Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Mistake: Neglecting Solat

Back in Montreal, September 1983:

Brother: Are you a muslim?
Azer Mantessa: Yes, I am a muslim.
Brother: Do you pray five times a day?
Azer Mantessa: *scratch head* Errr aaaa errr aaaa errr

In 1977, I was accepted in a fully boarding school in Kedah. I was then 13 years old. It was the first time of my life being away from home, away from family and relatives and certainly away from my parents constant monitoring.

This sudden change had changed my life in many ways. I met many new friends who are intellectually competitive, stayed in an environment which demanded a lot of my independence and learned many new things. It took me only two weeks where I started to neglect solat. I was not so sure on how it happened but for sure, nobody ever reminded me to pray when it was the time to do so.

The school made it compulsory for us to perform maghrib at the mosque. In mid 1978, I started to even ‘ponteng’ solat maghrib when me and some of my friends thought it was so cool to play hideout from the prefects. Those days, that we get ourselves caught by the prefects was considered as a cool thing. We will consider it funny and something to be proud of when our names were announced as those who were caught. Having these kinds of attitudes, I took solat duty lightly.

In September 1982, I was sent to Welland, Ontario, Canada to further my studies. There were 20 of us Malaysian students who were in the same high school for our grade 13th. We had to obtain a high school diploma before we can apply to further our studies in the universities. I stayed with a dutch Canadian family who were very secular. They never really bother about any religious matter and things started to be getting worse; I did not perform solat for the whole 12 months there.

Luckily, when I came to Montreal (I got accepted as an undergraduate student in one of the university there), a Pakistani Muslim brother took responsibility in guidance us Malaysian students towards Islamic practices.

Neglecting solat is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. Something which I could not explain but below are the criteria of me in those years of taking this duty lightly:

* I was not a focus student – Education was not my priority.
* My intelligence was below those who do perform solat regularly.
* I was a very nervous person.
* No time management whatsoever.
* I started smoking (Luckily I never take drug and alcohol throughout my life).
* I used very inconvenient words like fuck, butuh, pukimak hang, kepala hotak hang etc in my daily conversation.
* An average and many times below average student.
* Neglected Quran totally.
* Only proud as a ‘muslim’.
* No objective in life.
* Lack of humility.
* Always in a rush.
* Quite impatience.
* Required to be the center of attention with my nonsense talking.
* Too much on TV and movies.
* Non-hygienic.
* Forgetful.
* Lack of leadership.
* Lack of thinking.
* Lack of creativity.
* Lack of intuition.
* Slow in computing.
* Selfish.
* Lazy.
* Loved pornography.
* Spent money unnecessarily.
* Narrow minded.
* Lack of good lucks.
* Blamed other people for being unlucky.
* Totally disorganized.