Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	02/06/83 

Terlebih dahulu saya mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada pihak
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia kerana menjemput saya ke majlis ini, dan di
atas penghormatan yang diberikan kepada saya untuk memberi ucapan dan
seterusnya merasmikan pembukaan Persidangan ini.

2. Saya mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucap setinggi-tinggi tahniah
kepada panganjur Persidangan di atas segala usaha bagi menjayakan
Persidangan ini. Saya yakin, dengan penglibatan cerdik-pandai terkemuka
yang diundang khas ke Persidangan ini, Persidangan ini akan mencapai
maksud dan tujuannya dengan jayanya, insya-Allah.

3. I am greatly honoured to be given the opportunity to address this
distinguished gathering of scholars. Though the majority of the
participants are Malaysians, some have indeed travelled some distance from
as far away as the USA. And though the subject of the Conference is Islam
and Technology, I am happy to note that the Conference is not confined to
only Muslim scholars. I am confident that with your varied background,
experience, and expertise, this Conference is assured of success,

4. Until quite recently, development has been construed as being
incompatible with religion, in particular Islam. Islam was viewed as an
obstacle to development. Even today there are people who still believe
that religious values constitute a major obstacle to progress.

5. This view has been replaced slowly by a more positive stance among the
academic circle, but there are Muslims who still reject progress and
development as not in consonance with Islam. This is most unfortunate
since Muslims constitute about a billion of the world population and Islam
does subscribe to progress and development.

6. While Islam places importance on the hereafter, it does to do
good. Only ignorance of the total philosophy and teaching of Islam makes
one believe that Islam is opposed to development. It is true that there
are certain aspects of development which is bad, and in such cases, they
are not only not in line with Islamic principles, but also socially
undesirable. But development and progress, within the parameters permitted
by Islamic principles, can never be incompatible.

7. Knowledge is progress. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) told us to seek
knowledge even to China. China at that time was not the centre of Islam
but a centre of civilisation, and therefore, this urge to seek knowledge
even to the remotest part of the world by the Prophet (s.a.w.) should make
the Muslims truly aware of the importance of acquiring
knowledge. Certainly what the Prophet (s.a.w.) meant then was not Islamic
knowledge but the knowledge which is temporal in nature. At the same time,
knowledge is not meant to replace our faith, but to support our faith. In
many instances in the Quran, Allah (s.w.t.) draws our attention so that we
reflect on the infinite cosmos and to creations as proof of His Existence,
Oneness and Power.

8. In Islam, the quest for knowledge, and the satisfaction of our
curiosity is a pursuit for truth. Knowledge is, therefore, not for the
sake of knowledge, but for truth. In addition, knowledge is also to be of
service to mankind. In other words, knowledge is subjective -- it should
be in support of the quest for Divine truth and to serve the good of

9. There are branches of knowledge which need not necessarily lead us to
Divine truth, but we cannot reject them as long as they can serve to
improve our well-being. Mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry,
biology, engineering and others have been in the service of mankind from
the beginning of man's history. Not only have this body of knowledge
served us but they have also helped us to understand, to a certain extent,
the mystery of creations. Early Muslim scholars had a share in the
development of the various body of knowledge. It is unfortunate, however,
that even though knowledge can help strengthen our faith and improve our
well-being, there are individuals who preach the irrelevance of knowledge
and progress to Muslims.

10. Technology is the specific application of knowledge in the various
fields in the service of man. Certainly, there can be abuse of knowledge
and technology. Defence technology can be abused for offensive and
destructive purposes. Space technology can be diverted from one of space
exploration to one of military surveillance. But this only indicate man's
weaknesses rather than the wickedness of knowledge and technology.

11. The fact that a third of the world's population is Muslims and they
inhabit the less developed parts of the world today shows how much Muslims
are dependent on the others for their well-being. The image of the Muslims
today compared to the period of excellence during and immediately after
the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is most distressing. This is far from
what Islam promises and expects of us, and 

12. Today Muslims are a deprived group, generally lacking in resources and
capability. Their image is not the image of a people who are strong in
faith, progressive, united, tolerant and knowledgeable. No doubt the
orientalists have to some extent painted a wrong picture of Islam dan
Muslims, but Muslim themselves, in their orientation and conduct, have not
done much to erase this tarnished image.

13. The progress of making as a whole cannot depend on a segment of the
world, the so-called developed world. If the world is to achieve a better
state of well-being, everyone has to play his role, Muslims
irrespective. After centuries of backwardness and dependence, it is now
time that Muslims improve their state of well-being and contribute to the
well-being of the whole international community by acquiring knowledge and
technology and use them for their betterment.

14. Although Muslims are a deprived group, there are Muslim countries
which are endowed with resources. There are also Muslims with skills and
expertise. What is wanting is a cooperative effort to see to the
utilisation of these resources for the common good. In this age of space
technology and the microchips, Muslims have a lot of catching up to
do. Every minute of indifference on our part to the changing technology,
may mean decades of efforts to achieve parity.

15. As Muslims we must be concerned with our way of life. But indifference
and rejection cannot help in making us better Muslims. On the other hand,
it will make us more dependent on and influenced by others. It is only by
being involved in the quest for knowledge, and in developing the
neccessary technology for our benefit can we survive this age of rapid
change and challenges.

16. I do not claim to be an expert on technology, but what I have seen has
made me more confident that for Muslims to be an effective partner in the
modern international community, and to be of service to mankind, we must
strengthen our resolve to acquire the necessary knowledge and technology
in keeping with the times. Much of the responsibility lies with the Muslim
scholars and practitioners to instill among Muslims the right spirit and
attitude that can help Muslims catch up with the others in the field of
modern technology.

17. For us in Malaysia, we cannot be indifferent to the rapid
technological changes around us. The resources that we are blessed with
cannot be expected to last forever unless we develop our capability,
technology and know-how to exploit them efficiently by ourselves, to
explore new opportunities and to prepare for the future. Others will not
help us forever. Others will not help when we most need help. We can only
depend on ourselves. In a world that is shaped by technology, our
rejection of it can only lead to continuing weakness and to possible
extinction. Already some Muslims have lost faith and have rejected Islam
because of our poverty in technology and the achievements that are
associated with it.

18. On this note, I now declare this Conference officially open, and I
wish you all success in your deliberations.

Wassalamu 'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Prime Minister's Office,