Of Tomboy and Yoga Fatwas

The National Fatwa Council must have too much time on their hands.

First, they issue a fatwa banning tomboyism, whatever THAT means. Then now, they want  to issue a fatwa on yoga as well!

From Malaysiakini:

On Yoga

The National Fatwa Council will be issuing a ruling soon relating to yoga exercise, which is deemed to be deviationist in nature for the Muslims.

Yesterday, UKM lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa advised Muslims who have taken up yoga – a widely popular exercise which has its roots to India and Hinduism – to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate them from their belief.

“If the Muslims want a healthy body, prayers are the right choice… why must we find alternate ways… a single mistake can deviate our teachings as yoga movements follow the style and tradition of Hinduism,” he was reported as saying.

On Tomboyism

Council chairperson Abdul Shukor had said that many young women admired the way men dress, behave and socialise, violating human nature and denying their feminity.

“It is unacceptable to see women who love the male lifestyle including dressing in the clothes men wear,” Abdul Shukor was quoted as saying.

About this tomboyism thing. This dressing in ‘male clothes’ and ‘short hair’ and all that. People don’t just suddenly change their sexual preference through dressing.

If I’m not mistaken, Islam teaches that women be properly covered up. If male clothes still allow women to be properly covered up, what’s wrong with that?

And short hair. What in the WORLD can be wrong with short hair? Especially in a climate like Malaysia’s that’s hot and humid all year through, short hair happens to be the easiest hairstyle to manage! And having short hair does NOT change a person from straight to lesbian, despite what the people in the National Fatwa Council might think.

I think that as long as it does not cause harm or detriment to another party, how a person dresses should not be under the control of someone else.

On yoga, that is simply beyond me. I don’t even know if there’s anything intelligent I can say about this.

Yoga happens to be a healthy thing to do. It keeps people’s minds focused, and helps relax the body. It’s a good and fun way to stay healthy. They don’t preach anything about Hinduism in yoga classes. The only most frequent ‘chant’ you would hear is probably ‘breathe in, breathe out’, which I believe does not deviate from Islamic teachings.

If this is the line of thinking that they are going along, then maybe they’ll start issuing fatwas on Tai Chi as well, since Tai Chi has it’s roots in Chinese Qi Gong and all that.


I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but it reeks of sexist discrimination to me. Because tomboyism is targetted at women, and yoga is an exercise mostly done by women. Women these days too liberal for their liking?

Like Marina Mahathir, I wish there were fatwas on violence against women. Wishful thinking?

*Note: For the interest of those who were following my discussion with commentator meow on fatwas, I’ve found more information to digest from Syed Akbar Ali’s blog HERE.


47 Comments on “Of Tomboy and Yoga Fatwas”

  1. Aiyoo says:

    The fatwa council = kebodohan at its max!

  2. Crankshaft says:

    They’re on a power trip. I wonder when they get to short circuit.

  3. Ling says:

    Words fail me. Have these people got nothing better to do?

  4. Dear Michelle,

    They have to justify their existence and pretend to look busy and holy ;).

    Interestingly, I wonder why they have not spoken to a certain Minister who sports a tomboyish hairstyle and ….;)Maybe it is a novel way of making some wear the tudung to hide their ‘short’ hair.

    Now I would love to see that minister wearing a tudung but that would mean changing all those idiotic multi-million dollar billboards along the highways sporting her face and that of two other supposed ministers…*sigh* Malaysia boleh again?

  5. mawardi says:

    What the heck? Are you a muslim? I don’t think so. So, how did the fatwas have things to you?
    You are right, it doesn’t concern me. But it concerns my friends, and that concerns me.

  6. […] incredible insight on the situation head over to “I am Malaysian” a blog covering Malaysian politics from the perspective of a native 22-year-old studying […]

  7. Antares says:

    I love the word “fatwa” – it’s got high comedy quotient.
    What do you call somebody who enjoys issuing fatwas?
    A fatwan? What happens when the National Fatwa Council dines on petai before they convene to issue another series of fatwas? What emerges are fartwas! All I can say to Zakaria Stapa and Abdul Shukor is, “Prrrrrp!”

  8. Oldstock says:


    This is what happens when you have narrow-minded people in positions of power.

    Anyway, I’m waiting for the actual fatwa to be issued so that I can know the `official’ reason. Will comment more by then.

  9. Alpha_N says:

    Let me just say…i have a crew cut hairdo, i only wear jeans all my life, aggressive looking chick on the street where many perceive me like a tomboy but guess what? I am as straight as an arrow and i have a normal guy-gal relationship with my love one. I only dress to fit my job scope…so how can an attire judge the sexuality of a person? Who are they to judge someone by their appearance as tomboys/lezbos when they could be wolves/gays under sheeps wool?!!!! Simply ridiculous/ludicrous!!!

  10. MalaysianCat says:

    The Fatwa has nothing better to do at this moment and with all the political uneasiness going on, they needed a diversion. Well, they have taken a swipe on a MP with the comments on the tomboy issue – and let see if either one gets away with it.

  11. meow says:

    Some people never learnt. I see some backtracking in the comments made on using child as shield in the ISA march and i thought that would be a lesson not to jump in head first without greater understanding. Now I see the same thing happening here. I doubt many are an expert on the intricacies of islamic values and yet all is more than willing to give comments as if other peoples values and ideals are free for all to ridicule. We abhore peoples double standards but not when it is directed at us. We don’t like to be criticize but don’t mind criticizing others at will. I am sure there are a lot of things in your own religion that affect some of my friends which you don’t like people to criticize.

    If the comments or fatwas made was directed to muslims, i say you don’t have any right to say anything if you are not a muslim. Not even if you have a friend who is a muslim. Are you your brothers keeper? If she is a muslim then she is subject to the council fatwas, period. She doesn’t like it, that’s hers to keep. After all fatwas are made for all muslims, and you can’t please everyone.

    Many religious ideals are pure faith and has little to do with logic. I’m sure you can relate this to many many religions and not just islam. To you it may be funny and to be laugh at but not to the believers. To start applying logic (your logic) and make fun of others beliefs is just pathethic and inappropriate. Shame on you.

    This reminds me of the Bar Council attitude or maybe worse. Concerns of islamic matters are free to be shared. There seems to be little respect of how the muslim feels. At least the Bar Council are talking about matters about others affected by the ismalic ruling. Here the fatwas are meant only for the muslims, so what business do you have to criticize!

    Let’s be frank. Tomboy or Yoga is not the only thing that the islamic council address from time to time. There are others that is more fundamental that the council will advised the muslims that maybe outright different to your set of beliefs. You want to comment on those as well because it affect you friends?

    Please, let religion be a personal thing to each religious group. You want to be a champion of the society, be one but don’t loose your perspective of people sensitivities.
    I appreciate your comments. They are not without reason.

    What I comment on is not the religion itself, rather the need to control these personal details of one’s life.

    I have no intention to criticise, or to make fun of the religion, and if I have accidentally done so, I apologise. I just don’t see the need for religious figures to want to over-regulate so much of how people live their lives.

    I don’t want to dispute what are in the Holy Books. I don’t know enough.

    But fatwas are man-made rules, issued by men based on their interpretation of what is right. Where do we draw the line?

  12. Patricia says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I just want to say that though these fatwas apply to only muslims, your commenter is right to ask why it concerns us – who are obvioulsy non-muslim.

    I think we are concerned because this is touching on personal freedoms. When will they erase this line between muslim and non-muslim? I think that’s coming very soon, don’t you?

    And did you notice that both fatwas concern women? (Mostly, it is women who ‘yoga’, men are too busy doing other ‘stuff’) For instance, if tomboys are wrong, what about guys who wear make up and high heels and look better than me? Are they saying that’s ok?

    All of this is not OK at all. It needs to stop. But I am just wondering … who’s going to bell the cat?


  13. meow says:

    My dear, controlling/regulating details of muslims lifestyle so that it falls within the islamic teaching is what the fatwa council does. To know how and what the tomboys and yogas affects the islamic belief involves very fine aspect of the religion. Believe me, fatwas are not given out at will. It is normally discussed in detail and all sides pros and cons are looked at. Not everyone can give fatwas. They must be learned in many discipline of the religion. Not even just any imams or ustaz can give fatwas. Is it not surprising to you that you don’t really see that many fatwas given out daily or as frequent as it should?

    Yes fatwas are man made. But please find out more about this. In islam (Sunnah Wal Jemaah or Sunni as opposed to Shi’ah)the source of ‘law’ is the Quran, the Sunnah or practice of the prophet, and ‘Ijma Ulamak’ or the decision of the regious council. The fatwas falls under the last accord. This is necessary as new inventions and practice in the human civilization changes with time. What societies ills we have now may not even be something heard off during the time of the prophet. So, the ulama have to review each with the guidance od the Quran and the Sunnah. So, yes it is a man made decision but not something made at free will as and when you like.

    I know that at the surface ‘tomboys’ and ‘yoga’ may appear mundane to the uninitiated. Then again I don’t blame you as you are not a muslim. But to shoot without knowing the intricacies of things is just not right. So I say, unless you are willing to find out more about the subject, then let the religious issues handled but their believers. Even then, be polite in offering your ‘opinion’ and not escalate it into criticizing others beliefs. Your intention may be good but judging from the response you get, the subject has turned into a laughing matter. As they say, roads to hell is full with good intention. Just be aware of it!
    First to thank you for engaging with me in healthy discussion. I honestly would like to find out more.

    And perhaps if you can clarify for me, whether a fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council has to be followed by all Muslims in Malaysia? And what happens if one doesn’t follow the fatwa?

    Because from what I read HERE, a fatwa is not necessarily binding, and a Muslim can choose to follow or not, based on his/her own thinking.

  14. meow says:

    How much clearer must it be. Fatwas are directed to muslims, and intended only for muslims. For the non muslims, go ahead be what you like, a tomboy, shave the head, practice tai chi, .. whatever. Your personal freedom is not being questioned at all, and that can be a separate debate entirely. Please do not confuse between personal freedom and absolute freedom.

    As for guys competing with girls for their wears, that too would be wrong in islam. And there are fatwas on that too to all muslims. But that has nothing to do with fatwas, right or wrong, and free for all to debate. Again it is for the muslims, and does not concerns the non muslims. I just fail to understand why the non muslims are just so keen to butt in without even knowing the facts. At least have the curtesy to ask first instead of outright crtiticizing.

    Fatwas does not differentiate between man or women. I say you guys are just extending the issue to no ends and reading too much into this. Be fair, how many fatwas do you know to make an insinuations that the fatwas are just focusing on women? Do you guys just react on every issue without thinking? Man. or is it Women!

  15. meow says:

    Before I say anything let me first put my caveat. I am not an expert in islamic matters and I hope what i say here is merely broad guidelines in the hope that you see the logic of islamic perspective of things. In islam, and i’m sure also in many religions, we are taught to respect the scholars in their own field. So, clear directions of the details of right and wrongs much be referred to those in their respective fields. Just as in western legal systems, tort or say jurisprudence maybe an area on their own. So too in islam, the matters or hadith, or say fiqh/theology is an area by themselves. So, the details of what I say here should be referred to the right scholars. OK you know what I’m getting at.

    Now, as I mentioned earlier all muslims ‘in general’ are governed by Quran, Sunnah and Fatwas. So, yes if you are a Malaysian you are govern by the fatwas by the authority. Please note, I say in general. This should be true to all at all time in Malaysia. This is also necessary since all believer should/must be governed by same rules without exception.

    Now, in reality though, Islam is not unique just to Malaysia. We have islam in all continents, and all countries with their own National Fatwas Council to address their own unique condition. As a close example, Indonesia has their own fatwas council. They as a nation may have Eidil Fitri a day sooner than us. That is not to say our islam is different than theirs. (Sorry, to determine Raya day is not really fatwas BUT I’m just trying to show that they may decide differently).

    At the end of it, fatwas are guidelines for muslims on what/how ‘islam’ as defined by the local scholars see the matters/problems at hand. Here, it is assumed that the local scolars knows best the local ills of that society. The fatwa council would however consult and deliberate matter with scholars all over the world to get a more broad consensus.

    It is said however that there is another level of acceptance of law call ‘ijtihad’. That is more akin towards personal understanding of islamic laws and your own reasoning of the situation. That however mostly applies only to oneself and is between the individual and god. As an example, the fatwas may put you in a situation that is impossible to adhere to and you make a decision (not to bypass the fatwa on purpose). Some says that is really between you and god, and god judges those by their intentions.

    When we talk about gods law as it is ‘binding’ of some sort, I don’t think it is right. The laws are there to guide the masses so that on average all will be for the better. Some say the laws of god applies at many level. It is between you and the society, you and your family, and you and god. Fatwas is in general is for the first two, but ultimately in the end you answer to god. If you think that the fatwas is not applicable to you, then you must have a good reason for it and your intention is well. Only god knows best!
    No worries about the ‘non-expert’ bit, I wasn’t exactly expecting a thesis, just wanted a general understanding.

    So if I’m understanding you right, basically fatwas are issued as a ‘guide’, whereas syariah laws are ‘laws’. So in theory, syariah laws are what tell you what you cannot do (much like civil laws), and what punishment you get for doing them (the haram stuff). And fatwas are guidelines to how to live a better Muslim life, but the ultimate choice is up to the individual him/herself.

    Again, if I’m understanding it correctly, it means that fatwas are more like ‘advice’? And if you decide, after thinking about it, not to follow the fatwa, you don’t get penalised in duniawi like how you get punished under the syariah laws?

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    *I realise I’m trying to get a lesson in Fatwa 101 from you here, and although this is definitely not the best of platforms, I appreciate your willingness to share what you know.

  16. meow says:

    Now we are talking at a different level i.e the implementation of the islamic laws. It has to be said that the islamic laws unlike the civil laws empahised a lot on the judgement of the hereafter. And I have delve above mostly on the ‘you and god’ side.

    The human side of applying the law is another thing. Some ‘muslim’ countries insist that there shall be only one law, and that shall be based on the Quran, Sunnah and Fatwas. So, in theory yes fatwas will be absorbed as the law as well but the manner in which it get documented is a different thing. In Malaysia, as far as i know there is only the ‘muslim family laws’ thats being implemented. Others like murders/theft etc are still being done in the civil court. So, will tomboy fatwas be ‘acted’ upon as the law? I doubt the intention is very much in that direction but rather between ‘you and god’ thing. In that sense you are right to say it will be more of an advise thing. However, advise is not the right word in my opinion. It is more of a ‘must do’ thing rather than just an advise and do as you like. The difference is, it should be self regulated based on your ‘faith’ in god.

    The current government is mindful of the plurality of the society and has resist any insistance of strict islamic laws where ‘hudud’ is also called for. Some called it a weakness and some say mindful depends on which camp you are from.

    Some argues that one can implement total islamic laws only if the society is ready. It is said in the times of the Khalifah Umar Abdul Aziz (which was heading a majority muslims people) the hudud law was suspended because time was bad and people have to steal for food. So, there is a lot of judgement in these things. The grand intention is that religion is to make life better not worst.

    In this age maybe the challenge is everyone think they are smart. They know so little and yet they argue their logic through without any sense of humility. Their arrogance is very showing and their sense of right and wrong is just based on western/semi western morality. They sometimes don’t realised that even morality have so many shades. But to them only theirs is the right one. And all religions will have to face these challenges!
    Thanks for sharing so much with me. I appreciate it. I think this blog for me is sort of a work-in-progress, I’m learning more as I read and write about things, and also from some of the comments I get.

    I don’t intend to offend anyone, so if you feel obliged to tick me off for something that I expressed an opinion on, do so. Differing views are welcome.

  17. Drachen says:

    The words that come to mind are “insecure”, “defensive”, “threatened”, “lacking confidence”, etc. If that’s the impression intended, so be it.

  18. anakpakross says:

    Always enjoy a good discussion!
    I do too.

  19. anakpakross says:

    Just a thought, maybe you want to blog something on ‘malaysian architecture’ whatever that is. With all kind of building sprouting have we lost our identity OR maybe we never had one in the first place. 🙂
    Ah, that’s a slightly tall order. I might, if I get the chance. There isn’t much about Malaysian archi that I can find out about from here in NZ. Though I might give it a try, someday. 🙂

  20. bisu says:

    meow wrote: “In this age maybe the challenge is everyone think they are smart. They know so little and yet they argue their logic through without any sense of humility. Their arrogance is very showing and their sense of right and wrong is just based on western/semi western morality. They sometimes don’t realised that even morality have so many shades. But to them only theirs is the right one. And all religions will have to face these challenges!”

    i agree with him. i also believe the fatwa refers to the bigger problem of lesbianism which (the ‘masculine’ element of a lesbian couple may be tomboyish in appearance), like homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and also Christianity.

    wearing men’s clothes or having short hair but still appearing feminine is not a problem. The tomboys they refer to are the ones who took pains to diminish their feminity and appear just like the men (the opposite are the males who appear just like females).

    i do see that you like to jump the gun sometimes, like in the arrest of the 6 year old. Only to realize that there is more to the issue than meets the eye.
    I will admit that I have, on several occasions, jumped the gun.

    Coming back to your points about the ‘tomboy’ fatwa. Like what I said in response to meow’s comments, I don’t intend to dispute what are in the Holy Books. However, when you say that ‘the tomboys they refer to are…’, this again throws quite a lot out of perspective, don’t you think? For who can truly say if someone IS a lesbian, just based on their appearance? If we were to put two women with short hair and male’s clothes on, who gets to say which one of them is a lesbian, and which one is not?

  21. Gadfly says:

    It is difficult to define something as strictly for Muslims only when a message is transmitted through the mass media or the internet. The moment it is communicated externally, it becomes public and not something personal or private. It is then subjected to people’s interpretation.

    The difficulty also lies in the way we define things, say a flower. We can point to a flower and say it is a flower. However, a flower also contains numerous non-flower elements, say water and sunlight. Water is not flower. Where and how do we draw a line? The way we draw boundaries tells more about how open or how close our mind is or how conditioned our mind is than others.

    I learnt Yoga (Sun Salutation)two years ago and found it beneficial for physical and mental health – stress reduction and better quality of sleep. I found my yogi teacher, an Indian woman, an inspiring being. She talked nothing about Hinduism or any religion. Yet, the joyful way she taught was very spiritual. Also, it is non-commercialised.

    The sutra of Patanjaji says :

    “When the yogi is firmly established in non-violence, there is an abandonment of enmity by those who are in his presence…”

    To be present with a non-violent yogi is much better than listening to self-centred scholars who creates human divisiveness and hatred.

    I believe Islam is just like any other religion is continously attempting to come to terms with and to resolve the problem of the human self as reflected in the writings of Abdul Qadir Gilani. All great religions have something to teach and to learn from other religions or spiritual traditions. The problem with religion-followers may be that of the fear of freedom. That is where they(including me) may get stuck. At the beginning of spiritual quest, religious text and practices are important. However, it could be a hindrance for further development because of the unconscious conditioning effects.

    If ” a single mistake can deviate our teachings..” (UKM lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa), this means the teachings that he refers to is built on shallow foundation like sand-castle. If that is so, he should reflect and examine the ground of his beliefs, or more accurately his interpretations instead of attributing the “deviation” to external causes like the innocent yoga exercise.

  22. bisu says:

    that’s why its just a form of guidance/advice. It is not law where all your queries would be dealt with. Its a guidance to your conscience and faith. That’s why there are ustazs/ustazahs (or maybe priests in Christianity) to assist with the finer details depending on the facts and circumstances. Even in islamic judicial system, there is no binding precedence. Each case is analysed and considered according to its’ unique set of facts.

  23. meow says:

    Dear Su, I hope I have not been offensive or caused others to be the same. That would certainly be unacceptable. I must admit that although I felt offended in the beginning, I know the only way forward is through explanation so that others would see the logic of things from my perspective. If everyone care to understand each others I’m pretty sure we have a better place for all.

    It is said in the good book that, he created all to be of many races so that we will ‘learn’ from one another. Each religion will have their own defined rules and there will always be things that they agree or differ between one another. The believers will makes things more varied by their own interpretation of things.

    But we have the freedom to see things, either on subjects we agree or differs. To focus on the good things is to built bridges, and the opposite is to built walls. In the process of discovering each others views, we sometimes loose ourselves and let our natural self protection mode to diagree first and try to understand later.

    I find that jumping to negative conclusion without asking why is just another form of self protection. Why on earth would the Professor says ” a single mistake can deviate our teachings..”? Is it really a sand castle? Would Islamic ideaology be that shallow and cannot even stand to explain why. Again, I beg to differ. As I tried to explained before, you will need to understand the finer points in a religion to understand why.

    In islam we believe that all mankind came from the same origin, same parents Adam and Eve. It is said that over the centuries mankind forms all kind of rituals and hence religion. It is argued that some are of divine origins and some not. It should not be surprising then that many of the religion in this world do actually share a lot of things in common but they may called it in different names. Or they may also practice the same thing but in a different manner, occasion, and different emphasis of its importance.

    So much so that if you look at the oldest text like the uparnishad, book of the yellow emperor, tao te ching, islamic sufis textures, many share amazing similarities. That is if you want to focus on the similarities and not the differences. But to understand these esoteric ideas would require quite a journey in itself. Suffice to say that there are indedd quite a valid explanation to the whole schema of things in each religion, however ridiculous it may seem initially.

    Anyway, enuf said. Lets discover but not judge a person, in appearance on in remarks!
    I tend to try and not get offended, the way I hope I don’t offend anyone through what I write. But as you’ve pointed out, sometimes it is inevitable. And it is also through civilised discussions that we get to learn more about things that we would otherwise never know of, if we were to keep silent on everything.

    My opinion is that we learn more through argument and discussion than from keeping silent and waiting for someone to point me to the right direction. And that is the main reason for me to keep this blog, as a platform for me to voice my opinions, and get the other side of the story, should there be one.

    I think that as long as we can agree to disagree on certain points, we can get along pretty well.

  24. woody says:

    pm meow – quoted
    “Lets discover but not judge a person, in appearance on in remarks”

    pm meow – wrote on earlier entry
    “..To you it may be funny and to be laugh at but not to the believers. To start applying logic (your logic) and make fun of others beliefs is just pathethic and inappropriate. Shame on you.”

    that was funny, there were many more instances up there, do read it through.


  25. diamond says:

    I recon lots of misunderstanding about Malaysian Fatwa Council. As I read above, I look through JAKIM (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) and e-fatwa website (http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/) where all fatwa were announced previously. Here on these websites provide the processed before fatwas were published there is no such questions “The fatwa council have too much blaaa blaaa”. Regarding on the immature moew comment above on tomboy (which I heavily disagree). To make it simple, the fatwa explanation is, behaviour of women who act like men by expressing themselves through their fashion interest i.e. the way they groomed including hair fashion, clothing and etc. Including the way they communicate and also their sexual interest into homosexuality. REMEMBER, The statement stated ‘Dan’ which mean ‘and’ not “ATAU’ which mean ‘or’ in english. Thus any girls who cut short their hair only but not acting like a men is not consider haram due to intentionally not pretending to be a man, also not consider as tomboy. This also including girls who wear clothe as teach in Islam which are covering their bodies and not wear cloth that make you (woman) look like a man. The equal situation for man as well. The tomboyism or “BapOkism” clearly stated as Haram in hadith and Al-Quran”, however the situation worsen among muslim hence the Fatwa council have to renounce the statement. Thus, there is nothing to do with the freedom of expression for woman or plotting on suppressing woman. While the for the Yoga what we should do is waiting and stop speculating.

  26. Drachen says:

    “Michelle: And it is also through civilised discussions that we get to learn more about things that we would otherwise never know of, if we were to keep silent on everything.”

    I agree. Dialogue is VERY VERY important! Between Muslim and non-Muslim. Between East and West. Between China and the USA. I cannot think of a better way to prevent war!

  27. woody says:


    Ah…I just realized an interesting thing amidst this fatwa debate thingy.

    You know once it become official decree, it practically gives the moral police/religious officials freehand to simply storm into any gym/aerobic/yoga center to check for any Muslim there doing yoga. I do not know much about you, but if I am one of the male officer, I will surely had an eyeful of the skimpy dressed ladies in there doing aerobic dancing and yoga,will sure asking all of them line up against the wall, slowly taking my time checking each and everyone’s IC to validate their religion.

    How is that sound to you ? In the past, they cannot simply walk into any private clubs, now if it become official decree that gives them freeway/excuse to walk in anytime. Talk about voyeuristic intent. Can they ensure only female officers to do the raid, hm, I doubt it very much, if it was done well, we would not have had the Selangor case of official taking pictures of girl “peeing”. Furthermore the judges in that case essential exempted the religious officials from prosecution last time, only punished the Rela officer.

    Don’t tell me those people working under the banner of religion is “saint”.

    This one, I believe, opens up a whole new can of worms. Laws, whether good or bad, are always just going to be laws. It’s how they are enforced that mostly cause the problems to arise. And the points you made are not confined only to religious laws. Civil laws, with unruly enforcers, are also prone to that kind of abuse.

    Like they say, there are good cops, and there are bad cops.

    Let’s not go this way in our debate on this issue.

  28. Malaysian Tigress says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Good post on the rape issue. It is a shame that the women’s ministry is not coming down hard on this. I will definitely tell Dr Lo Lo to bring it up in Parliament. A proper investigation must be done.

    And I think meow explained it all quite well.

    Still, it won’t go down well with those who have/pretend to hide their bigotry and belittlement of islam, all the while crying foul over illegal temple/etc demolishments and perceived infringements on their rights.

    I don’t understand, why is it that only Islam is targeted? Do we try to tell the Chinese to stop the ridiculous and noisy practice of burning fireworks? or paper monies for the dead? Or cremating bodies in open areas like in Sentul (if not mistaken) by the hindus? Do we tell the Sikhs to remove their headgear coz it isnt going to make them more pious or Holy? Do we argue with the nuns and their habits? Do we question why priests as human beings with natural desires are not allowed to marry and have sex and thus give rise to sex abuse in churches the world over? Do we Muslims question all that?

    No, because Allah said, “to you your religion and to me mine”. Just don’t mess with mine ie: islam. The fatwas are not for “fun”. They deal issues of importance for any true believer who accepts Islam as his/her guide in life.

    In the case of Tomboys, it is simple. God made men to men, and women to be women. Not anything else. cases of transvestites, gays et al have their own fatwas or rulings. Human beings are not made to have absolute freedom. Then we would merely be animals. No difference.Might as well eat off the floor, fornicate in public and defaecate by the roadside. No shame and rules what.

    Attempts by those like meow, to make others understand in a constructive and rational manner are still bashed by the narrow-minded.

    They want Islam to conform to what THEY believe. What their narrow limited human minds and hearts conceive and desire and not what God wants them to do.

    As Allah said, He has set a seal on the Hearts of the disbelievers…(the arrogant).
    If you could talk to Dr Lo Lo about it, and ask her to bring it up and really pump about it in Parliament, that would be great. The ministry is doing zilch.

    And thanks for this comment. “To each their own”.

  29. Malaysian Tigress says:

    Michelle, we can ask each other to clarify what our practices mean, there is no problem in that.

    But the demeaning manner in which my own fellow muslims regard our learned scholars and their own religion, and edicts (when they themselves learn the religion from only one english translation of the Quran compared to the scholars who have studied the texts in depth, in the original Arabic itself)really upsets me. This in turn gives free rein to the non-muslims who take their actions as a green light to simply bash our ulama/scholars ikut suka hati dengan kurang ajar sekali with insulting comments.

    I mean, Christians wouldn’t like the Pope being insulted for coming up with an edict on abortion or etc and saying that he has nothing better to do ke? Or course he would do it in the best interests of his people!

    Right? Something we don’t understand can easily transform itself into scorn, because we are too ignorant to learn or too proud to ask, or simply because we think we know better than God Himself.

    Good for you for taking time to understand meow’s points. Can’t say that for the others though.

    Of course banyak lagi pressing issues like violence against women and etc. Of course that needs no fatwa. macam murder, rasuah et al. But do the clerics have the authority to arrest such people who bash women or kids?

    Do you think the syariah courts would get Razak Baginda for adultery even though he admitted to it? No. POLITICS. Just like during MM’s father’s time…did the women’s rights groups come out for the raped underage victim of the ex-CM? I don’t recall. POLITICS again.

    Yes, I believe the ulama should speak out more on a host of other issues too. But again, POLITICS. ISA. Cari makan. They do what they can. And we should support them, our fellow Muslims.

    The Mufti of Perlis is quite vocal, berani and speaks up on many issues, the state of our dirty politics and the corrupt leaders. His website “Minda Mufti” is quite enlightening.
    Thanks for the heads up about the Mufti’s blog. For the interested, the Mufti’s blog can be found HERE.

  30. Gadfly says:

    Michelle, I hope I am not taking too space in this blog. However, I still would like to respond to the comments made by meow.

    Meow, I did not say that ‘Islamic ideology’ or Islam is shallow. I would not make such an oversimplistic and unfair statement. However, I did say that Zakaria Stapa’s claim could lead to the implication or expolation that his version of the teaching is shallow. And I purposely indicate that it is his interpretation of the teaching, and not the teaching itself,is the problem. Islam has its own hermeneutics which I do not have knowledge of. However, I still can comment on his claim for which I have some experiential knowledge.

    Hermeneutics is an art of interpretation to retrieve the meaning of philosophical,religious or literary texts. We are always trying to make sense of what is happening inside us and the world. For the same traumatic event, one may commit suicide and another does not, this has much to do with interpretation. If we want to enter into meaningful and serious dialogue, then we need to know or to discover the hermeneutics of each others’ belief or faith.

    I always wonder whether it is possible and whether it is worthwhile to have a dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims in the context of Malaysian society. What do you all think? There are too many ‘donts’ rather than ‘dos’. So much time and energies have been spent or wasted on disputes on ‘conversion’ or ‘secular/Islamic state’ that there is little space left for authentic dialogue or exploration. Of course these issues are important. However,religion, or more importantly spirituality, is much more than the moral code or precepts of dos and donts. It should relate to social liberation and self-realisation, and not mental imprisonment. Otherwise, it becomes nothing but a golden chain – golden but still a chain.

    In dialogue, it is important to allow and to encourage the frank communication of diversity or plurality of interpretations and critical evaluation of evidences and theories.(So, don’t feel offended when the feedback response is just an evaluation of methodologies.)Our Malaysian material or physical environment is not conducive for dialogue. The storming of bar council seminar is a case in point. However, the cyberspace has the great potential to overcome the artificial limits imposed by those who have vested interest to create human or ethnic or religious divisiveness and hatred – despite the possible occasional downside of group polarisation in computer- mediated communication(CMC)like this online discussion. If I were to meet meow in a mammak stall, I would never discuss or explore such ‘sensitive’ issues except to exchange social pleasantries or desirables or ‘political correctness’. When I am engaged discussion like this, I go deeper into my tradition and starts to question and re-evaluate the ground of my beliefs. Perhaps others also have similar experience. Dialogue matters.

    I think I have deviated from the title of this post. It should be in another title which is general in nature, say ‘how to dialogue’ or ‘the art of listening’ or ‘Perspectives of inter-religious dialogue’, rather than an issue-oriented one.

    I agree with meow that we should build bridges. Religious or ethnic isolationism arises out of fear, insecurity, or unworthiness. When manipulated by self-serving politicians or ‘religious’ leaders, the sacredness of human relationship is sacrificed.
    Gadfly, no worries about taking up space.

  31. meow says:

    Dear Gadfly, thank you for your views. I tried reading again your earlier comments to see if i have misunderstood you … “If ” a single mistake can deviate our teachings..” (UKM lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa), this means the teachings that he refers to is built on shallow foundation like sand-castle.” Here ‘the teachings’ you must have refered to is islam and therefore my earlier remark.

    I indirectly suggested earlier that for someone to be involved in fatwas, he must be quite knowledgable in the teaching itself. In that respect, i suspect that the good prof. would be a more learned person that i am in the subject and therefore his interpretation of islam would be closer to the real thing that i would be able to offer. I am not suggesting that his islam is the only possible thing, but I believe it is not wrong to say that assuming he knows the subject in its finer details more therefore his interpretation is as good as it gets.

    It its also then when i alluded to as well that there will be many ‘smart’ people that would also offers a different interpretation. The problem with interpretation is that it is also subject to the individuals level of knowledge and ability to understand. To believe that by just hearing the subject for the first time and we can offer a completely fool proof alternative views is short of naive arrogance. As an example, i can talk about numbers 0,1,2 3 .. and a std one student can understand. He can further elaborate to much larger numbers as well. But without an introduction to calculus he can never appreciate infinitesimal increments, concept on infinity when something is divided by zero and so forth. As some may be aware, the subject of number theory is being reserched until now by professors to understand why numbers are what they are. So, although it is introduced at std one does not mean that a dialogue between a std one kid is the same with the professors in number theory. So, are we really able to say that his understanding is a sand castle when we are still palying with mud?

    To understand if the good man’s interpretation is shallow then we cannot run away from assessing his depth of knowledge. In that respect, you just have to talk to him directly to see if he is genuine. All I am saying is that, we should give due respect to the man rather than just questioned his wisdom just because it does not fit our world view. Over respecting until you cannot think for youself is bad but to refute everything and jumping to conclusion is naive.

    As for mamak stalls debate, i have a good share of discussions with fellow non muslim. I must say some subjects are not for everyone. Blogs seem to be a better place but that also depend on sites, like this one. Kudos to Su. Bottom line, sharing views should be encouraged to promote better understanding. Cheers!

  32. Gadfly says:

    Hi, meow,thanks for your response. And also Michelle for providing the space for dialogue.

    Muslims and non-Muslims have been brought up in very different environments and yet all are humans, (almost)all seek happiness and avoid pain and suffering. In this sense, universal religion or theology is not possible. However, universal experience of happiness and pain is possible. So, I am inclined to focus on the spirituality or religiousness or godliness in discourses, instead of organised religion with its doctrines and dogmas.

    Spirituality is inclusive and empathic. If we pigeon-hole ourselves into rigid and exclusive categories, it is difficult to put ourselves in the others’ shoes.Worse still, insults and name-calling may ensue because the ego is hurt.(Please Google ‘The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ and select the topic “Spirituality and Mental Health” for further info.)

    I hesitate to use the word ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ and other labels. Let us choose a non-emotive word ‘energy’. They are wind energy, solar energy, electrical energy,kinetic energy,biomass energy,creative energy etc. Can we extract something from all of them and say ‘This is energy’? Very difficult. So,it is important to clarify our language in dialogue.

    If I were to examine what prof. Zakaria has said, I would use the method of cycle of inquiry – what are his claims, what evidence used to support his arguments, what type of argument use, how does he evaluate the evidence, does the findings support the theory etc. I would like to find out whether he has any experience in yoga or spoken to anyone knowledgeable in that field. However, it is not possible with online discussion like this. Hence, I write that short comment with all my biases choosing efficiency over accuracy.

    The strength of the cycle of inquiry is that it is forever pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Religion can make people inward-looking, thinking that it has all the answers to human suffering. A questioning mind can help to reduce imposing our views on others.

    The limitation is that the very process of conceptualisation and categorisation is a hindrance to see reality as it, which is continuously dynamic.Worse yet, it could be a source of prejudice and discrimination.

    The question I think is not whether we should respect scholars with profound knowledge. But, whether knowledge is a help or hindrance in spiritual quest. Knowledge, especially book knowledge has its legitimate place. But,we need to go beyond that at times.

  33. Gadfly says:


    meow, I found the above article regarding Buddhism and Islam interesting.I have read how Christians,Jews and Buddhists challenge and enrich each others’ understanding but not between Muslims and Buddhists. Critically evaluate it or just ignore it. I am not here to do any propaganda work except to build bridges, even if it is a touch-and-go encounter, as Malaysians often live in artificially compartmentalised worlds.

  34. meow says:

    Thanks Gadfly, appreciate it. I must say it is an interesting article. To discuss it would be quite involve. But yes we should build more bridges. Take care.

  35. peace says:

    Written with un-conditional compassionate and love for man kinds especially looking at what happen for Malaysian Muslim friends.
    I think now JAKIM need to have open meeting with Yoga expertise, Medical Experts and openly declare that Yoga is Pure Sciences. Conditional the training should be without mantras, deity photos and rituals. Then all will find save, not shame and without inferiority.


    1. All Muslim should not use number ‘0’ this is originated philosophy of Suniyam (Nothingness). There is indirect approach to accept the truth of universal creation. It may not suitable for Muslim.
    2. Muslim shouldn’t practice NLP
    3. Muslim shouldn’t use ‘pi’ formula.
    4. Muslim shouldn’t use ‘Chess Game’.
    5. Muslim shouldn’t use Arithmetic and Geometric maths formulas.
    6. Muslim shouldn’t use medical knowledge and cannot be doctor. Because the entire human’s endocrine gland system well known and documented perfectly by Indian philosophy in various Vedas, which yet not discover into final detail by modern scientist.
    7. Muslim shouldn’t use curry to cook.
    8. Muslim shouldn’t cook/eat toosai, because it shapes like starting of ‘AUM’
    9. Muslim shouldn’t R&D anything because everything link to ATOM=ANU which first founded and introduce by Indian Veda.
    10. Everything copied/duplicated required modification and reducing it to hide the original. Its happen to all including to languages which copied from Tamil which only language have oldest and un-destroyed Literature/Dictionary in the world.
    11. Muslim shouldn’t use / do anything.

    I highly suggest and urge JAKIM will FATWA:
    1. Fatwa ban on all sports which remove skurfs (TUDUNG)
    2. Fatwa ban on women/girls who take part sports which only wearing swim suite & underwear (gymnastic/quash/badminton/volley ball/etc).
    3. Fatwa ban on women who wear shorts like Badminton.
    4. Fatwa ban facebook for muslim who expose photos to public.
    5. Fatwa ban for medical student who have expose and explorer both sex human body.
    6. Fatwa ban for all Malaysian MOVIE which expose BODY from release for market especially Malay, Tamil & Hindi.
    7. Fatwa ban for all TV show which singing, dance, games which mere exposing body, action, talks which beyond ethic.
    8. Fatwa ban for all liquar company like Calrsbeg, Guiness, etc. Ask them stop operation immediately.
    9. Fatwa ban for all cigarate firm.
    10. Fatwa ban for all massage/spa by rejecting all LICENCE.
    11. Fatwa on muslim using the numeral which invented by Indian. ‘0’ is Suniyam concept of indian nothingness philisophy which will leads towards Hindusism principle.
    12. Fatwa from muslim girls going out for shift works.
    13. Fatwa from muslim girls to go out without a family man together.


    You know what will happen the land of lovely Malaysia will empty desert where not only Indian & Chinese will migrate but first of all Mature Muslim Malays will migrate earlier.

    All reference here by Sanskrit (Euro-Indo) language document if refer by Tamil Document as original Indian language and only language qualify 11/11 criteria for pure language then knowledge have trace back history of kumari kandam which dated back 15,000 years ago. World’s entire knowledge unfold from Indian Yogis breathe while in meditating. Proof being discover by latest researchers inside Indian Ocean.

    Vedic Philosophy

    The Vedas are the oldest written text on our planet today.
    They date back to the beginning of Indian civilization and
    are the earliest literary records of the human mind.

    They have been passed through oral tradition for over
    15,000 years, and first appeared
    in written form between 2500 – 5,000 years ago.

    Veda means “Knowledge” in Sanskrit which derived from Tamil Vetham.

    The entire invention before and yet to come is origin from the source of Greatest Indian Siddhar, Yogi, Munivar’s writing which arise from the result of practicing the Yogaa & Meditation.

    A few to list:

    India invented the Number System. Zerowas invented by Aryabhatta. The place value system, the decimal system was developed inIndia in 100 BC.

    Aryabhatta was the first to explain spherical shape, size ,diameter, rotation and correct speed of Earth in 499 AD.

    The World’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. Students from all over the World studied more than 60 subjects.

    The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
    Sanskrit is considered the mother of all higher languages but it has trace back to Tamil as oldest language. Sanskrit is the most precise, and therefore suitable language for computer software – a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987.

    Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Ayurveda is the only medicine academic where all other old as well modern health caring technique grown from. Ayurveda is purely Indian and if you want to tell the truth in JAKIM’s context it’s HINDUSIM base.

    Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in civilization.
    Christopher Columbus was attracted India’s wealth and was looking for route to India when he discovered the American continent by mistake.

    The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The word ‘Navigation’ is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit ‘Nou’.

    In Siddhanta Siromani (Bhuvanakosam 6) Bhaskaracharya II described about gravity of earth about 400 years before Sir Isaac Newton. He also had some clear notions on differential calculus, and the Theory of Continued Fraction.

    Madhavacharya discovered Taylor series of Sine and Cosine function about 250 years before Taylor.

    Madhavacharya discovered Newton Power series.

    Madhavacharya discovered Gregory Leibnitz series forthe Inverse Tangent about 280 years before Gregory.

    Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days

    Infinity was well known for ancient Indians. Bhaskaracharya II in Beejaganitha(stanza-20) has given clear explanation with examples for infinity

    Theory of Continued Fraction was discovered by Bhaskaracharya II.

    Indians discovered Arithmetic and Geometric progression. Arithmetic progression is explained in Yajurveda.

    Govindaswamin discovered Newton Gauss Interpolation formula about 1800 years before Newton.

    Vateswaracharya discovered Newton Gauss Backward Interpolation formula about 1000 years before Newton.

    Parameswaracharya discovered Lhuiler’s formula about 400 years before Lhuiler.

    Nilakanta discovered Newton’s Infinite Geometric Progression convergent series.

    Positive and Negative numbers and their calculations were explained first by Brahmagupta in his book Brahmasputa Siddhanta.

    Aryabhatta also propounded the Heliocentric theory of gravitation, thus predating Copernicus by almost one thousand years.

    The value of “pi” was first calculated by Boudhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians. This was ‘validated’ by British scholars in 1999.
    Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were propounded by Sridharacharya in the 11th century.
    The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1053 with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera: 10 power of 12.

    Maharshi Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like caesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery.

    Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipments were used.
    Detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology, aetiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
    When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in the Sindhu Valley Civilization.

    Most worlds curry base cooking originated from India.

    RigVedas (1.50), a hymn addressed to the Sun, refers quite clearly that the Sun traverses 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha. This is in fact refers to the speed of light.

    The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara temple at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The shikhara is made from a single ’80-tonne’ piece of granite.

    The world famous and priceless “Kohinoor” diamond, which is set in the Crown of the British monarch (Queen Victoria, and Elizabeth II), was acquired from India.

    According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world.

    Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was reportedly invented in India.

    The game of snakes & ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat.’ The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices.

    India’s ancient achievements in Medical Science
    Artificial Limb
    Number of Chromosomes (23)
    Combination of Male and Female
    Analysis of Ears
    Beginning of the Foetal
    Test Tube Babies ( from the ovum only)
    Test Tube Babies ( from the sperm only)
    Elongation of Life in confirmed Space Travel
    Cell Division (in 3 layers)
    A material producing a disease can prevent or cure the disease in minute quantity
    Developing Embyro in Vitro
    Life in trees and plants
    16 Functions of the Brain Eitereya
    Definition of Sleep Prashna-Upanishad

    India’s ancient achievements in Physical Science
    Velocity of Light
    Trans-Saturnean Planets
    Space Travel to another solar system
    Gravitational Force (Prashnopanishad)
    Ultraviolet Band
    Infra-Red Band
    Tachyons faster than light
    Nuclear Energy
    Black Holes
    Monsoon at Summer Solstice
    Entry in South America by Aeroplanes
    Phosphorescent Trident at the Bay of Pisco, Peru, S.America
    Atom (Divisible) & (Indivisible)

    The 4 kinetic ideas behind Hindu Vedic Spirituality (NLP)

  36. anakpakross says:

    Okay okay Indians discovered a lot of things. What a relief that so far scientist have concluded that probably humans first evolved in Africa, if not we are all indebted whole heartedly to you. Then by same logic we all have to also listen and agree to Indian practices. JAKIM cannot decide anything for the muslims since indians have monopoly of things.

    To discover something is not and end to all. Some people discover gold or diamond early than others but may not know its worth. The muslims may have developed quite a lot as well but the europeans have extended it further. The greatest nation in this world is not the first to learn how to write.

    Whatever you are the first at does not give you the right over others to govern their own people, their own religion and how they see fit. Hey I may like curry but i don’t have to be an indian.

  37. eqwan says:

    Dear blogger,

    First of all, the fatwa is issued for people who wants to follow Islamic teachings. Muslims who are unclear about teachings in Islam will seek guide from the National Fatwa Council. Same goes to the fatwa of smoking which is haram. You want to follow it or not it’s up to you, the judgement will be in Allah’s power.


    Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam melaknat wanita yang meyerupai lelaki, dan lelaki yang menyerupai wanita.

    Kata Syeikh Uthaimin: Perbuatan wanita memotong rambut sehingga menyerupai lelaki adalah termasuk dalam dosa-dosa besar.

    – Adapun memotong rambut yang panjang supaya menjadi lebih pendek, tanpa menyerupai lelaki maka tidak ada larangan daripada syarak.
    Direkod oleh Abu Daud (no: 4099) dan Tirmizi (no: 2784). Dinilai sahih oleh Tirmizi.

    It’s forbidden to cut hair short so that it looks men-like but it’s not forbidden to cut hair short.

    Women can kee short hair as long as she doesn’t look like a man:

    Maksudnya: Para isteri Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam menipiskan sedikit rambut di kepala mereka, sehingga menjadi seperti ‘wafrah’ (iaitu rambut yang tidak melebihi telinga). (Sahih Muslim no: 320).

    Kata Imam Nawawi: Hadis ini menunjukkan harus menipiskan rambut wanita, Wallahu A’lam. (Syarah Sahih Muslim 4/5)


    Fatwa will only be issued on unclear law. About violence against women or whatnot, we don’t need a fatwa because it is something clear. No violence against women. It’s something clear but the people with power implement it or not, that’s the problem.

    If you are a muslim, you can try to understand Islam more, it is not discriminative. Don’t judge a car by it’s driver. Same goes to don’t judge Islam by it’s followers.

    My thoughts, the fatwa should be presented more clearly.

    About the yoga, I believe the fatwa will sound something like this :

    It is permissible as long it is not mixed with other religion teachings or false beliefs or beliefs that’s against the teachings of Islam.

    To non-muslim, christians or hindus, or buddhists,

    We muslims have never intervene with what your religion forbids you to do. You can’t eat cow, it’s up to you.

  38. eqwan says:

    I’m also proud with the Islamic findings in mathematics, astrology, medicine, physics.

    No doubt about it.

    Yeah, being the first to discover doesn’t mean that much today.

    To peace,

    about the fatwas you suggested, we don’t need any as they are already clear. Muslims just don’t take the time to look for it or just don’t want to.

    Hey, not all followers in christian or hindu or bhudda follow their teachings right?

    Same goes.

  39. Gadfly says:

    I observe that the debates about yoga is either seen as an exercise or something involved with organised religion. But, the discussion has missed out an important feature of yoga.

    Briefly, this is what Daniel Goleman wrote in his book, the Meditative Mind, about Patanlaji’s yoga: The mind is filled with thought waves that create duality,the gulf, the separation between mechanisms of awareness and their objects. “By calming his thought waves, by stilling his mind, the yogi will find union.These thought waves are the source of strong emotions and blind habits that bind man to a false self…. When the thought waves are subdued, the yogi’s ego recedes.Finally, as a liberated man, he is able to don his ego or discard it like a suit of clothes.”

    So far so good. You do not need to have any religious beliefs or faith to calm the mind and to tame the ego. But why is there the battle of(or for) Gods as Karen Armstrong said?

    I think the problem is that when the mind is so still, there is no or hardly any perceptual distortion of what the person ‘sees’ as the ultimate reality or the real.At that moment, he/she does not need any doctrines, any temples, any priests or ulamahs or monks. He is liberated spiritually. He becomes ‘dangerous’ as the religious authourities cannot control or regulate him anymore. If we breed a goose inside a bottle, when the goose has grown too big, what do you do? Either, you kill the goose or you break the bottle. This is what normally people do. When dealing with thought waves, there are thousand and one ways to do it. It is poverty of imagination and the fear of experimentation that starves the goose to death.

    There is no one medicine for all human ills. If yoga does not fit you, discard it. But, I think it is useful to keep in mind that if we close our mind too early before knowing it fully, we may have throw away the sand and the pearl at the same time.

  40. Gadfly says:


    There are thousands of Malaysians studying science and engineering either locally or overseas. However, Malaysia is still essentially a consumer or user of science and engineering. We are still a follower after the footsteps of western nations. Worse yet, the Malaysian mind is to a large measure being colonised in these areas. The debate of such subjects are seriously lacking.

    Looking back at the great civilisations we could identified with, be it the Chinese, Indus or Islamic, all have contributed towards the western sciences. But, they all have lagged behind now. More than ten years ago, I had grappled with the question of the chinese thoughts. Joseph Needham asked a grand question – why did the sciences arise in Europe when China was once far ahead them? He spent 30 over years to answer this question. Besides the question of a ‘mercantile class’ to support the sciences, I think the authouritarian straits embedded in Confucianism did play a major role.( Please refer the above link for Joseph Needham). The new generation of Malaysians pursuing the sciences have to ask very different questions now – How relevant is the western model of progress to our Malaysian context?

  41. azura says:

    about the tomboy ban in Malaysia: I won’t deny that quran said something about it’s against nature when women preferring to be man and have sex with their same sex.True. Any religion will say same sex is haram – even bible also will say haram about ‘people of Sodom & Gomorrah’ & homosexuality – as much as what Allah mentioned what happened to ‘people of Prophet Luth’. but one thing that disturb me is… is the fatwa council of Malaysia is one sided against women as they always do just like Malaysia’s Syariah court always siding to men until ex-husbands always get away with paying alimonies to their ex-wives after divorce? it’s true…. let me explain why :
    1. the Malaysian fatwa council only rules out ban against lesbian and tomboys. They never say any ban on male pondan,mak nyah, transexual(and until we have transexual model posing for Habib Jewel ads – like we dont have enough girls).The malaysian fatwa council never ban on gay guys – so we still have gay men flocking to La Queen, and packed at The Market Place -and no Jabatan Agama raid the place pun? because… some male lawyers in the fatwa council,UIAM are also bisexual…hahhaha… and… ya… we have males like Anuar Ibrahim who talks about god, family but also…bisexual?ask any gay guys -it’s true.
    2. why more females become lesbos and tomboys?… the fatwa council always sided to men in syariah proceedings on divorce cases … which resulting to divorced women frusterated,became men hater but yet they need people to love, to protect and take care of them..so they turn to well-off tomboys as substitutes. so you can’t simply blame penniless divorced women who ran away with another women or rich and handsome tomboys.
    – i hardly hear muslim councils in Great Britain or Australia doing funny things and rulings like the Malaysians.

    about yoga : those who want to ban yoga should put the words nicely… If they say “ban the types of yoga that performs hindu chantings & recitals during the yoga sessions… for muslims to go” – that I would agree. because to chat other things in prayers in language you don’t understand – its dangerous.I wouldn’t chat Latin words if i don’t undertstand them – coz what if i say out words to call upon the satan worshipping? but if the fatwa council wants to ban yoga completely for all muslims in Malaysia, including the yoga classes in True Fitness,Fitness First,Celebrity Fitness – and other gyms… hahahahahahaha … gosh! I think im gonna have my stomach exploded out of laughing…. so idiot,man…
    and then again, they listen to a UKM professor who come out with the so called genius words…hoi,where did he get his Phd.? so narrow minded? I think one of these days I’ll drop by his office and give him my True Fitness one week membership trials to try out the yoga classes at the gym. my ‘na waitu’, my ‘niat’, my goals to go for my yoga class is to exercise, to loose weight, to be healthy. my another ‘yoga’ to meditate is at the surau – the solat, five times a day.
    So, what yoga, what do you want to do and what do you want to be in life… depends on your ‘niat’ – how you set your heart. If it’s for good reasons … life & hereafter will turn out good (i shall say that – coz i can afford to pay for the gym fees and happy living). If its wrong, it is still wrong.If it’s right and have truth in it… you can hide them. Let’s the god judge a person, not you. but when a man try to do a god’s job and make new laws… things get funny.

    * and I still don’t understand why Malaysian fatwas never push real religious laws like cutting hands for thieves/snatch thieves… like in Saudi Arabia (seriously, you hardly heard people stealing in Mecca). and seriously, in Matthews – it did mentioned the law “if your hands to bad things – cut them off”..

    – I support peace among human race

  42. Gadfly says:

    Do people who thirst for physical mutilation or crippling as punishment for crimes are themselves at the same time psychical cripples? And make sadism into a religion? Sadism has nothing to do with great religion. However, a sadist tends to play ‘god’, an impotent person who fantasises that he is as omnipotent as ‘god’ by subjecting the victim to absolute control.

    Some cultures have outgrown sadism and some still relish it. It is difficult to explain why.

  43. jeff says:

    So long as muslim women do not find it offensive and acceptable, nothing much to comment from a non muslim.

  44. […] Serge agrees with this person when she stated, “If this is the line of thinking that they are going along, then maybe they’ll […]

  45. NOT PC says:

    What about “BUMIPUTRA”?

    Sick Fatwa Council should immediately issue a fatwa banning the use of the word “BUMIPUTRA” as it is a HINDU Sanskrit word, and used to refer to Malays MUSLIMS on top of that! What blasphemy! The word “BUMIPUTRA” is a combination of the Hindu Sanskit words “bumi” and “putra” meaning “Earth” and “princes”, which in combination means “princes of the Earth”. And Malays are so proud of the title!

    Malaysian Muslim women have been the targets of so many fatwas to curtail their divine human rights. Fight back my dear Muslim sisters. You can do that by massively voting for Pakatan Rakyat the next election. Teach BN a lesson or forever suffer as second-class citizens. It’s the truth.

  46. anakpakross says:

    If the fatwa council is sick then I say the hindu sangam is desperately raving mad. What is it with you people that give you the right to comment on other peoples religion? why do other religion like to be an aggressor of sort this days?

    I once strongly disagree with the assimilation process and pride malaysia for taking the multi racial approach in creating bangsa malaysia. I am begining to doubt that and start to see the reason for taking a more hard handed approach, like those done in the rest of the asean countries. Malaysia especially the malays has been too accomodating and that has been seen to be weak. Now these other races are trying to tell us how to manage our religion.

    So what if bumiputra is a new word used consisting of sanskrit. What logic do you use that that gives you the right what is acceptable and what is not in islam. what idiotic sad logic is that. If you want to persist using warp logic, then i can say you should named all your children in malay names because you guys are born in malaysia.

    stop pretending that you care about malaysian muslims women and their devine human rights. If you cannot even respect other religions, what do you know about ‘devine’ rights in other religion.

    At last, what you are trying to say is that all these is due to BN government. What sick opposition trooper are you anyway. Typical of evens since March 2008, all those that crawls out of the woodworks seems to be preaching of ‘race’ equalities and yet couldn’t care less if the racial sentiments used are causing more rift and damage to the society. So keep your truth to yourself, and don’t tell muslims how to take care of themselves. stop trying to be an angle while your devlish intentions are obvious!

  47. Xueryna says:


    Yoga is permitted for Muslim its just that we cannot use the “mantera” only.

    short hair is permissible for muslims women but we cannot make it look like a guy’s hair. if we do cut it short so that it look boyish haircut,then it is prohibited.

    why so serious about it?Islam is not that complicated.you guys make it so complex. i did not see any girl nor i heard there are people who were arrested because of this.

    chill la.anyway, if you are a Muslim, act, think and speak like a MUslim.

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