AN EARLIER report quoting the Federal Territory (FT) Mufti’s Office regarding status of Muslims working in conventional banks had ignited fierce debate between the unity government and PAS.
More fuel has been added to the fire with PAS berating Religious Affairs Minister Senator Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar for not backing the Federal Territory Mufti (Islamic law expert) Datuk Dr Luqman Abdullah regarding the shariah law pertaining to working in conventional banks.
For context, the FT Mufti’s Office had recently advised Muslim employees at conventional banks to look for other “halal” jobs as these financial institutions engage in transactions based on riba (usury) which is haram (prohibited) in Islam.
The stance of PAS vice-president Datuk Idris Ahmad is such that government leaders as national administration executives should not interfere with the duty or responsibility of a mufti in providing of views related to Islamic law.
As his role is to provide an opinion on a law based on the knowledge available to him, the Bagan Serai MP insisted that the view offered by a mufti is free from personal interest or bias to any side.
“As a mufti, he must possess the ability to give a view which must be based on the Quran, hadith, ijmak (consensus) and qias (principle of analogy). We ought to respect their views as long as it is pertaining to Islamic law,” HarakahDaily quoted Idris who himself was the former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of religious affairs as saying.
For context, Mohd Na’im had on Saturday evening (Jan 20) advised the mufti institution to bring up issues related to national interest before the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) committee prior to providing any response to such matters.
He further quantified that responses to any issues could be improved by including concrete arguments and proposed solutions. “It should not be left hanging to prevent it from causing uneasiness in the community. The matter must be considered comprehensively with detailed explanations,” he justified.
A more vocal Central PAS Ulamak Council chairman Datuk Ahmad Yahaya ticked off Na’im for reacting negatively to the reply of the FT mufti when he should have taken the position to both defend and explain the true position of the law pertaining to working in conventional banks to Muslims.
“That should be the case and not the other way around by warning the mufti against sparking polemics. The answer by the FT mufti regarding the law of working in conventional banks is quite complete and understandable especially with regard to the constraint of a person to get another job,” opined the Pokok Sena MP.
“However, the intended restriction does not remove the original law of working in banks involved in usury activities. It is not the mufti‘s duty to answer legal questions which would add further confusion in the society because what is haram and halal is clear in religion.”
Henceforth, Ahmad wondered if Na’im had “in the first place examined the mufti‘s full answer or he is just relying on a half-baked report?”
“Isn’t Na’im’s very own reply which is not in sync with the stance of religious law also considered as triggering a polemic?” asked the PAS Kedah state commissioner.
“The PAS Dewan Ulamak (council of scholars) is worried that if this situation prevails, it will only erode confidence in the authority of religious institutions in the country, not to mention in a situation where religious issues are increasingly marginalised.” – Jan 23, 2024