Monday, 25 October 2010

Should the security guard/fence be implemented?

Bismillahirohmaneerohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate)

The community where I used to live back in Malaysia have set up these "security gates" in certain areas. The particular place where I used to live is a place of mediocre families. Now security gates are needed for certain areas. The area now is covered with fences/walls and has only one way in and out from the area. It only allows cars with a particular "sticker" in the car to enter the area. For this security to be implemented, the houses involved within the fences need to pay certain amount of monthly fees to the security guards. These "security fences" are becoming trendy/popular in certain parts of Malaysia.

These "security fences" are being set up to protect the community. My main question is what are these fences protecting the community from? It is understood that these fences are built for the community's safety within the fences because of the increasing crimes -burglaries and robberies. In Islam it is important to mitigate/lessen risk, since the early days of humanity, mankind have faced will all kinds of risk and it is important to strive and overcome for survival. As mentioned in surah al-mu'minun verse 115

"Did you imagine that We created you without any purpose, and that will not be brought back to Us?"

and surah al-ankabut verse 2 "Do people think that they will be let go merely by saying : "We believe," and that they will not be tested,"

Therefore we should reduce our exposure towards unwanted/uncertainty things. Hence, the set up of the security fences. In my opinion, there should be another step/action before the fences are set up. Firstly, what is causing in the increase of crimes-burglaries/robberies? My opinion is that the gap between the rich and the poor are getting bigger. The poor/less fortunates envies the rich and are looking for a fast solution to be "rich". Is it wrong to be "rich"? After all the hardwork that they've done, surely they are entitled to it. The thing is that the less fortunates do not see all the hardwork done and all they see is the fancy cars, houses and accesories. Hence, they become envious of the "rich". Even though the fortunate ones are entitled to be "rich", have they contributed enough to help the less fortunates? In my opinion the big issue here is the unbalance of wealth distribution in the community. Secondly, there is the "show off" attitude from the "rich" ones which I will write an entry about it in the future, insha'Allah.

Anyway, getting back to the wealth distribution, Allah has stated in the Holy Qur'an Surah al- Hashr verse 7:

"Whatever (from the possessions of the townspeople) Allah has bestowed on His Messenger belongs to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to his kinsfolk, and to the orphans, and to the needy, and to the wayfarer so that it may not merely circulate between the rich among you. So accept whatever the Messenger gives you and refrain from whatever he forbids you. And fear Allah: verily Allah is Most Stern in retribution."

This is one of the major guiding principles that wealth should circulate in the whole community rather than only among the rich, to prevent the big gap between the rich and the poor. In my opinion this is the current situation in Malaysia and because of this, some communities needs to build up "fences" to protect their wealth and safety. Most of the "rich" are usually brand concious and are spending money on branded item/designers = rich circulate money to rich designers which contradicts with the verse that has been highlighted earlier. This is only one of many example of the situation in Malaysia. 

I could see at times that we are so content to be secured in our life in this world, that we would do almost anything to earn top money. Some are so driven that they are determined to make certain amount of money before reaching certain age as one of their goals in life. Some wants to sit or be on par with the top earners of the country or world. My personal choice is that I would not bother to go that far, because eventually there are others who will always earn more. My opinion is that the usage of the money is much more important than the method of earning the money. There is another verse that I would like to share Surah al-Zukhruf verse 32 Allah almighty says :

"Is it they who distribute the Mercy of your Lord? Is it We Who have distributed their livelihood among them in the life of this world, and have raised some above the other in rank that some of them may harness others to their services. Your Lord's Mercy is better than all the treasures that they hoard."

Just a simple note that We that have been highlighted in the verse above refers to Allah because in Arabic it is in plural of respect and not plural in numbers.

Just imagine how the poor feels when they walk past these certain area that have all these "security fences". Do they feel envy, jealous, and exposed towards uncertainties?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Understanding Allah is One

Bismillahirohmaneerohim (in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate)

Allah is generally known as God for muslims. Ilah is god in arabic language and Allah is "the God" in arabic. Therefore, I would like to clarify that Allah is not a Malay word. The Malay word for god is tuhan. Anyway, my main topic is to discuss the concept of Allah. Since the word is going to be widely used, it is important to know the concept of Allah in Islam.

Firstly, Allah is one.

"Say: He, Allah, is One." (Surah al-ikhlas verse 1) 

"And your God is One God, there is no God but He; the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate!" (Surah al-baqarah verse 163)

"Had there been in them any gods in the heavens and the earth apart from Allah, the order of both the heavens and the earth would have gone to ruins. Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, Who is far above their descriptions of Him." (Surah al-anbiya verse 22)

The verses above states that Allah is one. Surah al-anbiya states the consequence if there are many gods. I would also like to think in a different perspective that if there were many gods, wouldn't there be a conflict of interest? For example god A gives instructions to do things which contradicts with god B. Which god would the person serves to? If a person were to choose one instruction, why is that god superior over another? It is simple to grasp that god is one, and in my opinion it exposes the superiority of the oness of god to create everything. If there were many gods (god of wind, god of rain), it shows the limitness of the power where "god" can only handle certain function. Therefore, oness shows the unlimited power that Allah has.

"(He is) The Creator of the Heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)."  (surah as-shura verse 11)

Why is it important to understand that there is nothing like unto Him? I have read some criticism about "Muhammad's god represents the concept of existing blankness, an empty intellect". I will attempt to show that this is not the case.

If god is something similar to a thing that we know, we may know/assume/estimate gods capabilities because of the similarities. It is always in the nature of human beings to assume and this would be insulting (to god) to assume limitation to gods capabilities. When a person have knowledge of the capabilities, a person may know its advantages and disadvantages therefore the element of superiority is gone. Allah is beyond imagination, our knowledge are too little to put an image to Allah. Secondly, if god is similar to something, a person may get confuse onto what he/she should worship/give thanks/pray to. Therefore it is important to know that Allah is unique and cannot be imaged with the limited power of our brain.

However, I have encountered a muslim brother who says "man should be a reflection image of god". From my understanding the brother is being heavily influenced by the books that he has read. This is clearly is not from the Islamic doctrine where "a man should be a reflection image of god". The rationale of "man should be a reflection image of god" is because apparently god is so "proud" of himself that god would like to see his best creation/masterpiece in his own image. Why does this have to be the case? Is it necessary for we humans to create a masterpiece in our own image? Do we build houses in an image of humans? Do we build cars (Ferrari, Bugatti) in the image of humans? Why are houses and cars shaped in such manner? Houses should serve its purpose to give a shelter and cars should serve its purpose for transportation. So human are designed in such a manner to serve its purpose, which is to worship Allah, to help each other and etc. Would a person wants his/her image to be something that has limited function? For example does a person wants his/her image to be a ceiling fan? A ceiling fan that can only serve its function just to circulate air/wind? That would be insulting for a person to be/to use its image a ceiling fan (which is not intellectual and not necessarily productive as human). So why should Allah look like a human (which has limited functions compared to Allah)?

Why do creatures or animals look different? Firstly so that we could differentiate and easily identified. Secondly, so that one could know their functions. For example, a cow are easily identified and a person would know that a cow can provide milk and etc. So, if "god" looks like a human or human looks like a "god", it is hard for us to notice "god" in a crowd of people and god would not get the respect. Nothing would be special if we humans and god look alike.

Some would like to know "when" did god exist. In accordance to "when" there is the element of time. We base our time on the circulation of earth, sun, moon and etc. If these things were not created, how do we calculate time? Another thing is, why is time so important? It is because we humans are mortals which life will come to an end. If we humans do not die, is time really that important? In my personal opinion, time would not be important to me if I am immortal because I can do anything at anytime (no restrictions) and I do not feel I have wasted anything (time) because time is infinite. But the reality is, we are mortals and therefore are bound in "time". It is because we know our life will come to an end which makes the element of time more important or precious. My point here is that, Allah has created everything in the universe including the circulation of earth, sun, moon and etc, so why should "time" be applicable to Him? Allah the Creator of every single thing has to be superior and if  god were to be a mortal, who would succeed to run the universe after god's death? In my opinion it doesn't make sense if Allah the Almighty is to be binded in his own creation (time). Even though it is obvious we know there's a limited lifetime (time), most of us do not consider the usage of that "time". So, within this limited time, do we think/worship Him enough?

"And call not, besides Allah, on another god. There is no god but He. Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face. To Him belongs the Command, and to Him will ye (all) be brought back."  (surah al-Qasas verse 88)
"He cannot be questioned concerning what He does while they shall be questioned." (Surah al-anbiyaa verse 23)

All things are destined in the end (our time) to the One Who has facilitated their being what they are, the One Who cannot be explained; therefore, the attempt to analyse Him, His Attributes, and His actions, is simply impossible. We should always remind ourselves that we are "limited" and be humble to the One and Only Allah.