On Being a Muslim

Okay, this is my 3rd entry today. Hope you won't get bored.

One of the reasons why I would like to do anything just to go back to the 90's is because I used to feel free and comfortable as a Muslim (during the 90's). I don't feel that kind of freedom anymore today. Especially after the September 11, 2001 tragedy. The impact of this tragedy is actually the bigger tragedy of humanity. Because after September 11, 2001, Muslims and non-muslims no longer see each other in "human" way. The tragedy has really opened my eyes on how humans can be so easily judgmental to each other. I used to be one of them, who really despised people who hated Islam due to the tragedy. I thought those people were pieces of craps. But then I realized that hating those Islam haters didn't make me any more open-minded than them. Once we become over judgmental (well, judgment is fine, over judgment is not) towards people, we will loose our sense to understand them as human beings.

So, due to all of these over judgments, Islam will no longer be seen as what Islam really is. As I've been a friend of some people who despise terrorism in Faculty of Humanities, and I've learned what they think about Islam, I started to realize that there are a lot of differences between their views on Islam and my views on Islam.

Okay, let's move back a little bit to the past. How can it lead to this?

As I lived in Indonesia (a country where the majority of people here are Muslims) and was educated in Islamic elementary school, I really felt accepted to be a Muslim without bothering other people's right of being non-muslims. I knew exactly what Barrack Obama meant by "In Indonesia, Muslims and non-Muslims could get along each other."

I have parents who have always taught me to love Islam completely but have never taught me to hate other people who don't believe in Islam. I have always been taught "Lakum diinukum waliyadiin." Or in other words, "For you what you believe, for me what I believe."

In that point of view, I really felt that Islam is truly "Rahmatalil aalamin" (blessing for the universe). And the idea that Islam would later be judged as a religion of terrorism had never crossed into my mind. There's no way I could tell that Islam teaches us terrorism. All I know is Islam teaches us to believe in one God, Allah swt. and follow whatever Rasulullah saw., the messenger has told us to do. And "terrorism" is never on the list of what Rasulullah saw. asked us to do.

Rasulullah saw. did go to some wars. But if you learned about the wars carefully, you'll know that Rasulullah saw. took some time and patience to tolerate what Quraisy and other Kafir people did. Rasulullah saw. didn't instantly declare the war. At first, he introduced those Kafir people with Islam. They didn't accept Islam. Later, they tortured Muslims and banned the Muslims from Mekkah. Rasulullah saw. and other Muslims went to Madinah. But after all the tolerances that they offered, the Kafir people still despised Rasulullah saw. and other Muslims. They have always tried to kill them. So, is it wrong if finally they decided to fight for what they believed in? I guess it's normal and rational. Even in the war, Rasulullah saw. didn't want women and children to get involved (except Syafiah because she's the one who wanted to go to the war). He didn't allow us to kill enemies in the war if they already surrendered.

Another obvious example is the death penalty in Islam. In Islam, when you kill someone, you will be beheaded. That's the famous part. But often non-muslims will never know about this part: "Unless it's for defending yourself and unless the family of the one you murder forgives you."

So that's what Islam is about. We, Muslims, are taught to "fight" for what we believe in. But not only that, we are also taught patience, tolerance, and mercy.

So it's not just simply a strict packet of rules that is lack of tolerance. The implementation of Islamic syariah varied according the cases and the context. But the hatred and the fear of Islam have already restricted non-muslim people to find out more about Islam. That makes the over-judgments grow bigger. That makes us, as Muslims, also hate non-muslims more because we think they have overjudged us. If none of us tried to step aside and look at the problems from the different point of view, the circle of overjudgment and hatred would always continue.

So, I'm writing this, not only as a Muslim but aslo a friend of some non-muslims. I don't want to "overfight" anymore." Because "fighting" is not the only thing taught in Islam. There should be some time for us to take a rest and listen to other people. Or at least, try to let them speak (even when you don't really want to hear them speak).

Maybe Muslims in the world should learn from Bosnian people. Do you remember in the 90's, when some other Muslims in the world, including the ones in Indonesia, lived peacefully? In the 90's Bosnians were not as happy as other Muslims. They suffered from the genocide planned by the leaders of Yugoslavia at that time. There was an intended "ethnic cleansing" that cause many victims, including many people who got killed, many little girls who got raped, and many others lost their homes and families.

What did the Bosnians do then? They fought for their freedom, with some help from here and there. And finally Slobodan Milosevic and his partners in crime got punishments they deserved. But after that, did they try to "overfight" the Serbians? Did they try to destroy "Serbia" as a country? Did they try to make another "genocide" to get innocent people involved in their vengeance? No, they didn't. That's what I love from Bosnian people. When they know that it hurts, they don't want other people to suffer the same way. And I guess that what makes me proud of Bosnian Muslims. They really know exactly Muslims must "fight," but not "overfight" that we will hurt others.

So, I'm hoping that I could see Islam in such a way. It's hard to be a person in that level (fighting but not overfighting). I have to admit I'm still in process of learning how to be in that level. I have to admit sometimes I still suffer from irrational hatred towards others, especially towards those who hate Islam.

So what I'm going to do now is just praying and keep on trying to be a Muslim in that level.
And it's obvious that I will always be proud of being a Muslim. I MUST always be proud of being a Muslim. No matter what people say.

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