Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Raja Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abdul Karim
RESPECTFULLY, I would assert that your editorial, “Enforcing Syariah Law Is Sovereign Right” (The Brunei Times, 25 February 2014) conveys a palpable ominous and insidious development within the society. If it has been fomented by foreign elements (a ‘fifth column’), I would say it is not a big surprise and should not be as dangerous as when the “assaults” against our Islam and our Monarch have been launched by certain rakyat of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. They could be those termites, the “anai-anai” within our country.
Any attack from outside, InshaaAllah, we together can fight for our Monarch, Country and Islam. But from within? Wallahu a’lam! Na’uzu billah!
The “assaults” have been facilitated and spread by the abuse and misuse of hand-held cyber-electronic equipment.
Before I go further, it is essential at this juncture to adduce here below these Divine Reminders and hadith, and books of reference as quick pointers to the essence of what I expand below:
i. “O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day”.
(Al-Quran: Surah Al-Nisa [The Women]) 4: Verse 59
(N.B: “Refer it to Allah and the Messenger” means refer to the Noble Quran and the Sunnah)
i(a). “(This is) a Book (the Noble Quran) that We have revealed to thee, [O Muhammad], so that men may ponder over its messages (verses) and those who are endowed with insight may take them to heart”.
(Al-Quran : Surah Sad : Verse 29)
i(b): “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people), if only they had referred to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly). Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, you would have followed the the devil (shaitan), save a few of you”.
(Al-Quran: Surah Al-Nisa [The Women] 4: Verse 83
i(c): “And We made from among them leaders to guide by Our Command when they were patient. And they were certain of Our messages”.
(Al-Quran: Surah Al-Sajdah [The Prostration] 32: Verse24)
i(d): “Do they apportion the Mercy of thy Lord? We portion out among them their livelihood in the life of this world, and We exalt some of them above others in rank, that some of them may take others in service.
And the Mercy of thy Lord is better than that which they amass”.
(Al-Quran: Surah Zukhruf [Gold] 43: Verse 32)
ii. The Prophet Muhammad Sala-Allahu Alayh Wa Sallam, shortly before his wafat (demise) in 632 made his final pilgrimage to Mekah, where he delivered his Farewell Sermon, which has had historical significance for all Muslims since then (N.B: this Farewell Sermon is shortened herein):
“O people, listen to me; I will deliver a message to you. For I do not know whether I shall ever have an opportunity to meet you after this year in this place ……
O people, verily your blood (lives), your properties and your honour are sacred and inviolable to you till you appear before you Lord …..
Beware; no one committing a crime is responsible for it but himself …….”
The Prophet went on to condemn usury, blood vengeance, and murder.
“Verily you owe your women their rights, and they owe you yours”. The Prophet reminded the men about ethnic, and racial divisions.
The Prophet reminded them that: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve”. The Prophet highlighted that: “An Arab has no superiority over non-Arab ….. Also a white person has no superiority over a black person, nor a black person over a white person, except through piety and good deeds”. (Re: “Islam Without Extremes” by Mustafa Akyol)
iii. And please ponder on this part of the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR), 2005 which asserts that: “Religion has no connection with any of the mistaken practices that are carried against women ……”, which is adduced from this book : “Women, Man, and God in Modern Islam” by Theodore Friend.
Theodore Friend then offers his conjecture: “It is certainly plausible to say that Arabic societies give rise to their own traditions. And that they then, he quotes: “….. give precedence to custom over true worship and provide foundations for assumptions that have no grounding either in the Holy Quran or in the authenticated practices and sayings of the Prophet (The Hadith)” (AHDR pg.vii).
iv. “And if anyone of the polytheists (idolaters) seeks thy protection, protect him till he hears the Word of Allah (the Quran), then convey him to his place of safety. This is because they are a people who know not.”
(Al-Quran: Surah Al-Bara’at [The Immunity] 9: Verse 6)
v. “O you who believe, be maintainer of justice, bearers of witness for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or near relatives, whether he be rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not (your) low desires, lest you deviate.And if you distort or turn away from (truth), surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do.”
(Al-Quran Surah Al-Nisa [The Women] 4: Verse 135)
vi. (In Islamic perspective), in the sufferings of this world, Muslims and non-Muslims are equal and alike. (“The Muslims Conduct of State” by Muhammad Hamidullah.)
Now, regarding those “anai anai” (the termites) and the fifth column, no doubt Islam, Ulil Amri and peaceful Muslims have been under assaults almost worldwide. “Islam and Muslims are the world’s favourite punching bag; but you could be imprisoned for doubting the Holocaust. If this isn’t a case of double standards, what is it? (“Time West Ended Invective”, The Brunei Times, 18 March 2008)
The Dutch parliamentarian Greet Wilders: “ ….. argues that most Dutch Muslims should leave Holland and tear up at least half the Quran if they wish to stay. He promises that his film will definitively show ‘the violent and fascist elements of the Muslim’. (“More Useless Provocation”, The Brunei Times, 27 March 2008)
There is this “discipline” called “Orientalism” which identified itself as “scientific” and “objective” in studying and explaining Islam. It was/is often supported by colonial powers to aid in the achievement of political goals. But these orientalists published numerous critical “Islamic” tracts. The religious and theological thrust of most these works was, Islamically speaking, very negative and destructive. And parallel with these works of orientalism, based usually on a secularist worldview, there arose anti-Islamic tracts written by Christian missionaries: such works still appear today, in new guise. German sociologist Max Weber really maximised his affront on Islam by conjuring this image of the Muslim qadi sitting under the palm tree, dispensing justice as he saw fit. (Fortunately was also ignorant of the existence of coconut, oil and pinang palm trees!). But Noah Feldman countered the attack of Max Weber by asserting that, “Nothing could have (been) further from the truth. The qadi was to judge according to law. When he was in doubt, he would refer the case to (a) qualified jurist who would answer in the form of a fatwa, a legal responsum”. However, despite these anti-Islamic tracts, there have appeared in the Western academic world a number of notable scholars who have been deeply sympathetic to Islam and have made important contributions to its study. Several of them, such as Vincent Monteil and Eric Geoffroy, are among a number of Western Islamists who have themselves embraced Islam. (Re: “Islam In The Modern World-Challenged by The West, Threatened By Fundamentalism, Keeping Faith With Tradition” by Seyyed Hossein Nasr).