Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Status of Women in Islam

In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to God is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression, ‘believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits. It says:

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward.” (Al-Qur’an 33:35)

This clearly contradicts the assertion of some of the Christian Fathers that woman does not possess souls and that they will exist as sexless beings in the next life. The Qur’an says that women have souls in exactly the same way as men and will enter Paradise if they do well:

“Enter into Paradise, you and your wives, with delight.” (Al-Qur’an 43:70)

“Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life.” (Al-Qur’an 16:97)

The Qur’an admonishes those men who oppress or ill-treat women:

“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them - except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and God will bring about through it a great deal of good.” (Al-Quran 4:19)

Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka’ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure -- possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur’an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness, and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul. The Qur’an declares:

“O mankind! Revere your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Revere God, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for God ever watches over you.” (Al-Quran 4:1)

The Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile:

“They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.” (Al-Qur’an 2:187)

Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other’s chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife’s company and she in his. The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them. Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her ‘muhsana’ - a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as a most virtuous act. He said:

“When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.”

He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying:

“Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (i.e. is not my follower).”

The Qur'an has given the raison d'être of marriage in the following words:

“And among His signs is this, which He has created for you mates from among yourselves, which you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Al-Qur’an 30:21)

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. He said:

“The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.”

He once told the future Caliph, ‘Umar:

“Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.”

On other occasions the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (i.e. which remembers God), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith.”

And again:

“The world, the whole of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife.”

Before the advent of Islam women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them. He told the Muslims:

“Fear God in respect of women.”


“The best of you are they who behave best to their wives.”

“A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good.”


“The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”

The Prophet, peace be upon him, was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous sermon (Arabic: khutba) on the Mount of Mercy, at Arafat, in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present, and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women. He said:

“Fear God regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of God, and made their bodies lawful with the word of God. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”

In Islam a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as wife, as sister and as daughter. She has perfect liberty to choose her husband. The pagan society of pre-Islamic Arabia had an irrational prejudice against their female children whom they used to bury alive. The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, was totally opposed to this practice. He showed them that supporting their female children would act as a screen for them against the fire of Hell:

“It is narrated by the Prophet’s wife, ‘Aisha, that a woman entered her house with two of her daughters. She asked for charity but ‘Aisha could not find anything except a date, which was given to her. The woman divided it between her two daughters and did not eat any herself. Then she got up and left. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to the house, ‘Aisha told him about what had happened and he declared that when this woman was brought to account (on the Day of Judgment) about her two daughters, they would act as a screen for her from the fires of Hell.”

The worst calamity for a woman is when her husband passes away and, as a widow, the responsibility of maintaining the children falls upon her. In the Eastern World, where a woman does not always go out to earn her living, the problems of widowhood are indescribable. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, upheld the cause of widows. Most of his wives were widows. In an age when widows were rarely permitted to remarry, the Prophet encouraged his followers to marry them. He was always ready to help widows and exhorted his followers to do the same. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said:

“One who makes efforts (to help) the widow or a poor person is like a mujahid (warrior) in the path of God, or like one who stands up for prayers all of the the night and fasts all of the day.”

Woman as mother commands great respect in Islam. The Noble Qur’an speaks of the rights of the mother in a number of verses. It enjoins Muslims to show respect to their mothers and serve them well even if they are still unbelievers. The Prophet, peace be upon him, states emphatically that the rights of the mother are paramount. Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, and asked:

“O Messenger of God, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention? He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your father.”

In another tradition, the Prophet advised a believer not to join the war against the Quraysh (i.e. the pagan disbelievers at that time) in defence of Islam, but to look after his mother, saying that his service to his mother would be a cause for his salvation. Mu’awiyah, the son of Jahimah, reported that Jahimah came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said:

“Messenger of God! I want to join the fighting (in the path of God) and I have come to seek your advice.” He said, “Then remains in your mother’s service, because Paradise is under her feet.”

The Prophet’s followers accepted his teachings and brought about a revolution in their social attitude towards women. They no longer considered women as a mere chattel, but as an integral part of society. For the first time women were given the right to have a share in inheritance. In the new social climate, women rediscovered themselves and became highly active members of society rendering useful service during the wars which the pagan Arabs forced on the emerging Muslim Ummah. They carried provisions for the soldiers, nursed them, and even fought alongside them if it was necessary. It became a common sight to see women helping their husbands in the fields, carrying on trade and business independently, and going out of their homes to satisfy their needs.

‘Aisha reported that Saudah bint Zam’ah went out one night. ‘Umar saw her and recognized her and said, “By God, O Saudah, why do you not hide yourself from us?” She went back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and told him about it while he was having supper in his room, and he said: “It is permitted by God for you to go out for your needs.”

The predominant idea in the teachings of Islam with regard to men and women is that a husband and wife should be full-fledged partners in making their home a happy and prosperous place, and that they should be loyal and faithful to one another, and genuinely interested in each other’s welfare and the welfare of their children. A woman is expected to exercise a humanizing influence over her husband and to soften the sternness inherent in his nature. A man is enjoined to educate the women in his care so that they cultivate the qualities in which they, by their very nature, excel.

These aspects were much emphasized by the Prophet, peace be upon him. He exhorted men to marry women of piety and women to be faithful to their husbands and kind to their children. He said:

“Among my followers the best of men are those who are best to their wives, and the best of women are those who are best to their husbands. To each of such women is set down a reward equivalent to the reward of a thousand martyrs. Among my followers, again, the best of women are those who assist their husbands in their work, and love them dearly for everything, save what is a transgression of God’s laws.”

Once Mu’awiyah asked the Prophet, peace be upon him:

“What are the rights that a wife has over her husband?” The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: “Feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, refrain from giving her a slap on the face or abusing her, and do not separate from your wife, except within the house.”

Once a woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, with a complaint against her husband. He told her:

“There is no woman who removes something to replace it in its proper place, with a view to tidying her husband’s house, but that God sets it down as a virtue for her. Nor is there a man who walks with his wife hand-in-hand, but that God set it down as a virtue for him; and if he puts his arm round her shoulder in love, his virtue is increased tenfold.”

Once he was heard praising the women of the tribe of Quraysh, saying:

“. . . because they are the kindest to their children while they are infants and because they keep a careful watch over the belongings of their husbands.”

The Shari’ah (Islamic Law) regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labour. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.

It is a fact, however, that sound administration within the domestic field is impossible without a unified policy. For this reason the Shari’ah requires a man, as head of the family, to consult with his family and then to have the final say in decisions concerning it. In doing so he must not abuse his prerogative to cause any injury to his wife. Any transgression of this principle involves for him the risk of losing the favour of God, because his wife is not his subordinate but she is, to use the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, ‘the queen of her house’, and this is the position a true believer is expected to give his wife. In contrast to these enlightened teachings of Islam in respect of women, Western talk of women’s liberation or emancipation is actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honour, and degradation of her soul! Wallahua’lam……

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dikau Yang Pernah Ku Cintai.......


Itulah sahaja perkataan yang mampu menceritakan dirinya ketika itu. Segala-galanya lesu. Mindanya tidak mampu lagi bertaakul. Untuk mencari jawaban bagi seribu satu permasalahan yang bermain di mindanya waktu itu. Yang hadir hanyalah kedukaan. Kekeliruan. Yang menghambat kecelaruan di mindanya.

Angin malam menerpa ke wajahnya. Dingin. Sedingin hatinya. Yang sudah mula tidak memahami apakah ertinya rasa itu. Yang mengeraskan dinding hati nuraninya. Yang mulai tidak mengendahkan senyuman manisnya. Yang hiba mendengarkan gelak tawanya. Yang jijik dengan janjinya. Yang akhirnya membawanya ke destinasi itu.

Embun malam mula menyinggah ke tubuhnya. Namun ianya tidak mampu walau sedikit pun memberikan kedinginan pada dirinya. Yang hadir. Hanyalah kelesuan…..


“Hey. I think you should read this article……”
“Hah!! Kenapa? Aku tak minatlah benda-benda macam nie…..”
“You better readlah. Nanti ko tahulah naper….”
“Okaylah. Thanx. Nanti apa-apa aku sms ko lah….”


“Ehhh. Ko ingat tue dia ker?”
“Ko piker benda yang sama ker?”
“That’s what I have in mindlah. Tapi possible ker? Takder rupa pun…..”
“Well you never know dear till you finally find out the truth, kan?”
“Yeah. You are right. Hmmmm…….”
“What do you think right now?”
“Gimme a few minutes. I wanna google benda nie…..”
“Kay. Take your time. But I hope you’re okay there….”
“Thanx. Yeah I am perfectly okay here…..”


“You busy there?”
“Nope. Just to settle a few things. Wassup?”
“Hmmmm…. Dunno where to start lah.”
“Well. Let me guess. It’s true kan?”
“Haih…. Betullah tue. Tak taulah nak cakap apa…….”
“Well. Aku dah cakap dari dulu lagi kan. Dia tue penipu.”
“Come on lah. Janganlah macam tue…..”
“Well you cannot start a friendship dengan menipu kan?”
“Benda dah lepas, aku nak cakap macamana laie kan…..”
“Hmmmm…. You okay there?”
“Yeah. I am okay. No worries. Apapun thanx lah. Kalu tak selamanya aku tak tahu pun. Selamanya aku kena tipu……”
“Dahlah tue. Don’t think about it too much. Cheer up. Okay?”
“Hahahahahaha….. Takder aperlah. Aku okay jer.”
“Okay. Aku ada benda nak siapkan nie. Apa-apa nanti aku call balik.”
“Hey I beg you, janganlah pikir bukan-bukan. Or else it may hurt you again….”
“Nay…. I won’t. No worries. Dahlah. Pilah buat keje tue. Bye…..”


Malam itu terlalu amat sunyi. Yang kedengaran hanyalah dendangan sang kodok. Menyanyi memecah kedinginan malam. Disulami nyanyian sang cengkerik. Sahut menyahut. Laksana sebuah fiesta yang sedang berlangsung. Menjadi peneman setia. Si dia yang masih lagi duduk di situ. Tanpa arah. Tanpa tujuan….

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Suratan Atau Kebetulan.......

Sesuatu yang tak disangka
Seringkali mendatangi kita
Itukah suratan dalam kehidupan
Atau hanya satu kebetulan

Kita asyik membicarakan
Persoalan hidup dan pilihan
Sedang kejujuran semakin berkurang
Masih tiada bertemu jawapan

Walau kita dihadapkan
Dengan berbagai pilihan
Mengapa sering terjadi
Pilihan tak menepati

Hingga amat menakutkan
Menghadapi masa depan
Seolah telah terhapus
Sebuah kehidupan yang kudus

Pertemuan sekali ini
Bagi diriku amat bererti
Tetapi ku bimbang untuk menyatakan
Bimbangkan berulang kesilapan

Walau kita dihadapkan
Dengan berbagai pilihan
Mengapa sering terjadi
Pilihan tak menepati

Hingga amat menakutkan
Menghadapi masa depan
Seolah telah terhapus
Sebuah kehidupan yang kudus

Pertemuan sekali ini
Bagi diriku amat bererti
Tetapi ku bimbang untuk menyatakan
Bimbangkan berulang kesilapan

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2009 Top Ten Malaysian Billionaires

Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien (RM 26.6 billion)
Kerry Group

Tan Sri Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan (RM 20.1 billion)
Maxis Communication Berhad and Astro All Asia Networks Plc

Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow (RM 8.15 billion)
Public Bank Berhad

Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng (RM 7.4 billion)
IOI Group

Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan (RM 4.5 billion)
Hong Leong Group

Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua (RM 3.5 billion)
Genting Group

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary (RM 3.2 billion)
Albukhary Foundation

Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun (RM 1.8 billion)
Berjaya Corporation Berhad

Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King (RM 1.6 billion)
Rimbunan Hijau Group

Tan Sri Azman Hashim (RM 1.4 billion)
Amcorp Group Berhad

Monday, February 16, 2009


Sepi hati terjadi lagi
Mungkin sampai mati aku sepi
Biar senyum hadir di hariku
Namun ini hanya ada di bibir
Di bibir saja

Aku ini yang bisa mengerti
Walaupun yang lain mau mengerti
Namun berat beban hidupku
Biarkan saja
Biar saja hanya ku yang tahu

Sejarah cinta dan hidupku
Penuh duri dan banyak ranjau
Butuh kesabaran yang penuh
Untuk tetap ku berdiri

Ada saatnya ku bicara
Bila hatiku telah bulat
Sepanjang ku bisa atasi semua
Aku tetap diam

Sejarah cinta dan hidupku
Penuh duri dan banyak ranjau
Butuh kesabaran yang penuh
Untuk tetap ku berdiri

Ada saatnya ku bicara
Bila hatiku telah bulat
Sepanjang ku bisa atasi semua
Aku tetap diam

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Crisis in the Muslim World

To understand our current crisis accurately, we need to return to the revelation of the Qur’an and its basic concepts of tawhid, istikhlaf, individual and communal responsibility, ‘umran, and pursuit of knowledge. This supreme and civilized message to humanity transformed the early Arab Muslims into a great people, the bearers of a great religion, and the creators of great civilizations and history. They sought guidance from the Qur’an and developed their means through reason and knowledge of Allah’s natural laws (sunan). For the first time in history they developed the foundations of scientific and experimental methods – the same foundations that gave contemporary materialistic civilization its power of science and technology.

However, Islamic civilization was not materialistic, for it was cantered on istikhlaf, responsibility, and action to create a balanced way of life: spiritually, morally, and materially. Islam and the early generations of Muslims represented a distinguished and dynamic power in the Ummah’s history. This powerful Islamic guidance remains responsible for preserving the Ummah and most of the goodness in Muslims’ lives and consciousness. Unfortunately, the Ummah has retained remnants of old traditions, philosophies, and racial and tribal practices that continue to impact the lives of its people. Over time, this caused the Ummah’s degeneration and influenced new Muslims, as they did before Islam, thus weakening the religious enlightenment. Over the centuries, separation and confrontation within the Ummah’s intellectual leadership developed – a truly disastrous result. In other words, Muslim scholars and the political and intellectual ruling elites confronted each other.

This development weakened both sides and caused serious harm to their social roles and to the Ummah. Thinkers and scholars were isolated from the everyday lives of ordinary people, and their dynamics and concerns became increasingly theoretical. This situation prevented the growth of the social sciences and gradually drove scholars (ulama) to pure imitation and memorization. Students of ancient and alien philosophies did not truly benefit from the early scientific, experimental, and action-oriented Islamic principles and methods, but continued to follow the theoretical path. This added further harm and confusion to the Ummah’s intellectual life. In their isolation, the ulama developed a distorted view of Islam’s universal vision, one that was no longer ummatic and positive. They were no longer concerned with the Ummah’s life, and its public institutions were no longer part of their agenda. This led to the marked deterioration of the Ummah and its public institutions. The ulama concentrated on Islam’s ritual (private) aspects (e.g., salah, siyam, and Qur’anic recitation), which they called ‘ibadat, although the Qur’anic terminology refers to them as dhikr. They called the jihad of life to pursue a halal lifestyle, the jihad to seek knowledge, the jihad to spread da’wah, and the jihad to defend the Ummah. They focused on mu’amalat, mere dealings and contracts almost devoid of spiritual value.

This distortion of Islam’s universal vision was largely responsible for distorting Islamic life and institutions and giving Muslims a negative attitude toward life and civilization. The Muslim masses and societies were no longer the strong muwahidin and mustakhlafin, but weak and submissive. In short, the average Muslim was transformed into a person that concentrated on survival and thus showed little interest in pursuing an important civilizational role in history. The isolation of intellectuals and scholars fragmented the sources of Islamic knowledge. The knowledge was either religious or therefore based on the Qur’an and Sunnah and supported with linguistic tools in a historical context. Or it was human knowledge, and therefore related to foreign cultures and civilizations, and alien to the Islamic worldview, values, and Muslim psychology and culture.

The opposition and confrontation between Islamic scholars and the corrupt political, tribal, and aristocratic elites weakened the rulers’ position in two ways. First, it continually raised doubts about the legitimacy of their rule. Second, they were deprived and alienated from the intellectual base that could provide the intellectual support and ability to deal with Ummah’s changing circumstances. As a result, due to the weakened state of the Ummah and the rulers, both the ulama and the rulers turned to the “lesser evil” of oppression and violence to control the people in order to avoid political and social chaos. The rulers and the political elites imprisoned or executed their opponents, while the ulama threatened spiritual and eternal punishment to suppress intellectual dissatisfaction and revolt against their arbitrary authority and interpretations of religious text. The crushing of intellectual expression and the oppression of corrupt rulers polluted the national culture and created a negative and superstitious mentality that finally influenced the development of the Muslims’ “slave mentality.” It is, therefore, not surprising that Muslims appear to be fearful, negative, and lacking in initiative and creativity. The end result was a distorted universal Muslim vision, deficient knowledge, a corrupt public life, a superstitious mentality, and a damaging slave mentality. After losing their scientific and creative mentality, Muslim scientists turned to memorizing scientific procedures or imitating and importing scientific and technological tools and systems. In so doing, they hoped to achieve the ability to carry out research and development that would help the Ummah to catch up with the developed nations.

But we must do more than this – we need to correct our mental, cultural, and psychological distortions; adjust our world vision in order to regain our ummatic outlook; rectify our epistemological view in order to reunite religious and human knowledge; cleanse our culture from all distortions and superstitions in order to restore our Islamic scientific mentality and methodology; and reform our parental and educational methods.

We need to return to the Prophet’s methods of child development and education. The Prophet used love, care, respect, patience, wise guidance, effective communication, and supervision when dealing with children. For example, when he spoke to children (such as Ibn ‘Abbas), he did not address them in the same way that the Qur’an addresses its enemies, nor did he threaten or frighten them. Instead, he created an atmosphere of love and mutual support between the children and God, and taught them courage. For example, he told Ibn ‘Abbas:

“Now, boy, care about God, for God cares about you. Remember God in your good times, for God remembers you in your hard times of need. If everyone wants to harm you with something that God has not decided would happen to you, they cannot harm you. Likewise, if they want to benefit you with something that God has not decided for you, they cannot benefit you. The pens have been dried, and the records have been closed.”

The Prophet used such words to teach Ibn ‘Abbas courage, because courage is the real basis of a strong character and all virtues. On another occasion, the Prophet addressed the mind and reason while replying to a man who asked him if he could leave his camel untethered and trust in God to protect it while he prayed. The Prophet told him to tether the camel and then trust in God.

The Prophet was very careful and thoughtful in dealing with his grandson, al-Hussain, who once climbed on his back while he was leading the prayers in the mosque. The Prophet made an unusually long sujud, which caused his companions to wonder if it was a revelation. He told them that he did not want to rise (from sujud) hastily, for that would not allow his grandson enough time to enjoy his ride. The lesson here was not that he loved his grandson, but that he was the grandfather of a small child who knew nothing about salah, sujud, or iman. All he could understand was that his grandfather was on the ground, so he climbed on his back to play. The Prophet had two choices: put him down in a hurry without saying a word to him because he was praying, or give him some time to play and enjoy himself and then put him down carefully and continue the prayer. His constant thoughtful and careful nature, which precluded his hitting a child, enabled him to succeed as a father and a grandfather.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rethinking Anthropology and Islam

Anthropology has much for which to thank bin Laden. After decades of criticism, anthropology was on the ropes not long ago. Its founding father and mother were discredited: Bronislaw Malinowski for lusting after young natives and Margaret Mead for cooking up ethnographic accounts. Its own practitioners despaired and predicted “The End of Anthropology” (Worsley, 1966; Banaji, 1970). When the field appeared at its weakest, the powerful new voice of Edward Said emerged to denounce it as tainted by the dreaded word ‘Orientalism’ (Said, 1978). Perhaps the unkindest cut was that anthropology was not even seen as a bulldog in the service of the Western imperialists but rather as a mere puppy. Students of anthropology wandered aimlessly – sometimes into postmodernist literary conceit and sometimes into autobiographical excess. Like John Keats’s knight in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ anthropology appeared to be ‘ailing’. It appeared ‘alone and palely loitering.’

September 11 changed all that. The main interests of anthropology – ideas of ethnicity, group loyalty, honour, revenge, suicide, tribal code, the conflict between what anthropologists call the Great Tradition of world religions and their local practice or the Little Tradition – were being discussed everywhere. Perhaps people were not even aware that they were discussing these issues as they were identified with traditional, even ‘primitive’ societies, and therefore discredited; now they were front-page news. What was clear was the sense of hyper-asabiyya and the accompanying paranoia and uncertainty.

Ironically, most religions and communities across the globe felt they were under siege. American television broadcast its news and discussion under the title ‘America Under Siege’; Israelis felt that the Arad had besieged them; and Indian complains of being hemmed in by aggressive Muslim neighbours. The United States, Israel and India appeared paralyzed in the face of Muslim suicide bombers. They had no answer to the violence except more violence.

With each killing the siege mentality spread. State strategy appeared to be to use more brute power and inflict more pain on the opposite side. Where vision and compassion were required, the state was seen to kill and hurt people and destroy property. Its representatives did not even spare the mosque, the House of Allah.

The United States, Israel and India were compromising hard-won ideas of modern, thriving democracy. There were cases of illegal detention, suspension of civil liberties and unauthorized surveillance. The victim was invariably a Muslim.

Muslims, whether living as a majority or a minority felt especially vulnerable after September 11. The fact that all 19 of the hijackers were Muslim appeared to condemn by association every Muslim on the planet. Any expression of Muslim identity would risk the fear of being suspected as ‘terrorist’ activity. Muslims felt that their religion Islam was under siege…….

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hari Itu.......


Itulah sahaja perkataan yang dapat menerangkan perangai dan sikap Syariff semenjak dia memandu kereta itu. Sikapnya yang suka melambaikan tangan pada pemandu yang memandu kenderaan yang sama dengannya. Perangainya yang suka menegur dan menyapa pemandu-pemandu tersebut di stesen petrol. Baik lelaki mahupun perempuan. Baik Melayu mahupun bukan Melayu. Pasti akan ditegur. Pasti akan disapa. Hinggalah ke hari itu. Hari itu….


“Woi Adik! Nak isi berapa riban nie?”

Soal Kasyah pada Syariff yang ketika itu sudah keluar dari kereta.

“Ikutlah. Tak kisah pun.”
“Okaylah. Kalau macam itu aku isi full tank.”

Kasyah berlalu. Menuju ke kaunter bayaran. Sambil bersiul-siul keriangan. Dan mengangkat kening matanya pada Syariff. Membuatkan Syariff tersenyum simpul.

Sedang menanti Kasyah membuat bayaran, tiba-tiba sebiji kereta berhenti di sebelah. Dan kereta yang sama dipandu oleh Syariff. Sama warna. Membuatkan Syariff tersenyum lebar.

“Bolehlah aku tegur drivernye nanti….”

Bisik hati Syariff. Dan beberapa ketika pemandunya keluar dari kereta. Membuatkan Syariff terpana. Kelu lidah tanpa bicara. Dan bibir matanya tidak berkedip, walaupun sekali…..

“Oit. Cepatlah isi minyak tue. Duk termenung apanya tue!”

Tegur Kasyah. Membuatkan Syariff tersedar. Kembali ke dunia nyata.

“Ehh… Hang isikan…”
“Wei pasaipa nie?? Ko nak ke mana?”

Syariff hanya tersengih. Lantas berjalan menuju ke kereta sebelah…..


Jawabnya. Perasaan terkejut jelas di wajahnya. Mungkin tidak biasa. Mungkin tidak pernah ada yang menegurnya di tempat sebegitu….

“Dah lama you pakai keta nie?”
“Taklah lama. Baru gak. Dalam empat bulan lebih sikit ajer. Tue keta you or your friend?”
“Mine. Dah nak masuk setahun dah pun….”
“Owh…. Lamalah tue. So far ader apa-apa problem ke?”
“Ader…. My power window kat driver seat tue ader problem. Dah hantar repair kat service centre, but still tak elok gak. Then ader ‘orkestra’ kat bahagian depan tue….”
“Alah….. Ader bunyi apa ntah kat seat sebelah driver tue….”
“Hahahahahahahahaha….. Ingatkan apalah tadi. Pastue dah hantar repair lom?”
“I tengah tunggu my cousin….”
“Your cousin?”
“Yeap, my cousin. He’s senior engineer UMW-Toyota. Dia dulu antara engineer yang terlibat design kereta nie…..”
“Owh really?? Bolehlah I tumpang hantar kat dia nanti…”
“Why? Your car pun ader problem gak ke?”
“My stereng tue. Ader problemlah. Hari tue dah complaint tapi after that macam takder beza pun……”
“Owh… Nanti I tanyakan my cousin tue…..”
“Thanx!! By the way, I’m Ilham… Ilham Allysa ‘Aisyah. You?”
“Amboi sedapnya nama…. Syariff…. Ahmad Syariff….”
“Nah nie kad I. You ader kad?”
“Erk…. Takderlah. Nanti I sms you my number….”
“Okay.. My number ader kat kad tue… Okaylah. Have to go now. Bye….”

Dan dia berlalu. Dengan senyuman manisnya. Dan Syariff masih lagi berdiri di situ. Terpesona… Terpana… Dengan keindahan wajahnya. Keayuan senyumannya. Kelembutan butir bicaranya. Kesopanan isyarat tubuhnya…..

“Woi!! Sudahlah tue!! Jangan nak berangan lagi. Jom balik!!”

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Identiti, Sang Kodok dan Pengenalan Sosiologi

Kebelakangan ini aku banyak menulis dalam Bahasa Malaysia. Seorang teman lalu bertanya melalui khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS):

“Menulis dalam Bahasa Malaysia untuk menyatakan sokongan terhadap pemansuhan PPSMI ke?”

Aku hanya mampu tergelak, sebagai reaksi awal terhadap pertanyaan tersebut. Dek kerana kami membesar bersama-sama, teman itu sangat memahami setiap perlakuan aku, baik yang tersurat mahupun yang tersirat. Namun jawapan aku adalah tidak. Sebab penulisan aku banyak menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia kebelakangan ini hanyalah sekadar untuk ‘melayan mood.’ Tidak lebih dari itu.

Rumah yang aku duduki sekarang ini terletak bersebelahan dengan sekolah; Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seksyen 10. Setiap pagi selepas solat Fajar, satu perkara yang gemar aku lakukan lewat kebelakangan ini ialah berjalan-jalan sambil beriadah kecil di hadapan kawasan rumah yang aku duduki ini. Tapi bukan setiap pagilah :P Sambil pada waktu yang sama aku suka meninjau-ninjau pelajar-pelajar sekolah menengah tersebut datang ke sekolah. Bukanlah bermaksud untuk meng‘usha’ mereka (ahakzz!!). Tapi perkara yang aku suka perhatikan adalah pengangkutan mereka ke sekolah. Rata-rata mereka dihantar oleh keluarga, samada ibu ataupun bapa. Bagi aku itu fenomena biasa. Namun yang menarik perhatian aku adalah jenis kenderaan yang digunakan. Kebanyakannya kenderaan mewah, yang berharga paling kurang seratus ribu. Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo (my favourite car!!), Toyota Lexus etc. Pun begitu ada jua yang bermotosikal, dan hanya berjalan kaki sahaja. Kalau nak dilihat, status sosio-ekonomi masyarakat kawasan yang aku duduki sekarang ini tidaklah seimbang. Ada yang berada dan mewah (upper class and upper middle class), ada yang berada di kelas pertengahan (middle class), ada yang tergolong dalam golongan pekerja dan kelas pertengahan dan bawahan (lower middle and lower class). Di minda ku acapkali berfikir, pasti mereka-mereka ini golongan anak-anak sekolah menengah yang mampu menguasai Bahasa Inggeris dengan baik. Harapnya begitulah…..

Lantas minda ku terfikir kepada mereka yang bersekolah di desa, bagaimana pula dengan mereka yang bersekolah di ceruk hujung dunia. Yang terpaksa menaiki bot dan sampan berjam-jam untuk sampai ke sekolah. Adakah penguasaan Bahasa Inggeris mereka baik, semantap mereka di bandar? Tidak pula dapat ku pastikan. Mungkin rakan-rakan ku di Fakulti Pendidikan (Naemah, sila jawab :P) dapat memberikan jawapan yang lebih jelas.

Namun perkara yang ‘menggelikan’ minda ku adalah berkenaan pengajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Kononnya pejuang-pejuang Bahasa Melayu mengatakan ianya bersifat tidak patriotik kerana membelakangkan bahasa ibunda. Malahan mereka mempertahankan bawah Bahasa Melayu telah lama menjadi ‘lingua franca’ untuk pembangunan dan penyebaran ‘ilmu. Yang menggelikan aku ialah bilamana mereka memperkatakan bahawa ‘identiti’ Melayu akan terhakis bilamana pengajaran dua subjek itu dilakukan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

Kasihan. Mungkin para pejuang bahasa ini perlu masuk kelas ‘ilmu anthropologi agaknya. Identiti adalah bahasa yang dipinjam dari bidang antropologi. Malahan ianya mula dibicarakan secara ekstensif oleh para antropologis sosial seperti Edmund R. Leach dalam karyanya Political System of Highland Burma dan E.E. Evans-Pritchard dalam karya agungnya The Nuer. Identiti dari perspektif antropologi akan hanya terjelma melalui proses interaksi. Meminjam kata-kata Jay Clyde Mitchell:

“Identity does not occur in vacuum, it occurs through the process of interaction.”

Bahasa hanyalah ‘simbol’ kepada identiti etnik Melayu. Tidak bermakna bilamana kita berbicara menggunakan Bahasa Inggeris, identiti kita atau sifat ‘keMelayuan’ kita terhakis. Contoh, kalau kita tinggal di negara Arab, pastinya kita terpaksa berbicara menggunakan Bahasa Arab ataupun Bahasa Inggeris hampir keseluruhan waktu, maka adakah itu bermakna kita sudah hilang ‘identiti’ Melayu kita? Maka samalah jua pengajaran subjek Sains dan Matematik. Kalau ianya diajar didalam Bahasa Inggeris, adakah ianya akan melemahkan, melunturkan dan lantas menghakis identiti etnik Melayu kita? Tun Dr. Mahathir dan mereka yang sezaman dengannya telah belajar Sains dan Matematik didalam Bahasa Inggeris. Namun tidak pula sifat keMelayuan mereka itu terhakis. Fikir-fikirkanlah…….

Ketika pulang dari solat ‘Isya kelmarin, aku dapat mendengar sang kodok membuat bising memanggil sang hujan. Hasilnya, malam kelmarin hujan turun agak lebat di kawasan rumah ku. Nyaman dan enak tidur ku. Satu sifat sang kodok yang senantiasa menarik perhatian ku dari dahulu hingga dewasa ini ialah sifatnya yang mampu melompat dengan jarak yang jauh. Inilah bukti kekuasaan Allah. Tuhan yang menciptakan ‘alam ini. Namun sifat melompat tidak hanya ada si kodok. Manusia pun ‘bijak’ untuk melompat. Dan lompatan mereka lagi hebat. Hingga mampu meranapkan sebuah kerajaan negeri. Hebat kan…..

Bagi ku, sang kodok yang perlu diberi ‘penghormatan’ adalah kodok Bota (erk… sape duk dekat Bote yer :P). Aku tidak bermaksud untuk menghina, apatah lagi merendahkan martabat sesiapapun. Cuma ianya agak menarik untuk diceritakan. Itu sahaja. Kodok ini telah melompat untuk mencari ‘rumah’ yang baru. Telah berjumpa ‘rumah’ yang baru, hanya selesa sekadar sebelas hari sahaja. Mula difikirkan dan dirasa ‘rumah’ yang lama sudah ‘usang’. Maka ‘rumah’ baru ini lebih baru, sesuai untuk ‘dunia yang serba-serbi baru ini.’ Namun sayang setelah sebelas hari, ‘rumah’ baru dirasakan ‘usang’ dan ingin kembali ke ‘rumah’ lamanya. Dan kembalilah ia ke ‘rumah’ lamanya. Sayang…… Komen ku sama dengan ‘Sang Bentara Luar’:

“Orang ini tiada ‘political conscience’…….”

Jam sudah hampir 10 pagi. Aku perlu bergegas bertemu dengan penyelia tesis sarjana ku. Dan aku perlu bersegera, dengan kadar yang pantas, untuk menyelesaikan tesis sarjana ku. Kerana semester pendek ini aku diminta untuk mengajar. Tidak perlu menunggu semester satu nanti. Satu subjek dan satu kelas sahaja. Subjek ‘Pengenalan Sosiologi’. Dengan harga RM 1300. Inilah dinamakan rahmat Allah……

Friday, February 6, 2009

Untuk Perempuan Yang Pernah Ku Cintai.......

Yang tulus ikhlas
Ingin sekali sekala dirinya dibalas
Walau hanya dengan dakapan di angin lalu

Yang selalu memberi
Ingin sekali sekala jadi penerima
Cukup dengan salam dan manis doa

Aku ingin kau merasakan hebatnya cinta
Dan leburkan saja serpihan calar derita

Selamat ulang tahun sayang
Kini kau bersayap, pergilah terbang
Rentaslah langit cita cita mu
Harap nanti kita 'kan bertemu

Selamat ulang tahun sayang
Janganlah engkau tak terbang pulang
Ku nanti penuh kerinduan
Selamat tinggal, selamat jalan

Aku hanya inginkan engkau setia
Kerana setia yang mencipta bahagiamu

Monday, February 2, 2009



Syariff mengeluh panjang. Cuba melepaskan masalah yang senantiasa bermain di mindanya. Terbeban dengan masalah itu membuatkan dia pusing. Hatta kadang-kadang mengganggu konsentrasinya. Ribut……

Sufiah, kekasihnya, hanya mampu diam seribu bahasa. Tiada sebutir perkataan pun yang keluar dari mulutnya. Kelu lidahnya. Mungkin dek kerana tidak menyangka ianya akan sampai ke tahap ini. Namun segala-galanya sudah terlambat. Nasi sudah menjadi bubur. Begitulah perumpamaannya. Segala-galanya sudah terlewat……

"It’s okay Sufi. Kalu you nak terus diam macam nie, takperlah. I still have a lot of things to do, dari duduk kat sini tengok you diam macam nie ajer."
"Hmmm….. Bukan macam tue."
"Then macam mana lagi? You ingat I bodoh? I buta tak nampak semuanya tue? Hey memang I abnormal, I have four eyes. But still I boleh nampak semuanya dengan jelas. Kalau selama nie you boleh perbodohkan orang lain, it’s okay. But not me Sufi… Not me."
"Tue melampaulah tue. Apa yang I dah buat sampai you marah I macam nie sekali? I didn’t say anything right?"
"Memanglah you tak cakap apa pun, tapi apa yang you buat tue lebih teruk dari apa yang you cakap. And tell you what Sufi, I still ada maruah and harga diri. You jangan ingat I nie apa."
"Hey! Kan I cakap tadi, I takda cakap or janji apa-apa kan? Kenapa you nak marah-marah I pulak nie."
"Tak cakap apa-apa? Yeah memang adatlah. Manusia bila bercakap, janji segala memang akan lupa. Tapi orang yang mendengarnya nie, akan sentiasa ingat. Takper Sufi, one day nanti you akan faham. And that day I harap you akan kena lebih teruk dari apa yang you buat kat I. Dunia balas dunia Sufi. Tak payah tunggu nak mati, you akan tetap dapat balasannya…."

Waktu itu Sufiah terus terdiam. Kelu seribu bahasa. Tidak menjawab kata-kata Syariff. Hanya matanya sahaja yang terus memandang Syariff. Tepat ke anak matanya.

Dan dia terus diam…..

Syariff masih di situ. Namun fikirannya sudah hilang ke mana. Entah ke mana. Cuba menyuraikan kekusutan itu. Yang hakikatnya terlalu kusut untuk dirungkaikan……

Tiba-tiba kekuatan itu datang pada dirinya. Dia bingkas bangun dari duduknya. Berlalu untuk meninggalkan Sufiah.

"Please don’t go……"

Terlalu perlahan. Tapi begitu jelas di cuping Syariff. Membuatkan langkahnya terhenti dengan tiba-tiba……

"Kalau I tak pergi pun, masalah nie tak akan selesai Sufi."
"I love you. I do love you Iff…."
"Haih…. You fahamkan. I takut……"
"It’s okay Sufi. I think it’s better for me to leave you."

Waktu itu Sufiah bingkas memegang tangan Syariff. Dan berbicara…..

"I love you Iff. And I need you…."
"Takperlah Sufi. Kalau I ada pun, you rasa tak senang. Kita selalu bertekak. Ganggu privasi you. I rasa lebih baik I pergi."

Syariff berlalu. Meninggalkan Sufiah. Dengan hati yang penuh sebak. Meredah dingin malam. Untuk mencari jalan pulang.

Dan dia tidak kembali lagi……

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Seruan Untuk Kaum Muslimin.......

Terlalu banyak harapan yang diberikan kepada Presiden Amerika Syarikat yang ke 44, Barack Hossein Obama, dalam mewujudkan hubungan yang lebih harmonis antara Barat dan dunia Islam. Apatah lagi selepas peristiwa September 11, terlalu banyak sentimen anti-Islam lahir di Barat dek kerana kecetekan ‘ilmu dan pemahaman mereka tentang apakah ajaran Islam yang sebenarnya. Kebanyakannya menggambarkan Islam sebagai agama yang menyeru umatnya ke arah keganasan, dan Nabi Muhammad s.a.w adalah pengganas utama dunia. Sedihnya melihat perangai mereka ini…..

Harapan bahawa Presiden Barack Obama akan menukar hala tuju polisi AS mengenai isu Palestin-Israel serta hubungan AS dan dunia Islam hanyalah retorik dan mimpi semata-mata. Ketika berkempen di persidangan tahunan Jawatankuasa Hal Ehwal Awam Amerika-Israel (AIPAC) pada musim panas yang lalu, kedua-dua calon Demokrat yang berebut jawatan calon Presiden parti tersebut ketika itu iaitu Obama dan Hillary Rodham Clinton menyatakan sokongan yang tidak berbelah bahagi terhadap Israel. Obama berjanji “tidak akan bertolak ansur dalam soal keselamatan membabitkan Israel”, manakala Clinton menyatakan “hubungan baik AS dan Israel akan berkekalan selama-lamanya.” Jika ini diambil sebagai pertimbangan untuk membentuk polisi hubungan luar, apatah lagi kini Hillary Clinton mengetuai Jabatan Negara yang bertanggungjawab terhadap polisi luar AS, maka kita tidak boleh berharap akan berlaku perubahan. Dan jika kita melihat kepada barisan kabinet Obama, beliau dikelilingi oleh Zionis bermula dari Naib Presiden Joseph Biden hinggalah kepada Ketua Staf Rumah Putih (White House), Rahm Emmanuel yang merupakan seorang Yahudi yang pernah berkhidmat dalam tentera Israel. Polisi domestik akan ditentukan oleh anggota Zionis jua seperti Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Paul Volker, Peter Orszag, Jason Furman, dan tidak lupa Jamie Rubin, anak kepada pengasas Rubinomics. Kebanyakan penasihat Obama merupakan Yahudi dan terdapat komentar bahawa beliau merupakan Presiden pertama AS dari golongan Yahudi!

Dewan Perwakilan AS yang dikuasai Parti Demokrat telah meluluskan resolusi “membenarkan Israel mempertahankan hak mereka dari serangan pejuang Palestin di Gaza” dengan majoriti besar, 390 berbanding 5. Ahli Kongres dari Ohio, Dennis Kucinich yang mengundi menentang resolusi sebelum pengundian telah berkata bahawa, “saya tidak berharap kita tidak menyokong tindakan kejam yang telah dilakukan berulang kali oleh tentera Israel. Kita perlu mengambil pendekatan baru membabitkan Asia Barat dan pendekatan baru ini perlu mengambil kira keadaan tidak berperikemanusiaan di Gaza.” Dewan Senat AS mempertahankan resolusi yang telah dibuat untuk terus komited terhadap Israel. Ini termasuklah hak untuk Israel bertindak mempertahankan diri bagi memelihara nyawa orang awam serta menggesa gencatan senjata yang akan menghalang penduduk Palestin dari melancarkan roket ke wilayah Israel. Senator Harry Reid yang mengetuai Demokrat di Dewan Senat berkata selepas pengundian, “resolusi kami menunjukkan keinginan negara Israel dan penduduk AS.” Nah adakah Obama yang kini memerintah Amerika boleh dijadikan sandaran untuk umat Islam melihat dunia yang lebih adil terhadap Islam dan penganutnya?

Telah acapkali kita mendengar umat Islam menyalahkan orang luar, Yahudi dan Zionis, terhadap kehancuran, kelemahan umat Islam ketika ini. Mereka dituduh, dan dipersalahkan, kerana telah menyemai benih-benih nasionalisme dikalangan umat Islam, lantas melemahkan umat Islam yang satu ketika dahulu kuat dan bersatu dibawah sistem Khalifah. Natijahnya kini kita dapat melihat jumlah negara Islam yang agak besar tetapi mereka langsung tidak bersatu, malahan bercakaran sesama sendiri. Ya, fakta itu mungkin ada benarnya. Namun sampai bila kita hendak menuding jari kepada orang luar, meletakkan beban kesalahan kepada mereka? Kenapa kita tidak pernah menyalahkan diri kita sendiri kerana kita alpa, lalai dan leka ketika kita kuat satu ketika dahulu? Sudah sampai waktunya kita bangkit dari tidur yang lena, mimpi yang terlalu indah. Kita perlu bina kekuatan kita sendiri. Dan kekuatan ini hanya akan dapat dibina dengan kepercayaan yang tidak berbelah-bahagi terhadap Allah dan rasul-Nya, serta memahami agama yang suci ini berlandaskan nas-nas dan hadis-hadis yang sahih. Bukannya berpaksikan hadis yang penuh dengan unsur-unsur Israiliyyat! Pabila ketauhidan kita kukuh, pemahaman agama kita suci dari sebarang elemen-elemen yang mengotorkan kesucian agama Allah ini, barulah ketika itu kita dapat bangkit menguasai dunia. Dan untuk menguasai dunia, ianya perlulah bermula dengan penguasaan ilmu pengetahuan.

Untuk seluruh umat Islam: “Dan bangkitlah dari tidurmu yang lena.

Rindu Ini......

Seronok betul malam nie dapat bersolat Maghrib dan 'Isya di Masjid UIAM. Kali terakhir berbuat demikian adalah bulan Ramadhan yang lalu. Tadi solat berjemaah berimamkan Imam berbangsa 'Arab. Lantas terasa seolah-olah sedang solat di Masjid an-Nabawi atau di Masjid al-Haram. Dan secara tiba-tiba terasa rindu yang teramat sangat untuk kembali ke sana lagi, untuk menjadi tetamu Allah, untuk ku dambakan rindu ini pada Mu, Tuan yang memiliki jiwa ini.......