My cousin brother in-law, Suffiyan had just arrived at our house with maternal cousin sister, Naysa to attend their daughter's convocation ceremony. I am not sure where it is but I am proud to know that the girl is going to further her undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom (UK). She is a wonderful, diligent and quite a polite girl. They drive all the way from Perlis. I am sure it is a tiring journey. She said that she had a hard time studying technical courses for her diploma and her hairs fallen down which is scary for her. The same thing goes to her mother, Naysa. She studies for an undergraduate certificate in education methodology back there in Perlis at her 40s. She said she was deceived when she listens to her friends and she repents. She hates studying in the university, haha. I understood them. I am still in the torturing period of releasing myself from this post-graduate studies. I get some ideas to finish up the thesis from Azren. He came to see me and handing me his copy of thesis as a guide. We discussed a little. Thanks Azren only Allah blesses You for helping me while you are busy with your job and life.
Regret for People's View
Brother Suffiyan managed to get to know me a little during the Friday prayer service and during Night prayer sessions in Zainal Abiddin Mosque. He is around his 40s and he just opened a fish farm. He works for himself as a fish dealer in the village. For Maghreb, my mother had suggested us to pray with brother Suffiyan there since he had never been to the metal mosque. Usually I would just pray at musallas closer to our neighborhood. If I have enough time I could walk to all three out of four musallas here which is counted as an act of ziyarat. My "real" life is quite hidden even to my own family members. As for cousins, for sure they too do not really know me well and I usually would never show my face to people around. We just arrived late at the mosque since there are many traffic lights and junctions to go through.
While in the car we just talked about how sorry our life is when we leave behind our "religion". We would rather choosing the "world" and misguided with the notions that it is the goal. Bro. Suffiyan said that last time he also thought that sending his children to madrasah would make them suffer and living like a beggar in the future. But it was in the contrary as he had seen many religious teachers who established humble madrasas could live happily without having to face anxiety. He regret it but it is already fated by Allah so we could just repair ourselves and get prepared to see Him. My mother said that I should also finished my studies in Shari'a stream and perhaps she should not put me in the religious school in Selangor which had caused me troubles but maybe shifting me to another private madrasah under reliable and specific teachers to guide me. She was busy paying attention to all of her children so she could not properly see what is my tendency, ability and the problems that I had to face while I was the only teenage boy at home. I know she loves me and she had tried all she can but this is also fated by Allah. I would never blame her nor anyone. I was also an immature young teenage. Anyone to be blamed is only myself. Not my mother nor anyone. For now I am actually memorizing, doing exercises with all of my Shari'a kitabs and trying to memorize the Quran while understanding it. When I face problems in these "studies" I would get the assistance of the authority of the kitabs and references. So, brothers and sisters. Don't only study in the website but please at least have some effort to see specific teachers. For ladies, please see female teachers so they could teach and assist you with jurisprudence for ladies. Be respectful to Shari'a field and its teachers just like we respect teachers from other fields.
Last few days, I recalled that I watched a program in Astro channel which I barely could remember its name and the channel name because there are currently two channels for Islamic information. The program featured Ustad Abu Hassan Din who talked about contemporary issues in our society. The issue is about Fardh al-Kifaya and Fardh al-'Ayin and how we differentiate them based on their importance.
Definitions of Fardhu al-'Ayin and Fardhu al-Kifaya
There are from what I understood as I had listened about these since I was a young child. Of course we learned about these and not simply appearing in our mind like from "no where". We perhaps forgotten about these and when we clear our mind only it comes out, hehe.
Fardhu al'Ayin refers to individual tasks or responsibility. They are mostly related to our acts of worship and daily discipline of life. As a Muslim, we must have knowledge about these and we must perform these. It is an obligatory individual responsibility. If one leaves them, he is sinful according to the jurisprudence terms and jurisprudence refers to our structures of path based from the basis of Quran and Sunnah. Examples of these responsibilities are the salat services, tithe for the eight eligible receivers or seeking the knowledge as in general. So, basically it is something which is related to the obligation of every Muslim both male and female.
Fardhu al-Kifaya refers to the obligation or a responsibility of some part of society in order to protect the interest of society. The whole of society will be sinful if nobody performs it or everyone neglecting it. What are the examples? It is divided into two types of field. Firstly, it is related to the earthly studies and jobs for example those related to living skills such as technology, medicinal knowledge or medical, business, management, administration, politics, financial, engineering and others. Secondly, it is related to heavenly one which is the studies and jobs related to the Quran, the Sunnah and the Shari'a.
Framing the Issue
It looks like my European policy thesis now, hehe. In the program that I watched. It shows a conversation of three fathers who are discussing about their children future after their children finished their primary school period. One of them had said that one of a friend in their neighborhood is deciding to send his son to a seminary to memorize the Quran in Kedah state. They commented that the boy is pitiful to have such a backward father and they laughed. They said that the boy has no "certificate" and how could he find job to survive in this "modern" world? Then, one of those fathers interfered saying that what is so weird with the father's measure? He mentions about Fardhu al-Kifaya and Fardhu al-'Ayin and mentions that memorizing Quran is also a Fardhu al-Kifayah while most people only talk about having degrees in fields such as technology, nuclear, petro-bomb and etc. He said to those two laughing fathers: "You two who laughed to others if people asked you to be a praying leader in masjid when nobody could hold the position would be sweating hardly and you just recite simple surats". He further said: "What is wrong with memorizing Quran and having no "certificate" as in the form of paper? It is all about the mental image!"
Jobs related to Shari'a: Quran and Sunnah traditionally was conducted by "poor" people because they are not supposed to ask for "material" gifts and live only according to moderate way of life. The job is not so popular in its name nor glamorous like the earthly ones. It is only known as the da'awa job.
When I was studying in Shari'a streams, we as the students in the class were looked down upon by people who studied the earthly matters until many of us ran to secular studies, losing our faith in our own religion and not even finishing our Thanawi level and leaving behind our gateways to Higher Religious Council papers while it is our responsibility. Those "knowledge" is actually still lingering within us though we're tested by Allah but we just never show it up to people other than we feel low-self esteem.
Nowadays, I feel quite funny when I saw some students in Islamic movements whether those recognized by the Islamic Center or those transnational movements' members talking about religious issues. Or perhaps wearing the turban with "tail" as it is "sunnah". I will explain what is the meaning of this statement later. It is not because I am a "secular" type of person but it is because I left the responsibility since the "studies" is looked down after the introduction of government policies in 1990s and we were the victims of political rantings among those politicians. When I asked those students (except brother Zaidi), they answered me they were almost being sent to this "religious school" or that "religious school" but it ends up they are in schools such as Maktab Rendah Sains Mara or Primary Science Institute because it is more promising in their future and it was their dreams, hehe. They still can be the da'ie by studying in circles around but Shari'a and jurisprudence is not like we snap our fingers.
Say that I studied religion since my kindergarten time until I finished my high school, then I just started to study science or technology studies for example modern medical or engineering and start to learn explanations for complicated formulas when I am quite old because I begin to realize that religious studies is no more relevant in the future and I could only survive with "atomic" formula. Can I speak like a specific teacher in "Science"? It is not wrong to talk about certain issues in Islam but there are also some high issues which could not be discussed by lay men among lay men because it will raise up debates among ignorants.
I just wanted everyone to know, what is our feeling as Shari'a students and I am also representing those non-recognized students in private madrasas in our state who studied Shari'a Islamiah. We had to sacrifice our "future". When we were "cast" into the Shari'a stream, it means that we are fated to hold the obligation by Allah but what happens to some of us who were punished by politicians and society perceptions around? Actually I still can survive living in the village and grating coconut like what the "leader" said to us in his speech broadcasted in the radio around 2001. I have my "religion" to guide me to a happy, less-stressful and peaceful life. Grating coconut is not a bad idea yet I can open up home stay and promote tourism in the village or selling the coconut milk in market while in I have many times to study kitabs, hehe. Those who live in the "modern" world facing fears for survival, having to pay bills, facing higher goods prices with limited salary, fear to be sacked especially nowadays the economy is flopping and so on. The world is also a temporary place for us and it is not our goal. We will have to die and "religion" is only for those who is living. What can we study after we die? hahaha...
Though many people including those in the Middle East are impressed to that 'old leader" but I would have to say sorry and having to disagree! I studied Political Science and International Relation though I was a Shari'a student. I had also experience being a Buddhist in certain points of my life in terms that I practiced Buddhism. The notion of Shari'a students are not at par with students in "Universities" is not practical anymore. I am a Shari'a student and I will continue my studies that I had stopped after I am finished with this thesis, Insha Allah. I had tried to study it again when I was 19 years old by taking the related papers for Shari'a in A-Level. Just after I returned from pilgrimage in Holy Mecca, I drew out from proper school and registered for A-Level with Shari'a papers at the Education Office in Jalan Semarak. But Allah had arranged me until this stage. I don't know how many fellow Shari'a stream students who turned to be like me but I believe many of us are in "secular" streams as the result of what happened in 1990s. One of my maternal nephew who studied with me in the early madrasah that I was sent is a plumber. If you people stumbled here please share your experience. I could also learn from your experiences besides with those who remained in the stream. Everything is in His boundless wisdom.
Brothers and sisters who are blessed by Allah Azza wa Jalla. I am calling myself and also you who accidentally coming by as a fellow Muslim. If you love your children, start educate them with Quran and train them to memorize the glorious Quran. Then teach them with Nawawi Hadiths compilation as a basis for them because each hadith of the compilation is gravely useful for them to survive and enough for them to practice. No need for traditional memorization but only teach them in point forms including with the sources of narration. Important thing is on how it is being "nurtured" in their "heart" because it would shine out in their daily acts.
Regarding young ustad like Ustad Don Danial Biyajid, I am proud to know that there are young educators like him as an example for others and he speaks English well. I had discussed with Azren and he loves the way on how the ustad taught people because we also talked about approaches of da'awa and its presentation to people around. I just used other term when talking with Azren but it is still referring da'awa. Those students from da'awa groups in my university are not really speaking in English. Maybe they thought that I am pretending not to speak Malay with them but I speak and think in "few languages" in real life. Some of those kids who speak in Kedah Malay, I still talked with them in "Hybrid Kedah Malay" because I am fluent in it as compared to "normal" Malay spoken in our capital. What is wrong speaking in English as a medium of da'awa? I am also starting to speak in Arabic again after I completed my fathers' lineage from 17th century down to now and tracing our clan name. Last time Arabic was only my written language and I love the language.
I end up this post with a short Quranic verse meaning on what Allah says related to the da'awa works:
"And the people who works hard in Our courses, indeed We will lead them into Our ways and indeed God is with the good doers" (Surat al-'Ankabut verse 69).
Allah will surely grant these people with happiness, His pleasure and assistance when they try to perform acts of charity. About the turban with tail, it actually refers to a faqih. I saw member in movement for example in Tabligh Jama'at lay men karkuns who wear the turban. Yea, it is a "Sunnah" but based from our understanding as "Shari'a" people and those of mission circle lineages. If you wear the "turban with tail" it shows that people can consult anything related to "jurisprudence" and "religion-life" from you or in the other word you are a faqih, hehe. It is not only Sunnah but it is also with significance. We can wear that and practicing the specific "Sunnah" but only until we reach certain level. That is why I am only wearing the skull cap and not turban. I am not trying to put people down. I believe that it is a good thing to practice Sunnah but we should also know their significance. It is not only about appearance and how we look like. People are taking religion easily and taking it at the "surface" because it is not respected by our own people : )
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!