KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — The Bakau program organised by Jaring NGO and Impian Malaysia took place at Pontian Johor, last Saturday. I managed to drag my anti-social younger brother to join in the fun planting mangrove seedlings in the muddy mangrove site.
We had 500 mangrove seedlings and close to 100 volunteers participating in the program. The program was video-recorded and I was asked whether I was disgusted being in a muddy mangrove site for the activity. I replied saying I had no problem being with nature and I was actually enjoying myself while doing good for the environment. Also, a thought that crossed my mind was, even, we human beings originated from earth.
We, Muslims believe that we are made of earth. It is stated in the Quran, Surah Al-Mu’imun (The Believers : 12, “And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth).”
The earth, the humble stuff beneath our feet. Whenever I am reminded of this fact, massive wave of humility rushes over me and the voice of my mother would rang in my ears, ‘Wherever you go and whatever you do, jangan sombong’, she always reminded me.
We have to remember it was arrogance that caused an archangel to be cast out of heaven, stripped of his beauty, position and his rights to heaven. He believed himself of an elevated status, better than any creation.
Based on this Islamic virtue of humility that I fail to understand when one argues ones’ race is above the others. I cannot comprehend masquerading to be religious police but tolerating double standard treatment to others who are different. To the extent that one even state ‘there is a price for the citizenship to non-Muslims’. Was the Federal Constitution amended while I was asleep last night stating that citizenship is granted based on one’s religion? I cannot recall any other country practising the same. This statement came from an Ustaz, a leader of a self-claimed Islamic and ethno-nationalist organisation.
They are also claiming that non-Muslims should not be so greedy to the point that they want to interfere with the exclusive rights and interests of the Malays and Bumiputera, who are the original inhabitants of the country. I refuse to indulge in the argument on who was here first (although there are physical evidence of Kedah Tua being heavily influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism) because like it or not, Malaysia is tanah tumpah darah all of us and no one should be treated differently just because (arguably) their ancestors missed the earlier boat.
How does one lay claim to the earth but treat the others who have as much claim so badly?
The Malays should be reminded over and over again that our non-Malay, non-Muslim fellow Malaysians were never our enemy. Our own enemy is within ourselves.
It was arrogance that caused the death of Sultan Mahmud in Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang. He was assassinated by Laksaman Bentan whose wife was put to death for eating a piece of the Sultan’s jackfruit.
It was arrogance that caused the downfall of Temasek by eliminating smart people like Hang Nadim for being too brilliant and deemed to be a threat to those in power.
Humility means not putting oneself either above or below others; it means not thinking about one’s position on a scale. The challenge is not thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less often.
If we really grasp the idea of humility, we will have respect for each other despite our differences. We would stand together for our common good and fight against morally-wrong conducts such as discrimination, corruption, unethical conducts and equal monsters. It is humility, not discrimination based on skin colour that is championed by many religions across the Earth if not all.
Despite leaving the mangrove site tired and covered in organic mud facial mask, I was satisfied with my tiny contribution to the environment, spending time with my younger brother and rewarded with soft skin by nature itself, almost immediately!
Surah Al Hujurat (The Dwellings) : 13
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.