Jhon's Embrace/ Conversion to Islam Ceremony

Disclaimer: I post this not to 'riak' or show off. This is my blog/ journal so I can post whatever I wish. Another reason for writing this or any of my posts is to share experiences and information.

Before embarking to embracing Islam, there are a few things we need to know. All information can be found at Darul-Aqram's website.

Here's a rough checklist:

At least attend below session/ courses (ideally)
✔ Knowing Islam Session (KIS)
✔ Beginner’s Course in Islam (BCI)
✔ Solat (prayer) Tutorial (ST)

✔ 2 male Muslim adults as witnesses
(preferably relatives and/or close friends who can guide the Convert)
✔ 3 passport sized photographs
✔ Convert’s NRIC (Singapore) or passport (Foreigner)
✔ Witnesses’ NRIC (Singapore) or passport (Foreigner)
✔ Chosen Muslim Name
✔ Able to recite the Syahadah as best as possible
(it's okay if you've an accent hehe)
✔ Preferred date and time of Conversion
✔ Preferred Uztad who will perform the ceremony (optional)

Operating Hours for the Conversion Ceremony
Mondays to Saturdays: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Sundays: 9.00am – 11.00am
(Closed on Public Holidays)
Phone: +65 6348 8344 (PRESS 1)

You may go there to book or simply call. Remember to book your appointment at least 3 days in advance and it's based on first come, first serve basis.

Jhon and I had already attended all session/ courses in 2013 and have been slowly strengthening our knowledge together ever since. If you want to read about our experiences, click respectively; Knowing Islam Session (KIS), Beginner’s Course in Islam (BCI) and Solat (prayer) Tutorial (ST).

Jhon called the office on 30th September 2015, about a month before our preferred date which was, 29th October 2015; also his birth date. He was nervous beyond words for reasons he wasn't really sure. Maybe in his mind, it's a step of making his faith official and it IS a big deal.

He said the experience was smooth and easy. They simply asked for his name, preferred date and time. He was not asked for any preferred Uztad and he didn't mind anyways (at that time). In a few minutes, it was confirmed.

Fast forward to today, with my Mak, Abg, Kak Yana, Abg Jamil and sleepy Syihab  arrived at Darul-Aqram at about 9.15am. The place was somewhat empty compared to it's usual bustling crowd on the weekends. It is most probably because it's a weekday morning. The CDD office is on the 1st level with a lounge for waiting guests.

Jhon was given an application form with an exchange of his S Pass and passport with his witnesses's NIRC who were Abg and Abg Jamil.



There were 3 pages to the application form and it simply asked personal details such as previous religion, education, whether if he had attended any classes, the Uztad in- charge, etc. There was also a small section for witnesses and a spouse or spouse-to-be to fill up.



After passing the completed form, we had to wait as the lady processed the form, create the conversion card and waited for our Uztad.

Meanwhile,



Even though we have no preference of Uztad but there was no deniability that Jhon and I gave a sigh of relief as we saw Uztad Anis Marica opened the door with a giant smile welcoming us into a cozy and comfortable room. If any of you recalled, he was one of our teachers and we were very fond of him. I guess the admin had referred on who had guided us in our classes in the application form.
Even Jhon said his nervousness dropped a good amount upon seeing him.

Yes, I had recorded the entire ceremony in video. Unfortunately, the volume was low and a baby was crying when Jhon was about to recite his declaration of faith. I will try to edit as best as I could but even so, at this moment, I am half-hearted on should I post it for public. After completing it and showing to Jhon, I will consider again.

Anyways, the ceremony started with simple formalities like acknowledging who was present, reasons of why Jhon wishes to convert and such. No pressure or anything; as if having a conversation with a friend. Uztad Anis also shared information and stories, I suppose to calm the atmosphere; you know, instead of just 'attacking' and just ask him to recite the Syahadah.


He was funny; saying it's a very, very, very special day and said he added an extra very because it's Jhon's birthday.

After the chit-chat and advises, Uztad Anis provided a piece of paper with the declarations Jhon need to recite as a reference. Declarations that he wishes to be a Muslim unforced, his Muslim name, the Syahadah and it's meaning, the 5 pillars of Islam among others.

He had to recite the Syahadah 2 times because he didn't recite 'La ilaha illallah' properly. It can be a tongue twister for non-Muslims. hehe but Alhamdulilah, he managed to recite it as well as he could with his Pinoy accent. He said as soon as he recited it, he felt easier to recite the rest of the declaration.





He eventually signed the official form, we recited prayers together and was given Muslim freebies. haha I don't know if it's just Jhon's day or what but he was given 2 bags; a sling sliver one and a black backpack.

He received a biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) & pictorial guide of moral bases of Islamic Civilization pocket book, a brown 'sejadah' (prayer mat), travel sized 'sejadah' with compass, 'taqiyah' or 'songkok' (prayer cap), prayer beads, a compass, Quran with translations & commentary and Muqaddam to learn Arabic alphabet and verses.


He also received 2 pamphlets/ booklets as he is automatically now a member of Darul-Aqram.
Oh, not forgetting his conversion card.

Introducing, a new brother of Islam, Muhammad Faris Tolentino.


It was his first choice of Muslim name and after going through the hundreds and thousands of Muslim names, he eventually went back to it. Do you know how difficult it is to find a Muslim name that we like for an adult without sounding so boastful?
Sure, you can name your baby with a meaning of handsome (Shakeel), intelligent (Danish) because your want your kid to grow up enveloping that name but for an adult to call himself handsome or intelligent is so narcissistic. haha

In the end, he choose
Faris; knight or soldier.

Of course there's a reason behind the meaning but it's I won't share it here.

The ceremony lasted only about 1 hour 30 minutes, give or take inclusive of form filling and waiting.

After the ceremony, we went 'makan' for a birthday lunch at Hjh Maimunah Restaurant nearby treated by Abg and that's about it. I mean, Jhon and I had errands to do after that but that's another story.


Jhon is never a man of many words. The only thing he said after the entire ceremony was that he felt extreme relief that he is officially a Muslim. Alhamdullilah.

May we strive to be better Muslims everyday.
Amin


UPDATE (02/11/2015):

I forgot to add that there is also reimbursements for transport claim, change of NIRC & even circumcision fee (if you choose to) at S$50, S$60 and S$300 respectively.


UPDATE (14/11/2015):

Just in case if any of you are wondering, video of the ceremony has been salvaged from noisy background and finally edited. Jhon wishes to keep it private in Youtube but to be shared among family only as it's a very personal video to him. =)



   

Visiting Matin.

Since I last visited Fizah and Matin, I just can't get enough of him. I wanted to 'play' with him more.

So as soon as our weekends were open, Jhon and I visited.

I got to say, Fizah looked good especially for a first time mom who has just gave birth weeks ago. She lost a good amount of weight and despite feeling exhausted and still in pain, she still looked good.

She said her postpartum masseuse was great. She tends to sleep and snore almost every time. I have to take note, you know... for future references. haha

Anyways, it was nice to sit down and catch up with her because we had the house to ourselves. Meanwhile, Jhon took some photos for fun.






It's also the first time I see Jhon fully interacting with a baby. Usually, there are other people around so he tends to be reserved but since it was just the 3 of us in the house. He went all out.

There was one time, while Fizah and I were in the kitchen as she was whipping something quick for dinner (thanks Fizah! I told you no need), we heard all kinds of sounds in the living room. Not only sounds but also different types of voices; high and low. We were giggling, saying it sounds like there was a group of people in her living room.




If only we live nearby, I would probably visit more often. haha sibuk je.



   

Things people say to us regarding our inter-racial/ religion relationship.

For new readers, I am a Malay Muslim and Jhon was a Filipino Catholic (no longer practiced way before he met me). We have been together for 8 years and counting. InsyaAllah, getting married next year.  He will be converting within this month, InsyaAllah. Since the beginning of our courting days, there have always been naysayers and opinion throwers on our relationship.

Introducing,



Yes, I ranted 'sampai terkeluar' ring. haha

Anyways, that’s about what we have been asked, told and heard and imagine that on repeat by sometimes the same people but different structure sentences.

By the end of the day, we had thoroughly discussed about our religions and cultures and which areas could be compromised and which areas are non-negotiable. We had attended religious classes and even marriage preparation courses to know right from the horse’s mouth on what is right, wrong and in between. 

True, I am no Uztazah or hardly considered as an average practicing Muslim but that’s one of the beauty of this relationship. We have a strong ‘niat’ and we can learn together. We understand each other’s struggles and we pick each other up. 

It’s okay if most people do not understand and whatever we do never seem to be good or sincere enough in the eyes of these humans. I also know some of these people have good intentions but always bad executions and well, others are always said in ignorance.
All that matters is Allah’s blessings and only He knows our trials and tribulations because it’s all from him.

Who cares what they have to say? As for the naysayers, it's always fun to prove them wrong.



   

Errands Overseas

I wish I could follow but it wouldn't be financially practical.



Jhon will be home in Pasig until next Sunday to find a Barong, apply for the Marital Status in Philippines, a visit to the dentist and of course spending bonding time with his family, especially little Jayden.

Photos he shared as soon as he settled down.
Is this boy super round or what?



I guess this would be the last single trip he will be making because the next time he visit, I will be tagging along. Yey for confirmed yearly holidays. 



   

DIY Marco Lens & Photography

Thanks to Pinterest, I decided to try their DIY marco where you extract the lens of a laser pointer and attached it to your handphone.

Things I used.


Mini flashlight at S$4.90 (lens of laser pointers I found are too small)
Hairpin (I have plenty lying around)
Handphone of your choice. (My Sony Xperia Z3)
Pliers to dismantle the mini flashlight.
Tape to fasten to handphone.



I had Jhon to help me to remove the lens with a pair of pliers and I taped to the handphone.
Immediately, Jhon and I went into a photography frenzy. It works awesomely!

How close up can it get? We took pictures of S$10 up close.




MASMASMAS
Words you can't see with the naked eye.

Mak witnessed our little project and she lend us her jewelry for close ups.



I noticed that if the item is not very small, the edges do get blurry. It actually works better if the item is really small.

Of course, must attempt at the eye photography. It's not perfect but it does it's job and quite commendable for a DIY lens.



More random pictures








This DIY Marco lens works well. Give it a try!