Friday, May 09, 2014

Why Muslims, too , are rejecting the hudud

by Azly Rahman



I wrote these sentences on my Facebook status page this week:

“ …  SIMPLY PUT, ON THE HUDUD...

seriously speaking... i have a few questions:
you kidnap innocent girls and sell them, in the name of religion
you shoot girls in the face - those who only wish to go to schools
you rape women and put them on trial for immodest behaviour
you spew hatred towards people of other faiths and race
you ask those who disagree with you to leave the country
you do all these - in the name of protecting religion?
and now you wish to implement the hudud and force us to agree or you wage war against us?
what cult do you actually belong to? – ar


Malaysia is undergoing a rupture out of this growing complex debate on the Sharia law and the hudud. The Muslims are deeply divided on this issue, depending on how each understands the religion, judgments of who is more Muslim than others aside.

All Muslims are not created equal these days; each one is a complex construction of the history, culture, and politics of Islam. Even of the metaphysics of Islam. Most importantly education and socialisation are the twin pillars of this idea of ‘to have or not to have hudud’ or ‘to what extent must the Sharia law govern the lives of Muslims’.

Is a Muslim educated in Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or even Indonesia, or even Kelantan, created as equal as those educated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Singapore, or even in Johor?

Which Muslim educated in which country and state has the right to impose the ideas of Sharia law and hudud more than those in other places?

Boko Haram Muslims in Malaysia?

Who has the right to say the ‘liberal Islam’ is less Islam than Boko Haram’s type of Islam? Why would Malays of the Islamic faith be kow-towing to the dictates of those other Malay-Muslim who not only are happy to be ignorant of Western foundational ideas but also think that because they are educated in Arab-speaking countries and louder in their chants for an Islamic state they have the right to speak about Islam and become guardians of the “morality of the ummah”?

What makes those calling for the implementation of a comprehensive Sharia, the hudud, en route to an ‘Islamic state’ think that all Muslims must also agree?

What makes them believe that these Malay-Muslims are not already fed-up and even nauseated by the urging for this or that type of ‘Islamic-ness’ which includes waging war on other races and religion in multicultural Malaysia - instead of waging peace and ensuring that Malaysia will not see the rise of Boko Haram’s type of Muslims?

Aren’t peace-loving Muslims in Malaysia more interested in having their children learn about diverse ideas to become world-wise citizens able to live is a complex and globalising world, rather than follow the urgings warning Muslims against ‘liberal ideas’ these Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims think only mean Western ideas that will turn human beings into lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgenders?

How obsessed with the libidinal and the sexual can these groups be?

Is that how much these Muslims understood what knowledge is about? Should we even care? Should progressive Muslims care when, in order to succeed in many ‘Western and infidel nations of liberal institutions of the advanced nations’ the foundational courses are all about ‘liberal ideas’?

Do you think these progressive Muslims are going to care about those ‘liberal-bashing’ Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims to discourage their children to even explore what ‘liberalism’ means?

And these ‘enemies of liberal ideas’ got their college/university degrees, did they not? Did they not learn about western and liberal ideas and pass their exams and at least learn a bit of good things about it?

This is a similar situation of the hypocrisy we see demonstrated in the case of those who oppose the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English. Many are distinguished professors who wrote their dissertations in English yet they are intoxicated by a strange out-of-whack nationalistic sentimentality, chose to produce hypocritical and damaging statements denying especially the Malay-Muslim children and youth of the importance of exploring liberal ideas and other languages including the English language; the lingua franca many of the Boko-Haram-type of Muslims would call “language of the infidels/kaffirs”.

Who need these kinds of Muslims and their urging for an ‘Islamic state’ when the stench of hypocrisy has filled the Malaysian air - like the poisoning of the sky through the Kuala Lumpur haze?

Think about it? - What actually is this hudud debate about? Who is benefitting from this?

Teach them well

Leave the fruitless debate on hudud and the Islamic state behind. They are not going to happen, most probably. Spend time and energy on good nation-building. Teach our children to make friends from people across cultures, religious beliefs, and the children of the wealthy having empathy over those working hard to get out of poverty.


Focus on getting our university students to create multicultural clubs and have loads of fun playing sports, playing music together, or simply have frequent teh tarik sessions together, and of course studying together and sharing and creating new knowledge together

If I were the education minister, these are the things I would work on and hold on to as top priority and not some ‘ranking’ of this or that or building more one-superior-race schools. I’d work on collaboration, cooperation, co-creation in everything - from the philosophy of education right till college teaching and learning and beyond.

We see time wasted on entertaining groups out to destroy each other in a Malaysia we all care for. We ought to be teaching each other to see life as a gift and to create a ‘state of peace’ in ourselves, our family, communities, and nation - rather than be obsessed in creating this or that ‘religious state’, in the process crafting a ‘we versus them’ enmity.

And some of you politicians have been the biggest culprits in nation-destroying rather than nation-building.

Aren’t we tired of all these?

So - where do we go from here?

13 comments:

Irene Chin said...

Dr. Azly,

Thank you very much for writing what you have written. A real good piece. Unfortunately you are one of a few Muslims who use his7her brain.

I have said it before and say it now and will say it again in the future, that only the Malays/Muslims can change Malaysia because they are the majority!!!!

Unfortunately it is sad but true. I hope more Malays/Muslims will follow your way of thinking. But unfortunately even the Royals know where their bread is buttered and by whom!! So how on earth can Malaysia progressed?? When all those power be are interested in is the gravy train and how to get their hand in it!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Azly, for your open views.
The best so far of our insight on this Hudud phobias....
If only we have more educated muslims similar to your visions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being open-minded.

Anonymous said...

If only we have more Muslims like you.

Bogey said...

There are many many Muslims who think like you, except they don't have the balls to say it for fear of being branded by others as too liberal.

Anonymous said...

We need open minds like yours for Malaysia to move forward, a Malaysia to be proud of. Keep it up

Fiona said...

Appreciate your thoughts.Thinking people are hard to come by,
so I'm glad you came by. Thank you!

suresh naidu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hari- The underlying factor in nation-destroying speeches and activities that are being allowed and indirectly encouraged is politics. You must also deal at legth with how education and national unity are pawned to maintain political hegemony 0f certain groups.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous for simplicity.

Love your writings, make much sense.
Most of all, I like your links further down on teaching clips! - Though I really miss one; one of the greatest: Michel Foucault. When you see him in discussion with Chomsky, Chomsky is looking up to him. When he speaks, each sentence is ready for printing.

MeorUsa said...

The same men and women that had fulfilled their undergraduate and post graduate requirements are not doing their due diligence in these Shariah an Hudud assignments.

You will not graduate then in US or UK if you don't do any work on what you want.You knew that.

Since what you asking for will harm others you have an obligation to seek consensus.

God might forgive you for your literal interpretation of Hudud and Syariah wishes ,but your fellow humans might never forgive you.
So seek counsel and consensus.

Ty Sdr.Azly
I don't feel alone.
Meor,
Manchester,Ct

Anonymous said...

Wish more malay muslim speaks up like you because you know more about the islamic teachings than the others.
In short its a prevention is better than cure concept. Yes, help those who steal or rape instead of introduce more harsh punishment. Nobody wants to steal if they can afford it. The same goes to rapist.

Zamil said...

Keep writing Dr.Azly. Kita perlu kan suara Melayu dalam hal begini. Melayu juga perlu kan kebebasan beragama. ISMA kata tidak ada istilah moderate dalam Islam...jadi yang ada ialah Islam extreme dalam bentuk yang mereka amal kan. Ada Melayu yang tak sanggup lagi jadi Islam akibat dari tekanan dari masyarakat Melayu sekeliling yang semakin ramai memilih Islam cara ISMA dan PAS. Yang nak keluar agama pun tak bagi, nak amal kan Islam secara moderate pun dia kata salah , habis bagaimana? Melayu spt saya rasa sangat tersepit dan kadang2 rasa stress.

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