Saturday, June 17, 2017

Be kind to parents, enjoins the Quran

How many of us Malaysians, both Muslim and non-Muslim, can say that we have heard about what the Quran and the Prophet say about our responsibility to our parents in most of the national discourse concerning Islam? 
In the past few decades, the national discourse about Islam by “Islamic” political parties and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has been about so-called criminal laws in Islam which the scholars choose to call as “hudud”. Granted there are a few criminal penalties that have been mentioned in the Quran. Sadly however, many other injunctions and commandments in the Quran that not only have a universal appeal but actually improve the quality of life of all human beings, both Muslim and non-Muslim, are hardly highlighted. 
With respect, the public may misperceive that only the enactment and implementation of these “hudud” punishments is what makes up an “Islamic” society. This cannot be so as the concept of Islamic justice is much more than that and goes beyond secular understanding of “criminal justice”. There are greater noble ideas of social, natural, economic and “human” justice in the Quran.
How much of justice have we done for the aged, the senior citizens, single mothers and the neglected parents in our society? Would it not be refreshing for Malaysians if some Islamist NGOs or political parties canvass these issues in the name of “Islamic mercy”?
Malaysia has long left being a dominant agricultural country. We have moved into modernised living and the functioning of the family unit as we knew many decades ago has considerably altered. The nature of economic activities that citizens indulge in has changed, cost of living has gone up and in turn family values too have changed. In fact, the occupational circumstances of our capitalist economy bring forth realistic challenges to take care of parents especially those who require constant care and attention.
If we were to honestly appraise the development of our towns, cities, buildings and roads, can we say that we have made it user-friendly to the older folks? I humbly state that much of our town planning and construction efforts, whether residential or commercial, does not express the compassion factor the Quran repeatedly emphasises. Even in China you can find parks and places specially built for senior citizens to mingle and exercise. 
Our economy is very much biased towards the youth and in the process, the value of senior citizens has diminished. I am afraid that our national policymakers have not given proper attention to the maintenance of the family unit, especially the care and respect for senior citizens and parents. 
We have simply left it to the individuals and communities to sort it out according to their own values. However, this overlooks the fact that drastic transformation of the economy has changed our values. The State has a duty to balance this anomaly because much of the economic and social changes are brought about by the State’s approval and many times, by its designs.
The Quran explicitly places great importance of being good to parents. In fact in surah Al Baqarah verse 83 (Quran 2:83), the Quran says, among other things, “worship none save Allah and be good to parents”. 
There are many other verses in the Quran with the same theme of being kind and caring of one’s parents. Furthermore, the Quran in many instances also appeals to logic as to why we have to be kind to them. One reason being that it was our parents that have taken care of us and dedicated parts of their life to raise us. 
While the Quran speaks of kindness to both parents, it gives special attention to mothers. Every time I read these verses, I ask myself: What have we done for the single mothers who are fated to live the life they never chose? Why are the Islamist political parties and contemporary Muslim scholars not championing their plight? 
When parents reach old age, this presents the greatest opportunity to the Muslim to care for his parents to earn the pleasure of Allah (Quran 17: 23-24). 
Muslims are reminded that parents have a right over their children for care and love as they have been showered with when they were children. The love, care and respect for parents specifically and aged citizens generally ought to be evolved into a natural, national value until it becomes a norm. 
It is with shame that I see many parts of England are more senior citizen-friendly than Malaysian economic development! And yet, political Islamists unashamedly keep giving sermons on the “mercy of Allah” while not choosing to champion the same injunctions in the Quran.
I do hope that Islamists will be in the forefront to champion the cause of senior citizens’ care and push for legislation and State assistance for children who are unable to provide for their parents. These are the good things that I want political parties that claim to represent Islam to do. 
I can understand the challenges, financial, psychological and physical, faced by children who have to care for their aged parents. I have a sister who has been caring for my very old mother for years and I simply am moved by her love, patience and dedication. 
However, I also know some children who are unable to do so or cannot provide the quality care due to various constraints. I urge the contemporary Islamic scholars to debate on how best the individual citizen together with the State can provide for quality care for old folks and parents. 
If there is a need for legislation and policies to be made, then it needs to be done if we call ourselves a caring society, what more some claim that we are an “Islamic State”.  
I believe such a move, even in the name of Islam will be supported by the non-Muslims as it will provide benefit to all, irrespective of religious differences.
* Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement which encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.
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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Rakyat Mempertahankan kesejahteraan negara

Memang pun semua orang tahu bahawa kerajaan perlu untuk mentadbir negara dari pelbagai segi. Pada amnya, Kerajaan boleh dikatakan terdiri daripada wakil-wakil rakyat yang menjawat jawatan dalam kabinet dan keduanya daripada sektor perkhidmatan awam.

Amanah Sektor Perkhidmatan awam

Perkara 132 (1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan mengariskan siapa kah yang tergolong didalam sektor perkhidmatan awam seperti berikut:

Bagi maksud Perlembagaan ini, perkhidmatan-perkhidmatan awam ialah—
(a) angkatan tentera;
(b) perkhidmatan kehakiman dan perundangan;
(c) perkhidmatan awam am Persekutuan;
(d) pasukan polis;
(e) (Dimansuhkan);
(f) perkhidmatan awam bersama yang disebut dalam Perkara 133;
(g) perkhidmatan awam setiap Negeri; dan
(h) perkhidmatan pendidikan.

Senarai diatas jelas merangkumi pelbagai aspek penting yang menyentuh kehidupan Rakyat serta kesejahteraan am Negara. Kumpulan ini lah yang lazimnya mentadbir negara secara hampir otomatis samada piliahan raya ada atau pun tidak. Maka, mereka di berikan kuasa dan pengaruh yang besar untuk menjalankan amanah bagi pihak Rakyat jelata.

Sebagai imbuhan atau balasan untuk menjalankan amanah mereka dengan seefisien dan sejujur mungkin, mereka di bayar serta di beri kemudahan-kemudahan dan keistimewaan yang tidak dinikmati oleh rakyat lain. Sebagai contoh, pekerjaaan mereka pada amnya tetap/stabil, gaji tiap2 bulan pun tetap/stabil, dapat pencen, dapat kemudahan luarbiasa untuk memperolehi pinjaman perumahan dan sebagai nya.  Semua ini di tanggung oleh Rakyat jelata sebagai "majikan" kepada mereka. 

Maka, tidak harian lah dan sebenarnya di alu alukan oleh Rakyat apabila SPRM di bawah pimpinan Pesuruhjaya SPRM Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad kini mengambil langkah berterusan untuk memastikan bahawa gejala rasuah di kalangan sektor awam di hapuskan.  Adalah menjadi harapan Rakyat bahawa usaha SPRM ini akan melahirkan sikap benci rasuah dan melihat rasuah sebagai kemungkaran yang menindas Rakyat jelata dikalangan anggota perkhidmatan awam. Rakyat yang bertangunggjawap dan cintakan kesejahteraan Negara wajib menyokong usaha SPRM ini melalui beberapa cara. 

Disamping menyokong usaha SPRM, Rakyat harus sentiasa perihatin bahawa menjadi tanggungjawap kita bersama untuk mempertahankan kewibawaan, integriti dan maruah institusi-insitusi negara seperti yang disenaraikan dalam Artikel 132(1) Perlembagaan Malaysia daripada di cemari oleh tindakan sebilangan kecil dalam institusi-insitusi tersebut mahupun oleh tindakan sesiapa yang lain. 

Eksekutif atau Wakil Wakil rakyat dalam Kabinet 

Kabinet memainkan peranan yang teramat penting didalam menentukan polisi negara serta memastikan bahawa wawasan atau polisi yang di tetapkan bersama dicapai dalam tempoh yang di tentukan. Disamping itu, kabinet juga berkuasa didalam mempengaruhi agihan harta dan sumber-sumber negara. Pendekata, sebagai manusia, mereka juga terdedah kepada bisikan syaitan untuk berlaku tidak adil, bersikap korupsi dan menindas.

Kumpulan ini juga perlu di awasi oleh Rakyat supaya tidak berlaku sebarang penyalahgunaan kuasa yang merugikan negara dan rakyat. Rakyat harus memastikan bahawa golongan ini juga tertakluk kepada undang-undang tertentu yang dapat mendorong mereka kepada tindakan-tindakan yang baik dan menjauhi bisikan syaitan. Peruntukkan didalam Perlembagaan Malaysia bahawa semua Rakyat adalah saksama dibawah undang-undang perlu di  manifestasikan. 

Rakyat perlu ingat bahawa terdapat banyak pemimpin politik yang memang ikhlas dan berusaha untuk berkhidmat kepada Rakyat. Namun, ada juga yang hanya menggunakan kedudukan untuk memperkayakan diri  dengan anggapan bahawa mereka tidak akan tertangkap dan rakyat tidak boleh buat apa-apa. 

Pemimpin politik yang korup harus tahu bahawa tidak ada had masa dalam mendakwa sesiapa untuk suatu perbuataan jenayah. Maksudnya, jangan lah mana-mana pemimpin politik korup menjangka bahawa selepas mereka bersara, undang-undang tidak boleh membawa mereka ke gelanggang keadilan walaupun berdekad dekad telah berlalu.

Rakyat sentiasa berawas dan mempertahankan kesejahteraan Negara.  Kalau kita sendiri tidak buat, orang lain tidak akan.

Salam ramadan.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ramadan reflections: Do Not Insult The religion of Others

Quran: Surah Al Anaam (6) Verse 108:

And do not insult those that they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus we have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is thier return and He will inform them about what they used to do".

The Muslim is taught by Allah not to insult the gods that others may worship. 


Finding middle ground between secularists and theocrats?

MAY 29 — It is not only in Malaysia but in many parts of the world where there is a contest between the secularist and the religionists with regards to shaping the nature of society. There are many academic discussions on secularism and theocracy.
Essentially, secularism does not want any one scripture to be the sole determinant or source of laws in the nation. On the other hand, theocrats believe that scriptures or religious sources should be the primary source of laws and conduct in society because they believe it is divine.
Putting aside the opportunists on both side of the divide, I try to understand with compassion, giving the benefit of the doubt and emphatically as possible their respective objectives and positions. One thing becomes clear: Both mean well and believe that their respective positions will serve humanity well.
If we are willing to move away, at least for the sake of deliberation, from our dogmatic or fixed positions, we might be able to see the picture and debate more clearly.
I believe the secularists’ greatest fear with a theocratic government is the loss of human being’s free will in the general sense. They imagine a government that is ostensibly speaking, not in the name of the people, but in the name of God. Hence, they fear that any dissent of government’s policy or implementation of laws will be construed as an opposition to God’s will.
If this happens, their “crime” of opposition becomes not only a state offence but a religious offence which may be severely dealt with because of the emotive element attached to it. In a secular state, legitimate opposition to government views are welcomed as an act of citizen contribution to the betterment of the state.
On the other hand, theocrats believe that the will of human beings must be subjected to the will of God as evidenced in the respective scriptures. They fear that if human beings’ will is not controlled by God’s will, society may, in the long run, be subsumed by values that are contrary to the scriptures.
It is clearly the priority of theocrats that religious considerations precedes any other considerations in the functioning of the state.
Secularists, I believe want to uphold and protect what they see as the inherent right of citizens to shape the destiny of the state as they deem fit. They do not want this right to be limited purely by religious dogmas especially those that they consider personal.
In fact, secularists believe that religion is a purely private matter which the citizens should be allowed to practice without imposing the same publicly on others. This position will understandably collide with the stand of the theocrats, especially the Islamists.
This is because to every mainstream Islamist there is no division of religion and life on earth. Every single act, thought and behaviour is a religious act to them. Islam is both a personal and a community religion and therefore, the Islamists will want to redesign the community into the “Islamic mould.”
It is therefore clear that this mindset will move the Islamist to influence and shape society to adhere to the “Islamic parameters” when he has the opportunity to do so.
While the secularists, for example, may be shocked to view Muslim adults being “compelled” into certain kinds of religious behaviour, these very same Muslim adults view it as voluntary adherence to an “Islamic government”! Clearly, therefore, the same act has two complexity opposing perceptive.
With respect, I humbly view the matter rather differently. I believe that both a secular and an “Islamic” government has its own set of problems. This is largely because it is interpreted and implemented by men with power and wealth.
We are not living in the age of the righteous, wise, compassionate, and humble sage who runs the state for the pure benefit of the greater good of the citizens.
If I am correct, then I believe that we have to move away from being trapped by the labels of “secularism” and “Islamism” when we want to deliberate on what is beneficial for the greater good of society. We have to now learn to embrace the substance of the matter rather than be caged within dogmatic egoism or sense of piety.
I know that this a tough call for me to make as both sides, especially the elites among them, may be resistant and adamant in their positions.
Therefore, I see that the change that can occur in this regard, if we want the change, is for ordinary citizens to start thinking about the nature, situation and future of their lives. It must be a bottom-up kind of change and I have long given up in believing that changes will come top-down.
I repeat: We have to learn to start the culture of discussing the substance of things — such as employment opportunities, ability to live as a dignified human being, responsible freedom, just laws that do not dishonour the human, equality as God’s children and citizens of one state and so on.
Really, it is pointless for the ordinary citizen to be caught up with the elitist arguments of secularism or Islamism. You are powerless in this regard and you may only experience a momentary syok sendiri feeling. It is not going to put food on their table nor is it going to ensure that their children will have a good future.
The real power is to have a “look at the substance of the matter” mindset and hopefully, changes will happen bottom-up.
* Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement which encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mengapa Kita menyusahkan Hidup Kita Sendiri?

(Atrikel ini tidak ditujukan kepada semua orang, hanya pada mereka yang berkaitan sahaja.Dalam dunia ini, ada yang baik dan ada yang jahat).

Banyak perkara dalam fikiran dan hati saya yang ingin saya berkongsi dengan mereka yang mahu mendengarnya terutama berkaitan dengan keperitan dan cabaran pengalaman yang di istilahkan sebagai "kehidupan". Mengapa terlalu banyak masalah, kepedihan, penderitaan, kemiskinan dan kekecawaan dalam kehidupan?

Memang kita tahu bahawa kehidupan itu mempunyai cabaran tersendiri, liku-liku yang terpaksa di lalui dan tindakan-tindakan yang perlu di lakukan supaya kehidupan kita tidak menjadi sia-sia dan kita boleh hidup dengan sejahtera dan bermaruah. Ini adalah cabaran-cabaran semula jadi perjalanan kehidupan. Tidak ada sesiapa pun boleh merungut berkaitan dengan perkara semula jadi ini. Kehidupan ini tertakluk kepada Sunnah Allah atau natural laws, samada kita mahu akuinya ataupun tidak. Bukan perkara-perkara ini yang sering merunsingkan saya.

Sepanjang kehidupan saya sehingga kini, saya kenal ramai manusia mulia yang mengorbankan masa, tenaga dan harta mereka yang sedikit bagi meringkan keperitan kehidupan orang lain. Mereka lakukan semua ini kerana mereka tidak mahu makhluk lain yang juga manusia seperti mereka tidak merasai rahmah Allah. Saya hormati dan mendoakan bagi orang-orang seperti ini. Kebanyakkan daripada rakyat marhain merupakan manusia seperti ini.

Perkara yang saya tidak faham ialah sikap setengah mereka yang mempunyai kuasa, yang mempunyai pembelajaran, jawatan, pangkat, gelaran, kedudukan, keupayaan wang ringgit, kesihatan dan banyak lagi rahmah Allah tetapi bersikap menimbulkan masalah bagi mereka yang bergantung kepada mereka atau mengharapkan mereka.

Kesombongan, Keangkuhan, Ketamakan.

Saya kurang faham mengapa ada mereka yang berjawatan mudah menjadi sombong dan angkuh sehingga keangkuhan mereka menahan mereka untuk menjalankan amanah dengan sepatutnya.Saya sudah bersua dengan beberapa pegawai2 kerajaan (bukan semua), pengarah2, ketua2 pengarah macam2 jabatan yang berwatakkan sebagai "orang berkuasa" daripada berwatakkan sebagai "orang yang dipinjamkan kuasa untuk membantu manusia". INi pun bukanlah mereka di minta untuk bekerja dengan percuma tetapi di bayar gaji.

Mengapa boleh orang sombong dengan pangkat dan kuasa? Dari kecil sampai saya dewasa kini, saya masih tidak faham. Saya sebenarnya rasa kelakar bila ada orang yang berpengaruh merasakan dirinya sangat penting kerana dalam minda saya, saya sudah pun nampak keadaan beliau selepas bersara dan jika beliau panjang umur menjadi lebih tua. Bukan kah lebih elok di gunakan kuasa untuk membantu yang marhain dan berusaha meringankan masalah dan beban mereka?

Maka, saya lihat kesombongan dan keangkuhan atau "syok sendiri" dengan jawatan dan panggilan pangkat oleh orang lain lah yang membuat kita lalai dalam amanah sehingga kita menyusahkan kehidupan orang lain.

Saya sudah semakin meluat dengan mereka yang hanya fikirkan tentang diri mereka, kerjaya mereka dan keluarga mereka semasa berjawatan dan berkuasa dan lepas bersara kononnya baru lah nak berkhidmat pada masyarakat atau beribadah dalam masjid - takut mati konon walhal hari yang kita lahir itu adalah pengesahan bahawa kematian itu satu kepastian!

Yang masuk keranda bukan lah orang tua atau muda tetapi mayat. Jadi tidak kah perbuatan sia2 tamak pada kehidupan yang pasti akan tinggalkan kita?

Ramai Terpelajar, sedikit yang terdidik

Ini satu lagi sumpahan yang melanda beberapa orang yang terpelajar sehingga dia menyusahkan kehidupan rakyat kebanyakkan dengan pelajaran tinggi nya. Tidak kira samada orang itu terpelajar dalam bidang agama ataupun bidang bukan agama. jenis manusia ini sama sahaja - mereka lebih mahu di iktiraf sebagai "pandai" walaupun kerja2 yang di usahakan oleh tangan2 mereka itu menyusahkan kehidupan rakyat kebanyakkan. Ini lah antara sebab2 nya saya kadang2 malas nak sertai seminar2 kerana saya rasa saya tidak boleh berlagak pandai seperti mana yang mereka harapkan.

Terdapat lah hakim2, peguam2, sarjana2 agama, engineer, doktor dan lain2 yang terpelajar lebih menyusahkan manusia daripada membantu. Mereka samada tidak sedar atau tidak peduli bahawa tindakan mereka boleh bawa kesan buruk kepada kehidupan orang lain. Mungkin ini berlaku kerana seperti kuda yang pakai "blinkers", mereka membenarkan diri terperangkap dengan keasyikkan kedudukan dan "pembelajaran" mereka bagi menjamah nafsu kepentingan peribadi semata2.

Terlalu banyak seminar2, mesyuarat2 jawatankuasa dan lain2 forum seperti ini yang tidak memberi kesan langsung dalam meringankan keperitan harian yang di alami oleh rakyat kebanyakkan. Yang "pandai2"ini syok melontarkan "idea" yang mampu mengerunkan ramai yang mudah terpedaya tetapi sebenarnya direka khas untuk menonjolkan kumpulan mereka sebagai eksklusif "pandai" dalam masyarakat. Melalui cara2 ini, mereka mencipta peranan dan status bagi diri mereka dalam masyarakat - berkepentingan diri sendiri.

Malangnya, yang daif tetap daif. Sumber2 Allah masih di nikmati oleh golongan eksklusif tetapi rakyat kebanyakan masih serba kekurangan.

Begitu ramai yang terpelajar tetapi kita lihat keadaan rakyat kebanyakkan begitu daif juga. Di merata2 dunia, bukan di negara kita sahaja. Dan dalam banyak hal, saya dapati orang2 terpelajar lah menimbulkan pelbagai masalah dan reka pelbagai perkara yang menyusahkan rakyat kebanyakkan. Fikirlah sendiri apa kah perkara2 ini.

Banyak perkara yang masih saya tidak faham dalam kehdiupan ini
Ini sahaja lah luahan hati saya buat masa ini. Memang sesak nafas saya memikirkan gelagat manusia2 seperti yang saya gambarkan disini.