Is Malaysia An Islamic Or Secular Country???


I supposed that this has been a one of the long political debates since some parties questioned is Malaysia an Islamic state. Whatmore this has come back into picture when Karpal Singh of DAP reiterated that DAP will not accept the ideology of Islamic State. So there goes another episode between Pakatan leaders with one side over time and time mentioned how DAP has slowly understanding Islam. Even TG Nik Aziz still insists that DAP is not clearly rejecting the idea of Islamic state.

Well, that is the drama between primadonas of Pakatan. How about among muslims with different political ideologies? I am certain that firey debate has been and will continue to be going on until majority, especially the muslims themselves understand the difference.

This idea of writing this down has come into my mind quite some time, in which I am quite do not understand the fundamental of one questioning whether Malaysia is an Islamic state or just another secular country.

Let us revisit what we have learnt way back during our “secular” school days on the formation of Madinah Al-Munawarah. One can refer to a education blog written here (only it is repeated again in STPM.. so how many times actually we, especially the muslims learn about the formation of first Islamic country?). Among the snippets or should I say highlights:

Huraian mengenai Piagam Madinah :

  • Piagam Madinah berbeza dari tulisan-tulisan peraturan pemerintah sebelum ini, kerana perlembagaan ditulis oleh pemimpin iaitu Nabi Muhammad s.a.w untuk diterima pakai oleh rakyatnya, iaitu penduduk Madinah. Piagam ini merupakan satu undang-undang tertinggi di Madinah, selain itu Al-Quraan, yang telah menjadi tatacara pemerintahan di negara kota itu. Ia berlainan dengan The Constitution of Athens yang hanya merupakan sejarah evolusi amalan perlembagaan di negara itu. Piagam Madinah tidak seperti dokumen Shuking oleh Confucious yang merupakan buku teks untuk kanak-kanak raja. Ia juga bukan seperti dokumen Artha Sastera yang dianggap sebagai peraturan pemerintahan pada zaman Chandra Gupta Mauriya, yang hanya menjadi buku teks pembelajaran untuk anak-anak raja waktu itu;

Beberapa aspek utama piagam Madinah ialah:

  • Pengakuan terhadap Rasullah s.a.w sebagai Ketua Negara madinah yang wajib dipatuhi dan dihormati. Apa -apa masalah besar antara penduduk Islam dengan penduduk bukan Islam mestilah dirujuk kepada ketua negara untuk diselesaikan. Walaubagaimana pun, semua ketua kaum mempunyai hak untuk menyelesaikan masalah mereka sendiri secara yang difikirkan berpatutan.
  • Semua penduduk Madinah hendaklah hidup sebagai satu Ummah yang tidak terpengaruh dengan apa – apa elimen yang tidak baik dari luar.
  • Semua penduduk hendaklah bersatu-pada, berkerjasama, dan bertanggungjawab mempertahankan negara dari apa -apa serangan musuh.
  • Wahyu sebagai sumber piagam termasuk tradisi .
  • Semua penduduk diberi kebebasan mengamalkan agama masing – masing, dan tiada gangguan dan paksaan dalam hal keagamaan.
  • Keselamatan semua penduduk adalah terjamin selama mereka mematuhi perlembagaan tersebut.

You also can read a little bit of Indonesian version and English translation at this blog. Read it carefully and slowly so that you can have a picture of what are the things that being transpired during the formation of first Islamic country.

Finished reading?

Note the similarities of what transpired in the what has been agreed during the formation of Madinah and what we have for Malaysia? A set of rules, which to be used as a general and highest rule besides what has been said in Al-Quran. An arrangement on how to suit fit a country with various of religions and ethnicity in it.

An article also was written by Tommy Thomas from the Malaysian Bar in regards to the status of Malaysia entitled “Is Malaysia Is Islamic State?”, which among others stated in the conclusion:

  1. As this paper runs to an undue length, it is essential that I summarise, as follows:-

    1. great care was taken by all concerned in the run-up to Merdeka and the adoption of the Merdeka Constitution to achieve consensus and compromises, particularly on communal issues;
    2. in the forefront of this endeavour was Bapa Kemerdekaan Tunku Abdul Rahman, first, as Chief Minister and then independent Malaya’s first Prime Minister;
    3. no one had suggested in the period leading up to 31st August 1957 that the expression “Islam is the religion of ‘the Federation’ “ in Article3 of the Federal Constitution means that Islam is the State Religion;
    4. on the contrary, everyone concerned from the British, the Alliance Party, the Malay Rulers and the majority in the Reid Commission and, in particular, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the chief architect of Merdeka, was at pains to expressly declare that Malaya is a secular state;
    5. even Justice Hamid, the minority voice in the Reid Commission whose draft became Article 3 of the Merdeka constitution described it as an “innocuous” provision;
    6. all the commentators who have studied the issue, most of whom are Malaysia’s leading constitutional scholars and/or Islamic law experts, are unanimous of the opinion that Article 3 has a limited meaning and scope, and certainly does not constitute Malaysia, an Islamic state;
    7. prior to the formation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963, the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore were adamant that Islam was not going to be State Religion of the new Federation;
    8. the Supreme Court, in a 5-member panel, in the landmark case of Che Omar gave Article 3 the limited meaning that the Founding Fathers had intended, expressly stating that Malaysia is a secular nation;
    9. thus, for a period of 44 years until September 2001, no one had suggested that Malaysia is an Islamic State;
    10. even PAS, the most vocal advocate for the establishment of Islam as Malaysia’s State Religion, has publicly declared that it was going to take a long time to persuade Malaysian voters to give it sufficient seats in the Federal Parliament to effect the necessary changes to the Federal Constitution in order to establish an Islamic State;
    11. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir was therefore the first person to publicly declare that Malaysia is an Islamic State;
    12. Dr Mahathir’s statement on 29th September 2001 was not based on the Federal Constitution or the law;
    13. his statement was made solely for political purposes;
    14. the results of the 2004 General Elections suggest that the electorate was hardly concerned about the issue, seeming to be content in accepting Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s concept of Islam Hadhari, which does not mention that Malaysia is an Islamic State;
    15. Malaysia is therefore not an Islamic State.  In the words of Article 3, Islam is the religion of the Federation, which means an altogether different thing; and
    16. having regard to the delicate and sensitive nature of this issue in plural Malaysia, one hopes that it will not be resurrected, that the social contract agreed to in 1957 and reaffirmed in 1963 would continue to operate for generations to come, and Dr Mahathir’s 2001 statement consigned to historical oblivion.

Is it really a political statement? Is it really Malaysia is not an Islamic country? Malaysia have more than half of the people declared as muslims and it is declared Malaysia’s official religion is Islam (with the non-muslims are free to practice their beliefs and religion). Malaysia do have religious set ups, organisations to ensure syariah law is carried out. That’s the fact that we cannot deny, and that’s it.

Now, I would like to invite the readers to think a little bit on something, especially for muslims readers…

  • What does it make for someone to be a muslim?
  • What is a difference between a muslim and non-muslim?

I’m pretty sure that the answer would be the syahadah, a declaration that he is a muslim, bewitness that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is His Messenger, while the non-muslim’s not. Right? Key point – declaration.

What happens then if that muslim unable to follow 100% Al-Quran, syariah law but still having the pillars of iman and islam still intact? Is he not a muslim or he is just another muslim who is trying to be a better muslim? Unless he commits something that made his Islamic pillars void, he is still a muslim.

With the same analogy, I would like to attract readers’ attention to refer back to what have been stated by PAS and Malaysian Bar with the scenario I’ve just given.

Malaysia declared that Islam is the official religion. A declaration that is stipulated in the Article 3. Just like a muslim saying he is a muslim by his declaration, I do think same goes to Malaysia.

The only difference is… Malaysia is not a perfected Islamic state. Malaysia has not fully implemented what should a PERFECT Islamic country do. However, still, Malaysia IS an Islamic state…

What PAS and its supporters are talking about is about a perfect Islamic State

What Malaysian Bar has stated is actually admitting that the techincality of foundation is there (as stated in Article 3).. it is just not perfected Islamic State

Under these terms, I do feel whoever denying Malaysia is an Islamic State is actually confused between an Islamic state and a PERFECT Islamic state…

Unless… those are the ones who also love in questioning the status of muslim or not a muslim of a muslim…

Question from OnDaStreet: Is Malaysia an Islamic state or just not a perfected Islamic State? I’ve given my rationale.. what yours are saying?

12 thoughts on “Is Malaysia An Islamic Or Secular Country???

  1. Salam ODS,

    Negara Islam- polemik ini dimulakan oleh Pas sebagai permainan politik mereka, secara saikologi – bila Pas mempertikaikan hal itu, secara otomatis akan menampakkan mereka perjuangkan Islam. Ternyata berjaya kerana rata2 orang Melayu amat sensitif bila sebut Islam, dan ucapan2 bersulamkan ayat2 Quran.

    Tapi Pas sendiri masih juga dengan laungan semata2 – cara hidup Islam berpandukan Quran dan Sunnah – dari dulu hingga sekarang, padahal Pas sudah punya lebih dari cukup masa dan pengalaman untuk menghasilkan satu blueprint tentang cara hidup Islam diperingkat kerajaan. Habuk pun tarak…. balik2 refer Quran. Terlalu umum itu. Semua orang boleh cakap.

    Bagi saya apakah Malaysia Islam tidak penting, lebih penting apakah nilai2 Islam itu diterapkan dalam pentadbiran dan undang2 negara. Biarlah orang nak labelkan malaysia sekular atau komunis sekalipun, ia tidak lebih dari label.

    ODS: Salam din,

    Saya amat tertarik dengan kenyataan anda “padahal Pas sudah punya lebih dari cukup masa dan pengalaman untuk menghasilkan satu blueprint tentang cara hidup Islam diperingkat kerajaan. Habuk pun tarak…. balik2 refer Quran. Terlalu umum itu. Semua orang boleh cakap” terutama sekali “Semua orang boleh cakap”.

    Tujuan artikel ini ditulis hanyalah untuk memberi satu perspektif dimana terdapat perbezaan antara sudah Islam dan perlaksanaan 100% Islam yang lengkap.

    Cuma din, mungkin, dalam sesetengah perkara, label memainkan peranan dalam menentukan pandangan kita untuk perkara tersebut…

    Apapun, terima kasih atas komen anda.🙂

  2. It’s an Islamic state …. with a secular constitution. So definitely it’s a hybrid concoction muted by Gog and Magog, masterminded by the Devil Dajjal.

    On a lighter tone, It’s a hermit crab crawling around in a tortoise shell. And today, that hermit crab looks like …….

    ODS: Hermit crab crawling around in a tortoise shell huh…

  3. Din Turtle,

    Constitution takes a middle ground. It takes into consideration of various races and religions in the country.. Constitution recognises the existence of sizable non Muslim communities. It also recognises the position of Malays as natives of the land.

    Hence, it accords special status to Islam, Bahasa Melayu, Malay Rulers, customs. Islam as can example accorded an official status, putting it a step above othe religions. This is only rational as Malay rulers are themselves Muslim and so do the Malays.

    There is no such thing as model Islamic country on this planet right now. what we have are countries ruled by Muslims and they comply with Islamic law partially at best.

    Dr mahathir is right by saying Malaysia is a muslim country. after all, Malay rulers are Muslims, majority of Ministers are Muslim and more than half of poopulation is Muslim. It is not a political move. rather, he is just saying the truth.

    He was not saying that to outfox PAS. Dr Mahathir even challenged PAS to come with its blueprint on Islam. To the surprise of everybode, Fadzil Noor said that he did not have the blueprint yet . He only intitied written blueprint after being challenged by Dr Mahathir. he we can all see that PAS is not serious about Islamic state.

    What PAS wants is to monoply Islam the way Popes did in medieval europe for centuries. Any Christian KIng dared to disobey POpe would have been”excommunicated”. Meaning they would go to hell.

    What PAS refuses to realize is that In Islam, there is no position equivalent to Pope. A Caliph, sultan is only rulers. Matters pertaining to hell and heaven is sole purview of Allah SWT.

    Despite Malaysia not operating islam to the maximum, it does enact islamic law. Dr Mahathir started Bank islam, forcing all other conventuional banks to follow suit. If not, they will lose out.

    Now, Malaysia aims to become global Islamic banking centre, a feat imaginable with iestablishment of INCEIF.

    However, there are still rooms for improvement. I am not happy with Gov tliberal attitude on “Nombor Ekor”. In every block of office , I can find one. Why all these MB who are Muslims allow these kind of gambling.

    As for PAS, in order to establish Islamic state, may I suggest one advice; please just follow prophet Muhammad SAW when it comes to protection “lidah”. I notice PAS talks a lot about Islam but the attitude of its “penceramah” is totally out of line with the way of Prophet. They insulted, they labelled names, they slandered
    .

    ODS: It is indeed a good comment, sir. Very good comment to be precise.🙂

  4. Malaysia is a secular nation as espoused by Tunku Abdul Rahman our first PM and also this was reiterated by Tun Hussein Onn. Islam is the official religion and that too is true but all other religions are accepted in the constitution and we have civil laws in tandem with syariah laws and when there is a conflict, civil law takes precedence as pronounced by the Supreme Court in 1988.

You are part of people on the street. My opinion might not as good as yours. Come, please share your thoughts with us!!!

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