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Islam: A conversation with Mufti Menk 

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“Victory only comes to those who are most patient”.

In my conversation with Mufti Ismail Menk at office today, those were the words that struck me the most. Mufti Menk had been gracious enough to pay me a visit, to discuss about Islam, extremism, the plight and welfare of Muslims around the world.

Today, the world is more divided than ever. Muslims, particularly those in Western countries, have been affected by discriminatory immigration policies and Islamophobia. They no longer feel welcome in a growing number of countries, including in places they have called home for a long time.

Unfortunately, the actions of few extremists, who have a twisted understanding of the teachings of Islam, have far greater impact on us, the majority of Muslims. As how Mufti Menk put it, the element of harmony has been rippled and disturbed.

This has caused unfounded fear towards Muslims and the religion of Islam. Some politicians in the West even pledged to close down mosques and further discriminate against Muslims should they hold office one day. If this situation persists, our brothers and sisters abroad will be denied their fundamental right to exercise their faith – Islam – as the religion of choice. The threat of Islamophobia is real.

But we, the majority of Muslims must persevere. We must continue to promote the message of peace and tolerance. We can no longer afford to be the silent majority. It is our responsibility to debunk the extreme interpretations of Islam. 

In the words of Mufti Menk, “In Islam, it does not mean that if someone does something wrong, that you must respond in the same way.”

When our beloved Prophet, Rasulullah SAW was mistreated and pelted with stones until He was bleeding in Taif, and Jibrail AS came and asked if he wanted to have the mountains collide and crush those who did Him wrong, Rasulullah SAW simply said, “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.” Masya-Allah.

This is one of the reason why that quote by Mufti Menk struck a chord with me. “Victory only comes to those who are most patient.” That has been the way of Rasulullah SAW, and must continue to be the way forward for us Muslims.

Alhamdulillah, as a nation we have been blessed, to remain in peace and harmony, and to quote Mufti Menk, “Malaysia, Masya-Allah, is a beautiful nation. People of different faiths live side by side in harmony. We must continue to promote this.” I thank Mufti Menk for his kind words and I must say that I too love my country Malaysia. Negaraku Malaysia.

But in order for us to continue to live in harmony, we must persist in promoting the right message of Islam – that, it is the religion of peace and compassion.

As a leader of a multi-faith country, it is also my responsibility to ensure that other religions are able to practise their beliefs. That is why, the government has always extended assistance to religious institutions through financing and good regulations to not just mosques, but also churches and temples.

The Federal Constitution also guarantees the right of every person to profess and practise his or her religion despite Islam being the official religion of the federation. 

This is Malaysia and it will remain a beautiful place for generations to come, Insya-Allah.

Indeed, it was a very productive meeting, and I thank Mufti Menk for his time and words of encouragement. 

I would also like to add that the meeting ended on a sweet note, in which Mufti Menk’s assistant (the gentleman on the left in the picture above) told me that he is Rohingyan and he was there at the flagging-off of the Food Flotilla For Myanmar humanitarian aid mission. He thanked us Malaysians for helping and caring for our Rohingyan brothers and sisters.

As fellow Muslims, and fellow human beings, that is the right thing to do as Allah SWT mentioned in the Quran, “And whoever saves one soul – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” 

May the Almighty continue to bless us all.

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