WHY ANOTHER MUSLIM ORGANIZATION ?
In the last few years public discourse on Islam and Muslims has to a large measure been shaped and influenced by that defining event which caught the world by surprise as the millennium’s first year drew to a close. Its not that the pseudo-association of Islam with violence, hostility and antipathy towards modern civilization is a new phenomenon, but the scale of death and destruction was such that for many years to come we would have to contend with this reductionist and obviously erroneous perception of Islam. Even in Malaysia where non Muslims are somewhat familiar with Muslim culture if not with Islam itself, violent events and threats of violence attributed to militant Muslim groups in the region, even if the truth of that has yet to be ascertained in an open court, this new face of Islam has certainly been one of the major factors in the outcome of Malaysia’s 11th general elections. While the threat of extremism from the margins of mainstream Islam is perhaps exaggerated, and we can attribute this to Islamphobic sentiments perpetuated and encouraged by the world’s media and infotainement channels of popular culture, or may be to just plain ignorance, we have to come to terms with the rise in our midst of insular, unaccommodating and rigid expressions of Islam that are seemingly hostile to modernity and to other cultures. There are many reasons for this outrage and frustration. Among others the unresolved political problems in flashpoints across the Muslim world, continuing poverty in many Muslims nations, the hypocrisy of western powers who promise democracy to the world yet support unpopular autocratic regimes, and globalization’s rapacious consumerist materialism that have no respect for traditional values, cultures and the spiritual needs of man. But in responding to these challenges, the rigid, literalist interpretation of Islam reduces the religion to just one of its dimensions i.e. the Sacred Law, and ignores centuries of tradition and learning that has produced a civilization known for its knowledge and beauty, justice and nobility, tolerance and mutual respect.
If the literalist interpretation lead to expressions of Islam that appear intolerant and incongruous with modernity, equally detrimental is the other tendency on the margins of mainstream traditional Islam, the hyperliberal interpretation of the religion. In responding to the challenges of modernity, advocates of hyperliberal Islam seek to bring Muslim society in line with post-modern liberalism of late 20th century. This is just the mirror-image of free-form fundamentalism, displaying a lack of respect for the hierarchy of knowledge and traditional learning, jettisoning Islamic culture and tradition in the rush to embrace post-modernism’s fashionable values that derive from absolute relativism.
Of major concern to us, hyperliberal Islam seeks to undermine and belittle the role of the prophetic tradition as one of the 2 foundations of Islamic knowledge, spirituality, worship and practices. This translates into “Shariat-lite” or “Quran-only” Islam, a disdain for external forms of religion, and an emphasis on a false spirituality, to finally open the way for the destruction of Islam itself. It is in the area of shariat that concerns morality and gender differences that this challenge to pristine Islam is most visible. In its extreme insolence, it is the personality of the Holy Prophet himself that is denigrated and abused.
We recognize that the weaknesses of Muslims in many spheres of public life, from education to economics, from scientific-technological progress to international diplomacy has a great deal to do with our inability to grapple with modernity. But neither does the solution lie in a hyperliberal interpretation of Islam. While Muslims should be forward looking and progressive, our endeavours should be anchored in the foundations of Islamic belief and practice, and draw inspiration from our rich tradition of knowledge and learning. We must strive for a balanced and sober social and spiritual vision for Muslims.
These acutely polarized expressions of Islam much disturbed the intellect and conscience of a group of Muslim professionals. Both the literal and hyperliberal images of Islam grossly defied the concept of “wasathiyah” or middle path as enshrined in the Quranic verse :
“Thus we have appointed you a middle nation, that you may be witness against mankind, and that the messenger may be witness against you…” ( 2 : 143 ).
Consequent upon a series of informal meetings, the idea of a Muslim Professionals Forum ( MPF ) was mooted. One may rightly ask, why another when there is already a plethora of Islamic organizations actively in the service of Islam? Firstly, the many dimensions of Islam could not possibly be served by one single organization. While excellent work is being done in the areas such as humanitarian and relief work, education and community service, we feel there is still room for us to humbly contribute as one further voice in public discourse on Islam that relates to the issues we raised above. Given our professional and scientific training and background, and our experience and familiarity with other cultures, we hope that we could in a meaningful way articulate the views of authentic mainstream Islam in the modern idiom to the general public on important issues of the day. This is our small humble effort in conveying the universal relevance of Islam’s message for man and society.
The use of the English language as the principal means of communication is not meant to be disrespectful of our Bahasa Kebangsaan. We feel Islam is already well-served in Bahasa Kebangsaan ) by many organizations and individuals. For the audience that we wish to engage with, we felt that the English language may be more effective and appropriate in our dialogue and discourse. After all, globally, the English language is Islam’s second language today.
The objectives of the MPF are clearly defined in a separate section of this webpage. We graciously welcome your participation and cooperation in our shared aspirations aspirations to present the moderate yet contemporary face of Islam in the midst of modernity.
More info :-
- The name of the company is MUSLIM PROFESSIONALS FORUM (hereinafter referred to as the “forum”).
- The registered office of the Company will be situated in Malaysia.
- The objects for which the Company is established are:-
- To conduct and promote studies and research in Islam relevant inter alia to the cultural, educational and scientific problems encountered by Muslims in the present age.
- To provide an Islamic response to the intellectual and cultural challenges of the modern world and various school of thoughts, religion and ideology.
- To hold conferences and meetings for the reading of papers and the delivery of lectures and for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge.
- To cultivate, develop and maintain contact and association with institutes, universities, professional bodies and associations engaged or interested in Islamic activities and periodically to conduct dialogues seminars and conferences with local and foreign organisations established with similar objects.
- Generally to do all other things as may appear to be incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.
- The powers of the company under the objects clause shall be limited to the powers set out below:-
- To receive any gift of any property whether real or personal or pecuniary and whether or not subject to any trust for anyone or more of the objects of FORUM.
- To take such steps by personal appeals as may from time to time be deemed expedient for the purpose of procuring contributions to the funds of the FORUM in the form of donations, loans, legacy, subscriptions or otherwise.
- To purchase, take on lease or in exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any real or personal property and any rights or privileges which the FORUM may think necessary or convenient for the promotion of its objects and to construct, maintain and alter any building or erections necessary or convenient for the purposes of the FORUM PROVIDED that the FORUM shall not acquire, charge, mortgage or dispose of any land without the consent of the Minister charged with the responsibility for companies.
- To purchase or otherwise acquire, erect, operate, maintain, reconstruct, and adapt any lands, buildings, offices, workshops, mills, cinemas, studios, hotels, theatres, restaurants, stadiums, amusement parks, plant machinery and other things found necessary or convenient for the purposes of the FORUM PROVIDED that the FORUM shall not develop or turn into account any interest in such properties for commercial purposes.
- To let on lease or on hire, the whole or any part of the real or personal property of the FORUM on such terms as its Board shall determine.
- To undertake and execute any trusts which may lawfully be undertaken by the FORUM and may be conducive to its objects.
- To invest the monies of the FORUM in or upon such investments, securities or properties as may be thought fit, including the taking up of rights to shares offered to shareholders of companies in which the FORUM has invested PROVIDED that the FORUM shall not invest in or incorporate any subsidiary company.
- To sell, dispose of, or transfer any property and undertaking of the FORUM or any part thereof, for any consideration which the FORUM may see fit to accept.
- To engage and appoint and pay such officers, clerks, agents, servants or persons to perform such duties or services for the proper administration and management of the FORUM and to remove and suspend the same.
- To accept stock or shares in, or the debentures, mortgage debentures or other securities of any company in payment or part payment for any services rendered or for any sale made to or debt owing from any such company.
- To draw, accept and make, and to endorse, discount and negotiate, bills of exchange and promissory notes, and other negotiable instruments.
- To pay all costs, charges and expenses incurred or sustained in or about the promotion and establishment of the FORUM and to remunerate any person or persons for services rendered in the promotion and establishment of the FORUM by payment in cash, or other securities of the FORUM or partly in cash and partly in other securities or in any other manner allowed by law.
- To establish and procure the registration of, and to direct, manage and maintain any agency of branch of the FORUM in any part of the world in connection with the objects of the FORUM or one or more of them.
- To do all or any of the matters hereby authorised in any part of Malaysia either alone or in conjunction with, or as trustees or agents for, any company, association or person, or by or through trustees or agents.
- To establish and support or aid in the establishment and support of any charitable association or institution and to subscribe money for charitable purposes in any way connected with the purposes of the FORUM or calculated to further its objects.
- To do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects and the exercise of the powers of the FORUM.
- (i) the provisions of the Third Schedule of the Companies Act shall not apply to the FORUM and the foregoing provisions of this Paragraph shall be read and construed without reference to the provisions of that Schedule; unless expressly included in this Memorandum and Articles of Association with the approval in writing of the Minister charged with the responsibility for companies; and
- (ii) the FORUM shall not support with its funds any political organisation or society or endeavour to impose on or procure to be observed by its members or others any regulations, restrictions or conditions which, if any were included in the objects of the Company would make it a Trade Union within the meaning of the Trade Union Ordinance.
- (iii) the FORUM shall not indulge in any business or commercial transaction and that the FORUM shall not turn into account any interest in its properties for commercial transactions.
PROVIDED that :