清真寺即是家

異地生活的心靈歸屬
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2019 / 11月

文‧陳群芳 圖‧林旻萱


「……真善是信安拉,信末日,信天使,信天經,信先知,並將所愛的財物贈予及施濟親戚、孤兒、貧民、斷盤纏之遊子、乞丐和贖身之奴隸,並謹守拜功,完納天課,履行約言,忍受窮困、患難、病痛和戰爭。……」

~《古蘭經》第二章177節

「歸信且行善者,至仁主必定使他們相親相愛。」

~《古蘭經》第19章96節

 


週五的近午時分,位於新生南路上的台北清真寺傳來喚拜聲。禮拜大殿裡,來自印尼、約旦、敘利亞、巴基斯坦等各國的穆斯林齊聚一堂行禮叩拜,在阿拉伯語的誦經聲中,瀰漫著和諧平靜的氛圍。

環顧大殿,正上方是白底金線條的挑高圓頂;兩旁的落地窗上有彩色玻璃點綴其中;前方素淨的白牆上,只有一塊綠底金字的圓牌,寫著阿拉伯文的「安拉」,指引信眾往麥加的方向禮拜。看著滿室的異國面孔,若非傳來教長的國語講道,幾乎讓人忘了自己是在台灣。

伊斯蘭精神

「伊斯蘭」一詞源於阿拉伯文,有歸順、和平之意;而同樣源自阿拉伯文的「穆斯林」,為歸順者、實現和平者,意即順服真主安拉、信奉伊斯蘭教的人。以阿拉伯文譜寫的《古蘭經》是穆斯林遵循的聖典,指導了穆斯林從飲食、婚姻、行善,到做生意等各種面向的行為準則。台灣穆斯林輔導協會理事長黃金來表示:「古蘭經是伊斯蘭的精華,只要讀懂了,全世界就在你的腦海裡。」對穆斯林而言,不管遇到什麼問題,只要查考古蘭經,就能找到解方。

遵循古蘭經指示,每日五次禮拜是穆斯林基本的功課。有清晨日出前的晨禮、中午的晌禮、下午晡禮、日落的昏禮,以及夜晚的宵禮,確切禮拜時刻會依當地日出日落而定,所以當穆斯林去到異地,就會向當地清真寺詢問禮拜時間。禮拜時,頭手俯跪,額頭和鼻子貼近地面,謙卑地向安拉讚頌與懺悔。黃金來表示:「穆斯林很老實,做得好與不好都會向安拉說。當做了壞事,面對安拉時會心生忌諱,不敢再犯;把好事告訴安拉,祈求心靈支持,做得更積極。」如此緊密的與生活結合,伊斯蘭對穆斯林而言,不僅是宗教信仰,更是一種虔信的生活哲學與態度。

穆斯林在台灣

日常禮拜只要朝著麥加方向跪拜,不侷限地點,但若時間允許,穆斯林仍會上清真寺禮拜。平日傍晚的台北清真寺就常見到在鄰近大學念書的外國穆斯林,或是在附近工作的移工趁著帶阿公阿嬤散步時,繞到清真寺來禮拜。台北清真寺基金會總幹事王夢龍表示,清真寺是穆斯林的生活聚集地,穆斯林不管到哪裡,一定會去當地清真寺做禮拜。尤其是每週五的聚禮,穆斯林稱為主麻,各方的穆斯林齊聚一堂,不僅來做禮拜、聽教長布道,更能在此與同鄉情感交流、彼此傾訴,「清真寺就像我們第二個家。」台北清真寺基金會董事長王保新說。

1958年創建的台北清真寺,到此禮拜的穆斯林,從最早是隨國民政府遷台,來自新疆、青海、南京、安徽等省分的信徒及後代;而後自泰緬邊境回台的僑胞,成為現在台灣本地穆斯林的主要人口。然而近十年來,越來越多來台工作、求學或是跨國婚姻的東南亞國家民眾,例如印尼有近九成是穆斯林,在馬來西亞有超過一半人口的馬來人也是信奉伊斯蘭教等,為台灣帶來新興的穆斯林面孔。如今,清真寺禮拜的民眾幾乎都是外國人,「有來自阿拉伯、約旦、敘利亞,但最多的還是非洲國家和印尼。」王保新表示。全台歷史最悠久的台北清真寺,見證了台灣穆斯林人口的改變。

賣便當蓋清真寺

穆斯林對信仰的虔誠,也反映在結婚對象的選擇。古蘭經規定,穆斯林女生只能嫁給穆斯林,夫妻倆有同樣的宗教信仰才有和諧的家庭,因此有許多台灣男生為了娶印尼的穆斯林太太,會加入伊斯蘭教。但古蘭經裡的生活準則,與台灣普遍的民間信仰大不相同,多數的台灣男生只是象徵性地成為穆斯林,婚後並未真的遵循教義,甚至無法接受妻子不吃豬肉、做禮拜等習慣,因而衍生家庭失和的問題。

黃金來就自述,他與來自印尼的太太黃麗珊結婚初期也沒有遵循教義;是太太的包容與不斷提醒,才讓自己逐漸了解穆斯林的真正意涵。曾有過一段婚姻的他,以前愛喝酒、賭博,性格火爆,「朋友看到我都趕快跑,覺得這人不是來借錢就是來吵架的。」黃金來說。直到他因工作認識黃麗珊,後來相愛結婚。黃金來說,自己是信奉伊斯蘭教後才開始明白什麼是誠信與責任,就連他的父母親也覺得像撿回一個兒子。問黃麗珊難道不擔心黃金來以前很多壞習慣,還會打小孩。「我從小就信仰伊斯蘭教,我們結婚是安拉安排的,有緣分才會在一起,所以不會怕。」黃麗珊微笑地說。

考量新住民求職不易,以及做禮拜的自由,結婚幾年後,黃麗珊興起了開便當店的念頭。桃園大園以工業區為主,當地有許多印尼籍移工,但要找到適合穆斯林的餐點不容易。穆斯林的飲食禁忌其實源自古蘭經重視潔淨的道理,大部分的民眾只知道穆斯林不吃豬肉,但其他的雞、鴨、牛、羊等肉類,也不是隨便就能吃。屠宰前必須是健康的活體,並由穆斯林以符合教義的方式進行處理的肉品才能食用。

黃麗珊製作的家鄉味正好滿足了移工們的需求,兩三年下來,夫妻倆生意越做越好。心疼附近移工因為清真寺路途遙遠,必須耗費四小時,工廠總以耽誤工作為由不准他們參加主麻日。「沒有做禮拜、沒有懺悔,就容易迷失自己,很容易被找去喝酒玩樂,長期下來會產生問題。」黃金來說。於是黃金來與黃麗珊就在便當店二樓設置了禮拜堂。

隨著參加禮拜的人越來越多,為了回應安拉對自己的眷顧,以及當地對信仰的需求,夫妻倆存下賣便當的錢,在旁邊租了塊空地,在雜草叢生中一磚一瓦蓋成了大園清真寺。黃金來表示,移工和新住民在台灣人生地不熟,心裡常會有壓力,希望大園清真寺能給他們一個能向安拉哭訴、釋放壓力的地方。「有的人在禮拜時哭得很心酸,走出來卻會笑了。」因為哭過抒發了,又有了繼續前進的力量。

因信仰而溫暖

大園清真寺不僅是桃園沿海地區穆斯林的信仰中心,當地移工或新住民遇到困難也會來向黃麗珊求助。常有新住民被老公趕出家門、帶著孩子前來借錢,夫妻倆明白借錢只能暫時度日,不能真的解決問題,倒不如資助新住民開設印尼商店,讓她們能自力更生,也能就近照顧孩子。於是黃金來在2015年成立台灣穆斯林輔導協會,以無息、無償還期限的方式提供資金,為需要幫忙的新住民開設印尼商店,並在店內設置禮拜堂,讓她們兼顧生活與信仰。我們驚訝於黃金來的慷慨,他卻謙虛地表示,助人與不收取利息,本來就是古蘭經的教義。

「我們的教義裡有天課,在維持生活所需之外,剩餘收入的2.5%,要捐出來濟貧。」王夢龍說。大部分的人會將天課捐到清真寺,再由寺方統一分配給需要的人。王夢龍舉例,之前有位新住民,小孩才出生不久,老公就因病去世,台北清真寺基金會便資助她兩年的生活費,協助她能把孩子帶到大一點再出去工作。天課像是穆斯林內建的助人基因,讓穆斯林在能力所及盡力助人。當遇到逃逸移工前來求助,黃金來便無償提供他們食宿,還會陪同移工們到移民署自首,並資助申請護照、機票所需費用,這幾年已送走近3,000位移工。「以前經濟不好就算了,現在自己有能力,就希望能幫助他們,讓他們能回到故鄉與家人團聚。」黃金來說。

對穆斯林而言,人生並非追求卓越的成功,謙卑地敬畏真主、謹守本分,若有餘力便盡力讓他人過得更好,其他的就交由安拉主宰。就像穆斯林見面一定會說的問候語「我願你平安」(As-salaamu Alaikum)。」伊斯蘭信仰所傳遞出安定與和平的力量,也許就像黃麗珊與黃金來在主麻的禮拜結束後,為這些異地打拚的遊子們所準備的熱湯飯。不管外頭有多寒冷,處境有多難熬,只要有信仰,心裡就溫暖了起來。

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EN

A Home Away from Home

Mosques Provide a Sense of Belonging

Chen Chun-fang /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Scott Williams

… truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance—however much he himself may cherish it—upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril…

—Qur’an 2:177


It is nearly noon on a Friday, and the call to prayer is ringing out from the Taipei Grand Mosque on Xin­sheng South Road. Muslims from countries such as Indonesia, Jordan and Syria gather in the main hall to kneel and pray in Arabic. The atmosphere is one of harmony and tranquility.

Were it not for the imam preaching in Mandarin, the foreign faces filling the hall would make it easy to forget that we’re in Taiwan.

Islamic spirit

The word “Islam” comes from Arabic, and means “submission” and “peace.” A “Muslim” is one who submits to Allah and follows the Islamic faith. The Qur’an instructs Muslims in proper behavior in everything from diet, marriage and charity to business. Yasin ­Huang, chairman of the Taiwan Muslim Association, says, “The Qur’an is the soul of Islam. Reading and understanding it enables you to grasp the whole of the world.” Whatever the question, the Qur’an has the answer.

Muslims are expected to pray five times a day, once each at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and night, with the timing of the prayers based on the local sunrise. When praying, Muslims kneel, place their hands on the ground, and bow their heads, bringing their foreheads and noses close to the ground to humbly make their confessions to Allah. For Muslims, Islam’s close connection to everyday life takes it beyond simply reli­gion, expanding it into an attitude and philosophy of life built around devotion.

Muslims in Taiwan

When the time for prayers arrives, Muslims pray wherever they happen to be, but if they have the opportunity, they go to a mosque. You often see foreign Muslims who study nearby gathering at the Taipei Grand Mosque in the evenings, or migrant caregivers taking their elderly charges for a stroll around the mosque and while they themselves pray. Ismail Wang, executive secretary of the Taipei Grand Mosque, says that mosques are gathering places, especially on Fridays, when Muslims come together for Jumu’ah (the noon prayer on Friday). Congregants listen to a sermon, pray, and catch up with their compatriots. “A mosque is like a second home,” says Omar P.S. Wang, chairman of the Taipei Grand Mosque.

Built in 1958, the Taipei Grand Mosque’s first congregants were Muslims who came to Taiwan from mainland China with the Kuomintang government. Overseas Chinese from remote parts of Thailand and Myanmar later came to make up the core of Taiwan’s Muslim community with ROC citizenship. Over the last decade, the growing number of Southeast Asians in Taiwan for work, study or marriage has created an emerging Muslim presence on our island. As a result, most of the Taipei Grand Mosque’s worshipers are now foreign nationals. “There are people from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, but most are from African nations and Indonesia,” says Wang. The Taipei Grand Mosque is a case study in the changing demographics of Taiwan’s Muslim population.

Backed by biandang

The Qur’an says that Muslim women can only marry Muslim men, and that spouses must be of the same religion to have a harmonious household. As a result, many Taiwanese men have converted to Islam in order to marry Indonesian women. But they often do so only super­ficially and don’t truly abide by Islam’s teachings after their marriage, with some even becoming estranged from their wives because they have trouble accepting their wives’ regular prayers and inability to eat pork.

Yasin Huang recalls that he failed to follow Islamic teachings during the early part of his marriage to his Indonesian bride, Rachmatul Chasanah. His wife’s forbearance and constant reminders eventually brought him to an understanding of the real implications of being Muslim. During his previous marriage, he drank and gambled, and had a fiery temper. That changed when he married his Indonesian bride, who he had met through work. Huang says that after converting to Islam he began to understand the importance of integrity and responsibility, and that his parents felt like they’d gotten their son back. “I’ve been a Muslim since my childhood,” says Rachmatul. “Our marriage was arranged by Allah. Fate brought us together, so I had no fear.”

After they’d been married a few years, Rachmatul got the idea to open a shop selling biandang (boxed meals). The many factories of Taoyuan’s Dayuan District employ large numbers of Indonesian migrant workers, but Muslim-friendly fare was hard to find. Islam’s dietary restrictions originate in the Qur’an’s notions of purity, and include prohibitions on eating pork and rules regarding the consumption of other meats. For example, animals slaughtered for meat must be healthy and their meat must be processed by Muslims in accordance with Islamic teachings.

Rachmatul’s homestyle meals meet the needs of these migrant workers. The couple’s business grew over the next two or three years, but they worried about the wellbeing of the local workers. Far from a mosque, many were employed by factories that wouldn’t let them attend Jumu’ah on the grounds that doing so would inter­fere with their work. “Without prayer and confession, it’s easy to lose yourself and take up drinking and carous­ing,” says Huang. The couple therefore established a prayer hall on the second floor of their restaurant.

They also used their earnings from the restaurant to lease a nearby piece of land, on which they built the At-Taqwa Mosque to tend to the needs of local Muslims in gratitude for Allah’s care. Huang points out that Taiwan’s migrant workers and immigrants live in what is to them a foreign land. He hopes the mosque will provide them with a place to tell Allah of their trials and ease their burdens. “Some people weep while praying, but then are able to leave smiling.”

Warmed by faith

When local migrant workers and immigrants run into difficulties, they often turn to Rachmatul for help. Quite a few immigrant wives have come to the couple’s door with their children, asking to borrow money after being thrown out by their husbands. Knowing that lending it to them wouldn’t solve the underlying problem, the couple would help the women become self-reliant by instead providing the financial backing to open a shop selling Indo­nesian goods. Huang went on to establish the Taiwan Muslim Association in 2015 to provide immigrants needing assistance with grants to open their own shops. He humbly says that helping people without accepting interest is a Qur’anic doctrine.

“Our doctrine includes the principle of zakat, which is that 2.5% of one’s income above that required for one’s basic needs should be donated to the poor,” says Ismail Wang. The principle has made helping others almost instinctive for Muslims. When runaway migrant workers come looking for aid, Yasin Huang provides them with food and lodging, then accompanies them when they turn themselves in to the National Immigration Agency. He also helps them with the costs of a passport and plane ticket. Over the last few years, he’s aided nearly 3,000 migrant workers.

Muslims believe in humbly showing reverence for Allah, accepting their responsibilities, and helping others. Everything else, they leave in the hands of God. Islam’s message of peace and stability may be like the hot meal that the Huangs prepare for Muslims far from home after Jumu’ah. No matter how cold the weather or how distressing one’s circumstances, faith warms the heart. 

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