Neighbor Day at the Surau

As I’m sure is universal among muslim communities, Ramadan represents the high water mark of religious devotion, the time when the greatest number of people turn up for daily prayers. That’s followed by a Eid crash, when numbers plummet back down to, or even below, average levels, as everyone becomes distracted with the holidays. In… More Neighbor Day at the Surau

Mawlid ar-Rasul: Surau Darul Rahman

Prophet Muhammad’s birth was commemorated last wednesday night throughout the muslim world. The tiny corner of it that I inhabit was no exception. Surau Darul Rahman held an evening of learning and celebration. I feel extremely fortunate to live two blocks from our neighborhood surau.        A surau is a prayer hall just like a… More Mawlid ar-Rasul: Surau Darul Rahman

Ramadan in Malaysia

“Ramadan through the eyes of foreigners in Malaysia” :: Borneo Post. I’m one of the foreigners interviewed.  The article also ran in Bahasa Malaysia as “Ramadan Menerusi Kaca Mata Warga Asing Di Malaysia.”   Ramadan through the eyes of foreigners in Malaysia Posted on August 5, 2013, Monday KUALA LUMPUR:  Zikir, which occurs before the start… More Ramadan in Malaysia

International Poetry Translated

If you’ve enjoyed my feeble attempts to translate Malay poems and songs over the years, perhaps you’d like the Poetry Translation Centre.  Contemporary poets of Asia, Africa and South America are translated into English by a two-step process: a native speaker translates the words literally, then the poets of PTC render it in poetic English.… More International Poetry Translated

Commercialization of Sacred Space

The masjid is a sacred place, a house of God, and among the ways that sacredness is respected is by refraining from idle talk while inside. Handphones have been a terrible scourge in this regard, with phones ringing, even being answered, in the middle of congregational prayer. No doubt this is why signs have proliferated… More Commercialization of Sacred Space

Minnows Nipped My Flesh

Took a trip to Sabah around the turn of last year. Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Malaysia, was impressive: you can see the rocky top with two spurs sticking up like horns on a giant beast. The top of the mountain is above the tree line, and was glaciated long ago. It isn’t cold… More Minnows Nipped My Flesh

Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Hassan

By Abu Muhammad of Bahrus Shofah *** English Translation by Bin Gregory Productions *** Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir bin Hassan, may Allah have mercy on him, was born in Kampung Patingan (or Kampung No. 6), Kuching, Sarawak, on the 6th of August, 1928 (28th Safar 1347). His formal education began at SRK (Public School) Merpati… More Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Hassan

The Mawlid of al-Barzanji

Manaqib Productions is releasing the Mawlid Barzanji on CD in August, with a booklet of the Arabic verses and English translation. The first chapter is available for preview in mp3 form, via Abdassamad Clarke, who has been involved in the production. Mawlid Barzanji is the most commonly recited mawlid in Malaysia. Copies of it are… More The Mawlid of al-Barzanji