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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Abuya Asha'ari -Rising out of Al-Ar'qam's Ashes!

I came across the booth of dynamic and professional looking members of the Rufaqa' Corporation comprised of the former Al Arqam movement led by Abuya Ustaz Hj.Asha'ari Muhammad when I visited the International Book Fair being held at the PWTC Expo Halls in KL.

The Al Arqam movement was instrumental in bringing a heightened sense of Islamic Way of Life here in Malaysia when they were first formed way back in 1968 by Asha'ari Muhammad!

The most obvious change that the Al Arqam movement brought to the lifestyle of Malaysia's Muslims was the implementing of the sense of dressing according to the proper dress code enjoined in Islam!
Their female followers were those who first started wearing the 'tudung' @ Muslim female headcover which is appropriate to cover the head and the bosom. I dare say that the Al Arqam are the first to properly cover themselves here in Malaysia.
Before the advent of the Al Arqam movement, Malaysian Muslim ladies went about with just shawls draped loosely over their heads and flung over their shoulders, bareheaded or with the latest perms as shown in most of the black & white Malay movies shot during the 50s,60s and the 70s!

In the 50s and 60s, visible proofs of how the Malaysian Muslims went about can be seen here in this historical photos gleaned from the history pages.

In Surah An Nur Verse 31 in the Holy Qur'an , Allah God Almighty asks the Believers to cover their modesty.

"31: Likewise tell Momin women to not let their gazes go wayward; they should also fully guard their chastity. It is also imperative for them not display their adornments, except what becomes apparent by itself when moving around normally (as intentional display would mean that they have an inner desire to impress men).

And let them cover their bosoms (so that mischief-mongers cannot say that they were unaware that these ladies were noble; for otherwise they would not have pestered them ~ 33:59). While walking they should not strike down their feet, in order not to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. "

Click here to read from the source :

That's one of the many benefits that the Al Arqam brought to the Malaysian Muslim scene. They were very good in building up their business enterprises and portrayed a very positive, technologically adept Muslim community in their heydays.

Their fantastic business empire's growth drew many followers from all walks of life and they had connections established in practically every government department and agency.Their followers grew to more than a 100,000 at their heights greatly worrying Mahathir's Government!

The Al Arqam also were getting established throughout Nusantara. Singapore,Brunei,Indonesia were seeing Darul Arqam communes being set up in their nations. Although they claimed not to have political ambitions , their spectacular growth caused the governments of all these countries to start getting goosebumps and really worried.

Their prayers were answered when Asha'ari started getting too big for his breeches and went on to propagate his 'Aurad Muhammadiyah' doctrine which was clearly an innovation and running contrary to the True Principles of Aqeedah in Islam!

The rest is history as we all know. To avoid arrest ,Asha'ari fled the country with his trusted aides and wives to Thailand. The Thai police following PDRM's request arrested Ashaari and his entourage and promptly handed him over to the Malaysian authorities.

Ashaari and his followers were subjected to a restoration of proper Islamic Aqeedah programme where they were rehabilitated from their deviance and gradually were released back into society but are still under probation and kept under police supervision.

He laments about his 30 over years of empire building destroyed overnight by his arrest and group's dissolving by the actions taken on him and his movement by the Malaysian government!
In a sense he's lucky that he is still allowed to live and rebuild from scratch from the ashes of his Al Arqam's demise. In other countries, he might have been executed and done with!

Malaysia is still very reluctant to go to that extreme. The most they do is to cold storage their opponents in Kamunting under the ISA!

Asha'ari has tasted the government's hospitality and has a lot to thank Allah SWT for giving him a second chance in life!

Today, he has returned with a new image, new zeal and whole new business empire!

His flagship @Rufaqa' Corporation Sdn.Bhd. is based in Bandar Country Homes, 48000, Rawang, Selangor,Malaysia. Their website is at

Asha'ari has successfully reestablished his business ventures based on the religious and material side of life.

He has now come to a stage where his movement have successfully set up a thriving business community in 14 cities and town nationwide.

All these is done with the blessings of the Malaysian Government's Home Ministry.

As fas as they are concerned , as long as he doesn't have any ambitions to take over the government or deviate from the true teachings of Islam as he did before, they have no problems with his business and religious based ventures.

What Asha'ari is doing is not really a problem for the government as long as he doesn't repeat his previous screw ups.

During the height of the Al Arqam movement, many university students became involved in the movement and some of them dropped out from their studies raising the complaint from society that those students were being brainwashed into leaving their studies.

Many of those students ended up marrying members of the Al Arqam movement and some bcame second, third or fourth wives thus exposing the polygamy being practiced rampantly in Al Arqam's community.

Blind obedience to the movement's leaders was also another bone to pick with them by members of the Malaysian society!

In any movement, there will always be such a situation where zealous and fanatic followers tend to go overboard in venerating and hero worshipping their leaders. Such was also the case in Al Arqam and in many other groups and Tariqah's.

Sometimes the Syaikhs and Mursheeds of the various groups and Tariqah's start off their movements properly based upon the principles of the faith.

It is the overzealousness of their followers in going overboard with their 'hero worshipping' and adulation of them that gives way to their Egos to grow and expand into something out of control and eventually that immense power they start to feel gets to their heads and they start to innovate and abuse their position.

Materialistic inclinations and the awesome power they have now with them to dictate anything to their ever willing and admiring followers corrupts their inner self.

Sex,which is a most powerful tool to influence followers and lust clouds their judgement and the base self starts engorging on their moral and inbuilt system of justice.

History records that time and time again, many a nation and leaders have fallen prey to that natural sense of lust inbuilt in each and every one of us ,mankind.

Without self control and Fear of Allah, no one is safe from such sinful misdeeds.

When the Prophet SAW had scored a successful victory with his Companions over the Kaffirs of the Meccan Quraish in the Badr War, the Messenger SAW told his companions.

'We have succeeded in one war now we have to face a bigger war!' The companions asked 'Who else do we have to fight O Prophet of Allah?'

The Prophet SAW answered' It is our Nafs!'

As such, none of us are free from being challenged by our Ego's, our Lust, our Greed, etc.

Asha'ari went through such a gauntlet! The man is as vulnerable as each and everyone of us.

We ourselves are not perfect, none of us are. Doesn't mean that we can't try to improve our lot and seek a better life for us according to our own efforts and capabilities.

The Rufaqa' Corporation today is such a symbol of people who have successfully rebuilt their lifes after being through a tormentous period in their lives.

I wish them well and hope they will keep to the track laid down by Allah SWT and His Greatest Messenger to Mankind, Muhammad ibni Abdillah, Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam! Ameen.

Here are some shots I took of them at the International Book Fair held at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.

The ladies are colorfully dressed with more vibrant tudungs today compared to the all black hijabs of yesteryear's.

The men sport songkoks now instead of the Al Arqam signature serbans .

May Allah SWT guide them and us all towards the success of this world and the Akhirat, Insya Allah!

I love to see my fellow Muslims looking good and colorful, as the colors of the beautiful rainbow shining brightly in the skies after a refreshing spell of nourishing rain giving life to the earth!

Here's a visual clip I took of the pretty Mawaddah nasyid ladies of Rufaqa Corporation with their colorful tudungs and brand new image.

Allah SWT created this world in full color. No harm in being vibrant and alive as long as we live according to His Way!

It is better for the people who were with the former Al Arqam movement to start a new life with a lifestyle that they are so comfortable with that is grounded in the framework of true Islamic teachings and also in accordance with the rules of this land.

It is heartening to see them progress in line with the latest technological advances of the present world. Their smart utilization of the Information Technology to spread the word of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala is commendable and must be supported.

Asha'ari Muhammad must now realize that is is better to go along with the Malay parable of old 'Semakin berisi semakin tunduk' meaning that as one grows more knowledgeable it is better for one to be more humble. History records all his deeds and misdeeds just as it does for each of us.

Power and position will come to us if we are blessed by Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala and none can take it away from us. At the same time, if Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala wills that we lose it all, none can stop it from taking place!

Fame and fortune comes to those who are steadfast in Allah's Way and it is much more favorable than to try to please mankind with their adverse convictions and open defiance to the Truth that is in Islam.

Surely the truth shall prevail and when this world ceases to exist as we know it today and all the years before, we will then all stand before Him and be judged according to what we have done in our life!

I pray that Asha'ari Muhammad and the people in Rufaqa Corporation find their peace and sakinah in true Islam and live their lives as sincere and obedient Muslims, servants and champions of Islam.

No more screw ups in the future and be moderate in your practices. All my best wishes for my fellow Muslims and Muslimahs in Rufaqa!

Be the best you can be and make us proud! Ameen. Insya Allahu Ta'ala Rabbul 'Alameen!