Sunday, June 6, 2010

Part 2: Religious and racial diversities: The muslim attitude

1. Love, hate and justice

A few months ago i had a patient admitted for uncontrolled diabetes. He was not compliant to diet restriction and medications, and already developed neuropathies and multiple itchy skin lesions. We wanted to start him on Insulin, but somehow he was a slow learner, it was too difficult for him to learn to use the pen and getting the units right. Despite a few days of teaching, he simply didn't get it. And every time we saw him, there were always sugary food on the table. And when we asked him to open the locker, it's even more. He just would not listen. The HPCs were horrible, and we could not discharge him. Until that day when he lost hope and was unmotivated to learn the injections, he asked us to kill him.
"Doktor bunuh saya saja, nanti saya mati juga, sama saja"
"Tak boleh macam itu pakcik,kami mahu tolong kamu, bukan bunuh kamu," my chinese specialist said.
"Tuhan Allah buat saya macam ini, baik saya mati saja"
I felt like i had an electric shock when he said that. We just kept quiet, unsure of what we were supposed to say. Let the specialist handle.
"Jangan macam itu, Tuhan tak bagi kita putus asa pakcik" He kept persuading him,and the man kept answering him, wanting to die. Finally he stopped, when that poor old man cried.
"What is his name?"
"Regie, an iban"
"Somebody needs to talk to him again later"
Then my specialist turned to me.
"Give him religious counselling."
"Is he a muslim?" i asked.
"I dont know"
Then my team went off, leaving me with the man.I was not sure how was i going to council him. My guts was telling me he's not a muslim.
"Pak cik Islam ke Kristian?"

And i councilled him. Somehow i didnt use the word Allah. I just used God. And that experience left me feeling awkward. For the first time i was giving 'tazkirah' to a Christian - not to lose hope in life, that God loves us. And I simply didn't know how to tell him about Islam when he didn't mention Jesus, but Allah. And that was the time when people in Semenanjung were making a big fuss about Allah's name, but here there's no problem at all, they have been using it for a long time. Nobody burned the churches, nobody threw any pig head in the mosque.
But, i can see the consequence. Maybe i'll talk about it later.

From that time onwards, and as i encountered other situations of religious tolerance, i felt that my heart became less sensitive, less ghirah, more tolerant. Liberal? Hope not.

To hate and at the the same time being kind and just: I find this very difficult. And to be honest, initially i find this confusing, as there are verses of the quran and ahadith which do not favour this relationship, such as:

"Indeed there has been an excellent example for you (muslims) in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily we are free from you.. and whatever you worship besides Allah: we rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone [60:4]"

“You shall not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred.” (Surah al-Mujadala, 5: 22)

But as i delve into this matter, i agree with the opinion that there are stages regarding the relationship with non-muslims:

1 ) Muwalat or Mawadda: This means to have close and intimate relationship and deep love and affection from one’s heart.

This kind of relationship is reserved only for Muslims; hence it will not be permitted for a Muslim to have this type of friendship with non-Muslims. The verses of the Qur’an prohibiting Muslims from having intimate and close friendship with non-Muslims, especially the first verse of Surah al-Mumtahina, is regarding this kind of relationship.

2) Mudarat: This means to express friendship and love only outwardly without having love for them and their beliefs internally. It is a mere outward expression of the first stage (muwalat), hence it entails being pleasant, friendly, polite and kind towards non-Muslims. It involves expressing good manners, courtesy and good behaviour towards fellow human beings.

This kind of relationship with non-Muslims is permitted, as it is reserved for all human beings, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. This becomes even more important when the objective is to safeguard one’s self from potential harm, invite them towards Islam or when they are one’s guests. The verse of the Qur’an where Allah says “except by way of precaution that you may guard yourselves from them” refers to this type of relationship. However, if one fears corrupting his religious values, then this type of friendship will not be permitted with non-Muslims.

3) Muwasat: This means to help, assist and benefit non-Muslims. It includes charitable help and support, condolences and consolations, and removing harm, such as giving water to a thirsty non-Muslim or food to someone who is hungry.

This is also permitted with all types of non-Muslims except those who are directly at war with Muslims. The verse of the Qur’an where Allah Most High says: “Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just” refers to this kind of relationship with non-Muslims.

4) Mu’amalat: This means to deal, transact and trade with non-Muslims. This is also permitted with all non-Muslims except when it is harmful to Islam and Muslims in general. (Culled from: Ahkam al-Qur’an, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Ma’arif al-Qur’an, 2/50-51, Jawahir al-Fiqh, 179-193 and Ifadat Ashrafiyya, P: 11)

We have to make this clear and know where our boundries are,being moderate, and not to fall in either extremes:

Some become quite extreme in their treatment of non-Muslims, in that they consider all kind of contact with non-Muslims to be sinful. They are quite aggressive in their approach towards non-Muslims and also consider Muslims who have any sort of relationship with non-Muslims to be sinful.

This approach is incorrect, as we can see quite clearly from the verses of the Qur’an provided above and from the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his noble Companions (Allah be pleased with them all).

On the other hand, some Muslims become so close and intimate with non-Muslims to the point that there remains no difference between belief and disbelief. The Qur’an in many verses prohibited us from loving non-Muslims in our hearts; hence it will not be permitted to love them and their beliefs from one’s heart. Yet, some Muslims sit, eat, live and mingle with non-Muslims as though it does not matter whether one believes or otherwise. This is the other extremism which must also be avoided. A Muslim’s life has a purpose which is to live a life that is in accordance with the commands of Allah Almighty and his beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace), hence true love can only be for those who share the same purpose and not for those who reject this basic purpose of life.

tbc insyaAllah


Jacknaim said...

-as i encountered other situations of religious tolerance, i felt that my heart became less sensitive, less ghirah, more tolerant. Liberal? Hope not.-

Salam sis,

just my little thought.

it is not a liberal. but i rather call it as bil-hikmah. for Allah say

"Yasiru wa la Tuasiru"

made thing easier to others even though we choose the harder way for ourself. i remember the words from one of my NGO friend said

"Apabila kita mencapai kesempurnaan, kita sering lupa bagaimana kita bermula."

the fact is, we also crawling at that time before we finally be able to run..

so, nurture them to develop their thigh muscle strength so that they also can walk and run..

step by step, insyaALLAH

Poison Ivy said...


it's worrying me sometimes.

dont know whether i'm falling apart or holding on.

whether i'm deluded or see things right.

maybe i think too much :S