Friday, May 18, 2007

This article written by Japanese, must keep because it is relevent if only the malays would understand

18/05: Liberating Islam
Category: General
Posted by: Raja Petra
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ~ Steven Weinberg ~
It has been very depressing lately. Malaysia has witnessed the hideous nature of a ‘force’ that has swept the country and left its people with a string of disheartening events of religious disputes -- corpse snatching, baby grabbing, breaking up family etc.In a true sense, this force was a manifestation of ‘power’ that had been carried out by the religious authority for the purpose of maintaining and safeguarding the sacredness of the religion and the power of the religious institution. Ironically, it seems that the religious authorities are oblivious to their socially-destructive deeds and far from realizing the damage they might have brought upon the fragile social fabric of multi cultural/religious society. Reason being, they failed to notice that such imperceptive act of gross injustice ensue social repercussions. It would draw the perception of backward religiosity to the believers of Islam in general. Thus would give rise to negative religious sentiments directing towards the religion itself and consequently create animosity among the people in the community. In reality, they (religious authority) have stained Islam with morbid image of vile ruthlessness that doesn’t befit the culturally and religiously heterogenic plural society of the modern days. They have fashioned Islam into an institution that is armed with repressive ideological stupor. They have utilised their power and exploited the religion into an oppressive tool victimising the defenseless poor and the innocents. As repulsive as it is, they have actually hijacked the religion by disseminating corrupt doctrines embedded with extreme ideology of religious intolerance. Evidently, they are themselves the ‘hijackers’.Islam is under siegeIt has been echoed in the Muslim world that Islam has been under siege; that there have always been foreign forces/powers that are constantly trying to weaken and destroy Islam. There are many Muslim thinkers championing the cause of Islam who follow this familiar theme. There are also some who would go to the degree of relating contemporary reality of the West as ‘morally decadent’ with ‘un-Godly’ secular values (that have crept into the Muslims’ societies) as the cause for all the ills and miseries plaguing the Muslim world. All these above are mostly the usual themes many Muslim thinkers would go by in their analysis. As a matter of fact, this is a clear sign of mental-siege syndrome; an indication that they are in the state of denial and refusal to be objective/rational in finding way out from the problems inflicting the Muslims. They have opted for the easy way out - the convenient blame it on others. Muslim thinkers (especially) have to step out of the box and disregard this obsolete paradigm of thoughts and initiate shifts by looking inwards and be critical on every doctrines/ideas that have been dumped into the package brand of ‘Islam’. They have to identify and disregard doctrines that are detrimental to human progress, doctrines that sow the seeds of fanaticism, and doctrines that are harmful to social foundation of multi cultural/religious society and inter-faith relation. This has to be done with the objective of finding solutions to overcome the drawbacks and limitations that are detrimental to the community’s full potential for progress collectively.However, the question remains; is Islam under siege? Focusing on Malaysia’s Islam, one can find that such has been happening here. Malaysia has witnessed the radicalisation of Islam through enforcement of strict religious codes that infringed the private domain of individuals. Islam is considered being under siege whereby the community which comprises of believers and non-believers are subjected to an oppressive religious law. There has been one too many cases of gross injustice that had been directly inflicted upon the born-Muslims and the non-Muslims indirectly. That said, the radicalization of the religion has held ‘Islam’ under siege, in which Islam is being hijacked by shallow, oppressive and extreme religious ideals that impede the collective potential of human progress. They have numbed down freedom of thought, insensitive towards private spiritual welfare and provoke the harmonious interfaith relation. This in turn would set a ground for social foundation that is susceptible to the virus of fanaticism. To sum it up, Islam is indeed under siege; surprisingly not by foreign forces but from the forces within. Islam has been under siege by the ‘hijackers’. There is a need for Muslims to liberate Islam from this stranglehold of the hijackers. They seem to be working religiously in dragging Islam to the slippery slope of worthlessness. If Islam were to maintain its claim of truth and relevancy in multi cultural/religious society of today and the future, a more progressive/liberal approach is needed to position Islam as a dynamic belief system. This is due to the fact that human socio-culture is never static; it constantly evolves and changes through time. Strict, outdated, rigid and shallow ideas must give way for a more functional and liberal understanding/interpretation that can absorb and respond to the latest challenge of the continuously changing human socio-culture. Adapting to a more pluralistic and inclusive premise of thought would be vital in raising the sensitivity towards enriching human effort in their spiritual quest.Muslims have the option to reject change and continue living in the past; or liberate Islam and bring it well into the future. The choice is in their hand. 2007


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