There must be hundreds of religions in the world…. How many of them do we really know about??
Well…. Speaking for myself and myself alone, it must be possible to know only those religions to any extent which are really AROUND us.
Am a Muslim, Alhamdulillah! So, obviously I’d know something, at least something, about Islam. Being an Indian, surrounded by Hindus…. I’d know something about Hinduism too. And studying in a Catholic institution for 14 yrs, Christianity too would be somewhat familiar….
However, one religion which every Muslim SHOULD come in contact with has been extra-terrestrial to me…..
And hence, ppl belonging to that religion have also been aliens….
Am talking about Judaism and Jews.
Given the ‘tap-tap-tapakta pyaar’ between Jews and Muslims, it is obvious that the huge geographical distance is only increased because of the 'not-knowing'…
I have never known a Jew in my almost-24 years of life.
The closest I got to Jews was when I went to that little ‘Jewish Town’, a small township in Kochi, Kerala….Azhar and I wanted to visit the synagogue there but, unfortunately, it was a Saturday, and we didn’t know that the synagogue is closed for outsiders on Saturdays. We ended up visiting the St. Francis Church… and got seriously pissed off at the sight of foreigners entering the church with their shoes on…..(culture!!! *rolling eyes*)
Last I heard, there are less than 10 pure Jews remaining in Kochi.
So, obviously… I had no idea about Jews other than the fact that they kill Muslims. (and Muslims try hard to kill them… and finally end up killing… more Muslims :/) I have never hated Judaism as such, nor Jews… but, yes….i have never liked them either.
It’s very difficult to like any people without being in contact with them. Hindus, I know tooooooo many…. And I know there are good and bad people among them, just like there are among Muslims…
Forget about Christians. I believe, the best people in the world are all Christians…
But, knowing Jews only through newspapers and internet sites, i couldn’t really have any opinion about them.
[Change of scene]
All my life… or rather much of it, I have hated Pakistan and Pakistanis. Not like I’d go on my own and start a fight.. but, ya!!! Speak a word against India and you’ll have it!!!!
Recently, a certain incident (about which I’ll mention later) made me re-assess my hatred….. it really had no basis….
Coz at the end, what am I getting in return ??? nothing!!! Maybe some more hatred, some pity and some loath. What else???
I decided to stop hating Pakistanis for whatever non-sense they say… yes, non-sense it IS to me… but, I no longer wanted to hate them for it…. Coz well…. What I say must be equally non-sense to them.
Then I read this poem in Sadia's "Diary of a Muslimah"…. And I decided to try and defeat hatred on all fronts…. Not that I hate anyone else (I was an exclusive Pak hater :P) but still… to try to reduce the negativity in me…..
It was in this ‘striving to beat hatred’ state of mind that I came across a Twitter profile-
[change of scene]
JihadiJew is the Twitter handle of a Jewish guy, Lee Weissman ,who lives in America….
And… he does NOT hate Islam.
Reading his tweets made me feel really nice… he is a true Jihadi… and Jihad, btw, is a struggle… (not equal to suicide bombing!)
One of his posts spoke of how similar Ramzaan is to the Jewish custom of fasting.
Not that I didn’t know about it earlier. I obviously did. Judaism is the first of the three Abrahamic religions and I know it well that Islam is an extrapolated version of the same religion that was…. It is a core belief of Islam…. Without believing in this fact, you are not a Muslim.
But, hearing (reading) it from a Jew made all the difference.
Another of his tweets mentioned how, while travelling, he sits beside the most conservative looking Muslim (I guess he meant the beard, the attire and all) so that they get the ‘stares’ together.. :P (he is a bearded Jew)
I know this only too well… coz ‘appearing’ Muslim is not very accepted in today’s world. I still remember, the first day I wore the headscarf, two of my friends, both Muslims, were behaving in the worst of ways…. They went to the limit of saying that they won’t walk with me and if someone asks them who I was, they’d say that they don’t know me (all this was told with a big smile on their face…. But some smiles are only used as a buffer to say the cruelest of things).
His tweets also show that he receives hate mails from Jews coz apparently; he had mentioned somewhere that the G-D of the Jews is the same as the Muslim’s Allah.
If he had indeed told it, my respect for him would increase all the more coz what do I believe in more than the proclamation that God is One?
I cannot understand how can there possibly be a Jewish God and a Muslim God…. If there is a God, He is One and the Same for all…..
I had written something similar in an article titled AllahHafiz vs Khuda Hafiz….. where I had mentioned that Allah, God, Bhagwaan are all the same. That article was published at TwoCircles.net , following which I, too, had received some negative comments.
He was also the character witness of one of the Irvine 11 brothers. He told this in a reply to one of my tweets to him. I was, obviously, sad that the Irvine 11 had been found guilty. Their crime comes down to voicing their opposition to the Israeli war crimes. [Read about The Irvine 11 ]
Regarding this matter, JihadiJew tweeted that the Irvine 11’s opposition was ‘normal, if not wise’.
As soon as I read ‘if not wise’ the evil in me jumped saying that
“Lookkkk what the Jew is saying… it was an unwise thing to do…”
I quickly had to remind myself, that this same Jew has also shown concern about the impact this would have on the life of the boys and that this same Jew was actually saying that there shouldn’t have been a trial at all…
He wasn’t calling it ‘unwise’ in a wrong way…..
And assuming that he did favour the Israeli war crimes…. I need to remind myself that a person can put himself in another person’s shoes only so much…. Beyond which if he wants to continue wearing those shoes, he’ll actually have to transform into that other person.
So, I need to like people for the good they show and not disregard their goodness by a slight show of something that is not in accordance with my wishes.
It is just like someone telling me that since I have told that I believe in One God, I should start worshipping the idols they worship, coz THAT is what they worship.
At one point, we all NEED to respect the differences and the hatred too.
We need to realize that he (someone) is he coz that’s what he really is…. and though he is what he is, he respects you- THAT is the real respect.
So, I thank Jihadi Jew for the goodness he shows towards my religion- the most tainted religion of the world.
And I thank God that the very first Jew whom I spoke (tweeted) to was a man who loved Him and yet didn’t hate me. This first Jew, and maybe, the only Jew in my life, believes that we both worship the same God. In a world which goes on talking about how bad the Muslim Allah is …. JihadiJew is a person who accepts GOD to be GOD, and all GOD to be THAT ONE GOD. He is a beautiful person indeed!
And a year or two ago I had read somewhere, at huffingtonpost’s site, I guess, that every American should have a Muslim friend so that they come to know that Muslims are as normal as they are...--- that is the gist.
The unknown is what causes fear, and this fear fives rise to hatred.
If only we tried to know, we might just stop hating.
And on that note, a little thing that I learnt about Jewish customs-
they have a tradition that God’s name shouldn’t be taken too casually, and so, they type G-D for God… to bring in the ‘awareness’… this, I found pretty intriguing. The concept of being ‘aware’ of God.
Personally speaking, I believe God is the most casual entity. He is ours. We are His. Then what’s the formality??? Still!!! He’s the Master and we are the slave….and if that be the case, a little pause, a little shift of the keys while typing ‘G-D’ does make us linger a slightly longer at GOD. Makes us a wee bit more aware of Him.
G-D is the greatest!
P.S.-Today, i'd leave you with an older article in this blog, Allahhafiz vs Khudahafiz, the original piece that I had written for my blog, before it was edited.