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2009-08-21

A Message of Peace on the Holy Month

Look at this building and have a guess... What do you see? A Hindu temple? Or a Buddhist one, perhaps? In fact, this is an Islamic mosque. The name is Masjid Menara Kudus located in Kauman Village, Central Java, Indonesia.

This old minaret of the mosque built by Sunan Kudus (one of the '9 Saints' credited for the spread of Islam on Java island) in 1549 adopted traditional Javanese architecture of that time, which was heavily influenced by Hindu and Buddhist styles. Sunan Kudus was very gentle and tolerant to the local culture. He made good use of the symbolisms in Hinduism and Buddhism such as Noble Eightfold Path ('Ārya'ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ' in Buddhism) and manifested it into architecure (especially for mosques, minarets, entrance gates, and place of ablutions).

To respect the Hindus, on one occasion he deliberately tied his cow on the courtyard of his mosque. The Hindus who revered cows soon felt sympathetic after listening to his explanation. To this very day, there are still a lot of people in the area (most of them are Muslims) who refused to slaughter bulls and cows out of respect to his teachings.

Isn't it a wonderful world if respect each other and maintain peace? As the new moon begins to reveal itself in the nightsky, we would like to wish our Muslim sisters and brothers Ramadan Kareem, Happy Ramadan! May this holy month shower blessing upon you and the entire world. Let peace be your guide! Selamat Menunaikan Ibadah Puasa Bulan Suci Ramadhan!







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