Muslim leaders ask Libya to put up an Islamic University in Mindanao

In an open letter addressed to the Libyan leader, the religious and organization leaders pointed out the importance of having an institution that would produce future “qualified leaders” for the Muslim Ummah (community) in this country. 

The participants said that the proposed Islamic University is an institution that would teach the Muslim youth on acquired and revealed knowledge. 

In his lecture during the forum, Professor Moner M. Bajunaid, secretary-general of the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines, explained that acquired knowledge includes knowledge on material things such as arts, science, mathematics, and humanities while the revealed knowledge is knowledge on religion that includes the Holy Qur’an, Hadith or the teachings of Prophet Mohamad, Shariah (Islamic law), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and Seerah. 

He said an Islamic institution envisions its learner to be a firm believer of Allah (Creator), would become a vicegerent Muslim, a benevolent preacher, an analytic and critical thinker, humane and virtuous servant of God, committed to serving the Muslim Ummah, and an advocate of universal peace and solidarity. 

Sheikh Jammal Munib, director of Madrasah Comprehensive Development and Promotion Program in Davao City, pointed out that having a university that would cater to both secular and Islamic curriculum has been the “clamor” of the Muslims in this Philippines. He stressed that for a Muslim to be competitive, he should learn both acquired and revealed knowledge. 

Dr. Hamid Barra, vice president of Ulama Conference of the Philippines, said Islam is a distinct ideology that does not separate religion and state. “In Islam, what is legal must be moral,” he explained. 

He cited example in the Philippine setting wherein gambling is legal although it is immoral. 

Bajunaid added that an Islamic learning institution would prepare, nurture and produce students with sound Islamic education and highly developed skills in sciences and technology, and able to pursue higher learning. He said it is very important to “introduce Islam” at all levels of education for the Moro people. 

He pointed out that knowledge is fast moving and there is a need to catch up and make plan considering that the Moro people are lagging behind compared to other areas of the country in terms of education. He revealed that the common survival rate among Moro students is only 40 percent. “Where would the others go then?” he asked. 

The forum, a consultation conference of Muslim leaders and organizations towards strengthening unity and peace, was held on February 8-9 at The Marco Polo here and was sponsored by the Libya-based World Islamic Call Society (WICS).

Other suggestions that surfaced include holding wider peace consultations, attending the needs of “Balik-Islam”(reverts to Islam), conducting economic activities for the Moro people, putting up Shariah courts in areas where there are minority Muslims, and employing various strategies to attain peace and unity. 

The delegates also urged the WICS to help produce more textbooks for the Madaris (Islamic schools). Mohammed Elballushi, representative of WICS in the Philippines, said they have already sponsored the printing of some textbooks on Arabic language and Islamic values for the consumption of Muslim pupils in public schools. 

“Help ye one another in piety, but help ye not is sin and rancor,” was the theme of the gathering. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo / MindaNews contributor)