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The Challenge of Deislamisation

Ahmad Azam, leader of a muslim youth movement in Malaysia lamented on the situation facing the ummah which he calls the erosion of Islamisation or what can be said to be certain setbacks and sliding back pertaining to issues and values.

It concerns the way education is approached veering away from the holistic model of the insan towards a utilitarian modern high tech human. It involves the challenges faced by accepted before in the establishment and hierarchy of knowledge. The position of Islamic scholars and religious leaders are being brought into question and there are attempts to disrepute religious norms. In fact, some go so far as to challenge accepted teachings and practices. The methodology of Islamic learning, that high learned tradition of referring to original sources and authenticity is being replaced by rapid transfer and loose interoperations from secondary sources. Languages are simply superseded and relegated by the highly regarded English and Western Languages. Overt materialism is promoted, treasured and recognised as the sole symbol of success. Deislamisation is creeping back or was it always there. Hence, the classic symbol of the continuing struggle of good against evil.

That cry of women's rights in Islam issue was well circulated. The basic premise is to attack Islam in the manner which western society views itself. Must we be defensive? Certainly not in Malaysia, The abuse of women, is it a distinct feature in Muslim nations due to lack of understanding and the improper practice or non practise of the religion or the decadent society- where the weak is always the target of discrimination and oppression. Is it a feature of illiteracy, poverty, moral degradation. No doubt, if there is injustice we do not condone it and something must be done about it accordingly. The fundamentals of women's position is to be stated without apology- with regards to physical and natural differences, modesty, decency, dress, family, inheritance, rights, upbringing, law. It is spelt out in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Surely we must not forget the Muslim women, the activists, the martyrs, those in prisons like Aminah Qutb, Zainab al Ghazali, those in Palestine and Israel? If Muslim women and Muslim activists were such to be left behind, the Zionists nor the secularists will not target them. The aberrations that occur throughout society and through the times must not hide the true and just position of Islam in human development and endeavour.

Muslims must organise and face the issues in a wise manner and once again spread the message of truth and understanding without fear or favour and never in the hope of seeking material pleasure. The richness of Islam and the vastness of its outlook of life ought to be be infused into the confused society to rejuvenate it into one of hope and peace. As the famous encounter between a puny but courageous Muslim soldier Rabie' ibn Amir and the great Emperor of Persia shows. He came to bring light out of the darkness, from the narrowness unto the abundance, limitations of earth to the endless hereafter, and from the worshipping of men and idols unto worshipping the One and Only God. This message should henceforth be resuscitated to bring life back to the callers and leaders of the ummah - we bring something that cannot be bought but more worth beyond that all the treasures overflowing.

Hamdan Muhammad Hassan

9 July 1998.

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[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the President for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]

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