Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	05/03/86 

 Alhamdulillahirabil alamin wasalatu wasalamu ala sayidina Muhammadin wa
ala alihi wasahbihi ajmain. Segala pujian bagi Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala
dan salam sejahtera ke atas junjungan kita Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. Dengan
izin Allah kita dapat bersama-sama pada hari ini untuk mengadakan
Simposium Islam Antarabangsa.

2. Saya berharap Nadwah Islam ini akan memberi manfaat kepada kita semua,
bukan sahaja manfaat kepada para peserta Nadwah ini, tetapi juga umat
Islam seluruhnya. Saya yakin Nadwah ini akan meningkatkan kesungguhan kita
untuk mengembangkan syiar Islam.

3. Saya difahamkan persidangan ini dihadiri oleh ramai tetamu daripada
badan-badan antarabangsa seperti Riseap, Rabitah dan Majlis Masjid
Antarabangsa. Dengan ini saya meminta izin untuk berucap dalam Bahasa
Inggeris.Distinguished Guests, 

My Brothers and Sisters, 

4. The Muslims are today the focus of unprecedented attention. Although
they live in different climates, practicing different customs and
political systems, as majorities and minorities, speaking different
languages, the Muslims all over the world retain an abiding sense of
Islamic affinity - an affinity which is the hallmark of the Muslim Ummah
or the community of Muslim peoples. It was fourteen centuries ago that
Prophet Muhammad Sallallah Alaihi Wassallam left Makkah for Madinah where
he established the first Islamic state based on the concepts revealed in
the Qu'ran. For the first time in history, those not following the same
religious and cultural system as the rulers were given complete freedom to
maintain their different identities, and to enforce their own religious
laws. Muslims have never forced their faith on others and it is wrong the
refore for anyone to fear Islam. The success of the Islamic system was not
only in its ability to accommodate people of differing religions and
cultures, but also in the material, intellectual, cultural and scientific
fields. Islam gave birth to a civilisation which continues to be a source
of inspiration to mankind to this day, albeit unconsciously for most

5. Within fifty years of its revelation Islam established creative links
with the then major cultures of Persia, Egypt and Greece, leading to an
unprecedented flowering of human genius. The great epoch of creative
activity which followed and manifested itself in remarkable advances in
the arts and sciences laid the foundations of modern knowledge and
learning. It was indeed the Muslim scholars who were instrumental in
generating the intellectual developments which prepared the ground for the
European Renaissance. It is well to remember that during the golden age of
Islam Europe was passing through the dark ages when knowledge and learning
were regarded as the work of the Devil and those pursuing them were
persecuted and burnt at the stakes.

6. The resurgence of Islam, and its dynamic and revolutionary principles
during this 15th century of the Islamic era, created widespread interest,
particularly in the West. The educated, intelligent and inquiring minds of
the modern world should know and understand the reasons for the resilience
and tenacity of this great religion. Unfortunately a majority of
publications produced in the non-Muslim world, particularly the West, tend
to present a highly distorted and often totally false image of Islam and
its teachings.

7. Emerging from the clutches of western imperialism the fifties and
sixties saw a mad scramble by the Muslim countries to emulate everything
western. They appeared to blame Islam for all their failures and
miseries. They saw in modernisation and material progress an answer to all
their ills. Admiring the separation of church and state they tried to
impose the same system in their own community. Western concepts of the
secular and the religious and of antagonistic ideologies were readily
accepted and attempts made to impose the same separation in Muslim

8. In politics, western ideologies helped to confuse the Muslims
further. Islam the religion was compared with various western political
ideologies and attempts were made to explain Islam on the basis of these
ideologies. Thus some insist that Islam is socialism, indeed the original
socialism. Others point out that in Islam it is accepted that some people
may be raised above the others and rampant capitalism is therefore
compatible with Islam. There is always a little truth in both allegations
but the occasional similarities do not mean the assumptions of identity
are true. The truth is that Islam is unique as an all-encompassing
religion, a way of life dedicated to goodness and to Allah the
compassionate and the Merciful.

9. Fortunately realisation has come to a growing number of Muslims that
Islam is not socialism, or capitalism or communism. Islam is the religion
of Allah and not an ideology thought up by men. While there may be
similarities, these are incidental and are not of a fundamental
character. With this realisation Islam has regained its stature and
Muslims their identity. The stage is now set for a Muslim resurgence that
will contribute not only to the betterment of Muslims but also to a world
that is racked by systems and ideologies which confuse. Islam is not
oppressive. It is not a religion of the 7th. Century A.D. It is the
religion for all times, able to create a more meaningful life, a society
that is more equitable and peaceful.

10. If Islam does not appear to be so it is because Muslim themselves are
frequently confused and interpret Islam for their own purpose. And so we
have the "conservatives" and the "modernists", each at loggerhead with the
other. Their differences encompass all human activities: legal, political,
economic, social and personal. These differences must be faced but they
can only be faced in a conducive atmosphere.

11. Free discussion of religious issues must be permitted but this freedom
must never be abused. Fanatical extremism of any kind must be
rejected. The answer to the differences between the "conservatives" and
the "modernists" lies somewhere in between and it must be found. Those who
preach fire and brimstone at every turn are a menace and must be treated
as such. Extreme fanaticism in one direction inevitably and swiftly breeds
extreme fanaticism in the other direction;and when two parties to a
dispute degenerate into unreasoning fanatics, it is merely a matter of
time before verbal thunder changes to physical violence. We ought to know
by now that violence never changed a man's beliefs, never resolved a
difference of opinion. We ought to know that in fact it hardens opinions
and adds bitterness to the manner in which they were uncompromisingly
held. This is why Muslim law and Islamic principles instruct the Muslims
to avoid confrontation but to settle differences through discussion and

12. It needs to be emphasised again and again that Islam is always careful
to follow the middle path, even in worship. Whenever Muhammad S.A.W. had
to choose between two alternatives, both equally permissible, he always
chose the easier or more moderate one. Regardless of its logic or topic,
extremism is always abhorred. It is not a normal pattern of behaviour and
inevitably leads to numerous complications and deviations.

13. Another consideration is the need for logical reasoning. It is true
that man's intuitive basic beliefs are not changed or arrived at by
reason, but between those who accept the same postulates, understanding
can only be achieved if the human mind can logically appreciate the
reasons for the belief. Even those who are said to believe
unquestioningly, actually believe because that is the basis of thinking in
his group or society. The other believe because of a gut feeling of fear,
particularly of thing they are unable to understand.

14. God has given us the faculty to think and over and over again in the
Quran He has exhorted us to think, that is to use our faculty to
reason. Even when we refer to the Quran and the Hadith for guidance reason
has to be used. If sometimes we differ in our interpretations it does not
follow that one is right and the other is wrong. It may well be that both
are right or both are wrong.The important thing is that we study, we
analyse and we interprete with sincerty, without prejudice or

15. The existence of two impartial and sincere opinions upon a vital issue
should be taken as evidence that the truth in the matter lies somewhere in
between. Islam believes in respecting the other's right to differ and
respecting what he holds dear. Muslims may reject only when the
fundamentals are clearly wrong.

16. In a Muslim community where religion and life cannot be separated, the
deepest feelings are naturally the most frequently discussed. Muslims must
display the spirit of telerance that Islam teaches by coming together to
discuss different religious and other convictions without getting excited
or becoming belligerent. In such conditions the controversies can be met
and resolved by Muslim intellectuals. Extremists and extremism must be
isolated and shunned; and men of goodwill on both sides,
"conservatives" and "modernists" must come together to enjoin charity and
reconciliation. Once this reconciliation between " conservatives" and
"modernists" has been achieved, intellectual anarchy will cease and a
healthy Islamic society will emerge, firm in its ideals and sure of its
course of a ction. And thus will the Ummah's spiritual and temporal
mission in this age be fulfilled.

17. But the division among Muslim is not just between the Conservatives
and the Modernist. An attempt is being made to divide them further into
the secularists and the spiritual groups. This is a reflection of the
thinking of Orientalists who could not understand that Islam is not just a
belief but a way of life. Every aspect of life is a part of religion. But
because the religion of the orientalists separates the rituals of their
faith from the mundane activities of daily life, they postulate the same
for Muslims. And so a lot of Muslims unconciously imbibing the thinking of
the orientalists not only seek to identify secularists from the religious
groups, but actually preach division and conflict between them. Thus the
unity of the Ummah against which the orientalist had worked so hard is now
being perpetuated by Muslims themselves. That they, the orientalists have
succeeded, can be seen from the disunity and disarray of the Muslims
everywhere. The saddest part is that when Muslims differ they frequently
seek the help of non-Muslims in order to destroy their own co-religionists
and brothers.

My brothers and Sisters, 

18. We Muslims have just missed a golden opportunity to regain our
greatness and spread the faith. Since the early seventies we gained great
wealth from the bounty of Allah - from the vast reservoirs of oil that are
found in the Muslim countries.

19. Surely Allah had granted us this wealth for the good of Islam and the
Muslims. With this wealth we could strengthen the position of the Muslims
generally, we could free them from oppression, we could spread the faith
and intensify the teachings of Islam among the faithful. With the
promotion of true Islamic values we could weld the Ummah into a solid
force for good in a world that has become confused by the failures of
political ideologies and economic systems.

20. But the truth is that we did none of these with the wealth that Allah
has given us. Every Islamic country squandered its wealth on lavish
development, on the purchase of arms and on the support of one Muslim
nation or group against another Muslim nation or people. Much of the
wealth is invested in countries which have no friendly intention towards
the Muslims or to Islam. The money invested eventually find their way to
strengthen anti-Islamic forces including the Zionists. It is no secret
that vast sums of Muslim wealth are handled and managed by Jewish bankers
and managers.

21. In the meantime no effort is made to learn how to strengthen ourselves
through knowledge and skills against our enemies although it is enjoined
upon us by Allah to do so. The injunction of the Prophet to seek knowledge
is ignored. Instead the easier approach of merely purchasing our needs was
universally adopted. When a Muslim country tries to acquire technical
know-how and to be self-sufficient in the needs vital to Muslims, petty
squabbles soon lead to other Muslims undermining these efforts.

22. Where once Muslims led in the field of human knowledge, now Muslims
are the most backward people in all the arts and the sciences. Money for
the pursuit of knowledge is a mere pittance compared to the vast sums
spent on magnificent edifices. More time and studies and debates are
devoted to the subject of covering the head of a woman than to the
development of a capacity to defend Islam and the Muslims from their
enemies. As a result many Muslims are lost to Islam. Many espouse Marxism
or even atheism in their frustration. Many more have to submit to the rule
of people who are bent on separating the Muslim from their faith.

23. Improvement in communication have brought Muslims closer
together. They are in a better position to cooperate with each other and
to unite. But instead they waste their time on semantics and polemics,
seeking differences rather than similarities whenever they meet. Not
content with separating conservatives from modernists they go on to
separate and isolate so-called secularists from the spiritualists, the
allegedly true Muslims. And of course the differences between the
different mazhabs are more greatly magnified now. Predictably they became
more divided and are easy prey for those whose business it is to divide
and destroy Islam.

24. There is no doubt that we have missed the golden opportunity. While we
squander our wealth and quarrel over irrelevances, others applied their
mind, the wealth that was entrusted to them, and the opportunity we
afforded them to
destroy both our wealth and our unity. Today the wealth is no longer
there. We are now back to where we were, an impoverished and divided Ummah
quite incapable of challenging our foes or stopping them from gradually
subjugating us.

25. There is no doubt that we have sinned against Allah. We have not been
truly grateful for His gift and the opportunity that He has afforded
us. We quote with great fervour that those who are not grateful for the
'nikmat' that Allah bestows shall receive no more and shall suffer in the
Hereafter. But we ignore that injunction of the Quran except when we want
to display our learning.

26. We must atone now for our sins. We must stop the drive towards
fragmenting the Ummah. We must stop the semantics and the polemics. A
religion without adherents is no religous. Already millions of Muslims
have been lost. Some die of starvation even as other Muslims waste
food. Some are killed in fratricidal wars. Some forsake Islam because
Muslims forsake them in their hour of need. Some have lost their land to
the enemies of Islam. For these people Islam no longer exists. For many it
is the faith of a people who have disappeared from this earth.

27. If we are truly dedicated to Islam we must protect the faith and the
Ummah. To do this we must be united. We must apply all our remaining
resources to this task. We must stop playing God and try to judge the
Muslimness or otherwise of fellow Muslims. We must give equal emphasis to
all the teachings of Islam.

28. Let us be honest with ourselves. Time may be running out on us as it
has run out for a lot of Muslims. We cannot afford internal squabbles. We
must face realities. We must acknowledge our mistakes and the wrong we
did. We must correct them. We must sincerely try to regain the essence of
Islam that so inspired the early Muslims so that not only did they manage
to spread the teachings far and wide but they brought greatness to Islam
in all fields of human endeavour.

29. We are Muslims today because of them. Let it not be said that Islam is
lost to future generations because of us.

Brothers and Sisters, 

30. It is now my pleasure to officially declare open this International
Islamic Symposium with the words 'Bismillahirahmannirahim'.