Slandering of a Mufti

August 31, 2016

PKR Youth exco member and self-professed hadith scholar Wan Ji Wan Hussin yesterday admonished the Perak Mufti for being “tidak cermat” for quoting a weak hadith and thus inviting the derogatory Aiyoh Wat Lah award upon himself.

After being gleefully picked up by Malaysiakini, FMT and the other usual suspects, his comment has attracted further ridicule on the Mufti.

Now here’s the thing: Wan Ji’s weak hadith isn’t even the same hadith that Harussani quoted. Wan Ji’s hadith, the one with Husain bin Qais as one of the narrators, goes:

A woman from the tribe of Khath`am asked the Prophet , “Tell me what is the right of the husband over the wife? For I am an unmarried woman and I shall marry if I can, otherwise I shall remain unmarried.” He said:
“The right of the husband over the wife is that if he wants her she must not prevent him, even if she were sitting on the back (z.ahr) of a camel. Also among his rights is that she must not give out anything from his house except by his permission. Otherwise, she shall bear the burden of sin while he shall obtain the reward. Also among his rights is that she must not fast a single day voluntarily without his permission;
if she does, then she has only gone hungry and thirsty and it shall not be accepted from her. She must not leave his house except by his permission. Otherwise, she is cursed by the angels of the heaven, by the angels of mercy, and by the angels of punishment until her return.” “Even if he is a wrongdoer [in keeping her from going out]?” “Even if he is a wrongdoer.”
She said: “I shall never marry!”

The one that Harussani quoted appears in Sunan Ibn Majah and is graded as Hasan by some, Sahih by others. The English translation of it goes:

It was narrated that: Abdullah bin Abu Awfa said” When Muadh bin Jabal came from Sham, he prostrated to the Prophet who said: ‘What is this, O Muadh?’ He said: ‘I went to Sham and saw them prostrating their bishops and patricians and I wanted to do that for you.’ The messenger of Allah said: ‘Do not do that. If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the one in who hand is the soul of Muhammad! No woman can fulfill her duty towards Allah until she fulfills her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse.’“

Did Wan Ji even bother to check with Harussani which hadith he was talking about before telling the whole world that it was weak? Does he not comprehend what such an accusation can do to the reputation of someone in Harussani’s position and of the institution he represents?

Will Wan Ji now apologize to Harussani for what is, in effect, slander against the Mufti?

Ridicule by Proxy

August 30, 2016

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria has  “won” the ‘insulting intelligence’ award at the “Aiyoh…wat lah?!” awards.

According to the Malay Mail report, this was for saying that “women must follow their husband’s request for sexual intercourse even when they were riding ‘on the back of the camel’.”

The problem is it wasn’t the Mufti who first said this. He was merely quoting a hadith by the Prophet Muhammad. There are several versions of this hadith reported by multiple sources, so it cannot be considered weak. One version of it is in Sunan Ibn Majah, which goes:

1853 It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin Abu Awfa said: “When Mu’adh bin Jabal came from Sham, he prostrated to the Prophet (saw), who said: ‘What is this, O Mu’adh?’ He said: ‘I went to Sham and saw them prostrating to their bishops and patricians (i.e. aristocrats), and I wanted to do that for you.’ The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘Do not do that. If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad! No woman can fulfill her duty towards Allah until she fulfills her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse.'”

So, the question is: if you ridicule someone for quoting what someone else said, who are you really ridiculing?

There’s satire, then there’s…

August 10, 2016

this sorry excuse for one, where else but on the Malay Mail Online.

The piece speaks for itself, so I won’t say much other than do please read it and ask yourself this – What would the reaction have been if this had instead been written by, say, Awang Selamat or Ridhuan Tee about a non-Muslim religious institution, say, the CCM or MCCBCHST?

Do please also read the comments. The author seems to think of himself as quite the comedian.

For God’s Sake, Help Them!

May 16, 2015

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:

Allah’s Messenger said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.” Sahih al-Bukhari 2442

Yes, their presence will inconvenience us. Hosting them will cost money. Some of them may even bring disease or cause trouble. It is true that we don’t know how many more will come or when, if ever, they will leave.

But despite all that, they are still our brothers and sisters. And they are being oppressed. Allah has made it a duty on every one of us to help them. Surely, the reward will be many times more than whatever hardship helping them brings us. Or do we not believe in His reward?

Referenda on Hudud

April 22, 2015

When it comes to parliamentary matters, our Constitution makes no mention of political parties. For example, it says that the Prime Minister is someone who commands the confidence of a majority of MPs, not one who leads the largest party. There is a reason for this. It is that Members of Parliament are supposed to represent their constituents, not their parties. Therefore MPs must always put their constituents first even if sometimes it is contrary to the wishes of their party.

The upcoming elections for Permatang Pauh and Rompin provide a unique opportunity for voters in these constituencies to exercise their democratic right in a way that could directly influence the future of our country.

PAS’s bill on Hudud is expected to be tabled in the next Parliamentary sitting. Muslims comprise a majority of MPs. However, PKR and DAP have both stated that they will not support the bill. With UMNO seemingly paralysed by fear and having no official policy on the matter, it is anybody’s guess what the outcome will be. So, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the votes of the 2 newly elected MPs will prove decisive one way or the other.

With so much at stake, it is important that voters make an informed choice come polling day. They must have confidence that the person they choose to represent them will act according to their wishes.They should demand that candidates state their positions on Hudud unequivocally and reject any candidate who refuses to do so.

F***ing B****

March 22, 2015

I hope you’ll pardon the French. Those were some choice words a netizen used to describe a young woman who had done something stupid and angered a lot of people. Here are a few more:

“If that was my wife, I will be in jail for Whacking her until that bitch knows how to behave like a girl.”

“kita perlukan ramai lady seperti ini untuk dihantar ke gaza”

“lucky 4 her it was not me…mesti bash her ugly face kau kau”

“Wow I wanna beat her if I saw her”

“Macam lahanat la mulut kau betina. Please kill yourself”

“Better you suck my cock”

“Shut the hell up and pergi terjun bangunan sekarang”

“Betul2 pelacur”

“She deserves a smash to the skull with her own steering lock”

I guess that last one gave it away. No, these have nothing to do with the Aisyah Tajuddin BFM Hudud controversy. Instead, they are just some of the comments you can find on Youtube for a video showing a now infamous road rage incident from  last year.

The strange thing is that as I recall, nobody back then came forward to lodge police reports about threats to the woman. Nobody wrote articles questioning whether Malaysia was still safe for young people (the disgusting part of which was the author insinuating that threatening behaviour somehow had something to do with being Malay). And if I remember correctly, no Syerleena popping up blaming everything on mysoginy.

Raging at Straw Men

February 17, 2015

I just thought I’d expand on the topic of the recent attacks on a sermon by JAIS by DAP leaders Chong Eng and Syerleena Abdul Rashid that I touched on in my last post. What I’m thinking of doing here is to go through Chong Eng’s statement first and add my comments, then maybe do the same with Syerleena’s article. To be fair to Chong Eng, her response seems a bit more measured compared to Syerleena’s hysterics (I know it sounds sexist, but if you read her article, I think you’d agree). There’s a lot I’d like to say, so perhap I’ll do it in parts, bit by bit. We’ll see how it goes.

So let’s start at the beginning:

JAIS’s Friday sermon message on “Tutup Aurat” gives misleading information on rape, smacks of victim-blaming, and shows male bias in religious leadership

Last Friday 6th February 2015, Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) delivered a sermon titled “Aurat: Antara Kebebasan dan Maruah Diri.”1 In the sermon, JAIS said that Muslim women should cover up their ‘aurat’ to prevent “being harrassed physically or mentally… to prevent false accusations (fitnah), evil gazes (pandangan yang jahat) and bad incidents (perkara yang buruk berlaku)… Negative incidents such as rape, illicit sex, and incest (rogol, zina, sumbang mahram) can be avoided.”

Now, this is where she builds her straw man. You see those ellipses? You might think they’re there to keep things short, to leave out parts that are not relevant. If you did, well, you’d probably be wrong. I think they’re there to leave out parts that are inconvenient to her argument. Look back at my previous post to see what was actually in the text. A more accurate translation would be

Actually, perfectly covering the aurat, specifically for women, can prevent harassment physically and mentally. Indirectly, clothes that cover the aurat and are modest are among the ways to prevent fitnah, evil gazes and bad incidents. Paths to negative symptoms such as rape, illicit sex and incest can be blocked.

Don’t you think that by leaving out the highlighted words, the message changes somewhat? With those words there, one cannot claim that the sermon is saying that all rapes can be prevented by only covering the aurat or that the connection between dress and rape has to be a direct one (i.e. what the victim was wearing at the time caused her rape). If you read the rest of Chong Eng’s statement, I hope you’ll see that it is on just such a claim that many of her arguments against JAIS hang.

Now, do you think it’s a coincidence that those words were left out? If you don’t, then what does that tell you about Chong Eng’s honesty and her intentions in issuing the statement?

Well, that’s it for now, I’m afraid. Sorry to be so abrupt. I’ll expand on this point by looking at specific examples in Chong Eng’s statement at another time. Been keeping late nights recently and it’s starting to show at work. Stay tuned.

And the Reviews Are In….

February 13, 2015

khutbah_jais - Copy

In red above are some of the choice words used by Chong Eng and Syerleena Abdul Rashid to describe a recent Friday Sermon by JAIS. Apparently, the little snippet shown is the bit that raised their ire, which they took as JAIS blaming rapes on women not covering their aurat instead of the men who actually perpetrate the act.

Me, I don’t see how they could make that leap from enjoining to blaming. If you follow their logic, then any advice given to help prevent people from becoming victims must also be seen as “victim-blaming”. Don’t let your kids talk to strangers, don’t leave your laptop in your car, don’t accept drinks from strangers, ignore any emails that say you’ve won a million dollars – how are these any different?

In fact, if they had deigned to follow the khutbah a little further, they would have found that it very clearly puts the blame on the men:

Wanita hendaklah menutup aurat supaya terhindar daripada gangguan seksual dan penganiayaan oleh lelaki yang tidak bermaruah dan bermoral

In any case, it seems that Chong and Syerleena feel so strongly about this that they needed to tell the whole world by issuing press statements and writing articles. So let’s give them a helping hand by letting your friends, especially the Muslim ones, know.

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

February 12, 2015

My sincerest condolences to the family of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. May Allah place him among the Salihin.

Making a mockery of the national language

November 22, 2014

Co-President of the Centre For A Better Tomorrow (CENBET), Gan Ping Sieu, has issued a statement asking state authorities to “review the ban on non-Muslims using words related to Islam”. He says such a ban “makes a mockery of our national and Arabic languages” and makes it difficult for non-Muslims to converse in Malay. I would tend to agree with him, if only there really was such a ban in the first place.

Poor Mr Gan. I admire his concern for our national language, but it seems using it has left him dazed and confused. He is clearly having difficulty conversing in our national language, but I don’t think it is because of any ban on using some words. More likely it is because he doesn’t properly understand it. If he did understand it, then he would have known from reading the relevant states’ laws that they clearly do not prohibit non Muslims from using words related to Islam.

For example, section 9 of Kedah’s ENAKMEN KAWALAN DAN SEKATAN PENGEMBANGAN AGAMA BUKAN ISLAM 1988 states:

“(1) Seseorang adalah melakukan kesalahan jika ia, dalam apa-apa tulisan yang diterbitkan, atau dalam apa-apa ucapan awam atau pernyataan atau dalam apa-apa ucapan atau pernyataan yang ditujukan kepada suatu perhimpunan orang yang dirancang, atau dalam apa-apa ucapan atau pernyataan yang diterbit atau disiarkan dan yang pada masa ucapan atau pernyataan itu dibuat ia tahu, atau pada munasabahnya patut tahu akan diterbit atau disiarkan, menggunakan mana-mana perkataan yang disenaraikan dalam Jadual, atau apa-apa terbitan atau virasinya, untuk menyatakan atau memperihalkan sesuatu fakta, kepercayaan, idea, konsep, perbuatan, aktiviti, perkara atau hal mengenai atau berkaitan dengan sesuatu agama bukan Islam.

Now, anyone who is the least bit proficient in our national language can see that this does not mean what Mr. Gan thinks it means. This law prohibits the words from being used in a non-Muslim context and does not prohibit them from being used by non-Muslims at all. Take  for example the word “Syariah”. What is not allowed is to use “Syariah” to refer to, say, Christian law. No one is stopping any non-Muslim from saying “Mahkamah Syariah” to refer to Islamic courts, for instance. There is a practical purpose to this. When someone says a product is “Syariah compliant” we assume immediately that it means that the product conforms to Islamic law because that is what everyone understands the term to mean. Would it not be confusing, not to say dishonest, if someone were to use the same term  for a product that conforms to some other religion and not Islam?

And what is so shocking about these laws anyway? These kinds of prohibitions have been routinely applied all over the world in many areas of life. Chinese sinsehs and Malay bomohs aren’t allowed to call themselves doctors, but you don’t see anyone protesting, do you? In Europe, you can’t call a cheese “Parmesan” unless it comes from a specific region near Parma Italy, even if your cheese smells, tastes and has the exact same chemical composition as the Italian one. So you have the strange situation where German cheese makers who have been using the word “Parmesan” for decades have had to call their cheese something else when selling them at home, but continue to use “Parmesan” when selling them to the rest of the world. Sure those Germans are not happy about it because their livelihoods are affected, but they’re not screaming bloody murder as if some fundamental right has been denied them. Unlike some folks here.