Monday, March 05, 2007

Kau Yang Satu: Is Islam Hadhari Submission to Neo-Con's Theological Warfare?

Kaulah Yang Maha Esa
Kaulah Yang Maha Pengasih
Kaulah Yang Maha Penyayang
Tiada hidup tanpaMu

Kaulah Yang Maha Agung
Kaulah Yang Maha Mengetahui
Tuhan dunia akhirat
Tiada aku tanpaMu

Bilaku rasa pilu
Bilaku rasa resah
Bilaku kekosongan
Kau tempatku mengadu
OH Tuhan yang satu
Engkaulah Tuhan yang satu

Segala puji-pujianku
Tujukan padaMU..padaMU
Dan hidup dan matiku hanyalah
UntukMu... untukMu... untukMU

-- Ramli Sarip, Perjalanan Hidup (1987)

If one could describe Ramli Sarip's surreal song, "Kau Yang Satu", it is a spiritual journey towards submission to God. From the conscience of God's existence and attribute, to God for emotional consolation. And, with gratitude come submission. It's ultimately about one God.

The gist of God's revelation to Muhammad to convey is the single precise and clear message of the essence, unity, attributes and worship of God. If one looks at the diverse faces of Islam today, it's intriguing to see the evolved mosaic of different cultures, political nation states, and practices. Still unified by Aqeedah as specified in the Doctrine of Faith, the diverse opinions, thoughts, and philosophies should have deepen its knowledge bank. To the contrary, Islam is divided by fanaticism to personalities and sects.

It is this observation that had the venerable Tun Dr Mahathir call for a reversion to fundamental Islam, Islam of the word of God. The Quran is one true message; devoid of sectarian "branding" of Sunni vs. Syiah, Wahabi or Salafi vs. Sufi, and myriad schools of Tariqah, Mazhab and Iqtikad with each hurling accusation to the other.

Opportunity for the Marchivellist

Islamic history is laden with stories of its enemies taking opportunity from the divided Islam.

Classic movie enthusiast would remember "Lawrence of Arabia" inspiring Nationalism into the Wahabis of Saud family for separation from the declining Ottoman Empire. The movie portrayed a romantic and inspiring uprising for freedom. But, history disclosed that it is by design to break-up the Ottoman Empire.

The recent US military and media-instigated Sunni-Shiah division in Iraq was another such opportunism. In the recent PGPO Conference, it was claimed that such division never existed in Iraqi society. It not only fit the "divide and rule" mantra, but for the ulterior motive to stay longer for "Haliburton" to get contracts, cheap oil for gas guzzling American, and the American hegemonic domination of Mother Earth.

The list is long.

Religion Building of Civil Democratic Islam

Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a Canadian convert interviewed by Malaysia Today's, described the dependent on American FTA saw their intrusion into sermon prepared by the Al Azhar for Egyptians mosque. This revelation in Egypt is by design a theological warfare on Islam.

Ever since 9-11, authors, policymakers and so-called think tanks were churning to publish and advocate policy and strategy in dealing with the Muslim world. One such report is "Civil Democratic Islam - Partners Resources and Strategies" (CDI), released by the US Defense Contractor RAND Corporation in 2003 with fund raised by the conservative Smith Richardson Foundation. (Downloadable here)

CDI was authored by Cheryl Benard, an American sociologist and women theme-fiction writer. She is married to Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Assistant to President Bush and chief National Security Council (NSC) official for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia.

Khalilzad is probably the first and only Afghan-American neo-conservative and in the 1980s worked in the State Department's Policy Planning Council under Paul Wolfowitz.

CDI proposed a "religion-building" strategy of Islam i.e. redefining Islam "to encourage a moderate, democratic interpretation and presentation of Islam". This, the author acknowledge, is a more daunting, perilous and complex process than "nation-building".

The proposed direction was about, to quote, "devising a judicious approach [requiring] a finely grained understanding of the ongoing ideological struggle within Islam, to identify appropriate partners and set realistic goals and means to encourage its evolution in a positive way."

By choosing "elements, trends, and forces within Islam they intend to strengthen", Islam and the Islamic world could be influence into an outcome favourable to the interests of the West. The strategy is similar to how the West dealt with Christianity, which "included the necessity to depart from, modify, and selectively ignore elements of the original religious doctrine".

Divide and Conquer - A Proposed Strategy

Benard divides the Islamic world into the following four categories - Fundamentalists, Traditionalists, Modernists and Secularists.

The author views, to quote, "modernists and the secularists as being the closest to the West in terms of values and policies. However, they are generally in a weaker position than the other groups, lacking powerful backing, financial resources, an effective infrastructure, and a public platform."

A multi-prong strategy was designed:

  • Provide financial and political support for the modernists first. Support secularists on a case-by-case basis.
  • Back the traditionalists tactically against the fundamentalists. Recommendation to "encourage disagreements between traditionalists and fundamentalists", "discriminate between different sectors of traditionalism", encourage certain schools of law versus others, to "build up the stature of sufism", and encourage "sufi influence over school curricula, norms, and cultural life".
  • Consistently oppose the fundamentalists. Paint fundamentalist as immoral and hypocrite, corrupt leaders, and promoting backwardness.
  • Assertively promote the values of Western democratic modernity. Encourage secular civic and cultural institutions. Focus on the next generation. Provide aid to states, groups, and individuals with the right attitudes.
Islam Hadhari

The Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad, acknowledge the divisional problem in Islam. He even pointed out the need to solve the problem of Sectarianism in his speech at the OIC Conference in Islamabad on November 6th, 2006 last year.

His speech fell short and addressed it more from an intended purpose for economic opportunity and eradication of poverty. He was more obsessed in promoting his Islam Hadhari agenda.

Islam Hadhari has been the political mantra of Prime Minister Abdullah since his ascension to Premiership. Tun Dr Mahathir promoted Islamic value program and Vision 2020. Anwar already had an Islamic image and chose to promote "Civil Society".

Abdullah, despite coming from a religious political family and having an Islamic study degree, pursue a Nationalistic political agenda and a career in public administrations. Islam Hadhari, as rhetorical and void of specific programs as it is, was his much needed Islamic political branding. Its close similarity with Vision 2020 seemed indisputable.

On the surface, the 10 principle aims of Islam Hadhari seemed noble and harmless. The respected scholar Professor Syed Naguib Al Attas has long been preaching for a progressive Civilisational Islam. Mufti like that of Perak, Dato Harussani supports its concept. The young and liberal minded Perlis Mufti is living it.

Critiques questions equating Islam and Hadhari. Islam means submission and the doctrine of faith leaves little to no room for interpretation. The issue of semantics arises in equating Islam Hadhari as progressive Islam. Is that right to claim opponents to Islam Hadhari as regressive Islam?

Upon acceptance to the doctrine of faith and devoutly carryout obligations as per the five pillars of faith, one is a Muslim. There is no such thing as a progressive, moderate or extreme Islam and middle grounds. As Tun Dr Mahathir pointed out recently, Islam Hadhari is confusing.

Islam Hadhari and CDI's Moderate Islam

Commentators viewed CDI as written based on a stereotype and bigoted view of Islam that would not serve its claimed purpose to ease the tension and allow for better interaction between the West and the Islamic world. In fact, it is perpetuating the blame game on Islam that dates back to 19th - 20th Century European Orientalism.

The study falls into a typical western mistake of analysing Islam from a Western perspective - demanding conformity to contemporary global culture and lifestyle, and painting Muslims as despots, terrorists, and fanatic suicide bombers.

Through the Western eyes, the ideal Islamic community should conform to their expectation of being democratic, economically viable, politically stable, and socially progressive and kow-tow to the rules and norms of international conduct. More comment from Google on CDI here .

Many quarters view Islam Hadhari to fit the description of moderate Islam in CDI with several western ideals planted in Islam Hadhari. Two that stands out is the 7th and 9th principal. It is not much the justification to the principal but the stress for a lesser importance issue to equate with Islam.

The 7th principal on minority and women seemed to win favour in our multiracial population and to accommodate the increasingly stressed issues on women rights by the western NGOs. The 9th principal on environment seemed to appease the western environmentalist pressure group. Not realising, it is an additional barriers to check economic competition from developing countries.

Shallow and devoid of specific program, Abdullah received his much needed attention to speak on Islam Hadhari at the recent World Economic Congress in Davos. There were many more prior to this, particularly in Muslim countries.

It would not be a surprise that the Dubya Bush Administration is monitoring the acceptance and progress of Islam Hadhari as a test case of a modern version of an accommodative Islam acceptably "progressive, liberal, democratic and civil" to the West. Only in Malaysia, with a Muslim majority and reasonable level of standard of living and education, can it be done.

When Tun Dr Mahathir gave a news headline "No such thing as a moderate Muslim" and plead to stop seeking acknowledgement as moderate and liberal Islam, he is far sighted enough to see the geo-global implication. Does Abdullah realised this big gameplan or is he in his ever state of zouk or insulated?

One God, One Message and ...

UntukMu... untukMu... untukMU

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 5th, 2007 5:00 p.m.


Deedat Fan said...

I never saw the problem of Islam Hadhari from this perspective of geoglobal warfare on islam.

Yes, we shd stop allowing existence of organised sub-groups in islam claiming their own brand and entity. But that doesn't mean we shd suppress discussion in islam (like whats happening).

Yes, Islam Hadhari's principle aims are rather shallow. Imagine its demand on muslim is only iman and waraq to allah. The least it could have demanded was the lesser diluted form of ihsan ie to embody islam in our life.

You are not agst minority and women are you? You are not agst environment are you?

Hidup Tun M said...

Shows how sharp an dgreat communicator ole man Tun DrM is.

He said two basic words - Islam Hadhari is confusing and no more moderate islam.

The man on the street understood. ANd, the more knowledgable understood what lies behind is an insidous and intricate conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

It tough to reconcile all those school of thoughts. All this ulamak quite istiqamah in their thinking.

Anonymous said...

There is something sinister about the introduction of new Islamic perspective like Hadari purportedly claiming themselves to be the more progressive and modern and not breaching the fundamentals of Islam. The people of the book like Ahlul Sunnah and university scholars seems to be supportive of Islam moving in this direction and the traditional Islam of Sekolah Pondok is slowly being ridiculed into irrelevance. With Muftis waving their Degrees and Masters in Islamic studies based on the western system of education and research were allowed position of authority, it would not be far fetched to to think that Islam is slowly losing is lustre as a religion of submission into a religion of progressing towards material wealth.

Fundamentalist said...

Islam Hadhari reduce the emphasis of Islam to those 10 principal aims.

If one understands and embodies the Rukun Iman (Faith), Rukun Islam (Practices) and Ihsan (Consciousness), those 10 Islam Hadhari Principals aims are already incorporated and does not need emphasis.

What we should have done was to propagate proper teaching and practices of Islam? To the non Muslim, we shoudl elevate their fear of Islam by proper tarbiah (education) and setting good examples. Unfortunately, we tend to instill fear in our tarbiyah.

QueenB said...

I agree that there's more fear and punitiveness instilled in the teaching of Islam than mercy and compassion.
And this take on Islam Hadhari as a Neo-Con conspiracy cannot be totally dismissed.

Not quite KJ Fan said...

SIL in his Nasty Pee Column Keluar Jail

"Thank heavens for moderation. Just when it appeared as though the prime minister’s progressive Islam Hadhari philosophy was once again being hijacked by over-enthusiastic elements, good sense prevailed."

Trying to promote FIL's shallow Islamic Mazhab

tokasid said...

A Voice:

That song was penned by M Nasir and sung by Ramli sarip for the mvie Tsufeh-Sofiah.

Islam Hadhari is just a gimmick to counter PAS influence.But after BN won the GE, nothing wac done.What happened was a circus promoting Islam hadhari.

QueenB said...

QueenB said...
I agree that there's more fear and punitiveness instilled in the teaching of Islam than mercy and compassion.
And this take on Islam Hadhari as a Neo-Con conspiracy cannot be totally dismissed.
12:37 PM
Much as I agree with this comment, I must have written it in my dreams or is it a reposting?

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