Developing the just, best and chosen ummah

ummahIN ITS quest to develop a just, best and chosen ummah (community) or the ummatan wasatan as mentioned in Al-Quran, Brunei will continue to take the best advantage of science and technology by using them to marvel the power of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, the All-Knowing and the All-Hearing.

And, in achieving the aspiration, we need to maintain and improve our iman (faith) and taqwa (obedience to Islamic laws and fear of Allah SWT), because in the absence of these vital elements in using science and technology it is impossible for us to achieve the development that is full of berkat (divine blessings). Iman and taqwa will further science and technology as the catalysts of development and thus enhance the quality of life of the ummah.

As His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam stressed in his titah at the launch of Knowledge Convention 2014 on Tuesday, we need to be very careful in matters related to the country’s development, in our quest to improve our standard of living. “We do not accept science and technology to belittle Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, but rather use them to marvel His power,” said His Majesty.

“InsyaAllah, all can benefit from a civilisation that comprises science and technology. We promote kindness and oppose evil. It is not wrong for us to aspire to be the ummatan wasatan as stated in the Quran,” the monarch added.

Dwelling on the convention’s theme ‘Science and Technology: Catalyst of Development and Enhancing the Ummah’s Quality of Life’, His Majesty reminded that it is wrong for us to regard science and technology simply as the manifestation of human capacity without linking it to divinity.

“Science and technology are a mere ‘specks’ of knowledge, while actually all knowledge absolutely belongs to Allah, not to anyone else,” he said, adding that knowledge is bestowed upon mankind as nikmat (blessings from Allah) that must be used in an appropriate manner.

Echoing His Majesty, State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz Juned said that science and technology are not enough for the survival and advancement of Islam and Muslims. “We also need iman and taqwa,” he said in his special lecture during the opening ceremony. Iman and taqwa, according to him, must play a major role alongside science and technology in development, “because the development that we want to achieve is one which will generate berkat (divine blessings).”

He said that combining iman and taqwa with science and technology must be introduced to the present generation, including through the teaching and learning process starting from schools to the higher educational tertiary level.

“Only then it can achieve the aspiration of ‘berkat’ development. This is not a theory,” he said, while quoting a verse from Al-Quran: “and if the people of a country have faith and taqwa, we would be open for them (the gates of) blessings from heaven and earth).” (Al-A’raf 7: 96)

“If faith and taqwa become a basis for development, it will be the blessed development, and a blessed development will certainly bring more progress and growth, the country will flourish, peace and security will prevail; the economy will grow and the land will prosper,” he said, stressing the importance of instilling berkat-oriented goals in our mindset. Indeed, knowledge without an open heart and spirit is like any other topic. The love, fear and hope in Allah the Almighty must penetrate the deepest part of our soul. A verse in the Noble Quran says: “He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given abundant good. And none will remember except those of understanding.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

Our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” (Ibn Majah)

We need to always improve our iman and taqwa by getting closer to Allah and by worshipping Him alone; by obeying and performing His commands and abandoning as well as deserting everything He forbids us to do. The last element of attaining salvation from the Islamic perspective is having hope in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala all the times knowing that no matter how much we err and sin, as long as we intend to return to Him, ask for His forgiveness and live a righteous life, His vast mercy is awaiting us.

“Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

It makes clear sense that the elements of “love”, “fear” and “hope” are all essential in order to maintain a realistic balance in regards to our perception of our Creator. Or else, we may be deceiving ourselves. In this context we can clearly see that “fear” (taqwa or total obedience) of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala has its own place when other elements are included.

We also have to regularly examine our intention toward our Creator. If we seek peace, there is no other alternative but to seek His pleasure. This is the only way for moving from darkness into light. “By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (Al-Maidah 5:16)

Let us supplicate our Lord to help us take the best advantage of knowledge and place ourselves among those who are invited to the Home of Peace (Paradise) and among the ones guided by Him to the straight path.

“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Yunus 10:25) Aamiin

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Fri, 31 October 2014

http://www.bt.com.bn/opinion/2014/10/31/developing-just-best-and-chosen-ummah

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