Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

I dream a dream called Wasatiyah

In Article 153 - A dream called Wasatiyah on 20/01/2012 at 14:19

There was a time when men were kind, their voices was soft, and their words inviting.
There was a time when love was blind, and the world is a song, and the song is exciting.
There was a time when it all went wrong.

I dream a dream in time gone by, when hope is high and life is worth living.
I dream a dream that love would never die, I dream that God will be forgiving.
I dream a dream called Wasatiyah where there would be no Article 153.

Article 153 is the abusive tool that has allowed the ultra right wing of UMNO robs the Malays their dignity, and place the rest in chains for the elite few.

We are told that the Malays needed help then, and the Article is now God’s gift to the faithful Malay Muslims, just as what prophet Mohammed pbuh proclaimed in the year 630/9, when different tribes from different parts of Arabia came to the Prophet to negotiate their relationship with the Muslim community,
"If a Jew or a Christian becomes a Muslim, he is a believer with his rights and obligations. He who holds fast to his religion, Jew or Christian, is not to be turned from it. He must pay the poll tax..."

But there was a time when the Prophet voice is more inviting, when the Prophet arrived at Medina in 622-624/1-3 and established the ‘Constitution of Medina’, which

..describes the Muslims and those who are attached to them and fight with them as 'one community' (Clause 1), and it is affirmed that a Jew who follows the Muslims has the same right as them to help and support (Clause 16). ... religious diversity is recognized and tolerated: '...To the Jews their religion and to the Muslims their religion...' (Clause 25); and 'It is for the Jews to bear their expenses and for the Muslims to bear their expenses. There is to be [mutual] "help" between them against whoever wars against the people of this document. Between them there is to be [mutual] giving of advice, consultation, and honorable dealing, not treachery ...' (Clause 37).

Yet, there was also a time when it all went wrong. In 628/7, the Prophet launched a military attack on an overwhelmingly Jewish town called Khaybar and besieged its population. After the siege, the terms agreed would be that the Jews would be allowed to cultivate the land with half of the produce being handed over to the Muslims, and the Muslims reserved the right to break the agreement and expel the Jews at any time.

There was a time when Christians are loved and trusted in 5:82 "because there are priests and monks among them, and because they are not proud; when they hear what has been sent down to the Prophet, you see their eyes overflowing with tears as they recognize the truth, and they say: 'Lord, we believe, count us with those who witness.'"

Then, there was a time when Christians are only accepted conditionally.

2:62 Those who believe, and those who are Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does right, their reward is with their Lord; no fear will come upon them, neither will they grieve.

3:55 When God said: 'O Jesus, I will take you and raise you to Me and cleanse you from those who disbelieve, and I will place those who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection; then you will return to me and I will judge between you in what you differ over.'

5:66 Among the People of the Book, there are some who believe in God and what was sent down to you and what was sent down to them, humbling themselves before God, and not selling the verses [ayat] of God cheaply; their reward is with their Lord, who is swift to reckon.

Finally, there came a time when it all went wrong when Christians are said to be guilty of ‘kufr’ and ‘shirk’.

5:72 They who disbelieve [kafara] who say "God is the Messiah, son of Mary" ... God prohibits paradise to anyone who ascribes partners [yushrik] to God'.

5:73 ... "God is the third of three" ... If they do not desist from what they say, a painful punishment will befall those who disbelieve.

And, worst is the call in 9:29 Fight against .. until they pay the tribute readily, and being brought low.

I am no expert in the Prophet’s words and deeds. But, I could imagine how burdened his Muslim rakan-rakan must have felt in having to carry the weight of those words. For 54 years, the Indians, Chinese and others have walked alongside every sweet and difficult moments the nation experienced. Though not everyone could claim a friend who is of another race, but almost everyone would long to have a kawan karib from another race in our Tanah Melayu. Who would want to punish a friend?

It is a lot for one to sort out in a life time. This is even more so, as we each have to struggle through this life battling every inner greed, lust, doubt, hate and pride we encounter each day. Our Perkasa brothers are defending our faith, but so is DSAI who has reached across the aisle to work Allah’s keadilan for all. In reality, we live through each day with all kinds of name calling, slandering, finger pointing, and constant shouting of who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps, we do deserve it.

When the Prophet claims Christians and Jews of this world are ‘kufr’, who are we to think that they are not? To add insult to injury, there is much harm Christians have done to the Muslims, both in the past and in the current post 9/11 world. I don’t know much Islamic history, but for what I have seen, and what I have read, I would attest that there are very little redeemable Christian deeds in the past, and in the present. I have little hope of seeing much good Christian deeds in the future, especially in light of the harm and hurt my fellow Christians caused. What would this mortal know, what would any mere mortal know?

All that this mortal did is to copy words from the second chapter of ‘A History of Christian-Muslim Relations‘ by Hugh Goddard, that he got from a Half Price book for $6.99 2 weekends ago. Professor Hugh Goddard comes with an impressive title as the Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World. But, he too is a mere human, and nothing close to the last and greatest of the prophets.

Yet, if I have not learned anything from Prof Goddard, this I learned: I should know that Jesus’s grace is sufficient for me. I do not possess the truth as the truth belongs to God.

I am here to do no more change, than I am here to treasure and love what He has given me. Malaysia is what He has given me. Each and everyone of us is a mere pilgrim traveling together in this world.

We all know that yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, and today, a gift we called the ‘Present’.

Today, our Indian Hindraf brothers grieve, as many of their alienated kindred are facing the bleak reality of having no shelter, and no education. What little hope they have in the world beyond, passed down through culture and literature, for the next life is facing a slow death in this Tanah Melayu, with no possible solution in sight.

Without a political voice and a coherent ideology to share future building, the Malaysian Chinese are lost in their individual search for security through gold and comfort through food. We are told we are the most industrious, those most capable to overcome all adversities, in light of what our parents and grandparents went through in the previous century. Yet, few of us Chinese would admit that our wealthiest get to be wealthy in Malaysia only by kowtowing to the cronies, scheming and lying their ways to where they are. The best amongst us Chinese would not lead, and those who lead, lead for themselves, and most care not for their kindred, as we Malaysian Chinese has only the word ‘self’ that we truly trust. Almost like an instinct, we know that us Chinese are permanent penumpangs for all generations to come, though we are keenly aware of it being at odds with our nature. So, it is probably best to grab hold of all that is tangible today. The lucky few who made it are all well dressed, with baggage well packed, and yet have nowhere to go, nowhere that they would be able to call home. In reality, most Malaysian Chinese are stuck penniless and live each day like walking corpse, working day and night without end.

All these may be all over-generalized, but reality is no rosier when discussing this with some of the best of whom I get to know the past few days, through this utopian gang who called themselves MF. When being asked to fight the cause to end the abuse of Article 153, many replied with the pragmatic response that it shouldn’t be done, and doing so would rock the boat of progress too soon for Pakatan’s 2 party movement, or that it would anger the Muslim rakan-rakan. Some hide their discontent by reading Article 153 in a way that has never been read before. As per the brightest amongst them, Article 153 is to be read as something that put all race on the same footing, protected by their wakil and Sultans. I prayed that his wakil and his Sultan would read it the same new way also. But, yet, deep down, I am fearful that this too is a mere phony lie to ourselves, just as how Ah-Q would delude himself.

All of us do want the best for our friends. Yet, we ignore the inconvenient truth that we are not worthy for each other at times, as we could not believe that we are mere pilgrims in this world. Our Muslim rakan-rakan’s burden are indeed heavy. Yet, the burden could only be made light in this case as soon they have trust in the Prophet that there are times it is easy to imitate what the Prophet did when he enacted the ‘Constitution of Medina’. Prof Goddard reminded me that Prophet Mohammed pbuh had only reacted in less than liberal manner at times, when being challenged in his time and place. I wonder what threat the Indians and Chinese in Malaysia are posing to the Malays today. Or rather, perhaps, they are genuinely a people God sent for our Muslim rakan-rakan to reach out amidst this last days of the tectonic rise of Indian and Chinese economy?

Perhaps, it is time for this generation of Muslim rakan-rakan, to consider being a beacon of hope in this post 9/11 divided world? Perhaps, it is not that difficult to count the Chinese and Indians equal amongst our Muslim rakan-rakan and share the gains of this world, so they too could one day see the better side of Islam. For our own dignity, in light of teachings under Wasatiyah, we can all individually do that little more to pledge ourselves to cast Article 153 aside by signing this petition [click here]? If God is willing, if people agrees, perhaps, we can witness a dream called Wasatiyah becoming a reality sooner than we all expect.

Let Wasatiyah without Article 153 be one that help guide us our city of Mud (Kuala Kumpur) to become a city on the Hill which other nations could look up to. Let Vision 2020 be not an empty call for mere wealth building. Let’s build a nation where every rakyat could regain their dignity.

I dream a dream called Wasatiyah where there would be no Article 153.
I dream a dream of a time when hope is high and life is worth living.
I dream a dream that love would never die, I dream that God will be forgiving.

PS. I hate PS. But, for a dream to come true, it is hard to imagine one could make a dream come true without a plan. The plan may result some Muslim rakan-rakan not enjoying their past benefit, such as their housing discount. But, instead, the plan should aim to have more Muslims rakan-rakan who truly needed help get the needed help, enabling more to get to realize the dream of an affordable home. After all, isn’t the dream of Wasatiyah, a dream to build common wealth, just like PAS’s mentioned ‘Negara Kebajikan’? A gradual transition period would take place. Sultans would be consulted. Rakyat would be assured that no one gets less than what they have received, except for those elite few who has robbed us all. Drop a note in the comments, and share your plan? Send this to your Wakil and seek their opinions? Share your plan with your Facebook buddies?