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Islam in Malaysia

Islam in Malaysia

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Malaysia is a multiracial country with Islam being the largest practiced religion, comprising approximately 61.4% Muslim adherents, or around 17 million people, as of 2010. Islam is declared as the "religion of the federation". Though there has been much debate on whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state. However, the secular credentials of the country did not undergo proper maintenance under the ruling National Front
Barisan Nasional
Barisan Nasional is a major political coalition in Malaysia, formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance . Along with its predecessor, it has been Malaysia's federal ruling political force since independence...

 party as a result of decades of political competition with the theocratic Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

Background


Originally, the draft Constitution of Malaysia
Constitution of Malaysia
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia, which came into force in 1957, is the supreme law of Malaysia. The Federation was initially called the Federation of Malaya and it adopted its present name, Malaysia, when the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation...

 did not specify any official religion for the state. This move was supported by the rulers of the nine Malay states, who felt that it was sufficient that Islam was the official religion of each of their individual states. However, Justice Hakim Abdul Hamid of the Reid Commission
Reid Commission
The Reid Commission was an independent commission responsible for drafting the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya prior to Malayan independence from Britain on 31 August 1957.-History:...

 which drafted the Constitution came out strongly in favour of making Islam the official religion, and as a result the final Constitution named Islam as the official religion of Malaysia. All ethnic Malays are Muslim (100%) as defined by Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia
Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia
Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia defines various terms used in the Constitution. It has an important impact on Islam in Malaysia and the Malay people due to its definition of a Malay person under clause 2...

.As required by Malaysian law and defined in the Constitution of Malaysia
Constitution of Malaysia
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia, which came into force in 1957, is the supreme law of Malaysia. The Federation was initially called the Federation of Malaya and it adopted its present name, Malaysia, when the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation...

, a Malay would surrender his ethnic status if he were not Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

.

Official religion



Nine of the Malaysian states, namely Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

, Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

, Pahang
Pahang
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.Its state...

, Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, Perak
Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

, Perlis
Perlis
Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. It is bordered by the state of Kedah to the south...

, Selangor
Selangor
Selangor also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity") is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west...

, Johor
Johor
Johor is a Malaysian state, located in the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The state capital city and royal city of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly known as Tanjung Puteri...

 and Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan, one of the 13 states that constitutes Malaysia, lies on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur and borders Selangor on the north, Pahang in the east, and Malacca and Johor to the south....

 have constitutional Malay monarchs (most of them styled as Sultans). These Malay rulers still maintain authority over religious affairs in states. The states of Penang
Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

, Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

, Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 and Sabah
Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

 do not have any sultan, but the king (Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence....

) plays the role of head of Islam in each of those states as well as in each of the Federal Territories
Federal Territory
The Federal Territories in Malaysia comprise three territories: Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, governed directly by the federal government of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital of Malaysia, Putrajaya is the administrative capital, and Labuan is an offshore international financial...

 of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, Labuan
Labuan
Labuan is a federal territory in East Malaysia. It is an island off the coast of the state of Sabah. Labuan's capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services via Labuan IBFC since 1990 as well as being an offshore support...

 and Putrajaya
Putrajaya
Putrajaya is a planned city, located 25km south of Kuala Lumpur, that serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. The seat of government was shifted in 1999 from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, due to the overcrowding and congestion in the Kuala Lumpur areas...

.

On the occasion of Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, AC, CH was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained as the Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the...

 -Malaysia's first prime minister - 80th birthday, he stated in the 9 February 1983 edition of the newspaper The Star
The Star (Malaysia)
The Star is an English-language, tabloid-format newspaper in Malaysia. It is the largest in terms of circulation in Malaysia, according to the . It has a daily circulation of between 290,000 to 300,000...

that the "country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion." In the same issue of The Star, Abdul Rahman was supported by the third Malaysian Prime Minister, Hussein Onn
Hussein Onn
Tun Hussein bin Dato' Onn who is of 3/4 Malay and 1/4 Circassian ancestry was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, ruling from 1976 to 1981. He was granted the soubriquet Bapa Perpaduan...

, who stated that the "nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion."

Currently, two of Malaysia's states, Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 and Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, are governed by PAS which is a conservative Islamic political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

, with a proclaimed goal of establishing an Islamic state
Islamic State
An Islamic state is a type of government, in which the primary basis for government is Islamic religious law...

. Terengganu was briefly ruled by PAS from 1999 to 2004, but the ruling Barisan Nasional
Barisan Nasional
Barisan Nasional is a major political coalition in Malaysia, formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance . Along with its predecessor, it has been Malaysia's federal ruling political force since independence...

 coalition has since won back the state. To counter the falling credibility of UMNO's Islamic credentials vis-à-vis PAS, the head of the Barisan Nasional, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, proposed Islam Hadhari. In the 1990's, the PAS-led state governments passed Islamic hudud
Hudud
Hudud is the word often used in Islamic literature for the bounds of acceptable behaviour and the punishments for serious crimes...

 laws in Terengganu, but was struck down by the secular federal government.

The newest format of the Malaysian Identity Card (MyKad
MyKad
MyKad is the compulsory identity document for Malaysian citizens aged 12 and above. Introduced by the National Registration Department of Malaysia on 5 September 2001 as one of four MSC Malaysia flagship applications and a replacement for the High Quality Identity Card , Malaysia became the first...

) divides Malaysians into various religious groups, i.e. Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist. The introduction of this card caused an uproar in Malaysian politics and is deemed discriminative by non-Muslims. This issue has, however, since abated and been accepted (although unwillingly) by non-Muslims.
There is also an Islamic university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 in Malaysia called the International Islamic University Malaysia
International Islamic University Malaysia
The International Islamic University Malaysia , also known as IIUM or UIAM, is a public publicly-funded university in Malaysia. Its main campus is located in Gombak, Selangor with its situated in Petaling Jaya / Nilai and its medical-centric branch in Kuantan, Pahang. The university is sponsored...

, and a government institution in charge of organizing pilgrimages to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 called Tabung Haji
Tabung Haji
Tabung Haji or Lembaga Tabung Haji is the Malaysian hajj pilgrims fund board. It was formerly known as Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji . The main headquarters is located at Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Tabung Haji facilitates savings for the pilgrimage to Makkah through investment in...

 (Pilgrim Fund Board of Malaysia). In addition to this, the government also funds the construction of mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s and suraus.

Although the constitution declares Malaysia to be a secular state, there is much confusion on this subject. Several Muslims have argued, especially after former Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

 Mahathir bin Mohamad
Mahathir bin Mohamad
Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad . is a Malaysian politician who was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, making him Malaysia's longest serving Prime Minister. His political career spanned almost 40 years.Born and raised in Alor Setar, Kedah, Mahathir...

's declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state, that Malaysia is in fact an Islamic state. One Member of Parliament
Parliament of Malaysia
The Parliament of Malaysia is the national legislature of Malaysia, based on the Westminster system. The bicameral parliament consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The King as the Head of State is the third component of Parliament....

 (MP), Badruddin bin Amiruldin
Badruddin Amiruldin
Dato' Paduka Hajji Badruddin bin Amiruldin is a Malay Malaysian politician. He was born in 1951. He is currently the Deputy Permanent Chairman of the United Malays National Organisation , the largest Malay political party in the country and the leader of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition...

, has stated in the Dewan Rakyat
Dewan Rakyat
The Dewan Rakyat is the lower house of the Parliament of Malaysia. All bills must usually be passed by both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara , before they are given Royal Assent by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong...

 house of Parliament that "Malaysia ini negara Islam" ("Malaysia is an Islamic state") and that "you tidak suka, you keluar dari Malaysia!" ("You don't like it, you get out of Malaysia!") Badruddin refused to retract his statement, and a motion to refer him to the House Committee of Privileges was rejected by a voice vote
Voice vote
A voice vote is a voting method used by deliberative assemblies in which a vote is taken on a topic or motion by responding verbally....

. However, the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, AC, CH was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained as the Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the...

, contradicted this stance in the 1980s, saying, "All talk on Islamic States is just an empty dream. No man in his right sense would accept a nation which bases its political administration on religion, and in a country like Malaysia with its multiracial and multireligious people, there is no room for an Islamic State." In 1988, the courts rejected the argument that Malaysia was a theocratic state.

Despite the Federal Government's denial that Malaysia is an Islamic state, the previous administration under Abdullah Badawi have gradually furthered the agenda of Islamic supremacy at the expense of other religions. The spread of Christianity is a particular sore point for the Muslim majority, and as such, the Government (despite being of a plural composition, but the Malay component, UMNO, always has the final say) typically drags its feet when it comes to approving Churches, and often they will disapprove the setting up of Churches outright. In some cases, they have even resorted to demolishing churches in Muslim-majority areas, and setting up mosques in Muslim-minority areas. The Malaysian government has also persecuted Christian groups who were perceived to be attempting to proselytize to Muslim audiences.

There is a National Fatwa Council that issue fatwas, as part of the Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia (JAKIM).

History


Individual Arab traders and including Sahabas preached in Malay Archipelago, Indo-Chin and China in early seventh century. The Islamic peoples Chams of Cambodia trace their origin to Jahsh (Geys), the father of Zainab and thus one of the fathers-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Islam was introduced in Sumatra coast by Arabs in 674 CE.

Islam was also brought to Malaysia by Indian Muslim traders in the 12th century AD. It is commonly held that Islam first arrived in Malay peninsular since Sultan Muzaffar Shah I (12th century) of Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, the first ruler to be known to convert to Islam after being introduced to it by Indian traders who themselves were recent converts. In the 13th century, the Terengganu Stone Monument was found at Kuala Berang
Kuala Berang
Kuala Berang is the seat and largest town of Hulu Terengganu District, Terengganu, Malaysia. The town serves as a gateway to Lake Kenyir. The historical Terengganu Inscription Stone was found near Kuala Berang in 1899. The town of Kuala Berang once had been the capital of the state of Terengganu...

, Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

 where the first Malay state to receive Islam in 1303 Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah, known as Parameswara prior to his conversion, is the first Sultan of Melaka
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

. He converted into Islam after marrying a princess from Pasai
Pasai
Pasai, also known as Samudera and Samudera-Pasai sometimes called Samudera Darussalam was a Muslim harbour kingdom on the north coast of Sumatra from the 13th to the 15th centuries CE. It was believed the word Samudera derived from Samudra meaning ocean in Sanskrit...

, of present day Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

.

The religion was adopted peacefully by the coastal trading ports people of Malaysia and Indonesia, absorbing rather than conquering existing beliefs. By the 15th and 16th centuries it was the majority faith of the Malay people.

Sunni Islam



The Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 of the Shafi'i
Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

 school of thought is the official,and legal form in Malaysia, although syncretist
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 Islam with elements of Shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 is still common in rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 areas. Mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s are an ordinary scene throughout the country and adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 (call to prayer) from minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s are heard five times a day. Government bodies and banking institutions are closed for two hours every Friday so Muslims workers can conduct Friday prayer in mosques. However, in certain rural states such as Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 and Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

 the weekends fall on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday. The Malaysian authorities have strict policies against other Islamic sects including Shia Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 has faced persecution in Malaysia. A notable sect that has been outlawed is Al-Arqam
Al-Arqam
Al-Arqam is a Malaysian-based Islamic religious sect, founded by Ashaari Mohammad. The sect was banned by the Malaysian federal government on 21 October 1994...

.

Manhaj Islam Hadhari


The term "Islam Hadhari
Islam Hadhari
Islam Hadhari or "Civilizational Islam" is a theory of government based on the principles of Islam as derived from the Qur'an...

" ("Civilizational Islam") is a type of progressive Islam heavily promoted by former Malaysian prime minister
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi is a Malaysian politician who served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2009. He was also the President of the United Malays National Organisation , the largest political party in Malaysia, and led the governing Barisan Nasional parliamentary coalition...

 to emphasize the central role of knowledge in Islam. This doctrine espouses a belief in hard work, honesty, good administration and efficiency are equally valued and appeals to Muslims to be inclusive, tolerant and outward-looking.

Manhaj Islam Hadhari aims to achieve ten main principles:
  1. Faith
    Faith
    Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

     and piety in God
    Allah
    Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

  2. A just and trustworthy government
  3. A free and independent people
  4. Mastery of knowledge
  5. Balanced and comprehensive economic development
  6. A good quality of life
  7. Protection of the rights of minority groups and women
  8. Cultural and moral integrity
  9. Environment safeguarding
  10. Strong defenses


Abdullah Mohd Zain, a minister in the prime minister's department, says, "It emphasizes wisdom
Wisdom
Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

, practicality and harmony." He added that "It encourages moderation or a balanced approach to life. Yet it does not stray from the fundamentals of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 and the example and sayings of the Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

."

There are however Muslims in Malaysia that disagree with this concept, as the teachings of Islam are already complete and thus, they feel that Islam does not need a new name or face.

Cultural role



Islam is central to and dominant in Malay culture. A significant number of words in the Malay vocabulary can trace their origins to Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 which is the chosen language of Islam. This is, however, not exclusive and words from other cultures such as Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, Sanskrit, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 can also be found in the Malay language. Islam is so ingrained in Malay life that Islamic rituals are practiced as Malay culture. Muslim and Malays are interchangeable in many daily contexts.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

) is an important festival celebrated by Malaysian Muslims.

Muslim women generally wear the tudung (hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 or headscarf) over their heads. However, Malay women not wearing any headgear are not reprimanded or penalised. Prominent Malaysian female examples are Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz
Rafidah Aziz
Tan Sri Rafidah binti Abdul Aziz is a Malaysian politician and the current Member of Parliament for the Kuala Kangsar constituency since 1986....

, International Trade and Industry Minister and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad. However, with the influx of Arabic travellers, foreign Muslim women (Arabs) wearing hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 that leave only their eyes exposed are often spotted in tourist attractions, not the least at the shopping malls. At certain Malaysian institutions such as the International Islamic University
International Islamic University
International Islamic University may refer to:*The International Islamic University Malaysia *The International Islamic University, Islamabad *The International Islamic University, Chittagong...

, wearing of the tudung is mandatory; however for non-Muslim students this usually amounts to a loosely worn piece of cloth draped over the back of the head.
Some regard the tudung to be an indication of Arabic influence in Malay Muslim culture, and point to incidents such as the banning of the traditional Malay wayang kulit in the state of Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 (which was ruled by the Islamist PAS) to be "un-Islamic".

Also, principles of modesty apply not only to accepted dress codes but public behavior in general. Similar to the expectations in most Muslim nations, males and females are discouraged from meeting in social situations without a chaperone unless the meeting conforms to proper Islamic pre-marital arrangements that culminate in marriage. This injunction not only precludes "small talk" but also precludes behavior such as PDA (Public Displays of Affection) and egregious flirtation. In conservative states where PAS has more influence, such as Kelantan, different genders are at least theoretically segregated in public places like the cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

 and supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

.

Malaysia's top Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council has ruled against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of other religions that could corrupt Muslims.
The same body has ruled against ghosts and other supernatural beings.

UMNO's committee in mosque


Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is the 14th and current chief minister of the state of Selangor, in Malaysia. He is a former corporate figure of Malay descent and the current Treasurer-General of Parti Keadilan Rakyat . He was born in the village of Kampung Jalan Raja Abdullah in Kuala...

, the 14th chief minister of the state of Selangor
Selangor
Selangor also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity") is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west...

 said "We want mosques to carry out more activities for the Muslims. Unfortunately, UMNO (political party) only want to put their men in the administration of mosques. This is absurd,". He said he wants to replace mosque committees to reduce political interference. "We must remember, the Sultan of Selangor in his every speech has stressed against using mosques for political purposes and His Highness has been consistent in stating his views" http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=343589

Definition of Malay


As defined by the constitution of Malaysia
Constitution of Malaysia
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia, which came into force in 1957, is the supreme law of Malaysia. The Federation was initially called the Federation of Malaya and it adopted its present name, Malaysia, when the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation...

, Malays must be Muslim, regardless of their ethnic heritage; otherwise, legally, they are not Malay. Consequently, apostate Malays would have to forfeit all their constitutional privileges, including their Bumiputra
Bumiputra
Bumiputera or Bumiputra is a Malay term widely used in Malaysia, embracing indigenous people of the Malay Archipelago. The term comes from the Sanskrit word bhumiputra, which can be translated literally as "son of land"...

 status, which entitles them to affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 policies in university admissions, discounts on purchases of vehicles or real estate, etc. It is legally possible to become a Malay if a non-Malay citizen with a Malaysian parent converts to Islam and thus claim all the Bumiputra
Bumiputra
Bumiputera or Bumiputra is a Malay term widely used in Malaysia, embracing indigenous people of the Malay Archipelago. The term comes from the Sanskrit word bhumiputra, which can be translated literally as "son of land"...

 privileges granted by Article 153 of the Constitution
Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia
Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong responsibility for “safeguard[ing] the special position of the ‘Malays’ and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities” and goes on to specify ways to do this, such...

 and the New Economic Policy
Malaysian New Economic Policy
The Malaysian New Economic Policy , was an ambitious and controversial socio-economic restructuring affirmative action program launched by the Malaysian government in 1971 under the then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak. The NEP ended in 1990, and was succeeded by the National Development Policy in...

 (NEP), etc. However, the convert must "habitually speak the Malay language" and adhere to Malay culture. A textbook for tertiary Malaysian studies following the government-approved syllabus states: "This explains the fact that when a non-Malay embraces Islam, he is said to masuk Melayu (become a Malay). That person is automatically assumed to be fluent in the Malay language and to be living like a Malay as a result of his close association with the Malays."

Islam in Malaysia is thus closely associated with the Malay people, something an Islamic scholar has criticised, saying that Malaysian Islam is "still clothed in communal garb; that Muslims in Malaysia have yet to understand what the universal spirit of Islam means in reality."

Sharia legal system


Parallel to the civil courts, there are Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 courts which conduct legal matters related to Muslim family sphere. Legal issues like Muslim divorce and Muslim apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 are conducted in the Syariah Court
Syariah Court
Syariah refers to Sharia law in Islamic religious law and deals with exclusively Islamic laws, having jurisdiction upon every Muslim in Malaysia. The dual-system of law in Malaysia is provided for in Article 121 of the Constitution of Malaysia. The Syariah Court system is one of the two separate...

s
. However, there are cases whereby apostasy cases are tried in the Federal Courts. Non-Muslims are not bound by Shariah.

See also


  • Religion in Malaysia
    Religion in Malaysia
    Malaysia is multicultural and multiconfessional. The dominant religion in Malaysia is Islam, whose followers make up 61 per cent of the population. Islam is recognised as the state religion of Malaysia, although the country has a secular constitution. Debate exists about whether Malaysia should be...

  • Status of religious freedom in Malaysia
    Status of religious freedom in Malaysia
    Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution. First, Article 11 provides that every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion and to propagate it...


External links


Original source of this information in Malay http://www.harakahdaily.net/v06/index.php?option=com_content&task=view%20&id=791&Itemid=28