Friday, 28 December 2007

Religion and bollocks

Religion - To me, religion is more personal than my underwear. My boxers might show when I wear my jeans, but the strength of my faith and belief is only for my eyes. I'm a Muslim. I was born one. Much like your school friends, you have no choice in the matter. If I was born to another religion, I'd be of that. If you take religion as a faith or belief in a deeper meaning to life, then I'm religious. If you take religion as a division, such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, blah blah, then i'm not so religious. But I still do the basics. Does that make sense?

So there I was at mosque on a Friday, performing my basics. As usual I was drifting off to sleep as I couldn't understand a word of what the preacher was saying as the sermons are always in Tamil. I woke with a start when I heard him switch to English. But soon enough I wish I hadn't woken.

According to this guy, there are two evils in this world - Listening to music and, what he calls, injustice. He kept telling his "respected elders and brothers" that music was bad and so is "injustice", and to avoid the wrath of god we must avoid those two evils. Injustice he defines as sexual behaviour outside of marriage, homosexuality, alcohol, etc., most of which is looked down upon in most religions. I'm not going to look into that this evil too much as that deserves another post altogether. Suffice it to say, I have nothing against sexual behaviour outside of marriage, homosexuality or alcohol. That doesn't mean I practice all that.

So what irked me about his sermon was that he started talking about the tsunami. He started by saying that even pious people died in the waters of the rising sea. But then he was quick to add that the people who died, suffered their fate because they listened to music and were practicing social injustices. I found that utterly disgusting. The only thing that stopped me from getting up and walking out was that I was there to perform my basics, and I wasn't going to leave till I had done so.

I did not want to go to mosque to have some uneducated, misinformed idiot tell me where I'm going wrong. I go to mosque for preachers to tell me the beauty of god, not for them to instill in me their belief or faith, which is incidentally my definition of religion. Moreover, I do not go to mosque to have so-called learned people pass judgment on other humans. One of the fundamentals of Islam is the belief in the day of judgment, where god, and god alone, would pass judgment on the way you've lived your life. No one else has the authority. This is where we should ask "who died and made you god?"

The Quran is read in a poetic, melodic manner. If a tune is carried out in reading the Quran, wouldn't that make listening to god's verse wrongful?

My faith and my belief is just that - mine. It's my personal business as to how I live my life. I don't pass judgment on anyone else, so I don't want anyone else passing judgment on my religious commitment.

Here's news for you mr preacher. I make music. Now does that make me the devil?

Bollocks - Religion. That's what's bollocks.

6 musings:

Darwin said...

Unfortunately most 'moderates' such as yourself would be described (by the fundamentalists) as people who treat religion like a buffet, picking the bits they like and ignoring the bits they don't. Whist that approach may be practical for a day to day basis of living, moments such as what your experienced at the mosque can awaken you to the rude reality of some people's delusions (i.e. music is evil).

Personally I find it disgusting how many of these so-called religious leaders use tragedies such as the tsunami as means of spreading their own personal agendas. They're supposed to be there to help rebuild, to provide spiritual support, to be a pillar of strength, instead they play the blame game and capitalise on people's misery and grief.

Riz said...

asalamualikum,

ur religion is ur personal matter.
agreed.

and i too may not agree wit everything the preacher was saying but after reading ur post i taut of finding out if music is really forbidden and i found these 2 answers:

http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=5011&ln=eng

http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=11563&ln=eng&txt=music

basically from what i understand, poetry is allowed. music is not.

Gutterflower said...

I'm a muslim as well. And to be quite honest,I'm yet to fathom everything out.I'm not the typical good muslim-far from it in fact. There are some things I agree with and some I don't.

But it really ticks me off when people twist religion to suit their own purposes. Although my knowledge is limited, I DO know that certain things which are actually prohibited, and customs which are practiced in our religion, were in reality fashioned by 'religious leaders' for their convenience.

And as for natural disasters being penance for listening to music and social injustices... Thats completely, utterly ludicrous. Its radical/illogical thinking like this, which project such a warped image of religion...

confab said...

Darwin - Yeah maybe i'm picking and choosing the best bits. But life's too short to worry about rules. I mean, if we followed everything to detail, we'd all be better drivers right?

The fact of the matter is, to me religion is faith, and faith can be only found within. I won't have someone else tell me what my faith ought to be.

Riz - Thanks for the links. I'm still not convinced. The words used have been interpreted quite broadly to encapsulate music.

Gutterflower - I hear you machang! I also feel for you, coz i know girls in the community are not allowed to think out of the box as much as guys can, and are forced to do certain things. I hope that's not your situation too.

ur right. Our leaders have twisted religion so much, and then the accuse others of not being religious. Why don't our leaders tell us that dowry is haram? Why are they quick to look down upon men who marry others of the book, especially when that is allowed in the quran? On that note, i don't understand why women aren't given an equal right to marry men of the book. but that's a different matter.

Gutterflower said...

Nope.. thankfully I’m not as subjugated as most muslim girls. I’ve got amazing parents who are open-minded enough to let me make my own decisions and be independent.

And yes, dowry was never an obligation in our religion. Its actually a hindu custom.

Oh gosh. Marriage. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to get me started on that one.
Lets just say that the problem with most of us is that we are influenced by what others think. We tend to blindly follow the herd without questioning what is right and wrong.I know lots of people who entered mixed marriages and were ostracized. Ultimately, most of them finally go abroad in self imposed exile.

Its sadly really that such archaic thinking still prevails in our society.

Azure said...

From what ive heard is that the instrument used mostly in islam is the drum( the tiny one)..they still use it in Saudi..

Secondly music( broad defintion required i guess including melodies, tunes etc.) is used when praying mowloods and yes as you said even the Qur'an...but i think music merging into religion was adopted through the evolution of societites...

and personally i dont think this imam had any right to say the people who listned to music were the chosen ones to die!! thats absurd

whatever it is...it only matters when YOU as an individual can tell a wrong from a right..thats the way i keep it

music makes me happy and im proud to keep it that way