To Pas president Hadi Awang, any concept which he suspects has any link to Western philosophy is unacceptable, even though the term madani is an Islamic term and many of its core values come from Islam.
[A madani community is a society that is advanced in thought, spirituality and community development.]
It is silly to say that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s madani concept is not Islamic enough to be palatable to Malaysian Muslims because of the linkage to Western philosophy, ancient or modern.
Nearly 20% of the Ancient Greek philosophers’ works that fuelled the Renaissance in the West came from the Islamic world, which had survived the ravages of Western religious extremism at that time.
Thus, Hadi’s apparent effort to cage all these Western philosophers such as Thomas Paine, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith and Karl Marx, with such trivialised simplicity has pauperised the value of his argument and blurred it to the point that the real issue is being misinterpreted.
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Hadi is not wrong in saying that modern civilisation is burning itself now in the West, as seen in the vivid example of the Ukraine War and xenophobia.
But all these issues are not sparked by the teachings of these philosophers or civil societies.
The teachings of these philosophers are the building blocks of Western civil societies.
But what is happening now is that civil societies in the West are decaying. They are collapsing under the weight of violence, hatred, extremism and intolerance.
It is people like Rasmus Paludan, a malicious Swedish-Danish right-winger, who are fast-tracking its decay – turning Swedish civil society into a rogue society. The malicious burning of the Quran is proof of this trend.
Thus, when violence, hatred, extremism and intolerance seep into civil societies, they stop being civil and turn rogue. These were apparently the same factors that felled mighty ‘civilisations’ in the past.
In a similar manner, modern civilisation is following suit, ‘burning itself’ out with the same fuel of violence, hatred, extremism and intolerance.
Malaysia Madani, broadly speaking, is an idea to bring together people of all ethnicities to live in harmony, peace and prosperity in a society where humility and compassion are abundant.
We have gone through a couple of tumultuous years of Perikatan Nasional rule. Now let us give Pakatan Harapan, with its madani concept, a chance to govern the nation in harmony, peace and prosperity.
Aristotle (384-322 BC): He catalogued over 150 constitutions and found that most of them had some form of restrictions placed on the rulers. Aristotle was critical of Plato’s concept of Philosopher King, which he thought would lead to dictatorship. He proposed a sharing of power instead and believed the diffusion of power would safeguard freedom.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809): An Englishman, he migrated to America at the age of 37 in 1791 and lived there for some time. He later returned to England where he wrote The Rights of Man, which sold over 200,000 copies in just a few months. He called for the reformation of parliament. His ideas were instrumental to the changes in how the English parliament was to operate in the Reform Bill of 1832.
John Locke (1632-1704): His celebrated “Letter on Toleration” spurred the idea of liberty of expression, which was included in Britain’s Bill of Rights of 1689 One hundred years later, it was codified in the US Bill of Rights (The First Amendment) after independence.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778): He expounded the idea that the lust for private property was the root of all injustices and inequality. Referring to feudal lords, he believed that powerful individuals had enslaved others and stolen land.