From my discussions with a few readers and responses that I have received (in this forum and elsewhere), it is apparent to me that many of you fail to get the bigger picture of what I try to convey in my previous article. Perhaps I should have not beat around the bush and just cut to the chase.
Like I have specifically mentioned in the first installment, there is no denying that wearing turban is part of the Sunnah. What is called into question is its significance in comparison to other more important aspects of Islam that are often neglected. The collection of Sahih Ahadith does contain a number of accounts describing how Muhammad (P.B.U.H) did wear turban regularly, but that is about it.
Unfortunately, we often forget that Islam also promotes many other things, things that are much bigger than turbans, beard, robes and endless tahlils.
Islam teaches us to treat our neighbors well, help the poor and needy and befriend people of all races and religions. It teaches us to be good drivers and give way to pedestrians, not to drive like maniacs beating traffic lights and cutting queues. It preaches about the importance of being a perpetual student constantly on the look out for a plethora of knowledge in science, philosophy, psychology, mathematics and politics. It encourages us to study Allah's real miracles, miracles that are found in the sublime "design" of nature, not in a piece of wood with Allah's name "magically" carved in it. It also reminds all Muslims, Shiites or Sunnis, turban-wearing or jeans-donning alike, to always be united against all odds, not to be divisive and argue over petty issues and small differences.
Despite all this, what most of us tend to focus on is the externals, the mere appearance of Islam, the one eye of Dajjal. The underlying substance is disregarded, cast aside as if it is shallow and unimportant.
We often tell our children to recite the Quran, but we seldom ask them to study what it means. We always tell our kids to perform daily prayers, but we never expect them to know their significance. We never forget to make sure that our children never miss a single day of fasting in Ramadhan, but we seldom invite them to ponder about the science and rationale behind fasting. We talk to our children about good and evil, but we never remind them that ghosts and goblins are pure superstitions. We tell our children the do's and dont's in Islam, but we never entice them to study why Allah has put them in place. We teach a lot of things about Islam to our children, but we always forget to make them thought provoking and interesting enough so that they will be enticed into learning more about it.
In essence, we teach our children to follow and listen, not to think and question.
Some of you may think that I am not qualified enough to talk about Islam, considering the fact that I do not have a college degree in Islamic Studies and the like. But I do know one thing, and that is I do not even need a PhD to figure out that the Muslim world is in a very deep and serious crisis. From Malaysia to Lebanon, Palestine and the Americas, Muslims all over the world are being slaughtered and massacred by rocket launchers and Apaches, while the more fortunate ones harassed and assaulted on the streets. Islamic values are being trampled and morality nullified. Islamic countries are among the poorest in the world, with their people starving to death and struggling with a multitude of diseases like AIDS and ebola. Muslim economies are at the mercy of the Western economic powerhouses, where a tiny increase in the oil prices or currencies will trigger monumental effects on our foreign reserves and consumer price index.
All these are beleaguring us and yet we are absolutely powerless and helpless to do anything. The most that we can do is convene an emergency OIC meeting to pass a resolution to condemn Israel's continuing atrocities in Lebanon and beyond.
All these are beleaguring us and yet we still argue about petty things that only serve to divide us further into deterioration. Instead, we should start asking ourselves what is actually wrong with Muslims nowadays?
Take for example the Lina Joy apostasy case. In a show of solidarity and unity, tens of thousands of Muslims gathered in Masjid Wilayah to urge the judiciary and government to rule against Lina Joy with the future of Islam and the Syariah Court at stake. Instead of crying foul and citing countless international conspiracies, why not ask ourselves why Lina Joy and 100,000 other Muslims are leaving Islam in droves? What exactly is the root cause of this worrying trend? Is it the education system or the negative image portrayed by Muslims in general? Have we gotten our Islamic fundamentals all wrong? If the Federal Court rules against Lina Joy, what are the real implications? Sure, such ruling will defend the sanctity and relevance of Islamic law in our country, but it will do very little to convince Lina Joy and her 100,000 compatriots to return to Islam and recover their faith in the religion.
We should begin taking a more proactive approach to such problem instead of being reactive when it is all too little too late. We should also start to recognize the humongous elephant sitting in front of our eyes, instead of zooming in on a microscopic ant across the Pacific.
These are the questions of utmost importance that we Muslims should ask ourselves, not whether Nordiana is dating someone else in the aftermath of her break up with Mawi, or how frustrated our boss is upon hearing that Siti Nurhaliza is getting married to a datuk.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. Islam is a religion of reason that encourages science and technology. There are hundreds of verses in the Quran that invite us to think and reason, not about wearing turbans and robes. With all due respect to Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and the rest of the turban-wearing Muslims, all the turbans in the world will not help us defend against Israel and its allies when they finally take over the world and lead us into oblivion. Only in a solid understanding in original Islam, a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and an army of quality Muslims will we find solace in the current disarray. We are at war, so let us start anew.