Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jotting from between Bouverie and Victoria.

Yesterday was hectic. And so was the day before.

From packing to saying (insyaAllah, temporary) goodbyes to shopping for the people back home (coming soon to an airport near you!), there hasn't been much time for reflection.

Sure, your mind may ramble with incoherent thoughts, barely making sense from one insight to the other. It really requires some show of will power to actually sit down and muhasabah -- maybe even put those slivers of ideas into words, as seems to work for me.

Yet, it seems, I haven't had the time. Where has it all gone to?

And please, don't check with my bank. They'll only be too keen to answer that question.

After I had finished packing and clearing out the house (with a sense of sheer desperation) and had lugged everything onto Qaswak, Ummu Faiqah, Caah and I decided on an impromptu dinner at a fish and chippery, right at Port Melbourne, which I had never been. And so without even bothering to unpack, we opened up the trusty Melway and made our way to the Port Melbourne just in time for sunset.

MasyaAllah, the sight was a lovely one to behold. True, having fish and chips under close observation by seagulls is a bit unnerving, but we soon ignored those prying, beady little eyes when Ummu Faiqah asked us about how we felt upon returning to LITW.

While Caah listened quietly and patiently, as I have now discovered she is wont to do, I blurted out long sentences of unfinished questions as I wrangled with the right words to shape my thoughts into something somewhat tangible. Ummu Faiqah has always been one to explain earnestly and passionately (but maybe not at her fullest while driving), and she answered so many of my questions last night, it's amazing we did not get lost on the way back.

I won't write down a dialogue of our discussion -- that isn't what I'm going after, since I think our voices, peppered with insiders' terms and jokes and whatnot won't help explain anything to this blog's audience. What struck me as we unloaded my things from Qaswak's 'hump' was about something I'm certain everyone can relate to: friends.

I know I'm not a very good friend. I can be a pain when I'm under stress or infleunce of hormones, I'm not terribly eloquent in either of the two languages I can speak, I have scarce common sense, I'm messy, and I'm selfish.

Talk about self-confession.

But I have just realized that the person you are really is defined, somewhat, by the company you keep. Now, I'm not insinuating that us humans are all drones who only stick to our kind, and no one else -- that we prefer people who are just like us and alienate everyone else. I'm just saying that more often than not, the only people you can truly stand for long periods of time are the ones who don't really hold conflict with everything you believe in. Friends are optional; the love you share is not forced upon you through long, painful hours together, or even blood ties.

As the saying goes, 'You can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family'.

As I've learnt over the past few years since leaving high school, friends are the extensions of you. They will be the people who have stood by you through everything; sometimes they are unexpected, but upon closer inspection, they become tried, tested and true. They show how far your limits are by the things they do that do not irritate you; they say things that have crossed your mind more than once, and you usually share a common passion.

Difficult as it is for those who believe that the people I hang out with 'blend into each other, the poor conforming beings', let me tell you that we're all as different as the colours of the rainbow, once you learn to look past the superficial stuff, like what we wear, or our togetherness as a unit. Many of them still surprise me; alhamdulillah, I'm learning something new everyday.

We share a common passion and a common love for our Maker and the Deen He gave us, and that Love forces us to overlook any differences of mind and principle. We were made different and unique, and our Love forces us to accept that as well. We embrace each other's strengths, support each other's weaknesses, and upon request, help fix each other's vices.

(I do not find compulsive nail-biting a vice, by the way. Take note, Suzuka.)

And I suppose the best sort of friendship litmus test is when they will tell you what is good for you, whether or not you like to hear it. When it's important, when it's needed, they will always be there to remind you.

When you fall, they're ever waiting to catch you and help prop you back up on your feet.

And so this is another tribute to my friends, or more specifically, my ukhti --

For always reminding me.

For showing me what it's like to be a friend.

For accepting me as I am, and for correcting me when I err.

For never judging me, or let me judge anyone.

For being that bit of buoyance when I feel like sinking under the weight.

For preparing me for what lies ahead.

Alhamdulillah for our friendship, and may it last through our lifetimes. All the way into the next, insyaAllah.

Salaam mujahadah for summer 2006.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 5:35 am


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

From the bottom of my shallow heart.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

It's tough, exams month is. And not even for the reasons you'd expect.

Everybody is so busy, and I can't help but feel the spirit and the energy get sucked out of me.
I tend to rely on others to infect me with enthusiasm, to help me go on. To keep me on the straight and narrow, so I don't de-VAY-ate, as the Wafaks would say.

Stumbling upon the wordds of my akhi and ukhti remind me that there are healthy alternatives to the self-centred, angsty, emotional outbursts that are typical of most blogs. There are people out there who are willing to make you think, rather than just presenting you with THEIR view on life. I really can't find anything to argue with them. They do not impose or judge, but simply tell you like it is.

Take a stroll down Circling Thoughts, and you'll probably see what I mean.

We -- or maybe, I -- haven't had the time to stop for a while, and nu'min sa'ah. My final paper is nearing, when so many are already done with theirs. That also tend to suck the life out of me, just a wee bit. I'm resisting the urge to pack and spring clean, just yet. Such an itch it is, too.

And so, what a pleasant surprise it was when two of my ukhti actually stayed over to accompany my now-daily study sojourn into the early morn. One of them had just finished her exams (and graciously offered to be our cook until our last papers were done, alhamdulillah :)), and the other was studying with me.

And what an amazing thing, that from the moment they entered until the moment I woke up, a mess of blankets and beanie Assad, that all our conversations centred around our Deen.

It was something I didn't know I had craved for so long.

Just when I thought I was probably going to flail alone until I was done with 610-122, Allah s.w.t. gave me the strength and energy to go on, in the form of my sisters.

Our night was a funny mixture of the future, common friends, and chocolate cake, but I'll remember it long after that flight back home.

Maybe even long after that 'flight' back Home. InsyaAllah.

Because they reminded me just now, just where our Home really was.

'And you prefer the worldly life
While the Hereafter is better and more enduring.'
[Al-A'la, 87:16-17]

Jazakillahu khayr, ya ukhti. Syukran jazilan.
Uhibbuki fillah, abadan abada, insyaAllah <3


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 9:32 am


Saturday, November 18, 2006

The remnants of jahiliyyah.

Okay. So we understand the term 'jahiliyah' to represent everything that is unIslamic.

jahiliyyah = everything that is unIslamic. Got it.

Unislamic with a small 'i', if you wish it (inside joke, sorry the un-ikhwah-akhwati-fil-Melbourne).

So. Be your own judge. Use the mizan laid out for you in the Qur'an, and you will see that it's all quite plainly mentioned, really.

Because if you believe in God (as I do, insyaAllah), you will believe that God knows better than we do, of what is good for us.

{Warning: The rest of this post will be directed towards the strictly Muslim audience, lest some non-Muslim who reads a little too much into statements will break into some sort of anti-Syazwina rant along the lines of the Evict-al-Hilaly media hoopla}

So when He says 'No intoxicants', you do NOT argue by stating the few (short-lived and wishful) benefits of drinking wine.

When God says something is haram (forbidden), you do NOT question again and forth.

'And We have diversified in this Qur'an for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute.'
[Al-Kahfi, 18:54]

When God asks you to cover up with the hijab, well. Obviously He knows better the vagaries of the male mind. After all, He created men (not forgetting women, to all the feminists out there). So He should know better what turns guys on, and whatnot, eh?

Tak caya? Go ahead and ask a brother/father. And they'll tell you the weirdest of things that can turn into fetishes.

And when you are meant to be a GOOD PERSON overall, you try to do that. God knows the potential in everyone. God loves you enough to want you to be the best that you can be.

So I'm suggesting we let go of the jahiliyyahs that so encumber our souls. Ignore the pull of Hollywood male-worship (coming from someone who made a hobby of oogling male actors, from the likes of Elijah Wood to Hugh Dancy, not so very long ago). Don't bother to fill your head with all the songs that you'll forget the next time the NEXT successors to the Brit-punk rock scene (currently held by the Kaiser Chiefs -- I keep abreast with the times, okay?) comes around.

If you can't be rid of the material jahiliyyah, how are you going to kick out all the jahiliyyah of the soul that still remains?

The jahiliyyah of unrequited feelings for instance, which inevitably turn into self-imposed depression and neurotic anxiety?
The jahiliyyah of feeling superior -- riak, taqbur?

Do you seriously want to be of the ghurur?

So. Be rid of the prejudice that still beleagures your lenses when you view the hearts of the people around you.

Forget about your own wants, and focus more on others.

Shut up and listen.

Because you know, all of your deeds -- every action, every thought, every wish -- will be displayed on a free-for-all during the Judgement at the Mahsyar.

Do you REALLY want everyone to see all the things you've done?

Astaghfirullah, ya Ghafur, ya Karim.

This is a reminder for myself, before this becomes a reminder to you.

'It's the heart of a Muslim through the guidance of Islam
It makes you fair and kind and helpful to your fellow man
So living as a Muslim means that you must play a part
Allah looks not at how you look
But what is in your heart'
-Zain Bhikha's The Heart of a Muslim-


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 11:28 pm


Friday, November 17, 2006

"Don't judge me!"

Familiar phrase?

Assalamualaikum, my dearest audience, wherever you may be. Do excuse my smirk.

Because I tend to JUDGE.

Just ask a few of my friends. Close ones, not so close ones; they'll all tell you the same thing: That Syazwina is one to really jump to conclusions.

I'm not the only one. It takes someone with a lot of perseverance and a whole lot of wisdom and 'salt', as my Malay ancestors would put it, for one NOT to judge at the first glance something or someone. It's really hard. And if you've got a good imagination to boot, it'll be even harder not to create a whole other history behind that assumption. To inflict so many other interconnected factors to that one presumption you have of someone/thing, often without even experiencing said person/thing.

Being judgemental is far too easy.

I've been 'revising' some of the novels I've got in my meagre collection of readings (am trying to figure out whether I can finish Sayyid Qutb's novel during my intended short stay at Ummu Lo'lo''s home, after exams), and something Deb Caletti's observant, tongue-twisting heroine in 'Honey Baby Sweetheart' does, I've realized, is judge -- a lot. And although reading as she creates stories behind those split-second effigies she makes up in her head is mighty fun, I tell you, she learns that not everything is as it seems.

This sounding familiar to you?

Something I've learned while living amongst this bi'ah is that I have many vices to fix. And one of them is being judgemental.

My sisters believe in believing in the best of people, because that is Islam's way. They acknowledge that it's hard, but they will always remind you to never think badly of anyone, and not give the devil any chance to do his nasty work at making you think you're so much better than someone else.

For instance, I spend a lot of time over the semester's lunch hours in the musolla, located at Frank Tate, and regular faces have become ingrained in my head. I recognize the usual visitors, and on the presumption that everyone who knows the access code into the prayer room is Muslim, I wondered why some of these regulars do not pray.

(It's a sad but true fact, but let me continue.)

From what I can tell, some local Muslims simply don't pray in jema'ah when prayer time comes. Some of them don't pray while they're there. And this happens too often, sometimes for me to associate their exclusion from jemaah to be due to their menstruating.

And so one day, pointing out a regular musolla visitor to one of my senior ukhti, I asked her if the girl was Muslim (she usually visited, and she wore no hijab, and she looked Caucasian, so you know --you wonder).

"I presume so."

"But I've never seen her pray."

And with a grim look on her face, she said to me, "Maybe you've just never chanced upon her praying. Anyway, I prefer to not presume the worst of her."

And sure enough, a few months later, I saw said regular visitor all garbed in one of the long jubahs in the prayer room, rushing to make it to jemaah. I met her not once, but many times, and always in the same prayer jubah, as a matter of fact. She became an acquaintance, and by Eid, we knew each other well enough to say greet each other and have a little chat whenever we bumped into each other.

That taught me a priceless lesson. Alhamdulillah.

Assuming the best of a person (bersangka baik) is called husnuzon in Arabic (anyone actually proficient in the language is welcome to correct my phonetics). It's something my sisters try to remind us to do -- to think well of a person, even if they're talking about us behind our backs, or even if they're spreading rumours about us. Even if they give us snide looks, or half-witty sarcasm, or insult our faith.

Presume the best, and never judge.

Another example of this was during the first MUIS iftar this year. After Maghrib prayers and the eager consumption of food, there was a short talk by a local sheikh. He was fairly young, and he gave a good tazkirah about the basics of taqwa, and what small steps we can do to acheive piety.

One of his anecdotes had to do with what if John Howard visited the musolla, which was interjected by cynical chuckles by brothers and sisters alike. It's only the thing to be done.

And with a smile, the sheikh said something along the lines of,
"I know he's not the greatest person to be around, but instead of being mad at him, we should pity him, because he has yet to understand Islam. We should all pray that he will understand one day; that Allah will grant him hidayah (revelation)."

That quieted us down, and awed me. And I was reminded of it again after another ukhti mentioned his words during a tazkirah she gave.

After every single thing that Howard has done to give us Muslims a bad time in this country, and this guy has nothing but SYMPATHY for the man, when so many others would want to flog him so badly (admittedly, me included).

Imagine a world without presumptions and assumptions and sceptical cynicism. Sounds ideal and hence, unacheivable, doesn't it? But my ukhti and akhi are living proof that you actually CAN stop yourself from judging people at the first glance.

To think of it, if it weren't for ill-thought assumptions, Iraq would not be occupied by the US right now, because the brilliant George Bush Jr., and Donald Rumsfled (yes, I am taking a dig at them -- I can't resist) would not presume that Saddam was keeping weapons of mass destruction. That is, if we're basing our opinions purely on Rumsfeld's claims that their little sojourn into the oil-rich nation was only on that basis alone. Which I, ever the political sceptic, highly doubt.

But I digress.


(Please oh please, no John Lennon in the background, if you don't mind. That would push the limitations of puns just a bit too far.)

So. Husnuzon. Try it. It saves you a whole lot of anger management issues, and a whole lot of self-conscious worry.

But if even that fails you, then I would like to quote Eleanor Roosevelt, the late wife of the former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (but of course):

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

So if you feel like someone's judging you, then it's probably because you're doing something that you know isn't quite right by that person. And if you don't feel comfortable with feeling guilty, then remind your ego that YOU'RE the one who's letting yourself feel judged.

It's all up there. *points to temple i.e. that hollow ridge by the side of the head, not the place of worship*

Now if you'll excuse me, I've been letting my mocha (from Gloria Jeans - their mocha is the best, and you guys should check out the Professor's Cafe's flat white... yum!) get cold and un-fun.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 7:29 pm


Thursday, November 16, 2006

I love this song.

This was playing in the background as al-Jadid went about fixing my Rawiyyah, who was suffering a little bout of owner-stupiditis.

NEVER delete anything from your system files. Comprende?

Jazakillahu khayr, al-Jadid. :)

Sigh. InsyaAllah, I'm waiting for MY day to frolick in the south-westerly winds of icy Melbourne.

Salaam mujahadah, all.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 5:29 pm


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of tears.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

There have been many, many tears lately.

Some of them due to stress (exams!!), part of it is due to personal issues, such as friends (argh) and family (Aiman, nanti Aunty Awin bawak chocolate, okay?)...

And maybe part of it is due to hormones.

But the One who Created tears is Allah. And He will bring to you what is best for you, He will ask of you what is best for you, and He will befall upon you what is best for you. Because He Loves us that much, you see.

'Nothing is better than what has been.'

When I was younger and I got scolded by one (or both) of my parents (And undoubtedly with due reason), I would usually break into tears. And I usually did so behind their backs, because my mother had once asked me,

"Why are you crying?"

And so I said,
"I'm crying because I'm upset."

And then she said,
"You're crying because you're upset. You're angry, aren't you?"

She gave an ominous sigh.
"You're not crying out of regret of your actions. You still don't get it. All you can see if how you've been wronged by your father and me."

She looked me straight in the eye.

"If you fail to see just where you've erred, all our scolding, and all your tears will amount to nothing."

The uncanny thing was, she was right. Always.

I was mad at her. I was furious. All I could see was that my parents had a vendetta against me, and that I wasn't to blame -- couldn't they see that? Why was I always the victim, the vindicted, and never the vindicated?

Ah, I was very much into drama during those years. Come to think of it, not much has changed. And I blame Hollywood.

Back to the topic. What was it again?

I used to see tears as a show of emotion. It was a sign of weakness and lack of self-control. It was a tool of self-expression. And I don't know if you've noticed, but crying, weeping, sobbing -- okay, maybe not sobbing -- makes you feel so much better afterwards.

Don't believe me?

"Go ahead; just cry and let it all out."

Try it.

Crying pulls a weight off your chest. And even though I wasn't very wara' as a kid, I usually found that as I cried, I always called for God.

"O God, why don't they understand me? Why should I feel so unhappy? Why?"

There is a hadith Qudsi, which stated something about how the angels asked Allah of a woman who had been supplicating for a very long time in front of the Kaabah. Usually, the prayers of the sincere in front of the Kaabah would be granted. But this woman had been suffering for so long.

"O Allah, why won't you relieve her misery?"

And Allah replied something along the lines of,
"Should I grant that, would she remember Me?"

When I heard the hadith over the radio, I was struck by how true it was.
We usually never remembered our Maker until when we were struck by disaster.

Don't believe me? Look for footage of the victims of the New Orleans hurricane.

Those who weren't armed with weaponry were likely clutching the bible or a cross (salib) or both.

And we forget that Allah really misses our remembrance of Him. He knows us better than we do, and made the fard prayers obligatory on us, because humans really just want to worship Him. We're always looking for an Ultimate Answer, a Greater Power, a Force (no sith jokes here, please).

'And I did not create the jinn and the mankind except to worship Me.'
[Surah adh-Dhariyyat, 51:56]

And we forget that really, tears help mould the soul. Just like a steady trickle of water kneads the toughest rock, tears weakens the hardest of us, and makes us sensitive. Sensitive to and towards the people around us, sensitive of the state of our iman, sensitive of the happenings of the world, sensitive of our environment (i.e. what goes on around us, because no one, and especially God, likes a self-absorbed little twit) -- sensitive towards all of God's creations.

And that would ultimately bring us closer to God.

What have we to lose?

So cry. Don't be ashamed of those tears that are most treasured to our Maker. Tears are no sign of weakness, or lack of self-control. Rather, you are admitting that you need help. Doesn't humility require strength?

Cry because you fear His punishment over all the bad deeds you've done. Cry because you remember all the ways He's blessed you with His Love.

And even if you cannot cry because of Him, if your heart aches, just cry for Him.

Because He misses you.

Allahu'alam bissawab.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 6:23 pm


Friday, November 10, 2006

Very uncanny.

My situation is very much like the guy in this vid:

"Your friend's being questioned right now."



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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 1:01 pm


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Do you remember?

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

Have you ever gone to someone's blog, and felt that in order to communicate about something else to that person, you had to comment on one of his/her posts?

I think it's just common blog-tesy.

And I must admit, my comments are a tad long. Which is why if I find something interesting, I usually refrain from comment, unless I felt it incumbent on me to pour my heart out on the topic.

I was in school debates (not to mention private ones with my little brother), and though I wasn't a very good debater (I never made it past the preliminary round, mainly due to nerves and ill-preparation), it's in my blood, and I tend to stick too hard to my points.

Ah, Dale Carnegie. You've taught me something good, this past week. Thanks be to Allah.

But that's not the main topic I was going to go on about.

I was reading MLH's entry on the end of his pre-U, and it brought back memories of AUSMAT 16. I haven't had time to digest everything we've been through -- how much we all have come from way back then. Now I have, and I don't blame some of my friends for being defensive and so averse to change.

It's tough, admitting that you've lost touch with the people who once held claim on your heart . It's tough, admitting that promises once thought would last forever have crumbled in the desert brought along by this awful drought.

It's tough to not know anymore the people who once lived right next to you and shared your dreams, life, memories.

This is just a bit of what I wrote in the comment box, pending approval (I know it's a tad long-ish, but like I said, I'm awful at comments):


I feel it incumbent upon me to comment about your post:

And so I would have to say that I felt the same. I was even, admittedly, tearful at the thought of leaving the 198 people who made up AUSMAT 16. I loved the lecturers. I loved the idiotic pranks we would get to. I love the fact that unlike high school and other colleges I know, there were no (visible) cliques in my preU, and that these people were all so different, yet so accepting of each other.

The people I knew were geared to succeed.

Back then I had a different scale of judgement, of course. My closest pals, I called my Pseudo-Family. We had ranks, and I was Ucu. We had 'family dinners' weekly, and I would incessantly bully my 'big brothers', and take full advantage of KakChik's immense level of tolerance and kindness.

The times have passed now, and the Pseudo-Family is, admittedly, all but defunct. Having changed so much ourselves, we no longer see much common ground that would make us want to RELATE.

Some people from AUSMAT choose to stay away from the past. Some people would say that I'm one of them.

I once said that I couldn't understand why people drank coffee, when there was earl grey right in front of them. Now I have a cafe-radar stuck right under my nose, and I am crazy for Aussie coffee.

I used to be one of those people who said "I will never forget you." Seems like I've broken my promise. It seems as if I don't even care. Truth is, I feel that I just forgot. Humans, insani - it's only natural to forget.

And so I read your article with a bit of nostalgia and a bit of cynicism. Because I think I'm living you and your friends' future.

We view the future through rose-tinted granny glasses, and forget that the truth is more painful, and that it comes in greys, not psychedelic technicolour.'

And another thing I forgot to mention that most times, we have to change. We should never be scared of it. 'Change makes the world go round'.

And oft times, it scared the heck out of us.

But it's only the natural order of things, the sunnatullah. The diff is, the way you deal with it.

Will you tolerate it, or pretend it never happened?

Won't you let change let you grow?

I will keep our memories intact. Hopefully, I won't forget that, insyaAllah.

"It's now time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy
You're still young, that's your fault
There's so much you have to know.

Take your time
Think a lot
Think of everything you've got
For you may still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not."

-Yusuf Islam's Father and Son-


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 10:18 am


Saturday, November 04, 2006

'That's not hijab.'

Note to MLH:

This is how it should be done.

I bet Ali has some fans now.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 11:57 pm


I curse you to the Seven Fires.

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Most Kind

O Allah,
We place You upon the necks of our enemies
And we seek refuge with You from their evil.

O Allah,
Annihilate their groups
And set their unity in chaos
And destroy their coalitions
And waver their stand
And let loose Your dogs upon them.

Ya Qahhar, Ya Jabbar, Ya Muntaqim
Oh Allah
Oh my Lord who sent down the Quran
Oh my Lord who sets forth the clouds
Oh my Lord who defeated the army of Ahzab

Defeat them
Defeat them
Defeat them
And grant us victory over them.


*This was the best I could translate from the translation of the Qunut Nazilah, which is probably the only harsh du'a that ever exists in Islam. I chose a more emotional version, which I admit, is due to anger.

They need our prayers.*

And will you still ask, "Why must we boycott their products, when it cannot do anything much?"

Your money is being used to kill innocent lives.
Enough said.
Let your conscience speak.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 3:02 pm


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sekadar luahan perasaan.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

So many people are eager to pick fights. I happen to be one of them. I am touchy and uber-sensitive and I care too much what people think of me. All of which I'm trying to fix right now. I'm not particularly good at debates. I tend to never make the point, and all people end up doing is laugh. At me.

Maybe it's one of those hidden blessings God has blessed me with. The inability to hurt anyone's feelings but my own. Because come to think of it, heartache/dissappointment will build my soul. But I can't say what it will do other people. I'm better off not sinning that way.

'And I found my head one day
when I wasn't even trying
and here I have to say
cause there is no use in lying, lying'


The people I know from a distance hurt my head. They don't mean to. But they do.

They're so emotionally-fueled. They dream so hard, and when they fall short off the mark, they lick their wounds publicly. And they're so keen to philosophize life, but they end up confusing themselves. I try to keep track, but they confuse me instead.

They seem to be searching for strength, for love, for answers for everything. But as humans are oft to do, they tend to look in a myriad of places, neither of which contain the real answer.

'Well I hit the rowdy road
and many kinds I met there
and many stories told me on the way to get there'


I was searching for answers, and it got me here. And my mind has often argued with my nafs over what right and wrong is.

And everytime I open a page, the answers are there, as if just for me.

Telling me to be patient.
Telling me to be kind.
Telling me to not waste time.
Telling me that the struggle is sweeter than it seems to those who know not.
Telling me to walk away from confusion.
Telling me that there will be no worries, as long as I know where my soul shall lay rest.

Each word is a reminder. Each word is a comfort. Each word echoes true and hard in me, and I find kindred spirits who feel the same.

'Yes the answer lies within
so why not take a look now
Kick out the devil's sin
pickup, pickup the good book now '


The months have sped by so fast. And I cannot marvel more by how much I have changed. I have changed so much and so fast.

I used to be scared of change. Now change is my friend.

'Paradise has a price'.

I had left the comforts and confusion of my homecountry in search of answers. I had left not really knowing what I would find, but I had high hopes. And I found something which puzzled me at first. But which I could not argue with.

Now I'm going back. And I wonder if my time back in LITW will undo everything I have strived for here.
I wonder whether familiarity will be the ruin of me.

I kneel and pray for strength. For
thabat on this road.

Well I left my happy home
to see what I could find out
I left my folk and friends
with the aim to clear my mind out '


'So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
So much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out '


P.S:- Jazakillah to my ukhti 'Aidah for Yusuf Islam's 'On the Road to Find Out', which was what I was listening to as I ranted this time around.

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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:07 pm


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Daging and tudung saji.

Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt.

First of all, I would like to apologize if I unintentionally insult any of my audience along the way. I have a tendency to do that. Alhamdulillah, I am not some major public figure. Otherwise, I might get in some hot soup that is so eagerly brewed by the half-witted politicians who (hopefully not for very long) govern this gorgeous land.

Yes. I am referring to Sheikh Taj-el-Din. Or as my people call it, Tajuddin. Which is my uncle's name, incidentally.

Moving on.

I am in no way available for comment on the issue. Mainly because I wasn't there in Lakemba. And also because my first impression of him was that he had said something wrong. But I would like to thank Allah for helping clear my mind on this one, and for letting it be open enough to field all sorts of opinions from left and right.

First of all, let me state that the current Australian government is unashamedly right-wing (from my little understanding of Australian politics, that is). They, for the most part, have unquestionably racist views of how Australian should be (do Google for 'John Howard, racist comment, Islam, Arabs', and you'll get the picture), and they refuse to actually listen to their people which really defies the whole idea of democracy (as my Bio lecturer so graciously indicated in his retirement rant about David Hicks being undefended by his country, peppered with Australian expletives and plenty of the f-word). Howard and Costello should shut their yanks from going on and on about how so-and-so nation is not democratic, and start getting scared about Beazley winning this one. Because if they continue with the chaos they're spinning and mucking around with, and not take back some of the more idiotic things they have done to the people of Australia, then Beazley seems to be the sure-winner in this one.

Howard and Co. have certainly no love from Victorian university students, what with us bearing the painful brunt of VSU. The majority of us, anyway.

Secondly, I have deduced from a prolonged observation, that the Australian people are a pragmatically emotional lot. That may sound paradoxical to you, but trust me, that's what they are. They tend to be let by their emotions, but within the limits of logic and political-correctness. And so if they are upset, they will most certainly show it. But with carefully-measured restrain.

Again, Howard seems to be the sole exception to this rule.

And now to the point. I have decided to give the two cents of others' here, in hopes that what little virtual audience I have will rest assured, that the Mufti of Australia and NZ is not a masochistic caveman from some long-ago culture, but that he has merely been, as so many Hollywood and Malaykayu (geddit?) personas call it,


Do read with an open mind what I get from MUIS-news:

"I agree to everything you have said so far- it is 100% correct and
>true. However, i ask you all- how many of you know verbatim what
>Sheikh AlHilaly said? how many of you can correctly quote him word
>for word? how many of you were present when he gave the Islamic
>lesson on the fourth day of Ramadan after Taraweeh? why are we
>always condemning the media for manipulation and misconstruing and
>misquoting and misinterpreting yet this time we are taking their
>side and believing their claims? well allow me to clear everything
>up for you.
>I heard Sheikh Alhilaly on that night at Lakemba mosque after
>taraweeh prayers,& and i heard his khutba this afternoon and i heard
>him explaining yet again this evening on The Voice of Islam and i
>assure you if you would call up and ask for a transcript of his
>latest interview, asked for a recording, or asked any member of the
>public who heard him tonight and understood him you will be
>confident of what i am about to inform you. The incident which
>instigated this whole debacle was, as i mentioned previously, an
>Islamic lesson on two sections of two verses of the Quran;
>"assaariko wassaarikato' (the thief and the thiefess) and
>"azzaniyato wazzaniy" (the adulteress and adulterer) (surah An-noor
>verse 2). he was explaining to a muslim audience the Islamic purpose
>regarding why in the first verse Allah started by mentioning the
>male criminal while in the second verse he started by mentioning the
>female criminal. the second verse was in reference to ADULTERY
>(unlawful sexual intercourse) NOT RAPE. and he went on to state that
>an adulteress or a prostitute is "USUALLY" the one who instigates or
>excites the male adulterer by wearing immodest and revealing
>Let me remind you that he was addressing an entirely muslim audience
>and his words were intended for muslim women. now, allow me to
>re-iterate HE WAS TALKING ABOUT ADULTERY and NOT RAPE. he then went
>on to make an analogy in reference to another topic entirely- hijab
>(or head scarf) and rape. and he asked his audience that if they
>were to leave a piece of meat in their backyard would it not attract
>cats? and they said yes and he said if you put it in your front yard
>would it still attract cats and they replied in the affirmative and
>then he asked them "what about if you covered this piece of meat?
>would the cats smell it or even go near it?" and they replied in the
>negative as i am sure& you would too.
>Let me clarify he was talking TO muslim women ABOUT muslim women and
>regarding their attire and was encouraging the wearing of the veil
>for ones protection IN HIS COMMUNITY. he did not REPEAT did NOT
>refer to non-muslim women in any form or manner, he did NOT condone
>the criminal act of rape , in fact he likened rapists to feral
>ANIMALS and he was quoted as saying ""I would like to unequivocally
>confirm that the presentation related to religious teachings on
>modesty and not to go to extremes in enticements, this does not
>condone rape," he explained. "I condemn rape and reiterate that this
>is a capital crime."

>Maybe this needs to be highlighted and posted in size 36 font. so,
>before we go ahead and join in the universal slander of one of our
>highly respected and learned sheikhs maybe we should make sure we
>have the correct information and listen to his side of the story and
>not blindly believe what the media presents us with, as Allah SWT
>said [surah alhujuraat verse 6];" ya ayoha alatheena aamano in
>jaa'akom fasiqon binaba'in fatabayanoo an tuseebo qawman bijahalatin
>fatusbi7o 3ala ma fa3altom nadimeen" (O you who believe! If a lier
>comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people
>in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have
>done). after what evidence you have been presented with, do you
>believe that such a man deserves the avalanche of abuse, reprisal
>and condemnation that is unfortunately coming from our fellow Muslim
>brothers and sisters who undoubtedly have formulated their opinions
>based on the lies and deception of the popular media? does such a
>man deserve to be thrown out of office for merely explaining a
>section of the quraan? an why is it that an incident that occurred
>almost 1 month ago is only brought to the public forefront now? is
>it to draw attention away from another scandalous affair? i leave
>you to make up your own minds- but please ensure that you choose
>reliable resources and may Allah guide us all to the truth and
>righteous path. Ameen
>Your sister in Islam,
>Rania Abdou.

And from the man himself:

The sheikh's statement
>>> 31Oct06
>>> In full of a statement issued last night by Sheik Taj Aldin
>>> Alhilali entitled ``Explanatory Statement by the Mufti El-Hilali
>>> regarding the recent media campaign'':
>>> I would like to outline clearly and plainly some of the facts and
>>> basics that formulate my faith, belief and my understanding of the
>>> teachings of the true religion of Islam.
>>> 1.
The crime of rape against any woman is an abominable crime; it
>>> has no justification, and the perpetrator deserves the severest
>>> punishment and would not deserve to belong to a religion or to
>>> humanity.
>>> 2. Women in Australia or any other western society are free to wear
>>> what they like, and no Muslim has the right to dictate the rulings
>>> of his religion on others.
While non-Muslim women can cover or
>>> reveal whatever they choose of their bodies, Islamic Shari'a made
>>> incumbent upon Muslim men to lower their gaze. It is prohibited for
>>> them to stare at the beauty of strange women.
>>> 3. It is my duty as a religious leader to advise Muslim women to
>>> adhere to and abide by the Islamic dress code. Having said that,
>>> Muslim women are free to comply with or reject my advice, and their
>>> reckoning will be with Allah the Almighty.
>>> 4. By saying the "exposed meat" displayed in a degrading way is a
>>> simile for a woman making herself subject to abuse by men with
>>> diseased souls whose animalistic instincts will overcome them
>>> whereby they would abandon their humanity, mind and religion. These
>>> men are responsible for their crime.
>>> 5.
The metaphor I used of the "exposed meat" was not appropriate
>>> the western mentality. It has been quoted and misinterpreted by
>>> groups with ill intentions. This metaphor was used in a private
>>> lesson given inside the mosque after the Taraweeh (optional night)
>>> prayers on the fourth day of Ramadan. It was meant for the Muslim
>>> attendees at the mosque and not the general public and particularly
>>> not the general women of our Australian society.
>>> Apart from the above-mentioned facts, I would like to make it known
>>> to all my brothers and sisters in and out of Australia that:
>>> After the Taraweeh (optional night) prayers on 27/09/2006 at the
>>> Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia, I gave a lesson to the members
>>> of the Islamic community of Australia, the title of which was: "Why
>>> did Allah, the Almighty, mention 'man' before 'woman' in the crime
>>> of theft? as is quoted in the Quran: ((As for) the thief, the male
>>> and the female, ...) (Al-Ma-idah 5.38) while he mentioned 'woman'
>>> before 'man' in the crime of adultery?, as is quoted in the Quran:
>>> (The woman and the man found guilty of adultery or fornication,...)
>>> (An-Nur 24.2)".
>>> This lesson lasted approximately 15 minutes, 10 minutes of these
>>> were spent on explaining the meaning of the first verse, and the
>>> remaining time was spent on giving advice and guidance relating to
>>> the way a woman dresses and the methods of seduction and the beauty
>>> given to her by the Almighty Allah. I emphasised that exceeding the
>>> limits in this regard is dangerous to both men and women; and that
>>> the devil exploits these charms of seduction to tempt both men and
>>> women to commit adultery and fornication. In this case, both men
>>> women are committing a sin. So
the topic did not deal with the
>>> of rape.
>>> At the end of the lesson when I was explaining the reason why
>>> 'woman' was mentioned before 'man' in the verse dealing with the
>>> crime of adultery, I said it was because she possessed the charm,
>>> the methods of seduction and all similar devices given to her by
>>> Allah to tempt the man. For that
I borrowed a metaphor used by an
>>> author called Ar-Rifa'i. He said exposing the meat in an illicit
>>> would encourage the cats to devour it. I didn't mean by that to
>>> humiliate immodest women; I meant to censure the person who would
>>> abandon his humility and turn into a vicious animal; and there's a
>>> big difference between a cat's behaviour and that of a human's, as
>>> the latter is commanded and responsible for their actions.
>>> I confess that this analogy is inappropriate and unacceptable for
>>> the Australian society and the western society in general.
>>> I am deeply saddened and distressed by the acts of some devious
>>> groups which lurk in the dark watching me, and who cannot tolerate
>>> the moderate, balanced way which I adopt to advocate for women's
>>> issues, national harmony and co-existence, and to hold fast to the
>>> love of our Australian home, to protect it from all forms of
>>> thoughts and to reject all acts of violence and any act that
>>> breaches the rule of law.
>>> Yes, I feel deeply saddened that such an ordinary lesson has been
>>> used to slander and defame me after it had been translated with the
>>> ill intention of dubious media that wishes to incite and they
>>> present an unfair campaign, the aims of which are very well known.
Once again, I turn to all the women of Australia and the world. You
>>> are the shining lights of the world, you are more than half of the
>>> society, and you are the daughters, the sisters, the mothers and
>>> aunts. How could any sane person think of humiliating you?
>>> You are the cherished pearls, the dearest thing in the world. So
>>> don't be taken as offerings at the temples of the merchants of
>>> pleasure, or advocates of decadence and corruption.
>>> Each one of us is responsible for accounting for his or her own
>>> actions before he or she is asked about them by the almighty Allah
>>> (on the Day of Judgment). Once again I am very sorry and apologise
>>> for what resulted from an unintentional analogy.
>>> With all my respect to the women of the world.
>>> In due course I will take the necessary decision that shall lift
>>> pressures that have been placed on our Australian Muslim community
>>> and that which will benefit all Australians.
>>> The pressure of the last couple of days has had an obvious effect
>>> my health and well-being. I ask the public to give my family and I
>>> some privacy, time and space to recover.
I have also asked for
>>> indefinite leave from my duties at Lakemba mosque.

>>> Sincerely,
>>> Sheikh Taj El-Deen El-Hilali
>>> Mufti Of Australia
Credit goes to my sister Shabia A.M. and brother Shiraz Ali-Patel (secretary of MUIS 2006) for extracting the respective letters. Jazakumullahu khayr.


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this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 11:20 am