Monday, August 12, 2013

The Quran, The Dogs and The Lady

As usual, year in and year out, the entire of the Ramadan would have had many “religious events”. Most of the mosques would have been full of people doing the terawih – the long prayer. One will hope and expect that at the end of such “month of holy activities”, the Malay Muslim community will emerge more compassionate, more responsible for other makhluks of Allah, more aware of what Islam is and hopefully, more aware of what is IN THE QURAN.

My fear and I repeat – my fear only – that for many of the Malay Muslims, life will be back as usual until the next Ramadan comes along to perform the “religious rituals” all over again. I think some are concerned with the “pahala” (whatever that means to the beholder) of the ritual than the substance of what Islam is all about.

It was very disturbing the manner with which Maznah was handcuffed and put into lockup for 2 days simply because she happened to love and care for dogs. This says a lot about those involved in the episode.

It was already shocking (in one sense not shocking because one will not expect any differently from the ignorant) that a few Malay Muslims were chastising her for keeping dogs.  I also saw the video many times. Try as I might, I could not see anything offensive to Islam in that video.

OH my God – Muslims keeping dogs????? Haram ke? All this in Ramadan. Despite all the terawih, no one seems to care what Allah says in the Quran in surah Al Maidah verse 4. I honestly do not know what punishment Allah will visit on those who exert cruelty on others contrary to Allah’s injunctions and decree!

This is what surah Al Maidah verse 4 says with regards to what is lawful (halal) to eat:

‘They ask you what is lawful to them (as food). Say: lawful  for you are (all) things good and pure: and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (mukallibina) (to catch) in the manner  directed to you by Allah: eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account’-(translated by Yusof Ali).

Instead of “hunting animal”, it could very well have been translated as “trained dogs” because of the word “kalb”. So it is lawful to eat what your trained dog has caught for you. However, it is common sense and hygienic to clean the catch before you eat it – you don’t need a scholar to tell you simple things like this!

If dogs were haram or forbidden in Islam why would Allah give the example of righteous youths sleeping in a cave with their dog (surah 18 verse 18 to 22). You and the “religious salaried civil servants” know better or Allah? Some say that it is the view of some “scholars” that dogs are haram. So the scholars know better than Allah?

You would rather accept the views of the scholars than to use your own Allah given brains to accept what the Quran says?

I am generally scared of dogs but I will not allow my fear to proclaim it haram. Let me share a verse from the Quran with you:

“Or do you not reflect that the Companions of the Cave and of the Inscription (Al Raqim) were wonders among Our Sign?” (Quran: 18: 9)

There are many interpretations of Al-Raqim – some say it refers to an inscription, some say it is the name of the mountain where the cave is and some say it is the name of the dog. It is also said that the name of the dog is traditionally known as Qitmir.

If you are a Muslim and you sincerely accept the Quran, you can easily accept what Allah says in the Quran:

“You would have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if you had come up on to them, you would have certainly turned back from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with terror of them” (Quran 18:18)

Allah is giving an example of some youths who were keeping a dog. This dog accompanied them while they were sleeping. These youths are not some normal youths from some sekolah agama or some graduan kelulusan pengajian Islam who are too eager to show off the things they have memorised from there for fame or money or position.

Who are these youths? Allah tells us in surah 18 verse 13 as follows:

“We relate to you their story in truth: they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance” (Quran 18:13).

Can you not understand or is there some seal over your heart? These youths are believers whom Allah has advanced them in guidance. This is certification from Allah about these youths, not certification from some man made university teaching man made syllabuses based on their understanding.

These youths who are believers and are advanced in guidance had a dog. You think Allah tells us this for nothing? You think Allah does not know that in the future some Mullah from somewhere will teach otherwise and call dogs haram?

Why do you think that Allah mentions the youths keeping dog a further 3 times in the following verse?

(Quran 18: 22). “(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth,- doubtfully guessing at the unknown;(2359) (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say you: "My Lord knows best their number; It is but few that know (their real case)." Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers”

This verse obviously first came to the Prophet. Do you honestly think that after having knowledge of this verse the Prophet would forbid Muslims from keeping dogs? Do you really think the Prophet will change the words of Allah? I do not think so. Try to understand what Allah is saying in the following verse in the same surah.

“And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord: none can change His Words, and none will you find as a refuge other than Him”. (Quran: 18:27)

It is so clear for those who have eyes that can see, ears that can hear and brains that can understand – there is no changing the words of Allah. Unless they belong to the category of “sum-mum bukmum umyumfahum la yarjiuun” (Quran 2:18), may Allah have mercy on them.

The Prophet Muhammad does not have any choice in the matter but to recite exactly as is revealed to him. He will not change, modify or say anything contrary to what is revealed.

“This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of the ‘Alamin. And if Muhammad had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah). We surely would have seized him by his right hand (or with power and might). And then We certainly would have cut off his life artery (aorta).” (Al-Haqqah: 44–46)

With a severe warning from Allah to the Prophet in the above verse, can we ever imagine the Prophet to forge any false saying contrary to the Quran? Allah forbid!

When the Quran is so explicitly clear, why do you want to go in search of other sources including the opinions (fatawa) of scholars? In the discipline of usul al fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence, it is clear that the Quran is the most primary source.  Could this search for other than the Quran be what Allah means in the following verse?

"These are God's revelations (Quran) that We recite to you truthfully. In which hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?" (Quran: 45:6) (also 7:185, 77:50 and 31:6).

For those of whom the Quran is insufficient even when it is clear, if one was to check some of the sahih hadeeth, you will find hadith of this type too:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “While a dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, an Israeli prostitute saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So Allah forgave her because of that good deed.” (Sahih Bukhari 4.56.673)

I find that the Maznah video episode is symptomatic of a bigger problem which I have been talking about for more than 20 years now – Islam has evolved into a religion instead of remaining as a “Way of Life” or “Addeen” as it was meant to be.  Hence, some Muslims have become confused between hygiene, religious ritualism and the act of keeping dogs which is allowed in Islam.

The matter is of course made worse in our country where there is an increasingly dangerous trend towards greater State control of the faith of Muslims and how they are allowed to manifest that faith.  This trend is bound to succeed in the long term because the Muslims themselves are largely ignorant of their own Quran. Again this has been predicted by Allah:

“And the Messenger has said, "O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur'an as [a thing] abandoned." (Sahih International Translation. Quran 25:30)

Next: Rejecting the Quran, Worshipping the Mullah

NOTE: The above views are entirely my understanding and no one is required to agree with them. Kindly check with your own copy of the Quran and make up your own minds and thoughts. If I have erred in my facts, kindly highlight to me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

“Islam” yang macam mana yang diketengahkan? – Bahagian Satu

Soalan ini mungkin terasa pelik bagi sesetengah orang. Ia menjadi pelik kerana “Islam” sebenar nya hanya lah “satu” sahaja dan yang berbeza ialah tafsiran mengenai “rupa bentuk” itu “Islam”.

Tafsiran-tafsiran ini dibuat oleh manusia dengan penggunaan akal yang dimilikinya berdasarkan sumber-sumber yang dibaca dan dikaji oleh nya. Lebih banyak fakta, maklumat dan sumber-sumber yang dikajinya, kemungkinan lebih luas pandangannya untuk membuat suatu tafsiran.

Tafsiran-tafsiran yang dibuat olehnya juga dipengaruhi oleh keupayaan intelektual serta kerajinan berfikir nya. Sarjana atau orang yang kurang pandai mempunyai keupayaan berfikir yang kurang berbanding dengan seorang yang lebih pandai dan rajin berfikir. Disamping itu, kebolehan si penafsir untuk bersikap adil secara intelektual (“intellectual honesty”), kebolehan untuk berfikir secara objektif tanpa dipengaruhi oleh prejudisnya, emosinya, kepentingan peribadinya serta kecendurungannya juga merupakan faktor-faktor yang boleh mempengaruhi ketepatan tafsirannya.

Iklim politik juga memainkan peranan yang sangat penting dalam sejarah manusia untuk menentukan tafsiran mana yang menjadi dominan dalam masyarakat serta diangkat sebagai tafsiran rasmi. Maka, banyak perkara yang mempengaruhi penafsiran apa itu “Islam” serta rupa bentuknya dalam masyarakat tertentu.
Tafsiran mengenai Islam mungkin akan menghasilkan keputusan yang berbeza-beza berdasarkan sumber-sumber rujukan yang digunakan.

Al-Quran sahaja?

Sebagai contoh, adakah tafsiran anda berdasarkan Al-Quran semata-mata?

Kumpulan ini mengelar diri mereka sebagai “Quranist”, manakala mereka dikecam oleh kumpulan lain sebagai “anti-hadith”. Kumpulan ini merasakan bahawa tafsiran berdasarkan Al-Quran sahaja memadai kerana Al-Quran itu wahyu Allah yang lengkap serta mudah difahami.  Mereka juga merasakan bahawa setiap Muslim wajib membaca dan memahami Al-Quran bagi dirinya kerana setiap individu bertanggungjawap bagi dirinya sendiri. Mereka berpendapat bahawa Al-Quran memberi tafsirannya sendiri didalam Al-Quran dan kesemua ayat-ayat didalam Al-Quran itu adalah wahyu Allah yang sahih tanpa sebarang keraguan.

Kumpulan ini juga berpendapat orang lain tidak mungkin memikul kegagalan atau kecuaiannya untuk memahami Al-Quran. Mereka juga berhujah bahawa kewajiban memahami Al-Quran adalah satu usaha yang tidak boleh didelegasikan kepada pihak ketiga.

Al-Quran dan Sunnah?

Adakah tafsiran anda Al-Quran dan Sunnah?

Sunnah pada hari ini terbuku dalam kitab-kitab “hadis” yang digelar sebagai “Al-Sihah Al Sittah” yang secara literalnya bermaksud “enam yang sahih” walaupun bukan kesemuanya dianggap sahih kecuali kedua-dua koleksi yang pertama didalam senarai dibawah. Kumpulan Shia mempunyai koleksi hadis mereka yang tersendiri.

Kumpulan Sunna Wal-Jamaah  menerima enam koleksi hadis dibawah ini sebagai yang terpenting:
  1. Sahih Bukhari, dikumpulkan oleh Imam Bukhari (d. 870), mempunyai 7275 hadiths (2,602 tanpa pengulanggan)
  2. Sahih Muslim, dikumpulkan oleh Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875), mempunyai 9200 (3,030 tanpa pengulangan)
  3. Sunan al-Sughra, dikumpulkan oleh al-Nasa'i (d. 915)
  4. Sunan Abi Da'ud, dikumpulkan oleh Abu Da'ud (d. 888)
  5. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, dikumpulkan oleh al-Tirmidhi (d. 892)
  6. Kadang-kadang dirujuk sebagai Al-Muwatta, dikumpulkan oleh Imam Malik (d. 796) dan kadang-kadang Sunan Ibn Majah, dikumpulkan oleh Ibnu Majah (d. 886). Ada juga yang menerima Sunan al-Darami sebagai yang keenam.
Hadis-hadis yang sahih dikatakan telah melalui satu proses pengsahihan yang ketat oleh pengumpul hadis-hadis ini. Kumpulan ini berhujah, diantara lain, bahawa Al-Quran itu tidak mudah difahami tanpa bantuan hadis-hadis didalam banyak perkara, sebagai contoh dalam hal sembahyang lima kali sehari. Mereka juga bergantung kepada asbabun nuzul iaitu penulisan berkaitan dengan mengapa suatu ayat Al-Quran itu diturunkan untuk membuat penafsiran. Dalam perbincangan mengenai asbabun nuzul juga timbul isu-isu kesahihan dan pemalsuan.

Disamping hadis-hadis yang sahih, terdapat bermacam-macam hadis yang palsu yang telah lahir didalam didalam “sejarah Islam”. Terdapat pelbagai sebab mengapa pemalsuan hadis (wad al-Hadith) ini berlaku termasuk sebab-sebab kepentingan politik dan kepentingan perkauman.

Maka amat jelas sekali bahawa bagi mereka yang mahu bergantung kepada hadis sebagai asas, ia harus berwaspada bahawa hadis yang dipercayai itu adalah hadis yang sahih dan tidak bertentangan dengan wahyu Allah didalam A-Quran. Walaupun tuduhan terhadap orang lain sebagai “anti-hadith” amat mudah, jangan pula kita menjadi penyebar hadis palsu dan melanjutkan penipuan diatas nama Rasul.

Al-Quran, Sunnah, Ijma’ dan Qiyas?

Disamping Al-Quran dan Sunnah, ijma dan qiyas juga membentuk “rupa Islam” dalam masyarakat. Ijma’ dan Qias adalah hasil daripada pemikiran dan penganalisaan para ulama agama.

Ijma dalam penggajian usul al-fiqh bermakna persetujuan atau persepakatan kesemua sarjana-sarjana masyarakat Muslim tanpa sebarang kekhilafan atau perbezaan pendapat dalam hal yang berkenaan. Maka dalam konsep ijma ini, tidak ada ruang untuk sebarang perbezaan pendapat atau persetujuan majoriti. Untuk sesuatu perkara itu dilayak untuk menjadi hasil ijma’ ia mestilah hasil pesetujuan semua sarjana-sarjana dalam masyarakat Muslim.

Qiyas pula merupakan proses untuk membuat suatu kesimpulan dalam suatu perkara berdasarkan perbandingan dengan perkara lain.

Pendek kata, ijma’ dan qiyas adalah hasil daripada usaha pemikiran dan penganalisaan ulama-ulama agama dan sarjana-sarjana pengajiaan Islam atau kumpulan yang di panggil sebagai ahlul fuqaha.

Pada asasnya,  itulah sumber-sumber yang boleh mempengaruhi tafsiran yang akan menghasilkan rupa bentuk “Islam” dalam masyarakat. Pengajian usul al-fiqh dan usul al-hadith adalah suatu bidang yang dianggap komplek namun saya percaya saya tidak salah jika saya katakan bahawa bidang-bidang ini adalah hasil pemikiran dan penganalisaan ulama-ulama agama dan sarjana-sarjana agama.


[NOTA: Sipembaca dikehendaki membuat kajiannya sendiri dan tidak digalakkan menerima penulisan diatas tanpa selidik. Komen-komen dan pembetulan fakta, jika ada, dialu-alukan].

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Free To Believe


I used to think about my life, wonder what I was doing here
Was I just born to someday die, oh this was my big fear
This can't be it, there must be more, must be more than what I see
And then it dawned upon my heart, that I'm always free to believe

Free to believe, Believe to be free

I used to live just for myself, always doing as I please
I never cared about my health, oh how drugs controlled me
I always knew there's more to life, than the way I was living
I never dreamed I see the light, or that I'd be free to

Believe in a Savior, believe in myself

I used to stay awake all night, loved to be in the darkness
To me this world just wasn't right, there was something missing
And then one day, I can't explain, something happened within me
The darkness left, there came a light, and then I was free to believe

I used to run from all the truth, escape from all reality
I never knew just who I was, never knew the real me
But that was then, I live for now, and I'm not the same man
For I have changed, you ask me how, because I am free to,