Ulama Faction is a problem for PAS

March 14, 2015


Ulama Faction is a problem for PAS and boon to UMNO

by Koh Jun Lin@www.malaysiakini.com

The ulama faction in PAS is a problem to the party because many from its ranks keep falling for the ‘hudud trap’ set by UMNO, PAS central committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin says.

The issue has become UMNO’s most potent weapon, Hanipa said, to break up the Pakatan Rakyat coalition so as to ensure UMNO’s own survival at a time when its allies MIC and MCA are weak.

“Why? Because when UMNO lobs the hudud issue, PAS people forget about everything else. They forget about the Internal Security Act, they forget about the Sedition Act and they forget about 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

“They forget everything. Everything is about hudud. They have done it before and are doing it again, talking about the same things. This the problem, and most ustaz (religious teachers) are like that.

“Sorry ustaz. But the ustaz are really a problem in PAS,” Hanipa (above) told a forum organised by Malaysiakini at its premises last night.

The forum, held a month after the passing of PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, was themed “Where is PAS heading, without Nik Aziz?” The Sepang MP told the forum that many young religious scholars returning from the Middle East score top marks in reciting the Quran and hadith from memory, but utterly fail when dealing with real world issues or with analytical thinking.

“If you ask them to explain the 1MDB issue, they might even ask you what is 1MDB… for me, this is the reality in PAS,” he quipped.

Uptick in violence in PAS

Hanipa said this when asked to explain an uptick in the use of violence in PAS, which included an incident where PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad was assaulted, and another incident in which Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli’s car was torched.

Both victims are linked to the faction of professionals in PAS, which is seen to be in loggerheads with the religious scholars and their supporters in the party.

Hanipa said part of the problem is that the scholars are seeking a “utopian and purist” version of Islam, which sees diversity as a threat, even though Islam thrives in diversity.

In contrast, he said Nik Aziz was a religious scholar who understood contemporary issues and sought to make the party more inclusive, and the late spiritual leader even gave much encouragement to the professionals in the party.

Hanipa said he understood that Islam cannot be advanced through its scholars alone. Among others, he cited Nik Aziz’s invitations to non-Muslims to attend Islamic functions and his speech at the Bar Council on human rights as examples of his outreach efforts.

“Unfortunately since Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) is no longer here, and even when he became less active in politics due to his poor health, the phenomena that the moderator spoke of began to spread,” Hanipa added.


23 thoughts on “Ulama Faction is a problem for PAS

  1. Get rid of the political ulamas in PAS and the conservative ones too. The moderates must now exert their influence and not suck up to Hadi Awang. Otherwise, PAS will be back to being a kampong (village). –Din Merican

  2. PAS was a non entity until till forged a coalition with Pakatan. The party won many seats because of non-Muslim votes. This party will drag the country to the dark ages. In any case the non-Muslims would shun this party in the next GE and their candidates will fall like nine pins.
    The moderates should vote the clerics out or quit the party to form a new party.

  3. Susah juga…its a very, very difficult thing for Muslims generally – except for a handful of enlightened Muslim scholars – who have got their mind CLOGGED up about its own Religion Islam.
    Dr Farish Noor , an Intellectual and a young scholar (western educated ) , is hereby revisited in the thread dated 6th June 2009 on the 55th PAS Muktamar :

    ” …the term Ulama referred to scholars who were trained as both scientific and religious scholars …..why hasn’t anyone pointed out that professionals, scientists, technocrats, engineers & educationists should qualify as “Ulama” too, to mean persons of skill and knowledge ” ? Why ? Ulama in Arabic merely means ‘ learned ‘ , not solely confined to people with veils , burqah and scruffy beards ( or people who worship day & night without caring to do worldly things in the Secular world through the investigative nature involving the Sciences…. ) –
    The mistaken belief is that ‘ religion ‘ alone can work like Magic is a huge FALLACY in the mind-set of Muslims around the world, trapped in their own Ignorance…..confusions everywhere like the Boko Haram, IS or perhaps creating new Mazahabs like Wahabism etc….-

    Let’s open up our mind a little further. Please go through all over again, great Scientists, scholars & professionals like Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton & Spinoza….you name it….they ARE great ULAMAS, meaning as being ‘Learned ‘ , never mind what Religion each possessed , save that they are very pious men of learning who believe in God, and have given so much to the world….
    Susah betul….sangat-sangat tak betul…
    Kudos to Dr Farish Noor , the ‘ learned ‘

  4. Ask the young PAS religious scholars…what is 1MDB…the answer could be. ..” Satu Malaysia Dalam Bahaya”…

  5. Din, I am afraid this is easier said than done, given most Muslims in Malaysia, no matter how educated or smart they are, have no courage to stand up to an ulama lest they be branded deviant by these political ulamas. I foresee PAS going back to becoming a village party and those members who are branded as progressive leaving the party. The biggest challenge for these ‘progressives’ is to find a leader whom they can rally around.

  6. Mahathir does not believe the PAS is falling for UMNO/BN trap. He believe they are lulling Najib to believe he is doing OK. If PAS manage to sideline the Ulama and work with Pakatan, UMNO/BN will fall..

  7. When the so-called “Erdogan Camp” gained prominence in PAS some time ago, I said that if they ever carried their promotion to become a meaningful voice in the party it would be the very first time in a party based on religion.

    The experience of so many other countries shows that conservatives (or call them what you like… ) invariably end up calling the shots. And when they do the next step is to denounce as infidels those who dare to think otherwise. Hence the violence indicated in the article. Some “moderates” leave in frustration to join other groups while others start rival groups. And so the cycle continues.

    A long while back right on this blog our good friend Mr.BEAN (wonder where he is now) opined that we have allowed the religion genie out of the bottle. He was right… and friends there is now no turning back.

  8. Right, this so-called ulamak faction is “utopian and purist”, self-righteous and bent on introducing legislation that would chop off people’s limbs but couldn’t handle the flooding problem and couldn’t handle the rebuilding of the devastated areas, this is the reality on the ground. If their religion and God Himself could not motivate the lebai leadership to move fast to help the suffering folks in their midst, one wonders what inverted philosophy do they hold in their heads beneath their skullcaps? And what right do they have to impose it on others?

  9. True, Abnizar, our Malays are slaves to unscrupulous Muslim ‘leaders’. The mention of religion makes every local Malays lose their senses. And we have the UMNO/BN government to thank for. And worse UMNO ha even turned the MCA, Gerakan and MIC into Muslim zombies!

  10. Betul sangat sangat ATY , when there’s Flooding they merely sit down & pray hoping some hands from above will do the work for them….cantik betul –
    Jangan pakai Elektrik dalam rumah ( Thomas Edison ), Telephone ( Graham Bell ) , juga jangan pakai bicycle dan Kasut ( Science ? ) , capal perbuatan sendiri memada’i perbuatan sendiri ?

    Jangan marah, hanya bergurau….

  11. The Ulama faction is not a problem for PAS, it’s that most virulent of death cults – Islam. While the other major death cults, Christianity and Judaism have been put through the civilizing process, Islam remains immune.

    PAS has wilfully abandoned its socialist leaning past because Islam has proved a far more reliable method of disrupting social change and indoctrination. Add to this the UMNO sympathizers, racial and religious bigots, you have not a faction but a sub rosa culture who think that the Ketuanan concept is mandated by god.

    Of course PAS is also extremely incompetent (which points to a cultural mind set ) which is ironic since their cyber warfare cadres are extremely sophisticated.

    If the so called “moderates” were really sincere they would splinter the party and redefine the Islamic agenda in this country, to one that is more mainstream and secular and much less loony bin.

  12. Another strategy of UMNO Baru-BN regime which is desperately struggling to hold on to power, i.e. trying to split the opposing forces.

    Apartheid South Africa : encouragement of Inkhata Freedom Party in its Zulu nationalism (rivalry against Nelson Mandela’s ANC)

    Semi-apartheid Malaysia: encouragement of hardline ulama faction in PAS
    and its Malay nationalism-cum-religious ultraconservatism

    Foreign observers such as the scholar Geoffrey Wade call Malaysia an “apartheid regime” while Ambassador John Malott says Malaysia has
    “one of (the) most racist, oppressive and corrupt regimes in Asia”

  13. Still pushing the apartheid kool aid, I see. This is the main problem with the political discourse in Malaysia and in this case it is not UMNO’s fault.

  14. Kool aid or not, I am an academic (or “concerned MALAYSIAN intellectual” if you will) and I call it as I see it.

  15. Everybody (here) is a concerned Malaysian citizen even those who support BN. You can call it as you see it and I am free to disagree, and the merits of our arguments will be assessed by intellectuals and plebeians.

  16. To support PAS is to support Hudud. It’s like buying a one way ticket to Somalia or Afghanistan. Hop onboard anyone?

  17. @MTL: … OUR Malays ARE slaves o unscrupulous Muslim ‘leaders’. The mention of religion makes EVERY local Malays(sic) LOSE their senses…

    You are so dead sure like the ulamas when they talk about heaven and hell.

  18. The thread title, “Ulama faction a problem for PAS”, has led some comments here to suggest that a “moderate PAS” faction might be the answer to PR’s problem.

    My contention is that there is no such thing as a moderate PAS member. More than one million Muslims enrolled to be a member of PAS because they believed in PAS, a political party whose main political objective is to promote Islam as a way of life.

    I define a moderate Muslim as someone who can leave his/her religion at home. How can a PAS member be a moderate when his/her rallying cry on the soapbox is to promote religion?

    The phrase “moderate PAS” is therefore an oxymoron.

  19. “How can a PAS member be a moderate when his/her rallying cry on the soapbox is to promote religion?”

    Any political party either religious or ideological have their extremes and moderates. PAS made strides because of its moderate stance and because certain party members embraced the rhetoric of UBAH which in turn was endorsed by the power brokers .

    It is a pity that those members don’t have that much influence. However PAS for the first time is going through radical changes and tomorrow’s debacle may be a turning point for the party.

    To answer your question :

    If the so called “moderates” were really sincere they would splinter the party and redefine the Islamic agenda in this country, to one that is more mainstream and secular and much less loony bin.

  20. @Ai Tze March 17, 2015 at 1:31 am,

    “I define a moderate Muslim as someone who can leave his/her religion at home.”—@Ai Tze.

    I am not sure if Ai Tze was just joking or speaking figuratively in the above definition. I have never heard or met such a Muslim unless he/she is a ‘munafik’ – hypocrite.

  21. Aliefalfa, my definition of a moderate Muslim is my feel of what any Malaysian person of religion should do – that is to leave their religion at home.

    And an avenue for Muslims who cannot do so can find company in PAS, a party whose main objective is to promote Islam as a way of life. In the same way as the Christian Democrats in Europe promote Christianity and the BJP in India promote Hinduism, as a way of life.

    I was trying to differentiate the Muslims who are members of PAS and those who are not. I just feel that one is unlikely to leave their religion at home if one has decided to join a party like PAS. Thus, a PAS member is unlikely to be a moderate.

    Q. Why must a Muslim be a hypocrite if he leaves his religion at home?

  22. “Q. Why must a Muslim be a hypocrite if he leaves his religion at home?”

    Because anyone who says he/she subscribes to any religious doctrine who does that is a hypocrite. When people say “leave religion at home” it basically means that they believe religion is a choice and that whatever dogma they believe in should not be applied (made law) to people with differing beliefs.

    So a religious policymaker may in his or her personal capacity believe that abortion is wrong but would not vote for a law which restricts or impinges on a woman’s right to choice. This of course is a Western secular construct and part of the civilizing process that the other two Abrahamic faiths have been through. “Eastern” cultures to varying degrees applies this too. Islam however is anathema to this as Shiou articulated on another thread.

    Which is not to say that many Muslims don’t have a secular outlook. But bigots who hold sway over Muslims populations have cowed Muslims into submitting to their interpretations and most Muslims will say leave it to people with “knowledge” instead of offering an opinion of their own. Of course Muslims have opinions on other Religions which they are not shy about sharing, but that another topic altogether.

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