THERE are not enough model Muslims to bring Islamic civilisation back to its former "Golden Age", the chairman of the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia (IKIM) said yesterday.
Speaking during the joint SOASCIS (Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Centre of Islamic Studies) and the IKIM seminar, Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi said that while their numbers were lacking, many of these model individuals Muslims who were also experts in such areas as research and science tended to live not in Islamic countries but attend universities in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.
They are not ready to offer their services to their own countries because our local universities have yet to reach the academic level of these higher education establishments, he said.
In addition, it is widely perceived that local universities lack satisfactory research facilities, he said.
"In its former glory, Islam placed the highest value on education, research and science, replete with a lot of experts in order to mete out influential progress," he said.
It is important therefore that we first elevate educational standards in our schools, he added.
"If we make this effort, insyaAllah we can improve and increase the number of quality model individuals," he said, adding that Islam was "still behind" in terms of science and technology.
In its former glory, Islamic civilisation had enlightened all aspects of daily life, he said. Now, Muslims have the choice of becoming active participants in this or to ride on the innovations developed by the Western world instead.
"I have high confidence that when Muslims can fully understand Islam, they will be able to eventually elevate Islamic civilisation to its true position ... because Islam can offer solutions to various aspects of modern life, whether it be financial, political, administrative or societal."
However, to realise this, he said leaders must make serious efforts to develop knowledge in various fields and to explore strategic fields such as biotechnology, food and cosmetics, which correspond to the availability of certain natural resources in their respective countries.
He added that this had huge potential for promoting the development of a civilisation, in creating a new industry in the future that could not be found in other countries.
Tun Abdullah presented his keynote address, entitled "Memahami Islam Membina Peradaban" (Understanding Islam, Developing Civilisation), at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam's Chancellor Hall yesterday.
The Brunei Times
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