It had been a long day.I was hungry and thirsty. There was this Indian Muslim restaurant near the Immigration building and being a stranger to the area, I entered. Besides, there were a few Muslims having their lunch there so I thought to myself, "Ok, I can eat here."
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!