Do we really know what we are fighting for?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

What has Malaysia Today achieved in its 16 months of existence? Well, apart from introducing a culture of freedom of expression — which many still think means criticising the government but not the opposition — it has also enabled us to see inside the minds of many Malaysians. And what do we see inside the minds of Malaysians? For starters, the majority of Malaysians are bigots, either racial or religious in nature. Secondly, Malaysians chant slogans, parrot-like, without really understanding what they mean.

Malaysians will scream, shout, rant and rave about one thing, then go do another. I would not go so far as to say that they are hypocrites because this is a harsh word to use in Islam — it means Munafiq — but I would certainly say they are very confused as to what their perjuangan (struggle) is.

Many, in particular Muslims, say that they wish to uphold the sanctity of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia (mempertahankan kedaulatan Perlembagaan Persekutuan Malaysia) and empower the people (memperkasakan rakyat). That is well and fine. This is certainly a noble aspiration indeed. However, on the other hand, they also say that they wish to see Malaysia converted into an Islamic State based on the teachings of the Qur’an.

Is this not a contradiction of sorts? Let me explain.

Article 4 (1) of the Federal Constitution says: This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Now, how can they uphold the sanctity of the Federal Constitution, yet at the same time aspire to implement Islamic or Syariah laws? Article 4 (1) is very clear. The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation. Therefore, any other laws would not apply, whether they be God’s law, Qur’anic laws, or otherwise.

These same people would argue that they wish to implement Islamic laws because this is what has been stated in the Qur’an and the Qur’an is supreme. They also argue that the Qur’an is their Constitution. Is it? Not according to the Federal Constitution which these people also say they are trying to uphold. The Federal Constitution says that ‘this Constitution is the supreme law of the land’, not the Qur’an’s or God’s laws. Does this not make the Federal Constitution higher than the Qur’an, and not vice versa?

So which is it that these people want? Do they want to uphold the sanctity of the Federal Constitution as they say they do, or do they wish to introduce Islamic laws as they also say they do? They cannot have it both ways. If they really want to uphold the sanctity of the Federal Constitution, then they should forget about Islamic laws which Malaysia’s Constitution does not allow. But if they wish to implement Islamic laws instead, then they should oppose the Federal Constitution to the death.

By the way, this is what Chin Peng did: that is he opposed the creation of Malaya, which means he opposed the Federal Constitution that made possible the creation of Malaya. If these people now decide to oppose the Federal Constitution on grounds that it is placed more supreme than the Qur’an and because it disallows Islamic laws from being implemented, would then these people not be just like Chin Peng? And if Chin Peng has been branded a traitor because he opposed the creation of ‘secular’ Malaya, would not these people be considered traitors as well; people who have no respect for the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and who oppose a secular Malaysia?

So we need to know what the real struggle of these people are. Do they really respect the Federal Constitution and struggle to uphold the sanctity of the Federal Constitution or are they opposed to it? If it is the former, then out the window goes their Islamic State, and if the latter, then they are just like Chin Peng; only their platform is different.

Okay, next point.

Some of these people (some keADILan people as well) label Dr Syed Husin Ali a communist because, they say, he believes in socialism. Even the Chief Minister of Kelantan said so. Since when does a socialist become a communist? If Dr Syed Husin is a communist, then so is Prophet Muhammad because Prophet Muhammad brought us Islam, which is rife with socialism.

Is not the zakat and fitrah system socialism? Is this system not for the rich to help pay for the poor? That is socialism. Socialism seeks to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, as does Islam — as opposed to capitalism where the rich get richer and the poor become poorer.

Next point!

Islam says that to pray in a group is better than praying alone. You get more pahala. Eating in a group is better than eating alone. You not only get full but you get pahala as well. Travelling in a group is better than travelling alone. When your neighbour is sick you are supposed to visit him or her. If your neighbours have no food and are hungry, you are not supposed to eat before you share your food with them (even if they are not Muslims as demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad). And so on and so forth.

So, what does all this mean?

It means Islam believes in community living. Muslims are supposed to practice this as a way of life; Adeen. Muslims must live in a commune (masyarakat) and be conscious of the needs of the community. If no one in that community fulfils certain obligations, then the entire community bears the sin. This is called Fardu Kifayah. If just one in that community fulfils the obligation, then the entire community is absolved of sin.

Yes, community living is encouraged and fulfilling the obligations to the community is mandatory in Islam. Everything in Islam is about the community (and that is why Islam propagates congregational prayers, and the Friday congregational prayers must be fulfilled by members of that particular community, not from another community). Commune is where the word ‘communist’ comes from. Are Muslims communists then?

Communism has a moral code. And what is this moral code?

  1. Devotion to the cause of Communism, love of the socialist Motherland and of the socialist countries.
  2. Conscientious labour for the good of society: he who does not work, neither shall he eat.
  3. Concern on the part of everyone for the preservation and growth of public property.
  4. High sense of public duty; intolerance of actions harmful to the public interest.
  5. Collectivism and comradely mutual assistance: one for all and all for one.
  6. Humane relations and mutual respect between individuals: man is to man a friend, a comrade, and a brother.
  7. Honesty and truthfulness, moral purity, unpretentiousness and modesty in social and private life.
  8. Mutual respect in the family, concern for the upbringing of children.
  9. Irreconcilability towards injustice, parasitism, dishonesty, careerism, and profiteering.
  10. Friendship and brotherhood among all peoples of the nation, intolerance of national and racial hatred.
  11. Intolerance towards the enemies of communism, peace, and freedom of nations.
  12. Fraternal solidarity with the working people of all countries, and with all peoples.

Yes, that’s right, how many of the twelve articles above are in harmony with Islam? How many (not all) of the noble values and moral code of communism are actually very Islamic in nature? And Muslims say that communism is anti-God. From what I can see, a good portion of the communist moral code is what Islam stands for.

Okay, next point.

These people also condemn capitalists as enemies of Islam. They point to the Western capitalists and call them friends of Satan and enemies of God. Does not Islam also espouse capitalism? Does not Islam say that nine-tenths of rezeki (good fortune) is through doing business? Is this not capitalism? Does not Islam encourage one to get rich so that the rich can then support the poor?

In fact, Islam is both socialism and capitalism rolled into one.

Malaysians have to ask themselves what their real struggle is. It has to be one or the other. It cannot be both. They whack one system but live in the same system that they whack. They condemn socialism, capitalism, communism and many other ‘isms’ but fail to realise that all these ‘isms’ are within Islam itself. And do not confuse communism as not acknowledging the existence of God. That is another thing altogether. There are also conservatives, liberals, democrats and republicans who do not believe in the existence of God as well. This has nothing to do with communism.

Okay, let us go to another point. These people who condemn everything under the sun as un-Islamic and scream about wanting to set up an Islamic State also scream about wanting more democracy. They want Malaysia to respect their democratic rights. They want more freedom and to be allowed to practice ‘proper’ democracy. Democracy, democracy, democracy!

But democracy is opposite to Islam. How can you shout about wanting a Democratic State and about wanting an Islamic State both in the same breath? The two just do not go together. A Democratic State is about freedom of choice on how to live your life while an Islamic State means one is bound by God’s rules on moral conduct.

Democracy, in its ideal sense, is the notion that the people should have control of the government ruling over them and not the other way around (so the government has no say in how the people lead their lives, however ‘sinful’ it may be). This ideal is pursued by implementing a system of elections or voting such that the majority of the people rule, either directly or indirectly, through elected representatives. Democracy was invented by the Greeks about 1,000 years before the coming of Islam. And democracy is achieved through the holding of general elections where the majority of the people elect the government of its choice.

Okay, these people say that they want Malaysia to revert to an Islamic State just like in the time of Prophet Muhammad. But what Democratic Islamic State did they have then? Can these people please explain?

So, now can you see why I say that a Democratic State and an Islamic State are two different things altogether? You have to decide on one or the other. You cannot have them both in one.

These people who aspire to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State must now declare that they are opposed to a Democratic State, like the one set up by the Greeks 1,000 years before Islam (so no more general elections where the majority rules). They also have to declare that they are opposed to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia that places the Constitution and not the Qur’an as supreme. They must also declare that they put Islam as the way of life and the propagation of communes for the betterment of the community, just like the communists. They must declare that socialism and capitalism are within Islam and not the enemies of Islam, like how they have been saying all along.

Better still, maybe these people can try to understand what the hell it is they are struggling for and ask themselves whether all this while they have been extremely confused about their struggle.

Oh, and please refrain from throwing around all those Arabic words and verses from the Qur’an in debating this issue, which some are very fond of doing as a defence mechanism whenever they are at a loss for words on how to counter any argument.