Followers

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

STIFLING THE AMMAN MESSAGE by Chandra Muzaffar


In any civilised society no one will resort to violence, or the threat of violence, to stifle the voices that one does not want to hear.  Unfortunately, this is what happened in Malaysia a few days ago when some bigots managed to force the cancellation of a public seminar on ‘The Amman Message’ organised by certain civil society groups scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur on the 13th of July 2019. A Facebook Account holder threatened to bomb the venue of the seminar, the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS).

Threatening to bomb a place constitutes an act of terror. While there have been instances in the past when force has been employed by groups to disrupt peaceful public gatherings, this is perhaps one of those rare occasions where an individual blatantly links himself and the group he is representing, Gerakan Banteras Syiah( the movement to stop the spread of Syiah) to a terrorist threat. It suggests a degree of boldness which we have not witnessed before. 

What is shocking about this brazen act is that it is driven by a stark lie. It projects the Amman Message as a devious instrument to propagate Syiah teachings when anyone who has a basic understanding of the Message knows that it merely recognises the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Islam and forbids takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims. Aimed at creating unity and harmony within the Muslim Ummah, the message was initiated by a Sunni Ruler, King Abdullah of Jordan in 2004. The majority of those involved in drafting and endorsing the document were Sunnis. Besides, the Amman Message was unanimously adopted by the summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now Cooperation) in Mecca in December 2005. It is undoubtedly true that the Amman Message is one of the most important documents produced by the Muslim world in the last 100 years.

Manufacturing a lie in order to tarnish a noble effort and then deploying that lie to whip up popular emotions is becoming quite pervasive in our society. Of course, the manipulation of the lie is so much a part of politics in Malaysia and most other countries. Nonetheless, in a situation in which fears are exaggerated and uncertainties are exploited even more than in the past, the lie becomes even more impactful --- and therefore more dangerous.

It is a pity that so few Malaysians including human rights advocates are prepared to expose the lies that are churned out.  Even the threat of violence to silence the truth has not elicited as much condemnation from sane and rational people as it should. When the people are not doing enough, it becomes imperative for those in authority to act with courage and firmness.  

In the case of the aborted Amman Message seminar since names and identities are known it is assumed that the police have not encountered insurmountable difficulties in their investigation. As one of the three organisers of the seminar, the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) would like to know what action has been taken against the individual and group that threatened to bomb the venue. The public has a right to know.

It is only when prompt and effective action is taken against those who threaten peace and peaceful dialogue that we will be convinced that the rule of law is supreme in our society and that we uphold civilised norms of human behaviour.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) Malaysia.
14 July 2019.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

MY GRANDFATHER'S ADVICE




Note : this article is taken from the 1st chapter of my book "Quran and I"

My experience with the Quran started early.

My Jid; grandfather in Arabic, was a Hafiz al-Quran, one who had memorized the Quran cover-to-cover. My eldest sister and I were his favorite because we had the opportunity to spend more time with him than the other siblings. I’d also like to think that it was because we were also quick to understand and recite the Quran, and our pronunciation and reading were outstanding. I would recite the Quran and Jid would shout corrections from afar while he tended to some chores.

         Jid was my first Muslim role model. He was a gentle, responsible, loving, family man who loved his wife thoroughly. He was married to only one woman. 

He was also hard working. At a young age he immigrated to Medan, Indonesia, from Yemen, with nothing to his name. By the time he passed away, he had amassed numerous properties that till today provides for his children and grandchildren, not lavishly, but enough to survive the vagaries of the Indonesian economy.

         For me, the cultural legacy he left behind far outweighed his material possessions. He was a great mentor. When I was five, I spent three months in Medan with him. He would invite me to ride pillion on his bicycle. Sometimes I would rather play with the other kids so I complained. He told me that when I grew up I would understand why. 

On one of those rides, he took me on a long journey deep into Medan pendalaman. "We are poor" he said, “but there are others worse off.” He wanted me to understand the concept of bershukor, thankfulness or gratitude.   

“It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: that ye may give thanks …” - Quran 16:78

He cautioned me that when we reached our destination on the bicycle, when his friend served food and drink I must not complain no matter what, and I had to finish my given portion. The tea was awful, the bread was dry and hard, but I swallowed as advised. 

On the ride back, it was ‘question answer time'. He asked, “The floor in our house, what is it made of? “ I answered, “Cement”. “How about my friend’s house, and the houses around it, what is the floor made off?” I answered, “Tanah!”

            He went on and conveyed to me many important life's learning from that simple trip. He said, while the floor was made of earth and their house had few things, they kept it clean. His friend was a kind man, loving to his family and he was a good friend. God, my Jid explained, will not care about what you have on the outside, but will look at what you are from the inside. The Quran, Jid said, tells us that God is close to everyone regardless of whether you are poor or rich.

“NOW, VERILY, it is We who have created man, and We know what his innermost self whispers within him: for We are closer to him than his neck-vein” - Quran 50:16

When I was eight, Jid visited us in Penang. We would take long walks and the mentoring would continue. We walked to Tanjong Tokong and sat near a huge rock between the road and sea front (now the rock has made way for a housing development). He explained that the Quran says that any kind of job is good in the eyes of God as long as it is Halal. He pointed to a sweeper sweeping the roadside and told me that the man has a good job as he was keeping the place clean and God loved him for his work and that I must show respect to the sweeper too.

“For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath,- an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!” - Quran 3:136

Jid’s advice was simple to understand. He said that any man who is able to work but lay idle, Tuhan nanti marah. Any man who failed to provide for his wife her nafkah when he is able, Tuhan nanti marah . He told me that one day when I am married no matter where my wife is, even if she is thousands of miles away, I must send her nafkah. 

He lived as he preached. Jid did not have to work when he was almost eighty as he had funds and his children provided for him, but he insisted on working even if it was just laying a small rug on the streets of Aden with some goods to sell. He worked till his last days, making sure he sent his wife her nafkah with money from his own sweat. He never missed sending my Jidah(grandmother), her nafkah even when Jid was thousands of miles away in Aden and Jidah was in Medan for many years. Jidah was a lucky woman!

Jid, thank you for explaining the Quran to me in a language that I could understand, not just in Bahasa Indonesia, but in a language a little kid would make sense of and with real life examples and experience. But most of all, thank you for showing me a model to live, with the Quran as our hidayah (guidance).

 “Say: "I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord: this is (nothing but) lights from your Lord, and Guidance, and mercy, for any who have faith." -  Quran 7 : 203

“Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own”. - Quran 2:121

“THIS divine writ - let there be no doubt about it is [meant to be] a guidance for all the God-conscious” - Quran 2:2

“We sent not an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them…” – Quran 14:4

Peace,

anas zubedy

Sunday, June 2, 2019

MY DEAR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IK ONKAR?



Ik Onkar is the central belief in Sikhism.

Let me elaborate.

Each time I meet and see a Sikh, the first thing that come to my mind is IK ONKAR. This term immediately makes me feel closer to my brothers and sisters in Sikhism. Ik means, one and only one, the one that cannot be compared with any other. Onkar means God.

So Ik Onkar can be summarized as One God – the one Absolute God, the Eternal, the Supreme Unity.

Ik Onkar has a central and prominent place at the head of the Mul Mantar - the first composition in the Sikh holy text, the Adi Granth – later became the Guru Granth Sahib. Ik Onkar is the first name our Sikh brothers and sisters call upon in prayer each time they go to the Gurdwara.

I find it very similar to one of our most repeated chapters in the Quran, Al-Iklas.

“Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.”
Quran 112:1-4

Another verse always come to mind, too.

“The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on him by them; but shun such men as use profanity in his names: for what they do, they will soon be requited” Quran 7:180

To my Sikh brothers and sisters, thank you.

Please continue the sharing that you are really good at, not just at Gurdwaras within Malaysia, but all over the world. May your spirit of giving acts like a virus that spreads to all of humanity.

Ik Onkar and Peace,

anas zubedy

Thursday, May 23, 2019

CHARITY STARTS AT HOME?

I posted on FB and Twitter this comment earlier today. Some agreed, while others are not happy. “UNIVERSITY PLACEMENT FOR PALESTINIANS Pls remember. We are not as poor & challenged as the Palestinians & many other nations. Let us not allow our shallow racial quota quarrels blind us on our humanity. We are always great at humanitarian work. Peace.”
Those who disagreed stressed that charity must start at home. I fully agree. But it also depends on what is home to you? For some, home is their immediate family. There are also those who identify home to only those who originate from their own state like Penang or Johore. There would be others who feel only for their own ethnic groups. Home is their racial grouping. They want as much as possible, like as many matriculation placements as possible for their own ethnic group. Many may identify home to only those who share their own faith. To each its own. Yet, there would also be those who see the whole world as home – mother earth. All of humanity and all humans as family. I belong to this last group. A few places in the public university for the Palestinians or any other poor or tragic nations is all right for me. We are not giving them overly much, just a tad of a few places in our higher institute of learning with the hope many other countries do the same. A little help here, a little help there can perhaps help a nation crippled with war to one day build their country again. It is like what we Malaysians always do when someone needs help – like a poor kid that needs medical attention or when there is a calamity somewhere, be it an earthquake or flood. When we donate some cash, it does not mean that the money cannot be used to help a close family member in need or used to better our own flood situation in Kelantan or Kedah. It is just that deep in our hearts, we know that the kid and those people in need are somehow connected to us is humanity. And we are hopeful, the little help we give, may help them go far. As I suggested in my earlier post stated above, let us not allow our shallow racial quota quarrels blind us on our humanity. We are better than that. We are Malaysians. So, what is home to you? But we can agree to disagree. Thank you and Peace, Anas Zubedy Kuala Lumpur

Saturday, May 18, 2019

TARGETING IRAN by Chandra Muzaffar

A dangerous flashpoint has emerged in world politics at the moment. There is widespread fear that the United States and its allies might launch a military operation against Iran at any time. A US aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers are already deployed in the region. The alleged sabotage of four oil tankers, two of them Saudi, and the attack on a major oil pipeline are being linked in certain circles without an iota of evidence to Tehran. There is no need to repeat that scenarios of this sort are often manufactured to justify military aggression.

For more than a year now since unilaterally repudiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal forged between Iran and six world powers, the US has not only re-imposed economic sanctions upon Iran but has also forced other states that trade with Iran to reduce drastically their interaction with Tehran. US targeting of Iran is a grave travesty of justice for the simple reason that the UN’s nuclear inspection agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has reiterated over and over again that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal. It should not therefore be punished with old or new sanctions. This is also the position adopted by the other signatories to the deal, namely, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

But US president, Donald Trump is determined to act against Iran partly because of the growing influence of the Israeli government led by Benyamin Netanyahu and a segment of the Israeli lobby in the US upon his administration. Though Israel has harbored deep distrust of the Iranian leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution because of the latter’s proven commitment to the Palestinian cause, it is only in recent years that it has begun to sense that a combination of three factors renders Iran and its people a formidable challenge to Israel’s goal of establishing its hegemonic power over West Asia. Iran’s oil and gas wealth has been reinforced by its scientific knowledge and capabilities underscored by a passionate devotion to the nation’s independence and sovereignty derived from both its historical experience and its attachment to a spiritual identity. Besides, the Iranian government is a staunch defender of the Syrian government which refuses to yield to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, in itself a gross violation of international law. Iran is also linked to the Hezbollah which has successfully resisted Israeli attempts to gain control over Lebanon, thus threatening the tiny nation’s sovereignty.

There is also perhaps another reason why Israel and the US are hell-bent on targeting Iran at this juncture. Very soon, leaders of these two states will announce the so-called “deal of the century”, a farcical attempt to resolve the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict. Because the deal from what little is known of it, is so palpably unjust to the Palestinian people, the Palestinians and the majority of the people of West Asia are expected to reject it outright. According to various sources, the deal condemns the Palestinians to perpetual apartheid. Iran and its allies can be expected to spearhead the opposition. It explains to some extent why Iran has to be hobbled immediately.

As an aside, it is ironical that Israel is showing such hostility to Iran when the Iranian Constitution not only recognizes the Jews as a minority but also provides the community with representation in its legislature. This is unique in West Asia. Israel’s failure to appreciate this is perhaps proof that its real commitment is not so much to the well-being of the Jews as the triumph of its Zionist ideology with its goal of expansionism and hegemony.

It is not simply because of Zionism or Israel that the US Administration is seeking to emasculate Iran. Weakening and destroying Iran is foremost on the agenda of another of Trump’s close allies in the region. The Saudi ruling elite also saw the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as a mortal threat to its position and power because it overthrew a feudal monarch, was opposed to US dominance of the region and sought inspiration in a vision of Islam rooted in human dignity and social justice. As Iranian influence in West Asia expanded especially after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the Saudi elite became even more apprehensive of Iran and wanted the US to curb Iran’s role in the region. In this regard it is worth observing that if Iran has become more influential in the region in the last 15 years or so, it is not only because of the astuteness of the Iranian leadership but also because of the follies of the Saudi and US ruling elite. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein through an Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 for instance paved the way for the ascendancy of Shia politicians more inclined towards Iran.

How and why Saudi and Israeli elite interests and ambitions are intertwined in the US push against Iran is not highlighted in the media including the new media. Consequently, only a small fraction of the public understands the real causes for the escalation of tensions in West Asia centering on Iran. It is largely because the media conceals and camouflages the truth, that a lot of people see the victim as the perpetrator and the perpetrator as the liberator. Or as Malcolm X once put it, “If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” 

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a just World (JUST)
Malaysia
18 May 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019

WHAT IS THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE ENEMIES OF ISLAM, MUSLIM TERRORIST AND UNINFORMED MUSLIMS?


THEY ALL WANT TO BELIEVE THAT ISLAM IS NOT A PEACEFUL RELIGION 

But what does the Quran say about FIGHTING?

Firstly, the right word for fight in the Quran is qital and those derived from it, not jihad.

Let us look into the Quranic concept of qital and when are we allowed to fight. The Quran not only allow us to fight but see it as a duty to do so within the right conditions. 

However, as a note, according to historians, in his 23 years of his Prophethood, actual fighting was only 3 days. That should give an indication about the Quran’s and the Prophet’s position on fighting – for those who use their intellect – both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike 😊.

As usual, I would like the Quran to speak for Itself.  

Let me share about 10 in this entry. All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.

1.    PERMISSION [TO FIGHT] IS GIVEN TO THOSE AGAINST WHOM WAR IS BEING WRONGFULLY WAGED and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them. Quran 22:39

2.    AND FIGHT in God's cause AGAINST THOSE WHO WAGE WAR AGAINST YOU, BUT DO NOT COMMIT AGGRESSION-for, verily, God does not love aggressors - Quran 2:190

3.    And how could you refuse to fight in the cause of God and of the UTTERLY HELPLESS MEN AND WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO ARE CRYING, "O our Sustainer! Lead us forth [to freedom] out of this land whose people are oppressors, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, a protector, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, one who will bring us succour!"– Quran 4:75

4.    O Prophet! Inspire the believers to conquer all fear of death when fighting,  [so that,] IF THERE BE TWENTY OF YOU WHO ARE PATIENT IN ADVERSITY, THEY MIGHT OVERCOME TWO HUNDRED; AND [THAT,] IF THERE BE ONE HUNDRED OF YOU, THEY MIGHT OVERCOME ONE THOUSANDS of those who are bent on denying the truth, because they are people who cannot grasp it. Quran 8:65

5.    BUT IF THEY BREAK THEIR SOLEMN PLEDGES AFTER HAVING CONCLUDED A COVENANT, and revile your religion, then fight against these archetypes of faithlessness who, behold, have no [regard for their own] pledges, so that they might desist [from aggression]. - Quran 9:12

6.    Would you, perchance, fail to fight against people who have broken their solemn pledges,and have done all that they could to drive the Apostle away, AND HAVE BEEN FIRST TO ATTACK YOU? Do you hold them in awe? Nay, it is God alone of whom you ought to stand in awe if you are [truly] believers! – Quran 9:13

7.    Hence, if two groups of believers fall to fighting, make peace between them; but then, if one of the two [groups] goes on acting wrongfully towards the other, FIGHT AGAINST THE ONE THAT ACTS WRONGFULLY Until it reverts to God’s commandment; and if they revert, make peace between them with justice, and deal equitably [with them]: for verily, God loves those who act equitably! - Quran 49:9

8.    As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, GOD DOES NOT FORBID YOU TO SHOW THEM KINDNESS AND TO BEHAVE TOWARDS THEM WITH FULL EQUITY: FOR, VERILY, GOD LOVES THOSE WHO ACT EQUITABLY. - Quran 60:8

9.    GOD ONLY FORBIDS YOU TO TURN IN FRIENDSHIP TOWARDS SUCH AS FIGHT AGAINST YOU BECAUSE OF [YOUR] FAITH, AND DRIVE YOU FORTH FROM YOUR HOMELANDS, OR AID [OTHERS] IN DRIVING YOU FORTH: and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship; it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers! Quran 60:9

10. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they say, "Our Lord is Allah ." AND WERE IT NOT THAT ALLAH CHECKS THE PEOPLE, SOME BY MEANS OF OTHERS, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN DEMOLISHED MONASTERIES, CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES, AND MOSQUES IN WHICH THE NAME OF ALLAH IS MUCH MENTIONED. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. Quran 22:40



Peace, anas

Sunday, March 10, 2019

PUNISHMENT FOR INSULTING ANOTHER RELIGION – THE PROPHET’S WAY


I write in response to the recent 10-year jail sentence for insulting Islam and the Prophet. I have strong convictions that we must relook at this law. It is not justly balanced. Ironically, it is also not in accordance to the Quran’s and the Prophet’s way of doing things.

Muslims must remember how the Prophet behaved at the conquest of Mecca - when he was at the zenith of his power. The people of Mecca whom for more than a decade before the conquest insulted and boycotted him, refused to listen to his mission, tortured him and his followers, persecuted them, drove them to exile and tried very hard to kill him. At that moment of power, did he act with cruelty or mercy? With vengeance or love?

Instead of following the rules of war, where he could avenge and punish them with a death sentence, Muhammad the Prophet whom the Quran declared as ‘the one sent as the mercy to all mankind” (Quran 21:107) flowed with kindness and love and he proclaimed "THIS DAY, THERE IS NO REPROOF AGAINST YOU AND YOU ARE ALL FREE. THIS DAY I TRAMPLE UNDER MY FEET ALL DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN MAN AND MAN, ALL HATRED BETWEEN MAN AND MAN."

The Prophet’s behavior in giving pardon to even his worst enemies, even those who killed his beloved uncle, Hamzah, mangled his body, ripped it open, even chewed a piece of his liver is consistent to another Quranic declaration at Quran 3:159, “And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet] didst DEAL GENTLY WITH THY FOLLOWERS: FOR IF THOU HADST BEEN HARSH AND HARD OF HEART, they would indeed have broken away from thee. PARDON THEM, THEN, AND PRAY THAT THEY BE FORGIVEN. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him.” It is obvious that the 10-year sentence is in itself is an insult to the Prophet. Is it not ironic?

So where do we go from here? We need to practice Mercy, just like the Prophet did. Let me unpack why Mercy must play a bigger role in these kinds of situation.

Mercy is central to everything that is good. When all else fail, Mercy is our savior. The Prophet knew this. His goal is Peace, not vengeance. As such, our framework to make things good and move forward must emerge from Mercy. Once we have Mercy as our operating system, our worldview, our intentions, our journey, our plans, actions and behavior cannot but come back to moderation in action. Mercy is the core of being a good human. Without mercy, there would be no humanity. With mercy, we create a chain reaction that has the powerful ability and capacity to convert enemies into friends. Those who insult the other, into those who appreciates.

Mercy helps us to forgive and forget. We are a young nation chasing after big dreams. We come from different backgrounds, religions, cultures and ethnicities. It is natural that along the way, we may intentionally or unintentionally hurt each other. If we are not quick to forgive and forget, we will create a tit-for-tat cycle. Mercy will help us choose to be the bigger person and may even turn the other cheek. Mercy will help us be able to see the greater good in forgiveness.

How to punish then? We need to change our goal. The goal is to educate, not to punish. To open one’s heart, not to hardened them. I suggest a two-prong approach.

  1. Anyone found insulting another religion-culture-tradition must spend time studying and understanding the religion-culture-tradition under a kind & merciful teacher from that faith. This should include time to do social services.   
  2. The religious and community leader of the offender should also play a role in re-educating him or her based oh his or her religious tradition. In other words, if a Christian mock another faith, the Church leaders must engage the person with their own tradition and core values that corrects his or her wrongful behavior. Similarly, when a Muslim mock another religion, a Muslim religious leader should bring him back to the behavior of the Prophet.
As a Muslim Malaysian, I have strong convictions that we need to be the first to practice Mercy and follow this method. After all we are the majority citizen, the country’s official religion is Islam and the main leaders of the nation are Malay Muslims. We need to be the standard bearer if we want to claim leadership. We must be the community that make the first move. When a non-Muslim insults Islam and is punished with a ten-year sentence but a Muslim preacher who insults another religion is given protection, we are seen as unjust. Our religion is looked down upon, and, our Prophet is misunderstood. We Muslims know and proud to profess that “being just is nearest to Taqwa - God-Consciousness (Quran 5:8)” but we must also be seen to practice it consistently. Less we become the very type that is warned by Allah as a Mutaffifin – those who give short measure.

O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. BE JUST: THIS IS CLOSEST TO BEING GOD-CONSCIOUS. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.

Quran 5:8

WOE UNTO THOSE WHO GIVE SHORT MEASURE, those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full, but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due!

Quran 83:1-3

VERILY, in the Apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward [with hope and awe] to God and the Last Day, and remembers God unceasingly.

Quran 33:21

Peace.
Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur





Monday, February 25, 2019

HIDAYAH AL QURAN: BAGAIMANA MENANGANI ISU PENGHINAAN KE ATAS NABI MUHAMMAD S.A.W.


Surat terbuka kepada Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr.) Haji Harussani Bin Haji Zakaria.


Assalamualaikum Tan Sri.


Saya merujuk kepada kenyataan rasmi Tan Sri bil 2/2019 yang bertajuk ISU PENGHINAAN KE ATAS NABI MUHAMMAD S.A.W.

Dan tidaklah sama kebaikan dan kejahatan. Tolaklah (kejahatan itu) dengan cara yang lebih baik, maka tiba-tiba orang yang antaramu dan antara dia ada permusuhan seolah-olah telah menjadi teman yang sangat setia.

Sifat-sifat yang baik itu tidak dianugerahkan melainkan kepada orang-orang yang sabar dan tidak dianugerahkan melainkan kepada orang-orang yang mempunyai keuntungan yang besar.

Quran 41: 34-35

Sebagai seorang Islam, kita memang paling tidak suka apabila Nabi kita di hina dan di fitnah. Nabi Muhammad dan semua Nabi-nabi kita merupakan junjungan mulia dan agung kepada sekalian umat Islam dari dulu, sehingga sekarang dan selama-lamanya. Kita memang akan marah dan dan kesal dengan penghinaan-penghinaan tersebut.

Walaupun begitu, sebagai seorang Islam yang berpalingkan Al Quran dan yang menurut contoh Nabi, kita tidak mahu tidak mesti kawal perasaan kita dan merujuk kepada Allah dan Rasulnya cara-cara untuk menangani isu sensitif sebegini. Kita mesti berbalik kepada Al Quran.

Kedua-dua ayat dari surah Al Fussilat di atas boleh dijadikan pembuka reaksi kita.

Saya ingin juga memohon kepada Tan Sri dan sekalian umat Islam untuk mencontohi dan belajar sikap Nabi kita Nabi Muhammad atas Abu Lahab. Kisah Abu Lahab dan isterinya Umm Jameel yang terkandung dalam al-Quran haruslah diambil sebagai panduan. Abu Lahab adalah satu-satunya musuh Islam yang dilaknat oleh Al Quran dengan nama. Abu Lahablah yang telah menghina Nabi kita seterhina-terhinanya.

Pendek kata, tauladan Quran dan Rasulullah dalam menghadapi Abu Lahab seharusnya menjadi piawaian dan tatacara berhadapan dengan individu yang memusuhi Islam seperti mereka yang baru-baru ini menghina Nabi kita di laman web.

Sepertimana kita ketahui, Abu Lahab nekad mengekori Rasulullah ke mana sahaja Baginda pergi. Dia bersungguh-sungguh mengalakkan orang ramai untuk mengabaikan dan tidak mengendahkan Rasulullah. Abu Lahab juga telah mengejar dan membaling batu untuk menghentikan dakwah Rasulullah.

Walau bagaimanapun, Baginda langsung tidak menyeru untuk menghukum Abu Lahab. Undang-undang shariah dan tradisi asabiyah Arab langsung tidak digunakan ke atasnya; tiada ugutan, tiada cemuhan. Tambahan lagi setelah Abu Lahab melempari hadapan rumah Nabi dengan kotoran, anak bongsu Baginda Fatimah menangis melihat nasib ayahnya yang terhina. Namun Baginda tidak mendorong api kebencian dalam hati Fatimah, malahan menenangkan dan menasihatkan anaknya supaya mengamal sifat sabar dan pemaaf seperti yang dianjurkan oleh Islam. Yang ada hanyalah janji Allah bahawa Abu Lahab dan isterinya akan sengsara di akhirat.

Marilah kita ikut Nabi. Marilah kita rujuk AlQuran supaya kita menjadi “orang-orang yang mempunyai keuntungan yang besar.”

Dimanakah Islam kita kalau kita tidak mencontohi sikap Nabi dan rela mengambil tempatnya dalam menyebarkan rahmat ke semesta alam?

Maka disebabkan rahmat dari Allah-lah kamu berlaku lemah lembut terhadap mereka. Sekiranya kamu bersikap keras lagi berhati kasar, tentulah mereka menjauhkan diri dari sekelilingmu. Karena itu maafkanlah mereka, mohonkanlah ampun bagi mereka, dan bermusyawaratlah dengan mereka dalam urusan itu. Kemudian apabila kamu telah membulatkan tekad, maka bertawakkallah kepada Allah. Sesungguhnya Allah menyukai orang-orang yang bertawakkal kepada-Nya.

Quran 3:159

Dan tiadalah Kami mengutus kamu, melainkan untuk (menjadi) rahmat bagi semesta alam.

Quran 21:107



Salam
Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur


Thursday, February 7, 2019

OF FAKE DEGREES AND CHOOSING TALENTS FOR LEADERSHIP POSITION

" Leadership must come with integrity - there is no compromise. Without integrity talent is a liability. "

I would like to share with you a method I designed for the corporate leaders in choosing Top Talents for their organization. We call it C.A.P.I., making it easy for recall. I hope it will help you choose the best for Malaysia.

Capacity

A person’s capacity is the basic foundation of his or her ability to deliver. No amount of training or exposure can bring out what is expected from a talent if he or she lacks the capacity. Like a car engine, capacity determines the ability to perform under different circumstances. The larger the capacity, the greater the propensity to deliver. As an analogy, we cannot ask a car with a horsepower of 100 to perform like a powerhouse that churns 700 horses no matter how much we try to modify it. That would be sending the person to failure. When the leader fails, our country suffers.

Achievement

True achievement is about results; not efforts, not promises, not words. Top talents focus their energies on where the results are, they make things happen, they deliver. They spend more time doing and delivering. They don’t talk as much as they do. When they talk, it is to engage people to perform. They want to get things done, make things right. They lead people to actions that are based on clear goals. We must choose leaders that deliver.

People Skills

Top talents deliver through working with and through people. They harness and focus the energy of others toward common goals. They are team leaders. Talent who prefers working alone are specialists and they are great support for top talents. Remember that we must choose talents that work with others in their effort to move up in an organization, not rise up by stepping on them. The latter will cause future disunity to the team.

In the Malaysian context we must also choose leaders who are willing to listen and work with not just a particular race, but every ethnic group. Not just with those in the Peninsular but also Sabah and Sarawak and vice versa. Care for those in urban as well as the rural areas plus willing to engage not just the old, but the middle aged and the young. In short, we must choose a leader that is with the rakyat, one that will work with us and care much about our well-being.

Integrity

Leadership must come with integrity - there is no compromise. Without integrity talent is a liability. No matter how brilliant, knowledgeable or successful, lack of integrity disqualifies any and all talent for any leadership position. We must check their track record like their propensity to lie, practice double standards, say one thing and do the other.

In short in choosing our leaders, integrity is the final sift that must not be put aside no matter what.

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

Note : I wrote this some years ago, but it is still relevant today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

UMI and QURAN chapter 17 verse 23



UMI and QURAN chapter 17 verse 23 It is 930 pm in Kathmandu, Nepal. I have less than 3 hours to complete what I set out to do for my birthday today. I have walked for more than an hour. Read a good book. See new places and meet new people and the final one, to write something meaningful. I feel writing about my Umi (mother) is most ideal, fitting or as the Malays would put it, “paling kena pada tempatnya’. After all it was, she who gave birth to me 55 years ago. We tend to think our birthdays are about us. In truth, it is also about our parents. “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word”. Quran 17:23 My Umi turns 81 years old this year. As our parents get older Quran 17:23 gets more and more relevant. It is definitely for me. Parents get more challenging. Ditto Umi. It is understandable, she has been a very independent person all her life. Ever always not wanting us to help, in the kitchen, organizing her belongings, cleaning the plates, carrying her bags, etc. If we are going out or going for a trip, she wants to be part of the team – she must also carry the bags or groceries or whatever things for the trip. Everyone must play their part, including her. If there were activities, she wants to participate. If we go out and eat a few times, she will insist that she must pay for a meal. And most time Umi does not listen. She wants it her way. Many times, when she insists “tak mau kacau anak-anak” actually the opposite is true. By not allowing us to help, it will actually make it harder for us. I am sure anyone of you who are lucky to have elderly parents or grandparents know for sure what I am talking about. Sometimes, I ‘geram nak mampus’. She moves with a walker, and she still wants to carry her own bag. She will ask you if you want something (to eat, to drink, or whatsoever…) a million times even we have said no nicely, a million times back. We tell her she can just sit and relax but she insists she wants to wash the plates. We hire a part time maid when we go back to Penang, and she will tell the lady not to come the next week as soon as we leave for KL or my sisters to the US. "Tak payah buat kueh raya, nak buat jugak". And, the list goes on. But the Quran sets very high standards. Not even a tiny weensy little slight minor rebuke is acceptable. Nay, the Quran ask us to “speak to them a noble word”!!! Honestly, while most days I do okay, but there are days that I failed. Especially when I am tired. I will snipe back, ‘awat Umi tak nak dengak cakap’ (Translation - Why don’t you listen, mother). Although these days I manage to dilute it with a humorous tone, but still, it is not to the Quran’s standard. My wish is, from 55 onward I do much better. This is something we all need to pay serious attention to. If one reads the verse carefully, you will notice that to be good to parents, is second to believing in God. Peace. Anas Zubedy Kathmandu, Nepal.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

DANCE PARTIES AND KOLEJ KEDIAMAN ZAABA

DANCE PARTIES AND KOLEJ KEDIAMAN ZAABA

I am the fortunate few who had a chance to spend my university life at KOLEJ KEDIAMAN ZAABA the 7TH residential college, Universiti Malaya during the mid-eighties.

We were lucky to have a very outstanding (and I am not overstating here, many of us from the same era will vouch for this) college Master in Prof Dr Omar Farouk who created an environment for performance where young Malaysians could grow, test out our leadership talents and potentials and be at our best. A place where we could transit into good citizens.

At the university level we had the wonderful and very capable Timbalan Naib Chanselor the late Prof Madya Mohd Yunus Mohd. Noor and our very respectable and awesome Vice-Chanselor Royal Prof Ungku Abdul Aziz who not only were willing to defend our college Master’s approach, but went all out to support him.

With these solid support from the university, Dr Omar could provide us with an open environment where diversity and inclusion thrived. Respect for others is the norm. We were encouraged to always work our way to the top, do the best and be the best! Work hard, play hard! Excel in whatever we do!

We were able to run and manage not only national level projects but also international level ones. We were perhaps the most active college not only in the country but likely the world. Our projects were recognized internationally and was even honored in newspaper editorials.

Yet, we were labelled by the group of people who felt that we were too western, too ‘duniawi’. We were told that we are not Islamic enough. Prof Ungku Aziz, Prof Madya Yunus and Dr Omar’s names were ridiculed during Friday prayers. Big groups of people came to ‘tunjuk perasaan’ and ‘bantah’.
Why? Simply because we want to have our ‘dinner and dance’ at hotels. It is not relevant to them that the dinner and dance is to celebrate, reward and award those who have worked hard and did the college proud in projects, sports, social activities, etc.

To them dancing is bad, hotels are ‘haram’ and mixing people of different gender, religious backgrounds and race should be avoided. And, they see it as their right to impose their thoughts on others too.

How far are they willing to go?

Our Master and college members were pelted with rotten eggs. They spoke rudely to a kind and well-mannered elder, Dr Omar, who was ever willing to discuss and listen to their views and agree to disagree. When my team and I were managing a project bringing Kelantanese arts and culture, lives were threatened and we had to deal with bomb hoaxes – simply because they felt that Kelantanese culture is against their religious beliefs.

That was when we were in the eighties. Have we got any better today? Unfortunately, not. Today the problem has gone national. A video clip showing the Chief Justice and Attorney General dancing to the tune of “Lets Twist Again” with the law Minister and members of the Bar is able to send a large segment of our society into conniption. We need to stop, think, reflect and choose where we want this nation to head to. In fact, at certain levels it is not an overstatement to say that we are becoming a society with a sick mentality: where a dance party is now seen and promoted as though it is a sex orgy!

We need to engage with these group of people especially the leaders and influencers and help them pay attention to what is crucial.

Let me use the Zaaba experience to unpack this.

The dance parties represent an extremely small amount of time, energy and focus to those who were at KOLEJ ZAABA. The rest of the time it was hard work, delivering performance, adding value and doing good. But if one pays attention to only that few hours of dancing instead of a whole year of work, that is being myopic, petty and senseless. Ditto the Opening of the Legal Year 2019 dinner.

Inability to pay attention to what is crucial and core is a huge social and human problem that leads to bad results. The militant Muslims for example pay attention to fighting while in reality in his 23 years of his Prophethood, actual fighting was not more than 3 days. That should give an indication about the Quran’s and the Prophet’s position on fighting. Yet, fighting defines the lives of the ‘jihadist’.

We need to choose what we are paying attention to.
If you still do not get it, amongst the products of KOLEJ ZAABA are the current KSN, KSU of Foreign Ministry, The EC Chairman, top surgeons at IJN and countless more.
So please do not focus on the dancing. Pay attention to the hard work and results.

To Royal Prof. Ungku Aziz, Allahyarham Prof. Madya Mohd Yunus and Prof.Dr Omar Farouk, thank you for the opportunity. Thank you for paying attention to what is crucial and gave us the environment to be good Malaysian citizens.

May all of us guide ourselves with love, logic and wisdom. Love, because love makes us fair with our hearts; Logic, because logic makes us fair with our minds; and Wisdom, because wisdom leads us to combine our love and logic in the way of God and for the benefit of Mankind.

Peace.
Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

Friday, January 18, 2019

ADAKAH KITA PEMIMPIN MELAYU-MUSLIM YANG LEMAH ATAUPUN GAGAH? SILA PILIH!


ADAKAH KITA PEMIMPIN MELAYU-MUSLIM YANG LEMAH ATAUPUN GAGAH? SILA PILIH!

Kita yang mahu memimpin kaum Muslim mesti berhati-hati dan buat satu pilihan yang penting. Adakah kita pemimpin Melayu-Muslim yang lemah ataupun gagah? Adakah kita mahu memimpin kaum kita kepada kemenangan ataupun kekalahan?

Jika kita pemimpin yang lemah kita mengajak kaum kita meminta-minta belas kasihan dan simpati mereka yang bukan Melayu dan bukan Muslim supaya lebih sensitif terhadap perasaan kaum kita. Kita memberi gambaran kita ini lemah, tidak ada keyakinan diri dan tidak kuat iman. Emosi kita senang terguris, kita cepat mengeluh. Perbuatan orang lain dengan mudah dapat mengambil alih pemikiran, perasaan and tindakan-tindakan kita.

Kalau kita pilih untuk menjadi pemimpin yang gagah, kita mengajak kaum kita memperkuatkan jatidiri. Tidak mudah terguris. Iman dan keyakinan diri kita kukuh. Binalah salib yang sebesar gunung pun kita tidak tercuit kerana Tuhan kita memberi jaminan bahawa “Allah lebih dekat daripada urat leher kita sendiri”, Quran 50:16.

Pemimpin Melayu-Muslim yang gagah akan mengambil tanggungjawab sekolahkan kaumnya bahawa di zaman Nabi bukan hanya umat Nabi tidak sensitif mengenai saiz salib malahan di suruh mempertahankan gereja-gereja dan biara-biara bila diserang.

(yaitu) orang-orang yang telah diusir dari kampung halaman mereka tanpa alasan yang benar, kecuali karena mereka berkata: “Tuhan kami hanyalah Allah”. Dan sekiranya Allah tiada menolak (keganasan) sebagian manusia dengan sebagian yang lain, tentulah telah dirobohkan biara-biara Nasrani, gereja-gereja, rumah-rumah ibadat orang Yahudi dan masjid-masjid, yang di dalamnya banyak disebut nama Allah. Sesungguhnya Allah pasti menolong orang yang menolong (agama)-Nya. Sesungguhnya Allah benar-benar Maha Kuat lagi Maha Perkasa,...”

  Quran 22:40

Pemimpin kaum Melayu-Muslim mesti buat pilihan yang betul. Kaum Melayu-Muslim juga kena pandai memilih siapa yang harus memimpin. Yang lemah atau yang gagah?

“Janganlah kamu bersikap lemah, dan janganlah (pula) kamu bersedih hati, padahal kamulah orang-orang yang paling tinggi (darjatnya), jika kamu orang-orang yang beriman.”

  Quran 3:139

Salam
Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

WHY WE SHOULD MAKE READING AND SEEKING KNOWLEDGE AS A CENTRAL PILLAR OF ISLAM.

The Big Picture

Let me start by giving you an overview based on the Quran.

Islam’s goal is to create and enable a peaceful learning community (Quran 96:1-8, 30: 20-27, 51:20-21, 39:18, 8:22, 17:36, 16:69, 30:8, 2:164, 22:46, 13:4, 16:12, 10:100, etc)

A peaceful learning community is one that empowers the learning all its members and continually transforms itself and expand its capacity to create its own future. The journey will never and can never end because by definition a true learning community never stops growing as there is no end to knowledge. The Quran puts it eloquently at 31:27, “And if all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [morel seas yet added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted: for, verily, God is almighty, wise.”. As such a learning community will continuously add value to its members and make the world better and better in every aspects of human development as we progress and unlock more and more about His treasures (Quran 75:16-19) 

At Quran 65:12, it was specified that the entire purpose or goal of creation is for man to gain knowledge of the entire universe. The story of Adam as representing the first man is about how he was taught by the first teacher, God (Quran 2:31). One of our first bond with God is one of a teacher-student relationship. In this account, the Quran singled out knowledge as man’s clear advantage and privilege over all beings as even the angels cannot learn on their own and exercise continuous learning. Only we humans can!

Man, and only man has the ability to name or define all of God’s creation and have the capacity to think conceptually and create our own reality, our own destiny (Quran 2:32-33). It is because Adam’s capacity to seek knowledge that God directed the angels to prostrate to Adam (Quran 2:34, 7:11, 38:71-72).

The Quran declares that while at birth we know nothing, we are provided the capacity to seek knowledge and that is one of the reasons to be grateful (Quran 16:78). Throughout human history, messengers and apostles were sent to guide mankind towards knowledge (Quran 2:51) and the Quran declared that only those who has knowledge can comprehend God’s creation of the universe and understand society in its diversity and inclusiveness (Quran 30:22). 

The more knowledge we acquire the closer we get to God (Quran 58:11) and we are to call upon Him to increase our knowledge (Quran 20:114). With knowledge we have insight and with insight we will take God’s word with the needed seriousness (Quran 38:39).

The First Revelation – The Call to READ

Why Read?

The first message of the Quran, in fact the first word of the Quranic revelation according to traditions is to, “READ”. The word ‘READ’ was repeated twice within the first five verses delivered to the Prophet. 

Here are the five verses: -

READ in the name of thy Sustainer, who has-
created man out of a germ-cell,
Read - for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One,
who has taught [man] the use of the pen –
taught man what he did not know!    
Quran 96:1-5

One may want to ponder, why read? Why did He not choose the stress on prayer, fasting, dressing, pilgrimage or the usual rituals in His first revelation to The Prophet? Why specifically about seeking knowledge?

Let us unpack the power of reading and seeking knowledge and its impact on humanity the last 1400 years since the advent of the Quran.

Reading is not natural. You must learn the skill. You must make a CHOICE to read.

While language is native to our species where a child can learn to talk without instructions, reading and writing are unnatural acts. They are not innate talents in humans. Reading and writing are made possible only through the deliberate shaping of the mind. Reading and writing require practice. Reading and writing require schooling. Reading and writing requires a conscious act to change. Reading and writing necessitate transformation of an individual and its extension, the society.

Reading is a choice. We must choose to read. When we make a choice, we use man’s unique position in creation using our free volition that was not given to any other creation. Not even the angels (Quran 2:30-34). It is our ability to seek knowledge that made us the cream of all creation outstripping even the angels because we excel in knowledge.

To Read!

To read, our minds need to be taught and trained how to translate symbolic characters into the language we can understand. That is why neurological studies have shown that the brains of a literate differ from the brain of the illiterate in many ways. The way they reason. The way they form memories. The way they process signals and how they interpret the world around them. In short, the way we experience reality.

Learning to read and write, rewire our brain in an immense way. Verse 96:1-5 was the first call to rewire the brain of the modern man. To slowly and surely prepare us towards the ability to absorb the gamut of information that flow through our senses today. 

How?

Basically, the Quran moved and transformed the Arabs and later those who were part and subjects of the Muslim empire from a society that was based on oral culture to a literary one. This change marked the start of one of the most far-reaching revolutions of human behavior and thoughts. 

Knowledge is exchanged more and more through writing instead of speaking. While oral culture is limited by the capacity of the human memory, literary culture freed them. Knowledge, human thoughts and information can be stored, shared and retrieved from books and libraries (and today hard drives and in the clouds). 

Furthermore, while oral culture limits the method of learning to only face to face interaction, literary culture freed us to learn on our own through books. Knowledge became more accessible, independent and democratic. While the oral culture needs a physical teacher to disseminate knowledge, literary culture allows us to seek knowledge from books as the Quran puts it, “who has taught [man] the use of the pen –
taught man what he did not know! "

The development of science, technology, economics, philosophy, cultural work and even history cannot have advanced without this change. A cursory audit of the extent of fields of knowledge like philosophy, medicine, alchemy, engineering, architecture, physics, mathematics, astrology, geography, cartography, zoology, astronomy, mathematics, literature, optics, etc. found at the House of Wisdom (public academy, library and intellectual center) of Baghdad within just a few centuries after The Prophet attest to this. An amazing human revolution.

For the first time in history the collection of knowledge and books from all the known world like India, Persia, Greece and China centered at one place.  The House of Wisdom contained so many books that the Tigris River turned black from the ink when a big portion of the collection were destroyed by the Mongols when Baghdad was sieged. This is not counting the number that was burnt and the 400 000 manuscripts that was saved. 

The Quran made the Arabs and early Muslims the first mass producers, collectors and users of books in history.

From an animal like brain to one that can focus.

How did reading set this motion going? Why and how did the illiterate Arabs and those who came under their wings became avid readers and seekers? How did the Quran or Reading (the Quran calls itself The Reading) changed our brains?

The natural state of the human brain is one of distractedness or non-linear as our senses are naturally attuned to change – fast paced shifting to reflex. This is important for survival and reduce the odds of being eaten up by predators or simply overlooking a source for dinner. To read a book demands an unbroken sustained attention to one single static object – an unnatural process of thinking for humans for the most part of history. 

When we read, the brain has to practice ignoring everything else going on around it. To resist the natural sensory cues – the non-linear as our senses are naturally attuned to change – fast paced shifting to reflex as explained earlier. Meaning, we began to be able to focus on a single task over a long period of time. This is one of the biggest changes in the history of human psychological development. Likely the biggest impact to modern man’s brain.

What happen when we can ignore distractions and be focus?

In the silence of deep reading, humans take trips in their own minds, draw ideas, inferences, analogies, play around with possibilities, visualize and dream – in short, we journey where the usual mind never has been before. Of mathematical formulas, economic models, scientific possibilities, astronomical expedition, fictional journeys and artistic beauty. We became a species that can focus with excellence and as such are able to deal with extremely complex problems and opportunities unleashing innovations, creativity, modern processes and systems and create the world that we live in today.

Reading is also meditative. It calms the distracted mind. But while meditation seek to empty the mind, reading filled it up. Replenishing it with new ideas, new energy, new spirit. Deep reading becomes a form of prayer that connects one to himself, to his world and to his Creator. 

Reading created the modern man.

Reading, knowledge, books and World Power

Allow me to simplify history. There are a lot more that had happened that cannot be explained in an article as this. For example, reading as a human activity could not have spread like wild fire within the Muslim empire if the Arab Muslims did not learn how to make paper from the Chinese in 751 AD. No paper, no books. No books, no reading - as the other alternatives like papyrus and animal skin is simply ineffective, too costly and inefficient. The Chinese have one of the best kept secret for 700 years. 

Paper was invented by Tsai Lun in the first century AD. And the West never knew the art of paper making until the 12 century AD when they learnt the art from the Arabs. In the fourteenth hundred Johann Gutenberg of Germany innovated the modern printing machine which led to a complete process of mass production of books and printed materials. Soon after, the west outpaced the Muslims in the production and practice of making full use of reading books. They began to accumulate knowledge through books at a far greater speed and efficiency as compared to the rest of the world. History suggests the Islamic Golden Age traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century. Western Europe domination of the world started right after Gutenberg’s printing technology in the fifteenth century. The rest is history.* 

Can you see the connection?

Conclusion: Reading created the modern man.

Reading made us who we are today. Reading is the catalyst of modern history. You and I, we are here today with all that is around us because of the human capacity to read. We are here because God chose to send us a clear message to Read and Write as his first call to his last Prophet. And thank God, the earlier Muslims took heed.

But today, reading is no longer central to Muslims. A quick survey today on Muslim practice and what we pay attention to will show the sad truth that reading is not top of mind. Ask the majority of Muslims to list the top ten of what is most central as a Muslim, we will be lucky if reading is ever even listed. The Quran followed the first five verses with a caution.

“Nay, verily, man becomes grossly overweening –
whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient:
for, behold, unto thy Sustainer all must return.”
Quran 98:6-8

Perhaps the Muslim scholars today, can make a bold move and call for an international Fatwa and make reading one of the central pillars in Islam. Would they? 

Or we ordinary Muslims rise up and relaunch ourselves and make reading central to our lives. Can we? Will we?

“So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: 
For ye must gain mastery, if ye are true in Faith.”
Quran 3:139

Peace,

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

* Additional note : When I wrote this, I wondered why the Muslims did not just copy Gutenberg's printing processes or buy the machines. 

A recent video by Hassan Nisar shocked me when I found out there was a short-sighted Fatwa by a Muslim Cleric and uphold by others that bans the printing press for 250 years at the center of Muslim civilization - Turkey. Muslim fell behind. How sad!!! 

Here's the interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1_uQQkYRkw