By P Ramakrishnan
For ages, no-one bothered about the name Timah, until recently.
A locally-brewed whiskey has won accolades overseas and won a silver medal in the competition in 2019. But here it has received brickbats in the home ground
A few urban-based misguided and misinformed half-baked politicians have kicked up so much dust as if it is a matter of life and death. While these urbanites were frothing in the mouth, the kampong Malays take life easy and lead their lives as they always have been – live and let live and minding their own business.
The kampong Malay doesn’t drink whiskey and he understands that it is haram to drink. He doesn’t care who else drinks because others drinking whiskey does not disturb his own life style or affect his way of life.
But some narrow-minded – and not that smart politicians – have worked themselves up into a frenzy because this award-winning whiskey was named Timah. We have been referring to tin as timah for ages ever since tin was discovered and no foolish person in the past had associated that name to a person. It was understood that the word referred to a metal – tin. Suddenly timah, it seems, is short form for Fatimah! Not for any Fatimah but for the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah. How ridiculous one can get!
The image of a person on the label on the whiskey bottle is taken as insult to Islam offending the Muslims. How on earth does this happen? We come across thousands of images that can resemble many personages from the past. Nobody made a fuss about it. So what if a person sports a beard and wears a skullcap. How does he insult Islam? Will the scatterbrains clarify how this particular image on the whisky bottle specifically insults Islam?
Is the dignity of Islam reflected in what a person wears and how he looks – many wonder in amazement!
Fatimah is an Arabic name; it is not an exclusive name for Prophet Muhammad’s daughter. It is an ordinary name. Indeed, previously several relatives of Prophet Muhammad had the same name. It is a name that was common throughout the Arabic world.
It is also a female name commonly used among the Roman Catholic populations, particularly in the Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking worlds. Most people would have heard of the Lady of Fatima and Christians make a pilgrimage to this place in reverence.
Christians had the good sense not to associate this Fatima with the Timah whiskey! They won’t be that foolish to link a revered person to something that is despised. They respect and maintain the high esteem these figures are accorded.
But not so with these few fanatical Muslims in Malaysia who are hellbent to cause mischief. Out of the thousands of Fatimahs all over the world, how did these bigots and idiots associate the daughter of Prophet Muhammad with the whiskey – that is a million-dollar question! What ingenious method did these perverts employ to associate Prophet Muhammad’s daughter to the Timah whiskey? Shame on them for stooping so low for political purposes!
If there was only one Fatimah in the world, then you can rightly and accurately associate this person with the whiskey. But there are thousands of them and how, pray tell, the Prophet’s daughter was picked solely to be associated with this whiskey?
Normally, revered figures are associated with things that represent purity, that are just and right, and which reflect moral values. But here these perverts associate the Prophet’s daughter with something that is evil, sinful and forbidden. Aren’t they aware that by doing so they have sullied the name of the Prophet’s daughter and insulted Islam?
And yet, they blame the producers of Timah for the insult. The guilty ones misrepresenting the issue and creating uneasiness and stirring up religious conflict are these obnoxious characters parading as defenders of Islam! These are not Muslims who according to Islam should be setting the example for unity among the communities and harmony in the way of our life. These are the disrupters and spoilers who spew venom and lie for their personal gain in politics.
Lest we Malaysians forget amidst all the needless hullabaloo that focuses on the inconsequential, can we say that the local whiskey producer is just selling its concept of “adventure” and not mere liquor just as the famous watch maker was selling “prestige” and not mere Rolex watches.
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
29 October 2021