Saturday, 21 November 2015

Faith

I log into Facebook and my timeline is stifled with news articles and videos of abuse, injustice, violence, things that make me think this world is such a horrid place to inhabit. You may have heard about the massacre that took place across Paris, Beirut, and Syria. Innocent lives were taken mercilessly, people lost their dear & beloved ones to arsenal in a blink of an eye. I read stories of people standing up in solidarity with the nations, people sharing the same sentiment of sympathy towards those affected by the onslaught, people bickering over the point of changing their profile photos in blue, red & white shades, people questioning the selective few sides of the story that the media exposes & the other sides who never got their stories told, people pointing fingers & playing the blame game, people getting verbal abuse & hurtful words thrown in their faces for practising their beliefs, people being pushed to ongoing traffic for no particular reason,

I can go on about the things that make up my Facebook timeline, but they're too devastating for my poor heart to take.

These stories carry one common theme : they've painted a sordid story of humanity.

This whole week I said a little extra prayer every time I went out to commute to uni and back home. With every step I took, I feared about being shunned by people around me. I became wary with my choice of words lest I pull on the wrong strings and inflict unnecessary tension. In the tube while being squeezed in between people's armpits (because, um, I'm.... short petite) during the peak hour, I wondered if the person next to me thinks I'm a threat to the country. I wondered if the person 2 seats away from me during lecture thinks I carry explosives under my scarf to put the lecture hall to shambles, why didn't she sit right next to me? I wondered if someone was going to tower above me in screams simply because of the piece of cloth I put on my head, and everyone else would just be staring, silenced? I tried to maintain a certain distance from people around me.

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I cooked nasi lemak for dinner the other night (1 week+ ago). After dinner, Emma & I went to see Monica - she's the previous tenant of the house who right now lives just 8 minutes away from us - for a special home made nasi lemak delivery. She's been to Malaysia several times before and she's already established the fact that she's a big fan of Malaysian food. And oh God. The look on her face when we brought the nasi lemak to her doorstep!! She had a huuuge grin plastered across her face, profusely thanking us.

Anyway, yesterday she popped by our house to pick up some mail and to return our tupperware. "Oh my God thank you so much for the nasi lemak!!! It's so, so good. Made me feel like I'm in Malaysia! I ate it at work, one of my colleagues was sniffing it but I quickly said na'ah, I don't share food. But thank you so much, Shahirah!!", she said. Her words came out like Central line train, laju gila I had a tough time trying to understand what she was saying hahah. Every sentence went an octave higher than the preceding one, that's how excited she was.

She said that her friends are coming some time next week & she's planning to cook some Caribbean food. "I'll make sure to give some to you guys. Don't worry, it'll be fish and some seasoning, so it'll be alright with you, right??", reassuring me that it'll be halal for us to consume. So kind & considerate of her!! Such a sweetheart, that woman.

Amidst all the things that are happening, I'm just extremely happy that our friendship with Monica is not shaken at all. I came to realise that all the atrocities that are happening currently are just tools for fearmongering, no? The terrorists behind the guns are creating lines to divide us, by instilling fear & mistrust deep within ourselves. They destroy people who do not submit to their ideology. Seeds of hateful ideas are ingrained in my head now thanks to them, resulting in a surge of paranoia. But my distancing myself from people around me will only flourish these ideas. I'm not denying that some violent things are really happening, even in London, even in Leyton (sooo close to where I'm living!!) and I do feel deeply saddened for those victimised by the assaults, be it physical or verbal or whatever. But if I let fear take control and feed my suspicion of whether that person walking next to me is going to abruptly turn to me & spit in my face & push me face first into the ground, I'm giving those extremists & terrorists exactly what they want.

And I do not want them to have their wish granted.

There's no harm in being extra cautious but Islam teaches me to make peace with everyone, regardless of race, religion, skin colour, whatever differences. Islam teaches me to be kind, warm, gentle and compassionate. Islam denounces terrorism, as do other religions I'm sure.

May the lost, perished souls be among those He protects. May the bereaved gain adequate strength to smile again, having lost their beloved ones. May a silver lining manifest itself amidst these grey clouds. Amin :)

No more being paranoid. Time to change






into my pyjamas. Take care, yeoreobun!


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