Kuta, Bali, Indonesia,
Yes I know, I’m (very) late again. But this time I have a better excuse… Last week I joined some friends from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in Lombok, the island just on the eastern side of Bali. We climbed Mount Rinjani, an impressive volcano. The summit is 3726m high, so starting at 600m it’s a nice 3 days trek. Of course no internet connection… Maybe more on that in my next TED Rule (and I’m currently processing the pictures of the beautiful landscapes – soon on Facebook)
So I’m back in Bali, I think I’ll stay there for the next 2 weeks, time to enjoy the island and prepare my next destination. Taiwan or Hong-Kong?
It means that this is the end of the muslim countries for my trip. Malaysia and Indonesia were great discoveries, with beautiful cultures, histories, people, food… and very different from Saudi for example, where I spent some time in 2004. So Indonesia might be the biggest muslim country in the world (86% of the population is muslim – Indonesia has a population of 237 000 000, making it the world’s fourth most populous country), the way they view and practice Islam is not as strong as Middle Eastern countries. It is interesting to note, especially with the importance that Islam has taken in the news for the last 10 years.
But what makes two different muslim countries having very distinctive ways of following Islam? Or more importantly, how does a religion like Islam evolve in relation to the different cultures?
Well, TED talk again. Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish journalist, writing on issues relating to Islam and modernity.
What we call today islamic law, and especially islamic culture – and there is many islamic cultures […] – has a core, the divine message which began the religion, but then many traditions, perceptions, many practices were added on top of it, and these were traditions of the Middle East, the medieval Middle East.
This is what I like about Indonesia, most of the country may be full of mosque, old or in construction, but it keeps his Hindu culture as a base. Most of the legends, dances, music, stories, are based on the Vedas, generally the Ramayana or Mahabharata. And the mix of influences creates the beautiful Indonesian culture.
Coming back to Mustafa Akyol, his wikipedia page has a bit of controversy, especially on his vision to Intelligent Design. I’ve also been advised by some friends that his book might not be totally right… Well, who can I trust?
As an old man once said: “Think for yourself. Question Authority” – or in french PPTM/CA. The best is for me to get the information at its source. I read the bible (old/new), some shortened version of the huge Mahabharata and Ramayana, some buddhist books like the Bardo Todol. Now may be the time for the Koran!
TED Rule 14: Read the Holy Koran