Friday, June 10, 2011

Not Just 'Imam Muda', But Eternal Leader

"Imam Muda" or Young Leader, a Malaysian television series with 10 young men between 19 and 27 entered the show.
Another reality show thrusts for viewers.

For a simple reason that these young men are not hopefuls of 'Akademi Fantasia', 'Malaysian Idol', 'Mari Berdansa'... and many more reality show that I am not possible to keep track,
not the reality fit for soul food,
these young men had voluntarily opted the responsibility to place heavy baggages on their shoulders, had their private lives 'intruded into',
'out of pity', I do not follow the reality show from day one on Astro Oasis 106 when “Imam Muda” first aired last year, which the participants were only Malaysians.   

'Imam Muda', said to be a hit Islamic reality show, yes, I heard about it, but honestly I did not follow.
One reality show after another.
A copycat nation?
Hopefully, not us at all.
To keep up with trend, now we need a reality show to choose a highly religious leader who should be seen fit and worthy to lead the society?

The end result, according to Izelan Basar, station manager for the Malaysian satellite television station which produces the show, they wanted to do the best they could to attract youths to be closer to the religion.

But the further end result is what I feared then, as we have no see-through 'kasyaf' eyes, able to penetrate the unknown.

These young men, with long future years ahead, are thrown into the limelight.
They can plan their future, but they cannot predict them.
We can point straight to Qada' and Qadar, fated that things should happen when it's 'not according to plan'.
We can be the best planner of the best, but in the end, it is up to HIM to execute or abort it.

People tend to remember the 'once only' mistake than the positive doings we do all our lives.
Many people are less forgiving, lesser than HE who creates us.
People and prints tend to harp over the black tiny dot of ones doing, over, and over, and over again.

I had read and observed many cases, befell to those well known in this region, when once only mistake done, all goodness will go into the drain.

Even when things done are not mistake, but not according to norm or culture, the masses are too easy with accusation, even fault not those well known, but masses themselves, for having 'half full half empty' understanding.

But when I heard "Assalaamu'alaikum, saya Mujahid, berasal dari Woodlands, Singapura... Memecah suatu tradisi, meneruskan perjalanan suatu kehidupan..." on tv in a house I visited few Wednesday nights ago, that was the turning point for Me to know more about the reality show.
I would have not recognised him, if not for the resemblence of his father's feature.

As was My previous sharing, when too many Muslims from Pakistan married among their own relatives, wrong perception of Islamic teaching was reflected.

I submitted myself to become a victim of wrong perception too.
When too many local reality show, 'Mentor', 'Raja Lawak', 'Maharaja Lawak'... were served on platters to us, to Me then , 'Imam Muda' was on such category too.
How wrong was I then.

Credit should be given to Tuan Asmawi Tuan Umar.
He made his presentation to Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) for the 'Imam Muda' reality program.
But it was turned down, as RTM already had its reality show.
The same proposal was made to TV9 but it already had 'Akademi Al-Qur'an'.
Although he was under great pressure to bring forth his idea to realisation, but he still has great confidence in HIM.

He will be helped if he wants to help others to HIS path.
He brought forward his working paper to Astro, but the Malay panel was sceptical, not interested in his idea, since Astro already has had its AF and RL.

He then seek permission to see their superior, who came all the way from India.
The response was "Good!", knowing imam's duty and responsibility is more than a priest.

“Imam Muda”, a Malaysian Islamic reality show first aired in 2010.
It is to create a new generation of young and credible ' imams', training them towards depicting a true picture on the essence and responsibility of being true leaders. 

“This is not like other programs that have no religious values,” said the show’s chief judge and 'imam' at the National Mosque, Al-Fadhil Dato' Hasan Mahmud Al-Hafiz, a former prayer leader at Malaysia’s national mosque.  
“We have no shouting or jumping. We provide spiritual food. We’re not looking for a singer or a fashion model.”

This formula works in 21st century Malaysia.
Other reality TV have crowned chefs, designers, hair stylists, models, singers, but religious leaders?
Malaysia Boleh.
Unlike other reality show, showing their best at runway walk-offs and challenging among themselves at quickfire cooking challenges, these young men, they have no jumping, prancing around or shouting.

They enrich the spirit.
They performed 'fadhu kifayah', dia yang buat, kita tak payah, attended to corpses at morgue that had gone unclaimed for weeks and burying them, joined police crackdown on "Mat Rempit", teenage motorcyclists and counselled unmarried pregnant mothers-to-be.
This journey is documented in the program, dealing with a highly important institution amidst the crumbling society of I have full right of what I want to do, not what I need to do in this progressive nations.

When imam of the past used to be always someone ancient-schooled with old-fashioned thinking and refused to understand the youngs, Astro Oasis is steering towards a new generation of young, credible, and progressive leaders.
They are unearthing and training new versatile imams, giving information to the society on the importance of versatility towards the right path.
We are witnessing the process of finding true essence in the modern and progressive imam. 

"Imam Muda" is the most-watched program ever on Astro Oasis, an Islamic-themed cable channel.
Even the programme creators were thrilled by its success in achieving their goal of bringing young generation closer to their faith, with aim to find leaders who will connect with youths, keeping faith close to their heart amidst nowadays generation immersed in fun-filled pop culture.

Astro Oasis had already paved the way for ten 'Imam Muda' last year, and GOD Willing, another ten for this year.

These talented good young men, from the beginning, it is made clear of their intention is not for fame, not for money, not for showing of how good they are.

It's truly amazing with the idea of using reality tv to search for today's young people to become tomorrow's religious leader.
This bizzarre marriage between religion and pop culture is working miracle, sparked a new level of interest for believers, and took the world by storm.
The reality show proved that the amount of potentially good program is enormous.

The show is midway, (tonight too, if I am not mistaken. I had not really sit down to specially watch the program, just snippets here and there) through its 10-week stint.
It's producers are looking for pious but progressive Muslims who can prove that religion remains relevant to Malaysian youths despite the pop culture and other negative influences.

The show has become the Islamic-themed channel’s most-watched program ever.
It debuted to great popularity in Malaysia, and the programme has gained global attentions.  
'Imam Muda' was shown to 3.7 million viewers worldwide, surpassing 'Akademi Al-Qur'an' viewers, many times more.
Even its Facebook site has surpassed its 370, 000 fans and is still growing.


I had worked with Mujahid's mother, and I had worked under his father.
Mujahid had been my kindergarten student, and so was his few siblings.

Once, some time last year, on Friday visiting My ex-colleagues, before An-Nur underwent total renovation, I heard a very familiar voice reciting verses from The Holy Qur'an.
I was listening attentively to the familiar voice when My friend said,  
"Your son lah, Mujahid."

I was surprised because he was in secular school.
But like father like son, "kemana tumpahnya kuah, kalau bukan kenasi."

I had made known to his father that I would prefer children to get real exposure of the truly mixed Singapore races.
Never mind the father's a UIA graduate, and any other university for that matter, and it's ok I obtain my master from u-never-study education centre.
No doubt Mujahid's parents are both theologically inclined, but I would prefer Mujahid to be sent to secular school, given his active and outgoing nature.
No doubt the father was My principal, but I had often voiced out My views despite opposing his.

I had to let him weigh rationally a piece of My mind as I had always look upon the late Ustaz Taha Suhaimi.

Born on a Thursday, July 27, 1916.
Although his father, Sheikh Muhammad Fadhlallah as-Suhaimi, had helped to establish Kulliyah Al-'Attas in Johor Bahru and founded Madrasah Al-Ma'arif in Ipoh Lane in 1936, yet the young Taha Suhaimi received his early education at the Raffles Institution.

He later spent eight years studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

Since he went to Al-Azhar to sincerely seek knowledge, and not certification, he returned to Singapore to become a lecturer at the Ngee Ann College.

He was also the first president of the Syari'ah Court.
After his father, Sheikh Muhammad Fadhlallah as-Suhaimi's demise in August 16, 1964, at 78 years of age, Ustaz Taha took charge of Madrasah Al-Ma'arif. 
 It was first built in Tanjung Katong before resited at wakaf land in Ipoh Lane in 1939 by Shaikh Omar Bamadhaj.
An all-girls' Islamic school, it is one of six full-time Islamic madrasahs for primary, secondary and pre-university levels students in Singapore.

With futuristic vision the school master was empowered with, I remember looking at old pictures of the 70s of Madrasah AlMa'arif, with Chinese teachers.
They had even enrolled Chinese staff for the future generation.

Its school curriculum has always emphasis the balance of theology studies and secular subjects from the Singapore Ministry of Education, a more well-rounded and wholesome education.

In 1971, Al-Ma'arif had its students sat for the first GCE 'O' and 'A' Level as private candidates, more than twenty years earlier before the madrasah curriculum was revamped by MUIS, the Singapore Islamic Council, to include the curriculum from the Ministry of Education.
Madrasah Al-Ma'arif Al-Islamiah has since moved to Lorong 39, Geylang.

Ustaz Taha As-Suhaimi had authored 'Biography of Sheikh Muhammad Bin 'Abdullah As-Suhaimi' (his grandfather), 'Commentary of the Surah Yasin' Hajj and 'Umrah', 'Proofs Concerning the Validity of the Qur'an', 'The Book of Fasting, 'The Book of Fiqh', The Science of  Tawhid', 'The True Meaning of Heresy', 'Qadha' and Qadar,  all in Malay.

Some of his English writings are 'Has the Bible Been Altered?' and 'Muhammad Foretold in the Earlier Scriptures'.  

He passed away on Tuesday, June 8, 1999. 
May we benefit from knowing him.


Al-Manar said...

Family names like Suhaimi, AlAttas Al Saggof etc are familier to me especially during my erlier years in a Madrasah here. There were islamic instituitions carrying these famous names, in Singapore, Johor and Penang. Those were the hey days of Islamic lerning in traditional ways. It is a pity they are just names today, totally alien to younger genrations.

Ummie said...

Kuliyah Al-Attas in JB is no longer around, but Madrasah As-Sagoff which was built in 1912 @ Jalan Sultan is still enrolling students until today.
The school is still standing strong.

As-Suhaimi's name is sure a familiar name for the older generation in Terengganu as one of the state's ex-MB's wife is a close relative to The Late Ustaz Taha.

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