Jun 16, 2013

Inspiration: Ustadz Felix Siauw

"Many of us accept things (that happen in this life) without (further) thinking and questioning 'What do we (truly) believe in?'. In consequence, most people think that discussing the truth (about religion) is taboo (or inappropriate)..
"In the end, discussions become even rare and religion is seen as a sheer part of 'individual beliefs', and no debate is allowed. We should have viewed religion and scripture (Koran) just like any other disciplines -  to be tested and proven because there is always one (and only) truth. Hence the choice must be made"
- translated from "Beyond the Inspiration" by Felix Y. Siauw

I first knew Ustadz Felix from Twitter few months ago. My friend retweeted one of his tweets which was about the code of conduct for Muslims (syariah law) and I was very much intrigued that I checked his timeline soon afterward. Anyway, it was not the content that impressed me most at first, it was more about his approach.

"ide Islam itu sama sekali tak terbantah | sering kali pembawanya yang bermasalah"

I suppose there are two main reasons why some of us (including me) become ignorant to learn more about religion. The first one is because we are afraid of being wrong, and to make it worse, we want to avoid the stress of adaptation. Hence, we prefer to stick with what we already know without any intention to learn and understand more. Too bad that sometimes (if not most of the times), not only that those things we knew were not enough, they were, too, inaccurate.

Anyway, what I want to point out more this time is the second reason, which comes externally.

"bila bicara perhatikan waktu agar manusia tidak jemu | bila manusia sudah jemu sejelas apapun tiada jadi ilmu
"termasuk perilaku penghormatan terhadap ilmu | ialah menyampaikannya pada yang mau tau"

Have you ever met someone who tells you about the right thing to do (from the religion standpoint), however, with that 'holier/better/smarter than thou' attitude? Truth to be told, I did meet one and was one as well. Definitely not proud of the latter.

My previous question leads to the main reason why I love to follow Ustadz Felix's lectures. Never did I find such behavior in any of his work of dakwah. Of course, he talks about right or wrong and sin or reward, but I truly admire how he preaches Islam through approaches that make people to think more critically. Never did I feel offended even when I found out how flawed my understanding of Islam had been. Even better, his approaches have invited me to learn more.

As always, when I like something, I cannot stop talking about it. I spoke to one of my closest friends who turned out knew about Ustadz Felix already, and apparently, was an admirer too. He then told me that I can find many of his lectures on YouTube.

"..mendadak semua jadi gak berharga, duit jadi gak ada harganya, jabatan gak ada harganya, istri dan anak-anak di rumah mendadak gak ada harganya..
"ternyata ada yang lebih penting dari pada duit, jabatan, harta, dan segala-galanya"
Ustadz Felix commenting on his own near-death experience - was one of the best lectures I've watched.

After watching several of his videos, I found out that he has written four books until now. Few days after, I went to the bookstore and bought two of them (the others were not available at the time). A week later I went to Jakarta and finally bought the rest.

I'm not going to write any brief summary of all of them. But here is my opinion about each of those books.

My favorite was "Muhammad Al-Fatih 1453". Among four, it's the one that took me the longest to finish. It's not because the book is hard to digest (though it is pretty dense), but because I kept going back through and reread again and again for the story is truly inspiring. I even got an idea of a name for my future son, which I found from the book. Yea I know. I'm getting ahead of myself. Pffft. But really, when the time comes for me to become a mother, this is definitely the kind of story I'm going to tell my kids.

Then I moved to the second one - "Udah Putusin Aja!". To be frank, I did underestimate the book in the first place. I don't know since when but I always look down on books with too many pictures in general. This time I was wrong. The book is such a page-turner, it took me less than three hours to finish it. It is witty and well-written (still with his comprehensive and logical style of preaches). And matter of fact, kudos to the animator whose pictures complement the explanation. Couldn't be better, I think.

"Habits" was actually the reason why I really wanted to buy all those four at first. This video (which explanation comes from the book) made an impression on me - I was blown away. However, the book itself isn't as I expected. I don't know whether I set the standard too high at the very beginning, but I just love the video a lot more. My least fav one, I can say.

"Beyond the inspiration" is my second fav (if not the first, pretty hard to decide actually). I have watched many of Ustadz Felix's videos on YouTube and many of them come from this book. The book challenges me to question important things in life and seek objectivity. Although, for me, his argument here is not something to be taken lightly, his critical reasoning makes a lot of sense. I have to admit that it gives me new perspective of Islam that invalidates some things I believed in. It is the book I wish I had read earlier in my life.


I'm writing this article for I want to share how big the impact Ustadz Felix's lectures on me. Never did I enjoy learning about Islam as much as I do now. May Allah bless him and his family abundantly.

Anyway, I'm still far from understanding the concept of Islam wholly. Yet, I continue to try. I wish there will be more people who use similar approach in dakwah as Ustadz Felix's (it does work beautifully on me). And I wish someday I, too, can be one of them.