Alice in Wonderland

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yesterday, Bernama, Malaysia’s official news agency, quoted Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) as saying that the National Fatwa Council needs to issue a fatwa (decree) declaring drug abuse as “haram” or sinful. (Note the word “haram” which is in inverted commas). The reason for this, according to Pak Lah, is to tackle the drug scourge among Muslims.

Pak Lah added he would raise this matter at the cabinet meeting where they would discuss the serious problems caused by drug addiction among Malays, the majority of whom are Muslims. (Note the word ‘majority’ used by Pak Lah, and not ‘all’).

Pak Lah lamented that drug abuse would not only bring destruction to the addicts but would also have adverse effects on the family and community. “I feel it (fatwa to declare drugs as haram) is appropriate…if it is declared sinful, it becomes something that should be avoided and there will be repentance,” he told reporters in Terengganu.

In fact, Pak Lah said, drug addiction had also been identified as one of the causes for deformity among children whose parents were drug addicts. Most of the cases involving deformity were due to the attitude of the public themselves who ignored health care including indulgence in immoral activities, argued Pak Lah.

Besides drug abuse, some were involved in free sex — which is among the factors contributing to the problem — and this certainly can be avoided, suggested Pak Lah. “Thus, I wish to remind the people not to be involved in drugs or sinful activities or immoral acts because such acts can lead to the destruction of the family and nation.”

Most interesting indeed! Please note the word “haram” which has been put in inverted commas. That was how it originally appeared in the Bernama news flash. Inverted commas are normally used in instances when you want to indicate an allegation or an opinion you do not share. For example, we can either say, ‘Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to six years jail for his SO-CALLED crime of corruption’, or we can say, ‘Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to six years jail for his “crime” of corruption’. The word “crime” in inverted commas would tantamount to “so-called” and would indicate that one does not believe in the allegation. Does this therefore mean Bernama does not share Pak Lah’s view that drugs are “haram”?

I don’t think we need to go into a lengthy debate as to whether drugs are haram (prohibited) or not. Islam’s stand on this matter is very clear and beyond dispute. We do not need the National Fatwa Council to tell us that. For that matter, liquor and pork are also haram for Muslims. Does the National Fatwa Council also need to issue a fatwa declaring them haram? And the same goes for gambling, usury, extramarital sex, prostitution, and so on. It is understood that all these are haram and we certainly do not need any National Fatwa Council to declare them haram all over again. It is just like asking the authorities to issue a decree that water is wet. We know it is and we do not need any decrees telling us so.

What we would like the religious authorities to do though is to suggest how to better educate the Muslims on how to be better Muslims. Everything starts from education. Maybe the religious authorities should stop trying to regulate how we act. The fact that they need to arrest people who “act indecently” shows that there is something wrong. If people prefer to conduct themselves in what Islam would regard as an indecent manner, rather than observe the tenets of Islam and comply with its rulings, then the educators have failed us.

You can lead the horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. Whip the Muslims for all you care. It will not stop them from doing what they want to do. It will just force them underground. It would just mean they would not do it openly but would do it on the sly. But they would never stop doing what they enjoy doing. And if they enjoy drugs — or illicit sex, liquor, gambling, etc — they would continue indulging in what gives them pleasure. And no amount of fatwa is going to stop them from doing what they enjoy doing.

Anyway, why bother declaring illegal what is already illegal? You are merely stating a fact. And the fact would not become any more a fact than it already is.

Pak Lah is worried that the majority of those facing a drug addiction are Muslims. Yes, the majority of those in the police lockups are Muslims. And almost all those in the lockups are there due to some form of drug related crime or another. And drugs are freely available in the lockups. And guess who are the ones peddling them to the detainees? Is not Pak Lah the Home Minister? Pak Lah should peep into the police stations first before he peeps into our homes because our homes are not where the problem lies.

And AIDS, a drug related problem, is highest amongst the Muslims as well.

By the way, 20 years or so ago, a Malay newspaper carried a story about a survey they did amongst schoolchildren in the state of Terengganu, a predominantly Muslim state. The survey revealed that 97% of the students interviewed indicated they would rather be somewhere else instead of in school.

Do you know that Terengganu is known as Terengganu Darul Iman? Some iman! Islam makes it compulsory for Muslims to seek knowledge and Muslim kids despise the pursuit of knowledge. Why not the National Fatwa Council come out with a fatwa making it haram for Muslims to remain ignorant? That would make more sense.

On another note, Pak Lah also said there was no necessity for couples who had been married for more than ten years to undergo post-marriage courses because whatever they had learnt before marriage should be sufficient to guide them forever.

Pak Lah was commenting on the suggestion by Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, that couples who have been married for ten years be made to attend courses aimed at, among others, reducing the divorce rate.

Has Dr Mashitah not heard of the ‘seven-year itch’? If she wants to send married couples back to school to learn how to be proper couples then she should do it within six years of their marriage, just before the seven-year itch hits them, and not ten years when by then it would be too late.

Courses conducted by the government are not going to reduce the divorce rate amongst Muslim couples. Intercourse outside the home is where the problem lies.

By the way, does Dr Mashitah know that intercourse has been known to occur in those training camps that they send these people for courses? And I am not talking about those National Service youth training camps but those training centres where government officers are sent for brainwashing courses.

The problem with Dr Mashitah’s plan is that the more courses they conduct, the more rampant the incidences of intercourse, and the higher the divorce rate. It is those government courses turned intercourse that is the problem dear Dr Mashitah. Maybe the government should just abolish all those brainwashing courses they conduct at the centres all over the country. Maybe then the divorce rate may go down.

Sheesh! What kind of government are they running anyway? Every day they come out with new hair-brained ideas to address problems that, in the first place, were created by the government. Malaysia in Bolehland is fast becoming like Alice in Wonderland.

Mufti: Drug abuse is haram

New Straits Times, Apr 19

Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Harussani Zakaria said there was no need for a decree against the use of illicit drugs as such substance abuse is haram in Islam.

Met at the investiture ceremony of the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s 77th birthday at Istana Iskandariah today, Dr Harussani said that in Islam, it is already entrenched that anything harmful to a person is haram.

“Perhaps the matter can be discussed in greater detail if such a decree is needed,” he said when asked to comment on a call made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday for the National Fatwa Council to pass a decree making it haram to use harmful drugs.

Abdullah said such a decree “would be good and appropriate” to reduce drug addiction among Malays as they would refrain from indulging in something forbidden by the religion.