Monday, February 7, 2011

Between Form and Essence of Religion, the Importance of both, and why, I am the Richest

LAST NIGHT. It’s school night so Mika was with me. Before bedtime he introduced me to a boardgame called Who’s The Richest. It’s an abbreviated form of Monopoly and similarly, the winner is the player who earns the most wealth and outlasts all other players.

SO WHO’S THE RICHEST? Clearly last night, I was the outright winner. In spite of the aim of the game, Mika was at his most magnanimous, and I was at my most terrible form. I was leaking money, having to pay huge rents to him and being fined (3 times!) for unlawfully climbing the Eiffel Tower. But again and again, he tried to sneak some of his money into my pile and cheering whenever I (rarely) get some decent luck. As my cash dwindled he was becoming nervous for me, trying even to ‘accidentally’ land on my hotel, so that he would be able to pay me rent. Anything, to keep his papa in the game. “It’s not about winning, Papa… its about having fun.”, he says. Inevitably, I lost, bankrupt by the 10th turn. But I was the richest I think… because I had a son like him. Queer and kind little fellow.

KATAM QURAN. On Saturday morning, with my aunt and Heche in tow, I drove down to Putrajaya, the administrative centre of Malaysia. One of my cousin’s daughter was having her daughter’s Katam Quran. Essentially it is a celebration of the girl’s completion of her study in the recitation of the holy scripture. On that day, surrounded by family and friends, she would recite the closing verses of the Quran, and if she makes an error, anyone present could correct her recitation by raising his/her own recitation, and this would be repeated by the young lady and the congregation. She succeeded just fine that day, with very few mistakes. Thereafter followed the tahlil (a traditional collection of prayers and recitation of critical verses of the holy book, especially the Yaasin) and closing supplications. It was good, and it was better because the proud parents served us roast lamb and other assortment of delicacies, including the famous Sate (or spelled satay sometimes), which is grilled marinated meat impaled on small sticks. The only qualification of the day was the hot weather, which was slowly broiling me. Heche didn't allow me to wear a t-shirt, you see, she says its a formal function. She is funny that way.

UNITY OF WORSHIP. I often talk about the unity of religion. About the common meaning behind the idea and recognition of God in all creeds, and how His prophets and saints’ good example and teachings are meant to elevate mankind to a higher purpose and happiness. I understand however that within each religion, it is important to remember the roots and rituals which accompany whatever faith you are holding to. It promotes togetherness and I have no doubt that God will reward you for your faith and charity. The views I share here is not meant to encourage the breakdown of core beliefs and rituals of any man or woman. If you are Christian, may you be the best Christian you can be. If you are Hindu, may you be the best Hindu that you can be. If you are Sikh, Buddhist or Jew, then it is my sincere hope that you will the best that you can be in following the best examples of your faith. Accept no alternative, my friend, for surely your excellence is God’s highest hopes for you. Because I am taught that the unity of one religion, one race and one nation is not divisive but is in fact a necessary element in the overall unity of worship shared by mankind and all creation.

Last night, Ariffin, my partner in my law firm was in jubilant mood, sms-ing me his hope that today would be a good day. So I am sharing his sentiments and hopes with you – Godwilling, may this be a SUPERB DAY for you, sunshine!
31.A gift of gifts!!
In my life I am blessed,
As the Lord ensures me
The companionship of true friends,
They who enliven my days
with wit, joy and wisdom.

Honoured, inspite of myself,
To be honoured with their brotherhood.
O'Lord of Gifts,
In this which you reward me,
Is a gift of gifts!!

Pax Taufiqa.


Uncle said...

"One of my cousin’s daughter was having her daughter’s Katam Quran." Your cousin's daughter's daughter? In other words, your grandniece, old man?

Milky Tea said...

Dear Uncle,

I believe in the dictum, why say in 3 words what I can say in 100 words. A friend once describe me to a girl that Taufiq is the sort of guy who would take 3 hours to describe an orange. Of course, nothing then ever happened between me and the girl.

Yes, yes, I am 41 years old this year. But I feel like 101!

THanks for dropping by!