Friday, May 9, 2008

Ticket, please

The Syariah High Court had allowed a Muslim convert to renounce Islam and revert to her original faith.

Let’s acknowledge the social significance of the ruling. Within our multi-racial and multi-religious society, the decision would be most welcomed. For now, we are given the assurance by the authority that our freedom of religion, enshrined in our constitution, is given a timely and much needed reinforcement.

However, if I were to look at it from a higher perspective, I would opine that the incident is actually a non-issue.

In my opinion, religion is a way of life, and death (or afterlife). Plunged into the wilderness of life, many of us embrace religion to guide us in living, and in living, dying. By showing us the beacon from our next world – afterlife - religion gives us direction for our path out of the darkness shrouding this life. Having accepted our next destination, we would live according to religious practices to lead us towards it. That would give meaning to our life and our deeds within it. In the strictest sense, our path in this life will end the moment we exhale our last breath. From then on, our soul would take on another journey. The manner in which we will be buried, what prayers will be cited during our burial, which burial ground will our abandoned form be resting would bear no significance (except to those we will be leaving behind) to which road our soul will be taking: substance over form.

I would hardly expect someone who prays to the statues of Kuan Yin, Tua Pek Kong, or Kuan Ti, offers fruits and burns joss-stick on the first and fifteenth of the Chinese calendar month to one’s ancestors and other deities, would be given the eternal reward by Allah. The wordings in one’s Identity Card, or the ruling of the worldly court assert little influence in one’s eligibility. The more one attends Sunday church meeting, repents one’s sins to Jesus and His Father, sings hymns and says prayers praising God, the more credit one would accumulate to check into the mansions in heaven after death. Likewise, the more one prays to, gives thanks to the God of Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi, offers a kavadi to the Lord during Thaipusam, the more likely he’ll get his passport into nirvana of Hinduism.

Point to ponder 1: if someone is so lost and so confused in this life, that he goes to church every Sunday to seek solace under the cross, prays to Kuan Yin and Buddha in his house every day for blessing, recite Quran everyday to seek eternal reward, which soul train would he board after death? What kind of ticket is he going to hold?

Point to ponder 2: but then again, perhaps, perhaps all tracks lead to the same station anyway.

Point to ponder 3: what if, what if that station is not terminal, there's another station after that?

Point to ponder 4: I wonder if there is WiFi connection on the train and at the station ...

1 comment:

Johnny Ong said...

its not easy to come to such a decision. as race / religion is part and parcel of politics, whatever outcome will definitely be politicised for the benefit or detriment of someone


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