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Sekadar untuk renungan bersama.

Apabila kita hendak terjemahankan istilah “car” dalam bahasa Inggeris kepada bahasa Melayu maka kita sebut “kereta”. Dan kalau kita di Indonesia ianya diterjemahkan kepada “mobil”.

Kita tidak boleh, hanya kerana jenama buatan Malaysia ialah Proton, terjemahkan “car” dengan “Proton”. Tidak semestinya semua jenama kereta adalah Proton.

Begitulah kiasannya bagi mereka yang jujur untuk berfikir … terutama dalam polemik isu kalimah Allah. Apakah “man” itu diterjemahkan sebagai “Isa” atau kita sepatutnya sebut “lelaki”?

Persembahan lagu Khalifah of Allah oleh Aiman Amani, Aeshah Adlina, Anisah Afifah and Ahmad Ali semasa Minggu Duat 2009 sempena Karnival Maal Hijrah 1431 di perkarangan Masjid Negeri di Shah Alam.

You’d think after watching BBC Three’s Make me a Muslim documentary, being a female convert to Islam is so riddled with fault lines. Not really. My recent interviews with Muslim converts offered a rare glimpse into the lives of three women who would flatly reject such comparisons. And they’re all buzzing with spiritual ecstasy, retelling what caused them to halal-ify their wardrobes and Islamise dress codes.

“Being Muslim keeps me from wanting to impress others and gives me more personal confidence,” says Chantelle, a 19-year-old convert from Hackney. Today, she goes by the name Khadija, as a sign of respect for Muhammad’s first wife and insists there’s more to British women trading bare midriffs for abayas than what meets the eye. “I wear the hijab because I want to. Because it’s between me and Allah. It’s not a fashion statement. Yes, I don’t go to clubs and don’t sleep around. It gives me a comfort which I know so many of my friends would love to have.”

One of those friends is Monique, who recalls how Chantelle’s embracing Islam inspired a raw honesty and emotion in her, helping her sense power and security in a head-to-toe cover-up: “I can’t really say for certain that I became Muslim because I read the Qur’an. But in a weird way, I felt Chantelle had more freedom than I did by covering herself, instead of letting it all out like me. I thought to myself ‘this was worth trying’. I can’t say I don’t miss our clubs and parties but I’d rather live like this. We still do what other girls do but it’s more toned down if you catch my drift. I haven’t looked back since”.

Both girls were gearing up for a lifetime of prostration, meditation and single-sex socialising and offered gleaning insights into how their lives had taken a better turn from the moment they embraced Islam. As we entered deep into our discussions, they also took a moment to discuss the challenges which lay in their wake.

We talked about everything from relationships, sex and family, and it was clear the prospect of love and marriage lingered heavily over their heads. Chantelle spoke candidly about some common anxieties with converts: “It’s not just what friends and family are going to say. ‘Oh my God, why are you dressing like that etc.’ I don’t care about being unpopular. But I do wonder whether I can have a boyfriend or what my chances of marrying a native Muslim will be. I guess I’ll have to stick to another convert”.

Similar emotions skittered across Monique’s face when I asked her the same question. Despite being saddled with the weight of conversion, theirs was a genuine humility and grace with which both accepted their “good fortunes” of becoming Muslim and as Chantelle put it, “Women who can at last be themselves and please themselves and not men”. Neither of them was borne of any resignation and were at pains to convince others that their new identities hadn’t sapped their career ambitions or aspirations in the slightest.

Contrary to the sneering stereotypes of some sections of the press, British women converting to Islam do not enter the realm of the socially immobile and culturally policed. Like those I interviewed, they’ve found a new lease of life as tee-totalling Brits, dragging women from under the voyeuristic yoke. If Chantelle and Monique are anything to go by, then sex doesn’t have to sell for women to compete on the same terms.

Then there was 32-year-old mother of two, Jessica. Defiant, unrelenting and unapologetic, she sat before me, niqaab-clad- a far cry from her early adolescent years which were “adrenaline soaked” and “godless”. “I’m just so thankful to Allah that I’ve left everything behind. The hangovers, the guilt, the promiscuous sex. Basically, I feel completely transformed and hate to be reminded of my past because that was me then, and this is me now”.

She claimed becoming Muslim was a “welcome distraction” from her previous, unspiritual lifestyle and was relieved to be confronted by a siege of female converts after she took her shahada (testimony of faith). There was a lot of frenzy surrounding her conversion, not least from her family: “My mum dismissed it as a case of teenage rebellion,” says Jessica, who spends much of her spare time buying and selling the intricate embroideries and jewel works of hijabs and jilbabs.

As I probed a little deeper, I realised the reason why she, like some other converts I’ve met in the past, came across as a lapsed Briton, cut off from their indigenous culture: “No one from our politicians to our newspapers are doing anything to fight the prejudice against women. Our culture has become so sex obsessed, its making parenting tougher than I thought”.

We spoke in length about the misogynistic gaffes served up by the media, and the recent description by The Daily Mail of an eight-year-old as a ‘leggy beauty’ unwittingly added fuel to her fire. “You see that’s exactly my point. My decision to become Muslim was a safety net from all this filth. My children are not going to grow up without realising that although we’ve got a lot of things right in Britain we’ve also messed a lot of things up, especially when it comes to respecting our girls”.

For Jessica, grubby tabloids and the casual sexualisation of British society helped explain the irresistible appeal of puritanism for some British females. Accepting Islam was a way of her silently reproaching the cultural failure to improve the lot of women: “Why do you think so many women are becoming Muslim in this country? Because the ‘wonderful’ freedoms in the west have only enslaved us.”

As interesting as it was hearing these converts share memories from the past and express delight at their leap of faith, I was looking more forward to interviewing native Muslims who had grown up in British Muslim families, to find out what they thought about their convert sisters in faith.

Like me and Shanna Bukhari, the documentary’s presenter, Fatima felt converts to Islam claimed an ambiguous spiritual advantage: “Seeing them offer voluntary prayers and study the Qur’an led me to a lot of soul searching and reflection. They’re much better at being Muslim than I could ever have imagined” she says.

For practising Muslim Lutfa, the no-nonsense hard-line exteriors of some converts bring a certain noise and colour to the religion which she feels can only be good for the faith. “If you look at Islam from a historical point of view, then you will see that we really owe a lot of our genius to the energy of converts”. I couldn’t agree any more. Among my Muslim friends, we’re often left feeling that converts have seized the initiative and run with it and to keep apace, we’ve got to step our God-game up so to speak. Lutfa also agrees that women converts offer Muslims a refreshing change of pace “Convert sisters are definitely setting a standard for others to follow”.

Whatever we may think of these converts, their decision to become Muslim may be a powerful indictment of some women’s lives in the west. That’s the impression they all left me, especially Jessica who would repeatedly ask whether feminism had delivered on its promise. So amidst all the everyday sexism and cultural creepiness hounding British women, is Islam somehow squaring their circle?  Are burkas, niqaabs and hijaabs breathing soul in the lives of girls which desperately lack a higher calling, helping them reclaiming the watchwords of feminism? Does the conversion to Islam among British women bode healthily for Britain’s future? For Chantelle, Monique and Jessica, the answer to these questions is a resolute yes.


A brief response to MCCBCHST’s Statement

It is with regret that we must respond to the statement issued by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) on 5th February 2013. A number of misleading points were made in the statement and this has caused gross misinterpretation of several pertinent aspects on the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation in this country.

On the special position of Islam in the Federal Constitution

As admitted by MCCBCHST, the fact is that Islam is the religion of the Federation in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution. This is not disputed by anyone. It must be stated further that although Article 3 (1) says other religions may practice their religions in peace and harmony, due to Islam’s special position, they can only do so without interfering with the peace and harmony of the practice of Islam.

In simple words, disrespect for Islam’s special position can be construed a bane to other religions, which according to the Federal Constituion, “may be practiced in peace and harmony”. Certainly an encroachment and misuse of Muslim beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines in non–Muslims religious context and even though among non-Muslims themselves is sacrilegious and blasphemous to Muslims in Malaysia. Indeed the intention of the framers of the Federal Constitution not wanting such discontentment, discord and uneasiness from the amongst the Malaysian Muslims to arise framed the whole of Article 11 and in particular Article 11(4).

Article 11 (1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

Take note that freedom to practice religion is subject to Clause (4), reading it gives the notion that there is no absolute freedom. In wanting other religions to practice in peace and harmony other than the special of Islam in Article 3, other religions must understand in tandem that States can restrict and control other religion from encroaching and misusing Muslim beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines in non–Muslims religious context and even though among non-Muslims themselves. Non-Muslims can propagate their religious doctrines to other non- Muslims but not Muslims. The Constitution does not accord such protection to non Muslims.

On Article 11 (4)

It must be made clear that Article 11 which provides for freedom of religion must be read subject to clause (4), where these supreme laws of ours allow for the “controlling or restricting the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.” In other words Federal Constitution guarantees and affirms the rights of Muslims, that non-Muslims cannot be practicing Muslims beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines in what to be perceived as non-Muslims using and practicing Muslim beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines in non–Muslims religious context. Indeed the need to control and restrict such notion against non-Muslims is to prevent confusion which may cause discontentment, discord and uneasiness of Muslims that the non-Muslims practices had encroached into or run contrary to Muslims beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines.

While the Constitution recognizes every individual’s right to freedom of religion, including the right to propagate the religion, but the Federal Constitution allows for the promulgation of laws to control and restrict non-Muslims from encroaching the rights of Muslim as enshrined in the Federal constitution. The perception that non-Muslims can use and propagate Muslims beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines among non-Muslims in their religious practices and doctrine is in actual fact a misuse and misnomer. Certainly what does not come under the purview of freedom of other religion is to misuse Muslims beliefs, percepts and religious doctrines in their religious context. It must be noted that the freedom however is not an absolute one.

In respect of the right to propagate the religion, the Constitution provides the State Legislature the power to legislate law to control, or even to restrict the right to propagation of any religious doctrines or beliefs among Muslims.

It is important to note that laws controlling propagation are meant not only to maintain public order, but more importantly to prevent Muslims from being exposed to heretical religious doctrines, be they of Islamic or non-Islamic origin and irrespective of whether those propagating the doctrines are Muslims or non-Muslims.

MCCBCHST’s claim that the right to freedom of religion as provided for under Article 11(1) connotes an absolute right to propagate the non-Islamic religion is therefore inaccurate in light of the Federal Constitution.

At paragraph 5 of its statement, MCCBCHST has stated that “there are no laws whether Federal or State that enables Muslims body or organization to impose “fatwa” or rulings on non-Muslims. While that may not be a false statement, failure to explain the roles and effects of a “fatwa” will leave a distorted view of its functions in the Malaysian context.

What a “fatwa” exactly does is to affirm that the word “Allah” is indeed within the realm of the Islamic beliefs and precepts. Since a “fatwa” is the highest authority for Muslims, Muslims take it as blasphemous for non Muslims to use it in their practices and religious context.

On the statement of the Selangor Islamic Council

The stand made by Muslim non govermental organizations has been clear in many preceding media statements and public declarations. But since MCCBCHST has chosen to provide a misleading picture of MAIS’ statement on issues related to the name of “Allah’, we shall again clarify this matter.

We submit that MAIS’ statement had been made in accordance with His majesty’s the Sultan of Selangor’s decree on the prohibition of the word of Allah. His Majesty had in fact acted in accordance with his powers and in accordance with the provisions of the Non-Islamic Religious Enactment (Control of Propagation amongst Muslims) 1988, which had been in force since gazetted on July 7, 1988.

This is further strengthened by Section 9 of the Non-Islamic Religious Enactment (Control of Propagation amongst Muslims) 1988 which was promulgated in accordance with Article 11 (4) of the Federal Constitution, expressly inter-alia forbids the use of the term “Allah” by non-Muslims in any matter pertaining to their religion. Charges and penalties in Civil Courts can be meted out for those who violate these provisions.

In addition, the ruling on the prohibition of the use of the term Allah had been enacted in the State of Selangor on February 18, 2010.

On Che Omar bin Che Soh v PP

It is not surprising that MCCBCHST has chosen to provide selective quotation in this respect. The case of Che Omar bin Che Soh, if understood correctly, does not say that Malaysia is a secular nation.

It only said that at the time of the judgment, the laws of the nation were secular laws.

Notwithstanding, the position of Islam had been clarified further by the Federal Court in the case of Lina Joy, where Tun Ahmad Fairuz bin Sheikh Abdul Halim, the then Chief Justice had said that “Islam is not only a collection of dogma and rituals but it is also a complete way of life comprising of all kinds of human, individual or public, legal, political, economic, social, cultural or judicial activities.” And when reading Articles 11(1), 74(2) and item 1 in second list of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution it was obvious that Islam among others included of (sic) Islamic law.”

For MCCBCHST to keep harping on this matter and misleading the public on the effects of Che Omar by saying it implies that Malaysia is a secular nation is indeed a manifestation of their ill-intentions towards the religion of Islam. It is a blatant disregard of Islam’s true position within the Federal Constitution. We urge MCCBCHST to discontinue from further misusing Che Omar as a point of reference when discussing about the status of Malaysia as defined by the special position of Islam in the Federal Constitution.

by Haji Abdul Rahim Sinwan & Azril Mohd Amin, Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia
repost from: Azril Mohd Amin

oleh: Prof. Madya Dr. Shamrahayu A Aziz

Pada minggu lalu saya menyebut mengenai tanggungjawab setiap warga negara untuk menghormati undang-undang yang sah dan sedang berkuat kuasa. Tanggungjawab itu adalah inti pati kepada prinsip kedaulatan undang-undang yang juga sebahagian daripada falsafah negara. Prinsip ini juga dimaktubkan sebagai Rukun Negara.

Kita tahu mengenai sejarah pengenalan Rukun Negara. Kita juga sedar bahawa Rukun Negara adalah inspirasi kepada kesinambungan dan kelangsungan negara. Isi kandungannya bersumberkan Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Dalam kata ringkas, sebagai warga negara yang bertanggungjawab, Rukun Negara itu hendaklah dihormati dan menjadi amalan dalam apa juga situasi.

Tanggungjawab semua warga negara

Undang-undang yang ada di negara ini, sama ada yang terpakai kepada semua warga negara atau yang hanya terpakai kepada sebahagiannya saja seperti undang-undang Islam, hendaklah dihormati oleh setiap warga negara. Pada minggu lalu, saya juga merujuk kepada tanggungjawab setiap warga negara menghormati undang-undang Syariah yang melarang penggunaan kalimah Allah. Undang-undang ini begitu jelas dan ia bukanlah fatwa yang dikeluarkan oleh mufti.

Maka, sekiranya ia adalah undang-undang yang sah, maka setiap diri yang mencintai tanah air ini hendaklah menghormatinya. Hujah bahawa undang-undang syariah tidak terpakai ke atas orang bukan Islam maka undang-undang itu tidak perlu dipatuhi oleh orang-orang bukan Islam tidak layak untuk diterima.

Sekiranya hujah ini diterima, ia akan mendatangkan bahaya bukan kepada sistem perundangan tetapi juga kepada kesinambungan sistem masyarakat kita. Sistem yang kita amalkan di negara ini sarat dengan sifat toleransi, saling menghormati serta pengorbanan.

Dalam konteks ini, adalah menjadi tanggungjawab moral untuk menghormati undang-undang. Walaupun tiada persoalan perundangan tanggungjawab itu perlu dituntut demi kelangsungan sistem perundangan dan sistem kemasyarakatan di negara tercinta ini. Kita harus sedar bahawa baik sistem perundangan atau sistem kemasyarakatan yang kita cipta sejak dulu sudah berupaya memberikan kita kemakmuran yang boleh dibanggakan.
Kemakmuran yang kita kecapi itu adalah hasil pengorbanan besar banyak pihak. Jika ditanya kepada orang Islam sendiri, pelbagai pengorbanan yang sudah mereka lakukan demi kemakmuran negara ini.

Bukan Islam patut faham

Umpamanya, undang-undang yang membabitkan hukuman Islam dalam pelbagai kesalahan jenayah adalah antara pengorbanan umat Islam di negara ini. Ini bukan berkaitan hudud semata-mata, tetapi ia juga membabitkan hukuman qisas dan takzir.

Pada pendapat saya, inilah sebesar-besar pengorbanan umat Islam di negara ini yang perlu difahami dan dihargai. Perlulah dinyatakan dengan jelas di sini bahawa dalam ajaran Islam kegagalan mengamalkan perkara sebegini memberi implikasi besar ke atas hubungan seorang Islam dan agamanya. Ia membabitkan soal keimanan dan kepercayaan orang Islam kepadanya. Ia membabitkan soal aqidah, iaitu perkara yang begitu penting bagi orang Islam.

Saya fikir, dalam kemelut beberapa perkara ketika ini, termasuklah pelbagai hal berkaitan hak asasi, sebahagian masyarakat bukan Islam, terutama golongan yang sering mempersoalkan kedudukan agama Islam serta undang-undangnya harus menyedari mengenai perkara ini.

Berbalik kepada konsep kedaulatan undang-undang dan tanggungjawab moral yang disebut di atas, adalah juga penting supaya tiada pihak mengambil peluang atas kelemahan orang lain. Maksud saya di sini, sekiranya sesuatu perkara itu jelas diperundangkan dan menjadi sebahagian daripada perundangan negara, maka kelemahan pihak lain tidak boleh dijadikan peluang untuk melanggar undang-undang berkenaan.

Kembang ajaran bukan Islam satu perbuatan jenayah

Perbuatan mengembangkan ajaran bukan Islam kepada kalangan orang Islam adalah satu perbuatan jenayah. Saya tidak bermaksud menyatakan soal keimanan orang Islam itu tidak penting, tetapi apa yang saya maksudkan ialah, kelemahan orang Islam itu tidak harus diambil kesempatan oleh pihak lain. Ini juga satu prinsip kebebasan beragama yang disebut dalam instrumen antarabangsa.

Prinsip kedaulatan itu begitu penting untuk difahami dengan lebih baik dan sedikit berbeza dalam negara kita yang mengamalkan dua sistem perundangan itu. Ini bagi membolehkan sistem kita mampu mencapai hasrat sebenar negara ini.

Penulis Profesor Madya di Kulliyah Undang-Undang Ahmad Ibrahim UIAM

sumber: Berita Harian


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