As all of us would have experienced nowadays, in this beloved and blessed nation of ours, there are 3 types of news.
Firstly, there are news which make us laugh. These are news the comedic value of which might be slightly higher than 5 episodes of Blackadder put together. This genre is represented by the recent news about some bright spark in some education department coming up with the 1 Toilet program.
Secondly, there are news which make you cry. Like the news today about a 3-week old suspension bridge come a-crashing leaving one student dead and 2 others missing. This is sad because in this day and age - where we have the tallest twin tower in the world; we have sent a man to space; we have a F1 team etcetera - we can't even build a proper bridge for students to cross safely. A life is gone and 2 more lives are potentially in peril.
Thirdly, there are news which take the cake. These are news which make you unsure on whether to laugh or to cry. Or both. An example of this category of news is a NST report today. Among others, it says:
"THE state (Kelantan) government will continue to pay a RM10,000 incentive to Muslim preachers or missionaries who are willing to marry Orang Asli women to prevent them from leaving the religion.
State Islamic Development, Education and Dakwah Committee chairman Datuk Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said efforts had to be made to ensure that the Orang Asli people would not be easily influenced by missionaries of other faiths.
"We were told that certain Orang Asli settlements in the rural areas had been visited by non-Islamic missionaries and they had been spreading their faith to these people," Nik Mohd told the state assembly yesterday."
Is this the way to spread Islam? Is this the way to ensure that some orang asli women do not convert to other faith? By paying Muslim men to marry them? And what would happen after the marriage? What if the men take the money, marry them and then leave them?
What if the women do not want to get married? Or what if the women want to convert to other faith? Cane them? What?
Is this what God wants? Is this how God asks us all, as Muslims, to spread Islam? By getting payment so that we could marry the women and ensure that the women do not leave Islam? So, if I marry 4 orang asli women I could get RM40000.00 is it?
I thought God asks men to marry women out of love. And so that both the men and women could live happily and in peace. Not because of any other reason, like to force the women to remain a Muslim.
God s.w.t. says;
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
[Yusufali 30:21] "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect."
And God s.w.t. wishes that the men treat their wife with respect and kindness;
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُواْ النِّسَاء كَرْهًا وَلاَ تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُواْ بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرا
[Yusufali 4:19] "O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good."
The Prophet - peace be upon him - said, among others, in his last sermon;
"Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers."
What respect and kindness, may I ask, do we have to the women whom we marry if we are actually paid incentives to marry them? And the real reason for us to marry them is not love but just to ensure that they do not leave the religion?
Instead of doing this, why don't the people who are so keen to spread Islam to the orang asli get out from their air-conditioned room and get to the ground and live with them for a while? Show them the Islam way of life. Show them the kindness of Islam. Show them the "ad-deen." And persuade them with their actions and words to embrace Islam and remain a Muslim voluntarily, out of their love for God and not out of a marriage which is induced by monetary incentives!
If these orang asli women have no faith in Islam, it matters not whether they are married to a Muslim or otherwise. Deep down in their heart, they might not have the faith anyway.
Why are we so concerned with the externals when it is the internals which matter in the eyes of God?
This is just my opinion. Only God knows best.