Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	08/11/86 

 Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan; Saudara-saudari sekalian.

Syukur kita ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu Wataala kerana dengan limpah dan
rahmatNya dapat kita bersama-sama di Majlis yang berbahagia ini. Saya
mengucapkan terima kasih kepada pihak penganjur kerana menjemput saya ke
majlis ini serta memberi peluang kepada saya untuk bertukar-tukar fikiran
dengan para hadirin sekalian. Saya percaya banyak perkara akan
dibincangkan di persidangan ini dan saya yakin persidangan ini akan dapat
melahirkan sesuatu yang akan memberi manfaat kepada masyarakat Islam
khasnya dan masyarakat keseluruhan amnya.

My Brothers and Sisters, 

2. It gives me great pleasure to be with you at this Fourth General
Assembly of the Regional Islamic Da'wah Council of South East Asia and the
Pacific or RISEAP. This part of the world is, I believe, the only region
where Muslim voluntary organisations have got together to cooperate with
each other at the non-governmental level. I take this opportunity to
commend RISEAP, under the dedicated leadership of YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman
Putra Al-Haj, for its activities in Islamic dakwah in this region.

3. I have been informed that RISEAP has also produced a film about the
Quran and science. I am sure it will constitute an important contribution
to Islamic dakwah. In this technological age, Muslims must accept and
apply modern technology to further spread the word of Islam. We cannot
afford the kind of negativism which for a long time rejected all kinds of
images, still as well as moving, as against Islamic teaching, only to be
forced in the end to modify our views in the face of the realities around
us. Similarly for a long time it was thought improper to fly in order to
perform the Haj. Yet today because flying is cheaper and more convenient
more Muslims are able to perform the Haj. Imagine how few would perform
the Haj if the beliefs of some people that the only way to perform the Haj
is to walk all the way to Mecca. These people seem to think that
self-torture is a way of getting merit in Islam. Rejection of new and
technologically better ways of doing things should not be simply because
they are new and better and impose less hardship on us. We should reject
them only if they are completely contrary to Islam. Otherwise we should
find some good uses for them, uses which are not against Islam.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

4. Most of the delegates to this meeting come from countries where Muslims
are a minority. We are apt to consider our situations as unfortunate when
compared to those countries where Muslims make up the majority and the
governments are controlled by Muslims. Let us remember, however, that even
in countries where Muslims are a majority, they are not always free from
oppression or injustice. Let us not forget how frequently Muslim countries
fall into the hands of non-Muslim enemies because of the weakness or
incompetence of Muslims. What is important is not our numbers but how we
organise and work for our own benefit. Muslim communities who are
minorities in many countries have remained true to the faith and have
prospered because they assess the situation correctly and "use their
tongue and their heart" as enjoined by Allah in the Quran. Practical
plans, programmes and approaches should replace the misguided fanaticism
which often divide and even destroy Muslim majorities elsewhere.

5. The need for education is one factor which seems to be common in most
Muslim minority communities. It is fashionable for some Muslims to follow
the Christian separation of education into religious and secular. When
Muhammad s.a.w. enjoined upon the Muslims to seek knowledge even in China,
he did not specify that the knowledge is secular. The important thing was
to acquire knowledge, in other words to acquire education. The Quran also
enjoined upon us to study the earth and the mountains and the camel, all
of which are the creations of Allah. Again, there was no mention that
these are secular knowledge. Because great Muslims like Ibn Sina, Ibn
Rushd, Ibn Khaldun and others followed the injunctions of Allah and His
Prophet to study these subjects, they did not become secularists. They
became great Muslims instead and their knowledge have bestowed 'nikmat'
not only on Muslims but on Mankind. If Muslims are to benefit from
education they should forget this division of education into secular and
religious. All education for the good of Muslims and Mankind are
religious. The study of the Quran and the Hadith, if done with the
intention of misusing them is no more religious than the study of other
subjects with similarly bad intentions. It is the 'niat' and the
application that makes any education good or bad. If we can appreciate
this, then the mental block among Muslims about education can be overcome
and we will be stronger and better able to defend and propagate our faith.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

6. We are concerned about the leadership crises which so frequently seem
to plague Muslim organisations. The role of Muslim leaders, particularly
in Muslim organisations, is to be the humble servant of the community,
Islam and Allah. The leaders should not be motivated by desire for
position, glory, prestige or benefits. There must be a real spirit and
willingness to sacrifice among the leaders of Muslim organisations. We
must ensure that only those with the intellectual, moral and spiritual
capacities are chosen to lead Muslims. Those elected to office in any
organisation must play an effective role, not remain apathetic and
indifferent to events happening around them.

7. The essence of Islam is faith, the belief in Allah and His Prophet. Far
too frequently we add another factor -- exclusiveness. While we want
Muslims to be together to safeguard their faith and the required
expressions of this faith, it is not necessary for us to keep away from
those of other faiths. How can we bring to them the message of Allah if we
cannot meet them at all? How can we show them the goodness, the greatness
and the tranquility of Islam if we never have contact with them at all? 

8. The Prophet himself did not segregate the Muslims from the
non-Muslims. Indeed from the very beginning his work way among the
Jahiliah including members of his own family. He himself visited the Jews
and attended their funerals. But we have decided to ignore this sunnah of
the Prophet. We confine ourselves to ourselves. While we feel free to
accept charity from others, we restrict our charity only to those of the
Faith. We seldom participate even in non-religious inter-communal
activities. We reduce to the barest minimum our contact with others.

9. The result is that Islam tends to be the most misunderstood religion
among non-Muslims. And because they do not understand, they are frequently
antagonistic. There is un necessary friction between us and them, whether
we are in the minority or majority. They fear us and suspect that we are
trying to force-convert them. They fear conversion because Islam is
perceived as a series of restrictions on everything that they cherish.

10. We should ask ourselves now whether this segregationist attitude is
Islamic and whether it is not doing Islam untold damage? If our 'iman' is
strong, there is really no fear that we will lose our faith simply because
we mingle with non-Muslims. Strong in our faith as Muslims usually are,
the easy relations with non-Muslims will not affect us but it will
diminish somewhat the unreasoning fear and antagonism displayed by
non-Muslims, particularly the Christians. Muslims would then be more free
to practice their faith without attracting the abuse and obstruction that
often trouble Muslim minorities.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

11. It is important for Muslim organisations such as RISEAP to cultivate a
spirit of sacrifice among Muslims. All efforts of mobilisation and
organisation will not be fully effective unless Muslims understand that
they must devote some of their time, money and energy for the cause of
Islam . They should not be always calculating the merits they gain in
after-life for each act in the practice of Islam. A good act should be
performed simply because it is good. Islam does not even require the
beneficiary of the zakat to be obliged to the donor because the
beneficiary is merely taking his right. In Islam all praise is to
Allah. We are not entitled to be praised for simply fulfilling the
injunctions of Islam. A good Muslim should not expect returns, much less
evaluate the merit gained, when he gives some of his time, money and
energy as required by Islam in the interest of the faith.

12. Far too often Muslim organisations fail because of misunderstandings
on the part of its officials. A negative attitude pervades the
organisation when leaders fall out. The objectives of the organisation,
certainly the real interest of Islam, fall victim to this petty
squabbling. Unless we discard this attitude, Muslims will remain divided
and weak.

13. Islam gives a sense of direction to a society but Muslim societies --
whether Muslims are in a majority or a minority -- often show a
conspicuous absence of a sense of direction. Planning seems to be anathema
to us. Despite the fact that we know that we have a duty to ensure the
well-being of Islam and the Muslims, we confine our thoughts and energy to
the immediate performance of our ibadah only. And we interpret ibadat in
the narrowest sense, so that the welfare and perpetuation of the faith and
the ummah is often excluded as ibadat.

14. Some people believe that belief in God and piety alone will ensure a
revival of Islam. What matters most according to them is correct aqidah or
faith, and God will ensure the rest. They forget that in many regions of
the world, Islam and the Muslims have been wiped out because they were not
able to resist the onslaught of the intellectual and physical superiority
of their adversaries. Had Mustafa Kamal been unable to retake Anatolia,
for example, there would be no Turkey today. Certainly, the resurgence of
Islam there would not be possible.

15. In spite of all the talk of Islamic resurgence, there cannot be any
real resurgence and permanency without an intellectual base, a solid
foundation of contemporary ideas and analysis derived from the primary
sources of Islam -- the Quran and Sunnah. Faith is important but faith
alone cannot sustain all Muslims. The Quran has said that poverty is close
to a lack of faith. In other words, our faith weakens when we are poor. If
we take poverty to mean not just monetary poverty but to include poverty
of skills, of ideas, of education, of intellectual capacity, then we must
realise how close we are to losing our faith. If we are merely rich in
religious knowledge and the performance of our ibadat, we may find
ourselves quite incapable of defending the faith effectively.

16. In planning for Islamic resurgence, ijtihad or intellectual struggle
must go hand in hand with jihad in specific areas. Due emphasis must be
given to all aspects of society and allowances must be made for both unity
of goals and diversity of actions. The solutions to the contemporary and
future problems of Muslim societies must emerge from within the unified
yet diverse intellectual heritage of Islam. We cannot go on devoid of
original intellectual content. We must be willing to borrow ideas which
are not contrary to our faith and to modify them as much as we must devise
new ideas to meet the challenges of our times. The Quran and the Sunnah
must guide us but we cannot solve present day problems by retreating into
the past. The attempt by misguided Muslims to return to what they term as
Islamic fundamentals has neither been successful nor has it helped to
resolve the problems of modern day life. Indeed, it has endangered the
situation of the Muslims by making them incapable of fending for
themselves when faced with threats to their existence. The Muslims have
always had to seek the help of others because they cannot help themselves
and each other.

17. It is imperative that Muslims face reality. There is really no true
Islamic resurgence presently. If there is, then Muslims would be dominant
in the modern world. Instead, we are being battered and bruised not only
by attacks by people antagonistic towards us but by the fighting a mong

18. Sometimes we talk of the past glories of Islam. This really is an
admission that Islam is not glorious now. It is not glorious because we
have forsaken the true teachings of Islam. When we are asked to be
brothers, we fight each other. When we are asked to seek knowledge, we
discriminate against this knowledge and that knowledge. When we are
enjoined to be honest, to work hard, to be disciplined, we discount these
and seek only solace and merit in afterlife for ourselves without regard
for the permanency and spread of Islam.

19. We have changed the values that Islam teaches us. We deny many of the
messages in the Quran. Some even go so far as to say that certain parts of
the Quran can no longer be accepted because they do not fit in with the
interpretations that is currently favoured. Thus they say that the passage
which permits others their faith and we ours, is no longer valid because
they want Islam to be rigid and intolerant of others and their
rights. Despite the injunction that there is no compulsion in Islam they
would like to compel when they have the power to do so.

20. But the glory of Islam can be restored. There can be a resurgence of
Islam if we return to the true teachings of Islam. This can only come
about if there is ijtihad in the true meaning of the word. Learned Muslims
from all disciplines must give their thoughts to the correct
interpretations of Islam. The reality of life in the twentieth century
must be given due consideration. We must be prepared to admit that we may
have been wrong in our present interpretation and to correct them. Then
and then only can a true Islamic resurgence take place and Islam's gloryre

21. The tendency to condemn as heretical anything that we disagree with,
must be resisted. We must have an open mind and whatever our status, we
must be humble enough to remember that we are human as were the old
interpreters of Islam. Therefore, we and they could have been wrong. It is
inconceivable that if we follow the injunctions of Islam correctly we
should be so oppressed in this world which belongs to Muslims as much as
to others. The fact that we are, must be because we have done wrong or we
have misinterpreted Islam. Islam, the religion perfected by Allah, cannot
be wrong.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

22. I now have much pleasure in declaring open this Fourth General
Assembly of RISEAP