkan satu produk nanoteknologi untuk meningkatkan hasil pertanian.” Ia menggambarkan dialog tarikan permintaan.

Nanoteknologi merupakan suatu perkataan yang dianggap masih baru di Malaysia walaupun telah diperkenalkan sejak awal tahun 1990-an dan idea nanoteknologi telah diutarakan lebih 50 tahun yang lalu, oleh seorang saintis, Richard P. Feynman. Ia merupakan kajian pada tahap atom iaitu pada ukuran satu per bilion meter.

Pada masa kini nanoteknologi dikategorikan sebagai tolakan-teknologi mungkin disebabkan ia masih baru, bagaimanapun ia kelihatannya akan menjadi tarikan-permintaan dalam masa yang terdekat ini.

Ia berdasarkan beberapa faktor yang menjadi dominasi teknologi ini, di antaranya adalah tahap kepercayaan dan penerimaan yang tinggi di kalangan pembuat dan pengguna, keupayaan menjanjikan produk yang sangat baik berbanding produk masa kini dan penyelidikan serta inovasi sejajar dengan permintaan.

Berdasarkan keyakinan inilah juga penggunaan produk-produk nanoteknologi akan digunakan sepenuhnya menjelang 2015 dan pada masa itu transformasi tolakan-teknologi kepada tarikan-permintaan diharap akan berlaku sepenuhnya.

Senario peralihan nanoteknologi dari tolakan-teknologi kepada tarikan-permintaan amatlah jelas di peringkat dunia dengan fokus penyelidikan dan perlumbaan dalam penghasilan produk diseluruh dunia yang diterajui oleh negara-negara maju seperti Amerika Syarikat, Jepun, Korea, Taiwan dan negara-negara Eropah.

Berbilion ringgit telah dibelanjakan bagi membiayai penyelidikan, pembangunan dan inovasi dalam bidang nanoteknologi. Syarikat-syarikat besar telah melabur modal begitu banyak bagi penghasilan produk-produk seperti IBM, Hewlet-Peckatt, L’Oreal, Sony, Samsung dan lain-lain.

Adakah Malaysia sudah cukup bersedia untuk melakukan transformasi ini? Kita tidak mahu lagi isu-isu penyelidikan, inovasi dan pengkomersialan timbul kembali dan yang melibatkan nanoteknologi pula. Pihak kerajaan haruslah bijak dalam membuat perancangan dalam bidang nanoteknologi.

Langkah-langkah mesti diatur bagi meningkatkan penggunaan dan permintaan produk nanoteknologi yang mana akan menjadikan faktor tarikan-permintaan nanoteknologi. Penyelidikan-penyelidikan nanoteknologi mesti mempunyai hala tuju yang jelas agar ia dapat digunakan sepenuhnya bagi manfaat pengguna.

Malaysia mestilah melihat bidang-bidang tumpuan dalam penyelidikan nanoteknologi yang mana kita mempunyai tahap permintaan yang tinggi untuk kegunaan tempatan misalnya nanoteknologi untuk kegunaan pertanian, nanoteknologi berasaskan hasil pertanian kita sendiri, nanoteknologi berasaskan herba bagi kegunaan makanan, minuman, kosmetik dan farmaseutikal.

Selain itu juga amat berpotensi dalam bidang perkhidmatan misalnya rawatan air, menangani alam sekitar dan industri makanan tempatan.

Kefahaman dan keyakinan rakyat Malaysia terhadap produk-produk nanoteknologi merupakan faktor yang amat penting untuk dilihat. Oleh itu penyebaran pengetahuan mengenai nanoteknologi haruslah dilakukan pada semua peringkat usia dan taraf kehidupan.

Nanoteknologi dijangka menyumbang peningkatan ekonomi berbilion ringgit. Oleh itu Malaysia harus memandang serius dalam usaha meningkatkan kefahaman, keyakinan dan penggunaan produk nanoteknologi terutamanya yang dihasilkan oleh penyelidik-penyelidik tempatan.

Kita mestilah berazam untuk membuat transformasi tolakan-teknologi kepada tarikan-permintaan dalam bidang nanoteknologi di Malaysia selari dengan perkembangan nanoteknologi sedunia.

Catatan Editor:// Rencana ini pernah tersiar di akhbar Utusan Malaysia pada 17/4/2008

Tazkirah ringkas: Doa kepada Allah

Nota-nota ringkas untuk tazkirah ringkas (!)

Bila rasa helpless and clueless; kita ada kelebihan i.e. boleh mintak pada Allah:

Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 186

Dan apabila hamba-hamba-Ku bertanya kepadamu tentang Aku, maka (jawablah), bahwasanya Aku adalah dekat. Aku mengabulkan permohonan orang yang berdoa apabila ia memohon kepada-Ku, maka hendaklah mereka itu memenuhi (segala perintah) Ku dan hendaklah mereka beriman kepada-Ku, agar mereka selalu berada dalam kebenaran (2:186)

Dan yakin yang beban kita tu tak seberat mana sebab (siap dengan doa lagi):

Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 286

Allah tidak membebani seseorang melainkan sesuai dengan kesanggupannya. Ia mendapat pahala (dari kebaikan) yang diusahakannya dan ia mendapat siksa (dari kejahatan) yang dikerjakannya. (Mereka berdoa): “Ya Tuhan kami, janganlah Engkau hukum kami jika kami lupa atau kami tersalah. Ya Tuhan kami, janganlah Engkau bebankan kepada kami beban yang berat sebagaimana Engkau bebankan kepada orang-orang yang sebelum kami. Ya Tuhan kami, janganlah Engkau pikulkan kepada kami apa yang tak sanggup kami memikulnya. Beri maaflah kami; ampunilah kami; dan rahmatilah kami. Engkaulah Penolong kami, maka tolonglah kami terhadap kaum yang kafir” (2:286)

Dan setiap beban tu akan berakhir:

Surah Ash-Syarh (Al-Insyirah), ayat 5 (dan 6)

Oleh itu, maka (tetapkanlah kepercayaanmu) bahawa sesungguhnya tiap-tiap kesukaran disertai kemudahan (94:5)

Dan jangan segan nak buat kebaikan, dakwah, etc (even benda-benda yang non-ibadah or duniawi; or towards the non-muslims), sebab:

Surah Al-Zalzalah, ayat 7

Maka sesiapa berbuat kebajikan seberat zarah, nescaya akan dilihatnya (dalam surat amalnya)! (99:7)