When I was 17 ,my history teacher told me in the classroom, that should I insist to disagree with the National Constitution, I should migrate to a country of my own creation . I was dissatisfied with the textbook which has too much of the name UMNO in it, and I did not agree that Tunku Abdul Rahman should be called the Father of Independence. He was born in a rich royal family, and did nothing except for going to London to talk with some rich people there. There was nothing he did that I could count as a struggle.
I did not agree with the reasons stated in the textbooks for the uprisings of Mat Kilau, Tok Janggut and Dato' Bahaman. They seemed superficial and trivial; that was what I thought. Tok Janggut was suggested to refuse to pay tax to the imperialists, while those people who conspired in the murder of J.W.W birch supposedly did so because they interfered in the customs and traditions of the Malay people. Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong were said to fight for the rights of farmers over the lands. Some of the fighters were known as clerics, as ulama' , and the lack of a religious motive in their struggle was very suspicious. I thought that to fight over socioeconomic matters weren't as important as hudud and Islamic laws.
It wasn't a profound opinion , only logical. And as time flows, they become logical no more.
I could not accept that the reason for uprisings were petty things such as refusing taxes, or that the British interfered in our customs and traditions. Yes, to a child, taxes and customs do not really matter.
I believed that there were bigger motives than a mere scuttle for power or land disputes, to bring back Islam as the ruler and the law to the Peninsula. I begun to imagine those freedom fighters as Mujahideen, the frontrunners of the muslim society at that era.
I thought that they were actually fighting for hudud and to reinstate muslims as rulers.
Without proof of any sort, I rejected what the textbooks supplied, and proceeded with my own belief, since it seems more logical that way. I had read Orwell's 1984, and I am currently under the impression that the government could easily alter history, rewrite the textbooks, since nobody would ever bother to check.
It seems to be a very acceptable conspiracy theory that the text writers concealed Islam as the reason for uprisings because Malaysia as a secular country cannot afford such history . It would only lend credit to islamic political movements, and that is not beneficial to the ruling party.
I went to talks by students about the rise and fall of Islam, during which they seemed to voice the same opinion that I had. The talks ,though always supported by vague and unverified information, supported my view that those people who fought against the British were actually leaders of some sort of an Islamic uprising against the toghut.
But then time flew, and I had to pay things with my own money. I found out there and then that the struggle against taxes and the rising cost of life is real. It is in no way something petty. I had learnt about exploitation of labour, inequality in urban areas, and how people struggle to make ends meet. If Islam is indeed rahmatul lil alamin, why would the fight for the poor and against living costs not part of its core? Why shouldn't it be ?
I was mistaken for saying those reasons as petty motives and were not worth dying for.
I was mistaken for seeing that refusing taxes and fighting for land rights as not part of a fight for Islam.
I was too vehement to believe that they fought for islamic laws and its rule, and taxes and lands were worldly matters, not important enough as a motive.
There were many verses in the Quran about good governance , the land and taxes, as many as there were rules. To disregard them as a part of Islamic struggle is to be a secular in its pure form. I had thought that they were worldly matters, and money is not a religious thing.
Sahih InternationalIndeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.
Sahih InternationalAnd give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result.
Sahih InternationalThere was for [the tribe of] Saba' in their dwelling place a sign: two [fields of] gardens on the right and on the left. [They were told], "Eat from the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him. A good land [have you], and a forgiving Lord."
People who talk about the rise and fall of Islam often gloat about the glory and the size of the empire, buf often fails to mention that the charity of the people was part of the glory, and it should be a part of the current struggle. The most emphasized part were always the beautiful architecture, the rules and the development of technology, but matters concerning economic developments and the social conditions were always left out, as if they weren't part of the religion.
It is wrong to think that the fight for charity and human rights is not a major part of what Islam is. We had been so far left behind in the matter of human rights, exploitation of labour and the sort. The prophet was an advocate in freeing slaves, one who spoke against malpractices in trade, taxes , and he taught us against asobiyah/racism. It is embarassing to see that Muslim countries always regard matters involving human rights and discrimination as minor issues; or simply failed to acknowledge that those problems ever existed.
I was always under the impression that should Islamic laws and rules come into fruition, social problems and human rights issues would be solved by itself, but indeed I was wrong. As long as economic and social issues weren't considered as part of Islam itself, we haven't practiced Islam as a whole, and more than that, we became secularists ourselves.