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Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

It is the moment when I love Islam wholeheartedly.

This is a story of how it happened.

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The 1st night of eid-ul-fitr I have no idea why my heart told me to read Ibn Khaldun’s book Muqaddima, again.

I felt the urge of reading Islamic Culture and it’s decline.

And the puzzle seems to come together and address my long years of questions and concerns as below.

FOLLOWING BLINDLY

I share the same experience with majority of Muslims in Malaysia (not all):

  1. We can read and recite Arabic, but we DO NOT know the meaning of arabic language. Hence we read Quran and do not know what on earth in means, except for a few surahs where we frequently read and bother to find the meaning.
  2. We pray 5 times or less a day but we do not understand what we say in our prayers.
  3. We complete our prayers and recite our doa together with our imam. Little do we understand what the imam is reciting, we just say; Amen.
  4. We were told by our Ustaz (religious teacher) that Quran and Hadith is the truth and we cannot question the laws of sharia because we lack knowledge for ijtihad.
  5. As Muslims in Malaysia we are accorded “Bumiputera” status, hence we receive many privileges from priority in housing to financial backup.
  6. We are muslims because our parents were muslims.

There is an arab saying: “what comes from lips reaches the ears and what comes from the heart, reaches the heart”.

Hence if our parents rumble and cane us when we were young to discipline us and perform the prayers and Quran, it goes from their lips and goes out of our ears.

We are imposed to do, not taught to love our religion.

When we ask our teachers in school on sharia law and how it was derived, none could explain except the vague explanations where it is from the Quran and Hadith.

If we ask for more and question the unquestionable truth, we were told we could not ask because it is God’s will.

How on earth can someone love something without knowledge?

THE TRUTH DOES NOT MATCH OUR ACTIONS

As a “Merdeka son”, for years I questionned the following:

  1. If Islam was the religion of truth and best for me, why then do we see Muslims feel tight and imposed a lot of restrictions which sometimes does not make sense? (like the poco2 dance which was suddenly banned and now it is ok).  None would dare ask as if we do, we would be put down because we have no knowledge.
  2. We were told we are the best of all people because we are Muslims, but why do I see Malay Muslims the most dependent, complacent, lazy and do not make themselves better everyday? (not all).
  3. We are a Muslim country but why are we oppressing the non-Muslims (non Bumis)? I have a friend (non Muslims) which live in dire of all flats and in mass poverty while at that age, I am living in luxury. Where is the leadership of the Muslim leader as the defender of the ummah and his people?
  4. The bumiputera policy which prioritizes Malays at the expense of others (I agree it was needed in the short term, not long term), where is the righteousness called for as a Muslim as Allah’s vicegerent?

I pondered and felt upset.

I am extremely patriotic and refuse to follow things blindly. I feel stupid when I do things where others tell me it is right without the evidence.

I prayed to Allah for hidayah (guide) every single day, not to lead me astray, to show me the truth in Islam.

WHAT I SEEK MADE ME DISCOVER THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT ISLAM

I found it in the books of Ibn Khaldun and the stories of how Islam was founded by our dear prophet Muhammad (pbuh) up to this day.

I read Incoherence of Philosophers by Ibn Ghazali (Al Gazel) and Incoherence of Incoherence by Ibn Rusyd (Averroes).

And lastly I was guided to read on Islamic Culture and it’s decline up till now.

This is what I found:

  1. Islam is a religion of equality paired with social justice. Yes, equality. That is the reason why Arabs converted in droves during the period of prophet Muhammad. They were oppressed by the system and Islam gave way for equality for men, women and slaves.
  2. Islam is a religion of democracy. Mutual consultation (syura) is mentioned in the Quran and was practiced by prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The first four caliphs were elected based on democracy. It was the Omayyad dynasty which killed this process and widespread corruption & lavishness in life started to corrupt the Muslims until their overthrow by the Abbasids.
  3. People are no different than any other people, colour, language or race but the highest among them are those who does righteousness and taqwa.
  4. After the Mongols sacked Baghdad and killed the Caliph, Islamic jurists perceive it as the wrath of Allah because of their deeds, hence the philosophy of Al-Ghazali started to take root and the continuous process of Islamic jurisprudence development went to a halt in 1253.
  5. Little do people see the other end where Baghdad was sacked because of the injustice of the Caliph, the puppetness of the Caliph as a result of provinces “kingdom” holding more power than the caliph and the decline in Islamic economics (corruption, etc).
  6. Finger pointing arised but for centuries none tried to emulate the characters of Umar Al Khattab and Umar Ibn Al Aziz as role models to administer their kingdom.

HOW DID WE LOSE THIS?

How could a religion which possess the fundamentals of liberty, equality and social justice not loved by anyone?

Where is the spirit of Umar Al Khattab which prioritized the welfare of his people regardless of race, colour and religion?

Where are leaders which are afraid of the wrath of Allah if he does not be just to his people, be accountable and serve his people?

How could our leaders sleep soundly when there are men in the streets which are starving?

Where is the social development enjoined by Islam to give to the poor and needy, provide the proper infrastructure and do righteousness without prejudice and with equality?

Is it so hard to put in a mindset of “I am not different than other people in the eyes of Allah except doing righteousness deeds?”

When we do righteousness deeds, we will automatically do kind deeds and follow Islamic principles.

Why do we need others to tell us things that put us down like “janganlah bermegah dengan kereta tu semua nikmat dunia, etc.” when they can remind us of doing good righteousness deeds like “jom tolong rumah anak angkat tu, kita org Islam mulia di mata Allah kalau buat bende baik”.

Why do our society prefer to tell us what to do and finger point that we are wrong, rather than motivate us to seek and do righteousness deeds?

PRAISE BE TO GOD

Indeed, I know some would dispute equality in Islam with your hujah. But know this, the reason people follow prophet Muhammad is because of the equality he preached, paired up with social justice. That is something we cannot dispute.

For I have fell in love with the principles of Islam, and this is the best eid Mubarak for me.

Have you (Muslim) found the reason why you love Islam and not follow it’s teachings blindly?

I will make it a point to go to Hajj this year not just for salvation; perform Islamic rites while taking the effort to know the meaning of it, learn and cherish the history of Islam and get into it deeper, understand it’s benevolence as the religion of peace.

For to do righteousness deeds, I must first do righteousness deeds to myself.

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“O Mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the sight of Allah is he who has most taqwa among of you. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (43:12)

“O People! Your God is one; your father is one; no preference of an Arab neither over non-Arab nor of a non-Arab over an Arab or red over black or black over red except for the most righteous. Verily the most honored of you is the most righteous.” – Prophet Muhammad pbuh

Amen.

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checkmateCan I just say that certain people are just too nostalgic?

Wars in the year of 1189 and 2008 are a totally different game.

Politics in 1971 are different from 2009.

When we agree that humans advance themselves technologically every second, transforms into a different society and political mindset evolves from monarchy to democracy, we have to agree that every situation is a different ball game.

It’s a matter of long term or short term planning.

Do not expect to build a skyscraper the way you build a Palace of Versailles in the past. Live now, shape the future.

Get your concepts right. Checkmate.

When will all of us understand?

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There’s a saying in Malay, “jangan cepat melatah” or maybe these words; “jangan menghukum tanpa usul periksa”. I have always kept this principle in my heart from my previous experiences in UPM. I could not admit that I really enjoyed my life in UPM as much as I did in Victoria & KMNS but nonetheless I see UPM as ‘the place’ that have groomed me to understand the beautiful and ugly realities of life. A painful lesson I learnt before I was the MTM President of KPZ, believing rumors and ‘khabar angin’, letting these unproven news to decide my judgement. I still remembered the day I was insulted as a man of no principles till the day when I was plotted during my tenure, but it taught me what I needed. Who are my friends, trusted friends, allies, parasites and enemies (be it dalam atau luar selimut).

As for my life now, the curtains of 7th semester is coming to a close and I shall be off from campus starting this December. 3 & 1/2 years of being active in all activities in UPM, I never knew how it was to be a ‘time luxurious’ student. During these years I am proud to say that I have met and knew friends by the hundreds, thousands probably from all the colleges and faculties, but only very few remain as ‘trusted friends’. Trust is a scared word, you can respect, befriend and create the bond of friendship but trust is a whole meaningful game.

Nonetheless, why trusted? Again, it’s the ‘khabar angin’ factor. People want to believe what they hear except when those which may harm them physically or emotionally. Other than that, all khabar angin would have a slight acceptance to full acceptance. Only those that choose to use their brain to think, would judge and interpret after understanding the whole situation. And yet they call themselves, ‘mahasiswa’?

Just like friendship, the same applies to organizations.

Recently I got calls on isu makanan which had some descriptive details on the 1 year MPP effort. From the ‘harga sewa mencecah RM10k’ to all the decisions in the meetings. It was circulated on many reasons.

The UPM students need to know what was really happening so that they would realise their rights as consumers. Nonetheless, should they circulate and change, the article into a propoganda-like manner, ‘the propagandist’ appears. And they did. You have just revealed yourself from your cloak, now they know who you are.

It was a double edged effect. Be truthful and spread the news but if you choose spread it with self or group interest, you have just defined yourself.

Hearts of men. Such will never change.

Classic case. Repeating the acts and scenes of Mario Puzo’s Godfather.

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The Art of Persuasion

Life are expressed by humans in many forms; words, art, body language and everything we could conjure with our well being. Persuasion is an art where one has the ability to persuade others to do things as he/she wish. Aggression, subtle ways or direct orders from superiors are such ways in which we are bombarded with persuasion since the day we were born. Nonetheless, persuasion is itself an art, getting your sub ordinates, friends or foes to act as we want them to is not an easy task. How many times have we encountered a salesman in which we need not of his products but eventually we bought it. It could be out of sympathy, empathy, call it anything you wish, you’ve been persuaded.

Mastering this art takes a long process in life even decades but only one shortcut exists, books are always there in the information age to empower you with tools you have never even heard of all your life. In the end, ethics are more important in life and principles guide us. Persuade not for destruction but for the society.

All of us today in our own society has a norm in which we practice, but I believe we are more than that. We are powerful beings in this age as we have the power to change ourselves with all the free information around us and that is what makes us different from our forefathers. That is why we are here today as what we are. So, how will we empower ourselves? Embrace knowledge, as true are the words of the Almighty, Allah s.w.t. in Al-Alaq:

1 Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,

2 Createth man from a clot.

3 Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,

4 Who teacheth by the pen,

5 Teacheth man that which he knew not.

And we are taught to do the things we know not with knowledge. Embrace knowledge and utilize the powers and abilities bestowed upon us but always be righteous as Allah is the all-knower upon all things. Again, we’ve been persuaded.

“it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters”

“the truth isn’t the truth until people believe you and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying and they can;t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting and you won’t be interesting until you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly”

In short, psychology rules. Nothing rules more than a man’s ability to persuade the impossible.

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