Home  >  Opinion

Derogatory name calling not of Islam

  • In Islam, derogatory name calling is a sin and frowned upon by the Prophet Muhammad.

By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

In a recent event ‘Haji’ Asyraf Dusuki rallied his supporters to a derogatory name calling spree of a respected Member of Parliament YB Wong Shu Qi. Asyraf himself refrained from calling her the derogatory name but seemed fine with others using a vulgar term to describe her name.

The rally was to reprimand the MP for showing slides of Jawi script being used for a pornographic book. To Asyraf and his supporters this action of the MP degrades the Jawi scripture and shows that her mind is ‘dirty’ and pornographic. Therefore it seemed justified that her name was replaced with a Malay vulgar term (that may refer to a female organ in a certain dialect) that sounds almost the same. Asyraf had the gall to say that he just came back from Haj and thus is not permitted to say such vulgar names but there was no attempt on his part to remind the audience that in Islam derogatory name calling is a sin and frowned upon by the Prophet Muhammad.

Once again I find myself in the peculiar position of having to explain the Islam from the Prophet Muhammad as opposed to the Islam as accepted by ignorant and ill-minded Malays in this country from two Malay political parties, one purportedly the ‘savior’ of the race while the other the so-called self-proclaimed ‘champion’ of Islam. I do not know which prophet that these two parties learnt Islam from but I can testify from my readings that most of their remarks of total and vile disrespect of other faiths and cultures are not from the tradition or Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad himself.

In the Ihya Ulumuddin, the great scholar and Sufi master, Imam Ghazali elucidated the correct rules of social interaction based on his readings and understanding of the Sunnah. In his book, Imam Ghazali relayed how the Prophet gave special names to two of his dearest companions. One was his own cousin Ali who married his daughter, Fatimah. One day, the Prophet went looking for him and asked his daughter where his son-in-law was and she said that he was in one part of the mosque. The Prophet went out and found Ali sleeping on the floor of the mosque. The Prophet patted him lightly on Ali’s back and dust flew off his garment. The Prophet smiled and said ‘Wake up O Abu Turab!’. Abu Turab was then a nickname meaning Father of Dust. Ali loved that nickname as he felt closer to the Prophet when he utters that name. Another companion of the Prophet was the famed hadith narrator named Abu Huraira. I forgot what his real name was but traditionists related that this man loved cats and the Prophet gave the nick name of Abu Huraira or Father of Cats.

Imam Ghazali then made a conclusion that name calling is permitted in Islam if the person who is receiving the new name do not mind or is fine with it. However, if the person do not like the name given then Muslims are not permitted to use it. As I understand it in Islam, the sin to God such as neglecting prayers, not fasting or being impatient in times of hardship can be paid from many supplications of forgiveness and acts of prayers. However, for sins caused to persons like stealing, murders and wrongful deeds that cause hardship to others must be settled in this world before one dies. For instance, if one has stolen from someone then that person must return the stolen property or an equivalent item or be forgiven verbally by the owner of the item. Thus, if one did wrongful deeds of slander, back biting or name calling, one would have to seek the direct forgiveness of the person that was caused duress. That is why I have never name called any politician or their spouses with bad names as I do not want to apologize to these criminals. I also do not relish the thought of having to seek them in the hereafter and begged to be forgiven by them there.

Malays have been brought up by bad advice from their religious scholars and leaders. Malays are too lazy to read and contemplate for themselves the actual deeds of the Prophet as documented by such kitabs as the Ihya Ulumuddin. In the hereafter, when God ultimately accuse them of all these misdeeds even against non-Muslims, Malays do not realize that they in turn cannot blame their leaders like Asyraf or teachers like Zakir Naik for these leaders and teachers will defend themselves by accusing the followers of not being critical enough whilst they have access to the knowledge by self-study.

Derogatory name calling like ‘pendatang’, Cina Babi and now using a vulgar term for a female organ over the name of a person may seem a small affair to many. To me, however, it is a serious matter. It shows that Malays and Muslims do not know how to show respect and dignity to others and that puts Islam as a questionable faith in a civilized world. For our nation, we will never ever come out of our race rhetoric when the Malay intelligentsia, religious officials and leaders can accept this name calling against good intentioned Muslims and especially hard working non-Muslims. A culture or race that does not respect others deserves no respect by the whole world of humanity. One day, the Malay race and even the Muslims in general will be shunned by the world as a race and a faith that is of the lowest moral quality that no one would want to befriend, employ or do business with. Muslims and Malays will be the outcast of humanity worse than the Nazis who massacred millions, because the Malays and the Muslims seem to disrespect billions of others for all time.

The Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him)) did not leave this legacy but, unfortunately, Muslims themselves have let him down. One thousand five hundred years of civilized Islam crumbles under the weight of Muslim bigotry, narrow mindedness and detestable moral behavior.

(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at UCSI University.)

Copyright © 2019 Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad (98702-V).
All rights reserved. Contact us : [email protected]