Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rejab, Is It?

I remember when I was in London – and previously in Pittsburgh – I wrote about my fear of jeopardizing my Islam and iman when I am back in this “Islamic state” called Malaysia. Seven months along and here I am, waking up every morning considering which western country I can move to in order to save myself and my unborn child from the horrendous non-Islamic behaviors of supposedly pious Muslims around me. Some may see it as an irony; some may see as me talking nonsense, but the more I surround myself with these Muslims with a holier-than-thou attitude, the less I see Islam in this country. When Islam first spread during Prophet Muhammad's time, it is the religion of the few -- Muslims were a minority. I believe that is why the great Prophet had so much respect for others in the community, and that is probably why I love being where Muslims are a minority because I feel a great connection to the religion and how it is meant to be understood in all its purity.

Since I was young, I always consider myself to be a relatively positive person. I try to see the good around me. It may be hard to believe since I seem to vent a lot on this blog, but it is better to do it this way than to personally rant to the people I find annoying. Whenever I face these annoying Muslims, I try to remind myself of a hadith where the Prophet said, “Whoever gives up an argument when he is in the right, a palace will be built for him in the middle (of Paradise).” I am not saying that I am right each time I find myself rolling my eyes at a claim made by a fellow Muslim, but at least I try to bite my tongue in hopes of something better. It is of course easier said than done, as I still find myself from time to time regretting the things I said to prove a point. After all, it is pointless arguing with those who are already set in their ways.

See, after seven months, I have come to a preliminary conclusion about the problem with the Malay-Muslim community around me (not the entire community, as I am against inaccurate generalization) is that we talk…a lot. And the saddest part is that we try to find justification in our nonsensical babbling. We call it a conversation filler so definitely it can’t be harmful. But we forget that as Muslims, our every action, however silly in our eyes, are judged by God – do we dare standing up in front of God on the Day of Judgement justifying our backbiting as part of an innocuous discussion of people? The more conversation I hear among the Malay-Muslims around me, the more I sympathize with them and the stronger my resolve to just get out of here. Since Malay-Muslims in this country have always had power by sheer number, we face a deficit where we think that we are always right. How can we be wrong; we are Muslims after all, adherents of the correct religion. If we are right, then the rest are definitely wrong. Therefore, everybody out there is, without doubt, determine to take on Muslims and see the downfall of Islam.

If a fellow Muslim does wrong, it is never his fault but caused by the environment around him as created by the Zionists and Christians. I scoffed at these ideas because I cannot comprehend how there are still people out there who believe Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and everyone else, wake up every morning thinking how best they can topple Islamic states and the Muslims living there. Sure, I am not denying that there are elements out there that have made themselves the enemy of Islam, but isn’t that what shaytan – the devil – promised he would do until the end of day? Regardless of whatever the non-Muslims might or might not be scheming, we are accountable for our own actions and repentance after succumbing to the devil’s wishes.

I have always reiterated that before we point our finger to others, maybe we should do more self-reflecting. Sure, maybe someone – dajjal perhaps – is plotting for the chaos that is to come before Qiyamah, but if we find our iman shaking and our ibadah lacking, maybe – just maybe – it has more to do with our relationship with God and not much with others. And maybe, if we find more Islamic countries getting into wars, maybe it has nothing to do with the Americans and the Zionists but because we have no respect for the lives of our own brothers and sisters in faith (whatever denomination they may belong to). And maybe, if we stop believing every single thing we read on Facebook (which by the way is 80% lies and rumors), we can start using this akal that we so proudly proclaim differentiates us from other species in the animal kingdom.

Stop blaming everyone around you (the government, Americans, Jews, etc) for everything that is wrong in your life. If they are not good enough excuses for the hereafter, they definitely make a lousy excuse in this life. If it is a situation you can change, make that change happen; but if you find yourself in a hopeless position, start praying more. Most importantly, stop blaming other people or events that are of no benefit to you or the ummah. If you are out of ideas on how to make the world a better place, maybe you should follow the Prophet’s path and be a man of few words and start pondering on ways to improve yourself without creating a void between us and them.

Malay-Muslims in this country has been so well-fed for so many decades that they feel entitled to have everything provided for them on a golden platter, and when that platter does not arrive, everybody else is apparently at fault. It is sad to see how they don't even try to make a better living. They complained that their meager salary is not enough to support a living. Have these people actually try living on their own to make such pathetic statements? Have they tried paying their own bills and have the discipline to cut unnecessary spending? On a bigger scale, they also complain that the global economy is sick because every Jew out there somehow wants to see Muslims begging for food. Have they tried befriending a Jew? Have the tried discussing with a Jew the sorry state of Muslims in the Middle East?

One of the things I love about the Prophet is that he always makes excuses for those who abused his rights, but when it involves the rights of others, he would be the first person to defend the victim. We Malay-Muslims on the other hand are the opposite; we would be the first to cause a commotion if we feel our rights are compromised, but when others are facing, say, a husband who kidnaps his children from his estranged wife of a different religion, somehow we don’t find anything wrong with that. Funny.

Finally, the reason why I think spending a lot of unnecessary hours talking as detrimental to the state of the ummah is because I don’t see any hikmah in them, even if we are “sharing” Islamic quotes. I understand that the intention is in the right place, but if you are serious in da’wah you will realize that dropping random Quranic quotes (i.e. talking for the sake of talking) is not the way. Have you ever heard the story of a person who read something on Facebook or Whatsapp and decided to start praying five times a day? I haven’t. But I have heard and read many stories of reverts who chose the path of Islam because they are impressed by the good manners shown by a Muslim acquaintance. That’s why they say the best da’wah is your manners, not sharing random posts on Facebook or Whatsapp. Personally, I find that to be true. The two people who I look up the most among my extended family members are a maternal uncle and a paternal aunt. They are both among the most pious people I have come across. How do I know this? I certainly am not aware of how many hours they spend praying at night or how many days they fast in a year, but I definitely know that they have the best manners I have ever witnessed. I have never heard my aunt gossip and whenever I had a discussion with my uncle it is always about sharing ideas. I also know that they are knowledgeable about the religion, but they never force them on others by posting random hadiths or ayahs online. And I try to emulate them every single day.


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