Followers

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Taubat Sewaktu Tua?

Pertama kali saya mendengar perkataan “bila dah tua, boleh lah taubat adalah semasa saya dibangku sekolah menengah. Kata-kata ini diungkapkan oleh beberapa rakan sesekolah. Kemudian daripada itu, saya juga mendengar daripada beberapa dewasa dikeliling saya. Sebenarnya saya keliru apabila mendengar nya pertama kali dan bertambah keliru sehingga sekarang.

“Taubat” yang saya faham adalah satu sikap yang menyedari bahawa suatu tingkah laku, pendirian, cara hidup atau tabiat yang diamalkan oleh kita itu adalah tidak direstui oleh Allah dan lantas itu kita menggantikan nya dengan satu sikap yang baik. Sebagai contoh, mungkin kita secara tabiat suka menipu orang lain. Tiba-tiba satu hari timbul kesedaran bahawa sikap menipu itu tidak baik dan sekaligus kita menggantikan atau berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk menggantikan nya dengan sikap jujur.

Taubat semestinya bererti menggantikan yang jahat dengan yang baik. Ia tidak boleh sesuatu yang bercakap sahaja tanpa amalan baik yang menggantikan yang jahat atau yang buruk.

“Mereka ini diberi upah mereka dua kali ganda kerana mereka bersabar, dan menolak kejahatan dengan yang baik, serta menafkahkan daripada rezeki yang Kami berikan pada mereka”.(Quran 28:54)

Pertama, saya percaya prinsip “menggantikan yang jahat dengan yang baik” adalah sejajar dengan saikoloji manusia serta hukum alam. “Things cannot exist in a vacuum”. Maka, bagaimana kedudukan mereka yang menyedari bahawa mereka melakukan kejahatan tetapi “menunda taubat” berdasarkan pelbagai alasan? Sebagai contoh, perasuah berikrar akan “taubat” satu hari kelak atau selepas pencen. Orang yang menipu dan mencuri dalam pelbagai keadaan kehidupan dengan pelbagai kaedah kreatif berikrar akan “taubat kelak”. Begitu juga dengan yang malas menjalankan amanah yang diterima olehnya berikrar akan “taubat” kelak dan sebagainya.

“Allah hanya menerima taubat orang-orang yang membuat kejahatan dalam kejahilan, kemudian dengan segera bertaubat; Allah akan menerima taubat mereka, dan Allah adalah Mengetahui, Bijaksana”. (Quran 4:17)

Kedua, jelas bahawa taubat yang diterima oleh Allah adalah taubat oleh orang yang melakukan kejahatan tanpa disedari olehnya iaitu dalam kejahilan. Kalau ia tahu itu adalah jahat atau tidak baik, dan ia masih sengaja melakukannya adakah “taubat kelak” itu merupakan “taubat” yang dimaksudkan dalam Al-Quran? Bagaimana dengan kerosakkan yang telah dilakukan olehnya terhadap makhluk Allah dengan penuh sedar sekian lama?

Ketiga, pada saya perkara yang jelas adalah orang yang hendak taubat itu mesti mempunyai keupayaan untuk taubat iaitu keupayaan menggantikan yang jahat dengan yang baik. Sebagai contoh, seorang lelaki yang menghabiskan kehidupan sihatnya dengan membohongi wanita untuk kepuasan nafs nya. Apabila beliau menjadi tua dan tidak bermaya, beliau pun “taubat” atas perlakuan memperkosakan wanita. Adakah beliau berupaya memperkosa wanita lagi apabila sudah tua dan tidak bermaya? Kalau tidak berupaya, beliau tidak melakukan kejahatan bukan kerana beliau sengaja berhenti tetapi kerana beliau tidak berupaya melakukan kejahatan lagi. Beliau telah dihentikan oleh aliran masa.

Contoh yang lain: Orang yang bercakap bohong boleh taubat dengan bercakap benar. Bagaimana kalau ia sudah menjadi bisu kerana sesuatu penyakit dan lantas ia “bertaubat” tidak akan bercakap bohong? Bagaimana orang yang telah dihilangkan keupayaan bercakap boleh berikrar untuk bercakap yang benar.

Katakan pula ada pegawai kerajaan yang korup dan ia bertekad akan “taubat” selepas bersara. Namun, apabila ia bersara, ia sudah pun kehilangan kedudukan atau keupayaan untuk menerima rasuah. Maka bagaimana ia boleh “mengorbankan” (iaitu berhenti mengambil rasuah) sesuatu yang tidak lagi ada pada nya?

“Tetapi tidak diterima taubat orang-orang yang melakukan kejahatan sehingga, apabila salah seorang antara mereka didatangi kematian, dia berkata, "Sesungguhnya sekarang saya bertaubat", dan tidak juga bagi orang-orang yang mati dengan tidak percaya (kafir); bagi mereka, Kami menyediakan azab yang pedih” (Quran 4:18).

Berdasarkan fahaman seperti diatas, saya berpendapat konsep “taubat selepas tua” amat mengelirukan dan tidak tepat dengan hakikat alam. Konsep itu mengandaikan bahawa kita akan sampai ke peringkat tua . Gagal didalam usaha bersungguh untuk memperbaiki diri tidak sama dengan tindakan sengaja menunda usaha memperbaiki diri atas alasan “satu hari nanti”.

Salam.

DISCLAIMER: Pembaca disarankan untuk memeriksa dengan sendiri ketepatan sebarang terjemahan Al-Quran didalam tulisan saya. Tulisan ini juga merupakan fahaman saya dan saya tidak meminta mana-mana pembaca terima fahaman saya ini. Ia adalah sekadar perkongsian dan saya mempelawa sebarang komen pembetulan. Prinsip ini adalah berterusan didalam semua artikel saya yang bersangkut paut dengan Addin Allah.

Monday, December 22, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND SEASONS GREETINGS !!!


HO! HO! HO! The legendary Santa Claus is here reminding us of the magic of gifts and joy. Christmas is a reminder of giving and sharing.

Truly Christmas is a period where you can feel the "celebration spirit" with creative decorations all over the shopping complexes welcoming you.

Of course the decorations stand out better when you have a "beautiful" person posing with it - like my dearest friend in the photos! Santarina Sabrina!!!

FRIENDS - MERRY XMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR !

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Revenge, love and hatred

People say that revenge and hatred are two self destructive emotions. It can become obsessive and consume your entire life. Total love can turn to total hatred if you allow it and if you are not careful.

Anyone's first love is most beautiful while it lasts. The very first moment of holding the hand of one you love is a blessing that can never be repeated. How can one who has loved ever hate? But we see and hear of love turning to hate. It really amazes me how people who have loved each other can just forget each other once they "break up". It could not have been love in the first place then?

Breaking up is of course a painful experience. Both are hurt. When one is hurt, sometimes the wounded one wants to hurt the other - revenge. Feelings of betrayal, of being let down and of being unappreciated can wreck havoc with the mind and heart, especially if you feel that you were true to the relationship and the other wasn't.

I had an experience when I was very young. I was lucky, however. God had given me the knowledge of unconditional love through a book which I bought from the second hand book store in my teens. I did not know that it was to prepare me for my first "break up". I had known the girl for more than 4 years. When she left, I cried for a month. I did not ever want to love again if it was that painful. At the end of the month I decided that I had to have my revenge. She must pay the penalty. And this is the prayer that I wrote in the form of a poem and etched it into my heart:

THE PENALTY

I shall kiss
your very hand
that killed
my heart.
I pray for
kindness for
every cruelty
you offer me.
For every crime
your penalty
...the pearls
of this life.

-justme.

I felt free once I penned those lines in my heart and I could concentrate on my studies and did very well in the university that year!

Today, I must thank God for answering my prayers and my revenge has been obtained. She is successful, happily married with wonderful children and we are friends even to this day.

It is not difficult to love...but to hate needs much effort...:) If I truly believe my Creator is merciful, can't I show some mercy to those around me?

Monday, December 15, 2008

DEATH


The first death of someone which had a profound effect on me was when my school friend died after finishing his form 5. He was a brilliant student, very intelligent and everyone predicted a bright future for him. He was leaving for US in a few days time. He drove to KL from Penang with the view of gong to the US embassy to finalize his visa – his car got involved in a collision and he died instantly.

I was shocked when I heard this. We were only 17 then. Though I KNEW that people do die at any age, but I never really was AWARE you can die at 17. AT 17, you are not really aware of how to value life. You are also not taught about death in schools or at homes which is odd because death is a certainty. One must be “prepared” for what is certain. My friend’s death made me reflect deeply and read as much as I can on death.

I realized there is no fortress to keep out death. It is natural.

"Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!" If some good befalls them, they say, "This is from God"; but if evil, they say, "This is from you" Say: "All things are from God." But what has come to these people, that they fail to understand a single fact? (Quran 4:78)

But how does one prepare for death? The loss of loved ones may be a difficult experience for many. It may bring about feelings of loss, intense sadness, guilt even, helplessness or even anger. But death is a certainty as it is a natural trait of transience. It reminds us of our inevitable exit from earth as we know it. It reminds us that we are bound to be separated from everything that is known to our senses. It seems as if all that was life was just a dream that went by so fast. It seems that we have been deceived into accumulating things that we now have to leave behind.

“Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception” (Quran 3:185)

I know some people who fear death. I know some others who look forward to it as a return to “their maker”. Others have expressed their wish to remain long enough to ensure that those under their care are well provided for. There are many motivations why people want to live as there are for why they want to die. Many too, for a while, float in life letting life’s flow take them where it may without active participation.

But what is death? Some say that it is the ultimate termination of life, full stop. Such people do not believe in an afterlife. They say you are born, then you die.

“And they say: "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us." But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture”. (Quran: 45.024)


I believe that death is the process of going into the next phase of life. I used to marvel at how water changes to steam, goes up, becomes clouds and falls as water again. Death is like evaporation. Water evaporates changing to steam, not dying. It is “raised again” as water – the hydrologic cycle (water cycle). Of course some do not believe this:

“The Unbelievers say: "What! when we become dust,- we and our fathers,-
shall we really be raised (from the dead)?” ( Quran 27:67)

Allow me to share this short poem I wrote in remembrance of my late friend:

The Soul

water in the mug
steaming
releasing vapour into the air,
disappearing
changing form
not dying.

-justme
1985
ukm

Politicization of Religions.

Let us consider an alternative perspective.

Politics appears to the only route that humankind seems to know to govern the nation. Political history has shown us that many wars have been waged by politicians. The excuses may be different and the people pushing for the wars may be different but it is ultimately the politicians that make the decision to wage wars. Many political observers world wide also acknowledge that politicians are prone to excesses, abuses and deceit. Given half a chance they will sell even their own mother to stay in power, as some say it rather crudely.

Politics is about power. Power is a divine trait, godly. Since it is a divine trait, in the hands of lesser mortals, it can be intoxicating and addictive. Hence, while political power is a major responsibility it can equally be a dangerous tool in the hands of the lesser mortal. It is never easy to give up neither power nor the uninformed supporters. The more extreme the supporters, the more secure the politician. The more loyal the supporters, the more the politician has to pander to their inclinations to maintain their loyalty.

This is the vicious cycle that the politician has trapped himself in for the sake of power. This is sometimes called “riding the tiger syndrome”. It is almost impossible to dismount the tiger because it might bite you.

The politician rides on a cause, a platform. People who support the cause, support the politician. They get together into a club called the “political party”. They create rituals, mantras, levels of authority and ranks. At the bottom is the ordinary member whose usefulness is not only to make up the numbers but to support their leaders unquestioningly in the name of the party. The politician cannot make drastic changes for ordinary members constantly need something that they have already identified themselves with without understanding. Change implies need to think and to alter behavior which will upset the members. Only variations of what is already believed and upheld by the party members is allowed even if it gradually strays from the original ideal.

Religion appears to be the only route humankind seems to know to relate to the supernatural, to be “good” and to make sense of the “spiritual” world. History of religions has shown us that many wars have been waged by the religious leaders. The excuses may be different and the people pushing for the wars may be different but it is ultimately the religious leaders that make the decision to wage wars. Many observers world wide also acknowledge that religionists are prone to excesses, abuses and deceit. We have heard of the inquisition, burning at the stake, killing in the name of “god” ethnic cleansing, “Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim terrorists” etc.

Religion is about influence and about instilling belief in a person’s heart. influencing a person’s heart and “instilling faith” is a divine trait, godly. Since it is a divine trait, in the hands of lesser mortals, it can be intoxicating and addictive. Hence, while religion has tremendous potential for guiding good human conduct and a major responsibility it can equally be a dangerous tool in the hands of the vested interest religionists. It is never easy to give up neither the power to influence nor the uninformed supporters. The more extreme the supporters, the more secure the religious leaders. The more loyal the supporters, the more the religious leaders has to pander to their inclinations to maintain their loyalty.

This is the vicious cycle that the religious leaders has trapped himself in for the sake of power. This is sometimes called “riding the tiger syndrome”. It is almost impossible to dismount the tiger because it might bite you.

The religious leader rides on a cause, a platform. Adherents who support the cause, support the leader. They get together into a club called the “X religion”. They create rituals, mantras, levels of authority and ranks. At the bottom is the ordinary adherent whose usefulness is not only to make up the numbers but to support their leaders unquestioningly in the name of the religion. The leader cannot make drastic changes for ordinary adherents constantly need something that they have already identified themselves with without understanding. Change implies need to think and to alter behavior which will upset the adherents. Only variations of what is already believed and upheld by the adherents is allowed even if it gradually strays from the original ideal of the “founder”.

If you agree with the above alternative analysis and if it is correct, then imagine the potency of mixing the two – politicization of religion.

When religion is politicized, it moves away from the individual and resides in a select few who bestow upon themselves the power to determine what should be believed and what should not. Political power may have control over your body but religious power attempts to control your very emotions, beliefs and soul. With this mix, the control over you is complete.

Now, just sit back and imagine the colossal catastrophe that can be unleashed by the lesser mortal with vested interest who now has the sniff of what is divinely!

Let's discuss.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sultan of Selangor, HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah on Islam

HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah correctly pointed out that

"Islam is a beautiful religion. It is a practical religion. It must be known for its values and compassion. It is not about punishments or banning this or that. This has unfortunately happened. Islam is not about force. Substance is more important, let’s not forget".

(Interview with the Star on 2.12.2008)

I hope the religious authorities heed HRH's wise observation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What is faith in God anyway?

The Quran says:

“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested?” (Quran 29.2)

Clearly Allah says that saying you believe in God is inconclusive. A mere ritual of declaring your faith either to yourself or to the whole of mankind is not tantamount to faith in God. There are tests. Tests that will determine whether you walk your talk. Whether your so-called faith is mere lip service, a cultural baggage, a psychological escapism, etc. Allah detests those that do not walk their talk.

“O you believers! Why say you that which you do not?” (Quran 61.2)
“Grievously odious is it in the sight of God that you say that which you do not”. (Quran 61.3)

Hypocrites are the worst among the lot. They can feign faith and religiosity which will shame even the best Hollywood actors. It is difficult to identify the hypocrites, but not impossible. You may carefully look for the signs, the manner in which they react to the “tests” that Allah has planned for them.

“Who does greater wrong than one who invents falsehood against God, even as he is being invited to Islam? And God guides not those who do wrong”. (Quran 61:7)

For a variety of selfish reasons, hypocrites invent falsehood against Allah. Many of such people fail the test by inventing some law or some view and then ascribing that to Allah. When you check it with the Quran and the Sunnah, you find that it contradicts. The “devil” invents many things in the name of God merely to lead people astray from the path of Allah. For example, we have heard of the invitation to the killing of innocent people in the name of God, extremist or excessive behaviour in the name of God, etc.

“O you who believe! make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah loves not those given to excess”. (Quran 5:87)

But Allah says that the Satan has no authority over humans beings who are His loyal servants. In other words, you must have chosen to incline yourself to evil for Satan to whisper evil ideas into your mind and heart. You have failed another test – the test of being the master of your senses as God intended you to be.

“And on them did Satan prove true his idea, and they followed him, all but a party that believed”. (Quran 34:20)

“But he had no authority over them,- except that We might test the man who believes in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt concerning it: and your Lord does watch over all things”. (Quran 34:21)

Many people who say that they believe in God seem to behave as if they do not. Their camouflage may be the various religious rituals that they dutifully perform. Or they may be in a constant state of self-denial. Or they are just plain ignorant or inclined to evil. They do not exhibit trustworthiness, compassion, diligence, love, gratitude, care for the environment, etc – some of the attributes that Allah commanded in the Quran for believers.

They are easily duped by the illusions of the transient world. They bask in their possessions, beauty, status, family, etc. As such they fall into dubious concepts such as “survival of the fittest” not realizing that ultimately all living things will not survive. They rationalize the evil manner in which they earn an income to sustain their family and themselves – corruption, selling dangerous products/services, cheating, etc.

Are they who do these believers in God even though they faithfully perform all the rituals?

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs” (Quran 3:186)

“That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them - as to which of them are best in conduct”. (Quran 18:7)

Clearly Allah does not teach that once you say you accept Him, you will be “saved”. You have to go through the journey of life and pass the various tests that you encounter in reality.

“Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good
by way of trial. to Us must you return” (Quran 21:35).

Peace !

Monday, December 8, 2008

CATTLE OR HUMANS?


When I look around me, I am left with intense sadness.

The human species running around trying to make sense of life. They are trying their very best to do something. They are busy. Some, have no time to think what they are busy about. They have their hands full of life’s real challenges – food, clothing, shelter. They have their children’s stomach, education, health and well being to think of. They are so poor that they only have one thing in mind - how to survive in this world.

On the other hand, we have the privileged ones. The educated, the well-off, the powerful and the soon to be educated, well-off and powerful. They too are busy.

The soon to be educated, well-off and powerful are busy trying to be educated, well-off and powerful. Society generally agrees that one should excel. Politicians, self made thinkers and the elites of the society echo this. Has anyone stopped and thought for a while; - what does it mean if I am educated? How does that benefit you if I am educated? Does this world become a better place when I am educated? What does being “educated” mean anyway - a scroll in the hand?

If “education” is merely to enrich myself, to boost my ego, to fall into that delusions that “I am clever”, to get the privileges that is dished out to such groups and such, would you be happy that I am “educated”? What if I use my “educated status” to write and speak of things that benefits me but ruins the society generally? If you oppose me, I can simply garner all the support merely on the dubious ground that “I am educated and you are not. Hence you are disqualified to oppose me”.

Does having a formal education mean that I am necessarily more intelligent than the kuay teow seller? That I must necessarily be wise in all areas of life? If I believe yes, then I have been a danger to you and society. If not, then why should I “look down” on the kuay teow seller? I may be cleverer but he may be wiser. In the face of wisdom, I believe cleverness is crushed.

Look. Look at us. We have more educated people today than in the 1960s. Listen to what they say. Look at how they behave. Look and judge if the “education” that they posses have made them into human beings – or have they become lower than the animals?

Who are the ones who are inciting to racial and religious hatred in Orissa, India? The uneducated and poor ones or the ones with education, well-off and powerful?

Look at our own country…. Try to understand with your hearts, see with your eyes, hear with your ears – who are the ones with vested interest trying to prevent people from embracing each other as the created or makhluk of the Creator? Who???

“Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts with which they understand not, eyes with which they see not, and ears with which they hear not. They are like cattle,- nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)” (Quran 7:179)

Allah says clearly that many human beings are lower than cattle. Cattle. Why cattle? Cattle is guarded, fed, and its direction and life determined by the cowherd. Cows have a heart, eyes and ears ….so do human beings. Cows cannot use them to better their lives. Cows do not think and see or hear like humans. Humans can. Humans have been given the privilege by Allah to use their hearts, their eyes and their ears. Those who do not, Allah says, surely are worse than cows.

The educated, well-off and powerful among us who follow their “animalistic instincts” for their own desires need cattle around them to make their desires a reality. They spurn lies albeit sometimes couched in intellectual, religious, nationalistic terms. Sometimes, sentiments. When this fails, they use power and fear and threats. They do all they can to wreck society and the basis of human nature as Allah created to satisfy their selfish ends.

But why must WE fall in their trap?

Are we like the cattle led by the nose by the cowherd? What? Merely for the miserable hay that is thrown in our way and the cow shack that we are allowed, we are willing to live a life lower than the cattle? Even though we know that the cowherd’s main purpose is only to milk us and to slaughter us?

If so why did Allah give us hearts, eyes and ears that are different from the cow if He intended that we should only be led by the selfish cowherd? Why do we insist on degrading ourselves so low when Allah has elevated us?

Allah has given a way out – he holds you personally accountable. He reminds you:

“And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)”. (Quran 17.36)

It is now entirely your choice. You can choose to be the human being that Allah created or you may continue to be lower than the cattle that Allah forbade you to be.

Peace and May God guide us all from this madness.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Berbohong Dengan Nama Rasul !

Allah telah mengutus pelbagai rasul sepanjang zaman kepada setiap kaum dimuka bumi sebagai pembawa berita gembira dan pemberi amaran. Perkara ini jelas daripada ayat-ayat berikut:-

"Ada beberapa rasul-rasul yang telah Kami menceritakan kepada kamu sebelumnya, dan rasul-rasul yang Kami tidak menceritakan kepada kamu, dan Allah telah berbicara secara langsung kepada Musa" .(Quran 4:164)

"Rasul-rasul itu pembawa berita gembira, dan pemberi amaran supaya manusia tidak ada alasan membantah terhadap Allah selepas rasul-rasul itu; Allah adalah Perkasa, Bijaksana".(Quran 4:165)

"Sesungguhnya Kami mengutus kamu dengan kebenaran, pembawa berita gembira dan pemberi amaran, dan tiadalah sesuatu umat melainkan telah berlalu di dalamnya seorang pemberi amaran" (Quran:35:24)

Walaupun peranan Rasul-rasul adalah jelas, ramai manusia terperangkap didalam mendewa-dewakan sebahagian rasul-rasul ini sebagai tuhan di samping Allah. Bagi mereka yang mengkaji agama-agama di dunia ini, perkara ini amat jelas. Penyembahan rasul-rasul ini di mulakan dengan pembohongan yang mengambil kesempatan kejahilan manusia sendiri.

Memandangkan Allah telah memberi amaran kepada kita bahawa Iblis akan menunggu manusia dijalan dan akan menyerang nya dari semua arah, maka tidak harian bahawa dunia Islam juga tidak sunyi daripada pembohongan menggunakan nama Rasul.

Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Bin Zainal Abidin, pemikir Muslim yang dihormati dan bekas Mufti Perlis menulis:

"Apa tidaknya, dia berbohong dengan menyatakan Rasulullah SAW bersabda sesuatu hadis sedang hadis tersebut adalah palsu pada nilaian ilmu hadis. Bohong jenis ini jauh lebih besar dosanya dari bohong saudagar atau ahli politik. Bohong saudagar dan ahli politik merosakkan harta orang, tetapi bohong pembaca hadis palsu merosakkan agama".

[Di syorkan membaca keseluruhan tulisan beliau disini].

Ini lah antara sebabnya saya sentiasa sarankan penceramah dan guru-guru agama wajib bersikap lebih bertanggung jawap apabila menyatakan suatu hadis dengan menyatakan sekali rujukan hadis tersebut supaya pendengar boleh mengesahkan kesahihannya. Muslim harus berwaspada dalam hal ini supaya tidak di gelincirkan oleh hadis palsu.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Malay or Muslim - Relooking at Article 160(2)

Having posted the above article, I had the opportunity of speaking to Haris Ibrahim, the lawyer and People’s Parliament blogger on the interpretation of “Malay” in Article 160(2).

He pointed out part (b) of the definition of “Malay” and suggested that "the issue of such a person" need not satisfy the conditions set out in part before (a). The whole section is reproduced below:

Malay" means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and -
(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
(b) is the issue of such a person;

One view:

Part (b) of the above section states “is the issue of such a person”. This means the children of the “Malay” who satisfies part (a) is a “Malay”. The only condition that need to be satisfied by a person to be considered constitutionally a “Malay” under part (b) is only one, namely, to be the ISSUE of the person who satisfies part (a).

The language of the Constitution appears to suggest that part (a) conditions need not be satisfied by the person who is “Malay” pursuant to part (b). For example, he could be born in Ireland and yet still qualifies as a “Malay” if he is the issue of the person who is “Malay” pursuant to section (a).


Second view:

On the other hand, could it not be interpreted in another way? That is "Malay" means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom AND (a) or (b). In other words, the issue of the person qualified under (a) must also satisfy the condition that he professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom. I would think this appears to be the more tenable interpretation.

Which is correct?

Muslim or Malay?

There is a big difference between the two. “Malay” is an anthropological and a legal definition, while a “Muslim” is one who ‘surrenders’ to Allah as defined by the Quran. The act of surrendering to Allah would require that one leaves or strives very hard to leave all that which contradicts or prevent this surrendering. For example, the pagan Arabs who embraced Islam gave up the concept and practice of Arab tribalism.

A Muslim views all human beings as the creations of the Grand Designer. He does not, therefore discriminate people based on racial lines. He is not a racist. This does not mean of course that one cannot think or talk about races. If so, it will not be possible to identify racism in all its ugly colors.

Malaysia is unique. “Malay” is constitutionally defined. Muslims become constitutional Malays once they fulfill all the requirements of Article 160 of the Federal Constitution. This means that if a Javanese was before Merdeka Day born in Malaysia or Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in Malaysia or in Singapore and the said Javanese professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language and conforms to Malay custom, he/she is a Malay by definition under art. 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.

On the other hand, a Javanese who is a Christian is not a constitutional Malay. Similarly, an Indian Muslim or a Chinese Muslim who satisfies the conditions under Article 160 is likewise a constitutional Malay. Clearly therefore, a constitutional Malay is a legal definition. However, even this simple fact can cause confusion among many, in particular in the Government and the civil service.

In fact, with respect, even no less than a Judge appear to have been confused with this legal definition. Preconditions of being Malay have been confused with preconditions being Muslim. Justice Faiza Tamby Chik J while sitting in the High Court stated that:

“Therefore a person as long as he/she is a Malay and by definition under art. 160 cl. (2) is a Malay, the said person cannot renounce his/her religion at all. A Malay under art. 160(2) remains in the Islamic faith until his or her dying days”. LINA JOY v. MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN & ANOR [2004] 6 CLJ 242

NO where in the constitution do you find a requirement that a Malay SHALL profess Islam. Article 160 clearly sets out who is a Malay in law and if you do not have any one of the conditions thereat, then you are no longer a Malay in law. Going by Faiza’s logic, does it therefore mean that “a person as long as he/she is a Malay cannot stop conforming to Malay customs”? Surely, he can stop practicing Malay custom. If he does so, he ceases being a Malay under art 160 (2). This is not the same as saying that because art. 160 defines a Malay in this manner, therefore he cannot stop practicing the Malay custom. Hence with respect, there appears to be a reasoning flaw in this part of Faiza’a judgment.

A Malay and a Muslim must surely be different in fact. For example a Chinese Muslim who does not follow the Malay custom and does not habitually speak the Malay language is a Muslim but not a Malay under art. 160. Ahmad and Ah Mat Chong who both practice and profess Islam are Muslims but one is a Malay while the other is a Chinese.

What then is the commonality between Ahmad (Malay Muslim), Ah Mat (Chinese Muslim) and Hameed Sultan Basha (Indian Muslim)? The answer would be that there are all Muslims and that the common factor among them is “Islam”. What, however, is the significance of this commonality? What does it mean in real terms?

In Malaysia, being Muslims, all three will certainty be subjected to the state Syariah laws and all the fatwas by the religious authorities. The Quran says that all believers are brothers of each other and that they should assist one another. The Quran enjoins all Muslims to be united to the “rope of Allah”. Is this possible under the current laws in Malaysia?

Let’s take a very simple example for the sake of discussion. Let us say for example that Ah Mat, the Chinese Muslim is from the low income group. He wants to buy a house. Ahmad is from the middle income group. Ahmad will be eligible for the 7% discount when he buys a house but Ah Mat will not. This is perfectly legal and in line with current policies but certainly appears unjust in Islam. In this situation, would it not be correct to state that the “malayness” overrides the ‘Islamness’? I stand to be corrected.

In any event, I have never heard of any fatwa by any learned ulamak in Malaysia that it is harm to discriminate favours among Muslims while they are all subjected to the same state Syariah laws. In any event, isn’t it an Islamic principle that the poorer should be assisted more than the richer in these situations irrespective of racial considerations?

To me, there is a big difference being a Malay or a Muslim. The underlying philosophy, world outlook and motivations are totally different. A Muslim will not be unjust even to an unbeliever or even the heretic. He mindful that Allah has created the world in a balance and He has enjoined on the Muslims to uphold justice and fair play. He is ever conscious that Allah is omnipresent and hence, the Muslim will forever be wary of his commitments, behaviour, task and duties. He will strive to do his best barring human failings and weaknesses.

A Muslim’s entire life existence is for Allah. This is conscious in the mind of everyone who considers himself a Muslim. What is the basis of the Malay’s life existence? If it is the same as the Muslim’s then is there a need to be conscious that you are a Malay or Indian or Chinese or German? Why can’t Muslims just speak and be concious in “Islamic terms”? Just be Muslims?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Bin Zainul Abidin – Mufti Perlis

Minggu hadapan adalah minggu terakhir cendikiawan dan ilmuan Muslim ini yang banyak menyumbang kepada kefahaman Islam akan bertugas sebagai seorang Mufti. Beliau disegani dan dihormati oleh ramai Muslim dan bukan Muslim sebagai seroang pemikir yang memudakan kefahaman islam yang sebenarnya adalah simple dan relevan kepada kehidupan seharian.

Masyarakat mengharapkan beliau lah yang dapat memulakan usaha kearah mengenepikan fahaman yang jumud dan ketinggalan dikalangan sarjana Islam yang bergelar ulama (yang saya istilahkan sebagai “ulama agama“ untuk membezakan mereka daripada ilmuan Muslim lain).

Tulisan beliau telah banyak membantu untuk merapatkan golongan muda kepada Islam tanpa paksaan dan “ugutan undang-undang“ yang digemari oleh beberapa sarjana pendidikan pengajian Islam yang takut atau tidak berkebolehan berbincang secara ilmiah.

Kita akan kehilangan seorang Mufti yang hebat. Saya doakan supaya Allah menguatkan lagi kedudukan dan peribadi beliau supaya beliau boleh terus berusaha untuk membawa kehadapan terjemahan Islam yang benar berasaskan Al-Quran dan Sunnah. Beliau bukan lah seperti ulama agama yang bersembunyi disebalik kejahilan umat Muslim untuk memperkukuhkan kedudukan dan pengaruh mereka. Saya yakin dengan kuasa Allah dan yakin bahawa kepalsuan akan dipadamkan dengan kebenaran.

SOKONG YOGA DIHARAMKAN !

Atas alasan dan logik yang diberikan oleh Majils Fatwa Kebangsaan yang terdiri daripada cendikiawan Melayu yang berpengetahuan luas dan perihatin untuk menyelamatkan Melayu daripada disesat, saya percaya perkara-perkara seperti in harus juga dilihat: -

1. Pakaian jubah yang digunakan oleh peguam-peguam adalah berasal daripada konsep pakaian paderi kristian atau bishops. Jubah ini juga ada sejarah yang bersangkut paut dengan agama kristian. Beitu juga dengan “bib” yang digunakan oleh peguam-peguam adalah berkaitan dengan sejarah agam kristian. Mungkin kah pakaiain sedemikian boleh mendorong seorang Melayu untuk menganut agama Kristian?

2. Cara penyembahan yang dilakukan dihadapan VVIP didalam majlis rasmi ada persamaan dengan cara hindu menyembah atau ber "namaste" dan tidak kah dikhuatiri bahawa ini boleh mengoncang akidah Melayu sehingga tertarik menjadi Hindu?

3. Pakaian neck-tie serta kot adalah daripada budaya barat yang mana kita tahu adalah buruk belaka. Maka, tidak kah kita khuatir bahawa pakaian barat ini akan membawa Melayu kepada mengamalkan budaya barat yang bercanggah dengan akidah? – haramkan pakaian sedemikian?

4. Cable televisyen, astro mempersembahkan pelbagai berita dan cerita yang kerap kali memuji nilai-nilai agama lain dan dipersembahkan dengan begitu menarik sehingga Melayu mungkin terpengaruh. Takkan kita nak tunggu sampai masalah lebih besar? Bagaimana kalau haramkan cable televisyen di rumah orang Melayu. Biar yang bukan Muslim sahaja menonton astro dan sebagai nya?

5. Paling merbahaya didalam menjejaskan akidah Melayu mungkin internet. Di internet ada laman-laman yang menerangkan menegnai agama lain dalam bahasa Melayu. Tidak kah kita khuatir bahawa akidah Melayu akan terjejas dengan membaca artikel-artikel itu? Maka, bagaimana kalau kita haramkan sahaja internet sebelum yang haram itu berlaku. Seperti yang dikatakan oleh pihak tertentu, perkara yang boleh menjurus kepada haram adalah haram.

6. Internet juga mempunyai pelbagai perkara lain yang boleh menjejaskan akidah. Maka, mungkin orang Melayu harus diharamkan daripada melayari interent kerana takut akidah mereka pula akan terjejas.

7. Seluar Jeans Levi itu dicipta oleh seorang Yahudi Jerman bernama Levi Strauss. Boleh kah ini permulaan yang menjurus kepada satu keadaan yang mungkin menjejaskan akidah? Harus difikir samada Melayu harus diharamkan untuk memakai jeans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Strauss

8. banyak lagi yang perlu dikaji yang boleh menjejaskan akidah Melayu.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is God really in our lives?

Malaysia should probably be classified as the 8th wonder of the world. It certainly has many wonders in its midst.

Every Malaysian remembers that our land is a land of slogans and songs. We have plenty of slogans – ‘bersih cekap amanah”, “kepimpinan melalui teladan”, “gemilang, cemerlang, terbilang” and so on. Go to every “gomen” department and you will find a slogan.

And yet, (this where we are the 8th wonder), we hear and experience major inefficiencies in the civil service, our political leaders suffer from lack of credibility, our universities are not terbilang and neither do we have kepimpinan melalui teladan.

And religion. God, this country has a lot of religion. Every Fridays, you find the Muslims going to the mosques and the hindus going to the temples. Every Sunday, you have the Christians praying at the Church. Every other day, you have the Taoists and Buddhists either praying at their temples or at the altar in their house. And there are the other religions which we do not normally mention in public but claim to believe and worship God nevertheless.

In fact, the government has taken the initiative to adjust the Friday lunch hours to enable the civil servants to pray. One would therefore think that the civil servants must be the most God-fearing of the lot in Malaysia. One cannot be faulted in thinking that Malaysia is almost a holy land full of pious citizens.

It seems everyone wants to be saved and every one wants to praise the Lord. What a wonderful nation of ours Malaysia is? We are so God conscious it seems.

With such pious, God- fearing citizens, surely they are all mindful that this is God’s earth and that we are all here to share. Love, peace, sharing, giving and equitable distribution of wealth. Equal opportunities for all the “children of God”.

We are so God conscious that there is no corruption at all. Our leaders are impeccable. The Muslim ones never forget to praise God before they make a speech.

And look at our priests. They fight for a better environment, better housing, better governance, just laws, education system that cultivates upright and responsible citizens, elimination of poverty, etc. They want to illuminate this country of ours with God’s light of mercy.

How unjust this world will be without these religious experts. They are so relevant in our daily lives.

I wouldn’t like to think that we are encouraging a culture of hypocrisy – saying we love God and behave like satan on earth. Surely, we have the mental ability and the strength of spirit to distinguish between form and substance?

But it puzzles me. I have heard and seen people scream and shout for blood in the name of religion. I have seen deliberate negative discrimination in the name of religion. And I am not just talking of the Muslims. In fact, I have heard of an MP say that he is “muslim first”,whatever that means. Why did he become a muslim (submitter) first before becoming a mukmin (believer)? What do these words mean anyway? Deeds we can evaluate but words…..?

In fact we are so religious that “a chosen few” among us have taken the duty to ensure that it is so even if it means resorting to compulsive measures. These chosen few will “guide” you to think how they “think”. When “guidance” fails, they will compel you for your own good. It does not matter that you are an adult above the age of 40 and have been maintaining a family well and that you are in a position of responsible decision making in your career. When it comes to religion, these chosen few are the experts. What a wonderful holy land we have!

This almost holy land ours is truly the 8th wonder of the world. Don’t you think?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Mirror


If you have no love and mercy in your heart,
how can you claim to love God?

If you have no compassion and empathy,
why do you expect God to emphatise with you?

If you have no forgiving spirit,
why would you want God to forgive you?

If you are a tyrant in your ways,
your beliefs and your actions,
why do you expect God to shower you with His kindness?

If you live a life of only taking,
why would you expect God not to take it away?

If you do not want to understand the diverse colours
and languages that God created,
why do you expect God to understand you?

If you steal in creative ways,
why do you expect God to keep the wealth in your possession?

If you live a life of deceiving others,
why you do expect not to be deceived by your own self?

If you destroy lives in creative ways,
why do you expect your loved ones to be safe?

If, as a mere transient mortal you are arrogant,
why should not God humble you?

If you are forever distinguishing yourself above others,
why should God not differentiate you below others?

Are we forever asking but never doing?
Are we forever saving other souls, never our own?
Are we forever being religious but never a human being?
Are we forever form but never substance?

Let the mirror speak,
for it is enough as a witness
against us.


-jahamy

Friday, November 14, 2008

SATU MAHKAMAH - SISTEM KEADILAN MALAYSIA

Surat khabar melaporkan bahawa bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Abdul hamid Mohamad mencadangkan percantuman mahkamah sivil serta mahkamah syariah. Jahamy telah menulis pada tahun 2005 didalam berita harian bahawa kita perlu wujudkan satu sistem keadilan di Malaysia didalam berita harian. Artikel nya berikut:-

“Satu Mahkamah mantap” sistem keadilan Malaysia
Oleh Jahamy (Berita Harian bertarikh 19hb April 2005)

KITA di Malaysia seolah-olah mempunyai dua sistem kehakiman yang 'tidak sehaluan' iaitu Mahkamah Sivil dan Syariah. Ada sesetengah menyangka sesuatu tidak Islamik dan satu lagi Islamik. Ini mewujudkan tanggapan seolah-olah dalam keadaan tertentu kita ke mahkamah bukan Islam dan ketika lain pula ke mahkamah Islam! Adakah tanggapan ini benar?

Artikel 3 Perlembagaan Persekutuan memperuntukkan bahawa: 'Agama Islam ialah agama bagi Persekutuan'. Ini bermakna Persekutuan mempunyai obligasi untuk memberi kesan kepada peruntukkan dalam al-Quran serta Sunnah Rasulullah SAW. Namun, perkara ini tidak boleh dikelirukan dengan bidang kuasa Mahkamah Syariah seperti yang wujud kini. Dalam perkataan lain, bukan Mahkamah Syariah saja yang bertanggungjawab melaksanakan undang-undang bertepatan dengan prinsip keadilan al-Quran.

Mahkamah Sivil serta forum keadilan lain (contohnya tribunal pengguna)juga Bertanggungjawab dan memang mereka pada amnya sudah dan sedang menjalankan tanggungjawab ini. Setiap hari, Mahkamah Sivil sibuk mendengar dan memutuskan pelbagai pertikaian individu, syarikat dan jenayah. Perkara ini berlaku sejak kita
merdeka dan dalam suasana Mahkamah Syariah masih pada peringkat awal.

Sumbangan serta kepentingan Mahkamah Sivil sebagai satu forum keadilan dalam masyarakat tidak dapat dipertikaikan oleh sesiapa pun. Jika kita mengkaji pelbagai aspek undang-undang yang dihakimi Mahkamah Sivil, kita dapati ia bertepatan atau tidak bercanggah dengan ajaran al-Quran.

Memang ada undang-undang tertentu yang masih lemah, perlu diubah suai atau dibuang. Ini ialah proses pembaikan dan pembaharuan undang-undang yang perlu dipikul Parlimen.
Di samping itu, boleh dikatakan hampir majoriti hakim Mahkamah Sivil ialah mereka yang beriman kepada ajaran Islam, maka adalah merunsingkan bagi hakim ini jika benar Mahkamah Sivil bukan Islamik. Sebagai Muslim, mereka juga wajib beriman kepada surah al-Qalam ayat 36 hingga 38 yang bermaksud:

"Mengapa kamu ini? Bagaimana kamu membuat keputusan? Atau adakah kamu mempunyai sebuah kitab yang kamu mempelajarinya, sesungguhnya di dalamnya kamu dapat memilih apa yang kamu ingini?"

Jelas kita dikehendaki menghakimi atau membuat keputusan menurut prinsip atau panduan ditetapkan Allah SWT. Perkara ini amat penting kerana berkait langsung dengan Keimanan. Seorang yang sengaja tidak mahu menghakimi menurut petunjuk ditetapkan
Allah boleh tergolong dalam kategori kafir atau fasik. Kita boleh mengambil pengajaran daripada Surah al-Maidah ayat 44 yang bermaksud:

"... maka jangan kamu takut kepada manusia dan takutilah Aku dan jangan menjual ayatKu untuk harga yang sedikit. Sesiapa yang tidak menghakimkan menurut apa yang Allah turunkan, maka mereka itulah orang yang kafir."

Begitu juga mereka yang tidak menghakimi menurut perintah yang ditetapkan Allah boleh tergolong dalam fasik (al-Maidah: 47) atau zalim (al-Maidah: 45). Kafir, fasik dan zalim bukan perkara remeh. Tidak guna menjadi hakim yang hebat dan disegani tetapi tidak memperoleh keredaan Allah, apatah lagi keistimewaan di dunia itu hilang selepas bersara. Oleh kerana kesan yang berat ini, kita harus jelas mengenai kedudukan
Mahkamah Sivil terutama kerana ramai hakimnya Muslim. Persoalan sama ada Mahkamah Sivil menegakkan keadilan adalah isu pokok yang harus difikirkan kerana Allah berfirman bahawa menegakkan keadilan bererti mendekati sifat takwa:

"Hai orang yang beriman, hendaklah kamu jadi orang yang menegakkan
(kebenaran) kerana Allah, menjadi saksi yang adil. Janganlah kebencian kamu kepada sesuatu kaum mendorong kamu untuk berlaku tidak adil, Berlaku adillah kerana adil itu lebih dekat kepada takwa dan bertakwalah kepada Allah; sesungguhnya Allah mengetahui apa yang kamu kerjakan".

Sejak merdeka, Mahkamah Sivil mengendalikan pelbagai kes dengan sejujur dan seamanah mungkin. Mahkamah ini sudah memberi makna kepada pelbagai akta diluluskan Parlimen yang memberi kesan terhadap pelbagai lapisan rakyat.

Memang ada kelemahan dalam proses sistem keadilan itu seperti kelengahan. Perkara ini diakui Ketua Hakim Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz. Oleh itu, apabila beliau mengambil alih jawatan berkenaan, antara arahan utama beliau ialah mempercepatkan proses Keadilan.Kebanyakan peguam mengakui usaha beliau itu bukan saja berjaya, malah berkesan mengurangkan penderitaan mereka yang menunggu keadilan.

Adilkah jika Ketua Hakim Negara dianggap sebagai 'ketua sistem sekular' dengan konotasinya yang kurang sedap? Ketua Hakim Negara termasuk hakim lain ialah contoh manusia yang usaha bertakwa semampu mereka, sepatutnya.

Kita harus memulakan reformasi undang-undang secara menyeluruh (sivil dan syariah) untuk mengemaskinikan peruntukkan undang-undang yang bercanggah dengan keadilan.
Cara penyelesaiannya bukan dengan mengimport dari Timur Tengah atau 'negara Islam' yang diistilahkan syariah. Bukan semua yang dinamakan syariah bertepatan dengan al-Quran dan Sunnah seperti bukan semua yang diistilahkan 'sivil' itu bercanggah.

Sebagai contoh, Kanun Keseksaan Syariah Nigeria ditiru bulat-bulat daripada Kanun Keseksaan Malaysia dengan beberapa pindaan. Begitu juga undang-undang hudud di Terengganu, ditiru daripada undang-undang gubalan Pakistan.

Semua sumber itu perlu dibandingkan dengan al-Quran iaitu sumber yang diakui pertama oleh semua fuqaha. Banyak contoh forum keadilan yang tidak tergolong dalam sistem Mahkamah Syariah boleh diberikan - Mahkamah Perindustrian, tribunal perumahan,
pengguna, Mahkamah Buruh dan sebagainya.

Semua forum ini adalah forum untuk menuntut keadilan dan pada amnya mereka menjalankan kerja dengan penuh amanah serta mentadbir keadilan. Mereka berada di bawah satu payung sistem keadilan. Adalah tidak tepat dan mengelirukan untuk menamakan forum ini sebagai sekular atau tidak Islamik. Masalah besar umat Muslim kini ialah perangkap istilah, kulit dan bahasa yang hampir membutakan kita terhadap
inti pati sesuatu perkara atau keadaan - budaya terpesona dengan kulit daripada menghayati isi.

Sejak merdeka sehingga kini, tidak ada seorang pun mufti negeri yang mengeluarkan fatwa bahawa Mahkamah Sivil tidak bersesuaian dengan Islam atau sistem kafir. Ini tentu bermakna mereka juga mengakui Mahkamah Sivil mempunyai unsur Islam seperti Mahkamah Syariah.

Jika ini keadaannya, mengapa diwujudkan dua sistem keadilan sedangkan kedua-duanya Islamik? Pada masa sama, pengekalan dua sistem kehakiman yang berasingan juga mengelirukan mereka yang jahil berkaitan Islam.

Islam adalah cara hidup yang menyeluruh (syumul) dan merangkumi segala aspek kehidupan. Jika kita terima sistem kehakiman sivil adalah Islamik, maka usaha harus dilakukan untuk mencantumkan kedua-dua sistem sivil dan syariah supaya wujud sistem keadilan Malaysia.

Sistem sivil dibahagikan kepada beberapa bahagian seperti sivil, dagang dan keluarga. Melalui cara sama, kita boleh wujudkan beberapa bahagian bagi undang-undang khusus membabitkan perundangan Islam seperti undang-undang keluarga di bawah satu payung - iaitu sistem keadilan Malaysia.

Memang diakui usaha ke arah itu tidak mudah kerana pelbagai perkara perlu diteliti dan diambil kira. Namun, jika usaha ini memanfaatkan pentadbiran keadilan serta memperbetulkan kekeliruan terhadap Islam, kita harus lakukannya dengan mengetepikan sebarang agenda peribadi serta prejudis.

Kita mempunyai seorang Yang di-Pertuan Agong, seorang Perdana Menteri dan satu negara Malaysia. Amat bertepatan kita mempunyai hanya satu sistem keadilan iaitu sistem keadilan Malaysia yang menepati kehendak al-Quran dan Sunnah.

TAMAT

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MENJAGA AKIDAH

Menurut fahaman agama Yahudi, “akedah” merujuk kepada peristiwa dalam Bible (Genesis 22: 1-19) dimana Nabi Ibrahim mengikat atau “binds” anaknya Issac sebelum hendak mengorbannya tetapi pengorbanan ini dihentikan oleh malaikat. Dalam pemikiran tradisi Yahudi, akedah juga digunakan sebagai asas kepercayaan yang kuat dimana penganut sanggup mengorbankan nyawa untuk agama (Kiddush Ha-Shem). Perbincangan konsep akedah ini dikalangan sarjana Yahudi menimbulkan perbincangan mengenai kepercayaan buta tuli berbanding pemilihan moral.

Perkataan “akidah”, seperti yang digunakan dalam negara kita, dari sudut istilah ialah kepercayaan yang pasti dan keputusan yang muktamat yang tidak bercampur dengan syak wasangka. Dalam konteks ahhul sunnah wal jamaah, ianya difahamkan sebagai kerpercayaan serta keakuran kepada ajaran-ajaran yang terkandung didalam Al-Quran, Sunnah., ijmak, dan qias (“empat sumber usul al-fiqh”). Ijmak dan qias yang dimaksudkan ialah ijmak dan qias ulama-ulama sunnah wal jamaah yang diiktiraf.

Sesuatu perbuatan atau perlakuan yang bercanggah dengan ajaran daripada empat sumber tadi boleh dianggap sebagai mencabar akidah, terutama sekiranya ia boleh menjejaskan kepercayaan. Sebagai contoh, mengatakan bahawa Tuhan tidak wujud kerana ini dianggap boleh menjejaskan akidah bahawa Tuhan itu wujud.

Dalam Negara kita, terdapat usaha-usaha serius yang diambil oleh pihak berkuasa agama untuk menjaga akidah orang Islam supaya tidak terpesong atau lari daripada fahaman ahhul sunnah wal-jamaah. Fahaman-fahaman daripada shiah, ahmadiyyah dan selainnya yang juga mendakwa sebagai bersumberkan Al-Quran dan Sunnah dianggap sebagai terkeluar daripada “akidah Islam”.

Siapa kah yang menentukan samada sesuatu perkara atau perbuatan itu menjejas akidah? Seperti mana yang masyarakat semakin sedar, salah satu badan yang membuat keputusan sedemikian ialah Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan dibawah Jabatan Perdana Menteri yang boleh mengeluarkan fatwa-fatwa. Begitu juga dengan Mufti-mufti Negeri yang boleh mengeluarkan suatu fatwa. Apabila suatu fatwa itu digazet mengikut perundangan, ia nya menjadi sebahagian daripada undang-undang syariah yang mana pelanggaran nya boleh mengakibatkan seseorang itu dihukum dengan denda atau penjara. Namun, bukan semua fatwa digazet.

Daripada perbincangan diatas, jelas bahawa selain daripada “undang-undang sivil”, rakyat beragama Islam juga tertakluk kepada undang-undang syariah serta diperlukan untuk mematuhi fatwa-fatwa yang dikeluarkan. Ini bermakna selain daripada undang-undang sivil terdapat pelbagai undang-undang yang mengikat and mengatur kehidupan seorang Muslim berbanding dengan yang bukan Muslim. Majoriti Muslim di dalam Negara kita ialah Melayu. Ini bermakna bangsa Melayu mempunyai lebih banyak undang-undang yang mengikatnya berbanding bukan Melayu.


Undang-undang sivil di luluskan oleh Parlimen setelah didebat . Rakyat berpeluang untuk mengambil bahagian didalam meluluskan suatu Akta melalui wakil rakyat mereka. Suatu rang undang-undang di maklumkan kepada rakyat supaa tidank balas daripada pelbagai lapisan rakyat boleh diperolehi. Kadang-kala kita tahu bahawa ada beberapa rang undang-undang dipinda atau ditarik balik apabila ada bantahan besar daripada rakyat. Bagaimana dengan undang-undang syariah yang diluluskan serta fatwa-fatwa yang dikeluarkan?

Ada kah anda tahu bagaimana ia nya dikeluarkan dan sama ada anda mempunyai peranan didalam penggubalan nya? Saya percaya persoalan ini penting kerana fatwa-fatwa dikeluarkan diatas nama “agama” maka ia nya dikeluarkan diatas nama Allah. Sebagai seorang Muslim tentu sekali anda mempunyai tanggungjawap untuk menilai fatwa yang dikeluarkan? Perkara ini jelas daripada surah Al-Israa ayat 36 dimana Allah berfirman, yang maksud nya:

“Dan janganlah kamu turut apa yang kamu tidak ada ilmu padanya. Sesungguhnya pendengaran, penglihatan dan hati, semuanya akan ditanya”.

Ayat diatas saya anggap sebagai membuahkan sikap yang membolehkan seseorang itu mengawal dan menjaga kepercayaan nya sendiri. Tanpa usul periksa atau sikap percaya buta tuli boleh memesongkan kita daripada jalan yang benar. Sebagai contoh, kaum ahlul sunnah wal jamaah menolak fahaman kaum shiah. Bagaimana mungkin seorang sunnah wal jamaah dapat menilai suatu perkara kalau ia tidak, antara lain, menyelidk samada ulama yang bercakap itu shiah atau sunnah wal jamaah?

Tidak harus juga kah Muslim yang takut kepada Allah menilai bagi diri nya suatu pandangan yang dikeluarkan oleh mana-mana ulama agama dengan merujuk kepada Al-Quran dan sunnah? Kita memang akur, undang-undang boleh digubal bagi memaksa seorang rakyat mematuhi sesuatu fatwa atau pandangan sesuatu majlis atau kumpulan. Ini kita akur. Persoalan yang ditimbulkan ialah berkaitan dengan amaran jelas yang diberikan oleh Allah didalam surah Al An’aam ayat 94 yang bermaksud:

“Dan demi sesungguhnya, kamu tetap datang kepada Kami dengan bersendirian, sebagaimana Kami jadikan kamu pada mulanya; dan kamu tinggalkan di belakang kamu apa yang telah Kami kurniakan kepada kamu; dan Kami tidak melihat beserta kamu penolong-penolong kamu yang kamu anggap bahawa mereka ialah sekutu Allah di kalangan kamu. Sesungguhnya, telah putuslah perhubungan antara kamu (dengan mereka), dan hilang lenyaplah daripada kamu apa yang dahulu kamu anggap dan sifatkan (memberi manfaat)”

Maka jelas bahawa ayat diatas meletakkan tangungjawap diri keatas diri sendiri. Kita tidak boleh berdolak dalih dengan Pencipta bahawa kita mengikuti pandangan pakar atau kumpulan “yang lebih mengetahui” jika apa yang diikuti itu tidak seiras dengan ajaran Islam.

Saya dapati bahawa sejak 20 tahun kebelakangan ini selari dengan lebih banyak graduan daripada pusat pengajian Islam yang keluar, lebih banyak langkah diambil bagi “menjaga akidah” orang Melayu.

Memang kita perlu pandangan kumpulan yang berpendidikan, namun ada kah bermakna bahawa segala pemikiran yang dicetuskan oleh graduan universiti semesti nya sesuatu yang lahir daripada proses pemikiran yang bersih dan tepat?

Persoalan keduanya ialah adakah pendikikan Islam kita gagal sehingga Melayu sentiasa memerlukan perundangan dalam semua hal untuk membantu mereka tidak sesat? Kita lihat yang bukan Melayu yang bukan Islam masih menganuti agama mereka tanpa sebarang faktor undang-undang untuk memastikan “akidah” mereka tidak terpesong. Niat saya disini bukan lah untuk meremehkan fatwa atau pandangan pemikir yang jitu. Memang ada perkara-perkara kompleks yang memerlukan kajian dan pemekiran yang mendalam bagi membantu umat. Sebagai contoh didalam mengenal pasti bahan-bahan kimia yang mungkin tercampur benda-benda haram.

Namun, adakah kita mahu memperbudakkan diri kita dalam semua hal? Kita tidak ada kata putus didalam kehidupan sendiri berdasarkan usaha pemahaman Al-Quran?

Monday, October 27, 2008

DEEPAVALI OPEN HOUSE AT FRIENDS’

THAT is one the many beauties of Malaysia - diversity of culture. Hence, there is a year long celebration of God’s creativity and mercy.

Today I was at Bala’s and Dr Maha’s open house. At both places, opportunity arose to meet up with old friends and make new ones. I have always loved the mingling of people from different cultures and religions, celebrating as humans. And the food, of course, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me!

Picture paints a thousand words.

The first photo is Bala. Looking serious as always but in reality a charming gentleman. Then comes Sanjeevan his son and his wife in the background. The third photo shows Sharmila, Bala's daughter who is also the fastest "sms person" in this part of the world. Er...you can see she is busy at it again!

After Bala,s house, I was off to Maha's, who is also my dentist (ouch!). That's him looking like an Indian Maharaja in the photo!

Bala and Maha - thank you for the invite. May God bless you both and your families always.

All these Raya, Chinese new year, Deepavali and Christmas open houses always reminds me of the verse from the Quran which says:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Indeed the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Quran: chapter 49 verse 13’)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Majlis Sambutan Aidil Fitri Yayasan Restu - Unique experience



I had the honour of attending the Yayasan Restu “raya open house” at their complex in Taman Seni Islam, Shah Alam. The large throng of guests that came – ordinary people, dignitaries, Muslims and non-muslims, locals and international guests – certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. There seemed be an air of festivity.

It was an “open house” with a difference because there were lots of things to do at the Complex. Quite apart from the free flowing food, the guests took the opportunity to visit the three galleries housed in the complex. The Restu Foundation owns three galleries which form Museum al-Quran Mushaf Malaysia displaying a number of hand-illuminated and copies of Qurans produced by their staff including various types of Islamic artistic products such as calligraphy products, Islamic craft and souvenirs.

The guests were entertained by live nasyid performances in the open arena. The auditorium was packed with guests listening to the mesmersing voice of the popular Ustad Akhil Hayy.

Dato’ Abdul Latif Mirasa, Chairman of Restu Foundation, was his usual humble and jovial self playing host to the guests, taking dignitaries around explaining the concepts and the displays in the galleries. He explained that Islamic art is a message of exceptional beauty where its pillars are driven from the beautiful words of al- Quran. He expressed gratitude that his dream that started in 1987 of publishing locally designed Al-Quran became a reality in 1999. To date they have also published two translations of the al-Quran –one in Malay and the other in English. The complex also houses Restu College which offers various courses in Islamic calligraphic arts.

Restu Publications has a successful record of producing different translation of al-Quran internationally and exegesis such that it has now become the 2nd most important al-Quran printing centre after King Fahd complex for printing al-Quran in Madinah.

All in all it was an interesting
open house
with a difference!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HAPPY DEEPAVALI !

A colorful festival that is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide is Deepavali, which is also known as the festival of lights. One important practice that the Hindus follow during the festival is to light oil lamps in their homes on Deepavali morning. By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received.

There is even an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil!

The day of Deepavali is a constant reminder that one must forever strive against evil so that good can triumph.

SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA wrote:

“Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority are as dark as the night of the new moon. The house is lit with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of ignorance. O man! wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realise the constant and eternal light of the Soul which neither rises nor sets, through meditation and deep enquiry”.

I wish all the Hindu visitors: HAPPY DEEPAVALI.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

ARE WE READY TO DISCUSS RELIGION?


There are many definitions of religion. However, it is generally agreed that religion represents a belief in a supernatural being that controls the human destiny, has a belief system which includes a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices pertaining to the supernatural power, .places of worship, religious rituals, priests, “sacred scriptures” and such.

The word “religion” is derived from the Latin word "religio" which carries the meaning of “a way of seeing, thinking, and acting inspired by questions about what things mean: ie Where did we come from?, What is our destiny?, What is true?, What is false?, What is my duty or obligation?, What is the meaning of suffering? Thus the Latin meaning is “inquiry prone” while the current understanding of it is definitive.

Religion may modify and influence the conduct and life of a person even in matters such as food, clothing and interaction between people.

In matters of food for example, some religious beliefs restrict the consumption of beef, some the consumption of pork and some other prohibit meat altogether. Some religions prohibit the consumption of meat that died of its own accord, blood and such.

In matters of clothing for example, you have religions that encourage certain kinds of modes of dressing among the adherents. Almost all religions have their own standard mode of dressing for their priests – bare cheated, robes, hats, caps or turbans, white, green, brown or yellow color, hoods, woman with hair coverings (like nuns for example), bald headed, unshaven head and chin, and such. Such clothing and manner of maintaining the hair are taught as essentials elements of the respective religions.




In matters of interaction with people, it may affect the nature, degree and depth of relationships. For example, some religions prohibit marriages between its adherents and others. Segregation in schools may occur during certain periods to enable the adherents to attend special sessions. Segregation between sexes in public may occur.

From the foregoing discussion, one who faithfully adheres and accepts the features (1) to (6) of their respective religion in the above diagram may be considered being a religious person.

Though the details certainly differ, in comparative religion discussions and analysis, it is important to understand that in terms of the general characteristic features, they share a commonality as shown in the diagram. With this as a premise, it is then possible to discuss point by point in each religion for comparative study purposes.

For example, under point (1), one may ask: what kind of supernatural being does religion A teach and how is it similar or different from that taught by religion B. By doing this, we avoid being caught in semantics by using the confusing one word – “God” which is unhelpful because it has acquired differing meanings over the years. I know I am guilty of this myself in the title of his blog but I had intended it to be user-friendly and am aware that simplicity always does not reflect the exact truth. For the serious thinker, of course, he wants to embark on a more specific, accurate inquiry with due regard to the reasoning process.

In the discussion of “God”, for instance, we have heard and read various concepts – “Yahweh”, “gods”, “Allah”, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost”, “Brahma, Vishnu”, “Odin”, “Buddha” and so on. Even in such a classification, there are debates and disputes as to whether a particular character is “god” or “God” or neither. Without going into details here, the point to note is that each concept has a unique understanding. Each understanding affects the world view of the adherent uniquely.

I have also heard the concept of the “secular God”. This concept accepts the existence of a Creator without having to accept any of the religious doctrines. According to this concept, the existence of God is natural and self-evident. His signs are said to be self-evident in nature to the knowledgeable. Those who reason are able to differentiate the evil and goodness in nature and, strive to emulate the goodness and reject the evil.

Another example: The discussion may take place at point (3). Each religion has its own source – founder, prophet, thinkers, or even “God” Himself. They have different holy books and scriptures. The sources may be compared for similarities or differences. They may be studied comparatively and judged against the “yardstick of reason”, if that is possible.

The holy books, themselves may be examined as objectively as possible to determine whether it satisfies its claim to have originated from a supernatural force or a “divine being”. Granted, there may be certain aspects of the belief system that does not permit the use of reason but there must be other aspect where reason may be applied in the inquiry.

In any inquiry or comparative religious discussions, one of the most important pre-requisite is the willingness and ability to discuss objectively with the view of ascertaining the “truth” as far as is possible. There are other pre-requisites, of course, including factors such as clarity of mind and reasoning process, lack of prejudice and biasness, no hidden or ulterior motives, and the strength to be able to agree to disagree without animosity.

In conclusion, I would like to share two verses from the Quran:

“Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a word
that went forth before from your Lord, their differences would have been settled
between them”. [Quran 10:19]

“Say: "O God! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of all that is hidden and open! it is You that will judge between your servants in those matters about which they have differed." [Quran 39:46]

THE END.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guna Akal dibenarkan?


Otak. Satu organ yang sangat penting. Daripada otak, kita mampu berfikir. Daripada pemikiran kita, mampu mencetuskan pelbagai realiti. Bagi setiap individu, realiti atau kebenaran adalah apa yang dikecapi atau difikirkan olehnya. Maka, kalau pemikirannya cacat, cacatlah realiti yang dicipta oleh nya.

Sebagai contoh, ada orang yang minat membaca. Kita pangil dia Syed Ahmad.Padanya, realiti hidup nya ialah membaca menyeronakkan serta membantu beliau memahami kehidupan dengan lebih jelas. Ia pula gembira dapat memahami kehidupan dengan lebih jelas. Ada pula yang malas membaca. Kita panggil dia Syed Bengap. Padanya realiti ialah membaca membuang masa. “Berfikir mengenai perkara-perkara tertenu mebuang masa”. “Apa guna ilmu kerana itu semua teori”. Ini realiti hidup nya yang lahir daripada pemikiran beliau.

Dalam kehidupan, siSyed Ahmad dan siSyed Bengap akan bertembung. Sebenarnya, banyak Ahmad dan Bengap didalam kehidupan. Bayangkan bagaimana kedua-dua ini akan berinteraksi sesama mereka? Bengap pasti tidak dapat faham apa yang diutarakan oleh Ahmad – dalam banyak hal.

Andaikan pula siBengap berjaya menduduki jawatan yang penting didalam masyarakat. Ekoran beliau tidak boleh berfikir secara mendalam, maka tindakan yang diambil olehnya tentulah bersifat jangka pendek dengan kesan buruk jangka panjang. Perkara ini dinampak oleh Ahmad dan beliau menegur Bengap serta disusuli dengan cadangan alternatif. Apa reaksi mungkin oleh Bengap?

Kalau Bengap seorang yang bodoh tetapi sedar tahap diri, ia akan menilai cadangan Ahmad. Bagaimana pula kalau Bengap itu seorang yang bodoh sombong serta egoistik? Tentu sekali Ahmad akan mendapat kesusahan. Ia akan dituduh sebagai pengacau, pembantut kemajuan dan sebagainya. Ia mungkin juga dituduh sebagai subversof yang cuba untuk memporak-perandakan masyarakat. Lagi pun, kalau Ahmad pandai sangat, mengapa pula Bengap yang berjawatan lebih tinggi? Ketinggian jawatan dan jumlah harta benda akan dinilai sbegai melambangkan ketinggian tahap pemikiran atau kepandaiaan.

Apabila Ahmad yang pandai itu disusahkan oleh bengap-Bengap dalam dunia, maka Ahmad-ahmad lain pun akan mula berpura-pura menjadi bengap. Lama kelamaan, kebengapan menjadi budaya dominan dalam masyarakat. Kebengapan menjadi nilai atau realiti yang baik dan kepandaiaan menjadi nilai yang buruk atau tidak realistik.

Dan yang akan menjadi pemimpin bukahlah yang pandai tetapi yang kurang bengap. Prinsip ini terpakai didalam segenap aspek kehidupan manusia, samada politik, agama, ekonomi dan lain-lain. Ia bermula dengan pengharaman penggunaan akal.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SALAM AIDIL FITRI

I wish all of you a "Selamat Aidil Fitri" and "happy holidays".


Dalam kita merayakan aidil fitri dengan jamuan rumah terbuka dan sebagainya, ramai di Negara kita serta di merata dunia yang hidup dan tidur di kawasan terbuka kerana miskin.

Dalam kita sibuk untuk memastikan anak-anak kita dapat baju raya yang cantik, baru dan berkualiti, ramai kanak-kanak di dunia yang tidak berbaju. Saya percaya dalam saat ini pun ada ramai kanak-kanak yang sengsara serta tidak tahu di mana mereka berada ekoran sindiket syaitan penculikan kanak-kanak.

Dalam kita memikirkan lauk apa, hidangan apa yang akan kita sajikan kepada keluarga kita, ramai di dunia ini yang tidak tahu bila mereka akan berkesempatan makan.

Dalam kita sibuk berceramah dan memberi nasihat yang tidak perlu oleh tokoh-tokoh yang mempertokohkan diri atau dipertokohkan oleh masyarakat yang lemah jiwa, ramai manusia menanti bantuan praktikal yang membolehkan mereka meringkan keperitan kehidupan.

Dalam kita berhari raya dan tokoh agama sibuk berbincang samada kongsi raya itu “mencabar akidah” atau “melanggar agama”, ramai manusia daif di merata dunia lebih memerlukan pengorbanan harta tokoh-tokoh agama ini untuk menikmati sedikit sesuap makanan.

Dalam kita berhar raya, janganlah kita lupa diri sehingga kita terpaksa di peringati dengan berkesan oleh Maha Pencipta.

Salam hidup.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Believe in ALL Gods , Just in case????

This is a cool video for the weekend. I found it rather interesting and amusing. This guy is so paranoid about entering heaven, he is not taking any chances - he believes is ALL - just in case! Enjoy

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mufti Perlis: ISA tidak diperlukan untuk bela ajaran Islam

Oleh: ZIEMAN

Mufti Perlis, Dr Asri Zainul Abidin hari ini menegur tindakan kerajaan menggunakan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dalam isu agama dan mengheret pengendali laman web Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Kamarudin dan Ahli Parlimen DAP Seputeh, Teresa Kok yang masih ditahan di bawah peruntukan akta itu.

Ketika ditemui di Damansara Kim sebentar tadi, Dr Asri berkata, Islam dibina dari hujah dan dasar yang jelas, dan Islam juga tidak memerlukan ISA untuk membela ajarannya.

“Jadi tidak ada alasan untuk menahan orang dengan tidak memberi peluang membela diri. Ini adalah satu tindakan yang salah. Sekiranya orang itu mempunyai kesalahan dari segi hukum agama, buktikan dari segi dalil-dalil agama.

“Cara kita tangkap orang guna ISA atas kesalahan agama tidak akan menghilangkan salahfaham terhadap Islam. Seharusnya diperjelaskan dulu apa kesalahan itu. Kalau misalnya orang itu menghina Islam atau menyeleweng, buktikan dulu berdasarkan Quran dan hadis.

“Perlu diperdengarkan pertuduhan itu kepada orang yang dituduh itu. Mungkin juga, ia hanya satu salah faham. Yang penting perdengarkan dulu hujahnya,” kata Mufti yang terkenal dengan kelantangannya mengeluarkan idea yang berani dan telus itu.

Kata Dr Asri lagi, “Islam bukan agama yang bacul. Perbuatan ISA kerana kesalahan agama seolah-olah menggambarkan orang Islam tidak mampu berhujah, terus tangkap orang. Mereka akan kata mereka benar kerana kita takut berhujah dengan dia.”

Beliau juga turut mengingatkan betapa bahayanya tindakan ISA.

“Sekiranya ada aliran-aliran tertentu dalam kerajaan yang tidak setuju dengan pendapat satu aliran yang lain, adakah ruang ISA juga akan digunakan? Pernah berlaku dalam kerajaan Abbasiyah yang berpegang pada aliran Muktazilah ketika itu. Dia menghukum orang daripada aliran lain termasuk Imam-imam besar seperti Imam Ahmad juga turut dihukum.

“Kalau di zaman ini, mereka yang kendalikan agama itu dari aliran lain maka mereka yang dari aliran lain itu akan dihukum tanpa memberi peluang membela diri. Ini juga tidak sejajar dengan konsep keadilan dalam Islam,” kata Dr Asri lagi.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BookIntro2: Speaking In God’s Name.


This is a brilliant book. Brilliant. When I first read the book, I was simply mesmerized with the mental ability of Prof Khaled to express his thoughts with such clarity and accuracy. Whether you are agree or disagree with his views, you will be compelled to admit that his arguments are sound and worth serious thinking. Obviously tremendous amount of thinking and research has gone into writing this book. I also admire his scholastic courage and honesty.

This challenging book reviews the ethical foundations of the Islamic legal system, suggesting that an authoritarian reading of scripture has often had grave consequences for parts of Muslim society. Khaled argues that divinely ordained law is frequently misinterpreted by Muslim authorities at the expense of certain groups especially women. Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University correctly describes this book as “a bold and courageous engagement of authoritarian interpretations of Muslim teachings. Not only does the author confront these teachings, but he also advocates alternative interpretations”.

Those who are interested in examining the foundations and thinking behind interpretative rules and the basis thereof will find this book immensely enlightening. A must read book for anyone who wants to talk on Islam.

Khaled Abou El Fadi studied Islamic Law in Egypt and Kuwait and has degrees from Pennsylvania, Yale and Princeton. He has served on a variety of committees for Human Rights and has published several books and articles.

I have not come across any local Islamic scholar whose mental ability comes close to that of Khaled’s – unless there is one hiding somewhere. It is just sad that most of our local scholars are merely juristic (“fiqhi”) and even that, at a repetitious and taqlid level. I strongly suspect it is because the culture of knowledge and inquiry is suppressed in our country.

The powers that be are content to make averages or below averages of Malaysians.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Delusions of Collective Consensus.

There are just too many things in our mind that are delusional, that even before we start to think, we have to “clean our mind out first”. Just too many things. Lets try to consider one today - the idea of consensus.

I feel that today, “consensus” is one of those words that have received unchecked respect. Probably because it has served well some groups over the years for some ‘practical purposes’, it has come on to ten top ten list of “values to market”. What is consensus anyway?

We understand consensus to mean agreement. But please go further. It means an agreement among the members of a group or community where some of them retain the discretion in decision-making and follow-up action. So, consensus does not just mean agreement. It includes a follow-up action to ensure that the agreement is not breached.

AT the outset itself please understand that consensus has nothing to do with logic or rationality or common sense though sometimes they may coincide. From example, we may form a chatting club called “Nut crackers” and reach a consensus that only males aged between 35 and 50 from Penang can become members. We also reach a consensus that each member will greet the other with the gibberish “Ajija!”. If anyone ask us why, we just reply because we are Nut cracker members. Consensus requires no rational reason.

Consensus must be artificially created otherwise the desired conduct will not exist. Example, members must agree to call each other Ajija!” otherwise that conduct will not exist. On the other hand, we do not need to reach a consensus that the Sun is hot or that the gravity exists. Our consensus or lack thereof does not affect the conduct of the sun and gravity. Knowledge and not consensus that makes us aware of the truth.

What are delusions? It is a word that incorporates “deception”, “fancifulness” and “false”. If something is delusional, we mean it is false and deceptive. A delusional person thinks something is true when actually he has been deceived into thinking so. It is false. In simple language, we become delusional when we are misled into thinking that false is true. In psychiatry, the definition is necessarily more precise and implies that the belief is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process)

With this, let’s consider some thoughts.

Truth does not require consensus for it to be true. Those who deny the truth are either fools or ignorant. I think it is easy to understand so far because I have used easy examples. Let us try something more “complex”.

Let us consider another kind of truth – killing terminates life. It is a truism and you do not need a consensus to verify it. If you do not want to terminate a life, you do not kill. If you kill a human being, that means you want to terminate his life. If you kill an animal, you want to kill its life. These are logical conclusions that follow.

Now you go to war. You kill human beings. If we say you do that because you want to terminate the lives of those whom you kill, you will most probably object and say: “That is not the objective”. Or worse, you may say: “That is the consequence of war or collateral damage” or you may say “they are enemies”. These justifications that meander from the truth are a result of consensus. You have reached a consensus that those whom you kill are not human beings but enemies. Consensus has made us become delusional.

Now you go deer hunting or boar hunting. You kill animals. You do so because you reach a consensus that you are hunting and not killing. The agreed concept of “sports” becomes dominant in your mind and the death of the animals disappears from your consciousness. Consensus has made us become delusional.

There are resources in the world and there are living species that require sufficient amounts of these resources to live. No clean water, we die. Food, clothing, shelter, health are essential for human survival. The opposite of survival is extinction or death. This is the truth. If we deny or allow the denial of these resources to fellow human beings, we allow their extinction or their death. This is true.

But consensus comes in the way of this truth. Consensus makes us delusional.

By consensus, we agree that the theory of “survival of the fittest” shall apply. We agree that persons can own property and once owned the owners can do what they like with it. We also agree that resources can be owned by those who have the means to own them. We agree that “human wants are unlimited and the means to satisfy these wants are limited”. Our delusional mind has equalized the concept of “wants” with “greed” without realizing it.

Hence, you have persons owning a 1000 sq feet bathroom while many others sleep in the open air. Hence you have persons who have food stock up for the next 20 lifetimes while some others cannot find food for 20 days. But we have reached a consensus that it is okay. We even have agreed terms for it “hard core poverty”, “third world countries”, “income differentials”, etc. Once ‘termed’, it becomes an “issue”, no longer real. Once ‘termed’, we become delusional and hence indifferent to the deprivation suffered by other species, including human beings.

Truth does not require a majority vote for it to be a truth. It simply exists. You deny it at your own peril. Falsity requires a majority vote because without consensus, it will not come into being. This is what the Quran says:

“If you obey the majority of those on this earth, they will lead you far from the Way of Allah. They follow nothing but their imaginations and they do nothing but lie” (surah 6 verse 116).


I have always been wary of collective consensus because I have discovered that it is often untrue. A few persons will collectively agree and decree that is the “accepted value or mode of thinking” to be adopted and large sections of the society unthinkingly adhere to this consensus. Due to the fact that most of these consensuses are false, they only increase further the problems experienced by human beings and the world.

Collective consensus, in my humble view leads to mass delusional behavior. It is like a disease which only gets worse and worse because it is left untreated. This is what the Quran says:

“In their hearts there is a disease and this disease does Allah increase in them, and for them is a painful tormenting because they are false (to themselves). And when it is said to them: ‘Do not do evil on earth’, they say ‘We are but the reformers’. Of a surety they are the ones who do evil, but they realize it not” (surah 2 verses 10 to 12)

So, look out for collectives consensuses masquerading as the truth.

BookIntro1: Translation of the QURAN

Translations from one language to another are by nature a challenging task. Nevertheless, such tasks need to be undertaken if knowledge is to be shared.

One such task was undertaken by a Penangite, the Mufti of Penang, Mr Ghulam Sarwar. He concluded the translation of the Quran while he was in London and published it in 1928. This month, Yayasan Restu launched the reprint of this translation for the first time in Malaysia. It comes in a handy, beautifully designed book form.

Thus far I have gone through about more than 30 translations – both English and Malay – and I will easily vote for this translation as the best. The English is simple, without losing the true meaning, and the sentences are well phrased. For anyone interested in understanding the Quran, I would recommend this piece of translation.

It is available at Selangor Islamic Arts Garden Complex, No. 2A, Persiaran Damai, Seksyen 16, Shah Alam (telephone no: 03-55119001/2/3). This complex, as I understand it welcomes both Muslims and Non-Muslims as it is also a research center.

With so much talk about “the process of Islamisation” going on, reading this translation is the first step to evaluate the process.