Sunday, September 15, 2013

Getting Officially Muslim


Whenever someone who register his/her reversion to Islam at Department Of Islamic Affairs, they will be issued an Islam Card that stated:

  • Original Name 
  • Muslim Name
  • Date Of Embrace Islam 
  • Identity Card Number

The reverted Muslim must be bring along the Islam Card wherever they go, especially when dealing with Islamic matters like marriage, register Hajj, request Zakat and even Islamic burial. These Islam Cards are issued by local state Islamic Department, which is not centralized and different design of card Islam from each state.

According to the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim in Sinar Harian, she explained that Reverted Muslim isn’t compulsory to change their name and religion status in the identity card. This is due to every registered Muslim will be given an Islam Card as a proof of their religion status. “They are only encouraged to update their identity card with Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara Malaysia (National Registration Department Of Malaysia)” She added, “There is certain Muallaf don’t want to change their identity card’s details for safety reason and also hide their Islam status from family members.”

Islam Card is different from each states, although Selangor is so close with Kuala Lumpur.
Specially thanks Muhammad Fahmi Mike and Mohd Yusof Foo for their sharing. 

Islam is under the Malaysian federal constitution, Article 3 (1):
Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and
harmony in any part of the Federation.

Therefore, Malaysia identity card stated “Islam” status for every born Muslim and left blank for Non-Muslim no matter what is their belief among religions or atheist. I myself updated my identity card’s name and religion status right after 2 months of reversion, as I feel excited to be Muslim “Officially”. This is kind of awkward that whenever I have to show both of my identity card and Islam card, “Well… This is my non-Muslim identity card, while this Islam card will tell you the reason I’m here and that’s why.” The only fuss is I can’t change my home address after I had done my identity card details, the officer explained that they couldn’t simply change it without a valid electricity or water bill. This matter was frustrating because I still didn’t own a house to get myself any bill. Therefore JPN send out the notice letter to my parent house and congrats me. Well done, you just got a new IC with ISLAM status!! (Alhamdulillah the letter wasn’t opened by any family members)

Once IC updated with new name, I went to update my driving license card, bank account, EPF, almost every official document except my education certificate and birth certificate. Make sure my IC name and number is linked with every related document. 

Identity Card's name unchanged and update "Islam" status

Islam Name is same as Original Name, special request ...

Written date of embrace Islam at behind of Islam Card

As I chat with Chong Kok Hoong AKA Mr. Red Hat via skype, he told me that he was registering new IC with JPN, what most interesting is he retains his original name and updated “Islam” status. As he said : 

Before I officially reverted with Shahada, I had did some research on Islamophobia, and reverts’ challenges before. Among the articles I read, I notice the notion of “Masuk Melayu (Becoming Malay)” is so prevalent among non-Muslim Chinese community. That made me determined to do something. One of it is to retain my full Chinese name, after I found out that reverts can actually retain their names if it has good meaning. Through reading articles like “Lim Jooi Soon selesa guna nama asal” and other related youtube videos. Thus, with my fully retained name, I hope it can be a “walking Da’wah” to my yet-to-be Muslim Chinese community.

However, the main point here is not about informing them regarding this name-retaining, but to create the awareness that name-changing is optional and NOT compulsory. From there, I can da’wah more to them by giving facts from Prophet’s companions and proofs in Islamic scriptures.

Aside Chong Kok Hoong “walking Da’wah”, I am also observing on few cases about Reverted Muslim being deny their Islam status by family members while passed away. Perhaps they are Underground Muslim who still didn’t declare their reversion or being deny their Islam status, family members might argue with Religion Department’s officer while they come to manage the funeral in Islamic way. Excuses given by family members like no sign of the deceased become Muslim while alive, the card Islam isn’t authentic, the signature on reversion document is different… I may assume that update Islam status on IC might be convincible proof for reverted Muslim to deal with official matters including at the day he/she passed away one day.

As I stated above about Islam card isn't centralised like IC, the registration of Islam status isn’t known by other states. Which mean if I move out from the Perak state where I registered as Muslim, other state can’t trace my Islam status except Perak state. Even if reverted Muslim want to request the help of Zakat or alms-giving, eventually they need go back to the state they registered to proceed with the official Zakat procedure. Hence register a new IC is just like an “life insurance” to declare our Islam identity, especially register marriage with Muslim partner and burial procedure. IC is a strong proof for declaration of Islam without getting interrupted by any NGO and people. Although it might be challenging for underground Muslim to struggle with community and family perspective, living the life of Officially Muslim.   

Perhaps there are certain readers questioning my intention of change my IC. This is not surprising because our country is living with frightening media about IC issue, like corpse getting snatched, can’t get out from Islam religion, unable to live as usual (non-muslim lifestyle). Media focus too much upon controversy cases without realize that there are more and more reverted Muslim choose their path towards Islam without threatened by anyone. Even if someone isn’t registered a new IC or Islam Card either, he still able to live his life as any Muslim since recited Shadahah, which mean :

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Registration is just a procedure to ease reverted Muslim deal with Government Department, it doesn’t mean someone who lives at China secularism government may unable to live as Muslim due to no official application form available! As we may learn from this history : 
All this is clearly understood in the beautiful story where our Blessed Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, got upset with Usamah ibn Zaid, the beloved, the son of the beloved (he was named this because the Prophet, peace be upon him, loved him greatly).
Usamah was out on the battle field fighting the enemy. During the heat of the battle one of the enemies slipped and fell, so Usamah lifted his sword to strike him. Immediately the enemy shouted out “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul-lullah,” yet, Usamah struck and killed the man anyway. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, heard of this and began to greatly blame and censure Usamah saying, “Did you kill him after he said it (the Shahadah)!?”  Usamah replied, “Oh Messenger of Allah, he only said it out of fear of the sword.”
Did you look into his heart?! Oh Usamah,” replied the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. This same kafir may have killed many Muslims on that day, and he was in the act of fighting against the Muslims, yet, as soon as he said the Shahadah, even if it was in hypocrisy, and Usamah didn’t refrain himself and killed him, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, became very upset.
The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, continued to blame Usamah about what he did for the rest of the day, until Usamah said, “I wish that I became a Muslim after this day” (meaning that he wished that the event never even happened and that he could have a fresh start in Islam).
http://www.shariahprogram.ca/articles/Jihad-Habib-Jifry.shtml

 The controversy of Islam status on IC getting aroused with the case of Lina Joy, as stated in Reuters: 
(Reuters) - Malaysia's best known Christian convert, Lina Joy, lost a six-year battle on Wednesday to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card, after the country's highest court rejected the change.
The three-judge appeal bench ruled 2-1 against Joy. The dissenting judge, the only non-Muslim on the bench, said the department responsible for issuing identity cards should have complied with Joy's request to remove "Islam" from her card.
He accused the National Registration Department of abusing its powers. "In my view, this is tantamount to unequal treatment under the law. She is entitled to an IC where the word Islam does not appear," dissenting Judge Richard Malanjum said.
Lina Joy, 43, was born Azlina Jailani and was brought up as a Muslim, but at the age of 26 decided to become a Christian. She wants to marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, but she cannot do so while her identity card declares her to me Muslim. 
In 1999, the registration department allowed her to change the name in her identity card to Lina Joy but the entry for her religion remained "Islam".
http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/05/30/us-malaysia-religion-ruling-idUSSP20856820070530


I have no comment about apostasy of Lina Joy, just want to share how Malaysia Identity Card is being debate over religions organisation. So far there are no issue of non-muslim facing problem while register themselves as Muslim, no matter retain original name or not, is often overlooked by most people. Community still unaware the increasing numbers of non-muslim embrace Islam but condemn a few apostasy cases regarding wipe out "Islam" status on IC issue.

Faith matter needs no registration, as Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) fully understand His servant’s heart. Getting official registered is our declaration as Muslim, also what every underground Muslim dream of everyday. 



Where there's a will, there's a way, Insha'Allah.


p.s. There's one of the comments capture my attention below this article :

last month, i met a muallaf who was travelling from Perlis to Penang. He got involved in an accident,and broke both his arms and a leg. He came all the way from Perlis to Penang to apply for help from the Penang Zakat Department. Unfortunately he was refused as his ic address showed that he is from Perlis despite his reversion in Penang. Since he had no money to travel back to Perlis,he had to sleep at the nearby mosque for few days. He did as for the Zakat Department for assistance for the bus fee but they asked him to wait for another days. Poor man. Had to sleep at mosque and havent had food for a day when i met him. I gave him some money for his bus and taxu fares. What i am dissapointed the most is, why the zakat department refused to help him. Although it is Penang Zakat,they should have helped because the money is from Muslim,no matter where they get it from. I really hope that the zakat department will be centralized one day in order to be more efficient in helping fellow Muslim whose in need.

16 comments:

  1. Assalamualaikum,
    Alhamdulillah...finally our brothers and sisters in Malaysia have come to this stage...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walaikumsalam. Alhamdulillah, most of the brothers and sisters is struggling to be officially Muslim..

      Delete
  2. Assalamualaikum wbt..good effort of da'wah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walaikumsalam wbt, thank you.. I'm just sharing few experience as reverted muslim.

      Delete
  3. last month, i met a muallaf who was travelling from Perlis to Penang. He got involved in an accident,and broke both his arms and a leg. He came all the way from Perlis to Penang to apply for help from the Penang Zakat Department. Unfortunately he was refused as his ic address showed that he is from Perlis despite his reversion in Penang. Since he had no money to travel back to Perlis,he had to sleep at the nearby mosque for few days. He did as for the Zakat Department for assistance for the bus fee but they asked him to wait for another days. Poor man. Had to sleep at mosque and havent had food for a day when i met him. I gave him some money for his bus and taxu fares. What i am dissapointed the most is, why the zakat department refused to help him. Although it is Penang Zakat,they should have helped because the money is from Muslim,no matter where they get it from. I really hope that the zakat department will be centralized one day in order to be more efficient in helping fellow Muslim whose in need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard of a few cases about Zakat, most of the reverted Muslim don't get benefit from it unless they go back to the state they registered.

      Although I never ask for any Zakat, I still hope that Government may centralize the Zakat and Muslim Registration to ease our future muslim. I wonder how is the muallaf now, can I get his contact number?

      Delete
    2. Im sorry. I was in hurry and didnt manage to get his no. I really hope that he will get help. Feel sorry for him and guilty as i was not capable of helping him more.

      Delete
  4. Salam... would like to recommend to you great lectures by Brother Nouman Ali Khan on youtube ...can search by his name and quran weekly. May Allah bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walaikumsalam, thank you for your sharing.. I feel interested with his way of giving lecture, informative..

      Delete
  5. I am not surprised about the zakat money issue, I was homeless and jobless not to mention I was very ill when I was at the early stage of reversion to Islam, I was not able to get zakat because i just reverted and had insufficient document to apply for it. Went to Majlis Agama Islam Selangor with the imam whom I took the syahadah with and waited for more than 3 hours and was given RM200 by a very rude vicious looking Malay counter staff who just placed the money on the table roughly and slide the money towards me. I had to hold my tears at that point of time while bearing in mind that I need to be patient in facing all this circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps Pusat Zakat should put more concern on those who really need help..

      Delete
  6. Alhamdulillah we have come this far. Glad to know we are making it easier for our Malaysian brothers and sisters who wish to revert. Maintaining kinship with blood relatives is indeed important as a muslim. Not forgetting keeping ones culture & heritage which aligned with Islamic disciplines is equally important in maintaining blood ties. Myself being born with Malay - Teo Chew father and Indian Muslim - Malay mother, feels a great loss, losing my Teo Chew & Indian heritage - because those days everything is 'Malaynised' :(. My Teo Chew grandma was disowned by her family after her reversion. My Indian grandpa left Kerala, India when he was barely 14 yrs old. It's sad to know that i have Chinese & Indian relatives but I lost them :( Insha Allah with this new measures, we will welcome all Malaysian reverts with open mind and open heart. Islam belongs to all races and Islam is indeed universal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what I learn with unofficial history, yes there were a lot chinese and indian who embrace Islam long ago at Malaysia. Even the China Muslim became traders. But slowly the community turning into only one race, Malay... although they might inherited from interracial marriage.

      This is an interesting issue that I hope it might become my upcoming blog article..

      Delete
  7. SubhanAllah and Alhamdulillah,

    Ikhwan Ng and my other newly reverted Moslem sisters and brothers. No matter how hard your struggling to be officially Muslim... just remember that this is one of the tests from Allah swt.

    Sesungguhnya dugaan itu meningkatkan darjat seseorang hamba (sekiranya dia bersabar dan redho dengan dugaan tersebut).

    InsyaAllah kita cuba perbaiki agama yang mulia ini sebaik mungkin dari setiap penjuru.





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a reverted Muslim, we must share the challenges to be official Muslim and how to deal with it. InshaAllah there will be more non muslim feeling interested to the beauty of Islam. No force needed because the truth is clearly seen by everyone. :)

      Delete

Assalamualaikum wbt and welcome to my blog...
May contact me via 012-3979998 or email lifemualaf@gmail.com if you have any private message.

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