Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Raja Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abdul Karim
i. “The essence of Islam is acceptance of the Will of Allah and its cornerstone is prayer. It preaches universal fraternity, love, justice and benevolence, action, speech and cleanliness. It is the simplest and most elevating form of religion known to man.” (Muhammad Alexander Russel Webb.)
ii. “I chose Islam rather than the illusory freedom of secular life. If Islam oppresses women, why are so many educated young women all over the world abandoning liberty and independence and embracing Islam?” (Nakata Khaula)
iii. “I tried to find evidence to prove that Islam was not the truth but it was impossible; all books that said negative things about Islam, I already knew they were lying. I have come to realise that Islam is perfect, Muslims are not. I am not perfect. I am really working on it.” (Sophie Jenkins)
iv. Anyone who reads the Quran with a mind that is not closed to the Truth will become a Muslim.” (Saifuddin Dirk Walter Mosig.)
The above four samples of personal stories are just some evidence I quoted from dozens of books on this subject of “irresistible attractions to Islam” independently expressed by those previous non-Muslims.
Admittedly, I have not had the opportunity to study most of those concerns of, and assaults launched by those “brave” pseudonymous authors, local or foreign, on Islam and our Monarch.
Their insidious bravery hiding behind the shield of pseudonyms is an indication of the undercurrent of lack of respect (let alone love) for Islam and the Ulil Amri, and the erosion of “jiwa jati Barunai”.
“There are two qualities which can never combine in a hypocrite: good conduct and understanding of religion (Islam)”. (Hadith related by Al-Tirmizi)
The symptom, the genesis of this “assault” by certain pockets of the rakyat could historically be crystalised thus:
When we were school children, the deep, genuine respect for authority of even those assistant school prefects was enough for us to have our bones shaking.
Nowadays, it is the teachers who wet their pants when they deal with naughty students. These are the “anai-anai” which could weaken the socio-political-economy of the country and could be easily used by a fifth column.
We clearly observed certain members of the rakyat who were merely casually, perfunctorily shaking hands with His Majesty during “bercemar duli” occasions with his rakyat. Is this a case of familiarity eroding affection? Or lack of “melentur buluh sewaktu rebongnya”?
I vividly remember when I was in Thailand in 1979 attending an economic-related meeting, I had at a particular occasion, suddenly noticed a group of school children, in unison, bowing whilst facing across the road. I was in great amazement when I saw a middle-aged gentleman who was obviously reciprocating the students’ homage. Could he be their teacher? The lasting impression is: This is a genuine respect and loyalty cultivated at home and school: “melentur buluh dari rebongnya”.
This is just about the common level of students’ homage to that gentleman. What then about the whole Thais’ love for their Monarch? When they see the official portrait of their Monarch, the Thais take time to bow facing it. Their pure affection, adoration shown to their Monarch really strikes ones’ heartstrings.
Of course, Thailand and Thais have their peculiar special socio-religious-cultural practices. “Lain lubuk, lain ikannya”.
But we Brunei Malay Muslims have our own “Melayu Islam Beraja” (MIB) practices. We do not “worship” our Monarch. We protectively adore him as our Ulil Amri. We should have been since children instilled with genuine respect and adoration for our Ulil Amri. Then, what about our “KeBrunaian” deep cultural respect and empathy moulded by our Malay Islamic upbringing which has lost its eminence amongst certain younger generation of our bureaucrats, our nation’s “civil servants” who use or abuse their “temporary” authority to openly get adversarial against certain members of the public. “The best one among you is the best one towards people”. (Hadith, narrated by Al-Bayhaqi)
Al-Quran clearly reminds us of this : “And the servants of the Most Gracious are they who walk gently on the earth in humility and wherever the foolish, the ignorant address them, they reply with (words of) peace.”
(Al-Quran : Surah Al-Furqan [The Criterion] 25: Verse 63)
It is so easy and so fast to destroy. We Bruneians must not have such minds to execute this destruction. But rather possess minds to build, to nurture, to create jobs by SMEs. Entrepreneurs build their businesses with blood, tears and sweat; they have courage to take risks, use their entrepreneurial minds and exert efforts, day and night in a 24/7 life. The head is in the oven, the body is in the freezer experience.
i. “He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you, so go about in the spacious sides thereof, and eat of His sustenance, and to Him will be the Resuurrection”.
(Al-Quran : Surah Al-Mulk [The Kingdom] 67: Verse 15)
ii. “….. Surely Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change their own condition”.
(Al-Quran : Surah Al-Ra’d [The Thunder] 13: Verse 11. Also Surah An-Anfal [The Spoils of War] 8:Verse 53)
This arrogance and lack of empathy naturally could easily spill-over into being misconstrued by a disenchanted public as the “ill quality” of His Majesty’s Government Service. Then, consequently, what is the obvious “reactions and actions” of those insulted, those “broken” rakyat towards the Government of His Majesty? The end result is clear: hatred and vengeance; fast resort to attacks on the pervasive, instantaneous cyber power!
In a wider religious connotation, no doubt through this invasion of pervasive, mass instantaneous cyber power, some Muslims got deeply influenced by what they watch every minute of the hour on their hand-held screens; about how certain Muslims countries are harshly treating their women in the name of Shariah. The green, gullible minds and hearts on pure, true Islam naturally (mistakenly) think that this misogynistic practice is “an Islamic practice”. Yet, they may simply ignore the Islamic need to understand why those sophisticated, educated Western women were willingly attracted to and embracing Islam. (Re: “The Rise of Islam” by Harun Yahya. And The Daily Telegraph, 30 April 2001). Another clue to this love for Islam by those reverts is this statement by John Renard in his book “Responses to 101 questions on Islam”:
“….. the Islamic code of life lays down not only moral, but socio-economic, political, cultural and educational norms and rules based on the principle of equality, brotherhood and justice … the Islamic code is designed to create a just and free society in which every individual enjoys rights and equal opportunities regardless of rank, birth, race, colour, or creed.” (Remember that Farewell Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad Salla-Allahu Alayhiwa Salam?)
A very educational book is “The Muslim Conduct of State” by Muhammad Hamidullah.
Vitally, world wide, women are now forming a considerable percentage of a country’s productive-economic labour force. Hence, it could easily cripple the economic engine and structure of a country if this “women economic power and its related mobility” were to be shackled by imposition of that misogynistic culture. In hindsight, the publicity of the official visit by the Minister of Religious Affairs and his team to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on this subject may have triggered this unjustified and misplaced misogynic fear of socio-economic shackles to the vital socio-economic participation of our women. Islam encourages and facilitates the halal economic activities of the Muslims so that they have the socio-economic power for this Dunia and the Akhirat; not beggars in their own country, but rather the masters of their own country, the masters of the country’s economic power, not to be bullied and downtrodden.