Singapore – From my eyes I

Those who know me personally, know quite well that I love and respect Singapore a lot. Although I am not a citizen myself, I find myself defending Singapore every where I go and with every one I speak to.

I first visited Singapore in 1995 as a tourist and while travelling back from Singapore I made a little innocent wish of being able to visit Singapore again. I never knew that I will get married to someone 4 years later who lives in here. I moved here in 2009 after I got married and 8 years later, its become home now. Yes, I love pakistan but I respect singapore deeply.

In this post I will only speak about cultural and religious freedom that I have here.

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Singapore is a multi cultural country with people of all religions living with harmony. It’s main languages are English, Chinese, Malay Bhasa and Tamil and the citizens comprise mainly  of Chinese, Malay and Indian origin. The main religions here are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and there people from all religions are allowed to practice their own religion in their own way as long as they do not interfere in any one else’s practices.

I have spent a chunk of my childhood in UAE and some time in UK for my studies. Although I have never really faced serious bullying in my life directed particularly towards me but I have been called ‘Bloody Paki’ and treated as an inferior muslim for being a pakistani Muslim rather than being an Arab. But a lot of people might be unaware but I’m protected by law in Singapore against such discriminations. No one can call me names due to the way I look (the color of my eyes, my hair or my height can’t be commented upon), I can roam around in shalwar kameez the whole day without being worried about someone being judgemental,  I can sue someone if their dog touches me (yes, this muslim sensitivity against dogs is highly regarded), halal food is readily available and I can even pray publicly in a park without being stared at. Also, the Muslim laws of marriage and inheritance are being looked upon by the Sharia courts of law.

And the best thing about living in Singapore is that we have lots of public holidays too: 2 each for each of the 4 main religions which also ensures that we do not have to worry about going to work on Eid day 🙂

* the beautiful picture of Sultan Masjid is not mine but taken off the Internet. Sultan Masjid might be the most famous masjid of Singapore as it’s a popular tourist destination but there are lots an lots of masjids and some of them very beautiful and majestic in terms of their architecture. The Islamic schools (medrasaa) are in abundance too masha Allah.

 

 

 

Naml….

I never realized that ants have been given so much importance in Islam. Not only there is a whole surah about ants in the quran, I just found out that Hazrat Ali (AS) also spoke about them in great detail.
Below is part of the Sermon 185 from the Nahjul Balagha that is about ants.

“Look at the ant with its small body and delicate form. It can hardly be seen in the corner of the eye, nor by the perception of the imagination – how it moves on the earth and leaps at its livelihood.  It carries the grain to its hole and deposits it in its place of stay.  It collects during the summer for its winter and during strength for the period of its weakness.  Its livelihood is guaranteed, and it is fed according to fitness.  Allah, the Kind, does not forget it and (Allah the Giver) does not deprive it, even though it may be in dry stone or fixed rocks.

If you have thought about its digestive tracts in it’s high and low parts, the carapace of its belly, and its eyes and its ears in its head you would be amazed at its creation and you would feel difficulty in describing it. Exalted is He who made it stand on its legs and erected it on its pillars (of limbs). No other originator took part with Him in its origination and no one having power assisted Him in its creation. If you tread on the paths of your imagination and reach its extremity it will not lead you anywhere except that the Originator of the ant is the same as He who is the Originator of the date-palm, because everything has (the same) delicacy and detail, and every living being has little difference.”

JJ. You will always be remembered.

“Beshak ankh ansoo bahati hai aur dil ghamgeen hai lekin hum zubaan sey wohi kahein gey, jis sey hamara rabb razi ho…” (Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.)

I hardly ever cry when a celebrity dies. Its been a tough year. Deaths of 3 iconic pakistanis and I have cried for all them.

Junaid Jamshed has been the most difficult to accept till now.  Its taken need so long to accept that he is no more.  That he will not be doing the 12 rabi ul awwal show tomorrow . That he will not be doing live shows during Ramadan . That we will only watch him now on old YouTube videos . That he will not be tweeting his pictures himself ever again.  And that there will never be a new nasheed from him.

I feel miserable and helpless right now but his death has reminded me once again how unpredictable life is . The person who was giving azan became merely a ‘laash ‘  an hour later. It gives me a reason to look at myself and thank Allah for the breaths that I’m taking and the chance he is giving me. . . To improve,  to forgive , to forget and become a better person .

Junaid Jamshed had always been a part of my life in one way or the other. Growing up,  I listened to his songs and did so through out my teen years.  I was still listening to humming to ‘o sanama’ When he decided to leave his lucrative music career and put away his guitar and grew his beard. I wasn’t too sure what he was trying to do and I bought his last album too,for which he made any music videos. Soon, he had released another album but this time he wasn’t singing for a mortal beloved,  his Beloved was now the immortal Allah. It didn’t take me long before I was listening to jalwa e jaana and falling in love with it.  He gave us some of most beautiful naaheeds, the words were simple but were the ones we could all relate to.

People hated him for choosing to be what he became.  I couldn’t understand why his decision was not being respected.  We don’t have to agree with someone to respect him. We can disagree and still respect each other.  However , that is not the case with us. We believe that people don’t change and hence the saying, “900 choohay kha ker billi hajj ko chali” .  So pretty much everyone had a problem with him and it seemed all his statements became controversial somehow.  He said lots of things that I don’t agree with too but of course I never ill wished him. Lots of people in Pakistan wanted to see him dead however .

And now he actually is dead.

Or is he a shaheed .

Since yesterday , my facebook news feed is filled with his old songs and I have been fighting my urge to listen to them.  No, not because I’m claiming to be very pious but because I believe it is up to us, people who claim to be his fans,  to respect his decision . He thought his singing career was a mistake and whether we agree with it or not, we must respect his decision . He didn’t want to be remembered as a singer. He wanted to be remembered as someone who chose to follow a path most people would never dare to. Lets remember him for that.  Lets remember him for the inspiration that he was and still is.

May his soul rest in peace .