By Jeg Hui

Before the world was literally attacked by COVID-19, Malaysian Muslims thronged in hundreds of thousands per year to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and “Ziarah” (visitation) of the Great Prophet Muhammad. Makkah and Madinah are cities that host the two holiest places for Muslims around the world: Masjid Al Haram, Makkah and Masjid An-Nabawi, Madinah. The grand imams of these two Grand Mosques are educated locally and would not call themselves the grand imams of any of the four Madhabs – Shafi’, Maliki, Hanafi or Hanbali – let alone call themselves Wahhabis.

The Masjid Al Haram, Mecca. Before the world was literally attacked by COVID-19, Malaysian Muslims thronged in hundreds of thousands per year to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and “Ziarah” (visitation) of the Great Prophet Muhammad. – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

I could not hold back that smirk on my face looking at the Malaysian Muslims pilgrims as I recalled how some Muslims were labelling fellow Muslim scholars who graduated from Saudi Arabia as Wahabis whenever the scholars tried to teach the Muslims of the Prophet’s way of performing “ibadah.”

If the scholars were being called Wahabis, what do you make of the Grand Imams of Masjid Al Haram in Makkah and Madinah whom the Malay Muslims follow during prayers?

In my opinion, realistically, there is no such thing as Wahhabi. The word was actually created by those who wanted to disunite the Muslims about a hundred years ago. I was told by the Saudis the word was first coined by the West to break the Arabian peninsula in the name of “Divide and Conquer”.

Return To The Quran

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab was an Islamic scholar trying to bring homogeneity in the interpretation of the Holy Quran and the words of the Prophet Muhammad. There is actually a verse in the Quran where it says if there is any disagreement, return to the Quran and the Prophet (An-Nisa’ 59). However, with all that has been said and done, the Malays had been taught certain rituals for hundreds of years which our own Grand Prophet had not practised. Sadly, instead of discussing them in a level-headed manner, where a national edict can be announced, followed and indoctrinated through schools, the labelling has gone around throughout the nation.

Don’t even get me started on the topic of Shiah. I still think Shiah exists because of politics. It was a show of power from which side of the tribe should be the leaders of Islam – Arabs or Persians. This matter was never a discussion at all during our Last Prophet’s time. In fact, Salman Al-Farisi, a Persian, actually followed the Prophet Muhammad until his last breath. It was not because Prophet Muhammad was an Arab. It was simply because the Grand Prophet brought the truth and justice to the world. I rather go into more details of this in a different article.

Masjid An-Nabawi, Medina. The resting place of the Prophet Muhammad. – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Doing It For Fame And Popularity

I am not a scholar myself, but the verses in the Quran should not be ignored. There is also no way you can pick and choose which verses to follow in order to satisfy your needs and wants. Truthfully, any disagreement can be solved through the Quran and Hadith so that the Muslims don’t get confused and had to ask the Ustaz all the time. The thing is with some Ustazs though, they are doing it for fame, so they openly discussed things, which are supposedly private and discreet, to gain popularity. I remember there was an open discussion years ago about whether it is permissible to spray perfume on your private part. Really? Is this what has gotten to us Muslims? We used to be great scientists, chemists, mathematicians, astronomers, mystics, poets when the west was in the dark ages. Look at us now.

When a disagreement is resolved, for sure whatever bullet that is going to break the Muslims can be destroyed. Labelling each other Wahhabis, doing Bid’ah or Shiah is one recipe for destroying the great religion itself. Malaysia, where Islamic Law or Syariah, is a state matter, should have a unified national law for each state to discuss and formalise. Agree to disagree can never be applied when it comes to Islamic matters. The main idea is to keep the unity among the Muslims and never to allow and works of pluralism or liberalism that would hinder the progress of Muslims to be real Muslims. No, I am not starting a campaign to call others infidels or kaffirs but merely to remind my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters the importance of unity in a country which has 65% Muslims.

When the majority is united, the rest will follow suit. If I am writing this piece as a citizen of Singapore, I myself will call the majority to be united even if they are of different Chinese clans. It’s just pure logic that if you keep the majority happy, peace, harmony and stability would be in place for that particular nation. But of course this is in no way allowing the minorities to be bullied until their rights are taken away. The good thing is though, I don’t have to do that because the majority in Singapore is already united just like how the Chinese were united during GE14 in Malaysia.

Penyatuan Ummah And Muafakat Nasional

Islam calls for the Muslims to be united, but in Malaysia and while the Penyatuan Ummah movement has been successful, it remains to be seen when Muafakat Nasional controls a huge majority in Parliament in the future.

Hopefully no labelling like what we have seen in the past will recur.

About the writer: A former VP Actuarial of a Saudi Arabian public listed company, Jeg Hui has left the comfort of corporate world in pursuit of doing something more meaningful in his life.

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