Thursday, March 02, 2006

Holy School!

Is the action of a ustaz "allegedly" selling "air penerang hati" or holy water to improve pupils' memory the result of the increasing integration between religion and secular education in our national schools system?

Thankfully, some, in our civil service still speaks sense when the State Education, Human Resources and Multimedia Committee chairman of Perak, Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said "immediate action should be taken to stop the sale of such water to students", as reported by the Star.
He also urged parents to ensure that their children did not fall victim to the ustaz,

“It is a norm among Malay parents to ask for
who was clearly out to take advantage of the students. air penerang hati for their children from people with good religious background... Usually, parents will give a token sum of money to the person who blessed the water for them. But in this case, the ustaz himself produced the water although there was no request made and sold it directly to the children without the parents’ knowledge.”
However, in the first place, should the principal be the responsible party to ban such practices in our schools? Why should the ustaz be allowed to offer this holy water directly to school students and part them from their probably small and limited amounts of pocket money, especially if its without the knowledge of the parents?

Or is it such that the words and actions of all ustaz are holy and must be adhered with and complied to without hesitation by all Muslims? I'm clearly not the expert in Islam here, and maybe our Muslim friends can help enlighten us on air penerang hati as well as the actions of the ustaz.

However, more interestingly, the Perak Mufti, Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria, one who is not a stranger to controversy - see report by Malaysiakini which highlighted an online poll on the Mufti's office website which offered "“Hunt and kill them or launch war" as an option against those who insult Prophet Mohammed - said that "there was nothing wrong with selling the holy water".
“It’s a form of prayer to enhance memory, just like gingko biloba is a memory booster... It is not wrong to sell it unless the ustaz is dishonest about how he produced the water. If he lies, then he will be answerable to God.”
With all due respect to the Perak Mufti, I think comparing holy water to a herb with health benefits is taking the analogy to a level beyond reason. The holy water "tonic" is one based totally on faith, while the other is based on scientific earthly properties of the herb - it isn't even a case of comparing apples to oranges, it's like comparing deities and us earthly humans!


Anonymous said...

I am a Malay Muslim women living in the west. Often times I am sadden by the shallow understanding of Islamic knowledge and practises of Malay Muslim. First of all during the time of the Prophet the practice of reading certain related verses from the Quran over parts of the body that is hurting was common place. Then it evolves into reading Quran over some water when the relogious person is far and cannot get to the sick person. This practice is called Rukya. This is often done by people who are sincere and knowledgable about Islam as a religion and the practises. It is ok (the Prophet allowed it) to accept gift from someone you performed Rukya on but I have not heard people getting paid for doing it. I know this practise is very popular among Malaysian Muslim who sometimes look at religious people like they are Prophet. In Islam the fundamental believe is that God is closer to you than yourself or anyone else for that matter. Why in the world would you want to asked someone else to ask for you when you can ask God yourself. He knows everthing and can hear everything. He can hear even the whisper in your heart. And I bet He love to hear from anyone. My father was an ustaz and he hated seeing people taken advantage by the so-called religious people. I pray for the Muslim in Malaysia. Many need to wake up to modernized Islam.
Bt the way I have just found your Blog about 3 weeks ago. I thouroughly enjoys it. I am an educator and I love to analyze the time when I was growing up, while in school in Malaysia. Teachers were not too bad!

Anonymous said...

Hm... perhaps we should start selling Tony Buzan 101 or something too. It seems the market is there.

Anonymous said...

Luckily he was not selling air zam-zam and claim that it's really from Mecca when the fact is that, he's just taking water from home. That would be so wrong in his religion.

Cheng Sim said...

hrm. i don't think i wanna comment on whether the Holy Water actually helps to be some sort of memory booster. then again, its true what S-kay said, he might just get it from the tap and proclaimed it as "the holy water". still, if he's being sinful, its between him and Allah.

Anonymous said...

Holy water, come on, what the hell is the so call State education blah blah blah department step into this stupid incidents. Is it mean somebody want to monopoly the "holy water" rights? If not, why don't call the Health ministry to bust the bugger! Science can easily reveal it is nothing but tap water. DUH!