REFLECTION IKHWAN MOVEMENT IN MALAYSIA – BY SDR AZLAN KHALILI SHAMSUDDIN
I will be writing a series of e-mail reflecting back the history of the Ikhwan Muslimin and its influence in Malaysia. Question: “Is there the Ikhwan of Malaysia”, or the fikrah of the Ikhwan is represented by various groups. In this I go back to 1974 when OFFICIALLY Islamic Resurgence in Malaysia started. I could not go back to Abdul Rahman Limbung, or Abu Bakar Baqir of the Hizbul Muslimin, or the early days of PAS under the leadership of Burhanuddin Helmy. All I can say that the struggle of Burhanuddin Helmy was his PATRIOTISM in trying to establish MELAYU RAYA.
So it was in 1974 ABIM and Arqam and Jamaah Tabligh had started the work of dakwah in Malaysia. It was reported that Fadhil Nor and Ashaari Muhammad “went out ” to do the work of Tabligh for 40 days in 1974.
AS for MCKK, ABIM stalwarts such as Anwar Ibrahim , Fadhil Nor, Osman Bakar London and Osman Bakar Malaysia came to give speeches regarding “the resurgence of Islam”.
During this period, there was a small Malays book which introduced the Ikhwan to Malay students. It was in 1976 that I first read “Milestones” by Syed Qutb, which brought “revolutionary changes” to me and Ustaz Zainuddin Ismail. The works of Maududi and Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi too play an important role in these early stages.
Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradhawi in his recent speech in Shah Alam, has reported that he had met ABIM leaders as early as 1974 after Anwar Ibrahim had been detained under the ISA….but I am not sure whether it was 1974 or 1976 that Qaradhawi first met Anwar…but Qaradhawi had come to Malaysia between 8-9 times. The first time I heard Qaradhawi was in Masjid Negara then Yayasan Anda Akademik. The issue that was brought up was whether the PURDAH was wajib or not, of which Qaradhawi said JUMHUR said it was sufficient that women open their faces and their wrist….It was surprising that the attendees DID NOT question Qaradhawi on “Anwar’s going into UMNO/BN and the government” in 1982.
Anwar Ibrahim’s entrance into the government and the ruling party UMNO/BN in Feb or April 1982, had big repercussions to the Islamic movement of Malaysia. A minority of its adherents supported Anwar entering the government and UMNO/BN, but the majority was against. These created 3 groups which were affected by Anwar’s entry into the government: PAS,IRC and ABIM. Some like Kamaruddin Jaafar and Kamaruddin Md. Nor joined Anwar in UMNO.
It was at this juncture that books of the Ikhwan were translated, amongst them by Ustaz Alias Osman, Ustaz Darus Senawi etc. Books such as Risalah Muktamar Khamis (which showed how the Ikhwan movement of Hasan Al Banna worked) and Syarah Risalah Taalim, a very important manual of the Ikhwan were translated. The Ikhwan had unofficially been born in Malaysia in 1982, after Anwar’s entry into the government… but it brought internal feuds into the open between ABIM and PAS/IRC, and later on in 1988 between PAS and IRC.
But the Ikhwan of Malaysia was maturing; but it was fragmented (and still is) between different groups.
The Usrah System
As far as I remember it was Arqam who had introduced me the usrah system in 1976, through the book “Peraturan dan Arahan” by Hasan al Banna which was translated by Abu Bakar Hamzah of PAS and published by Pak Yazid of PAS ( Pak Yazid had “rebelled” against PAS because he disagreed with the PAS sojourn in BN between 1974 to 1978). The USRAH system is the backbone of the Ikhwan movement started out by Imam Hasan al Banna in 1928 in Ismailia Egypt. in the early 80’s IRC, and Kumpulan Ustaz Dahlan (rather unknown to me) were active in the Usrah.
In the middle and late 1970s Arqam was formidable to became the ikhwan of Malaysia, but then later on we found out that some its believes were abhorrent to true Islamic believes…the most important being that Sheikh Suhaimi who has been dead for the past 80 years is the IMAM AL MEHDI and Ashaari Muhammad is the PEMUDA BANI TAMIM. No doubt, it was ARQAM who had popularised the wearing of the HIJAB, earlier than all Islamic groups, though there is small Islamic group in Kelantan called the Tal Tujuh group who had also donned the Islamic dressing.
Suara Al Islam
There was a small group of students in the UK who has started out a magazine called SUARA AL ISLAM. It was as they claimed mostly influenced by Maududi, and not so much by the Ikhwan of Egypt. It wanted to bring REVOLTIONARY CHANGES in Malaysian politics, by establishing an ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY PARTY as an alternative to PAS. They tried to register the party called Parti Negara Islam Malaysia, and stand for the 1982 elections; but it never got registration. So they put up 2 independent candidates led by Megat Ahmad Sani, but were badly beaten. After being warned to be put into ISA, Suara al Islam/PNIM members ceased to play ANY significant role in Malaysian Islamic Resurgence history.
Two important members of Suara al Islam WHO MADE it into politics are Ir. Khalid A. Samad, currently the MP of Shah Alam, and Nizar, the former Menteri Besar of Perak.
Megat Ahmad Sani later on tried to open a pondok in Kelantan, but it is closed now….The ideas of Suara al Islam is worth reading; and no researcher to my knowledge has given any attention to their work i.e. their magazine.
Dr Hasan Thurabi
It was on the invitation of Anwar Ibrahim that Dr. Hasan al Thurabi then the attorney-general (and law minister ?) of Sudan in the early 1980’s came to Malaysia. I was able to ask Dr. Hasan al Thurabi (in UTM Jln. Semarak), about the HUKUM of going into the government. He replied it depends on the MASLAHAH…it maybe WAJIB and it maybe HARAM.
In 1994, I met a friend of Dr. Hasan Al Thurabi, named Abdullah Ash Sheikh, in th US, who said to me through their experiance a SECULER PARTY CAN NEVER be an Islamic party…and now they had changed directions, and followed the way of Sayyid Qutb in his Fi Dzilalil Qur’an”.
IRC Joins UMNO
When Anwar decided to join UMNO and BN in 1982, one of the group who opposed this move was the so-called IRC. The IRC group followed the Ikhwan almost to the letter, but remained active mostly in usrahs only (that is in Malaysia). But in Australia and the US (MISG America), IRC had already taken over the student Islamic groups. In the UK it remained to be in the PUBLIC and in secrecy….in the UK the known leader was my former NAQIB, an ex MCKK boy, named Mahrizan Basiron, and in the US, Azman Hussein, and in Australia, led by some Serpents. IRC suppoted the paper of 1982 “Mengapa kemasukan Anwar dalam UMNO/BN tidak sharie”.
IRC had a short honeymoon with PAS which lated till 1988 when the PAS ulama leader Harun Taib declared in UTM that they wanted ALL IRC members out from PAS…this was the start of grate bitterness between IRC and PAS.
In 1990, a paper was presented by Ustaz Alias Osman, “Usul masuk UMNO”, of which reasons were given why members should be allowed to enter UMNO. The essence of the paper was in reality to help ANWAR in Permatang Pauh vis a vis PAS, because of the great Islamisation efforts successfully done by Anwar upon entering UMNO and the government of which the most important was Islamic Banking.
The American group ex MISG members like A Rahim Ghouse, Wan Hasni, Sahri Bahri and myself responded positively but cautiously to the idea…it was now LEGAL to enter UMNO. But apparently, after Anwar was oust from the government, and 400 Anwar supporters were expelled from UMNO, including Wan Hasni and A Rahim Ghouse; that experiment seemed to be aborted. No former IRC members had become successful in UMNO politics. BUt there were former adherents of the Islamic movement still in UMNO visualize, Puad Zarkashi, Saifuddin Abdullah, Shabery Cheek, Zamberi Abdul Kadir and Shawal of the Pahang…..but most politically active members of the Islamic movement had joined either PAS or KeADILan.
It was in 1982 that Premier Dr.Mahathir announced the policy of “Penerapan Nilai-nilai Islam”. He put into the public of his intention to open an Islamic Bank and an Islamic University. Anwar responded to this, and his services was needed by the government ruled by UMNO/BN. Mahathir said that both these projects was Anwar’s project…and his homework. ABIM responded well to this and said that “Fadhil Nor had failed in his work in PAs, and now Anwar had a big homework to be done in the government” A Hadi Awang, the darling of PAS and IRC, said that “the move taken by the government to implement these measures was to enfeeble the Islamic movement of Malaysia”.
The Ikhwan responded to these political progresses by being established. Many books were translated and written and read by the Ikhwan of Malaysia, and usrah and movements done.
Anwar was to stay in the government for 16 years before being ousted by Mahathir from the government and party…and the coming of the reformasi movement in 1998.
Even though Anwar had been ousted from the government . Islamisation measures still continue such as in Islamic Banking and the establishment of Islamic university, Darul Qur’an, JAKIM, IKIM, Takaful etc.
JIM and ISMA
JIM was formed from former IRC usrahs, and it was legally registered in 1990. Those who did not register as JIM members remained as JAMAAH, which later on merged with the Ustaz Dahlan group, which had formed HALUAN in 1986….There was a sister group to JIM which was registered as ISMA, mostly from Ustazs of Mesir…they were supposed to be “adik-beradik”.
But of late JIM and ISMA had become “a parting of ways”…ISMA becoming an independent group of its own, taking with it AMAN PALESTINE, which JIM members claim to have initially establish it. Both JIM and ISMA claim to be the Ikhwan attached to the Ikhwan International; but now it seems that both had been in “the parting of ways”.
Salafi in Ikhwan
The so-called Salafis who base their school of thought to Ibn Taymiyah, Muhammad Abdul Wahhab, Nasiruddin al Bani, Ibn Bazz, Muhmmad Uthaimin and others, are partly represented in Malaysia by Rasul Dahri of Kg. Majidee Hohor, Dr. Sulaiman Nordin (Yaasin’s father), formerly of UKM,and Dr. Azwiraof UKM, Abdullah Yaasin of the Saudi Arabian embassy and Shahidan Kassim, former MB of Perlis.
Rasul Dahri has written a book on the Ikhwan of which he has focused on the SUFI tendencies of Hasan al Banna…he has quoted other Ikhwan scholars, inlcuding Maududi. On the basis of Ibn Bazz’ fatwa, given 2 months before his death, Rasul Dahri had declared that the Ikhwan and Jamaah Tabligh are amongst the groups destined to go to hell. He has also condemned Sayyid Qutb;s tafsir, Fi Dzilali Quraan which has been completely translated by Yusuf Zaki Yaakub, for its Ashaarite tendencies, and warned people against reading the Fi Dzilalil Quraan.
Thus the so-called Salafis are a group different from the Ikhwan…they have declared “war” with the Ikhwan.
Dr Asri and Juanda
Though I differ with Dr. Asri and Dr. Juanda the Mufti of Perlis, I regard them as part of the Ikhwan…but representing the Salafi tendencies;they must be differentiated from Rasul Dahri and Sulaiman Nordin. Dr. Juanda has traslated Qaradhawi’s book, and Dr. Asri is an admirer of Dr. Qaradhawi of which he has declared as “tokoh tajdid dan islah”. JIM has declared that it is “sama fikrah” dengan organisasi Ibn Qaiyyim, pimpinan Dr. Asri Zainal Abidin.
As for me I see that Imam Hasan al Banna was a SUFI till his death…thi has been acclaimed by Umar Telmisssani, the former Murshid of the Ikhwan; and this can be attested by the writings of Ustaz Said Hawwa in his many books.
Hadi and Said Hawwa
The President of PAS, TG Abdul Hadi Awang was in the usrah of Ustaz Said Hawwa, the maraqib-ul-amm of the Ikhwan of Syria…so Abdul Hadi Awang can be said as “orang kuat Said Hawwa”…but he has made his mark of his own…Despite this it is reported that Abdul Hadi Awang does not follow in the Sufi footsteps of his teacher.
I asked Abdul Hadi Awang about Tasawwuf, of which he replied that “if Tasawwuf means only melawan hawa nafsu, dan bukan manusia, kita tolak”…Abdul Hadi Awang is no a Sufi master.