Tulisan Jawi

“ارفع كلماتك ولا ترفع صوتك فالمطر هو الذي ينبت الورود وليس الرعد”
Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.
-Jalaluddin al-Rumi

To preach is so much easier than to practice. Such is often the case. For to speak words of virtue and idealistic views is far simpler than to be a change; foreign and, subsequently, isolated and frowned upon. Yet, just how far can we go if we only talk, but do not walk? How long can we shout the same words before it becomes nothing but a broken record? 

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

Throughout the many years that I have spent writing and worrying about the future of our nation and its rich heritage, I have always been upset and frustrated about my subpar capabilities in writing and conversing in my own mother tongue; Bahasa Melayu. I felt as if I am a hypocrite; preaching about how important it is to protect our culture and heritage and yet, being unable to master Bahasa Melayu myself. I wasn’t incapable of conversing and writing in Bahasa Melayu, but I often make grammatical mistakes and my vocabulary index was so shallow that it was laughable.

Then, one quiet morning in November 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Allahyarham Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Omar Mohd Hashim, who played a key role in establishing the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination to replace the Cambridge’s examination and empowered the role of Bahasa Melayu in our primary and secondary education. On top of that, he was also one of the people responsible behind the construction of Wisma Sejarah as the headquarters for Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia– which was where I accidentally met him as he was reading a newspaper (Utusan) in the library. And for a man who played such a great role in preserving and strengthening the role of our own language as well as our history, he was greatly uncelebrated. He rode a humble car and dressed in smart, but humble clothes and looked at me perplexed when I asked for his autograph because he didn’t understand why would I ask for his autograph. And from this experience and the words that he wrote and spoke throughout his lifetime, I came to understand that he didn’t care about the fanfares which came with his many credentials. All that he wanted was to preserve and strengthen the role of our language and history and thus, he worked to ensure that it happened by raising his actions and words, and not his voice.

Thus why I was inspired to take the opportunity to relearn Bahasa Melayu from the basics and try my very best to finally master the language while I was studying for my SPM examinations last year so that I won’t just simply excel in the exams, but can write and speak in the same language that my forefathers spoke in. And now, I can proudly say that my proficiency in Bahasa Melayu has immensely improved and my “karangan” being arguably better than that of my elder sister’s.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

For the past months, the issue of including a section to observe our traditional script, Jawi, in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus has been so hotly debated that half of us have forgotten the point of including the section in our syllabus in the first place. However, for all the damages it has caused, what good has the debate brought us? Are the ones who shout as they defend the decision to include the Jawi script in our syllabus actually using the script in their daily lives and working to ensure that the script is preserved by teaching their children to appreciate, love and write in the script? Everyone left and right are screaming and shouting about the implementations of the action, and the implementations of opposing the actions, and the implementations of opposing the opposition of the action that it is dangerously close to turning into an annoying sound like that of a mosquito which the public would swat away when they hear it, or a grenade which explodes and destroys bridges in between friends, neighbours and the nation.

Then, the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Almarhum Al-Mutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj, simply posted four words in Jawi script on her twitter calling for the public to “هيدوڤ کن کݢوناٴن توليسن جاوي”, or to start writing and applying the usage of the Jawi script in our daily lives, and subsequently only wrote in Jawi script on her Twitter. However, her actions have triggered thousands of Malaysians to start learning and using the script on social media as well as their daily lives; a refreshing and exuberant sight for all of us. Her Majesty didn’t call for war or for us to preach to those who are bent on despising and calling our traditional script propaganda. All that Her Majesty did was to call for us to practice it in our daily lives and encouraged it by doing so herself. Yet, the good it has brought us is tenfold the effect we have seen from the months-long debate on Tulisan Jawi.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

We’ve heard these words from Jalaluddin al-Rumi countless of times– perhaps, have even quoted it. Yet, how often do we sit back and ask ourselves if we are embodying it? How often do we sit back and reflect on our past actions and look for countless of times we went against the words we preach? 

An Ode (Gratitude)

Here’s to the ones whose names I’ve only heard of,
Faces perhaps I have seen, but souls I’ve never met, 
Hearts I’ve never known to be so earnest in their words. 
It takes a penny to aid, but tenfold to invest 
In stones which value nowhere close to diamonds,
Yet they sacrifice comfort in a manner so persistent.
How they triumph over greed. 

Here’s to the ones who won’t think of the trouble 
They face as they go out of their way; for they can 
Only think of the trouble faced by those who would struggle
To make it through another day had they not lend a hand.
Hours, dollars and hassle they won’t fuss over 
And all that they say is that it’s the least that they can do.
Evident is their noble hearts. 

Here’s to the ones who go against the odds 
And say that distance is never a barrier, for what 
They can’t give with their hands, they give with their thoughts.
And though it may seem like nothing, they know that  
To battered souls thoughts can be antidotes,
So they lend their ears and share their hearts. 
Blessed are their souls. 

Ever since I was small, I counted the cents that I owe,
Have always pledged to never burden a soul.
And I swear that I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut 
About the wounds and bruises on this battered heart. 

And now I have not a clue on how to repay
The endless sacrifices which you have made. 
And though again and again, I worded a “thank you”, 
I don’t think it’s enough to convey my gratitude.

So here’s an ode to the ones who care.
To the ones whose heart breaks upon our despair.
Here’s to the ones who have proven time again…
That though blood may make you related,
Loyalty is what makes you family. 

Forgetting Our Future

At times like these, I wonder how can the people — not just the youngsters, forget the ones we owe our lives to. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because we are here today and let yesterday be what it is; the past.

It pains me as I watch faces who said that they are a part of us leave the moment they thought they see glitter on the other side of the river. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because there’s a chance that tomorrow you’ll find a golden apple and let today be what it eventually will be; history.

It tortures me when I realise that no one is concerned about how we are all forgetting the values which promise tomorrow. How no one is concerned about how the water that we saved in hopes to live through the years of drought is rapidly seeping out from the cracks of old age. How no one is concerned enough to fix the cracks and replenish the reservoir so that we can make it through tomorrow. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because we’re sleeping with a full stomach today and let tomorrow be what it is; uncertain, unfound — lost.

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb — PEMBAKAR SEMANGAT … Peranan besar tulisan Jawi pada akhbar-akhbar Melayu seperti Utusan Melayu, Utusan Zaman dan majalah Warta Ahad dalam menyuburkan semangat kemerdekaan dan petriotisme di kalangan orang Melayu. Di dalam suratkhabar-suratkhabar itu digambarkan kesedihan orang yang dijajah serta dipaparkan juga kelemahan dalam masyarakat menyebabkan semangat untuk membebaskan tanah air dari belenggu penjejah semakin membara. Kelihatan akhbar Utusan Zaman keluaran Ahad 1 September 1957 yang memaparkan perkataan ‘Merdeka’, ‘Merdeka’, ‘Merdeka’, dalam huruf Jawi dengan megah menghiasi muka satu akhbar itu dengan foto pemasyhuran kemerdekaan oleh Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. –fotoBERNAMA HAKCIPTA TERPELIHARA

A Tribute to Abah.

He was a man who spoke not of his worries or the pain and anguish which torments his heart. He would, at times, act upon his anger when he felt upset. Alas, he was only a human.

He was a man who spoke wise words, leaving cryptic messages and short-sentenced advices. When I asked for the reason behind the words he said, most of the time he wouldn’t explain them, only saying; figure it out.

After he left, I started to see the things which had been tormenting him—the things which he had been trying to keep away from us so as to keep us away from the pain he felt. After he left, I started to see the reasons behind some of the words he said—the reasons as to why he told us to stay away from certain acts and to not trust certain hearts. Or the reason as to why he always reminded us to hold onto our faith in Allah for Iman is not something a father is able to pass down to his children.

The past eleven months have been a wild ride for me. With the mast of my ship, which was the reason as to why I could sail for so far, gone and the compass, which guided me through turbulent waves, lost; it is often that I find myself pulled into ferocious storms.

And it had been maddening.

But with every tragedy which one braces through come lessons which one can learn from. Such as the art to tell apart between glitter and gold, or the art to recognize wolves in white fleece, or to understand why you must always treasure and stand together with the ones who are not going to jump out of a sinking ship without you. And these lessons learned are the seeds which grow into valuable experiences, experiences which will build your own map of the world so you can stand up for yourself and also help others sail through the seas which are uncharted for them—like how others have helped you.

To Abah, thank you for all of the sacrifices you’ve made for us which we’ve never known and perhaps will never know. Thank you for all of the wise words you’ve spoken, for always reminding us to read and learn and hold onto our Iman. Thank you for the quiet mornings we’ve spent over books and breakfast—this will always be something which I will miss.

To Abah, happy birthday and may Allah bless you always.

رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ

He was a man who knew of many things on so many fields from science to technology to social behaviour. There were times, though, when he didn’t know the answer to our questions. And he would admit it—never feigning intelligence.

Disrespect Towards the Sovereign Rulers, and Racial Divide: Someone Needs to Close the Can of Worms


Since May last year, there has been a profound rise in the number of random civilians who posts words or pictures which are preaching hatred on their social media pages by mocking the sovereign rulers of the country and the people who support them, and insulting the practices and ideologies which are taught in Islam, the religion of the Federation. These posts are obviously stirring up the anger of all patriotic citizens, not only the Malays and the Muslims, and are causing a divide between the people.

As a multiracial country, people of all races and religions would feel angry about such acts because they feel compassionate for their fellow compatriots. These people would also feel angry at the disrespect shown to their sovereign rulers who they owe to for the peace and success of their country. However, it is sad to see that the number of people from other races who are standing behind the sovereign rulers and the Malays is minute. The rest of them have either chosen to join the charade of hate preaching or to ignore the whole fiasco altogether. And this is where the divide happens.

When the Malays embraced and welcomed the induction of the Chinese and the Indians as citizens of Malaysia, only to have a majority of these people mock and insult their religion, they feel very much betrayed. This feeling subsequently leads to indignation which leads to them standing up to protect the sanctity of their religion and race. When the Malays unite to stand up for the king, their religion and race, there are people who dislike this unity and instill fear into the hearts of the people from other races—specifically the Chinese and the Indians, by accusing the Malays of attempting to oust them from the country. This provokes the other races to mock and insult the sovereign rulers and the Malays even further. Thus, when the fight is no longer between individuals and the patriotic citizens but race against race, it poses as a grave danger to the peace of our country.

There needs to be a stop in the derogatory usage of our sovereign rulers, and the teachings, traditions and practices of the Muslims as items of mockery and ingredients for jokes.

The Malays were generous enough to relax the citizenship law and grant citizenship for the Chinese and the Indians, who came from their subsequent countries to find a better life. For about 54 years since the establishment of the Social Contract of Malaysia—the basis on which the citizenship of the Chinese and the Indians stands, the people enjoyed a peaceful and joyous life in a country which celebrates its unique multiracial identity, safe for the communal altercation which took place in 1969. All this is now placed at stake because of some foolish and shallow acts done without thorough thought. The impending doom of a communal riot similar to the 13th May 1969 incident seems ever so close at hand. 

This is exactly the reason as to why law is established in a country.

Peace is brought forth when there is order, and for there to be order, a law needs to be established, upheld and practised. The citizens of a civilised country should feel responsible to protect, uphold and respect the law. The government should be the one who sees that the law is being practised and exercised justly—for what is the use of the law if it is not being practised? The amendment of the Sedition Act 1948 in 1971 which criminalises speech with “seditious tendency”, including that which would engender “feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races” was done exactly to curb the communal altercation which we are going through today after experiencing the deadly 13th May 1969 incident. 

The failure of the people to understand the severity of their actions and the reason behind the laws which have been established in the country is saddening and horrifying, and the failure to see through that the law is being practised and upheld is encouraging such acts which are preaching hatred and causing a divide in our country. Thus, until the law is practised and upheld again, the number of such disrespectful, immature and thoughtless acts will only escalate.

Ujian Kesabaran

Staring Off Edited.jpg

Dalam hidup di dunia ini, ada kalanya kita gembira, dan ada kalanya kita sedih. Ada masanya kita senang, dan ada masanya kita jatuh, susah dan sakit. Susah atau senang, kedua-duanya adalah ujian untuk kita. Adakah kita akan terlalu berfoya-foya ketika kita senang hinggakan kita leka dan mencampur-adukkan yang haq dan yang batil? Adakah kerana kesusahan hidup kita akan hilang kesabaran dan Iman yang ditanam dan disemai di dalam hati mula mencair dan akhirnya terlerai?

Ramai yang tidak sedar bahawa hidup senang itu adalah satu ujian. Bahkan, ramai yang sedang hidup senang tidak menyedari yang mereka itu sedang melalui satu ujian yang amat besar. Sangat senang untuk kita terlupa tentang hari akhirat apabila hari-hari di dunia sangat menyenangkan. Sangat senang untuk kita tergoda untuk hidup mengikut hawa nafsu apabila kita semakin menjarakkan diri daripada Allah. Sangat senang untuk kita terjangkit penyakit sakit hati dan gila harta apabila hawa nafsu sudah tidak terkawal.

Ramai yang sedar bahawa hidup susah adalah satu ujian. Apabila tidur dan bangun kita perlu melayan suara-suara di dalam kepala yang tidak tahu untuk berhenti mengingatkan kita tentang masalah yang sedang dihadapi. Apabila kita hanya mahu duduk membaca buku untuk belajar atau hanya untuk membaca buat menghibur hati pun tidak tercapai apabila hanya satu ayat yang dapat masuk dalam kepala. Yang lain terus kabur dari penglihatan kerana tidak dapat menumpukan perhatian kepada perkataan-perkataan yang tercatat apabila suara-suara itu kembali. Sangat senang untuk patah semangat apabila setiap langkah yang diambil ditohmah dan diperli mereka yang sedarah dan sedaging dengan kita. Sangat senang untuk kita putus asa dan hilang kesabaran apabila hati telah lusuh. Sangat senang untuk kita menggadaikan Iman apabila sudah terputus asa.

Dalam hidup di dunia ini, perlulah kita bentengi pertalian saudara dan mengeratkan ukhuwah antara kita. Perlulah kita saling mengingati akan mereka dan memberi nasihat atau menghulurkan bantuan apabila perlu. Ia adalah sangat sukar untuk menghadapi ujian-ujian ini seorang-diri dan, jika kita sudah tahu bahawa mereka sedang susah atau leka, ia sudah menjadi tanggungjawab kita untuk membantu mereka.

Tetapi… susahnya kita hendak membantu mereka. Untuk memberi nasihat kepada mereka yang sedang hidup senang, memang tak terbuat. Antara kita fitnah mereka yang bukan-bukan, ataupun kita tumpang sekaki dalam kehidupan materialistik dan hedonistik mereka. Untuk menghulur bantuan kepada mereka yang susah… cita-cita itu ada, mungkin niat pun sudah disebut dan kadang-kala, habis ke semua orang telah kita cerita tentang azam kita itu. Bangganya kita apabila telah berjaya menghulurkan sedikit bantuan kepada mereka buat julung kalinya semenjak berbulan kita menanam niat dalam hati. Habis ke semua group WhatsApp kita share gambar betapa baiknya kita. Tetapi… selepas itu….?

Banyak-banyaklah kita bermuhasabah diri. Jangan kita gagal di dalam kedua-dua ujian ini. Kedua-duanya sangat mencabar untuk mereka yang tidak mahu mengawal emosi, senang putus asa dan tidak ada atau kurang kepercayaan kepada Allah s.w.t yang maha pengasih lagi maha penyayang. Tidak akan sekali-pun dia mencampak kita ke dalam situasi yang kita tidak ada kekuatan untuk menghadapi.

Pesanan Terakhir daripada Abah…

Suatu hari, ayah saya mendapat satu panggilan telefon dari gurunya, Ustaz Uthman El-Muhammady.

“Karim, Al-Buti sudah tiada”, ujar Ustaz Uthman. “Tetapi kita jangan takut kerana perjuangan mesti diteruskan.”

Kira-kira lima hari kemudian, sedang ayah memasuki sebuah masjid untuk memberi pencerahan tentang ancaman kepada Agama dan Bangsa di Tanah Air kita, telefon di dalam poketnya berdering. Nama anak kepada Ustaz Uthman tertera di skrin telefon.

“Pak Cik Karim… ayah sudah tiada.”

.

.

.

Lima tahun kemudian, pesanan terakhir Ustaz Uthman inilah antara pesanan terakhir yang ayah saya sampaikan kepada saya dengan aliran air mata yang tidak dapat ditahan.

Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama. Moga-moga nama pejuang Agama, Bangsa dan Tanah Air ini dapat memberikan inspirasi kepada kita semua untuk meneruskan perjuangan sehingga ke akhir hayat seperti yang telah dilakukan oleh Allahyarham A. Karim Omar.

Al-Fatihah.