Islam does not need crutches – Asri

(Harakah Daily) – Muslim scholar Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said Islam was built upon reason and sound argument, and as such did not need to prove its truth through enforcement agencies.

In further remarks following the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s presence at a church dinner function over complaints that there were attempts at propagating Christianity to Muslim guests there, Asri told news portal Malaysiakini that the truth of Islam can be shown using sound arguments and not through preventive enforcement actions to stop Muslims from being influenced by non-Muslims.

Saying Muslims in non-Muslim countries especially in the West were active in propagating Islam, Asri drew a comparison.

“What if non-Muslim countries such as Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and other European countries decide to take similar action against mosques there?” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

“We know Muslims there are active in Islamic outreach to non-Muslims at Islamic centres and mosques. Non-Muslims are invited to mosques and given copies of the Qur’an and other Islamic literature.

“If they resort to laws such as ours, surely these mosques would be raided and prosecuted,” Asri commented.

‘Rethink Islamic education’

According to Asri, in a Muslim country like Malaysia, there should not be a situation in which Muslims can be easily swayed by arguments against the religion.

On the other hand, Muslims should naturally be able to exert their influence on adherents of other religions, he said.

“I’m not questioning JAIS, but we Muslims in Malaysia should think about it. Until when should we depend on laws [to uphold Islam]?” said Asri, who was arrested by JAIS officials in 2009 for giving a religious talk without its permission.

“If that is the case, there is a need to re-think Islamic education and propagation,” he wrote in his SMS to Malaysiakini.

Earlier, the former Perlis mufti trained his gun on Islamic authorities in the country for failing to achieve the objectives of zakat. This he said resulted in desperate Muslims turning to help from churches. Saying zakat offices were luxuriously furnished, Asri said Muslims should not be quick to blame others for trying to win over Muslims when they had themselves failed to help fellow Muslims.