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.