MS.FAT VS The Muslims

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Assalamu’alaikum (peace be upon ya’ll) 🙂

If you thought I was one of those trolls that was gonna go off ignorantly trashing a group of people… sorry to disappoint you 😛 Whether you’re a Muslim or not, I hope you keep reading. MS.FAT’s on a mission to stick it where it hurts…we’re done biting our tongues.

zip it

DISCLAIMER:

All the views expressed in this post are my own, based on my own observations and experiences. Any mistakes with regards to the teachings of Islam mentioned are my own. I am not a scholar and am not qualified to give any rulings. I’m still learning, and I would definitely want teachers and scholars who are more learned than me in Islam to kindly contact me to point out any errors that I have made. Please read the entire post before commenting.

This post is a bit long, but please bear with us and continue reading 🙂

 

Time to Rant

This post is pretty much a rant. A rant about the hypocrisy of people, specifically us Muslims. It’s a disease which has spread all across the globe, and has successfully polluted the minds of not only the bystanders, but also the people of the same beliefs. We hope this post will clear up at least some of the scum that has been accumulating on the image of Islam inshaa’Allah (God willing).

 

Just a Few Things to Note…

Before I share a recent experience with all of you, let’s just explain the meaning of some common terminology and clear up a few common misconceptions.

“Islam” literally means submission; submission to the One God.

A “Muslim” is someone who submits; submits to the One God.

Some people claim Islam is a new/invented way of life, or have the misconception that it is a cult and that Muslims are basically anti-everything besides the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  However, if we set our emotions aside and just take a careful look at history and the textual evidences, submission to the Creator alone without any partners associated has been the message of all the Prophets and Messengers that have been sent throughout time, beginning with Adam, and continuing on with others like Dawud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and finally to the last Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

The final revelation, the “Qur’an”, has not been changed at all since the time it was revealed over 1400 years ago, it is not authored by any human, and it is a confirmation of all the previous scriptures that has come before it, including the Psalms, the Torah and the Gospel.

 

“He has sent down upon you, (O Muhammad), the Book (the Qur’an) in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.”

Surah ‘Ali-Imran Ayah 3

 

“Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms].”

Surah An-Nisa Ayah 163

 

A tenet of our faith as Muslims is to believe in all the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) as well as all the original unchanged versions of the previous books that were revealed. We can’t be Muslims if we don’t.

Anyway, this is a separate discussion in it of itself, so we shall not digress 😛

 

Muslim ≠ Malay

Ever since I can remember, people have had this misconception. All Muslims aren’t Malay, and vice versa. Maybe this confusion arose when the category of race “Malay/Muslim” was created. Not sure why such a category was created though.

 

The Story

Earlier this year I received my results for one of the major national examinations. Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks are due to God) I did well, scoring straight As. There was a little more who-ha since I was attending an Islamic school, often seen as a low-standard (or no standard) school meant for those poor souls who aren’t able to attend the regular national schools because they’ve unfortunately been born into a family of extremists who practise their radicalism to a certain extent. Somehow all that adds up to meaning that kids from there will never excel in their studies. The grades I received happened to prove that theory wrong, and thus attracted the media.cute-ninja

So boom, you had a picture of a ninja in the newspaper (I don the face veil).

FUN FACT: Ninjas came about 1000 years after the final revelation, so ninjas look like us, not vice versa. They stole our fashion :P. Just sayin.

Bold move, the newspaper earned my respect (which was kinda lost when they misquoted me in one of the interviews, unfortunately. A really bad translation error, perhaps?). After some weeks, the buzz died down and it was off to the next level of education for me.

studying

A month or two ago, my name was submitted for the Anugerah Mendaki, which is an award to “to reward and recognise Muslim students who have done exceptionally well academically in the national examinations and who are in the top 10% of the national cohort.” It’s a one-off cash award plus a certificate.

Mendaki “(Council for the Development of Singapore Malay/Muslim Community) is a pioneer Self-Help Group formed in 1982 dedicated to empower the community through excellence in education, in the context of a multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore.”

 

Early August I received a letter saying that I’d be receiving the award during the ceremony in September. It was quite a surprise since usually only those with a Malay ethnic background receive awards/scholarships/bursaries from Mendaki, and I have friends and relatives who have sought monetary aid from Mendaki but were turned down because they weren’t Malay. An improvement from all the previous racial discrimination, it seemed.

For the next few weeks I was getting calls from Mendaki staff regarding my acceptance of the award and other logistical matters. The ceremony was to fall on Saturday, 13th September 2pm to around 5pm. The timing clashed with my tuition class so I called them up requesting if I could leave right after receiving my award, since in the letter they stated award recipients weren’t allowed to leave until the end of the event. They then informed me that my name has been selected to meet the GOH/MP at the end of the event, so they told me to inform them if I really couldn’t stay. I requested my teacher to reschedule the class, which he did Alhamdulillah. It wasn’t very easy to do, mind you, considering everybody’s work/school schedules combined.

I wasn’t really excited about meeting the MP, but I thought it may be a good opportunity for me to express the challenges I face with regards to obtaining an education here, since my attire is important to me but is incompatible with the national institutes as well as the madrasahs.

telephone-cartoon

Last Monday, the 8th of September, they called me again, this time asking if I was comfortable with taking part in an interview which would be filmed and screened on the day of the ceremony, as well as an interview with one of the Malay local newspapers. After some hesitation, I agreed, but made it clear that this time I don’t want any translation/misquoting problems with the Malay newspaper. They assured me it would be fine, and told me to come down to their headquarters on Tuesday.

Eventually the video-shoot was changed to Wednesday, and between Monday and Wednesday I’ve had about 8 phone calls from them about changing the timing, what I should bring, what the questions are, how the local newspaper won’t be interviewing me anymore etc. S wanted to accompany me, so she had to take time off work as well due to the timing of the video-shoot.

video

Wednesday came and S and I went down to Mendaki headquarters from work and class respectively, and reached on time Alhamdulillah. We were taken up to the pantry to wait, so S and I went over the questions they were going to ask during the interview while we waited for my turn. A few minutes went by and one of their staff members came. We greeted each other then she gestured for us to sit down again. She started by saying that they are going to be doing a television video-shoot (I was like huh, TV? Anyway.) so would I be OK with removing my face veil. I replied in the negative. Then she said, she’s very sorry but they won’t record my interview on video since it’s a very sensitive issue. S and I looked at her like O_o

I asked her what exactly the problem was, and she replied that it’s just very sensitive and yeah they won’t be able to videotape me. S requested her to explain a bit more as she was unable to understand what the issue was. The lady then said that during the ceremony there are not only going to be Muslims, but those who aren’t Muslim as well (sorry, I don’t like using the term “non-Muslim”. It doesn’t sound nice.) S replied saying that it’s actually the Muslims who have a problem with the ninja style because so far all those of different beliefs whom we have met haven’t caused any problem.

 

(For me, my friends and teachers who aren’t Muslim have been very supportive and understanding, not only about the way I dress but about the entire way of life that I try to lead. On the contrary, my Muslim friends and relatives were the ones who gave me a hard time, and that hurts more. Whenever I read the following ayah, roughly translated as “verse”, in the Qur’an, I can’t help but agree…

 

“…and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.”

Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayah 82

 

My biggest supporters, and to some extent cheerleaders, were actually my Christian friends and teachers. May Allah reward them for their help and sincerity 🙂 )

 

The lady agreed, saying how unfortunate that is. S asked “didn’t you all know that she dressed in this way?” The lady said no, then I said that the local newspaper had printed my picture before and they didn’t have a problem with it. She replied that they were unaware of that. I was a bit confused; they didn’t want to play a video which had my ninja face in it, but they were OK with me going up on stage? The lady said yes, there is no problem, I’d be able to go up on stage and receive the award, and no worries, the GOH will be notified that there will be no shaking of hands with the Muslim women, and that I have the option of shaking hands with him.

She also said she had no problem with recording the audio of my interview and using it for their radio-show, or videotaping my interview to be played on the television screen at the reception for the public to see (the headquarters is located in some ulu place…I highly doubt anyone really goes there. It was empty when we went.). S and I declined, saying if they aren’t going to do the main video-shoot which we had come down for, then there’s really no need for any other. Whether or not they interview me doesn’t make a difference to us. After that, we just left.

Today was the actual award ceremony…don’t get me started. Basically, if you were there, don’t associate what you saw there with Islam. I found it odd that they conducted bag checks. It’s the first time I’ve seen bags being checked, with torches and rods, at an award ceremony O_o

One good thing that came out of this was that I made a new friend. Both she and I were students from the madrasahs during the national exams, and we were both ignored during the meet and greet session with the GOH. We didn’t mind, we enjoyed talking to each other while everyone pretended to be oblivious of our existence. The ending of the ceremony with a quote by Colin Powell was epic though.

 

Quite a Let Down

disappointed

This incident is more disappointing than all those times people, Muslims and those who weren’t, called us names like “terrorist”, “ghost”, “ninja”, “monster” and “osama” (imagine this in a thick Singlish accent…”OH-SAH-MAH”. Clearly the uncle who said this to me needs a lesson on gender -.-). It is more disappointing than the times people took our pictures while we were at the traffic light, bus stop, MRT station, walking along the road, and even from 3 storeys above us (of course without our permission. #ohemgeeninja…the tag is courtesy of T. If you guys are really fascinated by how we dress, just come up to us and have a chat, we could also give you our autographs. We’d be more than happy. I’m not kidding. Don’t be a chicken, snap a photo and then run in the other direction 😉 )

 cartoon_chicken

 

First let me express our thoughts on our encounter with Mendaki…

1. The philosophy of the organisation is secular, but it is sad that Muslim individuals who are a part of the organisation, in their professionalism, have adopted all the etiquettes of  secularism in their dealings with the people.

Why is there an issue about showing everyone one of the ways Muslim women dress? Denying, hiding or being unhappy with an aspect of our way of life is verging on disbelief and hypocrisy. Commandments and guidelines from the Creator aren’t debatable and are never wrong, even if some individuals may not understand it. There is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about, the righteous female predecessors covered their faces as well, and they were the epitome of modesty. When the ayah about the women’s covering (khimar) was revealed, this is how the women responded:

 

Narrated A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her):

“May Allah bestow His Mercy on the early emigrant women. When Allah revealed: ‘And to draw their veils all over juyubihinna (i.e. bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) (24:31)’ – they tore their Muruts (a woollen dress, or a waist-binding cloth or an apron) and covered their heads and faces with those torn Muruts.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari 6/4758

 

Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (may Allah be pleased with her):

`Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) used to say: “When (the Verse): “And to draw their veils all over juyubihinna  (24:31),” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their heads and faces with those cut pieces of cloth.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari 6/4759

 

Even though there is a difference of opinion among the scholars as to whether or not the face covering is compulsory, it is evident that it is still a part of the teachings. It is not something the Arabs wore because of the sandstorms (believe it or not, some teachers in the madrasahs tell their students this), nor is it a cultural dress of the Arabs either. One has to have A LOT of guts to come between a woman and her khimar, because essentially you are coming in between her and the Creator.

facts

2. This could have been an opportunity for us to show those with a negative preconceived notion regarding the face veil that the women behind them are educated, independent people too, not “oppressed”, illiterate women forced to wrap themselves up by the men. We shouldn’t be worried about any possible reaction from the guests. If you are the host, you’re running the show and thus are in control of it.

3. It is not like I have been cooped up at home my whole life and the video-shoot is going to be my first ever public appearance. Other Muslim women and I who don the face veil take the public transport every day! Living in Singapore, almost every one of us must have seen a lady dressed in such a way before at least once. Though it may be uncommon here, the face veil is definitely not something new. Who cares if some people find it strange?

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers.’”

 

Sahih Muslim 145 and Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah 3986

 

4. The Muslim women have the option of shaking hands with the GOH? The segregation we maintain between the males and females is only to avoid any possibility of falling into temptations and immorality. It’s meant as a shield for our modesty and chastity. For those who may not be aware, men and women who are not forbidden from marrying each other (non-mahrams) are not allowed to make intentional physical contact. For reasons all too obvious and known to those of us who have reached and are above the age of puberty.

It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yassaar said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not permissible for him.”

 

Sahih Al-Jaami 5045

 discipline desires
Since we know that it is not lawful for non-mahrams to make physical contact, we should make it clear that there should not be any shaking of hands or intentional physical contact between anyone during the ceremony, because we are going to be held accountable if we permit such things. We gotta stand up for the truth.

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

 

Surah An-Nisa Ayah 135

 

Two-Faced

The hypocrisy entwined in this incident is very similar to that of how all the madrasahs (FYI madrasah simply means “school” in Arabic, however people refer to the Islamic schools as “madrasahs” ) here banned the female Muslim students from covering their faces. It is still unclear how such a ban could have been imposed when the madrasahs are private schools and should be allowed to have their own kind of uniform.
In no way, shape or form am I pointing fingers at everyone else and excluding myself from these reminders. I have my share of shortcomings and am also partly responsible for the state the Muslims are in today. These reminders are meant for myself first and foremost, and then for all of you.
ibn qayyimm
Our gross lack of understanding of Islam has lead to our inability to lead our lives sincerely and meaningfully in accordance with the Allah’s Book and the Sunnah [Traditions, sayings, actions etc of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him)]. We think we know Islam, but it is more of ritualism that we are familiar with.
As a result, we aren’t able to impart the values and teachings on our children.
As a result, our children do not grow up with the love of the Creator and His final revelation.
As a result, our children grow up disliking and even hating Islam because His Book was never explained to them.
As a result, fabrications and innovations have been introduced into Islam.
As a result the Muslims have become divided into many sects, even though there’s not supposed to be any.

“Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me. But they have broken up and differed as regards their religion among themselves. (And) they all shall return to Us.”

 

Surah Al-Anbiya Ayaat 92-93

“‘…And indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.’ But the people divided their religion among them into sects – each faction, in what it has, rejoicing. So leave them in their confusion for a time.

 

Surah Al-Mu’minun Ayaat 52-54

As a result, certain groups of people have been able to manipulate and twist the teachings of Islam without us realising it.
As a result, false ideas have been associated with Islam.
IMG-20131001-WA0000
As a result, propaganda portraying Islam in false images has become widespread.
As a result, the Muslims aren’t able to detect such lies and correct the errors.
As a result, some of those who aren’t Muslim get completely wrong ideas about Islam.
As a result, some of those who aren’t Muslim develop a chronic allergy towards anything marginally associated with Islam.
As a result, they do not even want to pick up a copy of the Qur’an and read for themselves what Islam is really all about.
Manners

The Cone of Shame

I don’t think we have ever brought more shame on Islam than we have today as we go about claiming to be Muslims yet we do not even know the basics. Knowing that there’s only One God, that you gotta pray sometimes and that you can’t eat pork or drink alcohol don’t constitute “basics”. The history, the preservation of the final revelation, the scientific and linguistic miracles and the absence of contradictions in the final revelation, literature, collections of traditions, explanations, research and intricacies of Islam are what makes it evident that it can only be from Creator. Back in the early days during and after the period of revelation, people practised what they preached, and would use their good characters, behaviours and actions to teach people about Islam. They didn’t go around compelling anyone to accept Islam, in fact that is not allowed:

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut (anything worshipped other than the True God, i.e. all false deities) and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”

 

Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 256

For those of us who are Muslim, the only way we’ll be able to experience the true sweetness of faith is if we wholeheartedly live Islam to the fullest:

“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”

 

Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 208

For those of you who aren’t Muslim and are still reading this post (YAY! Thanks for patiently reading!), don’t look at the Muslims now to see what Islam is all about. Unfortunately we have A LOT of learning to do ourselves, and learning is a life-long journey. I’m not saying we’re all messed up and illiterate in the teachings. If you have met decent, practising Muslims, Alhamdulillah 🙂
Nevertheless, if you want to know what Islam really is about, don’t read some random article, book or watch some video on TV or YouTube – read the Qur’an for yourself. It’s a book, it’s not some radioactive material 😉 The original Arabic has been translated in many different languages, but if you’d like an English version you may check out the Sahih International translation, or the Muhammad Muhsin Khan translation, as they are the most authentic and accurate to date. You could also go to http://www.quran.com, they have these English translations, as well as translations in 34 other languages including Chinese, Malay, Tamil, Urdu and Bangla.
If you want a perfect example of a Muslim and how he or she speaks and behaves, read the biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). You can get a glimpse of his biography by checking out the “Riyaadus-Saaliheen” collection. You could also read the book “When the Moon Split”.
The media is definitely NOT the source of any reliable information, we all know this from our own experiences. To tell you the truth, some pretty good clowns and actors with the garb of a “Muslim” have been put on air to talk about “Islam”. The media picks speakers with marginalised, deviant views, who are portrayed to express the views of the masses. With all the recent news reports involving the Muslims, and how they claim to do certain things in the name of “Islam”, it’s only fair that we find out if such actions actually have any basis in Islam by checking out the authentic source of information for the latter- the Qur’an. If anyone claimed to do certain things in the name of a particular belief, it would be unfair and inappropriate for me to judge that belief and all its follower’s based on that individual’s words and actions without verifying for myself if that’s what the belief really taught.

 “…Produce your proof if you are truthful.”

 

Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 111

I sincerely hope this post has helped remove some of the misconceptions and false notions revolving around Islam, and has given at least a slightly broader prospective on the issue 🙂
Please share this post with others and feel free to comment (please no trolling, though. Thank you!).
-A
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6 responses to “MS.FAT VS The Muslims

  1. السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ
    Just read your whole blog about the Mendaki award ceremony. Thank you for sharing n highlighting your experiences n challenges with the current system. It is an eye opener indeed. May I have your permission to share it with my family n friends?

    JazakAllah Khair

  2. Salaam..
    Dear sister.. May Allah grant you goodness & ease in your life journey, Insyallah..
    JazakAllah for sharing your beautiful message. Indeed an eye opener for our community. I would love to share this 🙂

  3. Assalamualaikum A.
    Z here. Just read the article and I could not agree more.. how unfortunate that our own ‘kind’ are the ones that are so averse to the donning of the veil. Thanks for the enlightening article ukht. Barakallah fiik for the well-made attempt to clear the common misconceptions present towards Islam.
    Ma’assalamah.

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