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Dua Iktibar Peristiwa Hijrah bagi Pekerja Muslim

tree-at-sunrise

Setiap awal Muharram, kita diperingatkan dengan sebuah peristiwa yang sangat bersejarah di dalam kehidupan Nabi junjungan kita, Muhammad saw dan sahabatnya. Digelar dari masa ke semasa sebagai “Hijrah”, perjalanan yang panjang dan berbahaya dari Makkah ke Madinah adalah satu titik perubahan bagi umat Islam di waktu itu dan generasi seterusnya. Seorang pemikir Islam yang unggul, Haji Abdul Malik Abdul Karim Amrullah di dalam karya agungnya, Sejarah Umat Islam, membayangkan peristiwa hijrah sebagai

“penghidupan yang baru. Di sanalah terdapat keteguhan dan kekuatan. Di sanalah mulai didirikan Negara yang beliau cita-citakan itu, Negara Islam, Negara Tauhid.”

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Why do we need to take Radicals seriously? Part 1

Radicals

On 18th September 2015, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore hosted a discussion session relating to my recent book entitled Radicals: Resistance and Protest in Colonial Malaya. There were close to thirty attendees consisting of students, lecturers and members of the public.

I was fortunate to have had Associate Professor, Timothy P. Barnard from the History Department to give his insightful reflections on my book. Tim is an expert on the history of the Malay World, whose writings span across topics such as the social history of the Bugis, Malay films or more specifically, P. Ramlee films and the environmental history of Singapore. An award winning teacher and a gentle soul, Tim has been supportive of my own work since I was just an undergrad. He was my supervisor, seeing through my Honours and Masters theses, and patiently listening to my sharing with him about family life and juggling with many children. Tim wrote a number of letters of recommendation for my applications to scholarships and fellowships. I guess it is every student’s dream to have a supervisor in the likes of Tim who is, at once, a good friend and a source of motivation.

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Islamic Education in the Malay World: A History for Our Time Part 2

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Continue from Part 1

Using the trading kingdoms of Sumatra as their strategic base, the scholars and graduates of the pondoks established a whole network of similar institutions in other parts of the Malay World. Among the places that established Islamic centers of education of international standing were Patani, Malacca, Kelantan, Trengganu, Mindanao, Lombok, Banten and Makassar. By the mid-15th century, Patani had already caught up with Sumatra into becoming the new center of Islamic education in the Malay World. Students came from all over the Muslim World to study with the Tok Gurus (Sages) whose mastery of the Arabic language was superb. The first pondok was built by a well-known ulama by name of Wan Mustafa (also known as Wan Pa) at the Yarang district in Patani.

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Islamic Education in the Malay World: A History for Our Time Part 1

islamicschool3

Published in the Vizier Magazine, Issue 16, June 2014

Muslims of today tend to have their eyes fixed on the centers of Islamic education in the Arab World in their endeavour to pursue Islamic studies. This is unsurprising given the fact the Al-Azhar, the University of Madinah, the Muslim colleges that populate modern-day Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Morocco are sites by which generations of students and scholars have spent the prime of their lives to satisfy their thirst and appetites for religious knowledge.

What have so often been neglected, if not forgotten, are the many other reputable hubs of Islamic learning elsewhere that have produced equally notable scholars and intellectuals. Studies of the Muslim communities in Africa, Central Asia, Russia, the Balkans and the Malay World have shown us that there exist thousands of centers of Islamic education that have maintained their presence and traditions for hundreds of years. These were places where men and women from all over world converged to study about Islam – its laws, history, philosophy and other branches of knowledge at the feet of the erudite.

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The Virtue of Silence

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We live in an age of opinions. Everyone seems to have something to say about anything under the sun. These views, comments and arguments flood the digital media in such a rapid rate that one could spend a whole day  just reading and engaging with conversations that in most instances lead to nothingness. In such an opinionated environment that we are in today, it is sometimes wise to take a step back and remain silent. I call it the virtue of silence and here’s a few reasons why silence is a virtue:

1. Deep thinking

Silence allows the mind to think deeply about a particular issue without jumping quickly into making conclusions and judgements. As one sits back quietly to reflect upon what one is doing and thinking about as well as what others are up to, one can gain a wider perspective about a particular task or problem hence finding more creative and wiser solutions. Little wonder then that as we lie down and rest at night before going to sleep, we may at times solve certain puzzles of life that were seemingly difficult to resolve.

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