Under ‘haram’ spotlight, iconic Langkawi eagle’s status in question

Kedah deputy mufti Syeikh Marwazi Dziyauddin reportedly assured the public there would be no rush to demolish Langkawi’s iconic eagle statue at Dataran Lang over its purported ‘haram’ ’ status. — Picture courtesy of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA)
Kedah deputy mufti Syeikh Marwazi Dziyauddin reportedly assured the public there would be no rush to demolish Langkawi’s iconic eagle statue at Dataran Lang over its purported ‘haram’ ’ status. — Picture courtesy of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA)

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Kedah deputy mufti Syeikh Marwazi Dziyauddin has assured the public there would be no rush to demolish Langkawi’s iconic eagle statue, after it was thrown again into media spotlight over its purported “haram” or forbidden status in Islam.

Syeikh Marwazi said the Kedah Fatwa Council will need to first be consulted, adding that the state mufti department will discuss the matter with the local authorities to determine the next course of action over the statue in Dataran Lang.

“Let there be official discussions first, we have to look at all angles, including the [law] where carving statues resembling humans or live animals is ‘haram’.

“If there are any quarters who ask for it to be thrown away, there has to be talks and it cannot be in haste,” he was quoted saying by local daily Sinar Harian.

He noted that this was an old issue that was being raised again, acknowledging the possibility that the initial proposal to build the eagle statue was not first referred to the Kedah Islamic Religious Department.

“When the construction of the statue in the shape of eagle was proposed, maybe those who proposed it did not refer to the religious authorities about its necessity and the [codes]. But all are aware that any such statue is haram,” he said.

On Friday, Perak deputy mufti Zamri Hashim had in a column in local daily Berita Harian wrote that it was forbidden in Islam to make full-bodied statues of living creatures such as humans or animals, citing consensus of Muslim scholars from all Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

The Ipoh chief of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) also said that if such statues have already been built, its demolition is “wajib” or compulsory.

He had responded to a purported query from an unnamed local authority on the installation of an eagle replica as a landmark, which he personally felt was haram or forbidden in Islam due to its resemblance to a live eagle.

Defending his deputy’s views, Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said yesterday that the construction of replicas or monuments resembling living creatures was forbidden.

“Any living creatures, except for trees, cannot be built as a replica or monument if it is done in a condition with all limbs complete,” he was quoted saying yesterday by news outlet Astro Awani.

Harussani however refused to comment when Awani asked about the call to demolish Langkawi’s tourist icon in the shape of the eagle that symbolises the origin of the island's name.

“What has to be understood is, what is forbidden remains forbidden,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kedah’s exco in charge of religious affairs, Datuk Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid suggested that the controversy be referred to the mufti department of each state, with the decision to be then implemented state-wide.

“Each state mufti can discuss in line with what fits each state and find a solution because the issue of replicas of living objects — whether animals or humans — does not only involve Kedah.

“For example, in Terengganu, there is a turtle replica, Kuching has cat replicas,” he was quoted saying by Sinar Harian.

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