By Narinder Singh
November 5, 2013
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. As a Malaysian, born, bred and educated here without once leaving the shores to gain formal knowledge, it has dawned upon me that it is utmost important to self-educate in issues pertaining to Islam.
The triggering and motivating factor stems from the fact that only in having an open mind can one stretch his tolerance and acceptance to others in terms to their religion, culture and beliefs.
Nevertheless, in as much as Islam and its Syariah laws are admired and should be integrated in our society as it encompasses our very existence in every sense, what baffles and astonishes me is the ignorance displayed by some Malaysian Muslims.
In the discovery and continuous learning, I was made aware that Syariah laws are divine and outlines in detail every aspect of life a Muslim must adhere to: from his behaviour, dressing, foods, gestures, hygiene, prayer and almost every facet being human.
Thus I am baffled and taken aback that in the push for Syariah laws to be implemented in our society, we should be the least resistant as it also addresses issues surrounding economy, politics and social platforms.
Today Malaysia stands atop as a leading nation in Islamic financial management, earning a role model status even for other Muslim nations globally. The greater Europe and even Americans have acknowledged our beyond par excellence in Islamic banking and financial systems that have captured customers from all walks of life regardless of religion.
Syariah compliant financial tools and exchange board have made many a fortune without complaints even with international banks. The non-Muslims have welcomed the Islamic financial world with open arms. Then why the fuss and grumble when other Syariah aspects are being discussed?
So, it is perfectly fine if Syariah makes money for one but a big ‘NO’ if it does not. Does not that reasoning fit perfectly into hypocrisy and unfounded substance for negating the proposal to implement Syariah laws to the full extend? Why be selective?
Nevertheless, the Islamic authorities must also be aggressively proactive in practical education to both the Muslims and non-Muslims on Syariah laws.
In my opinion, the Islamic enforcement agencies at federal and state levels have failed un-forgivingly and miserably in aligning the basic tenets of Islam among the younger generations.
Some Life Experiences
These are some experience and questionable practices observed in public. I wonder if the following antics are allowed in Islam in public; in specific for Muslims, and even the non-Muslims per se.
Let me narrate a few incidents that got me intrigued in begging for clarifications from fellow Muslim friends and experts alike.
1. Being a frequent visitor to shopping malls like Ikea, Petronas Twin Towers (KLCC), Mid Valley and places like Sunway Pyramid, I am flabbergasted to see Malay girls wearing super mini micro skirts outlining their underwear in full view to others. Above that, some are daringly practically three quarters naked with lacy transparent tops and stringy straps.
2. Despite the current mass publicised ban or making ‘Haram’ act of smoking, many Muslims are seen puffing away even in non-smoking areas. What amazes me further is that more young Malay girls are taking up the sinful act in defying the order or edict openly, belittling the Muslims scholars indeed. Just visit any mamak corner shop and it has become a trend for many to smoke ‘Shisha’, which can be addictive too.
3. A very recent outing made me more aghast on seeing a Muslim girl displaying on full view her beautiful tattoo just above her butt crack and g-string while sipping coffee in a Kopitiam in Ikano with her back towards public. Even little children were seen giving glares and stares at her back.
4. Of late we also witness some young punk-looking Malay boys and girls showcasing their creativity via body piercing on their tongue, nose, lips and navel, with a dash of artistic Mohawk type hair style dyed in contrasting colors.
It may be a dumb question for me in asking if the above are allowed in Islam.
Personally Syariah laws begin with the basics of observing our decency in public and family. Only then it trickles into the community by large and further grows into acceptance and tolerance.
In championing Syariah laws, all parties from both political divides must be fair and just. In the recent parliament sitting, an MP very vocally argued that Malaysia is unique in the sense that we are the only country in the world where all Malays are Islam.
In contrast even in the Arab world, many Arabs are not Muslims. Malays here are unique and that fact cannot be dismissed or debated, he furthered.
I am in total agreement with his argument. I will never dispute that. But then why are the Islamic bodies and their enforcement officers turning a blind eye to the rampant and visible incidents mentioned above?
This is not Khalwat where they may have to hide themselves behind bushes or closets to apprehend sinners red-handed. These sinners are walking plainly in defiance to the Islamic laws.
In all honesty, Syariah laws should be instituted in full force here BUT in all fairness again, as required and propagated by Islam; it must be employed, implemented and executed in a manner that is justified.
There should not be ambiguity, suspicion and feeling of victimisation on any party. The Islamic scholars and those entrusted to enforce the Syariah laws should never be seen as acting in an unfair manner.
Narinder Singh is a FMT team member.