Wednesday February 3, 2010
And so the silliness continues
By MARINA MAHATHIR
The suggestion that young ladies forgo wearing underpants to celebrate Valentine’s Day have got religious authorities hot under the collar, while much more important events go unremarked on.
OUR religious authorities have announced that on this Valen-tine’s Day, they will be checking on romancing couples, especially those having candlelight dinners because this “will lead to sex in budget hotels”.
Their sternest attention will be focused on the young ladies who will be allegedly proving their love for their beaux by not wearing underpants that day.
Now, in almost any other country in the world, most people would laugh this off and not take it seriously. And most people would realise that the whole story about the panty-less Valentines is somebody’s idea of a joke.
And the very thought that sex after dinner would only occur in budget hotels should bring howls of laughter from any sane person.
But, no, this is Malaysia where we take all things silly very seriously indeed. And where the pious have plenty of time to speculate about women’s underwear.
Meanwhile, much more important events go unremarked on. Churches get burnt, gurdwaras get stoned and mosques get boars’ heads thrown into their compounds. Not to mention photographs getting stomped on, at mosques no less.
Do we hear a word from the guardians of our morals?
Surah Al-Hajj Verse 40 of the Quran says: “(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, (for no cause) except that they say, ‘our Lord is Allah’.
“Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).”
It is very clear from the Quran, which Muslims think of as the Word of God, that houses of worship from all faiths are to be protected.
Some people (such as Islamic scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali, who translated the Quran into English) interpret this verse to also mean that the freedom of religion is to be protected. Whatever it is, it is clear that the desecration of any place of worship is a major no-no.
But do we hear anything from our religious authorities? The non-Muslim religious authorities, in a statement released very quickly after the boars’ heads were thrown into the mosque compounds, had unequivocally stated that the desecration of any house of worship was a sin of the highest order.
Surely this is as great a sin in Islam. When our religious authorities are so keen to go after those who are doing nothing more harmful than holding hands over dinner, they seem reluctant to bring their righteous wrath down on pyromaniacs who have a thing about places where God’s name is extolled.
No doubt they’ll reason that nobody has been found guilty yet and, indeed, we should always uphold that old adage “innocent until found guilty”. But surely a warning about the dire consequences of being found guilty, such as a less than smooth pass to heaven and those luscious virgins, would not go amiss.
Or even a more earthly punishment for going against the word of God, such as a jail term, a fine and several strokes of the cane, would surely be the bare minimum that our righteous ones can extol.
Instead, they are licking their lips over whipping a single mother who had the temerity to have a glass of beer.
One has to wonder about our authorities’ sense of proportionality when God Himself says, in Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 286, that He “does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does”.
Indeed, should these people who have been apprehended and accused of throwing incendiary devices into the Metro Tabernacle Church be found guilty, I wonder what our religious authorities will do?
Or will it be a wash-their-hands-of the problem sort of response, since they were not tried in the Syariah Court? Or will they be sent off to rehabilitation centres for not just a criminal act but being poor examples of Muslims?
For that matter, how come our religious authorities have so little to say about Mat Rempits, bag snatchers and corrupt officials? Someone said that these are such obvious sins that there is no need to remark on them, much less issue fatwas.
But it must not be obvious to the increasing number of Mat Rempits, bag snatchers and the corrupt. So a reminder may be both necessary and timely.
Meanwhile, on this Valentine’s, perhaps someone can sponsor candlelit dinners in five-star hotels for young couples so that they can avoid budget hotels which would surely entice them into sex.
By the way, are married women allowed to go pantyless for their husbands?
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