Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emigrating To avoid oppression

The word emigration means moving out from one place to another. Nowadays, emigration from one country to another country is very casual. As a matter of fact, for mostly economic reasons, more than 400.000 Britons have emigrated from Britain since 2006. Another example is the emigration of Carpe Varde citizens to the US due to the hardships they face there.

The reasons for people to emigrate may vary from economy, chances of studying, following a spouse, to avoiding oppression. I'd like to emphasize on the last reason, which is to avoid oppression. Many people in many countries have to comprehend with the oppression they receive, either from their own people, or from invading countries. We can find many kinds of oppressions. Some might not even realize that they are oppressed.

In Indonesia for example, oppression is an everyday meal. The rich oppress the poor, the poor oppress the poorer, the strong oppress the weak, and the weak oppress the weaker. This use to only be the case in big cities such as Jakarta, but nowadays it is beginning to become widespread. There is not much to do though, as the media helps spread and mold this situation. It oppresses the mind of Indonesians through continuous nonsense promoting oppression of others (such as useless comedy, mystisism, gossips, entertainment, violence, etc), for their own financial benefits and ideologies. And the worst part is that people can't get enough of it.

Anyway, there are times when people try to fight oppression, but cannot overpower it due to its overwhelming dominance. At this point, the best option is to retreat, and emigrate to find a better place to uphold justice, at least to a place where there is no oppression towards them.

This is also the case in Islam, as Allah has said in the Qur'an, Surah An-Nisa verse 97-100. The verses say that people who are in the state of wronging themselves (when death reaches them) due to the influence/oppression of their society will be among the ones who are in ultimate misfortune. There is exception to this, which is for those who are weak and do not have the knowledge to devise a plan to emigrate by themselves.

Emigrating in the name of Allah in order to seek justice is praised and is a good deed in Islam. Even Prophet Muhammad had to emigrate from Makkah his home city, to Madina, after his people oppressed and drove him away. But then he came back after building the strength of the Muslims to uphold justice and bring goodness to the city. The Prophet's situation somehow mimic the condition that Muslims face today, especially in the west. Where many Muslims are oppressed, taunted and stripped of their freedom to implement their beliefs.

Emigrating should always be looked as a choice when we feel that we can do more good at another place. Whether if it is to emigrate to a new village, a new city, a new province, or even a new country. We should be strong at heart and head and try to let go of the ties which we call home, nation, etc. All of that is on the earth actually belongs to God, and it is for us to manage and benefit from.

keywords: An nisa 97 98 99 100 emigration hijrah oppression islam

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“Peacekeepers”, the ones who spread mischief and corruption

“…. I'm optimistic because I have faith in freedom's power to lift up all of God's children, and lead this world to a future of peace….”

The above is a quote from a speech given by the President of the US, George W. Bush for the National Republican Convention on the 2nd of September 2008. The speech was delivered as advertisement and endorsement for John McCain as the Republican candidate for the upcoming US President election. The speech is by no means bad, and the US President has delivered many similar speeches, emphasizing in peace, justice and order.

Ironically, contrary to all the speeches on peace, justice, and all sorts of utopia, in the last decade, it is the US who has committed crimes against humanity, invading other country’s territory, and killing thousands of civilians along the way. Even worse, these so called “war against terror” in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2002) were also based on a bunch of lies (no weapons of mass destruction, and no Osama bin Laden capture). There are also immoral conducts reported to be done by the US military there.

For the aftermath, things have even turned for the worse. John Pilger made a documentary in 2004 called “Breaking the Silence”, which gives us an alternative view (from the mainstream media) of what has/is really happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regarding Afghanistan he mentioned that “No country has been this devastated since Polpot’s Cambodia.” Besides the invasions, there are also secret operations to interfere with other country’s affairs, especially third world countries in Asia and South America.

In every civilization there will always be people, who claim to be the just, peacekeepers, yet have large contribution towards destruction (physical and moral). It is because peace is not the final goal, rather a jargon to reach what they really want (e.g. wealth, power, stability, comfort). There are also these kinds of people in Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) time, as written in the Qur’an in Surah Al Baqarah verse 11-12:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ

أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ

The approximate meaning are:
2:11 When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only Want to make peace!"
2:12 Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize (it) not.

They are the hypocrites who act noble and just in front of people, yet scheme while nobody is looking. They are the ones who spread mischief and corruption. A further verse says that Allah will let their corruption and mischief continue, and even intensify them so that they become lost in their lust and greed (Al Baqarah verse 15).

Those are the words of God, and there are no words truer than that. If we try to contemplate and think deeper (with good prejudice) towards what has been happening lately, these verses mean a lot. May all of us be the ones who are guided on the right path…

Keywords: US, Iraq, Afghanistan, war against terror, mischief, corruption, al baqarah 11 12 15

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Heart Hardness

There are some people who defy truth, and do not want to comply with anything but his/her own desires and lust. This is what we call having a hardened heart. It is one of the most dangerous attitudes, because it will lead to ignorance, the cease of learning and thinking rationally. In many cases, we might also experience glimpses of it, where our common sense and judgment are defeated by our desires.

For a Muslim, the hardening of the heart is one of the most feared punishments from Allah swt, which is the result of continuously disobeying Him. In fact, it is so dangerous that it is mentioned many times in the Holy Quran. A quick search using Islamicity’s Qur’an search resulted in 8 hits.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that many people are already given this punishment due to how they live their lives. Many of us tend to get carried away by the flow of our modern life, develop ignorance, and unconsciously disobey Allah swt. The worst case is illustrated in Surah Al Baqarah verse 74, which provides warning for me and all of us as well. 

ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الأَنْهَارُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَاء وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللّهِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ 

The approximate meaning of the verse is:
“2:74 Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: They became like a rock and even worse in hardness. For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth water; and others which sink for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.”

The verse illustrates the disobedience and denial from Moses’ people, whom after being given miracles over and over, kept looking away from the truth. Their hearts are illustrated to be harder that rocks. Rocks however, are breakable. Constant water flow can carve rocks through erosion, which is unlike the hearts of those who deny after given clear proof.

I believe that with strong effort, our hearts can be purified again. Through total submission we will be able to gain true tranquility in our hearts. This however, can only be achieved with sufficient knowledge on what the right path is, and there is no better time to increase our effort to learn than in Ramadhan. I hope we all strive to find ultimate truth, and be among those whom hearts are pure.

Keywords: Heart Hard Islam Al Quran Al Baqarah 74