PETALING JAYA, 25 May 2009: The Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s plan to stage a three-day hunger strike calling for the dissolution of the state assembly, has come under fire from certain quarters who say it might be haram.
An Utusan Malaysia article today quoted two state muftis as terming the practice as “haram” for Muslims.
Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya, in the article Orang Islam dilarang sertai mogok lapar. stressed that Muslims were forbidden to go on hunger strikes, as this resembled Buddhist and Hindu practices.
(© Steve Wood / sxc.hu)
“I remind Muslims not to make hunger strikes a culture, because it is clearly different from the fasting rites of our religion,” Juanda said in the article.
He also had the same opinion of candlelight vigils, which he deemed was a Christian practice.
Similarly, Johor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tahrir Samsudin issued a stern warning against Muslims participating in the hunger strike, even if they just intended to “show support”.
“This is because Muslims are required to take care of their own lives,” Mohd Tahrir said.
But former Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who is the PAS state deputy commissioner, disputes this interpretation.
He said the planned “Mogok Lapar Bubar DUN”, which starts tomorrow at Wisma DAP in Ipoh, had nothing to do with religion.
Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin
“Muslims will fast according to Islamic practices, Buddhists will fast according to Buddhist practices, and Hindus will fast according to Hindu practices,” Nizar told The Nut Graph.
“What’s the problem? There’s no conflict here,” he added.
According to Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) chairperson Prof Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, if the hunger strike were intended to end in suicide, then it would fall into the category of a prohibited act.
“In the Quran it is very clear that we are not allowed to take our own lives,” Hashim told The Nut Graph in a phone interview.
“But that is difficult to determine [for this hunger strike]. We cannot read people’s minds,” he stressed.
It has been reported that the 28 PR assemblypersons in Perak, participating in the hunger strike, will be taking turns to fast. Hashim suggested that medical expertise would be required to decide whether such a hunger strike would result in death.
“I would be hesitant to call it haram, as such a prohibition needs to be established on facts, and decisive evidence in the Quran or authentic hadith. The facts are not certain,” Hashim added.
When asked about comparisons of the hunger strike to Buddhist or Hindu practices, Hashim said these should be considered analogies — analogies are legitimate arguments in Islamic jurisprudence, but they are not water-tight.
“Analogies can be used for speculative judgements. However, they are not definitive proofs. They are a weak basis for a decision,” he said.