|Colt Holliman aka The Mohawk with his handmade camera|
Meet Colt Holliman, or better known as The Mohawk among the VSA (Vanderbilt Summer Academy) 2013 students. He is a Baptist Christian. His hair is not the only interesting thing about him, the best part is, he was fasting with me in the month of Ramadhan !
This summer, I was working as the teaching assistant (TA) for the Principles of Engineering course in Vanderbilt Summer Academy, a summer academy for high school students from all over USA. Being blessed as a Muslim since born making me want to share my Islam and the happiness of being a Muslim to these students whom all them are non-Muslim (at least, all that I knew).
Firman Allah s.w.t:
"dan demikian pula Kami telah menjadi kamu (umat Islam) 'umat pertengahan' agar kamu menjadi saksi atas manusia dan agar Rasul (Muhammad) menjadi saksi atas kamu..."
Yang Allah maksudkan dengan ummatan wasoto (umat pertengahan) ialah umat yang berada di tengah-tengah dan menjadi penghubung antara Rasullullah s.a.w dan umat manusia yang masih belum menerima ataupun mendengar tentang Islam.
Hakikatnya, aku dan kita adalah 'umat pertengahan' ini, yang menghubungkan ajaran Islam yang dibawa Rasulullah s.a.w kepada non-muslim di luar sana. Ya, ini adalah tanggungjawab kita sebagai Khalifah, iaitu mengajak manusia lain mengenal serta mentaati Allah s.w.t.
Tahukah anda yang Islam yang kita miliki bukan untuk diri kita sendiri ? Bukan untuk kita simpan bawak ke mati bahkan WAJIB untuk disampaikan kepada manusia sekeliling kita yang non-Muslim kerana mereka mempunyai hak untuk mendengar kebenaran. Tahukah anda apa yang akan terjadi sekiranya kita menyembunyikan kalimah Allah ini daripada mereka ?
Firman Allah s.w.t:
"Sesungguhnya orang-orang yang menyembunyikan apa yang telah Kami turunkan dari keterangan-keterangan dan petunjuk hidayat, sesudah Kami menerangkannya kepada manusia di dalam Kitab Suci, mereka itu dilaknat oleh Allah dan dilaknat oleh sekalian makhluk."
Jadi, inginkah kita dilaknat Allah dan sekalian makhluk ?? Naudzubillahi min zalik …
Aku melihat peluang bekerja sebagai seorang TA sebagai satu medan tajmik besar-besaran, untuk berkongsi sedikit sebanyak tentang Islam kepada mereka, untuk berkongsi nikmat mengenal Allah yang aku kecapi sejak lahir.
Well, it was easier said than done. Before the academy started, we, the staffs were told about certain things that we are not allowed to do with the students such as taking their pictures, be friend with them on Facebook and I believe we are not allowed to talk about religion, sex and politics. We will be fired if we disobey these rules. So, how am I going to share Islam with them if I can't talk about Islam with them ?? I can't right away step up in front of the class and say, "Hey guys, I'm Hakim and I am Muslim. Would you like to know about Islam ?". This is really a very inappropriate way.
All praise to Allah who had ease it for me...
Let's get back to Colt. Colt is a very friendly young man. He always has something interesting to share with you if you get near him. So, from here I started my work as the 'ummatan wasoto'...
Colt was telling me how enthusiast he was with languages and wanted to be a language translator someday. He knows a bunch of languages such as Icelandic, Spanish, Persian and willing to learn many more. He asked me what language I speak. Obviously I speak English and my mother's tongue, Malay. But I told him that I know a little bit of Arabic because I am a Muslim and I read the Holy Qur’an. We move from there to a language-based discussion of the Bible of the Christians and Torah of the Jews, giving him a very brief hint about Islam and the Qur’an. Hmmm, I can see that I got a long way to go...
The next day, we were doing an experiment making handmade gummy bears. Do you know what is gummy bear ?
|Gummy Bear Jelly|
It is a bear-shaped edible jelly. We made it in class and the students really indulging the taste. Colt offered some of his gummy bears to me but I kindly refused saying that I am fasting. Later that afternoon (if I'm not mistaken the time), Colt told me how full his stomach was because he ate too much during the lunch and he regretted it. Ahaaa, here is my chance !!
I said to Colt responding to his fully-loaded tummy, "Hey Colt, why don't you fast? Just like me." He responded well, saying that it was actually a very good idea and he's going to fast tomorrow! But he was kind of worry that he couldn't make it. 16 hours of fasting from 4 am to 8 pm is not easy for a first timer. (Haha teringat aku pengalaman aku mule2 pose mase kecik2 dulu, baru first day pose, tak sampai 12 jam dah pengsan, apatah lagi 16 jam untuk orang yang tak biasa pose). I tried to convince him that it is actually not difficult to fast since he is encouraged to eat before sunrise.
The next day, Colt was really fasting and this time he really took me by surprise. That day he did not bring his drinking bottle that he normally did. What surprise me was not the fact that he was fasting, but the fact that he was fasting with full of commitment !
I only told him to fast from about 4 am to 8 pm and never expect him to wake up for sahur (orang Islam sendiri pon liat nak bangun sahur). But this Colt guy, he really took this fasting thing seriously. He woke at 3 am for sahur and broke fast sharply during Maghrib at 8.03 pm. Wow, achievement unlocked for him !
During the day he was fasting, I could see in our class how tired he was and how pale his face was. I grabbed his shoulder tried to comfort him with the most sincerest smile that I can ever give and said, "you'll make it. I know you can do it". The next day he said to me, "This fasting during Ramadhan is actually pretty cool. I've never been exposed to it before. I probably going to fast again someday". I smiled and made a pray in my heart, "May you fast for a month full in Ramadhan as a Muslim someday, aminn".
The news that Colt was fasting spread among the students faster than I could imagine. Many students approached me to ask me more about fasting and Islam. All praise to Allah, Ramadhan has made my intention to spread the knowledge about Islam to them easier. I don't have to go to them to explain, instead they came to me to ask and I was feeling more than happy to share.
Since then, Colt asked me more about Islam. We discussed a lot about Bible and Qur’an and how similar they are. He knew that Islam, Christians and Jews are Abrahamic relegion (Agama Nabi Ibrahim) and have very much in common. He feels pity of those who hate Muslims despite having so much similarity.
He told me that his father is a theologist, a person who study religions. His father wrote a book entitled The Infidel's Guide to the Qur’an, a book describing The Prophet Muhammad, Qur’an and Islam from the perspective of a non-Muslim to another non-Muslims. Surprisingly, he actually hates his father's book. He thinks that the book is very rude and does not portray the real Islam.
Towards the end of the three weeks course, I gave him a Qur’an and I told him it was a gift since he fast the other day. A very small Qur’an translation enough for him to understand and have a better picture of the real Islam. I told him that he'll be surprise to find many similar stories in the Qur’an and the Bible such as the story of Noah's ark and the story of Adam and Eve.
|I gave this Qur'an to Colt|
Yes, I am indeed actually jeopardizing my job by giving Colt a Qur'an and talking about Islam with students. But, who cares, my responsibility towards Allah and Islam is more superior...
Di hari terakhir VSA, aku memanjatkan doa kepada Allah s.w.t supaya membuka pintu hati mereka untuk menerima Islam suatu hari nanti, jika tak dapat semua pun seorang sudah amat memadai. Aku dah lakukan yang terbaik untuk menunjukkan dan menerangkan kepada mereka tentang Islam yang sebenar, selebihnya adalah tugas Allah untuk menentukan...
Sesungguhnya Nabi Ibrahim juga pernah berdoa agar Allah memelihara anak cucunya daripada menyembah berhala dan menjadikan Mekah sebuah negeri yang aman dan Allah makbulkan permintaannya.
"dan (ingatlah) ketika Nabi Ibrahim berdoa dengan berkata: Wahai Tuhanku! jadikanlah negeri Mekah ini negeri yang aman dan jauhkanlah daku dan anak-anakku dari perbuatan menyembah berhala”
Lalu aku tinggalkan VSA ini dengan intipati doa yang sama, semoga mereka menerima Islam suatu hari nanti, aminnn