Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Can money buy us happiness?

"Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, build schools and educate people so that they can achieve what you have achieved."

Recently, I did a small survey on Instagram asking people, "Do you think money can buy you happiness?" out of nowhere because I was just playing around, hehe. But then I was surprised by the number of responses I got from my friends and Instagram followers. The result was 27% of them agreed and 73% of them disagreed that money can buy happiness; that also indicated that 3 out of 4 people think that money can't buy us happiness. I was intrigued and decided to write a longer post here because I, myself, have been thinking about it quite a lot these days. I was reflecting on the idea of happiness and how do people actually define the word happiness. I am not going to be philosophical here but, what really is happiness? And why the majority of people think that money can't buy us happiness? Also, what does it have to do with the money? Why some people think money is important and some others think that it is not?

To be honest, I used to think that money will NEVER be able to buy us happiness. Yeah, I gave you one clue there, I used to. I really have no desire over money that even if I had a lot of money or destined to be born in a very wealthy family, I will still choose to give some part of it to other people after I have fulfilled my basic needs. I don't need that much anyway, I just buy what I need and if it's enough then it's enough. I don't need hundreds of designer bags or tons of brand new cosmetics or skincare, I would feel content with one or two that I will really use and last me for a long time. Well, I don’t mind having tons of skincare though. Also, I want a private jet, hehe. And chocolates. And a lot of books. And a mansion on a private island. Astaghfirullah HAHAH. Anyway! All I wanted to do in life is to share, serve, and help others through charity or education. I have never fancied money that I would sacrifice or dedicate my whole life to pursue material things. 

"Did you realise that there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless? There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs."

However, I changed my whole perspective about money after reading more books, educating myself about financial literacy, cashflow and listening to my mentors. Now, I believe that money CAN buy us happiness, although it's not always the case and the centre of the universe. The truth is... there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless. There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs. I was wrong thinking that being rich always associated with greed and evil. Money can "buy" us happiness and a sense of security if we spend it on the right thing or the right people. Money is good if you are a man of value, a man of purpose, money makes you a better human if you have an amazing personality that could help other people.

Or even if you don't really have a big sense of sharing or charity, money still allows you to afford plane tickets for travelling in which you can learn more about other cultures, understanding other people or just enjoying the beauty of nature. You can achieve financial security to fulfil your basic needs of foods and roofs because before helping other people we have to make sure that we help ourselves.  Also, we can buy more chocolates, hehe. What I am trying to say is that it's not always about making the most money or compete with one another, it is more about giving deeper value in the utilisation of money, be it to spend it on something that makes you a better human or invest it in something that you like. Because money comes when we have value. Some self-made millionaires out there, who wasn't born into a billionaire family, are usually the people of value who successfully created a system or product that help a lot of human.
"The most beautiful thing in life is not wealth, rather it is the tranquillity of the soul, the contentment of the heart and happiness that comes from within." @roseofgolds
Money can buy you happiness, but it can't buy you contentment. You can be the wealthiest person in this world and still not be content, or you can have as little as $1 a day but you can still be the happiest person in this world. The key is to be grateful; gratitude is a simple act that requires you nothing but it does have a big effect in your life, it will give you peace, calmness, and contentment. "And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]." (surah Ibrahim 14:7) The goal is not to make the money controls you, the goal is to control the money for bigger purposes and good causes. Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, builds schools and educates people so that they can achieve what you have achieved. Life is too short to hold grudges and enmity, why don't we cooperate and help each other? Greed. Yea,h I just answered my own question.
"Wealth is the slave of a wise man. A master of a fool." -Seneca

There are widely spread mentality and misconception within the Muslim community, that when you're in deen and practising Islam you shouldn't have desire over money as it's all about material things and worldly lives. In Islam, we have the concept of zuhud, it means having no love for the material world as it might make us forget about our sole purpose and the purification of the soul. The problem is that all of us have to live in this material world and benefit from it. When we are hungry we need food. When we are thirsty we need water. We need a roof over our heads. We need to earn money for our daily expenses.  But does it really mean that we shouldn't pursue material things at all? Does Islam really encourage us to not be wealthy and just focus on the hereafter/akhira? 

No, the fact is there is nothing wrong with pursuing money or material things. Even the Prophet's companions were among the super-rich but it doesn't mean they love material things or get crazy over money. Just look at Uthman ibn Affan r.a, Abdurrahman ibn Awf, both of them are millionaires in their time and the way they spend money for good cause and charity is still an ongoing ajr until now. Generosity, service, and love. Then, how is it possible then that while we benefit so much from this material world and need it all the time, we do not fall in love with it?
"Aim to live in this world without allowing the world to live inside you, because when a boat sits on water it sails perfectly, but when water enters inside the boat, it sinks. " Imam Ali (AS)
This is one of my favourite quote; you are allowed to have money in your hand, you're just not allowed to have it in your heart. It is to be said that we shouldn't get so busy with money that we neglect more important things like family, health, friends, and purposes. Indeed, Allah has given us a chance to live in this dunya so that we can seek with it the hereafter, next life, afterlife, akhirah, whatever you name it. And we as a Muslim (well if you are a non-Muslim reading this right now, it's up to you to take it or not) believe that we are not meant to be attached in this dunya/world.



1. Understand the cause-effect relationship
It is good and encouraged to donate and make a lot of charity for those who need, but we shouldn't forget to deal with the cause of the issue or the root of the problems. Talha Azam said, "suppose there is a sister on the verge of becoming homeless; you want to help her with donations, good. That's dealing with the effect of her becoming homeless. The cause is she doesn't know how to generate money. The cause is illiteracy and lack of knowledge. In other words, prioritise creating systems of financial literacy to tackle homelessness instead of the consistency giving charity alone."
"Wealth is a catalyst–it makes you much more of who you already are in your intentions, plans, and character. Use wealth for supporting your goals, humility and generosity, and not for arrogance, corruption, and evil."
-Talha Azam
2. Educate ourselves with financial literacy and how the system works
The lesson is, we should not only focus on fixing the problem but also understanding why certain issues happened in the first place through knowledge and education. It is important to understand the world issues and current affairs facing the society, we have to build more awareness that the whole nation is suffering because we are not doing our part to help the ecosystem. Lack of understanding in knowledge is dangerous as it might lead us to hypocrisy and ignorance. We should educate ourselves about how to think, how to invest, how the system works, cash flow, how to learn, how to manage money, basically teach yourself about everything that your school or university never teach you. Even if you have graduated or you have reached the age above 40, do. not. stop. learning. Learning is essential, be conscious of the pursuit of knowledge. Seek knowledge but keep humble!

3. Plan, reflect, think, write it down
Reflect on your goals and purposes, think about how you define money and happiness.
What do you think about money? How do you feel about money? What you should really do with the money? What can you do for yourself, family, or other people? Think about your life in a long-term, imagine and plan it out. Just think and write it on a piece of paper. Paper and pen.

4. Manage your money and spend it for a good cause
You don't have to be an entrepreneur or millionaires, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job that you love or work hard for your passion. Everyone has a different story and don't let others define yourself or let you down. Start planning your money, financial planning and management are very important no matter what your goal and purpose are. It might be annoying and uncomfortable if you're not used to tracking your daily expenses, but it will be helpful for your future. If you are a Muslim, don't forget to spare 2,5% of your money for zakat/charity to help the poor. Help everyone, it doesn't have to be a Muslim to spread goodness in humanity.

5. Be grateful
I don't have a lot to say about this one, you know what you should do :)

Abu Huraira (Radhi-Allahu ‘anhu) reported: Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) as saying: "Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people)."[Sahih Muslim – Book 032: Hadith 6264]

So, what do you think about money?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

One of the best nights in Ramadan with Interracial Family

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Qur'an Al Hujurat 49:13)

---May 20th, 2019; 03.56 pm, raining---
One-third of Ramadan has passed; today is already the 15th day as I am writing this post, it means we only have two weeks left before the month of Shawal. I just had a suhoor a few minutes ago and stopped eating as Fajr prayer started around 03.32 a.m. I didn't eat that much this time, I just had some cashew nuts baklava that I bought from Itaewon earlier today and a few sips of water. I am still feeling very full after eating iftar at my friend's house. My friend is a Korean-Muslim who converted to Islam from Christianity about two years ago, she called herself a 'baby Muslim' because it's only her second Ramadan experience. We met last year in Busan Al-Fatah Mosque, now that I moved to Seoul she invited me to have an iftar in her house. 
Eonni: Sister assalamu alaykum, can you come this evening for iftar today?^^ Because we want to have iftar together in our house today~~>,<
Me: Wa'alaykumsalam~ InshaAllah I can come...
Eonni: ... Today we have two Muslim university students coming and I remember you~>,<
I went to Itaewon wearing a long black dress, light blue jeans jacket, and a dusty pink pashmina after changing the colour of my hijab a few times. It was raining the whole day so I brought an umbrella (my roommate's because I couldn't find mine until now) and walked pretty slowly because it was slippery. I arrived at 6.40 p.m and met my friend from Egypt, Amira, who came along the way from Ansan to Seoul only to break her fast and spend Ramadan vibes together. I was shocked when I saw her also wearing a black dress and light pink hijab, I was laughing so hard as it was unintended and coincidental. Then we went together from Itaewon station exit 3 to buy some cookies and snacks from a halal Kervan Turkish bakery, we bought some baklava and some other Turkish snacks that I don't know what the names are for gifts since they must have prepared a lot of foods (tHEY REALLY DID I AM STILL IN FOOD COMA)
It was narrated that Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives iftaar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.” 
We arrived at her house around 7.15 p.m after walking for 20 minutes only to find out that another friend of us wearing the same black dress and pink hijab! HHAHAH it was so funny (and embarrassing) because now we looked like a group of choir lolllll. She, my eonni, didn't know that we knew each other before but we came wearing the same dress code although it wasn't planned at all. In the table, three of her kids were eating while she was holding her fourth baby, they were all so cute and I love babies :p Anyway, there were also two more guys sitting in the dining room, one of them is her husband and the other one is a university student like us. My eonni is Korean and she married an Algerian, they really are a beautiful family! So now we have Egyptians, Koreans, Algerians, and me, the only Indonesian there.

My friend's husband or I refer him as samchon ì‚¼ì´Œ, which means uncle in Korean, started to introduce himself and talked about Islam and the Muslim community in Korea, sharing and giving, and encourage us to build a strong community. He also talked about how he met his wife and discussed Islam further with love and compassion as we waited for the adhan Maghrib to break our fast.

Suddenly uncle said, "...there are two things that are the happiest for a Muslim while fasting..."
and I continued the verse, " is when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord"
He smiled, "You're right, thank you."
"MashaAllah, may Allah give you barakah."
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “He who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord."
We broke our fast at 7.40 p.m with Algerian dates (kurma), it was big and soft but less sweet compared with other types of dates. It's my first time to eat it and I love it! I always love dates tho. For starter, they served us Harira soup which has a lot of herbs, something-very-signature-from-Algeria that I forgot the name-ugh sorry, and tomato juice. Anyway, that something-very-signature-from-Algeria is like small thin pebbles made from dough. The old women or mothers in Algeria (or his family) always saying dhikrullah or adhkar while shaping every single thing so we believe there's so much barakah in it. Insha'Allah. After that, we prayed Maghrib prayer together in jama'ah (congregational prayer) before continuing the talk and eating. 

Alhamdulillah. We finished Maghrib prayer and started eating dinner together, they have prepared so much that whenever we finished one dish, they will give us more! I am so grateful, alhamdulillah, may Allah give them abundant blessings, barakah, and hidayah throughout their entire lives. Aameen. They have such a beautiful family with knowledge, sincerity, compassion, and love. We couldn't stop talking as we engaged ourselves with lively and deep conversations. One of the guy from Algeria is also in the same major as I am, International Studies—just different university although it is just 15 minutes from mineso we found ourselves talked about the world's politics, Islam, economics, issues facing our ummah today, until the Rothschild family, the nature of both genders in science and Islamic perspectives to polygamy even hahahahahhah.

It was so beautiful and engaging because whenever we talked about certain topics we never forget to relate it with Qur'an and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad SAW, laa hawla wa laa quwwata ilaa billah. I always love it so much talking about deeper things rather than shallow ones with people who share the same values as I am, although sometimes we might have different opinions we will go back to Qur'an and learn to understand it in the perspective of Islam. We don't need to backbite or disrespect other people to have a wonderful conversation and create deeper bonds with each other. I respect them a lot.

Once again,  I am so grateful that Allah blessed me with beautiful and warm people that I can rely on like a family; I love how they treated me like their own children, and they told to me that "we are one family." as we exchanged prayer for each other. I am so grateful that Allah put me in a situation to be around the righteous people who love knowledge; to learn the meaning love beyond the mediocre and shallow understanding; to get to know each other despite our differences and backgrounds. And in the end, I've always believed and convinced that Islam unites us together only if we allow ourselves to take heed and reflection of the verses of Allah and the saying of Prophet Muhammad with sincerity and pure intentions. May Allah protect us.

So, how is your Ramadan so far? Let's strive to build a relationship with Qur'an even if it's as small as reading on ayah/verse or listening to the recitation every day.

Have a blessed Ramadan!
May Allah accepts our good deeds and burns our past sins. Aameen.


Iftar (or Fatoor) (Arabic: إفطار‎ ʾifṭār 'breakfast') is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
Adhkar/dhikrullah (also spelled Zikrullah) (Arabic: ذكر الله ) is an Arabic given name built on the words Dhikr and Allah, meaning Remembrance of Allah.
Hidayah is an Arabic word meaning "guidance". According to Islamic belief, guidance has been provided by Allah to humans primarily in the form of the Qur' an.
Salat al-jama'ah (Congregational Prayer) or prayer in congregation (jama'ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself.

Monday, May 06, 2019

A day before Ramadan...

My second Ramadan in Korea

After I have finished my essays and assignments at 2 pm, I took a bath and prepared myself to go to Itaewon mosque in Seoul, Korea. There I met brothers, sisters, and uncles to discuss further plans and events during Ramadan until 5.30ish pm. Not long after that, we went to Makan Halal Restaurant #1 to eat dinner, brother Kareem (he is a Korean Muslim) paid for our meals and it was so generous of him because he almost always does it and never wants us to pay. May Allah give him barakah. It was 10-12 of us including two little kids I just met today, they were all sooo cute and sneaky! Hahaha. Ah, since I am in Korea, I got the chance to meet Korean Muslims (which is very rare and probably only 0,1% of the population in Korea) and listen to their revert stories directly. Alhamdulillah. Every single story that I have heard always moved me and got me thinking, as a born Muslim, that I have been given a priceless blessing that often being overlooked: Islam. I was born in a Muslim community, a Muslim family, easy access to information about Islam and Qur'an, I got to meet amazing mentors, teachers, and inspirational people that hold Islamic value from the Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions. Speaking Indonesian, English, and knowing some Arabic is such a privilege because I can learn from many sources, unlike my revert friends who sometimes only speak Korean and speak a little bit of English. 

"It may not be perfect, as nothing will ever be perfect in this Dunya,.... but if we have faith in Allah and Prophet Muhammad SAW we will still be the happiest person. "

Ever since I came to Korea, I got to realize the abundant blessings that Allah has bestowed upon me and my family in Indonesia. Everything was so easy because Indonesia is a Muslim majority country although it is not an Islamic country unlike the ones in Middle-east or Arab. We are free to pray and eat halal everywhere and there are almost no difficulties to perform and practice Islam, you are free to wear hijab or niqab or whatever is your preferences. The only difficulty that we can have in Indonesia is... our own nafs. Mosques in Indonesia is just almost everywhere, probably take 5 minutes from our homes, and even if we are in the mall or public places they also provide Mushalla or small Mosque. The only difficult thing is the battle of our nafs, whether we are willing to walk toward the place of worships and perform Salah/prayers. Here in Korea, there are not so many mosques that you can find, when I was still in Busan I have to go down the hill, take the bus, transfer to a subway, transfer one more, and walk for 5 minutes before I reach the destination. It took me one and a half hour to go to a mosque, three hours journey a day. Sometimes I would spend my weekends in the Mosque as they provide a place for women to freely do anything and take off our hijab there. I usually spent my weekends with my sisters and cooked Indonesian foods until late at night while sharing stories with each other.

Now that I moved to Seoul, I have easier access to more variety of halal foods and mosques. The nearest mosque from my place takes about 30-40 minutes of commuting via subway and walking. Alhamdulillah. Oh, back to the story... after we ate dinner, I went out with sister Roukaya from France; sister Muni from Egypt; and sister Nura from Korea to walk around and wait until Maghrib prayer. I talked to sister Nura, whom I just met for the first time, about her journey to Islam. I really respect her and her decision to convert to Islam despite being the only Muslim in the family. Her story started after she watched the news about terrorisms and 9/11, she was curious, "Why Islam do this?" "Why Muslims are terrorists?", the exact same question that I asked myself long before I decided to wear hijab. She then learned about it and asked her Muslim friends, probably still with hatred and confusion, only to find out that the real teaching of Islam is nothing like the media said about us. She then decided to take her shahada and become a Muslim two and a years ago. This year is her third Ramadan, which was still hard for her, but she is trying so hard to wear the hijab (she likes it) and practice Muslim as much as she can. Her trials and bravery to walk against the current, against her family, against the Korean society that still have some prejudices about Muslim make me respect her more and more.

"Because in the end, this world is created as a test and people are separated entity that will be held accountable for their own responsibilities and deeds."

We walked to a cafe, just 10 minutes away from the mosque, and spent half an hour there drinking coffee and green tea (that's for me!). We conversed in Korean and English and talk about almost everything. We laughed so hard I was afraid if we might disturb others. We are just that funny loooool. Then we went back to the mosque to perform Maghrib prayer. The imam also officially announced that "tomorrow", today, is the first day of Ramadan. Therefore, we continued performing Taraweeh prayer after Isha'. My group chats, with Korean and foreigner Muslims, were full of notifications saying "Ramadan Kareem" and "Ramadan Mubarak"! Taraweeh prayer finished at 10 pm and we went back by subway, I went with sister Nura and talked about misconceptions that Korean has about Islam and Muslims. Sooo many things that I just pray that they will educate themselves and read more rather than blaming and assuming certain things that are not even true.

I arrived home by 11is pm where I met a sister from Syria. Yeah, Syria, it's the first time I met a person from Syria. We talked about a lot of things started from Ramadan to Quran to funny things that Korean asked or said to us and moving out of the dorm. HAHAHA. We were talking in the hallway, standing for more than an hour until the clock shows 00.54. We got along sooo fast and it was so fun and I am so grateful to meet her. The more I talk to a Muslim in the country that doesn't even believe in God, the more I feel grateful for being born in the Indonesian Muslim community. It may not be perfect, as nothing will ever be perfect in this Dunya, no matter where you are... in your home country or abroad, no matter what you do or happen to you, no matter how bad it is, despite being the most attacked religion in the whole world, no matter what they say about us, no matter how they look down upon us, if we have faith in Allah and Prophet Muhammad SAW we will still be the happiest person. Because in the end, this world is created as a test and people are separated entity that will be held accountable for their own responsibilities and deeds. May Allah protect us from the hellfire and in the day of judgement.
Fasting and the Quran will intercede on behalf of Allah's servant on the day of judgement:  
Fasting will say "O my Lord! I prevented him from food and desires during the day, so accept my intercession for him." And the Qur’an will say, "O my Lord! I prevented him from sleeping by night, so accept my intercession for him." The intercession of both will thus be accepted.  
(Ahmad and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Thursday, May 02, 2019

For those of you who are worrying about the future...

"Unfortunately, time is the only preposition 

that we actually have but never own."

Okay, guys so ignore the previous post because I've decided to write something longer... I guess. You know that it has been quite a long time for me to write here because of the immense activity and new things that I have to do since I moved abroad. It's 2.15 am when I am writing this, I was trying to sleep two hours ago but I couldn't because I have so many things in my mind right now. The previous short writing got me reflected on my past journeys comparing with where I am today. So, I decided to write something to pour it all out. My mind is always complicated and full of things even when I need to focus or when I don't even want to think about anything. It's always full. It wanders to places so far away that I have never been before. It's a mess. Even if I can give you one chance to see what's going on in my mind right now, I'll suggest that you don't. I don't think that you'll be ready for the  endless chaos.

It has been almost one and a half year living in South Korea. Studying and living abroad in my 20s was merely just a dream before. Ten years ago, the idea of pursuing knowledge in foreign lands was almost unreachable and impossible as I am not coming from a wealthy family who are willing to pay for my tuition in such prestigious universities abroad. Knowing that the reality is always harsh and doesn't always go with the expectation, I started building and unleashing the hidden power inside me that I believe will be useful for my future. I occupied myself with armours and weapons to be ready with growth that always comes with a price: pain. I finally came to a realisation that the future is always unpredictable, therefore, I prepared myself with the worst scenario. But, there's never a plan B. I probably have told people that I do have plan B, but truth is, I don't. I just said it because people will always have something to "say" and saying that I have a plan B succeeded in preventing myself from endless question. I am quite an all or nothing person.

I remember those days in high school, I was working so hard for my future but not realising that I neglected things that I don't know I will miss today; moments. I could share thousands of good moments during my golden time in high school, achieving everything that helps me to reach my dream. I, indeed, enjoyed everything that I did but I still have some regrets because I paid a little to no attention to my surroundings. I focused on my future so much that I didn't live in the present. I was so driven, motivated about my future that all I wanted to do was just jumping into that day and nothing else. I should've told my past-self that I don't have to be worried that much for everything will eventually be alright in the end; it will make sense as life will put you in situations that you have never imagined before. And now that I am living the life that I have always been dreaming for, all those unnecessary worries and doubts look like nothing today compared to the consequences that come along the way.

However, I don't regret choosing this path. I love my life right now and even if I was given a chance to go anywhere or anytime in my life, I will still choose this path. I just regret that I didn't live my life to the fullest at that time. Had I known that everything will be ok, I would spend my time more wisely, explore more places and meet more people. Unfortunately, time is the only preposition that we actually have but never own. So, for those of you who are worried about your future right now, don't stop dreaming but don't forget to live your life, pay attention to your surrounding and worry less. Believe me that you'll reach whatever you're dreaming for if you work enough for it. Remember that everything will be alright in the end.

Febby Aurora

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

A Quick Hello!

Hello everyone! Peace be upon you.
I hope you're all doing well. I just wanna write a quick post today since we're so close to Ramadhan   (only a few days left!). Last week, I had my first mid-term examination at Korea University and I am on my way towards finals in June. Time flies by so fast, I am kinda scared but excited at the same time tbh. My Ramadhan last year was incredible alhamdulillah, as it was also my first time spending Ramadhan abroad. The difference is I spent Ramadhan in Busan last year, but start from this year I will spend my Ramadhan in Seoul. New places, new friends, new environments, and new experiences Insha'Allah. Anyway, just click the link below if you want to read it!

Finally, I hope each one of you will have a blessed Ramadhan. May Allah put barakah in everything that we do and accept our ibaadah and prayers.

Febby Aurora

Sunday, March 10, 2019

First Week at Korea University & Teaching Kids

First Week at Korea University - Course Registration and Journaling
Last Monday, May 4th 2019, I started my first week as a freshman at Korea University. I did course registration (수강신청) for the first time before college starts (개강) and took 18 credits with 2 core-general education in "Introduction to Economics" and "Introduction to Political Science". Those two classes are the very basic thing that I would need for the next 4 years before taking some major classes which would need pre-requisites or general idea about the courses. I changed my schedule during the add/drop period due to some reasons and consideration, the rest of the classes are English classes to improve my academic English skill in a general, reading, writing, debating, and so on. My courses are all in English!! ye-hey, happy. Bye, Korean. Oh, and before anyone asking again, I am majoring in International Studies. Yep, International Studies, not International Relations. I will write a post about it as soon as I understand clearly the difference between both of them, Insha Allah.

I have been trying to start journaling again for the past few days, I just bought my stationeries last week and decided that this year's theme will be all in black! I also re-write and re-consider my future goals and make it aligned with my timetable right now. I don't know what will happen in the next few months, my first semester in KU, but I wish I will remain steadfast and firm in my faith or even goes deeper than I used to have. I pray that whatever I will face in the future: pain, rejection, blessing, dynamic, etc, will always have barakah in it. I don't know what will happen in the next four months, or four years even, but I wish my future-self will contemplate on the posts that I've written from the past few years in this book or in my journals, thus, I will remember why I started.

I have been writing a blog since I was 12 years old and that's the time where I started to plan out my whole life. I make a plan, Allah plans, but Allah is the best of a planner. But as a Muslim, we are not ought to just let everything happen and wait. We are taught to do our part with hard-work and the rest we leave it to Allah. Having tawakkal in Allah doesn't mean we don't plan out things, having tawakkal in Allah means "we do our part first and let Allah do the rest". From the past few weeks, I am trying to change my eating and life-style by building a habit of "eat more vegetables and fruits"! Cooking recipe videos are one of my jam now yayyyy (I am not a pro but at least I am trying! hehe). There are still some habits that I have to change including zero procrastination, read more books, seek knowledge, drink more water, and stop-clicking-the-snooze-button!! I am trying to fix and change myself to be better because after all, it is for my own good. Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah for Islam.

My First Time Teaching Kids (in Korean!)
Hmm, what else..? Oh! This Saturday was my first time teaching Indonesian or mix-married Korean kids, I was paired with three kids today (around 4-6 years old): Ali, Hakim, and Iram. Three of them can't speak Korean, well, one knows and understands but doesn't want to use it. It was such a challenge for me because I am so bad at speaking but yeah I tried. Ali keeps saying, "I don't know Indonesian." and ran away from the table. I have met Iram before when I was still in Busan, she kinda forgot me at first but after I showed her the selfies that we used to take she started to hold my hands, jumps here and there, pull me to the right or left, run around the room, and never tried to let go of it! Awe. She likes studying and always repeat her Qur'an memorization even when it's not the time for memorizing. Also, her story-telling skill is amazing, perhaps better than I do.

The other two boys are siblings but they look like a twin because of how much they resemble each other! Similar heights even. Ali is older than his peers but still too young to be included in the "big class", he is still kiddo after all. However, he is maturer than the kids on his age and tends to take care of those younger than him. He is shy and likes to lower his voice when reading Iqra' or repeating the surah he has memorized. I don't know if he was not confident or just bored. Hakim, on the other hand, is less shy than his brother but his focus often distorted with toys and snacks. Both of them are quiet but likes drawing, I was surprised when I saw Ali's drawing. He drew so well that I can tell what he is drawing (some kids' drawings are so abstract I don't even know what that is.). Ali is my favourite hihi!

However, three of them did well and actually knows the Arabic alphabets they have memorized before. Just bored and lazy I think, typical kids. Because as soon as we played hand-plushies, they started to tell me stories about animals (in Korean of course) and did some role-plays where I have to act like I am hurt or give special reaction whenever they push the plushies to me, like you know, attacking. Hahahah, funny thing, they don't know the names of animals in Bahasa Indonesia except one thing, bebek, and they'll start laughing endlessly. May Allah bless these kids, aamiin ya rabbal alamin.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Friends: trials and blessings

"If somebody asks me, "What is the biggest blessing that ever happened to you?" I won't say money, degree, or any material gifts. I would say, "Friends".

Friends are the biggest blessing that Allah has ever bestowed upon me throughout my whole life. The friend that always reminds me of Allah, the hereafter, the reason why I remain steadfast in deen of Islam. The people who corrects me when I do something wrong and I, deep down, really appreciate whenever they did do that. They are the ones who put values in my life and taught me about a lot of things that cannot be bought by money or traded with any material things in this world.

Thank you for the lessons and things unseen to the eyes. I wish I could mention each one of my friends who changed my life and filled my days with beautiful memories, but it won't ever be enough to express how grateful I am to have each one of them in my life.

My sisters and brothers in Islam, know that you played a huge role in my life. Barakallahu feekum, jazakallahu khairan katsiran. Aamiin yaa rabbal alamin."
I posted this on my snap gram on 13th of February, 2018. I was in the KTX from Busan on my way to Seoul, listening to Mufti Menk's podcast about the blessings of friends in our life (if you want to watch/listen, see the youtube video below or simply click this link!). That day, I officially moved to Busan after I spent almost one-year studying the Korean language. Now it's my time to start my degree in Korea University, Seoul, and start a new life here.

It was hard and difficult to leave, to be honest, because I was already comfortable with my life there and have good friends, really really good friends. They are my sisters that I met in Al-Fatah Mosque Dusil and my KGSP friend from Egypt, Amira. Of course, I have other friends as well, but they are the ones I am closest with, whom I talked to a lot. And by talking means, no simple talking but deep and meaningful conversations, sharing and exchanging our thoughts about Islam, world, politics, social-economy to jinns, universe, science, technology and even marriages! HAHAH they are the best! I love my friends, of course, my friends in Indonesia are included, the people that I probably have mentioned in the previous posts. The precious ones in my life who probably doesn't realise that their aspirations, ambitions, and views about this life inspired me to keep moving on in this life. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah.

"The Prophet (ï·º) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; 
so each one should consider whom he makes his friend. (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah)"

This past few weeks, the last two months to be precise, I was having a rough time of discovering myself to new paths of life. It was quite short but an unforgettable experience. It was exciting but hurts so much, that I really didn't expect it at all. It was rather a painful journey. I am afraid I cannot tell the details of what happened because it includes some privacy of some people, and due to that I will just paint the big picture. Moreover, it is not our way in Islam to talk bad about others in front of other people and put a bad image on them (May Allah forgives us). Yes, we do make mistakes and sometimes we forgot, but everyone has a chance to forgive and learn. 

I'd rather lose one or two friends that possibly caused me to go astray from the goodness or lead me to destruction than to lose my relationship with Allah Azza Wa Jalla. We make mistakes but we always have two or more choices and given a free-will. We are given brains to think and reflect about every matter that happened in our lives but sometimes our hearts are contradictory to each other. Whatever doubts you have: remember to always trust your gut feeling, it's right most of the time, InshaAllah. And always put your trust in Allah, ask him to guide you and your heart to the best choice only, for your Dunya (world) and akhirah. It is only win-or-win solution whenever you put your trust in Allah, be tawakkal, of course, do your part first by doing ikhtiar and then you can leave the rest to Allah.

“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, 
except for the righteous...” (Qur’an 43:67- 73)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Beginning of A Journey

Korean Language Training graduation day - January, 2019

This is just the beginning...
Almost 3 months passed since I wrote anything in this blog, I have promised you 
to write articles on the topic that you guys requested but I haven't had the chance and time to write, 
I am sorry, I will try my best. If... possible. InshaAllah. Hehe. 

This post will mark the beginning of my study journey in South Korea. By January 18th I've officially finished my Korean Language Training Program at Silla University. Yes, I've graduated! Alhamdulillah. But this is not the end, at all. Instead, this is the beginning of the real journey. Soon enough I will start my undergraduate studies on Spring Semester at Korea University, Seoul. I will leave Busan (that has become my second hometown now I guess!) and move to Seoul by mid-February InshaAllah.

A lot of things happened in 2018, the good and the bad. I am feeling so grateful that I have met wonderful and amazing GKS (Global Korea Scholarship) friends at Silla University: 36 people from 32 different countries. We came from various cultures and backgrounds, we may not always like each other and have the same opinions about everything but we learned how to respect and appreciate each other's cultures and values despite our differences. They are all amazing people, I learned about their pasts and the journeys that they have been through but managed to survive until they became the person they are today. We all have strengths and weaknesses, we may not be perfect but that's what differentiates us from one another. And I am feeling so happy that I got the chance to learn about their lives, personal values, and way of thinking.

When I look back at my life again I realize how lucky and blessed I am because of this opportunity. I really am grateful and InshaAllah will not regret my decision of coming to Korea despite the challenges that I have to face in order to survive. Life in Korea may not be easy, but this is where I learn how to be responsible and get out of my comfort zone in order to grow. Oh, and I am 20 now, it might be young for some people and old for some other people. But for me, I've always reminded myself that "If today is your last day, then you are old already.", so don't wait until you're old because old age is not promised. The present is the only thing that we have right now, so make sure that we don't waste it! #selfreminder :)