Truth Over Feeling; Fact Over Fiction

Assalamualaikum everyone!

I hope this post finds you in the greatest of mood as I am currently in.

Alhamdulillah my dear readers, I have said goodbye to life as an MO since early this month as I am now officially doing specialist call. I’ve just had the Temuduga Pakar on 4/3/21, the result of which will determine the place I will be working as a psychiatrist for the next few years. Needless to say, I requested to remain in my hometown or at least in my own state, OF COURSE hahaha (I just love Alor Setar, guys! My hometown is just the best, in my wholly biased opinion LOL)

But should the board decide that they need my service elsewhere, I don’t really mind going anywhere they place me, Insya Allah. I did my part to try to get where I wanted (bargaining back and forth with the committee hahaha) but I have always believed that Allah will put me in a place that will be the best for me. That has always been my on-going supplication between me and Allah…that He place me somewhere that is best for my religion, best for my worldly-affairs and best for my hereafter… Amiin.

The math in the equations of life are pretty simple and one of them is: If He placed you in that particular situation, then you bet you could handle it… otherwise He wouldn’t have placed you there. Your heart will be at ease knowing that Allah has got your back in ANYTHING. Just put in some effort and turn to Him.

Another life equation that I personally found true is: Anything that happens to a Muslim must be good. If you are tested with trouble and you bear it with patience, you will be rewarded for your patience and it is good for you. And if you are tested with prosperity (because prosperity is also a test), you will be grateful and Allah will reward your gratitude and again it is good for you. So don’t worry. Go through your life… put in some effort and leave the result in the hands of Allah.

So guys, can I count on your doa for me that I will fare well in any place I end up in? May Allah reward your kindness in praying for my well-being anywhere I end up going.

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Can Christians Use The Word Allah?

Those who knew me knew that I have been considered pretty stubborn sometimes (not really all the time. Just in certain things, guys. Hahaha)

And one of the reasons is because I believe in finding out facts for myself. I believe in going through the process myself. You can lay down the facts to me… And I will take time evaluating all your facts and your sources, and then I will come to my own conclusion because I trust the process that I have gone through in coming to that decision. You see…. I trust MY process… not anyone else’s.

Some things are simple and straightforward and I can come to a decision stat just by hearing you telling me your facts… I have no problem agreeing with you over which laptop or phone are the best and most worthy of our money.  I am pretty laid back about every day mundane stuff that do not have any long-term implication in how I view my world.

But some things are complicated, nuanced, contextual… I need to gather more facts, more angles, various sources and then I have to mull them over before I will ever come to a conclusion. And this is true when I am evaluating world-views, principles, philosophy, religion, politic, or people who I am trying to decide if I should include them in my inner circle and if they are worth the trouble of socializing with on a regular basis (because our time is priceless… and people making our life complicated is going to waste our time and our resources. We have so many things to do in the limited time that we have in this world, guys!)

Now, the hottest issue in the social media these days is regarding the latest High Court ruling regarding the usage of the word Allah by our Christian brothers and sisters in Malaysia.

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And as a proud and devoted Muslim, I personally do not really feel threatened by this court ruling because I believe that fear is a symptom of insecurity stemmed from a lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence in our own understanding of our own religion.

I have personally watched from start to finish how the issue of the usage of kalimah Allah was discussed in Analisis TV AlHijrah. And while I agree on some of the points that were elucidated in the discussion, but it still didn’t satisfy me. I was not convinced enough. This time, I wonder why Finaz Yunus did NOT include a dissenting point of view on this matter (She had invited panelists of opposing views when discussing many issues before, including the issue of vaccination and polygamy scam a few weeks ago, didn’t she? So why didn’t she do the same this time? I was quite disappointed, to be honest.) All the three panelists in that program basically agree with each other. In grey matters such as this, we need to see and hear ALL views! The truth is, even scholars have 2 different opinions on whether or not the word Allah can be used by Christians and therefore if you REALLY want to discuss this issue, you must TRY to include many different perspectives by getting panelists with different opinions and stands.

I implore you guys to just have a listen to this You Tube video by Dr. MAZA on this issue. I think he has covered most of the angles and the pertinent facts that are required for you to come to a decision.

I had blogged about this circa 2008-2009 when I was just a medical student and I still believe the same way. That Christians can use the word Allah. Because Allah is the Arabic word for God. Allah just means God. (The equation is God in English = Tuhan in Malay = Allah in Arabic) And Christians in the Middle East have been using the word Allah since FOREVER, guys!

So, facts are facts. We must NOT feel scared of facts. (Just like I am not scared to continuously state the facts that there are only TWO genders that my religion (and most religions) and basic science recognize : male and female. Transmen can never be real men and transwomen can never be real women. And regardless of how you feel, do not expect me to change the facts for you. Do not expect me to change my language structure for you. No one is more sacred than the truth! No one! If your feelings are hurt, I am sorry. Learn to live with the facts of this world.)

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Malaysian Muslims must learn to live with the facts of this world just as much as other people. I do NOT condone people changing facts to suit their false worldview or to accommodate their own insecurity. It doesn’t make sense to me to champion lies just so anyone’s feelings won’t be hurt. Do not expect that from me. Even my own family would not expect that from me (and I have argued with them over a lot of issues in politic, religion and worldview. We’ve all experienced hurt feelings with each other on and off hahah). Because in the end, the truth is the kindest thing you can give anyone.

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Dealing With Fear And Insecurity By Increasing Our Knowledge

“What if our Muslim children become confused if we allow the term Allah to be used by the Christians. If they happen to come across the sentence about trinity with the word Allah in use… they will be confused”

Look, guys! If they are confused, isn’t it your job as parents and adults to explain to them? Just tell them that “Muslims believe that there is only ONE God. Look at the meaning of Surah Al-Ikhlas. Allah does not beget nor is he begotten. He has no son! Jesus is a beloved prophet in Islam and Muslims don’t believe that Jesus is God.” Just explain, guys! Talk to your children! The problem is you and your baseless insecurity! How WEAK do you think our children are that they can be so easily confused after so many years of learning Pendidikan Islam in school? Don’t you think it is the Christian kids who are going to be even more confused? The WHOLE WESTERN WORLD associate the name Allah with Islam, and therefore the Christian kids would be the one who are confused about why they are using the word Allah in Christianity as well.

And think about it! WHY don’t the Arab Muslim kids become confused when they see the Arab Christians using the word Allah? The Christians in the middle east have been using the word Allah to mean God since FOREVER and none of the Muslim kids there are confused! Why are you only worried about Malay Muslim kids?

I just don’t understand this lack of critical thinking and lack of confidence in our Muslim society. Guys, kids are not STUPID (if they don’t have intellectual disability or learning disability etc etc). They can LEARN! Learning comes with a certain process and confusion is part of it.

“Allah is one” compared to “Allah is 3 in 1”…. These are two very different concepts, okay! So why are we so scared that our kids will be confused if we allow the Christians to use the word Allah?

The difference is SO STARK, that it doesn’t make sense for anyone upon receiving explanation to be confused. If your kids are confused at first, it is because they are still learning. And learning ANYTHING at first is always confusing. But they MUST go through the process of being confused, and wondering, and thinking, and then asking, and then finding out the answer in order to have FIRM belief. Otherwise, their belief is never really true if they have never been tested or challenged. That is EXACTLY how faith ends up being weak and superficial and easily broken… because you want to spare the children from the process and the confusion that ensues, thinking it will be better for them… that they will be protected and their iman will not be weaken. But that is the wrong thing to do! Look at where we are now! 11 years of Pendidikan Islam in school (6 years in primary school, 5 years in secondary school), and we are STILL worried that our kids will be confused if we allow the Christians to use the word Allah? 11 years of learning the creed and yet we are still over-protective and FEARFUL…. Whaatt?

Shame on us!

The problem is… can adults deal with the basic question of theology and creed if they are asked by their kids when they themselves have no idea about comparative religion? If  you don’t read, you don’t have knowledge… and therefore you are always insecure and fearful. So you MUST find out! Do not change the facts of this world just because you do NOT know how to deal with facts! (I do not just hate that in LGBTQ-sympathizers, but also in anyone, Muslim or no. Facts are facts. And I am always CONSISTENT in sticking up to this principle of not prioritizing anyone’s feelings over facts. Speaking the truth is ISLAMIC!)

Guys, this Court ruling can be a good thing for propagation of Islam too. Wake up!

Even Firdaus Wong is optimistic about this court ruling.

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Some people express concerns of how the Christians might have a hidden agenda for wanting to use the word Allah. They say, “The Christians in Malaysia have some hidden agenda for wanting to use Allah in their publication. If their publication is in Malay, then the Malay word for God is Tuhan. If they want to use the word Allah, then they should publish in Arabic, right?”

Okay. THAT is a good point actually. I mean, now it is not about anyone wanting to change facts due to their own feelings (of fear, insecurity, etc etc). Now this is a rebuttal from a LINGUISTIC point of view. And I can accept this line of thinking MUCH better. More palatable to me.

And the point is valid, ya? The word God in Malay is Tuhan… not Allah. Allah is the arabic word for God/Tuhan.

Having said that, we are Malays too and not Arabs… and in our own Malay publication we use the word Allah rather than Tuhan most of the time, right? So on what basis are we going to say that Christians can only use Allah when publishing in Arabic and cannot use the word Allah when publishing in Malay? We will not be consistent in our reasoning and our conduct if we impose this on the Christians.

Let’s say… they have a hidden agenda for using the word Allah in their Malay publication… so what? You think… perhaps they are trying to convert our children to Christianity? Okay, maybe… I guess, it is in the realm of possibility. But remember, Allah is the best of planners. It could very well be the other way around. The Christians kids might end up converting to Islam, instead.

From another socio-cultural angle, it wouldn’t make sense if the non-Muslims in Malaysia cannot use the word Allah. Even the first line of  lagu Negeri Kedah use the word “Allah selamat Sultan Mahkota”. Are Christians now supposed to sing “Jesus Selamat Sultan Mahkota?” instead…. in which case all of us will be foaming at the mouth in anger too because we know it is WRONG!  The PDRM badges contain the word Allah and there are non-Muslims in PDRM. And I am more than happy to receive good wishes of non-Muslims saying “May Allah bless you” than “May Jesus bless you.”  I am more happy to hear non-Muslims from Kelantan saying “Alhamdulillah, hari ini hujan” than “Thank the Lord Jesus it is raining today”. If they cannot use the word Allah, are we going to tell them “Don’t use the word Allah.You are non-Muslims. You should say thank the Lord Jesus that it is raining” when they are speaking with us? It wouldn’t make sense, right?  Because as Muslims, we believe in Allah blessing us… NOT Jesus. So if non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah… then do we have an alternative word for all these different contexts?

NO, right?

So, we must be consistent about whether or not Allah can be used by non-Muslims. If they can use the word Allah in every day communication, then they should be able to use the word Allah in their publication. As simple as that.

If you are fearful of their agenda, just calm down. The facts are the facts… and all of us have the freedom to use the facts to pursue our own agenda. They can use the word Allah to pursue their own agenda and so can we! We cannot live our life in fear and expect the fact to change itself to accommodate our paranoia. If they want to use the word Allah to try to convert Muslims kids to Christianity (as some people have feared) imagine how much more easily it will be for Muslim preachers to do the same thing in the opposite direction? I mean… come on! Why are we so fearful about this?

The trend of this world is actually people are converting to Islam more and more. September 11 was supposed to cause people to turn away from Islam… but instead, people become curious about Islam after that incident and end up learning about Islam. And they end up embracing Islam because Islam is the truth. Again, Allah is the best of planners.

Have faith, guys! Relax! Put in some effort, continue to preach the truth, engage the minds of our children from early on to have good critical thinking…and Insya Allah the truth will be made clear.

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As Muslims, we should understand better. If the Christians are trying to use the word Allah in some fantastic convoluted scheme to try to convert confused Muslims (I kind of doubt this, but well, for the sake of argument let’s entertain this scenario), we can understand that they are doing it from a place of compassion. To them, accepting Jesus as God is the only way to salvation and in their minds, they are trying to save us Muslims. We can at least acknowledge that their intention – if that is indeed their intention – comes from the goodness of their hearts.

Likewise, we also believe that the only path to salvation is by embracing Islam, acknowledging that there is only ONE God and Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God. So we also have been trying to propagate Islam and we are happy when people from other faiths revert to Islam, right?

But we cannot propagate Islam by false means of banning other people from using the word Allah. In the Quran, even non-believers use the word Allah which simply means God in Arabic. And Allah has never prohibited non-Muslims from using the word Allah. Allah only prohibited the misconception of saying Allah is three… or Allah has a son… or Allah died on the cross. But the word Allah can be used by anyone and it has never been an issue in other countries.

If Allah The Most Wise Himself did not prohibit the usage of the word Allah by non-Muslims, who are WE to rule otherwise?

If we want to propagate Islam, do it right. Do it with facts. Do it intelligently. Do it strategically. Truth is always more beautiful, more defendable, and more intellectually-satisfying than falsehood. In fact, falsehood always comes with red flags that most logical thinkers recognize straightaway once they have gathered all the facts (Philosophers studied the concept of truth and listed criteria for truth. In epistemology, criteria of truth (or tests of truth) are standards and rules used to judge the accuracy of statements and claims. Consistency is one of the criteria.)

For example, one of the red flags that something is not the truth is when it is NOT consistent.

On one hand you prohibit people from using the word Allah, on the other hand non-Muslims must use the word Allah while singing state songs, using PDRM badges, and in other aspects of their communication in their daily lives. On one hand, you prohibit Christians in Malaysia from using the word Allah, but on the other hand other Christians in the Middle East have using the word Allah since FOREVER. I mean… please. Obvious inconsistency is the red flag that you have a wrong stand and you must evaluate your facts all over again.

Just like the inconsistencies present in the liberal ideas! On one hand, you tell people to embrace themselves, embrace their bodies the way they are, and use natural products that are healthy for our bodies. On the other, you tell people that if they feel like they were born in the wrong body, they can use puberty blockers with bad side effects to transition. On one hand, you champion the concept of equality and justice for LGBT people to compete in sports in the category of their identified gender, but on the other hand, justice is no longer being served as cis-gender females are disadvantaged for having to compete with transwomen (biological men) in sports.

Truth is consistent and easily defended. It will align in various different angles and various different contexts! Falsehood is frail… and easily dismantled. If you are honest with yourself, you could see it clearly. But when you have a conflict of interests, of course you will champion falsehood that doesn’t stand reality check. When you have a conflict of interests, that’s when you will disregard truths and abandon facts. And I really hate that in anyone.

May Allah always guide us to speak the truth regardless of our feelings about it. Truth over feeling! Fact over fiction!

Always.

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Book Reviews

I have had the opportunity to read 4 books since I last blogged. 1 non-fiction and 3 fictions.

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I bought this non-fiction The Great Equations: The Hunt For Cosmic Beauty In Numbers by Robert P. Crease at Book Xcess Penang when I was doing my psychogeriatric rotation a few months ago. In general, I don’t really like maths. But I like history of science and the philosophy of science. I like knowing how certain equations came about. Which mathematicians actually had greater claim to that equation?! How did things progress from observation to equations? So this book is about the beautiful history of mathematics. When you read this book, you will learn why The Pythagorean Theorem is considered the basis of civilization, why The Second Law of Thermodynamics is the scientific equivalent of Shakespeare in its drama and tragedy, why Euler’s Equation is the gold standard for mathematical beauty. I think mathematicians will LOVE this book. As I am not a mathematician, I can only appreciate the history part and the amusing anecdotes about the equation but not really the technical aspects of the equation.

Based on ANFRS, I gave this book half a star for content, half a star for clarity of thought, 1 star for language, 1 star for credibility of author (Robert P. Crease is a philosopher and historian of science), and half a star for subjective enjoyment. So altogether, this book scores 3.5 stars out of 5.

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I have also read the long-awaited 6th instalment to the Jack West Junior series, The Two Lost Mountains by Matthew Reilly. Ah, it was great guys! If you have followed the series (The Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors, The Four Legendary Kingdoms, The Three Secret Cities) you will be as excited as I was to read this latest instalment. This is the second final one to this series! When the book first came out a few month ago, I couldn’t find it in Popular Alor Setar. I couldn’t find it in MPH online. I was in despair haha. So, I ordered it via Book Depository. But because I couldn’t wait for the book to arrive (waiting for book-delivery from oversea is a practice in patience, guys!) , I downloaded it online so that I could read it stat. When the book arrives, I will just place it among its other siblings in my bookshelves. You might wonder why I should buy the physical book if I could just read the online version. Well… because I have started the collection of the series and I must continue to the end. Must complete the collection, right? haha I cannot wait for the final instalment… it is going to be great, Insya Allah.

Based on AFBRS, I give this book 1 star for plot, 1 star for characters and characterization, ¾ star for language, ¾ star for facts weaved into the plot and 1 star for enjoyment. So altogether, this book scores 4.5 stars guys! But if you don’t follow this series from the beginning, you will be lost and you might not like it. So my advice is, start to read from the first instalment or don’t bother buying.

And I have also read two Agatha Christie mysteries this month The Man In The Brown Suit and The Secret of Chimneys. You can download them for free as their copyrights have already expired. I enjoyed both mysteries even though the protagonists of both books are not the great Hercule Poirot. These are stand alone novels by Agatha Christie. I gave both of them 3 stars out of 5.

Until next time, my dear readers.

I leave you guys with a picture of me after having had my Covid-19 vaccination on 10/3/2021. Side effects were pretty mild, guys. Just a little bit of ache and muscle stiffness on the site of injection and 2 days of feeling crazy sleepy. Otherwise, everything was good. I hope you guys stay safe and stay protected with vaccination, Insya Allah. Much love and may Allah bless all of us.

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