Opinions, Politics, Religion

[Politics/Religion] Walking into a mosque

So, a few weeks ago, a DAP MP walked into a mosque to present a cheque for Raya, which is coming soon. She says that she had been invited by the mosque committee to enter the prayer hall and to give a speech. Obliging them on both counts, she then spoke to them about the state government’s (Selangor’s) education programme. Utusan and quite a few BN-related papers got a hold of the story and went to town with it.

A good chunk and summary of the whole case can be found on the Nut Graph.

My personal take on it?

If this picture is true, and it seems to be, then I do agree that the MP in question, Teo Nie Ching, did commit a faux pas in entering the mosque. Her faux pas isn’t that she was a non-Muslim entering the prayer hall of a mosque, but that she did not demonstrate enough respect to the religion. i.e. I believe she should have worn at least a loose head covering, which she seems to have done so at a later function.

It’s unfortunate though, that a simple gesture as visiting the house of worship of another religion has been turned into a political issue. Make no mistake. I don’t see this as a religious issue at all, not when there are Muslim scholars, even within Malaysia, who see no wrong in a non-Muslim visiting a mosque if they have business to conduct with said Muslims. No, I do not mean scholars like Nik Aziz who does have a political stake in the outcome.

I’m talking about Selangor’s own mufti (a Muslim scholar who is, as Google tells me, also empowered to proscribe a fatwa or Islamic religious ruling) Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahid who wrote a letter that stated,

“According to history, the Prophet (while he lived) in Medina did not repulse any visits by Jews or Christians who wanted to meet him even when he was in the mosque of Medina,” said Tamyes in the letter addressed to Jais’ chief assistant director in charge of mosques. They would come with a request, seeking justice (in a dispute) or for an administrative or other matter. It is understood from such incidents that there is no prohibition in Islam for meetings to be held within mosques other than the Masjid Al-Haram in blessed Makkah so long as they are held with good intentions.”

That view is also shared by former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin who believes there is nothing wrong with a non-Muslim visiting a mosque as long as it was with good intentions, also quoted in the same piece.

So, from my point of view, this is not a religious matter at all. This is a simple misunderstanding that has been blown out of proportions to make it look like a religious attack when it is none. I wonder, does this cancel the fasts of all those who claim that Teo is a dirty person thus for entering a mosque?