Shady Sofi | Photo by Asim Bharwani

Dr Zul remarks on Alicia Izharuddin’s Advice for Valentine’s Day Lovers: Play Fair. Morality, especially in dating, should be uphold whether religious or secular-based.

Shady Sofi | Photo by Asim Bharwani


A few friends tweeted me on an article Advice for Valentine’s Day Lovers: Play Fair for the article cynically mentioned on PAS Youth Chief, Nasrudin Hassan’s comment on Valentine’s Day. Since I befriend a few PAS leaders, they think that I would vehemently fight against the writer no matter whether it is a fallacy or a truth.

The truth is this: I stand by the truth. Regardless whoever guides me to the truth, I would give myself to him/her even if the truth comes from the mouth of a small kid. Like Ali K.W.J, a renowned Prophet’s companion said, “I would submit myself, even to a black slave if he teaches me a word.” It truly takes one’s breath for him to lower his self-ego and altruism to the truth.

Although I adore the experience of the writer and her advice to lovers on the Valentine’s Day, I could not help myself but to keep wonder why she vehemently shows her bitterness towards Nasruddin’s view.

Nasruddin should be allowed to exercise his constitutional right to freedom of expression similar to what she did when she advises girls “not to relent themselves to boys after getting expensive dinners and showers of loves together with  ritual present of teddy bears, chocolates and roses on the auspicious Valentine’s Day.”

In fact, what Nasruddin preaches is within the ambit of freedom of religion, as his target groups are Muslims. He advises his fellow Muslims to follow the path of the Messenger, Muhammad SAW. What more, Muslims have just celebrated the month of Maulidurrasul. Nasruddin has never taken any extreme physical step to physically hit the transgressor of the Islamic law and to take the law into his hands. It is perfectly okay for Alicia not to subscribe to the view of Nasruddin. So be it. But if she chooses to attack Nasruddin, she must do so with honour, by putting a formidable argument intellectually in all honesty, and not just brush aside Nasruddin’s view with some cynical and cliché remarks.

But sadly, she chooses to argue with emotion rather than with reason when she proves her case with her own experience of being bullied “by being gently pressured, … into having sex to ‘thank’ the date.”

She further exclaimed that, ‘many young Malaysian women are bullied into having sex by their boyfriends and being a female, [she is] expected to please [her] partner by being agreeable, pliable, totally succumbed by male flattery, and easily charmed into bed.’

That is exactly the situation in which Nasruddin is commenting on. In fact, the writer has strengthened the points submitted by Nasruddin. Nasruddin’s advice is that if there is necessity for a man to meet a woman, three precautions must be observed:

  • do not go out without being courted with the ‘mahram’ [a ‘mahram’ is a person who is not allowed to be married to her like a father, brother or uncle];
  • cover the ‘aurah’ [according to the majority jurists of the Shafi’e school, ‘aurah’ for a woman is to cover every part of the body except face and two hands]; &
  • do not transgress any Islamic precept.

Although she is in support of ‘zina’ [a sexual intercourse outside a valid marriage or with a slave], provided it is consensual and is within ‘safe sex’ definition, she may not realise that ‘zina’ is a minute of pleasure and a regret forever if a baby is conceived.

This reminds me of my conversation with one of my friends during the last two weeks. I asked him about his wife who is in the final year of completing her Ph.D at a local university.

He grinned at me and said, “I don’t expect this to happen. My wife has to take leave for another semester since she is now pregnant.” Of course, it is he who has impregnated his wife. There is no second doubt about it and the child, of course, is a legitimate one. That is not the issue. The issue here is, that despite following religiously the doctor’s advice on how to plan a family by using sophisticated contraceptives, God has a greater plan for them by endowing them with another child.

Therefore, no matter how safe the sex is, which some of us are advocating, there are occasions when the drug does not work and the condom keeps puncturing. Therefore, these unwed couples will be blessed with an unwanted baby.

The statistics by the National Registration Department shows that in between the years 2000 and 2008, there were 257,000 babies born without a father in Malaysia. That means, on average, 2,500 babies are born out of wedlock every month or 83.3 cases in a day. That gives us an astounding figure of an illegitimate baby born in every 17 minutes and 17 seconds. No wonder so many babies are dumped at every imaginable place.

I cannot imagine a kid to live without a father.

A kid without a father or a mother is socially impaired. I still remember the script of Sandra Bullock in her movie, ‘The Proposal’ when the hero proposed to marry her. Sandra’s character suddenly replied, “I forgot about having a family since I was 16 years. Since then, I’ve learnt to live as an individual and alone. I do not deserve to be in your loving family.” Of course, Sandra’s character loves living in a nucleus family and to be surrounded by a happy family but the fact that she was neglected by her own father made her so despise idea of a marriage.

I considered myself to be very lucky for I have been blessed with compassion from a father until he passed away when I was 18 years old. He truly inspired me to be what I am today.

I must tell you a sad story where I met an intelligent, sweet and charming girl of two years old who is an illegitimate child and understands not only English and Malay but also Mandarin and Cantonese. Her mother was a drug addict while her biological father was a busy businessman.

Although her biological father was very fond to her, he was unable to keep her at home as he was always on travel plus his name is nowhere stated in the birth certificate as a father to the girl. He also did not have the heart to leave the girl with the mother especially on the day he found out that the girl was about to be sold by her own mother to enable her to obtain drugs. Therefore, he had no choice but to surrender the kid to the Welfare Department. Luckily, the kid was later adopted by a loving family whom I believe showers her with love and compassion. Therefore, abstaining from sex before marriage is the best way to avoid this mounting problem. What Nasruddin preaches is to help youngsters abstain from what the writer correctly pointed out, “from being gently pressured, … into having sex to ‘thank’ the date.”

Lastly, I believe that not only religion advocates morality but also secularism. Morality is something which makes a human deserve to be a human and be respected for. His dignity comes with his manners. When I attended an ethic course more than a decade ago, Dato’ Bastion Vendargon, who was one of the instructors then, advised young lawyers to pay attention to corum and decorum in and outside the court. I scarcely found any lawyer who appears before the honourable court without addressing the judge as ‘Yang Arif’. I cannot imagine any situation when a gentleman lawyer who is well behaved in the courtroom to be ill-mannered outside the court. Thus, morality though not a law, is indispensable in our lives, no matter how modern we are and not matter how secular you are.

With that, I rest my case here.


An ordinary lawyer who aspires to be an extraordinary lawyer in new democratic Malaysia