It’s hard being dead. Just when you thought that death would bring release from all your worldly problems, you find out that your problems never went away – it just got saddled with other people.
A certain someone passed away recently. You may have read about his passing in the newspaper. You may have read about his towering achievement in conquering a tall mountain with about 10 other courageous people.
You may also have read about the sorry state of affairs that has since followed his recent passing.
I don’t know what this whole saga means to other communities in this country, but I can tell you that among the Indian community here, this is a major issue.
I’m not siding with anyone. If there is anyone to blame here, it’s possibly the deceased – how on Earth he failed to notify his next of kin of his conversion is beyond me.
Can you blame his family for being distraught and angry? The man they thought they knew all these years is now being claimed to have been someone else. They were preparing to bury a member of their family, and now they’re being told they can’t. Naturally, they now believe that some sort of conspiracy is taking place.
On the other hand, the religious authorities have a job to do too. A man who they believe is of their faith has passed on, and therefore should be accorded the last rites as per their faith. It would appear as if they have abandoned their responsibility to their religion and to the millions of fellow believers if they choose to wash their hands of the matter.
The government, on the other hand, is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. They cannot interfere here. They shouldn’t.
So it’s up to the courts now. The Syariah court have made their ruling. The deceased’s family, on the other hand, are trying desperately to stop the body being taken away by going to the High Court. It looks to be a futile effort, given that the Constitution basically leaves all matters pertaining to Islam in the hands of the Syariah court.
Whatever happens, it will and should set a precedent for such future cases. And more importantly, people should be made aware that matters of religion are not to be taken lightly. If you ever decide to convert to another religion, let your family know.
I just hope that matters will be solved amicably and without any trouble.