July 28, 2007

That Islamic State Issue

Posted in Malaysia, Religion at 1:52 am by egalitaria

I suppose I must tread carefully here. But I merely want to analyse and not conclude.

There are two kinds of reasoning, inductive and deductive. The first is where we look at evidence, and based upon these, draw a conclusion. For example, we might look at all kinds of trees and see leaves, and that these leaves happen to all be green in colour. We would induce that all trees have leaves that are green. On the other hand, deductive reasoning comes from a given rule or principle. Wikipedia: Where the conclusion is necessitated by previously known premises. For example, “all trees have leaves”, and “all leaves are green”, so therefore we deduce that all trees have green leaves.

Thinking about whether or not Malaysia is an Islamic state, I spoke to a friend last night that much of the tussle and debate is centred upon different interpretations of the phrase, and the fact that different parties are coming to different conclusions through different reasoning methods.

Someone who pronounces a country as an Islamic state may be doing so either through inductive or deductive reasoning. Depending on how WE want to individually interpret this will determine how we will react.

If we consider this to be a pronouncement made through deductive reasoning, we may be a little worried. Again, this depends upon (much like those probability trees we used to draw at school during Additional Math) whether it is made from a legal perspective or not. If it is, then we may be a little more worried because these carry legal implications. If not, then it is a cultural and societal issue – and although I have no problems with this, it may be wrongly used as a political tool.

If we consider this to be an announcement made through inductive reasoning, we have less to be worried about – to me anyway – because it is merely reflective upon the values and cultural practices that are already well in place within the system. Based on examples, an induction that we are an Islamic… country, state, nation, whichever you want to call it, is not as far fetched as we’d imagine it to be. Note: again there need to be distinctions made between what is a legal term and not, and politicians who don’t necessarily know implications of legal vs. sociological term should refrain from making statements before they know what hit them.

I think many Malaysians would be comfortable saying that we are Islamic. This includes me. But to conclude we are an Islamic State is not a completely accepted view.

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