Friday, May 27, 2011

The Dubai Museum

I have not been keeping up with my blogging for the past few months simply because I really have not much to tell and also needed a break from it. I visited Kuwait again a few weeks ago and my sister was there visiting her daughter and grand children and it was good to touch base with her. I enjoyed the Friday prayers at the mosque while I was there as the sermon was in English and the Imam who lead the congregation seemed very intelligent in his delivery of the 'Kutbah." No brimstone and fiery speeches but just plain old logic and understanding.

I have also worked on a number of paintings three of which were for my son and one for his friend Steve. I was invited to join a group of International artist in producing artworks for peace at the Dubai Creek Cultural centre. My way of getting my foot into the local art community and getting to know who is who in the process. Am not holding my breath about it at the moment but who knows what good deeds may bring in the future. The show was organized by an Emirati artist Fatma Lootah who has a studio close to the location where the show was held. There was two artists from India and one from Iraq.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Word - ALLAH

For quite sometime now the Malaysian authorities have been grappling with the question related to the use of the word 'Allah" by Christians in the translation of the Bible into the Malay Language (Bahasa Malaysia), in this case Allah is used instead of the word God as normally being used. The issue in using the word Allah is due to the fact that the Christians to whom these Biblical translations were for had been using the word Allah instead of God in their practice of Christianity due to some cutural ethnic origin perhaps partly having been influenced by their Muslim neighbors. This is my assumption and I stand corrected if I am wrong.I beleive it is a fluke of language influence and culture rather than intentional for any reason other than.
For whatever the reasons maybe, the religiously sensitive muslims of the country rose in protest for this 'transgression' and the government was put on a spot to solve this potentially explosive issue. At the end of the day the Malaysian High court rulled for the allowing of the use of the word 'Allah' in a weekly Catholic publication, "The Herald."Without going into too much detail on the facts of the matter, suffice to say that the word 'Allah' which most muslims consider it to be reserved for use in Islam alone is today by Malaysian law can be used by just about any other religion to denote or mean God synonimously.
On my flight back to Dubai from Kuwait a few hours ago I happen to sit next to a Palestinian lady who had lived 20 years of her life in Washington DC, and now resides in Jerusalem working for the UN and among the topics of our conversation I asked her of her opinion on this matter and what she said to me made me question my own predilections on the issue. She pointed out to me a few factors why Christians or any other non Muslim should not be allowed the use of the word Allah in their dessimation of their beliefs or religions.
Firstly she emphasized that in order to be allowed the use of the word the Christians must acknowledge the religion of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet of Allah, which most Christians do not. Having lived in America for 20 odd years myself I agree with her as to my knowledge through experience I know that it is true and it is not simply because these Christians deny the existence of Islam or the teachingof the Prophet out of religious convictions but mostly through ignorance, simply not being aware of such existence. The development of recent events which leads to Islam- phobia further excerbate this situation. Thus how can it be allowed, the word 'Allah' to be used by those who are ignorant of what it stands for or denies its very existence due to lack of knowledge?
Secondly, Jesus to the Christians was the son of God, he was also God 'Incarnate' as the manifestation of The Christ. Allah is without sons or daughters," He was not beget nor begotten"as mentined in the Surah Al Ikhlas . Allah Is ...and to the Muslims Christ of the prophets of Allah. If Christians are allowed to associate the word Allah with God as in the Bible, then Allah is the 'Father', (to the Son) Jesus, and Christ was Allah? To the muslims it is blaspheming to say the least. In this case for the Christians to be able to use the word Allah synonimously with the word God they would have first to abide by the muslim understanding of this word. Abide by the teachings of the Quran and acknowledge the Prophet Muhammad as the last Rasul of Allah.
Thirdly, she pointed out that having lived among Christians in Palastine it is a known fact that these Christians refered to God with the term Al Rab and not Allah. This is like 'The Lord' as in Al Rab-ul Alamin, Lord of the UNiverse. I have yet to meet or hear someone who can explain to me the word God and its linguistic origin, is it English? Did Jesus spoke a word of English?
It is undeniably true that the "word' is not the thing and in light of this it may be arguable that to deprive one section of humanity from using the same name one uses is rather arrogant especially when the word denotes God ( for whatever the word God itself may mean... ) However, " They have not comprehended ALLAH with the comprehension due ALLAH."
The Koran, 22;74

"We know that the noun 'ALLAH is written by using the Arabic letters starting with the letter 'Alif' which stands single at the beginning while at the same time being free from all the other letters that follows it. Next to the letter 'Alif' are two other letters, the letter 'Lam' which are bothe connected to each other. The second of these is followed by the letter 'H'. Although it is not visible, there is also another 'Alif' which is invisible between the two last letters. When recited it can function like a short vowel giving the sound of the letter 'A'.
The first Alif corresponds to the stage of Primary Oneness (Ahadiyyat), which signifies the quality of the One, in other words the Essence (Zat) of the one named 'Allah'. The Essence cannot be limited in any way whatsoever or be grasped by any vision, because at the level of the Essence, there is absolute freedom, which indicates that the Essense is totally independant of all attributes. In fact it is such a state of NON EXISTENCE that it cannot br define or imagined in any way or thought by any means whatsoever. This state is symbolized by the letter 'Alif' which in essence is a straight stroke extending vertically from a dot by standing absolutely independant from all other letters in the writing of the word "Allah".
"Know Yourself"
By Ahmed Hulusi
Trans. by Ali Junayd Tari

The next step perhaps Malaysian Muslims and their Christian brothers might sit and deliberate about how to pray to God as one would to Allah once the name issue is being taken care of. Like worshipping of 'The One" (AHAD) as opposed to the 'The Holy Trinity' of the Christian faith. When you worship God there is The Father The Son and the Holy Ghost that has to be taken into account too but when you worship Allah there is only He and none other than He. The 'Allah' issue may have simmered down and shoved onto the back burner for now while more tantelizing issues like the sodomy trials and Sarawak polls occupy the minds of many concerned Muslim in Malaysia and the irreversible decission has been taken by the Supreme Court of Justice, however the fact of the matter remains that the word ALLAH is non negotiable especially if it is merely for political expedience or to score points with one's own followers for having won a legal fight. For those who call themselves the 'People of The Book", the Judeo, Christian and Islamic tradition, the belief in the Day of Reckoning is part and parcel of a True Believer and none escapes the Judgement in the court of Allah. Having Iman or faith in this word alone engenders liberation of the soul from every attachment that binds it to mind and body, hence of this physical realm which is Maya, Illusional,Impermanent, subject to decay and decease. In Bahasa Malaysia,the word God is tuhan, Tuhan yang kamu sembah, yang aku sembah, tuhan kamu tuhan aku! or your God, my God. You never say my ALLAH or your ALLAH.
"It is clearnow that if the word 'illa', (as in La-illa-Ha'illal Lah), comes into connection with the name "ALLAH", it must always be translated as "ONLY".
From this point of view, the translation of the word ONeness into English should not be as "There no God but ALLAH", but 'There is no God, Only ALLAH."
From, MOhammad's ALLAH
By Ahmed Hulusi, Translated by Ahmed Beki.

Yes in my humble opinion it is not wrong for Christians especially Catholics to use the word Allah in their Bibllical references to mean God, after all only it is written in the Koran that only a Catholic woman can marry a Muslim wihtout having to convert herself to Islam. If the koran allows for such liniency towards the Catholics there must be a good reason why they cannot use His Name, however, bear in mind the remifications of the use of this word how it will affect the religion (Christianity) itself. One cannot have faith in something one has no understanding of whatsoever simply because... hence it is better perhaps NOT to.

"Whether you think you know the reality of yourself or you know Allah, say Allah and then leave all the rest! If you wish, you may continue to spend your whole life with gossiping instead!"
Ahmed Hulusi

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Talking Brought Me Here....

A hunter was hunting in the forest one day and while searching for his prey he stumbled upon a human skull laying on the ground.
"What brought you here?!" he asked in surprise.
"Talking brought me here!", the bleached human skull answered.
hocked, the hunter asked again, "What brought you here?!"
"Talking brought me here!", again the skull answered.
"Wow!", the hunter exclaimed, "Wait till the chief hear of this!"
So off he ran back to the village right to the chief's hut and told the chief in all his excitement of finding a talking skull in the forest. The chief was skeptical of this and was not totally convinced thinking that the hunter was pulling his leg. He was a busy man to boot what with 52 wives and countless children nd grandchildren to mind and a village to run...but in the end he was talked into following the hunter to the forest. Along with his warriors they followed the hunter to where he had found the human skull.
Upon arriving at the place where the skull was the hunter imediately went up to it and asked, "What brought you here?!"
No answer!
Again "What brought you here?!"
No answer, just a bleached human skull laying there in the sand.
Where there was one skull in the forest before now there are two!
I might have told of this story somewhere in my five odd years of blogging, I cannot remember but it is my favourite African folk tale that I read somewhere when I was in college and every once in a while I like to bring it back to remind myself of...too much talking? Writing?
This morning I accompanied my niece and her neighbour also from Malasia shopping for the long black robes that woen wear over here in most of the the Middle Eastern Countries. My intention was to take the opportunity to check the city out while they shop. However there was not much to check out about the City of Kuwait especially on a hot dusty day and most of what you see of the locals are Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis running the show from cab drivers to bank tellers, shokeepers to doctors and lawyers. Most look at me with disain curiuousity if not down right hostility as it must be hard for then figuring me out by my looks if not mannerisms. What with my deciding to keep my hair long and my beard full, now that Osama is no more it is perhaps safe to do so without getting the looks at the airports.
Shopping with the ladies turned out to be an entertaining event actually, once I realized that i can sit an oggle at all the customers who came in to try the 'black robes' and snap a few shots for my blog which otherwise would not have been possible to do so. I am not sure about other men but I find the women all wrapped up in their black robes with only the eys peeking out to be more enticing and sensual more so that those who run around in binkinis and 'G'Strings. Perhaps they left a lot of room for my imagination rather than deprive me with over exposure. How ironic sometimes things can turn out with human nature or the workings of the human mind. Suddenly these generally black cloathings became beautiful with intricate designs added to then and how these designs had evolved from the basic black robe like women's wear meant to curb sensuality. Only their eyes can reveal!
It is however sad that most these women are a little heavy in the kitchen corner of their physic but even this is ecentuated by the black satin like material rounding off these extra pounds at the right locations making one felt like reaching out and oh..well...the Gods must be crazy!!! I still maintain that the second greatest thing God created was the woman... after His creation of Life itself. I thank God for i have had my fair share of their Love and Wrath!