Sunday, October 30, 2016

Forum: Bersederhana Dalam Beragama

As you have already known, Penang was hit by a heavy downpour late evening yesterday, culminating in a severe flash flood in several areas including Ayer Itam, Jalan P Ramlee, and Bayan Lepas (I was informed that certain flights were forced to be re-scheduled).

My area (Bukit Jambul) was moderately affected, resulting in me staying home.

I was initially planning to go to this forum, conducted in Sungai Ara, just next to my house, before heavy rain thwarted my plan. It was moderated by Ustaz Ahmad Jailani, with Dr Rozaimi and Dr Asri sitting on the panellist chairs. All three of them are highly respectable figures with extensive knowledge on Islam.

I first heard of Dr Asri more than ten years ago...during my first spell in USM. Dr Asri was already a rising star then, causing ripples here and there with his brand of new thinking (Reformist and Kaum Muda were Dr Asri's most popular labels during those time).

Dr Asri taught Munakahad, a popular Minor subject among physics/biology/chemistry students back then (I deviated from the norm by taking Management), and always mesmerised his students with his vast memorisation and deep understanding of Hadith. His aura and influence grew exponentially until he was elevated to the status of Mufti by the state government of Perlis.

Dr Rozaimi, now a senior lecturer in UPSI, was heavily influenced by Dr Asri's charisma when he finally decided to further his PhD in Hadith in Jordan (he was formerly in SyariahMuamalat). That proves to be a very wise decision as he is fast becoming a second Dr Asri (he is widely seen as a younger version of Dr Asri). Sharp, witty and hugely talented in organising his thoughts, I am now spending more time listening to his ceramah compared to Dr Asri's. 

Ustaz Ahmad Jailani, a lawyer, came to prominence when he was wrongfully accused of helping a Muslim woman to leave Islam (murtad). This accusation came in a PhD thesis submitted in UKM, which was widely derided as the thesis appeared to be very low in quality, nowhere near the standard that is required of a PhD thesis. Ustaz Ahmad Jailani has a PhD from England, although he never uses the title "Dr" in his accompanying name.

Ustaz Ahmad Jailani and Dr Rozaimi/Dr Asri has some disagreements over some issues, but this never prevented them from sitting together. It's heartwarming to see people with different stance can come together to discuss issues that they are in agreement with. They are truly an embodiment of the real spirit of Islam.

I spent almost my entire Sunday's evening (today) watching this recording, which ran at two and a half hours long, which was worth every minute of it. An interesting point was shared by Dr Asri on minutes 1.24.30 of the video, regarding entertainment in Islam. I intended to write all that was said during the forum, but time is running out as Malaysia Cup final between Kedah and Selangor is starting any minutes now.

I highly recommend this video, as it is full of knowledge concerning the real teaching of Islam (towards the end of the video, during question & answer session, Dr Asri commented about recent failed attack on Kaabah). Wasatiyyah is the way of Islam, not extremism.