Modern Muslims Too Obsessed With Rituals Afterlife Indonesian Scholar




An obsession with the exterior dimension of Islam and on the afterlife has halted the progress of the Islamic civilisation, according to Indonesian academician Prof Yudi Latif
Where various Islamic civilisations throughout history used to gain strength by learning from other cultures, Yudi noted that many modern-day Muslims, including in Indonesia, are now too focused on the exterior expression of the religion
"The ethos spreading in the Muslim world today, I think, places too much emphasis on the exterior dimension of religion [...] formalities, symbolisms, ritualisms," said Yudi, a guest speaker at a talk on advancements of knowledge culture in Islam, hosted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation
He said such formalities extends to how the religion is being practised, including on appearance of a Muslim
"Because of an overemphasis on exterior dimensions, the interior dimension or our spirituality is empty
"As a result, we tend to be trapped in a superiority complex, losing our absorptive capacity to learn from other civilisations," said Yudi, whose area of study focused on the emergence of Muslim intelligentsia in Indonesia
He also said another problem faced by Muslims today is a failure to achieve a balance between living a good life and seeking heaven in the afterlife
"The mindset of Muslims today is focused too much on seeking nirvana after death
"So much so it is as if the economy is a dirty thing. Muslims today feel as if they have nothing to do with the economy," said Yudi
He argued that the mindset was a reverse to progress brought along by Islam's arrival, breaking a church-backed belief to separate religion and otherworldly matters
"The churches in Europe used to separate religion and the economy
"Islam, however, upholds that religion and the economy are not mutually exclusive but tied together," he said
In order to advance the knowledge culture in Islam, Yudi said a major mindset change is required among Muslims
"We need a major theological shift and strive to create 'heaven on earth' right here right now," he said
During the question and answer session, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law lecturer Associate Professor Sonny Zulhuda noted that there could be flaws in Yudi's argument that Muslims are "too obsessed" with seeking heaven and neglecting other worldly matters
Sonny said all Muslims would naturally aspire for a place in heaven, but it does not always result in failure to advance in other areas
Yudi, in response, however, maintained that the problem lies with the separation of religion from other matters
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim delivered the opening address to set the tone for the day's discussion which also featured ISTAC's Professor Osman Bakar, Associate Professor Khairuddin Aljunied from National University of Singapore and PKR Senator Yusmadi Yusoff. - Mkini

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