Islam rejects oppressive globalisation, says scholar

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 12 Jul 2003

PUTRAJAYA: Globalisation or any other system that is oppressive or imposes the will of one on another will never be acceptable to Islam, a world-renown scholar said. 

Admitting, however, that he was not very knowledgeable about the mechanisms of globalisation, Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the Sheikh of the Al-Azhar University, said only a system rooted in equality could be acceptable to Islam. 

“I am not saying we should totally reject globalisation. It can be acceptable if it can guarantee equality for all, especially in the field of education and technology, and that it will not end up as a tool in the hands of stronger powers to impose their culture and values on us,” he said during a dialogue at the World Conference of Islamic Scholars at the Marriott Hotel here yesterday. 

Dr Muhammad Sayyid

He urged Muslim scholars to try to understand the actual meaning and mechanisms of globalisation so that they could respond logically to defend Muslims and others who might end up as victims of the system. 

On the status of women in Islam, he said in all the important aspects, they were equal to men, including in their right to respect and dignity. 

“Certainly, women are equal to men in all the important aspects. However, we must accept that there are secondary differences between the sexes due to physical differences,” he added.  

Speaking at a press conference later, Dr Muhammad Sayyid said Islam rejected all forms of extremism and aggression against innocent people.  

“There can never be an occasion where extremism and jihad can be said to be the same. There is no meeting point between the two,” he said. 

“In the days of the Prophet, Muslims never initiated an act of aggression against others. 

“Although there were many wars fought by the Prophet and his friends during that time, every one of them was to defend the faith and the Muslim community against invasion by others,” said Dr Mohammad Sayyid. 

He said it was wrong for a Muslim country to invade another state simply because it had the strength and power to do so.  

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