1. The first 2 lines above is the style of writing I have adopted for my blog. If you are a non-Muslim, let me kindly help translate to you on what they mean (They are in Arabic language):
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim means 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'
Assalamualaikum wbt is a prayer or greeting universally used by Muslims and it means 'May peace be unto you'
2. I am not sure if you can guess what I will talk about from the (hopefully) catchy title of this post but first and foremost, let me mention here that I will basically touch on the current local issues about religions and faith.
3. And this post is with regard to the inter-religious relationship and inter-religious interaction in Malaysia. By default, I am speaking as a Muslim and addressing this to especially all non-Muslims out there who deserve my due love and respect in the name of human obligation, so long as you don't fight me for my religion and you don't drive me out from my home just because I am a Muslim, which is precisely what Zionists are doing in Palestine right now.
4. Going back to the subject, 'major dilemma' refers to a difficult situation or problem where one has to make a choice and it is major because it is important and huge. Referring to Malaysia, the majority is the Malay people, who are almost always regarded as Muslims as well, though there are also Chinese Muslims, Indian Muslims, Ibanese Muslims and the list goes on.
|Chicken first? Egg first? What a dilemma..|
5. Taking them together as a phrase, the title above suggests that we Muslims especially the Malays who constitute the largest percentage of Malaysian population are continuously facing the question to balance between being tolerant to people of other religions and could it be to an extent that we compromise Islam as the sole truth (haq).
6. The paradox is obvious. Don't you think that history has narrated many stories of how minority (opposite of majority) groups have been severely oppressed and denied from their rights? Let me tell you now that the trend is somewhat shifting.
7. The majority are now being oppressed and denied rights despite the fact that they are the majority!
8. Let me get right straight to the point. Today and recently, there have been some noises on the ground about how Muslims are being intolerant towards non-Muslims just because they are following the true teaching of Islam.
9. The first, quite some time ago during Thaipusam festival, is a question on why Muslims shouldn't be allowed to join rituals of other religion in their places of worship.
10. Certain groups of people (some were not even Hindus) saw this as a disrespect towards the Hindus because they asserted that Muslims should appreciate unity and harmony more.
11. The first thing that came to my mind is simple: Is unity only limited to attending places of worship? Since when did any religion make it a compulsory requirement for its believers to perform their rituals by having others from different religions present at the same place? I mean, a must?
12. Or let me put it this way. Why don't we respect each other by understanding their religions based on what they are taught in their religions or scriptures? I don't think that in the teaching of Hinduism, absence of Muslims or other non-Hindus during Thaipusam will affect the rituals in any way.
13. Which means, no one would lose anything (from the perspective of religion). But if Muslims are present during the rituals, the shortcoming is on the part of Muslims, because Islam prohibits that.
Note: Islam allows mixing with non-Muslims and treat them well as fellow mankind, but not to an extent that we join the rituals, because it is like compromising the identity of our God, how is this simple reasoning difficult to understand?
14. Or still, if it's hard for you to comprehend, let me take a different circumstance. In Islam, annually we have Eidul Adha, when we slaughter cows to eat and distribute. If you put yourselves now in the place of a Muslim, do you think it is appropriate for us to feel bad or hurt just because our Hindu friends are not coming to join us slaughtering cows?
Note: In Hinduism cows are sacred. They don't eat cows, let alone slaughter them.
15. As a Muslim I am well informed that in fact it is forbidden for a Muslim to do that, precisely because otherwise we will hurt the Hindus. We shouldn't make noises and claim that Hindus are arrogant and intolerant because they don't want to slaughter cows with us! Do you not get that?
16. And that's precisely my point. In the context of Malaysia, these groups of people who claim to be minority in a multiracial and multireligious country of Malaysia are either over-demanding or ignorant about the sensitivities of other religions such as Islam.
17. In that way, you can see how the minority now 'rules' over the majority when they want Muslims for instance, to compromise Islam just to entertain them, even though there's no such a requirement in their religions.
|Who actually rules?|
18. Next. Today, (I found out) another religious issue is on the news. There will be a seminar entitled 'Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralisme serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?' or 'Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?'
19. Well, it is considered as highly inflammatory and sensitive to the non-Muslims or Christians, especially because of the word 'threat'.
20. My question is, are we expecting Muslims to have a seminar on why other religions are also true? Or a seminar on why Islam is not a true religion? Err, it doesn't make any sense right?
21. It's like asking the priests or fathers or pastors in church to say that Christianity is false just so that they can take care of the sensitivities of the Muslims? Another huh there don't you think?
22. Take it this way. Muslims are taught not to compromise Islam, that's all. By saying a threat, I as a Muslim believe that it has something to do with our faith i.e we have to protect it and don't ever let it be contaminated with other different concept of God.
23. What to me appear to be sensitive is when non-Muslims assume that the word 'threat' there means that we should kill non-Muslims or eliminate them from this world. But that's not true.
24. The word used is not even 'Christians' but 'Christianity' instead, which explicitly refers to the faith and belief, not the people.
25. In other words, don't you think that by preventing Muslims to learn about what is not Islamic i.e other religions, it will absolutely hurt the feelings of the Muslims?
26. Or is it ok to do that because the Muslims are majority? Now, the minority rules?
27. What do you feel if we Muslims prevent you from preaching your religions to your people? Which is not the case, because Malaysia, which is arguably an Islamic country follows what is taught in Islam i.e to allow non-Muslims to freely practice their faith! But does that mean Muslims now can't practice their faith? What a terrible double standard and discrimination don't you think?
28. All in all, I am not here to suggest that I am against non-Muslims. I hope and long for maturity and understanding. We should not fall prey to any extremists from any religion. About the seminar, I will only be against it if it involves some authoritative instruction from the government that non-Muslim teachers have to attend it.
29. Otherwise, the subject of the seminar is not at all inappropriate to Muslim audience, who live to practice their religion and have rights to know about other religions, which definitely not the same with Islam.
30. I also would like to kindly invite all of you non-Muslim brothers and sisters in case you are reading this, to be not only rational and not over-sensitive in making your judgment, but also to be thankful for you will not find any other great religion throughout the history that can rule a place where people of other religions can peacefully live together with them-except Islam.
31. If you are really sincere at what you are doing, you either come into Islam, or at least understand Islam. Do not fight us if we don't fight you for no reasons. We have our obligations to fulfill as a Muslim, and being good to non-Muslims is one of them, with certain conditions (some are mentioned below).
"Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes- from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly."
-The Quran (60:8)
32. I really hope that I manage to get the message across though I somehow feel that my explanation here is either too long and complicated, or too short and simplistic. However my intention is simple and pure;
33. that I want to live in a peaceful world, that everyone from different religions can live together WITHOUT A NEED TO COMPROMISE THEIR OWN RELIGION. But at the same time, I must say that it is a responsibility to invite others to my religion of Islam, without any form of compulsion, but by presentation of proof and truth instead.
34. Otherwise, if this hideous over-sensitive culture persists, then it won't be a surprise if one day Muslims are questioned why they perform prayer without inviting the non-Muslims to join them make prayers in masjid (and therefore Muslims promote discrimination).
35. But such a question is like asking why can't I feed my mouth with food when I close my lips tight?
36. Which is why the answer to the previous question is more than just short and simple: Be a Muslim first! ;-)