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Lessons for the Islamic Movement

another perspective

It comes to our attention that a somewhat simplistic analysis has been made of the present situation in Malaysia by judging upon what has befallen Mr Anwar Ibrahim. It goes on to criticise the dakwah approach as has developed in Malaysia. First and foremost, Muslims will continue to lament and syampathise and emphasise with the condition of someone who is incarcerated paying the price of a valiant struggle. He knows what he has gone through and the sacrifice he has to make and these are living testimonies and the continuations of the long chain of struggle of the Muslim fighters and it is not and never easy. And it was because of what happened to him sadly, that with an ironic wisdom that enabled all Islamist and just loving groupings and organisations and individuals to unite in a common cause. This makes what one academic once predicted that Mr Anwar will become the unifying factor for the movement to come true.. But this also depends on whether we have the wisdom and the will to continue the path of the struggle. The episode does not end here.

To accuse him of impeding the struggle through his involvement in government is arguable because he chose the path of dakwah and islah. The very path that has taken him to his greatest test and suffering. The premise is that we are dealing with Muslims predominantly whether we know their hearts and intentions or not. We are also facing humans and not things which are lifeless or without feeling.

The question of participation in the ruling party or a secular political platform has long been debated over the years in which the Islamic movement engaged in politics. This has been the case in Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Sudan with various methods and approaches and also varying results and consequences. In the early modern period of the Arabian Peninsula, Imam Abd Wahab co-operated and joined forces with Ibn Saud, the ancestor of the present Kingdom's rulers. There are coalition governments, coalition parties (which used to have an Islamic party in Malaysia as its partner), using secular parties' tickets for elections and even befriending military governments. And a democratic set up seems to be the best situation for Islamization to work. Sure, there are mistakes, weaknesses and high risks involved. If we follow the events in Sudan, we can see Dr Hasan Turabi co-operating with President Nimeiry (although before that he was imprisoned for quite sometime), appointed as attorney general, put back in prison, then released by General Omar Bashir, subsequently to be elected as speaker. Now they have to face an international conspiracy and a massive onslaught threatening to devour their very nation. Is he tired and will he quit, definitely not!

To be true and fair in analysing the present Malaysian situation, it is wise to reflect on the period before 1982 and the 70's and compare it with the present condition and political development to evaluate the changes and achievements of the struggle for Islamisation. Dr Chandra Muzzaffar correctly points out that through such political participation in the 80's, we avoided the classical repressive conflicts between Muslims and the ruling secular regime. Dr Wan Salim goes on further to note that the conditions to achieve Allah's granting of complete victory may not have been met just yet but the effort and Islamic work must go on. As Sheikh Rashid Ghanoushi said of the prerequisites of success - the sunan ul nasr - for the movement. So it goes back to our role and responsibilities to carry on now that a fighter has paid the price.

Hamdan Muhammad Hassan

13 November 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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