Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Censoring The Muftis?

by kilamxx

It looks like some of our senators are not too well versed on the contents of our Constitution. A couple of them are demanding that a Federal religious department be empowered to act against statements issued by State appointed muftis.

As reported by Bernama :-

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 -- A senator today said that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) should be given extra powers to monitor and act against statements issued by all state mufti to prevent confusion.

Senator Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee said this was in light of statements on Islamic rulings made by several muftis which had caused confusion and differences of opinion among Muslims in the country.

He cited the one involving Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria who reportedly said that Muslims were prohibited from attending the "Jom Heboh" concert and carnival held in Ipoh recently.

Syed Ali said this during the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address at the Dewan Negara here.

Concurring, Senator Mohd Puad Zarkashi said that a mufti should not issue statements on Islamic rulings at whim without referring to Jakim or the National Fatwa Council.

"And there was this mufti who once said that the `Maulidur Rasul' went against Islamic teachings, creating confusion among Muslims, especially in Johor, who would normally celebrate the life and struggle of the Prophet Muhammad in a big way," he said.

Senator Datuk Abdul Rashid Ngah was also supportive of Syed Ali's suggestion, pointing out that the fatwa council should view the matter seriously as some Muslims would regard statements issued by a mufti as religious decrees.

The last we heard of the National Constitution, religion falls under the jurisdiction of the Sultan or Raja of each state. The state appoints its own mufti who may issue statements or fatwas on Islamic religious matters affecting Muslims in the state.

I'm sure the muftis don't go around making statements just for the fun of it. The statements are usually on
urgent matters of concern that an opinion has been asked for. And most muftis are not just any Tom, Dick or Harry who has been given a post by the Menteri Besar as a reward for political support. They certainly have their academic and religious credentials backing them up.

To dismiss a mufti's statement as being his own personal opinion and nothing more is just a way for some quarters to carry on with what they want to do when they are religious objections to their plans. The 'Jom Heboh' matter in Ipoh is surely a good example. The Perak mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria has repeatedly stated that it is haram to stage, attend or support the 'Jom Heboh' concert. Yet the authorities gave permission for the concert to go ahead. As usual, this is what happens when money speaks louder than religion.

It seems that if we carry on this way we should stop addressing the muftis as 'muftis'. Just give these state officials any other name. They're certainly not being allowed to function as they are appointed to do. This is from Jakim's own defination of the function of a mufti.


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