MSU speech

Speech during Doctorate Commencement (MSU) read by Dr. Omar Mababaya

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Mr. President and all Faculty members of MSU
Ladies and gentlemen

  • الحمد لله رب العالمين، الرحمن الرحيم، مالك يوم الدين.-        والحمد لله الذى خلق السموات والأرض وجعل الظلمات والنور.-        والحمد لله الذى أنزل على عبده الكتاب ولم يجعل له عوجا.-        والحمد لله الذى له ما فى السموات والأرض وله الحمد فى  الأولى وفى الأخرة وهو الحكيم الخبير.-        والحمد لله الذى هدانا لهذا وما كنا لنهتدى لو لا أن هدانا الله-        أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله-        وصلى الله وسلم وبارك على نبينا ومولانا محمد رسول الله وخيارته من خلقه خاتم النبيين وأشرف المرسلين وعلى أله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.-        وصلى الله على نبينا كلما ذكره الذاكرون وغفل عن ذكره الغافلون.-        وصلى الله عليه فى الأولين والأخرين أفضل وأكثر وأزكى ما صلى على أحد من خلقه, وزكانا  وإياكم بالصلاة عليه و أفضل ما زكى أحدا من أمته بصلاته عليه.-        أما بعد, فيا عباد الله أوصيني وإياكم بتقوى الله فقد فاز من اتقى, وأحثكم على طاعته لعلكم تفلحون.

I feel very honoured to receive Honorary Doctor in Humanities from Mindanao State University today. I also appreciate very much the opportunity to speak here at the Center of Excellence in the Republic of  Philippines, close to the beautiful, historical center of the only Islamic City in the globe Islamic City of Marawi.  

I am extremely interested to attend this convocation, unfortunately  I can not leave my Country during the terrible tragedies, Earthquake after Zilzalul bahr or Stunami with more than 400,000 died, 35 of them are our community members. Therefore I apologies for this inconvenience and I hope Dr. Omar Mababaya my close friend could represent me to attend the convocation and receive this great honour on behalf of me and Ma’had Al-Zaytun.

Though looking back to a relatively young history, the Mindanao State University  has quickly earned a high reputation, attracting a team of excellent scholars who are teaching at several Colleges and  thousands of motivated and talented students. I am impressed to see the international relationship this university has established, notably with Ma’had Al-Zaytun, A new Educational Institution in Indonesia, which currently I am serving as the Syaykh Al-Ma’had or the Grand Chancellor.As skilled and educated members of Mindanao State University, you play and will continue to play a particular role in your country’s preparations for the more autonomy in the region.

The ARMM will touch all of you as people who, on leaving University or staying in the academic world, will fill a range of jobs in all sectors in ARMM  and ensure the functioning of a stable democracy, peace and tolerance, as requested by the Islamic teaching.Mindanao State University is the center of Higher Educational Jihad, instead of the traditional Weapon’s jihad, which was unable to solve the critical problems in this region, as the problems should be facilitated and solved by Educational only, if we would like to have a good bargaining position in our near future sustainable objectives.

The MSU community members are the picture of peace and tolerance development implementation which should be implemented in the whole area of Mindanao Island, especially in the ARMM, because  Peace and tolerance are  the foundation of Islamic teaching.

 A wrong perception about Islam and MuslimsThe only way to really understand the problems in the Muslim’s world is to better understand its history – in particular, the history of Muslim reactions to Western power, influence, religion and policies. Even then, a complete understanding may be elusive, but without greater historical background, it won’t even be possible.

Very quickly, a study of the history of the region leads to the question: What went wrong?This is a question which has plagued Muslims for generations, and it should command more attention from Westerners, because it is precisely this sense that something has gone wrong which inspires action – sometimes violent action – in so many devout Muslims. Bernard Lewis’ recent book, written before the September 11th terrorist attacks, is aimed at addressing this very issue.

The book is short, but it is packed with a great deal of history and historical analysis regarding the development of Islam and how Muslims have reacted to the West.Why is there a sense that something has gone wrong? Because there was a time when Islamic civilisation was at the forefront of all human civilisations. When European cities were still but villages, Muslim cities had paved streets and even street lights.

The very best in scientific and philosophical works were produced by Muslim thinkers. More tolerance for different religious beliefs could be found in Muslim lands than just about anywhere else. I have visited the historical evidence about the glorious age in the Andalucia’s provinces in theKingdom of Spain a few years ago and found that all comments are true and corrects.

Today, however, the opposite is true – Muslim countries lag far behind most places in terms of science, philosophy, culture, and general tolerance. In Lewis’ words, “Compared with its millennial rival, Christendom, the world of Islam had become poor, weak, and ignorant.” When was the last time a Muslim scientist in Egypt or Pakistan won a Nobel Prize for scientific achievement? Why is it that no great Muslim singers tour concert halls around the world? Why can the greatest religious repression be found in Muslim countries? Why such a dramatic change? What happened?Muslims identify which historical events much more closely than do most Westerners, and this makes them more willing to see a continuation between past and current injustices.

There is a widespread feeling in the Muslim’s world that something has “gone wrong,” and understanding how and why this perception exists is important to better understand the many attempts to “fix” things.When such dramatic reversals of cultural and national fortune occur, response can fall into two general categories:

  • A focus on finding external (and some internal) enemies to blame,
  • or a focus on internal failings of those who have simply strayed from the “true” path.Today, we can see both occurring among Muslims.

On the one hand, we see attacks on the West and on Israel as engaging in a deliberate conspiracy, often along with corrupt Muslim leaders, to destroy Islam and eliminate Muslims.On the other hand, we see calls to a “renewal” of “pure” Islam because people’s failure to stay true to the original faith is what has caused their current problems.

Some Religious Leader, typically use both arguments in their effort to attract a following.Can the actual causes for the decline of power, influence and productivity in Muslim nations be identified? Bernard Lewis does not attempt to give any easy answers to such a complex and difficult question. Instead, he points out some basic facts of history and culture which, it seems, have played an important role in what has happened. In doing so, he presents a general survey of Islamic history and of Muslim responses to non-Muslim culture – a survey which is, in itself, very interesting and engaging.

One of the important factors which Lewis discusses is external and can be found in how Islam differs from Christianity. From the very beginning, Christianity has included at least an implicit acceptance of a separation between church and state. Christianity was a minority religion and at times an oppressed one, thus clerical power had to develop separate from, and often in opposition to, political power.Such a separation did not always continue, but at least the seeds were always there and helped in the later development of a truly secular culture, generally independent of church domination.

This secular culture, in turn, allowed for greater cultural, political and scientific diversity and experimentation. It is not a coincidence that the era when the West began to overtake Islam was around the same time that politics grew more independent of religion.Islam, however, has never had any such separation in principle.

Even when a separation existed in practice, it has been resisted by both the people and religious leaders. It is probably because of this, at least in large part, that no independent, secular society has had much luck in developing in Islam. Some leaders, like Saddam Hussein, have attempted it, but aside from regularly appealing to Islam whenever convenient, he has only gotten as far as he has through the brutal repression of religious dissent.

A secular society which is simply imposed on the people, rather than which arises through the economic and political aspirations of the people, will not easily thrive.Another important factor is internal and involves an apparent arrogance on the part of Muslims towards other cultures and civilisations. At times, Islam has adopted ideas and technologies from others, such as China. Too often, however, that has not been the case, especially with anything along the lines of philosophy. For example, Muslim writers preserved much of the scientific writings of the ancient Greeks, but retained relatively little of their philosophy – after all, they were polytheists and had nothing of value to communicate.

Christians in particular were disregarded as a possible source of anything interesting. Islam came after Christianity and, for Muslims, has always been a more perfect revelation from God. Everything truthful and of value had already been adopted through God’s revelations to Muhammad, so what was the pointing of considering anything else which Christians might say? Whereas Western scholars, merchants and diplomats were eager to travel in Muslim lands, learn Muslim languages and translate Muslim texts, hardly any reciprocal interest was ever displayed.

For example, until the late 18th century, only one medical text had been translated into Arabic from any Western language – and that was a 16th century work on syphilis, known as the “Frankish Disease.” The reason for this one exception was that the disease was regarded as having a Western origin – thus, it made sense to consult Western treatments.

Nothing else which Westerners might have had to say on medicine, science or technology was considered worth even looking at.The rejection is one of the more striking differences between the Muslim’s world and other parts of the non-Western world that have in one way or another endured the impact of Western civilisation. At the present time scientists in many Asian countries make important contributions to what is no longer a Western but a worldwide scientific movement. Except for some Westernised enclaves in the Muslim’s world and some scientists of Muslim’s world origin working in the West, the Muslim’s world contribution – as reflected for example in the internationally recognised journals that are the cutting edge of scientific progress – compares poorly with that of other non-Western regions or, even more dramatically, with its own past record.

Of course, this is not to say that a similar arrogance has never existed in the West. Quite a few leaders and scholars have argued that Western and/or Christian civilisation has had nothing of value to learn from others. However, such an attitude was usually based upon religious prejudices, and as secular society developed, there were more and more people who were willing to ignore such claims in the hopes of gaining more knowledge and/or profits than others around them.

There was, then, a counter-balance to arrogance which Muslims did not experience strongly enough.Although Lewis does not offer any easy answers to the questions which trouble Muslims in the Middle East, he does help outsiders better understand the historical context which lies behind their conflict with the West. People reading the book in the hopes that the author does provide a definitive answer to the title’s question will be disappointed.However, those reading his book in an effort to better understand how and why Muslims today are so frustrated and angry at their current situation and their relative helplessness in the face of Western dominance will be richly rewarded.According to the above overview we agreed that most of Muslims stands at present at the lowest rung of the ladder of nations.

In this century, no other nation has been subjected to comparable defeats or humiliation. Muslims were defeated, massacred, double-crossed, colonised, exploited, proselytised, faced or bribed into conversion to other faiths.


The history of golden age of Muslims reminds that the major advances in the field of science & technology by Muslims at the early stage of their developments ultimately took concrete shape in their victory at the end of crusaders, which lasted about 200 years from 1095 AD to 1270 AD. In these wars almost the whole Europe unitedly attacked the Muslim world in order to recapture their holy place from the Muslims, but no avail.


Paradoxically, the victory far from being a great gain, proved to a great set break for Muslims. The Christians, in spite of their total defeat, were the greatest beneficiaries, because the Muslim fell to rejoice over their victory, became complacent and neglected to remain alert to the movements of their enemy. On the other hand Christians Europe began a process of rethinking among them which made them conscious of their weakness and of the necessity to obviate them and to do that they advocated the necessity to learn Arabic and translate all the important books from Arabic into Latin, the academic language of European those days.

So for nearly 500 to 600 years where Muslims were savouring their success and wasting their energies, the Christians Europe launched themselves in real earnest for scientific developments. So in 18th century the Christians Europe (West) equipped with paraphernalia of modernity entered into the Muslims world, the Muslims in the state of inertia failed to arrest their advance. Subsequently the western nations, directly or indirectly quickly gained control over the whole of the Muslims world and after math disaster need not to be mentioned.


As a result centuries have past, but Muslims have lagged behind in science & technology for at least one hundred years (though some commentators say two hundred years). In some cases this Muslim Ummah to get out of this situations adopted imported foreign solutions, a theatrical solution that again turned the Ummah into a passive spectator in a drama that is a mere play-acting and only a shadow of reality.


Have we forgotten the example of Japan, when their rival, America bombed on Hiroshima & Nagasaki thus crippled Japan, the then Emperor Hirohito very much intelligently resolved for peace with America and signed a document which ratified the supremacy of America over Japan. But things have changed today within only 50 years. Now Japan is one of the super powers.


In this world it is only those who stop railing against defeat and accept it with a view to do something positive about the situation, can ultimately succeed. The Muslim very well understood such tactics 1400 years ago when they drew up the peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah.


In spite of knowledge of those historic examples, the questions arises why the Muslims failed to formulate and implement policies in that light, a number of explanations perhaps may be given such as historical, educational, political, economical and sociological etc. It is very unfortunate that Islam has its own vigorous criteria for a good government.

Hence without criticising let us find out the means for rehabilitation, indeed it is a great task and can never be achieved so quickly by any magical touch, but can be by steady guidance of Al Quran:” Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people, until they change it themselves”—-Surah (13:11).

Hence is imperative that mature Muslim intellectuals and leaders must commit themselves to the one path that is truly open to them regardless of how difficult it might at first appear to be and that solution must be originated from Din Islam. First of all have to keep patience, the primary ordinance of Allah, and take up the reformation tasks stepwise on the basis of priority, here a few are suggested.

  • The Muslim are to acknowledge and confirm its genuine commitment to Islam. This cannot be achieved by a clause in the constitution stating that “Islam is the official religion of the state”, but only through true adherence to the teaching of Islam. It is shameful to say that today Islam is a stranger in its homeland; Islam has been a din without a shariah, a religion without a state, and Quran without authority. 
  • “Every one of you is a shepherd and everyone is accountable for his flock” – Al-Bukhari & Muslim.”Anyone who has been given the charge of a people but does not live up to it with sincerity, will not taste even the fragrance of paradise”. – Al-Bukhari.
  • There is no denying fact that the Muslim communities will have to make all out efforts for acquisition of knowledge in science and technology, the gap with developed world is very wide, and the task is uphill, and there is no way out except through hard work and concerted & dedicated efforts.
  • This is an urgent task in view of the impending economic realities. As a first task training courses on Islamic teaching and practices must be introduced at all levels in schools, colleges & universities. This will help to harness the mainstream of inner energy that lies hidden in every human being. The next task is Islamisation of scientific subjects.
  • his Islamisation does not at all mean that the basic laws of physics, chemistry, biology and so on will have to be modified, with the aim for inculcations of a spirit to develop and apply science and technology for the good of mankind in accordance with the high ideals of Islam. This will put an end to the schizophrenic compartmentalisation of human minds which has infected not only the minds of Muslims educated in the modern systems but also the Western mind ever since the confrontation of science and the church. This acquisition of knowledge is not only limited fard’ayn (individual obligations), but also to the greatest extent of collective duties (fard kifayah), such as scientific, industrial and military advancement & excellence
  • Then we have to determine what ” religious extremism” means before we can condemn and avoid misconceptions. ” Say: O people of the book! Exceed not the bounds (of what is proper) in your religion, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by who misled many and strayed (themselves) from the even Way”—– Surah (5: 77).

Intellectual shallowness and lack of religious insight also manifest themselves in an interest of marginal issues at the expense of major ones. There are excessive and unnecessary talks about growing a beard, wearing clothes below the ankle, moving of the finger during the reading of tasahhud in prayer, acquisition of photographs and so on.

Unfortunately, such time wasting arguments persist and occupy our thinking at a time when we are being confronted by the unrelenting hostility, infiltration of secularism, Zionism and Christianity as well as deviationist groups in the Muslim world. It is worthy to mention that once Al Hasan al Basri warned us that ‘religion will be lost as a result of the practice of both excessive and the negligent’. The former tend to prohibit almost everything while the later make everything lawful and permissible.

4.      Throughout the history of Ummah there has always been an ijma on current issues. Now the situation is the worst, so to save the Ummah from political, social and economic systems and to create a national awareness based on enlightened fiqh out of appropriate Qiyas, ijma based on Al Quran, authentic hadith, ijtihad and Shura has to be derived. That has to be in a major way from the idea of consulting groups of qualified people and those leaders of the society committed to Islam irrespective of their various intellectual learning.

To do that it must be remembered that;·        “If you differ on any thing among yourselves, refer it to Allah and his Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the Last day”.—-Surah (4:59)·        “O you who believe, avoid most of suspicions, for surly suspicion in some cases is Sin”.—Surah(39:12)5.      Another important task to bridge the gap between the Muslims and the people of other faiths and to win their hearts dialogues must be conducted with the teachings of Al Quran.


“Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and nice preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Through a right and accurate education, a new Ummah in all over the globe, especially in this region, can be cultivated. The culture of our Muslim’s community members in Mindanao today is susceptible to disintegration, not having prominence in the work ethics, not independent in self-development, not oriented towards knowledge, weak and low quality human resource, not productive and other factors. These are all indicators of the backward quality of the people (ummah).


The people of Nusantara including  Mindanao must have the will to make sacrifices for the sake of their education.  It may sound strange that we stress only on education when we talk about the people and the nation.  For those who are instant minded, it is strange, but for those who are concerned with the future well being of their people currently in destitute, it is not strange at all.
A wise nation will choose education enhancement for the sake of its people, even though the fruit of success will have to be waited for a long time.  However, if (the education enhancement) is performed with patience, the desired results, i.e. prosperity and changes in the people’s culture from the negative ones to the positive ones will be realized.  20 years is indeed a long period of time, but changes in the people’s culture as results of education enhancement can be seen even before 20 years.


Someday, if education is developed seriously, Nusantara including Mindanao’s culture will be that of loving for unity and unification because a person who is well educated will give priority to the interests of togetherness rather than the interests of individuals.  A well educated person will give priority to the interests of his people and nation.  A nation with well educated individuals will uphold high work ethics because everything that they do will be based on real calculation.  An educated nation will be an independent nation.  It means, whilst having interaction with another nation, it will be able to support its requirement by its own products, not by debts, as life is interdependent.
An educated nation will contribute its knowledge towards a clearer world future together with other nations up to an international stage where it will interact in knowledge and technology.  An educated nation will have a strong and productive human resources as its principle human resources’ knowledge matches its job scope.


An educated nation will be an honest and respected nation where other nations will respect it and will think one thousand times before they make an irrational perception, what more to humiliate it.  An educated nation will a rich and prosperous nation because it will appreciate continuous God’s gifts.  That is a new Nusantara including Mindanao culture that should be established and that is also the meaning of contra culture.  Smart Mindanao, Tolerant Mindanao, Peaceful Mindanao, and Mindanao who loves the law.


If that contra culture is created through new Mindanao  culture, hence the revival of the Muslim World will come and be initiated from Nusantara, including Mindanao (as many people said) and this not an impossible thing.  That is why we as a part of the Nusantara people strive toward that.  Our words through our action, we move, develop, and realize the vision of the new Nusantara culture (contra culture).

Developing a good education means educating through current and future orientation.  That is modern.  That is why modern education cannot be facilitated by a facility that is not up to date.  Modern facility is not limited to physical aspect, but also those that fit modern conditions.
Modern means visionary, because the education vision must be directed towards the revival of Indonesia to stand tall alongside other nations.


Modern means being visionary, thus the education vision must be directed towards the resurgence of Indonesiathat can stand tall alongside its counterparts on the international scene.


Modern education is one with clear programs and objectives. our education achievement program must be directed towards building the Nusantara nation to become equals with other nations in all fields and aspects of development and advancement of nations. They must also become a nation with an international vision in mind. Modern education must be oriented towards the realm of knowledge and its development.


The culture of Nusantara in the future is determined by its educational result which is ceaselessly knowledge-oriented, knowledge which does not know what end means.


Modern education must provide for disciplined facilities. In modern living discipline is imperative. Discipline is not merely the right of the military or civil servants; all modern nations are undoubtedly consistent with discipline. The nation will crumble if discipline is sidelined in every day life.


Discipline is the one that will deliver the people to understand procedural living as a society and as a nation. Discipline will also ensure that the people to love an orderly and civilized life. A society or a disciplined nation serves as a community mirror that respect law and order and upholds the routine administration conduct be it for oneself, for one’s society or for one’s nation.
In modern educated life, facilities are required to deliver the people towards an elevated life directed at work ethics of prominence. The indication of modern society is the commitment towards work ethics and the responsibility towards work.


Thus, all facilities required as the foundation of a modern educated life must be provided if we want Nusantara, including Mindanao to become an advanced and modern nation now and in the future.
Whilst the Nusantara nation is entering the era of modern education as mentioned earlier, clearly it will be projected with eminence, proud to be an Indonesian nation with raison d’être. The Indonesian nation will love union and establishment because its mind have become acute, its vision transcending the borderless universe devoid of being restricted to trivialities that impedes the meaning of association and national union.


The Nusantara nation will be a nation willing to live alongside his people and the nations of the world at large. Its solidarity will not be bound by frivolous isms and madzhab (divisions of understanding in the Islamic faith) that binds life. This educated Indonesian nation will be one willing to sacrifice for the sake of the nation’s advancement and humanity as a whole.


On sacrifice, any nation of the world of any stature, even in developed nations are still demanded to have a sense of sacrifice in its fight. In this opportunity to satisfy and provide meaning for the journey towards a resurgent century, we must realise the fate of the Islamic World, we are continuously sharpening our understanding towards the meaning of sacrifice amidst various restrictive conditions but we brave ourselves to come forward revamping the education life of the nation and the ummah.
This is the manifestation and form of a sacrifice. And the sacrifice will not be constrained to only a certain achievement. Say for instance, Allah’s willing, we are able to complete this education development project here, therefore we will proceed to other places suitable with programs which we have determined together.


For that, wouldn’t it be appropriate in this opportunity to ask ourselves (these questions). Are we tired of sacrificing for the sake of success and the resurgence of education and advancement of the Islamic World? If we are not, how could we then prove it? For a nation that is always at the ready to sacrifice, it means that its existence will remain long and unhampered.


Further through this dais, To the Muslim Ummah of Nusantara and all the guests, we ask: Are we willing with all our might to be actively involved in building the Nusantara Nation, for the sake of success and glory for the future?
Are we willing to fund without overseas financing for the education development program of the nation and the ummah?  


Right, this is our statement and proclamation; therefore it is a program, which we must perform with consequence. Convey this national education development program to all those (friends) who are not able to attend this Convocation.  


Finally Once more I apologies and we pray, May every day in this  year can we devote ourselves for the sake of the renaissance of our people from strife and misery, and may our obligation and willingness to perform will Allah provide for the aspiration of the resurgence of the Nusantara nation, the resurgence to the ummah and the resurgence of the New World of Islam filled with Tolerance and Peace to be felt by all levels of mankind without exemption. 

Amen.
Hadha Wallahu Yar’ana WayakhfadhunaWalhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin

ABDUSSALAM RASYIDI PANJI GUMILANG