Celebrating A New Malaysia

August 28, 2018

A new Malaysia was born after the spectacular 9thMay General Election. Nothing seems to be more profound to me than breathing a new air of liberation from the corrupt and despotic regime. But the long journey of a New Malaysia has just started. This requires a great effort by this multicultural and multi-religious society to work sincerely for change. Like what Mahatma Gandhi used to say: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

I envisaged the change in the mindset of the people especially my Muslim brothers. It is time for us to work for a better future than to regress into the nostalgic time 1400 years ago. Remember that what the Prophet had laid for us was the foundation and framework of a just and equitable society. When his suggestion forbidding cross-pollination of dates that led to a poor yield the following year and later confronted by his companions, he said: “you know more of your worldly issues”. Meaning to say that this worldly issues regarding agriculture, economy, politics, science, technology and so on, are all for us to find the best solution and to progress. He was not appointed by God to teach us all these. It requires our intellect to decipher what is the best solution to all these worldly issues. The act of some Muslim brothers to look into the compendium of hadithto find the answer and solution to worldly problems is not only defeating, but futile in nature.

This is the main change in mindset that I would like to see especially in my Muslim brothers. The ability to utilize the intellectual faculty that was endowed by God rather than searching into the texts. The Qur’an teaches us to use our intellect. The Qur’an did not provide us with answers to all our woes. The Qur’an gives a parable to this invocation via the story of a raven that showed Cain how to bury Abel. The Qur’an says” Then Allah sent a crow scratching the ground to show him how to cover the dead body of his brother. He said: Woe is me! Am I not able to be as this crow and cover the dead body of my brother?” (5:31). Now, if human could learn from a raven on his worldly matter, why was it so difficult for us to exercise our God-given faculty of intellect to find the best solution to all our human problems in our beloved nation?

We should be able to learn from all the different races, religions and cultures. What more of different civilizations. In order for us to progress as a nation with a Muslim identity, I envisage a more tolerant Muslim society. A society that is able to celebrate diversity and the differing thoughts and opinions. The ability to be able to respect the others of their beliefs; of their cultures, and their life styles. The ability to exercise the rational faculty rather than believing in rhetoric and fear-mongering. The ability to stand up as a proud nation that embraces pluralism and being equitable to everyone irrespective of race and religion. A plural society that would put differences aside and work for a common goal to make this country a better place to stay for us and our future generations.


Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa is a founder and Director at the Islamic Renaissance Front. This essay first appeared at The EDGE, Special Report on August 27, 2018.