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by Norhafizah Manaf (a dear friend of mine) 
on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 2:29am

Nope! I'm not still wearing it hee. But this time what I want to share is that maybe when we feel good, we invite goodness all around (Law of Attraction perhaps?).

Again yesterday when I was in my spiffy new green baju kurung bought at the Jakel sales, waiting optimistically the three hour wait, and before the friendly elderly Chinese gentleman chatted with me at the Klang Hospital Orthopaedic dept, I was concentrating marking the 5 Gigih objective papers. I noticed from the corner of my eye, a lanky young Indian man came to sit beside me. With not so much as a glance I continued marking my papers. All too soon, I needed to rest my strained eyes and neck and put away the papers and just take a brief break. I lifted my head and there was this young Indian man beside me sitting quietly. Now with my new green dress and feeling all positive and good inside, I looked at him, and decided to make small talk with him. He looked well, so I pleasantly asked if he was visiting the doctor or just accompanying someone with an appointment. I was surprised by his fluency in the Malay language.

It turned out that in 2002 he had had an accident and then had a metal inserted into his thigh to repair his leg injury. It was supposed to stay there for several years, but what had happened was the area where the metal was got infected and so, after 9 years (?) it had to be removed, the pus cleansed and the infection treated. Amidst his explanation, one sentence really caught my attention.

"Saya tak tau bila duduk antara dua sujud tu, skru di lutut saya ni boleh jadi longgar dan cucuk ke muscle saya". I thought I had heard wrongly. So I asked, "duduk antara dua sujud, you ni Muslim ke?"

And then he gave a very gentle smile, and said almost shyly..."ya".

Straight away my active mind went into much I wanted to know. I was in my very very curious mode and out came the barrage of questions.

It turned out some time after his accident, he had a dream. And it was in the month of Ramadhan. He dreamt that he was asked to cross a gorge filled with blazing fire rising menacingly up the brim of the gorge. Trying desperately to find a way to cross the fiery gorge, he saw on the other end a man in all white willing him to say some words. And lo and behold in his dream he uttered the kalimah, "La ilaha i'lallah".

There is no God but Allah

He woke up, told his wife and that very evening together with his wife and young child went to a  mosque to convert. Subhanallah...Allahu Akbar. As simple as that! I was speechless for a moment, and then I told him that when Allah decides to give hidayah, none can withhold.

Al-h Haqq The Truth Say: "Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth, or who is it that has full power over your hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?" And they will surely answer, "It is God." Say, then: "Will you not, then, become fully conscious of Him -- seeing that He is God, your Sustainer, the Ultimate Truth? For, after the truth has been forsaken, what is there left but error? How, then can you lose sight of the truth?" Yunus 10:31-32

The beauty of it all to me was that, the moment I found out he was a Muslim, he was no longer just any other Indian young man, he was a brother in faith...i didnt see an Indian man anymore, I saw a Muslim brother. We continued talking and I was in awe at the workings of Allah...we ended up by my asking his phone number simply because I suddenly felt obliged  to keep in touch with his and his family's progress. Because since his accident, he lost the ability to drive/ride a motorbike and lost his job. He had also dedicated 4 years of his life after that to deepen his understanding of Islam in Kelantan together with his wife and children. God was his Provider during those times. From his conversion into Islam he was very happy to have been able to khatam the Quran twice, which is more than can be said for so many other born muslims today.

I pray for him; nay let us all pray for him and his family and for all the muslims around the world, ourselves included, to be forever in Allah's watchful eyes and to be always hopeful for His Hidayah. my overactive brain can go to bed...nite all!

This is a special post. This is a special day. This is a special month. This is a special year. 

This is a special life.

I was born from special parents. I am blessed with very, very special children. I am lucky to have special siblings. I am abundant with special friends. I was destined to marry a man who is very special, because he too, has many special friends.

This post is a gift to my husband, Ahmad Cendana, on his birthday which falls today, the 12th of October. (Oh dear, I had accidentally pressed on the "Publish" button when I had wanted to press on the "Preview" button. So let it be, from the time I woke up this morning, I had felt that it would be such a beautiful day today, and indeed it is) I know, it makes a wonderful gift for him because it is a tribute to all the special people mentioned above, and he is one who is and will always be grateful to people, friends and family who have made a difference in his life, who have made his long and hard journey to recovery that much easier, people who accepted him as he is and saw only the good in him.

I am not much of a writer, but it is my hope that with this feeble attempt to put my feelings and thoughts into words, this post will reflect just how much my husband and I appreciate the things that have been bestowed upon us by God Almighty, through and because of special people, particularly in the past year or so. 

Very special, very rare and very exquisite Pastel shade roses by Anna Tihhomirova from
At the end of last September, I had gone to meet a friend at her office to discuss on a certain matter. Needless to say, this friend of mine, is a very special one. Not only as a friend to me but more so as a person; because she is gifted and able to, by God's will, enlighten others who are in some kind of trouble, pain or suffering, especially from the loss of someone they loved. I would love to mention her name here but somehow, I feel that she would be totally uncomfortable if I did, and so I won't.

I wasn't in any of those situations though, thankfully, but she, as usual, being naturally clairvoyant and overflowing with kindness and compassion, started revealing things that were meant to be made known to me. She had said something that I had never thoughtheard or read of before this, something which had moved me immensely, something so compelling, important and significant that I had to write this post. I thought, how appropriate it would be to present it today, on this very special occasion and in this very auspicious month. 

                                                                                                                                                                     "You are never alone." she had said to me in a whisper, although there wasn't anyone else with us. "Because you are so humbled and are always appreciative of others who have helped you, because you are not inhibited by a shameful  discomfort of your disposition, and have absolutely no qualms about expressing your gratitude, they, all those who have supported you, remain with you in spirit and have become your strength."

I was struck by a series of differing emotions that was hitting me in sub-seconds; disbelief, confusion, bewilderment, puzzlement. There was something in what she had just said, but I just couldn't nail it. My eyebrows moved upwards and downwards then inwards. My eyes squinted then opened wide in perfect synchronisation with my mouth. I gasped and whooped but no words came out from it while my hands gestured meaninglessly. Her colleague watching through the glass walls from the next room must have been thinking that I was getting an explicit update of the latest office gossip. 

And then the realisation came, and a second wave of emotions came over me, this time of a totally different kind. Suddenly I was uplifted and felt lightheaded, I was elated, no, that is understated, I was..euphoric. This extraordinary woman was talking about my husband, not me. 

The strength she had felt in me was his. She was describing Ahmad Cendana with acute precision; I had known and felt the inert strength in him, just as many other people did, from his writing, particularly in his blog Recovery from Drug Addiction. But I had never been able to identify this powerful, rising energy within him which radiates from his stories recounting his past, until this revelation. This could only be culminated by one so pure and sincere, and with such a keen sense of perception.

He often wrote, and after he had moved from Pasir Mas to Batang Kali where we had first met (we had discovered each other two months before the move but had never spoken :-)) had spoken to me constantly about people who had helped him in one way or another. Even the smallest gesture doesn't escape his memory. He does the same to me, often repeating what I had done for him. I had told him he needn't do that, because I, and I'm certain everyone else too, had done things without expecting any gratitude and acknowledgement  in return. 

But I was wrong. Further to what my special friend had said, I had incidentally read, a hadith, if I am not mistaken, which said "Those who truly appreciate people's deeds, are those who are truly grateful to God". As with so many other hadith, the words appear simple enough but the message and the effect from it go very deep. 

[Update - I finally found the actual hadith: Abu Hurairah t reported that the Messenger r said, "Whoever does not thank the people does not thank Allah." [Sunan abi Dawud (2/290), Saheeha (416)].

Feelings of deep gratitude is the manifestation of an unwavering faith in God, and herein lies a strength that can make things happen.   

There were stories of the good things people did for him in his earlier life and during the pre-Gambang period that made him rejoice. One of his earlier acquaintances and probably the most significant name in Ahmad Cendana's life directory is that of a writer/academician, among other important things he does. This American friend had gone out of his way on many occasions to help my husband. It  included sending a number of books and reading material from Korea where he lived knowing that Ahmad Cendana loved to read but didn't have very much on him then. 

Incidentally, this very special person is here in Malaysia right now, and this time, I had the honour of meeting him in person, making this already meaningful month even more memorable. More importantly, we were able to give him in return, though far short of equal to what he had done, the help and support that he had rendered to my husband in more ways than one. I consider my husband very lucky to be on the receiving end of altruism in the true sense of it's word. David, if you are reading this, we hope you would regard us as your family now.

I believe most of his other joyous moments of good things that had happened, or which started to happen, was when he was in Pusat Serenti Gambang where Ahmad Cendana got a complete makeover in character. Even his pseudonym, or rather his pen name, is after his hostel here. But most of the friends that gave him the motivation and support which he desperately needed to pick himself up and restart life were those he came to know after he was released from the rehabilitation centre. Many were those whom he had known through the internet and social media, and many of them still continue to cheer him on.

I now know that his reverence, the appreciation and  acknowledgement given so humbly, sincerely and wholeheartedly by Ahmad Cendana to all of them for the things they had written, said and done for him are actually the source of his incredible strength. 

As of today, I have had the pleasure to meet only four of Ahmad Cendana's friends in person: Sherry, Elviza, SatDee and most recently David. All four have been very significant in his uprise, namely Sherry whose role was monumental as most would probably already know. I am also delighted to have made friends on Facebook with Zendy Zee, NadyaS, Zack Zara, Sheri Din, Faten Rafei, Tam Dalyell and Puteri Kamaliah. With others, I only know by  name, but nevertheless I know they were no less important: Sherry's husband Nazmi, Sheila, Rocky, Tehsin, Shakirah, Risma, Mek Yam, ArahMan, Rahim, Has Hanie Bahari, Adriani Hana, Mamasita, Tisa Fahmy and her father, Pakmat Fahmy and Capt Shariff Abbas. There's also Singh is Kiing, Mia Ex Deejay, Tengku Putra Jumat, Syed Idrus Al-Haddad and Datuk Shamsuddin Nawawi who are always giving him good wishes. To all of them, and to all other friends of Ahmad Cendana whom I may have missed or I may not know of and are reading this, even if he has mentioned it a zillion times before, I want to say it too here and now:  

To everyone who has done and/or given something, no matter how small, that has contributed towards my husband's recovery and well-being,  I am very thankful. I  have benefited beyond expectations from your kindness and I am very grateful for this. What is important now is we, both Ahmad Cendana and I, know that we are able to pass on this benefit to others.

Until today, my husband too has yet to meet most of these friends in person, but I'm sure it was his honesty, earnest, sincerity and sensitivity towards the feelings of others that had touched their hearts, mainly through his writing in his blog. I came across this blogger who had used Teabag, the character in his favourite TV series Prison Break as his profile picture just over a year ago by chance while cruising through Rocky Bru's blog. His comments were witty and intelligent, and his English..needless to say, flawless. A click on his profile led me to his Recovery blog, and within the minute, he had my attention, and my heart, glued to his heart-rending, tear-jerking, outwardly courageous posts.

What really got my first attention was actually his name. Cendana or Sandalwood essential oil happens to be one of my favourites. I use it in most of my aromatherapy oils that I blend for therapeutic purposes. It provides the strength, character and stability to my oils and I had told him just that in a comment on his blog. Because of this, besides the name and it's therapeutic properties he was terribly keen to obtain a bottle. I don't know if it could also have been because of interest in the person behind the comments :-).

Initially, my oil was simply named "Minyak Cendana", (Sandalwood Oil) but just one month earlier, I had incidentally renamed it Minyak Cendana Cinta (Sandalwood Love Oil). I had created this blend for the purpose of restoring harmony, closeness and intimacy in relationships between spouses who had developed differences and had drifted apart. Never did I imagine that I had unknowingly "drawn" my own spouse-to-be to me!    

Since my oils are actually created for women, I had a special one blended for this Ahmad Cendana who totally intrigued me. I had added Vanilla to the formula intended to stimulate the production of serotonin and melatonin, the "happy hormones". Lack of the former in a person is the cause of depression, addiction and a sense of worthlessness. Little did I know at that point in time, he was going through a particularly rough patch and was in an extremely depressive state over a personal matter, and was possibly at the brink of a relapse. I couldn't have possibly known what he was going through but I had let my heart reach out to him and wrote, "Take good care bro, and love Allah till it hurts, so that nothing and no one would ever hurt you ever again." Apparently, these words, and the unassuming "Minyak Cendana Cinta" had come to him at the most critical time. 

When he received the package, he immediately sent me a text message and continued to do so during the whole process of opening the parcel. He said that he could smell the oil wafting in the air even before fully opening it, and I was astounded when he said he had the sensation of "happiness". This man surprised me with his exceptionally strong spiritual inclination. By sheer ignorance, I never expected someone who had survived heavy addiction on savaging, merciless, evil substances and opiates and living in adverse, brutal and torturous physical, emotional and mental conditions to be so sensitive, receptive, responsive and conscious of the effects from a natural and holistic therapy in an instant. He really had me there.

Draw like a magnet it did and in less than a week, we both were aware, though somewhat nervous, that we had "something special" between us. I was certain then that my oil would be more appropriately known as  "Minyak Cendana *Bukan Cinta Biasa*", (literally translated as Sandalwood *Not The Ordinary Love* Oil) because that was how our love was, and still is. Magical, mystical, out of the ordinary but absolutely real.

Needless to say, our relationship developed very quickly but certainly not without drama and heartache. Having a relationship with a former addict much less being married to one had never crossed my mind. I had a lot to learn and understand about relating to one. I was thankful I had the opportunity of treating a couple of former addicts before and had thus gained some knowledge and experience dealing with them. But as it turned out, nothing had really prepared me for the reality of living with someone who was.. "different". Ahmad Cendana had been living alone for almost twenty years. I had to constantly remind myself that he would need time to adapt to married life again. It wasn't easy. It required mental and emotional stamina, and many times I faltered. I too had weaknesses and shortcomings of my own. What kept me going was the fact that he was "special".  And not unlike my friend who had made the profound observation , Ahmad Cendana was not only special to me but he was and is, someone special.

There was another stronghold that gave me the fortitude and reason to hold out. My two children - Ahmad Aiman and Marzia. To me, they are truly exceptional. From day one, they had given me their approval and full support of my relationship and marriage despite having knowledge of their stepfather-to-be's dark past. I'll never forget Aiman's words, "Mama, if you're happy, then I'm happy." I so admire their trust and confidence in their mother's decision to marry this man. They did not go by conventional, "logical" thinking that a former addict could only bring problems to the family. They were not in the least ashamed, or worried that they could have been scorned, belittled or laughed at by any ignorant and insensitive people. They just stood by me for whatever it took. I must say, they scored top marks in their emotional intelligence quotient! 

Abang and Adik, Mama is so very proud of the both of you, and thank you so much for standing by me. 

In this month too, Aiman celebrates his 23rd birthday. And to add to all these special events, Marzia graduates from her diploma course on the 25th! Happy Birthday Aiman, and Congratulations Adik! Mama loves the both of you more than you could ever know.

I'm not encouraging this but getting married in the presence of my children made the occasion so special and meaningful. Not forgetting too, the presence of Aiman's friends, Danieal, Shamir, Hariz, Saufi, Jowe, Izzat, Hafiz, Rudy, Khairuldin and Nadiah.......thank you all for attending our wedding and making it so memorable. 

I must also thank my stepchildren, Ahmad Cendana's four children from his previous marriage, for accepting me so willingly and graciously, and calling me Mama even before their father got married to me. Ever since I learnt that they were quite distant  from their father, it was my wish to see them all together, and Alhamdulillah  it was granted when all four of his children came to be with their father on one particular Saturday earlier this year. Since then two of his children visit him occasionally while the youngest is living with us now.

Ahmad Aiman & Marzia, my pride and joy.

Then there were my sisters. My three beloved sisters. The first among them to know about my relationship was my sister closest to me, Yan. We were in the car when I started telling her about Ahmad Cendana. Yan is and idealist and perfectionist, so I was expecting her to have some reservations about this man her "little" sister had  fallen in love with, and perhaps some objection too. Instead, her response was just the opposite and had caught me completely by surprise.

 "You've got what you wanted." she said in her usual cool way. "Remember you had said you wanted to treat a patient with a drug addiction problem?" she reminded me in her school principal like manner. I had almost forgotten about what I had told her almost ten years ago, but obviously she hadn't. "Well, now you have one! Ask him if he would like to stay in Batang Kali and tend to my crayfish." I was stunned. This wasn't the Yan I thought I knew, but I sure wasn't complaining. If this wasn't enough, she went on to say "If he can't make it on his own, we'll drive up to Pasir Mas and help him move here." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Not only Yan didn't object to my choice of a husband, she had offered to help make things easier for us. It turned out that it wasn't necessary to drive to Pasir Mas as Yan had suggested, but both my husband and I will never forget this splendid show of magnanimity. 

My second sister, Aimi, is known for her chronic friendliness and cheerfulness. Generosity is her middle name. When I broke the news to her about Ahmad Cendana, she was unperturbed. I was again surprised by another immediate acceptance. When I asked her why was she so receptive, her spontaneous reply was "Why not? You can treat him kan?". I could feel my heart bursting with love and gratification. 

Aimi had insisted, and had made sure that I had a "proper" wedding ceremony and reception. If it had been left to us, my husband and I would only have had our immediate family attending. She had arranged for the caterers and as it turned out, everyone said the food was simply marvelous. This is not in the least surprising, as it came from the heart of such a blessed woman. We also had homemade dessert made by Yan and a good friend of mine, Sharifah, which I heard was so good but didn't get the chance to taste because everything had vanished!  

My eldest sister Azni too, was so relenting and understanding. I believe, she had read Ahmad Cendana's character from his writing, as she had commented that it was similar to that of my late father's. She had invited him to her children's wedding on 10.10.10 (10 October 2010) not once but three times, knowing how socially ill-equipped he was at that time. And on my own wedding day which was held on a weekday, she had rushed to be with us despite her very heavy work schedule. She doesn't have much time for us but it doesn't matter at all, as she selflessly devotes most of it towards the betterment of tens of thousands students, in her capacity as Deputy Vice Chancellor at my alma mater, UITM. 

My only brother, like my sisters, did not object to my marriage but had laid down a condition on his future brother-in-law, apparently only to protect his youngest sister's interest. Azman who lives and works in Pakistan is one who can be very critical of people, and cynical too. Nevertheless, he was extremely (surprisingly) patient, helpful and cooperative in getting the crucial documents that would allow him to be represented as a wali during the solemnisation ceremony.  

Till today, I am just so humbled, and grateful of their willingness and openness to accept a former addict with a not so good record to be part of the family. I imagine the odds of this happening in other families could be one to a million. This could only mean something is very right, and definitely ordained by God, and that my siblings are four in a million. 


To all my siblings, THANK YOU for all your love, help, support and understanding. 

My lovely, lovely sisters, from left after me in blue, Yan Zain, Datin Aimi & Prof Azni

The both of us still talk about how wondrous things had been for us since we discovered each other. Many things seemed to just fit or happen so naturally. One of the things that I found so fascinating and am very thankful for, and which I had also taken as an indication that Ahmad Cendana was the right one for me, was the reaction of most, if not all of the people that I had told about my intention to remarry. Not a single person objected, questioned or tried to talk me out of my decision. In fact most of them had actually supported, encouraged and were very happy for me. My Mama's first reaction was "Alhamdulillah!" Abah, my father-in-law whom I have very high regards of, Mak, and my sisters-in-law  had  welcomed me with such warmth too.  Even my Ustaz, Haji Ibrahim Mokhsein, whom I regard as a father, had said that Ahmad Cendana will be an asset to me and to my healing practice. His words have been proven to be so true.

One of the first persons I had "consulted" with was Pete Nicoll , the founder of Reach Out. Pete had worked in the Police Force before and had vast knowledge and experience dealing with drug addicts and street people. When I told him about my intention to marry Ahmad Cendana, he replied with a short but very firm "Good." At that time, that was all the assurance I needed to go ahead with my plans. Thank you Pete, for giving me the courage. 

I really would want to mention the names of all my family and friends here to acknowledge them but the list would be too long. However I cannot end without mentioning these three: Sharifah Alawiyah Alhabshi, Nora Yahya and Asya Shuib. They have played a pivotal role in my life these last few years and I just cannot thank them enough with words or deeds. I am so blessed to have you as much more than friends. Thank you. 

Thank you all, and Happy, HAPPY Birthday, Ahmad Cendana.

Violet the colour, reverence for all life. Self sacrificing. Spiritual. Just and kind. Special. 
SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Laaillaha'illAllah, Allahu akbar.

Being relatively new in bloggersphere I hadn't read or heard of Kerp. I only knew of him and his wife Molee from Elviza Michele of Write Away from her update in Facebook a couple of days ago. But as I look at this couple in the images on various blogs dedicated to them, I know they are not ordinary people.

My heart goes out to Molee especially; she had chosen a man less able than the ordinary to be her husband. I'm pretty sure an attractive woman like her had not been short of choice in a life partner, but she had made a monumental sacrifice for someone; to love and to share her life with Kerp, who is paralysed waist down.

Only someone with a strong heart will do this, can do this.

And now, Allah loves her so much and He wants her only to be stronger. Molee was diagnosed with cancer of the kidneys, which has now spread to the spine. She needs financial help to undergo radiotherapy, apparently ten sessions of it.

I plead to all reading this, please help this couple. Go here

Picture taken from the National Apiary Centre. These are the apis cerana species which I find myself more inclined to as opposed to the apis mellifera even though the former is less "docile" 

My love for bees came very suddenly. It developed during a week-long conference held in Kota Bharu, Kelantan which I had attended in January 2010. The 2nd International Conference on the Medicinal Use of Honey was attended by university professors and lecturers from both local and universities abroad and experts in this field from all over the world. Among the local universities involved were USM, the organizers of the conference, UM and UPM; I was so pleased, ecstatic actually, to discover that a lot of emphasis and effort had been put into research on an academic level, on a natural healing product these last two years especially.

 Posing with Dr. Hani "Honey" at the 2nd International Conference on the Medicinal Use of Honey, a renowned cosmetic surgeon and almost a celebrity , who incidentally lives on Jalan Tualang, a road named after a tree in which the Apis dorsata wild bees make hives in and produce the infamous "Madu Tualang" or Tualang Honey.

Research on bees, beekeeping and bee products had also been, and still is very extensively so, conducted by various government agencies in Malaysia in the likes of FAMA, Mardi, the Agricultural Department and SIRIM. It was here that I discovered that we had a National Apiary Centre, situated in Air Itam, Johor which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Then there were the alternative medical practitioners like me, traders and the beekeepers who came from as far as Australia and Romania.

As a practitioner in natural healing, to equip myself with the latest information and findings from the research conducted by the relevant organizations and authority is crucial in my line of work. I practice prescription with knowledge in my clinic; this is crucial in holistic healing. Knowledge and understanding bring faith, and faith is one of the major factors in ensuring the efficacy of the healing process.

Also, when allopathic doctors are unable to diagnose a particular illness or condition, and are unable to prescribe medication and/or treatment, alternative and/or natural medicine becomes an important consideration in the choice of treatment.

At this conference, it was generally agreed upon that the most important characteristic of honey is not the vitamin or mineral content but rather the antioxidant and polyphenol content. This means honey possesses exceptionally high anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties, thus the role of this agent for sustainable health is becoming increasingly significant.

Among the diseases and conditions treated with honey being studied are diabetes, various types of cancer namely breast and prostate cancer, HIV, menopausal symptoms, treatment of diabetic, burn and sternal wounds.

I was amazed at the very positive results of all the clinical tests done and my perception of honey and the healing benefits rocketed sky high. All the evidence provided by the tests had proven my belief that honey is a very, very potent natural medicine and it should be highly regarded and respected as one, not just as a food supplement.
Cutting the comb from the natural hive. Don't try to do this  at home!
Of course, that honey is a medicine, and a very precious gift meant for humans was already told to us by The Almighty in the grand Holy Book, but how many of us really believe this and reach out for it during an illness, instead of the paracetamol or the synthetic drug-based antibiotic when one is suffering from a headache, stomachache or an impending flu? Who would know better than God Himself who created us on what is the best cure for us?
Fixing the comb to a frame. The bees will eventually build the comb to fit the frame then the appointed Queen will start to mate with about five fittest drones in mid-air (a once in a lifetime rendezvous), and lay her eggs in each capsule. The production of honey and royal jelly start simultaneously.

I understand that many are perturbed by the influx of “synthetic” honey and even worse, adulterated honey sold in the market which totally discourages them from taking honey regularly. There are also many brands sold cheap; this is usually honey made by bees which are fed with sugar, resulting in honey with a high sucrose content. What's quite frightening is that, it is almost impossible to test, outside a laboratory, if the honey is pure or not. The fact is, most tests including the match, egg and honeycomb pattern in a saucer test, is not foolproof.

The comb is soft and need to be handled very gently 
and quickly at the same time.

But it doesn't really take much effort to search for honey that is really pure. And let it be known that the best honey for us is the honey that is made in our own country, the one which was made from the nectar of flowers and plants grown in our country, and which content of nutrients and medicinal value is just perfect for our genetic make up.

In fact it is the hope of the USM team that some time in the future there would be a beehive in each home so we can all enjoy pure, fresh, localised honey everyday!

If there is enough nectar in the surrounding, 
the frame would be filled with the honeycomb 
within just a few days.
Learning about the outstanding characteristics, uses and benefits of honey, my thoughts went to the beings that produced it, and I instantly developed a deep, stirring affection for them right there in the conference chair. They work so hard and are extremely multi talented; they don’t only produce honey but also other equally important and beneficial substances such as royal jelly which is food for the Queen bee (thus the name), bee pollen, propolis, honey dew, beeswax, beebread, apilarnil and bee venom. These are all used as medicine in apitherapy, the practice of using bee and bee products in healing.
At the National Apiary Centre

During the conference, I didn’t hesitate to sign-up for a beekeeping course that was offered and to be conducted by the National Apiary Centre scheduled for the following month. And as fate had it, I was called-up to register for this course which apparently was in high demand and had a waiting list.

This new found love for bees was realized when I was actually with them, amongst them. The two most wonderful and exhilarating experience I had was when I learnt to transfer honeycombs from their natural hive to a manmade one. The natural hive was in a box and I had to dive my bare hands (I had chosen not to wear gloves) right into the swarm of angry, loudly buzzing bees which have a natural instinct to fiercely protect their Queen and her eggs. I had to very neatly slice pieces of the comb with a sharp knife off the box and quickly transfer and attach them onto wooden frames that would be put into the new hive later. All this done with the bees swarming all over me, but as I was so excited and focused on the task, I didn't really worry about getting stung. They had been slightly disoriented after being smoked and losing their "connection" amongst each other but still considered very aggressive.
This hive will be the bees' new home. Hopefully they will continue to construct honeycombs on each frame and eventually build a hive and develop into a colony. The biggest fear of a beekeeper is the absconding of bees from their hives.

The other moment came when I applied apipuncture , the practice of using a live bee to sting and inject venom into the human body. The first time, I had applied the procedure on a volunteer who was involved in a car accident and had a shoulder pain which didn't go away despite treatment at the hospital. I then asked Professor Mappatoba, the visiting professor and expert in apitherapy from Indonesia if I could administer the bee sting on myself. He was surprised but allowed me to proceed and since then I became more at ease with the prospect of getting stung.

On most occasions, I was handling the apis cerana bees, a species that is bigger and wilder than their sister the apis mellifera. I now find myself more inclined towards them. 

Inspecting the colony; we had to learn 
to identify the Queen, the drones (male bees which 
are very few in number because they do
not have any function other than to  inseminate
the Queen, and the worker bees.
Bees are very sensitive creatures and the slightest aggravation will make them attack. But if we are gentle, emit loving energies and maintain a calm disposition, the chances of being stung is less. Yes, there is no certainty that we won’t get stung. Beekeepers get stung too, a lot of times.

But the bee venom is actually an antidote, and is very effective especially in the treatment of pain caused by arthritis, gout and migraine. So a bee sting, or stings are quite welcomed, actually. I recently had three, only, thankfully, for disturbing them when trying to transfer a beehive in a nephew’s garden.

Apitherapy is still very much unheard of in Malaysia but with the newly formed Malaysian Apitherapy Society, of which yours truly would be a founding committee member and spearheaded by USM, it will be very significant and become an integral part of not only alternative or complementary medicine but also a part of modern medicine.

It is with much hope and desire to start practicing, very soon in the future, beekeeping on a large scale and apitherapy in my clinic. That, I think, could just be the highlight of my healing career and the ultimate profession of love for these amazing creatures.

Aiman shares my love for bees, not quite so passionately but enough to help me make beehives!

Why Allah?

I asked for faith and Allah gave me difficulties; He wanted to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom and Allah gave me problems; He wanted me to seek knowledge.

I asked for prosperity and Allah gave me brains and brawn; He made me able to think and work.

I asked for love and Allah gave me troubled people to help; He showed me the secret to happiness.

I asked  for favours and Allah gave me opportunities; the more I gave the more He gave.

I received nothing I wanted...He only gave me everything I needed.

Sufi wisdom  

"My Lord, truly I am in need of whatever You bestow on me!"

Sura Al-Qasas verse 24 

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