I shouldn’t have done it in the first place

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It was purely out of my curiosity towards a dried bamboo tree near the entrance of my faculty. So, on the way back from the lunch yesterday, I asked my lab members when we reached the entrance, “Are nani..?” (What is that?). So, we all approached the tree that has full of greetings written by Japanese students. One of my lab members explained “It’s a tree for Tanabata festival and everyone can write their wish to the spirit on the sky on a piece of colorful paper known as ‘tanzaku’..”. Then, we read some of them.

“I want to be a branch manager..”

“I want to eat tasty and delicious thing..”

and so on..

This is my first time I heard about Tanabata festival. It is a lunar calendar celebration only in early July/August. This is the old believe and probably nowadays it just become a culture so, I said to them “why don’t you write something..”

I know that my juniors (Kouhai) will soon seating for their entrance examination for graduate school and another M2 student will have a job interview next Monday so I teased them “write it down, maybe you can pass..”. I just want to make interaction in English and to let them talk.

One of B4 students then replied, “Ikhwan-san, you also can write your wish, please write..”. He then took a pen and the “tanzaku” to me. To appreciate his effort, I jotted down mine and it was just for fun, nothing more. Since our lab has been disconnected from Wi-Fi connection for two days due to server/modem problem and probably only our lab and next door were affected, I wrote down, “I want internet now (5th floor)”. Everyone was laughing, even though there was a slight of hope from me because I will have a presentation on Monday for my journal club and I actually need the internet to prepare my slides.  Then, we heading back to the lab as usual, took the elevator, changed our lab shoes and entered the lab and we saw our sensei (assistant professor) was holding a call talking to someone in front of her PC. Suddenly, she shouted, “ah, kimashita..” (it came) and she immediately told my colleague in Japanese to check their internet connection at their own PC. It was all connected. Everyone was clapping, celebrating and looking at me and one of them even said.. “Sugoi ne.. Tanabata-san” (Tanabata-san is great!).

I was stumbled and shocked (plus a little bit of smile because of their laugh). I felt that my effort to teach them that I am Muslim and I only submitted towards one god all this year, was useless. And deep down in my heart, I felt so guilty that I was associated Allah indirectly with an entity that is not even merely exist. In Islam, associating a partner with Allah is an unforgiven sin. It really struck my heart even though it was unintentional and just a playful act of me. Today, I woke up early for ‘sahur’ (before-dawn breakfast) for recommended 6-days fast in Syawal and I made my prayer. I beg to Allah to erase my sins. I am guilty in this matter and I know I just made them (non-muslim) astray further from Him instead of believing in Him.

This morning, I took my ‘tanzaku’ off from the tree and it was a big lesson for me that I should not play around with His almighty or else it can lead something worst than what you think. I should have mentioned yesterday that as a Muslim, I did not believe on a wish tree, spirits or whatsoever and only put my trust and hope towards Allah, one god but, I was careless. I learned it now that, I shouldn’t have done it in the first place. Astaghfirullah al azim (forgive me, My lord)..

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