Thursday, October 13, 2016

Shaykh interview

friends, dato and tansri,

for muslims around the globe now, especially in muslim minority countries, holding on to their 'ugama' is like  clenching  'a burning coal ' in the palm of a believer.

muslims are despised everywhere they go.
minimum, we are looked with suspicion and in some place with derision.
masjid and surau got burned; having a qur'an in some airport may end up with you missing or being ejected from a flight etc an etc.

yet, there was a time less than a century ago when even the news of a muslim woman getting raped in belgrade would have launched massive troops movement at the austrian-bosnian border.

now we are 1.6 billions and growing.
but we are like 'foams being pushed around by the ocean'.

what ails us? 

listen to one of my  current tok gurus and shaykh , shyakh ninowy, for a possible answer and solution to this current ennuie and malaise affecting the ummah

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Shaykh Mukhtar al Marghroui.... 'from spiritual vacuum to al hamdulillah...'

friends, dato and tansri,

i count shyakh mukhtar al marghroui as one of my virtual tok guru, along with shaykh muhammad ninowy of atlanta; shaykh al yacoubi formerly of damascus, syria: the late tok guru nik aziz of pulai melaka, kota bharu; the late prof hamka of indonesia; shaykh hamza yusuf of california usa; and tj winter aka abdal hakim murad of cambridge.

our common denominator was of course abu hamid al ghazali of tus.
abu hamid al ghazali's tok gurus dated back  finally to rasullallah, sayyidina muhamad ibnu abdullah [pbuh] of makkah/madinah.

that is the nature of ilm in 'traditional islam'. from one tok guru to another to another , to another and to another, and finally to the murid. 
in the twentieth century, the subsequent anak murid could read from books or via the electronic media....this later day 'innovation' cannot replace 'one to one' teaching, but at least it is better than 'nothing'.

one cannot claim, as many  young punks are doing now: ' i subscribe to the salaf of the nabi ' and the sunnah' and only my tok guru has the monopoly of knowledge!'....

one  young upstart mufti from wang kelian, up north, has also joined this 'band wagon'  of thinking, unfortunately.

when one's claim to such fame is that one's tok guru is 8th century or 11 century after the nabi, and only they are the significant 'reformists of the ugama!
only these two have the monopoly of true hadithic knowledge.
the rest of the scholars and ulama' can go and fly kites!

this is bloody nonsense and bullshit!.

'shafei, ahmad hambal and imama malik can go and fly kites because they oftentimes did not follow muslim or bukhari to the T!' , they opined. unfortuntely revealing their utter ignorance about transfer of knowledge and wisdom in our 'ugama'.

these clowns, these intellectual midgets, [ and that is how i feel about some of them, young punks going around rubbishing centuries of scholarship and age-old traditions ],in their haste , forgot that these ulama par excellence predate both bukhari and muslim, some by at least a half century!

this is  bloody nonsense by people who should know better.......

ok i have said my piece, let us now get down to business.

here, marghroui, a double phd in physics and electronic engineering and originally from algeria, discusses on the need to fill that spiritual vacuum in our souls.
he wraps up with the sublime meaning and intoxication of tasbih, tahmid and tahlil.

enjoy him.

[   ]

Monday, September 19, 2016

islam but no muslim......[ a preamble to surah al ahzab ]

friends, dato ansd tansri,

al junayd al baghdadi, al sultan al awliya, [ circa 835- 910 ce ], was reputed to have  been asked by one of his disciples,
'sir, how do you reach the level you are now?'
"by staying under that staircase  over there, for over 30 years"

so much for the symbolism of the 'staircase', signifying humility; self reflection and introspection; stoicism; muraqaba; zuhudness; sabr in zikrullah and remembrance and plain hard work , work and work.

in zen buddhism, in old japan, they also have such things.....between the exquisitely divine beautiful ginkakuji temple and chion-in temple in downtown kyoto there is a beautiful path along a small river that weave and meander. they name this 3 km path,the philosophers path.

i could imagine the monks and enthusiast walking this path between two temples, slowly, slowly giving them time to introspect and reflect on the mysteries of life and the universe, centuries back.

as soon as i arrived back at my airbnb bivouac near kinkakuji temple in the higashiyama mountain, i asked my host  koji as to what makes a japanese tick,

'koji, the whole world never failed to be amazed by you guys....i mean you guys can still queue in the face of calamities as happened during the tsunami nuclear meltdown in fukushima. elsewhere even in america, and especially in america, a one night total blackout would cause riot and pandemonium..'

koji did not understand what i was drawing at and i don't blame him. apart from running three jobs at the same time, a conceirge by morning, a fairly successful airbnb business in between recess and an avid gardener, in his free evening

the complex interplay of centuries of warring shoganates; geographical isolation from original source china; the stoicism of having to face the world during world war two and the subsequent demoralizing defeat; and in the background all the time with shintoism and zen buddhism rubbing on the psyche and humanity of the japanese collective souls....this cauldron of heat and fire that mould a nation's philosophical psyche were too complicated for koji to comprehend.

i put it to him in simpler term,
'what is it koji, shintoism, taoism or zen buddhism that drive the japanese people?'

' no sir, almost 100 % of japanese do not subscribe to any religion. only when we die we get buried under shinto or taiost culture and ways...'

alas, now japan has islam but no muslims, and  a great  number of us, majority muslim countries, have got so-called muslims but no islam.

we do not have to go very far.......just visit putrajaya's sri perdana!
the mother of all evil....gross chronic cronyism, out of the world nepotism; unbridled corruption ; shameless avarice and irreligiosity.
there is no more words or adjective to describe this irreverence to such traditional values held in high esteem both in the muslim world as well as the malay world!  

elsewhere the scholars and brilliant; the shakers and the movers of society sleep well.
this resounding silence from these 'zombies', these living dead, is deafening!
shame on you guys.
what  have we done or not done  to deserve this monumental 'bala', i wonder?
and i can assure you we have not reach the trough yet, mind you.
worse is to come.

'apadah jadi'......reminded me of the croner, the late sm salim

let us once again drown our collective sorrow in the opening gambit of surah al ahzab.
we come to the business part of the qur'an, since surah al ahzab is a madani surah, dealing with the limits and hudud of living..
the early ayat in this important surah discuss the nitty gritty issues of adoption, inheritance etc and etc.

enjoy mufti waseem khan.
i like him for his clarity and preciseness.

dr nik
mountain retreat 2,
higashiyama mountains,
eastern kyoto,


From: Azmi Wa Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 5:59 PM
To: Nik Isahak Wan Abdullah
Cc: jublintan65@yahoogrou
Subject: Re: pariah status......

nikhowk,  the only way to live with the reality of external and internal perception, is to reject the conscious and subconscious sense of a relationship to a leadership family/clique/gang/party that you feel only embarassment/humiliation/abhorrence for. push away the subliminal notion that as citizens you have to feel responsible or accountable for those that you find governing you. if they do not subject themselves to some level of accountability to us for the things they do, why should you and i feel a need to feel answerable for the unspeakable things they do? when they appear on the tv screen, change channel; when they pass by you, turn the other way, when they make a speech, get up and leave the hall for the toilet. nothing much you can do, but these little tyrants hate been ignored. eventually, being given the silent censure may just make them disappear up their own arseholes, like pink panther and his vacuum cleaner. 

as things stand, it is still legal to do this. it is satyagraha lite, but appropriate for we malays and malaysians are the meekest of God's creatures! peace, my friend!


Nik Isahak Wan Abdullah

Today, 7:50 PM

Azmi Wan Hamzah (;

jublintan65@yahoogroup+15 more
You replied on 9/20/2016 10:10 PM.
brilliant answer ts, plausibly brilliant.
just only plausibly.

but i put  it to you that if we, right from the outset, make millions of 'animal noise' on our own, in our own ways special ways, accordingly to our god given talent,collectively, on the street, in the cyberwave, in papers in the airwaves etc etc etc....i dare say these 'animals' that is  'tak ada hati perut dan tak ada malu dan segan', will disappear faster.

instead we have insipid journalists, insipid ulama and complete silence from senior corporate citizens, senior government servants, g25, academicians, and others etc  and etc.
our parliementarians, government and opposition are mostly a bunch of brain dead people warming their benches
[  ]
this seem to be a special malaysian malady....'cari makan', most important than everything else.

but as windstedt observed some 100 years back we malays are truly feudal to the core and probably the meekest animals to walk the earth!
that is our bala.
just look at the pathetic malay hero of old ....hang tuah

we, collectively cannot separate the trees from the forest.
we cannot think straight.
we all are a whole load of 'cari makan ' people.
we are just bloody pathetic...all of us.
i am sorry if by saying so i have  pricked your collective conscience.
frankly, we all have not done enough to get better governance.

what need to be said , need to be said.
i am sorry.

dr nik howk

Thursday, September 8, 2016

spiritual discourse in cyberspace....on ' a soft heart ' and ' God's gst '

mufti waseem khan of trinidad/tobago wraps up surah as sajdah in this slot.

the ending of surah as sajdah reminded me of a question posed by a dato recently:

" doc nik, if islam is truly god's revealed religion, why are the muslims downtrodden and at the bottom of the league table, everywhere around the world?"
he is 75, highly schooled....a self confessed secular humanist
his question sounds cheeky  and naughty, for someone who professed to be secular and muslim at the same time.

[ i do not know whether in god's book it is acceptable to be such 'animal', but that would entail writing a book, perhaps the likes of prof tariq ramadan would, in future....rather than waste his time trying to reinterpret the qur'an. he neither have the zuhudness nor the humility and wisdom to embark on this project, with due respect and my apology. ]

i walk away, allowing his question, unanswered.
very sensitive question, especially in the context of malaysia now.
we have a whole cabinet here, mostly so-called muslims, suppporting a chap who, the whole world said, rightly or wrongly,  had 'songlap' billions from the state coffers.
if i answer the dato's question, in the local context, it would mean rubbishing the ugama of the whole cabinet, and even the ulama' and scholars, who stay back in the background 'macam 'lembu lembu kenyang'.

dr nik


From: Dato Rahim Kamil Sulaiman <rahimkamil@
Sent: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 6:14 AM
To: Nik Isahak Wan Abdullah
Subject: Re: let us get back to basic....surah as sajdah; epilogue

That's the answer, Doc Nik!

Sent from my iPhone


On 7 Sep 2016 7:45 a.m., "Nik Isahak Wan Abdullah" <> wrote:

   dato Rahim,

the fact i am still walking free is phenomenal.
these ..stards, dato , lack ugama!
    they think they have ugama 

cabinet, scholars and all.
tansri abu jahals and d ato seri abu lahabs abound
all 'cari makan'

   their hearts are hardened
   only allah can sodten their hearts! 
   in equestrian linggo, one can bring a horse to water, but one cannot force it ti drink...

  dr nik 
[  ]
shaykh mukctar ash shinqitii on 'softening the hearts'

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Progress in Endoluminal Treatment of Coronary Artery Blockages.....from balloon to disappearing magnesium stents...40 years of progress in cardiology

Dr Andreas Grunzig, a German physician-radiologist, in 1974 performed the first ground breaking balloon angioplasty in an awake human patient, in a Zurich hospital. In Germany, then, he would have lost his medical practising license due to great inertia from fellow colleagues  and seniors who thought this kind of procedure was only for experimentation in pigs and cattle.
[  ]

I was a cardiological research registrar in the cardiology department at St Bartholomews Hospital in central/east  London, the business and high finance side of London, way back in 1981. 

Even at that time, some 7 years after Grunzig's ground breaking case,my bosses at St Barts were 'tip-toeing' like pirates operating under duress,, doing their cases under the watchful  and prying eyes of the 'demigods' at the hospital: the all powerful cardiothoracic surgeons. The surgeons insisted that we get ready all our patients for potential emergency surgery, if situation arise. 

Way back in London in 1981, it would mean taking patients' consent for both balloon angioplasty and emergency CABG [ coronary artery bypass graft op ], a medicolegal requirement.....and getting ready five pints of grouped cross-matched blood ready for 'possible open heart surgery if plan A failed'!
.....and having all patients thoroughly shaved from the neck below, as if they are going for open heart surgery!

'These bastards are cavalier and crazy!', must be the silent common swear words from the surgeons at Barts in those dizzying days of the early eighties!

I was not involved in the actual 'crime'  scene at that since I was only a research registrar , a gurkha actually, attach to another branch of cardiology, probing electrodes in the hearts, investigating patients with 'electrical' and rhythm problem. My direct boss, Prof John Camm,  was , and still is in 2016 , one of the biggest names in Cardiac Electrophysiology, another growing point in cardiology.

Then, by 1986, along with the balloon, came the metallic stent, to give better result and less 'restenosis' [ re-narrowing ], from 40 % to something around 20 % and afforded the cardiologist to be more work perfect at opening arteries and more adventurous. Before the advent of 'stent', in the early days of just plain balloon angioplasty, the 1st 24 hours post procedure used to be stressful period for the interventionists as 'opened up arteries' are known to collapse and close back acutely. In lay man's term, the stent is like a scaffolding, holding back the arterial wall from closure, while it has time for self repair.
[   ]

With the advent of STENTS, interventionist cardiologists get braver and much much safer.
Surgical pre-consent  and surgical coverage became a thing of the past.

Technique-wise the early stents were inundated still by high 're-stenosis' rate.
The expanded lesions after stenting has it's natural 'repair' process, a necessary physiological activity of the living vessel wall and a necessary one indeed.
But in 20 % of cases, this repair process did not 'know' when to stop thus 'over-repair' cause lost in the luminal gain initially achieved by the earlier procedure.

But guide wires, balloon and stent technology improve by leaps and bound over the years.
By the early 90's, DES [ drug eluting stents ] were introduced.

Growth impeding drugs such as SIROLIMUS or PACLITAXEL was impregnated into the stent. This drug, on successful implantation of the stent in the coronaries, diffuse  slowly for days and weeks into the vessel wall, effecting to control cell regeneration at a more reduced level, thus reducing  RESTENOSIS ie. reducing lumen loss due to excessive tissue repair.

[   ]

Just eight years back, another milestone was breached. Drug eluting balloon was introduced. This is a niche piece of equipment to treat increasing incidence of 'In Stent Restenosis' in patients who developed repeat narrowing within their implanted drug eluting stents.

By then angioplasty and stenting has already far outstripped in term of numbers CABG. Only the rare patients are sent for surgery.

Since people with coronary problem nowadays generally survive longer and longer due to improvement in treatment modalities as well as the massive effect of statins [ LIPITOR, ZOCOR, CRESTOR ]on lipid control, it is fairly common to see  patients who developed coronary problem when they were in their early 40, having had 6 to 8 stents when they reach their mid 60's or 70's..

I myself has a lady patient of mine whom I referred for bypass surgery 15 years back, who 'chickened out' at the last minute, had 6 stents implanted then. I was earlier managing her husband whom I sent for bypass surgery 5 years earlier.

Now, 15 years later, and several episodes of 'acute coronary syndrome' and hospital admission later, she is a bionic lady with a total of 10 stents implanted by myself over the years. 

This seventy five year old 'Datin' is currently still active playing and tending to her 'cucus' in a famous tea plantation in Cameron Highland. Her son is one of the senior manager there.

If you ask the 'Datin' why she opted out of her surgery and pleaded for me to do 'angioplasty, in the wee hours of 5 am , that fateful morning , her reply was simple :
" I saw how Dato' suffered during his bypass surgery and much after....Please do not force me to go thru that, Doc ! "

But to be fair to CABG, both endoluminal technique and CABG are complimentary.
The only thing that work against CABG is that while the surgeons only have their pairs of hand, over the last 40 years, the cardiologists have the whole gamut of industries helping them: the engineers, the metallugists, the whole range of bio-genetic scientists. 

It is an unfair advantage!

But from my  perspective , some of our patients would finally need CABG one day later in their life, only that I would like to postpone that day to as late as possible because all current techniques have their 'shelf life', and CABG is the final pathway in the life of a patient with coronary problem. It is ideally not to be repeated due to high mortality risk in repeat  CABG surgery. If I can, I want to exercise other options first for my patients before the final option of CABG.

To us interventional cardiologists, coronary problem is  a chronic , relentless disease. We try as hard as possible to keep all our patients from going under the surgeon's knife. Personally to me it is like  playing 'gin rummy', and if you are familiar with 'gin rummy', we try to not use our precious 'jokers' early in the game. CABG is the all important JOKER! But at the same time, when we need to send our already aging patients under the surgeon's knife, we want our surgeons to be able to do his 'bypasses' at the right place. If our patient's heart are full of 'metal jackets' [ stents ], there may not  be any more place for the poor surgeons to bypass.

So when BIORESORBABLE SCAFFOLD, or 'plastic stent' came into the picture about 4 years ago, most  people like me  cannot help but get excited. I implanted about 10 of them in my younger patients. It is a relief of sort for me since my youngest patient so far is just 22 years old. Imagine how many metal stents he would have before he reaches even 40!
These 'plastic stents' as I called them should self dissolve into carbon dioxide and water by three years. Theoretically I could re-vascularize these involved arteries and allow them to be regenerate back to normal after three years. 

[  ].

This toy has now improved with the recent advent of a more durable, disappearing metallic stent, the MAGMARIS . And the possibility of  'metallic' foreign body disappearing in one year and allowing for regeneration and normal vasomotion of vessel back to its original state.....nice thought.

Now in 2016, MAGMARIS, the new magnesium stent, has just got it's CE mark. It is now open for general use and validation.. The obvious advantage over the 'plastic stent' is its relative strenght.

So far around 200 Magmaris stent have been implanted world wide, 10 of which come from Malaysia, with nine implanted by the 'boys' in IJN and one recently  by me at my hospital, SJMC. 

My patient is a 49 year old engineer, who developed troublesome angina on mild exertion.
Coronary angiogram done last week showed 90 % narrowing in the proximal section of the Right Coronary Artery. I implanted the Magmaris stent rightaway.

[   ]

"When are you retiring Nik...and joining us for golf?.', a paediatric consultant colleague of mine who just recently retired from teaching in UH asked recently.
" I am not sure Peng, there are new 'toys' to play around with all the time....."

I am certainly living in interesting times....


Friday, August 26, 2016

another 'majnun' across our northern border....On Qiam & Tahajjud

[  ]

friends, dato and tansri,

ustaz dr ismail lutfi al patani.....a tok guru across our northern border has a special soft demeanor in his tafseer lecture.
here, he expounds on ayat 16 to 18 of surah as sajdah.
it touches mainly on qiam and tahajjud.......the preserve of the 'majnuns'; the lovers of the beloved.....a rarefied territory.
tahajjud is wajib for the nabi[pbuh], sunnat for us mere mortal.....but a rarefied territory indeed!

put yourselves as an ordinary kampong chap in one of the 'balaisah' [ madrasah ] in yala, patani, or nara, sitting there at the serambi of the madrasah, listening to this ' majnun' from patani.

[  occasionally, young thai 'soldadu' [ soldiers] come over fully armed with m16 looking around for 'young' men, potential trouble makers. these young soldiers are generally bad news.

southern thailand is very a  'hot' territory for the majority muslim population.
soldiers everywhere and every town and villages inundated by road-blocks and fully armed 'soldadu'. A virtual 'prison'.  ]
dr nik


some years back i was driving my old hj47 toyota landcruiser deep into the southern thai region, just testing the engine, off the beaten track....strayed towards penare [ in teganung we have a similar named beach village, near besut called penarik ],, on the southern patani coast. it was about magrib time.  very little light on the lonely road with very little uncoming traffic on that one lane tarred road.

a surreal experience. 
in front of me was a roadblock with a platoon of young thai soldiers manning it. 
a long line of young muslim men, in their customary baju 'tok', walking  past all these young men with m16, walking towards a madrasah, probably tok guru dr ismail lutfi al patani's pondok nearby.

as i stopped my vehicle to give them the right of way at the road block, i felt sad and this sadness i can  recall my till today. the same sadness i feel when i saw in the utbe yesterday of a muslim lady being 'stripped' off her burkini on a french rivera beach.

it is an 'accident of time' that kelantan, teganung and kedah did not become thai territory post pangkor treaty. otherwise we would not have the extreme pleasure of joining the 'bangss johor' types into what is currently known as the  the  federation!

we have to thank the brits for having that presence of mind almost 2 centuries back.
just by a stroke of the pen!

"at the end of time muslims would be like flotsams being pushed around by the waves!"
' why is it so, ya rasulallah? are they  very few in numbers? '
"no! there are 1.6 billion of them!... but they have all but forgotten their qur'an.... "

......a conversation some 1480 years ago in downtown madinah, or something to that effect.

older related articles:



Sunday, August 21, 2016

only majnun knows laila........

Friends, Dato and Tansri,

Everyone think they know Laila, but actually only Majnun knows Laila.

I count one of my current 'tok guru', Shaykh Muhammad al Ninowy as one of those 'majnuns' who knows his 'Laila'.
In this age of  the ubiquitous 'Maggi Mee and instant noodle'; 'instant experts and instant gurus';  'google scholars and google ulama';....I am always extra careful with whom  I am to follow.

I always only look for  a 'majnun' to be my 'tok guru'. A chap who is quite 'mad' with his ugama and vocation.

The late Tok Guru Nik Aziz  was one of them. The late Prof Hamka was my 1st ' majnun'.
I read his voluminous Tafsir al Azhar 2 times over at age 34.
Shaykh Ninowy is one of my current ones.
In the background , standing tall, al Ghazali, the biggest  and best 'majnun' , the world has ever known.

Put yourself in the position of Abu Hamid al Ghazali., just some 350 years after Nabi.

You have just been nominated by Nizam Shah, the all powerful Governor, to be head of  theology department at Nizamiah University in downtown Baghdad at the relative young age of 20 plus, akin to being head of school of theology at Harvard in current time.

You  can out-debate all and sundry on matters of ugama as well as philosophy, from far and near.

...And if you live long enough, you will come to know that some famous Christian luminaries like St Thomas Aquinas for example [ 1225- died 1274 ], have been lurking in the 'background', some 200 years later, cheery picking your lifetime work, to pick up some pearls and gem, from your discourses, etc etc and etc.

Out of the blue, you  just decide to give up your post, to taste 'experiential Islam, on the whims that your knowledge of the faith at that time is just hollow and carries no weight [ try google.. al Ghazali's existential crisis ]. Not helped by having a tassawuf -inclined younger brother, harping on your 'hollowness' , on a daily basis, always in the background.

' dear brother, you may a big time , big town full prof in theology, but you have not taste  real iman yet, despite your apparent stature and position, etc etc and etc...Abu Hamid! Your life is a big fraud and charade!.....'

With this realization, you relegated yourself to being a lowly janitor for 8 years at the world famous Umayyad Mosque in Damascus! All the time listening to the post magrib discourses in the mosque of upstarts and ustazs discussing your ideas and teaching!...and quoting you wrongly for that.

You are almost persuaded to barge in and correct them but that would end your camouflage in the mosque........

If this is not 'majnun' enought,what is !?

I am still stuck at his  short threatise, a TJ Winter's excellent translation of 'Kitab dhikr al Mawt wa-ma ba'dahu',  ' Remembrance of DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE'.

I 'wrongly' started with his last thesis of the IHYA and I am still stuck at it some 20 years later, when a friend gave it as an umrah  gift in Makkah some 20 years back.  

Another 'majnun',  Prof TJ Winter of Cambridge, started his great translation work of al Ghazali's opus magnum into excellent English.

I started at the wrong end and found myself still mesmerized by this monumental work of al Ghazali.

Let us listen to Shaykh Ninowy's  new perspective on the issues of 'Signs of the Last Days'.
This 'majnun' stresses rather on the 'things that we can change and are movable' rather than ' the immovables'........ 

Dr Nik
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