Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Democracy, Islam and the present day Muslims..........

Malaysia is 54 years old today !
Despite all the debates we would like to view ourselves as a democratic, constitutional monarchy, for whatever it mean.

As a Malay Muslim I would love to think beyond our 15 millions or so. We live in a Nusantara that transcend 250 millions. Beyond this 250 millions, some other 1.4 billions share the same faith and aspirations as myself and yourself. 1.6 billion humanity [ and growing ]within 6 billions people on this planet earth, that is a very significant figure.It is high time we think aloud our agenda and aspirations and not let the 'meeks' of the world determine our future and our direction.
Allah exhorts us to think big, not 15 millions or 250 millions or 1.6 billions but in term of 6 billions.....the whole of humanity.
If one limits one thought and energy to the constraint of 'Darul Harb' and 'Darul Islam', that space become small. If you are Indonesian or Malaysians, you are limited to your neighbours and friends.
But if the whole world is all about 'Darul Daawah', then whole wide world is your playing field. That obnoxious Lee Ah Lek, Dave Freeman or Dewi Ramasamy become your bridge to heaven. You can afford to be big hearted: With one stroke of rethinking, they become your friends. You also improve. You have to be on your best behaviour.

Hublum minallah [ Love for Allah ] is not very difficult.
Hublum minan Nas[ Love for humanity ] is !
6 billion humanity to work on.....Islam is a universal message for Mankind but currently the big game out there is through 'labels ' and 'mislabels'.
'Democracy' is one of them.

Democracy means many things to many people.
To present day Muslims, Democracy can be very confounding and controversial. Depending on what shade of glasses one wears, which continent and country one is situated, Democracy has it's spectrum of meaning and connotation.

Let us 1st view it from a 'literalist' perspective [ I am using the term literalist loosely here to mean people steeped in Medinan and Meccan school of thinking within the Muslim domain ],
click here for Abdul Rahim Green's opinion on democracy

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, an American revert to Islam, long time student of Islam from Morocco and Mauritania, steeped in the tradition of sufism, co-founder and Dean of Zaytuna Institute USA, has his views here on Democracy in an exceprt of his debate with Dr Friedman,
click here

And finally we come to Prof Tariq Ramadan, Egyptian by birth, Swiss by nationality,European by content and Muslim by faith....and as some rightists in Europe and America might want to have it included, Muslim Brotherhood by remind us again the power of 'labels'.

I like this man. He is a thinker par excellence!
Let us listen to his thots, click here
click here for part 3
click here for part 4
and lastly, a BBC special, click here

We can turn the table around and make 'Democracy',work for us. 'Democracy' is good for Muslims. In this borderless world nothing is impossible.
We will play their game with their rules.
Truth will prevail, God willing.

What are your views ?

Hasbunallah wani' mal Wakeel
[ Allah is sufficient for me, HE is Al Wakeel, disposer of all affairs ]

Let us listen to Prof Noam Chomsky, controversial and celebrated Western thinker, has to say about the historical perspective of contemporary 'Democracy' in the West ie America,
click here

On the extreme end, make no mistake about it, Bernard Lewis, current doyen of orientalism, who knows Islam like the back of his palm,[despite all his knowledge and wisdom or lack of it depending on which side of the world view you are on], has this pessimistic view about the world:
click here


Nadzru Azahari IR
Substantive CEO,
Ranhill Worley [Sdn]? Bhd.
Son of failed UMNO politician in the 1960's. Spent substantive years in Cairo when father was information attache to Malaysian Embassy there. Arabist par excellence. Able to speak Arabic in different Arabic lingo and nuances local to Egypt, Morocco, Algeria,Libya and Saudi. One of his many skills involve even selling 'sand and olive oil' to the Arabs ! Having a 'big headache' now in Libya now due to substantive overexposure during the Ghadaffy era. But this 'Anak Kelatae', like most who grew up with me in the 'Dato Asri' era is a survivor. We do not have the pleasure of NEP or UMNOPUTRaISM to give us the extra stool to keep on par. We just struggle on, on all our 'fours' if need be and do not depend on state handouts.

To Nadzru,this world is his village ! Currently in Thailand for over a month. I hope he is not planning to take over Thai Petroluem ! He will be OK insyaallah.

My classmate at Sultan Ismail College, Kota Bharu, in the early 60's between form 1 to 3 before both of us left the state for greener to Malay College, he to Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Setar, and 'informally' from his Arabist father in Cairo.
His views on 'Democracy and Islam', click here


Oftentimes with my friend Nadzru, even in school I recall his weakness being long winded. He failed his precis in form two.
We somehow got lost somewhere in the trees but we do get his point.
Let us move on to Dato Nadzri, formerly numero uno of the 'good old Berita Harian' days, who has this to add :


Salam Dr Nik,
Soal demokrasi dan Islam yang you bangkitkan itu sudah berabad didebab tetapi belum ada jawapannya. Belum ada satu model negara umat Islam yang dapat dicontohi. Bagi saya tidak ada negara Islam, republik Islam, bandaraya Islam (kb) di dunia ini. These names make a mockery of Islam. Negara Islam hanya wujud di akhirat.

Di dunia ini kita boleh ada umat Islam, keluarga Islam, mungkin perkampungan Islam. Tapi negeri atau negara Islam mustahil. Yg penting bukan sistem tetapi insan yg melaksanakan sistem itu. Allah membentuk peribadi muhammad sehingga usia 40 tahun baru lantik beliau jadi rasul dan menurunkan wahyu kepadanya. Jadi yg penting ialah pemimpin bukan sistemnya. Sistem yang cacat tapi pemimpinnya kamil boleh melahirkan pentadbiran yang baik. Sistem yg baik kalau ditadbir oleh pemimpin yang tidak baik akan merosakkan sistem dan negara. Barat mungkin melihat pentadbiran nabi di madinah sebagai autokratik kerana sumber kuasa dan keputusan dari nabi sahaja, tetapi kerana nabi role model insan yang terbaik, adil dan ehsan maka umat yahudi dan nasrani tunduk dibawah pemerintahan beliau. Apakah sistem pentadbiran zaman khalifah arRashidin? Ulama menyebut 4 khalifah itu sebagai rightly guided kerana peribadi, insan kamil, taqwa mereka. Mereka mencontohi Nabi. Umayyah, abbasiah, othmaniah, fatimiah, ayubiah dan seterusnya berupa dynasti, monarchy dan adakalanya anarchy. Sama ada sesuatu sistem itu dari barat atau timur, utara atau selatan, semuanya berasaskan akal -mantiq yang dianugerah Allah. Kalau ikut maqasid syariah, tidak ada satu sistem yang perfect untuk semua ummah, prinsipnya sama tetapi perlaksanaannya mestilah mengambilkira persekitarannya, adat dan budaya masyarakat. Bagi kita umat islam prinsipnya mestilah mengikut al-quran dan sunnah, dan perlaksanaan mestilah berlandaskan maqasid syariah.- isteri ajak pi pasar nanti kita sambung.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.


pokok nya dato', tak jauh berbeda dari tanggapan tok guru nik aziz, tuan guru hj hadi et al, dan kalau kita 'mengextrapolate' diri kita ke ummah islam dibarat, termasuk juga pemikiran prof tariq ramadan.
saya pernah halakan persoalan ini ke prof wan muhammad dari istac beberapa tahun terdahulu. jawapan beliau pun seakan sama tetapi lebih berupa allegorical

" with resepct to the garden [ in malaysia ] the bushes are everywhere, trees are a wee bit unkempt, oftentimes we need not change the whole system or the garden itself, just cheaper and more practical to change the gardener "

if i recall correctly his answer !

nik howk


from Dato Nadzri:

Yes change is the word used by Obama during his presidential campaign. . Hijrah from Mecca to Madinah constitute structural change for Prophet, Islam and Ummah. Tapi orang Melayu tak suka change!

Tiap-tiap tahun tazkirah pasal hijrah tetapi orang Melayu reluctant to change. Mentally, spiritually, physically they prefer to stay at their comfort zone. I met nik aziz yesterday and brought up the issue of Baginda Rasulullah. He admitted he never thought the consequences and promised not to use that title for Rasulullah anymore. Well Hj Hadi, Nik aziz, you, Nazrul, myself and the others are only human being. If prophet himself being corrected and reminded by Allah few times, who are we? He repeatedly stressed in al-Quran to think, learn, seek knowledge and don't forget the meeting day. 10 brains better than one, so musyawarah to find the best solution for present time and present generation is the best approach. To do this we must change. May I end this note by asking my learned cardiologist to do surgical analysis on the term deliberative democracy and musyawarah. Salam


I totally agree with you Dato on us 'orang Melayu' having great inertia for change.
Currently I am reading Muhammad Asad 's [aka Leopold Weiss ]'The Message of The Quran'...must be the best ever English translation and commentary on The Quran.
This is a digression but a necessary one...Interestingly he added " FOR THOSE WHO THINK "

Just yesterday, I met my favourite patient, a 69 year old sailor from Norway who has made Kuantan his home and married to a nice Malay lady his age from Pahang. Perfect physique this Norweagian. Runs 10 kilometres a day and has a resting heart rate of 45 bpm !

"Why do you choose Islam of all religions, Mr Koplande", I asked.
" Because I think. Islam is for those WHO THINK . I read Asad, and he encouraged me to think. Those who are not yet Muslims, I think personally, they do not want to read because they do not want to think".

Mashaallah. I got my 'high' yesterday.
Likewise, back to our problem of democracy and present day Muslims,we need to think.
Our local garden is full of 'semak and danau'. The fruit trees are not fruiting. The flowers and bees are all gone. Even the fences are not well manage. Whatever fruits and flowers and honey there are, the gardener and his family think they are theirs !

We need not burn the garden or allow our neighbours to manage it or help burn it for us.

WE just need to change the gardener.
Other gardens esleswhere, their weeds and parasite problems may be different from us. The solutions to their problems may be different. We are all unique.


Nik Howk

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