Policy Recommendations

IAIS works to provide pragmatic advice based on sound knowledge regarding issues facing Islamic societies and governments. Here are excerpts of policy recommendations from research articles in our Journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal.

Vol. 5 No. 1 January 2014

Policy Recommendations from the ICR 5.1 (January 2014)

Mohammad Hashim Kamali, A Lifestyle of Moderation, or Wasatiyyah: The Islamic Perspective

  • Reduce and minimise empty and misleading advertisements on television and in the mass media that promote excessive consumerism and unhealthy practices in food consumption patterns and life style.
  • Promote and encourage healthy eating: less sugar, less fat and less red meat, for example. Provide information and advice on suitable alternatives.
  • Educate the public on Islam’s viewpoint and advice on moderation. Muslims have shown increased interest in religion on life style matters – Islamic scholars, personalities and Imams have a certain responsibility therefore to provide it.
  • Reduce noise and uncomfortably high loudspeakers in densely populated areas on social and religious ceremonies and occasions. Science and technology experts, car and machinery manufacturers, sound equipment designers and others are also urged to make noise reduction and abatement an integral part of their production plans.
  • Modesty, self-restraint and honesty in speech, social interaction and humour are central to the ethos of Islam. Muslims are advised therefore to integrate and encourage these values in their social relations and culture.
  • Art, recreational entertainment and music that bring beauty and enjoyment without violating moral and religious principles should be encouraged and appreciated.

Daud AbdulFattah Batchelor, Renewal and Reform for a Post-Karzai Afghanistan: A Critical Appraisal of the 2004 Constitution

  • The exercise of amending the constitution is a prime opportunity for peace-building by inviting previously unpresented Taliban and Hizb-i Islami  Hekmatyr representatives to play a role in attending as delegates and providing their viewpoints in an inclusive environment of a specially inaugurated Constitutional Loya Jirga under Articles 149 and 150 of the 2004 Constitution.
  • Full security guarantees need to be provided to all participants.

Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil and Nisar Mohammad Ahmad, Islamic Law and Human Rights in Malaysia

  • From a policy standpoint, human rights are protected by both the Federal Constitution of Malaysia as well the Islamic Law practised in Malaysia.
  • It is not an exaggeration to consider Islam as a strong proponent of human rights in accordance with its objective as a ‘mercy to mankind’. Thus, any violations of human rights are equivalent to disobeying Islamic principles.
  • Human rights are protected in Malaysia by the Federal Constitution through Part II (Fundamental Liberties) ranging from Articles 5 to 13.
  • Despite the fact that Islam strongly supports human rights, not all human rights principles are protected by Islamic law in Malaysia. Rather, most human rights protections lie under the jurisdictions of Civil Law/Courts due to the constitutional constraints inherited since the colonial era.
  • Two things need to be addressed in order to understand the topic properly; first, the notion of ‘human rights’ which might be different from the Western and Islamic perspectives, and second, Islamic law might also be different from its traditional principles and Malaysian law perspectives.
  • Consideration could be given to amend the Constitution so that in Articles 5-13, Islamic principles and values may be considered in the application of human rights rulings in Malaysia.

Abdul Kabir Hussain Solihu, Revisiting Khilāfah: The Role of Nonpolitical Social Factor in Good Governance

  • Primacy of Islamic Values: Muslim scholars should educate people on the necessity of living Islamic values and supporting a government that prioritises Islamic values. Muslim policymakers should promote non-governmental social organisations that promote national interests and integrate Islamic values in their activities.
  • Alliance of Interests: National interests that transcend party politics and fleeting political regimes should be aligned with the Islamic values shared by other Muslim majority countries. A political regime is elected or deposed based on the extent to which it serves the national-cum-transnational (ummatic) interests.
  • Linkage among the Muslim Majority Countries: In establishing a linkage among the Muslim majority countries, due emphasis should be placed on non-political social institutions that sustain any viable government. Capitalising on the common interests and shared values that connect people of diverse cultural backgrounds, Muslim leaders should invest in creating an enabling environment for social cooperation, economic exchange, joint research collaboration, and institutional partnership among the Muslim majority countries.
  • Religion and Politics: There is a need to recognise the centrality of political leadership in the Islamic system. To divest Islam of its longstanding political ideal is to expose its core values to anarchy. Secularism can hardly prosper in a religious culture in which engagement in all walks of life is seen as an existential value and act of Ibadah (worship).
  • Openness and Flexibility: As a way of life, suitable for all places and times, Islam is not closed to historical inventions and does not retard the path to progress. The Muslims should be prepared to see, with dispassionate eyes, possible new political forms that history has withheld in its rich treasury for its inquirers, and to study how such forms could be no less Islamic than the institution of Khilāfah.

Abdul Karim Abdullah (Leslie Terebessy), Restoring the Ethical Basis of Finance

  • The social costs of interest-based financing, such as unemployment, inflation, and reduced growth in the long term need to be highlighted.
  • The benefits, personal as well as social, of ethical financing need to be emphasised.
  • Reform (islah) needs to be initiated and carried out through education and public awareness. Changes in the regulatory framework that will facilitate the adoption of risk sharing also need to be implemented.

Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo, Divisiveness among Muslims in Nigeria and Its Implications for National Integration

  • An annual conference on Muslim unity and brotherhood where issues on national integration can be extensively discussed should be organised by some umbrella bodies such as the National Council of Muslim Youths Organisations and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
  • The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs should set up a committee that will compile lists of all Islamic organisations, groups, brotherhood and sects. This will provide the Council a database of all Muslim organisations, their aims, objectives, philosophy and mode of operation. Adequate records of the leadership of each of the organisations, their headquarters and branches should be kept. Any organisation that fails to register with the Council should be publicly declared non-compliant, which organisation would then become suspect in the case of any unruly activities and behaviour in the country.
  • Different Islamic groups and sects should come together to iron out differences and realise that in spite of their differences, there is still room for cooperation and unity. If they fail to do this, it will be easy for their enemies to infiltrate them and cause dissension.
  • The indiscriminate proliferation of central mosques, Eid praying grounds and Muslim organisations has not been helpful to the Ummah in Nigeria; hence, certain criteria should be put in place to be met by those who have genuine reasons to initiate such.
  • The appointment of Imams should be the exclusive responsibility of learned Muslim scholars in a community and not for any traditional ruler or the wealthy to impose their will or influence. This is not saying they should not be involved; indeed it is preferable to receive the royal blessing for any appointment that has emanated from the League of Alfas in the community.

Tawfique Al-Mubarak, Going ‘Beyond Microfinance’: Enhancing Islamic Microfinance Programmes in Bangladesh

  • Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) should avoid direct cash disbursement to their clients, rather invest the cash into small businesses and employ them therein.
  • Emphasise human capital development by providing training on handy skills, and creative work.
  • Develop entrepreneurs from the clients to sustain and enhance small and medium sized enterprises.
  • Microfinance projects should also guarantee that their products are well marketed in order to ensure their sustainability.

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