Politics requires the skill to integrate the real with the ideal. However you may interpret Qur’anic statements of the rights of human beings, merging them into our body politic may be the most difficult demand of Articles 3(1) and 37(1) of our Federal Constitution, which positions Islam as the religion of the federation. And this demand is recently being more seriously addressed in Putrajaya.
Detractors of the Prime Minister’s recent noble efforts to define Malaysia’s stand in this regard completely fail to recognize the historical importance of what he is trying to do. In this admittedly confusing state of the post-socialist world, only Islam properly understood and expressed can fill the vacuüm created by the fall of both the Soviet Union and the capitalist free-market America.
Inevitably, the “passions” of the less-well-educated will distort even Islam’s messages in their application to the present cries of despair of both the human race and our Mother Earth, to be saved from the End-Time tribulations that are coming closer and closer to home, that is, the Ummah’s daily life and times. Assigning blame is seldom fruitful for conflict-resolution, and so we leap, together with our Prime Minister, over the many changing interpretations of the United Nations Human Rights Declaration 1948 as well as what some have called “Islamofascism”, into the most sincere attempt yet mounted to reply to the liberal-secular solutions of both the American and French Revolutions, which were also, in a few aspects, a reply to mass cries of despair. To quote our Christian friends, “De profundis clamavi” — we cry from the depths of our suffering. And yet, Islam enjoins us to make efforts to change for the better, and, whatever the critics may say, that is what Putrajaya is now trying to do. This was indeed the Prime Minister’s message when he warned us the danger of ‘human rights-ism‘, human rights as the new secular religion.
CENTHRA — the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy — has been tasked with the historically unique effort to fully integrate the Islāmic idealism, the last revelation, with the true human rights understanding and practice of the common people. And in Malaysia, our beneficial inheritance of the Islāmic institutions as well as of the Malay-Muslim Sultanate system which has been such a big part of our religion and history, and whose unifying influence we will always need, may still be included in the governance we evolve as our education and understanding improve. Malaysia is a pioneer in this integration as well.
Until we can represent a truly holistic vision of human rights to the United Nations and others, we will never be able to fully embrace the Islāmic ideals as taught by us by the Qur’an and Sunnah, and other established and agreed sources of the Islāmic tradition.
Will it be possible? Can little Malaysia change the entire course of Islāmic and human history by finally solving the immense dilemma of securing, once and for all, truly virtuous and spiritually-based Human Rights for one and all? Not by casting all religious considerations and doctrine to the side, as the United Nations tries to do, but rather by satisfying mankind’s deepest needs to worship their Creator while organizing their lives on this earth? This is the Prime Minister’s challenge to us all, and his no doubt fervent prayer for the success of his policies and governing methods. Should we not join him in these prayers?