Published: Thursday March 5, 2009 MYT 4:00:00 PM
‘Islamic centres should be open to all Malaysians’
By ROSLINA MOHAMAD
KUANTAN: Islamic learning centres should open their programmes to all Malaysians regardless of their race or religion to allow non-Muslims to gain a better understanding and interpretation of Islam as a way of life.
Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, in making the suggestion, said people of multiple races and religions having a more favourable perspective of each other would lead to greater unity.
“It is better if we practise some form of openness and try to close ranks with them.
“We can provide them with the right explanations so they will have a good understanding of Muslims and Islam,” he said in his speech before officially closing a three-day meeting on the development of “tahfiz” institutes at the Pahang Foundation here Thursday.
Tahfiz institutes are learning centres devoted to memorising and learning the Quran, as well as to other subjects.
Also present were Tengku Puan of Pahang Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Sultan Iskandar, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, the foundation’s general manager Datuk Sa’ariah Saad, state exco members and other state dignitaries.
Tengku Abdullah said that one could not deny or isolate non-Muslims as they were very much a part of Malaysian life and society; as such, efforts must be taken to ensure good ties prevailed.
He also urged students who were pursuing their studies in Islamic and Quran studies to make certain that they had strong command of the Arabic language before leaving for Middle East countries.
He said he was dismayed upon hearing that many of them did not do well due to poor command of the language.
Meanwhile Adnan, in his speech, said a “hafiz” (a person who memorises the Quran and its meanings by heart) should not necessarily limit his talent to the Quran and Islam but should extend his knowledge into other fields such as politics, economics, society, the corporate sector and even non-governmental organisation activities.
Speaking to reporters later, Tengku Abdullah said a group of Arab teachers were brought into the state to teach the language and it would be a waste if their expertise was not fully made use of.
He also said one of the resolutions made in the forum was to upgrade the status of tahfiz learning centres to colleges, adding that it was a timely suggestion so as to ensure a more systematic operation as well as greater recognition.