Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rapera Yam Char – good to be forever reminded!

It had been an extremely busy two weeks for me but I am so glad we all made time to have dinner and teh tarik last night.  I am referring to the seven of us who met up last night because of our common interest in the Rapera concept. Two of them actually drove up from Pahang, one from Perak, one from Kelantan and the rest of us from Kuala Lumpur.  It was also nicely mixed in terms of age ranging from 20s to 50s so we were able to get different age perspectives on the same issues that we discussed.

For me it was heartening to note that the message of “People Power” is slowly shaping into “People responsibility”. We all agreed that we deserve the leaders that we get either because we voted them in irresponsibly or we were indifferent enough not to vote. In any case, even if most of the population may be indifferent to what is happening in the country, the Raperas must be vigilant and be forever contributive to the extent possible.

We reminded each other that any change can only occur if you are willing to honestly and courageously revisit and rethink current modes of thinking, norms, culture, etc. It seems that technology has advanced drastically into the 21st century but human beings are still stuck in the dark age’s attitude –tribal, parochial, superstitious, feudal, etc. 

There still seems to be a major reluctance to evolve into human beings.

Various systems, structure and superstructures are set up by the powerful (political and religious) to ensure that the majority of the citizenry remain primitive in thinking though living in up- to-date physical surroundings. Many of these systems and structures have existed for years to sustain the powerful and the elites and the ordinary citizen has become so used to it.

Being oppressed and being undignified as a human being appears to have become as common as breathing. They have become blind or numbed to the extent that they ignorantly say thanks to the oppressors. Like the cattle that is well-fed and kept at the master’s feet completely unmindful of the slaughter house that awaits it. Even when the cow is led to the slaughter house, the other cows just look the other way thinking that they will be the exception to the fate.

It is Raperas that must continue to educate themselves and others who are willing to listen that we all have the right and responsibility to live as human beings on this earth.

Thanks guys and girl for the “Rapera catching up” last night. We should do that more often.

Peace !

Friday, March 26, 2010

Is it true that there is no evidence in the Quran that the Quran is from God?

Syed Akbar Ali in the comments section of his article “India Mari Pula” on his blog replies to one Khairudin in the following manner:

“To answer u straight from the Quran, no there is no evidence in the Quran that the Book is from God. The question u r asking is hinted at and the answer (only) is already given. Here it is from Surah 41:52”

Akbar Ali says that there is NO evidence IN the QURAN that that Book is from God. Then he goes on to quote FROM the Quran the verse 41:52 and alludes that the Quran only HINTS that it is from God.

I had posted on his comment section that there are evidences in the Quran that the Quran is from God and that he should correct his error. This comment of mine was not published (censored) by him. I just called him requesting him on the phone to correct his error (inadvertent, I am sure) and he replied that he did not like my describing it as an error. He is a dear friend of mine and I have known him for more than 10 years. We actually came to know each other because of our respective interest in the Quran.

Friends though we may be, an error of such nature need to be corrected in the spirit of mutual learning and mutual reminders. Hence this article. I am mindful of what Allah says in the Quran:

 “And remember God took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made! (Quran: 3.187)

I will be guilty of hiding the verses from the Quran if I refrain from writing this article in the name of friendship.

Any student of usul-al-fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) will know that generally there are two kinds of dalil (proofs/evidence) internal or textual evidence and external evidence. This means that there are evidence in the Quran (internal) and evidence extrinsic to it (external).  For example, when someone asks you the question, is there any evidence from the Quran that the Quran is from God?  Our answer is, yes and we can refer him to any one of the following internal or textual evidence from the Quran:

“It is He Who sent down to you (gradually), in truth, the Book, confirmingwhat went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus)before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)”.(Quran: 3.3)

“And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that you may warn the motherof cities and all around her. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in this (Book),and they are constant in guarding their prayers”. (Quran: 6:92)

“Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than God? - when He it is Who has sent to you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We havegiven the Book, that it has been sent down from your Lord in truth. Never be then ofthose who doubt”. (Quran: 6:114)

“And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy” (Quran: 6:155)

There are many more such textual evidence (dalil) IN the Quran that says that the Quran is from God.

Whether a person believes in them or not is a separate matter (which can be addressed) but this is nevertheless evidence from the Quran about itself. Like every other evidence, it can be tested, challenged or cross examined by the doubter or cynic.  To me, this possibility of cynicism is addressed by God in the following verse:

Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy”. (Quran: 4:82)

There you go. That is another evidence from the Quran requiring the skeptic to examine the Quran.  It simply challenges the reader to find contradictions in the Quran.  I also understand this verse to mean this: that whatever the Quran says about nature or the world should not contradict the scientific reality. For example, if the Quran says that there is no such thing as gravity or that human beings do not need to eat in order to live – if so, then there are discrepancies.  In fact, in my evaluation and assessment of the Quran more than 25 years ago, I even sought to find out, inter alia,  if there are any inconsistencies as to what the Quran says about the psyche and what expert findings confirm. I was very interested in human psychology then. To do these things, you have to look at the external evidence or the signs of God. It is a gross error to confuse the internal evidence (or worse, denying its existence) with the external evidence.

Further, the Quran itself requires the person to inquire, analyse, verify and understand the facts before accepting them.  This is lucidly clear from the following verse:

“And follow not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)”. (Quran: 17:36)
Once again, you examine the signs of God (external evidence) and what the Quran says and try to arrive at a conclusion as objectively as possible. In this regard, Syed Akbar Ali correctly quoted a verse from the Quran that asks us to look at the external evidence or the signs of God.

"We will show them our proofs in the horizons, and within themselves, until they realize that this is the truth.* Is your Lord not sufficient as a witness of all things?"  (Quran: 41:53).

In conclusion, it is my understanding (and I believe the understanding of learned jurists) that there is evidence IN the Quran that the Book is from God.

If I have erred in my understanding or reasoning, please point it out. I have absolutely no problems in accepting an error that I may have made. More important than me or Syed Akbar Ali is the true verses of Allah.

(Syed Akbar Ali, I hope this will bring our friendship closer to the love of Allah).


Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Politicians in Power who Have Sacrificed For the People

I think it is just bad taste to keep on criticizing those politicians in power. Serving the People's interest is not easy. The leaders have to sacrifice a lot in terms of their time, money and family. In fact if not for the People's contribution, it would have been impossible for these political powerful leaders to even support their family because they do not have the time to earn a living like you and me.

At least we have our family members and relatives who are clerks, officers in civil service, even some lawyers and doctors...but they....none whatsoever. It is so difficult even for their capable relatives to become successful businessmen due to the fear that People may misunderstand that all their relatives made it because they were in power.

This is the reason why most of their immediate families and close relatives are just middle income like you and me. Anyway to prove my case that our politicians in power are a self-sacrificing lot, I will list below just 25 names as starters:

Peace !

Thursday, March 18, 2010












The rest are simply consequential and incidental.


They are not going to pay your house rent or your mortgages… have to do it yourself.

But what THEY do, may affect your ability to do so.



Lost Generation or Saviour Generation?

Monday, March 8, 2010

FAREWELL PAK LAH – MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PEACE. (21.11.1929 to 6.3.2010)

Professor Abdullah Darus.

That is how I have always thought of you, my friend and my professor. I know that you never considered yourself as anyone’s teacher and always cautioned me to think for my self.

I knew the inevitable moment will come and it did in the form of your daughter’s sms on 6.3.2010 saying that “Pak Lah meninggal jam 11.05pm”. The only thought that came to my mind at that moment was the fact that I could not bear to see you in the weak state that you were in when I last met you. I am just too used to listening to what you have to say. I always have to listen to every single word that you utter because it was too important for me. I am not used to seeing you silent.

I will always remember you as the true professor who professes faith based on reason and knowledge. Your life long dedication to the study and discussion of Quran has touched many people’s lives. You were the first to convincingly demonstrate to me the practical and applicative nature of the Quran in every sphere and aspect of life.

You have always maintained that a truly God-fearing person is a thinking person and that the Setan will always persuade humans to look upon thinking as a burden or an obstacle to faith.

I have learnt so much from you and much more that I wish I could have learnt from you. Your mastery of logic and thought processes baffles me considering the fact that you never went to university. I have met and discussed with many learned academics and as I have told the late Professor Syed Hussein Al-Attas, you are still number one as a thinker. You are proof that formal education is but a myth and academic qualifications are no guarantee of a person’s ability to think deeply. You are a genius Pak Lah and I could never tell you that personally because you told me that praises can be the devil’s workshop.

You have been very generous with your life, meeting many young people, academics, politicians and just about anybody who wants to share your knowledge and you gave it willingly. You shared great knowledge without charging a single cent while I know of many who pretend to teach and yet charge hefty fees. It did not even bother you that many academics took your ideas and did not even acknowledge you. I know Pak Lah, you have taught me that true knowledge belongs to God and it is never for sale. Everyone who is willing can partake of it.

So many things that I have learnt from you rushes through my mind and I just do not know which to focus on at this moment. You so accurately distinguished between the “collectuals” and the intellectuals. One who collects information and the other who thinks. Though it does not matter to you at all, I cannot help but feel sad that society has never bestowed upon you the honour that you truly deserve when lesser mortals are held up in high esteem. We live in a society that only recognises superficialities, paper qualifications and honorary titles.

I have always admired how you use the Malay language so precisely and I will remember that the choice and proper use of words is very important for clarity of thought. You have often pointed out that much of the confusion in people’s minds emanates from the misuse and careless use of words.

I suppose you were a great thinker because you felt it was a divine duty and gift to think and was not trapped by man-made parameters which many academics and people have trapped themselves into. You had no one to serve except God. This I remember Pak Lah and I have been trying hard to emulate. I also learnt from you never to impose our own views on others even though we are passionate about ours. You were a living example of what “redha” means though you never ceased to be active till your last day.

I have always been humbled by your humility and the one other thinker who humbles me with his humility is the Late Prof Syed Hussein Al-Attas. I love both of you very much though I have never expressed it in in the normal way that normal people do. Now, I no longer have the luxury of “harassing” two great thinkers and friends who will oblige me late into the wee hours of the morning. I feel emptiness and I cannot help it. I just do not know with whom I can talk to anymore. In this very mundane, almost predictable and repetitious life, both of you were my strength and source of joyous “entertainment”. I felt alive.

Now I feel I have no one. You have retired from life and I should feel happy for you…but I still feel choked. I would have felt lost if not for your constant reminder that as long as we are alive, that means that our work on earth is not done.

I am eternally grateful to my dear friend, Ramlan for having introduced you to me. That first meeting with you changed my life dramatically. I was stunned by your brilliance, sincerity in pursuit of knowledge and your remarkable clarity of thought.

As you have pointed out, all people die one day but ideas live on. It is your ideas that make me feel that you are still alive. You have lived a path of righteousness and now you have returned to your Maker.

From Allah we come, to Allah we all must surely return.

I bid your farewell and May God bless you, my friend, my professor.

Peace !

Friday, March 5, 2010

Is “politico-Islamisation” a threat to the Muslim Faith? – Part 4 and Final:

In the last posting, I concluded by stating that it is important to understand the link between the religious laws – politics – Islamic scholars. Each of these factors need in-depth study and analysis in order to fully understand how it impacts on the personal liberty of the Muslim citizen to practice and profess his faith of Islam.

Briefly on the issue of “religious laws” – questions such as why certain laws are passed (in the light of the diverse opinion on these laws in Islamic jurisprudence and opinion of scholars), why the diversity of sentences, is there unanimity of consensus on these laws, how is unanimity defined and the basis thereof, how does it impact on personal accountability principle enshrined in the Quran, are they consistent with the principles in the Quran and authentic Sunnah or are they customized Arabian and Persian laws derived from their respective law makers or jurists, etc, etc. All these questions and more need to be asked.

Briefly on the political aspect – should political parties be allowed to claim for themselves to be the champions of Islam and hence position themselves as the sole interpreter of Islam, should Islam be politicized at all or would a “secular situation” be more feasible for a Muslim to practice his faith without political interference, does the political climate favour a “certain flavour of Islam” as opposed to another, are we not concerned that “political Islam” will, one day create the kind of “intra-religious tensions” that is seen happening in the Middle East, Pakistan and elsewhere, etc etc

Briefly on the “Islamic scholars
” – Should Islamic scholars opinions be regarded as infallible and hence cast in stone, which school of thought does the scholar belong to and does the ordinary citizen have the constitutional right to evaluate which scholar he agrees with, political participation of Islamic scholars and their objectivity, “competition” between Islamic scholars of differing views, “Non-Islamic” scholars are allowed to express their views in any State in their respective field of study, does the Islamic scholar has this same right, etc, etc.

As I had observed earlier, it is indeed a complex web beyond the imagination of the ordinary Muslim citizen who unsuspectingly often accepts matters at face value, especially those that are deemed “official” or “normal”.

The web becomes more complex to the point of being confusing to many because of other factors. In this politico-Islamisation process, there are also other “political” units involved as shown in the diagram below. Each of them impact upon the Muslim citizen’s right to practice and profess his faith. If you study the diagram, you will see clearly that the political framework in Malaysia is designed to exert control over the Muslim citizen in a way that that does not affect the Non-Muslim citizens.

Politico-Islamisation Process in Malaysia
  1.   Politicians & Ngos      2. State Religious Council     3.Federal “Islamic Institutions    4.. State Religious Authorities  5. Religious Scholars 6.????   
Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution provides that ‘Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it”.

Since a Muslim citizen is subjected to the many units discussed above, it would appear that Article 11(1) is not available to the Muslim citizen. This is because the right of the Muslim citizen to practice and profess his faith is subjected to the control of the above units. These units have the force of law and hence, Muslim citizens’ rights to avail themselves of the right provided under Article 11(a) are illusory. His faith is therefore curbed by man-made laws.

It is a also a sad fact that many Judges, nothing less than Federal Court Judges have shyed away from their responsibility to interpret Article 11(1) vis-à-vis the Muslim citizen’s right though they had ample opportunity. This is something they have to answer to their own conscience and to the Maker when they ultimately face Him. When such judges refuse to undertake their responsibility in matters that concerns one’s faith, how difficult it will be for a Muslim to respect such judges (not all of them)? If my reasoning is correct (and I stand to be corrected), they are part of the oppression of faith.

As it stands, realistically Article 11(1) is not applicable to the Muslim citizen while it is applicable to the non-Muslim citizen. This brings about another constitutional discrimination against the Muslim citizen.

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution provides that:

8(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
8(2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

In the light of the political structure of our country in terms of the religious institutions, not all persons are equal before the law. Since, Article 11(1) is available to the non-Muslim citizen and not the Muslim citizen; it would appear that the non-Muslims have more rights than the non-Muslims with regards to how they practice their faith.

Furthermore, it is arguable that the Muslims are being discriminated against in contravention of Article 8(2) because there is nothing in the constitution that allows any authority to curb the freedom of a Muslim to practice and profess his faith.

Article 11 (4) states the following:

“State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam”.

Article11(4), on the face of it applies to every citizen, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. This means that laws can be enacted to curb the Muslim’s duty to “propagate” Islam to others, including his own family. This article may be troublesome, unless properly clarified, because there are just too many injunctions in the Quran that places a divine duty to share Allah’s message with anyone who is willing. One such verse is very clear as follows:

"Call them to the path of your Lord through wisdom and good advice and argue with them in the best manner. God knows well about those who stray from His path and those who seek guidance". (Quran 16:125)

How does a Muslim call others to the path of Allah if his divine right and duty to share the verses from the Quran (and his understanding thereof) can be curbed by law? This is a serious matter which the law-makers must address.

I believe everyone, when they are alone, knows the answer. God “speaks” to all and has given each a conscience – but politics has become god.



[I appreciate alternative views and comments as my concern is sincere]