Assalamualaikum. Hi. Hope that everybody is doing just fine. I just recovered from a fever 2 days back and feeling better now, alhamdulillah. I guess the body can't yet adapt to the new life routine after a long break- with classes, clinics, labs.. hence, the fever. But knowing the fact that Allah is so merciful that He forgives the sins of one who is being inflicted with diseases and trials, the fever seems like nothing but a blessing in fact. Isn't it amazing how Islam can make your life so calm and positive? I just love being a Muslim :)
Anyways, 2 posts before this were in Malay so this one is going to be in English and I really hope that you don't mind with it, as I feel much better writing my experience in English. Because sometimes, I find my self struggling when trying to write in Malay, as I tried not to be too 'skema' when writing a post and not to be too laid back as well. So writing in English seems just fine :)
Right. Back to the topic.
I believe that most of us have, at least once, experienced an awkward moment in our life. Or it is also so common among us that it has even become a trending tweet on twitter (to those who have twitter account, u know what I mean). And yes, recently, I was experiencing this awkward moment and here's my story.
Right after me and my group went back from our visit to a kindergarten for our Community Dentistry project, we decided to have our lunch outside of the faculty since well, we were not at the faculty? lol. And so we went to the nearest restaurant and had our lunch there. All 14 of us. So there I sat, next to my Indian classmate, in front of my Chinese friends and with the same table of my Malay friend. Talk about implementing 1 Malaysia. Heh.
After we made the order and waited for the food to come, suddenly my Chinese friend, a guy, said.. 'Siapa kat sini yang paling alim?' and I was like.. what a weird question! So everybody keep saying they are (in joking kind of way) but suddenly my friend next to me said.. 'Here, beside me' ( pointing to me), and everybody went silent and they all together said 'Well.. ya ya, could be.." and nodded in agreement. And I, in my heart said.. 'This is indeed an awkward moment!'
I actually, was about to burst into laughter but I just smiled at that time. No, I wasnt going to laugh because the fact is not tue and I tried to deny it.. but it's another way around. Deep in my heart I feel blessed, and happy and speechless because first, the question was raised by a non-muslim, or rather, a not-yet Muslim inshaAllah.. and secondly, it is a not-yet Muslim too who acknowledge my religious level! So I really feel amazing because alhamdulilllah, if this is really true, I guess I have a little bit succeeded in becoming an ambassador of my religion at the faculty. Yay! Alhamdulillah!
You see, I'm not trying to brag here about me being religious and all that. Some people even feel very shy and tried to deny it when people say they are becoming more religious. So I guess it is not something for people to feel proud about. From a big hijab, one will then make it shorter and shorter, only to fit into the crowd and to be regarded as cool, as they can mingle with a lot of people- regardless the gender of their company even. Na'udzubillah. It is rather sad for people to think that to do what MOST people do is cool because the reality is, it is not. But I, on the other hand, feels very very happy if people see me as someone who's being religious. Or strange. Or different from them. Alhamdulillah for such feeling Ya Allah :))
It has been authentically narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) in the Saheeh Hadeeth [Ibn Maajah, kitaab al fitan 3986] and also [Sahih Muslim :The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman): Book 1 : Hadith 270], who said:
'Islam began as something strange and it will return strange as it began, so glad tidings for the strangers'
The conversation then went on and on. We talked about our customs and classes and getting married until he asked this question that I know although it was asked generally to all, but I can see that his eyes were actually landed on my eyes. He then said;
"So I was asking Nur (our friend from another group of this batch) where did she go during Valentine's Day with her boyfriend and she said she didnt celebrate Valentine's Day. Hence she and her boyfriend did not go out that night. Is there any specific Valentine's Day among Muslims that I dont know?"
"Well.. No," I answered. Since most of them think that I'm the most religious there, I guess I shall be the one to answer the question. I then continued as everybody seems like wanting an explanation.
"We, Muslims believe that we do not need a special day to express our love to our loved ones. Why can't we just tell them that we love them every single day? And if by giving presents indicate the true meaning of love, shouldn't it be done, like.. every week or every month? As love is universal, so does expressing it, right? "
"And one more thing, it is also prohibited for Muslims to celebrate something that is not in line with what the religion is teaching. Erm, so what is the history of this Valentine's Day anyway? If you don't mind me asking?"
"Well, Valentine's Day has got nothing to do with love actually" From the tone of his voice I know he was trying to justify the relevance of V Day and it is okay for Muslims to celebrate it as it is not something haram for us, or simply put, not a day for boyfriend and girlfriend. "It is actually the day of the death of a monk" He concluded.
"Oh! Then why are these people celebrating the day of the death of a person?" I questioned. But he just said.. "Ya, its a long story I believe.. I'm not very sure about that.."
Then the food came and everybody just forget about the conversation and started eating. So thats it.
After we came back and headed to the faculty, I just cant get the conversation we had out of my head. Here are my conclusions about what happened that day.
1) I believe that this friend of mine has always been wanting to ask questions about Islam, but he just dont have the opportunity to do so. And it is just sad if this thing keeps happening among our other not-yet Muslim friends. We seem to be living in our comfort zone, thinking that we've done good enough for ourselves without even trying to explain to them what Islam is all about and subsequently inviting them in. Therefore, I guess it is not wrong for us Muslims to sometimes have a cup of coffee with friends of other religions because inshaAllahu taala it is not just foods that we have together are going to be awesome, but let the food for their soul be awesome too.
2) It is necessary, I mean REALLY necessary for Muslims to equip themselves with knowledge of this deen. I really wish that I can quote a verse from the Quran or a hadith during this conversation but sadly, I couldnt think of one. Only after I got back, this hadith about confessing love to someone when we think that we actually love that person, crossed my mind.
A man was sitting with our Holy Prophet when another one passed. The sitting one said, "O Messenger of ALLAH! I love this man." The Prophet said, "Have you told him?" The man said, "No." The Prophet said, "Tell him!" The man rose to his feet and went to the man who was passing by and said, "I love you for the sake of ALLAH." He said, "May ALLAH for whose sake you love me, love you in return!"
Allah.. May Allah forgive me for my forgetfulness and aid me some other time. Ameen
3) Be proud of our religion! Never feel afraid to talk about Islam regardless to friends of similar, or different religion. Sometimes you are just going to be surprised by the results you got. You may think that this person who often wear inappropriately (for Muslim girls) will have no interest at all about Islam, but dear, I've experienced the opposite. Alhamdulillah we now often talk about Islam during our free time and inshaAllah, I can see that she is becoming a better Muslimah day by day.
So that's all for now I guess. Would love to read your experience as well if you have experienced any. Till then, take care. Barakallahu feekum!