A priest, a rabbi and a quranist…

and so the joke goes. Last night however was no joke. I attended an event promoting scripture and reasoning between the three ‘Abrahamic Faiths’ . I sat a table with a rabbi and a priest (very lovely people). When it came to my turn to introduce myself, I did and lo and behold! ….I was rudely interrupted by a Traditionalist. He was like ‘what about the letters of the prophet bla bla bla’. So I replied, since he just spoke about ‘no compulsion in deen’, why was he accepting hadith from the same source which says ‘whoever changes his religion, kill him’ ? He actually said ‘this isnt true, there’s so such hadith’ !!!!!. This is when the ironic happened, the priest actually said he’s seen this debate before and that there was such a hadith. That shut up our Traditionalist friend…for the rest of the dinner.

Moral of the lesson: Dont try to hide your beliefs for fear of embarassment. Be honest and brave. Research your beliefs thoroughly. Because people know…oh they KNOW.

One thing good though, some good honest discussion came from that little tiff…

Bani Israel are Jews?!

This always messed up my reading back in the day. I remember thinking, why is there so much information on the ‘Jews’. I used to read a famous Malay tafseer by Ahmad Sonhadji Mohamed which was nothing more than a mouthpiece for classical tafseer. It made me wonder why exactly the Quran, a universal guide for human beings, is to preoccupied with the Jews. Then I got the answer: It isn’t.

A good read for those who wish to see the other side of the story is Dr Kamal Omar’s ‘The Ultimate Truth’. Dr Omar denies the racial (even racist) nature of the Traditional interpretation and says that Bani Israil are those who survived the deluge during the time of Nuh. This is confirmed by the Quran:

Descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant (17/3)

Although I disagree that the deluge is universal,  it is clear that Bani Israil were carried with Nuh. This does not show a racial trait but an ideological one. Nuh’s ark acted as a carrier for Israil ( a journey for God).

Also imagine, if Musa was preaching in Egypt and someone not Jewish came up to him and said ‘i want to be muslim’ would Musa tell him ‘sorry mate, this is only for my race’. Does this sound like islam to you? Me neither.

For those who insist that Bani Israil are Jews, sad to say, the Quran doesn’t agree with this. Bani Israil are a living community of anyone who wishes to undertake a journey to and for Allah.

The Golden Formula

Ever since Secondary School, the teachers, students, and sadly the books, would continuously force us into thinking Islam is the Golden Formula for a wonderful Utopia. Despite the fact that we were miserable children, with miserable lives in a miserable country, we were brainwashed into believing Islam is the only solution. Islam is the true answer. Islam will set you free!

They also got us thinking that Islam isn’t working because of us: artists, dreamers, lovers of life!

You’d see us dying every day. This friend gives up break dance lessons because it’s “revealing her shame (aka, body!)” and that other friend abandoning his God-given (and god-given) painting talents for God.

I wondered why people grew so close-minded.
I wondered why they ignored their dreams in pain and followed a path free of self-expression.
Why they agreed on a world so dull and empty.
Why they hated Jews.
Why they blindly followed their sexist Sheikhs.
Why they nod their heads when a TV-image of an Islamic Scholar tells them to beat their wives.
Why everyone secretly ridiculed Religious Studies teachers.
Why it was called “Religious Studies”, not “Philosophical and Religious studies”.
Why we were made to hate our friends if they eat with left hands.
Why any religious subjects that would cause us great disgust required prolonged lectures and excuses to be justified.
Why the over-religious ones were usually mad or faking happiness because they Prophet used to be a “smiling man”.
Why religious university majors were only done by people with low scores?
Why those Religious Scholars dared category ALL of the world’s science into “Religious” and “non-Religious”?!
Why you cannot attend a university Religion class without wearing hijab!
Why Muslims think the world is theirs and, 
Why the world is not theirs and never will be, despite their Islam, the “golden” formula that can conquer the world and make it a beautiful place.

So, we were Muslims. We were melophobic. We were hateful. We denounced art and passion. We had absolutely no religious tolerance. We were hurt and never confessed it. We supported honor killing. We killed our children because they fell in love. We worshiped the patriarchy system. We were willing to kill black puppies! We didn’t believe in freedom.

So what went wrong? Who told us there’s such a thing as “punishable blasphemy”? Who told us the male has the right to dominate, and who told us to stone our people (after spying on them to see who they’re having sex with!)? Who trapped us in daily routines and who worried us TO DEATH about trivial issues such as the correct way to do a salaat position or what foot to use at various occasions?

And WHY is drawing a cartoon of Muhammad punishable and haraam (even if the person who did the drawing doesn’t abide by Islamic law!), but killing apostate (people with spouses and children) is an obligation?

A GOLDEN FORMULA that never worked, and we’re still trying.


And now that we mention it.