the taqwacores by michael muhammad knight- book review

this is a must-read for me, and i’m sure a must-burn for more conservative muslims who are against alternative narratives. when i read the preface, a poem/song called ‘muhd was a punk rocker’ to my hubby, he got pretty shocked (read: angry) saying that the lyrics defiled…

i on the other hand found the book refreshing. it’s about a young south-asian muslim university student named Yunus in Buffalo, New York who lives in a muslim punk house. His housemates include a mohawked Sunni named Jehangir, a burqa wearing ‘riot girl’, a strict Islamic punk with tatooos covering his entire body and a gay Muslim. Their house hosts Friday prayers and in the evenings an all out party with booze, alcohol, weed, f***. but they pray five times a day, philosophise about religion, faith and islam- sometimes in a drunken stupor, other times high on weed.
Yunus, who ended up living in this house instead of the dorms because his parents believe its better for him to live amongst muslims (irony, irony) finds himself torn between his fascination for the logic and simplicity behind the islam that his punk friends profess, and the conservative traditional islam which he was brought up with. he struggled so hard between what he knew was acceptable about islam- and what was muslim, which was everything his friends were not, but at the same time he couldn’t discount the depths of their faith in the religion and its core. it’s core, it’s principles. so he finds himself drifting along with them, following in step but not totally buying into their beliefs either.
what i enjoyed about the book- is the alternate narrative it offers. it questions the very fundamentals of our beliefs. although some parts shocked even Me (and i’m as liberal as they come) i respected that Yunus, although in his struggle he occasionally finds himself judging his friends and condemning them, he also realises- who is he to judge?
after a series of events, he eventually leaves the home, and his friends. but he does not condemn their memory or their actions. he finds the islam that he is comfortable with. to each his own.

“The jumaat was an almost silly mish-mash of people: Rude Dawud’s pork pie hat poking up here, a jalab-and-turban type there, Jehangir’s big mohawk rising from a sea of kufis. Amazing Ayyub still with no shirt, girls scattered throughout- some in hejab, some not and Rabeya in a punk-patched burqa doing her thing. But in its randomness it was gorgeous, reflecting an Islam I felt could not happen anywhere else despite Jehangir’s travller tales of California taqwacore.”

the taqwacores by michael muhammad knight- book review

this is a must-read for me, and i’m sure a must-burn for more conservative muslims who are against alternative narratives. when i read the preface, a poem/song called ‘muhd was a punk rocker’ to my hubby, he got pretty shocked (read: angry) saying that the lyrics defiled…

i on the other hand found the book refreshing. it’s about a young south-asian muslim university student named Yunus in Buffalo, New York who lives in a muslim punk house. His housemates include a mohawked Sunni named Jehangir, a burqa wearing ‘riot girl’, a strict Islamic punk with tatooos covering his entire body and a gay Muslim. Their house hosts Friday prayers and in the evenings an all out party with booze, alcohol, weed, f***. but they pray five times a day, philosophise about religion, faith and islam- sometimes in a drunken stupor, other times high on weed.
Yunus, who ended up living in this house instead of the dorms because his parents believe its better for him to live amongst muslims (irony, irony) finds himself torn between his fascination for the logic and simplicity behind the islam that his punk friends profess, and the conservative traditional islam which he was brought up with. he struggled so hard between what he knew was acceptable about islam- and what was muslim, which was everything his friends were not, but at the same time he couldn’t discount the depths of their faith in the religion and its core. it’s core, it’s principles. so he finds himself drifting along with them, following in step but not totally buying into their beliefs either.
what i enjoyed about the book- is the alternate narrative it offers. it questions the very fundamentals of our beliefs. although some parts shocked even Me (and i’m as liberal as they come) i respected that Yunus, although in his struggle he occasionally finds himself judging his friends and condemning them, he also realises- who is he to judge?
after a series of events, he eventually leaves the home, and his friends. but he does not condemn their memory or their actions. he finds the islam that he is comfortable with. to each his own.

“The jumaat was an almost silly mish-mash of people: Rude Dawud’s pork pie hat poking up here, a jalab-and-turban type there, Jehangir’s big mohawk rising from a sea of kufis. Amazing Ayyub still with no shirt, girls scattered throughout- some in hejab, some not and Rabeya in a punk-patched burqa doing her thing. But in its randomness it was gorgeous, reflecting an Islam I felt could not happen anywhere else despite Jehangir’s travller tales of California taqwacore.”

the taqwacores by michael muhammad knight- book review

this is a must-read for me, and i’m sure a must-burn for more conservative muslims who are against alternative narratives. when i read the preface, a poem/song called ‘muhd was a punk rocker’ to my hubby, he got pretty shocked (read: angry) saying that the lyrics defiled…

i on the other hand found the book refreshing. it’s about a young south-asian muslim university student named Yunus in Buffalo, New York who lives in a muslim punk house. His housemates include a mohawked Sunni named Jehangir, a burqa wearing ‘riot girl’, a strict Islamic punk with tatooos covering his entire body and a gay Muslim. Their house hosts Friday prayers and in the evenings an all out party with booze, alcohol, weed, f***. but they pray five times a day, philosophise about religion, faith and islam- sometimes in a drunken stupor, other times high on weed.
Yunus, who ended up living in this house instead of the dorms because his parents believe its better for him to live amongst muslims (irony, irony) finds himself torn between his fascination for the logic and simplicity behind the islam that his punk friends profess, and the conservative traditional islam which he was brought up with. he struggled so hard between what he knew was acceptable about islam- and what was muslim, which was everything his friends were not, but at the same time he couldn’t discount the depths of their faith in the religion and its core. it’s core, it’s principles. so he finds himself drifting along with them, following in step but not totally buying into their beliefs either.
what i enjoyed about the book- is the alternate narrative it offers. it questions the very fundamentals of our beliefs. although some parts shocked even Me (and i’m as liberal as they come) i respected that Yunus, although in his struggle he occasionally finds himself judging his friends and condemning them, he also realises- who is he to judge?
after a series of events, he eventually leaves the home, and his friends. but he does not condemn their memory or their actions. he finds the islam that he is comfortable with. to each his own.

“The jumaat was an almost silly mish-mash of people: Rude Dawud’s pork pie hat poking up here, a jalab-and-turban type there, Jehangir’s big mohawk rising from a sea of kufis. Amazing Ayyub still with no shirt, girls scattered throughout- some in hejab, some not and Rabeya in a punk-patched burqa doing her thing. But in its randomness it was gorgeous, reflecting an Islam I felt could not happen anywhere else despite Jehangir’s travller tales of California taqwacore.”

aneng

when i was a wee lil tot, we used to live in a flat in bedok. when we were ill, dad and mum would bring my brother and i to a clinic at the next block. there was a lovely nurse at the clinic whose name is agnes. she was really close to our family and loved us very very much.

as a little child, i couldn’t pronouce her name- agnes. instead i called her aneng (prononuced ar-neng). the entire family then started referring to her as aneng. anyways, we were really close. apparently, when my mum worked, my dad would leave my brother and i at the clinic and he’d go wash the car or something. aneng, would watch over us.
we lost touch with her when we moved away more than 20 years ago. but i always remembered her. especially when i slept in the quilt that she gave me as a present (it was lovingly sewn by her late mother).
she tracked us down this year. she looked up my dad’s name in the phonebook and then sent us a card. dad invited her to our wedding earlier this year, and this raya- dad invited her home for breakfast. i spent quite a bit of time chatting with her, hearing stories about ..well..me!..and found out this year, that she used to buy milk powder for me and my brother. how sweet was that?

aneng

when i was a wee lil tot, we used to live in a flat in bedok. when we were ill, dad and mum would bring my brother and i to a clinic at the next block. there was a lovely nurse at the clinic whose name is agnes. she was really close to our family and loved us very very much.

as a little child, i couldn’t pronouce her name- agnes. instead i called her aneng (prononuced ar-neng). the entire family then started referring to her as aneng. anyways, we were really close. apparently, when my mum worked, my dad would leave my brother and i at the clinic and he’d go wash the car or something. aneng, would watch over us.
we lost touch with her when we moved away more than 20 years ago. but i always remembered her. especially when i slept in the quilt that she gave me as a present (it was lovingly sewn by her late mother).
she tracked us down this year. she looked up my dad’s name in the phonebook and then sent us a card. dad invited her to our wedding earlier this year, and this raya- dad invited her home for breakfast. i spent quite a bit of time chatting with her, hearing stories about ..well..me!..and found out this year, that she used to buy milk powder for me and my brother. how sweet was that?

aneng

when i was a wee lil tot, we used to live in a flat in bedok. when we were ill, dad and mum would bring my brother and i to a clinic at the next block. there was a lovely nurse at the clinic whose name is agnes. she was really close to our family and loved us very very much.

as a little child, i couldn’t pronouce her name- agnes. instead i called her aneng (prononuced ar-neng). the entire family then started referring to her as aneng. anyways, we were really close. apparently, when my mum worked, my dad would leave my brother and i at the clinic and he’d go wash the car or something. aneng, would watch over us.
we lost touch with her when we moved away more than 20 years ago. but i always remembered her. especially when i slept in the quilt that she gave me as a present (it was lovingly sewn by her late mother).
she tracked us down this year. she looked up my dad’s name in the phonebook and then sent us a card. dad invited her to our wedding earlier this year, and this raya- dad invited her home for breakfast. i spent quite a bit of time chatting with her, hearing stories about ..well..me!..and found out this year, that she used to buy milk powder for me and my brother. how sweet was that?

Eid in the Kampung

This could be the last year which my family and i will celebrate the later part of our Eid celebration at my aunts kampung or village house which are in the LAST kampung left in Singapore. This kampung is called Kampung Buangkok near Seletar hills.

Every year for the last 29 years, we have spent out Eid ul fitr and Eid ul Adha in these 2 kampung houses. It feels so different when i’m there so far from the common urban landscape that we Singaporeans have grown so accustomed to.
I was delighted that this year, hubby had a chance to spend his first Eid in a kampung setting. I wish for my future children to be as priviledged, but i don’t think we’d be as lucky. My aunts have been given their notices to resettle many years back and are just waiting for the final eviction letter.
This year, i spent some time taking photos of the kampung and my cousins enjoying themselves- playing with fire sparklers out in the huge open spaces which surround the wooden and zinc-roofed homes. Something we won’t be able to enjoy when my aunts are forced to move into their HDB flats.

Eid in the Kampung

This could be the last year which my family and i will celebrate the later part of our Eid celebration at my aunts kampung or village house which are in the LAST kampung left in Singapore. This kampung is called Kampung Buangkok near Seletar hills.

Every year for the last 29 years, we have spent out Eid ul fitr and Eid ul Adha in these 2 kampung houses. It feels so different when i’m there so far from the common urban landscape that we Singaporeans have grown so accustomed to.
I was delighted that this year, hubby had a chance to spend his first Eid in a kampung setting. I wish for my future children to be as priviledged, but i don’t think we’d be as lucky. My aunts have been given their notices to resettle many years back and are just waiting for the final eviction letter.
This year, i spent some time taking photos of the kampung and my cousins enjoying themselves- playing with fire sparklers out in the huge open spaces which surround the wooden and zinc-roofed homes. Something we won’t be able to enjoy when my aunts are forced to move into their HDB flats.

Eid in the Kampung

This could be the last year which my family and i will celebrate the later part of our Eid celebration at my aunts kampung or village house which are in the LAST kampung left in Singapore. This kampung is called Kampung Buangkok near Seletar hills.

Every year for the last 29 years, we have spent out Eid ul fitr and Eid ul Adha in these 2 kampung houses. It feels so different when i’m there so far from the common urban landscape that we Singaporeans have grown so accustomed to.
I was delighted that this year, hubby had a chance to spend his first Eid in a kampung setting. I wish for my future children to be as priviledged, but i don’t think we’d be as lucky. My aunts have been given their notices to resettle many years back and are just waiting for the final eviction letter.
This year, i spent some time taking photos of the kampung and my cousins enjoying themselves- playing with fire sparklers out in the huge open spaces which surround the wooden and zinc-roofed homes. Something we won’t be able to enjoy when my aunts are forced to move into their HDB flats.

first raya as hubby and wifey

we celebrated Eid ul Fitr, or in malay- Hari Raya Aidilfitri, on Sunday. Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the Ramadhan, which is a month long fast when Muslims abstain from food and water, and focus on the spiritual.
Just 2 days before Eid, my big boss asked me, ‘Have you done all your hari raya shopping?’ and i retorted with a ,’No la, where got time?’. He then dutifully reminded me, ‘Oi, this is the first raya as husband and wife you know, must be special lah!’
Aiyor- i not so sentimental lah. Big Deal, i thought.
But come Eid proper, i was pretty happy and was feeling all blessed that i was with loved ones and that hubby was with me the entire day. I especially looked forward to that part of the morning when the family gathers and we ask for forgiveness from each other. It’s a tradition which i grew practising and hope to continue when i start my own family.
This was hubby’s first time partaking in this tradition. He spent a good few days thinking about what he’d say to my parents and we even had a test run. *grin* I did come to appreciate the fact that saying sorry does not come naturally, and does take some practice.
I’m glad that we do set aside some time, even if its once a year, to remind ourselves that noone is perfect, and that loving each other in a family means recognising your shortcomings and making apology for them, and KNOWING that no matter what, your apology would be welcomed with appreciation, forgiveness and a generous hug.
My favourite photo from this raya and the memory i will take from the lovely morning i spent with my family is this warm and loving embrace.