MIRACLE MOSQUE? My brother shared something with me the other day. You know that thing about the miracle mosque in Banda Aceh still let standing post-tsunami? Well, maybe it isn’t so miraculous after all. He said that perhaps (let me stress here perhaps) it’s simply because (i) the mosque had a lot of openings that allowed the water to pass through it, and (ii) the mosque was essentially better built compared to the houses surrounding it.
DOES IT MATTER? And my conclusion? Frankly, I don’t know. But if the alternative suggestion carries at least some weight, than perhaps it is unwise for the Muslims to place too much emphasis on the miracle-story. I am not saying it isn't a miracle. I mean, please believe it if you feel it is true, but for me it is not so significant. And this is why...
MIRACLE SHIMACLE! The Prophet Muhammad is extremely reluctant to use miracles to persuade people. He was kinda saying, “Look here, kiddo. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t kill your baby daughters. Don’t covet the property of others. Keep your promises. Don’t burden your animals unnecessarily. Take care of your health. Don’t eat and drink too much. There is only One God, so why are you messing about with idols of your own creation? And generally be nice to others, because sunshine, let’s face it – wouldn’t you want others to treat you that way too?” So he thought that this was so fundamentally true for anyone that surely, SURELY, the Quraish (the dominant tribe of Mecca then) would have no problems with his message, and that the necessity of having to perform miracles would not persist. Alas, people are stubborn. Stubborn in their old ways and habits. So he did perform a couple of miracles, most famously by splitting the Moon in two.
SO WHAT? But did that change people’s attitude towards his message of mercy? Well, for some it did. But for those who were adamant in their ways, Muhammad could have split the Sun and the Earth in two, but they would never have followed him. Thereafter, his enemies branded him a sorcerer, - a mage with the ability to hoodwink. That is how the coin drops sometimes, I guess.
For me the important lesson to be gained from the miracle mosque story is this – Islam is suppose to be an open religion. It has many doors, gateways and entrances, so that more and more people will stumble through and find the contentment and peace which is what the Prophet promised. The problem is nowadays, the idea of Islam has changed for some people. I think I posted this following poem before, but I would like to repeat it again to describe what I mean…
1. Islam Was Once A Splendid Garden
Islam was once a splendid garden,
Filled with rose, tulip and jasmine blooms.
The garden was protected
By a wall of stone
Upon which was inscribed
“All ye who seek shelter,
All ye who seek safety,
Outside the garden wall
Ran a moat of clear sweet water,
From which travelers drink
And are feted with the words;
“If ye think the water is sweet,
Enter ye into the garden and drink
Thy fill from the fountain!”
That was then.
Now the free fountain
Has been replaced with
A coin-operated dispenser.
The walls have been torn down
And in its place
A fence of fire has been erected,
With gates and toll booths
Occupied by surly operators.
Alas! We find
The moat has dried up,
The trees and flowers
And into the garden
The fire sends plumes
Of damnable smoke
And noxious fumes,
Blocking out the stars and the moons
That once gazed brightly
Down upon us.
THE BEST MIRACLE. There is an Ocean of Mercy within you, sunshine. Turn the tap, and let Love course through your Soul. For I believe with all my sinful heart that the Best Miracle of all is actually YOU (…you Jews, you Muslims, you Buddhists, you Christians, you Hindus, you Wiccans, you Atheists, you Sikhs, Trekkies, you Boy Scouts, you Girl Guides, you Volvo drivers… etc).
Wouldn't you agree?