In slightly less than two months,Americans will be heading down their way to polling booths to place their votes for their next American president.Will it be the charismatic Obama with his aide Biden?Or will it be McCain and his bumbling aide,Palin?No matter what the outcome of the polls will be,one thing is for sure,you and I will be part of it.
This economic crisis that is seemingly besieging the world.It seems to cloud an issue.A misty haze seems to settle on our awareness,on something rather important.As throngs of my community go about their never ending visitations in this month of Syawal,I just wonder…”Are they aware?”
As the MRT train pulls into stations,my eyes never fail to catch the fleeting smiles of families decked in the vibrant colors of their kurungs.It’s joyous.It’s pretty.It’s surreal.And when I blink my eyes again to capture that picturesque moment,I see children running around,tears and blood streaming down their cheeks,escaping the bomb shells scattering in the vicinity,scrambling for the safety of sheltering rubbles.I blink my eyes again,and my consciousness was brought back to sunny Singapore,from the war torn lands of Palestine.
As I grow older,Syawal,does not necessarily carry any significance that is more worthy of mention from the other holy months in Islam.Yes,it’s a celebratory occasion.I enjoy the arrival.But,the buck stops there.Maybe I have a sad childhood?Wahahaha.This year was a bit special,no doubt.I’m celebrating it as a husband.A father to be.A son in law.Heh.
Talking about son in law,maybe I should just pen this down,so that it may serve as a distant memory for me in later years.After I got married to my wife,I left her home and stayed with my mum over at Woodlands.Those early month were rough times,as my lovely wife had to adjust to the new surroundings.But I had no choice as my free will was bounded by that nonsensical tinge of “never being able to stay” with my mother in law.To cut the long story short,some “wedding cultural/customary affairs”complications had arisen before my marriage and it proved to be a crack on the glasshouse.Anyway,after I left my wife’s home on the second day itself,I had mentally braced myself for 11 months of mental strengthening.
I have a personal psychological problem.I hate leaving things hanging.Anything that stays unresolved,will tend to germinate itself into weeds that threaten my inner garden.I do not feel at peace.I feel rather soulless.And that was the problem.11 months of non communication with a person,whom by default,is my mother in law,is too overbearing on me.But I choose to let it slide,because,my prayers will always be,”Dear God,if there is the best opportunity to meet,let it be..”And so,11 months flew by,and Syawal reared its head into the calendar of opportunities.
The thing was,there is nothing wrong with my mother in law.Well,she has her characteristic flaws,but that is humanely normal.We all have flaws.It’s just that unfortunate circumstance where you know someone can never improve his or her perspectives of life,if it’s ingrained as a dead set piece of beliefs.Anyway,the moment did arrive as my wife and myself made our way to her place,in light of that occasion called Syawal.
The experience was quirky to say the least.Why quirky?Cause,when we arrived,I greeted my MIL with a hug.An embrace.A sorta,”I’m sorry for being a jerk the past 11 months for not even visiting you” kinda hug.And she replied with the stiffest,non responding body language possible.The same thing happened fro my wife,who took the initiative of kissing her beloved mum’s cheeks.No response?We engaged small chats,that culminated into that one liner episodes of,”How have you been doing?” to,”Normal,like last time,”as replies.20 minutes later,with no evidence of the mood being lifted,we decided to leave.I took a psychological checklist in my mind,a runthrough and I proceeded to do what was essentially obligatory for me…seeking forgiveness.With an embrace and a few words of seeking forgiveness,as I tried to rationalize the importance of keeping close ties,I got the murmuring reply,”Give me back my room keys,now that both of you have moved.I want to remove my things.I want your(my wife’s)room back!”My downloading system halted for a while as I tried to clear the air,of doubt.Did I hear her right.Here,standing in front of her,were two individuals,seeking some sort of solace,and all you want is your bloody room?I turned to my wife,”Remember to pass the keys at a future date,”.The wife nodded,albeit her swollen eyes.
The whole episode that night,was gratifying.I felt free.Free from the shackles that binded me for the past 11 months.That guilt and sorry feeling dissipated as soon as I asked for forgiveness.That bravado act of even stepping into the house,(after being driven out once)was enough solace for me.People always say,that the key to forgiveness,lies with the person you are asking for forgiveness from.I beg to differ.The onus,is on you to ask for forgiveness,But the dynamic is that,you should not be hard up for one from someone.The truth is,Allah Almighty governs the mechanism of forgiveness.He knows,when reprieve is warranted.I felt free cause,I know that I’ve done the hardest part possible.Asking forgiveness,in a circumstance,that has besieged my marriage for quite a while.Mentally.The whole idea now is to let circumstance play its script.I’ve provided the impetus.
There is a whole list of shenanigans worth mentioning with regards to the dynamics of families,within the scope of Syawal,itself.I can fill up anthologies with it.But I do know one thing though.Malay families are closely knittes.Too closely knitted at times,that the whole identity issues become rather muddled up.There is a high chance that your family and mine may be related in small Singapore.The issue here is,will families in Singapore always want to be centering around the same nucleus of money,marriages,Hari Raya,picnics,houses,cars,in laws and other miscellaneous issue that becomes hotly talked about.I wonder where I should even begin putting in the context in all these issues.Pluck any Happy Malay family here and place them in the sanity of Iraq/Afghanistan/Palestine,and let us ponder as to what their priorities in life will be.
Okay,so you may have your,”Come on Jaz,do not be a pessimistic shithead.Be grateful that you are enjoying Syawal in Singapore.”The thing is,I do enjoy my Syawal and all the normality that it brings.But,that’s it.We are stuck in that perpetual cycle.I bet my holy Nike Tiempo boots that your Ramadhan and Syawal next year,will be majorly similar as this year.Only difference?Your kurungs obviously.Let us make resolution guys,come next Ramadhan and Syawal,let’s look towards doing something extraordinary,say like spending it at Mecca or perhaps spending your nights with the poor old folks over at Pertapis.Or just perhaps,see if you can curb that urge of overspending.Heh.Easier said than done,but we can try…
Bottom line is this.
It’s about sunny time,we do something about making sure that we understand the significance of Ramadhan that just left us,and Syawal that we are enjoying now.So that it does not become a cultural thing.Damn.Syawal is never a cultural thing.
Some queer thoughts,
“Jaz,why don’t you wear kurung with samping and songkok?You are not like a Malay lah”
I should have answered,(and will answer next year and so forth)
“Why don’t you wear green/white jubah with sarban and keep your beard.It’s sunnah.You get pahala just for doing them.Then you’ll look more Islamic.”
Oh well.Life goes on anyway.
Talking about beard.Which I’ve always wanted to mention.There are colleagues of mine and even my manager who had many a times chided me for sporting a beard.I want to laugh at times,listening to their rants about how being professional actually means being clean shaven.I used to have this intention of sporting a Craig David like beard,as a fashion statement.Well obviously it’s a wrong intention to have,because I realize now just how sinful it is.
Anyway,just for knowledge sharing sake,
1.Trimming/shaving off beards are Haram.(not I say.not some Ustadz say.not some wise old geezers said,”
-From Ibn ’Umar, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Differ from the mushrikeen (polytheists), save the beards and trim the moustaches.”-(Muslim)
All the `ulamaa of as-Salaf u- li, including the Four Imams, agreed that shaving the beard is haram (prohibited). They considered shaving it an impermissible mutilation, as has been reported about Umar bin Abdil-Aziz. They used to consider the person who shaved his beard effeminate. Many of them would not accept his witness or allow him to lead the prayers.
Why?Cause,it’s fitrah that men have beard.We all know that deforming anything that is fitrah is non acceptable.Besides,perhaps not many men may know this but shaving off your beard will affect your future generations.Studies have been done,indicated clearly that men who shaves off their beard constantly risk having their future generations not being able to grow facial hairs/beards.(wink…look around)
I just thought that this is something noteworthy to share.I hope to share this verbally with my manager.For someone who has been quoting hadeeths and verses to me,am surprised he missed this one out.See what I mean when one chooses to be selective with religion’s context to fit circumstance and culture?*winks*