Sunday, January 24, 2010

In God's Name

I was browsing through Patrick Teoh’s blog “Niamah” and stumbled upon this January 17 posting of a lilting song “Katakanlah” that is pregnant with purposeful meaning, music and lyrics by Amirah Ali (www.myspace.com/amirahali). She explained: “I am saddened and angered by the recent happenings in my country, Malaysia. I would like to share with you this song that I wrote. We are all ONE and so is GOD”.


Katakanlah
.
Hari ke hari ku cari
Tapiku tidak pasti
Seribu malam ku mimpi
Tapi ku belum fahami
.
Chorus
Adakahkanku namaku
Adakahkanku kulitku
Ugamaku dan bangsaku
Tradisiku, negaraku
Akalku, buatanku, niatku
.
Oh Ya Allah
Katakanlah
Ya Allah
Katakanlah
.
Hari ke hari ku pandang
Tayangan hias bumi
Seribu malam ku kira
Bintang-bintang menawan hati
.
Chorus
.
Seluruh dunia di dalam
Sebutir tanah pasir
Kecil-kecilan hidupan
Merangkumi semua angkasa
.
Chorus
.
Jauh di dalam lautan
Rahsia anak ikan
Pusaka lama disimpan
Cantik lagi bahaya
.
Chorus
.
English Translation by U-En:
.
TELL ME
.
Each passing day I seek,
And yet I am unsure.
For a thousand nights I dream
And still my doubt endures.
.
Am I but a name?
Mere colour of my skin?
Am I just my faith, beholden to my race?
Am I tradition, blood of a nation?
Am I thought, an act, intention?
.
Oh God
Tell me
Oh God
Tell me
.
Each passing day I gaze
Upon this ornamented world.
For a thousand nights I count
The stars that bind my heart.
.
All the world contained
Within a grain of sand,
Life's merest whisper
Encompasses the firmament.
.
Deep beneath the tide,
Secrets still abide.
An ancient heritage endures,
Perilous and ever fair.

Brilliant, isn’t it? But the point is that if we believe in God, surely this God belongs to ALL of humanity? If we defend this God as ours – exclusively ours – this means, we are saying that our God does exclude other peoples. If this is so, then what is the meaning of God’s message to humankind? I just don’t get it – who are we to claim God as ours? To claim is “to demand, ask for, or take as one's own or one's due”. And who are we to make this claim? We forget we are just puny living organisms surviving a fragile existence of inconsequence; that we are mere mortals eking out a delicate life of insignificance. Enough of this quarrel over the A-word! How petty! How trivial! How superficial! How stupid!

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