Wednesday, December 31

THE RESCUE

Beijing, at a Ski Resort.

"Coldddd!!!" I shivered as I stepped out into the skiing area.
There were some people skiing around the area. I decided not to. It was too risky and I didn't want a swollen ankle as a result of a impulse to try skiing. My husband too, with his still swollen leg, decided to just watch the others and snap photographs.
A few of us from the same tour group were chatting near the door. We noticed a woman skiing near us. Suddenly she fell flat on her back. After a few seconds, she sat up and kicked at the ski equipment.
We didn't pay much attention to her initially.She had refused others' help in getting herself up, shaking her head and refusing to give her hand for them to pull her up. Then suddenly she lay on the cold icy snow again.
We had thought that she was tired, that she wanted to rest and regain her strength.
A minute later another man stopped to check on her. He started to call for assistance. It was then we realised something was wrong.
A few of the men in my tour group rushed over to carry the woman into the warm hall. She was unconscious. They lay her on the floor.
"Is there a doctor here?" somebody shouted.
The men stood and watched, noting that she was a Malaysian tourist like the rest of us. The other women didn't do much either. Perhaps none knew first aid.
I was hoping that the skiing resort had a medical staff who could revive her but unfortunately nobody turned up. Only a few Chinese locals stood nearby and asked me about her particulars in Mandarin. I said I didn't know her as she was not in my tour group. I could only help translate what I knew from the other Malays who witnessed her fall.
We started to panic. She was not moving. I checked her pulse, weak. Barely traceable. Her breathing too was shallow.
"CPR, CPR.. anyone know CPR?" somebody called out.
"Can't do CPR. she's still breathing," I replied.
I raised her feet, hoping to get more blood to her brain. Gosh, she's heavy. Her mother appeared and starting slapping her face, calling her but she didn't respond.
"Anyone got medical oil minyak angin?" I shouted, hoping that among the Malay ladies, there's one with a bottle. I didn't carry any. That's the only substitute for smelling salt that I know of, and had worked each time my former students fainted during assemblys.
"Here, here," said the woman's mother.
"Let her smell it for a few seconds," I said. Instead, she rubbed some on her daughter's face.
Still the woman didn't wake up. Noticing that a nostril was closed with a blood-stained tissue, we took it off. I was told by her anxious mother that she was bleeding from her nose that morning before they arrived at the skiing resort.
An old Chinese man appeared. The Chinese toldme that he's a traditional herbalist sinseh, not a medical doctor. He started to check on her. Then one of my group members, a man, fearing the worst, began to press her chest repeatedly.
Alhamdulillah she coughed and became conscious again.
"Talk to her," they said.
"What's her name?" I asked the old woman who claimed to be her mother.
As I was able to talk both Malay and Mandarin, I was asked to act as translator. As a Muslimah, I was able to help in giving the first aid which the sinseh was uncomfortable doing in public. I almost shouted into her ear, patting her cheeks lightly to keep her conscious. She was in a state of confusion. She complained that her head and right leg hurt. Then she slipped into unconsciousness again.

We worked hard to waken her up, fearing that she had injured her head during her fall. The resort manager had called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. As I calmed her down (she had started to cry and complained of pain) I noticed that she had some medical plasters (koyok) on her head, indicating that she was not well. Gosh, then why was she skiing?
Moreover, she was not properly attired in that cold freezing weather. It was a challenge for us Muslims to guard her modesty, with everyone standing to watch her. Finally when she started to shiver, I asked her mother to get her a sweater. "Yes, I have one in the bag" the mother said. MasyaAllah..
I sighed in relief when the medical officers arrived in the ambulance. She had become a handful to handle. She was fully conscious by then. She didn't want to go to the hospital and screamed in protest.
We watched as she was carried on a stretcher into the ambulance, her mother and tourist guide accompanying her. Another loud scream was heard when they put her into the ambulance. We shook our heads.

And as my tour group members and I returned to our own bus that evening, we pondered.
"Always be careful when we want to try new things."
"Don't do anything strenous when you're not feeling well."
"Be properly dressed for a cold weather, especially Muslimah."
"Learn first aid so you'd know exactly what to do during an emergency."
"Strange, we all helped her although we are from another tour group while her own group members just stood by and watched. What would have happened if we weren't there today?"
"Syukur, we should remain united and continue to help each other in this tour group."

I have no idea what had happened to that woman.
We didn't meet any of her tour group members after that incidence.
I just hope that she's fine now.

Sunday, December 28

DON'T WAIT TOO LONG

"Tell me, why did you take her straightaway to Pusat Islam for conversion? Why not wait a more few days?"asked Puan Nor to Dr Kabilan, who had helped in my reversion to Islam..
I sat on the chair in Pn.Nor's office.
The two good friends, both my lecturers, smiled at each other.
"Once a person is ready to recite the syahadah, we as Muslims should not wait any longer. The longer we wait, the greater will syaitan cast doubts in the hearts of these mualaf, so that they'd change their minds to become Muslims. So once they state confidently that they want to be Muslims, we should do our best and as quickly as possible to assist in getting them officially declared as Muslims," explained Dr Kabilan.
"Really?"
"Yes, it has happened before.Some have waited too long and failed to become Muslims."

In this eve of Awal Muharram, I call upon Muslim brothers and sisters to assist anyone whom you know intend to become Muslims in any way you can. If they need help to ucap the 2-kalimah syahadah, accompany them to the nearest Jabatan Agama Islam, the local imam or the various Islamic NGOs which can do the official documentation.If they need guidance about Islam, teach them. If they need shelter, bring them to the nearest shelter for reverts run by NGOs. If they need money, find them jobs or refer them to the Islam NGOs for advice.

For those who intend to revert to Islam but are hesitating for various reasons, don't wait too long. Remember that the longer you postpone, the greater is the temptation not to proceed. Doubts will be cast upon your mind and weaken your intention. Not everyone is a fortunate as I did, who was given a second chance to be a Muslimah - 10 years later.

Alhamdulillah Allah swt guided me to this video clip. My "suara hati" instinct tells me this is a special one for somebody. I had planned this entry for tomorrow but with this nasyeed keeps playing in my head, I guess somebody out there is in need of it today :)



Sorry if my translation is poor :P

Suara ku dengar menyeru kepadaNya,
Suara bergema memuji kebesaranNya,
Suara memujuk kita mendekatiNya,
Suara hidayah mengajak mentaatiNya..

Itulah suara yang ku rindui,
Itulah suara yang ku nantikan,
Itulah suara membawa kebenaran,
Itulah suara datangnya dari Tuhan..

Sambut ia, terimalah, bila datang,
Pada kita, kerna ia, hanya datang,
Pada hamba, yang terpilih,
Tidak akan, kau temui,
Untuk kali, keduanya, takkan dapat,
Engkau cari, bila ia, telah pergi..

Syukurilah dan amalkan,
Sampaikanlah pada siapa pun,
Perjuangan dalam hidupmu,
Moga rahmat Allah bersamamu..

Suara Hidayah(the voice of guidance in my heart)

The voice I heard calls me to Him
The resounding voice praises His greatness
The voice persuades us to Him
The voice of hidayah invites us to obey Him

That's the voice I long to hear
That's the voice I've been waiting for
That's the voice that brings the truth
That's the voice that comes from God

Receive it, accept it,
when it comes to us,
because it only comes
to the chosen ones
You'll never find it
for the second time, will not get
although you seek it, when it is gone..

Be thankful and practise it
Pass it to anyone
Be it the mission of your life
May Allah's blessings be with you.


May the hidayah remains in our hearts and soul.
May Allah's blessings and guidance be with you, me and everyone.

SALAM MAAL HIJRAH

Pejam celik pejam celik sudah masuk tahun baru Hijrah..1430 Hijrah.
Alhamdulillah syukur pada Allah swt.

I hope 1429H has been good for you as it has been for me.
InsyaAllah 1430 Hijrah will be a better year for us all.
May we all be better Muslims and Muslimat who are steadfast in our faith and do our part in the spread of the true teachings of Islam.. ameen.

Here's a lovely nasyeed sung by Zain Bhikha



And enjoy this very touching one by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Saturday, December 27

A MUSLIM NYONYA IN BEIJING (4) The Mosques

I stared at the aluminium water container. At 12.30pm in Beijing, it was freezing cold and I was having second thoughts of getting my hands wet and risk having frostbite. Yet it was a chance of a lifetime - to perform solat at a Chinese Muslim mosque in Beijing. One of the things I had wanted to do in China.

Alhamdulillah there was warm water for ablution. The washrooms in the mosques were different. There were several cubicles and hooks to hang our jackets etc. I couldn't find toilets and when I asked the locals, they seemed to indicate the washrooms are for that purpose too. Therefore, I always made sure that I did my business in the shops or restaurants before going to the mosques. Less problem :P

One of the things we Malaysians had to get used to in China is the lack of water taps in the toilets. There are lots of tissue papers but no water taps, so we had to adjust ourselves to the new conditions. Doing istinjak became a challenge, huhuhu.

Entrance of the Anheqiao Mosque
My first sight of the Anheqiao mosque was "Wow!". The tall main building looked like a temple but it was actually the main hall where the Muslim men pray. We arrived at our first mosque in Beijing on a Friday, in time for zohor prayer. In great haste, we quickly did our ablution(alhamdulillah my Malaysian group was the first group to arrive at the mosque) and hurried to the prayer hall which was in a separate building next to the men's.

The Anheqiao Mosque built in the Ming Dynasty (between the year 1368 and 1644). This is the main prayer hall, for men.


The Muslimah's prayer room at Nandouya Mosque
which was built 300 years ago.

The Muslimah's halls were clean and there were soft paddings for us to stand when performing prayers. In all the three mosques we went to, there were small sturdy tables and stools, arranged neatly at both sides of the prayer halls for old women to sit and pray. How considerate and thoughtful, and something the mosques in Malaysia should have too. I met several senior Chinese ladies who seemed to have familiarized themselves with the presence of Muslim tourists and were helpful in giving directions and instructions. All in Mandarin, of course.

In the Anheqiao Mosque, we were suddenly alerted when the Imam ( I think)stood outside the main hall and called out the adhan loudly. Then the local men began to enter the main hall and sat down. My tour members, the men who were already in the hall looked puzzled. Instead of performing the Friday prayer, the imam sat down in front of the hall and started reading the al-Quran. Oh, his reading was beautiful! When I hear it, I really felt calm and in peace. All my tour members praised his readings. We didn't wait to hear his sermon as we had to go elsewhere. Anyway I doubt any of my tour group members, other than yours truly, could understand his sermon.

The mosques are community centres for Muslims. There are many rooms for different purposes, and to my amusement there's even a special room for 'Marital Consultation' at the Anheqiao Mosque. However, there seemed to be a lack of young Chinese Muslims performing prayers at the mosques. Perhaps they couldn't leave their workplace to pray at the mosques, unlike us in Malaysia. All I saw were mostly senior citizens at the prayer halls. And they had this serene look on their faces..

The entrance to the women's prayer hall at the Madian Mosque. See the clock that tells the time? The heavy green drapes keep the cold wind away.

At Madian Mosque, there was a small souvenir shop inside the mosque grounds. I stopped by to have a look. A friendly local woman attended to me. Alhamdulillah with my limited Mandarin, I managed to communicate with her. When the caretaker came, he was quite happy to know that I'm a Malaysian Chinese Muslim. I was told that there're about 70 Muslim Chinese families in the area, with 2300 Muslims.

The door of the Madian Mosque.
This mosque built during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, is about 300 years old.

"How old are you? How old is your husband?"
They seemed to like asking these questions. I suppose it's their custom. It's great to talk to the local Chinese Muslims. I've talked to the friendly local imams and mosque caretakers, the local Muslim sisters at the mosques (they're mostly serious), and some Chinese tourists from Guangdong (one had lived in Penang for years) who gave me a few "1 jiao" notes (worthless, cannot buy anything, he said :P). Thank God I know enough Mandarin to gain this experience. My Mandarin "lao-shi" would have been proud of me, hehehe.

The Chinese in China have been Muslims long before Islam stepped foot in Malay peninsular. There're actually more Muslims in China than there're Malays in Malaysia. According to my travel guide, the Communist regime had tried to stop the spread of Islam but their Muslim faith had become stronger during the tough period. Nowadays, the government seemed to have apologized for their past treatment of Muslim Chinese and have helped to rebuild the local mosques. Alhamdulillah, the popularity of Muslim tourism in Beijing has helped boost the Muslims' economy and soften the government's treatment towards them. I was amazed when the local peddlers are able to speak in Malay! "Lima yuan, boleh kurang.." was the normal phrases we heard when they approached us. The tudung indicated that we're Malaysian Muslims.

Note: Wish I could visit the famous Dongsi Mosque and Tongzhou Mosque but they're not in our agenda. We stopped by at the nearest mosque along our route. InsyaAllah next time...

A MUSLIM NYONYA IN BEIJING (3) The Great Wall

Two wonderful events happened on the 3rd day in Beijing.
We climbed the Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world.
We saw and touched our first snow.
Alhamdulillah my husband was able to walk about with his cane although his foot still hurt, so we decided to climb up as far as we could go. It was a windy cold 3 degrees below Celcius and there was some snow on the ground (as you can see in the picture). Our bus driver dropped us all at the highest ground, so we didn't have to climb so far up to reach the peak. The view at the top was great. Climbing up was tiring but coming down was hard on the legs and quite dangerous due to the steep steps. I was afraid of falling.


The white material on the ground was snow.

"Photo? 50 yuan only.."
I couldn't resist. Cold as it was, I decided to go for the photo shot at the Great Wall. We had to take off our warm jackets to put on the thin costumes and smile at the camera for a few minutes. Shiver.. shiver.. brrrr...!! My tour members laughed merrily as we posed about, me in my purple Empress costume (hey, it was a chance of a lifetime, LOL) and my husband chose a general's costume (he got to hold a long sword). It was crazy because we riskedcatching a cold but we had fun, hahahaa..and syukur, I was able to keep my aurat covered properly because the gown was long and loose. Don't miss this if you go to China.


Shivering in the thin costume but enjoyed wearing it.
The headgear was heavy.

Our tour guide, Azmi, said that in China, the Chinese said that the word "ren" or 'human' is the most difficult word to write. Lots of people were killed building China's two main monuments, which are the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal. Both are shaped like the word "ren", with the Great Wall stretching from East to West and the Grand Canal from North to South. Both monuments are important for the survival of the Chinese people but at a great cost - the lives of those who were killed building it. And as we walked on that Great Wall, we looked in awe at how strong it still is, and how much the people of that time had sacrificed, how creative they were, and how hard they worked to build this building, the only visible one seen from outer space.

And in that cold weather, we found a delicious local diet. The roasted sweet potato, hehehe. It's quite expensive but deliciously sweet and helped to keep us warm and full till the next meal. Halal too. I had them for three days (might explained the weight gained :P). They're sold outside the main tourist spots by local Chinese. These Chinese locals are very enterprising; they seem to know what tourists need - warm food, warm drinks and cheap souvenirs. And yes, they are willing to withstand the cold weather to make a few bucks. Bargaining is a part of life there.





Roasted sweet potatoes for sale..yummy!

Syukur, despite our health conditions, we had managed to cope. I was quite worried about being stuck on the Great Wall and unable to descend as Husband was still limping. Perhaps the cold had helped to numb the pain. Whatever it is, I'm grateful. Allah swt is merciful and had allowed us to have a smooth and safe journey in Beijing. And in winter, there was no rain, so we were able to visit all the places, shivering as we were, huhuhu.

Thursday, December 25

A MUSLIM NYONYA IN BEIJING (2) The food

"Lai.. lai.. come..come."
We were ushered into the restaurant. A Chinese Muslim restaurant, by its interior look. Tired, cold and hungry we took our seats at the tables allocated for us. 10-12 persons per table.

Halal Cantonese cuisine at one of the restaurants we ate at.

The food?
Yummy! Perhaps I was too hungry or because it's been 2 years since I tasted authentic Chinese cuisine, but they're really yummy. We were served several types of cuisine for lunch and dinner - traditional Beijing cuisine, Cantonese, and Xinjiang cuisine. Each has its specialty.
Most of us were not familiar with the Xinjiang cuisine, food of the traditional Urghur people. I stared at the pieces of bread, the bowl of egg soup and the thin shreds of fried potatoes. Interesting. Most of the dishes were oily but due to the cold weather, it helps to have some fat in our menu, I guess.

Xinjiang cuisine with bread, fried eggs and shredded potatoes among other dishes


Some of my Malay tour members brought sambal belacan and chilli padi, hehehe. Any food will taste great when they're around. I consider myself fortunate because my tour group members were friendly and easy to get along with. Some families brought along their children (lucky ones) and the youngest among us was little 9-month old Nik Fatin Safiah. Bless her, she was so well-behaved during the whole trip. Such a darling.

Then on the 4th day, we had steamboat for lunch. That's the first time I had steamboat using charcoal. How did it taste? Well, it was ok. As you can see, the plates were empty.

It looked old but the waitress told me it had been used for only a year.

One of the problems we had here was getting used to the small dinner plates. It was quite difficult eating rice using a small plate. Alhamdulillah we were given forks and spoons at every restaurants. Hot steaming rice was available at requests (large bowls for each table and we had 3-4 servings of it at each meal) and yes, I had second helpings, hehehe. Dieting is not an option when going on a tour.

Alhamdulillah, food was never a problem in Beijing. There are many Muslim restaurants around and although there wasn't any halal food logo, the wall hangings will indicate that it serves Muslim food. There was even a restaurant with photographs of the cook doing his haj in Mekkah. Usually there're chicken and beef in the menu, with a large fish as a bonus in some restaurants. Vegetables are cheap so we were served several dishes of greens at every meal. Sorry, no hot curry. My Malay tour-mates missed the steaming hot curry :P

And when you can speak some Mandarin, it helps, hehehe. It helped when I needed to ask the waitress questions like "What is this dish?", "How many dishes altogether?" and "Anymore dish?" when the food arrived slowly. You see, our tour guides ate at another smaller table in another room.
And when Mas, my tour agent asked me how I find the food, what did I say?
"Sedap.. delicious.. I haven't eaten these types of food for more than 2 years!"
Authentic Chinese halal food is hard to find in Malaysia, at least where I live. When I miss them, I have to cook.

Wednesday, December 24

A MUSLIM NYONYA IN BEIJING (1) Coping in winter

"Please wear your winter clothes. It's cold outside," said Azmi, our Chinese tour guide in fluent Malay.
"Follow me," he said.
We walked with our bags out of the airport.
Gosh, he was right. It was cold at 8am China time. I felt as if I had walked into a refrigerator. Interestingly, 8am in Beijing was the same as 8am in Malaysia. We didn't have to adjust our watches.
Then the winter wind blew.
"Ooooo..." somebody uttered and everybody stopped in their tracks. We shivered.
It was freezing cold!! The dry icy wind hit our faces and caused temporary numbness. It was only a 2-minute walk to the bus but it sure felt like eternity.
"Welcome to Beijing. The weather report this morning predicted 0'Celcius today and a -4'Celcius at night," said a smiling Azmi.
Brrrr....!!! What a freezing welcome.


Our group picture at Tiananmen Square in front of the Forbidden City.

"We're going to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City first," said Azmi, explaining that the hotel will only be available for check-in at noon.
There was no time to put on my thermal wear(longjohn) so with only my long-sleeved T-shirt, jeans and jacket, I followed the rest of the tour group to the historical sites. It was 9am, the sun was shining but it was still cold.

"You ok?"
I was worried about my husband but he gritted his teeth and followed the rest of the group members into the Forbidden City. We were far behind but we didn't mind. All we had to do was to look for Azmi's blue flag amongst the other tour agency's flags. Our Malaysian agent, Mas was kind enough to stay behind to ensure our safety and to cheer us on. With the cold wind blowing from time to time, it was really a challenge. It was so cold that my camera's batteries lasted only for 30 minutes. I prayed that Husband would have the strength to walk on his painful and swollen leg. It would be terrible if he couldn't continue and we got stranded somewhere in the Forbidden City. Well, a local Chinese man offered us the use of a wheelchair for 200 yuan(RM135) from Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City but Husband refused. With 5 more days to go, I suppose his was a wise choice. We put our trust in Allah swt to help us reach our destination(the bus) safely and in good time. We didn't want to keep others waiting for us.

Syukur alhamdulillah we managed to reach the waiting bus at the other end of the Forbidden City at 12.35pm, 5 minutes behind schedule. Amazingly, we had walked for more than 3 hours, or at least 5km. I'm so proud of my husband. He's tough :)
In front of the main building of the Forbidden City. You can get lost here.

The Forbidden City is large. Build in 1406, the buildings are still well-preserved. It's amazing how delicate the carvings are and how strong they made the doors of the buildings. Even the floors are in good condition, with each cement slab closely linked to the next slab that there is hardly any space between them. Only strict discipline and hardwork could produce such high-quality materials. The gardens in the Forbidden City still have growing trees and are well-preserved. In fact everything looked good. I salute the people of China for their preservation of this beautiful and historical site.

It was so cold that the river had frozen. I've seen a local walking on its surface.

One of the interesting things I noticed in Beijing is the this vehicle. It's a motorized bicycle,called "ta-pin che" by locals. It has a motor that runs on batteries, so it's easy to cycle up a hill. How convenient and environmentally friendly. I've seen many Chinese nationals using it in the morning on their way to work. Wish we have this in Malaysia.

This belongs to a Chinese peddler from whom I bought some souvenirs. See, it even has thick gloves to keep the hands warm while cycling.

The Chinese welcome Malaysians warmly. We're known to be generous and friendly. Muslim tours have become well-known in Beijing, which has many famous Muslim restaurants. I was told that in this cold December alone, there're about 100 Malaysian tourist groups in Beijing, with about 2300 tourists. This means a lot to the Chinese nationals who depend largely on foreign tourists to make a living. In a city of 17 million people, and a sales promoter's monthly salary is only 800 yuan (RM430), every sales counts. And yes, they work hard to make a living.

FROM AIRPORT TO AIRPORT

"Sir, do you need a wheelchair?"asked the MAS stewardess.
We nodded. The flight had been 6 hours long and we were tired and sleepy. With 2 meals in the airplane between 0030am and 6.30am, w could only sleep for a few hours.
We were the last to leave the plane as we waited for a wheelchair to be provided. Soon Husband was being wheeled to the immigration counter by a doll-like Chinese lady. I followed behind.
We tried to communicate with her in English. She understood but we had some problems understanding her. I decided another language might help.

"What's your name?" I asked her in Mandarin.
"Wang,' she answered.
She was surprised and relieved that I could speak Mandarin. Soon we were talking away in her own language. One thing I've learnt in university is that Mandarin spoken by Malaysian Chinese differs slightly from the mainland Chinese in terms of intonation and pronunciation. Theirs is pure Mandarin, spoken with a thick accent which I find hard to imitate. With my limited vocabulary(alas, I was English-educated) I managed to be my husband's translator.
She waited patiently as we waited for our luggage to arrive from the plane. Then with me pushing the luggage trolley and she wheeling Husband in the wheelchair, we arrived at the immigration counter.
"I can only bring you here," she said.
"Xie xie (thank you)," I replied and shook her hand, with a small piece of money in my palm. I had meant to tip her for her assistance as it can't be denied, wheeling a well-build man in the wheelchair is hardwork. It wasn't much anyway, just a small token. The steward at the our airport had been 'ok' with our tip, and we wanted to give her, who has never been to Malaysian, a small souvenir (our currency). That's the only Malaysian item we had with us.

Surprisingly, she shrank away.
"No, no.. can't take it. Sorry," she said in Mandarin and looked quite pale.
"What's wrong?" asked my puzzled Husband.
"She can't take the tip. It's against her work regulation," I explained quietly in Malay.
I nodded at her with understanding and pushed the note back into my pocket. We thanked Miss Wang again and waved her goodbye as we went through the immigration with Husband limping. Thankfully he had his cane to help him.
We learnt from Miss Wang that it's unnecessary (might even be an insult) to give tips to the Chinese. The customs and immigration officers at the Beijing airport were also courteous but strict. We were checked thoroughly and our hand luggages were scanned and rescanned(opps.. no liquid, take out all metals and wallets) until they were satisfied. We went through the same procedures both times. They were really disciplined. I suppose their experiences handling the 2008 Beijing Olympics had helped.
Our tour guide, Azmi later told us that the Chinese nationals detest bribes and many rich men had been jailed due to this serious crime. In China, the rich can't buy their way out of jail for everyone is treated equal there. We may even see ministers cycling to work in the cold morning weather.

What a way to enter China via Beijing!
Husband was on a wheelchair and me following behind. Because of our situation, we passed the custom officers quickly using special lane and were the first among the tour group members to arrive at the lobby of the airport. Others had to go through strict checks at the regular lanes.

Our handsome tour guide, Azmi who is a Chinese Muslim, was already waiting for us with his blue flag of ICT (Islamic China Tours). To our delight, he could speak Malay fluently as he is the editor of China Radio International and had been to all the states in Malaysia during his 10 trips to the country.
With our jackets, muffler and gloves, we ventured out to the main door of the airport. Thus we began our interesting tour of Beijing.

Tuesday, December 23

THE PENANG-KL-BEIJING CHALLENGE

"Yang, we have to change plans. I can't drive all the way to Kuala Lumpur," Husband called to inform me from the clinic.
I received the call two days before departure to KL. All tickets had been bought. Visa and arrangement had been made. I listened with dread as Husband's health problem emerged again after so long.
He had gout 3 days before our planned trip for Beijing.
We had planned to drive from Penang to KL but due to the unforseen circumstances, we had to change to Plan B.

"We open only for tonight, dik. It's Sunday and we have a special train to KL. Otherwise we'd be closed by 8pm," said the lady clerk at the train station where I bought the next day's ticket. Alhamdulillah, for I was able to purchase the needed tickets that night at 9.45pm instead of having to return to buy again the next morning.

We left for KL by the 7am train from Butterworth with 2 large travelling bags. Husband was already limping with a cane and I was trying hard to keep calm while cheering him on. It was a long 6-hour journey and we arrived at the KL Central at 2.30pm. We headed straight to KL International Airport and arrived there at 8pm. It was a tiring day. We had little rest, packing till late into the night the day before and waking up at 5am to catch the train.I was so tired that I had no time to switch on my PC and inform this blog's readers about my planned trip to China. Sorry if I had kept you all waiting the whole week for my latest news. Every plan had to changed due to Husband's sudden illness.

We didn't even know where to meet up with our travelling agent from TM Tours and Travels. We had contacted them through e-mails and phone calls, and they had been very polite and helpful, asking us to meet at the airport at 9.30pm on 16th December.

I with Mas in a white tudung(tour agent who managed 33 of us in Beijing)
and Awin in brown suit(the agent in charge at the office). Lovely ladies :)

Syukur alhamdulillah. By 10pm, everyone had arrived. Husband managed to get himself a wheelchair from the MAS counter and we were quite comfortable waiting for the 0030am flight to Beijing. We even had the MAS personnel to wheel him to the plane, which actually saved me a lot of trouble, me in my still post-surgery stage.

Our tour agents were friendly and stayed with us until we departed. There were 29 of us in the Muslim tour to Beijing. Our tour guide, the sweet and friendly Mas was efficient and we soon were on our way to the capital of China.

When Allah swt wills it, it will indeed happen as He plans. I had never thought that we would be leaving KLIA in such a condition, me wheeling Husband in the wheelchair and managing the bags myself. We had thought that he would be looking after me as I was supposedly the weaker one (and recovering from surgery)between us, huhuhu. Alhamdulillah I didn't suffer from any ailments during our 6-days and 5-nights trip to China. Husband too had slowly recovered and could walk without a cane by the 4th day in Beijing. When we left the historical city, he had taken charge of everything including the bags. I was very relieved.

This trip to Beijing had been a memorable one and I had learned to fully trust Allah swt and depend on His wisdom. I had met some friendly Chinese Muslim nationals, prayed at the mosques there, climbed the Great Wall of China, ate some delicious halal Chinese food and made new friends among my tour members. I had seen many new things and places. InsyaAllah I'll share them in this blog soon.

Saturday, December 13

LOST AND FOUND

"We meet again here in 1998, ok?" she asked.
"Ok." we agreed.
1998 came and went but we didn't have the chance to meet. At the age of 27, we were seeing the world. Some were just beginning to start a family while the others were busy dating and building a career. With only e-mails to help us communicate, it was difficult and time-consuming. We lost touch again after a year of e-mailing.

Then in 2008, with the latest technology, we managed to find each other again. It started with one persistent lady friend- Anita.
" You have to enter FB la.. everyone's there," she YM me.
" Aiyoh, lazy la.I've already got YM, google, and skype. What's FB by the way?"
" Facebook."
Bored out of my wits while recovering at in-laws', I decided to give it a try. And wah-lao, Anita was right. I found almost 20 of my 'golden' (the term 'old' is sensitive, hehehe) friends there.

I used the magic words. The nicknames they gave me in school to introduce myself (I didn't use my maiden name in this FB). And with a good profile photo.
And the responses were surprisingly warm.
"OMG, is that you *nickname*? (can't write here, malu laa) Why you look so young and sweet (ahem, thanks for the compliment)
"Where are you? You've changed your name?"
"Shall we meet next Chinese New Year. We're often back to our parents' home during the festive hols (meaning most will be in the same town at the same time).

Oh, thanks to the quick responses provided, I managed to keep in touch with almost a dozen golden friends at the same time. No need to open e-mails, just write on their walls or leave a private message.
And my golden school friends are multi-racial, multi-religious and live all over the world. Some have chosen to become Home Ministers and raise their children while others are juggling between home, work and commitments. And as we're all of the same age, it's interesting how different our lives turn out to be. As I've known some since we were 6 years old, we've practically grown up together until we were 17 or 19. They're a part of my life, and are irreplaceable.

Alhamdulillah, although I have a new name and a new identity, it has not stopped real friends from keeping in touch with me. For those who have not responded, well it's still considered a lost friendship, I guess. We can't please everybody or make everybody like us.

I haven't meet them for 20 years. I gazed at their photos in FB. Sure, we do look rather different now. More matured and alas, more wrinkles. Perhaps a little wider in the waistline. But I'd sure love to meet them again. It's not the same, meeting a golden friend for the first time in 20 years. InsyaAllah I hope I won't have to wait too long for that.

MINGGU DAKWAH SELANGOR

Assalamualaikum,
I've just received this information via e-mail from MACMA. Perhaps those who are free would be interested to join the programmes?
Sorry, I can't attend. I'll be out of the country beginning 17th Dec, insyaAllah.

AIS and Islam NGOs all over Selangor will be cooperating to conduct a Minggu Dakwah from 19-21 December 2008.
The tentatives of the program will be as following:
Date
Activity
19 December 2008
1) Islamic NGO Exhibition Booth
Time: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Place : Exhibition Site Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

2) Pelancaran Program Minggu Dakwah dan Kempen Menutup Aurat
Time: 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm
Place : Main stage Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

3) Forum Perdana Hal Ehwal Islam
Time: 8.00-11.00pm
Place: Dataran Shah Alam

20 December 2008
1) Islamic NGO Exhibition Booth
Time: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Place : Exhibition Site Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

2) Dakwah & ICT Seminar (Seminar Dakwah & ICT)
Time: 8.00 – 2.00pm
Place: Dewan Annex Shah Alam (in Bgnn SUK)

3) Bowling Competition between NGOs (Muslimin)
Time: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Place: Kompleks Ole-ole Seksyen 18 Shah Alam

4) Program Busana Muslimah
Time: 2.00-5.00pm
Place: Main stage Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

5) Ceramah Perdana Santai Café
Time: 8.00-11.00pm
Place: Dataran Shah Alam

21 December 2008
1) Islamic NGO Exhibition Booth
Time: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Place : Exhibition Site Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

2) Program Pelancaran Taskirah di Pasar Tani
Time: 8.30-9.30 am
Place: Tapak Pasar Tani Seksyen 13 Shah Alam

3) Program Senaman dan Tazkirah Bicara Ummah
Time: 7.00-9.30 am
Place: Dataran Shah Alam

4) Kempen Kesedaran Jalanraya & Alam Sekitar
Time: 10.00am – 12.00pm
Place: Toll plaza in Shah Alam

5) Bowling Competition between NGOs (Muslimat)
Time: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Place: Kompleks Ole-ole Seksyen 18 Shah Alam

6) Majlis Penutupan Program Sambutan Minggu Dakwah Selangor
Time: 3.00-5.00pm
Place: Main Stage Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam

All are most welcomed to join the program.
MACMA Selangor will be opening a booth for free medical check up.

Friday, December 12

MY CULTURE, YOUR CULTURE

"Er, what do you call this fish?" I looked at the dish on the table.
"Terubuk," replied Husband.
"Oh."
"You haven't eaten it before?"
"Well, actually I've never eaten it."
In my Chinese family, when it comes to food, we eat the best we can afford. Mother and Grandma bought only selected fish for the table. Never mind if we don't have any new clothes or new curtains, for food is the number one importance in my Chinese family. Therefore some fish that are cooked by the Malays are alien to me. I don't know their names or how they are supposed to be cooked. And I always scratch my head when they're bought for the home.
Mother used to say that unlike Chinese, Malays spend more on looking good than on eating well. "They can get on with just plain rice and dried fish."
I don't know how true it is nowadays.

"How do you want me to cut these vegetables?"
" Just cut them."
"Like this?"
"Shorter."
I need to ask each time I help out at the kitchen. Chinese cook differently and prepare ingredients differently. I used more garlic and less shallots compared to Malays. I chop my garlic differently. My soups differ from the Malay's version, depending whether they're to cool the body or to add more heat. And my desserts or tong-sui are alien to a typical Malay.
Cooking is always an adventure. I won't know how my dishes will taste when I cook them because the ingredients used now are slightly different. I'm still getting used to the new taste of the soy sauce produced by Muslim factories. Really, they do taste different, so my dishes always end up tasting rather different than what they used to be during my non-halal days.
And Husband becomes my QC, heheheee... and he has been quite cautious testing my "alien dishes".

Cultural clashes happens all the time, worse when it involves other family members.
"You shouldn't sit at that table."
"Why?"
"He doesn't like being stared at when he eats."
"But I wasn't staring at him. I was watching the tv and talking to your sister. The sofa was too low and uncomfortable to sit. And I had my aurat properly covered too."
"Still it's better that you sit elsewhere."
"Ok, fine. If he felt uncomfortable, why didn't he tell me straight away? That would have solved the problem immediately. Need he keep quiet only to complain to you a week later?"
"That's not how it's done. It's a cultural thing."
"Fine, I'll remember that. Speaking of culture, do know that in Chinese families, we sit together at the table until everyone has finished their food. It's a form of respect that nobody leaves the table until everyone finishes eating. If the main table's full, children and teenagers, being lesser in status, eat elsewhere."

Then it was his turn to feel it.
"I wanted to salam with your mother but she just left the car."
"I've never salam with your Chinese mom-in-law. She'd freak out if I were to kiss her hand the way I do to your parents."
"Well, I thought I'd give it a try but she didn't give me the chance."
"So what did you do then?"
"I just waved at her and said goodbye laa... western style."
And it was my turn to laugh...hahahaa

RUMAH ORANG MELAYU?


"Tengok rumah ker?" wanita hitam manis dan bertudung itu menegur kami.
"Ya, tengok-tengok dulu," saya tersenyum sambil bersalaman dengannya.
"Rumah ini tuannya orang Cina tetapi disewa kepada orang Melayu. Hairan juga tiba-tiba orang Cina yang dapat membeli rumah ini. Ini kawasan orang Melayu."
Saya mengangguk saja. Dia peramah dan mudah diajak bersembang.
Belum sampai 10 minit, saya sudah tahu serba sedikit tentang penghuni lama rumah itu dan keadaan jiran tetangga di situ.
"Kawasan ini semua Melayu yang tinggal kecuali sebuah tu. Itu satu-satunya rumah orang Cina yang tinggal tetapi dia sudah lama hidup dengan orang Melayu, jadi tak ada masalah. Dia pun keluar membantu semasa bergotong-royong."
"Oh, begitu."
"Jiran-jiran di sini semua baik-baik, boleh diharap."
"Boleh tahu siapa nama kak? Saya Aliya."
"Panggil saja saya Kak Nah (bukan nama sebenar)."
Saya tersenyum sambil mengenit mata pada Abang. Entah apa yang bakal difikirkan Kak Nah sekiranya wanita Cina ini yang tinggal di rumah itu.

Hendakkan jiran berbangsa Melayu?
Ahh, apakah yang Kak Nah hendak sebenarnya?
Jiran berbangsa Melayu atau jiran beragama Islam?
Jiran Melayu tetapi mengabaikan ajaran Islam atau jiran bukan Melayu tetapi mengamalkan ajaran Islam?

Kami tidak memberitahu Kak Nah bahawa wanita yang menutup aurat di hadapannya itu bukan berbangsa Melayu.
Abang pula cuba memberi mesej kepadanya. Abang sengaja menunjukkan saya sekeping poster berbahasa Cina dan meminta saya baca. Saya menjawab dalam bahasa Mandarin.
Terbeliak mata Kak Nah.
Ahhh, kalau ditakdirkan bertemu semula, barulah saya terangkan kepada Kak Nah siapa saya sebenarnya :)

Wednesday, December 10

PACKING AGAIN


Alhamdulillah I'm back at home. After spending 20 days at my in-laws', we moved back to our little nest yesterday. I' m feeling better now. The exterior wound is almost healed although I can't say for sure for the internal wound where the doctors had taken out the fibroids. There's still a slight pain once in a while to remind me that I'm still on medical leave. In fact, I can do almost everything I had done pre-surgery except drive. I'm trying to psyche myself for the first drive post-surgery, for the bumps on the roads might not be comfortable with me on the driver's seat.

And today I'm supposed to start packing again , hahahaa.. but not to the hospital, nazu'billah.

As said earlier, Husband and I are planning a trip to the land of our ancestors. And alhamdulillah, with about 2 weeks to go, we've managed to book our places with a good Muslim tour agency. The reception and treatment they've given us via phone calls and emails have been satisfactory (they're in KL, we're in Penang). InsyaAllah, if everything goes well, Husband and I will be leaving for 'the land of the dragon' next week, when my medical leave is over.

I know some would say I'm crazy to go on tour to a far away land at such a short time after my open surgery. However, I'm feeling fine and we've planned this trip months before. As we're not sure what plans Allah swt has for us next year, we're taking this chance to go and have a great time, insyaAllah. As the trip has been paid up, by hook or by crook, we'd go. Even my mother, who has been there, has given her approval although she was initially worried about my health and recovery rate. Mom knows there's no stopping me when I've made up my mind, hehehe.

It's winter there, so I'd be looking for some warm clothing soon before the trip. We've chosen a rather relaxing 6 days' trip to the capital of China, so we'd have some time to rest every day. I'm looking forward to see the Forbidden City and the Muslim mosques, while Husband can't wait to walk on the Great Wall. It'd be more of a learning tour than shopping for goods. I hope the travel agency treats this nyonya well, for I intend to write about the trip in this blog when I return :)

Gosh, I've just returned home and there're bags to unpack and repack.
It'd be an interesting week ahead, that's for sure.
I've another big important project up my sleeve, and I'm praying hard that Allah swt will allow the transaction to happen smoothly. If everything goes well, insyaAllah I'd be repacking more things soon, hehehe.
Hmm, now what shall I pack for the trip?

image: www.tugbabags.com

Monday, December 8

SELAMAT AIDIL ADHA

Alhamdulillah, finally I get to perform solat Hari Raya Aidil Adha for the first time in the mosque, in my 3rd year of celebrating it. I faced various problems during the past 2 Aidil Adha which forced me to stay away from the mosque during this festive season.
Being able to perform solat raya berjemaah was a good feeling. I feel truly blessed. Finally Allah swt answer my pleas. And as I can actually perform my prayers again in normal ways, I didn't face any problem doing so with the other jemaah this morning. It was good to hear the khutbah raya too.

It's the first time I'm celebrating Aidil Adha at my in-laws. There're ketupat, rendang, tose (mom-in-law's specialty) and chicken curry. I decided to have only a small ketupat pulut (yummy), as I'm told that the glutonious rice used for this Malay delicacy is not good for post-surgery patients, huhuhu. Poor me! Tried as I did, I still fail to weave a ketupat palas properly, so I ended up opening the daun palas leaves for others to weave. Better luck next time :P.

I wish all readers a blessed Aidil Adha. Maaf zahir batin.

(note: Alhamdulillah I managed to perform my sunat raya prayers at the mosque today. Was told not to expect my menses for 6-8 weeks but it decided to show up after zohor, 3 weeks post surgery. Guess my fertility rate is still at a normal level :P)

Sunday, December 7

SUJUD

Alhamdulillah, akhirnya setelah lebih 2 minggu bersolat duduk, saya dapat menikmati semula cara mendirikan solat seperti biasa. Sudah lama benar saya hanya mampu bersolat dengan duduk di kerusi. Berkali-kali saya cuba solat seperti biasa tetapi semasa hendak sujud, sakit di tempat luka menyebabkan saya terpaksa membatalkan hasrat. Risau luka semakin melarat pula.


Apabila pulang malam tadi, saya cuba sekali lagi dengan berhati-hati. Risau sakit di tempat luka seperti yang dirasai beberapa hari yang lalu. Syukur, saya mampu sujud dengan selesa walaupun masih perlu berhati-hati. Pergerakan dalam solat cukup berhati-hati. Sekurang-kurangnya saya tidak akan dituduh melakukan solat ekspres atau solat ala kadar, hehehe.

Seronok saya mendirikan solat maghrib dan solat isyak hari ini. Terasa puas sungguh bersolat dengan rukuk dan sujud seperti biasa. Betapa bahagianya hati ini. Syukur alhamdulillah Allah izinkan saya untuk mendirikan solat seperti biasa menjelang Aidil Adha.



Saya ucapkan Selamat Aidil Adha kepada semua rakan-rakan dan pembaca blog ini. Sama-samalah kita menghayati erti korban dari kisah nabi Ibrahim dan nabi Ismail. Semoga Allah swt ampuni dosa kita, terima ibadah kita dan berkati kita semua, ameen.

image: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1307/905349198_05fbd26718.jpg?v=0

Saturday, December 6

PUASA HARI ARAFAH

"Jom puasa Hari Arafah esok."
Aliya tidak tahu tentang puasa Hari Arafah sebelum memeluk Islam. Yang saya tahu hanya wajib berpuasa pada bulan Ramadhan. Namun alhamdulillah berkat nasihat dan ajakan rakan-rakan dalam dunia siber, saya belajar berpuasa sunat.

Hari ini memang berniat untuk menghadiri Wacana Ilmu di Masjid Jamek Seberang Jaya. Niat nampaknya tinggal niat sahaja, huhuhu. Saya masih belum sihat sepenuhnya untuk memandu sendirian selama 40 minit ke situ. Suami pula kurang sihat. Berehat sahajalah di rumah mertua ni.

Perancangan teliti perlu dibuat untuk berpuasa sunat esok. Kalau di rumah sendiri senang, kerana saya boleh menyediakan makanan mengikut selera. Saya tahu saya masih belum sihat sepenuhnya tetapi insyaAllah saya yakin dapat berpuasa sehingga waktu berbuka. Lama tidak berpuasa sunat.

Mari kita berpuasa sunat Hari Arafah esok... banyak pahalanya.

Puasa hari Arafah (9 Dzulhijjah) disunatkan kepada orang yang tidak melakukan ibadah haji. Fadhilatnya sangat besar sebagaimana dijelaskan menerusi hadith daripada Abi Qatadah r.a. ujurnya, Rasullullah s.a.w. telah ditanya oleh sahabat mengenai puasa hari 'Arafah, sabdanya bermaksud: "Ia menghapuskan dosa setahun yang lalu dan tahun-tahun kemudiannya." (Riwayatkan oleh Muslim dan al-Turmuzi)

Menerusi hadith daripada Abi Qatadah r.a. juga bahawa Rasullullah s.a.w. bersabda yang bermaksud: "Puasa pada hari 'Arafah itu menghapuskan dosa dua tahun yang lalu dan tahun yang akan datang." (Diriwayat oleh Muslim)

Nota: Malam ini ketika saya berbincang dengan mertua tentang niat untuk berpuasa hari Arafah, ada ipar yang menyatakan bahawa ada ustaz yang memberitahu perlu berpuasa sehari sebelum hari Arafah juga. Saya terkejut kerana belum pernah mendengar hujah tersebut. Alhamdulillah setelah menyemak segala maklumat yang ada, rupa-rupanya berpuasa sehari sebelum hari Arafah hanya sunat, sebagai langkah berhati-hati yang mana kemungkinan hari ke 8 Zulhijjah merupakan hari ke 9 Zulhijjah.

Saya juga diberitahu tentang perlunya berpuasa juga sehari sebelum hari Arafah jika 9 Zulhijjah itu jatuh pada hari Sabtu. Perkara ini kerana Rasulullah melarang berpuasa sehari tunggal pada hari Sabtu.

Friday, December 5

BERBICARA

Aku selalu berbicara denganNya. Dialah pendengar paling setia, yang tidak pernah menutup pintu komunikasi denganku. Dialah yang Maha Melihat dan Maha Mendengar secara yang kulakukan, dan Maha Mengetahui segala yang kufikirkan dan simpan dalam lubuk hatiku.

Dia tidak pernah menjawab secara langsung tetapi kutahu Dia tetap menjawab. Ku terima peringatanNya melalui penulisan orang lain, melalui nasihat orang lain. Kurasai kasihNya dalam ketenangan jiwa yang diberikanNya kepadaku selepas setiap kali berbicara. Kuterima segala ketentuanNya dengan redha. Aku usaha.

Ujian Allah bukan sedikit. Lepas satu satu. Ketika sesatu ujian, aku ditanya pula oleh hamba lain yang mahu tahu persoalan apa, bagaimana dan mengapa perkara tersebut berlaku padaku. Manalah kutahu kerana itu sudah dikira takdir. Kadang-kadang aku menjadi malas hendak melayan mereka. Cukuplah sudah aku dengan keadaan-keadaan yang menguji kesabaran dan ketaqwaanku; tak ingin sungguh kulayan mereka yang cuba mencungkil lagi. Bila tak dilayan, ku terpaksa pula bersabar dengan tuduhan lain. Dalam keadaan kesihatan yang kurang baik, lagi banyak cabaran yang perlu dilalui.

Dahulu aku tak jadi memeluk Islam kerana teramat kecewa dengan sikap dan layanan orang Islam di sekelilingku. Kini aku masih sedikit kecewa dengan sikap orang Islam lain di sekelilingku. Bukan aku menyalahkan mereka. Kutahu tahap pemahaman Islam mereka tidak sama. Cuma aku masih terkilan dengan segolongan daripada mereka. Ada yang bukan tidak tahu tetapi tidak mahu. Ku hanya mampu berdoa agar mereka mendapat petunjuk dan hidayah dariNya. Ku perlu salurkan tenaga dan masaku untuk perkara yang lebih penting daripada terus-menerus mengetuk pintu-pintu hati yang enggan dibuka. Cukuplah sudah. Biarlah orang lain pula yang usaha. Ku tak berdaya.

Ku sedar juga diriku bukanlah manusia yang sempurna. Masih lemah dari pelbagai sudut. Aku tahu benar siapa diriku; apa kekuatan dan apa kelemahanku. Kubendung sifat-sifat buruk daripada terus bertapak dalam hatiku, dengan bantuanNya. Alhamdulillah, dalam 2 tahun ini, aku cuba perbaiki diriku mendekati ajaran Islam yang benar. Ku yakin, ajaran Islam jua yang dapat mengubah manusia menjadi baik. Ku juga impikan cara hidup Islam seperti zaman Rasulullah saw, yang benar-benar Islam tanpa perlu terikat dengan pandangan sempit masyarakat, adat yang membazir, dan budaya yang bercanggah dengan Islam.
Ada yang kata aku patut bersyukur; memang ku bersyukur dengan segala yang diberikanNya. Bagaimana mereka nak diukur sebanyak mana aku bersyukur?
Ada yang kata aku patut muhasabah diri; mana mereka tahu, bagaimana mereka hendak ukur sebanyak mana aku muhasabah diri?
Ada yang kata aku patut diamkan diri sahaja, sebab aku saudara baru, orang baru. Tetapi mengikut pemahamanku, semua umat Islam perlu tegur-menegur untuk mengelak kemungkaran? Tiada bezanya di antara kau dan aku di sisi Allah kecuali dari segi ketaqwaan padaNya?
Ada yang kata aku tidak boleh mengadu. Maaf,aku hanya ingin menyatakan pendapat, supaya manusia sendiri boleh mengubah keadaan menjadi lebih baik. Belajarlah juga menerima aduan dengan hati yang lapang. Sekiranya aku mengadu terus padaNya, kemungkinan balasanNya dan pengadilanNya lebih dahsyat lagi. Wallahu'alam.

Ku bersabar dengan segala yang berlaku. Namun, bagiku bersabar bukan hanya menerima bulat-bulat keadaan tanpa bertindak proaktif. Prinsipku (yang berlainan dengan ramai) adalah bersabar sambil berusaha, di samping berdoa.Ku tahu semua mengikut kehendakNya. Manusia merancang tetapi Allah juga yang menentukan keputusannya. Kita semua hanya hamba Allah. Hamba Allah yang menerima dengan redha segalanya selepas berusaha bersungguh-sungguh. Redha. Redha dengan keadaan. Redha dengan keputusanNya. Aku mahu menjadi hambaNya yang redha.

Aku hanya mampu memohon padaNya agar mengampunkan segala dosa-dosaku dan dosa-dosa mereka. Aku ingin ikhlas beribadah kepadaNya. Aku ingin hidup sebagai Muslimah yang baik, isteri yang solehah, dan anak yang baik, mengikut acuan al-Quran dan al-hadith, insyaAllah.

Thursday, December 4

I'TIRAF

I've been searching for an English translation of this beautiful song (among my favourite nasyid songs). Alhamdulillah found it. Enjoy :)





I'tiraf
Wahai Tuhan ku tak layak ke syurga Mu
Namun tak pula aku sanggup ke neraka Mu

Ampunkan dosa ku terimalah taubat ku
Sesungguhnya Engkaulah Pengampun dosa-dosa besar

(arabic verse) edited 29/5/09:
Ilahi lastu lil firdausi ahlaa
Wa laa aqwa 'alaa naaril jahiimi
Fahabli taubataw waghfir dzunuubi
Fa innaka ghofirudz dzam bil 'adhiimi

Dosa-dosaku bagaikan pepasir di pantai
Dengan rahmat Mu ampunkan daku Oh Tuhan ku

Wahai Tuhan selamatkan kami ini
Dari segala kejahatan dan kecelakaan

Kami takut kami harap kepada Mu
Suburkanlah cinta kami kepada Mu

Akulah hamba yang mengharap belas dari Mu

WHEN A WOMAN CRIES

Tears of a woman can mean many things.
Men are often baffled by the tears.
I suppose a woman's tears make a man feel helpless.
They cannot control the situation or handle the woman.
Logic doesn't make sense when a woman cries.
Real men don't cry, or do they?



He: There you go again, crying. Why can't you talk normally instead of crying?
She: I can't help it! They just flow.. and I'm talking to you still.
He: But surely you can turn off the tap..and be rasionale. Why are you crying?
She: If I can I will but I can't. This is the only way I release stress.. and I'm in great stress!
He: God! How long are you going to be like this? You're behaving like a child.
She: Stop nagging! If you can't comfort me with your words, at least don't nag me. And I'm not behaving like a child, I'm in great pain. My head hurts, my heart hurts, I'm hurting and the last thing I want to hear is you nagging...and telling me I behave like a child. If I can stop the tears from flowing, do you think I won't? Do you think I like to have puffy eyes and a red nose as the result of crying buckets of tears? Oh please! (sob sob)
He: All right.. all right. But can you tell me what's the problem without you crying away?
She: Give me the tissue.. (sniff sniff)
He: So can we talk now?
She: I've been talking to you for the past ten minutes.. didn't you listen?

She 1: What's wrong?
She 2: I don't know.. (sob sob)
She 1: Here.. have a tissue.
She 2: Thanks (sob sob)
She 1: What happened? Did anyone hurt you? Are you in pain?
She 2: Oh, life is so unfair! (sob sob)
She 1: Now, now.. I'm here. I'm all ears. Tell me.. what happened?
She 2: But it's a long story..(wail) I don't what to do!
She 1: Relax.. what happened to you today? Surely something must had happened to make you cry like this.
She 2: Well, you sure you want to hear this? (hesitant)
She 1: It's your choice. If you feel better after telling me, then why not? I promise I'll keep this secret.
She 2: Well, you see.. ( sniff sniff)

Tuesday, December 2

WACANA ISLAM & UNDANG-UNDANG

Wacana Islam & Undang-undang: Islam di Kandang Salah
Anjuran Persatuan Ulama' Malaysia cawangan Pulau Pinang (PUMPP)
Dewan Seminar 1, Masjid Jamek Seberang Jaya, Perai, Pulau Pinang
6 Disember 2008

Tiada yuran dikenakan ...
Tentatif:
8.30 pagi: Pendaftaran
9.00 pagi: Ucapan aluan & perasmian pembukaan – Prof Madya Dr. Fadlullah Jamel (NYDP PUMPP)
9.30 pagi: Sesi 1:
1) Abd Halim Bahari (Peguam Syar'ie) – Undang-undang Menyokong Kesesatan? & kes Rasul Melayu Kahar Ahmad dan Ayah Pin (1 jam)
2) Azril Mohd Amin (NYDP ABIM) –Pluralisme Agama & kes penggunaan nama Allah oleh akhbar Kristian (1 jam)
3) Ustaz Hafiz Nordin (BADAI) – Hak Berkumpul dan Bersuara & kes demonstrasi Artikel 11 (1 jam)
12.30 pagi: Soal jawab sesi 1
1.00 ptg: Rehat & Makan tengahari
2.30 ptg: Sesi 2:
1) Prof Madya Dr. Wan Salim bin Wan Mohd Nor (YDP PUMPP) – Konflik Syari'ah dan Perundangan (1 jam)
2) Hj Mahamad Naser Disa (Syeksen Syari'ah, Jabatan Peguam Negara) – Sorotan Kes-kes Terkini Berkaitan Dengan Syari'ah dan Pentadbiran Islam (1 jam)
4.30 ptg: Soal jawab sesi 2
5.30 ptg: Bersurai

TERASA HATI


Ya Allah
Bersihkan hatiku
Daripada sifat mazmumah.
Tanamkan sifat mahmudah pada diriku.
Ampunilah dosa-dosaku
Aku hambamu
Yang lemah lagi kerdil
Yang mengharapkan bimbinganMu
Dan kasih sayangMu.

Ya Allah
Jauhilah aku
Daripada mereka yang berniat buruk terhadapku.
Lindungi aku
Daripada terikut-ikut dengan sikap buruk mereka terhadapku.
Aku ingin menjadi Mukminah yang sejati
yang berani, yang berbakti.

Berilah aku taufik dan hidayah
bantulah aku memaafkan mereka
yang bertindak di luar jangkaan,
yang mementingkan diri,
yang bersikap dengki,
yang belum terbuka hati
menerima ketentuan illahi.

Kau Yang Maha Berkuasa ke atas kami
Kau Yang Maha Mengetahui isi hati kami
KepadaMu jua kami kembali
Bantulah hambamu ini,
Tabahkanlah hati ini,
Bantulah diri ini untuk bersabar
Dengan karenah mereka
Yang zahirnya sudah beriman
Yang zahirnya sudah bertaqwa
Yang zahirnya sudah berkhatam Quran
Namun batinnya hanya Kau yang tahu
Hanya Kau yang mampu mengubah
pendirian mereka.

Ku bersyukur dengan apa yang ada
Ku turut panjangkan doa
Bagi mereka yang menjadi mangsa
Pandangan sempit masyarakat
Pegangan yang taksub adat
Pendirian yang bakal memakan diri sendiri.

Ku idamkan syurga jannah
Keredhaan suami
Keredhaan Allah
Kasih sayang suci sesama manusia
Dari seorang hamba Allah kepada saudaranya
InsyaAllah.

Ya Allah
Ampunilah mereka
Bimbinglah mereka
Yang masih jahil
Yang masih tidak mahu berubah
Yang masih tunduk melayan emosi
Yang masih mengamalkan semangat assabiyah.

Sunday, November 30

ZULHIJJAH, 3RD ROUND

I always feel there's something special in the air when Zulhijjah approaches. There's a sense of tranquility and peace unexplainable which can also be felt during Ramadhan. I don't know about you readers but I feel closer to Allah swt during these two months. This year, I find it's easier to talk to Him during prayers. It's easier to feel at peace with myself. Perhaps I've changed for the better after the surgery but whatever it is, alhamdulillah.


My first Zulhijjah as a Muslimah was spent in the hostel. At that time, I didn't know much about the history/special events that had happened during the month of Zulhijjah. I could only connect it to the haj pilgrimage. I didn't really celebrate Aidil Adha because almost all my friends had gone home for the festival, leaving only a few of us at the hostels. However, I remembered fasting on Hari Arafah.

Second Zulhijjah was different. With Husband at Mekah for his haj, I was alone at home and recovering from heavy menses. I suppose that's when I actually developed signs of having uterine fibroids. It was a tough and challenging time but alhamdulillah like everything else, I survived.

This year is another different scenario. Alhamdulillah Husband is back from his travels, although is still very busy. My parents-in-law also arrived home in the best of health. We had a long chat until late at night as they talked about their vacation in the States. Thanks for the gifts and souvenir. It's always heart-warming to see the elders smiling and in the pink of health.

These few days, the pain started again. It's not on the wound which alhamdulillah is healing well. There is an aching pain above the wound that refused to go away. Perhaps it's the area where they have taken out the fibroids, I don't really know. I still perform solat in the sitting position as it still hurts when I try to sujud. I'm still waiting for the day I could drive on my own. Gosh, I miss my car! I'm still on strict diet. The good news is, with Mom-in-law back, there's more variety of food to eat :) Syukur

InsyaAllah I'll be going off for a short vacation soon. We have planned to spend our year-end holidays visiting the country where our ancestors came from. I really pray that Allah will permit us to go, and allow us a safe and easy journey. If I'm fit enough, it'd be a wonderful vacation which I hope to be able to share with you readers when we return home. I hope to experience a better time during Zulhijjah this year.

Saturday, November 29

MENJEJAKI SAHABAT LAMA

Drink hot coffee, drink hot tea,
Burn your lips and remember me.

Makan roti disapu kaya,
Terasa manis, ingatlah saya.



Nota-nota ringkas di dalam buku autograf saya sebagai kenangan manis. Alangkah seronoknya zaman persekolahan dahulu. Dari tahun 1978 sehingga 1988, saya dikelilingi sahabat-sahabat perempuan. Masuk Tingkatan 6, barulah duduk sekelas dengan pelajar lelaki. Mungkin pada ketika itu sentimen perkauman kurang menyerlah seperti sekarang; saya dan sahabat-sahabat tidak pernah bersengketa tentang hal-hal berkaitan bangsa dan agama. Tanpa banyak bicara, kami seolah-olah tahu akan batas-batas pergaulan. Rasa-rasanya sayalah antara yang paling bertoleransi di antara mereka semua kerana boleh bergaul dengan sesiapa pun. Apabila ada waktu lapang, saya akan ke rumah sahabat-sahabat Melayu dan India yang berdekatan dengan sekolah. Ada kalanya turut dijemput makan tengah hari di rumah mereka. Semasa Raya Puasa, saya ke rumah kawan-kawan Melayu. Semasa Deepavali saya ke rumah kawan-kawan India. Pada Tahun Baru Cina, mereka serombongan ke rumah saya pula.

Alhamdulillah baru-baru ini saya berjaya bertemu kembali dengan sahabat-sahabat lama melalui Facebook. Saya perhatikan betul-betul wajah mereka di dalam foto. Ahh, tak banyak berubah nampaknya walaupun sudah 20 tahun lamanya tidak berjumpa. Saya cuba hubungi yang beragama Islam dahulu. Saya percaya mereka akan gembira berjumpa semula dengan saya, walaupun sekadar di alam siber.

Hati ini berdebar-debar untuk menghubungi semula sahabat-sahabat yang bukan Islam. Risau juga entah apa reaksi mereka apabila tahu siapa saya kini. Ada di antara mereka yang telah terlibat dalam 'mengkristiankan' saya. Ada sahabat yang suruh saya menyamar dahulu, tetapi Aliya bukan jenis yang suka cara menyamar ini. Akhirnya saya membuat keputusan teruskan sahaja, hubungi mereka untuk menjalinkan semula persahabatan yang sudah terputus selama 20 tahun (semenjak Tingkatan 5). Sekiranya mereka membalas dengan baik, maksudnya mereka dapat menerima saya semula. Sekiranya tidak, bukan menjadi masalah besar. Saya masih boleh teruskan hidup dengan mencari sahabat baru.

Sekiranya ada pembaca yang seangkatan dengan saya dahulu, bolehlah hubungi saya juga :)
1978-1988 : Sek Father Barre's Convent
1989-1990: Smk Ibrahim
1990-1992: MPerguruan Sultan Abdul Halim
1993: mengajar di Kuala Berang
1994-1999: mengajar di Batu Kurau
2000-2005: mengajar di Taiping

Friday, November 28

MORE ABOUT HALAL THAN HARAM

I've been intending to write something about it but my yo-yo health conditions had not allowed me to sit by my laptop with enough time to pen down my thoughts. But insyaAllah here goes.. may the words I'm typing form meaning..
I used to think that It's all about haram
When as a litle girl, I heard my Malay friends say,
"Eating pork is haram."
"Lying is haram."
"Stealing is haram."
And they said,"God will punish us if we do all these,
and God is All Seeing."

I used to believe that It's all about haram,
When as a teenager, I heard my Malay neighbours say,
"Drinking alcohol is haram."
"Gambling is haram."
"Adultery is haram"
And they said," You will enter hell if you do those acts, and God is All Knowing."

But when I grew up and learnt,
and my did I learnt,
I realise that It's not all about haram,
as is being emphasised by some folks.
This religion is not a religion of "don'ts"
It's actually one of "do's"
Unfortunately the learned ones and common people don't seem to portray It so.

It teaches,
Do be respectful to one's parents,
Do be kind, responsible and trustworthy even to one's enemies,
Do keep one's promises and settle one's debts,
Do treat one's women kindly and responsibly,
Do guard one's lips and actions at all times.

Do eat all the good and clean food available except a few which God says not to,
Do drink all the good and clean water and beverages except those that God says will harm you,
Do sit only with women who are allowed for you through family ties, and marriages so that you'd not fall into temptations,
Do guard your honour by doing what God asks of you and stay away from what God forbids,
Do know that God gives us all choices and the wise will choose wisely.

It's so simple,
It's so direct,
It's so easy,
Islam is Its name.
Yet why do they like to project It as a religion of more haram than halal?
I really don't know.

JUST MY 2-RINGGIT THOUGHTS

She sent an email forward to her friends. Actually it's meant for only the non-Muslims' eyes but I suppose she forgot that now, I am one who bows in submission to Allah. And as Allah swt wills it, it reached me, hahaha.. and boy oh boy, did I gave them all a long talk via email about fatwa and respecting the religion of others :P

It's about a prediction by a so-called Muslim entitled 'Fatwa-fatwa yang akan datang'. He made fun of the Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan by predicting things which will soon be banned for Muslims. I laughed aloud. Amazing, the amount of time and energy spent by non-Muslims on things on of their concern, huhuhu. I won't show everything this chap said but something caught my eye toward the end of the email. Here's what he wrote:

"The rational-thinking muslims in this country are simply not doing anything. We let a very small minority of narrow-minded idiots to control our lives. We, especially the Malay muslims, are fast becoming a laughing stock worldwide. We are obsessed with the little little things. When there are so many important things remain to be done, why must the Fatwa folks spend their time on little things.. tomboys, yoga, etc, etc. Why don't we ever hear anything from the Fatwa folks for social justice, eradicating corruption and poverty, protecting single mothers, helping the poors, educating the ummah, protecting the environment or ensuring fairness in society. If you are a rationale, forward thinking muslim, please speak up. If you choose to remain silent, it only means that you agree with whatever is happening. And do not blame the non-muslims for all our troubles. We are asking for it."

What a shame! Shame on him, for calling the ulama and Islamic scholars as narrow-minded idiots. It's actually people like this chap who disgrace Islam by not only showing his own ignorance about what the Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan actually does and the limits of its power, but also by nodding his head in loud agreement with the other non-Muslims over the recently-announced fatwas. If there are no more alim ulama and learned Islamic scholars to guide and teach us about Islam, who else do we go to? If there're no more ulama and Islamic scholars, what will become to the state of Islam in this country?

Malaysian can be so gullible. We make too much noise over little things. We can go ga-ga about which artiste marries which artiste,over who divorces who and some know more about the private lives of those involved in the entertainment business than about the names of surah in the al-Quran. And we adopt the latest forms of exercises and fashion. We call all that as being modern, up-to-date and liberal. And when somebody points out the mistake, what happens? People who are not even involved or know exactly what Islam is, got all worked up and start making demands.

And I know for certain, that this issue about yoga, will die a slow death as it always is with Malaysians. People will forget. People won't bother anymore after a few more weeks. Go ask any Muslim in the small towns and kampung. Do they bother about this yoga fatwa? Nope, because they don't need yoga. They have always done their exercises by working out in the fields and by performing their prayers, perhaps even more than 5 times a day. We don't see the average Muslim protesting against this yoga or pengkid fatwa. Most Muslims here know and accept the fact that yoga if performed with mantra, is unsuitable for Muslims. It's not as if yoga is the one and only form of exercise for health available in the world. There are other alternatives such as pilates (which does not require mantra), qigong and taiqi (yes, practised by generations of Chinese Muslims in China).

Muslims have never interfered in how those of other religions practised their faith, so please respect ours. I choose to speak up by explaining to those ignoarnt what a fatwa is. I choose to speak up by advising those 'liberal-rational thinking Muslims' to think carefully before you speak against the fatwa. If you're unsure, find out more before you make a disgrace of yourselves and incur Allah's wrath. And we are rational-forward thinking Muslims, thank you very much.

Thursday, November 27

IN EVERY MOMENT..

It's a simple but beautiful poem a Muslim friend once sent to me.
Poet unknown.


If Allah brings you to it,
He will bring you through it.
In happy moments, praise Allah.
In difficult moments, seek Allah.
In quiet moments, worship Allah.
In painful moments, trust Allah.
In Every moment, say Alhamdulillah..Thank Allah.

Wednesday, November 26

COPING ON MY OWN

It's been three days since I stopped taking my medication. There's no more in my stock and I can't go to the HSAH which is about 50 minutes away. So it's back to square one - coping with my mental power.
Well, it hasn't been easy. I'm just doing my best. Alhamdulillah the wound is healing well although it still hurts when I bend too much or sit too long. I'm walking a little faster now. I can sleep on my side now, which really helps to ease the backache I've been suffering from since I returned from the hospital.

Doing the ablution was a challenge as I had some difficulty bending forward to clean my feet. Performing the solat is a real challenge. I cannot bend forward too much as the wound is horizontally below the navel. So I have to do it in a sitting position. Memang tak puas. I don't feel contented doing so but what choice do I have? It's either that way or not at all. And I'm not one who excuse myself from solat just because of a slight discomfort.

I'm patiently waiting for the return of my husband from overseas. It's been very difficult to contact him as he's on the move. As Allah swt has decided that I'm to survive my first two weeks of post-surgery without him around, I'm doing my best here. Last year when he left for his haj, I was alone too but it wasnt' that bad. I could still move around and was healthy. This time around it's different. It's very tryingas I've nobody else to confide in or to ask for assistance. Hard to find people who really understand anyway.

My widow sis-in-law is a real help but she's a village woman with traditional views. She cooks and cleans the house that my in-laws have entrusted her with during their absence. We get along just fine but I'm not a Malay. Malays can eat a plateful of white rice and a fried fish, and consider it a meal. I don't know how to explain to her that I need my daily supply of greens, and that I only need a small bowl of rice for a meal. To ask for greens would mean that she has to cook another dish, so I've been quiet all this while. I know I should be thankful for my daily meals. I am thankful. It's just that I miss my greens, huhuhu.

I miss driving too. The car is here with me. I tried to drive but I suffered pains. The rather bumpy ride from my house to my in-laws' with husband on the wheel last week, had me doing deep breathing and pressing down on my wound( to ease the pain). I'm confident I can manage the steering wheel and the pedals now but the thought of potholes (ouch!) and the car's movement on the rather bumpy road stopped me from continuing my quest to drive this week.

Alhamdulillah my burden is not as heavy as hers

Reading the al-Quran translations help to calm me down and alleviate the pain.
Surfing the internet and visiting blogs help to ease the boredom.
I'm also trying to complete my book.
Friends call and ask about my condition. Thanks. Alhamdulillah I believe that I'm recovering well.
The house in Tasek Gelugor, Kepala Batas is quite far from the main cities, so I'm not expecting any visitors. Thank God for my Celcom broadband! I have the world at my touch, hahaha.
I pray that it'd be better when my in-laws and husband return from their travels. I really hope so.

Have a nice day. everyone!

Tuesday, November 25

AKU NAK KAHWIN TAPI..

Sekarang musim orang mengadakan kenduri. Kenduri kahwin, kenduri pergi haji, kenduri anak berkhatan, kenduri kesyukuran dan lain-lain. Adat orang kita, asalkan ada peristiwa semua makan. Sayang sekali, saya pula yang terpaksa ikat perut, berpantang makan. Alahai, dugaan lagi..

Saya tersenyum membaca komen seorang kawan yang masih mencari pasangan hidup. Kasihan dia. Lebih kurang beginilah kata-katanya:

Bila nak kahwin ramai bakal-bakal isteri meletakkan syarat-syarat berikut:
1. Mahu suami yang beriman
(bagaimana nak tahu lelaki itu beriman? Cukup dengan menunaikan rukun Islam dan solat berjemaah di masjid?)
2. Mahu suami yang berpendapatan tetap
(Kalau berniaga bagaimana nak pendapatan tetap? Gaji minima pekerja Bangla RM350 setiap bulan pun pendapatan tetap juga..)
3. Mahu suami yang penyayang romantik
(Kalau mulut manis hari-hari berikan bunga boleh lah? Buat apa di belakang tak kisah la yer?)
4. Mahu suami berjanji tidak akan kahwin lain
(MasyaAllah. Itu bukan perkara di bawah kuasa kita. Jodoh, Allah yang tentukan bukan? Kalau bahagia dengan isteri seorang tentu tak kahwin lain)
5. Bukan suami orang
(Bekas suami orang bagaimana? Di dalam al-Quran tak benarkan kahwin suami orang?)

Maka saya cadangkan pula kawan itu meletakkan syarat-syarat berikut kepada bakal isteri?
1. Mesti sentiasa menurut kata suami, selagi tidak melanggar syariat Islam.
2. Mesti sentiasa menutup aurat di depan bukan muhrim, walaupun di dalam rumah sendiri
3. Sanggup melahirkan zuriat sehingga suami suruh tutup kilang
4. Berjanji menjaga makan minum suami dan anak-anak dan rumahtangga yang diamanahkan tanpa merungut dan bermasam muka sepanjang tempoh perkahwinan
5. dan paling penting, berjanji meletakkan Islam dan segala ajaran Islam sebagai pegangan hidup dan tonggak rumahtangga supaya tidak menjadi isteri yang nusyuz/curang

Bukan senang nak dapat bakal suami/isteri yang sesuai dan cocok dengan kita, nohh.. Pilih baju boleh berjam-jam tetapi nak pilih pasangan hidup, alahai.. ada yang sampai bertahun-tahun. Ada yang kena reject. Ada yang me-reject. Ada yang tak diiklankan langsung. Ada yang masuk kategori second-hand, sudah kurang yang berminat. Hanya Allah Maha Mengetahui segala kekusutan dan masalah kita semua dalam menangani hal ini.
Tapis punya tapis, tiba musim kenduri ada juga yang mengeluh..
"Aku nak kahwin tetapi..."

I, GUARDIAN OF THE DOOR

My daily routine include guarding the main door from these intruders:
(It's easy, just swing a stick at them when the door's opened, hahaha)

Manja, the leader of the pack

Nakal, the younger cat with the ability to climb in through
half-opened window panes
Jantan and Tompok, who don't welcome my presence in the house
Kelabu, the burglar that stole into my bedroom in the middle of the night
through a broken window pane (3 times in 5 nights)

All those cats and about 8 more of their species are not our pets. They just turn up at the door, walk into the house with their dirty paws and expect to be fed.
I name them based on their characteristics.
Oh by the way, they understand Malay and sign language.
And they hate me, hahaha...

Hitam and Puteh, the domestic hens that lay their eggs at a strategic place - above the window

My daily menu of fish... meowww!!

Am patiently waiting for the return of these two gentlemen

- Abang and Ayah


and of course, for the grand lady of the house

- Mak

Monday, November 24

A CANE FOR A WIFE?

"I don't like to listen to that ustazah's talks," I said.
"Why?"
"Sometimes what she said can't be found in the hadith."
"Example?"
"Well, there's this story she said in one of her talks that Fatimah the prophet's daughter was told that another woman would reach syurga before her. She was an examplary wife who used to wait for her husband's return with among all things, a cane so that her husband could beat her if she made any mistakes in her treatment towards her husband. I mean, come on la.. a cane for a husband to beat his wife if he's unsatisfied with her? Which hadith actually said so? It's amazing that there're people who actually believe the story."
"There's a riwayat or story from the hadith la, Kak Aliya."
"Really? Show me then. All I do know is that Rasulullah saw instructed husbands to treat their wives gently and patiently. And that wives are to obey their husbands. I've never come across any Quranic verse or authentic hadith that said a wife should beaten with a cane if she does not treat or layan her husband well."
"There is.. if I'm not mistaken, told by Caliph Umar?"
"Umar? Oh you mean the story that a husband went to Caliph Umar to complain about his wife and overheard the Caliph being scolded by his wife? And what did Caliph Umar tell the husband? He said that he was still grateful to his wife for her sacrifices in preparing his food, washing his clothes etc.. things she was not required to do but she did. And that husbands are to be patient with their wives. There's no mentioning that Caliph Umar beat his wife with a cane."
"Oh, go and find the hadith.. I'm sure it's there."
"Perhaps you don't really know me yet, my friend. I'm not one who will simply accept a story or an order connecting to Islam per se. I want to know the truth as is in the real teaching of Islam, not a folklore passed down through generations and connocted by a person with the intention of turning women into good, obedient wives. And sorry to say, I have yet to find any hadith actually saying that an examplary wife should wait at the door for her husband with a cane. With beautiful clothes and perfume, yes... but not with a cane."
"But the woman in that story entered syurga before Fatimah?"
"Perhaps she did but perhaps she didn't even exist. We know that there're four examplary women in Islam whom we should emulate. The quran mentioned their names. They are Asiah the wife of Firaun, Maryam the mother of Isa, Khatijah the wife of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Fatimah the daughter of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, I suspect that story about the woman with the cane is just a story created by the Muslim Malays for their women. Strangely but not surprisingly, I can't find it in any English version."
"You're such a stubborn woman, Kak Aliya."
"My stubborness in refusing to accept everything passed down by you Muslim Malays as the teachings of Islam is actually a good thing, my friend. I'm not as easily influenced by deviant teachings and Islam ikutan ala Melayu. I find something new,I read up, and I do research. Isn't that what we're Muslims suposed to do, to refer back to the al-Quran and authentic hadith for guidance and to use the God-given brains to think? Hence, I find the story atrocious."
"But isn't it good that wives become obedient due to the story, and treat their husbands well?"
"The aim to teach goodness does not mean we have to spread falseness. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had warned us never to use his name to spread false stories. In fact, he has never taught us that husbands can beat their wives if they find the wives' treatment or layanan unsatisfying. And as far as I know, the only reason a husband can beat his wife is when she is nusyuz or disobedient. That too, after being given two warnings beforehand. Besides, in a loving marriage, there should not be any threat of harm to either spouse. I'd suggest new brides to read up about a 'Muslim Woman and her Husband' instead of this fanciful story. And I do feel sorry for the poor souls who actually believe that a husband can beat the wife if she doesn't satisfy all his needs. No wonder we often hear about wife-battery and domestic violence even in Muslim Malay households, where the wives are silent victims!"


image:cgi.ebay.co.uk