Written in English

I don’t know what that Arabic means, I only took it from Pixabay lol

Every person interested in Islam most likely have known this: the very first revelation of Quran, the holy book of Islam is اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ – (Al-‘Alaq (96):1). In Bahasa Indonesia, it is translated into “Bacalah dengan (menyebut) nama Tuhanmu Yang menciptakan”, in English, it will be “Read in the name of your Lord who created”. Iqra, the transliteration of the first word “اقْرَأْ ” has a meaning as “baca” or “read” as in “reading the book”, “reading the comic”, etc.

That’s what I understand, until my English is getting better and I read the Quran English translation.

Based on Sahih International, the translation is:

Recite in the name of your Lord who created –

Recite. Not read. Which has a different scope of meaning. Read, as most of know, is “to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing”. Calmly, no sound. While recite has the sense that you read something aloud.

This is something for me. As someone who interested in language studies, it is very interesting. A change of scope of meaning that could change my perspective of reading Quran. Moreover, Muslims are taught that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was illiterate, so “the angel Jibril asked an illiterate man to read, and suddenly he can read” thingy made the Quran revelation story seems magical. (Well, there is a discussion about whether Prophet Muhammad was illiterate, but it is irrelevant now and I have no knowledge about that, so I’ll just leave it here).

So what is the real meaning of iqra “اقْرَأْ ” ?

Muslims was taught that Quran can’t be truly translated, since Arabic is an old language that has concise nature in its words. So the answer to my question lies in the knowledge of Arabic… so I googled it, and found this link that has interesting answers.

In summary, it turns out only Sahih International that translate “اقْرَأْ ” as recite. Most of the translators translate the word to read and one of them to proclaim. So what’s the context or the situation when the first revelation revealed? From the top answer in that link, based on Ibn Kathir’s tafsir..

The context indicates that the word Iqra in verse 96.1 is a command to the prophet (saw) to recite or read or proclaim. Its meaning may be to read and understand the meaning and then proclaiming/reciting it aloud to others. So the conclusion is the word Iqra in the said revelation seems to have a broad meaning (a command to the prophet) to read and then proclaim it to the people of Mecca (who were pagans) by reciting it aloud.

There is also another interesting answer that needs a basic knowledge of Arabic root word system. Turns out the word “اقْرَأْ ” has the same root as ” قُرُوءٍ” which means “menstrual periods”, which can be found in Quran 2:228. Wow, talk about blood clot! The “menstrual periods” word itself come from the real meaning “gathering the blessed blood in the womb and being thrown out” and over time, it has been used as the name of the periods that include women’s idle days and immediately after them.

Later, the word began to be used in the sense of “accumulating something, distributing it, transferring it to other places”. The word used in the sense “getting pregnant, carrying the baby in the womb, and giving birth to it” and “bringing together letters, words, sentences or information and transmitting it to someone else”. (Please go to this answer link for clearer explanation). This is also why it is used in the sense of “reading”, but the real “act of reading something” is “tilawa” in Arabic, which roughly translated as “reading a text that has already been written”.

So by using “iqra“, it means the revelation is a command for the prophet to accumulate something (knowledge/revelation) and then will distribute that knowledge, because he has the responsibility to teach people what he learned, either verbally or in writing.

Yeah! That’s the conclusion of what I have read. My comprehension of the word “اقْرَأْ ” gone deeper, started as only “read”, then “recite”, then has connection with “menstrual blood”, then the real meaning: accumulate something (knowledge/revelation) and then will distribute that knowledge. This is new to me. Hahaha.

This “revelation” also struck me hard. I love reading (but I am getting lazier these days), I love accumulating knowledge, but I realize never really distribute it other that in the format of tweet or social media post. So this blog post should be one of the first steps to “distribute” the knowledge that I had today.

See you later,


Another source:

  1. The meaning of “read” in Merriam-Webster
  2. The meaning of “recite” in Merriam-Webster
  3. The meaning of the root word “iqra”
  4. The meaning of the root word “tilawa”


The “My Name Is Red” as title already made me, a devout reader, hooked. Is it Red the Color of Anger? Is it someone named Red? Is “Red” a Turkish word with a whole different meaning that I don’t understand? Not only that, the author is a Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The story is also about Islam and its view about drawings and paintings. Last but not least, the starting chapter: I Am A Corpse, which is a chapter about a corpse telling us about his murder. Say whaatt? Yes, I will read you through and through, my darling.

Using metafiction here and there (a term I understand after seeking guide of the story, because it is not an easy read for me, which is basically a narrative techniques where (two of the example) the characters in the book realize that they are just characters or where “a story about a writer who creates a story”–you get the idea). Just like me will always reminding you that I am a reader, a confused one, after reading this story.

Why did I become confused? Mainly because I don’t really understand Turkish culture, especially Ottoman Turkish one. What is miniaturists? What’s the difference between miniaturists and painters and drawers? What is binder? Why everyone has Effendi as their last name? Who is the murderer of the corpse in the first chapter? Why Black (original: Kara)’s name is specially translated? Why the author loves to make lists?

So here is the list of the answers which hopefully will help the reader to understand the story. Well, it actually a list for myself, who, after doing some googling, became less confused than the beginning.

1. When I first heard the word “miniaturists”, I immediately think about the 3D miniature of some place. I was wrong. Miniature, especially in Ottoman era, is a form of art that made by several people in a team and really reject the idea of individualism aka artistic style. It is actually paintings on paper or golden leaf, and actually a highly-valued art at that time. Only Sultan and rich people can afford it. Miniatures sometimes is used to express a famous story, like Layla and Majnun or Husrev and Shirin. It is the main theme of the story, which intertwined with Islam’s idea about drawings and unfolds slowly as the story progress.

Nizami - Khusraw discovers Shirin bathing in a pool.jpg
Example of Ottoman miniature: “Nizami – Khusraw discovers Shirin bathing in a pool” by Nizami – page detail. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

2. Ottoman Turkey had their own naming system which is a bit different than what we usually know. Some of the recurring names are Effendi (more than 2 characters), Chelebi, Pasha, and Hoja. They are placed after the first name, like Black Effendi and Elegant Effendi (Elegant actually not a real name, it was just a nick name). Turns out that those names are actually titles and it is common at that time to refer at those words in place of family names. Effendi is like “Master” or “Lord”, Hoja is “teacher” or “adviser of Sultan” (Maybe like Haji in Indonesia?). Source.

3. The detective story about who murdered the corpse in the first chapter is also the main theme. The murderer himself allowed us to guess who he is by his choice of words (he has his own chapters). I failed, lol. But the author has an excellent way to disclose who the culprit is until the story is almost finished.

My Name Is Red is not an easy read for me. The words are relatively difficult so the dictionary is a must (for me). The cultural gap also make it worse. Sometimes I hate Shekure. I only wish that the author or the translator making some footnotes here and there to explain the culture.. Or maybe there is an illustrated edition?

However, it is a good read, like the site I am writing the review.

I actually finished it within a week–maybe about 4-5 days. Maybe because the English used is relatively easy. The story itself is quite spine-chilling, where six women are mutilated and buried in several places across Japan to create Azoth, the perfect woman. There are times when my hair raised and I am too scared to sleep while reading the story, lol.

The detectives in the story, Mitarai Kiyoshi and Ishioka Kazumi acted like Sherlock and Watson, respectively. The story is written from Ishioka’s perspective, where we observe eccentric Mitarai’s smart and peculiar behavior. I rarely read detective stories, and I almost forgot the details of Sherlock Holmes, but it is said that what make this story is different is that the author already put the clues in the story. He even encouraged us to solve the case before the detectives does.

The conclusion and the twist are really disturbing for me, but it just shows the reader that the author is quite genius. I am looking forward to read another cases.




I will not review the story, since I believe this book has going through deep exploration of facts from classic sources (hey, it is the best Prophet SAW biography according to National Seerat Conference!). So, here’s the thing I have learned from this book so far:

The family tree of Arabians is very messed up!!
Uncles married to nieces, man married to many women, whose child is he, and so on. It would be nice if there is a detailed family tree for Prophet SAW and his Companions (there is one family tree but only shows from Quraysh to Our Prophet SAW).

I forgot the names as soon as they are mentioned…
Because there are soooo many! Moreover, Arabians have these “kunya” traditions, which is a tradition to call someone based on the name of their children. In fact, it is honorific. Maybe it is like calling Daenerys “mother of dragons”. But, it also makes me confused………

Misleading history
For Indonesian children, it is taught that every women in Prophet’s life has “Siti”. Like Siti Khadijah, Siti Aminah, Siti Aisyah, Siti Fatimah.. But after living in this world for 20+ years, I just realized that it is a big lie! “Siti” is actually something Indonesians (or maybe Melayus.. There are still Siti Nurhaliza, you know) add for some unknown reasons. I have found some silly articles on the Internet made by Indonesians that claims Prophet SAW is from Indonesia because “Siti” is not an Arabic name!!! Crazy, right?? But several people told me that “Siti” is actually from “Sayyidati”, a honorific name like “Lady” in the West. Still, it is unforgivable for me to mislead many people like this.

Noble family
Prophet SAW is from noble family and also charismatic inside out. I don’t know why it is never mentioned in my Islamic lesson but also not surprised by that information. I mean, it is just make sense! No wonder he got many support (and also enemies) by the time of the Revelation of the Quran.

His birth was on many prophecies
He is already waited by many people at that time. And at the end of his life, the Prophet SAW made several sayings that can be considered prophecies, such as the end of the world and Islam condition after his death.

Losing information
Because I read this in English, I might have lost some information here and there. The English used are so advanced (for me) and the translations for the Revelation always use Shakespearian English (thee, thine, thou, etc). But at least I learned a lot new vocabularies!

Well, maybe that’s all. I still need to do some small “research” to confirm the history I have got from this book. Overall, anyone who is interested in Prophet Muhammad SAW’s life should read this very detailed book.



This very late post is about a project for Dea’s 22nd birthday on December 2013. Hahahaha. I know it is supeeeeeeeeeer late!! As usual, we discussed what to give for each other birthday and because Dea loves postcards, postcards it is! But of course, our postcards will not be ordinary. It will be from us, sent from Photoshopland from different places on Earth!

So each of us went to our dream places, took photos, and make a postcard out of it! These are our postcards, from the west to the east, started from Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Venice, Santorini, Moscow, Madinah, and Tokyo, we have come to Dea’s house to say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”.






karinAt first I am afraid that the project will be failed or something but it turns out really good! Someday we all visit those cities, okay?! And not only on Photoshopland hahahah.



This is Aragorn and Arwen Evenstar’s theme.

Sindarin version:
E môr henion i dhu:

Ely siriar, êl síla
Ai! Aníron Undómiel

Tiriel arad ‘ala môr
minnon i dhû-sad oltha
Ai! Aníron Edhelharn.


English translation:
From darkness I understand the night:

dreams flow, a star shines
Ah! I desire Evenstar

Having watched the day grow dark
I go into the night – a place to dream
Ah! I desire Elfstone.

The path to this Enya’s melody was unpredictable and contains more words that I can write right now. I could write until morning, but I don’t want to. Believe me, these new-founds startled me more than anyone.



Well, it has been two weeks since I started my so-called internship at Kompas Gramedia Bandung as a lame graphic designer. I have added one more task to do every morning: checking Kompas Klasika to see if my design is up or not. Yeah, the arrangement of advertisements depends on central office,and I am responsible of layouts of supplemental article. The example of articles are event reports, culinary things, discounts, and interviews with cool people. Latest interviews are with the student from my campus who won International Debate Championship or something. The other intern–the copywriter, Che–is the one who does the writings.

2014-01-24 23.11.45

Some of my works on Klasika Jabar Kompas. YEAH.

The most interesting part of the job is I can do it from home! As long as it does not cross the deadline, of course. Also, since Che must do her culinary and event reports alone, she asked me to come if she makes reports again (which means free food and entry lololololololol).

The bad part: the campus has started and I am still not finishing my proposal and now I am fangirling over a 37-year-old dude (Benadryl Cabbagepatch. MAN I LOVE HIS SHERLOCK!!). BYEEEEEEE.