Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another view of the Allah issue

 

Turning the other cheek on the 'Allah' issue

COMMENT I have followed the ‘Allah’ issue very closely and carefully these many months ever since it erupted after the court’s verdict. I have  carefully read the news on this issue as an academic, as a Muslim and as a Malaysian citizen.

I have played various endgame scenarios of this issue and all of them have bad endings for one group, both groups and most importantly the loss of our values in the Rukunegara.

To my mind there is only one course of action that has an acceptable endgame scenario. I must ask my Christian brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, for the sake of the safety of our children and the sacred values of our nation’s Rukunegara, that I must plead the Christians use the most powerful weapon that they have; turning the other cheek.

I will explain why I have come to this conclusion and the answer surprisingly lies in the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself at the Treaty of Hudaybya.

I could also quote the examples of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi in their peaceful civil resistance but I think the Prophet Muhammad himself showed that he himself would ‘turn the other cheek’ for a more fruitful and non-egotistical stand.

As I am not a Bible academic, there may be problems and issues with my interpretation of the phrase ‘turning the other cheek’. With due respect to the Bible scholars, please allow me the academic and philosophic leeway to outline my ideas and concept of this phrase.

To me, the phrase ‘turning the other cheek’ is the ability of a person to rise above an egotistical stand as well as the ability to have a higher consciousness in looking at a bigger picture than that of the ‘enemy’ or the other party.

The other party may think that it has won because one party has decided to ‘cave in’ to its demands. But in reality that party who thought it has won in actual fact has suffered a terrible moral defeat and in time will crumble to the ground. If one does not believe in Divine Providence, then one just have to look at many historical examples of the ‘meek inheriting the earth’. The ‘meek’ in this case is the stronger of the two.

As one saying goes ‘ the greatest warrior is the one who can conquer his own Self’. After a hard fought battle, the Prophet also said that ‘we have come from one jihad to another that is greater than it’; the jihad in subjugating the ego-self.

Events of the Hudayba Treaty

Before outlining my strategy for my Christian brethren, allow me to summarise the historical events of the Hudaybya Treaty by the Prophet Muhammad. When the Prophet Muhammad and his followers were persecuted mercilessly in Mecca, he gave the order for his followers to emigrate to Medinah after securing the Pledge of Akaba with the Ansar people. The Ansar had promised to give protection to the Prophet and the emigrants.

The Muslims then left all that they owned - houses, land, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and all their worldly possession in order to have the promise of worshipping the one God, Allah with the Prophet. After many years of success in Medinah, the Prophet yearned to return to Mecca for the pilgrimage as decreed by God in the five pillars of Islam.

So he gathered the Muslims, donned the ihram, took no weapons at all and bravely crossed the deserts on foot and with camels for weeks until they reached the outskirt of Mecca.

When the Quraysh, who had persecuted the Prophet, heard of the advance of the Muslims, they sent out a man to negotiate with him. The Quraysh did not want the Prophet to return for that would shame them and acknowledged his religion and strength.

At the same time the Quraysh were wary of attacking an unarmed group bent on a religious quest. Furthermore all of the Muslims were family members and this would tear the social fabric of Mecca apart. The Quraysh spokesperson met the Prophet and demanded several conditions.

The first was that the Prophet cannot enter Mecca that year but the following year for three nights only. Secondly any Meccans who left to embrace the new religion and went to Medinah or with him must be returned, but those leaving Medinah should be allowed to return to Mecca. These two conditions were very painful to the Muslims. Had they not crossed the deserts for weeks to pray at the Kaabah and meet their family members once again after many many years?

And why must they agree to the unfair second condition which shows no advantage to the Muslims at all? To make matters worse, a man by the name of Abu Jandal had escaped the Quraysh from Mecca after suffering much persecution. When he finally came upon the Prophet and the Muslim camp, the Treaty was sealed.

The Quraysh spokesperson grabbed Abu Jandal and demanded the Prophet to allow him to take him back to Mecca. The Muslims were ready to do certain battle to save this one man, but the Prophet forbade them and consoled Abu Jandal that Allah will reward him for his condition. The Prophet had ‘turned the other cheek’.

He could have ordered the Muslims to march into Mecca and sustain a bloodshed in which the Muslim were ready to be martyred. But he gave no such order. The third condition of the Treaty stipulated that there would be peace for 10 years and the Prophet saw much that could be achieved with peace rather than stubborn resistance.

Many Muslim and non-Muslim historians have called this decision by the Prophet as a stroke of political genius. In the eyes of the rest of Arabia, the Quraysh had to acknowledge the strength of the Muslim nation because they had to sign a treaty! During the peace that ensued the Arabs came in droves to enter into the Islamic fold.

The ‘meek’ inherit Mecca!

On the day that the Quraysh broke the treaty by murdering a group of Muslims, the Prophet rode ahead of a 10,000 strong army to liberate Mecca from the unbelievers. The ‘meek’ had inherited Mecca.

With this lesson, I will now suggest an outline of how the Christians of Malaysia can follow the Prophet’s example by using a weapon that they had always owned in the Bible from the story of Jesus or Isa (peace be upon him). They may consider doing the following in order to ensure that our children may not suffer any actions from the Malay and Muslim extremists in Malaysia:

Firstly, the Christians should cease, for the time being, to use the word ‘Allah’ in their sermons and publication. To me, using a word without knowing the attributes of the word is pointless.

I may have used the word ‘Allah’ millions of times without appreciating His attributes and it has not brought peace to my heart. Only now that I have read many spiritual texts from many sources, God whether ‘Allah’ or ‘Tuhan’ has a new meaning to me.

Secondly, the Christians may tell their congregants that academically, historically, legally and morally, they have every right to use the word ‘Allah’. But in the interest of peace and harmony and more importantly, the safety of our children, the Christian community will cease to use this word in prayers and replace it with ‘Tuhan’.

Actually Zulkifli Noordin is wrong when he says the Malay word for ‘Allah’ is ‘Tuhan’ because in all the prayer books I have read the Malay Muslims would use the word Ya Allah, Tuhan yang Maha berkuasa, kurniakanlah bagi ku... So, the Malay Muslims still use ‘Allah’ in their supplications in that language.

Thirdly and finally, the Christians can tell their congregants that in the coming national elections, all of them shall vote for the party that is trustworthy and that would deal more fairly on this issue of ‘Allah’. The Christians shall wield their second weapon of strength - voting in a democratic and free and fair election.

What is the ‘hikmah’ or positive outcome of this action? Firstly, our children and places of worship will be safe from further reprisals. Secondly, those extremist Malay and Muslim groups would have no more fuel to feed the fires of hatred. It is a fact that firemen would cut down fresh trees in order to stop the march of a forest firestorm so that there would be no more ‘food’ for the fire to feed on.

The same goes for an army retreating from a battle where they would burn the food in that place in order to starve the oncoming army. Napolean found that out the hard way in Russia.

Putting safety ahead of ‘egos’

Thirdly, The Christian leaders shall be known that they put the safety of their congregants ahead of their ‘egos’ of wanting to be ‘right’ simply because they ARE right. I do not know how many times I have had to give in to my children and wife on many issues even though I know that I was ‘right’ in order to place the bigger reward of peace and harmony in my family.

Lastly I would like to end my article with some Verses of the Qur’an:

“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of God all night long. And prostrate themselves in adoration.

“They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) of good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.

“Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well Those that do right.”

(Surah Al-i-Imran Ayat 113-115 (translation by Abdullah Yusof Ali)

The Malay and Muslim extremists may think that they have won and that they find favour with Allah, but truth be told Allah The Most Wise and Compassionate only loves those including the People of the Book who have the attributes recorded in the Qur’an.



PROF DR MOHAMAD TAJUDDIN MOHAMAD RASDI, who teaches architecture at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, is a veteran academician of 26 years. He specialises in mosque and Islamic architecture, particularly that which relates to Malaysia using a hadith-based and socio-cultural approach in order to create the total idea of a built environment suited for a whole social structure.
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Comments
 
I agree with the writer on 'turning the other cheek'.It applies to both Muslims and Christians but whoever does it first will be the winner in the eyes of God.As a Christian this concept of 'turning the other cheek' has been instilled in me since a child in my Sunday classes and by my priests.  
 
In fact Jesus himself demonstrated that to the extreme during his passion and death on the cross in the most insulting manner for a man,let alone for the son of God.If He can accept such insults and still forgive those who insulted and killed him.who are we not to follow that yet call ourselves Christians.
 
 

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wishing all Chinese friends a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

May the year of the Horse bring you and your families lasting peace and success that you have been striving

Let's use the festivities of this this CNY to forge goodwill and peace among the people of various race and creed in our beloved land.

Gong Xi Fa Cai
 
 
Wishing all Chinese friends a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.
May the year of the Horse bring you and your families lasting peace and success that you have been striving

Let's use the festivities of this this CNY to forge goodwill and peace among the people of various race and creed in our beloved land.

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kajang move a preemptive political strategy?



 
The sudden resignation of the Kajang state assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh to force a by-election for the Selangor assembly seat caught many by surprise and has come under severe attack by many Malaysians. They see such an action as irresponsible, a waste of taxpayer’s money and a betrayal of the voters who have voted for him just 10 months earlier.

The fact that PKR Supremo Anwar Ibrahim will be contesting the seat further aggravated the dissatisfaction of the people who feel, Anwar should know better that such a move is not right. There are accusations that it may be his disparate move to seek power by becoming MB.
Is Anwar taking over as Selangor MB? If he does, is it the right move? Is he so desperate as to want to replace the incumbent Khalid Ibrahim who is doing reasonably well? The move may not be right, but it is the right political strategy at this given time when there are moves to topple the Pakatan rule in Selangor and even in Penang.

The ongoing religious tension in these two states is aimed to achieve that and can result in the collapse of Pakatan rule in Selangor if no firm preemptive action is taken now prevent it. Why is this religious and racial tension caused by the perceived threat to Islam by Christians is only in Penang and Selangor? Don’t other states ruled by BN also have significant number of Christians as well to be seen as a there too?

We as ordinary citizens may not know the real truth behind this Kajang move. But I am sure Anwar cannot be so stupid as to embark on it without a good reason. It is difficult to believe that a man of his stature would want to settle for a state MB’s post.
What is in Anwar's mind only he alone knows, and following him closely for the past 15 over years, I believe it must for some long term benefit to save Selangor and the country from the ruins being brought by Umno. It is time for him now to show his masterly political skills to stop the bombardment by Umno on Selangor to cause its downfall. It is now or never

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Italian dog finds God, frequents church



An inspirational story on gratitude from a dog,which many humans lack today.At a time when even aged parents are abandoned by men this dog is great.It has put many to shame by its its love and gratitude for its master who cared for it when it was abandoned earlier.
It should make us pause to ponder on our own sense of gratitude to those who helped us before

An inspirational story of an encounter by a young man.



I refer to the article “One good deed deserves another by Lee Chee Ho (Sunday Star 19 January 2014).I commend the writer for taking the extra-step to “understand” the poor beggar whom he ignored earlier, who despite being told off rudely came back to help him save his wallet.Very often we tend to get irritated by "beggars" disturbing our private moments during meals with family or friends. Their shabby attire, dirty appearance and at times even their foul-odor puts us off.

Furthermore we have heard a lot of stories of how kind-hearted people have been conned by imposters out to make some easy money or even out to rob us. We have also heard a lot of stories of people cheating people to get some money to be spent on the wrong things – cigarettes, alcohol and even gambling. Most of us believe that such people are lazy and therefore resort to begging for food and money on the streets. But is begging really a lazy man’s job?

All these thoughts run through our minds when we are confronted with a “beggar” who asks for just a ringgit or two. The easiest and most convenient thing to do is to ignore them or chase them away rudely. However at times when we discover the truth behind such a vagabond we then regret the harsh treatment we meted out to him, but it will be too late.

The lesson from this simple story is for us not to be pre-judgmental by just the physical appearance or preconceived perceptions of others especially those in need. We should not judge a person by his looks or appearance but must go a step further to ask ourselves why he behaves in such an undignified manner. 

Often we find all sorts of excuses why we should not help such a person. He is not asking much but why the reluctance to help? We tend to be over -cautious as we do not want to be cheated.

It is often said that there is a story behind every person and there is a reason for the way they are and also that every person comes into our lives for a reason which we may not realize until we get to know them. He may either reveal his needs or more often he exposes our weakness. 

So may be the next time we meet someone like this old beggar, we should stop being judgmental and give the little he asks for as we will never know he may the genuinely deserving one among the many who are not. The judicial principle of It Better that ten guilty persons go free than   one innocent person be convicted” also applies to the genuine poor who seeks help to survive.



Source : http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Features/2014/01/19/One-good-deed-deserves-another/



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lesson on filial love

I refer to the  letter, My brother’s absolute filial love by THE OCEAN IS BRIMMING of Petaling Jaya,(Star 18 January)

    
It was indeed a very touching story of the writer’s brother who is a living example of what filial love should be all about. We salute him for his untiring efforts to bring a little joy and comfort to his ailing aged mother and his cancer stricken sister. His story is particularly encouraging after reading of the plight of the mercilessly abandoned old folks in Taman Wahyu lately. It is refreshing to know that there are still many who have big hearts for their aged parents.

He does not have a highly paid job and has hardly enough money for himself but that did not stop him from caring for his bedridden mother. He did not abdicate that responsibility to someone else which many of us would have done if in his place. In fact I am sure he will refuse others who may be willing to take over his role in caring for his mother. It is rare to find people like him in today’s materialistic and highly competitive world,people who value gratitude utmost despite all their shortcomings. 

He may be old himself and without much money and resources but has a heart of gold that no amount of wealth can buy. He is a living lesson for us all, that it is not money that counts when it comes to showing love, especially to aged our parents and disabled siblings, but a willing desire to do so that burns in the depths of our hearts.

We wish him all the best and hope God bless him with peace and happiness for his extra-ordinary love for his mother..

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Abandoning of aged parents a serious sickness in society



Having the heart to do the heartless


It is indeed very sad and disturbing that no one has come forward to claim the four senior citizens at the Kuala Kubu Baru Hospital after they were found languishing at an abandoned old folks home last week. They are believed to be elderly parents who were abandoned by their children and left neglected in an old folk’s homes. Such inhumane act speaks volumes of the so-called caring society in which we live today. 

It is extremely sad to know how children can be so hard-hearten and ungrateful to their parents as to cruelly abandon them at the final of their lives. These four aged parents are just a few of the many more who are lingering in poorly managed and overcrowded homes for the aged. A visit to any old folk’s home will reveal a number of aged and handicapped persons being abandoned after some months by the children who never turn up or even pay for their maintenance at the home. This irresponsible action to me is one of the greatest crimes a human can commit against another, more so against his own parents. 
The four abandoned aged and sickly parents rescued from the home are now lingering in the hospital and are reported to be well but are they really? Welfare homes and hospitals can give them medication, shelter, food and clothing and a little love out of sympathy from the staff taking care of them but not the type of love the oldies yearn for which can only be given by their own children.

There are suggestions to introduce laws to force children to care for their elderly parents but will that solve the problem of parent abandoning? I don't think any laws can force love down the throats of people who are heartless and selfish with no sense of gratitude for those who gave them life and were ladders in their climb of success. They can be forced to give a little money but not something, which they don’t have – love. Unfortunately however this is what the majority of these elderly parents really need. 

Then there those aged parents being “abandoned “in their own homes. They may be seen to be staying happily in the comforts of their own homes but are lonely and dejected as nobody in the family has any time for them. How will legislation enforce a caring attitude among the members of the family when they refuse to see the need to care for the oldies?

We tend to forget that our aging parents are solely our responsibility, which we cannot abdicate to others. It is only we who can fulfill their expectation to the fullest, not an outsider, however kind he may be to them. It is very touching to see old parents, sick and handicapped in old folk’s homes, even when abandoned never complain about their children. In fact most of them refuse to believe their children have abandoned them and continue to have so much hope that their son or daughter will come back one day to take them home. To many that day never comes as they die painfully heart-broken before their hopes are realized.

Parent abandoning is not a new phenomena but is growing fast in our affluent society. Whatever reason or excuse we may have, it is morally wrong to abandon our parents especially at the twilight of their lives when they outlive their usefulness to us and our families.

 

This unpleasant and immoral phenomenon should be a lesson for all of us as how we should care for our own aged parents. It may be pertinent for us to remember the saying, "What goes around comes around" which simply means that whatever you do in this life to other people, whether it is good or bad, the same will return to you. Maybe not in the exact same way, but the payback for the bad we do will be extremely painful which we will regret one day.



Doing well in hospital
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTy04HyGSKw#t=17
   

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Jais raid on BSM unwarranted and illegal



Where do minorities turn to for justice ?

The Jais (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor), raid on the Bible Society Malaysia(BSM), the arrest of BSM officers and the confiscation of copies of bibles is not only illegal but also a dangerous act that must be not be condoned. The state and federal governments must come on hard on this dangerous act of Jais taking the law into its own hands. It is an arrogant and blatant abuse of power that goes against the provisions of the Federal Constitution and basic tenets of every religion. The presence of police officers in the raid further adds weight to its illegality. 

Does Jais have the power to raid a non-Muslim premise and arrest its personnel? If so who gave them the authority to do so? Why was the police involved in the raid, joining in an illegal operation instead of acting to stop it? If this action of Jais is not an abuse of power what is it?

This illegal and high-handedness of Jais brings to question, “Where do the non-Muslims and minorities in our country go to for justice?” Why have a Federal Constitution when it is not upheld? The courts don’t seem to be fair in their judgments, the police lopsided in their investigations and all government agencies are openly pro-Umno in mindset. Fact, reason and logic don’t seem to have any value in our country today as they are blatantly ignored. The government has failed to protect the rights of the minority in this country by upholding the provisions in the constitution. The Prime Minister remains silent, refusing to come to their aid. Where and who do they turn to get the justice they are entitled?

The Allah controversy has now become more complex and spilled over into becoming a confrontation between the Muslims and Christians. The situation has come to s dangerous level and the leaders at the highest level, especially the Prime Minister and his cabinet must act fast to stop deterioration of the situation. Silence on their part only emboldens the abusers of the law and the righteous denied justice.

All parties must first stop open confrontation on the issue of “Allah” and return to peaceful and civil dialogue. The dispute on the use of Allah cannot be solved in the courts, confrontation or with a show of force. It can only be overcome with goodwill and tolerance for one another which appears to be the most difficult to come by.

The Allah issue is not about winning or losing or is it about proving who is stronger. It is about God and so it is about love, humility and goodwill not for any particular group but for the sake of overall peace and harmony, something far greater than the interests of any individual or group. 

Christians and Muslims alike should put God above all and for His sake they must embrace the virtues of goodwill, humility and tolerance to compromise a little for the sake of all the greater peace and well-being of all Malaysians and the country they love.



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