The eighth to 13th centuries were known as the Islamic Golden Age. It was an age where Muslims dominated the pursuit of knowledge and technology that influenced the sciences and engineering in the modern age.
Modern science and mathematics are today based on the works of those such as Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, Ibn Muadh al-Jayyani, and Ibn al-Haytham.
Ibn Zhur, Ibn Sina and al-Zahrawi were among the early founders of breakthroughs in medicine. Let’s also not forget those who built great Islamic cities, monuments and buildings that have become global icons today.
There is countless historical resource that narrates the Muslim role in the modern progress of technology and knowledge. However, it is discomforting that one of the core concepts that dictates the goals of Muslims – the word Jihad – has been hijacked by some claiming to be ambassadors of Islam, equating it to terror, tyranny and the progress of Muslims only through the sword and subjugation.
In its true sense, the struggle that is enshrined in Islamic Jihad is about the movement of civilisation towards achieving greatness. It need not mean a comparative greatness, as achieving global heights can come hand in hand with the success of others around us in the same space. It simply is the ideal that we are continuously moving forward in a direction that elevates us to a higher level throughout our co-existence.
This week, the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) is held in Kuching with the theme “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges”.
A key point of discussion was the digitalisation of the economy, particularly those of Islamic nations.
As one of the leading Muslim nations, ranked first Thomas Reuters’ Global Islamic Economy Indicator – we sit in a position of responsibility to bring back the peace-loving, technologically renowned civilisation we were once recognised for. Our digital transformation programmes speak for themselves – the e-commerce sector generated RM9.53 billion in revenue.
Our automotive industry is one of its kind in the Muslim world. We have two national carmakers capable of their own designs and development, employing more than 700,000 Muslims and non-muslims working towards the same goals.
Most importantly, the Muslim renaissance is all-inclusive, and is demonstrated through the list of speakers at the WIEF.
The demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires us to learn from all sources of information, regardless of background or faith, in line with the Prophet’s teaching of the borderless pursuit for knowledge.
Since the turn of the century, Muslims have struggled to defend our way of life. We have been subjected to labels of religious fanaticism, backwardness and barbarism.
We have something to prove to the world. We, too, are progressive and are willing to participate in the world economy on the same terms. We need not fear competition and our jihad is to be competitive. Let us prove that Islam is a religion of peace and it transcends time. Knowledge, technology and economic competitiveness is part of our life.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.