No Thinking Muslims Support for Himpunan Sejuta Umat

October 24, 2011

No Thinking Muslims Support for Himpunan Sejuta Umat

by Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa
3:15PM Oct 24, 2011

After much hype, the Himpun gathering at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday was a non-event.  The dismal attendance of roughly 5,000 hankering souls was a total letdown from the expected one million.

Despite the claim that Himpun was a success by the organisers, it was clear that it was more of a self-reassurance. Himpun failed miserably in their effort to instigate thinking Muslims into supporting their crusade.

Their assertion that it was an awareness campaign was very difficult to swallow. The mainstream media, especially Utusan Malaysia, had been harping on this issue for weeks. It must have been a real disappointment that despite the good weather, the incessant stimulation had failed to result in the expected turnout.


One of the more conspicuous banners during the event reads: ‘Melayu Sepakat, Islam Berdaulat’ (‘When Malays unite, Islam becomes sovereign’).

NONEFor many Islamic workers, this slogan does not sound unfamiliar. It belongs to an Islamic movement that claims to be the “true” representative of ‘al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon’ – the Muslim Brotherhood; Isma or Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia.

One is left to wonder whether their unabating claim of being the only movement that truly follows the methodology of da’wah (propogation) of the Muslim Brotherhood is truly well-founded. It may not be presumptuous for anyone who reads articles on their website to make a conclusion of how bigoted they are.


As expected, a former leader of Abim – the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, Yusri Mohamad, was the first speaker during the gathering. This is not surprising since he was the “war general” during the Lina Joy issue and is currently the president of Pembela – a loose coalition of Muslim organisations in defence of Islam.

yusri mohamad pembela spokesperson islam under seigeYusri (left) claimed that there is no greater infringement of human rights other than apostasy.

Most notable among the subsequent speakers were the Perak Mufti, Harussani Zakaria, and Himpun co-chairperson Azmi Abdul Hamid.

Harussani claimed that the Malays are the most special race in the world as all Malays are “bound to Islam in the constitution”.

Meanwhile, Azmi defended the right of Himpun to hold a gathering. It was a democratic right enshrined in the constitution, he said.

He also read out the 10 Himpun resolutions that include demands for an Anti-Apostasy and Proselytisation Act. And this will be the main focus of our discussion.

Anti-Apostasy and Proselytisation Act

We have seen so far the collusion between the Islamist camps and the nationalists in promoting their main agenda in defending the faith.

Both camps agreed on one fundamental issue that faith is an issue that falls under the domain of the state. Hence their call for the state to intervene by enacting an Act that would prevent Muslims from leaving the faith and non-Muslims from propagating their faith among Muslims.

It is inexplicable that a great religion such as Islam requires such an Act to protect its believers from abandoning it.

A religion that has survived throughout all the different ages from its inception suddenly needs a protective Act to ensure its survival? Has Islam, a religion that always speaks to reason, turned to become authoritarian in nature? Has it become so outdated that it is unable to face the challenges of modernity that knows no boundary that it requires such an Act to protect it? Why do Muslims have to live in this siege mentality, a defensive and paranoid attitude that others are hostile towards them?

Freedom of Conscience

One of the most celebrated features about Islam is that it honours freedom of conscience. And the most oft-quoted verse is: “There shall not be any coercion in matters of faith.” [2:256]

This verse is one of the many other verses that affirm the principle of free choice in matter of personal belief.

Many quarters among the adherents of the faith, scholars not excluded; have an interpretation that the verse only means that non-believers should not be coerced into the religion. However once the faith is professed, there is no way out.

Similarly a person, who is born a Muslim, must profess the faith, despite it being contrary to the entire percept of freedom of conscience.Suffice to say that the Qur’an is replete with evidence apart from the quoted verse above that depict human as a free agent empowered to make his or her own free choice. The argument that once someone is a Muslim, then he or she must remain a Muslim forever is nothing but a fallacy.

Such an argument does not render the true message of freedom of belief. Since Islam etymologically means to attain inner peace through willing and voluntary submission to God, it becomes inconceivable in attaining that peace if someone is coerced to become a Muslim or to remain so against his free will.

Such an argument no matter under what excuse and justification is inconsistent with the main tenet of the Qur’an. It is against the incontrovertible verses in the Qur’an that upholds freedom of conscience that is above all an inner feeling of acceptance and conviction.

State interference

Another main evidence that is often cited as a basis for state interference in matters of faith is the act of Abu Bakr, the first caliph after the Prophet in waging war against Musailamah ‘al-Kazzab’, (‘Musailamah The Liar’) who claimed prophethood after the death of the Prophet.

The defenders of faith believed that this is indisputable evidence that the state has the authority to intervene when it involves believers leaving the faith.

As said before, faith is a personal conviction. The state has no authority to interfere in one’s choice of faith. One is answerable to God for the decision he or she makes in her life.

One can never find a single verse in the Qur’an that forbids a person to embrace or leave a faith he or she does not believe in. A state has a responsibility to monitor any forces that might seek to deny people of their freedom of belief, either embracing or leaving the religion.

The state can only interfere if an act of apostasy is associated with evidence of treason and sedition, since they are state matters.Hence the action of Abu Bakr, the first caliph, was made in his capacity as a leader of a state who views the act of apostasy as an act of treason and aggression against the state. In Islamic terminology, this is known as ‘siyasah syar’iyyah’ – syari’ah-based political decisions – and implies that decisions and policies can be taken by a leader on matters for which no specific ruling could be found in the syari’ah.

Siyasah syar’iyyah is tantamount to acting on maslahah, or public interest, which the lawgiver has neither upheld nor over-ruled.

Rachid Ghanoushi, a Tunisian Islamist, founder and former exiled leader of Hizb an-Nahdah  – the Renaissance Party – held the opinion that ‘riddah’ – turning away from religion, or apostasy – which was the first challenge faced by Abu Bakr, was more of a military insurrection than an act of apostasy from religion.

Meaning to say that Ghannoushi viewed ‘riddah’ as an act of treason and aggression towards the state and not simply an act of apostasy or turning away from religion.

Community of hypocrites

As a concluding remark, it is pertinent to emphasise that freedom of belief operates as a safeguard against any sort of oppression from a superior source of power.

The much-touted Anti-Apostasy and Proselytisation Act is not only against the spirit of the Qur’an in ensuring freedom of conscience and freedom of belief, but instead promotes the emergence of a community of hypocrites or ‘munafiqeen’.

This is the ultimate outcome when a state started enforcing its power in preventing Muslims from leaving the faith they do not believe in any more.

Name it ‘amar ma’ruf nahi munkar’ – enjoining good, forbidding evil – or whatever Islamic concepts, the only effect is that it will only depict Islam as an intolerant religion that weighs on power and authority instead of a religion that speaks to reason.

AHMAD FAROUK MUSA was trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon. He is an academic at Monash University and chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Front, an intellectual movement that focuses on youth empowerment.

15 thoughts on “No Thinking Muslims Support for Himpunan Sejuta Umat

  1. one can only hope that malaysian muslims heed messages from learned people like A.H.Musa. dialogue and understanding is only possible where there are no unnecessary rules and prohibitions.

    if it is a two way traffic then the way of life of the said religion would become appealing for outsiders. on the other hand who would walk willingly into a trap?

    the umno mentality prevails here. the next step will be that a umno member is prohibited from changing to another political party!

  2. datuk hassan ali was also one of the speakers during the HIMPUN gathering. But for reason/s best known to the author.. apparently datuk hassan’s name was omitted in the list of “notable speakers”. In fact his presence at the gathering was not even mentioned whereas he was was at the centre of the Jais raid on the DUMC furore. selective thinking????

  3. As far p[eople like Hasa Ali and that loud mouth mufti from Perak, Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa’s views about Islam makes him a potential candidate for rehabilitation in one of the camps run by Jakim.

    I think they are waiting to nab him and have his brain washed with Jakim’s IMPRISONED VERSION of ISLAM. If they can do it, they would like to move around Ahmad Farouk Musa’s left and right side of his brain.

    You see, Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa’s progressive views on Islam, which I fully agree everything he wrote, would mean PAS is irrelevant, and people like that loud-mouth mufti from Perak and those UMNO lackeys in Jakim and JAIS will have no job…. and of course, our Malay Rulers will have to re-invent their role as head of Islam in the country.

    I can’t wait to hear these Muslim odd-balls to demonise Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa… and don’t be surprise one of these religious idiots will make a police report with the wild allegation that Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa is trying to Christianise Islam with his views or starting a new cult in Islam.

    Meanwhile our national debt ballooning and the Auditor-General’s 2010 Report showed what cronyism and corruption do to publid funds used by the Govt ministries and depts… with kindargarten children’s food kept in the toilet, and SINGLE pair of of night vision Marine binoculars was bought by the Malaysian Marine Parks Dept for RM 56,350 when the actual price is only RM 1,940, and courses conducted by MARA for HARD CORE POOR attended by well-off participants who live in bungalow houses, according to the Auditor General. That is just a tip of the iceberg.

  4. “Similarly a person, who is born a Muslim, must profess the faith, despite it being contrary to the entire percept of freedom of conscience.Suffice to say that the Qur’an is replete with evidence apart from the quoted verse above that depict human as a free agent empowered to make his or her own free choice. The argument that once someone is a Muslim, then he or she must remain a Muslim forever is nothing but a fallacy.”

    We have no beef with Islam. Our beef is with political Islam.

  5. Look no further than our neighbor the largest Muslim country in the world. An Indonesian family has a parent who is a Muslim and the other a Christian and children who are neither. That’s freedom of religion for you.

    Statehood is guided by the Principles of Pancasila among which is Belief in God. There is no mention of any particular religious doctrine.

  6. If I were PM, I will free you guys from your bondage, to do anything you like in ways that will blow your mind. It is not the business of the government to mess with our minds. Enough is enough.

    Look at this free spirit. See how she is able to enjoy her life.

  7. “Is this Himpunan Sejuta Umat supposed to rival Martin Luther King’s One Million Man March of the ’60s?”

    These clowns have only half a percent or less of Rev ML King’s charisma and intelligence. The idea might have have been the same, but one look at their photogenic mugs and purpose, would give anyone with half a functioning cerebral cortex the heebie-jeebies. It seems to me, that the ultras in UMNO are in dire straits and losing relevance, even as they ratchet up their rhetoric.

    They remind me of those kooks & cults of the Apocalypse – always predicting and calculating Armageddon, yet perpetually falling short. One day they might just do themselves in. They only thing they are good at – is raping their Bantal..

  8. But i was talking about bantal sex.. by the Himpun drapes.
    I wouldn’t even want to speculate what OWCs do with their bantals.

  9. Aiyoo Frank, one doesn’t need to be a progressive Muslim to see that this rally is wrong. One just need to read, understand and practice the teachings of Islam to know this is wrong. Couldn’t they at least think why there are people wanting to leave Islam? Could it be because of people like them?

  10. Couldn’t they at least think why there are people wanting to leave Islam? – didi

    They can’t. Their brains decided to settle down between their legs.

  11. ” The much touted Anti-Apostasy and Proselytisation Act is not only against the spirit of the Qur’an in ensuring freedom of conscience and freedom of belief, but instead promotes the emergence of a community of hypocrites…(munafiqeen) ” – Dr Ahmad Farouq Musa.

    These hypocrites, fear themselves most, arising out of their own ignorance. So they are obssessed with wanting to ” control ” the ummah, to the extent of suffering from psychotic syndrome that defies logic !
    Not only apostasy, but wanting it more & more like forcing the application of Hudud to all Malaysians, irrespective whether they are muslims or not. How psychotic can one be, when they even propose policemen to enforce syariah criminal law just to safeguard morality, non-prayer or non-fasting. On top of that, insert Apostasy crime in the Penal Code ! So that even non-muslims can be charged for Apostasy? It really defies logic….

  12. hese so-called ‘luminaries” of Islam – the hypocrites – do they realise their obssession to ‘ control ‘ peoples’ mind is doing great injustice or disservice to the Muslim communities by their ‘intimidation’ ? Which actually causes the mind to be stunted, rather than helping it for growth to better understaninbg ? You are creating what i humbly term as ‘ the guilt-complex Syndrome’ in the muslim psyche/hype : a kind of mental-seige that no matter which way one wants to move….to the front, to the back, to the left or to the right…..its all ” wrong ” ( good word in Malay – ‘serba-salah’ for nothing) – this state of the ‘arresting-mind’ syndrome is

    very very unhealthy & negative.
    No wonder the Ustaz & Muftis who merely declares ” haram ” without explaining WHY, are merely uttering ” prohibited, prohibited’prohibited” as if the utterances produce ” magic ” – absolutely silly

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