Sunday, March 17, 2013

Are political parties like DAP and UMNO a berhala?

Last week as I scrolled my twitter home page I chanced upon a tweet quoting the Quran by YB Khalid Samad the current MP and YDP of PAS Shah Alam and also a member of PAS Central Committee.

The tweet conversation went like this.

1.    Khalid

Renung2kan  “...tidak kami sembah mereka kecuali utk merapatkn diri kami kpd ALLAH.." Surah Az-Zumar 3. Alasan musyrikin mnyembah berhala

2.    Anas

Political parties can also be those berhala bro. Salam, anas

3.    Khalid

Yup unless they specify that the Quran and Sunnah are their guiding principles. Those using other guides may be a berhala.

4.    Anas

Specification or practice? And r u saying d DAP is a berhala if u follow them coz they specify otherwise?

The good YB did not follow-up with the tweet. Perhaps he is busy. Perhaps the road the tweet conversation was heading may bring him to a conflict between his religious belief and political expediency. Perhaps he himself is grappling with an answer.

So, is a political party a berhala? When does it become one? On what grounds; based on what they say or what they do?

But first let’s look at Verse 39:3 in full.

“Is it not to God alone that all sincere faith is due? And yet, they who take for their protectors aught beside Him [are wont to say], “We worship them for no other reason than that they bring us nearer to God.” Behold, God will judge between them [on Resur­rection Day] with regard to all wherein they differ [from the truth]: for, verily, God does not grace with His guidance anyone who is bent on lying [to himself and is] stubbornly ingrate! “

The above verse relates to practices where followers hope that a third party will ‘mediate’ between God and himself. This is done with the faith that the third party can act as a protector and insurance provider providing a passageway towards God and Heaven – a stand categorically rejected by the Quran. The third party is symbolic and can take the forms of anything from material objects, humans (dead or alive), movements and fundamentally everything man made or God made – including political parties.

The question is then, on what criteria?

The good YB suggested that a political party is a ‘berhala’ unless they specify that the Quran and the Sunnah are their guiding principles. Those who use other guides may be a berhala. This is where the problem starts. Following this criteria, the good YB is to a large degree suggesting that only PAS is not while the others including fellow PR coalition partners DAP and PKR are likely berhalas. I have a problem with that.

That is why my follow-up question is of great importance. Do we judge political parties based on what they say or what they do? On words or actions? In short, must a political party specify or is it enough if it practices the values proposed in the Quran and Sunnah?

If we judge based on what they specify, DAP is passionately against PAS’ idea of an ‘Islamic State’, ie DAP is not in agreement in making the Quran and the Sunnah as the guiding principles in managing a nation – by far more single-mindedly against PAS as compared to UMNO and fellow partner PKR. That would make DAP a berhala and by default cannot be supported by Muslims. In fact, if we follow strictly to the letter, all other political parties from DAP, MCA, UMNO, MIC GERAKAN, etc will be deemed as berhala save PAS.

However the Quran clearly states in Chapter 9 verse 94 “It is your actions that Allah and His Messenger will observe.” In full the verse reads,

“ They will present their excuses to you when ye return to them. Say thou: "Present no excuses: we shall not believe you: Allah hath already informed us of the true state of matters concerning you: It is your actions that Allah and His Messenger will observe: in the end will ye be brought back to Him Who knoweth what is hidden and what is open: then will He show you the truth of all that ye did." Quran 9:94

Each time I read the above verse, I will never fail to recall a quote by the renowned Islamic scholar and Grand Mufti of Egypt, the late Muhammad Abduh.

He said,

“I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.”


Anas Zubedy

Kuala Lumpur

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