Recent years have seen a surge in people’s uprising particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Yemen including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa provide the most significant development in the Muslims world. In carrying out an assessment of these phenomenons, undeniably, the main issues involved in these Muslims uprisings are Islamic revivalism or Muslims uprising. In view of this significant development in the Muslims world, an initiative to organize a Conference on Islamic is considered as an essential effort undertaken by ABIM to promote a sense of better understanding about Islam and at the same time to be an ideal platform for exchanging of ideas to identify the best model or appropriate approach. In order to stimulate the discourse on Islamic resurgence, ABIM specifically chooses ‘Islamic Resurgence: Present and Future’ as the conference theme this year.

With the lack of understanding about Islamic resurgence, it is extremely important to study and gain fresh insights into its origin and development, the ideological basis, to examine the model and appropriate approach, to identify issues and challenges, and to map out strategies for future direction. Misconception on the idea of Islamic resurgence is contended to be amongst the main factors of terrorism and extremism as well as inappropriate reaction and response to modernity and post-modernity. As a result, in contradiction with its normative features of religion of peace as embedded in al Quran and al Sunnah, Islam on the other hand has been pictured as a religion of intolerant and violence. This serious misconception hence triggers the need for Muslims community and association to rectify and deconstruct the ‘brand’ of Islamic revivalism. Based on this motivation, the Conference aims to provide an ideal platform for exchange of ideas amongst the scholars, practitioners, individual or institution involved in da’wah movement, academic, students and any other person interested on the topic by promoting the effort and endeavor to rebranding and realigning the concept, ideological basis, model, approach and future direction of Islamic resurgence.


What’s really going on in Egypt: Tariq Ramadan


Tariq Ramadan Available at:

For two years now I have often been asked why I have not visited Egypt, where I had been forbidden entry for 18 years. Just as often I repeated that on the basis of the information I was able to obtain—confirmed by Swiss and European officials—the Egyptian army remained firmly in control and had never left the political arena.

I never shared the widespread “revolutionary” enthusiasm. Nor did I believe that events in Egypt, any more than in Tunisia, were the result of a sudden historical upheaval. The peoples of these two countries suffered from dictatorship, from economic and social crisis; they rose up in the name of dignity, social justice and freedom. Their awakening, their “intellectual revolution,” and their courage must be saluted. But to accept or justify a simple-minded, linear explanation of the political, geostrategic and economic issues would have been totally unconscionable. Nearly three years ago, in a book and then in a series of articles, I alerted my readers to a body of troubling evidences, and to the underlying geopolitical and economic considerations that were often missing from mainstream political and media analyses, and that insisted on submitting the euphoria that accompanied the “Arab spring” to critical analysis.

The Egyptian army has not returned to politics for the simple reason that it has never left. The fall of Hosni Mubarak was a military coup d’État that allowed a new generation of officers to enter the political scene in a new way, from behind the curtain of a civilian government. In an article published on June 29 2012 I noted an Army high command declaration that the presidential election was temporary, for a six-month to one-year period (its title made the premonition explicit: “An election for nothing?”). The American administration had monitored the entire process: its objective ally in Egypt over the past fifty years has been the army, not the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The latest revelations (see the International Herald Tribune , July 5, and Le Monde, July 6) confirm what was already clear: the decision to overthrow President Mohamed Morsi had been made well before June 30. A conversation between President Morsi and General al-Sisi indicated that the head of the country’s military had planned the overthrow and imprisonment of the president weeks before the popular upheaval that would justify the military coup “in the name of the people’s will.” A clever strategy! Orchestrate demonstrations involving millions of people in order to make believe that the army truly cares about the people! Coup d’État, second act.

How then to analyze the immediate reaction of the American administration, which avoided using the term “coup d’État” (which, if accepted, would mean it could not provide financial support to the new regime)? A curious position for a government that in its ‘surprise’ uses exactly the right words to exert full political, economic and legal leverage over the coup makers. European governments will follow suit, of course: the army has responded “democratically” to the call of the people. It’s all too good to be true! Magically, chronic blackouts, gasoline and natural gas shortages came to an abrupt end after the fall of the president. It was as though people had been deprived of the basic necessities in order to drive them into the streets. Amnesty International observed the strange attitude of the armed forces, which did not intervene in certain demonstrations (even though it was closely monitoring them), allowing the violence to spiral out of control, as though by design. The armed forces then accompanied its intervention with a saturation public relations campaign, providing the international media with photographs taken from its helicopters, depicting the Egyptian population as it cheered and celebrated their military saviors, as confirmed in Le Monde.

Nothing, then, has really changed: the “Arab spring” and the Egyptian “revolution” continue under the guiding hand of General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi. Trained by the United States Army, the general has kept close contact with his American counterparts. The New International Herald Tribune (July 6-7) informs us that General al-Sisi is well known to the Americans, as well as to the government of Israel, with which he “and his office”, we are told, continued to “communicate and to coordinate” even while Mohamed Morsi occupied the presidential palace. Al-Sisi had earlier served in the Military Intelligence Services in the North Sinai, acting as go-between for the American and Israeli authorities. It would hardly be an understatement to say that Israel, like the United States, could only look favorably upon developments in Egypt.

What, after the fact, is surprising, is the simple-mindedness, the lack of experience and the nature of the mistakes made by Mohamed Morsi, by his allies, and by the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization. For the last three years, I have been sharply critical of the thinking, action and strategies of the “Liberty and Justice” party, as well as of the MB leadership (over the last twenty-five years, my analyses and commentary have been and remain sharply critical). The trap seemed glaringly obvious; my writings on the subject (book, and articles written between March and December 2012) pointed to grave shortcomings. President Morsi cannot be fairly criticized for not doing all he could to establish relations with the opposition, either by inviting it to join the government or to take part in a broad national dialogue. But his approaches were rejected out of hand, with the opposition bitterly opposing his every initiative. The fact remains, however, that his management of the business of state, his failure to listen to the voice of the people and even to some of his trusted advisors, his exclusivist relationship with the highest echelons of the MB leadership, his hasty and ill-considered decisions (some of which he later acknowledged as errors) must be unsparingly criticized. But on a more fundamental level, his greatest fault has been the utter absence of a political vision and the lack of clearly established political and economic priorities, his failure to struggle against corruption and poverty, and his egregious mismanagement of social and educational affairs. The demands of the International Monetary Fund (and its deliberate procrastination) placed the state in an untenable position: the Morsi government believed that the international institution would support it. It is only today, now that President Morsi has fallen, that the IMF appears prepared to remove what were previously insurmountable obstacles. This, coming a mere three days after the overthrow of a democratically elected government.

The naivety of the president, of his government and of the Muslim Brotherhood has been stunning. After sixty years of opposition and military repression (with the direct and indirect benediction of the US Administration and the West), how could they possibly have imagined that their former adversaries would support their rise to power, invoking democracy all the while? Did they learn nothing from their own history, from Algeria in 1992, and, more recently, from Palestine? I have been and remain critical, both of the (superficial) content of their program and the ambiguous strategy of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (compromise with the armed forces and the United States, surrender on the economy and the Palestinian cause, etc.) but their lack of political awareness has been quite simply stupefying. To hear President Morsi tell General al-Sisi, a mere ten days before his overthrow, that he might well demote him (after all, he had appointed him) and that the Americans would “never permit a coup d’État” was as mind-boggling as it was surrealistic.

Some observers were startled to see the salafis , in particular the an-Nour party, join forces with the military alongside the “democratic” faction opposed to President Morsi. Were the outcome not so tragic, it would be tempting to label it farce. The Western media were quick to label the “Islamist” salafis as allies of the Muslim Brotherhood while; in point of fact, they were and are allies of the regimes of the Gulf States, who are in turn the regional allies of the United States. The idea was to undermine the religious credibility of the Muslim Brotherhood, and to force it into extreme positions. At the moment of President Morsi’s overthrow, they not only betrayed him but revealed their strategy and their strategic alliances for the entire world to see. It is hardly surprising to note that the first countries to recognize the new coup d’État regime were the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose powerful organizations provided, and still provide, direct and indirect financial support to the Egyptian salafis (as well as to their Tunisian counterparts). A superficial reading might lead one to believe that Saudi Arabia and Qatar support the Muslim Brotherhood; in reality they are the mainstays of American power in the region. The strategy is to sow division among the various political Islamic trends, to foment confrontation and to destabilize. This same strategy focuses on contradictions between Sunni political organizations and exacerbates divisions between Shia and Sunni. The United States and Europe have no quarrel with the political Islam of the salafi literalists of the Gulf States (and their denial of democracy, their non-respect of minorities, their discrimination against women, and the application of a strict “Islamic” penal code described as “shari’a”); they protect their geostrategic and regional economic interests while their repressive and retrograde domestic policies, as long as they are applied domestically, could not matter less to the West.

It’s all about keeping up appearances. Millions of Egyptians rallied in support of the “second revolution” and appealed to the armed forces, which were quick to respond. They now promise to turn over power to the civilians. The leader of the opposition, Mohamed al-Baradei, has played a central role in the process, and his prominence has been growing apace. He has been in close touch with the youthful cyber-dissidents and the April 6 Movement since 2008; documents of the U.S. State Department, which I quote in my book, point to his close connection with the American administration. His visibility has been promoted by a clever strategy, and even though he has declined the position of Prime Minister (and announced that he will not be a candidate for president, which has yet to be seen), he has emerged as an important player on the Egyptian political scene. He has notoriously—and democratically—defended the arrest of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the closing of their television stations and the entire range of repressive measures imposed on citizens who continue to support President Morsi, even though they may not be MB members (some are supporting democratic legitimacy). The weeks to come will provide us with more details about plans for fleshing out the civilian character of this particular military state. It must be remembered that for decades the Egyptian army has managed close to 40% of the national economy as well as being the leading recipient of an annual American aid package of $1.5 billion.

An elected president has been toppled by a military coup d’État. There is no other word for it. The people, in their legitimate desire for a better life and for survival, for justice and dignity, have been unwitting participants in a media-military operation of the highest order. The situation is grave; the silence of Western governments tells us all we need to know. There has been no “Arab spring”; the perfume of its revolutions burns the eyes like tear gas.

In our day, it is not unusual for writer who does not accept the official consensus to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” for his analysis to be rejected before studying the facts upon which it is based. Are we to conclude that in our globalizing age, with its networks of national security policies and structures and its new means of communication, political scheming, malicious stratagems, manipulation of information and of peoples are a thing of the past? “Conspiracy theorist” is a new insult devised for those who think the wrong thoughts, who don’t fit in; paranoids, people who ascribe occult powers to certain states (the United States, the European countries, Israel, the Arab and African dictatorships, etc.) that they really do not possess. We must forget what we learned about the conspiracies that have left their mark on the history of Latin America and Africa (from the assassination of Salvador Allende to the elimination of Thomas Sankara); we must overlook the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq and to the massacres in Gaza (both presented as legitimate defense); we must say nothing about the West’s alliance with and support for the literalist salafis of the Gulf sheikhdoms; close our eyes to the benefit for Israel of regional instability and of the most recent coup d’État in Egypt. We must remain naïve and credulous if we are not to notice that the United States and Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, have agreed to disagree onSyria, and that the 170 Syrians who die each day count for nothing against the strategic and economic interests of the Great Powers.

Our obligation is to stick to the facts, to avoid oversimplification. The polar opposite of an over-simplified reading of events is not “conspiracy theorizing” but that of intelligence informed by history, by hard facts and by a detailed analysis of conflicting interests. The interpretation presented here may well be wrong or inexact, but substantial and verifiable evidence has repeatedly confirmed it. From those who have criticized or challenged our analysis, we look forward to a fact-based counter-analysis far from denigrations and facile slogans. When people refuse to call a military coup d’État by its real name, and when most media avert their eyes, the hour for critical conscience has struck.

Zulkifli Hasan
In Gaza, Palestine

Islam and Secularism: Rachid Ghannouci

Islam and Secularism

Rachid Ghannouchi Available at:

In the name of God, prayers and peace be upon His Messenger, his household, companions, and supporters.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters may God’s peace and blessings be upon you.

I thank the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy for giving me the opportunity this evening to speak to this distinguished elite of Tunisian men and women and those coming from abroad. I am not here to teach you anything, since the subject we are here to discuss has no set instructions to be delivered but rather only points of view to be deepened and efforts to reach a common ground that would enable our elite to reach a consensus or at least a quasi-consensus.

Our topic is quite problematic in the sense that it deals with the Islam’s relationship to secularism. Is this relationship one of conflict and disaccord or one of harmony and overlap? Related to this question are issues such as Islam’s relationship to governance, the relation between Islam and Law, which are all contentious matters.

It seems that when we speak of secularism and Islam, as if we are talking about evident and clear concepts. However, a non-negligible amount of ambiguity and multiplicity of understandings surround these concepts, in that we are not talking about ‘a’ secularism but rather a multitude of secularisms as is the case with Islam, by virtue of what is proposed in the arena, we are faced with various understandings of what it means.

Although secularism seems as if it was a philosophy and the fruit of philosophical reflections and meditations which came to fight idealist and religious outlooks, it is not so. Secularism appeared, evolved, and crystallized in the West as procedural solutions, and not as a philosophy or theory of existence, to problems that had been posed in the European context. Most of these problems emerged following the Protestant split in the West, which tore apart the consensus that had been dominant in the Catholic Church, and imposed the religious wars in the 16th and 17th century. It was thus that Secularism and/or secularization began.

This leads us to ask the following question: are we in need of secularism in its procedural aspect? Perhaps the most important idea in the ensemble of these procedures is the idea of the state’s neutrality i.e. towards religions and its abstention from interfering with people’s consciences. Whereas, the state’s scope or jurisdiction is limited to the ‘Public Domain’, religion’s scope extends to the ‘Private’. In the United States religious interference in the public domain is evident, despite the differentiation that exists there remains a significant religious influence. Their leaders’ speeches are laden with religious content and references, and religion is debated in all electoral campaigns where it manifests itself in issues such as prayer in schools and abortion. This in reality is due to the fact that America was founded by evangelical pilgrims fleeing with their religion from the Catholic Church’s persecution in Europe. It is for this reason that the U.S. is looked at as the Promised Land, the land of dreams mentioned in the Torah and Gospels.

As the Franco-American thinker Tocqueville once remarked that the Church is the most powerful party in the United States. This is by virtue of the huge influence that it enjoys, though this is not the case in Europe. Whereas the number of those who can lead prayer in the US exceeds 50%, in Europe it does not reach 5%.

In the European context, also, there are differences in the state’s relationship with religion between the French heritage and Anglo-Saxon one, whereby in the UK the Queen combines the temporal and the religious powers. The complete separation is the one that is associated with the French experience, which resulted from the clashes that took place in French history between the revolutionaries’ state and the Catholic Church. Even in Europe, therefore, we are not dealing with one experience in secularism, perhaps for our purposes, since our elite is influenced by the particular French perspective (particular even for Europeans) where religion is totally excluded from the public sphere and the state considers itself as the sole guardian of national identity. This exclusion of the religious and its symbols from the public domain is what lead France to be the only country that refused the covering of heads for Muslim women, while we don’t see such a crisis in any other European country over the issue of headscarves. This is exclusively due to the particular nature of the relationship between state and religion in France which was the result of a particular historical experience.

We in turn are not faced with one understanding; perhaps the most important procedure invented by the secular worldview on this level is the state’s neutrality. In other words, the state is the guarantor of all freedoms be them religious, political or otherwise. And the state should not interfere in favor of this or that party. We pose the following question now: Is Islam in need of such a procedure? i.e. the state’s neutrality towards the various religions.

Islam, since its inception, has always combined religion with politics, religion and state. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the founder of the religion as well as the state. The first pledge of allegiance made by the group of Madina who came to Mecca was a religious pledge to believe in Allah and his Messenger. But the second pledge was to protect the Muslims, even by sword, should al-Madina be attacked. Al-Madina, and this expression is of the utmost importance, used to be called Yathrib before becoming Al-Madina (The City) which implies that Islam is not merely a religion but also carries a civilizational meaning. It is a transferring of people from Bedouin life to urban/civilizational life. This is why ‘Bedouinization’ was considered a great sin once urbanization had been achieved. No wonder then that wherever Islam went it established cities and our country hosts the oldest city built by Arabs in North Africa. Therefore, The City founded by the Prophet (pbuh) is a clear indication that Islam is a religion of civilization, whereby it shifted those warring tribes from a Bedouin level to a civilized one and united them around a state.

The Prophet (pbuh) was a an imam in the religious sense as he lead prayers in mosques, and at the same time a political imam that arbitrated people’s disputes, lead armies, and signed various accords and treaties. Of relevance to us is the fact that upon his arrival to Medina he established a mosque and put in place a constitution that was called Al-Sahifah. You have precedents here Mustapha! [In reference to Mr Mustapha Ben Ja’afar, President of the Constituent Assembly, who was present in the audience]. This Sahifah, which is one of the oldest constitutions in the world, contained a bundle of covenants regulating the relations between Meccan immigrants and their hosts (these were considered as one nation) and the Jewish tribes of Madina (also considered a nation). Al-Sahifa considered these two religious nations as comprising one political nation and entity that is distinct from others. The most important concept offered by such scholars as Muhammad Salim Al ‘Awwa and Muhammad ‘Umar is the distinction between the religious and the political as corresponding to the separation between state and religion.

The distinction between that which is political and that which is religious is clear in the Sahifah in that Muslims are a religious nation (ummah) and the Jews another, but the combination of the two plus other polytheists made up a nation in the political sense. This distinction can be witnessed in the Prophet’s dealings even if the boundaries were not always clear. Whereas the religious is the sphere of observance and obligation, the political is the sphere of reason and Ijtihad. At times when the ambiguity confused the companions, they would ask the Prophet (pbuh) whether this is divine revelation (wahy) or a mere opinion. In the case of the former they would obey, and when it is the latter they may differ and offer alternatives. On more than one occasion did the companions differ with the Prophet (pbuh) in his capacity as the head of state, and Sheikh Tahar Ben Ashour has dealt in detail with the topic of what he called ‘Prophetic Statuses’.

One day the Prophet (pbuh) passed by a group in Medina cross-pollinating palm trees and said: ‘I do not see the benefit of doing so.’ The Medinan people thought that that was divine revelation and stopped treating their trees which made their harvest of that year of a lesser quality. They asked him why he ordered them to do so, and he replied: you are best placed to know what is beneficial for you in your worldly affaires. Therefore, it is not the duty of religion to teach us agricultural, industrial or even governing techniques, because reason is qualified to reach these truths through the accumulation of experiences. The role of religion, however, is to answer the big question for us, those relating to our existence, origins, destiny, and the purpose for which we were created, and to provide us with a system of values and principles that would guide our thinking, behaviour, and the regulations of the state to which we aspire.

So, Islam since its inception and throughout its history has not known this separation between state and religion in the sense of excluding religion from public life. And Muslims, to this day, have been influenced by Islam and inspired by its teachings and guidance in their civic life, with the distinction remaining clear. This distinction between the religious and the political is also clear in the thought of Islamic scholars/jurists. They have distinguished between the system of transactions/dealings (Mu’amalat) and that of worship (‘Ibadat). Whereas the latter is the domain of constancy and observance i.e. reason cannot reach the truth, the former is the domain of searching for the general interest, for Islam came to realize people’s interests as confirmed by such great jurists as Al-Shatibi and Ibn ‘Ashour. These scholars have agreed that the highest objective of all divine messages is to establish justice and realize people’s interests, and this is done through the use of reason in light of the guidelines, objectives, values, and principles provided by religion. Thus, there is a domain of transactions/dealings which is constantly evolving and represents the sphere of variables, and there is the domain of creed, values, and virtues which represents the sphere of constants.

Throughout Islamic history, the state has always been influenced by Islam in one way or another in its practices, and its laws were legislated for in light of the Islamic values as understood at that particular time and place. Despite this, states remained Islamic not in the sense that their laws and procedures were divinely revealed, but that they were human endeavours open to challenge and criticism. States have also practiced a degree of neutrality, and when they tried to interfere and impose one understanding on Muslims, as happened in the Abbasids state, it sparked revolution. It is mentioned that al-Mansour had become concerned with the multitude of religious views and interpretations emanating from the same religion and feared their divisive effect on the state. So he sent for Imam Malik and asked him to amalgamate all these in one to unify people’s outlooks. Imam Malik produced his famous book al-Muwatta’, with which al-Mansour was greatly pleased and wanted it to become a law that binds all Muslims. This horrified Imam Malik and asked for it not to be made so, because the Prophet’s companions have travelled to different lands and took with them much knowledge, so allow people to choose what they see fit. This is why we see that one school of thought is dominant in the Maghreb, while another is so in the Levant, and yet another in Egypt…etc

It is due to the absence of a church in Islam that what remains is the freedom of thought and interpretation. This will naturally lead to a diversity in interpretation, and there is no harm in that except when we need to legislate, at which time we are in need of a mechanism, and the best mechanism that mankind has come up with is the electoral and democratic one which produces representatives of the nation and makes these interpretations a collective as opposed to an individual effort. Again, in the absence of a church representing the sacred on earth and a spokesperson of the Qur’an, the nation is the only manifestation of divine will through its interactions and not any particular scholar, party, or state.

When al-Ma’moun (Abbassid Caliph) wanted to impose one interpretation of the Quran and one particular understanding of Islamic creed (that of the Mu’tazili school), Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal revolted and refused the state’s attempt to dominate religion. This lead to him being persecuted and tortured, but in the end he managed to turn public opinion against the state and force al-Ma’moun to cede.

While the problematique in the west revolved around ways of liberating the state from religion and lead to destructive wars, in our context the problem is one of liberating religion from the state and preventing it from dominating religion, and keeping the latter in the societal realm, open to all Muslims to read the Qur’an and understand it in the manner that they deem appropriate, and that there is no harm in the plurality that is combined with tolerance. But should Muslims be in need of laws, the democratic mechanism is the best embodiment of the Shura (consultation) value in Islam.

It is of the utmost importance that our heritage is devoid of a church. Maybe only our Shi’ah brothers hold the belief in a religious institution, but in the Sunni world there is no such a thing save for a council of scholars which are usually in disagreement and hold different views. For this reason, we are in need of scholars and intellectuals to debate and study our issues in a climate of freedom and accept that the legislative institution is the ultimate authority by virtue of being elected.

There is a debate that is currently ongoing in our country between secular currents which may be described as extremist and Islamist ones which may be described in like manner. One would like to impose their understanding of Islam from above using state tools and apparatuses and the other aspires to strip the state, educational curricula, and national culture of all Islamic influences. At a time when the whole world, including the Islamic world, is witnessing a religious awakening, and having seen the role played by the Catholic Church in the development of Eastern Europe, starting with the efforts of Pope John Paul II, and also the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the success of Putin’s presidential campaign. At such a junction in time, it is unreasonable to object to religious influence on the state’s cultural and educational policies. In fact, we do not need do impose Islam because it is the people’s religion and not the elite’s, and Islam has not endured for so long because of states’ influence but rather due to the large acceptance it enjoys among its adherents, in fact the state has often been a burden on religion.

As I said, many of those who belong to the Islamist current and others fear the religion’s emancipation from the state to be left as a societal matter. Why does the state train Imams? Why does it control mosques?

The issue of the state’s neutrality involves a great deal of risk and adventure. If what is meant by the separation between religion and state is that the state is a human product and religion a divine revelation as the distinction was made clear in the context of the early Muslims between the realm of revelation (wahy) and what was the realm of the political, then it is ok. But if what is mean is the separation in the French sense or in accordance with the Marxist experience then we may engage in a dangerous adventure that may harm both religion and state. The total stripping of the state from religion would turn the state into a mafia, and the world economic system into an exercise in plundering, and politics into deception and hypocrisy. And this is exactly what happened in the Western experience, despite there being some positive aspects. International politics became the preserve of a few financial brokers owning the biggest share of capital and by extension the media, through which they ultimately control politicians.

In this context, people are deeply in need of religion and its spiritual and moral guidance which would enable them to distinguish between right and wrong (halal and haram). And in the absence of a Church that monopolises the definition of what is halal and haram, this task is left to be debated by the elite of thinkers, the people and the media.

Should religion be entirely emancipated from the state and politics, this would also carry some risks whereby things would get out of control and social harmony would be endangered. The way to do it, therefore, is to find a balance that would guarantee people’s freedom and rights, because religion is here to do exactly that. To achieve this balance, we need to go back to the issue of distinguishing between religion and politics and adjust the parameters of what is constant in religion and that which is variable. We need our legislators to be well acquainted, educated and versed in religious values, so that when they are legislating they do not require the tutelage of religious scholars and authorities, and the same goes for politicians. There is no value to any religious observance that is motivated through coercion. It is of no use to turn those who are disobedient to God into hypocrites through the state’s coercive tools. People are created free and while it is possible to have control over their external aspects, it is impossible to do so over their inner selves and convictions.

This is exactly why we saw two models in dealing with issue of the headscarf/veil, the first is a veil that is dictated and imposed by the state and the second is a veil forbidden by it. Once I was in a Muslim country’s (in reference to Saudi Arabia?) airport where all women were covered, but as soon as the plane took off the veils flew away with it. This is a clear failure of that country’s educational system, which was unable to guarantee people’s religiosity except through coercive tools. In Ben Ali’s Tunisia, women were forbidden from wearing the veil and express themselves in whatever appearance they saw fit, also through the state’s coercive means. This was also a failure.

The primary orbit for religion is not the state’s apparatuses, but rather personal/individual convictions. The state’s duty, however, is to provide services to people before anything else, to create job opportunities, and to provide good health and education not to control people’s hearts and minds. For this reason, I have opposed the coercion of people in all its forms and manifestation and have dealt with such controversial topics such as al-Riddah (apostasy) and have defended the freedom of people to either adhere to or defect from a religious creed, based on the Qur’anic verse that says: ‘there is no compulsion in religion’.

There is no meaning in forcing people to become Muslims, the Muslim nation has in no need for hypocrites who manifest belief and conceal disbelief. Freedom is the primary value through which a person adheres to Islam, so he who announces his shahadatayn (‘I declare that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his final Messenger’) does so on the basis of free choice underpinned by awareness and conviction. In this manner, the state is Islamic insofar that it assures its actions are in accordance with Islam’s values without being subjected to the tutelage of any religious institution for there is no such a thing in Islam. Rather there is a people and a nation who are the decision makers through their institutions.

When the Meccan people objected to Muhammad’s religion, he asked them not to interfere with his preaching activities and to allow him the freedom to communicate his message to the people. Had the Meccans accorded the Prophet (pbuh) the freedom of expression, he would not have immigrated and left his homeland. But because his message was so powerful, they could not offer an alternative to counteract it. This is why Muslims consider Islam’s proof to be so powerful that there is no need to coerce people, and when the voice of Islam proclaims ‘Produce your proof if ye are truthful’ this challenge is being proposed at the heart of the political and intellectual conflict.

Thus, the greater part of the debate taking place nowadays in our country is a misunderstanding of such concept as secularism and Islam. We demonstrated that secularism is not an atheist philosophy but merely a set of procedural arrangements designed to safeguard the freedom of belief and thought as Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri distinguished, in his writings, between partial and total secularisms. An example of the latter would be the Jacobin model in French history. In their war on priesthood, the Jacobins’ raised the following slogan: « strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. » This is a French specificity and not the absolute definition of secularism. There is also an ambiguity regarding Islam, for there are those who believe that Islam can only be victorious by confiscating people’s freedom and imposing prayers, fasting, and the veil through force. This would be far from being a success, for Allah Almighty had considered hypocrisy to be the greatest crime, and the hellfire to be the eternal abode of Hypocrites.

The fact that our revolution has succeeded in toppling a dictator, we ought to accept the principle of citizenship, and that this country does not belong to one party or another but rather to all of its citizens regardless of their religion, sex, or any other consideration. Islam has bestowed on them the right to be citizens enjoying equal rights, and to believe in whatever they desire within the framework of mutual respect, and observance of the law which is legislated for by their representatives in parliament.

This is my understanding of things, and my view with regards to Islam’s relation to secularism. I hope that I have touched on the main issues, and I thank you profusely for your attention.

Zulkifli Hasan
Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt




Pada 1961, Presiden Habib Burguiba mengejutkan seluruh rakyat Tunisia apabila mengiystiharkan larangan berpuasa di bulan Ramadhan bagi semua penjawat awam. Bagi menunjukkan komitmen larangan ini, seluruh anggota Kabinet telah mengadakan majlis makan tengahari dan ditayangkan secara langsung di media elektronik. Arahan tegahan untuk berpuasa di bulan Ramadhan ini di buat berdasarkan andaian bahawa ianya akan mengurangkan produktiviti dan ini tidak baik untuk negara.

Tindakan yang dibuat oleh Presiden Habib Burguiba ini jelas menunjukkan kejahilan dan ketidaktahuan sejarah Islam. Sejarah telah mencatatkan banyak peristiwa penting umat Islam berlaku pada bulan Ramadhan. Ramadhan bukan menjadi penghalang kepada produktiviti mahupun penyebab kemunduran bahkan ianya adalah bulan kemenangan bagi umat Islam. Bermula dari penurunan wahyu pertama kepada Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam diikuti kemenangan umat Islam dalam peperangan Badar, Khandaq dan Hunain, penaklukan kota Mekah serta kejayaan mendapatkan kembali bumi Al Aqsa semasa era Salahuddin al Ayubi. Pada bulan Ramadhan juga empayar Rome ditakluki dan seterusnya menjadikan negara Islam sebagai salah satu kuasa besar.

Berbanding dengan zaman kegemilangan umat Islam terdahulu, pada masa ini, sesungguhnya umat Islam melalui masa-masa getir dengan pelbagai peristiwa dan tragedi yang berlaku di serata dunia. Walaupun kesemua negara Islam telah mencapai kemerdekaan setelah dijajah puluhan atau ratusan tahun, umat Islam masih berada dalam keadaan yang menyedihkan. Dengan mengenang nasib umat Islam di Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Selatan Thailand dan Filipina, Sudan, Bosnia, Chechnya, China dan lain-lain yang tidak dapat ditulis dalam ruangan yang kecil ini, terdetik sejenak mengapakah peristiwa ini berlaku sedangkan umat Islam telah dianugerahi dengan nikmat Islam dan iman. Bahkan Ramadhan sudah semestinya menjadi institusi paling berkesan mendidik dan melatih umat Islam untuk kemajuan dan pembangunan. Sehubungan dengan itu, artikel ini serba sedikit akan mengupas intipati Ramadhan dan mengaitkannya dengan penghayatan kemerdekaan.

Carta Prestasi Umat Islam Seiring Dengan Sambutan Ramadhan

Seiring dengan sambutan Ramadhan yang sudah melebihi 1400 tahun, artikel ini cuba memberikan sedikit gambaran tentang status umat Islam pada hari ini. Dalam konteks Malaysia, penulis juga ingin berkongsi fakta mengenai keadaan umat Islam setelah 56 tahun kemerdekaan. Fakta-fakta ini bakal menimbulkan satu persoalan mengapa umat Islam pada hari ini termasuk di Malaysia masih ketinggalan, mundur dan miskin. Penulis berpandangan bahawa salah satu punca kemunduran umat Islam pada hari ini adalah kerana gagal untuk memahami dan menghayati intipati dan aspirasi Ramadhan.

Berkenaan dengan pendidikan, laporan yang dikeluarkan oleh Yarmouk Universiti mengenai kedudukan universiti dan penyelidikan umat Islam sesuai dijadikan rujukan untuk membuka minda mengenai status umat Islam. Laporan ini mencatatkan bahawa di 57 negara OIC, hanya terdapat lebih kurang 1000 universiti. Jika dibandingkan dengan negara lain, Jepun misalnya mempunyai 1000 universiti manakala di Amerika sahaja, terdapat 5,758 universiti.

57 Negara OIC ini juga ketinggalan dari aspek penyelidikan di mana hanya keluarkan lebih kurang 500 PhD setahun berbanding di UK sahaja melahirkan 5,000 graduan PhD. Didapati tiada negara Islam yang memperuntukkan lebih dari 0.5% daripada GDP untuk penyelidikan berbanding di Jepun, Amerika dan Jerman yang memperuntukkan sekurang-kurangnya 2.5% daripada GDP mereka. Begitu juga yang berlaku dari sudut penerbitan apabila direkodkan bahawa negara Islam hanya menerbitkan kira-kira 100,000 buku dan artikel penyelidikan daripada jumlah 2.1 juta naskhah yang telah diterbitkan di seluruh dunia. Bahkan, hingga kini tiada universiti di negara Islam yang tersenarai sebagai antara 100 terbaik di dunia.

Dari sudut ekonomi, direkodkan bahawa hampir separuh daripada 57 negara OIC diklasifikasikan sebagai ’Negara Berpendapatan Rendah’ dan ’Negara Miskin dan Tinggi Keberhutangn’. 70-85% daripada 1.6 billion orang Islam ini juga dikategorikan sebagai ’non-bankable’ dan 50% hidup di bawah garis kemiskinan serta 25% tiada akses pada kemudahan perubatan dan air bersih. Sebagai contoh revolusi di Tunisia tercetus akibat kesempitan hidup iaitu lebih 40% kadar pengangguran dan lebih 25% dilaporkan sebagai miskin tegar. Situasi yang sama berlaku di Mesir iaitu dengan 80 juta penduduk dan lebih 90% adalah Muslim, direkodkan hampir 50% penduduk adalah miskin dan kadar pengangguran juga mencecah lebih 10%.

Dari aspek GDP, walaupun negara OIC mewakili 70% daripada pengeluaran minyak dunia, GDPnya hanyalah 4.7% daripada GDP dunia, eksport hanya 7.9% daripada jumlah eksport dunia dan 1.3% daripada perdagangan dunia. GDP negara OIC melainkan Turki dan Indonesia adalah kecil daripada syarikat di senarai bursa saham di barat. Umpamanya, GDP Malaysia pada 2009 hanya USD193 billion hanya bersamaan dengan ’market capitalisation’ Google.

Dalam konteks Malaysia, dengan bilangan penduduk Malaysia yang mencecah 28.3 juta, bilangan penagih dadah juga meningkat setiap tahun. Direkodkan setiap hari akan ada 12 penagih baru dan kini bilangan penagih dadah telah melebihi 1.3 juta orang. Lebih menyedihkan umat Islam mewakili 80% angka ini iaitu 1.04 juta manakal Cina, 149,000 dan India, 101,000. Kos penyelenggaraan mereka ini juga menelas kos yang amat besar iaitu mencecah RM8.65 bilion.

Dari sudut ekonomi, walaupun Malaysia telah berjaya menurunkan kadar kemiskinan sejak kemerdekaan, namun didapati umat Islam masih lagi mendominasi statistik penduduk miskin. Sebanyak 5.3% umat Islam dikategorikan sebagai miskin berbanding Cina, 0.6% dan India, 2.5%. Dianggarkan lebih 75% orang miskin di Malaysia adalah umat Islam.

Merujuk kepada fenomena jenayah, Statistik Yayasan Pencegahan Jenayah Malaysia melaporkan statistik kes rogol membabitkan pelajar kian meningkat dan pada tahun 2008 sebanyak 309 kes direkodkan di mana majoriti yang terlibat adalah orang Melayu. Selain daripada itu, Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) juga merekodkan seramai 8,809 pelajar berusia antara 7 dan 18 tahun terlibat dalam kes-kes jenayah yang mana sebanyak 72.7% adalah umat Islam berbanding India, 10% dan dan Cina, 7.3%. Lebih menyedihkan, kes buang bayi juga didominasi oleh umat Islam apabila PDRM melaporkan lebih 80% yang didakwa terlibat adalah umat Islam.

Krisis yang melanda umat Islam ini sudah tentu menimbulkan tandatanya berkenaan dengan fungsi Ramadhan sebagai institusi pendidikan membentuk akhlak dan menjadi pencetus al falah (kejayaan dunia dan akhirat). Adalah amat penting untuk kita menelusuri intipati Ramadhan dan hubungkaitnya dari aspek sosio-ekonomi dan masyarakat.

Kegagalan Menghayati Aspirasi Ramadhan Antara Punca Permasalahan

Merenung kepada fakta dan angka tersebut di atas, jelas menunjukkan umat Islam kini menghadapi krisis yang perlu ditangani segera. Persoalannya di sini, mengapa dan kenapa ianya berlaku sedangkan disepakati bahawa Islam itu agama yang syumul, sempurna dan merupakan cara hidup. Lebih-lebih lagi Islam memperuntukkan sebuah institusi pembersihan jiwa mendidik rohani dan jasmani yang perlu dilalui oleh setiap umat Islam selama sebulan setiap tahun.

Institusi Ramadhan merupakan sebuah institusi yang diperuntukkan khusus oleh Allah untuk melatih, mendidik, menyucikan jiwa dan fizikal umat Islam. Ia umpama sebuah kem, sekolah, universiti atau institusi lain yang menyediakan modul untuk membina kekuatan diri. Bagi memotivasikan umat Islam, Allah menjanjikan pelbagai insentif yang hampir mustahil untuk ditolak umpamanya malam ’lailatul qadr’ yang hanya ditawarkan kepada umat Nabi Muhammad Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Sekiranya ruh Ramadhan ini dihayati, umat Islam pasti selepas ini akan dapat mengembalikan kegemilangan Islam sepertimana yang dikecapi satu masa dahulu. Dengan itu, penulis berpandangan bahawa antara punca utama permasalahan yang berlaku hari ini ialah kegagalan umat Islam untuk menjadikan institusi Ramadhan sebagai medan membentuk syahsiah diri mencapai darjat ketaqwaan.

Memahami dan Menghayati Intipati Ramadan

Kenapa Ramadhan?

Timbul persoalan mengapa Ramadhan amat penting sebagai institusi mendidik diri. Jawapannya sudah pastilah kerana ianya arahan Allah kepada hambanya agar dapat membina kekuatan jiwa dan iman melalui proses pentaqwaan diri. Kenapa pula Ramadhan dipilih sebagai institusi latihan dan ujian? Ini berkemungkinan amat berkait rapat dengan hadith Nabi Sallallahualaihiwasallam yang menyebut bahawa apabila Ramadhan menjelang tiba maka pintu syurga dibuka, ditutup pintu neraka serta dibelenggu para syaitan (Al-Bukhari dan Muslim).

Bertepatan dengan makna Ramadhan yang bermaksud panas iaitu bulan menghanguskan dosa, Allah telah memberikan peluang kepada umat Islam untuk beramal dan beribadah tanpa gangguan hasutan syaitan. Segala kelakuan dan perbuatan di bulan Ramadhan menjadi cermin sebenar tatkala syaitan dirantai daripada menghasut dan membisik. Allah telah memberikan peluang yang sangat tinggi nilainya ini untuk umat Islam membentuk dan membina syahsiah diri dengan hanya perlu berhadapan dengan hawa nafsu tanpa dipengaruhi oleh bisikan syaitan.

Taqwa Sebagai Objektif Ramadhan

Tidak dapat dinafikan pelbagai hikmah Ramadhan dan puasa yang dapat dibuktikan melalui kajian saintifik sehinggakan terdapat di Amerika, ‘Fasting Centre International Incorporation’ sebuah institusi yang mempromosikan puasa sebagai cara untuk mencegah dan memulihkan penyakit. Namun begitu, kelebihan berpuasa sama ada dari sudut kesihatan mahupun dari aspek yang lain bukanlah merupakan matlamat utama Ramadhan. Objektif utama Ramadhan dirakamkan oleh Allah dengan jelas di dalam al Quran iaitu untuk mencapai darjah ketaqwaan.

“Hai orang-orang yang beriman, diwajibkan atas kamu berpuasa sebagaimana diwajibkan atas orang-orang sebelum kamu agar kamu bertakwa” (Al-Baqarah: 183)

Melalui ayat di atas tersangatlah jelas bahawa melalui kalimah ‘la’alla’ itu yang bermaksud, ‘agar’ atau ‘semoga’ atau ‘mudah-mudahan’ menunjukkan matlamat sebenar puasa Ramadhan iaitu tidak lain dan tidak bukan mencapai makam taqwa. Kelebihan taqwa ini dinukilkan Allah di dalam surah al A’raf ayat 26 yang bermaksud “Hai anak Adam, sesungguhnya Kami telah menurunkan kepadamu pakaian untuk menutupi auratmu dan pakaian indah untuk perhiasan. Dan pakaian Taqwa itulah yang paling baik. Yang demikian itu adalah sebahagian dari tanda-tanda kekuasaan Allah, mudah-mudahan mereka selalu ingat”.

Sekiranya dirujuk kembali, pengertian taqwa bukan sahaja bererti takut namun ianya juga membawa maksud yang lebih luas. Ibn Kathir menyatakan taqwa berasal daripada perkataan tawaqqi, iaitu menjaga diri daripada perkara yang tidak diingini. Imam Ibn Kathir menerangkan Taqwa di dalam tafsirnya dengan merujuk kisah dialog Umar al Khattab dan Ubay bin Kaab. Dalam kisah ini Ubay memberikan analogi Taqwa dengan perumpamaan orang melalui jalan berduri di mana sudah pastinya seseorang itu berhati-hati bagi mengelakkan terpijak duri.

Bagi merumuskan makna taqwa, kata-kata daripada Ali Bin Abi Talib sangat relevan untuk dirujuk. Beliau merumuskan ciri taqwa itu kepada empat iaitu takut kepada azab dan murka Allah, yakin dengan al Quran, redha dengan sedikit nikmat dan sedia menghadapi hari kematian. Keempat-empat ciri inilah yang menjadikan seorang yang bertaqwa itu mempunyai peribadi unggul dan jiwa yang merdeka.

Di samping memahami taqwa sebagai matlamat Ramadhan, ianya juga membuktikan keadilan Allah. Sesungguhnya Allah menilai seseorang itu melalui kaca mata taqwa dan bukan dari kualiti yang lain. Taqwa itu boleh dicapai oleh sesiapa sahaja sama ada individu itu kaya, miskin, gemuk, kurus, cantik, kurang upaya, ternama dan sebagainya. Melalui penilaian taqwa ini Allah jelas menunjukkan keadilannya di mana semua manusi berpotensi untuk mencapai makam taqwa dan seterusnya mendapat kasih dan rahmat Allah.

Taqwa Sebagai Asas Penghayatan Ramadhan

Ketaqwaan merupakan satu bentuk penghambaan diri hanya kepada Allah iaitu membebaskan diri secara total dari perhambaan dengan manusia. Dalam konteks Malaysia, walaupun tidak dinafikan negara telah mencapai kemajuan namun begitu, masih terdapat banyak permasalahan dan krisis sosial yang berlaku pada umat Islam. Berdasarkan fakta yang tersebut di atas, jelas menunjukkan umat Islam di Malaysia masih lagi dibelenggu masalah sosial, ekonomi dan lain-lain. Permasalahan penagihan dadah, jenayah, kemiskinan, pendidikan dan sebagainya masih menghantui dan membelenggu umat Islam. Penulis berpandangan di antara punca permasalahan ini ialah kerana kegagalan menghayati ruh Ramadhan dan juga umat Islam menghadapi krisis taqwa. Sekiranya taqwa itu dijadikan sebagai dasar pembangunan diri, bangsa dan negara sudah pasti umat Islam akan kembali dihormati dan mendapat kedudukan yang sewajarnya.

Islah Al Nafs ’Reformasi Diri’ Ke arah Ketaqwaan?

Secara umumnya amalan umat Islam dalam bulan Ramadhan selama ini tidak akan berjaya merealisasikan aspirasi untuk mencapai darjah ketaqwaan. Amalan Ramadhan umat Islam hari ini adalah tidak sama dengan amalan para salaf al-salih. Dahulu, para sahabat Rasulullah menanti-nantikan dan merindui Ramadhan. Mereka bergembira menghidupkan Ramadhan dengan tarawih, tadarus, tahajud, qiyamullail dan sebagainya. Laungan selawat dan tasbih menguasai suasana. Amalan bersedekah menjadi lumrah dan kebajikan golongan tidak berkemampuan diambil berat dan dibela. Di kala Ramadhan meninggalkan mereka, para sahabat menangis dan bersedih kerana takut tidak ketemu lagi Ramadhan yang mulia. Alangkah indahnya suasana Ramadhan ketika itu.

Kini, syawal lebih dinantikan berbanding Ramadhan. Suasana Ramadhan hanya meriah tatkala di permulaannya. Masjid dan surau hanya penuh di awal Ramadhan dan hampir lengang diakhirnya. Di sepanjang jalan kelihatan bazaar Ramadhan yang dihadiri ribuan umat Islam membeli juadah berbuka walaupun waktu Maghrib hampir menjelang tiba. Lagu-lagu raya dimainkan di mana-mana tatkala selawat dan salam lebih utama. Paling menyedihkan jumlah kehilangan nyawa akibat kemalangan jalanraya terus berleluasa dan tidak kurang angka statistiknya.

Setelah melihat kepada situasi dan amalan Ramadhan umat Islam pada hari ini secara umumnya, dapatlah disimpulkan bahawa Ramadhan yang disambut setiap tahun itu tidak akan dapat mengubah diri, masyarakat negara dan umat. Ini memandangkan amalan Ramadhan itu tidak dimanifestasikan dengan matlamat ketaqwaan. Di dalam berbicara mengenai matlamat ketaqwaan, persoalan yang besar diajukan ialah bagaimana atau apakah formula untuk mencapai darjat ketaqwaan. Umat Islam pada hari ini perlu melakukan transformasi diri atau dalam erti kata lain melaksanakan proses ’Islah al Nafs’ atau reformasi diri. Sepertimana perkara yang lain, usaha untuk mencapai taqwa perlu melalui proses ’reformasi diri’. ’Islah al Nafs’ ini perlu dilaksanakan satu persatu secara konsisten, ikhlas dan itqan. Penulis membahagikan proses mencapai makam ketaqwaan ini kepada empat fasa seperti berikut: –

(a) Berilmu.

Ketaqwaan tidak akan dapat dicapai melainkan dengan ilmu. Hanya dengan ilmu yang sahih dapat memberi petunjuk kepada kita mengenai cara dan amalan yang boleh mendekatkan diri kepada Allah. Hanya dengan ilmu yang benar bersumberkan nas-nas yang sahih akan memastikan amalan yang dilakukan diterima Allah. Amalan dan ibadah yang bertentangan dengan amalan Rasulullah dan berunsurkan bidaah dhalalah bukan sahaja tidak diterima oleh Allah bahkan ianya boleh menjadi faktor kemurkaan Allah.

(b) Beramal

Taqwa itu sangat berkait rapat dengan amalan. Tanpa amalan walaupun berilmu tidak akan dapat membuatkan seseorang mencapai darjat ketaqwaan. Begitu juga amalan yang dibuat sambil lewa juga tidak mendapat perhatian daripada Allah. Amalan Ramadhan Rasulullah sesungguhnya perlu dijadikan panduan dan rujukan dalam segenap aspek. Dalam hal ini setiap amalan itu juga perlu mempunyai ciri-ciri Itqan, Istiqamah dan Ikhlas.

(i) Itqan: Rasulullah bersabda: Allah mengasihi seorang hamba kalau ia melakukan sesuatupekerjaan ia melakukannya dengan sempurna (Al-Tabarani).
(ii) Istiqamah: Dan sesungguhnya amal yang paling dicintai Allah adalah yang terus menerus meskipun sedikit.(Muttafaq ‘alaih)
(iii) Ikhlas: Amirul Mu’minin, Abi Hafs Umar Al Khattab, dia berkata: Saya mendengar Rasulullah bersabda: Sesungguhnya setiap perbuatan tergantung niatnya. Dan sesungguhnya setiap orang (akan dibalas) berdasarkan apa yang dia niatkan. Siapa yang hijrahnya karena (ingin mendapatkan keridhaan) Allah dan Rasul-Nya, maka hijrahnya kepada (keridhaan) Allah dan Rasul-Nya. Dan siapa yang hijrahnya karena dunia yang dikehendakinya atau karena wanita yang ingin dinikahinya maka hijrahnya (akan bernilai sebagaimana) yang dia niatkan (Bukhari dan Muslim).

(c) Berdoa dan Bertawakkal

Berdoa merupakan senjata orang mukmin. Sebagai hamba kepada Allah, amalan berdoa dengan sepenuh hati tanpa jemu akan menjadikan diri merasa sangat kecil di hadapan Allah. Doa ini pula mesti diikuti dengan tawakkal iaitu konsep berserah pada ketentuan Allah. Konsep doa dan tawakkal ini yang akan menambahkan ciri ketaqwaan kepada Allah di mana ianya memperlihatkan peranan kita sebagai hamba Allah yang menyerahkan sepenuh jiwa raga kepadaNya.

(d) Syukur dan Redha

Setelah melalui ketiga-tiga fasa di atas, setiap individu yang ingin mencapai darjat ketaqwaan perlu memenuhi ciri-ciri fasa terakhir iaitu syukur dengan nikmat dan anugerah Allah dan redha dengan apa sahaja ujian, pemberian dan penentuan Allah. Konsep syukur dan redha ini merupakan natijah dari ilmu, amal, doa dan tawakkal. Melalui institusi Ramadhan yang menguji keimanan melalui pembentukan jiwa menerusi amalan ibadah yang disyariatkan akan dapat mendidik diri ke arah pembinaan insan yang bertaqwa.


Ruh dan intipati Ramadhan perlu diberi penghayatan dan diterjemahkan ke dalam hidup umat Islam sepertimana hidupnya Ramadhan sewaktu zaman Rasulullah. Penghayatan Ramadhan melalui penterjemahan ruh dan intipatinya merupakan pencetus kepada matlamat ketaqwaan. Makam Taqwa itu pula penentu kepada harga diri kita di mata Allah. Hanya dengan pakaian taqwa kita akan mendapat rahmat dan berkat Allah serta mempunyai harga di mata Allah. Apabila kita mendapat rahmat Allah ini, maka dengan itu jugalah segala usaha ke arah pembangunan diri, negara, bangsa dan umat akan mendapat keberkatan dan tidak akan menjadi sia-sia. Sesuai dengan sambutan Ramadhan tahun ini, marilah kita jadikan Ramadhan sebagai titik tolak dan asas pengukuhan Taqwa demi kesejahteraan umat Islam. Hayatilah roh Ramadhan al-Mubarak hanya untuk mendapat keredhaan Allah dan hidupkanlah semarak semangat kemerdekaan melalui penghayatan Ramadhan serta jadikan taqwa sebagai dasar pembangunan ke arah kecemerlangan dunia dan akhirat.

Best Regards
Zulkifli Hasan

With Professor Tariq Ramadhan, (Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, Oxford University).