FIRST of all, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to all Muslim readers. This is the day to commemorate our victory in successfully going through the one month of fasting.
In Islam, fasting is more than just refraining oneself from food and drinks. It is meant to be a process of making oneself a better person – both physically and spiritually.
However, the more important thing is how to sustain all the good virtues practised during the fasting (hopefully) well after the month of Ramadan.
While we in Malaysia can again celebrate this year’s Eid with the almost obligatory feasting on ketupat and rendang, don’t we just wonder how Muslims in other parts of the world are doing.
The Muslims in Palestine, for instance, will celebrate Eid with the oppressions and sanctions enforced on them by the Israelis.
The injustice and the practice of terrorising others by the Israelis are more deeply felt, especially by the children, during this time.
While our sons and daughters or grandsons and granddaughters are dressed in their best Raya apparel – from head to toe – the Palestinian, Afghan, and Iraqi children are – if they are “lucky” enough not to be in blood-soaked bandages in rundown hospitals – at best, in some tattered and torn scraps of clothing dug out from some bombed areas.
And there is not enough food for everybody. Or, possibly, there is no food at all.
Do stop awhile, my dear readers. Do stop awhile – just when we are about to tuck into our Raya biscuits and other delicacies - to imagine how our Muslims friends in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq celebrate this Eid.
After all the destruction and damage done by the occupying forces on these people, let us think of them.
Let our hearts go to the families of the injured civilians. Let our minds zoom upon their amputated limbs, their gorged-out eyes, their bullet-riddled bodies – the old men, the young children, the women ? their eyes staring into oblivion, into hopelessness and despair.
And the constant hunger. Acute hopeless hunger. Now, how do you feel about your ketupat, rendang, biskut samperet, kuih lapis berempah etc?
What bothers me at this juncture is the injustice and double standards applied to the world. It seems that what is good and necessary to a country is considered bad and a threat to another.
One example is the development of nuclear advancement. It is all right for the developed nations to advance in this area.
They had even tested their nuclear bombs outside their own territories. Nobody cared. Their nuclear weapons could possibly have killed more innocent people than the famine in Africa.
However, other countries are not allowed to excel in this area. It is thought to be dangerous and could pose a threat to the safety of the world.
The allied forces used this reason to attack Iraq. They are yet to find the so-called weapons of mass destruction after the collapse of Iraq.
But, how do they deal with North Korea? US President George W. Bush did even say that the United States of America was not going to attack North Korea. Why not?
We thought he is so keen into this sort of thing – to rid the world of “dangerous” governments. What is this dichotomy and injustice?
They know that they will get their fingers burnt if they attack North Korea. Unlike Iraq, the threat is real.
And while they continue to support and harbour Israel, they now turn to Iran.
Even though, the United Nations agrees that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, I don’t think it will stop Bush from harassing and bullying Iran.
He has a suitcase full of “evidences” to drag Iran into war. If the nuclear accusation is unsuccessful, he will accuse Iran of harbouring members of al-Qaeda.
How should Muslims respond to these injustices? Should they resort to tit for tat?
It is not difficult to understand the feelings of the Muslims in many parts of the world, such as Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan.
And it is, I think you will agree with me, human nature for Muslims the world over, to exhibit their support for each other. It is a part of the Islamic brotherhood.
However, we do not have the right to kill others. It is also unacceptable to say that to attack the allied forces is permissible even though the allied forces may have killed and harmed may Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I strongly believe this is a war nobody will win – not the allied forces nor the al-Qaeda. The only obvious result is the damage done to the innocent.
Bombing Islamic states like Turkey and Saudi Arabia will only worsen the sufferings of the Muslims, not to forget the economic implications to these countries. Violence and instability will scare away foreign investments.
Even though it has failed in the past, I strongly believe the problem of injustice in this world can be reduced or even eliminated through negotiations.
Even though Muslims are allowed to retaliate, Allah encourages us to be forgiving and not to put ourselves at the same level as the aggressors.
In the Holy Quran, Allah says, “We ordained therein for them “Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) wrong-doers.” (Chapter 5: Verse 45)
However, all parties must be willing to listen and stop pursuing their own agenda. The United States must be more willing to listen to others and stop pushing their agenda down the throats of others.
It is sickening to learn that Bush intends to introduce American values in the administration of Iraq.
He must remember that not every accepted value (I am not saying good values) in America is acceptable in other parts of the world.
For example, secularism (i.e. separating religion from the government) is acceptable in the West but not in this part of the world, especially in Muslim countries.
Islam is a religion, which governs every aspect of life of Muslims.
The frustration of many countries is that in many negotiations the results will benefit the developed nations.
This is what many people are tired of. We are tired of and fed-up with the so-called powerful bullies who push others around at their whims and fancies.