March 29, 2016
Malaysia: A place where Islamic Buffoons are given a free rein
by Farouk A. Peru
Islamic Buffoons run BolehLand
When any industry gets inundated with players, the quality of its products can be very questionable. It was true with the PC industry when IBM PC opened its doors to compatibles thus giving way to some very sub-par products.
It was also true in the movie industry when stellar movies inevitably inspired copycats. The Blair Witch Project and Sixth Sense were pioneers in this regard and inspired a number of inferior films.
This is also unfortunately true with the industry of religion. While there are some very inspiring speakers who can motivate the layperson to become a better human being, there are also those who tap into the religious market by providing sheer entertainment. They, perhaps unknowingly, act like buffoons in order to boost their popularity.
What makes a religious buffoon? While some may point to the speakers’ demeanour and style, I have to disagree.
Humour can actually make difficult subjects much easier to digest, in my experience. I have a vast collection of “Idiots Guides” and “For Dummies” books which attest to that fact!
No, rather buffoonery comes from the puerility of the subject matter and worse, the superficial manner in which it is handled.
Like any economic endeavour, the religious industry needs to keep coming up with fresh products to keep the target market interested else it becomes stale or irrelevant.
The inspiration for this piece came earlier this week in my Facebook feed which I use to observe the religious social media. I chanced upon a lecture by this ustaz (religious teacher) who claimed that the voices of women is considered “aurat” in Islam.
“Aurat” is an imported word from Arabic which means “modest or private area” in everyday lingo. The ustaz who seemed to be talking to an exclusively male audience, claimed that if a male were to engage in a telephone conversation with a woman ― however innocent the conversation may be ― that man would be sexually aroused.
He then asked a member of the audience if this was true and the answer came in the negative. Instead of accepting that different people have different levels of acceptable stimuli, the ustaz then accused that gentleman of having a low sex drive!
The next person the ustaz questioned hurriedly replied to the affirmative that indeed women’s voices can be seductive. The ustaz then added that not only are women’s voices arousing, they can actually cause a man to emit pre-ejaculate!
One wonders how this ustaz survives in daily life. When he goes to a restaurant and a waitress inquires about his order, would he then be in a state of arousal? But it does not end there. The ustaz manages to surreptitiously add in some misogynistic elements to the seemingly receptive audience.
At that point, he adds that that is the reason we cannot have female leaders and khateebas (women who give sermons) unless the congregation is all female. The measure of a society’s backwardness is apparently when women take the helm of leadership, he asserts.
This is from the same individual who criticises women for shaping their eyebrows, claiming that it is physical modification! Comparing eyebrow shaping with plastic surgery must be the very definition of puerile and superficial.
The phenomenon of the religious buffoon is, in reality, an indictment on the society which produces it. Without the religious consumer, these people would need to find real jobs, perhaps in the entertainment industry given their talents to amuse listeners.
The only difference is the entertainment industry actually provides some benefit in that it gives us a means to relieve stress and to enjoy ourselves.
These religious buffoons, however, can actually cause damage with their sinister remarks. With the aforementioned ustaz for example, male members of his audience may actually force their beliefs on female members of their respective families.
This is when simple entertainment translates into social detriment. Malay-Muslims need to stay away from such folks.