The Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, today shared her fond memories as a Muslim while living within the Christian community during her teenage years in regard to Christmas celebration tomorrow.
She said the fond memories about Christmases always kept coming back to her every time she went to England nowadays.
“The memories have little to do with the Christian religion but more with friendships forged with English girls who welcomed me without questioning my race or faith.
“I also remember being in charge of decorating the Christmas tree in our boarding house not because our housemistress wanted me to stray away from my Muslim faith but because she considered me as one of the more artistic and creative girls under her care,” she said in the official website of the Royal Johor family in Johor Bahru today.
Raja Zarith also described how she kept her tasbih under the pillow, and the Quran she owned, which were both constant reminders of home and her faith.
The Permaisuri of Johor said she managed to meet with her three English friends at a Malaysian restaurant in England recently, where she gave them Christmas cards and a little gift.
“We hugged each other and promised to meet again.
“Once I was home, and as their messages ping-pinged on my phone, I had a huge smile on my face as I put on my telekung and performed my Isyak prayers,” said Raja Zarith.
She also thanked Allah for granting her unforgettable moments of happiness; for friendships that have lasted for decades; and for all the other countless blessings with which He has showered upon her family.
“And during the last couple of nights, I looked up at the full moon and as always, I was filled with awe at the beauty of His creations. Had I forgotten about Allah and being a Muslim because I was in London during the days before Christmas? The answer is a simple 'No'.
“As I walked along the streets of London thronged with shoppers buying Christmas gifts for their families, or tourists like me who were enjoying the cold weather and looking at London landmarks, I thought how wonderful it was for everyone to share in looking at beautiful lights and hearing melodious Christmas songs being sung by choirs almost at every corner we turned,” she said.
Raja Zarith also pointed out that everyone had a right to celebrate their festive holidays.
“Before I return home, I shall be one of the many frantic mothers looking for gifts and home decorations. Is it because I am celebrating Christmas Day? No. It’s because my second son was born on Dec 25. And every birthday deserves a celebration, don’t you agree?
“Tuanku Sultan Johor, my family and I would like to wish everyone celebrating Christmas a happy and memorable time with their families and friends, and to all Malaysians, peace and unity,” she said.