Posted in Culture, Poem

O Light. O Light.

light

I have seen the light. In the night when it is blight

When our soul is fright. And our view is outsight

I hear the crying plight. Will it end right?

I feel the joy and warm delight. The message was carried out forthright

Where is the shining knight?

O Light

O Light

Victory has been assured outright

The heart, relight. Our motherland, overlight

Gazing the skies out straight. Looking for the soft glowing twilight

O Light

O Light

Illuminates our insight

From the Omen in which sleight!

 

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ فِي قَلْبِي نُورًا وَفِي لِسَانِي نُورًا وَاجْعَلْ فِي سَمْعِي نُورًا وَاجْعَلْ فِي بَصَرِي نُورًا وَاجْعَلْ مِنْ خَلْفِي نُورًا وَمِنْ أَمَامِي نُورًا وَاجْعَلْ مِنْ فَوْقِي نُورًا وَمِنْ تَحْتِي نُورًا ‏.‏ اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِنِي نُورًا

“O Allah! place light in my heart, light in my tongue, place light in my hearing, place light in my eyesight, place light behind me, and light in front of me, and place light above me, and light below me. O Allah! grant me light.” [Sahih Muslim 763]

Posted in Book Review, Culture, Philosophy

Trivium: Secret Art of Learning

Etymologically, the latin word of “Trivium” means “the place where the roads meet.” The elements within the Trivium represent a crossroads or intersection where the public meets [1]. We would call it a public square, where public meets to discuss or chit-chat the usual topics of the day: How was the weather? How was the harvest? And so on and so forth.

We used to say that people who excel at remembering common experience and knowledge are good at trivia. Trivia is at the center of everyday knowledge.

The term Trivium was comprised grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These three elements were essential to a classical education.

Grammar teaches the mechanics of language to the student. This is the step where the student “comes to terms”. It can be divided into two: technical and exegetical grammar. Learning sentence structure (subject, verb, and object) is technical while learning the meaning and its nuance is exegetical.

Logic is the mechanics of thought and of analysis: identifying fallacious arguments, removing contradictions, thereby producing factual knowledge. Logic directs and guides us after the truth. It leads us to conclusions based on our knowledge. We use all of our faculties of conceiving, judging, reasoning, and disposing of questions before us. Logic trains the mind to think clearly. Dialectics is the term used to describe critical thinking. We observe the world. As we see patterns, we begin to make predictions and convey it to our action plans.

Rhetoric is the application of language in order to instruct and persuade the reader or listener. Sometimes we thought that rhetoric is unimportant as a meaningless throw-away line. Rhetoric is important: it has substance. Rhetoric adds force and elegance to our thoughts. It is essential for the study of law and regulations. Ancient Romans used to learned to speak in public with fluency. Even pre-Islamic Arabs used to read poetry in public and challenge the other poets.

the_triviums_shield_of_the_trinity
The representation image of Trivium in the middle ages (from Wikipedia)

 

Grammar, rhetoric, and logic are the trivium, or first three, of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences [2]. Some would say The Trivium is the three arts of language pertaining to the mind. Logic is the art of thinking; grammar, the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance [3]. Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric can be described as Input, Process, and Output.

The whole of the Trivium, in fact, was intended to teach the student the proper use of the tools of learning. First, he learned how structure in language was put together, and how it worked. Secondly, he learned to use language; how to define his terms and make accurate statements; how to construct an argument and how to detect fallacies in it. Thirdly, he learned to express himself in language elegantly and persuasively. This whole teaching system arguably is now crumbled, because we are too much focusing on the “subjects” itself, hence obsessed with the results from science, technology or any subjects [4].

Learning these three elements in Trivium will shape us into a formidable force in the world. These are the most powerful tools that human beings have. Luther King knew them, Malcolm X knew them, both of them moved large numbers of people and nation.

Prophet s. is the most logical, grammatically correct and rhetorically effective human being that ever lived. He moved one-sixth of humanity because of that. This is why they are so important in our civilization.

Freemasons up until now are obsessed with the Seven Liberal Arts. Freemasons is a network of very powerful people around the world and they know this tools very well. They are learning seven liberal arts to shape themselves to become a better man in masonry [5].

winding-stairs
Winding Stairs, one of the common symbolism in Freemasonry. There are 12 steps, the first 5 are human senses, the second 7 representing the school of learning (Seven Liberal Arts)

Some civilizations though kept these knowledge hidden, some sort of secret arts. They do not want these arts known widely among mankind. Because these arts will free people and not let others think for them. They will be liberated. 

We can see through people lacking in this knowledge if we have mastered it. There is a lot of gaps to fill in the case of President debates in the United States nowadays compare with two or three decades ago. Mastering this knowledge means increased in literacy capacity [6].

In debates, a good argumentation should be delivered well. There are certain things that need to look at, the usage of rhetoric might be a missed hit if the content was not elaborated enough or the method of rhetoric is not well-delivered. The worst scenario is the usage of foul language when someone cornered. This is when debates getting ugly.

Foul language was what people that didn’t have words resorted to. When you lose the ability to speak out of frustration you begin to use foul language. Breakdown of language leads to violence. Wars occur because of breakdowns in communication. Later maybe developing an article explaining language and communication might be a good idea.

Simply put, mastering all three of these elements, you can move masses and nations. But if not properly used, wars will be triggered. Careful with your words.

إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْفِتَنَ فَإِنَّ اللِّسَانَ فِيهَا مِثْلُ وَقْعِ السَّيْفِ

“Beware of tribulations, for at that time the tongue will be like the blow of a sword.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium
  2. Trivium is one-third of the total seven, the rest are called Quadrivium: Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy)
  3. Joseph, Sister Miriam (2002). The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric. Paul Dry Books, Inc.

  4. Sayers, Dorothy L., (1947). The Lost Tools of Learning. an essay presented at Oxford University.
  5. http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artjan02/marcus/sevenliberalartsandsciences.htm
  6. Adler, Mortimer J and van Doren, Charles, How to Read a Book, 1972 ed. (see my article: https://imanadipurnama.com/2016/07/27/art-of-reading/
Posted in Culture, Religion

Divine Convention: Hajj

hajj

In a summary, Hajj (Pilgrimage) is a celebration and commemoration of sacrificial made by Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam. The culmination of the entire thing in the Rasulullah ﷺ life is actually the liberation of the House of ﷲ. The liberation itself could not be separated with the important role of the Qiblah shifting in which The Muslim community gaining its power! Not so long after the shifting, The Quraish wage war against Muslim, and thus The War of Badr happened. Had not the Quran responded with the ayah regarding the shifting, fighting and fasting, no one knows what will happen with the Muslims community at that time!

By the eight years of Migration of The Prophet, in the month of Ramadan, The House of ﷲ successfully liberated. It is the day of Fathul-Makkah (The conquest of Makkah). The House of Ibrahim then purified once again.

Having said all of the historical events occurred regarding the House of ﷲ. Every year, when we are going to make Hajj, we are continuously living up the victory and the fulfillment of the mission of Rasulullah ﷺ. As a people, we are reminded of the entire life of Rasulullah Muhammad ﷺ and the life of Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam, along with the promise that we, as a people, made to ﷲ that we are going to carry the mission of Islam to the rest of humanity. We rejuvenate that mission for every single year in such divine convention which we called Hajj!

We are wearing typically the same clothes, we are doing exactly the same thing! Millions of people dressed exactly the same way and doing the same thing! The communal message for Hajj is always plain and simple: “Equality”.

Prophet ﷺ says in his last sermon of Hajj, “No Arabs superior to non-Arabs. No non-Arabs superior to Arabs. No Black man superior to Red man. No Red man superior to Black Man. The noblest among of you is the one who has taqwa/conscious of God ()”

That is the communal sense that we should have as an ummah. How about us as an individual? Hajj is the most communal experience you will ever have, but at the same time is the most personal experience you will ever have!

Take a look through this ayah.

ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُوَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of ﷲ. Indeed, ﷲ is Forgiving and Merciful. [QS. 2:199]

This is the once in a lifetime opportunity to make Du’a (prayer) that you have never been made before. You have now left everything behind. Practically you have stripped the worldly life (Dunya) out of you. In this particular private-moment, there is nothing left between you and ﷲ.

You are in a place that itself reminds you of death. There is no livelihood in Makkah aside from the miraculous spring of Zamzam. It is barren dessert. Even Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam would describe it as a valley that has absolutely no cultivation whatsoever.

Take a look the last passage of the ayah, interestingly ﷲ use the words إِنَّ. The use of إِنَّ in the ayah signify that ﷲ is giving a kind of guarantee that if we do our Hajj right then ﷲ absolutely will guarantee His forgiveness. He is extremely forgiving and loving.

Hopefully, every time we experience or imagining the remarkable journey of Hajj, our sense of commitment to the work of Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam and the struggle of Rasulullah ﷺ is rejuvenated, and our job as an ummah is refreshed in our heart.

May Allah accept the pilgrims and allow them to return safely to their families. May Allah accept us and answer our prayers and may Allah allow us to go for Hajj in the future years to come.

Happy Eid Mubarak 

Posted in Culture, Philosophy

Death, Loneliness, and Agony

It was in summer last year. It was the day I was waiting for. Surely, my achievement, all these years particularly, was at its pinnacle. I was with my colleagues, discussing every issue which is, for us, had a significant impact on our country.

It was in Singapore, where I had a chance meeting up the other Indonesian Students who study abroad. We had fun. As the day turns into night I am still clueless.

Before it all happened, my father was gravely ill since the end of the year of 2014. He was in bed in for almost sixth months. Slowly he lost his memory, he even can’t communicate. “It was his lungs that affected his brain and his nerve.” The doctor said. The hospital already provides the best doctors in their respective field. But the disease is too much for him.

Just before my departure, he regained his health. Only a little, though. His heart was in good condition. Therefore he can go through another treatment for his internal organ. I was in doubt, whether I take my flight or not to go to Singapore. But later on, I decided to go after got permission from my mother.

It was the same night in Singapore. Past midnight. Around 1 AM. In that particular time when I was in my room, there was a message on my phone. Two messages precisely. My father just passed away that night. The day just ended like that. It shifting all the feelings that I had just before.

It was on 7th August. It was the month of independence in Indonesia, yet I feel empty. Shallow. The time moves slowly. Time dilation maybe, as relativity theory named it, and it made me feel alone. Then I went back to my country, visited his grave, and days after days passing by. I went back to Taiwan to continue my study.

Suddenly in the middle of the night on the month of October, I had a dream. It was so powerful that I can’t get rid of my head until now. It is still ringing clearly.

It was my father that appeared in my dream, wearing his usual dress. He walks in and stood in front of me. A few words he was trying to say, “I am sorry for everything.” He cried and put his hands on my shoulder and then hugged me softly. My legs then feeling numb, and I am kneeling down. Then his image faded, disappearing into the light. All the visual vanish, and I woke up from the dream.

death tunnel
Walk into the light (from huffingtonpost.com)

My mind recollecting the fragments from the past. It brings all memory together. Bitter, sweet and joyous one. I know my interactions with him has always been weird. Rather, it was fueled by feuds and conflicts. Agony.

Ah, memories. Sometimes it brings sadness and hate, even regret. Although, there is a good thing about memories. It showed us who we are in an honest way. It is true that our memories contain our past experience. Simply, memory is all that a person can remember. It is always been there. Always.

What is left from the dead was their memories we shared. All pieces of it.

Aging and die. The cycle goes on. The old Sherlock Holmes in the movie “Mr. Holmes” do realize what the word “alone” is really about when he encounter his very last case.

As I quote when Mr. Holmes talks to his suspect,

“The dead are not so very far away. They are just on the other side of the wall. It is us on this side who are alone.”

A tribute to my father. (October 13th, 1949 – August 7th, 2015)

Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raaji’un

Posted in Book Review, Culture, Philosophy

Art of Reading

“Why the poets use metaphorical language?” One day my friend asked. “Why don’t he used ‘that’ word and instead using ‘this’ word?”

how to read a book

Poets often using ambiguous words and it is quite difficult to grasp the insight behind those words. Good poets gave us time to think of what they have written. They are good with their language and words. In what sense we are different from the animals? The most sensible answer is language, which can be derived to any specific knowledge.

Human is the best at generating language. It is really amazing to see how children can speak the words and understand its meaning. Have you ever wonder how the language can be processed? Linguistics is a sign of civilization. It is a sign of an ancient heritage that can communicate its legacy to us. As the great writers write in their books.

Many books can be summed up into several paragraphs, even only one or two sentences. That’s ordinary writer. But in most cases, many popular or high selling books suffered the same problem. When you read classical books, sometimes you can’t sum it up easily, you can’t make it short. Because too many important points inside. It is as Mark Twain said about the ancient, “The ancients stole all our ideas from us.”

We must have sufficient knowledge to be able to interpret what they are writes. In order to do that, we must form a set of skill of reading. Reading is not a passive activity. Rather, it is active, depending on how we manage the process inside.

Mortimer Adler in the late of 40’s published an interesting book entitled “How to read a book”. He said, “To become a solid reader, we must able to determine our goals. To get information, to get understanding or maybe just for amusement?”

Information deduced from the facts, while insight is internalized when we are trying to understand something. From sort of passage or paragraph, we get the information and we may or may not get enlightened. It depends on our ability in reading. To understand the insight within, we need to explore what an author has to say, we should know what he means and why the author says it. This is why the Art of Reading is matter.

The other things that he mentioned are how we should manage our level of reading. There are several levels in which Adler described. First, elementary reading, and I guess you probably have this set of skill if you can read this passage.

Second, inspectional reading, it is a set of skill that enables us to get the most out of book within a given time. Easily with this level, we can answer, “What is the book about?”

Third, analytical reading, this is prominently for the sake of understanding. We can ask and organize many questions of what we are reading. This level is prominently for the sake of understanding, answering the “why” questions. As Francis Bacon say, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some to be chewed and digested.”

Fourth, syntopical reading. We put more books to understand how to resolve a specific matter. This is the most active compared to the previous set. It is similar when we are doing a research in a certain field and try to gather all the sources and references, put them on a red line to connect the dots we are trying to solve.

An interesting story on why we need to know our level of reading is the story of Ibn Sina. One day Ibn Sina tried to read Aristotle book, The Metaphysics. He read it almost fifty times! and yet he still couldn’t get it. Then he went to a bookstore and offered a book, “Introduction to Metaphysics”, and voila, he understands easily. Sometimes we need an introduction to the subject we are going to engage, especially difficult subject. Books entitled “Bla Bla Bla for dummies, or introduction to Bla Bla” is needed as a prerequisite to understanding a specific subject. As mentioned in his book, Adler gave an example by using textbooks, or introduction books. So that we may understand a specific subject better.

Adler also mentioned about the architecture of the books. We can understand the books by looking at its structure and asking some basic questions, how the books are arranged? What is the book about as a whole? What is being said in detail and how? Is the book true, in whole or part? What of it? Significant? Important?

If we take a look at the architecture of Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulumuddin, what is the book all about? What is the main theme? We should pinpoint the heart of all chapters in the book. The heart is located in the book 20 of Ihya entitled The Etiquette of Living and the Prophetic Mannerism. This is the main point of whole chapters! Ghazaly put this chapter at the heart of the book precisely. All topics in Ihya is based on the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

By doing so (understanding the architecture) we can engage more intimately with the author as proposed by Adler. Figuring out what we understand and what we don’t before agreeing with the author. To be able to read is to be able to grasp the understanding and insight from the author.

Read comes from the Old English verb rǣdan, “to advise, interpret, read.” Rǣdan is related to the German raten, “to advise” (as in Rathaus, “town hall”). Even some argue that it also rooted in the same word as the 4th stomach of a ruminant, “to ruminate”, “to chew”. As we read something, we should grasp its insight, reading is “chewing”. We chew and digest the idea on our mind so that we understand it in a comprehensive way.

To able to read in a comprehensive way is the closer we get to become a literate person. Literates are someone who understand what they read and able to articulate their understanding clearly.

The Art of Reading is to be able to catch every sort of communication as well as possible. It is to become a solid literate person!
If people are able to master the Art of Reading, they will have set of skills such as keen on observation, improved memorizing skills, a wide range of imagination, intellect trained in analysis and reflection.

 

All of those set skills will improve us both personally and for the society, becoming a literate person and establishing a literate society. Moreover, aside from that, the Art of Reading is a matter of discovery, to learn and master something useful from the book. Therefore if we are disposed to go on learning and discovering we must know how to make books teach us well.

The pinnacle of our civilization is when our society leveled up to a certain point of literacy. They became the literate society. The English language has reached its pinnacle in 16-17th century. While Arabic reached its pinnacle on 6-7th century parallel with the growth of Islam.

Interestingly, in Islam, reading have always been a fundamental root in its oral tradition. The first revelation is “read”. Many argue that this verse has a multidimensional context. There is a mystical component in reading the Quran in which it always refers to the person who thinks, ponder and deeply reflect themselves on the verse of the Quran.

Quran is the book of signs. If we want to understand Quran, we must interpret its signs. Thus, reading is the basic foundation on how we can understand signs. Interestingly enough, ayah in Quran addressed either as verse or sign. The implication is that we should always refer both the sign and the verse as a guidance in our life. We should think and ponders all the creation in our surroundings and also the verse as a text itself. This step of thinking and pondering can be achieved when we have our basic foundation, reading, as a habit. In this globalization era, indeed it is time for us to become a solid reader, a literate person and to establish a literate society. Let’s master the Art of Reading!

How many books you have read this past two months? Hopefully, it will become more in the future.

Reference:

Adler, Mortimer J and van Doren, Charles, How to Read a Book, 1972 ed

Posted in Culture, Religion

Ramadan and The Legacy of Ibrahim

dubai desert

The only revelation dealing with the month of Ramadan is in Surah Baqarah. More importantly, the Surah with all of its subjects covers an overview of Islam in a bigger picture.

One of the strongest messages in this particular Surah is that Islam has the same roots as the religion of Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam. In a comprehensive way, Rasulullah ﷺ mission is to fulfill the legacy of Ibrahim! You may argue that the five pillars/foundations of Islam derived from the legacy of Ibrahim. Let’s review the concepts briefly,

1. Shahada, the core concept of Tauhid, One God that cannot be compared to anything. This first foundation of Islam resonates strongly in relation with Ibrahim as his message is about Tauhid. Because of that, the idea of monotheistic faith commonly known as Abrahamic faith. The message of Ibrahim and Islam are tie-in on shahada itself. Note to mention that the Ka’bah itself is the establishment of the concept of Tauhid. This resonates firmly in the mission of Rasulullah ﷺ as he liberates the Ka’bah from the idols to restore the legacy of Ibrahim.

2. Salah, the daily prayers, are the fulfillment of the Ibrahim prayers (du’a), “please make my generation pray!”

3. The act of Hajj is practically how we learn the history of our father, Ibrahim. Every part of it commemorate the legacy of Ibrahim, following the footsteps of our father literally. Fasting in Ramadan and Zakat are not so obvious attributed to Ibrahim, but it has a connection and inseparable bond with the legacy of Ibrahim,

4. As far as Zakat is a concern, there is an ayah relating Ibrahim and Ismail with Salat and Zakat. In one narration of hadith, Ismail used to tell his family to pray and give Zakat. Obviously, he learns from his father, Ibrahim. So Zakat has a connection to Ibrahim.

5. How is Ramadan supposed to connect the legacy of Ibrahim?

As Ibrahim build the Ka’bah, he realizes that the religion may deteriorate over time, and he made prayer: sent a messenger who recites the book, teaching them, and cleanse them.

رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and teaching the Book and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and cleanse them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [QS 2:129]

Remarkably the order of this ayah comes before the ayah of Ramadan and as the ayah progressed up until when Ibrahim build the Ka’bah alongside Ismail, from whom long-lineage gap after will be coming to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. In the other side, there are long-chain of generation of prophets comes after Ishaq. Every prophet who passed away, there will be a new generation of prophets to take their place. Every generation in Ishaq lineage had a prophet, while there are thousands of years of gap between Ismail and Muhammad, Rasulullah ﷺ!!

Later on, in the years to come, the promised one received Quran on the Night of Decree (ليلة القدر) which has happened in Ramadan! In conclusion, Ramadan is a celebration when the prayer of Ibrahim was finally answered through the coming of Rasulullah ﷺ. Ibrahim made a prayer thousands year ago of the coming of the final messenger, “Ya ﷲ send a messenger who will recite your revelation.”

That messenger is indeed Rasulullah ﷺ and he also appointed as the final messenger in this holy month of Ramadan! The five foundations of Islam in one way or another are trace back to the Prophet Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam. As Quran further described and mentioned in Surah Baqarah, both lineage of Ibrahim: Ismail and Ishaq, considered themselves as Muslim. The Rabbi didn’t necessarily practice all entire different faith. At their time, respectively in every generation in that long-chain lineage of Ishaq, they are describing themselves as Muslim whether today they acknowledge the name or not.

Rasulullah ﷺ also introduced that his message is the practice of Ibrahim religion, not as something that inseparable from the Rabbi. Ibrahim is the tie between these two lineages. The majority of the prophets is indeed coming from the son of Ishaq, notably Ya’qub (Israel), even Rasulullah ﷺ acknowledge the first Qibla in Jerusalem as he prays towards it and further goes there in the event of Miraculous Night Journey (Isra’). He also used to practice the fasting as the Rabbi did!

All in all, Quran describing these two lineages and legacies as a joint, it is inseparable! The religious frameworks that both sides used is parallel to each other, and Quran captures its message beautifully with the tie-in between them is Ibrahim. Experts could come to a conclusion that Muhammad is really the prophet which has been foretold!

For the Jews, they were used to learn the signs of the upcoming prophet. As months and years passing by, they were in desperate moments waiting the promised one, they have studied the signs heavily! The last prophet that has appeared before them is Isa ‘alaihissalam, yet most of them rejected him.

There is a 6th-century gap between Isa ‘alaihissalam and Rasulullah ﷺ. For these gap of years, the study of eschatology (the end of times) becomes more and more intense as they are hoping the promised one will unite and gave them victory and liberation! When the news of Muhammad of the Arabs comes, their people tend to lean towards him, curious to learn about his message, but then intervened by the Rabbi instead!

As the final messenger revealed, and apparently that he is coming from the Arabs, the Rabbis are in heavy denial and thus rejected Rasulullah ﷺ. Not only being rejected, they even blockade the message of Islam to their people and saying that he is not the real prophet! When these blockades happened, ﷲ took their status as an ummah by turning the Qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca.

سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَن قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا ۚ قُل لِّلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their Qiblah, which they used to face?” Say, “To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.” [QS. 2:142]

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And thus, we have made you a just community/nation that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the Qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed, Allah is, to the people, Kind, and Merciful. [QS. 2:143]

قَدْ نَرَىٰ تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۖ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا ۚ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ ۗ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. [QS. 2:144]

وَلَئِنْ أَتَيْتَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ بِكُلِّ آيَةٍ مَّا تَبِعُوا قِبْلَتَكَ ۚ وَمَا أَنتَ بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَتَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا بَعْضُهُم بِتَابِعٍ قِبْلَةَ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ إِنَّكَ إِذًا لَّمِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

And if you brought to those who were given the Scripture every sign, they would not follow your qiblah. Nor will you be a follower of their qiblah. Nor would they be followers of one another’s qiblah. So if you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, indeed, you would then be among the wrongdoers. [QS. 2:145]

The shifting direction of Qibla is a sign that the capital of Islam, the true religion of Ibrahim is also changing! This means that ﷲ separates this two ummah completely. In Surah Baqarah, ﷲ also mentioned about Ibrahim as the tie between Israelites and newly born Muslim society. It is as He is saying that “if you are proud of your heritage, at least show some loyalty to Ibrahim!” No matter what color or race, every human being has the same opportunities in this life.

The changing of Qibla is making the Jewish people furious! They realize that they were separated in religion completely and a new distinct nation was born. In this very moment, ﷲ makes Ramadan as the new fasting practice for Muslim!

Nearly in the same time, ﷲ sent down revelation making fighting compulsory, and later War of Badr happened. All of it, changing of Qibla, fasting, and War declaration was sent down nearly at the same times! More of this matter can refer to https://www.facebook.com/notes/iman…

The last piece of this note is that at the end of the day, the month of Ramadan distinguished us, Muslim, as a people, as a nation. It was a statement of new identity as an ummah. It was a celebration of the revealed constitution for Muslim, The Quran. By this statement, another point that needs to be considered is “What have we done in Ramadan? What have we achieved in this life? How does it impact our society?”

Posted in Culture

Imagined Communities

Capitalism and Marxist Communism have somewhat opposed each other as critics, journals and books argued in the past few decades. Capitalism fosters individuality while communism fosters uniformity. Is it? Or not?

Both capitalism and communism represent contradicted values, equality, and individuality. Ever since the French Revolution, people have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other.

Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing that every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. Sort of Trade-off. Thus, the entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction. The question is “who” plays “what” role?

Throughout the 20th century, we have always presented by the conflict: equality and individuality. The global conflict occurs when cold-war started (no one really knows when cold-war actually happened). The imagined-Communism society of USSR and the Liberty-Capitalism of USA. There is no good-evil here. Moreover, today, there is no region nor state that entirely crafted by purely communism or capitalism.

Somewhere between their gaps, there is always reconciliation around those two values. That’s where governments play their roles.

While we are depicted by the global situation, in the local region, the conflict between Marxist regimes also happened. This is not all about Capitalism-Communism clash. The root of conflict rather, the nationalism itself.

A fundamental transformation in the history of the Marxist movement lies in the conflict in Southeast Asia and China. If the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia in December 1978 and January 1979 represented the first large-scale conventional war waged by one revolutionary Marxist regime against another, then China’s assault on Vietnam in February rapidly confirmed the precedent.

In Indonesia, the communist party (PKI), although they failed the coup d’etat on 1948, by the year of 1955 they achieved 4th rankings in the national election. After that, in 1965 the CIA conspiracy thingy happened and there was massacred. Some would argue that the opportunist groups had made a deal and thus established themselves as the government and victimized the communist party. Despite this fact, rarely known that because of disagreement over the political strategy they are using, some of the party members had split apart and established their own party, Murba (established by Tan Malaka).

In the other cases, in Eastern Europe, who can be confident that Yugoslavia and Albania will not one day come to blows? Those variegated groups who seek a withdrawal of the Red Army from its encampments in Eastern Europe should remind themselves of the degree to which its overwhelming presence has, since 1945, ruled out an armed conflict between the regions Marxist regimes.

The clash of capitalism and communism is nevertheless the struggle for crafting and imagining the communities. While in the processes, war is inevitable. Then we should ask, “For what purpose does a nation has?”

Benedict Anderson wrote this cause in his books “Imagined Communities”. He examining the creation and global spread of the ‘imagined communities’ of nationality and explores the processes that created these communities: the religious faiths, the decline of antique kingship, the interaction between capitalism and print, the development of secular language-of-state, and changing the conceptions of time and space.

Every rooted ideological movement, therefore, moves towards the nationality as each of them had defined. He agreed with Eric Hobsbawm who stated that “Marxist movement and state have tended to become national not only in form but in substance i.e., nationalist.”

He argued, “what, in a positive sense, made the new communities imaginable was a half-fortuitous, but explosive, interaction between a system of production and productive relations (capitalism), a technology of communications (print), and the fatality of human linguistic diversity.”

Even today, clothes picturing the Marxist martyr, Che-Guevara, are most likely can be found anywhere in this global-capitalized market. Funny.

As the globalization continue, the clash of forces is likely to happen. Soekarno, coined the terms Nefo-Oldefo, New Emerging Forces-Old Emerging Forces.

It is not just about where we sided now, it is about how we interpret. History needs interpretation in every angle, right?

Don’t be caught by such propaganda while you are still uncertain about something, and you are not in a capacity to bear the responsibility. So this is propaganda then? You decide.

 ben anderson

A tribute to Benedict Anderson.

Sources:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso. 2006

Harari, Yuval. N. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. London: Harvill Secker. 2014