Tuesday, June 7, 2011

when my tongue got frozen

one of the thing that i feel a bit anxious here is when someone ask me something about my religion, like the 'why' questions. obviously, muslims are a minority here, and most japanese barely have any interaction with muslims, so they are full of curiosity upon meeting one. because i'm the one writing here, yes i'm talking about the very conspicuous me. and given my very restricted japanese ability, explaining is always so difficult, and i'm most afraid i'll cause misunderstanding due to my own shortcomings, or being offensive instead.

one of the friends i made here has some muslim friends before (and malaysian in fact, very similar as me). so he was quite informed about muslim, he knows that we do pray and have stuff we eat and do not eat. i was a bit comfortable with that, at least he's not puzzled when i say i want to go pray when we are in the middle of something. but just the other day, he asked me this:

"why do you not eat pig? is it because it's holy?"

at the time, i was eating ice-cream, and when he says that, the image of pig came across my head, and this is my first time hearing such idea that pig is a sacred animal. let's just say the ice-cream somehow tasted awry all of a sudden. okay, actually it makes sense if he considers about hinduism, and applies the same rule as well. and here is where i could not properly explain it. i wanted to say, because it's not halal, but of course he'll understand nothing of this. instantaneously i answered with my limited japanese "NO, it's not a holy animal at all! rather, we look down at the animal, it's dirty" okay, i don't know whether that's the correct way of putting it. honestly, i wanted to say how very dirty we view the animal, but when i blurted those kind of words out, it just seems insensible to the other party.

it struck me deep and i really felt how my nihongo fails me. it really made me feel down. not being able to say the correct stuff and to get the point across.

so, after a few researches on the net, it was interesting to find how some japanese found their explanation to the above matter. for instance:

1.pigs spread disease in the past, so it was prohibited to eat
2.in the dessert, pigs eat everything, including the dung which are valuable for fuel. so it was prohibited to have pigs. (this probably refers to origin of islam, where prophet Muhammad s.w.t comes from)

but of course. those are nowhere near the true reason at all. but those are what the people here would come to if they thought of searching the answer to that question online.

i wish they have manuals from long ago to enable us to answer question so we are more prepared. so with some efforts following that, currently the best answer i could get for the above question is from here. or, the closest they can understand is relating it with dog-they don't eat that too, and in our view dog and pig belongs to the same group after all.

another famous question from them, "do you wear that scarf even while sleeping?" ^^"


muhammad izzat samsudin said...

iman, good luck in answering their questions~ :)

Nurhanisah said...

wallah, so far belum lagi ditanya soalan sebegitu rupa.tp soalan last tu kelakar pulak dengar :D

T said...

Why can't you say "Because our God said so" ? You are doing it for religious reason, not for logical reason, so you really don't need to provide a logical answer. People generally accept that other people from different religion do different things.

But if you really wanna be logical, those answers you found would do. And you can add that it's ingrained in us, and to not do that would be a taboo. Just like other cultures that don't eat horses, dogs, or cats. Even if handled properly, some culture would just find it wrong to eat dog, cats, or horses. For muslim we just find it wrong to eat pork even if its handled properly and virus free. Besides, porks are high in saturated fat which you totally don't need.