Eid Mubarak ♡ Selamat Hari Raya!

Eid or in Malay, Raya, is a religious celebration for Muslims to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan. To be quite honest, I still can’t believe that it is Eid already, it felt like yesterday I was in Christchurch where I had my first day of Ramadhan. Nonetheless, I am grateful that Allah has blessed me with another year to fast during Ramadhan so that I can work on my deen (faith).  In saying that, I am grateful for all the blessings that God has bestowed on me during the month of Ramadhan as well as the first couple of days of Shawwal (the month where we celebrate Eid).

The first day of Shawwal is Eid al-Fitr which means ‘feast of the breaking of the fast’. It’s no exaggeration that it is a day of feasting. After our morning Eid prayer (which is done on the 1st day of Shawwal), we would host for people to come over and eat as well as celebrate. Normally we celebrate the first three days or sometimes throughout the month of Shawwal. This year my family and I had our morning prayers at Hamilton Gardens where we ended up going to five different houses to eat and then my family hosted one later on during the day as well. Alhamdulillah, my heart, as well as my stomach, was full with a lot of love by the end of the day.

During this religious celebration, mercy, compassion, love and goodwill are some of the virtues that Muslims share not just with Muslims but with everyone from all walks of life. In Malaysia, we normally say “Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Dan Batin.” which means “Eid Mubarak and please forgive me for any wrong doings.” After the morning prayer, it is a tradition for the children especially to Salaam their parents and ask them forgiveness.

Other traditions include the sighting of the moon the night before to confirm that we can celebrate Eid the next day, preparing for Eid the night before by making traditional meals and sweets (according to one’s own culture), balik kampung (go back to the village of our grandparents), wear traditional or modest clothing and instead of giving presents, we normally give money to children (unfortunately, apparently I am too old for that now).

This year, my mum and I prepared rendang (a dry curry which I must say, was voted the best food in the world), keteput (cubed rice) with peanut sauce or lontong/sayur lodeh (veggies in a turmeric coconut sauce), lemang (glutinous rice which is traditionally cooked in bamboo) and ayam masak lemak (chicken cooked in coconut cream). Unfortunately, the only raya cookie we managed to make was honey cornflake cookies (if I wasn’t busy with exams and other things we would normally make at least five different types of raya cookies). Nonetheless, I am glad that my family was able to host a feast as I love seeing everyone happy where we also got lit playing uno and singing karaoke of raya and Malay classic songs (not very Islamic but we had a joyous time).

Eid/Raya is a time of joy and happiness and I am grateful to have celebrated with family and friends. Alhamdulillah, although the Malay community in Hamilton is small, the celebration to me was still meriah (exciting), in fact, this year has been one of the best rayas that I have had in a while.

Lastly, please forgive me for anything I have said or done intentionally or unintentionally and I pray for everyone a peaceful Eid where we celebrate with love and compassion. And may God bless us with His love and compassion. Ameen.

Forgiveness For a Peace of Mind

I am pretty sure that all of us have been hurt by someone in our lives. They could have done something unacceptable to you or had said some unpleasant things. But again, how they treat you is a reflection of who they are or even how they treat themselves. So that is why I don’t take things personally with people. Although they might hurt you, it may be because they are going through their own problems that they don’t know how to deal with otherwise.  It doesn’t give them the right to treat you the way that they treated you but it is true when they say that hurt people, hurt people.

The Buddha says that “if you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another”. I have to admit that when I didn’t love myself, I hurt others with the truth to make myself feel better. However, I’ve genuinely asked for forgiveness from God first and then from the person. If the person doesn’t accept my sincere apology then it becomes their own problem and no longer mine because I did what I could to make terms better with them.

You forgive people not because you want to forgive them. You forgive them for yourself so that you can be happy, have a peace of mind and to also let yourself move forward. Also, you can forgive but you don’t have to forget. Take how people treat you as a lesson and then you can be wiser for it to not happen again. Confront them and tell them that what they said or did was unacceptable. You don’t need to wait for them to apologise to you, just forgive them already. Again, the quicker you forgive them, the quicker it is for you to move on, be happy and have a peace of mind. Plus, you will then be the bigger person and remember, people reap what they sow, so what goes around will always come back around. God knows what people have done, they can run as fast or as far as they want, but it will always catch up to them in the end.

In Islam, forgiveness is a virtue where we are reminded to be forgiving and ask for forgiveness. God is the Most Merciful and the more mercy you have towards other human beings, the more merciful He is to you. The Prophet Muhammad have said, “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.” Therefore, this is just another reason why we should forgive the person who has hurt us.

I know that sometimes it is not easy to forgive people who have done you wrong but you need to do it for yourself. There is no point in holding onto something that makes you feel upset or bad. But you have every reason to have happiness, a peace of mind and for you to move forward in life.

N.B: You might not take his video thumbnail seriously but I highly recommend you to watch this video by Infinite Waters:

Or watch a shorter video from Oprah’s Life Class:

 

Ramadhan: The basics you should know.

Eight days has already passed in the month of Ramadhan. Alhamdulillah, already God has blessed me so many times and my life has been really peaceful. Thus, I am really grateful to Allah, God.

Last night at the Malay gathering to break the fast, someone gave a Khutbah (religious talk) about the deeper meaning of fasting. From what I understood, Ramadhan is the time to attain Taqwa, which is closeness to God and to be thankful to Allah.

Nonetheless, here are some basic things that I think you should know about Ramadhan:

  1. Ramadhan is one of the pillars of Islam and thus is it compulsory for Muslims to do.
  2. We fast from sunrise to sunset. Alhamdulillah, this year has been easy in New Zeland as we fast from around 5:50 am until around 5:15 pm. So we fast about 12 hours a day whereas places such as Norway fast for 20 hours a day.
  3. We are not allowed to eat any food or drink any beverages.
  4. We are not allowed to have anything come inside of our bodies. Thus we are not allowed to smoke, however, we are allowed to brush our teeth as it is makrooh (disliked but still permissible).
  5. The time before we fast for the day is called Suhoor and the time that we break our fast is called Iftar.
  6. There is an Islamic calendar where Ramadhan is the ninth month. Ramadhan starts when there is a moon sighted and it ends when the moon is sighted again. This month normally lasts for 29-30 days. After this month we do a prayer in the morning and we celebrate Eid.
  7. During Ramadhan, Muslims are obliged to pay zakat (charity) as it also one of the five pillars of Islam.
  8. The people excused from fasting are women for are menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding and anyone who is chronically ill. However, the days you have missed, you need to pay back by fasting some other time before Ramadhan starts again in the following year.
  9. The month of Ramadhan is a time where Muslims have to improve their character where gossiping/ backbiting, lying and fighting or arguing are not allowed during this month.
  10. Laylat al-Qadar is one night during the last ten odd days of Ramadhan. During this night, the blessings and mercy of God are abundant where sins are forgiven and prayers are accepted. It is also the time when the annual decree or fate is revealed to the angels who also descend to the earth.

Previously, I mentioned that Ramadhan is a month where Muslims try to attain closeness with God. This can be done by praying extra prayers such as Taraweeh, reciting the Quran and the doing more dhikr (remembrance of God).

The time of Ramadhan humbles me and it really does remind me to be grateful. There are so many people who are starving with no food to eat and by fasting, I get a sense of what they would go through on a regular basis. If you are not in poverty or have food to eat, be thankful; there are billions of people that would love to be in your shoes right now. Poverty is evident and it is everywhere around the world, including New Zealand, where children are starving. As human beings, if you are able to help, you should help- even if it is one person you are helping or if you only have a couple of cents to spare. You can start helping by making sure that your neighbour has enough to eat, or you can donate money to the charity of your choice or you could even give a loaf of bread to someone begging in the streets. There is no need to give hundreds or even thousands, you just need the intention to help humanity.

Lastly, I wish my fellow Muslims a blessed and peaceful Ramadhan. And to all my fellow Muslims in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan who are suffering from the famine, I pray that Allah gives you mercy.

N.B: May Allah forgive me if I had said anything incorrect as I am not a Muslim scholar and just an ordinary Muslimmah.

 

 

 

 

Fashion Philosophy: Autumn in Christchurch

I have to admit that I have been overthinking for the past couple of months. And they were racing thoughts that would leave me dizzy and exhausted. From this, I said and did a few petty things that I’m not proud of. Some might say that I showed my true colours. Well, I know who I am and whatever you think of me or anyone, is a reflection of who you are. That is why we should always seek the good in others.

Nonetheless, to address my overthinking, I learnt how to breathe, I now focus on the present moment, I remind myself to be grateful and I also take walks or surround myself with nature. I have also been ‘diving deep’ with @infinitewaters, a psychologist who is super amazing and funny.

Your thoughts may oppress you from becoming the best version of yourself but you still hold the power to liberate the colours you wish to paint with your own paintbrush. So make it admirable.

Be easy on yourself because everything will be okay.

IMG_7900

 

Coat: @kathmandugear #kathmandugear

Shirt: @dotti_squad #wearedotti #dottisquad

Jeans: @max_fashions

Shoes: @converse_anz

Handbag: @michaelkors

Hijab: @scarfdujour.co #sdjootd

 

Conversations On a Plane: Ode to Jetstar

This weekend I travelled alone and flew to Christchurch for an Amnesty International Hui. Let’s just say that my 11:30 am flight was delayed, then cancelled and so I had to change my flight and then it was delayed again. Because of the fog in Christchurch, I had to wait at the airport for six hours. Rather than getting pissed at the world or at Jetstar for their bad customer service, I changed it to an opportunity for me to do my assignment.

I had to remind myself that sometimes we do face times where things do not go how we want it to but we need to be resilient by responding rather than reacting. By responding we could achieve things that we thought that we could never achieve or progress in. But by reacting we do not achieve anything and it could make the situation a whole lot worse or stagnant.

Nonetheless, I must also say that it is rather interesting to talk to strangers or ask for a stranger’s help. As a child, we have always been told to not talk to strangers. It’s only because our intuition as children about people are not yet developed and as we age, it does (well hopefully). I must admit that I am naive at times and I am too trusting and that I don’t ‘judge a book by its cover’ but I am still cautious when it comes to talking to strangers. As a rule, I only do so when I am in a busy environment with a variety of other people and that they could hear me when I do.

Since I was travelling alone, I had asked a couple of people to look after my luggage for a short while. One time I had asked a lady with big curly hair who was on her laptop to look after my stuff while I went to get coffee nearby. Little did I know that I would be sitting right next to her on the plane and I am so grateful that I did.

While on the plane, I noticed that she was writing in a journal and I asked if she was writing poetry. She was. The delays and the cancellation of her flight inspired her to write a new poem called: ‘Ode to Jetstar’. It turned out that she was a published poet and that she was invited to perform in Christchurch. Not only was she invited to perform in Christchurch but she was invited to perform a poem in front of Queen Elizabeth the Second in England in 2016. Then from the beginning of the flight until we landed at Christchurch, we were talking and discussing a range of things endlessly. And I loved every minute of it.

The lovely lady I met was Selina Tusitala Marsh and she is a Samoan where her last name ‘Tusitala’ means storytelling. Later on in her life, she realised her last name fits perfectly with her truth in life because her collection of poems tells a story. She is also a lecturer at Auckland University and has been a TEDx speaker.

We talked about identity, indigenous people, culture and ethnicity, cultural-clashes, stereotyping, stigma, how we need to change the perspectives of people and what we could do to be agents of change and empowerment. We also discussed being creative, consistent and getting published and what publishers are looking for as well as other amazing poets or poems that we love. In general, we talked about a lot of interesting topics that really resonates with me. By the end of our conversation, I was really enlightened and I was also grateful to have met an inspiring as well as an empowering woman. In fact, I aspire to be like her.

Although we were tired from the long day waiting at the airport, we appreciated being able to laugh and talk about things that we were both passionate about by the end of the night. It reminded me to appreciate like-minded or inspiring people because they remind me of the values and the truths that I have.

I think that it is so crucial to meet like-minded and inspiring people because sometimes you surround yourself with people that won’t help you get anywhere in life and this is so true for many young people. Sometimes you need to ask yourself if the people you are with are serving you or stopping you from achieving your full potential. But maybe you should ask yourself if you are that friend or stranger that gives people a new perspective on life or if you are that person who lifts people up, rather than putting them down.

Selina Tusitala Marsh was selected to perform a poem in front of the Queen: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/waiheke-westminster-kiwi-poet-performing-queen

 

 

Hey, Listen to Your Emotions…

The other day a good friend of mine sent me this picture as he thought that it could help. I have to admit that I have been feeling all of those emotions lately but the picture did make me feel better for feeling all of those things.

I have bitterness towards the people who treated me wrong. I have resentment to the things I knew but didn’t want to accept. I have discomfort to the things that trigger past experiences and memories. I have anger towards other people and myself because I trusted them and I keep forgiving them. I have disappointments every single time I think that they have changed or are changing but in reality, they are still the same or even worse than I thought that they were. I have guilt for the pettiness that I have and the reactions that I had in response to situations where I let my emotions take over. I have shame for the things that I said and did or did not do. I have anxiety from overthinking and from people and things that trigger bad memories. And I have sadness for everything that has happened which I know I never deserved.

For the past couple of months, although I always try to look for the good in people, I realised how horrible people can be. Even the ones that you care and love the most. And I can really say that it’s heartbreaking. But I realised that I don’t want my heart to be or get broken anymore. I just had enough. To the point where I am now numb. Numb from anything else that they could do to me. I’m not saying that I will let myself be a doormat and let them walk all over me and my feelings- you should never let yourself be a doormat. What I am saying is that I will just walk away from them or try to distance myself from them as much as possible. It’s not the matter of me avoiding the situation. I’ve dealt with it for longer than I should and no matter how hard I try, nothing has progressed. And so right now I feel like there is nothing worth holding on to anymore.

Although I felt better about feeling those emotions, I don’t want to remain stuck in them. So I am letting go. Of anything and everything toxic. On things that no longer serve me, upsets me or doesn’t make me want to be a better person. I’m letting go because I love myself and respect myself. Because if I don’t let go, then I limit myself to becoming the best version of myself and I will remain stuck on emotions that I feel will slowly destroy me.