Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Stone worshippers? Said who?

I recently wrote a simple response to Zulkifli Nordin's remarks on Hindus. It was an open response, therefore I chose to make it public. It went viral.

Over 800 comments.

All in just 3 days. I definitely did not expect it to go viral especially when I have a mere 365 friends in Facebook, 40% being my relatives.

I did not want to make a detailed explanation on Hinduism or even Islam in my response to Zulkifli. I think it was unnecessary. I am not conducting any religious classes in Facebook. But I believe that a straightforward response was needed.

Here is what I said:

For as much as people will agree with me, there will be some who disagrees. I respect your right to disagree but I do not accept your accusation about me because it is baseless. Let's take a look at some of the feedbacks.

#1. Sharmalan Thevar claims Muslim worships stones.
This comment is from those who did not even bother to read what I wrote. Here is what I actually wrote:

(During Haaj, the Muslims go around the Kaabah, kiss the stone and bow towards its direction. By doing this, it does not mean the Muslims worship the stone. It simply means it is used as a focus point by Muslims worldwide.)

Anyone who read that would have understood the message. I just said you do not worship the stone, Hajar Aswad. 


#2. The sacred black stone is not our focus point. We pray in the direction of the Kaaba.
If I made any error in my claims, then I do not mind being corrected by my Muslim brothers and sisters. But let me tell you why I said the following:

(Similarly, the Muslims too worship in the direction of a sacred stone in Kaabah. You pray in that direction everyday.)

Muslims worship according to Kiblat. The original Kiblat was pointing towards Jerusalem. It was later changed to Kaaba after a revelation by God to Muhammad. 

The Kaaba is believed to be the renovated first temple originally built by Adam. The temple was lost during Noah's flood. Abraham rediscovered the temple and the sacred black stone, Hajar Aswad. He then ordered his son, Ishmael to renovate the temple. 

This renovated version of the original first temple became the Kaaba we know today. 

According to Islamic tradition, the Kaaba was built on the same spot where the Hajar Aswad fell from heaven. This makes the Kaaba's spot, and the Hajar Aswad's spot, literally the same.

Where the stone fell, is where the temple was built. 
Where the temple is located is your Kiblat. 
Where the Kiblat points, you pray.

#3. The stone is not sacred for us. It is just a stone.

During Haaj, there is a ritual called the Tawaf. The Muslims will walk 7 times around the Kaaba. The starting point is the Hajar Aswad. As they walk around, they will point towards the Hajar Aswad. After each round, they will kiss and embrace the stone. Some bow in front of the stone.

During Muhammad's time, the clan leaders had an argument about who should place the Hajar Aswad back to its position after it was misplaced. Muhammad being a wise man, placed the Hajar Aswad in a cloth and asked the clan leaders to lift it by holding the corners of the cloth. They brought the stone back to Kaaba and Muhammad himself placed it back. 

There were even battles fought between the Qarmatians and the Abassids for this one stone. Nobody fights over a stone if that stone is not important for them. They will not go to the extend of killing, robbing and asking for ransom from their own people to return the stone. 

This clearly shows that the black stone is sacred in Islamic tradition.Ordinary stones don't get this privilege.

#4. We will climb the Kaaba and even step on it when we clean it or change the cloth. You Hindus do not do that.

The Muslims climb the Kaaba and will step on it when they have to change the cloth. It is after all, a large structure. But no Muslim steps on the Hajar Aswad. They treat the Hajar Aswad with reverence. Similarly, Hindus do not step on the Sivalingam. But they will climb and step on the temples to clean and paint it.

Here is my point brothers and sisters,

You use objects in your religion. 
We use objects in our religion.
You do not worship these objects. 
We too do not worship these objects.

But for the layman, what you do in Mecca and what we do in our temples, will look the same. They will not understand the cup and water story which I told. For them, it does not matter whether it is the Hajar Aswad or Sivalingam. Both are stones. It can be from the sky or from the bottom of the sea. A stone is always a stone.

This is why I said, people like Zulkifli should think before calling others as stone worshipers. Because ordinary people can turn around and say the same thing to the Muslims.

Now, having explained my statement, let's ponder about your anger towards me for uploading the pictures. Some of you complained about the picture I posted in Facebook. It is very unfair to shoot me down for showing these pictures.

First of all, I did not accuse you of anything. I did not insult your religion.

Secondly, the pictures show what the Muslims do during Haaj. There are hundreds of pictures like these in the internet. Try to Google. It is not that hard.

It was the Muslims who uploaded the pictures in Google, 
It was the Muslims who took the pictures during Haaj,
It was the the Muslims who posed in the pictures,

Why blame me for it? Especially when I made it crystal clear that Muslims do not worship the Hajar Aswad.


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