Assalamu'alaikum wbt,

Pambaca yang budiman, samhua bahan / fail yang ditaoh di dalam "folder" anie, bila guna asanya dibaie kaijinan untuk dimuat tuun. Sabalum ku naik akan ka "folder" anie, bilang buting fail sudah ku "scan" dan Insya Allah inda lagi ada "virus". Amun kakal ada jua, cuba-cuba kamu scan pc kamu. Wassalam. 

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Al-Quran

 بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

إِنَّ ٱلدِّينَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمُ‌ۗ

Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam - Surah 'Al-E-Imran Ayat 19

وَمَن يَبۡتَغِ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمِ دِينً۬ا فَلَن يُقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُ وَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers – Surah ‘Al-E-Imran Ayat 85



Artikal yang batajuk ISLAM UMMAH AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES anie asalnya daie blog ku yang sabuting lagi, Reaping the Benefits. Ku taoh sini sabagai "Disaster Recovery" manalah tahu blog yang sabuting atu binasa kana ujah olih dangan yang inda batanggungjawab.


Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2008

by A.S. Kasah


This article is written to clarify issues in my own way and style, pertaining to the views by some quarters who perceived that the challenges faced by the Muslim Ummah of this decade are the end results attributed by ways Islam was taught, influenced and propagated by the past and current Islamic preachers, scholars, thinkers and ulamaks who failed to provide connection to the real life situation. According to these school of thoughts, such predicament had created
regression, negation, backwardness, insensitiveness towards global challenges, anti- modernisation, anti-establishment, oblivious to reality of life, creation of Al-Qaeda & Taliban and various other negative connotations that are labelled against the genuine Islamic preachers, scholars, thinkers and ulamaks alike.

As a layman and a responsible Muslim, I am prompted to write this article as a minute / small contribution to a bigger picture which had been or will be discussed and brain-stormed by experts or think tank groups on the subject matter. I’m not part of the groups, thus this article is written based on my personal opinion and perception of the challenges faced by Muslim Ummah. I am trying to position myself as part of the solution provider rather than part of the problem. There are so many people out there who considered themselves as scholars and thinkers but in actual fact they are part of the problem instead of the solution. They can talk and write in the most convincing ways, but talking and writing alone will not produce tangible results. They are good in
creating approaches but failed in its deployment and producing results.

A glaring example is when our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi introduced Islam Hadhari, several people who consider themselves as Islamic scholars openly declared that Islam Hadhari as a
step backward and an act of regression and even worst some people branded Islam Hadhari as unislamic and accused the Prime Minister as a creator of another Islamic sect or denomination.

The people who proclaimed themselves as Islamic scholars and thinkers with Ph.D and Masters Degrees behind their names are excellent writers with the ability to write in excellent English and producing convincing evidences to substantiate their opinions and claims to the extent that the readers are being lured to literally believing what was written by such writers. Nevertheless, not every reader is dumb stupid to swallow every thing written by such writers. There are great many people out there who are capable to use their grey matter to evaluate the whole situation and considered those opinions as
an insult to their intelligence.

As I have declared in my blogs, I am not a writer, neither a columnist nor a journalist. I cannot write in excellent English with jargons and bombastic words but what I can do is to write in plain and simple English to express my opinion to be easily understood by the readers who are in the same level as my self. For those readers out there who think their IQ (intelligence quotient) is very much above, and then my advice is to leave now and look for something else commensurate with your degree of intelligence. This blog may just not a place for you.

Due to its vastness, this article will be divided into several series that will encompass topics of interest, which in my personal opinion are relevant to the title of this article namely ISLAM UMMAH AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES…..A.S. Kasah


This article will delve into the challenges faced by Muslim Ummah in the context of political, social and economic perspectives. Let me emphasise here that the writer will refrain himself from discussing issues pertaining to Islamic faith per se, simply because I am not a qualified person to delve into the issue. I am a responsible Muslim and I would not like my opinion and perception about Islamic faith to mislead the readers particularly if it is something to do with the “akidah”, the most fundamental and the very basic of our Islamic faith.

Conflicts between people professing different beliefs are nothing new. They have occurred since time immemorial. Often however, the conflicts are not so much conflicts between followers of different faiths. Rather, they are conflicts between people of different ethnic groups, or people who have conflicting political and economic interests, who happen to be of different faiths. The differences in faith then become emphasised, and are used by the conflicting parties in different ways to serve their objectives and interests.

We can recall many such examples in history as well as in contemporary times. The Reconquista between Christians and Muslims that was waged over eight centuries revolved around territory although religion distinguished the two sides. More recent examples include the conflict involving Muslims, Roman Catholics and Serbian Orthodox in Bosnia-Herzegovena; Russian Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Chechnya; Jews, Muslims and Christians in Palestine; mostly Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir; Muslims and Buddhists in southern Thailand; Muslims and Catholics in southern Philippines; Muslims and Christians in Indonesia’s Ambon and Halmahera provinces; and Christians and Muslims in the former East Timor.

Sometimes the conflict is between people who are within the same family of religion, such as between Sunni and Shi’a in Iraq and Pakistan.

Political, economic and ethnic factors have also driven people of the same faith to fight each other. In fact, the bloodiest war and conflict of this nature was fought between Muslims in the case of Iraq and Iran.

But my focus in this article is on the prevailing tensions between the West and the Muslim world which in my personal opinion is the root cause of the challenges faced by the Muslim world today.

Extremism and radicalism has indeed become the scourge in many parts of the world today. Terrorist attacks against Western targets perpetrated by groups in the name of Islam since September 11 has also triggered strong suspicion and distrust of Muslim minorities living in Western countries. There is now perceptible intolerance and antipathy towards Muslims driven by a new wave of Islamophobia.

Islamophobia must be removed and the international community must take a stand to stop actions which contribute, directly or indirectly, to the perpetuation of injustice, oppression or aggression against Muslim countries and the Muslim ummah anywhere and everywhere.

The international community has a clear duty to disallow the marginalization of Muslims and instead enable them to take part in influencing and setting the international agenda. The increasing gap and misunderstanding between the West and the Muslim world must be bridged. But it requires both sides to work in tandem to close the chasm.

Perhaps the worst manifestation of this religious dimension of the tensions between the West and the Muslim world was the controversy over the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h). Already alienated by a host of other perceived injustices, the Muslim world closed ranks and erupted in anger, because pictorial depictions of the prophets of Islam, including Moses and Jesus, are prohibited by the religion. Associating a bomb denoting terrorism with the revered Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) incensed Muslims around the globe.

I must say, the main objective of this article at the end of the day is to provide sufficient information and understanding on the dynamics of the global challenges faced by Muslim ummah, hence in a small way would assist the readers to appreciate Islam Hadhari in its true meaning and perspective as the driving force to achieve peace, security and political stability in the Muslim world.

Overview of the Challenges Facing the Muslim Ummah

The challenges facing the Muslim ummah are very complex. To reach to an amicable and long lasting solutions to the continuous injustice, oppression or aggression against Muslim countries by the predominantly Western powers is viewed as near impossible. Nevertheless, efforts to achieve long lasting solutions to the problem are being endlessly pursued by leaders of Muslim world through various organisations, dialogues and forums which include the Arab League (League of the Arab States), Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), individual Muslim leaders and various peace initiatives organised by Western powers.

Depicted below are the major challenges that caused deep division between the West and the Muslim world.

1. We do not need to go into the long and occasionally tortuous episodes of the history of Islam to establish this. Suffice it is to mention here that in the last nearly sixty years and to this day, the primary issue driving a wedge between the two worlds has been the Palestinian issue. No other issue has alienated the Muslim world from the United States in particular as much as this issue. Palestine is also the issue that divides the Arab and Muslim world and Israel;

2. The readers will agree with me that the further deterioration in the relations at present dates from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the “war” on terror, and the invasion of Iraq by predominantly Western powers. In the years since then other developments have aggravated the situation. Terrorist attacks against Western interests in Indonesia, the bombings in Madrid and London, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the persistent unrest in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to arouse sentiment on both sides;

3. The pressure on Iran mounted by Western powers to prevent it from enriching uranium for peaceful nuclear energy because of suspicion that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. The West on the other hand turns a studiously blind eye on the nuclear weapons already possessed by Israel. One of the ironies of the situation is that this same nuclear weapon-armed Israel is condemning Iran for allegedly developing nuclear weapons. No Western power appears to notice anything odd about this.

4. The other major issue is the denial of assistance to the Palestinian people and the government of their democratic choice by Western powers, because Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation and because it has not recognised Israel and the road-map. Even taxes collected on behalf of the Palestinian government and people, which is legitimately theirs, is withheld by Israel in violation of all moral and legal principles. In the meantime what was already a critical situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is developing into a humanitarian disaster, and the situation is being allowed to descend into chaos.

5. One cannot leave this discussion of the factors aggravating relations between the West and the Muslim world without mentioning the unfortunate association of terrorism with Islam and Muslims. We must hold three main parties accountable for this: the groups that commit terror in the name of Islam; governments that attempt to demonise and thereby criminalise legitimate movements of resistance and national liberation, and the media.

As a matter of fact, Muslims see the killings of Palestinians and the blatant US support of Israel as a direct attack against the Islamic world as a whole. The al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin, for instance, has cited the Palestinian struggle as one of the reasons why his organisation has launched the 9/11 attacks in the US and the London bombing in July 2005.

As I have mentioned in my other article in this blog pertaining to the invasion of Iraq in which the US bypassed the United Nations and subsequently invaded Iraq under the false pretext that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). What is more, while the Bush Administration supported India’s development of nuclear programs, it opposes Iran’s. Why, Muslims worldwide ask. Is because Iran is a Muslim nation and India is not?

Thus, Muslims across the world have increasingly joined the Islamic struggle against the US and its allies, including Australia, India and the UK. In Asia, for instance, terrorist attacks continue to happen in Pakistan and India as of this writing, following the two bombings in the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 and 2005 as well as those of the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

In what they see as their defence against the rise of the West and its anti-Islamic values and the unilateral US foreign policy, leaders of Muslim organisations have found no other way other than resigning themselves to terrorism.

In summary, I would like to quote the speech by our former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on October 16, 2003:

QUOTE - None of our countries are truly independent. We are under pressure to conform to our oppressors’ wishes about how we should behave, how we should govern our lands, how we should think even.

Today if they want to raid our country, kill our people, destroy our villages and towns, there is nothing substantial that we can do. Is it Islam which has caused all these? Or is it that we have failed to do our duty according to our religion?

Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly. And so we and some of our people reacting irrationally. They launch their own attacks, killing just about anybody including fellow Muslims to vent their anger and frustration. Their Governments can do nothing to stop them. The enemy retaliates and puts more pressure on the Governments. And the Governments have no choice but to give in, to accept the directions of the enemy, literally to give up their independence of action.

There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse... They will forever be poor, backward and weak. Some believe, this is the Will of Allah that the proper state of the Muslims is to be poor and oppressed in this world.

But is it true that we should do and can do nothing for ourselves? Is it true that 1.3 billion people can exert no power to save themselves from the humiliation and oppression inflicted upon them by a much smaller enemy? Can they only lash back blindly in anger? Is there no other way than to ask our young people to blow themselves up and kill people and invite the massacre of more of our own people?-

Sunni and Shi’a Conflict

Before I go any further, let me share some information about the two biggest Muslim sub-groups namely the Sunni Muslim and Shi’a Muslim. The readers must understand and recognise that both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. The differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones. Over the centuries, however, these political differences have spawned a number of varying practices and positions which have come to carry a spiritual significance.

If any of the information I produce in this article are inaccurate or out of context, kindly let me know and I am very much obliged to ammend or effect changes to improve the quality of information in this blog.

Sunni Muslims or Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah

The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes from a word meaning "one who follows well-trodden path and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h).”

The term Sunni Muslim refers to the great majority of the world's Muslims (approximately 85% - 90%), distinguishing them as the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah ("the people of the sunnah and the community") from the Shia Muslims. Sunni Muslims are, by this definition, Muslims who strictly follow the Al-Quran and Sunnah (practices) of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and preserve the unity and integrity of the community. Anyone who stands within the mainstream of the Islamic tradition and acts in accordance with generally accepted practices of the community is, therefore, a Sunni. Most Muslims see the Sunnah as complementary to the Koran insofar as it explains certain points and elaborates some Quranic principles by offering details necessary for the practice of Islamic law.

Sunni Muslims view the caliph (khalifah) as a temporal leader only and consider an imam to be a prayer leader.

Shi’a Muslims

The word "Shi’a" in Arabic means a group or supportive party of people. The commonly-known term is shortened from the historical "Shia-t-Ali," or "the Party of Ali." They are also known as followers of "Ahl-al-Bayt" or "People of the Household" (of the Prophet)

Shi’a Muslim adheres to the teachings of Islamic Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and the religious guidance of his family (who are referred to as the Ahl al-Bayt) or his descendants known as Shi'a Imams, whom they consider to be infallible. The Shi’a Muslims believe that following the demise of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Saidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (r.a), rejecting the legitimacy of the first three caliphs (khalifah) of Islamic history. The first three Caliphs (khalifah) are Saidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (r.a), Saidina Umar Ibn al-Khattab (r.a) and Saidina Uthman ibn Affan (r.a).

Shi’a Muslims view the other caliphs (khalifah) were merely de facto rulers while the rightful and true leadership continued to be passed along through a sort of succession of Prophet Muhammad's (p.b.u.h) descendants.

Shi’a Muslims make up about 10% - 15% of Muslims all over the world. Significant populations of Shi’a Muslims can be found in Iran and Iraq, and large minority communities in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon.

The Divide

The division between Shi’a and Sunni dates back to the time of the demise of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet's companions, that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and the Prophet Muhammad's (p.b.u.h) close friend and advisor, Saidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (r.a), became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation.

On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet's own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.

From this initial question of political leadership, some aspects of spiritual life have been affected and now differ between the two groups of Muslims.

Shi’a Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature, and that his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God. Therefore, Shi’a Muslims often venerate the Imams as saints and perform pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines in the hopes of divine intercession. Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders, and certainly no basis for the veneration or intercession of saints. Sunni Muslims contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.

Shi’a Muslims also feel animosity towards some of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), based on their positions and actions during the early years of discord about leadership in the community. Many of these companions (Saidina Abu Bakr, Saidina Umar, Saidatina Aisha, etc.) have narrated traditions about the Prophet's life and spiritual practice. Shi’a Muslims reject these traditions and do not base any of their religious practices on the testimony of these individuals. This naturally gives rise to some differences in religious practice between the two groups.

It is important to remember that despite all of these differences in opinion and practice, Shi’a and Sunni Muslims share the main articles of Islamic belief and are considered by most to be brethren in faith. In fact, most Muslims do not distinguish themselves by claiming membership in any particular group, but prefer to call themselves simply, "Muslims".

The Conflicts

As I have mentioned in Part 2 of this article, political, economic and ethnic factors have also driven people of the same faith to fight each other. The already fragile balance of power between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in Iraq was further aggravated by the US-led invasion of Iraq in March, 2003.

Sunni and Shi’a Muslims have not always been openly hostile. In many parts of the world they live together peacefully. During Saddam’s regime, the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in Iraq were able to live together and get along well. The political scenario changed drastically after the invasion and its continuous occupation till to this day where sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi’a Muslims are common sight in Iraq.

Under Saddam regime, the Sunnis ruled Iraq, even though they were the minority. But throughout the world, Sunni Muslims vastly outnumber Shi’a Muslims. There are approximately 1.3 billion Muslims, and only about 15 percent are Shi’a. But Shi’a Muslims are the majority in Iraq and the overwhelming majority in Iran.

What caused the deep division between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in Iraq? Why can’t they unite for once to achieve a common goal i.e. to liberate Iraq from the illegal occupation of the US-lead forces? After all both of them are Muslims. Or is it the U.S. military and political strategy to let the sectarian violence continue and later escalate the conflict to a civil war in Iraq? In my opinion, the Divide and Rule strategy has been well implemented by the U.S. in Iraq. Successful? Not too sure!

On the other hand, is it true that the sectarian violence in Iraq is a sign of the Shi’a revival as mentioned by Vali Nasr in his book entitled THE SHIA REVIVAL: HOW CONFLICTS WITHIN ISLAM WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE. I have the opportunity to browse the excerpt of the book as well as several articles and interviews by Vali Nasr that helped me to better understand the political landscape of Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in Iraq and Lebanon in particular and Iran in general. But don't be mistaken, this is not the only reference I sought to write this article in the most balanced and unbiased manner.

For a Malaysian laymen like me and may be some of the readers too, it is very difficult for us to really understand and appreciate the Shi’a – Sunni conflicts in its true sense simply because of the distance factor and the other notable reason is that I would say 100% of Muslims of the Far East (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Southern Philippines, Southern Thailand and Singapore) are Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaah. But thanks to the ICT, internet and multimedia technology that enabled Malaysian to access vast information and free flow of video and audio streaming delivered direct to our homes via broadband technology.

On a personal note, my first encounter with the Shi'a Muslims was in England way back in my student's days in 1978. I have both Sunni and Shi'a Muslim friends from the Middle Eastern countries notably from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. At first, I was slightly taken a back by the way my Shi'a friends performing their prayers. Being Malaysian, Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaah and adopting the practices of Mazhab As-Shafiee, I began to realise only then, that the Shi'a Muslims are "different" in many aspects from Muslims in Malaysia. Over the period of 3 years I began to learn more about the Shi'a Muslims as well as Sunni Muslims from other Mazhabs namely Hanafi, Maliki and Hambali.

Malaysia is very fortunate to have good government under the able leadership of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who embraces the concept of power sharing. To achieve a politically stable government in a multi religious, multi racial and multi ethnic society of Malaysian fabric is extremely difficult task. But, Alhamdullilah, Malaysia has been so far very successful in managing major crisis and tragedies.

The Malaysian success stories in overcoming major political, racial and economic crisis and tragedies is not by chance but are the results of cohesiveness between the Malaysian people and the government. The dynamics behind the cohesiveness is none other than our extraordinaire high level of TOLERANCE which is the essence of our value system. Our very own approaches through Islam Hadhari, which is the brain-child of our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has further enhanced the Malaysian Value System to the next level.

In my next the article ISLAM UMMAH AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES, I will try my level best to analyse the Shi’a – Sunni Conflict in more detail in the context of Iraq and Lebanon.

Bacaan Ayat-Ayat Suci Al-Quran Oleh Sheikh Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy

Surah Yaseen

Surah Al-Waqiah

Surah Al-Kahf

Surah Al-Mulk

Surah Ad-Dukhan

Surah Ar-Rahman

Kaabah - Baitullah

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