By Majidah Hashim
January 3, 2019
I wonder what is preventing us from doing
everything we can to live as good Muslims right now.
It is by the grace and mercy of Allah that
everyone, regardless of their ancestry, found their way to this blessed country
the way they did. The challenge of living together is Allah’s test in which we
are told to race to put our best foot forward, and let Allah be the sole judge
of all our earthly disputes (Quran, 5:48).
Those who call for Malaysia to be declared
an Islamic state need to tell us the definition of Islam this state is to be
built upon, and if this move will isolate our country even further from the
modern Islam embraced by the rest of the world.
As it stands, the rest of the Islamic world
is moving to criminalise all forms of female circumcision, but Malaysia
feverishly defends the practice with a fatwa which still stands today.
The rest of the Islamic world is
campaigning to end child marriage, but Malaysia defends this as even a
“necessity” in certain states.
The rest of the Islamic world has moved to
end racism in their countries, but Malaysia insists that certain racial
superiority over the land must prevail for the sake of social stability.
An Islamic state led by politically
motivated parties whose priority is to exert power by policing morality instead
of prosecuting corrupt leaders will be a devastating downfall for Malaysia.
Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet once
said: “The most hated of the people to Allah are three persons: A person who
deviates into the unlawful; a person who seeks for the tradition of ignorance
to remain in Islam; and a person who seeks to shed another’s blood without
right of justice.” (Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari, 6488)
Why can’t we just be good Muslims in a
progressive country which embraces modernity and is friendly with all nations –
East and West?
If we can do it here, we can do it
anywhere, and seriously, isn’t that what we want?
For Malaysians to be globally savvy instead
of a Malaysia that is paranoid and suspicious about everything that comes from
outside our borders?
I wonder about the fragility of the faith
of an ummah that is built upon the fear of humans and not love for God. I
wonder how they would fare on the stage of the great wide world out there.
I wonder about thought, and how it can be
frightened into obedience, or nurtured to imagine fantastic futures. A world
where people no longer need to be afraid. A world where people no longer
suffer; an end – as our Prophet brought – to an age of ignorance, and
henceforth, a great civilisation of knowledge and creativity brought upon by
the liberated imaginations of Malaysians.
Whether we are an Islamic state or not, all
the virtues of being a good Muslim can already be practised right now.
So instead of the terrible reputation of
being instigators of anger and violence, can we work on being known for our
kindness and generosity?
The Prophet’s wife Aisha reported him
saying: “Allah is gentle and loves gentleness. Allah rewards for gentleness
what is not rewarded for harshness, and rewards nothing else like it.” (Sahih
“Even when threatened with harsh words, the
Prophet responds with kindness, because Allah is kind and loves kindness in all
matters.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6528, Sahih Muslim 2165)
Instead of competing on who is the more
superior race, can we live with more humility and altruism?
In Surah al-Isra, Allah tells us not to
walk upon this earth in arrogance and disrespect for others (17:37).
Indeed, Allah does not like those who are
self-deluded and boastful (31:18).
Our Prophet tells us that the reason for
humility is so that no one oppresses another (Sahih Muslim, 2865), because
oppression will be the darkness on the Day of Resurrection (Sahih al-Bukhari
2315, Sahih Muslim 2579).
Instead of isolating the Malay race and
reinforcing a concept of otherness, can we be the ones who proactively take
steps to champion integration, inclusivity and diversity in the country?
In Surah Hud, Allah tells us that if the
intention was a single race community where everyone were Muslims, that could
have easily been created (11:118).
Instead, Allah tells us that humans were
intentionally created into people and tribes with the intention of us getting
to know each other (49:11).
I think that Malaysia, being a relatively
young country at the tender age of 61, is still at the age of getting to know
each other – and that is okay.
Our Prophet tells us that we will not enter
Paradise until we acquire faith, and we will not attain faith until we learn to
love each other (Sahih Muslim 54).
The beauty of Islam is that it traverses
cultures and countries and that the virtues it promotes are ubiquitous and
We do not need to insist on an Islamic
state in order to be good Muslims. And if the price of creating an Islamic
state is the shrinking rights of non-Muslims and other minority groups, then
better not be an Islamic state.