I am perplexed with Nicholas Chan’s analysis (or hypothesis?) in his article entitled “Malaysia’s Muslim Brotherhood” (http://penanginstitute.org/ v3/resources/articles/opinion/ 470-malaysias-muslim- brotherhood-nicholas-chan). What are actually Mr. Chan’s concerns?
1. Is it UMNO using Islam to sustain their influence and reign?
2. Or, is it the Islamization processes itself, i.e. society and rulers becoming more learned on Islam and they wanted to implement Islam in full swing as way of life, including politics, social, education, economy, foreign policies, etc?
I would be as concerned as Mr. Chan if UMNO is moving towards adopting the “Taliban-style” for administration and law enforcement, or in other words taking the narrow and partial definition of Islam.
I would be as anxious as Mr. Chan if what he meant in the article as misusing Islam to cover up improper governance as well as to sustain reign& power. It is not only UMNO that I am worried about, if narrow context of Islam is adopted. I would also have the same worry for PAS, PKR, DAP and the world should they depict Islam in a way it will be misunderstood.
If Mr. Chan’s concern means the true Islamization processes in its true & impartial definition, I hope Mr. Chan would study a little bit further on Islam before concluding that Islam is a frightening dogma. I shall assume that Mr. Chan has yet to understand Islam in its full and complete character. I shall also assume that Mr. Chan has yet to study in full the world’s existed civilizations and the comparison for each one of them. I shall also assume that Mr. Chan is in deep despair of the current condition of the nation and the world, and postulated that the comprehensive solution for mankind is yet to be formulated.
This article will elaborate more on the second point.
ISLAM & HUMANITY
Most people doubt that history could be repeated, as we have not seen Egypt, Roman, Greek, Han of China, and neither British Empire able to repeat their olden times glory. One of the disability of these once great civilizations is, neither of them has a consistent core principle that can justify their existence further. Europe for instance, from the dark age of feudal and domination of Church Institution, they transformed into the secular Renaissance (thanks to the Abbasside Islamic Empire who inspired 2/3 of the world during that time).
Capitalism was then born which was to add values to their initial God-detached ideology of humanism. From capitalism they have turned themselves into material and industrial driven society. There they wage their colonization initiatives or revolutions, or in their softer term, Enlightenment. But when capitalism appeared fail to favor certain levels of society; socialism took place and henceforth communism. And after steering a very long journey of trial and error of fixing human needs, the West started to go back to basic, where industrial greed do not satisfy the humanity. And now it is fixing the damaged clock phase.
Let’s touch a simple principle such as humanity.
“There was a time when superiority of blood and clan was accepted as a matter of fact. The Holy Qur’an quotes the belief then held by the Jews and Christian in these words: The Jews and the Christians (Children of Israel) say: We are the children of God, His loved ones. (Al-Ma’ida: 18). The Pharaohs of Egypt claimed themselves to be the incarnation of Ra, the Sun God, while India had several ruling families who arrogated themselves as the progeny of the sun (suryavansi) or the moon (chandravansi). The Emperors of Iran called themselves Kesra or Chosroes meaning that Divine blood flowed in their veins. Chosroes II (Khosrau Parvez) even lavished himself with the grandiose title: “The Immortal soul among the gods and peerless God among human beings; glorious is whose name; dawning with the sun-rise and light of the dark-eyed night.
The Caesars of Rome were called ‘Augustus’ meaning majestic, venerable, since they were entitled to receive divine honours23. Chinese rulers deemed themselves to be the sons of Heavens. They believed that the Heaven was their God, who, with his spouse, the goddess earth, had given birth to human beings and Pau Ku, the Chinese Emperor, was the first born son of Heaven enjoying supernatural powers24. The Arabs were so proud of their language that every nation besides their own was an ‘ajami or dumb to them. Likewise, the Quraysh tribe of Makkah, conscious of maintaining their superiority, claimed a privileged position even during Hajj. They never went to the Plain of ‘Arafat with others. They stayed at Makkah or went to Muzdalifa claiming that privilege on the grounds that they belonged to the House of God. They also claimed themselves to be the elite of Arabia.” (Abu Hasan Ali Nadwi, Islam & Civilization)
Islam was the only civilization that adopts the basic need of humankind, i.e. humanity, where all equal, regardless race, skin color, language and place of origin. Hard works deserve pay, but not to abandon the weaker and less fortunate. The riches of the nations are meant to be shared; not to be pooled to serve certain crowd. Initiatives and effort to improve human life deserve reward, but not to abandon the Divine guideline and values as prescribed by Allah The most honored amongst the mankind are with the best characters and the most faithful to God. Justice in Islam encompass everyone, it has taught that nobody shall be exempted from punishment even if the person is the child of a Prophet. Those who absconded from punishment in this world will never get away from more severe punishments in Hereafter.
Islam has declared human rights way earlier than The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 1 mentioned, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So, why Islam is blamed for inhumanities happening in this world? Inhumanity is the disease for the mankind’s heart. It has no religion and it afflicts greedy people.
Some people like Nicholas Chan who fear the “Islamization” process in Malaysia which may include deterring of LGBTQ practice, banning of alcohol and night clubs, shutting down gambling centers and prevent ladies to participate in beauty contest, imposing strict dress code and even using jawi writing for signboards.
I would like to emphasize an issue for example, basic need of humanity, i.e. home – An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 2005, and guess what, handful list of so called developed countries, non-Muslim majority and non-Muslim ruled countries were not spared from the homelessness issue. Was it due to Islamization process adopted by these countries?
My point is, it is wrong to place the guilt to an unproven accused. Where is it in Islam that endorses this situation to happen?
LGBTQ activists and practitioners justifying their rights to express their sexual orientation and marital preference in whatever manner they like. They use human rights to legalize their actions. Peter S. Sprigg who is the Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. wrote a comprehensive article on top ten harms of same-sex marriage, including some immediate effects which are “taxpayers, consumers, and businesses would be forced to subsidize homosexual relationships”, “schools would teach that homosexual relationships are identical to heterosexual ones” and “freedom of conscience and religious liberty would be threatened”, and the rest are the longer-term effects that basically affect the establishment of family institutions in society, including fall in birth rates, children grow up motherless or fatherless and less faithful relationship. One does not need to blame Islamization process if Malaysia denounces LGBTQ culture; enough with having a little of human conscience to reject the immoral philosophy.
Numerous studies, research and facts show that alcohol consumption post greater risk to human being compared to benefits. Underage drinking, domestic violence, traffic crashes, cancer, digestive diseases, cardiovascular diseases, addiction-related mental disorders are not acceptable in any sense. Again, one does not need to blame Islamization process if Malaysia denounces alcohol; enough to have a little love to your own body, family members and friends to reject alcohol consumption.
Institute of Ontario has highlighted on the impact of gambling in society, which includes, monetary impact where gambling may lead to savings, property and belongings lost. Family members may also isolate the gambler due to feeling scared, angry and betrayed.“Many partners of those with gambling problems do not want to be emotionally or physically close with the person who has hurt them. Family members may avoid other people, because they feel ashamed. This makes it hard to get love and support. “ Physical and mental health for the gamblers as well as their family members, which includes anxiety, depression and stress-related problems such as poor sleep, ulcers, bowel problems, headaches and muscle pains.
Another impact of gambling towards children of the gambler is lack of attention, feeling depressed and angry towards their parent or caregiver who has a gambling problem. The worst case which sounds so familiar in Malaysia, physical and emotional abuse, be it at street and even at home. ? Again, one does not need to blame Islamization process if Malaysia disapproved gambling; enough to think of the future of our own family and the feeling of our loved ones and dependents to cast-off gambling from our society.
We have to agree that mankind has consistently going through trial and error to create a balanced living system formula. For example, even with the thirty articles UDHR put in place, we can see that “Human Rights” definition are used to justify actions of moral defiant people or groups, as well as to serve parties who have greed of power. What happened to this declaration when it is needed to be utilized most, especially to places where clear evidence of continuous oppressions occurred?
I believe Nicholas Chan has been anxious about “Islamization” by Western definition or what have been proliferated by mainstream Zionist controlled media, i.e. Islam equals to terrorism and extremism. I believe that he also has overlooked flowing evidence, academic debates, fair discussions and historical achievements which prove otherwise.
How could Nicholas Chan assure that the world would be in more harmony without Islam put in place in every aspect of life; when even currently without Islamic system the world is already in discord? He is too fast to post a conclusion.
What about other issues like the highly debt-ed and bankruptcy of some European countries? Closing down of the U.S government and hundreds thousand lost their bread? What about “help” from IMF which later afflict the borrower countries with long term debt no matter how hard they tried to pay? What about interest driven profit making of capitalist financial institution? What about the anti-establishment of proper family institution in the Western society? What about children labor in heavily industrial driven China? What about subjugation of women’s real identity and reduced women roles to face and breast?
Is the answer to all questions above is “Islamization” processes?
In reality, mankind who adopts a rationale way of living that embraces moral values could not agree more with values as existed in Islam.
LOOKING FOR SOLUTION
We have been desperately wanted to speak English than our national language. We have been frantically wanted to escape the agriculture-based country notion to an industrial and developed country. We have changed our admiration to women dispatched for professions rather than the homemakers. We are looking for foreign investments and reaching out so-called collaboration from other countries rather than trying to build a nation with independent economy. We have reduced the role of our traditional garments to festival and formal occasions. And even some of us have named their children with Western names rather than traditional ones.
All in the name of advancement and progress.
The West has gone through almost complete life cycle of the “humanism civilization”, solution after solution introduced, now they are doing soul-searching and looking for more values and substance as well as sustainability rather than material driven living system.
Why does Malaysia need to take directions following the West’s steps which they previously (or currently) doom to fail?
BN’s with 1 Malaysia, PR with Buku Jingga, and other parties and bodies are proposing their solutions as well. Are all these proven? Or, it is just another trial and error?
In Islam, there are six “maqasid”or foundational goals which are preservation of faith, life, lineage, intellect, property and dignity.
I believe for a sane person of any religion (including atheist), would reject any form damage to human and hence unswervingly sharing the same foundational goals with an Islamic system; i.e. intellectual, or safety & security, or personal belongings & property, or kinfolk & offspring, or self-esteem & dignity as well as faith & belief.
For every decade or less, mankind has proposed system and solution to accomplish these. And no other human civilization in history had ever made it, except for one, i.e. Islamic civilization.
Why we did not follow the tested solution that has been implemented in the past?
Briffault wrote in “The Making of Humanity”: “the debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries of revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence.” (London, 1928, pp. 200-201). This article referred to the Arabs who were under the influence of Islam (the Abbasside Empire). El Diwani’s in her brief research of “Islamic Contribution to The West” has listed abundance of evidence of how the West and even Christianity owed to Islam on their development, progress and value adding process since medieval period, though many European scholars unwillingly recognize Islamic achievements or “do it with prejudice against the Arabs”.
El Diwani wrote in her conclusion, “The West has generally maintained a conspiracy of silence regarding its medieval rejuvenation through Islamicization (the imitative-innovative assimilation of Islamic culture by non-Muslims – Islamization being the adoption of ideal Islamic culture and religion in the behavioral culture).”
The manufacturer of a car would know the trouble shooting of the models it produces the same goes to human being. We need to return back to the “manufacturer” of the universe, refer back to the manual of restoring the living system in the world. And God has shown us through the complete living example of Prophet Muhammad and the guided generations. As for the non-Muslims, if you do not believe in Allah and Prophet Muhammad, you need to believe the facts from the world past account then. Or else, ask why Harvard, Oxford and other great learning institutions of the world bother to study Islam and civilization to begin with. And in fact, even most Western countries, including the predominant ones like America & England established centers of Islamic studies, or centers of understanding Islam, et cetera, for some good reasons.
THE WORLD IS AT FORFEITURE WITHOUT ISLAMIC SYSTEM
“Humanity has many sides —physical, emotional, social, moral, mental and spiritual. We cannot neglect any one of them for the benefit of another. Humanity cannot progress to its highest level unless every human instinct is brought into proper play. It would be futile to hope for the establishment of a healthy human society till an intellectual, material, moral and spiritual environment is created in which a man is enabled to develop his latent potentialities in harmony with God’s plan of creation. We learn from experience that this goal must remain a dream so long as the reins of civilization are not held by those who attach due importance to both the material and the spiritual yearnings of life, and can, together with having a high moral and spiritual sense, fitly appreciate the claims of flesh and blood upon man and the interrelationship between the individual and the society.” Abu al-Ĥasan `Alī Nadwī ( Islam and the World, pp. 75-78).
Hence I would like to call Nicholas Chan and his alike to correct their view of “Islamization” process. It is not a barbaric move; neither denounces progress nor stealing human rights. Let us see the values that are in Islam, as a common goal that are not that hard to be accepted and shared except for those whose driving force is greed and lust.
The writer is a senior engineer in a multinational oil & gas company, who serves the community through Ikatan Muslimin Malayisa (ISMA). She can be contacted through e-mail at [email protected]