Freedom of Religion, Conversion & Strangers

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Federal Constitution provides Freedom of Religion as embodied in Article 11. Thus, we hear voices from some corners which want the process of leaving Islam to be made easier-since it is believed that people are free to choose their own religion.

Those who asking for these are not Muslim, or they may be Muslim, but ignorant one. Let me stress this - the law says that you are free to profess any religion, but the law doesn't permit you to alter the religion.

Once you are Muslim, there are rules to be followed, same like when you enter a country, there are laws to be observed. Breach the laws, and there shall be consequence (Ubi culpa est, ibi poena subesse debet- Where the crime is committed, there ought punishment to be undergone). Before professing other religion, please deal with the one which you had previously chosen to submit to.

You are free to be Muslim, no compulsion, but thinks wisely before being a Muslim as renouncing Islam might not be a choice later on. The Prophet once met a person who wish to be a Muslim and he was asking for 3 days to think and The Prophet gave 3 months to him. It shows that no compulsion and no hurry in being a Muslim. After all Hidayah is from Allah, even the Prophet couldn't bring his beloved uncle to Islam.

But I observed that some people, shielding themselves with the universal principle of human rights try to meddle with the issue of apostasy. They urge that conversion should be allowed and be made easier, as people are free to profess any religion of their choice.

In Islam, those who are leaving the religion is an apostate. Apostasy is a great sin and a punishable offence in Islam. That is a rule, which every Muslim believes to be an integral part of the religion.

Now what I find disturbing is that people who urge that conversion should be allowed and more gruesome when they want the process to be made easier, they are not talking about personal right, they are urging for changing in a system of a religion.

Lets take a look at the special position of Islam in the Federal Constitution. Yang Dipertuan Agong is empowered to enact any law in the state of emergency (darurat) EXCEPT things which concern the religion of Islam -article 150 (6A) of Federal Constitution.Impliedly it shows that Islam has a very special position in the supreme law of the land. Even YDPA cant mess with Islam in the state of emergency, what more a layman, a non-believer who is a stranger to Islam or the one who choose to be ignorant of his own religion.

The non believers who are asking for changes as regards to the issue of conversion, I take them as strangers, who is coming to my house and try to show me how to live in my own house. Muslims who are in the same camp with those people, i rather call them ignorant believers and may Allah forgive them for their ignorance (ignorantia facti excusat- ignorance of fact is an excuse).

As I can't ask a Hindu or Buddhist to change his rituals, I expect the same from non Muslim to respect the rule we have in Islam. This mutual respect should be observed to maintain harmonious relationship in a multi racial society. [Unto you, your religion and unto me, my religion-Al kafirun:6]


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