Ahmad Fuad bin Abdul Rahman

Ever since I heard of ‘Islam Hadhari’ I was always anxious and determined to find out what kind of ‘animal’ it is. You see, I do not read the mainstream newspapers. Well, not since the Malay Mail splashed across its front page (in a special edition mind you), sometime in the autumn of 1998, about a man having been sodomised 15 times! As history would have it, when it came to the crunch, this man cannot remember even one date on which he was sodomised! Still, even before this fact was established, I had decided that these newspapers have no qualm about lying when it suits their masters. So why bother reading them at all?

You cannot imagine my excitement when you published the “Transcript of the Bernama Interview With the Prime Minister” at this site. There could not be a better way in finding out what the excitement is all about. This is probably even better than listening to the man himself.

Alas, to say that I was disappointed is a massive understatement! The first comment posted on the blog, aptly describes my feeling i.e. “I have wasted precious time reading this article!” I could hardly believe I was reading the transcript of an interview of the very man who is advocating the concept! The points brought forth were so devoid of substance that one cannot believe it was “developed and expanded after much consultation!” Well if it had, then the good PM must take a serious re-look at the credentials of those who he had consulted. Otherwise, I would have to inevitably conclude, that ‘Islam Hadhari’ is simply an ill-conceived ‘label’ to counter PAS. Never mind his denial!

Notwithstanding my reaction, to me the subject is just too serious. It carries with it too much implication to be discounted as just another prime ministerial crap, the likes of which we have seen plenty of over the last 24 years or so. If I had wasted precious time reading it, I feel duty bound to warn Muslims (and non-Muslims too) out there, that this Islam Hadhari rhetoric, IS a waste of time!

Islam Hadhari Defined

The definition given by the PM is outstanding, albeit in its irrelevance! It is either 1) stating the obvious, or, 2) they are just simply non-issues.

To begin with, I am not even certain whether there is such a thing as ‘uncivilised Islam’? (Islam Raj’i?). ‘Uncivilised Muslims’ maybe, but ‘uncivilised Islam’?

This ‘civilisational Islam’ is supposed to be one that “contribute towards human civilisation”, “to be trustworthy”, “to acquire knowledge”, “to become good a person”, “to be developed”, “to be successful”, “not to encourage violence”, “not to quarrel among themselves”, “to live a quality life” and so on and so forth. The good PM, I am afraid, is merely stating the obvious. I shall not even attempt to convince him that Islam, (Just Islam! No Hadhari!) is all those that he mentioned (and more!), as doing so would surely be an insult to his intelligence and (I am told) his profound knowledge of the Deen. (I am also told) that the good PM is all too aware that the proofs are all over the Quraan and the Hadis of Muhammad RasulAllah (SAW).

If ‘Islam Hadhari’ aims “to bring about a change in our mindset, in our attitude”, then this is the concept of “ISLAH” (reform). If it is “making a shift from a less developed position to a developed level”, then, this is “HIJRAH”. Re-branding Islam, Sir, does nothing but confuse the average Muslim and Muslimat even more.

Then he worries “that we hear the Western world saying that Islam encourages violence”. He worries that “people are observing us and our country”. And he also worries (he does worry a lot, doesn’t he?) “whether these principles are contrary to Hinduism or Buddhism or any other”. But really, these are non-issues. And I shall say why later in this piece.

Is it then still Islam Hadhari that we need?

NO! Obviously.

Any mid-level student in Islamic knowledge will attest that Islam, being a way of life, encompasses a three dimensional (if you like) approach to anything and everything. These are:
1) Aqeedah, or tauheed, or the Oneness of Allah. That “all Jinns and Man were created to be subservient to Him and Him alone”
2) Muamalat, or syari’ah or the dos and don’ts in everyday life. This includes the rituals like solat and fasting, hudud, qisas, thalaq, international politics, and,
3) Akhlaq, or behaviour or character

It is worth a mention that 2 & 3 above cover both our relationship with our Creator (hablum minAllah) as well as our relationship with our fellow beings (hablum minan Nas). This will then render ALL the examples given by the good PM as, stating the obvious, because all that he has put forth are covered in these two “dimensions”. What the westerners say, whether others are observing us or whether the principles contradict the other religions are non issues as, Allah says,

“…….To you be your religion, and to me my religion.” [al-Kafirun (109):6].

However, (lest we stray) always mindful of Allah’s reminder,

“Oh mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is that (believer) who has at-TAQWA. Verily, Allah is All Knowing, All Aware.” [al-Hujurat (49):13]

If Allah Himself has laid down as to who is the “most honourable of you”, does it really matter “what the western world are saying”? Irrelevant? Agreed?

If not Islam Hadhari, What then?

I am amazed. The good PM have made but the briefest of mention of the first dimension of a Muslim’s life, i.e. AQEEDAH TAUHID! There was only but one mention of “faith” and one mention of “piety”. Whereas it is this dimension that is the core as to what, being a Mukmin is all about, and what (I believe) “Islam Hadhari” seek to achieve, i.e. “faith” (or iman) and “piety” (or taqwa). I am amazed! I really am!

I am saying, with full conviction, that Muslims, by and large, possess an aqeedah that is at best, flimsy, vulnerable, unconvincing and perpetually swaying like the palms on a cyclone-hit beach! And if one had to identify one factor that makes this is so, yes, it is KNOWLEDGE, or rather the lack of it. And no, it is not about the economy, the sciences, culture, conservation etc that I am referring to. It is the knowledge on aqeedah that present-day Muslims are so very deprived of! Muhammad RasulAllah (SAW) spent 12 years (out of his 23 years propagating The Deen) on nothing else BUT aqeedah! I shall say no more of its importance!

Consider these:

  • A trustworthy man without the proper grasp on aqeedah, will only be trustworthy when no one is looking.
  • Quality living without proper grasp on aqeedah might mean wine, women and songs
  • Knowledge in the mining of gold (or oil) without the proper grasp on aqeedah might mean the wealth derived is only for the privileged few.
  • Towering personalities without the proper grasp on aqeedah could mean corrupt, despotic and hypocritical (but wealthy) individuals.
  • Religion without the proper grasp on aqeedah is the very reason why most drug addicts in the country are Malay (Muslims).
  • Development “everywhere” without the proper grasp on aqeedah might mean more places where “decency” is redefined.
  • Giving assistance without the proper grasp on aqeedah (like the door-sized cheques presentation) might give rise to syirik.

The list can go on and on……..

Oh, one last thing Mr. PM Sir, there is this small matter of interpretation of the term “SUCCESS”. According to The Quraan, “success” means those who:

  1. offer prayers with all solemnity and full submissiveness;
  2. turn away from al-Laghaw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood);
  3. pay zakat;
  4. guards their chastity except from their wives. Other than that, they are transgressors;
  5. are faithfully true to their trusts and covenants;
  6. strictly guard their prayers (at fixed stated hours).

Are we all talking of the same “SUCCESS” here?