Sunday, 29 July 2012

Ad: The Bracelet That Changed My Life

Hi everyone! How's everything going? To those who are fasting, how's Ramadan? :) Everyone and everything is well I hope! Today I would like to share a beautiful encounter that I had faced many years ago. Unfortunately I cannot remember some of the details, but that doesn't change the story in any way so it's alright. I know the title sounds dramatic, but it really did change my life :)

Some years ago, my family and I went to Egypt for a holiday while it was winter there. We were there for about ten days or so. I must've been around 14 years old then. We went on a cruise on the Nile river for several days and stopped many times to visit ancient Egyptian temples and other places for sight-seeing. Anyway, on one of those days, we arrived a little later than scheduled at one of the sight-seeing spots. Because it was winter, the sunset was rather early and it got dark quickly. We usually get back to our cruise ship before dark, so we were rushing to get back. Believe me, it was really, really dark lol. I honestly could not really tell where I was going and was trying hard not to lose sight of my family and the tour guide. While we were rushing, some children selling hand-made souvenirs followed us, asking us to buy whatever they were selling. I smiled and said to them what I usually said, "No it's ok, thanks". Most of them stopped following us but this one girl kept insisting that we buy bracelets from her. The bracelets each had a painted scarab beetle on it. She said, "Please, buy some". I said to her gently, "I'm really sorry, but I don't have any money", which was true. My parents did not let us hold any money back then.

The little girl asked, "You don't have any money?" I said, "No, sorry" and just smiled apologetically. Then, I thought like the rest of the children, she would just say "bye bye" and leave. Instead, she pulled one bracelet out from the bundle of bracelets that she was holding and said, "You take this" with the biggest smile on her face. I was completely shocked. I said "no no no no, I can't take it. I have nothing to give you". She shook her head and said, "take it. It's from me". I was so touched by this gesture, so overwhelmed by the kindness she showed me. I took the bracelet, held it tightly and said "Thank you so much. I won't forget this. I won't forget you". She just smiled before proceeding to ask where I was from. We didn't get to talk much because we had almost reached our ship. My heart was aching when we said goodbye. As I was going down the hill, I turned back to wave at her again and say goodbye. She was just standing there, a few feet away, still smiling and waving. I'm still so moved by the warmth and kindness she showed. The thing is, unfortunately the reason why these children were selling us tourists these hand-made souvenirs in the first place was because they mostly came from poor families. Selling these souvenirs help the family earn some extra income. So think, the little girl herself probably had little money, and the moment she knew I had none, she gave me something that she could've sold for money, without any hesitation! God bless her kind heart!

My beautiful bracelet

I'm really glad I still have it with me after all these years :)

This was one of my fondest memories of Egypt. This was one of my fondest memories ever. Sometimes I wonder what did I ever do to deserve meeting such a beautiful soul. I wish I got her name. I wish I can recall what she looked like. It was so dark though, I really couldn't make out her face. I do remember that she had dark, round eyes and of course, a beautiful smile. Alhamdulillah, fortunately I still have the bracelet that she gave me. I pray that one day, God-willing, I can meet her again :) I had already fallen in love with Egypt even before I met her, but meeting this little girl made me love it even more. I really hope I will get the chance to visit Egypt again some day, inshaAllah (God-willing) :) Wherever this little angel may be, I pray that she will always be happy, always be successful in whatever she pursues and always blessed. Let's remember to always, always give. "If we are not entitled to receive charity, then we are rich enough to give it"* :)

Hope you enjoyed this post. 'Til next time,

*Not sure where this quote is from, but if I'm not mistaken, I read it on @IslamicThinking's twitter

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Ramadhan Iftar special!: SEA fizz mocktail - cordial and mocktail recipe


Whatcha guys think of this pretty drink!

I am not here to test your iman! but this is really a fun way to impress your family for iftar or any other day or just as a treat for your friends as a gift! because this recipe is on making the cordial as well as a the mocktail:)

Inspired by Haneesa's Thai cooler (Wayy more delicious in my opinion, maybe she should post the recipe up), this is made with the best of south east asia, this happy drink will soothe and hydrate your bodies after a day of fasting. I hope you guys will enjoy this recipe!

Mint to cool the body down

Some delicious aromatics to uplift body and soul!

                                        Cucumbers for hydration and cooling yet again..

Add sugar lastly and stir until melts

SEA fizz mocktail syrup!

1 cup water
2 cups Sugar
4-5 stalks of lemon grass (cleaned, the whitish bulbs will do)
1 thai lime (limau purut) failing which lime will do 
3 screw pine or pandan leaves 
1/2 a medium sized cucumber
1 tablespoon citric acid


let water and cucumber slices simmer for 3 minutes

cut, and bruise the other ingredients in order for their oils to activate!

allow to simmer for ten minutes or so

add sugar and boil for one minute or until the sugar melts

add citric acid and stir until melts (this is to prolong the life of the syrup and add acidity)

and you are done!

SEA fizz Mocktail

add two tablespoon or any amount desired of the syrup.
top up with some club soda
add ice, fresh cucumber slices, and a few pomegranate jewels.
and a squeeze of more lime if desired!

you can always admit the cucumber slices and pomegranate jewels and just add a sprig of mint:)

this keeps in the fridge for 3-6 months maybe longer!

out of the fridge is prolly 1.5 months:)


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Jello Cookies! by Aiysha and Farhana

Hello there!

After a long hiatus here is a super easy cookie recipe that is sure to impress! They are so fail proof that even Farhana can do it! Go ahead and give it a try!

You can find a full list of how to do it here!

Enjoy some pretty pictures :)

It is really simple! the red cookies are strawberry, green is made from banana cream jello pudding, brown is butterscotch pudding and the yellow one is mango made from nona's crystal jelly instant powder. Basically you can use any brand and flavour you like! It was super fun to make!

jell-O is kosher and hence safe for muslims, however if you feel uncertain or prefer a local brand, please go ahead and use them because it will turn out just as great!

we also halved the sugar than what the recipe above had suggested. it came out yummy! so I recommend this!

This is fail proof because any size and thickness was cooked evenly even though they were all just crammed together.

until next time!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Ad: Sami Yusuf Press Conference

Hey hey hey! Ad here, back with another post! I simply MUST share the events that occurred today with all of you. First and foremost, I must say how grateful I am for everything that has happened to me. I feel truly blessed! Ok let's begin! Today (10th July 2012) there was a press conference for Sami Yusuf on his upcoming Salaam concert. I mentioned in my previous entry that the Salaam concert will be at Stadium Malawati this Saturday, 14th July 2012. My boyfriend, Tanvir, and I are extremely excited for the show. Last night, we met for dinner and I was telling him that brother Sami was already on his way here with his team. I was telling him that I initially wanted to go to the airport and meet Sami there but had to scratch those plans because he and his team were coming here by bus from Singapore, as you can see from Sami's tweet:

So since we were on twitter, we wanted to look for any news on the concert held in Singapore. While scrolling through twitter, we somehow luckily stumbled upon a tweet which mentioned that there was going to be a press conference for Sami Yusuf on 10th July. I nearly choked reading the tweet. We got all excited again and Tanvir said "let's go, we have to find a gift". Unfortunately it was close to 9pm then, so we were pressed for time (most shopping centres and shops close at 10pm here). Me being my usual self, I started panicking lol. I just couldn't stop talking. I kept saying "OMG what are we gonna do? what are we going to get him? it's almost 9! Which shops are open? where's the nearest shopping mall?Do we have time to go there?What if by the time we reach there it's too late?We still have to figure out what to get! and OMG there's so much to do tonight! Ok ok what do we need? I need to charge the camera, charge the video camera, get the GPS, WRITE A LETTER!!!" and so on and so forth haha.

Tanvir kept telling me to stop panicking and just move hahaha. Well I did move, but I can't remember if I stopped talking. So we quickly got into the car and started driving around, at first, without having a destination point. We both sat in silence for a while, thinking what gift would be appropriate and where was the nearest place to get it from. Fortunately my brain was on my side (thank you brain!) and I asked Tanvir, "how about we get him a book?" Thank God he agreed it was a good idea. The best part was that the nearest bookstore wasn't far at all! :) When we got to the book store, we took a while to decide what to get brother Sami, but eventually agreed on a book that was more for light reading so that he could read it while he's on the road.

When I finally got home soon after that, I started preparing all the stuff that I would need for the press conference; cameras, water, GPS, the gift, and most importantly, the letter. Tanvir and I discussed what to say and I wrote everything down. I did my best despite being interrupted millions of times. I hate being interrupted because I lose my train of thoughts and then the writing just doesn't come out right somehow! I hope brother Sami likes the letter :D

Anyywayyy, this morning I woke up and was ecstatic! We arrived early at the Grand Dorsett Hotel despite travelling in the midst of the rush hour traffic, alhamdulillah :) But of course, what's a day without problems right? When we got to the hotel, there was absolutely no parking! No parking at all three of the hotel parking lots! Crazy right? So we had to go round and round to find parking. We decided to try parking across the road and after some time we found a safe place to park. Haha, funny how parking is always a problem here huh? Then we walked into the hotel and checked the TV screen displaying the current events held at the hotel. To our delight, it said "PRESS CONFERENCE SAMI YUSUF 1100-1400 - PIANO LOUNGE". We felt relieved that we came all the way and the press conference was actually there, although we were a couple of hours early for it. We went to the reception to ask where the piano lounge was, and the lady was like "'s there" with a confused smile and she pointed to the place that we were standing at to look at the TV. I felt rather embarrassed! We were so excited that we missed the big sign at the end of the piano lounge that said:
10 JULY 2012"
The Piano Lounge

To be fair, the banners and posters had not been set up yet when we first got there! We were super nervous because: 1. again, this was an event for the media and there seemed to be an attendance list
2. what if we couldn't be part of/watch the press conference 
3. the people setting up the press conference kept looking at us
4. what if we couldn't meet brother Sami?!
It didn't help that on twitter it said the press conference was supposed to start at 10.30 and at the hotel it was officially supposed to start at 11. We kept checking our watches nervously, but soon we just stopped looking because we knew it would start super late!

We didn't dare go up to the organisers because we definitely were not part of the media and also we wanted to respect the event and not cause any problems for anyone. Our plan at that time was to look out for brother Sami and try to approach him before the press conference started so that he would (hopefully) be able to spare us a few minutes after the event so that we could meet him and hand him his gift and letter. That of course meant that we had to keep close watch of the lobby area. Every shadow I saw would make my heart beat a little faster, knowing that it could be Sami Yusuf!

But yeah, since it was delayed, we decided to kill time. Here's what we did: 
Before 11, we decided to check the letter again and make sure that our cameras were working.
Tanvir double-checking the letter
 Then as it was getting closer to noon, we decided to take random photos.

The Lobby
 Then, while waiting for brother Sami to show up (not sure what time anymore, maybe around 11.30 or so), we spotted some members of Sami Yusuf's team. I spotted two of them and said to Tanvir "Look! they're part of Sami Yusuf's team! He must be coming soon!" Unfortunately, that was not true lol! I checked one of Sami's previous tweets to make sure that they were indeed part of Sami's team. Then I said "Why don't we go and talk to them?" Tanvir at first refused because he didn't want them to feel as if we were invading their privacy, but I kept saying that "No way, I don't think they'll mind! I mean wouldn't you feel appreciated that people recognise you for the work that you do?" So Tanvir decided there was no harm in doing so; we saw Jon walking our way and as he came closer we said hi. I said "You're Jon right? Part of Sami's team?" He gave us a really warm smile and said, "Yes, that's right" and then we introduced ourselves and started talking to him. He asked us what time was the press conference supposed to start. I said "We don't really know. I mean it's written there at 11, but well look at the time now". He laughed and said, "so one o'clock then" hahaha. Then a few of the other team members walked over and they introduced themselves. One of them was Hamid, and the other was Sven.

Tanvir asked what their plan was for the day. They said they wanted to head to the city centre to have a look around. We talked about traffic (as usual) and a few other stuff, before Tanvir said "Brother Sami Yusuf is finally here" and I turned to look. There he was, walking behind the OEP people (concert organisers), with his head down, looking at his phone. We politely excused ourselves and Jon said "go go it's time for you to snap those photos" lol. He was sooo nice! Then as brother Sami got closer, Tanvir said salam and of course, he answered. He looked up from his phone and flashed a big smile when he saw Tanvir. Sami remembered him! Asked Tanvir how he was, and then he saw me and flashed another big smile and said "and how are you? so good to see you again! how did you know I was here?" I said "Alhamdulillah I'm fine and it's wonderful to see you again." Then he said "well I'm sorry I can't really talk now, I have a press conference. Are you coming in?" I said, "well, I actually do not know if we can. Are we allowed to?" He said he didn't know. Then we said "Perhaps after the press conference we'll talk?" He smiled and said "inshallah" before he left. Then one of the kind ladies that was setting up the press conference came to us and said, "Do you want to join the press conference? Where are you guys from?(as in, which media group)" I smiled and said, "We'd love to. Actually we're his supporters. We heard he would be here" Then she said, "Oh, you should've told us who you were and you could've just signed in and joined us. But anyway, come in, sit wherever you want". She was sooo nice! Unfortunately, we never got her name, but we're really grateful to her! 
We couldn't find empty seats so we just stood at the front (most people were there anyway), and took photos, watched and listened as the event unfolded.

First shot of Sami Yusuf at the Press Conference
 The first question from the press was "Where do you get inspiration to write your songs?" To which, Sami basically answered that his biggest influence is his faith. When he first ventured into the music industry and released Al Mu'allim, he had no idea of the genre known as 'nasheed'. He simply wanted to sing from his heart, and as evidenced in his songs, his faith is what moves him. He also mentioned that the concept of 'Salaam' is not restricted to Islam; rather, it is linked to every major religion and it revolves around the fundamentals and goodness that exist in religions.

Next, "do you have any special message for the youth?" The person asking the question continued to say that the youth nowadays are losing touch with their religion, so as Sami sings spiritual songs, what is his message to the youth? In a nutshell, Sami stated that it's very dangerous to lose sight of what is important. At the moment, the predominant culture is the Western culture, so the youth generally try to mimic that culture - they follow both the good and bad. Sami's message is to be proud of our own culture and to not simply toss away our own culture's values just to be closer to the predominant culture.

Then, someone asked what Sami's thoughts are about the Malaysian nasheed industry and if he will consider collaborating with local artistes in the future. He said that the local nasheed industry is good but he himself does not consider his music to be nasheed simply because he feels that his songs are not worthy to be nasheed. He mentioned that Raihan and Rabbani's songs are much closer to nasheeds than his songs are. However, he would love to collaborate with local artistes in the future.

The next question was regarding Sami being in the Top 500 Most Influential Muslims list. I wasn't sure what her question was, but I suppose it was something like what his thoughts are about being on that list. Sami simply answered that he actually does not know much about it; rather, he has a team who keeps track of things like this. He said he prefers to "stay close to the ground" and remain a simple person.

 The question after that came from yours truly. I actually knew the answer for the first part of my question (because brother Sami has talked about it in the forum at his website, but I think that it is important for everyone present to know about it. I asked, "Would you like to share with us how your upcoming album Salaam will be, and also can you tell us when it will be released in the market?" Sami answered, "It will be released sometime in the summer, hopefully not too long from now. Salaam has the same spirit of my previous albums Al Mu'allim, My Ummah and Wherever You Are. It aims to inshaAllah bring people closer together and God willing, to increase that awareness of the sacred. It is being released by Arteffects International in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and we're very excited"
The last question was basically about Sami's roots. The person said, "Some of us are confused as to your origins. Some say you're Persian, or Azeri or British. What are you?" Sami laughed and said, "I'm all of those. All that you mentioned are correct, but I suppose I'll say that I'm nationally British, culturally Persian, and ethnically Azeri". LOL, best answer ever! The press conference ended with Sami saying he's looking forward to the concert and hope to see as many of us there :)

Sami looking very cheerful at the piano

After that, the photographers wanted to take photos of Sami posing with the piano/playing the piano, and then refreshments were served and soon after he went on with his one-on-one interviews with the rest of the media. During this time, we stepped out of the piano lounge and sat nearby at the lobby. We wanted to give him time to let him finish everything that he had to do before meeting him. It took a while but fortunately, we had company this time! :) We were sitting doing nothing, when we saw two other members of Sami's team called Jean (from Egypt) and Michael (from Germany). We introduced ourselves and had a chat. We asked if they had been here before, asked what they thought of Malaysia and about their plans for the next few days. They said that they both have been here before, but a while back. They also said that they have the next two days off to do whatever they want because they are only allowed in the concert venue on Friday. They asked about islands and I recommended Tioman and Redang. Those two islands are amazing. Breath-takingly beautiful! We were having this conversation outside the hotel lobby, so we assumed they were going out to see KL. We asked what they were waiting for, and they said that they want to meet Sami before they go out. After a while, we excused ourselves and went back inside. We took a seat at the same place, near the piano lounge. Tanvir went to get some cold drinks for us and while we were having a drink, we spotted Jean and Michael with coffee, looking for a place to sit. Tanvir asked them to join us and they did. After that we continued talking about Malaysia, gave them tips about how to get around the city and where's the best places for this and that. Before long, the other team members joined us too. Jon, Peter (and his wife I think), Sven and another guy (sorry! we didn't get to introduce ourselves to him, so we didn't get his name!). We had a lovely, long conversation. It was really fun; they were all sooo nice and easy to talk to! 

From left: Michael, Mr Something (still feel bad we didn't get his name!), Jean and Sven

From right: Jon, Peter and I assume his wife

Then after a while, I saw Sami leaving the piano lounge (well, I thought he was leaving, but actually he was just being photographed at the front of the lounge), and I asked Jon if Sami was coming here after he's done. Jon said "I don't know. We might have to go and see him" and laughed. So asked, "is it ok if we excuse ourselves and go see him?" He said, "Sure go ahead. I'm going to head to my room for a bit." We said our "see yous" and Tanvir and I went closer to Sami Yusuf. We waited politely for the people to finish talking to him, taking photos with him and asking for autographs. (Btw, I was extremely happy to see a few people bringing their Wherever You Are albums with them!) Then as he was posing for a group photo, he saw us and asked how we were doing. After that photo was taken, we finally got a chance to talk to him. He came to us and said to Tanvir, "Tanvir right?" and Tanvir nodded happily, then Sami asked "How was the press conference? Did you enjoy it?" Tanvir said "Yes we did, but there were its ups and downs". Then as we were talking, suddenly something caught Sami's eye, a wide smile formed on his face and he said, "ah this is my friend, Jean" and we turned to follow his gaze. I said, "oh yes, we know. We met" Tanvir said, "We were having coffee with him and your team while waiting for you". When Jean was near, they kissed each others' cheeks and hugged each other, speaking in Egyptian Arabic (I assume). "But yeah, every thing has its ups and downs -" Sami continued, then Jean said, "These two have been waiting for you since morning". Sami was apologetic about us having to wait so long, immediately ushered us to sit and said "come let's have a seat" and we proceeded to sit at the same place we had coffee with the team. 

As we sat down, he said "As I was saying, we really cannot control the results". I was a little lost, so I asked, "Results? By that, what do you mean? What sort of results?" He answered, "Anything! Like the press conference, the concert, anything". Tanvir and I nodded in agreement, then Sami said, "Thank you so much for coming here. I really appreciate your support". We said, "No problem, we really wanted to meet you again". Then I said, "We actually didn't know you'd be here until last night, we saw it on twitter". And he said, "Twitter? Wow" Tanvir then proceeded to explain how we found out about the press conference. Sami then asked, "are you comfortable sitting here, or do you want to go somewhere else?" We said, "no no no, it's fine. We're ok here". See how nice and thoughtful he is! He was so considerate of our feelings! Tanvir asked him "What are you planning to do here in the next few days? You came from Singapore quite early. Do you have anything planned?" Sami said, "Well I'm still working on the Salaam album. There's still work to be done there, so I'll mostly be working on that" I said, "Oh yes, I remember, I saw that photo you tweeted of your macbook pro" He gave a little laugh and then brought his voice down to a whisper and said, "It is one of our friends' birthday today so we are going to celebrate later." Then he continued in his usual tone and said "but yeah, other than that, I'll be working on the album". After that we gave him his gift and he was so so happy. It feels so good knowing that a small thing like us turning up and giving him a gift could make him so happy. We said "We have something for you, as a token of our appreciation to you." He said, "Thank you so much, God bless you". And we continued to say how much he inspires us, how much we respect him, how much we love his music, how much his music helps us and so on. He kept saying God bless you, over and over :) Then he was about to open the letter and asked, "May I?" I said, "The letter is rather long". Tanvir added, "Yeah it's probably better if you read that later, but feel free to unwrap your gift". He unwrapped it excitedly, read the book title and flipped through it while saying thank you. 
Finally, a photo of us with Sami
Then he said to us, "I have something I want to ask you". We nodded and said, "Sure, ask us anything". Jean interrupted and said, "I know what you are going to ask". Sami said to him, "You know what I'm going to ask? What am I going to ask?" with a smile on his face. Then Jean said, "You are going to ask them how is the marketing for the concert here and is it being done well". Sami broke into a laugh and said, "How did you know that? It's like every time I want to ask a question, you already know what I'm going to ask". After that he looked at the both of us and repeated the question that Jean said he would ask "Honestly, how is the marketing being done here? Do you think they've done a good job". We basically said, "To be honest, it wasn't good enough. We don't think there was enough advertising and awareness made for the concert. We don't see the banners, flyers, posters anywhere, except for a few restaurants. We don't see advertisements on tv or in newspapers. We knew about the concert because we are your loyal supporters and we tend to keep ourselves updated about you. Honestly without social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, we probably wouldn't know much about the concert." Then he said that, "We didn't know about it. We thought they were professionals and would do their jobs". I said, "Unfortunately what they've done wasn't enough. News about your concert should be everywhere. We had Jason Mraz here some weeks ago and his advertisements were everywhere. Why shouldn't you be given the same treatment?" We talked about this a little more and then moved on to happier topics. He said, "Whatever it is, we're here to have fun, so at the very least we can make sure that it'll be a fun concert inshallah". I said, "there's an upside to this whole thing though. If really the marketing was done poorly, then we know that the people who will be coming this Saturday are indeed your loyal supporters". He smiled then he asked, "You are coming this Saturday right?" We said "yes, of course". I added, "Tanvir actually won a pair of the VIP tickets from the competition". Sami was very happy hearing this news and congratulated Tanvir. Then Tanvir said, "She'll (me) be coming with her family though on that night". Then Sami said, "Oh that's great! Where are your seats?" Then I said, "It's Row F I think, from the stage, I'll be on your left" Sami said, "Good I'll look out for you". OMG how awesome is that?! He really treats us like we're all good friends and we really appreciate that! Love that about him! 

Then someone said to Sami that they needed to go soon so we asked if it's ok to get a group photo. He said, "sure, no problem" and stood up. The moment he stood up, he shook Peter's hand (and gave him a hug too I think) and said something in a European language that I did not recognise, then said, "Happy Birthday my friend". We all wished him Happy Birthday and started singing the Happy Birthday song. How awesome was that? When we were done singing the song, Sami asked Peter, "How old are you now Peter? 53?" And Peter frowned lol and muttered something. Then Sami continued, "You don't look 53! You look 52!" HAHAHA. We couldn't stop laughing. Then everyone stood up for a group photo. Sami then said, "Come on Jon, you have to be in the photo. A photo isn't a photo without you". They were all so cute with each other! Love how close they all are! Then Jon joined in the photo and Sami said, "He's my brother. His mother says we're like brothers, that we look alike". I looked at Sami then to Jon and back again to Sami then said, "Ah I think I see the resemblance". Sami said, "It's just that his accent is from the North and mine the South, or whatever it is with mix of Persian and Azeri" We also laughed at this, which resulted in the following photo:

They're such fun people! Would love to hangout with them more!
 Then as we were standing, we talked some more. Sami asked us what we're doing now, what did we study. I said "Well we wrote a lot about it in the letter, but basically we study Accounting." He asked, "Both of you?" And we both said, "yes, we study at the same university". Then, he asked, "what do you want to do now?" I said, "I actually have no idea what I want to do. There are a lot of options but I'm kind of lost at the moment". Then he said, "Don't worry. If it makes you feel better, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I just followed my heart and let it take its course". Then he said, "There's so much pressure on you guys nowadays!" Tanvir and I agreed immediately hahahha. We talked a little more about it then he said, "Don't worry, you guys are still young. Really young, right?" And we nodded. He said, "I feel really old!" Peter was standing next to him and he gave Sami a look then they both laughed. Then unfortunately it was time for them all to leave. Sami said, "It was really a pleasure to meet you both". We said, "It was lovely seeing you again. Thank you so much for your time". He said, "Not at all. See you at the concert inshallah". We said, "Inshallah, see you" and said our farewells to the rest of the team.

Then later in the day, I tweeted Sami saying:
He replied saying:

Alhamdulillah. I'm so thankful for this day. We were so worried that we couldn't meet him, but in the end, we got much more than that. We were invited to attend the press conference, we made friends with Sami and the team, and we had a good long conversation with him :) We really feel so so grateful for this day. We are even more excited now for the concert this Saturday! Come on people, GET YOUR TICKETS! Go to to get your tickets today! Listen to his music. Listen to his songs. Let him inspire you with Spiritique music.

So yeah, that was the end of our adventure for today. How did you all like it? Do share with me your thoughts in the comments! We said to each other last night "Tomorrow, we have a mission, which is to meet Sami Yusuf". Today, alhamdulillah, we can joyfully say "Mission accomplished".

Take care everyone,

For more photos, click here :)

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Hey everyone! As you can see from the title of this post, I recently met Sami Yusuf. Well, recently as in a few months ago! For those of you who read my review on Hadramawt KL, I mentioned that there's a surprise linked to this place; well this is the surprise! Ok before I start writing about my little quest, I better warn you..this will be a long post! Brace yourselves!

Sami Yusuf is one of my favourite singers/musicians. He's a British Muslim and is famous for songs like Al Muallim, Supplication, Hasbi Rabbi, Healing and You Came To Me (just go to youtube and watch for yourselves). Well sometime in mid-april, he announced on twitter that he had a couple of surprises up his sleeve. A few days after the announcement, he suddenly tweeted that he had just arrived in Singapore. You can't imagine how excited I was. I immediately replied his tweet saying "you're in singapore?!?!?! you MUST come to Malaysia! it's only a 45-min flight away!" and to my surprise, he actually REPLIED my tweet! It was the first time he had ever replied me too! (so you can guess how much more excited I got). The best thing was: he replied with a simple ":)" I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I knew that that meant he would definitely be coming here!

Then on 19th April (Thursday), I was at my university, waiting to see my boyfriend, Tanvir actually. He was a little late, so I decided to check twitter again. Just my luck, Sami Yusuf tweeted:

which means "Peace be upon you Malaysia :) I just arrived here. How is everyone? Sami". I flipped out! Like seriously, I couldn't believe my eyes. One of the people who inspires me the most, who is usually at the other side of the world, was in the same country, no, the same city as I was! I could hardly control my excitement, was almost going to call Tanvir, who is also a huge Sami Yusuf supporter, and tell him the wonderful news. To my luck, at that moment I saw Tanvir walking towards me. The moment he opened the car door, I blurted out "Sami Yusuf is here!!!!!!!" LOL! He was like "really? really? see see I told you he'll come!" then he sat in and we started talking about where Sami could potentially be staying at. Then we were all like "imagine if we bump into him somewhere..what would you say to him?" and of course I was checking twitter like a mad person. The constant checking effort did not go to waste as soon after, Sami tweeted a photo of him in front of the Petronas Twin Towers, more commonly known as KLCC by the locals. 

The photo invoked even more excitement. Then Tanvir asked the magical question "Do you want to go to KLCC?" and I was like "LET'S!!" but then the rational me remembered that Tanvir had work at 3pm. It was 12.30pm then. So I said "but do we have enough time?" and Tanvir said "that's the thing". We sat in silence for a while and I said "Well we have almost 3 you think that's enough time?" To which Tanvir replied, "InshaAllah it's enough", which meant that yes, we were going to KLCC to find one of our heroes!! 

We headed home to grab a camera and the GPS navigation system (just in case we needed it!). Both items were there; however, we had no memory card at hand because I gave it to Tanvir the day before so that he could transfer some photos (so of course, it was at his place). We were frustrated but still, we had our phones, and meeting Sami Yusuf is more important than getting a photo with him right? Then we drove to the nearest LRT station (train station), parked the car then got on the first train that was headed to KLCC. We were super excited, imagining again and again what it would be like if we got to meet our hero. I was lucky enough to have my Wherever You Are CD in the car, so I took it along with me. By 1pm we reached KLCC and the first place we went to was at the park outside the mall because that was where the photo was taken! We searched all over the place - in the mall, at the park, at the convention centre, at the hotel nearby, at record stores - everywhere! Unfortunately, we couldn't find him. We kept checking twitter of course, in case he tweeted anything else which may give a clue to his whereabouts. The only clue we got was that he was going to have a press conference. It was a big clue, but we still had to figure out what time it was supposed to be at and where! I also kept tweeting that we were looking for him. No replies from him, but that was no surprise lol. I mean he's a busy man, and was busy getting ready for the press conference. 

We went around KLCC again and again and after almost an hour and a half, we decided with heavy hearts that we should be heading back. I was incredibly sad. Then we decided to have our photo taken at the LRT station holding the Wherever You Are CD, just so we got something out of this day: a memory in digital form. We had one of the kind security guards to help us snap a photo :) Then I decided to snoop around twitter, to see if perhaps anyone was lucky enough to have met Sami. Apparently no one had yet to meet him (or at least no one tweeted about it!) but then I stumbled across a couple of twitter accounts that mentioned the press conference. I followed the accounts, and when we got on the LRT, one of the accounts tweeted that the press conference was ongoing, and it was at Hadramawt at Chulan Square! I was overwhelmed with emotions. First, that's not in KLCC! which made me want to go crazy because we spent so much time looking for him there. Secondly, we were already on the way back, so we couldn't possibly get to Hadramawt. I seemed to have given up the idea of meeting Sami Yusuf by that time, but Tanvir still had a little bit of hope - which was all we needed really! He asked me if I wanted to try our luck and head to Hadramawt. I said I do, but I was afraid of being disappointed, and also pointed out that we had no more time. Tanvir said "ok maybe I can go to work a little later". I said "I guess you can try giving them a call". And so he did, and fortunately, Alhamdulillah Tanvir talked to the people at work and they said ok, he can come in later! I was ecstatic! 

When we got to the station, we rushed to the car, paid for parking and drove to Hadramawt KL. And of course, things kept going wrong. haha, why wasn't I surprised? It was only 3pm or so, but there was heavy traffic in the KL city centre. It wasn't even rush hour yet! Then to our horror, we saw that some roads were being closed because of some event that was going to happen that weekend, which meant that the horrible traffic could be worse than we thought. To add insult to injury, our GPS wasn't working well! It kept saying it was calculating a route, when it really wasn't. We probably missed a few million turns thanks to it! The traffic was so bad, we were literally at a standstill for 20minutes. We were already pressed for time as the press conference could end at any minute and Tanvir still needed to go to work as soon as he could. When traffic finally moved, we were relieved, though it was still unbearably slow. Fortunately after taking a turn or two, we managed to get out of the terrible traffic, but of course, the GPS was still not cooperating. After a while, eventually it did lead us to the right place. As we drove in front of the restaurant, we could see Sami Yusuf banners and knew exactly where the press conference was being held. We rushed to find a place to park our cars and had higher hopes as we saw the heaps of media cars. But then we met with another problem: where do we park our car? There was absolutely no parking at all. We went round and round and fortunately at the 4th time, we finally found ourselves a parking spot! 

We parked, and ran inside the restaurant and realised we had no idea what to do or what to say. It was an event for the media...we couldn't possibly just barge in right? Then I asked the guy at the counter, "this is where the Sami Yusuf press conference is right?" He looked as if he had no idea what I was talking about at first, but then he managed to say "upstairs". I was grateful for that one word that he uttered hahaha. So we rushed upstairs, saw customers having their lunch, and walked out onto the balcony. There were many children, all dressed up in the same 'baju melayu' (malay traditional clothing for men). Then Tanvir turned to face me with a big smile on his face, and then he looked away again. I followed his gaze and there he was. There were people sitting in a circle, and Sami Yusuf was right there at the centre. SAMI YUSUF IN THE FLESH! My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe my eyes, there he was. So Tanvir and I went closer and we found ourselves standing behind the circle of press, right in front of Sami Yusuf. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was smiling from ear to ear, listening intently to everything Sami had to say. I was extremely relieved by how easy it was to be able to stand there. (It was a press conference, meant for the media, but we still managed to be there!). Brother Sami was being interviewed at the time. He talked about the Salaam album, about the collaboration with Dato' Siti Nurhaliza (one of the most successful Malaysian artistes), about why it took him so long to get here and so on. While he was talking, we made eye contact and he smiled at me! A nice, warm smile. I was so happy lol! 

This was taken as we were going nearer to the circle of interviewers
Tanvir and I listened intently, occasionally glancing at each other, smiling, as if to convince ourselves that this was actually happening; that we really were, standing just a few feet away from THE Sami Yusuf.

The interview circle

After a while, the interview was over. Sami thanked the media sincerely, saying that they had done more than their jobs :) I love how warm and friendly he is! Then one of the interviewers asked if she could have a photo with him. Tanvir and I waited somewhere near for them to finish talking and snapping photos. The moment the interviewer turned to walk away, Tanvir and I rushed to stand in front of brother Sami. Right at that moment, we were standing face to face, smiling at each other. I was star struck; at a loss for words. Thank God Tanvir was with me. He gave salaam to Sami and he replied joyfully :) Then we introduced ourselves to him, well sort of. I only managed to ask "How are you". Tanvir was doing a much better job! Tanvir said to Sami "she is one of your biggest fans, from twitter". Sami turned to me and said "Thank you so much for your support. What's your name?" I smiled and said "My name is Adlina". Then he said "Adlina....Adlina! I know you!" And well that definitely shocked me! Then he continued, "I read your tweets!" Well you honestly cannot imagine how happy that made me. I mean to know that he remembers me from twitter. Twitter! Where he had close to 100,000 followers (at that time). That really made my day! Then he said "It's so nice to finally meet you!" and I was just in awe of how down to earth he is. He made both of us feel as if we've been friends for life, made us feel very comfortable. It was incredibly easy to talk to him!

Then I said "It's so great to finally meet YOU!" and Tanvir said "we've been looking for you! we were at KLCC and had come across so many obstacles in trying to find you". Sami replied "MashaAllah, thank you so so much. I really appreciate it. So are you coming to the show?tell me you're coming to the concert" (He came to Malaysia and Singapore to promote his upcoming Salaam concert in July). I said "well I will certainly try to make it. I'm one of those followers on twitter who tweet you again and again, begging you to come to Malaysia for a concert". He laughed but apparently he didn't take it to mean that I wouldn't miss it for the world, so he said "Don't tell me you won't be in the country then!" I said "oh no no no, I should be here, especially since it's so close to Ramadhan". He flashed a big smile and said "Inshallah then" Then I realised that Tanvir hadn't been saying much. I wanted to get him into the conversation as well, so I said "Tanvir here is from Bangladesh, so it's just fantastic that he got to meet you here in Malaysia". Then he turned to Tanvir and said "Oh Bangladesh. Which part? Dhaka? Silet?" And to this we were impressed, mainly because he knew of Silet! Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, so it isn't uncommon that people have heard of it, but not many know about Silet (that includes yours truly!). Tanvir said "I'm from Dhaka" and then they talked a bit (Sorry, I'm rather sketchy about the details because this happened some months ago! I know, I should've written all this down earlier!) Then we realised a lot of other people were just waiting for their turn to speak with Sami, so I asked "is it ok with you if we take a photo together?" And he replied, "Of course". I took out my phone and Tanvir and I looked at each other, then around us, wondering who we could ask to help snap the photo. Then brother Sami came closer to us, held his hand in front of my phone and said, "May I?" and so I handed my phone to him. Then he asked one of the guys standing near us if he could help take a photo. Of course he said yes! I'm still grateful to you abang for taking our photo! So we stood together to pose for the photo and I said "bang, ambik dua kali ok", which means "bro, snap two photos". And so he took two photos of us together with Sami :)

Smile! Love this photo! Can't believe we have a photo with Sami Yusuf!!

Here's the second photo!
After we took photos, we thanked the abang for helping us. Then Tanvir asked Sami how long he would be here and what his plans are like for the rest of his stay. Sami said "I'll be here for three days. Today I have this press conference. Tomorrow is going to be a very packed day" And I asked "Busy with interviews?" He said "Yea, very busy. Then on Saturday I'll be in the studio the whole day recording with Siti and then go back. So I'm not sure if I have time to really go around and see the place". Though later it turned out that his flight had been delayed and so he had an extra day in Malaysia :) After that we realised again, other people are still waiting to have their turn to meet Sami, so I asked if I could have his autograph. Sami smiled and said yes. I took out the Wherever You Are CD and handed it to him. Tanvir said "this is the real third album" and Sami said "Yes, the genuine, authorised one" As he was signing the CD, I said "We read your post about the fake album that Awakening records released. I can't believe they would do that". Sami said "It's ridiculous, and all this for just a few bucks! It's not about the money, I don't care about the money. But they created that image and they are doing this". I said "Yeah, they pride themselves to be an Islamic recording lable, and yet they are doing this and giving Islam a negative image". Sami shook his head in disappointment. By then he had finished signing my CD and gave it to me. Then he asked "Did I spell your name correctly?" I said "Oh it's spelled with an A, but it's ok" and he corrected the spelling of my name and gave it back to me. Then we told him that we should make a move and we said "It was an honour meeting you, hope you have a productive stay here" and he said "Barakallahu feekum" with a smile and Tanvir said "Inshallah we will meet again soon", and Sami said "Inshallah see you at the concert!" and then we rushed to the car, and couldn't knock the silly smiles off from our faces. 

My autographed 'Wherever You Are' Album!

Seriously, he was the nicest person ever. He was super warm and friendly, extremely down to earth. I mean I had imagined it many, many times in my head how it would be if I ever got to meet brother Sami. Believe me, this time reality was better than fiction. However I envisioned the meet to be in my head was nowhere near how amazing it was when I actually met him. As an artist, he is incredibly talented. He is blessed with a beautiful voice, and also with the skills to play various musical instruments. But not every talented artist is blessed with a heart as big and warm as his. Not every artist is as nice to his or her supporters :) I feel extremely blessed that we both got to meet such an inspirational person. Without God's grace, we could not have met him on that day. Both Tanvir and I are really grateful to have met such a wonderful person. 

It has always been my dream to meet Sami Yusuf, one of Tanvir's too. It is an amazing feeling to have one of our dreams come true :) I know this post is extremely long, but I really wanted to share with you all our crazy little quest. Everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong on that day, but we never gave up. This shows that (with God's grace) we can achieve our goals if we are persistent and we don't give up. 

Source: @OEP_Offshore's Twitter

Before I end this post, I urge you all to attend Sami Yusuf's Salaam concert in Malaysia on 14th July, 9pm at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam. Sami Yusuf lives by the saying "quality over quantity", which he has proven time and time again with his songs and albums. We can expect the concert to be amazing, for sure :) There are still tickets available, so click here to find out more about the concert and get your tickets online! You can also get tickets at Rock Corner outlets and Victoria Music Centre outlets. Dato' Siti Nurhaliza will also be making an appearance at the concert, along with MOHRAM. If you can, do attend the show! 

I hope you've enjoyed this blogpost (if you're still reading lol!). I bid farewell with a few other photos I snapped during the interview (sorry for the poor image quality!) Till next time then!

Much love,

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