Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Across Islam ,Style and Culture.

By Jahirah Binti Jalal Abidin

Let’s take a look at a situation.A family of Non-Muslim decided to attend a Malay Wedding or as they say as a kenduri at their neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the family which happened to be the host of the event had specified official attire for that event. The host organizer requires a songkok as the essential part of the dressing code. Hence, the family felt as if they were being made to don the garments of Islam despite their not being Muslims. Due to that, this was merely a misunderstanding about clothing and culture.

Therefore, what is a ‘songkok’? Is it considered as a part of Islamic clothing and symbol of piety?  The Prophet (pbuh) and his companions’ never worn them.According to Dr Mohd Asri (2010) the songkok is a part of the culture of those on India and later the Malay Archipelago. This is indeed a misunderstanding. To add in on his views, some of the well-known religious scholar suggested that Muslims must not be allowed to wear “Cheong Sam” or “Sari”. This have brought into massive astonishment by how narrow of this opinion was. Imagine, if such were the discussion of Islam, what would happen to the Muslims in China and India? The prohibition of dressing is unjust to some individuals in Malaysia. However, these forms of clothing were unknown in the time of the Prophet (pbuh).Before Malaya, Islam has reached China and India. People forget that, one of the factors that helped Islam spread was that, it did not overthrow cultures and traditions of a particular people or nation as long it doesn’t contradict the principles of Islam or cause misunderstanding about it.

Islam and the “Manual of Life” which is the Quraan contain millions of knowledge. Islam acknowledges the attire, language and arts as long the message are not clash with the Quraan and Sunnah.In contrast, those traditions revealed nowadays can be lead to polytheism or “Syirik”. For instance, in the Malay community, they are using the act of “tepung tawar” as to bless the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony.This can be effect to a list of confusion on the true nature meaning of Islam. A Prophet Hadith quoted by Anas bin Malik: “When the Prophet intended to write a letter to the people of Rome, he was told that they would not read it unless it was properly sealed. The Prophet pbuh made a silver of seal and see the gleam in his hand and carved the words ‘Muhammad the Messenger of Allah”. The hadith clearly shows that the Prophet pbuh understand the customs of the community as long it does not clash with the teaching in Islam. He is indeed a wise man for not rejecting any of the customs or even unheeded them. His position as the Messenger of Allah was superior; and yet the he remains a warmly good relationship with all the people in different colour of skin, culture, religion and status.

Another example of Prophet pbuh Hadith that related to clothing, quoted by Imam Ibn Qayyim. He said “The teaching of the Prophet pbuh in matters of clothing is to wear whatever that is beneficial to the body, the lightest and which is easy to don and remove. Women today love to travel and spend their quality time with their family and friends.But, they need to consider on their clothing that is prior to the praying time as well. Unfortunately, they are some women refuse to pray as they did not have the “telekung’ just because they think it is 100% compulsory.  By injecting the hadith before, this is in need for the woman to wear clothes that will ease us to perform solah. Malaysians called it as telekung that contains 2 pieces of garment and a long skirt, almost the same as what is popular in Jordan or Syria. The Syrian or Jordanian prayer garments are much plain and basic with only a long length hijabs and a long dress. However, it is never been doubt that about a beautiful and comfortable prayer garment which helps to sooth and set your mind at ease while it gives you a focus as long it doesn’t affect the akidah or the principles.

 Next,the matter of clothing and culture is unrestricted as long it doesn’t’ against the principles of Islam or represents part of a ritual of another religion such as the nuns, monks and the priest. In another Prophet Hadith reported by Abu Daud “ He who copies any of the people is one of them”. This is can be seen on today’s society where some individuals who ever “kill for fashion “just to get the publicity. They may want to design something different but at the end the fashion does imitates such groups listed above.

Another practices refined by Islam is concerning our daily lives activity as a Muslims. Unfortunately, there are still some Muslims have not yet accustoms themselves on reciting the “Bismillahirohmanirohim” before eating, using the right hand and eating with a group of people instead of enjoying the food by yourself . An example of hadith reported by Al- Bukhari and Muslim, ‘O boy’ Say The Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish that is nearer to you. The most barakah you get is, by employing the sunnah and the lifestyle of the prophet as it to show an appreciation or syukur to Allah for the greatest gift you received in front of you. Nevertheless, Islam itself doesn’t forbids us from using cutleries or chopsticks eventhough it is been used by other race or culture. In this sense, it is permissible for us to use it as long we are not using the left hand to scoop and feed us. In a nutshell, Islam is no like a  rocket science” in pertaining to the practice of any ethnic groups as long. It is still can be follow as long it doesn’t reverse the practices of Islam.

                                                                                 Jahirah Binti Jalal Abidin


MHSC ( Communication)

 Theme : Islam and Current Social Problems