These are some of the photos I took during my Hajj in 2011. 3 years ago. Don’t know if I might ever have the chance to step foot over there at the Holy Lands of Makkah al Mukarramah and Madinah al Munawwarah?
I treasure these images as a most memorable time in my life. Alhamdulillah.
Alhamdulillah tahun ini merupakan tahun yang ke 21 saya bergelar “teacher” setelah tamat pengajian di mpsah pada tahun 1992. Ini juga bermakna saya telah 13 tahun berkhidmat mengajar anak-anak orang di sekolah rendah sebelum melanjut pelajaran ke universiti. 13 tahun bekerja sebagai cikgu cina nonmuslim.
Hello kawan! Saya dan keluarga nenek moyang saya telah lama menetap di negara ini. Bukan sedikit bakti yang dicurahkan demi negara yang telah menjadi tanah air dan tempat tinggal keturunan kami. Juga bakti kepada bangsa melayu.
Tak perlu pergi jauh.
Saya belum lagi suruh pergi ke hospital dan klinik kerajaan. Jika hentikan kerja semua doktor dan jururawat yang bukan bumiputera, ok tak? Yalah, mungkin ramai mereka yang belum faham apa itu hudud?
Esok masih ada.
09 February 2014
|Tuntutan pendakyah kristian untuk hak menterjemahkan perkataan ‘God’ kepada ‘Allah’ adalah satu pencabulan kepada hak kebebasan beragama umat Islam menurut Artikel 3 dan 11 Perlembagaan|
Malaysia adalah antara satu-satunya negara didunia yang meletakkan Islam sebagai agama bagi negara. Ini tercatat dengan jelas didalam Artikel 3 Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang memperuntukkan ‘Islam adalah agama bagi Persekutuan’.
*Artikel ini disiarkan di Majalah Al-Islam terbitan bulan Februari 2014 di mukasurat 29-31.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14
BILA CIKGU CINA NI DIPANGGIL PENDATANG, PENCEROBOH
Saya masih ingat lagi saat dan ketika saya menerima surat dari JPN Trengganu memberitahu nama sekolah pertama saya. Nun jauh di daerah hulu Trengganu. Tak pastilah siapa yang lebih risau - saya atau Mak- sebab kami tiada seorang pun saudara mara atau sahabat handai yang tinggal di sana. Mak cadangkan saya mohon pertukaran ke daerah Setiu yabg menurutnya ada lebih ramai orang Cina. Saya menolak sebab percaya pada prinsip ‘ke mana dihantar di situ lah yang terbaik untuk saya’ ( hahaha.. jiwa adventurous ). Setibanya di Kuala Berang, saya dapati ada sekumpulan guru bukan melayu nonmuslim seperti saya yang juga dihantar bertugas di daerah itu. Ada yang sudahpun berkeluarga dan telah bertahun-tahun verkhidmat di sekolah - sekolah luar bandar di sana.
Baru-baru ini syukur Allah ketemukan saya semula dengan beberapa bekas pelajar SKL, sekolah pertama saya itu dalam Facebook. Walaupun dah 20 tahun dan nama serta wajah saya pun dah berubah, mereka masih ingat pada teacher mereka. Syukur ada yang dah berjaya melanjutkan pelajaran hingga ke universiti.
Maka jangan marah jika saya nyatakan l tersinggungnya saya apabila ada pihak ngo islam yang menggelar semua cina sebagai pendatang dan penceroboh. Pada mulanya saya buat bodoh saja sebab dari pru yang lalu lagi, ngo itu saya anggap sebagai yang pro-melayu tapi apabila ada pihak nonmuslim yang bertanya kepada saya, saya terpaksa selidik. Pergi kepda sumber asalnya iaitu website rasmi. Baca dan fikir. Baca lagi.
Hmmm.. kini ada seorang gadis pula yang mempertahankan ngo itu. Cina muslim. Saya senyum. Muda lagi dan masih belajar. Yang hairan mengapa baru sekarang namanya disebut? Mengapa bila ramai pihak mempersoalkan kenyataan umum presiden ngo itu baru ditampilkan seorang amoi mualaf untuk mempertahankannya? Baca lagi. Macam kenyataan umum yang dibuat tempoh hari.. tak suka ikut usul yang dikemukakan mereka maka baliklah ke negara Cina. Huhuhu.. mudahnya cara penyelesaian.
Hello kawan! Saya dan keluarga nenek moyang saya telah lama menetap di negara ini. Bukan sedikit bakti yang dicurahkan demi negara yang telah menjadi tanah air dan tempat tinggal keturunan kami. Juga bakti kepada bangsa melayu. Siapakah kamu untuk suruh balik ke negara asal nenek moyang? Itu bukan negara saya; saya adalah warganegara Malaysia; saya ada hak yang sama seperti kamu.
Tolonglah saudara saudari. Usahlah gunakan ayat lapuk lagi basi itu dengan suruh siapa saja yang tak setuju dengan mereka untuk balik negara asal, kecuali kamu memang orang yang belum berfikiran matang. Ayat itu kamu bolehlah gunakan kepada PATI. Saya dan orang-orang lain ada kad pengenalan yang sah, ada hak mengundi dalam pru. Buang saja ayat ini daripada minda kamu. Tak payahlah ajarkan kepada pengikut kamu.
Saya bukan orang yang suka menyentuh isu perkauman. Saya juga bukan penyokong atau ahli mana-mana parti politik.
Cuma sebagai rakyat negara ini, saya juga ada hak untuk bersuara menyatakan rasa tidak puas hati saya terhadap label ‘pendatang penceroboh’yang diberi oleh sebuah ngo yang kononnya memperjuangkan Islam. Hanya sebab saya berkulit cerah, bermata sepet, berbahasa cina, dan berbangsa cina maka saya turut disarankan agar balik ke negara cina jika tidak setuju dengan agenda mereka? Oh, atau mungkin sebab saya dah berbintikan Abdullah maka saya dikecualikan daripada kategori pendatang penceroboh?
Mungkin ada yang nanti akan tegur bahawa sebagai seorang cina muslim, saya sepatutnya menyokong ngo ini. Minta maaf ya, saya takkan sokong mana-mana ngo yang lebih mengutamakan agenda bangsa tertentu berbanding agama Islam sehingga merendah-rendahkan bangsa lain. Cara itu bukan ajaran Islam, bukan ajaran Rasulullah saw.
Islam tidak pernah menyuruh umatnya agar memperjuangkan sesuatu bangsa. Mengamalkan diskriminasi. Tidak pernah menyuruh mualaf agar mengkritik bangsanya sendiri setelah memeluk Islam. Tidak pernah ajar agar menyinggung perasaan pihak lain secara umum dengan gelaran yang menghina sedangkan ada cara lain yang lebih afdhal. Jadi saya hairan, bagaimanakah seorang pemimpin ngo islam boleh bebas melabel bangsa lain sesuka hatinya dalam sebuah negara majmuk pelbagai bangsa dan agama? Hanya sebab marah?
Tak perlu pergi jauh.
Pergi saja ke sekolah anak anda.
Mahukah semua guru yang telah dilabel pendatang penceroboh ini berhenti mengajar anak-anak anda? Guru yang bukan berstatus bumiputera, termasuk saya?
Berapakah guru bukan bumiputera dilabel pendatang penceroboh yang telah membantu anda belajar ABC, 123, fizik, kimia, english dan sebagainya sehingga anda mampu dan boleh membaca tulisan saya ini? Ya, mungkin ada antara mereka yang belum faham apa itu sebenarnya hudud, mungkin mereka terpengaruh dengan pihak tertentu yang menentang. Tapi semua masalah itu tidak memberi sesiapapun sebarang hak untuk melabel sesiapa warganegara ini sebagai kaum pendatang dan penceroboh. Jika kamu berilmu dan berani, pergilah berdakwah kepada mereka yang belum faham. Turun padang, temui dan bersemuka dengan penganut agama lain untuk fahamkan mereka, seperti yang dibuat oleh ngo islam lain. Itu baru ajaran Islam. Mungkin setelah beberapa kali melakukan dakwah interaktif ini, kamu akan berfikir panjang sebelum cepat melabel bangsa lain dengan gelaran hina.
Saya belum lagi suruh pergi ke hospital dan klinik kerajaan. Jika hentikan kerja semua doktor dan jururawat yang bukan bumiputera, ok tak? Yalah, mungkin ramai mereka yang belum faham apa itu hudud.. ikut cakap ngo itu, kenalah balik negara asal nenek moyang, kan.
Kini faham maksud saya, mengapa tak patut label orang secara hina?
Esok masih ada.
Esok saya yang juga dilabel kaum pendatang dan penceroboh ini akan terus bekerja menabur bakti mendidik anak malaysia tanpa mengira bangsa, agama atau keturunan mereka.
Selamat Hari Guru kepada semua rakyat Malaysia.
“How are you?”
He nodded and mumbled something which I could not hear.
I just nodded back, as I didn’t want to stress him out.
I was never close to Dad. He was the ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ type. I grew up being afraid of him and what he was capable of doing when he lost his temper. He had shown me what domestic violence meant; the ugly side and its effects. By watching him, I learned to control my own temper.
The man who used to sneer at civil servants for their pension, now depends on the government’s goodwill for his medication.
The man who used to threaten me with harm should I return home as a muslimah, now suffers from a minor stroke.
Posted by aliya
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
May Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you!
I am fulfilling my promise to elaborate further on the subject of Iman @ Faith in Allah the Almighty God of us all.
Faith @ Iman in Allah is the key to our well being here on Earth and when we live according to what our Creator has prescribed for us, the rewards which we derive from such pure unshakable faith will determine our destiny both here in this world whilst we are still alive and when we pass away into the Realm of the Barzakh ( Spiritual Realm of the Grave) and in the Realm of the Akhirah (Hereafter).
In Surah Al-Hujurat, Chapter 49 Verse 15, Allah reveals to us :
Innama almu/minoona allatheenaamanoo billahi warasoolihi thumma lam yartaboowajahadoo bi-amwalihim waanfusihim fee sabeeli Allahiola-ika humu assadiqoon
The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful.
Those who steadfastly believe in Allah and His Messenger @ Prophet Muhammad and strive to live as good Muslims spending their money and time in the cause of Islam are duly recognized by Allah as his true servants and will be accorded their rightful stations as those who deserve being the dwellers of Allah’s Paradises.
This faith @ Iman is not something that comes into being by chance or without any effort. One has to strive to learn and understand exactly as to Whom or what we truly believe in? Such a firm belief in knowing the Creator by spirit takes a lot of effort on our part to know Him by what He has chosen to reveal to us over the passage of Time through His 124,000 prophets and messengers.
The subject matter of Faith @ Iman in Islam requires one to possess a yearning desire to study and learn about Allah and all that He has chosen to share with us through His Final and Mightiest Messenger to us, the blessed Unlettered Prophet, Muhammad ibni Abdullah. Allah’s Mercy for all Mankind and His entire Creations.
Believing in The Unseen God requires a special kind of dedication towards knowing that there exists forces of nature and The Supreme Being in the spiritual form that we mortal beings can’t visualize but know its existence.
The living spirit within us is not something that even the most learned scientists or doctors can explain or show to us but do acknowledge its presence.
In Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verses 2 and 3, Allah reveals:
Thalika alkitabu larayba feehi hudan lilmuttaqeen
This is the Book (Al-Qur’an) about which there is no doubt, a guidance for thoseconscious of Allah -
Allatheena yu/minoona bilghaybiwayuqeemoona assalata wamimma razaqnahumyunfiqoon
Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,
Despite the tremendous advancements and achievements that Man has come to acquire in the field of Science and Technology, there are none who can create life except by the Will of Allah!
No matter who we are, whatever is the color of our skin or the color of our eyes, etc. we all have within us a formless living spirit that enables our heart to continue beating, keeping us alive.
Those who fail to acknowledge this are only fooling themselves and will suffer the consequences later when they are no longer alive. Even when they are alive, those without faith in Allah end up being in false worship of their fellow creation or figments of their vivid imaginations.
The very first human being whom Allah the Almighty created up there in the heavens was our Father, the Prophet Adam Alaihis Salam. It is Allah Who created Adam. Not through evolution as some would have you believe but by Allah the Almighty Himself, complete and perfect.
The thing that differentiates those of us who choose to believe and have faith in Allah and those who decide to differ is the matter that concerns our Creed @ Aqeedah. The Bedrock of our Faith.
Today, there are those amongst the Kaffirs who claim that they too worship Allah and have the right to address whatever it is that they submit themselves to as ‘Allah’.
I am referring to the Catholic Church of Malaysia who insist that they be allowed to call their Trinitarian concept of ‘god’ as Allah! Surely they are misleading their flock into worshiping something other than Allah the True God when they refuse to come to terms that there is only One God and not Three as they would want their congregation to believe in.
In the Surah Al-Baqarah Chapter 2 Verses 4 and 5, Allah reveals :
Wallatheena yu/minoona bimaonzila ilayka wama onzila min qablika wabil-akhiratihum yooqinoon
And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].
Ola-ika AAala hudan minrabbihim waola-ika humu almuflihoon
Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.
Life here on Earth is an ongoing process of human beings coming to terms with realizing our roles as caretakers of this planet with its myriads of other living creatures, plants, insects and many other forms of organisms that are both existing in the physical and spiritual forms.
Today, here we are using all kinds of gadgets and technologies which would have been deemed as impossible by those who lived before us. We use the wireless telecommunication systems which would have been deemed to be nothing but black magic or sorcery by people who lived in the Dark Ages.
Despite all these achievements, each and every one of us needs to have that peace of mind that comes only by acknowledging the Existence of God and by our submission to His Will and Commands.
A person who has faith in True God attains a state of tranquility and balance in his or her life. No matter what trials or tribulations come across the believing individual, he or she will be able to work through the problems and eventually succeed in solving such challenges and progress towards achieving whatever goals they have in mind.
Those who choose to disbelieve will continue to refuse and refute whatever proof or evidence that any well meaning Believer tries to share with them. This state of kufr @ disbelief is defined clearly by Almighty Allah in the following verse, also in Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 6:
Inna allatheena kafaroo sawaonAAalayhim aanthartahum am lam tunthirhum layu/minoon
Indeed, those who disbelieve - it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them - they will not believe.
No matter what one says or shares with the Kaffirs @ Disbelievers, their stubbornness will prevent them from seeing the truth nor accept it.
Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2 Verse 7:
Khatama Allahu AAala quloobihimwaAAala samAAihim waAAala absarihim ghishawatunwalahum AAathabun AAatheem
Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.
None can give guidance and open up their hearts except Allah!
We can try our best to guide them but if they remain defiant and want to have nothing to do with Islam, then we should just let them be to answer for their decisions themselves in the Yaum al Akhirat!
Faith, dear brothers and sisters will be what sets us apart and determines our future stations in the Hereafter. We could end up either in Heaven or Hell depending as to what we come to believe in here on Earth and as to what we do with the life that Allah Has Given us?
Do not take this life for granted. One might have all the riches of the world in one’s possession here but if one does not have faith in Allah and act according to what Allah commands us, then the person concerned will only find out later that such riches and wealth won’t guarantee a befitting status in the next life.
Till we meet again,
Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you!
Today, I would like to share with you my thoughts on this subject matter which has been on my mind for quite some time.
The subject of ‘Faith’ or ‘Iman’ as we Muslims call it.
The core ingredient that makes us who are amongst the servants of Allah in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Mankind, be Muslims. Those who believe in and have faith in God Almighty, Allahu Rabbul Alamin.
That means Allah, the Lord of all the Universes.
Now to those unaware of the precise way and manner by which the entire universes are created and exist or cease to be by the Will of Almighty Allah, such realities escape their attention due to the fact that they are more concerned with their own individual life’s and situations.
Faith is a state of mind that incorporates the human awareness that he or she has not been created in vain or has come to be due to a fluke of nature?
No such thing. Nothing takes place without a cause or chain of actions and reactions that in turn give birth to a certain situation.
There has always been a cause and effect situation and it will be so forever. Even after this life as we know it comes to an end and Insya Allah ~ God Willing, we shall find ourselves in the Realm of the Barzakh.
The interim period where it has been revealed that our souls will be in a state of either amongst those favored and forgiven by Allah pending the coming of the Yaum al Akhirat ~ Doomsday or in a perpetual state of torture caused by our end being in a state of sin and cursed by the Almighty!
Only those capable of rational and intellectual thought would even take their time and effort to even consider all these.
Many a people are often found to be in a constant state of query, pondering upon their fate and as to why they have been born to be this or that?
Some bemoan their coming to be born as a member of certain tribes and communities and often turn into desperadoes, rebelling against their very own identities and circumstantial reality of being either a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Atheist or as a Muslim.
Who decides anything?
Surely it is None but Almighty Allah!
Yet, we do have a choice.
Allah gives us a choice as to how we choose to live our life’s but He doesn’t just let us roam this world without a purpose.
The Most Gracious, Most Merciful One has sent to us countless prophets and messengers over the passage of Time.
It has been revealed how our Father, the blessed Prophet Adam Alaihis Salam came to be created by Almighty Allah, Our Supreme Master Creator and Lord above us all?
To those of us who studied Islamic Spiritualism @ Sufism, we came to learn of the spiritual origins of Mankind which started with Allah’s Creation of Nur Muhammad @ The Light of Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam (May Peace be upon him).
I do not wish to elaborate in depth as to the details of such creation here for now but will just share with you as to the ensuing stages of our creation in a simple flow to enable you to have a fair idea as to what Islam has to share with you as to how human civilization came to be?
Those who have the time might want to read up as to the matter by visiting this site to have an idea as to what I am referring to here? Although I do believe the contents and context of what is being shared here, I wish to reiterate that I do not subscribe to the notion that one has to surrender oneself to hero worshiping any Sufi syaikh in order to gain access to the Mercy of Almighty Allah! Respect? Yes. Hero Worship or Over Adulate? No Sirree!
There is no provision or compulsion in Islam for us to venerate any human being or assign any Divinity to him or her. We are enjoined to obey and emulate the Blessed Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam as our guide and teacher but we are not to worship him on par with Allah.
This is to be understood as clearly as possible by any Muslim so as not to misinterpret that Muhammad ibni Abdullah has ever asked us his ummah to worship him in any manner whatsoever! He forbade the painting of his face or any attempt to idolize him in any manner.
He called upon us his ummah to worship only Allah as our Supreme Lord and Master. He encouraged us to follow in his example and to love Allah Azza Wa Jalla as best as we humanly can and to love him as Allah’s Messenger.
There are many stages of understanding and knowledge that we have to learn and acquire in order to be able to appreciate what it is that we have inherited from our Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam.
To understand Islam properly, one has to have the faculty of reason and the adequate intellectual capacityto be able to think, rationalize and conclude with regard to the physical and spiritual realities of our being here as humans and also be able to realize that there lives within our physical being a soul that has no physical form or that which we can grasp by our hands.
This living soul is what keeps us alive right now. This soul belongs to Allah, our Almighty God who keeps it a secret and Who has Absolute Control over it.
It is Allah Who created us and all other beings or creatures, living organisms, plants, insects, bacteria, etc.
We come to be and will soon be gone by the Will and Mercy of Allah, the Most Supreme Creator.
There are many who if asked about the Creation of Adam will not be able to explain how Mankind came to be?
There are those who do not believe in Creation but instead fantasize that life started as a form of evolution starting from first being a tiny microbe, etc. You can read about Adam’s Creation here.
Here’s the corresponding Quranic revelation :
Wa-ith qala rabbuka lilmala-ikatiinnee jaAAilun fee al-ardi khaleefatan qalooatajAAalu feeha man yufsidu feeha wayasfiku addimaawanahnu nusabbihu bihamdika wanuqaddisu lakaqala innee aAAlamu ma la taAAlamoon
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
Surah Al Baqarah Chapter 2 Verse 30.
Creation versus Evolution.
To this very day, more and more new discoveries are being made by researchers and scientists about this or that special aspect of our creation that had not been known before due to the coming up of new technologies that enables us to learn more about ourselves and that of our fellow creation by The Almighty.
Knowledge comes from realization. Learning takes conscious effort and being able to understand the difference between fact and fiction.
Scientists involved in the study of human biology are discovering more and more evidence that we can’t just be the result of evolutionary changing of traits and characteristics subject to chance!
Check out what Allah the Almighty reveals to us in Surah Nuh Chapter 71 Verses 14 to 19:
Surat Nūĥ (Noah) - سورة نوح
Waqad khalaqakum atwara
While He has created you in stages?
Alam taraw kayfa khalaqa AllahusabAAa samawatin tibaqa
Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers
WajaAAala alqamara feehinna nooran wajaAAalaashshamsa siraja
And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?
Wallahu anbatakum mina al-ardinabata
And Allah has caused you to grow from the earth a [progressive] growth.
Thumma yuAAeedukum feehawayukhrijukum ikhraja
Then He will return you into it and extract you [another] extraction.
The way we are created by Allah is so perfect that even to this day, our learned scientists and inventors can’t come close to producing even a single hair that is equal to what Allah the Almighty creates!
There has been tremendous improvements in the way we treat and cure our various illnesses and afflictions but all these are made possible by the intelligence and willingness to seek such cures and remedies that Allah imbued in us in the first place.
Yet despite all our advancements in life and in our acquiring sophisticated technologies and scientific discoveries, we all are in need of spiritual balance and a need to turn to our Supreme Creator for that special thirst for our internal peace of mind, both in body and spirit.
This is where Faith plays a major part in our well being.
Those who have no faith find no pleasure in living life and as a result at times choose to end their life in this earthly existence. Some try to drown their sorrows in drugs and alcohol. Such indulgence often destroys them gradually till they pass out overdosed and their internal organs are all messed up and finally drop dead!
Where’s their salvation?
Not what they would have been looking for, right?
So, whether one likes it or not, in order to live a life that is balanced and be able to look forward to a future that is promised to us who choose to have faith in our Creator, we are enjoined to strive both in body and spirit to prepare for our hereafter.
This Earthly realm that we find ourselves in is but the 3rd stage of our existence, both in body and spirit. The 1st being the Realm of our Spirits @ Ruuh. 2nd stage of our being is in the Realm of our Mother’s Womb. When we die and are interred in our grave, we enter the 4th Realm. This is the Realm of the Barzakh. The stage where our Spirit @ Ruuh will be questioned and interrogated by the Angels of the Grave, Sayyidina Munqar and Naqir Alaihis Salam. The 5th Realm is the Realm of the Akhirah @ the Hereafter.
The Realm where all mankind will be resurrected after Doomsday. When we will be made to stand before Allah, our Lord Almighty and answer for our deeds here on Earth.
If we are of those who have Faith in Him and had done what we are supposed to do solely for His Sake and not one who went against His Commandments, Insya Allah, we will be amongst those who attain Salvation and be entered into His Paradises. Failing which, we will burn in Hell.
Straight and simple.
I will write further on this but have to stop for now.
Do not take this earthly life in vain. Here is where we prepare for our hereafter. There’s a choice. You either believe in Allah or you don’t.
Do not blame your father or mother or anybody else for your choice. If you can read and understand these words of mine, then you are capable of making that rational choice.
Be a Muslim. Live as a Muslim. Die as a good Muslim. Insya Allah, you will be alright both here and in the hereafter.
May Allah bless and guide us all. Ameen.
Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Waarakatuh.
“Your father and I are feeling very upset with you, how dare you publish your conversion to Islam into magazine? Do you ever realize that the whole world will be laughing at us?” My mother spoke to me via mobile phone.
“Stop writing any article at internet anymore, your father open the blog link based on magazine, he feels more stressed with everything you have done. You just convert into Islam, how much do you really understand about that religion?”
Alright, I thought I am always being criticized by local Muslim that I am not qualified to understand Islam, now my mom is thinking the same thing. The theory is like I’m not born to understand what Islam about, that’s exclusively for the lucky one who born to be Muslim. My mother was telling me this depressing comment few weeks before I received my 2012 Brass Crescent Award. I was so frustrated till ever wonder that I should be closing down my blog and live peacefully, perhaps fully underground Muslim life.
Whenever I go to the mosque, those environment keeps remind me that I’m belonging to Malaysia’s Double Minorities. Yeah just take a look around yourselves, you are the one and only Chinese dude at here. Who knows other might think I’m lost in this mosque while finding my way to somewhere else. If you ever wonder what the meaning is of “Double Minorities”, that’s mean:
- A Chinese who embraced Islam
- A Chinese who married with non-Chinese Muslim (Most probably Malay Muslim)
Apparently, I didn’t listen to my parent’s advice at 2012. This blog still alive and all praises to Allah, I manage to get Honorable Mentioned – Best Regional Blog this year. The largest changes in my life since that conversation with my mom is, I stepped away from Magazine interview and TV interview. Staying out of the limelight so that my non-Muslim friends and relatives won’t aware my Muslim identity. This is kind of pathetic because I can’t tell my family that I just won some award, on the contrary the award I gain is really bad news for them, a truly “Family apostasy” that forgotten my Chinese cultural and identity.
Everything happens out of my expectation, although getting upset with my family disagreement regarding my interview in magazine, few days later I wrote a blogpost titled as The Whisper Of Kelantan Beach to praise the beauty of Allah’s creation. Perhaps I am ignorant enough with them, I just can’t let go of my passionate in sharing the beauty of Islam and breakthrough those misconception from our community. I am not a talkative person, so I take writing as an alternative to share my thoughts. Indeed it saves a lot of my time and energy to tell public the same story over and over again.
“How could that be? I believe there must be a lot reverted Muslim submit manuscript to publisher?”
“I can’t tell you much about that, but I may say most of their manuscript isn’t published. By the way, how do you manage to contact with my publisher?”
Well… It started with an email. Seems like I’m kind of late to tell the story of my book publication, it has been released since Ramadhan month 2013. I was received an email from Must Read publisher last year December, they inform me that perhaps I can try to publish a book after they read my blog article. Again, I was stuck between the decisions of YES or NO.
YES! I should publish my first book ever to spread the message of Islam in Malay language!
NO…. My family will be getting upset again if they found out my book publication.
I took a deep thought about writing a book, in the end I decided to write a book in the will of serving Allah SWT. As we all know that very few Malay book talks about reverted Muslim with in depth information. Most of the reverted Muslim books are just mourning about how difficult to live as Muslim, so pathetic and sarcastic till almost get killed by depression. I know it because I was reading those books before I embraced Islam. Eventually I know nothing about Islam except emotional feelings from authors.
On the other hand, it’s time to deal with the real world based on al-Quran and Sunnah. Although reverted Muslim is still remain to be minorities, that doesn’t mean we must ignore the importance of inviting our non Muslim friend to take a look at Islam! Introducing what Islam briefly about and how they would manage to get rid of misconception is the most important knowledge for everyone. Most of the Islamic book we may found at bookshop is a bit advanced for non Muslim reader.
After I submit my manuscript, I specially request to publisher that don’t put my photo into author’s profile. Just in case my family found out my book, there wouldn’t be clear evidence that I’m the author. Although I become hidden writer that seldom show up myself, I’ll just let my blog and book do the talking part for me.
What do I mean “I’m living 2 kind of life”?
A humble way of life in reality that no one knows I’m blogger and writer, while another life goes into my articles.
Take a look at this picture. Look at the colourful apparel of traditional dresses and baju kurungs worn by these beautiful ladies. Do they look happy or somber?
Where do you think this pic was taken?
At a wedding or at a funeral?
Have a guess.
Look at another picture.
Where do you think this pic was taken?
In the past one month, I lost two relatives who I was quite closely acquainted to as a child (or rather, as closely acquainted as only a frivolous, fun-loving, carefree child can be).
As our respective nucleus family grew in numbers, we slowly drifted apart and rarely saw one another. As the years passed, my parents rarely visited other branches of the family as they used to do during Eid or any festivals because my parents nowadays have their own grandchildren who they eagerly wait upon at our own house.
Slowly but surely, the growth of our family relationship were stunted. And when we did see one another every other year, the conversation were stilted, forced and sometimes, quite painful to endure. Slowly but surely, we lost common ground and found nothing to say of any importance to one another beyond the usual mundane small talk (that I never pretend to be good at). Slowly but surely, I forgot all cousins I used to know and became ignorant of any new additional cousins I might have acquired over the years. It didn’t help that my mother was the youngest in her family, and thus most of my cousins are at HER age than mine. While my father – being from a broken family – was the only child being raised by my grandfather; he rarely saw his own mother (who had passed on years ago) or his other siblings (raised by his estranged mother) until he was quite old.
But the fond memories I have – of having received affectionate kisses at each visit and of receiving lots of Eid money from my paternal great-Aunt and my maternal elderly aunt; they both recently passed away– are something I will always cherish as part of my lovely childhood upbringing.
I mourned their passing. But you wouldn’t know it when you see me.
In fact, you wouldn’t know their close family members are mourning too if you don’t actively ask for their symptoms of grieving. It didn’t show in their smiling face. Or in the clothes they were wearing on the funeral. Or in the calm, serene manner they nodded their thanks to condolence-wishers. Or in the quiet way they continued to organize the funerals in as efficient a manner as possible.
As a kid, I used to equate death with great sadness. And I used to feel enormous discomfort at having to attend a funeral, because…I didn’t know what to say at the face of their great loss. Because I felt guilty that I didn’t feel sad when they must be feeling utterly devastated. I felt emotionally-deficient. I thought whatever I said would not be enough. I struggled to say something appropriate and ended up not saying anything at all.
But actually, I really wasn’t expected to say anything at all. As a kid, I didn’t know that. I was wrong to think that what I saw on TV were what really happened in real life. And as a kid, (having some diluted Indian blood on my father’s side) I was raised with a lot of Hindi movies. Andaz, Sangam, Yaadon Ki Barat, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Bobby, Kati Patang, An Evening In Paris, Love in Tokyo….I watched them all as a kid. My sisters and I memorized Hindi songs as a child, can you believe it?
As a kid, I saw on TV that people cried until their eyes were noticeably red; they didn’t smile even a little bit on the day their loved ones died; sometimes they fainted altogether. At times, they wailed inconsolably. Some of them stopped eating, grew weaker and finally died(perhaps happily, as they get to follow their loved ones into the hereafter).
As a kid, I felt really uncomfortable being dragged into a funeral because I – by nature – don’t like awkward situations where people feel sad and I feel inadequate to do anything about it. Because I thought that they would act the way I saw the actors acted on TV.
Just thinking about witnessing what I saw on TV for real, made me shudder.
In real Islamic life, it is an understood, ingrained, innate knowledge that death is only part of our life cycle and we are taught that our immediate utterance upon hearing the news of death SHOULD BE the proclamation of:
(2:156): “Inna lil-laahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon [Truly! To Allâh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.]“.
You are not expected to express great grief ad nauseum, ad infinitum. In fact, wailing is prohibited.
And to assist you to mourn properly (so that you could get on with your life faster) our Islamic guidelines on grieving are pretty thorough:
1) Funeral is organized on the very day your loved ones pass away
- You don’t keep the body for a few days.
- It is recommended that the burial service is done as soon as possible. If your loved ones die in the morning, they are usually buried around noon on the very same day.
- Closure is hastened, so that the relatives can move on faster and don’t wallow in self-pity.
2) There are no specific dress code or colour for mourning beyond the usual guidelines on modesty.
-The first picture in this article is of my mother in her usual outfit, attending the funeral of my paternal great-aunt yesterday. Look at the others in the picture. They, too, didn’t wear somber black or grey.
3) Wailing is prohibited.
-Nor are you allowed to tear at your clothes or slapped at your cheeks.
- We are not allowed to GLORIFY sadness, to a degree of good play-acting on TV.
- It DOESN’T mean that you are not allowed to cry at all. You may cry but not because you blame God or fate; you shouldn’t cry as a way of saying “he shouldn’t have died. It’s not fair that he died. I want to die with him. I have lost the meaning of my life without him”…and on and on you go.
4) When our loved ones are dying, it is not our practice to go around saying, “No, don’t die. Please don’t leave me alone in this wretched world, only to live without you, because you are the meaning of my life and so on and so forth.”
-We are taught – deeply ingrained in our psyche – that upon seeing our loved ones are dying, our uppermost religious duty at that very crucial moment is to prompt our loved ones to say “Laa Ilaha Illallah.” (There is No Other God but The ONE God).
-That sacred words reflect our whole purpose of life in this world – worshiping none other but Him – and we are ambitious of dying with those words as our very last utterance.
-Knowing that fact, knowing that it is every Muslim’s need to die with those words on their lips… the most practical thing for relatives to do is to help their loved ones do so, and with very minimal drama.
5) The official period of mourning is three days. The sadness may last forever. But life must go on.
-Fake it till you make it.
- You are sad and things are not yet normal for you. But fake normalcy first, then you will attain it, insya Allah.
“The real patience is at the first stroke of calamity” says our Prophet (pbuh). Translated to Malay: “Sabar itu adalah pada kejutan yang pertama”.
It is not real patience if you wail for three days, stop your normal function for a week, and having got no other alternative, FINALLY said “Baiklah, saya perlu bersabar.”
As a kid, I was pretty stupid. I thought that my inability to have prolonged crying MUST meant that I probably did not feel enough; and that made me feel guilty. But the fact is such that the ‘prolonged crying’ and the ‘pathological grief’ glorified on TV is UNNATURAL. The TV is only playing with your emotion; wanting you to think that the harder the actor cries, the more loving he/she really is towards the dead.
In any case, there are times when you feel TOO MUCH to cry. Your grief is too private to share. Your sadness is too sincere to show.
As an adult now, I applauded my relatives for being very serene, calm and dignified. They cried for a bit, then they greeted guests, smiled at them, talked about practical matters, put on as normal an appearance as they can muster, and the next few days, they are back to normal routine (at least, outwardly).
And as a result, I have stopped feeling awkward about attending funerals. I know now that the dread that I felt about funerals as a kid was not at all realistic. I don’t have to say anything. People are not going to cry in front of me. If they say something, I only have to listen.
I don’t have to say “Moga bersabar”, thinking that I sound really fake. In fact, I don’t have to say anything at all if I don’t want to.
I don’t have to fake a greater emotion than I actually feel.
All I have to do is attend and be there, and pay my respect and pray the Solat Jenazah.
It’s not hard.
When I was a medical student, we learned about the Kubler Ross model of five stages of grief:
In facing the death of loved ones, the Muslims are religiously taught to jump straight to acceptance and say “To Allah we belong, and Truly, to Him we shall return” upon hearing any news of death or calamity.
I don’t mean to say that we skipped the whole “denial, anger, bargaining, depression’ parts. But we are expected to hasten the whole process of getting to ‘acceptance’ in a matter of seconds, at least outwardly.
And the five stages of grief, do not necessarily follow one stage after another the way they are arranged. The stages of grief sometimes do not follow any particular order at all.
They may later say “if only we had gone to the hospital sooner” (bargaining stage). They may later become angry and want to sue the hospital (anger stage) and so on and so forth. But the death itself is accepted, first.
You deal with the other stages, if and as, they come.
As a Psychiatry MO, I am not saying that it is not okay to grief, at all.
Grieving is a healthy reaction. (But some people grief pathologically)
I am not saying religious people don’t get depression at all, because they do.
I am not saying that it is religiously wrong to get depressed, because it is not. It is a disease(depression has genetic component as well) and with treatment, your depression will go away, insya Allah.
In fact if you have depression, it can be seen as a test from Allah and as a means to elevate your status in His eyes. Dr. Nassir Ghaemi (a noted Professor of Psychiatry from Harvard University) said in his book titled ‘A First-Rate Madness’, that those who successfully overcome their depression, end up with more resilience than their so-called ‘normal’ counterparts. And if you have gone through ‘many emotional upheavals and difficulties’ in your younger days, it has a ‘steeling’ effect that will make you more prepared for other emotional challenges in your more mature years.
Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi… are some of the leaders who Professor Nassir Ghaemi had posthumously diagnosed as having had depression in their younger days and it made them a better, more emphatic person and a great leader.
So depression can be viewed as a ‘mind vaccine’.
’What doesn’t kill makes you stronger’ kind of concept.
It is not wrong to be depressed. But I am just saying that, as a Muslim, I recognized parts of my Islamic teaching that are protective against pathological grief or depression.
And my recent experience of having lost my relatives and seeing how their family members deal with it, reinforced my gratitude to Allah for prohibiting us from glorifying and dramatizing sadness or grief. Alhamdulillah.
May Allah S.W.T have mercy on BOTH the soul of my Tok Wa and my mak ngah. Amin.
Alhamdulillah! Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala has brought us a new member in the form of Sister Saleena A.Kader.
Sister Saleena is a 35 years old part time Computer Science tutor. She blogs at Simply Deen.
I find her writings and postings quite enlightening. I hope you will too.