Respect the Rukunegara

January 21, 2013

A Message to Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali and Others like him: Respect the Rukunegara

by Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi*@

COMMENT: I wish to comment on the irresponsible statement of Ibrahim Ali Dr Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi(purposely NOT using any titles) on the burning of Malay language Bibles with the name Allah. I think such statements, if left unchecked by the Malaysian public, elected representatives and especially the Prime Minister himself, would create a culture of extreme violence and victimize many innocent Malaysians.

I urge peace loving and sensible Malaysian of all religious faiths to come together and denounce such ‘grandstanding statements’ that clearly violate our ‘sacred’ Rukunegara tenet of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’.

Our forefathers have worked hard to build this nation of diverse communities, race and Ibrahim Alireligions and derive the principle of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’. I am convinced, as a Malaysian, as an academic and as a Muslim, that the May 13 tragedy that saw many innocent lives lost was not due to the ignorance of ordinary Malaysians but by politicians trying to be popular by using such fiery instructions in order to incite racial hatred.

I have read the book ‘A Singapore Story’ and some other critical writings that indicate that the culprits of our racial mistrusts and clashes were in no small part due to self-serving politicians and a media which has no sense of honour whether in the Islamic spirit or in any religious spirit.

Have we Malaysians, and especially Malays, forgotten our own principle in the Rukunegara, crafted in our own Melayu Language. Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan. As good  am I with English I can’t translate properly the word ‘kesusilaan’. The word, and I am not a scholar in Lingusitics, connotes to me such softness, tact and, politeness, concern and humility. Is there a better word than this to reflect such a great culture of the Malays?

Ridhuan Tee AbdullahI dare say that the Prophet Muhammad, if Allah had not intended for him to be born in Arabia, would have been a Malay. Why? Because the Prophet was the softest and most humble, polite and considerate of men.

I have read through over 20,000 hadiths from the compilations of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Madjah along with the Muwatta and the Sirah Ibn Ishaq to conjure up a man which a hadith says that the Prophet was so ‘shy’ and gentle that even a small slave girl can lead him.

This characteristic of gentleness is totally unheard off in the boisterous, rowdy and all man’s world of the Arabs. When the Prophet Muhammad stood on the fields of Ta’if with a bloodied and scarred body after being stoned by children and adults of the settlement, he still forbade the Angel Jibrail from taking any retribution and destroy the community. Why? For ‘I am sent as a Mercy to mankind’ said the Prophet.

When Aishah asked him ‘What was your greatest fear, O Rasulullah?’ He replied that he feared of giving in to his feeling of vengeance and destroying the community with a single command. The Prophet did not fear death or bodily harm. He feared giving in to his ego and vengeful feeling that all humanity possess.

Who are we Malays then?

I, therefore ask, who are we Malays then? Are we better than the Prophet? Look at ourHarussani examples. The mufti (right) and other higher authorities have INSTRUCTED, ORDERED and DECREED that non-Muslims MUST NOT use the word Allah. The PAS Syura Council that has all the so-called great Islamic scholars went round and round their wordings until settling on almost the same tone of instruction, order and decree.

Now we have the person of Ibrahim Ali calling on the burning of the Bible or the Injil. Unless I am mistaken, Allah called on all Muslims to honour the Books of Allah in the past and its PEOPLES. Yes… yes…we can argue about what book and which Bible that have been ‘tampered’ with and all that stuff but I have read the Bible in English and I, for one, found many enlightening things that Nabi Isa says that has helped me get closer to Allah The Most High.

I think I am honouring what the Qur’an says in Surah Al-Baqara to believe in the Books. I also read other books of our great religions that have given the first idea of humaneness to human civilisation.

41. And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you, [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy not with My Verses [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My Verses), and fear Me and Me Alone. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. I, Page 253).

The whole Allah issue to me was handled as badly as it can be handled. Why? It is simply anNik-Aziz-Nik-Mat instrument of political influence. If the so called scholars and politicians of Islam were sincerely concerned about such confusion on the Malay usage of the word Allah, there should have been a courteous call for discussion with our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith. Not instruct, order and decree first… and… then call for discussion.

What discussion? It seems that the decision has already been chiselled into stone. Where in heavens name is the Rukunegara? Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan?  Ibrahim Ali has called for the burning of the Bible. What next? Let us Malays go burn a church at 4 pm next week? Oh… while we’re at it why don’t we burn a few Christians… if we have time!

What talk is this? What country is this? Have we forgotten the decency to discuss cordially. “This is an Islamic Country and I am a Malay and so you better do as I say!” Is that the line we are taking now as Malays? Perhaps that is a Malay cultural trait… I do not know. But I DO KNOW it is NOT what the Prophet would say or do. It is NOT within the Islamic Spirit as shown by the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him).

I can quote pages and pages of hadith showing the generosity and magnanimity of Muhammad Rasulullah. I can’t seem to find any of the same characteristics in Malay politicians in Malaysia.

Dr MMy wife and I have raised five children and now we have a grandson. I am sure all Christian parents and Muslim parents are concerned about where this country is going and would it be safe to be a place to stay. Just because I am a Malay, with a million-strong mostly Malay civil service, and an equal number of police and military personnel of my race does not give me the right to frighten my brothers and sisters of the Christian faith… or any other faith for that matter.

So, before such volatile statement turn into regrettable actions, I call upon the last strand of decency from the politicians of the ruling party, and especially the Prime Minister, to denounce Ibrahim Ali and his war-mongering words. Or else, we would have to change our Rukunegara from ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’ to ‘Kekasaran dan Kegila-gilaan’.

*Dr.Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi is Professor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s School of Architecture. A prolific writer, he has authored over 30 books, including his latest, ‘Why Listen to the Vice-Chancellor?

9 thoughts on “Respect the Rukunegara

  1. Heinrich Heine once said:
    “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” (“That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.”)

    A relevant warning for all decent people and people of goodwill about fascists and neo-fascists.
    Thanks for that, Dr. Phua. We have fascists and neo-fascists in the guise of patriots (Remember what Dr Johnson, the famous Irish writer said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” or something to that effect) in our midst. Either we expose and fight them or we give way to them.–Din Merican

  2. Major religions have been politicized into divisions that justify self gain; if man cannot be God they try to be demi-gods, unreasoning his days of retributive perils will come upon him but does he care less than living for those short glorious moments? A tycoon who supposedly was a Cambridge law grad once dared a private debate “why can’t I be god”. Not too much later, his empire almost collapsed. In his 70s now, mellowed into silent retrospective, his memory seems to haunt him into near insanity.

    People have been psyched into believing that violence in the name of their religion will accord them high heavenly places; all the while refusing to explore that benevolence, meek and humbleness for humanity sake holds that key.

    When I come across red-neck Christians, I would ask what is the greatest word in the bible regardless of umpteen times it has been edited and the answer always come back to LOVE. Without Love there simply is no compassion and without compassion our third eye remains locked in the deepest dungeon of my mental faculties. The same I am sure can be said by the Koran and Buddha’s teaching. All said, which politician is respectable of practicing his religious values?

    For those of use who have experience our third eye, we know there is much to look beyond this planet. However the mind is capable of being programmed into diversities that justify its selfish means in the name of religion. When can we seek the likes of mother Theresa; doesn’t matter from which religion.

    Ali mu has a time tested HUGE heart for love of humanity.

    We teach to sing Rukun negara,…….have we walked the song? Does our school always remind teachers and students our Rukun negara? Why has it not held a spot in our hearts? why have youngsters learned to polarized from schools?

    Long before Rukun Negara came about, there were ‘huckleberry’ days where students of all races played as one. What made our societies retrograded to this day? How can we rescue ourselves to civic mindedness or have we redefined civic mindedness as okay to greed, lie and destroy so that we emerge respected and worshiped?

  3. And the pulled Patrick Teoh in for a serious interrogation session for allegedly belittling Islam…. and yet no one even move an inch when Ibrahim Ali threatens such horrendous acts as burning the Bible… how can we respect a Prime Minister who always keeps his mouth shut on major issue affecting the people? 1Malaysia is a joke!

  4. Dato, I just watched President Barack Obama’s speech at his inauguration for a second term as President of the US. Very well delivered, suave, smooth and the message was so motivating, clear and so positive… no need to shout, scream, insults etc and yet CNN says there are 780 million people tuned-in to CNN Live listening attentively…

    Then I saw this speech… vomit!

  5. How true Dr Phua – ‘ ….they burn books, ultimately they burn people….’ ! Burning people is the penultimate, but burning ‘ themselves ‘ will be the ultimate….. consumed by hate & ignorance – how well this writer has expressed here.
    ” Let knowledge grow from more to more, and thus be human lives enriched…..” ( Encyclopedia Brittanica ) –
    understanding and knowledge is the key…..

  6. Thank you for your brave and outright comment, We need people with wisdom in words and thoughts to make this country worth of its name, Malaysia for Malaysian.

  7. aliiefalfa, the objection by Muslims is ONLY with regard to Interpolate the Kalimah/word ” Allah ” into the Translated Bible in Bahasa Malaysia – In the Dictionary meaning of the term ‘ interpolate’ is to put in, or insert something which is not there, and this is by ” deception “. The said Kalimah was never revealed in the earlier Old & The New Testaments which refer to ” Tuhan” by two other Names. –
    IF & when relevant, i could also try and point out Why or How Muslims themselves are ‘ guilty’ of Interpolation in some instances in their Interpretation of the Koran, verse ‘ Kul’liyyah Ayu’hal Kafirrun….” – very shortly, its wrong for Muslims to ASSERT people of other Faiths or Religions as ” Kafir ” (infidels), They are NOT Kafirs, they are ‘believers’ but in their own different ways..Hence, in that particular verse, it ends like this : ” Unto you, your Religion, Unto me mine….there is NO Compulsion in Religion….” – Muslims too should not Interpolate ( words or Revelation by God )…..

  8. Thank you for your brave and outright comment,. Hishamuddin and PM should take action against him. Why they both silent, are they supportinmg Mahatir and Ibarhim or they are also part of it? Malaysia for Malaysians.

  9. What can a man who is fearful do ? Be irrational and threaten others by the use of force in the hope that he can instil fear in others and in that insidious way win the argument because he thinks nobody would dare to speak up and challenge him . Sadly , he forgets this is not 1969 . Edward Burke , Malaysian .

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