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Tazkiyatun Nafs

Satu persoalan timbul dalam benakku,“ Layakkah kita menagih cinta insan seandainya cinta Tuhan belum tergapai?Sedangkan cinta Allah adalah segalanya, cinta Rasul lambang cinta kepada-Nya, cinta ibu bapa tulus selamanya, cinta saudara ukhwah kerana-Nya dan cinta pada’nya’ pelengkap kasih-Nya…Hamparkanlah cinta kepada Yang Selayaknya..Jadi,jika mengharap cinta sejati, dambalah kasih Ilahi, itulah cinta hakiki..tepuk dada, tanya iman, tanya akal fikiran, tanya hati, tanya diri sendiri…Sejauh manakah taraf cinta kita ini? ”


When a dear friend of mine by the name Abdul Haq approached me sometime in September this year to write an article for the Muscom blog, I was more than delighted to do so. In fact, I remember making a promise to him that it will be done during the Hari Raya college break. That, by the way, did not materialize. It is one of those times where you want to do something so badly but you just could not find the time and more importantly, the right state of mind to do it. Now that I have got the room to do so, I am inclined to fulfil my overdue promise. Looking back, I wonder if my act of making a promise and not fulfilling it has made me a bad person. Maybe yes. Once again, the guilt complex sets in and I am determined to undo my mistakes.

Staring at the list of topics suggested by Haq, ‘Islamphobia' is one term that keeps coming back to me. Not that I have any prejudice towards Islam but how in the last eight years that I have known, it has crept within the global society and caused distress. It actually began in 1948 when the Arab league; more specifically, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon opposed the formation of a Jewish state, Israel. They declared war on Israel, not knowing that it will not be resolved even sixty years after that. Since then, numerous incidents such as the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre has done nothing but more damage to Islam as the western world begins to portray it as a violent religion. This accusation is strengthened by the unruly act of some irresponsible parties. However, it is quite mind boggling to note how the world fears a religion merely because someone who proclaims Islam as his religion acts violently and cause the demise of innocent civilians.

If the world acts on a stereotypical premise, then every religion or race would be ostracised and labelled for something they are not collectively responsible. However, this is not the case. Islam is always the scapegoat, so much so that, Muslims face a crisis of upholding their religious practice and beliefs in some western countries. I believe it is a matter of looking beyond the religion and rather the principles of those who call themselves freedom fighters in the name of God. Islam is a religion that preaches peace and brotherhood, not violence. It is not the fault of Muslims throughout the world if one sole individual misinterpreted the teachings of Islam and resorts to violent measures. The world has failed to understand this and choose to reach a quick conclusion based on what they see or hear in the media. It is a fact that the western media is the more vociferous one and they paint the picture that we choose to see. Any act of terror conducted by an Islamic terrorist group receives instant and thorough media coverage when the likes of the LTTE in Sri Lanka or the IPLO of Northern Ireland and their activities remain under the radar.

Muslims are no different from others. They are equal human beings and they deserve every right to hold on to their beliefs. Sadly, there are those who think Islam is a religion of dominance and control. Switzerland recently raised eyebrows when they banned minarets on mosque buildings. The reason? It is seen as a symbol of authority and the Swiss fear that the Muslims will one day rule the nation if they are allowed to build structures that intimidate others. How absurd is that? What the global population needs is a deeper understanding of the religion itself. If it is the minarets and the headscarves that worry them, then they should learn to respect the culture and beliefs of others first and not obstructing them from practising it. It is amazing how people identify differences very quickly but they find it hard to establish common grounds based on similarities. We dream of a world where everyone embraces one another with no regards or fear of a religion but that day, I am afraid is far from being near.

‘Islamphobia' is a misguided fear that needs to be erased. It will only be relished if the global community would accept the differences in religions and view global issues free from the religious lenses. Yes, it is easier said than done, but it is the pain-staking effort that will be needed to drive the world away from the syndrome. Enough of conflicts and enough of pointing fingers. It is time we look into ourselves and address the issue with an open mind. The eternity of religions cannot be foreseen but we can still decide the fate of mankind if we steer ourselves in the right direction, away from destruction.