Part of the Do'a Iftitah

"Verily my solats, my ibadah, my life and my death I surrender to Almighty Allah, Creator and Lord of all the worlds. Never will I associate anything with Him. So am I commanded and I am of those who are Muslims."

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Why Caliph Umar Al-Khattab spared the Jerusalem church?

I wish to share with you today a page from History which shows how Islam is so condescending towards other faiths but other faiths aren't so reciprocal when dealing with us?

When the Caliph Umar Al-Khattab entered Jerusalem to receive the keys to the city,
he was invited to pray inside the church, but he declined.

He refused to do so, though he was in a position of strength and could do as he pleased.

He refused, though he did not in any way disdain from praying in the church.

He said, showing great foresight and sensitivity:
“I fear that if I pray inside, the Muslims of future times will wish to pray in the same spot and will cause discomfort for the church’s congregation.”

Umar, instead, prayed outside the church and spoke a guarantee to the Christians for their lives and security.

Too many people see the
idea of coexistence as merely a strategy to resort to in times of weakness. This is not true at all.

What we see if we observe the world is that
coexistence really comes into full flower and sets its roots deep when there is strength.

The societies, which have the power to promote coexistence and peace, are the same ones who have the power to instigate and successfully conduct a war.

By contrast, those who are weak can neither conduct war nor bring about peace. It is, indeed, at times of weakness and instability that we find the noble idea of coexistence to be most imperiled.

Richard the Lionheart had once killed 2,700 Muslim prisoners of war on a single occasion and hung their bodies around the walls of the city of Acre, breaking the agreement he had made with the Muslims, we see that Saladin, when he retook Jerusalem, guaranteed the lives of everyone, Jews and Christians alike, though he was more than capable of exacting revenge.

He instead entered into the Treaty of Ramla with Richard on the 2nd of September, 1192, whereby the city would stay in Muslim hands but would remain open to Christian pilgrimages.

This is one of the hallmarks of coexistence in medieval history.

Muslim history, which is full of periods of strength and victory, is at the same time a testament to coexistence in action.

It is a history of peace treaties, agreements, and covenants with others.

The success of coexistence depends upon the airing of rational voices willing to engage in fruitful dialogue, through which desired results can be achieved with ease.

By contrast, the failure of coexistence is ensured when irrational and foolish voices take over, of people who care nothing but for the gratification of their own interests.

Such people rely upon the discourse of strength and coercion in their understanding of the world and in their decision-making.

Such are people who see conflict as the key to dealing with others.

They cannot look at things from the vantage point of our shared humanity, our universal values, and the common needs and interests that all people have.

Kind treatment, genuine concern and friendship, treating others well in words and in deeds – these are the ways to bring an end to hatred and reconcile people as in the verses here.

Coexistence preserves human life. It opens the doors to dialogue.

It is the atmosphere in which the Message of Islam prospers, where it can present itself with the reason, evidence, and logic that so enriches the Quran.

Source : Islamic Outreach ABIM's Newsletter Vol.1, Issue 1, 3rd Quarter 2007.

It is this willingness to live and let live that has made Islam to be so widely accepted and embraced worldwide even though there were no Muslim armies having even set their foot upon our soil and so many other nations here on Earth.

The problem today is that there aren't that many amongst the Muslims who have the foresight of Saiyidina Umar Al-Khattab and the magnanimous benevolent spirit and genius of Saladin al Ayubi , the brilliant and courageous Muslim leader being mentioned here.

Co-existence is what we Malaysians are putting to practice here in our nation.

It will be a tragedy if we let those amongst us who are sick and devious to rend it all asunder by succumbing to unnecessary racial and religious hatred spurred on by those who have a hidden agenda and vested interests to see this country implode from within.

Malaysian Muslims are already divided between two major camps - UMNO and PAS.

We do not need this innovative misrepresentation ultimate bida'ah of Islam Hadhari being pushed down the throats of the Muslims here and the rest of the world by our airhead rhetoric spewing misleader.

Being in the holy month of Ramadan warrants me to ease off from expressing in full what I think of this added divisive wedge being hammered into our midst but God willing, I'd share more after the holy month is over as to why I am so bloody worked up against it?

In the meantime, dear Malaysians especially those of you Non Muslims, please learn to study about the true Islamic teachings before making assumptions against it based on reading distorted reports or articles about Islam, God Almighty's Way of Life prescribed to each and every one of us to live by.

I know that deep in your hearts, you do know that what I am sharing here with you makes sense . Listen to your soul and open yourselves up to the Love and Mercy of the Almighty.

May God bless us all . Ameen.


ROBINSON said...

I just don't see what is the point why Muslims always harp on the good deeds they did in the past to show how tolerant they are. The fact is the nonMuslim populatioon is suspicious of the Muslims because of their actions of Muslims today. If Caliph Umar r.a can do all that then why do Muslims in Malaysia are not so tolerant whenever nonMuslims try to build their temples,tokong & churches. Just look at how the Sabah government bannned the erection of the statue of the Chinese Godess MaTzu, even though it was in the compound of the temple ,the reason they gave, THere was mosque nearby, but at the same time allow the mosques to broadcast the azan full blast, despite causing disturbance and noise pollution.Now they don't just do it to azan, tazkirahs, recitation of the al-quran etc are broadcast. A majority of the nonMUslims don't have problems with the broadcast of the azan,wat they do resent is the unfair manner they are traeted, you can broodcast azan, but you wouldn't allow nonMuslims to erect their own statues within their own compund simply because thre is mosque nearby. Another incident is the Kampung Rawa incident where th local HIndus were harrased by MUslims because the temple bells rang out loudly that it interefered with their prayers,they were so agitated that they resorted to rioting, 2000 people gathered in the mosque to go on a jihad agains the local HIndus. how many times have nonmuslims resorted to violence whenever the azan interupts their religious activities? In Malaysia to there are a lot of rules pertaining to the construction of temples and Churches. Sometimes it is impossible to get the permit at all. This is the reason why there are so many illegal temples in Malaysia. The design of the Church or temples are also restricted, for Sikh Gurwdwaras they are not allowed to build it with domes.As for Churches, there are restrictions on steeple height,placement of the cross etc.These resstrictions have nothing to do with practical town planning methodology. NOnMuslims could clearly see that thes unusual restrictions are designed to step on their rights or way by the government to say that their religion is second class. You can't repress the love a person has towards his or her religion.If Muslims have the motivation to pray to their GOd we nonMuslims too have the same amount of affection and attachment to our religion and GOd. THese type of actions and regulations are the sort of things that eclipse the gestures shown by Muslim rulers in the past. In fact they render them totally ureliable,because it leads ppl to think "are sure they did all these good things maybe it is just publicity stunt, for we could see things that are of the opposite being done in front of our eyes". MUslims can't always depend on the actions of their past leaders for every good leader there is a rotten guy down the street.Every empire kingdom and govt in History has had this,Muslim kingdoms too have had these buffoons too. The samme goes to the statement of the author " Islam is so condescending towards other faiths but other faiths aren't so reciprocal when dealing with us?"
IN Malaysia thanks to globalisation we know what is taking place in other countries.the author should realy research how Muslims are being treated in nonMuslim countries.In Thailand , a country that has only 4.6% of its population aas Muslims has had a MUslim speaker of Parliament, MUslim Minister of Interior and even the Chief of the army currently is a MUslim. In Malaysia, there hasn't been even a nonMuslim district officer, even in largely nonMuslim states such as Sabah and Sarawak there are no nonMUslim Cheif Minister.THe highest ranking NOnMUslim the Chief MInister ofPenang a Chinese has had many to face many discrete movements by Muslim Malay Party of UMNO to wrest his seat.FUrther more there are many nonmulsim sates that accept MUSlim Heads of government and high ranking officials.In Africa ,Largely Christain TAnzania has Muslim President, Muslims only form 35% of the population,MAlaysia Bolehke?NOnMuslim can't even become the MEntri Besar.MUslims too have held high ranking positions like Vice president in other NOnMuslim countries. Uganda which has only 12.1% MUslims had IDi Amin ,MUSlim as A president. THis is one of the reasons why Non muslims sometimes insinuate that the MUslims ar only good if they want something from us ,but once they are in power they don't like to share it with us on equal footing. In BUddhist Thailand too, The National Council for Muslims, consisting of at least five persons (all Muslims) and appointed by royal proclamation, advised the ministries of education and interior on Islamic matters. Its presiding officer, the state counselor for Muslim affairs, was appointed by the king and held the office of division chief in the Department of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of Education. Provincial councils for Muslim affairs existed in the provinces that had substantial Muslim minorities, and there were other links between the government and the Muslim community, including government financial assistance to Islamic education institutions, assistance with construction of some of the larger mosques, and the funding of pilgrimages by Thai Muslims to Mecca, both Bangkok and Hat Yai being primary gateway cities. Thailand also maintained several hundred Islamic schools at the primary and secondary levels, as well as Islamic banks, (Pattanakarn, Bangkok), shops and other institutions. Much of the packaged food marketed is tested and labelled halal (unless it has pork), regardless of who eats it.

All this in a country where MUslims form only 5%. In Pakistan, where a similar percentage of NONMUslims exist their Temples and Churches are subject to bombings and attacks.In MAlaysia beef is served everywhere, and it is not being labelled to avoid confusion among Hindus. If we ask is this beef there is always a knd of cynical expresion in the faces of the MUslims who serve it.
In retrospect it is not the actions of Past Muslims that form the opinion of NonMUslims abt Muslims but present actions both heere and overseas that do.YOu ask about reciprocity, the same question is also lingeirng in the mind of NOnMUslims as well.

mahaguru58 said...

Brother Robinson,

I will be responding to you in a proper article in my blog here.

Thanks for your comment. I believe that through decent dialogue between us Muslims and Non Muslims, we might be able to bridge the gap between us.

In reality, what you say is something that we need to address one by one.

There are certain things that you have raised which is true but also a few matters that are wrong due to your not being clear about the factual events you have written about.

I will be responding to them in the article.