26 September 2008

The Accepted Insanity

Note: Should my words be displeasing to your senses, let me remind you that you have the choice not to continue reading as of now.

Chain letter #2 was subjected: "Beautiful Hadith"
Hadith are recorded sayings of Prophet Mohamed, supposedly. Personally I do not know how accurate they are because it has been going around for thousands of years. Anything can happen in between.

Beautiful. This is one of the most overused words in any language. It was indeed misleading, and when I opened this email I could just stand in awe at how 'beautiful' it is indeed. I have to warn you that it is not for extremely sensitive people. I'm generally immune to this now, but I can fully understand the damage it does. As I said, I can never really heal from it.

However the grammar isn't perfect here. Many words were literally translated from Malay. So bear with me and you may ask any questions if you want, but I don't expect this to generate any interest.

The one who disdains prayers (Solah) will receive Fifteen punishments from Allah.
Six punishments in this lifetime
Three while dying
Three in the grave &
Three on the Day of Judgment.

1. Allah takes away blessings from his age (makes his life unfortunate)
2. Allah does not accept his plea (Dua 's)
3. Allah erases the features of good people from his face.
4. He will be detested by all creatures on earth.
5. Allah does not reward him for his good deeds. (No thawab)
6. He will not be included in the Dua's of good people.

1. He dies humiliated.
2. He dies hungry.
3. He dies thirsty. Even if he drinks the water of all seas he will still be thirsty.

1. Allah tightens his grave until his ribs overlap.
2. Allah pours on him fire with embers.
3. Allah sets on him a snake called 'the brave', 'the bold' which hits him from morning until afternoon for leaving Fajr prayer, from the afternoon until Asr for leaving Dhuhr prayer and so on. With each strike he sinks 70 yards under the ground.

1. Allah sends who would accompany him to hell pulling him on the face.
2. Allah gives him an angry look that makes the flesh of his face fall off.
3. Allah judges him strictly and orders him to be thrown in hell.

SUBH : the glow of their face is taken away.
ZUHR : the blessing of their income is taken away.
ASR : the strength of their body is taken away.
MAGHRIB : they are not benefited by their children.
'ISHA : the peace of their sleep is taken away.

'Say Your Prayers Before Prayers For You Are Said'.

Was that beautiful?
Have you heard enough?

I've had to listen to all of that (and more)... for years.

Where did it all come from? Says who?
When? Why? How? Where?
Oh, yet I believed. But it was all in vain.

It was amazing I didn't kill myself.
Oh, wait... back then I was even too afraid to die. So either way I was screwed anyway. Or so I thought.

I'm putting this up because I'm tired of shying away from writing about religion in my blog. It is a sensitive topic, yes, but I've had it to the point that I'm no longer going to leave my thoughts to my private journals anymore. The only difference is that in my journal I could cross as many lines as I want, but I can't be reckless here.

This chain email just happened to be the closest thing to what my mind was programmed to be like when I was younger... by school, family, relatives (occasionally), sometimes it's by what I see on TV or in public.

How could these be the reasons why I should believe?
It's not a surprise that if this is how much fear religion managed to shove into me, then of course I wouldn't even dare to move.
But I'm human. I was created to be defective like everybody else. That means I will make mistakes. I was created with a mind and encouraged to question. I am aware, with or without religion, that there is a Higher Power of which if non-existent then none of this would ever came to be. How can life even begin by chance when chance itself is an entity that causes and affects. It then has consequences. And if the chance and the consequence were never planned nor designed, how should they come to be?
Our minds cannot conceive this magnitude of thought.

"There is little that you can do with faith, and there is nothing you can do without it..."


There is also little that you can do with money, and nothing you can do without it either. We need faith just like we need money, don't we? Too much spoils you. Too little kills you.
Either way, faith or no faith, money or no money, we're all still dealing with the only one life we have together.

I'm not talking about literally not having any faith in life at all. If there is anything that balances the mind, body and soul, it's having found what gives you peace. Does it matter what it is? No. Don't let anyone tell you what's right or wrong to believe in, you have that right to decide because nobody knows better than you do, it just doesn't give you the license to drag everyone else into what you think is right (yes, there are still people who do that, no surprise).

But I'm talking about being reasonable about faith. If faith is merely erected based upon hearsay, scriptures, sayings, stories, whatever, or threats as in such chain mails or verbal emotional/physical abuse, then it leaves many room for contradictions. Furthermore, it leaves endless opportunities for details (if they were indeed initially true) to be omitted, added or changed over time to become totally distorted. Possible?
Also it's not funny when abuse comes into play... "In the name of God" doesn't make anything unacceptable acceptable.

It was no wonder my religious teachers back then couldn't answer the questions I asked, and their only way of ever excusing themselves out of it is by saying, "Only God knows best". Of course I know God knows best, He's best at everything. Wouldn't I have asked God myself if I could? I had wanted to know on what sources their teachings were based on because if I were to believe then it has to be based on good reason. I knew I didn't want to hear another "because it's in the Book". Holy scriptures have been interpreted in too many ways that it has led to many different divisions in one particular religion. Hence causing the whole debate about who's right and who's wrong again. So who do you trust, really?

All I needed was to know the how's and why's, because to preach something is to have good knowledge about something. If one who preaches cannot reasonably claim why they perceive so, then why preach in the first place? Why leave others hanging to the point that they have to keep searching for answers anyway? I would've done that myself rather than go through religious school in the most important years of my life, and for that all I got was only to come out half-brained.

That was the point in my life where my parents thought they knew what was best for me. I had no say whatsoever, because I was only a child. I was scared and nobody saw that despite the tears I cried every other day. All I wanted was to go to school like other kids, like all my other kindergarten friends who I thought were much luckier than me for having been accepted in to the best academic schools. I had strong ambitions... but all shattered when day after day, for years, I only get reminded that God's breathing down my neck and He's going to get me for every wrong I've done. And every bad situation I get into I was told that it was because I must've done something wrong. I must've missed a prayer. I must've lied. I must've doubted. I must've disagreed with my mum. I must've whatever. Me, me, me.
I was so convinced that I was going to end up in eternal damnation to the point that I just surrender. "So be it," I thought. The more I tried, the more unhappy I was.

Religion is an equation that cannot be equaled, unfortunately. An accepted insanity. Especially when humans interfere (and so they have for eons).
If faith were based on personal experience, then that could be by far the best reason of all to believe. I can recall these moments in my life, but I have no right to pressure others into believing what I believe.

Believing in nothing is still something to believe in, why don't we think of that? What is nothing if not also a state of being? I don't have nothing to believe in, I have my own values and beliefs that I strongly hold on to. I found what kept me sane and this is it. Being a good or bad person is not because of the kind of religion that you were raised in.

Wanting to behave or misbehave is merely a choice we all make, and we all have that choice because we have free will. Not all of us know how to use it wisely. We have brains but hardly do we ever use our minds.
If religion makes one a good person indefinitely then it wouldn't have gone wrong, nor would it allow the slightest chance for a misunderstanding. But perhaps religion has done its part, because like it or not, humans - blessed with free will - just enjoy doing whatever the hell they want to do. Manipulation, abuse, ignorance, ill-will, swindling, violence... I have yet to see that people don't use religion as one of the ways to motivate these sorts of behaviour. Especially manipulation.

Most religions teach good things, I agree, and it helps in terms of spiritual enlightenment, because that is what it's suppose to do. It's supposed to make us better people. Not divided, misinformed, oblivious, or just plain demented. We humans are liberated, by part, from Nature. Nature abides by a certain system of rules it has been created with, and so does the Universe the way it is unfolding as it should. What they don't have is free will, they can only follow through. Unlike us. Ever since we came to be, Nature's been at risk, and for quite some time she will remain so. Religion was meant to be a way of life. Something that was meant to make life here easier to go through. It was supposed to guide us so we don't go crazy or knock ourselves (or each other) out...

But here it is like this.

I've said my part.


  1. You're not offending anyone, least of all me. I'll make that clear first.

    I guess we both have different views and feelings about religion, perhaps because we're not from the same one. But I do understand your concern.

    However Ira, it's how the world works. You either dance to someone else's tune, or your own. Some of the things out there are no doubt awful, misinterpreted, twisted and leaves much to the imagination. But you survived. You survived the stuff you learned back in the day. And look at you now. You're a good person whom I know would never hurt anyone on purpose.

    If anything, the delivery of religious teachings, especially your religion, may be a little extreme. I'll try not to step on any toes when I say that. Thing is, it's been written and now it's being preached. It's meant to intimidate, educate and teach. Perhaps it's meant to turn people into God fearing individuals who will not abide by that law of nature you were hinting at, which I think is "Kill or be killed".

    "If there is anything that balances the mind, body and soul, it's having found what gives you peace. Does it matter what it is?"
    Actually, yes. I mean, if what gives you peace is hurting or killing others because you wanted to, or because you hated them, then yes it matters. Because it's not a good thing. I know that's not what you meant, but that's the thing. People are different. The way you interpret something may be different from others.

    Which brings me to this: just because you don't believe in something, doesn't mean it isn't real. Sceptics like you will say that all those things that God supposedly told the people who wrote the scriptures are just hearsay. But you can't really prove that it didn't actually happen, other than saying that God didn't tell you when you asked Him. You may be right, and you may be wrong too.

    I'm sorry that your upbringing didn't go as planned. If anything, it was meant to make you a good person, and if you did anything wrong, that you'll be forgiven. Perhaps your teachers left that part out. The forgiveness part. Where if you fucked up, it's OK.

    But personally, I have a light view on religion. It's there, I know it. I pray, but I don't think of it too much. And I don't know, I think you can afford to not take it to heart at this point. Islam isn't the main religion where you are, so you can avoid all the things you're afraid of if you wanted to.

    And no, faith does not make it okay for them to write these damn emails or do anything "in the name of God". You're right about that.

    My advice is for you to not read this junk that you keep getting. You know you're right. That's all that counts.

  2. Hello Kak Ira, Omg seriously the recent post is damn scary. summore, i get totally freaked out about kiamat, but still i dont pray. sighs.

    oh anyways, selamat HAIRY raya to you too! (: