Some of you who keep up with the Malaysian Muslimah blogging world would know that we lost one precious soul on Friday, dear Farah Syahirah (Shea) Rasol, after she lost the battle to urachal cancer. Innalillahiwainnalillahirojiun 😥
I don’t know Shea personally. I have never met her. Heck, I don’t think I have ever even left comments on her blog/IG. I knew that she was battling cancer only last week, and when I heard of her death, I stopped work momentarily and recited Surah Al Fatihah for her. I found myself breaking down. I haven’t thought about it much, but being a loyal reader of her blog since the very beginning, as she was one of the OG of Muslimah fashion blogging, I feel like… I dunno, words have a magical way of making you feel so very connected to someone you may not even know.
I started following her and her friends, the pioneers of Muslimah fashionistas hehe, way back when BlogSpot and blogging was THE thing to be involved with. This was maybe almost a decade ago. I remember because I was struggling with wearing the tudung full-time in Uni at the age of 19, at a time when it was not a common sight to see younger women wearing tudung, when it was definitely NOT cool to be the girl wearing tudung, when I remember feeling so alone and unsure, and constantly wondering what life would be like for me if I wasn’t wearing the tudung, if I took it off.
Reading Shea’s blogs, and blogs of her friends, with their tips and tricks on how to wear tudung, what materials from godknows which forsaken online place/shop on earth we can repurpose as a scarf because there weren’t as many tudung brands available as there are now, I was transitioning from square scarf to shawls cos hahaha I thought wearing shawls made me look more polished and professional (sangat! LOL).
Reading their blogs, and especially Shea’s, made me feel I wasn’t alone, made me feel I could do this, made me feel I can pull through and helped me to stop feeling so unsure or conscious; that I can enjoy fashion without compromising my faith. We are all doing this together, doing this at about the same stage in our lives (I remember she was still in uni then too). Through her words, I just felt so connected and she really did positively influence me.
I just never thought much about it. Until the Friday that she passed on to the Afterlife. She honestly was influential in helping me stay strong to my resolve of wearing the tudung, and I didn’t even realise it until now.
I remember one of her blog posts; the one where she reflected on how her friends were pretty, and she wasn’t pretty pretty. I am sure by now we all agree, with a heart as pure as hers, and style as good as hers, she is so beautiful and graceful please. But I knew what she meant; I can understand where she was coming from, because I am also one of those people who you won’t immediately say I am pretty haha. There are girls who are told they are pretty their whole lives, and then there’s us. Really, there is a difference. Still, knowing the kind of person she is, I realised, it really doesn’t matter if she’s not conventional pretty. I think, maybe, it was then that I learnt to see that a person’s heart and spirit affects a person’s outward appearance. I.e., if they were pretty on the outside, and absolutely vile and pathetic, I won’t see a pretty person. I just see someone sad.
I remember reading about this trip she took with two other friends to JB. I thought the activities they did and the photos they took were so cute; it actually inspired me to aim to bring my family on a holiday to JB too. Not kidding. I do not come from a well-to-do family, and tbh, we have never gone on a family holiday UNTIL that one time I managed to use my flexibenefit $$ from work to pay for a 3D2N trip to Melaka for 7 people in 2013. And I can only thank Shea for motivating me to do so haha. I think back then the era of travel blogging or travel hacks wasn’t as developed as it is now. And honestly, JB is NOT some place that would cross my mind for me to go on holiday. (TBH, also cos JB like not very safe at that time hehe). So I took out the map, and looked for the next best place and decided on Melaka! Sure, it is not like everyone else’s typical family holiday, but the memories captured from that trip is so precious to me, and I really want to thank Shea for igniting something in me to consider doing so for myself and my family.
I remember her post when she was talking about lost love. She talked about this guy who she had feelings for, but the guy said he didn’t feel the same way towards her. Back then, when I read that, I was so far away from having met Mr. I haha, and ya I have never had a boyfriend nor went on dates with any guy at all. I remember thinking, wow, what courage you need to have to even bring up the topic and then to be rejected blindly. I remember thinking, would I have the same level of courage as her, to do what she did, and then to blog about it? Maybe not.
Maybe there is a hikmah to her not having been married. Really, Allah swt knows and plans the best for us. I’m sure her family and friends are already hurting and mourning over her loss as she is truly a gem, I can’t imagine what a husband and child/ren would feel for her loss.
Urachal cancer is such a rare form of cancer, and its a part of the body that is neither here nor there, and Allah swt chose her to go through this test, and He chose her to return to Him on a blessed Friday in the holy month of Ramadhan. She is finally free from all the pains of this dunya, and may Allah swt grant her the highest of places in the Afterlife for all the good and positivity she has brought to our lives.