A Chinese Muslim man almost bled to death recently because he had slashed his own hand. Now what's that to do with living in that area, you might ask? Oh, plenty of reasons.
You see, he was under a lot of stress because after he reverted to Islam, the local Muslims didn't really welcome him. Whenever he prays at the mosque, he'd be taunted for having a tattoo on his hand; a tattoo which was made 20 years ago when he was a teenager and is believed to be passed down among his family members. It's a tattoo which could not be removed easily.
It is forbidden for Muslims to have a tattoo drawn on his body, so Anas (his Muslim name) was under a lot of pressure to have it removed. I don't know what actually happened but news reported that Anas was told by the locals that he's not a proper Muslim until he removes his tattoo? That the tattoo will not make his prayers accepted by Allah swt, because the tattoo prevents water from reaching the skin of his hand?
I know how judgemental some people can be and how busybody some people are when they don't even have proper knowledge of the matter. However I do wonder why the local mosque authorities especially the imam and all the ustaz in that area have never helped Anas to get medical treatment if he insists on removing the tattoo. Better still, why they have not told him that as a revert to Islam, that it's not compulsory for him to even remove the tattoo at all if removing it will cause health problems to him. That the tattoo was already there when he was a nonMuslim, and not drawn on purpose (like some Muslim youngsters have done) after he reverted to Islam? Their own ignorance or their own sense of superiority "I know better than you becasue I'm been a Muslim longer?" What a shame!
Add that to the fact that Anas reverted to Islam based on his love for Islam and doesn't even have a proper home now (he was given a room to stay at the mosque, which tells us a lot about his financial state). Anas who was already depressed when he was rejected ( even scolded?) by his family when he returned home for Chinese New Year, couldn' bear the taunts by the local Muslim anymore and decided to do away with the tattoo in the only way he could - by slashing his own hand.
Oh, I do feel so sorry for the Muslims of Teluk Kucai, Kuala Kedah who had taunted Anas and indirectly forced him do this harmful act. What if he had died due to excessive bleeding before he was found by his friend, Mohd Firdaus Razali? Would the same men who had taunted him say then that Anas was stupid and sinful to kill himself ? Shame on them! For all we know, Anas who had repeatedly recited"Allah.. Allah" when found slumped on the toilet floor of the mosque, is actually less sinful than the 'holier than thou" men who taunted him mercilessly for having a tattoo.
Why is it that when a man or a woman reverted to Islam, usually he or she is not totally accepted by the local Malay Muslim community, who look with suspicions on these new brothers and sisters? Why are reverts often scrutinised and any imperfections are pointed out with contempt? For example, their lack of proper etiquette (meaning only Malay etiquette laa), complaints of them being rude (again meaning only follow Malay way of speaking laa), their lack of proper aurat-covered dressing ( heck, you expect tudung and aurat covered dresses to fall from the sky within hours after reciting the syahadah?) and their lack of initiative to attend Islamic classes (not all reverts have vehicles, so provide free transportations/carpool services laa, cakap pandai ajer).
Don't they know that Islam instruct Muslims to be helpful and kind to their brothers, or does their own interpretation mean only being helpful to those of their own kith and kin, and their own race?Even today, there're some born-Muslims who question the rights of all new reverts or mualaf who receive zakat (oh, there're proof in the local Malay newspapers). I can go on and on but I will say only one thing - watch your own family before you pass judgement on others. Make sure all your wives, daughters, sisters and sons are adhering strictly to the teachings of Islam (no hair-rebonding, aurat-covered attire, no dating, no tattoo of any kind, no commercial hair dyes) before you start to taunt/ridicule a mualaf about his tattoo or her lack of proper Islamic dressing. Remember the person you taunt/pass harsh judgement on may have less sins in the eyes of Allah swt than you do!?!
Oh, pardon me for my harsh words but I'm so P.O by this senseless act that almost drove a fellow brother in Islam to his death. Muslim reverts can be very sensitive (especially those abandned by their own families after embracing Islam) and at the same time, are eager to gain acceptance by Allah and the local Muslim community. Their lack of knowledge about the true teachings of Islam may lead them to follow blindly the ideas of other Muslims. As Muslim NGOs and the state Islamic affairs personel may not be able to conduct regular checks on the conditions of all the reverts in this country, it's the local Muslim community where the reverts live who have to play their roles properly. Taunting a Muslim brother about a tattoo when he has already been forgiven for all his sins when he recited his 2-kalimah syahadah (which includes the tattoo) is a sin, which is only pardoned when the person seeks forgiveness from the victim.
It's not a coincidence that Anas was rescued by his friend. It's not a coincidence that the news was reported for 2 consecutive days by a local Malay tablod and repeated in a local English-language newspaper. Oh I wonder what those of other faiths would say when they read the news the English newspaper which has not explained that Islam does not require Muslim reverts to remove old tattoos.. Would they say,"See? He's a loser? His family rejects him and the Muslims also reject him. So why want to be a Muslim laaa.. boloh!"??? Or would they say,"Wahh.. so difficult to be a Muslim? Must slash hand that has tattoo? Islam so strict ahh?" See, now we have to do more explaining to the nonMuslim community regarding this issue; it's our responsibility so that they won't have the wrong impression of Islam and its teachings. Oh, thnak you very very very much, you Muslims of Teluk Kucai.
May Anas's self-inflicted injury be the last one involving Muslim reverts in Malaysia. We can excuse Anas' action due to his own lack of Islamic knowledge and lack of proper guidance from the learned Islamic scholars but can we give the same excuse for the local men who had continuously and mercilessly taunted him about his tattoo?
While we all care for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine, we should remember not to neglect the welfare of our own Muslim family members in our own backyard. The welfare of those nearer to us is more important and we will be questioned about how we treat them in akhirat later. Even a Malay proverb warns us not 'To feed the monkeys in the jungle with milk, while your own children at home go hungry.'So I hope we all have learnt a lesson from our brother Anas (Anas means friend in Arabic).