KUCHING – On 12 February, Shah Kirit bin Kakakul Govindji gave a talk on Islam from his perspective as a lay man at the Holy Trinity Church (Kenyalang Park). About 90 people were present.
In welcoming Shah Kirit and his team, Rector Fr Stephen Lim encouraged all those present to “shift their fences” to embrace not just those of the Catholic faith but Muslims as well as brothers and sisters.
Shah Kirit likened the team of Muslim brothers and sisters who came to present the talk with him as “bridge builders” and explained that their aim was to create a better understanding between Muslims and Christians.
Shah Kirit said a Muslim is defined as “anyone who truly and fully obeys the One and Only Almighty God”. Hence, just as not all acts of a Christian would be equal to Christianity, similarly not all acts of a Muslim would equal to Islam.
Shah Kirit explained the six articles of the Muslim faith – belief in the Almighty God, his Angels, his Books, his Prophets, Judgement Day and Divine Destiny. It might have surprised some parishioners present when Shah mentioned that although a Muslim believes that Prophet Mohammad is the highest of the Prophets, among the other Prophets a Muslim has to believe in is Jesus. However a Muslim does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Shah Kirit explained another Muslim belief that the Qua’ran in its original Arabic language contains the Word of God verbatim, dictated to Prophet Mohamad by Angel Gabriel. Apart from the Qua’ran, the Muslims have three other Books, namely the Zabur (David), Torah (Moses) and Injil (Jesus).
Shah further elaborated, inter alia, on the Pillars of Islam, why a Muslim is required to pray five times a day, and how Muslims pray together “shoulder to shoulder” in a mosque to signify that all men, king and subjects alike, are equal before God.
At the end of the talk, a question-and-answer session was held which lasted nearly one and a half hours. Many parishioners present fielded questions about jihad, why a person must convert to Islam to marry a Muslim and many other questions, some sensitive but which Shah answered to the best of his ability.
The evening ended with a supper hosted by Fr Stephen Lim.
Such visits and talks, which will hopefully be reciprocal, can help people of different communities hear the perspectives of believers of other faiths. This can lead to an appreciation of similarities while remaining respectful of differences – and this will go a long way in helping to promote peace and unity. Surely, it must be mutual understanding, love and respect for each other which can hold people together.