by Asril Zakariah
Recently I was informed by a friend about ‘Sajak Kematian’ and the issues that arises from it. Sajak Kematian is actually video of a pantomime act that try to depict alam barzakh or the life-after-death as generally understood by Muslims in particular during the questioning period right after a person is entombed in his grave.
I searched the internet about this issue and I found out that it was initially brought forth by TV3 Buletin Utama. The news reported about a protest made by some parents, who seem offended with the fact that their child was ‘forced’ to see the video by the school which they are attending. The parents state that the video is too horrific thus unsuitable for consumption of children.
At the time when pornography can be acquired easily. And when students regardless of age are reported to be addicted to porn. Parents seem to make loud protest against ‘Sajak Kematian’ instead of the porn issue. Thus voicing against religious-inclined subject rather than sheer immorality. Aren’t they a bit wayward and misguided in setting their priorities?
Out of curiosity I logged on to youtube and watch the video my self.
The video shows the situation of a dead person within the confine of his own grave. The body is coiled by a huge serpent and writhes in agony, punished for questions he unable to answer. For me, the video is indeed horrific. Horrific in the sense that it inculcates fear in my heart, so chilling that I fear for my own safety in the afterlife. Will I suffer the same fate or be free of it?
The question now is whether primary school children (age between 7-8 years old) should be ‘forced’ to watch such video?
Children during that age can be considered still as having clean souls and I am sure that all of them have not yet attained adulthood (baligh) by which they are still unable to determine good and wrong on their own unless rightly guided by adults.
At this stage, children should be inculcated with the good and rosy side of religion and faith. Stories of benevolence and practical aspects of the faith should be told. It is not wrong to expose them to the fearful reality of the afterlife but being children there is a high possibility that it be misunderstood, unless it can be thoroughly explained. I am of the opinion that the main aim in children religious education is to teach them religious obedience by promoting sincerity in faith rather than compelling them to abide the rules of religion by fear. Sincerity lasts throughout lifetime but fear ceases when the subject is forgotten. That is my liberalist view of course.
Upon further discussion with my best friend (my wife), I realized that in the Quran dwells two aspects that are ancaman and berita gembira. The concept of threat and good news form the base of the Quran. We are obliged to accept Islam thus the scripture as a whole and not to take one part and discard another as we see fit (Al-Baqarah: 208). And this applies to Muslim and Mukmin regardless of age. Children not excluded.
To some extent fear of should be introduced to children during their early years as during this period their brain is like a sponge and can absorbed everything, good or bad. Education coupled with their pristine heart makes it easy for them to develop future attitude. A good education will nurture goodness vice versa.
I marvel the fact children are more likely able to grasp knowledge and understanding about religion, God, dosa and pahala compared to adults. Perhaps their untainted mind facilitates that understanding. For instance, my wife’s niece, Qistina (6 years old) surprisingly has a good understanding of the basic concept of faith (Akidah). If she is warned with dosa (sin) for behaving badly she will retaliate by saying “Nana budak lagi. Takpe buat dosa. Tak masuk neraka”. Yes, she knows how to twist things. And it shows that she understand the concept that for you will be accountable for the things that you have done. And that trait of accountability is somewhat scarce nowadays in both children and adults, especially adults (emphasis added).
To say that children will develop psychological illness after watching such video seems to be a bit overrated. I am sure that the ustaz or ustazah will discuss and elaborate the matter in the way that the children will be able to understand the subject matter. If the children still don’t understand they can always go back home to ask their parents. Parents are obliged to answer, to clarify… unless they themselves do not know how to answer.
All in all, there is nothing wrong to have the video ‘Sajak Kematian’ to be watched, either by children or adults. For children, they must be supervised when watching it. Instead, to adults, I recommend that this video as a must see. See it and ask yourself, “Am I afraid?” If you do then rejoice as at that moment you still have time to set things right, to taubat before all is over.