Moderator was given permission from Hjh Noor Kumalasari to publish the following in Hidayahnet.
This article is an extract from a book called " Mengapa Saya Bertudung" which will be in the market May/June 2003.
1. Name and E-mail:
Hajjah Noor Kumalasari, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Your profession:
Now ~ Home Manager, Before ~ Entertainer, Artiste, Singer, Actress & Model
3. A little bit of yr schooldays background:
Schooling in S'pore and then PJ, Happy Garden up to SPM (Commerce).
4. Do you cover full-time? Why/why not?
I cover all the time even when I am in the kitchen. This time is for real,I am not 'acting' any more. Its funny how one can be at peace just following Allah's instructions. You do not need to reason out why anymore.
5. How old were you when you decide to cover?
Forty. Life 'really' begins at 40.
6. What factors led to your decision to cover?
One hadith dhoif ~ that for every strain of hair I may have to suffer 60 years in hell. Even though I know it was hadith dhoif but it helps to motivate me. Of course the first information was Surah Annuur ayat 31 which my husband explained to me. Since it is kalimat Allah who are we to dispute. He said I have to set a target to close up someday. That day is up to me but he added " you better ask Allah to spare your life until that date."
That day that I chose was the day I returned from my Hajj in 1997. I was so grateful to Allah for allowing me to be in good health to go to umrah in 1994 and then Hajj that year when I had to leave behind my fourth child who was barely 6 months old. Things were happening fast for me, my father died in Mecca the previous year.
7. How did your family/friends/colleagues react?
Since I was rather fashionable and had always been known to people as an artiste who was brave to experience with new looks, nobody paid attention to the 'change'. Furthermore, we started not to like going out to functions that we used to attend before any more. Therefore not many were aware of the change in me. I shunned publicity. I had the glamour life once. That is enough. We feel that we do not have to do the same things over and over again. Sometimes people thought that it is because we just came back from umrah therefore we were 'excused' for looking like that.
8. Have you received positive/negative feedback?
Negative except for my husband. They assumed it must have been forced upon me by my husband. Far from it. The way my husband teaches me Islam, makes me love Allah more and more. If he had forced me to do something, I may still do it but the love may not be there.
It takes a few years for them not to raised questions : " You're not ho' ah?" I don't just wear tudung, I wear what I thought is acceptable by Allah. That is the cloth must be loose, the fabric dark coloured and thick (not see-through) so it end up with only one signature outfit ~ that is black jubah with a long black shawl wrapped around the head like an Arab lady, sometimes I add an arbaayah (black overcoat) over it. You have to be brave to be different. Even from before, ( in my heydays) my signature colour had always been black. So all this I do "kerana Allah" and I enjoyed it.
Dressed like this has a distinct advantage, I am 'mosque-ready' ~ wherever I am, when I hear the azan I will go to the nearest mosque and pray without having to bring telekong. It is so convenient, nowadays I keep my wudhu' all the time.
But there were some very sincere people who liked it very much, my fans came and hugged me when they see me in public. I would not have known that if I had not changed. One businessman told my husband that he was moved when he heard me on TV saying " luckily Allah did not take my life away when I was at my peak in my career".
Some celebrity friends asked me to doa so that they will change like me one day. Insyallah, not only I gave them my doa, it came with my tears as well for them. Not many people know these secret wishes. These celebrities who are deep down very nice people.
9. What kind of reaction have you received from the broader community- Muslims and non-Muslims?
There is no negative reaction from Non-Muslims because they respect our religion the same way we respect the sami who wears saffron robes searching for purity. Not so with all the Muslim sisters. Some ill-assumed that there is always a one-up-manship syndrome in everyone.
I do not look down at them. I just pity them and hoped that one day Allah will also give them hidayah and they can see for themselves what they are missing.
10. Do you feel that you are less accepted by the community than those women who do not cover?
No, I can go anywhere with it but maybe I am lucky because when they know its me, they give special considerations. It is the personality underneath the cover that reacts with people really.
11. Did you/do you ever feel pressure to cover? From whom?
Only from my own self. No pressure from outside. It's the other way around.
12. Did you/do you ever feel pressure not to cover? From whom?
Yes from Film Producers and sisters.
13. What kind of covering do you wear?
Always black jubah like Arab ladies.
14. How did you view covering before you decided to do it yourself?
Before I went to Mecca, I did not like it. The way it was worn by our ladies was so unattractive. I just want nothing to do with it. You have to feel good in what you are wearing, then only the self-esteem grows on you.
15. What have been taught about hijab from your family? School? Society?
None, not from school nor my family. I did not see anything wrong in what we were doing at all. Isn't that strange?
16. Do the women in your family cover? (if a mother, what do you teach your children about hijab?
None before, now my mother and one on-and-off sister. Other sisters, phew,maa syaa Allah. In my own family, I am the only girl, alhamdulillah.
17. What does it feel to cover?
Humble and shy, both are good attributes in Islam.
18. What are the disadvantages/disadvantages of covering?
Nobody wants to give an acting contract unless I open the tudung "just in front of the camera". I was able to say no to that "kerana Allah".
19. Does wear hijab have any noticeable impact on your daily life at home/work/in broader environment, etc?
Yes it has become part of me, a second 'skin'. It goes hand in hand with wanting to purify my heart from all illnesses. I feel the Almighty is close to me from His responses and I do not want to lose Him again.
20. Do people comment on your hijab? What kind of things do they say?
They want to learn how to tie the shawl over the head without using pins. The young people says " You look good and fashionable ". The elders says" Alhamdulillah". Most Arabs thought I am one of them.
21. Do you receive special attention on the subway/streets?
Yes. They want my autographs.
22. Do you feel you are treated differently because you cover?
No. Except one instance whereby a Saudi man seemed to feel uncomfortable socially because my dressing keep reminding him that it is not right for him to be sitting in the same majlis with ajnabis. There were a few other ladies who were not wearing tudung and he was quite comfortable until I entered the majlis. So it proved that men tends to put on better akhlak when they are in the presence of ladies who wears tudung.
23. What does the hijab symbolize for you?
Purity ~ Lover of Allah.
24. What would you like people to think when they see you in hijab?
I hope they see a creation that belongs to Almighty.
25. What do you think they see?
Some see 'fanaticism'.
26. How do you about women who wear hijab? About women who do not wear hijab?
Since I used to be one of them, there is a lot of tolerance, furthermore, we must always wish them well instead of ill-judging them. Who knows what Allah has in store? I certainly do not want to nag at anybody, because if it does not come from within themselves it may not last.
27. Why do women cover more than men?
Can you compare apples with bananas ?
28. Some people think that the hijab is men's way of controlling women - their movements and their sexuality - what do you think of this claim?
On the contrary, there were many cases whereby the husband forbade their wives from wearing tudung. I pity these ladies who received On sexuality, the more something is covered the more curious it becomes. But men tends not to ogle at women who are covered because their action will embarrass us not because they don't want to know.
29. Does covering here mean that you are less free than your non 'covering' women friends?
If I am a 100 meters sprinter, maybe I may need to compete with the men. But I do no such thing. I feel free only when I can follow everything Allah ask me to do.
30. Fatima Mernissi ( Moroccan Feminist) argues the hijab means that women should not be outside much. What do you think of this claim?
During our prophet's time ladies were free to go out with permission of the husband. The fact that they had been asked to cover up implied that they are allowed to go out. Women can leave the house as long as there is a mahram accompanying her, when she goes to work without being accompanied by her mahram, she does not follow sunah. If she had sinned she must ask for forgiveness. Even men commit sins everyday. Orientalist likes to shade Islam such that it becomes unattractive to women. "If only they knew that only free and respectable women were asked to cover up as a trademark to differentiate them from the slaves ~ it is in fact an honour to be asked to cover up your body"
Hajjah Noor Kumalasari
22th April 2003
... buku ini akan dilancarkan pada Pesta Buku Antarabangsa
pada 23-25 Mei 2003 (exact date not sure) di
PWTC,,,tajuk buku tersebut ialah " Mengapa Saya Bertudung".
Buku ini merupakan koleksi penulisan dari wanita JIM dan juga questionares dari wanita
lain lain yg mempunyai aspirasi yang sama. Jangan lupa membelinya! Jawapan Noor Kumalsari
ini hanyalah salah satu dari maklumbalas yang diterima dari puluhan tulisan dan
maklumbalas yg lain.
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