Today was my very first paper for the final examination of this semester. Islah and Tajdid in Southeast Asia, the subject enlightened me to dig deeply into the history of the Islah and Tajdid movements in the Malay World. I don’t really prefer using the term ‘Southeast Asia’ because it raises an important question, Southeast of What? No doubt, the term Middle East, Far East, Southeast Asia, all these words gave some kind of connotation related to the superior attitude of the West undermining all of ‘the Others’.
It was a tough exam but Alhamdulillah all the questions were within my expectation. These are the questions given by the examiner and you might also want to test your own understanding regarding the issues:
- The salafi and modernist ideas were the two major driving forces behind the islah and tajdid movements in Southeast Asia”. Comment on this statement focusing on Sarekat Islam in Indonesia OR Kaum Muda in Malaya.
- Assess critically the role of al-Manar Magazine and the Malay local press in disseminating the islah and tajdid ideas in the British Malaya.
- Compare and contrast the intellectual origins and features of the Muhammadiya Movement with those of Nahdhatul Ulama in Indonesia.
- Sayyid Sheikh Ahmad al-Hadi is classified by his contemporaries as the champion of Islamic modernism in Malaya”. Comment on this statement highlighting his approaches to the challenges posed by Muslim traditionalists and British colonial administration in Malaya?
Well, I chose Question number 1, 3 and 4.
Under such pressure, I managed to write 12 full pages, each questions treated with 4 pages.
To certain extend, I do believe that stress is something we need, but of course a manageable one. This friendly stress is known as the Eustress. Why we need stress? Simply because we perform best under pressure.
Another thing, when we realize that we are in the middle of a test, we utilize every single minute and second to give the most of everything. We don’t have the guts to sleep, wandering around, doing whatever we know do not serve the purpose of being in the exam. If we can focus during the exam, why can’t we do the same outside the examination room? We keep saying that we don’t have enough time to do this and that. Our ancestors had the same 24/7 as we have, but it always about the quality, not the quantity. How we utilize our time (read as ‘life’)?
Then I realize, why I can do the most inside the examination room and not outside…???
I was told that I had only 3 hours to complete my task, but Allah did not tell me when this ‘real exam’ will reach its end. We thought that we always have more than 3 hours of everything while the death is always around the corner!
O Allah, bestow Your blessings upon everything You grant us.. our rizq, our time, our life.. Ameen.
Next semester will offer us four subjects: Muslim Historiography, Contacts and Relations Between the Muslims and Medieval Europe, Islam in Central Asia and Islam and the West (Seminar). Insya Allah I am enthusiastically looking forward to them.