Islamisation and its Freudian discontents

October 27, 2016

Islamisation and its Freudian discontents

by Azly Rahman

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I am back. I took a few weeks hiatus from this column to wrote a few literary essays, chapters from my memoir of growing up in the “sewel but sober and sensible seventies” – the best of times of the times of P Ramlee – as well as writing a long essay on the key novels of Salman Rushdie.

I spend days listening to the music of Pink Floyd and reading a collection of essays from the book ‘Pink Floyd and Philosophy’. These however did not keep me away from thinking about the issues in Malaysia, viewed from a global perspective.

The unresolved issue if the world’s record-breaking, hideously-linked case of the 1MDB. The ongoing drama of PAS, UMNO, Amanah, and the opposition parties. The continuing push for the Sharia Law add-on of the hudud. The story of the insanely massive amount of cash found in Sabah as it relates to corruption in the Water Department. The seeming helplessness of the Malaysian people in their struggle to demand for better and cleaner governance.

The failure of the Mahathirist slogan of ‘Bersih, Cekap, Amanah’ (Clean, Efficient, Trustworthy). The continuing saga of the Dr Mahathir Mohamad-Najib Abdul Razak-Anwar Ibrahim triangulating vendetta in the tradition of Mario Puzo’s la Cosa Nostra.

And today, I read about the story of the young father who jumped off the Penang Bridge in an apparent suicide for personal and political reasons, it seems. A Muslim who ended his life, leaving a wife and two young children – leaving this world after asking for forgiveness from God as well. A suicide note written both in despair and in great confidence.

At the global level, I thought of these: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – both will be warmongers of the new age of Russian-American authored Armageddon. World War III. New weapons of mass destruction. Aleppo, Syria. The battle for Mosul. The new Saudi Arabia after the fall of the empire of oil. The Saudi attacks on Yemen. The new Saudi Arabian venture: finance, tourism, and arms manufacturing.

Then there are also these global bogeymen called Al-Qaeda and IS – the invisible and elusive armies of Islam it seems that are keeping the American and the Russian war-machine going.

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All these in my mind as song after song from classic Pink Floyd albums play on. “Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?” asks Pink Floyd in the lyrics and I thought of Aleppo and the total destruction of once-beautiful Syria. Just like the total destruction of the once-beautiful and learned Baghdad. Destroyed by the Americans in their tens of trillion-dollars war.

I thought of these. I thought of this thing called ‘Islamic philosophy’ I thought existed. I had these questions:

Is Islamic philosophy totally dead? Murdered by the Charlotte Cordays of the theocratic-hypocritical imams of its own creation? As we know from the history of the French Revolution, Charlotte Corday murdered the scientist and revolutionary-philosopher Marat, signifying the beginning of the political war between the Jacobins and the Girondins.

How could it be possible for Muslims, whose daily confessions include saying that “God is closer to you than your jugular vein”, be creating governments that help “society be closer to Nature”, to philosophies of sustainability, rather than be destroyers of it?

Progress mistaken to be monopolising of licences

How could such a spiritually-cognitive dissonance be the leitmotif of many an Islamic government when the religion itself is supposed to preach, amongst others, ecologically sustainable plans for national development rather than surrender to Das Kapital – or capitalism – spiced with Quranic verses calling for the advancement of the ummah through economic progress, yet progress here is mistaken to be the monopolising of the licences to rape and plunder Nature – cutting down trees, destroying rainforests, desertifying fertile lands, throwing indigenous peoples out of their traditional lands (because they are not Muslims and therefore spiritually incomplete as human beings), and to do everything that tak

In short, what manner of a French-Revolution that Islamic societies, such as Malaysia, such as the state calling itself “the verandah of Makkah” (serambi Makkah) that is allowing the rape of Nature to happen whilst the idea of Islam as a religion of peace (at peace with Nature) is being made the agenda of global dakwah?

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Public Display of Piety in Malaysia by UMNO Malays

Help us understand this:How do Muslims remedy this situation? Resolve this contradiction? Reverse this trend of Islamisation? Could it be that Islam as a religion does not have a praxis (applications of the principles of Philosophy to social needs), demanding Nature to be preserved and the dignity of human Nature be upheld?

This could be an improbable claim but judging from the way Islamic governments engaging in destroying rainforests, building weapons of mass destruction, allowing leaders to live like Pharaohs and Croesus (Firauns and Qaruns), and bombing each other to the seventh level of Hell (as in Saudi Arabia and Yemen) – it looks as if Islam is devoid of a Lao-Tzian/Daoist philosophy of living and statecraft much-needed in this world already destroyed by the excesses of Western Civilisation which pride itself in a strange descartian pride of controlling and destroying Nature through the growth of Empires, colonisation, Imperialism, and now post-Imperialistic post-Apocalyptic regimes engaged in all forms of state-sponsored terrorism, sanctioned as well by an underlying philosophy of false Judeo-Christianity.

Guns, guts, glories – destruction of the colonies. Civilising mission. The Crusades. The Conquistadors and the Cross – these are prelude to the anti-humanism of the teachings of the Jesus at The Sermon on the Mount – of the reminders of the Beatitudes. These are ignored and hence, the new world of a strange brew – religion, capitalism, a truncated version of Weber’s protestant ethics and the ghosts and spirits of capitalism roaming the modern world ruled by cybernetic-terroristic technologies.

Is this the world we created? A nightmare of Cartesian absurdities? Help explain these.


10 thoughts on “Islamisation and its Freudian discontents

  1. I believe religion is the killer of free thinking and taking responsibility for one’s own action. I believe religion is the perpetrator of false comfort. But I do not believe religion is the root of evil in our world. It is just one consequence out of many of the actual root: irrationality and stupidity of malicious man.

    The root of evil is man. I am not saying man is evil. I am saying the evil things that happen in this world are the consequences or actions of irrational, stupid and malicious men. Do evil men do evil things in the name of religion? Absolutely. Do evil men do evil things in the name of greed? Absolutely. Do evil men do things in the name of power? Absolutely. Do unstable people do evil things because of their mental issues? Absolutely. Human beings are root cause of evil in the world. No one has ever seen an evil stone, cloud, or plant….

    The stupid and the malicious are interchangeable over time. If stupidity prevails, the world is destined to end up in ruins because the stupid have a tendency of seeking control over others and changing into the malicious. The intelligent ones, however modest they might be in their actual level of mental ability, are just happy to mind their own business and, if they do contribute some good to the world in their life time, they do it on their own terms and without harming anyone else.

    And it is my opinion, Islam right now has more stupid and malicious followers than any other religions.

  2. Circa 1400s : Melaka sultanate goes to China with bunga emas and acknowledges Chinese suzerainty
    2016 : Najib son of Razak goes to China on a similar mission ? (including help with the 1MDB mess)

    In the past : Arab and Indian traders from the Middle East spread Islam to Malays in SE Asia
    In the present : Malay “Islamic” radicals spread terrorism fighting for
    Daesh in the Middle East

  3. Quote:- “Is this the world we created? A nightmare of Cartesian absurdities? Help explain these”

    Simple. Just take the “G” (for God) factor out of the equation.

  4. Phua Kai Lit, yes the modern day Bunga Emas version is already underway and running strong. First Malaysia sells assets at below market price then buys military equipment as a show of allegiance. These are the modern day Bunga Emas. Wonder what’s the next installment oh yes the ECRL.

  5. Cartesian absurdity?
    It has to do with philosophical dualism – the ‘cogito ergo sum’ expounded by Descartes.
    Many existentialists think it’s crap (i.e absurd). You can go ‘wiki’ it, but here’s a fairly good way to wrap your head around it – ‘ghost in the machine’ like.

    As for the SNAFU state of Malusia and the world – i’m trying to avoid it revisiting Edgar Allan Poe and Roald Dahl’s short stories.

    Especially Dahl’s William and Mary in ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ – an allegory of desire for justice while dwelling in a state of utter helplessness. Just like Dr Azly..

  6. Many are questioning US and Europe politics and economics. But political Muslim have been questioning it’s socio- economics since the world wars insisting they are wrong – nearly a century. In the meantime Japan and others have developed their socio- economic to prove political Muslims are complaint Susans. They do not seek real answer, they are NOT the answer to what is wrong with Western civilization. Political Islam is NOT the answer to whatever is wrong. Tunku got it right and it’s time the Malays take pride in that.

  7. Putting Islam at the forefront above self and everything else is internalised radicalisation of some sort. Its effects are counter intuitive to secularism and globalisation. To advance and progress and to live a contended or luxurious or self-righteous life ( the level to which we practise our faith can decide this), one cannot completely eschew the twin face of secularism and globalisation.

    The one who walks alone walks the furthest. A Muslim can lead a full life setting his own markers. Follow your faith guided – above all – by your sixth sense, intermix with people of all faiths, greet and visit them (when invited) on their festive occasions, reject taboo injunctions like shaking hands, boycotting hot dogs etc. Consider walking out (with one or two friends, if possible) from Friday prayer at the mosque, if the imam politicises the sermon and talks in support of the political agenda of specific party/s or denigrates other faiths. This may have ripple effect and boomerang on the imam causing him embarrassment, which must ultimately compel him to confine himself within the domain of Islamic theology when preaching.

  8. Hawking Eye, the Khatibs that delivers the Khutbahs on Fridays are required to deliver the sermon prepared by Jakim and thus have no choice. Islam teaches its followers to be polite and thus you cannot even talk when the Khatib is delivering the Khutbah let alone walk out. The only time i recall is at Mesjid Jamek during the Reformasi period where several jemaah walks out.

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