Thursday, December 28, 2006

98] Don't imprison the apostates

Don't imprison apostates
Azly Rahman
Dec 4, 06 1:22pm

Science without religion is lame … religion without science is blind. (Physicist and pacifist, Albert Einstein)

There is no compulsion in religion. (The Quran)

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and pillar of stability for many of our people... (Former First Lady Hillary Rodman Clinton, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1996)

...there is much that the world can learn from Islam. It is now practised by one of every four people on Earth. (Former US President Bill Clinton, White House Eid ul-Fitr presentation, Jan 10, 2000)

Why propose the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on apostates, as suggested by some Malaysian Islamic scholars? Why not study why they leave the religion?

Why not use ESA - education for spiritual awareness - to develop the children's interest and commitment to the faith, through gentle persuasion, not through threatening to throw them in jail without trial, or hang them to death for treason.

Instead of jailing 10,000-25, 000 Muslims who have allegedly left the religion, why don't we begin by radically improving our method of teaching teachers to teach Islam. By producing effective Islamic religious teachers who can speak well to the children of this Millennial generation, we can do better than scare people off learning about the profound teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Why do children have Maths-phobia and avoid Math-related courses in high school and universities, while many others become Math addicts and are like Isaac Newton - intoxicated with "music of he heavenly spheres"?

It is not uncommon for teachers to cane students who do not know their multiplication tables. Teachers used to ask students to do the ketuk ketampi (ear squats) for that as well.

I doubt that the International Islamic University does not have a stable of lecturers well versed in the pedagogical aspects of teaching Islam and comparative religion.

It is a ridiculous proposal to want to detain people without trial for leaving Islam. The ISA itself need to be abolished in the first place. It is an instrument of oppression detested by Islam itself. Civilisational Islam will define the ISA as an uncivilised law.

We use the Act when we are bankrupt of reason and rationality. We use it on communists, ultra-nationalists, race-chauvinists, political activists, religious fundamentalists, and God knows what other category of ‘deviants’ defined by the regime in power.

The words ‘threat to national security’ have been so overused and abused that we as a nation are now threatened by the intellectual insecurities of those imposing the Act to maintain security. This is our Malaysian straightjacket and a stranglehold on the debilitating form of Asian democracy. Now some suggest that we use the ISA on apostates.

Why they leave Islam

The way this beautiful religion of man is approached may be a factor why one becomes an ‘apostate’.

Perhaps those teaching them about Islam are ill-equipped in knowledge and skills about Islam. Just like the keris-wielding delegates of Umno who are ill-equipped to become leaders and ill equipped on what ‘Malay nationalism’ means, these teachers are out of tune with changing times.

Perhaps these teachers do not have much in-depth knowledge about the philosophies of other religion and ethical systems. It is time for them to begin reading about transcultural philosophies that form the foundation of a multi-cultural/multi-religious society such as Malaysia.

Perhaps they do not spend their time understanding the mind of the youth of today and the complexity of our time to contextualise the religion and to find ways to stimulate the thinking of these youth about Islam.

Perhaps they have not been introduced to the life stories of those who convert to Islam – revolutionary leaders such as Malcolm X; sportsmen such as Muhammad Ali; musicians such as John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) and Michael Jackson; scholars such as Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall; poets such as WS Rendra; and comedians such as Dave Chapell.

Perhaps they are not introduced to the life history of one of the greatest Muslim admirals of the Ming Dynasty, Zhenghi (Cheng Ho) who is now theorised to have been the first to sail the world.

Perhaps our Islamic teachers failed to use modern Malay rock music to inspire the youth who love are about to rock, still rocking, and will die with rock and roll. Perhaps these teachers did not use the music of Search, Hattan, Bumiputra Rockers, Lefthanded, Wings, M Nasir and Ramli Sarip in their dakwah (preachings).

Had elements of music such as the deep spiritual meaning of the lyrics of M Nasir, for example, been used and infused into curriculum of Islamic education, we would not have many youth running away from the religion and joining Death and Black Metal cults in Sungai Petani or Kangar.

Perhaps they have not been told of the influence of Islam on modern science and technology throughout the Renaissance period and how much the mathematics, astronomy, medicine, music, optics and architecture owe to the contributions of Islamic thinkers.

Or perhaps, the youth are confused altogether of what being a Muslim in Malaysia means. On the one hand, there are Jawi raids, and on the other hand there are TV programmes, bootleg/pirated pornographic DVDs in which Muslim politicians who use public funds for party purposes get away arrogantly, smiling while the civil servants are told that their hard work as servants is ibadat (religious calling) in Islam.

Like learning Maths and loving the beauty behind the logic of it, learning about Islam is learning about beauty and rationality.

Religion and free inquiry

Religion and ethical belief systems are meant to provide parameters of good conduct without taking away the freedom of inquiry. Like a mandarin in the times of Kung Fu Tze and the philosopher-scholar in the times of Islamic khalifah in the times of Harun Ar-Rashid, we need to cultivate the youth with the strength of belief so that they may choose wisely and suffer less in life.

Each child must be trained to be a good Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist or person of the faith their parents have taught them. If capitalism contains the seeds of destruction, in each of these religions contain the seeds of profound self-realisation. Above all, at the core of each is Inner Peace and the idea of the Oneness of God.

We have allowed the Religion of Materialism to reign and the Prophets of Godless Capitalism to spread the message of salvation.

The problem we have in society is that we look at each other's religion not only with animosity but also as a reason to imperialise each other. We fail to go deeper into realising that a Muslim must believe that the truth and guidance is ‘sent down’ to all nations and that Muslims must believe that the message of peace - Islam - has been taught since the beginning of humanity, since the beginning of Prophet Adam (PBUH).

Let us come back to our senses in the kind of things we suggest how to teach others the beauty of Islam. But first, let us abolish the ISA. It is an instrument of intellectual and spiritual demolition.

1 comment:

Goimaalik said...

yes don't imprison Murtaddiyn. As that is 'zulm of the highest order.

Give them a grace period 3 day periods upon captured under house arrest.

If they still think that Al-Islaam is still false, then let them "martyr" themselves for their filthy "truths".

Rather beheaded them publically on Fridays as dictated by The Divine Constitution.

This is the command of Allah and Rasuwl. And it is not for the Muslimuwn to have any other decisions once Allah and HIS Rasuwl has dicided on a matter.

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