1. Dr Syed Alwi bin Ahmad blames Islam for the failures of governance in Muslim countries.
2. It is true that Muslim countries are often poorly governed. There is not a single one of them which qualify to be a developed country.
3. But the fault does not lie with the religion of Islam. Over a period of 1,400 years the original teachings of Islam as was brought by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have been interpreted and re-interpreted by genuine scholars and charlatans with vested interest so that it is no longer the Islam of the messages of Allah subhanawata’ala. Some of these interpretations are so different from the original that they are not Islamic at all.
4. In Malaysia we have Arqam and Ayah Pin and many others who have clearly deviated from the true teachings of Islam. Yet their followers are fanatical about their beliefs in the teachings of these people. In the Muslim world there are also many Ashaaris and Ayah Pins.
5. Their teachings are intended to validate their own deeds and purpose, many of which are political. Thus in the Turkish Sultanate of the distant past, when a Sultan was enthroned, he ordered the murder of all his brothers. This was to prevent them from mounting a challenge against him. And his religious advisers justify this act by pointing out that Islam abhors “fitnah” (bad mouthing as well as attempting to overthrow a ruler and take over a country – both of these happened between the small Muslim states of Al-Andalus or Spain, often with Spanish help).
6. Fratricide as happened in the Turkish Sultanate is not sanctioned by Islam. The verse in the Quran which declares that fitnah (bad mouthing) is worse than killing is not meant to permit fratricide. In fact killing a fellow Muslim is forbidden.
7. Differences in the interpretations also occur in the Christian religion. That is why there are many sects among the followers of Christianity. In the past the differences had led to wars, with the authorities burning the alleged heretics at the stakes. The war in Northern Ireland which has flared up recently is due to differences in the interpretation of the Christian religion.
8. Similarly the Muslim sects often fight each other. These are not due to Islam but are caused by interpretations by different imams and ulamas. It is wrong to blame Islam for the sad state of Muslim states. The blame should be put on the shoulders of the interpreters of Islam whose teachings divide the Muslims so deeply that they fail to be guided by the true teachings of Islam.
9. If Muslims follow the true teachings of Islam as found in the Quran and the verified hadiths, they should be able to govern their countries as effectively as the followers of other religions. I must say though that the followers of other religions too often fail.
10. Yes I was thinking of the situation in the country also when I say that Muslims are easily mislead. If their leader says that they will become “kafir” if they work with non-Muslims, they will fanatically uphold this and condemn people who work with non-Muslims. If tomorrow the same leader says working with the “kafir” is alright, they will say “Yes, yes,” and forget how in the past they had condemned others as kafir for doing what they are now doing.
Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad,
Prime Minister Of Malaysia (1981-2003)