Finding wisdom in daily life with Rafidah Aziz

CERTAIN quarters had recently caused plenty of uproar when they attempted to impose their own values on non-Muslims in Malaysia.

First, it was over the dress code that barred individuals from entering government premises. Understandably every official building has to have its own dress code, but when taken overzealously by the Little Napoleons, things do get out of hand, especially when a patient was seeking medical attention at a government hospital, or accident victims wanted to a lodge police report.

And then, barely a week before Christmas, an internal memo from Berry’s Cake House prohibiting requests to decorate cakes with “Merry Christmas” or “Xmas greetings” went viral.

However, the memo drew criticism from people and many accused the local bakery chain of practising racism and discrimination, causing an uproar and a boycott of the bakery in question.

Amid these brouhahas, an old video featuring former international trade and industries minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz went viral once more where the nonagenarian was asked why she did not wear a hijab even when was previously a minister. Her answers are worth listening to again.

@rie.rie51 #fyp ♬ original sound – Rie Rie

In view of the video, FocusM saw it fit to seek the wisdom of Rafidah and asked her opinion about the story we carried yesterday about the criminal breach of trust committed by a staff at a hypermarket.

We also wanted to know what someone in her golden years has to say when there is so much emphasis these days on what is considered a taboo.

This is her reply:

“This is the Surah in the Quran that I quote on my trips all over the world whenever the issue of religion was raised,” she said, citing verse 6 of the Al-Kafirun, ‘For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.’

Despite being educated in a convent, Rafidah knows her Quran, but more importantly what the Quran teaches.

“It is so clear (from the verse) that the Almighty does not say (because of the dress code), we should look negatively at those of other religions. Instead, there should be rules based on true religious values on a number of other things other than the attire,” she opined.

According to Rafidah, her religion is a private matter between her and her God. In short, there is no use boasting of one’s uprightness before God based on whether one adorns a hijab or otherwise.

Even the police or judge in the court room makes a decision whether a criminal breach of trust has been committed based on the facts of the case, not based on one’s title or position – and certainly not whether one puts on a hijab!

Rafidah’s conclusion is simple: “For me, it is focusing on good values and principles which, cut across all religions, not causing further polarisation of Muslims and non-Muslims. I prefer that I always focus on the values and principles part of all religion.”

Integrity and good moral values cannot be taught through textbook learning but need to be inculcated into the young ones from the time they are still impressionable.

Sadly, it is the impartation of these good values mentioned by Rafidah that is mostly neglected in the way our younger generation is raised. Perhaps, it is time for the Madani government under Anwar to reverse this with the help of JAKIM by focusing on the right values. – Dec 29, 2023


Main pic credit: Unsplash

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