The late Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad had a talent for couching life learnings in the most beautiful of verses. Among his more famous expressions are captured in his pantun which I've documented here: http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com/2008/05/pantun-silat-cekak.html
However, he also had the penchant for coining controversial proverbs. Controversial because they used the basest of language to deliver the most fundamental of messages.
For those of us who studied any of the Silat Cekak variants from his lineage would most probably have heard some of these. In some, they mirrored paraphrased ayatul Qur'an or Ahadith, in others, recognisable nasihat from the Auliaullah of old and others still, original spouts of wisdom of his own crafting.
Throughout my short life on earth, I've found that during the direst of moments, his pearls of power gave me strength to continue my battles against my nafs and to use my head instead of my heart when deciding on the most crucial of matters.
This is my favourite, transmitted to me by my teacher Tuan Guru Md Radzi Haji Hanafi:
"Nabi saja kita tak boleh jadi. Lain, semua boleh"
There's nothing you can't be. Only the door to propethood has been closed by Allah. Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was the last Prophet and Messenger. The meaning is straightforward and motivational. If ever I feel that I can't go on, I remember this and, like a key that opens a door, I remember all the ayat and ahadith that attest to its truth.
Seven years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to helm Malaysia's premier martial arts magazine (which then became its only MA magazine soon enough) and the experiences I gained there enriched my life and continue to enrich it still.
Unfortunately, life didn't seem to be progressing for me. My family had been moving around for years, renting others people's homes. I was looking to settle down, but didn't have the finances to do so. So, life's hardships forced me to move on for the sake of finding greener pastures. I left the magazine, but not the world of martial arts writing. I continue that love here on this blog.
I moved on to something wholly unfamiliar and scary, marketing and corporate training in fitness. When that proved unpromising in the long term, I made my way to something equally unfamiliar, public relations. An error in judgement saw me part ways with the PR firm, a mistake I regret to this day, but has served as a costly lesson to me.
Even though that provided me the opportunity to do freelance work and run my own business, it also proved to me that I wasn't ready for it. I fell into a deep depression and woke up every day not knowing how the next day would play out.
Had I knew then the truth that Allah never leaves His Servants when they are most in need, I would taken what happened next more seriously. I was given the chance to meet an amazing human being by the name of cikgu Jeff Davidson, a Silat Kuntau Tekpi instructor from the USA. With nothing more than chat messages, we supported each other during our common blue periods.
This was the time when Ustaz Hanafi's words rang true for me, day after day. It gave me the impetus to move forward and after six months, I landed a job that paid almost 50% more than the previous one, doing something scarier, corporate training in documentation. Five months later, barely out of financial strife, I got married.
Two years later, a large consultancy firm called me up and asked if I would like to be part of their regional training centre team. A few months later, my daughter was born. In short, what I thought was impossible three years ago has already happened.
As I look back on those few short years, I realise that there was nothing to worry about, as long as I believed that I could be what I wanted to be. Ustaz Hanafi's words weren't my amulet, but they sure as well might have been.
So, to all those friends out there who have yet to make it, believe me, every man has his day, and I believe it will come for you too. Salam persilatan. Ila ruhi al marhum al mudarris Hanafi ibn Ahmad. Al Fatihah.