In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
AFTER attending 'solat Jumaat' (Friday prayers) at Masjid Baiturrahman in Jalan Dipatiukur, Bandung, Indonesia on a few years ago, 'alhamdulillah' (all praise and thanks be to Allah SWT) I was one lucky guy when the 'khatib' (person who reads the sermon) himself met me, perhaps he 'could sense' that I was a foreigner.
He introduced himself as Anton, a 'dosen' (lecturer) at Universitas Komputer Indonesia which is a walking distance away from the masjid. Later on I found out that he is Dr Anton Minardi who teaches International Relations and Communication in Universitas Komputer and Universitas Pasundan in Bandung.
In the masjid after exchanging information about ourselves; I told Anton that I was very impressed with his 'khutbah' where he openly criticized the newly installed administration of President Joko Widowo (Jokowi) and 'going further' by saying that "Islam and democracy do not fit" - Islamic political parties had failed to govern successfully any country; for example 'Ikhwanul Muslimin (Islamic Brotherhood) had failed in Egypt while Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) too failed in their bid to take power in Algeria even though they had won the election.
As a solution, Dr Anton in his 'khutbah' said Muslims must look back at how Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. successful transformed 'jahilyah' (barbarian) Arabs into refined people in all aspects of life and with their love for life in the Hereafter compared with pleasures and treasures of life unable them to rule three quarter of the world.
During our discussion at the masjid, Dr Anton once again stressed that the establishment of Islamic political parties that took part in elections as a part of democracy process is not a way out to Muslims problems but he was opened to ideas after I told him I was a member of PAS (an Islamic party in Malaysia) and it fact is a writer of its publication, Harakah.
Dr Anton showed interest in me and asked me to follow him to his room in Universitas Komputer. I thought we would further discussed the issue in his room, but he surprised and caught me off guard when he guided me to a lecture room where some 40 students were waiting in the chairs.
After addressing and explaining some points to his class of International Relations, Dr Anton turned to me, introduced me to his students and said: "Alhamdulillah' we are very lucky today to have a veteran journalist from Malaysia to give us some insight about the political situation in his country; especially regarding the Islamic party. We would also would like to hear from him on international issues pertaining to Muslims worldwide especially regarding contemporary subjects such as on Islamic State (IS) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)."
'Subhanallah' (Glory be to God) I was speechless, my throat dried; nevertheless I managed to calm myself and kept on repeating this word in my head: "come on LanH, you could do it, there's nothing to be afraid of."
As I pulled 'for a brave face' in front of the students, my mind 'raced' back to some of my latest article in the English Section of Harakah. Ohh, 'alhamdulillah', it helped me, and I did feel that my confidence was building up in me as I talked that PAS is not a political party but also a 'da'wah' movement; and at the moment it is trying hard to portray the beauty of Islam to 'non-Muslims'.
I talked that Islam is for all; its is not only a religion for Muslims. I mentioned that in the Qur'an there are 'ayahs' (verses of the Holy Qur'an) which begins with 'ya ayyuhannas' which means 'Oh people' and 'ayahs' beginning with 'ya ayyuhal lazina amanu' that means 'Oh people who believe'. This proved that the Qur'an is sent by Allah SWT for all of mankind, not only for the people during the time of the Prophet and only for Muslims.
Islam is a religion of 'Rahmatan Lil 'Alamin' (blessing to all mankind); in 'Ayah' 107 of Surah al-Anbiya, Allah SWT notes: "We have not sent thee, O Muhammad, but as a mercy to mankind," I said.
Regarding issues pertaining to Muslims worldwide I mentioned that the world community were very concerned about apartheid in South Africa that brought to the end of that 'barbaric way of life' after a multi-race elections was held for the first time in 1994 that spearheaded Nelson Mandela from African National Congress (ANC) into power but the world especially super powers showed no commitment in solving the Palestinians issue.
"In my opinion this is the last apartheid; Palestinian lands should be returned to their rightful owners and Israel should be check by the world community; they must be punished heavily for their brutality in invading and striking Palestinians lands such as in Gaza and the West Bank," I told the students.
I too mentioned that Muslims were not alert and ready to assist fellow Muslims internationally stating for example after the fall of Soviet Union and the independence of of several Islamic republics in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in 1991, they were left to be influenced by the Americans, Koreans and China who set up large business identities such as in oil and gas related industries.
Regarding the IS or ISIS issue, my talk was based to the points that I had raised in my previous article in Harakah entitled 'IS - Two sides of a coin'. I mentioned to the students that it was better for us not to take sides as we have no idea what was going in that part of the world.
"Well, all the reports regarding IS or ISIL that we received were filled in by the foreign press, are we going to belief blindly at anything they write and report?" I asked them.
I reminded the students to study 'Ayah' 6 of Surah 46 or Al-Hujurat (Room) which reads: "O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate; lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful."
I end my talk by mentioning to the boys and girls a story on how particular was one of our 'imans' regarding facts - Imam Shafie who was on the back of a donkey when asked by a stranger how many legs do the animals have, stepped down and do the counting and only after that said: "It has four legs!"