Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Long Will You Let Him Make a Slave of You

The Devil & the Duck

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm.

He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods.

He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target.

Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.

As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.

Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved!

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, 'Sally, let's wash the dishes'

But Sally said, 'Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen..'

Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?'

So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, 'I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.'

Sally just smiled and said, 'well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help?

She whispered again, 'Remember the duck?' So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer.

He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.

Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, 'Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.'

Thought for the day and every day thereafter:

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is....You need to know that:
God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing.

He has seen your whole life... He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.

The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness; He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

Without forgiveness from God no one can go to heaven for all were already condemned from the ways of the world.

It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.

Go ahead and make the difference in someone's life today.

Share this with a friend and always remember:

God is at the window!

When Jesus died on the cross; he was thinking of you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Complicated TRUTH

Complicated truth

Christianity is not a tucked-in-tight religion | Marvin Olasky

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Could you remind me how the Trinity works? And could you explain to me again this idea of grace?" One diligent student had no problem grasping Islam. She had no problem understanding religions based on a concept of exchange—do something for a god and he'll do something for you. But she was legitimately confused about Christianity: "The Quran is simple. Why is Christianity complicated?"

April is not the cruelest month when it includes Easter. It's great to read the Bible on mornings that are becoming warmer. I remember good evenings putting my children to bed with Sylvia Plath's The Bed Book, which praises many fanciful kinds of sleeping areas but condemns one: the "white little, tucked in tight little, nighty night little, turn out the light little, bed."

We could assess religions the same way: Tucked-in-tight religions are too symmetrical to be true. Take the smooth explanations at the website We're told that "Almighty Allah, when depriving a person of a certain ability or gift, compensates him for it, by bestowing upon him/her another gift." For example, "People who are deprived of sight have very sensitive ears."

So it all makes sense: No sight, no sweat, Allah compensates. Hinduism's doctrine of karma is also clear: If you're blind in this life, it may be because you broke someone's glasses or didn't give money to a sightless beggar in the last one.

Many Jews 2,000 years ago desired such clarity. Some asked Jesus to choose between two logical possibilities: Was a man blind because he sinned or because his parents sinned? But in chapter 9 of the Gospel according to John, Jesus explains, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

How are those works displayed? Maybe a miracle gives sight to the blind man. Maybe a miracle occurs in other people, as they abandon natural selfishness and sacrifice to help a person in need. Sometimes we're stuck with mystery. Dorothy Sayers called Christianity the only religion that gives value to suffering—whether physical or spiritual—by affirming its reality and the opportunity to wrench some good out of it.

It would be great to understand mystery, but 19th-century pastor Charles Spurgeon put it rightly: "Providence is wonderfully intricate. Ah! You want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time, but you cannot see it now; you must believe it."

Spurgeon concluded that we should "honor God by trusting him." But why? We might say, "Because He's God," and that's true—but Christianity does better than that. Christianity tells us that God saw our suffering and suffered with us and for us. Christianity tells us what man-made religions like Islam or Hinduism do not: That at a specific historical moment God experienced intimately torture, abandonment, overwhelming loss, and unjust death.

Islam offers lots of definite answers, but Christianity takes after Christ in leaving some questions on the table and often offering stories rather than formulas. Don Everts and Doug Schaupp, in I Once Was Lost (IVP, 2008), state that "Jesus is asked 183 questions in the Gospels. He answers just three of them—and he asks 307 questions back."

The type of questions is also significant. Quranic questions tend to be rhetorical or hectoring: "Do they not know that Allah knows what they keep secret? (Sura 2:7). Christ's questions probe: "What do you want me to do for you?. . . How do you read the law? . . . What are you looking for?"

We're sometimes told that the Bible is our instruction manual for Planet Earth—but doesn't that make it seem like the Quran? If you're looking for a tucked-in-tight religion, Islam will do. But if you want more than a series of statements and more than a book of rules about what we should and should not do, then read the Bible and understand it as a story of what God did for us. Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.

(This article was published in and reproduced herein. All rights belong to its owner)

Friday, April 08, 2011

An enlightening discourse on religious piety

12 JULY 2006

Case History :

Court Of Appeal : [2005] 2 CLJ 255

High Court : [2000] 1 CLJ 393


Abdul Hamid Mohamad FCJ:

[1] Syed Ahmad Johari bin Syed Mohd ("Syed Ahmad") is the father of the 2nd and 3rd appellants and the guardian of the 1st appellant. He and his family live in a FELDA Scheme in Serting, Bahau, Negeri Sembilan. He himself is a teacher at Sekolah Menengah FELDA Lui Barat in the same area. The three appellants were students at Sekolah Kebangsaan Serting Hilir (FELDA), Bandar Baru Serting, Negeri Sembilan. At the material time, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd appellants were in Standard 5, 3 and 2 respectively and about 11, 9 and 8 years old respectively.

[2] The school had issued the Peraturan Sekolah Kebangsaan Serting (FELDA) 1997 ("The School Regulations 1997"), made pursuant to Surat Pekeliling Ikhtisas Bil. 9/1975 issued by the Ministry of Education.

[3] Regulation 3 of the School Regulations 1997 stipulates, inter alia, that the uniform for male pupils comprises of blue black long pants, white short-sleeved shirt, white rubber shoes and socks. Regulation 3(f)(v) provides that black or blue black songkok is allowed to be worn. However, in reg. 3(i)(i), all pupils are prohibited from wearing "jubah, turban (serban), topi, ketayap dan purdah".

[4] The appellants wore turban as part of the school uniform to school. They were advised not to do so and to comply with the School Regulations 1997. When they refused, the 1st respondent requested Syed Ahmad to see her. At a meeting on 3 April 1997, the 1st respondent requested Syed Ahmad to cooperate to ensure that the appellants adhere to the School Regulations 1997. He refused to cooperate and the appellants continued to wear turban to school.

[5] On 28 July 1997 and 4 August 1997 the respondent sent two letters to Syed Ahmad informing him about the appellants' breach of the School Regulations 1997 and for the appellants to substitute "songkok" for the turban. The 1st respondent again requested for Syed Ahmad's cooperation to avoid disciplinary action being taken against the appellants.

[6] On 30 August 1997 the Director of Education of Negeri Sembilan wrote to Syed Ahmad stressing that the appellants had to observe the regulations "demi kepentingan dan kesejahteraan warga sekolah dan masyarakat sekitar".

[7] As the appellants continued to refuse to comply with the regulations, on 3 November 1997 the 1st respondent sent a letter to Syed Ahmad informing him that the appellants had been expelled from the school with effect from 10 November 1997.

[8] They challenged their dismissal in court. The learned judge found in their favour, inter alia, ruling that the School Regulations 1997 was unconstitutional ([2000] 1 CLJ 393.) The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the High Court ([2005] 2 CLJ 255).

[9] This court granted leave to appeal on one issue only:

Whether the regulations prohibiting the wearing of "serban" by school pupils violate Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution.

[10] So, the issue before this court is not whether the wearing of turban is constitutional or not but whether the School Regulations 1997, in so far as it prohibits the wearing of turban by the students of the school as part of the school uniform during school hours is constitutional or not.

[11] Before us, learned counsel for the appellants argued that the regulation prohibiting students from wearing turban violates the provisions of art. 11(1) of the Federal Constitution. That article provides:

11(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

[12] He argued that this appeal relates to the right to practise one's religion but submitted that the word "profess" and "practise" must be read together (I do not quite understand what he meant by "must be read together".) He submitted that the right to practise one's religion includes every religious practice "which have some basis or become part of that religion whether they are mandatory or otherwise." That right can only be restricted if, by exercising such rights, it affects public order, public health and public morality enshrined in art. 11(5) of the Constitution. Learned counsel further submitted that the right to wear turban, even though not mandatory, is part of "Islamic prophetic teaching".

[13] The Court of Appeal, in arriving at its conclusion, applied the test of whether "the right to wear a "serban" is an integral part of the religion of Islam". The court said that that is a question of evidence and it was for the appellants to adduce sufficient relevant admissible material to prove that that is indeed the case. The court concluded:

there was not a shred of evidence before the learned judge confirming that the wearing of a serban is mandatory in Islam and is therefore an integral part of Islam.

[14] The Court of Appeal in applying "the integral part of the religion" test relied on a number of Indian authorities like The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras, v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar AIR [1954] SC 282, Sardar Syedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb v. State of Bombay AIR [1962] SC 853, Javed v. State of Haryana (AIR) [2003] SC 3057 and Commissioner of Police v. Acharya Jagadishwaranada Avadhuta [2004] 2 LRI 39. The court also referred to the judgment of the Malaysian Supreme Court in Hajjah Halimatussadiah bte Hj. Kamaruddin v. Public Services Commission Malaysia & Anor [1994] 3 CLJ 532 where the Supreme Court applied the same test.

[15] Before us, the test was strongly criticised. Learned counsel for the appellants argued that by giving such an interpretation the court was "rewriting art. 11(1) or putting a new or an extra/additional restrictions on the right to profess and practice one's religion apart from the existing restrictions contained/enshrined in art. 11(5) of the Federal Constitution." The Court of Appeal was criticised for relying on Indian authorities, especially because of the differences between the provisions of the Indian Constitution and the Federal Constitution, in particular, the preamble to the Indian Constitution declares India to be a secular state and no religion of the state is provided. It is also said, who is to decide whether a particular practice is an integral part of a religion or not?

[16] I must stress here that, we are only concerned with the words "practise his religion". There is no doubt that the "integral part of the religion" approach has its merits. Otherwise, in a country with many religions being practised, to allow a regulation or law to be declared unconstitutional just because someone claims that it prohibits his "religious practice" no matter how trivial it is and even though in a very limited way, would lead to chaos. However, in my view, that test has its demerits too, because it would lead to the following results: so long as a practice is an integral part of a religion, any restriction or limitation, even regulatory, would be unconstitutional. On the other hand, if the practice is not an integral part of a religion, it can even be prohibited completely. The circumstances under which the law or regulation is made may be such that it is justifiable to restrict or regulate it during a period and at the place when and where it is to operate. A constitution is expected to be in force so long as the country exists but circumstances may change dramatically from time to time, even from place to place. On the other hand, a practice may not be an integral part of the teaching of a religion, in the Islamic sense, it may be a "sunat" eg, performing the "sunat" prayers. Using this test, it can be prohibited absolutely and forever. I do not think that is right.

[17] I am therefore of the view that whether a practice is or is not an integral part of a religion is not the only factor that should be considered. Other factors are equally important in considering whether a particular law or regulation is constitutional or not under art. 11(1) of the Federal Constitution. I would therefore prefer the following approach. First, there must be a religion. Secondly, there must be a practice. Thirdly, the practice is a practice of that religion. All these having been proved, the court should then consider the importance of the practice in relation to the religion. This is where the question whether the practice is an integral part of the religion or not becomes relevant. If the practice is of a compulsory nature or "an integral part" of the religion, the court should give more weight to it. If it is not, the court, again depending on the degree of its importance, may give a lesser weight to it.

[18] In the Islamic context, the classification made by jurists on the "hukum" regarding a particular practice will be of assistance. Prohibition of a practice which is "wajib" (mandatory) should definitely be viewed more seriously than the prohibition of what is "sunat" (commendable).

[19] The next step is to look at the extent or seriousness of the prohibition. A total prohibition certainly should be viewed more seriously than a partial or temporary prohibition. For example, a regulation that prohibits an adult Muslim male from leaving his job to perform the Friday prayer is more serious than a regulation that requires adult male Muslims employees to take turns to perform their "Asar" prayer, all within the "Asar" period.

[20] Then, we will have to look at the circumstances under which the prohibition is made. An air traffic controller will have to be at his post even during Friday prayers, where replacement by a non-Muslim or a female employee is not possible. A surgeon who starts an emergency operation just before the "Maghrib" prayer may have to miss his prayer. (Even the Shariah provides exceptions and relaxation of its application under certain circumstances).

[21] In other words, in my view, all these factors should be considered in determining whether the "limitation" or "prohibition" of a practice of a religion is constitutional or unconstitutional under art. 11(1) of the Federal Constitution.

[22] Who is to decide? Of course, it has to be the court when the matter comes before the court. Expert witnesses may be called to assist the court regarding a practise or, in the case of Islam, the issue regarding the "hukum" of the practice may be referred to the Shari'ah Committees (Fatwa Committees) in the States or the National Fatwa Council. Such a reference had been made by the Supreme Court in Dalip Kaur v. Pegawai Polis Daerah, Balai Polis Daerah, Bukit Mertajam & Anor. [1991] 3 CLJ 2768; [1991] 1 CLJ (Rep) 77.

[23] In this case, that Islam is a religion is a fact that cannot be denied.

[24] The next question is whether the wearing of turban by boys of the age of the appellants is a practice of the religion of Islam. Islam is not about turban and beard. The pagan Arabs, including Abu Jahl, wore turbans and kept beards. It was quite natural for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), born into the community and grew up in it, to do the same. As it was not repugnant to the teaching of Islam, he continued to do so. During the argument, in answer to my question, learned counsel tried to equate the wearing of turban with the "Hajj": the "Hajj" too was performed in pre-Islamic days and continued to be performed after the coming of Islam. That, with respect, is misconceived. The "Hajj" performed by the pagan Arabs was completely different from the "Hajj" taught by the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Further more, there are clear provisions in the Al-Quran that make the performance of the "Hajj" mandatory and one of the pillars of Islam.

[25] Turbans were (and are) not only worn by Arabs. Other peoples, living in the desert or semi-desert areas, eg, the Afghans and Persians wore/wear them too. Indeed, anybody who goes to Mecca will immediately realize that a piece of cloth, by whatever name it is called, to cover his head and face from the heat, the dryness and the dust, is most useful. Nowadays, the turbans, distinguished by their designs and the way they are tied or worn, symbolize the nationality of the persons wearing them eg, whether they are Saudis, Sudanese, Afghans, Omanis, etc. The turban has become part of the national dress of those countries.

[26] In Malaysia, until 1960's, the turban worn the way the appellants wear them, were only worn by "Hajis", men who had performed the Hajj (pilgrimage). There were few "Hajis" then, one or two in a village. Of course the wearing of turban carried with it a social status, a sign of "alim" (knowledgeable in matters of Islamic religion) and "warak" (piety). Non-Hajis would not wear them. They would be ashamed to do so.

[27] Then came 1970's and the appearance of "dakwah" (missionary) groups. They distinguished themselves by their dress, the men and their male children wore "jubah" and "serban". One such organization had been declared unlawful. We saw their top leaders confessing, crying and repenting over television!

[28] It is interesting to note that, even now, very few of our Muftis and hardly any Shari'ah Court Judge wears turban.

[29] Coming now to boys of the age of the appellants. According to Shari'ah (and/or fiqh), the obligation to perform even a mandatory ("wajib") practice like the five daily prayers, is only mandatory on Muslims who have attained the age of majority ("baligh"), usually taken to be 15 years of age for boys. Clearly the appellants have not. Of course it is obligatory on the parent or guardian to teach them how to perform the prayers, for example, and to encourage them to perform them even before they reach the age of majority. So, even with regard to practices that are mandatory ("wajib"), the Shari'ah treats adults and children differently, like any law, for that matter.

[30] The best place to see whether it is the practice of boys, I am speaking about Arab and Arabic-speaking boys (not Malay boys living in a FELDA settlement), of the age of the appellants to wear turban or not, is to go to Masjid Al-Haram, the birthplace of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), where the "House of Allah" ("Baitullah" or the "Kaabah") stands. Go there after the "Asar" prayer. One can see scores of boys of the age of the appellants sitting cross-legged learning to read and reciting the Al-Quran. None of them wears turban, whether tied the way the appellants do or otherwise.

[31] (I must admit that these observations that I have made do not come from evidence adduced in court. However, sitting in the highest court in the country and interpreting the Constitution, I hold the view that a judge is entitled to look around and observe the happenings in the society. These are matters that one sees in everyday life. No expertise or technical qualification is required to observe such happenings. Neither should judges not read anything other than law. I do not think that judges should keep their eyes shut and only wait for "expert witnesses" to inform them such things as the kind of dress Malaysians usually wear or that we can hardly find bullock carts on Malaysian road nowadays. "Justice is blind". Yes. But not judges. They should not be).

[32] As far as I can ascertain, the Al-Quran makes no mention about the wearing of turban. Neither SP3 nor the learned trial judge who cited some verses from the Al-Quran which, with respect, are not relevant to the issue, could produce any. The one "hadith" referred to by SP3 makes no mention of its classification in terms of authoritativeness. In any event one does not look at one "hadith" in isolation to make a ruling on a matter. Even then, the way it is said, (based on the evidence given by SP3: "Hadith: hendaklah kelian memakai serban kerana kelian akan bertambah sabar") shows that there is a reason for it. As far as the reason given, I shall not comment. Certainly the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) knows his people better and what suits them. The other "hadith" mentioned by SP3 only tells us how the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) used to wear his turban, nothing more. Of course, I am also aware of other "hadiths", not mentioned by SP3 or the learned trial judge, that prohibit the wearing of turban by men when in "ihram". They do not assist us.

[33] It is also not disputed that there had been no "fatwa" in this country on the wearing of turban.

[34] I accept that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) wore turban. But he also rode a camel, built his house and mosque with clay walls and roof of leaves of date palms and brushed his teeth with the twig of a plant. Does that make the riding a camel a more pious deed than travelling in an aeroplane? Is it preferable to build houses and mosques using the same materials used by the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and the same architecture adopted by him during his time? In Malaysia, Muslim houses and mosques would leak when it rains! There would be no Blue Mosque or Taj Mahal, not even the present Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid Al-Nabawi, Alhambra or Putrajaya that the Muslims can be proud of! Again, is it more Islamic to brush one's teeth with a twig than using a modern tooth brush with tooth paste and water to wash in the privacy of one's bathroom?

[35] It is not everything that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) did or the way he did it that is legally (according to Shariah) or religiously binding on Muslims or even preferable and should be followed.

[36] I find the book "Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence" by Mohammad Hashim Kamali (1991) to be very useful in understanding the issue on "Sunnah". I shall only quote certain parts that are of particular relevance to the issue under discussion:

The entire bulk of the Sunnah, that is, the sayings, acts and tacit enactments of the Prophet, may be once again divided into two types: non-legal and legal Sunnah.

Non-legal Sunnah (Sunnah ghayr tashri'iyyah) mainly consists of the natural activities of the Prophet (al-af'al al'jibilliyyah) such as the manner in which he ate, slept, dressed, and such other activities as do not seek to constitute a part of the Shari'ah. Activities of this nature are not of primary importance to the Prophetic mission and therefore do not constitute legal norms. According to the majority of ulema, the Prophet's preferences in these areas, such as his favourite colours, or the fact that he slept on his right side in the first place, etc., only indicate the permissibility (ibahah) of the acts in question.29


On a similar note, Sunnah which partakes in specialized or technical knowledge, such as medicine, commerce and agriculture, is once again held to be peripheral to the main function of the Prophetic mission and is therefore not a part of the Shari'ah. As for acts and sayings of the Prophet that related to particular circumstances such as the strategy of war, including such devices that misled the enemy forces, timing of attack, siege or withdrawal, these too are considered to be situational and not a part of the Shari'ah.31


Certain activities of the Prophet may fall in between the two categories of legal and non-legal Sunnah as they combine the attributes of both. Thus it may be difficult to determine whether an act was strictly personal or was intended to set an example for others to follow. It is also known that at times the Prophet acted in a certain way which was in accord with the then prevailing custom of the community. For instance, the Prophet kept his beard at a certain length and trimmed his moustache. The majority of ulema have viewed this not as a mere observance of the familiar usage at the time but as an example for the believers to follow. Others have held the opposite view by saying that it was a part of the social practice of the Arabs which was designed to prevent resemblance to the Jews and some non-Arabs who used to shave the beard and grow the moustache. Such practices were, in other words, a part of the current usage and basically optional. Similarly, it is known that the Prophet used to go to the "id prayers (salat al-'id) by one route and return from the mosque by a different route, and that the Prophet at times performed the hajj pilgrimage while riding a camel. The Shafi'i jurists are inclined to prefer the commendable (mandub) in such acts to mere permissibility whereas the Hanafis consider them as merely permissible, or mubah.34

[37] SP3 gave his opinion that the wearing of turban is "sunat". Clearly he based his opinion on the views of the traditional jurists - the turban - wearing scholars from turban-wearing communities who lived at a time when the wearing of turban was customary or fashionable. Certainly their surroundings could have, to a certain extent, influenced their views on a matter such as the wearing of turban where Al-Quran is silent. That is natural. Imam Shafie revised some of his rulings after living in Egypt for a few years and observing the custom of the people there. That is the mark of a great jurist!

[38] Even if we were to accept the view of SP3 that the wearing of turban (by adult Muslim male) is "sunat" or (commendable), it certainly does not rank on the same level as "sunat prayers", as learned counsel for the appellants tried to convince the court when the question was put to him by me.

[39] So, the "practice" is of little significance from the point of view of the religion of Islam, what more, in relation to under-aged boys. Certainly, it is not a part of "Islamic prophetic teaching" as submitted by the learned counsel for the appellants.

[40] Moving to the second factor which, in my view, should be considered ie, the extent of the "prohibition".

[41] We are not dealing with a total prohibition of wearing of the turban. The students, primary school students of the school, are not allowed to wear the turban as part of the school uniform, ie, during the school hours. They are not prevented from wearing the turban at other times. Even in school, certainly, they would not be prevented from wearing the turban when they perform, say, their "Zohor" prayer in the school "surau" (prayer room). But, if they join the "Boy Scout", it is only natural if they are required to wear the Scouts uniform during its activities. Or, when they play football, naturally they would be required to wear shorts and T-shirts. Should they be allowed to wear "jubah" when playing football because it was the practice of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to wear jubah? Following the arguments or learned counsel for the appellants, they should. Certainly, there is a place for everything.

[42] Furthermore, there is nothing to prevent them from changing school, eg, to a "pondok" school that would allow them to wear the turban.

[43] To accept the learned counsel's argument would mean that anybody has a right to do anything, any time, anywhere which he considers to be a practice of his religion, no matter how trivial. The only limit is cl. (5). To me, that cannot be the law.

[44] Coming now to the third factor that in my view, should be considered ie, the circumstances under which the "prohibition" was made.

[45] Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that Malaysia is not the same as a Malay State prior to the coming of the British. She is multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious. It is difficult enough to keep the 14 States together. By any standard, Malaysia's success has been miraculous in terms of unity, peace and prosperity. Whatever other factors that had contributed to it, we cannot ignore the educational system that had helped to mould the minds of Malaysian boys and girls to grow up as Malaysians. Recently, we heard about "polarization" of students at universities not only on racial and religious grounds but also among the Muslim students themselves. The polarization was considered serious and even a dangerous trend. Hence, national service was introduced. Of course, such polarization does not begin the moment the students step into the campus. The seeds were sown and grew while they were in school. Our educationists, with their experience in dealing with students on the ground, should be given some respect and credit when they formulate some regulations applicable in their schools for the general good of all the students, the society and later the nation.

[46] Look at these three appellants. During their formative years, when they should be attending school, studying and playing with other students, obeying the school discipline, respecting their teachers, they were made to spend those years being different from other students, disregard the school regulations, disobey the teachers, rebel against the authorities, just because Syed Ahmad, described by the learned trial judge as "angkuh" wanted the three appellants to wear the turban to school because the turban is his family's emblem!

[47] Considering all these factors, in my judgment, the School Regulations 1997 in so far as it prohibits the students from wearing turban as part of the school uniform during school hours does not contravene the provision of art. 11(1) of the Federal Constitution and therefore is not unconstitutional.

[48] I would dismiss the appeal with costs here and in the courts below and order that the deposit be paid to the respondents to account of taxed costs.

[49] Both the learned President of the Court of Appeal and the learned Chief Judge (Sabah & Sarawak) had read this judgment in draft and agreed with it. The court orders accordingly.

[This case report can be found in the Current Law Journal: [2006] 4 CLJ 1.]

Monday, April 04, 2011


By Francis Frangipane

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).

God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an "unoffendable" heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. An offended heart is endanger of becoming a "heart of stone."

Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully to His warning:

"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

"Many" will "be offended." The result? The love of "many" will grow cold. My prayer is that we will hear His words with holy fear.

When we allow an offense to remain in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. If we do not talk to them, we will begin to talk about them. We betray that relationship, whispering maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins. We may mask our betrayal by saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look back, we see we have spoken negatively to far too many people. Our real goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred are a walk into darkness.

People don't stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones, relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us, and soon we are offended. Or, a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will "endure to the end," we will have to confront the things that bother us.

When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it. Between now and the day you die, there will be major times of offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time right now. Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense!

No one plans on falling away; no one ever says, "Today, I think I'll try to develop a hardened heart of stone." Such things enter our souls through stealth. It is only naiveté that assumes it couldn't happen to us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing or another. Instead of dealing with the offenses, praying about them and turning the issue over to God, they carry the offense in their soul until its weight disables their walk with God. You may be doing fine today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you, demanding you retaliate in the flesh. Will you find more love, and hence, continue your growth toward Christlikeness? Or will you allow that offense to consume your spiritual life?

The Root Of Offense
An offense can strike at our virtues or sins, our values or our pride. It can penetrate and wound any dimension of the soul, both good and evil. I once brought a series of messages about gossip. Most people saw their sin and repented, but a core group of gossips were greatly offended and ultimately left the church. When the Holy Spirit exposes sin in someone's soul, if we refuse the opportunity to repent, we often become offended at the person who brought the teaching. Instead of humbling our hearts, we are outraged at the person who exposed us. Truthfully, most of the time, I have no idea who specifically needs to hear what I'm teaching, but God knows.

Paul told Timothy to "reprove, rebuke, exhort" (see 2 Tim. 4:2). He didn't say, "exhort, exhort, exhort," but exhortation is what we receive in most churches. Certainly, we need to be encouraged, but there are also times, beloved, when we need to be reproved and rebuked. Today, there are preachers who are afraid to preach truth for fear people will react and leave the church. The end result is a church of easily offended people who cannot grow beyond their inability to accept correction.

People don't change by exhortation alone. There are areas in all of us that need to be confronted and disciplined. The pastor who refuses to discipline and correct those in sin is in disobedience to God. He is unable to lead people into any truly transforming changes in their lives; they will not "endure to the end" if they cannot be corrected (see Matt. 24).

We need to become a people who say, "Lord, show me what needs to change in me." I'm talking about growing up. A wise man will receive a rebuke and he will prosper. But a fool rejects his father's discipline (see Prov. 15:5).

Personal Offense
It is often our pride that suffers offense most easily. Pride leads us to expect more than we deserve. Pride is a form of self-worship. God must destroy our pride, and to do so, He will allow offenses to expose what we lack in humility. It is not wrong to expect encouragement for our good works, but we cannot be offended when it doesn't happen in the timing we are expecting.

Years ago when I was a young pastor, I attended a conference where the main leader decided to personally greet each minister and spouse. He greeted the couple on our right and then turned to his staff to ask a question. A moment later he returned, but passed us by and went to the couple on our left. Everyone around us saw we were bypassed. We were embarrassed and offended. But my wife wisely observed that we could allow this thing to hurt us or we could see it as an investment in sensitivity toward other people's feelings. The offense taught us how others feel when they are ignored. Do you see this? You must make that offense become an opportunity to become more Christlike.

The occasions for taking offense are practically endless. Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord's promise is that He's given us a new heart - a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love.

Lord, forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses. Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Days of Elijah

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord
And these are the days of your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
'Prepare ye the way of the Lord!'

Behold, he comes, riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call
Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes.

These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of your servant, David,
Rebuilding the temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in your world
And we are the labourers in your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

There's no god like Jehovah!
There's no god like Jehovah!

Time of Reflection

Ecclesiastes 3
A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

7 Ways to Boost Creativity and Brain Power

Strengthen Your Brain Muscles

Just like your body, you can improve your mental fitness with these simple exercises.

Take a deep breath. Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. Inhale and exhale deeply to improve your physiological and psychological well-being.

Tell a good story. Sharing experiences in a compelling and fun way sharpens your mental recall.

Mix up your routine. Take a different route to work, or sit with your legs crossed opposite the way you normally would. Changing your typical way of doing things tells your brain to wake up and pay attention.

Write. Writing notes, poetry, stories or in a journal helps your memory, clarifies your thinking and engages your creativity.

Laugh. Endorphins released when you laugh lower your stress and can help your long-term health.

Perfect your posture. Try solving a problem while slouching down at your desk versus sitting upright and see how it impacts your outcome. Proper posture improves blood flow to your brain bringing mental clarity and improved memory.

(Source: Seeds of Success)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Five Regrets of the Dying

This is an article from Bronnie Ware, a singer/song writer from Australia. Where is your life heading?

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, but in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

The author's blog can be found here.