asyura day

December 26, 2009

Religion is a sensitive topic because there are many versions of it.

Some people just have different ways of practising their faiths. Some people think their way is the best and imposes it on others. Some people criticise others’ ways of praying or their general way of living.

Islam, to the non-Muslims’ eyes is one demanding religion that imposes so much on their followers. To some extent, I agree. I love Islam, but there’s no reason to hide from this fact. We can’t do many things, can’t eat many things, can’t dress in many types of clothes, can’t eat certain times.

But everything has a reason, and before criticising people’s ways, we should read up and understand why it is like that. The history, the reasons behind it, the logic to a forbidden act. Once you understand, then only you can agree and truly love Islam…and that’s the process of understanding everything else in this world, anyway. Why we have to cover our heads, why we have to pray many times a day, why we fast, why men can take on four wives — all these should not be attacked until you’ve taken time to understand why the rules are there.

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Some of you may agree, but let’s face it, most of you won’t.

And that’s just it.

Because religion is FAITH.

It’s what you believe in.

It’s between you and God, the power that you pray to and believe in.

Some people say that “It’s between me and God” is a lame excuse for not doing some of the things Islam asks of Muslims. They say you can’t pick and choose what you like in a religion to do what you like and omit what you don’t. It comes in a package. Just take it or leave it.

I do agree.

But being human, it’s difficult sometimes to practise any religion to the very core, like how our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Times have changed, humans have changed, and technology has changed. We know we’re doing sins everyday, but I know a lot of people who think some religious laws are obsolete and should be updated.

Religious authorities would ostracise these people as apostates. What is written in the Quran is what it should be, whether or not times change.

Who knows the right answer?

Only God knows.

What we can do as mere mortals is to just do good deeds, do what we know God likes and avoid what God hates. TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITIES. And just be nice to others, not cause havoc and not attack other people’s religions. Just carry on your business and try not to disturb others while you’re at it.

Because religion is just that; YOUR OWN FAITH.

I am not trying to preach Islam as the best religion in this world. Not because I don’t support that statement 100%. It’s just simply because I’m not qualified to preach it. Let’s face it, I may think I do good to others etc, but I am not what you’d call the ideal Muslim in hijab and veil covering my head.

“In due time,” I tell my mother. Her answer is simple, “You never know when God will take your life.” I worry, of course. I do want to cover up one day, but it is to my own weakness being drowned by the modern world, that I hope to be strong enough to wake up from hopefully soon.

I have no qualms about what Islam asks of us, but one thing I am finding really difficult is to cover my head. I totally believe in covering our arms and legs and bodies, but I’ll be brave enough to admit that the head is another story. I can give you a million excuses, but God knows the reason better; simply because I’m vain.

I’m sure a lot of girls can relate to me when I say that we girls love our hair and I don’t understand why we should be denied the right to feel and look good. We enjoy experimenting with different hairstyles and we like how it can change our looks instantly.

And let’s face it. Women need reassurance. Of their beauty, of a lot of things. So, if their hair and beauty can only be shown to their husbands, will this be enough? How many husbands will really take time to appreciate their wives after a long day at work? Will the husbands go, “Oooh nice hair, honey! My wife is beautiful”? Or will they just go, “Make me tea” and plop on the couch to tune in to Victoria’s Secret Angel fashion show on TV?

Now that it’s written in black and white, they seem like petty reasons; ones that are just not good enough to defy what’s written in the Quran. Sigh…

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I wear the hijab on ocassions and whenever we perform umrah in Makkah. And I gotta say, it feels good.

But….I also enjoy not wearing it.

That’s my dilemma.

I am learning to accept the rule slowly and I really want to be a good Muslim. I don’t mind the other stuff, but it’s just this one thing that I’ll need time for.

I know a lot of people who preach and can recite surahs from the top of their heads. But then night falls, and you’ll see them in nightclubs with a beer bottle in hand. Or wearing the skimpiest clothes with the lowest cut top and the shortest skirt.

It’s all a little bit odd, really. So I don’t want to be like that. That’s why I will not say anything.

BUT…

If you know something good, you should share it.

So, I’d like to remind my Muslim friends that tomorrow is Asyura day. 10th of Muharram, the day where a lot of good things happened to Muslims.

It’s the day that;

  • God created the universe, heaven, Prophet Adam and Hawa
  • God forgave Prophet Adam when he repented, and put him in heaven
  • Prophet Ibrahim was born, and also the day he was saved from being burnt by King Zamrud
  • Prophet Yusuf was freed from jail
  • Prophet Yaakub’s vision was cured and he was no longer blind
  • Prophet Ayub was cured from his skin disease
  • Prophet Yunus was freed from a whale’s stomach after 40 days and 40 nights
  • Sea was split into 2, making way for Prophet Musa and his followers to run from Firaun’s army
  • Prophet Sulaiman was given a big and strong government to lead

So, as Muslims, we should try do as many of these as possible;

  • Fast tomorrow (on the 27th of December 2009)- the reward is like performing hajj and umrah and dying with syahid.
  • Mandi sunat (shower to cleanse ourselves) – which is something we should all be able to do!!
  • Be good to orphans
  • Visit sick people
  • Donate to the poor
  • Recite surah Al-Ikhlas 1000 times – doa will be OK-ed by God!
  • Wear celak (eyeliner!!) – symbolically to protect our eyes from bad things
  • Cut your nails!
  • Give food and drink to people – reward is that God will give you a drink of water during the day of Akhirat and with that, you will never be thirsty again
  • Recite a lot of zikir and salawat

Not that hard, is it?

Well, it’s up to the person really. Let’s face it, people will laugh because they’ll ask “How on earth would you know whether all those things happened on this day?”. The truth is, unless we can turn back time, we can’t.

So, there’s just one answer.

“Faith.”

People can say Islam is this and that, ridiculously outdated. Even though I make mistakes (and still am every single day) and I’m not the best example as a Muslim, I still choose Islam as my way of life with all its demands.

Because I know God knows better.

And I also know, heaven ain’t cheap.

I hope some of you who are covered can share your stories on how you started and whether or not you faced any dilemmas. Maybe it can speed up the process of me covering up!! Haha.