Sorry, I’ve been missing in action…I’ve been busy juggling my online classes and helping Mr Dad with our new house for the six of us #TheOldForgeCottage 🏡 Yes, six…not five – including @drauntie.uk!
We bought the house together, but she has a whole separate building for herself. The property consists of four separate buildings: The Old Forge, the stables, the cottage, and the coachhouse – plus a massive backyard – but the best part is that all four buildings are connected with one another. The property has a very rich history…but that’s a story for another time!
We’ve been extremely busy cos we are redecorating the whole house before we move in. But even though it’s been busy, it’s a precious journey and a wonderful experience for all of us to cherish forever. It’s still a long journey ahead but we are all beyond excited! May The Almighty ease our renovation journey…
We were at the new house today to take some measurements, and it was snowing very heavily. All the green grass that was visible to our eyes yesterday was now covered under a thick blanket of snow. As I watched the heavy snowflakes fall and hit the ground with the background noise of Fatimah and Ali having fun, running around the empty house giggling in joy, I couldn’t help but think about you.
I wish you were here with us to enjoy this beautiful moment. I wish you were here with us as we moved forward to the next step in our life journey. But I guess where you are now is much more beautiful than we could ever imagine. You know what, Mamajee? There’s an apple tree in our cottage’s garden. I can almost hear your excited voice when I saw the tree. As we are in winter, there were no leaves left. Only a few overripe apples.
We wanted to pluck it, but Mrs Mom stopped us. She said “We have more than enough apples at home. Let’s leave it there for the birds and squirrels to enjoy.” And she reminded us not to be selfish and never forget to always seek the blessings of The Almighty in every little thing we do in our daily lives. What an angel she is!
As we all gathered and watched the beautiful heavy snow fall, Mrs Mom added, “Let us all pray for Mamajee…”
O. Mukhtar O. Mukhlis
p/s: In loving memory of our beloved Mamajee @adamdidam Muhammad Adam bin Mahamed Ismail 🤍 الفاتحة
I received lots of requests from my dear brothers and sisters from Malaysia to share #EssayWritingTips, especially those who are going to sit for the SPM and PT3 exams. So yesterday, I shared my very own essay-writing technique, #BonAppetitEssays. If you haven’t watched the video, I’ve included the YouTube link at the end of this post.
Today, I’m going to share an example of a #ResponsiveEssay. This was an essay that I wrote for one of my subjects in school, Religious Studies and Philosphy, on the moral decisions involved when faced with situations that lockdown has put us in. It was written in response to an article asking the question: does going to the park in lockdown really hurt anyone if nobody’s there to be hurt in the first place? Even if you are not a student looking for #EssayWritingTips, I would still highly recommend giving this a read. Not only is it relevant to our current life, it’s also a very morally challenging topic, and in my opinion, a very interesting one to write about.
I chose to share this essay in particular because I was blessed with very good feedback from my teacher for it. Plus, I felt this was an interesting topic to clearly see the way paragraphs and arguments are structured in essays. If you’d like to take a look at this example essay of mine to see the #BonAppetitEssays technique in action, you can read it in full below. I hope that my sharing will benefit not only SPM and PT3 candidates, but everyone who reads it!
Read & Share,
O. Mukhtar O. Mukhlis
Responsive Essay-Writing Example by O. Mukhtar O. Mukhlis:
(Please click the link above before reading my example below to read the original article that I wrote this response to)
I found this article to be particularly interesting because of the way it looks at the moral questions regarding choosing either the common good or relying on the common good so we can break the rules. The main idea and example used is that if one was to go to the park during lockdown, would it be right, even though against the rules, since nobody else is challenging the common good and therefore aren’t at the park, meaning nobody is at risk of getting Covid-19? Some philosophers argue that freedom and happiness are more important than general rules. The former has more moral value than the latter when it means “producing the greatest happiness of the greatest number”.
Of course, we do have to ask whether it is right to prioritise happiness over abiding to guidelines to keep the general public safe. There are two sides to this argument: if it’s harming nobody (which one could say it isn’t, since nobody else is there), and it’s a source of happiness, then not only is it acceptable, but in a sense, it is morally right as well, adopting the view of some philosophers. As the writer says, “You are making some people better off, and no one worse off”. In contrast, however, this is heavily depending on other people to comply with the rules – except us.
Taking a personal view of this, I would say that the article does make a lot of good points for both sides of the argument. Of course, reducing the spread of coronavirus means staying inside, keeping to ourselves etc. However, carrying out this simple act of lying in the park isn’t harming anybody, because there is nobody to harm. Of course, it goes against guidelines if we were to go to the park and it was absolutely full of people – in fact, everybody collectively would be at fault there.
Even so, relying on other people’s compliance isn’t as bad as it seems. Looking at it plainly, the activity that the writer has raised questions about in the first place is basically what we can call ‘going out and staying in a bubble’ – people wait for days when the majority of people stay at home, then go out, staying in their social bubble to minimise contact with anyone else. We then realise that actually, this is what a lot of people – if not everyone – is doing. So yes, we are relying on other people’s compliance, making ourselves better off, and no one worse off, but in actual fact, we’re just taking turns in doing this.
With just about everybody in this ‘cycle of reliance on the common good’, as we could call it, nobody is at an advantage or disadvantage – in a way, we’re all relying on each other. So in my opinion, there really is no harm in depending on each other’s goodwill if a) we all are doing the same, and b) we are not harming anyone. Plus, countering this by saying that the only reason Covid-19 is spreading is because of people going out is technically not correct. It’s not us going out whilst others stay home that causes all the trouble; it’s failing to keep to ourselves and keep clean that is doing so. So all in all, reliance and not conforming can sometimes be socially acceptable, even though it seems like the absolute opposite.
What makes an essay well-written? Well, every essay needs a good structure, and every good structure needs a good introduction! An essay is like an extravagant meal – you start off with a strong appetiser, and you will be drawn in instantly. Make sure your essay’s ‘appetiser’ is clear, concise, and gives the reader a teaser of what the essay is all about. And of course, make sure the introduction gives you a good start on the goal of your essay, whether that be to educate, discuss, or persuade!
But don’t pour all of your effort into making a single introduction. The real content of your essay is found in its main body. Again, follow a structure to make it all as clear as possible, but don’t just fill up the paragraphs with meaningless fluff! Like your ‘appetiser’, your ‘main course’ must be concise and really fill you up. Dive straight into your topic and explore all the relevant points.
And of course, nothing tops a meal off better than a refreshing dessert! In terms of the essay, your conclusion will be your dessert. The introduction and conclusion are actually quite similar – your dessert is not there just as a goodbye, but it’s there to round everything up and bring things to a logical end. And because it’s the last thing you read, it needs to leave the reader with a good memory of the whole experience – that’s what good conclusions consist of.
So the next time you’re faced with the task of writing an essay, just remember: try and treat your reader to a nice three-course meal at a fancy restaurant for optimal results!
I’ve been receiving many DMs regarding SPM from my dear brothers and sisters from Malaysia. Many are panicking, worried, under lots of stress, and some of them are even facing anxiety attacks. Honestly, I wish I had the power to help each and every one of you. Unfortunately, I can’t. In fact, it would be highly unfair for me to criticise the decision made by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and start comparing SPM and UK GCSEs. So instead, I would like to reach out to each and every one of my dear brothers and sisters in Malaysia. Some of you have sat the trial. Some of you will be sitting the trial this week. And most of you think that you are still not ready for the real SPM which will be held soon.
The first step is to stop complaining. Secondly, you need to embrace the challenge and start believing in yourself. Trust me, time is too precious to waste by panicking and worrying unnecessarily. Use all the time you have left wisely by putting in 100% towards your studies. And above all, don’t forget to pray to The Almighty. If you have truly tried your best, have faith in God that He will give you the best in return!
You might say that it’s easier for me to preach since I’m not the one who’ll be sitting this exam. But trust me, even though I am younger than you, I’ve been through my fair share of challenges. My life has been a rollercoaster ride since my mother has been ill for many years. I am the eldest in the family, and my brother and sister are only 7 and 5 years old. My father had to juggle between home and work constantly. As the eldest, I had a big responsibility on my shoulders. Whenever my mother is gravely ill, I had to help take care of my little brother and sister as well as help to care for my mother too. And this has been the case for many years – not just this year or 2020, when the coronavirus hit us and the new norms started. This has been the norm for me and my family since forever.
And one of the biggest challenges I faced was when I had less than a month to study for the entrance exam to King Edward’s School, while other people had been preparing for at least two or three years in advance. I can still remember that all I did in that month or so was study and pray – and nothing else! But Alhamdulillah, with the blessings of Allah plus my hard work to achieve my goal, I didn’t just pass the exam…I was among the highest scorers! It was indeed a miracle, but also proof of just what hard work can do.
So if you are struggling and you think that your life is hard, stop and look around you. Each one of us has our own story and is struggling in our own way. But the secret is to never give up. You still have time, even though it may not be much, but you still have the chance to use your time wisely. I pray that The Almighty will make it easy for you in your studies and reward you for the work you put in. And don’t forget to thank your parents and your teachers and seek their blessings in these last moments before the exams. May The Almighty keep us all under His guidance…
Hello…is it me you’re looking for? Well, sorry I’ve been quiet for the past few days. I’ve been busy working on another new project of mine! Remember that it’s important to keep yourselves busy and mentally healthy in these challenging times – and don’t spend all your time at home on your phone! The telephone is an invention that’s hundreds of years old. Phones are incredibly useful tools – they’ve replaced cameras, calendars, and clocks, and most brilliant of all, they can connect you to people that are on the opposite side of the world to you!
But it’s time for a change. Use them sparingly, or else soon you will find that it replaces your family as well! Those right next to you end up being out-shined by your phone, and sooner or later it ends up putting an even greater distance between you and the ones most important to you, and you’re even lonelier than before. So use that technology wisely, to the advantage of you and your mental wellbeing!
A special prayer on this blessed day…my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone and anyone who is being tested by The Almighty in one way or another. To all those affected by the recent floods in Malaysia, I pray that He keeps you and your families safe and protected. To all those suffering directly or indirectly from the coronavirus, I pray that He deflects all other harm coming your way. To anyone being tested in any way, have faith in The Almighty, for He always brings things into your life for your betterment, although it may not be clear to you at first. May He grant you the strong will and the patience to endure His tests, and may you all be rewarded abundantly for staying strong!
7th January 2021 – my Dadajee’s 71st birthday…to honour the special day, I’m sharing a story #LovebirdsTheLoveStory to commemorate my amazing Dadajee and Dadijee! Anyone who knows my Dadajee well enough will know that he is just full of love, which is why I chose to share this story about these two lovebirds and their magical bond.
My Dadajee is 71 years old now, and believe it or not, every single one of those 71 years of life that he has had, he’s been using to bring both love and joy into other people’s lives. He truly is a role model for all of us in the family, and he’s the highest person I look towards to follow his example – oh, and of course, you can’t go without mentioning how fun-loving he is. He truly is a joker; it’s no wonder where Ali got it from! My Dadajee is definitely the support structure of the family and the leading idol that we all turn to, but the bond between him and Dadijee is actually so strong that it would be impossible to write this without giving my thanks and my prayers to both of them.
On this special day, I thank both Dadajee and Dadijee for being the lighthouses in my life, shining the way for me through the darkness and confusion. I thank them both for being the lap I can sit on, the shoulder I can cry on, and the ear they can lend for me. I thank them for reminding me to plant my feet on my ground, holding my hand alongside me, and giving me the means to reach for the stars! And last but not least, I thank them ever so much for opening their hearts wide with love, care, and affection.
I wish I could repay them for everything they have given me and the family, but anything I could possibly do would pale in comparison to their deeds. So instead, I pray to The Almighty that He rewards them abundantly for their immense contributions. I pray that He blesses them with longevity, a life filled with quality, good health, and ten times the amount of love and joy they have given others. I pray that He reserves them both the most special place in Jannatul Firdaus. And I pray that my lil’ love story is sufficient enough to show my affection towards my amazing Dadajee and Dadijee, THE LOVEBIRDS!
You’re definitely right in saying that it’s hard; it’s not only taking exams that is difficult, but it’s the run-up to them and the amount of preparation that you need to put in that can be really stressful! All that anxiety can really take a toll on you, so props to you for still having the motivation to take the exams!
But remember: it’s not the worrying, the anxiety, the stressing, or the fear that will get you anywhere. These all are signs that you do indeed really care about the exams, signs that you really do want to do well in them! So use that motivation, extract it from all those negative feelings and let it power you through! After all, it isn’t ever going to be the negativity that will let you achieve anything. It’s the fact that you want to achieve the greatest you can that is getting you through any challenges that face you.
Don’t let the seemingly great impossibility of challenges that are in your way intimidate you. More often than not, it’s your mind that makes things seem much more demanding than they actually are. Don’t just think that you can do it – believe that you can do it! Although it doesn’t seem like it to you, you are capable of achieving many more things than you give yourself credit for! Don’t let exam pressure get the better of you, and certainly don’t let it make you see yourself as less than you are! Good luck – I pray that The Almighty guides you and grants what is best for you, and I pray that He rewards you abundantly for your hard work.