Of Islam, Churches, and Temples

Shouldn’t we, Muslims, ask ourselves whether we are – to a certain, if not large, extent – not to blame for the ridicule that has befallen our great way of life known as Islam? Are we blind or too much blinkered by what we believe to be the ways of Islam so much so that we are unable to see the signs before us? Or is it a fact that we just could not care less?

Many of us Muslims nowadays have become uptight about Islam. To make matters worse, in our country, Islam is tied up to our race (by a Constitutional provision no less!), our Malay-ness, so to speak. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Islam and Malay-ness are almost interchangeable. Say something which could be remotely perceived as against Islam, and you would be challenging not only Islam, but the whole Malay race and vice-versa.

These people declare that they are the defenders of Islam. The Caliphs. Defenders of the faith. As if Islam is not so great without them. As if God would retreat into oblivion without their help and undying assistance.

In the name of Islam they would do things and some times in doing so, they smear the good name of Islam. They reduce God into a creature of hate, prejudice, and intolerance. Why? Just look at the picture.


(I am sorry for the language. But I have to publish it verbatim to make my point.)

These people were apparently angry with DAP for insulting Islam (or what they perceived as DAP insulting Islam). So these very good Muslims spent some money on banners and gathered to show their displeasure. All in the name of Allah and Islam of course. Very Islamic indeed.

On Friday, August 28, 2009 right after Friday prayers, it is now well known to the whole civilised world that a group of people gathered in front of a mosque. They then carried a severed head of a cow – complete with blood and all – and walked all the way to the State Secretariat building. Apparently, they were protesting against the Government’s plan to relocate a Hindu temple to their area, which according to them is a Muslim dominated area. That was the apparent reason. The real reason or motivation we will never know, of course.

The who’s who of that group promised bloodshed if that plan is not changed. He said that the temple would disturb them and the noises from the temple would disturb their prayers, etc. They then stomped and spat on the cow head.

All in the name of Islam. In the name of Allah the Almighty, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Allah the Provider and the Giver. Isn’t Islam great? Isn’t Islam so wonderful that it has defenders ever ready to defend itself?

I have just one question to them. If all of you are so pious and God fearing, how is it that some noises from a temple could disturb you and your prayers?

And what’s with the cow head? You spat on it. You stomped on it. What was the whole purpose? To revile and mock another faith? Well, don’t I have news for all of you.

God – and this our God, not any other God – says:

And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds. (Translation by Shakir)

Our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – was sent as a mercy to the whole world. Not just to Muslims, to me or to you but to the whole world.

And Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – in his last sermon said:

People, hear that your Lord is One, and that your father is one. You must know that no Arab has superiority over a non-Arab, no non-Arab has superiority over an Arab, or a red man over a black man, or a black man over a red, except in terms of what each person has of piety. Have I delivered the message?

Yes, all human beings are the same, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, Arab or non-Arab, Malay or Indian, section 23 residents or Kampung Buah Pala dwellers. The Prophet said so. And as if to ensure that his followers had understood what he had just said, he ended that message by asking, “have I delivered the message?”

Quite obviously, to some so called defenders of the faith – whose faith may be easily disturbed by some noises from some temples – the message has not been so clearly delivered.

And what about this:

Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did. (Translation by Yusuf Ali).

(Isn’t it an irony of sorts that the above verse is from Surah Al-An’aam, which means “the Cattle”?).

Did you all read the Quran? God prohibits us, Muslims, from reviling others who do not believe in Allah. Lest they would, out of spite, revile Allah. And what were you doing with the cow head? If that was not reviling the Hindus, I do not know what is.

In fact, in all His wisdom, God had seen it fit even to defend some churches, monasteries and synagogues:

They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). (translation by Yususf Ali).

God creates all of us human beings. Of different colours and races. And also religions. Had He wanted all of us to be His followers, He could have.

If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (translation by Yusuf Ali).

That is His way. Because as oft-said, there is no compulsion in Islam.

And what will be the punishment for all of you who marched last Friday, spat, and stomped on the cow head, all in the name of our faith, Islam, and our God, Allah? God bless you all. Because this is what the Prophet – whom I believe is also your Prophet – said:

Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment. (by Abu Dawud)

Yes, you will get some personal attention from the Prophet himself on the day of judgment. Congratulations guys.

It is interesting to note what Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi said about these kind of people. Strange. Because while he was saying the following, he could have been talking about those people who were involved in that despicable act last Friday. This is what he said:

A clear separating line should be drawn here between the teachings of Islam, which prohibit attacking non-Muslim places of worship, and the acts of some Muslims who possess a narrow-minded view of Islam.

Those people harm Islam and Muslims with their wrong behavior; as the threat they pose to Islam is much more than that of the enemies of Islam.

Along the same line, a traditional Arabic proverb reads, “A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.”

The fanaticism we see in some certain people is often due to reasons that have nothing to do with religion, even if it takes the form of religion. In fact, its reasons may turn out to be social, economic, or political after thorough study. That is why we see it appearing in certain areas and not others; as some social circumstances and inherited traditions sow the seed of fanaticism and help it grow. Therefore, it is unfair to accuse religion of being responsible for such fanatic acts.

To top it all up, that this wholly seditious and unIslamic act was done just after they performed the Friday prayer and in the holy month of Ramadhan is an irony not missed by all Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Well done.

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Posted on 1 September 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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