Friday, January 1, 2010

Have A Little Faith

“But seeing [Pastor] Henry that day, being cheered by all those new faces, I believe, as the Reb once told me, that, with a little faith, people can fix things, and they truly can change, because at that moment, you could not believe otherwise.”

Reading Have a Little Faith, a book by Mitch Albom, is truly a gift. As a Muslim, I have always known that when there’s a little food on the table, it is because God does not wish for me to go hungry. If I have a little spare time, it has nothing to do with time management, but God’s wish. I could have chosen any book from Barnes & Noble, but I chose this book: a simple story of a Rabbi’s view of life as he approached death and a pastor’s rise from the lowest low. I am a Muslim. That does not stop me from appreciating stories of other faiths.

While reading about the Rabbi (or the Reb, as he is called in this book), I can’t help but smile here and there wherever I found similarities between the Reb’s view on life with mine. I was surprised that the things I appreciated most in life are the same as the Reb’s. Therefore it saddens me that whenever the word Jew, or Holocaust, or Hanukkah, is raised in the presence of Muslims, they would immediately think of the Palestinian cause and thus, stamped Jews with a bad rep. But if these people from the Abrahamic faith do some good, the ‘others’ would instantly think of an underlying motive, as if we are taught not to think otherwise.

If only everyone could just step back and see that there are many kinds of Jew as there are many types of Muslim. Not every Muslim observe whatever the Quran teaches us to, and not every Jew dreams of killing Muslims in their sleep. I was touched when reading the part where the Reb went to the north of Palestine, and found a children’s coloring book with a picture of an Arab family in it. Mitch Albom, the writer, asked him why he kept this picture of their supposed ‘enemy’. The Reb’s answer was simple: a family once lived. As it may be, not every Jew out there is a duplicate of the Reb, but if one person could take a firm stand, he could be the bigger voice that could change a generation.

Although this book was written by Albom about his journey on faith re-discovery, I re-discover mine too. Albom was honest in telling his story. He told of how he was taught since young about his ‘side’, and I can’t help but to ask “Isn’t the same happening back home?” If many are afraid that I’ll be brainwashed in the States for learning about the Holocaust, aren’t they being brainwashed too by our own clerics? And I don’t blame them, I understand. But fanaticism won’t bring about any good. Without a doubt, I believe in diplomacy.

Since Avatar has been the talk of town for a while now, let’s take a look there. To show that I have not forgotten my roots, the Na’vis in the movie reminded me of my own kind – people of my faith. To say that we are misunderstood is an understatement. It’s no longer about misunderstanding (as I have found out by learning from my educated, non-Muslim, Islamic Civilization classmates, who smirked where most of us would). More are aware of the difference between Shi’ites and Sunnis, and what the Sharia Law is about. But it is greed, ego, and thinking one’s race is better that is pulling the world (both this and the 2154 fiction of Pandora) apart. I am amazed that cinema-goers could sympathize with the Na’vis, but not with those living human beings, fighting to protect their homes and land, everyday.

“Have you ever known a man of faith? Did you run the other way? If so, stop running. Maybe sit for a minute. For a glass of ice water. For a plate of corn bread. You may find there is something beautiful to learn, and it doesn’t bite you and it doesn’t weaken you, it only proves a divine spark lies inside each of us, and that spark may one day save the world.”

-C-

4 comments:

Zaim Salimun said...

If only everyone could just step back and see that there are many kinds of Jew as there are many types of Muslim. Not every Muslim observe whatever the Quran teaches us to, and not every Jew dreams of killing Muslims in their sleep

-my favorite part

ChEsZa said...

thank u, zaim :)

Rassyid said...

i really want to read this book, but then i remember i have not finished my Prau yet! ;p

ChEsZa said...

AND, all the other school books we just bought :P