I would like to wish all Muslims a Ramadan Mubarak! Insha-Allah, we all have a great month of Ibadah (All acts of worship to obey Allah. E.g. fasting, prayer and doing good deeds) and Learning (also Ibadah). And I also wish my fellow non-Muslim friends and visitors a prosperous month of happiness, productivity, fun and learning.
As you might know by now, today is the first day of fasting (during Ramadan) for us Muslims. This fact got me thinking about how can I also facilitate a better understanding of Islam and Muslims to the Non-Muslims, using this blog as a channel. After a bit of reflection, I thought that linking you to the Harun Yahya site would be a good start to open your mind about what Islam is about and its views on Science, Technology, Terrorism, Nature, etc. As all the materials (as far as I know) are free, you will have a lot to explore (without access barriers except perhaps the need for broadband to download or view the videos). I believe it is a great open educational resource site for both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.
Here are a few typical questions I have gotten throughout my life from curious learning individuals:
- Are you a Muslim? (This one I get from both Muslims and Non-Muslims)
- You are joking right? Seriously? (This one I get because of my looks. Suspiciously white-looking!)
- Alright, but you are different? (If we all mix more, I suppose we will realize that we have more in common than we realize! )
- Do you drink? (If so, you are one of us!)
- Do you party? (Beginning to really like you!)
- Do you eat pig? (What's wrong with the pig!)
- Do you pray? (Getting serious! Especially, if you got a long beard!)
- Have you studied at a Religious school (or Madrasah)? (Red Alert!)
- Have you been (or studied in) to Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq? (Confirmed!)
If I answer all these questions correctly, I will probably be on someone's most wanted list. I am only joking, but I suppose others might feel uncomfortable with all these questions, especially if they are new to it. But since I have always been the odd one out, I have gotten used to it (Actually, these experiences are great for story-telling and a good laugh!). Yes, I am also left-handed! A Genius! Well, when I joined a chocolate factory (Freia) sometime in the past, I was informed that left-handed workers were more prone to accidents (A right-handed world!). It made me feel very comfortable when I was assigned to manage a monstrous chocolate packing machine. Though, my colleague coached me well, and Al-Hamdulilla I had no major accidents!
I AM THE CHOSEN ONE!
I thought I had experienced it all! But, then again I had never visited 'Down Under'. When I travelled to Australia recently (holiday) with my wife and two kids (below 6), I had a tough time (a good laugh I mean!) getting through custom (or security) at Brisbane Airport with our stroller, baby bottles, baby oil, milk powder, nappies, etc. (You never know!). Then came the moment of truth! The Aussie mate told me that I have been randomly selected to check for explosives (My younger brother was also chosen once, too!). I suddenly felt that I was more than famous (Infamous!). I have never really been lucky in terms of selection, but this time I was the chosen one (Neo watch out!). Hopefully, next time it is Harvard University offering me a free PhD scholarship for researching the future masterpiece 'The Lecture". Yes, then they took me to a tent like construction with curtains (a few meters away). Luckily there was both a man and a woman going to check me out, meaning I used my intellect to figure out that I did not need to strip down naked. The body shirt was quick with the electronic stick (No 'Crocodile Dundee' style private part check! Or 'That is not a knife...'), and I thought well I am through. But then the Aussie pointed to my hand luggage, and I invited them to check it out. Then I was instructed to open it myself. I was thinking should I open it slowly showing a bit nerves to get them more excited (not really!), but then again I got my wife and kids waiting outside. Luckily, I had no explosives (this time around. CIA alert! Just joking! Are you sure?)! What can I say, except I admire the Australians for their professionalism and friendliness (Seriously!). Let's face it, they were doing their job, which was strategized by someone higher. Overall, Brisbane and Gold Coast was simply great, especially for the kids. So, what more can we ask for?
Life goes on, but I feel sorry for others that are randomly selected for the first time (Perhaps 'Google' search could be used as one of the filtering tools). One might argue "We can never know, right?". How can we argue against that argument (which can also be applied to any human, race, culture and religion)! Then, the statistics argument will come up (Yeah, divide that with one billion or more, and tell me what you get?) Anyway, I suppose now that there are more than one Billion Muslims around the world here and there, we must find ways together to co-exist. We Muslims also need to remember that we need to do more efforts to co-exist, even after a few bad incidents (No weed incident is going to stop me from trying!)!
THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH
Coming to think of it, we are also facing another major battle in the coming decades commonly known today as the Inconvenient Truth (Ask my environmentalist Brother 'Gore', and he will tell you!), which will probably in a strange way bring us increasingly closer (due to necessity at least!), as we struggle to save our planet, and give our future generations a chance to enjoy and appreciate fresh air, clean water, delicious food, waterfalls, fjords, animals, bugs, fish, whales, trees, nature, and so on.
According to Islam, our main purpose is to worship Allah and to realise our responsibility towards Him as Khalifat-Allah (the vicegerent of Allah) on earth.
“Behold, Thy Lord said to the angels: `I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ They said: `Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? - Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy name?’ He said: `I know what you know not.”(2:30).
Yes, we have the ability to do a lot of mischief (especially with all our nuclear toys), but then again we have been given the ability to do good and change for the better. So, it is really up to us to make a difference! Can we do it? Of course we can! We just got to keep on trying and never give up (Then Insha-Allah or God Willing the fruits will come)! Finally, the real joy in this worldly life is not only our success, but the struggle itself. Interestingly, the more we struggle, the more we learn to appreciate those little things... :)