We have learned that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today.
Despite the 9/11 incident, many people are still curious about Islam and the Muslims in the world.
But in the Philippines, I wonder, what kind of Islam do we have? I heard from a fellow participant in a training workshop on gender in Islam that Islam for them is “anti development, and anti west, and anti progress”. How can this be? How are Muslims are seen in the Philippines? Major cities in Metro Manila, Davao, and Cebu, Muslims are living at the ghettos. Most of us are labelled as terrorist, kidnappers, and just recently in Davao, Muslims are labelled as drug pushers.
Just recently, ABS CBN Davao called drug pushers in the city as Muslims. How can this be? How can they be Muslims by definition and pratice?
What then is Islam? How do we, Muslims, see Islam? Is it something burdensome to us? Does it make us violent people?
These questions lingers in my head since my days in high school when I was a member of the Bangsamoro Student League (BMSL). I joined this group because my elder brother (Mohammad) and my cousins were the organizers of this moro version of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). We were so “gung ho” at that time that we made a production play, Al Fajr (The Dawn), of a story of the Moro rebellion. I played the role of a young student activist that had so many questions in mind, and the Manifesto of Karl Marx seems to answer them all.
But those were the days. Many things happened and I evolved differently now.
Going back to my question, what is Islam in our country? How can we evolve? How do we define Tawhid, Musawah, and Adalah? What is Islamic theology on Uluhiyah, Rabubiyah, and Asma? Can we be critical of the Hadiths, the Tafsirs, the Fiqih of the Golden Age of Islam in the 8th – 13th centuries?
Right now, I know that there is something wrong. I believe that as a Muslim, I need to do something for people, Muslims and Non Muslims, to understand Islamic identities through interfaith and intrafaith dialogue, and linking us in our South East Asian links.
“Whosoever sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” Hadith in al- Bukhari