KUALA LUMPUR – It has been 63 years since Malaysia achieved its independence, but in embracing it, the meaning of independence is sometimes tainted with ideologies that are extreme which strayed away from its true meaning.
In the Islamic context, Federal Territories Mufti Dr Luqman Abdullah defines the meaning of independence as freedom for Muslims to carry out their religious obligations without any hindrance.
He said the word “independence “ has a sacred meaning in Islam, namely prosperity, peace and harmony.
“For a Muslim, the freedom that comes with the meaning of Independence should be appreciated and embraced,” he told Bernama.
However, he said, there are some quarters in the society who misinterpreted the meaning when it came to understanding the fundamental rights of human beings by taking the word to mean freedom of thought, and as such, free to do whatever they want.
“Therefore, there have to be certain limit in determining the rights and the limit is set based on religious teachings and the law…there must be laws that control the wants and needs of the society so that they do not go beyond human norms,” he said.
Recalling the country’s history, he said Malaysia had its own laws, which also empowered Muslims to form a sovereign Islamic country after it achieved its independence in 1957.
He said during the British rule, there were many constraints for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligations.
According to him, the real agenda of independence is to defend those who are oppressed so that they can also enjoy the benefits of independence.
“Without justice and protection for such people, independence will be just mere ‘talk’ which has no meaning.
“The difference between Muslims and non-Muslims in the past is that Islam brought justice, civilization and knowledge, while the colonizers captured and killed the local residents and took away the country’s rich resources,” he added.
Meanwhile, a lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Izhar Ariff Mohd Kashim said independence should be celebrated according to Islamic teachings to show gratitude to past freedom fighters for their sacrifices.
Malaysians, he said, should fly the Jalur Gemilang to celebrate the country’s independence and to embrace the true meaning of the word.
“Although this year we do not have the usual Merdeka Day celebration due to COVID-19, but the occasion can be marked by performing the hajat prayer at home or at the mosque. We should make the Quran and the sunnah as the main reference in life,” he added.