Friday, 13 June 2008

Islamic Leadership

I do not remember the date when I wrote this. But it was one of those nights when my head kept thinking and thinking stopping me from resting. I got up sat in front of my lap top and start writing. Couple of hours later, I emailed this to my dad. This is the first time I am sharing it with others. Dad did not give a respond, he did however read this.

Christmas is over and I have been studying to finish up my essays/assignments. One of my New Year resolutions is to make effort to study the Quran before bed. I say study because I am not reading and reciting the Arabic words in the Quran but actually reading the English translation of the Quran The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an given to me by Dr Rozman.

While reading the introduction, it occurred in my head many issues relating social, political system and culture within the society - particularly Malaysia. I have been taught a module called Culture Identities and Theatrical Practise in university where we study topics ranging from post-colonialism, ethnicity, gay/sexual identity, gender etc. within the theatre. This is my favourite theory module so far. I seemed to grasp it very well and it made my brain stir, think and make analysis on life, society and the world culture. Therefore I must say all these influenced my head while studying the Quran.

Here in the Book’s introduction it mentioned how Quran was put together like how it was brought down in pieces according to the needs of Prophet’s (peace be upon him) community. That is; Jibrail came down to gua (a cave) where Nabi bertapa (meditate), taught him some versus for him to spread. As Nabi Muhammad (SAW) is illiterate he had to memorise them. Hence Nabi proposed to his umat to get them educated as it is the way for them to advance. Here, it is proven that Islam encourages its people to be educated.

It occurred to me that Malaysian leaders really should literally, (or if not, use this as main guidance) follow Islamic way (the way Prophet is as a leader) in leading community since politicians in Malaysia are very much leaning towards Islam as their way to win communities. However the choice of using Islam - whether it is sincere leadership or a ‘catch’ to attract votes for personal abuse of power, that question frequent my mind. In page xix in this book it’s written that the style of spreading Islamic movement was orally and not through treaties. Therefore it was delivered by a leader in such way…

‘… he had to appeal simultaneously to the mind, to the heart and to the emotions, and to people of different mental levels and dispositions. He had to revolutionise people’s thinking, to arouse in them a storm of noble emotions in support of his cause, to persuade his Companions and inspire them with devotion and zeal, and with the desire to improve and reform their lives. He had to raise their morale and steel their determination, turn enemies into friends and opponents into admirers, disarm those out to oppose his message and show their position to be morally untenable. In short, he had to do everything necessary to carry his movement through to a successful conclusion.’

All these quality should be practised by not only politicians but importantly Religious and Community leaders. Yes, Islamic leaders can be very knowledgeable in their subjects but how far do they reach the troubled, confused and exploited society? How much do they fill themselves in understanding their people? Yes, they know this is wrong, that is Haram or Halal. Solution? Attack, Judge, Condemned? Do they actually find the root of its problems and prevent the situations from happening in future? Maybe not all of them do. For example, I believe that these leaders grew up in their own world and perhaps have never been associated with people outside their circle. Hence, they’d never understood what these people are going through. My point here is Islamic leaders in this modern world cannot only concentrate on Islamic literature and content but they must also have some modern/western education and exposed to cultures as well as civilise with commoners – Vice versa. I am not saying that there is none of such leaders exist, but maybe very few. The world is changing and moving forwards, Quran stays true. Therefore the way you apply the Quran must be as truthful as the Holy book but also as forwards as the society and modern world. Right now Islam is constantly portrayed as an uncivilised ruling system practised by conservatives in the news. What a shame. This is not true. My English friends are surprised when they found out that I am a Muslim. This is due to them stereotyping Muslims. My English boyfriend said to me when we first started going out - how it is a shame because of certain extremist Islamic society, Islam’s name is ruined in general.

What was the problem with these extremist Muslims? I believe it’s their government who lead their country. Point stressed – leader.

My Ustazah Upiq in school never grew up in a religious family. She was a straight A’s student but found faith and it opened her heart to wear the veil and be an Islamic teacher. Of many of my Ustazah (Teacher who teaches Islamic Studies) she understood her students the most because she was one of us when she was growing up, therefore she reached to us better. Dr. Rozman who is obviously highly educated and also religious, study both the bible and Quran. He can speak about Islam to you and argue on Christian belief in an intelligent manner that is just inspiring. This is what I meant by how current leaders should be.

I know nuns or Christians from church reach out to help their people by doing charity ( I know this from my friend J in West Midland, whom I go to church with on some Sundays) and so on at the same time attract these people to Christianity. I’m not sure how much if we do the same at home.

Also in the introduction of this Book it says that these messages from God explained ‘how a healthy society, state and civilisation could be established and the principles on which the various aspects of human life should be based.’ This book is guidance for the human beings. ‘The subject of the Book is MAN’.

These messages also dealt with specific problems facing the Muslims. For example, how to deal with ‘hypocrites (who are harming the Muslim community from within) and with the non-Muslims…’ Yes, there are many, we do not have to look very far, they are everywhere and some of us might have encountered some of them. I know I have.

Having said all that, such qualities of Islamic leadership, in my humble opinion is very affective. It should however not be misused solely as strategies but one must have true and sincere heart in contributing. Just like a play in theatre, it could be purely for selfish entertainment and commercial appeal or it actually has meanings and messages to be delivered to spectators whether to stir intellectual arguments, teach a lesson or two, exposing current troubles or maybe even sincerely voicing piece and harmony.

I am not writing this to condemn or disrespect any politicians or religious leaders but rather a share of my expression of thoughts or perhaps personally pleading for better community.

(3.34 am London time)

I am waiting for Malaysia's next great leader, the country is in need for one . . .

These are just my thoughts. Don't like it, don't take it in. Its just thoughts :) Thanks for reading.

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