27 August 2009

Ramadan Kareem

Numerous times I was asked if I am a Muslim everytime I refuse to eat Pork in a small gathering. Of course, I am not a Muslim because I am unaware by which some of the practices maybe that a Muslim person should be aware of – definitely practicing it! However, I grew up with strong Catholic faith and living inherited from our great great grandfathers’ brothers who are Priests and Nuns. The influence is so apparent with my mother and passed on to our eldest sister whom I would say very religious, conservative persons and very strong faith with Jesus Christ.

I admire people who have a strong unbreakable faith when the topic is on Religion. The practices and rituals and basically the way of living. I don’t claim that I am fully aware of solid Christian (Catholic) way of living because honestly, I don’t even know what’s written in the bible? I studied in Catholic institutions and as far I remember, it’s just all about memorizing the books of the bible and not the content of it. I am just maybe like any other teenagers at that time who finds it so boring to read the bible and doesn’t buy to go backwards and know the past. It didn’t interest me at all.

They say that of what or how were ancestors have been will be apparent with the next generations who is likely to inherit the legacy. “It runs in the blood” which means that you really are or carry the characteristics of your ancestors. Hmmn, maybe but this is not always the case. Maybe rare cases and that includes our eldest sister’s. She is the one who is like my mother. Religiously speaking, she is! Meaning, we’ve been Catholics and should always live as one. I don’t question whether she really knows of how is it to be a Catholic - speaking about pre-requisites. Do you exactly know what are the laws of your religion and what God says in the Bible? That begins of knowing what had happened in the past. Ask me these points and I really do not know the answers. I sometimes read the Bible but I cannot memorize. However, it’s the strong faith that there’s only One Creator, One God that makes me a strong believer.

Raised up as Catholic, it etched on my thoughts that the only reference for all the religious acts is the Holy Bible. Never I opened my mind to read any scriptures from other religions. How do we differ? Why need to divide? What is socially acceptable and not? Until my fate brought me to a Muslim Country where I am in now. Isolating my mind and not learning others way of living (religiously) made me a bit worried to be in a Muslim country / community. The media has a strong influence to most non-muslims like me delivering the Muslim way of life. The suicide bombers, kidnappers, abu sayyaf are all what you can see and hear from the media. And whose behind all these hilarious activities? They claim – they are the Muslims! So how would you think how Muslims are from all what you have just watched and heard from the TV and read on newspapers? That they are bad, no fear of death and kill hundreds of people?

For almost five years of stay in a Muslim country, it made me interested to know deeper and find answers the Muslim way of living. Well aside from forbidden to eat pork which is universally known, I read some parts of writings in Qur’an. Aside of knowing someone / Muslim family who educates me of what a Muslim person is, Islam that is not only a religion but a way of living! Pretty much of similarity of what the Bible and Qur’an and I find that what is really written in both of these Holy Scriptures are strictly practiced by Muslims. However, I find it also that both Christians and Catholics have some violations on the practices. I don’t mean to point out holes in here but just reflecting the writings in the Bible and Qur’an vs. our way of life.

In the Bible, it says”

Leviticus 11:7-8
7 you will regard the pig as unclean, because though it has a cloven hoof, divided into two parts, it is not a ruminant.
8 You will not eat the meat of these or touch their dead bodies; you will regard them as unclean.

Can also be found in:

Deuteronomy 14:7-8
7 Of those, however, that are ruminants and of those that have a divided and cloven hoof you may not eat the following: the camel, the hare and the coney, which are ruminants but have no cloven hoof; you must class them as unclean.
8 So also the pig, which though it has a cloven hoof is not a ruminant; you must class it as unclean. You must neither eat the meat of such animals nor touch their dead bodies.

The Muslims strictly practice the above whereas Christians don’t.

Help me educate more, please :-(

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