Remember the freelance project I did for a TVC on Hajj insurance? We’ll there is more to the project than that. I was also hired to produce a web cartoon to explain their Hajj insurance services and I thought I’d post it up for you guys to see.
Unfortunately the whole thing is in Malay so do get a Malay friend to translate it for you. I can’t write the entire script in English here because the cartoon is 7 minutes long! Yikes! It tough to produce this sort of thing but once its completed, I am satisfied with the final results. So did my customer Check out the animation below.
I am seriously thinking of accepting custom cartoon freelance work. Think of the possibilities… cartoons can explain products and services, narrate how you met your spouse and play it at your wedding dinner, a surprise cartoon proposal on TV etc.
I’m just playing with the thought though.. I don’t know if there is a strong demand for that sort of thing.
One man cartoon army,
PS: For those of you whose parents, aunts or uncle going to Hajj, do recommend them about this Hajj insurance thing. I watched the news and they are making it compulsory for all Muslims going to Hajj to take on some form of insurance, so might as well choose this.
“Bagi ibadah Haji tanpa kerunsingan, Inshallah!”
Remember the freelance project I was talking about weeks ago? The very reason why I can’t work on Happeepill cartoons? We’ll here’s more details about it. I’ve been hired to create a TV commercial for the Malay channel to promote insurance for Hajj. Check out the animation below.
Note: The commercial is in Malay and all work is done by me Even the narration. That is my actual unedited voice. Paiseh man…. -__-”
I am still working on a much longer cartoon explaining this insurance service in great detail. God willing, once that is done, I’ll post it up for all to see The dateline is on the 20th Sept.. hopefully I am able to finish the whole project by then. I have one more scene and lip sync to work on.
Note: This is an Islamic article. Skip this article if you are not interested about Islam.
I have been aching to write an article about this Islamic subject for a long time. If I were to die tomorrow and I only have time to share with you one Islamic advice, this would be it. But ironically as important as this Islamic topic is, Muslims rarely talk about it and most don’t fully understand the concept. So hopefully, God willing, everybody will benefit from this article.
Every Muslim knows that Syaitan (Satan) is our enemy. He whispers suggestions to the children of Adam and encourage us to sin so we will join him in Hell. What a wretched plan indeed! Further explanation of Syaitan and his motives would require a whole article in itself, but for today, I am going to write about a totally different enemy. An enemy not mentioned as much as Syaitan but is far more dangerous! An enemy that resides/lives within all of us.
Let me introduce you to your Nafs.
What is the Nafs?
Along with our souls, Allah has placed within us something called the ‘Nafs’ which means ‘Self’ in English. The weird thing about Malay Muslims today, wherever the word “nafsu” is mentioned, they immediately think you are referring to Lust and sex which is not the case. The Nafs or the ‘Self’ is the force that DESIRE for sexual intercourse, drink, eat, play video games, shopping etc. Whenever you WANT something, that is the Nafs in action.
The Nafs – It can be as simple as wanting to buy food to eat.
The Nafs has 3 types.
The Nafs that PUSHES YOU TO DO GOOD.
When you see a beggar and the Nafs inside of you say “Look at that beggar. He looks so pitiful. I will give him some money.” That is your good Nafs talking.
The Self-Blaming Nafs
When you commit an evil action and feel regretful, and you say “Why did I do that? Why did I return to this sin? Surely, I can do better than this!” This is the Self-blaming Nafs in effect.
The Nafs that PUSHES YOU TO DO EVIL
When you desire to commit a sin be it watching porno, gossiping about others, the need to cheat while doing business.. all this comes from the Evil Nafs, THAT IS WITHIN YOU, that pushes you to commit that evil deed.
These 3 nafs can happen in one day for example, in the morning you gave your seat to an elderly man in a crowded bus, then you go to work and cheat a customer and when you go home you feel regretful. The Good nafs, the Evil nafs and the Self-Blaming nafs all in one day.
The Good Nafs – On the way to work, you donate some money to a beggar.
The Evil Nafs – You curse and hurl insults on an employee.
The Self-Blaming Nafs – Later at home, you feel regretful of what you have done.
You can experince all the Nafs in one day.. Clear so far?
Now comes the bad news…
Syaitan (satan) is not your only enemy.
Unfortunately, even though your Good Nafs exists in you, by default, your Evil Nafs is stronger. So that means, even before Syaitan comes into the equation, you as a human being already have this urge to commit sins.
That’s what my Dad said when he saw a huge billboard advertising alcohol.
Wise words indeed.
Even though the mind says “No, this action is wrong”, the Evil Nafs takes over and you being weak, surrenders to your nafs
And that’s why during Judgment day, Syaitan will make an announcement to the Hell-dwellers:
How dangerous is the Evil Nafs!
This is a popular, good question. Syaitan will not insist on a particular sin. Syaitan is happy as long as you sin. It can be any sin. But the Nafs will insist on a particular specific sin. If you are fixated with one particular sin, and find yourself committing it again and again, that is your Evil Nafs.
The Internal Struggle that exists within you
However even though, the Evil Nafs is dominant by default, the Good Nafs and the self blaming Nafs still exists.. so that means once you are done doing the horrible sinful act, you’ll hate yourself, you cry, you get guilty and the bitterness will remain for the rest of your life.
Doing of good deeds on the other hand, is bitter at first but later you will feel the sweetness and be happy.
So that means everybody will have this internal tug of war, the Good Nafs and the Evil Nafs wanting to take control of you.
What happens if you follow your Evil Nafs and do no effort to curb it?
What happens if the human being always listens to his Evil Nafs? He does everything his Evil Nafs desire… play games for long hours, splurge on shopping, commit any imaginable sin etc.? If you do not put your Evil Nafs on a tight leash, then you have effective made your Nafs a god.
So that means, even though you say you are Muslim, and instead of following the commands of Allah, you follow your desires…. indirectly, that means you are worshipping your nafs! How scary is that?
The worst part is, if a Muslim keep on following his Evil Nafs for a LONG TIME…. It will lead to apostasy.
Then how do you combat this disease of the Evil Nafs?
Declare war on your Nafs
In order to stop your Evil Nafs to turn to this huge insatiable beast, you must learn to say “No.” to it. You must learn to resist, struggle and say “No” to your Nafs. You need to be serious and strict with your Nafs. If you give in to your Evil Nafs, it will get stronger. If you deny it and follow your Good Nafs, the Good Nafs will get stronger.
Personally, the way I see it, the Evil Nafs is like a child. It likes to eat lots of candy but it does not know that the candy will cause tooth decay. So being a good parent you must take the candy away from the child even though it cries and pleads for it.
Honestly, my Evil Nafs does not look like a cute child.
And it also demands far worse things than candy. -__-
And ask yourself, why do we Muslims pray? Why do Allah insist that you pray ON TIME?! One of the reasons is to train your Nafs. Your Evil Nafs want to continue playing the video game but be strict with your Nafs and say “No.” and you get up and pray.
Even when you pray, your Nafs tells you to pray quickly because it’s bored.. but you must say “No.”, and try your best to focus and take your time. Only praying Muslims will realize this reality. Non-praying Muslims on the other hand are spectators of prayers. They only see the bowing up and down and they see it nothing but a form of exercise that does not bring benefit. That is so far from the truth! Do not judge what you do not know.
Ask yourself, why we fast during Ramadan? That is also to train your Evil Nafs. Islam trains the Evil Nafs to lower your gaze and stop ogling at girls.. something we all do like a reflex on any other month. It also trains the Evil Nafs to control the tougue and not spout vulgarities and backbiting. It trains the Evil Nafs not to listen to music filled with lewd lyrics. Oh if everybody takes Islam seriously we won’t be in such a sorry state as we are now!
What happens if you always say “No” to your Evil Nafs? You will soon realize that you have much better control of yourself. You have better self restraint.
I have seen 30 year old men being impatient and can’t wait 3 mins for their PC to load. It’s not a surprise he is also the one that likes to follows his vain desires.
You must also know that the Evil Nafs also pushes you to be excessive… even if the act is halal like eating or sleeping. Example: The Evil Nafs wants you to order lots of food when you are hungry. But you realize you can’t finish most of the food you ordered. The evil nafs also tend to be lazy…
We are living a test and the test is difficult. No doubt about it.
Once you start fighting your Evil Nafs you will find out that it is a very difficult challenge. And at times you will win. And at times you will lose. Do not give up and keep up the fight!
Lastly I would like to end this long article by giving you this verse from the Quran…
Note: This is an Islamic article. Skip this article if you are not interested about Islam.
To my brothers and sisters in Islam,
There are Muslims who have passed away, and last year was their LAST Ramadan. But here I am… here we are, breathing… our hearts still beating. Allah is giving us chance after chance to come back to Him, to better ourselves. All praises be to Allah (The God).
Since most of Malay Muslims are born Muslims, we have the knack to see Ramadan as part of our culture. We fast for a month and after that, we celebrate Hari Raya.. and this happens like clockwork. For some of us who are brought up in a non-practicing Muslim family OR the parents are pious but DOES NOT SHARE any Islamic teaching to their children, there is no value in your Ramadan and you will see it only as a month of hunger and thirst.
So let me take this opportunity to explain to you what Ramadan is all about and what is expected of you as a Muslim.
Ramadan is VERY DIFFERENT from any other month so treat it differently.
The time you spent during Ramadan should be VERY different from the days in any other months. It’s not business as usual. You cannot go to school, do your home work, play your Xbox, spout profanity with your friends on the phone, listen to music on your mp3 player, waste endless hours on Facebook and after that, break your fast, watch TV and go to sleep. If you think that is how its gonna be, you might as well don’t fast.
You see, throughout the past 11 months, we have been sinning day and night. Some of us watch haram videos as often as they drink water. Some of us have the habit to spout profanity; no sentence goes out of the tongue without a curse peppered here and there. Some of us can’t even tweet with cursing. While some of us indulge in major sins like fornication and adultery. The list goes on and on.
The goal of Ramadan is NOT to see which Muslim can slim down the most. The goal of Ramadan is for you to LEAVE THE HARAM (sinful deeds). Since your stomach is fasting, you must also fast your eyes by not watching any sinful videos, fast your ears by not listening to gossip, fast your tongue by not engaging in foolish, evil talk.
Ramadan is a month of repentance. This is the time to give up, to leave the sins that you have been committing. You have to be honest with yourself, tell Allah that you commit such and such sin and promise Allah never to return to that sin. Look at how Islam works- If you are a sleeping Muslim who neither pray nor dua, you will continue to commit sin without ever thinking of changing your ways. Ramadan is a whole month dedicated just for that change to take place. If you take your Ramadan seriously, you will inshallah, experience the change to be a better you.
Read your Quran
Never ever be the Muslim who claimed he is Muslim, but during his lifetime, did not pick up the Quran and read even ONE verse. This is no exaggeration. The Quran is not a book for you to read when death comes to the family. You are supposed to read it on a daily basis.
If you don’t own a Quran, you gotta go to Darul Arqam at Geylang and buy yourself a copy. Get the one with the English translation. The enemies of Islam are BURNING the Quran because they detest Islam (type: “burn Quran” on Youtube) and here is the Malay Muslim who says the shahadah but got no Quran at home? When will this end?
When you are confused over any verse in the Quran, write it down and go to a GOOD scholar to explain to you the meaning. One of the reasons the Ummah is weak because everybody have their own interpretations.
And lastly, keep the Quran where it is VISIBLE. Place it beside your computer monitor if you are always in front of the PC. If you chuck your Quran in a shelf somewhere, IT WILL be forgotten.
I want you to read one whole chapter that will last you 3 hours everyday. Haha. NO. All you gotta do is read a verse a day. That is the most minimal you can do. And that would just take a few minutes of your time. If you can read a page a day that’s even better! You spend more than an hour on Facebook, you can’t spend 5 mins or less reading a VERSE from the Quran. What’s your excuse?
Perform your Prayers There are some Muslims who fast but does not pray. There are some Muslim who only prays during Friday Prayers. And there are some who prays once a year, and that is the prayer in the morning of Hari Raya. How could you fast and not pray a single rakaat during Ramadan? For those who have neglected the prayers, there is no better time than to start performing your prayers. If you do not know how to pray, get a knowledgeable, HUMBLE Muslim friend or relative who can teach you. NOBODY from this ummah, who decides to pray one day, and suddenly is able to pray 5 times a day without fail. These things take time but you have to start now.
I have heard husbands praying without their wives and wives praying without their husbands. If you are a praying Muslim and your family does not pray, you need to explain to them about Islam and invite them to prayer. And have patience while doing so cause it’s gonna take time.
If you are always on the PC, download the Athan software and the Athan will sound when its prayer time when you are working.
Get serious and watch yourself
Ramadan is a serious matter so treat it seriously. Don’t let external factor like sports, non-pious friends, endless entertainment hinder you from getting your rewards on Ramadan.
To me, Ramadan is like a bonus round. It’s like watching the game show, Supermarket Sweep, where you are given a limited amount of time to grab everything you want in the shopping center.
1.34- Instead of scrambling for groceries, you are scrambling for hasanat (good deeds).
In my opinion that is exactly like how Ramadan is. You are trying your best to grab all the hasanat you can for the whole month. The time where Maghrib hits and Ramadan enters YESTERDAY EVENING, the Bismillah you utter is worth 70 times more. So do more prayers, dhikir, Quran reading and good actions as much as you possibly can because that is the currency being used in the grave and hereafter.
Ramadan Kareem to you and your family,