4. ISLAM AND HUMAN SECURITY

Having discussed security and human security in the region, an important question remains unanswered, in particular the role of religion in discussing about security in SE Asia. SE Asia is an important region located in a strategic location between East Asia and the Middle East. It is made up of diverse ethnic groups and religions. Almost all major religions of the world can be found here. However, international relations literature tends to ignore roles played by religion and this is true for SE Asia international relations as well (Fox and Sandler 2006).

If Asian Financial Crisis (1997-1998) was among major turning points for Thai’s government to establish its Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the author would argue that it was September 11 incident that has made Malaysia government to establishIslam Hadhari in its ‘human security’ approach. In Malaysia, the concept of human security is new, especially to the policy makers. Instead human development has been used interchangeably with human security. This may be due to ‘human rights’ factor, that was clearly emphasis in human security approach which often been regarded as a challenge to state’s sovereignty (national security).  Nevertheless, closer examination reveals that Islam plays important role.

Peace Islam means submission to God, thus a Muslim means the one who submits. Islam is not only refers to as religion rather it is a comprehensive way of life.  In other words, Islam instructs people on how they may live together in peace and harmony regardless of race, class or beliefs. By submitting oneself to God, it will lead to true peace-internally and externally. Thus, peace in Islam is beyond realism “absence of war.” A goal of a Muslim is the Hereafter and to prepare one needs peace in order to submit his duty to God. Thus, peace and secured environment is important for human survival in Islam.

Ummah Like that of many SE Asian states, Islam also sticks to the idea that ‘security begins at home.’ Beginning with internal peace, it goes on to one’s family and extends to the neighbors, the community and eventually to the wholeummah. Ummah means community (or Nation), thus it means the whole Muslim world (Al Maududi 2000).    Peace and security are related and for security to exist, Islam emphasis on laws, includingshariah (Islamic) law.  The ultimate goal of Islamic law is to establish, strengthen and support the faith in individuals and in the community as a whole. Islam emphasis the spirit of brotherhood (spirit of community) to support each other. As discussed above, this faith brings peace into the heart, which immediately curtails violent feelings towards others.

Development Development in Islam means bringing balance and harmony, justice and peace, and beauty and prosperity. It is the development of the total human being: body, mind, and soul. Islam seeks modernization but discourage westernization. Thus development according to Islam also include spiritual, moral, economic, social, educational, and cultural.

Human Rights Human rights include the right to life for all human beings, regardless of race, religion, and nationalities; the rights to the safety of life where all Muslims have a duty to save every human life when they are in danger (Ali 2007). Islam also respects woman's rights. Woman chastity must be respected and protected at all times, whether she belongs to one's own nation or to the nation of an enemy. Likewise, husbands must treat their wives well and mothers are honored. An important rights as prescribe by Islam is economic rights (rights for needy), which is part of human rights, thus anyone who is suffering from deprivation has a right to share in the property and wealth of a Muslim; irrespective of whether he belongs to this or to that nation. The next important rights in Islam is peoples’ ‘freedom.’ Slavery for instance is forbidden in Islam.

Justice Muslims have to be just to both, their friends as well as to their enemies. Justice in Islam is not limited to the citizens of one's own country, or the Muslim community as a whole; it is meant for all human beings because God created human beings as equals. This leads to theequality of human beings in Islam.  Islam recognizes equality between men irrespective of color, race or nationality. Therefore, no human race is more superior over others. Another important concept is cooperation in Islam. Islam prohibits cooperation for wrongdoings (i.e. aggression) but prescribe cooperation for virtue (good things) (Hamidullah 1970).