Archive for the 'Fatwa' Category

Army Vets butt in the Bersih discourse

Apparently the 100 Plus drink is a no-no for Malays and Islam, but gyrating old bums seems kosher.

Er, it’s okay to attend Thaipusam…

Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria declared that it’s okay for Prime Minister Mohd Najib to have attended the recent Thaipusam celebration — after the latter had a personal chat with him recently.

So, folks, please delete his earlier comment on February 10 that he was dismayed over the Prime Minister’s decision “to sacrifice his faith” to attend the religious festival concerned.

See here and here.

Poco-poco sans Perak

The National Fatwa Council of Malaysia will not ban the poco-poco dance. But Perak differs.

The Malaysian Insider reports:

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — The National Fatwa Council will not ban Muslims from doing the poco-poco as long as the dance does not go against existing guidelines, its chairman Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin has said.

“If it does not violate (the rules), there is no ban. In fact, we feel there should be no restriction as it brings health benefits,” he told reporters today.

Abdul Shukor, however, said the National Fatwa Council would respect the decision of the Perak Fatwa Council to ban the dance on the grounds that it contained elements of Christian and spirit worship.

He also reminded Muslims to always be mindful and refer to the guidelines that the council has issued since 2007 that caution Muslims not to take part in non-Islamic rituals and to dress modestly.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria told The Malaysian Insider on April 6 that he would not rescind the ban on poco-poco but was willing to offer clarification on his decision to the National Fatwa Council.

Words I couldn’t say

The latest development from word-sensitive Malaysia, according to a report from The Malaysian Insider, is that Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) and Majlis Agama Islam Melaka (MAIM) have each issued a directive that prohibits the use of a collection of ‘Islamic terms’ by non-Muslims in the country.
For the uninitiated, this came in the wake of the ‘Allah’ controversy that has literally rocked the country.
These forbidden terms range from sheikh, haji, mubaligh, hadis, Injil, fatwa, mufti, al-Quran to Kaabah.
If this development is true, then a number of problems may arise as a result. For instance, a non-Muslim may be discouraged from pursuing her interest in Islamic studies because she cannot use these ‘Islamic terms’ in her scholarly work.
In other words, Islam may be seen as a religion that is inaccessible to non-Muslims particularly in Malaysia. Worse, Islam and its adherents could be misconstrued as being anti-intellectual.
Besides, it would be rather difficult for the non-Muslims to explain or understand certain aspects of Islam and its teachings without using those specific terms. For example, how does one talk about the pilgrimage without using the term hajj or the circumambulation, or the tawaf, around the Kaabah?
And, would a non-Muslim be penalised for using the term ‘mufti’ to describe a religious scholar in Islam? Would he still be punished for using the same word ‘mufti’ when he means a civilian dress used by a person who normally wears a uniform?
Needless to say, I am lost for words.

Parking tickets: we can work it out?

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin likened the disbarment by Malaysia’s Bar Council of lawyer Rohaizat Othman, BN’s Permatang Pasir by-election candidate, to getting parking tickets.

According to The Malaysian Insider

Rohaizat had been disbarred last year after he was found guilty by the Bar Council’s disciplinary committee of misconduct by failing to return RM161,000 belonging to his client, the Penang Rubber Smallholders’ Cooperative.

The Bar Council also clarified that Rohaizat had been found guilty of personal misconduct and had lost his appeal against the decision in the High Court last Wednesday, five days before Umno nominated him for the by-election.

Are we to conclude that such misconduct is something to be taken rather lightly?

Or is this something that they all could ‘work out’? But today’s ‘revelation’ of Yusri Isahak, Rohaizat’s former business partner, may make such an endeavour problematic.

She came in through the bathroom window-lah

The Beatles expressed concern that one of their friends ‘Came in through the bathroom window’ — a practice that is obviously not a norm.

The band boys might not be aware that some friends, especially whom they hadn’t seen for quite some time, could be so sick that the bathroom is one place that they’d rush to even if it means climbing through the window.

Still taking a leap into yoga

The controversy surrounding yoga still rages on in Malaysia as reflected in the mainstream press. In today’s Sunday Star and New Sunday Times (NST), for example, a few pages have been allocated for the discussion of yoga and its relationship with Islam.

The NST published its interview with Dr Abdulfatah Haron Ibrahim, a professor of Theology and Philosophy from UKM regarding his take on yoga and Islam under the headline, ‘Why create the trouble?’. This is followed by another piece, also an outcome of presumably the same interview, headlined, ‘Yoga, mysticism and Islam’.

In its ‘Focus’ column, Sunday Star ran a piece headlined, ‘In a twist over fatwa ruling’. Here the writer interviewed people such as the religious adviser to the Prime Minister, Dr Abdul Hamid Othman, Syariah lawyer Saidiah Din, Jamaah Islah Malaysia president Zaid Kamaruddin, Pas research head Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, yoga instructor Suleiha Merican, and Sisters in Islam (SIS) programme manager Masjaliza Hamzah.

While it’s commendable that these newspapers did attempt to bring to the fore the controversial subject of yoga, I feel that more needs to be done so as to enlighten the readers further. For instance, the views of other yoga experts and practitioners should be given ample space to explain in detail about yoga particularly when certain Islamic leaders and bodies claimed that the kind of yoga that is practised in Malaysia has some elements of Hinduism, and therefore can cause havoc to a Muslim’s aqidah.

That said, I thought I’d share this with you what, it seems to me, requires a mental leap after reading the last bit of the Star story. In response to SIS’s Masjaliza’s contention that the religious authorities should not ‘make it a criminal offence to go against a fatwa’, Dr Abdul Hamid snapped in disagreement.

He said: ‘Going against a fatwa is a crime because it is a crime against religion. When you believe in Islam you are bound by its laws. For example, you can’t walk around naked in public.’

It doesn’t take a nudist to tell you that going around in the altogether is a complete no-no not only to adherents of Islam but also other faiths. And I am sure practitioners of yoga are also uncomfortable with the idea of walking unclothed in the public domain.

Put another way, the controversy surrounding yoga may not be as clear cut as baring oneself in public — although it may expose one’s incoherence.