HOTS or LOTS (KBAT or KBAR)

To those who have no idea what KBAT is, allow me to take full advantage of this opportunity to enlighten you that KBAT is an acronym for the phrase Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi (In English: HOTS/ Higher Order Thinking Skills).

It was the latest concept introduced by the Ministry of Education for Malaysian Students in a similar manner they have introduced other curriculum in the past such as KBSR/KBSM/KBKK. (During my time it was KBKK a.k.a Kemahiran Berfikir Secara Kreatif dan Kritis). HOTS is now the trend in Malaysian education. It is fashionable, at the moment (until the next education minister changes the whole curriculum all over again, haha). HOTS is the HOT stuff in the education industry now! Trendy! Au courant!

blogimage_bloomstaxonomy
HOTS, in a nutshell!

Higher-order thinking involves the learning of complex judgmental skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. (Judgment, folks!! The usage of your God given brain to make inferences and deductions and conclusions to come to a SENSIBLE decision based on what you have learned!)

Higher-order thinking is more difficult to learn or teach but also more valuable because such skills are more likely to be usable in novel situations.

But ah… forgive me, my dear esteemed readers.

I don’t mean to give a lecture on what HOTS is about. But the introduction above is necessary to put this post in its proper context.

I declare to all and sundry, that the entire purpose of this post is to unequivocally state in the boldest possible manner that Malaysians are NOT ready for HOTS because they don’t even pass LOTS, most of the time!  (In case  you are wondering, LOTS stands for Lower Order Thinking Skills.)

***

And what do I mean by that?

Well, this!

Jika diamati sebaik-baiknya. elakkan dari mencuci pakaian di tempat mencuci automatic public. kerana mesin tersebut digunakan oleh orang bukan Islam, kerana mereka ini tiada kebersihan. seluar dalam yang terkena darah haid. lebih maklum lagi semua tahu yang ada yang tidak membasuh punggung dan kemaluan selepas membuang air besar dan kecil. Pakaian yang dipakai dikesat pula mulut dan tangannya selepas memegang daging khinzir dan ada pula tuala yang digunakan mengelap kaki dan mengelap najis anjing mereka campurkan ke dalam mesin basuh. Itu belum tahu lagi adakah pakaian mereka ni yang terkena darah yang boleh membawa kepada jangkitan merbahaya seperti HIV  atau sakit kulit yang kritikal yang boleh berjangkit. Entah lah. Adakah pernah kita terfikir akan hal tersebut.

Selamat pg dan basuhlah pakaian sendiri di rumah, terjamin kebersihannya.

🙂 🙂 🙂

(Let me make it clear that I copied that statement word for word (including the triple smileys at the end) and any mistake in Malay grammar and sentence structure has nothing whatsoever to do with me) 

Upon reading that piece of asinine statement in one of my numerous whatsapp groups, I was struck by the compelling urge to leave that group for good. I have been patient all these time! But I just cannot stand this anymore! This is not the first time they posted something so moronic, it should earn a place in Guinness Book of Record as the World’s Most Asinine Whatsapp Group Text.

Every time I came across something THIS painful, I get disillusioned by the poor level of HOTS in our community. I rather just not know the truth. I want to keep imagining all the best things about the level of intellect in the muslim community, that I want to exit that whatsapp group! It is a testimony of the power of my self-control that I had limited my reaction to a few short responses. If I had given in to my inner (manic) diva, I could launch a long tirade about the  unfortunate lack of critical thinking in our Malaysian muslim community (which would hurt a lot of feelings. And that was the only reason I made myself stop. I nearly lost the battle against my inner diva, I tell you!) 

But because I was too fiery inside, I needed to vent out! So, I copied the whole stupid message and posted it in my Newcastle Batchmates Whatsapp Group. We had a great laugh out of it.

“Orang Islam tempat lain sibuk isu-isu besar. Isu Syria. Isu Palestin. Isu ummah. Orang kat Malaysia tak pass benda basic yang kita dah lama faham. What is wrong with them?”

***

Someone with HOTS would have the ability to make simple deductions and inferences. This is something that is introduced at the level of UPSR, and by rights, any adult should have mastered the art.

How can mature Muslim men and women be so insensible as to come up with something like this?

The person who posted this message in my Whatsapp group was only asking whether this message was valid. He did not straightaway take the message as the truth. So I did not, in any way or form, think that he doesn’t have HOTS. Maybe he simply posted this message BECAUSE he found it as stupid as I did and was only asking for clarification. So, I am NOT blaming him. In fact, I applaud his initiative to ask about the validity of the statement in the Whatsappp group. I think there is hope in the community when someone like him ACTUALLY questioned the statement rather than just posting the statement in a form of ‘sharing is caring’. Hahah. It is very heart-warming, to say in the least.

But the fact that he had obtained that message from SOMEWHERE before he posted it in my whatsapp group means that someone HAD come up with the statement in the first place. (That’s the problem, you see! That message must have been viralled somewhere in other groups until it made its way into mine; hurting my eyes, aching my brain and piercing my heart with it. And I bleed…and bleed…a slow, painful, torturous death. 😛 Hahha. My point is: if it has gotten viralled from whatsapp group to whatsapp group, that means a substantial amount of people kind of believe it, right? Doesn’t it alarm you, my dear readers? HOTS lah sangat orang-orang Malaysia ni, kan? Pfft!)

*Deep breath in*

***

How do I apply HOTS in this matter?

Remember! HOTS is all about application of knowledge and creating a new point of view from what you have learned. To put it in religious term, HOTS is like dalil akli (sebab setengah orang yang budget dia ni konon alim sangat, suka menggunakan tema dan warna agama untuk menampakkan hujahnya konon religious. So kalau aku sebut HOTS, tak cukup religious lah kan! So aku sebut dalil akli! ).

I am not saying that dalil akli is enough! No! But if you have HOTS, that is your FIRST filter that would trigger you to search for dalil nakli. When something ‘konon religious’ disturb your ‘akli’, you wouldn’t swallow everything hook, line and sinker. Instead, if you have well-honed HOTS and reasoning skill, hearing something like this would trigger you to search for the dalil nakli to clear your doubts! 99% of the time, dalil nakli and dalil akli are always in parallel! In the 1% of the time when dalil akli and dalil nakli seem contradictory, either your religious authority has misrepresented the issue or there is some other context to your dalil nakli that you don’t know about. So, search further! Don’t stop! Jangan malas berfikir! As a result of having HOTS as your first filter, you would not be someone who can be easily tricked into believing something weird in the name of religion.

If you do not have HOTS, everything that sounds religious…you would accept it unquestionably. And that would not just be unfortunate, but downright tragic!

So let’s talk about this. Let’s break down the above moronic text; sentence by sentence:

 “Tidak boleh menggunakan tempat mencuci automatic public kerana mereka ini tiada kebersihan seluar dalam yang terkena darah haid” 

  • Jadi bagaimana pula dengan darah haid perempuan Muslim? Adakah penulis statement ini rasa perempuan Muslim semuanya tak ada darah haid terkena di seluar dalam mereka?  Beliau boleh terima tak kalau perempuan muslim yang guna tempat mencuci public ni? Ke darah haid perempuan Muslim lebih bersih daripada darah haid perempuan bukan Muslim? Ke beliau nak cakap perempuan bukan muslim saja yang darah haid mereka boleh terkena seluar dalam… seolah-olah perempuan muslim pula darah haid mereka sentiasa elok terletak di sanitary pad tanpa pernah ‘terbocor’ barang sekali pun! Ke macam mana reasoning dia ni…too weird sampai aku tak boleh nak cerna! Newsflash! When you have heavy menstruation flow, your menstruation blood can spill into your panties, and it has nothing to do with your race or religion. (Benda ni saja dah sangat tidak cerdik! The very first sentence dah tersangat kelakar. You can use your common sense untuk bantai bendalah ni. Jadi, aku rasa stress bila ada lagi orang dalam Whatsapp group dok cakap “kena tunggu ijtihad dulu” baru boleh bagi opinion. WHAATTT?  It’s like guru sekolah rendah berkata kepada muridnya “kita kena tunggu sasterawan negara dulu untuk mengajar  kita macam mana nak mengeja.” hahah. Adoi!! Tak tahan!)

“Lebih maklum lagi semua tahu yang ada yang tidak membasuh punggung dan kemaluan selepas membuang air besar dan kecil.” 

  • Benda ni kita dah belajar sejak sekolah menengah lagi. Pernah dengar tak konsep ‘istinjak’? Kita beristinjak menggunakan batu dan bahan-bahan kesat. Ingat tak? Ni konsep bersuci yang asas. Orang Islam memang dah biasa menggunakan air dan kita memang tidak akan puas hati kalau tak guna air. Tapi istinjak juga adalah  salah satu cara bersuci! Dan sah wudhu dan sembahyang kau walaupun sewaktu berhadas tadi, kau hanya beristinjak menggunakan tisu. Okey? Are we clear? Kalau benda macam ni pun penulis statement itu keliru, beliau masih kena pi belajar balik bab istinjak Form 1!  This is not even HOTS. This is only LOTS! Ini hanya remembering dan recall…..tak sampai pun level knowledge application!(Ke yang ni pun aku tak boleh bagi opinion, nak kena tunggu ijtihad juga? Ulama dah tolong bahas benda ni dah lama, siap dengan dalil-dalil semuanya. Kita mungkin tiada kelayakan berijtihad, tetapi kita boleh belajar dengan orang yang sudah berijtihad! Tapi sebenarnya kan…istinjak ni bukan pasal ijtihad! Yang ni dah JELAS pun. Okay?) Jadi dengan pemikiran bagaimanakah penulis statement ini merasakan yang beliau begitu suci sehingga cara istinjak yang diiktraf dalam agama pun beliau nak persoalkan, sampai menghina orang bukan Islam sebegitu sekali dan tidak mahu bercampur public facilities dengan mereka? Dengan pemikiran jumud seperti beliau ini, megahkah beliau yang konon kedengaran lebih Islamik dari orang lain?! (Bayangkan kalau non-muslims baca penulisan beliau ini? Come on, lah!)
  • Dan ingat balik konsep najis. Semua najis yang BUKAN najis mughallazah (bukan anjing atau babi; sekadar najis mukhafaffah dan mutawassitah), bersuci menggunakan air dan sabun sudah cukup menyucikan. Jadi, kita guna saja public automatic washer pun, tiada masalah! Bukan nak kena samak pun tempat basuh tu! Kalau adalah terlekat tahi siapa-siapa pun kat tempat basuh tu (tak kira tahi orang Muslim atau bukan Muslim), membasuh hingga hilang bau, warna dan rasa sudah cukup suci. Penulis statement ini yang terlebih risau sorang-sorang, lepas tu beliau dok budget beliau lebih ‘menghalusi’ bab taharah daripada orang lain! Aduh!! (Sakit tu di sini; di dalam hati ku. Hahah)

Itu belum tahu lagi adakah pakaian mereka ni yang terkena darah yang boleh membawa kepada jangkitan merbahaya seperti HIV  atau sakit kulit yang kritikal yang boleh berjangkit.

  • Agaknya, dengan reasoning yang macam ni, kita boleh buat inferens yang HIV akan menular dengan cepat menjadi pandemic. Tak payah tunggu berkongsi jarum dan seks bebas! Menggunakan kedai dobi sahaja sudah cukup sebagai medium berjangkitnya HIV dikalangan manusia. Wow! Inilah kita katakan pemikiran kreatif dan kritis di kalangan orang Muslim kita. Amazing! Suatu hari nanti, bila kita bertanya kepada pesakit HIV akan sejarah mereka mendapat HIV, kita seharusnya tidaklah terkejut jika mereka berkata “Saya mendapat HIV kerana saya menggunakan kedai dobi untuk  membasuh baju. Mungkin ada darah HIV non-Muslim terkena di baju saya”. (By the way, penulis statement ini menyatakan sesuatu yang sangat berbaur perkauman. Racism is not endorsed in Islam. Statement beliau seolah-olah menyatakan yang darah HIV ada kat non-muslims saja. Sedangkan Malay Muslims pun banyak HIV. Malah, kebanyakan kes HIV yang aku pernah  tengok adalah dari kalangan Muslim.)
  • Opps….aku lupa. Aku ini hanya psychiatry MO. Aku kena tunggu, ehem, ‘ijtihad’ Infectious Disease doctor untuk bagi pendapat tentang hal ni.

Entah lah. Adakah pernah kita terfikir akan hal tersebut.

  • Hmm…sungguh aku memang tak pernah terfikir sebelum ini. Penulis statement ini memang terbaik arrr! Terbaik!! HOTS yang out of this world! Beliau memang orang Muslim yang hebat dan sensitif dengan isu agama. Beliau…ah, beliau begitu hebat! Enough said! 🙂 🙂 🙂

***

Just in case you think that I am putting more emphasis on HOTS (sorry, I meant to say dalil akli, so that I will sound religious, kan?) rather than dalil nakli, here’s a video to explain away all these nonsense using dalil nakli. In  this video, Dr. MAZA explained very well regarding the stupidity of those who over think stuff.

During the time of our beloved prophet, even dogs went in and out of the mosque!

Al-Bukhaari narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I used to stay overnight in the mosque at the time of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when I was young and single, and dogs used to urinate and come and go in the mosque, and they did not sprinkle water over any of that.

And if we just move into a house whose previous owner is a non-Muslim who might or might not own a dog, should we then ‘sertu’ the house? I sought for the answer down below.

Pertama:

Adakah seluruh badan anjing itu termasuk bulunya adalah najis (mazhab syafie)? Ataupun seluruh badan anjing itu hatta airliurnya adalah suci (mazhab Maliki)? ataupun seluruh tubuhnya najis kecuali airliur (mazhab hanafi dan hanbali)?

Pendapat yg paling kuat dan dipilih oleh syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah: Anjing tidak najis melainkan airliurnya sahaja.

Majmuk Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah 21/106

KEDUA:

Kaedah dalam syarak ialah: Setiap tempat di atas muka bumi ini dihukumkan dengan suci melainkan ada dalil yg zahir menunjukkan ia pernah terkena najis.

Kata syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah: Tidak digalakkan mencari2 najis yang tidka zahir kepada kita. Dan tidak digalakkan berjaga-jaga daripada sesuatu yang tidak ada petunjuk yg zahir berkenaan kenajisannya, hanya disebabkan KEMUNGKINAN ia bernajis.

Kemudian, beliau membawa cerita Umar al-Khattab dan seorang sahabatnya melalui satu tempat, lalu ada air jatuh melalui dari sebuah rumah menimpa sahabatnya. Sahabatnya pun melaung: “Hai tuan punya corong air ini!! Air kamu ini suci atau bernajis?”

Lalu Umar al-Khattab pula melaung: “Hai tuan punya corong air!! Jangan bagitahu pada dia. Ini bukan tanggungjawab dia”.

Majmuk Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah 21/113.

KETIGA:

Jika anda memilih pendapat yg mengatakan seluruh badan anjing itu najis (kami tidak menggalakkan memilih pendapat ini kerana, dalilnya lemah dan memberatkan), maka ia hanya bernajis apabila berlaku sentuhan antara anjing dan tempat itu apabila salah satu itu BASAH.

Apabila sentuhan itu berlaku dalam keadaan kering, maka tidak perlu dibasuh dengan tanah.

KEEMPAT:

Sesuatu tempat yg bernajis apabila telah kering dan tidak meninggalkan kesan najis samda rasa, bau dan warna, maka ia dihukumkan sebagai SUCI.

Kerana itu ada hadis menyebut:

“Dahulu, anjing-anjing kencing, masuk dan keluar masjid pada zaman Rasulullah SAW, dan mereka tidak menyimbah sesuatupun ke atasnya”.

HR Bukhari 1/75 (dengan sighah takliq).

Abu Daud berdalilkan hadis ini mengatakan: “Tanah apabila telah kering ia menjadi suci”.

All those dalils above I had sought wayyyy before I went to Australia for medical studies. In fact, before Malaysian students go to overseas they are usually given a talk by many ustazs about practical stuff like these (especially on minority fiqh/fiqh al-aqalliyyat. Go on and google on minority fiqh if you never heard of it). During my time, KMB had invited Ustaz Hasrizal to talk about minority fiqh with us so that we won’t go around over-burdening ourselves unnecessarily.

But you would not be triggered to search for dalils and textual evidence if your MIND is not inquisitive in nature.

I am an ordinary Muslim. As ordinary Muslims who do not have the level of knowledge like the ulama, we NEED higher order thinking to trigger our minds to search for the truth. We need it as our FIRST FILTER, because we don’t have religious facts on top of our head like Dr. MAZA.

If every time you hear something religious-sounding and then you spread it across all whatsapp groups that you have, not using your brain at all, then would you be triggered to search for the proper dalil? You won’t! You would simply short-cut your thinking process: “sounds religious, so it must be religious. So let’s share it because sharing is caring” (Pffft!). Your first filter (your brain!) becomes non-functioning! You simply operate at the level of spinal reflex.

Even Nabi Ibrahim a.s used his brain before he was finally given his revelation. He looked at the moon and the stars and the sun, and ask himself whether any of these is The Creator? And then using the process of falsification, he discarded the option one by one based on his reasoning!

The first checkpoint is always your brain in ANYTHING. Our brains help us in digesting the textual evidence given by the Quran and the Sunnah too. Your brain must be sound!

***

Let’s get back  to our own problem at hand. Let’s employ our power of observation the way Nabi Ibrahim had. Let’s observe how people can simply pray on the street, at the park (jangan kata darah haid, entah berapa banyak anjing dok lalu kat situ!).  Look at yourself! Do you bring your own serviette when you go to a restaurant with which to wipe your own mouth when you travel overseas? Many non-Muslims stay in hotels…if you really wanted to ‘menghalusi semuanya’, who knows whether the hotel had mixed all the laundries between serviette used by pork-eating non-Muslims  and the bedsheets and towels used in the hotel. Do Muslims go around bringing their own towel or their own bedsheets when they stay in any hotels while on a holiday?! If you had used HOTS, you can already make inferences that ‘setakat guna tempat basuh baju yang sama di kedai dobi, apa bezanya dengan dobi di hotel-hotel yang kita dok duduk selama ni?’

Logik lah weh! Penat lah baca isu-isu macam ni! Lepas tu bila orang dah tolong explain, mai pula jawapan “oh…kita tidak layak ijtihad”.

Bukan nak suruh sesiapa ijtihad pun. Manalah ada orang dalam Whatsapp group aku yang cukup kelayakan untuk buat ijtihad. Hahah. Tapi… kita boleh cari jawapan daripada orang yang dah pun berijtihad. Memang itulah yang kita buat selama ni pun dalam semua masalah-masalah agama. Ini bukan benda baru.  Kalau kita tak layak nak ijtihad, takkan tak payah cari jawapan? Carilah jawapan dan bagilah jawapan itu pada yang bertanya. Tak ada siapa nak suruh sesiapa di sini berijtihad pun!

One day, I might end up committing a grave error in diplomacy by simply leaving the Whatsapp group. Part of me just couldn’t take this anymore. I have mentioned before that ‘being nice’ is a form of struggle for me. And faced with enough provocation in the form of religious misconception (disguised like a ‘good advice sharing’ / ‘sharing is caring’/ ‘sebuah perkongsian bermanfaat’ etc etc), I might not be able to stick to being nice. LOL. Faced with repeated religious misconception being shared like this, I might one day just launch a non-stop tirade in the group and end up hurting the feelings of others. You see, I have a history with pseudo-religious people like this (which I never fully disclose and only talk about in limited form here and there in this blog, as you may have noticed.) My transference in this particular matter is huge! And I might not be able to handle it. (This is me being realistic. With my own set of friends, including my uni batchmates, my traveller friends, and a few of my best friends… they know me in all my glorious anger and they share my enthusiasm in discussing these kind of things. With them, I have no need to curb my tongue and we freely discuss anything back and forth sambil tampar-tampar meja with no hard feelings. Hahha. But with others outside my close-knit circle, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Just too much drama.) 

So Ya Allah, give me strength.

I am staying out of trouble and keeping my mouth shut from now on. I am withdrawing myself from socializing with people who do not have similar wavelength as me. I am just going to silence that Whatsapp group for a year. I have too much Whatsapp Group, anyway. Unnecessary and overloaded conversations bombard me every day, it’s become intrusive and overwhelming. I have silenced a few Whatsapp Groups already. This will only be one of many that I have silenced and ignored. When I am not working and not on-call, I silence the department whatsapp group too. I am just not a big fan of whatsapp/we chat/ telegram and unnecessary sharing of information involved in those mediums. (I only have Whatsapp, and already I feel the pain. Hahah. I am just not a social butterfly, I guess).

I prefer books over people. Books and I, we are deeply involved and communicate on a higher plane. We understand each other. 😉

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….Or my writing!

Hahaha.

Until next time, my dear readers.

A Rose By Any Other Name… (2)

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So many of my acquaintances had shared the facebook status above and it appears in my newsfeed, boiling my blood anew. Below is my own comment, in response to this status.

screenshot-2016-10-22-11-05-19

 

I am frustrated and disappointed. That so many of my friends cannot see eye to eye on this.

Some of my close friends and my family members do see the way I do. But unlike me,  they are the silent ones.They have their own opinion, but they don’t feel the need to comment and spread the truth.

I have mentioned before, that people care about different things in life and it is okay. Not everyone has to behave like I do, or else the society would always be in a state of arguments and debate. Hahaha.

Some must be the diplomats in the society, preserving harmony by ignoring their own opinion and ‘appear’ to be sweet and nice. They sacrifice the need for their version of truth to be heard, preferring to maintain the status quo of harmony and tranquility. That is actually admirable in its own way.

Some must be the feelers in the society, who makes caring about other people’s feelings as their main priority, making ‘saying the truth’ as something secondary. That’s okay (I guess, hahah. But will I choose people like this as a close friend, as my companion? Of course not. We don’t have similar wavelengths. You go along and do your thing. And I will continue to do my thing. Adios! All the best!)

But society also needs someone who is predominantly a straight talker. And that’s me. That’s Wardina. That’s Dr. MAZA. And people like us will always be thought as someone who “dia asyik ingat dia sorang betul.” Like we are arrogant… but that’s not it. We place truth and sincerity as our main priority and feeling is secondary. That’s all! We will take care of your feelings as long as it does not compromise the truth!

Blame it on my INTP trait. INTPs gift the world with radical honesty. And people are not always comfortable with that.

So I posted my facebook status above, knowing that many of my friends online do not see eye to eye with me. Because I need people to open their eyes and understand the essence of our religion. How beautiful it is. How logical, how intelligent, how intellectually appealing it is….and that’s why it is beautiful. If Islam is represented this way, there would be many non-Muslims in Malaysia who will be attracted to Islam.

Isn’t it ironic? In a Western country in which they have no pro-Islam policies, amidst all the negative propaganda, people still convert to Islam almost every week. But in our own country, where resources are being distributed for Islamic propaganda, the apostasy (murtad) rate is worrying. Some don’t even bother to declare themselves as an apostate but simply stop practicing. The beauty of Islam cannot shine through layers of bureaucratic dirts we have piled upon our religion!

I learned to appreciate Islam in Australia. Not in Malaysia! That is the irony.

That irony is most hurtful. And so writing about this becomes my catharsis.

So, here it is, A Rose By Any Other Name (2). You may agree or you may disagree, but know that this is me, being a straight talker, gifting you with my radical honesty. You might not like the gift, but I insist that you should have it. This is me being sweet. If I don’t care about you, I wouldn’t have bothered to explain myself. But I do. Care about you.

So, yeah…who says I can’t be sweet?  *wink, wink*

A Rose By Any Other Name…

I couldn’t bear it.

Intelligent Malays are in hiding. Meanwhile, those intelligent Malays who came out of the closet are being treated like they are weirdos. But if the majority are stupid people, then the intelligent minority would be perceived as weird by the stupid majority. That’s a no brainer. Poor Wardina, Ustaz MAZA….they are always being looked at as different in Malaysia because they are the ones who actually dare to come out of the closet! Nowadays, proclaiming your intelligence by going against JAKIM take courage! Because you would be instantly perceived as anti-religion instead of anti-stupidity that has no basis in Islam.

I tried to stop myself. I tried (very hard) not to write about this because I have written about this so many times, I have lost count. But I couldn’t stop myself. These are issues that fire up my soul. I am passionate about truth. About justice. About fairness. About social equality. About things having to follow universal ethics.

What is wrong with religious authority in Malaysia? Why are they SO STUPID!!  (There! I have said it! Damn it!)  And this is where people would start saying I am arrogant. (And I am not!)

cedb5d10-db35-414d-b06e-da330ad0555d-400
This came out in the International magazine, TIME! How is this not embarrassing! It looks as though Muslims are so anal retentive (or so stupid) that we can get easily confused  when we call our sausages as hot dogs! This came out in TIME, BBC , Channel News Asia and God knows how many others!

I don’t think I am arrogant towards the poor, the needy or even towards my subordinates (HOs, nurses, clerks). I am usually perceived (perception is not necessarily the truth) as arrogant by authorities (teachers, seniors, some MOs and specialists when I was a HO). I don’t need to turn up my nose towards those below me because they are not the ones who would impose their authorities and their opinions on me. To THEM, I have no reason to be arrogant to because I am not subject to their unreasonable whims and desires!

It is with the authorities that I usually have problems with (and this runs in the family; from my father, to myself and my sisters. We are all very stubborn people when we believe we are right. We are stubborn even with each other. Hahah. It is one of the reasons my father quitted the government and went into business.)

Whenever I have problems with the authorities,  it is always either because I think they have faulty opinions, inefficient way of doing things or simply wrong in what they say and how they conduct themselves! And they are the ones who would have problems with me. I almost never have any problems with my subordinates… it is the authorities I really cannot stand! It must be in my genetic make up or something. Hahah.

***

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Shakespeare had famously written ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ in his Romeo and Juliet play. It means, outward appearance and outward persona do not matter. We should prize substance over form.

Shakespeare is brilliant. (Some had even speculated  that his real name was Sheikh Zubair, possibly a Muslim. But that is a speculation and a debate for another day. But taking my lesson from the great man, I say “Shakespeare by any other name would still be as brilliant.” Haha)

A hot dog by any other name would not be any more halal than it already is. If the process of making the hot dog is halal, then the hot dog is halal. If it is made from haram meat and through a non-halal process, then calling it as a sausage instead of a hot dog would not make it less haram or more halal.

Learn from Shakespeare!  Substance over form! Character over persona! This is very simple!! Such a simple concept that if I were to teach it to primary school kids, they would get it! You would think someone in JAKIM would be more intelligent than primary school kids, won’t you?

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This is the reason I love Dr. MAZA. Intelligent, sharp, on point!

I think brilliant students should be sent to learn the religion. We shouldn’t let only less brilliant students take up religious studies. Not all brilliant people should take medicine, engineering and accountancy. We need brilliant people in the religion as well! (But the fact is, most of my naughty primary school friends were sent to Sekolah Agama Secondary School by their parents in the hope that they would turn out well. And all the good-mannered brilliant kids continue their studies in Asma/SBP/MRSM during my time. And the trend continues. The straight As students get to be doctors, engineers, architects. The straight Bs, some Cs students can only further their studies in social sciences…. including the religious line. Some drug addicts were sent to Sekolah Pondok…. in the hope that they will be religious. So why are we so surprised if they end up becoming ustaz who spewed up nonsensical stuff like this? Well! I am not saying that all of Sekolah Agama students are not brilliant. But when they ARE brilliant, they continue their studies in medicine or law or engineering… instead of Syariah, Pengajian Sunnah etc etc) 

Dr. MAZA was a best student in his schooling days! And it is reflected in how he comes up with his opinion in most issues. He was educated in Jordan… but also studied in Oxford afterwards. He pursued his religious studies to the level of doctorate! His mind is broadened by knowledge and travel! He is the religious figure who rational, logical Muslims would gravitate to because his explanation makes sense and is appealing to our fitrah that NEED things to make sense, to be fair, to be just. Ustaz Harizal was also a best student and he is also brilliant. But they both are the minorities among Malaysian Religious Authorities, unfortunately.

I also, personally like Wardina. She had addressed this issue in one of her facebook statuses. I can feel the wave of frustration engulfing every cell of her body, coming from every syllable of her writings. Because  I feel the same way. I am tired of feeling frustrated! Exhausted! If I am still in Australia right now (where Wardina currently resides), I wouldn’t know how to show my face in the lecture hall. This is embarassing….our tiny minds made us a laughingstock overseas.

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And then we lament the fact that Muslims are not respected! Well, look at ourselves! If I, a proud Muslim, can’t respect JAKIM who claims to represent the interest of Muslims in this country, then what makes you think that non-Muslims would ever respect us?

Our own so-called religious representative is laughable, for God’s sake!

And when a professor herself cannot see the truth, even I give up! Below are the words of a Professor Madya! I give up! (well, not really. The fact that I am still ranting about this means that I am not giving up! Hahaha)

Puan Wardina Safiyyah seharusnya memahami JAKIM sebagai badan yang diamanahkan untuk menguruskan pensijilan halal makanan mempunyai peraturan dan “standard operating procedure” yang telah lama ada. Sudah banyak syarikat makanan yang “comply” dengan peraturan JAKIM tanpa kita sedari eg A&W Coney Chicken yang berasal dari Coney Dog. Tidak boleh lah mereka bersifat “inconsistent” dalam peraturan mereka. Tambahan pula budaya Malaysia berbilang kaum, sudah tentu kita terdedah kepada banyak jenis makanan dari kaum lain yang mungkin ada nama resepi mereka berasal dari bahan yang dilarang oleh agama.Tidak wajar juga kita sebagai pengguna mula mempertikaikan peraturan institusi agama di negara kita hanya kerana “malu” pada publisiti media asing, yang jarang benar memihak kepada kita, dan membuat tajuk yang menyimpang dari isu asal. Kebenaran agama itu tidak terletak kepada “endorsement” pihak media asing. Sebagai seorang Muslim, seorang rakyat Malaysia kitalah yang wajar menerangkan pada pihak lain tentang peraturan di negara kita dengan sebaik-baiknya.

As a psychiatry MO, when I read her words, I already know one thing : She doesn’t get past the stage of Conventional Morality. Lawrence Kohlberg was right. Only 10-15% of people ever get to the stage of Post-Conventional morality. Not even a professor is guaranteed to ever have the sort of mind to be able to reach this stage.

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Her words  such as “Tidak bolehlah mereka bersifat inconsistent dalam peraturan mereka” (what if the peraturan is wrong, in the first place?). Words like “Tidak wajar juga kita sebagai pengguna mula mempertikaikan peraturan institusi agama di negara kita” (what if the institution did not create a good rule and a good SOP in the first place? Your SOP is NOT Allah’s words. They are not sacred and they are changeable! But of course, someone who never gets to the stage of Post-Conventional Morality will never understand that!)

And then she TOTALLY missed the point by implying that the only reason Wardina is opposed to Jakim’s latest buffoonery is because she is embarrassed by the International coverage of our stupidity!  Madam, we are not embarrassed to defend Islam against feminists who frowned upon our hijab. We are not embarrassed to defend out religion against extreme right-wing politicians who accuse Islam as the religion for terrorists. We are not embarrassed to defend Islam in issues like polygamy, inheritance, syariah and jurisprudence. During  Islamic Awareness Week in Australia, I stood up inside our booth to talk to Australians about Islam… and it was proudly done. I did not need nor want the approval of the West. And I believe, so did Wardina.

The reason we are embarrassed is NOT because  we want to kiss the ass of the Western media! No! We are embarrassed because Jakim who claimed to represent Islam in this country is wrong and foolish in their statements and conduct, which have no basis in Islam! It reflects badly on Islam! That’s why we are embarrassed!

You totally missed  the point! You assumed (wrongly!) about what Wardina meant by being embarrassed (as though Wardina was embarrassed about Islamic values; when in actual fact, you failed to discriminate between Jakim’s foolish SOP and actual Islamic practice. Wardina is embarrassed about JAKIM. Not about Islam! Takkan tu pun tak faham!), and then you dare to ‘advise’ (macam baik) that ‘kebenaran agama itu tidak terletak kepada ‘endorsement’ pihak media asing. Sebagai seorang Muslim, seorang rakyat Malaysia, kitalah yang wajar menerangkan pada pihak lain tentang peraturan di negara kita dengan sebaik-baiknya’  (ayat umum yang benar, diaplikasikan pada konteks yang salah. And by doing that, you can make make yourself sound like you are right. It’s a cheap trick that all competent debaters are familiar with!)

Seriously, this is not only a failure in the attainment of Post-Conventional Morality, but also a failure in basic comprehension. Khalas!

So if a professor cannot grasp this simple concept, what hopes do we have in our general public?  Seriously!

When you read the comments from the general public in facebook, there were so many supporters of the professor’s words. It boggles the mind! It scares me to know that there are so many Muslims who are so irrational and fail basic comprehension. They think they are religious but actually they are not! These supporters would write comment such as “Wardina ni asyik rasa dia betul. Pi jadi ustazah lah. Dia ni rasa dia lagi pandai dari ustaz and JAKIM” (Again! The words of someone who failed to reach post-conventional morality!)

Fortunately, I could see that there are also many supporters in the page of Dr. MAZA and Wardina. It relieves me to know that there are just as many people who are rational and intelligent among us Malaysian Muslims.

Our general public’s lack of critical thinking reflects badly on our education system, in my opinion. What do the kids learn at school that they grow up into adults who fail basic comprehension?

Dear parents, if you want your kids to be critical in dealing with issues, please talk to them about worldly matters and what’s in the news. Don’t simply entertain them layan kartun and dramas. Don’t be too frivolous. Talk about issues that matter! Ask them regarding their opinion about politics/ religion/books. Shape their minds. Enrich their internal world. Encourage them to read! Don’t delegate the task of educating their minds to teachers at school. Teachers are anal-retentive about finishing the syllabus (because the ministry put them up to it). They teach your kids WHAT to think; not HOW to think! They give your kids fish, but your kids need the fishing rod!

If you want your kids to grow into a well-mannered kid, don’t simply put them in a Maahad Tahfiz Hostel at the age of seven years old and think your job is done! Just this week, I have a case of one kid who was put in a religious hostel at the age of seven years old. Too young!  Now, he is already 10 years old. And he developed depression since the age of 8 years old but no one ever knew until now! The only reason he came into my attention was because he was abused by his father (who is also a Ketum abuser) and the case was referred to me. Isn’t it ironic? A ketum abuser who abused his own child claimed that the reason he put the kid into a religious hostel at the young age of seven was because he wanted the kid to grow up religious! With that sort of reasoning, I would expect the father to be a decent human being himself; certainly did not expect such a father to be a ketum abuser who kicked his kid and hit the kid’s head against the wall!

You would expect that a kid would not form any attachment to an abusive father. Perhaps, it was better for him to be placed in a hostel, right? At least, that’s what most people would think. But heck, kids do form attachment even to an abusive parent. They still crave love and attention from the same parent who abuse them. It may not be understandable, but that’s a fact of life and there is nothing we can do about it. And the kid has been feeling rejected since the age of seven years old (because he was placed in a hostel), and then he developed depression. Is there anything more heartbreaking, than a small child who should have no other worries in life other than learning and playing with friends, yet is dealing with depression and struggling with low self-esteem? This is just so sad. And as usual, when I feel sad, I become angry instead. I ranted to the mother about the father’s lack of fatherhood qualities and urged the mother to take the child out of the religious hostel. God, I was pushy. Usually, I can hide my pushiness with some tact of diplomacy. But that day, I couldn’t help myself. The mother is in the process of divorcing the father and I urged the mother to place the child in sekolah kebangsaan ASAP, regardless of what the father thinks. The mother agreed. And I am satisfied.

You yourself is responsible to educate your child to be religious, to be moral, to be intelligent! Do you think teachers can replace the parental attention that your child needs from you? Teachers are not gonna give your kids any special attention over the rest of other kids in the school. Teachers are not as personally invested in the well-being of your kids the way you would! When you put them in a hostel at such a young age, you miss the opportunity to shape their characters and their minds. Teachers can only do so much. It is your responsibility!

Don’t let them grow up into someone who cannot attain post-conventional morality secondary to lack of intellectual stimulation! Teachers can’t stimulate their brain to the extent that you can as a parent! Your kids can turn out to be professors, doctors, engineers, lawyers, clerks, factory workers, cleaners…whatever.

But they may never attain post-conventional morality. Because they were not stimulated enough! Even a cleaner might have an instinctive grasp of post-conventional morality than a professor. Truly!

In the world of intellectual pursuit, it would be a tragedy to have gained the title form of a professor without the substance of an intellectual!

These types don’t deserve to remain in the ivory tower of academia.

I leave you guys with a screenshot of my own Facebook status regarding this issue. I just couldn’t help myself. Haha.

Until next time.

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Set Standards Or Unconditional Love?

I have a female patient (Mrs. A)  who was diagnosed of major depressive disorder after her military officer husband was caught cheating on her with another woman. And the husband has even transgressed into zina.

She is depressed and she still doesn’t know what to do. On the one hand, her husband still provides for her financially (in the army, nafkah for the wife is assured through monthly salary deduction), but on the other, she just could not forget what has happened.

And this was already the second time Mrs A’s husband has committed zina. In Islam (and in other Abrahamic religions such Judaism and Christianity), this is a major sin.

So, I asked the obvious question to Mrs A. “Can you accept what he has done?” As a woman and as a Muslim, I wanted to add, but I refrained myself.

***

I have another female patient (Mrs. B) whose husband has no major moral issues. Not a drug addict, not a womanizer, not a wife-beater. He is not exactly a religious saint, either…. but overall, he is not a bad person in the moral sense.

But he is jobless, for years and years. Mrs. B has been the sole breadwinner for their big family. Her husband does help around the house, occasionally. But he doesn’t do it in a way that a housewife would. The wife still does the major share of the household chores despite being the sole breadwinner.

So I asked the obvious question to Mrs. B “How do you feel about your husband being jobless?”

***

I have a female patient (Mrs C) whose depression is resistant to treatment because the perpetuating factor of her depression is her useless drug-addict husband with whom she is in constant contact everyday. He sells things in the house to finance his heroine habit. He smokes the stuff in their bathroom, not caring what his small, impressionable kids think of him. He only works on and off as a security guard but my patient has not benefitted from his salary at all. Mrs C  works as a tailor tirelessly for the sake of the family without any help from the husband.

So, I asked the obvious question to Mrs C. “Why do you stay?”

***

In the case of Mrs.  A: the husband is morally corrupted, but financially providing.

In the case of Mrs. B: the husband is morally fine (not great, mind you! Just normal standard behaviour, only), but financially useless.

In the case of Mrs. C: the husband is morally corrupted AND financially useless.

I ask you now, dear reader, in which case would you be able to respect yourself if you choose to  stay with your husband? In which case would your kids be able to look at you as a great, smart, principled woman if you choose to stay? In which case would you be able to look at your husband, actually respect him and trust his decision in anything?

In which case, dear readers, can you say, I deserve such a husband? Or such a husband deserve me?

Because I personally, could NOT accept any of them! None of them will ever induce me to stay! I cannot accept any of it! Because I have set certain standards of how decent human being should behave and none of these husbands meet the basic criteria. I repeat, BASIC criteria (with the emphasis of the word BASIC. Bukannya aku suruh set standard kena beriman macam Saidina Abu Bakar, dan kaya raya macam Sultan Brunei dan kena handsome macam Nabi Yusuf ka… I mean, really! Most men cannot meet even basic standard!)

***

In the case of Mrs. A:

If Mrs A chooses to stay, maybe Mrs. A is the sort of person who does not feel strongly about zina. Otherwise the decision to leave would be very easy to make, I think.

“Tapi saya sayang kat dia. Dia memang ada perempuan lain. Tapi dia dah janji tak nak buat lagi. Yang lain-lain, dia bertanggungjawab.”

Okey, dah kau cakap macam tu. Apa aku boleh buat lagi?

In the case of Mrs A, the guy meets materialistic standard but does  not meet the moral standard. Mrs. A is like Asiyah (Firaun’s wife). Firaun is the worst human being on earth, but his wife still ends up in heaven. At least in this dunia, you get the comfort material that your husband can provide even though your husband is a bad person. You, yourself can still make it to heaven if you maintain your iman and good deeds. Let your husband do whatever he likes in this dunia. Tak payah nak sakit-sakit hati, since kau memang nak stay dengan dia dan tak nak tinggalkan dia. Kan??

If you can make yourself think like that, maybe you will be less depressed. It’s your choice! Just tell yourself, “Selagi dia bagi aku duit, aku stay ja dengan dia. Ada juga benefit aku dapat. Dia nak berdosa, suka hati dia. Yang penting, aku jaga amal ibadat aku sendiri.”

But heck, Mrs. A doesn’t think like that. (Kan senang kalau dia boleh fikir macam tu?) She is a bleeding heart romantic! So she wants her husband to love her and be loyal to her. But she couldn’t get those sentiments from her husband! So she will continue being depressed.

And I continue to increase the dosage of her anti-depressant in despair! And I continue to tell her to  do a check up for HIV/Hepatitis B/ Hepatitis C. You never know what kind of terrible disease your husband might infect you with.

***

In the case of Mrs B:

If Mrs. B chooses to stay, maybe Mrs. B does not really mind that the husband does not meet the basic criteria of being the provider.

“At least, dia tak pukul saya, bukan tahi dadah, bukan kaki perempuan. Tak palah, saya redha. Lagipun kita kahwin ni nak susah senang bersama. Kalau dia dah tak kerja, takkan saya nak tinggal dia.

Okey…if that is the standard you want for yourself and you are happy with it, there is nothing else I can say. At least, he meets the moral criteria. So you get your akhirat basic standard even though you don’t get the materialistic dunia standard. (even though to be really strict, being a responsible provider is also an akhirat KPI as a man, kan?)

For the record, I am not asking you to abandon your spouse when the going gets tough. I am a witness to how a woman’s loyalty to her husband is the greatest thing that can ever happen to a man. I was 12 years old when the economic downturns of 1997/1998 hit the country. My father (and most businessmen at that time, I suppose) had lost a lot of money. We had to sell the cars, we moved into a smaller house. Me and my sisters only got one new school uniform that year. It was unprecedented and acutely felt by all of us. We only got one baju raya that year. We all had to adapt. My mother was the main breadwinner while waiting for my father to establish a new business platform. We lived entirely on my mother’s salary as a staff nurse supplemented by her income from her inheritance (bendang rents). Alhamdulillah, we never had to go hungry during those years. But yes, we had to adapt a lot! I did not dare to ask my parents for things unless they were absolutely necessary. I could see the worries in my mother’s face and the devastation in my father’s face. But whatever difficulties we had, no one who looked at us then would ever know. My mom is a reliable, loyal woman in any adversities. Our lives went on as usual because she was a strong capable woman who can be depended on to hold the reins. 

But my mother’s loyalty was for a deserving man. My father was not complacent being in the house not doing anything. My mother told us that my father had trouble sleeping, anxious about the state of the family economy. He constantly sought new opportunities for business even if he had to do a lot of travelling back and forth. He was not a man who lied down on the couch, feeling comfortable letting his wife be the main provider. He still took a lot of interest in our education and would try to get whatever we need for studying. My sister received an offer to MRSM Taiping during the economic recession and there were plenty of money needed for her expenses to get into MRSM. But there was never any question that she was going there no matter what. My parents provided the money for it because it was for her education. We let go the maid, and I and my younger sisters helped with the housechores. Oh, how much we adapted until my father finally established his current business.  (Alhamdulillah, after a few years, things got better financially. My father returned to being the main breadwinner in the family. We no longer felt anxious about needing to ask for money from our parents. But I guess, it’s become a habit for us that we only spend on whatever is necessary. By the time I went to Australia, I never asked my parents to supplement my scholarship. I lived entirely on whatever MARA gave me. I have learned not to be extravagant in my spending habit. Those years of financial constraints taught us a lot of lessons.)

So, how stupid is it to be loyal to a man who doesn’t care that you as the woman has to shoulder the bulk of the financial responsibility? At least, your man should show that he is worried. At least, your man should find some odd jobs occasionally to help you. At least, you should be able to see some effort from your husband that he WANTS to be the main breadwinner even though at the moment, he couldn’t. That he has the wish and the desire to be the provider! That not being able to do it tears him apart! 

At least!!

That is my understanding of a man who deserves your “susah senang bersama!”With that sort of man, I wouldn’t be ‘berkira’.

Is that too high a standard? I don’t think so!

But if having that complacent, laid-back, lazy-arse kind of husband is what you are content for yourself, if that is enough of a standard for you, well, to each her own! 

Now, let me increase the dose of your anti-depressant.

***

Mrs. C’s case is the worst of all!

Not only does her husband does not meet the materialistic dunia criteria, he doesn’t even meet the criteria that would make for a good akhirat! Not a provider, and also a morally corrupted person.

Yet Mrs. C has been staying with him for decades.

In my mind, I went “Dahlah material comfort pun kau tak dapat, standard perangai elok untuk akhirat pun tak dak. Ke kau ni memang tak ada standard? Orang boleh buat apa saja kat kau, and you won’t care?”

I felt distressed on her behalf!

Maybe you do deserve to be depressed. If you are not willing to fight for yourself, you deserve your depression. (I know I am not nice for saying this, right? But what else am I supposed to feel? I am so frustrated that something so simple can be dragged for years and years and never settled! Maybe I am hard-hearted and cold-blooded. But this hard-hearted and cold-blooded person go back home thinking about how you cried your heart out in her clinic and felt helpless to help you because you refuse to help yourself!)

***

Dr. T and I love discussing women issues after seeing patients.

This is a fact that MOST weak women always get stranded with useless men. Again, maybe they actually deserve one another. They have similar traits;  weakness and uselessness are more or less the same thing, isn’t it? They are different sides of the same coin. If you are weak, how useful can you be? And if you are useless, it must be because you are inherently weak. So maybe weak women do deserve useless men. They fit each other perfectly and I should stop feeling sorry for them.

Until you change yourself and be strong enough to get rid of your biawak hidup, then maybe you deserve your biawak hidup!

Dr. T told me (lebih kurang macam ni), “God has promised that good men are for good women and good women are for good men. Sebenarnya kadang-kadang bila kita check balik, wife dia dulu pun mungkin macam tu juga. Sama-sama commit zina, and morally corrupted. Otherwise, how did they even meet and know each other in the first place (well, unless it was an arranged marriage where you didn’t investigate your prospective spouse properly) Cuma bila dah kahwin, wife dah nak berubah. Lelaki tu masih perangai sama macam dulu. Tapi Allah dah janji yang perempuan yang baik untuk lelaki yang baik. So kalau lepas kahwin wife dah berubah, mungkin dia tak tahan dan dia akan minta cerai and then dia akan dapat lelaki lain pula yang lebih baik. So you have to constantly berubah lah…then kau sendiri akan take actions untuk get rid of lelaki yang tak sama baik dengan kau walaupun in the beginning, perangai korang lebih kurang ja.”

That does make sense.

Because I believe, a good, religious God-fearing woman cannot bear being with someone so totally her opposite in moral and faith. Muslim women, if they really internalize the teachings of the religion, would not be able to respect this sort of husband and would take definitive actions to throw him out of her life. Muslims are proactive people! Not weak, passive people!

But let’t not forget that the divorce process is a whole new headache in itself. Most women are stuck! Stuck, trapped, stranded! Because a useless husband who depends on HER money would never voluntarily divorce her. That is the problem!!

Another friend of mine said, “Yes, memang women get stuck. Tapi mungkin salah perempuan tu juga! Cuba kalau perempuan tu perangai macam hang, Afiza? Aku tak rasa dia akan stuck lama sampai bertahun-tahun. Hang mesti akan ajar lelaki tu habis-habisan. Hang akan cari lawyer, hang akan balik to your own family, hang takkannya nak pasrah berserah kemudian nak buat drama martyrdom budget kesian maruah suami sampai tak mau cerita kat family hang. In fact, you will ask your family to help you get rid of this guy for you. Your father will threaten him and help you finance your legal fees.  Your whole family will descend down on that poor guy like a gathering clouds of storm. Because your whole family is like you, your husband will have to face several lions all at once. Last sekali lelaki tu yang lari daripada hangpa semua. Hahhaha.”

I laughed out loud. True, that!

My elder sister said, “Hang jangan risaulah, kak ngah. Ada ke lelaki berani nak pow duit hang macam kes-kes yang hang tengok tu? Come on! Aku rasa bila hang kahwin, lelaki tu yang kena beware dengan hang. Hahaha”

The problem is most women are not like me. Women like me will never get married before being 100% sure. So women like me make sure from the very beginning that we will never be in that kind of situation, in the first place.

The problem is most women are not like me! They are not equipped with the kind of willpower and strength to beat the crap out of a useless husband and they are the ones who got themselves stuck in the situation! Not women like me! Even if women like me ever get stuck, women like me also can get unstuck easily…so you won’t see women like me in a mood disorder clinic (accept for anger management clinic, maybe. Hahha) with continuous perpetuating factor that hasn’t settled for five bloody years!

The problem with these women is their attitude!! Their passivity!

I don’t ask you to be a woman-warrior or a shrewish virago or a she-man like me! In everyday situation, when you are surrounded by good people, go ahead and be your angelic perempuan-melayu-terakhir self! (In fact, I should be learning from you how to do that! I told you that I am learning to be nice and making it my personal jihad, kan? Hahah. God help me, because I am failing at it, already.)

But when you are in a conflict situation where you are the victim, you have to learn to be like me! Really! Stop being the victim, crying non-stop while waiting for people to save you. Take action!

Adjust yourself according to situations and contexts! Why is something so simple seems so hard for my patients to understand? Be gentle to nice people, but be a lion to morally corrupted and useless people of your life. It’s so simple, isn’t it? Such a simple thing…tapi aku dah tengok kau bertahun-tahun, kau punya masalah tak settle-settle lagi! 

***

Women are easily fooled by romantic words of a man. Most drug addicts are very manipulative and ‘pandai mengayat’.

My fellow MOs used to say, “Dengar depa cakap, perempuan pun boleh cair.”

I scrunched up my nose. Really???

I am not easily impressed by words. I read a lot! Whatever words you say, can never beat the words of many brilliant authors I have read. You can’t possibly beat Shakespeare or Kahlil Gibran, or Khaled Hosseini, or Bronte or Austen. For every heart-wrenching love poems you can compose, I could compose even better prose to rival yours. So, I am just not impressed.

In fact when I am given too much of flowery words that do not make logical sense to me, they would have the opposite effect than the one the person had intended. I would be instantly suspicious. I would find that as a weakness in you that I have no patience to entertain. Either you are too easily overcome by feelings until it moves you to say such a nonsensical craps (which is a weakness, in my opinion), or you are trying to manipulate me with your dishonesty (which would make me instantly avoid you like the plague).

Words are cheap. If all women read a lot, they would not so easily fall victim to the cheapness of such men.

Among the best thing you could ever inculcate into your daughters (and sons, too), is the habit of reading! Make them smart!

Please enjoy these words by Ibn Taimiyyah. Don’t be enslaved.

***

Before I pen off, I have something to say about the concept of ‘unconditional love’. I am going to sound overly simplistic and heartless, but God, I swear, this is the truth as I see it!

There is no such a thing as unconditional love! I repeat, unconditional love does NOT exist. Please, use your brain!

Just like I don’t expect people to love me unconditionally, people should not expect unconditional love from me. I am not your mother! Even a mother’s love can be exhausted by bad behaviour. Some mothers are more content to leave their troublesome son in the psychiatric ward after the son had repeatedly thrash the house due to his post-ictal psychosis or due to his schizophrenic symptoms.

See? Even a mother’s love is not always unconditional.

Imagine the most loving, the kindest, the most self-sacrificing human being on earth! Imagine him in your mind. Now compare this imaginary person to our Lord, Allah. Allah is even more loving than anyone you can ever imagine in this world. But even Allah’s mercy and love is conditioned upon you being a good servant to him. That’s why hell and heaven exist.

Are you still going to argue with me that love should be unconditional? Think logically! 

Get the romantic crap of “unconditional love” out of your mind because it doesn’t exist! That’s just bullshit that film producers use to sell their movies. To tell people that “you should love me no matter how bad I am because I am your husband/wife/children,” just doesn’t make any logical sense to me. In fact the person who says that is manipulating you with emotional BS, and if you fall for it, it speaks volume of your poor intellect.

We should at least meet the basic criteria of human decency. Once those are met, then people will love us with relative unconditionality  (as oppose to ‘absolute unconditionality’ which does NOT exist) depending on how your personality complements or clashes with theirs. 

As simple as that.

And you have no rights to expect anything more!

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The Most Meaningful Eid of My Life

Assalamualaikum everyone.

I hope this post finds everyone in the greatest of physical, mental and spiritual health. And hopefully, in the greatest of iman too, after one month long of intensive ibadah, Insha Allah.

May Allah accept all our good deeds that we have performed in the blessed month of Ramadhan. Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum, folks.

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This particular Eid-ul-Fitr is very special to me. The most meaningful Eid I have ever had in my 31 years of living, I must say. This Eid is special because this Ramadhan has been very, very extraordinary for me.

Beyond description, beyond words.

There was one particular day in the month of Ramadhan, that made the whole of this Ramadhan very special for me. I received the most wonderful spiritual gift from God; an intense wake-up call I have not received for years (maybe since I left Australia).

On Friday, on the 11th day of Ramadhan 1437  (17/6/2016), was the day I learned the biggest, most profound lesson of my life.

That day was the reason the rest of my Ramadan passed by with me feeling slightly unhinged…. like I was free-falling in a world without gravity.  On that day I was swept in a spectrum of emotions I only experienced at tepid degrees in the past. 

 That was the day I felt like I have learned the secret of the universe; the reason behind existence.

It was the day I shall never forget for the rest of my life. The day that makes this year’s Eid more wonderful, more magical, more miraculous, more blessed (really!) than any other Eid I have experienced in the past.

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But the experience of that day is still too raw for me to write about in details. Other than my immediate family members, I have not told a single soul about it. Not any of my close friends. Not even my best friend. 

I went through my daily routine like nothing significant had ever befallen me. (La Belle Indifference? Or my fabulous coping mechanism?) I went to work as usual, going through the motions like a dream as though I was never slapped awake by what had happened. 

One day, I will write about it. When I have made sense of it. When I have fully grasped and fully processed the whole thing, I shall write about it.  

Now I am just basking in the happiness that God in His wisdom has chosen me to bestow a box of gift, containing insightful life lessons in it. At least, I was worthy of being woken up to the knowledge that I always intellectually knew, but never emotionally feel. He taught me to feel the myriad of emotions I feel unworthy to dip my soul into. My heart was hardened by life. I never thought it could ever soften.

Then, came this Ramadhan. And the impossible happens. 🙂

I was thankful then and I am thankful now. Even though, when I received that gift, my world shifted, and I flipped backwards (quite literally). 

I shall not forget it. Insya Allah, God will not make me forget it.

Ever. 

***

Hafazah

Katakanlah nanti suatu hari
Kita bertemu sekali lagi
Jasad, jisim, jirim ukhrawi
Bukan di sini, di syurga abadi
Akankah kau aku kenali?
Akankah aku kau dekati?
Akankah kau aku hampiri?
Lantas berkata dengan lirih,
“It was you then, wasn’t it?
In the world once you’d saved me,”
Akankah kau menjawab kembali,
“No problem, dearie, you don’t owe me,
It was my job, so I did it.
The ink has dried, the pen is lifted.”  

Akankah aku berkata pula
“Sudah lama ingin berjumpa,
mengenali dia gerangan mana,
menjaga aku tika bahaya,
mengiringi ku dalam duka,”
Kemudian kau akan ketawa,
“No problem dearie, you don’t owe me,
It was my job, so I did it.
The ink has dried, the pen is lifted.”

Akankah aku melirik padamu,
Lalu dengan suara esak tersedu
Mengucapkan puisi dalam sendu
Yang kau balas dengan keliru.
“No problem dearie, you don’t owe me,
It was my job, prescribed by God
So I did it, not for you
I swear, nothing else is true,
It wasn’t your time, or it would be done”

Atau mungkin kita tidak akan berjumpa,
Kerna layakkah aku menapak ke syurga?
Mencarimu di sana adakah terdaya?
Mungkin madah ini takkan termakna
Hanya tinta beku coretan pena
Catatan kaku selama-lamanya.

-Afiza Azmee-

5/7/16, 30 Ramadhan 1437

5.30 pm

 

 

My Personal Jihad

Kezaliman yang dahsyat adalah kezaliman si pemutar alam lagi lidah bercabang, lalu dia menghukum dengan sandiwara agama, walaupun inti katanya penuh dusta. 

Yeah, I purposefully constructed a dramatic sentence as an introduction to this post. Read on.

***

It went viral.

The Facebook status of Imam Muda Ammar regarding vaccination in the midst of the horror of a diphtheria mortality case was so controversial, even our Director General commented on it.

When I wrote the post LOGIC & RELIGION two weeks ago, this is just the sort of thing that I mean. This is exactly what I mean when I wrote how religious figures discard knowledge and logic in their ceramah and use religion out of context to accuse you of being deviant when you question what they say.

If you have been following my blog since I was in medical school, you would probably notice that I have a deep-seated mistrust and well-cemented disdain towards religious figures and authorities who do not use logic in elaborating their points in matters of religious creed, jurisprudence, and principles (with the exception of Dr. MAZA, Dr. Zaharuddin, and some International speakers like Nouman Ali Khan, Yusha Evans, Omar Suleiman, Hamza Tzorzis, Sheikh Abu Eesa Niamatullah and a few others. They are the ones whose logic I respect).

To use a psychiatric term, I have the tendency for transference with these sort of people because of something I had to deal with since I was a child. (Questions I had to suppress so that I wouldn’t sound like a disbeliever. Things I wondered about that I kept quiet. Rebellious words I swallowed so that I didn’t sound like ‘orang Yahudi yang banyak bertanya macam dalam surah Al-Baqarah’. Hahah. Illogical stories that I struggled with my iman to accept them…and after all those struggles, only to find out that those stories were actually fake and israilliyat. When I went to Australia, that era of my life was a turning point that marked my age of Enlightenment. Religion was explained by religious figures who possessed scientific minds. Brilliant doctors and medical students who were active in dakwah explained religion to me the way it was supposed to be explained all along. For the first time, I was tremendously interested in my religion that I volunteered to guard our booth during Islamic Awareness Week in the uni. And then I became the treasurer for Newcastle Islamic Society, once. My parents were very surprised by my sudden involvement in religious matters. Hahaha. I myself was surprised. And finally in my fourth year, I decided to join usrah, when most of my batchmates had joined since we were in Year 1 already. I never thought I would ever join them but I finally did, 4 years too late. I was late because like I said, I had deep-seated mistrust against religious figures. It spoke volume of the sort of character and kindness that the seniors possessed that they were finally able to convince me to join their religious gathering at last. With them, I can pose questions without feeling like I was being judged….they may give a wrong answer, or they may not know the answer but at least I didn’t feel like an alien when I ask them stuff I wondered about. Pendakwah kena macam nilah! Dengar, dan jawab soalan tanpa bagi orang yang bertanya rasa macam dia ni kurang iman! Hahah.  I am just so thankful that Allah placed me there and released the knotted points I struggled to untie all my life when I was growing up in Malaysia. I will always be thankful to those people I meet in Newcastle. We keep in touch in Newcastle Whatsapp Group until now. And this means a lot because I am usually not very good at keeping in touch.)

Whenever I look back to the times when I got angry at people (my transference), it is always because they reminded me of illogical ustaz/ustazah in my life. Remember  the blog post ‘The Misogynist Relative’? I lost my temper towards this relative because he used religious term to put me down when I was trying to psychoeducate him regarding the need to be compliant to medication. (in my mind, I went “Kau tu dahlah silap. Lepas tu kau nak bagi ceramah agama kat aku pula macam aku yang salah? Kau ni sama saja dengan the previous religious figures who confused me about my own religion when I was growing up!”)

That relative tried my patience so tremendously, I just snapped! I even snapped at my Medical Assistant (who I know is a kind, religious person. I have nothing against him, usually) because he bowed to the pressure of the misogynist relative and nodded his head when that relative looked at him for support while arguing with me.

(Look,just because someone say something and look at you when they say it, doesn’t mean you have to nod your head at them! That is their tactic to pressure you into agreeing with them. They say something and look at you, hoping you will nod your head, implying your support. When I saw my MA did that, I became angry. “You are supposed to be on my side. Are you agreeing with him, or what?! Have a backbone, and be firm. Don’t you dare contradict me against this male bigots who thinks he is more religious than me just because he uses religious terms taken out of context!”  Yeah…that was what that went through my mind. Unconsciously, at that time. I was angry in a split second that I could not pause and analyse it at that time. And only recently am I able to sit back and analyze why I was so angry!)

I can deal with stupidity. But not when you give it a religious twist and then you were arrogant about it. I am sorry, I just can’t handle it. And this will continue to be my struggle, that I have to overcome in order to be a good therapist. It will be my personal jihad. It is a jihad because it will take all my effort, it will drain all my energy to be nice to people like the misogynist relative and Imam Muda Ammar. I just….haih…penat! It is personally, so exhausting dealing with people like them!

You can go through my blog posts since I had launched this blog in 2009. There were so many posts that I wrote regarding my disdain towards illogical religious figures or religious concept. (only now do I realize that I had written so much about this theme throughout the years…. and no wonder! This is my counter-transference all these times!)

The blog posts below are listed in the order of recent to older posts, extending to the times when I was just a medical student.

1)Logic and Religion

2)The Misogynist Relative

3)Bercerai ATAU Redha?

4)The Week For Spirituality

5)Awak Derma Kepada Saya….Saya Akan Baca Tahlil Untuk Ahli Keluarga Awak

6) Religious Delusion & Religious Snobbery

7)Sains Sosial Vs Sains Tulen

8)‘Kemusliman’ Barat

9)Generasi Muda dan Perubahan

10) Kezaliman yang dahsyat

11) Isu Penggunaan Nama Allah

12) Kaedahnya!

13) Sisters In Islam

And there were some posts in which I wrote about other things as the main topic, but I would squeeze in some rants about illogical pseudo-religious concept in it too.

I realize now that I just could not tolerate these pseudo-religious, quasi-holy type of  people because of my bad experience in the past. But I know that I am going to have to find ways to deal with them in my professional life or die trying! (And making sure I don’t accidentally include them in my personal life. Or else, I shall go insane. Khalas!)

***

The Intellectual Culture!

I have a major weakness. Aku tak pandai diplomasi (I am learning, so be patient with me). Aku tak sabar dengan benda yang aku rasa “hiys, obviously aku betul! Apsal hang lambat sangat nak faham ni?” Hahahha.

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Hahhaha. I am sorry. I am just being honest here.

My patience is kept on a short leash.

Mungkin aku suka persoalkan sesuatu.

Tapi kau pun tak pandai jawab apa yang aku persoalkan. Kan?

Dan aku tak kisah kalau kau tak tahu dan tak pandai jawab, lalu kau cakap “Okey, aku pun tak tau. Jom kita cari sama-sama. Let’s find out and explore this together. It will be fun.”

That is the intellectual culture that I need!

Tapi bila kau tak pandai jawab, lalu kau tak pun cuba menjawab, dan sebaliknya kau kalih persoalan menjadikan aku pula yang suka bangkang dan suka soal macam-macam, jadi aku memang akan bengang. 

Show to me that my question is irrelevant or not important, and then I will concede defeat. Show to me that my rebuttal is wrong.  Otherwise, you are just going to spark my disdain towards you if you not only do not know the answer, you don’t even GET the question. (which means, it never occurred to you to ask and thus it was never in your intellect to wonder about it. So, kalau kau tak pernah terfikir pun nak tanya, macam mana kau nak pandai jawab?)

My best friend, Dr. F is just like me (but the friendlier, extrovert version of me). We get each other so well! She likes to throw question into the air and we would volunteer one theory after another and laugh it out and discard it one by one (our own version of falsification process) Our small talk is big. Our light conversation weigh a ton!

With my set of friends, our catch-up talk is filled with wondering out loud “Kenapa diorang macam ni? Kenapa sistem dia macam tu? Kenapa kita tak boleh ubah macam ni? Kenapa begini dan begitu? Apa salahnya kalau kita buat macam ni? Tak pa…bila kita jadi specialist, kita jangan jadi macam tu.” Hahaha.

But sometimes, I do come across ‘feelers and empathizers’ who make me pause and think.

“Afiza, walaupun kau betul, you don’t have to shove it in their face. Kalau kau tau dia jenis lambat pick-up sikit, why don’t you be the noble person and teach? Be kind. Don’t just stop at showing off about how right you are and leave them hanging feeling stupid and unappreciated. What would it accomplish? Mungkin kau akan puas hati sebab akhirnya diorang mengaku kau betul. But then, what? What else after that? They will resent you. Bila depa rasa macam tu, of course diorang ada ego dan takkan terima punya. In an ideal world, no one has an ego and will acknowledge the truth no matter who says it. But we are not living in an ideal world. When you irk them with your disdainful know-it-all retort, they will not see the truth ever. Apa salahnya kau pun jadi pendakwah yang macam kau nak, yang macam kau jumpa kat Aussie tu? Sit them down, charm them with your smile and explain nicely, kill them with your kindness sampai depa terharu… then the truth will be easier to swallow by them. At least,  kau dapat pahala juga for making them see the truth and gain new knowledge through your act of patience. Daripada kau dok bising2 sebab depa lembap nak paham, kemudian kau just give up on them macam tu. Not so nice, kan? In any interaction, why don’t we set the goal to be the person with the bigger heart. Kalau depa tak faham, kau ulang sampai depa faham. Nabi Muhammad S.A.W berdakwah pun bukan cakap sekali saja. Mesej yang sama diberi banyak kali, dengan pelbagai cara, dalam occasion yang berbeza-beza. Kalau semua orang cepat tak sabar bila orang tak faham, then no one will see the truth.” said the nice Miss A.

Okay.

Once in a while, I come across ‘feelers’ who make sense. And touch my heart (because they make sense. Hahha. See? You only touch my heart by being logical and making sense, first. Then my heart is an open door. hahah) Not many feelers can do that. Some feelers only feel without thinking, so they cannot explain what they feel properly. (And thus, I will never see it.) Some feelers have the same understanding as Miss A but they don’t have the eloquence of speech to be able to explain it the way she did.

When Miss A said it that way, I got it. She was right. She made me reflect. What she was saying is:

What does it matter if people are a bit slow in understanding where you are coming from? When you lose patience and scold them, you have buried the opportunity to make them understand and educate them. They won’t listen to you anymore because they don’t like you being an arrogant Miss-know-it-all. (But I didn’t mean to be arrogant. I was just so angry because the truth is so obvious!) But if you just sabar kejap and take this as an intellectual challenge to entice them to hear the truth, you will gain something more than just the acknowledgement that you are right. You pass the knowledge on. You do something good. Take it as an intellectual puzzle… the puzzle of how to make them understand….then maybe it would be easier for you to be nice.

See? You wanna argue with me, make me SEE it like Miss A did. So that when I was wrong, I could see it! I need to SEE it. I cannot just agree with you just to be polite. I need to understand. (Blame my INTP trait!)

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Miss A made me understand that it was not about being right. The truth is the truth no matter who says it. Be the bigger-hearted person by making people see it too, even though you have to struggle with your frustration, first. And in order to do that, you have to be nice!

Now I can see that being nice has a purpose! It is not a weak, fluffy concept in the dreamy white cloud anymore. Miss A explained being nice as the thing that makes sense to be done! Now according to Miss A, being nice makes sense and has a higher purpose to it!  When she presented being nice in that way, everything clicks into place and I am no longer reluctant to do it! Hahha.

Now that Miss A has made me see it, I cannot stop seeing it. I have to admit, it’s time to launch my personal jihad. Being nice.

Just last week, while awaiting my turn at the post office, I actually prolonged my small talk with the lady stranger sitting next to me (which is something I would never have done before unless in desperate situations such as during kenduri when I have to be the host). She asked me where I lived. And I answered her. And I actually asked her back about where she lived. In the past, I would never bother asking! And when she asked me whether I have an online business (she thought I was mailing my products to customers like she was doing), I said no. Usually, I would just turn away and stop the conversation. Because why would a stranger want to know about my job? But on that day I prolonged the small talk even more by asking her about her online business that she was excited to tell me. And then, I switched on my psychiatry-listening-mode, nodding my head on and off. The lady seemed satisfied with that interaction. I think Miss A would be proud of me. hahah. At that moment, I was positive that I didn’t seem aloof, cold and unapproachable anymore.

After the experience at the post office, I thought to myself, “This being nice business is not so hard, actually. I can do this. I can fake it. I just did it!” Hahah.

I am going to have to be nice.

Oh God help me. I don’t think I can do it consistently without failing once or twice (or several times). But I will struggle on. If I die trying to be nice, hopefully, I will get pahala jihad. Hahah.

Logic and Religion

Never have I ever been more interested in my religion until someone inspiring and oh, so logical, explains it the way Nouman Ali Khan explains it. He is the man! Haha. I think that if I had a religious teacher like Nouman Ali Khan growing up, I might be more invested in religion than I did before. And I personally also adore Dr. MAZA. He makes sense. It is important to people like me that our religious teachers and authority figures make sense and they get bonus mark if they are also efficient in their instructions to us.

We like people who make sense. In fact I would go so far as to say that I could love them. Truly, madly, deeply! Hahaha.

Okay, the You Tube video above is quite long. But the most important part (that I am going to talk about in this post) is explained by Nouman Ali Khan from minute 19:30 onwards. So if you are pressed for time, just srcoll until you reach that part…it was sooo enlightening and something I had been struggling with since I was an IB student in KMB when I first heard my naqibah in KMB told me “Kita kena buat semua benda niat kepada Allah. Baru dapat pahala. Kalau tak sia-sia kita buat.”

And all these time I kept thinking “Takkanlah hangpa semua belajar medic, berhempas pulas tak tidoq malam, langgah ayaq kopi bercawan-cawan PURELY for the sake of Allah? Mesti niat hangpa nak pass exam juga kan? I mean….come on! Get real here, please!” 

(And knowing me, even though I can fake and pretend as good as the next person, but I am very self-aware about what I really feel and what I really think. Really, I can fake acceptance, liking, enjoyment, extraversion….I have learned how to do it. I just don’t like to do it constantly and consistently and therefore would limit the time I have to spend with people who make me feel like I have to pretend or suppress. And with most religious teachers or authority figures, I have gotten so used to suppressing my inner thoughts because when I voice them out, I feel like an alien. Tapi bila balik bilik sembang dengan kawan-kawan, semua orang pun sebenarnya pikiaq benda yang sama ja dengan aku. Exactly the same thoughts! They just didn’t have the need to point it out to their naqibah as much. But I did…so that was my problem!)

And sometimes the usrah mates will organize a ‘jalan-jalan’ around Australia which they term as ‘Jaulah’. They also told me that we should correct our intention and travel for the sake of Allah. So maybe, if we travel for the sake of Allah, we get pahala. And if we just say ‘kita jalan-jalan’ (instead of saying ‘jaulah’ with the right intention) then we only get the ‘dunya and not the akhirat’.

And deep inside, I was  thinking “Aku boleh nak guna term ‘jaulah’ untuk cakap yang aku nak pi jalan-jalan. But really, aku pi jalan-jalan sebab aku memang nak jalan-jalan lah! Susahlah aku nak pi kalih niat aku jadi for the sake of Allah pula. Pening weh!”

I had a friend who told me that when she first met her husband, she fell in love with him for the sake of Allah.
Aku macam skeptikal jugalah. In my mind, I went, “Hang dok whatsapp/message dia malam2 tu for the sake of Allah ke? Macam pelik jer. Hahah.”

When you say you smile to me for the sake of Allah, what do you mean? I don’t smile at people for the sake of Allah. I smile at people because I am genuinely happy to see them.
Does that make me a bad person? Not akhirat-oriented enough, maybe?

 

Then, I thought, I might be so dunya-oriented that I could not even pretend that I was doing everything for the sake of Allah. I was so conflicted by it that I actually wrote a blog post about it when I was a senior HO, reminiscing on my conflict of interest all my life with regards to my lack of PURE INTENTION. (cognitive dissonance, folks!) The post that I wrote then can be read H.E.R.E.

Reading back the post, I wish that I could have found the YOU TUBE video above sooner to sooth my conflicted confusion and my cognitive dissonance at that time. Really, we should stop making people feel guilty about their real intention. Just listen to the video from the minute 19:30 onwards! It’s such an eye opener that makes so much sense, I wanted  to weep with relief. You won’t regret the time spent! That video is a gem!

***

This brings me to the topic of logic and religion.

I believe that religion should make sense. No, I am not talking about the matter of ‘perkara ghaib’ (jin/ syurga/neraka/israk mikraj/mukjizat).

But in matters of general principles and creed and jurisprudence, it MUST make sense. It MUST be fair and just. It MUST be justifiable through logic and dialogue. You MUST be able to reason it out! You MUST! Otherwise, it would create the sort of cognitive dissonance that would turn people away from the religion.

If a concept in the religion does not make sense, then there are usually a few reasons for it:

  1. Your own maturity and knowledge is lacking to be able to perceive the truth in it
  2. It was misrepresented by the ustaz/ustazah
  3. It was a fake hadeeth.
  4. It was an Isra’illiyyat story that has no basis in Islam.

And truly, religious people like to tell us that we are ‘reason number 1’ when we question them, rather than look at reason number 2, 3, and 4.

When I was in KMB doing my IB studies, another religious 2nd year senior told us the story of “Hassan Al-Basri Dan Wanita Cantik.” in a religious gathering. I am sure we are all familiar with that story. Let me simplify the story to jog your memory.

Hassan Al-Basri ternampak wanita cantik berpurdah berjalan-jalan di pasar. Terpesona dengan mata wanita itu. And keep following her around. Akhirnya wanita itu korek biji mata dia dan hadiahkan kepada Hassan Al-Basri. At last, wanita itu mati. (in other narration, wanita tu tak mati) Kononnya inilah wanita yang sangat warak kerana rasa bersalah kecantikan matanya menyebabkan lelaki tergoda. Lebih kurang macam tulah kisah dia. Pi google kalau nak tau lebih detail dan lanjut. Just type “kisah hassan al basri dan wanita cantik”.

When I heard the story, I squirmed in my seat, feeling sooooo ….angry!  Angry that I had to accept this story “because it is religious”. And also feeling guilty that I felt angry about this religious story. I questioned my iman for not accepting that story as religious. I went back to my room and ask my roommate the rational of the woman to korek biji mata dia and at last dia mati (?cause of death ?was it profuse bleeding? Garghh…I don’t know!).

I ranted to my roommate “Hello! Bukan salah dia lelaki tu suka kat mata dia. Dia dah berpurdah. Dia dah cover everything. Mata pun nak kena cover juga ka? Bila pula lelaki tu sendiri nak kena sedar diri nak tundukkan pandangan? Kenapa korbankan deria penglihatan kau…sampai kau mati pula tu…kau just nak prove a point ke apa ni? I just don’t get it! Awat perempuan tu buat macam tu?”

And on and on I went. (My INTP trait was showing. Once we latch on a topic that mystifies us, we just can not stop)

My roommate was well-versed with my habit of ranting out when things don’t make sense or illogical…pasrah ja dia mendengar. Hahaha.

When I went to Australia, I learned from another naqibah that that story is an Israilliyat.

Darn it, I knew it!!

***

Another story that I struggled with (also in KMB, my goodness! KMB is number one IB school in the world during my time. We were the best! Tapi tengoklah….ada doktrin2 yang pelik2 kat situ)

Perempuan pertama yang masuk syurga sebelum anak kesayangan Nabi S.A.W, Siti Fatimah, ialah seorang isteri bernama Siti Mutiah yang sangat taat kepada suami sehinggakan dia akan sediakan makanan berserta rotan kepada suami dia. Kalau makanan sedap, it’s okay. Kalau makanan tak sedap, rotan itu akan dia serahkan kepada suami dia untuk pukul punggung dia. (Go and google Perempuan pertama yang masuk syurga bersama Siti Fatimah)

I actually struggled with myself SO BADLY about this story, that I wanted to kick something (or, rotan someone) Hahah. And guess what, it is a fake hadeeth. (Tip Religion 101: if things don’t make sense it’s a fake hadeeth or it’s Isra’illiyat. Remember this until your final breath!)

And you know what? That story contradicts with  hadis sahih about wanita pertama yang masuk syurga. Tak tersenarai langsung Siti Mutiah! Ada empat wanita pertama masuk syurga: Khadijah Khuwailid, Maryam Binti Imran, Asiyah (isteri Firaun), dan Siti Fatimah.

Mai mana Siti Mutiah??! Come on! Stress aku!

I know I may not look like I am so religiously knowledgeable. My dressing is not so alim kan? haha. But I read a lot!  Beyond medic, beyond fiction…I make myself read other things for the sake of a well-rounded knowledge. Benda yang aku tak puas hati, semua aku pi baca balik (when I am interested enough).

And I learn through multiple repeated experience, that religious concept MUST make sense. When it doesn’t make sense, something is fishy somewhere and you better find out before letting yourself be sucked into the delusion.

So aku sangat tak suka kisah-kisah yang konon ‘ada nilai-nilai murni’ tapi hangpa reka sampai orang boleh misinterpret and menyebabkan fitnah kepada agama. Can you imagine if the two stupid stories above were told to non-muslims? Wouldn’t our religion look bad in their eyes? And that is the reason why Nabi Muhammad S.A.W said very clearly:

“Siapa yang berdusta di atas namaku, hendaklah dia menyiapkan tempatnya di neraka”.

So, most people would just shrug their shoulders and said “Ala, ni kisah untuk pengajaran. Tak payahlah hang nak ambil pot sangat. No need to be so intense. Yang baik kita ambil. Yang buruk, kita tak payah ambil”.

Hahha. Inilah orang-orang yang akan menyebabkan aku lagi meluat. Personality clash habis! Aku pula  yang kau kata intense? Kau yang tak sensitif dengan penipuan menggunakan nama Nabi. Tempat kat neraka tu, tak payah nak intense ka? Aku bengang kot kena tipu macam tu! Macam mana kalau aku ni jenis lemah iman and terus question the authenticity of my religion because of these stories? Think about it! Do you think nabi saja-saja habaq yang berdusta atas nama dia masuk neraka? The impact of such stories is HUGE!

So really, I am not intense! You are the one who do not posses critical thinking and too blunted! Or maybe, you just don’t care enough to feel anything, anyway. Kan?

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You only bother to be intense about things that affect you directly; like your cheating husband, your naughty drug-addicted sons, your annoying parents and siblings. Your world revolves around them only, you are like a katak bawah tempurung who cannot venture beyond what you deal with daily…and you feel nothing about higher concept like truth, justice, fairness …well, until untruth, injustice and unfairness happen to you. Waktu tu baru you nak intense la kan? Because it affects you directly. When it doesn’t affect you, you just don’t care.

(And I really cannot stand this sort of shallowness in others. I can’t. This sort of people remain my acquaintance and can never be upgraded to close friends. Because we care about different things. And I guess, that’s okay, too. I mean, not everyone is the same. Some people are the diplomats of the society, some are the warriors of the society, some are the thinkers of the society, some are the feelers and empathizers of the society. And everyone is equally important. It’s just that, due to those differences, some people can never be ‘your people’. They are not meant to have a seat in your table. And you should just wave them along in their own journey and you continue with ‘your people’.)

***

I do believe that the best presenter is someone who imagine himself/herself presenting to a hostile audience. Imagine me as your audience. Imagine the loudest, the most critical, the most intense person questioning you after your presentation.

And prepare your talk exactly for such audience. (Of course when it comes to religion, people like me have learned to suppress our logical thoughts from you. Takut kena label. But we do go back home and debate it out among friends, you know. At least, among my set of friends, we do that a lot.)

Have you ever watched a debate?

You have to prepare your talk with evidence and convincing arguments as though your audience will debate you out. Prepare your religious talk as though you are presenting it to a non-Muslim who does not have any obligation to sooth the tone of his/her skepticism about this religion! Only then, you would be able to know that your talk may not be up to snuff! At least, not to educated, professional people.

(I am not saying yang aku ni educated sangat, terer habis. No! But with the two stories above, it doesn’t take an educated people to feel uncomfortable about it. Not educated pun boleh fikir. Budak-budak pun boleh fikir yang this is weird. Talk to the kids who have such pure conscience and have not yet learned to suppress their thoughts for the sake of political correctness. They would say “Tapi mama, kenapa dia korek mata dia? Lepas tu dia mati lah, mama? Kesiannya dia…” So it’s not about your level of education yang menyebabkan kau boleh detect kepelikan dalam cerita macam ni. Just listen to your own conscience! Listen to it! Listen to your fitrah. Cumanya, orang yang educated lebih berasa ‘the urge’ untuk tanya kau balik. sebab diorang lebih konfiden. Kalau kau untung, dia mungkin tak malukan kau depan audience and ask you privately.)

When I was preparing for my departmental audit competition, I remember that my supervisor told me that I was over-thinking my points. “Afiza ni pikiaq banyak!”

I thought and re-thought my standard criteria over and over again like an obsessive freak. Why? Because I imagined a hostile jury and a hostile audience who would question my audit! Of course I did! It was a competition and I wanted to win. I prepared my audit report with hostile juries in mind.  Lucky me that my supervisor was so patient and able to tolerate my neuroticism even though sometimes I was too argumentative with him and… yeah, intense. Hahaha.

And Alhamdulillah, we won the first place for that competition. They said that my report was complete and they had nothing much to ask and only wanted to clarify a few points. When I entered the HSA competition, again we won the first place.

So, prepare your work with a hostile audience in mind! This is especially important to religious leaders. We do not want to misrepresent our religion, do we?

***

On a lighter note, someone told me “You marah sangat dengan cerita tu sebab you takut you kena rotan selalu ke setiap kali sediakan makanan?”

ROFL. Yeah, such a funny person!

I am not exactly a Masterchef. Really.

But I do cook at home. I just never bothered to tell people that I cook. Seriously, mana ada orang grad oversea tak pandai masak. Makanan halal mahal kot nak beli hari-hari. At least basic cooking tu pass lah. Hahah.

But I don’t feel the need to impress anyone with my cooking. The best I have to offer to others (future husband included) are my thoughts and my intellect (limited as it is) and my style of conversation which not many people with different wavelengths can adapt to. That’s the best I have about me. If you are not gonna be impressed about that, then nothing else about me will impress you (certainly not any of my womanly talents like cooking, haha) and I have too much pride to even try to adjust myself for anyone.

(You see, I believe in adapting to life circumstances. I do! One day, I might even cook consistently. Who knows? But most of the time, I adapt by making other people adapt to me. Yeah…I am resistant to change. I adapt to work commitments, environments, schedules, responsibilities…. but not to people’s habits and thoughts that I find illogical or senseless.)

I know what I want in a friend and in a partner and in a conversationalist. Someone who thinks like I do and has values and principles similar to mine is what I want. Otherwise, you are just not ‘my people’. So, why bother to talk about cooking (unless you are the one doing it) when I am more interested about thinking (yours and mine)? My cooking is a bonus only. Not my duty! The task should be negotiable (or scheduled. Hahah)

When people ask me, do you cook? I said, no! I only eat. Haha.

A cook is not the noun for me. (Kalau kena rotan sebab masak tak sedap, mungkin hari-hari  lah aku kena rotan).

A doctor is my noun in partial only.

A reader and a knowledge-seeker. Those are my nouns in full.

***

I have to be thankful for all those ‘perasaan tak puas hati’ that I felt towards so many religious figures in my life. They made me want to seek better and then I found more than I could ever know to dream of. I may not be a perfect Muslim but really, Islam is the best thing I have in my life when I know it in depth.

Every misconception I had about the religion appeared into my life for a reason. It made me wonder and dig deeper through all the dirts and ended up finding the real gems in the ummah. Those like Nouman Ali Khan, Mufti Menk, Sheikh Eesa Niamatullah, Omar Suleiman, Yusha Evans, Abdul Rahim Green, Hamza Tzortzis and Dr. MAZA…they are the precious glittering gems people like me need. You would notice that most of them are not local. I just think that International speakers speak more or less the same thing as the locals but with better logic and better analogy. Dr. MAZA is one of the few local religious leaders I really respect.

Ironically, I found my better self when I was in Australia where Muslims were the minority. The culture of knowledge there is so so vastly different than in Malaysia. There is no problem for you to question your lecturer there. There is no question too radical to put forward, in religious matters or secular matters.

In Malaysia, kau argue dengan lecturer or boss, kau memang saja menempah maut secara percuma. (So, tu pasal aku anti-authority and avoid them. My life becomes a heck of a lot easier.)

I leave my dear readers with a quote by Yasmin Mogahed which I always follow on Facebook. This lady has a way with words that speaks directly into my heart, and I hope yours as well.

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