Islam: Fun Facts

I, for some strange reasons, thrive on trivia. Here are some interesting facts about Islam. Enjoy!!

  • The Majority of Muslims do not live in the middle East. The most populous muslim country is Indonesia, the 4th largest country in the world with 184 million muslims. There are more muslims in India than the combined population of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The following English words are borrowed from Arabic: Algebra, Zero, Cotton, Sofa, Rice, Candy, Safron, Balcony. And even 'alchohol' derives from Arabic : al-kuhl meaning powder. These are just a few mentioned here.
  • The first treatise on smallpox and measles was written by Abu Bakr alrazi (c.864-925,known to Europe as Rhazes). (Due to this) Inoculation agianst smallpox became a common practise in muslim lands. Despite this , Scientific text book credit the invention of a smallpox vaccine to Edward Jenner.(1749-1823).
  • Early Oxbridge students studied books written by muslims on mathematics, medicine, chemistry, optics and astronomy.
  • Adelard of Bath (a city in the UK) was a leading scholar of the middle ages. what made him famous was translating the word of muslim scientists from Arabic to Latin!
  • The 1860 city records of Cardiff (UK) show a masjid in operation in a converted building at 2 Glynrhondda St. Yemani sea men on their trips between Aden (in Yemen) and Cardiff founded this masjid.
  • The first purpose built masjid is claimed to be in Woking (South of England) with money provided by the ruler of Bhopal, in India (the Shah Jehan masjid was built in 1889).
  • The Islamic calender is based on the phases of the moon, with it being approximately 11 days shorter than the 365 days of the year in the Julien calender. Hence, the dates of our festivals move through the year.
  • The grand doors of our prophets (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) masjid in Medina weigh 2 and half tonnes each! Enormous quantities of "sag wood" was gathered from all over the world and shipped to the united kingdom to be dryed in computerised furnaces (the traditional drying process would have taken many years!). Even then , it took 5 months to dry the wood! the wood was then shipped to Barcelona (Spain), Where the main body of the doors where made. And finally the French even paid their little part, as the brass ornamentation was carried out in the city of Roi (France). Next time you visit the holy masjid, keep this entirely in mind!
  • It was only in 1932 the Kiswah (cloth of the Ka'bah) was wholly made by Saudis (citizens of Saudi Arabia).
  • The roof top of our Prophet's (SalAllahu alayhi wasalam) masjid in Madina is designed to be strong enough to carry addtional floors in the future.
  • Some verses in the Koran refer to man being equal to woman. Mathematically, the number of times the word "man" appears in the Koran is 24. The number of times the word "woman" appears in the Koran is also 24.

P. Ramlee.. The Musical - I Likeeee...

Ever since I watched my first musical - a “Sirih Bertepuk Pinang Menari” karya Sasterawan Noordin Hasan in the very early 90s - I decided that I like theatrical musicals.

Then when I was in London a few years later, I managed to catch the then immensely popular “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce at the West End and I was going like “WOW! Wow! Wow! Surely no Malaysian productions can ever match this” (The chopper scene alone blew my mind).

Which brings us to P. Ramlee The Musical. What can I say? I was there at the opening night and brought my family three days later. Dapat tengok dua kali, gua cakap lu! And of course, I enjoyed it. And I am so proud that we have our own musical production that can match the ones from West End or Broadway in every imaginable way. We have arrived! Yes. (clearly I didn't watch PGL.. The Musical, right?)

The Good!

The ensemble: The big ensemble cast did a great supporting job with good dancing and singing throughout. I especially like the three women-supporting cast who took on several different roles. Bravo to Ida Mariana, Maya Tan Abdullah and Izlyn Ramli.

Chedd Eddie Yusof: He’s everywhere too but as Sukardi, P. Ramlee’s best friend from kampung, he is pleasantly humorous.

Colin Kirton and Douglas Lim: The Shaw Brothers! Emtaq, emtaq!

The songs: The P. Ramlee songs are simply beautiful. The new songs… not bad..but love the opening number in Penang.

The props: Whoa... the locomotive and KTM gerabak alone were amazing.

Atilia: I am already a fan. As Junaidah the first wife, she's exquisite.

Melissa Saila: As Norizan the second dejected wife, she provided the most memorable performance. Her singing may be questionable (but then she’s no singer to begin with) but her acting..simply majestic.

Liza Hanim: I was never a fan but after listening to her singing live, I was bowled over. I seriously think that she sounded much much better than the singing Datuk. As Saloma, she’s simply delightful.

Sean Ghazi: Awesome. Enough said.

Atilia, Sean, Liza and Melissa. Terror.

Favourite moments:
Opening number in 1930’s Penang --- oooh very very happy (and I actually smiled masa ni).
The Penang-Singapore train ride --- ooooh my God!
Norizan-P.Ramlee break up scene – oooh very heartfelt (but really, was Norizan like this in real life)
The screening of Penarik Becha at the Rex Cinema – ooh clever!

P.Ramlee and Saloma courting scene – oooh priceless!
I’m so very very happy!
(Pix courtesy of MStar and www.jeffooi.com)