Monday, September 25, 2006


Adapted from an article by

Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

"O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you that you may keep your duty to your Lord (having taqwa)."

Quran 2:185.

Many Muslims today have a misconception about fasting and the activities of a fasting person. They go into a state of semi-hibernation, spending most of their daylight hours in bad. If they fear Allah, they wake up for prayer, but then return to sleep immediately. This unnatural sleep makes them become lazy, dull-witted and often cranky.

Ramadan is actually a time of increased activity wherein the believer, now lightened of the burdens of constant eating and drinking, should be more willing to strive and struggle for Allah. The Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, passed through approximately nine Ramadans after the Hijrah. They were filled with decisive events and left us a shining example of sacrifice and submission to Allah.

In the first year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (SAW), sent Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib with thirty Muslim riders to Saif al Bahr to investigate three hundred riders from Quraish who had camped suspiciously in that area. The Muslims were about to engage the disbelievers, but they were separated by Majdy ibn Umar al-Juhany. The Hypocrites of Madinah, hoping to oppose the unity of the Muslims, built their own masjid (called Masjid ad-Dirar). The Prophet (SAW) ordered this masjid to be destroyed in Ramadan.

On the seventeenth of Ramadan, 3 A.H., Almighty Allah separated truth from falsehood at the Great Battle of Badr. The Prophet (SAW), and 313 of his companions set out to intercept a caravan of their own goods that had been left in Makkah. It was led by Abu Sufyan himself, and estimated at 50,000 dinars. They were met, instead, by a well-equipped army of the nobility of Quraish, intend on putting out the light of Islam. Despite being outnumbered three to one and appearing weak and unseasoned, the Muslims defended their faith with a burning desire to protect the Prophet and meet their Lord through martyrdom. Allah gave them a decisive victory on this day of Ramadan, that would never be forgotten.

In 6 A.H., Zaid ibn Haritha was sent to Wadi al-Qura at the head of a detachment to confront Fatimah bint Rabiah, the queen of that area. Fatimah had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid and had succeeded in plundering its wealth. She was known to be the most protected woman in Arabia, as she hung fifty swords of her close relatives in her home. Fatimah was equally renowned for showing open hostility to Islam. She was killed in a battle against these Muslims in the month of Ramadan.

By Ramadan of 8 A.H., the treaty of Hudaibiyya had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Muhammad (SAW) felt the need to strike a fatal blow to disbelief in the Arabian Peninsula and conquer the city of Mecca. Allah has declared His Sanctuary a place of peace, security and religious sanctity. Now the time had come to purify the Ka`bah of nakedness and abomination. The Prophet (SAW) set out with an army having more armed men than al-Madinah had ever seen before. People were swelling the army's ranks as it moved toward Makkah. The determination of the believers, guided by the Will of Allah, became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle, on 20 Ramadan. This was one of the most important dates in Islamic history for after it, Islam was firmly entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula. During the same month and year, after smashing the idols of Makkah, detachments were sent to the other major centers of polytheism and al-Lat, Manat and Suwa, some of the greatest idols of Arabia, were destroyed.

Such was the month of Ramadan in the time of the Prophet (SAW). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding the evil, and striving hard with one's life and wealth. After the death of the Prophet (SAW), Muslims carried on this tradition and Allah used the true believers to affect the course of history. Ramadan continued to be a time of great trials and crucial events.

Ninety-two years after the Hijrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderic of the Visigoths. Roderic had forced his six millions serfs and persecuted Jews to seek the aid of the Muslims of North Africa in order to be delivered. Musa ibn Husair, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, responded by sending his courageous general Tariq ibn Ziyad at the head of 12,000 Berber and Arab troops. In Ramadan of that year, they were confronted with a combined Visigoth army of 90,000 Christians led by Roderic himself, who was seated on a throne of ivory, silver, and precious gems and drawn by white mules. They burst forth with great enthusiasm and Allah manifested a clear victory over the forces of disbelief. Not only was Roderic killed and his forces completely annihilated, but also Tariq and Musa succeeded in liberating the whole of Spain, Sicily and parts of France. This was the beginning of the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.

In the year 582 A.H., Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi, after battling with the Crusaders for years, finally drove them out of Syria and the whole of their occupied lands in the month of Ramadan. The Muslim world was then destined to meet one of its most frightening challenges.

In the seventh century A.H. the Mongols were sweeping across Asia destroying everything that lay in their path. Genghis Khan called himself "the scourge of God sent to punish humanity for their sins". In 617 A.H., Samarkand, Ray and Hamdan were put to the sword causing more than 700,000 people to be killed or made captive. In 656 A.H., Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, continued this destruction. Even Baghdad, the leading city of the Muslim world, was sacked. Some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 Muslims were killed in this awesome carnage. The Christians were asked to eat pork and drink wine openly while the surviving Muslims were forced to participate in drinking bouts. Wine was sprinkled in the masjids and no Azan (call to prayer) was allowed. In the wake of such a horrible disaster and with the threat of the whole Muslim world and then Europe being subjected to the same fate, Allah raised up from the Mamluks of Egypt, Saifuddin Qutz, who united the Muslim army and met the Mongols at Ain Jalut on 25th of Ramadan, 458 A.H. Although they were under great pressure, the Muslims with the help of Allah, cunning strategy and unflinching bravery crushed the Mongol army and reversed this tidal wave of horror. The whole of the civilized world sighed in relief and stood in awe at the remarkable achievement of these noble sons of Islam.

This was the spirit of Ramadan that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer while calling upon Allah for His mercy and forgiveness.

Today, the Muslim world is faced with military aggression, widespread corruption and tempting materialism. Surely we are in need of believers who can walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (SAW), the illustrious Sahabah, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Qutuz, Salahuddin and the countless heroes of Islam. Surely we are in need of believers who are unafraid of the threats of the disbelievers, yet kind and humble to the believing people; Muslims whose fast is complete and not just a source of hunger and thirst.

May Allah raise up a generation of Muslims who can carry Islam to all corners of the globe in a manner that befits our age, and may He give us the strength and the success to lay the proper foundations for them. May Allah make us of those who carry out our Islam during Ramadan and after it, and may He not make us of those who say what they do not do. Surely Allah and His Angels invoke blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad. O you who believe, send blessings and peace to him forever.

Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick is the first American graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah, Saudi Arabia. He has M.A. and a Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto, Canada. He has traveled extensively in the the Caribbean and Central America and throughout the Muslim World. He is the author of several scholarly articles, and lectured and researched in over 29 countries.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Malay Mail 08/09/2006

A BAKERY was raided yesterday for being dirty, employing illegal workers and using cooking oil without a ‘halal’ certification.

The raid at Stanson Bakery Sdn Bhd, which produces the High Five bread, at the Nilai Industrial Area, revealed that the floor was dirty.

Some workers were also found working without gloves or aprons, while the factory was badly-lit and poorly-ventilated.

The factory’s management volunteered to close down for two weeks after it was chided by the Health Ministry team which also issued a warning to the operator for operating under unhygienic conditions under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983.

Apart from that, seven foreign workers were detained as they could not produce employment documents while samples of the oil used in the bread mould were also taken.

The oil, carrying the brand ‘Dubur’, is from Israel.

The 2.30pm blitz was carried out by more than 30 personnel from the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM), Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Health Ministry, Islamic Development Department, Negri Sembilan Immigration Department, State Religious Affairs Department, Nilai Municipal Council and the police.

Silver Bird Group Bhd group managing director Datuk Jackson Tan Han Kook said the hygiene problem raised by the raiding team was subjective.

“It’s a minor issue. There were broken tiles at the factory and the management had not fixed it as it was an old factory. This is normal,” he told The Malay Mail last night.

Silver Bird is the parent company of Stanson Bakery.

The sad fact about the above news article was that The Malay Mail was about the only Malaysian newspaper that mentioned the bread brand High 5 and Stanson Bakery Sdn Bhd as being the culprit. Most of the other Malaysian papers (including the Malay language ones) were too timid to name the brand or the company, referring to it only as "a well known bread" or "a nationwide bread company".

This is a great disservice not only to the Malaysian public, but also to the other bread companies who take precious care in ensuring that their products comply to halal standards. The normal reaction among the public when not told which brand is "dirty" is to avoid all brands altogether until they receive more information. As a result, in this case all the "clean" brands also sufferred a drop in sales initially until the public gradually got to know which was the "dirty" brand.

Come on, Malaysian newspapers! About time you call a spade a spade. Or are you still too lacking in the balls department.

As for Stanson Bakery, it's about time the authorities take greater punitive action on companies which betray the trust that have been given to them in granting halal status on their products and operations. After all, they make a lot of money from the halal certification, so the punishment should also be big financially. Otherwise, it is going to make a mockery of the Halal system in the country. Don't make everyone laugh when the leaders talk about making Malaysia the "Halal Hub" of the world.


For more pictures at High 5 click below:-

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Set Our People Free

By Kilamxx

In view of the revelation by the United States administration of the transfer of two Malaysians from secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this blog makes the following statement.

The people of Malaysia demand the immediate release of Malaysians, Mohamad Nazir bin Lep (aka Lillie) and Mohamad Farik Amin (aka Zubair), who are being illegally held by the government of the United States of America in Guantanamo Naval Base or else they be tried in a court of law for whatever charges that had been leveled against them without delay.

The people of Malaysia also demand that the United States of America stop the use of all forms of torture on all prisoners under its jurisdiction, including barbaric interrogation techniques of hypothermia, stress positions and "waterboarding," a practice of simulated drowning.

For examples of torture and humiliation of prisoners by USA personnel see

The Abu Ghraib Files

Thursday, September 07, 2006

THE ISRAELI SOLDIER - Nothing Special About Him

Humbling of the supertroops shatters Israeli army morale

By Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv

HUNDREDS of feet below ground in the command bunker of the Israeli air force in Tel Aviv, a crowd of officers gathered to monitor the first day of the war against Hezbollah. It was July 12 and air force jets were about to attack Hezbollah’s military nerve centre in southern Beirut.

Among the officers smoking tensely as they waited for news, was Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, 58, a daring fighter pilot in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war who had become chief of staff a year earlier and now faced the biggest test of his career.

Over the Mediterranean, west of Beirut, the elite F-15I squadron made its final preparations to strike with precision guided weapons against Hezbollah’s Iranian-made long-range Zelzal rockets, aimed at Tel Aviv.

Just before midnight, the order “Fire!” — given by the squadron leader — could be heard in the Tel Aviv bunker. Within moments the first Hezbollah missile and launcher were blown up. Thirty-nine tense minutes later the squadron leader’s voice was heard again: “Fifty-four launchers have been destroyed. Returning to base.”

Halutz smiled with relief and called Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, who was enjoying a cigar as he waited by a secure red phone at his residence in Jerusalem.

“All the long-range rockets have been destroyed,” Halutz announced proudly. After a short pause, he added four words that have since haunted him: “We’ve won the war.”

Even as Halutz was declaring victory, 12 Israeli soldiers from the Maglan reconnaissance unit were already running into an ambush just over the border inside Lebanon near the village of Maroun a-Ras.

“We didn’t know what hit us,” said one of the soldiers, who asked to be named only as Gad. “In seconds we had two dead.”

With several others wounded and retreating under heavy fire the Maglans, one of the finest units in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), were astonished by the firepower and perseverance of Hezbollah.

“Evidently they had never heard that an Arab soldier is supposed to run away after a short engagement with the Israelis,” said Gad.

“We expected a tent and three Kalashnikovs — that was the intelligence we were given. Instead, we found a hydraulic steel door leading to a well-equipped network of tunnels.”

As daylight broke the Maglans found themselves under fire from all sides by Hezbollah forces who knew every inch of the terrain and exploited their knowledge to the full.

The commander of the IDF’s northern sector, Lieutenant-General Udi Adam, could barely believe that some of his best soldiers had been so swiftly trapped; neither could the chief of staff.

“What’s wrong with the Maglans?” Halutz demanded to know. “They are surrounded,” Adam replied quietly. “I must send in more forces.”

As the reinforcements of the Egoz brigade prepared to enter Maroun a-Ras and rescue their comrades, however, several were mown down in a second ambush. Hours of battle ensued before the Maglan and Egoz platoons were able to drag their dead and wounded back to Israel.

Hezbollah also suffered heavy casualties but its fighters slipped back into their tunnels to await the next round of fighting. It was immediately obvious to everyone in Tel Aviv that this was going to be a tougher fight than Halutz had bargained for.

As the war unfolded his optimism was brought crashing down to earth — and with it the invincible reputation of the Israeli armed forces.

In five weeks, their critics charge, they displayed tactical incompetence and strategic short-sightedness. Their much-vaunted intelligence was found wanting.

Their political leadership was shown to vacillate. Their commanders proved fractious. In many cases the training of their men was poor and their equipment inadequate. Despite many individual acts of bravery, some of the men of the IDF were pushed to the point of mutiny.

Last week, in an contrite letter to his soldiers, Halutz admitted to “mistakes which will all be corrected”. It is far from clear whether Halutz will remain in position to correct them.

As calls mounted this weekend — not least from the families of many of the 117 fallen Israeli soldiers — for the resignation of those deemed responsible for the failures, Olmert was expected to set up an inquiry into the conduct of the war. A poll showed that 63% of Israelis believed Olmert should quit, while 74% called for Amir Peretz, the defence minister, to go, and 54% wanted Halutz out.

“Olmert faces a serious risk of a no-confidence vote in the Knesset,” said Hanan Kristal, a leading political commentator. “A State Commission will give him four to six months of critical breathing time.”

Meanwhile the Israeli public are struggling to accept that the country’s security might now depend on whether a French-led United Nations peacekeeping force proves able to disarm Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. In addition to 7,000 troops already promised by EU states, the UN has received offers from several Muslim countries, some of which do not even recognise Israel. The force is unlikely to reach full strength for at least two months.

Much attention is being paid, however, to the deployment of these forces and especially to Israel’s apparent over-reliance on air power under the command of the Halutz.

Critics of Halutz, a former air force commander, believe he should have sent in overwhelming forces on the ground to drive Hezbollah back from border areas where they remained active right up to the end of the 34-day conflict.

“The air force can only assist ground forces; it can never win a war — any war,” said one veteran Israeli officer last week.

Another critical factor under consideration was that Hezbollah seemed so much better prepared. They launched nearly 200 rockets a day at Israel. They used advanced anti-tank missiles with lethal professionalism and stunned their opponents with their coolness under pressure and their willingness to “martyr” themselves in battle.

Apparently using techniques learnt from their paymasters in Iran, they were even able to crack the codes and follow the fast-changing frequencies of Israeli radio communications, intercepting reports of the casualties they had inflicted again and again. This enabled them to dominate the media war by announcing Israeli fatalities first.

“They monitored our secure radio communications in the most professional way,” one Israeli officer admitted. “When we lose a man, the fighting unit immediately gives the location and the number back to headquarters. What Hezbollah did was to monitor our radio and immediately send it to their Al-Manar TV, which broadcast it almost live, long before the official Israeli radio.”

Hezbollah appears to have divided a three mile-wide strip along the Israeli-Lebanese border into numerous “killing boxes”. Each box was protected in classic guerrilla fashion with booby-traps, land mines, and even CCTV cameras to watch every step of the advancing Israeli army.

“Our brass stupidly fell into the Hezbollah traps,” said Raphael, an infantry battalion reserve major. “The generals wanted us to attack as many villages as possible for no obvious reason. This was exactly what Hezbollah wanted us to do — they wanted to bog us down in as many small battles as possible and bleed us this way.”

The casualties from Russian-made anti-tank missiles have caused particular concern. An Israeli-invented radar defence shield codenamed Flying Jacket and costing £200,000 was installed on only four tanks. None of them was struck by anti-tank missiles.

But Hezbollah hit 46 tanks that lacked the shield. “£200,000 per tank is not beyond Israel’s means,” noted one military source acidly.

While the regular army was reasonably well equipped, the reservists were not. “We arrived at our depots only to find that our combat gear had been opened and equipment given to regular soldiers,” revealed Moshe, a fighter in the Alexandroni brigade. “The equipment was, of course, never returned.”

The Alexandroni fought in the west, near the Mediterranean, and did well initially. But logistics were appalling. “We had no fresh water as it was too dangerous to ship it to us,” Moshe added. “I’m ashamed to admit we had to drink water from the canteens of dead Hezbollah, and break into local shops for food.”

The Israeli leadership became determined to destroy the Hezbollah stronghold of Bint Jbeil because of its powerful symbolism to the enemy.

This was the place where Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah’s general secretary, had given his keynote speech after Israel withdrew in 2000, ending 18 years of occupation. Nasrallah said in Bint Jbail that Israel would be destroyed. Now Israeli leaders wanted to show him how badly mistaken he had been.

“Conquer Bint Jbail,” Halutz told Adam, the northern sector commander. Adam is said to have replied: “Hold on, Halutz. Do you know what that means? Do you realise that the casbah [old quarter] of Bint Jbail alone contains more than 5,000 houses? And you want me to send in one battalion?”

Adam nevertheless did as he was told and sent the 51st battalion of the Golani brigade to fight a heroic but hopeless, battle.

As the Israeli soldiers approached the town from the east they fell straight into yet another ambush. Hand grenades killed battalion commanders. Then a rescue operation was mounted, which took all night.

Hezbollah fighters were also hit but retreated and waited for Israeli reinforcements to arrive. Brig Gen Gal Hirsch, the commander of the 91 Galilee division, announced: “We control Bint-Jbail.” The next day more Israeli soldiers died as they, too, were ensnared in Hezbollah’s trap.

The Israeli media began to attack the army. “Idiotic military manoeuvres,” was how one commentator on TV1, the state-owned station, summed it up.

Tension now set in among the top brass. Halutz dispatched his deputy, Maj Gen Moshe Kaplinsky, as his special representative to the north, placing him above Adam.

Adam threatened to resign if Kaplinski issued orders to his units. Kaplinski nevertheless did so. Adam did not resign but is expected to go public soon with his story of the war.

Relatively inexperienced reservists were called up. Oded, 27, a reservist from Jerusalem in a combat infantry brigade, was among those summoned to active duty. “In the past six years I’ve only had a week’s training,” he revealed.

“Soon after we arrived, we received an order to seize a nearby Shi’ite village. We knew that we were not properly trained for the mission. We told our commanders we could control the village with firepower and there was no need to take it and be killed for nothing.

“Luckily we were able to convince our commander,” he concluded with a faint smile.

Oded blamed the Palestinian intifada for his unit’s insufficient training. “For the last six years we were engaged in stupid policing missions in the West Bank,” he said. “Checkpoints, hunting stone-throwing Palestinian children, that kind of stuff. The result was that we were not ready to confront real fighters like Hezbollah.”

On the day the chaos in Bint Jbail reached its peak, Amir Peretz, the new and inexperienced defence minister, flew to the northern border to meet reservists about to go into action.

Aviv Wasserman, a reserve major with the 300 brigade who is about to study for a doctorate at the London School of Economics, asked Peretz not to throw them into “unnecessary adventures”.

Lieutenant Adam Kima, of the combat engineering battalion, was in even more rebellious mood after being asked to take his men and clear the road leading to Bint Jbeil from the west. Studying the plan, Kima rejected the idea — 10 Israeli soldiers had already died there “We were foolishly told it was all right — there are no Hezbollah forces ahead of us,” said Corporal Nimrod Diskin, one of Kima’s soldiers. “We didn’t have the equipment to clear this road. We were not ready for the mission.”

When the brigade commander realised that Kima and his soldiers would not carry out their orders, he called the military police. The men were sentenced to 14 days in jail, although they were released a few days later. The soldiers, most of them fathers of small children, believe Kima saved their lives.

“I noticed behaviour I’d never heard of in the Israeli army,” Kima said last week on Israeli television. “In my training I got used to the idea that the commander shouts ‘Advance!’ and is the first to face the enemy. Here my battalion commander was in the back of the group and the brigade commander didn’t even cross the border into Lebanon.”

As the fighting dragged on, some veteran officers lost patience with what they saw as the inexperience of the chief of staff and defence minister. “What are you doing in Lebanon, for God’s sake?’ the former defence minister, General Shaul Mofaz, asked Olmert. “Why did you go into Bint Jbeil? It was a trap set by Hezbollah.”

Mofaz proposed an old-fashioned IDF assault plan to launch a blitzkrieg against Hezbollah, reach the strategically important Litani river in 48 hours and then demolish Hezbollah in six days. Olmert liked the idea but Peretz did not appreciate his predecessor’s intervention and rejected it.

Olmert appeared to lose confidence and began to issue conflicting orders. “Our mission changed twice, three times, every day,” complained one soldier.

Many Israelis have been left furious that the legendary deterrent power of their army has been shattered. Even though Hezbollah has lost a quarter of its fighters, its military base in Beirut and its bunkers in the south, Israelis feel less secure.

They hear President Bashar al-Assad of Syria warning that he may retake the Golan Heights by force and the Iranians threatening that if the Americans attack them, Tel Aviv will be hit by ballistic missiles in retaliation.

On the final day of the war, Halutz was sitting in his favourite seat at the air force bunker in Tel Aviv, waiting for the results of a massive airborne operation. Then the news came through that a Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter had been shot down by a Hezbollah rocket. He is said to have felt defeated, both personally and professionally.

Halutz and his political masters may now be living on borrowed time. Israeli’s military elite, such as its fighter squadrons and commando units, may still be among the best in the world but the mediocrity of much of the army has been exposed for all in the Middle East to see.

Israelis can forget and forgive many things, but not the perceived defeat of an army that commanded worldwide respect but suddenly no longer strikes so much fear into its enemies.


Sunday, September 03, 2006


Interview with Ustaz Abu Bakar Bashir

By Farish A. Noor

Ustaz Abu Bakar Bashir, founder and head of the Pesantren al-Mukmin of Ngruki, Surakarta, is perhaps the most well-known Muslim scholar in Southeast Asia today. Following the bombing in Bali in 2002, he was accused of being involved in the attack and subsequently brought to trial and sent to prison. After his release last month, he has once again appeared on the political scene of Indonesia and ASEAN as a major figure in the contemporary development of popular Islam. Despite the accusations that were leveled against him, many Indonesians we met expressed support for the man and skepticism over the trial, arguing instead that the Indonesian government was forced to act against Bashir due to pressure from Western governments including the United States and Australia. Malaysian academic Farish A. Noor recently visited the Pesantren al-Mukmin in Solo and met with Ustaz Bashir himself. The following is an excerpt of the interview (done in Bahasa Indonesia) with Bashir where he talks about the current state of ASEAN, the political conflict in the Arab world, American influence in Southeast Asia and the struggle of Muslims in Indonesia.

Profile:- Abu Bakar Bashir

FN. We have just returned from a demonstration where you and the students of Ngruki were present along with members of the Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), Front Pembela Islam (FPI), Front Pemuda Islam Solo (FPIS), Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) and others. When you spoke to the crowd you focused mainly on the current conflict in Lebanon and the aggression of the Israelis. You also criticised the weakness of the Muslim leaders of the world. Why has it come to this? Recently there was the OIC meeting in Kuala Lumpur and the statement they came up with was lame and non-conclusive; why are Muslim governments so scared to speak up and call for united action?

ABB: This is to be expected from them (Muslim leaders). What else can they do? What else can they say? There is not a single Muslim leader today who has the courage and commitment to defend Islam and Muslims, they are all in awe of the United States and other Western powers, and are indebted to them. This is what we call ‘Wahn’; "penyakit cinta dunia, takut mati". Our Prophet warned that this would be the case in the future, that the Muslim ummat would be great in numbers, but weak in spirit - until they are trampled upon again and again.

The Arab leaders and other Muslim leaders in Asia all suffer from this disease called ‘wahn’, this weakness brought about by wealth and privilege, and thus they have become soft. That is why they cannot stand up to the kafirs and they cannot be firm in their statements and policies. Their love for the world and all things wordly (duniawi) means that they only think of themselves. Arab leaders worry more about making money from the profits they get from oil and gas that they turn the other way when Lebanon is being destroyed right next to them. Their neighbours are being murdered, but they only make calculations for their own benefit.

This is why I have always said that it would be better if Muslims were poor. Oil wealth has been a curse on us, made us weak and docile. Look at the Afghans, during the time of the Soviet invasion. They were among the poorest Muslims in the world, yet they were sustained by their faith in God, and God alone.

Muslims must believe that all power, success and victory comes from God alone.("Hanya Allah Maha Esa yang menentukannya".)

If God wills it, they will win - no matter what the odds may be. The Prophet defeated the enemies of Islam even when he and his followers were small in number. Why? Because they had the ultimate power, God, on their side. This is the real superpower. The Afghans did not have sophisticated weapons like the Soviets did, but with their faith they defeated a superpower. That is when the kafirs feared us Muslims, when we had discipline and faith, when we were strong in our hearts and not weak in our stomachs.

This jihad spirit (semangat berjihad) is not in the OIC now. Show me an OIC leader who can talk about jihad. Not even the leaders of Malaysia or Indonesia have this, so how can we do anything? Your leader Badawi is weak (Badawi itu luwes, lemah orangnya.)

The only Muslim leader who has some spirit left is your former leader Mahathir Mohamad, who called for a boycott of US and other Western currencies. He was right, when he said that Muslim countries should abandon the US Dollar and trade with their own currencies instead. Why should we use the Dollar even when we trade among ourselves? Even though Mahathir did not openly call for jihad, at least he said something. This was the least we could have done. ("Sekurang-kurangnya kita bisa lakukan begitu, memboikotkan matawang Amerika itu".)

But the leaders of the OIC could not even accept Mahathir's proposal, yet they talk about respect and honour. What honour have we got left, when nobody is listening to us?

FN: Some would argue that this weakness stems from the fear of being seen as being 'too radical'. I have problems with this concept, for I believe that being a radical is not necessarily a bad thing. After all Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyata, Ghandhi, Nehru, were all radicals in their time; and they did not compromise in their opposition to colonialism, imperialism, racism and apartheid. So why cant we be radicals now?

ABB: You are right, but the weakness does not come from the millions of Muslims in the world. They do not mind being radical, they have no fear to speak out and to protest and to jihad. But the weakness comes from these Westernised co-opted Muslim leaders who just want to look good in the eyes of the West and Western media. They are scared that the BBC or CNN may call them radicals, so they remain soft instead.

The problem lies there, with the Muslim leaders, not the Muslim masses. The Muslim leaders swallow the advice of the Western powers and bodies like the IMF and World Bank, even when it is bad for their countries and they know this. They are the real hypocrites (munafikin) and traitors to Islam and Muslims. Yet as you say we should not accept the idea that being a radical is a bad thing. Any movement for change will be radical. Our Prophet was a radical too- he fought against the injustices of his community and challenged the feudal order of his society, so they called him a radical. So what? We should be proud of that! ("Kita harus bangga dengan 'radikal' itu!".)

We should be proud that our Prophet came into the world with the message of Islam to change it for the better, and not for the worse, or to keep things as they are. What use is revelation or religion if it doesnt change anything?

Today the Western powers and media want to domesticate us like sheep, to keep us tame and domesticated. But why are animals domesticated? So that they can be slaughtered in the end! (Binatang itu dijinak-jinaki supaya disembelihkan nanti!)

That is why they use the label 'radical' in the way they do, to keep us scared and to keep us under control. This is true for our leaders, who have all been domesticated and trained to speak the way their Western bosses want them to.

FN: So where do we get our role models then?

ABB: The only model to follow is pure Islam ("Islam yang murni"). Because Islam in its original form was tough and hard ("tegas dan keras"), not weak and pliable. Islam is fixed, stable, ordered and disciplined, and so are Muslims.

If we return to the real practice of true Islam we would be much stronger and that is when the kafirs will fear us. That is why we need to uphold the Shariah and return to real Islam. But the West is trying to weaken Islam from outside and inside. They attack our people and invade our countries from outside, and they weaken us from within with ideas like secularism, liberalism and democracy. This is all designed to contaminate our pure Islam.

Why do we Muslims have to learn from them? Islam is perfect, there is nothing to be added or changed. We have shown that Islam can rule the world perfectly for fourteen centuries, and during this time of Muslim power we did not borrow ideas like democracy from others, so why do we need to learn democracy from them now? As long as Muslims were confident (in the past) they could not be defeated, but now we are just puppets ("boneka semuanya").

This is why we are calling for the upholding of the Shariah here in Indonesia. We demand an Islamic state, and not some form of Islamisation of society. We want the state to be Islamic, with Islamic leaders who have the courage and will to implement the Shariah in total. There is no other way. ("Nggak ada jalanan yang lain".)

Kuliatul Mualimin al-Islamiyyah (KMI)

Pesantren al-Mukmin Ngruki


11-12 August 2006

For full transcript of interview click here