Many are caught in a tug-of-war of cognitive dissonance between their faith and how they really want to live, writes Abdul Rashid Hanafi..
Hudud, the puritanical Islamic law, puts Muslims in a bind.
This is the Muslims’ dilemma. I believe the majority of Muslims, not that they totally reject it, don’t want to live under Sharia but are caught in a tug-of-war of cognitive dissonance between their faith and how they really want to live.
Faith, either by inheritance or blind obedience, not intelligence, in any system of belief or ideology can sometimes makes a person do things against his or her conscience or interest.
Take morality, the much hyped issue, for example. Morality should not be imposed.
An imposed morality is not morality. No one condones immorality but if one leads a moral life out of fear then one is not a moral person because then, one does not make one’s decisions freely. The same goes when people are compelled to conform to a prescribed morality based on the dictates of a doctrine without any consideration and questioning; this does not make society moral.
An imposed morality is unethical; what more if people are threatened with prosecution and hellfire and in clear defiance of the Constitution.
This is our deeply troubling concern, our dilemma, and this is worrisome.
On the one hand, there is our desire, the desire of enlightened citizens, to forge a nation of diverse people into a unified society ruled by peace and justice for everyone.
On the other, we have the extremists, the fundamentalists, imposing their archaic legal system on the people with a sledgehammer.
Look at countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq and several others where their laws are based on antiquated mysogynistic laws. There, human freedom and human choices are almost completely denied.
Instead of progressing they are regressing, impoverished and intellectually bankrupt. Why? Because to them, control is more important than growth.
It is one thing to deal with sane people doing crazy things. It is quite another dealing with crazy people doing crazy things. Most times, the sane ones can be reasoned with. Those crazy ones with mummified brains are unreachable and horrifying indeed. To try and reason with them is like trying to reason with an alcoholic.
Whether you are moral because of fear or because you find satisfaction and enlightenment in leading a moral life depends on your level of maturity, spirituality and conscience.
Humans beings are not zombies. Humans have intelligence. They can make choices, and they can’t be chained with phobias and threats.
Spreading a religion with humanity, helping one another, and respecting all God’s creation is a much better way, more enlightened, than doing it through restrictions, persecution, intimidation, curses and threats about hell and God’s curse. With the former approach, many people will respect you and your religion.
Abdul Rashid Hanafi, a long-time reader of Aliran, is a former teacher based in Kedah.