Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Revisit Bookshop


I have a dream.

I dream that whenever I walk into any local bookshop, I may buy at least a Chinese language Islamic book. But the fact turn out to be none, you can’t even get an al-Quran in Chinese translation. Perhaps it’s due to the market problem or so called “Sensitivity and Religion Freedom”.

“Everyone has their right to preserve their own religion.” Civilian yell out.

“So don’t you dare to show us any Islamic book in other than Malay language, and don’t even call us “Not Yet Muslim”, we have our own religion and not born to be Islam or whatsoever.” It sounds ridiculous but that’s what has been debate by religions follower, they insist that “Non-Muslim” is much suitable since they aren’t aware that they will become Muslim one day. I don’t have intention attach along the original article web link since it may lead to harsh argument.

Personally I don’t think the label “Not Yet Muslim” is sound harsh to anyone.
As everyone is born in Fitrah, which mean:
Fitra, or fitrah (Arabic: فطرة / ALA-LC: fiṭrah), is an Arabic word meaning ‘disposition’, ‘nature’, ‘constitution’, or ‘instinct’. In a mystical context, it can connote intuition or insight. It is similar to the Calvinist term "Sensus divinitatis".
According to Islamic theology, human beings are born with an innate inclination of tawhid (Oneness), which is encapsulated in the fitra along with compassion, intelligence, ihsan and all other attributes that embody what it is to be human. It is for this reason that some Muslims prefer to refer to those who embrace Islam as reverts rather than converts, as it is believed they are returning to a perceived pure state.

Due to lack of the fundamental understanding about Islamic knowledge, argument arouse against the LABEL of Non-Muslim and Not Yet Muslim. (Sounds the same to me anyway) This may bring us to understand one step further what local civilian react against Islamist activity and message of Islam. Which is the label “Not Yet Muslim” turns out to be converting anyone into Muslim “forcefully and silently” without obeys to the Malaysian Constitution?

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution. First, Article 11 provides that every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion and (subject to applicable laws restricting the propagation of other religions to Muslims) to propagate it. Second, the Constitution also provides that Islam is the religion of the country but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony (Article 3).

Hence, selling Islamic book in other than Malay language can become unnecessary controversy. The bookshop and Islamic books is alright, but the local civilian doesn’t like it. On the other hand, the name of Allah become controversy since The Herald refers Christianity God as “Allah” in their publication. Which lead to long term argument and debate until today.

The Herald and the archbishop of the diocese of Kuala Lumpur opted to take the legal route and take the government to court to overturn the ruling on the use of the word Allah. Meanwhile the state Islamic councils of Selangor, Terengganu, Malacca, Kedah, Johor, Penang, Federal Territory, and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association applied to intervene in the case. The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council informed the court that they wanted to submit a representation to the Attorney-General's Chambers in not turning this issue into a confrontation between the Catholics and Islamic Councils.

The Herald was ordered by the Malaysian government to cease printing its Malay language edition until the courts resolve a ban on the paper's use of the word Allah. The Herald newspaper editor Father Lawrence Andrew said the move was part of a series of restrictions put in place by the conservative Muslim government when it renewed the paper's licence on December 30, 2008. The Herald referred to its lawyers to check whether the Malaysian Home Ministry has the right to stop it from printing its Bahasa Malaysia edition. The Catholic Church wrote a letter to the ministry demanding that it recall its order against the use of Bahasa Malaysia when it renewed the The Herald's annual publishing permit, giving the ministry seven days to reply or it would sue the government for going against the Federal Constitution.

This shows the local civilian mentality about religion, sort of like: “Don’t call us Not Yet Muslim, we never convert into Islam. The name of “Allah” should be freely distributed into Christianity concept of God inside Malay language magazine and Bible.”

Local civilians taking name and label seriously. Each of the names being called against non-muslim become controversial issue, while on the other hand, the name of “Allah” being twisted into Trinity concept that impermissible ever in Islam. This strange situation brings Malaysian into our own paradox. Religions issue getting worst while civilian continues endless argument on the Label without understand its Meaning.

Another day in bookshop, I take a look at love novel, photography guide, translated Novel like 偶发空缺, The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Also few computer magazine. Any books that attract my attention may win my heart and bring them home. As for Islamic Book, I do study Bahasa Malaysia/Malay Language for the sake of Allah, the only way to enrich my Islamic knowledge through Islamic book that available. Also tried to download bunch of PDF books from Internet, the borderless information center.

Islamic Books at China
If you think you may find Chinese Islamic book easily at China, think again.
None of the bookshop at China selling Islamic book publicly. China differ Muslim and Non-Muslim (or not yet Muslim?) into two tribe as 汉族 Han Zhu and 回族 Hui Zhu. Majority of the tribe 汉族 Han Zhu isn’t Muslim, while tribe 回族 Hui Zhu inherit Islam for few generations. They are no definition of Born Muslim and Non-Muslim at China, it’s whether someone is which Tribe that may represent their religion identity. So it may kind of awkward whenever 汉族 Han Zhu embraced Islam and trying to persuade their family.

“What?? You have converted yourself into 回族 Hui Zhu?” Their family member may ask.

The Tribe Shop

This kind of racial discrimination divide bookshop into “two tribe” as well. Islamic books doesn’t sell at China bookshop, instead those book are only available at 民族用品 ( Hui Zhu Tribe Appliance Shop, sounds much like a shop that only welcome Hui Zhu Tribe) I realize this phenomena through Malaysia students who study at Beijing, China. It does hardly imagine that you are not allowed to enter certain shop if you are different tribe. A whole lot of Islamic books are like treasure for Chinese Muslim who hardly understands other than Chinese language since Islam is precise knowledge from Allah. There are translated book, al-Quran, Hadith and also Islamic book that is written by China Muslim. China Muslim emphasize a lot on China Muslim religion dilemma, history and cultural of Hui Zhu Tribe, and even their travelogue as Muslim.

Bookshop matter is a global issue.
I changed my dream anyway, instead of getting a bookshop that selling bunch of Chinese Islamic books, I am dreaming to have a laser printer to print my PDF books that downloaded from Internet and staple them all into A4 Size paper books.

My small dream to build my personal library perhaps.

Specially thanks brother Ahmad Naim for shooting these precious photos at "The Tribe Shop", Beijing, China. Kindly click on each photo for larger view.


  1. Salams Brother Ikhwan : It would be great to download Islamic literature to PDF files, In Shaa Allah. May Allah fulfilled all your duas, amin amin... :-D

    Sis Iman Wong

    1. Walaikumsalam sis Iman Wong.

      Yup, the one and only way to collect more knowledge. I do dream that one day Malaysia may arise Islamic bookshop :)

  2. mashaAllah...


  3. Allah yuftah alaik, brother..


Assalamualaikum wbt and welcome to my blog...
May contact me via 012-3979998 or email if you have any private message.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...