Alarm bells in Malaysia over club spreading polygamy

September 23rd, 2009 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 23 (IANS) Emergence of a club that advocates polygamy has set alarm bells ringing in Malaysia where the top clergy sees it as a ‘front’ for an armed outfit that preached ‘deviant’ Islam till it was banned in 1994.
Ikhwan Polygamy Club urges all Muslim women to keep an open mind about polygamous marriages.

“Polygamy is the most practical approach, an effective cure to a woman’s desire,” says Hatija Aam, second wife of Ashari Mohammed, who was also one of the leaders of the former Al-Arqam that was banned for being a cult preaching ‘deviation’ in Islamic practices.

She proposes polygamy “as an alternative to those who practise free sex” and also invites prostitutes to join the movement since it wants to “free everyone”.

Polygamy is permitted for Muslims who are the majority population in Malaysia, but it remains a subject of animated debate.

Opened last month, the club is managed by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, a corporate body.

Its emergence, however, is viewed by the government as an attempt to revive the banned outfit.

Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said it was founder Ashari Mohammed’s “modus operandi to use a front in an attempt to breathe new life into the proscribed deviant sect”.

“We view the existence of the club as proof of Ashari’s Al-Arqam.

“Believers of the ajaran sesat (deviant teachings) feel they need continuity so they are trying everything to get new members,” he told the New Straits Times Wednesday.

“The name and the packaging may be different, but the people leading it are the same ones behind the banned Al-Arqam movement,” Zabidi Mohammed, a former legal advisor of the banned Al-Arqam told The Star newspaper .

He said the home ministry and the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) should embark on a pro-active stance to curb the club’s activities before things get out of control.

Ashari, who is referred to as Abuya (father in Arabic), founded Al-Arqam in 1969.

At its height in the 1990s, the Al-Arqam, with 10,000 members globally, was likened to the communist threats that Malaysia eliminated in the 1960s.

The government banned it in October 1994 with the National Fatwa Council issuing a fatwa against Al-Arqam for its deviant teachings.

Extolling on the virtues of polygamy, Hatija Aam told New Straits Times that this was “because a woman had nine nafsu (internal desires) and one intellect whereas men had nine intellect and only one nafsu.

“When women are upset, they make a lot of noise, but men don’t. The emotional nature of women makes them broadcast their problems. They rant and rave.

“Because this is their character, God allowed polygamy to challenge women to control their desires,” said Hatija.

“A woman when left to her desires becomes very dangerous like a tiger. In fact, even fiercer than that. If the world is left to women, we will be open to continuous war.”

Polygamy, said Hatija, would ensure that women were not controlled by their nafsu.

“When I feel sad that my husband is with another wife, he (my husband) will remind me that the pain God bestows upon us is a way to eradicate our sins.

“The husband is the leader who saves women from being consumed by their desires. There is a verse in the Quran which says that if the nafsu are not controlled, then ‘nafsu itu akan menjadi Tuhan’ (the desires will become God),” she warned.

Ashari has 38 children, eight of them with Hatija. Twenty-three of the children are in polygamous marriages.

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