ART THOU NOT aware of those who, having been granted their share of the divine writ, now barter it away for error, and want you [too] to lose your way? But God knows best who are your enemies: and none can befriend as God does, and none can give succour as God does.

Among those of the Jewish faith there are some who distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of context and saying [as it were,] ” We have heard, but we disobey,” and ” Hear without hearkening,” and, ” Hearken thou unto us, [O Muhammad]” – thus making a play with their tongues, and implying that the [true] Faith is false. And had they said, ” We have heard and we pay heed, ” and ” Hear [us], and have patience with us, ” it would indeed have been for their own good, and more upright: but God has rejected them because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth – for it is in but few things that they believe.

AN – NISA (44 – 46)  



I’m all for speaking up!

I’m all for articulating thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, ideas in speech  and writing!  

For only in making yourself heard and read can you effect learning in yourself and others. And only through knowledge and experience can you bring about  the desired improvement or change or development or progress.

I’m all for healthy interaction and communication and exchange – what is currently referred to as “engagement” that is, involving one another in the pursuit of these improvements, changes, developments, progress; that is, what is popularly called “inclusiveness”

For there’s no doubt that societal change involves society’s stakeholders, that is the men and women and young people and children who constitute society and who are the beneficiaries of the change.

Every segment of society matters in any change that is going to affect their lives!

For it is these men and women and young people and children that constitute the family, one of the most important if not the core unit in society!

Each segment has a voice and the right to make themselves heard and be heard, whether it is in the championing of social justice, humanitarian issues, political concerns, culture and tradition or religious responsibilities.

If there is dissent or disagreement either within the segment or without there must be room for discussion and debate, either in an open forum or behind closed doors. 


I therefore view the PAS call to ban Sisters In Islam (SIS) as a cowardly, retrogressive move!

I object strongly to the PAS call to “rehabilitate” the SIS women who have fought long and hard to engage men and women in a more progressive discourse on Islam.  

Through their research-based programmes which are reinforced by continuous input and feedback from enlightened thinkers and scholars, SIS has slowly but surely effected change in the landscape for Muslim women.

SIS is the voice that has spoken loudly and clearly about the injustices borne by Muslim women and advocated change or modification to a male-centric interpretation of the Syariah.

The two lone and lonely voices of the PAS women in an oblique support of SIS represent the great injustice  in the Muslim world – the silencing of articulate voices (be they from men or women) who only want the justice and equality promised in the Quranic teachings.

When Muslims should be reaching out to one another to present a united, compassionate and merciful ummah, emulating our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in his teachings about the 99 attributes of Allah, we are at odds with one another over something as important as justice and equality!

For Muslims to be taken seriously, there must be genuine efforts at a real muzakarah of the men and women of Islam to iron out the creases in the understanding of the Syariah.

Age-old prejudices and misconconceptions about the duties and responsibilities of men and women in the family and society must be looked at within the context of present-day needs and requirements!




7 Responses to “”

  1. 1 The Ancient Mariner
    June 9, 2009 at 5:38 am


    I believe the majority of the men in Pas are still very insecure. The fact that Dr Lo’ Lo’ is the only woman with a voice in the entire Pas hierarchy now speaks volumes of this insecurity.

  2. 2 ninitalk
    June 9, 2009 at 8:35 am

    You are absolutely right Capt Yusof and brave to say it!

    From my experience Malay Muslim men do not like to be “engaged” in discussion about roles and responsibilities. They revert quickly to certain verses in the Quran to support their stand and close the prospects for a healthy debate. If women persevere they are considered renegrades/ infidels who need to be “rehabilitated”. How bizarre!

  3. 3 ninitalk
    June 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Capt Yusof -the other thing is that SIS operates in English with English speaking local and international researchers/scholars. Most of the PAS “ulamas” are Malay and Arabic educated so there lies the rub! One can imagine the insecurity!

  4. 4 sukhi nahir
    June 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Puan,

    Am glad that I have finally managed to track your blog down. Went through some of your earlier posts,you DO write well. I have this habit of going through my in-laws’ old school
    magazines (they were all “Georgians”) and some of the names you have mentioned are familiar. I must say that Philip Mathews also happens to be a “Dixonian” like me. He was one of my childhood heroes, back in PD. So refreshing to have some clear-thinking bloggers. Thank you.

  5. 5 ninitalk
    June 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Sukhi – how nice to meet a Dixonian in blogosphere! And yes – Philip is such a swell guy and he’ll be so pleased you think well of him. I’ll let him know.

    And yes Sukhi – I do try to be sensible and to make sense of the issues I choose to comment on. I believe in freedom with a host of responsibilities!

    Do add your thoughts on this and that whenever you visit. Do you have a blog for me to reciprocate?

  6. 6 sukhi nahir
    June 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Puan,

    Thank you for the prompt response.I am just getting the feel of the blogworld and have,therefore not got a blog of my own as yet. Need to cruise,(or is it surf?) much more before I venture into that area. Will inform you when I do get one of my own. Thanks very much again,Puan.

  7. June 16, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I absolutely agree with what you say about PAS men. See the “Malay” world as they Malay men see it is eroding. Never before they have been questioned for having more than one wives. Never before they have been questioned for not supporting the ex-wive(s) with alimony. Syariah courts have always been biased towards men. Heck if you cannot get a second wife legally, you can obtain one illegally and its still recogniced in the end. Thats how its always worked.

    Now, SIS’s work is catching up with them. Muslim women are realising their rights. They are no longer beasts of burden or submisssive creatures. This doesn’t go down well with our ulamaks. They are pro-patriach society where the men do no wrong.

    What they don’t see is how much Muslim women suffer in silence all these years. Everyone has an aunt/sister whose husband of many years with three or more kids ran away with a younger wife while the courts drag on the cases. This is Muslim justice because to make men pay alimony would mean most of the Muslim men would be declared bankrupt or unable to take new wives!

    Anyway I came across your article in the Sun online and appreciate what you have done teaching English. I am glad there are people like you. Unfortunately few and far in between.


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