4 September, 2010
By Lingswaran Singh
A non Muslim LoyarBurokker’s journey in understanding Islam.
Dear friends, I am not a Muslim, however I feel compelled to share my experience in understanding Islam due to the recent furore over Teo Nie Ching’s visit to a surau, the backlash in Nga Kor Ming’s recitation of verses from the Al-Quran, and the decision to ban the usage of “Allah” in non Muslim publications not so long ago. All these have caused much tension between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in Malaysia.
A lot of misunderstanding is going on in the process of understanding each other. This is a most welcoming development actually, as it has never occurred before. People from both sides are actually interacting and trying to understand one another.
The recent outburst from fellow LoyarBurokker Syahredzan Johan, on the various issues affecting Islam in Malaysia and the many racial problems arising lately pushed me to revisit this piece. Being a non-Muslim in this country, Islam has affected me so deeply that it has become an integral part of my thinking faculty.
The person I am today is largely credited to the impact Islam has had on me; it has in many ways liberated me. Islam is affecting the lives of many non-Muslims around the world. From 9/11 till this very minute, Islam is rapidly influencing the way of life of many non-Muslims, Malaysians in particular. I wish the Muslim community could see that Islam is no longer exclusive to them.
I wrote this piece about a year ago, however I think it is still relevant considering the weather of our national politics.
In the Name of Allah, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful
My journey in understanding Islam begun a long time ago. As a child, I had always been curious as to why the Malay kids kept insulting the Hindus in school, accusing them of being demon worshippers. I was angry that the kids ridiculed the Hindus and Buddhists by accusing their religions as the work of the devil, that only Muslims deserve heaven, and that all non Muslims were condemned to hell for eternity. This is what I first came to learn about Islam, that it is the only true religion, and all those that do not profess it are condemned to hell.
Years later I came to know that the Christians were pretty much the same, especially the protestants. The Catholics however had much love to share, and in 1998 the declaration by the Pope that heavens grace is not just limited to Christians but all those who do good drew me closer to Christianity (however that is for another day). The connection between Islam and Christianity were the first pillars of my personal iman. As time passed by, I comprehended the concept of the Only One God.