Archive for category Islam
— Sumanto Al Qurtuby
The Malaysian Insider
May 20, 2013
MAY 20 — I paused my work upon hearing the gloomy news of the death of Asghar Ali Engineer, one of the world’s greatest scholars of Islam, last Tuesday, after a prolonged illness.
Born in 1939 in the town of Salumbar in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, Engineer was a prolific writer who authored more than 50 books, many of which have been translated into many languages — including Indonesian — and he wrote innumerable book chapters, journal articles and columns.
But there is more. Engineer was also a daring peace activist who had been at the vanguard of civil society movements against religious tyranny and radicalism. Also, he was a truly passionate liberal Muslim thinker whose ideas on Islamic theology of liberation, secular democracy, Islamic ethics of social justice, women’s rights, religious tolerance and pluralism, non-violence, peace building, communalism and secularism have shaped many scholars and activists around the globe.
Since Engineer’s writings cover broad issues and themes, it’s difficult to decide which aspects of his work are the most important. As the scientist Ram Puniyani has aptly pointed out, “there is a deeper integration in deferent facets of the work [Engineer’s].” Read the rest of this entry »
DAP mempertahankan kedudukan istimewa Melayu; jangan terpedaya dengan fitnah UMNO-BN. Saya merayu kepada semua pengundi Malaysia, terutamanya orang Melayu, supaya menolak fitnah dan pembohongan tentang diri saya dan DAP.
Sebagaimana yang saya jelaskan sebelum ini, saya tidak terlibat dengan peristiwa 13 Mei 1969. Saya tidak pernah berada di Kuala Lumpur pada 13 Mei 1969 kerana saya berada di Kota Kinabalu, Sabah pada masa itu. Hakikat tentang perkara ini ada dalam rekod pihak berkuasa polis dan Kementerian Dalam Negeri.
Dengan itu, sebarang pembohongan tentang saya berada di Kuala Lumpur untuk mencetuskan rusuhan atau menjadi dalang peristiwa 13 Mei adalah fitnah semata-mata. Jangan percaya perkara karut ini, terimalah kebenaran yang hakiki.
Satu lagi fitnah yang terus dilemparkan kepada DAP ialah kononnya DAP mahu menghapuskan hak orang Melayu. Ini juga tidak masuk akal, tidak bertanggungjawab dan sangat rasis. Ia amat berbahaya untuk perpaduan kaum di Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »
8-Day to 13GE Polling Day – Tsu Koon invited to Gelang Patah daily press conference at 11.30 am tomorrow and I will explain to him my stand on hudud
New Straits Times today carried the following report: “Tsu Koon throws challenge to Kit Siang and Guan Eng on hudud”.
Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is Gerakan President, “threw a challenge” to me and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng “to make a formal stand on hudud, the Islamic law”.
Koh said both DAP leaders “had not made it clear whether they supported or opposed PAS’ stand on hudud or left the matter to the party’s national chairman, Karpal Singh”.
I am surprised by Koh’s statement, as he has got a Ph.D and having been Penang Chief Minister for nearly two decades, he should be more knowledgeable and literate than ordinary Gerakan and Barisan Nasional leaders and members. Read the rest of this entry »
12-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day: MCA cuba pancing undi dengan menghina Islam – UMNO berdiam diri membiarkan Islam dihina
MCA cuba memancing undi dengan menghina umat Islam di Malaysia dan UMNO pula berdiam diri membiarkan Islam dihina. Inilah kerjasama MCA dan UMNO dalam Barisan Nasional yang telah pun dan akan terus memecahbelahkan perpaduan kita sebagai rakyat Malaysia.
Saya kesal dengan tindakan MCA yang menggunakan akhbar The Star yang dikuasainya untuk menyiarkan iklan-iklan politik yang menghina orang Melayu dan mempermainkan agama Islam.
MCA sengaja berbuat demikian untuk menunjukkan kepada kaum Cina bahawa ia tidak akan tunduk kepada orang Melayu dan Islam.
Manakala UMNO pula berdiam diri dan tidak berani mempertahankan Islam dan Melayu kerana mahu membiarkan MCA memperolehi undi kaum Cina melalui cara yang kotor dan keji ini.
Dalam iklan The Star hari ini di muka surat 25, iklan bertajuk “Why is DAP silent?” (Mengapa DAP berdiam diri?) mengutuk kerajaan negeri PAS-Pakatan Rakyat Kedah yang didakwa merobohkan tempat menyembelih haiwan, mengharamkan panggung wayang, mengharamkan persembahan seni oleh wanita dan mengharamkan sambutan Hari Valentine.
Read the rest of this entry »
by Bakri Musa
Suaris Interview: The Future of Malays #5: It appears that you are cynical towards things labeled “Islam.” Many feel that you do not subscribe to conservative Islam as practiced by the vast majority of Muslims rather the basic teachings of our faith. What is your comment?
[The original was posted on suaris.wordpress.com on Feb 13, 2013.]
MBM: I am a Muslim, by birth and through practice. I believe in God and Muhammad, s.a.w, as His Last Messenger, as well as the five pillars of our faith. That of course is the belief of all Muslims.
What is the essence of the teachings of our Holy Koran and Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w.? Command good and forbid evil! That is repeated many times in our Koran and hadith. That too is agreed upon by all Muslims.
That is the “golden rule” of our faith. I am less interested in labels, those can be easily printed. Content is something else. If a state does not subscribe to the creed of doing good and forbidding evil, then I do not consider it to be Islamic regardless of the label. It is easy to carve the names “Allah” and “Muhammad” on arches and buildings; likewise for leaders to don overflowing robes and huge turbans.
The question is whether corruption, bribery, and abuse of power are deemed “avoidance of evil.” Likewise, if leaders ignore the sufferings and deprivations of their citizens, could that be considered “doing good?” When I make judgment on whether a state is Islamic, those are the crucial factors, not how often the leaders have been to Mecca or how exquisite their recitation of the Koran. Read the rest of this entry »
— Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 11, 2013
FEB 11 — Disputation in Malaysia over the kalimah Allah, the name of God, has not abated.
On the contrary, it continues to become ever more acrimonious and worrying.
These days we now even have some enthusiastic “idealists” who give advance notice of their readiness for a virtually premeditated amok — or to excuse others who might resort to that kind of intimidatory violence — in order, paradoxically, to uphold their notions of moderation, mutual acceptance and tolerance in interfaith relations. Read the rest of this entry »
— Asghar Ali Engineer
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 02, 2013
FEB 2 — It is believed by millions of Muslims across the world that sharia laws are immutable and represent divine will. This is based on serious misunderstanding. Sharia is not and cannot be immutable.
Recently I was invited to the Jaipur Literary Festival to be part of a panel discussion on the book “Heaven on Earth” by Sadakat Kadri of London, which is on the application of sharia laws across the Muslim world. He has travelled to different Muslim countries and talked to various ulama and muftis about sharia as applied to their respective countries.
All of them were defenders of conservative sharia formulations and refused to admit any change. They maintained that sharia being divine cannot be changed. It is from this rigidity of our ulama that the misunderstanding among common Muslims arises that sharia is divine and hence immutable.
In fact our ulama forget that ijtihad was not only permitted but encouraged by the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and the hadith pertaining to Ma’adh bin Jabal is well-known. When the Prophet appointed him to the governorship of Yemen and he came to take leave of the Prophet, Ma’adh was asked how he would govern. Ma’adh said, according to the Quran. The Prophet thereupon asked what he would do if he did not find the solution to the problem in the Quran, to which Ma’adh said he would govern according to the Sunnah. But when the Prophet asked if he could not find it in the Sunnah also, Ma’adh said “ana ajtahidu” (I will exert myself to find the solution). The Prophet thereupon patted his back and told him he was right. Read the rest of this entry »
by P. Ramakrishnan
9 January 2013
When God is politicised we are in big trouble. That is what is happening in Malaysia. And that’s why we are in such a big mess.
Religious zealots have come out with edicts that defy logic and override the supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution.
They have paid scant attention to the High Court ruling way back in 2009 that the word “Allah” can be used by the Christians.
The government has appealed against this decision. But nothing has happened for more than three years. Seemingly it is meant to be so! There is no urgency to solve this matter as soon as possible. Most people think that the delay is deliberate and politically motivated.
The claim by some members of certain organisations who had aggressively demonstrated on the premise that Muslims and Christians will be confused if “Allah” is used by non-Muslims is ridiculous and laughable. There is no merit in their claim. There is no justification for this view. What is the basis for this ridiculous claim?
Why is the word “Allah” confusing? And confusing to whom? What is so confusing about the word? It had been in use for thousands of years; yet we have not come across anyone in any part of the world who was ever confused because the word “Allah” was commonly used by Muslims and non-Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »
— Pak Sako
CPI/The Malaysian Insider
Jan 08, 2013
JAN 8 — There are major contradictions in the claim that the word “Allah” belongs only to Muslims and Islam, and does not apply to non-Muslims and other religions (JAKIM), and in the insistence that non-Muslims must convert to Islam to use the word “Allah” (Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria).
The contradictions are as follows:
1. If we disallow non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”, are we implying that Allah has no relation to the non-Muslims, that Allah did not create the non-Muslims, but to whom Allah must belong if He is the Creator of all things?
2. If we say Allah is not the god of the non-Muslims, does this not imply that besides Allah there must exist a second god, specifically for the non-Muslims, the former god of Muslim converts? Does this not clash with the Islamic concept of tauhid, which proposes that there cannot possibly be another god apart from Allah, and that no being can perform the work of a god other than Allah?
3. If we maintain that “Allah” has no relevance to other religions, who then ultimately created these religions if not Allah, the Creator of all things? Are we suggesting that Allah got it wrong before unveiling Islam? But if tauhid is to stand and Allah is the sole Creator, and if Allah is infallible, perfect and all-knowing, does it not mean that Allah happily created, with no games intended, all the variety of religions and religious philosophies including Christianity and Hinduism?
4. Therefore how can it be wrong for a Hindu, a Christian or a freethinker to refer to “Allah” as our one common god? Must Sikhs, who are not Muslims, stop using the word “Allah”, though “Allah” appears numerous times in their holy book, which is not the al-Quran?
5. If non-Muslims must convert to Islam before referring to “Allah”, is that to say Allah was not their Creator prior to them converting? But how can that be if Allah created everything and there is no god other than Allah? If we say non-Muslims are non-believers who do not recognise Allah, then why deny them the use of the word “Allah” to recognise this Supreme Being and Ultimate Cause?
The restrictions on the use of “Allah” conflict with the core tenets of Islam. They conflict also with those of other religions. Read the rest of this entry »
by Ahmad Fuad Rahmat
03 December 2012
The problem begins with the nation-state ideal; for its coherence depends on there being a people deemed as the rightful owners of a land. It is rooted to the belief that territory is property – a thing to own – and that loyalty to the people means, among other things, the readiness to uphold the integrity of territory to ensure it belongs to the nation.
This requires clearly defined, finite, national borders, which – at least at the face of it – appears as a simple enough idea. Matters become complicated when we ask who those borders are meant for. There cannot be a nation-state, if there is no nation to begin with.
But identities unlike land cannot be enclosed and demarcated. Cultures do not flourish in vacuums. They develop out of interactions and fusions with one another. New words, outlooks and practices are adopted while others fade, in a slow, arbitrary and often ambiguous organic process of contact and migration through time.
The nationalist agenda is at odds with this reality. The belief in the congruence of identity and territory – or indeed identity as territory – at the face of inevitable cultural change that can neither be controlled nor predicted, means that each nation will always find itself in the position of having to redefine the conditions of membership, to determine what or who should or should not be excluded. Culture too is given boundaries as a result.
The nationalist imagination must, in other words, assume however implicitly that there is some supposed essence underlying the flux of culture and identity, out of which the ‘Otherising’ so common to nationalist politics is legitimised. The marker could be anything from a common language, religion, ethnicity, race or history. It could even be a set of values or general traits. None of this is exclusive, of course. At any given time, depending on the issue and occasion, different factors can be evoked to proclaim dissimilarity. Read the rest of this entry »
by AB Sulaiman
26 November 2012
The case of Nurul Izzah Anwar, the PKR vice president, making the statement that there is no compulsion in religion and that this should apply not only to non-Malays but to Malays as well is now commanding the public domain.
Thanks to Utusan Malaysia and the Internet, the speed at which Nurul’s statement spread was staggering. The very next day, it appeared as a front-page headline in the Malay daily but with a twist: it was reported that she had been ‘suggesting’ Malays could commit apostasy; or showing the way to do so. (Apostasy is considered the greatest sin in Malay reckoning.)
To the Malay-Muslim, she has committed a grave offence for which she must be taken to task.
I will try to identify what really is at issue by way of asking some pertinent and relevant questions. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ahmad Farouk Musa
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 18, 2012
NOV 18 — If there is anything unmistakably clear from the recent muktamar or general assembly of the Islamic Party of Malaysia — PAS — is that despite the acceptance of the concept of tahalluf siyasi or political consensus among the three major components of the opposition front — Pakatan Rakyat — PAS’ ambition in establishing an Islamic State and implementing hudud laws is unwavering, if not more resolute.
It appears rather incongruous that despite the acceptance of Buku Jingga or Orange Book as a comprehensive framework of the opposition front on how to govern the country when they come to power, PAS seems to have a higher agenda — to transform the multiracial and multi-religious country into a full-fledged Islamic state with Islamic laws.
Islamic laws and hudud were never mentioned in Buku Jingga and neither was the establishment of Islamic State. PAS even came out with its own manifesto “Nation of Care and Opportunity”. However this concept of a benevolent state is not well received by many PAS members themselves. Reason being, the so-called Erdoganists in PAS mainly mooted it. Recent spate of debate about the concept of Islamist Democrat — a term popularised by the Erdoganists — between the ulama faction and the young Turks clearly proved that they are considered contaminants in the “pure and pristine” PAS struggle. Read the rest of this entry »
— Islamic Renaissance Front
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 08, 2012
NOV 8 — We at the Islamic Renaissance Front condemn and lament the irresponsible mischaracterisation of Nurul Izzah Anwar’s statement on religious freedom.
She merely summarised the gist of the well-known Quranic verse in Surah al-Baqarah which clearly stressed that there is to be no compulsion in matters of faith, for truth and error has already been clearly stated.
Because of that she has been subjected to the crudest level of character assassination from those seeking to stoke controversy and gain political mileage for the upcoming elections. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mohd Farhan Darwis
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 06, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The National Fatwa Council has never issued any fatwa (religious orders) to refer to non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or belligerent infidels, minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said today, referring to the label some conservative Muslims had used to describe the secular DAP opposition party earlier this year.
The minister in charge of Islamic affairs also said that any statements calling non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or “kafir zimmi” are merely personal opinions, and added that Muslims are not bound by these personal convictions.
His statement comes just months after Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported several Islamic religious scholars as saying that it is “haram” or forbidden for Muslim voters to support the DAP, which they have described as a “belligerent infidel” party.
“Until now, there is no fatwa or legal opinions related to the position of non-Muslims in Malaysia as Kafir Harbi or Kafir Zimmi issued by the state Fatwa Committee, or MKI (National Council for Islamic Affairs Malaysia),” Jamil Khir said in a written reply to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Legal opinions are only valid and recognised after receiving approval from the states’ Fatwa Committee and the MKI, Jamil said.
“Fatwa and legal opinions in this country can only be issued by the authorities.
“Therefore, any opinion or institutions apart from the two entities cannot be considered as fatwa, but only personal conviction.” Read the rest of this entry »
by P. Ramakrishnan
The Malaysian Insider
November 03, 2012
NOV 3 — It is difficult to understand the so-called Muslim elites who constantly and consistently convey the erroneous message that Islam is under threat and that Muslims will be easily misled.
They always seem to suggest that Muslims must be sheltered and protected otherwise they can go astray and embarrass their religion.
The latest episode involves the screening of the movie “My name is Khan” by TV3 on the second day of Hari Raya Aidil Adha.
The Muslim youth movement Abim has strongly protested against this film, claiming that the Shah Rukh Khan film “confuses Muslims as it promotes liberal Islam and religious pluralism, and warned Malaysian broadcasters not to air the hit film”.
Abim vice-president Ahmad Saparudin Yusuf “gave examples of scenes in the film such as the Muslim hero marrying a Hindu heroine, saying that it is ‘clearly against Islam’s teachings’”.
He also pointed out “that the depiction in the film of acceptance and mixing of other religions’ worship methods with Islam’s as well as giving zakat or alms to non-Muslims were ‘confusing’.”
This film has been available in Malaysia since March 2010. It has been screened in cinemas and the film’s CD has been widely sold. In the 2½ years that it was around, thousands upon thousands of Muslims and other Malaysians have seen and enjoyed the film. Read the rest of this entry »
— Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 25, 2012
OCT 25 — The infliction of the hudud punishments will not affect, or have any impact upon, non-Muslims, the minister has sought to assure everybody ( “Hudud will not impact non-Muslims, minister says”, The Malaysian Insider, October 24).
Just consider for a moment.
The state will inflict the hudud punishments on some of its citizens. On their bodies, and brutally.
Since it will be acting as the state, and not as some instrument of private punishment or vengeful enforcement, it will be doing so in the name of all of its citizens. That is what, by definition, modern states are.
So all of the state’s citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will be complicit in, and will share moral responsibility for, the infliction of those punishments.
And, as a result, their nature as “moral agents” will be transformed by that complicity, by their dragooned participation in and shared authorship of those mandatory stonings, amputations and the like.
Yet the minister says that these non-Muslim citizens will be in no way affected, or “impacted.”
It is an assurance that is entirely unconvincing. One that is patently inadequate, ill-founded and wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
by Azeem Ibrahim
There have been a lot of loose definitions of “moderate” Islam in the media recently and in the wake of violent protests throughout the Muslim world, the word is starting to mean simply — non-violent. The deaths in Libya and many other Muslim countries have been a disturbing counterpoint to the hopes aroused by the Arab Spring movement. Peaceful protests have achieved so much more change in the last two years than all the decades of violence in the past, yet extremists still believe they can achieve their agenda by continuing to murder innocent civilians. Violence is their only way of remaining relevant as they have nothing else to offer.
Malaysia is often referred to as a moderate Islamic country, as it is mainly peaceful, prosperous and law-abiding. A predominantly Muslim country with vocal and distinct minority populations of Indian and Chinese origin, peaceful change has taken place over the last twenty years without violent extremism. It may be because the government has kept a tight hold on the country with the emergency law and regulations adopted in 1957 to maintain political order and stability when Malaysia was emerging from the communist insurgency. These laws stayed in place until very recently and have been used to respond to any movement that was considered prejudicial to national security. Today, the question arises of whether such laws provide security or whether they have become a liability. In September, 2011 the increasingly controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) of 1960 was repealed and in November, 2011, the government finally lifted three existing emergency proclamations, rendering void the unpopular Emergency Public Order and Prevention of Crime Ordinance of 1969.
However, civil rights groups are expressing dissatisfaction with the new legislation which replaces the archaic repealed laws; Hasmy Agam, the Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia has spoken out against the new legislation for failing to meet international human rights standards. Many see the proposed Peaceful Assembly Bill as placing further curbs on civil liberties by restricting street demonstrations and the new Security Offences Act is simply “the New ISA.” The much vaunted relaxation of media restrictions is also being criticized as an inadequate half-measure. Read the rest of this entry »
— Abd Shukur Harun
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 11, 2012
11 OKT — Semakin hampir PRU Ke-13, semakin rancak desakan dan pujukan supaya PAS memutuskan hubungan dengan DAP sekaligus menarik diri dari Pakatan Rakyat, kerana DAP didakwa menolak Islam.
Desakan ini tidak sekedar datang dari musuh PAS — Umno/BN — bahkan datang dari segelintir yang amat kecil jumlahnya dari ahli PAS yang keliru dan kecewa atas sebab tertentu.
Juga mereka yang tidak memahami sejarah PAS dan tidak memahami secara mendalam konsep dan pengertian Tahalluf-Siasi (Pakatan PAS dengan parti lain).
Tahalluf-siasi, seperti saya katakan dalam tulisan saya dulu, bukan rekayasa sembarangan, tidak juga ijtihad perseorangan, jauh sekali didorong oleh kepentingan duniawi.
Tetapi ia dicetuskan sebagai suatu ijtihad jamai’e (Ijtihad kumpulan) PAS setelah diadakan muzakarah antara ulama dan pemimpin tertinggi PAS dengan ulama di peringkat antarabangsa, khususnya termasuk pemimpin Ikhwanul-Muslimin dan pemimpin ulama sedunia, Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi. Read the rest of this entry »