Monday, November 12, 2012

Self governance (and religion).

Last Friday, I was having lunch with the girls.
In a restaurant with a Malay-Arabic name. One speaker was blaring Quranic recitation and the other was playing some music. In the same restaurant. The 2 male workers continued to work during lunch hour and missed their Friday prayer. Business was as usual. Not to mention the overwhelming number of "Muslim" men having their lunch peacefully in other restaurant nearby. It looked so wrong. Everything was so wrong. At least to me.

Religion is important to me. And it's important to me that my kids grow up to be an open minded relevant religious person that makes a difference in this world.  I am not the strictest Muslim. I can be very liberal at times. But there are certain things that I can be very conservative too. 

As much as I can, I try to teach my kids the right thing the right way. Most importantly, I remind myself constantly not to shove religion down my kids' throat. They need to understand the reason of doing and the raison-d-etre. Do not follow blindly for the sake of religion. Acquire the knowledge and decide your course of action. I let my kids decide. And their decision is made to please God. Not me. Not friends. Not following the crowd. Not for anybody but God. It's their submission to God. Like when Hajar decided to wear hijab. It will be easier for me to make her wear it when she was younger. But I prefer to let her wear it on her own accord. When she's ready. Once she understood the concept of hijab.

Halloween is always tough for me. It has been so commercialized that it makes it so fun for everybody to celebrate. 
And it makes it so difficult not to get sucked into the brouhahaha. I will be lying if I tell u I am not tempted to dress up and be silly and go trick or treating. So I can fully understand why kids get excited about it. And why my kids get excited.

So when Medina asked me whether she can go to her school's Halloween party few weeks ago, I told her it's her choice. I told her my stand on Halloween, and why it is so. I don't celebrate Halloween. Due to the pagan roots. Paganism contradict my Islamic belief. It isn't hard to go the usual yada yada "We don't celebrate Halloween coz we are Muslim" if u r not affected by it. If u live in a world that doesn't give a hoot about it. But when your school has been preparing for the party for weeks and your teachers have been talking about costumes and candies and Halloween decorations are up, it's hard. Especially when u are 5 yo. 

M; "Ummi, u know I love animals right??"
Me; Hmm..uhh..yes.
M; I want to be a Bat Girl.
Me; Hmm...uhhhh...OK.

So despite my reluctance and my stand on Halloween, I prepared her costume. As cheap as I can...hahaha. While still praying that my 5yo will decide not to go. 

On the party day itself, things just worked out. I had to leave early for work. Mr O was down with food poisoning. She woke up early. Probably excited. And we had a little chat on Halloween. Again. So I told her to decide herself. She can stay home. Or ask Mr O to send her to school. And she told me she will stay home to please Allah. OK. Fine by me. I left home. Still wondering whether she will go to the party or not.

I called home during lunch just to check. 

M; I didn't go to the party, ummi. I can dress up at home too. Today, Emily and me did a Bat Girl play. She's the villain. I am the good Bat Girl.
Me; OK, Ina. I am very proud of u. And u make Allah really happy.
M; Really ummi?
Me; Really really ;-)
How could I not be proud of her? To be tempted and to choose not to. To acquire self governance at 5 yo is an incredible feat. At least I know, this girl will grow up doing something she thinks is right. Not because everybody is doing it. For that, I am blessed. Alhamdulillah.

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