After coming out of my long hibernation from the world of American election, I decided to finally hop on the news train. I’m quite interested and curious about Barrack Obama, mainly because of his background.
He lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for a couple of years when his mother married an Indonesian man. He also went to a local school (which is interesting because usually expats goes to international schools).
For these reasons, I spent quite a while browsing and reading through his website. One of the most interesting, and I might add… noteworthy, was his view towards faith and religion.
In his ‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address, Obama speaks of unifying America without ignoring the existence of different discourses of religion. He also details his personal struggle and search of religion and how he finally became a Christian.
However, as I read through his speech, one line in it really caught my attention.
“Faith doesn’t mean that we don’t have doubts”
This, I think, is an interesting statement and opinion. One that I could really relate to. Say, If I strongly oppose polygamy, will that lessen my faith in Islam and make me a bad Muslim? Or If I choose to be pro-choice and not pro-life, will that means that I’m disrespecting my religion?
It is hard to draw the line when it comes to relating contemporary issues with religion. Especially in the Western countries.
A good example is issues relating to polygamy. While I personally strongly oppose polygamy, my religion does make room in its principles and laws where polygamy is allowed to happen. That is: when “you cannot act equitably towards orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice between them, then marry only one or what your right hands possess: this is more proper that you may not deviate from the right course” (Al Quran 4:3).
It is important to note that this passage (to my knowledge), was brought upon the time where the number of men has significantly decreased as the result of the aftermath of war. Therefore, many woman become widows and children became orphans. Many Arabs did not gave a share of inheritance towards their women and children and sometimes refuse to marry the woman they just impregnated. Moreover, at that time, women were being treated horribly with men having more than 5 wives.
Many argued that Islam and its polygamy principle came at this time to remedy it. It did not, however, attempt to drastically change the situation (I doubt that if they dramatically and strictly forbid polygamy it will have better results…)
And so, going back to Obama’s speech, he said that we need to translate our concern through a universal language and not religion-specific. Hence their ideas and concern are subject to arguments and reason.
Perhaps, that’s what I did by trying to break down the situation in polygamy. I still oppose polygamy unless…UNLESS, the person really follows the path of the prophet (that is marrying really really old women) or if the person is so noble, fair and wise that he will be able to treat all of his wives equally. I doubt that any men is like that, even I still complain that my boyfriend isn’t pay me enough attention. Let alone having more than one wife.
Well.. I think it’s really interesting how one American, who is running for president, no less…got me thinking about my own faith and belief.
I still have many questions, questions and questions concerning my own religion but I don’t think that makes me any less of a believer. It just proves that I’m only human.