So, you want to debate. Okay, let’s debate

Raja Petra Kamarudin

It looks like I have caused a stir by revealing the excesses, abuses and corruption in the religious department. Now they want to get me under the Internal Security Act. Well, I did say that until people start hating you, you are not important enough and are not significant. I suppose this comes with the territory. If you start hitting the nail on the head then you start hitting a raw nerve. Anyway, they know where I live.

It seems the Mufti of the Federal Territory wants to meet me. I don’t know why and I don’t care as I don’t think much of Muftis. Muftis are there just to serve the government’s interest, not to serve God, and as long as they comply with what the government wants them to do they will continue holding that cushy job and enjoy that big fat salary and the glamour of being the head religious honcho in the state whose word is second to God.

Let me relate a story about one Mufti I know, supposed to be the most learned and most respected of the lot who was adviser to no less than the Selangor Menteri Besar and the Selangor Sultan. When he was in the government he did not lift a finger to correct the wrongs perpetuated by the state leaders. Let me quote you one example. There was this Muslim VVIP who went around wearing maybe a few kilograms of gold ornaments on his body. The gold was so heavy he must have been suffering from hernia.

The Mufti just looked and said nothing, not daring to inform this VVIP that it is haram for a male Muslim to wear gold.

Then there was this wife of another even more of a Muslim VVIP who, while wearing a mini-skirt, popped Champagne to celebrate the victory of the racers at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Again this Mufti said nothing.

One day, this same Mufti led our mosque congregation for Tarawih prayers during the fasting month of Ramadhan. Before he started the prayers he scolded all those who wanted to only pray eight instead of 20 rakaats. He ordered all those who wished to pray only 8 rakaats to go stand behind and not take up the front row as they are a nuisance to those who want to pray 20 rakaat.

I was flabbergasted. I walked out of the mosque and I have refused to pray behind this Mufti ever since.

For years I did my Tarawih prayers with Tok Guru Abdul Rahman Pattani and he always did eight rakaat. He is one of the most respected religious teachers in Terengganu and even the Terengganu Mufti has high regards for him. Because of his vast knowledge in Islam he was appointed a lecturer at the Kolej Agama Sultan Zainal Abidin (KUSZA) and his salary was borne by the Saudi Arabian government.

In Tok Guru Haji Hadi Awang’s mosque in Rusila we also do eight rakaat. In Masjid Mujahideen in Damansara Utama too we do eight rakaat. And now this Mufti scolds those who want to only do eight rakaat and chases us all out of the front row. And this is the same Mufti who says nothing when Muslim VVIPs wear gold and their mini-skirted wives pop Champagne at Grand Prix races.

My Tok Guru told me whoever comes to the mosque first must fill up the front rows and those who come late should take up the back row. My Tok Guru even related a story of how once Prophet Muhammad arrived late and he stood at the back row, refusing to stand in the front row even though he was a Prophet. Now this Mufti was saying otherwise and was scolding us like schoolchildren on top of that.

Recently, the Selangor Mufti recommended that His Highness the Sultan of Selangor remove a number of Imams from various mosques all over Selangor just because they are not pro-Umno. Is your membership to Umno a criteria for becoming an Imam? Do Imams serve God or serve Umno? No wonder some ‘VIP’ Imams take bribes and kickbacks from maintenance contractors.

So the Federal Territory Mufti wants to meet me is it? Okay, if I do meet him I am going to ask him some questions. I will demand he states his stand on a number of issues and he had better be ready with the answers. As starters, we are being told that Islam is the only true religion accepted by God and all other religions are not acceptable. All Muslims will go to Heaven and non-Muslims will go to Hell. Even bad Muslims will eventually go to Heaven while good non-Muslims will still go to Hell. Therefore, we should only be Muslims and not embrace any other religion other than Islam.

Okay, I buy that. In fact, I have no quarrel with that. But can the Mufti then please explain Verse 62, Chapter 2 of the Koran which says:

2.62- ان الذين امنوا والذين هادوا والنصارى والصابئين من امن بالله واليوم الاخر وعمل صالحا فلهم اجرهم عند ربهم ولاخوف عليهم ولاهم يحزنون
Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Now, is it therefore right that our Kutbah (sermons) written by the religious departments should refer to all non-Muslims as ‘Kafir’ (Infidels)? Is not this an insult to non-Muslims? Would this not make Muslims look down on and despise non-Muslims?

The Koran is not saying that all Muslims, even bad ones, go to heaven — so never mind about being good, just become a Muslim and that is good enough. So why are we Muslims being told this? Why are we Muslims being told that the short cut to heaven is to become a Muslim? And why are we Muslims being told that “any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall NOT have their reward with their Lord” unless it is the Muslim Lord.

Over to you dear Mufti.

I will then next go to Verse 13, Chapter 49 of the Koran which says:

49.13- ياايها الناس انا خلقناكم من ذكر وانثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا ان اكرمكم عند الله اتقاكم ان الله عليم خبير
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

God says in the Koran he purposely created mankind both male and female and from different tribes and nations so that we may know each other and not despise each other. And God says that those most honoured are those who are righteous or pious. And earlier, the Koran says, “Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord”.

So where, my dear Mufti, does it say that Heaven is the exclusive domain of all those who claim to be from the Islam religion and all those who do not claim to be followers of Islam will be condemned to Hell for eternity?

Now that is only a small portion of what I am going to question the Mufti on. And I will demand he makes his stand clear as far as this issue is concerned. If all non-Muslims are automatically going to Hell then the Mufti must state so. But if he thinks even non-Muslims will go to Heaven as well if they do good, then he should state so. Once the Mufti’s stand is clear and if from this stand it is established I have erred in saying that our sermons cause Muslims to hate non-Muslims, only then will I openly admit my mistake and apologise. But the Mufti must first make his stand clear.

Next I will ask the Mufti on whether we have to follow the Koran in entirety or not. The Mufti’s reply will determine what action I take. If we need to only partly follow the Koran and not follow it completely then the authorities have no business in what I say and do.

How can they say I have insulted Islam? Which verse in the Koran are they quoting? Which Islamic law are they using? In the first place, why should I follow that law in the Koran since we do not have to follow the Koran completely?

But if, as Muslims, it is our duty to follow the Koran completely, then I will accept guidance from the Mufti on where I have erred and if I have truly erred then I will publicly admit my mistake and apologise. But then I will also ask the Mufti to declare HIS stand and why he is not following the Koran completely as well as far as Islamic laws are concerned. Islam is very specific about what constitutes a crime and Islam has laid down the punishment for these crimes. Islam makes absolutely no compromise on this issue. It is a must and all must abide to it. And why is the Mufti, the religious head honcho, not complying with them? Is it not an insult to Islam that the Mufti is ignoring the Koran?