Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the Malay world is vital for Islam’s survival. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 26, 2017.
THE Malay world is among the vital elements in determining Islam’s survival not only in the Asean region but across the world, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Regarding the Malay world as an invaluable asset, Zahid said the interrelationship between the Malay world and Islam started long ago with Malay being the lingua franca in spreading Islam in this region.
“In the view of (Syed Naquib) al-Attas, the choice of Malay language usage by the religious preachers was deliberate. This is because the nature and history of the Malay language that are almost similar to that of the Arabic language… hence chosen as the language to spread Islam through the Quran.
“This is the uniqueness of the Malays, retaining their identity through usage of the Malay language and Jawi script as these two elements make the Malays remain as ‘Malays’ and not becoming ‘Arabs’.”
Zahid said this in his speech before officially opening the International Institute of Islamic Civilisation and Malay World (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) today.
At the event, Zahid also announced an allocation of RM10 million for the institute, formerly known as the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation.
He said comprehensive studies on the links between the Malay world and Islamic civilisation which had many similarities, would much benefit the development of a more glorious Malay civilisation, just like the Islamic civilisation before.
He also drew attention to religion being a basic element in the formation of a civilisation. “In fact, in the context of Islamic civilisation since the ancient Egyptian times, Islam managed to bring about the best civilisation when its teachings stressed on excellence, welfare and peace.
“This brilliance should be understood and studied by us,” he said.
Zahid said Malay society should hold strong to true Islamic teachings and not deviate from its path in facing universal diversities and said outside culture could easily and quickly influence the local community’s practices.
He also hoped that the rebranding of ISTAC could make Malaysia an outstanding place in the world for studying Islam and its civilisation, while also confident that it would eventually form the perception that religion has never been an obstacle to progress and development.
Also present at the event was IIUM president Rais Yatim, who is also the socio-cultural affairs adviser to the Malaysian government.
Rais, in his speech, said studies on the connection between the Malay world and Islamic civilisation could enrich understanding of Islam’s dynamic development and Islamic societies across the world.
“This is only apt as currently, there are more than 200 million Muslims in the Malay Archipelago who make up 25% of the world’s Muslim population,” he said. – Bernama, October 26, 2017.