On the Revision of Religion…

I read with admiration and wonder at the boldness and innovation of these scholars from Turkey, as they sit themselves down to reinterpret the Islamic hadiths in Ankara University. After the Quran, the hadiths are the second most-sacred texts in Islam. It would be an eye-opening change, especially for the more conservationist thinkers of Islam, that the hadiths could be altered such.

Read about their effort on the BBC News here.

It is perhaps refreshing, especially for someone like myself, who isn’t too conventionally Islamic to begin with. Most would say my thoughts and views border on blasphemous, if not just downright offensive. But then, these views are judged against a very conservative and rigid norm in society, and I doubt we could conveniently be slotted into a pigeonhole of expectations. Perhaps it is time for a change, for the better, as religion itself should not be rigid and unbending, and insensitive to the needs and vagaries of time.

Change of mindset, however will be harder to come by. There will always be those fellas working for JAIS who think it is not at all out of bounds to smash into a room to check if you’re in close proximity or committing khalwat with someone not of kin. They have no qualms or considerations for such petty things as human rights and personal choice. After all, religion is forever, so eternal judgment will trump over personal choice any day. I pray and wait with bated breath, to see if the changes made in the reinterpretation of the hadith will make their impact here.

Without a doubt, there will be those who will loudly proclaim that to undertake such a task is blasphemous, and these words are sacred. Period. They should not, and will not be accepted. Period. End of discussion.

It is these people, whose knee-jerk reactions speak loudest, make the worst impact. Especially when these changes might be for the better – equal rights for women, lessening of restrictions to incorporate modern aspects of life, and most important of all, the call for tolerance in every aspect of life, especially when dealing with other faiths and alternative lifestyles.

Yes, I think it is time that we re-invent ourselves. In more ways than one. As a Muslim, as a Malaysian, and as human being, not necessarily in that order…

Election fever? What election fever? I will vote for a stronger Parliament, comes March 8, as Malaysia makes its choice – Jasmine.

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