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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Muftis in Malaysia: Working for Umno or for God?


Muftis in M'sia: Working for Umno or for God?
It is typical for muftis working for the UMNO-BN government to keep their mouths shut and pretend to be oblivious to what is going on in the country and just work obediently as instructed by their political masters.
Yet they are the learned ones who should uphold righteousness and play their part in curbing moral and religious wrong doing in society. However few of them have publicly voiced their concerns about the social ills and corruption happening right before their very eyes. Everyday some scam or other is reported in the press. Cases involving top ministers have been exposed as open secrets.
However, these UMNO-appointed muftis remain silent. They even refrain from issuing any form of reprimand. However, they will not hesitate to rush to the defence of their masters and profusely give the necessary justifications - even if these are illogical and make no sense - for the corrupt activities and other wrong doings of their 'bosses'.
Loss of respect and credibility
One example is the case where the Mufti of Wilayah Persekutuan defended Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom for using zakat (tithe) money meant for the needy to pay for his legal fees. The head of the UMNO young 'ulama' or Muslim scholars' wing Ustaz Mohd. Fathul Bari is another example of a scholar who has relentlessly defended his party bosses even when it is clear he should reprimand them instead.
No wonder the Muslims in this country are exasperated and turning to PAS and PKR for cleaner solutions. After five decades of silence by these UMNO-appointed muftis, Malaysia has not been able to rise above the ordinary. It faces an uncertain future and the only visible direction is becoming another Greece if the UMNO-BN continue to waste the nation's wealth on overpriced mega projects.
Islam does not sanctify arrogance
Another example of how UMNO-BN has abused the Muslim scholars is the present Kedah Mufti Muhamad Baderudin Ahmad. After years of silence, he recently opened his mouth but instead of speaking up for the betterment of Islam, he asked Karpal Singh to "stop all the criticisms and slanders" against the implementation of hudud "as this has created confusions amongst various parties.”
How foolish can Baderudin be? Karpal has the right to criticize and voice his opinion on Islam as he wishes because he is concerned about the welfare of the non-Muslims. Can Baderudin show any proof that Islam does not allow non-Muslims to criticize Islam? Baderudin as a learned Muslim scholar must be aware that Islam is for the whole of humanity and every human being has the right to ask, enquire, give opinion and criticize as this is their right and reflects their lack of understanding and curiosity.
It is the duty of Muslims scholars like Baderudin to explain and not to ask non-Muslims to shut their mouths! Islam does not sanctify arrogance, so don't give the religion a bad name!
Cynics say by asking Karpal to shut up, Baderudin is taking the easy way out. Yes indeed and it is all about “cari makan” or earning a living. When will this kind of attitude amongst the Muslim scholars and muftis be changed? Where is the sincerity and true piety? They should change this attitude before the rakyat (citizens) change them.
PAS cannot do it alone
Baderudin also said that Karpal must respect Islam as the official religion. He implied that the Malay Sultans are the ones who have the prerogative pertaining to Islam.
However Baderudin must realize that even the Sultans issue statements and decrees based on the muftis' advice. With people like Baderudin around, who are afraid to discharge their duties with full diligence and responsibility, it is no wonder that many Muslims in Malaysia do not practice Islam properly.
It is no wonder that UMNO leaders who proclaim to be doing things for “Ugama, Bangsa dan Negara” (Religion, Race and Country) are corrupt and continue to be corrupt.
As far as hudud law (the Muslim penal code) is concerned, Baderudin must understand that it is the responsibility of every Muslim to uphold Islam and PAS cannot do it alone. As commented by former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri, even the Hudud Enactment by Kelantan is not comprehensive and needs improvement and fine tuning.
In fact there are years of work involving a huge number of people ahead before hudud can be implemented - if ever it can that is. Given the natural fear of the hudud penalties such as beheading and amputation of limbs, the attitude and arrogance of Muslim scholars such as Baderudin will not help in getting non-Muslims and eve Muslims themselves to understand and accept the controversial law.
A blessing for ALL
Hudud should not be implemented on non-Muslims and should not in any way have a negative effect on their lives. Hudud should be a blessing for the whole country - not just for devout Muslims. How do we as a multi-religious and multi-racial country get to this ideal position where the wishes of all sectors can be satisfied?
Obviously, it can only be through intelligent and sincere discourse. And for that, those against hudud should also take note and climb off their high horse. We all have rights - even the religious right-wing have their rights.
Since it is the duty for every Muslim to enjoy good and prevent evil, guys like Baderudin - since he is not capable of making any valid contribution towards achieving an understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims - should shut up first and foremost. Don't parade your religious qualifications if you cannot live up to the standards of Islam to be brave, to be fair and to fight corruption.
Muftis and the ulama should remember they are working for God and not UMNO-BN.
Malaysia Chronicle

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