Sunday, April 16, 2006

Siri Wacan Bulanan CESMACS


Dengan hormatnya menjemput Yang Berbahagia Tuan ke

yang bertajuk

“Masa Hadapan Kita: Antara Tajdid Islami dan Modenisasi Barat”
Yang akan disampaikan oleh

YBhg Dr. Muhammad Nur Manuty
Pengarah CESMACS

Isnin, 17 April, 2006
08:30 malam – 10:30 malam

Bilik Seminar CESMACS
No 37 A Lorong Rahim Kajai 13
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur

Maklumat lanjut sila hubungi
Sdr. Shahran Kasim – 019 332 6274

masuk adalah percuma

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cartoons Crisis: An Awakening of European Muslims

By Wessam Fouad*

Apr. 6, 2006

It would not be an overstatement to consider the results of the cartoon crisis depicting the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as being a positive thing for Muslim communities in Europe. These results were not only beneficial for the positive response invoked in European societies, but also because of the diversity of Muslim discourse it attracted.

Despite some opinions that the fury of European Muslims could harm Muslims' day-to-day life, the outcry has served diverse Islamic currents inside the European socio-political sphere. Although the events provoked an extremely negative reaction from various European political parties that adamantly declared their support for the printing of the insulting anti-Muhammad cartoons in a bid to exhaust the Muslim boycott outside the continent. On the European level, the crisis has caused substantial repercussions, including the following:

1. European decision makers, governments, and opposition parties have come to realize the delicacy of the issue in light of European states' relentless efforts to integrate immigrants into European society. The sensitivity of the subject has driven actual and potential decision makers to hold dialogue with people representing all range of opinions in order to encourage discourse promoting moderation and integration.

2. The fact that Muslims joined together with other victims of protestant and secular domination including political factions with religious and ethnic backgrounds. Together, they demanded the respect of all religions and sacred symbols and the incrimination of any blasphemous remarks or attacks on religion. Apparently, such discourse is largely accepted by a wide segment of religious people of all faiths, including religions brought by immigrants to the West, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. These religions are gaining popularity and people are attracted to them by new-age spirituality.

Many argue that positions assumed by Muslim communities in the West have positively developed since the spark of the cartoon crisis. While this position is correct, it is not entirely accurate. The positions of religious Muslims in the West are very diverse.

If we were to look at Muslims in Europe, we would find conservatives, and among the conservatives we find salafis, Hizb Al-Tahrir, and Islamist parties. These groups all have violent ideologies and have a presence in Britain. Integrationists, however, come with a range of views, from those who call for complete secularism and for the separation the church and state to those who seek to assimilate Islam into a compromise with the goal of establishing a new social contract, and finally to others who live their lives like ordinary Western citizens and see no reason to flaunt their ethnic origins.

There are also many immigrants in Europe who desire to integrate into Western society under secular law, they don't want to be government by an Islamic authority. Despite their integrationists views, the cartoon crisis remains of interest to them because the publication of the anti-Muhammad cartoons insulted their Muslim culture. Hence, there is a complex map of the pluralistic Islamic culture in the European arena, and we must have adequate awareness of their varied stances in order to reach embody true pluralism.

Pluralism in Muslim Responses

If we were to transcend shortsighted perspectives which do not recognize the pluralism of Islam in Europe, we would come across several questions, such as the following: Has the cartoon crisis drawn healthy reactions from European Muslims? Have these diverse responses reflected the major differences among Islamic discourse in Europe?

Right-wingers who are suspicious of the Muslim presence in Europe tend to reduce various Muslim's reactions to one trend which is almost characterized by cries of victimization and help. Some analyses consider this reactionary stance to represent the Muslim mainstream trend coupled with marginalized calls for rationalization. Despite our disagreement with such inaccurate analyses, we recognize that cries for help were voiced, although they did not represent the mainstream, but rather represented the weaker among stances held by three prominent European Muslim scholars.

An example of these cries can be found in a speech by Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the United Kingdom. In a Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel, Al-Tamimi said, "The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stands today as the prime figure worldwide and in all continents … his followers in Europe, the United States and around the globe declare that there is no true God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.

This infuriates those who have lost their religion, and those who still hold onto some traces of faith are scared and try desperately to hide them. However, in our case it is indeed religion that fuels motivation for social transformation preaching reform, renaissance and liberty." He further stated that attacking the prophet was "unacceptable and Europe must be punished for this and so should everyone who publishes these pictures."

Another viewpoint, however, is propagated by the moderate Tariq Ramadan. The French daily Le Figaro reported that he believed reactions to the crisis in the Muslim World were "exaggerated," and called for "a calm and rational discussion," denouncing calls for a boycott and murder. Ramadan claimed that radical reactions from Muslims would only serve the European extreme right. Ramadan censured what he called "dangerous polarization inciting extremist stances from both sides," and advised Muslims to "get used to a margin of criticism," and to "live in a cosmic world employing dialogue as a doctrine, and possess consciences strong enough to overcome their dismayed sentiments." Of course, Ramadan did not forget to mention that "under Islam, depicting prophets is prohibited."

Yet another viewpoint, which is more mature and composed, at least in my view, is held Anas Al-Tikriti who proposed that the United Kingdom set the example of an ideal European liberal state that would be capable of absorbing people from a diverse range of ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

Al-Tikriti argued that forming a model of such a pluralistic society would curb possible transgression by ethnic, cultural, or religious groups against other groups in the framework of responsible freedom. This pluralistic model should guarantee positive the social harmony and consistency that is protected by the law.

Nonetheless, Al-Tikriti proposes that societal freedoms be protected by a collective conscience rather than laws. Al-Tikriti's spoke of his proposal during a demonstration he led in London which aimed at bringing together Muslims and Catholics.

Integration and Muslim Minorities

Apart from the vocal reactionary discourse, through Al-Tikriti's argument, we can propose that dialogue can act as an outlet for discussing European Muslims' reactions to the cartoon crisis just as Ramadan and Al-Tamimi both proposed, albeit, with different approaches.

Tariq Ramadan's proposal encourages dialogue in order to safeguard minorities' rights and to make efforts to stop the feelings of minorities from being hurt again. This proposal advocates the rights of Muslim minorities and regulates their relationship with their mainly Christian European societies, it requires that pressure be exercised on governments in order to ensure that Muslims receive respect in society.

In the other hand, Anas Al-Tikriti is intent on tackling the issue, not merely as a crisis confronting a Muslim religious minority in an open society, but also as a challenge to the norms and traditions of open societies that include a high degree of religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity. He believes there is a need to observe the cultural sensitivities, and that society must accommodate its diversity.

Ramadan's argument promotes Muslim minorities', while Al-Tikriti's stems from pluralistic societies. Thus Ramadan's proposal seeks to disseminate awareness among European Muslims and tackle the issue from the minorities' perspective. Ramadan encourages Muslims undertake their own defense, while the Al-Tikriti proposes that Muslims and non-Muslims should unite, according to the British model, to help resolve the widespread crises in Europe.

* Wessam Fouad is a researcher at the Research and Development Unit, He holds a diploma in political science. You can reach him at

Thursday, March 30, 2006

How Islamic inventors changed the world

From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them .

Published: 11 March 2006

1 The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

2 The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

3 A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe - where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century - and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

4 A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

5 Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

6 Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

7 The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

8 Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders' metal armour and was an effective form of insulation - so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

9 The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's - with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V's castle architect was a Muslim.

10 Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

11 The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13 The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14 The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi's book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi's discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15 Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal - soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas - see No 4).

16 Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art. In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17 The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18 By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40,253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19 Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20 Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

"1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World" is a new exhibition which began a nationwide tour this week. It is currently at the Science Museum in Manchester. For more information, go to

Muslim Scholars Urge Religious Respect, Introducing Islam

Some 300 Muslim scholars are exploring a strategy to prevent a repeat of the Prophet depiction in lampooning cartoons.

By Wessam Fauad, IOL Correspondent

MANAMA, March 23, 2006 ( – Muslim scholars taking part in a two-day conference in Bahrain have called for the respect of all religions and agreed on the need for continued efforts to promote the truce image of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) in the West.

Addressing the opening session late Wednesday, March 23, prominent Muslim Scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi underlined the need to respect all religions, including atheism.

He said such respect would prevent the recurrence of crises like the one triggered by the Danish caricatures which mocked Prophet Muhammad.

Al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, urged preachers and media people to defend Prophet Muhammad by promoting his merciful teachings.

Some 300 Muslim scholars are huddling together in Manama to explore a strategy to prevent a repeat of the Prophet depiction in lampooning cartoons.

Six imams from Denmark, where the controversy originated, are also taking part in the conference.

Twelve cartoons, including one showing the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were first published by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of _expression.

The drawings, considered blasphemous under Islam, have triggered massive and sometimes violent demonstrations across the Muslim world.

Introducing Islam

Participants called for promoting the true image of Islam and the Prophet in the West.

The participants agreed on the need for organized and continued efforts to promote the truce image of Islam on the West.

"We have a golden chance to address the European and Western public opinion to tell them about our Prophet and our religion," said Hassan Moussa, the chairman of the Imams Council in Sweden.

Egyptian television preacher Amr Khaled agreed.

"Dialogue is a tool to promote awareness in Western societies of what is sacred to Muslims," he told the conference.

He called for grooming young Muslims to be able to introduce their faith to the Western mentality in a discourse non-Muslims would be able to understand.

The same viewpoint was echoed by Soliman Al-Buthi, spokesman of the two-day conference.

"We believe that the (cartoon) incident was because of ignorance about the Prophet," he said.

He said economic boycott of the Danish products was one of the means to combat the ignorance and protest about what has happened.

"But we need to educate the West about who the Prophet was and to have an open dialogue with the West."

The cartoons have prompted Muslim minorities in many Western countries to champion local campaigns to raise awareness of the merits and characteristics of the Prophet in West.

Contesting what is sacred

The Age, March 20, 2006

The conflict between Islamic and Western values need not become a war of civilisations, writes Karen Armstrong.

The CRISIS occasioned by the Danish cartoons, which depicted the prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, has become a microcosm of the wider conflict between Islam and the Western world. It also represents a clash between two competing conceptions of the sacred. The sacred, of course, does not necessarily imply an external deity. The sacred symbolises that which is inviolable, non-negotiable, and so central to our identity that, when it is injured in any way, it seems to vitiate the deepest self. For the Muslim protesters, the figure of the prophet is sacred in this way; for the supporters of the cartoons, free speech is the sacred value.

Freedom of _expression is both a product and a prerequisite of modernity. In the pre-modern world, social order was regarded as more important than freedom of thought. It was not feasible to encourage people to have original ideas or to criticise established institutions in the hope of improving them, because agrarian-based society lacked the resources to implement many new notions. But independent thinking became essential to the modern economy; society could only become fully productive if inventors and scientists were able to pursue their ideas without the supervision of a controlling hierarchy. Our right to free speech and free thought has been hard won, and Western civilisation could not function without it. It has become a sacred value, symbolising the inviolable sovereignty of the individual.

Nevertheless, we should not be surprised and affronted if people challenge it. Culture is always contested. Today all over the world religious conservatives and secularists feel deeply threatened by one another; they all fear the destruction of sacred, fundamental values. As a result, the modernisation process has been punctuated by such conflicts as the Scopes trial of 1925, when Christian fundamentalists in the US tried to ban the teaching of evolution in state schools, and the Salman Rushdie affair, when Muslims felt mortally wounded by Rushdie's portrayal of their prophet.

These conflicts both began with what was perceived as an aggressive assault on religion by the proponents of free speech. But they ended by making the religious contenders more extreme. In other traditions too, the militant piety that we call "fundamentalism" has developed in a similarly symbiotic relationship with a liberalism or secularism that is experienced as hostile and invasive.

The cartoon crisis is simply the latest of these disputes, and as such could be seen as part of the bumpy process whereby societies at different stages of modernisation gradually learn to accommodate one another. But in the present political climate, we can ill afford this increase in tension. On both sides, the conflict has been fuelled and exploited by radicals, who do not represent the majority.

At the meeting of the Alliance of Civilisations, a UN initiative with the mandate of drawing up a list of practical guidelines for member states to prevent the acceleration of hatred and misunderstanding, we were given the result of a recent poll of Muslim youth. This showed that 97 per cent of the young people surveyed deplored the violence and rhetoric of the Muslim protesters, even though they had been offended by the cartoons. A delegate reported that while most Danish people defended free speech, they were distressed that the cartoons had so heedlessly trampled on Muslim sensibilities.

On both sides, the radicals have tried to eliminate the middle ground, and this is extremely dangerous. The Muslims who damaged embassies and brandished placards vowing to execute the cartoonists have fulfilled the stereotypical view of "Islam" in the West: a religion seen as violent, fanatical, self-destructive and atavistically opposed to freedom. At the same time, those who aggressively support the repeated publication of the cartoons embody the view many Muslims have of "the West": as arrogant, disdainful of religion, chronically Islamophobic, and guilty of double standards - proudly boasting of its tolerance, but not applying it to anything Islamic. When the dust has settled after the crisis, these negative stereotypes will be more entrenched, to the detriment of a final reconciliation.

Many have been alarmed by the increase of the Muslim population in Europe, which seems inimical to Western values. They are naturally defensive and apprehensive; the cartoons can be seen as an _expression of this anxiety and as a blow for freedom. But they also revealed the darker side of the culture they purported to defend, and have a grim precedent. Historically, Europe has found it extremely difficult to tolerate minorities.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an indispensable member of our alliance group, spoke from personal experience of the abiding pain felt by people who see their traditions consistently scorned and ridiculed by an imperialist power. When people hurt in this way, he said, it only takes a little thing to push them over the edge.

When Islam was a major world power and Muslims were confident, they could take insults about their religion in their stride. But today, fearful of the hostility in Europe and bombarded with images from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, many experienced the gratuitous vilification of their prophet by the Danish cartoonists as the last straw.

Hatred of the West is a relatively recent prejudice in the Islamic world. A hundred years ago, every single leading Muslim intellectual, with the exception of the proto-fundamentalist al-Afghani, saw Western modernity as deeply congenial and, even though they hated European colonialism, many wanted their countries to look just like Britain and France. Relations soured not because of an inherent "clash of civilisations", but because of Western foreign policy, which continues to fuel the crisis.

How do we move forward? Washington's threatening posture towards Iran can only lead to an increase in hostility between Islam and the West, and we must expect more conflicts like the cartoon crisis. Instead of allowing extremists on both sides to set the agenda, we should learn to see these disputes in historical perspective, recalling that in the past, aggressive cultural chauvinism proved to be dangerously counterproductive. The emotions engendered by these crises are a gift to those, in both the Western and the Islamic worlds, who, for their own nefarious reasons, want the tension to escalate; we should not allow ourselves to play into their hands.

Karen Armstrong is author of 19 books on religion. Her latest is The Great Transformation: The World in the Time of Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Dr Mohd Nor Nawawi
Pengarah Bersama CESMACS

Keputusan pilihanraya yang diadakan di Mesir pada penhujung tahun 2005 dan di Palestin awal tahun 2006 telah memeranjatkan banyak pihak. Penyertaan dan kemenangan besar Ikhwan dan HAMAS (bererti zeal) di Palestin dalam pilihanraya tersebut menyebabkan banyak orang bertanya bagaimana perkara ini terjadi. Ini kerana kalau di Mesir terlalu banyak halangan dan sekatan dikenakan oleh pemerintah bagi menyekat kemaraan Ikhwan sedangkan di Palestin pula kelompok Fatah adalah cukup ‘established’ dan disokong kuat oleh Amerika dan Israel.

Di Mesir, Ikhwan telah memenangi 88 kerusi dari 137 calon yang bertanding, suatu peningkatan yang tinggi dari hanya 17 kerusi yang dimenangi sebelum ini. Ini adalah hampir satu-perempat dari 444 kerusi parlimen di Mesir. Sementara HAMAS pula, berjaya memperolehi 76 dari 132 kerusi parlimen yang dipertandingkan. Fatah hanya mendapat 43 kerusi sahaja. Dengan jumlah kerusi tersebut, HAMAS boleh memerintah sendirian tanpa memerlukan bantuan Fatah. Inilah kali npertama dalam sejarah mana-mana negara Timur Tengah kelompok Islam menang secara mutlak malalui ‘ballot box.’

Kedua-dua kelompok, Ikhwan dan HAMAS telah memasuki pilihanraya masing-masing dalam keadaan yang cukup ‘disadvatahed.’ Ikhwan dianggap sebagai kelompok yang tidak sah dari segi undang-undang dan tidak boleh bertanding secara rasmi atas nama Ikhwan. Parti Pemerintah, NDP pula berleluasa menggunakan kaedah kempen yang menakutkan seperti pendekatan samseng (thuggery), kekacauan (violence), rasuah (bribery) dan penipuan undi (vote rigging). Dalam konteks HAMAS jelas situasi ‘disadvantaged’ yang ada pada mereka ialah imej pengganas (terrorist) yang dilabelkan terhadap mereka oleh seluroh media Barat dan bukan Barat. Mereka ditudoh sebagai kelompok yang tidak mahu kepada perdamaian dan mengambil pendekatan Taliban.

Faktor-faktor Kejayaan

Dalam keadaan yang cukup disadvantage itu kenapa kedua-dua pertubuhan berjaya dalam pilihanraya di Mesir dan Palestin? Kalau diambil Ikhwan sebagai contoh, banyak faktor yang mendorong kepada kejayaannya. Pertamanya, banyak penganalisis politik Mesir mengatakan tindakan-tindakan tidak demokratik pemerintah terhadap pihak pembangkang menyebabkan para pengundi berasa bosan dengan pemerintah. Tindakan-tindakan itu termasuk keganasan, penipuan dalam pilihanraya dan usaha menyekat para pengundi dari mengundi tidak menguntukan parti NDP dan kerajaan.Pihak polis telah mengertak dan memukul para pengundi dengan alasan “protecting the electrorate and the judges.”

Keduanya, Ikwan telah berjaya meletakkan diri mereka sebagai kelompok yang berprinsip dan menghormati isu-isu dan nila-nilai pokok kehidupan bermasyarakat. Sebagai contoh, mereka mendokong dengan kuat usaha kearah ‘popular participation’ dalam politik dan mempunyai minat mendalam berhubung dengan ‘public concerns’ dan ini dilakukan melalui parti-parti politik dan NGOs. Penyertaan ini dilakukan melalui aktiviti-aktiviti masyarakat seperti demonstrasi, symposia , perayaan dan dengan ikut serta dalam proses pemilihan samada pilihanraya kebangsaan, pertubuhan atau professional sindicates (seperti Bar Council dll). Mereka juga menghormati kemahuan umum (popular will) di samping menghormati dan menerima perbedaan pandangan, menghormati pluralisme agama, budaya, politik dan kesarjanaan dan menerima keputusan pilihanraya – tanpa mengira siapa menang atau kalah – asalkan ianya dilakukan dengan penuh hormat (hobourable).

Ketiganya, setahun sebelum pilihanraya dijalankan Ikhwan telah membuat persiapan rapi dan berusaha menghapuskan rasa takut atau rasa bimbang masyarakat terhadapnya. Ia melancarkan ‘initiative for reform’ pada 3hb Mac, 2004. Di sini Ikhwan menyatakan keinginan dan hasratnya mewujudkan ‘widely based national coalition’ yang menekan kepada keperluan menyedari bahawa reform tidak boleh dipikul secara rasmi oleh mana-mana faction, hatta kerajaan sekalipun. Ia memerlukan penyertaan bersama dan bersungguh parti-parti besar dan mana-mana kuasa politik. Kerana itu Ikhwan telah menyertai United National Front for Change bagi mengelakkan permusuhan (animosity) dari kelompok lain.

Keempat, persepsi masyarakat kepada Ikhwan bertambah baik kerana NDP dan status quo yang ada mulai dianggap perkara yang berlalu. DIsamping itu, kelompok leftist, liberal dan nationalist forces telah hilang wibawa (discredited). Kelompok-kelompok ini walaupun berdepan dengan NDP tidak kurang juga kebencian mereka kepada Ikhwan. Akhbar mingguan al-Fagr (al Fajr – Dawn) melukiskan kartun muka hadapan ‘Faithful Presiden Mohamed Mehdi Akef’ berpakaian ala Nazi. Sementara Salah Eissa, sejarawan berhaluan kiri, yang merupakan pengarang surat khabar al-Qahira membuat prediksi bahawa kejayaan politik Ikhwan akan melahirkan Egyptian Taliban.

Akhir sekali, pendekatan yang diambil Ikhwan dalam kebanyyakkan tindakannya – sama ada politik, dakwah dan sebagainya mengambarkan ianya pertubuhan yang ‘sederhana’ dan bukan jahat serta radikal sebagaimana yang cuba ditonjolkan oleh musoh-musohnya. Imej yang dotonjolkan ini bukan bererti Ikhwan sebuah pertubuhan yang tidak serius. Ia cukup komited kepada perjuangan Islam tetapi pendekatannya menyenangkan banyak orang. Interview dengan Mehdi Akef, Murshidul Amnya selepas pilihanraya memudahkan kita memahami kenapa rakyat menyokongnya. Apabila ditanya bagaimana dengan bermacam-macam tuduhan liar pada Ikhwan, ia masih mampu menang, , jawapannya, “the group’s legitimacy comes from the street.” Mengenai negara Islam, beliau menyatakan, “The state in Islam is a civil one. To achieve Islamic state we need a very long time. We can only achieve it if the people want it. I am not much inclined to use the term Islamic state. I prefer using terms such as ‘legitimate government’ and ‘parlimentary republic’ because the Islamic part is stipulated in the constitution any way.” Apabil di Tanya adakah ini strategi semata-mata atau ditangguhkan sahaja projek negara Islam ini, beliau menjawab, “No, it is not a postponed project. We are seeking ways to achieve it and it requires a lot effort. As you know we begin with Muslim individual, the Muslim family and the Muslim community.”

Di samping faktor-faktor di atas, faktor sosialisasi politik anggota pertubuhan Ikhwan perlu diambil kira. Faktor ini amat penting kerana ia banyak melibatkan unsur-unsur kerohanian yang cukup kuat mempengaruhi perwatakan, etos kerja dan zealousness berorganisasi dan cara mengatur dan memahami politik negara dan ummah.

Islam: The Victim of the East and the West

Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia

For a long time now, Islam is in focus both in the east and in the West. In the East, Islam is a center of attraction and in the West it is a center of attention. The East believes that Islam is the solution whereas the West thinks that Islam is the problem. In the East people claim to defend Islam against its enemies whereas in the West people believe that Islam is threatening their way of life. Hence, Islam has become a magic word of the East in the face of the West; and it has become a big puzzle of the West in the face of the East. It is – indeed – one of the biggest challenges of our time to comprehend the magic word of the East and to appreciate the puzzled faced by the West.

It is not for the first time in history that the West does not comprehend the mystique of the East and vice versa that the East does not appreciate the perplexity of the West. For instance, Alexander the Great could have become the future ruler of Asia in the East provided he had been able to untie the Gordian knot by his patience, not by his sword. And the King of Granada in Spain, Hassan bin Ismail, could have built more Alhambras in Europe provided he had appreciated the diversity of European religious and cultural life as his great predecessors had been doing for centuries before him.

Furthermore, it took a long time for Europe to accept the mind of the great philosopher Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, while the book De l’Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Law) of Montesquieu took a long time to be seriously studied in the East. These historical instances clearly illustrate the fact that the East and the West have always been in a process of dialectical interaction which often helped them to change the path of history towards better conditions for humanity.

The first historic interaction between East and West happened in Baghdad and the second in Andalusia. In Baghdad the Muslim Caliph al Ma’mum brought the minds of East and West to work out translation of human wisdom at the time. In Andalusia the western intellectuals had been visiting the Muslim universities to study humanities the result of which was European humanism and renaissance. I believe that we are now at the threshold of the third historic interaction between the East and the West which again has to do with the phenomenon of Baghdad.

Of course, it has not been always easy for the West to understand the spirit of the East. Nor the East to accept the mind of the West, but in the end the West has no choice but adopt the faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace upon all of them) that came from the east. In addition, the East could not avoid the path from Might to Right, from Mythology to Science, from Slavery to Freedom, and from the Theory of State to the Legitimacy of State that came from the West.

However, the dialectical tensions between the East and the West nowadays are quite different from previous historical instances. Now the West is not what it used to be: the noncomunist countries of Europe and America, and the East is no longer the communist countries of the Soviet Union. Now the West tends to perceive itself as the non-Islamic countries of Europe and America and the East is somehow defined as the Muslim countries of the Middle East or as non-Christian countries of the non-Western values. The best example to that effect is the case of Turkey, which is a non-Christian country, and therefore, it is part of the West.

In addition, there is a perception in the minds of many western inttellectual that Islam is today what communism was yesterday to the West: the big obstacle, nay, the real threat to the way of western life and civilization. Some people in the West believe that dialogue between Islam and the West is a waste of time and, therefore, the only way for the West to deal with Islam and Muslims is the argument of force, not the force of argument.

On the other hand, there are people in the East who believe that the West is and old enemy of Islam and so the Muslims should fight the West. They believe that there cannot be any dialogue between Islam and the West. According to their logic, there can be only the dialectical opposition between the two. Our difficulty in facing the above views lies in the fact that those who promote the idea of religious and cultural conflict take Islam as their starting point for the idea of the Clashes of Civilizations. They forget, however, that Islam is not Communism and that the Muslim World is not like the former Soviet Union.

Islam is the way of life that is compatible with the way of common reason and human decency both in the West and in the East. In addition, the Muslim World is a great diversity of nations and cultures, which is united by the idea of human goodwill in both the East and West.

Based on what has been said so far, one tends to believe that Islam is a victim both of the East and the West. Why is it so?

Firstly, because the East is too weak to live up to Islamic ideals such as freedom, democracy and human rights; and the West is too arrogant to recognize the Islamic sincerity in morality. Secondly, Islam is a victim both of the East and West because the East is too narrow-minded to allow the universal spirit of Islam to prevail over the tribal mentality; and the West is too xenophobic to recognize the fact that Islam is its neighbor to stay.

Unfortunately, the extreme views of some people, both in the East and West, reduce Islam to their likening and thus suffocating both Islam as faith of freedom of good choice (ikhtijar) as opposed to freedom of evil choice and Muslims as freedom loving people. They forget, however that Islam is not reducible to any particular race, color or nationality and that the Muslims are eligible to have God given freedom, decent democracy and legitimate human rights. The Muslim people should not be treated as immature children who cannot bear the responsibility of freedom, the challenge of democracy and the legitimacy of human rights.

No, it is not true. Islam has never been the reason for the suspension of freedom. On the contrary, Islam has taught the humanity that there shall be no compulsion in religion. There shall be freedom in religion because the lie cannot be imposed and the truth needs not the force. So the question is now: Who is imposing the lie and who needs the force for the truth? Obviously, those who believe that Might makes Right tend to impose the lie and those who think that they have the right to play the role of God tend to enforce only their Truth.

Once again, Islam is used and misused both by the East and by the West. Why, firstly, because the East claim to defend Islam, but in fact, the East uses (or misuses) Islam to cover up its own shortcomings. Thus, the bitter truth is that Islam is used to defend Muslims rather that the Muslims being in service to defend Islam by their good examples. As to the West, it is also using (or misusing) Islam to show to the western audience that the enemy has been found and that the world should trust western heroes who are in search of weapons of mass destruction. And, secondly, Islam is used and misused by the East and the West in order to demonstrate that Islam, as a way of life of more than one billion Muslims around the world, is the obstacle on the way to a better relationship between the East and the West. The people in the East who believe that there should be no dialogue with the West say that the West is a devil, therefore, those who live in West doomed to go to hell. And to prove that they use – indeed – they misuse the name of Islam.

Similarly, some people in the West believe that Islam, as an idea that came from the Orient, is not acceptable to the Occident simply because it is an oriental idea. They do not want to know; however, that thanks to the very idea of Islam their own cultural heritage from Greece had been saved as well as their own religion had been strengthened by the Islamic conformation of the validity of the divinely inspired books such as the Tawrat and the Injil. So, the people in the West who have hard time to cure themselves from the disease of xenophobia use – indeed – misuse Islam to promote Islamophobia in the West.

We are – indeed – in desperate need like never before to say that Islam is beyond the East and West. Why, firstly, because is Islam is both faith and religion; culture and politics; people and land; East and West. This dual meaning is inseparable from the full meaning of Islam because Islam is a deep faith of the individual heart and a recognizable religion of the collective conscience; it is a unique culture of the world and a real politics of the globe; it is a large number of people around the world and a vast land in the heart of the Planet; Islam is an inerasable sample of the East and an inevitable presence in the West.

Secondly, Islam is beyond the East and West because the Qur’anic verse that says: You should know by now that it is not the Right Way only to face your faces towards East and West. But the Right Way is for you to have trust in God, and in the Day of accountability, and in angels, and in the Book, and in the God’s Messengers.


Dr. Dr.Muhammad Nur Manuty,
Pengarah CESMACS


Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd telah menghasilkan dua buah karya kontroversi. Pertama, Mafhum al-Nass (Penalaran Teks) yang telah diterbitkan pada tahun 1987; kedua: Naqd al-Khitab al-Dini (Dekontruksi Wacana Keagamaan) yang telah diterbitkan pada tahun 1990. Kedua-dua karya tersebut, menurut Abu Zaid adalah untuk membuktikan bahawa gagasan-gagasan hermeneutiknya punya legitimasi kerana ia adalah satu keniscayaan logik dalam tradisi Islam.Dalam hubungan ini, Dr.Anas Malik Taha, pensyarah di Jabatan usuluddin dan Perbandingan Agama, UIAM telah mengkritik karya Mafhum al-Nass (Penalaran Teks) adalah untuk membuktikan bahawa ianya bukan kerena pertentangan Islam dengan ideologi-ideologi luar, tetapi ia adalah hasil yang terbit dari rahim Islam itu sendiri. (Anas Taha Malik, Ogos, 2004, ms. 29).

Selain itu, Dr. Anas turut menyoroti karya keduanya Naqd al-Khitab al-Dini (Dekonstruksi Wacana Keagamaan). Dalam karya ini, Abu Zaid berhujah bahawa kebangkitan Islam yang disebut-sebut selama ini telah menghasilkan golongan yang membaca teks agama secara kaku dan literal, bahkan sampai pada tahap pentakdisan atau pensakralan serta pengingkaran tabi’at manusia dan sejarahnya. (Anas Taha Malik, Ogos, 2004, ms. 29). Acuan berfikir Abu Zaid tidak mengakui apa pun selain ‘akal” (rasionalsime) dalam memahami teks agama. Lalu Abu Zaid mengagungkan sekularisem dengan menyatakan bahawa la sultana ‘ala al-‘aql ill al’aql (tidak ada otoritas terhadap akal kecuali akal sendiri).(Anas Taha Malik, Ogos, 2004, ms. 32).

Selanjutnya, karya Mafhum al-Nas (Penalaran Teks) juga adalah manifestasi keghairahan Abu Zaid dengan kepentingan akal dalam memahami teks al-Qur’an. Seorang pengkaji yang cenderung dengan pemikiran Abu Zaid menyatakan bahawa karya tersebut adalah respons intelektual Abu Zaid terhadap tafsiran pragmatis dan ideologis atas al-Qur’an setelah beliau meneliti cara gaya pemikiran Mu’tazilah. Dia percaya bahawa dengan mendifinisikan “hakikat objektif” teks, tafsiran ideologis dapat dilakukan semaksima mungkin. (Moch. Nur Ichwan, 2003, ms.20).

Salah satu dakwaan yang telah dilontarkan oleh Abu Zaid adalah bahawa pandangan-pandangannya tentang al-Qur’an berdasarkan pada pemikiran ‘ulama di masa lalu. Dia telah banyak merujuk kepada pemikiran Muktazilah. Dalam melakukan kajian terhadap al-Qur’an, selain dari rujukan Muktazilah, Abu Zaid gemar menggunakan pendekatan hermeneutic. Persoalan pokoknya, apakah pendekatan hermeneutik boleh digunakan terhadap al-Qur’an?. Dalam konteks Bible, ia tidak menjadi masalah. Ini ialah kerena Bible sememangnya dikarang oleh ramai pengarang!. Apakah al-Qur’an ada pengarangnya? Sesungguhnya, Abu Zaid begitu terpengaruh dengan teori hermenuetik Friedrich Schlieimacher (1769-1834). Dalam Mafhum al-Nass (Penalaran Teks), Abu Zaid berhujah bahawa Junjungan Muhammad (saas) sebagai penerima pertama wahyu dan sekaligus penyampai teks adalah sebahagian dari realiti masyarakat setempat di kota Makkah. Jadi, membicarakan Junjungan Muhammad (saas) sebagai seorang penerima wahyu tidak bermakna membicara sebagai seorang penerima pasif. Junjungan Muhammad (saas) adalah terikat kepada faktur sosi-budaya dan sejarah masyarakatnya. (Adian Husaini dan Henri Salehudin, Ogos, 2004, ms. 33-34).

Selanjutnya, konsep wahyu disisi Abu Zaid seperti yang tercatat dalam karya “Nasr Hamid Au Zaid: Kritik Teks Keagamaan” (2003:70), beliau mendakwa bahawa perkataan-perkataan yang terdapat dalam al-Qur’an bukanlah teks yang turun dari langit dalam bentuk kata-kata sebenar seperti yang masih dipegang kukuh oleh ‘ulama tradisonal. Abu Zaid, sebaliknya mendakwa bahawa perkataan-perkataan yang terdapat dalam al-Qur’an itu adalah merupakan semacam “spirit wahyu” al-Qur’an yang telah disaring melalui Muhammad dan sekaligus diekspresikan dalam pengucapan intelek dan kemampuan linguistiknya.

Dengan takrif wahyu yang berbeda dengan takrif konvensioanl para ilmuan Muslim yang muktabar, jelaslah disini bahawa Abu Zaid, telah meletakkan Junjungan Muhammad (saas) sebagai seorang “pengarang” al-Qur’an. Walaupun Junjungan Muhammad (saas) adalah seorang ‘ummy”, tetapi Baginda dikatakan turut mengolah redaksi al-Qur’an sesuai dengan kondisinya sebagai manusia biasa. (Adian Husaini dan Henri Salehudin, Ogos, 2004, ms. 34).

Adalah jelas bahawa Abu Zaid ingin menyamakan teks al-Qur’an dengan teks Bible yang selama ini diyakini oleh para sarjana Bible bahawa:“The whole Bible is given by inspiration of God”. Pendekatan Abu Zaid sebenarnya adalah lanjutan dari tradisi orientalis Barat generasi awal seperti Arthur Jeffrey, Montgomery Watt, Richard Burton, Joseph Shact dan lain-lain lagi. Itulah sebabnya, para penganut konsep al-Qur’an versi Abu Zaid biasanya tidak mahu menyebut “Allah berfirman dalam al-Qur’an”. Ini ialah kerena mereka beranggapan bahawa al-Qur’an adalah kata-kata Junjungan Muhammad (saas) atau al-Qur’an adalah karya bersama antara Muhammad dengan Tuhannya. Dengan melepaskan al-Qur’an sebagai kalam suci Ilahi yang ditanzilkan, Abu Zaid ingin menegaskan bahawa teks apapun termasuklah al-Qur’an adalah produk budaya manusia (Inna al-nass fi haqiqatihi wa jawarihihi muntaj al-thaqafi). (Adian Husain dan Henri Salehudin, Ogos, 2004, ms. 34-35).

Selanjutnya, Abu Zaid telah mengkritik kaedah pentafsiran Ahlu Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, dengan kesimpulan-kesimpulan berikut: (1) Tafsir yang benar menurut Ahlu Sunnah, dulu dan sekarang, adalah tafsir yang didasarkan pada otoriti ‘ulama terdahulu; 2) Kekeliruan yang mendasar pada sikap Ahlu Sunnah, dahulu dan sekarang, ialah kerana usaha mereka mengaitkan “makna teks” dan dalalahnya dengan masa kenabian, risalah, dan turunnya wahyu. Menurut, Abu Zaid, ini bukan sahaja kesalahan pemahaman, tetapi juga merupakan ekspresi sikap ideologi terhadp realiti – suatu sikap yang bersifat keterbelakangan, anti kemajuan dan anti progresif. Justeru, kaum Ahlul Sunnah menyusun sumber-sumber utama penafsiran al-Qur’an pada empat hal: penjelasan Rasulullah (saas), sahabat, tabi’in, dan terakhir tafsir bahasa.(Adian Husaini dan Henry Salehudin, Ogos, 2004, ms. 35-36).

Selanjutnya Abu Zaid mempersoalkan penggunaan bahasa ‘Arab di dalam al-Qur’an yang didakwanya telah mencemari kesakralan wahyu itu sendiri. Sebab menurut Abu Zaid bahawa bahasa ‘Arab yang digunakan dalam al-Qur’an ini bukanlah diturunkan ditempat yang “kosong”. Bahkan, menurutnya, bahasa ‘Arab kala itu sudah memilki struktur dan sistem yang tidak dapat dibebaskan dari struktur dan sistem masyarakat. Penerapan teori-teori tadi telah menyebabkan Abu Zaid berpendapat bahawa al-Qur’an sebagai textus receptus, iaitu teks manusiawi kendatipun ia mempunyai asal –muasal Ilahiah. Dengan lain perkataan, lontaran pendapatanya yang paling keras ialah bahawa al-Qur’an itu adalah sebuah produk kultural kerena ia menggunakan bahasa kultural litural itu bahasa Arab.(Moch. Nur Ichwan, 2003, ms.2).


Pemikiran Islam liberal mendukung kuat gagasan pluralisme agama-agama sebagai satu agenda terpenting dalam rekayasa pemikiran masyarakat Islam supaya dapat menjadikan agama Islam itu bukan lagi “eksklusif” tetapi “inklusif”. Di Indonesia, pengasas pemikiran ini ialah almarhum Dr. Nurkholis Madjid. Dalam karya Teologi Inklusif Cak Nur (2001), Cak Nur membangunkan epistemologi inklusifnya agama Islam itu dengan menggunakan konsep Islam sebagai agama “pasrah” ke hadrat Tuhan. Kepasrahan inilah menjadi ciri-ciri pokok “kebenaran” untuk semua agama. Lalu beliau berhujah dengan ayat 46 dalam Surah al-‘Ankabut bahawa semua agama yang benar adalah Islam, yakni sikap berserah diri terhadap Tuhan. (Adian Husain dan Nuim Hidayat, Liberal Islam, Jakarta, 2002, ms. 104). Jadi, bagi Nurkholis, jalan kebenaran dan keselematan bukan hanya monopoli agama Islam. Seseorang itu boleh disebut “Muslim” sekalipun dia tidak beragama Islam. Juga, katanya, Agama-agama lain adalah jalan yang sama-sama sah untuk mencapai kebenaran yang sama.” Nurkholis menjustifikasikan lagi hujahnya tadi dengan menghuraikan filsafat ‘Perenial” yang semakin popular penerimaannya di Indonesia. Katanya setiap agama adalah merupakan ekspresi keimanan terhadap Tuhan yang sama. Ibarat roda, pusat roda itu adalah Tuhan, dan jari-jari itu adalah jalan dari berbagai agama. (Adian Husaini dan Nu’im Hidayat, 2002, ms. 105).

Dalam sebuah makalah yang diterbitkan oleh akhbar Kompas (9hb.April, 2001) yang berjudul: “Nurkholis Majdid: Teologi Inklusif Menagakui Adanya Kebenaran Agama Lain”, Cak Nur cuba menjustifikasikan hakikat adanya pluralisme agama dengan mengambil pendapat Ibn Taymiyyah (r.h). Katanya: “Dan itu, tidak ada salahnya. Ibnu Taymiyyah mengatakan sebahagian besar kitab-kitab suci lama itu masih benar. Yang disebut adanya pengubahan itu dalam hal-hal yang bersifat berita. Terutama berita tentang kedatangan Nabi Muhammad (saas).” (Adian Husain an Nuim Hidayat, 2002, ms.152).

Satu lagi idea kontroversi Cak Nur ialah penerimaannya terhadap penganut-penganut agama bukan samawi seperti Hinduisme, Buddhism, Sikhs dan lain-lain sebagai “Ahlul kitab”. Pandangan tersebut telah disampaikan pada satu diskusi di TIM pada 21 Oktober 1992 dengan judul: “Beberapa Renungan Kehidupan Keberagamaan Untuk Generasi Mendatang”. Beliau berkata: “Dan patut kita camkan benar-benar pendapat Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Rida sebagaimana dikutip Abdul Hamid Hakim bahawa pengertian sebahagaian Ahlul Kitab tidak terbatas hanya kepada kaum Yahudi dan Kristian seperti tersebut dengan jelas dalam al-Qur’an serta kaum Majusi (pengikut Zoraster) seperti tersebutkan dalam sebuah hadith, tetapi juga mencakup agama-agama lain yang mempunyai suatu bentuk kitab suci.” (Dekontruksi Islam Mazhab Ciputat, Zaman Wacana Mulia, 1999, ms. 9-58.).

Selain dari Cak Nur, Dr. Alwi Shihab, Mantan Menteri Kesejehteraan Sosial Indonesia, seorang lagi tokoh pluralis agama-agama di Indoensia telah menulis sebuah buku yang berjudul: Islam Inklusif – Menuju Sikap Terbuka Dalam Beragama, Alwi mendakwa bahawa pluralisme agama adalah kerukunan penting demi wujudnya keharmonian hidup antara masyarakat beragama di Indonesia. Jsuteru, tidaklah wajar bagi seorang pluralis agama untuk mendakwa bahawa kebenaran (the truth) hanya berada disisi agamanya sahaja. Hanya dengan keberadaan sikap toleransi yang sedemikian, dailog antara agama-agama boleh dilaksanakan dengan lebih berkesan. Selanjutnya Alwi menafikan syari’at sebelumnya telah dihapuskan dengan datangnya agama Islam. Alwi membuat tafsiran baru terhadap ayat 72-73 (Surah al-Ma’idah) yang selama ini ditafsirkan oleh jumhur mufassir dengan tegas menolak lain-lain agama selain Islam. Katanya perkataan “Islam” disini bermaksud “penyerahan diri’ yang bukan sahaja milik eksklusif penganut-penganut Islam, tetapi juga lain-lain agama.

Pemikiran pluralisme agama di Indonesia telah menyebabkan munculnya keberanian pendapat di kalangan sebahagian ahli-ahli akademik terutamanya dari kalangan yang telah mendapat pendidikan tradisional agama di pasenteran-pasenteran yang terkemuka. Antara idea radikal mengenai kebenaran semua agama ialah pandangan Dr. M. Qasim Mathar, seorang pensyarah dari UAIN, Maksar. Beliau berkata: “Kita bisa keluar dan meninggalkan paradigma Islam lama yang mengungkung kita dan membangun sebuah paradigma Islam yang lain, dengan membawa al-Qur’an dan kitab suci agama-agama lain dan hadis Nabi yang selalu diukur oleh al-Qur’an.” (M.Qasim Mathar, “Keluar Dari Islam Sekarang, Menuju Islam Yang Lain,” Jakarta, 2005).

Tafsiran baru mengenai makna pluralisme agama telah menyebabkan munculnya fatwa-fatwa baru di kalangan para pendukung pluralisme agama dengan membenarkan bacaan doa’ bersama antara penganut-penganut Islam dan semua agama di Indonesia, kahwin beda agama dan pewarisan beda agama. Fatwa-fatwa golongan Islam liberal telah mengundang kontroversi yang bukan kepalang dalam masyarakat Islam yang merupakan majoriti terbesar umat Islam di Indonesia. (bersambung … )

Monday, March 20, 2006


Centre for Studies in Modernity and Civil Society (CESMACS)

Centre for Studies in Modernity and Civil Society (CESMACS) atau Pusat Kajian Modeniti dan Masyarakat Madani adalah merupakan suatu ‘extension’ daripada beberapa aktiviti yang dijalankan oleh CESMACS Sdn Bhd. Ia digerakkan mulai Jun 2002 sebagai sebuah ‘think tank’ bagi mengkaji beberapa aspek yang menarik tentang masyarakat Malaysia secara amnya dan masyarakat Islam secara khususnya. Perubahan yang dialami oleh masyarakat Islam pada abad ke 19, 20 dan 21 adalah amat besar. Masyarakat Islam berdepan dengan banyak cabaran khususnya dengan apa yang dipanggil modeniti dan pasca modeniti.

Apa itu modeniti dan apakah respon masyarakat Islam terhadapnya? Menentangnya? Menyesuaikan dengannya? Demikian juga dengan masyarakat Madani. Kenapa ide-ide masyarakat madani tidak begitu menonjol dalam masyarakat kita? Bagaimana ianya mahu disegarkan (reinvigorate) dalam masyarakat? Bagaimana kita mahu membina demokrasi yang dapat mewujudkan lanskap politik yang subur dan beretika.

CESMACS merasa terpanggil untuk ikut menyumbang dan menentukan agenda baru negara, iaitu agenda memberi penekanan kepada ketelusan (accountability), tanggungjawab sosial (social responsibility) dan sistem demokrasi yang responsif dan partisipatif.

Program dan Aktiviti

Program Bulanan dan Berkala
- Siri Syarahan Bulanan – Isnin, minggu ke empat setiap bulan
- Seminar berkala mengenai modeniti dan masyarakat madani

Program Diskusi Mingguan
- Minggu pertama: Diskusi buku bersama Dr. Muhammad Nur Manuty
- Minggu kedua: Diskusi semasa bersama Dr. Mohd Nor Nawawi
- Minggu ketiga: Diskusi bersama tokoh jemputan
- Minggu keempat: Diskusi thesis atau dissertasi

Penerbitan Buletin CESMACS – dua bulan sekali.
Pernerbitan berkala monograf CESMACS

Panel Penasihat

Dr. Mohd Nor Nawawi
Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty

Koordinator Program
Shahran Kasim