Category: Views on Life (Page 1 of 5)

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2 Months in Seclusion

For those of you who follow me on Instagram knows that I just got back from months of seclusion with no general explanation as to what I’ve been doing or why I can’t be contacted, so let me tell you all about it in this blog post about where I’ve been.

Where?

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For two months, I’ve been staying in Lembang, Bandung, for a religious program held by Kampung Quran Learning Center, which is memorizing the Quran. For Muslim, memorizing the whole 30 chapter of Quran is essentially an honorable thing to do, with promise of huge reward from God. Because of its difficulty, this needs to be done in seclusion far away from social media because it takes a lot of focus and concentration without any distraction. Every participant of this program is required to collect their phone and we only get them back every two weeks for 4 hours.

Why?

The best among you is a person who learns the Holy Quran and teaches it.

-Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

In this super controversial era, people always have questions regarding to Islam and our way of life, and a lot of people who don’t know the truth in the book have tried many times to judge us based on what they hear. As a Muslim, it’s our duty to correct these perspective and start conversation with an actual base of knowledge. Which is why in this seclusion, we were all encouraged to not only memorize the Arabic, but also understand the meaning of each verse.

In a way, it’s also a spiritual moment where we truly take time for ourselves as we try to get closer to God and understand His rules, His rewards, His punishments, and His blessings.

The Program. 

Note:
Quran is consisted of 30 chapters (we call it Juz).
1 Juz is consisted of 20 pages.
1 page is consisted of 15 lines.
The verse and letters in every chapter varies.

One of the things that was hard getting used to was definitely the intensive hours of nothing but sitting and memorizing Quran. 5 times a day, for every 2-3 hours, we will sit, find our own comfortable space, and memorize. Everyone has different target, and some will memorize one chapter a day, or half chapter a day, or quarter chapter in a day. Understanding Arabic plays a great role of memorizing the Quran, and everyone has different levels of comprehension on Arabic grammars, so it took different pace and speed for each student.

Those who wish to memorize all 30 Juz have joined the program since March to complete the 4 months program (since we finish on June), and those who are in this program are required to first memorize the first 5 chapter extensively. They will be tested on this 5 chapters in one seating before they are allowed to continue memorize the rest of the 25 chapters.

There are two terms that you need to know,

1. Mutqin. This is when you have extensively memorized the Quran and can be tested for what you have memorized (be it one, five, ten, or thirty chapters) in one seating. This means you are fluent in what you have memorized and can easily use it in prayers like many children (and I) use chapter 30 of the Quran for prayers.

2. Ziyadah. This is when you memorize a whole page, recite the page to the teacher, and then goes on to the next page. Chances are, you’ll forget the page you’ve recited as you go on to the next page, which is why it’s a great responsibility for the student to memorize again once we’re gone back home.

So for those who take the 4 months or 3 months program, they are required to be Mutqin for the first 5 Juz before they can continue with their Ziyadah for the rest of the 25 pages.

Out of 20 girls, only 2 finished the whole 30 Juz, some finished 20, some finished 15, 10, 5, 4, or 3,5 (me).

Other than that, there are also weekly class.

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The People.

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There are around 20 girls in this program and each has different start. Some are in the 4 months program, some for 3, and some for 2 (Or six weeks, in my case, because I couldn’t leave Prom and Graduation).

It’s astonishing how a lot of these girls came from different places. There are girls from Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi (these are the islands in Indonesia). There are girls who just graduated college, girls who are taking time off from their career, girls who decided to resign from their school, it was safe to say that I was one of the youngest girl.

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And since Islam is very strict about opposite gender interaction, I have no idea about the gentlemen other than there are around 13 of them, and they too, came from different places with various range of age. I also know that they are very respectful of the girls. I am used to catcalls and compliments, it happens in school, and girls generally like them, so imagine my surprise when every time the girls and boys accidentally had to walk pass one another, they look away without even one urge to glance. Imagine that!

The people here, goodness, I will never find any other group of people who are so dedicated and passionate about their love for God, and it’s so beautiful and refreshing to the soul. Everyone here has different background, mine being the most liberal of them all, and while it’s so damn difficult for me to wear tunic and long headscarf in my environment, the people there were so welcoming that it’s impossible to not still feel beautiful no matter how much you’re covering yourself. It’s impossible to not feel like you belong, like you have the same chance of going to Heaven as they do. It’s so calming to the soul to be in an environment where they are very careful with one another, where they don’t talk about people, where their priorities definitely do not lie here in this world.

It took some time of understanding, and being tolerant is highly important, because not everyone prioritize education the way that I do, but you can never look at them and tell them that they’re wrong with their life choices. It’s amazing how little they care about wealth or power, and even if some of their beliefs contradict with mine, it’s impossible not to respect them.

These girls will always have a special place in my heart.

On Love.

Those of you who follow my blog or social media must have an idea of my views on marriage, and some of you may think it’s the craziest idea ever, but let me tell you something.

The ladies and gents of the house view love and marriage the same way.

Love and crushes, as a 17 year old teenager, I’m absolutely familiar to it all. I understand the texting, the liking on Instagram, the flirting attempt in class, the surprises on birthdays and anniversary, I’m no stranger to any of it, and I have been the giving end and the receiving end to this ridiculousness in my three years of high school career.

Except that was never what I wanted.

I was very open to the girls about my views, and two out of twenty girls over there were ready to marry once the program was finished, so they understood. So imagine my delight when it’s not about physical beauty and wealth anymore.

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You see, prayers in Islam (or Salat) are led by men when men are present, and to avoid contact, a huge cloth (or hijab) will be drawn between us. This is so we can all protect ourselves from unnecessary attraction that might lead to heartbreak if things don’t work out.

Because of this, our contact to the gents are limited to only listening to their voice as they perform Adzan (Islamic call to worship) and lead the prayer, and us girls will try to guess;

“Is this him?”

“No, his is voice is different, this is Mr. X.”

“I’d like to listen to his voice again,”

Or;

“Would you marry him?”

“Who wouldn’t, with good sense of moral like that.”

How I wish the rest of the world is just like that. It’s never about the face or style with these girls as it has always been with my friends back home, and their big heart is a force to be reckoned with. It’s nice to know that we all share the same top priority when it come to men, and that is, ‘as long as he is religious,’.

If you meet those girls and ask how many people they’ve dated in the past, I guarantee you that most will answer 0. I can count with one hand of people who’ve dated in the past, and those are the millennials who are around my age.

You see, we view marriage as a way of protecting ourselves. Lust can be a great enemy, and respected men and women won’t have it in themselves to try around from people to people. These people here are very true to their religion, and they will never try to mess around with people’s heart if there is no certainty as the end game. Once the program is finished, I know a few gentlemen who have reached out to the girls with sole purpose of asking their hand in marriage, and it might be old-fashioned, you may not agree to this, but let’s just respect our way of life the way that it is.

If nothing else, you gotta admire their faith in God.

These people, between us and the boys, we know very little about each other and have only seen one another a handful of times. I don’t know who’s talking to who right now, but I know that if anyone is talking, it’s not about favorite food or favorite color. It’s about are you ready for marriage, or would you want to work, or are you willing to leave your island to live with your prospective husband, or the bunch.

Technicality, because that’s what matters. If the mechanics work, then they’ll discuss it with their respective families, ask for guidance to God, and then the male will propose to the female. All these process are done very carefully, sometimes with a mediator to avoid heartache if at the end of the day the mechanics don’t work out.

The world was so ideal and true to Islam that it stung when our time was over, but I suppose all good things, do, must come to an end. I only hope that I will always remember the friendship I formed, and I’ll always wish for the highest level of Jannah for all of them as they deserve.

If any of you are reading right now, thank you for your time and patience with me, and thank you for the life lesson that you taught me well. I’ll remember each and every smile on your faces, just like how I sang it that night.

Here’s to Ahlul Quran,
Here’s to you

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Wanted: Chosen One

Last March on the 20th, for some of you who kept up-to-date with this half-abandoned website (do forgive me for that, Senior year had been c-r-a-z-y), I wrote out a list on the perfect husband that I wish to marry someday in the near future. Come 2017, with heart even more dead set on getting married, I realized the ridiculousness of the list that I’ve written before and decided to give it a retouch. Please understand that this list is written simply to humor my cravings and this doesn’t determine anything. At all.

Also, shout out to the newly wed Natta and Wardah Maulina, a couple goals that made me pray day and night to meet the one man that has been written in my destiny.

Without further adieu, the list:

 

  1. Religious Beliefs: A practicing, critical, curious, tolerant, and passionate Muslim.
  2. In four words: Leader, responsible, honest, adventurous.
  3. Relationship type: Believe in monogamy 100%
  4. Sunday nights are for: Trying new couple activities (Scrapbook, cooking, rock climbing, yoga, ticking out bucket lists)
  5. Foreign or domestic: Foreign is very much preferable for their open-mind, though a domestic is also acceptable. Open-mind being the key.
  6. Ideal age: No older than 25.
  7. Perfect date: Adventure to new places and learn new experiences.
  8. Body type: Anything, as long as healthy. Disability and scars also don’t scare me, I’m willing to learn.
  9. Expert or Generalist: Expert in what he does.
  10. Beach house or country house: I wrote country house last year. Now that I’ve gotten more appreciative of the sunlight, whichever’s fine.
  11. Mommy issues: No, absolutely not. He must love his mother.
  12. Dietary restriction: Doesn’t eat anything that’s forbidden in Islam.
  13. Wants kids? Yes, and I hope to marry someone who’s willing to adopt. I’ve come to learn that there are far too many children who deserve a home. I also wish for my first child to be the adopted child so he can feel more included into the family (This topic is up for discussion).
  14. Does he cook? He has to be willing to try and cook with me on weekends.
  15. Drinking habits? No alcohol.
  16. Cats or Dogs? Cats, though only because religious reasons. If he wants to appreciate pugs or huskies or golden retrievers, that is completely acceptable.
  17. Inked? As long as he’s asked for His forgiveness, I’ll bat a blind eye on past mistakes and regrets.
  18. Sarcastic? The funnier the better, as long as it’s humorous and positive
  19. Who’s prettier? He can be prettier.
  20. He shouldn’t be: A pessimist cynic.
  21. Confidence from 1-10? 11
  22. Chivalry is…? A must!
  23. Man? Woman? Either? Man. Still man.
  24. Likes your job? Yes, he must support my job and dream to the fullest.
  25. Has he ever cheated? As long as he’s a changed man, it’s tolerable.
  26. His turns on: Confidence and big heart.
  27. Takes charge or takes orders? I’d love for him to take charge, though I wish for him to treat me on the basis of mutual respect and equity.
  28. Furry or smooth? Facial hair, yes. Chest hair, no. Legs or arms, sure.
  29. Times for work? As long as he’s free on weekends and makes time for me.
  30. No shorter than: Me
  31. Selfies: Not so much on his own, but taking lots are nice if with family or friends.
  32. Hair style: Either short or long, messy mid-length hair is a meh. If he can rock a man bun, yes.
  33. Multi-lingual: Yes, especially English. Definitely English.
  34. Views: Open-minded.
  35. Credits? Good, he must crave knowledge and be well educated. It shows that he is serious and understands about wanting to make a good life for his own by working hard to achieve good things
  36. Night owl or early bird? Doesn’t matter as long as he wakes me up for Fajr and sleeps after Isha.
  37. What’s his style? Clean, acceptable for social events, and wear clothes that is actually his size.
  38. Hobbies? Anything is fine, but writing, reading, or outdoor activity is much more preferable (running, hiking, et cetera). If he likes playing with trinkets or a handy man, that’s a bonus for me.
  39. First weekend away? Outbond, definitely.
  40. Degree? Let’s work together towards PhD before 30.
  41. Clean or Messy? Clean and organized.
  42. Politics? Gets the hang of it.
  43. He should…? Be open-minded. This is the n-th time I’ve written this. He should be open-minded without straying his views on the rules that’s written in Islam.
  44. Sport? He sweats regularly and is willing to go for a run on holidays or weekends.
  45. Art? Can appreciate art, creativity, and musical theater.
  46. Job? Anything that he loves doing instead of being forced into doing. Also, anything that pay the bills.
  47. Family matters? I’d love to marry someone who has a large family that I can get to know, but I’m not very picky on the matter.
  48. No-no #1? Not religious.
  49. No-no #2? Restricting me from my education, job, and right.
  50. No-no #3? A pessimist who doesn’t have a dream. Dreaming big is attractive, and him working to make his dream come true is even more attractive.

I try to broaden my views on the matter of husband. Allah will not meet me a husband if He deems I’m not ready, and I’m trying at the moment. I know the chances of a 17 year old nobody who just came out of highschool with no clear knowledge on her future meeting her soulmate is very slim, but I really do wish to form a Halal relationship with someone He’s chosen for me.

At the end of the day, only Istikharah prayer will help me decided who’s right and who’s not, so the list won’t matter much. Right now I’m just hoping to get through the National Exam, Prom, Graduation Day, and then get accepted to university with a decent scholarship so I can be financially independent in case I do get married.

I’ll tell you how it turns out later on.

Here’s to he who’s name’s been written in my fate

A Love Message to All Muslim Ladies

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Unsent Love Note

Legacy – Day 3
26th April 2016

I would like to love you if life was fair and easy. I hadn’t known who you were, who you’d become, but you were a shining star. If you weren’t in love with another, I would have loved you. 

I would have loved you when I first knew you,
I would have loved you when you wore your shirt
I would have loved you when you broke up.
I would have loved you when you wept for your darling.
I would have loved you when we sat under the stars,
with the warmth of fire,
where you talked about dreams,
your family, of who you want to be, 
of who you strive to become.

In the end, as tears ran down the day you said you were leaving, I chose not to. You, whom I respect, deserves every good thing that is coming your way. I apologize for the drama I caused, I apologized for all the things that caused you worry. 

I wish you luck for the upcoming years. You deserve what you have. Be the best out there and make your family proud.

Sincerely, 
You know who I am.

beautiful pain

On Love

People like the idea of love.

Of loving, being in love, or being loved. It’s simply a human nature so strong that when it all fails, we are left nothing but a broken mess, shattered piece by piece on the floor.

I like the idea of love being this beautiful pain. People come and go looking for this sweet idea, sometimes willing to make the most difficult sacrifices, and sometimes it’s worth it. At times, though, things go downhill and people will remember about the experience as an important life lesson.

If you ask me, I love it. I love being in love, I love looking for love. I love sitting alone in a cafe and trading shy looks with strangers while thinking about a dozen scenario that can progress between them and me. It’s exciting, even if at the end of the day everything turns out to be just that; an imagination.

It’s such a delightful thing to ponder about, too, when you see a couple by themselves. The way they trade meaningful smirks, inside jokes, the slightest touch. The way they act with one another can be a game for you to ponder who is true and who is not, who will make it and who will not. Then sometimes there are also two souls who are not together, but you can see everything about them gravitates toward each other. These people make your knuckles go white. Why can’t they see that they are right for each other?

I suppose I’m a hopeless and hopeful romantic. I’m the kind that might disgust you the most, even. I’m the kind that appreciate chivalry, flowers, surprises, and wanting people to know that I belong to someone, that I am loved.

All in all, I simply have a positive view on love.

I’d be happy to hear what you think.

Here’s to love

sa

Story Worth Telling

Despite knowing how things are going to end, some people still try working  out what they wish to work on in hope of making a difference and rewriting a new ending.

I’m no different than the rest of the world.

For example, I am a part of someone else’s story, just like how people are a part of my story. How things are going to end up between me and other people are something I can’t foresee if I don’t put my mind on it.

At this moment, I like to think that I am a part of that one chapter that is going to be either the future or the history of someone very dear to me, and I am trying to make peace with myself at how I see where things will end, when it comes down to that.

In the past week, it was something that keeps nagging me in my head. As I turn our stories into pages of papers, as I record every detail that I wish to remember for as long as I could, I decided that despite knowing where we’ll fall, I’ll have the greatest time heading into that cliff, and I willed myself to remember that there should be no regrets coming out of this narrative.

I don’t know how things are going to work out,
but I know it will be a story worth telling about

I promised myself that I’ll be happy with how things are going to turn out in the future.

I got into this understanding who’ll get hurt and who’ll get disappointed, but I also got into this knowing full well that I will regret it if I don’t test the water first. I spent ten months before this living in an oblivion, only to be woken up by a harsh truth that slapped things could have happened if only we made the right choice, and it was a painful realization that I don’t wish to experience again.

I’m content with how things are, and I’m okay if I’m going to get hurt because of it. Some things are just worth more than the pain, and I like to think that I am a part of a narrative that is worth the pain.

I only hope I’m not wrong.

Here’s to regret

Love

When Love Comes Back

Last year, at the tender age of 15, I gave up on the notion of love.

When you live according to a certain rule book, it was extremely challenging to make the most of your life despite certain boundaries that keep you from straying too far. Love is one of the things that I let those boundaries control over, to the point where I let the whole destiny and notion go to the One who has power over it.

It was a cowardice move of mine, I suppose, to let such thing go. But the situation around me was too hopeless for me to do anything about, and so I let things happen the way it should, doing nothing but lean back as I see life unfolds the way it was destined to. Love stayed away from me for a while, and I enjoyed seeing them blossom left and right where I wasn’t concerned.

Until I was reminded of a love that could have happened.

It was a continuous event, one that I was confused with for quite a while. I mean, how do are you supposed to act when a long lost first love of yours show up after six years? Building up to the main event, I was speaking to this man, the first heartbreak and love of mine, who I could not, for one second, forget.

When he suddenly disappeared, I was more relieved than upset. It was a suffocating one week of my life, with me questioning every bit of what went wrong in our non-existent relationship, and I didn’t need that many stress prior to the week that was to come at the time.

When said week came, the next love hit me like a train wreck. It was a story of what could have been, a journey that didn’t happen, and two feelings that grew but kept away for the better of everyone’s sake. When the love revealed itself, I was a sobbing mess, aching for all the things that I could have had but slipped away from my fingers. Every bit of the situation was so heart-wrenching that I still get nausea thinking about it to this day.

At the time, I asked myself, who deserve this? 

Who deserve being presented with love right under their nose when said love got taken away so quickly from them right after? Who deserve the kind of regret that people feel when they wish they could turn back time, return, and redo everything for the better?

The love that presented itself right under my nose made me stop in my track. Before the whole thing happened, I gave up on being in love. Now that small truths are revealed, would I change my course and take control of my own fate? Is that really the wise thing to do? Question after question came, would I wait for said love? Would I still let the One choose my path for me?

Even before this whole thing, I already knew what I wanted.

I want to wait, I want to see where this love can go, at least until I understand what is being put at stake.

—at least until I understand what is being put at stake.

Loveless

Loveless for the Better

Tomorrow, a senior older by two years my age will get her heart broken, for a person very dear to her heart is finally taking a wife.

As a supporter of the proper Islamic marriage, I’ve come to understand to not bat an eyelash at a wedding where neither the husband or wife know each other’s birthday or favorite color. Most of these marriages occur when practicing Muslims need companionship and choose to take wives or husbands without approaching adultery, or dating, as some of you might call it.

A person I know will become a husband tomorrow, and I will be the first person to call crap when he claims to be happy with the arrangement.

But I can’t hate him for his decisions. Never, especially when I am planning on doing the same in near future. Difference is, I’m going to get married without having to cut ties with an old lover.

This is what they mean when they say it’ll happen if it’s meant to be.

It doesn’t sit well with me, knowing he’s going to go through with this marriage with his heart trying to heal from a heartbreak understanding that he’s not marrying the one he loves. It could have happened, you know? He could have had the happy ending that he wanted. All he needed was just to wait.

He couldn’t, though, and I don’t blame him.

At the young age of 19, the world’s temptation was too much, and he chose the halal way out. The girl wasn’t ready, she was working on her dream, and he decided a marriage would only be a distraction.

Again, I don’t blame him. The timing didn’t fit, and whatever force in the universe was against them.

I only hope he can come to love his wife-to-be the same way he loved the girl. I hope he’ll find peace and be happy with the outcome no matter how difficult it is. I hope it all turns out to be a bundle of joy that God has planned for them all.

In the end I applaud him for putting Him first and love second. It was for God, and it was for good.

Zhafiraiha

Abuse of Power in Its Finest

I can’t speak for others, but it’s never in my intention to break dreams and hearts. Of that, I can guarantee.

But do we say what we say in life out of pure revenge? Now that is something I can’t answer without sounding completely selfish.

It’s a bit childish in my part now that I think about it, but hey, it will be one great lie if I say I don’t pour out a heartbreak when I yell at some kids at school. Even someone like me, who’s sworn to never be a hypocrite, must have said a few words that pain others. Of that, I apologize.

When you have the power to lead, you also have the power to oppress. You have an entire power to say what you wish to say, and no one can tell you otherwise in your face. When you let yourself be controlled by that power, the feeling tends to get the best of you. The overwhelming surge is satisfying, I’m sure. It makes you feel so great when you oppress, it makes you feel invincible, and hey, who doesn’t like that feeling of being untouchable?

I have little of that power, just as much as everybody else who’s about become Senior next term, and the oppression has begun.

It’s madness, and I wish everyone can just mind their own business. Being irritated at one person or another is acceptable, we are living in a society where everyone’s belief is different, but when that hate is publicized? That is when things get ugly, and is definitely something that I can’t get behind with.

I wish everyone can see that there is a greater thing to worry about.

I wish everyone can stop and understand how scar may heal but never fades.

I wish everyone can keep their hate to themselves, and perhaps what I’m doing right now is not different, but all I want is for this negativity to stop.

Let things be, let people do things that they believe in. Let’s not get into the middle of something until it hit us in the face. Let’s just all get along.

But hey.

We can’t always get what we want.

And I’m sorry that we’re a long way away from that peace.

In response to: Transformation

Convert

A Thought To Share About Converts

A thought of marrying a convert one day is appealing to me.

I’ve listened to convert stories before, be it from a convert himself or from YouTube. I’ve cried listening to strangers reciting Syahadah for the first time, and I’ve felt joy each time someone admits Islam is the way of life.

I like the idea of someone getting curious, researching, and studying thoroughly about Islam before he or she eventually convert. There’s something mesmerizing about those who wish to seek for the truth. The way a convert can think, or even admit there must be something else in life is a thing that I can’t imagine for myself. I was born Muslim, Islam was taught to me, and I swallowed it whole. I was taught that it was the one, that there was no any other way of living other than being a Muslim.

When converts share stories of how they fell into a wonder-struck moment with each discovery of Islam, I envy the way their eyes widens with amazement, to the point where the eyes go glassy at times. That feeling when they find a new way of life, the way they push their thoughts to look for answers to each new questions, I envy them.

I personally believe they deserve Islam so much more than most people nowadays who take it for granted.

I hope I get to marry a convert who is up for a night-long discussion that reels the mind and exhaust the soul.

A discussion that ends with amazement, awe, and gratefulness towards Him and His way of life.

Here’s to converts, have a great Ramadan!

In response to: Connected

Inspired by: Michael Atwood

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