A Reply To Farida Ariffin

liberal values

In a recent interview dated 17th April 2016 with malaysiakini.com Farida Ariffin the spokeswoman for the so called “Group of prominent Malays” mentioned how Muslims in Malaysia lacked knowledge about Islam. The title of the article was “Manifestations of Religious Intolerance Worries Woman Behind G25”.

We will not indulge in discussing the entire article due to its numerous fallacies. But will do our best to engage one or two points mentioned in the article. She said in the interview “For us being liberal means respecting other points of views.”, one has to wonder what this means when G25 is hellbent on reducing Islam to a mere train of thoughts and the freedom to interpret the Quran in any way possible.

Respecting of views in the academic circle can only go as far when something is done out of the discipline of knowledge. To interpret the Quran we need to look at the language of the time, the history, logic, reasons for revelation just to name a few. Before we start let’s look at the meaning of liberalism in its proper definition,

Liberals have typically maintained that humans are naturally in “a State of perfect Freedom to order their Actions…as they think fit…without asking leave, or depending on the Will of any other Man” (Locke, 1960 [1689]: 287)[1]

As we can see the meaning here “State of perfect freedom to order their Actions…”, and here we can see why G25 is focusing so much on Syariah laws. Syariah laws are for Muslims, designed to prohibit decay of a society. Intoxicants such as alcoholic beverages, gambling, drugs, prostitution etc.

This is to have a society that is harmonious, and to serve a greater goal, that is to please Him. I am very sure about those parents who will never want their children to go near these places would not support this notion of “prefect liberalism”. Hence the idea of G25 that, liberalism is about respecting the views of others is basically only the facade of a greater movement.

A movement determined to be free from the social, cultural and religious bounds. This does not do well in this nation, because of the Federal Constitution Article 3(1), that states “Islam is the Religion of the Federation…”. Islam being the religion of the Federation implies that liberal values can not be established in this nation.

A futile attempt but nevertheless a diligent one to bring forth ideas of liberalism so as to move away from the basic tenets of Islam and the founding principles of Malaysia. The idea of “perfect freedom” and/or absolute liberty does not sit well with Islam, as it ignores the role of revelation in determining the peace, harmony and sustainability of a nation.

As God mentions in the Quran,

[Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.

Quran 3:8


But if you deviate after clear proofs have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

Quran 2:209


O you who believe! be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness of Allah’s sake, though it may be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives; if he be rich or poor, Allah is nearer to them both in compassion; therefore do not follow (your) low desires, lest you deviate; and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely Allah is aware of what you do.

Quran 4:135

In its essence liberalism is deviant and does not adhere to the basics tenets of the Islamic Principles. It was born due to many reasons involving social, economic and political issues but none of which were present here in our nation. It originated in Europe and is more suitable for them.

It was born due to their own shortcomings in running a country and a society. During that time in the past, liberalism was a must have ideology in the USA, because of their dark moment with the African slave trade. Perhaps the worst ever systematic mistreatment of humans in history and not to mention the genocide of the indigenous population.

We in Malaysia are not in need of such movements, we never oppressed or killed any of the indigenous people, we never enslaved an entire continent, and many more reasons. We adhere to the divine rules and shall always continue to do so for as long has He has determined.

In short, calling oneself as liberal but not adhering to its teachings would be hypocrisy, and if one adheres to it, definitely liberalism is not for the Muslims who are guided by the Divine Message. It would only be just for her to become a student of Islam before promoting her “version” of Islam.


[1]Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberalism/ , 18 April 2016