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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

On to other things then.

I still have a few more parts on my yoga article which can be posted. After looking around blogsphere and the world around, I have decided not to continue this. It is true as a visitor to my blog, Grand Marquis said- it will lead to tiresome debates. Tiresome debates sap the vitality and energy of people. In the final analysis, I agree with his conclusion, that it boils down to our aqidah.

Also, debates and polemics on this subject will only lead distraction from the day to day matters- how the government is managing our country. As the blogger Mat Cendana has colourfully put it, these are baits and we fell for it, hook line and sinker.

As parting shots, I leave with the following and to me, chilling reminders:-

September, 1984, the Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan issued the following fatwa :

“Setelah berbincang dan menimbang kertas kerja ini Jawatankuasa telah mengambil keputusan bahawa hanya Mazhab Syiah dari golongan Al-Zaidiyah dan Jaafariah sahaja yang diterima untuk diamalkan di Malaysia

May, 1996, the Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan issued the following fatwa :

a) Bersetuju supaya keputusan Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa yang telah diadakan pada 24 dan 25 September 1984 [Kertas Bil. 2/8/84, Perkara 4.2. (2)] mengenai aliran Syiah yang menetapkan seperti berikut :

“Setelah berbincang dan menimbang kertas kerja ini Jawatankuasa telah mengambil keputusan bahawa hanya Mazhab Syiah dari golongan Al-Zaidiyah dan Jaafariah sahaja yang diterima untuk diamalkan di Malaysia.” Dimansuhkan.

b) Menetapkan bahawa umat Islam di Malaysia hendaklah hanya mengikut ajaran Islam yang berasaskan pegangan Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah dari segi Aqidah, Syariah dan Akhlak….

…e) Memperakukan bahawa ajaran Islam yang lain daripada pegangan Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah adalah bercanggah dengan Hukum Syarak dan Undang-Undang Islam; dan dengan demikian penyebaran apa-apa ajaran yang lain daripada pegangan Ahli Sunnah Wal-Jamaah adalah dilarang.

Which makes something like, The House of Lords is not bound by its own decisions. Then I see glimmer of hopes here; our eminences recognize their infallibilities.

Meanwhile, eons ago( in blog years) the celebrated Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul who 50 years ago said:

While the world is reaching for the moon,
We remain too busy,
Thumping through the Quran,
Debating fatwas about Talaq’.


Anonymous,  25 November 2008 at 10:49  

Well said Dato'..thank you for spending so much time writing articles on the yoga ban.I am sure many appreciate your huge concern.Alas,we will at the end of the day just accept the fatwa(reluctantly and obediently at the same time).
Your articles are and have always ignited our senses to the fullest extent.

Apocryphalist 25 November 2008 at 10:53  

The Orphan and the Fortress

Once upon a time, amidst the bleating of sheep and goats in a dilapidated city, a child was born to a mother who had just lost her husband. Custom of the land had it that every new-born child of that society were to be taken up by foster mothers to be nursed and breast-milked until the real mother was well enough to take her child up again. All this was done, of course, for a fee. But being poor and of no societal stature and absolutely wealth-less, no one would want to take up the rosy-cheeked baby to be breast-fed: his was of no consequence. No material benefit. No immediate economic advantage. The single mother was poor. It was deemed to be such a non-smart move to breast feed this child, at least financially. But the boy survived and when the mother died too a few years later, he remained a full orphan true and true.

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.

It is now hip to demonize the ulamas, muftis and scholars together with the pak lebais and the moulvis as people who only know how to concoct sensitive issues not within the spirit of 21st century progress. And when people of other faiths join in the foray in its condemnation, the religion finds two-pronged attacks: one from the side of those who are NOT within the faith, and from another WITHIN, the ones we find too dear to disown but at the same time singing in the same chorus with people who are not of the same faith. The religion is left defenseless under an immortal zugzwang.

Gentlemen. Those fatwas are not stupid. The ulamas are not imbeciles. Every single fatwa that has been written has to undergo rigorous processes of research, scrutiny and studies before they come up with their findings. You can disagree with it only if you take an equivalent scrutinous path to achieve what you conclude as a different ruling but the question is, have we done so? What honor is there in nodding together with Lesbian-Lieuw (pengkid case) or Pandit Puthusamy (yoga) to disown or condemn your own ulamas and calling your religion stupid?

Now every body can give two cents views. But in the case of this orphan religion, this license to give 2 cents views include those who make pre-emptive declarations like “Well, I am not a good muslim myself but I think ..” or “even though I have little knowledge about this, I think the ulamas are not fair …” or “I have done a fair share of sins in this world too but I need to speak out …”. Hello! Its religion we are talking about here. How about we open up the viewpoints of inmates of drug detection centers on the legalities of legalizing marijuana? Or getting Botak Chin to voice out his opinion on the fallacies of the death sentence, if only he were above room temperature now? Am I saying we all have to be saints to voice out something about religion? No I am not saying that, 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.

In scientific circles, there are hundreds or thousands of theories that are written every year and published in refereed journals. Out of these, barely 1 or 2 percent have any resemblance to truths and realities while the rest of them are disregarded in the wastepaper basket of uncertainty based on them either not having sound scientific foundations or the inability to verify their truths experimentally. But far from condemning the writers of those theories, nobody throws them away: they remain to be stepping stones for other theories that were to later emerge or improved.

But fatwas and dogmas are inter-related. If they go for one now, who can guarantee that they don’t go for the next? Then to make your life and work simple, my dear muslim defenders of modern Islam, why don’t we all start questioning the sophomoric existence of the hereafter, the asinity of believing in hell fire (believing in heaven I am sure you wouldn’t have much of a problem, do you? Nudge nudge, wink wink), the absurdity of the prophet’s night journey and numerous other inept things that make up the teachings of Islam?

Nobody dares to do today what Halimah did to that orphan of 1400 years ago. Halimah was a lady whose possessions in this world would probably be accurately termed as absolutely meager. Her sheep were sick, her camels weak, and her grazing ground plot was barren. With other flocks, her sheep and camel were always the last to be left behind because of their physical disadvantages.

But Halimah took up the child Mohammad. And suddenly, a few days later she found that her grazing plot was full of grass, her sheep had become fat and her camels now look like racing breeds. If there is so much honour and barakah in raising up an orphan child, gentlemen, think about what it would do to us to defend an orphan religion brought about by this orphan child which is, at the present moment, facing untold amount of multi-prong condemnations from all quarters. Just like that orphan, he could survive even if Halimah hadn’t taken him up. But can we survive if we join in the voices of its condemnations? It’s our chance, that’s how I see it.

I know this letter will find, amongst other things, apologetic replies with “Well actually you got it wrong, I didn’t say that ….” or “we didn’t mean it that way ..” or perhaps equivalent stronger reinforcements of the “the ulamas ARE imbeciles and the fatwas ARE stupid” kind of arguments, but let’s not lose sight of the forest because of the trees here. More importantly, let’s not win battles but lose wars. I am just making a sincere calling here. Enough of using this intellect and gab that God has given us to condemn the ruling that fortifies the teachings of that man 1400 years ago from all other impurities, mantric shastras included and start to use it FOR it instead.

Allama Iqbal once said,

There was once a time
when this fortress sought to reflect
The Wheeling of the Heavens
How many Princes fell on their knees
before its gates
And now, on the bastions,
a wild dove is poised

Do we want to keep the fortress that way, gentlemen?

Your bereaved brother, Apocryphalist

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 13:03  
This comment has been removed by the author.
walla 25 November 2008 at 13:47  

The wayfarers had lost their way. They were also robbed of their camels, and some had died of thirst, while others went missing when a sandstorm hit. Then they saw an oasis and were happy. But upon reaching the oasis, they saw an old man. He said, 'you must move on; what you really seek is not here; ahead is a palace; there you will have your answer.'

So, they moved on, even while their minds were plagued with fear that the old man might be pulling a fast one on them in order to keep the fruits and water of the oasis all for himself.

They plodded on in the scorching heat and when they were all about to give up, indeed a palace appeared before them. A beautiful shimmering palace with minarets and all. The old man was right after all, they heaved a sigh of relief.

They reached the big main door and it opened. Someone appeared, they explained they were told this would be the place they will find the answer. They were led in and escorted to a big hall with huge ceilings lit with a thousand lights. What a splendid, heart-warming sight, it was! They saw a huge empty throne ahead. It was bedecked with jewels of all colors, each the size of an ostrich egg. Behind the throne and in fact on all the walls of the hall were shelves from floor to ceiling. These were lined with the most magnificently bound books with gilded gold writings. Thousands of volumes. While they were all admiring the throne, the hall, and the books, an old man appeared as if from thin air and walked towards them. Beard, silver robe and all, he looked like a royal vizier. His eyes twinkled with a merry smile.

'Ah, you've come. I know you would. Welcome, indeed, welcome to His humble abode. I see you seek answers.'

'Yes,' the leader of the herd replied. 'We have all come from afar and are much troubled. We seek the answer to guide us ahead for the last part of our lives. Where is He, may we ask?', he added earnestly.

'Oh? you just passed Him.'

They were astonished. 'But we met no one,' the leader of the herd explained.

'Didn't He open the door for you a while ago?', the old vizier asked.

They quickly turned around but the One who had opened the door was not there anymore.

Then they understood. He was so concerned for them He personally went to open the door for them. They finally realized the reason why they didn't recognize Him was because they had a preconception of what He would be. They saw the palace, the throne, the books and the vizier, and had concluded His presence should somehow be 'higher' and more 'illustrious' than what had been portrayed to them.

They went for the form, and forgot all about the substance.

- end of (my) little story -

What is the essence of Him, as opposed to what is the essence of a religion?

That could the question that should be answered first when trying to be 'true to one's faith as a way of life'.

Apocryphalist 25 November 2008 at 14:10  

I hate it when I write inaccurately: my brain whizzes along faster than my hands could type. That fortress poem was by Omar Khayyam and not by Pujangga Iqbal. Thousand Apologies.

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 14:26  


So beautifully, understanding and defense of the Deen...

(btw Datuk Sak, pretend you didn't see the first comment I deleted...piety, heart and intelligence is a lethal combination...)

I am one of those sorry specimens who try to defend the fatwas and our "under siege" scholars with those pre-emptive words "I am not a good Muslim". But I cannot stand by and watch all the attacks from within and outside without saying anything (simply because I do not have the necessary back-up) because I know the ulama do not simply decide out of the blue to make some haphazard fatwa in order to constrain our liberties or make our lives miserable for fun or because they are such killjoys.

We are just so used to all kinds of liberties being brought up in a secular environment and education system with exposure to a myriad of influences that it has become quite hard for many of us to return to the basic teachings, fundamentals of Islam as many tend to see it as regressive and kolot and antisocial (because it doesn't gel with the concept of muhibbah in the case of us brought up in Malaysia).

We have been living it as if it is just another religion. It is NOT. It is an extremely grave matter because our souls are going to suffer the consequences FOREVER.

I am not being self-righteous. This is the reality. Reality.

It IS a really sad thing.

I think we can still debate fatwas about talaq AND reach for the moon too...but then again what greater purpose would reaching the moon serve us?

Has it increased the faith of those who have reached it?

Ridzzy 25 November 2008 at 14:54  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ridzzy 25 November 2008 at 14:56  

Salam ,

This whole episode has left me disheartened.

The Majlis fatwa issues an edict and everything hits the fan!

Everyone takes the oppotunity to go after each other's throats.

After reading the repurcussions in cyberspace in particular blogsphere and reactions from BOTH sides of the extreme; Islam bashing from the very same advocates of "Bangsa Malaysia" and the "dont mess with my religion or else types" on the other side , I think that if we Malaysians can be so easily divided, we're heading to the dumps arent we?

Anyone see anything peculiar with this whole episode?
Why in the world would the mainstream seek the reaction from Hindu Sanggam? Why the hype during the pre emptive news weeks before the actual ban ?

All of a sudden everyone forgot about our EPF bailouts and started talking about fatwas..

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 15:01  

"What is the essence of Him, as opposed to what is the essence of a religion?

That could the question that should be answered first when trying to be 'true to one's faith as a way of life'."

Dear Walla,

The Quran was sent down by HIM, HIS WORDS, HIS GUIDELINES, HIS COMMANDS and Islam is a religion (way of life) chosen by HIM, perfected by HIM as the best way to worship HIM. That IS the essence of the Islamic way of life...the best manner to WORSHIP HIM and to live our lives as HE has CHOSEN for us to in the example/manner of HIS Messenger, Prophet Muhammad SAW...

By Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips:

"The name of God's religion lslam was not decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the final book of divine revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah states the following:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". (Soorah Al-Maa'idah 5:3)

"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him" (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:85)"

It may be argued that all religions teach good things so why should it matter which one we follow. The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil, the worship of creation.

Creation-worship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of his creation. Man was created to worship Allah alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Our'aan:

"I have only created Jlnns and men, that they may worship me"(Soorah Zaareeyaat 51:56)

Consequently, the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an opinion, but a revealed fact stated by Allah in his final revelation to man:

"Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He may forgive (sins) less than that for whom so ever He wishes"(Soorah An- Nisaa 4:48 and 116)"

(not debating...just volunteering some pertinent information here)

walla 25 November 2008 at 16:37  

Thank you, Malaysian Tigress.

I don't know what to do after this.

What started as my feeble attempt to understand His essence in order to understand the inviolability of the fatwa is ending with the frightening conclusion that a few billion of our fellow human beings are eternally finished.

Maybe it's because i have been trying to understand Him as separate from understanding His designated way of life for humans.

I thank you all the same for the fast response.

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 17:50  

Dear Walla...

There is hope yet :-)


Since the consequences of false religion are so grave, the true religion of Allah must be universally understandable and attainable, not confined to any people, place or time. There can not be conditions like baptism, belief in a man, as a saviour etc., for a believer to enter paradise. Within the central principle of Islam and in its definition, (the surrender of one's will to God) lies the roots of lslam's universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that Allah is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to Allah, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise. Thus, anyone at anytime in the most remote region of the world can become a Muslim, a follower of God's religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and by turning to Allah (God) alone-It should be noted however, that the recognition of and submission to Allah requires that one chooses between right and wrong and such a choice implies accountability. Man will be held responsible for his choices, and, as such, he should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. The ultimate good being the worship of Allah alone and the ultimate evil being the worship of His creation along with or instead of Allah. This fact is expressed in the final revelation as follows:

"Verily those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), the Christians and the Sabians any who believe In Allah and the last day, and work righteousness *hall have their reward with their Lord;They will not be overcome by fear nor grief (Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:62).

If only they had stood by the law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There Is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that Is evil.". (Soorah Al-.Maa'idah 5:66)


The question which arises here is, "How can all people be expected to believe in Allah given their varying- backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be responsible for worshipping Allah they all have to have access to knowledge of Allah. The final revelation teaches that all mankind have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their souls, a part of their very nature with which they are created.

In Soorah Al-A'raaf, Verses 172-173; Allah explained that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam's descendants to come into existence and took a pledge from them saying, Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied, " Yes, we testify to It:'

Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said, "That was In case you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, "Verily we were unaware of all this." That is to say, we had no idea that You Allah, were our God. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You alone. Allah went on to explain That it was also In case you should say, "Certainly It was our ancestors who made partners (With Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy us for what those liars did?" Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in Allah and an inborn inclination to worship Him alone called in Arabic the "Fitrah".

If the child were left alone, he would worship Allah in his own way, but all children are affected by those things around them, seen or unseen.

The Prophet (PBUH) reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right religion but devils made them go astray". The Prophet (PBUH) also said, "Each child is born in a state of "Fitrah", then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian..." (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).

So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has put in nature, his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion.

Throughout people's lives from childhood until the time they die, signs are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). If the people are honest with themselves, reject their false gods and seek Allah, the way will be made easy for them but if they continually reject Allah's signs and continue to worship creation, the more difficult it will be for them to escape. For example, in the South Eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their main idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation. The homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog walked into the hut, The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift its hind leg and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lordof the universe. Allah must be elsewhere. he now had a choice to act on his knowledge and seek Allah, or to dishonestly go along with the false beliefs of his tribe. As strange as it may seem, that was a sign from Allah for that young man. It contained within it divine guidance that what he was worshipping was false.

Prophets were sent, as was earlier mentioned, to every nation and tribe to support man's natural belief in Allah and man's inborn inclination to worship Him as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by Allah. Although, in most cases, much of the prophets' teachings became distorted, portions remained which point out right and wrong. For example, the ten commandments of the Torah, their confirmation in the Gospels and the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies. Consequently, every soul will be held to account for its belief in Allah and its acceptance of the religion of Islam; the total submission to the will of Allah."

walla 25 November 2008 at 18:13  

Thank you again, dear Malaysian Tigress! ;P

Apocryphalist 25 November 2008 at 18:55  

If I do not know any better, I am inclined to believe that Malaysian Tigress is a ... how shall I term it... a Moulvi-ette ?

It's like nerd-nerdette, geek-geekette, you know except that this one has got a more noble ring to it. Is it not, MT?



Saya... 25 November 2008 at 20:29  

Dear Apocryphalist,

No, I am not a moulvi-ette ( coincidentally,I was just thinking of that term you used earlier, the "moulvis", (while I was in the shower of all places where most times great ideas pop into the mind but I don't have a pen there and so I can't write down most of them as Tun Mahathir once advised somewhere, to note them down immediately because you will forget them!), because it reminded me of my mother, a Punjabi/Pakistani, who calla the ulama just that - "moulvis"...and then I read this comment...

I wish I was one though. However, I merely retrieved some information that I hope could be of help to our dear friend Walla and others, thats all...but moulvi-ette..far from it.

Smurfette...maybe. Rockette? Failed the audition.


Saya... 25 November 2008 at 20:30  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mamasita 25 November 2008 at 20:37  

Excuse me sak,tq..Hai Walla,we just got back frm MRSM Muadzam to pick up our son yang sat for the SPM.Your daughter dah finish her exams?I see you've had a busy day with MT and a new friend?Apocryphalist?Can't help thinking of the word 'apocalypse'.Hehehe..welcome sir.Walla loves to mop at home and after that he'll come swimming in and out of our blog.Right Walla?haha My warmest regards to Mrs Walla!

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 21:06  


(saya pun tumpang sekaki, Dato' Sak kalau dilepaskan....nak delete pun takpe...)

Saya dulu mrsm kulim...terkenang pulak masa dulu-dulu bila you citer pasal your son, dah tua benor rase.

Walla mops? Wah, good husband qualities in the mould of the beloved Prophet's example as one who was the best to his wives and family and who even took the time to do chores in spite of his elevated and blessed position...

Apocryphalist is a brilliant writer, Mamasita...his name is like so "cryptic"...haha

(Sorry Dato Sak and thank you)

walla 25 November 2008 at 21:14  

Beg your pardon, sakmongkol.

Hai-ah! mamasita! hope your son did well! Mine still got three more subjects. Papa here out of fingernails, sigh.

I can feel Malaysian Tigress is warm-hearted, and agree that apocryphalist writes with brilliance, in fact like kijangmas/deminegara.


back to my 'mopping' up operations, mamasita, kekekeke (better not laugh so much, you know why lah...)

Saya... 25 November 2008 at 21:42  
This comment has been removed by the author.

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