Politic is not my cup of tea. I prefer intellectual debates and discourses rather than rhetoric wars with hidden (sometimes not so hidden) agendas to march oneself to the throne of power. Usually, I only see the irresponsible, insensitive and sometimes downright dumb statements made by politicians as just some sort of publicity stints. However, when it comes to my religion, my belief, my principles, I simply cannot ignore the voice inside of my lazy head that I need to do something. Unfortunately (or rather not), the only thing that I can do, or at least know how to do, is to write about how I feel, and thus, this entry comes to existence.
Since I was a student in university, I was exposed with politics, first-hand. As an active student in clubs and societies, I organized a lot of programs with the purpose to, well, among others; spend my time in fun ways. On a more serious note, I got involved in activities to improve my friends and me as students and human beings by participating in value-adding co-curricular programs (well, I tried). Never in my tedious long years of campus life did I have agendas other than that.
In searching for the right platform, I accidentally stumbled upon a club with great ambitions and capabilities in carrying out gigantic projects (relative to other student societies). Better yet, most of the members and executive committees were my friends, so the deciding process was made easier. Without any prejudice, I joined, and I never looked back.
Honest to God, on the first day I was incepted into the club, I had no idea of the perceptions and prejudice the campus community had towards it. All I knew back then was that the club has quite an impressive number of members and equally impressive number of programs lined up for the whole year. The programs planned were common, neutral and nothing controversial. To my eyes, they were just ordinary programs planned and conducted by ordinary group of students, who happen to possess extraordinary capabilities in pulling resources and turn the plans into reality.
Things changed when I was promoted to the post of Vice President, as only then I saw the bigger picture of politics in campus. What seems to be a peaceful and successful club to me was pictured as a corrupt and ruthless agent of some political party with the vicious mission to poison the bright minds of students with evil ideologies that, at times, were even compared to Zionism. It was outrageous, appalling and quite frankly, disheartening. Worse, these perceptions were originated from a bunch of student activists which pride themselves to be the Islamic forces in campus.
Coming from a family of hard working Muslims and Da’ies myself, I share the passion and sentiment of spreading the beauty of Islam as the way of life. I also was enrolled in Islamic schools, right from my primary years to secondary, high school and university years. No matter how strayed my ways were back then, I still upheld the ambition of living in a true Islamic community. Therefore, this was one of my biggest endeavours as a high-ranking committee in the club. I was looking forward to work hand in hand with my former schoolmates whom I respected and regarded highly (as excellent Muslims and Da’ies), using my club as my platform. Most of the said friends also held high positions in other Islam-oriented clubs, so I had big hopes. I planned a lot of Islamic programs (something quite out of the ordinary to our club, as most of the time, we only carry out motivational and leadership programs without significant emphasise on religious approach) and tried to get us working together with other clubs.
To my surprise, we were snubbed. Not only that, we were accused of being hypocrites. They printed hundreds of flyers to defame us and belittle our programs whereas those programs are well in line with the university’s guidelines, and more importantly, very much Islamic in nature.
I remember one time; we organized a Yaasin recitation and Solat Hajat session for the final exam, held in the campus mosque. The program was held during Maghrib time, and at that time they were a lot of students hanging out in the mosque, as usual. We approached the students and invited them to join. That’s when I noticed a friend from another Islamic club with his colleagues at the back of the mosque. I approached and politely invited them to join our little program. He smiled, clearly pleased with the invitation, and asked who organized the event. When I told him the name of our club, his face changed, and he and his friends stormed out of the mosque. That actually caught me by surprise. Whatever we did to them that they hate us that much, so much so that not even sacred recitation of the Holy Quran and prayer can be an exception to work together for once? These people had the mentality of ‘if you are not with us, you are not worthy’. They treat Islam and Da’wah as their exclusive rights. That is why they cannot look past the political difference between us (which was non-existent by the way).This is the kind of politics that we had in campus not too long ago.
Now, I see the same pattern emerging in our current issues. Particularly in HIMPUN, when NGOs get together and decide to have a massive rally to show our disdain towards apostasy and to urge the authorities to take the issue seriously, the politics and politicians somehow managed to adulterate such a noble and important intention, and label them as politically or racially inclined program. In the time where solidarity among Muslims is waning, there are still people that have this irrational perceptions, fear and hatred towards others, and to think that these people belong to the Islamic party, is so disheartening. For once, can’t you just put aside politics and unite as Muslims to defend our belief? Or the march to Putrajaya has become your obsession that you cannot ‘hurt’ the racial and religious harmony in the society, even if it costs the ‘aqidah of Muslims in Malaysia?
I can understand the reason given by Tuan Guru Hadi Awang for political leaders staying away from the rally to ensure the program remains apolitical. However, those who criticise and accuse the organisers of siding with some political party are totally way out of line. If these people are the future leaders, thinkers and movers of the said political party, then Malaysia is in worse state than we all thought it was.
HIMPUN is a selfless effort organized by not one, not two but more than hundreds of NGOs and people that love Islam and are committed to safeguard the ‘aqidah. It might not be the best solution there is, but it certainly one of the ways, so I ask these people: WHY NOT?