Let us be blasphemous!
|Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com|
MAY 27 — I am no longer a believer and will burn in hell for questioning Islam. And, by raising and seeking answers to issues that I am in doubt of, my children will even grow up to have sex with animals.
These are some of the things I have been called and accused of by certain people in reaction to the documentary films and articles I’ve written that deal with my religion.
Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart. But it does make me think about how receptive Malaysians, Muslims specifically, are when it comes to really learning about Islam.
I used to go to religious school in the evenings during my primary school years. There was no doubt that I learnt a lot in religious school.
That was where I really learnt to improve my galah panjang skills because there was a wide open tarred space in front of the classroom building where we would play.
There I learnt the finer points of gambling when my friends and I went behind the canteen where one of the abangs from the drinks stall would open up a tikam table.
And, I also learnt how to appreciate all the variations of asam kecut since there was a nice elderly makcik at the gates of the school whose smile was just too enticing.
What I definitely didn’t learn there was the religion itself. Well, to be fair, I did learn the Jawi text, hence, I would be able to read Utusan Melayu today, if the newspaper still existed.
But the school was really a place that was the death of true critical thinking when it came to understanding Islam.
Let me give you an example of a typical classroom conversation I would have with the ustaz.:
“Ustaz, why can’t we touch dogs?” I asked.
“Because it’s haram.” the ustaz said.
“I know that. But why is it haram?”
“Because God says so.”
“Then why did God make it haram?”
“Because it just is.”
“There’s no reason?”
“Don’t think too much into what God says. It will make you go crazy! Now go back to your seat!”
Honestly, it’s freaking annoying. I cannot believe that Islam, my chosen faith, actually wants people to accept things blindly and never question anything.
Correct me if I’m wrong here. But Islam is a religion where its followers are obligated to constantly ask questions and search for knowledge.
The first ever verse of the Quran (Surah Al Alaq) that was sent down to earth reflected this:
“Read! Read in the name of your Lord who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clod. Read! And your Lord is the most generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.”
The Quran (Surah Ta Ha ) also states:
“Ask of Him: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
I’ve even met people who have told me not to ask and question too much about Islam because if you do, then you may be at risk of being blasphemous.
“Why would God punish a person for sinning if He has already determined that person’s fate?” I asked a friend whose skullcap was about to fall off.
“God has his reasons,” he answered, readjusting his skullcap.
“Yeah, but wouldn’t that be unfair since he already determined the person to sin?”
“Zan, stop questioning God. That’s blasphemy!”
Goddamn it! The concept of blasphemy doesn’t even exist in Islam because it would never condone a concept that restricts thinking and discussion by shutting everything down.
I cannot subscribe to the belief that everything is so sacred until the search for knowledge itself becomes useless.
Prophet Muhammad would be so upset if he were alive today to see this archaic concept of blasphemy being used to shut people up, since he did say:
“Whoever conceals knowledge would be muzzled on the Day of Resurrection with a muzzle of fire.”
And he also added:
“He is not from my followers, he who does not respect his elders, who does not show mercy to the young and who does not give due right to a scholar.”
So, let’s continue criticising, questioning, raising issues, and understand more about this religion we claim to love so much. Blasphemy!
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.