Friday, 11 October 2013

Beri Aku Nasihat (untuk muslimah yang mengerti bahasa Indonesia)

Pagi ini saya  menerima sebuah pesan dalam hanphone dari seorang sahabat, “Saudariku, beri nasihat untukku hari ini …” Saya sempat tertegun membacanya, sambil menghela nafas kata-kata itu seperti menembus relung terdalam bathin, sejujurnya disaat ini saya yang seharusnya lebih banyak mengirimkan pesan semacam itu untuk mu teman … saya forward sms yang sama kepada sahabat saya tersebut dan tak lama sms balasan masuk di HP saya
“Bila LELAH menyapa dirimu, pejamkalah mata dan bayangkan “Asma Binti Abi Bakr” yang sedang memanjat tebing saat berjihad”
“Bila UJIAN HIDUP membuatmu menangis, pelajarilah ketabahan “Asiyah istri Fir’aun”,
“Bila CELAAN menyapa dirimu, hadirkanlah kesabaran “Maryam putrid Imron”
“Bila PUTUS ASA membuatmu menyerah, bayangkan “Hajar” yang berlari dari bukit Shafa dan Marwah..”
Ukhty, mereka hanyalah manusia biasa seperti diri kita, namun CINTA pada Rabb nya yang membuat mereka SABAR, TABAH, dan KUAT..
Mari belajar menjadi seperti mereka , Subhanallah.. untaian kata yang begitu indah untuk direnungkan. Perjalanan kehidupan memang tak jauh dari kata lelah, ujian yang datang menghampiri, celaan, rasa putus asa mungkin sampai pada rasa kefuturan yang sangat. Sebuah untaian kata yang mengingatkan saya agar selalu memiliki sifat Sabar, Tabah, Kuat, dan tentunya selalu menghadirkan Cinta pada Nya untuk menapaki setiap langkah kehidupan :-D .
Satu Folder khusus kesukaan saya dalam HP bertuliskan name folder “Tausyiah”, Folder yang sering saya baca ketika hendak tidur :-D ..
Senang sekali jika sahabat-sahabat berkenan mengirimkan kata indah sebagai penyemangat ataupun muhasabah pada nomor HP saya. Pasti akan tersimpan manis dalam folder khusus ini:-D Sungguh aneh rasanya jika ada orang yang enggan menerima nasihat, dan lebih aneh lagi jika ternyata ada orang yang gemar berkata-kata tanpa banyak menggunakan telinganya untuk mendengarkan orang lain. Bukankah perintah yang berbunyi dalam Surah Al Ashr, bahwa orang beriman hendaknya saling menasihati, maka jangan enggan untuk memberikan nasihat dan diberi nasihat. Semoga di Telaga Fatamorgana ini bisa menjadi salah satu tempat untuk saling menasihati juga, meski hanya sebuah kalimat pada layar hitam :-D

Friday, 4 October 2013

Why Does God Hide His Own Existence?

Why does God hide? Why, do you think, God would hide God's own existence? Why not flat out say "I'm here" by shaping the clouds to saying that? Is it to strengthen our faith and spirit? Is it because we cannot bare look at God? What is your opinion about this?
Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine

Salam dear sister,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
By the wording of your question, it appears that you actually do believe in God, or at least that there should be an Almighty, All-Knowing being, who should make Himself known and leave no doubt in the minds of believers of His existence.
If there is an Almighty, All-Knowing God, He would be Merciful, Generous, Forgiving, etc., embodying all of the positive character traits that we can imagine.
There is one huge problem that exists, however, in the very minds we possess, that it tries to set limits on a limitless being. God does exist, and He is not hiding. We must, however, try our best to “tune into His frequency” so that we can receive the signals that He is sending to us, and make sense of His message.
Because we are human, we must acknowledge that none of us is perfect, all-knowing, almighty, etc. If one of us was to make such a claim, the rest of us would surely reject him or her, and mock them. At the very least we would avoid this person, fearing that they might lead us astray or bring us under their control for their own benefit.
Because none of us is perfect, our limited minds lack the ability to comprehend what is limitless. If we reject the existence of an Almighty, All-Knowing being, spiritual being, we must accept that the universe around us is, for all intents and purposes, limitless.
The greatest, most knowledgeable scientists would say that the universe is almost impossible to fully comprehend, yet it exists. No one doubts the existence of the universe, or their own existence in it, even though they do not fully comprehend the extent of it, what is in it, or where it came from. There are only theories based on hard evidence.
The universe does not speak in our language, but it teaches us in its own way whatever we are able to comprehend from it, and we continue to learn more and more about it as time goes by. As a matter of fact, we do not even fully understand our own bodies and the infinite number of functions it performs every day of our lives. Yet we believe that those functions keep us alive somehow, and are proof of our own existence.
The point I am trying to make is quite simple: Just because we do not understand something, does not mean it does not exist. How can we expect to comprehend something that is not physical, using the purely physical senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch? Our sight cannot accommodate the entirety of the universe, nor can we hear, smell or touch everything in it. Our emotions are real. We know because we experience them. We cannot see, smell, or touch our emotions, but we accept them as real nonetheless.
Having the capacity for reason and deduction, it should be easy to come to the conclusion, if we are indeed fair-minded, that not only does God exist, but that He performs miracles in front of our very eyes on a continuous basis. I will give a few simple examples in the hopes of proving that God exists. This would seem to be a huge claim, but in reality it is not. One example is from the great scholar of Islam, Muhammad al-Ghazali, may God have mercy on him, who said:
"Suppose we were to ask a man who relies solely on his own experience and understanding, “Can there exist in this world a thing the size of a grain, which, if put in a town, would devour that town in its entirety, and would devour itself, so that nothing would be left of the town and its contents, nor would this thing itself be left? He would surely answer, “Such a thing is absurd and belongs to the realm of fairy tales!” Yet this is the case with fire, which anyone who had never seen fire would deny if he heard about it. Most denials of the wonder of the afterlife belong to this category."
If our bodies required conscious thought for it to complete all of the functions it performs, we would be so preoccupied with the thoughts required to keep our heart, kidney, muscles, blood, vision, walking, talking… that we would have no time to do anything else, no ability to reflect on our own existence, experience love, hate, pleasure, etc.
However, our bodies run on auto-pilot for the majority of our lives. We do not think about the physics required in standing up, balancing our weight, moving our feet, planting them properly and propelling ourselves forward in all of the minutest detail required for us to walk with such grace and accuracy. We just walk, and give it no thought.
This simple action that we all take for granted (unless suddenly robbed of the ability to do so) is truly a miraculous feat. It would not be possible unless our brains took care of it automatically. We walk, talk, breath, eat, sleep, and do many more incredibly complex tasks every day without consciously thinking about them, yet we attribute this ability to ourselves, our own ingenuity, or to chance. God has given us these abilities through little or no effort of our own.
There are an almost unlimited number of plants and animals that humans consume on a daily basis that, by chance some would say, provide us with the exact nutrients and energy we need to function daily. Unlike other animals, we are unable to survive without food and water for more than a few days.
These plants and animals not only provide us with nutrients for growth and energy to work and enjoy life, but they just happen to be tasty as well as healthy. What possible purpose does the flesh of a fruit serve (apple, orange, grape, banana, etc.) if the seeds at the centre are what enable the tree to reproduce? Other trees and plants only bear seeds with no fruit and are just as successful in reproducing.
The fruit benefits other plants and animals, and human beings, not the fruit-bearing tree itself. God has created these plants and animals for our benefit, and to maintain a delicate balance in the natural world. This infinitely complex and delicate balance was not established by “mother nature” or by chance as some scientists claim.
God’s existence is known by the signs He has created and continues to show us every single day, but we choose not to see them, or to attach the significance to them that they deserve.
The Quran is full of better examples than those I have provided here that hopefully you will find meaningful, or at the very least provide you with an opportunity to reflect upon the realities of the universe around us.
I encourage you to read the Quran with an open mind, sincerely seeking the truth of this life and your place in it.
I hope this has been useful to you. Please keep in touch.
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Thursday, 3 October 2013

‘He Raped Me, But My Honor Remains’

‘He Raped Me, But My Honor Remains’

Coping With Life After Rape

By Umm Zakiyyah
Freelance Writer- USA
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

“Honor cannot be stolen. It can only be surrendered. Surely, in the act of rape, it is the perpetrator, not the victim, who surrenders honor.”
—Leeza Mangaldas, “Misogyny in India: we are all guilty”
I walked into my friend’s house and greeted all the guests with salaams and a hand shake. When I reached the young Arab woman cradling a baby in her arms, I could not keep from glancing repeatedly in her direction even after I had settled down on the carpet surrounded by other women.
For some reason the Arab woman didn’t seem to belong, and I was searching in her countenance for the answers to my unspoken questions. It wasn’t the predominately African-American group of women that made the woman seem out of place. In all parts of the city, even in the lower socioeconomic area where we were right then, there were multitudes of ethnicities, colors, and nationalities, Arabs amongst them. But she seemed to be feeling out of place herself…
“She recently came to America,” my friend told me later. “Her family disowned her, so a brother from our community married her and brought her here.”
I creased my forehead in confusion. “Disowned her? Why?”
“She was raped,” my friend said, her expression conveying that she herself was puzzled by her words. “So they didn’t want anything to do with her anymore.”
Rape at a Glance
Rape is the act of forcibly having sex with someone without their consent, and although anyone can be a victim of rape, women are disproportionately the victims, and the aggressors are men.
Recently, the issue of rape made international headlines when the India gang rape case, in which the victim ultimately died from the injuries sustained after five men sexually assaulted her on a bus, sparked new questions regarding what motivates sexual aggressors and what laws should be in place to better protect women and prosecute criminals.
However, while the world debates psychology, motives and legalities, there are thousands of victims of rape who must face life after rape—often without social, psychological, or legal support.
Wounds of Rape—Physical and Psychological
 Rape is often thought of as primarily sexual in nature. However, rape is more an act of aggression than it is an act of “intimacy.” More than anything, rape is a violent crime—intended by the aggressor to exert power over the victim—and can cause more long-term damage to the body than an act of physical assault. Some of the physical after effects of rape include the following (According to Effects of Rape: Psychological and Physical Effects of Rape” by Samantha Gluck):
  • painful intercourse (with significant other)
  • urinary infections
  • uterine fibroids – non-cancerous tumors in muscle wall
  • pregnancy
  • sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – HIV, genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and others
Though the physical after effects of rape are quite damaging, some of the most traumatic after effects are psychological. “Healthy Place” writer, Samantha Gluck says:
“One of the most common psychological consequences of rape is self-blame. Victims use self-blame as an avoidance-based coping tool. Self-blame slows or, in many cases, stops the healing process.”
Gluck  goes on to list the following emotional and psychological effects of rape:
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – feelings of severe anxiety and stress
  • depression
  • flashbacks – memories of rape as if it is taking place again
  • borderline personality disorder
  • sleep disorders
  • eating disorders
  • dissociative identity disorder
  • guilt
  • distrust of others – uneasy in everyday social situations
  • anger
  • feelings of personal powerlessness – victims feel the rapist robbed them of control over their bodies
Victims Reclaiming Their Lives
Although rape is undoubtedly one of the most traumatic experiences for many women, experiencing rape does not mean that life stops for victims. Many rape victims are able to live normal lives after the experience, and many go on to have healthy intimate relationships later in life.
Or in the words of Dr. Laura Berman in Becoming Whole Again: Rediscovering Life After Rape: “Rape is one of the worst violations a person can suffer, and the scars can be everlasting — but you can reclaim your life.”
When we hear about the more than 15 million women who have been victims of rape, the numbers can be disheartening. But amongst these millions of women are survivors who refused to allow a single incident, no matter how traumatic, to define their entire existence. In other words, they reclaimed their lives.
And amongst these remarkable survivors are Muslim women.

Amatullah’s Story
I met Amatullah [Name and minor details have been changed to protect victim’s identity] as anyone would, a good friend, during a social gathering of Muslim women, and I liked her right away. We shared common goals in life; we loved reading and writing; and we were excited to attend as many faith-boosting seminars that the masjid could offer. Her husband and my husband also got to know each other, so we spent lots of time together whenever we could. In a sentence, she was one of the most balanced, down-to-earth sisters I’d met.
So I was surprised when she mentioned to me that when she was fifteen years old, she had been raped.
At the time, I held a stereotypical view of rape victims. I imagined that they were so emotionally and psychologically traumatized that “normal social behavior” was unlikely and a happy marriage almost impossible. But Amatullah proved me wrong.
And what was most therapeutic for Amatullah was her faith.
“I turned to Allah,” she said. “But it was a really confusing experience for me because I just couldn’t understand why it was happening to me.”
She told me that the rape occurred one night when her parents were out and she was babysitting her younger brothers and sisters. The aggressor, who she says appeared to be in his late teens, entered her home and dragged her away from her younger siblings, then raped her.
As she fought the rapist—but to no avail—she says that all she kept saying to herself was ‘But I’m Muslim. But I’m Muslim…’
“I grew up Muslim and I followed all the rules,” she said. “I never dated or had relations with boys, so in my mind this wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I was saving myself for marriage like Allah told me to, and I never imagined that this would be my first experience [with sex].”
‘But I’m Muslim’
How well a victim fares after an incident of rape depends largely on the culture in which she lives—both in her home environment and in the society at large.
“I didn’t tell anyone about it,” Amatullah says. “It wasn’t that I didn’t think I’d get help. It was just that I couldn’t believe it happened. So when he finished with me and left, I just put back on my clothes and went to check on my brothers and sisters.”
She says, “Till today, I have no idea who that guy was, and I never tried to find out.”
But for many victims of rape, the decision to not tell anyone is a very conscious one; and sadly, this tendency is rather common amongst Muslim women.
Unfortunately, in many predominately Muslim societies that have deviated from Islam and embraced tribal customs, the decision to not reveal an incident of rape is motivated by a construed notion of “honor”—the idea that the moral and social nobility of a woman or her family rests in a female’s private parts, regardless of whether or not she is guilty of moral transgression. In some of the more barbaric societies that exist today, a woman could be murdered if her name is connected to even the rumor of “dishonor,” hence the term “honor killing.”
Thus, for many Muslim women, the decision to not report an incident of rape is not a question of morality; it is a question of survival.
‘Your Honor Is Most Important’
I was teaching a class of female high school seniors (most of whom came from predominately Muslim countries) when some of my students shared with me the advice their parents had given them as graduation approached.
“My mother told me to be careful,” one of my students shared. This student had received a full scholarship to study abroad and would be living far from her family, and her mother wanted her to be very cognizant of any contact with males. “She told me, ‘Remember, your honor is most important.’” My student contorted her face. “I told her, ‘No it’s not.’”
I nodded, proud that my student had come to this realization despite her home culture. “That’s true,” I said. “Your honor is not most important. Your soul is.”
 And it is through focusing on our souls—by turning to Allah for help and direction no matter what our backgrounds or experiences—that keeps our lives healthy, rejuvenating and “honorable”, no matter what our bodies may suffer during life’s sojourn.
I personally would love to add: to safeguard yourself until the very last, until wedding in this case, and stay strong and true and to recover and stand back again even after being raped, means that a woman pertain her honour. There's no losing it (editor