Sunday, November 30
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
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
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.
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.
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
Wednesday, November 26
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.
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.
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
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..."
Manja, the leader of the pack
Hitam and Puteh, the domestic hens that lay their eggs at a strategic place - above the window
Am patiently waiting for the return of these two gentlemen
- Abang and Ayah
and of course, for the grand lady of the house
Monday, November 24
"Sometimes what she said can't be found in the hadith."
"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!"
Sunday, November 23
Aku mengangguk faham lalu duduk berehat di ruang lobi hospital SAH. 15 minit lagi akan masuk waktu maghrib.
Mak yang bukan Islam pula duduk di sofa bersebelahan.
"Mana suami awak?"
"Pergi surau, sembahyang," jawabku ringkas.
"Dia sembahyang 5 kali sehari, betulkah?"tanya Mak lagi.
"Ya, itulah menantu Mak," kataku sambil tersenyum.
"Hmm, habis awak? Awak pun 5 kali juga?"
"Ya, biasalah 5 kali sehari. Cuma minggu ini aku cuti, sebab dikira datang bulan."
Mak menggeleng kepalanya. Kubiarkan dia dengan lamunannya. Aku terlalu letih untuk berbicara. Aku tahu, mungkin dia tengah berfikir,"Betulkah ini anak perempuanku? Yang dahulu susah nak tengok dia memegang colok dan sembah tuhan walaupun sekali sehari?"
Memang aku akui, dahulu aku memang malas bersembahyang. Jangan kata di rumah, sampai di tokong pun aku enggan memegang colok dan melakukan ritual sembahyang cara Taoist, walaupun didesak bertubi-tubi oleh Mak dan dipandang dengan kritikal oleh para pengunjung tokong itu.
Itu dulu. Saya sengaja tidak mahu sembahyang kerana tidak percaya pada tuhan yang disembah mereka.
Kini aku bukan lagi seperti dulu.
Aku suka mengerjakan solat 5 kali sehari. Tak perlu disuruh atau dipaksa.
Mak tidak memberi apa-apa komen tentang nama baru Islamku. Mungkin baru seminggu dia mengetahui nama rasmi yang aku gunakan sekarang. Mungkin dia terkejut bahawa aku masih mengekalkan nama keluarga. Aku biarkan begitu sahaja; kalau Mak timbulkan isu ini, barulah ku terangkan nanti.
Mak juga tidak memberi komen lagi tentang keadaanku yang bertudung dan menutup aurat. Mungkin dia berfikir, aku berubah kerana pengaruh daripada suamiku. Aku biarkan sahaja. Bukannya satu perkara buruk sekiranya Mak beranggapan bahawa aku menjadi Muslimah yang baik hasil didikan suamiku. Selagi hubungan mereka berdua kekal baik dan mesra, aku akan berdiam diri sahaja.
Aku tahu keadaan kebanyakan keluarga Cina dari segi amalan keagamaan. Aku tahu bukan mudah untuk mereka mengerjakan sembahyang secara tetap pada setiap hari. Kalau dapat lakukan selama 2 kali sehari pun sudah dikira amat baik. Inikan pula aku yang sembahyang 5 kali sehari; tentu Mak tidak faham mengapa aku mahu melakukannya. Mungkin juga Mak akan anggap ini pengaruh suamiku.
Setalah menghantar Mak pulang, aku memberitahu suamiku.
"Mak tanya tadi, betulkah Abang solat 5 kali sehari?"
"Mengapa dia tanya begitu?"
"Entah, mungkin dia tak sangka dapat menantu yang alim macam Abang."
"Bukannya susah nak solat 5 kali sehari, mudah saja," jawab suamiku sambil tersenyum.
Mungkin bagi Muslimin dan Muslimat yang sudah biasa mengerjakan solat, 5 kali sehari semalam bukan sesuatu yang berat.
Tetapi pada pandangan orang bukan Islam seperti ibuku, ia sesuatu yang teramat susah hendak dilakukan dan di luar kemampuan mereka.
Aku tahu benar.
Dahulu, sebelum mengenali Islam, aku pun berfikiran begitu...
Saturday, November 22
A lot has happened during this one year. I had never thought that writing and sharing would help me to grow spiritually and emotionally but it has.I feel that I'm a better Muslim today than last year, as many experiences that I had never thought of had taken place within this one year. Only Allah swt knows what's best for me. I've managed to survive alone for 45 days when Husband's performing his haj, graduate from the university, cope with an illness, manage to obtain my international pasport, and finally survive a major surgery. Syukur alhamdulillah for all Allah's guidance, grace and mercy upon me. I'm really, really thankful.
Today's the 5th day after my surgery. Alhamdulillah I'm able to walk about in my in-laws' house although with slow, careful steps. I'm able to take a hot shower this afternoon without feeling much pain. It sure feels good after a shower, which I limit myself to once a day if the weather's fine. Otherwise it's just sponging to keep myself clean. My appetite's still good although I'm getting tired of eating the same type of food and recipe for the third consecutive day (fish and rice). Well, mustn't complain too much - I'm just thankful to have my sis-in-law cooking for me, as mom and dad-in-law are still vacationing in USA.
Now I know how it feels like to be woman who had a ceaserean delivery. Although I've no baby to show, it's been a great challenge anyway. The wound is healing slowly, insyaAllah.. but as it's on the bikini line, it's very uncomfortable to sit down for too long. I'd get up in the middle of watching a tv programme and walk about to ease the pain. A constant backache that won't go away is bugging me lately. I'm hoping it'd wear off soon. Anyway, I'm stuffing myself with Jelly Gamat and a Centella drink daily besides taking the prescribed antibiotics, painkillers and vitamins. Gosh, it's not easy being a patient patient, isn't it? Ahh, now I know :P
Sorry if I bore you readers with my post-surgery news. The trouble is, I can't sit too long at the desk. Very, very uncomfortable. I've just had news that the yoga practice which involves three elements of physical movements, worshipping and chanting as haram (prohibited) in Islam. Also that the singer Michael Jackson has converted to Islam with the Islamic name of Mikaeel. I'm so glad that He allows me some time to read though my emails and surf the internet for about an hour a day. It's so boring here.
As for this blog, only He knows for how long it will continue. I leave its future into Allah's perfect plans. Having survived so many challenges and tests, I'm learning to trust and depend fully on Him for my future. InsyaAllah may it sees it's 2nd anniversary, 3rd or more.
Am signing off for now, the back's killing me, uhuk3..
Friday, November 21
"Dah berapa hari dok di sini?" saya bertanya ketika mula-mula masuk wad.
"Masuk 13hb, dah 2 hari Aliya," jawab Kak Yah.
"Oh, apa kata doktor?"
"Kandungan gula masih tinggi. Kena urun kepada bawah paras 7. Doktor juga kata kena pandai cucuk (injection) dulu baru boleh balik rumah," katanya.
"Kalau nak balik rumah, Kak Yah kenalah berani " saya menasihatinya.
"Tu lah, Kak Yah takut. Dok pegang jarum tapi takut nak cucuk diri sendiri," dia mengaku sambil ketawa."Dah ni, kena cucuk 2 kali sehari selama 7 bulan. Selagi tak pandai cucuk sendiri di depan doktor, dia tak bagi keluar."
"Aliya, Kak Yah nak tanya sikit boleh?"
"Orang Cina ada tak pantang makan kalau lepas bersalin?"
"Ada, setahu saya 2 bulan atau lebih lama lagi 100 hari."
"Oh, lama juga la. Habis makan apa?"
"Yang saya tahu, makan berpantang la. Biasanya makan ikan atau ayam kampung yang dimasak dengan halia dan minyak bijan. Kalau minum pun, kena minum air rebusan herba, bukan air kosong. Ada juga orang tua yang hanya benarkan si ibu mandi selepas 2 minggu., takut masuk angin dalam badan."
"Tak mandi 2 minggu? Kira orang Cina kuat pantang juga ya?"
"Orang dulu-dulu begitulah. Sekarang ramai yang tak amalkan dah, kononnya dah moden.Bila dah tua, barulah rasa sakit-sakit badan."
"Aliya dah bedah nanti, kena berpantang makan juga la ya?"
"Saya sebenarnya dah biasa berpantang. Masa mula-mula datang haid dulu, saya dah pun diajar untuk mengamalkan pemakanan herba oleh keluarga saya. Mak akan rebus herba akar kayu (tongkwai) dengan ayam kampung setiap bulan. Bila dah bersih dari haid, siaplah semangkuk ubat herba tu di atas meja.Bukan mangkuk kecil Kak Yah, tapi mangkuk sup besar."
"Aliya makan seorang sajakah?"
"Dipaksa rela minum, hehehe. Mak akan letak semangkuk sup herba dan sebatang rotan panjang. Pilihlah mana yang kita berkenan.Saya pun belajarlah tutup hidung dengan satu tangan sambil menghirup sup."
"Bagi orang yang tak biasa bau rebusan akar kayu memang kuat la.Tapi alhamdulillah lepas setahun, saya dah boleh minum tanpa sebarang masalah. Sekarang bagi apa saja ubat yang pahit atau berbau pun saya tak kisah, boleh minum."
"Apakah kesan herba yang Aliya minum itu?"
"Oh, dengan mengamalkan tongkwai ni kami wanita Cina jarang sakit senggugut ketika datang bulan. Haid pun mudah dikira sebab datang tetap setiap bulan. Ia dipanggil ginseng wanita. Juga baik untuk wanita yang sudah menopause."
"Oh begitu. Tapi memang la, Kak Yah tengok wanita Cina yang tua-tua lebih kuat daripada wanita Melayu.. mungkin sebab amalan pemakanan kut..."
"Mungkin juga, Kak Yah. Semua yang ada di muka bumi ni Allah swt telah anugerahkan kepada kita dengan pelbagai kebaikan, hanya kita yang perlu mengetahui dan bersyukur. Beza amalan pantang Cina dengan Melayu adalah falsafah di sebalik adat itu. Orang Cina nak wanita itu kembali sihat dan bertenaga dengan cepat manakala Melayu lebih ke arah mengekalkan kecantikan tubuh badan.Masing-masing ada baik buruknya."
Sehari sebelum pembedahan saya, awal-awal pagi lagi Kak Yah bersiap-siap untuk pulang. Siap berbaju kurung, bertudung dan duduk menanti suaminya di atas katil. Macam pengantin perempuan menanti rombongan meminang. Saya dan pesakit lain tak habis-habis mengusiknya.
"Doktor dah benarkan balik. Alhamdulillah semalam 'Misi' yang cucuk tu buat dengan laju pada perut, tak sakit. Kak Yah ikut cara dia pagi tadi, memang tak sakit langsung," jelas Kak Yah dengan gembira.
"Hati-hati Kak Yah, nanti injection lain pula yang diterima di rumah," kami ketawa beramai-ramai.
Saya doakan agar Kak Yah terus ceria dan tabah dan semoga selamat melahirkan anak ketiganya.
Thursday, November 20
My wishes ( and agreed by many patients)
1. Nurses, especially the young unmarried ones who had never spent a day as a sick patient in the hospital, to be more sympathetic and act with more concern. Oh, there've been times when one presses the alarm bell and nobody turns up, even after the third bell. And the drip was already dry... or that we've landed ourselves on the floor.
2. It's deemed as darurat but I was like "Huh, only this?" when the nurse handed me a surgical cap to cover my hair. Oh, can't anyone invent a cap for Muslimah, that covers the neck and hair and is still hygenic for the operating theatre?
3. I like children but not when they run all over the wards, talking loudly and turning things over during visiting hours. I loath parents who can't discipline their offspring and can't scold them or apologise to other patients for their children's misbehaviour. Children under 10 should be kept away from the wards unless they know how to behave themselves properly. 'Proud' people produce badly-behaved children.
4. There should be better coordination between departments at the hospital. Imagine the specialist declaring that you are fit to be discharged at 10 am, but medical officer only arrived at 4.30pm to declare you fit to leave and to write a report, the discharge letter arriving at 4.50pm, and you might end up having to return the next day for the medication as the pharmacy closes at 5pm. What a hassle.
My advice to those who are going for their hospital stay at the gov. hospital:
1. Get a caretaker/female relative to look after you at night, especially if you're very weak or just had surgery. Never rely on the nurses to look after you. You'll be disappointed. You might wake up the next morning on a blood-soaked bed! (I paid RM50 for a private nurse who took good care of me from 8.30pm until 6.30am for 2 nights. Thanks, Suria)
2. Don't expect the nurses to do sponging for you or to change your soiled clothes. They're no longer required to do that, unlike the loud-mouthed and busy nurses of the old days. They expect you to be independent. And yes, they can be too busy to help you get down the bed and to the toilet. Walk to the toilet and elsewhere at your own risk.
3. Do know your rights as a patient. And then ask for your rights politely.It's stupid to make enemies with the nurses. Some psychology and good communication skills help you get what you need. Mind your P's and Q's.
4. Be kind and friendly with the other patients. You'd never know when you'll need their help. (I've even got advices about food for pantang, alternative medicine and an invitation to one of their homes," Kak Aliya, call saya kalau mai SP. InsyaAllah, saya masak.. hehehe, thanks Iza."
Alhamdulillah I've learnt a lot by staying at the hospital for 5 days.
And yes, I paid Rm15 for those 5 days. (Rm3 per day for the air-conditioned 2nd class ward :P)
My heart stopped beating. There I was, still stuck on the hospital bed with the drip tube on my left hand and the urine tube from 'you-guess-where'. Totally helpless. I could only stare at him.
"We took out two big fibroids that cause the bleeding and left the tiny ones alone. If we try to scrap them off, your uterus will be spoilt, then we might as well take out the whole uterus. Don't worry, they're small and will take a long time to grow, hopefully."
"Thanks, doctor," I smiled at him.
I'm so relieved and thankful. If it's another doctor, I'd have lost my uterus. Dr. Kuna is well-known and highly-respected for his philosophy of preserving the patient's uterus as best as he could. And I'm fated to be his patient.
The surgery (open mymectomy) was successful. It was performed at about Zohor. I could only tawakkal to Allah swt as I was wheeled into the operating theatre. As He wills it, most of the surgical team members know my mother who had worked at the hospital before (she was an AN at OT) so I was surrounded by people asking if I'm 'so-and-so's daughter." I had a spinal anaesthesia and I could feel myself being operated on. However when the 'scrapping and digging' started, I suddenly lost consciousness. Later I was told that due to the complications found, they had decided to make me unconscious, huhuhuu.
Alhamdulillah, I was back in the ward at about 4.30pm. No dizziness, fainting spells or nausea. However, it was 10.30pm before the medical officer allowed me to eat anything ( I kept complaining to the nurses that I was hungry and thirsty, hahaha). By the time I had a cup of milo and a piece of plain bread, my tummy was having a life of its own. Wind. I could feel it turning. It was terrible. I had a tough time trying to sleep with the pain from the wind in the tummy. Instead, the 3-4 inches wound was quite painless.
The next day, after being stuck on the bed for 18 hours or more, I was begging the nurses to allow me to get down from the bed. "No, you have to wait for the anesthetist", they said. The anaesthetists arrived at 10a.m and finally I was allowed to get down from the bed at 11am. Again I was thankful because Mom arrived at that exact moment. With her help, I managed to walk about on my own.
5 days at the hospital ward was full of memories. I'm fortunate that Allah swt send me some kind people to help me. My hospital mates were helpful and friendly, and as they could walk about after their own D&C, they had helped me when I couldn't help myself even to a cup of water (being stuck on the bed with tubes). We kept each other's spirits up and cracked jokes to pass the time. The stories we shared were enough to write a book, hehehe. Rosiza, Hanisah, Kak Aini, Saadiah, and Siti. Pregnant with diabetes, miscarriages, bleed during pregnancy, nausea during pregnancy, etc. Ah, it's tough being a woman. When they left on the 4th day, I was quite depressed as the new set of roommates were not so friendly.
"Kak Aliya, this is the discharge letter," the nurse gave me at 4.55 pm. "You need to take the medicine at the pharmacy by 5pm."
Gosh, I was helpless. Husband was still on the way and my mother had gone down to the canteen without her handphone. I prayed for help. And helped came unexpectedly.
"Aliya, these are the medicine for you. Antibiotics and painkillers. Complete set so you won't have to come tomorrow to take your medicine. I'm sorry we don't have enough medicine for the bleeding and BP. Do you still have extra with you?" asked a senior nurse who came personally and handed me the much-needed medication.
"Yes, I think I have some extra at home, thanks Kak Rahmah," I patted her hand.
Alhamdulillah I'm safe and sound at my in-laws' house in the kampung. Am trying to sleep but couldn't, so decided to type something on my laptop, hahaha. Am waiting for the weather to be warmer before I take my first shower after my surgery. I know, some people had advised to just sponge myself due to the wound but my hair's been limp and sticky. It's about time to get up from the chair anyway. I'm stiff as a robot and am still suffering from backache. And the only race one I could win now is against the tortoise :P
Thanks for all your encouragement and prayers. Alhamdulillah I'm fine now. I'm really thankful for everything that took place. Nothing that ever happens in our lives is bad. It's how we humans perceive them. I've found many silver linings in the every dark cloud. I'd just need rest and good discipline in order to recover fast. The surgery mark will always be on my body. Don't know yet what it will stand for but I'm looking forward to many more sunny days, insyaAllah. One thing for sure, I'll be looking for a bikini soon (wink, wink). I'm looking forward for a good time in the jacuzzi wearing my new bikini, hehehee. Oh yes, I should keep reminding myself that I've just had a surgery and must do things slowly for at least a month (forgot and tried to lift a bag this afternoon - ouch!)
See you soon, insyaAllah.
Friday, November 14
my patient's card upon admittance last fortnight
My bags have never been unpacked since the day I returned home with my surgery postponed. And I've continued being sickly. Oh, please don't think that my daily ramblings are proofs of my recovery. They're written to distract me from my present health problems. Alhamdulillah for His grace and mercy that I could still write and share when my 'life source' continued to ooze out between my legs. In my case, modern medicine can only reduce the volume but can't totally stop it. Only those who suffer from darah istihadah will know exactly what I mean. My fibroids have come to a stage that the only logical choice is surgery to remove them. Although I don't enjoy the feeling of warm wetness nowadays, I've learnt to accept it just as I've accepted having to swallow several types of medicine three times a day. It's like accepting the fact that you need to shower, brush your teeth and eat your meals. Just do it, it's for your own good. Don't trouble yourself asking too many questions.
I've been paying daily visits to the government clinic to check my blood pressure. Alhamdulillah, the readings have been ok. And during this short stint, I got to know the nurses and the medical assistant at the clinic who'd take my readings. Chatted with the nurses who told me that their sisters/ friends had also faced the same problem I'm facing now. It's really interesting how many people you'd get to know by being friendly and talkative, hehehe.
So, I can't wait for this fibroid to be taken out. I can't wait for the days I won't have to put on two sanitary pads every few hours unless during my menstruation. Yet I am human. I do worry about this coming surgery, categorised as a major surgery. I cringe at the thought of having a needle poke at the back to make me unconscious during the surgery. I worry that they'd have to remove more than what they initially plan. I also worry that they'd find something more malign that two fibroids.
"It's only a surgery. Thousands of people have done it and survive," my mother-in-law had said in her own way of comforting me.
Yes, thousands have done it. But I suppose before they had actually recovered, they had all felt the same way I'm feeling now. The apprehension. The sense of helplessness. The feeling of uncertainty.
Dealing with all these feelings is not easy. I've turned to Allah swt, the only One who is All Knowing and All Powerful. He's the only One who can help. I don't consider myself a very religious alim person and I still don't. But I trust Him to help me deal with this test as He has always help me with others. I know that He would never give me something that's bad for me. Everything is good. Behind every challenge and setback, there's goodness for me. I just have to learn to see the goodness beneath the challenges and improve myself.
Oh, sure. My emotions have been like a yoyo since the first postponement of surgery (6 October, the surgeon's unavailable). The second postponement was due to a suspected high blood pressure (3 November). I've learnt which selawat and wirid help to sooth my nerves. I've learnt that it's advisable to perform solat in a sitting position on certain 'heavy days' to prevent dizziness and breathlessness (ouww, ouuww).
Waiting, they say, is a torture. Learning to be patient, however, is a part of growth. Learning to think well of His qadak and qadar, is growth.
I'm blessed for I'm given the opportunity to learn from setbacks and challenges. I'm truly blessed for I have a loving and understanding husband who has calmly taken over the roles of motivator and counselor, despite his own busy schedules. I'm blessed for having friends, some whom I've only known online, who are supporting me and praying for my recovery. I'm also blessed for having a mother and brother who has accepted their Muslim tudung-clad daughter/sister and are supporting me through this sickness. In my sickness and difficulties, I'm blessed for having an understanding boss and cooperative colleagues who do their best to lessen my burden and worries. What more can I ask for? I ask for rezeki and He has showered me with the best!
Oh, I won't be able to write until the surgery's over and until I recuperate at my in-laws'. Hopefully by next weekend I'll be able to post my latest news. Wish I could take along my laptop and modem to the ward (hahaha, I guarantee my BP will be perfect if I could only surf) but I guess having my Nokia 3G will be sufficient to keep me updated with the latest emails and readers' comments :)
Please forgive me if during the course of my writings, I have unintentionally cause hurt or anger among you readers (Sorry, I'm lousy at uttering these mohon maaf phrases). I pray that I'd be able to see you all again soon after my surgery (Oh please God, allow me to undergo the surgery as scheduled and safely this time around. Don't think I can walk back home with another postponement)
And if He wills it that I'm to leave this world, I am ready for Him. Of course, I hope He will be merciful and allow me more time to be with you and to create more 'noises' here on earth, hehehe. However, if my time's up, I'd just like to say that it's been a great pleasure to know you all through this blog. It's amazing how a blog which had initially started as a logbook of my journey to Islam (for my husband) has evolved into what it is today.Alhamdulillah for His blessings and guidance.
Till we meet again, may He bless you all and keep you strong in iman, insyaAllah.
Thursday, November 13
You see, like all Chinese, I grew up learning about hygiene from my elders. During toilet training, they don't teach as specifically as what's found in Fardu Ain.There is no specific rule found in the religious book or Buddhist guidelines instructing us what to do with that part of our body before we leave the toilet. The toilet paper is there for a purpose, that's all. After you're done, remember to flush.
Then I went to school. An all girls' school. And I used to wonder how my Malay friends clean themselves. While I used the tissue paper, they didn't appear to hold any when they entered the toilet. What did they use anyway? Didn't they clean up?
"They use water laa," said my best friend.
"Euwww, that's gross," I replied. "You mean touching the bottom with just water and fingers?"
My friend grinned.
Then I read and read. I formed close friendships with the Malay girls. I asked them. I got smarter.
"Huh, dirty people. Using the same hand to wash their bottoms and then eat their food," said my father during one of his bashing of Muslim Malays. (Oh, Father used to look down on the Muslim Malays. I don't know if he still does after his daughter becomes a Muslim herself.)
"Wrong. They use their right hand to eat and left hand to wash their bottom. It's not the same hand. And they wash their hands clean before they eat," I replied firmly.
My father glared at me and Mum kicked my foot under the table. I don't remember ever apologising for that statement. ( You see, I've always been outspoken since young :P)
When I got interested in Islam, I started reading about cleanliness according to Islam. Gosh, there's so much to know! Like most non- Muslims, I had thought that the important things Muslims do are pray 5 times a day and fast during Ramadhan. Reading those books made me realise that there's more to being a Muslim. I suppose Muslims are the cleanest people in the world. We wash each time before performing out prayers. There are even specific steps about how to wash before praying. There are specific steps about how to wash after making love, and there are steps about how to cleanse oneself properly after menstruation. And there are even instructions on how to cleanse oneself after one's done at the toilet. I mean, the instructions are given in detail. And it covers each and every part of our lives. Islam is syumul, Alhamdulillah.
Long before the toothbrush is used by Europeans, prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was already using the siwak to brush his teeth. Long before scientist discovered that washing one's hands helps prevent infection, Muslims were already performing the ablution and tayammum 5 times a day.
Oh, don't come and tell me about the state of Malaysian public toilets. They are after all, public toilets meaning they're used by anyone who has access to them. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Taoist etc. And I know there are "modern and successful ladies" who actually stand on the toilet seats to do their business, claiming that they don't want to risk contracting venereal diseases. I mean, come on. They aren't your toilets. If you don't want to sit, then squat or go home to your own toilet seats. For readers who don't go to non-halal restaurants, all I can say is, "I didn't go to their toilets unless I was really really desperate." You see, I was a non-Muslim for 35 years, huhuhu. I know better.
Nowadays even non-Muslims' homes have the hose in the toilet. Perhaps they've been enlightened. One thing I know is, most families use the hose in the toilet to help them wash the toilet bowl easily. Not for self-cleansing. Oh, I know :P
My Chinese friend, Gee who has grown up among Malays and had adapted to the Muslims' method of using a hose in the toilet once commented, "I went overseas and there was no hose in the toilet! Just toilet paper. Gosh, I actually miss the hose."
Don't blame the others. They don't know what we Muslims know. Their own religions don't instruct them the way Islam does. Try asking them about it in a polite conversation and perhaps they'd be interested to know how we Muslims keep ourselves clean. Helpful for your dakwah? Well, I've told you what I know, haven't I?
Wednesday, November 12
Saya mengangguk. Kami berbual di hadapan pondok pengawal kerana masa suntuk. Masing-masing ada urusan penting.
Rupa-rupanya perbualan kami dalam Bahasa Cina Hokkien itu telah didengari pengawal India yang bertugas. Juga didengari seorang wanita Cina yang memandang saya dengan hairan.
"Wah, awak banyak pandai cakap Cina ya, macam orang Cina betul," pengawal itu menegur saya yang lalu di depan pondoknya.
"Saya Cina mahh, " saya menjawab sambil tersenyum padanya.
"Cinakah? Tapi pakai itu?" dia menunjuk ke arah tudung saya.
Saya tergelak. " Saya masuk Islam."
Wajahnya berubah, mulutnya terlopong. Saya ketawa kecil sambil membuka pintu kereta.
"Apa yang awak bual dengan pengawal tu?" tanya suami melihat saya tersenyum riang.
"Oh, saya telah memberitahunya bahawa saya Cina Islam."
"Adik, Cina.. bukan Melayu," saya membetulkan jururawat yang mengisi buku rekod pesakit yang memeriksa bacaan tekanan darah (rutin saya setiap hari untuk minggu ini, alahai).
"Oh, minta maaf," jururawat Melayu itu tersipu-sipu malu."Tak perasan."
"Tak mengapa," saya senyum padanya.
Agaknya esok kalau berjumpa saya lagi, dia akan lebih berhati-hati. Bukan susah nak pasti pun, nama penuh saya masih ada nama keluarga Cina. Saya juga tidak memakai baju kurung ke klinik kesihatan itu.
"Wah, awak hebat la. Boleh cakap tiga bahasa. Bahasa Melayu boleh, Bahasa Inggeris dan Cina pun pandai," kata jurujual wanita Cina itu kepada saya.
"Cik, saya orang Cina," jawab saya dengan tenang.
"Oh, Cinakah? Patutlah awak fasih cakap Hokkien. Boleh cakap Mandarin?"
Dia terus bercakap Mandarin. Agaknya dia tidak fasih bercakap loghat Hokkien. Mungkin bukan orang tempatan.
"Kenapa pakai itu kain (tudung)? Suami awak suruhkah?"
" Tak, saya sendiri yang mahu pakai. Ajaran Islam menyuruh wanita pakai tudung."
" Tak panaskah pakai?"
" Dah biasa, tak rasa panas."
Setiap kali masuk ke kedai Cina, saya perlu membuat keputusan dengan cepat. Nak cakap dalam Bahasa Melayu atau Bahasa Cina. Ada pro dan kontra. Kalau cakap dalam Bahasa Melayu pun, taukeh tidak akan tahu bahawa saya sebangsa dengannya sebab saya tidak mempunyai pelat Cina ketika berbual. Wajah saya pun tidak nampak terlalu Cina, tambahan dalam keadaan bertudung. Cuma saya sendiri yang berasa janggal, hehehe.. Kalau cakap Bahasa Melayu, kebaikannya saya dilayan seperti biasa, tak perlu jawab banyak soalan sampingan " Lu Cina atau Melayu? Kahwin Melayukah? Bapa Melayukah?".
Kalau bercakap Bahasa Cina, kebaikannya saya mudah mendapat barang yang saya kehendaki, terutama di kedai runcit Cina atau kedai sinseh. Tak perlu nak perah otak memikirkan nama bahan tertentu dalam Bahasa Melayu.
Bayangkanlah, mana lebih mudah, "Ah Pek, bagi saya ang-choh 1 paket, pek-kueh 500 gram, dan pek-mok-ni 200 gram.." atau " Uncle, err bagi saya kurma cina warna merah 1 peket, gingko 500 gram(ah? Itu benda macam kacang, kulit keras sikit, aiyohh tak fahamkah?) dan fungus putih 200 gram (hah? Itu makanan kembang macam bunga? Bukan, bukan bunga kekwa, aiyohh juga tak faham?).. hahahahaa.. Saya dah terkena, gara-gara nak 'berlakon macam Melayu', 10 minit saya cuba terangkan dalam Bahasa Melayu, akhirnya saya berbahasa Cina terus dapat benda tu. Padan muka saya, huhuhuu. Sekarang bila masuk kedai sinseh, automatik cakap Bahasa Cina. Taukeh tak pening, saya pun tak pening :D
"Kenapa tak cakap Cina dengan penjual sayur tu?" tanya Suami ketika singgah di sebuah pasar petang. Hanya taukeh Cina yang membuka kedai sayur di situ.
"Saya nak cepat, malas nak minta diskaun."
"Oh, cakap Cina boleh dapat diskaunkah?"
"Kadang-kadang. Susah dia nak berahsia dengan kita yang faham bahasanya. Kalau tawar-menawar dalam Bahasa Cina pun , bukannya orang lain faham."
Persepsi masyarakat kita memang stereotype. Kalau promoter berbangsa Cina nampak wanita bertudung, automatik cakap Melayu. Boleh kelam-kabut jadinya dia kalau saya yang nakal ini menjawab dalam Bahasa Inggeris atau Bahasa Cina... hehehee. Mereka dah kena.
Kalau nampak wanita Cina, automatik cakap Bahasa Mandarin (bukan semua wanita Cina tahu Mandarin tetapi itu perkara lain). Kalau nampak wanita India, automatik cakap Melayu atau nampak dia moden sikit, cuba-cuba cakap dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
Sekurang-kurangnya sekarang taukeh dan pelanggan Cina tidak terkejut melihat seorang wanita bertudung ke kedainya membeli kurma cina, longan kering, tongkwei dan lain-lain ramuan herba.
Sekurang-kurangnya sekarang pekerja di kedai tayar, kedai jam dan kedai kunci tahu ada seorang pelanggannya yang Cina Muslim dan fasih berbahasa Cina.
Sekurang-kurangnya jururawat dan doktor di klinik dan hospital tidak terkejut apabila saya berbual dalam Bahasa Cina. Mereka sudah sedar bahawa terdapat wanita bukan Melayu yang bertudung dan menganut agama Islam, yang turut fasih berbahasa Cina di kalangan mereka.
Ah, mungkin esok atau lusa saya akan berbahasa Cina pula dengan pharmacist saya, doktor gigi saya, dan orang perseorangan yang berurusan dengan saya.
Mulakan langkah pertama dengan bijak, langkah lain akan menyusul dengan mudah, insyaAllah.
The preacher disapproved the merchant's lifestyle. He believed that had the merchant remained faithful to one wife, then the merchant would have been a better husband and father to his children. He disapproved the way the merchant carried out his business. He called the merchant stingy for always appearing to be without ready cash when the preacher approached him for alms. He told his congregation that they should emulate him, remaining happy and satisfied with a single wife. He told them that they should be generous in giving alms to the poor.
Then one day, the preacher was given a pair of shoes by a stranger.
"Wear them for a day, and may God give you guidance."
The preacher put on the shoes. It was tight and uncomfortable. However, as God wills it, he couldn't take it off after wearing it. The shoes took him into the merchant's house.
The merchant's wives waited for him.
"Our husband, the merchant left orders that you are to manage this household on his behalf. As you are a preacher and a servant of God, he trusts you more than he trusts other men."
The preacher was confident that he could perform the task better than the merchant. He did his best to be fair to all the wives and their demands. Yet at the end of the day, the unhappy wives said," The merchant has always treated us fairly upon marrying us but you have paid more attention to the demands of some wives and children, and neglected the needs of others. You still have a lot to learn."
The shoes took the preacher into the merchant's warehouse. The merchant's workers were waiting.
"Our master, the merchant left orders that you are to manage his business on his behalf. As you are a preacher and a servant of God, he trusts you more than he trusts other men."
The preacher was confident that he could perform the task better than the merchant. He did his best to be honest, friendly and firm. Yet at the end of the day the unhappy workers said, "The merchant had always been kind and generous with us, but you have been strict and stingy. You still have a lot to learn."
Night fell. The preacher returned to his own home. He was very tired. The shoes had been very uncomfortable to wear. His own wife was waiting for him at the door.
"You look exhausted. Where have you been all day?"
The preacher told his wife everything that happened to him that day.
"Well, each of us wears different pairs of shoes. They only fit us and nobody else comfortably. It has been difficult being in the merchant's shoes, hasn't it?"
"Yes, it has. I had thought that wearing the merchant's shoes would be easy and comfortable but I was wrong. Wearing these shoes has taught me a great lesson. I had judged a person using my own standards, not God's. I had not known the problems faced by the merchant, yet I have judged him harshly. Indeed, I have no right to judge a person based on what I myself believe is right, for everything that happens, happens under His will. If God has decided that the merchant is to have many wives and many children or to be rich and successful, I should not question His decision. Instead I should be thankful that He has only tested my patience with one wife, and to test my faith in Him with far less challenges than what the merchant has to face everyday in his life. Instead of criticising the merchant, I should pray that he continue being a good man."
The preacher prayed to God for forgiveness. After prayer, the shoes became loose and he could easily take them off.
The next day, the merchant returned home. The preacher greeted him warmly, asked for forgiveness and they became good friends and good neighbours.
Tuesday, November 11
Saya menunjukkan buku rekod pesakit hospital kepada kerani bertugas.
"Tolong betulkan maklumat ini. Saya Cina beragama Islam, bukan Melayu sepertimana yang ditulis oleh rakan puan tempoh hari. Doktor minta betulkan kerana saya akan menjalani pembedahan tidak lama lagi. Kalau berlaku apa-apa pada saya, susah nanti jikalau nama penuh dan bangsa tidak sama dengan yang ada dalam Kad Pengenalan."
"Maaf, saya akan betulkan," kata kerani itu.
Masih ramai orang kita yang menganggap orang memeluk Islam automatik menjadi orang Melayu. Tidak ada perkara seperti itu, kerana dalam Kad Pengenalan pun, masih tertulis bangsa sendiri, bukannya Melayu. Mungkin mudah untuk orang 50-an dan 60-an untuk menukar bangsa kepada Melayu jikalau memeluk Islam, tetapi keadaan sudah berubah. Tidak ramai yang mahu menjadi Melayu, lainlah kalau orang itu memeluk Islam dengan niat lain. Itu kalau masih ada prosedur itu, bukan mudah untuk melaluinya sekarang.
Masih ramai orang kita yang memandang serong orang yang memeluk Islam mempunyai agenda tertentu. Malah ada yang terus menuduh golongan mualaf sebagai ingin mendapatkan hak bumiputera. Kononnya lebih mudah mendapat pelbagai kemudahan yang dikhaskan untuk orang Melayu bumiputera! Kononnya nak dapat rumah kos rendah! Kononnya nak mudha beli saham yang dikhaskan untuk bumiputera!
"2/3 daripada 'red tape' bukanlah untuk menyusahkan mualaf tetapi untuk mengelakkan orang masuk Islam semata-mata untuk mendapatkan pelbagai manfaat Bumiputera serta mengelakkan pelbagai masalah di negara kita yang ada pelbagai agama selain Islam, di samping mengelakkan kebaikan serta hati murni umat Islam lain diperalatkan oleh sesetengah mualaf untuk mengutip derma simpati. Bukannya saya tak pernah terkena dengan 'con artist' yang kononnya baru masuk Islam dan mengutip derma dari orang ramai di tempat awam (sebelum tu mereka menyamar sebagai sami, padahal sami hanya dibolehkan meminta makanan, bukannya duit)." Begitu komen seorang lelaki yang mengaku beragama Islam dalam blog kawan saya. Tak apa, Allah swt Maha Adil.
Apa yang istimewa sangatlah tentang hak bumiputera? Bukannya boleh dibawa ke akhirat. Bukannya tanpa hak bumiputera, mualaf akan mati kebuluran. Lagipun selama berpuluh-puluh tahun hidup sebagai bukan Islam yang tidak pernah merasai sebarang manfaat daripada keistimewaan bumiputera, orang yang memeluk Islam masih boleh hidup dengan selesa, masih boleh mempunyai rumah, kenderaan dan sebagainya di negara ini. Dan saya percaya setelah memeluk Islam, Allah swt akan memberi mualaf rezeki yang melimpah-limpah tanpa perlu terlalu berharap pada bantuan wang zakat untuk meneruskan hidup.
Bukankah janji Allah kepada kita dalam surah at-Taubah:59?
"Allah akan memberi kepada kami dari limpah kurnia-Nya, demikian juga Rasul-Nya; sesungguhnya kami sentiasa berharap kepada Allah.:
Saya kasihan sungguh pada mereka yang berfikiran sempit seperti kawan kita di atas. Sikap begitu hanya merugikan diri sendiri. Berburuk sangka, bersikap syak wasangka dan bermegah dengan kemudahan yang dikecapi sejak lahir Islam amat dimurkai Allah swt.
Saya percaya, orang yang ikhlas memeluk Islam semata-mata kerana beriman kepada Allah swt mudah dikenali dan dibezakan daripada mereka yang munafik. Saya sedar, ada juga manusia yang memeluk Islam dengan niat tertentu - kerana bisnes, kerana inginkan sesuatu kebaikan dunia. Mereka dapat kita lihat secara zahir; mereka tidak berubah selepas mengucap 2-khalimah syahadah, mereka masih mengekalkan cara hidup bukan Islam dan hidup mereka dipenuhi amalan syirik. Tetapi bilangan mereka sedikit; tidak adil jikalau melonggokkan kami yang tidak bersalah dalam ketegori yang sama.
Saya bangga bergelar Cina Islam, Cina Muslim atau orang Cina beragama Islam. Tidak mungkin saya menukar bangsa dan keturunan saya kepada Melayu atau bumiputera. Saya percaya para mualaf lain turut sependapat dengan saya. Kami golongan minoriti di dalam sebuah negara yang mengaku negara Islam di mata dunia. Kami hidup dalam masyarakat yang terdiri daripada hampir 70% rakyat yang mengaku beragama Islam. Sepatutnya tidak ada masalah birokrasi berpanjangan mahupun masalah buruk sangka daripada saudara kami yang lahir Islam dan mendapat didikan Islam semenjak kecil.
Ingatlah, Allah telah berfirman dalam surah Ali Imran:26,
"Katakanlah,'Wahai Tuhan yang mempunyai kerajaan, Engkau berikan kerajaan kepada orang yang Engkau kehendaki dan Engkau cabut kerajaan dari orang yang Engkau kehendaki. Engkau muliakan orang yang Engkau kehendaki dan Engkau hinakan orang yang Engkau kehendaki. Di tangan Engkaulah segala kebajikan. Sesungguhnya Engkau Maha Kuasa atas segala sesuatu."
"Makcik, saya nak minta 50 sen.." katanya dengan wajah penuh harapan.
Saya tidak mempedulikannya. Setahu saya, kanak-kanak di kawasan perumahan itu terdiri daripada keluarga yang berpendapatan sederhana. Mengapa dia meminta wang 50 sen? Dia bukannya hendak makan atau minum di situ.
Ramai lagi pelanggan di situ. Mengapa saya pula yang dihampirinya untuk meminta wang?
Saya berlalu dari situ. Singgah pula di kedai runcit bersebelahan dengan Medan Selera. Budak itu turut masuk bersama-sama seorang kawan lelakinya. Dari ekor mata, saya lihat mereka berlegar-legar di ruang hadapan kedai. Oh, rupa-rupanya mereka ingin membeli alat mainan di kedai itu. Lebih tepat lagi, budak yang meminta wang dari saya yang hendak membeli. Kawannya sudahpun memegang alat mainan berbentuk seperti bola itu. Agaknya mainan itu berharga 50 sen sebiji?
Saya membayar di kaunter kedai lalu berjalan keluar. Rupa-rupanya budak yang sama masih mengekori saya.
"Makcik..makcik.." dia terus memanggil.
Saya menggeleng kepala.
Saya berjalan kembali ke Medan Selera. Dia tidak lagi mengekori.
Geram. Anak siapa tu? Mana perginya sikap malu untuk meminta di kalangan anak-anak?
Lagipun saya tidak mengenalinya dan tidak pernah berjumpa dengannya sebelum hari ini. Sanggup dia meminta sedekah 50 sen semata-mata untuk membeli alat mainan yang diidamkan?
Alahai, kanak-kanak zaman sekarang. Apalah yang seronok sangat dengan mainan sehingga sanggup bertebal muka meminta-minta?
Saya percaya ibu bapanya tidak tahu bahawa anak mereka meminta sedekah daripada orang yang tidak dikenali.
Mungkin ada yang berkata,"A la, wang 50 sen saja, bukan boleh bawa ke kubur."
Bukan itu masalahnya. Masalahnya mengapa kanak-kanak lelaki itu boleh meminta wang daripada orang yang tidak dikenali. Kalau dia meminta hari ini dengan muka selamba, mungkin dia sudah pun pernah melakukannya sebelum ini. Mungkin juga orang yang dihampirinya seorang wanita seperti saya, yang bertudung labuh dan berseorangan. Mungkin juga permintaannya ditunaikan, lalu meningkatkan keyakinannya untuk meminta lagi pada masa hadapan. Kalau saya berikan 50 sen yang dimintanya, mungkinkah esok dia akan semakin berani dan meminta RM1 daripada wanita lain yang lalu di situ?
Apalah nak jadi kepada anak-anak zaman sekarang? Terlalu materialistik. Kalau pada umur kira-kira 9 tahun dia sudah berani meminta sedekah untuk membeli barang yang sebenarnya tidak diperlukan, apa akan dia lakukan apabila meningkat remaja. Gerun saya memikirkannya.
Monday, November 10
I chose the table near the counter and asked for a plate of rice, curry chicken and some vegetables. It was a clean and spacious restaurant. The workers were Indians and they spoke to each other in Tamil.
I told myself,"Ahh, it's ok. They're still Muslims."
I noticed a wooden frame with Quranic verses on the wall near the entrance. There was another hanging of surah (can't be sure which surah as the writings were small) on the wall near the counter. After my lunch, I went to the counter to pay.
Then something caught my eye. I had been getting an uneasy feeling all the time I sat at the restaurant. I looked up above the counter while waiting for somebody to attend to me.
MashaAllah! Hanging on the wall below the Surah were two smaller picture frames. However, they have reflective yellow papers in them, with illegible writings or marks. They reminded me of the paper charms found in some temples and Buddhist homes. The same reflective yellow paper. Almost the same illegible markings. What are these hangings doing on the wall of this Mamak restaurant?
Earlier I had noticed the banner with the numbers 786 on them. I understand that for Indian Muslims it's a symbol that means Bismilahirrahmanir rahimm, so I was quite confident of it being a Muslim restaurant serving halal food. But the two yellow hangings on the wall behind the counter? Why are they there? Signs of syirik or signs of the owner not being who they claim to be?
I quickly paid for the food and left, vowing that I'd never step food into that restaurant again.
Oh, I'll be more careful when I enter restaurants nowadays, especially Mamak restaurants. To always check around and scan the walls before I order any food. To check that they serve beef and mutton in their menu especially Indian Muslim restaurants (the dishes available at that particular restaurant were limited so I forgot to ask. Besides I seldom eat beef). To always check for the halal certificate endorsed by the relevant authorities in fast food restaurants. Worse come to worse, I'd opt for 100% vegetarian dishes at Indian or Chinese restaurants rather than risk eating non-halal food in the so-called Muslim restaurants that practises "strange customs".
Boy oh boy, may the experience be the last one for me!
Berikut isi kandungan surat tersebut:
(kena taip semula, tak ada scanner, huhuhuu)
Aduan Sukar Memohon Pasport Antarabangsa Malaysia
Saya dengan hormatnya merujuk kepada perkara tersebut di atas.
2. Pihak Jab.Imigrsen PP memohon maaf di atas segala kesulitan yang dialami oleh puan sewaktu berurusan dengan Jabatan ini. Untuk makluman puan, pihak Jabatan telah mengambil tindakan sewajarnya dan telah pun meluluskan permohonan puan pada 4 November 2008 tanpa sebarang masalah yang berbangkit.
3. Walaubagaimanapun pihak Jabatan ingin mengucapkan ribuan terimakasih di atas keperihatinan puan demi membantu mempertingkatkan lagi mutu perkhidmatan yang diberikan kepada pelanggan. Pihak kami juga akan memastikan kejadian yang sama tidak akan berulang lagi di masa-masa akan datang.
Sekian, terima kasih.
BERKHIDMAT UNTUK NEGARA
MESRA, AMANAH DAN TEGAS.
KHIDMAT DENGAN SENYUMAN.
Saya yang menurut perintah,
Pengarah Imigresen Negeri PP
s.k. Bahagian Komunikasi
(Terima kasih Jab.Imigresen PP. Semoga pengalaman ini memberi ikhtibar kepada semua pihak.)
Sunday, November 9
I almost rolled on the floor watching this 'gem'.. hehehe. Oh by the way, it's on youtube, so I suppose you ladies (from your youth and solidarity, I suppose are college undergraduates?) are now famous worldwide for your street demonstration "fighting for the rights to remain as tomboys"? :P
Ladies, get your facts right. You are not going to be taken action against by the Muslim authorities even if you are indeed a pengkid (women who dress and behave like men, and prefer women for sexual relationships), for you are not a Muslim. Get your facts right. The fatwa is proclaimed not because we want to oppress the Muslim women but because it is already in the al-Quran that women are to behave and dress as women and men are to behave and dress as men. We Muslims believe that all words in the al-Quran are words of God. There are guidelines about how Muslim women are to wear and behave to show modesty. There are also fatwa banning men who cross-dress or pondan.
Ladies, making such street demonstrations shows your own ignorance about Islam and its teachings. Fear of the unknown is fear expressed emotionally, not logically. Strange, why aren't there any Malay ladies supporting your cause? Trying to be champions of "oppressed Muslim women"? Thanks but no thanks. We are happy and contended being who we are, being liberated, feminine and in hijab :D
Saturday, November 8
"Can I ask you a question? Why should a person who's born in a non-Muslim family become a Muslim?"
"Well, there is no compulsion in choosing a religion.."
"Tell me, you Muslims believe that Islam is the only true religion, right? That only Muslims, those who believe in Allah and that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and follow the teachings of Islam will be granted heaven? So which part of the al-Quran says so?"
If you're a Muslim and has been appoached on the streets, in the library or at your workplace by somebody who is either eager to know the truth or is out to challenge your faith, what would you do?
If you intend to be a Muslim and your intention is challenged by your elders, what would you say when they ask you which part of the al-Quran says you must be a Muslim to enter heaven?
I've been asked so many times after reverting to Islam, as for the reason why I choose to be a Muslim. Asked whether the al-Quran has actually said anything about the need to revert to Islam. The argument is that, all religions teach us to be good, so why should you turn your back to the worship of your forefathers and become a Muslim? What's so special about Islam anyway?
The same question has been faced by countless of Muslim, born and reverts as for their reasons they choose Islam. If they hesitate or can't answer well, they'd be bombarded with more questions. But it isn't easy to get the suitable verses from the al-Quran if you are still new to it. It's a great challenge to flip through pages and pages of the translation of the al-Quran and find the verses that answer our enquiries. I know. I tried to remember all those important verses again tonight and I was still lost, huhuhu.
Refer to my past article whereby I voiced out my dilemma of doing my best without adequate resources available. I had merely voiced my frustrations of not being able to be like others who are born Muslims, brought up with all the knowledge of Islam, able to speak Arab. If I had those knowledge insyaAllah I may have been able to do more for my sisters and brothers in Islam. I'm striving towards it anyway.
Some quarters have misunderstood and accused me of showing off. There have been voices saying "Shut up! Show off! ( Nak tunjuk pandai)". I suppose the reason why most reverts (especially Muslimah reverts) are a silent minority is due to this reason - some Muslims among us are uncomfortable with reverts pointing out their mistakes and bringing them out of their comfort zone. I've faced that in university, I've faced that in the working environment and I've faced that online. But the Islam that I understand is one that requires its ummah to practise 'amar makruf nahi mungkar', to prevent bad deeds and misinformation through actions, words or the least, through prayers. So why all the discomfort and negative remarks to us who merely want to bring people to the true teachings of Islam, as revealed in the Quran and Hadith? Being new Muslims reverts does not mean being ignorant about Islam, although we may not be able to recite the Quran as perfectly as born-Muslims. And after going through bad storms in my journey to Islam (only reverts can relate to this), the criticisms are just little showers :)
Alhamdulillah syukur nikmat. Thank you for your comments,which act as a mirror for me. I'm thankful, for those negative comments help keep me in check, for all the criticisms and negative comments shows that Allah swt is keeping me from takbur. But I will not be silenced unless it's for the good of Islam and the ummah, for I bow in submission to none but Allah swt.
Here's a little help for those who might need these verses. They're very useful in many situations. Thanks to brother Kamaruddin of IPSI who has helped me to collect them in a short notice. This is one of my dreams for Islamic movement in Malaysia: that those who knows (the scholars) combine effort with those who has been (the reverts) to do a better job of Dakwah Islamiyah, insyaAllah.
Why should you be a Muslim?
In surah al-Baqarah 2:256
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things
Tidak ada paksaan dalam menganut agama Islam, sesungguhnya telah jelas perbezaan antara jalan yang benar dengan jalan yang sesat. Barang siapa
ingkar kepada Tagut (Syaitan dan sebagainya selain Allah swt) dan beriman kepada Allah, maka sungguh, dia telah berpegang teguh pada tali yang sangat kuat yang tidak akan putus. Allah Maha Mendengar, Maha Mengetahui.
In surah al-Baqarah 2: 132
And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam."
dan ibrahim mewasiatkan kepada anak-anaknya, demikian pula Yaakub. "Wahai anak-anakku! Sesungguhnya Allah telah agama ini untukmu, maka janganlah kamu mati kecuali dalam keadaan memeluk agama Islam".
Surah Ali Imran 3:85
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).
Dan barang siapa mencari agama selain Islam, dia tidak akan diterima, dan di akhirat dia termasuk orang yang rugi
Surah Ali Imran 3:102
O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.
orang2 yg beriman! Bertakwalah kepada Allah sebenar-benar takwa kepadaNya dan janganlah kamu mati kecuali dalam keadaan muslim
And what about tests after being a Muslim?
In surah Ali Imran 3:186
Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.
Kamu pasti akan diuji dengan hartamu dan dirimu. Dan sudah pasti kamu akan mendengar banyak hal yang sangat menyakitkan hati dari orang-orang yang telah diberi Kitab sebelum kamu dan dari orang-orang musyrik. Jika kamu bersabar dan bertakwa, maka sesungguhnya yang demikian itu termasuk dalam urusan yang diutamakan.
And my favourite :)
Surah at-Thagabun 64:11
No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah: and if any one believes in Allah, (Allah) guides his heart (aright): for Allah knows all things.
"tidak ada kesusahan atau bencana yang menimpa seseorang melainkan dengan izin Allah; dan sesiapa yang beriman kepada Allah, Allah akan memimpin hatinya untuk menerima apa yang telah berlaku itu dengan tenang dan sabar.
All the best to you, brothers and sisters in Islam, reverts and muallaf. May you find those verses from the al-Quran, the words of Allah swt, helpful in your own mission in life and during times of uncertainties. May Allah swt keep you strong in iman and bless you, ameen.
Kebetulan pada waktu itu kedai buku itu lengang. Aliya satu-satunya pengunjung ke situ. Dia terus membelek buku agama itu. Semakin dibaca semakin dia tertarik dengan isi buku itu tetapi dia masih segan untuk membeli.
"Isshhh, ini buku agama Islam. Apa pula kata orang lain jika mereka tahu aku membelinya?"
Aliya tidak jadi membeli buku tersebut. Namun begitu dia tidak dapat melupakan kandungan buku tersebut. Keesokan hari dan hari-hari berikutnya Aliya kembali ke kedai buku itu untuk membaca secara pintas lalu buku-buku agama Islam yang terdapat di situ. Dia mencari buku yang mudah difahaminya, buku-buku yang tidak mengandungi terlalu banyak huruf Arab. Mujurlah dia kenal jurujual di kedai itu maka tindakannya tidak menimbulkan sebarang tanda tanya.
"Hai cikgu, belum jumpa buku yang hendak dibeli itu?" tegur jurujual wanita itu.
Akhirnya Aliya memberanikan diri; dia membeli beberapa buku yang dia kira sesuai untuk menambahkan pengetahuannya tentang agama Islam. Di antaranya adalah buku tentang Islam, fardu ain, dan perkahwinan. Dia menanti kaunter bayaran kosong sebelum membawa buku-buku tersebut untuk dibayar. Hatinya berdebar-debar.
"Eh, beli buku agama, cikgu?"
"Err... nak hadiahkan kepada kawan."
"Oh, bertuah kawan cikgu."
Aliya hanya tersenyum.
Cepat-cepat dia masukkan buku-buku yang dibeli ke dalam beg galas.
Di rumah, Aliya menyorokkan buku-buku tersebut di dalam kotak dalam bilik stor, dan hanya akan mengeluarkannya untuk dibaca ketika berseorangan. Suaminya tidak pernah mengesyaki tindakannya itu. Dengan patung Buddha dan tuhan Tao di belakangnya, Aliya menghabiskan masanya dengan membaca buku-buku tentang Islam, tentang Allah, tentang keperluan berwuduk, beristinjak dan sebagainya. Semakin banyak yang dibaca, semakin dia tertarik dengan ajaran agama Islam. Hatinya tenang apabila membaca terjemahan ayat-ayat al-Quran yang terkandung dalam buku yang dibacanya.
Aliya tahu risiko yang bakal dihadapi sekiranya tindakannya membaca buku-buku agama Islam itu diketahui suami dan keluarganya. Mereka tentu akan mengamuk. Banyak soalan yang kurang menyenangkan akan terpaksa dia jawab kelak.Pada mulanya Aliya membaca sekadar untuk mengetahui apakah sebenarnya ajaran Islam. Tidak pernah dia jangkakan bahawa dia boleh benar-benar jatuh cinta dengan Islam hanya melalui isi kandungan buku-buku tersebut.
(Apa komen anda? 4 tajuk lagi, insyaAllah.)
image hiasan: http://pts.com.my