Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim. In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate.
You can see this phrase framed above the main doors of many Muslim homes in the country. But that has never stopped non-Muslims from stepping through those doors.
You can hear the phrase used in the openings of many speeches in public gatherings. But it has never made non-Muslims walk out of the gathering halls.
You might know that is the same phrase uttered by Muslims when we slaughter animals. But it has never stopped non-Muslims from enjoying the food we prepare.
However, while the non-Muslims choose to respect our religious faith and are compromising on many grounds, it seems to me that there are certain ignorant Muslims who make a fuss out of everything.
I am referring to the two Muslims who commented on the Texas Chicken Malaysia (TCM) FB page which has gone viral since. The first Muslim urged TCM to explain its dipping sauce, branded “Church”, claiming that “Muslims do not eat food from church brand.”
Upon TCM’s clarification that “Church” is the surname of the company’s founder, the second Muslim suggested that the brand name be changed as a sign of respect to Muslim customers.
Seriously I had no idea that dipping a piece of chicken into a sauce branded “Church” could weaken our faith. Perhaps these people are genetically related to those folks in Taman Medan whose faith were shaken at the sight of a cross hanging on a church building. And yes, they should also be distant relatives of those people who made a fuss of clothes shaped like “T”.
These cases demonstrate how narrow minded we Muslims can be when it comes to matters of religion. Remember how many windscreens were smashed for displaying McD and Starbucks stickers simply because some people thought it was un-Islamic to support them? Remember the calls not to celebrate Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas?
Some of the people I work with even make a big fuss over dining at eateries owned by non-Muslims even when certified halal. Somehow they believe the nons have a hidden agenda, as if serving Muslims with non-halal food gives them great satisfaction.
I have also met Muslim friends who are reluctant to allow their children to swim in the same pool as non-Muslim kids. Perhaps their Muslim identity would peel off by sharing the same pool.
And just recently, a Muslim friend of mine got real annoyed with her parents for advising her not to get too close to her non-Muslim friends.
“Don’t share food with the kafir.”
“Don’t use their plates and utensils.”
“Never use their dishwashing sponge to wash your belongings.”
I find the more Muslims become obsessed with matters pertaining to religion, the narrower their thinking becomes. Perhaps this is how we become easy targets to those who use religion as a weapon to control us. They know it is our weak point.
The thing is, while we get over-sensitive about the nons’ alleged attempts to sabotage our faith, we ourselves do not put much effort into following our own religion’s core teachings.
If serving “Church” sauce is insensitive to Muslim feelings, isn’t attaching the “Bismillah” phrase to everything we do insensitive to non-Muslim feelings?
Are we truly worried about non-Muslim propaganda or are we merely an over-sensitive bunch of people? Or perhaps our faith is simply weak?If Muslims continue to be sensitive about every darn thing, perhaps then we should question where the ikan goreng we had for lunch today came from? Was the fishmonger a Muslim? Was the fisherman a Muslim? What are the chances that they had handled pork – or any haram substance for that matter – with their bare hands before touching the fish you just ate?
Technically, everything we are in contact with has passed through a non-Muslim – the food we consume, the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the money we hold, the house we live in, the street we walk on.
Why don’t we start questioning the halalness of everything we come in contact with? Are we willing to go to that length? Or shouldn’t we just trust God? After all, everything we do begins with Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim. How can we ever go wrong when the name of God is invoked every time we begin something? It should not matter if our dipping sauce is branded “Church” or our lollipop is branded “Piggy Pop” or if our UHT milk is branded “Murugan Milk”.