Monday, August 19, 2013

Takeaways from Penang


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Thought I share some takeaways from my trip to Penang. I will repeat for the umpteenth time, I am very proud of my hometown Penang which is on the UNESCO World's Heritage List of Cities.

But it's not about food takeaways or to-go although it is worth mentioning the most popular food from Penang is none other than nasi kandar (white rice loaded with mixed curries chicken & beef & fish. Yes, and, not or). I was at the 'Penang and the Hajj Conference' and one of the presenters talked about the role of traders and merchants including nasi kandar sellers, in charting the early Penang economies, which were mostly driven by the Tamil Muslim communities. The second most famous dish recorded in the annals related to Penang as a key hajj hub/port for pilgrims in this region during the 19th century until 1974, was mee mamak. LOL! It is fried noodles but not just any fried noodles, it refers to those prepared by mamak or Tamil Muslims. In those days they were known as the Chulias. The third most popular dish attributed to the mamak was popiah (spring roll). This surprised me a bit although I shouldn't be. I remembered one of my schoolmate's father was a popular popiah vendor in the 70s. They are Chulias or keling but unfortunately the latter term has become somewhat derogatory lately. Hoping to share more about this conference next time InshaAllah.  

Anyway, one important takeaway or lesson I got from Penang was a result of visiting two maqam (mausoleum) of prominent Sufis (tariqa guru). The great thing about genuine Sufi gurus is that they often impart simple but meaningful lesson, even after their demise. 

So I learned about being forgiving and hereby forgive all who have wronged me whether directly or indirectly. There have been all kinds of people who got in touch through this space and some have done the unthinkable and "unforgivable" just to get closer. People's behaviors are often unfathomable.

And yes, magnanimous has always been a big word to me. But it's true, we should be too magnanimous to resent all the things people have said and done to us. It's always easier said than done. But personally, it felt easier after spending some time at the mausoleums to reflect and regroup.

Whatever it is, Allah is Malikul Mulk. He is the orchestrating Lord of Power. We are all going back to Him so let Him be the Judge. Here is a photo taken at the entrance of Shaykh Omar Basheer's maqam today and it says just that! 

Allahu a'lam.

Dr. N - I did pray for you at the maqam as requested and also for everyone who has been good to me in one way or another.
Sis N and Sidi A of Cape Town - your du'a and words of encouragement are much appreciated.
Dr. P - You are simply angelical!

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