Monday, 22 September 2008

The Journey

Having arrived late, I sat in the last row of a very crowded prayer hall. From the back, I could make out familiar figures of regular members of the congregation just from the designs on their telekungs. The very, very regular ones, usually the early birds, have secured their place in the front row; there were some new faces, students and visitors somewhere in the middle and the last few rows were mothers with their children, praying beside them.

Watching children as young as seven already doing the terawikh, I thought how lucky they are to have the opportunity to start so very young. I started my own journey not too long ago at a very late age. I offered all kinds of reasons for not doing so; no one to look after the children, work etc – all of which to me personally translated into shying away from the unknown and unexplored territory. I was scared that people in the congregation might judge me. I’d attend the usual Friday night prayers but never terawikh. I’d wait in the canteen of Malaysia Hall with the children while hubby did his prayers. But a few friends coaxed me and like last night, I found myself sitting in the back row. No way I was going to sit and pray in the front row and then lead others astray.

Nowadays, I am more confident as more and more I feel I belong, and more and more I feel the need to be nearer to Him.

With this handful of friends, I learnt and from what I learnt, I taught the children who tagged along. These are the handful of friends who have made the journey with me; they had started earlier and they have guided me. Last night looking at some of the children sitting obediently by their mothers’ side, reminded me so much of those times with my girls; coaxing and cajoling them, constantly answering questions of “how many more (rakaats)” after every prayer.

A mother swept her daughter’s hair from the forehead under the telekung – such familiar gestures and I turned to my now grown-up daughter sitting beside me, and I am still doing the same to her. She no longer asked “How many more” and no more the bored look as she is now a regular and part of the congregation.

Our son who as a young boy followed his father to pray with the men, is now our own bilal at home and sometimes leads our prayers.

The members of the congregation have become a part of the extended family for us. The banters, the jokes and the sharing and caring – many have been here as long as I have. We have seen many ustazs come and go, and currently we have a young and talented ustaz with many ideas and programmes to entertain us and feed our souls. But one constant factor, though, is our bilal. Imams/ustazs come and go, but our bilal remains the same and it is a kind of comforting factor listening to his call for prayers as well as his accompanying the imam during prayers.

Two nights ago, we had an azan competition. There were less contestants for the children’s category this year but it is still an encouraging sign. The winner is a boy I had seen since he was a baby. And indeed like all other parents present, his parents never left him behind but encouraged him to join in. Children like him grew up in this familiar surrounding. There’s no one to frown upon parents bringing children, except for one occasion when some self-righteous guy banished my son to the back row in a tone that humiliated him in front of other adults. But it is the kind of encouragement and tolerance amongst the adults that nurture and encourage the young ones to participate.

Every night after prayers, there’s the morey. More than the food, which are always sponsored by members of the congregation, it is also the camaraderie that exists that binds us all together. After morey, a few would stay back for the taddarus and next week we will all be there to witness the khatam Quran.

Last Saturday was my second Qiamulail for this Ramadan and Insyallah next week, we will meet again for the last one. I am grateful to Allah for giving me this realisation before it is too late, before ill health and age take over and make it difficult for me to serve Him.

Ustaz’s zikir munajad never failed to move me. We recite the powerful and melodious zikir together, feeling every word, every message. And personally, when it comes to Laa illaha illallah, al malikul hakkul mubinnn, Muhammadar rasulllah.. without fail, tears would be streaming from my eyes. This is the part of the zikir my husband used to recite to the children as they go to sleep.

God willing, I hope to continue on this journey, for there’s still a long way to go. I will take on this journey knowing that there’s a place for me there, even if I need to squeeze in a chair in the back row, and in ustaz’s words, be elevated in status, although our knees have failed us.

66 comments:

bergen said...

Wishing you the best of Ramadan, ma'am. And Sir Awang.

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yang alim.

Tuan saya, ray cat, juga sakit lutut, kata Pak Malim sambil terkentut. Ahak2, tertawanya rongak. Maaf ya, bergurau! kata Pak Malim sambil menuju ke surau. Bila usia kian meningkat, kata Pak Malim sambil memegang tongkat, Ramadan disambut lebih bermakna kerana kita tidak tahu samada tahun depan atau tahun2 akan datang kita dapat menyambut Ramadan lagi atau tidak, kata Pak Malim sambil makan ikan todak.

p.s : Pak Malim, kucing yg pura2 alim tapi suka curi lauk kat surau (kelihatan Pak Malim sedang memegang ikan kurau).

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

I wish you a journey of discovery. If I may repeat my posting in Ruby Ahmad's blog, "He prays best who loves best."

I know you easily laugh and cry with friends. As you cheer and comfort people who come your way, may you be blessed manifold.

puteri kamaliah at-tarawis said...

Kak Teh, it gives me a warm glow to read this entry of yours, simply because my journey too had begun not that long ago. I am just grateful to have been given a second chance.

Ms B said...

Kak Teh dear,

I too started late. Only when I went to boarding school that I started to appreciate terawih.

It never fails to touch me each time we go there. Perhaps the atmosphere which leads to closer bonding between me and my girl.

It is always a handful of friends who help us be a better person.

Take care kak teh!

D said...

managed to perform our first tarawih in our mosque back home, just a day before departure. It was excellent - the same imam who's been leading the prayers for the last... 20 years or so (my fav imam) led the prayers that night.

qiyamullail simply means waking up at night and we definitely can do that, kak teh. half an hour before our sahoor - a little bit of prayers during the best time to perform prayers!

you keep well, kak teh.

muah

Pak Tuo said...

'Syukran Wa kul lu 'ammmin wa antum bi khir'

'Dalam Kesejateraan sepanjang tahun Kak Teh

Zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Semoga bertemu Lailatul Qadar, InsyaAllah.

kay_leeda said...

Dear Kak Teh,

Practise makes perfect. No worries, you are not alone with your inhibitions of performing teraweh in the 1st saf. I DARE NOT pray in the 1st row either, more so in such a big mosque like the Shah Alam mosque.

Tonight at the big blue mosque here, the Imam sounded like Sudaish of Al-Haram in Mekah. Apparently he was one of the contestants from the reality tv show - Academy Al-Quran. A young chap who impressed members of the congregation with his semi nasal tone when reading the verses.

Syahdu...

~Kay~

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh

Alhamdulillah kita masih ada usia dan kekuatan untuk Ramadhan tahun ini.

InsyaAllah, dipanjangkan usia untuk Ramadhan tahun hadapan.

Selamat Beramal di 10 terakhir Ramadhan.

elisataufik said...

It's activities and attitudes like this that maketh a strong community, one that will last for generations.
May this journey be a long and fruitful one, kak teh :)

Selamat hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan batin ya, just in case tak sempat nak ucap in the next week :)

Akmal said...

Hello Kak Teh,
InsyaAllah, may this Ramadhan be the best for you.

Ezza Aziz said...

Salam Kak Teh
Shahdu rasa bila baca entry akak ni, saya ni pun bermula lambat kak,itu pun bila Allah menguji saya dengan sebesar2 ujian,baru lah mata ni tercelik dan tersedar. Selamat hari raya aidil fitri untuk kak teh sekeluarga yang jauh nun di sanaaaa

Pi Bani said...

During my younger days, time terawikh memang seronok kalau dapat imam express - cepat selesai and so cepatlah balik. Bila dapat imam yang baca slow-slow tu lama benar rasanya. Semenjak dah kenal bacaan betul ikut tajwid ni, barulah nak appreciate imam yang baca dengan penuh syahdu. Lagipun sekarang kalau dapat imam express tu mau semput dibuatnya kot!

Tahun ni berterawikh di rumah je - teman mak di rumah. Takpe lah, kena ikut priority kan?

Azmitaufik said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Kata Ulama, Allah mengurniakan hidayah kepada siapa yang Dia suka, tapi tentu lebih cepat hidayah itu masuk ke dalam hati mereka yang mencari dan bersedia menerima.

Alhamdulillah Kak Teh telah bertemu dengan hidayah kerana tak berhenti mencari.

Semoga Kak Teh dan keluarga mendapat kebahagian di dunia dan akhirat.

Selamat berQiamulail dan semoga bertemu malam Qadar.

Madam Tai Tai said...

Kak Teh, it warms my heart reading this and there were tears in my eyes once I finished reading the whole posting.

I have learnt that it is never too late to start the journey to be closer to Him. He is Most Forgiving and Understanding.

For myself, there is still a long road ahead. I just hope I will reach my destination before my life expires.

Gartblue said...

a moving post, kakteh. as always.

me too, a late starter. this year to be exact. but i'm happy that my masjid takes initiatives to mengimarahkan masjid. my turn today to babysit the kids while parents are performing terawah. insyallah.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
I never got to go to the mosque for terawih while we were in school. I started terawih after I started work.
Alhamdulillah, things are good thus far.
Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin to you and family.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
Alhamdulillah, Allah chose you, gave you hidayah and Bless you with iman.Waking up in the early hours before sahur and perform solat tahajjud,taubat and especially tasbih is such a wonderful thing. Performing solat dhua in the morning once the sun has risen is another solat that should not be missed. Try to do it when you can and you will feel inner peace. The doa is especially meaningful.
Selamat berpuasa and Selamat Hari Raya.
Salam,
NanaDJ

JBingkasan said...

Kak Teh, Awang Goneng and all at home wishing you all the best of Ramadan.

Selamat Berpuasa

mayang mengurai said...

I started regular terawih prayers only 3 ramadhans ago - that's late, considering my age. Still, I am grateful for the 'hidayah'. Better late than never, kan ;) Am still trying to be a better Muslim, insyaallah; so my own journey has a long way to go. Salam. Selamat hari raya, maaf zahir & batin.

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Afik Yusof said...

Kak Teh,

Salam from Kuala Lumpur. It was refreshing to read your blog entry today. Hari Raya is just around the corner. Do you mind sharing some of your Hari Raya experiences abroad in your next writing?

Afik
Alam Damai, Cheras.

MrsNordin said...

I have yet to start on my journey, kak Teh. Alhamdulillah, you have raised your children well.

Sunflora said...

Kakteh

May Allah always grant you guidance and strength for your journey :) Thanks for sharing.

I would like to wish you and Sir Awang, Selamat hari raya. Maaf zahir batin sekiranya ada tersalah silap atau terkasar bahasa.

Manal said...

Taraweeh eh.....

I started during my primary school years coz we had this walking distance surau in our residential area. Then i entered boarding school, n there were the days that i even did the "belal" and imamah routine! Then the 1st degree years, mostly buat sndiri at home, followed by the 3rd degree one, n this one was rather memorable in sense that i actually travelled from college or from home to either malaysia hall or regents mosque. Sometimes i'd be joining our DuCane Housing muslimat congregation led by this malay-saudi lady, sis Majidah. And during those travelling days, I'd be praying in my winter coat,jeans, socks, tudung and jumper. Another common scene spurred by the malaysian students in malaysia hall.

And now back in msia, takdela everyday, but so far i tried 1 surau and 2 masjids. Some offers 20 rakaats while some do the common 8 rakaats and followed by witr.

I teringat from 2001 to 2003 kak teh selalu join kat one of the last rows and me and my frens were glancing at u from a distance bisik2: "That wartawan RTM tu la". And in 2004, there's no more excuse but to come up and make myself known to u.

See, u sort of made me conjure another story that somehow entailed to how I got to know u!

Kak Teh said...

Bergen Selamat Hari raya to you too.

Pak Malim, kak teh dan GIzmo, Snowbell, Kissinger, Moaner dan Tabby mengucapkan selamat hari raya kepada Pak Malin dan kucing ray yang alim.

Hi&Lo, in a way you have followed my journey and it seems you know each step I make. Thank you for being a 'virtual' companion.

Kak Teh said...

puteri, sometimes we think we are alone, but this blogosphere has opened up a lot for us to share, and suddenly we are not alone anymore.

Ms B, it was nice to see you there at terawikh and the little one, although looking tired after puasa, is certainly enjoying the experience.

d, I have yet to do it back home. I have prayed in the mosques along the way, but never terawikh in the mosque. Aaaah, we have another qiamulail to go - next sunday and who knows nect year where we are.
Have a good raya to you and children D. Will speak to you - psst- dah lupa apa nombor baru!

Kak Teh said...

Salam Pak Tuo, Kak Teh pun ucapkan yang terbaik untuk Pak Tuo sekeluarga. Selamat hari raya, maaf zahir dan batin.

Salam Zabs, ya, semoga kita semua dapat bertemu Lailatul qadar.

kay_leeda,
sekarang dah jadi senior, kadang-kadang boleh lah duduk di barisan depan. Dan terpaksalah tunjuk teladan baik..hahah! Yes, I have heard of those imam's from Mekah - quite an experience! My son goes to the mosque in Regent's Mosque and they have Qari's from there as well.

Kak Teh said...

AuntyN, ya, semoga Allah berikan kita kekuatan dan tenaga untuk lebih beribadat dalam masa ini. Insyaallah, sebab tak tahu tahun depan, kita di mana.

Elisataufik - yes, it is all up to us - to join others on which journey. I am fortunate that my fellow passengers are also those who started off around the same time as me. Those were the days when we went karaokeing together, to belly dancing shows and concerts, and then we helped each other on another journey too.

akmal, a good ramadan and eid to you too. selamat hari raya and maaf zahir dan batin

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Teh,
It was winter in 1994 when I followed my best friend Azwan to Malaysia Hall to perform Tarawikh prayers... later on we went down to makan-makan and that's where I was introduced to you and Tuan Awang. Of course you won't remember it but it was one of the highlights of my visit then.
Selamat Hari Raya... Maaf Zahir Batin.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

One of the most satisfying and fulfilling Qiamulail I had experienced was during the A-level days in the Tabligh Markaz in Dewsbury. Apart from the late night prayers that brought us closer to our Creator , we also performed gash, listened to bayan in Urdu (and almost instantaneosly translated into English) and consumed heavenly and divine food, devoutly prepared by fellow Tabligh followers who chanted zikir as they cooked.

I remember our daughter Ainaa was also fond of asking “How many more?” in the middle of our tawaf or saei inside the Masjidil Haram.

Kak Teh and family, Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin from all of us here in Kubang Pasu. Please kirim our salam to KI and Khalid when you meet them during Raya.

aMiR

IBU said...

Salam Kak Teh

They say ... before we start our journey, we must be clear on where we are heading to, i.e the destination. Only then would we be aware which path to follow. And then again, sometimes we will stumble upon roundabouts, left turns, right turns, U turns even. So we have to continually remind ourselves; where are we heading to exactly? And are we on the right track? GPS pun sometimes malfunction or battery weak!

But of course, a journey of a thousand miles still must begin with one step :)

May you continue to find peace in this blessed Ramadhan.

Kak Teh said...

ezza, tak apa kalau lambat pun asalkan kita buat juga, kan? Kadang2 kita ingat ada masa, tapi kita tak tahu tuhan yang menentukan. Selamat hari raya to you and family.

Pi Bani, memang kalau ada imam express tu seronok! Sebab kalau imam yang berpanjang lebar, ke lain pulak pikiran kita. Kak teh pernah dapat imam yang baca macam dia baca untuk diri sendiri, jadi kita tak rasa kita bersama dia. Dan fikiran selalu melayang.
Pi bani buat di rumah pun tak apa - kak teh pun kadang2 di rumah juga sebab tak terkejar ke sana sini.

azmitaufik, terima kasih kerana kata-kata hikmat tu. Kak Teh berharap juga yang kak teh akan sentiasa mencari - banyak lagi yang belum ditemui. Banyak lagi yang ruang yang perlu di isi.

Kak Teh said...

madam tai tai, reading your piece and many others that you have written made me realise that what you have been through is a lot more - we have taken a lot of things for granted. You have come a long, long way. Salam to you and yours. and selamat hari raya.

gartblue, that's a wonderful initiative by the mosque. If children are not familiar with the surroundings then they tend to stay away. All the best to you.

Fauziah, kak teh start masa di London saja. Dulu di malaysia tak pernah pun. Selamat hari raya to you and maaf zahir dan batin.

Kak Teh said...

NanaDJ, thank you for reappearing just before raya for this gives me a chance to say, Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin to you, wherever you are. Thank you for being so kind with your words.

JBingkasan, thank you and you too have a good time!

Mayang Mengurai, selamat hari raya to you too and lets continue on our journey.

Kak Teh said...

run with the wave, interesting blog - love penang!

afik, certainly, I will share some hari raya stories from abroad soon! Thanks for dropping by.

Mrs Nordin, start on your journey when you are ready and you will know when you are. Selamat Hari raya to you too.

Kak Teh said...

Sunflora, thank you and selamat hari raya to you and yours too. This ramadan I am always reminded of you when I pray behind my 'Imam and Bilal' at home . They look so smart in the jubbah that you gave them.

manal, hahaha! I remember those days. Thanks for reminding me. And i remember the day you approached me as well - it was in Mawar! (BTW, Mawar will now be called Melur - under new management!)

Kak Teh said...

Mior, it was that long ago? Oh dear, do forgive me...my memory is not as good as it was before. And azwan always introduced her friends to us.
Selamat hari raya to you and Yan and the children.

aMiR, ramadan in rantauan is something else, eh? Such an experience - and such challenges too. All too soon, th eone asking "How many more?" will be all grown up and you will look back at those moments together.

Selamat hari raya to you and family.

Ibu, what a beautiful analogy!! I have not seen it quite like that. I hope there are no roadblocks in our journey! A GPS will be useful.
selamat hari raya to you and yours too.

MULAN said...

eid mubarak to you & family..

maaf zahir batin..

shidah said...

kak teh,

eid mubarak.

terawikh kat sini, tak dak morey. In between tak dak zikir. Terawikh 8, witir 3. Starting from 1st ramadhan ada qunut, where imaam will recite the doa. Habis witir, terus balik.

Something different from what I experienced in Msia and UK many years ago....

Anak Mami said...

salam aidilfitri to Kak Teh & Family. Maaf Zahir Batin

Kak Teh said...

mulan, eid mubarak to you. dan maaf zahir dan batin.

shidah, you sekarang di negara arab kan? Memang dia orang tak ada doa in between. Bila kak teh pergi terawikh di mesjid King Fahd Academy dekat rumah, memang tak ada doa in between dan selepas witir terus balik - tak ada makan-makan, borak2 lagi. selamat hari raya shidah!

anakmami, salam aidil fitri to you too dan maafzahir dan batin drp kak teh.

Kak Elle said...

Alhamdulillah, Allah chose you, gave you hidayah and Bless you with iman.

Selamat hari raya & ampun maaf zahir dan batin dr saya di sg.

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
The first step is always the hardest. After that it gets easier and easier. It is good that you started the young ones early as those were their first steps.
Selamat Hari Raya to you and Che Awe Gone and the the whole family.

puteri kamaliah at-tarawis said...

AWWWWWW..Kak Teh! I had not seen your face dah berzaman..! Still as comel lotte as before...Selamat Hari Raya to you and awang and all the mini jarrohs and gonengs... *hugs*

Kak Teh said...

Kak Elle, thank you and sama jugalah, I ucapkan selamat hari raya, maaf zahir dan batin.

zawi, how very true, the first step is always the hardest in whatever we do. SElamat hari raya to you and yours!

Puteri, comel lotte? tembam membam is more like it! Hey, you know where never had ten words to say to each other before, and thanks to blogging I feel so close to you. Promise me that we will meet up, for whatever - karaoke ke, keroke ke, when I balik .

mumsgather said...

Kak Teh, Wish you and your loved ones Selamat Hari Raya. :)

Kak Teh said...

mumsgather, thank you so very much.

Life for Beginners said...

Wanted to drop by and wish you and your family a very happy Aidilfitri in the week ahead. :)

chinta said...

dear kak teh,

selamat berpuasa dan juga selamat menyambut hari raya aidilfitri tidak lama lagi...maaf zahir batin dr saya dan family..

Typhoon Sue said...

your posting brings a certain degree of keinsafan to me-- I haven't done terawikh for ages... and i don't even have kids as an excuse! maybe I'll go in these last couple of days... it's never too late right?

zaitgha said...

kak Teh,

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to you, the family and your Muslim readers...

Kak Teh said...

kenny dear, thank you. Have a good day to you too.

chinta, kak teh pun harap chinta sekeluarga menikmati hari raya sekeluarga..selamat hari raya, maaf zahir dan batin. Dah habis bercuti?

Kak Teh said...

sue, these things come to us when we least expect it. i got it late - all the best and selamat hari raya.

zaitgha, selamat hari raya, maaf zahir dan batin juga kepada zaitgha sekeluarga. mesti banyak cupcakes, ya!

Ainun said...

Salam Aunty Zaharah,

I always look forward to Ramadhan nites as they bring different feeling than any other nites, especially when listening to the Imam during Tarawikh. Imam with a melodious voice is always a plus plus coz it can bring tears to the eyes.

This year, Masjid Wilayah invited Sheikh Moutasem from Syria. Such beautiful voice and I can feel and almost see the Quran verses floating and swirling up the masjid's domes. In this cyber age, it's not surprising that this Imam also have a website http://www.moutasem.com

Another highlight is of course the search for that special nite. This year is an exception to some of my friends. Our Ustaz invited us to his place for berbuka, Tarawikh & qiamulail last weekend. After the midnite tazkirah, I went home. But those who stayed the nite for qiamulail witnessed some trees sujud/ruku' towards the qiblat. Masya'allah!

Let us just be grateful that we are given the chance to experience Ramadhan and lets pray that we will meet Ramadhan again, Insya'allah.

Selamat berpuasa for the last few days and Eid Mubarak to you aunty Zaharah and to the rest of the family.

maszuzu said...

salam kak teh...may you have a blessed and enjoyable syawal :)

farizahb said...

Kak Teh,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir dan batin. Kuih dari Malaysia yang Nona bawk balik dah habis ke belum? :-)

ms hart said...

Kak Teh, your entry warms my heart (but then again, ALL your entries do that to people whaaat?!) Can so relate to that excuse of nak jaga anak. But now anak2 dah besar sikit, hopefully I can carry on with the journey more peacefully. Here we love the Masjid Selat, the so called floating mosque by the sea. The atmosphere gives us that extra peaceful feeling...so serene. We were just talking the other day how we should pray in the mosque more often. InsyaAllah.

Selamat Hari Raya to Kak Teh and family & Maaf Zahir Batin. Thank you for being 'here' in the blogland as our big kakak.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Ah,

Salam Aidilfitri to you, Hulaimi and the kids.

Maaf Zahir dan Batin...

have a wonderful Eid!

AuntieYan @ Makcik Blogger said...

SELAMAT HARI RAYA KAK TEH!

Fatehah said...

salam k.teh,

tak apa k.teh yang penting kita ikhlas dan istiqamah..
setiap usaha ada nilainya disisi Allah..

Selamat Hari Raya Aildilfitri, maaf zahir dan batin

Royalshoppingarcade said...

Salam Kak teh,
Amboi, gambar sape agaknya kat side bar tu, with high rosy cheekbones?Cun la.hahahah..
Lagi cun nanti with the new tudung.
Gurau aje..take care and Maaf Zahir dan batin for all that's said and done. Have a glorious Syawal, I know I will. Food, glorious food!Can't wait!!!

Kak Teh said...

ainun, selamat hari raya and maaf zahir dan batin from all of us here. I told Uncle Hulaimi the story about the trees sujud...berdiri bulu roma!! Masyaallah! Pls convey our love to your parents.

maszuzu, are u UbA? Selamat hari raya dan maaf zahir batin kak teh ucapkan.

farizahb, kueh masih banyak lagi ...tahanlah sampai raya, I think.
Selamat hari raya to you too!

Kak Teh said...

ms Harts, thanks for kind words..selamat hari raya to you and yours. Am sure the children are all excited now. teringat kita masa kecik2 dulu...puasa kerana nak raya. nak baju raya and nak duit raya.

ena, same to you and salam to all - including kak ton.

auntieyan - selamat hari raya to you too. maaf zahir dan batin.

Kak Teh said...

fatehah, selamat hari raya..fatehah saya di mana? whereever you are - have a good time.

Pu3, thanks for the tudungs - everybody commented when I wore it. nice. sorry - i didnt reply sebab terlalu lah sibuk!! selamat hari raya to you!