This short semester, I’ve spent lot of my leisure times reading books; try to find something. Then I realize it is quite hard to find the value of appreciation of Islam from most of the books especially the novels written by Malay Muslims. Of course, as a youngster, I will try to find out the value of Islam in my nation first because it is the surroundings where I start my breath from the very beginning, and Malay is synonym to Islam and vice versa, even Islam is ‘alamiyyah or universal which means created by Allah for all mankind without pointing their tribes, gender, races, languages used, countries etc.
I heard a lot about a man named Sulaiman Dufford from my roommate as he is her favorite lecturer in IIUM, teachings Anthropology and I wish to attend his class one day to have a discussion on worldview. He is a westerner and embraced Islam about 40 years ago. What I’ve found in him is the appreciation on becoming a Muslim; a value that I said is very hard to find in Malays nowadays. I’ve read his articles about Islam and Muslims from newspapers and magazines (the craziness that I’ve started to love since the last semester) and this weekend I’ve read his anthology, Conversion Journeys; On Becoming Muslim in the West.
It is a very simple anthology but impress me very much as I’ve found that sometimes the new comers are better than Malay Muslims in feeling Islam itself; how they practicing the ibadah, how they find and feel the love in Islamic brotherhood, how they learn the world through the eyes of Islamic law which is shari’ah – which all Muslims define by it, and those of the values make me cry and ask how far did I completely done my responsibility as a vicegerent of Allah; loving and practicing Islam as my religion and as the way of my life as Islam is not just performing five times day prayer, fasting in Ramadhan or going to Makkah to perform hajj. It is more than that. And how much I wish to die and born from my mother’s womb once again as a Muslim who can feel the very new breath when I declare the shahadah from the very first time.
May be it is not too easy to be invited into Islam, like what some people ask “Why the God makes it so hard if it is true that Islam is a divine revelation?”. It is because the truth itself, is a complicated problem to be discussed and to be solved so far cannot be measured too (as when we fall in love with someone and keep thinking whether it is really a true love or not). It does really need the high gut level to realize the existence of the truth like what was revealed by Allah SWT in al-Quran about ulul albab (those who are the thinker and want to think).
So once they get the true soft lovely light from the God, they really appreciate the status of Muslim. Instead, we as a Malay Muslims inherit that status from our parents, taught by them saying the Islamic creed from the age of 3 or 4 and it was melting in our mouth just like that (without feeling the light that comes from it), imitated the way of performing solah from them like the chicken having the crops (where the parents feel very proud to see) and also the system of our religious schools nowadays that focusing more on memorizing the Quranic verses and hadith instead of practicing it just what I’ve experienced when I’m was in form 1-form 3.
I still can remember when I went to a technical school in Kuala Terengganu; I feel the Islamic way better than what I’ve experienced in my religious school before. The way of practicing congregational prayer and qiamullail is very different and still, whilst I typing this, I can feel how cool and serene I am during the qiamullail with all my friends in school’s musolla. Yes, there was no completely memorizing the hadith and Quranic verses (except few for Pendidikan Islam) but the Islamic morality that taught by the rules in that school had mould me to be better. And I still can remember one of my school mates named Heng Yang Yang, a Chinese boy embraced Islam after a year he studied in that school and all of his family members too become a Muslim. It is very wonderful when I see that he sat together with us in front of the Ustaz to listen to Kuliyyah Maghrib while some of Malay brothers just fade away and lean against the wall and fell asleep.
But don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that going to the religious school is bad. No, of course not. It’s good because you learn more about the religion than others (and so far you have a bigger satan because you know more than others too). But what I am trying to discuss is the practice among the Malay Muslims. It is nothing to do with 3-4 hours lecture about Islam if you cannot feel it. Me, myself, frankly I am rarely to go listening the talk on Islam and Muslims and again, I’m not saying that listen to ‘ceramah’ is not good. Go for it, I encourage you to gain your knowledge about Islam but the youngsters like me are wishing to see the values not the words solely that cannot be touched by the bare hands, as the saying goes, seeing is believing (even sometimes it is also hard to believe because the hypocrisy seems become the way of our life in our modern day) and hearing it might be deceiving (even sometimes it is true). The main point is, approach the youngsters in a very nice way by showing the values of a Muslim in the way of speaking, act or gestures and even writings (if we are a writer) because the youngsters is the imitators if we can see that.
Come back to Conversion Journeys organized by Sulaiman Dufford, I’ve read the experiences of the westerners in way of becoming the Muslims. Most of them practicing the Christianity that believes in idea of trinity (God as the God’s father, Jesus as the God, and Mariam is the God’s mother) and afterwards they believe in oneness of Allah in Islam after kept asking and thinking for years (since they were children) about the heaven and hell, seen and unseen realms (dunya and akhirah) and the truth. But the truth, as what I said just now is like love. You cannot see it even you believe its existence and it comes towards your heart softly and unpredictably.
The belief that against the belief, the teaching that against the teaching, and sometimes the belief that lost because of the emptiness of the teaching itself has brought them into Islam and they profoundly believe in it even they were teased by others who are non-Muslims. We, the Malay Muslims inherit Islam very easy, never been teased or isolated by others (including our family members); the difficulties that the new comers have to face. May be these causes us to take it for granted including me, a professional sinner- and this post always make me sigh.