Avoid religious extremism, Brunei Muslims told

National 2 minutes, 20 seconds


MUSLIMS in Brunei are urged to adopt the concept of wasatiyyah (moderate Islam) and avoid the pitfalls of extremism.

The Director of the Mazhab Shafi’i Research Centre at the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) said yesterday that such practice would help the Sultanate become a Zikir Nation as well as achieve progressive development.

He was speaking during an Islamic Forum held at UNISSA which emphasised on the issue of Extremism and Wasatiyyah from Islam’s point of view.

Dr Abdul Nasir said that the moderate Islam is a balanced way of life which focus on the practice of Islam as well as human development.

"Performing ibadah (religious activities) is mandatory in order to strive for a true Zikir Nation. However we also should see the importance of duniawi (worldly matters).”

Wasatiyyah is not just limited to religion alone. The concept also focuses on the progressive development of various fields such as the economy, politics, and human development,” said Dr Abdul Nasir, adding that the concept is opposed to extremism or activism.

“The idea of extremism can be varied. Those who are unemployed only to focus on ibadah may fall under this group as they ignore the importance of money to feed themselves and their families.”

“In the context of Brunei, we see that the moderate Islam has been practised for a long time and it has been stated in the 1959 Constitution whereby Islam is made the official religion of the state following the Sunni sect and Shafi’i school of thought,” said Dr Abdul Nasir.

He said that the wasatiyyah value also promotes peace and tranquility in the country. “The concept of moderate Islam teaches us to be tolerant, affectionate, open-minded, balanced between worldy matters and the akhirat (hereafter),” he added.

Dr Abdul Nasir suggested that the teaching of wasatiyyah should be incorporated in the school syllabus particularly in MIB (Malay Muslim Monarchy) subject for the future generation.

The forum continued with the explanation of extremism by Md Mubarak Habib Mohammed, a representative of the Religious Rehabilitation Group, Singapore.

From its observation since 2004, the Group discovered that extremism exist in a variety of forms.

“Extremism can manipulate people using Quranic verses, Hadith and everything in between. They express hatred towards the non-Muslim people and also Muslims who work for non-Muslims,” said Md Mubarak Habib.

“To avoid the spreading of extremists, our rehabilitation group is handling the situation from its roots such as giving them counselling during their detention,” he added.

Over 100 people comprising university students as well as members of the public attended the forum yesterday. Also present was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Aziz Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Hj Mohd Yusof and the Rector of UNISSA Dr Hj NorArfan Hj Zainal.

The Brunei Times