Sunday, April 30, 2006

Meanwhile, Back At The Local Scene...Part II
In Opposition...

From New Straits Times
29 Apr 2006
By Sheridan Mahavera

KOTA BARU: Although he has come under a barrage of criticism from within his own party, Pas MP for Rantau Panjang Abdul Fatah Harun is sticking to his guns.

Fatah, a member of the Kelantan Pas liaison committee, said he had proof to back his views that divorced women were gatal (promiscuous) and that it was this promiscuity that had caused their marriages to fail.

He said he withdrew the word gatal in the Dewan Rakyat at the request of the House, but would not issue a public apology to all women as Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil had demanded.

Fatah is unperturbed about the possibility of action being taken against him by Pas.

"It’s up to them, but I will stand by my words," he said, responding to a statement by Pas deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa on Thursday.

"I am not trying to insult women, especially widows or single mothers, but this is the reality.

"And I can provide proof of divorcees flirting during ceremonies and functions," he said.

Fatah drew the ire of Shahrizat and other MPs in Wednesday’s sitting of the Dewan Rakyat when he described divorced women as gatal, saying that such behaviour was evident at numerous functions where they were present.

Although Fatah withdrew the word gatal, his comments were condemned by Pas leaders the day after, who said they did not represent the views of the party.

Nasharuddin had said Pas took Fatah’s remarks seriously and the party would discuss the appropriate action to be taken against him.

"This fact is known by many politicians but they do not express it for fear of alienating women voters," said Fatah, who is also Kelantan Pas election department director.

He added he was willing to debate the issue with any party or organisation.

Wow, we do still have people like Fatah making derogatory remarks concerning divorced women. I'm glad the Pas leadership quickly distanced themselves from this sort of thinking.

The Quran contains many verses instructing us to treat divorcees with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Among them are the following:-


You shall allow them to live in the same home in which they lived with you, and do not make life so miserable for them that they leave on their own. If they are pregnant, you shall spend on them until they give birth. If they nurse the infant, you shall pay them for this service. You shall maintain the amicable relations among you. If you disagree, you may hire another woman to nurse the child.


The divorcees also shall be provided for, equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous.

How could anyone make unfair generalizations about divorcees after reading the following:-


If you divorce the women, once they fulfill their interim (three menstruations), you shall allow them to live in the same home amicably, or let them leave amicably. Do not force them to stay against their will, as a revenge. Anyone who does this wrongs his own soul. Do not take GOD's revelations in vain. Remember GOD's blessings upon you, and that He sent down to you the scripture and wisdom to enlighten you. You shall observe GOD, and know that GOD is aware of all things.

Meanwhile, Back At The Local Scene...Part I
In Government...

Adnan Back In The Limelight For Unwarranted Statement

By Mohd Shukri Ishak

KUANTAN, April 26 (Bernama) -- On Monday, the Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob was in the limelight for the wrong reason, he infuriated the media with his damnation "go to hell".

Adnan is said to have chastised the media for misquoting his speech at the State Assembly on April 21.

Adnan in a fit of rage yelled the words pointing his fingers at the media during the assembly in front of the assemblymen, a number of observers and a group of secondary school children who wanted to see their leaders at debate.

Members of the media covering the State Assembly proceedings were stunned, a few out of anger walked out of the hall.

Adnan, Pahang's Menteri Besar since 1999, while speaking to Bernama, TV3 and RTM on Tuesday said he was only defending his rights and specifically pointed to Utusan Malaysia.

The paper on April 22 reported: "Pahang Applies RM150 million Grant in Lieu of Logging; The Pahang government today made an extraordinary request to the federal government so that it can stop logging activities in the state; "Provide us aid, or logs will be felled".

He claimed Utusan Malaysia had misquoted him and reported as if he gave an ultimatum to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said he never uttered the word "gantirugi" (compensation) as reported, in fact stated that they would request a grant between RM150 million and RM200 million from the federal government as they have to gazette part of their jungles for the nation's sake.

The following is the relevant excerpt of Adnan's speech in the assembly recorded by the writer; "We are ready to end logging activities if the federal government is willing to pay compensation. (greeted with boisterous applause from the members of the assembly)..., reserve the National Park, wildlife, and water catchments where Pahang would supply water to others would cost around RM150 million to 200 million annually.

"That is the revenue we will lose..., but we need between RM150 million to RM200 million annually.... if the federal government can provide between RM150 million to RM200 million annually we can preserve the forest, no need to cut down," he said.

Outside the assembly, Adnan further clarified his statement to reporters along the same lines but this time he did not say the word compensation but instead mentioned grant.

Adnan who stood his ground said: "This shouldn't have happened as I did not say so but was stated in 'inverted commas' like I said it. This is what got me worked up. It even crossed my mind that there could be an hidden agenda?"

Adnan's damnation also put Utusan Malaysia on the defence with the daily Wednesday carrying public opinion that decried the Menteri Besar's rash statement.

On the front page on Tuesday the "Senyum Kambing" caricature stated "Is the courtesy campaign yet to reach there, maybe", indirectly hitting out at Adnan.

Adnan in turn shrugged off the remarks and replied Pahang was the first state to launch the courtesy campaign.

Adnan is known for his rash actions, in 2000 his hand gesture put him on the bad limelight. But it is hoped that common sense will prevail at both sides in the current episode and the matter be settled amicably.


Tsk, tsk, Datuk Seri, tell us why you're making recommendations for them to "Go to Hell" just the way you tell tourists to "Visit Pahang". Is it because you've been there and enjoyed your stay there? Or is it because it's your kampung and you would like to welcome as many people there as you can?

That's probably it. You were already showing directions there back in 2000 during the Sanggang by-election using your hands (click to see pic) and buttocks.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jermaine Jackson's Path To Islam

Interview From "Al-Mujallah"

When and How did you start your journey towards Islam?

It was way back in 1989 when I, along with my sister, conducted a tour to some of the countries of Middle East. During our stay in Bahrain, we were accorded warm welcome. There I happened to meet some children and had a light chitchat with them. I put certain questions to them and they flung at me their innocent queries. During the course of this interaction, they inquired about my religion. I told them, "I am a Christian." I asked them, as to what was their religion? A wave of serenity took over them. They replied in one voice ? Islam. Their enthusiastic answer really shook me from within. Then they started telling me about Islam. They were giving me information, much in piece with their age. The pitch of their voice would reveal that they were highly proud of Islam. This is how I paced toward Islam. A very short interaction with a group of children ultimately led me to have long discourses about Islam with Muslim scholars. A great ripple had taken place in my thought. I made failing attempt to console myself that nothing had happened but I could not conceal this fact any longer from myself that at heart I had converted to Islam. This I disclosed first to my family friend, Qunber Ali. The same Qunber Ali managed to take me to Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. Till that time, I did not know much about Islam. From there, in the company of a Saudi family, I proceeded for Mecca for the performance of "Umrah". There I made public for the first time that I had become Muslim.

What were your feelings after you proclaimed that you were a Muslim?

Having embraced Islam, I felt as if I were born again. I found in Islam the answers to those queries which I had failed to find in Christianity. Particularly, it was only Islam that provided satisfactory answer to the question relating to the birth of Christ. For the first time I was convinced about the religion itself. I pray my family members might appreciate these facts. My family is the follower of that cult of Christianity, which is known as AVENDANCE of JEHOVA (Jehova's Witness). According to its creeds, only 144,000 men would finally qualify to enter into paradise. ?How comes, It remained always a perplexing creed for me. I was surprised to know that Bible was compiled by so many men, particularly about a volume scripted by King James. I wondered if a man compiles a directory and then ascribes it to God, but he does not fully comply with these directions. During my stay in Saudi Arabia I have had the opportunity to buy a cassette released by the erstwhile British pop-singer and the present Muslim preacher, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). I learnt a lot from this as well.

What happened when you got back to the US after embracing Islam?

When I returned to USA, American media orchestrated heinous propaganda against Islam and the Muslims. The gossips were let loose on me which really disturbed my peace of mind. The Hollywood was hell-bent upon maligning the Muslims. They were being projected as terrorists. There are many things where there is consensus between Christianity and Islam, and Quran presents Holy Christ as a virtuous Prophet. Then, I wondered, why Christian America levels baseless allegations against Muslims? This made me gloomy. I made up my mind that I would do my best to dispel the wrong image of Muslims, portrayed by the American media. I had not the slightest idea that American media would not digest the news of my accepting Islam and raise such a great hue and cry. It was virtually acting against all its tall and much-publicized claims about the freedom of expression and the freedom of conscience. So the hypocrisy of American society came to surface and lay uncovered before me. Islam unknotted many complications for me. As a matter of fact, I came to think of myself as a complete human being, in the literal sense of the word. After becoming Muslim, I felt a tremendous change in me. I discarded all thing prohibited in Islam. This made things difficult for my family too. In short, the Jackson family tumbled altogether. Threatening letters poured in, which further intensified the worries of my family.

What sort of threats?

Well, they would tell me that I had nurtured the animosity of American society and culture, by entering into the laps of Islam, you have deprived yourself of the right to live with others. WE would make life unbearable for you in America so on, so forth. But I confess that my family is broadminded. We have held all religions in esteem. Our parents have trained and groomed us in that way. Therefore, I may say that the Jackson family enjoys friendly relation with people belonging to almost all religions. This is the result of that training that I am being tolerated by them so far.

What was the reaction of your brother Michael Jackson?

On my way back to America, I brought a number of books from Saudi Arabia. Michael Jackson asked me himself for some of these books for study. Before this, his opinion was influenced by the propaganda of American media against Islam and the Muslims. He was not inimical towards Islam, but he was not favorably disposed towards Muslims either. But after reading these books, he would keep mum and not say anything against Muslims. I think perhaps this is the impact of the study of Islam that he diverted his business interests towards Muslim traders. Now, he has equal shares with the Saudi billionaire prince Waleed bin Talal, in his multi-national company.

It was said earlier that Michael Jackson was against Muslims, then there are rumors that he had become Muslim. What is the real story?

I testify this fact, at least there is nothing in my knowledge that Michael Jackson ever said anything derogatory against Muslims. His songs, too, give message of love for others. We have learnt from our parents to love others. Only those who have their own ax to grind hurl allegations on him. When there can be a nasty uproar against me when I became Muslim, why can it not be so against Michael Jackson. But, so far, media has not subjected him to scathing criticism, although he is threatened for his getting somewhat closer to Islam. But who knows what would it look like when Michael Jackson embraces Islam.

What are the views of the rest of the members of your family about you?

When I returned to America, my mother had already heard the news of my conversion to Islam. My mother is a religious and civilized woman. When I reached home, she put forth only one question, "you have taken this decision all of a sudden, or is it the outcome of some deep and long thinking behind it?" "I have decided after a lot of thinking about it," I replied, let me say we are known as a religious family. Whatever we possess, is due to the blessing of God. Then why we should not be grateful to Him? This is why we actively participate in the charity institutions. We dispatched medicines to the poor African countries through special aircraft. During Bosnian war, our aircraft were engaged in supplying aids to the affected. We are sensitive to such things because we have witnessed abject poverty. We used to live in a house which was hardly a few square meters capacious.

Did you ever discuss about Islam with your sister pop star Janet Jackson?

Like other members of my family, my sudden conversion to Islam was a great surprise for her. In the beginning, she was worried. She has stashed into her head only one thing that Muslims are polygamous, they do have as much as four wives. When I explained this permission granted by Islam with reference to the state of the present American society, she was satisfied. This is fact that promiscuity and infidelity is very common in the western society. In spite of the fact that they are married, western men enjoy extramarital relations with a number of women. This has caused devastating moral decay in that society. Islam safeguards the social fabric from this destruction. As per Islamic teachings, if a man is emotionally attracted towards a woman, he should honorably give this relation a legal shape otherwise he must be contented with only one wife. On the other hand, Islam has laid down so much conditions for second marriage that I do not think that an ordinary Muslim can afford to meet these conditions financially. There is hardly one percent Muslims in the Islamic world who have more than one wife. To my view, the women in an Islamic society is just like a well-protected flower which is safe from the stray penetrating looks of the viewers. Whereas western society is devoid of the vision to appreciate this wisdom and philosophy.

What are your spontaneous feelings when you look at the Muslim society?

For the larger interest of humanity, Islamic society presents the safest place on this planet. For instance, take the example of women. American women are clad in their out-fit in such a manner that gives temptation to the male for harassment. But this is unthinkable in an Islamic society. Besides, the prevalent sins and vices have disfigured the moral fabric of western society. I believe if there is any place left where the humanity is still visible, it can not be anywhere else than in an Islamic society. Time would come when the world would be obliged to accept this reality.

What is your candid opinion about the American media?

American media is suffering from self-contradictions. Take the example of Hollywood. The status of an artist is measured here keeping in view the model of his car, the standard of this restaurant that he visits, etc. This is the media that raises someone from the dust to the skies. They do not consider the artist as a human being. But I have met so many artists in the Middle East. They have no misplaced arrogance in them. Just look at the CNN, they do that much exaggeration about some news that it appears that nothing else has happened except that event in the world. The news of fire in the forests of Florida was given such a wide coverage as it gave the impression that the whole globe has caught fire. In fact, it was a small area, which was affected by that fire. I was in Africa, when the bomb-blast took place in Oklahoma City. The Media, without any proof, started hinting at the involvement of Muslims in that blast. Later on the Saboteur turned out to be a CHRISTIAN!!! We may term this attitude of American media as its willful ignorance.

Can you maintain a Linkage between your Islamic personality and the culture of your family?

Why not? This linkage can be kept up for the achievement of good things.

After becoming Muslim, did you ever happen to see Muhammad Ali?

Muhammad Ali is our family friend. I have met him a number of times, after embracing Islam. He has provided useful guidance about Islam.

Have you visited Shah Faisal mosque in Los Angeles city?

Yes, of course! This is a beautiful mosque. I am myself interested to construct a similar mosque in 'Falise' area because there is no mosques in this area and the Muslim community is not resourceful enough purchase a piece of land for a mosque in such a posh area. God willing, I would do it. Who is ignorant of the services of Saudi Arabia for the glorious cause of Islam? No doubt it has leisurely financed the projects for mosques. But this American media even does not spare Saudi Arabia; it spreads quite strange news about this country. When I first visited Saudi Arabia, I had the impression that there would be muddy housed and a very poor communication network. But when I reached there, to my great surprise, I found it culturally the most beautiful country of the world.

Who has influenced you, so far as Islam is concerned?

Many persons have impressed me. But the fact is that first I turn to the Holy Quran, therefore I do not run a risk of getting strayed on the way. However, there are many Islamic scholars that one can be duly proud of. God willing, I plan to go to Saudi Arabia with my family to perform Umrah.

Your wife and children are Muslims too?

I have seven sons and two daughter who, like me, are fully Islamic-oriented. My wife is still studying Islam. She insists on going over to Saudi Arabia. I trust Inshaallah, she would sooner join Islam. May God Almighty give us the courage and perseverance to remain on this true religion, Islam. (Ameen)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Translated from Utusan Malaysia (18th April 2006)

The Director General of Royal Malaysian Customs, Datuk Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid reminded custom officers to isolate themselves from being associated with the lifestyle of those seen to be too rich.

He said, this is because having a close relationship with groups or individuals from 'outside one's category' can raise interpretations and questions from the public.

"Keep yourselves from associating with the rich to make yourselves look rich. Live a normal lifestyle because we are public officers.

"There are many public office holders with far smaller salaries than custom officers who are able to lead fulfilling lives.

"We are the trustees of national revenue, of course there are many who are interested in being associated with us. This should be handled wisely, " he said.

My Compliments to Datuk Abdul Rahman for taking the effort to remind his officers of the nature of their position in public departments. I wish more Heads of government departments and leaders would take the cue.

Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.
-Karl Kraus (1874–1936), Austrian satirist.

Monday, April 17, 2006

So This Is Freedom Of Expression?

Cartoon from:

Sunday, April 16, 2006

5 Simple Reasons Why Muslims Did Not Attack The WTC On 11th September 2001

By kilamxx

1. President Bush did not seem surprised when told that the WTC had been hit by a second plane. Anyone else would have been real concerned about what other threats were about to hit his country or even himself. His Secret Service people should be hustling their president away especially when they knew there were other planes out there still unaccounted for. Unless of course the President and his Secret Service men knew for sure that he was in no immediate danger. They knew beforehand.

2. Seven of the Suicidal Hijackers are Still Alive. Buildings crumbled to dust. Planes smashed into smithereens. Passengers all dead. Hijackers alive and kicking?

3. Five Israelis were Dancing and Filming the Burning WTC Ruins. Former Israeli PM when asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations said, “It’s very good.” Zionist circles benefit from WTC collapse.

4. No Immediate Reaction from US Air Force during Hijackings. Somebody had them stood down. The USAF don’t take orders from Osama Bin Laden do they?

5. Top Pentagon Officials Were Warned On Eve of Attack. Nice of the Arab terrorists to warn them beforehand.

So who did it? Who have benefited most in the past few years? Most probably those who have been able to proceed with their expansion plans and those who have gained from the results of these expansions.

Certainly not Muslims.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Is Organ Donation Permissible?

The issue of organ transplant has been a matter of great debate and dispute among the great contemporary scholars from around the globe. It has been discussed in various fiqh seminars, and many short and detailed works have be compiled on the subject.

The majority of the Indo/Pak scholars are of the view that organ transplant is not permissible, while, the Arab scholars and some scholars of the Indian subcontinent give its permission under certain conditions. Nobody has given a general unconditional permission for the transplantation of organs.

It must be remarked here that this issue is contemporary and obviously it is impossible for us to find express rulings concerning it in the classical works. As such, the views of the contemporary scholars are based upon the general and broad guidelines of Shariah. It is obvious that this will result in difference of opinion, thus no one opinion should be condemned, as the intention of all the scholars is to please Allah, and live a life that is in accordance with Shariah.

A Council which consists of scholars from all the major Muslim Schools of Law in Great Britain, together with three distinguished lawyers has considered the issue of organ transplant and resolved that:

    • The medical profession is the proper authority to define the signs of death.
    • Current medical knowledge considers brain stem death to be a proper definition of death.
    • The Council accepts brain stem death as constituting the end of life for the purpose of organ transplant.
    • The Council supports organ transplant as a means of alleviating pain or saving life on the basis of the rules of Shari'ah.
    • Muslims may carry donor cards.
    • The next of kin of a dead person, in the absence of a donor card or an expressed wish of the dead person to donate his organs, may give permission to obtain organs from the body to save other people's lives.
    • Organ donation must be given freely without reward. Trading in organs is prohibited.

Organ Transplant Ruling:

List of the Ulama' and Scholars who participated during the consultation and then approved the statement on
Organ Transplant:

1.Dr M A Zaki Badawi Principal, The Muslim College, London Chairman, The Muslim Law (Shari'ah) Council UK.
2.Dr Jamal Sulayman, Professor of Shari'ah, The Muslim College, London.
3.Dr A A Hamid, Professor of Hadith, The Muslim College, London.
4.Dr Fazel Milani, Professor at The International College of Islamic Sciences London.
5.Dr S M A Shahristani, Principal, The International College of Islamic Sciences London.
6.Moulana Abdul Hadi Umri, General Secretary, Jamia-te-Ahl-e-Hadith (UK).
7.Moulana Qamaruzzaman Azami, Chief Imam, North Manchester Central Mosque & General Secretary, The World Islamic Mission.
8.Mufti Mohammed Yunus President, The World Islamic Mission & Imam, Woking Mosque.
9.Mufti Mohammed Muniruzzaman, Imam, Munir-ul-Islam Mosque, Rochdale.
10.Dr Abdul Halim, Senior Imam, The Islamic Cultural Centre and London Central Mosque, Regent's Park London.
11.Mufti Alauddin, Head Imam, Brick Lane Central Mosque, London.
12.Moulana Hafiz M Khalid, Head Imam, Sparkbrook Islamic Centre, Birmingham.
13.Moulana Mumtaz Ahmed, Imam of Bradford.
14.A A Bashiri Esq. Barrister-at-Law.
15.R Abdullah Esq. Barrister-at-Law.
16.Dr Safia Safwat, Barrister-at-Law.
17.Moulana M Shahid Raza, Director, Islamic Centre Leicester & Secretary, The Muslim Law (Shari'ah) Council UK.
18.Mr S G Syedain, General Secretary, Imams & Mosques Council UK.
19.Dr. Manazir Ahsan, Director of the Islamic Foundation

Islam holds that Man consists of two essential elements, one material which is the body, the other spiritual which is the soul. Life exists in the human body as long as the soul is joined to it, and it ceases when the soul departs from the body.

"Who made all things good, which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay then He made his seed from a draught of despised fluid. Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit, and He appointed for you hearing and sight and hearts. Yet small thanks do you give for it!" (32:7-9)

Thus the cessation of life means the departure of the soul from the body:

"Allah recalls souls at the time of their death, and those who have not died, during their sleep. Heholds on to anyone whom death has been decided for, and sends the others back for a specific period." (39:42)

The soul is a mysterious thing and nobody has been able to discover its nature. Its presence in the body results in life which is observed by the movement and the other conventional signs of life. The departure of the soul from the body results in death, which is associated with certain physical signs arrived at as a result of medical observations and knowledge.

The signs of death which the ancient medical doctors have listed are: lack of consciousness, loss of body temperature, cessation of pulse and breathing, glazing of the eyes, parting of the lips, sagging of the nose, and slackening in the muscles of the hands and feet. The heart used to be considered as the centre of life in the body. When it stopped completely it was assumed that death occurred. But if it regained its functions through first aid practices life is assumed to have returned.

The last five decades have witnessed a big leap in medical science bringing great benefits and skills which were unthinkable before. It is now possible to transplant organs from one body into another, which would help the recipient to continue to live. The significance of the heart has also changed as it is no longer considered the most important organ with regard to life and death. Medical opinion now considers the brain to be the central and crucial part which controls the entire body and its functions. When it is damaged partially or totally the body will suffer either partial or total deterioration. As a consequence of the present development in medical knowledge and skills a number of questions have arisen. These are:

  • Is it allowed to remove an organ like the kidney from the body of a living person and transplant it into the body of a sick person whose life depends on it?
  • Is it permissible to remove an organ from the body of a dead person to be used to save the life of a living person?
  • Is a person allowed to donate his body or part of it to be used after his death in saving the life of other people?
  • Does Islam recognise the new definition of death that is brain stem death?
  • If it does is it permissible to remove from brain stem dead persons organs for transplant while there are signs of body functions like heart beat temperature and breathing?
Before answering these questions it is important to note the following principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul-Fiqh):

A person has the legal authority over his own body, attested by the fact that he can hire himself for work which might be difficult or exhausting. He may also volunteer for war which may expose him to death. A person is forbidden from harming himself or others (It is not legitimate in Islam to inflict harm on others or to suffer harm from them - Hadith). In case of Necessity certain prohibitions are waived as when the life of a person is threatened the prohibition on eating carrion or drinking wine is suspended.

"He has only forbidden you what has died by itself, blood and pork, and anything that has been consecrated to something besides God. Yet anyone who may be forced to do so, without craving or going too far, will have no offence held against him; for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (2:173)

Confronted with two evils a person is permitted to choose the lesser of the two, as in the case of a starving person whose life could be saved by either eating carrion or stealing from another person's food. He would be permitted to opt for the latter. Islam made it an obligation upon the sick to seek treatment.

In the light of the above principles the Council is of the opinion that:

1. It is permissible for a living person to donate part of the body such as the kidneys to save the life of another, provided that the organ donated would not endanger the donor's life and that it might help the recipient.

The Prophet (s.A.w.) says, "Whoever helps a brother in difficulty, God will help him through his difficulties on the Day of Judgement."

2. It is permissible to remove the organ of a dead person to be used to save the life of a sick person.

3. It is permissible for a person to donate his body or parts of it to be used after death to treat those who need transplants. So it is permissible for Muslims to carry a donor card.

4. In the absence of a donor card carried by the dead person it is sufficient to obtain the consent of the next of kin.

5. The proper authorities will act in lieu of relations if they are not known.

Regarding brain stem death, the Council, having discussed the matter over a number of meetings with Doctors and specialists, and having studied the safeguards instituted by the Ministry of Health in Great Britain, went further and examined the research done by trustworthy Muslim Doctors and noted the following:

If the heart stops beating then lack of consciousness and the cessation of breathing will follow immediately.

If however the person is helped by massage of the heart (CPR) or through the use of electric shock (defibrillation) within four or five minutes the heart may restart.

If the flow of the blood to the brain ceased for more than a few seconds damage may occur, although some of the cells will remain alive for four or five minutes. On the other hand if the brain stem ceases to function it cannot be made to restart.
After the brain stem is dead it is possible to preserve some organs functioning for a period from six hours to two weeks. The presence of pulse or movement after the death of the brain stem is not a sign of life. We know that a hanged or beheaded person continues to have pulse and movement for a brief period. But they are not considered to be alive and it would not be possible to bring them back to life.

Based on the above the medical profession concludes that life ceases as a result of brain stem death.

The Council is of the opinion that trustworthy Doctors are the proper and authentic authority when it comes to defining the signs of death.

After a thorough consideration regarding medical opinion and several edicts issued by different religious bodies, the Council arrived at the following conclusions:

After trustworthy Doctors certify that the brain stem has died organs needed to save others' lives might be taken from the body, and then the life support machine may be switched off.

While the Council recognises the need for benefiting from the advances of medical science in alleviating the suffering of the sick and saving lives, it wishes to remind everyone especially Doctors of the following points:

Human beings are the most honoured creature on earth. Their dignity in life and death must be maintained.

"We have dignified the Children of Adam and transported them around on land and at sea. We have providedthem with wholesome things and favoured them especially over many of those whom We have created." (17:70)

Human life is sacred. To terminate the life of one person is equivalent to the termination of the life of all humanity. Conversely the saving of one life is regarded as the saving of all humanity.

"Whosoever kills any person without another soul being involved or for causing corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind and whosoever saves the life of one it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." (5:32)

The Council is of the opinion that human organs should be donated, and not sold. It is prohibited to receive a price for an organ.

Extracted from:

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Bloodless Virtual Autopsies

The National Fatwa Committee is studying the feasibility of virtual autopsy before proclaiming an edict on its implementation here in Malaysia (The Star,

This method uses computerised CT Scan that eliminates the need for physical incisions on dead bodies to ascertain the cause of death.

The following article from the San Francisco Chronicle might shed some light on the matter:-

By Benjamin Pimentel, Chronicle Staff Writer

For many people of different faiths, cutting up a corpse to figure out how a person died is an invasive, even offensive, procedure.

In some cases, as with Muslims and Jews, autopsies may violate their religious laws.

But technology companies are stepping in with a more acceptable alternative to traditional autopsies, using sophisticated scanning and three-dimensional computer systems.

Silicon Graphics Inc. manager Afshad Mistri demonstrated one such system on a recent morning in Mountain View, standing in front of a theater screen displaying the fuzzy image of a woman who was killed in a car accident in Sweden.

Another SGI engineer moved the cursor across the corpse, revealing the next layer, an image of the woman's skeleton clearly showing her broken bones.

"Now you are starting to see the bone structure," Mistri said. "Let's zoom in on the skull area. ... You can easily see areas of interest. The data is right there. ... Her jaw is very badly mashed. ... Cause of death was a broken neck."

"No one wants a family member autopsied," Mistri, SGI's senior manager of advanced visualization, said. "If you've got a grandmother who is 94 years old and she dies of old age, why go through the trauma?"

The rules on when a body must undergo an autopsy vary by country and legal jurisdiction. In California, Hank Greely, a professor of law at Stanford University said, coroners are required by law to investigate suspicious deaths. The process could include performing autopsies.

Advances in 3-D computing and computerized tomography, or CT-scans, which use special X-ray equipment to create a detailed cross-sectional view of a body part, combined with the arrival of massive memory and processing power, have led to the rise over the past five years of virtual autopsy technology.

SGI uses its Silicon Graphics Prism visualization system powered by Itanium 2 processors and 32 gigabytes of main memory to create an interactive display of a corpse.

Using a mouse, an engineer can examine the inside of a body or turn it at different angles, providing a detailed examination without having to cut open the body.

Rapid advances in computing and scanning technologies, led by such firms as SGI, Siemens and General Electric, since the late 1990s are paving the way for growing use of virtual autopsies in forensic and even military purposes:

-- The U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's virtual autopsy program, which uses technology from Agfa and General Electric, has scanned about 800 bodies of Americans, including troops killed in action in Iraq and other war zones, in hopes of using the information to develop more effective body armor and other means to reduce casualties.

-- SGI CEO Bob Bishop last week sent a letter to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco citing a new computer visualization system the company recently set up with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that could be used for virtual autopsies to help identify bodies of hurricane victims.

-- In countries like Sweden and Switzerland, medical examiners routinely use virtual autopsies to complement findings from traditional autopsies.

-- The technology is also gaining acceptance in Australia, where early this month religious groups and legal experts met with medical professionals and technologists to tackle the future of 3-D postmortems.

The two-day conference in Sydney underscored the growing role of technology in making postmortems more acceptable to religions that have strict rules on how to treat their dead.

For example, in the Jewish faith, every part of a deceased person's remains must be buried, including the blood. Islam requires the immediate burial of a dead person, which becomes a problem for a traditional autopsy, which can take several days.

"The burial practice of Islam and Judaism are not greatly different," said Graham Segal, a barrister-at-law and chairman of the Sydney conference. "We are both compelled to bring about quick burial. There is a need therefore to treat the body with respect. There is a concept, particularly in Jewish law, that the way in which you treat the deceased is part of the function of the way in which you treat the living. It engenders respect for life as a concept."

Segal, who is Jewish, said that even beyond religious tradition people simply don't want their loved ones subjected to autopsies.

"The autopsy process is felt by many people, quite outside of any religious perspective, as being something that runs contrary to the manner in which they want to see their loved ones dealt with," he said.

Virtual autopsies also help lower postmortem costs. Mistri of SGI said a regular autopsy costs about $4,500 to $5,000, compared with about $900 to $1,000 for a virtual autopsy. Autopsies are generally paid for by the legal jurisdiction, such as a county, that is requiring the procedure.

In Sweden, virtual autopsies have helped solve medical puzzles and criminal investigations.

Dr. Anders Persson, director of the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization at Sweden's Linkoping University, cited the case of a 6-month-old boy who died during an operation after his heart was punctured during the procedure.

"The traditional autopsy couldn't figure out how this had happened," he said in an interview. "But we solved it with a CT exam."

Anders Ynnerman, a professor at the university's science and technology department, said a virtual autopsy helped shed light on the death of a Swedish man who was shot during an encounter with police.

The man had taken his family hostage in a small town. During the confrontation with police, one of the officers fired his gun, killing the man. A virtual autopsy revealed a deformed bullet as well as fragments of lead under the man's skin. Together with the angle of the shots, the information showed that the bullet hit the man indirectly.

"The bullet had ricocheted off some metal object and then unfortunately hit the young man," Ynnerman said. "The police officer actually fired a warning shot, but unfortunately killed the guy."

The police officer was acquitted, although the family of the man who was killed has appealed, Ynnerman added.

In the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have led to hundreds of casualties, the U.S. military is turning to virtual autopsy technology to come up with better ways of protecting soldiers in the field.

Since November 2004, the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's virtual autopsy program has been scanning bodies, including soldiers killed in action, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and the data is being sent to the armed forces medical examiner.

"The ultimate objective of virtual autopsy is to preserve the lives of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in battle ... understanding what kind of casualties occurred and using that information to prevent future ones from happening," said John Getz, virtual autopsy program manager of the Department of Defense's mortality surveillance division.

"We can just collect every type of injury that occurs in the field and have a further understanding of what happened," he added.

He declined to elaborate on how the military could use the information collected from the scanning of bodies. Mistri said the information could help manufacturers make better body armors.

"People just get stacks and stacks of body armor and it's given to the manufacturers and they say, 'Go fix it,' " he said. "And (the manufacturer) is sitting there, scratching his head, saying, 'I have no idea if the explosion came from the bottom, top, side.' So now he is looking at the entire three-dimensional data and saying, 'This was a back explosion. This is how a person was not wearing his body armor correctly. Or we need three more straps to make it more tight.' "

Bishop, SGI's CEO, said virtual autopsies could play an important role in identifying the dead in natural and man-made disasters, including the recent hurricanes that devastated the Gulf states and the war in Kosovo, where mass graves are still being uncovered.

"That work is still continuing even in Kosovo" he said.

The growing acceptance of virtual autopsies is due in part to the emergence of a new generation of doctors and medical examiners who, unlike their predecessors who spent most of their careers looking at two-dimensional X-ray images, grew up in the world of 3-D visualization. Mistri calls them the Nintendo Generation.

Among them is Dr. Michael Thali of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland, who is considered a pioneer in the field and whose group coined the term "Virtopsy" to refer to the technology.

He said 3-D visualization has helped explain medical data and findings even to nonexperts, particularly in court cases.

"The classical approach is still to look at slices in 2-D," he said. "But I think the 3-D visualization is becoming more and more important to visualize the findings in 3-D. In our area dealing with forensic radiology, where you have to present your findings not to medical doctors but to the people in courts with no medical backgrounds, it's very useful that you can visualize or demonstrate your findings in 3-D."

For Segal, the Australian barrister, virtual autopsy has helped debunk what some see as a chasm between technology and religion.

"Some people take the perspective that there's science and there's religion and the two will never meet," he said. "I don't share that view. ... Technology is often a friend of religion."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Zainah Anwar from Sisters In Islam wrote the article below which was published in the New Straits Times (24th March 2006).
It is followed by my comments.

Zainah Anwar: Let there be public debate on laws

New Straits Times

THE fact that three daughters of current and past Prime Ministers in Malaysia were moved enough to share the same stage, the same passion and the same commitment to speak out their convictions in public on the imperative of justice for women in Islam shows a collective concern about disturbing trends in this country.

Last Saturday was a moment in history in Malaysia when we saw Hanis Hussein, Marina Mahathir and Nori Abdullah join hands to open the Sisters in Islam International Consultation on Trends in Family Law Reform in Muslim Countries. It is also a source of hope that change in the Muslim world is inevitable.

All three felt compelled to lend their voice to the growing force of Muslim women throughout the world who now speak out publicly to demand justice and equality and a stop to the use of Islam to justify continuing discrimination against women.

In much of the Muslim world today, it is women who are at the forefront in challenging governments, religious authorities and Islamist groups who hide behind the infallibility of the divine word to perpetuate patriarchy and to silence dissent.

In Iran, women, including daughters of mullahs and conservative families, are forced into the public space to confront the realities of an Islamic revolution driven by a punitive and legalistic Islam. The Islamic utopia promised where everything would be perfect because God’s law is perfect was anything but.

The women woke up to a reality that Islam, as Imam Feisal Rauf of New York said, was not a pronoun. Islam does not speak. It is human beings who speak in God’s name. It is human beings who use the authoritative text for authoritarian purposes. The justice of God is an ideal at the textual level. At the reality level, so much injustice is perpetrated in the name of God.

For me and my group, Sisters in Islam, it is an article of faith that Islam is just and God is just. If justice is intrinsic to Islam, then how could injustice and discrimination result in the codification and implementation of laws and policies made in the name of Islam?

It is at this level that Muslim women all over the world have begun to organise and demand reform of laws and policies to uphold the principles of justice, equality, freedom and dignity in Islam.

For most Muslim women, rejecting religion is not an option. We are believers, and as believers we want to find liberation, truth and justice from within our own faith. We feel strongly that we have a right to reclaim our religion, to redefine it, to participate and contribute to an understanding of Islam, how it is codified and implemented — in ways that take into consideration the realities and experience of women’s lives today.

For many women today, our lives are at a collision course with patriarchy’s construction of the "ideal" Muslim woman. For too long, men have defined for us what it is to be a woman, how to be a woman and then used religion and tradition to confine us to these socially constructed limitations that reduce us to being the inferior half of the human race. For too long, we submitted, seeking their approval and applause because the power of reward and punishment lay in their hands.

But not anymore. Women today are educated and economically independent. They will not be cowed into silence in the face of injustice. If the injustice is committed in the name of religion, then today’s women will go back to the original source of the religion to find out for themselves whether it is the revealed text that perpetrates injustice or is it an act of interpretation by human beings.

For those of us in civil society, as feminists, as believers and as activists living within a democratic constitutional framework, it is important that we assert and claim our right to have our voice heard in the public sphere and to intervene in the decision-making process on matters of religion.

The fundamental question needs to be asked: Who decides which interpretation, which juristic opinion, which traditional practice would prevail and be the source of codified law to govern our private and public lives and punish us if we fail to abide? Which opinion from the rich corpus of our heritage would fall by the wayside, forgotten? On what basis is that choice made? What are the guiding principles used in choosing one juristic opinion over another? Whose interests are protected and whose interests are denied?

This process of deriving "the right" opinion to codify into positive law is a human construct. The product of this very human engagement with the divine text is not the divine law of God. It is human knowledge and understanding, limited by human experience, human frailties and the context of time, place and circumstance.

The Islamic Family Law recently passed by Parliament, the Hudud passed by Kelantan and Terengganu and the Syariah Criminal Offences Law are all a product of this process. They are not divine law just because they bear the name Islam or Syariah. It is human beings who codified and drafted the laws, it is human beings who passed them through the legislative assemblies.

Thus, when Islam is a part of public law and public policy as in Malaysia, then by necessity such laws and policies must be opened to public debate and public feedback. This is how governments are held accountable in a democracy.

The writer, a former journalist, is a women’s rights activist and is the executive director of Sisters in Islam.

My Comments:-

Zainah Anwar’s article in the New Straits Times (24th March 2006) demands that Islamic or Syariah law be subjected to public debate and feedback since it is human beings who codify and draft these laws and pass them through the legislative assemblies.

The Quranic principle of consultation or shura has always been the backbone of the implementation of Islamic law and there is no incompatibility with Islam if believers, whether male or female, voice their opinion on matters that affect them.

However, it should be remembered that Islam is a religion based on divine knowledge, and is guided and restricted by fundamental principles that had been defined in the Quran and Hadiths, and thus any public debate should only be undertaken within an atmosphere of desire to uphold divine justice and gain God’s favour.

In order that the public debates retain their significance, each sector of the public voicing their opinion should be represented by individuals who are knowledgeable in the field of Islamic jurisprudence. The importance of this requirement can never be stressed heavily enough.

The matter of Islamic law is too important for Muslims to allow public debates to become forums for gender issues and platforms for advancing the latest fad legislation.