Monday, December 19, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, Anwar Al Awlaki and DEATH

Kk  and Doc Nik,

Christopher Hitchens died yesterday, Friday, at 62 of cancer. Death has silenced a powerful, sane voice in an insane world. He will be sadly missed by his readers.




Yes very sad. He was very gifted & insightful, a true intellectual, but very down to earth & unpretentious. He had a very simple style which could be easily understood. Did you read his best seller "Hitch-22", or his piece on Saddam's execution in 2006?
> > In many ways he reminds me of an old time journalist: follows his conscience when he writes, fearless, hard hitting, very driven. But typical of most dedicated journalists, you can sense a deep cynicism that had become ingrained in him. He admits that he drove himself to cancer by his excessive smoking & drinking.




Yes, it is a loss of a sane voice. His readers will miss him. Yes, I read all his books, and his articles in the Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, IHT, etc. His death reminds me of a heart-breaking observation, "After this lifetime, we will not see each other again." I try to enjoy as much time as I can with my family. Right now, I am in Bali, having breakfast with my Mrs and the boys by the pool, and catching up with my emails. Oh dear, the Internet here is so slow!




With Christopher Hitchens's demise I am reminded instead of our own fate not too long from now with that inevitable 'hole in the ground'.
But unlike you Dato' ,I do not share the bleak pessimism that ' after this lifetime, we will not see each other a gain'. On Richard Dawkin's scale of things 'agnostic' he would rate Hitchens at a hardcore 6 / 6 . A true and true  hardcore atheist [..and a bloody racist too ].

'After this lifetime, we will not see each other ' is the motto and the crux of agnosticism and atheism.
We are Muslims, may I remind you guys....
Hitchens in his lifetime, used the media and the internet to demonise Islam and Muslims to the max. I do not certainly miss him neither do I celebrate his death. From my perspective he is an ..sshole.

Life is a continuum Dato.
It started in Loth Mahfuz, at a 'time before time', in the 'spirit' world when HE asked,
 " Am I not your Lord ?"
and we, all in unison, said,
" Yes , YOU are Rabbul alamin"

In utero, life is pretty is all black and darkness, a one cellular world multiplicating into a morulla, with tissues multiplicating and systems forming.
In this life, some of us become 'pig headed' and questioned HIS existence and significance. Some just become heedless. Very few stick to the primordial,
'Yes YOU are'.

In the 'Alam Barzark' life as we currently know is suspended. Al Ghazali though wrote volumes on its very nature in 'Remembrance of  Death and Life After Death , beautifully translated by T J Winter of Cambridge U.
'Alam Barzark'is a long respite before 'the sirat'

It is only when 'the second horn' is sounded' that 'we all will meet again' and  we can rediscuss about 'Hitchens and all his friends, porsches and ferraris,  and kampong chaps like me , mull and ponder on  the best d24 and musang kings' to our heart's content with the proviso that we are not with Hithens and his friends. Some of us may though may be unfortunate enough to join Hitchens and his friends in the furnace as 'firewood for hell' and would probably be too busy to discuss other things. Allahualam.

Yes, my friends, do not be too dismissive about  this life. Don't be too pesimistic.
You Dato, and your sons, could still meet.
Where we meet remain our choice.

A' Happy New Year to you , Dato'.

Nik Howk



Of course, I would devoutly wish to be reunited with my parents, and my wife and children, some day! But reason tells me it will remain an unfulfilled dream. And, I agree it is a non sequitur, many fellow Muslims piss me off.

And a very Happy and Healthy New Year to you, and your family, too. I hope it is not too Un-Islamic to wish you on a Christian New Year!! I may have JAKIM coming after me!!




You over-rate your importance too much.
From JAKIM's perspective, you are not worth their overtime !

Consider these:
..At 70 plus, and you rate Hitchens, an atheist, a Muslim -Islam basher of the 1st order, as your hero !
..Believing that there is no tomorrow after your 'last curtain'
..Not changed a wee bit 'to the right' or to 'the left' even after a massive cancer scare in the family
..and feeling many 'fellow Muslims doing their 'religious' job,, pissing you off', etc etc and etc......

No Dato',in my reckoning JAKIM would certainly be not interested at all in you. You are beyond them. The French would term you ' les terrible, chronically invalide and permanently head damaged'

As for me, you are different.
My only interest in you is because you are very 'influential'
You and your people churn out hundreds of young elites, future leaders.
We want them to be 3 times more brainy than NTR or Dr M
Malaysia need that kind of stuff with something extra.
We need people with 'islamic' software too,  inbuilt in them.!
People who do not believe in the existence of a tomorrow after today is an anomaly in Malaysia.

People who just got 250 millions  'super-soft' loan from the government and has the cheek and the gall to ask for another 200 from EXIM Bank loan at 1 % interest rate, has no place in the realm of things Malaysian in 2012.

That, Dato' is why I am working on you. I am not exactly truly all altruistic. There is a selfish element in the corner !

Now I am spoiling your Bali holiday already !

Nik Howk


Doc Nik,

Ouch! My, you are in a bashing mood!
No, you have not spoilt my Bali holiday. You are a decent guy, and I like you (not in the MCKK sense!). I am enjoying the evening, though a rainy one, watching Man United leading QPR.



No Dato',

just having too much of Tariq Ramadan and Hamza Yusuf Hanson lately.
I am just in a pensive and 'daawah' mood, thinking mainly of my very own mortality.

I was in bali some 15 years back, attending some cardiological conference.
Went to a 'makan' place for a spot of lunch, the owner wearing a songkok.....

'Bapak mahu babi guling ?'
It was a cultural shock for a kampong chap like me to be asked by a man in songkok such question !
Now whenever I am in Bali and thinking about food, my oesophagus go into reverse 'peristalsis'. My wife always wonder I stuff a lot of maggi mee in my bag when I head for Bali.

I guess our 'constitution' back here in Malaysia has spoilt my way of thinking :
'Melayu mesti is a permanent head damage of sort and at the political- sociological level if academicians were to write phd's on this, the overall impact on the quality of Islam and Muslims per se in Malaysia would actually on the whole be negative. We take Islam as per joining a club. We behave and think like Jews of Mosses timw : I am holier than thou !

Enjoy your much needed holiday Dato' and a 'Happy New Year to you'.

Nik Howk



My stomach cannot take even the thought of any part of babi. Yes, a Malay in songkok and babi guling are incongruous indeed!

But Bali has changed, doc, for the better. I was first here when I was in the NOC in 1969, when indeed babi guling was ubiquitous. After all, only 20% of the population are Muslim. I have been here about a dozen times since, and the range of good restaurants has expanded to beat any in KL. I was at Matisse last night. It was a combination of art gallery and fine dining. Tastefully donsuperb had a superb seafood dinner. Exquisite. My Mrs and the five boys loved it.

Tariq Ramadan? Sorry. I don't think much of him. Inconsistent in argument, and makes too much of his father's Islamic Brotherhood background. No, he and Hamza Yusuf Hanson do not repel me at all. I just have an honest divergence of opinions on a few points. That is all. And I respect, and am comfortable with, your dakwaah position. You have every right to it. And you are polished about it. But I AM pissed off by the local religious department zealots, the know-alls and their intrusions into others' private lives, and peeping toms and salacious religious bullies of couples and women.

Re my family's modest attempt in private education, you are being more kind than accurate. We are not influential to any significant degree. But I think we teach our students to think for themselves, to distinguish fact from opinion, policy from propaganda. We give emphasis to Math, Science, research and essays, and debates. Students are NEVER smacked down for their opinions, but asked to explain them clearly and logically. This prepares them well for a university education. Most of them go abroad to decent universities. Half my English essay class last year went to Oxbridge, London, Edinburgh, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Monash, and Melbourne. Last week, one was invited for an interview at Somerville College, Oxford, for the 2012 admission. A straight A-star student, plays in the school orchestra, and Grade 8 on the piano. I wrote my evaluation of the candidate, and expect the tutor for admission at Somerville will let me know the interview result by the end of this week.

Yes, Doc, a few thousand of our students, of all races, went abroad, but only only a fraction return to develop this country. Those who return send THEIR children to us, the second generation This is a source of some satisfaction to us. But the sad thing is that many of the educated Malaysian children, privately schooled at our institution do not return...

So, how "influential" are we? In the lives of the students we teach, yes a lot. They are independent minded. A number are high in UMNO, in the DAP, PKR, etc. They are not sheep, they are diverse in their thinking and convictions. In the numbers that come back? Not much, I am afraid...

Salam. Happy New Year.




You just need one 'Umar Abdul Aziz' to change the whole political-economic and sociological landscape of Malaysia. When will we ever get that  'Umar Abdul Aziz' from your institution, if you , the founder, do not take seriously that there indeed  is a 'tomorrow after today ! '.

We have too many 'clowns' up there now crowding the cabinet and the supreme council who do not actually seriouly comprehend that '. Their lips and mouth may say 'yes we do' but their hearts are  hardened, void and empty !.

With respect to Tariq Ramadan and Hamza Yusuf Hanson, under the circumstances they are doing a marvelous job speaking for Islam and the Muslims. We need more ulama' of their calibre speaking for us in the English speaking world. I know their level of scholarsip and probably piety could probably be not any where near compared to their seniors in the Arab world but this is 2012 :  connectivity, 'marketing' ability and the need to be heard loud and clear in the current lingua franca of the world  is paramount to the spread of the DIN. Even if it does not spread, it is OK, at least it must be heard.  Truth should not be bottled up in books and kitab collecting dust somewhere in some obscure libraries. It must be argued vehemently and heard. If it moves mountain , alhamdullillah ! If it does not, we have done our 'job'. Changing hearts is not our preorgative . It is Allah's.

I salute them because at the end of our time, we would not only be asked as to how we get that Jaguar in the garage, or that expensive holiday house  on a meagre government stipend, or that 25 million ringgit diamond from SA for our dear wife [ some clown tells us she has been saving since she was in standard two ! ],or  how do we pay for that sexy, alluring trophy wife at home.... we would also be asked why we did not spread HIS good words to Mr Lee, our  next door neighbour or to Mr Karupiah, the nice morning newspaper vendor or Mr Johnson, the First Secretary of the US embassy.. Why we allow them to remain in disarray, godless and rudderless etc and etc and etc.

Mr Ramadan and Hamza Yusuf Hanson, under their situation and constraints, I feel sure can account themselves fairly well.


Nik Howk


now let us hear anwar al awlaki's advisory on DEATH :

Part 1

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Addendum :
20 / 12 / 11 Mohamad 'Mustaffa' in memorium..........

This article is dedicated to  the memory of my late uncle, Mohamed bin Jaafar aka ' Mohamed Mustaffa', one time  Kelantan champion at 400, 800 metres and 400 metres hurdle in the early sixties before the likes of Asir Victor and A S Nathan took centre stage. He died yesterday at 11 AM in IJN from intractable heart failure aged 81.

In  the late 60's he had to give up his ' cushy ' Royal Custom and Excise job because he refused to join the rest of his 'friends' from taking 'double' salary when posted to Penang free port. ' Double salaries' in some sensitive places  like entry points, ports and tols areas,within the PDRM , Immigration and Royal Custom  were the norm then, I do not know whether it is now ! There was the standard government stipend , and the was the 'swasta contribution' divided pro rata from top to bottom as per necessary...........

Had the single distinction, I think , of  'meeting' Nabi twice in his sleep. Never confided this fact to his friends or even his brothers. I came to know because I asked him  a direct question which he could not avoid.

When I asked him 'why he  think he was bestowed such honour and  gift'.
He told me he was not scholarly  or gifted with great mind  or a cut above the rest but  as an afterthought he confided probably his unfailing attempt  and love of the 'night prayer'  [ tahajjud ] probably did it...He ardently loved 'tahajjud' since youth.

 My God !, 50 to 60 years of 'tahajjud'.
Yes, Mohamad Mustaffa was just an ordinary man, a failed custom officer, a champion middle distance runner in his youth, a small time gold smith in Kuala Krai.
50 to 60 years of daily 'tahajjud' sets him apart from us mere mortals.
One can be a Tan Sri, a Datuk Sri or a failed 'lembu entreprenuer'. These are not important to 'the people of the higher' circles, the malaikats. They do not discuss him. Tahajjud, sedekah and zikir, that sets you apart.

May his soul be amongst the blessed  by Allah the Most High.
Al Fatihah.


22 / 12 / 11


Please accept my deepest sympathies on the passing of your uncle Allayarham Mohamad bin Jaafar. Al Fatihah



22 / 12 / 11


tq dato. you are very kind.
quite uncanny dato, 12 hours after  our discussion and my write up on 'death'.
he was just on the verge of being discharged from intensive care at ijn......such is the uncertainty related with any 'death'....we cardiologists are always aware of these uncertainties but if tested in a court of law, may look like a clown infront of a 'clever' lawyer and a judge lacking wisdom.

my uncle, he had a good clean life  alright,insyaallah
simple, relatively uneducated folks like him refusing a good 'double pay' in the 60's is something......choosing the huge indignity of working under a father in law in the uncelebrated and lowly paid job as a goldsmith apprentice instead....... rather than face HIM  later ,and unable to explain for that pittance of a pay taken unrightfully.

i write up on him just as an example of many other clean living, simple , ordinary folks who go unnoticed in this world of facetiousness and false facades.
totally faceless people like him ...and in the main with no 'story to tell and be told' because 'we' as a people are attracted to 'stories about celebrities , 'sultans' of industry, politics and power. their lives of hediousness and heedlessness and plenty.
people who shakes society and often times [ as we are unfortunately reminded from time to time ] breaks.....daylight robbers, failed 'lembu traders' and pirates etc and etc.

' people of the higher  circles' [ the malaikats ] though look at us from a different light and angle....only we don't seem to care.
and if you are in HIS position, and have some 6 billion souls to judge  from time immemorial, and  having to decide where to place these 6 billion 'clowns' after their planet earth's sojourn. a great of majority of these 6 billion clowns : ungrateful, unschooled, ignorant and downright heedless.

your KPI must be quite simple, constant and broadly defined  under a major' heading' : TAQWA.......
under which there will be subheadings such as solat, zikir, doa, remembrances, sedekah etc and etc and etc....
and leaving in some small print, for good measure , the possibility of  a 'grand pardon' if some clowns at the right old age of 70 to 80, suddenly after a long life of heedlessness decides to do a taubat nasuha....
beyond 40, if one still do not touch base, very few at 70 or 80 do turnaround but those small print are meant for the very few that does....'.pintu taubat sentiasa terbuka'.

so dato' for guys like us, don't ever give up hope !
the 'door' to HIM is always open.

very philosophical this morning
death is  quite commonplace to me.
inwardly i do not mourn his passing  actually, as i  think i roughly can guess the general direction  where he is 'going'.... it is my own mortality  and my offsprings which pricks and bothers me.
too much 'karat2 jahiliah' and attachment to this 'duniya'.


nik howk

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