Assalaamu’alaikum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh.
Professor Dr. Kamal Hassan,
Rector International Islamic University Malaysia,
Ladies and gentlemen.
As chairman of the International Institute for Muslim Unity at the International Islamic University Malaysia I take this opportunity of welcoming all of you to this conference.
The subjects for our deliberations at this conference are centered upon the word ‘unity ‘.
The day before yesterday there was another conference on finding solutions to our economic problems via the use of gold as currency. The most important word for that conference was ‘ usury ‘. Usury is, at different rates of tolerability, and with different names, at the centre of the current world banking and financial system.
While we are about to implement the usage of gold in international trade, our biggest obstacle is ‘unity ‘ or dis-unity among us.
Before we adopt or harbour negative views on Muslim unity, let us admit that we are better off today than we were before the fall of the Berlin wall and the eviction of communism from Russia and the improvisation of communism in China.
In the second half of the twentieth century we have been united enough to enable us to establish the following institutions:
The Organization of Islamic Conference - OIC
The Islamic Development Bank - IDB
The International Islamic University Malaysia - IIUM
The International Institute for Muslim Unity - IIMU
The Islamic Gold Dinar for International Trade - GIT
The second last is a growing institution while the last is ready for launching.
In the past, i.e. before the fall of the Berlin wall we used to cooperate with the Western Commission, a name we give to those who are against Islam, to fight against the ungodly communism. Let us look at some of those reports that show the situation before the collapse of communism.
CIA and Israel
A former CIA official, Cord Meyer, put it in early 1979, as follows:
‘The disintegration of Tahe Iranian Army is seen as an accomplished fact that has already caused a seismic shift in the power balance throughout the entire region. For many years, Iran’s army served to keep in check Iraqi ambitions against Israel and Kuwait, protected the Sultan of Oman against the Dhofar guerrillas, armed by South Yemen, and reassured Sadat in Egypt and the Saudi princess. A tempting vacuum now yawns where once the Shah’s army stood.’
At the end of 1979 former Israeli ambassador to the United States Chaim Herzog summed up part of the record for political instability:
‘In the past 18 months alone, four Arab presidents were removed, one assassinated in Yemen, one executed by assassins in southern Yemen, one removed by a coup in Mauritania and one recently by a coup in Iraq. Thirteen of the current heads of Arab states, over 50 percent of them, have succeeded immediate predecessors who were violently removed from office, in most cases from this life. In the past 15 years there have been 12 fierce and bitter wars in which Arabs were pitted against Arabs in bloody internecine strife.’
All these happened because of the following prevailing views:
‘No arm of the sea has been, or is of greater interest alike to the geologist and archaeologist, the historian and geographer, the merchant, and the student of strategy, than the inland water known as the Persian Gulf.’
Sir Arnold Wilson. (Richard Nixon – The Real War - Warner books – 1980 )
In other words, because of the importance of the land surrounding the Persian Gulf, with oil resources, it is important for the enemies of Islam to ensure that all leaders and governments in the neighbouring countries around the Persian Gulf are friendly to, or installed by the Western Commission or those who are against Islam..
I am using the term Western Commission instead of the West because not all Western governments are against Islam, and not all thinking citizens of countries whose governments are against Islam share the same sentiments towards Islam, just as not all citizens in Islamic nations are not against Islam. There are ambassadors and high commissioners of nations whose governments are against Islam cannot reveal their true feeling towards Islam even if they do not share their governments’ sentiment, as some of them know better about Islam than their leaders. Sometimes even in nations where the governments appear to be anti Islam, only one or two in the leadership of those nations who are really against Islam. The rest do not speak out in case they jeopardise their profitable positions.
Whether Christians or Jews, members of the Western Commission puts reason above all religions, and those who stand only for reasons are regarded as being mentally with, and supportive of, them.
Three Western thinkers have classified adventurous leaders in history into three categories. And that all their adventures are driven by three main factors that are sex, wealth and power.
Sigmund Freud attributed sex to be the influential factor determining the aggressive behaviour of man in any venture. Man with strong sexual drive tends to be aggressively driven while in war and in politics. Julius Caesar was driven into battles by Cleopatra, in his effort to impress and win her, while Napoleon was penning off many short love letters to Josephine during battles, in the intervals when the artillery were firing with their canons.
Karl Marx on the other hand attributed the aggressive attitude to the madness for wealth. When the rich becomes too rich and the poor becoming poorer the glaring contradiction between the two could result in a revolution, in battles and in wars, that will resolve the contradictions through blood - shed resulting in everybody being poorer. Malaysia had very limited experience, on the famous 13th may, 1969, although it was not to the level of the Bolshevik revolution.
Bertrand Russell attributed the aggressive driving force, in war and politics, to the craze for power. Political conflicts in our own country are not only happening nationally, but also down to the villages level. This is also happening in many Muslim nations worldwide. We are obsessed in the democratic practices of competing for positions everywhere, although no Muslim thinker, since Aristotle defined democracy, have contributed in any way to the improvement or adjustments in the original Greek idea of democracy.
Islam on the other hand is not opposed to sex, wealth and power provided they are experienced, earned and acquired legitimately in a way which is allowed by Islam or not opposed to Islamic teachings.
In the case of the Persian Gulf the Western Commission’s interest is definitely in wealth, which leads to power, in the form of oil. But the leaders involved directly and distantly in battles could be sexually driven.
At this juncture we should not just look into the nations or the companies who are causing all the problems either in any geographical area or in battles. We should look for the man behind the action, for nations, as organisations, and companies can change their policies with changes in their leaderships.
This does mean that in many cases battles are stopped just by a change in leadership. But if the leadership in any nation, whatever be the leader’s motivation, is driven by other forces with their own agendas, then a change in leadership will not bring about changes in policies.
As such, terrorism against Islam will not change with the leadership changes in Israel or the USA. These leaders do not set their national agendas. They are puppets on the political stage. Muslims must therefore prepare for a long struggle.
Many suggestions have been made and many ideas have been promoted for the Muslims in their preparation for the long struggle.
Everyone is agreed that the struggle will be long.
Every Muslim is also agreeable that to succeed we need to be strong economically.
We are also agreed that to defend ourselves from the onslaught of western technology we should educate ourselves and acquire those technologies.
But the Russians have the technologies and are capable of facing the Western Commission. But are we educating ourselves, then, in the hope of becoming Russians or Americans, godless and immoral respectively.
Certainly the answer is no.
We wish to be courageous and wealthy Muslims with unsurpassable knowledge and practical ability in the various fields of science and technology. But we must remain Muslims.
We do have courage without discipline.
We do have wealth without moral.
We do have a limited amount of knowledge and technology..
It is due to indiscipline and immorality, couple with the lack of knowledge, and possibly because of the lack of it, that the Muslims are not united.
We therefore need to keep on pounding on the subject of unity by as many means and methods as we could think of. We should not allow any leaf unturned in our search for unity. There is no one formula, one champion for its achievement. We need all the brains of the Muslims of the world to drive the idea of unity to a level of obsession that no army on earth, however big, can stop Muslim unity when the time has come.
I noted that this is the first conference ever held in the world which covers so many subjects which are needed to be discussed in our journey towards unity.
I will only focus on what Islam calls for, as I have for 30 years been in active politics, as elected representatives, in and out of the government, and observed how Muslims forget being good Muslims as they acquire more wealth and power and how they return to Islam when they loss those wealth and power while others keep on praying.
Let us therefore acquire more knowledge, wealth and power, but we must not forget what the Quran says.
Lo! This, your religion (nation), is one religion (nation), and I am your lord, so worship me. (Quran 21:92, and 23:52)
You will see that the faithful, in their having mercy for one another and in their love for one another and in their kindness toward one another, are like the body; when one member of it ails, the entire body ails, as one part calls out to the other with sleeplessness and fever. (Hadith)
The difference between Islam and most other religions is that it did not content itself with merely establishing acts of worship and abandon the needs of society to a Caesar or any form of temporal governing body.
Islam established ways of conduct, relationships, rights and obligations for the individual vis a vis members of his family, the nation and for the nation vis a vis other nations.
The reform of society was the main target of Islam. Even acts of worship contribute to this reform.
Within the framework of human society, the Islamic nation is a compact union having recourse to itself, possessing an inner sense of responsibility for its own members, and resisting decay, both individually and collectively.
This social solidarity (takaful) is apparent in all aspects of our prophet Muhammad s.a.w.’s message.
The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren. (Quran 49:10 )
The Prophet p.b.u.h. said: the blood of the Muslims shall be answered for; for the least worthy among them is entitled to their protection, and their hands are lifted against those who are against them. Help your brother whether he is the doer of wrong or wrong is done to him.
The prophet’s companions enquired: oh messenger of all! We can help a man to whom wrong is done, but how could we help him when he is the doer of wrong?
The prophet replied: hold him back from doing wrong.
A parable was told by the Prophet p.b.u.h. to demonstrate this stand, as follows:
A party of men went into a boat and each occupies a position in the boat. One man began to chop a hole in his spot with an axe.
They said to him, ‘what are you doing?’
He replied, ‘this is my position and I will do with it as I please.
Now, if they should hold back his hand, he and they would be saved; but if they should leave him alone, he and they would be doomed.
So said the Prophet p.b.u.h.
Focus not only on acts of worship but also on relations between individuals.
Demand for individual’s responsibility for the community and the community’s responsibility to the individual.
Respect for common interest between individual and society
Awaken the conscience of the individual towards the community and the conscience of the community towards the individual.
Makes righteous public opinion, which is right in the eyes of God, the guardian against the individual’s deviations and the community’s excesses, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong.
Preach with wisdom and fair exhortation in order to reach the depth of man’s soul, to sow the seeds of goodness and love of truth in Him, and to extirpate the roots of evil and the causes of ill.
Build social education by persuasion to achieve social righteousness.
Abandon haste in favour of a gradual process of legislation in order to prepare the atmosphere and make society ready to receive orders and accept commitments.
Make faith and right doing the principal goals of every facet of life.
Preach truth and cooperation in order to achieve beneficence and piety.
Make every individual in the Islamic community responsible for rectitude of the entire community.
Put emphasis on individual and collective responsibility as part and parcel of the teaching of right-doing, which is the second fundamental of Islam after the believe in the one –God.
Promote interdependence and solidarity among the newly converted.
Promote mercy and love for one another.
Lt. Gen. Sir John Bagot Glubb, in his book The Great Arab Conquest wrote:
In Muslim society the family will always care for its old people, its orphans, its idiots, its ne’er – do – wells and even its delinquents. In this it offers a marked contrast to the modern west, where relatives are all too often looked upon as disagreeable acquaintances and where the misfits are frequently left to their fate or thrust into public institutions. If Islam is not a welfare state, it at least produces whole welfare families where everyone is cared for whether they deserve it or not.
This is what the western commission fears and what they intend to break-up, the brotherhood and the family. This therefore should be the basis for Muslim unity.
May Allah S.W.T. shower on us His many blessings on our long journey in the fulfilment of His commandments.
1st October, 2003