When I was young, I used to listen to Engelbert Humperdinck's song, "Love is in the air" over the radio (if I'm not mistaken, it was him... or was it Tom Jones? Well, after all, it has been so long!) . What I'm going to write today is not about that song but on Malay (and Indonesian) love novels written lately.
Well, I guess, after the runaway success of THE novel written by Habiburrahman El Shirazy, titled "Ayat-ayat Cinta", all the other writers followed suit. Now, if you are in Dungun and you pay a visit to one of my favorite bookstores, Pustaka Seri Intan for example, there are an influx of "Cinta" books!
Now you have, among others, Muhammad Muhyidin's "Kasidah-qasidah Cinta"; Taufiqurrahman al Azizy's "Shahadat Cinta"; Anam Khoirul Anam's " Zikir-zikir Cinta"; Ramlee Awang Murshid's trilogy, "Bagaikan Puteri", "Cinta Sang Ratu" and "Hijab Sang Pencinta"; and also not to forget Ilham Hamdani's "Hidayah Cinta". If Habiburrahman El Shirazy wrote his novel revolving around Egypt and Indonesia, then Ilham Hamdani cleverly used Japan/Australia and Malaysia! By the way, it so happened that Habiburrahman was educated in Egypt while Ilham studied in (above all places) Japan!
Hmmm... That gave me an idea to write MY love story based on my student life in the USA... heh heh heh... When I mentioned this to my friend Zuraini Mat Issa, she gleefully said she will write her love novel based in the UK! So, after this, we can sort of expect an influx of love novels based in Monggolia, Africa, Europe or some other exotic places on earth ... hik hik hik...
One thing I am happy about these novels is that they all share one common thing: labelled as "novel pembangun jiwa", these novels are novels which I am not ashamed of and which I'd gladly buy for my children to read. Some how, honestly speaking, I think these writers have one common hidden purpose: to guide youngsters and the readers in general on how to love and to live their lives according to the sunnah of Ar Rasul saw (without appearing to preach too much...and that reminds me of errrr...heh heh heh...Madonna's song: "Papa don't preach"). If one reads these novels carefully, I think, one will come to the conclusion that come what may, the head that bows (or the one who kneels) to Allah, can stand up to anything! In Ramlee Awang Murshid's trilogy, the hero, Saifuddin Jalis is certainly every woman's dream. In fact, after reading "Ayat-ayat Cinta", if you are a mother like me, you'd wish to make the author your very own son-in-law! (Oooppps! By the way, it's only wishful thinking... just in case Habiburrahman's wife is saddened by my statement, my two daughters are not even 'baligh' (reached puberty) yet!).
Last week (when it comes to buying books, then I am the Sultan Of Brunei!!! I seldom hesitate to part with my money whenever I get hold of any interesting books) I bought another one more of Habiburrahman El Shirazy's string of novels titled "Dalam Mihrab Cinta". A recommended book indeed. I can only pray that Allah will some day bless me with some of Habiburrahman's creative writing ability, then surely I'll be among the happiest person on earth! One thing for sure, to be able to write like Habiburrahman, Ilham Hamdani or Ramlee Awang Murshid, one definitely has to read a lot first!