Questions posted on the website for ex muslims in singapore - that also makes me ponder and want to answer for myself. Bismillaah.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Believe me, I am as expectant as everyone else, for Singapore to open it's borders with Malaysia, to establish the VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lane), that will allow me to visit my family and friends in Malaysia.
My Malaysian family and friends said to me, after Singapore opened up VTL to eight more countries, 'how could Singapore, have not included it's neighbour?'
In the Quran, there is the story of Moses, who thought that he was the most knowledgeable person, and God directed him to a person more knowledgeable. He asked that knowledgeable man, if he could follow and learn from him. The knowledgeable man said, Moses would not have patience with him. He would not have the patience, when he does not have a full grasp of the situation.
The people complaining about the Singapore-Malaysia borders situation truly reminded me of this.
So in order for us to have patience about this situation, we should try to understand it - why it is not an easy thing for Singapore to open it's borders to our closest and beloved neighbour, Malaysia.
1. When Singapore opens it's borders to other countries than Malaysia - these people are all arriving by AIR. Also, there are designated planes, that comes under this program, which means that the number of incoming visitors can be controlled by the number of incoming flights.
2. This will not be the case, when Singapore opens it's borders to Malaysia. As it was - Kuala Lumpur to Singapore was the 3rd busiest international AIR route in 2018. Nearly 4,500,000 incoming persons in that year - via AIR alone (according to Wikipedia).
The number of people coming to Singapore by LAND (JOHOR -> SINGAPORE) based on a 2012 report, was... 127,000,000 annually. 127 MILLION. (Wikipedia)
3. VTL does not mean that the incoming people just go through immigration like we do previously. With VTL, incoming people must take PCR test upon entry.
127 million translates to an average of 320,000 people a day - queuing for PCR tests. The situation at the immigration will be crazy! Worse than Chinese New year jams! Singapore immigration must prepare for so many personnel to do this all day long. If previously, just having to stamp/scan your passport, we sometimes have to queue 1-3 hours, imagine if you also need to take PCR.
4. Then you say, if that is so, open the AIR route only. However, you can already imagine the same people and press complaining - why open to people from Kuala Lumpur only and not opened to your NEXT DOOR neighbour?
5. The government has to prepare for AIR and LAND scenarios, and I'm sure apart from that, they also have to think of how to manage the exponential increase in COVID19 cases in Singapore due to influx of thousands of people into Singapore? Even currently, while Singapore is slowly adjusting and putting in place the steps to manage positive COVID19 cases in Singapore - the people are already complaining that MOH reaction is slow, they are not efficient blah blah blah. Do we think we can do a much better job? Do we think they are superhumans?
I can see how at this time, Singapore is not ready to manage the kind of numbers, if Singapore were to open it's borders by VTL to Malaysia. It's almost impossible to apply the PCR for land border crossings. Perhaps a special arrangement has to be considered for Malaysians, like no PCR test required at all upon entry.
But if we do this - will the Singapore health system be ready for the consequences - managing inevitable COVID19 cases increment within Singapore?
People, it's not an easy decision to make and steps to take.
Let's have patience and pray for the best. I'm sure, they are doing their best - there are no ill-intentions here, only precautions.
I also hope the press, instead of inciting the readers towards negative thoughts, should work with the authorities to educate the public about the possible reasons behind such decisions.
May God ease our affairs. I miss you Malaysia.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
What if I tell you, that we can send and receive some messages without the need for words.
Messages that are transmitted by other than words, carry such deeper meanings, and emotions and awesomeness. Messages that when transformed into words, or worse, into languages with limited expressions and descriptions, loses it's grandeur, and limits it's meanings.
We can get these messages if we observe and ponder over them, and pay attention to receiving them.
Allaah tells us, that his ayahs are in the heavens and on earth, it is in everything that we can observe and in those which man have yet to discover.
I am in awe, just thinking about them and absorbing them all - these signs (ayahs) that are all around us. I no longer want to try to reduce everything into limited words.
I want the ayahs to engulf my heart, granting me understanding of God's infinite knowledge and wisdom and intelligence and beauty and power and more. Aamiin.
a message without words
yet, able to engulf the heart and soul
one that makes you believe,
gives hope and security, and saves your dignity
a message that you see, hear or feel
that you need not try to convey, within you, let it stay
breathe, think, seek and pray.
Sunday, June 20, 2021
"Wishing upon a star", "Blow the candle and make a wish", and some latest terms for a song "talking to the moon"
As I was reading ar ra3d 13:14, the above phrases come to mind - and how fitting it is!
"To Him is the call of truth; and those upon whom they call, apart from Him, answer them nothing, but it is like a man who stretches out his hands to water that it may reach his mouth, and it reaches it not. The prayer of the unbelievers goes only astray."
Yes, people think it sounds romantic and cute(?) saying all those things without logic or with just wishful thinking. It may sound 'beautiful', because...
"... and satan makes their acts seem alluring to them". al an3aam 6:43 naudzubillaah.
The problem with this modern life is that, everybody is trying to 'fit in' by following what the masses are doing - even if the idea was sparked by an ignorant one. They do it without any reflection or thought, following blindly.
And if we question the act, then immediately we would be deemed 'weird' or strange.
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. so good tidings for the stranger. Sahih Muslim
This is a continuous fight against satan's plan to deceive people by making them believe what they do is 'beautiful'. So let us persevere and stand our ground, don't start or stop doing nonsense.
"O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that ye may prosper." 3:200
Friday, June 18, 2021
I have a group of sisters who gets together twice a week to recite the Quran and read the translations. Most of them have been averted from reading the English translations because the English was classic and most find it difficult to understand.
In my aim to gently introduce and encourage them to at least have a rough idea of what Allaah SWT is saying in the Quran, I tried to find a simple English translation of the Quran - that would not scare them away. I found on the internet, The Clear Quran, by Talal Itani.
I read his biography (About ClearQuran - About Talal Itani) - and understood that he is not an Islamic scholar - but for many years learned the Quran through various English translations. His objective was basically to translate the Quran into simpler English that would be accessible to more modern people. He explained that he did not intend to do a tafsir on it or give his understanding of it - but only to translate the words and sentences to the best of his knowledge.
I have the same thoughts and feelings about reading the various English translations of the Quran, where some translator put more words in brackets, perhaps to ease understanding - however some of them may lead a person to restrict the understanding of the Quranic ayat in only that specific way, the translator thinks. May Allaah reward ALL of their efforts of trying to let people understand a bit of the message of the Quran.
The Quran itself is a miracle and Allaah is The Most Subtle, very detailed. Every fallen leaf on this earth, is in a Clear Record. Nothing is accidental or missed out in the Quran. If it is there or not there, there is a reason, or if the words may lead to multiple intepretations - there is a hikmah. Allaah knows best.
So, back to the translation - one of the sisters tried to find out more about the translation and came across a feedback on Quora, which was quite strongly against this translation.
The feedback on quora regarding this translation - he mentioned 'serious errors' and 'going against Islamic creed and aqidah', then he went on to quote - what I believe is to him, a very good example of a 'great error' - which is 'use the shrine of Abraham as a place of prayer'. 2:125
Other translators have indicated use the place where Abraham stood, as a place of prayer, or 'where Abraham stand'.
Perhaps the person giving feedback, was affected by our common usage of the word shrine - which almost always refers to a grave. However, that is not so. If we look up the dictionary, the word shrine simply means a place regarded as holy because of it's associations with divinity or a sacred person, marked by a building or other construction.
Maybe his choice of word used in this instance, is scaring some people, but it's not utterly wrong.
That ayat does refer to a place where Abraham A.S. stood and we are asked to do 2 rakaat prayer after tawaf there, near the Kaabah.
So based on only that example, so far.. i don't see him as having greatly deviated.
Also, if we are in doubt about the translations, we can always refer back to the various translations and the arabic text or corpus, that explains the word. As he mentioned also, this is not an exegisis or tafsir - it's just a translation from the Arabic, as is. If we want to find out more - we can read the tafsir or ask a scholar.
AND on top of all that - as in ALL translations, we have to bear in mind, that it is not THE word of Allaah. This is their translations, to their understandings, in their words - of what Allaah said in Arabic.
So we always have to read any translations with a pinch of salt.
Update / Sep 2021
We are almost half way through reading the Quran and Talal Atani's translations. Perhaps because I have read other translations (Asad, Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, Sahih etc), there are some areas, although the meanings may not be too off, for choice of words, but I do get the feeling of it having less weight. A matter of personal feel.
There is one place, where the word Jin is used in Arabic, but he chose to use the word devil, and he used the word Gehenna, to translate Jahannam (Hell), which I personally will read as Jahannam or Hell, in translation. So far those are the two things that I'm not comfortable with.
We are continuing with his translation, but I sometimes have the desire that we go back to using the Sahih translations. We'll see how.