"You are welcome to the world of unity"

YB Dr Mujahid Yusof Ar-Rawa
(Konvensyen Nasional Kelab Penyokong PAS Ke-1, Klang, Selangor)

"ALlah menegaskan lagi " Hai manusia,sesungguhnya Kami (ALlah) menciptakan kamu dari seorang lelaki dan seorang perempuan dan menjadikan kamu berbangsa-bangsa danbersuku-suku supaya kamusalingkenal mengenal. Sesungguhnya orang yang paling mulia di antara kamu.." (30:22)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How Islam Liberated Me

4 September, 2010

A non Muslim LoyarBurokker’s journey in understanding Islam.

Dear friends, I am not a Muslim, however I feel compelled to share my experience in understanding Islam due to the recent furore over Teo Nie Ching’s visit to a surau, the backlash in Nga Kor Ming’s recitation of verses from the Al-Quran, and the decision to ban the usage of “Allah” in non Muslim publications not so long ago. All these have caused much tension between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in Malaysia.

A lot of misunderstanding is going on in the process of understanding each other. This is a most welcoming development actually, as it has never occurred before. People from both sides are actually interacting and trying to understand one another.

The recent outburst from fellow LoyarBurokker Syahredzan Johan, on the various issues affecting Islam in Malaysia and the many racial problems arising lately pushed me to revisit this piece. Being a non-Muslim in this country, Islam has affected me so deeply that it has become an integral part of my thinking faculty.

The person I am today is largely credited to the impact Islam has had on me; it has in many ways liberated me. Islam is affecting the lives of many non-Muslims around the world. From 9/11 till this very minute, Islam is rapidly influencing the way of life of many non-Muslims, Malaysians in particular. I wish the Muslim community could see that Islam is no longer exclusive to them.

I wrote this piece about a year ago, however I think it is still relevant considering the weather of our national politics.

Chinese quran

In the Name of Allah, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful

My journey in understanding Islam begun a long time ago. As a child, I had always been curious as to why the Malay kids kept insulting the Hindus in school, accusing them of being demon worshippers. I was angry that the kids ridiculed the Hindus and Buddhists by accusing their religions as the work of the devil, that only Muslims deserve heaven, and that all non Muslims were condemned to hell for eternity. This is what I first came to learn about Islam, that it is the only true religion, and all those that do not profess it are condemned to hell.

Years later I came to know that the Christians were pretty much the same, especially the protestants. The Catholics however had much love to share, and in 1998 the declaration by the Pope that heavens grace is not just limited to Christians but all those who do good drew me closer to Christianity (however that is for another day). The connection between Islam and Christianity were the first pillars of my personal iman. As time passed by, I comprehended the concept of the Only One God.

By this time I was beyond yakin that there was only one Al-Khaliq(The Creator), and I could see the works of Al-Musawwir(The Shaper of Beauty) in everything. I learned to appreciate Al-Mumin’s(Inspirer of Faith) greatness – to the extent that I am able to see the beauty of HIS destruction.

My fascination of Al-Azim(The Magnificent) grew immensely. Be mindful that at this point I had not read the Quran yet, and every time I spoke to a Muslim with regards to Islam, they only managed to push me away from Islam. Every claim they made about Islam had to put the non Muslims down. It made me feel dirty being a non Muslim. It made me feel that I do not deserve the love of Al-Wadud(The Loving One) just because I am not a Muslim. It made me feel as if Ar-Razzaq(The Provider) only cared for Muslims.

Somehow Al-Alim(The Knower of All) had much planned for me. I entered Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia where Arabic and Islamic studies became a part of the subjects that I had to pursue. From then on, understanding Islam liberated me from my narrow mind. I realised that there is so much more to life then the dogmatic acceptance of things. Islam has taught me to think, to read, to cherish, to appreciate, to respect, to guide, and to be free. Islam has taught me compassion, love, humility, justice, but beyond all Islam has liberated me.

During my second year in UKM, I had the chance to meet Ant, a convert who was previously a Christian. By Al-Majid(The Majestic One) I swear that this was the first person who spoke to me about Islam and made my heart feel peace and love. Every word that came out of Ant assured me of the majestic beauty of Islam. The description of Islam that came from Ant was nothing like those that came from all the other Muslims in my life. Ant drew to me the greatness of Islam under 15 minutes. It was flawless in every way, it was perfect in every way, he didn’t put anybody down, he drew the perfect Islam. Not one moment was his intention to convert or even to call on me to embrace Islam – he just wanted to explain the words of Al-Khabir(The All-Aware). Just like The Phrophet’s sabdha(Peace Be Unto Him) ballighu ‘anni walau ayah.

It was since then, that I realised how beautiful the commandments of Al-Muta’ali(The Supreme One) was, and how badly many Muslims have portrayed it, it hit me then how could hatred come in my heart when I heard all those people preaching the words of Al-Barr(The Benign, The Source of All-Goodness)? then I realised they were not preaching Islam, for they do not even know Islam. They were preaching arrogance, pride, and blind faith.

This I can say without one moment of fear, that Al-Muhsi (The Reckoner) is beyond religion, that the Quran belongs not to Muslims but to all of Mankind, it is for the benefit for all Muslims and non Muslims alike. It’s high time Muslims realise that Al-Hay(The Ever Lasting) is beyond Islam, that HE is present in the lives of every being, for HE is the lord of the Universe and beyond. Al-Wahid (The One) is as intimate with each and every being, Muslims and non Muslims alike. Al-Sammad (The Eternally Besought) regulates the life of all.

For this, no one will stop me from knowing Al-Khaliq(The Creator), no one will stop me from preaching the words of Al-Haqq(The Truth), and no one will stop me from uttering, writing, or declaring Allah Akbar, and no government will ban me from publishing the names of Al-Warrith(The Ultimate Inheritor). For those who ban the usage of “Allah” and recital of Al-Quran by non Muslims, I pray to Al-Tawwab(The Granter & Acceptor of Repentence) that your sins are forgiven and that your mind and soul is enlightened, that you will soon see that the magnitude of Dhul Jalal Wal Ikqram(Possessor of Majesty and Honour) is beyond Islam. May Ash-Shakur(The Appreciative) bless upon you the grace and strength to appreciate Al-Wassi(The All-Encompassing, The All-Embracing).

I hope that Muslims in our country will be more open in understanding that Islam plays a huge role in shaping the future of Malaysians, be it Muslims or non-Muslims. It has already influenced them in various ways, from moral, to dietary taboos, to what is good and bad, and to some extent even influenced the way they understand their own religion. Islam is now the connecting bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims, and I hope no bridge is burnt for political mileage.

Peace be upon you.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Racial Unity: Where We Fail

2 September, 2010

A consideration on where Malaysia and her citizens have failed when it comes to racial unity.

Photo by Adam Lee

Photo by Adam Lee

Malaysia Negara Masyarakat Majmuk?

The current call by our Prime Minister for 1Malaysia is facing hiccups from its management and not forgetting the public whom are looking at it as something new. It is obviously a hard boat to ride.

Though the media is widely used for the implementation of this idea, the light at the end of the tunnel does not seem to be visible. He who proposed this idea probably did not consult his office or at least forced them to agree. Seems like he doesn?t have the iron fist that Dr. M had.

Leaving that behind, I remember during the 90’s when I was in primary school, we used to read and hear people saying Malaysia Negara Masyarakat Majmuk. We used to be proud of it, somehow or rather our essays relating to Malaysia would always espouse that element. However, it has been years since I have heard that maxim from anyone.

Dr. M’s Islamic country

We failed when we refused to voice out our disagreement when Dr. M made a public statement that Malaysia is an “Islamic country” solely to gain Malay support for the election. I do not want to go further on all the other damages he has inflicted upon our country during his dictatorship.

Mr. Lim voiced out – but there was nothing much he could do. The Constitution says Islam is the main religion of the country and that we are free to profess our own religion. Never has it said that Malaysia is an Islamic country. These politicians use the name of religion and race to fulfill their agenda, and sadly it seems like we are blinded.

There is not one, but a series of mistakes we have been a part of since independence. We can’t change a person overnight, what more an entire nation. It has to be instilled from the very beginning.

Vernacular schools

Having single vernacular schools is where we failed in the first place. The British formulated this for us, in line with their main agenda of divide and rule. But we got together, fought and obtained our independence – these single vernacular schools should have been abolished then. But the BN government to their avail did not, simply because BN adopted the same method of divide and rule.

We have gotten so used to this lifestyle and refuse change. Some arguing that it is “our right to learn our mother tongue.” I respect those who have such love for their mother tongue. However, growing children spend more time in school compared to any other single place. So schools are an important place to start building unity.

Singapore although small, seems to have had a bigger vision. I was informed that it is a must for all students to take up their mother tongue as a compulsory subject there. Their education system can’t be denied as obviously better then ours.

Children should be allowed to mix with all races and religion – this should not be a matter choice but a must. To achieve this, single vernacular schools should be abolished and all schools should be National Schools. By growing up and studying in such an environment, these children grow up to eventually disregard the differences among them. They would understand each other’s culture well and learn to respect them as well. They would then grow up in a healthy race unity mindset.

This cannot be achieved by putting up advertisements and jingles in the radio. This cannot be achieved by giving speeches or by organising events and camps. Implementing National Schools will be a slow process but one that would yield positive results. What we need is proper education. Fight for that rather then dividing the future generations.

1 Malaysian Gimmick

This 1Malaysia campaign is a political gimmick that has failed. These dictators cannot be rid off without us being united first. Lets us not let our future generation suffer due to our fixed mindset. Realise the fact that we are being divided since the very beginning.

We don’t need race based parties to protect our rights. We don’t need single vernacular schools to safeguard our mother tongue or proper education. We areMasyarakat Majmuk Malaysia. All we need is Racial Unity and there would not be any May 13 incident, church arson incident, nor cow head incident… and most certainly no Perkasa!

LB: N.G. Vinod from Johor Bahru is an LLB Hons graduate from Multimedia University. The second out of three siblings, he received his early education in SRK Masai and Secondary education in SMK Dato Jaafar Johor Bahru. This fresh practicing lawyer is often described as “crazy” by his friends with his constant out of the norm comments and views – but it never stopped him from voicing them out. An immense interest in Political Science and Human Psychology made him a person who feels that changes are not possible without revolution, and a revolution is not possible without realisation.

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