Everyone of us is in an eternal chase towards an ideal. Whether if it’s social justice, grandiose ambition, inner peace, body fitness, spirituality or religion—all of us keep a set of dos and don’ts so that we can stay true to ourselves and the principles we believe in.
As noble as our pursuit may seem to be, many times the set of rules that reiterates endlessly in our head may swerve away from the foundation of our practice, causing us to forget the bigger picture—the reason we started the first place.
Last year, a Malaysian curator shared a series of tweets about the mentality of Malaysian Muslims written by Sharifah Hani Yasmin, a law graduate and vice president of international officer at University of Essex. In the thread, it shed some light on the hypocrisy of the local Muslims who choose to only focus on certain ground rules of the religion and disregard the bigger picture of Almighty God’s teachings, such as compassion and the moral that precedes the religion.
The tweets were very well-received with the fellow Malaysians. It’s retweeted for over 8,600 times and gathered 8,000 likes collectively. Here’s the full extract of the 24-tweet thread:
I’ve noticed that Malaysian culture seems to place greater emphasis on the fear of the Almighty God, rather than the love of Him.
– rather than focus on the compassionate and selfless acts done by many other everyday Malaysians regardless of religion nor race.
Malaysian Muslims tend to focus on the minimal requirements of religion – attire, outwardly appearances
– rather than focus on their spirituality: their connection to God, and their connection to other human beings.
For some, there exists a feeling of, ‘I am better than you, because I practise Islam better than you’. They belittle, not educate.
In Malaysia, some actions are very much (whether consciously or subconsciously) the product of societal expectations –
Whether you fast, or pray, or cover your aurah is seen as a reflection of how ‘good’ you are due to the constraints of religion.
It can go the other way, too – having to ‘cover up’ is seen as religious limitation when it is actually a matter of modesty in one’s attire.
Some people take it a step further – they refuse to acknowledge morality without religion. ‘Dia baik tapi bukan Islam pun. Tak guna’
In reality – Religion doesn’t exist without morality, but morality exists outside of religion.
Note that the Prophet was respected for his exemplary character and morals BEFORE he was given the gift of Islam. Alhamdulilah
After Islam was bestowed, Prophet Muhammad’s exemplary ways were then seen as a reflection of his morals, AMPLIFIED by his devotion to Allah.
Side note- it’s completely perplexing at times to feel the difference between practicing Islam in a non-Muslim country & a Muslim country.
Ironically, sometimes it is easier to practice one’s religion abroad than in Malaysia. It is purely for God, unbound by societal conventions
This begs the question – WHY are we Muslims in the first place? Have we, Malaysian-born Muslims, ever asked ourselves that?
Are we Muslims just because we are born so? Because it’s easier to practice the religion of our parents, & seeking other Truths is blasphemy?
Or do we practice Islam because we love God, and His characteristics?
And if we love Him – why don’t we follow Him? Why do Muslims still judge and shame others, and gossip, and lie? Myself included.
Aside from discussing this issue, this is basically a thread to reflect on our own actions. Malaysian culture is something we ALL create.
Let religion be more than what we eat or what we wear. Let it guide your actions & let it SPEAK FOR ITSELF, irrespective of what others say.
And with that, I end this thread. Thank you for reading, and may God show mercy on us all 🙂
Netizens were moved by Sharifah’s words and many thanked the admin of the curator account @twt_malaysia for sharing the important message.
Do you share Sharifah’s opinion? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below.