Sendie-Lou’s musing

Yesterday marked the 10th year of the 9/11 tragedy. I still remember what I was doing that day. I was off that day and after saying good bye to husband for work, I watch Golden Girls – Yes, I’m a fan of the Girls! 🙂  then my husband call told me to switch to the news. At that time it wasn’t sure of what happen yet, we know a plane crash the twin tower but not sure whether it was an accident or what.

Later on that day, the pieces started coming together and it sickens me. It was a very dark days for a lot of people including me. I was grieving for those who lost their life, I was grieving for those who left without a husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sisters… those who lose their family.

I also personally grieve in the name of my religion. A group of small minded people decide to do this in the name of religion, in the name of God. It angers me. I was angry for a long time and I’m still angry. To be honest for a long time I was so prejudice against people from Middle East thinking they have ruins my religion.

I have never ashamed to be a Muslim that even that day, but I was ashamed Islam connections to Middle East. I’m not sure why I took my anger out to Middle Eastern people I just do. Later on that same year when we celebrate EID, at the mosque after the prayer and the sermon that’s the first time I feel like I can let go of the anger.

All Muslim – the true Muslim – regardless of where we came from condemn this act of violence. Including Arabs and the rest of the Middle Easterner. They hate it as much as anybody with the right mind.

It hits me, I was no difference then the terrorist for having that small minded. I am no difference then bigots for being so prejudice towards Middle Easterner. I feel so ashamed. I guess I was so angry and somehow direct my angers towards Middle Easterner. I apologize for having such a small minded.

There were (and still are) so many anger towards Islam and us Muslim, there are so many hate and unanswered questions. I can honestly say I understand the feeling, I understand the anger and even the hate. However as times goes on, I also wish that people will see that 9/11 wasn’t the act of a true Muslim and bring the message of Islam. As times goes on I wish that people will and can see that even Muslim was hurt by this.

Instead of linger with anger and hate; I try to see the message behind this tragedy. It’s about life. How life is short and it can be taken anytime. As corny as this might sound, but really I am trying to live my life as humble as possible, forgive often and be grateful for everything I have.

Life really is too short, let’s makes it the best possible way, so by the time we end this chapter it will be a celebrations of life instead of memorial services.

Love always,

Sendie

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The day of forgiveness…

Most of you know that I’ve been fasting for the past month. Today is the last day of Ramadan, and even though (honestly) there are part o me that relieved the fasting part of it is over, but there are part of me that’s really sad that it is over. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslim, it is the month that all sins are forgiven, the time where we truly can redeem our self and reborn as new person that is sin free.

Tomorrow is EID or Eid Ul-Fitr [Eid in Arabic means festivity, whilst Fitr means purity] so to sum up its mean the festivity of purity. Victory is another word use a lot during the festivity. EID is also the day of forgiveness, the celebrations involved apologizing to others and forgiving those who have hurt you in turn.

This holy month always brings a mixed feeling for me. I have many – many fun loving memories of my childhood especially during this holiday. The house is glowing with decoration and the smells of the traditional holiday food cooking in the kitchen….

My Mom normally already picks the new prettiest clothes for us to wear for the celebration tomorrow and I can’t wait to wear it! That night all of the kids at the neighborhood come out and play and we chant Takbir – glory and praise to Allah, we play fireworks … it’s like a whole block party, even better, it’s the whole nationwide party cause majority of Indonesian is Muslim and we all celebrate EID!

Tonight the EID eve or end of Ramadan is one of the best night for me to have as a child… the whole atmosphere seems to filled with love, happiness, laughter, with Takbir always at the background. Can’t wait for tomorrow, the EID where after prayer we went and visit relatives asking for forgiveness and for us kids, we’ll get money!!! YAY!

To me, EID is a very beautiful holiday, it’s about thanksgiving, forgiveness and charity. No gift exchange involves, no material stuff. All pure humanitarian holiday from the heart. We supposed to ask forgiveness from each other. This is the year where I know I have the best parents ever. They will humbly ask forgiveness from us – their child. It’s always makes me cry when my mom and my dad will hugs me and ask for forgiveness – sincerely.

I mention earlier how I feel a bit down because again I spend holiday away from home… here in this place, where even most of my friend doesn’t share my excitement of this holiday – gosh I’m such a baby! I look at my family’s picture on Facebook on how the holiday is back home and it’s always bring tears….

Beside the normal pray I said, I also pray for peace and little hope maybe I will be given a change to celebrate next holiday with my family and share that special moment with my two girls. Amien.

Eid Mubarak to you all.

Waiting till sundown…

Today is the 17th day of Ramadan – meaning 17 days of fasting for Muslim. I’ve been fasting since the 3rd day of Ramadan. And so far everything is good. The 1st week I have lower energy than usual and not having my morning coffee is a huge adjustment to my routine. Other than that it’s all good.

I also learned that between 2 – 4 pm is usually the worst time of the day. That’s when my hunger and thirst reach its peak and of course, it’s mostly the busiest time at work as well so I struggle a bit during that time.

I’m not going to lie, fasting is hard, there are times I feel like “forget this, I’m going to eat something!” but that’s just my temptation talking, so far I can suppress that feeling and stay fasting till the end of the day.

Yesterday I have to do several errands before headed home, it was very hot yesterday and I feel like I can use a big gulp of soda. Then as I stop on the red light, there’s a homeless guy holding a sign asking for help. There’s a few of unopened bottle of water in my car and also a box sandwich that I took home from meeting cause I can’t eat it due to fasting, I offer it to him and he graciously took it. He immediately opens the water and just gulps it as if he hadn’t drink in a while and maybe he hasn’t.

As I drove off he keep on thanking me and there’s a look on his face that I can’t never forget, such gratitude that shows. At that time it hits me, one of the reason for Ramadan is for us to be more compassion towards the unfortunate one. Through fasting, we all experiences hunger and thirst, and will sympathizes more with those in the world who have little to eat and drink every day.

During fasting, no matter how thirsty I am I couldn’t just buy a drink and drink it or just grab any food and eat it. No, you have to wait till sundown before you can eat and drink. Fast food places and restaurant and convenient store are all around me but I couldn’t just stop and grab something. It’s just like that guy at the intersection. No matter how thirsty and or hungry he is, he couldn’t just go there and grab something. At least I only have to wait until sundown, who knows how long he has to wait until he has his “sundown”.

At least I only have to wait until sundown….. I need to remember that feeling, that look on that guy’s face as he gulp the drink.. this feelings and lessons that I experience should stay with me throughout the year.

To all: May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness and mercy, and bring us peace and all closer to Him and to each other. Amien.

Welcome Ramadan

Here I am, finding myself (almost) in the midst of the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan in Colorado. Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, most people only known it to be the times where Muslim fasting from sunrise to sunset. That’s part of it, it is the time where Muslim practice a strict self-discipline, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.

This is also the month where Muslim More than ever) asking for forgiveness for previous sins and preventing oneself of committing new one. It is also the time where we emphasis forgiveness from each other – not just God, but with friends and relatives. Refrain from speaking ill of one another or even just thinking impure thoughts.

The idea behind fasting is as practice of self control, to draw focus from earthy material stuff and to think of those who are less fortunate by understanding the true meaning of hunger and thirst are. Hopefully we all will be more compassionate as person and reborn to be a better person, a better Muslim.

I would like to enter this holy month with clean slate. Therefore I ask for forgiveness from you all in case I say (wrote) something that offended you, or un intentionally say or do something in appropriately or hurt your feeling. May the light that we celebrate at Ramadan show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.

Salam, Sendie –Lou

What I wrote last year during this time…

The beauty of Ramadan….

 

Apparently I’m conservative

I had lunch with one of my colleague/friend yesterday and somehow we end up talking about politics and religion. My friend is a reform Jewish and as you all know I’m a Muslim. She asked me what my religion means to me and how I feel about the negative connotation it has with the world.

As for the negative connotation, yeah, I’m pissed. Not at the world, but at the small group that caused that negative images of my religion. I hate when people call me moderate Muslim or moderate Islam. To me there’s only 1 – ONE Islam and that’s me. People often mistaken or confused some countries culture with Islam. Just because the majority population of that Country is Muslim it doesn’t mean that their culture is acceptable in Islam. Honor killing for example. It is not part of Islam teaching at all. Or the Jihad word that been misused by group of terrorist. Btw, I read the Quran from top to bottom and there are no mentions in it of the 72 virgin and pool of honey.

My religion is a big part of me, it define who I am and how I acted. I’m far from perfect, but with religion I have guidelines of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s acceptable and what is not and the realization there will be consequences later on.

That was my answer. She seems surprised. She said I was so easy going that she would never guess that I’m actually very conservative. Now that’s a first, no one has ever thought of me as conservative and I’m always leaning towards liberal more. I guess, I’m conservative when it comes to me, does it sound selfish? Maybe. In my mind, I have my choices and my believe and what I think it’s right or wrong based on it but I’m not one that will judge people based on their choices.  We are adult with realization of the consequences of our actions. God teaches us to Love and to Forgive and that’s what I tried to do.

The same feeling I have for my parents, love, respect and fear – especially to mom, is the same feeling I have for God and more knowing he’s capable of throwing my @$$ in hell 🙂

Why do I even talk about this? Who knows, I guess the conversation with my friend yesterday still stay in my mind. Her reaction when I bluntly told her I was still a virgin until I met my husband.

As for politics, I mention I always lean towards liberal more, my friends told me liberal is gutless. I chuckle at her comment. No matter what side you are on, left or right, at the end we all have a common goal to bring better life and better place for this country.

For friends and colleges who always engage in deep heat discussion of politics, I’d like to point out of what I think is the beauty of America. The wonderful result of democracy, each election here in US is unique and different and no same party will be in powers for more than 2 terms. I can’t imagine if 1 ideology stays in powers forever. Well, yes I can, look at Iraq, look at Indonesia during Soeharto regime or North Korea. When you look at that, you will realize how we have it “perfect” here in US. God Blesses the USA.

 

Not afraid of terrorism

I come accross a good reading this morning and I think it’s worth to re-post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I am not afraid of terrorism. Maybe it’s because I did not live in New York City during 9/11 or maybe it’s my corny belief that good always prevails in the end. Whatever the reason I find myself unafraid. Even with the arrests of alleged Al-Qaeda members, rising terror color-codes and wars raging in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I still find myself unafraid. I am not afraid because no one can tell me what I should be looking for in a terrorist. Well, not really. Maybe if U.S. intelligence could tell me specifically what a terrorist sounds like or smells like or eats. From the things I read and see on television I’m guessing most terrorists are of Middle Eastern descent, heavily bearded and absolutely positively they are Muslim. That’s it! Look out for intimidating Muslims in places with a lot of innocent American pedestrians. Hey, somebody quick, arrest Shaquille O’Neal!

Shaq daddy is a Muslim – did you know that? You didn’t see him and Sacramento Kings’ guard Peja Stojakovic kiss each other on each cheek before Western Conference Playoff games a few years back? Did you miss that? Did you think they were French? Those are two really big intimidating Muslims right there! Are they terrorists in training? The media (yes, I am included) uses death, Muslim and terrorism so collectively you would think they were the names of the Three Stooges! Is it fair?

When you look at Shaq in interviews, smiling, giving those incredibly witty sound bites, do you think of terrorism? Now that you know he follows the same religion as the Iraqi insurgents our American troops fight daily, will you look at him differently?

The word terrorism confuses me when it is married to the word Islam. Why are there Muslim extremists and not just Iraqi extremists or extremists (solo)? Is it because the extremists that carry out acts of terror against America hide behind their religion? Isn’t it the responsibility of the media (and individuals) to decipher Islam as just a characteristic of the extremists and not extremist as a characteristic of Islam?

Throughout history, the KKK has preached loyalty to Christianity but no one dares to label Christianity as a characteristic of racism. Adolph Hitler was also Christian (and also hid behind the religion) but I don’t hear Christianity glued to the phrase Nazism. Sexual abuse by priests has just cost the Catholic Church more than $1 billion in settlements but no one believes that being Catholic makes you more prone to becoming a child molester – and no one should.

So why is Islam automatically related to terrorists? And why do we so easily link the two?

Honestly. Are you aware that the “Muslim” extremists at war with the U.S. only make up a very minute percentage of Muslims worldwide? And when I say minute I’m talking about brothers playing polo minute, horse jockeys slam dunking minute, politicians getting crunk to Lil John minute! The same goes for the small percentage of Catholics who rape children and the very small number of Christian bigots who hide behind big white sheets.

Honestly. When you hear the word Muslim, is your first thought terrorism? Because when I hear Muslim, the first thing that pops in my head is one of my childhood heroes, Muhammad Ali. Ali, who as the Heavyweight Champion of the World decided that he would not fight in the Vietnam War because he could not kill anyone that did him no harm. His assistant trainer Drew Brown took it a step further in 1967 saying, “He’s fighting for the respect of his religion. He’s not fighting for his country.” Ali was stripped of his title and labeled an unpatriotic, out of control, radical Black Muslim. As a kid I learned on my own that Ali was fighting for what he believed in. What’s more American than that?

Honestly. When you think of Islam, do you think of terrorism? Because when I think of Islam, I think of Rasheed Wallace, the only Detroit Piston who entered the stands during the infamous NBA brawl. The only person with a jersey on that actually stopped some of those haymakers from landing. Mr. Technical himself became the calm Muslim weathering the monstrous storm of gigantic basketball players whaling on scrawny idiotic fans. Ironic huh, a Muslim trying to make peace.

Honestly. When you think of Islam, do you think about the thousands of criminals in our American prisons who convert over to Islam? The burglars, the rapists, the murderers and drug dealers all flipping the script and trying to get tight with Allah. But honestly, when I think of criminals becoming Muslims in prison I wonder what religion they converted from in the first place.

Sometimes I wonder how Ali, Shaq and Rasheed feel about the subject. About their religion being labeled as one of the reasons terrorists do what they do. I wonder if when they pray five times a day if some of those prayers ask for everyone to stop dragging their religion through the mud. If the league has phoned Shaq and Wallace and asked them not to openly talk about their religious beliefs in the best interests of the game. I wonder when they look into the mirror each morning if they find themselves afraid.

I am not afraid. And I will not be afraid if I sit next to a bearded Middle Eastern man on a plane. I will not be afraid if the terror color-code changes from a cowardly yellow to a ruby blood red. I will not be afraid if suspected al-Qaeda loyalists are arrested and dragged to GITMO kicking and screaming. I will not be afraid of any person based on his or her religion without knowing the quality of their character.

And unless I find myself back on defense alone with the ‘Diesel’ dribbling full speed ahead– I will not be afraid of Shaquille O’Neal.

Taken from: Shaq a muslim? http://www.lipstickalley.com/f4/shaq-muslim-13529/