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Presented at a round table discussion organized by the Center for Studies on Modernity and Civil Society in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 12th January 2008 by Omar Hasan Kasule MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Epidemiology and Islamic Medicine University Brunei Darussalam and Visiting Professor of Epidemiology University Malaya. WEB

Islam is a practical religion and requires skill training in all fields of endeavor from toilet etiquette to international leadership. The Makkan period of the Prophet’s mission was training in personal discipline and when enough companions were trained it was time to migrate to Madina to start another phase of practical training in running a society. The prophet was a model of practical leadership training his character being a practical manifestation of the Qur’an to be emulated by those who were around him. The fall of the khilafat rashidat was directly related to lack of education because the Islamic state expanded in 40 years to reach China in the east and Africa in the west absorbing so many new converts who did not get the opportunity to be well educated as the first companion. The result was that they were not a strong political base for the state and the khilafat had to collapse and in its place came dynastic rule that was more attuned to the level of the new citizens. In the centuries of decline since the fall of the khilafat reforming scholars, mujaddiddin, arose in every century and led movements of renewal and reform, islah & tajdid. One uniform characteristics of all these movements was that they started by educating and training a broad mass of people before undertaking their reform mission. The biggest number of reform movements arose in the 13th and 14th centuries of hijra when the ummat came under colonial rule. The extensions of these movements are still found all over the Muslim world as the ummat struggles to rebuild its civilization. These movements in West Africa, North Africa, West Asia, and South Asia were all characterized by rigorous individual training programs and some of them did not admit people to membership until they went through a specified training program. Formal leadership training structures were most active in the period between the fall of the Othmani state in 1926 M until the ‘democratic’ opening of the 1980s. Almost all these movements moved into the political arena of trying to win elections and left few or no human or material resources for training and tarbiyat. The leaders who had been trained before became retired but they had no replacements because the training structures had been allowed to delay. The inability to bring in new blood eventually led to organizational weaknesses that were recognized in the early 1990s M. As a consequence leadership and management training programs world-wide. These programs were beginning to bear fruit when they had to be curtailed terminated by 2000 M because of lack of resources. The first lesson we learn throughout Muslim history from the fall of the khilafat rashidat to our times is that without continuing leadership training we become weak. The second lesson we learn is that training and social activism are of equal importance and none should be neglected at the expense of the other.  Resources should always be available for dawa, leadership training, and tarbiyat. Those who undergo training can then be deployed in different fields of endeavor: business and finance, education, mass media, social reform and development, and the academia.  


Writings of Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr

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