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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Hadhari Already

These are not my views, a friend forwarded them to me. Still, it is something you might want to argue about with someone, over lunch. No matter how you make out your case, I'll betcha it will be very much coloured by your political leanings. I'll tell you what I think as soon as I figure out my political leanings. (Well, actually I have, but I don't know if there's a party attached to it)

Warning : very long post! If you'd much rather read about my kids, scroll down, quickly!

Still here? For context, please read this first.

This is with regard to NST's Sunday Times article "Bringing Islam Hadhari into the
mainstream" by Rose Ismail.
"Hadhari" supposedly means "civilisational" or “progressive”.
I cannot say whether the I-hadhari document is correct because I haven't read it. I'm sure
the document will incoporate many of the true Islamic teachings but I am seriously
concerned that there may also be inaccuracies as a result of biased opinions and self interest
-- just as much that I can't even say that the Christian bible is totally wrong because some of
the verses in the bible are indeed consistent with Islamic beliefs. But we have seen how some
inaccuracies have wrongly influenced the population!

Who is the founder of the concept? Who are the authors? What are their credentials in
Islamic knowledge? What are their references? What other scholarly works have they
published? These are some of the things we need to know before we lend any credibility to
the document.

Those who are trying to promote the so-called "Islam Hadhari" are playing with fire - literally,
I might add. I am putting Islam and hadhari side by side only to repeat the term coined by
the founders. Otherwise I do not believe such a word as "hadhari" is fit to be labeled
alongside Islam to form a combined title or name or special pronoun as it were. (Note the
capital H, which signifies a special pronoun). So from hereon, I will only refer to this dubious
concept as "I-hadhari" with the exception of one more occasion later on below.

Just bear in mind the following verses of the holy Quran when trying to go any further with
this new concept:

"And do not overlay the truth with falsehood, and do not knowingly suppress the
truth" (2:42).

"O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing
witness to the truth, for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves
or your parents and kinsfolk.... " (4:135)

"They (the hypocrites) are the real enemies . . . , how perverted are their minds."

"Behold, together with those who deny the truth, God will gather in hell the
hypocrites . . ." (4:140)

"And indeed He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah's
communications disbelieved in and mocked at do not sit with them until they enter
into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them; surely Allah will
gather together the hypocrites and the unbelievers all in hell." (4:145)

Is it because there are too many muslims who think:
· That camels should be the mode of transport rather than cars?
· That it is haraam to watch tv?
· That voting Pas will guarantee their passage to heaven?
· That it is haraam to accept medical treatment from non muslim doctors?
· That Umno members are apostates?

Really? In the opinion of the I-hadhari founders/authors, how many muslims have such
misconceptions? How many people in an independent survey provided the above responses?
It would be useful if we knew the magnitude of the sections of our population who are
supposedly misconceived.

Or could it be a problem if too many muslims may think:
· That it is wrong to have gambling businesses in the country?
· That interest is riba and therefore haraam?
· That drinking alcohol for pleasure is haraam?
· That muslim offenders should always be tried in court according to Islamic laws?
· That the administration of government should be in accordance with Islamic
· That the conduct of business should be in accordance with Islamic principles?

Rose Ismail said (NST, "Opinion", 25 July 2004) that "If Malaysian-Muslims accept Islam
Hadhari, it would not just be a coup for the Umno-led Government; it could also widen the
space for more voices to contribute to the kind of Islam we want in this country." She also
quoted Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, political secretary to the Minister of Home
Affairs as saying "Pas says that until and unless we set up an Islamic state, we will never be
good muslims."

This concept smells of politics.

Quoting the NST again, "For the new concept to work, Chandra says there must be a shift in
the emphasis from rituals and symbols to the substance of faith."

Dr Chandra Muzaffar could be right on the equation but the objective is wrong.
It is not about the need of shifting emphasis for people to become better. Rituals are, among others, in fact
intended to strengthen your faith! You can't just tell yourself "I believe in Allah" and not obey
his commands on rituals such as performing the five mandatory solat, paying zakat, fasting
during Ramadhan and expect to automatically go to heaven after you die! We need to
understand that rituals are a means to not only strengthen our faith in Allah but, among
others, to help us do good, bond with our community and to stay away from evil doings, not
to mention a test of obedience to Allah.

The NST also said "Chandra also believes that examples of good Muslims would help. These
should be individuals who are faithful to Islamic practices, and are outstanding as teachers,
engineers and doctors."

I'm sure there are many such good muslims. But also don't forget that we have been given
many examples of good muslims in Islamic history such as Bilal ibn Rabaah (who was a
slave), Hamzah ibn 'Abd Al-Muttalib, Mu'aadh ibn Jabal and many more.

But let's say that Chandra meant to refer to living muslims. Then by what criteria are they
judged to be good examples? And who are those judges scoring the points for these
champions of Islam? And how would the public know that they are good muslims if not
through a published autobiography of the person? And if so, why should that person's
autobiography be any better an example than, to name a few, that of Nabi Ibrahim, Nabi
Ismail, Nabi Yusuf, Nabi Muhammad (saw), Bilal, Abu Bakar, Omar, Uthman, Al-Bukhari or Al-
Muslim? again, there are of course many more.

All I'm trying to say is that we cannot focus our attention only towards career professionals
for examples of good muslims. While I may look towards Bilal, who was a slave, as an
example of a good muslim rather than any living day professional engineer, that doesn't
mean I am raring to pick a sword to go to war! But Bilal is obviously not the only champion of
Islam to whom I refer to for examples of what a good muslim is.

It is not by accident that we are privileged to have records of the lives of the prophets, especially the autobiography of Nabi Muhammad saw as well as accounts of the many sahabah of Nabi Muhammad saw.
From them we can see examples of faith, allegiance, obedience, loyalty, trust, leadership,
consultation, generosity, sacrifice, honesty, bravery, fighting qualities and mercy (and even
wrath, where appropriate) toward enemies. This is just to name some. Don't forget we are
also given examples of those enemies of Islam, especially the oppressors and the hypocrites.

By all means, go all out to help people understand and practise Islam correctly, but don't go
propogating I-hadhari as though it should be a new mazhab! I can hear Umno denying that
they are not creating a new mazhab. Oh, but you are! In substance you are indeed trying to
do that, unwittingly or otherwise. And all because Umno has no other way to counter Pas in
the political arena when it comes to debates on matters of Islam?

For a start, if there really has to be such a document, then use another title such as "The
Practice of Islam. By so-and-so" or "Islamic teachings. By so-and-so" or "Islam from Umno's
viewpoint". Although we don't know the contents of the document yet, at least avoid having
a title that has the potential of confusing people. The four great Imams - and the author of Ihadhari
cannot be greater than any one of the four - never needed to resort to epithets or
labels for their teachings. So who is this author to gallantly coin "Islam Hadhari" as a

Secondly, the government should do the safe and responsible thing of asking local and
international Islamic scholars to proof read the I-hadhari document before disseminating it to
the public. Give them a chance to comment on it. After all, there are many experts and
scholars in this "civilisational" times, from whom we stand to learn a lot more on Islam.
The way I see it, this I-hadhari concept would be a reinvention of the wheel at
best, only not as round and potentially dangerous; as inherent in the likes of any
rethreaded old tyre.

Should you ever get hold of and read this I-hadhari document, I can only ask you to not
necessarily assume that the document is correct and that you should still do your own
research and consult experts who have no political interest in this concept. That is your duty
as a muslim.
Azmi Arshad

I am indeed most intrigued by this Islam hadhari, and even more so after reading the article by Rose Ismail (NST July 25, 2004).

Let me start by underscoring that Islam is Islam, complete and all-encompassing. It does not need to be qualified by a prefix or a postfix. Islam describes itself. When a prefix or a postfix is added it only reduces the horizon of Islam. There is no need for such. What it does is to segment Islam, the very opposite to what it is supposed to achieve. The postfix qualification only further denigrates Islam.

Islam already implores that every Muslim view the religion in a progressive, expansive and inclusive way i.e. in totality, a holism. Holism emphasizes the organic or functional relation between its constituents that make up the whole and the whole. That is how Islam should be practiced. Islam commits man to an ethic of action, therefore to progress, advance, and uplift in life, total and comprehensive. Its totality and comprehensiveness does not segment the world into the sacred and profane, nor does it divide life into religious and secular.

If there is an Islam hadhari, by implication there is an opposite counterpart, an Islam that is non-hadhari. Islam is Islam. And there is certainly not a potential Islam 2.0 or an Islam XP.

Qualifying Islam with a hadhari is just like describing Malaysia, as Malaysia XI or Malaysia A, but they are not Malaysia, but a lower-ranking Malaysia. Hence, in the same vein, Islam hadhari is inadvertently a lower-ranking Islam.

‘Islam hadhari has been crafted to go beyond labels and symbols’, says Rose Ismail, but isn’t hadhari also a label? Islam hadhari has been translated to mean civilization Islam, but doesn’t that restrict to looking at Islam only as a civilization?

Islam is progressive, yes. Islam is civilization, yes. Islam is modern, yes. Islam is for all era, yes. They all describe Islam. But they are not equivalent to Islam. They only characterize Islam.

You don’t need the hadhari to re-orientate the way Muslims look at themselves. Why, Islam has never been an impediment to Muslims to move forward. The shift (or shove) needed, is not in the hadhari. It is in the rendering, translating and interpreting Islam, not as what the traditional ulama has us understood it, as rituals and form, but Islam is substantive and holistic, a complete way of life.

Living Islam is not living the segmented constituent parts of Islam, but all in one, as a connected web of life. This is living the dimension of Islam as a holism, and to the Muslim the one and only true Islam. Islam comprehends the whole of life – its pattern of thought right through to its behaviour, living within the Islamic dimensions of Iman, Islam, and Ihsan.

Even though we are in the 21st century, there is still no contemporary Islam, but Islam is contemporary.

For me, Islam is, has always been, and will always be perfect and without qualification.

Dr Aziuddin Ahmad
PhD (Reactor Neutron Physics)
University of London Imperial College


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