Month: March 2009

Masa Keduapuluh Empat

satu-menara-pada-suatu-petang-1

Masa kedua puluh empat

Masa kedua puluh empat

Mendekati pada saat yang sarat

Ada dua, mungkin sekali lima beban  yang terikat

Dalam dada yang sendat

Oh, aku meneliti titik-titik yang kusambung

Tiga, empat yang terhujung

Aku temui jalan kepada cinta yang agung

Jadi kuasa yang mendorong

Dan empat atau tiga itu

Ada banyak kisah yang pilu

Pernah juga hati ragu

Kerana godaan yang memalu

Tetapi pada masa kedua puluh empat ini

Sudah terang menyinari

Walau tidak lekas datang mentari

Aku tidak akan lari

Jangan biarkan aku hilang

Pada titik seterusnya jika umurku panjang

Tetaplah tanganku kaupegang

Kerana khilafku jangan kau berpatah arang

Masa kedua puluh empat

Mendekati pada saat yang sarat

Dengan cita dan harapan yang berat

Tuhan, pelukku erat-erat!

 John Rylands University Library

27 March 2009.

Six Feet Under

My right eye keeps twitching for days, and the websites I checked say that it is a sign of stress and anxiety.

I have just realised that it is getting harder to wake up in the morning and leave the bed, so this is too, a sign that I am suffering from depression – a mild one hopefully.

With job interviews coming (and the whole pre-interview preparation and finding the suit to wear), a 5000-words waste management plan to prepare, another 5000-words essay on pesticide history and evolution, alongside my 50 credits final year dissertation – the anxiety of a final year student is apparently different from non-final years’ stress. Include recession in the equation, it cannot be more challenging.

And by the way, thank you for all your comments on the previous entry ‘On Being a Woman: Gentleness, Sidelined and Segregated’ – I’d love to respond to all of the comments, and continue the discussion, but for the time being, due to my current emotional state, it is not wise to write some more – it will be contaminated with emotion, and more often than not I will appear defensive. But please keep the discussion running, we are all trying to find the truth, aren’t we? 

Oh, I am six feet deep in a pile of to-do items!

Of Being a Woman: Gentleness, Sidelined, and Segregated

It is confusing sometimes to be a woman. With different interpretations of what women should act and be available in Islam, and modern,western definition of what a woman should be, it is sometimes (and even, most of the times) difficult to find what exactly a woman should be.

These are some of my ramblings on this matter. 

On Being Gentle

I am truly convinced that I am a choleric, and originally a choleric, not forced to wear the mask by the environment. As this researcher said, one of the way you can find either you are originally of that trait/personality or not, look back on your childhood, and that was your real self. My parents must have agreed that I was born choleric – I threw tantrums every other day, very stubborn and headstrong. More often than not you will see me being too outspoken to handle. But as I grew up, I have come to believe that I should act in a more gentle way, due to the fact that I am a female. 

But now I am questioning – why is it that when it comes to gentleness and such soft characteristics, women are under more pressure to behave that way? I could not find, not yet, any hadeeth , let alone Quranic verses specifically demanding women to be more gentle. There are, of course, discussion on the necessity of Muslims being soft and gentle – but it is directed for both male and female! There is indeed a double standard when it comes to how a woman should act. Where the heck does that notion come from? If we both are to look at Rasulullah s.a.w as an example, than obviously there should not be any distinction between how a man should act and how woman should carry herself (in term of this), unless specified.

I guess it is what we called gender-conditioning: blue is for boys, and pink is for the girls. Men should act macho, and women are to be equipped with tenderness – and for God’s sake: shyness. If I were to be shy (a more acceptable term would be ‘modest’), the same importance should be forced on my male counterparts, for Rasulullah s.a.w himself is a shy person – even more than a virgin. Well, if we are to claim that we are his follower, then everyone is subjected to the same level of shyness. 

On being sidelined

Regardless of the fact that most of the men I am working with are supposed to be those who understand Islam more than anyone else, I found that they still have this mindset that women, or their female co-workers should be more of an assistant rather than an equal player or contributor – and by assistant, it means that they should be busy doing works in the background, behind the curtain. 

Need examples? 

Let us see, what happened on stage during NEXT 2009 (Sheffield Nasheed Extravaganza 2009), during the prize-giving ceremony. Why must it be that the one who accompanied the VIP to the stage must be the president, each time? I am sure that the female vice president does equal amount of tasks if not more (as usual) than him, but it is him that gets the spotlight. And worse, why must it be a female who handed over the prizes, held the trays and all these unimportant jobs? And why, oh why, most of the time this lady must wear something extra-attractive? It is as downgrading as having to have a pretty lady to man the scoreboard (or whatever it is called), dressed to kill, in a Roda Impian gameshow. And for the fact that they don’t even need a person to flip open the thing (as it is actually automated) make things worse.

This is both an issue of exploiting women, and the subconscious belief that the higher position should be held by a man – hence he should do all the speeches and prize-giving etc. for example, as a manifestation of the higher standard, despite in most of the cases they never did anything better or more than their supposedly ‘assistants’. 

And of course, they are even worse at time-keeping and  more often than not, mumble when they speak.

OK, it is true that even during my term as a vice-president of an organisation, I didn’t stress much on this. It was an internal problem – where if I were to do such things – like pressing for more of equality – somebody’s ego (and not just one person) would be severely hurt. Severely. And I have been appreciated enough not to make any of the males I was working with feel less motivated and needed (Yes, I read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus for the purpose of understanding men in their way of working).

And oh, I really hate meetings where the ladies are expected to not just prepare for the papers and the house, but also the food. In my presence, if they are anyone who jokes and implicitly asks ‘where’s the food’, I usually ask that person to go and buy it himself. And here’s a rule in my house: Those who eat, wash. That includes those guys coming to my house for meetings. We are not your maids. 

 

 

And guess what, this is what the Quran said:

 

(The believers, men and women, are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another, they enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil, they offer their prayers perfectly, and give Zakah (Obligatory Charity) and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will bestow Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)

[9:71]

And for such equality mentioned in the Quran, there is no way I am gonna wash your plates and cups  and cook everytime. 

On Segregation

segregation

Generally, I have nothing to complain, except for the last time I attended an event organised by a community I previously led (or co-led) – where there was a messily-constructed segregator. I said, rather not-so-loudly; what is this all about? 

I do believe, and fully understand the requirement for every chastise men and women to lower their gazes, but I have never agree with any segregation between men and women, especially when it comes to education.

Here are a few reasons I have in mind:

1. The barrier was rather messy and was not at all a good sight. If you were really, desperately (as you can’t control your own eyes) in need of such barriers, find a proper one.

2. I found that in the case of the presence of such segregation, both the guys and the girls are going to sit (in the case of a class/knowledge-seeking seating) rather more inappropriately and more relaxed, in a bad way that is. So you are shy to do such things when there are the opposite sex, but where is your respect for the knowledge, and ultimately the teacher?

And if we can’t control our desire to look at the opposite sex in a mosque , I wonder how bad we have trained ourselves. It must be even worse when we are outside in a lecture hall, on a bus, and walking down the street- with half-naked men and women everywhere…with the summer approaching.

3. After all, during Hajj  men and women pray even in the same line, and while performing such an important ritual it is deemed permissible, why is after that you have to have segregation?

Here’s a Q&A on this matter, from IslamOnline:

Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Why do we see men and women at Hajj time, praying in the same line; some men even physically touch women while praying in the same line. How can this be acceptable during Hajj and not after? Jazakum Allahu Khayran.

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

 


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.


All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.


While performing Hajj, men and women are allowed to pray together in the same line. The gathering in Hajj resembles the gathering on the Day of Judgment even if there is a great difference. We know that the rites of Hajj seek to link pilgrims to the Hereafter and the Resurrection. Therefore, men and women are permitted to do so, based on Almighty Allah’s Wisdom and Will to gather together in the Sacred place to perform the rituals of Hajj.

 


In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada , states:

There are two issues we must always distinguish well:

 


First, Islam does not prescribe complete segregation of the sexes as is practiced in many Muslim communities today. Complete segregation was a later innovation, because during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) men and women were active participants in all aspects of life, without being segregated.

Second, while interacting in society they were observing the Islamic ethics of interaction.

Therefore, what is happening during Hajj is permissible; but having said that, if there is some unavoidable touching of one another in a crowd, we cannot say that this is a general rule that can be applied in all circumstances.

 

However, the most important point concerning men and women praying without a partition or physical barrier in Al-Haram of Makkah should be the ideal for us to follow. For in that way, we allow full participation of women in all walks of life. That was indeed the way they interacted during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). By restoring this state of affairs, we would be changing the image of Islam, for a picture is worth more than a thousand words. 

 

 

 

4. I  am personally not comfortable with the segregation because I NEED to see the face of the person teaching – especially if it is a syeikh or a teacher. It is blessing, and you just can’t rob it away from me by putting this segregation.

I have a few more issues to address on being a woman, but I’ll stop here.

Tasbih kaffarah.

 

The Agony and Ecstasy

3343500605_e62e67207c

I am currently trying to finish the continuation of my travelogue, the climax of my journey that is, thus it is taking a bit longer to get into the mood and write.

Recently I have been forced with innumerable probing sessions on my current state of mind regarding marriage and such – I’m not that ‘dry’- I am still human, but here’s the thing: I have some important matters to be resolved first. Until I feel a bit settled, I won’t go any further.

My agony that only Lord knows.

The Agony and Ecstasy – Jalaludin Rumi

In the orchard and rose garden
I long to see your face.
In the taste of Sweetness
I long to kiss your lips.
In the shadows of passion
I long for your love.

Oh! Supreme Lover!
Let me leave aside my worries.
The flowers are blooming
with the exultation of your Spirit.

By Allah!
I long to escape the prison of my ego
and lose myself
in the mountains and the desert.

These sad and lonely people tire me.
I long to revel in the drunken frenzy of your love
and feel the strength of Rustam in my hands.

I’m sick of mortal kings.
I long to see your light.
With lamps in hand
the sheiks and mullahs roam
the dark alleys of these towns
not finding what they seek.

You are the Essence of the Essence,
The intoxication of Love.
I long to sing your praises
but stand mute
with the agony of wishing in my heart.

Indeed, only by the remembrance of Allah that the heart find tranquility and peace.

Wait for Journey to the Past Part 7 inshaAllah. Coming soon.

Women’s Day!

Despite some of you starting to realise that I somehow might look like a feminist, I am no self-loather – I love being a woman, every bit of it – and never aspire to be a man. After all, those who want to be men lack ambition – as one said, and I do believe so!

There is a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights to be fully practised- I am a firm believer that according to the religion that I’ve adopted to be my way of life, women are already liberated, only when it comes to the practical part of it that many principles have been neglected. I am fighting for women, to be put on the right place as what God has told us to.

Some Pictures and Myself

Tag thingy again, i am not tagged by anybody, but I do think my blog needs a few more pictures to cheer things up.

Here’s the self-imposed rule of the tag:

Use Google Image to search the answers to the questions below. Then you must choose a picture in the first page of results, and post it as your answer.

1. Age at my next birthday : 24 (OK, I am old)

24

24

2. A place I’d like to travel to:  Mecca. Soon, hopefully.

Makkah

Makkah

3. A Favorite Place:  Dahab, Egypt (it combines most of my favourite things : beach, great food, the vast desert)

Dahab

Dahab

4. A Favourite Thing: Book

 

 

Books

Books

 

5. A Favorite Food: Gulai kambing! 

Gulai Kambing

Gulai Kambing

6. A Favorite Color: Yellow. All bright and shiny and confident

Yellow

Yellow

7.  A Favorite Flower:

Tulips

Tulips

8. The City You Live In: Manchester

 

 

Manchester

Manchester

 

9. The City You were born in: Perlis!

Perlis

Perlis

10. A Nickname You’ve Had: Nini (the only person who called me with this is Hanee)

Nini :P

Nini 😛

11. College Major: Chemical Engineering

chem eng

chem eng

12. Name of first love: Haku (bohong gile!)

Haku..huahuaua

Haku..huahuaua

13. A bad habit: Get ‘angry’ so easily!

angry

angry

14. A Hope for 2009: find a job that I love

job

job

Done!!

Belajar jadi gelandangan!

Nota: Entri ini mula ditulis Januari lalu, baru sahaja berjaya ditamatkan.

Pagi ini, ketika saya menulis entri ini, mata saya masih lagi berusaha menahan kantuk, Cuma sakit belakang sahaja yang sudah berkurangan. Malam tadi kami belajar menjadi makhluk gelandangan.

Seharusnya pelan perjalanan kami tidaklah sesukar mana. Tiket bas seawal (atau mungkin lebih tepat, selewat) pukul 3.32 pagi dari Stesen Koc Victoria di London, singgah di Lapangan Terbang Stansted sebelum terus ke destinasi kami sekitar pukul 5.20 pagi, bererti kami hanya perlu berlama-lama di Stesen Koc, atau jika mahu lebih selesa berehat sekitar Stesen Tren Victoria berdekatan sehingga koc bertolak.

Tetapi Tuhan mengaturkan untuk kami satu perjalanan yang sarat dengan pengajaran. Sekadar tidur di stesen tren/koc atau di lapangan terbang, saya sudah melaluinya (kali pertama di Gatwick, kali kedua di Madrid), tetapi kali ini, kami bukan sekadar menjadi gelandangan sementara – tetapi diajar merasa perasaan dihalau ke sana ke mari.

Pengajaran utama? Pergantungan pada Tuhan.

Kami tiba di Stesen Tren Victoria sekitar pukul 2. Selesai membereskan makanan tengahari yang dibekal krew FuiYo (ILuvIslam), kami bersegera ke Costa Coffee – suhu mula menurun tanpa kesan pemanas dek bangunan stesen yang terbuka. Secawan cappucino saiz paling besar, buku The Messenger: The Life of Muhammad oleh Tariq Ramadhan – saya menjadi manusia yang paling selesa walaupun kerap juga ditenung warga Inggeris yang berkunjung.

Sebetulnya, wanita berhijab memang menghadapi perkara sebegitu. Saya senang diperhati wanita Inggeris ketika membetulkan tudung di ‘washroom’, saya juga tidak ada masalah ditenung sebegitu. Tidak semua warga UK biasa berhadapan dengan wanita Muslim – dan jika dengan bertemu saya mereka dapat melihat yang wanita Muslim juga adalah normal seperti mereka, itu adalah sangat dialu-alukan.

Tetapi tepat jam enam kami terpaksa beredar – Costa ditutup lebih awal, dan kami segan-segan untuk berjalan jauh. Mujur ada tempat tersorok, dengan kesejukan yang melampau kami sudah tidak mampu menahan diri untuk berselubung dalam beg tidur.

Dan tentulah, dengan beg tidur berona merah hati terang berjalur kuning, kami memang menjadi perhatian orang yang lalu-lalang. Seorang lelaki tersegih besar melihat kami yang (kononnya) malu-malu – ‘Don’t be shy!’. Rasanya kami lebih sanggup begitu daripada menahan sejuk yang melampau. Suhu ketika itu sekitar 0 darjah selsius atau kurang – dan jika tidak kerana lapisan tambahan kami tidak mampu untuk berfikir pun!

Saya sudah hampir tidur nyenyak ketika kami dikejutkan pegawai stesen – stesen akan ditutup sekarang! Sungguh, kami terlupa benar yang stesen ini akan ditutup menjelang tengah malam.

Malam di UK secara umumnya, hanya hidup sekitar pub , jadi memang tidak boleh berharap akan ada tempat yang sesuai untuk berlindung memang tidak ada, melainkan stesen koc yang tidak jauh dari situ.

Stesen koc menerima kami hanya sekadar satu jam, tepat pukul 1 pagi kami dikejutkan, stesen akan ditutup dalam masa beberapa minit. Dua jam tiga puluh minit sebelum kami boleh bertolak ke destinasi – dan sepanjang 2.5 jam itu kami harus berteduh di mana?

Mati akal.

Pertamanya tentu sekali saya rasa marah. Kalau stesen ditutup pada jam satu, kenapa mesti ada servis pada jam tiga pagi?

Keduanya, saya berasa kasihan. Sekurang-kurangnya kami hanya ada diri-sendiri untuk dijaga, tetapi satu pasangan yang turut dikerah untuk keluar dari stesen itu mempunyai seorang bayi kecil yang tentunya tidak betah dibiar bersejuk-sejuk di luar.

Bas yang menuju ke destinasi yang sama, tetapi lebih awal memang sudah ada – dan sahabat saya cuba-cuba bertanya, kalau-kalau si pemandu bermurah hati untuk membenarkan kami menumpang kocnya – after all, it is the same service but two hours earlier, dan alhamdulillah – kocnya kosong dan kami memang tidak putus mengucap syukur dan terima kasih kepada pemandu yang baik hati.

Suhu ketika masih di bawah 0 darjah selsius dan kalau tanpa belas pemandu tersebut, sesungguhnya kami memang tidak punya pelan B!

Oh ya, untuk ke tempat tujuan kami berhenti sebentar di Lapangan Terbang Stansted selama tiga jam – dan ini bermakna bertambah satu lagi lantai lapangan terbang yang pernah menjadi tempat tidur saya!