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Islamic state

AH, the Islamic state. What is the Islamic state, actually? Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad once said Malaysia was one already. PAS disagrees and wants to turn Malaysia into a real Islamic state. The DAP staunchly does not want an Islamic state. And Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) … well, the PKR jury on the Islamic state is still out on an extended recess.

What are the “Islamic states” in existence now? Saudi Arabia? But a monarchy was never part of the Islamic government envisioned by the prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors, the rightly-guided caliphs.

Iran? But to be precise, Iran is a Shiite state, and as we know in Malaysia, Shiism is a big no-no.

Pakistan? The Islamic Republic of Pakistan seems constantly on the brink of civil war due to Taliban insurgencies.

Sultan Ahmed mosque in Turkey (Public domain)


And contrary to popular belief, several Middle Eastern states do not identify as “Islamic states”. On one hand, we have Turkey, the avowedly secular republic which is flexible enough to have an Islamist-led federal government.

And then we have the North African kingdoms and republics, which are notionally secular but incorporate Islamic values and jurisprudence into their penal codes and personal laws.

The most populous Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, does not even regard itself as an “Islamic state”. In fact, in 2002, Indonesia’s highest legislative body, the People’s Consultative Assembly, struck down any attempt to make syariah legislation the highest law of the land.

It bears noting that Islam has a rich history of diverse political philosophies related to governance and legislation. This can be seen from the early Muslim community in post-Hijrah Madinah; to the Umayyad and Abbasid empires; to the breakaway Shia dynasties — the Safavids and the Fatimids; and eventually the Ottoman caliphate. Throughout history, Muslims have tried to govern according to different understandings of Islam.

Perhaps it was the fall of the Ottoman empire after World War I and the formation of the modern, secular Turkish republic that effectively signaled the end of the “Islamic state” as was widely understood. Many Muslims at that time were still colonised by the non-Muslim West. Hence, the struggle for independence was equated with a defence of “Islam”.

Contemporary Islamic movements, therefore, have their work cut out for them. Yes, they want an Islamic state, but do they want a transnational, Ottoman-like caliphate? A European Union equivalent of an Islamic state, perhaps? Or do they want many different Islamic states? Then they would have to deal with the kinds of Islamic states that are acceptable — for example, should all Islamic states be republic in form, or can they remain monarchies?

And perhaps the question that most lay citizens will ask in the Islamic state debate is: What about syariah laws? Will adulterers be stoned? Will women who do not cover their hair be punished? Will Muslims who drink alcohol be flogged in public? Will non-Muslims be relegated to second-class status under the guise of “protectionism”? What will happen to the Jews?

World Muslim population map; click for bigger view (By Mohsin, source: Wiki commons)


And so, taking into account this complicated matrix of issues surrounding the Islamic state, The Nut Graph is pleased to present the most challenging Six Words yet! Tell us your thoughts on the Islamic state — condense it, describe it, define it, challenge it, support it, glorify it, criticise it — in only six words.

To begin, The Nut Graph got cracking and came up with these entries:

Deborah Loh:

Farewell my beloved country, I’m leaving.

Stay back and mount peaceful resistance.

Gan Pei Ling:

Will women be allowed to think?

PAS for all? Just a slogan.

I support Islamic (oops!) secular state.

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Islamic state by whom for whom?

Only in the prophet Muhammad’s time.

Malaysia is already on its way.

Tapi bagaimana kalau ada perbezaan tafsiran?

Susah sebab orang Islam begitu majmuk.

Pakai tudung, moral policing, tangkap khalwat.

Fatwa haramkan rokok, beryoga dan pengkid.

PAS lawan DAP. PAS, Umno bersaing.

Kedudukan PKR masih kabur tak tentu.

Shirin Ebadi (Courtesy of the International Peace Foundation)

Shanon Shah:

The Scandinavian countries fit the bill.

Adulterers and apostates to the guillotine!

Rhymes with “Cannot drink or fornicate.”

Nice concept, no existing role models.

Can Shirin Ebadi be its leader?

Tetapi apa negara contoh masa kini?

Zedeck Siew:

In the spotlight / Losing my religion.


The Nut Graph appreciates Islam’s diversity.

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway‘s genius, the Six Words On… section challenges readers to give us their comments about a current issue, contemporary personality or significant event in just six words. The idea is to get readers engaged in an issue that The Nut Graph identifies, while having fun and being creatively disciplined.

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57 Responses to “Islamic state”

  1. YS says:

    Islam or not, I don’t care.

    I just want justice for all.

  2. Naoko says:

    Pakai tudung, moral policing, tangkap khalwat. <– Is this sung to the tune of “Bangun Pagi, Gosok gigi?”

    My contributions:

    Fate, State, Checkmate. Morality police ahoy!

    Religious state: everything also cannot do!

    Drinking and mixing now completely forbidden.

    Fear of state meet state of fear.

    Islamic and Christian states, what difference?

    When religions fail, moral policing increases.

    Islamic states predict rational thinking downfall.

  3. Explain what is an Islamic State.

    Clarify who is an Islamic state.

    Islamic states don’t have a monarchy?

    So then is PAS being seditious?

  4. siew eng says:

    A personal matter becomes state’s business?

  5. terri says:

    Have Islamic state, brains not needed.

  6. It’s a concept beyond six words

    Author, please study the Medina Charter

    Where Islam is the official religion

    Where syariah applies to the Muslims

    Where a charter guarantees non-Muslim rights

    Deserves thorough discussion but not ridicule

    Needs explanation by an Islamic scholar

    Cannot be explained by layperson wisecracks

    It is not a hereditary monarchy

    Is certainly not like Turkey today

    May be more tolerant than thought

    Can potentially be just for all

    Has been misinterpreted even by Muslims

    Is the current bogey of liberals

  7. Paul R. says:

    Is it what the Prophet wanted?

    Why create something a minority wants?

  8. Karcy says:

    A conflict of modernity and orthodoxy.

  9. roastpork says:

    I don’t believe in your reality.

  10. victor tan says:

    No corrupted police, judges and officials.

    No AP, ketuanan and money politics.

  11. shaff says:

    We all have a slamming time.

    See you at the nearest bar.

  12. malaysianfirst says:

    I will talk, you just follow.

    One way in, no way out.

    Faith for all, money for me.

    PAS is happy, Umno is rich.

    Textile is in, barbers are out.

  13. Sonia says:

    “Deserves thorough discussion but not ridicule”

    Sisters In Islam? Keep them quiet!

  14. lucia says:

    Islamic values according to whom, please?

    Aren’t all religious values the same?

    What laws? All laws are human-constructed!

  15. sapu says:

    What does it matter, Islam or …

    All religions are of the same …

    No one religion is greater than …

    There is only, only one God.

  16. Thomas Lee says:

    Malaysia is not an Islamic state.

    We are just a Muslim-majority state.

  17. ai tze says:

    The Nut Graph banned in Malaysia.

  18. moot says:

    Facetious, farcical, puerile, perfidious, fallacious … seditious.

  19. Chen says:

    Religion: Bicycle for fishes. Need it?

  20. Fikri Hakim says:

    Do not promote symbol of evil

    Embrace Islam for justice and harmony

  21. Salam says:

    Once you convert, no way out

    It would pass to your children

    You take away their freedom, right

    They don’t have their own choice

  22. bob teoh says:

    Islamic state, country, nation or 1Malaysia?

  23. WYT says:

    All you apostates out there beware

    Cloak your body cover your hair

    Be wary before your last breath

    Bodies get snatched after your death

  24. Reza says:

    Ulama rule guarantees end of progress

    Religion and politics = deadly combination

    No drinking allowed? Not for me!

    Religious policing = pain in ass

    Let me apostasise! I want out!

    Human rights will just be violated

    Death of freedom, liberty and individuality

  25. z00l says:

    Islamophobia in our very own backyard.

  26. DJ says:

    No precedents? Why not be First?

  27. Arion Yeow says:

    All theocracies are detached from reality.

  28. roastpork says:

    Resistance is futile, prepare for assimilation.

  29. shernren says:

    Change “Tuhan” in Negaraku to “Allah”?

  30. Daniel C says:

    Let’s make a human rainbow instead.

  31. Umran says:

    Laugh or cry? I’m not sure.

    A nebulous, multifaceted and misunderstood concept.

    Number of people = different versions.

    A transparent attempt to control us.

    1984 Part 2, here we come!

    I’m off, call me when rebuilding.

  32. james au says:

    Islam contradicts Islam; Islam versus Islam.

  33. Singam says:

    Islamic state: Values or merely rituals?

  34. Gustri says:

    Malaysia, Islamic state? I’m outta here!

    National instability, an act of God?

    Economic downturn, an act of God?

    Peace be with you … and you …

  35. David Anthony says:

    “Your state, not my business”: God

  36. Nur Eng says:

    Malaysia tetap akan diIslamkan, masha Allah!

    Religion and state, do not mix.

    PAS kini bertanduk dua, Ya Tuhan!

    Malaysia must be a secular country!

    PAS dan UMNO kini sehati sejiwa!

  37. sweelin says:

    Separation of mosque and state, please.

  38. meena lakshana says:

    Goodbye liberal democracy, hello retrogressive authoritarianism.

  39. The Lord Panda says:

    No no no no no no.

    Over my dead furry body, bub.

    I would rather live in Singapore.

  40. Philip Selavaraj says:

    No single successful Islamic country exists.

  41. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Islam cannot exist without Islamic state?

  42. Nicholas.C says:

    The separation of mosque and state.

    Hard lessons from the Dark Ages.

  43. Borne-O says:

    Islam means to serve every body.

    A country that serves the people.

  44. walski69 says:

    Islamic state? Just look at Iran.

    “Whose version of Syariah?” I ask.

    Religion thrives in secularism: refer Indonesia.

    Medina Charter? A secular state model.

    Don’t misinterpret history through skewed perspectives.

    Name one Islamic state that’s successful.

    Where there’s justice, equality for all.

  45. Calvin Leong says:

    “Islamic State” is Made in Malaysia.

    Islam is making a big comeback.

    Today in Malaysia, tomorrow the world.

    Islam is last chance for 1Malaysia.

    Bangsa Malaysia, semua rakyat agama Islam.

  46. Lin says:

    Ulamas say: So “haram,” all this!

    Islam rocks, but totalitarian rule sucks.

    There is no compulsion in Islam.

    The true Islam is all embracing.

    Piety performed, but decency, alas, sidelined.

  47. Karcy says:

    D’you see what’s happening in Iran?

  48. Konsep baik harus diusahakan menjadi realiti

  49. Sivin Kit says:

    God has other more important priorities.

  50. Wave33 says:

    Gonna miss my chee yoke fun
    Gonna miss my wan tan mee
    Gonna miss my bak kut teh
    Gonna miss my char siew pau
    Gonna miss my siew yoke fan
    Gonna miss my spicy frog’s leg
    Gonna miss my man’s best friend

  51. Yeo Kien Kiong says:

    Zedeck’s quote is awesome!

  52. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Failed State would mean failed religion

  53. Philip Selvaraj says:

    An Asian Lebanon in the making

  54. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Many Muslims migrating to Christian West

  55. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Islamic State can’t give good life

  56. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Islamic State is a failed ideology

  57. Philip Selvaraj says:

    Islamic State has no success story


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