Sunday, June 14, 2015

Islamic authorities will never give up power because of money, says academic

BY MELATI A. JALIL

Those in charge of religious bodies will not give up their position and power due to the substantial economic benefits they receive, says law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, June 14, 2015.














Those in charge of religious bodies will not give up their position and power due to the substantial economic benefits they receive, says law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, June 14, 2015.








Those in charge of religious bodies in the country will not give up their position and power due to the substantial economic benefits they receive, says law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.
He said institutionalisation was not just a religious issue as there were economic implications.
"These people will never give up their power because of the tremendous economic benefits they receive," he said in reference to the Malaysian  Islamic Development Department's (Jakim) RM783.3 budget allocation from the federal government in 2015.
"Don't expect them to give that up," the emeritus professor from Universiti Teknologi Mara  said during a roundtable discussion on Islam and human rights in Kuala Lumpur today.
"What is regarded as a religious struggle is a very economic struggle, for more position, power and money."
He was responding to a question from a participant who asked how to address the extreme voices in the society who deemed others as not qualified to talk about Islam, but still received support from the institutionalised religion.
Another panelist, G25 spokesperson Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, earlier said many Islamic authorities and Islamic countries have completely ignored the true teachings of Quran, which emphasised kindness, not punishment.
"They completely misinterpret the teaching of Quran with regard to human rights... reality is totally different. Many Islamic countries have interpreted the Quran as draconian, a religion that is unkind, emphasises mainly punishment, not kindness and justice which are the first principles of the Quran."
She said the principles of compassion, kindness and love that are advocated in the Quran have been completely ignored.
She said problems that led to this were that many Muslims were ignorant of what Islam is all about, as they only relied on 'ustaz' who had minimal knowledge of Islam and Islamic authorities which were conservative.
The reality in Malaysia, said Noor Farida, was that many of the self-proclaimed Islamic scholars and employees of religious authorities had a very shallow understanding of Islam.
Among the reasons were that some of them only graduated from the Al-Azhar University in Egypt with a diploma, which only offered a shallow teaching of various subjects in Islamic law and was designed to cater to Malaysian students who did not have pre-university qualifications, she said,  adding that she was told this by a professor from the university.
"Then they come back and declare themselves as ulama (Islamic scholar)... they are totally intolerant of dissenting views."
She, however, said that it was important to have continuous discourse and engagement with this group because if Islamic laws were imposed, other Muslims were also be affected.
"We have to be pragmatic, we have to engage these religious bureaucrats, who are accusing all the NGOs of not having the qualifications to talk about islam.
"Islamic laws affect us, and we are the stakeholders and surely we can engage with them in discourse or debate, especially when we feel that the legislation is based on the wrong interpretation of the Quran.
"That is why it is incumbent upon Muslims to get out of ignorance and educate themselves and engage with these people in a language that they speak."
She also reiterated G25's stand that they were against PAS's intention to implement hudud, as the Islamic law introduced by PAS was not about justice, but about punishment.
She quoted an Islamic scholar who said: "Shariah is about justice. If injustice occurs because of any rule of shariah, then it is not shariah."
"The most extreme example is the hudud of Kelantan, it is all about punishment, not about upholding justice," added Noor Farida.
She also cited Islamic scholar Yusuf Al-Qardawi's argument in hudud implementation, pointing out that the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars said 'ijtihad' (independent reasoning) must be applied in order to impose hudud.
"But here our conservative Islamic clerics have closed the door to ijtihad," she said.
She said according to the Islamic scholar, a few conditions needed to be met in order to have a perfect Muslim society which provided full employment to the people and ensured only a small gap between the rich and the poor.
She said these conditions were important to avoid injustices like chopping the hands of a poor unemployed man who stole to feed his family and corrupt businessmen, politicians or leaders getting away despite stealing public funds. – June 14, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/islamic-auhorities-will-never-give-up-power-because-of-money-says-academic#sthash.2fKIthql.dpuf

1 comment:

Winston Yap said...

Well, well, well.
How can the ruling party maintain its iron grip in Christian majority Sarawak, even with their plentyful sheninigans all too apparent?
Perhaps Mr Bian can clarify this?
Thank you.
Regards,