In trying to counter terrorism and the notorious Islamic State (IS), it is very, very irresponsible of the authorities, the so called clerics and the media to divide Muslims by labelling them.
Be they Sunni, Syiah or Wahhabi, Salafi or whatever ‘ee’, they are Muslims and none have condoned what the IS is doing.
Every sane Muslim, who believes in Allah and his Prophet Muhammad, and practises the core values of Islam, will never agree to what the IS is preaching and doing, for at the basic root of Islam, before one can even label oneself as Sunni, Wahhabi, Salafi, Syiah, one is first and foremost a human being with humanity.
And no human being with humanity would sit the throat of another, rape, loot, plunder, wreak havoc and claim that only they will go to heaven when they have blown up women and children.
I may not be a cleric with ‘much knowledge’ as the ones interviewed by certain media and may not be as ‘learned’ as Universiti Sains Malaysia political scientist Dr Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, who is ringing alarm bells against Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia”s interpretation of Islam.
Yet, I am a simple Muslim with no label who believes in the need to believe in the Qur’an and Sunnah (the practises of the Prophet Muhammad) and unity of the Muslims and all other religions to counter what goes against the very grain of humanity.
Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki is right when he said that it is wrong to associate Wahhabism with IS or scholar Ibn Taimiyah as the root of the ideological conversion of those joining IS.
The Star had reported that Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay as saying that many IS supporters they caught had books on Ibn Taymiyyah, a 13th century scholar whose thinking is central to Wahhabism, and questioned if it is the ideology that is radicalising these people. He said unless the issue is tackled at the root cause, which is at the ideological level, this problem of extremism and radicalisation will never end.
Ayob has probably read only the Ibn Taimiyah books which talked about martyrdom that he confiscated during the raids on the IS suspects in Malaysia, and perhaps he does not know that Malaysian’s Islamic authorities very much uphold some of Ibn Taimiyah teachings such as no veneration of tombs and being openly at war with the Syiahs. Ayob may also not realise that Ibn Taimiyah’s works are very much referred to by those upholding the Syariah laws in the country.
Malaysians know only the version of Islam taught by their forefathers and have repeated for years what their grandfathers and great grandfathers did. Those who convert are taught by Malaysian Muslims.
There is almost no room for discussion and debating the various sects of Islam, and interfaith dialogue literally means having all religions sitting together and drink tea and eat cakes.
If Islam was only meant to be the way Malaysian Muslims practise, then that would have probably been written in the Quran and Hadith, and not practised in so many ways as what is happening all over the world. One only has to go to Mecca to see how Islam is practised in a hundred different styles but with the main basics being followed.
Yet in Malaysia, anyone who questions Islam is admonished, anyone who questions other religions is seen as being provocative and anyone who is seeking to find a religion is seen as God-less.
Top that with bits and pieces on Wahhabism, Salafism, Sunni and Syiah (being the main familiar terms of Muslims to Malaysians), and we have one confused lot who has a blur idea of what Islam is.
As the older generation hushes everyone, the young ones then turn to the social media in search of answers and the IS recruits mainly on the social media, and voila, we have dazed Malaysians who are booking tickets to Syaria because they suddenly think that jihad means killing others and oneself, and the only way to heaven is to join IS.
What we need to counter IS is not a further division of Muslims in this Muslim majority in this country (leave that to Umno, PAS, Amanah and Bersatu political parties) but better equipping the Muslims young and old on what is Islam and humanity.
Malaysians must ask aloud our concerns and let the young minds express themselves to clear the doubts of the religion that they are born into and have practised without ever being allowed to ask why they are doing what they are doing.
Knowledge is the key to understanding any religion and that is what we must give to ourselves and our children, to stop us from being blind followers.