STILL ALIVE. It was a wonderful break for us from the daily routine, and we found the waterfall empty of people. All this paradise to ourselves! But I had a small fright early in the day though. While playing in the water like seals, I missed my step and found myself in the deep centre of the stream. I was being pulled by the fast current and of course, I panicked. I trashed like a madman and tried to swim back against the current and inevitably I failed. Heche, who was eating on the rocky riverside shouted to Khaled and like Poseidon himself, Khaled strided through the water and pulled my raggedy wet arse to safety. My hero.
MAWLANA AZAD. After the short burst of drama, I decided to chill on dry land and dug out Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad’s book entitled ‘The Opening Chapter of the Qur’an’ - Surah Al-Fatihah' out of my bag. Skimming through the pages my eyes were drawn to this short paragraph…
“THE UNITY OF RELIGION AND THE QUR’AN. This great truth forms the primary basis of the Qur’anic call. Everything else that the Qur’an presents rests on it. If this fundamental is discarded, the entire framework of the Qur’anic message will get out of order. But the vagaries of history are strange. The greater the emphasis that the Qur’an lays on this truth, the stronger has been the inclination on the part of the world to side-track it. In fact, no other truth of the Qur’an has been kept so deliberately out of sight than this. Should one study the Qur’an with an open mind, with every predilection strictly kept aside, and look into its numerous clear assertions in this respect, and then look at those who nevertheless regard the religion of the Qu’ran as nothing else than an exclusive religious groupism, even as other religions, one will assuredly cry out that either the eyes of such people deceive them, or that they deliver their verdict on anything even without looking at it.”(page 152 – 153)
ISLAM IS NOT ABOUT ‘US’ AND ‘THEM’. That is the essence of what I read from the above paragraph. You may choose to disagree with me and if you do, great! For I can only beseech you to find a copy of Mawlana Azad’s book and read it for yourself. But whatever my spiritual limitations (and they are countless), I will stake my heart and soul on the words of this great Muslim and Indian – That the moment we forget the call for unity of mankind as preached by Muhammad the Beloved, ‘the entire framework of the Quranic message will get out of order.’ and Muslims will fall into the trap of religious hubris and ‘exclusive religious groupism’ that has haunted people of other faiths from year dot.
MALAYSIA. Like India, my country is a land of many creeds. And we have to deal with the very different outer manifestation of religious laws and rituals that define the varying religions in my country. But Mawlana Azad made a very succinct point (but one which is often glossed over by people of all faiths) and that is religion has two facets – the essence or inner meaning, and the outer form (the rituals and laws). And he says that the inner essence of all religion is the same, ergo – a belief in God, love, family, charity, kindness and honesty.
A RIVER OF GOD. As if to exemplify this for me today, I must remind you that we were the first there by the river. But later arrived a young Chinese couple. Then another Muslim couple. After that a a Chinese mother and either an Arab or possibly Caucasian husband came by with their little baby girl. Immediately on their heels arrived five foreign Chinese lads (they were way too white to be our local Chinese). This ménage was followed by a gang of Indian and Punjabi boys. Finally, as I was packing away I noticed the arrival of an Indian family, with father, mother, grandmother, uncle and two little children of about 3(boy) and 5 (girl) years old. This motley crew of humanity was drawn here to the serene beauty of the waterfalls. A River of God, a place of happiness where for a moment people can forget their differences and play as Adam and Eve once did, in a place called Jannah (Paradise).
CUP OF JOY. I leave you today with thoughts of thankfulness to God and His Beloved Prophet and to the Saints and Angels that is forever keeping guard upon the gates of our soul. And of course, my appreciation to Heche, Kamarul, Khaled, Jehan and Fifi who made the day memorable for me in so many ways. I arrived home in the evening and my father, brother, nephews and Mikhail had just finished dinner. I am not a good man, but as I gazed at them I felt the completeness of my joy overflow.
Thank you, sunshine, for allowing me the opportunity to share today’s report with you.
Footnote: You may click on the earlier posting about Mawlana Azad (but referred therein as Mawlana Abul) here in Part 1 and Part 2. On a side note, my friend, King, who works in Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs desires to be made known now that he is still working late into the night (its almost 1am now). It appears that he does this on a fairly regular basis. So, Malaysians, please pay your taxes.