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…And do good unto [thy] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in thy care, never say “Ugh” to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with relevant speech, and spread over them humbly the wings of thy tenderness, and say, ” O my Sustainer! Bestow Thy grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!”

AL – ISRA’ (23 – 24)

 

A DAUGHTER’S MOTHER

Today I witnessed a daughter’s beautiful tribute to her mother! It was by way of a book  ZAINAB AHMAD : A TRULY REMARKABLE WOMAN launched on her 90th birthday by none other than Tun Dr Rahah, the Prime Minister’s mother.

What is also truly remarkable is that daughter Kalsom Taib took one month to complete the book! This must surely be a record in the annals of biography writing even if it is that of a parent. Kalsom’s biography of her late father Tan Sri Taib Andak was launched by Dato’ Seri Najib less than six months ago. Which makes Kalsom one prolific writer!

The launch, followed by a luncheon at the PJ Hilton, saw a gathering of mainly Johore women with a few brave male members of the clan in attendance. The music was ghazal and the songs familiar oldies like The Shadow of Your Smile, Hati Ke Hati and Sri Mersing which brought back fond memories of days gone by and loved ones so dearly missed!

An outstanding part of the morning was the entrance of more than half a dozen octogenarian VIP ladies in their wheel chairs. It was a touching gesture to these remarkable women and the lives they led, the children they raised and the husbands they stood by! Women who were bonded by the common tie of friendship and family. It was an honour indeed to be part of female solidarity at its best – inspired and inspiring!

HOWEVER Kalsom Taib’s publications in quick succession has awakened me to my own quest for immortality through my writings! Not blog postings mind you but a right “royalty” book! Not a compilation of articles or letters or bitsy blogging but a properly structured, unified piece of narration, discussion, argumentation, exposition, novel, screen play etc etc!  

I must get down to it and plan for a wonderful launch by so and so… SOON!

 

RECITATION OF DOA AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF  ZAINAB AHMAD – A TRULY REMARKABLE WOMAN AT PJ HILTON 

PRAISE BE TO ALLAH/THE ONE AND THE ONLY/ SUPREME RULER OF THE UNIVERSE. PRAISE BE TO ALLAH  WHO IS  A UNITARIAN /WHO NEITHER BEGETS NOR IS HE BEGOTTEN. PEACE BE UPON THE GREATEST OF ALL PROPHETS/ AND MESSENGERS OF ALLAH/MUHAMMAD SALLALLAAHU ‘ALAIHI WASALLAM, HIS FAMILY AND HIS COMPANIONS.

WE ARE GRATEFUL TO YOU, O ALLAH/FOR THE MANY BOUNTIES YOU HAVE BESTOWED UPON US. WE ARE ALSO GRATEFUL /TO BE HERE THIS MORNING/ FOR THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF THE BOOK “ZAINAB AHMAD – A TRULY REMARKABLE WOMAN”.

WE ARE GRATEFUL TO YOU, O ALLAH, FOR HAVING GIVEN US/ WONDERFUL PARENTS/ WHO HAVE SHOWERED UPON US/ THEIR LOVE AND THEIR AFFECTION.

LET THIS BOOK, O ALLAH, BE AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT/ OF A MOTHER’S LOVE AND SACRIFICE/ ENJOYED BY THE WRITER/ ESPECIALLY DURING HER TENDER YEARS. AND MAY YOU, O ALLAH, ACCEPT IT/ AS A SMALL ACT OF DEVOTION/ BY THE WRITER/ TOWARDS HER MOTHER.

WE MAY, O ALLAH, HAVE MANY HUSBANDS, CHILDREN AND WIVES/  IN THE COURSE OF OUR LIVES. BUT THERE CAN BE/ ONLY ONE MOTHER AND A FATHER /FOR EVERYONE OF US.

THEREFORE, O ALLAH, GIVE US THE WISDOM/TO BE LOVING AND RESPECTFUL TO OUR PARENTS/IN LINE WITH THE TEACHINGS OF OUR RELIGION. SO THAT WE/ IN TURN/ WILL BE LOVED/AND RESPECTED/BY OUR OWN CHILDREN.

SPARE US, O ALLAH, THE AGONY OF HAVING UNGRATEFUL CHILDREN/ WHO WOULD GIVE US ENDLESS TROUBLES HERE – IN THIS WORLD/ AND UNTOLD MISERIES IN THE HEREAFTER.

GRANT  US, O ALLAH, PROPER UNDERSTANDING/IN MATTERS OF OUR OFFICIAL RELIGION.

THE RELIGION THAT YOU HAVE REVEALED/ TO  ALL PROPHETS OF ISLAM – ADAM, NOAH, ABRAHAM, MOSES, JESUS/ AND FINALISED IN THE MESSAGE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON ALL OF THEM)

O ALLAH, WE ALL BELONG TO ONE BIG FAMILY/FOUNDED BY YOUR PROPHET ADAM AND HIS SPOUSE EVE OR HAWA/(PEACE BE UPON BOTH OF THEM) /OF WHICH/ ALL OF US PRESENT/ARE THEIR DESCENDANTS.

THEREFORE, O ALLAH, PROTECT US/ FROM ANY CHAUVINISTIC INCLI-NATION. GIVE US ALL/THE COMMON SENSE/TO LIVE LIKE A BIG FAMILY SHOULD/AS BROTHERS, SISTERS AND COUSINS/IN TOTAL SUBMISSION TO YOU/AS LORD OF ALL CREATIONS.

LET US ALL LIVE IN PEACE AND HARMONY WHILE SEEKING YOUR PLEASURES. THERE IS NO NECESSITY / FOR ANY SQUABBLE, O ALLAH,  AS YOU HAVE PROVIDED ENOUGH/ FOR EVERYBODY’S NEED/ THOUGH NOT QUITE ENOUGH/ FOR EVERYBODY’S GREED.

GIVE US THAT GUIDING LIGHT/SO THAT WE CAN MAKE OUT THE DIFFERENCE/ BETWEEN TRUTH AND   FALSEHOOD/ BETWEEN WHAT’S LAWFUL AND WHAT’S FORBIDDEN.

O ALLAH, GRANT US THAT INNER PEACE/AND THE TRANQUILITY/ THAT WE BADLY NEED/THAT CAN ONLY BE ATTAINED/BY LIVING IN ACCOR-DANCE/WITH WHAT YOU HAVE DECREED.

FORGIVE US AND OUR PARENTS FOR OUR SINS, LAPSES, IGNORANCE AND ARROGANCE.   DO NOT DENY US, O ALLAH,  THE OPPORTUNITY/ TO REPENT AND MAKE AMENDS.

O ALLAH, WE ARE NOW LIVING/IN AN ERA OF HEDONISM/ AND CRASS MATERIALISM. SPARE US/OUR CHILDREN/ OUR GRAND-CHILDREN/ FROM THEIR CORRUPTING INFLUENCE.

GIVE US THE STRENGTH/THE COURAGE /AND THE WILL/ TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION/ AND NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM.

O ALLAH, ONLY YOU HAVE THE POWER/TO GUIDE WHOM YOU PLEASE/AND TO LET ASTRAY WHOM YOU PLEASE.

THEREFORE, O ALLAH, SHOW US THE STRAIGHT WAY/THE WAY OF THOSE/ON WHOM YOU HAVE BESTOWED YOUR GRACE/THOSE WHO HAVE NOT INCURRED YOUR WRATH/AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT DEVIATED FROM THE STRAIGHT PATH.

FINALLY, O ALLAH, GRANT US THE STRENGTH/ AND ALSO THE HUMILITY/ TO PROSTRATE BEFORE YOU/DURING THE DAY/AS WELL AS AT NIGHT TIME. FROM YOU WE ALL CAME. AND TO YOU/ WILLINGLY OR UNWILLINGLY/WE DEFINITELY SHALL RETURN.

AND BEFORE YOU/WE’LL BE MADE TO ACCOUNT/FOR ALL OUR ACTS OF COMISSION/AS WELL AS OUR ACTS OF OMISSION.

Ustaz Hj Muhammad Abdul Wahab

Tel: (019)3172 160

E-mail: jagoan56@yahoo.com

 

Kalsom’s book is a labour of love.
Kalsom’s book is a labour of love.

 

To mark her mother’s 90th birthday, Kalsom Taib Andak wrote a book about her life story replete with historical and cultural nuggets of her time. P. SELVARANI has the story.

 

THERE are many ways to show one’s love for their parents and in Kalsom Taib Andak’s case, it is by documenting their life story in a book.

Fresh from the successful launch of her biography on her late father, FELDA’s first chairman Tan Sri Taib Andak, last year, Kalsom has now written a book about her mother, Zainab Ahmad A Truly Remarkable Woman.

Puan Sri Zainab Ahmad, who turns 90 today, may not have fame attached to her name save for her being the wife of an illustrious Malaysian son, but in the eyes of her children, she is a “truly remarkable woman”.

“She is an exceptional woman. Her sacrifices, patience and love for her husband and family knows no bounds,” said Kalsom, 67, during a recent interview.
The former human resources director of a multinational, who has been described as an accidental writer, said it never crossed her mind to write a book about her mother.

“The idea came as I was mulling over how to celebrate my mother’s impending 90th birthday during a trip to Penang over the Chinese New Year holidays.

“Turning 90 is very significant and I wanted to do something other than holding a doa selamat for her. It struck me that when I interviewed her for my father’s book, she had a lot of stories to tell and she had led a very interesting life.

“As she is still very mentally alert, I thought what better way to show my love and appreciation to her than by documenting her life story.”

Within a week, Kalsom came up with a rough plan on the contents of her book.

“I asked myself, who would want to read a book about my mother, a housewife? I knew I had to make it interesting so that people will want to buy and read the book.”

The historian in her (Kalsom majored in history in university) found the answer by weaving bits of history (such as by tracing her mother’s roots to her Bugis lineage), culture and social issues into her mother’s story.

“The book not only relates my mother’s experiences but also includes bits of historical information, the culture and customs her family practised, the games she used to play as a child and what growing up was like during the colonial period.”

For an entire week, Kalsom sat down with her mother every day to hear her story, even touching on past issues she had never dared ask her mum about.

“I had done a lot of research on my family background when I wrote my father’s book so everything just fell into place when I interviewed mother. Once I had her story, I sat down at the computer and began writing day and night, only stopping for my meals, prayers and bath.”

Within a month, the book was ready for publication.

Kalsom even took a trip down to Malacca to visit the French Convent (now Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus) where her mother enrolled as the first Malay boarder way back in 1939 to study for her junior Cambridge certificate.

“It was rare for a Malay woman at that time to join the Convent especially as a boarder. It was a culture shock for her when she entered the Convent.

“She saw this statue and found out it was the Virgin Mary and the nuns were all in black. She wanted to go home but told herself that she would stay on until she got her Junior Cambridge certificate which she did.”

At the Convent, Zainab learnt English, French and even played the piano. She also had to study Scripture and because she had a strong foundation in Islam before entering the Convent, learning Scripture was an additional subject for her.

“But back home in Muar, my mother heard rumours that she had become a Christian!” Kalsom added with a chuckle.

Zainab, however, had to stop schooling after her Junior Cambridge and forget her dreams of becoming a doctor, as unknown to her, she had been betrothed to Taib Andak, who was her brothers’ friend.

“And although she told me she did not know what love was when she married him, my mother told me she grew to love my father as each day passed.”

In her book, Kalsom also talks about the shock of discovering that her father had a second family, 15 years after he married the granddaughter of the late Sultan Ibrahim of Johor.

Unlike most women who would have ranted and raved, Kalsom said her mother remained calm and composed and told her that she loved him very much and despite everything, he was still her husband and father of her children.

“I knew it hurt her a lot. In one of our quiet moments while writing the book, I asked my mother whether she knew that my father had re-married and she said no, she never suspected anything as there was no change in his love and affection towards her and the children.”

In this chapter of her book, Kalsom took the opportunity to discuss the issue of polygamy and sought the views of several women on how they would have reacted had it happened to them.

Kalsom said female readers would be able to easily relate to the topics discussed in the book.

“It is written by a daughter to her mother. She is a wonderful mother and a very patient woman. If there is one trait of my mother which I wish I had, it’s her patience.”

Zainab Ahmad A Truly Remarkable Woman published by MPH will be launched today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s mother Tun Rahah Mohd Noah at the Petaling Jaya Hilton. The book is available at MPH stores.

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