What a splendid way to end 2017!
Malaysians are good at ushering in the New Year on an amusing note.
A few days ago, we learnt that for decades, Malaysians had been using the wrong greeting, to wish their Christian friends “Merry Christmas”.
In typical east coast Malaysian style, the festive greeting should have been “Mary Christmas”. A few claim that it should be “Marry Christmas”.
Then, on Christmas Day, the popular king of religious comedy, Ustaz Azhar Idrus, addressed some religious questions in an article in PAS’s official portal, Harakahdaily, and warned Muslim women from taking photos at shops belonging to non-Muslim businessmen. He said, “Photographs of women like our daughters and wives should not belong to the infidels. Refrain from taking any more photos at the shop of the non-believer.”
His warning sounds like a variation of the “Muslim-only launderette” scandal, which happened a few months ago, in Johore.
Ustaz Azhar should keep up with the times. Few people go to photography studios these days. One of Malaysia’s more famous photography shops, Chan Sam Lock, in Ipoh, closed down after 71 years of operation. Smartphones and digital photography have put these shops out of business.
Sharing photos on social media will lead to adultery
The cleric also discouraged men and women from sharing photographs through social media, because sharing them, for fun, could lead to adultery. Longingly staring at the photos will make one yearn for the other person’s company, that the two will conspire to meet up…and then presumably, will end up having sex.
The only exception was given to employers. They are allowed to keep photos of their Muslim female employees.
The ustaz probably has a lot of faith in some male employers. No more office romances!
No boyfriends, only girlfriends
The best advise was when Ustaz Azhar said that it was haram for a Muslim girl to make friends with Muslim men, and warned that Muslim women should only make friends with other women.
He said, “Making friends with other women is alright. Look for a female friend, even so far as to find her in America or Canada, is not an issue, as long as it girl-meet-girl, even with non-Muslim women. Muslim women should not make friends with males, unless one wants to marry him.” (sic)
Oh dear! There goes my dating plans for Valentine’s Day in seven weeks time. In fact, there goes my New Year’s eve party plans!
Hang on a minute! What happens if I make friends with another woman and am accused of being a lesbian. Shall I say, Ustaz Azhar gave me permission for this friendship? I thought clerics in Malaysia were against same sex relationships?
Happy New Years!