To God belongs the East and the West,
Wheresoever you look is the face of God.
During my A-levels, I studied in a Grammar school in England. I was the only Muslim in that school. Every day during assembly, students would sing the hymn. I had to sing to; in fact, I had a hymn book of my own. We would also cite the Lord’s Prayer, which ’til this day I still memorise (in fact I also memorise the Shri Ganesha Shloka). I have also made four pilgrimages to Mecca.
So, what am I by JAIS’s definition? A Christian or a Hindu?
The raid by JAIS on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church is nothing short of damaging, not only to the image of Islam, but to the image of Pakatan Rakyat that has been struggling to demonstrate the cohesiveness among its member parties on the issue of religious tolerance despite differences especially caused by the stance of PAS.
Politics aside, I do not see any reason for Muslims not to be allowed to attend functions held at a church, or any other non-Islamic religious institutions. Let us use our brain for a moment – if Islam is that restrictive, will it be viewed as an open and welcoming religion by non-Muslims? Read that verse from the Quran at the top – I can even perform my prayers in a church if I so wish, for example when I take refuge from rain outside (as long as the Christian community do not feel offended if I do), because wherever I go, I will be treading on God’s Earth.
I do not see any wrong done by the Muslims who were there to join their Christian neighbours, as I do not see any wrong for a Christian attending a tahlil for a Muslim deceased. I do not even see any wrong for Muslims to participate in events organised by a Church for as long as it is for the betterment of the community. And I was ever ready to defend the local church from attacks by misinformed Muslims early last year.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) even made a promise to the Christians when a delegation from the Saint Catherine’s monastery asked for Muslims’ protection in 628 A.D:
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
Dare JAIS brand Muhammad (pbuh) an infidel?