Tuesday, September 20, 2011

without fear or favour

“Islam is the only religion that retains its weltanschauung; nonetheless I wouldn’t like to live in an islamic state.”

I remember having this conversation, feeling the awkward fusion of both defensive and combative. He was the only son to a wealthy Indian family, who read both medicine and law (locally and in the UK), and had almost be deserted by the family when he married a French alien. Surely his view, at least as Malaysian, mattered. He was no longer professing any belief. So it did not matter to me if his opinion on religion may be discounted by ungodly sentiment, I was not going to impose him my belief, and he wasn’t forcing me accept his independent view whatsoever.

Otherwise I would have lectured him the peaceful tenets of our religion, as the achievement of an Islamic state (perfectly. That state bordering India need not apply) would make him and other Malaysians happy contented citizens.

But the real problem rests within the scope of understanding the religion by Muslims themselves. Oft they see themselves as untouchables. And even more so the ones with religious knowledge will use it to back up things to condone sinful things. One must always see that every step they take has consequences. And Allah knows everything.

Besides, religiously, if you ask me, nowadays it can longer can be restricted in academic discussion but has more political effect. To his echoing statement, I remember looking at his wizened gaze and told him “I understand”.

Word of caution: I do not accept what he said, but I merely understand.
I understand his fear.
Fear of the unknown. Things that he had not understood. Things that he could see as a threat.

I remember walking down the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia as a university student, I was busy (attempting to) sketch moleskin's of buildings and snapping my life away with the camera on the loop. I didn’t realise I had entered into a discreet synagogue when suddenly a man wanted to snatch the camera away and had began to chase me , shouting, with several other men. Surely I can relate of not calling such place as home.

But if anyone, not asking the Rabbi, any reasonable man, had told me off, that it was a zoned-out aucshtung do not enter religious process is taking place, I wouldn’t have wandered far and will not fear for life. Heck, I didn’t even realise it was a synagogue in the first place!

Don’t think any real practicing Jew would want me to feel that way.
Vice versa, but how come they see a 20 year old female as a threat?

It all has to do with politics. How the worldview has shaped who is dangerous, what to fear, who to hate. I remember a friend of mine (Muslim Malaysian female) who studied at Harvard who had came unprepared for a Halloween party. She was donning the usual scarf and blouse and a backpack. So when she was asked who she might be for Halloween costume, she jokingly said “a suicide bomber”. Later she related the story to me, I was surprise not many could see it a joke.

This is not merely asking you or anyone else to sell your belief out to others just so we all can live happily ever after. You see, living happily ever after, is an ongoing process. When no compromise can be measured with so many differences, can we atleast acknowledge it and accept that the differences are what we are? But we shall not use our upperhand (who says we have it anyway?) to suppress it. It looks ugly.

Like how ugly France looks (at least to me lah)  when the Jumuah are banned from praying on the streets. Demographically, the influx of melting pots to France rests no wonder that Muslims community are quite large, but sadly, they are not respected. Their rights to profess and practice Islam beautifully and peacefully is denied. If you have Muslim French friends, ask them how they feel, and I’m sure they wished for a more acceptable authority.

Islam is a religion of peace.

Peaceful as it should be you could be rest assured that you can let guards down in the protection of Allah, when it comes with dealing with other beliefs. It is not by being forceful or overzealous or over righteousness can Islam be reflected beautifully on others, but through gentle, hikmah and wisdom.

Just like how the Prophet (sallahu alahi wasalam) did.


firdaus,  22 September 2011 at 14:26:00 GMT+8  

siapa eh the gentleman? anyone familiar?

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