It is About Sharing

Knowledge is for sharing. Do not keep your knowledge to yourself alone. Let it grows. The more you share, the more you learn and in the end you become a better person.

Surah Yaasin Amazing Recitation



Sunday, April 13, 2008

How Liberal Can a Muslim Be?

Of late, there have been so many discussions on the proposal to charge a non muslim couple for khalwat. I did comment on the issue in my previous posting and I also did comment on the same issue on other blogs as well. However, here, neither I am going to repeat what I have discussed previously nor am I going discuss on the same issue again. Reading comments made by other people in other blogs made me wonder on one issue i.e. how liberal can we be as a Muslim in expressing our opinion?

The topic attracted me to discuss it here, as I have read comments, which in my personal opinion had crossed the border of what we can say or rather what we are supposed to say asa Muslim. All I am saying here is that we can express our thought, our feeling in any way and in any manner that we like so long as we do not compromise the Islamic value or more omportantly the religion itself.

With the new era of globalisation and borderless world, it is hard to stop or filter the information, belief and practice that are coming in and more so the influence that the information, belief and the practice brings with it. As I see it, the western has taken advantage or make full use of the new era to propagate their belief and practice to the whole world in general and to the muslims in particular. There are a lot of things that they have brought in but what I want to discuss here in particular is the freedom of expression and right to privacy because these three issues existed in the comments made by others on the proposal, as I have mentioned earlier.

As a Malaysian as a whole and muslim in particular, we tend to believe that what is introduced or fought by the western is the best. We take what they say as good. With regards to the issue of freedom of expression and right to privacy, I do agree that they are good value and good things to practice but in doing so, a muslim should not compromise the Islamic value. There is one well known muslim blogger and a public figure in Malaysia who is totally against the proposal. Well, I must say that I do not agree to the proposal but the way the particular blogger commented was unfair to Islam. She had failed to look at the issue from Islam point of view. Among of the things that she commented in her blog was why khalwat is an offence when we should respect one’s privacy? To catch a couple for khalwat is an intrusion of one’s privacy. She went on to say that khalwat should not be made an offence regardless of what religion we are. What she meant was even for muslim, khalwat should not be made an offence. I responded to her comment by among others explaining on the issue of khalwat and why khalwat is an offence from Islam point of view and also advised her not to comment on something that she is not capable of. Unfortunately, there were regular visitors to her blog that supported her view and make fun of my comment. I have no issue with that (making fun of my comment) but I felt sad and sympathy to these people for being too liberal and undermine the Islamic value and the teaching of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Islam does recognise freedom of expression and right to privacy but there must be a limit to that so long as the practice does not contradict with the Islamic teaching. There must be a limit to everything. Allah said in the Qur’an that “la taqrabuz zina” which means, “do not get close to zina (adultery)”. The sentence, though very short, it contains a very stern warning from Allah. We all know the effect of adultery. I am not going to discuss it here but what I am more interested with the verse is what does it mean by “do not get close to adultery”? No reasonable human being will commit adultery in an open area in the presence of other people. They do it in a place where they think that no one can see them in action (but they forget that Allah is seeing what they do). So, in khalwat case (in English is translated as close proximity), it is a case of a man and a woman of non muhrim (can marry each other) being together in a secluded place without the presence of any third party. Under normal circumstances, why do you think that the couple needs to be in a place where they think others can’t see them? There are a lot of answers for that but to me the highest in the list is to have sex i.e. commit adultery, which is an offence in Islam. So, when being in khalwat position can lead the couple to adultery, why can’t we make khalwat an offence, when Allah made a stern warning of “do not get close to adultery”?

While it is an offence for being in khalwat position, what is the duty of the people who knows that a couple is committing khalwat? Let it be, as it is their privacy to do whatever they want to do? Definitely “NO”. Only those with liberal thinking and those who do not understand Islam will think that way. If one fails to take action to stop the offence, he is considered as compromising with the situation (subahat), which is against the Islamic spirit. So, the right thing to do is to report to the authority so that appropriate action can be taken against the offenders with the objective of giving them a lesson and simultaneously to stop the offence from going on. I do not think that is intrusion to one’s privacy. Justify to me if I am wrong.
Now, for those people who have liberal thinking and do not agree with what I have discussed above, let us take a look at the civil law that we are practicing right now in Malaysia.

First, we talk about privacy. Privacy can be said to be a situation whereby a person should be allowed to do whatever he wants to do with himself in his own space as long as it does not disturb other people surrounding him. It means that a person can also commit suicide, as it is within his privacy to do so. But in Malaysia, attempt to commit suicide is an offence under the Penal Code. Here we go. It is an offence for someone to take his life when the same is within his privacy and the best part is, anybody who knows that someone is attempting to commit suicide will normally make a report and no one in Malaysia ever, have condemned such action i.e. by making attempting suicide an offence punishable under the Penal Code and those people who making the report. See, a very direct analogy of two different situations of the same nature but people tend to give different treatment. Unfair right?

Now, let us talk about freedom of expression. When someone making fun of Islam and the Qur’an, he is said to be exercising his freedom of expression. But when someone is making racial remarks, he is said to be racist and never ever considered as exercising his freedom of expression. That is why I said earlier that there is a limit in everything. Everything. This includes comments that touch on the issue of the concern of Islam such as khalwat.

I just do not understand why a muslim can’t accept Al-Qur’an and always like to question what is stated therein. In Malaysia context, our highest law is the Federal Constitution, which was drafted by the Reid Commissioner, based on the Commonwealth law (which means it is a man made law and not a divine law). The Federal Constitution provides that any law that is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution is, to the extent of such inconsistency, is null and void. People, and in this context, those muslim with liberal thinking have no issue with this provision but Al-Quran and Hadith of the Prophet pbuh, which should be regarded as the highest source of information in Islam are sometimes being questioned on certain issues by them. Funny right. While they can accept man’s creation with no question and obediently obey it, they like to question what is stated in Al-Qur’an, the creation of human being creator.

In conclusion, Islam allows and encourages us to practice what is good (not what we believe is good) but in doing so, we should not cross the line by compromising the Islamic value. We should also not interpreting Islamic teaching to suit our own needs and desire. In practising the freedom of expression and promoting the right to privacy, we should always adhere to the do’s and don’ts in Islam. The end does not justify the means.


Syamsulfaiz said...

Bro, can you give me the blog address where you commented on the khalwat issue?

Rozaimi said...