Opinion

Manipulating religion for worldly gains

MAY 11 — One Muslim calling another a kafir (infidel). Muslims simply declaring anything they don’t like as haram. What I am referring to is to the article in the New Straits Times which carried the headline “Nik Aziz the father of kafirs”.

And I am also referring to the country’s fatwa council declaring that it is haram for Muslims to participate in rallies like the ones organised by Bersih. The New Straits Times wrote that former IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor says that PAS’s Nik Aziz is the father of kafirs.

The reason for this very harsh labelling, according to the article, is because the Kelantan mentri besar called on Muslims to take part in Bersih 3.0. No matter what someone’s political beliefs or practices are, no one has the right to judge that person’s religious stance. And I know this because God said so.

The Quran states in Surah Al-Najm;

“This is what the extent of their knowledge amounts to. Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path and who has been rightly guided.”

A person is considered a Muslim if he or she abides by the five pillars of Islam, which are to believe in one God and that Muhammad is his prophet, prays five times a day, fasts during Ramadan, pays zakat and performs the haj if he or she is able to.

And as far as Man is concerned, we can only judge as far as what he or she does within these boundaries in the physical sense. Anything else, and Man has no right to judge.

Once, a man was said to have questioned Prophet Muhammad, and the prophet’s companion, Khalid Ibn Walid, wanted to kill him.

“No. Perhaps he says his prayers,” Muhammad stopped him.

“Many say their prayers but they do not have in their hearts what they say with their tongues,” said Khalid.

“I have not been commanded to open the hearts of people or to cut open their insides,” Muhammad replied.

Surah An-Nisa of the Quran states:

“Do not accuse anyone who claims himself to be a Muslim of disbelief just for worldly gains.”

As for the fatwa council’s decision to declare that it is haram for Muslims to participate in Bersih rallies, I have this to say.

If the basis for the haram ruling is because it is wrong to take part in a wrongful assembly and to create havoc, then I think it is not valid enough.

If you look into the history of Islam, wasn’t Islam a religion that was initially practised as it was rejected by the rulers and majority of the people in Mecca?

Didn’t Prophet Muhammad and his followers struggle in order to be able to practise what they believed in?

But they felt that what they did was worth it and justifiable. They were willing to sacrifice because they felt what they were struggling for was the truth.

And if that is the basis of the early years of Islam, then how logical is it for the fatwa council to say that struggling for a cause you believe in is haram in Islam?

Anyway, we are not in the position to declare anything haram or halal as that is all determined by God.

In Surah Yunus of the Quran, it states:

“Have you considered that out of sustenance which God has given you, you made some of it lawful and some unlawful? Did God permit you to do this or are you ascribing falsehood to Him?”

As a Muslim, I believe that Islam is definitely a way of life. It guides us in our daily living and governance in order for us to have the best quality of life possible.

But I also feel it is definitely wrong to manipulate the religion to benefit oneself, and even worse, if that manipulation is for worldly gains.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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