Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chapter 8 : Lesson From Kelantan

While writing this book, a Kelantanese friend of mine, Ustaz Abdul Rahim Jusoh unexpectedly turned up. He brought with him a file from a seminar organised by the Kelantan State Government. It contained 2 working papers and a few pamphlets, including one entitled “Kelantan Continue To Develop With Islam” (Kelantan Terus Membangun Bersama Islam) published by the Kelantan State Information Secretariat.

I was grateful to God to have received the pamphlet as it gave me the opportunity to find out from the Kelantan Government itself, what is actually happening in that state which has supposedly implemented the Islamic system of governance. It gave me the opportunity to gauge the accuracy of my view, that western politics borrowed and applied for Islam do not foster and do not bring about the understanding of Islam?

I was also concerned that my view as stated above could possibly annoy the people of Kelantan. However, the pamphlet, which explains the steps taken by the State Government to Islamise Kelantan, will resolve firmly the question of which and whose view is correct. Whether it is my view that an Islamic State can only be established through motivation and education or the view of the politicians who believe that an Islamic State can be achieved through western style political elections.

The following is my analysis of the pamphlet, “Kelantan Continue To Develop With Islam” (Kelantan Terus Membangun Bersama Islam). Through this analysis we shall distinguish the differences between those two views and reveal where the truth lies.

To administer a State in Islam means, to shape the entire administration, the administrators, the people and every aspect of their lives according to the Islamic system and way of life. Every aspect of life such as faith, worship, business, economy, politics, crime, marriage, the society, and others must be implemented according to the Islamic shariah. This also include culture, education, health, agriculture, family and everything else related to the life of mankind. All these must be carried out in accordance to Islam. That is the characteristic of an Islamic State. A State that does not practise the Islamic way of life cannot to be called an Islamic State. A family that does not practice the Islamic way of life is not an Islamic family. It can only be called a family of muslims. Similarly, a village that does not uphold the Islamic way of life is not an Islamic village even if the head of the village has Islamic aspirations. It can only be called a village of muslims.

Although they are interested in an Islamic State, the majority of the people of Kelantan do not practice the Islamic way of life in totality. Because of their interest in an Islamic state, they voted for PAS. In reality however, the way they live do not portray the passion for an Islamic way of life. They are not nurtured and educated to be so. They are muslims not through the process of education but by way of politics. They are only told of the grandeur of an Islamic state but they have yet to be taught the form of this grandeur and how it should be achieved and implemented.

It is like being told about the greatness of possessing a timber concession. One would be very excited about getting the concession. But, what do you do when you get the concession? Timber logging is not an easy task. It needs preparation, planning, expertise and sophisticated equipment that are expensive and difficult to procure. In the end the excitement dies off and the venture is neglected and abandoned. The most important ‘machinery’ in Islamizing a state or nation is the human development machinery. The complete set for this ‘machinery’ is as follows:

1. The mind or knowledge that is proven to be able to transform the human mind and heart towards the Islamic way of life.

I explicitly mentioned ‘knowledge that is proven’ as there are knowledge that is incapable of bringing change to the human mind and heart. Such knowledge may be lectured or preached for years, but it will never change people to the Islamic way of life.

The brand of Islamic knowledge that is taught in schools, colleges and universities in the whole world today, and that is accredited by certificates and degrees, appear to have failed to bring people towards upholding the Islamic way of life, not even within the learning institutions themselves let alone in the society at large. Nor can the knowledge attract and convert non-Muslims to Islam. Islamic scholars who are given certificates and degrees from the universities are incapable of development. This was confirmed by Anwar Ibrahim himself when he was the education minister.

Islamic knowledge as taught in private religious schools (pondok) too is incapable of building Islam in its entirety even within its own premises. Despite studying Islamic economy and business in these religious schools, they cannot even establish a retail shop in their area. This means, Islam that is taught within and through the system of the religious schools have no power nor barakah to bring the knowledge into the reality of human life. It is only good to be memorized and for purely academic purposes.

That is why I stressed that the mind or knowledge that is needed to accelerate human development for a state or nation must be knowledge that is proven in its ability to shape muslims who are willing to practice Islam in every aspect of life.

2. Trained and educated human resource, that are capable of relaying such mind and knowledge.

Without trained and educated human resource, the process will become a series of trial and error, thus delaying the accomplishment of human development. Tasks that would normally take 6 months would possibly have to be extended to 5 years for example. Such a consequence is unacceptable and dangerous.

3. The availability of electronic and print media to be utilized to assist in expediting the process of relaying the human development message to the whole state or nation.

The mind and knowledge is channelled to society through books, magazines, pamphlets, comics, photographs, cassettes, videos, stickers, radio and television transmissions and various other means. If all these media could be controlled and utilized by the human development program, then God willing, within a short time, half of the Islamic and non-islamic communities will understand and be aware of the beauty and virtues of Islam. They will then involve themselves with projects to develop the Islamic way of life in the state or nation.

4. Financial capability

Financial strength is also an important factor to make the human development programme a success. Without sufficient funds, many necessary tasks would be impeded. As such, preparations must be made to ensure availability of funds. Lack of funds for Islamic development is no excuse. Such excuse do not solve the problem, even worse; it will give a negative impression and will mar the image of the Islamic struggle. One of the attributes of the struggle is the willingness to sacrifice anything for Islam. Thus, the question of having insufficient funds should not arise.

5. The leader must be able to solve problems and to be the role

model for the people

Since many people have yet to understand Islam, there will be a lot of questions and issues raised. The human development machinery must be able to answer these questions and address the issues. They too must be able to become counsellors to the people. That being the case, the leaders of the Islamic struggle must first internalise and practise Islam in its totality and act as the role models for the people and the general public to follow and emulate. The Prophet and the Companions (Sahabah) were devotees by night and lions by day ‘Rohbanu fillail wafursanu binnahar’.

6. There must be a community that practises the Islamic way of life in its totality as a model and an example.

If we were to talk about the good qualities of a shirt, people would be more convinced if they were able to see a sample of the shirt, or to see a model wearing it. If the shirt really looks beautiful and smart, people would readily accept and imitate it.

Without a model, there will be questions raised without end and this will hinder and make it difficult for us to develop the Islamic community. That was why in his time, the Prophet set up a model Islamic community in Medina. Although it was small, only at the level of a group or jamaah, but it was sufficiently convincing. Given ruling power, it can grow further. People are attracted to a good and convincing model. The building of a genuine Islamic community as a model also gives the fighters of Islam important experience to help them develop Islam at the national level. Surely such model must be attained before getting the state or the nation i.e. in the jamaah or the party. Thus in matters relating to human development, the state will refer to the jamaah and the nation will refer to the state, and so on.

These are the preparations necessary to develop and build an Islamic community within a state or nation. However, I do not see these things in the list of steps to be taken to ‘Develop with Islam’ in Kelantan. On page 8 of the pamphlet is written a plan for the Coverage of the Aurat Awareness Campaign and on page 11, the directive as follows:

“Upon prayer time, all government staff must stop work to perform the congregational solah (prayers).”

Pardon me for being frank. Both these topics (covering of the aurat and congregational solah) appear to be related to human development. It sounds really good. But the truth is, it is not that simple. The religious command to conduct the solah and covering of the aurat is not like passing laws on wearing of the crash helmet or seat belt. To wear the crash helmet or seat belt in compliance to campaign directives and the law is not wrong. Covering of the aurat and solah on the other hand, if done for the sake of complying to directives and the law or out of exuberance is not valid, is of no religious merit, and is not accepted as an act of worship by Allah in the Hereafter. This is because people do it not because of Allah but out of the fear of being penalised. An act of worship done for the sake of other than the devotion to Allah, is not worship and will not be accepted by Allah.

What is the use of performing the solah when it is not accepted by Allah? Typically if an obligation is done because of a directive law or instruction, it will only be done in public. It will not be done when people are by themselves. Just like wearing of the seat belt, it is worn only when the traffic police are around. Otherwise, it is not worn at all. In fact some even scorn the law on the wearing of seat belts.

Educating awareness means instilling sound and strong faith in the hearts of people. Knowledge on strong faith must be relayed through effective education. It cannot be done through casual and infrequent campaigns and directives. A tree which is watered and fertilized by its owner will grow strong and healthy. But a tree that is only told by its owner about water and fertilizer, and then left to water and fertilize itself will not achieve similar results and will not grow strong and healthy.

That is the analogy to differentiate the concept of up- holding Allah’s commands, one through motivation and education and the other through campaigns and directives. While they look similar outwardly and externally, the effects are distinctly different. One is accepted as worship by Allah while the other is rejected. One is from the heart, while the other merely pretence. One is done because of Allah, while the other, for the sake of the government.

Once a big portion of the people want the Islamic way of life, the second ‘machinery’ needed in the process of Islamizing a state or nation, is the machinery for material development or the development of physical civilisation. Among the important areas to be developed are the economic system, the formal education system for schools, colleges and universities and systems related to the society, administration, culture, health, communication, agriculture and others.

To develop the Islamic economic system, the government must begin by resolving the economic problems of the people. It must address the problem of the gap between the rich and the poor. So that the rich are not greedy and gluttonous in their search for wealth while the poor accept their poverty and strive to earn their needs. This is elaborated at length in my book ‘Falsafah Kemiskinan dan Jalan Penyelesaiannya Menurut Islam’ (The Philosophy of Poverty and Its Solution According to Islam).

The government, it’s leadership and staff must be willing to sacrifice their personal and the nation’s wealth for the sake of the people. The nation’s wealth is for the nation and its citizens, not for individuals or the cronies of the leaders. With such sacrifices, the nation’s debt could be settled. The people can share the nation’s wealth. The rich must sympathise with the poor and must love and care for them. By doing so they would demonstrate that they really voted for an Islamic state or nation because they want none other than to uphold Islam by avenging the poor and destitute.

This is the basis of Islamic economy in the community. Islamic banks are no longer confined to government and private buildings as they are now but also in the homes of the rich and wealthy. The rich and wealthy are banks for the poor. From here harmonious economic projects will grow without resorting to the capitalist system that is oppressive. There is no fraud, no deceit, no monopoly, no oppression and no usury. The rich do not have the heart to oppress the poor. Each do not clamour for wealth but strive to do good deeds for the sake of a harmonious life in this world and, salvation in the Hereafter. All economic problems guised under whatever name will be resolved through this system.

The gesture by the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Kelantan, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz to give up his state-allocated personal allowance for the benefit of the state and its people is commendable. Apart from jihad fisabilillah, and a great service to the community, his action will assist the development of the Islamic economic system. His willingness to sacrifice voluntarily shows that he is a man who loves and fears God. Such sacrifice bonds the rich and poor through love and care. However this effort is not enough if done only on an individual basis. Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz is only capable of leading himself but is unable to educate his followers and the people of Kelantan to live by the Islamic code. By right, in an Islamic state or nation, as a result of motivation and education, all government leaders and staff and also the rich and wealthy should be involved in such an effort. They must follow the footsteps and exemplify their leader. Empty fanaticism is not enough. They must abide by his instructions and emulate his attitude. The key people especially the leaders of PAS must themselves follow and exemplify their leader. This is because the Islamic government is their aspiration. They must be in the forefront in up-holding Islam. That is, if PAS truly struggle to uphold Islam and to bring the believers closer to God. I once heard that the Kelantan Government had financial problems and they put the blame on the Federal government for it. Shortage of funds should not be an issue. I feel that there is no point in blaming the enemy for it. That is what enemies do. In our struggle we cannot beg from the enemy. In fact it is us who should give to the enemy. Only then will the enemy accept and respect us.

By right, citizens, particularly dignitaries and the rich and wealthy, and more so, the PAS leaders and members themselves must be willing to make-up for the shortage of funds by making maximum sacrifice for the sake of Islam. What is the meaning of voting for a leader if we are not willing to sacrifice our wealth and money for the state and the people that is led by the leader whom we voted for?

In order to build the Islamic education system, in the schools and universities so that such system will produce people who are useful in the world and the Hereafter, the messages and education methodology used in the school of the Prophet must be emulated and duplicated.

This methodology is explained at length in my book entitled ‘Pendidikan Rasulullah’ (The Prophet’s Education System). The students should first be exposed and taught the knowledge of divine revelation (wahyu). Only after that should they be moulded according to their talents and capabilities. Without knowledge of divine revelation in their hearts and minds, the students will be like a cake that is lacking in margarine and with excess of flour. Such a cake will be hard, heavy, broken up, unsightly and in fact unpleasant to eat. Knowledge of divine revelation are like structures to a house. A house without structure is not a house. Those who do not acquire knowledge of divine revelation will not be humans. Perhaps they can be a man biologically but not a human. A human is a man but a man is not necessarily a human. An education model such as this must exist in the jamaah or the ruling party. This model within the party should be expanded and applied to the state or nation.

That is my explanation of the two methods of the development of human and the development of material civilization at state or national level. I feel it is sufficient as an example in other fields. What is important here is that, to develop and uphold Islam within the state or nation requires preparation, sacrifice, experience and a model. Without them we will be like the blind, groping with our cane, trying to find the way that will lead us to our destination.

I see that the struggle through electoral politics, which does not place any emphasis on Islamic life and development within the party, but instead puts priority upon the attainment of the nation, do not fulfil these conditions. What with are you going to uphold Islam and build the Islamic society when you get the state or nation?

The pamphlet ‘Kelantan Continue To Develop With Islam’ also touched a lot on the banning of the things already forbidden. Among those listed in the pamphlet are, the banning of gambling, tightening controls on liquor sales, banning of rock concerts, taking stern actions against premises involved with vice activities, taking stern actions against government officials taking bribes, banning of immoral shows, prohibiting the use of the pictures of women in advertisements and so on.

This is very much in line with the teachings of Islam. We would definitely be happy to live in an environment free of vice and transgressions such as these. However, I have certain reservations and a question that needs to be answered. Will these forbidden activities be eradicated by way of banning them? Islam has already forbidden them in the first place. Will banning make a difference. Can it be achieved if not through education so that people will love and fear God and give priority and precedence to life in the Hereafter. Consider the following example:

Let us take a family comprising of both the parents and 10 children. The parents face the problem that some of their children are bad. They gamble, they drink liqour, they frequent the discotheque, loiter, play rock music, they take bribes, commit vice, the daughters are taken to showing off their sexy bodies and others. The parents would very much like their children to be good and cease from committing such sins and transgressions.

What is your opinion if the parents were to act by putting up rules and regulations on the wall, hoping that the children will abide by them and not break them? Or, what do you think if the parents finally forbid their children from going out of the house to these immoral places? And in doing so appoint an anti-vice agent to lock the doors to their children. Will such wish come true and will their plans be successful without the parents giving advice and educating their children and without allowing the elder brothers and sisters to advice their younger siblings.

By right if the elder brothers and sisters were to give advice, it should be appreciated. They are only assisting the parents by educating and advising the children guided by the examples set by the parents. This must go on until the majority of the children become good except for a few who that remain bad. If this is achieved, then rules and regulations can be applied and punishment meted out to the few who are still obstinate. This is to prevent them influencing the others. However, if the majority are bad, and rules are abruptly enforced, i.e. the doors of the house are suddenly locked; the children will revolt and will cause considerable damage to the house. It becomes even worse if the parents themselves are still bad. How can bad parents punish their children so that they become good? Surely this is unreasonable.

I think with rules and enforcement, there will be many repercussions. Among them are:

i. Children who are still inclined towards vice and immoral activities will revolt. They will continue to commit them in different ways, i.e. in indifferent places or in their friend’s house.

ii. They will continue to commit vice behind their parents back.

iii. They will think Islam is cruel for curbing their desires. Hence they will become wild and slip further away from Islam.

iv. They will rebel and will go against their parents

v. People commit vice and sins because their souls are impaired. If people do not commit sins for fear of the law, their souls will still remain impaired and their sinful inclination unravelled. They will still commit vice and sins if they can get away with it.

If Islamic laws were to be forced upon people and carried out in a harsh and abrupt manner, it could never be upheld. This similarly applies to the family unit. By right prohibiting the children from committing sinful acts must begin by making them realize and aware about the entity of God. i.e. instilling in the children the love and fear of God and instilling in them the necessity of putting life in Hereafter ahead of life on earth. If the love and fear of God and giving priority to the Hereafter is not instilled within their hearts, they will say, “Why do I have to refrain from these things?

As such, they will abstain from committing sinful acts with a tormented soul and not with a willing heart. It is not something they want to do. In other words, they abstain from committing sins not out of the love and fear of God but because it is the directive of their parents, the intention of which is unclear to them. They will perhaps comply and play obedience for two or three days. Soon after, their souls will revolt. As a result they will hate their parents. If their parents were to die, they might even celebrate the occasion because there will be no one left to restrain or hinder them from doing what they love to do.

For a state or nation; we have the police and the legal power to punish. But what if the police themselves are inclined towards vice? Would it not be possible that they will open the back door to vice? If so, there will be a situation in the Islamic state or nation where everything seems to be fine outwardly but vice is rampant behind the scenes. The state will be preoccupied with punishing its citizens because majority of the people commit transgressions and are hypocrites who lead a pretentious life which is forbidden by God. Whereas, the Islamic nation as we know it is a nation that is peaceful, safe, full of salvation, prosperous and its people are clean both physically and spiritually.

To me, the task of deterring people from doing sinful acts and transgressions (nahi munkar) must begin with motivation and education, conducted extensively with love and care coupled with good example and the availability of suitable alternatives established by the fighters of the truth to replace the secular and damaging system. These fighters are themselves the role models. The task is not carried out by way of punishment or directives. In carrying out motivation and education and in building the Islamic model, we provide an alternative to the people. We provide the Islamic entertainment, to replace the wild and damaging form of secular entertainment, the Islamic way of doing sports to replace sports that is unIslamic, the Islamic way of having fun, relaxation and recreation and the Islamic way of filling our daily lives and getting satisfaction. This can be done by building Islamic villages that is peaceful and calm and full of love and discipline. If all these could be made available, we do not have to issue directives. The people themselves will follow and emulate because the role model is there.

Ruling power is not for the purpose of directing, punishing and oppressing the people. It is to be used as a means to propagate motivation and education in the broadest and widest way possible and in a variety of methods. It is also for developing as many alternatives as possible to replace systems that are damaging. If we want to get chicken, to stop pecking at dung and filth, and instead to peck on paddy, we do not have to issue instructions or threats. We only need to scatter paddy to it and it will spontaneously begin to peck on the paddy.

This is the Islamic way and method. Muslims must practise this method at least in the early stages. Let us take the Prophet’s example when he preached at the Jewish Market of Ukaz which was full of cheating and deceit. The Prophet did not issue threats or warnings but instead established the Muslim Ansar Market as an alternative.

When the truth is widespread and well known within the society, and majority of the people are good and decent or they love virtue and decency, then punishment can be meted out to the few who still remain errant and obstinate, who despise decency and wilfully provoke the government and decent people. In this case, Islam has no choice but to enforce the rules and to deliver punishment so that these evil people fear and submit to Allah and submit to the truth. This is to ensure they do not injure or destroy the part of society that is good. I have written this in my book entitled Falsafah Pelaksanaan Hukum Hudud Dalam Masyarakat(The Philosophy of Implementing the Laws of Hudud In Society).

I think the explanation thus far is sufficient for readers to evaluate and see where the difference lie between my vision of the struggle and that of PAS. And you can now judge who is right and who is wrong. But then perhaps some readers would say, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if both views could be combined and both work towards getting power and also to preach? For sure the Islamic Nation can be achieved more quickly.”

Yes, that sounds good and logical. But then not all that is logical is true. And not all that is true is logical. For example, we often hear people say, “Let me gather wealth so that I can donate to Islam”. This sounds utterly logical, but how many rich people today surrender their riches to Islam?

To ask the fighters of Islam to join politics and on the other hand to ask politicians to struggle for Islam is akin to asking a duck to marry a chicken. The duck, obviously would want its wife the chicken to follow its ways, whereas this is actually very difficult for the chicken.

The fighters of Islam will not want to carry out political campaigns, because for them it is not the right thing to do. Politicians on the other hand will not want to think about retail shops, wholesale shops, mini markets, cultural activities, the Islamic village and so on because they want the nation. As such, how can they stay under the same roof? They will squabble without end and eventually will break up. It is better for them not to stay in the same house to avoid perpetual quarrels and bickering.

Once when Kelantan first fell under APU’s control (Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah or roughly translated the United People’s Front), we the fighters of Islam who fight through the Islamic brand of politics, offered to organize Islamic expos and concerts in order to quickly fill their victory with Islam. Unfortunately, the authorities of the state not only fervently declined our offer but went on to ban it. Until today they have not allowed us to organize similar activities. We are puzzled by the PAS Government’s attitude. Why do they ban immoral programs and also the good and decent ones at the same time? It confuses the people. Will such government be respected by the people? Yes, perhaps but only by those who are fanatic and ignorant.

I am convinced, through motivation and education coupled with love and care, Allah will bestow the Islamic nation to His servants. This is proven historically, and I have explained this in detail prior to this chapter. It is much easier for the fighters of Islam to fill and organise Islamic programmes in an Islamic Nation that is acquired through motivation and education coupled with love and care than to fill and organize programmes in a nation that is controlled by politicians. Here I would like to stress again that history has clearly recorded, the Islamic jamaah, Islamic state or Islamic nation can only be established by way of motivation and education by a leader promised and indicated by Allah, either through divine revelation (wahyu), the Hadith or divine inspiration (ilham). And that is a nation that is just, safe, peaceful, prosperous and blessed by the Oft-Forgiving Allah. If the leader is sponsored and elected through public vote, he would not be capable of doing it. If the leader is not indicated by Allah, but merely elected by the people, surely those who elect him will do so for personal gains and interest. But if God indicates and appoints, God do not have any self-interest. Allah decreed:

Meaning: “And if the people of the towns had believed and had Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth.” (Al- A’raf: 96)

Allah further decreed:

Meaning: “And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine.” (At-Talaq: 2-3)

In such an Islamic nation, that is promised and blessed by Allah, subsistence and sustenance overflow from the heavens and earth. Crops flourish and give bountiful harvest. Livestock grow fat and plump producing plenty of milk and meat. Fishermen bring ashore bountiful catches. The rich become generous, while the poor readily accept their poverty. Muslims and non-Muslims live together in goodwill and harmony like family. And this is even more so between Muslims. At prayer (solah) time, shops are not locked but are empty, because everyone is in congregational prayers. Cats play with mice, not mutilating or devouring them, because there is love between them. This is even more so between humans. This situation actually took place in history. In two years during the reign of the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz, wolves did not prey on sheep. This story is famous. Shepherds were happy because they never lose their sheep. Until one day, one shepherd was shocked when he saw a wolf pounce and devoured his sheep. The incident puzzled him until he heard the news that the Caliph had just passed away. Umar Abdul Aziz was not elected by the people but was appointed by God. He was a reformer (mujaddid) at a time when there was no prophet. His era was filled with blessings and barakah.

We now understand that the promised leader, is a person of taqwa, who receives divine help from Allah. His leadership is blessed so much so there is no enmity even between carnivorous animals and their prey. With God’s blessing and the divine powers bestowed upon him, total and complete peace is brought about entirely by the hand of the leader of truth. This is what we are longing for which is promised for the end of time. We too have the chance to savour life in a nation that is peaceful, prosperous and blessed by the Oft-Forgiving Allah as enjoyed by generations of the past. Because of his exceptional level of taqwa, the promised leader can control the hearts of the people to be gentle, decent, obedient and good. Even animals can become tame with the will of God. This is what is called the Islamic state or nation. The nation of the Quran and Hadith. The nation within which there is the presence of Allah and the Prophet. This being the fact, we are ashamed to call just any state or nation Islamic because Islam is too revered and high to be used to describe a state or nation that is secular and full of problems, vice and transgressions. Such vice and transgressions do not only happen among the people but also among those who rule. If not done in public, they do it behind the scenes and in secrecy.

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