Image credit here
"Kullu nafsin dhaiqatul Maut" (Every living thing shall taste death) - Holy Quran
It came as a surprise to me when I heard the news that the Sultan of Johor was dead. It came as an even bigger surprise to me that I cared... A lot.
Not that I broke down into tears or anything, but there was a feeling of genuine loss somewhere from deep within. For years and years, no matter which state in Malaysia I lived in, the Royal families were always the people we read about in the newspapers or saw on television. In Johor especially every Friday prayer ends with at least three whole minutes just reciting the du'a to ask for the health and prosperity of the Sultan and Royal family. However, no matter how I looked at it, they didn't seem 'real', or as detached from 'reality' as I saw it... Oh I had seen some royalty up close and personal but there was no real connection (as far as I was concerned).
However, throughout the years spent in UTM, I was given the opportunity on several occasions to meet and talk with Sultanah Zanariah (who in fact awarded my Masters degree to me) and Raja Zarith Sofia. It was through these two august personages that I was able to see the Royal family for what they really were - real people.
People that cared about other people.
People worthy of my respect.
People worthy of my love.
Upon realising this, I did not merely parrot the Lagu Bangsa Johor just because everyone else sang it, or said 'Amen' to the du'a just because the imam was reciting it.
I did them because I finally acknowledged that I had accepted them to be my sovereigns... heart and soul.
And so, upon hearing the passing of my sovereign, I tied a white ribbon around my songkok...
Not because I was afraid of any bullshit summons people were rumoured to have gotten...
But because I mourn the loss of my Sultan.