Sunday, December 9, 2007


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Firman Allah SWT didalam Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 110 yang bermaksud.

Dan lakukanlah solat, dan berikanlah zakat, dan apa sahaja kebaikan yang kamu mendahulukan untuk jiwa kamu, kamu akan mendapatinya di sisi Allah. Sesungguhnya Allah melihat apa yang kamu buat ....Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 110

Establish worship, and pay the poor-due; and whatever of good ye send before (you) for your souls, ye will find it with Allah. Lo! Allah is Seer of what ye do....Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 110


In the previous write-ups, I have narrated the overview of my place of birth, my family back ground, economies of Kadayan / Kedayan people in my village and of course the most important skills that I have to acquire as a normal kampong boy of my time i.e. tapping rubber, swimming and diving.

In this part of my write-up, I would like to delve into other attributes that were considered as “must-have” and considered as the most important critical success factors amongst the Kadayan / Kedayan community in order to survive a harsh and challenging environment. Some of the skills were taught by our parents and the village elders as early as the age of 5years old. Depicted below are the most important attributes / skills to be acquired by Kadayan / Kedayan kids and youths of my time: -

1. Reciting of our holy Quran, praying and azan (calling for prayer)
2. Planting hill paddy; fruit trees, etc.
3. Climbing trees;
4. Small knowledge of medicinal herbs;
5. Self-defence (silat);
6. Trapping birds and small animals;
7. Catching fish, prawns and crabs (fresh and salt water);
8. Small knowledge on dos and don’ts while in the jungle and at sea;
9. Using and maintaining our most useful companion i.e. machete (parang);
10. Slaughtering of birds and small animals according to Islamic rite;
11. Knowledge on First Aid (usage of herbs to treat cuts, burns & other injuries, constipation, diarrhoea, tooth ace, common fever, snake bites, etc.);
12. What to do if lost in the jungle;
13. What to do if seeing things of paranormal in nature;
14. How to prepare / make wajit and kalupis.

Amongst other things, the Kadayan / Kedayan people are also well known for their “expertise” in traditional medicinal herbs. You can ask any Kadayan / Kedayan kids then, “What’s the cure for diarrhoea (bagah)?” or “How do you stop blood flowing out from small cuts?” I can bet you; every kids of my time know the answer. The herb used to treat the former is guava leave (daun biabas) or “timbaan” shoots (pucuk timbaan). The later is effectively treated by “kuduk-kuduk” leaves. Trust me, if you are caught in an emergency situation just like above, please do not hesitate to use the herbs to treat your case. Believe me, it works and has no side effects!!! Provided of course you know how to identify the plants, otherwise you will end up chewing other shoots and young leaves which may be toxic or even lethal. Just be careful.


In late 50s and early 60s most parents in our village began to realise, the importance of religious teachings and practices to be given to their children. That included my parents of course. As early as the age of 5, we were taught how to read and memorise by heart the Arabic alphabet and subsequently proceed to the next level, one after another as stated in the “alip-alip” or “muqadam”. Alip-alip amongst other, contains all the surah of the 30th juzu’ of the Holy Quran or commonly known as Juzu’ ‘Amma. Firstly every one of us must memorised surah Al-Fatihah, failure to do so will result in canning (kana hacut). Only later for instance, we started from Juzu 'amma with surah 114 (An-Naas) and then we gradually increase to surah 113 (Al-Falaq), 112 (Al-Ikhlas), 111 (Al-Masad), etc.

There were two very important aspects of reciting Al-Quran as taught by my late father i.e. ability to recite with the correct pronunciation (tajweed) and ability to memorise the surah in full. Only later did I realise that how important it was to be able to memorise the surah Al-Fatihah and other surah in Juzu’ ‘Amma, because I have to recite that during prayer. My late father taught me how to pray when I was six years of age. Learning how to pray without the basic knowledge of reciting Al-Quran was almost impossible. Every verse in our prayer is compulsory / mandatory to be recited in Al-Quran language i.e. Arabic.

The Quran teaching method adopted by our elders in my time has a significant setback. No doubt we were so fluent in reciting Al-Quran verses, but we were not taught the meaning and translation of the verses. That was the major setback. When I was in England, I met several Arabs from Sudan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia etc, where finally we became very good friends. They used to come to my apartment for lunch or dinner with their families to have a taste of Malaysian cuisine. My wife is a very good cook.

They used to ask me a lot of questions about Islam and our holy quran and how Islamic studies are taught in Malaysia. One day my friend from Iraq by the name of Ali Sabah-Nouri asked me to recite the verses from al-quran. So as usual I performed ablution (berwuduk) and I took the al-quran and recited part of surah Al-Baqarah. He was astonished to hear my way of reciting Al-Quran. Actually I am quite good in reciting Al-Quran in “taranum” style because one of my ustadzs who taught me how to recite Al-Quran in “taranum” way was Ust. Maarif, the former Qari representing Sabah in our National Musabaqah Al-Quran Championship in early 70s. I am also deeply indebted to a few ustadzs from Semenanjung like Ust. Sulaiman Ramlan, Ust. Jamaludin, Ust. Ishak and of course my Sabahan Ust. Maarif who had devoted their time to teach me in person how to recite Al-Quran in taranum style and good tajweed. May Allah SWT judge them accordingly for the good deeds they have done in spreading and propagating the words of Islam. I was so fortunate to be given a personal coaching by Ust. Maarif at that time due to the fact that I was chosen to perform Al-Quran recitation in front of hundreds may be thousands of people during district level Maulidur Rasul Celebration in Sipitang.

Brunswick Square, Hove, East Sussex - Old Victorian Apartments where my family used to live for 3 years while studying in England.

By the way, back to my story in England, my Arab friend Ali Sabah-Nouri was so amazed to hearing my recitation of Surah Al-Baqarah in taranum way. He told me he never heard anybody in his country reciting Al-Quran in the way I just did. You see, the Kadayan / Kedayan people are so special in many ways, even the Arab appreciated his way of reciting Al-Quran. But there is one BUT……when he asked me “Do you speak Arabic? That was one tough simple question to answer. I answered him “NO”. “But how come you are so fluent in reciting Al-Quran yet you don’t speak Arabic?” So I have difficult time explaining to him our Quran teaching methodology in Malaysia. As a matter of fact, I learned a little Arabic when I was studying in a religious school in Sipitang. Ust Sulaiman taught us Arabic Language subject. I still can speak a few words in Arabic and now I begin to watch ART Channel and Al-Jazeera Channel/Arabic to slowly learn the language. I would like to caution the readers that not all the programs in ART TV used standard Arabic language. Programs from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are spoken in standard Arabic but program from Lebanon especially the TOP 10 Chart and other entertainment programs are not in standard Arabic. It is Arabic but intense in Lebanese dialects and accents.

During my time, children with exceptionally good vocal were often asked to perform AZAN (call for prayer, spelled as ATHAN by Arabic speaking countries) in our surau, especially during Maghrib and Isya’ prayer time. I was so fortunate and very grateful to Allah SWT for conferring me with good vocal to recite Al-Quran and to perform azan (athan) during my childhood days. That was great many years ago, now as I grew older things had changed a lot especially the vocal, not for the better but for the worst.

To be continued…….
Badudun tah jua aah New article is availabe for your reading pleasure. Thanks.

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