Hugging tight.



“Exam’s tomorrow, exam’s tomorrow~~!!!!!!!!” frantically, she turned one page after another without even really reading what’s written on them.

Her eyes scanned the papers with haste, left, right, left, right; one can ever be sure whether she was reading or she’s suffering from pathological nystagmus….

 “sraapp, srapp” “…omege! Koyak!”, cried Yana, wide-eyed staring at the tear which goes from the lower margin to the middle of the paper.

"...have trust in Allah, you're gonna be alright."
“Chill~~ Alaa~ you’ve read these stacks, those stacks of notes and even explained them to me countless times! I know you can do it!” uttered Shikin enthusiastically, trying to assure her panic-stricken friend.

Almost in tears, Yana answered slowly, as if whispering to herself,

”...but I don’t remember a thing,Shikin, not a single thing ….T_T”


“Esok ingatla tu~”

The room was dimly lit, as if helping Yana to hide her single drop of tear, slowly rolling down her cheeks onto the notes she was holding. Her ice cold fingers moved, inconspicuously trying to brush the tear away; also concealing the watermark it left.

Sitting in a dark corner, Ika observed the situation silently. The keyboard tapped noisily breaking the silence as her nimble fingers danced on the letters, typing nothing. It was just an act, to fool Yana and Shikin; so that they think that her earphone was on too loud for her to be aware of the asphyxiating atmosphere. Ika strained her eyes, cautiously looking at Yana through the reflection on her laptop screen. Yana’s face was hyperemic, as if she was slapped ten times; consecutively; by a person with a rather large hand.

Yana~~!!!” Ika jumped from her chair and ran hurriedly almost stumbling down towards Yana, spreading her arms, wrapping them around her friend in need; tightly embracing her while saying, “I believe in you, have trust in Allah, you’re gonna be alright”.

But that just did not happen. Seriously it didn’t. It was only a play Ika constructed in her mind.

Suddenly, her eyes caught a glimpse of Shikin’s head turning towards her direction. Realizing that she stopped typing when she stared at Yana’s reflection, Ika hurriedly moved her fingers, slamming the keyboard. Shikin stopped looking at her and continued studying. Fiuhh~

Many many times, her I’m-a-very-cool-person personality conflicted with her burning instincts. Her heart felt like it was hacked, clawed and ripped violently into ribbons of bloody flesh seeing Yana struggling; doubting herself. In spite of that, the “cool” person she thought she was, Ika maintained her indifferent very annoying poker face.

Ika never got used to being embraced or embracing other people. In other words, she always felt awkward and the total opposite of cool when these embraces occur. Is it really uncool of her if she hugs another? Eyes shut; she rummaged through her mind, every nook and corner, trying to find the answer for this, this very significant question.

Ironically, she could recall some very pleasant memories relating to this issue. It was like yesterday, the crisp morning air rushed into her lungs as the girl in baju sekolah took a very deep breath, holding those textbooks tightly, wrinkling their pages. Ika was standing in front of the exam hall, a little bit scared, waiting to take her steps towards those doors. A senior of hers, someone she looked up to, walked towards her and wished her good luck. Maybe her face showed her “cuakness” or maybe she simply looked worried, whatever it was, that senior just hugged her tightly. It felt like she was saying, “it’s alright, you’ll do great kiddo.”  *SEMANGAT! HIYAH!*

Fragments of another memory came to her as if attached to the previous one. She could see herself crying; upset about something, something she couldn’t remember. One might question, why would this be a pleasant memory? It was Shida. Wrapped tightly by her friend, Ika felt safe and assured. Her burden and worries lifted, evaporated into thin air. How easy it is to comfort others? Or not? It’s soo hard…thought Ika, massaging her throbbing temples.

In her mind, she ran to and fro, until suddenly a garish light shone brightly out of nowhere.


What about rasululullah s.a.w? He’s cool~
As those tiny neurons sent impulses to various parts of her brain, a familiar story unraveled inside Ika’s mind. Her lips slowly curled up into a smile.

Rasulullah s.a.w was sleeping at Maimunah’s (one of his wives) house. His young cousin, Ibnu Abbas also spent the night there. Young Ibnu Abbas wanted to do something for rasulullah s.a.w. so, when the prophet was sleeping; Ibnu Abbas prepared a special container filled with water so rasulullah s.a.w. can perform ablution with it. With the water he prepared.  :D

In the middle of the night, rasulullah woke up from his slumber and wiped his eyes to get rid of his sleepiness. Suddenly he noticed a container filled with water, ready for him to use. Rasulullah s.a.w. asked about it and Maimunah told him what Ibnu Abbas did. Rasulullah s.a.w. approached Ibnu Abbas who was also awake and put his hand on Ibnu Abbas’s shoulder. He hugged Ibnu Abbas tightly and asked Allah to teach Ibnu Abbas the quran and let him be faqih in the religion.


Rasulullah could’ve just said jay zee kay kay [read: jazakallahu khairan kathiran] to Ibnu Abbas, but he did more than that; he hugged Ibnu Abbas and prayed for him….so, embracing a friend in need is not that uncool after all!

Deep down in her heart; she knew what to do.

Ika stood up abruptly; adrenaline gushing through her body, her heartbeat can be heard from a distance as her heart pumped like it had never pumped before! Her nose flared as her chest expanded and contracted quickly, expelling and taking in the atmospheric air in a very fast manner; every breath she took increased her confidence; enflaming her burning spirit!

She threw her fist into the air, YOSH!  Her body turned towards Yana and she just blurted out; “Yana! I believe in you, have trust in Allah, you’re gonna be alright! Go Yana GO!”

There was no response. Non whatsoever.

The atmosphere was gripped by eerie silence.


Little that she knew, when she was thinking, examining, scrutinizing over every single thing; Shikin and Yana already went to slumber land, leaving her alone in the dark cold room. Ika just stood there, not believing what’s in front of her eyes. Her fist dropped, synchronized with her heart; which felt like it sunk into her pelvic cavity.

Subconsciously her steps took her nearer to Yana and Shikin.  As she stood there staring at them, she noticed a post-it on Yana’s forehead saying: “Kejutkan pukul 3 pagi ekh~~~ X abeh study lg ni~~Jazakillah makcek~~ ^v^”


Ika set her alarm at 3am and retreated to her seat, feeling a little bit discouraged. Sitting there, staring at her laptop screen she couldn’t brush aside the nagging feeling inside her heart. What does a hug even mean??  Even Ika herself couldn’t understand why she even bothered about this.

“H, u, g. Enter.”

According to Wikipedia……..
"H, u, g. Enter."

…a hug can indicate familiarity, love, affection or friendship.[1] One person may hug another as an indication of support, comfort, and consolation. A hug can be a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth, sometimes arising out of joy or happiness at meeting someone.

…….An unexpected hug can be regarded as an invasion of a person's personal space, but if it is reciprocated it is an indication that it is welcome.

“It really means a lot...”, her lips mumbled as she read the article line by line.

When she thought about it, hugs carry lots of meanings, lots of emotions, lots of significance.

It is always awkward and sometimes ticklish when people that she is not familiar with or she is not close to, hug her. Isn’t it the same with embracing Islam, memeluk Islam? One could regard it as awkward, uncool, weird, funny; even an invasion of personal space when one is not familiar with it, doesn’t really know or understand Islam. That’s why sometimes people tend to ask, why do we have to do this and that, why can’t I do as I please? Islam kolot la. Mengongkong betul. Tak adil.

“But if the Truth had followed their inclinations, the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been ruined. Rather, We have brought them their message, but they, from their message, are turning away” –Al-Mu’minun:71

On the other hand, when we are familiar and we know the person, a hug can even be needed when we are feeling down, unmotivated, scared. It can be comforting, like an assurance, making us feel safe and bersemangat! Isn’t it the same as memeluk Islam? When we are familiar, we understand Islam, don’t we feel like Islam comforts us, always there assuring us that we are safe, we are alright, nothing to be scared of? When we are sad, we can always turn to Allah to give us strength and tranquility.

“Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." -Ar-Ra'd:28. 

Hugs can also be a symbol of love and appreciation.  Ika could still remember when Shikin excitedly told her that her Russian teacher hugged her when she first came to Russia. She said that she felt amat disayangi! Isn’t it the same as memeluk Islam?

 “Allah is more compassionate towards His slaves than this mother towards her child.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim).

Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." -Az-Zumar:53

As Ika reflected and pondered about the times Islam is always there for her, she reminded herself that embraces and hugs are usually performed by two or more people. She knows that Islam is hugging her tight, safe and warm throughout her life. But she just stood there, her arms limp, never even thought of hugging back. Don’t we feel like returning the hugs given to us? Have we really embraced Islam as Islam embraced our lives?  Have we really fulfilled (are fulfilling) our responsibilities as a khalifah and an ‘abid?


  1. terbaek! heart-warming in the middle of frosting winter. feel like hugging Islam back <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3