Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Meaty Discourse: second take

The headlines were screaming loud today in the English dailies.

Star and Sun: “Yoga Fatwa on Hold” while NST went with “Fatwa on Yoga – Consult the Rulers first”.

The two main newspapers in Bahasa Malaysia are pretty subdued on the matter.

If you wish, read up Sun’s take on the subject in the main news as well as its columnist for the day .

Remember: with open mind. Don't go ballistic unless warranted.

Two things come to mind when you read through these news articles:

i. the National Fatwa Council is bound by Constitutional jurisdictions in the implementation of edicts, and

ii. the issue is only of concern to the so-called liberal, English speaking and using Muslim cross section;

The first point is the more interesting as it points to a two-tier syetems: an issuance of edict by the Federal National Fatwa Council, and then implementation by the State Fatwa Committee.

Implementation in the respective State is following the Royal Assent from their respective Rulers before it can be gazzetted.

What happens if the State doesn’t agree with the National Fatwa Council?

Secular me had this one nagging thought I didn’t highlight earlier as it might just be interpreted as going against Fatwa, and it is this:

Once a fatwa is made, it becomes a rule. Haram is haram, and there is no two ways about it and once gazzetted, action can be taken against those who break these rules.

The suddenness of the edict is a problem for some of the now-Haram Yoga Muslim instructors who would (should?) have known enough to not indulge in the mantras and chants which would have eroded their faith in the first place.

What would become of them? Perhaps, they should have a name change: Pilayoga, or Yolates, or something. Would they still run foul of the edict if the poses and practise are basically the same?

The view of the Perlis Mufti accords a way out for them and in the logical discourse-based thinking (not always the case when it comes to religious issues), this possibly should have also been the way the National Fatwa Council worded the edict.

Just like it is with the daily prayers: there will be room for differences in practice as long as the core faith and belief remains true.

Muslims should not envy those sitting in the Fatwa councils - Federal and State – as in their hands lie the huge, HUGE responsibility of guiding us and woe should there be missteps along the way putting the religion in dispute or ridicule.

There is no bigger responsibility for a Muslim than to lead the ummah.

That is why the Prophet Muhammad SAW is Junjungan Besar.

The solemnity in prayers

The starting point

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