Shariah-friendly guide for martial arts garb awaiting Jakim’s okay

An athlete from Bahrain competes in shariah-compliant attire in an event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu government’s call for ideas on shariah-compliant sports attire has prompted a martial arts exponent to resurrect a proposal he once made to Jakim, the federal authority on Islamic matters.

Alif Aiman, a taekwondo and hapkido practitioner and a former head instructor on close-quarter combat for the Malaysian armed forces, told FMT he submitted his proposed shariah-compliant guide for martial arts to Jakim about four years ago after working on it for two years.

There has been no news of Jakim’s response.

Alif emphasised that what he called his Shariah Compliant Capable (SCC) guide was offered as an option for those who wanted it and not meant to be forced on athletes.

He said it would guide non-Muslim instructors seeking to comply with the shariah and help shariah-conscious Muslims decide whether to join a martial arts class.

“Let’s say I’m a non-Muslim and I’m teaching a class and there are Muslim students there. They might feel more comfortable if I was qualified as SCC.

Alif Aiman.

“I would suggest a cutoff point of 51% Muslim attendance. For example, if you have a class of 100 and 51 of them are Muslim, the instructor can ask the Muslims if they wish to make this particular class shariah-compliant.

“If the Muslims say yes, then he just follows the checklist. It’s a very easy checklist to follow.”

He said he called it SCC to emphasise that the decision to follow the guide should be made jointly by the instructor and his students.

Last week, Terengganu executive councillor Wan Sukairi Abdullah announced that the state would withdraw from sports events that did not conform with the shariah. He also said his government was drafting a shariah-compliant code of conduct for athletes and called for suggestions.

Alif claimed that some foreign governments and several international martial arts associations had expressed interest in endorsing his guide.

He also claimed that SCC was based on the Quran and some hadiths and was formulated with the help of experts, professionals and religious personages from the Middle East, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia, including shariah law expert Azmi Mohd Rais.

“I’m not an Islamic scholar,” he said. “I’m just a Malaysian involved in sports. I’ve achieved certain positions in martial arts and I just want to give something back.”

He said the SCC guide should be applicable to most sports, but he added that he understood the purpose behind the international code of conduct and attire for certain sports.

“Let’s say I participate in gymnastics and I cover myself head to toe. You won’t be able to see any movement. You’ll see only the clothing flowing all over the place. So, technically speaking, even if they let you wear whatever you want to wear, you won’t be able to get the points.

“But again, the individual has a choice. You can either comply fully or appeal to compete in a certain way or you can choose not to compete in a certain category and go for another sport. We all have choices.”