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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak presenting the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award to Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman in Putrajaya yesterday. On the left is Datuk Seri Dr Jamil Khir Baharom. Pic by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

PUTRAJAYA: THE meaning of jihad has to be explained properly to the ummah and all forms of extremism must be rejected, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said extremism, in the form of suicide bombings or militant activities, as seen in several parts of the world today, did not reflect the true teachings of Islam or the meaning of jihad.

Instead, he said, the right method of practising jihad was through the empowerment of the people and ensuring that their welfare was taken care of.

Najib said: “Any form of extremism must be rejected as it does
not reflect the true meaning of Islam.

“Instead, it arises from one’s shallow knowledge of the religion and it deviates from the original teachings of Prophet Muhammad,” Najib said in his speech at the national-level Maal Hijrah celebration here yesterday.

He said many preached about jihad without understanding its core meaning and content and, thus, misinterpreted the true context of jihad.

Najib said the correct form of jihad that a government should practise was through proper administration and leadership of a nation.

Reminding Muslims to be aware of deviant teachings, he said they should always be wary of teachings that contradicted the Sunnah wal Jama’ah, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad based on the Quran and Sunnah.

“There were many attempts to erode the faith of our Muslim community but, alhamdullilah, we managed to persevere.”

On the other hand, he said the “wasatiyyah” (moderation) concept practised by the government had seen the country rise as a modern and progressive Islamic nation.

“The (wasatiyyah) concept is a principle that can be the foundation for any initiative or action taken in all fields.”

He said the “wasatiyyah” formula that Malaysia practised covered core elements, such as moderation and balance and, gave importance to excellence and quality, which helped bring development to the people based on the teachings of Islam.

Najib said the practice of Islam in Malaysia was universal in nature by way of understanding Islamic laws and without mitigating the religion to be liberal.

The concept also rejected dangerous, obsessive, fanatical and extreme ideologies as they did not help with the developmental process and would instead create an adverse effect.

He said this was what Muslims, particularly those in Malaysia, should understand.

He said the failure to practise moderation would lead to an individual being seen as someone who had no abilities to discuss or compare his thoughts with others or to accept other ideas based on logic and reasoning.

Najib said the Islamic faith taught and encouraged its followers to brainstorm and to look for new discoveries as well as new laws useful for the development of the ummah and country.

Najib, who was accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, presented the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award to Attorney-General’s Chambers Syariah law adviser Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman.

He received a medal, a plaque and a cash prize of RM100,000 for his contribution to upholding Islam at the national and international levels.

Sheikh Ghazali, 76, said the award would encourage him to work harder for the betterment of the nation and Muslims in the country.

The Maal Hijrah celebration, held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, saw the
participation of more than 5,000 civil servants, students and members of the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

Its theme was “Unity the Pulse of National Transformation”, in line with the government’s effort to empower the principles of acceptance, patriotism and social justice in the country.

Present were Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Jamil Khir Baharom and Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha.

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