Sunday, May 3, 2009

How did you become a Muslim?

I was completely shocked when a Muslim responded to me saying: “so what if I do not read the Quran? I am already doing all the essentials of Islam. So I really cannot understand why you are going on and on about me reading the Quran?”

[I also cannot understand why he, being a Muslim, was upset when all I did was to share with him the idea that the Quran should be read to understand its content]

ME: “But if you did not read the Quran, how did you become a Muslim?”

HIM: “You think that reading the Quran means you are a good Muslim?”

ME: “But if you did not read the Quran, how did you become a Muslim?”

HIM: “You didn’t answer my question!”

ME: “ Of course not necessarily. But if you did not read the Quran, how did you become a Muslim?”

HIM: “Well I like to think that I am an okay Muslim. I do all the essentials, I do not hurt others.

ME: “But if you did not read the Quran, how did you become a Muslim?”

HIM: “You do not understand at all. Just because you know the Quran, you think you are clever. What about those who do not know about the Quran?”

ME: “but YOU know about the Quran. You have read it without understanding when you were young. So, if you did not make an effort to understand the teachings of the Quran, how did you become a Muslim?”

HIM: (looking annoyed): “Don’t be stupid lah. Of course they taught us in the mengaji and agama classes. Cant you see I am doing the same thing as every other Muslims. Tak kan tak nampak? Why? Is there anything sesat that I am doing ka?”

ME: “That’s not the point. My point is and I sincerely want to understand … why do you not want to read the Quran to understand it”

HIM: “ Bila sampai seru, of course lah I will”.

ME: “Well, at least let me share some verses with you.”

HIM: “ Tak payah lah. We can just discuss generally without referring to the Quran. You ni, discus agama pun sikit sikit nak rujuk Quran. It is very distracting tau?”

ME: “How is it possible to discuss Islam without referring to the Quran bro? be reasonable”

HIM: “You are the one being unreasonable. Kan I told you, we discuss generally okay?”

ME: “Meaning what?”

HIM: “ Don’t pretend to be stupid lah. You are a lawyer. You know what I mean”.

ME (being sincerely baffled): “ No, I really do not know what ‘discussing generally means apart from the fact that it is clear we are not supposed to refer to the Quran”.

HIM: “ Bro. You are a very nice guy and I like you. I tengok bila discuss religion, you ni serious sangat”.

ME: “But bro, isn’t discussing truth and Allah’s verses a serious matter?.

HIM: “There you go again. All I was saying was that kita kena tingkatkan pengetahuan agama among the youth. You yang lari topic saying we must read the Quran lah, we must understand it lah. Of course. Siapa tak tau?”

ME: “Bro, sorry lah…you are 45 years old and you nak tunggu seru baru nak baca. How in the world are you going to motivate the young to understand Islam? What is this tunggu seru anyway?”

HIM: “You ni tak baik lah buat buat bodoh. Don’t lah play lawyer with me. Tak kan seru pun you tak tau?

ME: “ya lah bro, if we want to motivate the young, we must know the first basis of Islam that is the Quran. That’s what I have been meaning all through our chat tonight”.

HIM: “You are being difficult. Use common sense lah brother. Don’t we have the experts huh? Tak kan kita tak ada ustad, ulamak dan orang pengetahuan. Mereka lah yang perlu buat semua tu”.

ME: “If they are going to do it, why are you telling me this?”

HIM: “Sharing lah. Since you are so interested in Islam. I also feel much more should be done. Tengok lah pemuda pemudi Melayu, teruk sangat nilai dia orang. Simple as that”.

ME: “Your concern for them is good. But why do you forget about yourself?”.

HIM: “Mana ada I forget myself pula?”

ME: “Well, you are stopping me from referring to the Quran in our chat. And you say you want to tunggu seru, whatever that means. Anyway, how do you know what the experts are going to do is in line with the Quran if you do not understand it?”

HIM: “ Bro, malas lah nak discuss this topic with you. Tukar topic lah”.

Then he discussed current politics and after about 15 minutes of patience, I excused myself and went home.


P.S. Brother, if you do read this posting, know that I still love you as my friend.


Anonymous said...

Salam Bro,

that is the problem of "melayu islam" they thought they are Islam but when discuss the Quran they shied away. Dont you think that they are dangerously hipocrite?

They are no better than some chinese Tao. Today, this temple, tommorow that temple, and it goes on and on without a standard ritual and scripture.

Its time the "melayu Islam" dirombak and stop pretending they know all just because they are islam by birth or the constitution stated so.

Jahamy said...

Dr Ngo,

Unfortunately, many people claim that they profess to a certain religion but make no effort to understand it from the scriptures. Hence, it becomes cultural and ikut-ikutan. Through this process, the priests of all sorts of name become powerful "experts"!

As to Malays, Dr Asri, the former Mufti Perlis himself has been saying that there isa big difference between being Muslim and being Malay. AS he pointed out, it becomes a problem when we "melayukan" islam instead of "mengislamkan Melayu".


mignonC said...

what's the problem for chinese Tao to go this temple today, tat temple tomoro?

Anonymous said...

if you go to many of the Tao temples in malaysia, it is clear that none of them would follow a standard scripture or rather having no scripture.Rituals are created by the operator or temple keeper for whatever they so believe. You may find a similar denomination of Tao practising a set of ritual in Perlis to be different in Johor even though sharing the same denomination.In a nutshell these are man created ritual and is more dangerous than 'melayukan islam'as correctly pointed out by Dr Asri.

Perhaps these mengislamkan or 'menTaokan'or 'mengkristiankan'or others are merely slogan created by human.

The fundamental message is still the believe in God as unitary and NOT human created religion.

vee said...

Interesting but what caught my eyes : the question on how did you become a Muslim if you don't read Quran? First, Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad-the utterance of dua kalimah syahadat; Secondly the establishment of the daily prayers; thirdly concern for and almsgiving to the needy; fourth self-purification through fasting; and finally the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able. these are called pillar of Islam that made you a Muslim. Then come the Iman and Aqidah and Muamalat. Some muslims prefer to read Quran in the form of translation i.e english, indonesia, malay, french, mandarin etc. Some may not know how to recite it in its original language but that doesnt indicate that they are being less Muslim or not a Muslim at all. At the end of the day, God never granted us with His right to judge.