While openly disagreeing with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is permissible, there is a limit to it, says ex-mufti.
PETALING JAYA: Openly disagreeing with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and royal family is permissible but criticisms have to be constructive and polite, a former mufti said today.
Ex-Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said today it was not wrong to disagree with the King and kin, as they are “not Allah and the prophet (Muhammad), but human beings like the rest of us”.
Mohd Asri’s statement follows numerous reports of individuals being arrested for seditious remarks against the king Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah. However, he stressed that comments and criticisms had to be polite and respectful.
“I am a free man. I may give an opinion that is different from them, but that does not mean I do not respect them. I respect them as a ruler, but they are not Allah and rasul (prophet),” Mohd Asri told FMT.
He explained his need to clarify the issue as he claimed both Muslims and non-Muslims alike believe Islam forbids its followers to speak out against the King.
“I am performing my role as a scholar. I do not want to intervene politically, but want to give the right opinion on Islam so that people do not misunderstand,” he said.
“Only Allah and His book (the Holy Quran) are free from criticism. Even the prophet Muhammad was faced with open criticisms and differences in opinion during his lifetime unless delivering His divine messages.
“Whoever believes the statements and actions of the King and his kin cannot be disputed, that means he has made a human being a God,” he added.
Mohd Asri reiterated that Islam regards “nobody inviolable except Allah and his messenger”.
“Other than that, anybody can be criticised. Any Muslim who believes in a group of people who cannot be criticised, are having the wrong faith which is against the preachings of Islam,” he said.
“We should be polite in the way we criticise them (royalty), but we still can give different opinions.”
Several individuals were detained earlier this month for allegedly posting seditious comments against the King on their Facebook page.
They are being investigated for uploading content containing insults against the monarchy, an offence under the Communications and Multimedia Act.
They are also facing charges under the Sedition Act.