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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Islam the orphaned religion?

A visitor to my blog, Apocryphalist said he is confused, sad and angry all at once because:-

The religion of Islam is now orphaned.

I am pitched in a mixture of perplexity, forlorn and spleen at the current state of things regarding my religion in this country of mine at this present moment. Just like the child, I feel as though it has been orphaned big time: no one would want to take care of it when it needed one, defend it at its time of need, speak for it when it needed a voice. When rude voices speak against it, against its “stupid fatwas”, the intellects, the writers and bloggers with the gab, the personalities that matter, all join in the foray of mutually condemning them too. It is as though to be associated with Islam is no longer a cool state of things. Fire a sling shot at it, and the Muslims scurry to disown their own religion faster than it takes time to say “I have faith”. In the now state of things Islam has, invariably, become an orphan religion.

The religion is left defenceless under an immortal zugzwang.

Fatwas are condemned.

….but when it comes to fatwas, all of which have been done after a series of strict methodological research and studies, I would expect that those who have differing views to arrive at them through some similar if not more rigorous analysis. Note I said differing views. Not condemnations.


I am honoured to find a comment from this person calling himself apocryphalist. He writes eloquently and brilliantly. As this moniker suggests, he defends something whose authenticity is not shared by others. He will defend something even though it is not popular with others. Presently, he thinks, the event/issue that is not popular, is defending our religion. He therefore steps in. I find this( truly and honestly) commendable.

Who are the others? These others, of course include those who offer differing views which to his estimation have not been done through rigorous thought process and therefore can only be classified as condemnations.

How do we answer this kind of pre-judgment? We are then caught in what the writer himself aptly calls zugzwang. This term (German) used commonly to analyse a chess game, describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move – the player would like to pass and make no move. The fact that the player must make a move means that his position will be significantly weaker than the hypothetical one in which it is his opponent's turn to move

Which, when translated now, means, if we say our views which differ from what the ulamaks say( because they have done their rulings through rigorous analysis) we are in position of zugzwang. We are condemned as those who are in concert of orphaning Islam. We cant answer because , every move would make our position worse, and so we would be better off if we could pass and not move.

To put our trust in modern ulamaks, (how rigorous can they get?) is a great leap of faith. In the examples I gave in the previous post- On To Other Things, the revision by the later fatwa council on the earlier council constitutes what? That the analysis by the earlier council wasn’t rigorous enough? What happens, if between the first and the later fatwa council, people have been put to death, or declared apostates? Are those things agreeable because the earlier fatwa was correct as it was arrived at, after strict methodological research and studies?.

But just suppose, some orphaned and disowned outsiders were to question the authenticity of the earlier fatwa, even though by doing so, brings with it, no material benefit nor any immediate economic advantage- would it be possible then, permitted to do so, could have resulted in the judgement being different? Lives could have been spared, and faith kept intact?.


Navi 25 November 2008 at 16:55  

"but when it comes to fatwas, all of which have been done after a series of strict methodological research and studies,"
Can we have the results of the methodical research and studies and by whom?
As a Muslim, we have the right to question why? It does not mean that we are sidelining our religion. We are trying to understand the basis of the fatwas.
As pointed out in the earlier blog by Sakmongol AK47, fatwas decreed by the governing authorities have been found to be flawed and decisions have been reversed; after years of implementation.
Is a Muslim to simply follow an edict without understanding the reason for it?
The reason of Muslims converting to Hinduism because of Yoga has to be proven. We have not heard of a single instance where such has happened. We need to substantiate such statements.
Personally, I do not see the need for such a fatwa on yoga. But than, I am not an expert on the religion. Educate me.

Anonymous,  25 November 2008 at 18:24  

Dato Sak, pandangan saya Fatwa pasal Yoga ni memang perlu sebagai guidance. Nampak masih terdapat kekeliruan selepas pengumuman. Tapi itu boleh diperhalusi lagi.

Tentang 'flawed' decree yg Dato ketengahkan (dan Navi uraikan diatas), pada saya risiko itu mesti ada dan tak boleh dieliminatekan terus. Hanya Allah sahaja yg sempurna. Imam Syafei pun suruh kita tinggalkan ajaran2 beliau jika ada yg dapat ditafsirkan dengan lebih jelas lagi selepas beliau dah tak ada. Contohnya hukum batal air sembahyang kalau bersentuh isteri.

Lagipun bukankah pembetulan 'flawed decree' ini menunjukkan yg MF bukan satu badan yg lurus bendul. Semuanya will be cast in stone. Kalau ada yg salah, MF jelas bersedia membetulkannya.

Saya harap MF akan terus bagi guidance pada orang2 Islam esp pada hal2 yg kabur macam ni. Memanglah terdapat risiko pada bila Fatwa2 ini ditentang umum. Tapi itu boleh diiron out dengan memperkukuhkan process pengeluarkan fatwa2 ini.

Sebagai umat Islam jangan la kita nak marah pada MF ni. Itu amanah yg perlu ditunaikan mereka. Berat fardu kifayah tu. Kalau mereka tak buat, siapa lagi nak buat? Bar Council? UMNO? hehehe (sorry Dato Sak melawak sikit).


Apocryphalist 25 November 2008 at 18:48  

Dato’ Sak,

I am equally honoured that you have dedicated an entire posting towards replying me. But believe it or not, what excited me more than that is the fact that you know Chess! Hahahaha. What a joy it is to talk to someone in an abstract language mutually understood by both. Would like to play against you someday, though, Dato’. Lesser beings have been known to be stumped by my non-conventional sacrificial moves but let’s see the manner with which the great Dato’ Sak will reply to my King’s Gambit opening.

That aside, I don’t see the fatwa issue to be such a great divisive thing. What I had highlighted is probably nothing more than what is wished by lots of people: the beca pedalists of Bemban, Melaka, the keropok-lekor makciks of Ganu, the ikan-puyu proprietors of Lenggeng, the kerbau herders of Gurun, Kedah. These simpleton muslims … they all relie on people like you to defend their religion against any onslaughts. They do not have the gabs, nor the intellect, nor even the ability to read sometimes. All they have are their strong (sometimes blind) faith inherited from generations. Whenever there is an intellectual onslaught (for what else could I call it in the eve of this ulama-bashing from all quarters, both muslims, hindus and others alike) they look up to people like us to at least have a stand that is standing FOR their religion. If we don’t do it for them aren’t we letting this orphanage thing to take course? Now can we at least grasp as to the reason why “being sad” is part of the triumvirate of feelings I have in that write-up?

One thing I have been meaning to write to you about for quite some time now but just didn’t have the time to do so: I notice that even though you have been producing copious amounts of writings of excellent qualities, your commenters remain few. You churn top-class materials almost everyday and yet one rarely finds the number of commenters to number more than five or ten. Sometimes, you have zero commenters. This shows clearly what type of person you are. While in other blogs commenters number by the hundreds, or even thousands, you are not distracted by numbers (or lack thereof). Even in the absence of any comments at all, you keep on writing and producing good readings. I have never seen a more demonstrational meaning of perserverence, conviction and self-belief reflected better than in your case. Do keep on writing, even about things not favourable to some.


sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 26 November 2008 at 08:20  

navi..thank you for yr comments. in this modern age, arriving at a fatwa which far reaching repercssions, must be done cautiously. probably its in my nature to be skeptical on opinions reached by fellow mortals. sigh...maybe a congenital skeptic.
anon 18:24. saya setuju dgn pandangan tuan. MF di perlukan dan saya meyakini institusi MF sebagai pewaris nabi yg menylesaikan kekeliruan dalam umat Islam.

sir, i have not had the pleasure of you regular comments. judging from the way you write, that denied pleasure has been an injustice to me..haha.
i will be publishing a book on my blog articles- i would like to include this comment as part of my introductory i have that permission please?
haha. play chess? have to brush up skills.
no comments on my writings:-
thus far i have not been bothered by the lack thereof. perhaps because they are not worth reading. maybe not easy to read. as a close friend says, people must be really sure before posting comments. hmmmm

mekyam,  26 November 2008 at 13:02  

hi tok sak,

i say "arif is as arif does!" [and i don't just mean you, but in general. ;D]

i don't see the lack of comments to your entries as indicative of lack of readership. that can only be determined by the number of hits you received and length of each stay.

whenever i visit, which is a couple of times a day, i can't help glancing at your live traffic feed. the worldwide distribution of your visitors is rather impressive.

so we'll ignore the conjecture that your entries are not worth reading. reading of materials which are not related to school or work come down to making subjective choices anyway.

people not only prefer to read things that interest them, but would rather not have to work too hard at understanding what's written.

if, in spite of the fluidity of your writing, some find you not easy to read, it's not really a bad thing. it means those who visit and keep visiting are the kind of visitors you want anyway, i.e people with similar frames of reference and those who can relate even when they don't agree with you.

it's not like you are trying to win a blog popularity contest. blogs that are not news portals probably prefer to have visitors who can appreciate what they write than just mere numbers.

i agree with your close friend about people exercising some caution before posting, either a comment or a blog entry.

unlike thoughts and spoken words, the written words have permanence. on the internet, this permanence goes up to a whole other level. :D

Anonymous,  26 November 2008 at 14:17  

Dear Dato Sak,

I'm one of your 'quiet'fan & will buy your book anytime.

Hi Apocryphalist, I think, why not many people comment on Dato's post is because like me, they are in awe in his wisdom & creative writing. And you Sir, I'll buy anything that you sell as well. Sorry, just cheeky on my part.

I hope both of you do not see this compliment as a patronising move on my part to 'divide & rule', as someone suggested on another blog. I know you've got more class than that.Hey, there are still honest to goodness people around, agree?

Wish both of you well & keep up the good work.

Tommy Yew.

PS - I'm a good listener & take on board all good advices. Best advice I had was years ago, growing up in my kampung.The local Pak Imum taught me in great details, the greatest sin is to drink alcohol. Yes, I'm one of the rare Chinese that don't 'yum seng' & guess what benefit I'd gained over the years; A healthy liver & had save enough money to invest in some real estate! Must admit I do socially have a glass of Chardonnay or Shiraz every now & then, but not when I had to drive later.

Godisuno 26 November 2008 at 18:54  

i don't have any problems with the fatwas given. be it on the pengkid or on the Yoga. i accepted them and i will follow them. Why don't you sak, find out the meaning of the mantras or the chanting which are used in some of the yoga practices. In order to know why the fatwa was issued then we need to know the meaning of the mantras. Since moslems believes in the oneness of god (Allah), then if the mantras deviate from should be avoided.

Apocryphalist 26 November 2008 at 19:11  

Noting MekYam and Tommy Yew's comments, I would have thought as much. Perhaps people are not commenting because people are .... afraid? Maybe they'd think Dato' Sak is a condescending tower of personality that shouldn't be touched or commented? I mean, its an ADUN we're talking about here. And this newly-acquired knighthood is not helping to dispel the image either. Hahahaha. You couldn't be more wrong people. You'd lose a lot by missing the chance to interact with our digital tomoi fighter cum dato'. But you know what I think. I think most are like me: we Garrison-Keillor types would rather not open our mouths than face the slightest chance of being branded stupido. Hehehehe. Funny thing is there's lots of this type elsewhere and you REALLY wish some of them to shut up.

You can use my phrases or words, Dato'. That really is a compliment. Note too, people, if I can do it for one thing, I can also do it for another: writing epitaphs or obituaries should any of you need some flowery eloquence to grace your tombstones. For a fee, of course. Come to think of it, I might want to consider this as a career if my ikan puyu keep on dying on me in my kolam.

Speaking of obituaries, was it not George Burns (or perhaps Mark Twain , originally) who, when asked his secrets for longevity, answered that as his daily routine, he would wake up, go down to the front porch to get the morning papers, scan the obituaries and, if his name isn't there, he'd just go in and have a cup of coffee.


Malaysian Tigress 26 November 2008 at 20:18  

(Apocryphalist, Oh, I hope I'm not one of those you wish would shut up...if I am, then please "shut up" about it and don't tell me...hahaha)

BTW, i was going to write earlier too that I think people are "intimidated" by Dato Sak's "terer"ness and seriousness...I know I was/am, but I got thick skin...(must be the Iranian third in me - "hey, come and nuke me already!")


A Tabib 26 November 2008 at 23:01  

I actually find this blog educational. I mean it gets me thinking (yes, it hurt) instead of just absorbing information.

I've said in a different post that I find this blog refreshing and the main reason for that, I reckon, is because as Mekyam says, Sakmongkol is just being himself. He addresses issues that concern or interest us head on but from a uniquely "Sakmongkolian" way. Therein lies the charm, well for me anyway.

There is a certain amount of "terer"ness (to borrow Malaysian Tigress' term) and intellectual rigorousness in the writings and the ripostes for sure, but that's what makes the blog interesting...

...And challenging. I for one am not afraid to confess that there were many occasions when I had to scramble to Wikipedia or dig up some tattered book or some other reference source to research something that was written (oh, oh, he's written about the Laffer Curve!. what the heck is that???). I'm sure there'll be many more occasions in the future when I'll have to do the same but no matter. I learn in the process.

Yup, unlike other blogs, coming to Sakmongkol's blog can feel like going to a tutorial sometimes. Posting a comment definitely makes me feel like I'm in a tutorial with smart classmates and the tutor looking expectantly and saying "yesss, A Tabib, you have something to sayy?". But I wouldn't want Sakmongkol to change anything.

OK I've said my please allow me to slink back to my corner.

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 26 November 2008 at 23:36  

mek yam- thank you for the comforting words. ya, maybe sometimes difficult to read. perhaps that is the product of our cultural and educational conditioning. even writing about simple things in my style(only style i know) may make the article seems more complex than it is.
Tommy Yew- hello. nice to know i have a silent fan. pls dont be intimidated by my writings..entah entah sakmongkol ni ek je. haha.

pak Godisuno...elements which are clearly un Islamic are faithfully accepted. no dispute there. thanks for your suggestion.
i assure you sir, sakmongkol is not a condescending person. he is amused sometimes to see no comments at all even thought the traffic count increases. at least people are reading. i would like to see Apocryphalist blogs so that many more can enjoy his takes on issues of interest. your style is uncannily similar to a blogger known as Deminegara.
malaysian tigress- thank you for visiting often. please come in..i wont bite haha.
A.Tabib- doc, you have heaped accolades which are perhaps too heavy for my shoulders. thank you for yr generous words.
i have now learnt a new term- sakmongkolian way.. thank youuuuu.

zooky 26 November 2008 at 23:45  

Salam Dato',
Is not Apocryphalist essentially saying to you (as one of "bloggers with gab"): You are providing ammo for the "rude voices" to attack?

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 27 November 2008 at 00:06  

not at all my friend. you see the stance of the real sakmongkol? i am sure he will engage rude voices in his sakmongkolian ways.

mekyam,  27 November 2008 at 01:01  

sir! sir! [angkat tangan again!]

i sooo agree with doc tabib [aside: and dammit! i'm so envious of him coming up with "sakmongkolian". :p].

i too have to run often to Wiki or scratch my brain whenever you throw us something we've never heard before or have heard but this sieve of a brain didn't retain much of.

and like tommy, i also would buy any book of yours. as i would those written by apocryphalist and a tabib and de minimis and of course, by the inimitable walla [heck, i'd even buy his soggy old mop if he scribbled his thoughts on its handle. :D].

p.s. dear apocryphalist, you're a fellow keillor fan, eh? yay, me too! student days, i always tried not to miss his PHC and now i catch him now and then when i'm driving. have a few of his books too. haven't seen the movie with tomlin and streep though. have you?

Apocryphalist 27 November 2008 at 08:37  


Oh Cripes. Don't tell me we can finish each other's sentences too. Yeah I have most of Garrison Keillor's books. This chap, who calls himself "America's shyest man" boomed out of oblivion in the mid-80s with his "Lake Wobegon days". That was later turned to a CD, the music-spoken type, and whenever I feel down I would always fire it up and get a barrel or two of laughs. His jokes are cranium-based but very mild, which is why they appeal to people who love things like candle-lit dinners, Schubert symphonies or sunset walks in the parks. In other words, boring people (ok laaa might as well say it: people like me). His diagrammatical opposite is, of course, the obnoxious miscreant Howard Stern whose slapstick jokes are told in closets and who I would just steal to hear sometimes too. Hahaha.

That film you mentioned, co-starring Streep, Tomlin and also Lindsay Lohan as Streep's daughter: I bought the DVD but got mengantuk halfway so i didn't finish it. Keillor is perhaps best heard and not seen. Not even read, in my opinion. Hahahaha. He once compared himself to "Thurber, Pearlman and White except that he's still living, which is mighty convenient."

mekyam,  27 November 2008 at 18:03  


yikes [as GK would say], i used to catch howard stern too!

sometime in the late 90s, howard was my morning fare for almost 8 months when i had to commute to a job outside the city [across state line actually].

at first i had him on because i needed something gritty to keep myself alert as i traverse the insane daily tunnel traffic.

later, it kept me up-to-speed with the most "hip" of coffee machine chatters because all my colleagues also listened to him.

in the grim dubya years, i think i lost my taste for american humour in general. i switched my listening choice to amy goodman (of 'democracy now') on pacifica. dunno if you've heard of her.

btw, i just found out that GK and the PHC will end 2008 tours with shows at NYC's Town Hall on dec 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 27. i think taking in one of the shows will be a most fitting way for me to welcome the obama years.

p.s. love that quote of GK comparing himself to thurber, pearlman and white. :D

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