The right of reply

Enough is enough. People who proclaim to fight for freedom of expression and free media but censors other's legitimate reply based on their whims and fancy, must realise that on the internet, they cannot suppress peoples' legitimate right to reply and express contrarian views. This blog welcomes all views. ~ Ellese

Why Maznah deserves the brickbats but not the jail

22 Comments

The issue by Maznah has again brought out our polarization. This video by Maznah is supposedly a 3 year old video of a girl greeting Hari Raya with her dogs. And it has caused consternation, to be polite, of the Muslims.

As usual in this racial divide, the Muslims are upset because of a particular reason but the non Muslims (and certain liberal muslims) cannot understand it because they argue based on reasons entirely different from why the Muslims became agitated. Thus we became more polarized than before.

We could have avoided this had we grew up and worked together. Like friends we know what one likes and doesn’t like. We try to empathize and if where possible we advice. But when we can’t empathize, we assume everyone will adopt our views.

This is the sad part of Maznah’s case. It involves a Muslim. In the raya video greeting she was very pally to the dogs like many non Muslims do. She interspersed this with what is apparently an ablution taking and Raya do including the takbir.

Many non Muslims argue that Islam is kind to dogs, or that dogs can be kept by muslims. Some argue that she is even a nice person. And because of this she is not wrong. Muslims here are thus not sensible and tolerant.

But Muslims are not arguing about that. It’s an argument by the non Muslims (including liberal muslims) to defend their own views and values. The non muslims see that if they can have a dog which has been friendly and helpful, then Maznah can’t be wrong. It’s the Muslims who are intolerant.

This is where we just fail to empathize. I think its given in Malaysia that the Muslims here are adversed to dogs. There are many reasons for this and mainly due to religious practice and culture. To most muslims here, they are taught since young that touching a dog’s saliva and wet dog are the highest form of najis. To those uninitiated human feces and urine are regarded as najis. But touching wet dogs or its saliva it is viewed as more dirty than even the feces and requires a different more cumbersome way of cleansing. And without cleansing no muslim can even pray. Thus most if not all Muslims here stay as far as possible from dogs. Some have even stricter view and went to the extent of cleansing whatever things the dogs touch. So you can see now how the Muslims here view things.

Of course there are other views from other Mazhabs. But we’re talking about Muslims here in Malaysia who are mostly Shafiee and how they perceive dogs. Even non Muslims recognise this aversion. My non-Muslim neighbour has two dogs. If I go to their house they will leash or cordon their dogs. And I have no problem of them having dogs and had even fed their pet dog. In fact I’ve become highly appreciative of guard dogs and had employed them at my neighbourhood area of mainly Muslims community. No objection.

But what Maznah did was to many Malaysian Muslims abhorrent. There is no such things, in the mind of Muslims, to have dogs as pets. But she purposely published to the world a video to show how pally she is with her pet dogs and interspersed it with ablution taking and Raya celebration. Where muslims here associate raya to celebrate with their families of their achievement after an ardous month long fasting and religious activities, she is telling us to spend time with the “unclean” dogs knowing full well how adverse Muslims here are to dogs. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this will affront Muslims sensibilities. It doesn’t take much to see that many Muslims here will perceive she’s desecrating a religious and cultural event.

It is immaterial if it was published 3 years ago. Once on Internet you must assume it can be viral. Anyone who publishes to the world must bear the consequence of such publication. One may want more “likes” with one’s publication but one must also accept that people may react the opposite and be angry. Maznah cannot claim she did not intend to insult Muslims when she intended it to be published to the world.

Thus to me Maznah deserves brickbats and rebuke she has been receiving. Though its an old video but it is only now that it has been brought to the attention of many. Thus you see the reaction now rather than then. But I have reservation whether she deserves incarceration. If she shows remorse and apologise for the video, its more than enough for me and I reckon for many as well.

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22 thoughts on “Why Maznah deserves the brickbats but not the jail

  1. What a pity to Maznah. She should realise that here dogs can be more “najis” than alcohol which is freely consumed by many a Muslim or those who claim to be ones. But she has many other dog videos because she has become a professional dog trainer online since about 5 or 6 years ago though she is an Industrial Engineer by academic qualifications. I would suspect she, being an online professional dog trainer, has pecuniary objectives in mind when publishing that particular dog video 3 years ago. She has published many other dog-related videos since then to advertise her business and she claimed to be an entrepreneur or wants to be one. To insult Islam or Muslims by that one 3-year old video would be far from her mind as she claimed it – but, of course, she can’t prove her claims and hence the blame on her sticks. The re-appearance of that old video now through the action of a local Malay newspaper was just bad timing when the atmosphere was just recently upset by the earlier “bak ku teh for buka puasa” video which was also unfortunate as the actors involved miscalculated the consequential fall-out. Our actions can easily produce unintended reactions from our audience & onlookers. This is where the reason and rationale within us need to play a greater part in calming down the situation, especially so within those at the controls of the mass media which should not be misused to worsen the situation. Muslims need to do more to internalise the Islamic values and precepts because being superficial in our understanding & practice of Islam will make our lives more difficult here and hereafter – just look at the one example I quoted at the beginning. Why dogs can be more “najis” as to require a special physical cleansing with mud but not the intoxicating alcohol which can be the source of other evils commited by the drunk drinkers who, even if they are Muslims, do not require any special physical cleansing???

    • good food for thought.

    • Your question on alcohol and dogs is complicated. We feel like that coz of culture but if you seek fiqh or scientific reasoning perhaps you and others can enlighten us. Kena buka buku sikit.

      As to the rest, I think its a fair comment. My approach is that we should just hold back. Think about how our desire to publicize affect others. But easier said than done now. The balance is not there yet.

    • Oh come on dear Hussin….

      If we drink alcohol it will go into our blood stream dan akan menjadi darah daging. Dan lagi amalan kita including our 5 daily prayers tidak akan diterima by God for forty days. That’s really cleansing.

      By the way please read Surah Kahfi verse 22… where three pious brothers and his dog were kept in isolation by God and made them sleep for several years in a cave.

      Then, please google for the hadith where God promised a prostitute heaven when she scooped water from a well with her shoe to give a very thirsty dog a drink on a very hot day.

  2. Hussin,

    I disagree with your thoughts and understanding of dogs in Islam. You are looking at it from a ‘Malaysian Islam’ point of view, and not from the 4 main sources.

    Ellese,

    I do agree that there is some element of ‘menghina’ in what she did; juxtaposing cleaning the dog with her taking wudhu is a dead give away.

    Dear all,

    Besides what I wrote to Ellese, I am wondering if the fact that she’s an openly butch lesbian have something to do with her current predicament.

    What do y’all think?

    • I didn’t factor that in. The video itself was enough. Even my wife feels that too. She’s fuming over the dogs and not mention any of those part.

      But probably some section do to grind the hatred but those I encounter don’t.

  3. God said, if we are wet or the dog is wet and we come in contact with the dog and we Muslim must cleanse ourselves according to the Islamic procedure. The Muslim called it ‘sertu’. Why? This is because a wet dog is ‘najis mughallazah’.

    Now, let us assumed that Maznah knew the above, and she has “sertu-ed” herseif first before she tooked her ablution. Let say God saw she did the ‘sertu’. How does God feel about the video clip?

    God said and Ellese has also said that we must always be “baik sangka” to others, and thus we must assume that Maznah has done the ‘sertu’. How do we feel now?
    What we did not see we cannot presume and thus we should not judge. Now, if we take away the ablution part of the video, is it wrong for a Muslim to walk her dogs beside a mosque? Or is it wrong for dogs to hear the ‘azan’ or ‘takbir raya’? Anjing pun adalah makhluk Allah juga. Bukan kah begitu?

    Has she breached the Sedition Act and/or 298A of the penal code? Has she ‘menghina’ Islam? We cannot be the judge, the jury, and the executioner, can we? Let the law takes its course.
    Now in law, the benefit of the doubt should always be given or flow to the accused/victim. Or can we say Maznah does not deserve that benefit of the doubt? Please tell me.

    It is three/four days more to Hari Raya. I wish all Muslim readers and the bloghost a ‘Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin’. Ellese tak buat open house ke?

    • She could or could not. But I do believe she must be responsible for the video. If she publishes it to the world it must be seen how the world react. What is the reasonable interpretation of the video. She could have shown the cleansing /samak part instead on ablution taking, but she did not. She could have considered how others perceive it and addressed it there. But she didn’t. I do believe prima facie by her own acts she invites “fitnah”. It matters not of her motive. It matters not if she’s kind with animals. She publishes to the world the video with a message. What is that message? Celebrate Raya with your dogs. Some may have liberal views of dogs but she knows full well how many Muslims here in Malaysia perceive the dogs.

      • From my observation it is essentially a practice of faith issue and not racial or religious, and thus I do not demur from your write that she does not deserve jail. To understand the controversy surrounding this video requires the understanding of her religious understanding and background.

        The so called ‘blasphemous ablution’ can be perceived as an expression of her lifestyle. Does her lifestyle unwarrantably impinge on other people’s choice of faith/belief? I would think it did not because nobody gave the video a hoot three years ago.

        Why the fuss now? This is a classic case of a victim of circumstances. Thus, I don’t think she even deserves the brickbats.

        • Well, I tell you, Maznah must have been very disappointed 3 years ago as there was “no fuss” about the video. But, good for her now as she has managed to cause “a fuss” at last. It’s the good publicity that she had been yearning for since 3 years ago to advertise her online business of dog-training.
          I also think she doesn’t care “…how many Muslims here in Malaysia perceive the dogs” in the manner of their culture. She might well be thinking that it’s about time that the local Malaysian Muslims change their perception about dogs in view of the “…Surah Kahfi verse 22… where three pious brothers and his dog were kept in isolation by God and made them sleep for several years in a cave” and also what Google says about “… the hadith where God promised a prostitute heaven when she scooped water from a well with her shoe to give a very thirsty dog a drink on a very hot day.”
          So, Ellese and hasan, no need for any further fuss about this perhaps.
          SELAMAT HARI RAYA to All Muslims and MOHON MAAF ZAHIR & BATIN. Salam.

          • Precisely. I cannot understand why Muslims are raising such a fuss. If they have read the aforesaid passage and the hadith, what is so offensive about the video? If you put a dog and a bottle of whisky side by side, tell me hussin, which is good and which is evil? No prizes for the correct answer!

          • “If you put a dog and a bottle of whisky side by side, tell me hussin, which is good and which is evil? No prizes for the correct answer!” —hasan wanted to know my views.

            Well, hasan, firstly I wouldn’t think of doing such a thing as I think it would be very cruel, and even evil, to those whisky lovers if the dog happens to be a very fierce one with no hesitation to bite anyone approaching it. Don’t you agree? Secondly, if the dog has been very well-trained by Maznah to recognise the whisky in the bottle, it would get drunk in no time and don’t you think it would be very cruel, and even evil too, though this time the cruelty befalls on the poor dog, not the whisky lover. No…I wouldn’t put “a dog and a bottle of whisky side by side” as I wouldn’t touch either of them especially if they are “wet”.

          • I am amaze by your level of comprehension… 🙂

          • We don’t underestimate anyone’s level of comprehension in this blog brother. Cheerio and Salam.

        • We’re approaching this from a different angle. Again we have to agree to disagree bro.

          • I am perfectly fine with agree to disagree. But I detest it if someone uses that to insulate one from ignorance and inaccuracy or to make one freer to take liberties than others.

            The thrust of agree to disagree must be seen as its discussion – engaging in a rationale debate on the substantive issue it raises but not one like one here that is convoluted and entangled with a whole range of subsidiary possibilities, ultimately leaving no clear conclusion except to triumph over the other.

          • Are you implying I’m ignorant? You know I defend my position. I didn’t comment so much on your views as I have responded to some of the points and don’t want to drag. We seldom agree on anything pun. If you start to demean my position I can do likewise to yours.

            That’s why I suggest we stop. I cannot accept your argument and views. Its wrong to me. But if you think its right I’m suggesting to let it be. We have gone through so many rounds of debates and many have been acrimonious. So……

          • Sorry for the late reply. I was engaged with you then someone joined it. You tak involved pun… so actually my retort is not directed at you a word pun..

  4. tooked…? sorry lah must be the qiamulail… took not tooked.

    • “If you put a dog and a bottle of whisky side by side, tell me hussin, which is good and which is evil? No prizes for the correct answer!” —hasan wanted to know my views.

      Well, hasan, firstly I wouldn’t think of doing such a thing as I think it would be very cruel, and even evil, to those whisky lovers if the dog happens to be a very fierce one with no hesitation to bite anyone approaching it. Don’t you agree? Secondly, if the dog has been very well-trained by Maznah to recognise the whisky in the bottle, it would get drunk in no time and don’t you think it would be very cruel, and even evil too, though this time the cruelty befalls on the poor dog, not the whisky lover. No…I wouldn’t put “a dog and a bottle of whisky side by side” as I wouldn’t touch either of them especially if they are “wet”.

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