February 6, 2014
We don’t live in isolation. In fact what goes around comes around.
I’m talking about the raging debates on Islam, God, Allah, edicts, rulings, King and parliament.
Hissing at each other over religion isn’t bringing any good to anyone, nor does it indicate a healthy future for Malaysia.
My view is not limited to the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) confiscation of bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Iban a month ago from the Bible Society’s Office or the protests and demonstrations against Catholic weekly The Herald’s editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew of the Allah issue.
It extends to Islam and the edict on Syiah by the Sunni clergy.
My stance remains as it is. I could not care less who or what disguises my beliefs – Ustaz, Mufti, Agong or even Parliament.
What I know is that I am a Muslim and my only concern is the law of God.
And the law of God to me states that Islam is a universal religion and all accepting. The Islam that I know is colour blind. There is no such thing as your Islam and mine.
There is no such thing as your Islam being less Islamic than mine.
No arguments before
Some of our people proudly claim that Sunni is a truer Islam than Syiah.
Fifty years ago I never heard this argument. But now it’s added to the religious confusion gripping this country.
Countries like Syria, Egypt, Libya and Iraq are now failed states yet we look to them for ‘guidance’ and send out students to imbibe their teachings.
I must say this, stop sending students to these places and start recalling them. Otherwise we too will be blamed for brewing potential Al Qaeda militants.
To those who quarrel over the use of ‘Allah’ and other Arabic terms, I ask what’s the fuss. Is your faith so shallow and weak that it fears another religion’s mouthing of a word?
Some people talk as if battling to protect the term is an act of Jihad. I find this disconcerting.
The depth of my belief is not defined or threatened by a shared word. Drop me anywhere in the world where there is not a single Muslim and I shall remain a Muslim at God’s will.
No one can tell me or others what they can and cannot do in their respective beliefs They, as much as I, have exclusive right over what religion and path to follow.
Myopic federal views
In Borneo, where I live, Allah is for all. We have no qualm over religions. Don’t forget in Borneo we still have pagans and animists.
One wonders if our myopic federal authorities know this and if the federal constitution can accommodate such groups existing in this soil.
In Peninsula, Islam is influenced by Arabs who once arrived by Sumatera. But for the people in Borneo, the Islam they know came from Jawa, which is very much culturally influenced by early Hinduism.
We are, as such, used to integration.
Speaking for myself, my grandfather was not a born Muslim. He only became a Muslim when he was looked after by a Kadayan family. And that was long before Malaysia was formed.
I therefore have many cousins who are not Muslims.
But if anyone attempts to deride them or destroy my connection with my non-Muslim family, then I will fight.
Please don’t assume because you are Muslim and I’m Muslim, I would be siding you.
And an unwarranted religious discord, stoked by political quarters, is damning to the pursuit of personal happiness and national political and economic progress.
Malaysians across the board have far too much work ahead if we want the country to succeed and be progressive in every sense.
Don’t allow selfish politics and a blinkered understanding of religion override the law of God, love and common sense.
Haji Amde Sidik is the chairman of the Kadayan Institute, an institution that does research studies on ethnics and cultures of Borneo.
~ Free Malaysia Today