Monday, September 10, 2007

Malaysia's Religious Tapestry - Islam, Peace Be With You

Someone ones told me that Islam means submission to God and at that time the same person told me that all other faiths are actually praying to Allah as since they submit to their own gods, its just the same as submitting to Allah as the Almighty is the one and only true God. To what extent I agree with this fellow is subjective and I'm sure that if we were to debate we would get nowhere trading diatribes and dialectics but in the end does it matter? Malaysia is such a rich tapestry of faiths and religions, not just the main faiths such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc but other faiths and beliefs from minorities that make up our country. Each is unique and irreplaceable and in their own right special.

Sometimes I think as a freethinker I'm better at appreciating each faith without being bias or dragged into debates whether my faith is better than yours. And I'd like to present a photo essay on the various faiths that Malaysia have in their own special beauty. Since the majority and main religion in Malaysia is Islam I'll start with that. I've always wanted to shoot Muslims in prayer but many a times that mosques bar people other than devotees from entering during the prayers but walking by Masjid India on a Friday afternoon proves that Islam is a humble, beautiful and blessed religion unlike the extremist and fanaticism image it has gained from the more radical minority. People of all walks of life side by side, placing a humble mat on the street as the mosque speaker recites the prayers, this is the true Islam.


Laying mats on the street when space is a premium yet the faithful do not think twice about it when it comes to their observance


The Muslim faithful observing the Friday prayers along the Masjid India bazaar


Turkish style songkok


Slowly the crowd builds up until the entire area in front of Masjid India was full of people coming for prayers


Mat rental for a token donation to the mosque


Head bowed, body in submission and hearts deep in prayer


Friday prayers, Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur


Various mats of all design and colour, displaying the intricate geometric design of Islamic art


Laying mats by the sides of their brethren as Friday prayers were about to begin


Faithful in prayer where ever they may be, in this case facing the stalls lining Masjid India Bazaar


Laying prayer mats all along the bazaar walkway, its a sight to see that muslims of all walks of life stand side by side praying be it a datuk, a labourer or a student.


Too young to take part in the prayers, this boy waits patiently with his father


The faithful in prayer


Standing as the prayers are read


Devotees bowing as the prayers are recited

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