I Like Religious People

I just have to talk about this. 🙂 Both Ghana and Indonesia are full of religious people. Both consist of diverse religious beliefs, and in both cases the people manage to co-exist peacefully. (There are some minority groups fighting each other though… I am not going to lie about it, and again, such fights happen in both countries).  Have I mentioned that Ghana consist of the most devout Christians community I have ever seen? Well, for this particular reason, I like Ghana. 🙂 I like religious people regardless what religion.

OmkarI am not a life guru to speak about what life is in general. But based on my experience of travelling and meeting people, those who are religious (or honestly believe in the existence of God), are the most peaceful, kind, serene, and tolerant people I have ever met.

Religious people (or believers) have a certain aura about them. Calm. Content. Worry less. Have a steady view of life. And believe it or not, they are just happier people (compared to their nonbelievers counterpart). I personally have been bugged by nonbelievers (or atheists) about my faith and religion, and never have the same problem coming from fellow religious people even when they belong to a totally different faith.

Islam symbolWhen I was still working for Siemens, my 3 favourite close friends were Catholic, Protestant, and Hindu. The Catholic always reminded me to go to prayer if I was still at my computer at 4 pm, the same way I always let her borrow my motorbike to go to her church every evening and I always made sure my motorbike would always be available. I never ate beef when I was out dining with the Hindu girl, and the same way they would try not to eat pork when they’re eating with me. The reason being: Respect. Now in Ghana, most of my friends are Buddhist, although some are Christians.  We have been extremely tolerant, I am very proud with how things are going in my life.

Well, the thing with us -religious people- is… we simply accept that we are different. Not worse, not better, just different. And yet our mutual beliefs of God seem to bind us somewhat.

And then there is the atheist side of life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind atheists at all. As much as I want people to respect my faith, I respect the atheists for not having any. But there are 2 types of atheists that I have encountered in my life. The first type is the kind of atheists who simply don’t believe in the existence of God, but let other people have their faith. The second type is the kind of atheists who not only disbelieve, but also pester other people as to why they believe in God to the extent of ‘boohooing’ them.

CrossTo share a bit more… when I lived in the ‘western countries’ (won’t name them), when I told people that I am religious and sincerely believe in the existence of God, the most common reactions I got were: a frown, raised eye brows, a “why?”, a bemused look, and an awkward silence (often followed by a fierce argument that religion is the sole reason this world is totally f*cked up). It’s never an easy “oh ok, we understand” situation. It is a lot easier to say I am a Muslim to a Christian, than to say I believe in God to a nonbeliever.

The modern world -usually from the advance western countries- are the least religious places as we speak (yeah… yeah… I know that we can find both atheists and religious people anywhere in the world). >>But why is it that the poor are those who would normally be religious? I’m still searching for an answer to that. >>Is it true that the religiousness of a country prevent the people from advancing properly? Maybe. >>Is it true that religions can’t work side by side with the modern way of life? Probable. >>But why do we need to advance to a certain level that is defined by others anyway? The aborigines don’t need to be dressed up or to learn the Internet. They were happy exactly as they were. >>Is it wrong to just be happy with what we currently have and progress slowly (if anything at all)?  No.

This whole thing begs for the question: Is ambition a virtue anyway? Now that question, my friends… still causes my husband and I to have heated debates to this date… 😀

Dian Retno Wulandari. Religious and proud.

PS: Please remember that the crusades were more about the leaders and their politics, and less about the religions.

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Diskusi Lanjutan Tentang Rajam (Harus Dibaca Ya!)

{To my English speaking subscribers, please  skip this one, it will be in my National language : Indonesia…}

Saya memuat posting “Death by Stoning in Islam” beberapa waktu lalu. Hari ini postingan tersebut mendapat perhatian dari salah satu pengguna facebook, yang (dengan nyamannya) tidak memakai nama aslinya, dan tidak memasang foto dirinya.

Diskusi yang tadinya sedikit bermutu berubah menjadi diskusi yang tidak bermutu sama sekali, dimana banyak pihak hanya mengeyel tanpa mengutip dalil-dalil baru dari Al-Quran.

Sebagian besar hanya meng-kopi-paste dari artikel-artikel yang ditemukan di tempat yang bermacam-macam.

Saya dikatai memiliki “otak rusak” akibat postingan saya tersebut. Astaghfirullah… sungguh penilaian yang pedas, apa lagi datang dari orang yang semestinya tau lebih baik tentang Islam (dari pada saya lo… hehe)

Berikut saya lampirkan print screen dari hasil diskusi tersebut.

Peringatan: Diskusi yang sangat… sangat… sangat… panjang. 😀

Bapak-bapak, ibu-ibu, silakan membuat secangkir teh hangat, sebaskom popcorn asin, dan silakan dibaca… (take your time!)

Eits… tunggu dulu…! ternyata diskusi belum bisa berhenti. Ini lanjutannya: (ayo tarik nafas panjang….) 🙂

Sudah… diskusi yang berlangsung dalam profile saya alhamdulillah berhenti di situ… Tapi ternyata, diskusi terus berlanjut di profil Ummu Hafizh. Berikut dokumentasinya:

Aduh, panjang ya…? Hehehe… siapa yang mengira kalo diskusi ini bisa jadi sedemikian panjangnya padahal yang dibahas cuma itu-itu saja… 🙂 Sayang sekali, ini belum berakhir… masih ada lanjutannya: (ayo tarik nafas panjang lagi!)

Apa bapak-bapak dan ibu-ibu sudah mulai capek? Tolong sabar ya… tinggal satu screen capture lagi kok… 🙂

Sampai saat saya menulis posting yang ini, diskusi di profile Ummu Hafizh berhenti di situ. Mungkin nanti ada kelanjutannya, tapi saya belum tahu. 🙂

Ya… ya… ya… semua argumen yang dipersembahkan pada saya bisa dianggap valid.

Fiuh…. *mengelap keringat di dahi dan di ketiak*

Saya harus mulai dari mana ya? Tidak pernah saya membayangkan akan dihakimi dan dikata-katai oleh orang-orang yang tidak saya kenal di facebook. Mungkin saya kenal, tapi namanya tidak ada yang pakai nama asli, dan semua tidak ada fotonya. (Apa ini kebetulan?)

Kalau pembaca sekalian sudah membaca komentar-komentar tersebut di atas, terlihat jelas kalau mereka semua… sekali lagi… SEMUA… menganggap saya ini orang yang bodoh. Yang tidak pernah baca Al-Quran, tidak pernah baca tafsir, tidak pernah baca kitab-kitab hadist, dan lain-lain…

Bahkan ada yang mengatakan bahwa saya tidak bisa mengerti bahasa Indonesia, boro-boro bahasa arab. Hehehehe…

Diskusinya jadi ngalor ngidul. Tapi biarlah, saya punya pemahaman sendiri mengenai agama saya ini… saya punya metode pembelajaran sendiri yang orang-orang di atas pasti sulit mengerti.

Mereka mau menganggap saya buta, dan berotak rusak, kan hak asasi mereka. Mau menganggap saya sulit berbahasa, juga terserah mereka. Untuk saya, cukuplah fakta bahwa Tuhan Maha Mengetahui.

Tuhan yang bisa menghakimi saya dengan adil. Betul tidak?

Saya sudah sering berdiskusi dengan ustadz-ustadz mesir lulusan Al-Azhar, dengan muslim-muslim dari Iran, Lebanon, Moroko, etc…

Saya bangga menjadi muslim yang berpendidikan dan mau berpikir. Mau berusaha dan mencari kebenaran sendiri. Bukan yang sekedar datang ke pengajian dan selalu mantuk-mantuk pada apa yang dikatakan pak imam sambil membuat catatan-catatan kecil di dalam buku tulis saya.

Saya tanya semua orang, saya pernah mengirimkan surat ke Quraish Shihab, dan sekarang sedang menulis surat ke Presiden Ahmadinejad di Iran.

Saya melaksanakan pesan yang terkandung dalam ayat pertama yang diturunkan pada Muhammad: “Iqra”. Saya belajar, dengan pemikiran terbuka, dan saya tidak akan berhenti sampai nyawa saya dicabut oleh Tuhan.

Saya berpikir sendiri, dengan bekal kitab-kitab yang saya percaya, kemudian saya menanyakannya pada orang-orang yang berpengetahuan lebih.

Saya nggak sekedar menuliskan di facebook saya: “Hei… tolong bantuin aku dong… aku gak bisa beragumentasi sama orang ini…” dan kemudian mendapatkan segerombolan kawan-kawan saya yang siap mencerca siapapun yang berpikiran berbeda.

Kapan dan di mana “lakum dinukum waliyadin” bisa dilaksanakan?

Dian Retno Wulandari. Tuhan Maha Mengetahui.

PS: Apparently, kalau mau termasuk golongan muslim yang baik, kita harus lebih sering menggunakan kata-kata arab. Seperti : ummi, abi, ikhwan, akhwat, ana, anta, etc…

PPS: “Siap pak polisi…!! Saya juga mengaku bersalah atas ketidakbermutuan thread facebook di atas!” 😀

Death by Stoning in Islam

( = Hukum Rajam Dalam Islam)


There is no such a thing in Islam.

Sorry to disappoint y’all. Whoever says that in the sharia it is ruled that adulterer should be stone to death is telling a big fat horse shit (pardon my latin).

Today I came across the synopsis of The Stoning of Soraya M, such a sad thing to read. The gloominess that engulfed my mind made me think, “Why don’t I remember anything about stoning when I read the Qur’an that so many times?

So I put my laptop down and started looking for the Quran. Quickly I flicked my fingers between the Index Pages looking for ‘stoning’ or ‘rajam’.

None.

Then I put down the one Quran and went on to the next one, hoping that the other Quran would have a better Index list. But stil, nil, nada, zip, mum, zero, nol besar.

I didn’t have time to read the Quran from cover to cover, so I decided to consult master Google instead. Still, my search for stoning in Quran came back with nothing.

So that’s it…!! If it is not in the Quran, then it is not part of Sharia.

The Quran does mention some forms of punishment for adulterer, but never by stoning.

But another question arises: “Where did this whole death-by-stoning-for-adulterer in Islam come from?”

After another further research, I found out that the ‘law and custom’ of stoning adulterer to death was long embedded in the Arabic culture by the time the Islamic teaching arrived (Islam arrived around year 600). Such stoning custom had/has been there as early as the time of Abraham –about 2500 years before Islam.

The Muslims in those days, were stuck in their old custom ways… went on stoning people for committing adultery. Many hundred years down the stream, this death by stoning rite is made identical with the Sharia laws. But it is not!

There is no evidence that death by stoning is part of the Sharia. If anyone of you disagrees please quote something from the Qur’an that states otherwise.

I am thinking about writing a letter to the Iranian President,  Ahmadinejad, regarding the matter. He can have stoning as his law but must not declare it as Sharia law. Better still, he can’t have stoning as any law.

Do you think it is safe for me to do so? Or will he just send a nuke down to Ghana as a reply to my letter?

Dian Retno Wulandari.

PS: Forms of punishment for adulterer mentioned in the Qur’an include: 50 lashes, 100 lashes, or 200 lashes (if the offender is a wife of a prophet than she gets 200 lashes –Ouch…!). Other forms of punishment is exile, or nothing at all –if it was forced upon them or if the offender did so out of ignorance or if they repent straight afterward.

PPS: To justify the application of any kind of punishment, 4 witnesses must testify against the offender and made an oath before a Judge that they indeed witnessed the lewd act performed.

How to Prove God Is There

Well, we can’t prove it. Period.

But we can feel it, if we allow ourselves to. It’s rather like when someone loves you. How do you prove it to other people that you’re being loved by someone? By telling the world that you get nice diamonds, and some nice flowers every weekend? Or by telling the world that the someone sends you text every 5 minutes?

No, only you can tell that someone loves you. But how? To put it simply, it’s because you feel it. It is of course a whole combination of things, the kind that only you and your lover will understand. Your gardener won’t understand it, your maid won’t understand it, and even your psychologist won’t understand it.

The same applies to one’s faith of God’s existence. Because one feels it. It is not much more complicated than that, really… And no guys…, we believe in the existence of God NOT because we are dumb or delusional or can’t cope with science. Please don’t reduce it down to stupidity.

I happen to belong to a religion that does encourage science, and God knows I truly believe in science, I was so good at it I wanted to be an astrophysicist (I ended up as an industrial statistician instead, since it’s economically more viable).

While I am a true believer of God, I don’t believe in creationism. I am, therefore, a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory and Darwin’s evolutions. I also seriously doubt that babies fall from the sky -even if they’re brought down by storks. 🙂

(I consider myself lucky as my religion taught us that everything in the world happens after following some kind of processes, therefore I don’t need to go through the hassles of separating science from faith, or naturalism from creationism.)

But how do I quantify the existence of God? (Putting aside the baffling question: what/who holds the universe in place) my easiest answer is classic: God answers my prayers -even though I get a “No!” quite frequently. 🙂

Certain things have happen in my life that strikingly relate to what I have prayed for. Things that can’t be just coincidences after coincidences. Strange things that only happens if I’ve prayed for it.

You’re dying for me to give examples, right? 😀 Ok, here are two for you:

  1. Many years ago, I prayed to God: “Lord, please let me know if my boyfriend is messing around with another girl.” — Two hours later my boy friend accidentally sent a text to me that was supposed to be sent to his other girl. (sad example, I know)
  2. I am totally useless at all things music, thus I am blind to musical notes. I don’t even know why there’s a sign that looks like a G at the beginning of all musical notes. So when I was 15, the night before Art&Music exam I prayed: “Lord, please let me answer those notes thingy correctly. Let me get an A for Art&Music Lord… I need it so that I can be the best in class this term” — During exam the next day, I scribbled through the blank paper for musical note pretending that it was just some easy quadratic equation, sweating my head off nevertheless.  Two weeks later my exam result came in. Lo and behold, I got an excellent A for Music. I magically put every single note at the right grid with the right punctuation with the right interval… everything! I fell down on my knee holding the result paper. 🙂 Anyway, regardless the miracle, I only came second in my class that term.

Now then, enough examples, it’s not as if it’s going to change anything for you, right? Having said that, answered-prayers is just one way of quantifying God’s existence for me. My relationship with God is a lot more complex than just asking and giving, but I’ll keep the rest to myself for now.

If you’re an atheist and say: “So why does God never answer my prayers?!”

Well, back at you: “Did you pray at all?” or “Did you really believe that Someone is listening?”

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t mind atheists, not at all… Atheists could be some of the most fun people I’ve met. And if you choose not to believe in God, and you are happier like that, well then good for you.

But here I make a plea to those atheists who keep condescend the believer of God by having verbal diarrhoea about how believers do so only because we are stupid, or backward, or ancient, or brainwashed, or delusional, or dense, etc… to please stop condescending. It is just… uhm… not very nice.

There…, my 2 cents (or should I say 2 pesewas..?) 🙂

Dian Retno Wulandari.

PS: Whichever way God manifests for you (Allah, Jehovah, Brahman, Achaman, whatever…) please be at peace with it, we all know that –in any case- believing is harder than not believing.

PPS:

In Islam: God exists without a place. God is not limited to time and space, nor is God composed of particles and atoms. God is unique. God is an invisible omnipotent presence.

“God is closer to a man than his jugular vein.” [Al-Quran 50:16]

In Christianity: God is immanent. God is with and within all things. God is transcendent, God is outside time and space, therefore eternal and unchangeable by forces within the universe.

“You cannot see God, and live” [Exodus 33:20]

Pork For Lunch

PigWhile blog walking, I found this very interesting post about a discussion on why eating pork is haram. This is dedicated to people who keep asking me for explanation about it. Read up. 🙂

***

He said, “Why are pigs haram?”
I said, “Because it’s not clean, and our religion likes cleanliness. A lot.”

“Why is it unclean?”
“Because pigs don’t sweat. They don’t have perspiration glands. So all of the dirty stuff that’s supposed to be excreted from the body as sweat, are actually mounded under the skin as fat, a.k.a lard; the thing that makes New Orleans dishes so tasty. It’s actually the same thing that makes canine snouts unclean, because that’s the ‘sweat’ orifice.”

“So why can’t we eat dogs? If it’s just the saliva and snout that’s unclean, why can’t we eat the rest of it?”
“Because dogs are carnivores.”

“So?”
“Carnivores eat raw meat. Raw meat contains blood. Blood is unclean because of all the medical reasons why you can’t just transmit blood between people without testing it first.”

“But we eat poultry! Poultry eat worms and bugs!”
“And worms and bugs don’t bleed the way a prey would when hunted by carnivores.”

His reaction was so cute.
First he made a nod/shrug.
Then he mumbled “makes-sense-to-me-and-this-I-can-buy.”
Then he finished his lunch thinking about Saksang.

*Note: Saksang is an Indonesian dish, consisting of pork meat, cooked in pig blood.

***

PS: Original article can be found here. Credit to Hning’s Asia.

 

The love of …… Money!! (via jawatimurman)

A great view of the need of money from a man who was poor, and then rich, and fell poor again, and came back up again… 🙂

I started this blog with the noble intention of trying to put into words my understanding of money.  How do I define its' status in my life?  As I wrote, the whole piece turned into something which harangued life in Africa and I lost sight of the main motivation for writing it in the first place.   Africa is, however, a place worthy of intense investigation when considering money.  The people seem to have little regard for their fellow man, are q … Read More

via jawatimurman

Grey Hairs, Age Spots, and Stretch Marks.

It’s my birthday today… I am worried scared not sure how I feel about it. I know that my husband has arranged a romantic lunch/dinner somewhere great. Buffet, just the way I like it… with an over the top bouquet of the best flowers in town –as always. But that isn’t what this writing is about.

I want to stay young forever I don’t think I am ready for this new age to dawn upon me. I want to hang on to my previous age and do more with it. Have I done enough through the last year to say that I have lived life to the fullest? No. I don’t think feel so.

As you know from my previous post, in not so long from now I will say goodbye to my twenties and enter the overrated age of 30. Yes, my golden age is dwindling away, and when I’m 30… will I be able to look back at my twenties and smile with contentment? I don’t know… But I am determined to stuff as many things as possible into this extremely limited time I have left in my hands.

“I am still in my twenties… Do not despair, my dear self… I can still shape the history of my golden age. Now is the time!”

Few days ago, just after I cleaned my “stay young forever” mask off my face, my husband said to me: “Why are you becoming so obsessed about the way you look these days?” I squinted at him through my naturally slitty eyes with a deadly look. Not because I didn’t want to say anything, but because I was already on another mask that restricts free movement of facial muscles. 😀 (this other mask is to prevent acne).

Few hours later -mask free- I proclaimed to my husband –and to the whole world for that matter… “I have every right to obsess over the way I look…!” and I better do it while I’m young. No?

You see… I spent practically my entire life not worrying about the way I look. In my teenage I was lucky to have a proportional body, good shiny hair, and a unique face. No worries there. Then followed by university life, career world, and being a wife & mother era. Through all those years I barely used any make up. No sun block, no face powder, no lip balm. Nothing… (to the exasperation of my good friend Amalia). My husband would consider himself lucky when I decided to comb my hair just before we go out shopping. 😀

For nearly 30 years of my life, I’ve never had more than 4 sets of footwear, consisting of 1 pair of sporty shoes, 1 pair of girly shoes, 1 pair of going out sandals, and 1 pair of gardening sandals. That’s my lot.

But during the last year, I have been saying that I want to curl my hair, and that I want to dye it blonde. I bought endless amounts of face cream. I want to wear stilettos, pumps, platforms, all of it! I tried different types and colours of blushes. I bought mascara. I bought lip plumper. Bought long dresses, short dresses, bright, dark, tops, skirts… Everything…! The changes in my behavior must’ve freaked poor hubby out. Bless him… 😀

Point is… I was right (wasn’t I??). I have the right to obsess over the way I look. Like most women do! Now –out of all time- is the right time to exercise this right, to make things more right. Right…??

These days I spent extra time in front of the mirror. Looking closely at my severe age spots scattered around my temple and cheek bones. Running my fingers through my hair, plucking away at my grey hairs. Or simply gazing at the stretch marks around my legs and tummy, convincing myself that they are proofs of a heroic act of bearing a child into the world. *sigh*

With all these additions that come with age… Grey hairs, age spots, stretch marks, wrinkles around my eyes, and some extra fat around my belly… I realized that I am slowly turning into my mother.

Now thatis not such a bad thing. Right?

Right…?!?!

Dian Retno Wulandari. Celebrating a new age.

my 8th bday

That is a photo of my 8th birthday. My last age with short hair. My mother was a model and fitness instructor. My Father died when I was 12 yo. I wanted to be an astronaut. My big brother wanted to be a superhero. My little sister wanted to be me. 😀