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OUR BANGKOK JOURNAL – PART 03/03

OUR BANGKOK JOURNAL – PART 03/03

Street Dawah Experience in Bangkok

 

During the Regional Youth Convention 2018 (RYC2018) in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the activities that we had to carry out was to perform street dawah in the area near the hotel.

 

The slot began after lunch with Brother Muhammad and Brother Ali introducing themselves and briefing us about the activity.  Then they divided us into five groups of brothers and five groups of sisters.

 

Group 1 was assigned to The Mall, Group 2 and 4 to The Major Hollywood, whilst Group 3 and 5 to Huamark Town Center.

 

Brother Ali led our group to the location as not everyone in the group is local and most were unaware of the location.  He later briefed us on what we should and should not do.

 

Our team of 5 sisters consisted of 3 Thai people, myself from Malaysia and another sister named Nhada from the Philippines.  The majority of the Thai people could not speak in English, thus we decided to separate the tasks in our team into 2 groups. The foreigners in the group were tasked with recording the activity because we couldn’t speak in Thai and the locals were tasked with approaching the passersby with the assigned question.

 

The first thing we had to do was to ask to the passersby “Who Is Muhammad”.  When we first approached 2 ladies, they refused to be interviewed thus we proceeded with the next lady – a cleaner.  To our surprise, she was born a Muslim but she no longer practises Islam.

One Of The Correspondent

 

Sister Afnan, the girl who did the interviewed got teary-eyed as she listened to the explanation given by the interviewee.  Sister Afnan instantly felt blessed to receive protection and hidayah from Allah – that she is still a practising Muslim.  We later proceeded to interview another local who is one of the vendors in the mall.

 

She explained she never heard of Muhammad (the question we were assigned to ask) and Sister Afnan took the opportunity to explain about our beloved prophet during that brief period.  At the same time, two members of our group interviewed a brother who is a Muslim.

 

He explained that Prophet Muhammad was the husband of Khadijah, that he was known as Al-Ameen and was a prophet.

 

The sisters later shared that initially they approached different people and got rejected before they managed to interview one brother who was willing to participate by sharing his answers.

 

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Through this activity, we learn to appreciate the blessing of guidance by Allah, to be able to practise Islam accordingly and to be free from being tested with situations that strayed us away from practising Islam.  We also appreciate the opportunity to perform street dawah in Bangkok; some scholars believe dawah should be done like how the Prophet and Sahabah used to do; from door to door. Thus street dawah reflects this practice somehow.

 

May Allah guide us all in His path, always.

 

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ وَ عَلَى طَاعَتِكَ

“O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your Religion.”

Shaikh Albanee declared this hadeeth to be Saheeh in Saheeh at Tirmidhee (2140)

 

Ameen.

 

-End of our journal in Bangkok-

 

Love,

Farwina

OUR BANGKOK JOURNAL – PART 02/03

OUR BANGKOK JOURNAL – PART 02/03

Our Visit to Bangkok Tamil Muslim Association

 

Our journey to Bangkok for the Regional Youth Convention 2018 (RYC2018) was made mainly for the launching of our new Digital Dawah product – The GOODTIDINGS.  As a non-profit organization, we truly understand it is important for us to make every moment count as the opportunity to learn about Muslims in another country does not come easily for us.

Being Muslims in Malaysia, we are blessed with so many opportunities to increase our understanding of Islam. There are official Islamic study programs in the education system, unofficial study opportunities (like TV programs with Islamic contents) and so much more.

In Malaysia, Muslims make up 61.3% of the total population with the Malays being the majority Muslims whilst other races were either born into Islam or reverted to Islam; like the Chinese-Muslims, Indian-Muslims and a few other races.

Pakistani Meal

I’m an Indian-Muslim myself (Tamil-Muslim to be exact) and we are among the minorities (ethnics) in Malaysia but our religion is the majority in Malaysia.  Before making our way to Bangkok, I googled for ‘Muslims NGOs in Thailand’ and the results suggested a few NGOs with Bangkok Tamil Muslim Association being listed as one of them.

Tamil Muslims are mostly born as Muslim-Indian from the Tamil ethnicity.  The spoken language is Tamil.  Most of the Tamil people originated from Tamil Nadu, mainly Chennai — my grandfather himself came from Paramakudi and later resided in Georgetown Penang, Malaysia.

I contacted every listed NGOs that I could, including the Bangkok Tamil Muslim Association, which responded to my message.  The association gave me their Secretary’s phone number, Mr Shameel, and I immediately texted him, introduced myself and my organization and finally set an appointment with him.

As we landed in Bangkok, WAMY Thailand took us to the designated hotel, Regent Ramkhamhaeng 22. We got some rest first, took a stroll near the hotel area and then took the Grab transport service from the hotel to Bangkok Mosque , where the Bangkok Tamil Muslim Association is located.

Funding to build the masjid were obtained from donations made by the locals and foreigners. The masjid is now run by the Bangkok Tamil Muslim Association.  It is a building consisting of 4 storeys and the facilities include a (mini) library, lavatories, an office and a prayer room for Muslim ladies.

When we arrived, there was a tafseer class in Tamil taking place.  The khutbah was delivered in Arabic but most classes were conducted in either Tamil or English.  I managed to interview 5 Tamil brothers and 5 Tamil sisters — the video is as attached in this entry.

They expressed their gratefulness in living in Thailand and being able to practise Islam freely, even though they live in a Buddhist majority country. Islam makes up 4.29% of the total population in Thailand

In my previous entry, I’ve shared about the generosity and support that Muslims received from Thailand’s government by providing numerous prayer facilities for the Muslims.

The brothers and sisters of the Tamil Muslim Association welcomed us by serving bonda and ginger tea. Later we joined them for Maghrib prayer in jama’ah and interviewed them.  The brothers gave us some insight into their history in Thailand (Bangkok to be exact).  Most of them are traders (gemstone business) and they initially didn’t reside in Bangkok with their family members.  They plan to return to their homeland in Southern India for the purpose of putting their children in school because the education system in Thailand is not in English.

Bonda and Ginger Tea

Only a few of them are able to speak Thai, while most of them are fluent in English.  The sisters stressed that their main concern is the education system as they understand the importance of learning science, mathematics and other subjects but due to these subjects not made available in English, they feel as though their kids are being left behind.

The Tamil Muslim sisters are rather shy, thus I’m not able to share footages of them in the video.  As soon as we finished with the interview, two of the sisters took us out for dinner at the nearby Pakistani Restaurant.  They later invited us to visit their family at their homes and this was truly a special memory to me — I honestly felt like I was visiting my long-lost relatives.  

They are quite surprised that I don’t speak Tamil – we usually use English and Bahasa Melayu at home in Malaysia.  The night didn’t end there for the sister and her brother generously offered to send us back to our hotel.  They were such hospitable hosts and we could not thank them enough for their hospitality. It is my sincerest hope that they would be able to solve the education issues for their children.

 

End of Part 02.

Our final part (part 03) – street dawah experience in Bangkok in the next entry.

 

Love,

Farwina

Making Through The Change

Many of us had been trying to get up from our foot and try new things in our life. Some was trying out new job, some was trying to get new home, some – new relationship; and for most of us Muslims we are trying to get the right friends who can cheer and hold our way to finding Allah.

It is never easy to start the change. Change from never performing salah to actually completing 1 times of prayer. Change from ignoring our parents to actually care for them. Change from wearing that short skirt to a longer one – and if one’s talking about wearing hijab? Phew! That would be even harder!

Now are we ever going to make it through this new journey? The journey to change for the better. Not how people would describe what is better, but how we would measure our own description of better. Because only we ourselves know what is better for us.

Du’a. We have got to make lots of du’a to make it happen. Realize it or not, we’ve been making du’a at least 5 times a day; asking Allah to make us among those on the right path. “Guide us to the straight path”, because we understand that everything happens because Allah says so. So, we have to want to want it, and we have to ask Allah to make us want it.

Quran. Recite and study it. Because Quran is the ultimate mankind’s guide. This is like when you bought Brand A’s washing machine, you’ve got to study it’s manual. Not Brand B’s washing machine. It won’t work at its best. In fact, you might ruin it and beat the purpose of having a washing machine.

If you only keep your Quran on the bookshelves; let it sit there and be pretty, it won’t do any good to you. If you just recite it and not even know what it’s been saying – you’re still not doing good for yourself. Enroll yourself with classes that discuss about the content of Quran. Then it’ll strengthen your understanding in deen and make you stand firm on why you do what you do. Not just because someone say so.

What’s next? Walk the talk. You’ve got to put into practice what you’ve learn. Remember, Allah looks at effort, never the end result. [And it will be said], “Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated.” (Quran 76:22) Once you make your step to put things into practice, you’re already a winner!

Oh wait! Can we do this alone? Maybe! But with companionship, we can do this, better insha-Allah! The right companionship, of course! Never neglect the importance of having good friends around you, showing ways to do better in life, in finding Allah. Holding your hands and doing all these together. Listening to your troubles, laughing together.

The Prophet SAW used to say “The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.”

Like it or not, your friends reflect you. They somehow would influence how you think, how you act and how you live your life. Choosing a good companion is crucial. It doesn’t mean you have to leave your old friends who are still stuck with old way of life. Never leave them. Support them, make du’a for them, but as human we do need to have the right guide to continue living the life. Make new friends, those who’d be making du’a, reciting and studying the Quran, practicing Islam and wanting to surround themselves with good friends like you. Be a good friend to have a good friend too! I found mind through usrah – a study circle consisting of not more than 10 regular people; where we discuss the Quran and Hadith and listen to each others’ story of life and try to help each other out should there be any trouble, go for a trip together and so much more!

All you have to do is to remain persistence. Keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll get there eventually. Don’t look at others and how they did what they did, measure yourself at your own interest and strength.

“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.”

Maybe we can’t do much, but it’s better to do something rather than nothing. All the best finding your support system!

Love, Farwina