Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The god of MEN

TMI - The men of God by Zaid Ibrahim

I've always liked Zaid Ibrahim despite my hero Karpal Singh once condemning him when Zaid left PKR. I then wrote Zaid Ibrahim - suffers no fool gladly to give my take on why Zaid was compelled to leave that nest of vipers.

Incidentally RPK informed us that Zaid standing as a PKR candidate in the Hulu Selangor by-election was sabotaged kau kau by a PKR pygmy (thunderous applause please, wakakaka). According to RPK, the pygmy provided UMNO with photographs of Zaid Ibrahim jollying, wakakaka.

Poor Zaid, stabbed in the back by his then-party people. Apparently Eli Wong also suffered the same internal party sabo from the same pygmy. It must be a wonderful party where the musuh is dalam selimut, with members killing off each other rather than the external (real) foe - not unlike someone attempting to knock off the Sifu wakakaka - see my April 2006 post The Master & The Disciple.

Eli Wong

Zaid wrote in his article:

AIS is preparing to take action against the four Muslim girls who participated in the Miss Malaysia World 2013 beauty contest in contravention of an earlier fatwa banning Muslims from taking part in beauty pageants. I am writing to appeal to the department to desist from doing so.

Any action by the religious authorities to enforce this fatwa will end up in another controversy that will yet again embarass the Muslim community at large. I am not against the religious council issuing fatwas on any subject they deem fit, but as in the olden days, these fatwas are meant to be opinions of the learned jurists that are issued to guide the conduct of Muslims.

The fatwa should remain an opinion or a guide, as they were when Islam was at its pristine best. In those days Muslims either followed these guides voluntarily or they did not. But they also engaged with the ulama on many societal issues and as a result, these fatwas were sometimes modified based on the community’s feedback. No one was interested in punishing the recalcitrant or the wayward. They focused on finding the right path for the community, because Islam encourages questioning and thinking in search of the truth. The relationship between the community and its religious leaders then was therefore positive, constructive and dynamic.

We are obviously living in a very different era. Power is infectious: the politicians and the rich have it, as do the police and even the members of the underworld. So
it’s not a surprise the ulama also want power, which is why they have created so many rules. This gives them the opportunity to enforce these rules, hence exhibiting power and command. But these attempts to flex their authority always fall flat.

I checked and found Zaid correct in fatwa being only a guide or learned opinion by an expert and is not binding in Sunni Islam. The literal meaning of fatwa in Arabic in fact is 'opinion'.

But as Zaid correctly mentioned, the religious department wants to project its power and flex its muscles. We have heard of the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I hope we would never ever arrive at a point when the religious department and its enforcers enjoy absolute power.

But hang on a minute! Wasn't Salman Rushie condemned to death by a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini? Indeed he was. So why then isn't fatwa binding on Muslims?

It seems that in contrast to Sunni Islam, Shia Islam considers a fatwa as binding! That's why Salman Rushie had to go into hiding when the Ayatollah issued that fatwa of death for him.

But as we can see below, JAWI has proclaimed a fatwa is binding on Muslims, even in the Sunni Islam (Shafi'i school of thoughts) practised by Malaysia.

Malaysiakini reported: The Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department said it will be questioning Nur Amirah Shiekh Nasir, Wafa Johanna De Korte and Kathrina Redzuan, according to a Berita Harian report today.

This comes after an initial meeting with the contest organiser Anna Lim and another contestant Sara Amelia Muhamad Bernard.

sweetie Sara Bernard fatwa-ed

Jawi director Che Mat Che Ali said the investigation is a reminder against anyone questioning fatwas that are binding on Muslims and to protect the sanctity of Islam.

But isn't Shia the only branch of Islam which considers a fatwa as binding?

Now, which is which, or what is what? We only want to learn in preparation for TITAS. Can some kind Muslim, preferably a sweetie like Sara Amelia Muhamad Bernard wakakaka, help kaytee improve his knowledge on Islam?

Or has Shia Islam and its practice and beliefs infiltrated our Malaysia so deeply?

We need to ask those men in JAWI, JAIS etc. Though Zaid described them as The men of God, I prefer my post to be more appropriately titled 'The god of MEN'.


  1. Sara Amelia Muhamad Bernard wan lau Wei... I'm willing to Potong if she's willing to have me....

    Definitely not suitable for beauty contests....gives too many guys wet dreams

  2. KT,
    If I'm not mistaken all laws in our land is passed either:-
    1. By the parliament OR
    2. The state assembly
    I don't think "fatwa" goes through this legal process. Or have we "senyap-senyap" amend our Constitution?

    1. regardless, in Sunni Islam, a fatwa is only an opinion, advice or guidance, and is NOT binding.

      A fatwa is only binding in Shia Islam. Thus when JAWI declares its fatwa is binding, it throws unto teh public an unexpected and confusing insistence, making one believe that Malaysia's Islam is of the Shia branch.

      I hope some kind Muslims can provide clarification to help us non-Muslims understand. Telling non-Muslims to 'keep out' doesn't help promote understanding of and respect for Islam.

    2. KT... I thought you would prefer a sweetie like Sara Amelia... but please let me take a shot. Hopefully, you are not disappointed.

      “Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims [16:102 – The Bee]. Thus, the Qur’an is a guide. Is it binding? No. Why? Because the Qur’an says there is no compulsion in religion [2:256 – The Heifer].

      Fatwa is an Islamic legal opinion issued by the jurists/clerics. Can the fatwa be elevated to the same status of the Qur’an? No. Why? Because it is common sense. Can the fatwa be binding? No. Why? Because Sheikh Ali Gomaa the Grand Mufti of Egypt has said that a fatwa is a non-binding legal opinion that serves to guide the Muslims.

      Can a Muslim enter beauty pageant? There is an Islamic morality issue. Granted, you cannot turn a blind eye. The least you must object it in your heart. But you must not impose your version of Islamic morality on anybody or do and say things which fan the fires of prejudice. Muhammad (s.a.w.) always tries to pursue conciliatory avenues even if it meant putting Islam/Muslim at some disadvantage.

      Al-Azhar the oldest centre of Islamic learning does not agree with Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa i.e. the death sentence on Salman Rushdie. Moreover, the aforesaid fatwa is also incited by monetary rewards. The bringing of bounty into the issue makes the fatwa highly offensive in Islam.

      I would subscribe to your view that Shi’a-ism (and also Wahabi-ism) are slowly but surely making their influence on the Muslims in this country. However, I am not at all surprised since Islam is divided into 73 sects. I have both in my close relatives. We debate but there is no compulsion. We are free to take our pick on which faction we think would bring us to paradise.

      My take? To me the sweeties have got their rights to decide for themselves and not the guardians of Islamic morality. I would prefer to use that term rather than The Men of God or The God of Men

    3. dear hasan, thought I might remind everyone that kaytee is an atheist, but I come from a family whose members each subscribe to different religions, mainly Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism (all don't believe in an Almighty God, wakakaka), Chinese folk religions and also Sikhism (yes, have a bhai in my family), Hinduism, Christianity but alas not Islam.

    4. Thanks for the clarification kaytee. Likewise, let me tell you that I am a Sufi. There are Muslims who declared that Sufis are controversial and heretical. I can't blame them because Sufi-ism does not exist during Muhammad and/or the Companions time. Sufi-ism recognizes the right of reason/intellectual vision to arbitrate between theological positions and disputes. Thus, it does not suppress free thought and all forms of freethinkers.


    5. Omar Khayyam was also a Sufi. His thoughts on God was reflected in the following verse:

      Thou hast said that Thou wilt torment me,
      But I shall fear not such a warning.
      For where Thou art, there can be no torment,
      And where Thou art not, how can such a place exist?

    6. In Rushdie’s novel ‘Shame’ at Page 29, he wrote this…

      “Omar Khayyam’s position as a poet is curious. He was never very popular in his native Persia; and he exists in the West in a translation that is really a complete reworking of his verses, in many cases very different from the spirit (to say nothing of the content) of the original. I, too, am a translated man. I have been borne across. It is generally believed that something is always lost in translation; I cling to the notion-and use, in evidence, the success of Fitzgerald-Khayyam-that something can also be gained.”


    7. hasan, a Sufi? No wonder your views are so very different from other Muslims. You project a high level of confidence in your faith and an openess hardly seen in Malaysian Muslims. But like the Shias and Ahmaddiyas, I guess you and your kind would not be accepted by our Islamic Authourities and you have to stay a closet Sufi. Sad, is'nt it?

    8. Anon 152

      Once a year about 4.0 million Muslims go for their pilgrimage in Mekah and Madinah. The distinction between Sufis, Asharites, Mutazilites, Zahirites, Tahawiites, Maturidiites, Shias, Wahabis, etc..etc..etc.., is not easy to make. But nobody is shunning anybody. All have an absolute belief in the rightness of one’s religion and personal destiny. However, the West will equate Islam with almost any Muslim and shun them. Sad, isn’t it?


    9. hasan, yes "nobody is shunning anybody. All have an absolute belief in the rightness of one’s religion and personal destiny" should be THE way but the majority Sunni and to a lesser extent, Shias are in the limelight and their actions are unfortunately judged by the so-called West as representative of the religion.

      Related to Sufis, Antares has written a recent interesting article at http://www.magickriver.org/2010/02/allah-another-case-of-much-ado-about.html

  3. In a democracy, government authority arises from laws, which have to be passed by elected legislature.
    In a theocracy, religious regulation arises by decree from a theological elite.

    I guess, as far as Muslims are concerned, Malaysia is well on its way to being a theocracy. It doesn't even require PAS to be in power.

    1. The reason why Dr M first scouted AI from ABIM is to out islam PAS and now with the desperate situation after the result of the last GE ( as far UMNO is concerned ), it is a brainer which route UMNO will take the country to.

    2. Ooops....should read "it is a NO brainer which route Umno will take the country to".

  4. Press release: Amendment to Mufti and Fatwa (Kedah Darul Aman) Enactment 2008 is unconstitutional and goes against the separation of powers.

    The Malaysian Bar views with grave concern the amendment made to the Mufti and Fatwa (Kedah Darul Aman) Enactment 2008(“Enactment”) passed recently by the Kedah state legislative assembly. The amendment inserted an ouster clause into the Enactment by way of section 22A, which provides that notwithstanding any written law or rule to the contrary, a fatwa decided by a mufti or a fatwa committee, “whether gazetted or not, cannot be challenged, appealed, reviewed, denied or questioned” in any civil or Syariah Court.

    The amendment is unconstitutional, as it purports to oust the jurisdiction of the Courts. Article 121 of the Federal Constitution does not confer upon any state legislative assembly the legislative power to enact laws that exclude the jurisdiction of the Courts.

    The amendment also goes against the doctrine of separation of powers. In a modern democratic framework, each of the three main branches of Government — the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary — has its respective role. The raison d'être of this doctrine is to establish a system of checks and balances among the three branches, to prevent any form of abuse of power by any branch. With the amendment, however, fatwas in Kedah are made absolute.

    The Malaysian Bar reminds members of the Kedah legislative assembly of the oath they took to uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land. This amendment must not become or remain a law of the state, as it is contrary to that oath.

    Lim Chee Wee
    Malaysian Bar

    7 June 2012