Only Islam Can Save The Malays

by Saybhan Samat

(September 03, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It appears that the Malay community is coming out fighting to rescue itself from the loss of its culture, language and identity. In the space of weeks two significant event occurred in Colombo to galvanize the community from the impending danger of disintegration and disappearance. At both events moods and flashes of Malays ancestral gallantry spirit and courage were manifested. All this augers well for this small, innovative community who have lived at peace with the other communities of the island from time immemorial.

The first event was the Malay Rally that was held on the 16 and 17 of August at Padang in the Malay Cricket Club grounds. The Sri-Lanka Malay Rally 2008 was built on the theme “united brotherhood.” Malays from all over the island converged at the Padang to pledge solidarity to one another. Twenty four official bodies of Malays from various districts and provinces met to greet each other in bonds of fellowship. The whole exercise was to ensure that Malay identity in the island is safe- guarded and to affirm unity and to protect Malay culture, language and traditional practices from disintegration. Malays also pledged to remind themselves on all occasions of future rallys the sacrifice of their forefathers and to always extend their loyalty to the motherland Sri-Lanka.

The two day rally offered entertainment, knowledge and new acquaintances in a festive atmosphere, to sizzling smells of sumptuous Malay cuisine to the sights of Malay fashions to laughter and entertainment for young and old.

A week after the grand Malay rally organized by the Sri-Lanka Malay Association and the Ceylon Malay Cricket Club at the Padang, the Konferensi Melayu Sri-Lanka (COSLAM) on the 23rd of August held another rally at the Ghafooriya Hall Zahira College Colombo to more specifically promote the use of the Malay language among Malays of the island who are now tending to ignore their language and using Sinhalese, Tamil and English. Mr. T.B. Jayah an outstanding Malay personality who achieved honour, respect and fame was highlighted on this occasion. His success was attributed to his religiosity. The rally which was third in the series of rallies was under the slogan of

“Hari Bahsa Melayu” or Malay Language Day was organized by Malays close to the ordinary Malays at the grass-root level unlike the Malay rally at Padang on 16th and 17th August organized by the more elitist Malays who are somewhat distant from the ordinary poor Malays.

The Konferensi Melayu Sri-Lanka (COSLAM) gives priority to Islam, holds Quranic classes every poya-day, all the ladies adhere to the Islamic dress code and have been extensively engaged in social service activity among the poor Malays in Kirinde, Hambantota. If they adhere to this programme they will no doubt succeed in alleviating the down- trodden, poor Malays and safeguard their identity.

It is noteworthy that Konferessi Melayu Sri-Lanka (COSLAM) awarded generous cash prizes, plaques and shields to the winners of the Malay language competitions that they organized. The cash prizes were donated by distinguished Malays who were more than eager to promote Malay language culture and identity.

The Sri-Lankan Malay Association and the Malay Cricket Club are more cosmetic in their approach to Islam. Only a handful of their women members observe the Islamic dress-code, and they think nothing of getting young ladies unveiled dancing and prancing with their mid-riffs exposed, claiming that it is Malay culture. It may have been Javanees culture when the Malays were Hindus, but Islamic Sharia does not permit such frolics. If the Sri-Lankan Malay Association and the Ceylon Malay Club want to alleviate itself and the Malays they must first of all first of all fear God and obey God and its Prophet(S). The emphasis at the rally at Padang appeared to be more on partying and glitz, such rallies held before have not yielded and alleviation to the organizer or to the poor, down-trodden and unemployed Malays.

The early Malays showed remarkable religious zeal as evinced in the landmarks they have left behind. It is believed that if the Malays follow the pious standards set by their fore fathers they may yet stave off the calamity of loss of identity. Malays have the distinction of having several shrines of their saints in the island. Prominent among them is Tuan Bagoos Balankaya the saint at the shrine of the Grand Mosque, the premier mosque in Colombo. The mosque was originally built by his father Mohammed Balankaya who was Javanese architect. At the height of their commitment to Islam the Malays had 75% of Malays in the Police Force, 90% of the Prison Service, 100% of the Colombo Fire Brigade and many worked at the Hambantota salterns. Noted for their bravery gallantry and courage Malay regiments served in the Dutch and British armies. History notes that even Sinhalese Kings recruited Malays to defend themselves against the invading colonialists.

All Malays should note that success , honour, dignity, respect and happiness will come only by serious adherence to the teachings of Islam and not by ego building, social climbing, glitz and partying.
- Sri Lanka Guardian