Let us be blasphemous!

By Zan Azlee | May 27, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

MAY 27 — I am no longer a believer and will burn in hell for questioning Islam. And, by raising and seeking answers to issues that I am in doubt of, my children will even grow up to have sex with animals.

These are some of the things I have been called and accused of by certain people in reaction to the documentary films and articles I’ve written that deal with my religion.

Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart. But it does make me think about how receptive Malaysians, Muslims specifically, are when it comes to really learning about Islam.

I used to go to religious school in the evenings during my primary school years. There was no doubt that I learnt a lot in religious school.

That was where I really learnt to improve my galah panjang skills because there was a wide open tarred space in front of the classroom building where we would play.

There I learnt the finer points of gambling when my friends and I went behind the canteen where one of the abangs from the drinks stall would open up a tikam table.

And, I also learnt how to appreciate all the variations of asam kecut since there was a nice elderly makcik at the gates of the school whose smile was just too enticing.

What I definitely didn’t learn there was the religion itself. Well, to be fair, I did learn the Jawi text, hence, I would be able to read Utusan Melayu today, if the newspaper still existed.

But the school was really a place that was the death of true critical thinking when it came to understanding Islam.

Let me give you an example of a typical classroom conversation I would have with the ustaz.:

“Ustaz, why can’t we touch dogs?” I asked.

“Because it’s haram.” the ustaz said.

“I know that. But why is it haram?”

“Because God says so.”

“Then why did God make it haram?”

“Because it just is.”

“There’s no reason?”

“Don’t think too much into what God says. It will make you go crazy! Now go back to your seat!”

Honestly, it’s freaking annoying. I cannot believe that Islam, my chosen faith, actually wants people to accept things blindly and never question anything.

Correct me if I’m wrong here. But Islam is a religion where its followers are obligated to constantly ask questions and search for knowledge.

The first ever verse of the Quran (Surah Al Alaq) that was sent down to earth reflected this:

“Read! Read in the name of your Lord who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clod. Read! And your Lord is the most generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.”

The Quran (Surah Ta Ha ) also states:

“Ask of Him: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”

I’ve even met people who have told me not to ask and question too much about Islam because if you do, then you may be at risk of being blasphemous.

“Why would God punish a person for sinning if He has already determined that person’s fate?” I asked a friend whose skullcap was about to fall off.

“God has his reasons,” he answered, readjusting his skullcap.

“Yeah, but wouldn’t that be unfair since he already determined the person to sin?”

“Zan, stop questioning God. That’s blasphemy!”

Goddamn it! The concept of blasphemy doesn’t even exist in Islam because it would never condone a concept that restricts thinking and discussion by shutting everything down.

I cannot subscribe to the belief that everything is so sacred until the search for knowledge itself becomes useless.

Prophet Muhammad would be so upset if he were alive today to see this archaic concept of blasphemy being used to shut people up, since he did say:

“Whoever conceals knowledge would be muzzled on the Day of Resurrection with a muzzle of fire.”

And he also added:

“He is not from my followers, he who does not respect his elders, who does not show mercy to the young and who does not give due right to a scholar.”

So, let’s continue criticising, questioning, raising issues, and understand more about this religion we claim to love so much. Blasphemy!

* Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com

  1. #1 by cemerlang on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Islam is a beautiful religion. So say many. As compared to cats, trained dogs can help humans out. Is there a police cat ? Not that I know of. But I know there are police dogs, police horses, military dorphins even. What is truth ? One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I do not believe you. Said one. I believe you. Said another. I believe that if you stand for the truth, Allah will help you out. I believe that God helps those who do not believe in Him but who do what is right. Helps. After all, what is life ? Humans suffer physically or mentally. What is the good of life ? Therefore, truth is what you personally make of it. Until you yourself experience truth, you will still question about the truth. About God. About Allah. God never forces it down on us because He Himself never says so. Read any religious text. Did He ever say you must, you should, you ought to ?

  2. #2 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 2:00 pm

    Man created god.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 2:28 pm


    And now, look who is stealing cars as a second job in this hard times……

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 3:06 pm

    “I cannot believe that Islam, my chosen faith,..”??? He had a choice?

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 3:18 pm

    ‘I am no longer a believer….’.

    They will probably come for you soon and take you to the re-education place to make you return to the ‘right path’ and remain strong and committed to your ‘chosen faith’.

    ‘Knock, knock’. Who’s there?

  6. #6 by gofortruth on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 3:31 pm

    So typical of a man make religion/god!

  7. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 4:10 pm

    When I watched the program on the Creation of the Universe on the TV , one cannot help but think that the Creator is marvellous. Surely He has created all things for the love of the creatures and yet the latest of His creation; the Human Race takes upon himself to impose his will on others. The Age of the world of billions of year cannot be denied and along that period so many civilizations would have had taken place with many versions of the Creators being made and remade. Can we just ask HIM directly instead of trying to tell thw world that one’s version is the only one available!

  8. #8 by cemerlang on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 4:38 pm

    The Great Professor Steven Hawkings says that Big Bang created the universe and all that in it including us, the humans. Dear Prof. If you ever read this, how did the Big Bang come about ? What solid proof is there that there was such a thing as a Big Bang ! ?

  9. #9 by dagen on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 4:56 pm

    Never question umno. That would be anti islam-jenis-umno. But its ok if you take commission, kick backs, commit murder, assault, steal, bully, be arrogant, stomp on cow head, etc etc. Yeah. Those are allowed in islam jenis-umno

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 5:11 pm

    Zan Azlee wants to have the cake (reasoning part) and also eat it (faith in something). Its not easy to have both (ultimately) without tension

    Ultimately it is the man’s intellect that plays tricks and causes problems.

    For example the intellect gets into trouble because it starts from the first idea – everything comes from something, and nothing can originate from nothing!

    Hence the belief by many that man himself – and the universe – are created by the Creator.

    Which begs the question (if everything has to be created by something) of who created the Creator, and the Creator of that Creator.

    To which the answer has to be – to put an end to infinite regression of that question – God exists outside time & space (where cause and effect do not operate) and by definition of the word “creator” the Creator cannot itself be created!

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 5:12 pm

    Sadly one can’t resolve a conundrum of such dimension by a semantic play of the word “Creator”.

    Whilst there may well exist more reasons why man would want to create God to his benefit than there are reasons for God to create man, if one like TheWrathOfGrapes says that man created God, then it may also be asked who created man with such ingenuity that he boldly seeks to create God.

    Here, that’s where reasoning gets into trouble because it always starts from the first idea – everything comes from something, and nothing can originate from nothing!

    Once a person could grasp that there are things that just happen at random and don’t originate from anything, then the way is open for faith to be loosened, if not abandoned.

    The question is whether our intellect, by its very nature, can accept this uncertainty with equanimity!

  12. #12 by Thor on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 7:25 pm

    Who is god?
    Where’s god and what is god?
    In reality, nobody knows!
    Christian tend to relates god thru bible while Muslim thru Koran.
    Human, are said to be the most intelligent creatures on earth but to me, I believed they’re damn stupid because none could ever agree with only one thing, and that’s one god.
    Humans fight and kill each other because of their different belief and thinking in god and human even tends to set and change rules claiming to be that on behalf of god.
    Even the bible, which are said to be god’s words comes with several versions.
    What’s all these and who’s doing all that?
    It’s us human, who’re fooling human all the way around.
    Will god ever wanna make us kill each other just because of different belief?
    And will god ever wanna us seek the truth about him by using human as messenger?
    Why should god create all these confusion anyway?
    Maybe god is just an alien from deep outer space who had accidently created us by experiment or could it be that god exists in another dimension different from our world.
    Many possibilities indeed so why crack our head?
    If god is really what we think he is, most Umno fellas, especially that pink lipped guy and his fatty mate would have “kantoi” already.
    Even the mamak and his “piggy” faced sidekick would have “retired” in hell too.
    All human will die one day and I’ve seen wicked people die in a comfort manner and I do even see good beings dying in a miserable death so what’s the difference?
    Some believers even claimed that sinners will be punish in hell after they had died, so did anyone ever witness that with their very own eyes?
    So why all the big fuss as you can even noticed that Umno fellas are also proving to us that there’s no god, by even swearing in mosque with Korans.
    And with 2012 coming our way and beyond, we can further even prove every of the lies and facts in every of our weird imagination.

  13. #13 by sheriff singh on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 8:49 pm

    Who created God?

  14. #14 by tak tahan on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 10:15 pm

    God ka no God ka doesn’t matter la.Life has to go on wat.Oh my God,i’ve never prayed since ten years ago.Just realised but never mind la.Who created the word God?

  15. #15 by wanderer on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 10:24 pm

    Those who forsake God will not be rewarded with 70 virgins…maybe, that is why I am still God fearing, who would’nt with a “prize” like that!

  16. #16 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 11:15 pm

    Jeffrey :
    Whilst there may well exist more reasons why man would want to create God to his benefit than there are reasons for God to create man, if one like TheWrathOfGrapes says that man created God, then it may also be asked who created man with such ingenuity that he boldly seeks to create God.

    Sorry, Jeff, maybe my pithy comment needs elaboration. I don’t mean physical creation as in the alleged creation of Adam and Eve. I mean mental creation as in man conceiving of the idea of god to explain the yet unexplainable.

  17. #17 by cemerlang on Saturday, 28 May 2011 - 12:35 am

    Humans die. This is a fact. Is this all that is to life ? Nothing else after death. No heaven. No hell. No nothing. No meaning. Then why live before death ? Why live in a world filled with both happiness and sadness ? What makes a clever brain clever ? Not everyone is clever. Some are borned with permanent head damage. Congenital disabilities. Most people are just average. They have to work through life. Some people are clever but stupid. Some are stupid and can be clever at times. What makes a human brain ? Who makes a human brain ? Why make a human brain ? When did the first human brain exist ? How does a human brain come into existence ? If you think that the human brain is the cleverest of all. Some very clever people say there is something outside this universe and our universe is like a bubble. And there are many bubbles of universe. Some say that this being we call God stays outside this universe and we can reach Him in a spaceship once we travel out of this universe. It takes 20 years to reach Pluto the pseudo planet in our solar system. Oh my God ! By the time we actually travel out from this bubble of universe, how old would we be ? Which is the nearest direction to travel out from this bubble of universe ?

  18. #18 by limkamput on Saturday, 28 May 2011 - 7:56 am

    Sage, say whatever you want; I am not sure whether or not God created man or even God exists. But it is relatively easy for me to relate to the idea that man created gods – all the time and everywhere. Your whole rationalisation is based on how human beings trying to explain the unexplainable.

  19. #19 by boh-liao on Sunday, 29 May 2011 - 10:07 pm

    “Ustaz, Y is there spermie in Ful of Sai’s rectum?”
    Guess what’s d answer?

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