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Is Institutional Islam Failing The Malays?

Yin asks, “Will the ulamas reflect if  they are part of the problem for the social ills among the Malays?…”

Yin: I have been told that there is a Muslim/Malay divorce every 10 minutes. Every 10 minutes a family breaks up. Every 10 minutes a woman is left (often for another who will be left in turn and so on – so easy it is to talak (divorce) a woman). Every 10 minutes some children are left without a father (the vast majority of divorce are male initiated so I have been told); every 10 minutes there is a broken family. Every 10 minutes a woman has to go out to find work to feed the family because often husbands refuse to keep up the alimony for the upkeep of his discarded family. Every 10 minutes children are left neglected and a social problem emerges.

Do you know the majority of drug addicts are Malays? I have not heard of a non-Malay Mat Rempit. And how many cases of child molestation or incestuous relations in the Malay community?

Yet this is a community that is most ‘religionised’. So what went wrong?

Where does the problem lie?

Islam is not the problem. Institutional Islam is. Political Islam is.

When religion is used as a tool of control; when religion becomes the handmaiden of politics and religion is forced upon those who have lost faith and remain Muslim only in name;then problems occur. And when the religious establishment; to preserve its monopoly of power; refuses to even countenance a different voice within Islam, then it spells trouble. At least then a Muslim can find an Islamic voice that speaks his heart; but now I am told many Malays have left Islam for something else.

When a religion is focused on rituals and laws and is intolerant of ‘deviants’, it misses its true mission of bringing spiritual upliftment to its flock.

When the religious establishment closes one eye to corruption on a grand scale, what does it tell its followers?

When the relgious establishment closes both eyes to unIslamic practices by the rich and powerful, while it flogs a poor woman for drinking beer, or charges a poor woman for khalwat for daring to be with a man alone, while the rich and powerful fornicate in posh hotels, what message does it send? And while the ulamas with their fat salaries and perks, pontificate from the pulpit about the road to heaven while the poor do not have enough to eat; what does it tell the rakyat?  Munafik!

Social problems in the Malay community

Why don’t the religious demi-gods force the government to spend more money on solving the social problems in the Malay Community? To provide a more generous welfare payment for the poor and marginalised. Why not use your religious police to track down the errant husbands who refuse to pay for the upkeep of their “talak-ed” wives; instead of playing peeping tom.

And why not ask for more funds to help the truly poor instead of more mosques and religious schools. Allah does not need more edifices to glorify Him. No mosque can equal the splendour of his creations. I am sure He would be happier to see His people better taken care of than have palaces of worship.

And more importantly why not preach Peace and Love and Tolerance and Honesty and Kindness to all creatures; instead of division and the marginalisation of kaffirs, and of other Islamic sects in our country. Better still, why not stay out of politics?

When an Islamic party tells its congregation that it is better to have a crook who is a Muslim, than to have a kaffir who is honest, then surely he is doing Islam a disfavour.

Spread the message of spiritual Islam

Why not spread spiritual Islam instead of a dogmatic practice based on man-made laws? When rituals become more important and rules are used to keep order; then you lose the message of Allah’s love for ALL his creations (even LGBTs and kaffirs) and not just those sanctioned by the ulamas; then surely you are spreading the message of  a true Islam – a spiritual Islam.

Religion – any religion – is not about a set of rules (most of it man-made yet) attributed to God. And the custodians of these organised religions put themselves as the sole interpreter of God’s will. Other religions may condemn the unbelievers to hell, or even ex-communicate them.

Only in the case of Islam do they stone to death apostates, chop off the hands of thieves, flog the rule breakers, grab corpses and forbid marriages of Muslims with kaffirs.  All in Allah’s name.

Why did Allah not stone Adam and Eve to death for disobeying Him? Or cut off their hands for taking the forbidden fruit? Please explain.

I am not trained in theology; but in my view books obfuscate and confuse what is simply a spiritual thing – a matter of universal love; kindness to all irrespective of creed or race; belief in God. Follow your own way how you want to talk to HIM. He understands every language not just Arabic and He does not care how you pray to him or how many times as long as it is from the heart.

In this Christian holy month of Lent and the coming holy month of Ramadan (for Muslims); may both Christians and Muslims reflect  on the killings in Christchurch and the bombing in Colombo. Let us pray that Malaysia will not degenerate into an extremist Islamic state.

And let the ulamas reflect if  they are part of the problem for the social ills among the Malays?


(The views expressed are those of the contributor)


By Yin

Letters from Ward 5, Tanjong Rambutan



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