During a function for new converts organized by the state religious authorities last year, I met a special person who was to leave a lasting impression on me. Well, I didn’t have the chance to actually talk to her. But here’s what happened.
As it was Ramadhan, we were invited to a ‘Berbuka Puasa’ open house function whereby we were to be given zakat. As mualaf, we were eligible to receive zakat donations, the percentage and amount to be given decided by the religious authorities. Talking to the other brothers and sisters (almost 3 busloads of us) made me realise how lucky I was, being just a Muslim for less than a year. Some had been Muslims for three years but that was the first time they were invited to receive it. Of course, it was not the amount of money that we were at the function, we were more excited at the chance to meet other new converts (I haven’t received any letter at all from the religious authorities this year, so I suppose I’ve been forgotten :P). There was a Vietnamese brother, another Caucasian brother, bumiputra Iban brothers as well as Indian Muslims and Chinese Muslims.
Anyway, the function was held at a shelter home for new converts, a building quite far from the nearest town. A public bus passes every few hours. It was quiet and peaceful, and not only were there some sisters staying at the shelter, a few old citizens have made it their home too. I was told that quranic classes were held at night, taught by qualified ustaz and ustazahs. However, as I have no transportation of my own, I have yet to attend those classes. I also met a few Chinese sisters in their late teens and early twenties, who had embraced Islam despite family oppositions. With nowhere else to go, they stayed at the shelter home. However, I was quite disturbed when some think they had to embrace not only Islam but also the Malay lifestyle, the result of staying too long at the shelter, which was run by Muslim Malays. In fact, the formal invitation letter requires all ladies to wear the Malay baju kurung for the function, when just any attire that covers the aurat would do ( I had even planned to rebel by wearing pants and blouse, but on second thoughts I decided to follow the n0rm with due respect to the organisers)
I noticed that there was a blind sister, either in her late teens or early twenties, among us at the hall. She was guided to the seat at the front row by the organizing committee. From her fair looks, I knew that she was a Chinese. She was clad in baju kurung and tudung. Then after the welcoming speech, I was surprised when the ustaz formally invited the blind sister to the podium.
Masya Allah… although she was blind and could not see, her heart was not blind to the words of Allah. That sister recited ayat from the al-Quran for the next ten minutes. I don’t know if she was reading from a brailed quran or she had memorised the surah herself (sorry, I can’t remember which) but her recitation was good and clear, with very little mistake (another sister who could read the quran said so).
I don’t recall that sister’s name but I know that she’s under the guidance and protection of the religious authorities. They were to send her to the Kelantan state where she could further learn and improve her quranic readings. She’s probably there now, learning more about Islam. May Allah bless her.