I misunderstood Islam even as a born Muslim.
I used to be a person who felt ashamed of being a Muslim. It was long time ago in my childhood, and during my teen age. The reason was in Burma Muslims are seen as lower class, uneducated, poor people.
Some of the Burmese Muslims are of Indian Decent. Their skins were dark and majorities were uneducated. However they are good in business. To be honest I did not want to be called as Kalar, which is a derogatory name for Muslim in Burma.
So I have avoided them, and always hang out with Buddhist and Christian
friends. At that time Christianity was more attractive to me as a religion than
Islam because people tend to pay more respect to Christian than Muslim in
Burma. Moreover, it was easier for me to mix with Christian friends as one of
my favorite hobbies was playing a hollow guitar. Only Christians in Burma have
good knowledge of musical notes as they used to go for Sunday prayer with
Choir in their Church.
Although my knowledge of Islam was almost zero at that time, I was a firm
believer of creation and creator. I was also curious about religion, however my
curiosity stopped with “There is a creator” and” There is a God who
created us”. That was all.
When I had my degree I was posted to a big city in Burma. My house was right
in front of a Mosque. Normally I woke up due to Azam, (Call for prayer), but I
did not go for prayer. The reason being I did not know how to pray. There were
not much books to be read in Burmese about Islam. Those available were very
poorly written in Burmese. (That was the real problem at that time, as most of
the Imams of the Mosques were Indian descendants and poor in Burmese both
written and spoken as a language).
But Allah has directed me to do the right thing. I have found some
Burmese Muslim friends at work and we could get along very well. I have found
that even though they were not that religious, but they would never miss
the Friday Prayer. So I started going for Friday Prayers with them, and started
learning how to pray.
Another twist in my life was, falling in love with a lady, who later became my
wife. She is from very religious family. Once I became the member of their big
family, things became easier for me. My father in-law has even arranged to get a religious
teacher, who would come to my house to teach the recitation of Holy Quran.
Another, very important fact is that, my father was a person who always
gives me the good answers whenever I asked him about Islam. He was so worried
that I became a non believer or atheist. My fault was, refused to get religious
lessons (My father has arranged) during my teens which was during the Socialist
Era of Burma. During that time no one actually pay much attention to religions,
be they Muslims, Christians or Buddhists.
Now I understand that Islam is the religion of peace. It is not a religion
of terrorists. Islam never preach terror, Islam preach peace and submission to
the creator of Mankind, Allah (SWT).
Islam respects the right of other religions. In fact, it is duty for Muslims
to protect the place of worships of other religions, in the Islamic States. That
is the reason why there are so many Christians and Jews still staying
peacefully with Muslims in Muslim countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and
Turkey and even in occupied territory Palestine. In Palestine, Orthodox Jew’s place of
worships and Churches are protected by Muslims for thousand of years.
I must use the words from Holy Quran: Allah is Great, and Allah is All Merciful, and Allah always
forgive except for those who defiantly disobey.
Now I know that in Islam all mankind are the same, in spite of having different
races, different skin color and different education level, and wealth. All
those who believe in Allah, Prophets, Angels, his book ( Holy Quran) and day of
judgment are called Muslims, and we all are the same.
May Allah bless my parents, my teachers, my family, my friends, my
relatives, my people, my country and all mankind, as Allah’s name is Al Rahman,
the Most Merciful and All Merciful.
Allah knows the best
Kyaw Kyaw Oo