Published in AstroAwani, image by AstroAwani.
PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang’s statement regarding the Opposition’s “rights” to topple the government cannot be rationalised in any way.
It reeks of personal vendetta and power hunger, contrary to Islamic teachings that his party is supposedly (but obviously failing) to properly portray, exposing the blatant hypocrisy of ethnoreligious capitalisation for political power.
Is Hadi indirectly stating that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration and the unity government are illegitimate and unjust?
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim became Malaysia’s tenth Prime Minister upon receiving a mandate from his voter base, confidence from other coalitions, and endorsement from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) and the Malay Rulers.
When the YDPA appointed Malaysia’s eight’s prime minister, why didn’t we see any complaints from Hadi then? Perhaps being appointed as special envoy to the Middle East had something to do with it?
Perhaps because Hadi himself was one of the initiators of The Sheraton Move (as he reportedly admitted)?
Anwar further proved his legitimacy by also winning the motion of confidence at the First Session of the 15th Parliamentary session, gaining support from his unity government consisting of former political rivals.
Either way, if these things are true, then his drive for toppling things appears to be driven by mere whims and the desire for power. Instead of exemplifying real Islam or true leadership, Hadi is merely showing that he is a proud chess player.
His apparent self-proclamation of political cunningness would be better served in improving crucial infrastructure, education system, eradication of poverty, flood mitigation, creating jobs and many more things that are much more needed by PAS (and Perikatan Nasional) strongholds. If these are too much to ask for, then they should focus on just getting clean water to their constituents.
There is no way that Hadi sincerely believes that he (and/or the Opposition) has a real case against the legitimacy of Anwar and his administration. If that is somehow not the case, then Hadi should prove it peacefully, transparently and thoroughly via formal complaint to the royal institution, the parliament, by filing a report to the police, the Election Commission and perhaps even the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
The role of the Opposition is to provide checks and balances—not act as a constant threat against stability. Unfortunately, Hadi appears to be promoting instability, working against Malaysia’s collective interest, arrogantly hinting at being a master schemer, the one pulling the strings in the background.
Hadi’s statement jeopardizes the much-needed stability and investor confidence in a country that has suffered plenty coming out of a harsh pandemic and into a world abounding with economic hurdles.
Yet, Hadi dared to mask his blatant mockery of Malaysia’s democratic process, the people’s mandate, the nation’s needs and an outright rebellion against the decree of the YDPA as “rights”.
An Islamic Perspective
If Hadi is not receptive to these explanations, common sense and the vast rational criticisms that he has been getting from all sides, then perhaps he needs a refresher course on Islamic teachings on the matter.
As far as “rights” go, perhaps it’s worth considering God’s Rights first.
In the Holy Qur’an, God the Almighty says: “O you who have believed, obey Allah (God) and obey the Messenger (Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him; PBUH) and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger PBUH, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best way and best in result.” (Qur’an, 4:59)
Of course, this obedience applies only to a just ruler who only enjoins the good, according to God’s commands. There are various strict requirements to justify rebellion.
For example, the Prophet PBUH said: “It is obligatory for one to listen to and obey (the ruler’s orders) unless these orders involve one disobedience (to Allah); but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed, he should not listen to or obey it.” (Sahih Muslim 1848a)
Additionally, the Prophet PBUH said: “…If you then find anything detestable in them (according to God’s commands and the Sunnah), you should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience…” (Sahih Muslim 1855a)
Thus, as noted by various scholars, so long as the leader has been put in place justly and is carrying out justice, enjoining all that is good and beneficial according to God’s commands, then it is not permissible to dispute with those in authority or to rebel against them unless there is clear evidence of Kufr (disbelief) for which there must be concrete evidence according to Islamic Law as outlined in the Qur’an and authentic Hadiths.
Is there evidence that the YDPA and Anwar are Kufr? Or that the YDPA, Anwar, his administration and the unity government are illegitimate, unjust and inviting people to sin?
Hadi may not be afraid to “Sembah Derhaka” with another human given that he may believe that his so-called “rights” are divinely ordained, especially with PAS’s performance in GE15 likely further boosting his grand delusions.
But to rebel against God’s commands is to invite calamity for all.
Unjustified scheming, envy and power struggles beget corruption and tyranny, promoting insecurity and instability.
Alas, history has shown that this has been the fate of many leaders trying to do good for the many.
Beware of the Enemy Within
The unfortunate internal threat faced by Anwar’s administration in trying to implement the spirit of Malaysia Madani for all is historically parallel to the original Madani society built by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH in the city of Medina.
As mentioned by Indonesian researchers Ahmad Mukri Aji, Havis Aravik and Nur Rohim Yunus in a 2020 paper published in the Journal of Critical Reviews, Madani society in Medina was formulated by Prophet Muhammad PBUH through the Medina Charter (also known as the Constitution of Medina) which “binds all communities across groups, religions, ethnic, races and skin colours”.
Hence, this is an exemplary model for a Muslim-majority country like Malaysia, which has a sizeable population of non-Muslims and other ethnic groups and cultures.
As pointed out by the Indonesian researchers, Medina became harmonious, peaceful and prosperous through the implementation of Madani society enforced via the Medina Charter, which resulted in a “civilized society, various basic human rights are formulated and applied in every aspect of life with the absence of discrimination, injustice and human rights violations”.
Principal Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) Centre for the Study of Syariah, Law and Politics, Associate Professor Dr Shamrahayu pointed out in an article in The Star dated August 9, 2016, on how the Medina Charter is “the most outstanding example of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural constitution introducing the theory of human rights and human duties towards his state”.
Despite this mutual benefit for all (which calls for loyalty from its citizens), the original Madani society then was also under serious internal threat.
As widely known by historians globally, the ultimate betrayal was observed in the Battle of the Trench, when a group of treacherous Jews from Medina dishonoured their treaty with Prophet Muhammad PBUH and the Medina Charter by helping the enemy, undermining the Madani society in Medina from within.
Is Hadi hinting at a similar repeat of history by being a mastermind in the betrayal of Malaysia Madani?
As a fellow Muslim and Malaysian, Hadi can and should play an important role to ensure checks and balances in the implementation of Malaysia Madani, instead of engineering its downfall.
As mentioned by Shamrahayu, the Medina Charter “introduced the rule of law principles by upholding the rights and duties of all people and treat them equitably” and that it “empowers the organs of government but at the same time preserved the rights of people within the ambit allowed and, as a matter of responsibility, people are obliged to be loyal to the state”.
Hadi may fancy himself as the man behind scenes plotting downfalls of governments, but he must remember what Allah SWT mentioned in the Qur’an: “…But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Qur’an 3:54)
Dr Rais Hussin is the president and chief executive officer of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.