I received an email from Jo whose sister is the daughter in-law of Gan Eng Gor. We read about Gan’s death and how the family found out that he had converted to Islam.
Please note that I see Islam as a beautiful religion which is sadly abused as a political tool sometimes. So, I have no problem with anyone’s converting to Islam. However, the problem is when a person is converted to Islam, no one in the family will know about it because there is no notification except what is registered in our identity card (which may not be updated). Nothing has been done so far to make it much more systematic.
Once you are over 18 years old you can freely convert to Islam without telling anyone.
Right now, in our country, there have been so many cases which caused those of us who are not Muslims to have that wrong perception that Muslims are out to snatch bodies after their death. I am sure our Muslims brothers and sisters are saddened with this situation as well when we fling all kind of accusations.
One of the reason why this happens is the lack of firm stand by the courts. All the judges in the civil courts do not want to have anything to do with any cases involving Islamic matters. They will pushed it to the Syariah court. Once it is there, non-Muslims have nothing further to say. At the same time, some authorities tend to be over bearing and hence, things get uglier and uglier.
Moreover, the ruling party is using this tool to their benefits. They will seen as champions of the religion, garnering support from Muslims in our country. They could be very faithful to their faith or they are trying to undermine the Islamic party, PAS. Whatever it is, we must remember that our politicians are using religions to be their trump card.
Back to Gan Eng Gor’s case, according to his daughter-in-law, Gan’s eldest son was converted to Islam. Then, upon his death, he made a police report and the bereaved family was told that Gan is a Muslim and hence, his body will be dealt with as a Muslim.
Do you know that if you are a Muslim, you cannot bequeath your properties to your non-Muslims heirs? (food for thought?)
So, if you are the family of Gan’s what do you think you will do? In reality, there is nothing that can be done because legally, Gan is a Muslim. His body has to be buried according to Muslim’s funeral.
And do you think that our Islamic authorities will relent and give the family the proper way to mourn for their deceased father? If you give me the situation to handle, I will say, allow the family of Gan to have a funeral that is void of any funeral rites. No joss-sticks, no prayers but mere time spent in silence. Maybe give them ample time to spend with the deceased before taking the body for burial.
Unfortunately, none of the political parties, both ruling and opposition are going to pause and think of how the family feels. It will be used over and over again as an issue. We are all pawns. The political parties played with our emotions using religion, Allah, God and every thing they can get.
And Gan’s case is not as traumatic as our Everest hero, M. Moorthy. He has a young daughter and his Hindu wife is now worried. M. Moorthy was claimed to convert to Islam when he was in coma in the hospital after an accident. What if some authority one day decided that since M. Moorthy was a Muslim, then, his daughter too should become a Muslim?
Then, there is another case of Subashini. The Islam convert husband and the Hindu wife has a child. Which direction will the child go?
Well, I do not know what I can achieve with this post. However since Jo wrote to me, I shall just paste her email here :
(contents of email has been removed)
I really do not see any solution to this except that we have to be aware of what being a Muslim is like in Malaysia. I can only pray that wisdom will prevails and the Islamic authorities will handle this sensitive case with compassion like how God taught us. If the family cannot perform funeral rites on the late Gan Eng Gor, at least allow them time alone to mourn over the body. As for all the other parties, I hope no one play on the emotions of the bereaved families of Mr. Gan. It is not a matter of fighting. It is important to respect.
For the Muslims, respect Mr. Gan and allow his family to grief. Understand that non-Muslims need time to mourn as we have been brought up to spend time with the deceased before burial/cremation. All the time that Mr. Gan has spent in the morgue is not helping at all.
As for the bereaved family of Mr. Gan, unfortunately, there are legal papers and hence, Mr. Gan is already a Muslim in Malaysia. You have to accept that there are many restrictions with regards to funeral rites. The Muslims usually bury the body very soon after death because their faith taught them that the person has gone to another world and what is left is a body. We have to respect the Muslims faith because it shows their love and belief in God.
For the rest of us, I hope no one point any fingers at the religion. However, note that cases like these are going to appear in future because so long as both ruling and political parties take this as a tool to fight their causes, things will turn ugly. To repeat, the ruling party see this as a good way to undermine the other Islamic party. And the rest of the opposition, they see it as great way to ‘fight’ for the cause.
We are all but pawns.
My condolences to the family of Mr. Gan Eng Gor.
Updated : The body of Gan Eng Gor has been buried as a Muslim and hence, I shall close the comments. Thanks for all the inputs and I hope everyone benefits from looking at both sides of the stories.