Zaid to Jakim: Help Muslims, don’t just preach

Zaid-IbrahimPETALING JAYA: Former minister Zaid Ibrahim says the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) should focus on tangible ways of helping Muslims instead of just telling them about their sins.

In a blog post today, he said the problem with Muslim leaders in Malaysia is that they like to talk about other people’s sins all the time and not their own.

“They behave as if they themselves are free of sin, and so, every day, they tell fellow Muslims how to lead good ‘sin-free’ lives, as if only they know how.

“This is what makes the Muslim community weak and divided. Muslim leaders are busy telling others what to do with respect to small irrelevant things when they themselves have contributed little to the development of their community.”

Zaid referred to the case of Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman, who caused a stir when news surfaced that she had been keeping a stray dog as a pet.

Jakim director-general Othman Mustapha had responded by urging Muslims not to keep dogs as pets, saying Nurhanizah’s actions were against Islamic teachings.

Instead of being criticised, Zaid said Nurhanizah should be commended for having “a golden heart”.

“A true Muslim is a kind and caring person. So, instead of scolding her, Jakim should be proud of Nurhanizah’s kindness and humanity.”

Even if Nurhanizah had sinned by touching the dog, Zaid said she alone bore that responsibility.

“Which human being, including Othman, is free from sin?

“Othman should be concerned about his sins and not those of others. One does not become an angel just because one assumes the post of director-general of Jakim or by serving the prime minister well.

“It’s not Othman’s business to ask dog-lovers to repent. That’s God’s business,” he said.

Instead of being preoccupied with the sins of others, he said Jakim should focus on concrete ways to help Muslims such as making sure that children in religious schools have proper curricula and teachers.

Jakim could also make sure that all the zakat collected is used properly and in the best interests of the Muslim community, he said.

“A proper audit on the application of collections should be thorough, and Jakim can help streamline the administration of Muslim inheritance matters, which sometimes take years to settle because of inefficiency and bureaucratic delays.

“Jakim can also make sure that the Baitul Mal organisation in each state is properly audited to prevent ‘leakages’.

“Let God deal with the business of punishment and sin-management,” Zaid said, adding that there were already enough preachers on television and in the mosques for that.