Leave sectarianism out of Islam
If you are to win against overwhelming odds, overcome any trials and tribulations, achieve set goals against overwhelming odds and attain success even as others fail around you, it is necessary to look within your self.
Look within yourself and recognise your strengths and weaknesses, deal with them and from there, go towards the goal you covert.
I want to speak as a Malay about where the Malays are at in Malaysia today on the sunni-syiah issue.
I want to speak not as a Malay of any particular political inclination nor of any religious sect – sunni or syiah, but simply as a Malay who now finds a nation that is about to be torn asunder because politicians are prepared to advanced their own selfish political agenda against the interest of anyone or anything else – and most of all, against the interest of the Malays.
And these politicians doing the dirty deeds are Malays who tell us that what they are doing is in the interest of the Malays, for the Malays and of the Malays!
Nothing can be further from the truth.
There are Malays who have been disadvantaged because of their political persuasion and then there are Malays who have been advantaged because of their political persuasion.
And now Umno speaks of the syiahs and sunnis
And now as if all that has been done to divide and rule the Malays has not been enough, Malay political leaders from Umno now speak about the syiahs and the sunnis in a way that accentuates their differences rather that talk about what holds Muslim together.
Is it not enough that there are Malays in Kelantan who have been economically disadvantaged because of their support for PAS?
Is it not enough that there are Malays who today have been prosecuted, harassed and jailed because of their political inclinations?
There will soon be Malays who will be prosecuted and disadvantaged because their idea of Islam runs contrary to what Umno wants to impose upon all Malays.
Many of the troubles in this world are in Muslim majority countries where Muslims cannot live with other Muslims – and their solution is to kill each other.
In Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Chechnya and Libya there are violent armed conflicts involving Muslims consumed by sectarian warfare, terrorism and civil war.
Yes, for the infidels this is amusing…leave the Muslims to kill each other… but for Muslims it is a deadly business.
My worry is that Umno is leading Malaysian Muslims down the same path of mayhem and destruction that Muslims the world over are now familiar with.
The Quran dictates: “If two groups among believers fight each other, make peace among them. And if one of them transgresses against the other then you fight the one who has transgressed until it comes to Allah’s verdict. If it returns (to peace) then you mediate between them and (make peace) justly. And be (sure that you are) fair, for Allah loves only those who are fair.” (Qur’an; 49:9)
All Muslims agree that Allah is the only God and Muhammad his messenger. All Muslims follow the five pillars of Islam and share one holy book – the Quran.
Common sense must prevail
Islam comes from Allah – the sunni and syiah divide is man-made and all over the Muslim world that divide has been the excuse for sunnis and syiahs to embark on a murderous frenzy in the name of Allah, and in so doing, cause the death of children, women, the aged and many many Muslims who should know better.
Throughout history and even today, nothing kills more people than religious conflicts. History tells us that Islam has expanded and extended is influence through conquest then demands a submission to Islamic political authority that encompasses religious, cultural, social and political authority.
Today increasingly the demand of many Malays is for a clear separation between the spiritual and political spheres.
The use of political dominance to advance the cause of Islam no longer holds any validity among rational Malay Muslims.
The use of Islam to advance political dominance is almost as abhorrent as the notion that race privileges the Malays over all others in Malaysia.
And when religion is taken a step further by our political leaders to divide a race, then it goes beyond political expedience and enters the realms of sectarian violence that has killed millions of Muslims globally.
It is not the purpose of this discourse to talk at length about the schism between the sunni-syiah split.
Suffice for me to say that any responsible Malaysian will not want the already simmering tensions between the long suffering people of this nation to now include a sunni-syiah conflict.
Let us recognise this attempt to advance the cause of the sunnis over the syiahs in Malaysia for what it is – another distraction from the realities of an economy under much stress because of the manner it has been managed by Barisan Nasional.
The BN government may think it would be able to manage this conflict to its advantage, and even talk of banning syiah Muslim from practising their faith in Malaysia.
For a start, let me remind Umno that there are over 100,000 Iranian nationals living in Kuala Lumpur. Iranians are by and large syiahs, and we do not want any reason for the bitter sectarianism that prevails in many Muslim countries to be imported into Malaysia.
I for one hope that common sense will prevail over political expediency. We have enough reasons for conflict within our borders today – race, religion, the economy and there is a pressing need to take care of those who are least able to do so for themselves – the poor, the aged, the sick and those in the minorities.
Let us leave sectarianism out of Islam. Not to do so might see a situation where the majority sunni may prevail over the syiahs but to what cost to Muslim unity, and at what cost to the relative peace and harmony we now have?
Let religion be the responsibility and the choice of individuals.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.