Glorious Islamic Era Can Be Revived, Says Najib
From Mohd Arshi Mat Daud
"All knowledge are needed, whether they are revealed knowledge (based on the Quran and Hadith) or Aqli (based on worldly knowledge)," he said at a dinner with 80 Malaysian students of the Medina Islamic University, last night.
Also present were the Malaysian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim, Malaysian consul-general in Jeddah Syed Bakri Syed Abdul Rahman and Malaysia's Education counsel in Jeddah Muhammad Radhi Hamzah.
Najib said from the Islamic point of view, there was no difference or "compartmentalisation" because all knowledge demonstrated the greatness of Allah SWT.
He said Muslims must learn from the past glory of Islam where the centres of learning in Cordoba and Baghdad had mastered various disciplines of knowledge and the libraries at these centres each contained two to three million books, while Europe was in "darkness".
"Medina was the place where the knowledge tradition was nurtured, and it is most important for us to continue this tradition of educational excellence by taking into account that there is no knowledge that is not useful to the Muslim ummah."
As such, he said, the Muslim ummah must master science, technology and innovations so that they would not continue to be dependent on the non-Muslim world but to build their own sources of strength.
"In fact, the Quran contains scientific elements which no one can deny even to this day. When we combine revealed knowledge with scientific knowledge, we have a new strength to achieve excellence for the Muslim ummah," he added.
Najib said the mastery of knowledge, coupled with a strong belief in Islamic unity, and non-compartmentalisation of worldly pursuits and the hereafter, were three ways of overcoming the problems faced by the Muslim ummah presently. He said the different ideologies or sects actually carried a message of unity instead of conflict.
"Many aspects of the acts of religious devotion carry messages of unity, such as performing the Haj pilgrimage where pilgrims all wear the ihram although they are from different sects, and all face the Kaaba.
"There must also be mutual respect and understanding that the existence of different sects should not lead to tension among Muslims."
Najib also said that Muslims must give equal importance to the present world and hereafter.
"There should not be any group which is only interested in worldly pursuits or only in the hereafter. On the other hand, there must be a balance in both pursuits."