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Extracts from my FB. Thanks to Ahmad Salik Ahmad Ishak

Takeaway #9 from Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied‘s talk on “Malay Muslim Thinking – Lessons from History” at Masjid Assyafaah Darul Hadith on 16 Feb 2013

What should we do now? Firstly, we have to develop Quranic minds. Make ourselves and our family members close to the Quran. Do not start the day without it. Whatever we think, try to relate it back to the Quran. Make the Qur’an our habits and culture. Read the Quran with our children. Make them love the Quran. If they love the Quran, they will not be easily influenced by wayward ideologies.

Secondly, try to live the sunnah (ways) of the prophet. Try to improve the way we pray so that it is in accordance to the sunnah but what is more important is the sunnah in caring or looking after our family. Husbands should love their wives. The prophet said that the best among you is the one who is the best towards his family and I am the best among you to my family. We should try to bring the sunnah back into our families.

Third, we must ensure that our culture and tradition are based on the Syariah (Islamic jurisprudence) and not the other way round. Cultural practices that are against Syariah should be abandoned. Things that are easy should not be made difficult. Follow Islam because Islam enriches tradition. What is good (baik) is not necessarily true (benar) but what is true is definitely good. Al-Qur’an and As-Sunnah is true so we follow them so that our families will become good.

Fourth, all of us must engage in da’wah. It must become a fardu ‘ain. When we see Malay-Muslim children kissing in public places, we must stop them. Enjoin good and forbid evil. If we see children smoking, we should stop them but that would be more difficult if we are ourselves smokers.

Fifth, we must make knowledge and learning our culture. Talk less, read more. Our big cupboards at home used to store decorations should be removed and replaced with cupboards for books. We should buy fewer things. Muslim scholars in the past lived very modestly. Yusuf al-Makassari for example had only 5 shirts. Don’t talk about people, talk about books. Engage one another with knowledge.

Lastly, we must develop a generation of Malay-Muslim thinkers. We must produce more scholars who study not about things that are related to Islam but about the society and others.

The thinking among the Malay-Muslim community used to be very high but now we have lost this glory. We must go back to our roots and revive our intellectual tradition so that the Malays can become a great and respected community again.

The prophet said: I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: Al-Quran and As-Sunnah.

Extract from my FB post. Thanks to Ahmad Salik Ahmad Ishak

Takeaway #6 from Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied‘s talk on “Malay Muslim Thinking – Lessons from History” at Masjid Assyafaah Darul Hadith on 16 Feb 2013

Allah says in the Qur’an:

31:22 And whosoever submits himself to Allah with sincere faith while he performs good deeds, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold and to Allah return all matters for decision.

Malays have been Muslims for not more than 500 years. The Malays used to believe in hundreds of Gods but with the advent of Islam, they now believe in only one God. Tauhid (believe in One God) has strengthened and empowered the Malays. When the Malays do not believe in Syirik, Tahyul, superstition and when they are not afraid of ghosts, syaithan, etc, they become a strong community. Tauhid elevated the status of the Malays.

That is why during the 14th to 18th century, Malays in this region were one of the most powerful races in the world until a Portuguese traveler during this time described the Malays in his book as people who were tall with stout bodies, ate little, good in trade, highly intellectual, loved poetry, knowledge and Al-Qur’an.

Malays were so great during this time until part of the Malay world was then known as “Serambi Mekkah” (Mecca’s Verandah). The Arabs used to travel to the Malay world to study Islam. Syeikh Ahmad Khatib who was a Malay became a religious scholar in Mecca and taught the Arabs the Arabic language. There was a community in Mecca called the Javanese community and among them lived many Malay scholars.

The Malays were known for their great civilization, mastery in trade, comprehensive and highly intellectual thinking. There is nothing in the books written in the West about Malays who were ridden with diseases. The Malays before the era of advanced science were fit, lean, strong and healthy. They were hardworking, not lazy, and they were thinkers.

In many villages in Java, a lot of religious scholars were born. The Malays used to have the concept of “surau” – places where Al-Quran was learnt. Al-Quran became the main source of guidance for them until the way of writing the Malay language was changed to Jawi. Today, Malays don’t know how to read Jawi but it used to be a platform for the Malays to learn Al-Quran.

There are a lot of Malay scholars whom Malays today don’t even know. Their names display their places of birth.

Hamzah Fansuri
Syamsudin Sumatrani,
Nuruddin al-Raniri
‘Abd Rauf Singkel
‘Abd al-Shamad al-Palembangi
Ismail al-Minangkabawi
‘Abd al-Wahhab Rokan
Muhammad Nafis al-Banjari
Ahmad Khatib Sambas
Syekh ‘Abdal-Karim
Kiayi Shohibulwafa Tajul ‘arifin
Syekh Muslih ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman
Yusuf al-Makassari

The most difficult Malays to embrace Islam were the Javanese because their affinity to Hinduism was very strong. The Wali Songo made use of Hinduism to explain the meaning of Islam and the Javanese embraced Islam in droves. We always hear magical stories about them but they are all not true. They are ordinary people like us but what differentiates them from us is their thinking. Their love for Islam and Malays was what made it possible for Malays then to embrace Islam. They used “Wayang Kulit” and stories about “Kalimah Sodok” to teach the Malays “Kalimah Syahadah”. After watching the shows, the Malays recited the Kalimah Syahadah and became Muslims. Wali Songo had used the principles of Usul Fiqh i.e. making use of similarities in Hinduism and Islam to attract the Malays to Islam.

The Malays were not just thinkers but they were builders too. The mosques that they built 500 years ago still stand strong until today. They wrote the Al-Quran in a handwriting that displayed their Malay culture.

The Malays were so great back then that after the 14th century, they formed the majority of Muslims in the world. Today, there are 280 million Muslims in Nusantara – the largest in the world. However, the glory of the Malay civilization did not last long. The Malays were colonized and influenced by westernised thinking.

Extracts from my FB post. Thanks to Ahmad Salik Ahmad Ishak

Takeaway #4 from Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied‘s talk on “Malay Muslim Thinking – Lessons from History” at Masjid Assyafaah Darul Hadith on 16 Feb 2013

The history of Malay Thinking can be divided into 5 phases.

1) The Era of Superstitious Thinking (Pemikiran Jumud : 35 000 BC – 100 BC)
2) The Era of Traditional Thinking (Pemikiran Adat : 100 BC – 1400 AD)
3) The Era of Tauhidic Thinking (Pemikiran Tauhid : 1400 – 1800 AD)
4) The Era of Westernised Thinking (Pemikiran Kebaratan : 1800 – 1957 AD)
5) The Era of Crisis of the Mind (1957 AD – today)

Malays have believed in superstition longer than they have been Muslims. For more than 35000 years, the Malays were worshiping statues.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

31:13 And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zoolm (wrong) indeed.

Because of our superstitious thinking, Malays were not known to the world until they embraced Hinduism. The Qur’an says that believing in syirik is a form of oppression to our selves. During this period, Malays worshipped the ghosts of their forefathers (ruh datuk nenek) and believed in semangat (spirits) and kekebalan (invincibility).

What is the relevance of the fact that the Malays used to believe in all these to the present context? Do the Malays still believe in ghosts? In fact, Malays have the most number of ghosts compared to any other community in this world. There are 55 different types of ghosts in the Malay world – Pontianak, Bolong, Penanggal, Pelesit, etc.

The superstitious thinking that has been ingrained in the Malays for more than 35000 years has not disappeared. Even some asatizahs are afraid of ghosts. Are there such things as ghosts? There is no such thing as ghosts. Can we see ghosts? According to Imam Syafie, whoever says that he can see a jinn, he is no longer a Muslim.

Why are Malays afraid of ghosts? Because they watch a lot of ghost movies which are box office hits in the Malay film industry.

The Malay Muslim community will not be able to progress as long as they are still trapped in this superstitious thinking. If we are afraid of ghosts, it means that our aqidah (faith) is weak.

Extracts from my FB post. Thanks to Ahmad Salik Ahmad Ishak

Takeaway #1 from Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied‘s talk on “Malay Muslim Thinking – Lessons from History” at Masjid Assyafaah Darul Hadith on 16 Feb 2013

It has been a tradition among Malay lecturers/asatizahs to begin religious talks with funny stories to make the audience laugh but this culture of too much laughing has been detrimental to the Malays. If we look at the situation of Malays today, not only in Singapore, but also in Malaysia, Indonesia, South Thailand and South Philippines, we will find that the Malays are no longer a race that is respected for their great achievements in the past. To break away from this tradition, the talk shall begin with a recital from the Al-Qur’an.

58:20 Those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW), they will be among the lowest (most humiliated).

58:21 Allah has decreed: “Verily! It is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.

58:22 You (O Muhammad SAW) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And We will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Verily, it is the Party of Allah that will be the successful.

These verses should serve as a reminder that we are today living in a time where Muslims are being disgraced. Although one out of six people in the world today are Muslims, we are the weakest of them all. And among the Muslims, the Malays are the most belittled community. There is only one source to this problem and that is the way we think.

Salah faham …

Salam. Ada sedikit salah faham di kalangan pembaca mengenai interviu saya dan BM minggu lalu. Apa yang hendak saya ketengahkan adalah peri pentingnya kita sebagai sebuah komuniti yang minoriti untuk mempelajari dan menceduk apa-apa sahaja daripada komuniti minoriti lain, kaum India etc, untuk membawa kita ke arah kejayaan. Ini adalah anjuran Nabi Besar kita sendiri supaya kita mengambil hikmah dari mana-mana sahaja, asalkan hikmah tersebut tidak menjejas keislaman kita. Mengenai soal berbandingan, memang ada yang akan rasa kurang senang jika kita dibanding dengan komuniti lain. Namun, perbandingan sesama umat sejagat ke arah kejayaan dan kebaikan adalah Tunggak Keislaman juga. Fastabiqul khairat adalah satu dari tuntutan Allah di dalam Al-Quran supaya kaum Muslimin terus maju dan menjadi contoh kepada umat yang lain. Ala kulli hal, seperti yang saya katakan di dalam interviu tersebut, orang Melayu kita adalah kaum yang penuh bersemangat. Marilah kita gunakan semangat tersebut untuk mengejar ketokohan di dalam
semua bidang ilmu, duniawi ataupun ukhrawi. Moga-moga dengan ketokohan (expertise), keimanan (faith) dan kegigihan (perseverance), kita akan menjadi masyarakat yang dikagumi. Wallahu A’lam.