Saturday, January 07, 2006

Novel Review: Ayat-ayat Cinta

Ayat-ayat Cinta: The Value of Love in Islam
By: Yunita Ramadhana

The novel, Ayat-ayat Cinta, is a 411 pages novel written by a young novelist from Indonesia Habiburrahman El-Shirazy who was born on 30th September 1976. He is a post-graduate scholar from Al-Azhar University, Mesir, Cairo. In the first sight, it seems like an usual Islamic novel which tries to spread religous value through art as the medium. But, when we go it more further, we will know that it's not just an Islamic novel! It is a colaboration between Islamic Novel, Cultural Novel, and love story novel which young people like very much. In other word, this novel is the right choice for distributing religous value, for those who are curious in Islam, especially for the young people who will be the next generations in the world.

This novel told about the love story between two human beings who differs in background and culture; one of them is a male student from Indonesia who was studying in Al-Azhar University Mesir-Cairo, and the other one is a female student from Germany who was studying in Mesir also. This story began when they met on a great debate in a metro unintentionally (such kind of trem).

Mein Neim Ist Aisha
In that time, the man Fahri bin Abdullah Shiddiq, is on the way to Masjid Abu Bakar Ash-Shiddiq in Shubra El-Kaima, the north side of Cairo, for talaqqi (study to Syaikh in face to face) to Syaikh Utsman Abdul Fattah, a famous Syaikh in Mesir. From him, Fahri learnt about qiraah sab'ah (reading Al-Qur'an with story of seven Imam) and ushul tafsir (the major principle of tafsir Al-Qur'an). Fahri always do it twice in a week, on Sunday and Wednesday. He never passed it in any kind of condition whether the weather is so hot or even the dust stream facing him. It is a compulsory for him as not every people can study to Syaikh Utsman who are very selective in choosing his student, and Fahri is very lucky to be the one of them.

In Metro, Fahri couldn't get a seat so that he must stand for some times until there's an availabled seat. And then, he was acquainted to an Egyptian named Ashraf who is also a moslem. They talked about everything including about Ashraf's hateness to American. In a while, there are three American (two of them are women, and the other is a man) got in to metro. One of the American women is an old lady who seemed very tired. Usually, the Egyptians always give their seat if there's a woman who needs it. But not this time. It's maybe because of their great hateness to America. Finally, when the American old lady wanted to sit on the floor, there's a woman weared a white clean veil called her and gave her seat to the old lady and apologized for what that has been done by the other Egyptians. Here is the cause of the great debate. The Egyptians who understood English well, felt offended with her saying. They threw out many cruel words to the woman, and she could do nothing except crying. Seeing that, Fahri tried to cooling down the hot situation by asking them to read Shalawat Nabi as most of Egyptians will less their angry after reading shalawat Nabi. And he is success. He then explained that what the woman did is right, and the abusive words didn't need to say. Suddenly, the Egyptians' angry was rise again. They ask fahri to be not interfering their business and not teaching them about religion as it's not sure whether Fahri can memorize Juz Amma or not (the thirtieth juz in Al-Qur'an). Their angry was cool down again when Ashraf who also got angry to the woman told them that Fahri is a student of Al-Azhar University and memorize Al-Qur'an, and he was also a follower of the well-known Syaikh Utsman. Hearing it, they were apologized to Fahri. And then, Fahri explained that they should not do that to the American as the Prophet Muhammad Saw didn't teach his followers to be like that. Fahri told them about the way how to behave to our guests or visitors of our country. They thanked to Fahri as had reminded them.

On the other hand, the young American woman, Alicia, was listening the explanation about what has happened which was conveyed in fluent English by the veiled woman. And then Alicia thanked to Fahri and gave her name card to him. Not for a long time, the metro stopped and the veiled woman was ready to get off. But firstly, she thanked to Fahri for his help. Finally, they were acquainted to each other. In fact, she was not an Egyptian but a German who was studying in Mesir. Her name is Aisha.

Maria, the uncustomed Christian Girl
In Egypt, Fahri lives with his four friends who also come from Indonesia, namely Saiful, Rudi, Hamdi dan Misbah. He has already stayed there for seven years. They live in an two stairs apartment in which Fahri and all his friends staye in the down stair, while in the upstair it's stayed by a Christian family who becomes their neighbour. This family has four members, namely Mr. Boutros, Madame Nahed, and their two children - Maria and Yousef. Though they have different religion, they are still keeping a good relationship to each other. In Egypt, it's not a new thing if Christian family and Moslem family has a good relationship and can live side by side in peace in society. Maria, their only one daughter, makes a good relation with Fahri and his friends, especially with Fahri. She is a very good woman either in performance or in attitude. In spite of that, Fahri calls her as au uncustomed Christian girl, as though shi is a non-moslem she is able to memorize two surah in Al-Qur'an fluently in which it's not sure a moslem itself can do it. She keeps in her mind Surah Al-Maidah and Surah Maryam. Fahri has just known it when he met her in a metro accidentally. All the members of Boutros family are kind to Fahri. Even when he was ill, they took him to the hospital and took care about him besides his friends, especially Maria who gave all of her cares to him. They also easily take Fahri and his friend to have a dinner in starred restourant at the bank of Nile river, Egpyt's trademark, as a reply for a gift that they gave to Madame Nahed in her birthday. Fahri gave her a gift is only for making her pleasure as for him it's a must for pleasuring someone. After the dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Boutros wanted to dance for a while. Madame Nahed asked Fahri to dance with Maria for usually Maria did want to dance with anybody. After the husband-wife down to the dance floor, Maria asked him to dance with her, but Fahri objected it and said that she is not his muhrim and then he explained his reason in detail. That's Fahri, he is always to apply his religion rule in his daily life.

The Ice-Face Bahadur and the Poor Noura
Besides Boutros Family, Fahri also has another neighbour which has black skin who has a different manner with Boutros Family. The leader in this family is Bahadur who is usually called as the ice-face as he always show a bad attitude to everyone even with his wife, Madame Syaime, and his youngest daughter, Noura. They have three daughters - Mona, Suzanna, and Noura. Mona and Suzanna has black skin similar with their parents, but not with Noura. She is white and has blonde hair. This is a cause why her family hate her and at last it makes herself very suffering. Bahadur speaks so cruel, and Noura becomes the only one target for his anger. Het two sisters who also don't like her, take this chance. Until a tragic night where Bahadur dragged Noura to the street with so many pains at her back. This is often happened but that night is thw worst one. Nobody wants to help her. Finally, as he can't see that tragic event, Fahri askes Maria to help Noura through sms. At first, Maria refuses it, as she doesn't want her family involving in that case. But, when Fahri begs to her for her love to Al-Masih, she accepts it. As the result, Noura stayed at Boutros's house at that night. This night is also becomes a cause which almost take him to the worst suffering and almost make him lost his chance to live in this beautiful world.

(To be continued...)

Related link in Indonesian Style: Resensi Ayat-ayat Cinta

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Novel: Self-deception in Emma

Self-deception in Emma

Emma is a famous English novel written by Jane Austen. Emma is a novel which told about a beautiful woman named Emma Woodhouse. She is a match maker. Emma opens as if it will be a simple narrative about a young woman who is "handsome, clever, and rich" (p. 7), but it becomes instead a penetrating study of the human capacity for self-deception, self-knowledge, and love. The further explanation of the self-deception in Emma is available in this site.

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