Saturday, July 28, 2007

Education budget

It's really great news that the education budget will be increased by 20 percent (The Jakarta Post, July 10). But on April 19, the Post reported that Rp 4.6 trillion (US$516.85 million) disappeared from the 2006 education budget.

So, will the extra funds be allocated for the improvement of severely under funded schools or will it go to corrupt government officials?

There are two things that I would be very interested in seeing. First is a comprehensive audit of all bank accounts owned by officials of the National Education Ministry and those owned by their family members. Second is an audit of where every child of every ministry employee goes (or went) to school or university.

I would be very interested to know just how many of these officials have large sums of money in their bank accounts, even though their salaries are quite low.

How many of them send their children to study at private schools or universities or even at overseas universities (after stealing taxpayer money), while they complain that the budget is too limited to make substantial reforms in the education system here?

If the President issued a decree ruling that all government officials, including ministers, have to send their children and grandchildren to state schools, we perhaps would see immediate and radical improvements in the quality and standards of national education.

GENE NETTO
Jakarta

Published in Jakarta Post on July 27, 2007

Keturunan Rasulullah dan Habaib

Assalamu'alaikum wr. Wb

Ustadz yang insya Alloh senantiasa diridhoi Alloh, saya mau tanya tentang keturunan rasululloh. Dalam bukuThe true love Muhammad "Khadijah" ada ungkapan bahwa keturunan rasululloh dapat ditemukan dengan mudah saat ini.

Dansejak dulu khususnya dikalangan betawi bahwa para habaib diyakini sebagai keturunan rasululloh, sementara saya pernah mendengar bahwa keturunan rasululloh telah berakhir sampai dengan cucu-cucu beliau yaitu Hasan dan Husein. Mohon penjelasan ustadz untuk masalah ini.

Terima kasih.

Abu Hanif

Jawaban

Assalamu 'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Keturunan Rasulullah SAW bisa berarti sangat luas, termasuk para habaib juga termasuk di dalamnya. Sebenarnya mereka berasal dari Yaman, bukan dari Makkah atau Madinah.

Bahkan para pemeluk syiah di Iran, Lebanon dan lainnya pun termasuk keturunan beliau SAW.

Klaim-klaim seperti itu boleh boleh saja, tidak ada yang melarangnya. Asalkan masing-masing bisa mempertanggung-jawabkannya, baik kepada sesama manusia, apalagi kepada Allah.

Kita tidak perlu menghujat atau melecehkan mereka yang mengaku sebagai keturunan Nabi, sebab siapa tahu memang benar. Dan kalau ternyata salah, tentu saja mereka harus mempertanggung-jawabkannya.

Yang lebih penting untuk diingat, meski punya derajat tersendiri dan status sosial yang khusus di tengah masyarakat Islam, namun dalam pandangan hukum dan syariah, tidak ada bedanya antara keturunan nabi atau bukan.

Tidak pernah ada misalnya, kalau keturunan nabi lantas punya fasilitas untuk boleh tidak shalat, tidak puasa Ramadhan, boleh tidak bayar zakat atau tidak wajib mengerjakan haji. Itu tidak berlaku.

Seorang anak habib juga tetap terkena larangan-larangan yang berlaku buat anak Paijo dan Paimin yang orang Jawa koek. Anak habib tetap diharamkan membuka aurat, mencuri, menipu, berzina, membunuh, berbohong, minum khamar dan semua larangan yang berlaku untuk semua muslim.

Kalau ada anak habib mengaku keturunan nabi Muhammad SAW yang ke-100 misalnya, tetapi kelakuannya lebih mirip keturunan Abu Jahal, maka selain berdosa, dia juga telah mempermalukan diri Rasulullah SAW secara pribadi dan langsung.

Kalau ada tokoh yang disegani mengaku keturunan nabi, tetapi doyan menjalankan hal-hal syirik, berpraktek seperti dukun, menggunakan jin dan segala hal yang berbau syirik, maka dia bukan keturunan nabi lagi. Orang seperti ini tidak perlu dihormati, sebab dia telah menipu orang lain.

Kalau ada orang yang mengaku sebagai keturunan arab, hidung mancung, rambut keriting, lengkap dengan nama keluarganya yang nasabnya bersambung kepada nabi Muhammad SAW, tetapi pekerjaannya mencela orang, mencari-cari kesalahan orang, memaki, menghujat, menuduh kafir atau ahli bid'ah, maka orang seperti ini telah mencaci maki diri sendiri.

Kalau ada kelompok mengaku sebagai ahli bait Rasulullah SAW, tetapi ingkar kepada hadits-hadits nabawi, mencaci maki para shahabat nabi, wabil khusus Abu Bakar, Umar dan Utsman radhiyallahu 'anhum, maka mereka bukan ahlul bait. Sebab belum pernah ada ahlul bait di zaman ketiga khalifah ini hidup yang mencaci maki para shahabat nabi yang mulia.

Yang kerjanya mencaci maki para shahabat yang mulia adalah kalangan zindiq yang berasal dari keturunan Persia, mereka terpaksa masuk ISlam setelah kerajaan mereka ditumbangkan oleh para pahlawan Islam. Di dalam keIslamanan mereka yang pura-pura itulah mereka memainkan peran busuk dan kotor, yaitu menghasud umat Islam sambil mengobarkan api kebencian. Sehingga terjadilah perang Jamal dan Shiffin serta fitnah kubro yang sempat mencoreng sejarah.

Lalu muncul kalangan yang menyimpang dari manhaj yang lurus, kerjanya memaki-maki para shahabat nabi serta memuja-muja ahlul bait. Kemudian berkembang membuat aliran aqidah sendiri yang menyimpang jauh dari apa yang diajarkan oleh Rasululah SAW. Mereka ingkar kepada Al-Quran dan membuat mushaf sendiri. Sampai mereka mengklaim bahwa Jibril salah menurunkan wahyu, seharusnya kepada Ali bin Abi Thalib dan bukan kepada Muhammad, nauzdu billahi min zalik.

Wallahi, mereka bukan keturunan nabi SAW. Mereka adalah para zindiq yang menyamar menjadi muslim. Siapa pun yang berkelakuan seperti ini, mereka pasti bukan keturunan nabi Muhammad SAW.

Bahkan meski anak kandung seorang nabi langsung, namun bila kelakuannya justru bertentangan dengan apa yang diajarkan oleh sang nabi, maka dia dianggap bukan keturunan nabi. Persis seperti pernyataan Allah SWT kepada anak kandung nabi Nuh alaihissalam yang durhaka.

Allah berfirman, "Hai Nuh, sesungguhnya dia bukanlah termasuk keluargamu, sesungguhnya nya perbuatan yang tidak baik."(QS. Huud: 47)

Tetapi kalau ada seorang alim yang ilmunya mendalam dan luas, kemampuannya dalam ilmu syariah, tafsir, hadits dan lainnya diakui dunia international, kebetulan secara nasab beliau dinisbahkan kepada sulalah (keturunan) nabi Muhammad SAW, maka wajiblah kita menghormatinya. Pertama, kita menghormati ilmunya. Kedua, kita menghormati keturunannya.

Ulama betawi di zaman dahulu berguru dan mengaji kepada para ulama besar yang kebetulan memang keturunan nabi. Bukan semata-mata keturunannya, tetapi karena ilmunya. Habib-habib di Kwitang adalah salah satu yang bisa kita sebut sebagai soko guru, sumber pertama, sanad awal dari ajaran-ajaran agama Islam yang berkembang di Jakarta dan sekitarnya.

Saat itu, habib di Kwitang bukan sekedar orang yang mengaku anak keturunan nabi, tetapi beliau punya ilmu yang dalam dan luas. Kepada beliau, para kiyai dan ulama se Jakarta belajar. Ilmunya berkah dan kemudian berkembang menjadi ribuan majelis taklim, madrasah, pesantren serta ribuan masjid se Jakarta. Itulah tipologi keturunan nabi yang lurus, berkah dan benar.

Tetapi keturunan arab yang jadi bandarjudi, preman pasar, jagoan alkohol, tukang palak, tukang tipu, makelar tanah dan sebagainya juga banyak. Mereka seharusnya malu kalau mengaku-ngaku sebagai anak keturunan nabi.

Wallahu a'lam bishshawab, wassalamu 'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Ahmad Sarwat, Lc

Sumber: Eramuslim

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dua Bab Pertama (Indonesia dan Inggris)


Assalamu'alaikum wr.wb.,

Sekarang, dua bab pertama dari buku saya sudah ada di Blog dalam bahasa Indonesia dan bahasa Inggris. Kedua Bab ini sudah direvisi juga dan ada banyak paragraf baru di Bab 2.

Insya Allah buku pertama ini akan diselesaikan dalam 2 bulan lagi.

Semoga bermanfaat.

Wassalamu’alaikum wr.wb.,

Gene

Mencari Tuhan, Menemukan Allah (belum terbit)

Bab 1: Saya

http://genenetto.blogspot.com/2006/04/saya.html

Bab 2: Ingin Melihat Tuhan

http://genenetto.blogspot.com/2006/04/ingin-melihat-tuhan.html

Searching For God and Finding Allah (unpublished)

Chapter 1: About Me

http://genenetto.blogspot.com/2007/07/about-me.html

Chapter 2: Wanting To See God

http://genenetto.blogspot.com/2007/07/wanting-to-see-god.html

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

1. About Me

Assalamu’alaikum wr.wb.,
This is the First Chapter of my book “Searching for God, and Finding Allah”. I am still writing and hope to be finished in the next few months. It is also available on my Blog in Indonesian language with the title: Mencari Tuhan, Menemukan Allah (link at the bottom of this page).
Wassalamu’alaikum wr.wb.,
Gene

SEARCHING FOR GOD AND FINDING ALLAH:
The Spirtual Journey Of A Convert To Islam, Who Compared Christianity And Islam In A Search For Truth
By Gene Netto

Contents
1. About Me
2. Wanting To See God
3. A Chain Of Prophets
4. A Sign From God
5. Followers Of Jesus
6. Followers Of Jesus, Followers Of Muhammad
7. The Truth Of Islam
8. This Is What Allah Says About The Qur’an
9. A Logical Religion
10. Our Spiritual Needs And Allah’s Solution
11. You Decide What Happens Next
*****

1. ABOUT ME

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Almost every time I meet someone and have a conversation about Islam, I am interrupted. Everyone wants to know the same thing: how did I become a Muslim? I have been living in Indonesia since 1995, and so most of my conversations are held here, mostly in Indonesian language, but occasionally in English. I then get further questions about how I learned Indonesian so well and how did I come to live in Indonesia. In this chapter, I will answer those questions so that I can move on to a discussion about Christianity and Islam. In this book, I would like to explain why I consider Christianity unacceptable from a logical perspective and how I have learned that Islam is a very logical religion that cannot be denied.

On the 28th of April, 1970, I was born in Nelson which is a small city in the South Island of New Zealand (near Australia). My parents met in the city of Nelson, close to where my mother was born, but quite far from where my father was born in Burma (also called Myanmar now). My grandfather left Burma a few years after World War II ended, and after a couple of years in Australia he settled in New Zealand. My parents met, got married and had three children. My brother and sister both have blue eyes but mine are a mixture of brown and green, so it seems I was already “different” from birth.

When I was a child I did not always feel comfortable in New Zealand. My family was Catholic and my mother had white skin, so that should have been okay, but I remember people would often ask me where I was from or where my parents were from. My brother and sister could blend in more easily because they had blue eyes. With my darker eyes and darker hair, I looked more different than they did. I always felt like I was not really a white person, but I was not Asian either. So what did that make me? This played on my mind from time to time. I thought a lot about the world, about different countries, cultures and religions, and perhaps that was because I did not feel like I belonged to any of them.

As I got older, I began to think a lot about more serious topics: the pyramids, dinosaurs, different civilizations, the whole world, religion, the stars and the universe. I remember staring at the stars in the sky and thinking about where they all came from. I was about 9 or 10 years old and I wanted to know everything. At that time, the movie “Jurassic Park” had not been made, and I think I was the only kid in my class who was interested in dinosaurs. I could not understand why no one else was interested. Dinosaurs were cool! I wanted to know where they came from and why they had disappeared. I was generally a very curious boy.

Like most kids, I had to learn about religion as well. I remember going to Sunday School, but not for very long. I had to learn all of the standard Bible stories about Abraham, Moses and Noah. It always seemed strange to me that Noah could get so many animals into a boat. And how did he get the giraffes from Africa to come over? And where did he put the poisonous snakes? A lot of things were confusing, but Noah was the least of my concerns.

Whenever I asked questions about religion, I was not really satisfied with the answers. But I did not always push for more. I was old enough to sense when an adult was having trouble answering a question and therefore feeling embarrassed. So, I got confused, but did not talk about it much. I wanted to understand, but it was not that easy.

I learned that there was a Trinity. That God was also Jesus and also the Holy Spirit. They were separate, but they were also one. Three, but one. They were all God, the three of them, but there was only one God. God became a man (Jesus) and that man was the Son of God, and also God. That man died, but God cannot die. But that man is God. He died. But God cannot die. But he is God. So, he died, even though he cannot die. He is both immortal and mortal at the same time. I found that quite confusing.

I also had trouble when thinking about the role of a Catholic Priest in forgiving someone for his or her sins without discussing it with God. What if the priest got it wrong and my sins were not erased? Could I get some written proof from God that my sins had been forgiven? What if I met God on Judgment Day and found out, that the priest had made a mistake and that all of my sins still existed? If I protested and pointed to the priest who had convinced me that all of my sins were forgiven, then all God would have to say to end the discussion would be “Who told you to believe him?” Who would be able to save me if the priest was wrong and my sins were still counted by God? Unlike God’s Prophets, priests are not appointed directly by God. They are just a bunch of fallible human beings who tell us things and then (often) tell us not to question them or the Church.

I began to think about how I could get a clear answer to all of the religious questions that were bothering me. Finally, I figured out how to get some answers: I would have to speak directly to God. Only God could answer all of my questions.

One night, I waited until late at night when everyone was asleep. I sat up in bed and prayed to God. I told Him to appear in my bedroom so that I could see Him with my own eyes. I told Him that I was ready to believe in Him if I could just see Him one time and get some answers to my questions. I was always told that “God can do anything” and so of course He should be able to appear in my room when I told Him to. That should be easy for Him to do. I prayed and stared at my bedroom window, expecting to see a “light” or some type of “Godliness”.

I waited and waited. 10 minutes. 20 minutes. Where was God? People said that God was “All Hearing” so He should have been able to hear me. I waited some more, still staring at the window. Why had God not come? Was He too busy? Was He stuck in a traffic jam? I kept staring at my window. I waited and waited, giving Him a fair opportunity to show up. But, it seemed that He was too busy that evening because He never came.

That made me confused. I had already promised to believe in Him, and all He had to do was show up in my room and prove to me that He existed. That was fair, wasn’t it? The next day I tried calling on God to show up again. Maybe He really had been busy and so I should be fair and give Him one more chance. I should not just give up on Him like that. However, the result was the same: He did not come.

At that time, I decided that there was only one course of action left for me: I had to declare myself an atheist and not believe in any gods at all. That would really make God feel upset when He found out about that. I told God (in my heart) that there was no such thing as God and that anyone who believed in Him was a fool who was just wasting his time. I was actually telling God off, and giving Him a piece of my mind. I wanted Him to know for certain that I did not believe in Him anymore.

In the days that followed I waited for a response. I gave God time to come to me and apologize for not turning up to see me in my room. I had made my position clear and now it was up to God to respond. I was not going to do anything else until I got an apology or an explanation. As days weeks and months went past without any response from God, I finally came to the conclusion that God did not exist! I had proven it “scientifically”. If God really existed, then He would have heard my prayers and He would have appeared in my bedroom when I told Him to come. The fact that He did not come was proof that God did not exist. It was true. It was logical. It was scientific. I had proven it. I was ten years old.

I continued passing through various grades at school and did not make a big deal of the fact that I did not believe in God. If anyone ever asked what religion I was, I just said Catholic so that I did not have to explain being an atheist. During the rest of primary school, junior high school and high school, I didn’t waste much of my time studying religion (meaning Christianity), except to look for the flaws in it. I was certain that studying religion, any religion, was just a waste of time because God was not real. After I finished high school, my parents decided to move to Brisbane in Australia. I was asked if I wanted to come with them or stay in New Zealand, so I decided to go for a while and see what Australia was like.

In Brisbane, I decided to study psychology at university. I wanted to be a child psychologist but my application was not accepted because my grades were not high enough and psychology was a very competitive faculty so it was not easy to get in. As a second option, I was offered a place in Asian Studies at Griffith University. I was told that I could do Asian Studies for 1 year, improve my grades, and then reapply to study Psychology. That sounded like a good plan and so I accepted a place in the Faculty of Asian International Studies at Griffith University, with the intention of transferring to psychology after one year.

In the first year of Asian Studies, every student had to take an Asian language for one year. The choices were Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Indonesian. I chose Indonesian because it seemed the easiest of the four and I was only planning to do it for one year anyway. Within 6 months, I was getting some of the highest scores in my class. Suddenly, we were informed that scholarships were available for three students to study in Indonesia for 6 months. I did not take part in the selection process because I was planning on leaving Asian Studies and joining Psychology. After three students were chosen, one of them suddenly had to withdraw. The selection process was opened again, but now there was only one place available. One of my lecturers called me into his office and asked why I had not applied for the scholarship. I explained my intention of changing to another faculty at the end of the year. He suggested that I continue with Asian Studies and Indonesian language as he could see that I had talent for languages.
I gave it some more thought and based on his advice I decided to stay in my faculty, and I also decided to put my name forward for the scholarship to go to Indonesia. I won the scholarship and would go to Indonesia the following year, in 1991. Now I became more serious about my studies because my goal was clearer.

One day the Indonesian Club on campus held a barbecue and invited all the Australian students who were learning Indonesian as well as all of the overseas students from Indonesia who were studying at Griffith. An Indonesian man came and sat next to me and began to chat. He asked if I was studying Indonesian and I said yes. Then he suddenly asked me something that I did not expect; he asked me if I had learned anything about Islam. I told him that, of course, we had to learn the basics of all major religions in Asia in one of our courses.

Then he really shocked me. He said: “Gene, do you know that in Islam only God can forgive you for your sins? There are no priests that can forgive you!” I did not know what to say. I still remember sitting there on that bench, with a hotdog half way into my mouth. I just froze. Time seemed to stand still for several seconds. Then I suddenly realized that he had given me the logical answer I had been looking for during the previous ten years. In Islam, only God could forgive you for your sins. That was logical. Was it possible that there really was one religion based on logic after all? Was it possible that Islam contained teachings that I could analyse critically without getting confused? Was it possible that Islam could give me real answers to my questions about religion? Was it possible that one of the religions in this world that I had rejected actually contained absolute truth? Could that really be possible?

This was the spark that got me started. I began to read books about Islam and started looking for Indonesian Muslims to talk with. Slowly, I started to build up more and more knowledge about Islam by asking questions, thinking, reading and then asking some more. I really set out to find out if it was possible that this religion made sense or not.
In 1991, I left for Indonesia to start my scholarship. I was sent to Atma Jaya, a private Catholic university in the heart of Jakarta. While I was studying at Atma Jaya for 6 months, most of my friends were Muslims! I watched my friends doing salat (the 5 daily prayers) and began to ask questions about their religion. I wanted to know what they were doing, why, and what they believed as Muslims.

When I returned to Brisbane after 6 months, I had become a much more fluent Indonesian speaker. Because of that, I found myself hanging out with Indonesian Muslims more and more. I was not actively studying Islam on a regular basis, but I was already interested. Whenever we had to write an essay at university, I looked for a topic that was somehow related to Islam. Usually there was one in a list of several topics. In order to write my essay, I would have to read dozens of books and articles about some aspect of Islam in Indonesia. The more I read, the more I was able to think deeply about Islam.

Even though I could see that there were many positive aspects to Islam, I was still secretly looking for a fatal flaw. I was sure that sooner or later I would find something that would convince me that Islam was not correct. I wanted to find something that proved Islam was not the logical religion that I had previously thought it might be when I had met the Indonesian man at that barbeque. I was sure that there had to be something wrong with Islam and I was determined to find out what it was.

When I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree, I studied for an extra year to get a Graduate Diploma of Education which made me a foreign language and history teacher. Then I found out about another scholarship that was available from the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee. This scholarship was only for one person and it was for a whole year in Indonesia.

Once again, I won the scholarship and spent 1995 at the University of Indonesia. And once again, as with my time at Atma Jaya, I spent my time with Muslims and watched what that they did.

In February of 1995, I was sitting on the floor late at night, watching Salat Tarawih on television, live from Mecca. (Salat Tarawih prayers are optional prayers performed at night during the fasting month of Ramadan). I listened to the commentators speaking Indonesian. That year, there were approximately 3 million people in the mosque and surrounding areas (which included the outdoor courtyard, the nearby streets, and even some hotel lobbies), and they were all doing salat (prayers) together. Three million people, all doing the same prayer, facing the same direction (kiblat), following one leader (imam), praying with the same words, in the same language, at the same time and all of them were praying to the same God. I began to think, “Where is there anything like this in the west?” If people gather for a soccer match, then the most that can be in one stadium is around one hundred thousand. I had never seen so many people in one place, doing the same thing, at the exact same time, in the same language and all moving in unison. This was a truly unparalleled sight. Until now, I still have not found anything similar in the western world.

I began to wonder about how many people could gather in one building to hear the Pope speak. I wondered if all of them would be able to understand what he was saying because there is no unifying language for Christians from all over the world to pray together in. There was no comparison in Christianity with what I was watching on television from Mecca.

For one year, I continued to learn bits and pieces about Islam, not in a formal or serious way, but just by paying attention to what I saw around me. When Islamic clerics gave short speeches on television, I would listen. I thought about what they were saying. There was nothing that I could find fault with. Slowly, I began to understand more and more about Islam. By the end of 1995, I was finding it harder and harder to refuse Islam. I kept searching for a logical flaw in the basic teachings of Islam but I simply could not find one. Islam was just too clear, too logical and was obviously based on common sense.

Finally, I felt like I had no choice. I could not keep denying what I had learned about Islam. I made a decision. I had to become a Muslim. But that made me think about my future. My time at the University of Indonesia was almost over. I would have to go back to Australia and work there. Could I learn about Islam if I lived there? Would I be able to find a teacher? Would I be able to find somewhere to pray? How many mosques were there in Brisbane? How would I cope with being a Muslim by myself? The more I thought about it the more it seemed to me that I had no choice but to stay in Indonesia so that I could be surrounded by Muslims. At last, I made a choice: I was going to become a Muslim and live in Indonesia. Now that I had made my decision, I just had to work out the details.

In February 1996, I said syahadat and became a Muslim. I forget when exactly I told my parents that I had become a Muslim. But I do remember that it was not until a few months afterwards, and by that time, I was already committed and able to pray by myself. I am sure they must have thought that I had lost my mind. But alhamdulillah (thank God), they accepted my decision and never said a bad word about Islam to me. I was still considered a member of the family and they did not do anything to make me feel unwelcome at home. That was quite different from the numerous stories I had heard in Indonesia about Christians who converted to Islam, and then were beaten up, thrown out of their house and disowned by their own family. My family probably thought that I was “crazy”, but the same thing was also said about the Prophet Muhammad SAW by the Quraish tribe of Mecca, so in that context, being called “crazy” would be more like a compliment.

Since 1995 I have been living in Jakarta and working as an English teacher (after I finished studying at UI). Many westerners that I have met here did not understand why I would choose to live in a country that is poor, dirty, full of corruption, and so on. Their general view of the negative aspects of Indonesia is correct, but I also see mosques on every street, people praying everywhere, adzan (the call to prayer) five times a day, al Qur’an in every house, halal food in many restaurants, young people who reject sex outside of marriage, reject abortions, reject alcohol and drunkenness, reject drugs, reject gambling, and so many other negative things because they lead a religious life and so they turn their back on those things which are not approved of in their religion. Because of those things that I see, the problems that westerners mention about Indonesia become small by comparison. These problems do need to be dealt with, but the sum total of religious life for the good Muslims I know in Jakarta is far more significant than the small number of serious problems that have not been addressed yet. The beauty and truth of Islam cannot be destroyed by the actions of some human beings in this country.

Alhamdulillah (thank God), I have some of the best friends in the world to keep me company here. For me, their friendship and their behaviour as Muslims is proof of the correctness of Islam. It is also a source of great comfort to me to have them around. They are like my family, and they also treat me like their own family just because I am a Muslim. They help me to remember how to be a good Muslim by giving me a good example everyday. And alhamdulillah, in Jakarta I have also found some excellent teachers who insya Allah (God willing) have good knowledge and understanding of Islam. The teachings that I have received from them are always logical and that fact proves to me that Islam was created as a blessing for all of humanity.

My primary teacher until 2007 (when he passed away) was Kyai Haji Masyhuri Syahid, MA., who treated me like his son. Kyai Masyhuri, aside from being a member of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars), was also the Head of the Daarul Qur'an Islamic Boarding School for Orphans (Pondok Pesantren Yatim-Piatu Daarul Qur'an) which is located in Tebet, South Jakarta.

In writing this book I would like to comment on what I have observed and learned about Christianity and Islam. Many people here have told me that I view religion very differently to them because they were all born as Muslims and have never known any other life. Unlike these people, I had to analyse Christianity and Islam and make a choice. I had to find logic in Islam before I could accept it. Perhaps after reading my thoughts, some Muslims will see a different side to Islam that they did not think about before, and if that happens then I hope they will become stronger in their faith. And perhaps some Christians will become more open and welcoming of Islam once they understand that Islam is simply the continuation of everything that Jesus AS taught.
I want to explain what I have learned and I hope that it gives some benefit to Muslims in their process of understanding Islam and Christianity. Both the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad SAW said that all Muslims are one big extended family, but we do not act that way; we act as individuals. Too many Muslims think that the knowledge, wealth and power that they have is all for their own benefit, and so they do not want to share it with anyone else. I do not have much wealth or power, but I would like to share the knowledge that I have gained because I hope it will bring benefit to others.

I have lived in Indonesia since 1995 and have seen the best and worst of Muslim behaviour. Sometimes I feel sad when looking at society here because the behaviour of some Muslims is not very Islamic.

If we think about ourselves as “salespeople” and what we are “selling” is “Islam” then I would be surprised if anyone would want to “buy” what we are “selling”. In other words, we often fail in our job of “marketing” Islam so that it is easily acceptable to others who do not understand it. If a westerner wants to debate with me about the truth of Islam then he only has to point out the high level of corruption in Indonesia and say “Doesn’t this prove that your religion is no good?” Of course, what he is pointing at is human behaviour and not part of Islam, but convincing him of that is quite difficult.

Therefore, I see that as Muslims, we have an obligation to explain Islam in the best way possible to others who want to understand it, and the easiest way for us to do that is to demonstrate Islam through our own behaviour. If we can do that, then people may begin to think more favourably about Islam because they will see the correctness of Islam portrayed through our own actions. In addition to that, we need to explain very clearly why we believe in Islam and explain what Islam teaches about other religions, especially Christianity as it is the closest monotheistic religion to Islam. In order to do that, Muslims must understand the problems with Christianity so that they can have a constructive discussion about both religions. If we succeed in “marketing” Islam in this way, then Islam may end up with fewer enemies and a lot more friends.

My journey from New Zealand to Australia to Indonesia is obviously in accordance with the Will of Allah. I do not know why Allah bought me to Indonesia and gave me the ability to speak Indonesian so well. What does Allah want me to do? Is Allah expecting me to do something with the knowledge and the language skill that I have?
I do not have the answers to these questions. I do not know what I am “supposed to be doing”. I do not know if occasionally giving speeches about Islam or meeting Indonesians and westerners who want to ask questions about religion is enough. I do not know if I should be doing more. I am certain that my knowledge of Islam is still quite basic. Some people think I am a religious teacher just because I sometimes give speeches about Islam but I definitely feel more like a student than a teacher.

I hope that Allah will protect me and guide me and that I will be able to learn more about Islam because of what I write. I hope that this book will bring benefit to all of us and become rahmat (a blessing) from Allah for all of ummat Islam (the Muslim community).
Amin, amin, ya robbal alamin.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullhi wabarakatu.

First Two Chapters of My Book
The first two chapters of my book are available on my blog in English and Indonesian languages. Hopefully I will be able to publish this book soon, and continue with writing others.

Searching For God and Finding Allah (unpublished)
Chapter 1: About Me
Chapter 2: Wanting To See God

Mencari Tuhan, Menemukan Allah (belum terbit)
Bab 1: Tentang Saya
Bab 2: Ingin Melihat Tuhan

2. Wanting To See God

Assalamu’alaikum wr.wb.,
This is the Second Chapter of my book “Searching for God, and Finding Allah”. I am still writing and hope to be finished in the next few months. It is already available on my Blog in Indonesian language with the title: Mencari Tuhan, Menemukan Allah.
Wassalamu’alaikum wr.wb.,
Gene

SEARCHING FOR GOD AND FINDING ALLAH:
The Spirtual Journey Of A Convert To Islam, Who Compared Christianity And Islam In A Search For Truth
By Gene Netto

CONTENTS
1. About Me
2. Wanting To See God
3. A Chain Of Prophets
4. A Sign From God
5. Followers Of Jesus
6. Followers Of Jesus, Followers Of Muhammad
7. The Truth Of Islam
8. This Is What Allah Says About The Qur’an
9. A Logical Religion
10. Our Spiritual Needs And Allah’s Solution
11. You Decide What Happens Next
****

2. WANTING TO SEE GOD

When I was younger, I was convinced that God did not exist because I could not see Him, but in fact, I was also willing to keep an open mind and accept any proof of God if I could find any. I asked a lot of questions about the only religion that I knew, namely Catholicism. My questions about religion were not answered well, which made me even more confused. And because there was no proof that I found convincing, I felt that I was forced to not believe in God.

I often noticed that after a certain event occurred, for example, the death of a child or someone getting cancer, I would often hear adults talking and they would say that we had to just accept the situation. They would accept it by saying “God works in mysterious ways!” This meant that they could not understand why God did something, and for us to ask questions about it would be a waste of time. God was mysterious and we could not understand Him.

But if God is so mysterious, then what did He give us brains and logic for? If God gave us brains, intelligence and the power of logical thought, then it is entirely logical for us to use logic to think about God. This suggested to me that there should be a strong logical foundation to God’s religion. If God really existed, and gave us religious teachings, then what would be the purpose of making those teachings incomprehensible to ordinary people?

Does God have to be “mysterious” if He does not want to be? Is God not capable of accepting and answering questions from His own Creation if He wishes to do so? What if God desires us to know Him (within the limits of our understanding) so that we can become closer to Him? What if He does not want us to consider Him “mysterious”?
God is obviously not visible to us, and so I believe that if we analyze this situation carefully, then it is quite possible that we can find a logical reason for why God chooses not to reveal Himself. And perhaps if we understand the reason for why God is not visible, then we may be able to understand that this happens for our own benefit and not for “mysterious” reasons.

In this chapter, I would like to give one possible logical explanation for why God may chose to remain hidden from us, and how that fact is actually a blessing for us from Allah. To discuss this, we need to look at and compare the story of the Prophet Adam AS, the first human created by Allah, the story of Iblis (the Devil), and also the story of a murderer. Before that, it is important that we review the history of the Prophet Musa AS (Moses) who also wanted to see God.

2.1. Moses Wanted To See Allah Too

In speeches given by Muslim clerics, I have often heard the story of the Prophet Musa AS (Moses) who asked for permission to see Allah. According to the story, Allah simply explained that Musa AS was not capable of seeing Him. Allah might have stopped the event there but, instead, He continued by giving “proof” to Musa AS that he was not capable of seeing his Lord. Allah began to appear behind a mountain, which then exploded, knocking Nabi Musa AS unconscious. This event is described in the Qur'an:

143. And when Mûsâ (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) spoke to him; he said: "O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You." Allâh said: "You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me." So when his Lord appeared to the mountain[1], He made it collapse to dust, and Mûsâ (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers."
(QS. Al A’raf 7:143)

This verse gives us the understanding that human beings, including Prophets, are simply not allowed to see Almighty God. If a mighty Prophet of God such as Musa AS (Moses) is not capable of seeing Allah, then there is no hope for ordinary people like us. What we do know is that Musa AS was able to have a dialogue with Allah, even though he could not see his Lord. Another character who also has a dialogue with Allah is the Devil, and in the Qur’an, he is called Iblis.

2.2. The Curse Of Allah On Iblis (The Devil)

11. And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being); then We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam", and they prostrated themselves, except Iblîs (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrated themselves.
12. (Allâh) said: "What prevented you (O Iblîs) that you did not prostrate yourself, when I commanded you?" Iblîs said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay."
13. (Allâh) said: "(O Iblîs) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced."
(Surah Al A’raf, QS. 7:11-13)

In these verses, we are introduced to the creature that refused to bow down to Adam AS. This creature is named Iblis or Shaitân in the Qur'an and is known in English as the Devil, Satan, Lucifer, and so on. In the verses above, we can see a situation where Iblis is arguing with Allah and refusing His Direct Command to bow down and show respect to Nabi Adam AS. This refusal by Iblis to obey the Will of Almighty God was an act of extreme arrogance towards Him, and this is the reason why he was punished.

34. (Allâh) said: "Then, get out from here, for verily, you are Rajîm (an outcast or a cursed one)." [Tafsîr At-Tabarî]
35. "And verily, the curse shall be upon you till the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)."
(Surah Al Hijr, QS. 15:34-35)

Iblis (the Devil) then became the first creature to be cursed by Allah until Judgement Day. This event is very exceptional because it is the first time (as far as we know) that a creature created by Allah was cursed until the end of time. And this event is also special because (as far as we know) it is also the last time this happened. There is no mention in the Qur'an of any other creature being cursed by Allah for all time. The verse above only mentions the Curse of Allah until the Day of Resurrection, but after that, Iblis will be thrown into Hell along with anyone who follows him, so Allah’s Curse and His Punishment will be eternal.

A relevant question for us to ask now is why does Iblis receive the Curse of Allah? When Allah pronounces Iblis to be a cursed creature, it is very interesting that Iblis does not protest. He does not accuse Allah of being unjust. He does not try to argue his innocence or protest the severity of his sentence. If we were to receive such a harsh sentence from Allah, then I am sure we would definitely protest and would try to obtain some mercy. On the contrary, Iblis immediately accepts his fate but asks Allah to delay the implementation of his punishment until the Day of Resurrection so that he will have plenty of time to lead humans astray and prove that he is better.

14. (Iblîs) said: "Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)."
15. (Allâh) said: "You are of those respited."
16. (Iblîs) said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path.
17. "Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You)."
18. (Allâh) said (to Iblîs): "Get out from this (Paradise), disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all."
(Surah Al A’raf, QS. 7:14-18)

What is obvious from this is that Iblis (the Devil) now has the intention of doing everything he can to get all of the descendents of Adam AS to join him in Hell. This is being done merely to prove to Allah that he is better than a human being. So, now we have an interesting situation. Allah has cursed Iblis but instead of immediately throwing him into Hell, Allah actually gives Iblis a lot of extra time so that he can attempt to lead mankind astray.

If we accept that Allah knows everything that will ever happen in advance of the actual event, then He must have known that Iblis would show such arrogance, then be cursed and subsequently be given time to lead mankind astray. If that is the case, then we must logically accept that the existence of the Devil and his followers, and their affect on mankind, is something which Allah knew about in advance and He allowed it to happen. (Allah did not cause Iblis to rebel, but only allowed him to rebel). The reason we have to accept Allah’s implicit Permission for this event is that we must believe that all things can only occur with Allah’s Permission. If Allah does not give His Permission for something to happen, then how is it possible for that event to occur? If something can occur against Allah’s Wishes, then that would mean Allah is not all-powerful, but we know that He is.

29. Say (O Muhammad): "Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allâh knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allâh is Able to do all things."
(Surah Ali Imran, QS. 3:29)

So now, in Heaven, we have Adam AS, together with Hawa (Eve), and also Iblis (the Devil). Iblis (who after being cursed is now referred to as Shaitan in the Qur'an) no longer has any other purpose in his very long life except to lead mankind astray so that as many descendants of Adam AS as possible will accompany him into Hell. With Allah’s Permission (because he could not be there without Allah’s Permission), Iblis is allowed into the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam AS and Hawa. And he succeeds, because he convinces them to eat the forbidden fruit, which causes them to be removed from Paradise and placed on Earth.

35. And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zâlimûn (wrong-doers)."
36. Then the Shaitân (Satan) made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time."
(Surah Al Baqarah, QS. 2:35-36)

In the case of Iblis (the Devil), he made one mistake, was cast out of Paradise and was cursed for all time. Adam AS and Hawa (Eve) also made one mistake, were cast out of Paradise because of their actions, but they were not cursed for all time! Why were they treated differently?

Perhaps one thing that influenced Allah’s Decision is the fact that only Iblis argued with Allah. He did not repent and did not beg for mercy. However, when Adam AS and Hawa were told that they had sinned, they repented and begged for forgiveness:

37. Then Adam received from his Lord Words.[2] And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.
[2] (V.2:37): These words are mentioned in the Qur’ân; (Verse 7:23): They are: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers."
(Surah Al Baqarah, QS. 2:37)

So, now we can see two clear cases where Adam AS and Iblis made one mistake each and they were punished for those mistakes, although Iblis was punished more severely. In order to understand how this relates to the topic, namely that Allah is not visible to us for a logical reason, then we also need to examine one final case; the case of the murderer who killed 100 people and yet was forgiven for his sins.

2.3. Iblis (the Devil), Nabi Adam AS and the Killer of 100 People

There is a hadith (oral tradition of the Prophet Muhammad SAW) that tells the story of a killer who had murdered 100 people, but before he died, he had already decided to repent and so all of his sins were forgiven.

Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri:
The Prophet said, "Amongst the men of Bani Israel [the Jews] there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine persons. Then he set out asking (whether his repentance could be accepted or not). He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept on asking till a man advised to go to such and such a village. (So he left for it) but death overtook him on the way. While dying, he turned his chest towards that village (where he had hoped his repentance would be accepted), and so the angel of mercy and the angel of punishment quarreled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village (towards which he was going) to come closer to him, and ordered the village (whence he had come), to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. So he was found to be one span closer to the village (he was going to). So he was forgiven."
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 676)[2]

An important question to ask here is why can a murderer who has killed 100 people obtain forgiveness for his sins? Being forgiven by Allah means that his repentance was accepted, and forgiveness usually means that a person will not be punished for his sins. But on the other hand, Nabi Adam AS who only “ate a piece of fruit” was forgiven, but was also punished. And Iblis (the Devil) who only “argued” with Allah was not forgiven at all and was also punished very severely. It is clear that the murderer had not formally repented (by performing a formal act of worship). He was still in the process of finding the place where he would learn how to repent in a formal way. Nevertheless, he still received forgiveness from Allah and was not punished. Nabi Adam AS also repented and his repentance was accepted, but he was punished by being cast out of Paradise. Iblis did not repent and did not want to repent. He received the harshest punishment of all three cases mentioned.

These three separate cases now fall into two different categories. On one hand, we have the murderer whose sins were forgiven and he received no punishment at all. On the other hand, we have Nabi Adam AS and Iblis who both received punishment for committing one sin each, even though their “sins” might not seem as severe as murder.
If we want to find one logical reason for why we cannot see Allah, then I believe that such a reason can be found by comparing these two groups. We need to find a reason for why a murderer can escape punishment after killing 100 people, yet Adam AS and Iblis who only committed one sin each were still punished by Allah.

2.4. The Benefit For Us If God is Not Visible

Nabi Adam AS was punished, Iblis (the Devil) was punished, but a murderer who killed 100 people was not punished, and there seems to be only one real difference between them: the murderer had no absolute proof that Allah existed! He never saw Allah and never spoke with Him, which is the opposite of Adam AS and Iblis who did have a dialogue with Allah. That killer believed in Almighty God based on faith alone, which means that he believed even though he never saw Allah and never spoke to Him.

Did Adam AS and Iblis believe in Allah because they saw Him? Theoretically, we could make an argument that perhaps they did see Him directly with their eyes and therefore knew that Allah was real. But this theory is doubtful because of the verse mentioned above which says emphatically that Nabi Musa AS (Moses) was not able to see Allah, and that the slightest appearance of Allah was enough to make a mountain explode (QS. Al A’raf 7:143). If Nabi Musa AS was not able to see Allah, then perhaps we can assume that Adam AS and Iblis were also not able to see Him.

The theory that they saw Allah can also be doubted because there is a hadith (oral tradition of the Prophet Muhammad SAW) which states that Nabi Muhammad SAW also never saw Allah with his eyes:

It is narrated on the authority of Masruq that he said: I was resting at (the house of) 'A'isha that she said: O Abu 'A'isha [the honorific name of Masruq], there are three things, and he who affirmed even one of them fabricated the greatest lie against Allah. I asked that they were. She said: He who presumed that Muhammad (may peace be upon him) saw his Lord (with his ocular vision) fabricated the greatest lie against Allah. […].
(Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0337)[3]

If Nabi Musa AS and Nabi Muhammad SAW never saw Allah, then we can assume that the possibility of Nabi Adam AS and Iblis (the Devil) seeing Allah is quite small. It is however very certain that both Nabi Adam AS and Iblis had a dialogue with Allah, as did Nabi Musa AS and Nabi Muhammad SAW. In Surah Al A’raf (QS. 7:22-23), Nabi Adam AS speaks directly with Allah after he is admonished for eating the forbidden fruit. Also, in Surah Al A’raf (QS. 7:11-16) there is a dialogue between Allah and Iblis.

From the fact that both Nabi Adam AS and the Devil spoke with Allah, we can presume that there was no doubt in their minds that Allah was real. They were aware of God, spoke with Him and were also conscious of their creation by Him. They were not acting on faith but rather acting on knowledge. That knowledge actually places them in a privileged position, one of which many of us may be envious. However, we should examine the consequences! Both Nabi Adam AS and Iblis were aware of God and both of them disobeyed Him. Adam AS admitted his fault but was still cast out of Heaven as punishment, whereas Iblis did not admit his fault, did not beg for forgiveness and was cursed until Judgment Day.

By comparison, the man who had murdered 100 people was apparently in a far better position to receive forgiveness from Allah. The killer had to believe in Allah’s Forgiveness based on faith alone, and it seems that this fact gave him a much bigger opportunity to be forgiven and not receive any punishment at all. For most of his life, he had acted without God, possibly not believing in God and had committed many crimes because he was not conscious of his Creator or what his Creator wanted him to do. When he was finally able to repent, he was acting out of faith, believing that there was an Almighty God who would accept his repentance and forgive him for his sins. He did not see God, nor did he speak with God. Perhaps as a result of that “faith”, he found Allah to be the Most Merciful!

If we could see Allah, would we definitely agree to worship Him and obey Him? Seeing Him and knowing that He is real does not automatically mean that we would be faithful. We might believe in Allah now, but that belief alone will not guarantee us entry into Heaven free from sin. For example, Iblis (the Devil) also believes in Allah (meaning that he does not doubt the existence of Allah) but he is not faithful and does not obey Him. If we could see Allah, then it is possible that we might end up arguing with Allah, just like Iblis, and so that would make it difficult or impossible for us to obtain forgiveness.
Do you really want to see Allah? Or hear His voice and have a dialogue with Him? I do not want to, not anymore! Not if seeing Him means that I could get into serious trouble for committing just one sin.

When I was a child, I wanted to see God so that I would have proof He was real and it seems that I was not the only one who wanted to see Him face-to face. The disbelievers who rejected the Prophet Muhammad SAW demanded the same thing:

90. And they say: "We shall not believe in you (O Muhammad SAW), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us;
91. "Or you have a garden of date-palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst abundantly;
92. "Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allâh and the angels before (us) face to face;
93. "Or you have a house of Zukhruf (like silver and pure gold), or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read." Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord [(Allâh) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him]! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger?"
(QS. Al-Isra 17:90-93)

If my desire from childhood had come true and I had seen God, or perhaps just heard His Voice and spoken to Him, then I would have been placed in the same category as Nabi Adam AS. And being in that category has a very clear meaning: disobey Allah one time and receive immediate punishment for one sin. As a normal human being, I commit sins all the time, and it is so easy for my sins to increase daily without being noticed. If I was in the same category as Nabi Adam AS then I doubt I would have survived this long without getting into very serious trouble with Allah.

Then, there is a second problem. If I was in the same category as Nabi Adam AS and if Allah got angry with me for the first one of my sins, would I be like Adam AS and instantly repent and beg for forgiveness? Or would I be more like Iblis and protest? What if I did protest? Would I end up with the same punishment as Iblis – cursed for all time?

All of us collect sins every day, but how many of us repent every day? Just imagine one lie, one broken promise, one small theft, or any single action of which Allah disapproves. Would that be enough to get us into serious trouble? And if we could always see Allah or hear His Voice, we would have no way of protesting our innocence. Would you really want to see Allah if that meant that you would receive immediate punishment for only one sin?

If we examine the different cases of Adam AS, Iblis and the murderer, then what can we conclude? It seems that if we cannot see Allah and cannot speak directly with Him then we are in a much better position than those people who can see Him or speak with Him. When it comes to forgiveness, Allah is far more merciful to those of us who merely believe in Him than those who actually know He exists It would seem from this that if you know Allah is real because you have had a dialogue with Him, then you no longer have any excuses for why you choose to disobey Him and subsequently, you will earn greater wrath and punishment than those who simply believe in Him.

If we believe in Allah based only on faith, because we have never seen Him or heard His Voice, then we are still able to give Allah all of our excuses for why our behaviour is not good enough: I forgot; I was busy; I didn’t have enough money; I couldn’t do it; it was raining; I’ll do it tonight; and so on. And we find Allah is the Most Benevolent, the Most Merciful for those of us who continue to believe.

53. Say: "O ‘Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh: verily, Allâh forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
(QS. Az Zumar 39:53)

The fact that we cannot see Allah is a blessing from Him for all of us who have lives full of sin. If we could see Allah and talk directly to Him, then the penalty for disobedience would probably be too severe for us to cope with. Perhaps we would only get one opportunity to commit one sin, and then we would face the Wrath of Allah. But to protect us from that, and as a sign of His Love for us, He never makes Himself visible to us and never speaks directly to us. We cannot see Him and so we must believe. And we continue to sin. And He continues to forgive us, and gives us yet another chance to be better. As long as we still believe!

21. And those who expect not a Meeting with Us (i.e. those who deny the Day of Resurrection and the life of the Hereafter) said: "Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord?" Indeed they think too highly of themselves, and are scornful with great pride.
(QS. Al Furqan 25:21)

First Two Chapters of My Book
The first two chapters of my book are available on my blog in English and Indonesian languages. Hopefully I will be able to publish this book soon, and continue with writing others.

Searching For God and Finding Allah (unpublished)
Chapter 1: About Me
Chapter 2: Wanting To See God

Mencari Tuhan, Menemukan Allah (belum terbit)
Bab 1: Tentang Saya
Bab 2: Ingin Melihat Tuhan


[1] (V.7:143) The appearance of Allâh to the mountain was very little of Him. It was approximately equal to the tip of one’s little finger as explained by the Prophet Muhammad SAW when he recited this Verse. (This hadîth is quoted by Tirmidhi).