Tuesday, August 31, 2010


*italics are digressions from the main train of thought*

Living at home during summer holidays is torturous, not least because there is a limited amount of activities that I can do. Consequently, I found myself flicking through the offerings of TV programmes on ASTRO. Having found BBC, I was quickly transfixed by an interview that was being aired at the time. The interviewee was a BBC anchor/journalist by the name “Anwar Akhtar”, a name that is commonly muslim.

Not wanting to offend anyone who is rather sensitive when it comes to stereotyping and generalisation (yours truly included), I submit the notion that that is not necessarily true. But given the fact that the program was about Islamic extremism (I’m using this term in its western understanding, obviously), it was only logical or common that the BBC would interview a person who identifies himself as a Muslim or professes the muslim faith (the muslim faith? Why not Islam?)

I experienced actual offence and disappointment upon hearing his comments about radical (once again, western understanding) muslims, excuse the slightly dramatic reaction. He said that it escapes him how certain portions of the Muslim population, seemed to hold onto the idea that the Islamic system is still relevant today when it was produced for 6th century Arabia.

Such comments and snide remarks are symptomatic of the differences in the standard of understanding that Muslims have towards Islam, their own religion or to be more accurate, way of life (ideally, that is). To expect that every single individual muslims on earth to have deep understanding of Islam is, I suppose, a bit naïve.

But is it? Unbeknownst to us, we are all confused muslims. We are more appealed by marriages of different ideologies and philosophies than Islam (the pure Islam, the Islam that Allah and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. want us to practice).

*The operative word in the last sentence is “unbeknownst”*

Allow me to demonstrate: A friend of mine once implied on his facebook status that men mimicking women are sinners, and vice versa. A lady then annoyingly commented that my friend should mind his own business and that he should “jaga kubur sendiri dulu”. What happened to plain ol’ dakwah @ amar makruf nahi mungkar? To be fair to my friend, his facebook status was very conciliatory and kind, very different from many of the religious zealots (I am using this term in its western understanding) who are more prone to be accusatory.

The world is an infinitely confusing place. Psychiatrists say that the first step to recovery is recognising that you actually do have a problem, as the logical consequence from the acceptance of that notion is the desire to recover. Some might disagree that we have a problem. They believe that there is nothing wrong with muslims having different convictions, even if these convictions run counter to Islam. We can’t even agree that we have a problem. How problematic is that?

Talking with those who agree that we do have a problem is not an easy task either. These people will disagree on ways to solve the problem, having agreed that the problem actually exists.

If you are scratching your head, confused, not too worry. It is perfectly understandable.

So let’s assume that there is a problem. And the problem is: Individual muslims seem to have convictions that are non-Islamic.

Now that we have recognised that we do have a problem, let’s come up with a solution.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Applying psycho-analysis shit on yourself can be a revealing practice. It sheds some light on why you do certain acts, making you feel slightly at ease because now you know that your eccentricities are reconcilable with the world at large.

Why is it that we are so intent at escaping reality?
Because the truth sucks? Because it hurts?

Some people indulge in liquor excessively. Others do drugs. A large majority of us turn on the computer and after a few clicks, open our profile (or maybe someone else’s ) on facebook.

I have an essay to write. A large part of it is still Greek to me. And yet here I am, typing away, burning my time as I do.

We escape to worlds, which can never harm us. We do this for reasons buried deep under the dark waters of our hearts, visible only through contemplation.
We escape because we are so scared to set into motion action (or a series of actions) in the fear that our decision might cause grave repercussions. So we retreat to a dark corner, where we think we are safe, and just not do anything that might have any worrying effect upon our future, or anyone around us, or maybe even ourselves.

I look forward to watching movies and television programs every day. They are a chance for me to look intently at someone else’s life and laugh at their mistakes. But most importantly, it is an escape for me from confronting what I know I have to confront; the assignments and the books and the understanding of complex words used to describe legislation.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not being ungrateful. But sometimes, real life can be so suffocating.
Why it suffocates, you ask? Well, have you ever get the feeling of emptiness, or just-not-being-there-at-that-moment whenever you’re walking to lectures or waiting for classes to begin. You know, when you feel like the wheels of life and time are moving non-stop and there’s nothing that you can do to stop it. The whole world is moving forward, and yet here you are (for some reason unfathomable in your mind) static and unmoving and stagnant.

And that is why you try your very best to escape. You want to stop time but you can’t. So the only option at hand is to escape from the moving wagon, that is life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Liberal Humanism vs Islam

I am very much at a crossroad. Every day I am faced with the inevitable clash of ideologies and belief within me; Islam and liberal-humanism.
I admit that I feel sceptical sometimes about where Islam stands at certain issues.

It is stated very clearly in the Quran that Allah ( and I mean Allah, as in the One True God not the appellative noun “God) forbids homosexuality. But it is hard to accept this when some of your friends have the alternative sexual orientation. And when you are forced to confront the inevitable clash of ideas, you are reluctant to voice out your disapproval in intellectual terms because (in truth) personally, I do not see any danger to society at large if homosexuality is tolerated. And so the dilemma comes into play. In terms of my faith, it is clearly wrong. In part, I am bound by my faith to say this, nay to believe this. But personally, and this is where the dilemma happens, I think it is quite alright.

Next is an issue very close to Muslims around the world; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I just got back from an Islamic program that I attended. Some of the talk that they had was on the Muslim’s responsibility to defend the Palestinians at all costs. I understand this perfectly. But there were a continued flow of negative rhetoric against the Israelis. This is the danger when one generalises and simplifies complicated histories and political situations. I think that there are not enough efforts being put to understand the plight of the common Israeli person. I do admit and believe that the Palestinians suffer much more than the Israelis but usually talks and articles that I have read are grossly anti-Israeli. When history is generalised and complicated political information become propaganda for certain quarters, we (the common man no! The common person) lose sight of what is the reality. After continued barrage of anti-Israeli adverts, it is unsurprising that one might even go so far as to approve rocket retaliation by Hamas to public places in Israel because it is implanted in our subconscious mind that ALL Israelis are terrorists. (it is my opinion that all forms of violence and usage of weapons greatly stalls the hope for peace in the Middle East even if it is in retaliation. When will it stop then? One side must be the better side and stop first, retaliate NOT. Retaliation is merely veiled revenge. Revenge never leads to peace.)
And I am aware that on these two issues, there are a multitude of different opinion within Islam. It gets very confusing.
And countless many issues at hand. At the end of the Islamic program that I went to in Glasgow, many of my friends were adamant in that they will work hard for the da’wah of Islam. And i do want to do da’wah but deep down, I envy these people for their fervour and unwavering faith. I am not saying that I am losing my faith in Islam. You see, from the very beginning, my belief in Islam is purely based on faith, not much knowledge is involved. Now that I am faced with contradictions between Islam and what I think is right in my mind, I found that faith alone is not enough for me to hold onto my beloved Islam. I need to learn more.