Print this page
Friday, 20 December 2019 15:26

“Is Islam against worldly success... or is it Muslims themselves who prevent their countries from being governed well?”

Written by

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned Muslims that they will suffer continuous oppression, and their religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism if their current state of affairs persists.

In his keynote address at the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.

(KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.

He said, at the same time, the ummah in several countries were involved in fratricidal wars, which had led Muslims to flee to non-Muslim nations.

He said when they were unable to defend themselves, they would need to rely on non-Muslim nations for arms and protection.

Even more pressing, he said, was the perception of Islam, as Muslims and Islam were no longer associated with civility.

He said the decline of the advanced Muslim civilisations of the past began in the 15th century of the Common Era, and from that point, Muslims gradually began to lose “the respect of the world”.

He said Muslims today were unable to return to the era when they were well-versed in all fields of knowledge, including science and engineering and manufacturing of goods.

“There were attempts to find the reasons for their (Muslims) decline. But discussions and scholarly writings have not resulted in the recovery of their past greatness.

“So, if the future remains as we are now, we will suffer continuous oppression. We will decline further and our great religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism. “Muslims will be turned away from Muslim countries (leading them) to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.

“The ummah will not be protected as enjoined by the Quran,” he told an audience of more than 500 delegates and representatives from 56 countries at the opening of the KL Summit yesterday.

The summit is themed “The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty”.

Present were Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dr Mahathir said in the past, Muslims adhered to the teachings of Islam as a religion of peace, while succeeding in infrastructure and governance.

“Muslims built great cities, sailed and mapped the seas, traded between the East and West along the Silk Road and many other things that boosted the reputation of Islam and Muslims.

“Their military strength was incomparable. Muslims and their countries were treated with respect.”

On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.

On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.

“In fact, although the Quran enjoins upon us to be prepared to protect the ummah, we are unable to do so because for a long time we cannot even equip ourselves with the means to ward off attacks by others. We depend on our detractors to supply us.

“We can accuse the non-Muslim world of being biased and unjust in their assessments.

“But we cannot deny the fact that there are fratricidal wars in several Muslim countries, that many are beholden to the powerful non-Muslim nations, and that Muslims are running away from their countries to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.”

Dr Mahathir said many Muslim countries were occupied by European powers in the 18th to mid

20th century, but even after gaining independence, many of these nations regressed to the point of being once again dependent on their former colonial masters.

“If we care to honestly assess our situation, we must admit that we and our religion have become the subject of much vilification and defamation.

“Muslims and Islam have been equated with terrorism and failures of government, as well as irrationality and acts unworthy of civilised behaviour.

“Muslim countries are accused of authoritarianism and lacking concern for human rights.”

However, Dr Mahathir said, good governance was not impossible as governments in Muslim nations could achieve success if they always uphold the teachings of Islam in their policies.

He touched on the different sects in Islam, which he said occurred after Muslims began neglecting all acquisition of knowledge other than that of Islam. He said the disunity of the ummah occurred when Muslim scholars came up with differing interpretations, which gave birth to the differing sects.

At the same time, Muslims were divided based on their nations or states.

“We were one ummah before. But we have broken up into nation states with boundaries separating us from each other. And in different states, our religious practices differ.

“And this has broken our unity. We are no longer brothers in Islam. We no longer have a paramount ruler — the caliph or khalifah.” He said the infighting among sects, in which opposing sides often claimed that the other was not a true follower of the religion, reflected poorly on Muslims.

He said Islam’s detractors did not care about the different sects because they regarded all of them as Muslims and their differences were irrelevant.

Dr Mahathir warned Muslims against waging wars based on anger and frustration as nothing could be gained through indiscriminate violent acts.

“We can declare that Islam does not advocate such violence. But for as long as we act in anger, as long as we do things that frighten people, and worse still, if we proclaim that we are performing jihad, the fear of Muslims and Islam will not diminish.”

He said when Muslims killed each other in the name of jihad , it created a bad perception of Islam.

“The Al-Quran forbids killing, above all killing a fellow Muslim. But Muslims are killing each other indiscriminately. They are killing innocent people, including fellow Muslims. Is this a jihad for Islam? I think you will agree that killings and fratricidal wars are not the jihad advocated by Islam.”

He said there were some Muslims who committed violent acts and killed innocent victims as well as the sick and incapacitated because their countries were unable to provide security for them or as a form of retaliation when their land was seized.

“Frustrated and angry, they react violently without in any way achieving their objectives. They seek revenge, but all they succeed in doing is to bring disrepute to Islam.

“They have created fear by their actions and now Islamophobia, this unjustified fear of Islam, has denigrated our religion in the eyes of the world.”

Dr Mahathir said Muslims must know how this fear was generated and to determine whether it was the detractors’ propaganda.

He said such questions needed to be answered during the KL Summit, which was meant to discuss the critical state of Muslim affairs.

“Understanding problems and their causes may guide us in overcoming or mitigating disasters that have fallen upon the ummah. We have seen other countries devastated by World War 2 not only recovering, but growing strongly with development.

“But some Muslim countries seem incapable of being governed well, much less prosper.

“We have to deal with fratricidal wars, civil wars and catastrophes that have affected the ummah and Islam.

“Yes, Islam and Muslim countries are in a state of crisis and unworthy of this great religion, which is meant to be good for mankind. It is for these reasons that the summit was organised.”

Published in: The New Straits Times, Friday 20 December 2019

Source: NST

NST