Friday, July 13, 2007

Ulamas and Politicians

" Sudah tiba masanya kita gabungkan ahli politik dan ulama untuk mencari titik pertemuan dan menentukan pendekatan yang boleh diambil untuk penyelesaian (masalah persengketaan sesama umat Islam khususnya di Asia Barat yang telah berlarutan begitu lama dan mengorbankan banyak nyawa)," kata PM di Persidangan Akademi Fekah Islam Antarabangsa ke 18. ( BH Selasa 10 Julai).

( The time has come when we should put the ulamas and the politicians together to seek a solution to the problem of conflict between Muslims especially in West Asia which has been long drawn and has sacrificed many lives).

I think the PM has suggested something that seems unthinkable in the past. Putting the Ulamas and the Politicians together to solve conflicts that have rocked many Muslim countries - not excluding Malaysia to a certain degree! It would be wonderful if they can sit together and discuss the future of the Muslims and the Muslim countries based on the lines of good governance as laid down by the al-Quran and Hadith.

As it is the Ulamas are too soaked up in the dictate of the aqidah and fiqh as determined by different mazhabs, to be able to
ponder over urgent socio-economic problems facing their country and ummah. The Shiites and the Sunnis in Iraq for example are at each other's throats, even when US's guns are following their every move. Don't blame the US soldiers if Muslim's blood continued to be spilt. In the Palestines, Hamas and Fatahs are giving the Israelis a wonderful time to see them slaughter each other, and help out when they feel like doing so. No excuse needed really!

The politicians are of course too busy playing politics. Everything is a game and their job is to get the best out of the situation. You can really get the best out of the worst situation. If you loose out you're no politician. You play to the gallery and to the power that will ensure your own wellbeing. Even a friend can be an enemy if he threatens your position. Does your religious belief matter? It doesn't show on your face.....

Only if the Ulamas are willing to accept subjugation to Allah and conformance to the injunctions of the al-Quran and Hadith as the basic identification of being a Muslim and the basis for working together in the spirit that all Muslims are brothers, can the differences between them be resolved. I think the blood of the Shiites and Sunnis is of the same colour when spilt by their fellow men or even the enemy. So is the blood of the Hamas and the Fatahs. The differences in Mazhab and political leanings
cannot be as grave as the difference between locals and foreigners, defenders and aggressors.

A dead Muslim is a dead Muslim whatever his mazhab is. Let no Muslim kill or help to kill or help others to kill another Muslim. His blood is haram to another Muslim so long as he or she prays to no other than Allah and upholds the teachings of the al-Quran and Hadiths. If such an attitude is impossible to assume now, assume it as a "dharuri" measure, in the face of a siege by foreign enemies. Only such an attitude can bring the Muslims together in these times of political and economic crisis. It is the Ulamas who must forge this move. Aren't you all the same in the eyes of Allah SAW? Don't you read and abide by the same "kitab" - the al-Quran? Won't you be going to the same place after death - either Heaven or Hell? Don't you pray in the same manner with very minor variations and observe the same code of Islamic ethics - the Amar Makruf and Nahi Munkar?

The difference perhaps is more in your article of faith as dictated and shaped by local culture, way of life and religious traditions ( often based on Taqlid). The extremists, fanatics, and suicide bombers are consumed by the desire to become martyrs, since that's the easiest way to heaven, although suicide and throwing yourself in harm's way is prohibitted by Allah.
They are not ulamas, and ulamas can be killed by them! So, why don't you "get your act together" as spiritual leaders of the Muslims working more on the unity of purpose rather than the diversity of sectarian beliefs!

As for the politicians, especially those in the position of leadership, they have to ask themselves: Am I a Muslim first and a politician second, or vice versa. If being a Muslim is more important to you than being a poltician ( or a leader), then talk to the Ulamas. Otherwise, there can never be a meeting of minds for the Ulama is looking towards heaven while you're satisfied with being successful and powerful on earth. It's for this reason that in the west the State separated itself from the Church in the middle ages. Islam does not separate the affairs of the State and religion. But politics tend to keep religion at bay and politicians only seek refuge in the teachings of the al-Quran and Hadiths when they are in a fix and need to play up to the gallery. In this regard I make a distinction between Politicians, Leaders and Statesmen. I'll let the Political Scientists in the Universities deal with this matter.

So, what the PM suggests seems to be a very important step in trying to stop the internecine bickerings between the Muslims,especially in West Asia and the Middle East. But the Ulamas and the Politicians must do some soul-searching, before they can work together effectively. Such a move may yet bring back the glory of Islam......

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