Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date	:	22/09/2003
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai	:  	PM      

  Islam and the Ummah :  Reexamining and Reinventing
   Ourselves in the Face of New Challenges
   I  have  chosen  to  speak  on  a  very  sensitive  and
   controversial   subject  -   Islam   and   the   Ummah:
   Reexamining  and Reinventing Ourselves in the  Face  of
   New Challenges.  I hope I don't touch any raw nerve  by
   doing so.
   2.    Firstly,  does Islam need to be  reexamined?   To
   determine whether it should or should not, we  have  to
   understand  the  fundamentals of  Islam,  the  original
   Islam  as brought and preached by the Prophet, and  see
   whether there is any difference between this Islam  and
   the Islam that we believe in and practice today.
   3.    We cannot change the fundamentals of Islam or  we
   will be changing the message and the teachings of Islam
   as  brought by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad  s.a.w.
   We will in fact be changing the religion of Islam.  And
   it  cannot then be Islam anymore.  All we can do is  to
   determine  whether the Islam of today has deviated  due
   to  the interpretations of the fundamentals in order to
   suit  changing circumstances.  We cannot and  must  not
   accept a "New Testament" for Islam.
   4.    Islam  changed  the feuding Arab  tribes  into  a
   united  highly organised and sophisticated  people  who
   built  a  great civilisation which lasted 1,300  years.
   But  today the followers of Islam, the Muslims  are  no
   longer the great people they were in the early years of
   Islam.    The  great  Muslim  civilisation  has  almost
   disappeared and the Muslims today are looked down upon,
   oppressed and humiliated, their religion said to  be  a
   terrorist creed, propagated by a terrorist prophet.
   5.    Yet we know from the Quran that the Prophet s.a.w
   brought  glad  tidings  to  the  human  community   and
   promised good to those who accepted Islam.
   6.   And we always pray to Allah for good (hassanah) in
   this world, and good (hassanah) in the akhirat.
   7.    The  prayers  by  Nabi Adam Alaihissalam  on  his
   arrival on earth in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 201 clearly
   stated  that he asked "Our Lord, give us good  in  this
   world and good in the hereafter".
   8.    Can  we  honestly say that the situation  of  the
   Muslim  in  this world today is good?  It certainly  is
   not.  And if it is not, is it because of Islam, because
   of  its teachings?  Or is it because changes have  been
   made  to  Islam  so that it is no longer in  accordance
   with the original teachings of Islam.
   9.    Changes  occur  to  everything  over  time.   All
   religions  change  over time.   All  ideas  and  values
   change  over time.  The Christian religion for  example
   has   changed  and  changed  again  until   the   early
   Christians  must find it impossible to reconcile  their
   Christianity with that practised today.   The  sins  of
   yesteryear are now no longer sins so much so that  even
   the priests can indulge in them openly.
   10.    The   same  things  happen  to  the  ideals   of
   egalitarian  ideologies.   The  French  Revolution  was
   supposed  to be about liberty, equality and  fraternity
   but  no equality was accorded to the aristocrats.  Over
   time   the  ideals  of  the  Revolution  evolved   into
   Socialism,  Communism; and then to the Dictatorship  of
   the  Proletariat, the Dictatorship  of  a  few  in  the
   Communist  regimes.  Millions were  killed  during  the
   evolution  of  the egalitarian ideas of  Socialism  and
   Communism.  Eventually the ideals of liberty,  equality
   and   brotherhood  were  made  convenient  excuses  for
   denying them to those opposed to the Communist elites.
   11.   Today  we are seeing the same thing happening  to
   Democracy.   It  has  become  an  excuse  for  applying
   sanctions,  denying food and medicine, and  finally  to
   war  against innocent people, killing and maiming them,
   invading and occupying their countries.  The wishes  of
   the majority are negated by the veto of one, even as it
   talks about promoting democratic processes.  And we can
   expect  more  changes to the application  of  democracy
   until  a  dictatorship of democracy eventually destroys
   the  great  ideals.  As with the communists, the  wheel
   would turn full cycle.
   12.   Clearly, it is not just Islam which needs  to  be
   reexamined.  All the religions, the ideologies and  the
   value systems of the world's human community need to be
   reexamined.  But we are of course concerned today  with
   the  religion  of Islam.  Is it the religion  that  the
   Prophet,  Muhammad s.a.w. preached or is it  different?
   If  it  is then is it responsible for the sad state  of
   the  Muslims today?  Or is it because the religion  has
   been  changed that it cannot deliver the good that  was
   promised?   Is  it true as some would have  us  believe
   that  what  the  Muslims suffer today  have  been  pre-
   ordained by Allah and Muslims will just have to  endure
   it?  Is it true that they will enjoy heaven in the next
   world because of their sufferings on this earth?
   13.  The Al-Quran says that all that is bad is from  us
   and  all  that  is  good is from  Allah.   So  we  must
   conclude  that  the  present miserable  fate  which  we
   suffer, our oppression by others and the denigration of
   our  religion is due to us, not pre-ordained by  Allah.
   If  that is so then we must find out what we have  done
   which  is  wrong, which is not in accordance  with  the
   teachings of Islam, and has brought misfortune upon us.
   We  have  to  know this and knowing we have to  correct
   ourselves and return to the true Islam so we  may  once
   again be blessed by Allah.
   14.   Islam as all Muslims know is not just a religion,
   a  belief in the one God, Allah, in His Prophet.  It is
   not  just about the performance of certain rituals, the
   avoidance  of sins.  Islam is a way of Life  --  Addin.
   Islam  governs every aspect of the life of the Muslims.
   It  guides their behaviour and everything that they do,
   as individuals, as a community.
   15.  But is our way of life today Islamic?  Many of  us
   believe  that by the Islamic way of life we  must  wear
   certain  dresses, keep a beard and cover  our  body  or
   "aurat".  But this is not everything as a way of  life.
   We  perform  prayers, fast, pay the tithes (zakat)  and
   perform  the Haj.  These are enjoined upon us  together
   with our declaration of faith in Allah and His Prophet.
   But  still  these cannot be Addin, a  way  of  life  in
   accordance with the teachings of Islam.
   16.   Life  for  the individual and  more  so  for  the
   community  is much more complex and involves many  more
   things.   We have to eat, clothe and shelter ourselves.
   We  have  to secure ourselves from all kinds of dangers
   which  threaten us.  We have to ensure good health  for
   ourselves.   And this we cannot achieve as individuals.
   We  need   the  services  and efforts  of  others,  the
   members of the community.
   17.   The  Muslim  belongs not  just  to  himself.   He
   belongs to the Muslim community, the ummah.  The  well-
   being  of  the ummah is the responsibility of  all  the
   members of the Muslim community.  If that well-being is
   not taken care of by the individuals or collectively by
   the community, then every Muslim in the community would
   have   sinned.   That  is  what  is  meant  by  "fardhu
   18.   While the performance of "fardhu ain" is to  gain
   merit   for  oneself,  "fardhu  kifayah"  is  for   the
   community.  Even if one performs "fardhu ain", it  does
   not absolve him from sin if the community needs are not
   taken  care  of  by  some  member  or  members  of  the
   community.  And so the production of food, clothing and
   shelter  for  the community would form a  part  of  the
   injunction of Islam, failure in which would  bring  sin
   and  retribution  in  the  afterlife  for  all  in  the
   community.  In fact as we have seen the retribution can
   come even on earth.
   19.   Apart from food, clothing and shelter, the  human
   community  needs  physicians  to  take  care   of   the
   individual and the community's health, laws  and  their
   enforcement to ensure the security of the community and
   its members.
   20.   The Muslim and his community most certainly  need
   religious  guidance so there will be no  straying  from
   the  prescribed  path.  For this there must  be  Muslim
   scholars  (ulama)  and  teachers.   But  obviously  not
   everyone has to be Muslim scholars or teachers.  If all
   are,  then  there would be no one to provide the  food,
   shelter   and  clothing.  If  that  happens  then   the
   community including the ulamas would be sinning because
   there  is no one to provide for the non-spiritual needs
   of  the community to enable the Islamic way of life  to
   be lived.
   21.    The  number  of  scholars  conversant  with  the
   teachings  of Islam must be limited so as to allow  for
   the  performances of "fardhu kifayah" by others.  Those
   who  perform  fardhu kifayah which enables  the  ulamas
   themselves  to lead an Islamic way of life must  surely
   earn  merit.   It cannot be that only those  who  study
   religion and become ulamas earn merit.
   22.   The role of the Islamic scholars and teachers  is
   essential  but  so are the role of the food,  clothing,
   shelter, health and security providers.  Since all  are
   performing  their  duties  and  contributing   to   the
   Islamic  way of life, all must gain merit, in  addition
   to  the merit gained through the performance of "fardhu
   23.   Then there is the all-important task of defending
   the  ummah  from outside attacks.  In the Quran  it  is
   enjoined upon the Muslims to prepare for the defence of
   the  community,  to have war steeds and  the  necessary
   weapons.  Unfortunately many stress the horses and  the
   ancient  weaponry  and not defence.   They  believe  in
   gaining  merit through being able to ride  a  horse  as
   this  was one of the things the Prophet did.  If by  so
   doing  they cannot defend themselves, in today's world,
   they  seem  not  to care.  The form of the  preparation
   rather  than  the  objective  of  the  preparation   is
   emphasised.  We admit that Muslim countries do  prepare
   for  their defense, but they have no capacity to invent
   and  produce their own weapons.  This is because by and
   large   they  neglect  the  study  of  those   subjects
   concerned  with the invention and production of  modern
   weapons.  Once again in interpreting the injunctions of
   the Quran to read they look at the form rather than the
   substance of Islamic teachings.
   24.   It  is the same with regard to the implementation
   of  Islamic  law.  Despite the Quranic injunction  that
   when  we  judge, we must judge with justice,  we  still
   emphasise  the  importance of procedures  and  process,
   ignoring  the injustice that it may cause.  Thus  if  a
   woman  is raped and she lodges a complaint against  the
   rapist,  if she cannot produce four witnesses then  she
   is  guilty  of false accusation and should be  whipped.
   If  later  she bears a child, then that is evidence  of
   zinah  and  should  be punished by  stoning  to  death.
   Obviously  this particular application of  Islamic  law
   ignore  the injunction to judge with justice.  But  the
   orthodox  remain  adamant that the procedures  must  be
   adhered to even if they result in injustice.  If anyone
   disagrees  then he is considered to be against  Islamic
   law and condemned as unbelievers in Islam.
   25.   Clearly  the teachings of Islam is being  wrongly
   interpreted.  As a result the good that is promised the
   believers has not manifested itself.
   26.   In  fact  it  can  be said  there  is  deliberate
   obstruction so that the Islamic way of life  cannot  be
   practised and the good achieved.  In the early years of
   Islam,  the Muslims, obeying the injunction  to  "Read"
   i.e.  to  acquire knowledge, studied the works  of  the
   Greeks and others on philosophy, medicine, science  and
   mathematics.   They actually expanded these  fields  of
   knowledge so much so that the Europeans and others  had
   to  access  the works of the Greeks through the  Arabic
   translations  of  these  works,  stored  in  the  great
   libraries  of Spain and present day Iraq and elsewhere.
   The  Muslims  were ahead of the rest of  the  world  in
   agriculture  (food), in the production  of  cotton  and
   silk   (clothing)   and   in   architecture   and   the
   construction of homes and public buildings.  They  were
   good administrators, governing the vast lands which had
   accepted Islam.  And certainly they were able to defend
   their  territories.   They were  great  navigators  and
   traders, enriching the countries they live in and those
   of their trading partners.
   27.   Because of the extensive knowledge in all  fields
   of   learning  and  their  consequent  skills  in   the
   acquisition  of  wealth,  in  administration   and   in
   military  defence, the Muslim civilisation thrived  and
   grew  enabling the Muslims to live the way of  life  as
   prescribed by the Quran.
   28.   Muslims  must refer to the Quran for guidance  in
   life.   But for the ordinary Muslim it is not  easy  to
   understand  the Quran.  There are verses in  the  Quran
   which are clear and can easily be understood.  But most
   of  the  verses  are in parables and  in  the  form  of
   anecdotes of the pre-Islamic and Islamic period.  These
   are  not precise but because of that they can serve  as
   guides  in dealing with worldly affairs resulting  from
   changes  with  the  passage of  time.   But  of  course
   different interpreters may interprete them differently.
   29.  Unfortunately so varied can the interpretations be
   that  they  often contradict each other.  Some  of  the
   differences in the interpretations are so extreme  that
   they  lead to schisms within the Muslim ummah.  At  the
   time of the Prophet reference could be made to him  and
   his words would be accepted by all.  Almost immediately
   after  his  death, the interpretations began to  differ
   and different sects began to emerge.  The biggest break-
   up  resulted  in the emergence of the Sunni  and  Syiah
   sects.   But  each of these two again  broke  into  the
   followers of different imams.  Then there are  numerous
   other  sects  resulting from the personal teachings  of
   different   scholars  and  imams  some  of   whom   are
   charlatans.   Frequently the sects are so different  in
   the practice of Islam that they accuse each other of no
   longer  being  followers of Islam, of being  apostates,
   "murtad".   And because of this they often  fight  each
   other  violently,  even go to war against  each  other.
   The situation now is not unlike the feuding of the Arab
   tribes in the pre-Islamic period.
   30.  Because of the differences and the need to display
   what  is  considered as Islamic virtues, the  so-called
   "non-religious"  matters  were  neglected.   While  the
   early   Muslims   had  a  well-rounded  education   and
   knowledge,  the  later Muslims tend to  concentrate  on
   religious knowledge only.  Although Muslims do not have
   a  system  of priests, nevertheless the Muslim scholars
   gained  a  powerful  role in the  community.   If  they
   misinterprete  Islam  deliberately  or  otherwise,  all
   their  followers do not contradict them.   And  through
   the ages many scholars misinterprete Islam for personal
   gain, giving rise to numerous fanatical feuding sects.
   31.   Being knowledgeable only in religion, the  Muslim
   scholars  downgraded  other fields  of  learning.   The
   number of great mathematicians, scientists, physicians,
   navigators,  astronomers in the Muslim world  began  to
   diminish when the ulamas and the Muslim jurists  gained
   power  and influence in Muslim Spain.  Soon the Muslims
   lost  their lead in those fields of learning which  had
   contributed   to   the   greatness   of   the   Islamic
   civilisation.  They became inward-looking and neglected
   the  development of their countries.  They  missed  the
   Industrial Revolution completely.
   32.  But later the division into different sects became
   complicated with the acceptance by the Muslims  of  the
   nation-states.  This is an alien concept.  The  Muslims
   had  no  nation-states as such.  They belonged  to  the
   Muslim  community, the ummah.  Their loyalty is to  the
   community  no matter where they may be.  But after  the
   British and the French broke up the Ottoman Empire, new
   nation-states were created without regard for ethnicity
   or  even geographical boundaries.  Thus Sham which lies
   to the north of the Arabian Peninsular, to which region
   the traders from Arabia, including the Prophet used  to
   go,  was  divided  up  into Iraq,  Lebanon,  Syria  and
   Palestine.  The British installed feudal rulers in  the
   territories  which came under them,  while  the  French
   treated these territories as provinces of France.  When
   these  colonial  territories  became  independent  they
   became separate states and no longer Sham.
   33.    Whatever  may  be  the  states  created  by  the
   partition,  loyalty  to the states now  complicate  the
   commitment  to  the ummah, the Muslim  community.   And
   State loyalties lead to conflicts and wars between  the
   Muslims.  The arms dealers of Europe enjoyed brisk sale
   at the expense of Muslim unity.
   34.   After  the collapse of the Turkish Ottomans,  the
   Muslims everywhere became divided and much weaker.   In
   fact for a time there was hardly a Muslim country which
   was not colonised or dominated by Europeans.
   35.   Some Muslim reformers then began to question  the
   orthodox views of the Muslim scholars.  They wanted  to
   "modernise",  to emulate the Europeans.  Some  went  so
   far  as  to  believe that only by discarding Islam  and
   becoming  secular could the Muslims regain  their  pre-
   eminence.   They  achieved very little success  in  the
   face  of  strong opposition by the influential orthodox
   36.   The  problem was that some of the reformers  were
   too  much  influenced by the European  concept  of  the
   separation  of  state  from  the  church.   It  may  be
   possible  in the Christian context.  It is not possible
   in  the Muslim world.  Islam is a way of life and a way
   of  life cannot be compartmentalised into spiritual and
   material.  Everything that a person does is part  of  a
   way  of life.  Certainly the system of government of  a
   country  and its development is a part of  the  way  of
   37.   It is entirely possible to be Islamic even  if  a
   modern administration or system, including democracy is
   adopted.   It  is  possible  if  we  go  back  to   the
   fundamentals  of  Islam.  The problem is  that  Muslims
   tend to emphasise and venerate the form rather than the
   substance  in  the  practice of  everything.   Even  in
   modernisation they look for the form.
   38.  Thus clothing which are meant to cover the body is
   translated as the wearing of the Arab dress.  That  the
   other forms of dress, including the now universal  coat
   and  trousers  can also cover the body is  regarded  as
   being  of  no  merit,  unIslamic.  Reading  to  acquire
   knowledge is interpreted as reading to acquire  Islamic
   religious  knowledge only.  Defense  of  the  ummah  is
   interpreted  as  veneration of the ancient  weapons  of
   39.   Perhaps this sounds too simplistic.  But what  is
   one  to make of the neglect of learning and defence  in
   the  Muslim  world.   Must Muslims  forever  buy  their
   weapons from others, some of whom may be their enemies?
   Surely  they must have indigenous capacities to  invent
   and produce their defence needs themselves.  To do this
   they  must  learn science, mathematics, technology  and
   the  rest.   Far  from regarding the pursuit  of  these
   subjects  as  not  as  good as  the  study  of  Islamic
   theology,  it  should be regarded as an  ibadah,  which
   should gain merit for the individual and merit for  the
   community.   But to focus on the defence of  the  ummah
   will need political stability and economic wealth.  And
   so  Muslims  must learn to restrain themselves  and  to
   make whatever system of Government they adopt, work.
   40.   Democracy is compatible with Islam.  The  Prophet
   s.a.w.  did not create a dynasty.  He left  it  to  his
   followers  to choose from among themselves a leader,  a
   Khalifah.   It was only later that the Muslim dynasties
   were  set  up.   One  can say that a system  where  the
   leader  is chosen by an electorate, regardless  of  his
   antecedents,  is  much  more  Islamic  than  otherwise.
   Having been elected, a leader must care for his people,
   for  the  ummah.  And caring means ensuring his  people
   will  have  food, clothing and shelter and  be  secured
   from domestic or foreign aggression.
   41.  If the fundamentals of Islam are adhered to, there
   should not be conflicts and wars between Muslims.   The
   fundamentals  cannot  differ.   Muslims  are  brothers.
   This  is  fundamental  to Islam.   But  we  are  hardly
   brothers  to  each other.  We are ready to accuse  each
   other of being apostates and we are ready to kill  each
   42.   Islam  means  peace.   We wish  peace  upon  each
   other.   This  is also fundamental to Islam.   We  only
   fight  against those who attack us, be they Muslims  or
   non-Muslims.   When  the enemy sues for  peace  Muslims
   must  respond  positively.  But we are  doing  none  of
   these fundamental things.
   43.  Today Muslims are labeled as terrorists.  We don't
   think that it is justified.  We may be right.  But  the
   fact is that we are killing people because of our anger
   regardless   of   who  we  kill,  regardless   of   the
   consequences.    Admittedly  we   are   desperate   and
   outgunned  and there is very little else we can  do  to
   defend  ourselves  against  the  injustice  perpetrated
   against   us.    But   should   we   just   lash    out
   indiscriminately,  killing innocent  people,  including
   those  who  sympathise with us?  Shouldn't we  stop  to
   think,  to plan and to strategise with ultimate victory
   as our goal?
   44.   Is  it  impossible  to  do  this?   If  we  think
   rationally,  we  must admit that it is possible.   What
   have  we  got  after  almost  100  years  of  fighting?
   Nothing.   Even our anger is not assuaged.  We  are  in
   fact getting more angry.
   45.   If we think then we must realise that our present
   predicament  is  not  pre-ordained  by  Allah.   It  is
   entirely  due to our own doing.  We have neglected  and
   misinterpreted the teachings of Islam.  When we  should
   be  acquiring knowledge which can help us ward off  the
   attacks against us, we reject such knowledge.  We  rely
   merely on praying to Allah for help when Allah has said
   in  the  Quran  that  we have to help  ourselves  first
   before  He will help us.  We have not helped ourselves,
   not in the right way as prescribed by our religion.
   46.  We do not have a need to reinvent Islam.  Islam is
   perfect and is for all times.  The present age does not
   make  Islam irrelevant.  It is relevant if we stick  to
   the fundamentals, if we interprete them correctly.  The
   problem  is with the interpretation of Islam.   It  has
   not  only  divided the ummah but it has made the  ummah
   practically illiterate, incapable of dealing with  even
   the simple problems of governing ourselves.
   47.  The fundamentals of Islam are still relevant.   We
   must  go back to the fundamentals, to reading in  order
   to   acquire  knowledge,  to  the  brotherhood  of  the
   Muslims, to the way of life as prescribed by Islam,  to
   the substance of the teachings of Islam in the Al-Quran
   and the verified Hadis and not to the forms of Islam or
   the weak unverified hadis.
   48.   Islam is still the perfect religion.  It  is  the
   Muslims   who   are  not  perfect,  who  have   allowed
   themselves to misinterprete Islam, to deviate from  the
   teachings   of   Islam.   The  Muslims   must   correct
   themselves and it is they who must change, not  through
   discarding  Islam but through going back to  the  true,
   the  fundamental Islam.  The fundamentals of Islam  are
   good.  The early Muslims who succeeded in building  the
   great Islamic civilisation must be fundamentalists, for
   the numerous and contradictory interpretations of Islam
   had not yet emerged to confuse and confound.
   49.   The  Prophet brought to us only one  religion  of
   Islam.   Today there are hundreds of Islams.   We  have
   to go back to the one Islam brought by the Prophet.  We
   must do so as thinking Man, not as emotional Man.
   50.   We  can face the challenges of our times  not  by
   giving  vent  to  our anger, our frustrations  and  our
   bitterness.   We  must  instead  use  the  brain,  that
   thinking  capacity that Allah has endowed us with.   We
   take  stock  of our assets, we plan and we  strategise.
   And   Allah   has   endowed  us  with   riches   beyond
   imagination.  We have certain strengths, which we  must
   identify and apply with wisdom.
   51.  Above all we must reduce the enmity between us, if
   not completely, at least selectively to face the threat
   against us.
   52.   There  is  no  magic  in  the  successes  of  our
   detractors.  We can do what they can do.  But  we  have
   to  rid  ourselves of the baggage of history and  focus
   completely  on  the  problems  we  face  today.    And,
   Insyaallah,  we  will overcome the  challenges  without
   losing  our  faith  or deviating from  the  fundamental
   teachings of Islam.
   53.   We  must certainly re-examine the Islam  that  we
   practice.   We have no need to reinvent it when  facing
   the  new  challenges of today.  But we  must  certainly
   correct the wrong interpretations of Islam if we are to
   overcome successfully the threats and humiliation  that
   we face.

   Sumber : Pejabat Perdana Menteri