Monday, 13 June 2016

Understanding Islam

Today is the 7th day of Ramadan fasting. I am fasting, as I have since I was 6 years old.

Three months ago, on 9 March 2016, we observed a phenomenon called eclipse of the sun or solar eclipse (gerhana matahari). Muslims offered a special prayer called Solat Gerhana. I woke up that morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of that and I did. I almost missed it as I ran inside to grab my smartphone. It was daylight but a dull one. Here's the pic:

That's the sun after the solar eclipse over the masjid in the morning.
I tiltled my smartphone towards me to obtain this darkness bkgr.
It was a bright day after the moon had passed.

Two days back, I saw a double rainbow, and I thought, "What a sight?! Alhamdulillah (Thanks to Allah)." The double rainbow didn't last long. I only had time to rush into my house to grab my smartphone and took several shots of the rainbows. I used the Panorama setting on my smartphone and held my hand stiff while I panned the camera from left to right. Then the 2 rainbows disappeared. I was amazed and thrilled. I am still, after 2 days of witnessing the rainbows.

Double rainbow over my neighbour's house.

Rainbows are very special to me because that was how I learned about colours - 7 colours .... only to find out that our eyes can see more than 7 rainbow colours, and more. Today, the computer and other digital devices can be set at thousands of colours. Paints come in a spectrum of hues and grades. The spectrometer can detect spectral lines of elements as they emit colured lights which we can't detect. Even fluorescence is coloured. Lasers are coloured. So, colours are fascinating. That is science as well as religion. The rods and cones in our eyes are created for us. They are created for a special purpose. We can see, and see objects around us in full colour. Unless of course we (men) are colour-blind. Who created the rods and cones perfectly in position and coordinated them for us to see colours? Who pasted the retina to the eyeball? Unless your retina is like mine - peeling and folded back on itself at various times. Hold on to your answer.

The sun and moon stories, poems and songs are plenty today. The Greeks worshiped the moon. The Zoroastrians worship the sun and fire. Gunung Krakatoa spewed ash and bellowed smoke. Mount Fujiyama is quiet and worshipers climb its rocky slopes. The early Madyans died from spit fire embers. The giants died in the 'Empty Quarter', Valley of Giants at Ad, Oman-Yemen border. The Pharaoh's men gave chase and Moses/Musa's cane separated the Red Sea so the Israelite's could cross and landed in a new land, but started worshiping the cow when Musa went up Mt Sinai to meet Allah. Noh constructed his ark (bahtera) on dry land and waited for the great global flood which killed all life forms, and the only ones surviving today came from his ark.

Last night, in my Facebook, I posted on ancestral lineage research findings. Readers were arguing about why bother to know our heritage and lineages? After all we all came from Adam and Eve. There were 3 theories as to how the 'sons of Adam' inhabited Earth. One was the 'Out of Africa' theory. A second was 'The Sundaland' theory. I can't recall the third. You can read it.

Last night, in my WhatsApp group of high school friends (when I was 13 & 14 years old), one girl wrote that MAS does not fly to US anymore. My heart sank! Oh!!! That really made my heart ache. Why doesn't MAS fly there anymore? Was it because of high fuel cost? Was it because of MH370? Was it because of MH17? Was it because .... I can't believe it that MAS does not fly to US.

This terminated KLIA-USA flight route .... it makes me rather sad. I like MAS and the other airlines I have flown on, but I like MAS best, as I can speak in Malay to the handsome stewards and beautiful stewardesses. I like the beautiful batik attire of the stewardesses, and their stiff hairdos. I like in-flight dining and music.

I remember flying from Subang Airport to Jesselton Airport, Tanjong Aru in Sabah when I was 9 years old in May 1967. I recall having beef tongue sandwich for breakfast. It was delicious. I enjoyed flying from then on.

I remember flying MAS as a MARA-sponsored student in August 1976, 13 of us aged 17-18 years. We flew from Subang International Airport, Subang, Selangor to an Kallang Airport, Singapore to Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong to Narita Airport, Japan to Hawaii (can't recall which airport for entry into US) then San Francisco Airport, California. It was my maiden flight 'out of Malaysia'.

I remember in August 1980, flying Pan Am solo from San Francisco to Heathrow Airport, London, direct, non stop in a 'jumbo jet'. I don't remember much of the flight except I made friends with a Dutch girl in the seat in front. I probably flew the entire night .... and arrived in the morning. I returned to San Francisco after 9 days in the UK. I don't like UK's weather and general eerie feeling I had walking its streets and looking at its ancient castles and places. UK is not for me. I enjoyed sunny Mediterranean California.

I remember flying on Qantas one day in the 1980s ... I can't recall which way we flew. But I remember a stewardess while in-flight. She was rough and I was shocked! I can't recall what incident it was but that scared me and I promised myself not to fly Qantas again. I got really scared! You see ... when we are in mid-air, the only source of consolation are prayers and soft-spoken stewardesses/stewards. So when they behave differently to other passengers nearby, it also tends to hurt and scare others.

I remember flying MAS economy class, to Madinah for my first Hajj in December 2000/January 2001. I remember flying Saudia Air on my return flight and sat in the first class cabin with superb service and food. For once I felt like a queen and Hajjah, both at the same time!

I even got a MAS airplane model from my HOD and I meant to give it to my daughter, but have not done so. The airplanes mean so much to me. I want the plane for myself. It is in my office, near my phone. She can have it after I die.

If Islam is an obstacle to growth and economy, how did it sustain 1400+ years?

If Islam is a way of life and faith, why are there billions of Muslims on Earth?

If Palestine belongs to all, then why is the world fighting and killing Palestinians in great numbers? Annihilation? Genocide?

If Michael Jackson sang Give Thanks to Allah, then why aren't we doing the same?

If Islam spells terror, terrorism, terrorists, barbaric, barbarism etc, then why are innocent Syrians left in the cold without food and shelter, and in flimsy boats in the cold sea to fend for themselves? Innocent babies and children die on the beach or are washed ashore.

If Muhammad Ali said he didn't want his name on a star on Hollywood Boulevard, why did people continue to step and stomp on the other stars which had celebrity names?

If we were made into tribes, peoples inhabiting different places, then we should be meeting more instead of fighting. Fighting, battles, wars, bombing, killing, raping, genocide .... do us humans no good. Nada. In the Quran, it says:

Chapter (49) sūrat l-ḥujurāt (The Dwellings)

Sahih International: O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

External links:


Ancestral Lineages of the Malays (2012)

Malay DNA

I don't understand what it is in people who hate others who are unlike them or have different faiths. I am married to a Chinese, whose father was Chinese and his mother, probably a Thai Malay - she has freckles! They are Muslims, but always mistaken for non Muslim Chinese.

I was mistaken for a Chicano, a Filipino, a Polynesian, an Indian, an anak Mamak, a Penangite, a Eurasian/Serani etc. I am glad to be a Muslim as I have a purpose in life. My mother's lineage is from Holland; her people included Jews, Catholics and sorts. People say they are Flemish. My maternal great-grandparents moved from Holland to South Africa to Ceylon to Klang, Malaya. My father's lineage is from Yemen; his people are Yemeni Indians. They sailed from Seyhoon, South Yemen to India to Aceh, Indonesia to Singapore to Malacca to Penang. And here I am. I am a Muslim by birth and I study Islam whenever I have my hands free. Studying Islam never ends - it is a lifelong process. I cannot teach Islam since I don't graduate from the masjid or any Islamic institution or university, but that doesn't mean I am ignorant of my rights in Islam.

I hope that the world learns more about Islam, what it is actually, what it teaches, and MAS re-considers flying to US again. In the meantime, my heart sinks.

Now give me your answer. What's your answer?