I remember watching “Quran Buruk” once on TV when I was a kid. Brows furrowing at the mother and daughter duo for their blatant disrespect for the holy month, eating and doing other sinful things while the father was always at the mosque, seeking forgiveness from God.
I remember my grandmother and aunties telling me to not be like them and I nodded profusely thinking “who would?” But, watching it again made me realise that the mother and daughter aren’t the only ones to blame for their horrible behaviour.
I’m going to give you a fair warning, this movie frustrates me. Like, a lot. From the characters’ behaviours to the random scenes, there’s just something about it. But then again, all movies in the early 2000s are something of an acquired taste. I will admit though, it’s not half as bad as the previous movies I’ve watched. So without much ado, let’s get into it.
Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead. Watch out and take care.
Baru Start Dah Masalah
The movie starts off with Imam Adam (played by the late M. Rajoli) riding a motorcycle back to his house in the middle of the night. He went into the kitchen for food but didn’t find any. So he decided to just opt for drinking plain water. While he was feeling sad for himself and staring into the distance, he heard a motorcycle outside his house, which turned out to be his daughter, Siti Khadijah (played by Fasha Sandha) and her boyfriend.
Siti Khadijah tried to tiptoe quietly to her room but was stopped by her father asking her where she went so late at night. She lied and said she went out jalan-jalan with all her girlfriends and hurriedly went inside her room before her dad could say anything else.
Imam Adam, after staring into the distance again for a few more minutes, went inside his bedroom to have a talk with his wife, Salwa (played by Wan Maimunah) about their child’s behaviour. His wife was asleep and was reluctant to wake up and have a conversation with him, mumbling “apa salahnya dia keluar dengan kawan-kawan? (What’s the harm in her going out with her friends?)” when she obviously knows who she was out with in the first place.
She’s always backing up her children in the face of her husband’s protests. I mean, cool. I wish my mum backed me up that much but the thing with Salwa is that she obviously knows her children are wrong, but instead of reprimanding them properly, she purposely adds fuel to their already messed up behaviours. My mum, on the other hand, would have taught me a lesson about being disobedient. So I didn’t really understand that part. Did she not see her kid’s wrongdoings?
The Kids Are (Not) Alright
Continuing on, yeah… I haven’t even started with Harun yet, the brother. It seems like this whole family is one hot mess. Harun came back near dawn and was reprimanded by Imam Adam for coming back home so late (or early). Imam Adam then proceeded to ask his son if it was true what the other villagers told him, that his son was seen eating during the day in Ramadhan and flirting with the village girls. Like his sister, Harun brushed his father’s worries aside, made up an excuse and said he was too tired to talk, then left for his room.
After every scene with his family member, Imam Adam was seen crying. Okay look, I sympathise with this man, alright? His whole family sucks but what in the world happened that it reached that point? He’s supposed to be an Imam, a person that’s sat on a high pedestal by the villagers, but he got stuck with a family full of munafiqs (disbelievers)? That sure is a heavy test to endure.
The scene cuts to the next day where we see Salwa and Siti Khadijah eating in the kitchen when Siti Khadijah suddenly ran to the sink to throw up. It’s implied that she’s pregnant and her mum didn’t even bat an eye. She just casually said, “oh later we’ll go to the town’s abolitionist.” Nice. Another thing I noticed was that Salwa also constantly insults her children by calling them “bodoh” like it’s a requirement in every sentence.
Watching this movie for the first time in years gives me a new perspective on it. Most of the time, it’s anger. Anger at the mother, at the kids and even the father. There are times when I wished Imam Adam would have raised his voice or at least teach his kids a lesson, you know? (I’m not an advocate for violence but I can let it slide for this one). Imam Adam, aren’t you Asian? Come on, just a little?
Too Little, Too Late
The whole story, although the scenes may have been exaggerated or filled with a little bit too much fog, weird angles and sad music, holds an important lesson. Just because you’re someone of faith and you dedicate yourself to God, you also shouldn’t forget and neglect your responsibilities as a father and husband.
Imam Adam was always seen at the mosque and would only get home to sleep. And he just constantly prays for the good of his family but doesn’t do much to help them out in the physical sense. He also judges the rest of his fellow villagers for not going to the mosque. I don’t know, maybe they pray at home. He should have just suggested that they come to pray when they have time. Not make backhanded remarks at their absence in the mosque.
One thing I realise from all these “religious” Malaysian dramas is that they always make the Pak Imam as someone who’s holier than thou and has no mistakes. But when you’re watching this drama closely, you can clearly see the mistakes he’s making. And him slowly realising it but doing nothing to mend his mistakes is a new approach. It adds a little bit of an interesting element, at least.
Rumour Has It…
A quarter into the movie, Harun got a village girl pregnant. But instead of taking it seriously, his mum made a joke and laughed it off, insisting that it was the village girl’s fault and that they were just accusing her son just to humiliate the Imam and his family. The village girl and her mother ran off in tears after being insulted and yelled at.
They were the ones who were wronged, weren’t they? Why should they run? Ugh.
After that, Imam Adam came home to ask about the same thing, whether his son indeed had gotten a girl pregnant. But Salwa had told him the same thing, that it was just fitnah (rumours). She then proceeded to go on a long monologue that actually hits pretty hard. She mentioned how her husband was never home and that he would always be at the mosque, and that his priorities were there with the villagers and not at home with his family.
A part of it mentioned “Kalau Abang sendiri tak lekat kat rumah, macam mana anak-anak pun nak lekat kat rumah? (If you can’t even stay home, how can you expect your kids to do the same?”) I may hate her, but she spoke the truth with this one. There should always be a balance in one’s faith and his family.
Imam Adam is seen having a crisis. He realises the errors of his ways but he can’t seem to stop them. And while he’s having a crisis, his wife is out with her friend’s husband, frolicking about in the village. I’m telling you, these old movies are such a delight to watch because they’re just so messy. Everyone’s like the devil incarnate, just different versions of it.
There’s another story in here about Salwa’s friend who knows of her relationship with her husband. But since she’s a timid, little old lady, she just lets it go. Which is another thing that frustrates me. Why get married to people who treat you like garbage?
Another Tragedy Strikes Imam Adam
In the next scene, we see Salwa and Siti Khadijah on their way to get an abortion. The scene scared me as a kid and it still scares me now as an adult. What lowkey shocked me was when Siti Khadijah said “Mak, lebih sakit dari dulu. (Mum, it hurts more than last time)” which implies this wasn’t her first rodeo.
And that she continued to have sex and get abortions on the regular. Girl, what? They don’t have condoms where you live? Why are you so dumb?
After that scene, we jump to one where Salwa’s friend finally told Imam Adam about his wife and her husband’s affair. And all Imam Adam cared about was what the villagers would say. Imam Adam, sir. With all due respect, get your priorities straight, please. You just got told that your wife is cheating on you and you want to think about other people?
Sir, if it was me, I’d already be at that guy’s house with the whole village to throw him out. Then I’d deal with my wife. But no, Imam Adam’s a calm man, so after the meeting, he went to investigate the problem himself.
When he was doing that, he didn’t just find out about his wife’s infidelity, but he found out that his son’s a serial womaniser and that his daughter has a secret boyfriend and is doing nasty things with him. Honestly, that girl just had an abortion. Why is she sleeping with her boyfriend again so soon?
And when Imam Adam confronted his wife about her cheating ways, she played the victim and cried about it saying that the villagers were just looking for a way to point fingers at her. This lady may be vile, but she’s a great actress.
No Happy Endings
Salwa and her lover were finally found while they were locked in action in a house together by Imam Adam and the lover’s wife. Salwa’s lover blamed his wife and attacked her, pushing her to the ground and beating her up while Salwa also had a turn in slapping her around.
All the while, Imam Adam was there and didn’t intervene in the beating. Instead, he just asked Salwa’s lover to stop. Which, obviously, didn’t stop anything. Use your hands, Imam Adam, damn. You’re just going to let abuse happen in front of your eyes? Your wife’s already long gone for that man. Focus on what’s in front of you before it gets worse. Which it did because the lover’s wife was now covered in bruises and bleeding and yet, Imam Adam did nothing.
There’s another 20 minutes of this movie, but I’ll get to the end of it for you. Everyone dies.
Imam Adam went to isolate himself in a small pondok (cottage) near the ocean and it got burnt down by Salwa and her lover with him inside (assuming he did die, because there was no body found).
Salwa and her lover, on the other hand, died getting struck by lightning (I don’t know, maybe that’s their punishment because it wasn’t even raining), Siti Khadijah died because of blood loss from her many abortions and Harun died in a motorcycle crash while he was on his way home from his baby mama’s house.
… Now What?
Okay, so the movie isn’t that horrible but it wasn’t enjoyable either. There are messages in there that definitely could be taken as tauladan (moral value). And it helps that the actors are really good at playing the roles they were assigned to. It’s an old classic, that’s for sure. Because as I was writing about it, I couldn’t find anything at all regarding the movie besides the actual movie itself.
But if you’d like to watch it, go on ahead. Be my guest. It wouldn’t exactly put you in a Raya mood, but it does make you think a lot about where your life is headed.
Alternatively, if you want something much more fun, dumb and easy, may we suggest another Malaysian Raya movie?