Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dear Farid

*Farid*

My friends and I were on a road-trip around California for the winter break. One of the stops that we went to was Long Beach in San Diego, and it was certainly beautiful and breath-taking, with the sea breeze and warm weather. :)

There were lots of yachts, as well as families having fun at the beach and enjoying the sea. My friends and I decided to try the funnel cake with ice cream which really looked delicious!

We then looked for a table nearby to sit and eat our funnel cake with ice cream :)

As we sat down and started to eat the funnel cake, an elderly man around his 40's or 50's that was sitting right next to our table suddenly asked us where we are from. We said Malaysia, and he said he's from Pakistan.

He then asked us whether we were muslims (because all five of us were wearing hijabs) and we said yes, and then he said he's a Christian convert, and he was a Muslim.

When he said that it wasn't much of a surprise to me, but then he continued by asking us 'Are you mad?'

I looked at my friends and they looked at me back. I think we were thinking of the same thing; of course we feel sad that he had converted out of Islam, but I don't think we have the right to be absolutely mad and angry at him for converting, because we don't know his full story aite?

And then we continued to eat our ice cream and funnel cake, until one of my friends asked us in Malay whether she could ask the old man why he converted. We agreed that the man seemed friendly, so maybe he wouldn't mind our question.

So my friend asked him why he converted, and he said he will tell us why, and started to have teary eyes.

He told us his story while having tears coming down his eyes, and a tissue in his hand to help wipe away the tears.

He said that he once worked for the airlines, and he was also a writer. But he said he became homeless at one time, and he went knocking on masjids and mosques to ask for help; at least for a roof to sleep under.

But alas, no masjids or mosques opened their doors for him. He said that he went to more than 20 masjids, but no one accepted him or offered him help. He then turned to a church, and they helped him out. The priests even gave him a key to the church for him to be able to live there as he wish.

That's why he converted to Christianity.

We didn't know exactly how or why he became homeless, or how he came to the States from Pakistan, but we certainly knew that that period when he became homeless was certainly a very hard time for him as he was literally dropping tears to the floor when he told us his story.

He then moved on to telling us that he did umrah at Mekah many times, but felt empty. He also started to question us on why Jesus, Moses, Muhammad and all the prophets were mainly from the Middle East. Why weren't there any prophets from Asia or from the West?

We know that there are many other prophets from all over the world, but not everyone is recorded in history and the prominent ones are mostly from the Middle East.

But at that very moment, my friends started to feel uncomfortable and decided to leave the table. My friends bid farewell and we started to leave the elderly man.

But as my friends left, I decided to stay just for a little bit to talk to him.

I told him that for what have happened to him, for when the people of the masjid and mosques turned him down and did not help him in his time of need, I said I am very sorry. The people of the masjid and mosques should have helped him when he needed help, and they shouldn't have turned him down.

That's not what Islam is about! Nor is it in any religion in my opinion.

I told him that Muslims, like myself, are not perfect, but Islam is :) I then apologized to him again for what they have done.

I then said that if he was my father, then I would have hugged him.

It completely breaks my heart to see him shed tears like that, especially when you hit rock-bottom, and you desperately need a place to just spend the night, or you will be in the streets at night :(

His eyes turned red and he shed a little more tears when he heard me say that. He then asked how old I was, and I told him that I was 21. He said his twin daughters are 24, and they still call him everyday to keep in touch :)

He then offered me to take his number. I hesitated for a while because if I were to take his number, he would definitely expect me to call him right? And I think his intention was so that just in case I need any help, I could just ask him for it and he will definitely be there. But I declined his offer kindly, and he asked repeatedly are you sure? (he was really more concerned and worried about me, as he was asking like will you be alright?)

I said I will be alright, and asked him right back will he be alright? And he said yes he'll be alright, and we bid farewell.

During his talk with me and my friends together, he did mention that even though the priests at the church preached to him, he still did not accepted 100% what they say. He even said that he might revert back to Islam, but he might not too. He also mentioned that it was very recent that he converted; in 2009.

Insya-Allah, he will revert back to Islam one day. It is indeed a very huge challenge given by Allah that he is facing right now; imagine if you suddenly became homeless, with no money, no family or friends, and you walked up to masjids and mosques to ask for help and they turned you down. Most normal human beings will do what he did; convert into the religion of the people that actually offered him help.

I think most of the masjids and mosques that turned him down that he was referring to was mostly small prayer rooms (but they do call them masjids or mosques), which are only open during prayer times (maybe like 30 minutes for prayer, then it'll be closed again. It's not open 24 hours for safety reasons). Only bigger masjids and mosques are open 24 hours. It is indeed such a difficult challenge that Allah has given this dear old man.

I managed to get the old man's name; Farid :)

I hope that Farid will be able to forgive those who turned him down at the doors of His house. Indeed, humans including muslims are not perfect. But Islam is :)

Only those with strong faith to Him, with a very strong heart, could be able to endure His great challenges.
None of us could anticipate or know what will happen to us in the future. But whenever we do, remember that Allah gives us challenges because He loves us. It might be hard for us to see it that way, but there is always a blessing in disguise.

So keep your heads held high, don't give up on Him, and know that when all else disappoints, Allah is and will always be there for you :)

You might say that He is not there when you needed Him most, but He is always there; it's actually up to you to be able to see Him there or close your eyes and not feel His presence.

It's a challenge, I know. It is not as simple as it seems. But, have faith in Him :) And you will notice His presence. Insya-Allah :)

And I hope you will too one day, Farid :)

Assalamualaikum :) <3



Friday, December 2, 2011

Country Invasion


Q: Does America have any rights to invade another country?

Any country in this world definitely do not have the right to invade any other countries without a legitimate reason. And oil is not one of it. I would actually give my support to America if America has the intention to buy the oil from other countries, or even collaborate or make a deal for trade of oil, and not go to war for it. It is just history repeating itself; wasn't the wars in the past were simply based on greed? Greedy of wealth, land, oil, women, pride or even just for revenge.


I think the only time a country should invade another country if the people of the other country is suffering under their current rulers and it is obvious to claim so; hence invading that country is the only way to save the suffering people. A country should also go to war if they are indeed in danger and they need to protect their country and people. The war should only be between the warriors and soldiers sent by the respective countries; civilians, children, the elderly and women who are not participating in the war are not to be injured as they are not within the war zones. This is the war etiquette that should be followed, as how the Qur'an has prescribe it to be.


Even though it is true that Qur'an has verses talking about war, those who do not read the whole verse or the chapters that do talk about wars will definitely misinterpret the Qur'an as 'promoting' wars; what is prescribed in the Qur'an about wars is actually the many many rules and etiquettes of war, hence making war as a last resort to solve disputes.


Once a war is over, there should not be any further killing on the losing end, just as how our Prophet and many other great leaders had shown mercy and kindness to the civilians even though they were of the losing side. I am not saying this to convince anyone that Islam has the best war etiquette; there indeed has been Muslims that have misused the name of the religion to commit terrorism and even horrible crusades in the past.

*9/11 is an example of people misusing the name of Islam for world peace*

But if you were to really study the Qur'an verses on war and how Prophet Muhammad conducted and led the wars based on the true verses of Qur'an, you will be surprised. Study the history of Islam in their early days, study how Prophet Muhammad started his journey on bringing Islam to the world.

The internet is definitely a great place you can find lots of data from both views of the the war verses in the Qur'an. Hence be prepared to evaluate which sources is the one we will trust and believe to be true.
*Misunderstanding could lead to more misunderstanding*

I might seem to be regressing from the main question of this vlog, but I truly believe that if one were to really follow and practice the war etiquettes based on the Qur'an, these issue of countries invading other countries for resources, based on greed, causing death of hundreds and thousands of innocent lives,.. Might finally come to an end. God willing.


"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter... But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful... If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression" (2:190-193).

Friday, November 18, 2011

PennState Crisis: Lessons?


When I first heard about the crisis, it was when the issue was just started to rise and Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier (President of Pennstate) was still a part of Pennstate alumni. At the beginning, I only heard about Pennstate facing a crisis. Later on I soon heard that it was something about a sex scandal. Truthfully, I was not very concern about the issue as we always hear about sex scandals and affairs in the news. It is true what Sam has said in class; victims are often silenced and will never speak out. But we do know that sexual abuse and assaults are common. Little did I know that it was such a huge deal for PENNSTATE when two most respective idols of Pennstate were involved.


*Joe Paterno (JoePa), the head coach of Pennstate's football team for 46 years.*

When I started to hear that JoePa's job was on the line, the first question that popped in my mind was 'Was he the one who did it?' Soon to find out that JoePa wasn't, really left me feeling that the whole news coverage on JoePa much more instead of the real offender, is really absurd and ridiculous. Finding out later that the university board of trustees had fired JoePa and the president of Pennstate really set an uproar across pennstate students.
*Graham Spanier, President of Pennstate before the crisis.*

The riot then quickly followed. The Candle Vigil was for Pennstate to redeem itself in a way and to show support of the victims of sexual abuse. We also managed to witness a very mature Pennstate when Pennstate lost it's last football game to Nebraska, but nobody was going nuts downtown like they would use to.

Being from thinking that this is just another sexual abuse case into thinking that Pennstate's reputation might be tarnished forever and into this is how it feels to be labeled and stereotyped as how muslims and middle eastern students faced day to day, is quite an amazing journey within a short amount of time.

The first thing that I've learn from this is how ridiculously everything is just about politics, well in my opinion that is. I do not see the reason why we need to bring in the higher authorities that actually did try to do something about the matter when they knew about it, while leaving the real culprit being the 'sub-topic' of the matter. Why do I see more people condemning PENNSTATE as a whole, condemning JoePa and the president compared to the culprit if he is indeed guilty of the charges? Very interesting display of politics, I must say.

I was only aware that this scandal could indeed harm Pennstate's reputation and the students when we discussed the issue in class. And also when the media started to ‘attack’ Pennstate. To add to that, class last week also made me aware of another thing: 'American' Pennstate students are actually experiencing what muslims and middle easterns had been experiencing over the years since 9/11. Despite being a muslim myself, I have only been in this country for 3 years for studies, hence I have yet to really experience discrimination if I were to plan to migrate and live in the U.S. for good. Plus, I am indeed studying in State College; thankfully, the community here does not discriminate as much as incidences that I have heard of in different states of the country.



Come to Pennstate, and you will know how friendly and peaceful this community is. Even cars will stop for pedestrians who might not be crossing the road at the right time or right place! Try crossing the road in New York or back at home in Malaysia. You are certainly putting your life on the line if you were to do just that.

Going back to what Sam said in the 2nd class to discuss about the crisis, I could not agree more with what he concluded in class. We should not just ‘Deal with it’, or face the problems that we are facing in life, but GROW from it.

Remember the sweet memories, but don’t forget the bad memories either; learn from them so that we may move on to look for new sweet memories :)
Hang in there Pennstate.
We are.... PennState!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why So Judgemental?



Innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent? Does the first only belongs to optimists and the latter to pessimists? Or does the latter practices 'better be safe than sorry' or the first 'don't judge a book by it's cover?'

As Sam has mentioned many times, everything in this world, especially humans, is not simply black and white. We are all grey, and very complex creatures with various and diverse complex matters and problems.
Gray :)

Even though intellectually we all know that 'innocent until proven guilty' is the optimists road, preserving human rights and all, but we still can't avoid passing judgement very quickly on everyone we meet, or on every matter we encounter. This is simply because we are human in nature. We have those natural mechanisms of caution and survival whenever we encounter something, regardless of it being harmful or harmless. Yes, not everyone reacts or pass judgement the same way towards the same matter; we are indeed complex creatures. However when we do pass judgement rather quickly on others, it is simply due to our defensive mechanisms kicking in.

Say for example you meet a new friend through friends at a party. He/She seems to be the attention getter, and just started acting wild because of alcohol, and started bashing you for really embarrassing matters. You would almost immediately take him or her as a jerk and start to defend yourself; especially in front of your group of friends.
:P

For the most of us this judgement might only last until that person is sober. But for the first hour that we have met the drunk-jerk, we made a judgement (of the person being a complete jerk) simply to enable ourselves to defend our dignity and honor.

The same goes for 'judging a book by it's cover'. I could honestly say when I was traveling with in Philly, we will be extra cautious of black men. We are not being racist, but we were only afraid and worried of our safety as a result of hearing rumors of the ghetto area of Philly. I myself have met black men who are the most gentle and intellectual individuals. However when we were in Philly, my friends and I passed judgement for our safety.


I could say that it is not easy to overcome this quick judgmental side of our human nature. I even struggled with it for a bit myself for quite a long time. A few years ago, I struggled with having the 'first impression' that muslim boys and girls that were social, drinking, leaving their five time prayers, eating pork, and could care less off their aurah and sleep around were all extremely 'bad' people. But over time, I learned that I have no right to judge.

They all are still Muslims, and they still have the chance to repent and turn a new leaf, because Allah is the All-Forgiving. In fact, they are facing huge challenges by Allah; where their ignorance of the religion and towards sin is also a sign that Allah still loves them.

Who knows they might have had a bad childhood, or dark horrible stories that caused them to be that way today. I think the main root that we pass judgement very quickly on people is because we assume that they are like us. We assume that they have the same opportunities and chances to know what we know, to learn what we learn and be able to overcome ignorance. Not everyone has the same childhood, the same family, the same house, and even the same friends! Then we start passing judgement when someone else has different values, different believes.


Learning this changed my life. I no longer pass judgement on a person ultimately because he or she is different from me even for the slightest bit, because I am now aware that they may not have the chances that I had to learn what they have yet to know; or maybe something that they do know that I am ignorant of. Hence if we do encounter those who remain ignorant, it is our duty to TELL them what we know before passing judgement. Teach it to them. Then if they still reject it, it is between them and Allah.


I am still learning too. So if I am ignorant of something, please do share with me your knowledge, and I'll gladly share you mine :)

Let us share the knowledge, then maybe the world will be a better place.

Rasulullah(saw) said "The best of charity is a Muslim who learns a knowledge and later teaches it to his Muslim brother."

:)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Your Race




*Part of 5 Usaha, 2006 :)*

Since I was little, I had always been aware of my skin color and my facial features that categorize me into a certain racial group, and with the things and stereotypes that comes along with it. This is because I am from a multiracial family: my mother is Chinese while my father is Malay- the majority group in Malaysia.

Being born in a multiracial family could be a blessing, and also a curse. My older brother inherited physical features from both my parents; he could blend in a Chinese or a Malay group of friends without anyone identifying him as a 'black sheep'. My younger sister only inherited my mother's side, hence she has all the physical features of a Chinese. She almost always will experience someone at the cashier or in a shop talking to her in Mandarin, even though she does not understand the language at all; she would simply smile back in return. There was once that my brother and sister went into a Chinese barber shop together, and the Chinese lady spoke to both of them in Mandarin (or other Chinese languages) and even mistaken them to be a couple. :p


*my siblings and I :) <3*

I followed my father's physical features almost a 100%; you could say that I am the 'girl' version of him. With that being said, my 'race' is definitely a Malay; so is the race of my siblings despite them having Chinese physical features.
*my parents :) <3*

Whenever we would go back to my mother's or father's families hometown for holidays, celebrations or even just for a visit, I had always felt different because of my 'race'. Whenever I would go back to my mother's side, everyone there were Chinese, even though they spoke English, Malay (our mother tongue) and Hokkien very very well, and they were all very very warm and friendly people. Even so, I couldn't help but always feel 'left out' sometimes during those family gatherings just because of my physical features.
*angpows given at CNY :)*

It has been a while since I've gone back to visit them since I am here in Pennstate for studies, but I do hope I will be able to overcome the differences, and focus more on what I actually have; warm and loving relatives. :)
*My parents and my mom's siblings :)*

Another different story happens when we visit my father's family side; none of my cousins were in my age range (they were either my brother's age or my younger sister's age) so I am often left out without anyone to play with haha :p but things do get better once we get older.


*delicious Raya cookies! YES DOLPHIN SHAPE specially for me ;p*
*MORE COOKIES :P*

Being a mix, I had always had friends of the three racial groups in Malaysia without much hesitation; Malay, Chinese and Indian. During elementary school, some of my friends of all races and I spoke English more fluently than Malay (surprise!). As I moved up to high school, most of my Malay friends talked more Malay than English; hence the start of my 'social education' in speaking our mother tongue as I also speak English at home with my family.


*my elementary school best buds! Reunion ;p*

Even though my friends and I have no problem with our differences, the education system back at home certainly separates us by our race. There is a scholarship to further our studies abroad specifically for Malays, which is the scholarship that I am under. The Chinese and Indians do have opportunities to apply for other scholarships, but it is definitely much tougher for them to get one compared to Malays because of the limited quantities and high competition.

It is no doubt that Chinese students often get amazing grades and are even more qualified to get a scholarship compared to others, but Malays have that sort of 'White privilege' that Whites have the U.S. There has been protests and disagreement on this inequality; even my friends and I of different races do not agree with the inequality.

*together we stand in uniforms :)*

Despite benefiting from my Malay 'privilege', I would still root for equality of education because I know some of my friends are more qualified for opportunities like these. And besides, if I keep getting great privileges without much of a fight, I will tend to take it for granted and not do my best to achieve what I am capable of. Hence the reason why our Malay stereotypes are people who are lazy, never on time and ignorant. I am absolutely positive that if everyone had an equal amount of opportunity to further our studies and in any matter in that case, we will be working our butt off to fight for those opportunities.

In the end, everyone will definitely benefit; Malays will no longer be lazy and will become more productive individuals and will not take opportunities that they have for granted, and that Chinese and Indians will also prosper in our country without facing discrimination. Then only we may be, proud Malaysians. :)

*My high school classmates! graduation Day :) 2006*

"And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors; most surely there are signs in this for the learned." Qur'an (30:22)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Do Women Dress A Certain Way?






Women dress in a certain way for various reasons; it could be to gain respect from others, to fit in with their peers or society, to get potential soul mates and attract them, to feel confident and beautiful, to go to a party, an interview, etc etc.
*Every women wants to look beautiful on their wedding day :)*

Most of the time, all girls will tell you that they dress a certain way simply because they love that dress, they love their shoes and feel beautiful in it, and feel confident. I really do think that this is the main reason why all girls dress the way they do; to feel beautiful and confident. For guys that label girls with short skirts and revealing clothes as either sexy or slutty; most of the time the girls are looking to just feel sexy in those clothes, and not to 'sell' themselves.


I am not saying that wearing short skirts is okay if you just want to feel beautiful and sexy, or dressing just the way you want because you want to feel beautiful and sexy is wrong; girls, we must find the right balance between the two.

Sometimes we would feel and say that "I feel beautiful in this dress, I don't care if it looks slutty for others." I will give a thumbs up for your confidence in following your heart, but a thumbs down in executing it. You might feel beautiful in that dress, but others will get the completely different, and most of the time the wrong idea.


Once again, I STRONGLY encourage everyone to follow your heart and in no means that I am saying that other people's opinion of you is more important than your own heart. Do follow your heart, but start listening to others when almost everyone is saying the same, incorrect thing; you are dressed to feel beautiful and look beautiful, but your guy friends, girl friends and maybe even younger children are telling you that is sends another message to the world.

It's just the same with everything else like attitude; be tough and strong to others so that they won't take advantage of you, but start listening when almost everyone is telling you that you are hurting others and arrogant; it means that you are executing your values the wrong way.

With that being said, everything needs it's balance. It is not easy to find that right balance in what to wear that makes you feel beautiful and look beautiful to others, but once you find it everything will be worth it. Doing this is not to in any way to please others, but to please yourself and be safe with it; you feel beautiful but you are also sending the wrong message which could endanger your life if the wrong type of guy gets the wrong message.

*My Malaysian friends and I :)*

I am a Muslim, and I do wear the hijab or head covering. I can tell you from experience that even though I dress all covered up, I do still feel beautiful, confident and safe :) Just ask any guy on how he acts with a girl fully covered compared to a girl who has a pretty and sexy dress on. You will find that most guys automatically have a certain level of respect for a fully covered girl without even knowing who she is personally.

*Hope this will open your mind! :)*
This also applies to girls who dresses modestly even without head covering, compared to a girl who dresses up ready to party all night. There is a difference in the level of respect between the two.
*compare this lady with the picture below. Which one has your respect?*


I am not implying that all girls who dress all sexy and fun are bad girls, and that girls who cover up has 100% perfection in her attitude, but what I can say is that why dress in a way that can cause harm to yourself, when you know deep down you are a much better, beautiful and intelligent person :)

Dress to please the most important factor in your life, and you know who He is :) when you have that intention, you will almost always never go wrong :)

"O Children of Adam! Indeed We have sent down to you a garment which covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed." (7:27)

:)
*Me :P*

Friday, September 23, 2011

Haiti Project

*Figaro and my lecturer, Sam :)*

I’ve always heard Sam mentioning about the Haiti Project that he and a bunch of his other friends are working on, but I have never actually get the real details of it.

It surely touched my heart that such inspired and committed people of Haiti are trying to bring Haiti back to it’s own two feet through their business they are working on; creating more job opportunities for the people of Haiti, as well as goods to consume or use. Even though they know they have such limited resources to begin with, such challenges did not let the people of Haiti to give up. Sam and the others who are involved in this project to aid these entrepreneurs are definitely people with warm hearts.

I really see that these small businesses could truly help a damaged country like Haiti recover from her wounds. Even though some might not think that such small businesses are able to help such a LARGE country with poor resources to recover, what more advance into a more modern and developed country. These people should know that small things do matter and they do make a difference. It is only a matter of time that these businesses will become big, creating more job opportunities for the people of Haiti and providing food, clothes, decorations and many more to the people of Haiti without relying on imported goods which might be more expensive. In the long run, everything will be worth it.

*Figaro and her business :)*

Regarding the rice issue that Sam had discussed in class, where the US government subsidizes the local farmers to sell their ‘unwanted’ rice to the Haitians at a lower price, it surely had more negative effects on Haitians that its positives. Even though the people of Haiti do get to buy the cheaper rice from the US than purchasing the local rice, this results in a lower demand in local rice, hence affecting the agriculture industry as a whole! Jobs are lost as local farmers could not produce rice as much as they did before due to the cheaper imported rice from US. This has not only caused the people of Haiti to lose their agriculture and job opportunities in the field, but this has also caused the MONEY of the people of Haiti to go straight to the US, and not to the people of Haiti. The money flowing out of Haiti is damaging Haiti herself, rather than helping the country or the people.

In the end, only the US benefits from this ‘relationship’.

I am very sure that most of my American classmates hearing this issue are either in disbelieve or even disgusted with what have been going on with Haiti, and even with Africa in that matter. The 3 billion dollars that was supposed to be used to aid the people of Africa, 2.5 billion of it ‘returned’ back to the US itself. Who knows, maybe even the 5 billlion left did not even reach the people of Africa.

Hence, I know that not all Americans are responsible for this. But we should not just stand back and say “Even though I did not do it, I apologize for behalf of America.” But rather say “I’m sorry they did that, it is absolutely not right. I WILL FIX THIS.”

This corruption does not only apply to America alone, but other places around the world as well, especially if there are people of power with lots of money who misuse them for their own selfish reasons.

So here we go, youth of the world. Let’s make this Haiti Project a stepping stone for us to change the world. :)

*Figaro and her home*


Link to the main page on Haiti Project : http://www.worldinconversation.org/our-projects/haiti-entrepreneur-initiative/

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obama: Christian or Muslim?



I am sure that almost everyone who had one glance at Obama would immediately classify him as Black, even though he is actually multiracial. Even so, his race did not change my opinion of him negatively, but rather positively I must say before and after I learned from class that he is multiracial.

Everyone was indeed talking about how he is the very first Black president of the USA (even though he is not black 100%). Despite not being an American citizen, I could understand how the locals feel proud of their country as they finally took a step further to go against racism, to finally get past that ugly history of slavery. In addition to that, I managed to get a chance to hear one of Obama's speech on television before the election. Honestly speaking, I find Obama to be a very intelligent man, with so many words of wisdom that he had spoken during that speech of his. His skin color did not leave a negative impression in me, but after listening to his speech, I had double the respect for him for being so courageous to walk into the path that I'm sure he knows will not be an easy one.

There was once where Sam (my SOC119 lecturer) asked us vote on what we think Obama's religion is, and Sam got really upset when some of us said he was Muslim, and not Christian. Just because Obama was black, the whole nation questioned his religion even though Obama said that he was Christian. Racism, in America, still strongly exist, even towards the president of America! Sam said that if Obama was white, such a question will never be raised against the president of America.

I must admit that I was one of the person who voted and thought that Obama was a Muslim. I did it not because I questioned Obama's religion of him not being a Christian just because Obama was black, but I did it because I did hear rumors that he was a Muslim, and I was actually very happy about this. This is because if Obama was indeed Muslim, he would be the man who will be able to fight Islamophobia, the stereotypes of Muslims being terrorists and Islam being a violent religion after the horrible incident of 9/11. I believed that he was an intelligent and respectable man that could deny all the false news on a religion of peace. It wasn't, as Sam indicated in class, because I saw Obama as a person of color.

So after learning that Obama is indeed a Christian from class, my opinions of him did not change much (other than letting go of the hope for him to stand up for Islam). But truth be told, the people of knowledge can tell what is right and what is wrong, and take the right path with courage. ;)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspire Our Children to Pray


Assalamualaikum my dear brothers and sisters! :)

Here is a great link on advices and tips on how to teach our children (or future children hihi) to pray to Allah and encourage them! :)

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/worship/prayer/inspiring-our-children-to-pray/

I guess the best way is to set a good example to our children by performing the prayers ourselves! :) And give positive encouragement to our children to pray and not always scold them or get angry at them 24/7 if they have yet to perform their prayers appropriately. Patience has its rewards, insya-Allah :)

Good luck dear parents! May all of us be blessed with solehin and solehah children, amin! :)

Assalamualaikum! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

One night, in Ramadhan..

There is one night in Ramadhan that we would like to be able to 'find', which is called Lailatul-Qadr. It is the night full of blessings, where our deeds and ibadah will also be multiplied many many times :)

But there is this one night during this month of Ramadhan, I had experienced something very special from Allah :)

This year's Ramadhan, I had decided to try to do 8 rakaat terawikh prayers and 20 pages of Qur'an everyday. I know it's a challenge, but I'm willing to give it a shot and try my best :)


So after I have done my 8 rakaat of terawikh prayer, I took my small Qur'an and started reading the 20 pages. Just a few pages later, I felt terribly sleepy and fell asleep on my bed (yes I was reading the Qur'an on my bed, bad strategy but very comfortable ;p)

Then I had a very very terrible dream. It was a nightmare about something I feared for so long. I could remember that right after that 'incident' happened, I was crying in my mother's arms in that dream.
As soon as I woke up from my sleep at around 2am, I realized that it was a dream. Even so, I couldn't help myself from crying my heart out as it all seemed so real. "Is this the truth, oh Allah?" I could remember saying this to myself with tears..


I then remembered that I haven't completed the 20 pages of Qur'an, and I also had work the next day so I can't cry too much or I would have puffy eyes at work the next day XD

So I went to the toilet to take my wudhu', returned to my bed, wore my telekung (or hijab) and took my Qur'an back. However, I was only capable of lying down at that moment, and I fell asleep once again.

I then had another dream.

But this time, it was different.

It was about the very same incident, but it was as if the second dream was the complete opposite of the first.

The first was about something I feared so much, while the second was about something I wished and loved would happen, on the very same matter, with the very same people :)

The feeling of happiness and tranquility that I felt in that dream is indescribable. And as soon as I woke up from my sleep, I felt extremely calm, and I could smile happily. I could not bring myself to tears even though I could clearly recall the first horrible dream.

SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah oh Allah.. :')

Some might say that dreams are indeed the games and play of Syaitan or Setan, but then, I have never had two consequtive dreams, which are the COMPLETE opposite of each other, on the very same matter.

The first might have been Setan's play, but I am sure..

That the second was from Allah, consoling this very weak and tiny servant of His. :') I feel blessed, and embarrassed that Allah would consol such a weak person like me.

Thank you oh Allah.. :)

What was my dream about? Well, I guess that would remain between me and Allah ;) But I can give you an example of how the dreams are the direct opposite from each other.

Perhaps one of your loved ones had recently passed in an accident, and the first dream was about how he or she had died, and it was such a gory and painful death. And when you had your second dream, you met him or her, very happy and healthy, telling you that she or he is doing fine and is happy right now eventhough they may have passed.

Allah is indeed, The Greatest, The Most Merciful :)