Date: Friday, 24th January 2020
Venue: Patio 2 Level 2, Concorde Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Every religious community on earth has to reflect seriously on what it means to live by the norms and practices, the axioms and the rituals of one’s faith. This is because the changes wrought by science and technology with their far-reaching impact upon principles and rules within a religion demand that we raise fundamental questions about how we understand our faith. For instance what we regard as eternal or perennial in our faith and what we consider ephemeral or transient will have to undergo some transformation. Kindness, compassion and love are eternal values in Islam. But how we express love or kindness will not only vary from culture to culture but also from epoch to epoch within the same culture. There is a great deal which is culture-bound or time bound in the practice of Islam which we mistakenly believe are perennial. The negative attitude of some Muslims towards dogs is a case in point. Likewise, the public demonstration of affection between a father and daughter is not a transgression of Islamic ethics — even if it was frowned upon in certain Muslim societies during certain moments in history.