## Friday, June 19, 2015

### The Prophet and the Dajjal

I saw Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was eating when the visitor arrived at his doorstep. It was a woman with a boy, small boy,… around 4 or 6 years of age. She offered his son to the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: “please take care of my son. Adopt him. Raise and teach him.” He agreed and took the boy.

Years went by, the small boy lived in that household, raised by the Prophet. Whether the Prophet was traveling for da’wa or for business, the boy always tag along.

One day, they went to a far-distant place. On the way back home, they travelled beside a very long river. (yes a river amidst the desert.) On camel, the boy was seated on the lap of the Prophet. Suddenly, he jumped out, crossed the river, and on to the other side and on to the desert, making his path perpendicular to that of the Prophet’s. And it was said this boy would be the “Dajjal.” Then I woke up.

What is your interpretation of such dream? Did I really see the prophet? Based on the real history, such event did not occur but what or who could that boy symbolize? Please share your thoughts.

## Monday, January 27, 2014

### The Story of Hatim and the Messenger Sent to Kill Him

1.
Our being is like a mirror, vulnerable to the incoming dust. Every now and then, we are vulnerable to the dusts of feeling of anger, negative thoughts and so on. Yet, just like the ordinary mirror we can wipe the dust off. As to our being, we can wipe these negative dusts by taking dosage of tale with beautiful wisdom.

Today, I'm gonna give you a dose of that taken from one of the great masterpieces of all time, the book entitled "The Bustan of Saadi."

2.
One of the kings of Yemen was renowned for his liberality, yet the name of Hatim was never mentioned in his presence without his falling into a rage. “How long,” he would ask, “will you speak of that vain man, who possesses neither a kingdom, nor power, nor wealth?”

On one occasion he prepared a royal feast, which the people were invited to attend. Someone began to speak of Hatim, and another to praise him. Envious, the king dispatched a man to slay the Arabian chief, reflecting, “So long as Hatim lives, my name will never become famous.

The messenger departed, and traveled far seeking for Hatim that he might kill him. As he went along the road a youth came out to meet him. He was handsome and wise, and showed friendliness toward the messenger, whom he took to his house to pass the night. Such liberality did he shower upon his guest that the heart of the evil-minded one was turned to goodness.

In the morning the generous youth kissed his hand and said, “Remain with me for a few days.”

"I can not stay here any longer,” replied the messenger, “for urgent business is before me.”

“If you will entrust me with your secret,” said the youth, “I will not hesitate to help you.”

“O, generous man!” was the reply, “give ear to me, for I know that the generous are concealers of secrets. Perhaps in this country you know Hatim, who is of lofty mind and noble qualities. The king of Yemen desires his head, though I know not what enmity has arisen between them. Grateful shall I be if you will direct me to where he is. This hope from your kindness do I entertain, O friend!”

The youth laughed and said, “I am Hatim, see here my head! Strike it from my body with your sword. I would not wish that harm should befall you, or that you should fall in your endeavor.”

Throwing aside his sword, the man fell on the ground and kissed the dust of Hatim’s feet. “If I injured a hair on your body,” he cried, “I should no longer be a man.” So saying, he clasped Hatim to his breast and took his way back to Yemen.

“Come,” said the king as the man approached, “what news do you have for me?” Why did you not tie his head (Hatim's) to your saddle-straps? Perhaps that famous one attacked you and you were too weak to engage in combat.”

The messenger kissed the ground and said, “O, wise and just king! I found Hatim, and saw him to be generous and full of wisdom, and in courage superior to myself. My back was bent by the burden of his favors; with the sword of kindness and bounty he killed me.”

When he had related all that he had seen of Hatim’s generosity, the king uttered praises upon the family of the Arab chief and rewarded the messenger with gold.

3.
Look! the man was sent by the king to slay Hatim with a mighty sword, but returned weeping, slain by Hatim's overpowering kindness.
The hard hatred melted away by the heat of love.

## Sunday, December 1, 2013

### A Look at Ka Freddie's Wedding

Recently, news outlets and social media were filled with the headline about the wedding of Philippine music legend Freddie Aguilar. He married his 16-year-old-girlfriend under Islamic rites in Maguindanao on November 22, 2013.
 Freddie Aguilar

This turned into mixed reactions. While some affectionately congratulated them, others frowned at this that he and his partner converted into Islam for no other reason than just to get married. (yes, they are considered as converts and were even given muslim names.)
But wait a second, let's not point those hasty "bad" conclusions to the great man. Whether they'll be good muslims or not is God's business for no-one can exactly know what's in their hearts for that matter. Let's set aside that.

As of this moment, from where we see it, there are two certain things:
1. Islam offers the solution to human needs.
Unlike other religions wherein celibacy is advocated, In Islam marriage is encouraged. It is even said that when a man marries, he has completed half of the faith. Islam permits the marriage once the primary requirements are met: the consent of the groom, the bride and the bride's parents (or guardian) had consented, mahr or bridal gift, witnesses, and (possibly) pre-nuptial conditions set by both parties.
As to the age of the two, as long as they are "old enough." And there is no restriction on the age gap.
So, even if the man is relatively older than the woman or the reverse, as long as these requirements are met the marriage of the two are considered decent and honorable in Islamic point of view.

If a man, for example, failed to marry while he was young, became too much busy with other things in his life. And only at some later years in his life that he found the time for marriage. In Islam, he is still given the chance to marry not only to woman about his age but also to younger one. Whether he marries old or young woman, he is respected just like any other married man in Islam.

In western society, this is shameful. To avoid the sneer of the general public, an old man (if he couldn't find a woman about his age) would be forced to practice celibacy or worse, involved in rape, fornication or prostitution. Would you like to see sir Freddie get married legally or discover him involved in those immoral acts?

2. Their love is too great.
Sir Freddie is a legendary singer. No doubt. His tune and meaningful lyrics can never be forgotten. His reputation is already well built through the decades. His fans is almost everywhere.
Yet, he and his new wife submitted to Islam to make their love legal through matrimony. . . Even if that appeared to a betrayal to the christian community for some people, or even if that appeared to be abandoning their comrade and his fans, they could bravely do it. They don't really care about what other people might say. How could they? Its a proof of their great love for each other. Now, isn't that something?

May their marriage be a happy one. And if their conversion to Islam was only for their marriage, may the Almighty make this as a mean to find the absolute truth that they may become true muslims.
$latex \square$

References:
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/entertainment/11/22/13/teen-explains-why-she-married-freddie-aguilar
http://www.pep.ph/news/41281/Freddie-Aguilar-after-marrying-16-year-old-girlfriend-under-Muslim-rites:-Sana-tumigil-na-ang-detractors-namin.
The photo above is from http://entertainment.inquirer.net/122665/lawyer-accusing-freddie-aguilar-gets-death-threats

## Tuesday, June 18, 2013

### Unplanned Visit To The Blue Mosque

We’ve arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3 five minutes passed 7 in the morning on Monday after approximately 1 hour travel by plane from Cagayan De Oro. After fetching my baggage, I hastened to walk towards the main hallway leading to the exit door. Before even reaching the hallway, my cell phone rang. I immediately pressed the answer button and put it right beside my ear right away.

“Hello! Are you already here?” asked a woman’s voice in my phone.

“Yes,” answered. I put the phone away from my ear to see who was calling. It was the woman I contacted a few days ago.

“I’m so sorry. I tried my best to get hold of your passport but my co-worker here has accidentally included it in the regular ones and had sent it already to Cagayan De Oro last Saturday.”

She was working in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Pasay City. Three days ago, I asked her if she could help me release my passport the soonest possible since I was going to attend a two-day international conference in Thailand later that week. Official date of release of my passport given by DFA Cagayan De Oro was on Tuesday. One week before the release date I went to Cagayan De Oro to request for an earlier date but to my disappointment, I got denied. . . They even told me that my passport’s release would be delayed by one week from the official date which would disallow me to participate in the conference. Fortunately, someone from our university knows this woman. She suggested the only way to release it on time is that she should get hold of the passport in their office and then I would claim it there.

But now, things have gone out of control. Dark sadness looms in my head and sweat of anxiety started to flow from my glands. I already bought round trip ticket for travel between Cagayan De Oro City and Manila, in the anticipation that I would be in Thailand for the conference.

"Oh No! this can't be happening." I thought. While my professors, who were to attend the same conference, were starting to leave the airport, I took refuge in a corner behind a big pillar of the terminal and started finding an electric outlet to charge my cell phone which was already dying of charge. I called and texted several people, trying to find somebody who could claim my passport in Cagayan De Oro and send it to me in the shortest possible time. Hours went by, I could contact no-one to do what I needed. Then the feeling  of despair started to crumple my very being. While I scanned my phonebook on my phone to call another somebody who might know someone who could do the job, I uttered silent prayers entangled with a soundless cry.

And thank God, after four hours of continuously calling and texting while sitting in the same spot, I’ve found one person. She's is a sister-in-law of one of  my professors. She was working in Cagayan De Oro.

That afternoon, we were able to buy my plane ticket for Bangkok, Thailand. She successfully claimed my passport and it would arrive the following day.
 My very kind friend Bash. I shot this picture of him in NAIA after his duty.
While waiting for my flight for Thailand which was scheduled on Wednesday, I stayed in Taguig City. My beloved friend Bash, who was residing in the place, had arranged my accommodation at a condo unit. He told me that just a block from the building where I stayed, is the famed big masjid called the “Blue Mosque.” But he couldn’t show me around the place since he had to go to work.

By 3 in the afternoon I went out to find it. I saw this boy walking down the street. He was wearing a Pakistani dress so I was pretty sure he was a Muslim. He looked to the sides and also saw me walking from aisle of two buildings towards the street. I raised my right hand while we were looking at each other, signaling for him to stop.

On reaching him, I greeted him with salam and shook his right hand.

“Where is the nearest mosque here?” I immediately asked. Just after saying that, a loud call for prayer sounded from a speaker. And I suddenly observed that it came from behind him. Just a few steps from where we were standing was an entrance of a small masjid.

“Here it is,” He smiled while pointing to the entrance. I couldn’t help but smiled also. I continued my glance from the flip flops on the entrance, the roof, and then the small dome behind some branches of tree. I realized that behind him was a small masjid.

“I mean the Blue Mosque. I heard it is near from here.”

Then he accompanied me. It was located at an elevated ground, south of the condo building where I stayed. It was enclosed by surrounding fence with several metal gates. Beautifully painted with light yellow color mainly on its walls, white on its fence, and blue on its big dome and edges, its huge structure could attractively be seen even from a far distance. Upon entering the main gate, we climbed up a stair of few steps with green plants on both sides. A few steps more from the main entrance gate was a circle ground of several feet in radius where a flower plant was grown. The name of the Almighty “Allah” in Arabic were splendidly written on two sides of the outside wall of its porch where we entered the main building. After removing our shoes, we had finally reached the inside of the masid. The floor was totally covered with soft and thick maroon carpet. Long grey curtain was partially unfurled on our left which indicates the space for women and the pulpit (mimbar in Arabic) was on our right. Then I realized we have entered the mosque from the North.

 The Blue Mosque
The area for ablution was in South, side by side with the bathrooms. Soon, the congregational afternoon prayer started. The imam’s voice could be heard clearly through the sound system's speaker. There were electric fans here and there, either attached to a huge pillar or standing on its own. But since the three sides of the mosque, north, south and east were all open allowing free air to flow in and out, the fans needed not be in maximum to counter the mild hotness of the afternoon.

After the prayer, I sat in the south porch, my back against the wall of the mosque. I enjoyed the ambience: air,  space offered by the huge structure, little noise from adolescents playing nearby.

I also had the chance to talk with a guy in the da'wah (Islam propagation) there.

Most of the afternoon, I spent with the boy who had accompanied me. He said his name was Zaynuddin. He was among the students there who focus on the memorization of the entire Qur'an. He also told me some additional information regarding the masjid. There were two administrations involved there: one focused on the maintenance of the masjid and the other is focused on the madrasa or school.

There were several classrooms on the east side of the masjid, far behind the space for women, intended for madrasa classes. And behind these classrooms were the dormitory rooms for the students.

 A worshiper in retreat.
Some people stay there for the night often. Perhaps, homeless or others are known to be performing i'tikaf, a practice consisting of a period of spiritual retreat in a masjid for a certain number of days in accordance with the believer's own wish.

It is refreshing and inspiring to know that even in most populated and busiest place, there are still people who continue to uphold a discipline on spirituality, not forgetful of the remembrance to the Lord.

Now, I seem to understand why I got delayed in my trip to Thailand. Had my passport not delayed, probably I would have joined my professors to go to Thailand the same day I arrived to Manila and could not have visited this place. But I guess the Almighty just wanted to give me a chance to visit this beautiful masjid and His fellow sincere worshipers in this city.

“He knows what is before them And what is behind them: And to Allah go back All questions (for decision)” Qur’an : Surah Al Hajj 22:76

Let us not judge things or events by its immediate outcome. The Almighty is the All-Knowledgable, the All-Knower. He chooses to show us things but sometimes we are not shown the wisdom directly but behind some things or some events. Everything happens to us for a reason. $latex \square$

 The arabic word "Allah" engraved on the main entrance.

 The main gate as seen from the inside of the Blue Mosque.

 Zaynuddin - the boy who had accompanied me.

## Saturday, June 15, 2013

### Terminal - A book review

 The cover of the book Terminal written by Prof Almayrah Tiburon.
Terminal is a book containing collection of Short Stories. This book was originally written by a friend, Prof. Almayrah Tiburon, a Filipino professor of MSU-Main. It contains eleven beautiful short stories whose settings are in the parallel realm of Marawi City and featuring the Meranao people and culture, and some issues that have existed in the region. All of them are written in Filipino language with some phrases in Meranao dialect. A glossary is included where the readers may find the concise meanings of some hard Filipino and Meranao terms.

They mention Horror Stories, Meranao culture, Drug addiction, Disadvantages of working abroad, Betrayal to one's spouse, prostitution, witchcraft, ghosts, and marriage and divorce. The descriptions are clear and did not fail in capturing my full attention when I was reading them.

I may say that the author is very talented in writing... so talented that she can even make up stories about physical objects. In the book, two of the eleven stories were even entitled after two things: container and Dyaket. At just knowing these titles, you might wonder what are the plots of these stories?

I also like the story entitled "Lamber." It's about a young man who became a drug addict. In the plot, his hallucinations, and struggles of his loving family were seriously depicted. I could related to this kind of story for in the past I had also met some of people like these. Indeed, prohibited drugs can shatter one's life. The shattered dream and misery in this plot is too great that it was made into a short film. The film was shot right in the campus where the author is working as a college professor. It is yet to be submitted in a competition of short films.

The author also explores the story of married people in another story entitled "L'pad." In this story, while her husband went out of Philippines to work abroad, she was tempted, and had a love affair with a married man. The secret and forbidden love were enjoyed by both. Certainly, truth would be known. And the shameful acts of these two people were eventually discovered, and known by their family and extended relatives. The author exploits this conflict to introduce to the readers the law provided by the Meranao culture in dealing with these kinds of issues.

But if I were to decide which among the twelve have attracted me the most, it would be “Paktol.”

“Paktol” is story about witchcraft, love and revenge. In this story, Yusoph and Sahara were married. The marriage seemed to be perfect; Husband is a responsible man; wife is kind, very loving and a good daughter who came from a clan of good family background; man and wife is in good compatibility and in constant care and love for each other; their in-laws are in good terms. And this marriage became even happier when they were blessed with a son after a year in union.

But this colorful living came into gloomy atmosphere when Yusoph fell sick one morning. Each passing day, the sickness became worse. Instead of going to a doctor, he went up to a pamomolong, a Meranaw term for one who is good healer at sickness if were caused by witchcraft. But even the pamomolong admitted that this magic was all too strong. And this kind could have only been done by a person who had been wronged by Yusoph in the past. And the author at this point unfurls the past history of Yusoph using a flashback.

The culprit was a woman named Aklimah, someone who had fallen in love with Yusoph so madly when they were still in college. She didn’t feel love from her direct family and so she became too engrossed upon Yusoph’s comfort. She had totally believed that he was her only ticket to happiness in life. One day, they discovered that she was pregnant and she rejoiced at this. For Aklimah, this was assurance to finally be his legal wife. For him and his family this was shame and immorality. His parents disapproved her to be his wife. And he was a very obedient son and eventually he ended up with Sahara, the woman his family favored. This was way too painful for Aklimah. Her life even became bitter when she lost her unborn baby with Yusoph. The feeling of being betrayed and forsaken by her man and hated by his family resulted to despair and evil plot in bitter vengeance.

The conflict in arranged marriage in Meranao and other muslim cultures in Philippines is common. But the battle in this story became most unique since it is mixed with witchcraft. You’d be surprised at how the author vividly described the procedure in using witchcraft to take revenge, exploiting the blood of the dead unborn child, the miserable scene created where the faithful wife carrying the burden of feeling not able to find any medicine to her husband’s harsh unknown sickness. While I was reading this, I felt I was there at the scenes where it had all occurred.

Is there such a cure for even the most powerful black magic ever known? Will the bad spirit of vengeance prevail over the love for the good man she had cherished the most?

To find out the what's the ending of this story and to feel the thrill and suspense of stories like these, you’ll have to read this book.

Terminal by Prof. Almayrah Tiburon is available at the Filipino Department, College of Social Sciences and Humanities in MSU-Main Campus. $latex \square$

 I asked her to write something for me in my copy of her book since she was the author. And there they are, those inspiring words for me. :-)

## Monday, May 13, 2013

### Island Global Insitute, Inc. and My Visit to Malabang

Plan, Execute, Conquer – these are the three-word formula shared by one of today’s youngest millionaires, Kevin Abdulrahman, in order to succeed in life. It means that in order for one to be able to achieve his dream in life, the very first step is to plan. Next is executing the plan, putting the plan into action. And then eventually, the desired result will most likely be achieved – that is, conquered!

 A beautiful, and vast land of Malabang.
These days, I am witnessing a great dream starting to unfold. The dream of a very young, vibrant, intelligent and talented man, my beloved friend, Aleem Abdulnasser Garo. His beautiful dream is a great legacy to his hometown and that is to build a world class university in his homeland, Malabang. And his plan for this massive dream is being executed these days.

 The 29-year-old founder of Island Global Institute, Alim Abdulnasser Garo.
I first met him a few years ago in MSU-Main campus, when he was still a college student. His course was International Relation (IR) then. Among our circle of friends, he was known as very knowledgeable at Arabic language and Islam, hence we addressed him "Ustad." I was fond of talking to him about Arabic and religious practices. I once even requested him to teach me Arabic language. He was also so smart in other disciplines and he had this strong urge to learn almost everything. He even enrolled extra subjects, like Math, even if they were not included in the curriculum of his course. But with all these impressive characteristics, he remains humble, soft-spoken and kind. I knew it then that this was one hint of a great person in the future.

Just last week, he invited me to attend their Summer Advance Class 2013 Culmination program in Malabang. Malabang is a municipality under the region Lanao Del Sur, Philippines. It is located northwest off Parang. Its southwest side is oulined by sea of Illana Bay. Malabang comes from the maranao word "Mala" which means big and "Bang" or Adhan in Arabic which is a call to prayer. History has it that an Arab missionary name Sharif Kabunsuan arrived to the Sultanate of Tubok around 14th century to introduce Islam to the people in mainland Mindanao. Upon docking in the shore of Tubok which is known today as barangay Tambara, the Arab Missionary call a prayer with his loud voice. The First Adhan or "Bang" in Lanao. The vilagers heard it and called it a BIG ADHAN, or locally "Mala a Bang", as referring to the birth of Islam in the Island. The Islam spread through the mainland Mindanao. It reaches the northern settlers in northern Mindanao. Being marked as the historical foundation of the religion Islam in central and northern Mindanao, they name the town as Malabang.

On May 6, 2013, my friend, Engr. Mohaimin Samanoden fetched me from Marawi city. We followed the route along Lake lanao, passing through Marantao onto Pualas. Then, we passed onto side of Lake Dapao,  The scenery of travel was just amazing. There's a highway overlooking the edge of Lake Lanao at some height, flat vast farm with high mountains at the outskirts extending up towards the cool-looking clouds  above. No-one can deny that the nature's beauty is indeed a gift from the Almighty.

Right after dawn of May 7, we went to a natural spring to bathe in order to prepare early for that day's programme. At first, I expected the spring to be small... small that can be filled only by two to five persons I assumed. But when we got there, I was mistaken. The spring was wide, filled with cold water. It was so wide that you can't swim it at once from one side to the opposite. Since I grew up at an island, I am used to swim through waves of seawater. However, since this was a spring, there was no such waves. It looked magically so calm and undisturbed, that you could almost see totally the inverted image of the opposite edge's view. The surface was smooth especially in its deep middle region.

The Culmination program whose theme was Learn Deeply was to be held that morning. This Summer Advance Class is the very first operation of the future world-class university, Islands Global Institute, Inc. (IGI) which will formally open precisely in September 2014. Thoughts of this grand dream was first drafted 10 years ago (2003) by Alim Garo. With the help coming from his very supportive family and friends, he has made IGI formally and legally as a school at the age of just 29 -- By the way, yes, that's his age right at this very moment. His family and friends are very proud of this guy --The style of schedule and learning of this elegant institution will be based on the style of University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). The start of its academic school year will always start in September each year like other universities abroad. And the faculty will be composed of world-class professors, some will be from foreign countries. So will some of the students be.

 Guest, Administrators and Teachers of IGI.
The day's event was graced by the supportive parents of the students and some guests from a neighboring school Our Lady Peace High School of Malabang and from Silsila forum.

 Supportive Parents of IGI's first advance summer students.
After the culmination program, we went to the lot where the IGI will stand. The area was flat and there is even a defunct airport nearby. I was so astonished upon looking at the vast 16 hectares land area intended for the school’s campus. The architectural designs of the buildings are marvelous. The school's classroom, administrator's buildings, dormitories and even commercial center will be incorporated inside the compound. I jokingly said to him, “can you pinch me so that I’ll be pretty sure that I am not daydreaming right now.”
 Alim Garo, and Me. The fence of IGI campus can be seen on the left.

Who knows that in few years to come this place shall bloom because of IGI. Take a look at a pattern from history. If we roll back time by 50 years from now, we’d see boring and haunted cold forest at the location where MSU-Main Campus is. People flocked to Marawi when MSU-Main got established. Students coming from different places went there to study. Other people also took advantage of this and established good businesses in satisfying the needs of people there, especially the faculty and students.

 The first advance summer class students of IGI.
No doubt, Malabang is already an attractive place - the nature's beauty there is one of the country's wealth. In three days of visit, I've seen more than enough. If only peace and order shall be established well, it'll be a better place to live in. Then with the complete installation of IGI, it will ignite the place's massive development. We hope and pray that the same good faith will  happen to Malabang. If Marawi had flourished because of MSU, so will Malabang because of IGI.

 The defunct airport. When the tricycle speeds up while passing by this, it almost felt like starting to fly in an airplane.
 Part of the 16 hectares lot for IGI campus.

 Concrete fence of IGI campus, under construction.

 IGI's president Alim Garo, and vice-president Samanoden

## Thursday, March 7, 2013

### Determining the Distance between Lightning and an Observer

We can actually measure the distance between the location of lightning and an observer according to his observation. Let's illustrate that by treating the question in a book by Paul Hewitt.

What is the approximate distance of a thunderstorm when you note a 3-s delay between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder?

To make things easier, let's assume that the speed of light is 300,000,000 m/s and that the speed of sound is about 340 m/s (speed of sound in air at 20 deg Celsius). Indeed, light travels faster than sound. Consequently, when light and sound came from the same source, light arrives to a certain destination first.

Variables and Relationships
Let
$latex \displaystyle t_{L}$ be the time for light to travel the distance between the origin of lighning and you.
and
$latex \displaystyle t_{S}$ be the time for sound to travel the same distance.
From the question, 3-s delay between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder, we can translate this into a mathematical equation.
$latex \displaystyle t_{S}=t_{L}+ 3 \textup{ s} \longrightarrow (\textup{Eq.} 1)$
Let's call this as Eq. 1.
Both travel at constant speeds. So, the relationship among the speed, distance travelled and time can be expressed mathematically as
$latex v_{S}=\frac{d}{t_{S}} \longrightarrow (\textup{Eq.} 2)$
$latex v_{L}=\frac{d}{t_{L}} \longrightarrow (\textup{Eq.} 3)$
Solution
We substitute the expressions for the times described by Eq. 2 and Eq. 3 into Eq. 1 and we'll have.
$latex \frac{d}{v_{S}} = \frac{d}{v_{L}} + 3 \textup{ s}$
Now, we have one equation with only one unknown, that is, d.
$latex \frac{d}{v_{S}} - \frac{d}{v_{L}} = 3 \textup{ s}$
$latex d \Bigg (\frac{1}{v_{S}} - \frac{1}{v_{L}} \Bigg) = 3 \textup{ s}$
$latex d = \frac {3 \textup{ s}}{\cfrac{1}{v_{S}} - \cfrac{1}{v_{L}} }$
$latex d = \frac {3 \textup{ s}}{\cfrac{1}{340 \textup{ m/s}} - \cfrac{1}{300,000,000 \textup{ m/s}} }$
$latex d = 1,020 \textup{ m }$
And that's the distance we're looking for. Well, this is just an estimate. Here we've rounded off the value of speed of light. In reality it's not really exactly 300,000,000 m/s. Also, the sound may not really be 340 m/s but may depend on the temperature of the air in the surrounding. But anyway, the important thing here is the process in solving the question and not the values. :-)