第45回 Muslim as a Lifestyle

◇主題/ Title:Muslim as a Lifestyle(英語場/English session)
◇講者/ Speakers; Drs. 黃鼎文 (Tingwen Huang) & Bahiyah Abdullah (亀田総合病院)
◇時間/ Time:十月二十二日 (六)[Oct. 22 (Sat.)]16:30 
◇地點/ Place:早稻田大學 22館 719教室 (Room 719, Bldg. 22, Waseda Uni.)
◇簡介/ Introduction:

I’m from Malaysia. It is a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religion country, with the main ethnic groups are Malays, Chinese and Indians. It is a tropical country in Southeast Asia and known for its rainforest that is rich with various flora and fauna, its beautiful beaches and various tourist attraction sites.
I’m a Muslim and I feel honoured to share with all of you some information about Islam. Here I share some basic fundamentals understanding about Islam that you may wish to read before our session. I’m not a Muslim scholar, but I would love to answer any queries that you may have about Islam as much as I could. I’m really looking forward to meeting all of you soon. “


接下來由Bahiyah開始今天的分享,Bahiyah首先用伊斯蘭教常用的招呼語(意為May peace be with you)與我們打招呼,並自我介紹她來自馬來西亞,是三個孩子的媽、一位醫師,並且也是一位醫學系的講師。

Islam as a religion, practiced all over the world, by various ethnicities.
“Islam” means submission, comes from the word in Arab “salama” meaning peace. We live our life by the guidance God gave us. What we do in life must follow the guide God gave us. It’s not just about rituals, it’s in the way of life.

Concept of God
God is unique and incomparable to anything else. We can’t imagine neither picture how God is like. He is the only one to be worshipped. The ultimate purpose of all His creations is to submit to him.

In Quran, the book of guidance, we know our God by his attributes. There are at least 99 attributes of Allah. The God describe his attribute as who is most merciful, gracious, forgiving, almighty.

1. Believe in Allah.
The relationship is not like slavery as people concern. Even if we do wrong things, even if we don’t believe in Him, Allah still keep giving us the blessings. As long as you come back, He always forgives us. When we are having difficulties, we always look back to Him. And we submit our life for him.

2. Belief in Angels
Angels are another creation Allah made. Muslims don’t believe the theory by Darwin, because it is clear stated in Quran that he created Angels from light. Angels have no will, they don’t make choice and they always follow what Allah wants them to do, and they always have jobs to do. The amount of angels is countless. Every human being has each’s own angel to keep record on one’s deeds.

3. Belief in His Messengers
We believe His messengers are to spread His message to the world. Prophet Mohammad is last and final messenger.

4. Belief in His Books
Some prophet received certain revelations that we call books. The final one is Quran by prophet Muhammad. There are translations for Quran, it’s not only for Arabs.

5. Belief in the Day of Judgement
We are accountable for every single thing we do. The moment we die is the beginning of eternity. Once the Judgement Day come, everyone that has passed away will be raised back and everyone will become in front of Allah. Then we will be judged from whatever we did, which the angels kept record. Based on the record, we get punishment or vice versa. And we believe in paradise/heaven and hell.

6. Belief in Predestination
The fate is written already. However, that does not mean human beings don’t have to make efforts. Allah wants to see human beings make achievements by their own efforts, so you cannot just don’t do anything thinking that the fate is determined already. We must work hard, struggle to become better, and Allah sees our effort, not the outcome.

5 Pillars of Islam
Shahadah- the testimony of faith, the passport to Islam. The belief in Allah. We are brothers and sisters by religion.
Salah- prayers. Prayers are obligatory. It is the way how Muslims have conversation with Allah, and it is direct communication. Prayers can be done in whatever language. The prayers for Muslims are like water for human, it’s the source of strength and hope. You have to pray five times each day. There are things you must say (mandatory recitations, have to be said in Arabic) in prayers and some optional, too. During prayer we ask Him for forgiveness and guidance.
There are also flexibilities in performing it, for example, when you’re traveling by plane.

Zakat- Obligatory charity. 2.5% of your wealth should be given to those in need. The wealth we have is actually given by Allah and He wants to see how we use it. “Zakat” purifies your will. We believe the more you give, the more you get back. This is for those who achieve certain income only, excluding those in need.
Sawm- Obligatory fasting in Ramadhan (the 9th month of Islam lunar calendar). No food and drinks during daytime (of course a bit of water is acceptable). This is when Muslims trying to make effort and redeem for the wrongs we done, and to become better. Allah offers a lot that He is not offering in other months. We want the Ramadhan to come and really want to do better during this.
Hajj- pilgrimage to Mecca. 2 million of Muslims go to Mecca, regardless of social status or nationality, wearing the same clothes. We are the same in front of Allah.
The five pillars are only oblitory for those are capable.

Al Quran is actually the word of God, passed down by the chief of all angels-- Gabriel, recited by him to Muhammad over 23 years and then remembered by heart by prophet Muhammad. Since that Muhammad can’t read nor write, Al Quran is orally transfer to the one he chose and combined into a complete book after Muhammad’s passed away.
Quran is the basic guidelines that is the word of God, and Hadith is the words of Muhammad, serving as a supplement.
Muslims leads their lives on the Islamic teaching, there’s always guidance in Quran in Hadith, how a Muslim should eat, dress, teach, raise a kid etc., these are written in the teachings. Every single thing is taught in the Quran.

We live in the will of God. The argument of female rights is not applicable in Islamic teaching since that Muslims are living the way Allah teaches, not by free will. It doesn’t mean you cannot be fashionable, it doesn’t mean you have to wear black all day.

As long as you follow the dress code, you can be as creative as you can.

What is Jihad? Jihad has two levels, level of in a battle/war that is meant to protect your nation and religion, only as a way of defense (to protect your place of worship), and has strict rules that is set by Allah. For example, you cannot harm people who is doing worship. However good your intention is, if you do it the wrong way, Allah will not accept it.
Jihad also has the level that is the inner struggle to become a better person.

It’s either they’re not Muslim or they are not performing Islam.
We should appreciate our own live and others’ lives. If you kill someone, it is only acceptable if the someone is a murderer.

Islam encourages Wasatiyyah
Wasatiyyah: to be moderate, to be in the middle, the be the best. Hence, against extremism, even extremism in practicing religion. For example, you cannot say you want to get marry because you want to worship Allah. However, this doesn’t mean “okay is enough”, because Wasatiyyah also means the best.

In Islam, all people are born equal to be the servant of Allah. Hence, Islam is against racism which claims that people are different and some are superior than some other.

Q&A Session
I am wondering that, as you said, in your society if a man that doesn’t look like a man and a woman that doesn’t look like a woman is not accepted, then how is the LGBT condition of life in Islamic societies?
It is written in the scripts that homosexuality is against Islamic believes.
There are stories that cities underwent severe punishments such as earthquakes, and this was provided as a reference for Muslims.

How about LGBTs that are of other religions who resides in Islamic regions?
We cannot judge non-believers.
It is not allowed to condemn them, we can only say that this is not what we believe in.
Since that Islam is a religion for people to voluntarily believe in, we cannot enforce our beliefs on non-believers.

Is there any record of LGBT Muslims that were punished?
Yes, since that in Islam we believe it is sinful.

The relationship between Muslim beliefs and secular society.
For example, implementing Shariah law in diversified regions.
Shariah law is set only to constrain those who believes.
In Malaysia, there are Shariah court, which is only meant for believers.
Muslims being majority in a country doesn’t mean we can enforce that on the whole nation.
As for democracy, in Islam, the end of our searching is a peaceful country. And since democracy allows that, the democratic political platform is what Islam would endorse in a diverse society.

When do a kid have a right to decide his/her religion?
Can Muslims convert to other religion? What are the consequences?
There’s no such rule for converting, for us, it is a sin to convert from Islam to other religion.
For us, the best gift for us is our faith, so it is a tremendous sin to convert to other religion.
It is never to wise to join a religion arbitrarily. If we want to judge a religion, we have to judge the religion by the religion, not by the followers.

Can you explain and illustrate the reasoning behind Halal?
Halal is the food that is permitted by the words of God, slaughtered in the name of God, and have to strictly proceed in a detailed, regulated manner.

I have heard that Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman, but a non-Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man, is that true?
There are a group of people who are called the people of the book, who agree that it is also acceptable to marry other Abraham religions believers.
But currently, in my knowledge, Muslim are not to allow to marry a non-Muslim now.
In Islam there are four schools. All schools of thoughts have different scholars and all of them have different laws to enforce. So maybe you are talking about other schools’ rule. I’m not sure.

How do you think of the idea that we are in a era of ignorance and darkness? How do you regard the divisions inside the Muslim community?
For the first question, it depends on how you perceive it. For me, from my perspective, I see more and more people learning about their religion, more informed about the religion, and people are starting to really learn Muslim. I think things are getting better in learning and teaching.
For the second question, in Quran it is mentioned that Allah doesn't allow Muslims to be divided. We shall not battle against our brothers and sisters, we should treat all Muslim - those who worship Allah and follow the teaching of Quran and Hadith the same way.

Is there anything we can do about the divisions and extremists?
It’s a good but difficult question. For me, the only thing we can do is education. Muslims should go back to Quran and Hadith and know their religion. There are leaders of religion, but once the leader is corrupted for whatever reason, following their teaching would also be dangerous.

You mentioned that all the races are equal is listed in Islamic teaching, and I wonder how you regard those racial bonuses in Malaysia.
Those are results of political negotiations at that point of time, that’s how they worked out the rules. Islam’s perception of justice and equal is to give more to the poor and give less to the wealthy, and that’s the case at the time.

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