Ahh, tengok tu Timah, sejuk hati aku tengok bebudak tahfiz ni. Kan bagus kalau anak aku pun hafiz, mana tahu boleh selamatkan aku dari api neraka. Yelah Timah, kiter ni tak tentu lagi masuk syurga, ye tak?
Don't laugh. I used to be a tahfiz student for two years and had memorized 8 juzuk of the Quran. It was one of the most unforgettable life experience of mine, a piece of timeline I cherish secretly.
I was 11 when I stepped into IQKL in Taman Tun. Prior to my parents' divorce, I was sent there so I won't experience the debris of a failing marriage. I was greeted by a smiling Kelantanese ustaz and was lead into a typical bedroom with 10 stacked mattresses and a cupboard with 10 square slots. Here I am, a pampered first child who always had his room for himself and I had to share a room similar to mine with 9 others! My first tahfiz experience was having my head shaved! I haven't had my head shaved since I was an infant and the sensation of being botak is surreal! So very real! It is suffice to say that all my experiences there ends with exclaimation marks. Dum dum...
Baths were taken outside in the open where a big children swimming pool size kolah was constructed. We will usually wear a kain kemban/pelikat to take our bath. I remembered clearly during my first bath, I was fully clothed, much to the amusement of the Ustazs. I was then taught how to eat properly. We ate in dulang, with 4 students per dulang. So whoever dapat makan dengan Johan (the Jordan fat kid) will have to have eat quickly as he is capable of finishing the whole dulang in a few minutes. No entree. No dessert. Just plain water to wash down the clogged nasi campur (tulah makan cepat sangat) (nak buat macam mana, Afiq makan dengan Johan!)
Recitations of the Quran were done everyday. The hafazan session will start at night from Isyak to 11 and by the end of every night all 90 of us will shout:
"Who's the Best? We are!" three times. We will then sing Asma ulhusna and a heartwreanching Arabic song (it sounded so sad eventhough I didn't understood it that much) and a word or two from the head ustaz. (it usually about skin infection epidemies or our very dirty laundry)
The next recitation starts after Subuh where all of us have to present our memorized ayat to the ustaz. Torture. Many were rottaned without mercy. The ustaz didn't hit us on our hands or legs or buttocks systematically (salah=rotan) but it was done instinctively. Bila ustaz raser nak hantam dier hantam lah, biler dier pukul sikit nasibla. The sound of the three feet rotan with rubber band covered tip onto our spread of jubah is like when my neighbour hit his carpet with his badminton racket. I was spared from the massacre of course. My skin is too fair and effects of beating would be visible, that is what the ustaz told me. I knew later that the real reason I was spared was because they were scared of my father who was a policeman in Bukit Aman.
After breakfast, we would have to recite a whole juzuk again and again sampai pening and after zuhur, another 3 hour recitation. And then, freedom! Gasing. Main selipar. Yoyo. Male version of Zero Point. Football. Badminton. Perang perang. Amar chasing me with a parang. I hid in the toilet. (I accidentally struck a gasing onto his eyes, berdarah!)
And during weekends we will EXPLORE. We would go hiking at Sungai Pencala to re-examine traces of the Al-Aqram HQ and sometimes get ourselves brainfreeze after an hour walk to Seven Eleven. And occasionally, we were escorted to One Utama, only to sit at a corner of a coffee shop and watch scantily dressed mallgoers strutting their boobs and ass. Pure Bliss. We were young, holy and very horny.
It was when I was in Tahfiz that I learned about the concept of Sex, thanks to Anwar Ibrahim. "Liwat tu ape?" I asked a much older hafiz. "Liwat tu laki jolok bontot laki." he answered without any sense of discretion. "Jolok ngan ape?" He opened his pants. I was shocked to see a gigantic 11th finger with curly hair all over it. Nightmares for weeks, I tell you. My curiosity for sex crusade began to flourish but I did not fully understand the concept of sexual relationship just yet. Just feelings one gets when aroused. Well the Islamic institution didn't help. I had caught some of my seniors group masturbating late at night, saw my sleeping neighbour fondling his sleeping neighbour and sometimes I caught a few glimpse of my ustaz teasing and molesting his students in his room through a dusty window. But never liwat. Liwat kan Haram.
As Hafizs, we were priviledged in the sense that we get free exclusive dinners sponsored by the rich and famous and free tour to recreational outings. We were like merchants of peace, travelling in two busses. Lolling heads with multi-coloured serban for the world to see. We wore white jubah most of the time which was a bit uncomfortable because when you get a boner, semua orang boleh nampak. A no-no would be getting a boner when praying subuh in the mosque. It'll be like a well-kaffaned rodent rising from the dead. (I WAS only 11)
Then it happened. I was beatened into a pulp. After two years of mutual understanding with the ustazs (you hit me-I tell bapak-you go to jail) the ustaz thought that I deserved to be beaten like everybody else. That was it. I told my mother that the holidays were coming, packed my belongings and dissapeared from the institute, without notice.