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Sabah mufti rejects dialogue with deviant groups

 | August 22, 2017

Mufti Bungsu Aziz Jaafar says the decision to ban 16 groups in the state was to protect Muslim unity and the Islamic creed.


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s top authority on Islam has defended a ban on more than a dozen Muslim groups, saying there was no need for dialogue with them as their teachings deviated from “true Islam”.

This followed the state fatwa council’s edicts against 16 groups, which includes the Qadiani sect as well as Hizbut Tahrir, a group recently banned in Indonesia for its radical political beliefs.

The ban drew criticism from their followers in Peninsular Malaysia, who said they were peaceful Muslims who have contributed to the local community, particularly in Sabah.

But Sabah mufti Bungsu Aziz Jaafar in a recent interview with FMT said the ban had nothing to do with claims of their links to terrorism.

“If they said they were peaceful, it’s a matter for the security authority to decide,” he said.

“We look at it from the perspective of akidah (Islamic creed) and other related aspects of religion.”

Bungsu said the Qadiani sect believed that their leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a prophet. Muslims regard Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet.

He said the authorities also took into account Muslim unity in their decision to ban the groups.

According to him, Hizbut Tahrir’s rejection of the current system of governance in preference to the caliphate was a threat to Muslim unity in Malaysia.

“Historically, Islam arrived in this country and maintained the sultanate system. It was alright for one to be a king, without being a caliph,” he said, adding that Muslims must adapt to different circumstances in governing a state.

He said while the Muslim world was once governed by the Ummayad, Abbasid and Ottoman caliphates, the current sultanate system practised in Malaysia was not much different.

“This is a matter of ‘ijtihad’,” he said, referring to a method of scholars arriving at Islamic rulings.

He said it was wrong for Muslims to reject the legitimacy of rulers who apply Islam in governance.

Bungsu disagreed that religious authorities in the state should engage with groups it deemed as deviant.

“There are things we can have a dialogue over, while others we need to take action on. For something as clear as Qadiani, why do we need to have a dialogue? We’ve studied and found it to be clearly deviant,” he said. “Fatwas are issued after getting all the facts, not unscrupulously.”

Sabah has also arrested eight followers of another Muslim sect, the Millah Ibrahim, who were sent back to Kuala Lumpur to be tried by the shariah court.

For Bungsu, Millah Ibrahim “is worse” because it was a mix of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, adding that it was against the Sunni creed.


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