Forging Unity through a Benevolent State

Muktamar 58

(Harakah Daily) — The following is translation of the full text of the presidential address at the 58th PAS Muktamar held in Kota Bharu, November 16, 2012.

1. The Honourable Permanent Chairman, Mursyidul Am, Deputy Mursyidul Am, members of the Shura Council, the Deputy President, Vice Presidents, Chairpersons of the Ulama, Youth and Muslimat wings, the Secretary-General and Daily and Central Committee members, PAS State and Federal Territories Commissioners, executive councils of the wings, PAS Supporters Congress chairman and members, leaders and friends from Pakatan Rakyat, NGOs, print and electronic media personnel, all party representatives, observers, ladies and gentlemen.

2. Welcome to all the delegates and guests from across the country and afar. Welcome to those attending this muktamar for the first time as PAS members, ordinary people, artistes, laureates, sportspeople, academicians, former high-ranking public officials, corporate and society figures and all who wish to be with PAS in carrying the message of Islam in our country. Your attendance will surely enliven our muktamar and inject spirit into and promote closer bonds between us to uphold Islam as Allah’s gift to all when the world is asking to be rescued amid waves of humanitarian crisis in every field.

3. Our country is not exempt from this situation. Sufficient testimony to this is that UMNO, the backbone of Barisan Nasional, has been delinquent in fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities, has been breaking promises and has been clearly disrespecting the petroleum agreement in states to the extent of oppressing the majority of Muslims in the state of Kelantan and Terengganu by denying them the oil revenue Allah SWT has bestowed on them.

4. Our economic development is driven by a burdening debt amounting to RM502 billion, nearly 55% of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and a fiscal deficit of 15 consecutive years. This means that the UMNO-BN government has spent more than the country’s revenue for such a long period. Meanwhile, the World Bank has recognised Malaysia as one of the richest in resources per capita. Is this not an excellent example of the Barisan Nasional government’s spending? This is the reality that we are witnessing before our own eyes today. All these are done without considering the impact on the livelihood of future generations.

5. Frequently we are served heavy scandals full of irregularities. The latest is in the 2011 Auditor-General’s Report, which revealed that the army camp living quarters project ran approximately RM1.3 billion over budget (RM3.21 billion as opposed to RM1.74 billion) due to weaknesses, not to mention the downside of a direct negotiation system, which drew criticism from the Auditor-General.

6. The overall political power for more than 50 years has been tarnished by people who deem themselves flawless and without weaknesses despite being exposed as committing oppression everywhere, and by a chaotic administration, an economic system without a sense of gratitude and using sweeteners, without real solutions, to entice people. This has led to widening abuses, vices and crimes large and small without law and regulation to educate people and frighten stubborn criminals.

7. At present we are in a continuously changing environment, even under a government which is disguised behind the most invincible iron wall in human history and which will certainly come to an end in accordance with the natural cycle. Allah has made government interchangeable to test us, and we are taught that there is no permanent and absolute government besides the government of Allah.

8. We must realise that politics is just a test for humankind, to see whether they will establish a government which pleases Allah by upholding Islam, which is fair to all, or whether they will anger him by choosing others. In this regard, PAS is extremely committed to drive change towards seeking Allah’s grace by holding Islam as its principle, with the elasticity of an Islamic system suitable for all times and places, by referring to the Quran, the Sunnah, the consensus of the ulama and analogical reasoning, based on the tenets of the Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah and the guidance of political law (fiqhus-siyasah) in its actions.

9. This is the core struggle of PAS after witnessing UMNO, the core party of Barisan Nasional, fail to uphold Islam and, as maggots with thousands of millions of dollars in bribes, display a bad example to people, not to mention the latest RM40 million political corruption in Sabah, power abuses, social injustices and so on. UMNO has also failed to empower the Malays with Islam and to show an example of true Islam to the people, leaving Muslims in this country to be challenged and belittled by rude statements by MCA leaders, who are close allies of UMNO in BN.

10. At the same time, UMNO has also exploited specific circles of ulama as clogs worn here and there, a vast difference from PAS, which brings the concept of ulama leadership into determining the lawfulness and unlawfulness (halal/haram) of its action and policies. PAS members also vary with UMNO-BN in that they make political objectives (maqasid siyasi) their trust for upholding Islamic law instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to rule in order to snatch the rank and wealth of the country.

Theme of the Muktamar

11. Today PAS continues its missionary work (da‘wah), its educating (tarbiyah) and its politics, inviting people using language they easily understand. In the last muktamar, we put forward the theme ‘Developing a Benevolent Nation’. Many of our opponents and observers misunderstood it to the extent of making open statements accusing PAS of deviating from the goal of struggling to uphold Islam. They made these assumptions because they did not understand the language of the Qur’an and were influenced by the foreign term ‘welfare state’, which conveys a narrow meaning of welfare.

12. For this 58th muktamar, the theme is ‘Forging Unity through a Benevolent State’, as unity among people has become the latest challenge across the globe, in every country, among all nations and peoples. Unity in our country cannot exist with the 1Malaysia slogan interspersed with racism and deeds which pressure the multi-faith and multiracial people of this country. Our purpose in Islam is solidarity and mercy, the final message at the end of the Prophet’s time, a message which is different from that of the messengers before him.

Allah says:
And We have not sent you [O Muhammad] except as a mercy to the worlds. (Al-Anbiya’:107)

13. The comprehensive teachings of Islam are described as being benevolent. Read and understand. Allah says:
And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. (Ali ‘Imran:104)

14. Quranic exegetes have stressed that الخير (benevolence) is carried throughout the Islamic teachings and executed by the Prophet Muhammad with an Islamic meaning which is seamless and comprehensive. The Quran and Sunnah describe this in detail.

Allah says:
So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it,
And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.

15. This clearly shows that everyone’s actions are calculated and checked, be they religious or worldly, as everything is related to Islamic law. The Prophet said:

“There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting on that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but who says, ‘I fear Allah’; a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.”

16. The first benevolence is fair leaders, which are mentioned as politics in administrating the country with Islam as fairness for all. A compulsory characteristic of Allah is to be fair, which is one of his Most Beautiful Names (al-Asma’ al-Husna). Allah orders that all be treated fairly and forbids cruelty. Fairness in the country’s administration comes first, regardless of the welfare of friends and foes, because it is a huge challenge, is a great struggle and brings a lot of goodness.

An Arab once stressed:
“Be kind to people and you will tame their hearts. So often they are subdued to the act of kindness. If an evil person does evil things to you, dispel his evil by forgiving and with forgiveness.”

17. The concept of justice in Islam is what PAS is offering people because with this concept Islam rose and triumphed in its era of sovereignty, governing countries of the past comprising of multiracial  and civil societies.

Allah mentions this in the following verse:
Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing. (An-Nisa’: 58)

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