Tragedi 911: Ada Hikmah Yang Tak Nampak di Mata Kasar [Blessing in Disguise?]

Tarikh: 11 September 2001. Lokasi: Los Angeles. Musim: Luruh(Fall).
Cuaca dingin pagi bertiup menyelinapi sliding door yang dibiar terbuka menghembuskan bayu lembah San Gabriel menembusi sleeping bag yang menyelimuti tubuh–mengejutkan aku dari mimpi indah di musim luruh di hari yang hitam itu. Selepas menghirupi secangkir earl grey tea aku menghidupkan kaca TV di apartment sederhana di timur kota Los Angeles ini untuk menyelusuri apa-apa program menarik. Saluran kegemaranku ialah ESPN. Namun yang muncul bukannya highlight reels slam dunk Shaq O’Neal atau 360 jammed Kobe Bryant tetapi breaking news– WTC musnah. Aku termanggu seketika –salah siarankah aku dan terus menekan-menekan lagi butang remote control menyelusuri semua siaran yang terdapat namun beritanya tetap sama. Hampir seharian aku terpaku di depan kaca TV mengikuti perkembangan berita WTC tersebut.
Kesan 911 terhadap Kehidupan Seharian Muslim di Amerika
Ekoran kejadian 911 dan tuduhan bahawa mereka yang bertanggungjawab terhadap human tagedy ini adalah Muslim. Masyarakat di Amerika hidup dalam kekeliruan bahkan ada yang seolah-olah dilanda hysteria. Secara peribadi, di hari kejadian 911 berlaku bekalan daging halal di rumah telah kehabisan. Aku memberanikan diri keluar ke tengah-tengah kota Los Angeles untuk mendapatkan daging halal daripada store kegemaran, Makkah Meat Store. Namun keadaan di situ begitu luar biasa dan eery (strange and frightening) dan niat untuk ke situ terpaksa dibatalkan lalu aku hanya membeli isi ikan merah di Hong Kong Supermarket untuk lunch dan dinner nanti.
Di kejiranan yang aku duduki, Alhamdulillah, tiada hate crime berlaku terhadap Muslim. Mungkin kerana ia didominasi oleh masyarkat Asia- China dan masyarakat Buddhist Asia Tenggara. Namun, aku mendapat khabar bahawa di San Gabriel seorang ahli perniagaan berbangsa Arab mati ditembak dlam kejadian drive-by shooting kemungkinan besar dilakukan oleh kumpulan samseng (gangster) di situ. Yang menyedihkan lagi orang Arab yang ditembak itu adalah seorang Kristian! ALangkah jahilnya manusia yang melakukan jenayah ini!
Pada hari Jumaat tibalah masa untuk solat Jumaat dan masjid yang paling hampir dengan kediamanku ialah di San Gabriel, di mana seorang Arab ditembak mati tempoh hari. Memang hati berdebar-debar untuk ke sana kerana kekeliruan ekoran 911 masih belum reda lagi. Namun, aku kuatkan diri juga ke San Gabriel Mosque. ALhamdulillah, tiada kejadian yang tidak diingini berlaku. Mungkin benar juga kata-kata “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”.
Ekoran peristiwa 911, jumlah hate crimes terhadap Muslim meningkat di Amerika- ada laporan kejadian masjid ditembak, vandalisme di pusat-pusat ibadat Muslims, serta penahanan Muslim oleh pihak imegresen. Rata-ratanya Muslim hidup dalam kekeiruan dan ketakutan. Seorang kenalan saya dari Arab Saudi telah pengsan dipukul oleh kaki samseng Mexicans. Yang paling mengejutkan seorang pemilik petrol pump keturunan Sikh yang memakai serban sikh telah ditembak mati kerana disangkakan pengikut Osama Bin Laden!
Kemana-mana pergi kami dinasihatkan membawa bersama paspot dan dokumen-dokumen berkenaan untuk mengelakkan dari ditahan. Yang paling menyusahkan ialah untuk menaiki pesawat-pesawat penerbangan semakin sukar bagi Muslims ada Muslim yang disuruh turun daripada pesawat kerana ditakuti pengganas!
Memang ekoran kejadian 911, kebebasan sivil Muslim di Amerika semakin dikekang. Namun, Allah Maha Berkuasa biarpun 911 secara umumnya dilihat sebagai mendatangkan kesukaran kepada Muslim, namun sebenarnya terdapat hikmah besar untuk masa depan perkembangan Islam di US.
Apa yang jarang disedari ialah 911 mencetuskan minat mendalam rakyat Amerika mengenali Islam. Jika dilihat kepada carta jualan buku di kedai-kedai buku ternama seperti Borders, juga Amazon.Com, Buku-buku tentang Islam sentiasa menjuarai carta–satu bukti minat mengenali islam makin bertambah. Juga dilaporkan bahawa ekoran 911, jumlah orang memeluk Islam di Amerika juga menyaksikan pertambahan yang drastik. Dalam satu laporan dianggarkan lebih 30 ribu conversion berlaku selepas 911, suatu angka yang menakjubkan.
Personal Story
Saya sendiri mengenali salah seorang Caucasian American yang mengucapkan shahadah selepas 911. Beliau adalah Todd (nama Islam Abdul Aziz). Todd sebenarnya sudah lama berjinak-jinak dengan Islam- dia banyak membaca buku-buku tentang Islam. Saya yang bersyukur dengan pengIslamn Todd tapi terkejut bertanyakan dia–Why now Todd? Todd menyatakan dia yang telah lama mempelajari basic Islam terlalu marah dengan media dan tokoh-tokoh Kristian yang memburukkan Islam dan nabi s.a.w. Secara khusus dia amat berang apabila Paderi Kristian right-wing terkemuka, Jerry Falwell (laknatullah alaihi), dalam siaran Sixty Minutes menuduh Muhammad s.a.w. adalah seorang terrorist. Lihat juga kritikan terhadap Falwell.
Ekoran kenyataan mengaibkan oleh Falwell, Todd memprotesnya dengan cara yang terbaik mengucapkan shahadah. Todd hanyalah satu contoh daripada puluhan ribu contoh conversion/reversion to Islam ekoran 911.
Di samping itu ekoran 911, permintaan terhadap kursus-kursus yang bersangkutan dengan Islam adalah ibarat goreng pisang panas. Setelah 911 juga saya diberi rezeki untuk menjadi Teaching Assistant kepada seorang profesor terkemuka, Mark Juergensmeyer. Dia yang membahasakan dirinya sebagai MARK kepada para mahasiswa adalah seorang sarjana yang cemerlang. Di samping itu kemahirannya berkomunikasi dengan khalayak adalah par excellence. Sebab itulah tugas mengajar dan menguasai khalayak mahasiswa seramai 500 ratus cukup enteng baginya kerana selain seorang tokoh sarjana yang hebat dia juga adalah seorang public speaker yang menghiburkan. Menurut Jody, Setiausaha Mark sendiri, “Mark is a great entertainer.” Kelas yang ditawarkan oleh Mark menarik minat lebih 500 orang mahasiswa dan terpaksa diadakan di sebuah pawagam.
Bukankah dua contoh ini blessing in disguise? Maha Suci Allah Yang Maha Berkuasa, SubhanAllah, Alahu Akbar!

The Rapid Growth of Islam in the US

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and pillar of stability for many of our people…” Hillary Rodman Clinton, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1996, p.3 “

Already more than a billion-people strong, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion.” ABCNEWS, Abcnews.com

“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the country.” NEWSDAY, March7,1989, p.4

“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States…” NEW YORK TIMES, Feb 21, 1989, p.1

“Moslems are the world’s fastest-growing group…” USA TODAY, The population referance bureau, Feb. 17, 1989, p.4A

“Muhummed is the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities.” Encyclopedia Britannica

“There are more Muslims in North America than Jews Now.” Dan Rathers, CBSNEWS

“Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America.” TIMES MAGAZINE

“Islam continues to grow in America, and no one can doubt that!” CNN, December 15, 1995

The religion of Islam is growing faster than any other religion in the world.” MIKE WALLACE, 60 MINUTES

“Five to 6 million strong, Muslims in America already outnumber Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Mormons, and they are more numerous than Quakers, Unitarians, Seventh-day Adventists, Mennonites, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Scientists, combined. Many demographers say Islam has overtaken Judaism as the country’s second-most commonly practiced religion; others say it is in the passing lane.” JOHAN BLANK, USNEWS (7/20/98) http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/980720/archive_004363.htm

“In fact, religion experts say Islam is the second-largest religion in the United States… Islam has 5 million to 6 million members, followed by Judaism, with approximately 4.5 million….. And Islam is believed to be fastest-growing religion in the country, with half its expansion coming from new immigrants and the other half from conversions.” By ELSA C. ARNETT, Knight-Ridder News Service

“It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur’aan about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of Allah.”Professor Keith Moore, one of the world’s prominent scientists of anatomy and embryology. University of Toronto, Canada.

“But Islam has a still further service to render to the cause of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does, and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and cooperation. No other society has such a record of success uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavours so many and so various races of mankind . . Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition. In its hands lies very largely the solution of the problem with which Europe is faced in its relation with East. If they unite, the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe, by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both.” H.A.R. Gibb, WHITHER ISLAM, London, 1932, p. 379.

“It (Islam) replaced monkishness by manliness. It gives hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition of the fundamental facts of human nature.” Canon Taylor, Paper read before the Church Congress at Walverhamton, Oct. 7, 1887; Quoted by Arnoud in THE PREACHING OF ISLAM, pp. 71-72.

“The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammed. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he? ” Lamartine, Historie de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol. 11 pp. 276-2727

“How, for instance, can any other appeal stand against that of the Moslem who, in approaching the pagan, says to him, however obscure or degraded he may be ‘Embrace the faith, and you are at once equal and a brother.’ Islam knows no color line.” (S. S. Leeder, VEILED MYSTERIES OF EGYPT)

“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p. 33.

“Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Qur’an; it asks you to reflect and reason….When I read the Qur’an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt the only answer for me was the Qur’an and God had sent it to me.” Cat Stevens (YusufIslam), former British pop star. “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” De Lacy O’Leary, ISLAM AT THE CROSSROADS, London, 1923, p. 8.

“I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.” George Bernard Shaw, THE GENUINE ISLAM, Vol. 1, No. 81936.

“I am not a Muslim in the usual sense, though I hope I am a “Muslim” as “one surrendered to God,” but I believe that embedded in the Quran and other expressions of the Islamic vision are vast stores of divine truth from which I and other occidentals have still much to learn, and ‘Islam is certainly a strong contender for the supplying of the basic framework of the one religion of the future.'” W. Montgomery Watt, ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY TODAY, London, 1983, p. ix.

“He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope’s pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.” Bosworth Smith, MOHAMMAD AND MOHAMMADANISM, London, 1874, p. 92.

“The doctrine of brotherhood of Islam extends to all human beings, no matter what color, race or creed. Islam is the only religion which has been able to realize this doctrine in ractice. Muslims wherever on the world they are will recognize each other as brothers.” Mr. R. L. Mellema, Holland, Anthropologist, Writer and Scholar.