Received via WhatsApp…
Reminding PAS on Democratic Dignity and Islamic Justice
(by Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Rasdi – sinchew.com.my: March 27, 2021 10:00 Am).
The recent statement of a PAS leader that Malay political parties must unite in order to win two third majority in Parliament which would enable them to change the election boundaries to benefit Muslims is by far the most “seditious”and dangerous statement by any political leader I have ever seen in this nation’s history. We have had racial conflicts before that had turned bloody, but if a religious element is introduced, the consequence would be too devastating to contemplate.
As usual, I waited for any Malay or Muslim leader, academic or official to criticize that minister who hails from a known extremist party proclaiming Islam as its crusade. I was hoping for at least one out of the thousands of professors and associate professors in social science, particularly from political science, from public universities to criticize the minister for his narrow minded and selfish statement but none came forth. I was hoping for a statement from professors and associate professors from “islamic” universities to remind the minister on Islamic Justice in governance but still none came forth. I was hoping for leaders who claim to be authorities of Islam to reprimand the minister on his overbearing statement of total dominance of one religion over others in Malaysia but none came forth. I doubted that any Malay political leader would counter this man’s dangerous suggestion because they would be construed as an enemy of Islam and thus would probably lose their Malay vote bank.
As usual, the reactions that came immediately were from civil society, the DAP and Sarawak. All were non-Muslim reactions, which is what that minister, I think, was hoping for. If many non-Muslim reaction came forth, then PAS could fan the flame of “saving Islam” from enemies in the next election as a battle strategy. Its a standard strategy now for that party to use Islam as a political tool to canvass for Malay voters who are in general extremely gullible and ignorant on Islam. It does not matter whether Malays are educated at universities and have PhDs or at the Sekolah Pondok, all are too “busy” to think critically about Islam and rely mainly on “authority” figures that are supplied by such parties as PAS.
I am, therefore, thankful to Tok Mat or Mohamad Hassan, the Deputy President of UMNO when he said, in a recent interview with FMT, that we are a nation of many cultures and faiths and cannot set up a Malay or an Islamic government because we must cater to all races and religions. Tok Mat then made an interesting reference that the Malays must be a “core” group in governance, but not a “Tuan”. the replacement of the Malay word for core was “induk” or keindukan instead of”tuan”as in “ketuanan”. This use of the two words some may argue is the same but I found it refreshing because the word tuan and induk can have different meaning since the word “tuan” is overarching and “all-powerful” without any check and balances.
I would like to remind the minister in PAS that democracy gives dignity of existence to all the citizens of this country as the rightful owners of this nation. I would like to remind the minister that he is not a born-Raja nor a born-Sultan but a mere “wakil” or representative of the people. His mandate ends once the emergency is declared over and the Rakyat may no longer require his “useful”service or “meaningful” ideas of governance. Democracy places power in the hands of the Rakyat. The Prime Minister and a Minister like him are nothing but ‘servants’ to the rakyat. The rakyat of all faiths, of all cultures, of all race, of all socio-economic status are all equal in the eyes of the constitution. Preferential treatment of some rakyat that need economic, educational and administrative assistance is given to those in dire needs and not because or race and religious belief. I am reminding him as a responsible citizen of this country and as a Malay like him.
Secondly, as a Muslim like him, I would like to remind the minister from a so called “Islamic” party, of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. When the Prophet came to liberate Mekah at the head of a large Muslim army, the Surah An Nasr came down, “When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, and you see the people come into the religion in multitudes, then exalt with praise of your Lord and ask Forgiveness of Him, He is ever receiving of repentance”. According to Syed Qutb, in his tafsir called “In the Shade of the Qur’an”, The Surah, which were the Word of Allah, reminded the Prophet to be humble in victory. Syed Qutb explained that many conquerors became arrogant and vengeful when they win. They would think that all the people that now come in droves to support them did so out of love for them. They would also wreak untold atrocities to seek vengence against those that did harm to them. The Prophet was reminded that all the Arabs who now came into Islam did so not necessarily for love of religion or the prophet but out of fear and awe of a new political and military power in the region. The Prophet forgave most of the inhabitants of Mecca that had done harm to his person and he did not commit acts of vengence. Abu Sufian, who conspired to kill him, was pardoned. His wife, who ripped and devoured the Prophet’s uncle heart as he lay dead in battle, was forgiven. Even Wahsyi, the assassin of Hamzah, the Prophet’s beloved uncle, was pardoned but he lost the sweetness of the Prophet’s presence as the Prophet asked that he never cross his path again. To be a Muslim and not to be able to be in the presence of the Prophet was a punishment that has no equal. I wish also to remind the arrogant minister of PAS that it was the Christian King Najashi who protected the Muslims from the massacre when they were chased by the Quraish tribe for treason. The Minister must think about the justice that the Prophet had displayed to his enemies who were his family and tribes and also that Muslims need the help of others to survive and prosper. Do not be arrogant in thinking that Muslims and only Muslims alone can survive in this world without the co-operation, wisdom and heartfelt help of other faiths and cultures. None of us human being on this world can be like God and stand alone. That’’s why we are humans and not Gods.
Finally I wish to tell the readers that before Tok Mat made his statement, I was going to title this article as “No hope for Malaysia”. but Tok Mat’s interview gave a light at the end of a tunnel for a rejuvenated Barisan Nasional that had a track record of non-religious extremism as that suggested by the PAS minister. Perhaps MCA and GERAKAN can enlighten Malaysians as to their stand on their partner’s statement on changing the election boundaries to benefit one particular religious faith in this country. That would relight the flame of a Malaysia for many and not for a selfish and solitary “one”.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)