I’ve honestly never took any serious consideration with regards to the coming of the Islamic New Year. Which is bad. Considering that just hours ago, we had ushered in the new year, or rather a new month of Muharram. As I sat down at the table having dinner with my family, watching the Malaysians usher it in with full meaning, I began to comprehend a new knowledge. A new realization.
When I was younger, from the age of 9, I had been brought up with stories of the Prophet and his Sahabahs. My mum, particularly bought me a book I can still clearly remember its title, “Khulafa Al Rasyid”. The book told the stories of our beloved Prophet’s most beloved Companions, the Four Caliphs. I prided myself back then, at my ability to narrate snippets of their lives, the chronological details and so forth. In essence, I was well acquainted with their biographies. These days, it’s only glimpses and flashes of memories. Which is a pity.
Growing up these days, kids and adults alike are surrounded and overwhelmed with successful individuals of a different type. Those who had amassed wealth, are seen as role models and biographies worth indulging in. I think people these days are more at ease to narrate the lives of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Robert Kiyosaki and so forth. I’m as guilty of such mindless indulgence.
As I tried to grasp a symbolic understanding of the coming year, I recalled the stories of the 313 Companions of the Prophet who won the Battle of Badr. I am reminded of the atrocities Ammar Bin Yasser had to endure. I am pained by the memories of Bilal. Stories of the Companions come flooding back to me. Aplenty. Stories of courage, perseverance, faith, leadership and of sufferings.
As throngs of people will probable wish each other a Happy New Year, in a fortnight, have we asked ourselves, if we have ever been tasked with the responsibility of defending our faith?
Sadly and true, our Suria channel, the so called, self professed representation of a Malay Muslim community media network, did not manage to squeeze in a program worthy of significance in commemoration of the Muharram. Is it deemed too Islamic, to warrant a place of airtime?
Whilst the bigwigs of the faith, go around spreading the goodwill message of Islam by visiting temples and churches, what is with the strenghtening of the Muslim community? Who is knocking on our doors to wish us wishes of Muharram? Who is calling out for new resolutions to elevate the moral, status and dignity of the community?
The recent debacle about the problems plaguing the community is a rhetorical issue. As I mused myself over the forum pages in our Berita Harian, I came to a conclusion. There is no need for the powers that be, to spend time and money to research on the causes, effects and solutions. Why? Because, it’s not a modern issue. It’s not a contemporary problem. It’s not a race/faith biased complications. It’s just a representation of the social imbalances that will happen, when a way of life is not adhered to. In the simplistic sense, Malay Muslims are not living a Muslim life to elevate the Malay community.
Easier blogged and mentioned then executed, you say. Agreed.
But the fact is this. No amount of campaigns, educational crusade, media 2.0 exposures or government policies will ever improve a situation, that has its issues rooted on the problems of spiritual disorientation.
Let me tell you why.
Parents killing their kids is not new. Umar r.a, buried his daughter alive, back before he was a Muslim, and so did scores of people in his time. Islam changed him.
Problems of intoxications is not new.That is why, Islam prohibits intoxicants in any form. Scores of Companions drank before the verses of prohibitions were revealed. Islam came, and the culture of drinking was abolished.
Financial problems and poverty is not new. Early Muslims, were boycotted and left to hunger in the desert by the Meccan folks for their insistence on following the Prophet. Most Muslims, were left to fend for their own. Islam came, with a system of equality, of sharing, of charity and entrepreneurship. The economic landscape changed for the Muslims.
Early marriages is not a problem. Islam encourages marriages, to protect the dignity of women and to restrain the urges of men. To make sexual relations permissible. To foster the spirit of family bond. To give birth to new Muslims and Muslimahs. To encourage the growth of lineage. The problem with Malay Muslim marriages, is that it’s not grounded on such principles. It’s not Islam’s fault. It’s the misapplication. And it centers around the whole Malay culture itself. That of expectations, exaggerations, extravagance and exclamations. If the concern of a couple and their family is on the wedding, then the problem is with the marriage.
No leadership. This is a central issue, worth pondering and analyzing. When you have a message, and lacking the messengers, who’s fault is it when the community does not comprehend the vision, the implications and effects they should gear their lives towards to? Why are the bigwigs, contented with cutting ribbons? Why are the leaders contented with announcing the arrival of Ramadhan and Syawal on televisions? Why are the leaders contented with sitting behind a PC to type in their views and comments and opinions? Why are the leaders contented with filling their stomachs with dinner functions,after dinner functions for non Muslims, to understand Islam?Why are the leaders contented with portraying the realities and fallacies of the through arts,tv and radio?Why are the leaders subjecting themselves to behind the scenes action?
Where is the leadership?
Ask yourself, when was the last time a fellow Muslim or Muslimah asked you to perform jemaah prayers with you. Disregard the context of your family. Your fellow leaders? Your fellow friends? Your fellow relatives?
And yes…I believe even I am part of the transgressions most of the times.
Therefore I have a very simple resolution for my Muharram. I aspire to be a leader. In all capacities of my life.