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Friday, April 01, 2011

April - a haram month?

The poco-poco dance has apparently been decreed as haram in Perak. The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, has asked everybody not to question such decree.

Well, knowing how hyper-sensitive all of us are when it comes to everything religion lately - and this applies to ALL of us, regardless of our religion - nobody in his or her right mind would be questioning such decree, Datuk Seri Minister, rest assured.

You will note that I am not even using inverted comas for the word haram anymore. That is because  haram has become a generic word in Malaysia. It is already accepted as a Malay word as well as an English, Tamil and  Chinese (all dialects) word. If you mention the word haram in Malaysia, everybody, regardless of his or her race or faith understands the word.

This propensity to decree anything and everything with the slightest connection with different faith or religion as haram in Islam is however a very interesting trend, if not a cause for concern.

As a citizen, I am horrified - and fearful - at the prospect of the State trying to regulate my private life. Laws should regulate actions which threaten the society as a whole. Laws should never be an instrument to govern private life or to foist upon anybody any  moral value or any code of moral behaviours, unless such behaviours threaten the society as a whole.

In Malaysia, all sorts of decrees have been made and imposed on Muslims lately. These decrees run from the most trivial - such as the prohibition against wearing Manchester United and England football jerseys - to that which smirks of institutional xenophobia - such as that which prohibits Muslims from "celebrating" other religion's celebrations or festivals.

Almost invariably, the reasons proffered for such prohibitions would be that such act, if done by Muslims, would affect their faith, or the preferred word, "akan merosakkan akidah mereka" (loosely translated, "such acts would affect their faith").

Malaysians Muslims cannot therefore wear England and Manchester United jerseys because the logo on the former has a crucifix and on the later has the depiction of the devil (although of course, nobody in Malaysia could seriously testify how the devil looks like, as yet). As the rationale goes, if I wear the jerseys, my faith might be affected and I would convert to Christianity after I take three steps forward and turn to the left to the left while wearing the jersey.

Velentine's day is a no no. Because it may lead to sex. Wearing Santa Claus apparels is also a no no because apparently Santa Claus is a Christian thing. Now the poco-poco dance is also a no no in Perak. Why? Of course it is because the dance has elements of other religions/faiths.

To top it up, according to the Home Ministry, Malays are not to read the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia.

Coincidentally, some months back, my wife attended a wedding in Mukah, Sarawak. It is a small village where the people live happily although life is obviously quite hard. These village folks are the forgotten people of Malaysia. However, what they lack in materialistic possessions, they more than fully make up with their attitude towards life.

I have seen video of the wedding. They had a karaoke session after the khenduri and the whole vilage jumped up to sing. Then of course they had the poco-poco. The whole family danced, including the 70 year olds! All in name of fun and merriment.

I do not know whether they have changed their religion since. I better check.

In a democracy, the power to legislate is with the Parliament. The Parliament consists of our representatives, whom we lawfully elect in an election. Their voice, while legislating and enacting laws, theoretically, reflects and represents your voice and my voice.

It is thus an anomaly that our private life could be regulated by some people who are not legally elected by the people of Malaysia as their representatives in the Parliament or the State Legislative Assembly, as the case may be.

Frankly, I am not able to grapple with the fact that somewhere in an air-conditioned room, some people who are totally bereft of authority, moral or legal, meeting and trying to regulate my life, let alone my private life! It is an aspect of my life that I find no room for negotiation and I find this hard to swallow.

Sometimes I wonder - in fact I always wonder - why are we so transfixed over people's private life. The recent sex video scandal is just but an example of how transfixed we are with a person's private life. We do that with impunity. With no regard to morality and good conscience. Is that Islamic?

I would love if our Islamic scholars could meet, discuss and make pronouncement on, for example, the followings:

i) whether it is Islamic and not haram for suraus and mosques to accept "budget" for renovations and what not during a period immediately preceding a by-election or general election. These "budgets" seem to miraculously appear from God when immediately before a by-election or general election when previous to that, the suraus or mosques could have been left dilapidated without anybody showing any care in the world about them. I would love to know whether such practice is Islamic and therefore not haram.

ii) whether detaining people without trial is not haram?

iii) whether embarrassing people in public is not haram?

iv) whether "Islamic banking", as practised in Malaysia, is really really really not haram?

I was doing some reading last weekend about Christian tradition. I found out that Jesus Christ was believed by the Christians to have been crucified on a Friday, based on details of Canonical gospels and also astronomical approach grounded upon a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model. That day is remembered until now as the Good Friday by the Christians.

On the third day after the Good Friday, it is believed that Jesus rose from the dead (resurrection). That day fell on a Sunday. Until now, that day is celebrated as Easter Sunday, metaphorically marking a day where Jesus and therefore all mankind were freed of Earthly burden.

That day also coincided with Passover day, namely, the day the people of Judaism faith believe to be the day the Israelites were freed by God from slavery when Moses led them out of Egypt from the evil clutches of the Pharaoh.

Jesus, himself a Jew, was believed to have been crucified during Passover time. It is even said that the last supper was a Passover seder (a ritual meal that commemorates the Biblical accounting of the Jews escape from Egyptian slavery).

Metaphorically, both Easter and Passover are regarded as symbols of freedom and liberty, The Easter was a liberation for Jesus Christ from Earthly burden which led to Christianity being born while Passover was the physical liberation of Israelites when led to the birth of Judaism.

The thing is, all these events took place in April (the Easter varies between March 22nd and April 25th).

Meanwhile, the month of April in itself, has its origin from the Greek goddess, Venus. It is believed that the word April is derived from Aprilis, which was associated with Venus'  Greek name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from the Etruscan name Apru. Jacob Grimm suggests the name of a hypothetical god or hero, Aper or Aprus.

If connections with other religions or faiths is to be the criteria for decreeing that a certain act or event is halal or haram as they would otherwise be agents which could affect the "akidah" of Muslims, I wonder whether Friday, Sunday and in fact the whole month of April ought to be outlawed and removed from our calendar? What about the Easter bunny? And the eggs which are distributed during Easter?

I must state that it is not my intention to challenge any fatwa or sacrosanct decree. I just want to understand the concept of faith and the rationale of all these decrees which seek to govern not only my private life but also designed to make me feel small, childish and impotently brainless.

49 comments:

renunganisa said...

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria had recently announced that the “poco-poco” dance would be banned, describing it as haram to Muslims as it contained elements of Christianity as well as spirit worship.

A sad day for open and clear-mindedness... If something is to be banned because it contained elements of Christianity, then they might as well ban the Qur'an as any person who reads (and understands) the Qur'an will see clearly that it contains a whole lot of elements of Christianity and Judaism. How do you escape elements of Christianity while reading the Qur'an?

Schrodinger Cat said...

We shouldn't have Labour's Day as public holiday too. It's a day concocted by those infidel communists to make the public lazy. It is the divine doctrine we should work like asses for our employers.

Anonymous said...

You forgot, maths should also be decreed haram cos the plus sign is a cross.

Kris said...

Pertinent questions Art Harun, and I echo your sentiment.

Anonymous said...

There should NOT be a '1st' of April
in our calenders !!

Anonymous said...

err santa clause is from pagan.. whatttt theeee?

Anonymous said...

25th of December should NOT be a cuti
in the bolehland !!

donplaypuks said...

No Bro

April Fool's Day is for everyone to lighten up.

"ARTiculations at http://art-harun.blogspot.com/ is read by people who wish the Bar Council and lawyers (sharks) ran the country."

Check out my latest satirical piece "Yes PM, You'd Be Shocked, Amazed Who Reads The MSM and Blogs"
at http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

Thanks in advance for the support.

I'll be at RSC Mt Kiara Sat night doing the poco poco loco re Cricket World Cup Finals India vs Sri Lanka. Feel free to drop by and join me for D&D and Dance.

As for that scumbag Mullah Taliban from silver country, hope he gets a serious dose of Saturday Night Fever!

Best regards

dpp
we are all of 1 race, the Human Race

donplaypuks said...

And a good dose of the claps!

KK said...

I guess Harusssani has a pain in his arse, just like that Egyptian mullah who decreed that married couples who have sex in total nude will nullify their marriages !

Anonymous said...

A bit confused, which part of the dance constitutes 'element of christianity'.AS far as i know, faith got nothing to do with dancing.

Well, there are many past declaration decrees on symbols, yoga, valentine..wonder which one has been gazetted and enforced.!!

Anonymous said...

Religions have always been hijacked to enslave the people's mind.

The Al-Quran stresses the need for those who read it; to observe, to ponder and to think.

Yet our ulamaks tell us Muslims we are not good enough to think.

The ulamaks insists the Muslims just follow the fatwas and not to question.

There are even syariah enactment in certain states that make it a crime to question the 'wisdom' of the muftis and the Jabatan Ugama.

RS said...

these people have nothing better to do that make stupid laws.

I'm sick of it!

Anonymous said...

I think we have to ban a lot of things in Malaysia. Firstly JKR & local authority got to redesign all crossroads & junctions. They have to be creative enough to replace those junctions but I really don't know how to go about it. Maybe the mullah is creative enough, hopefully. Secondly, we have to ban teachers from teaching Maths because there are a lot "+" sign in the lessons. But I hope the mullah could be lenient enough to let the pupils to learn all the others: minus, divide & multiply. Oh NO! multiply sign "x" is HARAM too. OMG! Enlish is haram too, it is from the Christian people. No wonder those undergrads from UM Malay Studies protested and demanded their VC to apologize. Wait a minute, even the Bahasa Malayu is not spared: words with "t" would " merosakkan akidah muslim". Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka is to be changed to Dewan Bahasa dan Pus'l'aka.Tongkat Ali>Tonglat Ali, Atan>Alan. The list could go on n on. LOL. I forgot Alan is a Christian name. You see, their job is not easy at all! LMAO

Anonymous said...

PLEASE do NOT use English. It is a Christian language.

PLEASE do NOT use alphabets, i.e. "A, B, C ... " They are the writings of the Christians.

PLEASE do NOT use numbers, i.e. "1,2, 3 ... " They are Christian numerals.

BAN all these ... and what do you have left, Mr. Perak Mufti?

Anonymous said...

Now see what you have done, we will have to replace Sunday as a public holiday. Wonder which day it will be????

Anonymous said...

well i understand that birthday of Prophet Muhammad is NOT a public holiday in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

peace

Anonymous said...

This Mufti of Perak has nothing to do because he has a small brain equivelant to Otak Burung..hahaha. Gua fikir dia (mufti) telah memalukan Islam jika baginilah seorang mufti memberi Fatwa.

Anonymous said...

Art,

You forgot about Yoga being decreed as haram too. Now lets see what else should be decreed as haram:-
1) jeans - because it is invented by an American who happened to be a christian

2) all forms of medication and medical treatment that were developed by kafirs non muslims

3) karaoke - because it has elements of japanese zen buddhist culture

4) currency notes and coins - because the currency notes and coins may have been contaminated by pork or pig handlers in wet markets

5) all forms of recreation and relaxation which does not have elements of the islamic faith ingrained

6) condoms and contraceptives - these will encourage unmarried muslims to have premarital sex without the risk of getting pregnant out of wedlock

7) breathing - because non muslims expel haram carbon dioxide when they breathe out which is mixed with the "clean" air that muslims breathe in

8) all forms of dancing - because the talibans forbid such immoral acts

9) movies, TV, radio - because the movies, TV shows and songs contains elements of un-islamic values

Jason Kay said...

Art,
This part, "Easter Sunday, metaphorically marking a day where Jesus and therefore all
mankind were freed of Earthly burden," - not accurate. But, the message of your article still comes through loud & clear.

Anonymous said...

NO 1st of April = NO fools (excluding saifool) around !!

Anonymous said...

Perak Islamic State versus Kelantan Islamic. Or Umno Islamic state versus PAS Islamic .
Hmm what say you, Double standard Hypocrite MCA President " Chua Soi Leck>>>>>>

Grandma said...

Why there are people who actually build walls of dogma and enforce it on others to get suffocated in it collectively is real hard for me to fathom.

It is only in third class countries run by third class leaders like ours can they ride roughshod over others.

Singam said...

Art, many of the words in the Malay language are from one kafir language or another. Those words are associated with haram practices and therefore should be banned.

Since Malay would then be left with very few words, the Malay people should start speaking in Arabic.

Of course that would mess up the Constitutional definition of Malay but I'm sure those clever fellows will come up with a neat solution.

Anonymous said...

no wonder people are confused,very arbitrary situation,furthermore the shariah enaction varies from State to state, ask him to comment on politicians involved in gutter politics or corruption, guess he knows who is his paymaster.Can u imagine if he has power like the PM.Every move is scrutinized.

Cruzeiro said...

Hi Art- i was wondering if the KDN is in violation of the Penal Code in trying to impose the Islamic Enactment upon Christians ....
http://cruzinthots.blogspot.com/2011/04/religious-rights-reidcobbold-commission.html

Tpg2Sg said...

Aiya Mufti Perak, please learn from this Michelin Chef :


French master chef Joel Robuchon, 65, appears bright and sprightly despite the early hour.

He may be French and a Roman Catholic, but he proceeds to light some joss-sticks to place before Chinese gods at an altar near the meat stalls.

The statesmen-like figure in a black shirt and trousers explains matter-of-factly: 'I respect each and every religion, and doing this is a sign of respect.'

Source: http://www.asiahoreca.com/Singlenews.aspx?DirID=123&rec_code=715274

Rick said...

What about Chess game, with the bishop, King with a cross on the crown? That should be Haram also, no?

Anonymous said...

There are many ppl like to be god(s) or allah by regulating their rules n laws. This cannot do that can do; this can eat that cannot eat; this can use allah that cannot use god; this ppl r christians that ppl r not muslim; these can be haram that dun consider haram...

All men hv sins whether small or big sin is still sin;

We cannot see God but God can watch us everyday. Some use Quran or Bible.

We better check our hearts whether we r right with God n r treating our fellowmen fairly, equally n equivocably.

All scholars (regardless of muslim n christians) shld know what quran n bible stated clearly abt life.

God NEVER created religions; God NEVER created jus 1 kind of human being (like muslim only nor christians, nor black only nor white men). God NEVER created 1 kind of animals, plants, insects, etc.

Why shld we hv so many divisions, religions, wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, unfairness treatments, male separated fm female in public, male is more superior than female, human rights, animals abuse, organics, diseases, pestilences, etc...?

All of us will meet God (Allah) face to face n will give all accounts of wat we hv bn done on earth? No one will fail or will give excuses to meet Him. U like it or not ~ we will face God's "music"....

The important thing is yr heart n mind towards God / Allah.

Pls2, we r NOT superior than God / Allah. Dun speak like God / Allah when u hv not heard anything fm Him directly. Dun use God's name / Allah's name for granted to rule or against 1 another group.

Who r u to tell others wat u to do, use, preach, say,...abt this or that?

Let us live peacefully together. Let God rules all things by natures. Bcos He created us n promised many things for us.

Anonymous said...

In Iran, if u question the clerics, u r label as 'enemy of God'.Now the iranian people realize that their 'islamic model nation' has become dictatorship

observer53 said...

WHO are these people to tell us WHAT we can do and WHAT we cannot do. Is this JAMIL GOD or the FANATIC Mufti GOD. This is the reason why the Malays CANNOT move forward.

Anonymous said...

Follow Mr Fatwa Man's logic , Kamasutra too cannot be practised by Muslims as it originated from Hinduism..

Poor Art..sob sob...

Ipoh said...

Try Google "Ayat Kursi" [2:255] and you will find the description of ayat paling agong, fadilats, rahsia, kelebihan ect ect. Infact i.a.w. these RIWAYAT (His-story) all that you need to do is to recite this verse and 'pooff' you be a better man, clever, no satan can get near you, you can pass your exam ect ect.

Tragically, the holier than thou TEMPURUNG is too engross/obsess with [2:255] only that they are oblivious to the very next verse [2:256].

No Compulsion in Religion
[2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

Ipoh said...

Mr HaramMenari and to the other HARAMers, these reminders are specially formulated/dedicated for you. GOD is addressing you directly.

Innovated Prohibitions Condemned
[7:32] Say, "Who prohibited the nice things GOD has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?" Say, "Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection." We thus explain the revelations for people who know.

[7:33] Say, "My Lord prohibits only evil deeds, be they obvious or hidden, and sins, and unjustifiable aggression, and to set up beside GOD powerless idols, and to say about GOD what you do not know."

zainou said...

The thing is, the poco-poco dance is a coincidental to have a movement which articulate a cross and its origin of a wild ritual dance makes it even more accidental for the "cross" to be emulated. It certainly have no direct proof that poco-poco is Christianity. The culture of the dance in Malaysia has been absorbed only for social purposes like in your wife's experience in the wedding. And for some dinners and events around Malaysia.

And I fondly admire how the Islamic scholar, here in the case of Perak's Mufti Tan Sri Harussni Zakaria to indulge in a depth Islamic research on poco-poco and has found "concrete" proofs for banning it. That was also the case of Yoga a couple of years ago under Tun Ahmad Badawi era. But, they have failed yet to concur or make a depth research on more evident cases like in the recent Datuk T's claimed sex video. More efforts are being put on petty issues while the major ones are left blinded.

And Art-Harun you totally right! As a Muslim, my private life is questioned, I am not comfortable! With the recent Haram-ed Valentines Day just because it is related to a Christianity legend. I am left dumbfounded when friends of Malaysian Christian faith are obviously hurt of the insult. The so called "activity" of the particular day is not advisable. Imagine the Muslims have such a day where "activity" is unrecognized unfairly and being banned by other religion. Hurt? Betrayed? Misjudged? Misunderstood?

I don't know anymore.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed sad that there exists such senselessness. I heard from a friend that some people told her to get rid of her Swiss Army Knife because it's emblem had a cross in it. For as long as I've known, it's just a handy tool. Not a religious object.

Why do we have paranoid morons running the country?

Afiq said...

jawatan kosong di http://onlineuni.wordpress.com/... anyone can apply....

siewchin said...

i guess it started when the sign for a hospital was changed to that of a half-moon moons ago?
the little things that slowly creeped up on us ... where's Lieutenant Ripley?????

Anonymous said...

Which part of the scripture in the bible related to Poco poca dance? Ask him to show us!

Anonymous said...

The silver fatwa man just can't bear to know/see people being joyous and happy.

Something wrong with this guy.

Anonymous said...

I suppose he issued this fatwa for the simple reason he is jealous the unholy trinity trio Dato T were in the news hogging the limelight.
He was afraid the press or BN biggies has forgotten him.

Anonymous said...

Hi Art,
i just don't know anymore..i feel really sad and angry because there is nothing we can do about it since " these people are the law"
i really feel that it is increasingly getting more stressful and difficult to be muslim in malaysia...(for me at least..)

Anonymous said...

In Maths, the addition sign "+" will be changed to the "C" (crescent).
All crossroad will be converted to oval roundabouts (not roundabouts as it also may represent PAS!).
The alphabet T & t, will be replaced by the Perak mufti's face. (Oops, there is a "t" in mufti!)
The National Anthem will be changed, as it has the word "Tuhan" which cannot be used by Muslims as it refers to "pagan" gods.
And the if the "Tuhan" is changed to "Allah", all non-muslims cannot sing the National Anthem, as it will be only for Muslims.
Which also means since the Merdeka, when the National Anthem was first proudly sung by all Malaysians, our fellow citizens of Muslim faith have being singing against Islam.
All these because of some Muftis who sit in an air-conditioned office, and have nothing else better to do!
Oh, by the way, these people also should NOT be paid by the Government as the revenue of the Government is also derived from haram sources like pork eating non-Muslims, gambling companies, liquor companies, tobacco companies(heard there is also an edict against smoking).
Maybe even separately coloured ringgit for Muslim and non-Muslims as the money has been rendered haram since they have touched by pork eating, gambling and liquor drinking infidels?)
Any other things to add?

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

I read almost every one of your article and am glad to see that there are quite a few Malay-Muslim like you. However, if people like you do not take action soon, one day you may find that Malaysia is talibanized !!
Translate all your writting into Bahasa, distribute to the masses in the Kampung, and do something... before it is too late..

Anonymous said...

Most scholars say that religious decree derive from Sharia is divine, (for argument sake)if it is so, then it should not be just applicable to Perak state, the ban should be applicable to the whole muslim world, as islam religion is universely considered as one.If one talk about different sharia enactments,then how one define 'divine' in this situation?? .

Anonymous said...

Pls study instead of u read Quran. You'll find the truth

Miss Aida said...

Well written indeed.

I've heard somewhere the poco-poco was banned for the reason that it was becoming more popular - and with all dances, encouraging fraternizing with both sexes and having women dancing inciting arousal - but the cross was used as the official excuse.

There do seem to be an excess of overzealous religious nuts out there.

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