Friday, November 4, 2011

Islam and the Inheritance of Tolerance - Minorities and History

34. Islam is a Forest
Islam is a forest,
Sanctuary and abode
To all forms of fauna and animals.

And if you happen across
A stampede of animals
Fleeing their green homes,
Know that some foul threat has appeared,
Akin to a wild forest fire.

So it is often observed,
That the exodus of minorities
From the Islamic polity
Is the first indicator of
A sick society.

So it is often observed,
That many religious reformers
Can only purify society
By putting fire to grace,
Choosing hubris above dignity,
Stiff-neck anger above beauty.

It is the benign nature of Islam at its most confident peak, that Muslims do not to worry too much about the minorities. When the Caliph is ruling well, prosperity is shared, autonomy is respected, the Islamic Caliphate becomes the beacon of learning and universal truth. People spend very little time worrying and fearing about the non-Muslims. See my earlier posting entitled Ground Zero Mosque and the Ornament of the World (Click Here). It was based on a book by Maria Rosa Menocal by the same name.

But when the Muslims have lost their connection to their own history, forgetting even the Islamic Caliphate that existed for over one thousand three hundred years, bad things happen. This mass amnesia is a unfortunate, because when we forget the true nature of life in those times, Muslims tend to start recreating a history which never existed - a fantasy of a utopian Islam populated by two dimensional Muslim 'heroes' and non-Muslim 'villains'. Cartoon and shallow caricatures of the true reality of those days.

Of course things were never perfect even in the most glorious days of the Ummayad Andalusian Caliphate, but there was a passionate belief in life, learning and work which appears to be lost to many Muslims nowadays. In those days, the Muslims were not followers but inventors and scientists, town planners and spiritual leaders. The Muslims were strong in the arts, applied arts and sciences, commerce and literature. There was few endeavours that a Muslim with a heart can take to without being a success. What has gone wrong?

The answer is simple. In those days, the Muslims were still adept in the traditions of the Prophet. Holding strongly not only to the Sharia (Law) but most importantly, to the spiritual path (Tariqa, if you wish to give a name to it). Nowadays, theological rigidity, stiff-neck bigotry and insular attitude pervades the mainstream system of education and religion. Instead of becoming a window, Islam has become a door barred shut by an inferiority complex suffered by the Muslims. Instead of becoming a bridge between nations and faiths, Islam has become a fence. And instead of becoming the catalyst of personal accountability, the religion has become the means by which Muslims blame everyone else for every tragedy now faced by Muslims. Economy? Blame the Jews. Middle East crisis? Blame America. Abandoned babies and abortion? Blame the Western culture. Fall of the Arab dictators? Blame the Masons. Or maybe the Illuminati. Or maybe the Zionists.

Blame. Blame. Blame. Man, I am sick of it.

Nothing that was taught to me about the Prophet and his exemplary conduct suggests that the Prophet is the sort of man who would blame anyone else. If there is something wrong, fix it, he would say. Don't wait to accuse someone else. 

It is this same inclination to blame that will expose minorities in Muslim countries to danger. The mobs and dogs of hubris that burn churches and temples have absolutely nothing to do with the Islam of Muhammad, the Beloved. It has all to do with the mob-ego that is frantically looking to blame someone else for their desperate plight. That is why that the first condition we wish to observe is the treatment of minorities in a Muslim country. There in lies the true condition of their faith. See earlier posting entitled Tolerance is a 'Sign of Strength, Intolerance is Sign of Weakness' - Click Here.

I for one hope that all non-Muslims in Malaysia will continue to stay here and add colour to the country. It would not be Malaysia without the Chinese, Indians and other races that call this country home. God bless them all, and may the Muslims manifest their inheritance of tolerance.

Have a happy day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

No comments: