A law of physics states that the further you get away from the center of a given natural phenomenon of physics, the lesser the intensity. Indeed, physics is defined as:
The branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy.
However, Wikipedia gives a more thorough and precise definition to this important branch of science:
Physics (from Greek φυσική (ἐπιστήμη),) i.e. "knowledge, science of nature", from φύσις, physis, i.e. "nature" is a part of natural philosophy and a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.
If a given spot is hit by an earthquake of a given intensity, the tremor’s force will be higher in the center than in the periphery because force and its energy will dwindle as it moves further away from the point of impact.
For faith, in general, the effect is reverse, the further one moves from the center, the stronger and purer it gets. Indeed, in Christianity the further one moved from the Vatican, in Rome, the more devout the people are, as is the case in Latin America and in the Philippines. This concept also applies to Islam, and thus the people of Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia are definitely very devout and pious in their Islam day in and day out, as a result.
In the following paper I will attempt to look at how Islam arrived in three differ regions of the Asian continent: South Asia in the case of Pakistan, Central Asia represented by Uzbekistan and South East Asia symbolized by Malaysia and Indonesia, and settled down with time and how it is perceived and lived by the local population. A common denominator of these countries is the purity of their belief, meaning the strong identification they have towards the pure Islam.
Unfortunately, this concept is expressed in Pakistan by a certain amount of violence towards the other. The other here, meaning anyone not Sunni. Thus, the Shiite and the Christians have been unduly victimized by the majority of people of Taliban obedience.
In Uzbekistan, Islam has been muzzled and subdued over decades during the Soviet years and mosques were turned in youth centers like the famous Mir al-Arab one, and religion was made to become a mere folklore. Today, there is in Uzbekistan a religious renewal, in spite of the fact that the regime in place is secular and atheist and is a mere mirror image of the Soviet era, trying to keep religion at bay.
In Malaysia and Indonesia, there is an interesting version of Islam: open, tolerant and progressive, worth studying and imitating. Indeed, the constitutions of these countries have inscribed in gold freedom of belief and religion and equality before law to all citizens. As a result of that, these two countries are emerging and flourishing economies that have achieved a notable success in their area, and they are the home of millions of devout Muslims that practice pure and tolerant religion away from any extremism that has marred many other Muslim countries around the world.
Arrival of Islam in Asia
At first view, one wonders how Islam, a religion starting in the Arabian Peninsula, a land far away and culturally different has been able to spread successfully in this continent so diverse and so different? One wonders quite rightly so, what actually caught the attention of the people of this vast continent to embrace this alien and austere religion: is it the magic of Qur’an, the word of Allah, or the concept of monotheism التوحيد or the strength of faith in the God, one and only بالواحد الأوحد الايمان or merely the monotheist humanistic message?
Several orientalists and western intellectuals like to spread the false and culturally-insensitive message that Islam is a brutal religion that converted people to its faith by the sword and by might. Even the last Pope Benedict XVI, regrettably went along this biased view, when he declared in the speech given at the University of Regensburg, Germany , on Sept. 12, 2006, indirectly that The Prophet Mohammad, spread the message of Islam by the violence and by the brutality of the sword:
In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the surahs of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death..."
Many observers consider that the expression of this stark opinion by a person as important as the Pope, in an official and public engagement, is a direct and clear call for hatred against the Muslims and an encouragement for their ostracism and banishment on the international scene. This kind of declaration, in an activity as this, increases stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and feeds Islamophobia that is sweeping the Western world, as wildly as never before.
If the Asians of the early days of Islam, accepted this faith it was certainly not out of fear but out of personal identification with its precepts and teachings, the valid proof being, they are, today, among the most devout Muslims in existence through their strict adherence to the teachings of this religion; and Indonesia is, undoubtedly, the biggest Muslim country, in terms of population: 242.3 million (according to the census of 2011). Islam is the dominant religion in this country, which also has the largest Muslim population than any other land in the world, with approximately 202.9 million identified as Muslim (88.2% of the total population) as of 2009.
According to Wikipedia, the majority of Indonesians adhere to the Sunni Muslim tradition mainly of the Shafi’i madhhab. In general, the Muslim community can be categorized in terms of two orientations: "modernists," who closely adhere to orthodox theology while embracing modern learning; and "traditionalists," who tend to follow the interpretations of local religious leaders (predominantly in Java) and religious teachers at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren).
If Islam had, as some Westerners argue, spread by the sheer force of the sword, the population, like, in the case of colonialism, would have shown fierce resistance to this alien incomer and got rid of it. Most of these countries got rid of colonialism, in the long run, after all, through either peaceful or armed resistance, but, on the other hand, they have never showed any form of repugnance or animosity towards Islam, when in fact they could have done it at will and returned to their initial faiths and no one could have stopped them, but they did not. Instead, Islam is alive and kicking in this continent and it is even flourishing and exhibiting an interesting humanistic philosophy and tolerant message.
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