Sunday, 9 March 2008

To be a Muslim

Part three: Understanding our Faith

[This post follows two prior posts which can be read by clicking on Part One Part Two]

Let us, as I am speaking from the perspective of a Muslim, not be apologetic but confident in fighting the bigotry, ignorance and xenophobia so strongly embedded in the social fabric of our world. It is not faith, not Islam and most certainly not the Muslim identity responsible for the evils of our present world. We do not accept nor shall we ever accept the Islamophobic assertion made so commonly in the ‘civilised’ and ‘free world’. But for us to be confident and fight vehemently against the outrageous positions adopted by the global masters and to expose their vulnerabilities, we need to understand our faith, our identity.
At the core of our understanding of Islam lies the rejection of classification of Muslims in categories stated above. There can never be extremist, intolerant, terrorist Muslims. Muslims are of just one kind who are the ‘witness upon mankind’ made to be the nation of ‘moderation’. We are by default a nation of the middle path who rejects extremism, victimisation, intolerance etc. our faith have no room for bigots and xenophobes who are determined to diminish the human values. Our faith teaches us to be part of a global nation, caring, compassionate, participating, responsible and all other attributes that can be assigned to the ideal citizens of a nation, a global community. Our responsibility, commitment and goodwill is not just towards the fellow Muslims but to our neighbours, fellow citizens, friends, colleagues, wayfarers, all people around us regardless of their faiths, gender, race etc. Islam’s message transcends beyond humanly classifications of society and people and includes the whole of humanity, the entire mankind. Faith in our lord, believing in the message that our prophet has brought is for the entire mankind and is aimed at creating harmonious society where prosperity, peace and mutual respect will flourish.
Of course, following my assertion, the claims made of our faith will give rise to obvious questions as to why then are Muslims globally so unruly in places, irresponsible, ignorant, illiterate, intolerant etc? the answer is again very simple which requires us neither to be extremists, isolationists nor apologetic. Although the fundamentals of Islam is still preserved, the Quran and sunnah is intact to this date, the teachings of Islam has been eroding from Muslim life for centuries. The era of colonisation and the suppression that saw the decapitation of Muslims globally forced Muslim institutions, social orders and political authorities disappear over time. Consequently there remained Muslims, maimed, persecuted, deprived and demonised who neither had the opportunity nor the mean to learn about their faith. Most centres of Islamic learning we see in our local community have sprung up in the last century. Deprived of the central political and judicial authority, Islamic faith have grown to be the football which is kicked around as necessary by the various interest groups, the sections of human society. Then in the era of geographical nation state there has been a renewal of Islamic identity, a revival of Islamic spirit. These Islamic spirit is giving rise to increasingly committed and confident Muslims demanding their faith to take up central place in their life. Unfortunately this development has been seen as a threat by the prevailing global powers, including the rulers in predominantly Muslim states. The fear of loosing political power and the identification of Islamic block as threat lead to actions and reactions which causes exploitation of people’s emotion and ignorance to further political interest of various groups which leave us to the present state.
(To be continued)

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