Friday, April 25, 2014

The problem with Hudud ...

Hudud and the crisis of representation

by azly rahman



Let me seek clarification on the question of hudud rigorously proposed to be implemented in the state of Kelantan first, and next in Malaysia in due time.

Sharia law is fundamentally cultural and the hudud is a cultural image of dehumanisation and one associated with failed ‘Islamic states’ that aspire to be models of a ‘good Islamic state’ of which none has ever existed.

The challenge is to convince even the Muslims that this cultural practice of social control is not only suitable as a ‘universalising force for social cohesion’ but also acceptable to others of differing faith. This is an impossible challenge - a cultural and particularistic aspect of living is forced to be made universalising.

To say that it is ‘God’s law’ because the scripture says so is an inadequate ground of argument for such enforcement because the relationship between law, culture, religion, and scriptural interpretation is so complex that even as time goes by, human consciousness advances and pragmatic considerations set in, even the Muslims question the motive of the demands as they are made by the clerics and what is commonly known as the ‘priest class’.

In Malaysia, if even the idea of wishing a person who has passed away “Rest in Peace” is a subject of heated debate and a reason to produce a fatwa, what else should Malaysians, and even Muslims, expect if Sharia law and hudud is implemented?

Man, it seems, is filled with contradictions that these will question Man’s ability to carry out ‘God’s law’ (assuming that God’s law is not an interpretation of Man’s law vis-a-vis the invention of religion)...

It seems to me there is a major crisis of representation that points to the superiority of law emanating from the Malaysian constitution.

Image of the hudud advocates

The image of those calling for the implementation of the hudud in Malaysia is one of intolerance to varying viewpoints, condescendingness, enforcing others to follow this or that fatwa even if these injunctions are merely opinions, subjugating the mind of the gullible especially in schools populated by Malay-Muslims, inability to sustain arguments on matters requiring rationalistic and humanistic perspectives, and above all, the inability to look at the bigger picture of corruption, abuse of power, and race politics as crimes against humanity themselves requiring more that just amputation, public flogging, and stoning to death as antidote - and these horrible crimes are carried out by those projecting piousness in public themselves.

the process of ‘Islamisation’ that began in the 1980s as a political response to the inability of the Malay-Muslim mind to come to terms with the “pains and pitfalls of modernisation and next, hyper-modernity” has created the need for fundamentalist Muslims to retreat to a safer zone of religious comfort by finding the renewed power to call for the imposition of such cultural laws as Sharia and its instrument of control i.e. hudud.

We are yet to discuss the origin and genealogy of the thinking of the groups urgng an ‘Islamic state’ in terms of their education and the influence gathered and harnessed into political parties that ultimately will only operate within the paradigm of the setting up of a theocratic state; one that will limit freedom of expression, of assembly, to petition, of press, and to revolt against an unjust State, even if the State has by then evolved into a Talibanistic one shooting helpless little schoolgirls in the face and legalising marriage for nine year-olds.

Isn’t the constitution supreme enough?

As a citizen, I’d like to live in a country in which its law will encourage my freedom to think, speak, and write and even to create artwork and other forms of expressions without having to be censored or prosecuted for the ‘Islamic-ness or un-Islamicness’ of it - because my conscience will answer to a truth higher than that, i.e. myself.

This may be a far-fetched statement but I do not see any society advocating for an “Islamic state, imposing Sharia law, and invoking the hudud” that will meet my needs as a citizen and a human being born free and will continue to be free.

At this time, secular law based on the constitution as the supreme law of the land is good enough, safe enough, and appealing enough.

The punishment is perhaps suitable during the early days of Islam when society was still not complex and had not evolved to a level of civil society partly due to the contribution of secular laws...

Besides, women are the ones usually the victims of the mis-administration of the Hudud Ordinance as in Pakistan, especially in rape cases.

If the hudud is such a questionable form of punishment and its implementation vis-a-vis the number if witnesses required to convict, increasing from two to four, why is there a need to urge its implementation when, even different schools of thought have not resolved the issues surrounding the history of its evolution, as well as the subjectivity of the sources by which the law is derived from.

In Malaysia, it is as if the word ‘hudud’ is used as a political bogeyman to scare off non-Muslim as well as Muslim voters. Is there sincerity in implementing the “no-longer-suitable ordinances for this age and time”?

Ultimately, too, who amongst the ‘ummah’ who hath not sinned shall cast the first stone?

Thoughts on this matter please?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WHO OWNS THE WORD "ALLAH"? /Kalimah Allah milik Siapa?


APRIL SHOWERS
BRINGS THIS MAY FLOWER
fifth book forthcoming ...
in the Malay Language
-- priceless!
--ar




OTHER BOOKS BY YOURS TRULY ...

 


MY CHARITY DRIVE





Monday, April 21, 2014

ON THE MALAYS #1: On PERKASA -- Essay in the English and Malay Language by Azly Rahman

ON THE MALAYS #1
by azly rahman

The Malay-Perkasa dilemma


Will a hundred Perkasa-type NGOs solve the Malay dilemma? Or is it a moot question? Rather, what is the Malay dilemma, if there is any?

It must be a difficult time for the common and insignificant Malay; this beautiful people whose psyche has been consumed not only by feudalism but also by the ideology of cybernetic-neocolonialist feudalism in the form of party politics funded by big ‘glocal’ corporations. The poor Malay in the urban slum and in the kampong will continue to enjoy the spectacle of dynastic wars that are designed, like the idea of Vision 2020 that was crafted to blind the consciousness. The common Malays are victims of slogans – from the cleverly crafted legend of Hang Tuah (allegedly a Chinese warrior transplanted by the court historian of the decadent Malacca sultanate) to the story of fantastic ‘imagined communities’ such as Vision 2020 that requires ‘human capital’ (modal insan) as its obedient labourers.

The authoritarian self


Our political leaders wish to become emperors. In the process of building empires, we let our leaders gain control of the ideological state apparatuses and we let them own the Fourth Estate (the media) so that it is easy for them to feed us with propaganda daily. We let these emperors make themselves bigger than life and more fictional than factual.

We let our leaders become autocrats – 22 years was a long time. We cannot continue this tradition if we are to evolve into a more humanistic polity. Because we allowed that long of a reign, we cannot undo this political-psychological mess.

Our cultural system is now operating based upon who gets to control the most strategic resources; who owns the material and cultural capital. It is the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill (the ends justify the means) that forms the basis of our political-economic psyche. Our politics continue to cement the ideology based on the structure of inter-locking directorate-ships and the political-economy of transnational capitalism that feeds the elite with wealth and weapons to guard territories and to build personal empires and new Malaysian dynasties.

Our nation was borne out of the womb of colonialism and inherited the ills of neo-colonialism, moving into a difficult period of coming to terms with the ‘Balkanisation of Malaysian politics in the Age of Post-Hegemony created by the Mahathir administration’. The Malays are experiencing the phenomenon of the fall of the Berlin Wall right in their own backyard. We must be prepared for its ramifications. We must read the graffiti on those falling walls.

Silver platter


The handing over of Independence, on a silver platter, after a convenient postcolonialist arrangement of power relations, in the form of the formation of the National Alliance, prepared a transcultural flow of a somewhat ‘flawless’ political design that exacerbates and alleviates, in a nationalistic form, the divide-and-rule political economy.

The practice of keeping political leaders the longest in power and installing the variegated systems of control, from the traditionalism of cultural politics to computer-mediated systems of controlling human beings, has its price. This practice has cost us the growing up pains we are experiencing – from the way we build our highways to the way we architecture the mind of our children and we broadcast ‘live’ the ingredients of our state propaganda.

And now, we have this 79 Perkasa-type of NGOs that will continue to shape the direction of Malay politics. It signifies the “subcontractor-isation” of the Malay protest movement no longer being done by Malay-centric political parties.

The real Malay dilemma

But for thinking Malays, there is an alternative view to the advancing new Malay dilemma, beyond the Perkasa shadow-play. It concerns not only the political fate of the Malays, but of Malaysians as a people yearning for a republic of virtue. We have lived in epochs of mind control - from the mythically-useful idea of daulat in the clever invention called the divine rights of kings to the mantra of cybernetic technology, installed and institutionalised through the smart partnership with international profiteers skilled in the design of the postmodern slavery system.

If one analyses the system of international labour in Malaysia since we were granted independence, one may conclude a similar pattern of modern slavery on a global scale - international capitalists collaborate with the local elite in transforming the natives and imported natives into indentured servants.

We continue to switch masters, in accordance with the flow of ‘paxes’ – Pax Brittanica, Pax Americana, to Pax Nipponica, to Pax Corporate-Crony Malaysiana. The nature of our either-or politics, as I see it, is navigating us towards another form of hegemony; one that might be even more dangerous that what is currently prevailing in its most corrupt practice. It is taking shape in the form of ‘illiberalism’ grounded in the politics of vengeance, and alliance based on the insatiable urge to impose some form of cybernetic-theocratic rule that is scaring those of us who are strong believers of radical and social multiculturalism.

We are charting our future ruins based on the politics of desperados inspired by a decadent ideology no longer in synchrony with the real issue of the day – the emergence of cultural classes of people, silently reproduced by the post-industrial and hyper-modernising state.

The real Malay dilemma lies in its inability to realise that Vision 2020 was a strategy to blur the masses of the political-economic nature of controlling interests in Malaysian politics, that Vision 2020 built by robber barons and emerging dynasties. It is our own Orwellian document of doublespeak.

What then must the silent spectator Malays do? Where will this Malay-Perkasa dilemma lead this country to?

Malaysiakini, 1 Mar 2010


ON THE MALAYS
Essay in the Malay Language
by azly rahman
  

 PERIHAL ORANG MELAYU #1A

"Dilema Melayu-Perkasa"


Bolehkah seratus NGO jenis Perkasa menyelesaikan dilema Melayu? Atau adakah ia satu soalan yang boleh dipertikaikan? Ataupun, apakah dilema Melayu, seandainya terdapat dilema sebegitu?

Ini pasti merupakan satu masa yang sukar untuk orang Melayu umum dan tidak berpengaruh, orang-orang yang berhati murni yang jiwa mereka telah dilanda bukan sahaja oleh feudalisme tetapi juga oleh ideologi feudalisme neokolonialis sibernetika dalam bentuk parti politik yang dibiayai oleh syarikat-syarikat ‘glokal’ yang besar. Melayu miskin di kawasan miskin di bandar dan di kampung akan terus menikmati tontonan perang dinasti yang telah direkakan, seperti idea Wawasan 2020 yang telah bijak direncanakan untuk membutakan kesedaran kita. Orang Melayu biasa adalah mangsa slogan-slogan – bermula dari rekaan bijak legenda Hang Tuah (kononnya seorang pahlawan Cina yang telah diambil milik oleh ahli sejarah istana kesultanan Melaka) kepada kisah hebat ‘masyarakat imaginasi’ (‘imagined community’) seperti Wawasan 2020 yang, untuk mencapainya, memerlukan ‘modal insan’ sebagai buruh yang taat.

Diri yang autoritarian


Pemimpin politik kita teringin menjadi maharaja. Dalam proses membangun empayar, kita telah membiarkan pemimpin kita mendapatkan kawalan aparat ideologi negara dan kita biarkan mereka memiliki Harta Keempat (media sebagai ‘Fourth Estate’)) supaya menjadi mudah bagi mereka untuk menyuapkan kita propaganda dari hari ke hari. Kita membenarkan maharaja-maharaja ini menjadikan diri mereka orang yang dikagumi dan seaka-akan watak fiksyen daripada nyata.

Kita biarkan pemimpin kita menjadi autokrat - 22 tahun adalah masa yang lama. Kita tidak boleh meneruskan tradisi ini jika kita ingin berubah menjadi negara yang disandarkan tatanegara yang lebih berkemanusiaan. Kerana kita dibenarkan pemerintahan yang begitu panjang, kita tidak boleh merungkaikan semula keadaan politik-psikologi yang kucar-kacir ini.

Sistem budaya kita kini beroperasi berdasarkan siapa yang dapat mengawal sumber-sumber yang paling strategik; siapa yang memiliki modal bahan dan budaya. Utilitarianisme John Stuart Mill (hasil menjustifikasikan cara) menjadi asas jiwa politik-ekonomi kita. Politik kita terus mengukuhkan ideologi yang berdasarkan struktur kepengarahan bercantum (‘interlocking directorateship) dan politik-ekonomi kapitalisme transnasional yang memberikan kerabat elit kekayaan dan senjata untuk menjaga wilayah masing-masing dan membina empayar peribadi dan dinasti-dinasti Malaysia yang baharu.

Negara kita lahir daripada rahim penjajahan dan mewarisi kelemahan neo-kolonialisme, bergerak masuk ke dalam satu zaman yang sukar sambil berhadapan dengan ‘Pemecahan ala Balkan politik Malaysia di Zaman Pasca Hegemoni yang dicipta oleh pentadbiran Mahathir’. Orang Melayu mengalami fenomena kejatuhan Tembok Berlin betul-betul di halaman belakang rumah mereka sendiri. Kita mesti bersedia untuk kesan-kesan rumit akibat fenomena ini. Kita mesti membaca grafiti yang tertulis pada tembok yang runtuh itu.

Pinggan perak

Majlis penyerahan Kemerdekaan, dengan begitu mudah dan mulia, selepas penubuhan hubungan susunan pasca kolonial, dalam bentuk pembentukan Perikatan Kebangsaan, menyediakan aliran budaya beraneka satu struktur politik yang agak ‘sempurna’ yang memburukkan lagi dan juga meredakan, dalam bentuk nasionalisme, ekonomi politik berunsurkan dasar pecah dan perintah.

Amalan mengekalkan pemimpin-pemimpin politik yang paling lama berkuasa dan mendirikan sistem kawalan beraneka, dari tradisionalisme politik budaya kepada sistem pengantara-komputer untuk mengawal manusia, ada buruknya. Amalan ini telah mengakibatkan sakit ketika membesar seperti yang kita alami sekarang - dari cara kita membina lebuh raya kita kepada cara kita membina fikiran anak-anak kita dan cara kita menyiarkan siaran ‘langsung’ bahan-bahan propaganda negera kita.

Dan kini, kita mempunyai 79 NGO berjenis Perkasa yang akan terus membentuk hala tuju politik Melayu. Ia menandakan sifat “subkontraktor” pergerakan protes Melayu yang bukan lagi dilakukan oleh parti-parti politik Melayu-sentrik.

Dilema Melayu sebenar

Walau bagaimanapun, untuk Melayu yang berakal fikiran, terdapat pandangan alternatif kepada dilema Melayu yang baru mara, yang melangkaui wayang kulit Perkasa. Ia berkaitan bukan sahaja nasib politik orang Melayu, tetapi juga rakyat Malaysia sebagai satu bangsa yang kerinduan sebuah republik yang bersifat mulia (‘a republic of virtue’). Kita telah tinggal di zaman-zaman kawalan minda - dari idea dongeng daulat yang berguna itu yang merupakan sebahagian ciptaan bijak yang dinamakan hak ketuhanan raja-raja hinggalah mantera teknologi sibernetika, dipasang dan diinstitusikan melalui perkongsian pintar dengan pencatut antarabangsa yang mahir dalam reka bentuk sistem perhambaan pascamoden.

Jika kita analisiskan sistem buruh antarabangsa Malaysia sejak kita mencapai kemerdekaan, kita boleh membuat kesimpulan bahawa ia bercorak sama seperti perhambaan moden berskala global - kapitalis antarabangsa yang bekerjasama dengan kaum elit tempatan dalam mengubah rakyat dan mereka yang diimport sebagai hamba berkontrak.

Kita terus menukar tuan, mengikut aliran ‘pax’, iaitu pakatan damai - Pax Brittanica, Pax Americana, kepada Pax Nipponica, kepada Pax Kroni Korporat Malaysiana. Corak politik kalau bukan yang ini yang itu, seperti yang saya lihat, mengemudikan kita ke arah satu lagi bentuk hegemoni, satu yang mungkin lebih berbahaya daripada apa yang sedang wujud dalam amalannya yang paling korup itu. Ia mengambil bentuk ‘bukan liberalisme’ dan berasaskan politik balas dendam, serta perikatan berdasarkan keinginan yang tidak pernah puas untuk mengenakan suatu bentuk peraturan teokratik-sibernetika yang menakut-nakutkan orang-orang kita yang kuat mempercayai budaya radikal dan sosial beraneka.

Kita merangka runtuhan masa depan kita berdasarkan politik pengganas yang diilhamkan oleh ideologi kurang moral yang tidak lagi sinkroni dengan isu sebenar masa kini - kemunculan kelas rakyat berbudaya, yang dihasilkan semula dengan senyap oleh negara pasca-industri yang membangun secara hiper-moden.

Dilema Melayu sebenar terletak pada ketidakupayaan untuk menyedari bahawa Wawasan 2020 adalah satu strategi bersifat politik untuk mengaburkan rakyat tentang politik Malaysia, yang bersifat mengawal kepentingan, bahawa Wawasan 2020 dibina oleh raja perompak (‘robber barons’) dan dinasti yang baru muncul itu. Ia adalah dokumen Orwell kata-kata bersifat eufemisme.

Oleh itu apakah yang harus dilakukan oleh pemerhati Melayu yang diam? Ke manakah negara kita akan dihanyutkan oleh dilema Melayu Perkasa ini?

Malaysiakini, 1 Mac 2010

Friday, April 18, 2014

TILL DEATH BRING US CLOSER ...

TILL DEATH BRING US CLOSER ...

I am actually happy to see that senior Malaysian politicians from both camps are paying tribute to the loss of a good soul resting in peace ... a symbolic and honest act of honoring a man who has done so much in showing Malaysians young and old how a Constitution need to be upheld as the highest source of the law of the land, and what it means to help those in need seek justice.

Though I had the chance to get a few glimpses of Karpal Singh, in court when I briefly sat in to observe the proceedings of the Sodomy II trial a few years back, I felt that I had known Karpal for a long while as a deeply respected man of high principles as well as high morality. Of course as a young man studying political theory and writing papers on Malaysian politics, I had read about him and knew of his stature as Malaysia's best lawyer.

One poignant reality that is emerging is the sense of genuine multiculturalism amongst the young, I have been reading in cyberspace not only honoring Karpal but in condemning those attempts by bankrupt religionstas to disrespect the man whom Heaven must be waiting to honor his good work on Earth.

I think we are moving towards a good first step in political maturity and in showing each other what religious understanding and acceptance mean and how we must move forward as a society by learning from the best of the political minds whose life is devoted to a calling, not just a career, of helping others gain their voices and power amidst a society that has become totalitarian, oppressive, religiously abusive, and also one that has produced a regime whose lifeline and livelihood is sucking dry the blood, sweat, and tears of the powerless ... all in the name of maintaining the supremacy of not only a monocultural political system but also the sustenance of political dynasties.

Till death bring us closer to a more saner politics ...

REST IN PEACE, Karpal Singh Sir ...

We shall continue to defend the Constitution in honor too ... of what you have lived and died for -- ar

Thursday, April 17, 2014

R.I.P. KARPAL SINGH, SIR: "speak no ill ..."

SPEAK NO ILL WHEN DEATH COMETH TO THEE


speak no ill
of one who hath just passed on
to a better place
for we must think of what good he/she hath done
in a life of a constant struggle to be human,
all too human

lay not the cause for his/her death to his conviction
and stand against this or that point of view --
for death hath come to him/her
and life hath come but as a reminder
of what a man/woman can do

against all odds
against the grain
against the wind

to make us understand better
what ails us
and who hath diseased society
and who hath tried to cure it
and heal the wounds thenafter

and so the story goes
in this life like a river flows
those who speak up for many
who holds a mirror to our history
may come
most often too
not from souls borne out of
the race or religion you are born into
but from souls that knows not
what Man is
by the confines of his/her bigotry
nor the the limitations he/she imposes
on true dignity

not from these men
but from Man
the transcendental Man
in all his/her glory
of being human
all too human

REST IN PEACE, KARPAL SINGH
a good soul you are ... -- ar

share this please ..

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DISCUSS THIS, FOR EXISTENTIALIST SANITY ... (with Malay translation too!)

DISCUSS THIS:

"When Philosophy meets Religion"
by Azly Rahman




-An Invitation to a Virtual Interfaith Dialogue

Humanity cannot live by bread or rice alone - it needs transcultural philosophy as a foundation of morality.

The philosophical dimension of religion can be more powerful than its institutional and ritual. It should be through the philosophy of religion that one can explore the essence of the dialogue between what Hassidic philosopher Martin Buber calls, the “Thou and the I”, the Ultimate Self and the Ultimate Reality, or between Man and Creator. This is what is meant by the transcultural nature of mystical discourse. Those familiar with Buber’s philosophy will agree that the idea of the dialogical “I-Thou” contains a profound statement of Man’s ontological vocation, a transcultural-philosophical view can best be an avenue which can appeal to educational philosophers intending to explore universality in mystical thoughts.

For societies struggling to understand the potentials of an interfaith dialogue, this idea can be a good starting point for a powerful discourse.

“Universalism”

Let me illustrate some of the salient mystical ideas that correspond Buber’s ‘relational philosophy’; namely those from the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, and Islamic traditions. The transcultural dimension of I-Thou relation in the variety of religious experience points out to the Ultimate Reality and the illumination to self of which when this stage of enlightenment is achieved the “goodness” in Man is drawn out, Humanity reaches its moral epitome and the I-it world is imbued with the presence and vision of Thou-ness.

In Christianity, it is the Jesus of Love and the love of Jesus, which runs through the idea of the setting of the precondition of the I’s “meeting” with Thou. Humanity yearns for self-illumination and for the discovery of the inner beauty of self-government. St Francis Assisi’s parable of the seeker of God and poor man of a church (the Master of his own kingdom) illustrates this point:

“The Master asked… :

Whence are you come? From God Where did you find God?’ When I forsook all creatures When have you left God? In pure hearts and in sea of good will. The Master asked: What sort of man are you? I am a king. Where is your kingdom? My soul is my kingdom, so I can so rule my senses inwards and outward, that all the desires and powers of my soul are in subjection, and this kingdom is greater than a kingdom on earth. What has brought you to this perfection? My silence, my high thoughts, and my union with God. For I could rest in anything less than God. Now I have found and in God have eternal rest and peace.” (Underhill, pp 209-210)

In Buddhism, the Self acknowledges the Thou-ness of his/her existence through meditation and the following of the noble path in order for one to attain Nibbana. The I-it world can only reach salvation and prepare the meeting of the Thou through the Noble Eight-fold Path that leads to the cessation of suffering (Radhakrishnan & Moore, 1967) which among them call upon Man to:

“know suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering; … to renounce the world and to do no hurt or harm; … to abstain from lies and slander, from reviling, and from tattle; … to abstain from taking life, from stealing, and from lechery; … (p 277)”

It is when these are taken to be a part of one’s commitment to self-purification that the I-it world may be elevated to a higher level of consciousness. In the Hindu cultural philosophy, the I-Thou meeting can be preconditioned by Man’s submission to the Law of Manu, a code of conduct written as metrical sutras of dealing with the religious, legal, customary, and political aspects of the Hindu philosophy .

The purpose of life as conceived by the Hindus is to arrive at the fullest realisation of his/her existence through dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (enjoyment) and moksha (spiritual freedom) (Radhakrishnan & Moore, p 172)

Man is to live anthromophically with Nature in a world wherein beings and non-beings have their significant in the cosmic and metaphysical order of creation. It is when the world is looked upon as an “It” - to be dominated - and peoples to be utilised that this order is violated and Mother Earth is raped and the cycle of destruction begins. In the Taoist tradition, the character of Lao Tze, controversial to many a Confucionist of his philosophy of Nature, is an epitome of the “Thou-ness” in thought.

In Lao Tze, Nature is not to be tampered with at all, illustrative in his symbolic metaphor of the uncarved stone of which creativity of Man would carve into representations. If there should be a great grandfather of ecophilosophy, Lao Tze would be one. In one of the most foundational dialogues in the Taoist philosophical thoughts, in which Kung Fu Tze (Confucius) is said to visit Lao Tze to consult him in matters of propriety: Lao Tzu said:

“Those of whom you talked about are dead and their bones are decayed. Only their words have remained. When the time is proper, the superior man rides in a carriage, but when it is not, he covers himself up and staggers away. I have heard that a good merchant stores away his treasures as if his store were empty and that a superior man with eminent virtues appear as if he were stupid. Get rid of your air of pride and many desires, your insinuating manners and lustful wishes. None of these is good for you. That is all I have to tell you. (translation, Chan, 196, p 36)

The essence of the passage and of Taoist philosophy is to live a life of humility through the subjugation of the Ego. It is this essence of naturalism in philosophical thought which has brought Lao Tze’s mysticism comparable to Buber’s “Thou-ness” in which nature is seen as one amongst the many beings in the world of the Thou. The Tao The Ching (The Way) is to be followed in order for Thou to meet the I in the Taoist tradition.

The Islamic conception of mysticism must begin with the mentioning of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as one of the world’s greatest mystic whose entire life was spent preaching the Thou-ness of living. Allah (God) is to be made present in the heart mind and soul of the believers so that the I-it world may become one in submission to the will of the Supreme Being. Peace for, oneself, for society, nations and the world order can be attained by adhering to the true spirit and meaning of the Quran.

The mystical aspect of Islam nonetheless involves one to take the path to self-purification best illustrated by those “seeking God” through Sufism, among the paths. The writings and narrated experiences of poet mystics such as Qadir Jailani, Rabiyattul Adawiyah Fariduddin Attar, Jalaluddin Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Al Ghazalli and of one widely recognised in the west, Idries Shah, illustrate the Thou-ness of the tradition. In the Malay world we find such work in the poet-mystics of the early Malay kingdom such as Hamzah Fansuri.

The popular profound sayings of the Islamic mystics “know thyself and you will know God”, and “God is closer to you than your jugular vein” has remarkable similarity with the Hassidic belief of the closeness of God to those who seeks to meet Him through his Grace. It is to be noted that Moses (PBUH) and Jesus (PBUH) are revered to be two of the major prophets of Islam and the monotheism in these two are but a continuation of the God’s message brought also by Muhammad (PBUH) as the last prophet in the lineage of those beginning with Adam.

Thus, the mysticism inherent in the religions I have scantily mentioned point out to the transcultural-philosophical paradigm inalienable to Buber’s idea of I and Thou.

It is my view thus that the inherent philosophical aspects of those religious traditions points out to the need for their believers to work towards peace from within the self so that this boundary can then be extended to others, to beings and non-beings and ultimately to the planet and cosmos in which then, we will realise that all there is the Thou of whom which we are to provide rendezvous.

It is when the self is “immersed and lost” in the finiteness of the Thou that humanity can take its true character and that the ego is subjugated from its need to manifest all forms of behaviour and acts anathema to the Thou-ness of the I.

“Politics and madness”

Politics is said to be the art and science of constitutionalising and unconstitutionalising of power relations. It has been a predominant influence of the ego of Man and has crafted an iron curtain to veil the apolitical and beauty of the Inner self. Through politics of demagoguery, Man has created psychological, cultural, social, economic, political and global structures which mirror the triumphs of the ego over the primordially pure and peaceful self.

This may perhaps explain the manifestations of mania that have historically coloured our activities as human beings: The two World Wars, the war on terrorism, the illegitimate invasion of Iraq, slavery, the Holocaust, nuclear arms race, environmental degradations and destructions, and a range of other madness and disorders in the history of human civilisations. The “I” seeks power, seizes it and uses it to shackle the I-it primary word so that an I-Thou relation is no longer possible.

The power sought is then used to subjugate others and to threaten Nature. The manifestations above point to the meaning of power in the realpolitik-al sense as opposed to the mystical. But a pertinent question which correlates with the Buberian and transcultural-philosophical view of power is this: How can the Self be made to realise its infinite power within?

How do we evolve - from “man” to metaphysical beings? How do we evolve - as the Malays would say - from “manusia” to “insan” to “insanul Kamil”? — so that the larger Inner world harmonises with the smaller one Outside?

References

Buber, M (1958). I and Thou. New York: Collier Books.

Chan, W-T. (1963). Translation - The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao the ching). New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co.

Radhakrishna, S & Moore, C.A.E. (Eds) (1967). A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Underhill, E (1955). Mysticism. New York: Meridian.



MALAY TRANSLATION:


UNTUK PERBINCANGAN KITA BERSAMA
"Apabila Falsafah menemui Agama"
oleh Azly Rahman
 
Kemanusiaan tidak boleh hidup dengan roti atau nasi semata-mata - falsafah merentas budaya juga diperlukan.

Dimensi falsafah agama boleh menjadi lebih berkuasa daripada dimensi institusi dan ritus. Harus melalui falsafah agama seseorang itu boleh meneroka intipati dialog antara apa yang ahli falsafah Yahudi Hasid Martin Buber gelarkan, “Engkau dan Si Aku” (‘I and Thou’) , Diri Muktamad dan Realiti Muktamad, atau di antara Manusia dan Pencipta. Inilah yang dimaksudkan dengan sifat berbagai wacana mistik. Sesiapa yang biasa dengan falsafah Buber akan bersetuju dengan idea bahawa dialogik “Aku-Engkau” mengandungi suatu pernyataan yang mendalam; pandangan berasaskan falsafah yang merentasi budaya boleh secara yang terbaik mempunyai tarikan bagi ahli falsafah pendidikan yang berhasrat untuk meneroka kesejagatan dalam pemikiran mistik.

Bagi masyarakat yang berjuang untuk memahami potensi dialog antara agama, idea ini boleh menjadi titik permulaan yang baik untuk satu wacana yang bertenaga.

“Universalisme”

Izinkan saya menyajikan beberapa idea mistik penting yang selaras dengan ‘falsafah hubungan’ Buber; iaitu dari tradisi Kristian, Buddha, Hindu, Tao, dan Islam. Dimensi merentasi budaya ini bagi hubungan Engkau-Aku dalam pelbagai pengalaman agama menuding kepada Realiti Terbaik dan pencerahan bagi diri yang apabila peringkat pencerahan mencapai “kebaikan” dalam Manusia zahirkan, Kemanusiaan akan sampai ke tahap lambang moral dan dunia Aku-Ia diselubungi dengan kehadiran dan visi keEngkauan.

Dalam agama Kristian, ia adalah Isa yang Pencinta dan kasih sayang Isa yang terdapat dalam idea penetapan prasyarat Aku “berjumpa” dengan Engkau. Kemanusiaan bercita-citakan pencerahan diri dan bagi penemuan kecantikan dalaman kerajaan-kendiri. Cerita moral St Francis Assisi mengenai pencari Tuhan dan orang miskin gereja (Tuan dalam kesultanan sendiri) menggambarkan perkara ini:

Tuan itu bertanya: Dari mana engkau datang? Dari Tuhan. Di mana engkau berjumpa Tuhan? Apabila saya telah meninggalkan semua makhluk. Bilakah engkau meninggalkan Tuhan? Dalam hati yang murni dan dalam lautan penuh dengan niat baik. Tuan itu bertanya: Jenis manusia apakah engkau? Aku seorang raja. Di manakah kerajaan engkau? Jiwaku adalah kerajaanku, jadi aku boleh memerintah deria aku ke dalam dan ke luar, dan bahawa semua kehendak dan kuasa jiwa aku adalah terkawal, dan kerajaan ini adalah lebih besar daripada mana-mana kerajaan di bumi. Apakah yang menyebabkan engkau mencapai tahap kesempurnaan ini? Sifat aku berdiam diri, pemikiran tinggi aku, dan kesatuan aku dengan Tuhan. Sebab aku boleh berehat pada apa-apa yang kurang daripada Tuhan pun. Sekarang aku telah menemui dan dalam Tuhan memperoleh rehat dan keamanan yang kekal. (Underhill, ms 209-210.)

Dalam agama Buddha, pengetahuan Diri mengakui sifat keEngkauan dalam kewujudan si dia melalui meditasi dan mengikut jalan yang mulia agar seseorang itu boleh mencapai Nibbana. Dunia Aku-ia boleh mencapai keselamatan dan menyediakan perjumpaan Engkau melalui Jalan Mulia Lapan Kali Ganda (‘The Noble Eightfold Path’) yang membawa kepada sempadan berakhirnya penderitaan (Radhakrishnan & Moore, 1967) yang antara lain menyeru Manusia supaya:

mengenali penderitaan, asal-usul penderitaan, penamatan penderitaan, dan jalan yang membawa kepada penamatan penderitaan; ... untuk meninggalkan dunia dan tidak melakukan cedera atau bahaya; ... untuk menahan diri daripada fitnah dan cercaan, dan daripada membongkar rahsia; ... untuk menghindarkan diri daripada membunuh, mencuri, dan daripada pelepasan nafsu berahi; ... (ms 277)

Waktu apabila ini diambil sebagai sebahagian daripada komitmen seseorang untuk penyucian diri bahawa dunia Aku-ia boleh dihijrahkanke tahap kesedaran yang lebih tinggi. Dalam falsafah budaya Hindu, perjumpaan Aku-Engkau boleh dikenakan prasyarat dengan penyerahan manusia kepada Undang-Undang Manu, satu kod tingkah laku yang ditulis sebagai sutra berirama yang berurusan dengan agama, aspek-aspek undang-undang, adat, dan politik falsafah Hindu.

Tujuan hidup, bagaimana diilhamkan oleh orang-orang Hindu, adalah untuk mencapai kesedaran kewujudannya sepenuhnya melalui dharma (kebenaran), artha (kekayaan), kama (keseronokan) dan moksha (kebebasan rohani) (Radhakrishnan & Moore, ms 172).

Manusia harus hidup secara berpersonifikasi dengan Alam dalam dunia di mana makhluk dan bukan makhluk mempunyai signifikan mereka dalam peraturan ciptaan kosmik dan metafizik. Apabila dunia ini dipandang sebagai “Ia” - yang akan dikuasai - dan orang yang akan digunakan sehinggakan peraturan ini dilanggar dan Bumi sebagai Ibu diperkosa dan kitaran kemusnahan bermula. Dalam tradisi Tao, watak Lao Tzu, yang kontroversi untuk ramai pengikut Konfusius, falsafah beliau mengenai Alam, adalah lambang unggul “KeEngkauan” dalam pemikiran.

Dalam Lao Tzu, Alam tidak harus diganggu sama sekali, menggambarkan metafora simbolik batu tidak berukir atas apa kreativiti Manusia akan mengukirkan gambarannya. Jika dikatakan ada moyang kepada falsafah ekologi (‘ecophilosophy’), Lao Tzu adalah satu darinya. Dalam salah satu dialog yang paling asas dalam pemikiran falsafah Tao, Kung Fu Tze (Konfusius) dikatakan melawat Lao Tzu untuk berunding tentang perkara keadaban. Lao Tzu berkata:

Orang-orang yang anda kisahkan telah mati dan tulang mereka telah reput. Hanya kata-kata mereka yang kekal. Apabila tiba masa yang sesuai, lelaki unggul akan berjalan dalam kereta, tetapi apabila tidak, dia akan menyelubungi dirinya dan berjalan terhuyung-hayang dari situ. Saya pernah mendengar bahawa saudagar yang bijak menyimpan barang-barangnya seolah-olah kedainya kosong dan bahawa seorang lelaki yang unggul dengan sifat mulia kelihatan seolah-olah dia bodoh. Hapuskan sikap bangga dan keinginan engkau, tingkah laku licik dan nafsu yang menggoda. Ini semua tidak baik untuk kita. Itu sahaja yang saya perlu beritahu engkau. (terjemahan, Chan, 196, ms 36)

Intipati petikan dan falsafah Tao ialah supaya hidup kehidupan yang merendah diri melalui penaklukan dan penguasaan Ego. Ia adalah intipati naturalisme dalam pemikiran falsafah yang telah membuat mistisisme Lao Tzu setanding dengan “KeEngkauan” Buber di mana alam semula jadi dilihat sebagai salah satu makhluk dalam kalangan ramai dalam dunia KeEngkauan. Tao Te Ching (Jalannya) harus diikuti supaya Engkau memenuhi Aku dalam tradisi Tao.

Konsep Islam mistisisme mesti bermula dengan penyataan Nabi Muhammad (SAW) sebagai salah satu mistik yang terbesar di dunia yang seluruh hidup beliau telah diwahyukan untuk mengajar KeEngkauan dalam kehidupan. Allah (Tuhan ) harus wujud di dalam fikiran hati dan roh pengikut supaya dunia Aku-ia akan menjadi satu dalam penyerahan kepada kehendak Makhluk Terutama. Kesejahteraan untuk diri sendiri, masyarakat, negara dan peraturan dunia boleh dicapai dengan mematuhi semangat sebenar dan makna al-Quran.

Aspek mistik Islam tetap melibatkan seseorang untuk mengambil jalan untuk penyucian diri yang digambarkan dengan baik oleh orang-orang yang “mencari Tuhan” melalui jalan atau tariqat Kesufian , antara jalan-jalan lain. Tulisan-tulisan dan pengalaman yang diriwayatkan penyair mistik seperti Qadir Jailani, Rabiyattul Adawiyah Fariduddin Attar, Jalaluddin Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Al- Ghazali dan tentang seorang yang diiktiraf dengan meluas di barat, Idries Shah, menggambarkan KeEngkauan dalam tradisi itu. Dalam dunia Melayu, kita dapati karya seumpama dalam penyair mistik kesultanan Melayu awal seperti Hamzah Fansuri.

Kata-kata popular yang mendalam mengenai mistik Islam “kenali dirimu dan engkau akan mengenali Allah”, dan “Allah adalah lebih dekat kepada engkau daripada urat leher engkau” mempunyai persamaan yang luar biasa dengan kepercayaan Yahudi Hasid daripada keakraban Tuhan kepada orang-orang yang bertujuan untuk menemuiNya melalui Rahmat beliau. Elok diambil perhatian bahawa Musa (SAW) dan Nabi Isa (SAW) adalah dihormati sebagai dua daripada nabi-nabi utama dalam Islam dan monoteisme kedua-dua itu adalah kesinambungan mesej Tuhan yang juga dibawa oleh Muhammad (SAW) sebagai nabi yang terakhir dalam keturunan nabi-nabi yang bermula dengan Adam.

Oleh itu, mistisisme yang wujud dalam agama-agama yang saya sentuh sedikit sebanyak menunjukkan paradigma berbagai falsafah merentas budaya ini yang tidak terasing dari idea Buber tentang Aku dan Engkau.

Oleh itu adalah pandangan saya bahawa aspek falsafah yang wujud dalam tradisi agama berkenaan menunjukkan keperluan bagi pengikut mereka berusaha ke arah keamanan dari dalam diri supaya sempadan ini boleh dilanjutkan kemudiannya kepada orang lain, kepada makhluk dan yang bukan makhluk dan akhirnya kepada planet dan kosmos dan dengan itu, kita akan sedar bahawa apa yang ada sebenarnya ialah Engkau daripada siapa kita hendak menyediakan saat pertemuan.

Dengan itu apabila diri itu “tenggelam dan lenyap” dalam keabadian Engkau maka manusia boleh mengambil sifat keperibadiannya yang sebenar dan bahawa ego itu ditaklukki dari keperluannya untuk menjadikan nyata semua bentuk tingkah laku dan tindakan yang dikutuk dari segi KeEngkauan Aku.

“Politik dan kegilaan”

Politik dikatakan adalah seni dan sains yang merangkumi dan tidak merangkumi hubungan kuasa. Ia telah menjadi pengaruh yang utama atas ego Manusia dan telah mencipta tirai besi untuk menyembunyi keindahan bukan-politik dan Kedalaman diri. Melalui politik demagog, Manusia telah mencipta struktur psikologi, kebudayaan, sosial, ekonomi, politik dan global yang mencerminkan kejayaan ego ke atas diri yang premordium dan aman.

Ini mungkin boleh menjelaskan manifestasi mania (zahirnya keadaan ketidak siuman ) yang dalam sejarah telah mewarnai aktiviti kita sebagai manusia: Dua Perang Dunia, perang menentang keganasan, pencerobohan tidak sah ke atas Iraq, perhambaan, kemusnahan Holocaust, perlumbaan senjata nuklear, degradasi dan kemusnahan alam sekitar, dan pelbagai kegilaan dan gangguan lain dalam sejarah tamadun manusia. Yang “Aku” itu mencari kuasa, merampasnya dan menggunakannya untuk membelenggu perkataan utama Aku-ia agar suatu hubungan Aku-Engkau tidak lagi mungkin.

Kuasa yang dicari kemudiannya digunakan untuk menundukkan orang lain dan mengancam Alam. Manifestasi di atas menuding kepada makna kuasa dalam aspek politik yang praktikal berbanding dengan yang mistik. Tetapi soalan penting yang berhubungkait dengan pandagan dan falsafah merentas budaya Buber mengenai kuasa ialah: Bagaimanakah Diri boleh merealisasikan kuasa dalamannya yang tidak terbatas?

Bagaimanakan kita berevolusi – adakah dari manusia kepada makhluk-makhluk metafizik? Bagaimanakah kita berevolusi – bak kata orang Melayu - dari Manusia kepada insan kepada insanul Kamil? Agar dunia Dalaman yang lebih besar berharmoni dengan yang lebih kecil yang terdapat Di luaran?

Rujukan

Buber, M (1958). I and Thou. New York: Collier Books. Chan, W-T. (1963). Terjemahan. The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching). New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co.

Radhakrishna, S & Moore, C.A.E (Ed) (1967). A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Underhill, E (1955). Mysticism. New York: Meridian.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

ISLAMIC TEACHING?

ISLAMIC TEACHING?
or ARABIC CULTURAL LEGACY?


not to be followed or globalized?
can't liberal ideas be taught to these people -- to cure this malaise?
i don't know anymore .. do you? -- ar 




Iraq ready to legalise childhood marriage

Children under nine years old could be legally married and wives forced to comply with sexual demands under newly tabled legislation described by critics as a setback for women's rights

An Iraqi woman walks with her fully veiled daughter in Baghdad
An Iraqi woman walks with her fully veiled daughter in Baghdad Photo: Getty
Children in Iraq could be legally married before the age of nine under sweeping legislation tabled on Tuesday that introduces new religious restrictions on women's rights.
As almost its last act before elections at the end of the month, the Iraqi parliament looks likely to pass new marital rules for its majority Shia community with a draft law criticised by human rights activists as "legalised inquality"
The legislation has been approved by the governing coalition in an effort to attract support from Shia Muslims in the April 30 vote.
Current Iraqi law sets the legal age for marriage at 18 without parental approval and states girls as young as 15 can be married only with a guardian's approval. It does not allow for special provisions according to sect.
But the legislation, known as the Jaafari law, introduces rules almost identical to those of neighbouring Iran, a Shia-dominated Islamic theocracy.
Ayad Allawi, a former Iraqi prime minister, warned on Tuesday that approval of the law would lead to the abuse of women. "It allows for girls to be married from nine years of age and even younger," he said. "There are other injustices [contained in it] too."

While there is no set minimum age for marriage, the section on divorce includes rules for divorces of girls who have reached the age of 9 years.

Marital rape is condoned by a clause that states women must comply with their husband's sexual demands. Men are given guardianship rights over women and the law also establishes rules governing polygamous relationships.

Hanaa Edwar, a well-known activist and head of the charity Al-Amal ("Hope" in Arabic), has campaigned against the law as a setback for women's rights in a country that has struggled since the 2003 invasion.

"It turns women into tools for sexual enjoyment," she said. "It deletes all their rights."
Human Rights Watch, the US-based organisation, has issued a plea for the Iraqi government to abandon the legislations.

"Iraq is in conflict and undergoing a breakdown of the rule of law," Basma al-Khateeb, a women's rights activist, said in a Human Rights Watch report. "The passage of the Jaafari law sets the ground for legalised inequality."

Supporters of the draft, named after a Shiite Muslim school of jurisprudence, say it simply regulates practices already existing in day-to-day life. Officials said there has been a surge in under 18s being married off since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10753645/Iraq-ready-to-legalise-childhood-marriage.html

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why ban Noah in Islamic countries? by azly rahman


A good philosophical movie ‘Noah’ is; classic arguments between Fate and Free Will, juxtaposed with the Epic of Gilgamesh I am currently discussing. Now I know how Noah looks like. Like Russell Crowe! Good to see how the nephilim, the fallen angles, and the animals in Noah’s ark looked like.

Thank you Hollywood.

I suppose I am done imagining what all these looked like via readings/oral literacy. Now there is George-Lucas-Pixar-standard visual literacy. There is a nice element of fantasy in it, especially in the Transformer-looking fallen angels. I thought those were ugly-looking creations with some good thoughts.

Too bad many Muslims countries have banned ‘Noah’ for flimsy reasons when the value of the movie is a thousand times more. I would lift the ban and even use the movie in all classes in those countries. Can talk about cosmological doctrines, Creation myths, the philosophy of Good vs Evil, Love vs Duty/Dharma, and many more themes of human existence.

I think we should replace those in the Censorship Board and put in more Humanities and Philosophy scholars in them who understand not only deeply engaging English dialogues but comparative scriptures, pragmatism, and the value of cinema in teaching Cross-Cultural Perspectives.

The younger generation will benefit from these approaches. It is their future. Because they are millennial children (of the 21st century) and have mastered Visual Literacy.

Above all, the old have to give way to the young of which we cannot underestimate their natural urge to ask questions and philosophise. They will be the ones inheriting this troubling world. A world awaiting another deluge.

But then again that’s what the Islamic society of today is about - devoid of educational philosophers, cosmopolitan thinkers, and deconstructionists.

I shall not worship Russell Crowe as Noah after watching the movie, now that the Babylonian mythical figure has been represented by Hollywood. As a matter of fact, I have never been keen in worshipping anybody - not even Al Pacino as the Godfather.

Now why the ban? Isn’t this already the 21st century, the Neo-Frankenstein Era and not the Dark Ages?

Copycat banning?

Malaysia need not follow the eagerness of banning good movies such as ‘Noah’ just because other ‘Islamic countries’ decided to ban it. I thought Malaysia is more progressive than Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, and even Indonesia in matters of dealing with liberal ideas related to the advancement of thinking in society.

What is there to emulate in countries that ban women from driving, labelling atheists as terrorists, giving light sentence to a father who raped and murdered his five-year old daughter, or to look up to a country whose people shoot little girls in the face just for the crime of going to school to get an education?

What good reason to share fatwas with those countries whose citizens are kept at a low level of literacy enough to just memorise the scriptures but not to think, and enough to be controlled by the cleric and the monarchs?

Malaysia is blessed with a multicultural mix of peoples and a good social environment wherein people of different faiths, be they of the monotheistic or polytheistic systems, not only can learn to respect each other’s traditions but even, a mature society, engage in good philosophical discussions stimulated by good movies such a ‘Noah’ or even ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and ‘The Mahabharata’ created by Peter Brooks.

This dialogical nature of being members of a civil society always in the lifelong-learning mode and in deep respect for knowledge and new interpretations of old ideas ought to be what Malaysia is - not the book and movie banning and jailing-of-citizens-without-trial kind of Malaysia we deplore. Not the fork-tongued confusion-generating officials in an MH370 global media conference - kind of Malaysia we are seeing.

But this Malaysia is controlled by groups that are anti-knowledge, anti-new interpretations, and always afraid of the shadow of their own ignorance.

In the Western-liberal democratic countries that upholds freedom of speech, a movie such as ‘Noah’ or the ‘Passion of the Christ’ or even ‘The Matrix’ is not banned just because its interpretation is considered “sensitive” to this or that group or people of a religious faith - these movies are discussed, debated on, and debunked for their value. Not banned.

Malaysians - what are you going to do with your book-banners, book-burners, freedom-fighter-busters, and maddening-movie-censors?

What kind of learning society do we wish to see evolving? Have we not been independent for over 50 years? Is this country growing old, grumpy, and ignorant?

Incomplete Quranic story?

Readers of the Quran, and indeed those who are censor-happy, need to understand that movies and multiple interpretation of stories of the prophets in any reliable, authoritative, scholarly media form from all religious traditions should help make these stories better understood.

The story of Noah in Surah Hud in the Quran (Chapter on Hud) contains a few verses mentioning Noah and the flood. These are perhaps borrowed from ancient texts of Jewish and Christian sources. In the Quran, the story is told as a synopsis of a story that needs to be researched upon using pre-Meccan Islamic sources.

Herein lie the need for readers of the Quran to not only read it hermeneutically but also philologically and transculturally. The stories borrowed into the Quran have multiple variations. Even the story of Noah in the Quran is told differently than in the Bible, although the Quran owes the origin of the story to ancient Christian and Jewish texts which borrowed from the ancient Akkadian-Sumerian texts preserved on tablets in cuneiform.

To say that the movie ‘Noah’ is not suitable for Muslims and to be banned is not an intelligent statement to make. To produce a movie the magnitude of ‘Noah’, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, or even Mustafa Akkad’s 1970s movie ‘The Message’ require extensive research employing experts, scholars, and requiring even the actors to study the history of the story they are dramatising.

It is unlike producing Malaysia’s ‘Drama Minggu Lepas’ or ‘Hantu Mak Limah Balik Kajang’ epic movies or a Korean soap opera with Gangnam music as soundtrack.

A transcultural reading of the Quran is much needed these days, because the rich and extensive narratives of the stories in the Quran lie not in the Quran itself but outside of it - in ancient texts that the Quran borrowed from.

Herein lies the need to apply the cultural, scientific, hermeneutic, and phenomenological framework of analyses even to understand the simple story of a flood that might not have been a global/universal flood but just local one around where Noah the mythical Babylonian figure once lived (in the Fertile Crescent).

So - there is a lot of world Malaysian movie censors need to do before censoring blindly and happily, I humbly believe.



Wednesday, April 09, 2014

IS MALAYSIA AN ISLAMIC STATE?

MALAYSIA as an ISLAMIC STATE?
NO ...

no we do not need one
it is a multicultural state
we have the Constitution as supreme law of the land
what we need is rulers and the ruled, leaders and the led
to follow the law .. and even the police and those being policed must abide ...
Rule of Law
Upholding the Constitution
Defending it
Not amending it at one's whims and fancies
no...not an Islamic state with Sharia law and the Hudud
we need a "republic of virtue" of which the Constitution rules in a system of benevolent and efficient Constitutional Monarchy at this juncture, and the ethics of each religion guides each believer ...
Simple notion of State and Citizenship ... is it not? -- ar

Sunday, April 06, 2014

RAINSONG: POEM



RAIN SONG
azly rahman



t'is raining again
my heart leaps in joy
as the sound 

of the thousands of little droplets
like a grandioso of a symphony of elegance 

soothes my weary soul
serenading the heart that once 

was shattered into a million pieces 
and more

now -- like a oneness of the many-ness 

of a tedious argument of divinity it cometh into being, 
like a worlds within worlds outside 
becomes One 
in harmony they sing
to the joy of the coming rain
wherein love in the background 

sings the blues away
as we danced in the rain

like children of a world timeless 

and joy greets each day 
and laughter is the sound of every moment --- 
we sing, we dance, we look at each other in the eyes, 
words unspoken
only rain
a million droplets
each a note of a beauteous sound
strung together
endlessly
till it becomes a symphony
of a rainy day of yet another new day dawning
wherein love reign supreme

-- ar

Lecture: Edward Said

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Lecture: Noam Chomsky

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Lecture: Jacques Derrida

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Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre

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Movie: 1984

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Movie: Animal Farm

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Movie: Chicken Run

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Poems: Rumi

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Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong

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Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith

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Islam

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Humanism

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Jainism

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Sikkhism

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Hinduism

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Bahai

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Confucianism

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Taoism

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The Bhagavad Gita

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Jesus of Nazareth

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Siddharta Gautama

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Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

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