Left, right, left, right, center-right, center-left, center-center?

July 16, 2008 at 10:47 pm (Islam, Politics)

I was just watching the ‘Debat’ (debate) program on TVOne earlier (isn’t that station coming along nicely? There’s a real rival to metro there I think) about Syariat Islam in Indonesia. There were some interesting points made, and I got a few more things out of the debate which more or less still serve to confirm my suspicions about both sides involved.

Once again (as I’ve mentioned previously with media debates on things like this), the media has gone out of its way to pick two sides completely opposed to one another, with the first section being the Crescent Star Party (PBB) vs. The National Awakening Party (PKB), and the second part with Crescent Star backing up against the Liberal Islam Network (JIL). PBB here was meant to represent ‘Islam’ (or psychotic Islam, depending on which side of the ideological divide you fall), while PKB/JIL was meant to represent the ‘nationalist’ (or fluffy wonderful tolerance/liberalism once again depending) side. What makes this of particular interest is that the PBB itself is fairly insignificant in the parliament (and has even had to disband and reform because it did not pass the electoral threshold in the last election), so why was it chosen over a more established ‘Islamic’ party such as the United Development Party (PPP) or even arguably the future largest Islamic party in Indonesia, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)? I can accept PPP not being of interest because they don’t have much to say about syariat Islam anymore (in fact its kind of difficult to discern if they are really a relevant party of any stripe anymore), and the only reason I can think of why PKS wasn’t invited is because the party itself seems to be going through the motions of whether it supports syariat Islam or not. Then again maybe both were called and they couldn’t participate.

Another thing I noticed was that both sides were landing punches, but were mostly too blinded by their own respective ideologies to be consistent in any way. The PKB/JIL side carried on about how terrible syariat Islam based bylaws in places like Tangerang have been, yet as was rightly pointed out by the PBB side these laws have not been brought in by Islamic parties but rather by nationalist parties or regional heads associated with nationalist parties (uh oh). Then again PKB/JIL pointed out quite rightly that Islamic parties certainly weren’t going out of their way to oppose these laws (uh oh again). Meanwhile for all the PKB/JIL carrying on about how there shouldn’t be local regulations based on particular religions, there was little to no response regarding how Bali completely shuts down for nyepi, causing great inconvenience to anyone who happens to be a non-Hindu (turn on the lights and they’ll be more than happy to hurl a stone at you to get you to turn it back off). On the one hand PBB couldn’t admit that syariat Islam had failed in certain regions (or even that there were failed attempts at versions of syariat Islam), while on the other hand PKB/JIL were so concerned with drilling syariat Islam for all it was worth, they skipped over facts (the nationalist connection in local syariat Islam bylaws) as well as the fact that other religious communities sometimes have local regulations of their own (Hindus in Bali).

The thing which ended up being the final straw for me though was when the JIl representative (didn’t catch the name at the bottom of the screen, but I’m fairly sure it was Luthfie Assyaukanie) said that his ‘advice’ to Islamic parties was that they had to become like parties in the West. In the West they would be (at the moment) be classed as ‘right’ or ‘far right’ parties, and if they wanted to have any relevance in politics they needed to ‘move to the center’ and at least become center right. There were two things which immediately bothered me about this.

The first was even if Islamic parties were to move to the ‘center-right’, I’m not completely sure that Luthfie and co would recognise this as being the case, considering just how far left of the spectrum they themselves are. The example I’ve seen of this myself is the PKS who, despite still being solidly on the ‘right’, have definately started to take steps towards the center. You need only look at how different the party is today to when it first started out in 1999 (Mathias Diederich from Germany has done studies on the PKS before and shows it up quite nicely). Though you certainly wouldn’t hear anything like this from JIL or Luthfie, as for all they’re concerned the PKS hasn’t changed a bit, and even if there is any talk of change this is only a conspiratorial smokescreen to hide the party’s ‘true’ intentions of ‘Talibanizing’ Indonesia (mwa ha ha). In sum, for JIL and Luthfie, anything to the right of they themselves is still too far to the right.

The second was the (seeming) lack of knowledge about politics in Western countries at the moment. One would think that people like Luthfie and JIL who have a lot of contact with the West, both in terms of the fact that many have studied in Western countries in the sense that their organisation shares a similar philosophical approach to politics, would know that one of the basic political trends in these countries at the moment is that of support for conservative (or ‘right’) parties. In fact people like JIL, perhaps as much as they would like to think otherwise, would struggle to have their views taken seriously just as much in Western societies at the moment as they do in Indonesia (though perhaps without threats of direct violence against them) because Western societies are becoming increasingly conservative themselves. One need only see in Australia how one of the main factors behind the change in government in the last election was that the Australian people found an alternative government that was still more or less presenting itself as conservative. In a similar vein, we can look at the current U.S. election and see how such a big deal is being made of both Senators McCain and Obama having to appear sufficiently ‘conservative’ with regards to foreign policy in particular, lest they be seen as ‘anti-American’. Italy and France currently have conservative leaning governments as well, and the UK Labour party has itself only managed to stay in power so long because it has presented itself as being sufficiently conservative so as not to lose ground to the Tories. I doubt that JIL would be pleased if Islamic parties were to become ‘center right’ parties like those currently doing well in Western countries. Rather Luthfie and JIL seem to be referring to some ‘ideal’ state of affairs (that is to say, one which is in total agreement with their own philosophy and view on politics) which they say exists in the West when it actually doesn’t.

It probably seems I’m coming down a bit hard on JIL and movements like it in Indonesia (again) and going soft on Islamic revivalist movements and parties (again also). This though is largely because I expect the latter to be conservative and tossers (at times), because thats what they do. I certainly don’t expect similar blinkered views (the only difference being looking through ‘left-wing’ blinkers rather than ‘right-wing’ blinkers) from people who have had a solid higher education and have been exposed to mature, (mostly) functioning democracies.

This debate I was watching only served to once again reaffirm what I’m seeing time and time again from the loudest elements of Indonesian Islamic society (both ‘right’ and ‘left’): that neither are interested in providing real solutions to issues (such as the issue of syariat Islam in general and formalization of it in the form of bylaws) and that both are only interested in promoting their own ideological stance even if this means ignoring facts or any kind of real middle ground.

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Ahmadiyah and the Catholic Experience

July 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm (Indonesian Culture, Islam)

In some ways its a bit frustrating that you have to start with a disclaimer. Perhaps it has something to do with the extent to which some Muslims today truly do feel insecure about their own religiosity as well as that of fellow Muslims. Nonetheless in order to avoid any unnecessary controversy (there’s enough of the real stuff around), here goes:

I am not a member of the Ahmadiyah community. Nor do I believe they can seriously be considered Muslims as long as they claim that there is another prophet (Mirzan Ghulam Ahmad) after the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an and the Prophet himself were fairly clear about the idea that he was the last in a line of messengers sent by God, and that his job was to tie up loose ends and bring (at least revelation) to a conclusion. To be perfectly honest Islam offers a broad scope for interpretations regarding any number of teachings (one need only see the different madhab in Sunni Islam, and even then the different groups and interpretations within each madhab as proof of this), but the basics are pretty clear. God is one. Muhammad was the last Prophet.

So why the controversy over Ahmadiyah in Indonesia? From the debates I’ve seen (although television debates too are admittedly designed to be as adversarial as possible, to make them interesting), I see more and more proof that Islam in Indonesia is slowly being ripped in half by two opposing extremes, neither of which is offering a clear forward path for the Muslim community either in Indonesia or in the world.

On the one hand its embarrassing to see some (admittedly not all) ‘liberal’ Muslims trot out one after the other to try and make theological justifications for the Ahmadiyah community’s claim they are ‘Muslims’. Most of this argument is centered around the groups claim that they really are Muslims, they solat like everyone else, its just that they have a different interpretation of the concept of prophethood.

That of course is a nice sentiment and has more to do with the liberal Muslim project of developing ‘inclusive’ Islam than with any real commitment to the Ahmadi understanding of prophethood (as far as I know most ‘liberal’ Muslims are not Ahmadis). While these sentiments are noble, they are ultimately wasted as the broad majority of the Muslim community accepts the common sense understanding of prophethood which is that the Prophet Muhammad was the final messenger and represented the conclusion of revelation. As a result anyone else coming along claiming to bring new revelation is generally considered to have already deviated from Islam.

What is equally embarrassing is the reaction of conservative, radical and vigilante Islamic groups. While at least grasping the idea that the Ahmadiyah, for all their similarities, differ on rather vital points of theology with Islam and thus can not be considered Muslims, the way they go about handling this is an absolute joke. Things started with calls for the group to be banned in the country, generating concern amongst other non-Muslims (Christians in particular) wondering if they would be next, and since have culminated in the ultimate low point of seeing FPI thugs chasing down veiled women who were participating in a religious freedom protest.

Much like liberal Muslims however, conservative, radical and vigilante Islamic groups have no great interest in the Ahmadiyah itself, but rather in promoting their own political agenda, and their reaction is guided by this. As much as they attack liberal Muslims for focusing too much on ‘unimportant discourse issues’ such as religious freedom rather than more ‘pressing’ issues such as poverty and the price of petrol, conservative Muslim’s obsession with sects (and their destruction) shows they waste just as much, if not more, time on ‘unimportant’ issues. The goal of conservative groups is to strengthen their own political position in society by shoring up support at the grassroots level. The Ahmadiyah issue merely conveniently plays into this running agenda.

It’s at times like this I’m reminded of my previous faith in Catholicism. Though I am now a Muslim I have by no means any hard feelings against Catholics or the Catholic religion (perhaps a topic for another post, but unlike some other Muslim converts I haven’t seen my conversion as a ‘break’ from the past but rather as part of an evolutionary process), and for all its faults in the past, the Catholic Church nowadays generally deals quite sensibly with breakaway Christian movements.

Although in the past it has acted like some conservative Muslims do today, nowadays, rather than going about trying to have other Christian movements banned, the Catholic Church merely states they are not a part of the Church and that Catholics should not follow their teachings. Done. Simple.

Why can’t Muslims take this same approach? Not only does it protect the basics of Islamic teachings, but it does so without reducing the community to looking like medieval raving lunatics. The benefits are obvious, yet nobody seems to be interested.

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Home (and how much it has changed)

May 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm (Me) (, , )

So I have finally arrived ‘home’. For much of the trip to here, I was actually surprised how there was any lack of feeling. I don’t know whether this is because I know I’m only going to be here two weeks, or whether this place has at least temporarily ceased to be what it once was in my mind.

The former has some weight in my mind. There’s no point in getting worked up about being ‘home’, as I’m really not going to be here long. The fact that I have been on more planes in the past five years than I had been on my entire life previous (which wasn’t too hard to top, as I had only been on a ‘big plane’ once before), has partially dulled my senses to travel. It’s a regular part of life for me at the moment. Being in places of previous great emotional attachment (‘home’ and Jogja as the most recent examples) also doesn’t seem to have the same buzz as it once did. I think being 2 years in Jakarta has more or less made it my temporary home in my mind. I’m the kind of person who honestly doesn’t like changing my residency a lot, but if I do have to, I eventually end up establishing pretty strong roots there.

The latter factor of this place, ‘home’, not being what it once was is also having a strong effect on my mind. I look at it now. Some people have moved to another city, another state, even another country (like me). Its not like the days of old where Friday night was a good gathering of regulars. So few of the regulars now exist in this place. This place is not the place I remember from five years ago, and thats the natural way of things.

This is in contrast to Indonesia and in Jakarta everything is fresh and as it should be. My wife is with me at home. My friends at the office are all there every day. My neighbours in the kos are always around for a chat. I have Friday prayers as normal (now). Bulan puasa is coming up in the future. It’s been my world of the past few years, and if anything it has become a picture of the world as it should be for me.

The main reason I’m here is to find out about the possibility of employment here. Should I end up getting a job here, it is inevitable I will (at least for the time being) return to here. I will need to re-find home all over again, and while I’m sure I will be able to, it will nonetheless take some time. If anything this trip is opening my eyes to that fact. All those charts which we always saw at volunteer briefing sessions and even on ACICIS about the original home sickness of moving to a different country (which I didn’t really experience all that much as I managed to effectively counter it), and the reverse sickness of returning home really do exist. Though its not so much about how leaving the place which you have come to (temporarily) call home, as much as it is also about how much your ‘old home’ has changed.

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Ayat-Ayat Fitna 1: Al-Anfal [8]:60

May 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm (Islam) (, , , , , , )

While it’s not a translation, I did feel like adding some comment pieces on chapters in Quraish Shihab’s book, “Ayat-Ayat Fitna” which is a response to the youtube video ‘Fitna’ brought out by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders. In this post I’m looking at Quraish Shihab’s take on the first verse used in the video.

Al-Anfal [8]:60

“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly” (translation from USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts, Yusuf Ali)

Presentation of the Verse in “Fitna”: The above verse is read out with pictures of the 9/11 attacks and the Madrid and London bombings playing in the background.

Quraish Shihab’s Interpretation of the Verse itself:

On the verse itself, he says that the the word “turhibun” which has been translated as ‘terror’ originates from the base word rahiba which means ‘fear’. This term itself has come in recent times to be used as a word for terrorist, as in Arabic terrorists are referred to as irhab. Despite these recent developments however, the original term in the Qur’an was aimed, not at causing fear for ordinary people or innocents, but rather to generate fear amongst the enemies of God and the enemies of the community.

The verse itself can not be properly understood if it is separated from the preceding five verses which read:

“[55] For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him: They will not believe. [56] They are those with whom thou didst make a covenant, but they break their covenant every time, and they have not the fear (of Allah). [57] If ye gain the mastery over them in war, disperse, with them, those who follow them, that they may remember. [58] If thou fearest treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allah loveth not the treacherous. [59] Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them).”

Here verse 55 describes the worst creatures in the sight of God as being those who reject him, and clarifying that these people are those who always break their promises or treaties. It is these kinds of people that if you meet them in battle (emphasis in Shihab’s book) they should be ‘broken up’ (diceraibelaikan in the Indonesian, and emphasized) along with whoever is behind them so that they learn their lesson. It is important to note here that the goal is not to kill, but to make them learn their lesson.

Verse 58 then clarifies further saying that treacherous parties are not to be attacked until after a treaty is cancelled and clarification of this end of the treaty is given. Attacking a party which has violated a treated before said treaty itself is cancelled is forbidden, even against enemies. Verse 59 then talks about how said treaty violators believe they can escape God’s punishment for their deeds. By linking verse 59 with verse 60, it calls on Muslims to follow the laws of cause and effect whereby if a treaty is violated and then officially cancelled, they must prepare themselves for war. The reason behind these preparations is to strike fear into the enemies of God. As part of these preparations, it is only natural that resources will be needed, and as a result Muslims are called on to provide whatever they can to assist the effort.

Quraish Shihab’s interpretation of the verse in relation to ‘Fitna’:

Firstly he points out that the main focus of lining up the images with this verse is the use of the word ‘terror’. The combination of the images and this particular verse are designed to give the impression that Islam by its very nature condones what we know today as modern terrorism.

As pointed out above the original Arabic does indeed have connotations of fear, however this is not at all related to modern terrorism. In fact the verse is intended to call on Muslims to set themselves up as a deterring force in a situation like this, whereby they are called on to provide a show of force to deter enemies from acting aggressively. The ‘show of force’ element here is related to the use of the word ‘power’ (Quwwah) which does not mean to use power to destroy, but as a display of strength to cause fear amongst enemies. An enemy by definition is someone who would do harm to those he has enmity for, and as a result, if someone is not classed as an enemy there is no need for this kind of tactic (deterrent force) to be used against them.

Finally it needs to be noted that the use of arms in self-defense of a region, religion and state is not the same as terrorism.

My own understanding:

I can see where he’s getting at, though at times the Indonesian can sound a bit worse than it actually is, especially when you’re talking about very non-secular-friendly terms such as ‘enemies of God’.

Firstly once again its all about context. Pulling a verse out of the hat and using it to prove something is pretty dodgy, considering our old friend Geert hasn’t told us anything about why said verse was revealed (does he even care?). When we get to reading the background behind verse 60 (particularly the five verses preceding it), we find that this is not just some random call to go out and kill people left right and center. Rather its in the very specific case of when treaties are broken, its only a natural flow on effect from that that preparations for war will be made.

As for this deterrent effect being directed at ‘enemies of God’, this is hardly a theological call to go out and kill followers of religion X which is not Islam. Instead it’s quite clearly explained that what is meant by ‘enemies of God’ in this case are those who have previously had a treaty with a community (in this case Muslims) but cancel it in preparation for an act of aggression.

We can look for example when Nazi Germany finally trampled on the last vestiges of the Versaille treaty that Allied European nations began preparing for war. If someone voluntarily ends a treaty on their own in this kind of way, it inevitably raises questions about what they’re up to and the distinct possibility (as was proven in the case of Nazi Germany) that they are gearing up for an attack.

Perhaps the next thing which might be asked somewhat incredulously by a skeptic is why go to all the trouble of preparing for war if in the end its only a show of power and you’re not going to crack any skulls? In actual fact, shows of power as a means of causing fear or a lack of desire to go to war are far more common than war itself. Though a lot of countries for example hate the United States, none dare to go to actual war with it due to the massive display of power it can put on, and puts, on constantly.

Ultimately the fact is that this is a verse about self-defense and treaties, rather than a verse sanctioning terrorism or terrorist acts. Once you delve into understandings of the essence of what is going on, its hardly calling on Muslims to attack non-Muslims, but rather explaining that those who are ‘the enemies of God’ are those who pull out of treaties they had originally signed on for in order to prepare for an attack on their former treaty partner. Furthermore Muslims are told to not just sit there and do nothing while a former friend turns to foe (let alone a religious community, no country does this either), but rather to prepare themselves for the worst, and with any luck create a situation where a sneak attack, and by extension conflict, can be avoided. People don’t like backstabbers nor does God in this respect.

Of course this is not something which just has to be explained to non-Muslims, but also to Muslims themselves.

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Ayat-Ayat Fitna

May 13, 2008 at 12:57 am (Islam) (, , , , , , , )

Sadly at the moment this is only for Indonesian-language capable human beings. A good read from Quraish Shihab, an Indonesian expert on tafsir (interpretation of Qur’an and Hadits) regarding the Qur’anic verses used in Geerts Wilders’ ‘Fitna’ youtube job (I refuse to call it a ‘film’ or ‘documentary’, as either of those would require at least some effort in production values). He even points out that in some cases previous or following verses of those used in the video provide a proper context which is necessary to really understand what is being said. In the case of one verse it, was even chopped in half with the latter section being excluded totally from the movie (perhaps not ‘violent’ enough for Wilders?).

Shihab’s response is the kind of response which is needed more from Muslims rather than running around like chooks with their heads cut off every time someone says something even mildly critical of Islam. Its quite simple, rather than playing the victim card and expecting to be able to use that as a license to riot and burn things, Muslims have to have more confidence in themselves and enough faith in their religion to be able to take things in their stride and come up with real responses, and real solutions for problems facing the community and human beings in general today. Quraish Shihab is someone who understands this, and for that I for one thank him for his valuable response.

I’m hoping to translate chapters and post them up here in the near future. Check back later!

Click to download Ayat-Ayat Fitna

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Stay of ‘execution’

May 13, 2008 at 12:08 am (Me) (, , )

I’ve got another six months in Indonesia so it turns out now. I’m somewhat relieved as I can spend a bit more time here, and see a few more things and still get to be with friends I’ve grown attached to. But at the moment it still does feel precisely like the title says it does, the delaying of the inevitable.

At least I have time to have a good think about more stuff to put in here!

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Dengarkanlah and Listen…

May 12, 2008 at 11:54 pm (Indonesian Culture) (, , , , )

I’ve really enjoyed some Indonesian songs since I’ve been here. Even the most mainstream of songs seem to tower over similar mainstream offerings from my own culture. Maybe it’s just the language which gives them the lyrics power which otherwise isn’t there. Even so I feel that (while somewhat diminished), even in a translated form they are great. Here’s a sample from a song which has been following me everywhere as of late:

———————————————————————————————

Letto – Permintaan Hati

Terbuai aku hilang terjatuh aku dalam
Keindahan penantian
Terucap keraguan hati yang bimbang
Yang terhalang kepastian cinta

Aku hilang
Aku hilang

…..

Dengarkanlah permintaan hati yang teraniaya sunyi
Dan berikanlah arti pada hidupku
Yang terhempas yang terlepas
Pelukanmu bersamamu dan tanpamu aku hilang selalu

Letto – Heart’s Request

Oblivious I’m lost, falling in
The beauty of waiting
The hesitation of a nervous heart is spoken
A heart tied by the certainty of love

I’m lost
I’m lost

…..

Hear the request of my silently tortured heart
And give meaning to my life
Flung aside and disconnected
Your embrace, with you and without you I’m always lost.

———————————————————————————————

A bit wordy at times (my own lack of ability most likely in this medium – i.e. Music), but its still there. Well it is for me at least.

Ungu’s agnostic “Andai Ku Tahu” (If I Knew) is great in the original Indonesian, but perhaps falls off a bit in the English, due to the simplicity of the message. What is actually a soft message in the Indonesian perhaps seems even fundamentalist in the English.

———————————————————————————————

Ungu – Andai Ku Tahu

Andai ku tahu
Kapan tiba ajalku
Ku akan memohon Tuhan tolong panjangkan umurku

Andai ku tahu
Kapan tiba masa ku
Ku akan memohon Tuhan jangan kau ambil nyawaku

Aku takut akan semua dosa-dosaku
Aku takut dosa yang terus yang terus membayangiku

Andai ku tahu
MalaikatMU kan menjemputku
Ijikan aku mengucapkan kata taubat padaMU

Ungu – If I Knew

If I knew
When my life was to end
I would ask God to grant me a longer life

If I knew
When my time is up
I would ask God to not take my life

I fear all my sins
I fear the sins which shadow me constantly

If I knew
When Your angel was to come to me
Allow me to repent to You.

———————————————————————————————

The power of language greatly shapes feelings.

When I bend down to pray, saying “Allahu akbar”, its a statement of my humility before the creator. That God is so far beyond what I, or any other mortal being, can possible imagine.

God is greater than all

From the mouths of some though, it is a blood-curdling statement, dripping with hatred and the feeling that they are not proclaiming God’s greatness, but their own.

I am greater than all!

The same words, but completely different uses, meaning and feeling. If I tell people that every time I pray I say those words over and over again, what do they think? Do they see the first picture or the second in their mind when they hear those words?

Even benign words and their use can cause problems.

When I speak with Indonesians, using “Insyaallah” when asked about my plans for the future, or even saying “Alhamdulillah” when someone asks me how I am doing seems completely natural. Yet using these same words when speaking to people from my own country feels like (especially in the current climate) throwing up an instant barrier between myself and whomever I am talking to.

Yet another of the challenges you take on when straddling cultures.

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My Wedding

April 24, 2008 at 8:54 am (Me) (, )

I’ll start off with an easy one. Probably the most important day I had since I have been here.

A lot of people talk about how their wedding was the most special day of their lives. Something which they’ll never forget. It’s easy to dismiss this when you haven’t gone through it. The energy, the nervousness or outright fear, people everywhere, yet a kind of silence hanging in the air, as if even the atmosphere around us was holding its breath….

Waiting...

…. I take in my own breath….

Handshake

Saya terima nikahnya kakak perempuan Saudara, Dian Anugrah Muharjo Andayani binti Haji Mumambri, nikah untuk saya sendiri, dengan mas kawin seperangkat alat solat dibayar tunai.

Sah?

Sah.

Sah.

… and the world breathes again.

What had previously been a nerve-wracking, heart-pounding ordeal, is suddenly lifted. The constant memorising of those few lines disappears from the front of my mind (though I wonder if I will ever forget those words before I die) and is replaced not just by relief- but by happiness.

More than relief

“They could not wipe the smile off his face” people sometimes say. Well its true, nothing could remove that smile from my face. I just did the most right thing I could have ever done. I did the most right thing I could have ever done for my (now) wife. We were married before my family, her family, our friends.

The melati necklace draped around me smells fresher than it did when we arrived at the mosque. Our union has breathed new life into it. Or perhaps its only now that I truly notice how wonderful it smells with her next to me.

When its time for us to change for the reception, everything feels lighter. The jacket and peci which felt like they were strangling me earlier seem to expand, and I breathe easily. Before changing clothes though, there is something else to be done…

allahu akbar allahuakbar…

Adzan calls and I go to give thanks. Thank you for bringing me here 5 years ago. Thank you for leading me to her. Thank you for letting everything run so smoothly despite it all. Thank you for it all.

My final sujud is the longest, subhaana rabbiyal a’la wabihamdih, subhaana rabbiyal a’la wabihamdih, subhaana rabbiyal a’la wabihamdih. I don’t know what to say. What else can I say before He who has created all and yet has seen it fit to make me so happy. I can only say thank you and I hope I do not let you down.

Reception

The new clothes for the reception feel perfect. They were tailored, yes, but I don’t think it would matter. The material, the peci, everything. Even in the heat it felt perfect.

Our friends. People I haven’t seen in years! They still remember us. They’re happy for us! We’re happy they came!

I hold her every opportunity I get. Or fuss over her. She feels different now. I feel closer to her than before.

Together

The afternoon comes and closes our day. The euphoria slowly begins to subside, but the memory of it does not. I need only look at the photos, hear the sounds, remember that day… and the smile returns again.

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A World of Uncertainty

April 24, 2008 at 7:17 am (Me) (, , )

Indonesia? Australia? Who knows where I’ll be a few months from now. Waallahu alam (only God knows).

I’ve been in Indonesia for the past two years now, and as the inevitable date of my return to Australia comes closer, I’m starting to wonder how things will be readjusting to home. ‘Home’? I’m not really sure if I know where that is anymore. For all intents and purposes I have managed to make Jakarta every bit a ‘home’ for myself as I have back home.

So much too has changed in two years.

Now when I return to the ‘other’ home, I have new things to think about. Where can I work to support my wife (My wife??? When did that happen?)? Where can I go for Friday prayers? How long will bulan puasa be there? Should I get a car? Where will I live? The guys… where are all the guys now?

It’s daunting, as is leaving behind the ‘home’ I’ve had for the pat two years.

This blog is just to share a few things about this ‘home’, and I hope it won’t be too long before I will be back again. Though that is not for me to decide. Waallahu alam.

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