Friday, August 22, 2014


To: Muhammad Lam

This was your earlier question, paraphrased:

"So you don't care about those people who died on that plane lah..
even though they're Malaysian, closer to you?
You only care about your 'Muslim brothers and sisters' in Gaza lah..??"

After years having not spoken to you,
I've forgotten that you were, and still are,
the lovable pessimist;
my eternal debate teammate/opponent

And put on the spot very suddenly by your accusation/query,
I answered "Yes" (big mistake)
Followed later by my awkward statement
"Muslim doesn't have to mean Al-Qaeda lah.."

Yup. Obviously not the best answer.
(Kalau debate, confirm I have to answer a lot of POIs at this point)

I know writing this after hours of thinking it over is kinda cheating
(confirm cannot do in an actual debate).
But your question was a very good one;
definitely worthy of a better answer than the one I gave.

So here is my 'scripted', but HONEST answer:

I still remember the morning after MH17 crashed.
Eating sahur with my family I was silent as always,
but on that day not because I was sleepy;
it was because I felt that I've just had a brush with death.

Because the route MH17 flew, over Ukraine,
is most probably the exact same route which I took
when I myself flew to the UK two years ago
(my transit was at Amsterdam).

That morning, in my mind,
I was wondering if any of my friends were on MH17,
and also I was thinking:
"It could have been me on that plane"

So your statement is correct, Lam:
in a sense, those people who died on MH17
ARE closer to me than those in Gaza are.


But the next part of your statement
is also spot on:
I DO care very much about my brothers and sisters in Gaza.

And yes,
a large part of that care comes from the fact
that they are fellow Muslims.

I am not ashamed to admit that.

But allow me to quote the cliche:
"You don't have to be Muslim
to care about Palestine.
You just have to be human."

(Saja quote a cliche..I know cliches get on your nerves) ;)

Point is, the fact that so many non-Muslims
are so aware of the Gaza crisis
is because it is a HUMANITARIAN crisis.


Of course I am affected by the loss of Malaysian lives,
and the grief of Malaysian family members.
People who talk and look like me.
Because I am Malaysian.

I am also not ashamed to admit that.


But as I write this
so many people are living continuously in Gaza
in conditions worst
than those who died instantly on MH17.


Both incidents tug on my heartstrings.
Because both are tragedies.
Both lives ruined by injustice.

So today I join the rest of my country
in remembering those who were lost on MH17.
But I don't apologise
for also remembering my brothers and sisters in Gaza.

I am Muslim first.
That doesn't make me any less Malaysian.

With love,
The lovable optimist;
your eternal debate teammate/opponent

P.S. see you at dinner tomorrow, insyaAllah. I kinda miss our conversations, believe it or not

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I'm Keeping the Beard

So many judgemental people out there
when it comes to non-hijabis

"What's wrong with her??"
"Showing off-lah tu"

I wonder how these judgements were made..
what was the basis of their comments?
Do they know these non-hijabis personally?
or at least TRIED to understand them -
their personalities,
their backgrounds,
their knowledge of the Deen?

Funny, too, that many of these Haram Police are men

How can they know what a woman goes through
when she first wears the hijab;

The wordless protests of family and friends,
the discrimination at work,
the hateful looks from strangers,
or at the very least
the disapproval of a culture
which views the hijab as
"Melayu" (if she's not Malay-lah)

The closest to this woman's experience
that a man can go through
(in my humble opinion)
is if he suddenly chooses one day
to grow a beard.

(And no, not those Robert Downey Jr.-type goatees
but a full-fledged beard.
As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said
when it comes to beards:
"Let it flow")

And no I am not justifying the act of not wearing a hijab
(or not wearing a beard ;) )
Because its true..the Quran DOES tell you to wear the hijab (24:31)

But the Quran also tells you to do dakwah with hikmah - wisdom (16:125)

I'm keeping the beard ;)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Traffic Jam

No eye contact.
Because everybody's looking in one direction - forward -
and not at each other.

Me, me, me..
I had a long day at work
I have stuff to do at home
I'm tired-lah, let me through!!!

No eye contact
Because our windows are tinted,
And so are our eyes;
tinted by
Me, me , me!

So easy to forget
when all you see are faceless cars
that inside every one of them
is a person just like you

Who hasn't had a good day,
who has a family waiting at home,
who is tired.

Once in a while, make way-lah for someone else...
Don't-lah all the time
Me, me, me

(Muhasabah of a Malaysian driver)

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Place To Turn To

Two days ago, I heard on the radio Yasmin -
a lady who reverted to Islam 21 years ago -
say (paraphrased):

"I fell in love with Islam because 
through it I finally knew

who to thank when I am happy,
and who to turn to when I am sad

I know who to say Alhamdulillah to
and who I can cry in front of when I need to"

Then today I came across the ayat Al-Fatir, 35:34.