Al-Qur’an and Cultural Bias

Have you ever stumbled upon people that questioned the interpretation of Al-Qur’an? I think this is a quite common issue right now, and muslims, especially muslim youth, are struggling to answer this question, some even might be the ones that are questioning this kind of issue.

There is an urgency to explain these kind of issues towards muslim youth. Questions like, What if there is a misinterpretation of the Qur’an? What if the interpretation from these Imams and Ulama were influenced by other things such as culture or even gender?

These questions should be answered, but answered in a right way. We’re in a time where we are pushed to be more critical, but at the same time we’re being pushed to put religion aside. The current youth right now does not want dogmatic answers, they want logical answers, answers that they can fathom, that they can make sense with.

Fortunately, Alhamdulillah, i found a very logical and reasonable answer regarding this issue, from brother Daniel Haqiqatjou. Here’s what he had to say:

“Some “reformists” are quick to dismiss the great jurists of Islam, claiming that these imams were but a product of their culture and hence blindfolded by their biases. If only such people would look in the mirror and realize that they too “might” be a product of their culture, and that they could be the ones superimposing their biases on the revealed. And if we want to be fair, the degree of their culture’s conformity to Islam, and the degree they were intellectually cultured by the Qur’an and Sunnah, is much greater than ours.” -Dr Hatem al-Haj

Is it possible to understand Allah’s message as it was meant to be understood? If everyone is biased, then clearly not. Everyone’s understanding would be merely a reflection of their own biases as opposed to Allah’s intended meaning. In reality, sunniIslam has answered precisely this question. The correct and authoritative understanding of Allah’s message is first and foremost that of the Prophet peace be upon him, and then that of the Sahaba. Why the Sahaba? Because they were the most knowledgeable and observant of the Prophet’s sunna. And then their followers, i.e., the Tabi’in and so on. When we see certain ideas and positions predominant across the khalaf, who lived across hundreds of different cultures and geographies over the centuries, it is also not plausible to say that they were suffering from bias,.especially given that they too were much closer to the sunna than we are in the modern age.

Furthermore, there is the process of ijtihad. People who comment like this usual have no idea about how it or the Arabic language works. They just assume bias as if its inevitable.

There is a process, principles, that guide interpretation. And the Arabic is not able to be interpreted however one wishes. And if this does happen, there are other scholars to refute their mistakes.


No Such Thing as a “Non-Practising Muslim”

The Rise of the Term “Non-Practising Muslim”

Islam is the only religion that Allah SWT will accept. It is because of its teachings, moral values, simplicity in its concept, and its own characteristics that stands out from other religions that it appeals to many people. Thus it has the most followers in the world. Also, Its differences from other religions is very clear. Furthermore, Islam is arguably the most practicing religion there is, because there is a daily five times prayer. This is something we as muslim should take very much pride of, because it shows that we love our God and Islam, and we show our gratitude and remember Him everytime of the day. Lastly, from the concept of God to the concept of everyday life, Islam teaches all of these aspects. The job we, as muslims, have to do is just to learn more about our beloved religion through the Qur’an so we can act like a proper muslim.

But the reality right now is totally different. Religion has become distant to a person’s character. They believe that religion has nothing to do with our personalities and character. Since the beginning of secularism–the system which differentiate the role of religion and the state, people tend to become more liberalist. They believe  that day to day life problems which happens between people should be regulated by the state in which they use pure logical thinking (but the validity of logical is still questionable) and discussion through various representatives. This leads to a perspective that religion should only be between you and God, and that’s it. Since religion can not interfere in helping people to have better behaviour or character, its role thus hae been less powerful. It comes to a point, like right now, where religion is merely an addtional identity to add up in your identity card.

Because of that, there is this rise the word “non-practising muslim”. It is largely known and used in the west, like in United States or countires in Europe. These people identify themselves a muslim but publicly state that they do not practice daily prayer. It is either because of their lack of knowledge or their own ignorance about the importance of this daily prayer, that they can proudly declare themselves as a muslim. However, that is problematic.

Why is the Term Problematic?

When something have a lesser to no significant role in your life, you tend to ignore it. That is what is happening to religions right now, not only Islam, but all of the religion. But like i said before, Islam is arguably the most practicing religion there is, because there is a daily five times prayer. That’s why, it becomes less problematic for other religions if their followers do not practice their compulsory act, because there’s not a lot to do anyway. This is totally different from Islam, where we as muslims do our compulsory act five times a day from Fajr to Isya. Coming back to my point, when Islam have a lesser role in your life, you will tend to ignore it, thus you will also ignore it’s compulsory act which is Shalat.

It’s probelmatic because Islam have in length strecthed how important and useful the practice of Shalat is towards a muslim. It also have explained numerous times in the Qur’an of the punishment that we will get if we do not practice this compulsory act of worship. For several examples, Shalat is the second pillar of Islam after syahadat, Shalat is compulsory for muslim meaning that you will be sinning if you do not practice this act, and lastly Shalat is the first thing that you will be questioned in the afterlife, so if your not practicing shalat, how can you answer that question? Moreover, after giving numerous examples on how Shalat is extremely important for a muslim, how can a person declare that he/she is a muslim if they do not practice this compulsory act?

Beside that, when a person declares he is a muslim by saying the syahadat, then he must obey God and must listen and follow what the Qur’an says. In which, in one verse of the Qur;an, at Al Baqarah:208, Allah SWT tells us that the moment we declare ourselves as muslim, we must enter Islam completely and perfectly.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ

O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (2:208)

The word “completely or perfectly” here means that you can not take some of the aspect of Islams and disobey the other aspects of Islam, but you have to follow all of them, which is good for all of us. Because of that, we can not be a muslim but not practice our daily prayers. It just does not work that way.


This phenomenom is also a alarming reminder for us muslims as a community or ummah. The growing term of “non-practising muslim” implicates that there is this abundant lack of understanding of how Islam works, or more philospically, of what Islam is. It shows that they merely see Islam as an identity, and nothing else. And it is our job, as an ummah, to remind them what Islam really is and how it works, so that they fully understands what it is to be a muslim.

Religion and Politics

i wrote this because i felt an urge to clarify what i believe is right, and what people right now is misudernstanding.

terkait kasus yang lagi hangat2nya sekarang, kayaknya udah banyak banget yang ngasih pendapat yang wise dan dengan perspektif yang berbeda-beda.  disini saya gak mau bahas panjang lebar terkait kasus tersebut, tapi ini akan lebih fokus ke perspektif yang lebih luas, yaitu apakah agama dan politik bisa disatukan atau tidak? ]

ada beberapa statement yang menurut saya agak problematic jika tidak di cerna secara baik-baik.

kurang lebih bunyinya begini:

“mereka memperdagangkan agama untuk kekuasaan.”

“ini akibatnya ketika agama dicampuradukkan dengan politik”

statement yang simple, tapi cukup misleading kalau tidak dicerna secara hati-hati. umumnya, orang yang membaca statement itu pertama kali pasti bacanya dalam kontoasi negatif, ya gak? iyalah agama kok diperdagangkan sih, kan di Al-Qur’an aja udah di state gak boleh.

but hold on a minute, coba kita cerna sekali lagi bacaannya dan memasukkan dengan konteks yang ada di realita kehidupan sekarang. kita ambil contoh gausah jauh-jauh, kehidupan sehari-hari aja. individu.

First, we must agree upon one definition: agama. apa itu agama? jawabannya pasti beragam, ada yang jawab ideologi, pedoman hidup, dan seterusnya. but one thing’s for sure, agama itu provides value. memberikan kita arah, tujuan, dan aturan untuk sampai ke tujuan tersebut. dan misal saya hilangkan label “agama”, maka setiap agama kurang lebih adalah pemahaman. sama seperti nasionalism, liberalism, dll. All of them are the same in a way that they have certain principle and values. the difference is some values can go hand in hand and some can’t.

Second, what does it mean by saying “memperdagangkan sesuatu buat kekuasaan”? okay, tadi kan saya bilang ambil contoh kehidupan sehari-hari aja biar lebih mudah di mengerti. lets say mau ada pemilihan ketua himpunan mahasiswa. waktu kampanye ini, mereka sedang “berdagang”, yaitu menukar apa yang mereka punya dengan harapan dibalas dengan vote para pemilih. para calon ini menawarkan apa? banyak dan gak terbatas. ide, gagasan, prinsip, dan value. bahkan kadang popularitas, sense of humor, dan ketampanan juga bagian dari apa yang mereka tawarkan.

Nah, mari kembali ke poin pertama, agama dan pemahaman lainnya adalah sama dalam artian masing2 memberikan value tersendiri yang ditawarkan ke para pemilih. if that’s the case, berarti bukankah sah jika ada yang “memperdagangkan agama untuk kekuasaan?”. Kan mereka “menjual” ke publik, value yang mereka yakini adalah yang paling benar. same case as liberals imposing liberal values, nasionalist imposing nasionalis values, and religious people imposing religious values. how is that any different?

intinya, berhati-hatilah dalam membaca statement. cerna dulu. dan jangan anti-diskusi kalau sudah bawa agama. takutnya, agama yang seharusnya jadi pedoman kita dalam hidup, malah dibuang jauh-jauh dari tempat yang mengatur cara kita hidup– our government.

to end this, let’s see what Gandhi had to say about this issue:





The Last Sermon (Khutbah) of Prophet Muhammad (Farewell Sermon)

Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) delivered his last sermon (Khutbah) on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah (12th and last month of the Islamic year), 10 years after Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat. His words were quite clear and concise and were directed to the entire humanity.

After praising, and thanking Allah he said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib (Prophet’s uncle) shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people”.

(Reference: See Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1623, 1626, 6361) Sahih of Imam Muslim also refers to this sermon in Hadith number 98. Imam al-Tirmidhi has mentioned this sermon in Hadith nos. 1628, 2046, 2085. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal has given us the longest and perhaps the most complete version of this sermon in his Masnud, Hadith no. 19774.)

10th of June


It’s been 3 months now but it still feels surreal. I miss you. We miss you. your kindness, your jokes, your presence.

Before this day ends, i just want to say

Happy Birthday, Mu.

There’s no more presents now. But i always always hope and pray that you have the ultimate great present of all: Jannah. Amiinn.

Ya rabb, mudahkan jalannya menuju surga-Mu, dan pertemukanlah kami sekeluarga di surga tertinggi-Mu surga firdaus. Amiinn.

Pesan Imam Syafi’i

Jika kamu ada di jalan yg benar menuju Allah, berlarilah. Jika itu berat untukmu, berlari-lari kecil lah. Jika kamu lelah, berjalanlah. Dan jika kamu tidak bisa, merangkaklah, tapi JANGAN PERNAH berhenti ataupun berbalik arah
-Imam Syafi’i
*inspired by friday’s liqo.

My Ramadhan Reflection


It’s been 3 days since Ramadhan has left us. Meaning all the euphoria and blessings that Ramadhan has given is now in the past. And also, meaning that satan is released back to the world to do his usual job. Distract us. Disturb us. Make us away as far as we can from Allah.

But one thing i learned in this year’s Ramadhan is that we actually are, and should be capable of resisting from any temptation that satan brings. In a way, we should see Ramadhan not as a form of test for us, but rather as a platform for us to practice to be a good muslim.

If you think about it, Allah has made the perfect atmosphere for us in Ramadhan. We’d be given bonuses of rewards, like when an act of sunnah is counted as an act of obligatory deeds. And also, we are told to fast. To put our worldly desires aside.  But then Allah made it easier for us by locking the satan away from us.

All of these circumstances that Allah has made, leads to a perfect atmosphere for us to fully concentrate on our prayers, our relationship with Allah and the Quran, and our behaviour to others. All in all, we are shaped in Ramadhan, just to simply be a better muslim. Now the question is on us, Allah has made Ramadhan in such beautiful and perfect cirumstances, but have we made the most out of it? #notetoself

looking forward, after Ramadhan is not only about celebrating Eid and then go back to the usual. We should see beyond that. It will be such a big shame, if we fast and practice for a whole month without gaining any improvement whatsoever.

Yes, the circumstances is different, satan is released, it most certainly will be more difficult. But that’s what practices are for rite? so you can be prepared for the real world. Where distractions  and temptations are everywhere. But, also remember in Ramadhan we’ve been practicing our patience in many ways, one of the reasons possibly is so that when it’s over, our quality of patience is upgraded. so, hopefully with a whole month of practice, we are capable to resist any distractions.

moreover, Allah loves those who are patient. In surah Az-zumar:10, Allah says that those who persevere in patience should get their reward without measure. without measure! Masyaallah.

So let’s celebrate this joyful eid while still maintaining and improving what we’ve gained from this Ramadhan. May Allah guide us to the straight path and protect us from the distractions of satan. Amin.


Here’s a few of my personal favorite quotes regarding Ramadhan: