Presentation by Dr. Maszlee Malik, Lecturer, International

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Background (Western
Experience)
1) Religion – Public Sphere (Pre-Enlightenment)
2) Religion – Public Sphere (Post-Enlightenment)
-Religion – Colonialisation (New role / Harmonization)
-Religion & Civil Society (Welfare/ Charity)
-Protestant ethos cultivates market economy (Max Weber).
3) Except for USA : The Active role of religion via Christian
rights movements.
Background (Asian
Experience)
1) Persona Religiousus.
2) Religion as source of Welfare and Charity, and mainly
separated from politics.
3) Temple, monastries and sanctuaries as shelter for poor
people.
4) Sometime used as a tool to tame leaders, i.e. Asoka,
Kautilya, Kausikan, etc.
Background (Islam)
 Coined by Max Rodinson as ‘market-friendly’ religion
(in refuting Max Weber).
 But, at the same time = Communal, societal-based and
emphasize heavily on welfare via its value.
 It’s hard to explain or define the relation between state
and religion, since there is no definitive arguments
explaining such topic. Alas, it is a space for ijtihad
(reasoning), which determined by the needs of
community and zeitgeist.
Major Principles relate to
Welfare
However, based on the universal inductive argument, there
are few major principles imply the nature of economic justice
and continuous effort for welfare as Shari’ah imperatives:
1)
Tawhid (Unity of God (Allah);
2)
Amanah (trust);
3)
‘adl wa ihsan (justice and fairness);
4)
Islah (continuous effort for comprehensive excellence);
5)
Ukhuwwah and Takaful (universal solidarity and mutual cooperation);
6)
Maqasid al-Shari’ah (higher objectives of Shari’ah).
Instruments
 Zakat (alms / charity).
 Waqf (endowment).
 Sadaqah (charity).
 Infaq (contribution).
 Ibadat jama’iyyah (collective for of ‘ibadat), i.e. Zakat Fitr
(charity during ‘eid; Qurban (sacrifice); Hajj (pilgrimage);
Daily Congregation prayers; Ramadan.
 BUT, unfortunately these instruments are being
implemented with the absence of their spirit / maqasid
(underlying philosophy).
Historical facts
 During the early years of Islam, religion was part of the
state, but there was no perfect bureaucratic system as
known nowadays. Hence, Shura as a space for the public
to have their share in administrating religion was a
continuity of the primitive Arab decision-making process.
 It is hard to say whether religion is solely under state
administration as known and understood nowadays, or it
belongs to the people.
 However, during the Umayyad, due to the influence of
Persio-Roman administration, state started to break the
nature of public-state relation in concerning religion
practiced. Thanks to Umar Abdul Aziz who rendered
religion back to public.
Historical facts
 During Abassid period, due to the level of corruptions practiced
by the state, Ulama (scholars) managed to salvage the religion
by creating the ‘Awqaf ’ (religious matters) sphere controlled by
the people via religious institutions separated from the state.
 Ulama stand as the voice of the society/people against the state.
 Waqf flourished in sustaining the welfare of the people and in
fertilizing education institutions (i.e al-Azhar, al-Zaytounah,
Nizamiyyah, etc.)
 Clear role of Waqf, zakat and infaq in culminating the wellbeing of the society could be seen during in Andalusia and
Ottoman period. (masjid-bazaar-caravansery-darussifafountains-gardens).
Historical facts
 However, during the colonialisation period, new reality
being imposed on Muslim society.
 Religion is controlled solely by the state under the
supervision of the Colonials, due to the role of religion in
resistance and struggle against the invaders/colonials.
 Waqf being adulterated.
 Zakat being monopolised by the state.
 Religion secluded into private sphere.
 However, society found religion as a resort to mutually
preserving the welfare and the well-being of its members.
Reality in Malaysia
 Post-Colonial period – Religion belongs to the state (under
the custodian of the Sultans).
 Majlis Agama and Jabatan agama as the main religious
authority in the state.
 Religion (Islam) is put under the bureaucrats, and operating
as one of the state instruments.
 Manipulated by politicians in many occasions.
 People only have limited role in shaping the future of
religion, and religious administration.
Proposals
1) Privatization (devolution) of zakat:
-
Via the empowerment of society.
-
Instead of monopolizing the zakat collection and
distribution, religious authority could render some of
its privilege to the society.
-
By giving tauliah to NGOs, Masjids, Community
associations, schools, learning institutions to have the
same function as ‘Pusat Kutipan Zakat’.
Waqf Reform
 Expanding the role of zakat (endowment), and
empower non-state actors to run awqaf.
 Higher learning institutions, schools, clinics, hospitals
to be given authority to accept waqf.
 Business entities to run waqf funds such as practised in
Turkey and some Balkan countries.
 Current expereince: Hizbullah in southern Lebanon,
Muslim Brotherhood in (rural places) Egypt.
Activation of IHSANI
Social Capital
 3rd sector actors.
 Putnam (1993, p. 167) defines social capital as: “features
of social organization, such as trust, norms, and
networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by
facilitating coordinated actions.”
IHSANI social Capital
 Social capital refers to social networks and the norms of
reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from connections
among individuals as the same way as the physical capital
(accumulated by physical objects and human capital) to the
properties of individuals. In such sense, Social capital can be
depicted closely to what some have called “civic virtue”
(Putnam, 2000: 19).
 Social capital works tremendously in enhancing the role of
civil society, participation, eradicating poverty and
corruptions, education and accountability (James Colemen,
1990; Kenneth Newton, 1997).
IHSANI Social Capital
 The principal of ihsaan drives (functioning) individuals to keep
striving towards comprehensive excellent in attaining falaah in
his life in line with Maqasid al-Shari’ah.
 The accumulation of ihsaani individuals will be resulting to the
establishment of benevolent society and effective institutions,
which enable the establishment of effective minimal state.
 Means to achieve the society ‘well being’ in the other facet directly
contributing towards the development of ‘social capital’ (which is
currently agreed by many as an effective elements to promote
economic development via 3rd sector industries, equality,
participation, and democracy).
IHSANI Social Capital
 Crystallised via Islamic NGOs (Jamaah), charity
organisations, mosques, family associations, interest
groups. i.e Evangelist churches in USA, Savordaya
Sharmadana, Buddhist Tzu Chi, Darul Arqam, etc.
 Tsunami 2004 experience shows how faith-based/ faithoriented non-state actors (NGOs) could contribute
towards development.
Masjids reforms
 To be more than place of worship.
 Community centre.
 Comprehensive reforms to bring back the original
function of masjid works for charity and welfare (i.e.
Ahl Suffah, distribution of spoils, etc.)
Business Guild (Ahilik
Kulturi)
 Association of Muslim merchants and traders.
 Ahilik Kulturi in Anatolia Ottoman Turkey.
 Works for SME and micro-financing.
 However requires a unique corporate governance
model to maintain its effectiveness.
Faiths network
 Working on similar grounds an avoiding high plane issues.
 i.e fighting against poverty, crimes, drugs, corruptions, etc.
 Networking of masjids, churches, temples in housing area
to for education, health, well-being, economic co-operation,
charity, environment, etc. (could avoid the controversial
proselytizing issue)
 i.e. Citizen initiative UK.
Thank You

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