Prohibition. Some say forbid, disallow, sanction or injunction. Either way, it still means DON’T. It can be in the form of ‘stop doing it’, ‘never attempt to do it’ or ‘prevent from doing it’. Any form of ruling including religious has its own sets of injunctions. It’s obvious to note some countries differ from each other; subject to style of ruling, type of leadership, government system etc. Some tribes even have their own exclusive sanctions. Some religions; although similar by name, may differ in its prohibitions according to nations.
One thing leads to another. That’s pretty common; be it in goodness and kindhearted manners or evil and wickedness. Put it onto causality or perhaps to Darwinist to lay it on evolution theory. For Islam, every prohibition has its own divine wisdom. Some are blatantly evident while some are undeniably observable although arguably understandable in the skeptic eyes of non-believers, non-practicing Muslims and deviant teachings such as the Shi’ites.
The world and its progression of lifestyles, norms, values and advancements continuously call for a certain level of pragmatics in outlining jurisdiction. Muslims all over the world have witnessed their scholars passing judgments throughout time since the beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w left us more than 14 centuries ago. Fundamentally, the outline for Islam remains the same with AlQur’an and Prophetic Ahadith continue being regarded as the ultimate reference.
Although it’s becoming more difficult to see Islamic system being put to practice except in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, what defined as crime is not congruent between countries thus making it more difficult for us to acknowledge actual level of people’s obedience. Take adultery and prostitution for instance. While Islam condemns this act, many western countries have accepted it as a legal profession. Hence, the statistical data pointing to some countries achievements of lowest crime rate is heuristically inaccurate.
Low crime rate countries such as Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Singapore and most other unislamic countries discarded sexual offenses as a crime except when it turn abusive, pedophilia or intrusive to others. Consenting adults are not considered as criminals should sex is committed mutually unlike in Islam where premarital intercourse and married adulterers are supposedly punishable by public caning or stoning. Another major difference between Islamic and non-Muslim judicial ruling is on alcohol consumption.
It is often pointed out that the extent of violent crime in American cities such as Miami and Florida, in a single month is equivalent to such crimes in all of Saudi Arabia in the span of a decade. This is of course not to mention drinking alcohol and most parts of free sexual lifestyle in the U.S, which happen to be just a norm there but punishable by law in Saudi. Seriously, that should extend the possibility of criminal behavior’s variance between the two nations becoming even more enormous in its actual proportion.
Although divine Islamic ruling offers perfection and balance in the society, not many countries adopt it as jurisdiction system. Even for a country claiming modern Islamic status such as Malaysia is not practicing Islamic jurisprudence as its primary ruling system. With limitation of Shari'ah to only Muslim family laws and partial Muslim societal decrees, Malaysia is keener to focus on tangible development with a claim of ‘Islamic Country’ as and when the brand positioning seems practical. Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s endorsement on Malaysia as developing moderate Islamic nation sounded better to the ears of Malaysian secularist politicians.
Since its independence in 1957, secular democracy inherited from the last British colonial in Malaysia has reigned this land through political governance. Having cornered with limited choice to uphold Islamic values amongst Muslims in this nation, a Malay splinter group started an Islamic party to compete within the country’s secular democratic system. As irrelevant as it should sound for an Islamic party to compete from within a secular-based system, impacts of such pragmatic decision delivered outcomes as they are shouldering today’s strongest opposition role, which of course just proved the relevance of Islam uncompromising wicked secularism.
Misunderstood Muslim as well as rhetorical remarks from those who didn’t believe in this divine religion often whine about there are so many prohibitions in Islam that made it unattractive to human interests and preferences despite the fact it safeguards our rights on the noblest intention and in the utmost relevant justification. Leave it to human preference to decide on what’s good to adhere and we get gay marriage certified acknowledgment like in the so-called commendable western civilizations. And yet they stand proud to say, “Well, at least the people’s emotion is subdued amicably without prejudice in the name of social justice”.
Nowadays, it’s becoming more rampant to notice Islamic scholars getting blames from Muslim public every time a prohibition is announced regardless how valid, rational and lawful such fatwa was derived. Obviously these scholars have gone through legitimate manner of reasoning based on AlQur’an and Sunnah before passing any fatwa. Argumentation and rationalization process using authentic thinking framework that weigh goodness versus evil is a must before any fatwa can be issued. The Muslim public can choose to accept it rationally or painstakingly.
At the end of the day, public emotional outcry that carries majority interest will be the priority reason of attention in this de mocratic governance. Congruent to populist approach of politicians, either purposely or unknowingly their credo is, "just look at it when there’s a potential towards popularity value for the government of people’s choice to act upon". Simply put it means, if there’s no public interest, just let it be… (in northern peninsula Malaysian dialect they say, "lantak pi";-)
On one hand, while some Muslims living in secular democratic countries are adhering allowable grounds of religious contemplation, it is saddening to note that some authorities in Islamic jurisprudence are kept shut and confined to limited national sensitivities. In Malaysia, at one point we have witnessed an ex-Mufti arrested and brought to court of justice for not possessing valid certification to deliver public talk in a state that requires such thing. It was indeed a petty offense concerning registration of a religious public speaker and yet clearly the issue was blown out of proportion in public.
When smaller and lighter but popular issues concerning Muslims in Malaysia were publicized by Mufti representing religious authorities such as ban on yoga, botox, sms gambling competitions, sureheboh, poco-poco dance etc. the whole media support system seems efficiently quick to pick them up. Too bad that even when some scholars come up with differing optional views that rely on valid religious sources, public opinion prevails as authority’s priority as if whatever derived, quoted, adopted or referred to Qur'anic & Prophetic references carries less or even worse no weight at all in this country's governance that officially proclaims Islam as its official religion.
As opposed to bigger and ‘more sensitive’ issues such as apostate, increase of premarital intercourse, drinking alcohol, slander or fitnah, lying libel or Qazaf and so on, most religious authorities are either locked from issuing statements or hindered from media. Some concerned Muslims will continue their effort to address these issues using alternative media channels including email spam, blogging, virtual social networking, confined intellectual discourse etc. Sooner rather than later, usually the issues lose its steam and heat as people tend to focus on what’s on the mainstream media.
Nevertheless, as majority Muslims around the globe live under democratic governance instead of Shari’ah jurisprudence, many times we see people’s interests being upheld and regarded as the ultimate priority although in some instances it contradicts Divine solutions. Supposedly AlQur’an and Prophetic Ahadith are sufficient to serve as human guidance including here in Malaysia but seemingly there are other popular rational and logical explanations winning the hearts and perceptions of people when it comes to worldly developments and achievements.
The aura of lawful restrictions and shadows of political threats surrounding these sensitivities are peculiar to some religious officers in this country. What stops the religious authorities from boldly defending this religion as the way they should be? Does it simply resulted from fearing human powers who’re able to crush the officers' salaried careers? Is it really for the sake of racial integrity? Or is it genuinely for national security? Where’s the conviction, commitment and sincerity to uphold Almighty’s sovereignty? ALLAH knows best! Wallahu a’lam.