Taking on Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria, Mustafa K Anuar points out that it is certain actions by Muslim politicians and bureaucrats – their involvement in corruption, for instance – that are actually smearing the image of Islam.
Controversial Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria called on Muslims (possibly, in this context, only to be read as Malays) to go on a jihad to defend Islam, Malays and the institution of the Malay Rulers, which, apparently to him, are under siege.
The basic question that begs to be asked here is, are Islam, the Malays and the institution of the Malay Rulers indeed under severe threat (presumably by the “Others”?) that it merits a jihad of sorts? Are there still instances of economic injustice among some Malays? If it is true that these Malays are economically worse off, then it begs the question why? What has the BN government been doing ever since it came to power more than 50 years ago? Why has there been increasing income disparity within the Malay community itself, let alone the economic disparity between ethnic groups?
Who really clipped the wings of the Malay Rulers to some degree over the years? Remember, for instance, the Constitutional Crisis that witnessed the face-off between the royalty and the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed? Do you recall the mammoth Semarak rallies to vilify and ridicule the royalty? And do you recall which political party it was that had a few of its members pooh-poohing the Terengganu Sultan during the Mentri Besar crisis in the state a few years ago?
As for Islam, there are grey and conflicting areas, such as the “body snatch” cases and the conversion of minors, which require serious and committed dialogues between Muslim leaders and those of other faiths. There are, of course, certain actions by Muslim politicians and bureaucrats that actually smear the very image of Islam, such as their involvement in rampant corruption, unwavering slander in public and infliction of social injustice to fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike. And these people often say and do things in the name of the religion. In short, they themselves give Islam a bad name as they do not lead by good example.
So while conducting self-reflection and perhaps sociological studies on the above matters, the mufti and people of similar wavelength may want to take heed of what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said of jihad: there’s a greater jihad that is more difficult, and that is the inner struggle against one’s ego, selfishness, greed, and evil. This personal action would go some way in resolving the problems of endemic corruption, slander and social injustice, among others. In the spirit of this internal struggle, Muslims in this country should join hands with their fellow citizens of other faiths to fight for social justice and against the corruption that has entrenched itself into the fabric of our beloved society.
Additionally, the Perak mufti and his brethren may want to draw up a comprehensive strategy, if they haven’t yet, to help combat the scourge of corruption in our midst as it obviously affects the Ummah in many ways. After all, isn’t corruption haram in Islam, just as pork and poco poco are?
Another thing: in the context of our multi-ethnic society, this so-called religious calling, which is tainted with ethnic sentiments, might give rise to unnecessary doubt about the universality of Islam. One, particularly a Muslim, should always be guided by the following verse in the Holy Book which celebrates universalism and moral uprightness and doesn’t put a premium on ethnic origin and social status:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Qur’an, Surah 49:13)
Allah created nations and tribes so that we can discover our commonality, respect our humanity and live in brotherhood in complete harmony.
Surely a Muslim worth his or her salt would defend and promote this important injunction.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar is honorary secretary of Aliran