Tuesday December 30, 2008
Mufti: Respect other faiths
By MAZWIN NIK ANIS
PUTRAJAYA: Islam does not teach its followers to look down on other religions and their believers, but respect those of other faiths, says Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Harussani Zakaria.
Life-time achievement: Sultan Abdul Halim (centre) presenting the award to Dr Harussani in Putrajaya yesterday. With them is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Dr Harussani, a recipient of this year’s Tokoh Maal Hijrah award, said:
“We do not condemn Jesus because he, too, is a prophet in Islam. Neither do we destroy the many temples and places of worship because our religion refrains us from doing so.”
He said religious and racial tolerance has been Malaysia’s strength and unique quality for the past 50 years, adding that if the country wanted to prosper, such a trait must be maintained.
“The rest of the world has always looked at Malaysia as an example where this is concerned,” he said when asked to comment on the existence of a blog that insulted Prophet Muhammad.
He said the racial and religious harmony enjoyed by Malaysians would end if irresponsible parties stopped being sensitive towards other people’s beliefs.
Dr Harussani, 69, said such actions would spark religious tensions as no one would tolerate it if their religion was to be condemned.
“This kind of behaviour is rude and uncalled for. I liken it to someone greeting another kindly but getting slapped or shouted at in return. Sooner or later, the person who greets will stop greeting and will retaliate,” he said yesterday.
Dr Harussani has often been criticised for being too frank, but he continued to speak what he felt was right.
“Sometimes, the truth hurts and can be rather bitter to stomach. But I cannot say otherwise because what is hak
(right) is hak
and what is wrong is wrong.
“I will continue to point out the wrong because it is my duty to do so, not only as a mufti but also as a Muslim,” he said.
For winning the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award, which is presented annually in conjunction with the Maal Hijrah celebration, he received RM100,000 from the Federal Government, RM20,000 from the Ubaidi Foundation, and a plaque and a gold medal from the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah of Kedah.
Dr Harussani said the honour would encourage him to work harder, especially in getting those of other beliefs to understand Islam better.
“I am grateful and the recognition has humbled me. It has also given me new strength to continue with what I do because there are times when one feels that one is unappreciated,” he added.