Thayaparan: On Dr. Haron Din’s Politics

September 18, 2016

Image result for Dr Haron Din

The Late Dato’ Dr. Haron Din is no longer with us. He passed away in San Francisco where he was being treated for a heart condition at Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto. His last wish was that he should be put to rest in the place of his death (We are free to choose where we wish to be buried and there is nothing confusing about this, Cmdr Thayaparan).

I am saddened by his loss because the passing of friends and associates of my generation reminds me of my own mortality. So I dedicate Al-Fatihah to this man of Faith and I wish to express our heartfelt condolences (Dr. Kamsiah and I) to his bereaved family. Both Dr. Haron and his brother Dato Abu Hassan Din Al-Hafiz are known to me since they are from Perlis and I met them in person  over the years. I enjoyed their tv lectures in the’80s.

My memory of Dr. Haron is at the time of his passing is that of a good Muslim and an Islamic intellectual, not as a politician from PAS. Out of respect for Dr. Haron, I will not comment on Thayaparan’s take on the man’s politics.–Din Merican

Thayaparan: On Dr. Haron Din’s Politics

by Cmdr S. Thayaparan

COMMENT:  Writing of the dead American Christian extremist Reverend Jerry Falwell, Christopher Hitchens who died of cancer some years back, said, “The evil that he did will live after him. This is not just because of the wickedness that he actually preached, but because of the hole that he made in the ‘wall of separation’ that ought to divide religion from politics.”

As that particular type of Muslim Malaysian, Haron Din did not believe in that “wall of separation” between mosque and state. Indeed, he believed that the enemies of Islam – always Islam, never his political adversaries – were those who believed in “the wall”, liberalism, freedom of religion and speech, in “Western” human rights, those things that the spiritual leader told his flock were anathema to Islam.

Image result for Haron Din and Hadi Awang

His weltanschauung was a wall of separation between those who believed in his version of Islam and those who were the enemies of Islam, in other words those who believed in anything else, including different interpretations of Islam.

The apogee of his crusade against the so-called “enemies” of Islam was when he accused former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and de facto leader of the opposition of working with the enemies of Islam, implying the DAP and well, anyone who disagreed with him.

This did not go down well with me and I wrote, “What happens if an IS (Islamic State) sympathiser reads Haron Din’s hate speech and carries out an attack on the DAP or somebody who supports the DAP or a Muslim who supports the DAP or just that unlucky Malaysian who is caught in the cross hairs? What is the difference between Haron Din’s view of Islam and the view of those IS members waiting to murder for their cause?

“I am talking about perspectives here, not methodology. I have no idea if the spiritual adviser supports the methodology of IS. I know that he shares the same views. I know that what he wants to achieve is exactly what they want to achieve but for now, someone like him is comfortable using hate speech in service of a democratic agenda.”

This was what was so frustrating for many others and me. Haron Din was willing to use democracy to legitimately gain power and subvert those very principles once in power. Of course, the fault is in our hands. We legitimised Haron Din and his political party in the hopes that common sense would prevail over religious impulse.

Three years ago, in a piece titled, ‘Mat Taib, Haron Din and PAS’ hudud games’, I wrote: “I have always argued that PAS is the sole ideological coherent party in the alternative alliance and with the exception of PSM (which is on unsteady ground when it comes to a strict reading of its ideological bedrock) will probably be the last party standing together with UMNO, when the non-Malays lose the racial demographic war.”

Image result for Haron Din and Hadi Awang

In those days, opposition supporters were furious that Haron Din was on the campaign trail telling the faithful that the only way to implement hudud was gaining federal power. He rallied his supporters; those supporters who were now mainstream thanks to the ‘PAS for all’ kool aid, which spillage on the Internet ruined many a commentary.

Evicting spirits

Some people, as I wrote, “dismiss people like Haron Din as UMNO sub rosa provocateurs (sic) but the reality is that this is a very real dialectic within PAS.” Many opposition supporters believe that the dialectic was over when Amanah was formed and of course even more so now that Haron Din has passed, but this is not the case. There will always be the dialectic simmering between the spiritualists of PAS and the middle ground technocrats, which ultimately will determine the fate of the party and unfortunately the country.

However, the mundane world of Malaysian politics, the ‘muggle world’ so to speak, was just part of the complex realities that Haron Din operated within. While your average online partisan would mock the spiritual leader for betraying whatever cause the opposition claimed they were part of, there were thousands of Muslim Malaysians who viewed the man not as a politician but rather as a spiritual warrior on the frontlines of defending their souls.

As Haron Din told AFP 11 years ago, “They have problems, not only physical problems but also spiritual problems, including black magic.” While Haron Din was the bete noire of opposition supporters, it was these people – his real followers – who fervently believed in the austere Islam he promised them was their salvation and Malaysia’s.

While disowning the title of “bomoh” – “The term bomoh in the Malay community is different to the Islamic healer. The bomoh uses inhuman words, perhaps words of the wild spirit. This is prohibited in Islam” – he honestly believed in the dominion he had over the supernatural world. (It is my experience that Islamists in the Wahhabi mode disown their culture in favour of whatever is peddled by the House of Saud.)

From the AFP article: “Haron, an intense, compact man in a blue tunic and white Islamic cap, finds no conflict between his deeply held religious convictions and his dealings with the world of ‘wild spirits’, which he says are addressed in the Quran.”

The world of wild spirits sound much like Malaysian politics, only much more exciting. Evicting spirits seemed to be Haron’s main mission. He was extremely conscious of the fact that we were sharing this world with other beings – “This world does not belong to human beings only, this world belongs to the creatures, animals, plants, trees and the spirits. When we want to build our houses or projects we don’t care about them, we just go ahead and clear areas. When that happens, there is a reaction on humans.”

In his life, Haron Din evicted, and sometimes relocated, wild spirits who were attempting to plague the Muslim Malaysian community and at the same time, he was defending Islam from the numerous enemies that attempted to subvert its true purpose, a purpose that Haron Din was custodian of.

If anything, his politics and his spirituality were not mutually exclusive and he never claimed they were. Maybe having spent so much time safeguarding the spirituality of his flock, he truly believed that aligning PAS with UMNO would hasten the eviction of “wild spirits” from Malaysia.

I have no idea why he would want to be buried in San Francisco, the epicentre of everything he despised but ultimately it is not important what people like me and other opposition supporters say about him. The Haron Din we think we know is the least interesting thing about the man. There are many who will mourn his passing for reasons that we will never understand but as he once said, “Most of the spirits in Malaysia know me.”

10 thoughts on “Thayaparan: On Dr. Haron Din’s Politics

  1. Makes me wonder too why he chose to be buried in a “kafir” land other than his own? Well, it’s better left that way. His wish, good or bad, needs to be respected. Al Fatihah.

  2. I repeat, tens of millions of Germans were wrong about the Nazis, Hundreds of millions of Chinese and with Russians and others, over a billion were wrong about Communism, hundreds of millions of Indians ARE STILL WRONG ABOUT SOCIALISM and HUNDREDS OF millions of Africans CONTINUE TO SHOW NO INKLING THEY ARE wrong about Tribalism and hence 1.5billion of Muslims can be wrong about their religion..

  3. Why , let EVERY individual on Earth , of whatever race or ethnicity , – there are more than 7 or 8 billion people on Earth – , let EACH of them make his own choice of whatever Faith or religious denomination he believes in, and up to Allah SWT DECIDE on his fate…..

    Why complicate the matter , and put the World in a quandary ?

    There are Millions if not running into hundreds of millions , of the Western or white Communities every where who ARE ‘ Muslims ‘ , then you have the Chinese communities every where who ARE Muslims ( Eg : In Malaysia the HIKMAH group of Chinese who have Faith in Islam ) , not the least , the Indian Muslim Communities thriving on the face of the Earth , talk of any Country , they are everywhere…… SO, PLEASE DO NOT COMPLICATE MATTERS, let each Individual with the help of God do their bits in regard to Faith….. ! !

    Personally, what I DETEST MOST is the determination or Effort/s by Muslims THEMSELVES complicating it for the betterment of the World for a conducive Human existence to be at Peace with all of the Human race….

    Muslims themselves particularly, (forgive me ) , you are complicating the whole Wisdom of God, by making Islam , the political Islam , and all other Appelatives & Abberations are being added up , in order to graduate it to ” Militant Islam ” , after which it graduates to TERRORISM , just in order to SUBJUGATE all others in the world……= see HOW it deludes the Human mind…..

    Whither goes all goes all these ‘ ambitions ‘ ?

  4. The late Dr Haron Din, I must concede, was a rank Nationalist and Islamist. Most Nationalists, upon death, would want to be buried in the nation they were born in. Where this is not possible, many of them had requested for their ashes to be strewn over rivers and seas of homeland to cement their love and attachment to the land of birth.

    Dr Haron could have been no different. The Muslim tradition is to burry the deceased within 24 hrs, I believe. This may not be possible if the body from San Francisco (where he died) has to be flown down here for burial. Hence his prior wish or his family’s request to be buried in the US is very understandable.

    For the radical Islamic scholars, holding on to the status quo itself (without going even further) is a concession of sort even if the world is changing fast for the better. They surrender their intelligence to the written script. The Old Testament, with unmentionable punishments for sins, heresy and blasphemy, was changed to New Testament with punishments watered down to some extent. Medieval punishments like clawing out nails, throwing into boiling oil, burning on stakes have all gone. But these scholars want Hudud punishments like cutting off limbs and stoning not only for Malaysia but extended to entire Muslim majority countries.

  5. PS .

    Islam must come to his own Conscience from his Heart, and not from conscience forced upon man , through whatever ‘ force ‘ , political , militancy and least of all ‘ terrorism ‘ ……. ” unity in Diversity ” as blessed in the Holy Book , is precisely the cornerstone of its pristine Message/s to all of Mankind…..

  6. Inche Abnizar,

    There could be 7 or 8 billion individuals on Earth, each making his own choice of faith, and it is up to Allah SWT to decide on his fate you said. There appear to be two fundamental flaws in your assertion. Firstly nearly two-thirds of the world population comprises non-Muslims, so how could Muslim Allah, decide on the fate of non-Muslims? Secondly, we don’t get to choose our religion. It happens by accident of birth. You and I acquire our religious faith and identity by the family we are born into.

    If you were born in a Muslim family, you become a Muslim and if I were to be born in a Christian family, I become a Christian. There is no choice at least in our growing years.

    You also stated that “There are Millions if not running into hundreds of millions , of the Western or white Communities every where who ARE ‘ Muslims ‘ , then you have the Chinese communities every where who ARE Muslims ( Eg : In Malaysia the HIKMAH group of Chinese who have Faith in Islam ) , not the least , the Indian Muslim Communities thriving on the face of the Earth , talk of any Country , they are everywhere……”

    If we take believe in faith as the basis of conversion, then there may be million more non-Christians becoming Christians than non-Muslims becoming Muslims. Muslim population world-wide grows mainly out of two factors. Those who become Muslims on account of marrying their spouses who are Muslims, like the British Ambassador in Saudi Arabia who married a Syrian woman very recently. (very small percentage). But the bulk of the rest are Muslims because they were born as Muslims. The high fertility rate amongst Muslims is a major cause for Muslim population growth. Take Malaysia (a Muslim majority country) for example. According to demographic studies for the year 2013-2014, the birth rate for Chinese, Indians and others was 1.4 (far below replacement level), whereas for Muslims it was 2.6. Extrapolate this to Muslims countries, the population growth would be phenominal. So the main reason is not others embracing Islam but Muslims over-populating themselves.

    Be self-critical instead of shooting from the hip

  7. abnizar: Amen on following conscience from his/her Heart (and Mind also). I don’t know Dato’ Dr Haron’s teaching. But, given the Cmdr’s suggestion of using Jerry Falwell as comparison, I see no reason why one should not have high regards to men like Dato Haron with strong conviction, in the name of ‘unity in Diversity’, even though I don’t agree with Rev. Jerry Falwell.

    He has committed to change the heart and minds of all Muslims in Malaysia democratically, and spent his energy doing so, whether one agrees or disagrees with his teaching. I personally more of DAP’s Malaysia for Malaysians would that in the same light also.

  8. Dear Hawking Eye .

    Allah SWT will decide , whether a person who ‘declares ‘ himself to be a Muslim , is truly a ” Muslim ” ( a Muqmin ) at heart , or , that he is a Muslim after a fashion only, ( lip-service only )

    No, Islam actually began AFTER Prophet Muhammad ( pbh ) , the Final Messenger of God named it ‘ Islam ” ( the word merely means ‘ Submission ‘ ) barely 1437 years ago. Before that, from the beginning of Man on Earth from the premogeniture of Nabi Adam, ALL OF MANKIND WERE NON- MUSLIMS . on the face of the Earth.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to be curt , but I have to shorten my reply to your goodself. For that, I am afraid I am fond of quoting , because I can do no better.

    Please kindly refer back to the thread of Prof. Azmi Sharom dated 24th March 2015 , on his thread – Rape, Murder, Hudud – wherein I’ve quoted Western Eminent scholars on The Epistemological aspect of Islam :

    1. ” The nobility and broad tolerance of this creed , which accepts as God-inspired all the religions of the world , will always be a glorious heritage of mankind . On it could indeed be built a perfect world religion ” – Duncan Greenlus , The Gospel of Islam (1948) . ”

    2. ” The rise of Islam (from the advent of the Final Prophet ) is perhaps the most amazing event in human history . Springing from a land and people alike , previously negligible , Islam spread within a century over half of the earth , sheltering great empires , overthrowing long established religions , remoulding the souls of races , building up a whole new world, the world of Islam …..(read on more in that thread ) ( Lortherop Stoddart , Ph.D , The New World of Islam )

    3. ” It must be acknowledged too that the Qura’n deserves the highest praise for its Conception of the Divine Nature in refrence to the Attribute of Powers , Knowledge , and Universal Providence and Unity …..and has proved that there elements in it on which mighty nations and empires can be built up ….” Rev. Rodwell, The Qura’n , London, 1948. ”

    4. ” The Mohammedan Law which is binding on all from the crowned head to the meanest subject is a law interwoven with the system of the wisest , the most learned and the most enlightened jurisprudence that ever existed in the world ” – Edmund Burke , Impeachment of Warren Hastings….. ( naval Commander )

    NB . there are 20 odd Commentries in that particular thread…..thank you for your patience !

  9. Pl excuse me HE , I have two further quotes :

    5. ” Philosopher, orator , apostle , legislator , restorer of rational dogmas , of a cult without images , the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and one spiritual empire , that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness is measured , we may well ask , is there any man greater than he ? ” – Lammartine , Paris, 1854 .

    6. ” Well then, if the Qura’n were his own composition other men could rival it . Let them produce ten verses like it if they could , and it is obvious they could not ; then, let them accept the Qura’n as an outstanding miracle ” H.A.R Gibb , 1953 .

    But….but… is said Muslims should exercise Moderation , well easier said than done …..

    Extremism can set in very easily, because of DELUSIONS caused in the mind. In the past or foregoing Comments, please keep the delusive mind in Sanity. IF (if) unawares , his mind progresses by the addition/s of Appellatives , he wants it to be made into ‘ Political Islam ” – anger and frustrations lead him to Millitancy …., and failing to set himself free from mental delusion, and the desire to Conquer the perceived enemy, he progresses on to ‘ TERRORISM ” – Well…..THAT IS NOT ISLAM…..keep ‘ Islam ‘ in its own state of Pristine Purity, and do not ADD Abberatives to ” ISLAM ” , it leads on to distortions….. ( there are LIMITS to everything in our Physical universe….)

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