THE habit of sending students to learn about Islam in the Middle East should be stopped as they end up with their beliefs “corrupted” due to the political culture there, said a Muslim scholar.
“We need to differentiate between culture and Islam. This doesn’t mean cultures, including Arab culture, are bad... (but) what is happening these days is highly political,” said Professor Dr Jasser Auda, chairman of London-based think tank Maqasid Institute.
“They come back and cause issues. For instance, those from the US, Canada and European countries, they go and study in the Middle East, and when they return home, they divide the community. They cause all sorts of problems after studying in the Middle East.
“We need to stop the trend of sending people to the Arab world, which is at a really low historical point these days, to learn about Islam,” he said at a roundtable discussion on “Reclaiming the Centre: The Role of Religion in a Multiracial Society”, organised by the Centre for Nation Building Studies at Institut Darul Ehsan in Shah Alam.
He said many of those who studied Islam in the Middle East were unable to make a distinction between Arab culture and the religion of Islam.
“So, they come back here and they fight a fight that doesn’t exist,” he said, adding that Muslims must return to the origins of Islam and its values.
Earlier, he said there was no requirement for a multiracial country to be an Islamic state as long as the system of governance was just to all.
“What is against Islam is the lack of rights, lack of public good. In Islam, the public good is defined as the preservation of faith.
“Nobody's faith should be compromised (to ensure the) preservation of life, family and wealth. Nobody’s wealth should be attacked or compromised.
“The preservation of honour and dignity is key because the Quran says every human is dignified ,” said the scholar in the subject of Islamic jurisprudence.
He cited examples from the Quran, saying Islam's holy book stated that there was no issue taken with the kingdom of ancient Egypt, but its style of governance.
“If you open the Quran and read about how it deals with politics with an open mind, you will see that the Quran is not only about an Islamic state, but about dealing with the status quo.
“Prophet Yusuf was a minister in the kingdom of Egypt at the time. The Quran didn’t have an issue with the kingdom of Egypt, but it had issues with the Pharaoh's actions.”