What I am doing -- amar maaruf, nahi munkar; which means to uphold truth and oppose evil -- is mandatory in Islam. What I am doing is what Islam stipulates. I am more Islamic than that Arab pretending to be a descendant of the Prophet.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Kolonel Norhayati is not my ADC, explained Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife. She just handles my appointments. Well, I suppose this is akin to someone saying she is not my typist. She just types my letters. And now Syed Hamid Albar says that they are not censoring Malaysia Today. They are just blocking access to Malaysia Today.
Would you expect any less from people who argue that Umno is not a racist party? We just think that Malays are the Lords of this land and the non-Malays are all immigrants who can’t be allowed the same rights and privileges as the Lords of this land. But this is not racism. This is the Merdeka ‘social contract’ being honoured.
Yes, Happy Merdeka, Malaysians. And may the Merdeka ‘social contract’ be given the ‘honour’ it deserves and be placed as supreme.
Syed Hamid says they have sent Malaysia Today many warning letters but all these letters have been ignored. That is why Malaysia Today was not censored but the government only blocked access to it. However, Syed Hamid could not offer any details of how many letters were sent, when they were sent, and what were the contents of these letters. And this is because no such letters exist. The government, at no time at all, has ever sent Malaysia Today any warning letters.
Syed Hamid also did not offer any examples to support the allegation that Malaysia Today has insulted either Islam or Prophet Muhammad. Malaysia Today has insulted Prophet Muhammad and Islam, he said. And that is good enough. It is not necessary to explain in what way Islam and Prophet Muhammad were insulted or to support the allegation with examples or specific incidences.
Anwar Ibrahim has been chided for refusing to swear on the Quran that he is innocent of the allegation of sodomy. The government-owned media went to town in the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election to run Anwar down on his refusal to swear on the Quran.
Do I take it that if I too swear on the Quran that I have never insulted Islam or Prophet Muhammad then the matter is resolved? Would the government then unblock Malaysia Today since I have proven my innocence by swearing on the Quran? A hint from Syed Hamid, Pusat Islam or the Religious Department would be most welcome.
I will give the Malaysian government one week to come back with a response. I, Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin, am now offering to swear on the Quran that I have never insulted Islam and/or Prophet Muhammad. I, Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin, take up the challenge they have thrown to Anwar Ibrahim and which they chide Anwar Ibrahim for because he has refused to take up the challenge. Come back to me within one week and indicate that you are prepared to witness my oath on the Quran or forever hold your peace and never mention this matter again.
Want to make a small wager, however un-Islamic that may be? I bet they will not be able to offer any examples or evidence of incidences where I have insulted Islam and/or Prophet Muhammad and they will never accept my challenge that I swear on the Quran. The one-week will come and go and nothing will happen. They will ignore my challenge and will not respond. And this is because there are no incidences where I have ever insulted Islam or Prophet Muhammad.
This is nothing but a Red Herring. They are using an excuse that works well with most Muslims. If Muslims think you are insulting Islam or Prophet Muhammad they will go berserk. So what better excuse to offer than you are insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad. And since it is the government that is saying so, then this must be true, because would the government ever lie to the people?
Yes, they demand that Anwar Ibrahim swear on the Quran that he has never sodomised Saiful. And when Anwar refuses to do so they go to town with the issue and say that this proves Anwar’s guilt. Well, I too challenge them to demand that I swear on the Quran that I have never insulted Islam or Prophet Muhammad. And if they refuse to demand that I do so, then I too will go to town with the issue and declare them guilty of lying just like how they have declared Anwar guilty.
I remember back in April 2001 when the government detained ten of us under the Internal Security Act. Except for Tian Chua and Gobalakrishnan, the rest of us were put through a three-day Islamic rehabilitation program. For three days an ustaz was asked to sit with us from morning till evening to discuss Islam so that we could be ‘guided’ and ‘led back to the right path’ from which we have strayed.
It was a three-day rehabilitation program. But the ustaz did not give me my three days. On the second day he did not turn up. The excuse they gave me was that the ustaz ‘had something to do’. After we were released from detention, I checked with the others and they all confirmed that they had to go through the full three days, even Ustaz Badrulamin, an ex-UIA lecturer, and Saari Sungib, the ex-President of JIM, an Islamic movement.
Why did they ‘abandon’ me after the first day? Why were all the others subjected to the full three days except for me? Did they discover me beyond rehabilitation and thought that it was therefore futile to continue to try to rehabilitate me? Or did they give up on me, not because I was a lost cause, but because I out-debated the ustaz and they felt, instead of the ustaz rehabilitating me, I might end up rehabilitating him?
If they are still not satisfied and still feel I need to be rehabilitated, then I will throw an open challenge to any ustaz in Malaysia to sit down with me and prove that I am wrong or that I am a deviant. Come on, surely there is at least one ustaz, Tok Guru, Mufti, etc., who dares take me on. Come debate with me. Show me I am wrong. Then I will stop writing about Islam for the rest of my life. Surely this offer is too good to refuse.
Allow me to reveal some points of the ten-hour or so non-stop debate that I had with the ustaz during my Internal Security Act detention back in 2001. Ten hours is a long debate so I will certainly not be able to reproduce the entire thing. But some of these points will probably demonstrate why the ustaz ‘abandoned’ me after the first day and never came back the following day.
Pak Engku, today there will be no interrogation. For the next three days this ustaz will sit with you and talk about Islam.
He is supposed to rehabilitate me is it?
No, not rehabilitate. Just to talk to you about Islam so that we can get a better understanding of your thoughts on Islam.
The Special Branch officer walks out of the room and leaves me alone with the ustaz.
Before the ustaz can open his mouth I kick off the debate with my ‘opening speech’.
Ustaz, I am not as well versed in Islam as you are. I went to an English school and do not speak Arabic. I have also not memorised the Quran like you have. So my knowledge on Islam is very shallow. Forgive me, therefore, if what I say might not be right because I am speaking as a jahil (ignorant person) and not as a learned person.
The ustaz just nods without saying a word and I continue.
Tell me, ustaz, is amar maaruf, nahi munkar compulsory (wajib) or optional (sunat)?
He opens his mouth but before anything can come out of it I quickly continue.
Let me answer that myself. It is wajlb right? Amar maaruf, nahi munkar is as wajib as praying, fasting, performing the Haj and so on. It is an obligation. It is compulsory for all Muslims to perform amar maaruf, nahi munkar. It is not something you can choose whether to do or not. It is something you must do. It is mandatory in Islam.
The ustaz nods but says nothing.
So tell me, ustaz. Tell me I am wrong in performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar. Tell me it is not wajib, just like praying, fasting and so on. Tell me I should not perform amar maaruf, nahi munkar. Then I shall stop performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar.
The ustaz no longer even nods.
I challenge you, ustaz. (I point to the ceiling). Before Allah and with Allah as our Witness, tell me I have erred in performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar. Tell me amar maaruf, nahi munkar is not an obligation and compulsory in Islam. Tell me it is not wajib. Then let us all stop performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar. And let us also stop praying and fasting plus all those other rituals that are equally wajib and as much an obligation just like amar maaruf, nahi munkar.
The ustaz shuffles uncomfortably in his seat but before he can respond I charge in again.
I am doing only what is wajib in Islam. If you can before Allah and with Allah as our Witness tell me that amar maaruf, nahi munkar is wrong and that I should not be performing it, then let us now, before Allah and with Allah as our Witness, also declare all those others which are equally wajib as wrong.
I do not expect any response from the ustaz and do not wait for one.
I am prepared to stop performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar if you, ustaz, before Allah and with Allah as our Witness, declare it wrong. If you dare do that, then I will also stop performing all those others such as praying and fasting, which, therefore, should be declared equally wrong since they share the same wajib status as amar maaruf, nahi munkar.
This time I want him to respond so I stop to force a response out of him.
Yes, you are right, of course it is wajib.
That is all I wanted him to say.
Then what am I doing here, ustaz? Why am I under Internal Security Act detention? If I am only performing what Islam makes mandatory, what crime have I committed? Amar maaruf, nahi munkar is compulsory. All Muslims are obligated to perform it. I am being detained for doing what Islam forces us to do. I am being detained for obeying Allah. If obeying Allah is a crime then should I also be performing my prayers and fast? Are these also crimes in the eyes of the Malaysian government? What difference is praying and fasting compared to amar maaruf, nahi munkar? All are mandatory in Islam. If one is wrong then all should be wrong. If amar maaruf, nahi munkar is a crime then praying and fasting are also crimes. If I must stop performing amar maruf, nahi munkar then I must also stop praying, fasting, and all those others. Tell me, ustaz. Tell me that amar maaruf, nahi munkar is wrong. Tell me what Islam makes mandatory is a crime. Tell me the government is right in detaining me for performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar. Then, today, now, I will stop performing amar maaruf, nahi munkar, plus all those others that Islam makes mandatory as well. And, from today, now, you and I shall stop performing all those other obligations such as praying and fasting which, just like amar maaruf, nahi munkar, should also be classified as wrong.
This debate continues till the end of the day. But it is not really a debate as much as it is a monologue. I barrage the ustaz with him nodding and hardly opening his mouth. The following day he does not turn up, either because he has given up on me and realises he can’t guide me back to the right path, or because the Special Branch is worried that I would instead ‘lead him astray’.
Syeds are supposed to be descendants of the Prophet. I take it that Syed Hamid is, therefore, also a descendant of the Prophet. But he does not exhibit the proper Islamic qualities.
Syed Hamid is a lawyer who also built up a career as a merchant banker. I take it, therefore, that his English is better than the average Malay. Why can’t he then see that I am insulting Muslims? And this does not translate to insulting Islam or the Prophet.
If I were to call someone a pig, does that mean I am insulting that person or am I insulting pigs? Going by Syed Hamid’s logic, by calling someone a pig, I am insulting pigs.
No, Syed Hamid is not stupid. He does not even have a poor command of English. This is all a Red Herring. They want to block, not censor, Malaysia Today. So they are using the insulting Islam issue as the excuse. That is all.
In fact, what I am doing -- amar maaruf, nahi munkar; which means to uphold truth and oppose evil -- is mandatory in Islam. What I am doing is what Islam stipulates. I am more Islamic than that Arab pretending to be a descendant of the Prophet. And it is they, not me, who are insulting Islam. They use Islam as the camouflage to perpetuate racism and persecution. They perpetuate injustice. And they say this is what Islam is all about.