The right of reply

Enough is enough. People who proclaim to fight for freedom of expression and free media but censors other's legitimate reply based on their whims and fancy, must realise that on the internet, they cannot suppress peoples' legitimate right to reply and express contrarian views. This blog welcomes all views. ~ Ellese

Islamic state issues


There’s too much semantics and prejudice on this issue. To me no practical difference exists but because of aversion to using “Islamic” and “secular” term we get into this ineffective debate.

Let me put my stand. Our constitution is not secular in the general meaning of the word. Secularism separates the state and religion. But we not only recognize an official religion in our constitution but even recognize religious courts and administration. In Malaysia thus to Rome is not Caesar. Our constitution recognizes religion and it’s function in our society. Our constitution is thus not secular in the ordinary meaning of the word.

If it is not secular are we then an islamic state? Lets set it straight. Theres no definition of islamic state in quran or hadis. Its a jurisprudential /ijtihadi development. Thus the definition of Islamic states varies. On one hand we have a strict interpretation of Islamic state. Here an Islamic state is governed by Muslims and implement shariah laws in particular hudud. This is the definition adopted by PAS all the while though they seemed ambivalent and confused now.

On the other hand is a view that an Islamic state is a state governed by Muslims. Of course there are other constitutional precepts but essentially these are the differences in Malaysia. This less strict definition is adopted and proclaimed by Mahathir.

If you just analyse a bit, Mahathir is saying that based on our current state of affairs we’re already an Islamic State. And if you analyse a bit further its the same argument that DAP is arguing but call it secular. DAP wants our current constitutional arrangement to stay . So in essence DAP’s stand and BN’s stand is the same. DAP should have no issue with BN’s concept of Islamic state. But since they’re opposite we see now both argue on semantics. DAP secular state is in form and substance similar to mahathirs pronouncement of Islamic state.

So what DAP is oppossed to is PAS conception of Islamic State. Both have different opposite concepts. DAP simply don’t like the Islamic State term and out right oppose any inference to it despite being the same stand with bn. By doing so I think it wants to knock down both BN and PAS conception.

But everybody knows that BN and DAP conception of state is similar. The major difference is between PAS and DAP. Now this issue should be resolved by both. It should not be set aside because of expediency power or worse common hatred. Assuming PR wins we cannot have a government bickering among each other on this fundamental point. This is a total waste of time and resources. Unless PAS becomes more like UMNO putting power above all else, no one can foresee that DAP n PAS can agree to this. In this sense both should be honest. Allow the public a referendum after they win power and both abide by the outcome. Let’s settle it once and for all.


16 thoughts on “Islamic state issues

  1. Ellese, that is a good piece of yours. Why don’t you post it in Din Merican to see the reactions from those secular extremists in that blog.

    What you said about the DAP & UMNO in this particular subject is true. They are looking at the same object but UMNO is looking at the Islamic State aspect while the DAP is looking at the Secular State aspect and both apparently not knowing or recognizing the fact that they are looking at the same object and describing it to the people only what they see from their respective aspects. PAS is more straight forward in its view that an Islamic State should be ruled by Muslims in accordance with the Shariah Laws, hudud included.

    I agree that the Quran did not specifically define an Islamic State but it did mention the word “dawlah” (State) in connection with the distribution of war spoils, a specific portion of which should be given to the “dawlah” and the Prophet so that the benefits derived therefrom can be enjoyed by the non-fighter needy citizens & for the common good while the rest divided amongst the fighters. The sayings & actions of the Prophet through his Sunnah & Hadiths also did give a picture of what an Islamic State should look like & how it should be governed. The juriprudential/ijtihad development that you talked about is based on the Quran, Sunnah, Hadiths & the Islamic traditions as practiced in Medinah by the “Sahabats” – the development was not out of a vacuum or based purely on logic alone. I agree there are variety of Islamic State definations by the various Islamic Schools of Thoughts, but all of them agree that an Islamic State must be ruled in accordance with the Shariah Laws derived from the Quran, Sunnah & Hadiths. As such an Islamic State does not require any man-made Constitutions as the Quran is the divine Constitutions.

    Based on the above it may be difficult to say that Malaysia, with its own man-made Constitutions, is an Islamic State. You are right, based on what you have written, Malaysia cannot be termed purely as a Secular State either. The trouble with us all, especially those secular extremists in Din Merican blog, is that we are stuck in a prejudiced intellectual trap without us realising it. Many of us are trapped in westernised liberal thinking which is the modern vogue. Any departure from that current vogue is seen as revisiting the premitive age and as going backwards. The many instances of abuse of power, corruptions & in-fightings within the later Ummayad & Abassid dynasties also did not help any positive contrary arguments to show the ideals of an Islamic State.

    We should have a relook at the Islamic State practices & governance during the Prophet’s, Khalifah Abu Bakar’s & Omar’s times to get the good examples. It is true that the Islamic State during the Prophet’s time was based on the Prophet’s ideals divinely guided as the Quran was not yet completed then. It was the formative stage. The so-called “Medinah Constitutions” were not Constitutions per se but were mere peace Agreements amongst the various groupings of the Medinah citizenry. The Quran is the Constitutions of an Islamic State. The “Ummah” of the Prophet’s Islamic State comprised not only the Muslims but the Christians, Jews and even the pagans all of whom had their freedom of religious belief guaranteed.

    Unfortunately through biased westernised education, we in Malaysia especially have found ourselves entangled in a “rojak” recipe which currently seem to pleasure our taste buds. What a true prophesy of the Holy Prophet that he predicted that his Ummah including especially the Muslims will in the end be divided into many groupings (87 as the figure? – I am not sure) but only one grouping will be his true followers. Pray that we would be included in that chosen grouping. Insha Allah.

    • Thanks. I believe anything emanating from me is considered spam at Din’s blog and will not appear. Try writing comments with my name and i believe it will not appear. I’ve concluded that he’s very insecure in countering opposite views and not wish to look inferior. That’s the man he is.

      I’ve not much comment with your response save that the ijtihadi development that I refer must also consider beyond the sources of Quran and hadiths. We can consider maslahah (greater community good) and a few other known usul fiqh precepts as dalil on the Islamic statehood is left wide for interpretation. Thus for example there should be further expoundment of separation of executive judiciary and parliamentary functions in Islamic statehood treatises. We need more ijtihadi development in this area. Our prophet pbuh was exemplary and he could be all. But our current environment requires such dichotomy.

  2. Thanks, Ellese. Your ideas about the need for further ijtihadi development for the separation of the 3 branches’ functions in Islamic statehood treatises are good ones but the Gate of Ijtihad has been closed since the 12th century AD and so as it stands now there is no separation. The re-opening of the Gate of Ijtihad itself will require further serious expoundment as the re-opening might bring in other complications that we may be unable to fathom right now. Islam knows no borders, it is universal and for all Creations now and forever but the problem we face right now is that we have no universally recognised & acceptable Authority to give responsible guidance in this respect. Salam.

    • Thanks. But with due respect I have to disagree with you. It’s alive and thriving but we need more people doing this. We need people on daily basis to carry out ijtihad. The more prominent you are the bigger the circle of influence. At the very least scenario we at individual level carry out our own ijtihad on personal fiqh issue. I’ve been proponent of Islamization of knowledge. I think all Muslims must know the plethora of opinion makings in usul fiqh to understand the necessity to expound.

      An example where ijtihadi movement is alive and well is in our Islamic finance. We create many innovative muamalat instruments to cater our daily needs. We exercise ijtihad on a regular basis. It’s imperative for us to do this to provide alternative to conventional practices. Along the way I met many good fuqoha. And also come across many good new treatises like on options trading in Islam.

  3. Are Muslims Relevant in todays world? (This commentary first appeared in MT by yours truly).

    Islamic Nation! Islamic State! We Muslim in Malaysia and probably elsewhere would dream to have one. Exactly, what is an Islamic State? I can’t find any guidance be it through it’s scriptures or by act of any single nation elsewhere.

    As such, Dear Husin and Ellese, I rather divert our attention to more pertinent question of the relevance of Muslims, be it as an individual or group.

    Imagine (No, I am not referring to John Lennon), if an giant spaceship were to suck up all Chinese, our world suffers from severe supply deficit of many products to the extend of pushing mankind 20 years back.

    And if the Indians were to face same faith, ah ha, probably IT industry and NASA and also Silicon Valley would suffer to some extend.

    Japanese and Koreans sucked up? Guys you know very well what will happen to bio-engineering and major manufacturing industry.

    I dread to think a world without The Jews and the Caucasions. Probably it will set us back to stone age.

    Coming to my faith’s fellow brothers, their relevance to the world we live in today? Oil ? I doubt that friends. Despite being oil rich, none of this countries have developed technologies to harness this commodity. They are dependent on others to drill, process and distribute. It is always based on production sharing. You do the work and take 75% and the balance 25%, please bank it to my account. Rent seekers mentality, I suppose.

    Now, do allow ourself to drift into Armageddon scenario, like the Boxing day tsunami and other major disasters like earthquake. Again the Muslims are irrelevant, since it will be the “kafirs” who would arrive at our doorsteps before even the cry of help is sounded.

    When it comes to social and welfare services, for the non-muslims, we muslims are still not relevant for Muslims only assist fellow Muslims. When the “kafirs” collect tax, it is for all to share. When Muslims collect Zakat, it is only for Muslims wellbeing.

    In a nutshell, for the Non-Muslims, we are useless, but we Muslims can’t declare likewise.

    Few days back, NST prominently carried two articles, one about the founder of Googles donating USD(or RM) 500 million worth of shares for educational purpose. On another page, we find an Arab Muslim spending an equal amount on an Airbus 380, so fitted with luxuries, to the extend I almost cursed him to hell with profanities.

    So dear Husin and Ellese, before we embark on Muslim State, we should allow ourselves to visit within first. Let us be better Muslim before we chase the dream of forming an Islamic state.

    • Yes and no, friend. In general I agree with you on many points but I’m more upbeat than you. I think with Islamic movements such as IIIT “Islamization of knowledge” we have moved a fair bit but still a long way to go. I also liked how weved developed our Islamic agenda in malaysia until recently.

      Why no is because with the advent of Internet and political Islam, I’m afraid we need to handle straight on “the Islamic State” issue. There are treatises on this eg Maududi (if my recollection serves me well) but instead of rejecting this totally, I’m more in favour of refining this by ijtihadi means. In my view thres a lot of gap that we need to close.

    • Saudara Muhammad, I would agree with you totally and in fact I might even add this information to strenghten your agrument furhter in reference to the recent space travel by Dr. Muzzafar to the International Space Station. The station would orbit the earth about 19 times in every about 24 hours. Hence the doctor experienced 19 sunrises & sunsets in every 24 hours. I can’t imagine how he would have to comply with his normal 5 daily prayers besides having to cope with the known difficulty to perform the ablutions in a free-fall environment of nearly zero gravity with water floating freely in globules rather than flowing downwards without defying gravity. Just by this example, if I were to view the world by focussing at that aspect of the “half empty glass of water”, I would conclude that Muslims & Islam are not only irrelevant but completely out of date and going against modernisation. But I think it cannot be right for me to come to that conclusion as men are not meant to live for long in outer space and there would need to be certain dispensations made to cover exceptional temporary cases. This is where ijtihadi expoundment is needed – as suggested by Ellese. However, I still differ with Ellese in “the means” but agree with her in “the ends” as I mentioned earlier the Ijtihadi Gate had been practically “closed” due to the lack of really qualified ijtihadi expertise as I assume the really sincere experts would be reluctant to excel in engaging in ijtihad for fear of commiting errors due to insufficient religious knowledge. This reluctance is not merely driven by fear but by humility & the desire not to commit errors. Despite that, as we proceed on the road of modernisation, I now agree with Ellese on ijtihad – but beware, not all of us are qualified for this expoundment.

      Now going back to saudara Muhammad, I would say we are all interdependent in this world – even if the Muslims are irrelevant as producers of goods & services, which I doubt, they are certainly relevant as consumers in our modern market economy. The world would certainly be very different without the one billion odd Muslims in it. But, yes, we need to look into ourselves more than we have ever done before to ensure we remain relevant.

      • Good write. Again I’m not that pessimistic. I think with Islamization of knowledge people now are willing to venture to ijtihadi. For example more local universities learn usul fiqh together with law or engineering. This is a good base. Thus we see incredible development say in Islamic banking. We have leading shariah experts in the world. We come up with new structure and treatises. There were writings on options and futures. Really good stuff. Way forward we need more of this in various disciplines like sciences etc.

        Ps. dear hussin, I’m not a she. There is a significance to the name but I’m not willing to disclose at this juncture. Trust that gender is immaterial.:-)

        • OK, sorry Ellese, without intruding into your privacy, I agree gender is immaterial but just for the sake of grammar, could I refer to you as “he/him” in the third person for short without having to spell your name in full everytime?

      • but contemporary history also tell us muslim did not conquer others land by force, wipe out the native and embark on colonization. hence the contribution to mankind and civilization may not limited to the narrow perspective of “modernization” i think.

  4. i read many debates about islamic state since earlier mt days, around 2004 to 2006 if i recall correctly, i rarely see any 2 islamist would reach a consensus on what they believe pertaining to islamis state, hence i don’t know how we could practically implement such policy here knowing that we were quite diverse in almost every aspect, even among the muslim.

    i am fine with the idea to explore any sort of state, to preserve our sovereignty and explore a path that suit us not subscribing to everything west, or what some label as universal values, however the priority is remain to improve the livelihood of the people, and if we really want to brag what the chinese (china) achieve, i think deng xiaoping reform did to a extent successfully in alleviating poverty among it citizen, few hundred million of them. I believe india and indonesia would be the next, and i dont think most of them bank on any orthodox way to attain the objective.

    ps/ jusy my opinion being a non muslim, i read our host contending writing in tng and a bit worry he might lump me as one that write in an insulting approach. 🙂

    • No worries HY. Agree that opinion will vary as its part of islamic corpus which requires more ijtihadi ie rational exercises as opposed to having direct quranic provisions. However I do feel we need intense dialectic discourse to reach at least some baseline or common parameters for Islamic corpus. If not were stuck to sloganeering which only confuses the masses.

  5. Islamic Socialism – Stepping Stone For A Islamic State In Malaysia ?

    Islamic Socialism weaves through all forms of Socialism.

    Modern Social Democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative reform of capitalism in order to make more equitable and humane.

    Contemporary Social democrats support a welfare state and unemployment insurance as a means to humanise capitalism.

    Islamic Socialism describes a more spiritual form of socialism. Muslim socialisls believe that the teaching of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are compatible with priciples of equality and public ownership drawing inspiration from the early Medina welfare state established by Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
    (source: Wikipedia)

    Islamic socialism can be tarced to many verses of the Quran. “They ask you as to what they should spend. Say what is surplus with you” (2:219).

    This instruction comes very close to the socialists formulation ‘To each according to his need”.

    The Quran’s basic emphasis is on justice and in fact one of Allah’s name is Adil. Thus an unjust society cannot be an Islamic Society. In the Quran, justice is so important that it says Do justice, it is closest to being pious” (5:8). It also says that justice must be done, even if it goes againts you and in favor of your enemy.

    Thus the Quran says “O you who believe be, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for Allah, eventhough it be againts your own selves or (your) parents or near relative – whether rich or poor” (4:135).

    And what is Islamic Socialism but justice in a very comprehensive sense, including distributive justice. If these verses are read in conjunction with chapters 104 and 107 of the Quran, distributive justice cannot be excluded.
    (source: Asghar Ali Engineer)

    Quran does not laydown any political or economic system but prescribes broad moral principles for developing or adopting that. In Islam there is no such concept as the Divine Rights of the Kings or a Socialist Republic or Theocracy. Monarchy is neither prohibited nor prescribed

    General emphasis is laid on good governance in consultation with people of good character and knowledge of the morality and Islam.

    • Interesting article. Thanks.

      My initial thinking is that Islamic socialism combines two loaded concepts. Similarly with Islamic capitalism where Islam encourages trading and profits but have distributive justice like zakat and the same verses above.

      My view is that it’s better not to load in concept and terms to the word “Islamic”. I think Islam itself is unique and other concepts have distinct features which are not compatible with Islam. For example socialism does not encourage free individual enterprise but Islam encourages free trade and in particular risk reward type of ventures.

      I think Islam has already set out based parameters and it’s for us to develop and grow further. The key here is the value enumerated therein which to my mind should remain constant throughout time. It is from here that we can look to further incorporate other valuable precepts concepts and idealism. We need not incorporate the whole feature of “ism” but only certain feature. Thus we can incorporate part of socialism capitalism Chinese traditions and even modern philosophical concepts so long as it does not transgress the precepts.

      Let me give an example. Like Islamic state. It’s very macro at this moment. So we can incorporate Montesquieu ideas of separation of the executive judicial and legislative branch. Prophet Mohd s.a.w. were head of all three due to his leadership ability but in modern time it’s difficult to replicate him. So out of this we develop the montesquieu concept to achieve the maqasid (objectives) shariah.

      In short i would rather prefer we not associate Islam with other ism. But incorporation of other certain feature to augment features of Islam is fine. I need to make myself clear that I am not saying that for ibadah khususiah like rituals prayers etc we can incorporate other features. This we can’t. But those which the Quran lays down only principles for us to further developed. Here its imperative for us to develop using the usul fiqh methodology.

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