By : Sulaiman Jaafar
NST online, 5 January 2008
KUALA KRAI: Muslims should work hard to ensure mosques are used as an institution to promote unity, the deputy prime minister says.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said although there were differences in opinion on certain matters, Muslims should remember that their objectives were the same.
“The unity among the ummah must be strengthened, only then can things become better for everybody,” he said in a brief speech to the congregation of the Mengkebang mosque after performing Friday prayers yesterday.
Also present were Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Seri Annuar Musa, South Kelantan Development Authority chairman Datuk Ramzi Abdul Rahman and Umno and community leaders.
Najib said the government was committed not only to defend Islam but also in strengthening and spreading the religion in the country.
“We are not only constructing more mosques but bringing the people closer to mosques as a symbol of the unity of the ummah.
“This is the real function of the mosque.”
The deputy prime minister said Muslims also needed to strengthen their faith as they were facing many challenges.
Earlier, speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new RM2.1 million An-Nur Mosque in Guchil, Najib said Muslims must strive to build a new civilisation based on excellence and a strong faith in religion.
He said the recent assassination of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, unfortunately, gave an impression that Islam was connected to violence.
“Islam is associated with violence, poverty, instability and lack of knowledge and technology.
“This is because we have failed to administer the Muslim world.”
Najib also said Islam had been looked down upon and taken for granted because Muslims had failed to carry out certain Islamic duties and put too much emphasis on politics.
He said if the Barisan Nasional succeeded in taking over Kelantan, the state would become a centre of the new civilisation it was striving to build.
Najib also hit out at Pas for failing to build more mosques in the state despite controlling Kelantan for 18 years.
“I have been told by Annuar that it had built only one in Rantau Panjang in conjunction with the silver jubilee of the Sultan of Kelantan’s accession to the throne but even that has not been completed after three years,” he said.
He said Pas was using labels such as “moving forward with Islam” and “Kelantan, the corridor of Makkah”, but was not giving priority in constructing mosques.
“How can they say that they want to develop Islam when they are neglecting the very first thing built by the Prophet after his arrival in Medina?”
Najib also said he was moved to be invited for the ground-breaking ceremony as the original An-Nur Mosque was officially opened by his father, then deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1968.
It is undeniable to us that the mosque should functioned as a place to unite the people… however, what concerned us to what has happened nowadays are that function is not being implemented. To unite the people through mosque, we must not see the mosque as a place to pray only, but it is the place to gather for ‘gotong-royong’ as to develop the love beween Muslims also known as ukhuwwah, a place to discuss latest issues on the Islamic World, to show how deep our love towards our Brothers and Sisters who are suffering in the other countries such as Palestine, Pakistan or Bangladesh and many more events that can be held at mosques that is beneficial to the people.
It is worrysome nowadays to see most of the mosques’ AJK or organizations were held by those who are not even a regular to the mosque. It is very saddening to see mosque as a place to strengthen the political power, not specifically meant to a political party but the manner that those who are commited to the mosques are easily replaced by those who are not duly deserved to be there, shows how there are ‘powers’ outside the mosques that do not want Islam to be implemented fully through the mosques. As a result, most of the mosques today had failed in their function as the center of gathering for the ummah.
Rasulullah has shown how he has used the mosque as the center to actually plan for war, so to actually narrow down the function of the mosque to only praying is actually against the sunnah!
We must remember that the failure of us to actually liven up mosque today is that we only concentrate on building mosques but not trying to actually see through the real function of the mosque. It is very saddening and worrysome indeed to see majestic and beautiful mosques being built but during prayers, the ‘jamaah’ can be counted by hands.
ISC therefore urge the government to see through the problems that has happened today, as to promote more people to gather at Masjid, especially the youths and younger ones who are nowadays mostly stuck with hedonismes. Do remember how the Jews has mocked us by saying as long as Muslims do not attend to pray Subuh as they pray Jumaat, they won’t be afraid of them! It is high time for the government to implement their slogan of ‘Islam Hadhari’ by cutting down the worrysome numbers of all the hedonisme-based programs, and instead, concentrate on increasing awareness and knowledge of Islam to the people.