Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date	:	10/07/2003
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai	:  	PM 

   " Islam in Era of Globalisation "   
        Alhamdullillah, All Praise be for Allah, by  whose
   grace  and  blessings  we are gathered  here  today  to
   discuss  matters regarding our religion, Islam and  the
   ummah.  I would like to thank the organisers for giving
   me this opportunity to officiate this conference and to
   speak on a matter that is close to our hearts.
   2.    But  before  that  I would like  to  welcome  all
   participants and guests, especially those from  outside
   Malaysia to this country, this multi-racial and  multi-
   religious   country   where   everyone   accepts    the
   constitution which provides that Islam is the  official
   religion  but the practice of other religions by  their
   followers  are  guaranteed.  We  believe  in  religious
   harmony as advocated by Islam in Surah Al-Kafirun, ayat
   five  and  six.   "  Nor will ye worship that  which  I
   worship.  To you your Way, and to me mine."
   3.    Islam  does  not  have a system  of  hierarchical
   priests  but the Muslim scholars, the learned  ones  or
   the  ulamas as they are generally referred to, play  an
   extremely   important  role  in  the  life  of   Muslim
   individuals  and the Muslim community.  Such  is  their
   influence  that  the stability and progress  of  Muslim
   countries depend much on them.
   4.    The  ulamas are said to be the successors or  the
   "warasah"  of the Prophet.  This makes them  even  more
   powerful.  Their words are often taken as the religious
   truth  and seldom does anyone dispute any pronouncement
   made by them.
   5.    The  great  ulamas of history were truly  learned
   people  with only an interest in seeing that Islam  was
   interpreted correctly.  However even these great ulamas
   differ  in  their interpretations of Islam.   This  has
   resulted  in  schisms among the Muslims, so  deep  that
   many sects cannot be reconciled to this day.
   6.    Thus we have the division between the Sunnis  and
   the  Shiahs.   Their differences have lead to  frequent
   wars  between them.  But the Sunnis and the Shiahs  are
   again  divided  by  the different  teachings  of  their
   imams,  who  were of course great scholars  or  ulamas.
   Then  there  are the different schools or "mazhabs"  of
   Islam which have resulted in further subdivisions  into
   Tarikats, with peculiar beliefs including the  practice
   of  going  into  a  trance as part of  their  religious
   rituals.   All these groups and beliefs emerge  because
   different  ulamas  interpret  and  teach  the  religion
   7.    Today the term ulama is used very loosely.   Just
   about  anyone can claim to be an ulama, a successor  of
   the  Prophet,  entitled to make any  interpretation  or
   pronouncement   on  Islam.   They  always   have   some
   followers  who  can  be quite fanatical.   And  Muslims
   become even more fragmented.
   8.    Political Islam emerged almost immediately  after
   the  death of the Prophet.  The Khawarij and  the  Bani
   Umayah   formed   distinct  groups   with   their   own
   interpretations  of Islam.  And they warred  with  each
   other.  Since then, various manifestations of political
   Islam have gained followings in most Muslim countries.
   9.   Political Islam is about using Islam for political
   ends.  With the advent of democracy political Islam has
   become more trenchant.  Very frequently political Islam
   leads  to  deliberate misinterpretations  of  Islam  to
   justify and support their political agendas.
   10.   Thus political Islamists go so far as to  declare
   that  anyone  who  does  not  support  their  political
   parties as infidels, kafir, and will go to hell in  the
   afterlife.   This  frightens a lot of  ignorant  people
   into supporting them.  Such is the fanatical commitment
   of  the supporters that even obvious misinterpretations
   by their leaders are accepted by them.  And so when the
   leaders  of  political Islam, the false ulamas  declare
   that Allah uses filthy and obscene words, that Allah is
   a  thug,  a bully and a gangster, they readily  believe
   that  Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate,  Allah
   Al-Mutaqabir  is a thug, a bully and a  gangster.   Yet
   others interpret Al-Mutaqabir differently, as Allah the
   Great, the possessor of greatness.  The language of the
   bazaar cannot be applied to Allahu Akhbar.
   11.   Every  now  and again a charismatic  ulama  would
   emerge and declare himself as the Imam Mahadi, come  to
   save  the  ummah.  Invariably they have  proven  to  be
   false  and  their  leadership did not save  the  ummah.
   Instead  the ummah were often defeated and sink further
   into  weakness and backwardness.  Still there are  many
   even in Malaysia who claim that they are the chosen  of
   Allah.  And their followers fanatically support them.
   12.   While the ulamas are important in order to  guide
   the Muslims along the correct paths as taught by Islam,
   it  is clearly important that we do not accept everyone
   who  claims  to  be  an ulama as genuine.   Many  self-
   declared  ulamas  are pretenders with their  own  self-
   interest  on  their  agenda.   These  pretenders   have
   confused  the  Muslims  so much that  frequently  their
   practices can hardly be regarded as Islamic.  And  many
   Muslim  splinter  groups were formed because  of  these
   false ulamas.
   13.    It   is  therefore  necessary  that  we  examine
   critically  the teachings of the ulamas,  whether  from
   the  past  or  the present.  Unity and  brotherhood  is
   enjoined  by  Islam,  but the different  teachings  and
   interpretations prevent unity and many  Muslims  reject
   the  brotherhood of Muslims unless they belong to their
   own  groups  or  sects or even to their  own  political
   parties.  Differences in Islam is healthy and permitted
   but  surely not to the extent of condemning  others  as
   infidels, kafir and to war against each other,  forming
   alliances  with non-believers to fight fellow  Muslims.
   As  we  all  know the Prophet s.a.w. brought  only  one
   Islam.  Now there are so many who declare that they are
   the  only true Muslims and practice their own brand  of
   Islam.   The  one religion of Allah as  taught  by  the
   Prophet has become hundreds of religions.
   14.   Consequently Muslims today are so  very  confused
   and  divided that they are unable to handle  the  great
   changes  that have taken place in the world during  the
   1,400  years  after  the Prophet taught  Islam  to  the
   Jahilliah.   Some  apparently  believe  that  only   by
   recreating  the way of life 1,400 years  ago  can  they
   become  true Muslims.  For them Islam is only  for  the
   time  of  the Prophet and the people of Arabia and  not
   for all ages and situations.
   15.   We  know  that when the Jahilliah accepted  Islam
   they  became enlightened people, were able to stop  the
   feuds  and fighting between their tribes and were  able
   to  build  a great Islamic civilisation.  They acquired
   knowledge and skills and  dominated the known world  of
   their  times.   They  widened  their  territories   and
   acquired  knowledge and skills in every field of  human
   endeavour  and became truly Allah's Khalifah on  earth.
   Islam and the Muslims were respected by all humanity.
   16.   The  great Muslim civilisation that the Jahilliah
   and  other  converts  to Islam initiated,  resulted  in
   reforms  even in the non-Muslim world.  It  is  a  fact
   that mathematics, the sciences, medicine, astronomy and
   many  other fields of learning made tremendous progress
   due  to  the work of the Muslim scholars.  This  is  of
   course  completely  in keeping with  the  teachings  of
   Islam, where the first injunction to the Prophet was to
   "Read",  "Iqraq".  To read means to study,  to  acquire
   knowledge.   During  the golden years  of  the  Islamic
   civilisation,  the world looked up to the  Muslims  for
   knowledge  in  all fields. The Europeans and  the  Jews
   studied  Arabic in order to gain access to the  earlier
   works of the Greeks, the Persians, the Indians and  the
   Chinese  which  had  been translated  into  Arabic  and
   studied as well as expanded by Muslim Arab scholars.
   17.   The Muslims also became great traders, skillfully
   sailing  across  vast oceans using their  knowledge  of
   astronomy.   Their  trade with  far  away  places  also
   resulted  in the spread of Islam in the countries  they
   traded  with.   They were not professional missionaries
   but   their  worldly  success  and  exemplary  behavior
   impressed  the  local rulers, who then accepted  Islam.
   Indonesia  is  today  the most populous  Muslim  nation
   because of the Muslim traders from Yemen and India.
   18.  The spread in the teachings of Islam together with
   the  successes of the Muslims in the administration  of
   their  territories as well as their skills and  success
   in  trade and industry, gained for the Muslims  respect
   and  awe  in the world.  They were regarded as a  world
   power.   No  one  dared to oppress the  Muslims  or  to
   invade their territories.
   19.   But  we all know that now far from being a  world
   power  we,  the  one billion over Muslims,  are  easily
   oppressed  by the non-Muslims, easily defeated  in  war
   and  are  forced  to accept foreign  rule  and  foreign
   hegemony.  The Prophet has been called a terrorist  and
   insulted   openly.   Muslim  holy  places   have   been
   desecrated.  Muslim countries, divided and  weak,  have
   to  pay  homage  to  the powerful  non-Muslim  nations.
   Today Muslims can be arrested and detained or may  even
   be  executed  for alleged terrorism.  Although  Muslims
   suffer  much more from terror, only Muslims  and  Islam
   are  linked to terrorism.  The religions of non-Muslims
   who  commit acts of terror are not mentioned.    We  do
   not  hear  of Christian terrorists, or Hindu terrorists
   or  Buddhist  terrorists or Jewish terrorists  although
   there   are  as  many  of  them  as  there  are  Muslim
   terrorists.  We only hear of Muslim terrorists.
   20.   We  must  ask ourselves why the Muslims  have  to
   endure  this humiliation presently; why we have  become
   so  weak  and incapable of standing up for our  rights.
   What  has  changed  which has  made  the  great  Muslim
   civilisation fall to such a low level?  Is  it  because
   Islam  is  a  backward religion; is it what  Allah  has
   ordained  for  us,  or takdir or is  it  that  we,  the
   Muslims  have wrongly understood our religion  and  not
   practised it correctly?
   21.   Firstly,  is  it because of the  backwardness  of
   Islam  that  we cannot now compete with the non-Muslims
   and  defend ourselves?  It  simply cannot be.  We  know
   that when the Jahilliah accepted Islam, their ignorance
   was  replaced by enlightenment and knowledge  and  they
   became capable of building a great worldly civilisation
   which  encompassed almost the whole of the known  world
   then.   This great civilisation lasted for almost 1,300
   years.   If  Islam is the cause of the backwardness  of
   Muslims,  there  would never have  been  a  strong  and
   advanced Muslim civilisation.
   22.   If  it  is  not the religion of Islam  which  has
   caused  the  fall of the Muslims, then  is  it  because
   Allah  has  ordained  that  Muslims  be  backward   and
   oppressed by others?  Again it cannot be, for Allah had
   raised the ignorant Arabs and others who embraced Islam
   in   the  early  years  so  that  they  became  perfect
   Khalifahs  on  earth and brought glory  to  Islam,  the
   religion of Allah.  He cannot deliberately ordain  that
   Islam  be humiliated and the Muslims oppressed  for  no
   23.   The only conclusion that we can make for the  sad
   fate of the Muslims is that they are not practising the
   true  teachings of Islam, that the Islam that they  now
   practise is wrongly interpreted.
   24.   We  know that in 1492 the last Muslim kingdom  in
   Spain  was defeated and the Muslims were expelled  from
   Spain.    Why  did  this happen?  If  we  look  at  the
   history  of Al-Andalus as the Muslims called Spain,  we
   will  see that after the Muslims conquered Spain,  they
   set  up a tolerant and enlightened administration.  The
   acquisition  of all kinds of knowledge was  encouraged.
   A  great  library was set up in Khartubah  or  Cordoba.
   Scholars  from Europe came to Al-Andalus  to study  the
   works   of   the   Greek,  Persian,  Indian   scholars,
   scientists and mathematicians which has been translated
   by  Muslim scholars including the contributions of  the
   Muslim  scholars  themselves.  Muslim  engineers  built
   waterways  to  irrigate  the  country  and  agriculture
   flourished.   Products of iron and  steel,  copper  and
   bronze, and intricately carved timber were manufactured
   and  exported  to bring wealth and fame to  Al-Andalus.
   Great  mosques  and  palaces were  built  exhibiting  a
   unique architecture much admired by the Europeans.
   25.   However after some five hundred years the  Muslim
   jurists  began to preach against this liberal  attitude
   towards the study of non-religious subjects.  The study
   of  the  works  of  the non-Muslims  of  the  past  was
   discouraged.   To  gain  merit in  afterlife  the  only
   subjects  that should be studied were those related  to
   the  religion  of  Islam.  Slowly  but  with  gathering
   momentum  the  Muslims  became ignorant  and  backward.
   They  paid less and less attention to worldly  affairs,
   allowed  their  wealth  to  be  dissipated  and   their
   military strength  neglected.  After the death  of  Al-
   Mansur  in the 12th century A.D. the condition  of  Al-
   Andalus  deteriorated and it broke up into  many  small
   states.   The  rivalries between these states  weakened
   the Muslims further and one by one they fell before the
   attacks  of  the Spaniards.  Granada  was the  last  to
   26.   The  Muslim  civilisation would have  ended  then
   except  that  at  about this time  the  Turkish  Muslim
   Othmaniah  dynasty emerged as a power  in  the  Eastern
   Mediterranean  region.  These Turkish Muslims  expanded
   their control over the Muslim Arab territories in  West
   Asia  and  North Africa enabling Islam and  Muslims  to
   continue  to be a strong power in the world.   Much  of
   the  Balkan  states fell under Turkish rule.   But  the
   Turks  did not keep up with the developments in  Europe
   in terms of industry, especially the development of new
   weapons.   Nor did they acquire contemporary  knowledge
   and  skills.  Towards the end they were more  concerned
   about  dress  codes, whether form-fitting trousers  and
   peak  caps  for  the Yaniseri mercenary  soldiers  were
   Islamic or not.  Lacking modern weapons and troubled by
   deteriorating  discipline,  the  Turkish  army  rapidly
   weakened.   The  British and the  French  moved  in  to
   instigate  the  Arabs  to rebel against  Turkish  rule.
   Hoping  to  become independent of the Turks, the  Arabs
   forgot  about Muslim brotherhood and collaborated  with
   the  Europeans to defeat the Muslim Turks.  But in  the
   end  the  Arabs did not get their independence  because
   the  British and the French occupied their territories,
   divided   their  lands  and  made  colonies  of   these
   artificial states.
   27.   Turkey itself would have become a part of  Greece
   had  it  not been for Kemal Ataturk who even though  he
   himself claimed to be a secularist, nevertheless lead a
   strong  Muslim Turkish force to expel the  Greeks  from
   28.   The history of the decline and fall of Al-Andalus
   and  the Othmaniah Turkish Empire hold many lessons for
   us,  among  which is the need for modern knowledge  and
   skills  in  order to ensure the defence of  the  ummah.
   For  as long as the Muslims are able in accordance with
   Islamic  teachings to balance religious knowledge  with
   worldly  knowledge,  they would  be  strong  enough  to
   defend  themselves  and  their  religion.   When   they
   disregard  this  teaching  and  concentrate   only   on
   religious  knowledge they would become weak and  unable
   to defend themselves against their enemies.
   29.   It  seems  that we have learnt nothing  from  our
   past, from the rise and fall of the Muslim civilisation
   in Spain and Northern Africa, and the similar fate that
   befell the Turkish empire in the East.  Every effort to
   develop  the  Muslim  countries  since  then  has  been
   opposed by Muslim scholars who believe that this  world
   is  not  for the Muslims, or who believe that there  is
   merit  only  in studying religion.  Other pursuits  are
   considered  as  secular  and  worldly,  including   the
   defence of Islam and the ummah.
   30.  The positive teachings of Islam are interpreted in
   a  negative way.  Muslim unity is made conditional upon
   acceptance  of a particular belief or political  creed.
   Those  who do not accept these conditions would not  be
   regarded  as  Muslims and unity with them is  rejected.
   When  the  Quran says that when we judge we must  judge
   with  justice, we reject this injunction in  favour  of
   adherence   to  procedures  even  if  it   results   in
   injustice.   And  many  more  teachings  of  Islam  are
   twisted  and  distorted so that the religion  fails  to
   deliver the great promises of Islam.
   31.   It is not Islam which has resulted in the decline
   of    the   Muslim   ummah.    It   is   the   numerous
   misrepresentations  and  misinterpretations  of   Islam
   which brought about this misfortune on the Muslims.
   32.   Recently  when Muslim countries were  threatened,
   Muslims  in Malaysia like their brothers all  over  the
   world  prayed for Allah to save the Iraqi  Muslims  and
   their  country.   But  their  prayers  have  not   been
   33.  Is it that Allah s.w.t. has abandoned the Muslims?
   Certainly  it is not.  In the Quran Allah has  enjoined
   that Allah will not change the fate of anyone (Muslims)
   unless  they  strive  to change their  fate  themselves
   (Surah  Al-Ra'du - Ayat 11).  Allah has  also  enjoined
   upon  the Muslims that they must prepare their defences
   in  order to strike fear into the hearts of the enemies
   and to defend the ummah.(Surah Al-Anfal - Ayat 60)
   34.  We know that the Muslims have not really tried  to
   change  their  fate, their weakness, and  backwardness.
   They  have  not  tried to catch up  and  surpass  their
   detractors  in  knowledge and the capacity  to  produce
   arms,  to have disciplined and well-trained forces  for
   their defence.  Allah s.w.t. has given them much wealth
   but they have not used this wealth in the way of Allah.
   They have made no real effort to unite.  They refuse to
   accept  that the world of today is not the same as  the
   world of 1,400 years ago.
   35.    Frustrated  with  Israeli  oppression  and   the
   occupation of their lands, the Palestinians resorted to
   suicide   bombing.   Many  consider  them  as  martyrs,
   shahid.  Yet the Malaysian security forces which fought
   successfully to save this  Muslim country from  falling
   into the hands of atheists are not considered worthy of
   merit.   Similarly no merit is accorded to  the  people
   who  study science, mathematics, engineering etc. which
   are essential for building the defence capabilities  of
   Muslim countries.  Nor are the people who industrialise
   and  enrich a country given any consideration.  Yet all
   these  people help to strengthen the Muslim  ummah  and
   prevent  them  from being humiliated the way  they  are
   36.   The Muslims will never be able to bring back  the
   honour and the respect for Islam and the Muslims unless
   they become capable again of defending themselves.   To
   be  capable there are many things that they have to do.
   I  have  already  mentioned them.  We can  restore  the
   glory  of  the  Islamic civilisation  if  we  orientate
   Muslims  towards the need to have all  the  skills  and
   knowledge  to make the Islamic way of life  -  Addin  -
   admired, respected and held in awe by others.
   37.   The  decision is ours to make.  If  we  think  we
   should  restore  the  glory of  Islam  and  the  Muslim
   civilisation; we should free ourselves from oppression,
   be  capable  of defending ourselves, then  we  have  to
   strive  to  do  all  the  necessary  so-called  worldly
   things.   If we think we should not do anything worldly
   then  we  should accept the humiliation of  Islam,  the
   Muslims and their countries.
   38.   I  have said that the Muslim scholars, the ulamas
   were and still are the most influential members of  the
   Muslim  ummah.  They are capable of changing the Muslim
   mind in any direction.  If we think we want to progress
   and   become  strong,  the  ulamas  can  motivate   us.
   Achieving  all  the  things that  our  detractors  have
   achieved  is not difficult.  But we need to be  pointed
   in  the  right direction.  The ulamas can  help  us  do
   39.   Our  salvation  will not be achieved  by  blindly
   killing  innocent people.  Rather we  should  plan  and
   execute  a long term development plan and to  excel  in
   all  fields.  Our rehabilitation will take a long time.
   We  have  to  be  patient.  Innallaha maassobirin.  But
   Insyaallah in the end we will succeed for that  is  the
   promise  of Allah s.w.t.  He will not change  our  fate
   until we strive to change our fate ourselves.  We  must
   prove  to  the world that Islam is not an  obstacle  to
   progress, that Islam is a religion for all times,  that
   Islam  is a religion of peace and stability, that Islam
   can co-exist in a world where Muslims make up only one-
   sixth of humankind.
   40.  As I said it is for us to decide.  Your conference
   is  important because it is a conference  of  the  most
   influential  people  among the Muslim  ummah.   If  you
   decide  that  you  want to remove the  shame  of  being
   looked  down  upon and trodden under by those  who  are
   against us, then you must tell us that you want  us  to
   do  everything possible to restore our past  glory  and
   our great civilisation.
   41.   That is the decision that you as ulamas will have
   to  make  and   you  have  to  make  this  decision  by
   consensus  so that different interpretations  will  not
   split  us  further.   That is your collective  duty  to
   Islam and the ummah.
   42.  Islam is never wrong.  Allah has not ordained that
   His  religion be insulted or denigrated, nor the  ummah
   oppressed and humiliated.  The sad fate of the  Muslims
   today is their own doing, their failure to practise the
   true teachings of Islam.  It is for the Muslims to  act
   to  resuscitate their religion and bring back the  past
   glory of the Islamic civilisation.  And the ulamas must
   guide  them  through  the  correct  interpretations  of
   religious  exhortations.  But the actual work  must  be
   done  by  Muslims qualified in the various skills.   It
   would  be disastrous if the learned in one field assume
   they are experts in every field.
   43.   I  wish you a successful conference.   May  Allah
   s.w.t.  bless  and  guide  you  in  your  deliberation.
   Shukran.  Thank you.

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