Opinion

Marilah samak!

JUNE 3 — “Assalamualaikum,” said the woman on the other line.

“Wa’alaikumsalam,” I replied.

“Boleh saya bercakap dengan Ustaz Zan Azlee?”

“Err… Zan Azlee bercakap.”

“Saya nak bertanya, saya baru sahaja membeli rumah. Perlukah saya samak lantai dan dinding rumah tersebut?”

I’m definitely not an ustaz (Islamic scholar) and I’m definitely not an expert on issues relating to samak. I had no clue as to why she called me asking for advice on cleaning her house.

Now, for the unacquainted, samak is the cleaning of your skin with mud or earth (to wash once with mud/earth mixed with water and rinse six times with clean water) after touching najis that is from pigs or dogs (when it is wet or it’s saliva). Najis is defined as something that is ritually unclean.

“Kenapa awak hendak samak rumah baru itu?” I asked, curious.

“Oh, saya beli rumah itu dari orang Cina,” she replied.

“Tapi orang Cina najis ke?”

“Tidak. Tapi kita tidak tahu kalau dia pernah bela anjing dalam rumah itu atau pun memasak babi dalam dapur.”

Oh, I see. But I was still wondering why she called me? I’m just a plain old journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker. Not a religious scholar or anything close to it. In fact, I’m sure many people I know would laugh if they found out that someone actually came to me to ask for religious or spiritual advice.

“Setahu saya, kalau kita yang tersentuh najis, kita perlu samak anggota kita yang tersentuh najis itu. Lantai, dinding dan sebagainya tidak perlu disamak. Kalau kita perlu samak segalanya, maknanya tanah, rumput dan udara yang disekeliling kita semua perlu disamak, kerana kita pun tidak tahu di mana anjing atau babi pernah lalu,” I explained to her with the best of my knowledge.

“Betul juga tu.”

“Cik. Boleh saya tanya? Kenapa cik telefon saya mengenai perkara ini?”

“Saya ternampak video yang Ustaz Zan buat tentang sabun samak. Saya pun ke laman web Ustaz untuk mendapatkan nombor telefon Ustaz.”

I had to bite my tongue from laughing. I didn’t know that by making a short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heYrM-Iq0VM about a soap approved by religious departments in Malaysia for the purpose of samak, I automatically became an expert on the issue, and also automatically promoted to the rank of ustaz.

“Jadi betullah saya tdak perlu samak satu rumah?” she asked to reconfirm.

“Cik. Sebenarnya saya ini bukan seorang ustaz. Saya cuma beritahu cik dari apa yang saya faham tentang samak sahaja,” I said.

“Ye lah. Tapi betul juga apa yang ustaz kata tadi, kan?”

“Terpulanglah kalau cik hendak percaya atau tidak. Mungkin lebih baik cik tanya orang yang lebih arif tentang hal ini.”

“Baiklah. Terima kasih banyak Ustaz. Assalamualaikum.”

“Waalaikumsalam.”

She hung up the phone and I kept my mobile phone in my pocket as I continued my dinner I was enjoying with my girlfriend and friends. I told them about the phone conversation. They laughed, of course, which was to be expected. Then after about 20 minutes, my mobile phone rang again and what appeared was another unfamiliar number. I picked it up.

“Assalamualaikum Ustaz Zan,” said the man on the other line.

“Waalaikumsalam,” I replied, more confident of my newfound rank this time.

“Saya nak tanya sedikit. Saya baru sembuh dari selsema babi…

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