Monday, September 29


"Mak Teh, Aliya want to go back laa.." I whispered to Mak Teh, a kind old lady with whom I spent a few days of Raya holidays last year.
It was almost 7pm, and we were still at a relative's house. I was getting uneasy. We had left Mak Teh's house before noon and had gone from one house to another, visiting her relatives. I had yet to perform zohor and asar prayers, and neither had the rest of the family members. Yet to my own surprise and discomfort, nobody seemed to be concerned.

"Wait for a while," said Mak Teh and she whispered to her daughter who was helping herself to the laksa.
I kept looking at the clock. The laksa and cookies on the mat didn't look appetising at all.
It was going to be maghrib soon. Ya Allah, please forgive me for my sins.
"Mak Teh, may I go home first? I can walk. It's going to be maghrib soon," I approached Mak Teh again.
Mak Teh looked around, frowning. We were actually depending on her sons to drive us. They were still at the hall, chatting and laughing with the rest of the clan.
"Aliya, you wanna solat? Come, you can do it in the bedroom," suddenly Kak Pah motioned to me to follow he to the nearest bedroom.
I followed her gladly.
"Pardon the mess here. You can use the kain telekong on the bed. The kiblat is this way," explained Kak Pah, whose house we were visiting.
"Thanks Kak Pah," I replied. "May I use the attached bathroom?"
"Sure, please do."
I was relieved. Without wasting any more time, I performed the asar dan zohor solat. By the time I completed, the azan for maghrib was heard, so I continued with maghrib prayers alone in the bedroom.

I returned to the dining hall after solat ten minutes later to the normal chatter and food spread.
It was about 7.40pm when we left Kak Pah's house.
Mak Teh was grumbling.
"Next time take us home first when I ask you to. I want to perform solat on time, not to wait till you are tired and full with food before you want to return home," she said loudly in the crowded van.
Her children dared not answer.
I was so uncomfortable that I returned to my own home the next day.


"Aliya, tahun ni raya di mana?" tanya cikgu di sekolah.
"Setiap tahun raya di sini, sebab Mak saya sambut Tahun Baru Cina saja," saya menjawab dengan senyuman.
"Oh, baguslah. Tak gaduh nak raya di kampung siapa."
"Inilah antara untungnya kahwin dengan saudara baru." komen seorang cikgu lain.
"Tapi kena raya dua kali setahun.. angpau pun kena dua kali bagi, satu untuk Tahun Baru Cina, satu untuk Hari Raya.. kuih muih kena beli dua kali.. bonus pula hanya sekali," saya terangkan. Kami ketawa.

"Teacher, teacher dok di mana?" tanya seorang pelajar.

"Rumah saya di SJ."

"Laaa.. jauhnya. Kalau dekat kami nak serbu rumah teacher la raya nanti.."

Serbu? Aduhh.. nampaknya tahun hadapan kenalah bersedia untuk rumah diserbu oleh para pelajar. Untuk tahun ini saya tidak membuat rumah terbuka kerana keadaan kesihatan yang tidak menentu. InsyaAllah dalam perancangan kami, tahun hadapan akan diadakan rumah terbuka dua kali; untuk Tahun Baru Cina (bagaimana orang Cina Muslim sambut CNY?) dan Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Kami akan beraya di kampung suami. Namun begitu saya akan terus online seperti biasa kerana masih boleh menggunakan handfon untuk mendapatkan khidmat Web.

Saya ingin mengambil peluang ini untuk mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua pengunjung blog ini yang beragama Islam. Maaf Zahir & Batin atas sebarang kesilapan semasa saya berblog dan sepanjang tempoh perkenalan kita.

Segala pujian bagi Allah Yang Maha Esa. Semoga ketenangan batin yang selalu dicari dan diharapkan oleh semua manusia, dapat kita capai. Ameen.

Sunday, September 28


What's a festival without songs.
I love this song, because it'd bring back memories of my schooldays. I'd usually listen to this while waiting for the bus which would take me to my Muslim friends' homes for Aidilfitri open houses. Oh how I miss those days, and my former schoolmates.

Here's another favourite that captures the essence of Aidilfitri in Muslim Malay community. (I'd likE to believe that the dancing couple are siblings, hehehe)

To those on their way home, here's one for you.. be careful on the road and watch out for the speed traps, huhuhuu

Those who are far from home, know that your families are also thinking of you and praying for you.

And I dedicate this song to the special man in my life...and to all married couples (The singers were a married couple).


"Who's that?" he asked his aunt.
"Oh, that's Aliya, your Pak Su's student who's staying here for Raya," replied Makcik Nah. "She's a new sister."
I smiled at him and left quickly to entertain the children.

"So this is Aliya.. alhamdulillah."
I 'salam' with the beautiful lady. "How are you, Puan."
"Just call me Mak Su laa.." she smiled warmly.
Her daughters laughed. They have inherited her beauty and friendliness. I had initially felt shy before her as she's the Dean's wife, but the whole family had been very kind and hospitable.
Finally the big day arrived. The house was spick and span, and everyone was busy. I was no longer treated as a guest but rather, as a member of the clan.

"What's Pakcik doing?"
"He's cooking the dalca for Raya," replied Makcik Nah. "Dalca's his specialty."
Nowadays Chinese don't cook a lot during festivals. The most I've seen my grand-aunts did was a big wok of stir-fried vegetables during Chinese New Year. It was an eye-opener for me to watch the men cook over charcoal fire, stirring curries and rendang in big pots, and frying chicken in the extra big woks while the women prepared the ingredients. Despite the hardwork involved, everyone was happy.

"So how are you enjoying your first Eid?" asked Mak Su.
"Great, " I answered, tucking in the delicious rendang.
On the first day of Eid, I helped to serve relatives who visited Makcik Nah at her house. There was no invitation cards given at all but people came because they're families and friends. On the second day it was our turn to visit theirs. We carpooled in several cars and visited all the nearby relatives. I listened to the Penang Malay lingo spoken and smiled when they kept asking me to add more of the yummy food.
"Aliya, do you already have anyone special?" asked one of the women relatives."If you like, I can introduce you to some nice men."
"I've asked her first la," commented another sister.
I just shrugged my shoulders, preferring to tuck into yet another bowl of delicious chicken soup.

One of the things about being a new revert to Islam is the constant questioning of whether I've any special man in my life, and the sincere offers to help speed up the process of finding me a suitable husband. It was so embarassing. I knew I was not the only revert who had faced this blushing moments. They meant well but as I told Makcik Nah, I was not ready for a serious relationship at that moment. Apart from some awkward moments with Makcik Nah's nephew, I enjoyed myself very much during my first Eid. I returned to my hostel with lots of cookies.

Things I learnt during my 1st Raya:
1. Family ties are important. A family with good silaturrahim among its members is a happy and blessed family.
2. Respect the elders. You won't be where you are without help and guidance from the elders. Always be courteous and polite to them.
3. Visiting relatives and neighbours during Eid is more important than staying at home and watching tv.
4. There can be fun and merry-making without the need for gambling and liqour, contrary to what some people believe.
5. Aurat between nonmuhrim family members should be observed at all times, including in the house.
6. Prayer times should be observed including during house visits. Inform guests about the nearest surau/mosque or direct them to the prayer room in the house.
7. Help out as much as possible, including washing the plates and utensils you've used as a guest so that the host can rest after you've gone home.

Saturday, September 27


"And the two roads are symbolic of the choices you make in your lives."

I was teaching Literature to my Form 4 Science last Wednesday. "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.
We discussed the type of choices that we have to make during the course of our lives, and the students faces reflected the realisation that in almost every minute, they are actually making choices, choosing between two or more roads as each diverge into another two roads. Life is a continuous form of choices. Making a wrong turn might cause a lot of unnecessary misery. Each of us is a traveller in the journey of life.

And when I checked their notebooks, some have written the title of the poem as "The Road Taken."
When I pointed out the error, they said,"Oh Teacher, we thought it's about the road taken by the traveller that has made him who he is today. If he had taken the safer road chosen by most people, he won't be writing this poem, would he? He'd end up like most common people."
Ah, young people and their ideas.. that's why I love this job.

Coping with sickness can be tough. One is helpless as the body reacts to the pain. The patient can shift from shock to anger, hurt, depression, sadness, before finally acceptance.
I've watched my Mum cope when she was first diagnosed as SLE sufferer. She couldn't hold anything with her fingers in the morning, not even a plastic mug. Boy, was she depressed. We were worried that she'd do something bad to herself, but fortunately she managed to fight back, with support from family and friends. And today she's still able to life an almost normal life.

Unlike a cut or an open sore, I can't see what's wrong with my body. I can't apply direct medication on the wound. So it's frightening when I'm continuously losing blood through heavy menses. Taking the drugs supplied by the hospital helps to reduce the flow and reduce the pain. Yet it's not advisable to take them for long period of time, ie 6 weeks before my rescheduled surgery. With every flow of blood, that 'thing' might increase in size. It feeds on the high estrogen level available during menses. My last scan last month had shown an almost 40% reduction in the size of the fibroid (no menses for 2 months meant no estrogen), so it's kinda frustrating to think that there could be an increment in its size again.

I might not be able to do much in the sense of treating the sickness. I'd just have to trust the good doctor and hope that he'd be able to perform the surgery in November. Doctors are humans, and they might have their own problems. I'll be praying for him too.
I'm gonna use the extra 1 month period to do the best I can in everything. Allah SWT had decided to postpone the surgery for reasons only He knows. As a servant of Allah, I will trust His wisdom. No need to question His choice, No need to wallow in self-pity, No need to stress myself finding alternative treatment. It's time for self-reflection. It's time to move on. Thanks for your support and prayer, friends and readers of this blog. Really appreciate it.

Today it's me. Tomorrow it could be someone else. Life is so unpredictable. So is one's health and fortune. A test is a test. It's a only test. The best score is the one we receive in Heaven.

Alhamdulillah for His grace and deliverance. There's a few more days in Ramadhan. Last night was peaceful and serene. I prayed again, seeking His forgiveness for all sins I have committed throughout my life.

Nobody knows whether we'd be able to see the next Ramadhan. I'm ready to meet Him if He wills it.
But I'm also hoping Allah SWT will allow me more time and good health to continue my travels along my own chosen road, the one less travelled by in this temporary world... there're still many flowers to see, so many seeds to sow, so many undergrowth to clear..

Thursday, September 25


It's not the best timing, nor the worst..but it's certainly not my favourite time of the month.

The surgeon has to be away, so the scheduled surgery is postponed. I'd have to wait for another month. Choosing to continue under another surgeon who can only conduct an open surgery instead of lacroscopy, means risking more infection and a longer recovery period. I'd rather wait.
The 'dreaded stomach cramps and sanitary napkins' days are back, which means no more fasting for the rest of Ramadhan. Going to the clinic means being given another supply of medicine and painkillers. If not for my strong mental strength and faith, I think I'd be in a worse state than I am now.

I'm trying to stay calm although it's not easy. Allah SWT knows best.
Mum's been saying that I should have had the surgery early this month instead of opting to wait till after Eidilfitri. She doesn't understand my reasons. I choose not to answer her. Allah SWT knows best.
All plans have to be rescheduled yet again.
I'm praying hard that Hubby wont be called outstation on that particular day. I don't think I can take it if I'm to go to the hospital on my own for the surgery.

Well, at least some people will be glad.. My students will have their teacher till end of October. My colleagues too, will be glad they won't have to take turns to replace me in my classes, huhuhuu..

Really, I'm not emotionally and physically prepared for this postponement. All there is to do now is to wait and pray for the best.
I'm telling myself - Allah knows best..Allah knows best.. Allah knows best..
It's qadaq and qadar..

image: reuters

Monday, September 22


"Sir, I'm sorry if I have caused you any inconvenience."
We had left the campus ground. Earlier, the Dean had apologised for keeping me waiting for 20 minutes, citing last minute paperwork before the festive holidays and I had smiled and said 'It's ok.". Actually I was quite uncomfortable; it was unusual for the Dean of a School to apologise to an undergraduate, especially one who was asking for his help.
To my roommate and friends who were curious to see me leaving the hostel with a travelling bag and cookies, I told them that I'd be spending my Eidilfitri holidays with my friend's family. I wasn't lying; the Dean was and still is, the uncle of my friend and former colleague, Zakiah. For reasons I know best,I preferred that they didn't know.

"It's all right, " he replied. "We're going to my elder sister's house not far from here. She's staying with my two elder brothers and there're many empty rooms in the house. I'm sorry I can't take you to my own house as all my children are home for Eid and you might find it too noisy and crowded to your liking. Don't worry, my sister will be happy to have you around. You can also relax there and study for the final exams."
I listened and nodded," That sounds wonderful."
" Aliya, I hope you don't mind staying with old people? Don't worry, the house will be full of people during Eidilfitri as my brothers, sisters and their families will be back in a few days."
" It's ok. I'm happy to spend my Edilfitri with your extended family."

We reached the house, located in the outskirts of the city. It was a traditional Malay house, which had been renovated to suit present needs. It was lovely and well-maintained. The Dean entered the house and asked me to follow him to the kitchen.
" I've brought Aliya here to spend her first Eid with us. She's my student and a Muslim revert," he told his sister who was busy making butter cookies.
" Alhamdulillah. Come, make yourself at home," she said cheerfully.

And made myself at home I did. Makcik Nah and her elder brothers, Pakcik A and Pakcik B chose to live in the ancestral home which they had been born and grown up in. Life was simple. Makcik Nah did the cooking and washing. Pakcik A spent most of his days at the nearby mosque while Pakcik B preferred to relax on his favourite chair and watch people passing by. I was given the front bedroom which was reserved for guests, with a fine view of the front lawn and gate. I'd spend my days helping with housework, as well as reading at the lounge and preparing for the exams, to be held after the festive holidays. It was peaceful and relaxing. The Dean stopped over on his way home after work, chatted with his siblings and asked about my wellbeing.

"How could I help?" I entered the kitchen as Makcik Nah was preparing the dishes for iftar.
" Go and sit down. I can do it myself," she replied, treating me as a guest.
"But Makcik, let me help you." And I helped to prepare the ingredients for her to cook. Then I realised that preparing food the Malay way is slightly different from the way Chinese do ( Makcik Nah's was the first Malay kitchen I entered and helped to cook). As a result, I ended up asking awkward questions like "How do I cut this? How do you want me to chop the garlic - fine or rough?" much to Makcik Nah's amusement.

Pakcik A always brought home food from the mosque, which he only ate a little.
And during sahur, Makcik Nah would say,"Aliya, finish the food Pakcik A brought." I wasn't used to eating a heavy meal (rice, fish, chicken, egg) for sahur but to please Makcik Nah, I complied. Luckily she only cooked a little or I would have gained weight during the last few days of Ramadhan, hehehee.

Then one evening after iftar, Makcik Nah asked, "Aliya, how old are you?"
And I told her my age ( Strange, people usually thought I was younger).
" Dah ada siapa-siapa ker belum? Do you have anyone special in your life?"
I smiled. "Why are you asking, Makcik?"
Makcik Nah patted my hand. " I have a nephew who needs a wife and his young children too needs a mother. He's just divorced and is staying in Penang too. His former wife has remarried. I'm just wondering if you might be interested to get to know him."
I had to stop myself from laughing. "But Makcik, I'm a divorcee; who'd want to marry me? I've just become a Muslim and I still need people to guide me in Islam. Besides, I've never taken care of young children before apart from teaching those in primary school. Are you sure I can be a good wife to him?"
"Oh, don't worry. I can see that you are a good woman and prays to Allah daily. My nephew is a good man and good-looking with a steady income. He has a good foundation in Islamic knowledge and can guide you too. He's about your age. Just give yourself and him a chance, ok."
I was totally speechless. Makcik Nah really caught me by surprise.
"By the way, you'll meet him later. He always comes here for Eidilfitri with his children," Makcik Nah smiled at me meaningfully and left the table.

"Ahhh, Aliya.. please open the door for them," Makcik Nah called from the kitchen.
The moment I opened the door, I knew he was Makcik Nah's nephew.
Oh Gosh!

(to be continued..)

Sunday, September 21


Ramadhan 2005.
I waited outside the office. Undecided. Afraid. Embarassed. But I didn't have much choice. In fact, none other than one. I knew it's risky and I didn't know him well but I must take his offer. He had told me to find him if I should ever be in trouble, or facing any problem I couldn't solve alone. I was not one who'd wait for things to happen, even during those days. I decided to act.

It was a week towards Eidilfitri. As a new Muslim, I had no place to go to for the celebration. Almost all the undergraduates would be home for the one-week holidays and to celebrate the Eid with their families. I couldn't return to my family- I had been banned from the house for being a Muslim. And nobody had asked me to join them and their family for the Eid celebrations. I didn't want to celebrate the Eid alone in the hostel room with the cafe and all the shops closed for a week, and having instant noodles and cookies for my meals. That's not how I wanted to celebrate my Eid. Shelters for Muslim reverts? I didn't even know their location, being busy with my fulltime studies. The ustaz and ustazahs who knew me were too busy with their own preparations for the Eid than to ask about my plans for the festival. Perhaps everyone assumed that someone else had invited me to celebrate the Eid in their homes, and were too shy to ask me. The truth is, nobody had. And I didn't blame them but as the days drew closer, I didn't want to ask them anymore.
I just couldn't go and ask a 'friend' if she has a room for me in her house during Eidilfitri, could I? It'd just put both of us in a difficult situation if she answered "No".
I didn't even have a Muslim adopted family who could take me in during this time of the year.
And I realised too that as a mualaf woman, also a divorcee at the age of 35, I may not be welcomed in many family homes.
So, I seeked the person whom I believed could help me.
Somebody who was not in the category of "friend".

" You may go in now," said the secretary.
" Thank you," I smiled at her.
The dean's room was neat and spacious. I knocked on the wooden door. He looked up, saw me and smiled.
He recognised me as the friend of his niece, also a teacher.
" Yes, come in. How are you? What can I do for you?"
And I told him my problem.
He listened carefully, nodded at the approprite moment and looked thoughtful.
"Don't worry. Leave it to me. You will not have to celebrate your first Raya as a Muslim alone."
" But where shall I go, Sir?" I asked.
" You said that you want to have a merry Hari Raya Eidilfitri with a large family? Well, you will join us. My niece, your friend, is returning on the second day of Hari Raya and you'll get to meet her again. I hope you will be happy to celebrate your first raya with my family?"
Alhamdulillah. I smiled.
"Meet me here at the lobby of this building this Friday at 5pm. I'll take you there," he offered.
" Thank you, Sir. May Allah bless you for your kindness."
And his reply was so sweet that I had to held back my tears from falling.

I left his office, beamed at the secretary and returned to my hostel to pack my clothes. My heart was full of gladness.
I'd be going to a stranger's home, in God knows where to celebrate my first Hari Raya Eidilfitri with them. I hope they'd be happy to accommodate me, this not-so-young and not-so-naive Chinese lady who had just reverted to Islam four months ago.
The Dean of my School at the university is a kind man. His staff are full of praises for him. I have found a saviour.
And on the appointed date and time, I waited for him at the lobby with a bag of clothes and a bag of cookies.

Friday, September 19


Saya membaca sms yang dihantar oleh Adik.
"Can go out 4 dinner 8pm?"
Aiyah, susah hendak keluar untuk makan malam pada pukul 8malam pada bulan Ramadhan. Pukul 8 waktu untuk menjamah makanan setelah seharian berpuasa. Lagipun ia di antara waktu maghrib dan waktu isyak.
Saya membalas, "2moro ok? 2nite bz. Sorry."
Adik yang mula bekerja dan tinggal berhampiran rumah sementara saya ini (sedang menari rumah lain)menghubungi saya sekali-sekala untuk mengajak saya keluar makan dan bersembang. Maklum saja, dia belum ada teman wanita, hehehee.

Keesokannya, saya menghantar satu lagi sms kepadanya.
Saya menjemputnya untuk berbuka puasa bersama-sama saya dan suami di kedai makan. Jam 7.10 malam.
Alhamdulillah, dia terima jemputan kami.
"Wahh.. banyaknya makanan," dia tiba beberapa minit selepas kami. Meja restoran itu penuh dengan lauk. Ada ikan goreng, kari ikan, ayam masak merah, sayur, sup ayam dan sebagainya.
"Biasalah.. berbuka puasa," saya jawab.

"Erm, saya kena tunggu jugakah?" dia bertanya kerana kami masih menunggu waktu untuk berbuka puasa.
"Awak nak makan dulu, boleh," saya menjawab ringkas. Kami memang selalu bercakap terus-terang, direct antara satu sama lain. Tak ada berlapis.
"Okay, saya makan dulu laa," dia mula makan nasi yang terhidang di hadapannya.
Suami di sisi tersenyum melihat telatah adik iparnya. Lain daripada lain.
"Orang di sebelah dok jeling saya," komen Adik yang terus menyuapkan makanan ke mulutnya. Dia tidak peduli jelingan orang di sekeliling. Mungkin dalam pemikirannya, buat apa dia perlu menunggu juga; dia tidak berpuasa seperti kami.

Azan berbunyi menandakan masuk maghrib.
Saya menghulurkan kurma kepadanya.
"Awak kenal saya berpuluh-puluh tahun, takkan tak tahu saya tak makan benda ni," saya pula ditegurnya dalam loghat Hokkien.
Saya tertawa. Adik sudah lama menghentikan tabiat memanggil saya sebagai "Jie-jie" dalam Bahasa Cina. Katanya dia segan, naik bulu romanya menggelar saya sedemikian apatah lagi apabila saya bertudung, hehehe.
Saya tahu Adik tidak biasa berbuka puasa dengan orang Islam. Mungkin semalam kali pertama baginya.

Kami menjamu selera sambil berbual dalam Bahasa Inggeris (di antara Adik dan suami) dan loghat Hokkien ( sekali-sekala di antara saya dan Adik, kemudian diterjemah ke B.Inggeris untuk suami). Bukan senang hendak membuang tabiat berbual dalam Hokkien dalam perbualan di antara kami berdua. Syukurlah suami bersabar dan tidak melenting;dia juga sedang belajar loghat Hokkien dari saya. Fahamlah dia sedikit sebanyak perbualan kami dalam loghat Hokkien utara.

"Dah kenyang? Nak lagi?"
Adik menggeleng kepala. Makanan kurang sedap, namun kami berjaya habiskan semuanya.
Jam sudah menunjukkan 8.15 malam. Saya dan suami perlu beredar. Solat maghrib belum dikerjakan.
"Ok, kita jumpa lagi. Ada apa-apa hal penting, call ok."
Dia mengangguk.
"Nak keluar makan, tolong sms saya sebelum pukul 5 petang," saya mengingatkannya."Bulan puasa ni saya kena sedia makanan awal."
"Ohh, ok," dia kedengaran agak terkejut dengan maklumat yang baru diterimanya. Mungkin dia baru sedar bahawa saya wajib berbuka puasa pada pukul 7.20 malam dan tidak boleh bertangguh sesuka hati, huhuhuu.

Dalam kereta suami komen," Dia tak kisah yer, selamba jer makan lebih awal daripada kita, hahahaa. Kalau di seminar, rakan-rakan sekerja Abang yang non-Muslim akan tunggu untuk azan maghrib, baru makan bersama-sama."
"Tau.. dia kan baru nak kenal adat orang Islam, baru bergaul dengan orang Melayu. Lama-lama nanti dia fahamlah.."

Saya membuat keputusan berbuka puasa dengan Adik dan suami di luar rumah. Kalau buat jamuan di rumah sementara saya yang sempit ini, agak susah untuk kami berdua mengerjakan solat maghrib sementara Adik yang bukan Islam pula menunggu berseorangan untuk kami selesai solat. Pada pendapat saya, dia belum bersedia melihat saya mengerjakan solat di hadapannya.
Mungkin tahun hadapan apabila dapat rumah yang lebih besar, insyaAllah saya akan masak sendiri dan menjemput Adik dan Mak ke rumah untuk bersama-sama kami berbuka puasa.


"Grandma, why are't you eating with us?"
The first time I noticed Grandma eating different foods from the rest of the family was when I was about 6 years old. Grandma is a Taoist-Buddhist and every year, she'd fast for about two weeks.
"Wa ciak-chai," Grandma replied, meaning 'I'm vegetarian today' in the local Northern Hokkien dialect.

Grandma would have a vegetarian diet as a sign of her devotedness to the gods during the festival of the Nine Emperor Gods, and on Buddha's birthday. She has her own set of cooking utensils and crockery just for these occasions, which she keeps aside from the ones we use daily. She'd cook her own foods. She even washes her plates, glasses and other utensils using a different sponge. I used to wonder why she bothered to have a vegetarian diet when the rest of the family continues with their normal diet. When asked ( I was close to Grandma during my growing years) she'd say," I do it so that the family will have peace and happiness."

Every year without fail, Grandma would have her own way of fasting. She won't eat any form of meat from dawn till dusk. No milk. No egg. Just vegetables, soya, maize and rice products. During this period, she usually goes to the temples for prayers. Unlike Muslim's form of fasting, Grandma still drinks beverages and water whenever she's thirsty.

I was told that one a person starts to undergo an vegetarian fast as she does, one will have to continue to do it every year for the rest of one's life. It's like taking an oath. As a result, I have never bothered to try fasting Grandma' way. I was afraid I might forget about it one year and the gods would punish me for being forgetful, hehehee. Only a male cousin continues that tradition in my extended family, and according to Grandma, that's because he was 'adopted' by a temple god (he was a very sick baby and his parents asked the gods to spae his life; as gratitude he has to undergo a vegetarian diet each year).

"What's the time now?" Grandma would ask me in the evenings.
"About six."
"Hmm.. I'll eat that meat dumpling after seven," she'll say.
And I knew better than to ask her again.

Grandma's 86 this year, hunched but still mobile and still sharp in her thinking. She still cooks her own foods. And I know that she'll continue with her vegetarian fast for as long as she lives.
I called her up sometime this year and my ears got 'scorched', huhuhuu..
Long live Grandma, the matriach of my Chinese family.

Wednesday, September 17


Entah mengapa, tiba-tiba fikiran saya melayang ke tahun 1996. Tahun yang banyak meninggalkan kenangan pahit manis dalam kerjaya saya. Saya guru kelas Tahun 4 Elit, yang terdiri daripada pelajar bijak dalam pelajaran.
"Maizura, apa dah jadi kepada muka kamu?" saya bertanya kepada seorang pelajar perempuan semasa perhimpunan pagi.
Maizura diam. Wajahnya yang cantik kelihatan sugul. Terdapat kesan luka yang disapu ubat berwarna ungu pada wajahnya.
"Mengapa muka kau jadi begini, Maizura? Kamu sakit?" saya ulangi soalan tadi.
"Jatuh basikal," jawabnya ringkas tanpa memandang saya.
Saya diam. Ternyata dia berbohong. Jawapannya yang pendek menandakan ketidaksudiannya untuk terus berbicara. Dengan berat hati, saya berjalan meninggalkannya.

Maizura pelajar bijak. Namun sudah terlampau banyak aduan yang saya terima daripada rakan sekelasnya.
"Teacher, Maizura curi pensel saya."
"Teacher, duit saya dalam kotak pensel hilang."
"Teacher, saya lihat pemadam yang Maizura guna seperti pemadam saya yang hilang."
Saya tidak ada bukti mengaitkan Maizura dengan kecurian yang sering berlaku dalam kelas dari awal tahun lagi. Maizura tiada kawan. Dia dipulaukan rakan-rakan sekelas yang mengesyakinya mencuri barang-barang mereka. Malah dia sering bercakap bohong. Susah benar untuk saya mendapatkan maklumat peribadi daripadanya apatah lagi mendekatinya. Dia sering mengelak. Bajunya lusuh tidak diseterika. Keadaannya comot seperti tidak terurus.
Walaupun demikian, prestasi Maizura dalam pelajaran tetap baik.

"Maizura tinggal dengan bapa dan ibu tirinya. Farez budak Tahun 6 itulah abang tirinya," jelas Cikgu Maimunah yang tinggal berdekatan rumah Maizura.
Saya kenal Farez, hero Tahun 6 yang sering dijatuhi hukuman kerana melanggar disiplin sekolah. Kalau Maizura dna adiknya tinggal serumah dengan Farez, kemungkinan besar mereka akan atau telahpun dibulinya.

"Cikgu, boleh saya jumpa Maizura?" tiba-tiba seorang wanita berumur 40-an berdiri di hadapan pintu bilik darjah.
"Boleh saya tahu, Puan ini siapa?" saya bertanya.
"Saya ibu kandung Maizura,"jelas wanita itu.
Maizura kelihatan riang berjumpa ibunya.
"Cikgu, tolonglah tengok anak-anak saya ini. Lihat, inilah bekas cubit," wanita itu kembali berjumpa saya sepuluh minit kemudian ditemani Maizura dan adiknya.
Saya terkejut. Benarlah tekaan saya pada awal pagi; Maizura dan adiknya luka-luka di muka dan tangan kerana didera oleh orang di rumahnya.

"Saya bercerai dengan bapa Maizura. Dia yang mendapat hak penjagaan anak-anak. Saya sangka mereka akan dijaga dengan baik, maklumlah bekas suami saya tu hidup agak mewah berbanding saya yang memulakan hidup baru di Kuala Lumpur."
"Apa perancangan Puan sekarang?"
"Saya nak bawa Maizura dan adiknya mengikut saya ke Kuala Lumpur. Tak kira apa kata bekas suami saya. Saya harap Cikgu boleh tolong saya."
"Puan boleh berurusan dengan pihak sekolah untuk urusan pertukaran ke sekolah lain. Tapi eloklah kalau Puan berbincang dengan bekas suami Puan, mungkin dia sendiri akan benarkan Puan membawa mereka ke Kuala Lumpur bersama-sama Puan. Lagipun sudah ada bukti jelas bahawa mereka tidak selamat tinggal di sini," saya telahpun dinasihati pihak sekolah agar tidak masuk campur dalam urusan keluarga Maizura.
Ibu kandung Maizura mengangguk tanda faham.
Kasihan saya melihat adik Maizura yang memeluk ibunya sambil menangis teresak-esak. Bekas luka dicubit masih jelas kelihatan pada wajahnya. Maizura pula berdiri sayu di sebelah ibunya.

Alangkah kejamnya. Sanggup bapa kandung Maizura membiarkan anak-anak perempuannya yang hanya berumur 10 tahun dan 7 tahun dianiayai di rumahnya sendiri sedangkan sebagai bapa, dia sepatutnya menyayangi dan melindungi mereka.
Kezaliman mereka yang mendera anak-anak yang lemah seperti Maizura dan adik kecilnya sehingga nampak bekas pada wajah dan tangan memang patut dikecam.
Saya juga terkilan. Kalaulah Maizura memberitahu saya atau cikgu lain yang dipercayainya, mungkin dia telah mendapat bantuan sebelum kehadiran semula ibu kandungnya. Sekiranya ibunya tidak datang, sampai bilakah penderaan ke atas Maizura dan adiknya akan berterusan?

Itulah gambaran terakhir saya tentang Maizura dan adiknya yang menangis dalam dakapan ibunya.
Keesokan hari dan seterusnya mereka tidak lagi ke sekolah.
Saya diberitahu pihak sekolah bahawa mereka telah bertukar ke Kuala Lumpur. Semoga mereka hidup bahagia sehingga ke hari ini.

Tuesday, September 16


A ha, received a trophy today, hehehee..
Thanks Humyrah.. xie-xie ni.
I'm not as cute as Mr.Sun below (although my students at Form 4Science like to say, "Teacher, you're so cute laa) but I hope to have his attitude.

I forward this happy tag to Umi Jah, Masri, Maryam and Pak Anjang, hehehee..


Hari ke16 bulan Ramadhan.
Rasanya seperti masa belalu begitu cepat.
Bagaimanakah amalan anda pada bulan ini?

"Teacher, betulkah selepas raya Teacher tak ada?" pelajar saya bertanya.
Ahhh, akhirnya saya terpaksa memberitahu mereka bahawa mereka tidak akan diajar oleh saya lagi selepas cuti hari raya. Saya akan berehat di rumah untuk beberapa minggu atas arahan doktor. Oleh yang demikian, saya mengejar syllabus setakat yang termampu. Kasihan mereka sekiranya tiada guru tetap untuk menggantikan saya yang akan bercuti sakit. Mereka masih agak lemah dalam pelajaran. Saya pula hanya berpeluang mengajar mereka untuk 2 bulan sahaja selepas tamat pengajian saya pada pertengahan tahun ini.
Soalan Peperiksaan Akhir Tahun belum siap dirangka. Perlu hantar sebelum cuti raya.
Ujian Lisan untuk pelajar terpaksa dijalankan pada bulan ini juga.
Buku-buku latihan pelajar perlu siap disemak pada bulan ini.
Semua sebab saya bercuti lama selepas Hari Raya Puasa.
Kejar masa.... Kejar masa...
Masa inilah terasa hendak cekik budak-budak yang tidak berdisiplin dalam kelas, tetapi bersabar kerana berpuasa, huhuhuu.

"Maaf ya, kami hanya boleh keluarkan sijil itu selepas Raya ini, kalau tidak Cikgu takkan dapat bonus tahun ini."
"Jadi saya takkan terima gaji pada bulan Oktober ini?"
"Nampaknya begitulah."
Aduhh.. lemah semangat saya mendengar berita daripada pegawai itu.
Kelewatan dalam proses penghantaran data antara satu pihak ke pihak lain menyebabkan proses urusan gaji saya tersekat. Akibatnya saya berkemungkinan terpaksa hidup tanpa menerima gaji untuk bulan Oktober. Selepas menelefon ke sana sini dengan duit sendiri dan akhirnya turun ke Ipoh bersemuka dengan pegawai di Pejabat Kewangan Negara, saya diberitahu mereka belum menerima data yang sepatutnya dihantar oleh pihak yang ditanggungjawabkan sebulan yang lalu.
"Sabar.. bila dah siap, kami akan poskan ke sekolah baru Cikgu," kata pegawai yang turut terkilan dengan masalah yang timbul.
Ya, terima kasih. Sementara itu saya terpaksa survive la dengan duit simpanan yang semakin susut (belanja konvokesyen dan persediaan raya banyak gak :P). Terpaksa hubungi pihak terlibat untuk bayaran insuran, bayaran pinjaman perumahan dan sebagainya yang kebiasaannya dipotong terus dari gaji saya. Leceh betul.. duti lagi..

"Letih la bulan ini, tak seperti puasa tahun-tahun lepas."
Ya, saya mengaku, saya letih. Letih kerana berpuasa dalam keadaan badan yang kurang sihat. Kalau bulan lepas, saya alami 'cramps' setiap pagi, alhamdulillah sekarang sakit itu sudah hilang. Sebagai ganti, saya pening-pening dan sakit badan terutama pada waktu petang. Muka pula terasa gatal sepanjang hari walaupun pelbagai krim dan bedak sudah disapu. Dah boleh bergelar Humairah kerana wajah kemerahan tanpa disapu blusher, hehehee. Saya turut risau ketika memandu pulang ke rumah selepas penat mengajar seharian di sekolah, kerana letih dan mengantuk. Dah menguap sepanjang perjalanan ke rumah lebih-lebih lagi kalau mesyuarat sehingga pukul 3 petang..huahhh. Mujurlah keadaan masih terkawal.
Di depan pelajar bukan main terror, bersuara lantang lagi :)
Ahhh, kena kuatkan minda melawan kepenatan fizikal.

Oleh kerana diberi ubat, saya akan berpuasa genap sebulan pada tahun ini (insyaAllah). Semoga keadaan akan bertambah baik.


"Huruf 'jim' seperti perut buncit" kata Cikgu Kamariah (bukan nama sebenar) kepada pelajar Darjah 2.
" Ada titik di tengah-tengah".

Kami ketawa. Darjah 2 tahun 1979 merupakan tahun peralihan di antara sukatan dalam Bahasa Inggeris ke Bahasa Melayu di sekolah saya. Salah satu daripada mata pelajaran yang baru adalah Jawi yang diajar kepada semua pelajar tahun 2, tidak kira bangsa dan agama mereka.

Saya bertuah. Saya antara pelajar bukan Melayu yang berjaya mengikuti mata pelajaran itu dengan baik dalam kelas.
Buku teks disediakan dan lengkap, malah bagi saya lebih lengkap daripada buku Pendidikan Islam sekarang yang diselit topik tentang huruf Jawi. Berpandukan buku teks dari Darjah 2 sehingga Darjah 6 itulah saya dapat menguasai Jawi walaupun bukan warisan bangsa saya malah lebih baik daripada bahasa Cina Asas yang saya pelajari dalam kelas POL.

"Eh, ni perkataan apa? Cepatlah.. dah nak sampai giliran saya!" kami saling berbisik.
Cikgu akan menyuruh kami membaca satu perenggan dalam Jawi setiap seorang. Bagi kami yang masih merangkak dalam pembacaan, setiap perkataan akan mempunyai perkataan rumi di atas perkataan jawi supaya pembacaan tidak tersekat-sekat. Tak perlulah dimarahi Cikgu bila tiba giliran kami untuk membaca. Terdapat rakan sekelas bukan Melayu tidak berbuat demikian, maka mereka akan dimarahi Cikgu yang menjatuhkan hukuman cubit perut. Aduhhh.. sakitnya. Nak mengelak daripada dicubit, pandai-pandailah kami. Lagipun Cikgu tidak pernah meneliti buku teks kami yang penuh tulisan rumi di atas setiap ayat dalam Jawi.

Bukan mudah nak menduduki peperiksan mata pelajaran Jawi ketika itu, tidak seperti yang dihadapi pelajar Melayu di sekolah sekarang.
Saya ingat lagi, kami disuruh menterjemah ayat kepada tulisan Jawi, menjawab soalan kefahaman teks dalam Jawi, dan membina ayat dengan perkataan Jawi. Peliknya, tiada satu ayat pun tentang agama Islam. Sebaliknya kami hanya membaca teks cerita yang ditulis dalam tulisan Jawi. Oleh kerana semua teks itu memerlukan pembacaan teliti (setiap tahun panjang teks semkain bertambah), tidak hairanlah ramai kawan-kawan bukan Melayu yang benci akan mata pelajaran ini, kerana menganggapnya susah untuk dikuasai. Saya terkecuali, kerana alhamdulillah, Allah swt permudahkan untuk saya.

Rakan sekelas saya, Mimi yang sering menangis dalam kelas Jawi. Dia langsung tidak berminat. Cikgu pula tidak mengendah sama ada pelajari itu Melayu atau bukan Melayu; siapa-siapa yang tidak boleh baca akan dikenakan hukuman. Akibatnya suatu hari bapa Mimi ke sekolah dan berjumpa Guru Besar. Selepas itu, Mimi tetap berada dalam kelas Jawi tetapi Cikgu tidak mengajarnya lagi. Kami yang lain tidak berani mengadu kepada ibu bapa kerana takut akan dimarahi pula di rumah, huhuhuu.

"Amoi, boleh baca ker?" usik guru pelatih Melayu yang melihat saya membaca surat khabar Utusan yang diterbitkan dalam Jawi semasa mengikuti kursus latihan di maktab.
"Boleh.. nak saya bacakan?"
Dia ternganga mendengar saya membaca berita itu dengan kuat.

Alhamdulillah, berkat usaha Cikgu yang mengajar di sekolah rendah (kursus Jawi tamat di sekolah rendah), saya masih boleh membaca dan menulis dalam Jawi, walaupun sekarang agak lambat.. kurang latihan, hahahaa.
Tulisan Jawi warisan Melayu. Namun demikian tidak salah kalau bukan Melayu boleh membaca dan menulisnya, bukan?

Saturday, September 13


So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief;
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Therefore, when you are free, still labour hard,
And to your Lord turn all your attention.
(surah al-Inshirah 94:5-8)
my oh my.
I have problems remembering that in my land:
2008 is not just any year,
5 is not just the number of fingers of your right hand,
916 is not just the preferred grade for gold jewellery,
ISA is not just the name of a man,
sodo-mee is not just a brand of instant noodle,
lalang is not just the name of a type of grass,
Yet most importantly,
I remember that
Ramadhan is not just about going without food and drinks.
my oh my,
I still have things to learn and relearn.
my oh my.


Ramadhan 2005
"Oh, ada kaunter pembayaran zakat di sini," saya melihat sebuah meja dan sebuah kerusi yang diletakkan di luar pejabat Pusat Islam universiti.

Ketika itu saya baru sahaja 3-4 bulan memeluk Islam. Itulah kali pertama saya berpuasa secara rasmi. Sebagai satu-satunya orang Islam dalam keluarga, saya yang belum berkahwin ketika itu, perlu menjelaskan bayaran zakat itu sendiri.
Hmm.. berapakah wang zakat fitrah yang perlu dibayar oleh seseorang?
Saya menganggarkan kira-kira RM12 seorang.
Apabila saya tanya kawan-kawan perempuan, semua mengatakan tidak pasti sebab tidak pernah membayar zakat secara langsung- semuanya dijelaskan bapa atau suami.
Oleh kerana wang di tangan tidak mencukupi, saya kembali keesokan hari.
"Ustaz, perlukah saya membayar zakat pada tahun ini?" saya bertanya untuk mendapatkan kepastian daripada Ust. Zam yang kebetulan sedang mengutip zakat di situ.
Dia mengangguk. "Aliya kena bayar zakat," katanya.
"Erm..berapa yang perlu saya bayar?"
"RM4.70 sahaja," jawabnya.
"RM4.70 saja."
Saya terkejut. Dalam hati berkata, bayaran zakat hanya RM4.70 seorang setahun? Sedikitnya..! Namun mengapa masih kedengaran adanya orang Islam yang masih tidak membayar zakat?
"Sebenarnya mengikut mazhab Syafie zakat dikutip dalam bentuk beras tetapi untuk kemudahan orang yang membayar zakat, kita tukarkan kepada bentuk wang ringgit. Aliya kena ucap ikut saya..."jelas Ustaz itu lagi.
Tanpa bertangguh, saya lafazkan setiap perkataan mengikut ustaz.
Beres. RM4.70 bertukar tangan dan saya sudah menunaikan kewajipan saya sebagai orang Islam pada tahun tersebut.
Rupa-rupanya bukannya susah untuk membayar zakat fitrah. Kurang daripada RM5 dan boleh dilakukan di kaunter-kaunter zakat di seluruh negara. Hanya keadaan kurang menyenangkan kerana saya seorang saja wanita yang berbaris bersama-sama lelaki lain yang menunggu giliran untuk membayar zakat fitrah.
Saya tidak membayar zakat-zakat yang lain kerana belum cukup syarat.
Alhamdulillah, dua minggu selepas itu saya pula menerima zakat khas untuk mualaf di negeri yang sama dengan jumlah yang lebih banyak daripada RM4.70. Pada masa itulah baru saya sedar bahawa sebenarnya saya tidak perlu membayar zakat kerana berstatus mualaf, hahahaa..

Alhamdulillah, tahun-tahun seterusnya suami yang membantu membayar zakat fitrah bagi pihak saya. Tidak perlulah saya berbaris d kaunter zakat lagi.

Friday, September 12


I was writing on the board when suddenly "BOOOOMMM!!"
My heart skipped a beat.
I turned around, expecting half the class to be gone but all the students looked normal and nothing was out of place. I was the only one whose heart was thumping like crazy.
Trying to keep my composure, I asked the nearest girl,"What was that sound?"
"Mercun la, teacher (It's firecrackers)."
Gosh, firecrackers in the school compound during school hours? What are they trying to prove?
"BOOOMMM!!" Another firecracker. The sound came from the middle of the open court.

It's Ramadhan, the fasting month. Yet some naughty ones are already preparing for the coming Eidilfitri celebration by breaking the school rules - lighting the firecrackers they have smuggled into school. Those things are actually banned items not only in school but in the country but each year the smugglers always manage to get the items into the hands of the buyers. And most buyers are youngsters.

We scold, we advice, we nag and we even stand waiting at strategic places for the next "boom", hoping to catch the culprits as they light the forbidden items during the school recess period. Some are caught red-handed and ushered to the principal's office. The irony is, they seem to get the kick seeing us jump off our seats at the sudden loud sounds from the firecrackers.
And it happens in many schools during this fasting season.

Then I found out something.
"Why do they dare to light the firecrackers in school? " I asked a male student from one of the end classes. "Aren't they scared of getting caught?"
"A la, teacher. They enjoy doing it. Some are "cabar" (dared) by their friends. And if they are caught they know that they'd "kena gantung" (be suspended) from school for 2 weeks, so they're happy to do it. They don't care about the punishment. They'll be able to relax at home during the rest of Ramadhan while the rest of us have to come to school."
Now I see the picture.
At least they are smart enough not to play with their own homemade firecrackers which still occurs every year. In rural areas some victims have lost their fingers due to the sudden explosion of homemade firecrackers.
Hmmm...children and teenagers nowadays...not undertanding the real meaning of Ramadhan..

(more real stories at

Some Common Mistakes in Ramadaan

Alhamdulillah..I received this good piece of information via email from a bro. Ahmad who's in UK and I can't agree more...

Some Common Mistakes in Ramadhan
By Asma bint Shameem

Taking Ramadaan as a ritual

For many of us Ramadaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil....we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that's about all.

Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

"Jibreel said to me, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,' and I said, 'Ameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, 'Ameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,' and I said, 'Ameen.'" (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)

Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Quraan and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD. So much so that they turn the month of 'fasting' into the month of 'feasting'. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.

".....and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance) " [al-Araaf :31]

Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quraan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!

Eating too much
Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to 'make up for the food missed.' However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air." (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. saheeh by al-Albaani).

Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.

It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.

Sleeping all day
Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) 'sleeping away their fast'. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot 'bear' to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.

Wasting time
The month of Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month "Ayyamum Ma'doodaat" (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allaah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subhaan Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah by DISOBEYING him!

Fasting but not giving up evil
Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah.

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)" [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink." (Bukhaari)

Skipping Suhoor
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing."(Bukhaari, Muslim).

And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor." (Muslim)

Stopping Suhoor at 'Imsaak'
Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe 'Imsaak'.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bidah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah allows us to eat until dawn: "and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)" [al-Baqarah 2:187]

And the Prophet (pbuh) said: " and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes."

This 'imsaak' which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

"Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed." (Muslim)

Saying the intention to fast 'out loud' or saying a specific dua to start fasting
The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari'ah for us to say out loud, "I intend to fast", "I will fast tomorrow" or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever 'dua' you may see on some papers or Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid'ah.

Delaying breaking fast
Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be 'on the safe side'. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to break the fast, which means breaking fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa'ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast." (Bukhaari, Muslim)

Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul on Allaah and break your fast exactly on time.

Fasting but not praying
The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer." (Muslim)
In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.

"Whoever does not pray 'Asr, his good deeds will be annulled." (Bukhaari)

Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.

Mixing fasting and dieting
DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.

Fighting over the number of Rakaah of Taraweeh
There is no specific number of rak'ahs for Taraweeh prayer, rather it is permissible to do a little or a lot. Both 8 and 20 are okay. Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: "No one should be denounced for praying eleven or twenty-three (raka'ah), because the matter is broader in scope than that, praise be to Allaah."

Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadaan to the max.

Aa'ishah (RA) said: "When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family." (Bukhaari and Muslim).

Iftaar parties
Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish 'Iftaar parties' with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.

Saturday, September 6


"Tolong saya, belikan nasi ayam."
Saya tersenyum. Ketika itu bulan Ramadhan. Saya belum memeluk Islam, dan yang meminta tolong merupakan rakan Melayu yang sedang uzur.
Sekumpulan rakan-rakan Melayu yang beragama Islam tetapi tidak dapat berpuasa sedang menunggu kedatangan kami dari kafe. Mujurlah kafe dibuka untuk pelanggan yang bukan Islam menjamu selera pada tengah hari.
"Mengapa tak beli terus di kafe?"
"Ishhh.. mana boleh? Nanti kita dituduh sengaja tak berpuasa."
"Betul ker awak ni uzur?" saya sengaja mengusiknya.
"Nak bukti? Mai ikut saya ke asrama," balasnya dengan nada serius.

Ahhh... bulan Ramadhan. Bulan yang menguji kesabaran dan ketaqwaan kita.
Sebelum saya memeluk Islam, bulan Ramadhan merupakan waktu yang agak mencabar untuk saya yang bertugas di sekolah.
"Mana nak makan ni? Tiada bilik kosong."
Saya pening. Sebagai satu-satunya guru bukan Islam di sekolah, saya seolah-olah dianggap perlu turut berpuasa bersama-sama guru Melayu yang lain pada Ramadhan. Tiada seorang pun yang bertanya kepada saya sama ada saya selesa berada bersama-sama guru yang sedang berpuasa. Tiada sebuah bilik kosong di sekolah (semuanya berkunci) untuk saya menyembunyikan diri untuk menjamu selera dengan sekeping roti bun dan sebotol air mineral. Sebagai guru tentu saya tidak mahu makan di khalayak ramai pada bulan Ramadhan dan dilihat oleh para pelajar yang sedang berlatih berpuasa. Bukan tidak mahu berlatih berpuasa sekerat hari tetapi dengan keadaan yang uzur dan batuk-batuk ketika itu, tidak mungkin saya puasa paksa pula ketika bertugas. Lagipun orang Islam mendapat pahala berpuasa kerana Allah swt, orang bukan Islam yang terpaksa berpuasa kerana keadaan persekitaran kerja/belajar yang tidak membolehkannya makan dan minum hanya mendapat lapar dan keletihan.
Akhirnya saya minum di dalam bilik guru sahaja.

"Thisha, esok pagi jumpa saya di bilik guru. Saya tahu kamu tak puasa, sebab itu saya panggil kamu, bukan pelajar Melayu."
Thisha mengeluh. "Teacher, saya puasa juga..."
"Kamu puasa?" saya tersenyum melihat pelajar India yang berbadan lebih besar dari gurunya.
"Mereka paksa saya berpuasa sehingga balik rumah. Letih la, teacher. Panggil orang lain boleh tak?" Thisha yang menghadapi peer pressure itu bersandar dengan lesu di atas kerusi.
"Mengapa pula kamu setuju untuk berpuasa?" saya meminta kepastian.
"Kantin tak buka, saya pula tak bawa bekal. Mereka marah kalau saya makan dan minum di hadapan mereka."
"Teacher, bukankah baik Thisha berpuasa juga?" komen Siti.
"Thisha, kamu bersarapan tak pagi ni?" saya kasihan melihat Thisha dibuli oleh kawan-kawan Melayu.
"Tak.. saya memang tak bersarapan. Tak lalu makan."
"Esok cuba bersarapan sebelum ke sekolah, ok. Kalau tak bersarapan, kamu tidak patut berlapar di sekolah. Kalau pengsan kerana lapar, susah nanti."
Saya memndang Nanthini dan Divyah. "Kamu berpuasa juga?"
"Tak. Kami bawa bekal."
"Bagus. Kamu berhak untuk makan dan minum kerana kamu tidak berpuasa. Dan pelajar Islam, kamu tidak boleh marah kawan bukan Islam yang makan dan minum, walaupun di hadapan kamu. Jangan paksa mereka untuk berpuasa kecuali dengan kerelaan mereka sendiri."

"Sorry, saya minum di hadapan kamu yang berpuasa."
"Mengapa minta maaf? Saya memilih untuk berpuasa, kamu pula tak berpuasa."
Dia ketawa. "Awak tak rasa dahaga ker tengok saya minum?"
"Tak lah. Sebenarnya saya tak rasa apa-apa dan tak kisah kalau orang bukan Islam makan minum di hadapan saya."
"Awak ni peliklah. Biasanya orang Melayu mereka takkan duduk di kafe ini pun pada bulan puasa."
"Sebenarnya tak ada masalah orang Islam berada di kafe asalkan dia tak makan dan minum. Saya di sinipun sebab ada group discussion."
Pelanggan di situ ada yang menjeling ke arah saya. Agaknya mereka berfikir, mengapa wanita bertudung itu duduk di kafe sedangkan dia sepatutnya berpuasa? Saya tak kisah.

"Hiii.. teruknya perempuan dalam kereta tu!" dengus Ida.
"Awak tak nampak ker dia sedang makan dalam kereta?"
"Nampak.. jadi?"
"Dia makan di khalayak ramai la tu. Dia patutnya hormat bulan Ramadhan, tak boleh makan in public. Orang sekarang dah tak hormat bulan Ramadhan."
"Mungkin dia uzur, tak boleh berpuasa. Mungkin dia mengandung. Apa salahnya dia makan dalam kereta? Kereta memang tempat tertutup. Kita nampak dia makan sebab kita yang kebetulan lalu di tepi keretanya. Lagipun mana lagi dia nak makan dalam kampus ini pada bulan Ramadhan? Takkan nak suruh dia makan dalam asrama sedangkan dia mungkin bukan penghuni asrama?"
Ida mendiamkan diri. Mungkin dia terasa dengan teguran saya.



Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) dan Hidayah Centre (Pusat Sokongan Saudara Baru) membawakan khas untuk anda;
Majlis Berbuka Puasa Kali Ke-4 "Saudara Baru, Saudara Kita"
Ayuh sertai! Mari menyumbang dengan membeli RM 100.00 satu kerusi atau RM 1,000.00 bagi satu meja.
Tarikh 20 September 2008 / 20 Ramadhan 1429H (Sabtu)
5.00 petang - 10.00 malamTempatDewan Persidangan Utama, Kompleks Perbadanan Putrajaya
Aturcara Program
5.00 petang: Ketibaan tetamu
5.10 petang: Ucapan aluan Pengerusi Majlis
5.30 petang: Forum: "Ke Arah Memperkasakan Saudara Baru di Malaysia"
Tuan Haji Dr. Ir. Ustaz Muhammad Fuad Yeoh (Timbalan Presiden MACMA)
Ustaz Kamaruddin Abdullah (Presiden IPCI)
Sister Latifah Tamerlan (Pendakwah Bebas)
7.15 malam: Berbuka Puasa dan Solat Maghrib
7.45 malam: Makan Malam dan Persembahan Nasyid oleh kumpulan Saff-One
8.00 malam: Perasmian
8.20 malam: Solat Isyak dan Tarawikh
Dipimpin oleh: Tuan Haji Dr. Ir. Ustaz Muhammad Fuad Yeoh (Timbalan Presiden MACMA)
9.40 malam: TazkirahDisampaikan oleh Tuan Haji Ayub Abdul Rahman
(Bekas Paderi Roman Katholik, Pendakwah Rabithah A-Alam Al-Islami)
10.00 malam: Moreh dan Bersurai
Dengan izin Allah Ta'ala, sumbangan umat Islam di Malaysia dan usaha berterusan pihak Hidayah Centre dalam membantu memasyarakatkan dan memartabatkan saudara baru ini akan melahirkan generasi saudara baru, saudara kita yang soleh dan musleh. Terima kasih kepada semua.
Untuk keterangan lanjut, sila hubungi:
Tuan Haji Nicholas (019-333 5549)
En. Dhany Sarip (012-930 7522)
Pn. Ummi Roses (019-238 6333)
Ibupejabat JIM (03-4108 9669
Mohon bantuan untuk sebarkan mesej ini. Moga-moga amal kita diterima oleh Allah Ta'ala.

Friday, September 5


This Ramadhan I get a lot of email forwards about the benefits of fasting, how to fast the proper way, etc. I even received a pamplet about Ramadhan at school. I'm overloaded with the information about Ramadhan!

Well, here's something different, sent by a good friend of mine who's not fasting, heheeheee. Enjoy it and may the message help us to become better persons.

Ducks Quack , Eagles Fly

No one can make you serve customers well. That's because great service is a choice.
Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey .
He handed my friend a laminated card and said:'I'm Wally, your driver. While I'm loading your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my mission statement.'

Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:Wally's Mission Statement:To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.
This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, 'Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.' My friend said jokingly, 'No, I'd prefer a soft drink.'Wally smiled and said, 'No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.'
Almost stuttering, Harvey said, 'I'll take a Diet Coke.'
Handing him his drink, Wally said, 'If you'd like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.'
As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card. 'These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you'd like to listen to the radio.'And as if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he'd be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.
'Tell me, Wally,' my amazed friend asked the driver, 'have you always served customers like this?'
Wally smiled into the rear view mirror.
'No, not always. In fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.He had just written a book called You'll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself.
He said, 'Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.''
'That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.
''I take it that has paid off for you,' Harvey said.
'It sure has,' Wally replied. 'My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I'll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don't sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can't pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.'
Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab.

I've probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn't do any of what I was suggesting.
Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us???
Are we like ducks, doing nothing much yet complaining a lot?
Or are we eagles, that are proactive and make positive changes on our own?


"Aliya, berbuka puasalah di gerai Mak. Boleh bantu-bantu di gerai."
"Baik, Mak."
Saya mengangguk. Berbuka puasa di gerai Mak bermaksud membantunya berniaga di Bazaar Ramadhan.

Mak mertua saya wanita bekerjaya; dia membuka gerai makanan termasuk pada hujung minggu. Dia masih mahu berniaga walaupun sebenarnya pada usianya emasnya dan dengan pendapatan tetap daripada sewa rumah-rumahnya, dia boleh bersenang-lenang di rumah.
"Mak dah biasa berniaga, dah biasa pegang duit. Lagipun Mak nak buat apa di rumah? Dengan gerai ni, senang. Bila depa balik sini, semua boleh datang makan di gerai."
Saya diam. Bukan kali pertama anak-anak dan menantu-menantu Mak memujuk Mak untuk berhenti berniaga tetapi Mak masih memberi alasan yang sama. Sebenarnya Mak seronok mengira untung hasil perniagaannya, hehehee.

"Mak, berapa harga ikan seekor?" Saya cuba melayan pelanggan, kerana adik-adik ipar dan Mak semuanya sibuk berniaga di gerai. Ramai juga orang yang singgah membeli lauk di gerai Mak. Maklumlah terdapat kira-kira 25 hingga 30 jenis lauk yang berbeza pada setiap hari. Semuanya dimasak oleh Mak dan kakak ipar saya. Kalau tahun lalu saya sibuk membeli lauk berbuka puasa dekat universiti, nampaknya tahun ini saya berpeluang menjadi pembantu gerai pula. Teruja juga bila melihat wang kertas merah makin bertimbun di dalam bekas wang dan makanan semakin berkurangan di dalam dulang.

Adat berniaga ada pasang surut. Kalau rezeki amat murah pada hari itu, Mak tersenyum puas walaupun kami sekeluarga terpaksa berbuka puasa hanya dengan satu atau dua lauk yang tinggal. Kalau hari hujan atau banyak lauk yang tidak berjaya dijual selepas waktu berbuka puasa, muka Mak akan berkerut. Bukannya mudah hendak memasak dengan banyak untuk dijual ketika kita sendiri sedang berpuasa. Memenatkan. Bahan mentah perlu dibeli, ikan perlu disiang, ayam dibasuh, sayur dipotong dan sebagainya sebelum mula memasak. Ketika orang ramai bersantai di rumah masing-masing, periuk belanga orang yang berniaga perlu dicuci sehingga bersih supaya lauk baru boleh dimasak pada keesokan hari. Kita menjadi mengantuk dan letih kerana kurang berehat.

Kalau dahulu saya tidak kisah hujan atau tidak pada bulan Ramadhan, kini persepsi saya sudah berubah. Hujan mungkin melegakan kita yang kehausan kerana berpuasa tetapi itu alamat buruk kepada mereka yang berniaga di Bazaar Ramadhan. Hujan akan mengurangkan bilangan orang yang keluar membeli makanan untuk berbuka puasa. Kasihan mereka yang penat memasak pelbagai makanan untuk dijual, demi mendapatkan rezeki yang lebih tetapi jualan tidak laku.

Saya sebenarnya sudah biasa membantu di gerai Mak mertua.
Bekas Mak mertua saya (ibu bekas suami) pernah berniaga mee wantan setiap hari termasuk pada Tahun Baru Cina. Tugas utama saya ketika itu adalah mencuci pinggan mangkuk yang bertimbun kerana pinggan tidak mencukupi untuk pelanggan yang ramai.
Mak mertua sekarang pula berniaga nasi dengan lauk. Saya yang masih baru di gerai itu sekadar membantu menghidang dan membungkus makanan pelanggan.
Alangkah beruntungnya saya kerana menjadi menantu kepada wanita yang tabah, bijak dan mampu berdikari dari segi kewangan.

gambar hiasan:
(tak sempat nak ambil gambar di gerai Mak, sibuk niaga!!! Lain kali jer :P)

Thursday, September 4


"Mana kawan-kawan kamu yang lain?" saya dapati ramai yang tiada dalam kelas itu."Berapa orang yang tak hadir?"
"8 orang tak hadir," jawab ketua kelas.
"Mengapa tak hadir hari ni? Mereka ada hadiri program luar sekolahkah?"
"Tak, teacher. Mereka tak larat sebab puasa."
"Merka dok tidur di rumah, teacher."
"Mereka tak hadir sebab puasa? Itu satu alasan yang lemah. Sepatutnya orang Islam yang berpuasa lebih bersemangat untuk melakukan semua kerja dengan lebih baik. Berpuasa bukan satu alasan untuk orang Islam menjadi malas, ponteng sekolah atau ponteng kerja, faham?"
Saya bosan dengan alasan yang sering diberikan, iaitu letih dan mengantuk pada bulan Ramadhan itu membolehkan mereka-mereka itu menjadi kurang produktif.
Patutlah Mak dan Adik selalu mengadu bahawa mereka yang terpaksa melakukan kerja lebih pada bulan Ramadhan kerana rakan kerja Muslim yang berpuasa banyak yang "menghilangkan diri pada waktu tertentu". Bukankah mencuri tulang dengan memberi alasan kerana berpuasa satu sikap yang buruk?

Monday, September 1


"Ini Ramadhan yang ke berapa bagi Aliya?" tanya Cikgu Jamila minggu lalu.
"InsyaAllah, kalau panjang umur tahun ini Ramadhan ketiga bagi saya," saya menjawab.
"Ohh.. baru lagi," dia mengangguk.
Saya tersenyum. Benar, tahun ini tahun ketiga saya menyambut Ramadhan sebagai seorang Muslimah tetapi cabaran sebagai seorang saudara baru yang berpuasa tidak kurang hebatnya.

Alhamdulillah, suasana setiap Ramadhan yang saya lalui berubah dari setahun ke setahun.
Ramadhan pertama saya, 2006 disambut di asrama universiti kerana masih bergelar mahasiswi (maha-si-tua dari segi umur, hehehee). Bersahur dengan kopi panas, roti dan biskut kering kerana susah untuk turun ke kafe yang agak jauh dari asrama. Sibuk sepanjang hari dalam keadaan berpuasa tetapi tidak berasa letih. Kemudian berbuka puasa sama ada berseorangan pada hujung minggu atau dengan sahabat saya, Juliana pada hari kerja. Pada hari-hari tertentu, saya turut berbuka puasa di masjid universiti beramai-ramai dengan pelajar lain dan staf Pusat Islam. Walaupun makanan di majlis berbuka pausa masjid sederhana sahaja berbanding dengan yang dibeli sendiri di bazaar Ramadhan, kemesraan yang dirasai ketika berbuka amat istimewa.

Ramadhan kedua, tahun 2007 pula saya bergelar isteri. Saya belajar pula bersahur dengan nasi berlauk di rumah sendiri. Berbuka puasa pula tidak menentu; kadang-kala berseorangan apabila suami bertugas di luar kawasan. Tahun itulah saya belajar untuk bersolat terawih berjemaah. Mula-mula saya agak kelam-kabut juga sebelum dapat menyesuaikan diri. Maklum sahaja segala yang orang lain tahu dan buat selama lebih 30 tahun saya baru hendak mula lakukan dalam tempoh sebulan. Alhamdulillah suami saya memahami dan banyak memberi sokongan.

Ramadhan ketiga tahun ini pula suasana agak berlainan. Saya sebenarnya bukan sahaja bergelar isteri dan menantu, bahkan anak, kakak, ipar, dan makcik. Mak dan Adik pula baru dapat menerima saya dan suami sebagai ahli keluarga. Hubungan siratulrahim sesama orang Islam dan juga dengan keluarga bukan Islam juga perlu dijaga dan ditingkatkan. InsyaAllah semoga segala yang dirancang mendapat keberkatanNya..aamiin.