As a human being it’s so hard to see acts of terror and oppression churn out the products of their vicious cycle nearly every day.
 
As a Muslim, it has come to the point that with every attack on other innocent lives is a prayer to not let it be perpetrated by another ignorant fool excusing his/her inhumane acts by invoking the name of Islam. Each time is another countdown before news breaks, and once again Muslims around the world who have nothing to do with these extremists have to explain and defend their faith and dare I say, humanity, again and again.
 
But instead, I realized that this state is also a grave symptom of how much disconnected to the essence of Islam the majority of Muslims are, that these terrorist groups hold the megaphone to gain the world’s attention. It’s not the true love of God that has caused this state of ours, rather it’s the lack of it. The grave disconnect due to the lack of literacy and lack of true understanding from the founding principles of Islam and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the root of this all.
 
And this, is a major example of how faith can never be inherited. One “born into a Muslim family” can never automatically equal to “one who truly knows, understands, and believes in Islam.” The same can be said for other faiths.
 
On the flip side, this is also why as human beings cannot be left alone to our own devices and impulses. Left alone, we stray and go to extremes. The dying animals, and polluted rivers, and increasingly toxic air is testimony of how mankind cannot just function without Guidance.
 
God has never asked us to be perfect. But He has always asked only that we continuously seek to understand and live a rightly guided life…
 
But it is our duty to ourselves to admit our faults, and to be brave enough to break the status quo. It is our duty to find the Truth that unifies us with the balance of the entire cosmos, with every living and “non-living” thing. We owe it to our souls, to our loved ones, to the generations that will follow us.
Advertisements

Literary Analysis 1: The Hundred Word Eulogy by Hongwu Emperor|T.O.A

A/N: Aye! Pretty busy, but World Literature gives me time to write! Our take-home exam was to make (beginner’s level, people) a critical analysis on 3 chinese literature of our choice. ‘Twas, alas, my first time to do an “analysis” based on literary theories that we were taught 😀 Enjoy (hopefully)!

THE HUNDRED-WORD EULOGY

By The Hongwu Emperor 

or Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋)

 

Chinese

至聖百字讃

乾坤初始

天籍注名

傳教大聖

降生西域

授受天經

三十部册

普化衆生

億兆君師

萬聖領袖

協助天運

保庇國民

五時祈祐

默祝太平

存心真主

加志窮民

拯救患難

洞徶幽冥

超拔靈魂

脱離罪業

仁覆天下

道冠古今

降邪歸一

教名清真

穆罕默德

至聖貴人

穆罕默德

清真北寺

English

Since the creation of the universe
God had already appointed his great faith-preaching man,
From the West he was born,
And received the holy scripture
And book made of 30 parts
To guide all creations,
Master of all rulers,
Leader of the holy ones,
With support from the Heavens,
To protect his nation,
With five daily prayers,
Silently hoping for peace,
His heart directed towards God,
Giving power to the poor,
Saving them from calamity,
Seeing through the Unseen,
Pulling the souls and the spirits away from all wrongdoings,
Mercy to the world,
Transversing to the ancient,
Majestic path vanquished away all evil,
His religion Pure and True,
Muhammad,
The Noble High One.

Analysis:

The most fitting approach to the analysis of this largely unknown yet relatively controversial literary is to examine it from the historical background wherein the author writes and from there, aim to deduce what he meant to express through the eulogy.

From Arabia to China, the fact that the Emperor (and said founder) of the Ming Dynasty would ever write about an Arab man, is astonishing at the outset. And even more striking would be the type of literature written- a eulogy, one of high praise, – which was dedicated to a man whose “culture” would be prejudged as the stark opposite of the author’s!

But after close inspection of what is again, largely unknown facts, the existence of such piece of literature isn’t all that surprising. Before the advent of the Hongwu Emperor’s reign, his life-story would explain the certain affinity communicated in between the lines of the eulogy. Zhu had been a member of a local rebel army that sought (and succeeded) to overthrow the preceding Yuan dynasty. Time and history can tell that years in struggle with “brothers in arms” forms unique bonds between men and transforms the beliefs and ideals of those involved. The Red Turbans, the rebel army to whom Zhu held position, was fusion of people holding different beliefs (from Confucianism down to Zoroastrianism, and most probably, Islam).

Surprising, indeed! Thinking of Chinese culture, one would be prejudiced that the only spiritual influence running through its people would be that of Buddha, Confucius or Lao Tzu. But the complete venture into the country’s history reveals a culture that was steadily enriched through years of influx of different beliefs and ideologies, inxcluding that of Judaism and Catholicism. The surprise is lessened if we remember a much more familiar historical fact, – the Silk Road, – that connected the East and West.

Combining these data together with the literature in focus what then, can we deduce? The complete answer might require a lengthier presentation than this.

From a superficial analysis, The Hundred Word Eulogy may attest to a more open and multicultural-embracing China, which could be evident during the Hongwu Emperor’s reign.

The eulogy could also be interpreted via the historical accounts of the Hongwu Emperor’s earlier life up until his experience with the Red Turban army. Perhaps there lies the beginning of the connection that the Zhu found with the “Arab desert man”*. And basing on what is quoted through history, it was a strong affinity that is most evidently and popularly expressed in the eulogy.

What is certain is that the outlook that the Hongwu Emperor held towards a historical figure is an absolute contradiction to what is commonly branded upon Muhammad nowadays-a barbarian, paedophile and tyrant. It makes one wonder: are we, of the current era, reading our history right? Or are we missing a huge piece of a puzzle?