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Islam & West: Anger should give way to rational discourse

By Khaled Al-Maeena, Editor in Chief of Arabnews Daily§ion=0&article=19556&d=23&m=10&y=2002

The interview with Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur was hastily arranged. However, despite a busy schedule and a planned trip to India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Dr. Mahathir found time to engage me in a lengthy and candid discussion that covered a wide range of domestic and international issues.
The view on the way to Jaya Putra, seat of the Malaysian government, was of motor ways blending into a natural beauty that has made Malaysia one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The prime minister’s office itself turned out to be a beautiful structure that, like Malaysian architecture generally, combines the very best of modernism with traditional.
When I entered through the small door I was asked for my ID, and on giving over my passport was handed a smart card. The photographer and I used it to get through a turnstile before we descended into an underpass and along a corridor. A lift took us up to the third floor, where the card was exchanged for another which we used to proceed up to the PM’s floor.
The press secretary and his aides met us, and what was immediately striking was how the surroundings were devoid of the trappings of high office. There were no armed guards, for instance, and it seemed more like the boardroom of a major Asian corporation.
At precisely 2:30 p.m. the PM’s assistant ushered me into the prime minister’s office, who stood and greeted me with a warm handshake. He too was wearing a name tag, as though he were just another employee in the building. It was obvious from the first moments of being in his company that he was a man who wears the airs and graces of his title lightly. Not that he has ever taken his responsibilities with anything but great seriousness. He has played a pivotal role in propelling Malaysia into the twenty-first century by adopting a pragmatic, high-tech agenda and refusing — despite sometimes fierce international criticism — to compromise his clear vision of how wealth and prosperity can increasingly become an integral part of his country’s destiny.
A tireless and bold leader, Mahathir is a no-nonsense man who has always had Malaysia’s best interests at heart. In contrast to many other world leaders, you are never in any doubt when you talk to him that he is speaking frankly, and from the heart.
Khaled Al-Maeena: The bombing in Bali and colossal loss of life has increased the appetite of those who are against our culture. It’s also being used to raise the specter of “Islamic terror”. And what can be done to prevent such things from happening in the future?
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad: Both sides should understand the reasons for what is happening now. The West and the Muslims, as well as the people who act in anger. They do not act rationally, but just want to hit back. They can launch a conventional war, but what is needed is more thought about how the causes of the anger can be removed. I must however warn that any attack on Iraq will only sharpen the division between the West and the Muslim world.
Al-Maeena: It is said that, among the Muslim countries, there are no sane voices, while extremists are heard loud and clear. Are you going to do something about it?
Dr. Mahathir: I don't know how much I can do. There is no one who can do enough. If we feel we’re oppressed then we should pledge to work to overcome the oppression; and we've set certain policies. If this is not done, people get frustrated and the result is an increase in the oppression of Muslims.
Al-Maeena: One of the charges against Islam is that democracy is an alien concept to our religion, something repeated more and more by the powers that be in the West.
Dr. Mahathir: If you go back in history, when the Prophet (pbuh) died, the people elected his successor. This proves that democracy is not alien to Islam.
Al-Maeena: Do you think that organizations like the OIC could help to bring about change — without infringing on sovereignty — through conferences, think tanks and workshops?
Dr. Mahathir: Yes, provided they have a firm commitment. There must be a commitment, and a firm acceptance of the idea. If you want change, you must be prepared to accept change.
Al-Maeena: But I think Malaysia is playing a leading role and your role in Islamic banking is paying dividends. People are looking at Malaysia as a role model in this regard. There could be lessons for others here.
Dr. Mahathir: Well, if people see what we are doing with this model and they like it, they are welcome to follow it. We've shown that in Malaysia the democratic system works, that we've been able to develop the country using the free market system but at the same time the people are very patient. We've been able to make advances and we've succeeded in demonstrating that Islamic banking is as viable as other types of banking.
Al-Maeena: Still on the subject of Malaysia, a country where despite racial and religious differences and languages there is harmony. Everyone is “a Malaysian”. Is this feeling natural or does the government have to work at it and remind people of it?
Dr. Mahathir: We've had to work very hard at it. The tendency earlier was to be very racial in our outlook. But we accept that we've got to live among ourselves. There was once a racial riot. We were able to put a stop to that kind of thing and learn the lessons from the incident. Our feeling is that it is far better to have a slice of the cake that is growing, rather than to have the whole cake when it’s shrinking. So if we cannot get on together, the country cannot grow and the economy cannot grow and we'll all become poor.
Al-Maeena: The Asian financial crisis caused a lot of turbulence in the area among big players and plunged Malaysia into deep recession. At that time you blamed certain speculators from outside and implemented reforms and decisions that were considered controversial. In hindsight, do you think you took the right decisions?
Dr. Mahathir: I think they were the right decisions. In fact, everybody admits that Malaysia has managed to come out of that crisis intact and healthy both financially and economically.
Al-Maeena: Returning to the question of the Middle East, since you are going to visit the area and India and Pakistan. Do you think there will be some sort of beckoning from your side to the leaders of both India and Pakistan to try and resolve some of the issues?
Dr. Mahathir: I don't think I would make any attempt. I don't think I’d be welcome.
Al-Maeena: If one party asks you to do that, would you do it — considering that Malaysia has good relations with both sides?
Dr. Mahathir: Yes, we've good relations with both India and Pakistan. We've got our own way of solving our problems. And that is not by confrontation but through compromise.
Al-Maeena: When you visit Saudi Arabia, I’m sure you will be discussing the problems in the area. The United States seems to be very reluctant to acknowledge that there is failure of progress of the Middle East issue. You have been an advocate of the right to self-determination for the people of Palestine. Don't you think much more should be done from the OIC and the Muslim side to tell the American administration that they have to look into this more sympathetically, especially in light of what we’ve said about the causes of terror attacks?
Dr. Mahathir: Some of the countries in the OIC should make their voices heard. How that can be done I don't know. But if they keep silent, it will be assumed that the Americans are right.
Al-Maeena: In June this year you went on national TV to announce your resignation, only to recant a few hours later. Then a decision was made that in September or October 2003 you will resign. Is there a particular reason for this?
Dr. Mahathir: Nothing very particular except that I've served the country for 21 years and that's the longest period for any other prime minister in Malaysia. I think it's time that I stepped down to give others an opportunity to lead the country.
Al-Maeena: Despite the announcement of Moody's ratings, Malaysian wants and risks were hardly affected by your decision. Are you confident that the takeover by deputy prime minister will be orderly and will not cause any dissent within your own party?
Dr. Mahathir: I don't think there will be any dissent. I think the party accepts even now the fact that I'm stepping down in October 2003 and I'll be handing over to my deputy. Everything is in place in order to ensure that the economy of the country will continue to get stronger.
Al-Maeena: Many view you as the chairman of a board who does not take kindly to the opposition from the board members.
Dr. Mahathir: It’s not true at all. I wish that people would watch us sitting in the Cabinet. There’s much laughter! Sometimes my views are not accepted. So… they are not accepted. I don't dictate things to “the members of the board”. The problem is that the media has built up this picture. They say to Cabinet ministers: “Please tell us is it’s true that he’s a dictator.” They say “no, it's not true.” But they just repeat that “the truth is that he is a dictator. Isn't that true?” There is nothing you can do when people have already made up their mind. So the perception is that I'm like that.

For example ..........................................(Removed)

Al-Maeena: ...........................................(Removed)

Dr. Mahathir: ........................................(Removed)

Al-Maeena: Looking at the New Strait Times, I find you're a keen advocate of the English language. Do you think the use of the English language in Malaysia and the Muslim world will facilitate our attempts to get our viewpoints across?
Dr. Mahathir: If you're backward, people will attack you all the time. That's why we've got to learn English – not because we want to speak English or because we think it’s a superior culture or anything like that, but because English is the language of knowledge today like Arabic was the language of knowledge in the past.
Al-Maeena: There are those who raise fears that too much English will dampen the culture.
Dr. Mahathir: But we can use the language and at the same time protect our culture.
Al-Maeena: When you think of Malaysia in the future, what do you think are the main challenges you have overcome?
Dr. Mahathir: I had a particular problem when I first became prime minister in that there was fear among the tiny Muslim community that I'm a Malay Muslim cynic and therefore would bring chaos to the country. I worked hard to prove that this was not true. And today I think that’s was one of the most important things I've been able to accomplish. I think this should confirm it. I've been able to bring disparate groups together and they are living in harmony. Now I think the non-Malays don’t have a problem. All I wanted to do was balance development between the Malays and non-Malays.
Al-Maeena: You're an articulate spokesman for the developing world and you've stood up to the superpower when it comes to globalization and several other issues. You've been criticized and have incurred the displeasure of many quarters, including the United States. Has this stand of yours been a thorn in the side of the US-Malay relationship?
Dr. Mahathir: Well, there are some in the United States who are still unhappy with my views. I've been able to defend myself and so far they have not been able to prove that I've been objecting to globalization without proper reasons.
Al-Maeena: In the context of the OIC, since we are talking about globalization, should the OIC help the Muslims adopt an economic, social and religious framework to create a defense against such attacks?
Dr. Mahathir: We've got a framework but there is the question of what we want to do... If we want, there are many ways of protecting ourselves. Even though we may be weak in other fields, in numerical strength we have great wealth.
Al-Maeena: Are you confident about Malaysia's future on the global scale in light of the regional situation? In particular, I refer to the bombings, and Japan and Korea being in recession and not taking kindly to what Malaysia is doing with its financial field.
Dr. Mahathir: We can't be absolutely certain but it's reasonable for us to expect Malaysia to succeed. Even the downturn in the world's economy today has not effected Malaysia too much. Our economy is quite strong, and although it has depreciated downward it has not done so as much as the United States, Germany and others.
Al-Maeena: If you've one motto in life what would that be.
Dr. Mahathir: One motto....
Al-Maeena: Yes.
Dr. Mahathir: We're a very pragmatic people. We're not tied to any ideology. We think ourselves as Muslim fundamentalists. That is, we stick to the basic teachings of Islam. And that has given us strength. Because many people who do not understand the basics make all kind of interpretations about Islam, and they believe in interpretation of this person and that person when they are in doubt.
Al-Maeena: But the application of the word fundamentalist, which has now become one that causes fear, might give cause for nervousness in the West. Don't you think a further explanation of the word is necessary.
Dr. Mahathir: I did that almost 16 years ago. I had dealt with the fundamentals of Islam. Islam is about peace. Islam says that you don't fight against people who do not fight against you. If people want peace then give them peace. These are the fundamentals of Islam.
Al-Maeena: Are there ways that we can engage the West with all that’s going on -- I'm sure you must have read about US Baptist Minister Jerry Falwell's statement on the Prophet (pbuh). Are there any mechanics that can be put in place so we can engage the West in their own language?
Dr. Mahathir: People have access to the media and the TV, but it’s important that the media and TV do not imitate the West in sensationalism, or be provocative. They should give the true picture of our religion and our way of life.
Al-Maeena: One of the accusations we're getting from abroad is that those who are promoting the moderate, saner voice are found wanting in their techniques and their efforts. Malaysia has been making efforts in this regard to establish Islamic universities. Do you think you could institutionalize this in such a manner that there will be people from here who can be trained? You've said very proudly that you're a Muslim fundamentalist in the true sense of the word, a fundamentalist believing in the fundamentals of Islam. Do you think after leaving office you could be the guiding light for such activities?
Dr. Mahathir: Of course, I'll continue to speak out whenever necessary. If people don't hear me, there isn't much I can do. But if I'm called upon to do so and invited to speak, I will.
Al-Maeena: How would you like to be remembered?
Dr. Mahathir: I have been asked that many times.
Al-Maeena: But this is an original one from my side!
Dr. Mahathir: The most important thing for me, despite the fact that I was labeled an “extremist” when I took office, is that I've been able to prove that I am nothing of the sort. I've been very fair and because of that I can now say that all the communities in the country are stable and peaceful.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz has passed away.

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon.

When someone dies, it is a good practice to remember the good deeds he has done during his life time.

When we were discussing about his death, today morning, one of my colleague said. He had visited South Korea recently and he had a chance to attend the Juma prayer in a big Mosjid in Seoul. Later it was told to him that this masjid was constructed by Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz.

He has done so many such charity activities. You may visit below website to read more about his charity activities.

May Allah unite all of us in his paradise (Jannatul Firdous).

ISLAM for Human Liberation

ISLAM for Human Liberation: By : M.M. Akbar (Translation: Dr. M. Abdul Aziz)

While the beginning of the present century marked the rise of ideologies,
it's end witnessed their downfall. We know that these ideologies which
raised a lot of hope have failed to deliver the goods. The philosophies
proclaiming Utopian dreams of a world of equality and the economic system
promising a brave new world have found its place in the dustbin of
history. Countries which once embraced these ideologies have started
throwing them out fully convinced of their unreal and impractical nature.
Both communism and capitalism have practically failed and so man is in
search of an ideology which is hundred percent practical and which can
lead to the liberation of mankind.

Men seeking the path of liberation strayed into different areas. The ultra
materialists begin to learn about religion from religions based on
priesthood. In fact materialism and priestly religions are two extremes of
degeneration. While the former considers man as a mere animal, the latter
claims to elevate him to an angel. Man who is a special creation is
brought down to the level of mere animal in the studies made by such
ideologies and this has invariably led to the failure of these ideologies.
On the other hand priestly religions while claiming to take him to the
high pedestals of angels destroy the human aspect in him. The question of
liberation becomes quiet relevant here. No one now believes that transfer
of power from one to another will lead to liberation. All agree that
transformation of the society and country can be effected through the
individual. But the fact remains that most people fail to define the
nature of changes to be brought about in the individual.

As we have pointed out above it is neither correct nor feasible to treat
man as a mere animal or to make him an angel. What is necessary is that he
should transform himself to a real human being. Man should be able to
differentiate himself from animal. He should be prepared to eschew evil
thoughts. Basic evil characteristics consist of pride, selfishness,
chicanery, badness, cruelty, hypocrisy, petty mindedness etc. Evil actions
originate from all these. When the individuals are liberated from such
evils the society and the nation prosper. Fraternity, good behaviour,
affection, helpfulness, mercy and such qualities trigger to social
transformation which in turn liberates mankind.

It is a fact that an ideology which can liberate man from evil and which
teaches righteousness and human values alone can be a liberating force in
its true sense . The ideologies and philosophies created by man will not
be able to teach what is required for the success of man. This is proved
by the failure of the materialistic ideologies. It means that some one who
is not a man, but knows everything about man should show the path of
liberation to mankind. It is the creator, the protector and the Almighty
who knows better about man than man himself. So the Creator who sustains
the world and all of its beings is the proper authority to show us the
path of liberation.

Let us find out whether any philosophy which heralds liberation exists. There is only one philosophy that can hold its head aloft and proclaim that it is possible to liberate mankind. That ideology is Islam.
Islam is the ideology of liberation. Liberation means freeing of the individual, the family, the society and the nation from evils. This is complete and the most comprehensive liberation that comes from Islam.

What is Islam? Is it the life pattern of a section of people treating the mosque and its surroundings as the only world? Is it the religion of long shirts and head gears? Is it a system of worshipping myths borrowed from other religions giving them Arabic names? Is it an army of soldiers wielding Qur'an in one hand and sword in the other hand and ordering to embrace Islam or to face death? Is it a system of law fabricated by Muhammed with a view of putting an end to social evils of the uncultured Arabs? Or is it a philosophy of life with the more important aim of ending miseries of this world? Islam is not any one of these. Then what is Islam?

Islam is a religion, a religion in the full sense of the term. Islam is introduced by God as "Deen". Qur'an introduces Islam as Deen from God. The best translation of the Arabic word 'Deen' is religion. The meaning of the term religion when applied to Islam is to be clearly understood as it is different from what secularists and spokesmen of established religions call religion. The western secular concept of religion is that it should be confined to the church and the rosary beads is foreign to Islam. The philosophy of established religions that it is the duty of religions to carry out orders of the church and the clergy does not agree with the precepts of Islam. What Islam does is the transformation of every field of human activity in consonance with the dictates of God. Religion, in the sense of Islam, is all comprehensive and it covers every aspect of human life - the individual, family, society and politics. Islam does not give license to do what ever one likes.In other words it is improper to define Islam as a religion with its causal meaning.
It is also not correct to bring Islam down to the level of a mere ideology in the sense of 'away of life'. Islam is not enamoured by such ideologies which raise hopes of charming and beautiful world of utopian dreams. The foundation of Islam is laid on the belief in the world to come. The concept of life that the reward for the deeds should be available in this world itself is entirely opposed to Islam. According to certain ideologies the idea of life after death is not only a myth but also reactionary. According to Marxism which was described by Freidrich Nietzche as the philosophy of the present century, the very concept of life after death is a lethal narcotic administered on a society built on heaven on earth. Islam views the world here-after as a powerful instrument capable of transforming the world and as the ultimate transformation, answer to the entire question relating to the very existence of man. As distinct from secular ideologies which run after worthless dreams Islam basically calls for action to succeed in life here-after.

Islam is not merely the religion of Muslims, nor of mosques, of priests of assembly of priests, or of a nation. The Creator of the universe presented the ideology of Islam for the emancipation of man. It consists of divine laws, orders, actions and beliefs. The individual who accepts this becomes a Muslim. Any one born of Muslim parents does not become a Muslim by virtue of birth. If one follows the dictates of God one is in the circle of Islam and out of it whenever one deviates. Similarly a person born out of non-Muslim parents becomes a Muslim if he is prepared to go by the tenets of Islam. No one is barred from getting divine protection on account of birth. Any one who belongs to a Muslim family will be a Muslim as long as he or she leads a life ordained by God. A Scholar will be acceptable when he leads the society with the help of divine sources. A country or a nation when it decides on issues on the basis of divine ordinance will be Islamic.

An ideology can be considered complete and an instrument for transformation only when its philosophy becomes faultless and practical. To bring forth a practical system is more difficult than creating attractive ideologies. It is here that Islam succeeds. Its principles are faultless, attractive and practical.

An article by Br. MM Akbar.

To read more about Br. MM Akbar and his activities please visit below website:

Work attitude

Japanese attitude for work:

If one can do it, I can do it..
If no one can do it, I must do it.

General attitude for work:

If one can do it, let him do it
If no one can do it, my friend how can I do it?

A message to all on Earth

In the name of God the most Merciful and the most Compassionate.

You are reading this message as part of a call by the last Messenger of God (Peace be upon him), 1400 years ago:

“Convey at least one Aayath(Verse) from Qur’an, The Final Revelation”

We are too busy all of us! Too busy that we never get time to think of the reason behind our existence. Some of us discuss everything under the sun but forget or ignore the basic issues related with human life.

We seldom think why we are here in this world? At times we forget that the next moment is not guaranteed! The reality of death!
You may say: ‘In today’s intensively materialistic life style why remind me of death? After all life is for enjoying till death! Life is for life itself!!’

Let me draw your kind attention to have a sheer parallel thinking: -

If man is a noble creature, noble should be the mission behind the creation. For every action there always lies an aim. And the aim always is beyond the action itself. For example to pass the examination is the aim of a student in school. Similarly the aim of a farmer who farms is to harvest. So the aim of life should not be life itself – it has to be something beyond life.

So what after death? (The whole world is there to talk about life, so I hope you excuse me that I start direct with death)

God (Allah in Arabic language), the creator, says in Qur’an “ How can you reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that ye were without life and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die and will again to Him will ye return” (Chapter -2: Verse -28) – YES, MAN WILL RETURN TO HIS CREATOR!

Throughout history clear direction were revealed to mankind from the creator, explaining the mission of life, to all regions and societies. Allah says in Qur’an: “Never did We destroy a population, but had its Warner” (Chapter -26 : Verse -208).

All these messengers were proclaiming the same eternal truth: The Oneness of God and the fact that the whole worship should be to Him only. The different tribes and creeds in mankind are united in this single thread.

See what Allah say about human diversity. “ O Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you in to nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (NOT THAT YE MAY DESPISE EACH OTHER). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you (Chapter -49: Verse -13)

See how God is introducing Himself in Qur’an:

“He is Allah, the one and only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begettes not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him” (Chapter -112 : Verses – 1 to 4)

“ Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permittes? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne does extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the most High, the supreme (in glory)
(Chapter -2 : Verse -255)

Everything in this universe follows the law of this glorious creator!!!

Allah Says “ Do they seek for other than the religion of Allah? While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to its will, and to Him shall they all be brought back” (Chapter -3 : Verse -83)

Man is not a separate entity from universe; rather he is a very special creation in the universe.

Allah Says in Qur’an: “We have honored the sons of Adam (Mankind); provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation” (Chapter -17: Verse -70)

So when man is the honored creation of God, he has a greater responsibility. His nobility should make him know the Creator in the right spirit. Allah did not leave mankind without guidance in this regard, rather as we saw earlier He send messengers throughout history with the right guidance and code of conduct (catalogues) for this noble creation.

Through these catalogues (revelations) he guided mankind to the way of salvation. Allah Says: Have we not made him a tongue and a pair of lips? And show him the two clear (high) ways?” (Chapter -90: Verses – 9 &10). Yes one way leads him to success! and the other of course to curse!!

......And the choice is left to us the individuals.

Allah has decreed that the one who select the true path will get salvation in the eternal life after death. And as a consequence of their own selection of the wrong path the other group shall be given the right punishment.

Allah Says “Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it. And any one who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it” (Chapter -99 : Verses –7 & 8). YES! NO INJUSTICE, THE JUDGMENT WILL BE SO ACCURATE.

Allah Says “ It is He who created the heavens and the earth -------- that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct”. (Chapter -11 : Verse -7)

Yes this life is a trial of who is best. When Allah says He will fulfill the reward on the Day of Judgment it is only justice to punish the wrong doers while the righteous are rewarded.

Now think of a situation of dying without acknowledging or in certain cases rejecting this eternal truth, while we are running behind the mirage of the busy life in this world!

Allah says in Qur’an “All souls shall have the taste of death and only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid in full recompense. Only he who is saved from the fire and admitted to the paradise will have attained the object (of life); for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception” (Chapter -3 : Verse -185)

Yes gentleman, when the real eternal life is the life after death what made us forget it? What a real loss it will be if we are lost in the eternal life! The real success in life is in gaining the success in the eternal life.

At the same time don’t misunderstand that Islam, the way of life prescribed by the designer & Creator of us, is asking us to hide away from this world. For Islam spirituality is not something alien to the plain life experiences. Islam bring down spirituality from shrines and saints to the daily routine of human beings, to their busy life. It guides you through your life to salvation.

It is a complete way of life; nothing is left out of its way. Qur’an , the final (Concluding) revelation from God together with the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shows the right path for all activities of mankind in this world. This is the one only true way of life, which leads to ultimate success in the life after death.

So let me invite you in plain, bold and simple terms to this straight path (ISLAM). It only glorifies you, for you are in the path of the Glorious God here. Being in ISLAM You are only reverting to the pure state.

With all prayers.

As we are not using word to word translation, the quotes from Quran and Hadees in this blog should not be reproduced without verifying with the original texts.