Until I get proper broadband access, the overworked uni comp lab is all I've got. And the chocolate mocha lying near my feet (untouched, due to the 'no consumption' rule) makes me feel guilty for hanging around too long.
And so, feeling like the awful blogger that I am, I have decided to share a few interesting links:
The flight was memorable, even if I didn't get any shut eye.
I am now in my new favourite house, Baitul Arden (Faiqah/Wafa'), with my favourite kind of music playing outside (raindrops touching the glossy roads).
I am too tired to be much of a writer.
So instead, I will put it some of Habiburrahman El- Shirazy's work here instead. He's the authour of the book an ukhti recommmended, called Ayat-Ayat Cinta. I've stalled from buying the book for quite some time now, but with the recommendation of Ustaz Azhar (and his special discount), I actually did.
And although I already knew the ending, thanks to some thorough browsing at bookstores, I still found it a gripping, intelligent page turner. The Da Vince Code, it most certainly is not.
Although it is rather hard to believe that such a pious yet romantic soul as Fahri exists in this world. But then again, the author DID write the book as the mahar for his bride.
'Juga selama di Cairo, sampai Aisha membukakan purdahnya di rumah Syeikh Utsman.Kuakui ada satu nama yang membuatku selalu bergetar bila mendengarnya, namun tidak lebih dari itu. Aku merasa sebagai seekor pungguk dan seluruh mahasiswi Indonesia di Cairo adalah bulan. Aku tidak pernah berusaha merindukannya. Dan tak akan pernah kuizinkan diriku merindukannya. Kerana aku merasa itu sia-sia. Aku tidak mahu melakukan hal yang sia-sia dan membuang tenaga.
Aku lebih memilih mencurahkan seluruh rindu dendam, haru biru rindu dan deru cintaku untuk belajar dan mentelaah al-Quran. Telah kusumpahkan dalam diriku, aku tak akan membukakan hatiku untuk mencintai seorang gadis kecuali gadis itu yang membukanya. Bukan suatu keangkuhan tapi kerana rasa rendah diriku yang selalu bermain di kepala. Aku selalu ingat aku ini siapa? Anak petani miskin. Anak penjual tapai. Aku ini siapa?
aku adalah lumpur hitam
menempel di sandal dan sepatu
hinggap di atas aspal
siapa sudi memandang
atau menghulurkan tangan?
tanpa uluran tangan Tuhan
aku adalah lumpur hitam
Tuhan telah mengucapkan kun! Lumpur hitam pun dijelma menjadi makhluk yang dianugerahi kenikmatan cinta yang memuncak-muncak dan rindu yang membuak-buak. Seorang bidadari bermata bening telah disiapkan untuknya. Fa bi ayyi allai Rabbikuma tukadziban! Maka nikmat Tuhan kamu yang manakah yang kamu dustakan.
Di dalam syurga-syurga itu ada bidadari-bidadari yang baik-baik lagi cantik-cantik.
Maka nikmat Tuhan kamu yang manakah yang kamu dustakan.
Bidadari-bidadari yang jelita, putih bersih dipingit di dalam rumah.
Maka nikmat Tuhan kamu yang manakh yang kamu dustakan.
(Surah ar-Rahman: 70-73)
P.S:- My dear BananaToffeeCheesecake, I hope you find the passage as inspiring as I do. Hugs!
Tomorrow will be my last officially Malaysian day for a while.
Much thanks to everyone for everything. For all the food, for all the memories, for the pep talks and serious discussions I've missed for so long, for all the car rides and the sweet wishes, for all the laughs, and gee, for all the tears as well.
Rasulullah (peace and blessings upon him) once said:
"It will befall on my ummah, that they will love five things, and they will forget five things. They will love the world, and forget of the Hereafter. They will love wealth, until they forget of the Day of Judgement. They will love another being, until they forget their Khaliq (Maker). They will love to make du'a (pray) until they forget to taubah (repent), and they will love their homes, but forget their graves."
There is an ongoing program conducted by the Federation of Students' Islamic Societies (FOSIS) of the United Kingdom, called The Radical Middle Way Project. From what I understand, it’s supposed to be a re-education of sorts for the British community, so that they may better understand Islam. The term ‘middle way’ is a direct reference to a verse in the Quran, where God explains Islam to be a moderate religion, easier and universal, unlike the ones He sent down before it. ‘Radical’ is obviously a direct reference to how most of the Western world views Islam, and together, they make for a paradoxical phrase -- my favourite kind to repeat.
In recent days, a series of little events have rocked this little world of mine, making me somewhat righteously indignant (if such a thing can be said), and reminding me of why I live as I do, in the first place. As a result of these ever God-sent events, there has been renewed interest in the spiritual condition of Malaysia. People are beginning to talk, think and absorb. That’s always a good place to start.
One of the main topics surrounding Malaysian life would be the unprecedented flooding of the southern-most state of the Peninsula, Johor. In recent days, there have been many first-hand accounts of what happened to, and what is currently going on with the people of that state. As a briefer, Johor was unexpectedly hit by massive flooding of most parts of the state, submerging countless homes, destroying crops and livestock. Hundreds of thousands were stranded, and eventually evacuated to nearby relief centres.
Our family friends who have visited the areas recently gave us a picture that is somewhat sad. One village has been submerged in thick, foul-smelling black mud, which volunteer workers say reminds them of Aceh’s tsunami waste. People are queuing up for a bottle of mineral water. Women don’t have anything to clothe themselves with. Children study in the barest of circumstances. Yet in the midst of all the tragedy, a news publication still had the gall to conduct a talent-search concert in the area.
The most appalling part? The concert was attended by hundreds of thousands of Johorians, clearly apathetic about the sufferings of their own neighbours. I mean, people are dying out there, and you’re still busy singing songs about heartache and pain?
Come on, people. Let’s get real. There is no greater heartache or pain than waking up one morning, and learning that your entire life, as you know it, is submerged under metres of stagnant water; that you have to start over from nothing at all, except pity and charity. And even that’s sorely lacking.
Another wake-up call for me would be watching the newly-established Al-Jazeera English news network, where they live up to their claim of ‘giving the other side of news’. Whereas before I had the excuse of not understanding a word, now I find myself going back to the channel. Al-Jazeera keeps things human, choosing to highlight the issues the rest of us prefer to skim over in the papers. Watching it reminds me that there are people out there who are suffering, and not just in war. It reminds me that the entire planet is in need of a fixer-upper, and that for as long as I live, it is my responsibility to do what I can to help.
It reminds me that the world does not centre around me, and that I should get over myself and off my butt.
And recently occurred the culmination of what I simply call ‘attacks on Muslims, by Muslims’. I will acknowledge here what I acknowledged before: I am part of an usrah. I feel no shame in it. I see no harm in it. I am merely part of something that has been established in countless government schools and masjids, which is to partake in a peaceful discussion of Islam -- to share knowledge and exchange ideas, and to be part of a small group of friends who care and look out for one another. In fact, ‘usrah’ is just a word in Arabic which means ‘family’. It was the main means the Prophet Muhammad used to educate people with Islam, at the advent of its revelation.
Don’t believe the last bit? I’m telling you to read back on history.
Ever since my mother started joining lessons organized by the local mosque (which is strictly monitored by the Government, but whatever), we’ve gone through some gradual changes as a family. Words like ‘halaqah’ and ‘usrah’ are common to our tongues. When I’d just finished with secondary school, my mother dragged me to her classes and usrah discussions as well, and much to my surprise, I had great fun. Being part of a mellow atmosphere, where everybody is a friend, is like therapy of sorts.
Well, the other day, someone I didn’t know just sent me an IM, claiming that ‘usrah’s are the number one cause of division among the Muslim society. I could tell straightaway that the comment was meant to provoke me, and after telling the dude to chill and lay off the hate, I placed him on my ‘Ignore List’ and moved on. I remember a time not so long ago when I would’ve been a lot more unforgiving. I was never the patient sort to begin with, and suppressing my anger was never an option. I even proudly walloped a fellow male classmate once, because he wouldn’t stop calling me (or someone else, I can’t remember) some idiotic name.
The ironic thing (for my virtual hater) is that being in an usrah taught me to be tolerant and to respect other people first, no matter what they’re saying about you. And if you can find no better way to clear the anger, then walk away. Take wudhu’, and walk away.
The point that I’m trying to make is that these are difficult times for Muslims. I’m sure everybody knows that by now. Osama bin Laden only used one word to justify his so-called attacks: Islam. Never mind that up till that point, he was heavily funded by the US government.
Now, everybody thinks that Islam is a religion of hate and revenge. Over what, I’m not exactly sure. As the guys at the ‘Allah Made Me Funny Comedy Tour’ would say, “you can’t be a Muslim and a terrrorist at the same time”. It just isn’t done. Especially not when God tells you to be peaceful. In the earliest days of Islam, when the new Muslims were brutally tortured by the Quraisy of Makkah, they did not even retaliate.
We seem to forget to tell others that Islam does not allow war, unless you have been attacked. And in the Qur’an, there is even a verse forbidding further retaliation when the enemy has stopped attacking.
Islam is an easy, uncomplicated religion, which ensures the easiest solution for every situation, in any era, in any circumstance.
And it pains me to say this, but some Muslims are too busy playing the blame game. We keep on forgetting that we should unite in the face of mounting international tension and undisguised stigma, instead of laying the hate around us. Political differences aside, we should set our hearts for what is right by the people, instead of placing emphasis on what ends up in our pockets. Listen to those around you and pay attention to what they’re saying. Quit playing hide-and-seek with God, because He sees right through our hearts effortlessly. There's no point being a hypocrite anyway, when all will be laid out in the end.
You talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk. You say that you’re all for progress and change, but your mind is stuck in a ditch that collapsed into itself years ago. I’ll admit that this is a generalization, but it works, if only for the fact that it’s too general a condition now to be pinned down to any one sort of person.
You’re too averse to change, yet you lobby for it. You separate matters of religion from everyday life, saying that they cannot co-exist. You let lack of knowledge, and your refusal to think, mar your sights and your heart. You’re too busy trying to appease your greed that you forget about others.
You’re too preoccupied with your dime-a-dozen life, relishing the cramped bubble you’ve built around yourself, that you won’t even share your space with thoughts of God, let alone Love for Him.
Come on. If you have to change; make a difference in yourself, get over your shame of admitting it. I’ve said this before, and I will say this ever again: CHANGE IS NOT A BAD THING.
Dang, I sound like a broken record.
Quit being scared of change. It’s not worth being afraid of.
Work the earth as if you will live on it forever; live your life as if every day is your last.
Before this is a reminder for you, please note that I am reminding myself first and foremost. I guess Michael Jackson got it right (although I can hardly believe I’m saying this): ‘If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.’
And to end my little indignant rant, I would like to quote someone I admire for his utter frankness and blatant individuality:
‘If you were dead, you’d have much bigger problems than what you’re wearing.’ -Owen Armstrong-
Some people punch walls. Some wallow in empty spaces. Some people become vindictive. Me? I just corner you and let my gob speak for itself. Welcome to the inner recesses of my life (sounds almost pathetic, dunnit?)