A discourse on R.I.P.

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Any attempt to further pursue each other’s claim invariably results in more animosity.

Dzulkefly Ahmad, fz.com

THIS article is a tribute to a man who fought for justice unflinchingly. He upheld the rule of law and the constitution, and defended the judiciary against Executive intrusion. His reputation cut across the divide of race, religion and class.
There are compelling obituaries that testify to the fact that the late Karpal Singh was unique among the towering figures of the nation, so there is no added value in attempting to write another.
But following his tragic death, I would like to begin a discourse on whether a Muslim writing a eulogy for a non-Muslim can use the words “rest in peace” or “R.I.P”.
The debate would seem odd and in bad taste, but the unsolicited reprimand from the National Fatwa Council on this subject was arguably most callous and unfortunately real.
Let me continue the discourse.
For starters, allow me to invoke an “alarmist” technique and perhaps be a prophet of doom for once.
It is my conviction that we have, of late, created the chemistry for an imminent collapse of this nation. This chronic communal polarisation has evolved over time, but it has recently become more acute.
The slightest stoking of the racial-religious card gets us all worked up. Little wonder that after more than half a century of independence, a cohesive society and national unity seem more elusive.
Quite honestly, the overarching contention of the “inappropriateness” of the usage of R.I.P. is premised on the fact that in Islam, only believers of the faith would be sent to heaven. It goes without saying where the people of other faiths are doomed to rest.
It wouldn’t surprise us in the least to not find such an article of faith in other religions. Wouldn’t the adherents of other faiths demand their right to claim such eventuality for the Hereafter?
Briefly put, where does all this end? Well, in no less than a conflict. That having been said, religion is often conveniently cited as the primary cause of dissension, conflict and war. This stereotyping of religion is familiar indeed, from time immemorial.
I have spent many protracted hours thinking and discoursing on this subject. An essay entitled “Religious Pluralism: A Critique” is included in my latest book Striving for Change. It alludes to a possible panacea to this perennial quandary of religion. This discourse is a continuing effort in that journey.
Failure to grasp religious plurality as opposed to inadvertently advocating religious pluralism is the underpinning reason for the breakdown in both ethno-religious relationship vis-à-vis other religious or even secular communities. But why, you may ask.
Permit me to elaborate. Religious plurality is diametrically opposed to religious pluralism. It must be noted that the difference is neither merely semantic nor superficial. Simply put, religious pluralism advocates that all religions are equal, simultaneously denouncing and undermining the claim to absolute truth of all religions on the world stage.
It has “relativised” all truth claims and has equated all religions to be essentially and relatively the same as in all the paths lead to the summit. It has, in fact, indisputably destroyed religion.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/discourse-rip#ixzz315aKdCwg