Journey and Destination
Quite often I told my students that the journey is as important as the destination. Well, this is very true when we are travelling. Instead of rushing to the destination, why not enjoy the journey – it can be the scenery, the friendships with fellow travellers, or any other things. In fact, the journey can be more enjoyable than the activities at the destinations
Similarly, quite often I also told my students that the process is as important as the outcome. Yes, in carrying out any task, it is important to scrutinize the process so that we are ensured that the desired outcome would be obtained in the best possible manner, without giving adverse effects to whatever means that we use to produce the outcome.
Over-emphasizing the Process
Nevertheless, I have noticed many situations where people are over-emphasizing the process to the extent that I think they may have forgotten that it is the outcome that they should be working for, because in the end, we want the results. We want the objectives satisfied. But why are these people focusing on the process to the extent that the desired outcome might be compromised?
I really like the legal arguments on the spirit of the law vs the letters of the law. Whenever there is conflicting argument on the interpretation of the laws, they highlighted the importance the spirit so that the interpretations are guided towards achieving the objectives on the rules and regulations.
My fellow academics may have noticed how we sometimes get carried away with the audit exercise based on OBE. This outcome-based education (OBE), is emphasizing on the immediate outcome (Program objectives, PO) and the medium term outcome (Program Educational Objectives, PEO). In achieving these objectives, there are processes that we have to establish. Unfortunately, some of the “guardians” of OBE may have over-emphasized the process to the extent that it is making the process very rigid that it deserved to be renamed to a “Procedure-Based Education, PBE”. I think, some of these people have gone astray, away from the spirit of OBE. The OBE should have allowed more varieties of approaches, more flexibility to achieve the target, after all it is the objectives that we want to realize.
I am sure many researchers have had colorful experiences with their Research Management Centers. This is because, the center which is supposed to facilitate researchers has somehow became a gate-keepers and making the life of many researchers more difficult. It seems that establishing good records in maintaining the process is much more important than motivating researchers. That is why when some researchers from various universities met, one of the topic is their RMC. Aah, this is a sensitive one for some… You can use your own imagination.
In fact we can see similar things in many realms of life. The religious department in Malaysia is seen to be more interested in establishing uniformity. That is why during Ramadan, there is circular coming from the department to the mosques telling which chapter of the qur’an should read in which rakaat of solat tarawih, and how many rakaats you should do in congregations in the mosque, etc. Those are processes.
That is why I really like the fact that “Maqasid Syariah” is now becoming a buzz word in Malaysia. Many are talking about it. Some attempted to explain what it means. Some are focusing on discrediting those who tried to make people understand. Some are saying that we are ignorant, thus we shouldn’t be talking about deep concept like maqasid, let’s leave it to the scholars. And yet they are professionals who have gone through many years of higher educations. I am sure that they can think, if the prefer to do so.
I really like the fact that now, Muslim and Nonmuslim alike are trying to understand this concept. After all, it is the higher objectives of syariah. In designing our procedures of living, we need to ensure that these objectives are satisfied. When we build a system of life, regardless of which domain – social, economics, legal, etc – it needs to satisfy these objectives. It can be done explicitly or implicitly without causing any stir of sensitivities because the outcome is positive, and good for everybody.
Somebody gave me an idea on how to simplify the explanation of maqasid syariah – it means making things better for everybody. Islam will ensure that you have a good life and your rights protected. So, go and get the details from those opportunities arising these days.
I’ve got quite a good dose of it last weekend, and to my surprise, sitting next to me was a young fisherman who came by motorcycle from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur for the event. I asked him, what made you come? He said, he saw the advertisement on facebook and wanted to learn more about what is meant by maqasid syariah. Yes, we have to understand this concept to appreciate what is meant by “Islam as a mercy to mankind”.