Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Legendary. Sure. Right. Whatever.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I have heard many myths about the land I consider my hometown, Kelantan (or Pasir Mas, if you're into specifics).

Among them are that Kelantanese only enjoy sweet cooking i.e. substitute salt for sugar.

(Ardently agreed upon by many of my ukhti during our routine sojourns in the kitchen.)

Well. I can't tell the diff, since I grew up with a Kelantanese tongue, anyway. I still feel other states have sweeter foods, and that they're more obsessed with sirap (bandung optional), which I still can't understand to this day.

(Why sirap ros with everything?)

And another infamous one is that Kelantanese women are the depiction of the Malay ideal for beauty, i.e. fair-skinned, hidung mancung, nicely-figured, impeccable bone structure, etc.

Which I find completely ridiculous. Although I have photographic evidence that the following traits do lie in my bloodline. I just didn't get any of the genes. Or maybe I did, but they are all recessive, when compared to the more dominant alleles from my father's typically Chinese genome. Or maybe there's some sort of pleiotropy, or masking of the genes, involved in the makings of me.


(My Genetics paper is first up next week. Do pray for me.)

I am quite syukur with what I have, thanks. Astigmatism, or no astigmatism.

But what I find disturbing is that as a nation, we're so obsessed with beauty. And I'm not talking about the deep-instilled, beauty from within kind. Oh no sirree.

I'm talking about the stereotypical kind aforementioned above.

It's sad and degrading, to want to be known, merely for how you look.
It's as if they don't even understand that women are not mere sex objects, and that we want to be acknowledged for what we do, and not what we look like.
Don't they know that the face can mask such ugliness that lies within?
How much can a person be satisfied by looks and physical charm?

Which is why I feel the hijab, and especially the niqab (for those who prefer it), is a tool for liberation. Because I've seen the effect it gives on people (esp. men) around me (i.e. in Australia, where donning the hijab actually earns you unspoken respect, unlike in LITW), who view it as a shield of sorts between me and non-hijabis. Because guys can't oogle over my dress size, they choose to sit up and listen when I speak.

(The politically correct ones, anyway)

Their view of me is based on what I can do, rather than how I look. Or at the very least, it does not overshadow my capabilities as a functioning human being. Which is very liberating for a teenaged girl.

Feminists should try it, instead of not shaving. Much more hygienic.

But seriously. I think that us hijabis also forget this underlying law of donning the hijab:

That it's only when we choose to not really care (as much) over what we look like, that others will do the same.

And yet we should always remember that as muslimah, Allah likes us to be neat and presentable and clean. And that we can be beautiful, but not in a showy kind of way.

"Is this too tabarruj?"

And when we understand what beauty truly means, we can work towards it, insyaAllah.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 4:05 pm


Sunday, October 29, 2006


How much I have changed in these past few months
And now I await the days with a mixture of measured countenance and incalculable trepidation
Until I meet them face-to-face, mano-a-mano
Once again.
Because I fear of being unrecognizable
My thoughts and principles altered immeasurably
So much so that I doubt fingers could be pointed any which way
I am scared
I admit that.
I am afraid of changing
To who I once was, almost overnight
Because that would deny me everything I have learnt
Everything I now know and hold true
Everything that makes up
The me I live with today
I feel comfortable knowing her
Because I know she’s headed somewhere
Maybe she’s doing so slowly, but she knows where she’s going
She’s getting there
Her heart is eyeing the Destination, she feels –
I feel, I mean.
And so
When you see me
And you don’t know me
Remember who I was
Cherish it in memory, if you must
But know that who I am now is who I want to be
That it was never forced onto me
But instead I forced, ploughed, pushed my way through
To be who I am
This person you now see
The person you do not know
The person who will not willingly follow the crowd
The person who will ask questions in manifold
The person who will look different, dress different, talk different
And might even stop in her walking tracks to smile a bemused grin to herself
Every now and then
Which may irritate you
You must be forewarned.
And so I admit it –
I am scared to go home a changed person
Like a butterfly out of its little mystifying, plain (maybe even ugly)
Yet looking back, I do not see my life as a caterpillar
But I remember my metamorphosis with fondness
And if I will live with these wings for the rest of my life
Then live
I will.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:53 pm


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Stagnant Playlist.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

This is what happens when you listen to Eid songs (courtesy of Dpt. Produksi of the Aidilfitri Salam Melbourne vid) from LITW, instead of studying up on Genetics. Which reminds me, DO AIRPORT!


I like this song very much. It's a close favourite after young Anuar Zain & Elina's Suasana di Hari Raya.

Satu Pagi di Hari Raya
by Raihan & NowSeeHeart

Satu pagi di hari raya
Aku sujud memuji Mu
Satu pagi di hari raya
Aku sujud membesarkan Mu

Ku melafazkan takbir
Penuh rasa kehambaan
Ku melafazkan tahmid
Penuh rasa kesyukuran

Gema takbir di pagi raya
Ku teringat kampung halaman
Aku di perantauan
Tak berdaya menahan sebak

Gema takbir di pagi raya
Ku rindukan ibu di sana
Keluarga sanak saudara
Hanya doa kukirim

Marilah di hari raya
Kita semua bermaafan
Lupakan persengketaan
Eratkan persaudaraan
Harmoni di hari raya

One. More. Month. (InsyaAllah)

Until then, it's my turn to mujahadah.

And if listen to M.Nasir's Satu Hari di Hari Raya again, I think I will choke.


P.S:- Salam mujahadah imtihan for my ukhti wa akhi fil Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Queensland, NZ and wherever else you may be. Also not forgetting those poor AUSMAT people, especially my juniors in INTEC. Have faith, loves.

And also the SPM kiddies. This means you, Amir. Go BELAJAR!!

Now. Time to swallow my own advise. If you'll excuse me.

Kan kusujud di kakimu bila kita bertemu
Kan kucium tanganmu memohon restu...


Restu ayah bonda kuharap selalu
Hingga aku pulang kepadamu...

Sigh. 'Be patient.'

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:43 am


Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid Mubarak!!

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I'm currently all decked out in my raya clothes on a Monday (yes, ICV announced that today is Raya, although I've heard that there are discrepancies throughout Australia, usually based on which mosque you attend), and sitting before one of the PCs in the IT lab, dowloading podcasts by Dato' Harun Din (thank you, il-bloop!)waiting for my Chem class, to which I will be early for the first time in a fortnight.

Talk about another momentous first.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone I know a hearty
Selamat Hari raya 'Aidilfitri, or as my Indonesian friends would say it:

"Selamat 'aidil wal fa izin."

Remember, the word 'eid' is more important than are 'hari raya', because they mean 'triumph', and 'raya' means....

... 'celebration'. I think.

Someone get me a Kamus Hall please.

Anyway, I want to minta maaf zahir dan batin; apologize and hope for forgiveness from everyone I have wronged in the slightest way, whether it is on purpose, or by mistake -- and those that are apparent, and the not-so-apparent kinds.

"Minta maaf dari hujung tudung hingga ke hujung stokin." - Ukhti F-

Have a wonderful Syawal. Say a mighty takbir. Because the takbir is meant for the triumphant and the victorious, and not for those who are meek and ignorant by choice.

Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum.

Wassalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

P.S:- 'Saya ingin mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan Eid Mubarak kepada keluarga yang dikasihi nun jauh di sana, serta para sahabatku seantero Australasia dan New Zealand. Tidak lupa juga semua yang mengenali diri ini di LITW. Biar jauh di mata, jangan jauh di hati, sudah.

Kalau nak kirim duit/biskut raya, you know where to find me. ;)'

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 9:17 am


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Disconcerting farewells.

There were many tears shed tonight.

There was a tone of muffled sadness from the evening onwards.

Laughter and tears took centrestage by turns.

We bid premature farewells to well-loved people -- we pray for the safeguarding of their hearts, of their souls, of their nafs. We pray for their Love to withstand Time.

We bid a premature farewell to a cherished month -- and prayed that it should be Written in our fate that this beloved and us should meet once again, one day soon.

Tonight we prayed for strength in going back and facing the reality we forgot we left behind.
Tonight we prayed for Love to bind our hearts together in our journey for our Homeland.
Tonight we prayed for safe returns, strong hearts, stronger wills.
Tonight we prayed for the souls that were to leave soon with memories and love, both shared.
Tonight we prayed for hearts to remain -- for straightness of the path, and the might to stay on it.

Tonight we prayed the Rabitah. We recited it over and again.

'Fawathiqillah humma rabithotahaa
Wa adim wuddaha
Wahdi haa
Wam la a haa
Binuurika lazhi laa yahbu
Suduu rahaa
Bi faidhil imaani bik.'

'Therefore strengthen, O Allah, these bonds,
Retain the love of these hearts on Your path,
Fill these hearts with the light of Your Rabbani which shall never fade,
Free these hearts with the overflowing of faith.'


P.S:- Any corrections in the translation or the romanization must be duly noted to blogger. Jazaks.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:27 am


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ukhuwah fillah fil Melbourne...

We Stood in Lines
by Zakkiratul Syazwina :)

We stood in lines once.
Maybe you and I both know it
We awaited the world
And feared what would be
Resigned to fate
Faith held tightly
We entered the world.
And now
Here we are again in lines
We stand side by side, shoulder by shoulder
Our hands are crossed before us in resolve
Our hearts are linked; they become homes
To every other heart
As far as the eyes can see
And we stand in lines still.
Your tears prick my heart
And feed my soul
With hope
Because you –
– We still stand in lines.
And whence the next full moon arrives and bids its time
And call some to its fray
And the lines shift and fill and flip over and again
Shall there be a meeting of these hearts once more?
For maybe there will be some who lose the fight and resign…
Their hearts not ours to hold…
But new numbers
New souls and hearts will fill the ranks
‘Tis a promise made, tested true.
And once again, we prepare to move into the world.
We stand side by side, shoulder by shoulder
Hands crossed in resolve,
Hearts linked.
Because we begin in His Name
And part in His Name.

'Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with.'
(Hadith from Usamah ibn Shurayk)

And (moreover) He hath put affection between their hearts. (Al-Anfal 8: 63)

Uhibbuki fillah, abadan abada, insyaAllah. <3

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 9:33 pm


Momentous first.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I have yet to tell my mother this, but I hope she won't mind.
And far be it from me to rant about something as menial as my life growing up, but there you go.

Yesterday was definitely a great big first in terms of my life.
The day my mother has dreaded for so very long ("have you, or haven't you?") arrived.

It was the day my housemate discovered my first grey hair.

My mother has been so worried about the state of my head since I reached teenage-dom and became responsible for my own personal hygiene (which sort of defeated the purpose, but hey). She says that given my lack of fussiness over my personal appearance (true) and my genetic traits (the typically-Asian coarse hair -- unless you have the typically-Asian silky hair), I was predisposed to getting grey hairs really early in life.

And before last night, all pickings at my head for the elusive discoloured strand were fruitless.

Before last night.

We were at Munee Ponds, fulfilling the iftar invite from Miftahul Haq (yes, it is an actual entity! :P), and this was after solat and dinner, and I was browing the Net using the fabulous broadband connection in the house, when my housemate declared that she was going to pull my uban.

I went, "You sure or not?"

"Ye lah. It's sitting right there, tu."

Still disbelieving, I said, "Okay. Go ahead. But if it's not, I will so injure you."

And after a few quiet seconds, she plucked it out.

And true enough, from the root, down halfway of the strand, it was very much lacking in melanin.

Your first grey hair is a big thing.
It reminds you that you're growing older.
It reminds you of your own mortality -- that you will inevitably die.
Each and every day.
It reminds you that although you may not take note of it, Time is always chasing after you.

Just the night before, after terawih, Zakkiratul Qalb told us a hadith from Rasulullah [pbuh]:

"I have a pen, and Time has a pen.
My pen has black ink, and writes on white paper.
Time's pen has white ink, and write on dark heads."

And so I was pretty shaken by this.
Because even though I am oft-reminded of the fact,
I still live life as if I will not be dead next year.
Or by next month.
Or by next week.
Or by tomorrow.
Or even by the next moment.

Alhamdulillah, I'm not dead yet.

Amma ba'd,
I should count my blessings each second.
I should train my toungue to praise Allah more, and complain less.
I should use it to say greetings, and not ghibah (backbiting).

And I should not live as if I will not leave this world at any moment.
Because forever is subjective. And you start counting for it from this moment.

Allahu'alam bissawab.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:09 pm


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Seen around Melbourne city lately...

... especially on hijabis (in the form of badges):

'My feet are cleaner than your face.'
-picture of taking the wudhu' (ablution) for the feet-

'Make chai not war'

'No, I don't shower with it on'
-cartoon of girl with hijab on, taking shower. And a big NO sign over it all-

'Relax, it's a headscarf, not a bomb'

'My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?'

*courtesy of ICV's Grassroots*

this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:53 pm



Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I have no idea whether this YouTube vid was posted by legal means or not. The fact that I can't embed it (by request) seems to point in that direction.

But either way.

I have a wishlist.

And somewhere down the more achievable ones in the near future includes getting the new Yusuf Islam CD, An Other Cup, as an early birthday present.

Really early.

Can do?
InsyaAllah :)

'So demand.'

But here. A taste from An Other Cup. Enjoy. :)

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:47 pm


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ada apa dengan Cinta?

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

An ukhti once told us, while we were all sitting in a halaqah (circle):

"When you read the Qur'an, you should read the translation of the ayat as well. Read it as if each sentence were sent down on this earth for you."

And she related the story of a sahabat, Tsabit ibn Qais who came across an ayat that asked people to not raise their voices to the Prophet [pbuh] (49:2).

It was a general ayat, and the asbabul nuzul (reason for the ayat being sent down) was not him. But he did have a loud voice, and he was aware of it (I personally am 'ouch'ed by this).

So he went to the Prophet [pbuh] in a hurry, asking,
"Ya Rasulullah, was this ayat sent down for me?"

Rasulullah neither yayed nor nayed him, and simply gave a quiet smile.
"Do you feel as if it is sent down for you?"

And Tsabit [r.a.] felt that it was -- that Allah was displeased with his behaviour -- and this sahabat broke down crying, secluding himself from everyone else from across the road.

And when he came back to the people, he never raised his voice -- ever again, till the day he died.

The power of the Qur'an over those who truly try to understand it, people.

So this morning, after the wake-up call (jazakillahu khayr, KimKatkeBlack), I read Suratul Maryam.
(And discovered how far I am from the 1 juzu' a day routine.)

And I came across this ayat:

Indeed those who believed and did good deeds - the Most Gracious will appoint love for them (In the hearts of other believers).

So my main question to myself is:

Where have I gone wrong?

Credit to ukhti einhyatt for the name of the sahabbah. JKK.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 1:43 pm


Monday, October 16, 2006

'Yay~! Raya is coming!'

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

First of all, allow me to weep.

Time does fly so, doesn't it? And it seems that the first 2/3 of Ramadhan has just slipped through our fingers, hasn't it?

It sure does feel like it.

And now, people on my Yahoo! Messenger list (people who do MSN, I do not have ANY of your contact deets) are starting to rejoice over the end of Ramadhan, and the start of Syawal.

And I'm thinking, "Well, yeah, Eid-ul-Fitr is coming. But lemme get this straight: You're rejoicing over the fact that in about a week from now, Iblis and his mafioso (The Syaitan Co.) are going to be let loose on the earth, and continue their pursuit on dragging us all to Hell (quite literally)?"

Get outta here.

Maybe my lack of feeling for Eid is due to the fact that I don't fancy being harangued by the Devil again. My fight with my nafs is hard enough, without having a multitude of other whispers ('was-was' = whispers of the Devil) in my heart, trying to pull me in the wrong direction.

But enough about that.
Let's talk about the Night of Nights.
The Big One.

And no. I do not mean the open house some people are thinking of holding on the first weekend of Syawal.

I'm talking about the Night of Decree, or Lailatul-Qadr.

What does the Qur'an say about Lailatul-Qadr?
Lemme check:

'Indeed, We sent it [i.e. the Qur'an] down during the Night of Decree.

And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree?

The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.

The Angels and the Spirit [i.e. Gabriel] descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter*.

Peace it is** until the emergence of Dawn.'

{Suratul-Qadr, 97: 1-5}

*they bring down the decree for everything destined to occur in the coming year.
**Upon the believers.


The Night of Decree.

And when is this Night of Decree going to occur?

Allah Ta'ala has promised those who search for it, with the purest of intention, in the last ten nights of Ramadhan. The Prophet [pbuh] himself said (and let me paraphrase this), "Search for it in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan".

And the jumhur ulama', no matter which school of thought you belong to, agree that what is meant by 'searching for it' is by actually waking up for a vigil in the middle of the night - preferably the last 1/3 of the night, because this is when Allah descends into this realm - and doing ibadah i.e. solat sunnah such as the tahajjud and the witr, reciting the Qur'an and the sahur, purely for Allah.

As a sidenote, the Masjid known as the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has started their i'tiqaf activities. People (men, especially) are welcome to do their tarawih from 2am onwards, until Subuh. Harap maklum.

It's also amazing, how much more keen Australians are on making the most of Ramadhan, especially while they're in a non-Muslim country, and back in LITW, the 'Bazaar Ramadhan' gig heats up in the last ten days, instead.

And LITW is one of them 'Islamic nations'!

There was this hadith qudsi (relayed to the ummah via the Prophet, but describing Allah's exact Words) that mentioned about how proud Allah is of the believers who spend the last part of the night in supplication to Him, and that He mentions their name before the Angels. 'They have left their comfortable beds for Me'.

I want so much to make Allah proud.

Take note, ya ukhti fil Melbourne: Wake me up, especially for the odd nights!!

It really never ceases to amaze me, how people can be so keen on Ramadhan ending.
Especially when it is the best of months.
Especially when Allah blesses us all with this best of months - and we're keen on it going away.

And especially when this is the 'training ground' for the believers.

Some people say that the reason for the saum i.e. the fast is for us to:

Well. I'd say that they're all somewhat right, but neither of the above is the main point of fasting.

Let's open the Qur'an, now, shall we (oh, how I love this part!)?

Chapter 2, verse 183 states:

'O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may acquire taqwa (piety).'



I want that.

Piety sounds pretty cool to me. Doesn't it?

And piety essentially means to fear Allah. Doing everything as if you could feel God's gaze on you. Doing everything for Him, and for Him only.

To Love Allah in the only way you know how, the only way you were taught how. Because no matter how much you love Allah back, it can never compare to His Love for us all.

Just a reminder for myself that I'd like to share with my blogging audience.

Ramadhan Mubarak, y'all. Here's to making the best of what is left.

And may we be blessed with meeting it again someday. InsyaAllah.

Any limitations are from my part, but they ultimately come from Allah, and surely, it has some meaning behind it.

Verifications on any hadith (sound, unsound?) are very much welcome. Share the knowledge, spread it around.


P.S:- Sorry if you find my narrative voice this time around a little hard to swallow. I'm just influenced by Preacher Moss from the 'Allah Made Me Funny' comedy tour, hitting OZ and NZ this summer, the promo vid available for viewing here.

'Takbir, brother!'

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:21 pm


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Of speed and uncontrolled enthusiasm.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I was reading up on a few blogs.

It's weird, seeing a whole new perspective of things.

It's hard, trying to acquaint your set perceptions with an entirely new perspective of things.

I've come to learnt that you should not judge anyone/thing by the surface it presents to you.

I've also come to learn that I have some incredible social inadequacies.

And that I am going to have to learn to feel pretty much alone here.

I used to pride myself for being the loner that I am.

'No man is an island'.

The lectures on Island Biogeography finally helped me understand the above saying:

An island is an isolated state of being. It's not just a lump of sand/corral/volcanic lava some distance away from mainland.

An island is something separated far away from everything else.
A physical state of being.
Or a psychological state of mind.

No one can live alone. Because being isolated from the rest of mankind can break something in you.

My mother used to comfort me by saying, "Whenever you're alone, remember that you're not really alone. You will always have Allah with you; He's always there with you. Allah will be all you need."

Hasbi Rabbi.
Sometimes I really do forget.

People say that in times of distress, the Quran will never fail to ease the worry and balm the pain.

So let me open a random page.

"So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And let them not disquiet you who are not certain (in faith)." 30:60

It definitely hits home.

Be patient.
Be patient.
Be patient.

You'll soon be Home. 'And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present.' 93:4

Sighing is not good for the soul, I find.

Home. Soon.





this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:37 pm


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Shivering in the chilly spring.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

I am shivering.

I don't think it's completely due to the chilly wind breezing through my open window. It's the first pleasantly cold day in nearly a week. I am very thankful, alhamdulillah.

I think I am scared.

I asked the naqibahs of my QC once. And I've asked PNut. And I've asked Ummu Faiqah, over green apples at the kitchen counter. And I've read about it in another ukhti's blog.

And we're all carrying about the same worry in the depths of our memories. Maybe in different amounts. But mostly the same concerns.

Maybe we're all somewhat scared.

I still remember, a little, of what it felt like, those few weeks before I left home. LITW home. That part of me I really long for, but am wary of at the same time. I thought that since I had felt confused and listless back home before, I would be able to deal with it when I flew back there during summer.

A trip to a friend's room a fortnight back proved me wrong, as only Allah ever can.

It was surprising to feel so suffocated and so lost, being the only one with that mindset in that particular house, at that particular moment. It felt like I was floating alone, and like I had no one on my side. Luckily, my heart drew me to the prayer mat, and I spent a few long minutes there, praying hard. I hope that my intentions were sincere, because Allah knew I nearly felt like my physical heart would take. I felt like I was near drowning, and the moments after I shut the door behind me and rushed down the corridor felt like huge gasps of painful fresh air, filling my lungs and nourishing my soul.

I know it all sound fairly dramatic, but that's how it felt like. It's just my nature to express myself with such superfluous adjectives, is all. But here's the honest question:

How do you swim with your head above water?

I thought that since I had learned so many new things from the people around me, and from my parents, through the endless phone calls, I thought that I would be able to handle going back to LITW, and back into that inferno of confusion and lost souls searching. I thought that I would be able to swim upright, my head held high.

Now I'm not so sure.

And the mood music (OPick's Buka Mata Buka Hati) is not helping much.
But an introspective on the lyrics is easing the worry a little.

'Tak mungkin bisa ku sempurna
MencintaiMu seperti keMaha-anMu
Dini yang hina berlumur noda
Hanya bersimpuh memohon belas kasihMu

Beribu dosa tlah terjadi
Mewarnai langkahku
Hitam diri
Hitamlah hari yang lalu

Bila tanpa cahayaMu
Gelap seluruh hidupku
Tak berdaya
Tak bererti

Buka mataku
Buka hatiku
Allah, terangilah hidupku
Dengan sinarmu.'

I guess, there isn't much in me to do, except to mujahadah. I really have to work at it, I know. Because I can see myself actually longing to do the things I used to, nearly a year ago (masyaAllah, time flies), when in fact, I know I shouldn't. I'm still struggling with my physical jahiliyah, and I know I've only just begun on my inner jahiliyah. I have far still to go.

I must admit, it will be hard to think differently.
To act differently.
To have stronger principles, and insyaAllah, live up to them.
To have a different scale of judgement.
To dress differently, even, considering the environment I will be surrounded by.
A few semi-funny, semi-revealing anecdotes by Ummu Lo'lo' brought to light this point.

Ah, alhamdulillah, she will be so near by.

But after eight months of falling into pattern, it will be hard, being thrust into another environment. Despite my social inanity, I will definitely miss the bi'ah that surrounded me so thus far. We will be spread out all over LITW, come November and December.

If the 2nd-years feel the weight of the burden, I wonder how us 1st-years will fare?

May Allah give us all the strength of will and stoicity of faith that it will take for us to pull through. Ilaa mardhatillah, insyaAllah.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 10:37 am


Friday, October 13, 2006

Why the hijab?

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

This fellow blogger I know has come out of his shell with the most interesting things to say. Maybe all that time spent away from his old blog has created something of a surge in thoughts.


But let's all help him, here. As a 'curious male', he wants to know why people wear the hijab.

I welcome some people to even tell him why they don't wear the hijab. Add some perspective to the issue.

And I'm only promoting the link because I've thought of it for some time. But I haven't had the gall or maybe the right words, to actually ask the questions.

And although what I would say would be rather different from his words, I think the underlying message is pretty much the same.

Only I am too chicken to get the flak and sound all better-than-thou about the issue. :D


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 3:36 pm


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iftaring away...

I reached the house immediately after Global Ecology & Biogeography, where I had been forced by Michael to actually learn the basics of Excel. Now, on top of being forever retained in my mind as the rugged tutor-dude who breathes caffeine and goes barefooted in the computer lab, I will forever remember him as the guy who actually took the time to teach me Excel, which I have usually cleverly avoided all these years.

Alhamdulillah. :)

The walk there was straight. Ahead. And I wondered if I was on the right track. I knew I was on the right street, but I wondered if the street went over a few turns, or whether it skivvied into a narrow alley. But walk down the straight and narrow I did, until I reached the Venue.

Eh, wait. This sounds slightly philosophical. But it isn't; not completely. Unless it's my subconscious forming the words as I type. But let's not digress too far ahead.

Once I got in, the smell of spices and the warmth from the kitchen overwhelmed me for a second. Friendly voices greeted me, with a particular one inviting me for jemaah. I took an absent-minded pander before finally resting myself for the afternoon with solat.

My eyes scanned the bookshelves, holding my fascination for more than a second. There were little treasure troves all over the lofty home, and my hands struggle to resist the temptation to open the up the books and curl up on the beanbag in the corner - seclude myself from the rest of the world.

Boy, am I glad I resisted. Because there was much to do.

It all began with a clanger of a crash. And then we abandoned our rested poses in the living room and charged towards the kitchen in due time. Ummu Faiqah* invited me to help with the apples, Ummu Lo'lo'* wanted my 'expertise' for flipping over the chicken wings and popping them back into the oven, and Ummu Zakkirah* suggested that I separate the yolks from the whites, if I could (I used the technique I called 'The Cerita Korea' technique, much to the cynical bemusement of Ummu Lo'lo'. "Well now, let's see it.").

I did the best I could, given the circumstances.

In between, there was a mash of conversations between the four of us in that huge kitchen (how I LOVE that huge kitchen!). I took this rare opportunity to barrage my sisters with questions - about life, and friends, and studies, and clothes, and recipes, and readings. And even though I flitted a lot between the three, I reckon I picked up quite a bit. The hours before sunset flew by as the cooking gained momentum, and the room grew warmer, and the iftar guests filed in.

Ummu Wafak finally came home after a (presumably) strenuous bout of grocery shopping and quietly set to work. That made five of us in the kitchen. Three QCs and their respective 'Mommies' gathered about any available space, and even more people filed about the stove and the oven, waiting for orders to come. Some didn't even bother for instructions, and went about being helpful anyway :P.

And then the welcome sunset arrived.

Dates were quickly consumed, water made the fill, and then the saf started filing in line, row by row. We could not but thank Allah first and foremost. The home did not turn quiet, but a serene light had appeared. We were given time for reflection and quiet thoughts. Muhasabah.

And once everyone was done with solat, we really began the iftaring business. The menu was extensive. We were celebrating someone's birth, and as a result, the desserts were aplenty. Orang meringue pie, apple cake, yoghurt and fruits, and caramel ice cream. Yum.

But Ummu Lo'lo' gave us a deadline for Isya' (followed by tarawih) at Frank Tate. "We leave by 8.05, okay?"


Still, when the time came, I didn't really want to leave. In fact, I started inviting myself over for a few nights in the next few weeks. I heard voices saying, "Come lah!", and some seniors laughed at my suggestion of 'some odd night to come'.


But what struck me was how much welcome I was. How warm I felt inside, and hopefully, it wasn't all due to food.

It felt like home.

There's an old, anonymous saying that goes, 'Home is where the heart is.'

These people -- I think that maybe now, they're my heart. <3

Ana uhibbuki fillah, abadan abada.


this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:07 pm


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Taking a gander. THE gander. A gander.


This is my friend (?). He is a blogger.

He is currently in LITW, doing the infamous torture known as the SAM, in which they have to endure painstaking hours of SSABSA.

Ah, but life seems to be built on stacks of acronyms sometimes.

And even though it's been more than 10 years since we've even been in the same room, it's still good to know that semi-great minds will always stumble on the same inane things, and share them (un)equally amongst them.

A famous line from the Sisterhood movie comes to mind.

I enjoyed this piece of enduring sarcasm. MLH, congratulations on mastering the highly Ostolian trait which is sarcasm in the spoken/written word.

You're almost there.

Cheers, mate.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 3:58 pm


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Someone please tell me.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

It is so like parents to be more concerned about their child's welfare and little going-ons than about themselves.

Which can be... something I don't quite like.

I am not complaining about this great capability to love and care that Allah has blessed my parents - and possibly all parents all over the world - with, or anything. As Book says, 'tak mahu kufur nikmat'.

It's just that Utusan Online seems to be a pitiful source of news and information on my homeland (unless you're wondering about which old rock star has been enveloped in a new scandal featuring an unknown 'starlet' -- of which I am not naming names), and New Straits Times is still new to me, so I'm still learning about which button leads me where. And my parents tend to focus more on what's going on at my uni, and what I got for my Management essay (which never fails to incite my Papa into a long chat about how I should really consider minoring in commerce, and how much it helped him and Tuo Pek), than how tall my cousins have grown, or how their attempt at boycotting Zionist products is going, or how the share market is progressing.

Just a few things I tend to chat with Papa about.

But I can usually count on Brother Faisal's blog to always keep things interesting.

So now I learn that in the Land of the Indignant Third Worlders (LITW), there are none/there is a shortage of:

How are my poor parents coping with this, I wonder? With the insane increase in the prices of convenience goods (so I hear -- because Allah knows I cannot seem to read about it), how can my parents even think of driving the car, or even having a decent iftar?

This situation is bordering on ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than having to pay AUD 17.00 for a bunch of bananas.

But at least there's a reason for banana shortage. And at least we can still get a kilogram of white sugar for AUD 0.99 at the nearest Aldi.

I know that should I start naming names, I might get monitored by the government. Maybe I should ask Book for the cool 'monitored blog' icon tag.

But if the LITW doesn't at least find an alternative supply of chilies for the mass public, then they should prepare for an uprising along the likes of what just went on in the Thai government. If they are lucky. The Thai coup went on without even a bullet being shot off into the dark, so I hear.

LITW-ers are a bit more feisty than that, if they aren't hooked up on them chillies.

Wallahu'alam bissawab.

I need somebody to keep my updated on LITW (I hope people know what I'm getting at with the acronyms and such). Lest I go home this 30th November (insyaAllah) completely clueless and unaware, and expecting to be able to eat that homeland fair I crave so much, and end up finding out that "sorry, but we're out of salt this time around".

That would be known as stepping over the forbidden line in my books, dude.


this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 10:23 am


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Assalamualaikum wrh wbt.

I know laughing too much and too hard is not good for the heart.

But I just grinned all the way through this delicious article.

Ah. I need some sweets from Brunswick. Baklava, or that long small pastry that looks like baklava but tastes better...

Happy iftar, all. :)


this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:53 pm


Sunday, October 01, 2006

It is not in my behaviour...

Assalamualaikum wrh wbt.

I don't usually condone self-expression with music lyrics, especially not with some of the junk that they spew out of Los Angeles nowadays. It's profane, for the most part -- and quite scary, in my humble opinion. Let's just chalk it up as one of those things that I am just weirdly particular about, along with not using abbreviations when writing, and watering my new blooming hyacinths everytime I enter the bathroom, which is where they reside right now.

I am surprisingly anal sometimes.

Thing is, I've been feeling rather indignant, this past week. Although this bout of 'indignance' has a calmer, more well-adjusted tone to it (insyaAllah -- I wince when I remember some of the things I spouted at people such as Kirdain and Adam and BangLong and my mother), it's still there.

It can never truly leave, now can it?

And as my first year here in Melbourne draws to a thundering climax before the quiet, predictable ending, I feel the burden of everything I know, and everything I have been entrusted with. I made this promise when I came into the world. It is now my duty to uphold, no matter how hard, no matter how hopeless it may seem.

Muslims hold the hope of the world in their hands.

If you haven't felt dissed by the last post, then continue on. But just a short note about the first verse: In trying to tell people that you've changed -- how do you break it to them? Do you 'wear your faith like you wear a disguise', and hope that one day you'll break free?

Allahu'alam bissawab.

Enjoy the words. And hopefully, get the album when you can. I hear it's coming out soon.

The Truth that Lies
by Dawud Wharnsby Ali

You smile in the two way mirror of my eyes.
I put on my faith like I wear a disguise.
You can’t see my soul, see the life that I live.
But I show you the mask of the best I can give.

I’ve hid here, afraid, like a child behind,
the truth of the thoughts that clutter my mind.
What if you knew, about all that I do?
The things that I think… the “me” that is true

I’ve been looking for answers since becoming adult,
not looking for dogma to live like a cult.
I’ve been looking to live, been living to find,
freedom from cages that limit my mind.
Will I scare you? Upset you? Frustrate you? Irrate you?
Challenge your lifestyle or weaken your trust?
Or will you see my effort? My passion? Sincerity?
Will you see just a little of yourself in me?
Will you take off your mask so we can be free?

Would you call me a hypocrite?
Call me a liar?
Would you curse out my name?
Would you damn me to fire?
Would you know what to say?
Would you just walk away,
afraid the “me” I’ve tried to hide,
would too closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?

*courtesy of Sister NuralHuda of London. Visit her thoughts here.

this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 3:14 pm