14 November 2011

READ: Of Fictions and Politics

*This article is about the mixing of religion and politics.
I've read Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence before and this is my second time reading it. I'm halfway. When others might say fictions do not make you think or be informed of things, I reject the notion. It happened so because you do not think of the message portrayed in the fictions. 

My friends and I might or might not get a position in politics but there are certainly interests on our part to be very interested in it, not for in the name of politics itself but in the name of the our beloved Malaysia. Even reading a novel like this makes me think of politics and how do we compare the subject in a wider sense. It shows vividly how does promotion of secularism in a Muslim society could bring more harm than good. 

It is my utmost believe that in Malaysia, where the Muslims consider Islam as their way of life and not just 'rituals and prayers', the mix of religion and politics is no doubtful will be in place for tomorrow and the days after that. I do not think it will end in the near future. Why? The basic foundation of morality held by almost all Malaysians go back to their religions, mostly to the Muslims. Hence, when some quarters say we should separate religion and politics, it would be impossible. But the act of portraying religion in politics is also wrong.
Do not misunderstand me by saying that I support the idea of being pious (in this context, being pious means strictly focused on the jumud-ness that only rituals and prayers held in importance) means you have the credible to become a leader of this nation. Being pious does not mean you need to show to the rest of your voters the serban on top of your head. In that sense, Islam does not allow many of the things done by our Muslim politicians nowadays. But they still do it- from both sides of course. Believe that Islam is not narrow-minded (jumud) in the sense it is focused only on normal perspective of Ibadah only. It is to be acknowledged that 9 out 10 Muslims which are confirmed to be in Heaven in Afterworld were millionaires. Does this imply we should separate religion when it is obvious to see following the religion means you will be successful not just in this world, but will be much successful in the Afterworld as well. 

Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence brings a scene of the Turkey in the 60's. At that particular time, the secularism brought by Kamal Atarturk was already in place and was widely practised by the high-class society in that period. The society then was tugged between Eastern and Western values. There were no judgement or laws that relate to Islam as they were on secular leadership as we know separate religion and politics. And not just that, the secularism was implied in the society and accepted. Thus, the Muslims continued living in typical Western values and traditions of the day in which they themselves considered 'civilised'- drinking alcohol, pre-marital sex which are all prohibited strongly in Islam.

Although the mix of religions and politics in Malaysia is flawed, it is not the fault of the religion itself. It is the fault of those who still cannot understand it but are still using it for the sake of their popularity. However, the mix of religion which is considered as a way of life and politics in which needs religion as the basis of clean politics, should always coexist with the society of Malaysia. Where else Muslims should refer if not to the Al-Quran and Hadiths?

However, I do believe some of the ways, ideas and rhetoric by the politicians and their supporters should be judged by us. They are not all what Islam says when they said so. Do not believe in them totally. This is when the concept of ulul albab comes into place again (READ: The Chukai Insider- Ulul Albab). As in the religion of Islam itself, Allah SWT does not want us to follow blindly but must be in full understanding of what we are doing. 'Those who possess understanding' is what ulul albab all about. Again, it is an Islamic concept. When dealing with political issues, apply this concept of taking full understanding of the situation. Understanding of the situations come from reading, I would say. Hence, if you get annoyed by this important things (on Facebook shares, Tweets etc), it is a sign that you should read more. Understanding forms the basis of a better world. How do we do that? Through reading. In this sense, reading does not mean reading books only. Articles by many are there for you to read. Thus, your friends are actually helping you to understand the world by their 'Facebook shares' or Tweets.

Everything happens for reasons and by putting religion away from what we are doing means we are putting it away from our lives. Every second is counted for the Afterworld, and it is therefore every second should be counted by ourselves for the Afterworld in this World. 

I believe that the collective response of teenagers which spend most of their times on Facebook is an indicator of what they believe in. However, we might not agree with the postings and messages put by friends on Facebook. Sometimes even I myself doubt the sincerity of those who post them (in which I regret). However, Islam itself never deny people to question things which they do not understand. It is not about being pious or not, it is about putting the right things into their places. Oh, where do we go to get guidance of the right and wrong? For me, it is religion again as in the Al-Quran and Hadiths. And how does mixing of religion and politics not good in that sense?

Religion covers the whole thing and politics is just part of the whole thing. As we have accepted that the religion is right (not just a blind faith), we should follow what the religion preaches. I myself believe it is so hard to mix them together but how else do we make the politics develop in a mature way without the morality and maturity of ideas? These concepts were applied long time ago by the caliphs and they worked. Where did they refer to? Al-Quran and Hadiths, isn't it? Again, it is not about being pious or not, it is about following what is right or not.-The Chukai Insider

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