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Thursday, February 16, 2017

How lucky! Malay Muslims don’t need to think



We Malay Muslims are definitely a weak bunch of people. We are easily confused, influenced and manipulated, hence, we are constantly taken advantaged and conned by others. Maybe that’s why we constantly need others to help do our thinking for us.
We are lucky to have authorities such as the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and other non-governmental organisations like the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) who constantly have our backs.
They are always helping us, low-intellect and irrational Malay Muslims, to lead our lives the proper way. For without them, we would probably be in archaic and primitive existence. Much like our ancestors who lived in caves.
We are also lucky that more and more people who are of higher intellectual capability than many of us are starting to see that they, too, like the authorities and NGOs, have a responsibility to help their fellow Muslims.
Yes, a big thank you to Valet Doa for offering a service that will make it easier for Malay Muslims to save their souls. They are willing to go all the way to Makkah and bring people’s prayers with them to be made at the holy land.
Of course, these people would have to pay for this service and the packages range from RM500 to RM2,500. Valet Doa will then bring their prayers to the Ka’abah, Multazam or any other holy places. I guess now we don’t have to pray anymore. We can just pay someone to do it for us.
The company’s founder, Mohd Nasrin Harin, said that people need to grab this opportunity, especially those who are in trouble or in desperate situations and want their prayers to be heard by God and be granted as fast as possible.
Never mind the fact prayers to God is considered equal and valid no matter where you are. Never mind the fact that prayers are to be made sincerely and not because you have been paid to do it. Never mind the fact the here is a person who is capitalising on religion.
How lucky are we that we also now have luxurious Quran reciting classes (for those who can afford it, of course). Elite Jets Sdn Bhd is a corporate jet travel and aircraft services company that is offering Quran classes with popular Muslim teachers in private jets.
So you can fly anywhere you want in the world in a private jet, and while in the air, get the opportunity to learn about the Quran from people like Sharifah Kasif Fadzilah, who recently won a Quran reciting competition.
The packages that are available can range from anywhere between RM10,000 to RM33,000. The company’s CEO, Captain Hani Salman Ahmad, said the prices are justified because you are actually paying for the plane’s cost and for the time you spend learning the Quran.
The company says that they are targeting the rich and that any millionaire who wants to purchase their packages are welcome. Never mind the fact that Islam is a religion that promotes humility and moderation. Hey, the classes are free and you’re just paying for the plane, right?
Pork-free restaurants
We should also be thankful that recently the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry has stated that they can act against restaurants which display signs saying that they are ‘pork free’ as this could confuse Muslims.
The ministry’s enforcement director Mohd Roslan Mahayudin was reported to have said, “Consumers must remember the ‘pork free’ sign does not mean it is halal. So don't be deceived if there are many Muslims eating in that restaurant.”
He goes on to say that this is just a way for these restaurants to tell people that they don’t serve pork dishes but have not exactly applied for a halal licence from Jakim. He reminds people that only Jakim can certify ‘halal-ness’.
It’s good that so many parties are willing to come out and protect Malay Muslims from thinking and rationalising too much. At least we now know that we don’t have to use our God-given brains and risk turning us into thinking human beings.
I guess the Islamic concept of ‘ijtihad’, which is the term that describes the necessity for human beings to be able to interpret the Quran and Sunnah independently, is just overrated. We don’t need it if others are interpreting it for us, right?
It’s good that more commercial entities are coming out to capitalise on religion and also not forgetting the authorities, who constantly come out and dictate how we make sense of things. At least we know that they are watching out for us.
If anything at all, we Malay Muslims can rest assured that we now have a choice of different avenues we can go to help us think. It’s democratisation of religious interpretation, I guess, and we will never have to face the burden of thinking for ourselves.

ZAN AZLEE is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist and academic. Zan usually does his prayers himself because he’s embarrassed about people finding out he mostly prays for his favourite American snack ‘Chicken in a Biscuit’ (which hopefully has no pork) to be more easily available here in Malaysia. Visit FATBIDIN.COM to view his work.- Mkini

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