Banking on intellectual renewal

‘This praying mat on which I make prostration, is as important as the chair that I sit on as an Mentri Besar’…Menteri Besar of Kelantan.

Posted on 18 March 2013 – 09:44pm Last updated on 19 March 2013 – 09:44am

Alyaa Alhadjri

Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad. SUNPIX

KUALA LUMPUR (March 18, 2013): For a plural society to be truly successful, those who oversee it must now perform ijtihad (intellectual renewal) to put into context the embodiment of a government which is truly Islamic and democratic, says Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, an influential thinker in PAS.

“The challenge is not about rhetorics. It is not about regurgitating jargon and principles, and not even about regurgitating the phrase ‘Negara Berkebajikan’ (benevolent state),” said the Kuala Selangor MP, referring to PAS’ initial concept of a model state, based on the administration of Madinah by the Prophet Muhammad.

He said Islam provided a solid foundation for good governance in the Al-Quran and Hadiths, and elected leaders must articulate the principles within the political-social context of Malaysia’s plural society.

“Islamic principles, so far as the aqidah (faith) is concerned, yes, they for Muslims… But the political system of Islam, it is mercy for all mankind. I don’t think I can express it better than that,” said Dzulkefly, denying allegations that non-Muslims will be marginalised under an Islamic administration.

He said PAS has also consciously moved away from reducing Islam to only its punitive aspects, towards advocating a government which provides justice for all.

The PAS research director pointed out that when Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madinah, he had first built a mosque, followed by a market, representing the entire spectrum of government and governance.

“Directly addressing the issue of corruption, abuse of power, embezzlement of wealth and resources, incompetency of leaders; these are all very Islamic issues.

“This is what PAS is all about. And those who don’t understand Islam as a way of life find it very difficult (to understand). (They) say that PAS has lost its vigour and rigour for an Islamic state, for hudud,” he said.

As such, he said, despite accusations of PAS losing its identity within the Opposition pact, principles of Islam in a modern context are entrenched in its recently launched joint manifesto.

“Although the word ‘benevolent state’ does not actually appear per se, the (manifesto’s) four pillars are actually manifestations of the concept,” said Dzulkefly, who was a member of the Pakatan Rakyat joint manifesto drafting committee.

The manifesto – dubbed ‘Pakatan Harapan Rakyat’ – was unveiled to mixed responses from various quarters, with critiques alleging that PAS has abandoned its Islamic agenda to accommodate demands from DAP and PKR as Pakatan Rakyat partners.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu had also recently called on PAS ulama to broaden their mindset in facing new issues such as corruption and social justice, a view which is also shared by Dzulkefly.

“If I may quote (PAS spiritual leader) Tok Guru Nik Aziz: ‘This praying mat on which I make prostration, is as important as the chair that I sit on as an Mentri Besar’,” said Dzulkefly adding that the statement establishes a clear link between the mundane affairs of life, its political-social aspect, and one’s spiritual beliefs.

3 thoughts on “Banking on intellectual renewal

      1. if it isn’t, what are the differences? if the principles are the same, what are those? and if the models can be different then in what way? care to enlighten?

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