What can Muslims be proud of?

I’M writing about the world’s affair in the past 100 years without looking too far back.

European countries have engaged in bloody civil wars between them prior to World Wars 1 and 2.

Most practised liberal-capitalist economic system and freedom for humanity.

After World War 2, these European countries consolidated their positions and eventually formed the foundation of today’s European Union or EU.

The aim of the EU was to assist redeveloping weak European countries by establishing and advocating “shared prosperity” among them to strengthen the bloc as a superpower.

Eventually, through strong and sheer determination, the European countries became economically and socially successful. Major powers like the United Kingdom, Germany and France played the biggest roles.

The EU centred in Brussels managed to spread its influence by being the economic backbone to the rest of European countries, as well as broadening its domination, especially in the political and economic systems into other parts of the world.

The EU alongside the United States became the dominant global powers.

The influence of the EU and US is widespread, strong and evident, and their military capabilities are exceptionally impeccable, especially with the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

Military treaties between the European countries and the US, including Turkey, have turned EU into a great and advanced bloc.

On the other side of the world, there are other countries that adopt the socialist or communist ideology.

Despite the fact that we cannot accept their ideology and belief system, these countries are proven historically to be great dominating their people through the “doctrine” of their struggles.

It was the main reason how Russia was able to influence the Soviet Union and managed to dominate a large number of countries before they broke apart.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union gave birth to eight independent countries, but Russia remained strong and firm, by dominating people’s way of thinking.

The country also managed to become a great nation of military might and economic stance.

China, meanwhile, was at one time a country of chaos, mainly due to the wars between the warlords. The state of turmoil enabled the Japanese to control a large part of the country.

Prior to that, the British also managed to gain control over China.

We could still see the British historical legacy in Shanghai today. The internal unrests caused China to be conquered by the British and later, the Japanese.

However, Mao Zedong who led the “Long March” alongside his comrades succeeded in uniting China.

Despite adopting a strong communist ideology which we again are not able to agree with, Mao and his associates managed to unite the Chinese under one republic with the exception of Taiwan.

Chiang Kai Shek escaped communism in China and founded the more liberal and democratic Taiwan.

Both nations competed with each other in the race of power and progress and finally, as we can witness in this century, China emerged as an economic and military superpower.

Historically, Mao managed to unite the Chinese despite the use of brute forces.

Post-Mao, Deng Xiaoping launched economic reforms.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China was modernised into an economic and military superpower and is now the strongest rival to the US.

Taiwan, on the other hand, continues to develop as a country under the US and Western influences and has made tremendous progress.

China’s progress and power have led other great countries like Japan and South Korea to approach them despite warnings by the US.

Japan and South Korea are slowly changing their direction by building closer relationship with China while remaining close allies of the US and Europe.

The same can be said about North Korea. With the military threats in hand, Japan and South Korea are now approaching the country through dialogues.

Ummah is weak

The question is where are Islam and the Muslims now, after being left by the British, Dutch, Portuguese, French, Italian and other European colonists in Asia and Africa?

Islamic countries gained their independence after the colonials were ousted or forced to leave.

Lately, we stand witness to how the Islamic countries or “ummah” becoming birthplaces to rich leaders.

The luxury purchases, such as paintings worth millions of dollars by these leaders, were revealed in news reports.

They are also proud owners of luxury yachts, hotels and apartments in Switzerland, London, Paris, among other places. They are also well known for their casino sprees.

Islamic leaders, be they presidents or kings, are known for their wealth and luxurious life.

To keep their country secure, they would sometimes seek help from the major powers like the US, Britain or France, to protect their positions and thrones from being overthrown by their own people.

The fact is, Muslim-led countries are still the proxies of superpowers.

The consequences of not being fully independent, especially in the way of thinking, have made the Muslims weak.

Internal strife is too common. We witness how Muslim wealth and lives are so cheaply spilled in the Islamic world.

Look at what happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and many others.

In Afghanistan, the war has been raging for more than 40 years and are sadly being fought between Muslims.

The dignity of the “Islamic ummah” is weak and is not seen as a symbol of strength.

While the socialist-communist countries could be proud of the strength of China and Russia, and the liberal-capitalist countries could be proud of the US, France, Germany, as well as the UK, what can we, as Muslims, be proud of?

Muslims always claim that we are the best and that Islam superior to the others.

This is continuously being told in Islamic lectures and sermons but the Muslims are still at the bottom in terms of economy, social justice, and military capabilities.

The fights keep brewing and Muslims will always be chasing the pact.

KL Summit

Along came one man in his centenarian decade, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He sees the epidemic, especially in the Islamic world, from the post-World War 1 to World War 2 and up until now.

He often raises the matter of Muslim weaknesses in both open and closed meetings.

Muslims need to unite because they used to lead the world in economy, education and military.

As the most senior leader in the Islamic world, Dr Mahathir is the most qualified person to talk about the unity of the ummah.

Alongside leaders from Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Qatar, he initiated the discussion on the unification of Muslims with the intention of liberating them.

At the very least, with the ideas that are focusing on the future and strengths of the Islamic world could be improved and mobilised, earning respect from others.  

This very idea was translated into the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit).

The success of the KL Summit can be seen. Probably not immediately evident, but the idea of unification of ummah must continuously be pursued so that Muslims could freely discuss ideas, without the restrictions of sects, race and tribes that have often shackled the Islamic world.

The KL Summit is the platform for Muslims to discuss on how we should be respected, how the strengths of the Islamic world should be portrayed and how the wealth should be shared among Muslims, as what was done by the superpowers in the Eastern and Western blocs to ensure the strength of their allies.

In the teachings of Islam, helping each other is a must but contrarily, has never been done by Muslims.

It is ironically being practised by others, who interpreted the teachings of the Quran themselves. Meanwhile, the Islamic world is consumed in disputes and wars, lacking in economy and education, and far from any military might.

Therefore, the KL Summit should be supported.

Dr Mahathir has set off something new to bring Islam and the Islamic civilisation back to the world on loan by Allah so that we are able to return to Allah by fulfilling the teachings of Islam.

In the Islamic world today, there are at least two countries that have emerged with great military capacities, namely Turkey and Iran.

Hence, we are expecting these two countries together with Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Qatar to initiate the role of uniting the ummah and bringing to light the Islamic enlightenment to the ummah of today and the future. – December 30, 2019.

* Mohamad Sabu is the defence minister and president of Amanah.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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  • As someone who has traveled widely in many countries and taught in a few, the only thing I can be proud of as a Muslim is the fact when I pray there is no particular race image of the Allah I am praying to.This to me is the only difference between Islam and most other religions of the world.No religion of the world teaches people to do wrong or bad or wrong things. Our conduct and interaction with others is the only criterion that helps us to win friends and influence people. Learn to live in peace and harmony with others to make the world a better place for all.

    Posted 2 years ago by Citizen Pencen · Reply

  • On the road to progress, the West does not champion religion, and so neither the modern China. This is something Tun and many do not see.

    Religion has often been used as a tool to advance the political career of the unscrupulous. A nation with such leaders who manipulate the minds of the people instead of liberate them is doomed to be backward.

    Posted 2 years ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply

  • There is nothing to be proud of, being a Muslim. For most of us Islam equals oppression, injustice, wanton killings and murderous behaviours, gender discrimination , child marriages, compulsion, exclusiveness, etc. Etc.

    Posted 2 years ago by Rupert Lum · Reply

  • Mahathir is a megalomaniac who should exit the world (and domestic) stage before he becomes a laughing stock in the Islamic world.

    On the other hand, MBS of Saudi Arabia is going in the right direction. Destroy the influence of the clerics (and their stone age thinking) and a Muslim nation will progress rapidly.


    For example. Anyone who had visited Brunei during the early '80s (before independence from U.K. and before the rise in power of the cleric) and compare to now will realize the country is in perpetual stagnation and coma economically.

    Posted 2 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • *** STRANGE ***

    Two articles by two PH politicians in just a few days trying to defend the disastrous KL Summit 2019.

    "Maruah" (dignity) Mahathir at stake?? LOL

    Posted 2 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • What can Muslim countries be proud of? Nothing, to be honest but everything to be ashamed of from race and gender discrimination, injustices, barbaric behaviours to encouraging child marriages.

    Posted 2 years ago by Rupert Lum · Reply