Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Islam is simple; guides us in everything…

****************** In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ***************** Reflection ******************** The Declining Day (Al-'Asr) 1. By the declining day, 2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss, 3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. ***************** DURING my regular weekly ‘tazkirah’ (Islamic lesson) at a masjid near my house recently, the ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) stressed that Islam is a beautiful religion revealed by God that covers all aspects of life; even there are even laws regarding usage of toilets. *************** “Could you name me a religion that covers every detail of human beings' activities?” asked the ustaz. *************** So Islam covers everything; submit to God to everything we do, then we are safe in the world and Hereafter; it is simple as that but only a faction of people could adhere to the rules of Islam, said the ustaz. *************** Truly, Allah has made Islam a perfect religion, as guidance for human being to live in a perfect happy life in this world and Hereafter, so the scripture of Islam is not to burden people but is easy to practice. The Qur’an says: “Allah desireth you ease; He desireth not hardship for you.” (2: 185) ************** According to the Qur’an and Hadith, it clearly shows that each commands and restrictions from Allah is for protecting and taking care of our benefits. Each of Allah’s commands is good and easy to put into practice. Each restriction is not good and we should not do it. Allah is All-Wise, All-Knowing; Allah knows His creations have the ability to practice His order. The Qur’an says: “Allah has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.” (22: 78) – Islam is Simple (Jakim) ************** Bearing this point in mind, when a university student approached me recently for an interview; I stressed that Islam had the solution for all of human beings' problems. ****************** As Muslim all our actions should be guided by ‘hukum Islam’ or ‘shara’ (the law of fiqih or religious laws); that is ‘wajib’ (obligatory), ‘sunnah’ (optional), ‘harus’ or ‘mubah’ (permissable), ‘makruh’ (improper) and ‘haram’ (unlawful or sinful). **************** It is simple as that, but how many Muslims can adhere to it? Below is my interview session with the student. ****************** Question 1: ************** In Malaysia, Article 10[1][a] of the Federal Constitution stated that every Malaysian citizen shall have the right of free speech and expression. Meaning that requiring for freedom of speech leads to freedom of press. How do you find the limitation and restrictive legislation conflict with your own ethical of press. (May share your own experience). **************** Answer: *************** According to Wikipedia Article 10 of the Constitution of Malaysia guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) — ************* (a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression; (b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) all citizens have the right to form associations. ***************** Yes Malaysian citizen have the right of speech and expression in accordance to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. ***************** They too have the right to assemble peacefully and of course without arms. But based on the recently concluded Bersih 3.0 rally, their rights seemed to have been ‘confiscated’ from them. They were subjected to harassment. **************** Several reporters and photographers were ill treated by the police force. Their working gadgets such as cameras were confiscated. Of course without freedom of speech and right to assemble, lead to doom of the press. Press must only report the truth, but with the said rights were bulldozed, what could be said about freedom of the press? **************** Question 2: ************** Do you agree that the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations. State your answer by providing information or experience. ************* Answer: *********** Of course there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech. In Western countries they were very concerned about lying. So you can’t talk nonsense. In some Muslim countries and communities, societies are guarded by strict Islamic laws. Muslims are subjected to laws of ‘halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (forbidden). ************** Question 3: ************ How far news organization (your work place) conflicting with your own individual interest in term of dissemination and publication of information (news)? For journalist - Do you find is it ethical for an editor to edit, change and manipulate the source accordingly, whereas he or she is not experiencing what the journalist experienced on the event. State why if yes or why if not, based on your answer. ************** Answer: *************** Of course your report must be in line with the needs of the news organization you are working for. You just can’t work on subjects of your own interest. For example you may be interested in looking at why more and more people are going against the government by each day, perhaps from the economy perspective, but wait it is against your organization's stand, so the final say, you have to abandon your project. **************** Yes, an editor has the right to edit stories but of course not to change and manipulate the source. It is unethical to do so. Editors could add spark to a story but not add extra information not mentioned by the reporter but it is ok to tag in facts; for example when writing about a rehabilitation drug centre, he could mentioned, say there are 45 such centres in the whole country. *************** Question 4: ***************** Does your organization has written professional code of ethics? How do you practice and implement it? (*If do not have, how you practice self-censorship) ************* Answer: ************** No, but as a journalist you must have mastered the journalist professional code of ethics. It is simple, you just comply with it. In my opinion as a Muslim, practising self-censorship was clear because we have two main sets of law that is ‘halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (forbidden). For example it is ‘halal’ to do reports on an emerging artise but it ‘haram’ to publish pictures of lewd women, so carry on the former and stay away from the latter. ******************** Question 5: ************** How ownership influences the production of news? ************ Answer: *************** In our country, almost all of the news production houses are owned by people with political interest. So the production of news is inclined to satisfy the needs of the owners, what’s more at a time when election fever is on. These owners would use the production house to the maximum for their interest. **************** Question 6: ******************* How far do you find that media has become machine of agenda setting rather than telling what audience needs or serves audience-right to know? You may provide with own experience or example. ************** Answer: ************** Yes, nowadays the media has become a very powerful machine of agenda setting, if we were to take a closer look at the electronic media of this land, we would realize during news hours, they were doing good jobs in bashing their opponents. Media had taken side, almost all news are a one sided affair, rivals were not given any oppourtunity to respond or answer allegations. In this way, audiences were dinied their right to know; they were only fed with chosen informations which were in line with those in power. ***************** Question 7: *************** As a Muslim, what is/are your experience that conflicting between organization journalism to the Islamic principles? Define how do you face that situation? ************ Answer: *************** As I had mentioned above, Muslim are guarded by the law of fiqh or religious laws. The two main sets of laws are ‘halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (fordidden). So it is simple, if it is ‘halal’, you just go ahead in doing it, and if it is ‘haram’ just leave it alone. ********** Islam is a complete way of life. It covers everything and it this case brought up by the university student (in the field of journalism), newsmen too could have a happy, beneficial and rewarding life in this world and most importantly in the Hereafter if they adhere to the teaching of Islam. ************** It looks as simple as that, but actually to uphold to the words of ‘syahada’ (declaration of faith) “Laa Ilaha IllAllah” (there is no God except Allah) and to submit to all His orders, is the hardest yet heaviest in weight in sight of Allah SWT for it is the highest of ‘iman’ (faith). **************** It was because of this ‘kalimat’ (speaking and writing of human being) that men were born and to invite human beings to submit to it many prophets and Islamic warriors fought for it and many died in the process.

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