Saturday, August 11, 2012
Pride and Prejudice
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Assalamualaikum WRT WBT
Good Evening everyone. I am here again, writing again, just before bed, again. I have to admit that it is very hard to concentrate on tripling your ibadah in the 10 last days of Ramadhan when you are allowed 'rest' time for a week. You find you still want to wake up for qiam, but frustrated because you can't do the most closest thing there is to be near Allah -- Solah. Reading the Al-Quran is one of the most powerful healing practices there is, and yet even that you cannot do. *Sigh* Somehow or rather, you have this feeling that you are so far away from Allah. Yet you know, there is always a hikmah behind whatever happens. So I am grateful nonetheless.
So as an alternative to be closer to Allah, I am writing about Him and writing about Islam. May Allah reward me for my efforts.
Being a student has certain advantages, especially when you can converse fluently in English. I've had my fair share of overseas experiences when I was a child -- which explains the writing. But when it comes to conversing with international people during adulthood, I haven't so much to brag about.
I can honestly say that I didn't have even a handful of international friends during high school. After graduating from the.. what word should I use.. ah yes.. After graduating from 5 years of the most stressful and.. let's just say I did NOT enjoy my high school days. After high school, I made friends with a Pakistani origin guy from the US named Ashraf. He was in the US for studies. Good pen pal. But we lost touch when I finally entered university.
During Uni, hmmm we didn't have any international students at our campus. Most of them were Malays. Even though we were an English medium university, that meant that I only spoke with my awesome English lecturers, and ofkos during presentations. Other than that.. nada.
After graduating, I went to Australia for 3 months and it was awesome I tell you. English alllll the way. Even got the chance to converse with native speakers! :D It was proof my English was understandable.
Hey, if you're judging me right now, shame on you. Im not bragging. Im just starting the post from way back when so you'll understand later. And you can't blame me because my first official learning language was English.
And don't anyone DARE say that speaking in English is proof of how 'influenced' one is with western culture. Those who think that doesn't appreciate the beauty of multiple languages, and is questioning Allah's beautiful creation of language. Why on earth would one question and judge based on that. Tepuk dada tanya Iman.
Ok back to the story.
When finally given the chance to further my studies, I was exposed to all sorts of International students. No matter how we try to avoid it, we still define a person's intelligence with their English. If one is able to master English and speak, write fluently, then they MUST be of high intelligence. This situation is in Malaysia ofkos. But that isn't really true. Although I have to admit I kinda think a little like that when it comes to students. Why? Because for countries whose national language is not English, then these students must put in extra effort to master a totally different language. Don't you agree?
As a post grad student, there is a NEED to be good in English. With all the international conferences, and thesis writing, and journal papers to read, and international experts to consult, you cannot run from it no matter how hard you try. This is also the time to build good reputation and network with fellow students (future experts). Which is why we should practice good conversing, always be in a positive attitude and most importantly be friendly by being generous with smiles.
I was invited to attend an iftar for a Muslim networking group named SDNLC (Science Development Network Leadership Centre) in UTM. It is a fairly new official Muslim group with the purpose of gathering future Muslim experts in Science, Engineering, etc so that we will work together in upholding and restoring the Ummah. That's one of the goals InsyaAllah. Would you believe that 16 members of SDNLC are hafiz? I was pleasantly surprised. And proud. These young huffaz were also learning to become engineers. MashaAllah!
Ayah always says that my PR is good. Alhamdulillah, I guess I have a nick at it. Ha ha. Well, not all the time. But when I feel like it, I'd do my best to be as friendly and as interesting as possible. hehhe. Oh come on, don't tell me you don't have days where all you wanna do is be alone. You wanna know my secret? Its sincerity. You have to be genuinely interested to know the answer to a question when you ask it. You have to be sincere in actually wanting to be friends with someone. Faking doesn't work one bit.
I have to admit that, majority of post grad students are friendly. I guess it comes with age. And alhamdulillah, conversation was not a problem. But what got me really concerned was what Hidayah told us.
It was surprising to hear her complain about how annoying Malaysian girls are at smiling. At first I didn't understand, but when she finally brought up the experiences she went thru during her stay here in Malaysia, I felt so ashamed of my race.
What kind of prejudice does one have of international students that they have the audacity to ignore a fellow sister in Islam? Ignoring her when she asks questions, avoiding her and not even smiling when you bump into each other in the corridor. Astaghfirullahalazim. And you call yourselves Muslims?
Islam is for everyone! No matter what race, no matter the colour of one's skin, no matter what language one speaks and no matter where in the world one comes from. Islam is for all. It is syumul and beautiful. And when one says Syahadah, then straight away they are part of this awesome and special family of brothers and sisters who have a stronger bond compared to relation of blood. Therefore, such attitude and treatment of a fellow sister is unacceptable!
So my fellow Malay girls.. If for instance, when a fellow Muslim asks you a question in a language you are not fluent in, all you have to do is smile and layan her as best you can. Just try to be empathetic. How would you feel if you went to a foreign country and conversing with the locals is super hard. How would you want people there to treat you? Be polite for God's sake. If you really don't understand, then just say so. Don't just ignore them and walk away. We as Muslim were taught to be polite and to treat fellow Muslims with respect.
Again, I feel so ashamed. With all the bad experience she had with most of the Malay girls, she was surprised how well she was able to get along with us during Iftar.
May Allah forgive us all for all the disrespectful things we may have done during our lives. Because to gain the love and Rahmah of Allah, we must also take care of our relationship with fellow humans.
I'm sorry if I sound harsh. Im just angry and ashamed.