In the context of the nation in the modern democratic world today, fresh discourse on fiqh al-muwatanah or fiqh of nationality should be raised and discussed comprehensively. Fiqh al-muwatanah is part of the fiqh siyasah which is open to ijtihad and discussion. Peer-to-peer relationships need to be given fresher new dimension, especially to stem radicalism and ghuluw (transcending) which ultimately creates problems and conflicts. Fiqh al-muwatanah upholds the theme of the human charisma (human glory) of the humanitarian value that should be present in every individual in a country.
Indeed, the world to is in an era of evolution full of challenges. In the era of post-secularism, the 21st century will see the world become more religious and secularism will begin to fade. In the post-modern era we will see the form of post-modern society that always demands equality as human rights. In the era of post-capitalism, capital and labor are no longer the primary basis of wealth creation but knowledge is the basis of wealth. In the post-industrial era, the services and information technology sectors create greater wealth than the manufacturing sector. In the post-Islamism era, we see the development of a new generation of Islamic revival embracing reality within the framework of the democratic system. In the context of today’s politics, we are actually in the era called post-truth that sees the truth as something relative. In other words, the world today can also be said to be in the post-normal era where many unforeseen and sometimes beyond rationalization will occur in the society.
Hence, in this era of a rapidly changing world, we have to be prepared with knowledge and wisdom in order to continue to be relevant and able to meet the challenges of today and the future. Individual and nations’ relationships including the rights and responsibilities of a citizen need to be attentive while celebrating diversity within the frame of unity. In the context of the present world in line with the changing political landscape of the country, the concept of fiqh al-muwatanah should be understood with a wider and progressive meaning. In the democracy under the scope of Islam, the policy and the tasawwur (Islamic life view) on the relations between fellow citizens and non-Muslims either in Muslim-majority countries and also where Muslims are a minority need to be given attention. The concept of al-Ukhuwah al-Islamiyah (Muslim brotherhood), al-Ukhuwat al-Wataniyyah (Brotherhood of Citizenship) and al-Ukhuwat al-Insaniyyah (Brotherhood of the Peoples) or al-Ukhuwah al-Basyariah (Brotherhood of the Peoples) should be the theme of discussion and given the appropriate space to be a fresher and effective approach especially in reforming the concept of ukhuwah and the current relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims.
The fundamental Fiqh al-Muwatanah has actually been imprinted in the Sahifah Madinah which was enacted in the First Hijri year equivalent to 622M with 43 Clauses in which 23 clauses talk about the relationship between fellow Muslims ie.: between Ansar and Muhajirin and the remaining 24 clauses discuss on the relationship of Muslims with non-Muslims. Perhaps in tandem with the Medina Charter’s spirit, the author wishes to propose to the Government to organize a Special Celebration of 1440 Sahifah Madinah at the State and National Level by highlighting the theme of Rahmatan Lil’alamin. This can also be the basis and the main framework model of the Pakatan Harapan approach to building a new and vibrant Malaysia. If in the West, they celebrated The Magna Carta 1215 which is now 803 years old ,on a large scale, Muslims should be more proud of the 1440-year-old Sahifah Madinah Celebration.
By understanding the text , the context and appreciating the dynamics of fiqh al-muwatanah, Malaysia is actually trying to be a model country that can be emulated by other countries in the world. In fact, with the latest political achievement involving a peaceful change of government through a dynamic tahaluf siyasi (political understanding), Malaysia should be ready to export and share this formula and no longer always rely on external reference sources and experience. Although it is acknowledged that there is a different contextual reality, it may not be too much to say that it is time for the Arab world and others to be ready and begin to learn ‘fiqh siyasah manhaj Malaysia’.
The author is a former Dean of the Faculty of Shariah and Law, USIM