Thursday, February 07, 2008

Feminis yang sejati

I wrote this piece as Shazia, my Pakistani bestfriend, left the US upon finishing her master's program in Texas State University-San Marcos in Spring 2003. It's been almost five years, yet she sometimes captures my mind whenever I try to define the term "a true feminist." To me, she fulfills this definition; being silent in her struggle without losing its significance. I hope someday Allah gives us a chance to see each other again.


Ada rasa malu yang hinggap didiriku setiap kali aku menatap bening mata Shazia. Sahabat baru dari Pakistan ini menampakkan diri sebagai muslimah yang sebenarnya, yang menjalankan ibadah secara kaffah, diiringi dengan prestasi akademik yang luar biasa. Semuanya aku tahu, justru dari tindak tanduknya, dari kalangan dekatnya, dan bahkan dari situs kampus tempat kami menimba ilmu.Tak sepatahpun kata dari bibir manisnya mengandung segala yang bernada keakuan.

Hari-hari resah yang menghiasi kehidupan awalku di San Marcos, kekhawatiran akan tiadanya teman sesama muslim di negeri bagian koboi ini, tiba-tiba pecah oleh suara lembut dipenghujung telpon. Ia memperkenalkan dirinya, memberikan nomor telpon dan alamatnya, meyakinkan aku untuk tidak segan-segan menghubunginya bila aku butuh sesuatu. Darimana dia tahu namaku, sementara aku baru 3 hari tinggal di International Housing, ditengah-tengah sepinya kampus yang masih terselimuti panasnya summer break. Oh, Allah memang Maha Mendengar jeritan hati di malam hening, dalam kedinginan kamar ber-AC. Ternyata Shazia adalah saudari sepupu Adeel, muslim pertama yang aku temui di kampus, di hari Jum’at, hari pertamaku, saat aku berjalan dipelataran kampus, tanpa seorangpun lalu lalang. Begitulah, pertolongan Allah memang tak bisa disangka datangnya. Tiba-tiba saja Adeel muncul didepanku tanpa kutahu dari arah mana.

Shazia mulai mengisi hari-hariku. Dia kunjungi aku di International House, dia bantu aku pindahan ke apartemen baru, dan rutin menelpon aku, mengantarkan aku berbelanja ke HEB atau Walmart. Ya Allah, kok ada manusia sebaik ini, sementara di negeriku sendiri saja, yang penuh muslim, hanya segelintir orang yang melakukannya.

Shazia tinggal di Round Rock, sekitar 25 mil ke utara dari Austin, yang berarti 1 jam lebih perjalanan pakai mobil. Begitu Shazia menjalani hari-harinya, menyetir mobil Toyota Camry mewahnya dari rumah kakaknya menuju jurusan Biologi di SWT, tempat dia menjalani tugasnya sebagai Teaching Assistant dan mahasiswa semester terakhir program MSc. Sehari penuh dihabiskannya di kantor, kelas, dan laboratorium, mulai jam 8 pagi sampai 10-11 malam. Acapkali dia menginap di apartemenku karena kemalaman.

Perempuan yang begitu sibuk, dikejar deadline penelitian, konferensi dan tesis, bagaimana dia masih ingat tentang aku, yang masih banyak waktu senggang, tapi melewati banyak menit dalam kecengengan.

Semakin lama aku mengenalnya, semakin tertunduk pandanganku oleh kekagumanku. Mobil yang mewah, tak secuilpun menjadi sarana kepongahan. Ditengah-tengah buku berserakan, menumpuk kaset-kaset dan CD ceramah banyak pakar, tak satupun berbau hiburan duniawi. Bagiku, yang terbiasa mengisi tape recorder mobil dengan alunan musik, yang dia lakukan sepertinya sesuatu yang muskil. Tapi itulah Shazia, yang menghiasi mulutnya dengan doa-doa sepanjang perjalanan, menuliskannya di sobekan kertas agar aku bisa menghafalkannya.

Fanatik? Aku jadi mempertanyakan persepsiku sendiri tentang arti kata ini. Jilbabku masih belum kuasa menutupi hatiku dari godaan duniawi, perempuan berjubah masih suka kupandang kurang modern. Dan Shazia telah berhasil mendekonstruksi makna yang yang kuyakini.

Suatu kali kami terlibat diskusi panjang tentang pentingnya pendidikan. Dari situ pula baru kutahu bahwa ia telah mendapatkan gelar Master di negerinya, melanglang ke Abu Dhabi untuk mengajar selama beberapa tahun, sebelum memutuskan datang ke negeri Paman Sam untuk terus menimba ilmu. What a woman? Ini katanya,” Tiwi, I’ve always believed that women should pursue a good education. I realize that there are many of us who are deprived of this right behind the excuse of Islam. Siapa yang harus menolong sesama perempuan untuk melahirkan sambil tetap menjaga aurat kalau perempuan tidak boleh sekolah tinggi, bagaimana kita bisa mendidik anak kita dengan baik dan mencintai ilmu bila ibunya tidak kenal sekolah? Aku termangu, mempertanyakan, kenapa aku jauh-jauh meninggalkan suami dan anakku untuk sekolah lagi. Jujurkah aku ketika kukatakan, ini demi masa depan anakku dan keluarga? Ataukah, dilubuk hati sebelah sana, tersimpan ambisi duniawi?

Hari sudah malam sekali ketika Shazia menelpon, meminta izin untuk menginap lagi. Tentu saja aku senang hati menerima kedatangannya seperti biasa. Dia datang, dan setelah berbincang sebentar, dia permisi untuk mengambil air wudhu dan mengajakku shalat Isya bersama-sama. Seusai shalat Isya, dia mengajakku duduk dan membaca Surat Al-Mulk bersama-sama. Shazia, selalu ada yang baru yang aku dapat darimu. Baru sekarang ini aku tahu rahasia dibalik Al-Mulk saat dibaca sebelum tidur. Saat aku mengantuk, mengeluh kelelahan karena belajar seharian, dia persilakan aku tidur duluan. Dari sudut mataku yang belum lelap, kulihat dia berdiri lagi, melakukan shalat.

Kamu akan menikah. Itu yang aku tahu dari kakak iparmu, Maliha. Dimana calonmu sekarang? Lagi-lagi aku terpana mendengarkan jawabannya. Dia sepupu jauhku, tinggal di Pakistan.
“Apa kamu sering telpon-telponan? Tanyaku.
Dia teman mainku sejak kecil, tapi sejak 1 tahun lalu kami dijodohkan, aku justru tidak mau lagi bercakap dengannya. Kalau dia ingin menghubungi, aku minta dia lakukan lewat email saja?
“Cuma email-emailan? Gak salah tuh, bukannya kamu pingin ngobrol atau membahas persiapan perkawinan atau rencana masa depan?
Dengan lembut dia berujar,” Tiwi, aku tidak mau mengundang dosa diantara kami, perkawinan hanya butuh niat baik dan ridho dari Allah. Kalau memang kami berjodoh, semua akan berjalan dengan baik dengan izin Allah.” Tahun lalu seharusnya kami sudah menikah, tapi saat itu baru saja terjadi pemboman di WTC, dan aku tidak bisa mendapatkan perpanjangan visa untuk pulang. Semua terjadi karena kehendakNya, aku tidak kecewa, hanya Allah yang tahu yang terbaik untuk kita.”
Liz, gadis Texas yang seruangan dengannya suka protes. Shazia, it’s not right. You should say no to your parents if you do not love him. It’s an oppression,” dengan berapi-api ujarnya.
“I am not saying that I don’t love him. But I trust Allah only, if he is for me, then the marriage will take place with or without us speaking to each other.
“I don’t understand you, but I really admire your steadfastness.”
Shazia, aku juga belum bisa membayangkan bagaimana kamu bisa sekukuh itu menjaga keimananmu. Jilbabmu, jubahmu, betul-betul melindungi kemurnian jiwamu.

Shazia sekarang sudah pergi, Tangis haruku mengantar keberangkatannya pulang ke Pakistan. Satu keberhasilan baru kauraih seminggu yang lalu seusai ujian tesismu, dan kebahagiaan telah menantimu di penghujung dunia sana.

Langkahku masih panjang, sepanjang deretan nama-nama mahasiswa berprestasi di kampus SWT yang tertera di situs kampus. Diantara nama-nama itu, dibawah kolom Joan-Mitte Scholarship yang paling banyak menyediakan jumlah uang, terukir: Shazia Saleem, Biology Graduate Student. Oh, Shazia, kau tak pernah katakan itu, kau salah satu mahasiswa terbaik di kampus ini.

Mudah-mudahan akan lahir Shazia-Shazia baru, pejuang setia tanpa banyak kata. Perbuatanmu, tauladanmu terdengar lebih lantang.


San Marcos, Oct 7, 2003.

11 comments:

Delia said...

Kenapa Shazia dianggap feminis sejati? Aku bukan mempertanyakan pendapat bu Haji lho, tapi bertanya krn emang belum jelas.

Apa definisi feminisme? Orang seperti apa yg bisa dikategorikan feminis? Kalo ini udah dijelaskan, mungkin lebih mudah bagiku utk melihat ke-feminis-an Shazia.

Anyway, spt bu Haji, aku setuju pendapat Shazia: perempuan harus sekolah tinggi-tinggi selama keadaan memungkinkan. Pendidikan yang semakin tinggi akan membuka wawasan berpikir, sehingga kita bisa lebih intelek dan lebih bijak. Makanya, aku pusing mikir Mrs X di jurusan kita, pendidikan cuman S1 tapi ngerasa paling pinter, paling bijak, paling bener, paling muslimah, dll. Pusiiiiiiiiink.

inon said...

mam..i'm really proud of shazia,,,
and ilike your writing about her,,(jadi nangis mam,,,)
i,m really shame to my self,,i have nothing and don't become someone yet, but i have aiready seen my arrogance, it's true like a indonesia proverb,semakin matang padi semakin merunduk..
i have so many hopes, but i don't know that is really lillahita'allah or i just want to show off to every one,
klo mau bner2 jalan dijalan Allah itu emank sulit, krena bnyak bngt godaanya, tp mam tiwi uda nunjukin satu contoh bahwa ada orang yang bisa ngelakuin itu,,,(shazia), thanks million mam,, for yuor steam of unconciousness

kun_dini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kun_dini said...

That's a wonderful story, ma'am. i like very much (merinding).what a beautiful woman. I think what shazia reached and got is almost perfect dream for every women and also me. Maybe my opinion here is describe myself as a feminist. Honestly, I'm still feel a limitation for women action in this modern era, in Indonesia. I feel that by myself. when i decide to continue my study so far, my mother always warns me that I am a women then marriage is the priority in her opinion. So, when a read a story about shazia, I'm just wanna say that's my expectation, woman which success in education,religion and love... however I have many obsession, but I realize that the good job for woman is being a good wife and mother.

wike.novianti.ngeblog said...

I feel like this story is rather impossible but i believe that you say the truth...
What makes me feel impossible is there still be a woman who wants to get the highest education say yes to arrange marriage?
What she says about the benefit of high education for herself, her family in the future, or her surroundings is really touch my heart...
I never thought that would be a my destination when i went to university to took my bachelor degree...
At first, for me having a bachelor degree is just to have a better opportunity to get a job. But now, since i read about shazia i know i have to change my mind and my vision of life and future...
But for me, arrange married is something that riddiculous...
Lucky if you get someone who knows you very well and very kind of you so your marriage will happily ever after but what happen if he was very rude, harsh, and impudent?
Your life will like living in hell...
Her reason to accept the arrange married and how she having her relationship with her future husband again touch me, because i'm a person who sometimes feel that kind of reason is so silly but i know that reason is true (yeah, sounds like a naivè person)
And i like her statement that if i could translate in indonesia's proverb would be "kalau jodoh tak lari kemana"...
In conclusion, i hope someday i will be someone who walk in God's way forever...
Thank you...

adisi said...

how a wonderful story ma'am... this story makes me shame to my self. how a wonderful women...
in this modern era when the mindset of everybody is changes by the modernism there are still exist a woman that kept the rules of her religion and allowed it in her life..
she is a woman with a wonderful conception of life has a modernity but still keep her commitment to her religion..
I am nothing when i see the story of this woman. i am so shamed to myself..and doesn't think that i could be a woman as her in my life....


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wiwit said...

Dear mam...
Ireally enjoy reading your writing, all of them give us spirit and motivate us to be abetter person.
You are so lucky to have that great experiences..
Talking about feminism, I do agree that woman should have equal position as man, but in some cases I do doubt it. As a mother ( actually I've been being a mother since 1,5 years ago ) I have a big responsibility to look after my little daughter and as a wife I also responsible to serve my husband nicely, to handle " housework" greatly..
So sometimes I also agree with 3 Javanese words that a woman must be in " dapur-kasur-sumur ",, which is actually hard to do..
But, fortunstely I have family and great husband and now Shazia that always support me to continue my study, to get the S1 degree and to continue our mother Kartini's struggle to smarten our next generation, because a "mother" is the closest environment since a man were in mother's womb..
So that we a woman must have open mind, smart brain and good behaviour to educate our future generation as well..
Shazia inspires me to be a great woman..

Thank you,
Warm Regard

NoE_beLLe said...

Shazia's story really awesome. it really inspired me. your writing style describes how Shazia's struggle to keep her faith as truly moslem. she professes Islam all out. but still has high priority of education. I ever heard someone told me that never put education under your life's priority, because it will be differ you with uneducated women. a woman with high education, at least has wide view how to teach their children. she more knowledgeable to give best education also to their children.
try to change our mindset that women are not totally allowed to have high education,coz later or sooner they just housewife, but is it fair that being housewife isn't allowed has good education???
I don't think so,,,,
shazia,,,,,, ur story makes us to think twice about the stereotype!!!
Novita Rahmawati. 062154235

aph_nee said...

actually mam, when i read this story, i just thought that it's so impossible. but, i believe that this is your true story. why, this girl in this story is so perfect like one of thousands women in this modern era. how man can reach out of her if there is woman like her. i proud of her if she can keep her religion in her heart, but not just in her outside. now, i just hope all women can imitate her attitude who can keep her veil. because, i felt that i failed to keep it.

Sweet Mita Asmira said...

The story of Shazia seems a fairy tale in Moslem version like on the film, but fortunately it happens to u. how lucky you are to know such woman, practically I want to see the picture of Shazia, Mam...
she is a true feminist who struggle s for better education in the basic of Islam.
First time I decided to study in university, it never flashed on my mind that woman conducts better education for the sake of her role as a mother, but after contemplating Shazia's story, I agree that knowledge is not only beneficial for job, but also for family in future. I just think that I study just for money orientation, that is to get better job and I can equalize my husband to avoid woman inferiority then in my future family.

then, I just don't believe that Shazia does not keep in touch with her fiance. a marriage is a fate from Allah, but we must attempt to find our "jodoh". if we just be passive and take everything for granted, then we won't achieve our goal.

if I were Shazia, I would keep my contact with my fiance since Islam also educates us to do some effort to approach our willingness instead of praying as long as not breaking the borders of Islam.

Shazia is a wonderful women who is able to keeps her identity as a real Moslem in this tempting world.
I just wonder how strong her faithfulness over Islam.

Sweet Mita Asmira said...

The story of Shazia seems a fairy tale in Moslem version like on the film, but fortunately it happens to u. how lucky you are to know such woman, practically I want to see the picture of Shazia, Mam...
she is a true feminist who struggle s for better education in the basic of Islam.
First time I decided to study in university, it never flashed on my mind that woman conducts better education for the sake of her role as a mother, but after contemplating Shazia's story, I agree that knowledge is not only beneficial for job, but also for family in future. I just think that I study just for money orientation, that is to get better job and I can equalize my husband to avoid woman inferiority then in my future family.

then, I just don't believe that Shazia does not keep in touch with her fiance. a marriage is a fate from Allah, but we must attempt to find our "jodoh". if we just be passive and take everything for granted, then we won't achieve our goal.

if I were Shazia, I would keep my contact with my fiance since Islam also educates us to do some effort to approach our willingness instead of praying as long as not breaking the borders of Islam.

Shazia is a wonderful women who is able to keeps her identity as a real Moslem in this tempting world.
I just wonder how strong her faithfulness over Islam.