Eminent persons discuss Jakim’s role and Malaysia’s approach to Islam

Radzi Razak

The Council of Eminent Persons has today met several Islamic scholars including Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (pic) to discuss issues involving Islamc and Jakim. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 27, 2018.

THE Council of Eminent Persons today heard from Islamic experts on issues related to the religion, including the role of the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the different mazhab or schools of thought under Islam.

Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who was among those who met the council today, told reporters they had a lengthy discussion about Jakim.

“Jakim’s role was discussed comprehensively and it was a very long discussion,” he said when met outside Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur.

Asri said the council asked him for his views on how Islam could be administered more fairly but declined to elaborate further.

Jakim has come under criticism in recent times for various reasons, such as the behaviour and approach used by its officers in handling issues, and for its overlapping jurisdiction with the administration of Islam under the respective state governments.

States in Malaysia have their own Islamic administration with the state’s sultan or ruler as the head of the religion.

Jakim had also received a large allocation for its yearly budget from the government and has wide powers, leading critics to accuse it of moral policing.

Meanwhile, Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor, who also met the council today, said he was asked for his views on the application of teachings from different mazhab in Malaysia.

He said he told the council that Malaysian Muslims were too rigid in following one mazhab (Shafie) to resolve issues, when the other schools of thought under Sunni Islam also had valuable teachings that should not be rejected.

“We have to be brave to look across all the different schools of thought. We cannot be limited to one mazhab only. It is about applying Islam according to the context of the times.

“We cannot rely on old views that may have been more applicable to issues in older times,” he said. – June 27, 2018.

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