Being Muslim in Malaysia is so wonderful!

Musings on how wonderful it is being a Muslim in Malaysia with numerous religious departments, even more religious officers, and religious scholars in politics too – all selflessly ensuring Muslims will never have to pull a muscle thinking or go astray.

Painting by Paolo Zerbato

Painting by Paolo Zerbato

Someone told me I was wrong in thinking that it is difficult being a Muslim in Malaysia. So, I thought about it. He is right. It is wonderful being Muslim in Malaysia.

I realised that we are the only country in the world where we have 13 muftis! Other countries have only ONE mufti per country but we have 13 which mean we Muslims are lucky. We are lucky because more heads are better than one right? We can get more Islamic knowledge and input. Is that not wonderful?

Furthermore, with more heads, we do not have to use our head to think about all the “difficult and complex” shariah laws, rules, exegesis, etc. We can just leave it to the experts and we are left with more time for our lives. Is that not wonderful?

Is it not wonderful that we also have 13 religious departments in every state to constantly remind us of what is Islamic and what is not? This shows how seriously we take our religion, as compared to other countries that do not have this many religious departments. Can you imagine the number in the labour force we would come up with when we total up all the officers and staff in the various religious departments? All this is a worthwhile investment on earth to save our souls in the hereafter.

Thanks to all these religious officers who spend their lives minding us, we will not go astray. Is that not wonderful that we have officers that make sure we behave the Muslim way? This will free even our parents! My faith is forever protected by these officers.

Let us not forget – we also have many other Islamic religious institutions at the federal Government. This is important. We must give meaning to the Constitution that guarantees Islam as the official religion. It is OFFICIAL ok! Is that not wonderful to be officially recognised? This will go a long way in strengthening our faith and reminding us that we are Muslims.

Being a Malay is almost like being saved from the hellfire in the hereafter. The drafters of our Constitution have the foresight to make sure Malays are Muslims. Article 160 defines that a Malay, among other things, is a person who practices and professes the religion of Islam (i.e. a Muslim). I am so proud to say that no other country in the world has the vision to define a race in terms of its religion. They did not have the “religious vision” but we did! Isn’t this wonderful, my Muslim friend?

In Malaysia we have a political party whose objective is to set up an Islamic state. We also have another major political party that does all it can to “protect Islam.” Recently we have a group of religious scholars entering politics. Isn’t that wonderful?

I think we should encourage more and more our young Muslims to forget all other secular courses and take up Islamic studies. That is so important. Hopefully, we can become a nation of ulamas! Would that not be wonderful? We will all be sound and knowledgeable Muslims then. If we achieve this, we can be the main exporter of religious teachings in the world. Wow, we can save many souls!

I love that fact that being a Muslim allows any other stranger in a skull cap or a goatee to advise me, unasked. That is the generosity you enjoy being a Muslim. No where else can you find such generosity and abundance of advise except in the Muslim world in this country. Is that not so selflessly wonderful?

Malaysian Muslims are sensitive people. That is because they care about their religion and respect the religious scholars. Whenever we have a doubt or need an answer, we check with the scholars. When we want to say or write something on Islam, we check with the scholars. We have so many of them in our country. Is it not wonderful to be able to check with experts before you say something?

Lastly, it is wonderful being a Muslim in Malaysia because my identification card says that I am one. So, no one, let me repeat, no one can dispute that!

Peace !

LB: This post was originally published in the author’s blog Rapera.

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Jabar tries to walk with God. He has been active in advancing social, national unity and human rights issues for years. He wears many hats and is ever willing to work with any group that promotes the general welfare of Malaysians without any partisan boundaries. Apart from having a busy practice with Messrs Jahaberdeen & Co, he has been active in the various Bar Council committees over the years such the Human Rights Committee, the Syariah Law Committee and the Corporate and Conveyancing Law Committee. He has been passionate in promoting the humanistic face of Islam, and blogs regularly at and He thought he could escape the LoyarBurok pull, but instead found himself sucked into larger movements like SABM and UndiMsia!

Posted on 4 July 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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10 Responses to Being Muslim in Malaysia is so wonderful!

  1. They could have a Grand Mufti on rotation every 5 years to better secularise the Monarchy, which could help reconcile differences in law by allowing the Monarchy itself to speak up against extreme applications and abuses of Islam wherever they occur.

    In retrospect, if not for the imposed lack of choice via inculpation throughout childhood, and being of the Islamic faith being required to qualify for Bumiputra's apartheid privileges, Malays might not want to be Muslims at all, simply to not be affected by Syariah laws.

    Too many personal sin type offences are being punished to make for any Muslim to say they live unpersecuted lives or have first world equitable civil freedoms. Malaysians are not united yet by the 3 items below :

    1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism

    2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.

    3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

  2. Loyar Bangkok

    while u guys r talking about the institutions, dont forget about the LEGAL aspect.

    i'm surprised that muslims – especially lawyers – have not seemed to pick up on this theme yet: not only muslims in this country have 13 different muftis, they have 13 different sets of CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTIES (or lack thereof) too.

    ever since lina joy's decision by the federal court, our federal constitution has essentially become a constitution for the NON-muslims only. the federal court basically says, to lina joy n basically to all muslims, that if u want to exercise your religious 'freedom', u have to go to the syariah court, "because Islam is under syariah court's jurisdiction". (something like that)

    this is wrong. lina joy was asking the federal court to protect her rights n liberties under the FEDERAL constitution – but the federal court asked her to go to syariah court – which implements STATE law (syariah law, to be specific). in other words, even though the federal court is supposed to UPHOLD, DEFEND AND PROTECT the federal constitution (which is where our rights n liberties r enshrined), AND the FEDERAL constitution will OVERRIDE STATE (ie. syariah) laws, the lina joy judges has basically turned their backs to their roles as the guardias of the FEDERAL constitution, n leave it to the STATE courts to do as they wish.

    syariah courts in this country r implement syariah law (duh), but muslims should also realise that syariah law is a STATE matter, which means 13 different states (plus FT) can have their OWN, INDEPENDENT sets of syariah laws. therefore, eg. while applying to become a murtad is apparently allowed in neg. sembilan, on the other hand it is EXPRESSLY provided as an OFFENCE in most of the other states – u can land in jail for up to 3 years even by "attempting" it.

    in short, the effect of lina joy is – the federal court has allowed FEDERAL constitution to be OVERRIDDEN by STATE law, ie. syariah law. this includes the fundamental rights n liberties under the FEDERAL constitution which is supposed to be enjoyed by ALL citizens, including the muslims. but the upshot of lina joy is – STATE syariah law trumps these rights n liberties.

    eg. the FEDERAL constitution says, "every citizen has a right to free speech."

    for NON-muslims, that means exactly what it says.

    for muslims, the answer is – yes, the FEDERAL constitution says so, BUT HANG ON, u need to check the STATE law as well. if the STATE law says u can, then u can. if the STATE law says no u cant, (eg. cant criticise the muftis), then u cant.

    so, we actually have 13 (plus FT) different 'constitutions' for muslims…

    - to amend the federal constitution to take away the citizen's right or liberty, they need 2/3 of all the MPs in the FEDERAL parliament (ie. the whole COUNTRY) voting in favour.

    - to enact an islamic law to interfere with muslims' right or liberty, (say to ban women from driving or all muslims from criticizing the mufti), u only need more than 1/2 of the ADUNs in the STATE assembly (ie. your own STATE only) voting in favour.

    Q: WHICH is a stronger safeguard against erosion of muslims' rights n liberties??

    we all know syariah law is supposed to apply to muslims ONLY. assuming that the civil courts would at least staunchly n strictly defend this boundary, this would still mean that as far as muslims r concerned, their individual rights n liberties r actually GOVERNED BY STATE LAWS, NOT THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.

    which means,

    our FEDERAL constitution is only a MINORITY's constitution, because it only applies to the NON-muslims; whereas the muslims r governed by the laws of the individual STATES – muslims' constitutional rights n liberties r ultimately governed by STATE laws.

    i wonder – m i the only 1 who sees this? how come muslims r not bothered by it, especially the lawyers??

  3. asam-mu

    Sure we need many muftis. Our foreign neighbours are joining this bolehland as muslimes and as secondary bumis, the religious officers will hv to be busy to make sure they do behave in islamic ways.

  4. reuben how

    But, also wonder is it wonderful being a human being in Malaysia? What are our rankings globally ? This is a third world country, no matter how you put a spin on it.

  5. Ong Jo-Lene

    How is that not spam?


    When everything seems to be so very wonderful

    Can't help but wonder where the real wonder is

    That can be missed without even a simple kiss

    Yet we can easily bump into many wandering fools

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 040710
    Sun. 4th July 2010.

  7. Kenntzen

    How about building palaces for the muftis, we oil rich country. Also not to forget building bungalows for the head of departments too.

    They are all so underpaid compare to UMNO cronies. That is the way than we could proud and show the world.

  8. You forgot to mention, that on top of the MUFTIS you also have ONE AGONG and NINE SULTANS who are the HEADS of ISLAM !!. INDEED how LUCKY and BLEESED we all are BEING MUSLIMS IN MALAYSIA !!!. SURE GO TO HEAVEN ONE !!!!

  9. It's sad to see the result of mixing religion and politics together. Well said!

  10. Great tongue in cheek article!