yet he doesn’t believe in fasting

One good thing about doing MBA in UM is that I have classmates from many different parts of the world - Europe, Middle East, Australia, Africa even the USA. Let’s not even bother mentioning Asian countries - everywhere from Indonesia to South Korea to Pakistan and in between, you can find them here. Having such a good mix of people around you opens up your mind to new perspectives of life, if you are willing to take the time to befriend them. Of course, some people prefer to stick to their own crowd. But for me, if you have the chance to mix with somebody outside of your usual social circle, you should grab it. Didn’t Allah create people in different races so we could learn from each other?

This afternoon I had a discussion with a couple of classmates - a local Chinese girl and a Middle Eastern guy with a very Muslim-ish name. I didn’t plan to stay for too long as I wanted to go to Pasar Ramadhan to get food for iftar, so I wanted to know if it was okay if we speed things up.

Me: So, do you fast? *trying to start a conversation*
Guy: No.
Me: You don’t? Are you Muslim? *gosh if he says no, I won’t be able to go home early, majority rules*
Guy: Yes, but I don’t believe in fasting.
Me: Why not?
Guy: In my country everybody’s forced to become Muslim. Even if we don’t want to, we have to.

What a shame. This is what happens when you shove things down people’s throat - they rebel. It doesn’t matter if what is forced upon them is a good thing or a bad thing. The fact remains that people hate being forced to do something.

After the discussion (which ended up early as I volunteered to do the finishing touches at home, hey I didn’t mind doing extra work as long as I don’t have to endure four iftars at the campus in a row, ugh!) I offered the guy a ride home as his stays nearby my place. In the car we continued talking about the Islamic practices in his country as compared to Malaysia. He told me that he quarreled with his wife earlier today as she wasn’t happy that he didn’t fast. “My wife is religious, she fasts and wears hijab,” he said.

It prompted me to ask about her praying habits. Does she pray five times a day? He then explained to me that in Shi’ah they only pray three times a day. Once in the morning (same as Subuh), once in the afternoon (combination of Zuhur and Asar) and once at night (combination of Maghrib and Isha).

He then told me that his country practices the culture of force - people are forced to become Muslim, to fast, to wear hijab etc. He likes Malaysia because our country is more open - people are allowed to practice what they believe.

I told him when it comes to religious practices like fasting, we are not legally forced to do it, but we are EDUCATED to do it. That’s the main difference. When you are trained as a child to start fasting in small steps (maybe half a day at a time, for a few days in a week), as time goes by it is instilled within you and you won’t see it as something that you are forced to do.

I find it sad to hear people being forced to adapt to the Islamic way of life, because one of the earliest things that I learned in school was “Islam bukanlah agama paksaan” (Islam is not a religion of force). You can’t force people to become Muslim, they have to embrace it at their own free will. What you can do is to educate them and make them feel interested to know more about the religion.

What’s even sadder is the fact that people who call themselves pious and “pendakwah” (missionaries) are not approaching their audience the right way. They teach people about Islam by scaring them with stories of how they will burn in hell if they don’t do this and that. And they expect people to change 180 degrees the moment they decide to return to the religion. Come on! Give them time to learn and adjust, will you?

And one thing I hate the most is when the so-called pious group fail to accept a person beyond naked eye. If you don’t wear hijab, you are suddenly second-graded. It’s worse when you are an on-off hijab wearer, people will start saying “si dia tu tak pakai tudung dah” (she’s no longer wearing hijab) without even realizing that what they just said was effectively “mengumpat” (badmouthing)! I had a chat with my cousin Farah about this recently and she shared with me a quote from an ustaz that I thought was spot-on:

“Just because they don’t pray and don’t wear hijab, don’t assume that they will burn in hell. You have no right to make that assumption, only Allah can decide on that. Yes, by not praying and not wearing hijab, that will lead them to hell. But if they REALLY will end up in hell, only Allah knows, for they may have done many good things in life that you don’t know.”

Just because you think you are a good Muslim, it doesn’t mean Allah thinks the same of you.

Just because you think another person is a sinner, it doesn’t mean Allah thinks he or she is worse-off than you.

For in the end, what you think doesn’t matter, because only what Allah thinks does.

P.S.: I had to decline the guy’s offer to have iftar with his wife tonight as I already had images of different types of rice in different colors at Pasar Ramadhan running in my head. Perhaps when I decide to accept his invitation one day, I will be able to share with you how Shi’ah believers break their fast.


dyanna said...

yeah, we do tend to judge people a lot and way before Allah judges us in Akhirat. Kita sendiri pun tak pasti masuk syurga ke neraka.

selamat berpuasa!

i'm also curious to know how the Shia' people lives their daily lives.

dieya said...

so true. if only those judgmental ppl realize this. hey selamat berpuasa to you too :-)
hahaha yeah i'm as curious as you are! hope i'll get another offer to break fast with the wife when the time permits so i can see it for myself!

leili said...

salam perkenalan dieya,
am ur silent reader, couldnt help but to leave a msg here. this piece is nicely written, i like..


sheri said...

True babe. Bila i kat sini, and org2 niqab judge i tak islam enuf for heaven :) muslims among muslims pun judgemental. kita tak tau, seblm kita mati, kita harap kita mati dlm iman. org yg seksi meksi (we dont condone but we dont judge as well) mana tau sehari dua sblm mati dia taubat, dapat masuk syurga? betul tak? i love this post as i so agree with what u say :) lovely! take care babe

JaJa'Z said...

dieya: hubby akak ada citer hari tu pasal puak shi'ah ni..nanti akak tanya semula untuk terangkan lebih lanjut ok..kalau salah citer kang, berdosa plak...

pasal tak pakai tudung tapi berhati mulia....emm..hard to say..tapi kita berbalik kepada apa yang disuruh dan apa yang dilarang oleh allah...semuanya termaktub dalam al-quran..memang kita takde hak untuk menilai orang lain..itu semua kerja allah..tapi kita sebagai umat islam..hendaklah berpandukan al-quran dan as-sunah...jika menutup aurat itu memang diwajibkan dalam islam..itu yang kita patuhi dahulu...selepas itu baru lah segala amalan kita pula dihisab...wassalam...


me also learning from mistake dieya...and last 3 hubby request something from me...'something' that i have to obey as a muslim...maybe i will blog about it later..but i'll think it first okey...

but i still the 'garang' happy go lucky teacher okey..

dieya said...

salam perkenalan to u too! it's always nice to meet new people :-)
glad that u like the entry. thanks for dropping by, singgah lagi ya!

thanks for sharing my views! you are so right, who knows one day those seksi meksi tu akan bertaubat and who knows if yg nampak alim tu memang heaven material? if only ppl (especially muslims) stop passing judgment and focus on improving themselves and educating by example.
you too babe, take care!

k jaja,
owh ye ke? okay nanti cerita tau! i'm so interested to know about them.
betul tu k jaja, these things are hard to say.
apakah agaknya yg di request oleh en. zack itu? hope he didn't request for you to stop blogging? *gawk*
do stay garang (tp jgn bengis sangat ek.. hihihi) and happy go lucky as ever!

~jeet~ said...

dieya, am so with you on this one, coming from the city, my friends are mostly free haired, but that doesn't make them one less Muslim that I am, though deep in my heart I do hope they get the hidayah and start dress as what required in Islam, having said that, force is not a way to go for ppl to appreaciate being Islam,

p/s: last sem in my spanish class, there is one iranian lady, ckp mcm this guy (assume that he's from iran too) jugak la about how they are being force in their country to practise islam,

Lelord said...

dieya kat sini pun ramai qatari puak syi'ah. berjubah smpai tutup kepala...ishhh najla takut tgk yg style camni..mata pun x nampak tau. kuku bercat tp still solat.

Erin said...

Just the topic I heard recently dlm ceramah agama. People always misunderstood 'tiada paksaan dlm beragama'. It's only for non-muslim, bermakna xboleh paksa org bukan Islam untuk masuk Islam etc. It's not for Muslims and nowadays org Islam guna as leeway utk tak buat hukum2 yg wajib dlm agama...wallahualam. Just to share :)

JaJa'Z said...

dieya: nanti akak korek citer dr en zack okeh...shi'ah ni skali tengok memang islam..tapi ada ajaran dan amalan mereka yang bertentangan dalam islam dan juga dr segi pemikiran...

apa permintaan en zack..will tell u later okeh..not about blogging..dakuuu tak rela berpisahhhhhh dengan mu dieya..hahahha

erin: that sooooo trueeeeee...istilah tu untuk non-muslim..bukan utk yang dah bergelar muslim..

Liza said...

i can't stand people being judgemental as well. We may be a good muslim now but how sure are we, we will die a muslim. And those who are not that pious now, how sure are we they will not die a muslim. human nature is like that, judging people as if they can see the future. may Allah open the hearts of non-believer and open the hearts to the believers to stop playing God. Wallahualam...

Selamat Berbuka with assorted coloured rice....

niSamiR said...

interested to know ahh..i'm looking forward for it...

dieya said...

thanks for sharing my thoughts. i just hope that those wearing hijab demonstrate good values instead of being judgmental and badmouthing. only then respect will come along and inshaAllah others will be interested to wear it too. kalau pakai tudung tapi mulut jahat, how to earn respect and attract others to pakai tudung kan?
p.s. well, how's that for an evidence!

k lelord,
yelah bila pegi surau heran tengok diorang ni semayang takyah amik wudhu pun, as if sepanjang hari tak terbatal wudhu. part cat kuku tu pun heran, terus je semayang dgn cat2 sekali. tapi bila part aurat pulak cover sampai tak nampak biji mata. well, they definitely have different practices that ours.
bukan najla je takut, kalau dah tak nampak mata tu dieya pun takut gaks.. hahaha!

you are so right, we can't paksa non-muslim to become muslim. and muslims shouldn't use that line as an escape clause either. i believe in mendidik secara berhemah (especially by setting good example) bukannya menakut-nakutkan, menunjuk pandai, memperbodohkan org yg nak belajar or perli2 sampai the other party jadi menyampah and terus lose interest to learn more about the religion *emo pulak sekejap*. that's what i often see being done by those so-called pious ppl.. huh!
anyway, thanks for sharing mate!

k jaja,
okay! tak sangka pula en. zack yg rock kapak (teringat gambar2 lama dia yg k jaja letak dulu) rupanya terer bab ilmu agama ni ya ;-)
owh i also tak rela berpisah denganmu my k jaja yg comel! muahhhsss!

k liza,
exactly my point, thanks for agreeing. yeah, perhaps it's human nature to highlight the bad things and judge a person based on that despite many good things that he/she has done. what right do we have to do that i wonder.
thanks :-) had nasi beryani yesterday. heavenly! i guess your plan to cooking for iftar everyday is going on well?

if it happens, i'll write about it inshaAllah. just pray that i get another offer to have iftar with them.. hehehe!

JaJa'Z said...

dieya: dah sampai masanya dieya dia berubah..kalau tgk en zack dulu, tak sangka dia bleh sampa tahap mcm ni..he still learning...banyakkan membaca...banyakkan amalan...

marmarn said...

when we mixed up religion with culture etc, we end up become rigid and even confused. we cant see the true Islam. wut sadden the most, when Islam is just inheritance. we born as Muslim so we never care much. believe it or not, some nonmuslims even know Islam better than us.

happy fasting :)

dieya said...

k jaja,
i see, baguslah mcm tu kan :-)

agreed. i too find that those that just discovered the religion usually appreciate it a lot more than those who are born with it. and yes, non-muslim sometimes do understand our religion better, as they take the time to learn about it and make comparisons with others.

Liza said...

alhamdulilah, so far still on track...and on the video, do visit myworklife fb page, the PM's video is in there...

dieya said...

k liza,
good for you, hooray! owh the vid is there rupanya ;-)

kish said...

nice entry dieya

dieya said...

thanks babe :-)

ZuNas77 said...

fuh..kalau Nadiah sudah the way, mmg very nice entry. org Arab ni mmg pelik2. dulu i keje petronas, siap ada customer yg gi karaoke amik customer tapi tasbih kat tangan. mcm mana tu? hahahaha

dieya said...

haaa tu laa, dari membebel kat mulut habis gitu jek, baik i tulis lagi ramai bleh baca kan. wahahaha karaoke ngan tasbih??? kena bagitau en. wan ni, nx time dia nyanyi lagu raihan kat red box mcm dulu suruh dia bawak tasbih :-D