It’s been a long while since I had the happy ‘after the exams feeling’. That’s how it was Sunday noon when we dropped pens after the last semester finals paper. We were a motley bunch including Islamic bankers, former Islamic bankers, freshie grads, those who returned to U after a while in the real world, former newspaper journalists, young Sharia scholars and a bunch of practicing lawyers. It had been a tough semester for us this time with no easy ride subjects; all core topics in the development of the Islamic worldview.
We learnt about the late Ismail Faruqi and the Islamisation of Knowledge; and our own home grown Professor AlAttas reminding the ummah of the rape and theft of our religion and beliefs by the Western colonial powers. And in true science fiction form how we swallowed the spiel and transformed into champions of Western beliefs through an education system loaded and coded with Western ideals. How we looked down on our own original religious schools and ignored the pleas of our early scholars who were not able to articulate on the abyss we are about to fall in, about which they foresaw but about which we did not. And how we still does not see the alien we have become.
We learnt about how the West sacked their scholars in the late seventeenth century and divorced religion from their life in toto and invented the new religion called secularism. And how they came and preached and imposed this new religion in our lands. And again how we swallowed the spiel and transformed ourselves into champions of secularism with deeds far exceeding the expectations of our Western gurus. We learnt about how usury was also banned by the religion of Christianity and Judaism, and how they connived in Venice a century later to legitimise and give birth to the practice of riba banking. The Western colonialists brought this vile practice to our shores and again we swallowed the spiel and transformed ourselves into champions of riba banking far exceeding the expectations of our Western gurus.
We also learnt about the denudation of Islam from knowledge where every single subject in school and universities today was bred in the West, teach western ideals and carry western ideas and beliefs, devoid of Islamic worldviews. We have Economic textbooks that legitimise riba in the building up of theories. We have Accounting textbooks with postulates and principles that goes against the tenets of Islam. We have Law textbooks that degrade Shariah to a laughable matter. How do we then uphold our covenant with our Creator as the Viceregent and Abd’ of Allah* on this Earth when we uphold alien beliefs in our soul?
Yesterday I lost a dear friend who succumbed after a long fight with cancer. He was a true friend to me and to many. He was also an intellectual, a thinker undiscovered, a talent unused. He probably shared many of the views I expounded above. He knew, but like me then, probably also not able to articulate. I pray that Allah rewards him as he aptly deserves to be rewarded.
The MSc Islamic Banking & Finance gang had a little farewell teh tarik* before we part till the next semester. Many of the foreign students are inviting their parents over for a short holiday. The Palestinians will either spend their holidays here or visit countries where their brothers and sisters are living. They cannot go home to visit their ailing parents in Gaza for fear the Israelis may not let them through again when its time for them to return to university. And here we still, sing and dance.
* 'Abd of Allah = Servant of Allah
teh tarik = cup of tea