Islam has been misunderstood by many. Even many Muslims themselves do not really understand Islam.
Islam was bestowed on the Arabs via Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at the time of “Jahiliyah” (grave ignorance) , pre-Islam when the Arab community was at its abyss in terms of civil society, believes and culture; at the brink of total lawlessness. This monumental change from such a bad society to the best of the people is an example and a way of life for humanity; not just the Arabs.
Today, despite being so advanced in science and technology and a very civil world, there are large pockets in societies that resemble that period occurring both in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. I am more concern with the Muslim society in Malaysia because I am a Malaysian Muslim.
No one, Muslim or non-Muslim, can deny that there have been a lot of heinous acts in Malaysia perpetrated by Muslims. These acts are all unlawful and prohibited in Islam but still the way and tenacity that these acts were carried out are the same actions done by the Arabs during the “Jahiliyah” period. The irony is that there was no Islam then but now the Muslims are doing these bad deeds within the community itself. What went wrong?
The main reason that I can conclude by 35 years of observing, pondering, reading and mixing around within all walks of society, is the fault of the family; the lack of proper upbringing by the parents in the families. I am a parent too and I have regretted that I have not been able to fulfill my duties on my children and family as much as I wished. It is a difficult task in trying to maintain one’s posture and at the same time need to discharge one’s responsibilities on others. But still try we must.
Many of my non-Muslim friends have very responsible children who are honest, well mannered and obedient to their parents. Many of my non-Muslim friends revered their parents, do not neglect their parents and are good law abiding citizens. Why then when Islam has taught the Muslims on so many things in detail, on what to do from the cradle to the grave even to the extent on the procedure of clipping one’s finger nails, many (not all) Malaysian Muslims still behave badly?
They are the product of parental negligence; from generation to generation. Those Muslim parents simply neglect their responsibilities. The parents themselves could not care less and totally ignorant of their responsibilities and the teachings of Islam. They refused to know.
Children, according to Islamic law, have various rights. One of these is the right to be properly brought up, raised, and educated. Islam encourages children to be brought up well because it is the responsibility of an adult to raise his child to become a moral and ethical adult. Children must also be treated equally. When giving financial gifts they should all be the same amount and there should be no preference among them. Children are even permitted to take moderately from their parent’s wealth to sustain themselves if the parent declines to give them proper funds for living. A child is also not allowed to get hit in the face or hit by anything larger than a pencil.
A saying of the holy prophet Muhammad is recorded as follows: “If a daughter is born to a person and he brings her up, giving her good education and training in various skill/arts of life, I shall myself stand between him and hellfire.”
Yet the Muslim parents do not take heed to the above virtuous deeds demanded by Islam. The irony is that the non-Muslims unknowingly are doing the Islamic thing! That is why they seem to be better and prosperous than the Muslims.
The Malay Muslims in particular are lackadaisical in whatever they do and in their attitude. This is the Malay nature. At one time the word “malaise” which is French was attributed to the Malays which brought much criticism from the Malay leaders and scholars in the 60s but, how true it is that the word “malaise” befits the Malays in Malaysia while Islam always encourages the Muslims to be hardworking, vigilant, active and be resourceful. The Malays must change.
With the present disarray in the unity of the Muslim community in Malaysia things will get worse. I hope I am wrong. Islam which is apolitical have been politicized each claiming to be more Islamic then the other. Like Dr. Mahathir said it his speech in Oxford, surely one is right and one is wrong, but both of them can be wrong too.
Unfortunately the Shariah zealots (I am not referring to any political party but those individuals and NGOs with this agenda) still insist, persist and in the opinion that Hudud Laws must be implemented and the situation is in more dire need now and only with political strength can a good Muslim society could be achieved. I would say that they are out of their minds, they need votes to win; to have the political power and with the present Muslims’ indifference, behaviors and actions how do they expect to win? Are they thinking of overthrowing the present regime?
It is the Muslims who have made themselves misunderstood. The Malays are giving bad name and bad image of Islam, while most of the non-Muslims will never accept the Shariah even if they are guaranteed by the Shariah that it will not be imposed on them, still with the shortcomings as seen by them, Islam instead of bringing good tidings will just be despised.
Muslims must make their community good and respectable in tuned with the teachings of Islam. The Hudud Laws as I mentioned in my previous article are not the “whole of Islam”. Go and learn Islam back and don’t take things for granted. As for the non-Muslims many of the good things that you have done are in fact what Islam has enjoined for the past 1400 years without you realizing it.