FAKE NEWS & LACK OF FAITH

The recently-passed 2018 Anti-Fake News Act 803 has been criticised left, right and centre. Many have claimed it would not only restrict the citizens’ rights to freedom of speech, but worse, it has been said to stifle freedom of thinking. This is because the punishment meted out upon conviction is a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand ringgit or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or to both is said to be draconian in nature. People would be subjected to psychological censorship for fear of harsh repercussions just for sharing information.

Yet, in essence, the Act was passed as a result of rampant unverified and false news and information circulated and forwarded by public communities at large. According to the Act, “fake news” includes “any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas”.

As the term denotes, “fake news” is devoid of truth from its reality. It is an invention, creation, manipulation from non-existence into news, information or data which do not correspond to the truth on the ground and reality. Fake news could be in the form of exaggerations until it loses its truth and reality, or a mix of truth and falsehood or completely devoid of truth.

Interestingly, the person who is said to have used the term “fake news” and made it popular and widely used now is none other than the current US President, Donald Trump. Trump is reported to have used the term more than 66 times in his Twitter feed within a short span of time which became eventually voted as the most popular term for 2017.

In this age of the internet and social media where just about anyone can be a publisher and author, news and information can be spread easily in a split second by a mere tap on the keyboard. The upside to it is its speed in real time and thus information can be relayed fast, but the downside is it lacks responsibility on the part of the senders. By simply clicking “share” or “forward” buttons, the unverified information is spread over the globe fast and easy.

In Islam, men are taught to verify truth not only about matters in life, but more so to truth and validity about the religious beliefs they themselves hold so as not to blindly follow their forefathers or ancestors. In a celebrated work of faith in Islam titled al-Aqa’id al-Nasafi, Imam al-Taftazani (d.1390) states that one of the sources of knowledge is true reports (khabar al-sadiq), whose definitions, being one of which is that, there is no possibility that people (having in mind of their different locations, places and time) could gather together to form a lie on the news.

Fundamentally, part of the Islamic teachings as spread by the Prophet’s hadiths (sayings) is based on sound, authentic and verified chains of transmission reports from its first revelation since the first generation of Islam, as recorded in the history. Hence, the veracity of the hadiths are ensured by the integrity of its narrators.

Thus in Islam, the issue about the veracity of any information and news, as practised in the transmission of hadiths, is highly crucial and important as it relates to everything in life; from religious conviction to the mundane and temporal world issues. For true Muslims and believers, the act of lying, deceit, made-up stories, slander, fabrications of falsehood and the like are categorically prohibited and cursed by Allah in the Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Nur verse 7:

“… the curse of Allah be upon him, if he should be among the liars”…

Indeed, there are many more Qur’anic verses as well as Prophetic traditions on similar prohibitions. In spite of this, then why are there still Muslims involved in churning out fake news? The answer is simple: Lack of Iman (faith)! Men of strong faith will never fabricate news or spread fake news, and Muslims who persist in it in reality are without iman and only a Muslim in name. Just as the case of Muslims involved in bribery, and other criminal and immoral activities such as prostitution, it does not at all reflect Islam’s approval of such acts. On the contrary, it merely shows that Islam is not practised and lived fully by such people.

In spreading fake news, generally at least two types of people are involved. The first is the active doers or fabricators of the fake news. Such people should heed Islamic teachings so that they are not subjected to the curse from Allah as mentioned in verse 7 of Surah al-Nur. Secondly, the innocent “forwarders” or “sharers” who merely forward and share whatever news that come their way and they proudly want to be “the first to know and spread the news”, then such people should be reminded that they would be considered as accomplices in the act and they should be wary of the Quranic verse when Allah intones in Surah al-Hujurat 49, verse 6:

“When a liar (fasiq) comes to you with any news, verify it lest you should harm people in ignorance and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done”.

In conclusion, you don’t really need Anti-Fake News Act or any laws for that matter, if you are a truly practising Muslim and Believer, for you know Allah forbids spreading lies and fake news. The General Election is indeed around the corner, so verify any news and information you receive before sharing them with others. Happy voting!

 

The article was also published on IKIM website:




BOOK REVIEW: THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE OF SYED MUHAMMAD NAQUIB AL‑ATTAS

Ed. John L. Esposito, Reviewed by Maryam Jameelah

Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud, The Educational Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib Al‑Attas, ISTAC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The currency of modern educational ideas in the Islamic lands is a historical testimony to the epical failure of the Muslims over the past two hundred years, and practices are the slow, but inexorable, unraveling of the Muslim mind. Education in the contemporary world is like the most pervasive ‘conveyor belt’ transmitting the ideas of the dominant culture and the values system of politico‑economic elite to the credulous and dominated generations. Education in the true Foucaldian sense is plugged into the grid of reigning ideas and values, not necessarily predicated on ‘truth’. It is also a master technology of control, which leaves nothing untouched. The content of modern education and the whole process of schooling/disciplining are aimed at ‘manufacturing’ human beings to fulfil certain political and socio-economic objectives set by the political powers that be. The individual and the needs of his self are absent from the whole project of modern education. The Muslim case was aggravated by our home grown ‘epistemological lackeys’ who, in their effort to ingratiate the colonial masters, messed up everything. They failed to live up to their traditional religious heritage and discover its relevance in the changed times, and miserably failed to see the West for what it really is.

Occasional sparks of wisdom were visible in the Muslim societies but they were soon overtaken by the ‘secular darkness’ viciously spreading in the Muslim lands in the wake of colonialism. 1qbal’s following couplet now looks poignant: Tāza phir dānish‑e‑ḥāïir ney kiyā wo siḥr‑i‑qadīm. Guzar is ‘ehd mēn mumkin nahīn be chūb‑i‑Kalīm Modern knowledge has revived the ancient magic of Pharaoh. No one can pass through this age without the staff of Moses. Muslim civilization in the present times looks like a tree, withering fast, losing sap, leaf‑less and fruitless, ready to die or about to be cut down for others’ fuel. But lo! All of a sudden a robust and sturdy shoot sprouts from the trunk. The tree lives and the forebodings die. This new symbol of the invigorated Muslim life is none other than the formidable Al‑Attas. And Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud has done a great service to the Muslims in general by writing this book.

It is interesting that as the Muslim heartlands bleed and lie humbled in the face of the renewed colonial onslaught, a man from the backyard of the Muslim civilization unexpectedly emerges to lead the battle for the Muslim soul. No adjectives can do justice to the achievements of Al‑Attas. His contribution to the Muslim intellectual life is original, comprehensive and practically viable. First and foremost, as the author says, he has pointed out the root cause of Muslim malaise as “confusion and error in knowledge”. This sets the stage for all socio‑political, cultural and educational ills. This in turn fundamentally affects the individuals who lose Islamic adab.

Their selves are replicas of falsehood and they span out into all walks of Muslim life, thus aggravating the confusion even further. This vicious coterie of false leaders sets up a macabre play of musical chairs, while the Muslim peoples look on befuddled and bamboozled. In other words, apparent Muslim failure is merely an exteriorisation of a deep‑seated failure which is spiritual and epistemological. Dr. Daud fully elaborates Al‑Attas’ seminal contributions to the religious thoughts and their bearing on the modern Muslim education. Following the tradition of the higher Sufis, Al‑Attas delineates the contours of Islamic metaphysics and world‑view of Islam. His metaphysics is rooted in the Islamic fundamentals as set forth in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Once we get this philosopher’s stone, everything is transmuted. Eyes begin to see and hearts begin to hope. The magical dazzle of the modern secularism and its technological achievements begins to flicker off and we see things in proper perspective. This is adab which is a blessing of proper worldview of Islam. The man of adab is central to the whole Islamic scheme of things. And adab means: recognizing and acknowledging the right and proper places of things, the acquisition of good qualities and attributes as well as actions to discipline the mind and soul, and the avoidance of erroneous actions. Adab is built on knowledge, proper methods of knowing and ḥikmah (wisdom) leading to ‘adl (justice). The book dwells long at Al‑Attas’ most sustained and in‑depth critique of the modern West and its conception of reality. His ideas bring into sharp relief the “the fundamental elements, characteristic of the Western spirit and worldview, that are antithetical to Islam, namely the dualistic view of reality, the secular ideology, the humanistic philosophy and the tragic conception of life”. These elements are worked into the modern humanistic education at universities through literary classics and secular science and philosophy. The modern university suffers from the absence of epistemological authority and the normative ‘character’. The ideals and aims of modern education are always in flux and trapped in a Sisyphean process of becoming. Authority in Muslim education is predicated on the divine guidance and the Absolute Truth of the Holy Qur’an.

The presence of the Holy Prophet at the heart of the Muslim education saves it from the meaninglessness of modern becoming and sets up a model before individuals to emulate and achieve. Islamization of modern knowledge is the natural consequence of Al‑Attas’ Islamic metaphysics. Even at the risk of plagiarism and simplification, a real danger to Al‑Attas’ preternatural ideas, one cannot help saying that Islamization essentially means bringing the farḍ kifāyah knowledge UNDER the purview of the farḍ ‘ayn knowledge. This is what Islamic adab demands and this is what leads to Islamic adab. As soon as the divine touches the mundane, its secular crookedness straightens and its profanity is sanctified. Hierarchical view of reality is central to the whole project of Islamization. Al‑Attas’ perspective on the role of language in the process of Islamization in the early Islamic history and its role in de-Islamization and secularisation of the Muslims in the modern times is an intellectual tour de force. His efforts to rediscover the original definitions of the key terms of Muslim discourse and his resistance to their semantic erosion have greatly strengthened his argument for the Islamization project. If a human being can be ‘Islamised’, so can all his endeavours be. Knowledge, as Dr. Daud shows in the light of his mentor’s ideas, is an attribute of man. Once modern secular knowledge is plugged into the grid of farḍ ‘ayn knowledge, it will be divinely ‘enlightened’. The author makes a convincing case for a radical transformation of Muslim university education, incorporating the ideas of Al‑Attas which have universal relevance. He enumerates all the efforts undertaken in the major Muslim lands in response to the colonial education and the challenge of the modern knowledge and exposes their inadequacy. Interestingly, the author does not mention Jami‘ah Usmāniah, Hyderabad Deccan, where the medium of instruction was Urdu and which produced internationally recognized scholars representing true Muslim character. The Jami‘ah was a glorious effort, begun with great difficulty under the interfering English nose. Pakistan is now paying the wages for its forgetfulness of such a successful venture. The stress to transform the higher education is understandable. It is the higher education in the Muslim lands that has brought us low and it is where we traded our dignity for trivial and ephemeral things.




Hijrah: Muhasabah Untuk Berubah

YBhg. Prof. Madya Dr. Syarifah Hayaati Syed Ismail dalam rancangan Tarbiyah yang bersiaran di radio IKIMfm Jumaat lepas jam 10.15 pagi berbicara tentang “Muhasabah Untuk Berubah”. Kita masih berada di minggu pertama Muharram dalam tahun hijrah 1439. Setiap kali peristiwa hijrah, kita sentiasa mendengar perbincangan berhubung dengan Hijrah Baginda SAW dengan segala pengorbanan Baginda SAW dan parah Sahabat RA. Namun satu aspek lagi apabila bertambahnya tahun, bermakna bertambahnya umur kita. Terasa betapa cepatnya masa berlalu. Dengan bertambahnya tahun bermakna usia kita juga bertambah. Itulah realitinya apabila bertambah hari kita, tahun kita, maka bermakna usia kita juga turut bertambah cuma yang kita tidak pasti ialah berapakah lagi baki hari kita di atas mukabumi ini.  Tiada siapapun yang tahu berapa lama kita akan berada di atas mukabumi ini hatta Baginda SAW sendiri tidak tahu berapa lama Baginda SAW akan berada di atas mukabumi ini.

Dan kerana itu kita katakan dengan kedatangan Tahun Hijrah ini, kita perlu bermusahabah kerana Allah SWT telah memberi peluang kedatangan tahun baru, peluang hidup, walaupun kita bukanlah hamba Allah yang taat dan penuh dengan dosa dan sering melakukan maksiat  namun Allah SWT terus menerus memberi peluang kepada kita setahun demi setahun agar kita berubah ke arah menjadi hamba Allah yang lebih baik. Betapa rahmat dan rahimnya Allah SWT apabila tidak pernah berhenti memberi kita peluang demi peluang walaupun setiap kali peluang yang diberikan itu disia-siakan. Justeru dengan kedatangan tahun hijrah yang baharu ini, hendaklah kita sama-sama mengambil kesempatan ini untuk bermusahabah agar kita berubah menjadi insan yang lebih baik daripada tahun lepas.

Dalam satu hadith Baginda SAW menyebut, mafhumnya: “orang Islam itu ialah dia yang selamat orang lain daripada lidahnya dan tangannya, dan orang yang berhijrah ialah orang yang berpindah daripada apa yang dilarang oleh Allah SWT (kepada yang tidak dilarang)” (HR Bukhari). Ini bermaksud hijrah itu ialah kita meninggalkan perkara-perkara yang dilarang oleh Allah SWT  kepada ketaatan kepada Allah SWT. Allah SWT berfirman dalam Surah al-Hasyr 18-19, mafhumnya “wahai orang-orang yang beriman bertaqwalah!,  dan hendaklah setiap diri itu memerhatikan apa yang dipersiapkan untuk hari esoknya (hari Akhirat),  bertaqwalah (kamu kepada Allah)! Sesungguhnya Allah itu Maha Mengetahui akan apa yang kamu lakukan”.

Bila kita sebut Hijrah, hendaklah ia mengingatkan kita tentang taqwa, pengorbanan, dan ingatkan bahawa masa telah berlalu dengan pantasnya dan baki masa kita di dunia ini semakin singkat. Apabila masa itu berlalu dengan pantas itu juga merupakan tanda-tanda kiamat kecil. Hijrah itu ialah peluang dan perancangan untuk masa depan. Dalam ayat Surah al-Hasyr di atas, “esok hari” itu merujuk kepada Hari Akhirat, bukan esok di dunia ini. Ini menjadi dalil betapa perancangan untuk kehidupan di Akhirat itu amat penting sekali dan ia bermula dengan kehidupan di dunia ini. Kerana itulah Hijrah itu boleh kita katakan peluang, dan apabila kita melihat ada peluang maka kita merancang untuk merebut peluang tersebut. Lantaran itulah Baginda SAW menyebut, berhubung hadith yang sering disebutkan iaitu rebutlah lima perkara sebelum datang lima perkara lain.  Masa mudamu sebelum datang masa tuamu, orang muda mempunyai segala kekuatan dan kegagahan; rebutlah masa kayamu sebelum datanglah masa miskinmu. Masa kita miliki pada kini gunakanlah untuk bersedekah atau seumpamanya. Jangan kita tunggu untuk jadi kaya raya baru kita nak bersedekah. Memadai apa yang kita ada itu kita gunakan untuk bersedekah; rebutlah waktu sihatmu sebelum tiba waktu sakitmu; waktu lapangmu sebelum datang waktu suntukmu.  Akhir sekali yang kelima pesan Nabi SAW ialah “waktu hidupmu sebelum tiba matimu”. Sebab itu kita kena merancang supaya kita dapat kita menggunakan masa dengan sebaik mungkin agar kita tidak terlepas masa yang sedang kita miliki. Hari ini kita menyesal, namun ia masih belum terlewat tetapi sekiranya kita telah tiada usia (mati) maka pada ketika itu penyesalan kita tidak lagi memberi apa-apa makna. Sementara kita mempunyai masa ini maka ambillah iktibar agar dengan kedatangan tahun Hijrah yang baharu ini memberi musahabah kepada kita agar menggunakan sebaik mungkin masa yang berbaki di dunia ini agar menjadi manusia yang bertaqwa kepada Allah SWT.

 

[Rencana ini merupakan suntingan bebas dan inspirasi daripada rancangan Tarbiyyah yang disiarkan di radio IKIMfm. Ia telah disiarkan dalam akhbar Berita Harian pada 29 September 2017. Sebarang kesilapan adalah kesalahan penyunting]




1 Muharram 1439 / 22 September 2017

Alhamdulillah, lama dah berniat untuk terus kembali menulis di blog. Sejak ledakan facebook ini, blog tidak lagi rancak seperti sebelum ini. Pada pandangan saya facebook lebih untuk bersosial di alam maya dengan status santai dan ringkas, tetapi blog atau laman web lebih untuk rencana yang panjang dan mungkin sedikit ilmiah, tetapi masih boleh dikongsi (share) di facebook. Hasrat saya melalui penulisan di blog yang ini dapat dikumpulkan dan ditambahbaik untuk diterbitkan sebagai buku atau kertas kerja. Doakan ianya berhasil demi saham dan jariah di alam sana.

Saya sedang menumpukan untuk menyiapkan 100 soalan lazim tentang tasawuf, kompilasi yang ditambahbaik daripada bahan-bahan yang pernah tersiar dalam majalan Q&A beberapa tahun lalu, terbitan Galeri Ilmu Sdn.Bhd. Doakan ia berhasil. Deraf tulisan tersebut akan saya postkan di blog ini.




Islam Itu Agama Rahmat

[Rencana di bawah ini telah telah disunting untuk siaran dalam akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 17 Mac 2017 dengan tajuk “Sifat Rahmah Penuhi Hak Semua Makhluk”]

NRAS_BH17032017Sheikh Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, seorang tokoh ilmuwan dari Yayasan Imam Nawawi, Chicago Amerika Syarikat ketika bersiaran dalam rancangan Topik Jumaat di radio IKIMfm telah bercakap tentang “Islam itu Agama Rahmat dan Berakhlak Baik”.  Beliau berada di Malaysia dalam rangka menyertai program “Reviving the Islamic Tradition” anjuran YADIM dan Al-Naqiy Solutions yang diadakan pada 4-5 Mac 2017 yang telah dihadiri oleh lebih 3000 orang peserta. Beliau menjelaskan bahawa perkataan “rahmah” yang diterjemahkan dalam bahasa Inggeris sebagai “mercy” seringkali sekadar membawa makna “kemaafan”, sedangkan “rahmah” itu bukan sekadar kemaafan tetapi lebih daripada itu. Rahmah bermaksud memberikan setiap sesuatu apa yang mereka berhak mendapatkannya samada terhadap manusia, haiwan dan sekalian makhluknya.

Allah SWT memberikan manusia di bumi, ikan di laut dan singa di hutan apa yang perlu bagi mereka untuk hidup di bumi, dalam lautan dan di hutan belantara, berdasarkan rahmatNya”.

Dalam sebuah perkahwinan  yang sempurna di sana ada “mawaddah” dan “rahmah” di mana  mawaddah membawa maksud “kasih sayang melindungi” sepertimana kasih sayang seorang ibu yang ingin melindungi anaknya, manakala rahmah pula membawa maksud pasangan itu bersedia memberi kemaafan kepada pasangannya atas segala kelemahan dan kekurangan yang dimiliki, dan dalam masa yang sama bersedia untuk memberikan apa sahaja bagi menyempurna dan melengkapkan kesempurnaan pasangannya menjadi seratus peratus. Rahmah ialah sifat Allah SWT sebagai Sang Pencipta yang dianugerahkan kepada makhluk untuk menjadi apa yang sepatutnya mereka berfungsi.

Adapun apabila kita bercakap tentang “kasih sayang”, ia membawa maksud yang pelbagai dan mempunyai banyak jenis antaranya “mawaddah”. Mawaddah dalam sebuah perkahwinan misalnya adalah salah satu bentuk kasih sayang yang bukan semata menzahirkan cinta antara dua insan, tetapi juga mengambil berat akan kebajikan pasangannya. Sebagai contoh, jika isteri mendapati suaminya seorang yang menghisap rokok, maka mawaddah menuntut isteri agar menasihati suaminya berhenti merokok kerana ia memudaratkan kesihatan pasangannya. Mawaddah bagi seorang doktor  ialah dia akan bertungkus lumus memastikan pesakitnya mendapat rawatan yang terbaik dan cuba menyembuhkan penyakitnya. Mawaddah bagi ibubapa pula ialah mereka berjaga malam, bangun di dinihari bagi memberikan susu dan keperluan untuk anak kecilnya yang menangis, menukar lampinnya dan lain-lain. Mawaddah ini adalah bentuk kasih sayang yang bersifat praktikal. Jenis kasih sayang yang seterusnya ialah “mahabbah”. Mahabbah pula membawa maksud kebersamaan sepertimana biji dan isi yang bersama bagi sebuah buah.  Mahabbah juga dikira tingkatan tertinggi bagi jalan kerohanian iaitu “cinta kepada Allah” di mana ia akan muncul setelah seseorang itu melalui proses yang lama diuji dengan pelbagai ujian dan proses penyucian rohani sehingga mencapai marifah atau ilmu mengenai  Allah.  Dr Umar turut mengungkapkan pesanan Sultan al-Awliya Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani yang mengungkapkan agar “jangan kamu lari daripada musibah kerana ia mengandung kebaikan yang banyak”. Benar kata-kata ini kerana jika diimbau betapa Baginda SAW sendiri diuji sejak daripada kecil lagi. Baginda SAW kematian ayahanda dan bondanya sejak kecil lagi. Kemudiaan datuknya meninggal, bapa saudaranya dan begitu juga isterinya tercinta Sayyidatina Khadijah RA ketika beliau sedang bertungkus lumus memperjuangkan Islam. Baginda SAW terus menerus diuji oleh Allah SWT dalam setiap saat kehidupan Baginda SAW termasuk cubaan dibunuh, peperangan dan lain-lain. Namun ujian dan musibah yang menimpa Baginda SAW itu telah mendidik, mematangkan Baginda SAW sehingga Baginda SAW menjadi utusan Allah atau Rasulullah  yang ulung dan hebat.

DSC_2035Apabila seseorang itu kenal Allah SWT dengan sebenar-benarnya, maka sudah pasti dia akan mencintai Allah SWT kerana mana mungkin orang yang kenal Allah SWT tidak mencintai Allah.  Kecintaan itulah dinamakan Mahabbah. Kalimah seterusnya ialah “salam” pula membawa maksud kesempurnaan, keberadaan dalam keadaan aman dan selamat. Salah satu nama Syurga dinamakan “Al-Salam” kerana segalanya dalam syurga adalah sempurna. Cuma apabila kita bercakap tentang “aman” ia bukan sekadar berlawanan dengan “peperangan” atau huru hara, tetapi ia lebih luas daripada itu. Salah satu nama Allah SWT juga “al-Salam” yang selain membawa maksud selamat,  ia juga membawa maksud kesempurnaan dalam serba serbi tanpa sebarang cacat cela. Allah SWT lah yang memberi keamanan, keselamatan dan kedamaian kepada sekalian makhluknya.

Dr Umar turut mengingatkan bahawa tempat manusia yang sebenarnya adalah Syurga dan sekalian taman-tamannya. Adapun dunia ini, ia merupakan syurga atau taman-taman bagi haiwan yang melata dan sepatutnya manusia tidak berbuat sesuka hati di atas mukabumi hingga mencabuli kedamaian dan keharmonian haiwan-haiwan. Lantaran itulah dalam buku-buku fekah Islam ada menyebut tentang bagaimana sepatutnya berinteraksi dengan makluk-makluk lain agar hak-hak mereka turut dipelihara. Islam terlebih dahulu menjuarai “animal rights” atau  pejuang alam sekitar mendahului masyarakat Barat.