the next phase of life,
About me

Name:Mariam aka MJL
About you: Life is a journey and full of experiences awaiting for the soul to submerge and eventually triumph over obstacles.



|Xia Yan

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

( the meaning of hari raya puasa-MJL )

I am a Muslim since birth and I am very glad that I am born in this religion. Each year Muslims all around the world would be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa that marks the end of fasting month, Ramadhan. Ramadhan is one of the most important month in Islam calendar. It is a month full of Barakah or blessings and sacred. Muslims are compulsory to fast on that month from dusk till dawn. During that period, Muslims are put under test to fast not only the stomach, but to leave the worldly pleasures of human desires through reading Al-Quran scriptures and getting one near to God through praying and after iftar ( breaking of fast) one is encourage to perform Terawih. It is a moment where the whole family get together and pray. It is truly an emotional and spiritual boosting to a Muslim. It has strenghten the family ties and makes one feel ‘repentful’ (that is my own opinion)

The night of Ei dul Fitri marks the end of Ramadhan and a new month in the calendar named, Syawal. Syawal is a month that Muslims celebrates Hari Raya or commonly called Ei dul Fitri ( Arabic name for Hari Raya). This month we celebrate our victory after a month of fasting and of the mind, body and spirit. It is truly an important event that all Muslims look forward and this is usually the moment where Muslims would visit their relatives and family and seeking forgiveness. The morning of Ei Dul Fitri is usually very solemn especially the ‘azan’ that comes only once a year and seeking forgiveness from the elderly can be a very emotional period where tears and cries would roll together. It is a moment of thanking God and being humble " I am still alive to celebrate Hari Raya and I thank Him for that"

But what is Hari Raya to MJL?

As an infant, I was introduced to the whole extended family of my name and my position in the family. Hari Raya at that time means an introduction to my family. They would eager to know me and tries to predict whether I will look more like Mum or Dad.

As I grow up, being at the age of 5 at that time, Hari Raya meant new clothes, playing games on the eve of Hari Raya and collecting money. It was very typical of most children as one can wear new clothes and be like a princess for a day. Playing with my friends till dawn is a big deal as that was the only time that my mum gives leeway for me to do what I want. Childhood Hari Raya meant I can get what I want and get away with it…

As I celebrated Hari Raya when I was 10, it was different. I was more interested to listen to the Hari Raya songs and memorise it to feel the atmosphere. I still remember leaning near to the radio to listen to the latest songs of Hari Raya. It was silly but worth it. It gives me a sense of identity and belong to something. That feeling was indescribable.

As I reach teen years like 12 to 18 year old, the meaning of Hari Raya took on a different definition. Hari Raya meant having to prepare food, re arranging the furniture, painting, buying groceries, and budgeting. I realise I took on a more adult role. I was not very keen on money collection (maybe the amount never change!). I was more keen on preparing cookies, cakes and testing myself at culinary skills. As my Mum is a cook, she would expect her daughter to inherit her talent and all daughters would be forced to ‘help’ her. it was a grueling preiod but I guess it is all worth it.

During this period as well, relatives starts to compare in terms of education, looks, height, genes, and grooming. My parents trophy are their daughters, but we are reluctant. I was not interested to thank nor be angry at anyone that criticize or compliment me. I was more interested to prepare food rather than be on the good books of anyone.

Hari Raya is also a great moment to click some memorable photos to keep it as memory.
I was very excited to take photos and be in them. It was exhilarating especially with Hari raya clothes…

As years gone by and now I am not interested in any of the above. I am more intrigue by the tradition that the Malay society has created for the past century. I realized that the way we celebrate Hari Raya is so different from other ethnicity that are Muslims. My Muslim friends in Canada celebrated Hari Raya in a more modest way. They concentrate on the poor more than on themselves. The Indonesians celebrate Hari Raya by praying more than visitng. Malay in Singapore and Malaysia are quite similar in terms of lavish food, clothes, accessories and furnitures. It becomes a pride and a way of identifying with Hari raya. Somehow Hari Raya become a period to boast of one properties, it is ridiculous yet it makes sense.

This year, Hari Raya makes me reflect on myself and what I have done all these while as a young girl, a young lady, a daughter, a muslim and most importantly as a human.
It makes me realize that life is so vulnerable and fragile. Those that are gone and I love, I will never see them again. All that remain are simply memories of yesterday and it is a solemn moment to remember those that are gone and all we could do is, talk of the past wonderful memories together every year repeatedly the same thing.

Hari Raya will always be a time to compare whose child is the best and who is the worst of them all. It is so saddening that I am still being compared to others though I am already so old to be compared with the rest.

My definition of Hari Raya will continue to be modify and redefine as years goes by. Perhaps when I am older, I may look at Hari Raya as a grateful period where I can still be with the ones that I love...

look at the brighter side----it is all about recognising your worth and putting them into perspective-Girl in an urban jungle

to all muslims and non muslims....Selamat Hari Raya !!!!!!!

3:15 PM