Liberal thinking is deviant teaching, says Malaysia's Islamic authority

In its Friday sermon, the Islamic authority reminded the country's largest population that the concepts of liberalism and pluralism were a threat to Malay-Muslim unity as they could weaken their faith. ― File pic
In its Friday sermon, the Islamic authority reminded the country's largest population that the concepts of liberalism and pluralism were a threat to Malay-Muslim unity as they could weaken their faith. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 ― Muslims must not fall for the arguments put forth by the liberal proponents of their creed as the ideas they propagate deviate from the true teachings of Islam, the federal Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said today.

In its Friday sermon, the Islamic authority reminded the country's largest population that the concepts of liberalism and pluralism were a threat to Malay-Muslim unity as they could weaken their faith.

“The pulpit would like to state today that many tactics are being undertaken by irresponsible people to weaken Muslim unity, among them through spreading new but inverse thinking like Pluralism, Liberalism and such,” Jakim said in its Friday sermon, which it also posted on its website.

“The pulpit would like to state that the Liberal movement contains concepts that are found to have deviated from the Islamic faith and shariah,” Jakim added.

It then spelled out a list of alleged wrong beliefs of liberal Muslims that made them deviants, namely their insistence on pluralism, that the human mind is a revelation casting doubt on the purity of the Quran, questioning the methodology used in interpreting the Quran and the Hadith, calling for a new interpretation on worship and disputing the criteria and character for prophets.

Jakim said the National Fatwa Council had in its 74th meeting in 2006 declared liberal thinking as heretical.

“Therefore, as Muslims let us not be influenced by this faction, don't be swayed by their thinking and tricks.

“Let us work together, close ranks and strengthen our unity so that their efforts to shake our faith, cause the downfall of our moral lifestyle, disrupt our harmony and the country's peace will be contained and fail.

Malaysian Muslims have been repeatedly warned to be on their guard against “liberal” thinkers.

Today's sermon follows an uproar raised by conservative Muslims over the “I Want to Touch a Dog” event organised by Syed Azmi Alhabshi last Sunday.

The animal awareness event, which was held at the Central Park in Bandar Utama, Selangor and has become a huge controversy, dividing conservative Muslims from those holding more open views about the animal.

It drew nearly 200 volunteers and dog owners and gave Malay Muslims the opportunity to pet canines, an animal that many in the community regard as culturally taboo.

Clerics from both sides of the political divide have also come out to blast the event as a liberal agenda aimed at provoking and confusing Muslims.

Violent threats, including death threats, have reportedly been made towards the organiser Syed Azmi and other Muslim participants on social media platorms. Some have labelled Syed Azmi an apostate.

However, other Malaysians have also spoken in defence of Syed Azmi and the Muslims who attended the event.

In a Facebook post which has garnered 1,559 “likes” and 694 “shares” in just six hours, the “Malaysians for Malaysia” group thanked Syed Azmi while urging the public to show their support for his “wonderful initiative” but glossed over the religious issue.

Progressive Muslim leaders like PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar had also voiced her support for the event, arguing that Islam teaches Muslims to respect all animals.

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