Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Encounter with a Shi'ite cab driver.

One friday night, was helping ustadz with solat practical to Islamic Studies Course 1. Class starting at 9 pm, so I prayed maghrib prayer at home then took a cab to Arab Street class.

Cab driver: " Pergi mana?" (Go where?)
Me: "Arab Street please."

*peek at the rear mirror at me*
Cab Driver: "Berlajar?" (learning/going to class?)
Me: " Yes, Belajar." *smile*

Cab Driver: " Xxx xxxxx xxxxxx Sunni, Shi'ite?" (in Malay)
Me: "Huh? Sorry I don't understand Malay."
Cab driver: "Oh, you learn Sunni or Shi'ite?"
Me: " Sunni..." (puzzled why he asked.)

Cab driver: "What you know about Shi'ite?"
Me getting uncomfortable... : " Why? Are you Shi'ite?"
Cab driver paused: "Ya, I am Shi'ite. So what you know about Shi'ite?"
I was trying to avoid comfrontation, just answered softly: "Only what I learnt from my Sirah (history) class, not much..."

Cab driver persisted, "So what you know about Shi'ite?"
Couldn't avoid... so I went: "emm, you follow Ali right?" (Ali is the 4th Caliph, and also son-in-law of prophet Muhammad)

Cab driver looked at rear mirror at me: " You know Salawat right?" (Salawat is sending Salam/Peace to our beloved prophet.)
Me: "Yes ?!"
Cab driver: "How you say Salawat? Allaahuma sawli ala Muhammad, wa ala alii Muhammad right? What is ALII ?"
My eyes bewildered... "Huh? That ALII does not mean Ali (the person)! (In arabic) It means Family of the prophet!"

Cab driver: "Of course I don't mean Ali, yes, it says family of prophet, so we have to follow Ali, he is the son-in-law of prophet, husband of Fatimah. "
Me: "Ya, also cousin of prophet..."

Cab driver: "If you recite Salawat without WA ALA ALII MUHAMMAD, your salawat is not valid!"
Me: "Huh? Never heard of it... but I'll rather follow the Sunnah (teachings) of the prophet."

Cab driver: "Yes we follow the sunnah, we also have to follow the lineage of the prophet!"
Me: "Then you should follow the rest of the Caliph too, they are in-laws of the prophet too!"
Cab driver: "No."
Me: " YES, Umar and Uthman also in-laws of prophet!"
Cab driver: "You mean Abu Bakar, father-in-law of prophet, father of Aishah?"
Me: " Uthman and Omar too. Uthman was son-in-law, of prophet, and Omar was father-in-law of prophet!"
Cab driver: "No, Prophet only has 1 daughter Fatimah!!"
Me: "No, prophet had 2 other daughters too, Uthman married one but after she died, he was so sad, and wanted to be prophet's son-in-law again, so he married the sister, so he was twice son-in-law of prophet. While Omar's daughter married prophet, so he was father-in-law of prophet!"
Cab driver: "Really, who's his daughter?"
Me: "You know the one keeping the compilation of the Quran... her name is Hafsah... they let her keep the compilation in respect of Omar."
Cab driver: "Ahh... Hafsah, I don't know!"
Me (felt relieved, hoped he stopped asking me more): "Ok, so I know something you didn't know..."

Cab driver: "Ah, I didn't know!"
Me (without thinking): "So please go and learn if you do not know..." (oops)
Cab driver: "haahaa... ok."

My cab reached Arab street... felt relieved... digging in my purse to pay the fare.

Cab driver: "You don't mind ah... just chatting only."

I didn't say anything, just smiled at him and nodded my head.

I have encountered a lot of this kind of conversation with many (hundreds of) cab drivers/strangers... all said the same at the end, but usually, they (really seems to) challenge my belief and being a female Muslim. But compared to the type of "encounters" by our prophet Muhammad during his life time, I guess mine are considered mild cases. (Prophet Muhammad encountered numerous physical and verbal confrontation by the non-believers. He was even laid with dead camel intestines while he was praying towards the Ka'bah. Glad I was not tested this way, scary.

I supplicate to Allah that I will attain the knowledge to spread the correct message of Islam to these people, muslim or non-muslim.

Don't know why I keep getting all this kind of treatment, but hubby always hoped someone will ask him like what they asked me... I rather he is the one being asked... I always have to keep calm and not getting angry or impatience with these strangers. It's hard you know. Don't know how many brain cells were killed during the "conversation and exchange of knowledge".

Yaa Allah, please give me strength and strengthen my faith and knowledge for your sake.


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