Do you believe in God? Specifically do you believe in a One and Only God? Do you believe he has a name? Do you believe this God gets angry and do you believe he will smite down the un-belivers?
When Moses was at the burning bush, God commanded him to go the Isralites(Jews) in Egypt and set his people free. The Isralites were slaves in the Egyptian Empire and Moses was commanded by God to go to the Pharoah and DEMAND the release of his people.
The analogy is someone going up to Barack Obama and DEMANDING that he release the prisoners at Gitmo. Though the Pharoah of ancient egypt was far more powerful and dictatorial than Obama and the slaves of Egypt were an essential part to their economy of grain grown along the Nile.
So Moses obviously stunned and afraid, ask a simple question. Whom shall I say has sent me? What is the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Gods answer is cryptic, “I am who I am, tell the Isralites I AM has sent me to you”
It is this I AM that many scholars believe is the root of the word Yahweh, the traditional way the Jews call God.
The name of God however is unimportant, the most important part of this great conversation between Moses and God is the fact that God starts it off by introducing himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham is the regarded as the spiritual father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Abraham is the central figure in the old testament of Christianity, the central figure in the Torah and central figure of Islam.
The story of Abraham is essential to understanding the commonality between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Abram and his wife Sarai were old and without child. One day , God appears to Abram and makes him a promise that his descendants would be as countless as the stars in the night sky. On this night, God commands Abram to change his name to Abraham (a common theme in the bible that when people were chosen for Great things, their names would be changed).
Abraham accepts the promise of God, but his wife Sarai one day persuades Abraham to sleep with their slave girl Hagar. Hagar becomes pregnant and gives Abraham his first son Ishmael. It is during this time that Hagar begins to treat Sarai badly for Sarai was barren and already old.
Then one day three men appear to Abraham and tell him that in 90 days they shall return and Sarai would bear him a son. It is on this occasion that Sarai named is changed to Sarah, and true enough in 90 days Sarah gave birth to a child named Isaac.
After the birth of Isaac, Sarah orders Hagar and Ishmael to leave into the wilderness which makes Abraham sad (since Ishmael was also his son), but an angel of the Lord appears to Abraham promising him that the descendants of Ishamel will also be a great nation. This promised is reinforce in the wilderness, when Hagar desperate for help is approached by and angel that reaffirms Gods promise to Abraham. Ishmael would marry and Egyptian girl.
Abraham has gone from having no sons to two sons, both of which are promised to be the fathers of great nations.
The story continues and Isaac has a Son named Jacob. Jacob would one day wrestle with and angel, and the the angel would give him the name Israel. It is Jacob’s twelve sons that would be the twelve tribes of Israel. (did you notice the name change?)
And there in lies the story of Israel, the story of the Jews.
The split between Islam and Judaism lie in this narrative, the Muslims (and Arabs) consider themselves descendants of Ishmael the son of Hagar and that Ishmael is the rightful heir to the Abraham, while the Christians and Jews consider themselves descendants of Isaac (and more specifically his son Jacob).
However, many generations after this narrative, God appears again to a man named Moses and tells Moses that he is the God of Abraham. The same God that both the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac worship, and that God would set his people free from slavery in Egypt.
Even with this commonality we have those who would divide and continue to instill hatred and bigotry. Including those that hope to prevent Christians from using the word Allah, a word so common in the Arab world, that the descendants of Ishmael who would convert to Christianity use on a daily basis.
We have those who would protest in order to gain exclusivity to the name of God, and the word ‘God’.Are these people so blinded by ignorance and arrogance that they cannot see pass their own bigotry? Claiming exclusivity to a word that they feel threatens national security? Do these people have no shame? Their ignorance, that the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak (the natives of our great nation) have been using the word Allah for hundreds of years.
Their complete ignorance of Sabah and Sarawak is emblematic of their pride that they forget Malaysia is bigger than they imagine it to be, more diverse than their little mono-culture space. Unless they accept that Malaysia is diverse and that every religion and creed is free to profess their religion they are not Malaysians…they are the outsiders, the bigoted hatred of UMNO.They are the ones who should leave Malaysia, they are the ones who shame us.
Let us not focus on our differences but on our commonality the ties that bind us together, should not be threaten by a group of hooligans holding placard pretending to be defenders of their faith. We should reject their version of Hatred and Bigotry, reject their politics of race and religion and more importantly reject their calls for uprising.
That’s my 2 cents, don’t spend it all in one place.