I was at Racial Harmony forum today. It was a very enriching experience as I learnt more about the Islamic faith when we went on to a learning journey at Baalwi Mosque. We got to talk to one of the care taker of the mosque, Mr Ahmad, who also happen to be the imam’s son. They are very passionate about interfaith dialogues and how different communities can come and work together to promote racial and religious harmony in Singapore.
One of the things he shared resonated strongly with me. He lamented how now many religious teachers has drifted the focus from morality and over emphasized on the laws of Islam. Worse still, there are people who misinterpret these laws. As such, we start to see many issues highlighted in the newspapers like: the tudung, halal food and dogs just to name a few. This, he said, has distracted people from doing what truly matters.
He mentioned how in the past in his hometown in Yemen, he had 7 dogs and now he keeps none as many muslims around him carry the misunderstanding that dogs are haram.
It resonated strongly with me as I recalled my own experience in my own religious community. It is not unlike the Christians. Jesus in the past had to deal with the Pharisees on issues like Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-14) etc. Even now, within Christian communities, people argue over things like the usage of musical instruments during worship.
And yet how Ahmad dealt with the misunderstandinsg was very much like how the bible taught us,
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
-1 Cor 10:31-333
May God help us to be ever more concerned with the things that matter rather than outward appearances.
I met my ex-teacher Mr Koh at the forum. We met last year Dec during Amie’s wedding and he asked if I have been exercising because I seem to be in a better shape. I was flattered most definitely. He guessed that I was running long distance because he said only running can bring about this kind of results.
The organizers of the forum fed us very well. I had 4 tea breaks and 1 lunch. Needless say, when I returned home and weighed myself, I found that I gained 1kg! (I haven’t been running much also) Feeling stressed about my sudden weight gain and remembering what Mr Koh has said, I dragged myself for a run with my trusty phone and wireless ear plugs.
I haven’t been using the earplugs for a long time as they keep dropping off. Anyway, I thought I should give it some love so I brought them along.
The music made me run a lot faster. I am still able to complete 5km below 30mins easily so I am really glad. I have been missing out my runs these few weeks due to work…I think I just need to learn to put everything down and trust that everything’s gonna turn out great in the end.