Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I remember my Tok Guru (religious teacher) once telling me: why quarrel and fight over matters of sunat (optional) when matters of wajib (compulsory) are not yet resolved? For example, said Abdul Rahman Pattani, wearing a kopiah (skull cap) during prayers is not compulsory. Yet Muslims seem to put a lot of importance in this as if their prayers would not be complete without it. They however neglect the most important aspect of prayer, argued Tok Guru Rahman, and this is kushuk (concentration or absorption albeit deep meditation style).

“When we pray, are we concentrating on our prayers or are we being distracted by worldly matters?” asked Tok Guru Rahman. “Most times our body is present in prayer but our mind is somewhere else.”

Skull caps are not important, the quality of our prayers are. But most Muslims are more concerned with placing skull caps on their heads before they conduct their prayers while being totally lost in another world and not at all absorbed in their prayers. In short, they conduct only the physical rituals of their prayers while their state of mind is totally void of prayer.

Muslims seem more concerned with rituals and appearances as if performing these rituals and ‘looking good’ makes one a good Muslim. They would shy away from eating pork, drinking liquor or from indulging in gambling or adultery. And that, many think, is the mark of a good Muslim. However, these ‘pious’ Muslims would be the first to gossip and they somehow do not feel that this is worse than eating pork, drinking liquor or gambling.

Nameemah, which translates to malicious gossip, as well as spying, are considered major sins in Islam. Prophet Muhammad said, “No person who spreads nameemah will enter Paradise.”

Prophet Muhammad also said, “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the falsest of speech. Do not eavesdrop; do not spy on one another; do not envy one another; do not forsake one another; do not hate one another. Be, O slaves of Allah, brothers.”

How often do we see Muslim men wearing skull caps or Muslim women wearing headscarves backbiting and slandering others? No doubt Islam makes it compulsory for women to wear headscarves. But religious scholars have said there is no evidence that those who do not wear one would go to hell, notwithstanding the fact they have failed to comply with one of God’s commands.

My point here is: a bare headed woman who refrains from gossip and backbiting is a better Muslim than one who wears a headscarf but delights in running down others. And the issue here is priority. Most Muslims put priority on form and appearances while neglecting function; whereas form should always follow function and not the other way around.

Now, at this point you might be asking, “What the hell is Raja Petra going on about and where the hell is he trying to lead us?”

Simple, many Muslims, in particular Malaysian Muslims, go around with this holier than thou attitude, a smug look on their face, and a chip on their shoulder. They imagine themselves as ‘pure’ Muslims who have achieved the level and status where they can condemn others.

Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. And not many would be able to lift their hands to throw this stone — ulamaks, muftis, and all form and manner of religious scholars included.

Judge me by all means. Condemn me if you wish, because I deserve condemnation, for I am not a perfect Muslim. I am, in fact, quite a bad Muslim, and I admit this. But let he whose hands are not tainted do the condemnation. If not, please, forever, hold your tongue because you are as much a sinner as I.

Raja Petra believes in a Malaysian race. Raja Petra believes that Malaysia is a multi-cultural society and that people of all races and religions must be treated equal. He is a traitor to the Malay race and to Islam. He is putting Islam at the same level of all religions and is therefore unIslamic.

Okay, okay, I have heard all this before. Enough messages have been posted in this blog telling me to go find a Tok Guru and go learn about Islam before I speak. Many have in fact told me I am not qualified to talk about Islam. Some have even asked me whether I have left Islam and am now a Christian.

To all those Malaysian Muslims who think so highly of themselves and imagine themselves second to Prophet Muhammad in the purity of their Islam, I have one question for you: are you so sure you are a good Muslim and are not committing sins tantamount to the sin of intercourse with your own mother or father?

Yes, that’s right, the sin tantamount to the sin of intercourse with one’s own mother or father!

If you can confidently tell me you are clear of this sin then judge me by all means. If not, then shut up and go search yourself first before you look for my faults.

And what sin is this I am talking about that tantamount to the sin of intercourse with one’s own mother or father? The sin of riba or usury.

Muslims wrongly think that riba or usury merely means the interest you pay on your car loan, housing loan, or credit cards. Prophet Muhammad, however, said there are seventy different forms and levels of riba. Of course, credit transactions are certainly one of the many forms. But there are many more — and bribes or kickbacks is one of them, something many Malays seem to have no problem indulging in. This type of Malay is worse than those who drink liquor.

Recently, some religious department officials arrested 100 Muslims who were patronising a leading disco on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. You may argue that these 100 Muslims should not have been in that ‘haram’ place so they deserve the treatment they got. I do not want to argue this point as this is not the issue. The issue is: are those religious department officials so pure and such good Muslims that they can qualify as judge, jury and ‘moral police’?

Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. Otherwise, keep those stones in your pocket where they belong. And are you so sure you have not committed one of the worst sins in Islam, worse than sitting or dancing in a disco in ‘revealing’ clothes, as what those arrested were charged with?

Riba, as defined by Islam, is any and all increases in your wealth which is not a direct result of your toil and sweat — interest and bribes being only two of these many forms.

Many Malays prefer borrowing from Bank Islam or take Islamic loans from a commercial bank and then imagine themselves free of riba. They take murabaha loans and say that they are free of sin. But they are not.

The banks, of course, try to downplay the word ‘interest’ by calling it ‘murabaha’. To circumvent interest they would ‘purchase’ an item at the market price and ‘resell’ it to the ‘buyer’ at a higher price, which is above market price under a so-called sales and purchase agreement. The truth is: the bank is not selling you anything but lending you money to pay for what you are going to buy. If you plan to pay back in one year, the sales price would be calculated at a certain price (say, purchase price plus 8%) and if you sign up for ten years then it would be a different price (say, purchase price plus 70%); which is definitely much higher than the one-year payback price.

Time, therefore, is the essence for determining the ‘sales’ price. Since time is the essence, then this would be riba. Further to that, the bank is making excessive profit from you just because you are paying over time. You could buy the same item on the market much cheaper. But because you are paying over time you have to pay a ‘penalty’. This is riba.

Say you buy a RM50,000 car. That is today’s market price for the car. But since you are paying for the car over five years, the bank sells it to you for RM70,000. The bank just made RM20,000 from you on a car that is worth RM50,000 today because you are paying back over five years. Whatever fancy name you wish to call it, it is still riba and the lender, borrower, lawyer who drew up the agreement, bank officer handling the transaction, witnesses to the agreement, directors of the bank, investors who have shares in the bank, and everyone down to the office boy who went to the stamp office to get the agreement stamped are equally guilty of riba.

Islamic banks promoting murabaha are taking everyone for a ride and everyone involved have committed a sin tantamount to intercourse with one’s own mother or father — those moral police from the religious department included who have savings in the bank or savings in the Pilgrims Fund (Tabung Haji) that has shares in the bank.

Okay, you say I do not have any loans or debts and have not paid any interest in my life. I also do not have any credit cards and have not taken one Sen in bribes since the day I was born. I do not have savings in the bank or shares in any unit trust that has shares in the bank either. I am a clean Muslim and therefore qualified to act as the moral police.

Are you so sure? I am sure you buy and sell. What do you use for buying and selling? Paper money? Paper money is also riba.

Paper money goes up and down in value. The Ringgit can be worth one thing today and another tomorrow. As long as you earn your salary from the religious department in the form of paper money or Ringgit you stand to gain if it goes up — or you risk losing if the Ringgit were to go down in value. So you stand to gain from an increase in your wealth through no effort of your own other than because you are hoarding your money in a bank, or you risk losing and seeing your wealth reduced if the value goes down; which means you are taking a huge gamble just like you had placed your money on a roulette wheel. That is riba.

Hoarding or keeping your paper money in a bank where the value goes up and down is indulging in riba.

Unfair profit made on a sale just because the buyer is paying over time is riba.

Interest paid is riba.

Bribery and corruption is riba.

Speculative profit is riba.

Options are riba.

Mononopolies are riba.

And so on and so forth.

No Muslim in Malaysia other than the Penans in Sarawak is spared riba. As long as you are part of society you indulge in riba. So there are no ‘clean’ Muslims in Malaysia.

So the ‘clean’ religious department officials would only be those who have no loans, pay no interest (even in the form of murabaha), earn no salary in the form of paper money, have no savings in the bank, have no shares and investments, and perform their duty for the sake of God and not for the sake of paper money. And how many of these kind of religious department officials were in the recent raid where 100 Muslims were arrested in one of the leading discos in Kuala Lumpur?

Yes, let he who has not sinned cast the first stone for those scantily dressed disco goers may actually be ‘cleaner’ Muslims than you.