Malays more special than Arabs in Islam?


“What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – King Henry II

Last year Perak’s Chief Mufti claimed that Malays are ‘special’ because they are related to Islam, unlike the Arabs, some of whom are Christians. Presumably his ‘Malays’ are thus superior to the Arabs.

In other words, according to this man, the Malays could be considered as The Chosen Race of Allah swt, in the same way Jews believe they are of YWVH, while Japanese consider themselves even more superior, having descended from Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess.

Not wanting to be left out from The Chosen Race category, some bible-toting Yanks and Brits believe for centuries they are in fact descendants of the ancient Hebrews and thus God’s Chosen Race.

However, Harussani was a ‘reasonable’ man (wakakaka) in conceding (perhaps grudgingly, but who knows?) that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an Arab. Hmmm, I wonder whether Harussani had wished the Prophet (pbuh) was also a Malay?

Harussani’s assertion that all Malays are Muslims is in fact supported by the Malayan Constitution, which defines who’s a Malay (e.g. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah and Zambry Abdul Kadir) and who’s not (e.g. kaytee wakakaka). Incidentally my Uncle knew a ‘Malay’ military person who’s not a Muslim (by his own choice), but admittedly this was during the days when Malays were not yet ‘Arabized’ (thanks to Anwar) and more tolerant.

But if we step outside the Malayan Constitution and its definition of a ‘Malay’, there are lots of Malays who aren’t Muslims.

Wikipedia has this to say:

In his 1775 doctoral dissertation titled De generis humani varietate nativa (On the Natural Varieties of Mankind), Blumenbach outlined four main human races by skin color, namely Caucasian (white), Ethiopian (black), Native American (red), and Mongolian (yellow).

By 1795, Blumenbach added another race called ‘Malay’ which he considered to be a subcategory of both the Ethiopian and Mongoloid races. The Malay race were those of a “brown color, from olive and a clear mahogany to the darkest clove or chestnut brown.”

Blumenbach expanded the term “Malay” to include the native inhabitants of the Marianas, the Philippines, the Malukus, Sundas, Indochina, as well as Pacific Islands such as Tahitians. He considered a Tahitian skull he had received to be the missing link; showing the transition between the “primary” race, the Caucasians, and the “degenerate” race, the Negroids.

‘Degenerate’ race eh? No doubt he was a racist arsehole.

Sometimes I have heard of ‘Malays’ belonging to the ‘Polynesian’ ethnic group. Nevertheless, even today the term ‘Malays’ would loosely embrace Filipinos, Polynesians, Maoris, and Indonesians of various ethnicities. I’m sure we are all aware not all are Muslims, even if we consider only Indonesians.

But in Malaya/Malaysia, the Constitution is probably the only one of its kind in the world to legislate who is a ‘Malay’. I wonder what ethnicity a person born a Malay but subsequently decides he/she isn’t a Muslim (like the person my Uncle knew), can claim?