Why Should A Fatwa Affect Non-Muslims?
By Robin Augustin
January 6, 2016
With the Malacca government declaring that they are following a national fatwa in imposing a blanket ban on vaping and the sale of vape products, non-Muslims in the two states must be wondering why an Islamic edict should apply to them.
Perhaps Malacca should have taken a leaf from Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan, who has said there was a need to take into account non-Muslim vapers in deciding on the future of vaping in his state.
A news report has quoted Mohamad as saying that vaping and the trade in vape products were two separate matters.
The declaration that vaping was unlawful to Muslims, he said, did not mean that vape shops had to be closed because that would deny non-Muslim vapers the right of access to vape products.
Mohamad stressed on fairness for all and on the fatwa being a guide for Muslims.
He added that any decision to shut down vape stores would be seen as inconsistent unless other businesses selling haram items were also closed.
Wise words indeed from the Menteri Besar. Why should a fatwa, a guide for Muslims, be the basis for denying the rights of non-Muslims?
Before the fatwa, the Health Ministry had already spoken out against vaping, citing health concerns.
Why didn’t the Kedah and Malacca state governments ban it then? Is the Health Ministry not credible enough that they had to wait for a fatwa? Or are decisions on policies affecting all Malaysians now determined solely on religious considerations?
If this is the case, one has to ask “What’s next?”
There is also a fatwa against tobacco smoking. Are the Kedah and Malacca governments going to ban smoking and the sale of cigarettes?
We have to ask then whether it was really the fatwa that prompted the ban in the two states.