Tun Dr. Mahathir urges to read more

“It’s is important that Muslims read and gain knowledge in everything, including science, technology and mathematics and not only read the Quran and recite the Hadith”, said Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said this afternoon. He was invited to speak at the launching of Syed Akbar Ali’s second book, “Malaysia and the club of Doom: The collapse of the Islamic Countries”, at Kelantan Delight restaurant, KLCC Suria.

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Syed Akbar Ali was a former banker that turned a newspaper columnist, businessman and writer. He now blogs under a pseudonym. Fifty people attended the ceremony, which included businessmen like Dato’ Hassan Harun, former big names in journalism turned bloggers like Dato’ A Kadir Jasin, Dato’ Ahmad Reejal Arbee, Dato’ Ahmad A Talib and Rocky and also retired Civil Servants like Dato’ Mohd. Ridhuan A Halim, former DG of MARA.

The former Prime Minister started his speech by talking about how teachings start to change form, after being interpreted and re-interpreted, over and over again. When too many interpretations were made, the teaching’s initial idea and concept, got watered down, diluted and ever skewed.

For example is “Democracy”. It started as ‘one person, one voice’. Then it is the voice of the people. Then it became the symbol of liberty and freedom. Then they talk about freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom to choose. It became freedom to do anything what individuals want and feel like doing, like walking stark naked at the market square, during noon. Eventually, they want to legalize same sex marriages and corporations’ perks and privileges on regular families be extended to gay couples as well.

Another instance Tun Dr. Mahathir gave was on women issues. First it was the right of women to vote. Then right of women in workplaces. Then anti harassment against women. Eventually women wanted equality, even to hold clergy offices (such as an Imam). He reminded that God al Mighty did not create women the same as men. God meant to create women different from men. “Otherwise, if there is no difference between men and women, the world would be a boring place”. That, drew laughter from the audience.

Tun Dr. Mahathir then commented on Syed Akbar Ali’s earlier speech about ‘Religion’ and ‘Islam’. It’s like what he mentioned earlier, Islam is being interpreted by different people, in different settings and time period and under different circumstances. That’s why there is so many version or ‘mazhab’, eventually a deep and philosophical digression of the original teachings of Islam.

These differences created sects, within the Muslim faith. Tun Dr. Mahathir urge that everyone go back to the original and fundamental teachings of Islam. There will be no Syiah, no Al Arqam, no Qadyani and no Ayah Pin. No other ‘re-branding’ of Islam. The Muslims, through time, have been seriously divided because of these interpretational teachings and some even kill each other.

He added the true teachings of Islam calls for, “You don’t kill, even its non Muslim. Unless the non Muslim is endangering your life. Even so, it is for self defense. If they offer you peace, (then)you (have to) accept it”.

Another example he quote was Al Bukhary, who became a compiler of Rasulullah S.A.W.’s Hadiths. Even though there are so many, Al Bukhary only recognized 7,000 out of 600,000 said to be around and with clear conscience that these Hadiths can be traced and verified its authencity.

The early Muslims followed the teachings of Muhammad S.A.W., which the message of the first verse of the Quran as being brought upon to him by archangel Jibrail commanded, “Read” (Iqraq). So they read the Quran. They also read the writings of the Greeks, Persians, Phonecians, Hebrews, Romans, Egyptians, Hindus, Byzantiums and other earlier civilizations. From these, they slowly developed mathematics, sciences, astrology, medicinal and navigational skills and make remarkable findings and discoveries. Eventually at the end of the first Millennia, the Muslims were the most technologically advance people in the world.

Then things changed. From the 15th century, Islamic theologians started to read the Quran only. Eventually, the Muslims stopped reading on the other knowledges and focused only on the Quran. The much feared Islamic Empire started to decline when the Muslims lost their edge, became introvert and their approach towards Islam turned dogmatic as compared to their eagerness quest for knowledge, five hundred years earlier in Baghdad, Cairo and Spain. They no longer maintain their competency on the current knowledge and technology. Even their ability to trade digressed. Wholesomely, the Muslims were never able to recover from this decline and eventually the Ottoman Empire disintegrated at the end of World War I. Most of the Arab, West and North African states were colonialised.

The Europeans, on the other hand, did the opposite. They started to study all the knowledge discovered and developed by the Muslims and start to master and dwell on it further. It took them out of the dark ages became the European or Western Renaissance. The Europeans started to even develop culture and art.

The Europeans went further with these new abilities. They used the knowledge and technology available for military applications. Then onwards, most part of the world became their quest for colonialisation and greed. They also made killings more and more effective.

The Muslims regressed because they stopped expanding knowledge, skills and technology. Tun Dr. Mahathir reminded that the deeds and responsibilities in Islam fall into two categories. One is upon oneself, as individuals (fardhu ain). It is like prayer, fasting in Ramadhan, pay alms and give donations, perform Hajj and so forth. The other is communal responsibility (fardhu kifayah). This is where everyone in the community must play their part to make sure all the needs of the community are served. This include someone must be a doctor, to make sure whenever someone is ill, then there will be treatment. Another is a soldier. When there is a threat, then the community will be defended. Someone needs to be the shopkeeper, lawyer, teacher, utilities supplier and so forth. All these responsibilities can only be filled if they have the necessary skills, knowledge and tools. So if its not undertaken by anyone in the community, the whole community will sin as the needs of the community is impaired.

Tun Dr. Mahathir stressed that is why it is important that Muslims acquire all the knowledge and technology, to ensure the needs of the community they live in, regardless amongst Muslims only or living with non Muslims, is taken cared of.

With that message, it is very clear Tun Dr. Mahathir wants everyone to read more, the book is finally dedicated. It is distributed by MPH and retails at thirty eight Ringgit.

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Published in: on April 4, 2007 at 00:04  Comments (4)