Monday, August 15, 2011

ISLAM IN THE SECULAR STATES



This guy I met, he is a Muslim, just he is not from Malaysia. He is married to a Catholic wife and has been a happy couple since. A very outspoken man with a secular-liberal ideology. Don't ask if he's practising or not, I don't know myself and I don't speculate - I've learnt my lesson. Talking to him will always allow you to learn something about the world, in a funny sense though. Don't ask how, you have to experience it yourself.

There was one time my friends and I gathered around him and he happened to be talking about Islam. I knew it was going to be a good talk - it's always a one sided discussion. But let him talk, I don't mind. I love listening to other people's views on things. We were laughing to all what he has to say. Not that it's ridiculous, but he has this way of conveying serious and logical things in a humorous manner. I'm okay with it but there are some people who gets offended by his ideas and the way he says it. That time, he was criticizing Malaysia and the way Islam is propagated over here anyways - yup, just who would not be offended by this.

This is what he told us;
"You don't need an Islamic state to propagate the idea of Islam. Islam is better spread and more accepted in secular countries. In Malaysia, it doesn't allow revenues for people to really know Islam and you kind off  force people to accept Islam using the constitution. JAIS and JAKIM is just ridiculous. Islam is better off in a non-Islamic state."

He also told us on how he got married to his wife, after which he sought advice from an Imam in his country - and the Imam told him that it's okay. How he was out with his wife on Valentine's Day in Malaysia and JAIS came to him, and he told them off by saying that he is not a Malaysian and doesn't fall under JAIS's jurisdiction. This has nothing to do with my post, but just to give you a big picture what kind of guy he is. He is a nice guy though.

But what I want to refer to is his ideas on where Islam could be spread better. In an Islamic state or a secular country? In Malaysia and Egypt or United Kingdom and United States? In some place where Islamic rights are protected or where Islam is most misunderstood and oppressed?

I've always shared the same view on this matter in a sense.

I always believed that Islam grows faster in a place where it is being oppressed the most, or at least in where the Muslims live in hardships. Just not Malaysia. Where Muslims live in luxury and protection, we tend to be complacent and forgetful. History have shown us this - repeatedly, but we never take lessons from it. Just look at the people of the Ottoman Empire during the fall of the Strongest Islamic Caliphate, how were they? How did they live their lives? How was the governance of the country and it's wealth? We tend to feel satisfied with what we have just because we were not raised in hardship.

Hardship is a factor of success for most community and races. Have a look at the Jewish people around the world and the Chinese people in Malaysia. The Jews were once terribly oppressed in Europe, and had to work hard to gain recognition that they get now. Jews grow to become the media tycoons and the lobbyists that greatly influence the American government as we speak.

The Chinese people lived poor lives in Mainland China before they came to Malaysia. When they arrived here, they were ready to strive and go all out to improve their standard of living. This kind of spirit is what is lacking from us Muslims. We don't want to work hard, we are not that ambitious, and we rather fall back on what we feel is already enough. But we never realize that our future generation might suffer heavily from our complacency.

Now, let's go to the West and see how our Muslim brothers are doing. They are doing great! How's so? The fastest growing number of Muslims is in the West, where people's perception towards Islam is not so good. Islam is labelled bad names including "extremists" and "terrorists", yet the number of conversion to Islam is the highest over there compared to any other parts of the world. And the number increases from year to year. Again, how's so?

It's simply because, the more you are oppressed, the stronger you fight back. The less revenues you are allowed, the more creative you become. The more you are denied, the louder you shout back. The more they try to break you, the firmer you stand together. And where does these trials fall upon the Muslims? In the West! But why does these trials make them stronger and more successful?

"Verily, along with every hardship a relief. Verily, along with every hardship a relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs)" [as-Syarh 94:5-6]

What about us? You want hardship to befall on you before you start to realize how much bounties Allah has given you, but how little you have done for His Deen? That should not be it. Don't wait until Allah takes all these pleasure and luxuries from us as to remind us of our responsibilities. Make use of the great opportunity that lies in front of you - living in a peaceful society, good economic development, fairly good education system, political stability and all other good things. Be thankful for that. A lot other people don't get all these things.

What if Islam grows in Malaysia and you don't have a share in it, are you not at a great loss? There's a lot of ways and channels for us to contribute to the growth of Islam in Malaysia. It doesn't mean that you have to be an Imam or a preacher. Just be a Muslim, I mean, be a good Muslim and then be good at what you are doing. Be a good doctor, architect, engineer and all, and it's already good that way. Why? There's one saying, "Uphold Islam in yourself, Islam certainly will cultivate around you" (Tegakkan Islam dalam dirimu, nescaya Islam akan tertegak di keliling mu).

We are forgetful and we are seldom thankful. Why is it not conducive here in Malaysia for Islam to grow? It's not because of the Islamic state that we are in nor the Islamic jurisdictions that we apply, and of course not because of Islam itself. It's because of ourselves! What we do determines peoples perception towards us, and Islam altogether. And this is our major problem. People look down on Islam, Islamic states and Islamic jusrisdiction - all because of us.

It has always been my belief that Islam and Muslims progress faster and further in places they are being oppressed the most, or where the Muslims live in hardship. And I cannot agree more with the guy we had a chat with. But it doesn't mean that we have to abandon the idea of having an Islamic state and judiciary system. We need it. but we also need to constantly remind ourselves of our responsibilities. Living in peace and harmony does not mean that everything is okay and will continue to be just fine. We need to share Islam with the world, and only then our responsibilities are lifted.

This is a reminder for myself, and those who read. Le't be a good Muslim.

Currently reading "A Doctor in The House". There are some examples that I quote from this book =) A good book to read - if you read it with an open mind of course. 

4 comments:

  1. This is a good read.

    i kinda understand when he said that Islam is better off in a non-Islamic/non-Muslim state. Because its easier to comprehend islamic ways over there, things which are good/right are crystal clear and vice versa. Islam is a way of life. all the rulings are subjected to humanity and generally human in nature. Anything that results in goodness to all is Islam. - this is whats hard to digest in so called 'Islam Countries' especially Malaysia. because the people feel that the Islamic obligations are 'oppressing' their lives instead of guiding.

    There should be a way in the laws or the leaders themselves to educate the people that Islam is not a difficult practice, but a convenience to all - simply how you lead your lives.

    A reminder to me as well. More posts like this :)

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  2. Kak Aisyah

    Yeah, right..
    There's also another reason to why people in the West are more readily to accept Islam..that is,they have already been practising the Islamic values in their daily lives - cleanliness,tolerance,etc.not everybody though,but a lot of them.in UK,you want to dross the road,the cars stop for you!how great is that?you experience this?

    I guess only those who have been over there can see this.or people who study the Western culture.this what we need to adopt into our society.the positive side of the West,not the hedonistic lifestyle.

    Since they already act like Muslims,becoming a Muslim is just like changing their belief from Jesus or what so ever to Allah alone.nothing much they have to change.They still wear jeans and all,but just have to cover aurah.In Malaysia people are afraid to become Muslims because they have to "become" Malay or Arab to do so - you are not a Muslim until you wear songkok,baju melayu,kufi,jubaa,etc etc..

    And this just adds to why Islam regresses over here.how we force Islam onto them just creates a stigma that affects Islam negatively.

    sad..sad..

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  3. Just wondering: where did you meet this guy eh? He's from which country?

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  4. Kak Maryam

    I met him in IIU first.but I cannot disclose any more than that here.nanti kantoi la plak..

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